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Title: The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 06, No. 37, November, 1860
Author: Various
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 06, No. 37, November, 1860" ***

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NOVEMBER, 1860***


THE ATLANTIC MONTHLY.

A MAGAZINE OF LITERATURE, ART, AND POLITICS.

VOL. VI.--NOVEMBER, 1860.--NO. XXXVII.



THOMAS HOOD.


Thomas Hood was originally intended for business, and entered a
mercantile house; but the failure of his health, at fifteen years of
age, compelled him to leave it, and go to Scotland, where he remained
two years, with much gain to his body and his mind. On his return to
London, he applied himself to learn the art of engraving; but his
constitution would not allow him to pursue it. Yet what he did acquire
of this art, with his genius for comic observation, must have been of
excellent service to him in his subsequent career. This, at first, was
simply literary, in a subordinate connection with "The London Magazine."
His relation to this periodical gave him opportunities, which he did not
neglect, of knowing many of its brilliant contributors. Among these was
Charles Lamb, who took a strong liking to the youthful sub-editor, and,
doubtless, discovered a talent that in some points had resemblance to
his own. The influence of his conversation and companionship may have
brought Hood's natural qualities of mind into early growth, and helped
them into early ripeness. Striking as the difference was, in some
respects, between them, in other respects the likeness was quite as
striking. Both were playful in manner, but melancholy by constitution,
and in each there lurked an unsuspected sadness; both had tenderness in
their mirth, and mirth in their tenderness; and both were born punsters,
with more meaning in their puns than met the ear, and constantly
bringing into sudden and surprising revelation the wonderful mysteries
of words.

With a genius of so singular a cast, Hood was not destined to continue
long a subordinate. Almost with manhood he began to be an independent
workman of letters; and as such, through ever-varying gravities and
gayeties, tears and laughter, grimsicalities and whimsicalities, prose
and verse, he labored incessantly till his too early death. The whole
was truly and entirely "Hood's Own." In mind he owed no man anything.
Unfortunately, he did in money. That he might economize, and be free to
toil in order to pay, he went abroad, residing between four and five
years out of England, part of the time at Coblentz, in Rhenish Prussia,
and part at Ostend, in Belgium. The climate of Rhenish Prussia was bad
for his health, and the people were disagreeable to his feelings. The
change to Belgium was at first pleasant and an improvement; but complete
recovery soon seemed as far away as ever; nay, it was absolutely away
forever. But in the midst of his family--his wife, his little boy and
girl, most loving and most loved--bravely he toiled, with pen and
pencil, with head and heart; and while men held both their sides from
laughter, he who shook them held both his sides from pain; while tears,
kindly or comical, came at the touch of his genius into thousands of
eyes, eyes were watching and weeping in secret by his bed-side in the
lonely night, which, gazing through the cloud of sorrow on his thin
features and his uneasy sleep, took note that the instrument was fast
decaying which gave forth the enchantment and the charm of all this
mirthful and melancholy music. Thus, in bodily pain, in bodily weakness
even worse than pain, in pecuniary embarrassment worse than either,
worst of all, often distressed in mind as to means of support for his
family, he still persevered; his genius did not forsake him, nor did his
goodness; the milk of human kindness did not grow sour, nor the sweet
charities of human life turn into bitter irritations. But what a tragedy
the whole suggests, in its combination of gayety with grief, and in
the thought of laughter that must be created at the cost of sighs, of
merriment in which every grin has been purchased by a groan!

An anecdote which we once read, always, when we recall it, deeply
affects us. A favorite comic actor, on a certain evening, was hissed by
the audience, who had always before applauded him. He burst into tears.
He had been watching his dying wife, and had left her dead, as be came
upon the stage. This was his apology for imperfection in his part. Poor
Hood had also to unite comedy with tragedy,--not for a night, or a day,
or a week, but for months and years. He had to give the comedy to the
public, and keep the tragedy to himself; nor could he, if comedy failed
him, plead with the public the tragedy of his circumstances. _That_ was
nothing to the public. He must give pleasure to the public, and not
explanations and excuses. But genius, goodness, many friends, no enemy,
the consciousness of imparting enjoyment to multitudes, and to no man
wretchedness, a heart alive with all that is tender and gentle, and
strong to manful and noble purpose and achievement,--these are grand
compensations,--compensations for even more ills than Hood was heir to;
and with such compensations Hood was largely blessed. Though his funds
were nothing to the bounty of his spirit, yet he did not refuse to
himself the blessedness of giving. Want, to his eye of charity, was
neither native nor foreign, but _human_; and as _human_ he pitied it
always, and, as far as he could, relieved it. While abroad, he was
constantly doing acts of beneficence; and the burlesque style with
which, in his correspondence, he tries to disguise his own goodness,
while using the incidents as items to write about, is one of the most
delightful peculiarities in his delightful letters. The inimitable
combination of humanity and humor in these passages renders them equal
to the best things that Hood has anywhere written. To crown all, Hood
had happiness unalloyed in his children and his wife. Mrs. Hood seems
to have deserved to the utmost the abounding love which her husband
lavished on her. She was not only, as a devoted wife, a cheerer of
his heart, but, as a woman of accomplishment and ability, she was a
companion for his mind. Her judgment was as clear and sure as her
affection was warm and strong. Her letters have often a grave tenderness
and an insinuated humor hardly inferior to her husband's. But as she
must write from fact and not from fancy, what she writes naturally bears
the impression of her cares. Here is a passage from one of her latest
letters, which, half sadly, half amusingly, reminds us of Mrs. Primrose
and her "I'll-warrant" and "Between-ourselves" manner.

"Hood dines to-day," she writes, "with Doctor Bowring, in Queen Square.
He knew him well years ago in 'The London Magazine'; and he wrote, a few
days ago, to ask Hood to meet Bright and Cobden on business,--_I_ think,
to write songs for the League. I augur good from it. This comes of 'The
Song of the Shirt,' of which we hear something continually."

As an instance of her judgment, we may mention that she prophesied at
once all the success which followed this same "Song of the Shirt." When
read to her in manuscript,--"Now mind, Hood," said she, "mark my words,
this will tell wonderfully! It is one of the best things you ever
did." Her reference to "The Song" in her letter has a sort of pathetic
_naïveté_ in it; it shows that the thought with which she was concerned
was practical, not poetical,--not her husband's fame, but her household
cares. She was thinking of songs that would turn into substance,--of
"notes" that could be exchanged for cash,--of evanescent flame that
might be condensed into solid coal, which would, in turn, make the pot
boil,--and of music that could be converted into mutton. O ye entranced
bards, drunk with the god, seeing visions and dreaming dreams in the
third heaven, that is, the third story! O ye voluminous historians, who
live in the guilt and glory of the past, and are proud in making the
biggest and thickest books for the dust, cobwebs, and moths of the
future! O ye commentators, who delight to render obscurity more obscure,
and who assume that in a multitude of words, as in a multitude of
counsellors, there is wisdom! O ye critics, who vote yourselves the
Areopagites of Intellect, whose decrees confer immortality in the
Universe of Letters! O all ye that write or scribble,--all ye tribes,
both great and small, of pen-drivers and paper-scrapers!--know ye,
that, while ye are listening in your imaginative ambition to the praise
of the elect or the applause of nations, your wives are often counting
the coppers that are to buy the coming meal, alarmed at the approaching
rent-day, or trembling in apprehension of the baker's bill.

Hood, in 1840, returned to reside in England during the small remainder
of his life. For a few months he edited the "New Monthly," and then, for
a few months more, a magazine of his own. But the whole of this period
was filled with bodily and mental trials, of which it is painful to
read. Yet within this period it was that he wrote some of his finest
things, both laughable and serious. It is, however, to be remarked, it
was now he reached down to that well of tears which lay in the depth of
his nature. Always before, there had been misty exhalations from it,
that oozed up into the sunshine of his fancy, and that took all the
shapes of glisten or of gloom which his Protean genius gave them. In the
rapid eccentricities of cloud and coruscation, the source which supplied
to the varying forms so much of their substance was hidden or unminded.
But now the fountain of thought and tragedy had been readied, whence the
waters of sin and suffering spring forth clear and unalloyed in their
own deep loneliness, and we hear the gush and the murmur of their stream
in such monodies as "The Song of the Shirt," "The Lay of the Laborer,"
and "The Bridge of Sighs."

Hood died in 1845, and was then only forty-six or forty-seven years old.
Alike esteemed by the poor and the rich, both united to consecrate a
monument to his memory. Kindly should we ever think of those who make
our hearts and our tempers bright; who, without pomp of wisdom, help us
to a cheerfulness which no proud philosophy can give; who, in the motley
of checkered mirth and wit, sparkle on the resting-spots of life. Such
men are rare, and as valuable as they are rare. The world wants them
more than it wants heroes and victors: for mirth is better than
massacre; and it is surely better to hear laughter sounding aloud the
jubilee of the heart, than the shout of battle and yell of conquest.
Precious, then, are those whose genius brings pleasure to the bosom
and sunshine to the face; who not only call our thoughts into festive
action, but brighten our affections into generous feeling. Though we may
not loudly celebrate such men, we greatly miss them; and not on marble
monuments, but in our warmest memories, their names continue fresh. But
laugh and make laugh as they may, they, too, have the destiny of grief;
and unto them, as unto all men, come their passages of tragedy,--the
days of evil, the nights of waking, and the need of pity.

When Hood was near his death a pension of a hundred pounds a year was
settled on his wife, at the instance of Sir Robert Peel. The wife, so
soon to become a widow, did not long survive her husband; then, in 1847,
the pension was continued to their two orphan children, at the instance
of Lord John Russell. Politics and parties were forgotten, in gratitude
to an earnest lover of his kind; and the people, as well as the
government, in helping to provide for those whom he left behind, showed
that they had not forgotten one whose desire it was to improve even more
than to amuse them. And still we cannot but feel sad that there should
ever have been this need. Nor would there have been, had Hood had the
strength to carry him into the vast reading public which has arisen
since his death, and which it was not his fate to know. "The income,"
says his daughter, "which his works now produce to his children, might
then have prolonged his life for many years."

We have written more on the personal relations of Hood than we had
intended; but we have been carried on unwitttingly, while reading the
"Memorials" of him recently published and edited by his children. The
loving worth of the man, as therein revealed, made us slow to quit the
companionship of his character to discuss the qualities of his genius.
We trust that our time has not been misspent, morally or critically;
for, besides the moral good which we gain from the contemplation of an
excellent man, we enjoy also the critical satisfaction of learning that
whatever is best in literature comes out of that which is best in life.
We therefore close this section of our article with a bit of prose and a
bit of poetry, among Hood's "last things,"--personally and pathetically
characteristic of his nature and his genius.

"Dear Moir,[A]

"God bless you and yours, and goodbye! I drop these few lines, as in a
bottle from a ship water-logged and on the brink of foundering, being
in the last stage of dropsical debility; but, though suffering in body,
serene in mind. So, without reversing my union-jack, I await my last
lurch. Till which, believe me, dear Moir,

"Yours most truly,

"THOMAS HOOD."

[Footnote A: The _Delta_ of Blackwood]

STANZAS.

  "Farewell, Life! My senses swim,
  And the world is growing dim;
  Thronging shadows cloud the light,
  Like the advent of the night;
  Colder, colder, colder still,
  Upward steals a vapor chill;
  Strong the earthly odor grows,--
  I smell the Mould above the Rose!"

  "Welcome, Life! The spirit strives!
  Strength returns, and hope revives!
  Cloudy fears and shapes forlorn
  Fly like shadows at the morn;
  O'er the earth there comes a bloom,
  Sunny light for sullen gloom,
  Warm perfume for vapors cold,--
  I smell the Rose above the Mould!"

Nothing at first appears more easy than to define and to describe the
genius of Hood. It is strictly singular, and entirely his own. That
which is his is completely his, and no man can cry halves with him, or
quarters,--hardly the smallest fraction. The estimate of his genius,
therefore, puts the critic to no trouble of elaborate discrimination or
comparison. When we think of Hood as a humorist, there is no need
that we should at the same time think of Aristophanes, or Lucian, or
Rabelais, or Swift, or Sterne, or Fielding, or Dickens, or Thackeray.
When we think of him as a poet,--except in a few of his early
compositions,--we are not driven to examine what he shares with
Chaucer, or Spenser, or Shakspeare, or Milton, or Byron, or Coleridge,
or Wordsworth, or any of the poetic masters of literature. Whether as
humorist or as poet, he is in English literature what Richter is in
German literature, "the only one." Then the characteristics of his
genius are outwardly so evident, that, in merely a glance, we fancy we
comprehend them. But the more we think, the more we reflect, the more
the difficulty opens on us of doing full justice to the mind of Hood. We
soon discover that we are dealing, not with a mere punster or jester,
not with a mere master of grimace or manufacturer of broad grins, not
with an eccentric oddity in prose or verse, not with a merry-andrew who
tickles to senseless laughter, not with a spasmodic melodramatist who
writhes in fictitious pain, but that we are dealing with a sincere,
truthful, and most gifted nature,--many-sided, many-colored, harmonious
as a whole, and having a real unity as the centre of its power. To enter
into a complete exposition of such a nature is not our purpose: we must
content ourselves with noting some of its most striking literary and
moral peculiarities. We do not claim for Hood, that he was a man of
profound, wide, or philosophic intellect, or that for grandeur of
imagination he could be numbered among the godlike; we do not claim that
he opened up the deeps of passion, or brought down transcendent truths
from the higher spheres of mind; we claim for him no praise for science
or for scholarship: we merely maintain, that he was a man of rare
humanity, of close, subtile, and various observation, of good sense and
common sense, of intuitive insight into character, of catholic
sympathy with his kind that towards the lowest was the most loving, of
extraordinary social and miscellaneous knowledge that was always at his
command, a thinker to the fullest measure of his needs, and, as humorist
and poet, an originality and a novelty in the world of genius. This is
our general estimate of Hood. What further we have to say shall be in
accordance with it; and such has been the impressive influence of Hood's
writings upon us, that our thoughts, whether we will or not, are more
intent on their serious than on their comic import.

In all the writings of Hood that are not absolutely serious the
_grotesque_ is a present and pervading element. Often it shows itself,
as if from an irresistible instinct of fantastic extravagance, in the
wild and reckless sport of oddity. Combinations, mental, verbal, and
pictorial, to ordinary mortals the strangest and the most remote, were
to Hood innate and spontaneous. They came not from the outward,--they
were born of the inward. They were purely subjective, the sportive
pranks of Hood's own ME, when that ME was in its queerest moods. How
naturally the impossible or the absurd took the semblance of consistency
in the mental associations of Hood, we observe even in his private
correspondence. "Jane," (Mrs. Hood,) he writes, "is now drinking
porter,--at which I look half savage.....I must even _sip_, when I long
to _swig_. I shall turn a fish soon, and have the pleasure of angling
for myself." This, if without intention, would be a blunder or a bull.
If it were written unwittingly, the result would be simply ludicrous,
and consign it to the category of humor; but knowingly written, as we
are aware it was, we must ascribe it to the category of wit.

This presence or absence of _intention_ often decides whether a saying
or an image is within the sphere of humor or of wit. But wit and humor
constantly run into each other; and though the absence of intention
at once shows that a ludicrous surprise belongs to the humorous, the
presence of it will not so clearly define it as belonging to the witty.
Nor will laughter quite settle this question; for there is wit which
makes us laugh, and there is humor which does not. On the whole, it is
as to what is purely wit that we are ever the most at fault. Certain
phases of humor we cannot mistake,--especially those which are broadly
comic or farcical. But sometimes we meet with incidents or scenes which
have more in them of the pathetic than the comic, that we must still
rank with the humorous. Here is a case in point. A time was when it
was a penal offence in Ireland for a priest to say Mass, and under
particular circumstances a capital felony. A priest was malignantly
prosecuted; but the judge, being humane, and better than the law,
determined to confound the informer.

"Pray, Sir," said the judge, "how do you know he said Mass?"

"Because I heard him say it, my Lord."

"Did he say it in Latin?" asked the judge.

"Yes, my Lord."

"Then you understand Latin?"

"A little."

"What words did you hear him say?"

"_Ave Maria_."

"That is the Lord's Prayer, is it not?" asked the judge.

"Yes, my Lord."

"Here is a pretty witness to convict the prisoner!" cried the judge; "he
swears _Ave Maria_ is Latin for the Lord's Prayer!"

Now, surely, this scene is hardly laughable, and yet it is thoroughly
humorous. But take an instance which is entirely comic:--"All ye
blackguards as isn't lawyers," exclaimed a crier, "quit the Coort." Or
this:--"Och, Counsellor, darling," said a peasant once to O'Connell,
"I've no way _here_ to show your Honor my gratitude! but _I wish I
saw you knocked down in my own parish_, and may be I wouldn't bring a
faction to the rescue." A similar instance occurred in this country. An
enthusiastic Irishwoman, listening once to a lecturer praising Ireland,
exclaimed,--"I wish to God I saw that man in poverty, that I might do
something to relieve him."

We shall now cite an example of pure wit.

"How can you defend this item, Mr. Curran," said Lord Chancellor
Clare,--"'To writing innumerable letters, £100'?"

"Why, my Lord," said Curran, "nothing can be more reasonable. _It is not
a penny a letter_."

But we might fill the whole space of our article, ay, or of twenty
articles, with such illustrations; we will content ourselves with two
others. The idea is the same in both; but in the first it seems to have
a mixture of the witty and the humorous; in the second, it belongs
entirely to the humorous.

A lady at a dinner-party passing near where Talleyrand was standing,
he looked up and significantly exclaimed, "Ah!" In the course of the
dinner, the lady having asked him across the table, why on her entrance
he said "Oh!" Talleyrand, with a grave, self-vindicatory look,
answered,--"_Madame, je n'ai pas dit_ 'Oh!' _J'ai dit_ 'Ah!'"

Here is the second.--The Reverend Alonzo Fizzle had preached his
farewell-sermon to his disconsolate people in Drowsytown. The next
morning, Monday, he was strolling musingly along a silent road among the
melancholy woods. The pastor of a neighboring flock, the Reverend Darius
Dizzle, was driving by in his modest one-horse chaise.

"Take a seat, Fizzle?" said he. "Don't care if I do," said Fizzle,--and
took it.

"Why, the mischief, Fizzle," said Dizzle, "did you say in your
farewell-sermon, that it was just as well to preach to the dead buried
six feet under the earth as to the people of Drowsytown?"

_"I?--I?--I?"_ gasped the astonished Fizzle. "A more alive and wakeful
people are not upon the earth than the citizens of Drowsytown. What
calumniator has thus outraged them and _me_? Who told you this? _Who_
dared to say it?"

"Brother Ichabod Muzzle," calmly answered Dizzle.

Fizzle leaped out, hurried to his home, and was soon seen whipping his
unfortunate horse in a certain direction. He was on his way to the
residence of the Reverend Ichabod Muzzle, who lived five or six miles
off. He reached the home of the Reverend Ichabod. The friends greeted
each other. Fizzle, though pregnant with indignation, assumed the
benignant air of the Beloved Disciple. Muzzle looked Platonically the
incarnate idea of the Christian Parson.

"Fine day," said Fizzle.

"Lovely," said Muzzle.

"Glorious view from this window," observed Fizzle.

"Superb," replied Muzzle.

"The beauties of Nature are calming and consolatory," murmured Fizzle.

"And so are the doctrines of grace," whispered Muzzle.

Fizzle could hold out no longer. Still he tried to look the placid, and
to speak with meekness.

"Pray, how did it come, Brother Muzzle," said Fizzle, "that you reported
I declared in my farewell-sermon it was as easy to preach to the dead
buried six feet under the earth as to the people of Drowsytown?"

"You have been grossly misinformed, my brother," replied Muzzle. "I
didn't say _six feet_. I said _four feet_."

In Hood we have all varieties of wit and humor, both separate and
intermingled.

As we have already observed, the grotesque is that which is most
obviously distinctive in Hood's writings. But in different degrees it
is combined with other elements, and in each combination altered and
modified. The combination which more immediately arrests attention is
that with the ludicrous. In this the genius of Hood seemed to hold a
very festival of antics, oddity, and mirth; all his faculties seemed
to rant and riot in the Saturnalia of comic incongruity. And it is
difficult to say whether, in provoking laughter, his pen or his pencil
is the more effective instrument. The mere illustrations of the
subject-matter are in themselves irresistible. They reach at once and
directly the instinctive sense of the ludicrous, and over them youth and
age cachinnate together. We have seen a little girl, eight years old,
laugh as if her heart would break, in merely looking at the pictures in
a volume of Hood. The printed page she did not read or care to read;
what the prints illustrated she knew nothing about; but her eyes danced
with joy and overran with tears of childish merriment. But in all this
luxury of fun, whether by pen or pencil, no word, idea, image, or
delineation obscures the transparency of innocence, or leaves the shadow
of a stain upon the purest mind. To be at the same time so comic and so
chaste is not only a moral beauty, but a literary wonder. It is hard to
deal with the oddities of humor, however carefully, without casual slips
that may offend or shame the reverential or the sensitive. Noble, on the
whole, as Shakspeare was, we would not in a mixed company, until after
cautious rehearsal, venture to read his comic passages aloud. We may
apply the statement, also, to the comic portions of Burns,--and,
indeed, to comic literature in general. But who has fear to read most
openly anything that Hood ever wrote? or who has a memory of wounded
modesty for anything that he ever read secretly of Hood's? Dr. Johnson
says that dirty images were as natural to Swift as sublime ones were to
Milton;--we may say that images at once lambent and laughable were those
which were natural to Hood. Even when his mirth is broadest, it is
decent; and while the merest recollection of his drollery will often
convulse the face in defiance of the best-bred muscles, no thought
arises which the dying need regret. Who can ever forget "The Lost
Heir," or remember it but to laugh at its rich breadth of natural, yet
farcical, absurdity? The very opening begins the giggle:--

  "One day, as I was going by
  That part of Holborn christened High," etc.

Then there is that broadest of broad, but morally inoffensive stories,
in which the laundress, in trying to cure a smoking chimney, blows
herself to death, having merely power to speak a few words to
Betty,--who gaspingly explains to her mistress "The Report from Below":--

  "Well, Ma'am, you won't believe it,
  But it's gospel fact and true,
  But these words is all she whispered,--
  _'Why, where is the powder blew?_'"

For other examples refer to "The Ode to Malthus" and "The Blow-up,"
which pain the sides while they cheer the heart.

Again, we find the grotesque through Hood's writings in union with
the fantastic and the fanciful. His fertility in the most unexpected
analogies becomes to the reader of his works a matter of continual
wonder. Strange and curious contrasts and likenesses, both mental and.
verbal, which might never once occur even to a mind of more than common
eccentricity and invention, seem to have been in his mind with the
ordinary flow of thinking. Plenteous and sustained, therefore, as his
wit is, it never fails to startle. We have no doubt of his endless
resources, and yet each new instance becomes a new marvel. His wit, too,
is usually pregnant and vital with force and meaning. This constitutes
the singular and peculiar worth of his verbal wit in general, and of his
puns in particular. In verbal wit he has had but few equals, and in puns
he has had none. He made the pun an instrument of power; and had his wit
been malignant, he could have pointed the pun to a sharpness that would
have left wounds as deep as thought, and could have added a poison to it
that would have kept them rankling as long as memory lasted. The secret
of his power in the pun is, that he does not rest in the analogy of
sound alone, but seeks also for analogy of significance. Generally there
is a subtile coincidence between his meaning and what the sound of the
pun signifies, and thus the pun becomes an amusing or illustrative
image, or a most emphatic and striking condensation of his thought.
"Take care of your cough," he writes to his engraver, "lest you go to
coughy-pot, as I said before; but I did _not_ say before, that nobody is
so likely as a wood-engraver to cut his stick." Speaking of his wife, he
says,--"To be sure, she still sticks to her old fault of going to sleep
while I am dictating, till I vow to change my _Woman_uensis for a
_Man_uensis." How keenly and well the pun serves him in burlesque, in
his comic imitations of the great moralist! He hits off with inimitable
ridicule the great moralist's dislike to Scotland. Boswell inquired the
Doctor's opinion on illicit distillation, and how the great moralist
would act in an affray between the smugglers and the excise. "If I went
by the _letter_ of the law, I should assist the customs; but according
to the _spirit_, I should stand by the contrabandists." The Doctor was
always very satirical on the want of timber in the North. "Sir," said he
to the young Lord of Icombally, who was going to join his regiment, "may
Providence preserve you in battle, and especially your nether limbs! You
may grow a walking-stick here, but you must import a wooden leg." At
Dunsinnane the old prejudice broke out. "Sir," said he to Boswell,
"Macbeth was an idiot; he ought to have known that every wood in
Scotland might be carried in a man's hand. The Scotch, Sir, are like the
frogs in the fable: if they had a log, they would make a king of it." We
will quote here a stanza which contains quite a serious application of
the pun; and for Hood's purpose no other word could so happily or so
pungently express his meaning. The poem is an "Address to Mrs. Fry"; and
the doctrine of it is, that it is better and wiser to teach the young
and uncorrupted that are yet outside the prison than the vicious and the
hardened who have got inside it. Thus he goes on:--

  "I like your chocolate, good Mistress Fry!
  I like your cookery in every way;
  I like your Shrove-tide service and supply;
  I like to hear your sweet Pandeans play;
  I like the pity in your full-brimmed eye;
  I like your carriage and your silken gray,
  Your dove-like habits, and your silent preaching;
  But I don't like your _Newgatory_ teaching."

Hood had not only an unexampled facility in the discovery of analogies
in a multitude of separate resemblances and relations, but he had an
equal facility of tracing with untiring persistency a single idea
through all its possible variations. Take, for example, the idea
of _gold_, in the poem of "Miss Kilmansegg," and there is hardly a
conceivable reference to _gold_ which imagination or human life can
suggest, that is not presented to us.

But this play of words and thought would, after all, be in itself little
more than serious trifling, a mere exhibition of mental and verbal
ingenuity. It would be a kind of intellectual and linguistical
dexterity, which would give the author a singularity and supremacy
above the world. It would make him the greatest of mental acrobats or
jugglers, and he might almost deserve as eminent a reputation as a
similar class of artists in bodily achievements; possibly he might claim
to be ranked with the man who cooked his dinner and ate it on a tight
rope over the Niagara Rapids, or with the man who placed a pea-nut under
a dish-cover and turned it into the American eagle. Such, however, is
not Hood's case. In all feats of mental and verbal oddity, he does,
indeed, rank the highest,--but _that_ is the very lowest of his
attainments. His pranks do verily cause us to laugh and wonder; but
there is also that ever in his pranks which causes us to think, and
even sometimes to weep. In much of his that seems burlesque, the most
audacious, there are hidden springs of thought and tears. Often, when
most he seems as the grimed and grinning clown in a circus girded by
gaping spectators, he stops to pour out satire as passionate as that of
Juvenal, or morality as eloquent and as pure as that of Pascal. And this
he does without lengthening his face or taking off his paint. Sometimes,
when he most absurdly scampers in his thoughts, when he kicks up the
heels of his fancy in the most outrageous fashion, he is playing as it
most doth please him on our human sympathy, and the human heart becomes
an instrument to his using, out of which he discourseth eloquent music
according to his moods. The interest one finds in reading Hood is often
the sudden pleasure which comes upon him. When in the midst of what
appears a wilful torrent of absurdity, there bursts out a rush of
earnest and instinctive nature. We could quote enough in confirmation
of this assertion to make a moderate volume. And then the large and
charitable wisdom, which in Hood's genius makes the teacher humble
in order to win the learner, we value all the more that it conceals
authority in the guise of mirth, and under the coat of motley or the
mantle of extravagance insinuates effective and salutary lessons.

No writer has ever so successfully as Hood combined the grotesque
with the terrible. He has the art, as no man but himself ever had, of
sustaining the illusion of an awful or solemn narrative through a long
poem, to be closed in a catastrophe that is at once unexpected and
ludicrous. The mystification is complete; the secret of the issue is
never betrayed; suspense is maintained with Spartan reticence; curiosity
is excited progressively to its utmost tension; and the surprise at the
end is oftentimes electric. "A Storm at Hastings" and "The Demon
Ship" are of this class. But sometimes the terrible so prevails as to
overpower the ludicrous, or rather, it becomes more terrible by the very
presence of the ludicrous. We have evidence of this in the poem called
"The Last Man." Sometimes we find the idea of the supernatural added to
the ludicrous with great moral and imaginative effect. Observe with
what pathetic tenderness this is done in the "Ode to the Printer's
Devil,"--with what solemn moral power in "The Tale of a Trumpet,"--and
with what historical satire and social insight in "The Knight and the
Dragon." Sometimes the ludicrous element entirely disappears, and we
have the purely terrible,--the terrible in itself, as in "The Tower of
Lahneck,"--the terrible in pathos, as in "The Work-House Clock,"--the
terrible in penitence and remorse, as in "The Lady's Dream,"--the
terrible in temptation and despair, as in "The Dream of Eugene Aram."

Hood, as we have seen, is a perfect master equally of the grotesque and
the terrible. Some writers, it may be, were as powerful as he in the
grotesque. Rabelais had a certain hugeness in it, which Hood did not
have and did not need. Other writers transcended Hood in the region of
the terrible. It is almost useless to name such sublime masters of it as
Dante, Shakspeare, and Milton. But in the intermingling of the grotesque
and terrible, and in the infinite diversification of them as thus
united, not only has Hood no equal, but no rival. In some few marked
and outward directions of his genius he may have imitators; but in this
magical alchemy of sentiment, thought, passion, fancy, and imagination,
the secret of his laboratory was _his_ alone; no other man has
discovered it, and no other man, as he did, could use it. But he worked
in the purely ideal also;--if he did not work supremely, he worked well,
as we have proof in many of his serious poems, and particularly in
his "Plea for the Midsummer Fairies." And when aroused,--but that
was rarely,--he could wield a burningly satiric pen, and with manly
indignation and impassioned scorn wield it to chastise the hypocritical
and the arrogant, as his letter to a certain pious lady and his "Ode to
Rae Wilson" bear sufficient witness.

Along with the grotesque and terrible in Hood's writings we also often
observe a wizard-like command over the elements of the desolate, the
weird, the sad, the forlorn, and the dreary. We may trace it in many of
the poems to which we have already alluded. But it appears with all its
lonely gloom of power in "The Haunted House." This poem is surely the
work of a fancy that must have often gone into the desert of the soul
to meditate, and that must have made itself acquainted with all that is
dismal in imagery and feeling. Pictures, in succession or combination,
it would be impossible to conceive, which more dolefully impress the
mind with a sense of doom, dread, and mystery; yet every picture is in
itself natural, and, while each adds to the intensity of the impression,
each is in itself complete.

Now, having gone over some of the most noticeable qualities in the
writings of Hood, we come to the crowning quality of his genius,
the _simply pathetic_. We could, if space remained, adduce many
psychological and other reasons why we apply this phrase to the pathos
of Hood. One reason is, that Hood's pathos involves none of the
complications of higher passion, nor any of the pomp which belongs, in
mood, situation, or utterance, to the loftier phases of human suffering.
The sorrow of those who most attracted his sympathy was not theatrical
or imposing. It has been well said of him, that his "bias was towards
all that was poor and unregarded." And thus, while those who painfully
moved the charity and compassion of his genius were considered by him
the victims of artificial civilization, his own feeling for them was
natural and instinctive; yet never did natural and instinctive feeling
receive expression more artistic, but with that admirable art in which
elaboration attains the utmost perfection of simplicity. It excites
our wonder to observe how in pathos Hood's genius divests itself of
attributes which had seemed essential to its existence. All that is
grotesque, whimsical, or odd disappears, and we have only the soul of
pity in the sound of song,--in song "most musical, most melancholy." In
pathos, Hood's is not what we should call a transformed genius so much
as a genius becoming divested of its coarser life, and then breathing
purely the inner spirit of goodness and beauty. The result is what one
might almost term the "absolute" in pathos. Nothing is excluded that is
necessary to impression; nothing is admitted that could vulgarize or
weaken it. We have thus pathos at once practical and poetic,--pathos at
once the most affecting and the most ideal,--coming from a heart rich
with all human charities, and gaining worthy and immortal form by means
of a subtile, deep, cultivated imagination. The pathetic, therefore, no
less than the comic, in Hood's writings has all the author's peculiar
originality, but has it in a higher order. Pathos was the product of
the author's mind when it was most matured by experience, and
when suffering, without impairing its strength, had refined its
characteristic benevolence to the utmost tenderness.

Hood's pathos culminates in "The Song of the Shirt," "The Lay of the
Laborer," and "The Bridge of Sighs."

These are marvellous lyrics. In spirit and in form they are singular
and remarkable. We cannot think of any poems which more show the mystic
enchantment of genius. How else was a ragged sempstress in a squalid
garret made immortal, nay, made universal, made to stand for an entire
sisterhood of wretchedness? Here is the direst poverty, blear-eyed
sorrow, dim and dismal suffering,--nothing of the romantic. A stern
picture it is, which even the softer touches render sterner; still there
is nought in it that revolts or shocks; it is deeply poetic, calls into
passionate action the feelings of reverence and pity, and has all the
dignity of tragedy. Even more wonderful is the transformation that a
rustic hind undergoes in "The Lay of the Laborer," in which a peasant
out of work personifies, with eloquent impressiveness, the claims and
calamities of toiling manhood. But an element of the sublime is added in
"The Bridge of Sighs." In that we have the truly tragic; for we have in
it the union of guilt, grief, despair, and death. An angel from heaven,
we think, could not sing a more gentle dirge, or one more pure; yet
the ordinary associations suggested by the corpse of the poor, ruined,
self-murdered girl are such as to the prudish and fastidious would not
allow her to be mentioned, much less bring her into song. But in the
pity almost divine with which Hood sings her fate there is not only a
spotless delicacy, there is also a morality as elevated as the heavenly
mercy which the lyrist breathes. The pure can afford to be pitiful; and
the life of Hood was so exemplary, that he had no fear to hinder him
from being charitable. The cowardice of conscience is one of the saddest
penalties of sin; and to avert suspicion from one's self by severity to
others is, indeed, the most miserable expediency of self-condemnation.
The temper of charity and compassion seems natural to men of letters and
of art. They are emotional and sensitive, and by the necessity of their
vocation have to hold much communion with the inmost consciousness of
our nature; they thus learn the weakness of man, and the allowances that
he needs; they are conversant with a broad and diversified humanity, and
thence they are seldom narrow, intolerant, or self-righteous; feeling,
too, their full share of moral and mortal imperfection, they refuse
to be inquisitors of the unfortunate, but rather choose to be their
advocates and helpers. No man ever had more of this temper than Hood;
and out of it came these immortal lyrics upon which we have been
commenting. For such a temper the writing of these lyrics was exceeding
great reward; not only because they made the author an everlasting
benefactor to the poor, but also because they became an interpretation
of his own deeper genius, and revealed a nobler meaning in his works
than had ever before been discerned. Hence-forth, he was more thought of
as a profound poet than as the greatest of mimes, jesters, and punsters.
The lyrics of the poor saved him from imminent injustice.--All that we
have further to say of these lyrics is to express our admiration as to
the classical finish of their diction, and as to the wild, sweet, and
strange music in their sadly sounding measures.

Hood is a writer to whom, in his degree, we may apply the epithet
_Shakspearian_. We do not, indeed, compare him with Shakspeare in bulk
or force of genius, but only in quality and kind. He had, as the great
dramatist, the same disregard of the temporary and discernment of the
essential; the same wonderful wealth of vocabulary, and the same bold
dexterity in the use of it; the same caprices of jestings and conceits;
the same comminglings of mirth and melancholy; the same many-sided
conception of existence; the same embracing catholicity of tastes and
tendencies; the same indifference to sects and factions; the same
freedom from jealousies, asperities, and spites; and in the lower scale
of his genius, he resembled the mighty dramatist in subtile perception
of life and Nature, in his mental and moral independence, and in his
intuitive divinations of abstract truth and individual character.

As a poet of the poor, Crabbe is the only poet with whom he can be
critically compared. The comparison would be a contrast; and in order to
handle it to any purpose, a long essay would be required. Hood wrote
but a few short lyrics on the poor; Crabbe wrote volumes. Crabbe was
_literal_: Hood _ideal_. Crabbe was concrete; Hood was abstract. Crabbe
lived among the rural poor; Hood among the city poor. Crabbe saw the
poor constantly, and went minutely and practically into the interior of
their life; if Hood ever directly saw them at all, it was merely with
casual glimpses, and he must have learned of them only by occasional
report. Crabbe was a man of vigorous constitution, he lived a hardy
life, and he lived it long; Hood was a man of feeble health, he lived a
life of pain, and he closed it early. Crabbe had a hard youth, but
after that a certain and settled competence; Hood's was also a youth of
struggle, but struggle was his destiny to the end. These radical and
circumstantial differences between the men will account for their
different modes in thinking and writing of the poor. But both were men
of genius, of genial humanity, and of singular originality. No one who
reads Crabbe's writings will deny him genius; no one who reads them with
adequate sympathy and attention will deny that his genius is vital with
passion and imagination. Only the latent heat of passion and imagination
could save these seemingly bald and monotonous narratives from being as
dull as a dictionary. But they are not so; they have an interest which
holds the reader with a fixedness of grasp which he cannot loosen.
Crabbe's poetry of the poor is slow and epic; Hood's is rapid
and lyrical. Crabbe's characters are only actual and intensified
individuals; Hood's characters are idealized and representative persons.
Hood gives you only the pathetic or tragical essentials; but, along
with these, Crabbe gives you the complexity and detail of life which
surrounded them. Hood presents you with the picture of a lonely woman at
midnight toiling and starving in the slavery of sewing; but Crabbe would
trace her from her quiet country-home, through the follies which led her
to a London garret. Hood, in his "Lay of the Laborer," makes you listen
to the wail of a strong man imploring leave to toil; Crabbe would find
him drunk in the beer-house or the gin-shop, and then carry you on to
the catastrophe in his ruined home or in his penal death. Hood, in his
"Bridge of Sighs," brings you into the presence of death, and you gaze,
weeping, over the lifeless form of beauty that had once been innocent
and blooming girlhood, but from which the spirit, early soiled and
saddened, took violent flight in its despair; Crabbe would give us the
record of her sins, and connect her end retributively with her
conduct. Much is in Crabbe that is repulsive and austere; but he is,
notwithstanding, an earnest moral teacher and a deep tragic poet. Let
us be content with both Crabbe and Hood: we need to look at the aspect
which each of them gives us of life,--the stern poetry of fact in
Crabbe, and the lyrical poetry of feeling in Hood. Crabbe has dealt with
groups and masses; Hood has immortalized single figures, which, by their
isolation and intensity, take full and forcible possession of the mind,
and can never be driven out from memory.

This is a rather serious conclusion of an article on a comic genius. As
the humorist is for the most part on the play-side of literature, he
should, we are apt to suppose, be entirely on the play-side of life.
He ought to laugh and grow fat,--and he ought to have an easy-chair to
laugh in. Why should he who makes so many joyous not have the largest
mess of gladness to his share? He ought to be a favored Benjamin at the
banquet of existence,--and have, above the most favored of his
brethren, a double portion. He ought, like the wind, to be "a chartered
libertine,"--to blow where he listeth, and have no one to question
whence he cometh or whither he goeth. He ought to be the citizen of a
comfortable world, and he ought to have an ungrudged freedom in it. What
debt is he should not be allowed to learn or to know,--and the idea of
a dun it should not be possible for him even to conceive. Give him good
cheer; enrich the juices of his blood, nourish generously the functions
of his brain; give him delicate viands and rosy wine; give him smiles
and laughter, music and flowers; let him inherit every region of
creation, and be at home in air and water as well as on the earth; at
last, in an Anacreontic bloom of age, let him in a song breathe away his
life. Such is the lot, we believe, that many imagine as the condition
of a humorist; but which the humorist, less than most men, has ever
enjoyed. All great humorists have been men grave at heart, and often
men of more than ordinary trials. None but the superficial can fail to
recognize the severity of Rabelais's genius. The best portion of poor
Molière's manhood was steeped in sorrow. The life of Swift was a hidden
tragedy. The immortal wit of "Hudibras" did not save Butler from the
straits and struggles of narrow means. Cervantes spent much of his time
in a prison, and much of his grandest humor had there its birthplace.
Farquhar died young, and in terrible distress of mind at the desolate
prospect that he saw before his orphan children. How Sheridan died is
familiar to us all. The very conditions of temperament which gave Sterne
genius gave him also torment. Fielding and Smollett battled all their
lives with adversity; and Goldsmith died in his prime, embittered in
his last hours by distress and debt. Banim, the great Irish novelist,
withered early out of life upon a government pittance of a pension;
Griffin gave up literature, became a monk, and found in youth a grave;
Carleton, one of the most gifted humorists that ever painted the
many-colored pictures of Irish character, is now struggling against the
pressure of a small income in his advancing years. Not to carry this
melancholy list farther,--which might be indefinitely prolonged,--we
close it with the name of Thomas Hood.

But not by contest with realities of life alone have humorists been
saved from temptations to any dangerous levity; great humorists, as we
have said, have generally been earnest men, very grave at heart, and
much that they have written has been tragedy in the guise of irony. All
readers cannot find this out. They cannot see the grief of life beneath
its grin; they cannot detect the scorn or the pity that is hidden in
joke or banter; neither can they always find out the joke or banter that
is covered by a solemn face; and many a sincere believer has been deemed
an atheist because he burlesqued hypocrites with their own gravity.
Numbers judge only by the outside, and never reach the spirit of
writing or of man. They laugh at the contortions of grimace, but of the
mysteries of mind or the pains of heart which underlie the contortions
they know nothing. They snatch their rapid pleasure, and leave unvalued
the worth of him who gives it; they care not for the cost of genius
or labor at which it has been procured; and when they have had their
transient indulgence, they have had all they sought and all that they
could enjoy.

The relation of many to the humorist is illustrated by that of the
doctor, on a certain occasion, to Liston, the celebrated comedian.
Liston was subject to constitutional melancholy, and in a severe attack
of it he consulted a famous physician.

"Go and see Liston," said the doctor.

"I am Liston," said the actor.

And thus the inner soul of a great humorist is often as unrecognized
by those who read him as was the natural personality of Liston by the
doctor.



FAYAL AND THE PORTUGUESE.


Every man when he first crosses the ocean is a Columbus to himself, no
matter how many voyages by other navigators he may have heard described
or read recorded. Geographies convince only the brain, not the senses,
that the globe is round; and when personal experience exhibits the fact,
it is as wonderful as if never before suggested. You have dwelt for
weeks within one unbroken loneliness of sea and sky, with nothing that
seemed solid in the universe but the bit of painted wood on which you
have floated. Suddenly one morning something looms high and cloudlike
far away, and you are told that it is land. Then you feel, with all
ignorant races, as if the ship were a god, thus to find its way over
that trackless waste, or as if this must be some great and unprecedented
success, and in no way the expected or usual result of such enterprises.
A sea-captain of twenty-five years' experience told me that this
sensation never wore off, and that he still felt as fresh a sense of
something extraordinary, on making land, as upon his first voyage. To
discover for one's self that there is really another side to the ocean,
--that is the astonishing thing. And when it happens, as in our case,
that the haven thus gained is not merely a part of a great continent
which the stupidest ship could not miss, if it only sailed far enough,
but is actually a small volcanic island, a mere dot among those wild
waves, a thing which one might easily have passed in the night,
unsuspecting, and which yet was not so passed,--it really seems like the
maddest piece of good-luck, as if one should go to sea in a bowl, hoping
somewhere or other to land on the edge of a tea-cup.

As next day we stumbled on deck in the foggy dawn, the dim island five
miles off seemed only dawning too, a shapeless thing, half-formed out of
chaos, as if the leagues of gray ocean had grown weary of their eternal
loneliness, and bungled into something like land at last. The phrase
"_making_ land" at once became the simple and necessary expression; we
had come upon the very process itself. Nearer still, the cliffs five
hundred feet in height, and the bare conical hills of the interior,
divided everywhere by cane-hedges into a regular checker-work of
cultivation, prolonged the mystery; and the glimpses of white villages
scarcely seemed to break the spell. Point after point we passed,--great
shoulders of volcanic mountain thrust out to meet the sea, with steep
green ravines furrowed in between them; and when at last we rounded the
Espalamarca, and the white walls and the Moorish towers of Horta stood
revealed before us, and a stray sunbeam pierced the clouds on the great
mountain Pico across the bay, and the Spanish steamship in the harbor
flung out her gorgeous ensign of gold and blood--then, indeed, we felt
that all the glowing cup of the tropics was proffered to our lips, and
the dream of our voyage stood fulfilled.

Not one of our immediate party, most happily, had ever been beyond
Boston Harbor before, and so we all plunged without fear or apology into
the delicious sense of foreignness; we moved as those in dreams. No one
could ever precisely remember what we said or what we did, only that we
were somehow boated ashore till we landed with difficulty amid high surf
on a wave-worn quay, amid an enthusiastic throng of women in dark-blue
hooded cloaks which we all took for priestly vestments, and of beggars
in a combination of patches which no sane person could reasonably take
for vestments of any sort, until one saw how scrupulously they were
washed and how carefully put together.

The one overwhelming fact of the first day abroad is the simple
sensation that one _is_ abroad: a truth that can never be made anything
but commonplace in the telling, or anything but wonderful in the
fulfilling. What Emerson says of the landscape is true here: no
particular foreign country is so remarkable as the necessity of being
remarkable under which every foreign country lies. Horace Walpole found
nothing in Europe so astonishing as Calais; and we felt that at every
moment the first edge of novelty was being taken off for life, and that,
if we were to continue our journey round the world, we never could have
that first day's sensations again. Yet because no one can spare time to
describe it at the moment, this first day has never yet been described;
all books of travels begin on the second day; the daguerreotype-machine
is not ready till the expression has begun to fade out. Months had been
spent in questioning our travelled friends, sheets of old correspondence
had been disinterred, sketches studied, Bullar's unsatisfactory book
read, and now we were on the spot, and it seemed as if every line and
letter must have been intended to describe some other place on the
earth, and not this strange, picturesque, Portuguese, Semi-Moorish
Fayal.

One general truth came over us instantly, and it was strange to think
that no one had happened to speak of it before. The essence of the
surprise was this. We had always been left to suppose that in a foreign
country one would immediately begin to look about and observe the
foreign things,--these novel details having of course that groundwork of
ordinary human life, the same all the world over. To our amazement,
we found that it was the groundwork itself that was foreign; we were
shifted off our feet; not the details, but the basis itself was wholly
new and bewildering; and, instead of noting down, like intelligent
travellers, the objects which were new, we found ourselves stupidly
staring about to find something which was old,--a square inch of surface
anywhere which looked like anything ever seen before,--that we might
take our departure from that, and then begin to improve our minds.
Perhaps this is difficult for the first hours in any foreign country;
certainly the untravelled American finds it utterly impossible in Fayal.
Consider the incongruities. The beach beneath your feet, instead of
being white or yellow, is black; the cliffs beside you are white or
red, instead of black or gray. The houses are of white plaster on the
outside, with wood-work, often painted in gay stripes, within. There are
no chimneys to the buildings, but sometimes there is a building to the
chimney; the latter being a picturesque tower with smoke coming from
the top and a house appended to the base. One half the women go about
bareheaded, save a handkerchief, and with a good deal of bareness at the
other extremity,--while the other half wear hoops on their heads in the
form of vast conical hoods attached to voluminous cloth cloaks which
sweep the ground. The men cover their heads with all sorts of burdens,
and their feet with nothing, or else with raw-hide slippers, hair
outside. There is no roar or rumble in the streets, for there are
no vehicles and no horses, but an endless stream of little donkeys,
clicking the rough pavement beneath their sharp hoofs, and thumped
solidly by screaming drivers. Who wears the new shoes on the island does
not appear; but the hens limp about the houses, tethered to the old
ones.

Further inspection reveals new marvels. The houses are roofed with red
and black tiles, semi-cylindrical in shape and rusty in surface, and
making the whole town look as if incrusted with barnacles. There is
never a pane of glass on the lower story, even for the shops, but only
barred windows and solid doors. Every house has a paved court-yard for
the ground-floor, into which donkeys may be driven and where beggars or
peasants may wait, and where one naturally expects to find Gil Blas in
one corner and Sancho Panza in another. An English lady, on arriving,
declared that our hotel was only a donkey-stable, and refused to enter
it. In the intervals between the houses the streets are lined with solid
stone walls from ten to twenty feet high, protecting the gardens behind;
and there is another stone wall inclosing the town on the water side,
as if to keep the people from being spilled out. One must go some miles
into the country before getting beyond these walls, or seeing an inch,
on either side. This would be intolerable, of course, were the country
a level; but, as every rod of ground slopes up or down, it simply seems
like walking through a series of roofless ropewalks or bowling-alleys,
each being tilted up at an angle, so that one sees the landscape through
the top, but never over the sides. Thus, walking or riding, one seldom
sees the immediate foreground, but a changing background of soft
valleys, an endless patchwork of varied green rising to the mountains in
the interior of the island, or sinking to the blue sea, beyond which the
mountain Pico rears its graceful outline across the bay.

From the street below comes up a constant hum of loud voices, often
rising so high that one runs to see the fight commence, and by the time
one has crossed the room it has all subsided and everybody is walking
off in good-humor. Meanwhile the grave little donkeys are constantly
pattering by, sometimes in pairs or in fours with a cask slung between;
and mingled with these, in the middle of the street, there is an endless
stream of picturesque figures, everybody bearing something on the
head,--girls, with high water-jars, each with a green bough thrust in,
to keep the water sweet,--boys, with baskets of fruit and vegetables,
--men, with boxes, bales, bags, or trunks for the custom-house, or an
enormous fagot of small sticks for firewood, or a long pole hung with
wooden jars of milk, or with live chickens, head downward, or perhaps
a basket of red and blue and golden fishes, fresh from the ocean and
glistening in the sun. The strength of their necks seems wonderful, as
does also their power of balancing. On a rainy day I have seen a tall
man walk gravely along the middle of the street through the whole length
of the town, bearing a large empty cask balanced upon his head, over
which he held an umbrella.

Perhaps it is a procession-day, and all the saints of some church are
taken out for an airing. They are figures composed of wood and wax,
life-size, and in full costume, each having a complete separate
wardrobe, but more tawdry and shabby, let us hope, than the originals
ever indulged in. Here are Saint Francis and Saint Isabella, Saint Peter
with a monk kneeling before him, and Saint Margaret with her dog, and
the sceptred and ermined Saint Louis, and then Joseph and Mary sitting
amicably upon the same platform, with an additional force of bearers
to sustain them. For this is the procession of the _Bem-casados_ or
Well-married, in honor of the parents of Jesus. Then there are lofty
crucifixes and waving flags; and when the great banner, bearing simply
the letters S.P.Q.R., comes flapping round the windy corner, one starts
in wonder at the permanent might of that vast superstition which has
grasped the very central symbol of ancient empire, and brought it down,
like a boulder on a glacier, into modern days. It makes all Christianity
seem but a vast palimpsest, since the letters which once meant "_Senatus
Populusque Romanus_" stand now only for the feebler modern formula,
"_Salve populum quem redemisti_."

All these shabby splendors are interspersed among the rank and file of
two hundred, or thereabouts, lay brethren of different orders, ranging
in years from six to sixty. The Carmelites wear a sort of white
bathing-dress, and the Brotherhood of Saint Francis are clothed in long
brown robes, girded with coarse rope. The very old and the very young
look rather picturesque in these disguises,--the latter especially,
urchins with almost baby-faces, toddling along with lighted candle in
hand; and one often feels astonished to recognize some familiar porter
or shopkeeper in this ecclesiastical dress, as when discovering a
pacific next-door neighbor beneath the bear-skin of an American military
officer. A fit suggestion; for next follows a detachment of Portuguese
troops-of-the-line,--twenty shambling men in short jackets, with hair
shaved close, looking most like children's wooden monkeys, by no means
live enough for the real ones. They straggle along, scarcely less
irregular in aspect than the main body of the procession; they march
to the tap of the drum. I never saw a Fourth-of-July procession in the
remotest of our rural districts which was not beautiful, compared to
this forlorn display; but the popular homage is duly given, the bells
jangle incessantly, and, as the procession passes, all men uncover their
heads or have their hats knocked off by official authority.

Still watching from our hotel-window, turn now from the sham
picturesqueness of the Church to the real and unconscious
picturesqueness of every day. It is the orange-season, and beneath us
streams an endless procession of men, women, and children, each bearing
on the head a great graceful basket of yellow treasures. Opposite our
window there is a wall by which they rest themselves, after their
three-mile walk from the gardens. There they lounge and there they
chatter. Little boys come slyly to pilfer oranges, and are pelted away
with other oranges; for a single orange has here no more appreciable
value than a single apple in our farmers' orchards; and, indeed,
windfall oranges are left to decay, like windfall apples. During
this season one sees oranges everywhere, even displayed as a sort of
thank-offering on the humble altars of country-churches; the children's
lips and cheeks assume a chronic yellowness; and the narrow side-walks
are strewn with bits of peel, punched through and through by the boys'
pop-guns, as our boys punch slices of potato.

All this procession files down, the whole day long, to the orange-yards
by the quay. There one finds another merry group, or a series of groups,
receiving and sorting the fragrant loads, papering, packing, boxing. In
the gardens there seems no end to the varieties of the golden fruit,
although only one or two are here being packed. There are shaddocks,
_zamboas,_ limes, sour lemons, sweet lemons, oranges proper, and
_Tangerinas_; these last being delicate, perfumed, thin-skinned,
miniature-fruit from the land of the Moors. One may begin to eat oranges
at Fayal in November; but no discriminating person eats a whole orange
before March,--a few slices from the sunny side, and the rest is thrown
upon the ground. One learns to reverse the ordinary principles of
selection also, and choose the smaller and darker before the large and
yellow: the very finest in appearance being thrown aside by the packers
as worthless. Of these packers the Messrs. Dabney employ two hundred,
and five hundred beside in the transportation. One knows at a glance
whether the cargo is destined for America or England: the English boxes
having the thin wooden top bent into a sort of dome, almost doubling the
solid contents of the box. This is to evade the duty, the custom-house
measurement being taken only at the corners. It also enables the London
dealers to remove some two hundred oranges from every box, and still
send it into the country as full.--When one thinks what a knowing race
we came from, it is really wonderful where we Yankees picked up our
honesty.

Let us take one more glance from the window; for there is a mighty
jingling and rattling, the children are all running to see something,
and the carriage is approaching. "The carriage": it is said advisedly;
for there is but one street on the island passable to such an equipage,
and but one such equipage to enjoy its privileges,--only one, that is,
drawn by horses, and presentable in Broadway. There are three other
vehicles, each the object of envy and admiration, but each drawn by oxen
only. There is the Baroness, the only lady of title, who sports a sort
of butcher's cart, with a white top; within lies a mattress, and on the
mattress recline her ladyship and her daughter, as the cart rumbles and
stumbles over the stones;--nor they alone, for, on emerging from an
evening party, I have seen the oxen of the Baroness, unharnessed,
quietly munching their hay at the foot of the stairs, while a pair of
bare feet emerging from one end of the vehicle, and a hearty snore from
the other, showed the mattress to be found a convenience by some one
beside the nobility. Secondly, there is a stout gentleman near the
Hotel, reputed to possess eleven daughters, and known to possess a
pea-green omnibus mounted on an ox-cart; the windows are all closed with
blinds, and the number of young ladies may be an approximation only.
And, lastly, there sometimes rolls slowly by an expensive English
curricle, lately imported; the springs are somehow deranged, so that it
hangs entirely on one side; three ladies ride within, and the proprietor
sits on the box, surveying in calm delight his two red oxen with their
sky-blue yoke, and the tall peasant who drives them with a goad.

After a few days of gazing at objects like these, one is ready to recur
to the maps, and become statistical. It would be needless to say (but
that we all know far less of geography than we are supposed to know)
that the Azores are about two-thirds of the way across the Atlantic, and
about the latitude of Philadelphia; sharing, however, in the greater
warmth of the European coast, and slightly affected, also, by the Gulf
Stream. The islands are supposed to have been known to the Phoenicians,
and Humboldt holds out a flattering possibility of Phoenician traces yet
discoverable. This lent additional interest to a mysterious inscription
which we hunted up in a church built in the time of Philip II., at the
north end of the island; we had the satisfaction of sending a copy of it
to Humboldt, though it turned out to be only a Latin inscription clothed
in uncouth Greek characters, such as have long passed for Runic in the
Belgian churches and elsewhere. The Phoenician traces yet remain to be
discovered; so does a statue fabled to exist on the shore of one of the
smaller islands, where Columbus landed in some of his earlier voyages,
and, pacing the beach, looked eagerly towards the western sea: the
statue is supposed still to portray him. In the fifteenth century, at
any rate, the islands were re-discovered. They have always since then
been under Portuguese control, including in that phrase the period when
Philip II. united that crown with his own; and they are ruled now
by Portuguese military and civil governors, with the aid of local
legislatures.

Fayal stands, with Pico and San Jorge, rather isolated from the rest of
the group, and out of their sight. It is the largest and most populous
of the islands, except St. Michael and Terceira; it has the best harbor
and by far the most of American commerce, St. Michael taking most of the
English. Whalers put into Fayal for fresh vegetables and supplies, and
to transship their oil; while distressed vessels often seek the harbor
to repair damages. The island is twenty-five miles long, and shaped like
a turtle; the cliffs along the sea range from five hundred to a thousand
feet in height, and the mountainous interior rises to three thousand.
The sea is far more restless than upon our coast, the surf habitually
higher; and there is such a depth of water in many places around the
shore, that, on one occasion, a whale-ship, drawn too near by the
current, broke her mainyard against the cliff, without grazing her keel.

The population numbers about twenty-five thousand, one-half of these
being found in the city of Horta, and the rest scattered in some forty
little hamlets lying at irregular distances along the shores. There are
very few English or French residents, and no Americans but the different
branches of the Consul's family,--a race whose reputation for all
generous virtues has spread too widely to leave any impropriety in
mentioning them here. Their energy and character have made themselves
felt in every part of the island; and in the villages farthest from
their charming home, one has simply to speak of _a familia_, "the
family," and the introduction is sufficient. Almost every good
institution or enterprise on the island is the creation of Mr. Dabney.
He transacts without charge the trade in vegetables between the peasants
and the whale-ships, guarantying the price to the producers, giving them
the profits, if any, and taking the risk himself; and the only provision
for pauperism is found in his charities. Every Saturday, rain or shine,
there flocks together from all parts of the island a singular collection
of aged people, lame, halt, and blind, who receive, to the number of two
hundred, a weekly donation of ten cents each, making a thousand dollars
annually, which constitutes but a small part of the benefactions of this
remarkable man, the true father of the island, with twenty-five thousand
grown children to take care of.

Ten cents a week may not seem worth a whole day's journey on foot, but
by the Fayal standard it is amply worth it. The usual rate of wages for
an able-bodied man is sixteen cents a day; and an acquaintance of ours,
who had just got a job on the roads at thirty cents a day, declined a
good opportunity to emigrate to America, on the ground that it was best
to "let well alone." Yet the price of provisions is by no means very
low, and the difference is chiefly in abstinence. But fuel and clothing
cost little, since little is needed,--except that no woman thinks
herself really respectable until she has her great blue cloak, which
requires an outlay of from fifteen to thirty dollars, though the whole
remaining wardrobe may not be worth half that. The poorer classes pay
about a dollar a month in rent; they eat fish several times a week
and meat twice or thrice a year, living chiefly upon the coarsest
corn-bread, with yams and beans. Still they contrive to have their
luxuries. A soldier's wife, an elderly woman, said to me pathetically,
"We have six _vintems_ (twelve cents) a day,--my husband smokes and I
take snuff,--and how _are_ we to buy shoes and stockings?" But the most
extreme case of economy which I discovered was that of a poor old woman,
unable to tell her own age, who boarded with a poor family for four
_patacos_ (twenty cents) a month, or five cents a week. She had, she
said, a little place in the chimney to sleep in, and when they had too
large a fire, she went out of doors. Such being the standard of ordinary
living, one can compute the terrors of the famine which has since
occurred in Fayal, and which has only been relieved through the
contributions levied in this country, and the energy of Mr. Dabney.

Steeped in this utter poverty,--dwelling in low, dark, smoky huts, with
earthen floors,--it is yet wonderful to see how these people preserve
not merely the decencies, but even the amenities of life. Their clothes
are a chaos of patches, but one sees no rags; all their well-worn white
garments are white in the superlative degree; and when their scanty
supply of water is at the scantiest, every bare foot on the island is
sure to be washed in warm water at night. Certainly there are fleas
and there are filthinesses in some directions; and yet it is amazing,
especially for one accustomed to the Irish, to see an extreme of poverty
so much greater, with such an utter absence of squalidness. But when all
this is said and done, the position of the people of Fayal is an abject
one, that is, it is a _European_ position; it teaches more of history
in a day to an untravelled American than all his studies had told
him besides,--and he returns home ready to acquiesce in a thousand
dissatisfactions, in view of that most wondrous of all recorded social
changes, the transformation of the European peasant into the American
citizen.

Fayal is not an expensive place. One pays six dollars a week at an
excellent hotel, and there is nothing else to spend money on, except
beggars and donkeys. For a shilling an hour one can go to ride, or, as
the Portuguese phrase perhaps circuitously expresses it, go to walk
on horseback on a donkey,--_dar um passeio a cavallo n'um burro_. The
beggars, indeed, are numerous; but one's expenditures are always happily
limited by the great scarcity of small change. A half-cent, however,
will buy you blessings enough for a lifetime, and you can find an
investment in almost any direction. You visit some church or cemetery;
you ask a question or two of a lounger in a black cloak, with an air
like an exiled Stuart, and, as you part, he detains you, saying, "Sir,
will you give me some little thing, (_alguma cousinha_,)--I am so poor?"
Overwhelmed with a sense of personal humility, you pull out three
half-cents and present them with a touch of your hat, he receives them
with the same, and you go home with a feeling that a distinguished honor
has been done you. The Spaniards say that the Portuguese are "mean even
in their begging": they certainly make their benefactors mean; and I can
remember returning home, after a donation of a whole _pataco_, (five
cents,) with a debilitating sense of too profuse philanthropy.

It is inevitable that even the genteel life of Fayal should share this
parsimony. As a general rule, the higher classes on the island, socially
speaking, live on astonishingly narrow means. How they do it is a
mystery; but families of eight contrive to spend only three or four
hundred dollars a year, and yet keep several servants, and always appear
rather stylishly dressed. The low rate of wages (two dollars a month at
the very highest) makes servants a cheap form of elegance. I was told of
a family employing two domestics upon an income of a hundred and twenty
dollars. Persons come to beg, sometimes, and bring a servant to carry
home what is given. I never saw a mechanic carry his tools; if it be
only a hammer, the hired boy must come to fetch it.

Fortunately, there is not much to transport, the mechanic arts being in
a very rudimentary condition. For instance, there are no saw-horses nor
hand-saws, the smallest saw used being a miniature wood-saw, with the
steel set at an angle, in a peculiar manner. It takes three men to saw a
plank: one to hold the plank, another to saw, and a third to carry away
the pieces.

Farming-tools have the same simplicity. It is one odd result of the
universal bare feet that they never will use spades; everything is done
with a hoe, most skilfully wielded. There are no wheelbarrows, but
baskets are the universal substitutes. The plough is made entirely of
wood, only pointed with iron, and is borne to and from the field on
the shoulder. The carts are picturesque, but clumsy; they are made of
wicker-work, and the iron-shod wheels are solidly attached to the axle,
so that all revolves together, amid fearful creaking. The people could
not be induced to use a cart with movable wheels which was imported from
America, nor will they even grease their axles, because the noise is
held to drive away witches. Some other arts are a little more advanced,
as any visitor to Mr. Harper's pleasant Fayal shop in Boston may
discover. They make homespun cloth upon a simple loom, and out of their
smoky huts come beautiful embroideries and stockings whose fineness is
almost unequalled. Their baskets are strong and graceful, and I have
seen men sitting in village doorways, weaving the beautiful broom-plant,
yellow flowers and all, until basket and bouquet seemed one.

The greater part of the surface of the island is cultivated like a
kitchen-garden, even up to the top of volcanic cones eight hundred feet
high, and accessible only by steps cut in the earth. All the land
is divided into little rectangular patches of various verdure,
--yellow-blossomed broom, blue-flowering flax, and the contrasting
green of lupines, beans, Indian corn, and potatoes. There is
not a spire of genuine grass on the island, except on the Consul's lawn,
but wilds covered with red heather, low _faya_-bushes, (whence the name
of the island,) and a great variety of mosses. The cattle are fed on
beans and lupines. Firewood is obtained from the opposite island of
Pico, five miles off, and from the _Caldeira_ or Crater, a pit five
miles round and fifteen hundred feet deep, at the summit of Fayal,
whence great fagots are brought upon the heads of men and girls. It is
an oversight in the "New American Cyclopaedia" to say of Fayal that "the
chief object of agriculture is the vine," because there are not a half
dozen vineyards on the island, the soil being unsuitable; but there
are extensive vineyards on Pico, and these are owned almost wholly by
proprietors resident in Fayal.

There is a succession of crops of vegetables throughout the year; peas
are green in January, which is, indeed, said to be the most verdant
month of the twelve, the fields in summer becoming parched and yellow.
The mercury usually ranges from 50° to 80°, winter and summer; but we
were there during an unusually cool season, and it went down to 45°.
This was regarded as very severe by the thinly clad Fayalese, and I
sometimes went into cottages and found the children lying in bed to keep
warm. Yet roses, geraniums, and callas bloomed out of doors all the
time, and great trees of red camellia, which they cut as we cut roses.
Superb scarlet banana-flowers decked our Christmas-Tree. Deciduous trees
lose their leaves in winter there, however, and exotic plants retain the
habits they brought with them, with one singular exception. The _Morus
multicaulis_ was imported, and the silk-manufacture with it; suddenly
the trees seemed to grow bewildered, they put forth earlier and earlier
in the spring, until they got back to January; the leaves at last fell
so early that the worms died before spinning cocoons, and the whole
enterprise was in a few years abandoned because of this vegetable
insanity.

In spite of the absence of snow and presence of verdure, this falling of
the leaves gives some hint of winter; yet blackbirds and canaries sing
without ceasing. The latter are a variety possessing rather inferior
charms, compared with the domestic species; but they have a pretty habit
of flying away to Pico every night: it was pleasant to sit at sunset
on the high cliffs at the end of the island and watch the little brown
creatures, like fragments of the rock itself, whirled away over the
foaming ocean. The orange-orchards were rather a disappointment; they
suggested quince-trees with more shining leaves; and, indeed, there was
a hard, glossy, coriaceous look to the vegetation generally, which made
us sometimes long for the soft, tender green of more temperate zones.
The novel beauty of the Dabney gardens can scarcely be exaggerated;
each step was a new incursion into the tropics,--a palm, a magnolia, a
camphor-tree, a dragon-tree, suggesting Humboldt and Orotava, a clump
of bamboos or cork-trees, or the startling strangeness of the great
grass-like banana, itself a jungle. There are hedges of pittosporum,
arbors veiled by passion-flowers, and two of that most beautiful of all
living trees, the _araucaria_, or Norfolk Island pine,--one specimen
being some eighty feet high, and said to be the tallest north of the
equator. And when over all this luxuriant exotic beauty the soft clouds
furled away and the sun showed us Pico, we had no more to ask, and the
soft, beautiful blue cone became an altar for our gratitude, and the
thin mist of hot volcanic air that flickered above it seemed the rising
incense of the world.

In the midst of all these charming surprises, we found it hard to begin
at once upon the study of the language, although the prospect of a
six-months' stay made it desirable. We were pleased to experience
the odd, stupid sensation of having people talk loud to us as being
foreigners, and of seeing even the little children so much more at their
ease than we were. And every step beyond this was a new enjoyment. We
found the requisites for learning a language on its own soil to be
a firm will, a quick ear, flexible lips, and a great deal of cool
audacity. Plunge boldly in, expecting to make countless blunders; find
out the shops where they speak English, and don't go there; make your
first bargains at twenty-five per cent. disadvantage, and charge it as
a lesson in the language; expect to be laughed at, and laugh yourself,
because you win. The daily labor is its own reward. If it is a pleasure
to look through a telescope in an observatory, gradually increasing its
powers until a dim nebula is resolved into a whole galaxy of separate
stars, how much more when the nebula is one of language around you, and
the telescope is your own more educated ear!

We discovered further, what no one had ever told us, that the ability to
speak French, however poorly, is rather a drawback in learning any less
universal language, because the best company in any nation will usually
have some knowledge of French, and this tempts one to remain on neutral
ground and be lazy. But the best company in Fayal was so much less
interesting than the peasantry, that some of us persevered in studying
the vernacular. To be sure, one finds English spoken by more of the
peasants than of the small aristocracy of the island, so many of the
former have spent some years in American whale-ships, and come back to
settle down with their savings in their native village. In visiting the
smaller hamlets on the island, I usually found that the owners of the
two or three most decent houses had learned to speak English in this
way. But I was amused at the dismay of an American sea-captain who on a
shooting excursion ventured on some free criticisms on the agriculture
of a farm, and was soon answered in excellent English by the proprietor.

"Look at the foolish fellow," quoth the captain, "carrying his plough to
the field on his shoulder!"

"Sir," said the Portuguese, coolly, "I have no other way to take it
there."

The American reserved his fire, thereafter, for bipeds with wings.

These Americanized sailors form a sort of humbler aristocracy in Fayal,
and are apt to pride themselves on their superior knowledge of the
world, though their sober habits have commonly saved them from the
demoralization of a sailor's life. But the untravelled Fayalese
peasantry are a very gentle, affectionate, childlike people, pensive
rather than gay, industrious, but not ingenious, with few amusements and
those the simplest, incapable of great crimes or very heroic virtues,
educated by their religion up to the point of reverent obedience, but no
higher.

Their grace and beauty are like our impressions of the Italian
peasantry, and probably superior to the reality in that case. Among
the young men and boys, especially, one sees the true olive cheeks and
magnificent black eyes of Southern races. The women of Fayal are not
considered remarkable for beauty, but in the villages of Pico one sees
in the doorways of hovels complexions like rose-petals, and faces such
as one attributes to Evangeline, soft, shy, and innocent. But the
figure is the chief wonder, the figure of woman as she was meant to be,
beautiful in superb vigor,--not diseased and tottering, as with us, but
erect and strong and stately; every muscle fresh and alive, from the
crown of the steady head, to the sole of the emancipated foot,--and
yet not heavy and clumsy, as one fancies barefooted women must be, but
inheriting symmetry and grace from the Portuguese or Moorish blood. I
have looked through the crowded halls of Saratoga in vain for one
such figure as I have again and again seen descending those steep
mountain-paths with a bundle of firewood on the head, or ascending them
with a basket of farm-manure. No person who has never left America can
appreciate the sensation of living among healthy women; often as I heard
of this, I was utterly unprepared for the realization; I never lost the
conscious enjoyment of it for a single day; and when I reached home and
walked across Boston Common on a June Sunday, I felt as if I were in a
hospital for consumptives.

This condition of health cannot be attributed to any mere advantage of
climate. The higher classes of Fayal are feeble and sickly; their diet
is bad, they take no exercise, and suffer the consequences; they have
all the ills to which flesh is heir, including one specially Portuguese
complaint, known by the odd name of _dôr do cotovelo_, elbow-disease,
which corresponds to that known to Anglo-Saxons, by an equally bold
symbol, as the green-eyed monster, Jealousy. So the physical superiority
of the peasantry seems to come solely from their mode of life,--out-door
labor, simple diet, and bare feet. Change these and their health goes;
domestic service in foreign families on the island always makes them
ill, and often destroys their health and bloom forever; and strange
to say, that which most nauseates and deranges their whole physical
condition, in such cases, is the necessity of wearing shoes and
stockings.

The Pico peasants have also the advantage of the Fayalese in
picturesqueness of costume. The men wear homespun blue jackets and blue
or white trousers, with a high woollen cap of red or blue. The women
wear a white waist with a gay kerchief crossed above the bosom, a full
short skirt of blue, red, or white, and a man's jacket of blue, with
tight sleeves. On the head there is the pretty round-topped straw hat
with red and white cord, which is now so extensively imported from
Fayal; and beneath this there is always another kerchief, tied under the
chin, or hanging loosely. The costume is said to vary in every village,
but in the villages opposite Horta this dress is worn by every woman
from grandmother to smallest granddaughter; and when one sails across
the harbor, in the lateen-sail packet-boat, and old and young come forth
on the rocks to see the arrival, it seems like voyaging to some realm of
butterflies.

This out-door life begins very early. As soon as the Fayalese baby is
old enough to sit up alone, he is sent into the nursery. The nursery
is the sunny side of the house-door. A large stone is selected, in a
convenient position, and there the little dusky creature squats, hour
after hour, clad in one garment at most, and looking at the universe
through two black beads of eyes. Often the little dog comes and suns
himself close by, and the little cat beside the dog, and the little pig
beside the cat, and the little hen beside the pig,--a "Happy Family," a
row of little traps to catch sunbeams, all down the lane. When older,
the same child harnesses his little horse and wagon, he being the horse
and a sheep's jawbone the wagon, and trots contentedly along, in almost
the smallest amount of costume accessible to mortals. All this refers
to the genuine, happy, plebeian baby. The genteel baby is probably as
wretched in Fayal as elsewhere, but he is kept more out of sight.

These children are seldom noisy and never rude: the race is not
hilarious, and their politeness is inborn. Not an urchin of three can be
induced to accept a sugar-plum until he has shyly slid off his little
cap, if he has one, and kissed his plump little hand. The society of
princes can hardly surpass the natural courtesy of the peasant, who
insists on climbing the orange-tree to select for you the choicest
fruit. A shopkeeper never can sell you a handful of nuts without
bringing the bundle near to his lips, first, with a graceful wave of
salutation. A lady from Lisbon told us that this politeness surpassed
that of the native Portuguese; and the wife of an English captain, who
had sailed with her husband from port to port for fifteen years, said
that she had never seen anything to equal it. It is not the slavishness
of inferiors, for the poorest exhibit it towards each other. You see
two very old women talking eagerly in the street, each in a cloak whose
every square inch is a patch, and every patch a different shade,--and
each alternate word you hear seems to be _Senhora_. Among laboring men,
the most available medium of courtesy is the little paper cigar; it
contains about four whiffs, and is smoked by about that number of
separate persons.

But to fully appreciate this natural courtesy, one must visit the
humbler Fayalese at home. You enter a low stone hut, thatched and
windowless, and you find the mistress within, a robust, black-eyed,
dark-skinned woman, engaged in grinding corn with a Scriptural handmill.
She bars your way with apologies; you must not enter so poor a house;
you are so beautiful, so perfect, and she is so poor, she has "nothing
but the day and the night," or some equally poetic phrase. But you enter
and talk with her a little, and she readily shows you all her little
possessions,--her chest on the earthen floor, her one chair and stool,
her tallow-candle stuck against the wall, her husk mattress rolled
together, with the precious blue cloak inside of it. Behind a curtain
of coarse straw-work is a sort of small boudoir, holding things more
private, an old barrel with the winter's fuel in it, a few ears of corn
hanging against the wall, a pair of shoes, and a shelf with a large
pasteboard box. The box she opens triumphantly and exhibits her
_santinhos_, or little images of saints. This is San Antonio, and this
is Nossa Senhora do Conceiçao, Our Lady of the Conception. She prays to
them every day for sunshine; but they do not seem to hear, this
winter, and it rains all the time. Then, approaching the climax of her
blessedness, with beaming face she opens a door in the wall, and shows
you her pig.

The courtesy of the higher classes tends to formalism, and has stamped
itself on the language in some very odd ways. The tendency common to all
tongues, towards a disuse of the second person singular, as too blunt
and familiar, is carried so far in Spanish and Portuguese as to disuse
the second person plural also, except in the family circle, and to
substitute the indirect phrases, _vuestra Merced_ (in Spanish) and
_vossa Mercé_ (in Portuguese), both much contracted in speaking and
familiar writing, and both signifying "your Grace." The joke of
invariably applying this epithet to one's valet would seem sufficiently
grotesque in either language, and here the Spanish stops; but Portuguese
propriety has gone so far that even this phrase has become too hackneyed
to be civil. In talking with your equals, it would be held an insult
to call them simply "your Grace"; it must be some phrase still more
courtly,--_vossa Excellencia_, or _vossa Senhoria_.--One may hear an
elderly gentleman talking to a young girl of fourteen, or, better still,
two such damsels talking together, and it is "your Excellency" at every
sentence; and the prescribed address on an envelope is _"Illustrissima
Excellentissima Senhora Dona Maria_." The lower classes have not quite
reached the "Excellency," but have got beyond the "Grace," and hence the
personal pronouns are in a state of colloquial chaos, and the only safe
way is to hold to the third person and repeat the name of Manuel or
Maria, or whatever it may be, as often as possible.

This leads naturally to the mention of another peculiar usage. On
visiting the Fayal post-office, I was amazed to find the letters
arranged alphabetically in the order of the baptismal, not the family
names, of the persons concerned,--as if we should enumerate Adam,
Benjamin, Charles, and so on. But I at once discovered this to be the
universal usage. Merchants, for instance, thus file their business
papers; or rather, since four-fifths of the male baptismal names in the
language fall under the four letters, A, F, J, M, they arrange only five
bundles, giving one respectively to Antonio, Francisco, José or João,
and Manuel, adding a fifth for sundries. This all seemed inexplicable,
till at last there proved to be an historical kernel to the nut. The
Portuguese, and to some extent the Spaniards, have kept nearer to the
primitive usage which made the personal name the important one and the
patronymic quite secondary. John Smith is not known conversationally as
Mr. Smith, but as Mr. John,--Senhor João. One may have an acquaintance
in society named Senhor Francisco, and another named Senhora Dona
Christina, and it may be long before it turns out that they are brother
and sister, the family name being, we will suppose, Garcia da Rosa; and
even then it will be doubtful whether to call them Garcia or da Rosa.
This explains the great multiplication of names in Spain and Portugal.
The first name being the important one, the others may be added,
subtracted, multiplied, or divided, with perfect freedom. A wife may or
may not add her husband's name to her own; the eldest son takes some of
the father's family names, the second son some of the mother's, saints'
names are sprinkled in to suit the taste, and no confusion is produced,
because the first name is the only one in common use. Each may, if he
pleases, carry all his ancestors on his visiting-card, without any
inconvenience except the cost of pasteboard.

Fayal exhibits another point of courtesy to be studied. The gentleman of
our party was early warned that it was very well to learn his way about
the streets, but far more essential to know the way to the brim of his
hat. Every gentleman touches his hat to every lady, acquaintance or
stranger, in street or balcony. So readily does one grow used to this,
that I was astonished, for a moment, at the rudeness of some French
officers, just landed from a frigate, who passed some ladies, friends
of mine, without raising the hat. "Are these," I asked, "the polite
Frenchmen one reads about?"--not reflecting that I myself should not
have ventured on bowing to strange ladies in the same position, without
special instruction in Portuguese courtesies. These little refinements
became, indeed, very agreeable, only alloyed by the spirit of caste in
which they were performed,--elbowing the peasant-woman off the sidewalk
for the sake of doffing the hat to the Baroness. I thought of the
impartial courtesies shown towards woman as woman in my own country, and
the spread eagle within me flapped his pinions. Then I asked myself,
"What if the woman were black?" and the eagle immediately closed his
wings, and flapped no more. But I may add, that afterwards, attending
dances among the peasants, I was surprised to see my graceful swains in
humble life smoking and spitting in the presence of white-robed belles,
in a manner not to be witnessed on our farthest western borders.

The position of woman in Portuguese countries brings one nearer to that
Oriental type from which modern society has been gradually diverging.
Woman is secluded, so far as each family can afford it, which is the key
to the Oriental system. Seclusion is aristocracy, and if it cannot be
made complete, the household must do the best they can. Thus, in the
lowest classes, one daughter is often decreed by the parents to be
brought up like a lady, and for this every sacrifice is to be made. Her
robust sisters go bare-footed to the wells for water, they go miles
unprotected into the lonely mountains; no social ambition, no genteel
helplessness for them. But Mariquinha is taught to read, write, and sew;
she is as carefully looked after as if the world wished to steal her;
she wears shoes and stockings and an embroidered kerchief and a hooded
cloak; and she never steps outside the door alone. You meet her, pale
and demure, plodding along to mass with her mother. The sisters will
marry laborers and fishermen; Mariquinha will marry a small shop-keeper
or the mate of a vessel, or else die single. It is not very pleasant for
the poor girl in the mean time; she is neither healthy nor happy; but
"let us be genteel or die."

On _festa_-days she and her mother draw their hoods so low and their
muffling handkerchiefs so high that the costume is as good as a
_yashmak_, and in passing through the streets these one-eyed women seem
like an importation from the "Arabian Nights." Ladies of higher rank,
also, wear the hooded cloak for disguise and greater freedom, and at a
fashionable wedding in the cathedral I have seen the jewelled fingers of
the uninvited acquaintances gleam from the blue folds of broadcloth. But
very rarely does one see the aristocratic lady in the street in her own
French apparel, and never alone. There must be a male relative, or a
servant, or, at the very least, a female companion. Even the ladies of
the American Consul's family very rarely go out singly,--not from any
fear, for the people are as harmless as birds, but from etiquette. The
first foreign lady who walked habitually alone in the streets was at
once christened "The Crazy American." A lady must not be escorted home
from an evening party by a gentleman, but by a servant with a lantern;
and as the streets have no lamps, I never could see the breaking-up of
any such entertainment without recalling Retzsch's quaint pictures of
the little German towns, and the burghers plodding home with their
lanterns,--unless, perchance, what a foreign friend of ours called a
"sit-down chair" came rattling by, and transferred our associations to
Cranford and Mr. Winkle.

We found or fancied other Orientalisms. A visitor claps his hands at
the head of the court-yard stairs, to summon an attendant. The solid
chimneys, with windows in them, are precisely those described by
Urquhart in his delightful "Pillars of Hercules"; so are the gardens,
divided into clean separate cells by tall hedges of cane; so is the game
of ball played by the boys in the street, under the self-same Moorish
name of _arri_; so is the mode of making butter, by tying up the
cream in a goat-skin and kicking it till the butter comes. Even the
architecture fused into one all our notions of Gothic and of Moorish,
and gave great plausibility to Urquhart's ingenious argument for
the latter as the true original. And it is a singular fact that the
Mohammedan phrase _Oxald_, "Would to Allah," is still the most familiar
ejaculation in the Portuguese language and the habitual equivalent in
their religious books for "Would to God."

We were treated with great courtesy and hospitality by our Portuguese
neighbors, and an evening party in Fayal is in some respects worth
describing. As one enters, the anteroom is crowded with gentlemen, and
the chief reception-room seems like a large omnibus, lighted, dressed
with flowers, and having a row of ladies on each side. The personal
beauty is perhaps less than one expects, though one sees some superb
dark eyes and blue-black hair; they dress with a view to the latest
French fashions, and sometimes rather a distant view. At last a lady
takes her seat at the piano, then comes an eager rush of gentlemen into
the room, and partners are taken for cotillons,--large, double, _very_
double cotillons, here called _contradanças_. The gentlemen appear in
scrupulous black broadcloth and satin and white kid; in summer alone
they are permitted to wear white trousers to parties; and we heard of
one anxious youth who, about the turn of the season, wore the black and
carried the white in his pocket, peeping through the door, on arrival,
to see which had the majority. It seemed a pity to waste such gifts of
discretion on a monarchical country, when he might have emigrated to
America and applied them to politics.

The company perform their dancing with the accustomed air of civilized
festivity, "as if they were hired to do it, and were doubtful about
being paid." Changes of figure are announced by a clapping of hands from
one of the gentlemen, and a chorus of such applauses marks the end of
the dance. Then they promenade slowly round the room, once or twice, in
pairs; then the ladies take their seats, and instantly each gentleman
walks hurriedly into the anteroom, and for ten minutes there is as
absolute a separation of the sexes as in a Friends' Meeting. Nobody
approves of this arrangement, in the abstract; it is all very well, they
think, for gentlemen, if foreigners, to remain in the room, but it is
not the Portuguese custom. Yet, with this exception, the manners are
agreeably simple. Your admission to the house guaranties you as a proper
acquaintance, there are no introductions, and you may address any one in
any language you can coin into a sentence. Many speak French, and two or
three English,--sometimes with an odd mingling of dialects, as when the
Military Governor answered my inquiry, made in timid Portuguese, as to
how long he had served in the army. _"Vinte-cinco annos,"_ he answered,
in the same language; then, with an effort after an unexceptionable
translation, "Vat you call, Twenty-cinq year"!

The great obstacle to the dialogue soon becomes, however, a deficit of
subjects rather than of words. Most of these ladies never go out except
to mass and to parties, they never read, and if one of them has some
knowledge of geography, it is quite an extended education; so that, when
you have asked them if they have ever been to St. Michael, and they have
answered, Yes,--or to Lisbon, and they have answered, No,--then social
intercourse rather flags. I gladly record, however, that there were some
remarkable exceptions to this, and that we found in the family of
the late eminent Portuguese statesman, Mousinho d'Albuquerque,
accomplishments and knowledge which made their acquaintance an honor.

During the intervals of the dancing, little trays of tea and of cakes
are repeatedly carried round,--astonishing cakes, in every gradation of
insipidity, with the oddest names: white poison, nuns' kisses, angels'
crops, cats' tails, heavenly bacon, royal eggs, coruscations, cocked
hats, and _esquecidos_, or oblivion cakes, the butter being omitted. It
seems an unexpected symbol of the plaintive melancholy of the Portuguese
character that the small confections which we call kisses they call
sighs, _suspiros_. As night advances, the cakes grow sweeter and the
dances livelier, and the pretty national dances are at last introduced;
though these are never seen to such advantage as when the peasants
perform them on a Saturday or Sunday evening to the monotonous strain of
a viola, the musician himself taking part in the complicated dance, and
all the men chanting the refrain. Nevertheless they add to the gayety of
our genteel entertainment, and you may stay at the party as long as you
have patience,--if till four in the morning, so much the better for your
popularity; for, though the gathering consist of but thirty people, they
like to make the most of it.

Perhaps the next day one of these new friends kindly sends in a present
for the ladies of the party: a bouquet of natural flowers with the
petals carefully gilded; a _folar_ or Easter cake, being a large loaf of
sweetened bread, baked in a ring, and having whole eggs, shell and all,
in the midst of it. One lady of our acquaintance received a pretty
basket, which being opened revealed two little Portuguese pigs, about
eight inches long, snow-white, wearing blue ribbons round their necks
and scented with cologne.

Beyond these occasional parties, there seems very little society during
the winter, the native ladies seldom either walking or riding, and there
being no places of secular amusement. In summer, it is said, when the
principal families resort to their vineyards at Pico, formalities are
laid aside, and a simpler intercourse takes place. But I never saw any
existence more thoroughly pitiable than that of the young men of the
higher classes; they had literally nothing to do, except to dress
themselves elegantly and lounge all day in an apothecary's shop. A
very few went out shooting or fishing occasionally; but anything like
employment, even mercantile, was entirely beneath their caste; and they
only pardoned the constant industry of the American Consul and his
family, as a sort of national eccentricity, for which they must not be
severely condemned.

A good school-system is being introduced into all the Portuguese
dominions, but there is no book-store in Fayal, though some dry-goods
dealers sell a few religious books. We heard a rumor of a Portuguese
"Uncle Tom" also, but I never could find the copy. The old Convent
Libraries were sent to Lisbon, on the suppression of the monasteries,
and never returned. There was once a printing-press on the island, but
one of the Governors shipped it off to St. Michael. "There it goes," he
said to the American Consul, "and the Devil take it!" The vessel was
wrecked in the bay. "You see," he afterwards piously added, "the Devil
_has_ taken it." It is proper, however, to mention, that a press and a
newspaper have been established since our visit, without further Satanic
interference.

Books were scarce on the island. One official gentleman from Lisbon,
quite an accomplished man, who spoke French fluently and English
tolerably, had some five hundred books, chiefly in the former tongue,
including seventy-two volumes of Balzac. His daughter, a young lady of
fifteen, more accomplished than most of the belles of the island, showed
me her little library of books in French and Portuguese, including three
English volumes, an odd selection,--"The Vicar of Wakefield," Gregory's
"Legacy to his Daughters," and Fielding's "Life of Jonathan Wild." But,
indeed, her supply of modern Portuguese literature was almost as scanty,
(there is so very little of it,) and we heard of a gentleman's studying
French "in order to have something to read," which seemed the last stage
in national decay.

Perhaps we were still more startled by the unexpected literary
criticisms of a young lady from St. Michael, English on the father's
side, but still Roman Catholic, who had just read the New Testament,
and thus naïvely gave it her indorsement in a letter to an American
friend:--"I dare say you have read the New Testament; but if you have
not, I recommend it to you. I have just finished reading it, and find it
_a very moral and nice book_." After this certificate, it will be safe
for the Bible Society to continue its operations.

Nearly all the popular amusements in Fayal occur in connection with
religion. After the simpler buildings and rites of the Romish Church in
America, the Fayal churches impress one as vast baby-houses, and the
services as acted charades. This perfect intermingling of the religious
and the melodramatic was one of our most interesting experiences, and
made the Miracle Plays of history a very simple and intelligible thing.
In Fayal, holiday and holy-day have not yet undergone the slightest
separation. A festival has to the people necessarily some religious
association, and when the Americans celebrate the Fourth of July, Mr.
Dabney's servants like to dress with flowers a wooden image in his
garden, the fierce figure-head of some wrecked vessel, which they boldly
personify as the American Saint. On the other hand, the properties of
the Church are as freely used for merrymaking. On public days there are
fireworks provided by the priests; they are kept in the church till the
time comes, and then touched off in front of the building, with very
limited success, by the sacristan. And strangest of all, at the final
puff and bang of each remarkable piece of pyrotechny, the bells ring
out just the same sudden clang which marks the agonizing moment of the
Elevation of the Host.

On the same principle, the theatricals which occasionally enliven the
island take place in chapels adjoining the churches. I shall never
forget the example I saw, on one of these dramatic occasions, of that
one cardinal virtue of Patience, which is to the Portuguese race the
substitute for all more positive manly qualities. The performance was
to be by amateurs, and a written programme had been sent from house to
house during the day; and this had announced the curtain as sure to
rise at eight. But as most of the spectators went at six to secure
places,--literally, places, for each carried his or her own chair,--one
might suppose the audience a little impatient before the appointed hour
arrived. But one would then suppose very incorrectly. Eight o'clock
came, and a quarter past eight, but no curtain rose. Half-past eight. No
movement nor sign of any. The people sat still. A quarter to nine. The
people sat still. Nine o'clock. The people sat perfectly still, nobody
talking much, the gentlemen being all the while separated from the
ladies, and all quiet. At last, at a quarter past nine, the orchestra
came in! They sat down, laid aside their instruments, and looked about
them. Suddenly a whistle was heard behind the scenes. Nothing came of
it, however. After a time, another whistle. The people sat still. Then
the orchestra began to tune their instruments, and at half-past nine the
overture began. And during all that inexplicable delay of one hour and a
half, after a preliminary waiting of two hours, there was not a single
look of annoyance or impatience, nor the slightest indication, on any
face, that this was viewed as a strange or extraordinary thing. Indeed,
it was not.

We duly attended, not on this occasion only, but on all ecclesiastical
festivals, grave or gay,--the only difficulty being to discover any
person in town who had even approximate information as to when or where
they were to occur. We saw many sights that are universal in Roman
Catholic countries, and many that are peculiar to Fayal: we saw the
"Procession of the Empress," when, for six successive Saturday evenings,
young girls walk in order through the streets white-robed and crowned;
saw the vessels in harbor decorated with dangling effigies of Judas, on
the appointed day; saw the bands of men at Easter going about with flags
and plates to beg money for the churches, and returning at night with
feet suspiciously unsteady; saw the feet-washing, on Maundy-Thursday, of
twelve old men, each having a square inch of the instep washed, wiped,
and cautiously kissed by the Vicar-General, after which twelve lemons
were solemnly distributed, each with a silver coin stuck into the peel;
saw and felt the showers of water, beans, flour, oranges, eggs, from the
balcony-windows during Carnival; saw weddings in churches, with groups
of male companions holding tall candles round kneeling brides; saw the
distribution to the poor of bread and meat and wine from long tables
arranged down the principal street, on Whitsunday,--a memorial vow, made
long since, to deprecate the recurrence of an earthquake. But it must be
owned that these things, so unspeakably interesting at first, became a
little threadbare before the end of the winter; we grew tired of the
tawdriness and shabbiness which pervaded them all, of the coarse faces
of the priests, and the rank odor of the incense.

We had left Protestantism in a state of vehement intolerance in America,
but we soon found, that, to hear the hardest things said against the
priesthood, one must visit a Roman Catholic country. There was no end
to the anecdotes of avarice and sensuality in this direction, and there
seemed everywhere the strangest combination of official reverence with
personal contempt. The principal official, or _Ouvidor_, was known among
his parishioners by the endearing appellation of "The Black Pig," to
which his appearance certainly did no discredit. There was a great
shipwreck at Pico during our stay, and two hundred thousand dollars'
worth of rich goods was stranded on the bare rocks; there were no
adequate means for its defence, and the peasants could hardly be
expected to keep their hands off. But the foremost hands were those of
the parish priest; for three weeks no mass was said in his church, and
a funeral was left for days unperformed, that the representative of God
might steal more silks and laces. When the next service occurred, the
people remained quiet until the priest rose for the sermon; then they
rose also tumultuously, and ran out of the church, crying, "_Ladrão!_"
"Thief!" "But why this indignation?" said an intelligent Roman Catholic
to us; "there is not a priest on either island who would not have done
the same." A few days after I saw this same cool critic, candle in hand,
heading a solemn ecclesiastical procession in the cathedral.

In the country-villages there naturally lingers more undisturbed the
simple, picturesque life of Roman Catholic society. Every hamlet is
clustered round its church, almost always magnificently situated, and
each has its special festivals. Never shall I forget one lovely day when
we went to witness the annual services at Praya, held to commemorate an
ancient escape from an earthquake. It was the first day of February.
After weeks of rain, there came at one burst all the luxury of June,
winter seemed to pass into summer in a moment, and blackbirds sang on
every spray. We walked or rode over a steep promontory, down into a
green valley, scooped softly to the sea: the church was by the beach. As
we passed along, the steep paths converging from all the hills were full
of women and men in spotless blue and white, with bright kerchiefs;
they were all walking barefooted over the rocky ways, only the women
stopping, ere reaching the church, to don stockings and shoes. Many
persons sat in sunny places by the roadsides to beg, with few to beg
from,--blind old men, and groups of children clamorous for coppers, but
propitiated by sugar-plums. Many others were bringing offerings, candles
for the altar, poultry, which were piled, a living mass, legs tied, in
the corner of the church, and small sums of money, which were recorded
by an ancient man in a mighty book. The church was already so crowded
that it was almost impossible to enter; the centre was one great
flower-garden of headdresses of kneeling women, and in the aisles were
penitents, toiling round the church upon their knees, each bearing a
lighted candle. But the services had not yet begun, and we went down
among the rocks to eat our luncheon of bread and oranges; the ocean
rolled in languidly, a summer sea; we sat beside sheltered, transparent
basins, among high and pointed rocks, and great, indolent waves
sometimes reared their heads, looking in upon our retreat, or flooding
our calm pools with a surface of creamy effervescence. Every square inch
of the universe seemed crowded with particles of summer.

On our way past the church, we had caught a glimpse of unwonted black
small-clothes, and, slyly peeping into a little chapel, had seen the
august Senate of Horta apparently arraying themselves for the ceremony.
Presently out came a man with a great Portuguese flag, and then the
Senators, two and two, with short black cloaks, white bands, and
gold-tipped staves, trod statelily towards the church. And as we
approached the door, on our return, we saw these dignitaries sitting in
their great arm-chairs, as one might fancy Venetian potentates, while a
sonorous Portuguese sermon rolled over their heads as innocuously as a
Thanksgiving discourse over any New-England congregation.

Do not imagine, by the way, that critical remarks on sermons are a
monopoly of Protestantism. After one religious service in Fayal, my
friend, the Professor of Languages, who sometimes gave lessons in
English, remarked to me confidentially, in my own tongue,--"His sermon
is good, but his _exposition_ is bad; he does not _expose_ well."
Supposing him to refer to the elocution, I assented,--secretly thinking,
however, that the divine in question had exposed himself exceedingly
well.

Another very impressive ceremony was the Midnight Mass on New Year's
Eve, when we climbed at midnight, through some close, dark passages in
the vast church edifice, into a sort of concealed opera-box above
the high altar, and suddenly opened windows looking down into the
brilliantly lighted cathedral, crammed with kneeling people and
throbbing with loud music. It seemed centuries away from all modern
life,--a glimpse into some buried Pompeii of the Middle Ages. More
impressive still was Holy Week, when there were some rites unknown to
other Roman Catholic countries. For three days the great cathedral was
closely veiled from without and darkened within,--every door closed,
every window obscured. Before this there had been seventy candles
lighting up the high altar and the eager faces; now these were all
extinguished, and through the dark church came chanting a procession
bearing feeble candles and making a strange clapping sound, with
_matracas_, like watchmen's rattles; men carried the symbolical bier of
Jesus in the midst, to its symbolical rest beneath the altar, where the
three candles, representing the three Marys, blazed above it. During the
time of darkness there were frequent masses and sermons, while terrible
transparencies of the Crucifixion were suddenly unrolled from the lofty
pulpit, and the throng below wept in sympathy, and clapped their cheeks
in token of anguish, like the flutter of many doves. Then came the
Hallelujah Saturday, when at noon the mourning ended. It was a
breathless moment. The priests kneeled in gorgeous robes, chanting
monotonously, with their foreheads upon the altar-steps; and the hushed
multitude hung upon their lips, in concentrated ecstasy, waiting for
the coming joy. Suddenly burst the words, _Gloria in Excelsis_. In an
instant every door was flung open, every curtain withdrawn, the
great church was bathed in meridian sunlight, the organ crashed out
triumphant, the bells pealed, flowers were thrown from the galleries in
profusion, friends embraced and kissed each other, laughed, talked, and
cried, and all the sea of gay head-dresses below was tremulous beneath a
mist of unaccustomed splendor. And yet (this thought smote me) all the
beautiful transformation has come by simply letting in the common
light of day. Then why not keep it always? Clear away, Humanity, these
darkened windows, but clear away also these darkening walls, and show us
that the simplest religion is the best!

I cannot dwell upon the narrative of our many walks:--to the
Espalamarca, with its lonely telegraph-station;--to the Burnt Mountain,
with its colored cliffs;--to visit the few aged nuns who still linger
in what was once a convent;--to Porto Pim, with its curving Italian
beach, its playing boys and picturesque fishermen beneath the arched
gateway;--to the tufa-ledges near by, where the soft rocks are
honeycombed with the cells hollowed by echini below the water's edge, a
fact undescribed and almost unexampled, said Agassiz afterwards;--to the
lofty, lonely Monte da Guia, with its solitary chapel on the peak, and
its extinct crater, where the sea rolls in and out;--to the Dabney
orange-gardens, on Sunday afternoons;--to the beautiful Mirante ravine,
whenever a sudden rain filled the cascades and set the watermills and
the washerwomen all astir, and the long brook ran down in whirls of
white foam to the waiting sea;--or to the western shores of the island,
where we turned to Ariadnes, as we watched departing home-bound vessels
from those cliffs whose wave-worn fiords and innumerable sea-birds make
a Norway of Fayal.

And I must also pass over still greater things:--the winter storms
and ship-wrecks, whose annals were they not written to the "New York
Tribune"?--and the spring Sunday at superb Castello Branco, with the
whole rural population thronging to meet in enthusiastic affection the
unwonted presence of the Consul himself, the feudalism of love;--and the
ascent of the wild Caldeira, we climbing height after height, leaving
the valleys below mottled with blue-robed women spreading their white
garments to dry in the sun, and the great Pico peeping above the clouds
across the bay, and seeming as if directly above our heads, and nodding
to us ere it drew back again;--and, best of all, that wonderful
ascension, by two of us, of Pico itself, seven thousand feet from the
level of the sea, where we began to climb. We camped half-way up, and
watched the sunset over the lower peaks of Fayal; we kindled fires of
_faya_-bushes on the lonely mountain-sides, a beacon for the world; we
slept in the loft of a little cattle-shed, with the calves below us,
"the cows' sons," as our Portuguese attendant courteously called them;
we waked next morning above the clouds, with one vast floor of white
level vapor beneath us, such as Thoreau alone has described, with here
and there an open glimpse of the sea far below, yet lifted up to an
apparent level with the clouds, so as to seem like an Arctic scene, with
patches of open water. Then we climbed through endless sheep-pastures
and over great slabs of lava, growing steeper and steeper; we entered
the crater at last, walled with snows of which portions might be of
untold ages, for it is never, I believe, wholly empty; we climbed,
in such a gale of wind that the guides would not follow us, the
steeple-like central pinnacle, two hundred feet high; and there we
reached, never to be forgotten, a small central crater at the very
summit, where steam poured up between the stones,--and, oh, from what
central earthy depths of wonder that steam came to us! There has been no
eruption from any portion of Pico for many years, but it is a volcano
still, and we knew that we were standing on the narrow and giddy summit
of a chimney of the globe. That was a sensation indeed!

We saw many another wild volcanic cliff and fissure and cave on our
two-days' tour round the island of Fayal; but it was most startling,
when, on the first morning, as we passed from green valley to valley
along the road, suddenly all verdure and life vanished, and we found
ourselves riding through a belt of white, coarse moss stretching from
mountain to sea, covering rock and wall and shed like snow or moonlight
or mountain-laurel or any other pale and glimmering thing; and when,
after miles of ignorant wonder, we rode out of it into greenness again,
and were told that we had crossed what the Portuguese call a _Misterio_
or Mystery,--the track of the last eruption. The moss was the first
primeval coating of vegetation just clothing those lava-rocks again.

But the time was coming when we must bid good-bye to picturesque
Fayal. We had been there from November to May; it had been a winter of
incessant rains, and the first necessary of life had come to be a change
of umbrellas; it had been colder than usual, making it a comfort to look
at our stove, though we never lighted it; but our invalids had gained
by even this degree of mildness, by the wholesome salt dampness, by
the comforts of our hotel with its respectable Portuguese landlord and
English landlady, and by the great kindness shown us by all others. At
last we had begun to feel that we had squeezed the orange of the Azores
a little dry, and we were ready to go. And when, after three weeks of
rough sailing in the good bark Azor, we saw Cape Ann again, although it
looked somewhat flat and prosaic after the headlands of Fayal, yet we
knew that behind those low shores lay all that our hearts held dearest,
and all the noblest hopes of the family of man.

       *       *       *       *       *


MIDSUMMER AND MAY.


I.


Very probably you never saw such a superb creature,--if that word,
creature, does not endow her with too much life: a Semiramis, without
the profligacy,--an Isis, without the worship,--a Sphinx, yes, a Sphinx,
with her desert, who long ago despaired of having one come to read her
riddle, strong, calm, patient perhaps. In this respect she seemed to own
no redundant life, just enough to eke along existence,--not living, but
waiting.

I say, all this would have been one's impression; and one's impression
would have been incorrect.

I really cannot state her age; and having attained to years of
discretion, it is not of such consequence as it is often supposed to be,
whether one be twenty or sixty. You would have been confident, that,
living to count her hundreds, she would only have bloomed with more
immortal freshness; but such a thought would not have occurred to you
at all, if you had not already felt that she was no longer young,--she
possessed so perfectly that certain self-reliance, self-understanding,
_aplomb_, into which little folk crystallize at an early age, but which
is not to be found with those whose identities are cast in a larger
mould, until they have passed through periods of fuller experience.

That Mrs. Laudersdale was the technical magnificent woman, I need
not reiterate. I wish I knew some name gorgeous enough in sound and
association for that given her at christening; but I don't. It is my
opinion that she was born Mrs. Laudersdale, that her coral-and-bell was
marked Mrs. Laudersdale, and that her name stands golden-lettered on the
recording angel's leaf simply as Mrs. Laudersdale. It is naturally to be
inferred, then, that there was a Mr. Laudersdale. There was. But not by
any means a person of consequence, you assume? Why, yes, of some,--to
one individual at least Mrs. Laudersdale was so weak as to regard him
with complacency; she loved--adored her husband. Let me have the
justice to say that no one suspected her of it. Of course, then, Mr.
Roger Raleigh had no business to fall in love with her.

Well,--but he did.

At the time when Mrs. Laudersdale had become somewhat more than a
reigning beauty, and held her sceptre with such apparent indifference
that she seemed about abandoning it forever, she no longer dazzled with
unventured combinations of colors and materials in dress. She wore
most frequently, at this epoch, black velvet that suppled about her
well-asserted contours; and the very trail of her skirt was unlike
another woman's, for it coiled and bristled after her with a life and
motion of its own, like a serpent. Her hair, of too dead a black for
gloss or glister, was always adorned with a nasturtium-vine, whose vivid
flames seemed like some personal emanation, and whose odor, acrid and
single, dispersed a character about her; and the only ornaments she
condescended to assume were of Etruscan gold, severely simple in design,
elaborately intricate in workmanship. It is evident she was a poet in
costume, and had at last _en règle_ acquired a manner. But thirteen
years ago she apparelled herself otherwise, and thirteen years ago it
was that Mr. Roger Raleigh fell in love with her. This is how it was.

Among the many lakes in New Hampshire, there is one of extreme
beauty,--a broad, shadowy water, some nine miles in length, with steep,
thickly wooded banks, and here and there, as if moored on its calm
surface, an island fit for the Bower of Bliss. At one spot along its
shore was, and still is, an old country-house, formerly used as a hotel,
but whose customers, always pleasure-seekers from the neighboring towns,
had been drawn away by the erection of a more modern and satisfactory
place of entertainment at the other extremity of the lake, and it had
now been for many years closed. There were no dwellings of any kind in
its vicinity, so that it reigned over a solitude of a half-dozen miles
in every direction. Once in a while the gay visitors in the more
prosperous regions stretched their sails and skimmed along till they saw
its white porticos and piazzas gleaming faintly up among the trees; once
in a while a belated traveller tied his horse at the gate, and sought
admittance in vain, at the empty house, of the shadows who may have kept
it. It was not pleasant to see so goodly a mansion falling to ruin for
want of fit occupancy, truly; and just as the walls had grown gray with
rain and time, the chimneys choked and the casements shrunken, a merry
company of friends and families, from another portion of the country,
consolidated themselves into a society for the pursuit of happiness,
rented the old place, put in carpenters and masons and glaziers, and,
when the last tenants vacated the premises, took possession in state
themselves. Care and responsibility were not theirs; the matron and her
servants alone received such guests; the long summer-days were to come
and go with them as joyously as with Bacchus and his crew.

Behold the party domesticated a fortnight at the Bawn, as it was
afterward dubbed. Mr. Laudersdale had returned to New York that morning,
and his wife had not been met since. Now, at about five o'clock, her
white robe floated past the door, and she was seen moving up and down
the long piazza and humming a faint little tune to herself. Just then
a flock of young women, married and single, fluttered through door and
windows to join her; and just then Mrs. Laudersdale stepped down from
the end of the piazza and floated up the garden-path and into the woods
that skirted the lake-shore and stretched far back and away. Thus
abandoned, the others turned their attention to the expanse before and
below them; and one or two made their way down to the brink, unhooked
a boat, ventured in, and, lifting the single pair of oars, were soon
laboring gayly out and creating havoc on the placid waters.

As Mrs. Laudersdale continued to walk, the path which she followed
slowly descended to the pebbly rim, rich in open spaces, slopes of
verdure just gilding in the declining sun, and coverts of cool, deep
shadow. As she advanced leisurely, involved in pleasant fancy, something
caught her eye, an unusual object, certainly, lying in a duskier recess;
she drew nearer and hung a moment above it. Some fallen statue among
rank Roman growth, some marble semblance of a young god, overlaced with
a vine and plunged in tall ferns and beaded grasses? And she, bending
there,--was it Diana and Endymion over again, Psyche and Eros? Ah,
no!--simply Mrs. Laudersdale and Roger Raleigh. Only while one might
have counted sixty did she linger to take the real beauty of the scene:
the youth, adopted, as it were, to Nature's heart by the clustering
growth that sprang up rebounding under the careless weight that crushed
it; an attitude of complete and unconscious grace,--one arm thrown out
beneath the head, the other listlessly fallen down his side, while the
hand still detained the straw hat; the profile, by no means classic, but
in strong relief, the dark hair blowing in the gentle wind, the flush
of sleep that went and came almost perceptibly with the breath, and the
sunbeam that slanting round suddenly suffused the whole. "Pretty boy!"
thought Mrs. Laudersdale; "beautiful picture!" and she flitted on. But
Roger Raleigh was not a boy, although sleep, that gives back to all
stray glimpses of their primal nature, endowed him peculiarly with a
look of childlike innocence unknown to his waking hours.

Startled, perhaps, by the intruding step, for it was no light one, a
squirrel leaped from the bough to the grass, and, leaping, woke the
sleeper. He himself, now unperceived, saw a vision in return,--this
woman, young and rare, this queenly, perfect thing, floating on and
vanishing among the trees. Whence had she come, and who was she? And
hereupon he remembered the old Bawn and its occupants. Had she seen him?
Unlikely; but yet, unimportant as it was, it remained an interesting and
open question in his mind. Bringing down the hair so ruffled in the idle
breeze, he crowded his hat over it with a determined air, half ran, half
tumbled, down the bank, sprang into his boat, and, shaking out a sail,
went flirting over the lake as fast as the wind could carry him. Leaving
a long, straight, shining wake behind him, Mr. Roger Raleigh skimmed
along the skin of ripples, and, in order to avoid a sound of shrill
voices, skirted the angle of an island, and found himself deceived by
the echo and in the midst of them.

Mrs. McLean, Miss Helen Heath, and Miss Mary Purcell, who had embarked
with a single pair of oars, were now shipwrecked on the waters wide, as
Helen said; for one of their means of progress, she declared, had been
snatched by the roaring waves and was floating in the trough of the sea,
just beyond their reach. None of the number being acquainted with the
process of sculling, they considered it imperative to secure the truant
tool, unless they wished to perish floating about unseen; and having
weighed the expediency of rigging Helen into a jury-mast, they were now
using their endeavors to regain the oar,--Mary Purcell whirling them
about like a maelström with the remaining one, and Mrs. McLean with her
two hands grasping Helen's garments, while the latter half stood in the
boat and half lay recumbent on the lake, tipping, slipping, dipping,
till her head resembled a mermaid's; while they all three filled the air
with more exclaim, shrieking, and laughter than could have been effected
by a large-lunged mob.

"Bedlam let loose," thought the intruder, "or all the Naiads up for a
frolic?" And as he shot by, a hush fell upon the noisy group,--Helen
pausing and erecting herself from her ablutions, Mary's frantic efforts
sending them as a broadside upon the Arrow and nearly capsizing it, and
Mrs. McLean, ceasing merriment, staring from both her eyes, and saying
nothing. Mr. Raleigh seized the oar in passing, and directly afterward
had placed it in Helen's hands. Receiving it with a profusion of thanks,
she seated herself and bent to its use. But, looking back in a few
seconds, Mr. Raleigh observed that the exhausted rowers had made
scarcely a yard's distance. He had no inclination for gallant _devoir_,
his eyes and thoughts were full of his late vision in the woods, he
wished to reach home and dream; but in a moment he was again beside
them, had taken their painter with a bow and an easy sentence, but
neither with _empressement_ nor heightened color, and, changing his
course, was lending them a portion of the Arrow's swiftness in flight
towards the Bawn. It seemed as if the old place sent its ghosts out to
him this afternoon. Bringing them close upon the flat landing-rock, and
hooking the painter therein, he sheered off, lifting his hat, and was
gone.

"Roger! Roger Raleigh!" cried Mrs. McLean, from the shore, "come back!"

Obeying her with an air of puzzled surprise, the person so
unceremoniously addressed was immediately beside her again.

"A cool proceeding, Sir!" said she, extending both her hands. "How long
would you know your Cousin Kate to be here, and refuse to spare her an
hour?"

"Upon my honor," said her cousin, bending very low over the hands, "I
but this moment learn her presence in my neighborhood."

"Ah, Sir! and what becomes of my note sealed with sky-blue wax and
despatched to you ten days ago?"

"It is true such a note lies on my table at this moment, and it is still
sealed with sky-blue wax."

"And still unread?"

"You will not force me to confess such delinquency?"

"And still unread?"

"Ten thousand pardons! Shall I go home and read it?" And herewith the
saucy indifference of his face became evident, as he raised it.

"No. But is that the way to serve a lady's communications? Fie, for a
gallant! I must take you in hand. These are your New Hampshire customs?"

  "'O Kate, nice customs curtsy to nice
  kings!'"

"So I've heard, when curtsying was in fashion; but that is out of date,
together with a good many other nice things,--caring for one's friends,
for instance. Why don't you ask how all your uncles and aunts are, Sir?"

"How are all my uncles and aunts, Miss?"

"Oh, don't you know? I thought you didn't. There's another billet,
inclosing a bit of pasteboard, lying on your table now unopened too,
I'll warrant. Don't you read any of your letters?"

"Alphabetical or epistolary?"

"Answer properly, yes or no."

"No."

"Why?"

"I know no one that has authority to write to me, as half a reason."

"Thank you, for one, Sir. And what becomes of your Uncle Reuben?"

"Not included in the category."

"Then you're not aware that I've changed my estate? You don't know my
name now, do you?

  "'Bonny Kate, and sometimes Kate the curst,
  But Kate, the prettiest Kate in Christendom'"

"Nonsense! What an exasperating boy! Just the same as ever! Well, it
explains itself. Here comes a recent property unto me appertaining.
McLean! My husband, Mr. John McLean,--my cousin, Mr. Roger Raleigh."

The new-comer was one of those "sterling men" always to be relied on,
generally to be respected, and safely and appropriately leading society
and subscription-lists. He was not very imaginative, and he understood
at a glance as much of the other as he ever would understand. And the
other, feeling instantly that only coin of the king's stamp would pass
current here, turned his own counter royal side up, and met his host
with genuine cordiality. Shortly afterward, Mrs. McLean withdrew for
an improvement in her toilet, and soon returning, found them comparing
notes as to the condition of the country, tender bonds of the Union, and
relative merits of rival candidates, for all which neither of them cared
a straw.

"How do you find me, Sir?" she asked of her cousin.

"Radiant, rosy, and rarely arrayed."

"I see that your affections are to be won, and I proceed accordingly,
by making myself charming, in the first place. And now, will you be
cheered, but not inebriated, here under the trees, in company with
dainty cheese-cakes compounded by these hands, and jelly of Helen
Heath's moulding, and automatic trifles that caught an ordaining
glimpse of Mrs. Laudersdale's eye and rushed madly together to become
almond-pasty?"

"With a method in their madness, I hope."

"Yes, all the almonds not on one side."

"In company with cheese-cakes, jelly, and pasty, simply,--I should have
claret and crackers at home, Capua willing. Will it pay?"

"You shall have Port here, when Mrs. Laudersdale comes."

"Not old enough to be crusty yet, Kate," said her husband.

"Very good, for you, John!"

"Mrs. Laudersdale is your housekeeper?" asked her cousin.

"Mrs. Laudersdale? That is rich! But I should never dare to tell
her. Our housekeeper? Our cynosure! She is our argent-lidded Persian
Girl,--our serene, imperial Eleanore;--

  "'Whene'er she moves,
  The Samian Here rises, and she speaks
  A Meinnon smitten with the morning sun.'"

"Oh, indeed! And this is a conventicle of young matrimonial victims to
practise cookery in seclusion, upon which I have blundered?"

"If the fancy pleases you, yes. There they are."

And hereon followed a series of necessary introductions.

Mr. Roger Raleigh sat with both arms leaning on the table before him,
and wondering which of the ladies, half whose names he had not heard,
was the Samian Here,--if any of them was,--and if,--and if;----and here
Mr. Roger Raleigh's reflections went wandering back to the lakeside
path and its vision. Not inopportunely at this moment, a white garment,
which, it is unnecessary to say, he had long ago seen advancing,
fluttered down the opposite path, and she herself approached.

"Ah! _Al fresco?_" said the pleasantest voice in the world.

"And isn't it charming?" asked Mrs. McLean. "Imagine us with tables
spread outside the door in Fifth Avenue, in Chestnut Street, or on the
Common!"

"Even then the arabesque would be wanting," said she, trailing a long
branch of the wild grape-vine, with its pale and delicately fragrant
blooms, along the snowy board. "Are the cheese-cakes a success, Mrs.
McLean? I didn't dine, and am famished.--I see that you have at last
heard from your cousin," she added, in an undertone.

"Yes; let me pre--Roger!"

Quickly frustrating any such presentation, Mr. Roger Raleigh half
turned, and, bowing, said,--

"I believe I have had the pleasure of meeting Mrs. Laudersdale before."

Her haughtiness would have frozen any one else. She bent with the least
possible inclination, and sat down upon a stump that immediately became
a throne. He resumed his former position, and drummed lightly on the
table, while waiting to be served. In less complete repose than she had
previously seen him, Mrs. Laudersdale now examined anew the individual
before her.

Not by any means tall she found him, but having the square shoulders and
broad chest which give, in so much greater a degree than mere height,
an impression of strength,--a frame agile and compact, with that easy
carriage of the head and that rapid movement so deceptively increasing
the stature. The face, too, was probably what, if not informed by a
singularly clean and fine soul, would, in the lapse of years, become
gross,--the skin of a clear olive, which had slightly flushed as he
addressed herself, but not when speaking to other strangers,--kept
beardless, and rather square in contour; the mouth not small, but keenly
cut, like marble, and always quivering before he spoke, as if the
lightning of his thought ran thither naturally to seek spontaneous
expression; teeth white; chin cleft; nose of the unclassified order,
rather long, the curve opposite to aquiline, and saved from sharpness by
nostrils that dilated with a pulse of their own, as those of very proud
and sensitive people are apt to do; a wide, low forehead crowned with
dark hair, long and fine; heavy brows that overhung deep-set eyes of
lightest hazel, but endowed by shadow with a power that no eye of
gypsy-black ever swayed for an instant. His whole countenance reminded
you of nothing so much as of the young heroes of the French Revolution,
for whom irregular features and sallow cheeks were transmuted into
brilliant and singular beauty. It wore an inwrapped air, and, with
all its mobility, was a mask. He very seldom raised the lids, and his
pallor, though owning more of the golden touch of the sun, was as
dazzling as Mrs. Laudersdale's own.

Mrs. Laudersdale scarcely observed,--she felt; and probably she saw
nothing but the general impression of what I have been telling you.

"Tea, Roger?" asked Mrs. McLean.

"Green, I thank you, and strong."

Rising to receive it, he continued his course till it naturally brought
him before Mrs. Laudersdale. Pausing deliberately and sipping the
pungent tonic, he at last looked up, and said,--

"Well, you are offended?"

"Then you were awake when I stayed to look at you?" she asked, in reply;
for curiosity is a solvent.

"Then you _did_ stay and look at me? That is exactly what I wished to
know. How did I look, Belphoebe?"

"Out of his eyes, tell him," said Helen Heath, in passing.

"They were not open," responded Mrs. Laudersdale. "And I cannot tell how
you saw me."

"I saw you as Virgil saw his mother,--I mean Aeneas,--as the goddesses
are always known, you remember, in departure."

Mrs. Laudersdale felt a weight on her lids beneath his glance, and rose
to approach the table.

"Allow me," said Mr. Raleigh, taking her plate and bringing it back
directly with a wafery slice of bread and a quaking tumulus of jelly.

Mrs. Laudersdale laughed, though perhaps scarcely pleased with him.

"How did you know my tastes so well?" she asked.

"Since they are not mine," he replied. "Of course you eat jelly, because
it is no trouble; you choose your bread thin for the same reason;
likewise you would find a glass of that suave, rich cream delicious.
Among all motions, you prefer smooth sailing; and I'll venture to say
that you sleep in down all summer."

Mrs. Laudersdale looked up in slow and still astonishment; but Mr.
Raleigh was already pouring out the glass of cream.

"I've no doubt you would like to have me sweeten it," said he, offering
it to her; "but I will not humor such ascetic tendencies. I never
approved of flagellation."

And as he spoke, he was gone to break ground for a flirtation with Helen
Heath.

Helen Heath appeared to be one of those gay, not-to-be-heart-broken
damsels who can drink forever of this dangerous and exhilarating cup
without showing symptoms of intoxication. Young men who have nothing
worse to do with their time gravitate naturally and unawares toward them
for amusement, and spin out the thread till they reach its end, without
expectation, without surprise, without regret, without occasion for
remorse. Mr. Raleigh could not have been more unfortunate than he was in
meeting her, since it gave him reason and excuse henceforth for visiting
the Bawn at all seasons.

The table was at last removed, the dew began to fall, Mrs. Laudersdale
shivered and withdrew toward the house.

"_Incessu patet dea,_" Mr. Raleigh remembered.

Somewhat later, he started from his seat, bade them all good-night, ran
gayly down the bank, and shoved off from shore. And shortly after, Mrs.
Laudersdale, looking from her window, saw, for an instant, a single
fire-fly hovering over the dark lake. It was Mr. Roger Raleigh's
distant lantern, as, stretched at ease, he turned the slow leaves of a
Froissart, and suffered the Arrow to drift as it would across the night.

The next morning Mrs. Laudersdale descended, as usual, to the
breakfast-table, at an hour when all the rest had concluded their
repast. Miss Helen Heath alone remained, trifling with the tea-cups, and
singing little exercises.

"Quite an acquisition, Mrs. Laudersdale!" said she.

"What?" said the other, languidly, leaning one arm on the table and
looking about for any appetizing edible. "What is an acquisition?"

"You mean who. Mr. Raleigh, of course. But isn't it the queerest
thing in the world, up here in this savage district, to light upon a
gentleman?"

"Is this a savage district? And is Mr. Raleigh a gentleman?"

"Is he? I never saw his match."

"Nor I."

"What! don't you find him so? a thorough gentleman?"

"I don't know what a thorough gentleman is, I dare say," assented Mrs.
Laudersdale, indifferently, with no spirit for repartee, breaking an egg
and putting it down, crumbling a roll, and finally attacking a biscuit,
but gradually raising the siege, yawning, and leaning back in her chair.

"You poor thing!" said Helen. "You are starving to death. What shall I
get for you? I have influence in the kitchens. Does marmalade, to spread
your muffins, present any attractions? or shall I beg for rusks? or what
do you say to doughnuts? there are doughnuts in this closet; crullers
and milk are nice for breakfast."

And in a few minutes Helen had rifled a shelf of sufficient temptations
to overcome Mrs. Laudersdale's abstinence.

"After all," said she then, "you didn't answer my question."

"What question?"

"If it weren't odd to meet Mr. Raleigh here."

"I don't know," said Mrs. Laudersdale.

"Dear! Mary Purcell takes as much interest. She said he was impertinent,
made her talk too much, and made fun of her."

"Very likely."

"You are as aggravating as he! If you had anything to do except to look
divinely, we'd quarrel. I thought I had a nice bit of entertaining news
for you."

"Is that your trouble? I should be sorry to oppress you with it longer.
Pray, tell it."

"Will it entertain you?"

"It won't bore _you_."

"I don't know that I _will_ tell it on such terms. However, I--must
talk. Well, then. I have not been dreaming by daylight, but up and
improving my opportunities. Partly from himself, and partly from Kate,
and partly from the matron here, I have made the following discoveries.
Mr. Roger Raleigh has left some very gay cities, and crossed some
parallels of latitude, to exile himself in this wilderness of ice and
snow,--that's what you and I vote it, whether the trees are green and
the sun shines, or not; and I don't see what bewitched mother to adopt
such a suicidal plan as coming here to be buried alive. He, that is, Mr.
Raleigh, to join my ends, has lived here for five years; and as he came
when he was twenty, he is consequently about my age now,--I shouldn't
wonder if a trifle older than you. He came here because an immense
estate was bequeathed him on the condition that he should occupy this
corner of it during one-half of every year from his twenty-first to his
thirty-first He has chosen to occupy it during the entire year, running
down now and then to have a little music or see a little painting.
Sometimes a parcel of his friends,--he never was at college, hasn't
any chums, and has educated himself by all manner of out-of-the-way
dodges,--sometimes these friends, odd specimens, old music-masters,
rambling artists, seedy tutors, fencers, boxers, hunters, clowns, all
light down together, and then the neighborhood rings with this precious
covey: the rest of the year, may-be, he don't see an individual. One
result of this isolation is, that freaks which would be very strange
escapades in other people with him are mere commonplaces. Sometimes he
goes over to the city there, and roams round like a lost soul seeking
for its body; sometimes he goes up a hundred miles or two, takes a guide
and handles the mountains; and, except in the accidents at such times,
he hasn't seen a woman since he came."

"That accounts," said Mrs. Laudersdale.

"Yes. But just think what a life!"

"He wouldn't stay, if he didn't like," replied Mrs. Laudersdale, to whom
the words poverty and riches conveyed not the least idea.

"I don't know. He has an uncle, of whom he is very fond, in India,"
continued Helen,--"an unfortunate kind of man, with whom everything
goes wrong, and who is always taking fevers; and once or twice Mr.
Raleigh has started to go and take care of him, and lose the whole
estate by the means. He intends to endow him, I believe, by-and-by, when
the thing is at his disposal. This uncle kept him at school, when he was
an orphan in different circumstances, at a Jesuit institution; and he
and Miss Kent were always quarrelling over him, and she thought she had
tied up her property nicely out of old Reuben Raleigh's way. It will be
nuts, if he ever accepts his nephew's proposed present. The best of it
all is, that, if he breaks the condition,--there's no accounting for
the caprices of wills,--part of it goes to a needy institution, and part
of it inalienably to Mrs. McLean, who"--

"Is an institution, too."

"Who is not needy. There, isn't that a pretty little _conte?_"

"Very," said Mrs. Laudersdale, having listened with increasing interest.
"But, Helen, you'll be a gossip, if you go on and prosper."

"Why, my dear child! He'll be over here every day now; and do you
suppose I'm going to flirt with any one, when I don't know his
antecedents? There he is now!"

And as Mrs. Laudersdale turned, she saw Mr. Raleigh standing composedly
in the doorway and surveying them. She bade him good-morning, coolly
enough, while Helen began searching the grounds of the tea-cups, rather
uncertain how much of her recital might have met his ears.

"Turning tea-cups, Gypsy Helen, and telling fates, all to no audience,
and with no cross on your palm?" asked the guest.

"So you ignore Mrs. Laudersdale?"

"Not at all; you weren't looking at her cup,--if she has one. Will you
have the morning paper?" he asked of that lady, who, receiving it,
leisurely unfolded and glanced over its extent.

"Where's my Cousin Kate?" then demanded Mr. Raleigh of Helen, having
regarded this performance.

"Gone shopping in town."

"Her vocation. For the day?"

"No,--it is time for their return now. When you hear wheels"--

"I hear them"; and he strolled to the window. "You should have said,
when I heard tongues; Medes and Elamites and the dwellers in Mesopotamia
were less cheerful. A very pretty team. So she took her conjugal
appurtenance with her?"

"And left her cousinly impertinence behind her," retorted a gay voice
from his elbow.

"Ah, Kate! are you there? It's not a moment since I saw you 'coming from
the town.' A pretty hostess, you! I arrive on your invitation to pass
the day"--

"But I didn't expect you before the sun."

"To pass the day, and find you absent and the breakfast-table not
cleared away."

"My dear Roger, we have not quite taken our habits yet. As soon as the
country-air shall have wakened and made over Helen and Mrs. Laudersdale,
you will find us ready for company at daybreak."

"What a passion for 'company'! I shall not be surprised some day to
receive cards for your death-bed."

"Friends and relatives invited to attend? No, Roger, you mustn't be
naughty. You shall receive cards for my dinner-party before we go,
if you won't come without; for we have innumerable friends in town,
already."

"Happy woman!"

"What's that? A newspaper? A newspaper! How McLean will chuckle!" And
she seized the sheet which Mrs. Laudersdale had abandoned in sweeping
from the room.

"Is there a Mr. Laudersdale? Where is he?" asked Mr. Raleigh, as he
leaned against the window.

"Who?" asked his cousin, deep in a paragraph.

"Mr. Laudersdale. Where is he?"

"Oh! between his four planks, I suppose," she replied, thinking of the
Soundboat's berth, which probably contained the gentleman designated.

"Between his four planks," repeated Mr. Raleigh, in a musing tone,
entirely misinterpreting her, and to this little accident owing nearly
thirteen years' unhappiness.

"She must have married early," he continued.

"Oh, fabulously early," replied Mrs. McLean, between the lines she read.
"She is Creole, I believe. She is perfect. The women are as infatuated
about her as the men. Here's Helen Heath been dawdling round the table
all the morning for the sake of chatting to her while she breakfasts. I
don't know why, I'm sure; the woman's charming, but she's too lazy even
to talk. McLean! Another flurry in France."

And after shaking hands with Mr. Raleigh, that worthy seized the
proffered paper and vanished behind it, leaving to his wife the
entertainment of her cousin, which duty she seemed by no means in haste
to assume, preferring to remain and vex her husband with a thousand
little teasing arts. Meanwhile Mr. Raleigh proceeded to take that office
upon himself, by crossing the hall, exploring the parlors, examining the
manuscript commonplace-books, and finally by sketching on a leaf of
his pocket-book Mrs. Laudersdale, at the other end of the piazza,
half-swinging in the vines through which broad sunbeams poured, while
Helen Heath was singing and several other ladies were busying themselves
with books and needle-work in her vicinity."

"Ah, Mr. Raleigh!" said Helen Heath, as he put up the pocket-book and
drew near,--"Mrs. Laudersdale and I have been wondering how you amuse
yourself up here; and I make my discovery. You study animated nature;
that is to say, you draw Mrs. Laudersdale and me."

"Mistaken, Miss Helen. I draw only Mrs. Laudersdale; and do you call
that animated nature?"

"I wish you would draw. Mrs. Laudersdale _out._"

At this point Mrs. Laudersdale _fell_ out; but, without otherwise
stirring from his position than by moving an apparently careless arm,
Mr. Raleigh caught and restored her to her balance, as lightly as if
he had brushed a floating gossamer from the air to his finger. For the
first time, perhaps, in her life, a carnation blossomed an instant in
her cheek, then all was as before,--only two of the party felt on that
instant that in some mysterious manner their relations with each other
were entirely changed.

"But what _is_ it that you do with yourself?" persisted Helen. "Tell us,
that we may do likewise."

"Will you come and see?" he asked,--his eyes, however, on Mrs.
Laudersdale.

"Will you come in away from the lake to the brooks, and hang among the
alders and angle, dreaming, all day long? Or will you rise at dead of
night and go out on the lake with me and watch field after field of
white lilies flash open as the sun touches them with his spear? Or will
you lie during still noons up among the farmers' fields where myriad
bandrol corn-poppies flaunt over your head, and stain your finger-tips
with the red berries that hang like globes of light in the
palace-gardens of mites and midges, soaking yourself in hot sunshine and
south-winds and heavy aromatic earth-scents?"

"Come!" said Mrs. Laudersdale, rising earnestly, like one in an eager
dream.

"It is plain that you are in training for a poet," said Helen Heath,
laughing, to Mr. Raleigh. "Well, when will you take us? Are the lilies
in bloom? Shall we go to-morrow morning?"

"I don't know that I shall take you at all, Miss Helen;--river-lilies
might suit you best; but these queens of the lakes, the great, calm
pond-lilies, creatures of quiet and white radiance,--I have seen only
one head that possessed enough of the genuine East-Indian repose to be
crowned with them."

"You like repose," said Mrs. Laudersdale. "But what is it?"

"Repose is strength,--life that develops from within, and feels itself
and has no need of effort. Repose is inherent security."

"Goodness!" exclaimed Helen. "Article first in a new
dictionary,--encyclopedia, I should say. You worship, but you don't
possess your god, for you look at this moment like a shaft in the bow;
and here comes an archer to give it flight."

"Where are you going, Kate?" said her cousin.

"To pick strawberries in the garden. Want to come?"

The three could do no better than accept her invitation. The good ladies
might stare as they could after Mrs. Laudersdale, and wonder what
sudden sprite had possessed her, since for neither man nor woman of the
numerous party had she hitherto condescended to lift an unwonted eyelid;
what they would have said to have seen her plunged in a strawberry-bed,
gathering handfuls and raining them drop by drop into Helen Heath's
mouth, to silence her while she herself might talk,--her own fingers
tipped with more sanguine shade than their native rose, her eyes full
of the noon sparkle, and her lips parted with laughter,--we cannot say.
Roger Raleigh forgot to move, to speak, to think, as he watched her. But
in the midst of this brilliant and novel gayety of hers, there was still
a dignity to make one feel that she had by no means abandoned her regal
purple, but merely adorned it with profuse golden flourishes.

At dinner that day, Helen begged to know if there were not a great many
routes in the vicinity practicable only on horseback, and thought she
had attained her end when Mr. Raleigh put his horses and his escort at
the service of herself and Mrs. Laudersdale during their stay.

"During our stay!" said Mrs. Laudersdale. "That reminds me that we are
to go away!"

"Pleasantly, certainly. When snows fall and storms pipe, the Bawn is an
icehouse," said he.

After noon, the remainder of the day was interspersed with light
thunder-showers, rendering tea on the grass again impossible; they
passed the steaming cups, therefore, as they sat on the piazza curtained
with dripping woodbine. The glitter of the drops in the sunset light, a
jewelled scintillation, was caught in Mrs. Laudersdale's eyes, and some
unconscious excitement fanned a faint color to and fro on her cheek.
At last the moon rose; the whole party, regardless of wet slippers,
sauntered with Mr. Raleigh to the shore, where the little Arrow hung
balancing on her restraining cord. Mrs. Laudersdale stepped in, Mr.
Raleigh followed, took up an oar, and pushed out, both standing, and
drifting slowly for a few rods' distance; then Mr. Raleigh made the
shore again, assisted her out, and shot impatiently away alone. The
waters shone like white fire in the wake he cut, great shadows fall
through them where island and wood intercepted the broad ascending
light, and Mrs. Laudersdale's gay laugh rung across them, as the space
grew,--a sweet, rich laugh, that all the spirits of the depths caught
and played with like a rare beam that transiently illumined their
shadowy, silent haunts.

The next day, and the next, and so for a fortnight, Mr. Roger Raleigh
presented himself with the breakfast-urn at the Bawn, tarried during
sunshine, slipped home by starlight across the lake. Every day Mrs.
Laudersdale was more brilliant, and flashed with a cheery merriment like
harmless summer-lightnings. One night, as he pushed away from the bank,
he said,--

"_Au revoir_ for five hours."

"For five hours?" said Mrs. Laudersdale.

"For five hours."

"At half-past three in the night?"

"In the morning."

"And what brings you here at dead of dark?"

"The lilies and the dawn."

"Indeed! And whom do you expect to find?"

"You and Miss Helen."

"Well, summer and freedom are here; I am ready for all fates, all deeds
of valor, vigils among the rest. We will await you at half-past three in
the morning. Helen, we must sleep at high-pressure, soundly, crowding
all we can on the square inch of time. _Au revoir_."

A shadow stood on the piazza, in the semi-darkness, at the appointed
hour; two other shadows flitted forward to meet it, and silently down
the bank, into the boat, and out upon the lonely glimmering reaches
of the water. Nobody spoke; the midnight capture of no fort was ever
effected with more phantom-like noiselessness than now went to surprise
the Vestals of the Lake; only as two hands touched for an instant, a
strange thrill, like fire, quivered through each and tore them apart
more swiftly than two winds might cross each other's course. Helen Heath
was drowsy and half-nodding in the bow, nodding with the more ease that
it was still so dark and that Mr. Raleigh's back was toward her. Mrs.
Laudersdale reclined in the stern. Mr. Raleigh once in a while sent them
far along with a strong stroke, then only an occasional plash broke the
charm of perfect stillness. Ever and anon they passed under the lee of
some island, and the heavy air grew full of idle night-sweetness; the
waning moon with all its sad and alien power hung low,--dun, malign, and
distant, a coppery blotch on the rich darkness of heaven. They floated
slowly, still; now and then she dipped a hand into the cool current; now
and then he drew in his oars, and, bending forward, dipped his hand with
hers. The stars retreated in a pallid veil that dimmed their beams,
faint lights streamed up the sky,--the dark yet clear and delicious.
They paused motionless in the shelter of a steep rock; over them a
wild vine hung and swayed its long wreaths in the water, a sweet-brier
starred with fragrant sleeping buds climbed and twisted, and tufts of
ribbon-grass fell forward and streamed in the indolent ripple;
beneath them the lake, lucid as some dark crystal, sheeted with olive
transparence a bottom of yellow sand; here a bream poised on slowly
waving fins, as if dreaming of motion, or a perch flashed its red
fin from one hollow to another. The shadow lifted a degree, the eye
penetrated to farther regions; a bird piped warily, then freely, a
second and a third answered, a fourth took up the tale, blue-jay and
thrush, catbird and bobolink; wings began to dart about them, the world
to rustle overhead, near and far the dark prime grew instinct with
sound, the shores and heavens blew out gales of melody, the air broke up
in music. He lifted his oars silently; she caught the sweet-brier, and,
lightly shaking it, a rain of dew-drops dashed with deepest perfume
sprinkled them; they moved on. A thin mist breathed from the lake,
steamed round the boat, and lay like a white coverlet upon the water; a
light wind sprang up and blew it in long rags and ribbons, lifted, and
torn, and streaming, out of sight. All the air was pearly, the sky
opaline, the water now crisply emblazoned with a dark and splendid
jewelry,--the paved-work of a sapphire; a rosy fleece sailed across
their heads, some furnace glowed in the east behind the trees, long
beams fell resplendently through and lay beside vast shadows, the giant
firs stood black and intense against a red and risen sun; they trailed
with one oar through a pad of buds all-unaware of change, stole from
the overhanging thickets through a high-walled pass, where, on the open
lake, the broad, silent, yellow light crept from bloom to bloom and
awoke them with a touch. How perfectly they put off sleep! with what a
queenly calm displayed their spotless snow, their priceless gold, and
shed abroad their matchless scent! He twined his finger round a slippery
serpent-stem, turned the crimson underside of the floating pavilion, and
brought up a waxen wonder from its throne to hang like a star in the
black braids on her temple. An hour's harvesting among the nymphs, in
this rich atmosphere of another world, and with a loaded boat they
turned to shore again.

"Smothered in sweets!" exclaimed Mr. Raleigh, as he sprang out, and woke
Helen Heath, where, slipped down upon the floor of the boat, her head
fallen on her arms, she had lain half-asleep. They were the first words
spoken during the morning, and in such situations silence is dangerous.

When the rest of the family descended to breakfast, they found the
pictures framed in wreaths of lilies, great floats of them in hall and
parlor, and the table laden with flat dishes where with coiled stems
they crowded, a white, magnificent throng. Mr. Raleigh still lingered,
and, while Mrs. Laudersdale and Helen renewed their toilets, had busied
himself in weaving a crown of these and another of poppy-leaves, hanging
the one on Mrs. Laudersdale's head, as she entered refreshed, snowy, and
fragrant herself, and the sleep-giving things on Helen's,--the latter
avenging herself by surveying her companion's adornment, and, as she
adjusted the bloom-gray leaves of her own, inquiring if olives grew
pickled.

Nothing could be more airy and blithe than were Mrs. Laudersdale's
spirits all that morning,--bubbles dancing on a brook, nor foam-sparkle
of rosy Champagne. She related their adventures with graphic swiftness,
and improvised dangers and escapes with such a reckless disregard of
truth that Mr. Raleigh was forced to come to the rescue with more
startling improbabilities than they would have encountered in the
Enchanted Forest.

The red dawn brought its rain, and before they rose from table the
sunshine withdrew and large drops began to patter in good earnest. Mr.
Raleigh, who had generally suffered others to entertain him, now, as
Mrs. McLean ushered the whole company into the sewing-room, seemed
spurred by gayety and brilliance, and to bring into employ all those
secrets through which he had ever annihilated time. For a while devoting
himself to the elder dames, he won the heart of one by a laborious
invention of a million varicolored angles to a square barley-corn of
worsted--work, involved Mrs. McLean's crocheting in an inextricable
labyrinth as he endeavored to afford her some requisite conchological
assistance, and turned with three strokes a very absurd drawing of Mrs.
Laudersdale's into a splendid caricature. Having made himself thus
generally useful, he now proceeded to make himself generally agreeable;
went with all necessary gravity through a series of complicate
dancing-steps with Miss Heath; begged Miss Purcell, who was longing to
cry over her novel, to allow him to read for her, since he saw that she
was trying her eyes, and therewith made _fiasco_ of a page of delicious
dolor; and being challenged to chess by a third, declared that was
child's play, and dominoes was the game for science,--whereon, having
seated a circle at that absorbing sport, he deserted for a meerschaum
and the gentlemen, and in company with Captain Purcell, Mr. McLean, and
the rest, rolled up from the hall below wreaths of smoke, bursts of
laughter, and finally chimes of those concordant voices with which
gentlemen talk politics, and, even when agreeing infamously, become
vociferant and high-colored.

It was after lunch that Mrs. Laudersdale, having grown weary of the
needle-women's thread of discourse, left the sewing-room and proceeded
toward her own apartment. Just as she crossed the head of the staircase,
the hall-door was flung open, admitting a gleeful blast of the
boisterous gale, and an object that, puffing and blowing like a sad-hued
dolphin, and shaking like a Newfoundland, appeared at first to be the
famous South-West Wind, Esq., in proper person,--whose once sumptuous
array clung to his form, and whose face and hands, shining as coal,
rolled off the rain like a bronze.

"Bless my heart, Capua!" cried Mr. Raleigh, removing the stem from his
lips; "how came you here?"

"Lors, Massa, it's only me," said Capua.

"So I see," replied his master, restoring the pipe to its former
position. "How did you come?"

"'Bout swimmed, I 'spect," answered Capua, grounding a chuckle on a reef
of ivory. "'Ta'n't no fish-story, dat!"

"Well, what brings you?"

"Naughty Nan,--she hadn't been out"--

"Do you mean to say, you rascal! that you've taken Nan out on such a
day? and round the lake, too, I'll warrant?" asked Mr. Raleigh, with
some excitement.

"Jes' dat; an' round de lake, ob course; we couldn' come acrost."

"You've ruined her, then"------

"Bress you, Massa, she won't ketch no cold,--she! Smokes like a beaver
now; came like streak o' lightnin'."

"You may as well swim her back,--and where we can all see the sport,
too."

"But"

"No buts about it, Capua," insisted his master, with mock gravity, the
stem between his teeth.

"'Spect I'd better rub her down, now I'se here, an' wait'll it holds up
a bit, Mass' Roger?" urged Capua, coaxingly.

"Do as you're bid!" ejaculated his master; which, evidently, from long
habit, meant, Do as you please.

Mrs. Laudersdale and Helen Heath had crept down the stairs during this
dialogue, and now stood interested spectators of the scene. Mrs. McLean
came running down behind them.

"Forgotten me, Capua?" said she.

"Lors, Miss Kate!" he replied, scraping his foot and pulling off his
hat,--"Cap never f'gets his friends, though you've growed. How d'ye do,
Miss Kate?"

"Nicely, thank you. And how's your wife?"

"My wife? Well, she's 'bout beat out. Massa Roger 'n' I, we buried her;
finer funeral dan Massa Roger's own mother, Miss Kate, dat was!"

"Poor fellow! I'm so sorry!" began Mrs. McLean, consolingly.

"Well, Miss Kate, you know some folks is easier spared 'n others. Some
tongues sharper 'n others. Alwes liked to gib a hot temper time to cool,
's Massa says."

"And how do _you_ do, Capua?"

"Pretty well, Miss Kate; leastways, I'se well enough,--a'n't so pretty."

"_What_ is his name?" whispered Helen.

"'Annible, Missis," said the attentive Capua, whose eyes had been for
some time oscillating with indecision between Helen Heath and Mrs.
Laudersdale. "Hannibal Raleigh's my name; though Massa alwes call me
Cap," he added, insinuatingly,--which, by the way, "Massa" never had
been known to do.

"And are you always going to stay and take care of Master Roger?"

"'Spect I shall. Lors, Miss Kate, he's more bother to me 'n all my
work,--dat boy!"

"That will do, Capua," said his master; "you may go." And therewith
Capua scuffled away.

"Well, Roger, what does this mean?" asked Mrs. McLean, as the door
closed.

"It means that Capua, having been dying of curiosity, has resolved to
die game, and therefore takes matters into his own hands, and arrives to
inspect my conduct and my company."

"Ah, I see. He trembles for his sceptre."

"Miss Heath," said Mr. McLean, rallyingly, "you received a great many of
the sable shafts."

"A Saint Sebastiana," said his wife.

"Did Saint Sebastian die of his wounds?" asked Helen.

"Let me tell you, Miss Helen," said Mr. Raleigh, "that Capua is a
connoisseur, and his _dictum_ is worth all flatteries. If he had only
been with us this morning!"

"You have teased me so much about that, Mr. Raleigh, that I have half a
mind never to go with you on another expedition."

"Make no rash vows. I was just thinking what fine company you would
be when trouting. The most enchanting quiet is required then, you are
aware."

"Oh! when shall we go trouting?"

"We? It was only half a mind, then! We will go to-morrow, wind and
weather agreeing."

"And what must I do?"

"You must keep still, stand in the shadow, and fish up-stream."

At this point, Capua put his head inside the door again.

"What is it?" asked Mr. Raleigh.

"Forgot to say, Massa," replied Capua, rolling his eyes fearfully, and
still hesitating, and half-closing the door, and then looking back.

"Well, Capua?"

"Mass' Raleigh, your house done been burned up!" said Capua, at last,
jerking back his head, as if afraid of losing it.

"Ah? And what did you do with"----

"Oh, eberyting safe an' sound. 'Ta'n't dat house; 'ta'n't dis yer house
Massa lib in;--Massa's _sparrer_-house. Reckoned I'd better come and
'form him."

"Is that all?" asked his master, who was accustomed to Capua's method of
breaking ill news.

"Now, Mass' Roger, don't you go to being pervoked an' flyin' into one
ob dese yer tempers! It's all distinguished now. Ole Cap didn' want to
shock his young massa, so thought 'twarn't de wisest way to tell him
'twarn't de sparrer-house, either, at first. 'Twas de inside ob de
libery, if he must know de troof; wet an' smutty dar now, mebbe, but no
fire."

"Why not? What made the fire go out?" asked Mr. Raleigh, composedly.

"Well, two reasons," replied Capua, rolling a glance over the
company;--"one was dis chile's exertions; an' t'other fact, on account
ob wich de flames was checked, was because dere warn't no more to burn.
Hi!"

"Capua, take Nan, and don't let me see your face again, till I send for
it!" said his master, now slightly irate.

"Massa's nigger alwes mind him," was the dutiful response.

Mrs. Laudersdale's handkerchief fell at that moment from the hand that
hung over the balustrade. Capua darted to restore it.

"Bress her pretty eyes!" said he. "Ole Cap see's fur into a millstone as
any one!" and vanished through the doorway.

"I beg your pardon," said Mr. Raleigh, turning to Mrs. Laudersdale. "He
has refused to leave me, and I must indulge him too much, and my
sins fall on the head of the nearest passer. He appears to have a
constitutional inability to comprehend this absence of punishment. His
immunity is so painful to him that I sometimes fancy him to be homesick
for a lashing. Now if I do not hasten home, Kate, I shall find a
conflagration of the whole house there before me."

And making quick adieux,--while Mrs. Laudersdale jested about tempting
the raging waters, and the dinner-bell was ringing, and Helen singing,
"Come o'er the stream, Charlie, and dine wi' McLean,"--he opened the
door, suffered a patch of blue sky to be seen, and the segment of an
afternoon rainbow, shut it, and was gone.

Early again the next morning, Mr. Raleigh sought the Bawn, followed this
time by Capua, who was determined not to lose any ground once made, and
who now carried the rods, bait, and other paraphernalia.

"Powerful pretty woman, dat, Massa!" said he, as through the open doors
a voice was heard gayly exclaiming and answering.

"Which one, Capua?" asked his master.

"A'n't no t'orrer," was his reply; "leastwise, a'n't no 'count,--good
for nott'n. Now she,--pity she a'n't single, Massa,--should say she'd
lived where sun was plenty and had laid up heaps in her heart."

Here Mrs. Laudersdale came out, and shortly afterward Helen and three or
four others. In reply to their questions, Mr. Raleigh stated that the
preceding day's disaster had been occasioned by a meerschaum, and had
merely charred a table with its superficies of papers and pamphlets,
which Capua had chosen to magnify for his own purposes; and the
assemblage immediately turned its course inland and toward the brooks.
The two who led soon distanced the rest, Capua trudging respectfully
behind and keeping them in sight. Here, as they brushed along through
the woods, they delayed in order to examine a partridge's nest, to
tree a squirrel, to gather some strange wild-flower opening at their
approach. Here on the banks they watched the bitterns rise and sail
heavily away, and finally in silence commenced the genuine sport.

"Nonsense!" said Helen Heath, meaningly, as Mrs. Laudersdale, when the
others joined them, displayed her first capture. "Is that all you've
caught?"

Mrs. Laudersdale drew in another for reply.

"How absurd!" said Helen. "Here a month ago you were the dearest and
most helpless of mortals, and now you are doing everything!"

The other opened her eyes a moment, and then laughed.

"Hush!" said she.

"Shs! shs!" echoed Capua, making an infinite hubbub himself.

Silence accordingly reigned and produced a string fit for the Sultan's
kitchen,--of all the number, Mrs. Laudersdale adding by far the
majority,--possibly because her shining prey found destination in
the same basket with Mr. Raleigh's,--possibly because, as Helen had
intimated, a sudden deftness had bewitched her fingers, so that neither
dropping rod nor tangling reel detained her for an instant.

"Our lines have fallen in pleasant places," said Helen, as they took at
last their homeward path; "and what a shame! not an adventure yet!"

Mrs. McLean hung on Mr. Raleigh's arm as they went,--for she had taken a
whim and feared to see her cousin in the fangs of a coquette; by which
means Helen became the companion of Captain Purcell and his daughter,
and Mrs. Laudersdale kept lightly in advance, leading a gambol with
the greyhound that Capua had added to the party, and presenting in one
person, as she went springing from knoll to knoll along the bank, now in
sunshine, now in shade, lifting the green boughs or sweeping them aside,
a succession of the vivid figures of some antique and processional
frieze. Suddenly, with a quick cry, she disappeared, and Helen had her
adventure. Mr. Raleigh darted forward, while the hound came frisking
back; yet, when he found her fainting in the hollow, stood with stolid
immobility until Capua snatched her up and carried her along in his
arms, leaving his master to reflect how many times such swarthy
servitors might have borne her, as a child, through her island groves.
And thus the party, somewhat sobered, resumed their march again. But in
the discovery that he had not dared to lift her in his arms, he who
took such liberties with every one,--that, lying under her semblance of
death, she had inspired him with a certain awe, that he had suddenly
found this woman to be an object somewhat sacred,--in this discovery Mr.
Raleigh learned not a little. And it would not, perhaps, be an untrue
surmise that he found therein as much of pain as of any other emotion;
since all the experiences and passions of life must share the phenomena
of the great fact itself whose pulse beats through them; and if to love
unawares be to dwell like a child in the region of thoughtless and
innocent bliss, in attaining manhood all the sadness which is to be
eliminated from life becomes apparent, and bliss henceforth must be
sought and earned. From that day, then, Mr. Raleigh with difficulty
retained his former habits, prevented any eagerness of manner,
maintained a cautious vigilance, and in so doing he again became aware
that the easy _insouciance_ with which he addressed all other women had
long been lost toward Mrs. Laudersdale, or, if yet existing, had become
like the light and tender play of any lingering summer-wind in the tress
upon her brow.

Mrs. Laudersdale's ankle having been injured by her fall, and Mrs.
McLean having taken a cold, the two invalids now became during a week
and a day the auditory for all quips and pranks that Miss Heath and Mr.
Raleigh could devise. And on the event of their convalescence, the Lord
of Misrule himself seemed to have ordained the course of affairs, with
a swarming crew of all the imps and mischiefs ever hatched. Mr. Raleigh
and Capua went and came with boat-loads of gorgeous stuff from across
the lake, a little old man appeared on the spot in answer to a flight
of telegrams, machinery and scenery rose like exhalations, music was
brought from the city, all the availables of the family were to be found
in garden, closet, house-top, conning hieroglyphical pages, and the
whole chaotic confusion takes final shape and resolves into a little
Spanish Masque, to which kings and queens have once listened in courtly
state, and which now unrolls its resplendent pageant before the eyes
of Mrs. Laudersdale, translating her, as it were, into another planet,
where familiar faces in pompous entablature look out upon her from a
whirl of light and color, and familiar voices utter stately sentences
in some honeyed unknown tongue. And finally, when the glittering parade
finishes, and the strange groups, in their costly raiment, throng out
for dancing, she herself gives her hand to some Prince of the pageantry,
who does her homage, and, sealing the fact of her restoration, swims
once round the room in a mist of harmony, and afterward sits by his
side, captive to his will, and subject to his enchantment, while

  "All night had the roses heard
  The flute, violin, bassoon,
  All night had the casement jessamine stirred
  With the dancers dancing in tune,
  Till a silence fell with the waking bird
  And a hush with the setting moon."

This little episode of illness and recovery having been thus duly
celebrated, the masqueraders again forswore roofs and spent long days in
distant junketing throughout the woods; the horses, too, were brought
into requisition, and a flock of boats kept forever on the wing. And
meanwhile, as Helen Heath said,--she then least of all comprehending the
real drama of that summer,--Mrs. Laudersdale had taught them how the
Greek animated his statue.

"And how was that?" asked Mr. Raleigh.

"He took it out-doors, I fancy, and called the winds to curl about it.
He set its feet in morning-dew, he let in light and shade through green
dancing leaves above it, he gave it glimpses of moon and star, he taught
the forest-birds to chirp and whistle in its ear, and finally he steeped
it in sunshine."

"Sunshine, then, was the vivifying stroke?"

Helen nodded.

"You are mistaken," said he; "the man never found a soul in his work
till he put his own there first."

"I always wonder," remarked Mrs. Laudersdale here, "that every artist,
in brooding over his marble, adding, touching, bringing out effects,
does not end by loving it,--absorbingly, because so beautiful to
him,--despairingly, because to him forever silent."

"You needn't wonder anything about it," said Helen, mischievously. "All
that you have to do is to make the most of your sunshine."

Mr. McLean, struck with some sudden thought, inspected the three as they
stood in a blaze of the midsummer noon, then crossed over to his little
wife, drew her arm in his, and held it with cautious imprisonment. The
other wife did as she was bidden, and made the most of her sunshine.

If, on first acquaintance, Mrs. Laudersdale had fascinated by her
repose, her tropical languor, her latent fire, the charm was none the
less, when, turning, it became one dazzle of animation, of careless
freedom, of swift and easy grace. Nor, unfamiliar as were such traits,
did they seem at all foreign to her, but rather, when once donned, never
to have been absent; as if, indeed, she had always been this royal
creature, this woman bright and winning as some warm, rich summer's day.
The fire that sleeps in marble never flashes and informs the whole
mass so fully; if a pearl--lazy growth and accretion of amorphous
life--should fuse and form again in sparkling crystals, the miracle
would be less. And with what complete unconsciousness had she stepped
from passive to positive existence, and found this new state to be as
sweet and strange as any child has found it! Long a wife, she had known,
nevertheless, nothing but quiet custom or indifference, and had dreamed
of love only as the dark and silent side of the moon might dream of
light. Now she grew and unfolded in the warmth of this season, like a
blossom perfumed and splendid. Sunbeams seemed to lance themselves
out of heaven and splinter about her. She queened it over demesnes of
sprite-like revelry; the life they led was sylvan; at their _fêtes_
the sun assisted. The summer held to her lips a glass whose rosy
effervescence, whose fleeting foam, whose tingling spirit exhaled a
subtile madness of joy,--a draught whose lees were despair. So nearly
had she been destitute of emotion hitherto that she had scarcely a right
to be classed with humanity; now, indeed, she would win that right. Not
only her character, but her beauty, became another thing under all this
largess; one remembered the very Persian rose, in looking at her, and
thought of gardens amid whose clouds of rich perfume the nightingales
sang all night long; her manner, too, became strangely gracious, and a
sweetness lingered after her presence, delicate and fine as the drop of
honey in some flower's nectary. So she woke from her icy trance; but,
alas! what had wakened her?

The summer was passing. Every day the garden-scenes of Watteau became
vivid and real; every evening Venice was made possible, when shadowy
barks slipped down dusk tides, freighted with song and laughter, and
snatches of guitar-tinkling; and when some sudden torch, that for an
instant had summoned with its red fire all fierce lights and strong
glooms, dipped, hissed, and quenched below, and, a fantastic flotilla,
they passed on into the broad brilliance of a rising moon, all
Middle-Age mythology rose and wafted them back into the obscurity. It
was a life too fine for every day, fare too rich for health; they must
be exotics who did not wither in such hot-house air. It was rapidly
becoming unnatural. They performed in the daylight stray clarified bits
from Fletcher or Molière, drama of an era over-ripe; they sang only from
an old book of madrigals; their very reading was fragmentary,--now an
emasculated Boccaccio, then a curdling phantasm of Poe's, and after some
such scenic horror as the "Red Death" Helen Heath dashed off the Pesther
Waltzes.

If, finally, on one of the last August-nights, we had passed,
Asmodeus-like, over the roofs, looking down, we should have seen three
things. First, that Mrs. Laudersdale slept like any innocent dreamer,
and, wrapped with white moonlight, in her long and flowing outline, in
her imperceptible breath, resembling some perfect statue that we fancy
to be instinct with suspended life. Next, that Mr. Raleigh did not sleep
at all, but absorbed himself, to the entire disturbance of Capua's
slumbers, in the rapture of reproducing as he could the turbulent
passion and joy of souls larger than his own. And, lastly, that Mrs.
McLean woke with visions of burglars before her eyes, to find her pillow
deserted and her husband sitting at a writing-table.

"How startled I was!" she exclaimed. "What are you doing, dear?"

"Writing to Laudersdale," he said, in reply.

"Why, what for?--what can you be writing to him for?"

"I think it best he should come and take his wife off my hands."

"How absurd! how contemptible! how all you husbands band together like a
parcel of slaveholders, and hunt down each other's runaways!"

Mr. McLean laughed.

"Now, John, you're not making mischief?"

"No, child, I am preventing it." And therewith the worthy man, dropping
the wax on the envelope, imprinted it with a Scotch crest, and put out
the light "That's off my mind!" said he.

At last September came; a few more weeks, and they would separate,
perhaps, to the four corners of the earth. Mr. Raleigh arrived one
afternoon at the Bawn, and finding no one to welcome him,--that is to
say, Mrs. Laudersdale had gone out, and Helen Heath was invisible,--he
betook himself to a solitary stroll, and, by a short cut through the
woods, to the highway, and just before emerging from the green shadows
he met Mrs. Laudersdale.

"Whither now, Wandering Willie?" said she; for, singularly enough, they
seemed to avoid speaking each other's name in direct address, using
always some title suggested by their reading or singing, or some
sportive impromptu.

"I am going to take the road."

"Like a gallant highwayman?" And without more ado, and naturally enough,
she accompanied him.

The conversation, this afternoon, was sufficiently insignificant;
indeed, Mrs. Laudersdale always affected you more by her silence than
her speech, by what she was rather than by what she said; and it is
only the impression produced on her by this walk with which we have any
concern.

The road, narrow and winding in high banks fringed with golden-rod and
purple asters, was at first completely shadowed,--an old, deep-rutted,
cross country road, birch-trees shivering at either side, and every now
and then a puff of pine-breath drifting in between. After a time it rose
gradually into the turnpike, and became a long, dusty track, stretching
as far as the eye could see, a straight, dazzling line, burnt white by
summer-heats, powdered by travel. There was no wind stirring; the sky
was lost in a hot film stained here and there with sulphurous wreaths;
the distant fields, skirted by low hills, were bathed in an azure
mist; nearer, a veil of dun and dimmer smoke from burning brush hung
motionless; around their feet the dust whirled and fell again. Bathed
in soft, voluptuous tints, hazed and mellowed, into what weird, strange
country were they hastening? What visionary land of delight, replete
with perfume and luxury, lay ever beyond?--what region rich, unknown,
forbidden, whose rank vegetation steamed with such insidious poison? And
on what arid, barren road, what weary road,--but, alas, long worn and
beaten by the feet of other wayfarers! a road that ran real and strong
through this noxious and seducing mirage!

A sudden blast of wind lifted a cloud of dust from before them and
twisted it down among the meadows; the sun thrust aside his shroud and
burnt for an instant on a scarlet maple-bough that hung in premature
brilliance across the way. The hasty color, true and fine, was like a
spell against enchantment; it was the drop that tested the virtue of
this chemistry and proved it naught.

Mrs. Laudersdale looked askance at her companion, then turned and met
his gaze. Slowly her lashes fell, the earth seemed to fail beneath her
feet, the light to swoon from her eyes, her lips shook, and a full
flush swept branding and burning up throat and face, stinging her very
forehead, and shooting down her fingertips. In an instant it had faded,
and she shone the pallid, splendid thing she was before. In that
instant, for the first time this summer, she comprehended that her
husband's existence imported anything to her. Behind the maple-tree, the
wood began again; without a syllable, she stepped aside, suffered him to
pass, and hastened to bury herself in its recesses.

What lover ever accounted for his mistress's caprices? Mr. Raleigh
proceeded on his walk alone. And what was her husband to him? He did
not know that such a man existed. For him there had been no deadly
allurement in the fervid scene; it had stretched a land of promise
veiled in its azure ardors, with intimations of rapture and certainty of
rest. Now, as he wandered on and turned down another lane to the woods,
the tints grew deeper; his eyes, bent inward, saw all the world in the
color of his thought; he would have affirmed that the bare brown banks
were lined in deep-toned indigo flower-bells whose fragrance rose
visible above them or curled from stem to stem, and that the hollows
in which the path hid itself at last were of the same soft gloom. But,
finally, when not far distant from the Bawn again, he shook off his
reverie and struck another path that he might avoid rencontre. Perhaps
the very sound that awoke him was the one he wished to shun; at the next
step it became more distinct,--a child's voice singing some tuneless
song; and directly a tiny apparition appeared before him, as if it had
taken shape, with its wide, light eyes and corn-silk hair, from the most
wan and watery of sunbeams. But what had a child to do in this paradise,
thought he, and from whence did it come? Impossible to imagine. Her
garments, of rich material, hung freshly torn, it may be, but in shreds;
her skin, if that of some fair and delicate nursling, was stained with
berries and smeared with soil; she seemed to have no destination; and
after surveying him a moment, she mounted a fallen tree, and, bending
and swinging forward over a bough, still surveyed him.

"Ah, ha!" said Mr. Roger Raleigh; "what have we here?"

The child still looked in his face, but vouchsafed, in her swinging, no
reply.

"What is the little lady's name?" he asked then.

This query, apparently more comprehensible, elicited a response. She
informed him that her name was "Dymom, Pink, and Beauty."

"Indeed! And anything else?"

"Rose Pose," she added, as if soliciting the aid of memory by lifting
her hands near her temples.

"Is that all?"

"Little silly Daffodilly."

"No more?"

"Rite."

"Rite,--ah, that is it! Rite what?"

"Rite!" said the child, authoritatively, bringing down her foot and
shaking back her hair.

"And how old is Rite?"

"One, two, four, twenty. Maman is twenty;--Rite is twenty, too."

"When was Rite four?"

"A great while ago. She went to heaven in the afternoon," was added,
confidentially, after a moment's inspection to see if he were worthy.

"Ah! And what was there there?"

"Pitchtures, and music, and peoples, and a great house."

"And where is Rite going now?"

"Going away in a ship."

"Rite will have to wash her face first."

But at this proposition the child flashed open her pale-blue orbs,
half-closed them as a sleepy cat does, and, with no other change of
countenance to mark her indignation, appeared to shut him out from her
contemplation. Directly afterward, she opened them again, bent forward
and back over the swinging, and recommenced her song, as if there were
not another person than herself within a hundred miles. Half-hidden in
the great hemlock-bough, this tiny, fantastic creature, so fair, so
supercilious, seemed in her waywardness a veritable fay, mate for any of
the little men in green, bibbers of dewdrops, lodgers in bean-blossoms,
Green-Jacket, Red-Cap, and White-Owl's-Feather.

Mr. Raleigh hesitated whether or not he should remain and watch her fade
away into the twilight, wondered if she were bewitching him, then rubbed
his hand across his eyes and said, in a disenchanted, matter-of-fact
manner,--

"Do you know your way home, child?" and obtained, of course, no reply.
For an instant he had half the mind to leave her to find it; but at once
convicted of his absurdity, "Then I shall take you with me," he said,
making a step toward her,--"because you are, or will be, lost."

At the motion, she darted past and stood defiantly just out of his
reach. Mr. Raleigh attempted to seize her, but he might as easily have
put his hand on a butterfly; she eluded him always when within his
grasp, and led him such a dance up and down the forest-path as none
other than a will-o'-the-wisp, it seemed, could have woven. All at once
a dark figure glided out from another alley and snatched the sprite into
its arms. It was a colored nurse, who poured out a torrent of broken
French and English over the runaway, and made her acknowledgments to Mr.
Raleigh in the same jargon. As she turned to go, the child stretched her
arms toward her late pursuer, making the nurse pause, and, putting up
her little lips, touched with them his own; then, picturesque as ever,
and thrown into relief by the scarlet sack, snowy turban, and sable skin
of her bearer, she disappeared. It is doubtful if in all his life Mr.
Raleigh would ever receive a purer, sweeter kiss.

He had promised to be at the Bawn that evening, and now accordingly
sought the shore, where the Arrow lay, and was soon within the shelter
of his own house. The arrangement of toilet was a brief matter; and that
concluded, Mr. Raleigh entered his library, an apartment now slightly in
disarray, and therefore, perhaps, not uncongenial with his present mood.
After strolling round the place, Mr. Raleigh paused at the window an
instant, the window overhung with clematis, and commanding the long
stretch of water between him and the Bawn, which last was, however, too
distant for any movement to be discerned there. Soon Mr. Raleigh turned
his back upon the scene that lay pictured in such beauty below, and,
throwing himself into a deep armchair, remained motionless and plunged
in thought for many moments. Rising at last, he took from the table a
package of letters from India that had arrived in his absence. Glancing
absently at the superscriptions, breaking the seal of one, he replaced
them: it would take too long to read them now; they must wait. Then
Mr. Raleigh had recourse to a universal panacea, and walked to and fro
across the room, with measured, unvarying steps, till the striking clock
warned him that time was passing. Mr. Raleigh drew near his desk again,
took up the pen, and hesitated; then recalling his gaze that had seemed
to search his own inmost soul, he drew the paper nearer and wrote.

What he wrote, the very words, may not signify; with the theme one is
sufficiently acquainted. Perhaps he poured out there all that had so
often trembled on his lips without finding utterance; perhaps, if ever
passionate heart flashed its own fire into its implements, this pen and
paper quivered beneath the current throbbing through them. The page was
brief, but therein all was said. Sealing it hastily, he summoned Capua.

"Capua," said he, giving him the note, "you are to go with me across the
lake now. We shall return somewhere between eleven and twelve. Just
as we leave, you are to give this note to Mrs. Laudersdale. Do you
understand?"

"Yah, Massa, let dis chile alone," responded Capua, grinning at the
prospect of society, and speedily following his master.

The breeze had fallen, so that they rowed the whole distance, with the
idle sail hanging loosely, and arrived only just as the red sunset
painted the lake behind them with blushing shadows. Mr. Raleigh
joined Helen Heath and his cousin in the hall; Capua, superb with the
importance of his commission, sought another entrance. But just as the
latter individual had crossed the threshold, he encountered the nurse
whom his master had previously met in the wood. Nothing could have
been more acceptable in his eyes than this addition to the circle
below-stairs. Capua's hat was in his hand at once, and bows and curtsies
and articulations and gesticulations followed with such confusing
rapidity, that, when the mutually pleased pair turned in company toward
the kitchens, a scrap of white paper, that had fluttered down in the
disorder, was suffered to remain unnoticed on the floor. The courier had
lost his despatch. Coming in from her walk, not five minutes later, Mrs.
Laudersdale's eye was caught thereby; stooping to take it, she read
with surprise her own name thereon, and ascended the stairs possessed
thereof.

What burden of bliss, what secret of sorrow, lay infolded there, that
at the first thought she covered it with sudden kisses, and the next,
crushing it against her heart, burst into a wild weeping? Again and
again she read it, and at every word its intense magnetic strength
thrilled her, rapt her from remembrance, conquered her. She seized a
pencil and wrote hurriedly:--

"You are right. With you I live, without you I die. You shut heaven out
from me; make earth, then, heaven. Come to me, for I love you. Yes, I
love you."

She did not stay to observe the contrast between her fervent sentences
and the weak, faint characters that expressed them, but hastily sought
the servant who was accustomed to act as postman, gave him directions to
acquaint her of its reception, and watched him out of sight. All that in
the swiftness of a fever-fit. Scarcely had the boat vanished when old
thoughts rushed over her again and she would have given her life to
recall it. Returning, she found Capua eagerly searching for the lost
letter, and thus learned that she was not to have received it until
several hours later.

Perhaps no other woman in her situation could have done what Mrs.
Laudersdale had done, without incurring more guilt. There could be
few who had been reared in such isolation as she,--whose intellect,
naturally subject to her affection, had become more so through the
absence of systematic education,--whose morality had been allowed to be
merely one of instinct,--to whom introspection had been till now a thing
unknown,--and who, accepting a husband as another child accepts a
parent, had, in the whirl of gay life where she afterward reigned, found
so little time for thought, and remained in such mental unsophistication
as to experience now her first passion.

As Mrs. Laudersdale entered her room again, the opposite door opened and
admitted that individual the selfishness of whose marriage was but half
expiated when he found himself on the surplus side of the world.

In the mean while, Mr. Raleigh was gayly passing the time with Helen
Heath. There were to be some guests from the town that evening, and they
were the topic of her discourse.

"I wonder if we are never to have tea," said she at last, looking at her
watch.

"I didn't know you were attached to the custom," said he, indifferently,
as he had said everything else, while intently listening for a footstep.

"Ah! but I like to see other folks take their bitters."

"Do not even the publicans the same?"

"You will become a proficient chemist, converting the substance of my
remarks to airy nothings through your gospel-retorts."

"Oh, I understand your optics as well. You like to see other folks;
taking the bitters is another thing. The tea-bell is a tocsin."

"Pshaw! _You_ don't care to see any one! But shall there be no more
cakes and ale? Haven't you any sympathy for a sweet tooth?"

"None at all."

"Not even in Mrs. Laudersdale's instance?"

"Mrs. Laudersdale has a sweet tooth, then?" Mr. Raleigh asked in return,
as if there were any trivial thing concerning her in which he could yet
be instructed.

"I'm not going to tell you anything about Mrs. Laudersdale."

"There comes that desired object, the tea-tray. It's not to be formal,
then, to-night. That's a blessing! What shall I bring you?" he
continued,--"tea or cocoa?"

"Neither. You may have the tea, and I'll leave the cocoa for Mrs.
Laudersdale."

"Mrs. Laudersdale drinks cocoa, then?"

"You may bring me some milk and macaroons."

As Mr. Raleigh was about to obey, his little apparition of the wood
suddenly appeared in the doorway, followed by her nurse,--having arisen
from the discipline of bath and brush, fair and spotless as a snowflake.
She flitted by him with a mocking recognition.

"Rite!" cried a voice from above, familiar, but with how strange a tone
in it! "Little Rite!"

"Maman!" cried the sprite, and went dancing up the stairs.

Mr. Raleigh's face, as he turned, darkened with a heavier flush than
half a score of Indian summers branded upon it afterward.

"That is Mrs. Laudersdale's little maid?" asked he, when, after a few
moments, he brought the required salver.

"Yes,--would you ever suspect it?" Numberless as had been the times he
had heard her speak of Rite, he never had suspected it, but had always
at the name pictured some indifferent child, some baby-friend, or cousin
by courtesy.

"She is not like her mother," said he, coolly.

"The very antipodes,--all her father.--Bless me! What is this? A real
Laudersdale mess,--custards and cheesecakes,--and I detest them both."

"Blame my unfortunate memory. I thought I had certainly pleased you,
Miss Helen."

"When you forgot my orders? Well, never mind. Isn't she exquisite?"

"Isn't who exquisite? Oh, the little maid? Quite! Why hasn't she been
here all summer?"

"She was always a sickly, ailing thing, and has been at one of those
rich Westchester farms where health and immortality are made. And now
she is going away to Martinique, where her grandmother will take charge
of her, bottle up those spirits, and make her a second edition of her
mother. By the way, how that mother has effervesced this summer!"
continued Helen, as the detested custard disappeared. "I wonder what
made her. Do you suppose it was because her husband was away?"

At that instant Mrs. Laudersdale came sailing down the stairs.

A week previously, when, to repay the civilities of their friends in
the neighboring city, Mrs. McLean had made a little fancy-party, Helen,
appearing as Champagne, all in rosy gauzes with a veiling foam of
dropping silver lace, had begged Mrs. Laudersdale to give her prominence
by dressing for Port; and accordingly that lady had arrayed herself
in velvet, out of which her shoulders rose like snow, and whose rich
duskiness made her perfect pallor more apparent, while its sumptuous
body of color was sprinkled with glittering crystal drops and
coruscations; and wreathing her forehead with crisp vine-leaves and
tendrils, she had bunched together in intricate splendor all the
amethysts, carbuncles, garnets, and rubies in the house, for
grape-clusters at the ear, till she seemed, with her smile and her
sunshine, the express and incarnate spirit of vintage. To-night,
stripped of its sparkling drops, she wore the same dress, and in her
hair a wreath of fresh white roses. Behind her descended a tall and
stately gentleman. She swept forward. "Mr. Raleigh," she murmured, while
her eyes diffused their gloom and fell, "let me introduce you to my
husband!"

The blow had come previously. Mr. Raleigh bowed almost to the ground,
without a word, then looked up and offered his hand. Mr. Laudersdale
comprehended the whole matter at a heartbeat, and took it. Then they
moved on toward other friends, whom, while waiting for knowledge of his
wife's return from her walk, Mr. Laudersdale had not seen. Mr. Raleigh
went in search of Capua, and ere long reappeared.

It grew quite dark; the candles were lighted. Rite slipped in, and,
after having flown about like a thistle-down for a while, mounted a
chair and put her arms about her mother's shoulders. Then Mr. Raleigh,
sitting silently on a sofa, attracted her, and shortly afterward she had
curled herself beside him and fallen asleep with her head upon his
knee; otherwise he did not touch her. Mrs. Laudersdale stood by an open
casement; the servant who had carried her note came up the lawn and
spoke to her from without. There was no one in the house, and he had
left it on the library-table. The pressure of those tender little arms
was yet warm about the mother's neck; she glanced sidelong at the
sleeping child. "He shall never see that note!" she murmured, and
slipped through the casement.

Accustomed to all rash and intrepid adventure during this summer, it
was nothing for her to unmoor a boat, enter it, and lift the oars, not
pausing to observe that it was the Arrow. Just then, however, a little
wind ruffled down and shook the sail, a wind not quite favorable, but in
which she could tack across and back; she drew in the oars, put to the
proof all her new boat-craft, and recklessly dashed through the dark
element that curled and seethed about her. She had to make but two tacks
in that hour's impetuous progress, before the house rose, as it had
frequently done before, glooming at but a few rods' distance, and
loading with odorous breath the air that tossed its vines ere stealing
across the lake. She trembled now, and remembered that she alone of all
the party had always unconsciously evaded entering Mr. Raleigh's house,
had never seen the house nearer than now, and never been its guest. It
was entering some dark, unknown place; it was to intrude on a sacred
region. But the breeze hurried her along while she thought, and the next
moment the keel was buried in the sand. There was no time to lose; she
left the boat, ascended a flight of stone steps close at hand, and
was in the garden. Low, ripe greenery was waving over her here, deep
alluring shadows opening around, full fresh fragrance fanning idly to
and fro and stealing her soul away. Beyond, the lake gleamed darkly, the
water lapped gently, the wind sighed and fell like a fluttering breath.
She would have lingered forever,--she dared not linger a moment. She
brushed the dew from the heavy blossoms as she swept on, then the
drenching branches swayed and closed behind her; she found a door ajar,
and hastily entered the first room which appeared.

There were stray starbeams in this apartment; her eyes were accustomed
to the gloom; she could dimly discern the great book-cases lining the
wall,--an antique chair,--the glittering key-board of a grand-piano that
stood apart, yet thrilling perhaps with recent harmonies,--a colossal
head of Antinoüs, that self-involved dreamer, stone-entranced in a calm
of passion. She had been feverishly agitated; but as this white silence
dawned upon her, so strong, yet voluptuous, never sad, making in its
masque of marble one intense moment eternal, some of the same power
spread soothingly over her. She paused a moment to gather the thronging
thoughts. How still the room was! she had not known that music was at
his command before. How sweet the air that blew in at the window! what
late flowers bore such pungent balm? That portrait leaning half-startled
from the frame, was it his mother? These books, were they the very ones
that had fed his youth? How everything was yet warm from his touch! how
his presence yet lingered! how much of his life had passed into the dim
beauty of the place! How each fresh waft from the blooms without came
drowned in fine perfume, laden with delicious languor! What heaven was
there! and, ah! what heaven was yet possible there!

Something that had flitted from the table in the draught, and had
hovered here and there along the floor, now lay at her foot; she caught
it absently; it was her letter. To snatch it from its envelope, and so
tear it the more easily to atoms, was her first thought; but as suddenly
she paused. Was it hers? Though written and sealed by her hand, had she
any longer possession therein? Had she more authority over it than over
any other letter that might be in the room? Absurd refinement of honor!
She broke the seal. Yet stay! Was there no justice due to him? That
letter which had been read long before the intended time, whose delivery
any accident might have frustrated, whose writer might have recalled it,
--did it demand no magnanimity of reply on her part? Had he now no claim
to the truth from her? As she knew what he never would have told her an
hour later, had she a right to recede from the position she had taken in
response, simply because she could and he could not? Should she ignobly
refuse him his right?

Whether this were a sophism of sin or the logic of highest virtue, she,
who would have blotted out her writing with her heart's blood, did not
wait to weigh.

"To him, also, I owe a duty!" she exclaimed, dropped the letter where
she had found it, and fled,--fled, hurrying through all the bewildering
garden-walks, down from the fragrance, the serenity, the bowery
seclusion, from all this conspiring loveliness that tempted her to dally
and commanded her to stay,--fled from this dream of passion, this region
of joy,--fled forever, as she thought, out into the wide, chill, lonely
night.

Pushing off the boat and springing in, once more the water curled
beneath the parting prow, and she shot with her flashing sail and
hissing wake heedlessly, like a phantom, past another boat that was
making more slowly in to shore.

"This way, Helen," murmurs a subdued voice. "There are some steps, Mr.
Laudersdale. Here we are; but it's dark as Erebus. Give me your hand;
I'm half afraid; after that spectre that walked the water just now,
these shadows are not altogether agreeable. There's the door,--careful
housekeeper, this Mr. Raleigh! I wonder what McLean would say. Don't
believe he'd like it."

"What made you come, then?" asks Helen, as they step within.

"Oh, just for the frolic; it was getting stupid, too. I suppose we've
ruined our dresses. But there! we must hurry and get back. I didn't
think it would take so long. He can't manage a boat so well as Roger,"
adds Mrs. McLean, in a whisper.

"Goodness!" exclaims Helen. "I can't see an inch of the way. We shall
certainly deal devastation."

"I've been exploring a mantel-shelf; here's a candle, but how to light
it? Haven't you a match, Mr. Laudersdale?"

That gentleman produces one from a little pocket-safe; it proves a
failure,--and so a second, and a third.

"This is the last, Mrs. McLean. Have your candle ready."

The little jet of flame flashes up.

"Quick, Helen! a scrap of paper, quick!"

"I don't know where to find any. Here's a billet on the floor; the
seal's broken; Mr. Raleigh don't read his letters, you know; shall I
take it?"

"Anything, yes! My fingers are burning! Quick, it's the last match!
There!"

Helen waves a tiny flambeau, the candle is lighted, the flame whirled
down upon the hearth and trodden out.

"I wonder what it was, though," adds Mrs. McLean, stooping over it.
"Some of our correspondence. No matter, then. Now for that Indian mail.
Here,--no,--this must be it. 'Mr. Roger Raleigh,'--'Roger Raleigh,
Esq.,'--that's not it. 'Day, Knight, & Co., for Roger Raleigh.' Why, Mr.
Laudersdale, that's your firm. Aren't you the Co. there? Ah, here it is,
--'Mrs. Catherine McLean, care of Mr. Roger Raleigh.' Doesn't that look
handsomely, Helen?" contemplating it with newly married satisfaction.

"Now you have it, come!" urges Helen.

"No, indeed! I must find that Turkish tobacco, to reward Mr. Laudersdale
for his heroic exertions in our behalf."

Mr. Laudersdale, somewhat fastidious and given to rigid etiquette, looks
as if the exertions would be best rewarded by haste. Mrs. McLean takes
the candle in hand and proceeds on a tour of the apartment.

"There! isn't this the article? John says it's pitiful stuff, not to be
compared with Virginia leaf. Look at this meerschaum, Mr. Laudersdale;
there's an ensample. Prettily colored, is it not?"

"Now are you coming?" asks Helen.

"Would you? We've never been here without my worshipful cousin before; I
should like to investigate his domestic arrangements. Needle and thread.
Now what do you suppose he is doing with needle and thread? Oh,
it's that little lacework that Mrs.----Sketches! I wonder whom he's
sketching. You, Helen? Me? Upside down, of course. No, it's----Yes, we
may as well go. Come!"

And in the same breath Mrs. McLean blows out the candle and precedes
them. Mr. Laudersdale scorns to secure the sketch; and holding back
the boughs for Miss Heath, and assisting her down the steps, quietly
follows.

Meantime, Mrs. Laudersdale has reached her point of departure again, has
stolen up out of the white fog now gathering over the lake, slipped into
her former place, and found all nearly as before. The candles had been
taken away, so that light came merely from the hall and doorways.
Some of the guests were in the brilliant dining-room, some in the
back-parlor. Mr. Raleigh, while Fate was thus busying herself about him,
still sat motionless, one hand upon the sofa's side, one on the back,
little Rite still sleeping on his knee. Capua came and exchanged a
few words with his master; then the colored nurse stepped through the
groups, sought the child, and carried her away, head and arms hanging
heavy with slumber. Still Mr. Raleigh did not move. Mrs. Laudersdale
stood in the window, vivid and glowing. There were no others in the
room.

"Where is Mrs. McLean?" asked Mary Purcell at the door, after the
charade in which she had been engaged was concluded.

"Gone across the lake with Nell and Mr. Laudersdale for a letter,"
replied Master Fred Heath, who had returned that afternoon from the
counting-room, with his employer, and now sauntered by.

Mrs. Laudersdale started; she had not escaped too early; but then----Her
heart was beating in her throat.

"What letter?" asked Mrs. Heath, with amiable curiosity, as she joined
them.

"Do you know what letter, Mr. Raleigh?"

"One from India, Madame," was his response.

"Strange! Helen gone without permission! What was in the letter, I
wonder. Do you know what was in the letter, Mr. Raleigh?"

"Congratulations, and a recommendation of Mrs. McLean's cousin to her
good graces," he said.

"Oh, it was not Helen's, then?"

"No."

"My young gentleman's not in good humor to-night," whispered Mrs. Heath
to Miss Purcell, with a significant nod, and moving off.

"How did you know what was in Mrs. McLean's letter, Sir?" asked Mary
Purcell.

"I conjectured. In Mrs. Heath's place, I should have known."

"There they come!--you can always tell Mrs. McLean's laugh. You've lost
all the charades, Helen!"

They came in, very gay, and seemed at once to arouse an airier and finer
spirit among the humming clusters. Mr. Laudersdale did not join his
wife, but sat on the piazza talking with Mr. McLean. People were looking
at an herbal, others coquetting, others quiet. Some one mentioned music.
Directly afterward, Mr. Raleigh rose and approached the piano. Every
one turned. Taking his seat, he threw out a handful of rich chords; the
instrument seemed to diffuse a purple cloud; then, buoyed over perfect
accompaniment, the voice rose in that one love-song of the world. What
depth of tenderness is there from which the "Adelaide" does not sound?
What secret of tragedy, too? Singing, he throbbed through it a vitality
as if the melody surcharged with beauty grew from his soul, and were his
breath of life, indeed. The thrilling strain came to penetrate and
fill one heart; the passionate despair surged round her; the silence
following was like the hand that closes the eyes of the dead.

Mr. Raleigh did not rise, nor look up, as he finished.

"How melancholy!" said Helen Heath, breaking the hush.

"All music should be melancholy," said he.

"How absurd, Roger!" said his cousin. "There is much music that is only
intensely beautiful."

"Intense beauty at its height always drops in pathos, or rather the soul
does in following it,--since that is infinite, the soul finite."

"Nonsense! There's that song, Number Three in Book One"----

"I don't remember it."

"Well, there's no pathos there! It's just one trill of laughter and
merriment, a sunbeam and effect. Play it, Helen."

Helen went, and, extending her hands before Mr. Raleigh, played a couple
of bars; he continued where she left it, as one might a dream, and,
strangely enough, the little, gushing sparkle of joy became a phantom of
itself, dissolving away in tears.

"Oh, of course," said Mrs. McLean, "you can make mouths in a glass,
if you please; but I, for one, detest melancholy! Don't you, Mrs.
Laudersdale?"

Mrs. Laudersdale had shrunk into the shadow of the curtain. Perhaps she
did not hear the question; for her reply, that did not come at once, was
the fragment of a Provencal romance, sung,--and sung in a voice neither
sweet nor rich, but of a certain personal force as potent as either, and
a stifled strength of tone that made one tremble.

  "We're all alone, we're all alone!
  The moon and stars are dead and gone,
  The night's at deep, the winds asleep,
  And thou and I are all alone!

  "What care have we, though life there be?
  Tumult and life are not for me!
  Silence and sleep about us creep:
  Tumult and life are not for thee!

  "How late it is since such as this
  Had topped the height of breathing bliss!
  And now we keep an iron sleep,--
  In that grave thou, and I in this!"

Her voice yet shivered through the room, he struck a chord of dead
conclusion, the curtain stirred, she emerged from the gloom and was
gone.

Mr. Raleigh rose and bade his cousin good-night. Mrs. McLean, however,
took his arm and sauntered with him down the lawn.

"I thought Capua came with you," she remarked.

"He returned in a spare wherry, some time since," he replied; and
thereon they made a few paces in silence.

"Roger," said the little lady, taking breath preparatory to wasting it,
"I thought Helen was a coquette. I've changed my mind. The fault is
yours."

He turned and looked down at her with some surprise.

"You know we haven't much more time, and certainly"----

"Kate!"

"Yes,--don't scold!--and if you are going to propose, I really think you
ought to, or else"----

"You think I ought to marry Miss Heath?"

"Why--I--well----Oh, dear! I wish I had held my peace!"

"That might have been advisable."

"Don't be offended now, Roger!"

"Is there any reason to suppose her--to suppose me"----

"Yes, there!" replied Mrs. McLean, desperately.

He was silent a moment.

"Good God, Kate!" said he, then, clasping his hands behind his head,
and looking up the deep transparence of the unanswering night. "What a
blessing it is that life don't last forever!"

"But it does, Roger," she uttered under her breath,--terrified at his
abrupt earnestness, and unwitting what storm she had aroused.

"The formula changes," he replied, with his old air, and retracing their
steps.

The guests were all gone. Helen Heath was eating an ice; he bent over
her chair and said,--

"Good-night, Miss Helen!"

"Oh, good-night, Mr. Raleigh! You are going? Well, we're all going soon.
What a glorious summer it has been! Aren't you sorry we must part?"

"Why must we part?" he asked in a lower tone. "Where is the necessity of
our parting? Why won't you stay forever, Helen?"

She turned and surveyed him quickly, while a red--whether of joy or
anger he could not tell--flashed up her cheek.

"Do you mean"----

"Miss Heath, I mean, will you marry me?"

"Mr. Raleigh, no!"

With a bow he passed on.

Mr. Raleigh trimmed the Arrow's sail, for the breeze had sunk again, and
swept slowly out with one oar suspended. A waning moon was rising behind
the trees, it fell upon the little quay that had been built that summer,
and seemed with its hollow beams still to continue the structure upon
the water. The Arrow floated in the shadow just beyond. Mr. Raleigh's
eyes were on the quay; he paused, nerveless, both oars trailing, a cold
damp starting on his forehead. Some one approached as if looking out
upon the dim sheet,--some one who, deceived by the false light, did not
know the end to be so near, and walked forward firmly and confidently.
Indeed, the quay had been erected in Mr. Laudersdale's absence. The
water was deep there, the bottom rocky.

"Shout and warn him of his peril!" urged a voice in Mr. Raleigh's heart.

"Let him drown!" urged another voice.

If he would have called, the sound died a murmur in his throat. His eyes
were on the advancing figure; it seemed as if that object were to be
forever branded on the retina. Still as he gazed, he was aware of
another form, one sitting on the quay, unseen in shadow like himself,
and seeing what he saw, and motionless as he. Would Mrs. Laudersdale
dip her hands in murder? It all passed in a second of time; at the next
breath he summoned every generous power in his body, sprang with the
leap of a wild creature, and confronted the recoiling man. Ere his foot
touched the quay, the second form had glided from the darkness, and
seized her husband's arm.

"A thousand pardons, Sir," said Mr. Raleigh, then. "I thought you were
in danger. Mrs. Laudersdale, good-night!"

It was an easy matter to regain the boat, to gather up his oars, and
shoot away. Till they faded from sight, he saw her still beside him;
and so they stood till the last echo of the dipping oars was muffled in
distance and lost.

Summer-nights are brief; breakfast was late on the next morning,--or
rather, Mrs. Laudersdale was late, as usual, to partake it.

"Shall I tell you some news?" asked Helen Heath.

She lifted her heavy eyes absently.

"Mrs. McLean has made her husband a millionnaire. There was an Indian
mail yesterday. Mr. Raleigh read his letters last night, after going
home. His uncle is dying,--old, unfortunate, forlorn. Mr. Raleigh has
abandoned everything, and must hew his own way in the world from this
day forward. He left this morning for India."

When you saw Mrs. Laudersdale for the first time, at a period thirteen
years later, would you have imagined her possessed of this little drama?
You fancy now that in this flash all the wealth of her soul burned out
and left her a mere volition and motive power? You are mistaken, as I
said.

[To be continued.]

       *       *       *       *       *


GONE.


  A silent, odor-laden air,
  From heavy branches dropping balm;
  A crowd of daisies, milky fair,
  That sunward turn their faces calm,
  So rapt, a bird alone may dare
  To stir their rapture with its psalm.

  So falls the perfect day of June,
  To moonlit eve from dewy dawn;
  With light winds rustling through the noon,
  And conscious roses half-withdrawn
  In blushing buds, that wake too soon,
  And flaunt their hearts on every lawn.

  The wide content of summer's bloom,
  The peaceful glory of its prime,--
  Yet over all a brooding gloom,
  A desolation born of time,
  As distant storm-caps tower and loom
  And shroud the sun with heights sublime.

  For they are vanished from the trees,
  And vanished from the thronging flowers,
  Whose tender tones thrilled every breeze,
  And sped with mirth the flying hours;
  No form nor shape my sad eye sees,
  No faithful spirit haunts these bowers.

  Alone, alone, in sun or dew!
  One fled to heaven, of earth afraid;
  And one to earth, with eyes untrue
  And lips of faltering passion, strayed:
  Nor shall the strenuous years renew
  On any bough these leaves that fade.

  Long summer-days shall come and go,--
  No summer brings the dead again;
  I listen for that voice's flow,
  And ache at heart, with deepening pain;
  And one fair face no more I know,
  Still living sweet, but sweet in vain.



EXPRESSION.


The law of expression is the law of degrees,--of much, more, and most.

Nature exists to the mind not as an absolute realization, but as a
condition, as something constantly becoming. It is neither entirely this
nor that. It is suggestive and prospective; a body in motion, and not an
object at rest. It draws the soul out and excites thought, because it
is embosomed in a heaven of possibilities, and interests without
satisfying. The landscape has a pleasure to us, because in the mind it
is canopied by the ideal, as it is here canopied by the sky.

The material universe seems a suspense, something arrested on the point
of transition from nonentity to absolute being,--wholly neither, but on
the confines of both, which is the condition of its being perceptible to
us. We are able to feel and use heat, because it is not entirely heat;
and we see light only when it is mixed and diluted with its opposite.
The condition of motion is that there be something at rest; else how
could there be any motion? The river flows, because its banks do not. We
use force, because it is only in part that which it would be. What could
we do with unmixed power? Absolute space is not cognizable to the mind;
we apprehend space only when limited and imprisoned in geometrical
figures. Absolute life we can have no conception of; the absolute must
come down and incarnate itself in the conditioned, and cease to be
absolute, before it comes within the plane of our knowledge. The
unconscious is not knowable; as soon as it is thought, it becomes
conscious.

And this is God's art of expression. We can behold nothing pure; and all
that we see is compounded and mixed. Nature stands related to us at a
certain angle, and a little remove either way--back toward its grosser
side, or up toward its ideal tendency--would place it beyond our ken. It
is like the rainbow, which is a partial and an incomplete development,--
pure white light split up and its colors detached and dislocated, and
which is seen only from a certain stand-point.

We remark, therefore, that all things are made of one stuff, and on the
principle that a difference in degree produces a difference in kind.
From the clod and the rock up to the imponderable, to light and
electricity, the difference is only more or less of selection and
filtration. Every grade is a new refinement, the same law lifted to a
higher plane. The air is earth with some of the coarser elements purged
away. From the zoöphyte up to man, more or less of spirit gives birth to
the intervening types of life. All motion is but degrees of gravitating
force; and the thousand colors with which the day paints the earth are
only more or less of light. All form aspires toward the circle, and
realizes it more or less perfectly. By more or less of heat the seasons
accomplish their wonderful transformations on the earth and in the air.
In the moral world, the eras and revolutions that check history are only
degrees in the development of a few simple principles; and the variety
of character that diversifies the world of men and manners springs from
a greater or less predominance of certain individual traits.

This law of degrees, pushed a little farther, amounts to detachment and
separation, and gives birth to contrast and comparison. This is one
aspect in which the law manifests itself in the individual. The chairs
and the pictures must come out from the wall before we can see them. The
tree must detach itself from the landscape, either by form or color,
before it becomes cognizable to us. There must be irregularity and
contrast. Our bodily senses relate us to things on this principle; they
require something brought out and disencumbered from the mass. The eye
cannot see where there is no shade, nor the hand feel where there is
no inequality of surface, nor the palate taste where there is no
predominance of flavor, nor the ear hear where there is no silence.
Montaigne has the following pertinent passage, which also comes
under this law:--"Whoever shall suppose a pack-thread equally strong
throughout, it is utterly impossible it should break; for where will you
have the breaking to begin? And that it should break altogether is not
in Nature."

The palpableness and availableness of an object are in proportion as it
is separated from its environments. We use water as a motive power by
detaching a part from the whole and placing ourselves in the way of its
tendency to unite again. All force and all motion are originated on
this principle. It is by gravity that we walk and move and overcome
resistance, and, in short, perform all mechanical action; yet the
condition is that we destroy the settled equilibrium of things for the
moment, and avail ourselves of the impulse that restores it again. The
woodman chops by controlling and breaking the force which he the next
moment yields to.

So in higher matters. We are conscious of pain and pleasure only through
the predominance of some feeling. There must be degrees and differences
again, and some part more relieved than another, to catch an expression
on. Entire pain or an equal degree of physical suffering in every part
of the body would be a perfect blank, complete numbness; and entire
pleasure we could not be conscious of, and for the same reason. How
could there be any contrast, any determining hue, any darker or brighter
side? If the waters of the earth were all at the same altitude, how
could there be any motion among the parts? Hence the fullest experience
is never defined, and cannot be spoken. It is like the sphere, which, as
it merges all possible form in itself, is properly of no form, as white
is no color, and cannot be grasped and used as parts and fragments can;
there are no angles and outlines to define and give emphasis.

Hence the pain or pleasure that is definitely shaped in the
consciousness and that can be spoken is necessarily partial, and does
not go the full circle of our being. We are not conscious of our health
and growth, because they are general and not local, and are not rendered
prominent by contrast.

The dictionary and the sciences, in fact the whole province of human
knowledge, hinge upon this principle. To know a thing is but to
separate and distinguish it from something else; and classifying and
systematizing are carrying the same law from the particular to the
general. We cannot know one thing alone; two ideas enter into every
distinct act of the understanding,--one latent and virtual, the
other active and at the surface. To use familiar examples, we cannot
distinguish white without having known black, nor evil without having
known good, nor beauty without having known deformity. Thus every
principle has two sides, like a penny, and one presupposes the other,
which it covers.

When we come to the intellect and the expression of thought, the
same law of detachment and separation prevails. In contemplation and
enjoyment there are unity and wholeness; but in thinking, never. Our
thoughts lie in us, like the granite rock in the earth, whole and
continuous, without break or rupture, and shaped by a law of the
spheres; but when they come to the surface in utterance, and can be
grasped and defined, they lose their entireness and become partial and
fragmentary, and hint a local and not a general law. We cannot speak
entire and unmixed truth, because utterance separates a part from the
whole, and consequently in a measure distorts and exaggerates and does
injustice to other truths. The moment we speak, we are one-sided and
liable to be assailed by the reverse side of the fact. Hence the
hostility that exists between different sects and religions; their
founders were each possessed of some measure of truth, and consequently
stood near to a common ground of agreement, but in the statement it
became vitiated and partial; and the more their disciples have expounded
and sought to lodge their principles in a logical system, the more they
have diverged from the primitive sentiment. If the sects would let logic
alone and appeal only to the consciousness of men, there would be no
very steep difference between them, and each would promote the good of
the other. But the moment we rest with the reason and the understanding
there must be opposition and divergence, for they apprehend things by
parts, and not by the mass; they deal with facts, and not with laws.

The fullest truth, as we have already hinted, never shapes itself into
words on our lips. What we can speak is generally only foam from the
surface, with more or less sediment in it; while the pure current flows
untouched beneath. The deepest depths in a man have no tongue. He is
like the sea, which finds expression only on its shoals and rocks; the
great heart of it has no voice, no utterance.

The religious creeds will never be reconciled by logic; the more
emphatically they are expressed, the more they differ. Ideas, in this
respect, resemble the trees, which branch and diverge more and more
widely as they proceed from the root and the germinal state. Men
are radically the same in their feelings and sentiments, but widely
different in their logic. Argument is reaction, and drives us farther
and farther apart.

As the intellect expresses by detachment and contrast, it follows,
that, the more emphatically an idea is expressed, the more it will be
disencumbered of other ideas and stand relieved like a bust chiselled
from a rock. It is suggestive and prospective, and, by being detached
itself, will relieve others and still others. It makes a breach in
the blank wall, and the whole is now pregnable. New possibilities are
opened, a new outlook into the universe. Nothing, so to speak, has
become something; one base metal has been transmuted into gold, and so
given us a purchase on every other. When one thought is spoken, all
others become speakable. After one atom was created, the universe would
grow of its own accord. The difficulty in writing is to utter the
first thought, to break the heavy silence, to overcome the settled
equilibrium, and disentangle one idea from the embarrassing many. It is
a struggle for life. There is no place to begin at. We are burdened with
unuttered and unutterable truth, but cannot, for the life of us, grasp
it. It is a battle with Chaos. We plant shaft after shaft, but to no
purpose. We get an idea half-defined, when it slips from us, and all is
blank again in that direction. We seem to be struggling with the force
of gravity, and to come not so near conquering as to being conquered.
But at last, when we are driven almost to despair, and in a semi-passive
state inwardly settling and composing ourselves, the thought comes. How
much is then revealed and becomes possible! New facts and forces are
commanded by it; much of our experience, that was before meaningless
and unavailable, assumes order and comes to our use; and as long as the
breach can be kept open and the detachment perfect, how easily we write!
But if we drop the thread of our idea without knotting it, or looping it
to some fact,--if we stop our work without leaving something inserted
to keep the breach open, how soon all becomes a blank! the wound heals
instantly; the equilibrium which we had for a moment arrested again
asserts itself, and our work is a fragment and must always remain so.
Neither wife nor friends nor fortune nor appetite should call one from
his work, when he is possessed by this spirit and can utter his thought.
We are caught up into these regions rarely enough; let us not come down
till we are obliged.

The fullest development of this law, as it appears in the intellect,
is Analogy. Analogy is the highest form of expression, the poetry of
speech; and is detachment carried so far that it goes full circle and
gives a sense of unity and wholeness again. It is the spheral form
appearing in thought. The idea is not only detached, but is wedded to
some outward object, so that spirit and matter mutually interpret each
other. Nothing can be explained by itself, or, in the economy of
Nature, is explained by itself. The night explains the day, and the day
interprets the night. Summer gives character to winter, and in winter we
best understand the spirit of summer. The shore defines and emphasizes
the sea, and the sea gives form and meaning to the shore.

To measure grain, we must have a bushel; and to confine water and air,
we must have other than water and air to do it with. The bird flies by
balancing itself against something else; the mountain is emphasized by
the valley; and one color is brought out and individualized by another.
Our mood of yesterday is understood and rendered available by our mood
of to-day; and what we now experience will be read aright only when seen
from the grounds of an opposite experience. Our life here will not be
duly appreciated and its meaning made clear till seen from the life
beyond.

The spiritual canopies the material as the sky canopies the earth, and
is reached and expressed only by its aid. And this is Analogy,--the
marrying of opposite facts, the perception of the same law breaking out
in a thousand different forms,--the completing of the circle when only
a segment is given. The visible and the invisible make up one sphere of
which each is a part. We are related to both; our root is in one, our
top in the other. Our ideas date from spirit and appear in fact. The
ideal informs the actual. This is the way the intellect detaches and
gets expressed. It is not its own interpreter, and, like everything
else, is only one side of a law which is explained by the other side.
The mind is the cope and the world the draw, to use the language of the
moulder. The intellect uses the outward, as the sculptor uses marble, to
embody and speak its thought. It seizes upon a fact as upon a lever, to
separate and lift up some fraction of its meaning. From Nature, from
science, from experience, it traces laws, till they appear in itself,
and thus finds a thread to string its thought on.

Without Analogy, without this marrying of the inward and the outward,
there can be no speech, no expression. It is a necessity of our
condition. Spirit is cognizable by us only when endowed with a material
body; so an idea or a feeling can be stated only when it puts on the
form and definiteness of the sensuous, the empirical. Hence the highest
utterance is a perpetual marrying of thought with things, as in
poetry,--a lifting up of the actual and a bringing down of the
ideal,--giving a soul to the one and a body to the other. This takes
place more or less in all speech, but only with genius is it natural and
complete. Ordinary minds inherit their language and form of expression;
but with the poet, or natural sayer, a new step is taken, and new
analogies, new likenesses must be disclosed. He is distinguished from
the second-hand man by the fulness and completeness of his expression;
his words are round and embrace the two hemispheres, the actual and the
ideal. He points out analogies under our feet, and presents the near and
the remote wedded in every act of his mind. Nothing is old with him,
but Nature is forever new like the day, and gives him pure and fresh
thoughts as she gives him pure and fresh water. Hence the expressiveness
of poetry and its power over the human heart. It differs from prose only
in degree, not in essence. It goes farther and accomplishes more. It
is the blossom of which prose is the bud, and comes with sincerity,
simplicity, purity of motive, and a vital relation to Nature.

As men grow earnest and impassioned, and speak from their inmost heart,
and without any secondary ends, their language rises to the dignity of
poetry and employs tropes and figures. The more emphatic the statement,
the more the thought is linked with things. The ideas of men in their
ordinary mood are only half-expressed, like a stone propped up, but
still sod-bound; but when they are fired and glowing with the heat of
some great passion, the operation of the mind is more complete and the
detachment more perfect. The thought is not only evolved, but is thrown
into the air,--disencumbered from the understanding, and set off against
the clear blue of the imagination. Hence the direct and unequivocal
statement of a man writing under the impulse of some strong feeling, or
speaking to a thrilled and an excited audience. Nature, the world, his
experience, is no longer hard and flinty, but plastic and yielding, and
takes whatever impress his mind gives it. Facts float through his head
like half-pressed grapes in the wine-press, steeped and saturated with
meaning, and his expression becomes so round and complete as to astonish
himself in his calmer moments.

People differ not so much in material as in this power of expressing it.
The secret of the best writer lies in his art. He is not so much above
the common stature; his experience is no richer than ours; but he knows
how to put handles to his ideas, and we do not. Give a peasant his power
of expression, or of welding the world within to the world without, and
there would be no very precipitous inequality between them. The great
writer says what we feel, but could not utter. We have pearls that
lie no deeper than his, but have not his art of bringing them to the
surface. We are mostly like an inland lake that has no visible outlet;
while he is the same lake gifted with a copious channel.

The secret seems to lie in the temperament and in the transmuting and
modifying medium. More or less of filtration does it all. Nature makes
the poet, not by adding to, but by taking from; she takes all blur and
opacity out of him; condenses, intensifies; lifts his nerves nearer the
surface, sharpens his senses, and brings his whole organization to an
edge. Sufficient filtration would convert charcoal into diamonds; and we
shall everywhere find that the purest, most precious substances are the
result of a refining, sorting, condensing process.

Our expression is clogged by the rubbish in our minds, the foolish
personal matters we load the memory with. Ideas are not clearly defined,
as the drift-wood in the river spoils the reflected image. We feel
nothing intensely; our experience is a blur without distinct form and
outline; in short we are incumbered with too much clay. Hence, when
a slow disease burns the dross and earth out of one, how keen and
susceptible his organization becomes! The mud-wall grows transparent.
Our senses lose their obtuseness, our capacity both for experience and
expression is enlarged, and we not only live deeper, but nearer the
surface.

It appears, then, that, as a general rule, our ability to express
ourselves is in proportion to the fineness of our organization. Women,
for this reason, are more adequate in expressing themselves than men;
they stand removed one degree farther from the earth, and are conscious
of feelings and sentiments that are never defined in our minds; the
detachment is more perfect; shades and boundaries are more clearly
brought out, and consequently the statement is more round and full.

One's capacity for expression is also affected by his experience,--not
experience in time and space, but soul-experience,--joy, sorrow,
pleasure, pain, love, hope, aspiration, and all intense feeling by which
the genesis of the inward man unfolded. What one has lived, that alone
can he adequately say. The outward is the measure of the inward; it is
as the earth and sky: so much earth as we see, so much sky takes form
and outline. The spiritual, it is true, is illimitable, but the actual
is the measure of that part of which we are made conscious. Experience
furnishes the handle, but the intellect must supply the blade.

Intense feeling of any kind afterward gives us more entire command over
some thought or power within us. Every inundation of passion enriches
and gives us a deeper soil. The most painful experiences are generally
the most productive. Cutting teeth is by no means a pleasant operation,
yet it increases our tools. Our lives are not thoroughly shaped out and
individualized till we have lived and suffered in every part of us. A
great feeling reveals new powers in the soul, as a deep breath fills
air-cells in the lungs that are not reached by an ordinary inhalation.
Love first revealed the poetic gift in Novalis; and in reading the
Autobiography of Goethe, one can but notice the quickening of his powers
after every new experience: a new love was a new push given the shuttle,
and a new thread was added.

When we come nearer the surface of our subject and speak of language,
we remark that pure English, so far as such is possible, is the most
convenient and expressive. Saxon words cannot be used too plentifully.
They abridge and condense and smack of life and experience, and form the
nerve and sinew of the best writing of our day; while the Latin is the
fat. The Saxon puts small and convenient handles to things, handles that
are easy to grasp; while your ponderous Johnsonian phraseology distends
and exaggerates, and never peels the chaff from the wheat. Johnson's
periods act like a lever of the third kind,--the power applied always
exceeds the weight raised; while the terse, laconic style of later
writers is eminently a lever on the first principle, and gives the mind
the utmost purchase on the subject in hand.

The language of life, and of men who speak to be understood, should be
used more in our books. A great principle anchored to a common word or
a familiar illustration never looses its hold upon the mind; it is like
seeing the laws of Astronomy in the swing of a pendulum, or in the
motion of the boy's ball,--or the law of the tides and the seasons
appearing in the beating of the pulse, or in inspiring and expiring the
breath. The near and the remote are head and tail of the same law, and
good writing unites them, giving wholeness and continuity. The language
of the actual and the practical applied to the ideal brings it at once
within everybody's reach, tames it, and familiarizes it to the mind. If
the writers on metaphysics would deal more in our every-day speech, use
commoner illustrations, seek to find some interpreter of the feelings
and affections of the mind in Nature, out of the mind itself, and thus
keep the life-principle and the thought-principle constantly wedded,
making them mutually elucidate and explain each other, they would be far
more fruitful and satisfying. Cousin is the only writer we know of
who has made any attempt at this, and we believe him to be the most
consistent and intelligent metaphysician that has yet appeared. Surely,
one cannot reasonably object to the height in the heavens from which a
man steals his fire, if he can feed it with his own fuel and cook meat
with it. Though the genealogy of our ideas be traceable to Jove and
Olympus, they must marry their human sisters, the facts of common life
and experience, before they can be productive of anything positive and
valuable.

Proverbs give us the best lessons in the art of expression. See what
vast truths and principles informing such simple and common facts! It
reminds one of suns and stars engraved on buttons and knife-handles.
Proverbs come from the character, and are alive and vascular. There
is blood and marrow in them. They give us pocket-editions of the most
voluminous truths. Theirs is a felicity of expression that comes only at
rare moments, and that is bought by long years of experience.

There is no waste material in a good proverb; it is clear meat, like an
egg,--a happy result of logic, with the logic left out; and the writer
who shall thus condense his wisdom, and as far as possible give the two
poles of thought in every expression, will most thoroughly reach men's
minds and hearts.



ITALIAN EXPERIENCES IN COLLECTING "OLD MASTERS."


As the taste for collecting objects of art is rapidly developing in
America, it may be not without profit to point out some of the pitfalls
which attend the amateur in this pursuit, especially in Italy, that
exhaustless quarry of "originals" and "old masters"; though it should be
remembered that a work of art may be both original and old and very bad
too,--its intrinsic worth being a separate question from its age and
authenticity. The results given are drawn from an actual experience of
many years.

The most obvious risk is from the counterfeiter,--not from the
vulgar shams distributed so widely over the world from the well-known
_manufactories_ of paintings in France, England, and other parts, which
can deceive only the most ignorant or credulous, but from talent itself
debased to forgery and trickery.

Many of the antique bronzes, terra-cottas, vases, classical and medieval
relics, so jealously cared for in the collections of Europe, are the
clever imitations of a poor and honest artist in one of the Italian
cities, whose miniature studio might almost be put inside one of our
old-fashioned omnibuses. His designs, taken from genuine antiques,
are reproduced with fidelity, and the coatings and marks of time
counterfeited by chemical means and skilful manipulation. He sells his
productions as imitations, at prices that barely provide him with daily
bread, eking out his subsistence by repairs and restorations, in which
he is equally happy. Living in obscurity, without the capital or
sagacity to make himself known to the public, he is at the mercy of
those who are interested in keeping him in privacy and buying his
artistic labors at the wages of a clodhopper. His own responsibility
goes not beyond fulfilling orders for the imitation of certain objects,
the process of which he frankly explains to the inquisitive visitor.
But, once in dishonest hands, antiquity and authenticity replace
modernism and imitation.

There are two ways of seduction and deceit. The one and safer for
the operator is the _suggestive,_ in which appearances are made by
consummate tact and artful flattery to excite the imagination of the
buyer so that he is led to believe what he desires without compromising
the agent. The other is positive intrigue and absolute lying, so nicely
done that the wealthy amateur is fleeced often in a fashion that confers
a pleasure, and which, though he may subsequently detect it, gives him
but a lame chance at redress. In most instances he deserves none. For,
stimulated by vanity or fashion, without any true regard for art, he
has offered so large a premium for a name, that it would indeed be
wonderful, if a corresponding supply were not created. The living artist
is sometimes sorely tempted to pander to illusions to secure that
appreciation which the world gives more lavishly to fashion than to
merit. Michel Angelo tested this disposition, even more current in
his time than now; though some say it was done unknown to him. At all
events, having finished the statue of a Cupid, after breaking off an
arm, it was buried, and in due time discovered, disinterred, and brought
to the notice of a distinguished Roman dignitary, who pronounced it to
be a genuine antique and paid a large price for it, well pleased, as he
had reason to be, with his prize. But afterwards, the deception being
exposed, and the proof by means of the missing arm given that it was
the work of the then unknown Florentine sculptor, the disenchanted
connoisseur was furiously indignant, and disposed to take prompt
vengeance upon the parties concerned.

To come back to our own day. Let us suppose a rich collector to have
arrived in some well-known Italian market for art,--picture-jockeying is
much the same everywhere,--in pursuit of "originals."

Great is the commotion among dealers and their _sensali_ or jackals.
These latter are versed in intrigue and mystification, with enough
intelligence to tell a good picture from a bad one, and a parrot-like
acquaintance with names and schools. They are of all classes, from the
decayed gentleman and artist, to shopkeepers, cobblers, cooks, and
tailors, who find in the large commissions gained a temptation to
forsake their petty legitimate callings for the lottery-like excitements
and _finesse_ of picture-dealing. No sooner has the stranger gone to his
hotel than a watch is put upon his movements, and bribery and cajolery
used to get access to him. It is the _sensale's_ business to discover
and offer pictures. He is supposed to know the locality of every one,
good or bad, in his neighborhood. However jealous of each other, all
are loyally pledged together to take in the stranger. Leagued with the
dealer, artist, owner, courier, or servant, with any one, in fact, that
by any possibility can stand between the buyer and his object, it has
become almost an impossibility, especially for transient visitors, to
purchase anything whatever without paying a heavy toll to intermediates.
When the conspiracy is widely extended, the augmentation of price above
what would be required in direct dealing with the owner is sometimes
double or even quadruple. Occasionally, however, by way of compensation
for their general evil, the _sensali,_ having scented a prize, offer it
first to the amateur, in view of their own increase of gain over what
the dealer would allow. In this way, good pictures not unfrequently
escape the merchant, and reach the collector at a lower price than if
they had gone directly to the former.

The _sensali_ are not without their use in another respect. So indirect
and underhand is the Italian's mode of dealing in these matters, and
so eccentric his notions as to value, that a foreigner is apt to be
speedily disgusted or driven away by the magnitude of demands which in
reality the seller never expects to realize. Hence the negotiation is
best done through an agent, the buyer having fixed his price, leaving
the _sensale_ to make what he can for himself. No purchaser, however,
should give heed to any statement about the history or authenticity of
the works offered to him through such channels, but rely both for value
and facts upon his own resources; otherwise he will be deceived to an
extent that would appear almost fabulous to the uninitiated.

Such are the preliminary difficulties that beset the amateur. We will
suppose him in connection with the seller, and trace his progress.
First, the quality of his judgment and the impressibility of his
imagination are tested by a series of experiments as delicate as the
atmospherical gauges of a barometer. He is of course not to be entrapped
by copies or fabrications. He has a shrewd distrust of dealers, and
therefore prefers to buy family pictures or originals directly from
chapels and convents. All Italians have a patriotic pride in getting
rid of trash at the expense of the foreigner. The more common baits to
entrap--by bringing pictures mysteriously boxed, grandly baptized, and
liberally decorated with aristocratic seals and eloquent with
academical certificates, anointed with refined flattery and obsequious
courtesy--having failed, his _Eccellenza_ being too knowing to be
seduced into buying the ostentatiously furbished-up _roba_ of shops,
they set about to accommodate him with originals from first hands.
By substituting old frames for new, dirtying the pictures, and other
ingenious processes familiar to the initiated, and then putting them out
to board in noble villas, antique palaces, or other localities the most
natural for good pictures to be _discovered_ in, spiced with a romance
of decayed family-grandeur,--by employing new agents, and by hints
sagaciously conveyed to the buyer, his curiosity is excited, hopes
raised, and, finally, with much trouble and enhanced expense, he
triumphantly carries off the very pictures which in a shop he could not
be tempted to look at for fear of being caught with chaff, but which
now, from a well-got-up romance, have acquired a peculiar value in
his eyes. Not that this sort of delicate mystification is reserved
exclusively for foreigners. For we have detected in an altar-piece,
borne away as a great prize by an Italian friend from a secluded
little chapel attached to a noble villa in the vicinity of Florence,
a worthless specimen of an old painter, from one of the secret
depositories of the city, which had long been wholly unsalable on any
terms.

Honest dealing exists in Italy, as elsewhere, and there are men whose
statements may safely be received. But let the purchaser be cautious
when led into out-of-the-way places to see newly found originals, and be
slow to give heed to stories of churches being permitted to sell this or
that work of art because they have a _façade_ to repair or an altar to
decorate,--and particularly if there be said anything of an inheritance
to divide, or a sad tale of family distress requiring the sacrifice of
long-cherished treasures, backed up by a well-gotten-up pantomime of
unlockings and lockings, passages through mysterious corridors and vast
halls, cautious showings amid a crowd of family-retainers or a retinue
of monks. Sometimes the most wary is thus seduced into offering tenfold
its worth for a common object thus seen by a carefully arranged light
and with artificial surroundings.

Many good pictures are still to be had in Italy, if properly approached
by those who know thoroughly the habits of the country. There are,
however, but two means of procuring them: either to pay their full
value as fixed by rival collectors, or to secure them by fortuitous
circumstances for trifling sums. The extraordinary chances of discovery
and the extreme variations of price attending this pursuit are curious
and instructive. A few examples are worth relating. In 1856, a small
picture, by Niccolò d'Alunno, was sold in Florence, by an artist to a
dealer, for forty dollars; in a few weeks resold to an Englishman
for five hundred; exhibited at the Manchester Exhibition, whence it
subsequently passed into the gallery of a distinguished personage for
twenty-five hundred dollars. The "Leda" of Leonardo, repainted from
motives of prudery by the great-grandfather of Louis-Philippe, was
bought at the sale of that ex-king's pictures in Paris, in 1849, for
thirty dollars, restored to its primitive condition, and sold, we are
informed, for one hundred thousand francs. Ten years ago, an Angel, by
the same artist, was found in the old-clothes market at Florence by an
artist, bought for a few pence, cleaned and sold to Prince Galitzin for
twenty-two thousand francs. The "Fortune" of Michel Angelo, or what was
supposed to be, not long since was discovered in the same locality in a
disastrous condition, secured for a few shillings, put in such order as
was possible, and parted with to a French gentleman for three hundred
dollars and a pension of one dollar a day during the lives of the seller
and his son. Quite recently one of Correggio's most beautiful works was
discovered under the canvas of a worthless picture acquired at a public
auction in Rome for a few dimes, at the sale by a princely family of
discarded pictures, and resold by its fortunate discoverer for fifteen
thousand dollars, although the original proprietor instituted a suit
against him for its recovery, but without success. In Florence, within
three years past, a fine portrait, by Titian, of the Doge Andrea Gritti,
was picked out from a large lot of worthless canvases for six dollars.
The Madonna del Gran Duca, at the Pitti, was bought by the father of
the late Grand Duke, with some other pictures, of a widow, for a few
dollars. Instances like these might be multiplied, to show that in all
times prizes do strangely and unexpectedly occur, and that pictures
in their fortunes resemble their authors, often passing from extreme
poverty into princely homes.

The changes in the money value placed upon the same works in different
epochs are also curious. Indeed, a history of the _caprices_ of art
would be vastly entertaining. In 1740, at the sale in Paris of M.
Crozat's collection, a drawing by Raphael brought only ten francs. The
same drawing, at the sale of the King of Holland's gallery, in 1850,
fetched fourteen thousand francs. For the "Ezekiel," Raphael, in 1510,
had but eight _scudi d' oro,_ equivalent now to thirty dollars. At
present, it would bring a fabulous sum, if sold. Within the memory of
those now living, gold background pictures of the schools of Giotto and
his successors, owing to the contempt the pseudo-classical French taste
had excited for them, were brought out of suppressed churches and
convents and publicly burned to obtain the trifling amount of gold which
remained in the ashes. Amateurs are now more inclined to pay their
weight in gold for such as have escaped the ravages of time and
Vandalism; and the same government that permitted this destruction in
1859 passed stringent decrees to prevent their leaving the country,
sequestering all in public buildings as national property.

Without cautious study and much well-paid-for experience, the stranger
has small chance of successfully coping with the artifices that beset
his every step. He must be well-grounded in the history of Italian
painting, and possess a practical knowledge of the technical execution
of its various masters. Haste and ignorance, united to wealth and
vanity, are a rich mine for the _sensali._ To such collectors
America--not to speak of Europe--owes many of its galleries of great
names, to the very natural astonishment and skepticism of the spectators
and the defamation of great reputations. Many of these purchases are
the speculations of couriers, who, having artfully inoculated their
employers with a taste for originals, take care to supply the demand,
greatly to the benefit of their own pockets and the gratitude of those
with whom they bring their masters into connection. We have been called
by a countryman to admire his gallery of Claudes, Poussins, Rembrandts,
Murillos, and Titians, for which he had expended a princely sum, but
which there was no difficulty in recognizing as the shop _roba_ got up
expressly to entrap the unwary. One picture, worth, perhaps, for mere
decoration, fifty dollars, had been secured as a great favor for
twenty-two hundred dollars, the "last price" asked for it being three
thousand. Another, by a feeble artist of the Carlo Dolce school, had
been converted, by a substitution of names and sundry touchings-up, into
a brilliant Guercino, at the cost of nearly one thousand dollars, of
which the owner got about one-third, the confederates pocketing the
rest.

Some amateurs deceive themselves after a manner which acquits the
dealer of any participation in their illusions. A gentleman entered a
well-known studio in Florence, not many years since, and inquired the
price of a picture.

"Sixty dollars: the painting is by Furini," was the reply.

"I will take it," said the gentleman, eagerly insisting upon paying for
it on the spot; which was no sooner done, than he turned round to the
amused artist and triumphantly exclaimed, "Do you know you have sold me
a Murillo for nothing?"

Benvenuti, President of the Academy of Florence, was once asked to
attest the originality of an Andrea brought to him by some speculators.
"I should be happy to gratify you, gentlemen," he replied, "but
unfortunately I saw the picture painted." Nevertheless, certificates
were obtained from more facile authorities, and the painting officially
baptized for a market.

Certificates and documents need to be received as cautiously as the
pictures themselves; perhaps more so,--for they are more easily forged.
When genuine, the former are valuable only as they are the opinions of
honest and competent judges; and both are trustworthy only so far as
they are attached to the pictures to which they legitimately belong.

Genuine pictures have been sold and their documentary evidence kept for
skilful imitations. We have even detected in certificates the fraudulent
substitution of names. And sometimes, when honestly given, their
testimony is of no value. One professional certificate in our
possession, of the last century, ascribes the portrait in question to
Masaccio or Sauti di Tito: as sensible a decision as if an English
critic had decided that a certain picture of his school was either by
Hogarth or Sir Thomas Lawrence. Cases are indeed rare, even in the
public galleries, in which, outside of the picture itself, there is any
trustworthy historical testimony as to its genealogy.

Counterfeits of the old masters of the later Italian schools, supported
by false evidence, have at various times deceived good judges and
obtained posts of honor in the galleries of Europe. Even when detected,
their owners do not always repudiate their spurious treasures. They give
their collections the benefit of doubts or of public ignorance. The most
noted imitator of this class was Micheli of Florence. In view of his
success and the use for a time made of his works, he must rank as
a forger, though they are now in esteem solely for their intrinsic
cleverness. Some still linger in remote galleries, with the savor of
authenticity about them. A Raphael of his make long graced the Imperial
Gallery of Russia. He did not confine himself to literal repetitions,
but concocted new "originals" by combining parts of several pictures
in worm-eaten panels or time-stained canvases, with such variations of
motive or design as their supposed authors would naturally have made
in repeating their ideas in fresher combinations,--sometimes leaving
portions unfinished, ingeniously dirtying their surfaces, and giving to
them that cracked-porcelain appearance common to the old masters.
One thus prepared was bought at his studio for one hundred dollars,
consigned to a priest in the country, in due time _discovered_, and the
rumor of a great master in an exceedingly dirty and somewhat dilapidated
state, but believed to be intact beneath the varnishes and grime of
centuries, brought to the ears of a Russian, who after a delicate and
wearisome negotiation obtained it for eight hundred dollars, and perhaps
paid half as much more to the manufacturer for cleaning and restoring
it.

Another sort of deception is the alteration of pictures by artists
less-known or of inferior reputations to suit more fashionable and
profitable names. In this way many works of much local interest, and
often indeed of equal merit to those they are made to represent, are
exterminated, to the serious detriment of the history of art, Lombardy,
Umbria, and the Legations especially have suffered in this way.

Though no deception be intended, if pedigrees are lost, criticism is
often sorely perplexed to decide upon authorship. Out of the multitudes
of pictures in the European galleries, which are so decidedly baptized
in catalogues, the public would be surprised to learn how few
comparatively can be historically traced to their authors. The majority
are named upon the authority of local judges, whose acquaintance with
art may be limited to one speciality, or who rely upon such opinions
as can be gathered from the best available sources. Hence the frequent
changes in the nomenclatures. We cannot, therefore, accept such
documents as infallible, except in those cases where internal evidence
and historic record are alike unimpeachable.

The difficulty of deciding often arises from repetitions, and the
excellence of pupils painting from the designs of their masters, and not
unfrequently assisted by them. As we go back in art, this difficulty
increases, from the oblivion which has overtaken once well-known names,
and from the greater uniformity of processes and the more limited range
of motives of the earliest artists.

The great religious masters of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries
gathered around them crowds of scholars, who travelled with them from
city to city, partaking in their commissions and executing their
designs, especially of _ex-voto_ pictures, multiplied in that age by the
piety of noble families, to commemorate some special interposition of
divine power in their behalf and to honor their patron saints. Their
usual compositions were the Madonna enthroned with the infant Jesus in
her arms, surrounded by holy personages or angels, with the portraits
of those who ordered the paintings, in general of diminutive size to
express humility, and kneeling in adoration with clasped hands and
upraised eyes. Unless the characteristics of the master-hand are
unmistakable in this class of works, they are to be ranked as of the
schools of the great men whose general features they bear. And it must
not be forgotten that frequently pupils developed into distinguished
masters themselves. Taddeo Gaddi and Puccio Capanna worked under Giotto
while he lived, and afterwards acquired distinction in an independent
career.

A like close relation between master and scholar, the effect of which
was to multiply works by joint labor, obtained among the contemporaries
of Raphael as well as of Giotto. The precise number of the genuine works
of Raphael, owing to the cleverness of many of his pupils, will perhaps
never be known. Coindet ascribes to him from one hundred and eighty to
two hundred Holy Families alone. Some writers compute the entire number
of his paintings at from five hundred to six hundred; others quote
twelve hundred as authentic. These exaggerated estimates only prove how
extremely popular his designs became and the great number of pictures
ordered from them, some of which no doubt had the advantage of being
touched by his hand, while all in some way or other bear his mental
impress.

Moreover, the great masters frequently changed their methods and styles,
so that one might be mistaken for another, and at times studied and
copied each other. Andrea del Sarto's copy of Raphael's Leo Tenth passed
undetected even by Giulio Romano, who had himself worked on the latter.
Rubens and Velasquez imitated and copied the great Italian masters,
particularly Paul Veronese and Titian; the Caracci and their followers
multiplied Correggios, Raphaels, and the chief Venetians; Girolamo da
Carpi of Ferrara the same; and all with a degree of success that has
greatly perplexed later generations: their own works, in turn, as they
became popular, experiencing from subsequent artists the same process of
multiplication. Of the celebrated Madonna of Loreto there are not fewer
than ten rival claimants for authenticity; while sketches, studies, and
works not directly imitated from, but partaking of the character of
great artists, and often clever enough to be confounded with their
undoubted works, are not rare. Portraits, being direct studies from
Nature, are difficult to decide upon. Hence it is that criticism is so
variable in its decisions.

Beside the above sources of perplexity, it encounters another obstacle
from the restorations pictures have undergone. Injured by time or
obscured by repeated varnishings, they often require some degree of
cleaning to make them intelligible. Unfortunately, in most instances,
the process is sheer assassination. Many of the best works of public
galleries have been subjected to scrubbings more analogous to the labors
of a washtub than to the delicate and scientific treatment requisite to
preserve intact the virgin surface of the painting. Mechanical operators
have passed over them with as little remorse as locusts blight fields
of grain. Their rude hands in numberless instances have skinned the
pictures, obliterating those peerless tints, lights, and shadows, and
those delicate but emphatic touches that bespeak the master-stroke,
leaving instead cold, blank, hard surfaces and outlines, opaque shadows
and crude coloring, out of tone, and in consequence with deteriorated
sentiment as well as execution. The profound knowledge and vigorous or
fairy-like handling which made their primary reputation are now forever
gone, leaving little behind them except the composition to sustain it in
competition with modern work. As bad, however, as is this wanton injury,
that of repainting is greater. Inadequate to replace the delicate work
he has rubbed off, to harmonize the whole and make it look fresh and
new, the restorer passes his own brush over the entire picture, and thus
finally obscures whatever of technical originality there might still
have been preserved after the cleaning. The extent of injury European
galleries have thus received is incalculable. One instance will suffice
as an example of many. Some years gone by, the Titian's Bella Donna of
the Pitti was intact. Unluckily it got into the hands of a professional
cleaner. A celebrated dealer happened to be standing by when it was
rehung. Looking at it, he exclaimed,--"Two weeks ago I would have given
the Grand Duke two thousand pounds for that picture on speculation; now
I would not give two hundred."

Each restoration displaces more of the original and replaces it with
the restorer. As the same hands generally have a monopoly of a public
gallery, the contents of some are beginning to acquire a strange
uniformity of external character, while the old masters in the same
degree are vanishing from them. These remarks, however, are more
applicable to past than to present systems; for a reform founded on true
artistic principles is being everywhere inaugurated.

Oil-paintings gradually deepen in tone; while tempera, if protected from
humidity, retain their brilliancy and clearness as long as the material
on which they rest endures. The true occupation of the restorer is to
put the work given to him in a condition as near as possible to its
original state, carefully abstaining from obliterating the legitimate
marks of age, and limiting himself to just what is sufficient for the
actual conservation of the picture. One of the chief needs of many old
pictures is the removal of old repaintings. This done, the less added
the better, unless, if a piece be wanting, it can be so harmonized with
the original as to escape observation. But this is a special art, and
to be done only by those acquainted with the old methods. In perfect
condition ancient paintings cannot be. We must receive them for what
they are, with the corrodings and changes of time upon them. How
interesting in this respect is the Sienese Gallery! Here the restorer
has been stayed, and we find the pictures genuine as time itself,
and more precious by far to the student than the most glaring and
"refreshed" surfaces of those works in other galleries which are the
wonder and admiration of superficial observers.

The greatest difficulty of the restorer is to harmonize _permanently_
the new vehicles with the old; for the fresh tints are always liable
to assume a different tone from the original, which have already been
chemically acted upon by time.

It may be said that the skill which can escape detection in restoration
is adequate to successful counterfeiting. This is true only in part;
for _mending_ is very different from _creating._ Instances, however, do
occur of such attempts; but they seldom long escape detection, and never
impose upon those who have experience in the arts of the restorer.
Some years ago a Roman artist for a while successfully passed off his
imitations of Claude, Salvator Rosa, and their schools, as originals,
at large prices, with the usual guaranties of authenticity. To disarm
suspicion, he was accustomed to allow himself to be seen at work only
upon cheap, vulgar pictures, pretending he was competent to nothing
better. Having sold one of his Claudes for four thousand dollars, the
trick being detected, he was threatened with a public prosecution, the
fear of which brought on his death.

The favorite field of the early masters was fresco-painting. Unlike
painting in oils, it has no resources of transparency, brilliancy, and
richness of coloring, but depends for its nobility of effect upon the
hardier virtues of art and the more robust genius of the artist. His
success lies in strong and eloquent design and composition, with but
feeble aid from color. Fresco and tempera paintings were chiefly
intended for the interiors of churches or public buildings, whose dim
light harmonized their more or less crude and positive tones. It was,
however, only through the breadth and freedom of wall-painting that the
ambition of the early masters was fully aroused and their powers
found ample scope. Out of it they created a world of art unknown
and unappreciable by those who cannot view it as it exists in the
consecrated localities and amid the solemn associations whence it
originated. All over Italy, by the road-side and in the sanctuary, there
exists untold treasure of this sort, pure, grand or quaint, telling
truth with the earnestness of conviction, and exhaling beauty through
aroused feeling and refined sentiment, overflowing with virgin power
and exalted efforts. Everywhere untransportable, often in localities
untrodden except by the feet of the stolid peasant or the heavy-jawed
monk, seen only by enthusiastic seekers, these monuments of a noble art
are once more being awakened into vital existence by the piety and taste
of a generation whose great joy it is to uncover and restore to the
light of day those precious remains which were so often barbarously
whitewashed by the clergy of the past two centuries, from no more cogent
motive than to give greater light to their churches. Especially in
Tuscany every souvenir of ancestral greatness is now cared for with a
jealous patriotism honorable alike to the feeling and knowledge of its
population. The chief desire of the country is now to reinvest her
republican monuments with the character and aspect which best recall her
olden freedom and enterprise. And the highest glory that can be bestowed
upon these monuments is their careful conservation or restoration as
they originally were designed; nothing being added or taken away except
to their loss.

Not merely patriotism, but selfish acquisition demands of Italy the
strict conservation of art. Her monuments are funds at interest for
posterity. Indeed, her livelihood depends in no stinted measure upon
her artistic attractions. And nowhere is there a livelier feeling for
artistic beauty, greater respect for the past, and a wider-spread
knowledge of art. In all times will other peoples come within her
borders to enjoy and study that which she can still so lavishly bestow.

Tourists soundly rate Italians for their sordid indifference to their
art, attributing to the people at large the spirit of the mercenary
or ignorant class with whom they are most in contact. It is true that
others may hear, as we have heard, from a noble marquis, in reply to a
question about his family-pictures, "Ask my majordomo; had your question
been about horses, I could have told you." They may meet aristocratic
personages not above acting the picture-dealer in a covert manner, and,
still worse, receive propositions to buy works of art robbed from public
places. But such instances are uncommon. The common feeling is an
enthusiastic pride in, and profound respect for, the names and the
works that have done so much for the good and glory of Italy. Even the
spirited deportment of the Signorina Borgherini, as told by Vasari,
towards a dealer, who, during the siege of Florence, attempted to get
possession of certain paintings belonging to her husband, to speculate
upon by sending them to the king of France, may still find its
counterpart in feeling, if not in fact, among some of the living
daughters of that city.

"How, then," she exclaimed, "dost thou, Giovanni Battista, thou vile
broker of frippery, miserable huckster of farthings, dost thou presume
to come hither with the intent to lay thy fingers on the ornaments which
belong to the chambers of gentlemen,--despoiling, as thou hast long
done and art ever doing, our city of the fairest ornaments to embellish
strange lands therewith? I prize these pictures from reverence to the
memory of my father-in-law, from whom I had them, and from the love I
bear to my husband; I mean to defend them, while I have life, with my
own blood. Away with thee, then, base creature of nothingness! If again
thou shouldest be so bold as to come on a similar errand to this house,
thou shalt be taught what is the respect due to the dwelling of a
gentleman, and that to thy serious discomfort; make sure of it!"

And so she drove the intriguing bargainer away, with "reproaches of such
intolerable bitterness, that the like had never before been hurled at
man alive." Be it remembered, too, that Vasari was a good judge of the
quality of a Florentine dame's scolding, for he had himself in his
younger days passed a painful apprenticeship under the weight of
Lucretia Feti's tongue.

Criticism is too often local in its tone, being pledged, as it were, to
the admiration of its favorite subjects and a corresponding disregard of
those with which it is not familiar. Particularly in Italy, where the
municipal feeling has been so strong, the partisans of each school were
greatly prejudiced. Each people also very naturally prefers its own to
another's art, and does not always question its motives of preference.
The Florentines have overlooked the merits of their rivals, the
Venetians and Sienese,--who, in turn, have reciprocated; while Italy,
as a whole, has had but small regard for the works of other nations.
England has been slow to recognize the great merits of the Southern
schools; and France, Holland, and Germany are equally in the bondage of
local tastes or transitory fashions. But true criticism is cosmopolitan.
It tests merit according to the standard of the nature on which it is
founded, not overlooking excellence in whatever respect or degree. A
truly catholic view of art is the result only of its universal study.
The critic may be just to all inspirations, and yet enjoy his own
preferences. But, as Blackwood observes, too many "are self-endowed with
the capacity to judge all matters relating to the fine arts just in
proportion to the extent of their ignorance, because it is not difficult
to condemn in general terms and to attain notoriety by shallow
pretence." Neither "the narrowness of sect nor the noise of party"
should be heard in this matter. As a great gallery should represent
all phases of art through their several stages of progress and decay,
meeting all wants and tastes, so criticism should be based upon a
foundation equally broad,--not proud of its erudition nor dictatorial,
but with due humility uttering its opinions, prompt to sustain them, and
yet ever ready to listen and learn.

"Old masters" are almost a by-word of doubt or contempt in America,
owing to the influx of cheap copies and pseudo-originals of no artistic
value whatever. It is the more important, therefore, that they should be
represented among us by such characteristic specimens as are still to
be procured. Some modern artists are jealous of or indifferent to past
genius, and sedulously disparage it in view of their own immediate
interests. Bayle St. John, in his "Louvre," relates that he heard an
associate of the Royal Academy deliberately and energetically declare,
that, if it were in his power, he would slash with his knife all the
works of the old masters, and thus compel people to buy modern. This
spirit is both ungenerous and impolitic. If neither respect nor care for
the works of departed talent be bestowed, what future has the living
talent itself to look forward to? Art is best nourished by a general
diffusion of aesthetic taste and feeling. There can be no invidious
rivalry between the dead and the living. Alfred Tennyson looks not with
evil eye upon John Milton. Why should a modern be jealous of a mediaeval
artist? The public can love and appreciate both. Nor should it be
forgotten that it is precisely in those countries where old art is most
appreciated that the modern is most liberally sustained.



'TENTY SCRAN'.


  "Patience hath borne the bruise, and I the stroke."

"I think she's a-sinkin', Doctor," sobbed old Aunt Rhody, the nurse, as
she came out of Mary Scranton's bed-room into the clean kitchen, where
Doctor Parker sat before the fire, a hand on either knee, staring at the
embers, and looking very grave.

Doctor Parker got up from the creaky chair, and went into the bed-room.
It was very small, very clean, and two sticks of wood on the old iron
dogs burned away gradually, and softened the cool April air.

Before this pretence of a fire sat an elderly woman, with grave, set
features, an expression of sense and firmness, but a keen dark eye that
raised question of her temper. Miss Lovina Perkins was her style, being
half-aunt to the unpleasant-colored baby she now tended, rolled up in
a flannel shawl, and permitted to be stupid undisturbedly, since its
mother was dying.

Dying, evidently; she had not been conscious for several hours. Her
baby had not had its welcome; she knew nothing, cared for nothing, felt
nothing but the chill of the blood that stood still in her veins, and
the choking of the heart that hardly beat.

Poor child! poor widow! Her head lay on the pillow, white as the linen,
but of a different tint,--the indescribable pallor that you know and
I know, who have seen it drawn over a dear face,--a tint that is best
unknown, that cannot be reproduced by pen or pencil. Yet, for all its
pallor, you saw at once that this face was still young, had been
lovely, a true New-England beauty, quaint and trim and delicate as the
slaty-gray snow-bird, with its white breast, and soft, bright eyes, that
haunts the dusky fir-trees and dazzling hill-side slopes when no other
bird dare show itself,--a quiet, shy creature, full of innocent trust
and endurance, its chirp and low repetition dearer than the gay song of
lark or robin, because a wintry song.

But Mary Perkins had never been called handsome in Deerfield; if they
said she was "a real pretty girl," it only meant kindly and gentle, in
the Connecticut vernacular; and Tom Scranton, the village joiner, was
first to find out that the delicate, oval face, with its profuse brown
hair, its mild hazel eyes, and smiling mouth, was "jest like a
pictur'." So Tom and Mary duly fell in love, got married,--nobody
objecting,--went West, and eight months afterward Mary came home with
a coffin. Tom had fallen from a ladder, been taken up and brought home
dead, and she had travelled back five hundred miles to bury him in
Deerfield, beside his father and mother; for he was their only son.

There were about a hundred dollars left for Mary. She could not
work now, and she went to board with her half-sister, the Deerfield
tailoress.

Mary Scranton was only nineteen; but she did not want to live,--not even
for her baby's sake. All her sunshine and her strength went out of this
world with Tom, and she had no energy to care to live without him. She
did not say so to her sister,--for Miss 'Viny would have scolded her
smartly,--nor did she tell Doctor Parker; but she prayed about it,
and kept it in her heart all those silent days that she sat sewing
baby-clothes, and looking forward to an hour that should, even through a
death-agony, take her to Tom. She thought the baby would die, too, and
then they should all be together;--for Mary had a positive temperament,
without hope, because without imagination; what she had possessed and
lost eclipsed with her all uncertainties of the future; and she thought
seven times of Tom where she once thought of her child, though she took
pains to make its garments ready, and knit its tiny socks, and lay the
lumbering old cradle, that she had been rocked in, with soft and warm
wrappings, lest, indeed, the child should live longer than its
mother. So she sat in Miss 'Viny's bed-room in an old rush-bottomed
rocking-chair, sewing and sewing, day after day, the persistent will and
intent to die working out its own fulfilling, her white lips growing
more and more bloodless, her transparent cheek more wan, and the
temples, from which her lustreless hair was carelessly knotted away,
getting more hollow and clear and sharp-angled.

And now she lay on the bed, one hand under her cheek, the other picking
restlessly at the blanket,--for consciousness was fluttering back.

"Give me the brandy, Aunt Rhody," said Doctor Parker, softly.

He poured a few drops into the spoon she brought, and held it to Mary's
lips. The potent fluid stung the nerves into life again, and quickened
the flickering circulation; her thin fingers lay quiet, her eyes opened
and looked clear and calm at the Doctor. He tried to rouse her with an
interest deeper to most women than their own agony or languor.

"You've got a nice little girl, Mary," said he, cheerfully.

The ghost of a smile lit her face.

"I'm content," said she, in a low whisper.

Aunt Rhody brought the baby and laid it on its mother's arm. The child
stirred and cried, but Mary took no notice; her eyes were fixed and
glazing. Suddenly she smiled a brilliant smile, stretched both arms
upward, dropping her baby from its place. Only for one moment that
recognizing look defied death and welcomed life; her arms dropped, her
jaw fell;--it was over.

"I guess you'd better take the baby into the kitchen, Miss Loviny," said
Aunt Rhody; "'tisn't considered lucky to keep 'em round where folks has
died."

"Luck a'n't anything," grimly returned Lovina, who had squeezed her
tears back, lest the two or three that inclined to fall should spot the
baby's blanket; "but I'm goin' to take her out into the kitchen, because
I calculate to open the winder in here."

So the baby and Aunt 'Viny went out.

It was a new thing and a hard thing for Lovina Perkins to have a baby
on her hands; she would rather have charged herself with the care of a
farm, or the building of a house; she could work, she could order,
plan, regulate, and execute; but what to do with a baby? There it
lay, helpless, soft, incapable, not to be scolded, or worked, or made
responsible in any way, the most impracticable creature possible: a
kitten she could have put into a basket at night, and set in the shed;
a puppy she could and would have drowned; but a baby, an unlucky, red,
screeching creature, with a soul, was worse than all other evils.
However, she couldn't let it die; so she went after some milk, and, with
Aunt Rhody's help, after much patient disgust, taught the child how to
live, and it lived.

Mary Scranton was buried next to Tom, and the June grass grew over both
their graves, and people thought no more about it; only every now and
then Doctor Parker came to Miss Perkins's house to ask after "baby," who
grew daily fat and fair and smiling; and on one of these occasions he
met the minister, Parson Goodyear, who had come, as Miss 'Viny expressed
it, "o' purpose to take me to do, because I ha'n't presented the child
for baptism."

"Fact is," continued she, "I ha'n't an idea what _to_ call her. I don't
favor callin' of her Mary, because that was her mother's name, and I
couldn't think of two on 'em at once; and Scripter names are generally
rather ha'sh. Miss Parker, Doctor, kind of favored her bein' called
Aribelly, because there was one of that name rather come over in the
Mayflower; but I think it's too mighty for a child that's got to
work;--what do you say?"

"I think you're right, Miss 'Viny," said the Doctor, as gravely as he
could.

"I don't believe in fine names myself. I should think you might do worse
than to call the baby Content;--that was your own mother's name, wasn't
it? and it was the last word Mary spoke."

"Well, now, that's quite an idea, Doctor! I guess I will."

"And you will present her on the first Sabbath in May?" said Parson
Goodyear.

"Well, yes, if I'm spared," said Aunt 'Viny; and, being spared, on that
sweet May-Sunday she carried the smiling little child up the aisle of
the meeting-house, and had it baptized Content.

Strange to say,--yet not all strange,--before it was a year old, the
baby had found its way quite down into the middle of Aunt 'Viny's
heart. To be sure, it was a deal of trouble; it would ache and cry in a
reasonless way, when nobody could tell what ailed it; it would take a
great amount of caring-for with ungrateful silence and utter want
of demonstration for a long time;--but then it was so helpless!
--irresistible plea to a woman!--and under all Miss 'Viny's
rough exterior, her heart was as sweet as the kernel of a butternut,
though about as hard to discover. True, she was hard of feature, and
of speech, as hundreds of New-England women are. Their lives are hard,
their husbands are harder and stonier than the fields they half-reclaim
to raise their daily bread from, their existence is labor and endurance;
no grace, no beauty, no soft leisure or tender caress mitigates the
life that wears itself away on wash-tubs, cheese-presses, churns,
cooking-stoves, and poultry; but truth and strength and purity lie
clear in these rocky basins, and love lurks like a jewel at the
bottom,--visible only when some divine sun-ray lights it up,--love as
true and deep and healthy as it is silent and unknown.

So Miss 'Viny's hardness gave way before "baby." She could not feel
unmoved the tiny groping hands about her in the night, the soft beatings
of the little heart against her arm, the round downy head that would
nestle on her neck to be rocked asleep; she could not resist that
exquisite delight of miserable, exacting, feminine nature,--the
knowledge that one thing in the world loved her better than anybody
else. Sorry am I to betray this weakness of Aunt 'Viny's,--sorry to know
how many strong-minded, intellectual, highly educated and refined women
will object to this mean and jealous sentiment in a woman of like
passions with themselves. I know, myself, that a lofty love will regard
the good of the beloved object first, and itself last,--that jealousy
is a paltry and sinful emotion; but, my dear creatures, I can't help
it,--so it was. And if any one of you can, with a serene countenance
and calm mind, see your husband devote himself to a much prettier, more
agreeable, younger woman than yourself,--or hear your own baby scream
to go from you to somebody else,--or even behold your precious female
friend, your "congenial soul," as the Rosa Matilda literature hath
it, fascinated by a young woman or young man to the neglect of
yourself,--although in one and all of these instances the beloved object
seeks his or her best good,--then let that superhuman female throw a
stone at Aunt 'Viny;--but for the present she will not be lapidated.

Never, indeed, had she been quite as happy as now. Her life had been
a routine of hard work. Love and marriage had never looked over the
palings at her; and--to tell the truth--she had not suffered by their
neglect, in her own estimation. She was one of those supernumerary women
who are meant to do other people's work in life: servants, nurses,
consolers; accepting their part with unconscious humility as a matter
of course; quite as good as the Santas and Santissimas of legend and
chronicle, and not nearly so intrusive. So this new phase had its own
sweetness and special charm for Aunt 'Viny; the happiest hour in her
day lying between daylight and dark, when waistcoats and jackets and
trousers were laid aside, the dim light forbidding her to sew, and
economy delaying the lamp,--so she could with a clear conscience spare
half an hour, while the tea-kettle boiled, for undressing "baby,"
rubbing the little creature down,--much as a groom might have done,
only with a loving touch not kept for horses,--enduing it with a long
night-gown, and toasting its shell-pink feet at the fire, till, between
the luxury of ease and warmth and tending, "baby" cooed herself to
sleep, and lay along Miss 'Viny's lap like a petted kitten, the
firelight playing soft lights over its fair head, sealed eyelids, and
parted lips, tinting the relaxed arm and funny dimpled fist with a rosy
glow, while Aunt 'Viny's face took on a tender brooding gleam that
nobody who had seen her in church on Sunday, severely crunching fennel,
or looking daggers at naughty boys, could have believed possible. But
this expression is an odd wonder-worker. I saw but the other day a
bad-eyed, bronzed, "hard-favored" Yankee, with a head all angles, a
dirty face, the air of a terrified calf, and the habiliments of a poor
farmer; I looked at him aristocratically, and thanked the Lord for my
mind, my person, and my manners, in true Pharisaic triumph,--when his
little blue-eyed daughter came round the corner and pulled at the tail
of his ragged coat. Why, the man was transfigured! I wondered he was
willing to shake hands with me when I left him; I knew before that his
hands were brown and big and dirty, and mine were little and white and
soap-scented; but I thought afterwards I'd as lief have been Peter as
myself just then,--and I think so still. Wherefore, young ladies all,
learn from this that the true cestus, fabled----No! I shall make an
essay on that matter some day; I will not inflict it here.

So, by dint of hard work, Aunt 'Viny brought up her dead sister's child
in the way it should go, nor ever for one moment grudged her labor or
her time. Neither did she spoil Content by over-indulgence; her good
sense kept the child unharmed, taught her hardy and self-reliant
habits, made her useful all the time, and, even if Nature had not been
beforehand with her, would have made her happy. But 'Tenty had her
father's firm and sunny character; she never cried but for good reason,
and then screamed lustily and was over with it; fretting was out of the
question,--she did not know how; her special faults were a strong
will and a dogged obstinacy,--faults Miss 'Viny trained, instead of
eradicating; so that 'Tenty emerged from district-school into the
"'Cademy's" higher honors as healthy and happy an individual as ever
arrived at the goodly age of fourteen without a silk dress or a French
shoe to peacock herself withal. Every morning, rain or shine, she
carried her tin pail to Doctor Parker's for milk, hung on the
tea-kettle, set the table, wiped the dishes, weeded a bit of the
prolific onion-bed, then washed her hands and brushed her hair, put
on the green sun-bonnet or the blue hood, as the weather pleased, and
trotted off to school, where she plodded over fractions, and wearied
herself out with American history, and crammed geography, and wrote
copies, for a whole year, when Aunt 'Viny thought she might learn her
trade, being a stout girl of fifteen, and the 'Cademy knew her no more.

There is but little incident in a New-England village of the Deerfield
style and size,--full of commonplace people, who live commonplace lives,
in the same white and brown and red houses they were born in, and die
respectably in their beds, and are quietly buried among the mulleins
and dewberry-vines in the hill-side graveyard. Mary Scranton's life and
death, though they possessed the elements of a tragedy, were divested of
their tragic interest by this calm and pensive New-England atmosphere.
Nothing so romantic had happened there for many years, or did occur
again for more; yet nobody knew a romance had come and gone. People in
Deerfield lived their lives with a view to this world and the next,
after the old Puritanic fashion somewhat modified, and so preserved the
equilibrium. No special beauty of the town attracted summer-visitors.
It was a village of one street, intended to be straight, crossing a
decorous brook that turned the mill, and parting itself just below the
church and the "store," to accommodate a small "green," where the geese
waddled, hissed, and nibbled Mayweed all summer, and the boys played
ball sometimes after school. There was a post-office in the "store,"
beside boots, sugar, hams, tape, rake-tails, ploughs, St. Croix
molasses, lemons, calico, cheese, flour, straw hats, candles, lamp-oil,
crackers, and rum,--a good assortment of needles and thread, a shelf of
school-books, a seed-drawer, tinware strung from the ceiling, apples in
a barrel, coffee-mills and brooms in the windows, and hanging over the
counter, framed and glazed, the following remarkable placard, copied out
in a running hand:--

  No
  Credit Will be Given
  in
  This Store after
  This Date.
  Under no circumstances whatever.
  My Reasons

I cannot buy goods or do business without cash, and as the bulk of my
capital is now trusted out with the promise to pay which that promise
has never been full filled I deem it a duty to myself and my Cash paying
customers to sell goods for cash at the lowest market price.

I shall indeavor make it an interest of my customers to pay cash for
all goods purchas by them. I shall offer goods at reduced rates as an
inducement for all to pay cash.

If I am asked if I give credit I want this to be my answer

No Never.

ELKANAH MILLS.

Distrust not, O reader! This is _verbatim et literatim_ a copy.

In front of the "store" was a hay-scale, across the way a tavern, and,
at respectful distances along the street, white or red houses, with the
inevitable front-door, south-door, kitchen-and shed-floor, lilacs and
altheas before the windows, fennel, tiger-lilies, sweet-brier, and
Bar_gun_dy rosebushes, with red "pinies" and livid hydrangeas, or now
and then a mat of stonecrop and "voilets" along the posy-bed that edged
cabbage and potato-plots, while, without the fence, Bouncing-Bets
adorned the road-side, or blue sea-pinks from the pasture-lot strayed
beyond its rails.

Nothing happened in Deerfield; so nothing happened to "'Tenty Scran',"
as the school-children nicknamed her. She earned her living now at
tailoring and dress-making; for Miss 'Viny was much "laid up with
rheumatiz," and could not go about as was her wont. Also, the art and
mystery of housekeeping became familiar to the child, and economy of
the domestic sort was a virtue she learned unconsciously by continual
practice. She went to church on Sundays in a clean calico frock and a
white cape, sat in the singers' seat and uplifted her voice in Lenox and
Mear, Wells and Bethesda, shared her fennel with the children in the
gallery, looked out the text in her Bible, and always thought Parson
Goodyear's sermon was intended for her good, and took it in accordingly.

I should like to say that 'Tenty Scran' was pretty; in fact, I have
always regarded it as one of the chief pleasures of a literary calling,
that you are not obliged to take people as they are, but can make them
to order, since it takes no more pen-scratches to describe luxuriant
curls and celestial eyes and roseate lips than it does to set forth much
less lovely things; but when it comes to stubborn facts, why, there you
have to come down to this world, and proceed accordingly,--so I must
say 'Tenty was not handsome. She had fresh rosy cheeks and small brown
eyes, hair to match the eyes, a nose undeniably pug, a full, wide mouth,
and strong, white teeth,--fortunately, since every one showed when she
laughed, and she laughed a great deal. Then she had a dumpy figure, and
good large hands and feet, a look of downright honesty and good-temper,
and a nice, clear voice in speech or singing, though she only sang
hymns. But for all this, every-body in Deerfield liked 'Tenty Scran';
old and young, men and maidens, all had a kindly welcome for her; and
though Aunt 'Viny did not say much, she felt the more.

But "everybody has their sorrers," as Hannah-Ann Hall remarked, in one
of her "'Cademy" compositions, and 'Tenty came to hers when she was
about twenty-two. Miss Lovina was almost bed-ridden with the rheumatism
that year, and 'Tenty had to come back twice a day from her work to see
to her, so that she made it up by staying evenings, against her usual
rules. Now about the middle of that May, Doctor Parker's scapegrace son
Ned came home from sea,--a great, lazy, handsome fellow, who had run
away from Deerfield in his fifteenth year, because it was so "darned
stupid," to use his own phrase. Doctor Parker was old, and Mrs. Parker
was old, too, but she called it nervous; and home was stupider than ever
to Ned, particularly as he had broken his ankle and was laid on the sofa
for a good six weeks at least. About the second of those weeks, Content
Scranton came to "do over" Mrs. Parker's summer-gowns, and put her caps
together after their semi-annual starching.

Of course 'Tenty sat in the "keeping-room," where the old sofa was;
and of course Ned had nothing better to do than to watch the gay, good
little bee at her toil, hear her involuntary snatches of hymn-singing,
laugh at her bright simplicity, and fall in love with her,
sailor-fashion,--"here to-day, and gone tomorrow."

'Tenty stayed a long time at Mrs. Parker's that summer; she seemed to
get on so slowly with her work, but, as Mrs. Parker said,--

"Why, the fact of it is, 'Tenty is so handy and so spry, I can't see
how to spare her. Ed'ard, he wants a sight of waitin' on; and I am so
nervous, and husband is afflicted with neuralogy, beside that he is
considerable in years, so we can't be around as we used to be; and
'Tenty steps about and gets Ed'ard his books, and his victuals, and
fixes his pillows, and keeps the light out of his eyes, so't he isn't
contented a moment of time without she's right there."

And while Mrs. Parker was conveying these ideas to Miss 'Viny, they were
being illustrated in her own house after this fashion:--

"'Tenty," (three weeks had abolished the Miss,) "won't you give me that
blue book off the shelf?"

'Tenty sprang up and handed the book, and went to her work again,
beginning under her breath to hum

  "Sweet fields beyond"----

"Dear me! this pillow has slipped away. 'Tenty, won't you fix it?"

Jump the second;--the pillow is put straight under Ned's dark curls,
though he is so helpless she has to raise his head with one arm and
arrange the cushion with the other; then the seam and hymn recommence.

  "Sweet fields beyond the swelling"---

"I wish I had a drink of cold water."

Jump the third;--'Tenty finishes her hymn on the way to the well, and
brings the water, and holds the invalid up to drink it, and then the
pillows fall again, and the book slips down, and everything goes wrong
and has to be re-arranged, and at length 'Tenty goes back to her place
by the window quite indisposed to sing, but glowing with a new, shy
pleasure, for Ned had looked up at her with those great gray eyes that
said so much more than his lips did, and laid his cheek against the
stubbed hand that arranged his pillows, and said,--"Oh, 'Tenty! how good
you are!" in tones that meant, "and how I love you!" as well, though he
did not say it.

So matters progressed from day to day, Ned needing more and more care,
till he made his first progress across the room with a cane and the
help of 'Tenty's shoulder; after which experiment he began to recover
rapidly, impelled by the prospect of getting away from that house and
being free to go where he chose again.

For 'Tenty had ceased to amuse or interest him as much as she had done;
six weeks had done away with the novelty of her deepening color and shy
dropping eyes; beside, she laughed less, almost ceased to sing, sighed
softly, and looked quiet and grave, instead of gay and unconscious.
It was the old fable of sport to the boys and death to the frogs. She
thought he was in earnest; he knew he was amusing himself.

Miss 'Viny noticed the change in her darling, but she was a woman who
had acquired wisdom by experience, and she said nothing; she only grew
more exacting of 'Tenty's presence, wanted her earlier in the evening,
found fault with her food, and behaved generally so unlike her usual
stern patience, that Content was really roused out of her dreaminess to
wonder what ailed Aunt 'Viny.

As soon as Ned Parker was able to get out of doors again, he was heard
of in every house in the village, making himself agreeable after his
own fashion,--drinking hard cider with the old farmers, praising their
wives' gingerbread and spruce-beer, holding skeins for the girls, going
on picnics, huckleberryings, fishing-excursions, apple-bees, riding Old
Boker, his father's horse, bare-backed down the street, playing ball
on the green, and frequenting singing-school with one pretty girl and
another, till all Deerfield shook its head and remarked that "That 'ere
Ned Parker was a master-hand for carryin' on." And 'Tenty sewed harder
than ever.

What makes me always put love into a story, Aunt Grundy? Why, because
love is popular; because nine-tenths of the people who read smile to see
the first and faintest hint of the tender passion in what they read;
because a story without love is like bricks without straw; because
a life without it is a life no doubt comfortable to lead, but
uninteresting to hear. Love is your only democrat; Ethelinda in Fifth
Avenue, glittering with the clear splendor of diamonds, and rustling
like a white-birch-swamp with pale silks, gleaming through the twilight
before an opera, and looking violets at Sydney Hamilton over the top
of her inlaid fan, is no more thrilled and rapt and tortured by the
Disturber in Wings, than Biddy in the kitchen, holding tryst with her
"b'y" at the sink-room window. Thousands of years ago, Theseus left
Ariadne tearing the ripples of her amber-bright hair, and tossing her
white arms with the tossing surf, in a vain agony of distraction and
appeal: poets have sung the flirtation, painters have painted it; the
story is an eternal legend of pain and passion, illuminated with lucent
tints of age and the warm South, outlined with the statuesque purity of
classic scenery and classic diction: but I myself never for a moment
believed that Ariadne was a particle more unhappy or pitiable than
Nancy Bunker, our seamstress, was, when Hiram Fenn went West to peddle
essences, and married a female Hoosier whose father owned half a
prairie. They would by no means make as lovely a picture; for Nancy's
upper jaw projects, and she has a wart on her nose, very stiff black
hair, and a shingle figure, none of which adds grace to a scene; and
Hiram went off in the Slabtown stage, with a tin-box on his knees,
instead of in a shell-shaped boat with silken sails; but I know Nancy
reads love-stories with great zest, and I know she had a slow fever
after Hiram was married. For, after all, love is the same thing ever
since Paradise,--the unwearying tradition, the ever new presence, the
rapture or the anguish unspeakable; and while 'Tenty Scran' sat and
sewed at Squire Hall's new linen pantaloons, she set every stitch with a
sigh, and sewed on every button with a pang that would have made Ariadne
put both arms round her, and kiss her long and close, a sister in
bonds,--though purple robes with jewelled borders, crescented pearls,
and armlets of gold, would not have been at all congruous hugging a
sixpenny calico with a linen collar.

Not that Ned neglected 'Tenty; he could not follow her about from house
to house, and she had done sewing for his mother, and in the evening
Aunt 'Viny always needed her. But more than once he joined her after
church, walked home to the door with her, and cheered her simple soul
with his familiar looks and tones, and words of praise that made
Adriadne Scran' think Theseus Parker a little more than mere man,
something altogether adorable. However, she knew he was having a very
good time when he didn't see her at all. The real reason why she ached
and sighed over Squire Hall's pantaloons was, that she heard Ned in the
next room helping Hannah-Ann Hall pack up the dinner for their grand
Snake Hill picnic, and diverting the same Hannah-Ann with such wit and
humor and frolic, that she declared several times she should split, and
begged him not to be so funny.

Now 'Tenty never had a pleasant day, unless Ned was with her,--it had
got as far as that; and the idea that he could and did enjoy himself so
thoroughly and heartily without her was a dull pang that ate into her
soul continually, and made her forlorn. Oh, these women! these pitiful
creatures! not magnanimity enough in a whole race of them to be visible
to the naked eye! jealous dogs-in-the-manger! If they weren't useful
domestically, I should vote for having them exterminated from this great
generous world, and give place to some better institution, which no
doubt could be got up by the india-rubber companies or the scientific
conventions. But as Alphonso of Castile did not make the world, one must
take it as it is; and I will say, for the encouragement of philosophers,
that I have known one magnanimous woman, and she a beautiful woman,
moreover.

So 'Tenty sewed, and ached, and made Aunt 'Viny's bed and her gruel,
read her Bible and prayed for Ned Parker, and thought she was growing
very old, till one night he asked her to go to singing-school with him;
whereupon she put on a pink calico dress, and began to recover her youth
most wonderfully.

They went to Master Solon's singing-school, it is true; but they never
got home to Aunt 'Viny's till half past nine, and 'Tenty never could
remember what tunes they sang; and the singers in church next Sunday
asked her why she didn't come in when she got as far as the door, and
'Tenty said she thought the benches were all full! Truth, stern tutor
of the historian, compels me to confess that 'Tenty and Ned Parker were
sitting on the meeting-house steps most of that evening, in a touching
attitude; for Ned was telling her how his ship had come into port and
was going to sail again for South America, and he had an offer to join
her as second mate; so he had got to say goodbye to his kind little
nurse, and so forth and so on, with admonitions never to forget him,
and how he never should forget her, and here was a little locket; and
finally, sobered by her stifled sobs, Ned bent down his handsome head,
and said, softly,--

"Won't you kiss me for good-bye, 'Tenty?"

Dear me! of course she kissed him, and thought how good he was to kiss
her, and told him so. Whereupon he got better and better; and when the
sexton came to ring the bell for nine o'clock, they only just heard his
steps in time to steal away unobserved through the starry darkness, and
go round past the pine-grove. So reaching home at the aforesaid late
hour, where Mr. Ned became good again when he stooped to unlatch the
gate, 'Tenty looked so fresh and rosy and sweet when she came in, that
Aunt 'Viny growled to herself, found fault with her gruel, scolded at
the blanket, tipped over the teacup, and worried 'Tenty back into stern
reality, till the girl stole off to her bed. Not to sleep,--oh, no!
Waste such sweetness on sleep? Never! She lay there, broad awake, and
thought it all over, and how very nice it was to have anybody love her
so much, and how she should like to be handsome and smart and worthy so
much honor, till the cock crowed for dawn, and then she fell asleep,
nowise daunted by the recollection that Ned had said nothing to her
except that she was as sweet as a ripe blackberry and as pretty as a
daisy; for to her innocent logic actions spoke louder than words, and
she knew that anybody who did so (?) must love her enough to marry her.

So Ned sailed for Valparaiso, and 'Tenty stayed at home. Aunt 'Viny got
no better in all those winter-snows and blows; they are not favorable to
rheumatism, these New-England airs; so 'Tenty had enough to do; but she
was happy and contented. And winter crept by and merged into spring,
and spring into autumn, before Deerfield heard any news of Ned Parker;
though, in the mean time, one report after another of his being engaged
to various girls, at length settling with marked weight on Hannah-Ann
Hall, spread over the village and was the theme of Sunday-noon
gossips and sewing-society meetings, greatly to 'Tenty's contempt and
amusement,--though the contempt was too bitter and the amusement too
tremulous to be pleasant. For did not she know better? People don't kiss
people when they don't like them: a self-evident proposition, but one
that required some assertion and repetition to weigh its right weight in
her mind.

Poor little 'Tenty! In that cold November there came a letter to Doctor
Parker just as he was getting out of his gig, after a round of visits.
The postmaster, going home to dinner, handed it to him, and, going back
from dinner, was called in to lift him up-stairs to his bed. Ned Parker
had been wrecked off the Horn, the crew took to their boats, and only
one boat, with one surviving man to tell the tale, was picked up by a
whaler coming back to New Bedford from the Pacific; all the rest were
gone. Doctor Parker was old and feeble; this only child was all he had;
paralysis smote his body when the smitten mind bowed before that dire
knowledge, and he never looked up again. Content would have given
anything to go and nurse him; but she, too, was stunned, and in the
whirl of that great grief even Aunt 'Viny's demands were no more to her
than a dull mechanic routine that she could hardly force her trembling
steps to carry through. So she stayed at home, sewing all day and crying
all night, and looking generally miserable, though she said nothing; for
whom could she speak to? Aunt 'Viny had resolutely kept her suspicions
about Ned Parker to herself, though well she knew who had walked home
from meeting with 'Tenty in those pleasant autumn Sundays now gone,
pleasure and all. But Miss 'Viny believed in silence on such matters,
and had held her peace; now it was too late to break it. Nor was 'Tenty
disposed to tell her anything; for it occurred for the first time to her
innocent soul that she had nothing to tell. So they both went on their
way, with secret pity and still endurance.

After a brief illness of three days, poor old Doctor Parker's weary
soul and body gave out; he died on a Thursday afternoon, and, in
country-fashion, it was proposed to bury him on Sunday, from the church.
Sunday came, cold and raw and blustering. 'Tenty took her usual seat in
the gallery, but took it early, that she might see the "mourners" come
in and fill the front pews kept for them. She wiped away the tears from
her eyes, and looked on with a feeling of half envy, thinking of the son
to whom no funeral honors should ever now be paid, slumbering in the
cruel seas that break and roar about the Horn. She counted the bearers,
all known faces; she watched Parson Goodyear into the pulpit; she saw
Mrs. Parker on her brother's arm. But there was one other veiled female
figure, shrouded also in black, whose presence she could no way account
for; and when Parson Goodyear made his first long prayer, and sent up an
earnest petition for the doubly bereaved woman before him, what did he
mean by adding,--"And Thine other handmaid, in the bloom of her years
bereaved of hope and promise,--her whom Thou hast afflicted from afar
off, and made a widow before Thee"? What _did_ it mean? 'Tenty's
breath fluttered, and she turned cold. Just at that moment, one of her
neighbors murmured under her bonnet,--"That's Hanner-Ann, next to Miss
Parker; only to think how sly she's kep' it a hull year! And she engaged
to Ed'ard all that time! I wouldn't never ha' believed it, ef she hadn't
had his letters to show for't, an' a gold watch he gin her; an' Miss
Parker says she's knowed it all the time."

Little more did 'Tenty know of psalm or sermon; some whirling sounds
passed her, and then a rush of people. She was last to leave the church;
and when she got home, and went to make Miss 'Viny's tea, as she tilted
the long well-sweep down and up to draw her pail of water, she looked
earnestly down the depths of crystal, as if to see what lay below, then
quietly opened her left hand above it;--something bright fell, dashed
the clear drops from a fern that grew half-way down, tinkled against a
projecting stone, made a little splash, and was gone. 'Tenty took up her
pail and went into the shed; and Ned Parker's locket lies at the bottom
of the well, for all I know, to this day. Thenceforth 'Tenty cried no
more; though for many weeks she was grave, wretched, pining.

Winter set in with furious storms and heavy snows, but, strange to say,
Aunt 'Viny grew better; she could sit up; at length could move about;
and at last, one night when she sat by the fire knitting, suddenly
looked up at 'Tenty and said,--

"You haven't seen Miss Parker lately, have you, Content?"

'Tenty shivered a little.

"No, I have not, Aunt 'Viny."

"Well, it appears as though you should go and see her; she's a weakly
woman, but she can set her back up dreadful against the Lord's doings,
and I don't know but what such kind of people need comfortin' more 'n
others. It's a world full o' gales, this is, and everybody hasn't learnt
the grass's lesson, to bend when the wind blows."

"The Lord sends the wind, Aunt 'Viny."

"The Lord sends everything, only folks don't allow it; they'd ruther lay
it to the door of man, so's to feel free to worry. But the worst thing
He ever does send to people is their own way, 'Tenty; and you'll know it
before you die."

'Tenty turned away to her work, hardly convinced by Miss 'Viny's wisdom,
and inwardly thinking she should like to try her own way for all
that. However, 'Tenty suffered far less than she might have done, for
indignation helped her; the feeling that Ned Parker had deliberately
amused himself with her, while she was in mortal earnest, had lowered
him not a little from his height. Then Aunt 'Viny's care diverted her
sad thoughts from herself, by sending her upon daily errands to the poor
and the sick, so that 'Tenty's pleasant face and voice became the hope
of the hour to more than one poverty-stricken or dying woman; and so her
own grief, measured by theirs, shrank and withdrew itself day by day,
and became something she could now and then forget. And more than all,
her naturally sweet temperament and healthy organization helped her to
recover.

Myriads have died of a broken heart, no doubt, but it was
physiologically broken; grief torments into sleeplessness, sleeplessness
destroys the appetite, then strength goes, the circulation fails, and
any latent evil lurking in the constitution springs on the helpless and
willing victim and completes its work. This is a shockingly unromantic
and material view to take of the matter, and brings to nought poems by
the hundred and novels by the thousand; but is it not, after all, more
true to God and human nature to believe in this view than to think He
made men or women to be the sport of passion and circumstance, even to
their destruction?

'Tenty Scran' was too healthy to break her heart,--and too unselfish; so
she gradually recovered her bright bloom, and went to her work, and took
care of Aunt 'Viny, as energetically and gayly as ever. Hannah-Ann Hall
married a lawyer from Meriden, and moved away, quite consoled for Ned,
within three years; but 'Tenty favored no lovers, though one or two
approached her. There are some--women who are like the aloe,--their life
admits of but one passion. It comes late and lasts long, but never is
repeated; the bloom dies out of its resplendence and odor, but no second
flowering replaces it. She was one of these. But what one man lost in
her love, a thousand of her fellow-creatures gained. 'Tenty was the
Deerfield blessing, though she never knew it herself. All the sick
wanted her; all the children pulled at her gown, and smiled at her from
their plays; her heart and her hands were so full, no regret found place
to nestle there, and silence brooded dove-like over that sorrowful time
gone by.

After a while, some ten years after Ned Parker's death, Miss 'Viny
took to her bed again,--this time never to rise. Slow consumption had
fastened on her, and she knew well what was before her, for so had her
mother died; but no saint was ever more patient than she. 'Tenty was
the best of nurses, and had even learned to speak of her aunt's death
without a tremor in her voice, the last triumph of her unselfishness;
for Miss 'Viny could bear no agitation, and yet needed to speak of the
event she neither dreaded nor desired.

"'Tenty," said she, one day, "I feel a sight easier to leave you than if
you'd married Ned Parker."

"Why, Aunty?" said Content, a light blush only testifying her surprise
at this address.

"Because he was a selfish feller; he always was. I believe some women
are better off to marry, though I can't say but what I believe a single
state is as good; but a woman that gets a real lazy, selfish feller gets
pretty near the worst thing there is. I seemed kind of hard, 'Tenty,
them days, but I had feelin' enough."

"I don't doubt but what you had, Aunt 'Viny; only one can't see far
ahead, you know, when it rains. I'm sure I've been as happy as a clam
these last six years, and I don't calculate to resk that by gettin'
married, never. Besides, I've learned what you used to call the grass's
lesson, pretty well."

Here Parson Goodyear interrupted the conversation, and it never was
resumed; for the week after, Miss 'Viny died, and Content was left alone
in her little house, "to battle with the world," as people say. But no
conflict ensued, since it takes two to make a quarrel, and 'Tenty was
on good terms with the Deerfield world. So she lived on, peaceful and
peace-making, till forty found her as comely and as happy as ever, a
source of perpetual wonder to the neighbors, who said of her, "She has
got the dreadfullest faculty of gettin' along I ever see," and thereby
solved the problem, for all except one, and that other one 'Tenty's
opposite in every trait, Miss Mehitable Hall, Hannah-Ann's older sister,
an old maid of the straitest sect, and one who was nowise sustained
under the inflictions of life by the consciousness of enough money to
support her, and friends to care for her approaching age.

It was Miss Hitty Hall's delight to be miserable: rather an Irish
expression, but the only one that suits her case. One bright October
afternoon she came over to see Content, bringing her blue knitting, sure
symptom of a visitation. 'Tenty welcomed her with her usual cordial
homeliness, gave her the easiest chair she had, and commenced
hospitalities.

"Do lay off your things, Miss Hall, and set awhile; I haven't seen you
for quite a spell."

"Well, I don't really know how to," replied Miss Hitty. "I don't know
but what everything will go to rack while I'm away. My help is dreadful
poor,--I can't calculate for her noway. I shouldn't wonder if she was
settin' in the keepin'-room this minute, looking at my best books."

"Oh, I guess not, Miss Hitty. Now do let me take off your bunnet, and
make yourself easy. Bridget can't do much harm, and you're such a
stranger."

"Well, I don't know but what I will,--there! Don't put yourself out for
me, 'Tenty,--I'll set right here. Dear me! what a clever house this is!
A'n't you lonesome? I do think it's dreadful to be left all alone in
this wicked world; it appears as though I couldn't endure it noways,
sometimes."

"Why, Miss Hitty! I'm sure you're extreme well off. Supposing, now, you
had married a poor man, and had to work all your life,--or a cross man,
always a-findin' fault, or"----

"Well, that's a consideration, re'lly.--Now there's Hanner-Ann's
husband,--he's always nag-naggin' at her for something she's done or
ha'n't done, the whole enduring time. She's real ailing, and he ha'n't
no patience,--but then he's got means, and she wants for nothing. She
had, to say, seven silk dresses, when I was there last time, and things
to match,--that's something.--But I'm sure you have to work as hard as
though you was a minister's wife, 'Tenty. I don't see how you do keep
up."

"Oh, I like work, Miss Hitty. It kind of keeps my spirits up; and all
the folks in Deerfield are as clever to me as though I belonged to 'em.
I have my health, and I don't want for anything. I think I'm as well off
as the Queen."

"You haven't had no great of troubles," groaned Miss Hitty. "I've
suffered so many 'flictions I'm most tired out; them is what wears on
people, 'flictions by death."

"I don't know," meekly answered 'Tenty; "I've had some, but I haven't
laid 'em up much. I felt bad while they lasted; but I knew other folks's
was so much worse, I was kind of shy about feelin' too bad over my
troubles."

"Well, you've got a real faculty at takin' things easy; now I'm one of
the feelin' kind. I set down often and often to knit, and get a-thinkin'
over times back, and things people said and did years ago, and how bad
I felt, till I feel jest so ag'in, and I get a-cryin' till it seems as
though I should screech right out, and I can't sleep, nor I can't do
nothing."

"A'n't you borrowin' trouble a little bit, Miss Hitty? I've kind of
figured it out that it's best to let the things that's dead and done for
stay so. I don't know as we've got any call to remember 'em. 'The Lord
requireth that which is past,' it says in the Bible; and I've always
looked upon that as a kind of a hint to men that it wa'n't their
business, but the Lord's."

"Oh, it's all very well to talk, 'Tenty Scranton!--talk, do!--but
'tisn't so mighty easy to practise on't."

"Why, now, I think it's the easiest way, by a sight, Miss Hitty. I
didn't mean to cast it up against you, for I know it's partly natur',
but I do think folks can help natur' more'n they're generally willing
to allow. I know it does seem as if you couldn't help thinkin' about
troubles sometimes, and it's quite a chore to keep bright; but then it
seems so much more cheery not to be fretted over things you can't help,
and it is such a sight pleasanter for everybody else! I declare, it does
seem jest as though the Lord had made this world for folks to have a
good time in, only they don't all know how, and I always feel a call to
help 'em."

"You're a master-piece to talk, 'Tenty,--but it don't make the
difference with me it does with some folks; it seems as if I should ha'
had a better time almost any way beside my way. I get more and more
failin' every day,--I'm pretty near gone now. I don't know but what
I shall die any time. I suffer so with rheumatiz, and I'm troubled
considerable with a risin' of the lungs; and sometimes I do think I've
got a spine in my back, it aches and creaks so nights."

"Why, I was thinking, since you set here, Miss Hitty, how spry you be,
and you've got a real 'hullsome look to your face; I should say you'd
grown fat."

"Fat!" exclaimed the indignant spinster; "about as fat as a hen's
forehead! Why, Content Scranton! I'm dreadful poor,--poor as Job's
turkey; why, my arms is all bones and sinners."

"You don't say so! I guess that's knitting, Miss Hitty; you do knit
beautiful. Is that worsted or cotton you're at now?"

Praise allayed Miss Hitty's wounded self-pity. She grew amiable under
its slow-dropping dews always, as 'Tenty knew.

"Oh, this a'n't anything to boast of. I call this common knitting; it's
a pair of socks I promised Miss Warner for her boy. Speakin' of her boy
Ned makes me think;--have you heared the news, 'Tenty?"

"No, I haven't heared any."

"Well, it's jest like a story-book. Ned Parker,--he't was Doctor
Parker's son, an' promised to our Hanner-Ann,--he's turned up, it
appears. He wa'n't drownded, but he was washed ashore, and the Indians
they took him, and he wasn't able to get away for ten year; then a
whaler's crew catched sight of him, havin' slopped there, for water,
and took him aboard, and he's been the world over since. He calculated
everybody to Deerfield was dead and married, so he didn't come back; but
now he is a-comin' back, for he's lost a leg, and he's got some money,
and they say he is a-goin' to settle down here."

"Has he come yet, Miss Hitty?"

"No, they're expectin' of him to Miss Warner's every day;--you know she
was Miss Parker's half-brother's wife."

"Yes, I have heared she was. But, Miss Hitty, don't roll up your work."

"Oh, I must be a-goin',--it's time; my help will be standin' on her head
by this time, like enough. I don't see but what one Irish girl is about
as confinin' as seven children, I'm sure."

With which despairing remark, Miss Hitty put on her shawl and calash and
departed; while Content filled her teakettle and prepared for supper.

But while the kettle boiled, she sat down by the window, and thought
about Miss Hitty's news. Her first feeling was one of surprise at
herself, a sort of sad surprise, to feel how entirely the love that once
threatened to wreck her life had died out of it. Hard, indeed, it is to
believe that love can ever die! The young girl clings passionately even
to her grief, and rejects as an insult the idea that such deep regret
can become less in all a lifetime,--that love, immortal, vital,
all-pervading, can perish from its prime, and flutter away into dust
like the dead leaves of a rose. Yet is it not the less true. Time, cold
reason, bitter experience, all poison its life-springs; respect, esteem,
admiration, all turn away from a point that offers no foothold for their
clinging; and she who weeps to-day tears hot as life-blood ten years
hereafter may look with cool distaste at the past passion she has calmly
weighed and measured, and thank God that her wish failed and her
hope was cut down. Yet there is a certain price to pay for all such
experience, to such a heart as sat in the quieted bosom of Content. Had
it been possible for her to love again, she would have felt the change
in her nature far less; but with the stream, the fountain also had
dried, and she was conscious that an aridness, unpleasant and unnatural,
threatened to desolate her soul, and her conflict with this had been the
hardest battle of all. It is so hard to love voluntarily,--to satisfy
one's self with minor affections,--to know that life offers no more its
grandest culmination, its divinest triumph,--to accept a succession of
wax-lights because the sun and the day can return no more,--above all,
to feel that the capacity of receiving that sunlight is fled,--that, so
far, one's own power is eternally narrowed, like the loss of a right
hand or the blinding of a right eye! Patience endures it, but even
patience weeps to think how the fair intent of the Maker is marred,--to
see the mutilated image, the brokenness of perfection!

Not that 'Tenty was conscious of all these ideas. They simplified
themselves to her simple nature in a brief soliloquy, as she sat looking
at the splendid haze of October, glorifying the scarlet maples and
yellow elms of Deerfield Street, now steeped in a sunset of purpled
crimson that struck its level rays across the sapphire hill-tops
and transfigured briefly that melancholy earth dying into winter's
desolations.

"Well, it is curious to think I ever cared so much for anybody as I did
for Ned Parker! poor, selfish cre'tur', just playing with me for fun,
as our kitty does with a mouse! and I re'lly thought he was a fine man!
Live and learn, I declare for't! He let me know what kind of cre'turs
men are, though. I haven't had to be pestered with one all my life, I'm
thankful: that's one good thing to come out of evil. I don't know but
what I should like to feel as wide awake again as I did then; but
'tisn't worth the price."

Saying which, Miss 'Tenty brewed her tea, spread her bread and butter,
and with a bit of cheese made her savory meal, cleared it away, washed
the dishes, and resumed her work as peacefully as if her life had been
all as serene as today.

Ned Parker did come back to Deerfield, and settled there,--a coarse,
red-faced, stout, sailor-like man, with a wooden leg. Ten years in
Patagonia and ten years of whaling had not improved his aspect or his
morals. He swore like a pirate, chewed, smoked a pipe, and now and then
drank to excess; and by way of elegant diversion to these amusements,
fell in love with Content Scranton! Her trim figure, her bright,
cheerful face, her pretty, neat little house and garden, the rumored
"interest-money," that was the fruit of years of hard work and saving,
all attracted this lazy, selfish man, who, remembering his youth,
fancied he had only to ask, to receive; and was struck with astonishment
to hear,--

"No, thank you," in a very calm, clear tone, answered to his
proposition.

"Good Lord! you women are queer craft! I swear, I thought you'd lay to
when I h'isted signals; I ha'n't forgot past times and the meetin'-house
steps, if you have, 'Tenty Scranton."

"You've forgotten Hannah-Ann Hall, I guess," retorted the indignant
little woman.

Ned Parker swore a great oath; he _had_ forgotten that passage,--though
only for a moment.

"Look here!" said 'Tenty, coloring with quiet wrath. "I cannot be
friendly, even, with a man that talks that way. You had your sport,
makin' believe you liked me, and I didn't know better than to believe
you was an honest man. I did think a sight of you then, Ed'ard Parker. I
a'n't ashamed to own it. I had reason to,--for your actions was louder
than words. But when I come to know you hadn't meant nothing by all your
praises and kisses and fine words, except just to have your own fun
while you stayed, no matter what become of me, I see, after I'd got the
tears out of my eyes, what kind of a self-seekin', mean, paltry man it
was that could carry on so with an innocent young girl, and I hadn't no
more respect for you than I have for a potato-peeling. I've lived to
bless the Lord that kept me from you, and I a'n't going to take my
blessings back. It's because I do remember them times that I say No,
now. Your locket is at the bottom of our well; but any love I had with
it is drowned deeper, down to the bottom of nothing. I wish you well,
and to mend your ways; but I don't want to see you here, never!"

After this pungent dismission, nothing was left for Ned Parker but to
hobble from the house, cursing to himself for shame, while 'Tenty buried
her face in her apron and cried as bitterly as if fifteen, instead of
fifty, assailed her with its sorrows.

Why did she cry? Who knows? Perhaps, if you, my dear friend, longing for
the face that bloomed, the lips that kissed, the eyes that smiled for
you, years ago, should suddenly be confronted by those features, after
years of death and decay had done their ghastly work on them, bones
grinning from their clinging morsels of clay, you, too, might hide your
head and cry with terror and disgust and regret. And again you might
not. As I said before, who knows?

But after this, Content subsided into her peaceful routine. Ned Parker
drank himself into delirium-tremens, spent all his money, and came upon
the town. But at that juncture, the Reverend Everett Goodyear, Parson
Goodyear's son and successor, interfered in his behalf, hired a room
and a nurse for him, and had him taken care of in the most generous and
faithful way for the remaining year-and-a-half of his life. Mr. Goodyear
said he was acting for Parker's friends; some said he had a rich uncle,
who was moved to compassion at last; some thought it was Hannah-Ann
Hall; but only one person knew, and she said nothing.

The day Ned Parker died, the young minister stepped in to see 'Tenty
Scran', and told her he was gone. Content did not cry nor smile.

"I'm glad he's rested," said she; "though I haven't no certainty about
his state hereafter."

"You must leave that with the Lord, Miss Content," said Mr. Goodyear.
"You have done what was right; you can't think He will do less."

"That's a fact; and now I expect my last trouble is over."

"But it has taken almost all your money," hesitatingly replied the
minister.

"Well, that's the least of my concerns, Mr. Goodyear," smiled 'Tenty.
"I'm spared my hands yet, and I sha'n't want for nothing while they
last. When I get helpless, I expect the Lord will take care of me. I
sha'n't worry about it till it comes."

"That is philosophy, certainly," said Mr. Goodyear.

"I don't know as it's that; but I guess it's six of common-sense and
half-a-dozen of religion; I always thought they was near about the same
thing. Fact is, people don't die of troubles in this world; they die of
frettin' at 'em, only they don't seem to know it."

"According to that rule, you won't die this long time, Miss 'Tenty,"
said the minister, unable to resist a smile.

"Well, I don't know, Sir. I guess I shall live as long as I want to; and
I expect I shall die content. I a'n't troubled."

"Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth," murmured Mr.
Goodyear, as he walked away.

       *       *       *       *       *


RECOLLECTIONS OF IRVING.

BY HIS PUBLISHER.


You are aware that one of the most interesting reunions of men connected
with literary pursuits in England is at the annual dinner of the
"Literary Fund,"--the management of which has been so often dissected of
late by Dickens and others. It is a fund for disabled authors; and, like
most other British charities, requires to be fed annually by a public
dinner. A notable occasion of this kind happened on the 11th of May,
1842. It was at this that I first met Mr. Irving in Europe. The
president of the festival was no less than the Queen's young husband,
Prince Albert,--his first appearance in that (presidential) capacity.
His three speeches were more than respectable, for a prince; they were
a _positive_ success. In the course of the evening we had speeches by
Hallam and Lord Mahon for the historians; Campbell and Moore for the
poets; Talfourd for the dramatists and the bar; Sir Roderick Murchison
for the _savans_; Chevalier Bunsen and Baron Brunnow for the
diplomatists; G. P. R. James for the novelists; the Bishop of
Gloucester; Gally Knight, the antiquary; and a goodly sprinkling of
peers, _not_ famed as authors. Edward Everett was present as American
Minister; and Washington Irving (then on his way to Madrid in diplomatic
capacity) represented American authors. Such an array of speakers in
a single evening is rare indeed, and it was an occasion long to be
remembered.

The toasts and speeches were, of course, very precisely arranged
beforehand, as etiquette requires, I suppose, being in the presence of
"His Royal Highness," yet most of them were animated and characteristic.
When "Washington Irving and American Literature" was propounded by the
fugleman at the elbow of H.R.H., the cheering was vociferously hearty
and cordial, and the interest and curiosity to see and hear Geoffrey
Crayon seemed to be intense. His name appeared to touch the finest
chords of genial sympathy and good-will. The other famous men of the
evening had been listened to with respect and deference, but Mr.
Irving's name inspired genuine enthusiasm. We had been listening to the
learned Hallam, and the sparkling Moore,--to the classic and fluent
author of "Ion," and to the "Bard of Hope,"--to the historic and
theologic diplomate from Prussia, and to the stately representative of
the Czar. A dozen well-prepared sentiments had been responded to in as
many different speeches. "The Mariners of England," "And doth not
a meeting like this make amends," had been sung, to the evident
satisfaction of the authors of those lyrics--(Campbell, by-the-way, who
was near my seat, had to be "regulated" in his speech by his friend and
publisher, Moxon, lest H.R.H. should be scandalized). And now everybody
was on tiptoe for the author of "Bracebridge Hall." If his speech had
been proportioned to the cheers which greeted him, it would have been
the longest of the evening. When, therefore, he simply said, in his
modest, beseeching manner, "I beg to return you my very sincere thanks,"
his brevity seemed almost ungracious to those who didn't know that it
was physically impossible for him to make a speech. It was vexatious
that routine had omitted from the list of speakers Mr. Everett, who
was at Irving's side; but, as diplomate, the Prussian and Russian
had precedence, and as American author, Irving, of course, was
the representative man. An Englishman near me said to his
neighbor,--"Brief?" "Yes, but you can tell the _gentleman_ in the very
tone of his voice."

In the hat-room I was amused to see "little Tom Moore" in the crowd,
appealing, with mock-pathos, to Irving, as the biggest man, to pass his
ticket, lest he should be demolished in the crush. They left the hall
together to encounter a heavy shower; and Moore, in his "Diary," tells
the following further incident.

"The best thing of the evening (as far as I was concerned) occurred
after the whole grand show was over. Irving and I came away together,
and we had hardly got into the street, when a most pelting shower came
on, and cabs and umbrellas were in requisition in all directions. As
we were provided with neither, our plight was becoming serious, when a
common cad ran up to me, and said,--'Shall I get you a cab, Mr. Moore?
Sure, a'n't I the man that patronizes your Melodies?' He then ran off in
search of a vehicle, while Irving and I stood close up, like a pair of
male caryatides, under the very narrow protection of a hall-door ledge,
and thought, at last, that we were quite forgotten by my patron. But
he came faithfully back, and while putting me into the cab, (without
minding at all the trifle I gave him for his trouble,) he said
confidentially in my ear,--'Now mind, whenever you want a cab, Misthur
Moore, just call for Tim Flaherty, and I'm your man.'--Now, this I call
_fame_, and of somewhat more agreeable kind than that of Dante, when
the women in the street found him out by the marks of hell-fire on his
beard."

When I said that Mr. Irving could not speak in public, I had forgotten
that he did once get through with a very nice little speech on such an
occasion as that just alluded to. It was at an entertainment given in
1837, at the old City Hotel in New York, by the New York booksellers to
American authors. Many of "the Trade" will remember the good things said
on that evening, and among them Mr. Irving's speech about Halleck,
and about Rogers the poet, as the "friend of American genius." At my
request, he afterwards wrote out his remarks, which were printed in the
papers of the day. Probably this was his last, if not his best effort in
this line; for the Dickens-dinner remarks were not _complete_.

In 1845, Mr. Irving came to London from his post at Madrid, on a short
visit to his friend, Mr. McLane, then American Minister to England. It
was my privilege at that time to know him more domestically than before.
It was pleasant to have him at my table at "Knickerbocker Cottage." With
his permission, a quiet party of four was made up;--the others being
Dr. Beattie, the friend and biographer of Campbell; Samuel Carter Hall,
the _littérateur_, and editor of the "Art Journal"; and William Howitt.
Irving was much interested in what Dr. Beattie had to tell about
Campbell, and especially so in Carter Hall's stories of Moore and his
patron, Lord Lansdowne. Moore, at this time, was in ill-health and shut
up from the world. I need not attempt to quote the conversation. Irving
had been somewhat intimate with Moore in former days, and found him
doubtless an entertaining and lively companion,--but his replies to
Hall about the "patronage" of my Lord Lansdowne, etc., indicated pretty
clearly that he had no sympathy with the _small_ traits and parasitical
tendencies of Moore's character. If there was anything specially
detestable to Irving and at variance with his very nature, it was that
self-seeking deference to wealth and station which was so characteristic
of the Irish poet.

I had hinted to one of my guests that Mr. Irving was sometimes "caught
napping" even at the dinner-table, so that such an event should not
occasion surprise. The conversation proved so interesting that I had
almost claimed a victory, when, lo! a slight lull in the talk disclosed
the fact that our respected guest was nodding. I believe it was a
habit with him, for many years, thus to take "forty winks" at the
dinner-table. Still, the conversation of that evening was a rich
treat, and my English friends frequently thanked me afterwards for the
opportunity of meeting "the man of all others whom they desired to
know."

The term of Mr. Irving's contract with his Philadelphia publishers
expired in 1843, and, for five years, his works remained _in statu quo_,
no American publisher appearing to think them of sufficient importance
to propose definitely for a new edition. Surprising as this fact appears
now, it is actually true that Mr. Irving began to think his works had
"rusted out" and were "defunct,"--for nobody offered to reproduce them.
Being, in 1848, again settled in Now York, and apparently able to render
suitable business-attention to the enterprise, I ambitiously proposed an
arrangement to publish Irving's Works. My suggestion was made in a
brief note, written on the impulse of the moment; but (what was more
remarkable) it was promptly accepted without the change of a single
figure or a single stipulation. It is sufficient to remark, that the
number of volumes since printed of these works (including the later
ones) amounts to about eight hundred thousand.

The relations of friendship--I cannot say intimacy--to which this
arrangement admitted me were such as any man might have enjoyed with
proud satisfaction. I had always too much earnest _respect_ for Mr.
Irving ever to claim familiar intimacy with him. He was a man who would
unconsciously and quietly command deferential regard and consideration;
for in all his ways and words there was the atmosphere of true
refinement. He was emphatically a gentleman, in the best sense of that
word. Never forbidding or morose, he was at times (indeed always, when
quite well) full of genial humor,--sometimes overflowing with fun. But I
need not, here at least, attempt to sum up his characteristics.

That "Sunnyside" home was too inviting to those who were privileged
there to allow any proper opportunity for a visit to pass unimproved.
Indeed, it became so attractive to strangers and lion-hunters, that some
of those whose _entrée_ was quite legitimate and acceptable refrained,
especially during the last two years, from adding to the heavy tax which
casual visitors began to levy upon the quiet hours of the host. Ten
years ago, when Mr. Irving was in his best estate of health and spirits,
when his mood was of the sunniest, and Wolfert's Roost was in the
spring-time of its charms, it was my fortune to pass a few days there
with my wife. Mr. Irving himself drove a snug pair of ponies down to the
steamboat to meet us--(for, even then, Thackeray's "one old horse" was
not the only resource in the Sunnyside stables). The drive of two miles
from Tarrytown to that delicious lane which leads to the Roost,--who
does not know all that, and how charming it is? Five hundred
descriptions of the Tappan Sea and the region round about have not
exhausted it. The modest cottage, almost buried under the luxuriant
Melrose ivy, was then just made what it is,--a picturesque and
comfortable retreat for a man of tastes and habits like those of
Geoffrey Crayon,--snug and modest, but yet, with all its surroundings,
a fit residence for a gentleman who had means to make everything
suitable as well as handsome about him. Of this a word anon.

I do not presume to write of the home-details of Sunnyside, further than
to say that this delightful visit of three or four days gave us the
impression that Mr. Irving's element seemed to be at home, as head of
the family. He took us for a stroll over the grounds,--some twenty acres
of wood and dell, with babbling brooks,--pointing out innumerable trees
which he had planted with his own hands, and telling us anecdotes
and reminiscences of his early life:--of his being taken in the
Mediterranean by pirates;--of his standing on the pier at Messina, in
Sicily, and looking at Nelson's fleet sweeping by on its way to the
Battle of Trafalgar;--of his failure to see the interior of Milan
Cathedral, because it was being decorated for the coronation of the
first Napoleon;--of his adventures in Rome with Allston, and how near
Geoffrey Crayon came to being an artist;--of Talleyrand, and many other
celebrities;--and of incidents which seemed to take us back to a former
generation. Often at this and subsequent visits I ventured to suggest,
(not professionally,) after some of these reminiscences, "I hope you
have taken time to make a note of these";--but the oracle nodded a sort
of humorous No.--A drive to Sleepy Hollow--Mr. Irving again managing
the ponies himself--crowned our visit; and with such a coachman and
guide, in such regions, we were not altogether unable to appreciate the
excursion.

You are aware that in "Knickerbocker," especially, Mr. Irving made
copious revisions and additions, when the new edition was published in
1848. The original edition (1809) was dedicated with mock gravity to the
New York Historical Society; and the preface to the revision explains
the origin and intent of the work. Probably some of the more
literal-minded grandsons of Holland were somewhat unappreciative of the
precise scope of the author's genius and the bent of his humor; but if
this "veritable history" really elicited any "doubts" or any hostility,
at the time, such misapprehension has doubtless been long since removed.
It has often been remarked that Diedrich Knickerbocker had really
enlisted more practical interest in the early annals of his native State
than all other historians together, down to his time. But for him we
might never have had an O'Callaghan or a Brodhead.

The "Sketch-Book" also received considerable new matter in the revised
edition; and the story, in the preface, of the author's connection with
Scott and with Murray added new interest to the volume, which has always
been _the_ favorite with the public. You will remember Mr. Bryant's
remark about the change in the tone of Mr. Irving's temperament shown in
this work as contrasted with Knickerbocker, and the probable cause of
this change. Mr. Bryant's very delicate and judicious reference to
the fact of Mr. Irving's early engagement was undoubtedly correct. A
miniature of a young lady, intellectual, refined, and beautiful, was
handed me one day by Mr. Irving, with the request that I would have a
slight injury repaired by an artist and a new case made for it, the old
one being actually worn out by much use. The painting (on ivory) was
exquisitely fine. When I returned it to him in a suitable velvet case,
he took it to a quiet corner and looked intently on the face for some
minutes, apparently unobserved, his tears falling freely on the glass as
he gazed. That this was a miniature of the lady,--Miss Hoffman, a sister
of Ogden Hoffman,--it is not now, perhaps, indelicate to surmise. It
is for a poet to characterize the nature of an attachment so loyal, so
fresh, and so fragrant, _forty years_ after death had snatched away the
mortal part of the object of affection.

During one of his visits to the city, Mr. Irving suddenly asked if I
could give him a bed at my house at Staten Island. I could. So we had
a nice chatty evening, and the next morning we took him on a charming
drive over the hills of Staten. Island. He seemed to enjoy it highly,
for be had not been there, I believe, since he was stationed there in a
military capacity, during the War of 1812, as aid of Governor Tompkins.
He gave us a humorous account of some of his equestrian performances,
and those of the Governor, while on duty at the island; but neither
his valor nor the Governor's was tested by any actual contact with the
enemy.

In facility of composition, Mr. Irving, I believe, was peculiarly
influenced by "moods." When in his usual good health, and the spirit was
on him, he wrote very rapidly; but at other times composition was an
irksome task, or even an impossible one. Dr. Peters says he frequently
rose from his bed in the night and wrote for hours together. Then again
he would not touch his pen for weeks. I believe his most rapidly written
work was the one often pronounced his most spirited one, and a model as
a biography, the "Life of Goldsmith." Sitting at my desk one day, he
was looking at Forster's clever work, which I proposed to reprint. He
remarked that it was a favorite theme of his, and he had half a mind to
pursue it, and extend into a volume a sketch he had once made for an
edition of Goldsmith's Works. I expressed a hope that he would do so,
and within sixty days the first sheets of Irving's "Goldsmith" were in
the printer's hands. The press (as he says) was "dogging at his heels,"
for in two or three weeks the volume was published.

Visiting London shortly after the "Life of Mahomet" was prepared for
the press, I arranged with Mr. Murray, on the author's behalf, for an
English edition of "Mahomet," "Goldsmith," etc., and took a request from
Mr. Irving to his old friend Leslie, that he would make a true sketch of
the venerable Diedrich Knickerbocker. Mr. Irving insisted that the great
historian of the Manhattoes was not the vulgar old fellow they would
keep putting on the omnibuses and ice-carts; but that, though quaint and
old-fashioned, he was still of gentle blood. Leslie's sketches, however,
(he made two,) did not hit the mark exactly; Mr. Irving liked Darley's
better.

Among the briefer visits to Sunnyside which I had the good-fortune
to enjoy was one with the estimable compiler of the "Dictionary of
Authors." Mr. Irving's amiable and hospitable nature prompted him always
to welcome visitors so kindly, that no one, however dull, and however
uncertain his claims, would fail to be pleased with his visit. But
when the genial host was in good health and in his best moods, and the
visitor had any magnetism in his composition, when he found, in short,
a kindred spirit, his talk was of the choicest. Of Sir Walter Scott,
especially, he would tell us much that was interesting. Probably no two
writers ever appreciated each other more heartily than Scott and Irving.
The sterling good sense, and quiet, yet rich humor of Scott, as well as
his literary tastes and wonderful fund of legendary lore, would find
no more intelligent and discriminating admirer than Irving; while the
rollicking fun of the veritable Diedrich and the delicate fancy and
pathos of Crayon were doubtless unaffectedly enjoyed by the great
Scotsman. I wish I could tell you accurately one-half of the anecdotes
which were so pleasantly related during those various brief visits at
"the Cottage"; but I did not go there to take notes, and it is wicked to
spoil good stories by misquotation. One story, however, I may venture to
repeat.

You remember how the author of the "Pleasures of Hope" was once
hospitably entertained by worthy people, under the supposition that he
was the excellent missionary Campbell, just returned from Africa,--and
how the massive man of state, Daniel Webster, had repeated occasion, in
England, to disclaim honors meant for Noah, the man of words. Mr. Irving
told, with great glee, a little story against himself, illustrating
these uncertainties of distant fame. Making a small purchase at a shop
in England, not long after his second or third work had given currency
to his name, he gave his address ("Mr. Irving, Number," etc.) for the
parcel to be sent to his lodgings. The salesman's face brightened: "Is
it possible," said he, "that I have the pleasure of serving Mr. Irving?"
The question, and the manner of it, indicated profound respect and
admiration. A modest and smiling acknowledgment was inevitable. A few
more remarks indicated still more deferential interest on the part of
the man of tape; and then another question, about Mr. Irving's "latest
work," revealed the pleasant fact that he was addressed as the famous
Edward Irving, of the Scotch Church,--the man of divers tongues.
The very existence of the "Sketch-Book" was probably unknown to his
intelligent admirer. "All I could do," added Mr. Crayon, with that rich
twinkle in his eye,--"all I could do was to take my tail between my legs
and slink away in the smallest possible compass."

A word more about Mr. Irving's manner of life. The impression given by
Thackeray, in his notice (genial enough, and well-meant, doubtless) of
Irving's death, is absurdly inaccurate. His picture of the "one old
horse," the plain little house, etc., would lead one to imagine Mr.
Irving a weak, good-natured old man, amiably, but parsimoniously, saving
up his pennies for his "eleven nieces," (!) and to this end stinting
himself, among other ways, to "a single glass of wine," etc., etc.
Mr. Thackeray's notions of style and state and liveried retinues are
probably not entirely un-English, notwithstanding he wields so sharp a
pen against England's snobs; and he may naturally have looked for more
display of greatness at the residence of an ex-ambassador. But he
could scarcely appreciate that simple dignity and solid comfort, that
unobtrusive _fitness_, which belonged to Mr. Irving's home-arrangements.
There were no flunkies in gold and scarlet; but there were four or five
good horses in the stable, and as many suitable carriages. Everything in
the cottage was peculiarly and comfortably elegant, without the least
pretension. As to the "single glass of wine," Mr. Irving, never a
professed teetotaller, was always temperate on instinct both in eating
and drinking; and in his last two years I believe he did not taste
wine at all. In all financial matters, Mr. Irving's providence and
preciseness were worthy of imitation by all professional literary men;
but with exactness and punctuality he united a liberal disposition to
make a suitable use of money, and to have all around him comfortable and
appropriate. Knowing that he could leave a handsome independence for
those nearest to him, he had no occasion for any such anxious care as
Mr. Thackeray intimates.

Thackeray had been invited to Yonkers, to give his lecture on "Charity
and Humor." At this "Ancient Dorp" he was the guest of Cozzens, and I
had the honor of accompanying the greater and lesser humorist in a
drive to Sunnyside, nine miles. (This call of an hour, by-the-way, was
Thackeray's only glimpse of the place he described.) The interview was
in every way interesting. Mr. Irving produced a pair of antiquated
spectacles, which had belonged to Washington, and Major Pendennis tried
them on with evident reverence. The hour was well filled with rapid,
pleasant chat; but no profound analysis of the characteristics of wit
and humor was elicited either from the Stout Gentleman or from Vanity
Fair. Mr. Irving went down to Yonkers, to hear Thackeray's lecture in
the evening, after we had all had a slice of bear at Mr. Sparrowgrass's,
to say nothing of sundry other courses, with a slight thread of
conversation between. At the lecture, he was so startled by the
eulogistic presentation of the lecturer to the audience, by the
excellent chief of the committee, that I believe he did not once nod
during the evening. We were, of course, proud to have as our own guest
for the night such an embodiment of "Charity and Humor" as Mr. Thackeray
saw in the front bench before him, but whom he considerately spared from
holding up as an illustration of his subject.

Charity, indeed, practical "good-will toward men," was an essential
part of Mr. Irving's Christianity,--and in this Christian virtue he was
sometimes severely tested. Nothing was more irksome to him than to be
compelled to endure calls of mere curiosity, or to answer letters either
of fulsome eulogy of himself or asking for his eulogy of the MSS. or new
work of the correspondent. Some letters of that kind he probably never
did answer. Few had any idea of the _fagging_ task they imposed on
the distinguished victim. He would worry and fret over it trebly in
anticipation, and the actual task itself was to him probably ten times
as irksome as it would be to most others. Yet it would be curious to
know how many letters of suggestion and encouragement he actually did
write in reply to solicitations from young authors for his criticism and
advice, and his recommendation, or, perhaps, his pecuniary aid. Always
disposed to find merit, even where any stray grains of the article lay
buried in rubbish, he would amiably say the utmost that could justly be
said in favor of "struggling genius." Sometimes his readiness to aid
meritorious young authors into profitable publicity was shamefully
abused,--as in the case of Maitland, an Englishman, who deliberately
forged an absurdly distorted paraphrase of a note of Mr. Irving's,
besides other disreputable use of the signature which he had enticed
from him in answer to urgent appeals. But these were among the penalties
of honorable fame and influence which he might naturally expect to pay.
The sunny aspect on the "even tenor of his way" still prevailed; and
until the hand of disease reached him in the last year of his life, very
few probably enjoyed a more tranquil and unruffled existence.

It became almost a proverb, that Mr. Irving was a nearly solitary
instance of a long literary career (half a century) untouched by even
a breath of ill-will or jealousy on the part of a brother-author. The
annals of the _genus irritabile_ scarcely show a parallel to such a
career. The most prominent American contemporary of Mr. Irving in
imaginative literature, I suppose, was Fenimore Cooper,--whose genius
raised the American name in Europe more effectively even than Irving's,
at least on the Continent. Cooper had a right to claim respect and
admiration, if not affection, from his countrymen, for his brilliant
creations and his solid services to American literature; and he knew it.
But, as we all know,--for it was patent,--when he returned from Europe,
after sending his "Letter to his Countrymen," and gave us "Home as
Found," his reception was much less marked with warmth and enthusiasm
than Mr. Irving's was; and while he professed indifference to all such
whims of popular regard, yet he evidently brooded a little over the
relative amount of public attention extended to his brother-author. At
any rate, he persistently kept aloof from Mr. Irving for many years; and
not unfrequently discoursed, in his rather authoritative manner, about
the humbuggery of success in this country, as exhibited in some shining
instances of popular and official favor. With great admiration for
Cooper, whose national services were never recognized as they deserved
to be, I trust no injustice is involved in the above suggestion, which I
make somewhat presumptuously,--especially as Mr. Irving more than once
spoke to me in terms of strong admiration of the works and genius of
Cooper, and regretted that the great novelist seemed to cherish some
unpleasant feeling towards him. One day, some time after I had commenced
a library edition of Cooper's best works, and while Irving's were in
course of publication in companionship, Mr. Irving was sitting at my
desk, with his back to the door, when Mr. Cooper came in, (a little
bustlingly, as usual,) and stood at the office-entrance, talking. Mr.
Irving did not turn, (for obvious reasons,) and Cooper did not see him.
Remembering his "Mr. Sharp, Mr. Blunt,--Mr. Blunt, Mr. Sharp," I had
acquired caution as to introductions without mutual consent; but with
a brief thought of how matters stood, (they had not met for several
years,) and a sort of instinct that reduced the real difference between
the parties to a baseless fabric of misapprehension, I stoutly obeyed
the impulse of the moment, and simply said,--"Mr. Cooper, here is Mr.
Irving." The latter turned,--Cooper held out his hand cordially, dashed
at once into an animated conversation, took a chair, and, to my surprise
and delight, the two authors sat for an hour, chatting in their best
manner about almost every topic of the day and some of former days. They
parted with cordial good wishes, and Mr. Irving afterwards frequently
alluded to the incident as being a very great gratification to him.
He may have recalled it with new satisfaction, when, not many months
afterwards, he sat on the platform at the "Cooper Commemoration," and
joined in Bryant's tribute to the genius of the departed novelist.

Mr. Irving was never a systematic collector of books, and his little
library at Sunnyside might have disappointed those who would expect to
see there rich shelves of choice editions, and a full array of all the
favorite authors among whom such a writer would delight to revel. Some
rather antiquated tomes in Spanish,--in different sets of Calderon
and Cervantes, and of some modern French and German authors,--a
presentation-set of Cadell's "Waverley," as well as that more recent and
elegant emanation from the classic press of Houghton,--a moderate amount
of home-tools for the "Life of Washington," (rarer materials were
consulted in the town-libraries and at Washington,)--and the remainder
of his books were evidently a hap-hazard collection, many coming from
the authors, with their respects, and thus sometimes costing the
recipient their full (intrinsic) value in writing a letter of
acknowledgment.

The little apartment had, nevertheless, become somewhat overcrowded, and
a suggestion for a general renovation and pruning seemed to be gladly
accepted,--so I went up and passed the night there for that purpose.
Mr. Irving, in his easy-chair in the sitting-room, after dinner, was
quite content to have me range at large in the library and to let me
discard all the "lumber" as I pleased; so I turned out some hundred
volumes of _un_-classic superfluity, and then called him in from his
nap to approve or veto my proceedings. As he sat by, while I rapidly
reported the candidates for exclusion, and he nodded assent, or as, here
and there, he would interpose with "No, no, not _that_," and an anecdote
or reminiscence would come in as a reason against the dismissal of the
book in my hand, I could not help suggesting the scene in Don Quixote's
library, when the priest and the barber entered upon their scrutiny of
its contents. Mr. Irving seemed to be highly amused with this pruning
process, and his running commentary on my "estimates of value" in
weighing his literary collections was richly entertaining.

Observing that his library-table was somewhat antiquated and inadequate,
I persuaded him to let me make him a present of a new one, with the
modern conveniences of drawers and snug corners for keeping his stray
papers. When I sent him such a one, my stipulation for the return of the
old one as a present to me was pleasantly granted. This relic was of no
great intrinsic value; but, as he had written on this table many of his
later works, including "Mahomet," "Goldsmith," "Wolfert's Roost," and
"Washington," I prize it, of course, as one of the most interesting
mementos of Sunnyside.

As an illustration of habit, it may be added, that, some time after the
new table had been installed, I was sitting with him in the library,
when he searched long and fruitlessly for some paper which had been "so
_very_ carefully stowed away in some _very_ safe drawer" that it was
not to be found, and the search ended in a sort of half-humorous,
half-earnest denunciation of all "modern conveniences";--the simple old
table, with its primitive facilities, was, after all, worth a dozen of
these elegant contrivances for memory-saving and neatness.

One rather curious characteristic of Mr. Irving was excessive,
unaffected modesty and distrust of himself and of his own writings.
Considering how many a _débutant_ in letters, not yet out of his teens,
is so demonstratively self-confident as to the prospective effect of his
genius on an expecting and admiring world, it was always remarkable to
hear a veteran, whose fame for half a century had been cosmopolitan,
expressing the most timid doubts as to his latest compositions, and
fearing they were unequal to their position,--so unwilling, too, to
occupy an inch of ground to which any other writer might properly lay
claim. Mr. Irving had planned and made some progress in a work on the
Conquest of Mexico, when he learned of Mr. Prescott's intentions, and
promptly laid his project aside. His "Life of Washington," originating
more than thirty years ago, was repeatedly abandoned, as the successive
works of Mr. Sparks, Mr. Padding, and others, appeared; and though he
was subsequently induced to proceed with his long-considered plan of a
more dramatic and picturesque narrative from a new point of view, yet
he was more than once inclined to put his MSS. into the fire, in the
apprehension that the subject had been worn threadbare by the various
compilations which were constantly coming out. When he ventured his
first volume, the cordial and appreciative reception promptly accorded
to it surprised as much as it cheered and pleased him; for though he
despised hollow flattery, no young writer was more warmly sensitive than
he to all discriminating, competent, and honest applause or criticism.
When "Wolfert's Roost" was published, (I had to entice the papers
of that volume from his drawers, for I doubt whether he would have
collected them himself,) I saw him affected actually to tears, on
reading some of the hearty and well-written personal tributes which
that volume called forth. But though every volume was received in this
spirit by the press and the public, he was to the last apprehensive of
failure, until a reliable verdict should again reassure him. The very
last volume of his works (the fifth of "Washington") was thus timidly
permitted to be launched; and I remember well his expression of relief
and satisfaction, when he said that Mr. Bancroft, Professor Felton, and
Mr. Duyckinck had been the first to assure him the volume was all that
it should be. His task on this volume had perhaps extended beyond the
period of his robust health,--it had _fagged_ him,--but he had been
spared to write every line of it with his own hand, and my own copy is
enriched by the autograph of his valedictory.

To refer, however briefly, to Mr. Irving's politics or religion, even if
I had intimate knowledge of both, (which assuredly I had not,) would
be, perhaps, to overstep decorous limits. It may, however, properly be
mentioned, that, in the face of all inherent probabilities as to
his comfortable conservatism, and his earnest instincts in favor of
fraternal conciliation and _justice_, (which was as marked a quality in
him as in the great man whom be so faithfully portrayed,) in spite of
all the considerations urged by timid gentlemen of the old school in
favor of Fillmore and the _status quo_, he voted in 1856, as he told me,
for Fremont. In speaking of the candidates then in the field, he said of
Fremont, that his comparative youth and inexperience in party-politics
were points in his favor; for he thought the condition of the country
called for a man of nerve and energy, one in his prime, and unfettered
by party-traditions and bargains for "the spoils." His characterization
of a more experienced functionary, who had once served in the State
Department, was more severe than I ever heard from him of any other
person; and severity from a man of his judicious and kindly impulses had
a meaning in it.

Favored once with a quiet Sunday at "the Cottage," of course there was
a seat for us all in the family-pew at Christ Church in the village
(Tarrytown). Mr. Irving's official station as Church-Warden was
indicated by the ex-ambassador's meek and decorous presentation of
the plate for the silver and copper offerings of the parishioners. At
subsequent successive meetings of the General (State) Convention of
the Protestant Episcopal Church, (to which I had been delegated from
a little parish on Staten Island,) the names of Washington Irving and
Fenimore Cooper were both recorded,--the latter representing Christ
Church, Cooperstown. Mr. Irving for several years served in this
capacity, and as one of the Missionary Committee of the Convention, his
name was naturally sought as honoring any organization. He was the last
person to be demonstrative or conspicuous either as to his faith or his
works; but no disciple of Christ, perhaps, felt more devoutly than he
did the reverential aspiration of "Glory to God in the highest, and on
earth peace, good-will toward men."

Passing a print-window in Broadway one day, his eye rested on the
beautiful engraving of "Christus Consolator." He stopped and looked at
it intently for some minutes, evidently much affected by the genuine
inspiration of the artist in this remarkable representation of the
Saviour as the consoler of sorrow-stricken humanity. His tears fell
freely. "Pray, get me that print," said he; "I must have it framed
for my sitting-room." When he examined it more closely and found the
artist's name, "It's by my old friend Ary Scheffer!" said he,--remarking
further, that he had known Scheffer intimately, and knew him to be a
true artist, but had not expected from him anything so excellent as
this. I afterwards sent him the companion, "Christus Remunerator"; and
the pair remained his daily companions till the day of his death. To me,
the picture of Irving, amid the noise and bustle of noon in Broadway,
shedding tears as he studied that little print, so feelingly picturing
human sorrow and the source of its alleviation, has always remained
associated with the artist and his works. If Irving could enjoy wit and
humor and give that enjoyment to others, no other writer of books had a
heart more tenderly sensitive than his to the sufferings and ills which
flesh is heir to.

Of his later days,--of the calmly received premonitions of that peaceful
end of which only the precise moment was uncertain,--of his final
departure, so gentle and so fitting,--of that "Washington-Irving-day"
so dreamily, blandly still, and almost fragrant, December though it was,
when with those simple and appropriate obsequies his mortal remains were
placed by the side of his brothers and sisters in the burial-ground of
Sleepy Hollow, while thousands from far and near silently looked for the
last time on his genial face and mourned his loss as that of a personal
friend and a national benefactor, yet could hardly for _his_ sake desire
any more enviable translation from mortality,--of the many beautiful
and eloquent tributes of living genius to the life and character and
writings of the departed author,--of all these you have already an ample
record. I need not repeat or extend it. If you could have "assisted"
at the crowning "Commemoration," on his birthday, (April 3d,) at the
Academy of Music, you would have found it in many respects memorably in
accordance with the intrinsic fitness of things. An audience of five
thousand, so evidently and discriminatingly intelligent, addressed for
two hours by Bryant, with all his cool, judicious, deliberate criticism,
warmed into glowing appreciation of the most delicate and peculiar
beauties of the character and literary services he was to
delineate,--and this rich banquet fittingly _desserted_ by the periods
of Everett,--such an evening was worthy of the subject, and worthy to
be remembered. The heartiness and the genial insight into Irving's best
traits which the poet displayed were peculiarly gratifying to the nearer
friends and relatives. His sketch and analysis, too, had a remarkable
completeness for an address of that kind, while its style and manner
were models of chaste elegance. Speaking of Irving's contemporaries and
predecessors, he warms into poetry, thus:--

"We had but one novelist before the era of the 'Sketch-Book': their
number is now beyond enumeration by any but a professed catalogue-maker,
and many of them are read in every cultivated form of human speech.
Those whom we acknowledge as our poets--one of whom is the special
favorite of our brothers in language who dwell beyond the sea--appeared
in the world of letters and won its attention after Irving had become
famous. We have wits and humorists and amusing essayists, authors of
some of the airiest and most graceful contributions of the present
century,--and we owe them to the new impulse given to our literature
in 1819. I look abroad on these stars of our literary firmament,--some
crowded together with their minute points of light in a galaxy, some
standing apart in glorious constellations; I recognize Arcturus and
Orion and Perseus and the glittering jewels of the Southern Crown, and
the Pleiades shedding sweet influences; but the Evening Star, the soft
and serene light that glowed in their van, the precursor of them all,
has sunk below the horizon. The spheres, meanwhile, perform their
appointed courses; the same motion which lifted them up to the mid-sky
bears them onward to their setting; and they, too, like their bright
leader, must soon be carried by it below the earth."

Let me quote also Mr. Bryant's closing remarks:--

"Other hands will yet give the world a bolder, more vivid, and more
exact portraiture. In the mean time, when I consider for how many
years he stood before the world as an author, with still increasing
fame,--half a century in this most changeful of centuries,--I cannot
hesitate to predict for him a deathless renown. Since he began to write,
empires have arisen and passed away; mighty captains have appeared on
the stage of the world, performed their part, and been called to
their account; wars have been fought and ended which have changed the
destinies of the human race. New arts have been invented and adopted,
and have pushed the old out of use; the household economy of half
mankind has undergone a revolution. Science has learned a new dialect
and forgotten the old; the chemist of 1807 would be a vain babbler among
his brethren of the present day, and would in turn become bewildered in
the attempt to understand them. Nation utters speech to nation in words
that pass from realm to realm with the speed of light. Distant countries
have been made neighbors; the Atlantic Ocean has become a narrow frith,
and the Old World and the New shake hands across it; the East and the
West look in at each other's windows. The new inventions bring new
calamities, and men perish in crowds by the recoil of their own devices.
War has learned more frightful modes of havoc, and armed himself with
deadlier weapons; armies are borne to the battle-field on the wings of
the wind, and dashed against each other and destroyed with infinite
bloodshed. We grow giddy with this perpetual whirl of strange events,
these rapid and ceaseless mutations; the earth seems to be reeling under
our feet, and we turn to those who write like Irving for some assurance
that we are still in the same world into which we were born; we read,
and are quieted and consoled. In his pages we see that the language of
the heart never becomes obsolete; that Truth and Good and Beauty,
the offspring of God, are not subject to the changes which beset the
inventions of men. We become satisfied that he whose works were the
delight of our fathers, and are still ours, will be read with the same
pleasure by those who come after us."



IRENE ANADYOMENE.


  O'er far Pacific waves the wanderer holding
  His steady course before the strong monsoon,
  Entranced, beholds the coral isle unfolding
  Its ring of emerald and its bright lagoon.

  At first their shadowy helms in the faint distance
  The tree-tops rear; then, as he nearer glides,
  The white surf gleams where the firm reef's resistance
  Meets and hurls back the fiercely charging tides.

  He sees outspread the wide sea-beach, all sparkling
  With coral sand and many-tinted shells,
  While high above, in tropic rankness darkling,
  A cloud of verdure ever-brooding dwells,

  With growing wonder and delight the stranger,
  While his swift shallop nears the enchanted strand,
  Sees the white surf cleared with one flash of danger,
  And a broad portal opening through the land.

  And deftly through the verdurous gateway steering,
  The strong-armed oarsmen urge their flying boat,
  Till now, the broad horizon disappearing,
  On the still island-lake they pause and float.

  The gun booms loud. With wishful eyes receding,
  They watch from their swift boat the lessening isle.
  The yards are squared. Again the good ship speeding
  Sees the chafed waves beneath her counter file.

  Long musing o'er his scientific pages,
  The curious voyager pursues the theme,
  And learns whate'er the geologic sages
  Have found or fancied,--building each his scheme.



The Professor's Story.


  This pleased him best:--In earth's red primal morning,
  When Nature's forces wrought with youthful heat,
  A mighty continent outspread, adorning
  Our planet's face, where now the surges beat:

  A land of wondrous growths, of strange creations,
  Of ferns like oaks, of saurians huge and dire,
  Of marshes vast, their dreary habitations,
  Of mountains flaming with primeval fire.

  At length, by some supernal fiat banished,
  The land sank down in one great cataclysm;
  The vales, the plains, the mountains slowly vanished,
  Buried and quenched in the wide sea's abysm.

  'Twas then (so ran the scheme) on each lost crater
  The coral-builders laid their marvellous pile;
  Millions on millions wrought, till ages later
  Saw reared to light and air the circling isle.

  Thus Science dreams: but from the dream upflashes
  On his swift thought the subtly shadowed truth,
  That all serener joys bloom on the ashes,
  The lava, and spent craters of lost youth.

  The heart, long worn by fierce volcanic surges,
  Feels its old world slow sinking from the sight,
  Till o'er the wreck a home of peace emerges,
  Bright with unnumbered shapes of new delight.



THE PROFESSOR'S STORY.


CHAPTER XXI.

THE WIDOW BOWENS GIVES A TEA-PARTY.


There was a good deal of interest felt, as has been said, in the lonely
condition of Dudley Venner in that fine mansion-house of his, and with
that strange daughter, who would never be married, as many people
thought, in spite of all the stories. The feelings expressed by the good
folks who dated from the time when they "buried aour little Anny Mari,"
and others of that homespun stripe, were founded in reason, after all.
And so it was natural enough that they should be shared by various
ladies, who, having conjugated the verb _to live_ as far as the
preterpluperfect tense, were ready to change one of its vowels and begin
with it in the present indicative. Unfortunately, there was very little
chance of showing sympathy in its active form for a gentleman who kept
himself so much out of the way as the master of the Dudley Mansion.

Various attempts had been made, from time to time, of late years, to get
him out of his study, which had, for the moat part, proved failures. It
was a surprise, therefore, when he was seen at the Great Party at
the Colonel's. But it was an encouragement to try him again, and the
consequence had been that he had received a number of notes inviting him
to various smaller entertainments, which, as neither he nor Elsie had
any fancy for them, he had politely declined.

Such was the state of things when he received an invitation to take tea
_sociably,_ with _a few friends,_ at Hyacinth Cottage, the residence of
the Widow Rowens, relict of the late Beeri Rowens, Esquire, better known
as Major Rowens. Major Rowens was at the time of his decease a promising
officer in the militia, in the direct line of promotion, as his
waistband was getting tighter every year; and, as all the world knows,
the militia-officer who splits off most buttons and fills the largest
sword-belt stands the best chance of rising, or, perhaps we might say,
spreading, to be General.

Major Rowens united in his person certain other traits that help a
man to eminence in the arm of the service referred to. He ran to high
colors, to wide whisker, to open pores; he had the saddle-leather skin
common in Englishmen, rarer in Americans,--never found in the Brahmin
caste, oftener in the military and the commodores: observing people know
what is meant; blow the seed-arrows from the white-kid-looking button
which holds them on a dandelion-stalk, and the pricked-pincushion
surface shows you what to look for. He had the loud, gruff voice which
implies the right to command. He had the thick hand, stubbed fingers,
with bristled pads between their joints, square, broad thumb-nails, and
sturdy limbs, which mark a constitution made to use in rough out-door
work. He had the never-failing predilection for showy switch-tailed
horses that step high, and sidle about, and act as if they were going to
do something fearful the next minute, in the face of awed and admiring
multitudes gathered at mighty musters or imposing cattle-shows. He had
no objection, either, to holding the reins in a wagon behind another
kind of horse,--a slouching, listless beast, with a strong slant to his
shoulder and a notable depth to his quarter and an emphatic angle at the
hock, who commonly walked or lounged along in a lazy trot of five or
six miles an hour; but, if a lively colt happened to come rattling up
alongside, or a brandy-faced old horse-jockey took the road to show off
a fast nag, and threw his dust into the Major's face, would pick his
legs up all at once, and straighten his body out, and swing off into a
three-minute gait, in a way that "Old Blue" himself need not have been
ashamed of.

For some reason which must be left to the next generation of professors
to find out, the men who are knowing in horse-flesh have an eye also
for,----let a long dash separate the brute creation from the angelic
being now to be named,--for lovely woman. Of this fact there can be no
possible doubt; and therefore you shall notice, that, if a fast horse
trots before two, one of the twain is apt to be a pretty bit of
muliebrity, with shapes to her, and eyes flying about in all directions.

Major Rowens, at that time Lieutenant of the Rockland Fusileers, had
driven and "traded" horses not a few before he turned his acquired skill
as a judge of physical advantages in another direction. He knew a neat,
snug hoof, a delicate pastern, a well-covered stifle, a broad haunch, a
deep chest, a close ribbed-up barrel, as well as any other man in the
town. He was not to be taken in by your thick-jointed, heavy-headed
cattle, without any go to them, that suit a country-parson, nor yet by
the "galinted-up," long-legged animals, with all their constitutions
bred out of them, such as rich greenhorns buy and cover up with their
plated trappings.

Whether his equine experience was of any use to him in the selection of
the mate with whom he was to go in double harness so long as they both
should live, we need not stop to question. At any rate, nobody could
find fault with the points of Miss Marilla Van Deusen, to whom he
offered the privilege of becoming Mrs. Rowens. The _Van_ must have been
crossed out of her blood, for she was an out-and-out brunette, with hair
and eyes black enough for a Mohawk's daughter. A fine style of woman,
with very striking tints and outlines,--an excellent match for the
Lieutenant, except for one thing. She was marked by Nature for a widow.
She was evidently got up for mourning, and never looked so well as in
deep black, with jet ornaments.

The man who should dare to marry her would doom himself; for how could
she become the widow she was bound to be, unless he would retire and
give her a chance? The Lieutenant lived, however, as we have seen, to
become Captain and then Major, with prospects of further advancement.
But Mrs. Rowens often said she should never look well in colors. At last
her destiny fulfilled itself, and the justice of Nature was vindicated.
Major Rowens got overheated galloping about the field on the day of the
Great Muster, and had a rush of blood to the head, according to the
common report,--at any rate, something which stopped him short in his
career of expansion and promotion, and established Mrs. Rowens in her
normal condition of widowhood.

The Widow Rowens was now in the full bloom of ornamental sorrow. A very
shallow crape bonnet, frilled and froth-like, allowed the parted raven
hair to show its glossy smoothness. A jet pin heaved upon her bosom with
every sigh of memory, or emotion of unknown origin. Jet bracelets shone
with every movement of her slender hands, cased in close-fitting black
gloves. Her sable dress was ridged with manifold flounces, from beneath
which a small foot showed itself from time to time, clad in the same hue
of mourning. Everything about her was dark, except the whites of her
eyes and the enamel of her teeth. The effect was complete. Gray's Elegy
was not a more perfect composition.

Much as the Widow was pleased with the costume belonging to her
condition, she did not disguise from herself that under certain
circumstances she might be willing to change her name again. Thus, for
instance, if a gentleman not too far gone in maturity, of dignified
exterior, with an ample fortune, and of unexceptionable character,
should happen to set his heart upon her, and the only way to make him
happy was to give up her weeds and go into those unbecoming colors again
for his sake,--why, she felt that it was in her nature to make the
sacrifice. By a singular coincidence it happened that a gentleman was
now living in Rockland who united in himself all these advantages. Who
he was, the sagacious reader may very probably have divined. Just to see
how it looked, one day, having bolted her door, and drawn the curtains
close, and glanced under the sofa, and listened at the keyhole to be
sure there was nobody in the entry,--just to see how it looked, she
had taken out an envelope and written on the back of it _Mrs. Marila
Venner._ It made her head swim and her knees tremble. What if she should
faint, or die, or have a stroke of palsy, and they should break into the
room and find that name written? How she caught it up and tore it into
little shreds, and then could not be easy until she had burned the small
heap of pieces! But these are things which every honorable reader will
consider imparted in strict confidence.

The Widow Rowens, though not of the mansion-house set, was among the
most genteel of the two-story circle, and was in the habit of visiting
some of the great people. In one of these visits she met a dashing young
fellow with an olive complexion at the house of a professional gentleman
who had married one of the white necks and pairs of fat arms from a
distinguished family before referred to. The professional gentleman
himself was out, but the lady introduced the olive-complexioned young
man as Mr. Richard Venner.

The Widow was particularly pleased with this accidental meeting. Had
heard Mr. Venner's name frequently mentioned. Hoped his uncle was well,
and his charming cousin,--was she as original as ever? Had often admired
that charming creature he rode: _we_ had had some fine horses. Had never
got over her taste for riding, but could find nobody that liked a good
long gallop since--well--she couldn't help wishing she was alongside of
him, the other day, when she saw him dashing by, just at twilight.

The Widow paused; lifted a flimsy handkerchief with a very deep black
border so as to play the jet bracelet; pushed the tip of her slender
foot beyond the lowest of her black flounces; looked up; looked down;
looked at Mr. Richard, the very picture of artless simplicity,--as
represented in well-played genteel comedy.

"A good bit of stuff," Dick said to himself,--"and something of it left
yet; _caramba!_" The Major had not studied points for nothing, and
the Widow was one of the right sort. The young man had been a little
restless of late, and was willing to vary his routine by picking up an
acquaintance here and there. So he took the Widow's hint. He should like
to have a scamper of half a dozen miles with her some fine morning.

The Widow was infinitely obliged; was not sure that she could find any
horse in the village to suit her; but it was _so_ kind in him! Would he
not call at Hyacinth Cottage, and let her thank him again there?

Thus began an acquaintance which the Widow made the most of, and on the
strength of which she determined to give a tea-party and invite a number
of persons of whom we know something already. She took a half-sheet of
note-paper and made out her list as carefully as a country "merchant's"
"clerk" adds up two and threepence (New-England nomenclature) and twelve
and a half cents, figure by figure, and fraction by fraction, before he
can be sure they will make half a dollar, without cheating somebody.
After much consideration the list reduced itself to the following names:
Mr. Richard Venner and Mrs. Blanche Creamer, the lady at whose house she
had met him,--mansion-house breed,--but will come,--soft on Dick; Dudley
Venner,--take care of him herself; Elsie,--Dick will see to her,--won't
it fidget the Creamer woman to see him round her? the old Doctor,--he's
always handy; and there's that young master there, up at the
school,--know him well enough to ask him,--oh, yes, he'll come. One,
two, three, four, five, six,--seven; not room enough, without the leaf
in the table; one place empty, if the leaf's in. Let's see,--Helen
Darley,--she'll do well enough to fill it up,--why, yes, just the
thing,--light brown hair, blue eyes,--won't my pattern show off well
against her? Put her down,--she's worth her tea and toast ten times
over,--nobody knows what a "thunder-and-lightning woman," as poor Major
used to have it, is, till she gets alongside of one of those old-maidish
girls, with hair the color of brown sugar, and eyes like the blue of a
teacup.

The Widow smiled with a feeling of triumph at having overcome her
difficulties and arranged her party,--arose and stood before her glass,
three-quarters front, one-quarter profile, so as to show the whites of
the eyes and the down of the upper lip. "Splendid!" said the Widow,
--and to tell the truth, she was not far out of the way, and with
Helen Darley as a foil anybody would know she must be foudroyant and
pyramidal,--if these French adjectives may be naturalized for this one
particular exigency.

So the Widow sent out her notes. The black grief which had filled her
heart and overflowed in surges of crape around her person had left a
deposit half an inch wide at the margin of her note-paper. Her seal was
a small youth with an inverted torch, the same on which Mrs. Blanche
Creamer made her spiteful remark, that she expected to see that boy of
the Widow's standing on his head yet; meaning, as Dick supposed, that
she would get the torch right-side up as soon as she had a chance. That
was after Dick had made the Widow's acquaintance, and Mrs. Creamer had
got it into her foolish head that she would marry that young fellow,
if she could catch him. How could he ever come to fancy such, a
quadroon-looking thing as that, she should like to know?

It is easy enough to ask seven people to a party; but whether they will
come or not is an open question, as it was in the case of the "vasty
spirits." If the note issues from a three-story mansion-house, and goes
to two-story acquaintances, they will all be in an excellent state of
health, and have much pleasure in accepting this very polite invitation.
If the note is from the lady of a two-story family to a three-story one,
the former highly respectable person will find that an endemic complaint
is prevalent, not represented in the weekly bills of mortality, which
occasions numerous regrets in the bosoms of eminently desirable parties
that they _cannot_ have the pleasure of and-so-forth-ing.

In this case there was room for doubt,--mainly as to whether Elsie
would take a fancy to come or not. If she should come, her father would
certainly be with her. Dick had promised, and thought he could bring
Elsie. Of course the young schoolmaster will come, and that poor
tired-out looking Helen,--if only to get out of sight of those horrid
Peckham wretches. They don't get such invitations every day. The others
she felt sure of,--all but the old Doctor,--he might have some horrid
patient or other to visit; tell him Elsie Venner's going to be
there,--he always likes to have an eye on her, they say,--oh, he'd come
fast enough, without any more coaxing.

She wanted the Doctor, particularly. It was odd, but she was afraid of
Elsie. She felt as if she should be safe enough, if the old Doctor were
there to see to the girl; and then she should have leisure to devote
herself more freely to the young lady's father, for whom all her
sympathies were in a state of lively excitement.

It was a long time since the Widow had seen so many persons round her
table as she had now invited. Better have the plates set and see how
they will fill it up with the leaf in.--A little too scattering with
only eight plates set; if she could find two more people now that would
bring the chairs a little closer,--snug, you know,--which makes the
company sociable. The Widow thought over her acquaintances. Why! how
stupid! there was her good minister, the same that had married her, and
might--might--bury her for aught she knew, and his granddaughter
staying with him,--nice little girl, pretty, and not old enough to be
dangerous;--for the Widow had no notion of making a tea-party and asking
people to it that would be like to stand between her and any little
project she might happen to have on anybody's heart,--not she! It was
all right now;--Blanche was married and so forth; Letty was a child;
Elsie was his daughter; Helen Darley was a nice, worthy drudge,--poor
thing!--faded, faded,--colors wouldn't wash,--just what she wanted to
show off against. Now, if the Dudley mansion-house people would only
come,--that was the great point.

"Here's a note for us, Elsie," said her father, as they sat round the
breakfast-table. "Mrs. Rowens wants us all to come to tea."

It was one of "Elsie's days," as Old Sophy called them. The light in her
eyes was still, but very bright. She looked up so full of perverse and
wilful impulses, that Dick knew he could make her go with him and
her father. He had his own motives for bringing her to this
determination,--and his own way of setting about it.

"I don't want to go," he said. "What do you say, Uncle?"

"To tell the truth, Richard, I don't much fancy the Major's widow. I
don't like to see her weeds flowering out quite so strong. I suppose you
don't care about going, Elsie?"

Elsie looked up in her father's face with an expression which he knew
but too well. She was just in the state which the plain sort of people
call "contrary," when they have to deal with it in animals. She would
insist on going to that tea-party; he knew it just as well before she
spoke as after she had spoken. If Dick had said he wanted to go and her
father had seconded his wishes, she would have insisted on staying at
home. It was no great matter, her father said to himself, after
all; very likely it would amuse her; the Widow was a lively woman
enough,--perhaps a little _comme il ne faut pas_ socially, compared with
the Thorntons and some other families; but what did he care for these
petty village distinctions?

Elsie spoke.

"I mean to go. You must go with me, Dudley. You may do as you like,
Dick."

That settled the Dudley-mansion business, of course. They all three
accepted, as fortunately did all the others who had been invited.

Hyacinth Cottage was a pretty place enough, a little too much choked
round with bushes, and too much overrun with climbing-roses, which, in
the season of slugs and rose-bugs, were apt to show so brown about
the leaves and so coleopterous about the flowers, that it might be
questioned whether their buds and blossoms made up for these unpleasant
animal combinations,--especially as the smell of whale-oil soap was very
commonly in the ascendant over that of the roses. It had its patch
of grass called "the lawn," and its glazed closet known as "the
conservatory," according to that system of harmless fictions
characteristic of the rural imagination and shown in the names applied
to many familiar objects. The interior of the cottage was more tasteful
and ambitious than that of the ordinary two-story dwellings. In place
of the prevailing hair-cloth covered furniture, the visitor had the
satisfaction of seating himself upon a chair covered with some of the
Widow's embroidery, or a sofa luxurious with soft caressing plush. The
sporting tastes of the late Major showed in various prints on the
wall: Herring's "Plenipotentiary," the "red bullock" of the '34 Derby;
"Cadland" and "The Colonel"; "Crucifix"; "West-Australian," fastest of
modern racers; and ugly, game old "Boston," with his straight neck and
ragged hips; and gray "Lady Suffolk," "extending" herself till she
measured a rod, more or less, skimming along within a yard of the
ground, her legs opening and shutting under her with a snap, like the
four blades of a compound jack-knife.

These pictures were much more refreshing than those dreary fancy
death-bed scenes, common in two-story country-houses, in which
Washington and other distinguished personages are represented as
obligingly devoting their last moments to taking a prominent part in a
tableau, in which weeping relatives, attached servants, professional
assistants, and celebrated personages who might by a stretch of
imagination be supposed present, are grouped in the most approved style
of arrangement about the chief actor's pillow.

A single glazed bookcase held the family library, which was hidden from
vulgar eyes by green silk curtains behind the glass. It would have been
instructive to get a look at it, as it always is to peep into one's
neighbor's bookshelves. From other sources and opportunities a partial
idea of it has been obtained. The Widow had inherited some books from
her mother, who was something of a reader: Young's "Night-Thoughts";
"The Preceptor"; "The Task, a Poem," by William Cowper; Hervey's
"Meditations"; "Alonzo and Melissa"; "Buccaneers of America"; "The
Triumphs of Temper"; "La Belle Assemblée"; Thomson's "Seasons"; and a
few others. The Major had brought in "Tom Jones" and "Peregrine Pickle";
various works by Mr. Pierce Egan; "Boxiana"; "The Racing Calendar"; and
a "Book of Lively Songs and Jests." The Widow had added the Poems of
Lord Byron and T. Moore; "Eugene Aram"; "The Tower of London," by
Harrison Ainsworth; some of Scott's Novels; "The Pickwick Papers"; a
volume of Plays, by W. Shakspeare; "Proverbial Philosophy"; "Pilgrim's
Progress"; "The Whole Duty of Man" (a present when she was married);
with two celebrated religious works, one by William Law and the other
by Philip Doddridge, which were sent her after her husband's death, and
which she had tried to read, but found that they did not agree with her.
Of course the bookcase held a few school manuals and compendiums, and
one of Mr. Webster's Dictionaries. But the gilt-edged Bible always lay
on the centre-table, next to the magazine with the fashion-plates and
the scrapbook with pictures from old annuals and illustrated papers.

The reader need not apprehend the recital, at full length, of such
formidable preparations for the Widow's tea-party as were required in
the case of Colonel Sprowle's Social Entertainment. A tea-party, even in
the country, is a comparatively simple and economical piece of business.
As soon as the Widow found that all her company were coming, she set to
work, with the aid of her "smart" maid-servant and a daughter of her
own, who was beginning to stretch and spread at a fearful rate, but whom
she treated as a small child, to make the necessary preparations. The
silver had to be rubbed; also the grand plated urn,--her mother's before
hers,--style of the Empire,--looking as if it might have been made to
hold the Major's ashes. Then came the making and baking of cake and
gingerbread, the smell whereof reached even as far as the sidewalk in
front of the cottage, so that small boys returning from school snuffed
it in the breeze, and discoursed with each other on its suggestions; so
that the Widow Leech, who happened to pass, remembered she hadn't called
on Marilly Raowens for a consid'ble spell, and turned in at the gate and
rang three times with long intervals,--but all in vain, the inside Widow
having "spotted" the outside one through the binds, and whispered to her
aides-de-camp to let the old thing ring away till she pulled the bell
out by the roots, but not to stir to open the door.

Widow Rowens was what they called a real smart, capable woman, not very
great on books, perhaps, but knew what was what and who was who as well
as another,--knew how to make the little cottage look pretty, how to set
out a tea-table, and, what a good many women never can find out, knew
her own style and "got herself up tip-top," as our young friend Master
Geordie, Colonel Sprowle's heir-apparent, remarked to his friend from
one of the fresh-water colleges. Flowers were abundant now, and she had
dressed her rooms tastefully with them. The centre-table had two or
three gilt-edged books lying carelessly about on it, and some prints,
and a stereoscope with stereographs to match, chiefly groups of picnics,
weddings, etc., in which the same somewhat fatigued-looking ladies
of fashion and brides received the attentions of the same
unpleasant-looking young men, easily identified under their different
disguises, consisting of fashionable raiment such as gentlemen are
supposed to wear habitually. With these, however, were some pretty
English scenes,--pretty except for the old fellow with the hanging
under-lip who infests every one of that interesting series; and a statue
or two, especially that famous one commonly called the Lahcóon, so as to
rhyme with moon and spoon, and representing an old man with his two sons
in the embraces of two monstrous serpents.

There is no denying that it was a very dashing achievement of the
Widow's to bring together so considerable a number of desirable guests.
She felt proud of her feat; but as to the triumph of getting Dudley
Venner to come out for a visit to Hyacinth Cottage, she was surprised
and almost frightened at her own success. So much might depend on the
impressions of that evening!

The next thing was to be sure that everybody should be in the right
place at the tea-table, and this the Widow thought she could manage by a
few words to the older guests and a little shuffling about and shifting
when they got to the table. To settle everything the Widow made out
a diagram, which the reader should have a chance of inspecting in an
authentic copy, if these pages were allowed under any circumstances to
be the vehicle of illustrations. If, however, he or she really wishes to
see the way the pieces stood as they were placed at the beginning of the
game, (the Widow's gambit,) he or she had better at once take a sheet
of paper, draw an oval, and arrange the characters according to the
following schedule.

At the head of the table, the Hostess, Widow Marilla Rowens. Opposite
her, at the other end, Rev. Dr. Honeywood. At the right of the Hostess,
Dudley Venner, next him Helen Darley, next her Dr. Kittredge, next him
Mrs. Blanche Creamer, then the Reverend Doctor. At the left of the
Hostess, Bernard Langdon, next him Letty Forester, next Letty Mr.
Richard Venner, next him Elsie, and so to the Reverend Doctor again.

The company came together a little before the early hour at which it was
customary to take tea in Rockland. The Widow knew everybody, of course:
who was there in Rockland she did not know? But some of them had to
be introduced: Mr. Richard Venner to Mr. Bernard, Mr. Bernard to Miss
Letty, Dudley Venner to Miss Helen Darley, and so on. The two young men
looked each other straight in the eyes,--both full of youthful life,
but one of frank and fearless aspect, the other with a dangerous feline
beauty alien to the New England half of his blood.

The guests talked, turned over the prints, looked at the flowers, opened
the "Proverbial Philosophy" with gilt edges, and the volume of Plays by
W. Shakspeare, examined the horse-pictures on the walls, and so passed
away the time until tea was announced, when they paired off for the room
where it was in readiness. The Widow had managed it well; everything was
just as she wanted it. Dudley Venner was between herself and the poor
tired-looking schoolmistress with her faded colors. Blanche Creamer, a
lax, tumble-to-pieces, _Greuze_-ish looking blonde, whom the Widow
hated because the men took to her, was purgatoried between the two old
Doctors, and could see all the looks that passed between Dick Venner and
his cousin. The young schoolmaster could talk to Miss Letty: it was his
business to know how to talk to school-girls. Dick would amuse himself
with his cousin Elsie. The old Doctors only wanted to be well fed and
they would do well enough.

It would be very pleasant to describe the tea-table; but the truth is,
it did not pretend to offer a plethoric banquet to the guests. The Widow
had not visited at the mansion-houses for nothing, and she had learned
there that an overloaded tea-table may do well enough for farm-hands
when they come in at evening from their work and sit down unwashed in
their shirt-sleeves, but that for decently bred people such an insult to
the memory of a dinner not yet half-assimilated is wholly inadmissible.
There was no lump of meat on the table, no wedge of cheese, no dish
of pickles. Everything was delicate, and almost everything of fair
complexion: white bread and biscuits, frosted and sponge cake, cream,
honey, straw-colored butter; only a shadow here and there, where the
fire had crisped and browned the surfaces of a stack of dry toast, or
where a preserve had brought away some of the red sunshine of the last
year's summer. The Widow shall have the credit of her well-ordered
tea-table, also of her bountiful cream-pitchers; for it is well known
that city-people find cream a very scarce luxury in a good many
country-houses of more pretensions than Hyacinth Cottage. There are no
better maxims for ladies who give tea-parties than these:--

  _Cream is thicker than water._

  _Large heart never loved little cream-pot._

There is a common feeling in genteel families that the third meal of
the day is not so essential a part of the daily bread as to require any
especial acknowledgment to the Providence that bestows it. Very devout
people, who would never sit down to a breakfast or a dinner without the
grace before meat which honors the Giver of it, feel as if they thanked
Heaven enough for their tea and toast by partaking of them cheerfully
without audible petition or ascription. But the Widow was not exactly
mansion-house-bred, and so thought it necessary to give the Reverend
Doctor a peculiar look which he understood at once as inviting his
professional services. He, therefore, uttered a few simple words of
gratitude, very quietly,--much to the satisfaction of some of the
guests, who had expected one of those elaborate effusions, with rolling
up of the eyes and rhetorical accents, so frequent with eloquent divines
when they address their Maker in genteel company.

Everybody began talking with the person sitting next at hand. Mr.
Bernard naturally enough turned his attention first to the Widow; but
somehow or other the right side of the Widow seemed to be more wide
awake than the left side, next him, and he resigned her to the
courtesies of Mr. Dudley Venner, directing himself, not very
unwillingly, to the young girl next him on the other side. Miss Letty
Forester, the granddaughter of the Reverend Doctor, was city-bred, as
anybody might see, and city-dressed, as any woman would know at sight; a
man might only feel the general effect of clear, well-matched colors, of
harmonious proportions, of the cut which makes everything cling like a
bather's sleeve where a natural outline is to be kept, and ruffle itself
up like the hackle of a pitted fighting-cock where art has a right to
luxuriate in silken exuberance. How this city-bred and city-dressed girl
came to be in Rockland Mr. Bernard did not know, but he knew at any rate
that she was his next neighbor and entitled to his courtesies. She was
handsome, too, when he came to look, very handsome when he came to
look again,--endowed with that city beauty which is like the beauty of
wall-fruit, something finer in certain respects than can be reared off
the pavement.

The truth is, the miserable routinists who keep repeating invidiously
Cowper's

"God made the country and man made the town,"

as if the town were a place to kill out the race in, do not know what
they are talking about. Where could they raise such Saint-Michael pears,
such Saint-Germains, such Brown Beurrés, as we had until within a few
years growing within the walls of our old city-gardens? Is the dark
and damp cavern where a ragged beggar hides himself better than a
town-mansion that fronts the sunshine and backs on its own cool shadow,
with gas and water and all appliances to suit all needs?

God made the _cavern_ and man made the _house_! What then? The truth is,
the pavement keeps a deal of mischief from coming up out of the earth,
and, with a dash off of it in summer, just to cool the soles of the feet
when it gets too hot, is the best place for many constitutions, as some
few practical people have already discovered. And just so these beauties
that grow and ripen against the city-walls, these young fellows with
cheeks like peaches and young girls with cheeks like nectarines, show
that the most perfect forms of artificial life can do as much for the
human product as garden-culture for strawberries and blackberries.

If Mr. Bernard had philosophized or prosed in this way, with so pretty,
nay, so lovely a neighbor as Miss Letty Forester waiting for him to
speak to her, he would have to be dropped from this narrative as a
person unworthy of his good-fortune, and not deserving the kind reader's
further notice. On the contrary, he no sooner set his eyes fairly on her
than he said to himself that she was charming, and that he wished she
were one of his scholars at the Institute. So he began talking with her
in an easy way; for he knew something of young girls by this time, and,
of course, could adapt himself to a young lady who looked as if she
might be not more than fifteen or sixteen years old, and therefore
could hardly be a match in intellectual resources for the seventeen and
eighteen year-old first-class scholars of the Apollinean Institute.
But city-wall-fruit ripens early, and he soon found that this girl's
training had so sharpened her wits and stored her memory, that he need
not be at the trouble to stoop painfully in order to come down to her
level.

The beauty of good-breeding is that it adjusts itself to all relations
without effort, true to itself always, however the manners of those
around it may change. Self-respect and respect for others,--the
sensitive consciousness poises itself in these as the compass in the
ship's binnacle balances itself and maintains its true level within the
two concentric rings that suspend it on their pivots. This thoroughbred
school-girl quite enchanted Mr. Bernard. He could not understand where
she got her style, her way of dress, her enunciation, her easy manners.
The minister was a most worthy gentleman, but this was not the Rockland
native-born manner; some new element had come in between the good,
plain, worthy man and this young girl, fit to be a Crown Prince's
partner where there were a thousand to choose from.

He looked across to Helen Barley, for he knew she would understand the
glance of admiration with which he called her attention to the young
beauty at his side; and Helen knew what a young girl could be, as
compared with what too many a one is, as well as anybody.

This poor, dear Helen of ours! How admirable the contrast between her
and the Widow on the other side of Dudley Venner! But, what was very
odd, that gentleman apparently thought the contrast was to the advantage
of this poor, dear Helen. At any rate, instead of devoting himself
solely to the Widow, he happened to be just at that moment talking in a
very interested and, apparently, not uninteresting way to his right-hand
neighbor, who, on her part, never looked more charmingly,--as Mr.
Bernard could not help saying to himself,--but, to be sure, he had just
been looking at the young girl next him, so that his eyes were brimful
of beauty, and may have spilled some of it on the first comer: for
you know M. Becquerel has been showing us lately how everything is
phosphorescent; that it soaks itself with light in an instant's
exposure, so that it is wet with liquid sunbeams, or, if you will,
tremulous with luminous vibrations, when first plunged into the negative
bath of darkness, and betrays itself by the light which escapes from its
surface.

Whatever was the reason, this poor, dear Helen never looked so sweetly.
Her plainly parted brown hair, her meek, blue eyes, her cheek just a
little tinged with color, the almost sad simplicity of her dress, and
that look he knew so well,--so full of cheerful patience, so sincere,
that he had trusted her from the first moment as the believers of the
larger half of Christendom trust the Blessed Virgin,--Mr. Bernard took
this all in at a glance, and felt as pleased as if it had been his own
sister Dorothea Elizabeth that he was looking at. As for Dudley Venner,
Mr. Bernard could not help being struck by the animated expression of
his countenance. It certainly showed great kindness, on his part, to
pay so much attention to this quiet girl, when he had the
thunder-and-lightning Widow on the other side of him.

Mrs. Marilla Rowens did not know what to make of it. She had made her
tea-party expressly for Mr. Dudley Venner. She had placed him just as
she wanted, between herself and a meek, delicate woman who dressed in
gray, wore a plain breastpin with hair in it, who taught a pack of
girls up there at the school, and looked as if she were born for a
teacher,--the very best foil that she could have chosen; and here was
this man, polite enough to herself, to be sure, but turning round to
that very undistinguished young person, as if he rather preferred her
conversation of the two!

The truth was that Dudley Venner and Helen Darley met as two travellers
might meet in the desert, wearied, both of them, with their long
journey, one having food, but no water, the other water, but no food.
Each saw that the other had been in long conflict with some trial; for
their voices were low and tender, as patiently borne sorrow and humbly
uttered prayers make every human voice. Through these tones, more than
by what they said, they came into natural sympathetic relations with
each other. Nothing could be more unstudied. As for Dudley Venner, no
beauty in all the world could have so soothed and magnetized him as the
very repose and subdued gentleness which the Widow had thought would
make the best possible background for her own more salient and effective
attractions. No doubt, Helen, on her side, was almost too readily
pleased with the confidence this new acquaintance she was making seemed
to show her from the very first. She knew so few men of any condition!
Mr. Silas Peckham: he was her employer, and she ought to think of him
as well as she could; but every time she thought of him it was with
a shiver of disgust. Mr. Bernard Langdon: a noble young man, a true
friend, like a brother to her,--God bless him, and send him some young
heart as fresh as his own! But this gentleman produced a new impression
upon her, quite different from any to which she was accustomed. His
rich, low tones had the strangest significance to her; she felt sure
he must have lived through long experiences, sorrowful like her own.
Elsie's father! She looked into his dark eyes, as she listened to him,
to see if they had any glimmer of that peculiar light, diamond-bright,
but cold and still, which she knew so well in Elsie's. Anything but
that! Never was there more tenderness, it seemed to her, than in the
whole look and expression of Elsie's father. She must have been a great
trial to him; yet his face was that of one who had been saddened, not
soured, by his discipline. Knowing what Elsie must be to him, how hard
she must make any parent's life, Helen could not but be struck with the
interest Mr. Dudley Venner showed in her as his daughter's instructress.
He was too kind to her; again and again she meekly turned from him, so
as to leave him free to talk to the showy lady at his other side, who
was looking all the while

"like the night Of cloudless realms and starry skies";

but still Mr. Dudley Venner, after a few courteous words, came back to
the blue eyes and brown hair; still he kept his look fixed upon her, and
his tones grew sweeter and lower as he became more interested in talk,
until this poor, dear Helen, what with surprise, and the bashfulness
natural to one who had seen little of the gay world, and the stirring of
deep, confused sympathies with this suffering father, whose heart seemed
so full of kindness, felt her cheeks glowing with unwonted flame, and
betrayed the pleasing trouble of her situation by looking so sweetly as
to arrest Mr. Bernard's eye for a moment, when he looked away from the
young beauty sitting next him.

Elsie meantime had been silent, with that singular, still, watchful
look which those who knew her well had learned to fear. Her head just a
little inclined on one side, perfectly motionless for whole minutes, her
eyes seeming to grow small and bright, as always when she was under her
evil influence, she was looking obliquely at the young girl on the
other side of her cousin Dick and next to Bernard Langdon. As for Dick
himself, she seemed to be paying very little attention to him. Sometimes
her eyes would wander off to Mr. Bernard, and their expression, as old
Dr. Kittredge, who watched her for a while pretty keenly, noticed, would
change perceptibly. One would have said that she looked with a kind of
dull hatred at the girl, but with a half-relenting reproachful anger at
Mr. Bernard.

Miss Letty Forester, at whom Elsie had been looking from time to time in
this fixed way, was conscious meanwhile of some unusual influence. First
it was a feeling of constraint,--then, as it were, a diminished power
over the muscles, as if an invisible elastic cobweb were spinning round
her,--then a tendency to turn away from Mr. Bernard, who was making
himself very agreeable, and look straight into those eyes which would
not leave her, and which seemed to be drawing her towards them, while at
the same time they chilled the blood in all her veins.

Mr. Bernard saw this influence coming over her. All at once he noticed
that she sighed, and that some little points of moisture began to
glisten on her forehead. But she did not grow pale perceptibly; she had
no involuntary or hysteric movements; she still listened to him and
smiled naturally enough. Perhaps she was only nervous at being stared
at. At any rate, she was coming under some unpleasant and unnatural
influence or other, and Mr. Bernard had seen enough of the strange
impression Elsie sometimes produced to wish this young girl to be
relieved from it, whatever it was. He turned toward Elsie and looked at
her in such a way as to draw her eyes upon him. Then he looked steadily
and calmly into them. It was a great effort, for some perfectly
inexplicable reason. At one instant he thought he could not sit where he
was; he must go and speak to Elsie. Then he wanted to take his eyes away
from hers; there was something intolerable in the light that came from
them. But he was determined to look her down, and he believed he could
do it, for he had seen her countenance change more than once when he had
caught her gaze steadily fixed on him. All this took not minutes, but
seconds. Presently she changed color slightly,--lifted her head, which
was inclined a little to one side,--shut and opened her eyes two or
three times, as if they had been pained or wearied,--and turned away
baffled, and shamed, as it would seem, and shorn for the time of her
singular and formidable or at least evil-natured power of swaying the
impulses of those around her.

It takes too long to describe these scenes where a good deal of life
is concentrated into a few silent seconds. Mr. Richard Venner had sat
quietly through it all, although this short pantomime had taken place
literally before his face. He saw what was going on well enough, and
understood it all perfectly well. Of course the schoolmaster had been
trying to make Elsie jealous, and had succeeded. The little school-girl
was a decoy-duck,--that was all. Estates like the Dudley property were
not to be had every day, and no doubt the Yankee usher was willing to
take some pains to make sure of Elsie. Doesn't Elsie look savage? Dick
involuntarily moved his chair a little away from her, and thought he
felt a pricking in the small white scars on his wrist. A dare-devil
fellow, but somehow or other this girl had taken strange hold of his
imagination, and he often swore to himself, that, when he married her,
he would carry a loaded revolver with him to his bridal chamber.

Mrs. Blanche Creamer raged inwardly at first to find herself between the
two old gentlemen of the party. It very soon gave her great comfort,
however, to see that Marilla Rowens had just missed it in her
calculations, and she chuckled immensely to find Dudley Venner devoting
himself chiefly to Helen Darley. If the Rowens woman should hook Dudley,
she felt as if she should gnaw all her nails off for spite. To think of
seeing her barouching about Rockland behind a pair of long-tailed bays
and a coachman with a band on his hat, while she, Blanche Creamer, was
driving herself about in a one-horse "carriage"! Recovering her spirits
by degrees, she began playing her surfaces off at the two old Doctors,
just by way of practice. First she heaved up a glaring white shoulder,
the right one, so that the Reverend Doctor should be stunned by it, if
such a thing might be. The Reverend Doctor was human, as the Apostle was
not ashamed to confess himself. Half-devoutly and half-mischievously he
repeated inwardly, "Resist the Devil and he will flee from you." As the
Reverend Doctor did not show any lively susceptibility, she thought
she would try the left shoulder on old Dr. Kittredge. That worthy and
experienced student of science was not at all displeased with the
manoeuvre, and lifted his head so as to command the exhibition through
his glasses. "Blanche is good for half a dozen years or so, if she is
careful," the Doctor said to himself, "and then she must take to her
prayer-book." After this spasmodic failure of Mrs. Blanche Creamer's
to stir up the old Doctors, she returned again to the pleasing task of
watching the Widow in her evident discomfiture. But dark as the Widow
looked in her half-concealed pet, she was but as a pale shadow, compared
to Elsie in her silent concentration of shame and anger.

"Well, there is one good thing," said Mrs. Blanche Creamer; "Dick
doesn't get much out of that cousin of his this evening! Doesn't he look
handsome, though?"

So Mrs. Blanche, being now a good deal taken up with her observations of
those friends of hers and ours, began to be rather careless of her two
old Doctors, who naturally enough fell into conversation with each other
across the white surfaces of that lady,--perhaps not very politely, but,
under the circumstances, almost as a matter of necessity.

When a minister and a doctor get talking together, they always have a
great deal to say; and so it happened that the company left the table
just as the two Doctors were beginning to get at each other's ideas
about various interesting matters. If we follow them into the other
parlor, we can, perhaps, pick up something of their conversation.


CHAPTER XXII.

WHY DOCTORS DIFFER.


The company rearranged itself with some changes after leaving the
tea-table Dudley Venner was very polite to the Widow; but that lady
having been called off for a few moments for some domestic arrangement,
he slid back to the side of Helen Darley, his daughter's faithful
teacher. Elsie had got away by herself, and was taken up in studying the
stereoscopic Lahcóon. Dick, being thus set free, had been seized upon by
Mrs. Blanche Creamer, who had diffused herself over three-quarters of
a sofa and beckoned him to the remaining fourth. Mr. Bernard and Miss
Letty were having a snug _tète-à-tète_ in the recess of a bay-window.
The two Doctors had taken two armchairs and sat squared off against each
other. Their conversation is perhaps as well worth reporting as that of
the rest of the company, and, as it was earned on in a louder tone, was
of course more easy to gather and put on record.

It was a curious sight enough to see those two representatives of two
great professions brought face to face to talk over the subjects they
had been looking at all their lives from such different points of view.
Both were old; old enough to have been moulded by their habits of
thought and life; old enough to have all their beliefs "fretted in," as
vintners say,--thoroughly worked up with their characters. Each of them
looked his calling. The Reverend Doctor had lived a good deal among
books in his study; the Doctor, as we will call the medical gentleman,
had been riding about the country for between thirty and forty years.
His face looked tough and weather-worn; while the Reverend Doctor's,
hearty as it appeared, was of finer texture. The Doctor's was the graver
of the two; there was something of grimness about it,--partly owing
to the northeasters he had faced for so many years, partly to long
companionship with that stern personage who never deals in sentiment or
pleasantry. His speech was apt to be brief and peremptory; it was a way
he had got by ordering patients; but he could discourse somewhat, on
occasion, as the reader may find out. The Reverend Doctor had an open,
smiling expression, a cheery voice, a hearty laugh, and a cordial
way with him which some thought too lively for his cloth, but which
children, who are good judges of such matters, delighted in, so that he
was the favorite of all the little rogues about town. But he had the
clerical art of sobering down in a moment, when asked to say grace while
somebody was in the middle of some particularly funny story; and though
his voice was so cheery in common talk, in the pulpit, like almost all
preachers, he had a wholly different and peculiar way of speaking,
supposed to be more acceptable to the Creator than the natural manner.
In point of fact, most of our anti-papal and anti-prelatical clergymen
do really _intone_ their prayers, without suspecting in the least that
they have fallen into such a Romish practice.

This is the way the conversation between the Doctor of Divinity and the
Doctor of Medicine was going on at the point where these notes take it
up.

"_Ubi tres medici, duo athei_, you know, Doctor. Your profession has
always had the credit of being lax in doctrine,--though pretty stringent
in _practice_, ha! ha!"

"Some priest said that," the Doctor answered, dryly. "They always talked
Latin when they had a bigger lie than common to get rid of."

"Good!" said the Reverend Doctor; "I'm afraid they would lie a little
sometimes. But isn't there some truth in it, Doctor? Don't you think
your profession is apt to see 'Nature' in the place of the God of
Nature,--to lose sight of the great First Cause in their daily study of
secondary causes?"

"I've thought about that," the Doctor answered, "and I've talked about
it and read about it, and I've come to the conclusion that nobody
believes in God and trusts in God quite so much as the doctors; only it
isn't just the sort of Deity that some of your profession have wanted
them to take up with. There was a student of mine wrote a dissertation
on the Natural Theology of Health and Disease, and took that old lying
proverb for his motto. He knew a good deal more about books than ever
I did, and had studied in other countries. I'll tell you what he said
about it. He said the old Heathen Doctor, Galen, praised God for his
handiwork in the human body, just as if he had been a Christian, or the
Psalmist himself. He said they had this sentence set up in large letters
in the great lecture-room in Paris where he attended: _I dressed his
wound and God healed him._ That was an old surgeon's saying. And he gave
a long list of doctors who were not only Christians, but famous ones. I
grant you, though, ministers and doctors are very apt to see differently
in spiritual matters."

"That's it," said the Reverend Doctor; "you are apt to see 'Nature'
where we see God, and appeal to 'Science' where we are contented with
Revelation."

"We don't separate God and Nature, perhaps, as you do," the Doctor
answered. "When we say that God is omnipresent and omnipotent and
omniscient, we are a little more apt to mean it than your folks are.
We think, when a wound heals, that God's _presence_ and _power_ and
_knowledge_ are there, healing it, just as that old surgeon did. We
think a good many theologians, working among their books, don't see the
facts of the world they live in. When we tell 'em of these facts, they
are apt to call us materialists and atheists and infidels, and all
that. We can't help seeing the facts, and we don't think it's wicked to
mention 'em."

"Do tell me," the Reverend Doctor said, "some of these facts we are in
the habit of overlooking, and which your profession thinks it can see
and understand."

"That's very easy," the Doctor replied. "For instance: you don't
understand or don't allow for idiosyncrasies as we learn to. We know
that food and physic act differently with different people; but you
think the same kind of truth is going to suit, or ought to suit, all
minds. We don't fight with a patient because he can't take magnesia or
opium; but you are all the time quarrelling over your beliefs, as if
belief did not depend very much on race and constitution, to say nothing
of early training."

"Do you mean to say that every man is not absolutely free to choose his
beliefs?"

"The men you write about in your studies are, but not the men we see
in the real world. There is some apparently congenital defect in the
Indians, for instance, that keeps them from choosing civilization and
Christianity. So with the Gypsies, very likely. Everybody knows
that Catholicism or Protestantism is a good deal a matter of race.
Constitution has more to do with belief than people think for. I went to
a Universalist church, when I was in the city one day, to hear a famous
man whom all the world knows, and I never saw such pews-full of broad
shoulders and florid faces, and substantial, wholesome-looking persons,
male and female, in all my life. Why, it was astonishing. Either their
creed made them healthy, or they chose it because they were healthy.
Your folks have never got the hang of human nature."

"I am afraid this would be considered a degrading and dangerous view of
human beliefs and responsibility for them," the Reverend Doctor replied.
"Prove to a man that his will is governed by something outside of
himself, and you have lost all hold on his moral and religious nature.
There is nothing bad men want to believe so much as that they are
governed by necessity. Now that which is at once degrading and dangerous
cannot be true."

"No doubt," the Doctor replied, "all large views of mankind limit our
estimate of the absolute freedom of the will. But I don't think it
degrades or endangers us, for this reason, that, while it makes us
charitable to the rest of mankind, our own sense of freedom, whatever it
is, is never affected by argument. _Conscience won't be reasoned with_.
We feel that _we_ can practically do this or that, and if we choose the
wrong, we know we are responsible; but observation teaches us that this
or that other race or individual has not the same practical freedom of
choice. I don't see how we can avoid this conclusion in the instance of
the American Indians. The science of Ethnology has upset a good many
theoretical notions about human nature."

"Science!" said the Reverend Doctor, "science! that was a word the
Apostle Paul did not seem to think much of, if we may judge by the
Epistle to Timothy: 'Oppositions of science falsely so called.' I own
that I am jealous of that word and the pretensions that go with
it. Science has seemed to me to be very often only the handmaid of
skepticism."

"Doctor!" the physician said, emphatically, "science is knowledge.
Nothing that is not _known_ properly belongs to science. Whenever
knowledge obliges us to doubt, we are always safe in doubting.
Astronomers foretell eclipses, say how long comets are to stay with us,
point out where a new planet is to be found. We see they _know_ what
they assert, and the poor old Roman Catholic Church has at last to knock
under. So Geology _proves_ a certain succession of events, and the best
Christian in the world must make the earth's history square with it.
Besides, I don't think you remember what great revelations of himself
the Creator has made in the minds of the men who have built up science.
You seem to me to hold his human masterpieces very cheap. Don't
you think the 'inspiration of the Almighty' gave Newton and Cuvier
'understanding'?"

The Reverend Doctor was not arguing for victory. In fact, what he
wanted was to call out the opinions of the old physician by a show of
opposition, being already predisposed to agree with many of them. He was
rather trying the common arguments, as one tries tricks of fence merely
to learn the way of parrying. But just here he saw a tempting opening,
and could not resist giving a horne-thrust.

"Yes; but you surely would not consider it inspiration of the same kind
as that of the writers of the Old Testament?"

That cornered the Doctor, and he paused a moment before he replied. Then
he raised his head, so as to command the Reverend Doctor's face through
his spectacles, and said,--

"I did not say that. You are clear, I suppose, that the Omniscient spoke
through Solomon, but that Shakspeare wrote without his help?"

The Reverend Doctor looked very grave. It was a bold, blunt way
of putting the question. He turned it aside with the remark, that
Shakspeare seemed to him at times to come as near inspiration as any
human being not included among the sacred writers.

"Doctor," the physician began, as from a sudden suggestion, "you won't
quarrel with me, if I tell you some of my real thoughts, will you?"

"Say on, my dear Sir, say on," the minister answered, with his most
genial smile; "your real thoughts are just what I want to get at. A
man's real thoughts are a great rarity. If I don't agree with you, I
shall like to hear you."

The Doctor began; and in order to give his thoughts more connectedly, we
will omit the conversational breaks, the questions and comments of the
clergyman, and all accidental interruptions.

"When the old ecclesiastics said that where there were three doctors
there were two atheists, they lied, of course. They called everybody
that differed from them atheists, until they found out that not
believing in God wasn't nearly so ugly a crime as not believing in some
particular dogma; then they called them _heretics_, until so many good
people had been burned under that name that it began to smell too strong
of roasting flesh,--and after that _infidels_, which properly means
people without faith, of whom there are not a great many in any place or
time. But then, of course, there was some reason why doctors shouldn't
think about religion exactly as ministers did, or they never would have
made that proverb. It's very likely that something of the same kind is
true now; whether it is so or not, I am going to tell you the reasons
why it would not be strange, if doctors should take rather different
views from clergymen about some matters of belief. I don't, of course,
mean all doctors nor all clergymen. Some doctors go as far as any old
New-England divine, and some clergymen agree very well with the doctors
that think least according to rule.

"To begin with their ideas of the Creator himself. They always see him
trying to help his creatures out of their troubles. A man no sooner gets
a cut, than the Great Physician, whose agency we often call _Nature_,
goes to work, first to stop the blood, and then to heal the wound, and
then to make the scar as small as possible. If a man's pain exceeds a
certain amount, he faints, and so gets relief. If it lasts too long,
habit comes in to make it tolerable. If it is altogether too bad, he
dies. That is the best thing to be done under the circumstances. So you
see, the doctor is constantly in presence of a benevolent agency working
against a settled order of things, of which pain and disease are
the accidents, so to speak. Well, no doubt they find it harder than
clergymen to believe that there can be any world or state from which
this benevolent agency is wholly excluded. This may be very wrong; but
it is not unnatural. They can hardly conceive of a permanent state of
being in which cuts would never try to heal, nor habit render suffering
endurable. This is one effect of their training.

"Then, again, their attention is very much called to human limitations.
Ministers work out the machinery of responsibility in an abstract kind
of way; they have a kind of algebra of human nature, in which _friction_
and _strength_ (or _weakness_) _of material_ are left out. You see,
a doctor is in the way of studying children from the moment of birth
upwards. For the first year or so he sees that they are just as much
pupils of their Maker as the young of any other animals. Well, their
Maker trains them to _pure selfishness_. Why? In order that they may be
sure to take care of themselves. So you see, when a child comes to be,
we will say a year and a day old, and makes his first choice between
right and wrong, he is at a disadvantage; for he has that _vis a tergo_,
as we doctors call it, that force from behind, of a whole year's life of
selfishness, for which he is no more to blame than a calf is to blame
for having lived in the same way, purely to gratify his natural
appetites. Then we see that baby grow up to a child, and, if he is fat
and stout and red and lively, we expect to find him troublesome and
noisy, and, perhaps, sometimes disobedient more or less; that's the way
each new generation breaks its eggshell; but if he is very weak and
thin, and is one of the kind that may be expected to die early, he will
very likely sit in the house all day and read good books about other
little sharp-faced children just like himself; who died early, having
always been perfectly indifferent to all the out-door amusements of the
wicked little red-cheeked children. Some of the little folks we watch
grow up to be young women, and occasionally one of them gets nervous,
what we call hysterical, and then that girl will begin to play all sorts
of pranks,--to lie and cheat, perhaps, in the most unaccountable way, so
that she might seem to a minister a good example of total depravity. We
don't see her in that light. We give her iron and valerian, and get her
on horseback, if we can, and so expect to make her will come all right
again. By-and-by we are called in to see an old baby, three-score years
and ten or more old. We find this old baby has never got rid of that
first year's teaching which led him to fill his stomach with all he
could pump into it, and his hands with everything he could grab. People
call him a miser. We are sorry for him; but we can't help remembering
his first year's training, and the natural effect of money on the great
majority of those that have it. So while the ministers say he 'shall
hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven' we like to remind them that
'with God all things are possible.'

"Once more, we see all kinds of monomania and insanity. We learn from
them to recognize all sorts of queer tendencies in minds supposed to
be sane, so that we have nothing but compassion for a large class of
persons condemned as sinners by theologians, but considered by us as
invalids. We have constant reasons for noticing the transmission of
qualities from parents to offspring, and we find it hard to hold a child
accountable in any moral point of view for inherited bad temper or
tendency to drunkenness,--as hard as we should to blame him for
inheriting gout or asthma. I suppose we are more lenient with human
nature than theologians generally are. We know that the spirits of men
and their views of the present and the future go up and down, with the
barometer, and that a permanent depression of one inch in the mercurial
column would affect the whole theology of Christendom.

"Ministers talk about the human will as if it stood on a high look-out,
with plenty of light, and elbow-room reaching to the horizon. Doctors
are constantly noticing how it is tied up and darkened by inferior
organization, by disease, and all sorts of crowding interferences, until
they get to look upon Hottentots and Indians--and a good many of their
own race--as a kind of self-conscious blood-clocks with very limited
power of self-determination. That's the _tendency_, I say, of
a doctor's experience. But the people to whom they address their
statements of the results of their observation belong to the thinking
class of the highest races, and _they_ are conscious of a great deal of
liberty of will. So in the face of the fact that civilization with all
it offers has proved a dead failure with the aboriginal races of this
country,--on the whole, I say, a dead failure,--they talk as if they
knew from their own will all about that of a Digger Indian! We are more
apt to go by observation of the facts in the case. We are constantly
seeing weakness where you see depravity. I don't say we're _right_; I
only tell what you must often find to be the fact, right or wrong, in
talking with doctors. You see, too, our notions of bodily and moral
disease, or sin, are apt to go together. We used to be as hard on
sickness as you were on sin. We know better now. We don't look at
sickness as we used to, and try to poison, it with everything that is
offensive,--burnt toads and earth-worms and viper-broth, and worse
things than these. We know that disease has something back of it which
the body isn't to blame for, at least in most cases, and which very
often it is trying to get rid of. Just so with sin. I will agree to take
a hundred new-born babes of a certain stock and return seventy-five of
them in a dozen years true and honest, if not 'pious' children. And I
will take another hundred, of a different stock, and put them in the
hands of certain Ann-Street teachers, and seventy-five of them will be
thieves and liars at the end of the same dozen years. I have heard of
an old character, Colonel Jaques, I believe it was, a famous
cattle-breeder, who used to say he could breed to pretty much any
pattern he wanted to. Well, we doctors see so much of families, how the
tricks of the blood keep breaking out, just as much in character as they
do in looks, that we can't help feeling as if a great many people hadn't
a fair chance to be what is called 'good,' and that there isn't a text
in the Bible better worth keeping always in mind than that one, 'Judge
not, that ye be not judged.'

"As for our getting any quarter at the hands of theologians, we don't
expect it, and have no right to. You don't give each other any quarter.
I have had two religious books sent me by friends within a week or
two. One is Mr. Brownson's; he is as fair and square as Euclid; a
real honest, strong thinker, and one that knows what he is talking
about,--for he has tried all sorts of religions, pretty much. He tells
us that the Roman Catholic Church is the one 'through which alone we can
hope for heaven.' The other is by a worthy Episcopal rector, who appears
to write as if he were in earnest, and he calls the Papacy the 'Devil's
Masterpiece,' and talks about the 'Satanic scheme' of that very Church
'through which alone,' as Mr. Brownson tells us, 'we can hope for
heaven'! What's the use in _our_ caring about hard words after
this,--'atheists,' heretics, infidels, and the like? They're, after all,
only the cinders picked up out of those heaps of ashes round the stumps
of the old stakes where they used to burn men, women, and children for
not thinking just like other folks. They'll 'crock' your fingers, but
they can't burn us.

"Doctors are the best-natured people in the world, except when they get
fighting with each other. And they have some advantages over you. You
inherit your notions from a set of priests that had no wives and no
children, or none to speak of, and so let their humanity die out of
them. It didn't seem much to them to condemn a few thousand millions of
people to purgatory or worse for a mistake of judgment. They didn't know
what it was to have a child look up in their faces and say 'Father!' It
will take you a hundred or two more years to get decently humanized,
after so many centuries of dehumanizing celibacy.

"Besides, though our libraries are, perhaps, not commonly quite so big
as yours, God opens one book to physicians that a good many of you don't
know much about,--the Book of Life. That is none of your dusty folios
with black letters between pasteboard and leather, but it is printed
in bright red type, and the binding of it is warm and tender to every
touch. They reverence that book as one of the Almighty's infallible
revelations. They will insist on reading you lessons out of it, whether
you call them names or not. These will always be lessons of charity. No
doubt, nothing can be more provoking to listen to. But do beg your folks
to remember that the Smithfield fires are all out, and that the cinders
are very dirty and not in the least dangerous. They'd a great deal
better be civil, and not be throwing old proverbs in the doctors' faces,
when they say that the man of the old monkish notions is one thing and
the man they watch from his cradle to his coffin is something very
different."

       *       *       *       *       *

It has cost a good deal of trouble to work the Doctor's talk up into
this formal shape. Some of his sentences have been rounded off for him,
and the whole brought into a more rhetorical form than it could have
pretended to, if taken as it fell from his lips. But the exact course of
his remarks has been followed, and as far as possible his expressions
have been retained. Though given in the form of a discourse, it must
be remembered that this was a conversation, much more fragmentary and
colloquial than it seems as just read.

The Reverend Doctor was very far from taking offence at the old
physician's freedom of speech. He knew him to be honest, kind,
charitable, self-denying, wherever any sorrow was to be alleviated,
always reverential, with a cheerful trust in the great Father of all
mankind. To be sure, his senior deacon, old Deacon Shearer,--who seemed
to have got his Scripture-teachings out of the "Vinegar Bible," (the one
where _Vineyard_ is misprinted _Vinegar_, which a good many people seem
to have adopted as the true reading,)--his senior deacon had called Dr.
Kittredge an "infidel." But the Reverend Doctor could not help feeling,
that, unless the text, "By their fruits ye shall know them," were an
interpolation, the Doctor was the better Christian of the two. Whatever
his senior deacon might think about it, he said to himself that he
shouldn't be surprised if he met the Doctor in heaven yet, inquiring
anxiously after old Deacon Shearer.

He was on the point of expressing himself very frankly to the Doctor,
with that benevolent smile on his face which had sometimes come near
giving offence to the readers of the "Vinegar" edition, but he saw that
the physician's attention had been arrested by Elsie. He looked in the
same direction himself, and could not help being struck by her attitude
and expression. There was something singularly graceful in the curves of
her neck and the rest of her figure, but she was so perfectly still that
it seemed as if she were hardly breathing. Her eyes were fixed on the
young girl with whom Mr. Bernard was talking. He had often noticed their
brilliancy, but now it seemed to him that they appeared dull, and the
look on her features was as of some passion which had missed its stroke.
Mr. Bernard's companion seemed unconscious that she was the object of
this attention, and was listening to the young master as if he had
succeeded in making himself very agreeable.

Of course Dick Venner had not mistaken the game that was going on. The
schoolmaster meant to make Elsie jealous,--and he had done it. That's
it: get her savage first, and then come wheedling round her,--a sure
trick, if he isn't headed off somehow. But Dick saw well enough that he
had better let Elsie alone just now, and thought the best way of killing
the evening would be to amuse himself in a little lively talk with Mrs.
Blanche Creamer, and incidentally to show Elsie that he could make
himself acceptable to other women, if not to herself.

The Doctor presently went up to Elsie, determined to engage her in
conversation and get her out of her thoughts, which he saw, by her look,
were dangerous. Her father had been on the point of leaving Helen Darley
to go to her, but felt easy enough when he saw the old Doctor at her
side, and so went on talking. The Reverend Doctor, being now left alone,
engaged the Widow Rowens, who put the best face on her vexation she
could, but was devoting herself to all the underground deities for
having been such a fool as to ask that pale-faced thing from the
Institute to fill up her party.

There is no space left to report the rest of the conversation. If there
was anything of any significance in it, it will turn up by-and-by, no
doubt. At ten o'clock the Reverend Doctor called Miss Letty, who had no
idea it was so late; Mr. Bernard gave his arm to Helen; Mr. Richard saw
to Mrs. Blanche Creamer; the Doctor gave Elsie a cautioning look, and
went off alone, thoughtful; Dudley Venner and his daughter got into
their carriage and were whirled away. The Widow's gambit was played, and
she had not won the game.



REVIEWS AND LITERARY NOTICES.


_Reminiscences of the late Thomas Assheton Smith, Esq.; or, The Pursuits
of an English Country-Gentleman._ By Sir J.E. EARDLEY-WILMOT. London:
Murray. 1860.

We are somewhat doubtful whether Charles Lamb would have included this
handsome volume in a list of _books_. It is evidently the work of an
eager sportsman, one learned in all the minutiae of the chase. Much of
it is taken up with enthusiastic description of Mr. Smith's favorite
horses and hounds, of the astonishing qualities of Rory O'More, of the
splendid runs made by Fireship and Lightboat, of the notable improvement
made in the Suffolk pack by Mr. Smith's judicious system of crossing.
All this part of the book will doubtless interest any English gentleman
who delights in pink and buckskins, and will especially please those who
recollect the famous Tom Smith, as he was called, when,

  "on a morning
  Ruddy as health, he rode into the field
  And then pursued the chase,"

over and through swamp, hedge, and ditch, with that dare-devil speed and
recklessness that won for him the reputation of being the best rider,
the hardest seat, and the first sportsman in all England.

And even to us, who never chased the fox nor ever crossed a
thoroughbred, this portion of the work is not without a certain
interest; for we take a species of pleasure in hearing or learning the
technical terms of any art, trade, or pursuit whatsoever, and not often
to American eyes comes the chance of becoming acquainted with the
huntsman, the whipper-in, the ride to cover, and the eager, toilsome,
dangerous chase.

Still we cannot help regarding the over-abundance of these things as not
only a blemish in the book as a work of art, which indeed it scarcely
pretends to be, but also as a hindrance to the attainment of its object,
which is the vindication of Mr. Smith's character from certain charges
made against it by the "Times" and other London newspapers, which spoke
but slightingly of him, pronouncing him to have been a mere fox-hunting
squire, and nothing more.

To contradict these and similar aspersions, his widow put all of Mr.
Smith's correspondence into the hands of his warm friend, Sir J.E.
Eardley-Wilmot, and left to him the task of defending the name and fame
of her husband. These memoirs are the result, and we are of opinion,
that, with the exception of the superabundant cricketing and hunting
technicalities before mentioned, the work has been exceedingly well
performed. The book is written in an unambitious, straightforward,
gentlemanly style, that carries conviction with it; and as we rise from
a perusal of it, with occasional stoppings, we feel that the "Times"
correspondent has now at least no excuse for harsh judgment of Mr.
Smith, and that, if he was a reckless rider and a mighty hunter, he was
also very much more and better.

Thomas Assheton Smith was born of sturdy and right English stock, as the
following anecdote makes patent. His father opposed the building of
the Menai Bridge, did not believe, in fact, that it could be built,
considered the ferry good enough, and declared, that, if it should be
finished, he for one would never set foot upon it. The possibility of
building a bridge having been demonstrated to Mr. Smith by the completed
structure, he, for the remainder of his life, when his occasions took
him across the strait, made use of a boat. Other such anecdotes are told
of him, setting forth his obstinacy and courage in a strong light, so
that we are not surprised when we are informed that his son had a
stern temper and was somewhat dictatorial in the field. We could have
accounted for Tom Smith's severe countenance, though we had never heard
of that two hours' battle at Eton, of which the school-traditions yet
speak, when he fought a drawn fight with Jack Musters, who, the Squire
always declared, spoiled his beauty for him. Neither do we wonder when
we hear that he fought a six-foot carter in the street and beat him, or
that, when nearly eighty years of age, he jumped off his horse and put
up his hands to a farm-laborer who had insulted him, or that, when he
ran as candidate for Parliament, for Nottingham, and was hissed and
groaned in that radical city, he stepped down from the hustings and
proposed a set-to with any voter in the crowd. This was good crowing,
but the old cock had taught him.

From Eton young Smith was removed to Oxford, where we are told he often
rode out with the hounds and began his practice of keeping close up to
them at the risk of his own and his horse's neck. Clearly the subject of
these memoirs was not intended to shine in the schools and wisely did
not make the attempt. Leaving college, Mr. Smith for a few years devoted
himself to the improvement of his horses and hounds, and, as the author
says, to "creating a new country near Salisbury Plain." The thread
of his life is then followed down to the death of his father and his
entrance upon the manifold duties of a large landed proprietor, owner
of immense quarries, and landlord of some hundreds of tenants,--the
pursuits, in short, of an English country-gentleman. Here is the real
interest of the book. It is interesting to note the difference between
this country-squire and that typical country-squire with which the plays
and novels of the last hundred and fifty years have made us familiar.
We all know him. Purple with Port, beef-witted, tyrannical, intolerant,
ignorant, never happy unless when on horseback or drunk, nor looking
happy then.

But the "glorious gains" of the nineteenth century have come to
fox-hunters as well as to other men, and Squire Smith is a very much
ameliorated Squire Western, though we see plain enough evidence that
the original stock is the same in both. Both are good Tories, hate the
French, and would fight for the Church; but we are sure that Squire
Western considers a curate as but a poor creature, and we fear Squire
Smith has not any Puritanical reverence for the clergy,--for curates, at
least; for we are told, that, when the Reverend Mr. T. Dyson preached
his first sermon, the Squire walked up to him in the church-porch, and,
clapping him on the back, said to the young parson, "Well done, my boy!
you shall have a mount on Rory next Tuesday for this!" But we do not
think that Squire Western would have been liberal or politic enough
to have given land and money to several neighboring congregations of
Dissenters, or that he would have given away to his quarrymen several
thousand acres of good land together with building-materials. Nor have
we such faith in the ability of the Georgian Squire as to believe that
he, from his own observation and acute reasoning on facts which he had
noticed when a boy in school, would ever have given to the world the
famous wave-line bow to be a pattern on which all nations should model
their vessels. Yet this our Victorian Squire has done, and he loses no
credit by the fact that Mr. Scott Russell, the great naval architect,
had at nearly the same time, working from entirely different premises,
arrived at the same result.

Mr. Smith seems to us well worth knowing as the type of a great class of
Englishmen,--that class to which the author of "School-Days at Rugby"
gives the comprehensive patronymic of Brown,--a class bold, honest,
energetic, not too affectionate, not too intellectual, perhaps, but,
by virtue of their strength of hand, head, and will, and their inborn
honesty of soul, the masters in some important respects of all the men
that live.


_Essays and Reviews_. The Second Edition. London: 1860. 8vo. pp. 434.

The second English and the first American edition of the volume bearing
the modest title given above have followed quickly its original
publication. The title-page, indicating only the form of the matter in
the volume, compels a reference to the table of contents in order to
learn its substance. From this it appears that the Essays and Reviews
are seven in number, each by a different author, and that they treat
chiefly of topics connected with the study of Scripture,--the only one
not directly indicating its relation to this study by its title being
the first, on "The Education of the World," by the Reverend Frederick
Temple, Head Master of Rugby School. The names of several of the
authors, those, for instance, of the late Baden Powell, of Dr. Rowland
Williams, and of Mr. Jowett, Regius Professor of Greek in the University
of Oxford, are well known as among those of the most advanced and ablest
leaders of thought in the most liberal section of the English Church. It
is not strange that a volume to which such men have contributed should
have excited a general and deep interest among all who are interested in
the present position of scholarship in England and of thought in regard
to the most important subjects which can occupy the intellects of men.

Whatever expectations the announcement of the volume excited are well
supported by its contents. It is the most important contribution made
during the present generation in England to the establishment of a sound
religious philosophy, and to the advance of religious truth. Whatever
opposition some of the speculations contained in it may excite, whether
the main views of its authors be accepted or not, (and in this notice we
do not propose to consider whether they be true or not,) the
principles upon which their opinions and speculations are based are
so incontrovertible, and the learning and ability with which they are
supported are so great, that the work must inevitably produce a lasting
effect upon the tendency of thought in respect to the subjects it
embraces and must lead to the reconsideration of many prevalent
opinions. It is a book at once to start doubts in the minds of those
attached to established forms and bound by ancient creeds, and to quiet
doubts in those who have been perplexed in the bewilderments of modern
metaphysical philosophy or have found it difficult to reconcile the
truths established by science with their faith in the Christian
religion. It is a book which serves as a landmark of the most advanced
point to which religious thought has yet reached, and from which to take
a new observation and departure.

The most striking external characteristic of these Essays is, that,
having been "written in entire independence of each other, and without
concert or comparison," they, without exception, present a close
similarity in spirit and in tone. All of them are distinguished by
a union of freedom with reverence, as rare as it is remarkable, in
treating of subjects peculiarly likely to suffer from being handled in a
conventional manner, and usually discussed with exaggerated freedom or
with superstitious reverence. In tone and temper they leave nothing to
be desired; they are neither hot with zeal nor rash with controversial
eagerness; but they are calm without coldness, earnest without
extravagance. The fairness and candor displayed in them, the freedom
from party-prejudice or bias, the clearness in the statement of
difficulties, the honesty in the recognition of the limits of present
knowledge, all indicate most clearly the growth of a worthy spirit in
the treatment of subjects which have too often heretofore been fields
for the exhibition of narrowness, intolerance, and bigotry. Such a book
is not only an honor to the men engaged in its production, but of happy
augury for the future progress of truth.

The topics which these Essays discuss are of as much interest in America
as in England, to those outside the English Church as to those within
it. But, at the same time, most of the Essays (and this consideration
is not a satisfactory one) are of a kind which it would seem could have
been produced only in England, and there only within the limits of the
Church. In America we have no body of men capable of work so different
in its parts, and, at the same time, exhibiting such soundness and
extent of scholarship, such liberality of opinion, such disciplined
habits of thought. Any single Essay in the volume might, perhaps,
without any extravagance of supposition, have been the work of some
American scholar; but the difficulty would be to find here seven writers
each capable of producing one of the Essays. The intellectual discipline
of English methods of study and of English institutions still produces
a greater number of men capable of the highest sort of work, than the
methods in vogue and the institutions established here. We have thinkers
who venture as pioneers into the uncleared wilderness. Their vigorous
blows bring down many an old tree moss-grown with errors, and their
ploughs for the first time turn the soil covered with the fallen leaves
of decayed beliefs; but we fail in our supply of those men who are to
follow the pioneers and do the higher and more lasting constructive work
of civilization. Now, as in past times, we must be content, so far as we
may, to have this work done for us by the thinkers and scholars of other
lands. But how long is this to last? Is the same sort of makeshift to be
allowed in the processes of American thought, which in the expanse of
our territory we have allowed in the processes of material labor?

The publication of these "Essays and Reviews" marks, as we believe,
an epoch in the history of thought in England. They will stand as the
monument of the reaction of the best minds against the "Tractarian"
movement on the one hand, and against the skeptical tendencies of much
of the science and philosophy of recent times on the other. For while,
at Oxford and elsewhere, a strong current has set back against the
unimpeded progress of truth, while the attempt has been made, and not
without a transient success, to rivet old fetters upon the hearts and
intellects of men, another school, borrowing their metaphysics from
Germany, and their notions of Christianity from the common creeds, have
set up science in opposition to faith, and have treated religion, with
more or less openness, as if it were a worn-out superstition. The
essential value of this book is, that its various Essays are virtually
an attempt--how far successful each reader must judge for himself--to
show that the Christian religion is no fixed and formalized set of
doctrines, but an expansive and fluent faith, adapting itself to the new
needs of every generation and of each individual; not opposed to the
teachings of science, but, when properly understood, entirely harmonious
with them, and drawing continually fresh support from them; having
nothing to fear from the progress of knowledge and the increase of
light, but everything to gain; welcoming truth, whencesoever it may
come, whatsoever it may be, whithersoever it may lead.

Beside the topics of thought treated of in this volume, it suggests
incidentally many others of peculiar interest. As an indication of the
present condition of English scholarship, it is full of encouragement
for the future. For more than a century there has been very little deep,
original, and productive study of the Scriptures in England. A new
impulse has now been given to it. What will be its effect, and the
effect of the liberalized and more tolerant spirit of which it is a
proof, upon the constitution of the English Church can be foreseen but
in part. It is certain that it must lead to great changes, and to a
virtual breaking-down of many of the most confining sectarian barriers.
No Articles and no Creeds can stand for many generations as the
authoritative expressions of belief, after the character of the
compulsion which they exercise is understood, after the history of
sectarian differences is fairly stated, after the interpretation of
Scripture is placed upon a sound basis, and the nature of Christianity
and the object of the teachings of Christ are thus brought home to the
intellects and the hearts of men.


_A Journey in the Back-Country_. By FREDERICK LAW OLMSTED. Author of "A
Journey in the Seaboard Slave-States," "A Journey in Texas," "Walks and
Talks of an American Farmer in England," etc. New York: Mason Brothers.
1860. pp. xvi., 492.

Mr. Olmsted is no ordinary traveller for amusement or adventure. He
leaves home to instruct himself through his own eyes and ears concerning
matters of general interest about which no trustworthy information was
to be found in books. Looking at Slavery merely as an economist, with no
political or moral prepossessions to mislead his judgment, he went to
study for himself its workings and results as a form of labor, we might
almost say, so cool-headed is he, as an application of forces, rather
than as a social or political phenomenon. Self-possessed and wary,
almost provokingly unsympathetic in his report of what he saw,
pronouncing no judgment on isolated facts, and drawing no undue
inferences from them, he has now generalized his results in a most
interesting and valuable book. No more important contributions to
contemporary American history have been made than in this volume and the
two that preceded it. We know of no book that offers a parallel to them,
except Arthur Young's "Travels in France." To discuss the question of
Slavery without passion or even sentiment seemed an impossibility; yet
Mr. Olmsted has shown that it can be done, and, having no theory to
bolster, has contrived to tell us what he saw, and not what he went to
see,--the rarest achievement among travellers. Without the charm of
style, he has the truthfulness of Herodotus.

We do not forget that there was wisdom as well as wit in Dr. Johnson's
sarcastic classification of facts with donkeys. The great majority of
so-called facts, and especially those detailed by travellers, are of no
consequence whatever to man or beast. What is it to us that Mr. A. has
been condescending enough to look at the Venus of Milo, or that Mr. B.,
with more time than he knows what to do with already on his hands, must
steal a couple of good working hours from Carlyle, worth probably five
guineas apiece? That Hannibal crossed the Alps was something; that
Goethe did was and is also of some consequence; but the transit of Mr.
Anarithmon Smith need cause no excitement in the observatories. That a
man has found out, by laborious counting, which is the middle word
in the New Testament, is pretty sure to get into the newspapers as a
remarkable fact; that he had discovered its central thought, and made
it the keystone to knit together his else incomplete outward and inward
lives, would hardly be esteemed of so much consequence. Facts are such
different things, especially to different persons! The truth is, that
we should distinguish between real facts and the mere images of facts,
though the newspapers teach us to confound them, putting side by side,
as they do, Garibaldi's entry into Naples and Dennis McQuigley's into
the lock-up.

The man who gives us a really new fact deserves to be classed with
him who makes two blades of grass grow where one grew before, for it
contains the germinal principle of knowledge. We owe a large debt in
this kind to Mr. Olmsted. He tells us much of what he saw, little of
what he thought. He has good eyes, and that something behind them that
makes a good observer. As respects the South, he has the advantage of
being at once native and foreigner, so that what is merely American does
not divide his attention with what is local and peculiar. Making entries
in his diary before impressions have had time to cool, he has preserved
even the dialect of those with whom he talked, and thus given a lively
reality to his narrative.

Nearly one-half of Mr. Olmsted's present volume is devoted to a
discussion of the conclusions to be drawn from the mass of observations
he has thus far collected. His views are entitled to the more
consideration that the tone of his mind is so dispassionate. He finds
himself compelled to give his verdict against Slavery, whether it be
considered morally, politically, or economically. We cannot but think
that the reading of his book will do great good in opening the minds of
many to a perception that the agitation of the Slavery question is not
a mere clash of unthinking prejudices between North and South, that
Slavery itself is not a matter of purely local concern, but that
it interests all parts of the Republic equally. It is certainly of
paramount importance that we should understand the practical workings
of a system which is converting what by natural increase will soon
constitute a majority of the population in the fairest portion of our
territory into a vast planting, hoeing, and cotton-picking machine.

Mr. Olmsted's qualifications as a traveller are so remarkable that we
cannot help wishing that he would make a journey through New England and
make us as thoroughly acquainted with its internal condition as we ought
to be. We believe there is no book of the kind since that of President
Dwight, and that gives us little of the sort of information we desire.
It is an insight into the manners, modes of life, and ways of thinking
that is of value; and Mr. Olmsted, who goes about, like Chaucer's
Somner,

  "Ever inquiring upon everything,"

is just the person to supply a great want in our literature. We know
less of the domestic habits of a large part of our population than of
those of the Saxons in the time of Alfred. But for a few glimpses
which we get from Dunton, Madam Knight, the Rev. Jacob Bailey, and the
Proceedings of Synods, we should be little better acquainted with the
New Englanders of the century following the Restoration than with the
primitive Aryans. Bailey's account of his voyage to England is the best
contemporary testimony to the truth of Smollett's pictures of sea-life
that we ever met with, and we cannot sufficiently regret that the whole
of his journal during his college-life was not published. Mr. Olmsted
would be sure of a grateful recognition from posterity, if he would
do for New England what he has done for the South. We might not be
flattered by his report, but we could not fail to be benefited by it.
It would, perhaps, lead to the establishment of home missions among the
Bad-Bread and Foul-Air tribes, who make more wretched captives for life
and kill more children than the French and Indians together ever dreamed
of.


_Sketches of Parisian Life. The Greatness and Decline of César
Birotteau_. From the French of HONORÉ DE BALZAC. Translated by O.W.
WIGHT and F.B. GOODRICH. New York: Rudd & Carleton, 130 Grand Street.
1860. pp. 387.

We are very glad to see this beginning of a translation of Balzac, or
de Balzac, as he chose to christen himself. Without intending an
exact parallel, he might be called the Fielding of French
Literature,--intensely masculine, an artist who works outward from an
informing idea, a satirist whose humor will not let him despise human
nature even while he exposes its weaknesses. The story of Caesar
Birotteau is well-chosen as an usher to the rest, for it is eminently
characteristic, though it does not show the higher imaginative qualities
of the author. It is one of the severest tests of genius to draw an
ordinary character so humanly that we learn to love and respect it in
spite of a thorough familiarity with its faults and absurdities. In this
respect Balzac's "Birotteau" is a masterpiece. The translation, as far
as we have had time to look into it, seems a very easy, spirited, and
knowing one. The translators have overcome the difficulties of _slang_
with great skill, rendering by equivalent vulgarisms which give the
spirit where the letter would be unintelligible. We object, however, to
a phrase like "vest-pocket," where we find it in the narrative, and not
in the mouth of one of the personages. It is tailor's English, which is
as bad as peddler's French. But this is a trifle where there is so much
to commend in essentials, and we hope the translators will be encouraged
to go on in a work so excellently begun.


_Home Ballads and Poems_. By JOHN GREENLEAF WHITTIER. Boston: Ticknor &
Fields. 1800. pp. 206.

The natural product of a creed which ignores the aesthetical part of man
and reduces Nature to a uniform drab would seem to have been Bernard
Barton. _His_ verse certainly infringed none of the superstitions of the
sect; for from title-page to colophon, there was no sin either in the
way of music or color. There was, indeed, a frugal and housewifely Muse,
that brewed a cup, neither cheering unduly nor inebriating, out of the
emptyings of Wordsworth's teapot. How that little busy B. improved each
shining hour, how neatly he laid his wax, it gives us a cold shiver to
think of,--_ancora ci raccappriccia!_ Against a copy of verses signed
"B.B.," as we remember them in the hardy Annuals that went to seed
so many years ago, we should warn our incautious offspring as an
experienced duck might her brood against a charge of B.B. shot. It
behooves men to be careful; for one may chance to suffer lifelong from
these intrusions of cold lead in early life, as duellists sometimes
carry about all their days a bullet from which no surgery can relieve
them. Memory avenges our abuses of her, and, as an awful example, we
mention the fact that we have never been able to forget certain stanzas
of another B.B., who, under the title of Boston Bard, whilom obtained
from newspaper-columns that concession which gods and men would
unanimously have denied him.

George Fox, utterly ignoring the immense stress which Nature lays on
established order and precedent, got hold of a half-truth which made him
crazy, as half-truths are wont. But the inward light, whatever else it
might be, was surely not of that kind "that never was on land or sea."
There has been much that was poetical in the lives of Quakers, little in
the men themselves. Poetry demands a richer and more various culture,
and, however good we may find such men as John Woolman and Elias
Boudinot, they make us feel painfully that the salt of the earth is
something very different, to say the least, from the Attic variety of
the same mineral. Let Armstrong and Whitworth and James experiment as
they will, they shall never hit on a size of bore so precisely adequate
for the waste of human life as the journal of an average Quaker.
Compared with it, the sandy intervals of Swedenborg gush with singing
springs, and Cotton Mather is a very Lucian for liveliness.

Yet this dry Quaker stem has fairly blossomed at last, and Nature, who
can never be long kept under, has made a poet of Mr. Whittier as she
made a General of Greene. To make a New England poet, she had her choice
between Puritan and Quaker, and she took the Quaker. He is, on the
whole, the most representative poet that New England has produced. He
sings her thoughts, her prejudices, her scenery. He has not forgiven the
Puritans for hanging two or three of his co-sectaries, but he admires
them for all that, calls on his countrymen as

  "Sons of men who sat in council with their
  Bibles round the board,
  Answering Charles's royal mandate with a
  stern 'Thus saith the Lord,'"

and at heart, we suspect, has more sympathy with Miles Standish than
with Mary Dyer. Indeed,

  "Sons of men who sat in meeting with their
  broadbrims o'er their brow,
  Answering Charles's royal mandate with a
  _thee_ instead of _thou_,"

would hardly do. Whatever Mr. Whittier may lack, he has the prime merit
that he smacks of the soil. It is a New England heart he buttons his
strait-breasted coat over, and it gives the buttons a sharp strain now
and then. Even the native idiom crops out here and there in his verses.
He makes _abroad_ rhyme with _God_, _law_ with _war_, _us_ with _curse_,
_scorner_ with _honor_, _been_ with _men_, _beard_ with _shared_. For
the last two we have a certain sympathy as archaisms, but with the rest
we can make no terms whatever,--they must march out with no honors of
war. The Yankee lingo is insoluble in poetry, and the accent would give
a flavor of _essence-pennyr'y'l_ to the very Beatitudes. It differs from
Lowland Scotch as a _patois_ from a dialect.

But criticism is not a game of jerk-straws, and Mr. Whittier has other
and better claims on us than as a stylist. There is true fire in the
heart of the man, and his eye is the eye of a poet. A more juicy soil
might have made him a Burns or a Béranger for us. New England is dry
and hard, though she have a warm nook in her, here and there, where the
magnolia grows after a fashion. It is all very nice to say to our poets,
"You have sky and wood and waterfall and men and women,--in short, the
entire outfit of Shakspeare; Nature is the same here as elsewhere"; and
when the popular lecturer says it, the popular audience gives a stir of
approval. But it is all _bosh_, nevertheless. Nature is _not_ the same
here, and perhaps never will be, as in lands where man has mingled his
being with hers for countless centuries, where every field is steeped in
history, every crag is ivied with legend, and the whole atmosphere of
thought is hazy with the Indian summer of tradition. Nature without an
ideal background is nothing. We may claim whatever merits we like, (and
our orators are not too bashful,) we may be as free and enlightened as
we choose, but we are certainly not interesting or picturesque. We may
be as beautiful to the statistician as a column of figures, and dear to
the political economist as a social phenomenon; but our hive has little
of that marvellous Bee-bread that can transmute the brain to finer
issues than a gregarious activity in hoarding. The Puritans left us a
fine estate in conscience, energy, and respect for learning; but they
disinherited us of the past. Not a single stage-property of poetry did
they bring with them but the good old Devil, with his graminivorous
attributes, and even he could not stand the climate. Neither horn nor
hoof nor tail of him has been seen for a century. He is as dead as the
goat-footed Pan, whom he succeeded, and we tenderly regret him.

Mr. Whittier himself complains somewhere of

  "The rigor of our frozen sky,"

and he seems to have been thinking of our clear, thin, intellectual
atmosphere, the counterpart of our physical one, of which artists
complain that it rounds no edges. We have sometimes thought that his
verses suffered from a New England taint in a too great tendency to
metaphysics and morals, which may be the bases on which poetry rests,
but should not be carried too high above-ground. Without this, however,
he would not have been the typical New England poet that he is. In the
present volume there is little of it. It is more purely objective than
any of its forerunners, and is full of the most charming rural pictures
and glimpses, in which every sight and sound, every flower, bird, and
tree, is neighborly and homely. He makes us see

  "the old swallow-haunted barns,
  Brown-gabled, long, and full of seams
  Through which the moted sunlight streams,
  And winds blow freshly in to shake
  The red plumes of the roosted cocks
  And the loose hay-mow's scented locks,"--

  "the cattle-yard
  With the white horns tossing above the wall,"--

the spring-blossoms that drooped over the river,

  "Lighting up the swarming shad:"--

and

  "the bulged nets sweeping shoreward
  With their silver-sided haul."

Every picture is full of color, and shows that true eye for Nature which
sees only what it ought, and that artistic memory which brings home
compositions and not catalogues. There is hardly a hill, rock, stream,
or sea-fronting headland in the neighborhood of his home that he has not
fondly remembered. Sometimes, we think, there is too much description,
the besetting sin of modern verse, which has substituted what should be
called wordy-painting for the old art of painting in a single word. The
essential character of Mr. Whittier's poetry is lyrical, and the rush of
the lyric, like that of a brook, allows few pictures. Now and then there
may be an eddy where the feeling lingers and reflects a bit of scenery,
but for the most part it can only catch gleams of color that mingle
with the prevailing tone and enrich without usurping on it. This volume
contains some of the best of Mr. Whittier's productions in this kind.
"Skipper Ireson's Ride" we hold to be by long odds the best of modern
ballads. There are others nearly as good in their way, and all, with a
single exception, embodying native legends. In "Telling the Bees," Mr.
Whittier has enshrined a country superstition in a poem of exquisite
grace and feeling. "The Garrison of Cape Ann" would have been a fine
poem, but it has too much of the author in it, and to put a moral at the
end of a ballad is like sticking a cork on the point of a sword. It is
pleasant to see how much our Quaker is indebted for his themes to Cotton
Mather, who belabored his un-Friends of former days with so much bad
English and worse Latin. With all his faults, that conceited old pedant
contrived to make one of the most entertaining books ever written on
this side the water, and we wonder that no one should take the trouble
to give us a tolerably correct edition of it. Absurdity is common
enough, but such a genius for it as Mather had is a rare and delightful
gift.

This last volume has given us a higher conception of Mr. Whittier's
powers. We already valued as they deserved his force of faith, his
earnestness, the glow and hurry of his thought, and the (if every third
stump-speaker among us were not a Demosthenes, we should have said
Demosthenean) eloquence of his verse; but here we meet him in a softer
and more meditative mood. He seems a Berserker turned Carthusian. The
half-mystic tone of "The Shadow and the Light" contrasts strangely, and,
we think, pleasantly, with the war-like clang of "From Perugia." The
years deal kindly with good men, and we find a clearer and richer
quality in these verses where the ferment is over and the _rile_ has
quietly settled. We have had no more purely American poet than Mr.
Whittier, none in whom the popular thought found such ready and vigorous
expression. The future will not fail to do justice to a man who has been
so true to the present.



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