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Title: The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 07, No. 39, January, 1861
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 07, No. 39, January, 1861" ***

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JANUARY, 1861***


THE ATLANTIC MONTHLY.

A MAGAZINE OF LITERATURE, ART, AND POLITICS.

VOL. VII.--JANUARY, 1861.--NO. XXXIX.



WASHINGTON CITY.


Washington is the paradise of paradoxes,--a city of magnificent
distances, but of still more magnificent discrepancies. Anything may be
affirmed of it, everything denied. What it seems to be it is not; and
although it is getting to be what it never was, it must always remain
what it now is. It might be called a city, if it were not alternately
populous and uninhabited; and it would be a wide-spread village, if it
were not a collection of hospitals for decayed or callow politicians. It
is the hybernating-place of fashion, of intelligence, of vice,--a resort
without the attractions of waters either mineral or salt, where there is
no bathing and no springs, but drinking in abundance and gambling in
any quantity. Defenceless, as regards walls, redoubts, moats, or other
fortifications, it is nevertheless the Sevastopol of the Republic,
against which the allied army of Contractors and Claim-Agents
incessantly lay siege. It is a great, little, splendid, mean,
extravagant, poverty-stricken barrack for soldiers of fortune and
votaries of folly.

Scattered helter-skelter over an immense surface, cut up into scalene
triangles, the oddity of its plan makes Washington a succession of
surprises which never fail to vex and astonish the stranger, be he ever
so highly endowed as to the phrenological bump of locality. Depending
upon the hap-hazard start the ignoramus may chance to make, any
particular house or street is either nearer at hand or farther off than
the ordinary human mind finds it agreeable to believe. The first duty of
the new-comer is to teach his nether extremities to avoid instinctively
the hypothenuse of the street-triangulation, and the last lesson the
resident fails to learn is which of the shortcuts from point to point
is the least lengthy. Beyond a doubt, the corners of the streets were
constructed upon a cold and brutal calculation of the greatest possible
amount of oral sin which disappointed haste and irritated anxiety are
capable of committing; nor is any relief to the tendency to profanity
thus engendered afforded by the inexcusable nomenclature of the streets
and avenues,--a nomenclature in which the resources of the alphabet, the
arithmetic, the names of all the States of the Union, and the Presidents
as well, are exhausted with the most unsystematic profligacy. A man not
gifted with supernatural acuteness, in striving to get from Brown's
Hotel to the General Post-Office, turns a corner and suddenly finds
himself nowhere, simply because he is everywhere,--being at the instant
upon three separate streets and two distinct avenues. And, as a further
consequence of the scalene arrangement of things, it happens that the
stranger in Washington, however civic his birth and education may have
been, is always unconsciously performing those military evolutions
styled marching to the right or left oblique,--acquiring thereby, it is
said, that obliquity of the moral vision--which sooner or later afflicts
every human being who inhabits this strange, lop-sided city-village.

So queer, indeed, is Washington City in every aspect, that one
newly impressed by its incongruities is compelled to regard Swift's
description of Lilliputia and Sydney Smith's account of Australia as
poor attempts at fun. For, leaving out of view the pigmies of the former
place, whose like we know is never found in Congress, what is there in
that Australian bird with the voice of a jackass to excite the feeblest
interest in the mind of a man who has listened to the debates on Kansas?
or what marvel is an amphibian with the bill of a duck to him who has
gazed aghast at the intricate anatomy of the bill of English? It is true
that the ignorant Antipodes, with a total disregard of all theories of
projectiles, throw their boomerangs behind their backs in order to kill
an animal that stands or runs before their faces, or skim them along
the ground when they would destroy an object flying overhead. And these
feats seem curious. But an accomplished "Constitutional Adviser" can
perform feats far more surprising with a few lumps of coal or a number
of ships-knees, which are but boomerangs of a larger growth. Another has
invented the deadliest of political missiles, (in their recoil,) shaped
like mules and dismantled forts, while a third has demolished the
Treasury with a simple miscalculation. Still more astonishing are the
performances of an eminent functionary who encourages polygamy by
intimidation, purchases redress for national insult by intercepting his
armies and fleets with an apology in the mouth of a Commissioner, and
elevates the Republic in the eyes of mankind by conquering at Ostend
even less than he has lost at the Executive Mansion.

In truth, the list of Washington anomalies is so extensive and so
various, that no writer with a proper regard for his own reputation or
his readers' credulity would dare enumerate them one by one. Without
material injury to the common understanding, a few may be mentioned; but
respect for public opinion would urge that the enormous whole be summed
up in the comparatively safe and respectful assertion, that the one only
absolutely certain thing in Washington is the absence of everything
that is at all permanent. The following are some of the more obnoxious
astonishments of the place.

Traversing a rocky prairie inflated with hacks, you arrive late in the
afternoon at a curbed boundary, too fatigued in body and too suffocated
with dust to resent the insult to your common-sense implied in the
announcement that you have merely crossed what is called an Avenue.
Recovered from your fatigue, you ascend the steps of a marble palace,
and enter but to find it garrisoned by shabby regiments armed with
quills and steel pens. The cells they inhabit are gloomy as dungeons,
but furnished like parlors. Their business is to keep everybody's
accounts but their own. They are of all ages, but of a uniformly
dejected aspect. Do not underrate their value. Mr. Bulwer has said,
that, in the hands of men entirely great, the pen is mightier than the
sword. Suffer yourself to be astonished at their numbers, but permit
yourself to withdraw from their vicinity without questioning too closely
their present utility or future destination. No personal affront to the
public or the nineteenth century is intended by the superfluity of their
numbers or the inadequacy of their capacities. Their rapid increase is
attributable not to any incestuous breeding in-and-in among themselves,
but to a violent seduction of the President and the Heads of Department
by importunate Congressmen; and you may rest assured that this criminal
multiplication fills nobody with half so much righteous indignation and
virtuous sorrow as the clerks themselves. Emerging from the palace of
quill-drivers, a new surprise awaits you. The palace is surmounted by
what appear to be gigantic masts and booms, economically, but strongly
rigged, and without any sails. In the distance, you see other palaces
rigged in the same manner. The effect of this spectacle is painful in
the extreme. Standing dry-shod as the Israelites were while crossing the
Red Sea, you nevertheless seem to be in the midst of a small fleet of
unaccountable sloops of the Saurian period. You question whether these
are not the fabulous "Ships of State" so often mentioned in the elegant
oratory of your country. You observe that these ships are anchored in an
ocean of pavement, and your no longer trustworthy eyes search vainly
for their helms. The nearest approach to a rudder is a chimney or an
unfinished pillar; the closest resemblance to a pilot is a hod-carrying
workman clambering up a gangway. Dismissing the nautical hypothesis,
your next effort to relieve your perplexity results in the conjecture
that the prodigious masts and booms may be nothing more than curious
gibbets, the cross-pieces to which, conforming rigidly to the Washington
rule of contrariety, are fastened to the bottom instead of the top of
the upright. Your theory is, that the destinies of the nation are to be
hanged on these monstrous gibbets, and you wonder whether the laws of
gravitation will be complaisant enough to turn upside down for the
accommodation of the hangman, whoever he may be. It is not without
pain that you are forced at last to the commonplace belief that these
remarkable mountings of the Public Buildings are neither masts nor
booms, but simply derricks,--mechanical contrivances for the lifting of
very heavy weights. It is some consolation, however, to be told that
the weakness of these derricks has never been proved by the endeavor
to elevate by means of them the moral character of the inhabitants of
Washington. Content yourself, after a reasonable delay for natural
wonderment, to leave the strange scene. This shipping-like aspect of the
incomplete Departments is only a nice architectural tribute to the fact
that the population of Washington is a floating population. This you
will not be long in finding out. The oldest inhabitants are here to-day
and gone tomorrow, as punctually, if not as poetically, as the Arabs of
Mr. Longfellow. A few remain,--parasitic growths, clinging tenaciously
to the old haunts. Like tartar on the teeth, they are proof against the
hardest rubs of the tooth-brush of Fortune.

As with the people, so with the houses. Though they retain their
positions, seldom abandoning the ground on which they were originally
built, they change almost hourly their appearance and their
uses,--insomuch that the very solids of the city seem fluid, and even
the stables are mutable,--the horse-house of last week being an office
for the sale of patents, or periodicals, or lottery-tickets, this week,
with every probability of becoming an oyster-cellar, a billiard-saloon,
a cigar-store, a barber's shop, a bar-room, or a faro-bank, next week.
And here is another astonishment. You will observe that the palatial
museums for the temporary preservation of fossil or fungous penmen join
walls, virtually, with habitations whose architecture would reflect
no credit on the most curious hamlet in tide-water Virginia. To your
amazement, you learn that all these houses, thousands in number, are
boarding-houses. Of course, where everybody is a stranger, nobody
keeps house. It would be pardonable to suppose, that, out of so many
boarding-houses, some would be in reality what they are in name. Nothing
can be farther from the fact. These houses contain apartments more or
less cheerless and badly furnished, according to the price (always
exorbitant, however small it may be) demanded for them, and are devoted
exclusively to the storage of empty bottles and demijohns, to large
boxes of vegetable- and flower-seeds, to great piles of books, speeches,
and documents not yet directed to people who will never read them, and
to an abominable odor of boiling cabbages. This odor steals in from
a number of pitch-dark tunnels and shafts, misnamed passages and
staircases, in which there are more books, documents, and speeches,
other boxes of seeds, and a still stronger odor of cabbages. The piles
of books are traps set here for the benefit of the setters of broken
legs and the patchers of skinless shins, and the noisome odors are
propagated for the advantage of gentlemen who treat diseases of the
larynx and lungs.

It would appear, then, that the so-called boarding-houses are, in point
of fact, private gift-book stores, or rather, commission-houses for the
receiving and forwarding of a profusion of undesirable documents and
vegetations. You may view them also in the light of establishments for
the manufacture and distribution of domestic perfumery, payment for
which is never exacted at the moment of its involuntary purchase, but is
left to be collected by a doctor,--who calls upon you during the winter,
levies on you with a lancet, and distrains upon your viscera with a
compound cathartic pill.

It is claimed, that, in addition to the victims who pay egregious rents
for boarding-house beds in order that they may have a place to store
their documents and demi-johns, there are other permanent occupants of
these houses. As, for example, Irish chambermaids, who subtract a few
moments from the morning half-hour given to drinking the remnants of
your whiskey, and devote them to cleaning up your room. Also a very
strange being, peculiar to Washington boarding-houses, who is never
visible at any time, and is only heard stumbling up-stairs about four
o'clock in the morning. Also beldames of incalculable antiquity,--a
regular allowance of one to each boarding-house,--who flit noiselessly
and unceasingly about the passages and up and down the stairways,
admonishing you of their presence by a ghostly sniffle, which always
frightens you, and prevents you from running into them and knocking them
down. For these people, it is believed, a table is set in the houses
where the boarders proper flatter their acquaintances that they sleep.
It must be so, for the entire male population is constantly eating in
the oyster-cellars. Indeed, if ocular evidence may be relied on, the
best energies of the metropolis are given to the incessant consumption
of "half a dozen raw," or "four fried and a glass of ale." The bar-rooms
and eating-houses are always full or in the act of becoming full. By a
fatality so unerring that it has ceased to be wonderful, it happens that
you can never enter a Washington restaurant and find it partially empty,
without being instantly followed by a dozen or two of bipeds as hungry
and thirsty as yourself, who crowd up to the bar and destroy half the
comfort you derive from your lunch or your toddy.

But, although, everybody is forever eating oysters and drinking ale in
myriads of subterranean holes and corners, nobody fails to eat at other
places more surprising and original than any you have yet seen. In all
other cities, people eat at home or at a hotel or an eating-house; in
Washington they eat at bank. But they do not eat money,--at least, not
in the form of bullion, or specie, or notes. These Washington banks,
unlike those of London, Paris, and New York, are open mainly at night
and all night long, are situated invariably in the second story, guarded
as jealously as any seraglio, and admit nobody but strangers,--that is
to say, everybody in Washington. This is singular. Still more singular
is the fact, that the best food, served in the most exquisite manner,
and (with sometimes a slight variation) the choicest wines and cigars,
may be had at these banks free of cost, except to those who choose
voluntarily to remunerate the banker by purchasing a commodity as costly
and almost as worthless as the articles sold at ladies' fairs,--upon
which principle, indeed, the Washington banks are conducted. The
commodity alluded to is in the form of small discs of ivory, called
"chips" or "cheeks" or "shad" or "skad," and the price varies from
twenty-five cents to a hundred dollars per "skad."

It is expected that every person who opens an account at bank by eating
a supper there shall buy a number of "shad," but not with the view of
taking them home to show to his wife and children. Yet it is not an
uncommon thing for persons of a stingy and ungrateful disposition to
spend most of their time in these benevolent institutions without ever
spending so much as a dollar for "shad," but eating, drinking, and
smoking, and particularly drinking, to the best of their ability. This
reprehensible practice is known familiarly in Washington as "bucking
ag'inst the sideboard," and is thought by some to be the safest mode of
doing business at bank.

The presiding officer is never called President. He is called
"Dealer,"--perhaps from the circumstance of his dealing in ivory,--and
is not looked up to and worshipped as the influential man of
banking-houses is generally. On. the contrary, he is for the most part
condemned by his best customers, whose heart's desire and prayer are to
break his bank and ruin him utterly.

Seeing the multitude of boarding-houses, oyster-cellars, and
ivory-banks, you may suppose there are no hotels in Washington. You are
mistaken. There are plenty of hotels, many of them got up on the scale
of magnificent distances that prevails everywhere, and somewhat on the
maritime plan of the Departments. Outwardly, they look like colossal
docks, erected for the benefit of hacks, large fleets of which you will
always find moored under their lee, safe from the monsoon that prevails
on the open sea of the Avenue. Inwardly, they are labyrinths, through
whose gloomy mazes it is impossible to thread your way without the
assistance of an Ariadne's clue in the shape of an Irishman panting
under a trunk. So obscure and involved are the hotel-interiors, that it
would be madness for a stranger to venture in search of his room without
the guidance of some one far more familiar with the devious course of
the narrow clearings through the forest of apartments than the landlord
himself. Now and then a reckless and adventurous proprietor undertakes
to make a day's journey alone through his establishment. He is never
heard of afterwards,--or, if found, is discovered in a remote angle or
loft, in a state of insensibility from bewilderment and starvation.
If it were not for an occasional negro, who, instigated by charitable
motives or love of money, slouches about from room to room with an empty
coal-scuttle as an excuse for his intrusions, a gentleman stopping at a
Washington hotel would be doomed to certain death. In fact, the lives of
all the guests hang upon a thread, or rather, a wire; for, if the bell
should fail to answer, there would be no earthly chance of getting into
daylight again. It is but reasonable to suppose that the wires to many
rooms have been broken in times past, and it is well known in Washington
that these rooms are now tenanted by skeletons of hapless travellers
whose relatives and friends never doubted that they had been kidnapped
or had gone down in the Arctic.

The differential calculus by which all Washington is computed obtains at
the hotels as elsewhere, with this peculiarity,--that the differences
are infinitely great, instead of infinitely small. While the fronts are
very fine, showy, and youthful as the Lecompton Constitution, the rears
are coarse, common, and old as the Missouri Compromise. The furniture in
the rooms that look upon Pennsylvania Avenue is as fresh as the dogma
of Squatter Sovereignty; that in all other rooms dates back to the
Ordinance of '87. Some of the apartments exhibit a glaring splendor; the
rest show beds, bureaus, and washstands which hard and long usage has
polished to a sort of newness. Specimens of ancient pottery found on
these washstands are now in the British Museum, and are reckoned among
the finest of Layard's collections at Nineveh.

The dining rooms are admirable examples of magnificent distance. The
room is long, the tables are long, the kitchen is a long way off, and
the waiters a long time going and coming. The meals are long,--so
long that there is literally no end to them; they are eternal. It is
customary to mark certain points in the endless route of appetite with
mile-stones named breakfast, dinner, and supper; but these points have
no more positive existence than the imaginary lines and angles of the
geometrician. Breakfast runs entirely through dinner into supper, and
dinner ends with coffee, the beginning of breakfast. Estimating the
duration of dinner by the speed of an ordinary railroad-train, it is
twenty miles from soup to fish, and fifty from turkey to nuts. But
distance, however magnificent, does not lend enchantment to a meal. The
wonder is that the knives and forks are not made to correspond in length
with the repasts,--in which case the latter would be pitchforks, and the
former John-Brown pikes.

The people of Washington are as various, mixed, dissimilar, and
contrasted as the edifices they inhabit. Within the like area, which is
by no means a small one, the same number of dignitaries can be found
nowhere else on the face of the globe,--nor so many characters of
doubtful reputation. If the beggars of Dublin, the cripples of
Constantinople, and the lepers of Damascus should assemble in
Baden-Baden during a Congress of Kings, then Baden-Baden would resemble
Washington. Presidents, Senators, Honorables, Judges, Generals,
Commodores, Governors, and the Ex's of all these, congregate here as
thick as pick-pockets at a horse-race or women at a wedding in church.
Add Ambassadors, Plenipotentiaries, Lords, Counts, Barons, Chevaliers,
the great and small fry of the Legations, Captains, Lieutenants,
Claim-Agents, Negroes, Perpetual-Motion-Men, Fire-Eaters, Irishmen,
Plug-Uglies, Hoosiers, Gamblers, Californians, Mexicans, Japanese,
Indians, and Organ-Grinders, together with females to match all
varieties of males, and you have vague notion of the people of
Washington.

It is an axiom in physics, that a part cannot be greater than the whole;
and it will be recollected, that, after Epistemon had his head sewed on,
he related a tough story about the occupations of the mighty dead, and
swore, that, in the course of his wanderings among the damned, he found
Cicero kindling fires, Hannibal selling egg-shells, and Julius Caesar
cleaning stoves. The story holds good in regard to the mighty personages
in Washington, but the axiom does not. Men whose fame fills the
land, when they are at home or spouting about the country, sink into
insignificance when they get to Washington. The sun is but a small
potato in the midst of the countless systems of the sidereal heavens.
In like manner, the majestic orbs of the political firmament undergo
a cruel lessening of diameter as they approach the Federal City. The
greatest of men ceases to be great in the presence of hundreds of his
peers, and the multitude of the illustrious dwindle into individual
littleness by reason of their superabundance. And when it comes to
occupations, it will hardly be denied that the stranger who beholds a
Senator "coppering on the ace," or a Congressman standing in a bar-room
with a lump of mouldy cheese in one hand and a glass of "pony whiskey"
in the other, or a Judge of the Supreme Court wriggling an ugly woman
through the ridiculous movements of the polka in a hotel-parlor, must
experience sensations quite as confounding as any Epistemon felt in
Kingdom Come.

In spite of numberless receptions, levees, balls, hops, parties,
dinners, and other reunions, there is, properly speaking, no society in
Washington. Circles are said to exist, but, like that in the vortex of
the whirlpool, they are incessantly changing. Divisions purely arbitrary
may be made in any community. Hence the circles of Washington society
may be represented sciagraphically in the following diagram.

[Illustration]

The Circle of the Mudsill includes Negroes, Clerks, Irish Laborers,
Patent and other Agents, Hackmen, Faro-Dealers, Washerwomen, and
Newspaper-Correspondents. In the Hotel Circle, the Newest Strangers,
Harpists, Members of Congress, Concertina-Men, Provincial Judges,
Card-Writers, College-Students, Unprotected Females, "Star" and "States"
Boys, Stool-Pigeons, Contractors, Sellers of Toothpicks, and Beau
Hickman, are found. The Circle of the White House embraces the
President, the Cabinet, the Chiefs of Bureaus, the Embassies, Corcoran
and Riggs, formerly Mr. Forney, and until recently George Sanders and
Isaiah Rynders. The little innermost circle is intended to represent a
select body of residents, intense exclusives, who keep aloof from the
other circles and hold them all in equal contempt. This circle is known
only by report; in all probability it is a myth. It is worthy of remark
that the circles of the White House and the Hotels rise higher and sink
lower than that of the Mudsill, but whether this is a fact or a mere
necessity of the diagram is not known.

Society, such as it is, in the metropolis, is indulgent to itself. It
intermeddles not, asks no impertinent questions, and transacts
its little affairs in perfect peace and quietude. Vigilant as the
Inquisition in matters political, it is deaf and blind, but not dumb, as
to all others. It dresses as it pleases, drinks as much as it chooses,
eats indiscriminately, sleeps promiscuously, gets up at all hours of
the day, and does as little work as possible. Its only trouble is that
"incomparable grief" to which Panurge was subject, and "which at that
time they called lack of money." In truth, the normal condition of
Washington society is, to use a vernacular term, "busted." It is not an
isolated complaint. Everybody is "busted." No matter what may be the
state of a man's funds when he gets to Washington, no matter how long he
stays or how soon he leaves, to this "busted" complexion must he come at
last. He is in Rome; he must take the consequences. Shall he insult the
whole city with his solvency? Certainly not. He abandons his purse and
his conscience to the madness of the hour, and, in generous emulation of
the prevailing recklessness and immorality, dismisses every scruple and
squanders his last cent. Then, and not till then, does he feel himself
truly a Washington-man, able to look anybody in the face with the serene
pride of an equal, and without the mortification of being accused or
even suspected of having in all the earth a dollar that he can call his
own.

Where morals are loose, piety is seldom in excess. But there are a
half-dozen of churches in Washington, besides preaching every Sunday
in the House of Representatives. The relative size and cost of the
churches, as compared with the Public Buildings, indicates the true
object of worship in Washington. Strange to say, the theatre is smaller
than the churches. Clerical and dramatic entertainments cannot compete
with the superior attractions of the daily rows in Congress and the
nightly orgies at the faro-banks. Heaven is regarded as another
Chihuahua or Sonora, occupied at present by unfriendly Camanches, but
destined to be annexed some day. In the mean time, a very important
election is to come off in Connecticut or Pennsylvania. That must be
attended to immediately. Such is piety in Washington.

The list of the unique prodigies of Washington is without limit. But
marvels heaped together cease to be marvellous, and of all places in
the world a museum is the most tiresome. So, amid the whirl and roar
of winter-life in Washington, when one has no time to read, write, or
think, and scarcely time to eat, drink, and sleep, when the days fly by
like hours, and the brain reels under the excitement of the protracted
debauch, life becomes an intolerable bore. Yet the place has an intense
fascination for those who suffer most acutely from the _tedium vitae_ to
which every one is more or less a prey; and men and women who have lived
in Washington are seldom contented elsewhere. The moths return to the
flaming candle until they are consumed.

In conclusion, it must be admitted that Washington is the Elysium of
oddities, the Limbo of absurdities, an imbroglio of ludicrous anomalies.
Planned on a scale of surpassing grandeur, its architectural execution
is almost contemptible. Blessed with the name of the purest of men, it
has the reputation of Sodom. The seat of the law-making power, it is the
centre of violence and disorder which disturb the peace and harmony
of the whole Republic,--the chosen resort for duelling, clandestine
marriages, and the most stupendous thefts. It is a city without commerce
and without manufactures; or rather, its commerce is illicit, and its
manufacturers are newspaper-correspondents, who weave tissues of fiction
out of the warp of rumor and the web of prevarication. The site of the
United States Treasury, it is the home of everything but affluence. Its
public buildings are splendid, its private dwellings generally squalid.
The houses are low, the rents high; the streets are broad, the crossings
narrow; the hacks are black, the horses white; the squares are
triangles, except that of the Capitol, which is oval; and the water is
so soft that it is hard to drink it, even with the admixture of alcohol.
It has a Monument that will never be finished, a Capitol that is to have
a dome, a Scientific Institute which does nothing but report the rise
and fall of the thermometer, and two pieces of Equestrian Statuary
which it would be a waste of time to criticize. It boasts a streamlet
dignified with the name of the river Tiber, and this streamlet is of the
size and much the appearance of a vein in a dirty man's arm. It has a
canal, but the canal is a mud-puddle during one half the day and an
empty ditch during the other. In spite of the labors of the Smithsonian
Institute, it has no particular weather. It has the climates of all
parts of the habitable globe. It rains, hails, snows, blows, freezes,
and melts in Washington, all in the space of twenty-four hours. After a
fortnight of steady rain, the sun shines out, and in half an hour the
streets are filled with clouds of dust. Property in Washington is
exceedingly sensitive, the people alarmingly callous. The men are
fine-looking, the women homely. The latter have plain faces, but
magnificent busts and graceful figures. The former have an imposing
presence and an empty pocket, a great name and a small conscience.
Notwithstanding all these impediments and disadvantages, Washington
is progressing rapidly. It is fast becoming a large city, but it must
always remain a deserted village in the summer. Its destiny is that of
the Union. It will be the greatest capital the world ever saw, or
it will be "a parched place in the wilderness, a salt land and not
inhabited," and "every one that passeth thereby shall be astonished and
wag his head."



MIDSUMMER AND MAY.


[Concluded.]

Spring at last stole placidly into summer, and Marguerite, who was
always shivering in the house, kept the company in a whirl of out-door
festivals.

"We have not lived so, Roger," said Mrs. McLean, "since the summer when
you went away. We all follow the caprice of this child as a ship follows
the little compass-needle."

And she made room for the child beside her in the carriage; for Mr.
Raleigh was about driving them into town,--an exercise which had its
particular charm for Marguerite, not only for the glimpse it afforded of
the gay, bustling inland-city-life, but for opportunities of securing
the reins and of occasioning panics. Lately, however, she had resigned
the latter pleasure, and sat with quiet propriety by Mrs. McLean.
Frequently, also, she took long drives alone or with one of the
children, holding the reins listlessly, and ranging the highway
unobservantly for miles around.

Mrs. Purcell declared the girl was homesick; Mrs. Heath doubted if
the climate agreed with her: she neither denied nor affirmed their
propositions.

Mr. Heath came and went from the city where her father was, without
receiving any other notice than she would have bestowed on a peaceful
walking-stick; his attentions to her during his visits were unequivocal;
she accepted them as nonchalantly as from a waiter at table. On the
occasion of his last stay, there had been a somewhat noticeable change
in his demeanor: he wore a trifle of quite novel assurance; his supreme
bearing was not mitigated by the restless sparkle of his eye; and in
addressing her his compliments, he spoke as one having authority.

Mrs. Laudersdale, so long and so entirely accustomed to the reception
of homage that it cost her no more reflection than an imperial princess
bestows on the taxes that produce her tiara, turned slowly from the
apparent apathy thus induced on her modes of thought, passivity lost in
a gulf of anxious speculation, while she watched the theatre of events
with a glow, like wine in lamplight, that burned behind her dusky eyes
till they had the steady penetration of some wild creature's. She may
have wondered if Mr. Raleigh's former feeling were yet alive; she may
have wondered if Marguerite had found the spell that once she found,
herself; she may have been kept in thrall by ignorance if he had ever
read that old confessing note of hers: whatever she thought or hoped or
dreaded, she said nothing, and did nothing.

Of all those who concerned themselves in the affair of Marguerite's
health and spirits, Mr. Raleigh was the only one who might have solved
their mystery. Perhaps the thought of wooing the child whose mother
he had once loved was sufficiently repugnant to him to overcome the
tenderness which every one was forced to feel for so beautiful a
creation. I have not said that Marguerite was this, before, because,
until brought into contrast with her mother, her extreme loveliness was
too little positive to be felt; now it was the evanescent shimmer of
pearl to the deep perpetual fire of the carbuncle. Softened, as she
became, from her versatile cheeriness, she moved round like a moonbeam,
and frequently had a bewildered grace, as if she knew not what to make
of herself. Mr. Raleigh, from the moment in which he perceived that she
no longer sought his company, retreated into his own apartments, and was
less seen by the others than ever.

Returning from the drive on the morning of Mrs. McLean's last recorded
remark, Mr. Raleigh, who had remained to give the horses in charge to a
servant, was about to pass, when the _tableau_ within the drawing-room
caught his attention and altered his course. He entered, and flung his
gloves down on a table, and threw himself on the floor beside Marguerite
and the children. She appeared to be revisited by a ray of her old
sunshine, and had unrolled a giant parcel of candied sweets, which their
mother would have sacrificed on the shrine of jalap and senna, the
purchase of a surreptitious moment, and was now dispensing the brilliant
comestibles with much ill-subdued glee. One mouth, that had bitten off
the head of a checkerberry chanticleer, was convulsed with the
acidulous tickling of sweetened laughter, till the biter was bit and a
metamorphosis into the animal of attack seemed imminent; at the hands of
another a warrior in barley-sugar was experiencing the vernacular for
defeat with reproving haste and gravity; and there was yet another
little omnivorous creature that put out both hands for indiscriminate
snatching, and made a spectacle of himself in a general plaster of
gum-arabic-drop and brandy-smash.

"Contraband?" said Mr. Raleigh.

"And sweet as stolen fruit," said Marguerite. "Ursule makes the
richest comfits, but not so innumerable as these. Mamma and I owe our
sweet-tooth and honey-lip to bits of her concoction."

"Mrs. Purcell," asked Mr. Raleigh, as that lady entered, "is this little
banquet no seduction to you?"

"What are you doing?" she replied.

"Drinking honey-dew from acorns."

"Laudersdale as ever!" ejaculated she, looking over his shoulder. "I
thought you had 'no sympathy with'"----

"But I 'like to see other folks take'"----

"Their sweets, in this case. No, thank you," she continued, after this
little rehearsal of the past. "What are you poisoning all this brood
for?"

"Mrs. Laudersdale eats sweetmeats; they don't poison her," remonstrated
Katy.

"Mrs. Laudersdale, my dear, is exceptional."

Katy opened her eyes, as if she had been told that the object of her
adoration was Japanese.

"It is the last grain that completes the transformation, as your
story-books have told; and one day you will see her stand, a statue
of sugar, and melt away in the sun. To be sure, the whole air will be
sweetened, but there will be no Mrs. Laudersdale."

"For shame, Mrs. Purcell!" cried Marguerite. "You're not sweet-tempered,
or you'd like sweet dainties yourself. Here are nuts swathed in syrup;
you'll have none of them? Here are health and slumber and idle dreams
in a chocolate-drop. Not a chocolate? Here are dates; if you wouldn't
choose the things in themselves, truly you would for their associations?
See, when you take up one, what a picture follows it: the plum that has
swung at the top of a palm and crowded into itself the glow of those
fierce noon-suns; it has been tossed by the sirocco, it has been steeped
in reeking dew; there was always stretched above it the blue intense
tent of a heaven full of light,--always below and around, long level
reaches of hot shining sand; the phantoms of waning desert moons have
hovered over it, swarthy Arab chiefs have encamped under it; it
has threaded the narrow streets of Damascus--that city the most
beautiful--on the backs of gaunt gray dromedaries; it has crossed the
seas,--and all for you, if you take it, this product of desert freedom,
torrid winds, and fervid suns!"

"I might swallow the date," said Mrs. Purcell, "but Africa would choke
me."

Mr. Raleigh had remained silent for some time, watching Marguerite as
she talked. It seemed to him that his youth was returning; he forgot his
resolves, his desires, and became aware of nothing in the world but her
voice. Just before she concluded, she grew conscious of his gaze, and
almost at once ceased speaking; her eyes fell a moment to meet it, and
then she would have flashed them aside, but that it was impossible;
lucid lakes of light, they met his own; she was forced to continue it,
to return it, to forget all, as he was forgetting, in that long look.

"What is this?" said Mrs. Purcell, stooping to pick up a trifle on the
matting.

"_C'est à moi!_" cried Marguerite, springing up suddenly, and spilling
all the fragments of the feast, to the evident satisfaction of the
lately neglected guests.

"Yours?" said Mrs. Purcell with coolness, still retaining it. "Why do
you think in French?"

"Because I choose!" said Marguerite, angrily. "I mean--How do you know
that I do?"

"Your exclamation, when highly excited or contemptuously indifferent, is
always in that tongue."

"Which am I now?"

"Really, you should know best. Here is your bawble"; and Mrs. Purcell
tossed it lightly into her hands, and went out.

It was a sheath of old morocco. The motion loosened the clasp, and the
contents, an ivory oval and a cushion of faded silk, fell to the floor.
Mr. Raleigh bent and regathered them; there was nothing for Marguerite
but to allow that he should do so. The oval had reversed in falling, so
that he did not see it; but, glancing at her before returning it, he
found her face and neck dyed deeper than the rose. Still reversed, he
was about to relinquish it, when Mrs. McLean passed, and, hearing the
scampering of little feet as they fled with booty, she also entered.

"Seeing you reminds me, Roger," said she. "What do you suppose has
become of that little miniature I told you of? I was showing it to
Marguerite the other night, and have not seen it since. I must have
mislaid it, and it was particularly valuable, for it was some nameless
thing that Mrs. Heath found among her mother's trinkets, and I begged it
of her, it was such a perfect likeness of you. Can you have seen it?"

"Yes, I have it," he replied. "And haven't I as good a right to it as
any?"

He extended his arm for the case which Marguerite held, and so touching
her hand, the touch was more lingering than it needed to be; but he
avoided looking at her, or he would have seen that the late color had
fled till the face was whiter than marble.

"Your old propensities," said Mrs. McLean. "You always will be a boy. By
the way, what do you think of Mary Purcell's engagement? I thought she
would always be a girl."

"Ah! McLean was speaking of it to me. Why were they not engaged before?"

"Because she was not an heiress."

Mr. Raleigh raised his eyebrows significantly.

"He could not afford to marry any but an heiress," explained Mrs.
McLean.

Mr. Raleigh fastened the case and restored it silently.

"You think that absurd? You would not marry an heiress?"

Mr. Raleigh did not at once reply.

"You would not, then, propose to an heiress?"

"No."

As this monosyllable fell from his lips, Marguerite's motion placed
her beyond hearing. She took a few swift steps, but paused and leaned
against the wall of the gable for support, and, placing her hand upon
the sun-beat bricks, she felt a warmth in them which there seemed to be
neither in herself nor in the wide summer-air.

Mrs. Purcell came along, opening her parasol.

"I am going to the orchard," said she; "cherries are ripe. Hear the
robins and the bells! Do you want to come?"

"No," said Marguerite.

"There are bees in the orchard, too,--the very bees, for aught I
know, that Mr. Raleigh used to watch thirteen years ago, or their
great-grand-bees,--they stand in the same place."

"You knew Mr. Raleigh thirteen years ago?" she asked, glancing up
curiously.

"Yes."

"Well?"

"Very well."

"How much is very well?"

"He proposed to me. Smother your anger; he didn't care for me; some one
told him that I cared for him."

"Did you?"

"This is what the Inquisition calls applying the question?" asked Mrs.
Purcell. "Nonsense, dear child! he was quite in love with somebody
else."

"And that was----?"

"He supposed your mother to be a widow. Well, if you won't come, I shall
go alone and read my 'L'Allegro' under the boughs, with breezes blowing
between the lines. I can show you some little field-mice like unfledged
birds, and a nest that protrudes now and then glittering eyes and cleft
fangs."

Marguerite was silent; the latter commodity was _de trop_. Mrs. Purcell
adjusted her parasol and passed on.

Here, then, was the whole affair. Marguerite pressed her hands to her
forehead, as if fearful some of the swarming thoughts should escape;
then she hastened up the slope behind the house, and entered and hid
herself in the woods. Mr. Raleigh had loved her mother. Of course, then,
there was not a shadow of doubt that her mother had loved him. Horrible
thought! and she shook like an aspen, beneath it. For a time it seemed
that she loathed him,--that she despised the woman who had given him
regard. The present moment was a point of dreadful isolation; there was
no past to remember, no future to expect; she herself was alone and
forsaken, the whole world dark, and heaven blank. But that could not be
forever. As she sat with her face buried in her hands, old words, old
looks, flashed on her recollection; she comprehended what long years of
silent suffering the one might have endured, what barren yearning the
other; she saw how her mother's haughty calm might be the crust on a
lava-sea; she felt what desolation must have filled Roger Raleigh's
heart, when he found that she whom he had loved no longer lived, that he
had cherished a lifeless ideal,--for Marguerite knew from his own lips
that he had not met the same woman whom he had left.

She started up, wondering what had led her upon this train of thought,
why she had pursued it, and what reason she had for the pain it gave
her. A step rustled among the distant last-year's leaves; there in the
shadowy wood, where she did not dream of concealing her thoughts, where
it seemed that all Nature shared her confidence, this step was like
a finger laid on the hidden sore. She paused, a glow rushed over her
frame, and her face grew hot with the convicting flush. Consternation,
bitter condemnation, shame, impetuous resolve, swept over her in one
torrent, and she saw that she had a secret which every one might touch,
and, touching, cause to sting. She hurried onward through the wood,
unconscious how rapidly or how far her heedless course extended. She
sprang across gaps at which she would another time have shuddered; she
clambered over fallen trees, penetrated thickets of tangled brier, and
followed up the shrunken beds of streams, till suddenly the wood grew
thin again, and she emerged upon an open space,--a long lawn, where the
grass grew rank and tall as in deserted graveyards, and on which the
afternoon sunshine lay with most dreary, desolate emphasis. Marguerite
had scarcely comprehended herself before; now, as she looked out on the
utter loneliness of the place, all joyousness, all content, seemed wiped
from the world. She leaned against a tree where the building rose before
her, old and forsaken, washed by rains, beaten by winds. A blind slung
open, loose on a broken hinge; the emptiness of the house looked through
it like a spirit. The woodbine seemed the only living thing about
it,--the woodbine that had swung its clusters, heavy as grapes of
Eshcol, along one wall, and, falling from support, had rioted upon the
ground in masses of close-netted luxuriance.

Standing and surveying the silent scene of former gayety, a figure
came down the slope, crushing the grass with lingering tread, checked
himself, and, half-reversed, surveyed it with her. Her first impulse was
to approach, her next to retreat; by a resolution of forces she remained
where she was. Mr. Raleigh's position prevented her from seeing the
expression of his face; from his attitude seldom was anything to be
divined. He turned with a motion of the arm, as if he swung off a
burden, and met her eye. He laughed, and drew near.

"I am tempted to return to that suspicion of mine when I first met you,
Miss Marguerite," said he. "You take shape from solitude and empty air
as easily as a Dryad steps from her tree."

"There are no Dryads now," said Marguerite, sententiously.

"Then you confess to being a myth?"

"I confess to being tired, Mr. Raleigh."

Mr. Raleigh's manner changed, at her petulance and fatigue, to the old
air of protection, and he gave her his hand. It was pleasant to be the
object of his care, to be with him as at first, to renew their former
relation. She acquiesced, and walked beside him.

"You have had some weary travel," he said, "and probably not more than
half of it in the path."

And she feared he would glance at the rents in her frock, forgetting
that they were not sufficiently infrequent facts to be noticeable.

"He treats me like a child," she thought. "He expects me to tear my
dress! He forgets, that, while thirteen years were making a statue of
her, they were making a woman of me!" And she snatched away her hand.

"I have the boat below," he said, without paying attention to the
movement. "You took the longest way round, which, you have heard, is the
shortest way home. You have never been on the lake with me." And he was
about to assist her in.

She stepped back, hesitating.

"No, no," he said. "It is very well to think of walking back, but it
must end in thinking. You have no impetus now to send you over another
half-dozen miles of wood-faring, no pique to sting, Io."

And before she could remonstrate, she was lifted in, the oars had
flashed twice, and there was deep water between herself and shore. She
was in reality too much fatigued to be vexed, and she sat silently
watching the spaces through which they glanced, and listening to the
rhythmic dip of the oars. The soft afternoon air, with its melancholy
sweetness and tinge of softer hue, hung round them; the water, brown and
warm, was dimpled with the flight of myriad insects; they wound among
the islands, a path one of them knew of old. From the shelving rocks a
wild convolvulus drooped its twisted bells across them, a sweet-brier
snatched at her hair in passing, a sudden elder-tree shot out its creamy
panicles above, they ripped up drowsy beds of folded lily-blooms.

Mr. Raleigh, suddenly lifting one oar, gave the boat a sharp curve and
sent it out on the open expanse; it seemed to him that he had no right
thus to live two lives in one. Still he wished to linger, and with now
and then a lazy movement they slipped along. He leaned one arm on the
upright oar, like a river-god, and from the store of boat-songs in his
remembrance sang now and then a strain. Marguerite sat opposite and
rested along the side, content for the moment to glide on as they were,
without a reference to the past in her thought, without a dream of the
future. Peach-bloom fell on the air, warmed all objects into mellow
tint, and reddened deep into sunset. Tinkling cow-bells, where the kine
wound out from pasture, stole faintly over the lake, reflected dyes
suffused it and spread around them sheets of splendid color, outlines
grew ever dimmer on the distant shores, a purple tone absorbed all
brilliance, the shadows fell, and, bright with angry lustre, the planet
Mars hung in the south and struck a spear, redder than rubies, down the
placid mirror. The dew gathered and lay sparkling on the thwarts as they
touched the garden-steps, and they mounted and traversed together the
alleys of odorous dark. They entered at Mr. Raleigh's door and stepped
thence into the main hall, where they could see the broad light from the
drawing-room windows streaming over the lawn beyond. Mrs. Laudersdale
came down the hall to meet them.

"My dear Rite," she said, "I have been alarmed, and have sent the
servants out for you. You left home in the morning, and you have not
dined. Your father and Mr. Heath have arrived. Tea is just over, and
we are waiting for you to dress and go into town; it is Mrs. Manton's
evening, you recollect."

"Must I go, mamma?" asked Marguerite, after this statement of facts.
"Then I must have tea first. Mr. Raleigh, I remember my wasted
sweetmeats of the morning with a pang. How long ago that seems!"

In a moment her face told her regret for the allusion, and she hastened
into the dining-room.

Mr. Raleigh and Marguerite had a merry tea, and Mrs. Purcell came and
poured it out for them.

"Quite like the days when we went gypsying," said she, when near its
conclusion.

"We have just come from the Bawn, Miss Marguerite and I," he replied.

"You have? I never go near it. Did it break your heart?"

Mr. Raleigh laughed.

"Is Mr. Raleigh's heart such a delicate organ?" asked Marguerite.

"Once, you might have been answered negatively; now, it must be like the
French banner, _percé, troué, criblé,"--

"Pray, add the remainder of your quotation," said he,--"_sans peur et
sans reproche_."

"So that a trifle would reduce it to flinders," said Mrs. Purcell,
without minding his interruption.

"Would you give it such a character, Miss Rite?" questioned Mr. Raleigh
lightly.

"I? I don't see that you have any heart at all, Sir."

"I swallow my tea and my mortification."

"Do you remember your first repast at the Bawn?" asked Mrs. Purcell.

"Why not?"

"And the jelly like molten rubies that I made? It keeps well." And she
moved a glittering dish toward him.

"All things of that summer keep well," he replied.

"Except yourself, Mr. Raleigh. The Indian jugglers are practising upon
us, I suspect. You are no more like the same person who played sparkling
comedy and sang passionate tragedy than this bamboo stick is like that
willow wand."

"I wish I could retort, Miss Helen," he replied. "I beg your pardon!"

She was silent, and her eye fell and rested on the sheeny damask
beneath. He glanced at her keenly an instant, then handed her his cup,
saying,--

"May I trouble you?"

She looked up again, a smile breaking over the face wanner than
youth, but which the hour's gayety had flushed to a forgetfulness of
intervening years, extended her left hand for the cup, still gazing and
smiling.

Various resolves had flitted through Marguerite's mind since her
entrance. One, that she would yet make Mr. Raleigh feel her power,
yielded to shame and self-contempt, and she despised herself for a woman
won unwooed. But she was not sure that she was won. Perhaps, after all,
she did not care particularly for Mr. Raleigh. He was much older than
she; he was quite grave, sometimes satirical; she knew nothing about
him; she was slightly afraid of him. On the whole, if she consulted her
taste, she would have preferred a younger hero; she would rather be the
Fornarina for a Raffaello; she had fancied her name sweetening the songs
of Giraud Riquier, the last of the Troubadours; and she did not believe
Beatrice Portinari to be so excellent among women, so different from
other girls, that her name should have soared so far aloft with that
escutcheon of the golden wing on a field azure. "But they say that there
cannot be two epic periods in a nation's literature," thought Marguerite
hurriedly; "so that a man who might have been Homer once will be nothing
but a gentleman now." And at this point, having decided that Mr. Raleigh
was fully worth unlimited love, she added to her resolves a desire for
content with whatever amount of friendly affection he chose to bestow
upon her. And all this, while sifting the sugar over her raspberries.
Nevertheless, she felt, in the midst of her heroic content, a strange
jealousy at hearing the two thus discuss days in which she had no share,
and she watched them furtively, with a sharp, hateful suspicion dawning
in her mind. Now, as Mrs. Purcell's eyes met Mr. Raleigh's, and her hand
was still extended for the cup, Marguerite fastened her glance on its
glittering ring, and said abruptly,--

"Mrs. Purcell, have you a husband?"

Mrs. Purcell started and withdrew her hand, as if it had received a
blow, just as Mr. Raleigh relinquished the cup, so that between them the
bits of pictured porcelain fell and splintered over the equipage.

"Naughty child!" said Mrs. Purcell. "See now what you've done!"

"What have I to do with it?"

"Then you haven't any bad news for me? Has any one heard from the
Colonel? Is he ill?"

"Pshaw!" said Marguerite, rising and throwing down her napkin.

She went to the window and looked out.

"It is time you were gone, little lady," said Mr. Raleigh.

She approached Mrs. Purcell and passed her hand down her hair.

"What pretty soft hair you have!" said she. "These braids are like
carved gold-stone. May I dress it with sweet-brier to-night? I brought
home a spray."

"Rite!" said Mrs. Laudersdale sweetly, at the door; and Rite obeyed the
summons.

In a half-hour she came slowly down the stairs, untwisting a long string
of her mother's abandoned pearls, great pear-shaped things full of the
pale lustre of gibbous moons. She wore a dress of white samarcand, with
a lavish ornament like threads and purfiles of gold upon the bodice, and
Ursule followed with a cloak. As she entered the drawing-room, the great
bunches of white azalea, which her mother had brought from the swamps,
caught her eye; she threw down the pearls, and broke off rapid dusters
of the queenly flowers, touching the backward-curling hyacinthine
petals, and caressingly passing her finger down the pale purple shadow
of the snowy folds. Directly afterward she hung them in her breezy hair,
from which, by natural tenure, they were not likely to fall, bound them
over her shoulders and in her waist.

"See! I stand like Summer," she said, "wrapped in perfume; it is
intoxicating."

Just then two hands touched her, and her father bent his face over her.
She flung her arms round him, careless of their fragile array, kissed
him on both cheeks, laughed, and kissed him again. She did not speak,
for he disliked French, and English sometimes failed her.

"Here is Mr. Heath," her father said.

She partly turned, touched that gentleman's hand with the ends of her
fingers, and nodded. Her father whispered a brief sentence in her ear.

"_Jamais, Monsieur, jamais!_" she exclaimed; then, with a quick gesture
of deprecation, moved again toward him; but Mr. Laudersdale had coldly
passed to make his compliments to Mrs. Heath.

"You are not in toilet?" said Marguerite, following him, but speaking
with Mr. Raleigh.

"No,--Mrs. Purcell has been playing for me a little thing I always
liked,--that sweet, tuneful afternoon chiding of the Miller and the
Torrent."

She glanced at Mrs. Purcell, saw that her dress remained unaltered, and
commenced pulling out the azaleas from her own.

"I do not want to go," she murmured. "I need not! Mamma and Mrs. McLean
have already gone in the other carriage."

"Come, Marguerite," said Mr. Laudersdale, approaching her, as Mr. Heath
and his mother disappeared.

"I am not going," she replied, quickly.

"Not going? I beg your pardon, my dear, but you are!" and he took her
hand.

She half endeavored to withdraw it, threw a backward glance over her
shoulder at the remaining pair, and, led by her father, went out.

Marguerite did her best to forget the vexation, was very affable with
her father, and took no notice of any of Mr. Heath's prolonged remarks.
The drive was at best a tiresome one, and she was already half-asleep
when the carriage stopped. The noise and light, and the little vanities
of the dressing-room, awakened her, and she descended prepared for
conquest. But, after a few moments, it all became weariness, the air
was close, the flowers faded, the music piercing. The toilets did
not attract nor the faces interest her. She danced along absent and
spiritless, when her eye, raised dreamily, fell on an object among the
curtains and lay fascinated there. It was certainly Mr. Raleigh: but so
little likely did that seem, that she again circled the room, with her
eyes bent upon that point, expecting it to vanish. He must have come in
the saddle, unless a coach had returned for him and Mrs. Purcell,--yes,
there was Mrs. Purcell,--and she wore that sweet-brier fresh-blossoming
in the light. With what ease she moved!--it must always have been the
same grace;--how brilliant she was! There,--she was going to dance with
Mr. Raleigh. No? Where, then? Into the music-room!

The music-room lay beyond an anteroom of flowers and prints, and
was closed against the murmur of the parlors by great glass doors.
Marguerite, from her position, could see Mr. Raleigh seated at the
piano, and Mrs. Purcell standing by his side; now she turned a leaf, now
she stooped, and their hands touched upon the keys. Marguerite slipped
alone through the dancers, and drew nearer. There were others in the
music-room, but they were at a distance from the piano. She entered
the anteroom and sat shadowed among the great fragrant shrubs. A group
already stood there, eating ices and gayly gossiping. Mr. Laudersdale
and Mr. Manton sauntered in, their heads together, and muttering occult
matters of business, whose tally was kept with forefinger on palm.

"Where is Raleigh?" asked Mr. Manton, looking up. "He can tell us."

"At his old occupation," answered a gentleman from beside Mrs.
Laudersdale, "flirting with forbidden fruit."

"An alliterative amusement," said Mrs. Laudersdale.

"You did not know the original Raleigh?" continued the gentleman. "But
he always took pleasure in female society; yet, singularly enough,
though fastidious in choice, it was only upon the married ladies that he
bestowed his platonisms. I observe the old Adam still clings to him."

"He probably found more liberty with them," remarked Mrs. Laudersdale,
when no one else replied.

"Without doubt he took it."

"I mean, that, where attentions are known to intend nothing, one is not
obliged to measure them, or to calculate upon effects."

"Of the latter no one can accuse Mr. Raleigh!" said Mr. Laudersdale,
hotly, forgetting himself for once.

Mrs. Laudersdale lifted her large eyes and laid them on her husband's
face.

"Excuse me! excuse me!" said the gentleman, with natural misconception.
"I was not aware that he was a friend of yours." And taking a lady on
his arm, he withdrew.

"Nor is he!" said Mr. Laudersdale, in lowest tones, replying to his
wife's gaze, and for the first time intimating his feeling. "Never,
never, can I repair the ruin he has made me!"

Mrs. Laudersdale rose and stretched out her arm, blindly.

"The room is quite dark," she murmured; "the flowers must soil the air.
Will you take me up-stairs?"

Meanwhile, the unconscious object of their remark was turning over a
pile of pages with one hand, while the other trifled along the gleaming
keys.

"Here it is," said he, drawing one from the others, and arranging it
before him,--a _gondel-lied_.

There stole from his fingers the soft, slow sound of lapsing waters, the
rocking on the tide, the long sway of some idle weed. Here a jet of tune
was flung out from a distant bark, here a high octave flashed like a
passing torch through night-shadows, and lofty arching darkness told in
clustering chords. Now the boat fled through melancholy narrow ways of
pillared pomp and stately beauty, now floated off on the wide lagoons
alone with the stars and sea. Into this broke the passion of the gliding
lovers, deep and strong, giving a soul to the whole, and fading away
again, behind its wild beating,--with the silence of lapping ripple and
dipping oar.

Mrs. Purcell, standing beside the player, laid a careless arm across the
instrument, and bent her face above him like a flower languid with
the sun's rays. Suddenly the former smile suffused it, and, as the
gondel-lied fell into a slow floating accompaniment, she sang with a
swift, impetuous grace, and in a sweet, yet thrilling voice, the Moth
Song. The shrill music and murmur from the parlors burst all at once in
muffled volume upon the melody, and, turning, they both saw Marguerite
standing in the doorway, like an angry wraith, and flitting back again.
Mrs. Purcell laughed, but took up the thread of her song again where it
was broken, and carried it through to the end. Then Mr. Raleigh tossed
the gondel-lied aside, and rising, they continued their stroll.

"You have more than your share of the good things of life, Raleigh,"
said Mr. McLean, as the person addressed poured out wine for Mrs.
Purcell. "Two affairs on hand at once? You drink deep. Light and
sparkling,--thin and tart,--isn't it Solomon who forbids mixed drink?"

"I was never the worse for claret," replied Mr. Raleigh, bearing away
the glittering glass.

The party from the Lake had not arrived at an early hour, and it was
quite late when Mr. Raleigh made his way through ranks of tireless
dancers, toward Marguerite. She had been dancing with a spirit that
would have resembled joyousness but for its reckless _abandon_. She
seemed to him then like a flame, as full of wilful sinuous caprice. At
the first he scarcely liked it, but directly the artistic side of his
nature recognized the extreme grace and beauty that flowed through every
curve of movement. Standing now, the corn-silk hair slightly disordered
and still blown about by the fan of some one near her, her eyes
sparkling like stars in the dewdrops of wild wood-violets, warm, yet
weary, and a flush deepening her cheek with color, while the flowers
hung dead around her, she held a glass of wine and watched the bead swim
to the brim. Mr. Raleigh approached unaware, and startled her as he
spoke.

"It is _au gré du vent_, indeed," he said,--"just the white fluttering
butterfly,--and now that the wings are clasped above this crimson
blossom, I have a chance of capture." And smiling, he gently withdrew
the splendid draught.

"_Buvez, Monsieur_," she said; "_c'est le vin de la vie!_"

"Do you know how near daylight it is?" he replied. "Mrs. Laudersdale
fainted in the heat, and your father took her home long ago. The Heaths
went also; and the carriage has just returned for the only ones of us
that are left, you and me."

"Is it ready now?"

"Yes."

"So am I."

And in a few moments she sat opposite him in the coach, on their way
home.

"It wouldn't be possible for me to sit on the box and drive?" she asked.

"I should like it, in this wild starlight, these flying clouds, this
breath of dawn."

Meeting no response, she sank into silence. No emotion can keep one
awake forever, and, after all her late fatigue, the roll of the easy
vehicle upon the springs soon soothed her into a dreamy state. Through
the efforts at wakefulness, she watched the gleams that fell within from
the carriage-lamps, the strange shadows on the roadside, the boughs
tossing to the wind and flickering all their leaves in the speeding
light; she watched, also, Mr. Raleigh's face, on which, in the fitful
flashes, she detected a look of utter weariness.

"_Monsieur_," she exclaimed, "_il faut que je vous gêne!_"

"Immensely," said Mr. Raleigh with a smile; "but, fortunately, for no
great time."

"We shall be soon at home? Then I must have slept."

"Very like. What did you dream?"

"Oh, one must not tell dreams before breakfast, or they come to pass,
you know."

"No,--I am uninitiated in dream-craft. Mr. Heath"----

"_Monsieur_," she cried, with sudden heat, "_il me semble que je
comprends les Laocoons! J'en suis de même!_"

As she spoke, she fell, struck forward by a sudden shock, the coach was
rocking like a boat, and plunging down unknown gulfs. Mr. Raleigh seized
her, broke through the door, and sprang out.

"_Qu'avez vous?_" she exclaimed.

"The old willow is fallen in the wind," he replied.

"_Quel dommage_ that we did not see it fall!"

"It has killed one of the horses, I fear," he continued, measuring, as
formerly, her terror by her levity. "Capua! is all right? Are you safe?"

"Yah, massa!" responded a voice from the depths, as Capua floundered
with the remaining horse in the thicket at the lake-edge below. "Yah,
massa,--nuffin harm Ol' Cap in water; spec he born to die in galluses;
had nuff chance to be in glory, ef 'twasn't. I's done beat wid dis yer
pony, anyhow, Mass'r Raleigh. Seems, ef he was a 'sect to fly in de face
of all creation an' pay no 'tention to his centre o' gravity, he might
walk up dis yer hill!"

Mr. Raleigh left Marguerite a moment, to relieve Capua's perplexity.
Through the remaining darkness, the sparkle of stars, and wild fling of
shadows in the wind, she could but dimly discern the struggling figures,
and the great creature trampling and snorting below. She remembered
strange tales out of the "Arabian Nights," "Bellerophon and the
Chimaera," "St. George and the Dragon"; she waited, half-expectant, to
see the great talon-stretched wings flap up against the slow edge of
dawn, where Orion lay, a pallid monster, watching the planet that
flashed like some great gem low in a crystalline west, and she stepped
nearer, with a kind of eager and martial spirit, to do battle in turn.

"Stand aside, Una!" cried Mr. Raleigh, who had worked in a determined
characteristic silence, and the horse's head, sharp ear, and starting
eye were brought to sight, and then his heaving bulk.

"All right, massa!" cried Capua, after a moment's survey, as he patted
the trembling flanks. "Pretty tough ex'cise dat! Spect Massam Clean be
mighty high,--his best cretur done about killed wid dat tree;--feared he
show dis nigger a stick worf two o' dat!"

"We had like to have finished our dance on nothing," said Mr. Raleigh
now, looking back on the splintered wheels and panels. "Will you mount?
I can secure you from falling."

"Oh, no,--I can walk; it is only a little way."

"Reach home like Cinderella? If you had but one glass slipper, that
might be; but in satin ones it is impossible." And she found herself
seated aloft before quite aware what had happened.

Pacing along, they talked lightly, with the gayety natural upon
excitement,--Capua once in a while adding a cogent word. As they opened
the door, Mr. Raleigh paused a moment.

"I am glad," he said, "that my last day with you has been crowned by
such adventures. I leave the Lake at noon."

She hung, listening, with a backward swerve of figure, and regarding
him in the dim light of the swinging hall-lamp, for the moment
half-petrified. Suddenly she turned and seized his hand in hers,--then
threw it off.

"_Cher ami_," she murmured hastily, in a piercing whisper, like some
articulate sigh, "_si tu m'aimes, dis moi!_"

The door closed in the draught, the drawing-room door opened, and Mr.
Laudersdale stepped out, having been awaiting their return. Mr. Raleigh
caught the flash of Marguerite's eye and the crimson of her cheek, as
she sprang forward up the stairs and out of sight.

The family did not breakfast together the next day, as politeness
chooses to call the first hour after a ball, and Mr. Raleigh was making
some arrangements preliminary to his departure, in his own apartments,
at about the hour of noon. The rooms which he had formerly occupied Mrs.
McLean had always kept closed, in a possibility of his return, and he
had found himself installed in them upon his arrival. The library was
today rather a melancholy room: the great book-cases did not enliven it;
the grand-piano, with its old dark polish, seemed like a coffin, the
sarcophagus of unrisen music; the oak panelling had absorbed a richer
hue with the years than once it wore; the portrait of his mother seemed
farther withdrawn from sight and air; Antinoüs took a tawnier tint in
his long reverie. The Summer, past her height, sent a sad beam, the
signal of decay, through the half-open shutters, and it lay wearily on
the man who sat by the long table, and made more sombre yet the faded
carpet and cumbrous chair.

There was a tap on the door. Mr. Raleigh rose and opened it, and invited
Mr. Laudersdale in. The latter gentleman complied, took the chair
resigned by the other, but after a few words became quiet. Mr. Raleigh
made one or two attempts at conversation, then, seeing silence to be his
visitor's whim, suffered him to indulge it, and himself continued his
writing. Indeed, the peculiar relations existing between these men made
much conversation difficult. Mr. Laudersdale sat with his eyes upon
the floor for several minutes, and his countenance wrapped in thought.
Rising, with his hands behind him, he walked up and down the long room,
still without speaking.

"Can I be of service to you, Sir?" asked the other, after observing him.

"Yes, Mr. Raleigh, I am led to think you can,"--still pacing up and
down, and vouchsafing no further information.

At last, the monotonous movement ended, Mr. Laudersdale stood at the
window, intercepting the sunshine, and examined some memoranda.

"Yes, Mr. Raleigh," he resumed, with all his courtly manner, upon close
of the examination, "I am in hopes that you may assist me in a singular
dilemma."

"I shall be very glad to do so."

"Thank you. This is the affair. About a year ago, being unable to make
my usual visit to my daughter and her grandmother, I sent there in my
place our head clerk, young Heath, to effect the few transactions, and
also to take a month's recreation,--for we were all overworked and
exhausted by the crisis. The first thing he proceeded to do was to fall
in love with my daughter. Of course he did not mention this occurrence
to me, on his return. When my daughter arrived at New York, I was again
detained, myself, and sent her to this place under his care. He lingered
rather longer than he should have done, knowing the state of things; but
I suspected nothing, for the idea of a clerk's marriage with the heiress
of the great Martinique estate never entered my mind; moreover, I have
regarded her as a child; and I sent him back with various commissions at
several times,--once on business with McLean, once to obtain my wife's
signature to some sacrifice of property, and so on. I really beg your
pardon, Mr. Raleigh; it is painful to another, I am aware, to be thrust
upon family confidences"----

"Pray, Sir, proceed," said Mr. Raleigh, wheeling his chair about.

"But since you are in a manner connected with the affair, yourself"----

"You must be aware, Mr. Laudersdale, that my chief desire is the
opportunity you afford me."

"I believe so. I am happy to afford it. On the occasion of Mr. Heath's
last visit to this place, Marguerite drew attention to a coin whose
history you heard, and the other half of which Mrs. Purcell wore. Mr.
Heath obtained the fragment he possessed through my wife's aunt, Susanne
Le Blanc; Mrs. Purcell obtained hers through her grandmother, Susan
White. Of course, these good people were not slow to put the coin and
the names together; Mr. Heath, moreover, had heard portions of the
history of Susanne Le Blanc, when in Martinique.

"On resuming his duties in the counting-house, after this little
incident, one day, at the close of business-hours, he demanded from me
the remnants of this history with which he might be unacquainted. When
I paused, he took up the story and finished it with ease, and--and
poetical justice, I may say, Mr. Raleigh. Susanne was the sister of
Mrs. Laudersdale's father, though far younger than he. She met a young
American gentleman, and they became interested in each other. Her
brother designed her for a different fate,--the governor of the island,
indeed, was her suitor,--and forbade their intercourse. There were
rumors of a private marriage; her apartments were searched for any
record, note, or proof, unsuccessfully. If there were such, they had
been left in the gentleman's hands for better concealment. It being
supposed that they continued to meet, M. Le Blanc prevailed upon the
governor to arrest the lover on some trifling pretence and send him out
of the island. Shortly afterward, as he once confessed to his wife, he
caused a circumstantial account of the death and funeral obsequies of
each to reach the other. Immediately he urged the governor's suit again,
and when she continued to resist, he fixed the wedding-day, himself, and
ordered the _trousseau_. Upon this, one evening, she buried the box of
trinkets at the foot of the oleanders, and disappeared the next, and no
trace of her was found.

"When I reached this point, young Heath turned to me with that
impudently nonchalant drawl of his, saying,--

"'And her property, Sir?'

"'That,' I replied innocently, 'which comprised half the estate, and
which she would have received, on attaining the requisite age, was
inherited by her brother, upon her suicide.'

"'Apparent suicide, you mean,' said he; and thereupon took up the story,
as I have said, matched date to date and person to person, and informed
me that exactly a fortnight from the day of Mademoiselle Susanne Le
Blanc's disappearance, a young lady took rooms at a hotel in a Southern
city, and advertised for a situation as governess, under the name of
Susan White. She gave no references, spoke English imperfectly, and had
difficulty in obtaining one; finally, however, she was successful, and
after a few years married into the family of her employer, and became
the mother of Mrs. Heath. The likeness of Mrs. Purcell, the grandchild
of Susan White, to Susanne Le Blanc, was so extraordinary, a number of
years ago, that, when Ursule, my daughter's nurse, first saw her, she
fainted with terror. My wife, you are aware, was born long after these
events. This governess never communicated to her husband any more
specific circumstance of her youth than that she had lived in the West
Indies, and had left her family because they had resolved to marry
her,--as she might have done, had she not died shortly after her
daughter's birth. Among her few valuables were found this half-coin of
Heath's, and a miniature, which his mother recently gave your cousin,
but which, on account of its new interest, she has demanded again; for
it is probably that of the ancient lover, and bearing, as it does, a
very striking resemblance to yourself, you have pronounced it to be
undoubtedly that of your uncle, Reuben Raleigh, and wondered how it came
into the possession of Mrs. Heath's mother. Now, as you may be aware,
Reuben Raleigh was the name of Susanne Le Blanc's lover."

"No,--I was not aware."

Mr. Laudersdale's countenance, which had been animated in narration,
suddenly fell.

"I was in hopes," he resumed,--"I thought,--my relation of these
occurrences may have been very confused; but it is as plain as daylight
to me, that Susanne Le Blanc and Susan White are one, and that the
property of the first is due to the heirs of the last."

"Without doubt, Sir."

"The same is plain, to the Heaths. I am sure that Marguerite will accept
our decision in the matter,--sure that no daughter of mine would
retain a fraudulent penny; for retain it she could, since there is not
sufficient proof in any court, if we chose to contest; but it will
beggar her."

"How, Sir? Beggar her to divide her property?"

"It is a singular division. The interest due on Susanne's moiety swells
it enormously. Add to this, that, after M. Le Blanc's death, Madame Le
Blanc, a much younger person, did not so well understand the management
of affairs, the property depreciated, and many losses were encountered,
and it happens that the sum due Mrs. Heath covers the whole amount that
Marguerite possesses."

"Now, then, Sir?" exclaimed Mr. Raleigh, interrogatively.

"Now, then, Mrs. Heath requests my daughter's hand for her son, and
offers to set off to him, at once, such sum as would constitute his half
of her new property upon her decease, and allow him to enter our house
as special partner."

"Ah!"

"This does not look so unreasonable. Last night he proposed formally to
Marguerite, who is still ignorant of these affairs, and she refused him.
I have urged her differently,--I can do no more than urge,--and she
remains obdurate. To accumulate misfortunes, we escaped 1857 by a
miracle. We have barely recovered; and now various disasters striking
us,--the loss of the Osprey the first and chief of them,--we are to-day
on the verge of bankruptcy. Nothing but the entrance of this fortune can
save us from ruin."

"Unfortunate!" said Mr. Raleigh,--"most unfortunate! And can I serve you
at this point?"

"Not at all, Sir," said Mr. Laudersdale, with sudden erectness. "No,--I
have but one hope. It has seemed to me barely possible that your uncle
may have communicated to you events of his early life,--that you may
have heard, that there may have been papers telling of the real fate of
Susanne Le Blanc."

"None that I know of," said Mr. Raleigh, after a pause. "My uncle was
a very reserved person. I often imagined that his youth had not been
without its passages, something to account for his unvarying depression.
In one letter, indeed, I asked him for such a narration. He promised to
give it to me shortly,--the next mail, perhaps. The next mail I received
nothing; and after that he made no allusion to the request."

"Indeed? Indeed? I should say,--pardon me, Mr. Raleigh,--that your
portion of the next mail met with some accident. Your servants could not
explain it?"

"There is Capua, who was major-domo. We can inquire," said Mr. Raleigh,
with a smile, rising and ringing for that functionary.

On Capua's appearance, the question was asked, if he had ever secretly
detained letter or paper of any kind.

"Lors, massa! I alwes knew 'twould come to dis!" he replied. "No, massa,
neber!" shaking his head with repeated emphasis.

"I thought you might have met with some accident, Capua," said his
master.

"Axerden be ----, beg massa's parden; but such s'picions poison any
family's peace, and make a feller done forgit hisself."

"Very well," said Mr. Raleigh, who was made to believe by this vehemence
in what at first had seemed a mere fantasy. "Only remember, that, if you
could assure me that any papers had been destroyed, the assurance would
be of value."

"'Deed, Mass Roger? Dat alters de case," said Capua, grinning. "Dere's
been a good many papers 'stroyed in dis yer house firs' an' last."

"Which in particular?"

"Don' rekerlek, massa, it's so long ago."

"But make an effort."

"Well, Massa Raleigh,--'pears to me I _do_ remember suthin',--I do
b'lieve--yes, dis's jist how 'twas. Spect I might as well make a crean
breast ob it. I's alwes had it hangin' roun' my conscious; do'no' but
I's done grad to git rid ob it. Alwes spected massa 'd be 'xcusin' Cap
o' turnin' tief."

"That is the last accusation I should make against you, Capua."

"But dar I stan's convicted."

"Out with it, Capua!" said Mr. Laudersdale, laughing.

"Lord! Massa Lausdel! how you do scare a chile! Didn' know mass'r was
dar. See, Mass Roger, dis's jist how 'twas. Spec you mind dat time
when all dese yer folks lib'd acrost de lake dat summer, an' massa was
possessed to 'most lib dar too? Well, one day, massa mind Ol' Cap's
runnin' acrost in de rain an' in great state ob excitement to tell him
his house done burnt up?"

"Yes. What then?"

"Dat day, massa, de letters had come from Massa Reuben out in Indy, an'
massa's pipe kinder 'tracted Cap's 'tention, an' so he jist set down in
massa's chair an' took a smoke. Bimeby Cap thought,--'Ef massa come an'
ketch him!'--an' put down de pipe an' went to work, and bimeby I smelt
mighty queer smell, massa, 'bout de house, made him tink Ol' Nick was
come hissef for Ol' Cap, an' I come back into dis yer room an' Massa
Reuben's letters from Indy was jist most done burnt up, he cotched 'em
in dese yer ol' brack han's, Mass Roger, an' jist whipt 'em up in dat
high croset."

And having arrived at this confusion in his personal pronouns, Capua
mounted nimbly on pieces of furniture, thrust his pocket-knife through
a crack of the wainscot, opened the door of a small unseen closet, and,
after groping about and inserting his head as Van Amburgh did in the
lion's mouth, scrambled down again with his hand full of charred and
blackened papers, talking glibly all the while.

"Ef massa'd jist listen to reason," he said, "'stead o' flyin' into one
ob his tantrums, I might sprain de matter. You see, I knew Mass Roger'd
feel so oncomforble and remorseful to find his ol' uncle's letters done
'stroyed, an 'twas all by axerden, an' couldn' help it noways, massa,
an' been done sorry eber since, an' wished dar warn't no letters dis
side de Atlantic nor torrer, ebery day I woke."

After which plea, Capua awaited his sentence.

"That will do,--it's over now, old boy," said Mr. Raleigh, with his
usual smile.

"Now, massa, you a'n't gwine"----

"No, Capua, I'm going to do nothing but look at the papers."

"But massa's"----

"You need not be troubled,--I said, I was not."

"But, massa,--s'pose I deserve a thrashing?"

"There's no danger of your getting it, you blameless Ethiop!"

Upon which pacific assurance, Capua departed.

The two gentlemen now proceeded to the examination of these fragments.
Of the letters nothing whatever was to be made. From one of them dropped
a little yellow folded paper that fell apart in its creases. Put
together, it formed a sufficiently legible document, and they read the
undoubted marriage-certificate of Susanne Le Blanc and Reuben Raleigh.

"I am sorry," said Mr. Laudersdale, after a moment. "I am sorry, instead
of a fortune, to give them a bar-sinister."

"Your daughter is ignorant?--your wife?"

"Entirely. Will you allow me to invite them in here? They should see
this paper."

"You do not anticipate any unpleasant effect?"

"Not the slightest Marguerite has no notion of want or of pride.
Her first and only thought will be--_sa cousine Hélène_." And Mr.
Laudersdale went out.

Some light feet were to be heard pattering down the stairs, a mingling
of voices, then Mr. Laudersdale passed on, and Marguerite tapped,
entered, and closed the door.

"My father has told me something I but half understand," said she, with
her hand on the door. "Unless I marry Mr. Heath, I lose my wealth? What
does that signify? Would all the mines of Peru tempt me?"

Mr. Raleigh remained leaning against the corner of the bookcase. She
advanced and stood at the foot of the table, nearly opposite him. Her
lips were glowing as if the fire of her excitement were fanned by every
breath; her eyes, half hidden by the veiling lids, seemed to throw a
light out beneath them and down her cheek. She wore a mantle of swan's
down closely wrapped round her, for she had complained ceaselessly of
the chilly summer.

"Mr. Raleigh," she said, "I am poorer than you are, now. I am no longer
an heiress."

At this moment, the door opened again and Mrs. Laudersdale entered. At
a step she stood in the one sunbeam; at another, the shutters blew
together, and the room was left in semi-darkness, with her figure
gleaming through it, outlined and starred in tremulous evanescent
light. For an instant both Marguerite and Mr. Raleigh seemed to be
half awe-struck by the radiant creature shining out of the dark;
but directly, Marguerite sprang back and stripped away the torrid
nasturtium-vine which her mother had perhaps been winding in her hair
when her husband spoke with her, and whose other end, long and laden
with fragrant flame, still hung in her hand and along her dress.
Laughing, Marguerite in turn wound it about herself, and the flowers, so
lately plucked from the bath of hot air, where they had lain steeping in
sun, flashed through the air a second, and then played all their faint
spirit-like luminosity about their new wearer. She seemed sphered in
beauty, like the Soul of Morning in some painter's fantasy, with all
great stars blossoming out in floral life about her, colorless, yet
brilliant in shape and light. It was too much; Mr. Raleigh opened the
window and let in the daylight again, and a fresh air that lent the
place a gayer life. As he did so, Mr. Laudersdale entered, and with him
Mr. Heath and his mother. Mr. Laudersdale briefly recapitulated the
facts, and added,--

"Communicating my doubts to Mr. Raleigh, he has kindly furnished me with
the marriage-certificate of his uncle and Mademoiselle Le Blanc. And as
Mr. Reuben Raleigh was living within thirteen years, you perceive that
your claims are invalidated."

There was a brief silence while the paper was inspected.

"I am still of opinion that my grandmother's second marriage was legal,"
replied Mr. Heath; "yet I should be loath to drag up her name and
subject ourselves to a possibility of disgrace. So, though the estate is
ours, we can do without it!"

Meanwhile, Marguerite had approached her father, and was patching
together the important scraps.

"What has this to do with it?" said she. "You admitted before this
discovery--did you not?--that the property was no longer mine. These
people are Aunt Susanne's heirs still, if not legally, yet justly. I
will not retain a _sous_ of it! My father shall instruct my lawyer, Mrs.
Heath, to make all necessary transfers to yourself. Let us wish you
good-morning!" And she opened the door for them to pass.

"Marguerite! are you mad?" asked her father, as the door closed.

"No, father,--but honest,--which is the same thing," she responded,
still standing near it.

"True," he said, in a low tone like a groan. "But we are ruined."

"Ruined? Oh, no! You are well and strong. So am I. I can work. I shall
get much embroidery to do, for I can do it perfectly; the nuns taught
me. I have a thousand resources. And there is something my mother can
do; it is her great secret; she has played at it summer after summer.
She has moulded leaves and flowers and twined them round beautiful faces
in clay, long enough; now she shall carve them in stone, and you will be
rich again!"

Mrs. Laudersdale sat in a low chair while Marguerite spoke, the
nasturtium-vine dinging round her feet like a gorgeous snake, her hands
lying listlessly in her lap, and her attitude that of some queen who has
lost her crown, and is totally bewildered by this strange conduct on the
part of circumstances. All the strength and energy that had been the
deceits of manner were utterly fallen away, and it was plain, that,
whatever the endowment was which Marguerite had mentioned, she could
only play at it. She was but a woman, sheer woman, with the woman's one
capability, and the exercise of that denied her.

Mr. Laudersdale remained with his eyes fixed on her, and lost, it
seemed, to the presence of others.

"The disgrace is bitter," he murmured. "I have kept my name so proudly
and so long! But that is little. It is for you I fear. I have stood in
your sunshine and shadowed your life, dear!--At least," he continued,
after a pause, "I can place you beyond the reach of suffering. I must
finish my lonely way."

Mrs. Laudersdale looked up slowly and met his earnest glance.

"Must I leave you?" she exclaimed, with a wild terror in her tone. "Do
you mean that I shall go away? Oh, you need not care for me,--you need
never love me,--you may always be cold,--but I must serve you, live with
you, die with you!" And she sprang forward with outstretched arms.

He caught her before her foot became entangled in the long folds of her
skirt, drew her to himself, and held her. What he murmured was inaudible
to the others; but a tint redder than roses are swam to her cheek, and a
smile broke over her face like a reflection in rippling water. She held
his arm tightly in her hand, and erect and proud, as it were with a new
life, bent toward Roger Raleigh.

"You see!" said she. "My husband loves me. And I,--it seems at this
moment that I have never loved any other than him!"

There came a quick step along the matting, the handle of the door turned
in Marguerite's resisting grasp, and Mrs. Purcell's light muslins swept
through. Mr. Raleigh advanced to meet her,--a singular light upon his
face, a strange accent of happiness in his voice.

"Since you seem to be a part of the affair," she said in a low tone,
while her lip quivered with anger and scorn, "concerning which I have
this moment been informed, pray, take to Mr. Lauderdale my brother's
request to enter the house of Day, Knight, and Company, from this day."

"Has he made such a request?" asked Mr. Raleigh.

"He shall make it!" she murmured swiftly, and was gone.

That night a telegram flashed over the wires, and thenceforth, on the
great financial tide, the ship Day, Knight, and Company lowered its peak
to none.

The day crept through until evening, deepening into genuine heat, and
Marguerite sat waiting for Mr. Raleigh to come and bid her farewell.
It seemed that his plans were altered, or possibly he was gone, and at
sunset she went out alone. The cardinals that here and there showed
their red caps above the bank, the wild roses that still lined the way,
the grapes that blossomed and reddened and ripened year after year
ungathered, did not once lift her eyes. She sat down, at last, on an old
fallen trunk cushioned with moss, half of it forever wet in the brook
that babbled to the lake, and waited for the day to quench itself in
coolness and darkness.

"Ah!" said Mr. Raleigh, leaping from the other side of the brook to the
mossy trunk, "is it you? I have been seeking you, and what sprite sends
you to me?"

"I thought you were going away," she said, abruptly.

"That is a broken paving-stone," he answered, seating himself beside
her, and throwing his hat on the grass.

"You asked me, yesterday, if I confessed to being a myth," she said,
after a time. "If I should go back to Martinique, I should become one in
your remembrance,--should I not? You would think of me just as you would
have thought of the Dryad yesterday, if she had stepped from the tree
and stepped back again?"

"Are you going to Martinique?" he asked, with a total change of face and
manner.

"I don't know. I am tired of this; and I cannot live on an ice-field. I
had such life at the South! It is 'as if a rose should shut and be a bud
again.' I need my native weather, heat and sea."

"How can you go to Martinique?"

"Oh, I forgot!"

Mr. Raleigh did not reply, and they both sat listening to the faint
night-side noises of the world.

"You are very quiet," he said at last, ceasing to fling waifs upon the
stream.

"And you could be very gay, I believe."

"Yes. I am full of exuberant spirits. Do you know what day it is?"

"It is my birthday."

"It is _my_ birthday!"

"How strange! The Jews would tell you that this sweet first of August
was the birthday of the world.

  "''Tis like the birthday of the world,
  When earth was born in bloom,'"--

she sang, but paused before her voice should become hoarse in tears.

"Do you know what you promised me on my birthday? I am going to claim
it."

"The present. You shall have a cast which I had made from one of
my mother's fancies or bas-reliefs,--she only does the front of
anything,--a group of fleurs-de-lis whose outlines make a child's face,
my face."

"It is more than any likeness in stone or pencil that I shall ask of
you."

"What then?"

"You cannot imagine?"

"_Monsieur_" she whispered, turning toward him, and blushing in the
twilight, "_est ce que c'est moi?_"

There came out the low west-wind singing to itself through the leaves,
the drone of a late-carousing honey-bee, the lapping of the water on the
shore, the song of the wood-thrush replete with the sweetness of its
half-melody; and ever and anon the pensive cry of the whippoorwill
fluted across the deepening silence that summoned all these murmurs
into hearing. A rustle like the breeze in the birches passed, and Mrs.
Purcell retarded her rapid step to survey the woods-people who rose out
of the shade and now went on together with her. It seemed as if the
loons and whippoorwills grew wild with sorrow that night, and after a
while Mrs. Purcell ceased her lively soliloquy, and as they walked they
listened. Suddenly Mr. Raleigh turned. Mrs. Purcell was not beside him.
They had been walking on the brook-edge; the path was full of gaps and
cuts. With a fierce shudder and misgiving, he hurriedly retraced his
steps, and searched and called; then, with the same haste, rejoining
Marguerite, gained the house, for lanterns and assistance. Mrs. Purcell
sat at the drawing-room window.

"_Comment?_" cried Marguerite, breathlessly.

"Oh, I had no idea of walking in fog up to my chin," said Mrs. Purcell;
"so I took the short cut."

"You give me credit for the tragic element," she continued, under her
breath, as Mr. Raleigh quietly passed her. "That is old style. To be
sure, I might as well die there as in the swamps of Florida. Purcell is
ordered to Florida. Of course, I am ordered too!" And she whirled him
the letter which she held.

Other letters had been received with the evening-mail, and one that made
Mr. Raleigh's return in September imperative occasioned some discussion
in the House of Laudersdale. The result that that gentleman secured
one more than he had intended in the spring; and if you ever watch the
shipping-list, the arrival of the Spray-Plough at Calcutta, with Mr. and
Mrs. Raleigh among the passengers, will be seen by you as soon as me.

Later in the evening of this same eventful day, as Mr. Raleigh and
Marguerite sat together in the moonlight that flooded the great window,
Mrs. Laudersdale passed them and went down the garden to the lake.
She wore some white garment, as in her youth, and there was a dreamy
sweetness in her eye and an unspoken joy about her lips. Mr. Raleigh
could not help thinking it was a singular happiness, this that opened
before her; it seemed to be like a fruit plucked from the stem and left
to mature in the sunshine by itself, late and lingering, never sound at
heart. She floated on, with the light in her dusky eyes and the seldom
rose on her cheek,--floated on from moonbeam to moonbeam,--and the
lovers brought back their glances and gave them to each other. For one,
life opened a labyrinth of warmth and light and joy; for the other,
youth was passed, destiny not to be appeased: if his affection enriched
her, the best he could do was to bestow it; in his love there would yet
be silent reservations.

"Mr. Raleigh," said Marguerite, "did you ever love my mother?"

"Once I thought I did."

"And now?"

"Whereas I was blind, now I see."

"Listen! Mrs. Purcell is singing in the drawing-room."

  "Through lonely summers, where the roses blow
  Unsought, and shed their tangled sweets,
  I sit and hark, or in the starry dark,
  Or when the night-rain on the hill-side beats.

  "Alone! But when the eternal summers flow
  And refluent drown in song all moan,
  Thy soul shall waste for its delight, and haste
  Through heaven. And I shall be no more alone!"

"What a voice she sings with to-night!" said Marguerite. "It is stripped
of all its ornamental disguises,--so slender, yet piercing!"

"A needle can pain like a sword-blade. There goes the moon in clouds.
Hark! What was that? A cry?" And he started to his feet.

"No," she said,--"it is only the wild music of the lake, the voices of
shadows calling to shadows."

"There it is again, but fainter; the wind carries it the other way."

"It is a desolating wind."

"And the light on the land is like that of eclipse!"

He stooped and raised her and folded her in his arms.

"I have a strange, terrible sense of calamity, _Mignonné!_" he said.
"Let it strike, so it spare you!"

"Nothing can harm us," she replied, clinging to him. "Even death cannot
come between us!"

"Marguerite!" said Mr. Laudersdale, entering, "where is your mother?"

"She went down to the lake, Sir."

"She cannot possibly have gone out upon it!"

"Oh, she frequently does; and so do we all."

"But this high wind has risen since. The flaws"----And he went out
hastily.

There flashed on Mr. Raleigh's mental sight a vision of the moonlit
lake, one instant. A boat, upon its side, bending its white sail down
the depths; a lifted arm wound in the fatal rope; a woman's form,
hanging by that arm, sustained in the dark transparent tide of death;
the wild wind blowing over, the moonlight glazing all. For that instant
he remained still as stone; the next, he strode away, and dashed down
to the lake-shore. It seemed as if his vision yet continued. They had
already put out in boats; he was too late. He waited in ghastly suspense
till they rowed home with their slow freight. And then his arm supported
the head with its long, uncoiling, heavy hair, and lifted the limbs,
round which the drapery flowed like a pall on sculpture, till another
man took the burden from him and went up to the house with his dead.

       *       *       *       *       *

When Mr. Raleigh entered the house again, it was at break of dawn. Some
one opened the library-door and beckoned him in. Marguerite sprang into
his arms.

"What if she had died?" said Mrs. Purcell, with her swift satiric
breath, and folding a web of muslin over her arm. "See! I had got out
the shroud. As it is, we drink _skål_ and say grace at breakfast. The
funeral baked-meats shall coldly furnish forth the marriage-feast. You
men are all alike. _Le Roi est mort? Vive la Reine!_"

       *       *       *       *       *



PAUL REVERE'S RIDE.


  Listen, my children, and you shall hear
  Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
  On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-Five:
  Hardly a man is now alive
  Who remembers that famous day and year.

  He said to his friend,--"If the British march
  By land or sea from the town to-night,
  Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry-arch
  Of the North-Church-tower, as a signal-light,--
  One if by land, and two if by sea;
  And I on the opposite shore will be,
  Ready to ride and spread the alarm
  Through every Middlesex village and farm,
  For the country-folk to be up and to arm."

  Then he said good-night, and with muffled oar
  Silently rowed to the Charlestown shore,
  Just as the moon rose over the bay,
  Where swinging wide at her moorings lay
  The Somersett, British man-of-war:
  A phantom ship, with each mast and spar
  Across the moon, like a prison-bar,
  And a huge, black hulk, that was magnified
  By its own reflection in the tide.

  Meanwhile, his friend, through alley and street
  Wanders and watches with eager ears,
  Till in the silence around him he hears
  The muster of men at the barrack-door,
  The sound of arms, and the tramp of feet,
  And the measured tread of the grenadiers
  Marching down to their boats on the shore.

  Then he climbed to the tower of the church,
  Up the wooden stairs, with stealthy tread,
  To the belfry-chamber overhead,
  And startled the pigeons from their perch
  On the sombre rafters, that round him made
  Masses and moving shapes of shade,--
  Up the light ladder, slender and tall,
  To the highest window in the wall,
  Where he paused to listen and look down
  A moment on the roofs of the town,
  And the moonlight flowing over all.

  Beneath, in the churchyard, lay the dead
  In their night-encampment on the hill,
  Wrapped in silence so deep and still,
  That he could hear, like a sentinel's tread,
  The watchful night-wind, as it went
  Creeping along from tent to tent,
  And seeming to whisper, "All is well!"
  A moment only he feels the spell
  Of the place and the hour, the secret dread
  Of the lonely belfry and the dead;
  For suddenly all his thoughts are bent
  On a shadowy something far away,
  Where the river widens to meet the bay,--
  A line of black, that bends and floats
  On the rising tide, like a bridge of boats.

  Meanwhile, impatient to mount and ride,
  Booted and spurred, with a heavy stride,
  On the opposite shore walked Paul Revere
  Now he patted his horse's side,
  Now gazed on the landscape far and near,
  Then impetuous stamped the earth,
  And turned and tightened his saddle-girth;
  But mostly he watched with eager search
  The belfry-tower of the old North Church,
  As it rose above the graves on the hill,
  Lonely, and spectral, and sombre, and still.

  And lo! as he looks, on the belfry's height,
  A glimmer, and then a gleam of light!
  He springs to the saddle, the bridle he turns,
  But lingers and gazes, till full on his sight
  A second lamp in the belfry burns!

  A hurry of hoofs in a village-street,
  A shape in the moonlight, a bulk in the dark,
  And beneath from the pebbles, in passing, a spark
  Struck out by a steed that flies fearless and fleet:
  That was all! And yet, through the gloom and the light,
  The fate of a nation was riding that night;
  And the spark struck out by that steed, in his flight,
  Kindled the land into flame with its heat.

  It was twelve by the village-clock,
  When he crossed the bridge into Medford town.
  He heard the crowing of the cock,
  And the barking of the farmer's dog,
  And felt the damp of the river-fog,
  That rises when the sun goes down.

  It was one by the village-clock,
  When he rode into Lexington.
  He saw the gilded weathercock
  Swim in the moonlight as he passed,
  And the meeting-house windows, blank and bare,
  Gaze at him with a spectral glare,
  As if they already stood aghast
  At the bloody work they would look upon.

  It was two by the village-clock,
  When he came to the bridge in Concord town.
  He heard the bleating of the flock,
  And the twitter of birds among the trees,
  And felt the breath of the morning-breeze
  Blowing over the meadows brown.
  And one was safe and asleep in his bed
  Who at the bridge would be first to fall,
  Who that day would be lying dead,
  Pierced by a British musket-ball.

  You know the rest. In the books you have read
  How the British regulars fired and fled,--
  How the farmers gave them ball for ball,
  From behind each fence and farmyard-wall,
  Chasing the red-coats down the lane,
  Then crossing the fields to emerge again
  Under the trees at the turn of the road,
  And only pausing to fire and load.

  So through the night rode Paul Revere;
  And so through the night went his cry of alarm
  To every Middlesex village and farm,--
  A cry of defiance, and not of fear,--
  A voice in the darkness, a knock at the door,
  And a word that shall echo forevermore!
  For, borne on the night-wind of the Past,
  Through all our history, to the last,
  In the hour of darkness and peril and need,
  The people will waken and listen to hear
  The hurrying hoof-beat of that steed,
  And the midnight-message of Paul Revere.



A NIGHT UNDER GROUND.


My dear Laura Matilda, have you ever worked your way under ground, like
the ghost Hamlet, Senior? On the contrary, you confess, but a dim idea
of that peculiar mode of progression abides in the well-ordered mansion
of your mind?

Well, I do not wonder at it; you are civilized beyond the common herd;
your mamma, careful of her own comfort and the beauty of her child,
guards both. Your sunny summer-times go by in the shade of sylvan
groves, or amid the whirl of Saratoga or Newport ball-rooms. I accept
your ignorance; it is a pretty blossom in your maiden chaplet. For
myself, I blush for my own familiarity with rough scenes chanced upon in
wayward wanderings.

Let me tell you of a path among the "untrodden ways." Transport yourself
with me.

Fancy a low, level, drowsy point of land, stretching out into the
unbroken emerald green of Lake Superior, at the point where a narrow,
yellowish river offers its tribute. The King of Lakes is exclusive; he
disdains to blend his brilliant waters with those of the muddy river; a
wavy line, distinctly and clearly defined, but seeming as if drawn by
a trembling hand, undulates at their junction,--no democratic,
union-seeking boundary, but the arbitrary line of division that
separates the Sultan from the slave, the peer from the peasant.

Along this shore are scattered various buildings that seem to nod in the
indolent sunshine of the bright, clear, quiet air of midsummer. One of
these, differing from the rest in its more modern construction, is a
spacious hotel that holds itself proudly erect, and from its summit the
gay flag of my country floats flauntingly.

We must pass this by, and go down a plank-covered walk to reach the
sandy-golden beach where the green waves dash with silent dignity,
in these long calms of July. Before the hotel the river flows also
sleepily; but both shores are vocal with ladies' laughter and
the singing of young girls, the lively chatter of a party of
pleasure-tourists.

The fine steamer that brought us to this point has gone,

  "Sailing out into the west,
  Out into the west, as the sun went down";

but no "weeping and wringing of hands" was there; we knew it must "come
back to the town,"--that we are merely transient waifs cast upon this
quiet beach, flitting birds of passage who have alighted in the porticos
of the "Bigelow House," Ontonagon, Michigan.

A long, low flat-boat, without visible sails, steam-pipes, or oars,--a
narrow river-craft, with a box-like cabin at one end, the whole rude
in its _ensemble_, and uncivilized in its details,--is the object that
meets the gaze of those who would curiously inspect the means by which
the adventurous novelty-seeking portion of our party are to be conveyed
up this Ontonagon river to the great copper-mines that form the
inestimable wealth of that region. For the metallic attraction has
proved magnetic to the fancies of a few. A mine is a mystery; and
mysteries, to the female mind, are delights.

What is the boat to us but a means? If it seem prosaic, what care we?
Have we escaped the French fashions of _à-la-mode_ watering-places, to
be fastidious amid wigwams and unpeopled shores?

We all know what it is to embark for a day's travel, but we do not all
understand the charm of being stowed away like freight in a boat such as
the one here faintly sketched; how seats are improvised; how umbrellas
are converted into stationary screens, and awnings grow out of
inspiration; how baskets are hidden carefully among carpet-bags, and
camp-stools, and water-jugs, and stowed-in-shavings ice; how the
long-suffering, patient ladies shelter themselves in the tiny, stifling
cabin, while those of the merry, complexion-careless sort lounge in
the daylight's glare, and one couple, fond of seclusion and sentiment,
discover a good place for both, at the rudder-end.

There is an oar or two on board, it appears, as we push off in the early
dawn; and these are employed for a mile or so at the mouth of the river;
then the current begins to quicken in a narrower bed, and a group of
sinewy men betake themselves to their poles, lazily at first, until----

But you do not know exactly what these implements are?

They are heavy, wooden, sharp-pointed poles, ten or twelve feet long. On
either side of the boat runs a "walk," arranged as if a ladder were laid
horizontally; but in reality the bars or rungs are firmly fastened to
the walk, to be used as rests for the feet. Here the men, five on a
side, march like a chain-gang, backward and forward; placing one end of
the pole in the bed of the stream, resting the other in the hollow of
the shoulder near the arm-pit, and bracing themselves by their feet
against these bars, they pry the boat along.

Progression by such means is unavoidably slow; but no steamboat-race
on our Western rivers, blind and reckless, boiler-defying and
life-despising, ever produced more excitement than this same poling.

Wait till the current runs rapidly, fretting and seething in its angry
haste, when for a moment's delay the boat must lose ground; when the
poles are plunged into the rocky bed like harpoons into the back of an
escaping whale; when the athletic forms of the men are bent forward
until each prostrates himself in the exertion of his full powers; when
not a false step--each step a run--can be hazarded; when that monotonous
unanimity of labor is at its height, in which each boatman becomes
possessed as if by a devil of strife; when their faces lose every gentle
semblance of humanity, and become distorted to a simple expression
of stubborn brute force; when the muscles of their arms are knitted,
rope-like, and every nerve stretched to its utmost;--wait till you have
seen all this, and you will confess that a woman's lazy life can know no
harder toil than that of the mind's sympathetic coexertion,--that is, if
she be excitable or impressible.

The stream is tortuous, erratic, shallow, and narrow. Sometimes, as we
glide, always noiselessly, beneath the overhanging foliage and tangled
vines along shore, what myriads of gayly winged insects--brilliant
dragon-flies, mammoth gnats, preposterous mosquitoes--swarm about our
heads, disturbed from their gambols by the laughter and songs aboard our
moving craft!

Only one halt in our journey, and that to dine. Just above this point we
pass the swiftest rapids on the route, where the river widens, and each
side of the bank is beautiful in its wooded picturesqueness, while the
waters rush, in foaming, surging, tumbling confusion, over the rugged
rocks, or dart between them like a merry band of water-sprites chasing
each other in gleesome frolic.

It seems a desecration of these rapids thus to subdue and triumph over
them. They are as if placed there by Nature as a sportive check to man's
further intrusion; and as the waters come hurrying down, led, as it
were, by some Undine jealous for her realm, their murmurings seem to
say, in playful, yet earnest remonstrance,--"Let our gambols divert
you; we will hasten to you; but approach no nearer! Permit us to guard
the sanctuary of our hidden sources, our beloved and holy solitudes!"

But vain appeal! Our men pole frantically onward, and so the day passes.
By mid-afternoon their labors cease, and we come to anchor at the bank,
having achieved seventeen miles in nine hours! Let those of us to whom
lightning-express-trains have been slow grumble hereafter at their fifty
miles an hour!

A country-wagon receives most of the ladies; the majority of their
attendant cavaliers walk; of two horses, the side-saddled one has about
one hundred pounds avoirdupois for his share, and, in spite of the lack
of habit and equestrian "pomp and circumstance" generally, I cannot term
it the most unpleasant three miles I ever travelled. The road is a wild,
rugged ascent up a well-wooded hill-side. There is a tonic vigor in
the atmosphere, which communicates itself irresistibly to one's mental
state; the gladdened lungs inhale it eagerly, as a luxury. When one
walks in this air, one seems to gain wings; to ride is to float at will.

Presently, at the top, a low village comes in sight; yelping curs start
from wayside cabins; coarse, dull-featured women gape at half-opened
doors or sit idly on rude steps; and the men we chance to meet wear that
cadaverous pallor inseparable from the mere idea of a miner. We do not
regret that the pert dogs have imparted speed to our horses' heels;--a
swift, exhilarating gallop brings us in sight of a large, comfortable
house, perched like a bird-box in the hills; then others are discerned;
and in a few more bounds, we are at the gate. Here, where all visitors
to the Minnesota Mines are received and entertained, we prove
_avant-couriers_ of the slowly advancing wagon-load,--"the largest party
of ladies ever met there," they tell us, as we forewarn our hosts of the
band so boldly invading their copper-bound country.

Very soon we are rambling over the hills,--those of Nature's rearing,
and others formed by the accumulation of refuse brought up from the
mine. We discover and secure some fine specimens of the metal; sundry
of the knowing ones, after mysterious interviews with rascally-looking
miners, appear with curious bits of pure silver ore mingled with
crystals of quartz and tinted with tiny specks of copper. These, being
the most valuable curiosities of the region, are usually secreted by the
miners for the purpose of private speculation.

We feel a reverence for this ground, so teeming with metallic
wealth,--and yet a certain timorousness, as we remember that we walk on
a crust, that beneath us are great caves and subterranean galleries.

This outer shell, this surface-knowledge of what lies below, does not
content me. I have also a brave friend who shares my feeling. We agree,
that, despite the interest of this crust, to know of the fruit beneath
and not taste it is worse than aggravating; we grow reckless in our
thirst for the forbidden knowledge.

We have entertained a little plot in our headstrong minds all the way,
which we have hardly dared to name before. It is surely not feminine to
look longingly on those ladders made for the descent of hardy miners
only; visitors beneath the surface are rare; only gentlemen interested
in seeing for themselves the richness of these vaunted mines have
essayed the tour; even many of these failing to penetrate farther than
the first level, and bravely owning their faint-heartedness. In spite of
this, we feel our way cautiously. A descent is to be made this night,
when the Captain of the Mine goes his nightly round of inspection; a
gentleman, the head and front of our expedition, whom we shall call the
"Colonel," proposes to accompany him.

Why may we not form an harmonious quartette? We have nerve; has it not
been tested throughout the somewhat arduous journey of the preceding
weeks? We have presence of mind; we are passable _gymnastes_.

In fact, viewing _Mon Amie_ and me from our own point of view, than
ourselves never did there exist two mortals more manifestly fashioned
straight from the hand of Nature, and educated by previous physical
culture and mental discipline for the performance of a feat at once
perilous and daring, one unknown to the members of "our set," and which
might have been thought impracticable by all who had known us only in
the gas-light glare of Society, and the circumspection of crinoline's
confining circle.

Does it matter by what cunning wiles of pretty pleading and downright
demonstrations of the project's reasonableness we succeeded (for we did
succeed) in being allowed to take our fates in our own hands or trust
them to our own sure-footedness? I think not.

  "For when a woman will, she will, you may
  depend on't."

But you should have seen the robing! We are to start at ten, P.M.
Previously we betake ourselves to our chambers, and, entertaining a
vague notion that Fashion's expanse may prove inconvenient, we are
looping up our trailing robes in fantastic folds, when a tap at the
door.

_Voila!_ a servant with two full suits of new, but coarse, miners'
clothes,--with a modest intimation from our companions of their
advisability,--in fact, their absolute necessity. We pause aghast! Ah!
the renewed shouts of laughter from those merry, but more timorous
damsels, who, from their secure surroundings,--those becoming barriers
adopted at the dictate of Parisian caprice and retained with feminine
pertinacity,--had poked fun at our forlorn limpness!

This climax of costume is startling, but the laughter rouses our
courage. We stand on the brink of our Rubicon. Shall trousers deter us
from the passage? Shall a coat be synonymous with cowardice? No,--we
rise superior to the occasion; we pant to be free; we in-breathe the
spirit of liberty, as we don our blouses. We loop our long tresses under
such head-coverings as would drive any artist hatter to despair; to us
they prove a weighty argument against hats in general, as we feel their
heavy rims press on our tender brain-roofs. However, when the saucy eyes
of _Mon Amie_ look out sparkling from under her begrimed helmet, the
effect is not bad; on the contrary, the masquerade is piquant. No need
to mention the ribbons that we knot under our wide, square collars for
becomingness, our coquetry "under difficulties," nor the gauntleted
gloves wherewith we protect our hands, nor the daintiness of the little
boots that peep from the loose trousers, which have something Turkish
in their cut. _Mon Amie_, with her rosy blushes, reminds me of a jocund
miller's boy;--as for myself, well, I do not think the Bloomer dress so
very bad, after all!

A torch-bearing band have stationed themselves at the doors to bid us
god-speed,--to make merry at our droll masquerade,--to quiz our odd
head-gear,--to criticize us from head to foot, in short,--but between
all, to offer words of caution. Then we go out into the starlit, but not
over-bright night,--such a one as is friendly to lovers and to thieves,
friendly to religion and to thought, the beloved of sentimentalists, and
the adored of this particular group of adventurous miners. In Indian
file, lantern-led, we traverse the narrow, beaten path that leads to
one of the openings of the mine. These are covered by a rough-plank
house,--too much like a shed to merit that pretentious term, which
implies something fit to live in; in the centre of this shelter is
an open space, perhaps a yard square, and similar in appearance to a
trap-door in a roof. Here we wait a few moments, while the Captain of
the Mine and the Agent of the Mining Company,--who has joined our party
at the last moment, to afford us the undivided services of the Captain
as guide,--are engaged in some mysterious process of moulding; an odor,
not attar of rose, nor yet Frangipanni, salutes our nostrils; then our
companions approach. Both the Colonel and the Agent are "lit up,"--in
fact, all-luminous with the radiance of tallow "dips"; one of these,
stuck in a lump of soft clay, adheres to the front of each hat, and in
their hands they have others.

We also are to wear a starry flame on our brows; and, not content with
this, are invested with several short unlighted candles, which are to
dangle gracefully by their wicks from a buttonhole of our becoming
blouses. Thus our costume is complete; and I doubt if Buckingham sported
the diamond tags of Anne of Austria with more satisfaction than do we
our novel and odorous decoration: we dub ourselves the Light Guard on
the instant.

In the delay before starting, we observe several miners descend through
the black and most suggestive trap-door, each bearing a tin can in his
mouth, as a good dog carries a basket at the bidding of his master.

The flame of the candle, bright in the density of the pit's darkness, as
its bearer descends step by step with the rapidity which custom has
made easy, becomes in a few seconds like the tiniest glow-worm: one can
follow the spark only; the man disappears within the moment.

I cannot describe, nor, indeed, convey the least idea of this peculiar
effect. We feel our hearts tremble at the thought that whither that
light has gone we must follow. For the first time I realize that we
are about to go _into_ the earth,--that we shall presently crawl like
insects, burrow like underground vermin, beneath the surface, man's
proper place. But such thoughts are not for long indulgence.

"Now let us descend!" says the Colonel.

Grasping the round of the ladder where it rose slightly above the floor,
the Captain, our guide, with that air of assurance which practice
bestows, swings himself from sight. To him succeeds the Colonel. Next
comes my own turn. This is not the first time my feet have tried
ladder-bars; in the country-spent vacations of my school-days, how
many times have I alertly scaled the highest leading to granaries, to
barn-lofts, to bird-houses, to all quasi-inaccessible places, whither my
daring ignorance--reckless, because unconscious of danger--had tempted
me! But mounting a clean, strong, wide ladder, in the full flood of day,
light below, above, around, promising you security by its very fulness
of effulgence, is a far different thing from groping your way, step by
step, down a slimy, muddy frame which hangs in a straight line from the
very start. I shake off a first tremor, draw a full breath, and with
fortitude follow my leader carefully. As I look above, after fairly
getting committed, I can behold _Mon Amie's_ feet, whose arched in-steps
cling round each bar with a pretty dependence that is in the highest
degree appealing. Above her I hear the deep voice of the Agent.

And so the quintette, in grim harmony of enterprise, go down, down,
down, like so many human buckets, into a bottomless well.

Alas, and alas! our own arms, with their as yet untried muscles, must be
our only windlass to bring us to the surface again! Down, down, down,
deeper, deeper, deeper! Will this first ladder never end?

Ah, at last! At the foot, on either side, stand the Captain and the
Colonel, like sentries. We have reached a shelf of rock, and we may
rest. Here we perch ourselves, like sea-birds on a precipice that
overlooks the sea.

By the light of our flickering candles we behold each other's faces,
and we can talk together. We are but two hundred feet under ground. A
desolate stillness reigns here; no sound reaches us, either of labor or
the steps of passing workmen. A cold stream of water trickles from a
cleft rock behind us; we bathe our foreheads in it, and betake ourselves
to the ladder again.

From our next resting-place we proceed through a gallery, an exhausted
vein, kept open as a passage from one shaft to another. As we turn a
corner, we seem to plunge into a rocky cavern; our feet tread on
roughly imbedded rocks; the sides of the cave jut out in refuse
boulders,--harsh, dark-colored, ashen; overhead are beams of hard wood,
bracing and strengthening the excavation. We traverse this gallery
hastily.

Now that we are here, we are conscious of excitement. _Mon Amie_
manifests hers by her steady, deliberate tones, a sort of exaltation
foreign to her usually vibrating voice, her tremulous cadences; she
seems borne along, despite and above herself. For my own part, as my
lungs inflate themselves with this pure, dry, bracing air, exquisitely
redolent of health, and testifying at once to a total exemption
from noxious exhalations or mephitic vapors, I grow _tête-montée_,
rattle-brained; my laugh echoes through these stony chambers, wild
snatches of song hover on my lips, odd conceits flit through my brain,
I joke, I dash forward with haste; my excitement endows me with a
superfeminine self-possession.

But now we hear an ominous rattle, a clanking of chains, a rumbling as
of distant thunder; we are approaching a shaft. The shafts in this
mine are not sunk perpendicularly, but are slightly inclined: the huge
buckets, lowered and raised by means of powerful machinery, are but
ancient caldrons, counterparts of those in which the weird witches in
"Macbeth" might have brewed their unholy decoctions, or such as the
dreadful giants that formed the nightmare of my childhood might have
used in preparing those Brobdignagian repasts among the ingredients of
which a plump child held the same rank as a crab in ours.

The sounds grow nearer; presently our guide disappears; then I behold
the Colonel, in whose steps I follow, faithful as his shadow, crouch
sidewise: we must pass behind this inclined plane, which rests on
roughly hewn rocks, that protrude till it appears impossible that any
living thing, except a lizard, can find a passage. I am sure we must
shrink from the original rotundity with which Nature blessed us. I
feel as the frog in the fable might have felt, if, after successfully
inflating himself to the much-envied dimensions of the ox, he had
suddenly found himself reduced to his proper proportions. Edging
sidewise, accommodating the inequalities of the damp surfaces to the
undulations of our forms, deafened, crazed by the roar of the caldrons
that dash madly from side to side, we fairly _ooze_ through.

More ladders! This time they are not hung quite perpendicularly, are
shorter, and some lean, a little, which affords rest; others have one
side higher than the other: to these my already aching palms cling with
desperation. So have I seen insects adhere, through sheer force of fear,
to a shaken stem, or a perilous branch beaten by a storm-wind.

The voices of my companions come to me from above, though I cannot see
the soles of _Mon Amie's_ friendly feet, which at first preserved an
amiable companionship with my own hands; but, looking far upward, I
behold a tiny, star-like spark. When I was a child, I used to think that
fire-flies were the crowns of the fairies, which shone despite their
wearers' invisibility: this idea was recalled to me.

Hark! booming from unthought-of depths, a roar rolls up in majestic
waves of echoing thunder. At this resonant burst, I tremble,--I think a
prayer.

"They are blasting below us," cries the Colonel, _de profundis_.

Then up rushes a volume of thick, white smoke, and we are enveloped as
in shrouds. I have no more fear,--but the odor, ah! that sulphureous,
sickening, deathly odor! Faintness seizes me,--the ladder swims before
my eyes,--I am paralyzed,--Death has me, I think!

But the very excess of the danger has in it something of reviving power.
I remember, that, just as I left my room,--whose quiet safety never
before appeared so heavenly,--prompted by some instinctive impulse, I
had placed a small vial of ammonia in the breast-pocket of my coat.

I have wellnigh swooned with ecstasy, as I have inhaled the overcoming
odors of some rare bouquet, love-bestowed and prized beyond gems; my
senses have reeled in the intoxication of those wondrous extracts whose
Oriental, tangible richness of fragrance holds me in a spell almost
mystical in its enthralment; but I dare aver that no blossom's breath,
no pungent perfume distilled by the erudite inspiration of Science, ever
possessed a tithe of the delicious agony of that whiff of unromantic
ammonia, which, powerful as the touch of magic, and thrilling as the
kiss of love, snatched me back to life, arrested my tottering senses, as
they blindly staggered on the very brink of certain death.

When we reach the next level, and our faces are revealed to each other,
with one voice they exclaim, "How frightfully pale you are!" But I say
nothing. In fact, their familiar features, wearing no longer their
daylight semblance, present an aspect at once grim and grotesque, and
more like the spirits of my friends than their incorporated substances.

Traversing the wild, rude corridors, we find that the path grows more
perilous, the way more intricate; we have words of warning from our
protectors, who often look back anxiously. They have begun to realize
what they have done in yielding to a woman's odd caprice.

In this level we are shown the spots from which famous masses of copper
have been removed, and are granted useful, but fleeting statistics
of weight; we are also so fortunate as to discover some chips of the
wonderful block, raised in '54, I think, which weighed five hundred
tons. Then we chance upon chasms, which, seen so dimly, though dreadful
enough in reality, are made a thousand times more so by the terrors of
imagination; we creep along the brinks of these, scarcely daring to look
down; above, the heavy boulders lie heaped in frightful confusion. When
we have crawled past these death-traps and stand in safety once more,
we throw down bits of stone, and seconds elapse before we hear the dull
_thump_ with which each signals its arrival in the depths. Along the
edges of some of these gloomy pits we cannot pick our way; therefore a
plank is thrown across, and, trusting to so slender a bridge, we pass,
one by one. A single false step were enough to dash one to atoms,--so
to be transformed to a bruised and mangled mass, to perform one's own
sepulture, and lie in a grander grave than will ever be hollowed by
mortal hands to hide our useless bodies.

The deeper one penetrates into these mines, the wilder, more dangerous
the paths. It is as though the upper regions were kept in "company"
order, but lower down we meet with the every-day roughnesses of
veritable miners'-life; we follow their hazardous, but familiar steps;
we behold all the hardships these toiling, burrowing workers undergo,
that the hidden coffers of Earth may yield their tribute of treasure to
Man, its self-appointed, arrogant master.

Occasionally we meet a passing miner. Grasping his ponderous tools, he
flits by like a phantom; even in the momentary glance, we can perceive
how livid his sunless labor has left him; he is blanched as a ghoul,
and moves as noiselessly, with feather-light step. Each with a motion
salutes the Captain; but they do not heed the little group of strangers
who have braved so many dangers to behold the wonders which to them
are as commonplace as the forge to a blacksmith, or to a carpenter his
work-bench.

Still farther below us we hear the clink and clatter of real work. Down
we plunge,--another ladder, "long drawn out." Some of its rounds are
wanting; others are loose and worn to a mere splinter. Warned by the
voice below me, I proceed with a trembling caution, tenfold more
exciting to the strained nerves than the wildest bound on a mettled
racer, the fiercest rush that ever tingled through every fibre of the
rider's frame.

The water has saturated the banks by which our crazy ladder hangs, and
every round is damp and slimy with clayey mud. Alas, for my poor pretty
gantlets! _Mon Amie_ has thrown away hers, as useless.

Finally the ladder ceases abruptly. My feet in vain seek a
resting-place. There is none.

A voice says,--that kindly, earnest voice, the symbol of protective
care, and our smoother of all difficulties,--"We have swung ourselves
down by a chain that hangs from the side of the last round. We are too
far below to reach or assist you. Take the chain firmly; it is the only
route, and we cannot return!"

_Que faire?_ Behold a pleasant predicament for two city-bred ladies, not
"to the manner born," of swinging themselves from the end of a ladder
by means of a rusty iron chain, from which they would alight--where?
Surely, we know not.

I am very sure I could not reproduce in description, and probably not
by practice, the inevitable monkey-contortions, the unimaginable animal
agility, by which I transfer my weight to the clumsy links of this
almost invisible chain. The size of the staple from which it hangs
dissipates all fears in respect to its strength. Hand over hand, my feet
sliding on the slippery bank, remembering sailors in the shrouds, and
taking time to pity them, at last I reach friendly hands, and stand
breathless on another level.

How the soft, white, dimpled palms of _Mon Amie_ testify to the hardship
of this episode, as she bathes them in the cooling water! But, because
one's hands are tender, cannot one's nerves be strong, one's will
indomitable?

Again on the tramp. The cavernous passages are sublime in height, the
chasms fearful in their yawning gulfs. We pick our way daintily, at
intervals pausing to listen to the distant reverberations of exploding
blasts. The atmosphere here, as above, is fairly heavenly in its purity
and invigorating freshness; it girds us with singular strength,
and clothes us as in a garment of enchanted armor that defies all
soul-sinking.

Creeping behind another shaft, we reach still another chasm, above which
piles of dark rocks lie heaped in such confusion as might result from a
great convulsion. There is a narrow path along its edge, and here the
stones are small; but, as we look up, the mighty masses frown down upon
us with threatening grandeur. Along this path, treading lightly, as
if gifted with wings, the Captain passes; then the Agent (for we had
slightly altered our order of march); _Mon Amie_ follows. She is
half-way past the danger, when an ominous pause,--we are ordered to
stop.

Down into the chasm rolls a stone, displaced by an unlucky step of our
pioneer. One stone is nothing,--but more follow that had been supported
by this: small ones at first,--but the larger rocks threaten a slide. If
they are not arrested in their course, she is lost!

What a moment that is! I dare not breathe. _Mon Amie_ stands
statue-like, awaiting the death which she believes is upon her. Not many
words are spoken. I think I feel all that her one glance conveys.
But the brave men beyond her, with instant unanimous action bracing
themselves against the sliding rocks, oppose their feeble force to the
down-sweeping agents of destruction; a moment more, and they would
have been too late. With the step of a frightened antelope _Mon Amie_
trembles past them. I see her safe, and hasten on. "Step lightly!" says
a voice full of suspense and fear, despite its calmness.

Step, indeed! As if I rest on those treacherous stones! My feet brush
them no more than the wing of a butterfly grazes the roses among which
it flutters. Step, forsooth! If ever the angels concerned themselves for
this atom in Creation's myriads, they hover round me now, they bear me
up, they teach me how to fly! Deprived now of their human props, how
the angry fragments leap and tumble and chase one another through the
echoing abyss below! These reverberations seem freighted with elfin
voices that jeer the insensate rocks for their baffled scheme of
mischief.

But they chanted a far different chorus, and the darkness saw another
sight, when, a few moons later, they dashed themselves down in
irresistible array, and bore with them in their desperate plunge the
lifeless bodies of two passing miners, in whose hearts, it may be, dwelt
at the moment only happy thoughts of the homes 'neath the blue skies to
which they were hurrying, the dear familiar sunlit Paradise that would
succeed the endless night of their _Inferno_ of toil.

  "But men must work, and women must weep;
  And the sooner 'tis over, the sooner to sleep!"

Well, we take up our march again presently, and, led by a monotonous
hammering, proceed toward the sound. Some of the miners are at work
here, clearing a mass of ore from the stubborn rock. Their strokes fall
as regularly as those of machinery, and the grim men who wield the
ponderous hammers accompany each blow with a peculiar loud indrawing of
the breath, like the pant of a blacksmith at his anvil. So strong is
this resemblance, that we burst forth all together in the strains of
the "Anvil Chorus"; and the accompaniment is beaten with tenfold more
regularity and effect than on the stage, in the glare of the footlights,
by "Il Trovatore's" gypsy-comrades. I doubt if Verdi's music was ever
so rendered before, amid such surroundings. The compliment may be the
higher, coming from so low a region.

Beyond this group are a few miners resting from toil. One of these, as
he stands leaning his folded arms on a jutting rock, upon which he has
placed his candle, elicits our spontaneous admiration. His beauty is
Apollo-like,--every chiselled feature perfect in its classic regularity;
his eyes sad, slumberous, and yet deep and glowing, are quite enough
for any susceptible maiden's heart; about a broad expanse of forehead
cluster thick masses of dark brown hair; his shirt, open at the throat,
reveals glimpses of ivory; altogether he is statuesque and beautiful.
Even his hands, strongly knit as they are, have not been rendered coarse
by labor; they bear the same pallid hue as his face, and he looks like
some nobly-born prisoner. "What untoward fate cast him there?" I often
ask myself. He exists in my memory as a veritable Prince Charming, held
captive in those gloomy caves of enchantment that yielded up to me their
unreal realities in that nightmarish experience. I never fancy him on
upper earth living coarsely, even, it may be, talking ungrammatically,
defying Horne Tooke and outraging Murray, among beings of a lower order
of humanity; but he rises like a statue, standing silent and apart.

Some one throws away a nearly burnt-out candle at this spot. It falls
but a few inches from a can of gunpowder, which is not too securely
closed. As I utter a quick word of warning to the careless one, a miner
starts. "Good Heaven!" I hear him exclaim, as we disappear,--"that was a
woman!"

When we reach the next shaft, the Captain deposits himself in the
descending bucket, and, irregularly tossing from side to side, goes down
to overlook some work, and leave fresh orders with the miners. We await
his return before again betaking ourselves to the ladders.

On the next level, we behold scores of men in busy action. I can think
only of ants in an ant-hill: some are laden with ore; others bearing the
refuse rocks and earth, the _débris_ of the mine, to the shafts; others,
again, are preparing blasts,--we do not tarry long with these; others
with picks work steadily at the tough ore. In some places, the copper
freshly broken glitters like gold, and the specks on the rocks, or in
the earth-covered mass, as our candle-light awakens their sparkles,
gleam like the spangles on a dancer's robe or stars in a midnight sky.
All the while we hear the dreadful rattle of the down-sinking caldrons,
or the heavy labor of the freighted ones, as they ascend from level to
level.

Suddenly our path conducts us past a seated bevy of miners taking their
"crib," as it is termed, from the food-can, which stands at hand,--a
small fire blazing in the midst of them. Weary and sore, we seat
ourselves near them, while our hardier companions talk with the
respectful group.

They work eight hours at a time, they tell us,--ascending at the
expiration of that period to betake themselves to their homes, which are
mostly in the little village where the yelping curs also reside. They
enjoy unusual health, and pity the upper-world of surface-laborers,
whom they regard with a kind of contempt. Accidents are not frequent,
considering the perils of their occupation. The miners here are
generally Cornish-men, with some Germans.

I sit silent, thinking of my Prince Charming, with many vague
conjectures.

At first, these men have paused in their repast in presence of the
strangers; but now, with rude courtesy, noticing our weariness, they
offer a portion to us. Faint and famishing, we by no means disdain it. I
wonder what Mrs. Grundy would say, could her Argus-eyes penetrate to
the spot, where we,--bound to "die of roses in aromatic pain,"--in
miners'-garb, masculine and muddy, sit on stones with earthy delvers,
more than six hundred feet under ground,--where the foot of woman has
never trod before, nor the voice of woman echoed,--and sip, with the
relish of intense thirst, steaming black tea from an old tin cup!

_Eh, bien!_ for all that, let me do it justice. Never was black tea
less herb-like; never draught of sillery, quaffed from goblet of rare
Bohemian glass, more delicious! And so, with thank-yous that were not
only from the lip, we toil on some distance yet, to the shaft by which
we are to ascend,--one quite remote from that by which we began our
trip.

Halting at the foot of the ladder, we pour forth the "Star-spangled
Banner" with the full strength of lungs inflated by patriotism, until
the stirring staves ring and resound through those dim caves. The
miners, who hold the superstition, that to whisper bodes ill-luck, must
have imagined we were exorcising evil spirits with an incantation.

Then begins our weary way upward. We sing "Excelsior" in our hearts, and
forget our aching limbs, for the most laborious portion of the night's
toil is before us. The almost perpendicular ladder is just beside the
powerful pump, which, worked by a steam-engine, exhausts the water from
the mine, and its busy piston, in monotonous measure, keeps time to our
climbing.

Two rests during the entire distance, which we travel in brave silence.
Indeed, we cannot speak,--the oppressive strain upon the chest is so
great. Step after step, hand over hand, up we go. At last, warmer air
greets us, lights flicker from above; the trap-door is reached; we are
on the surface again; we are out of the depths,--and our hearts whisper
a _Te Deum_ of thanksgiving.

I think well of the establishment of a chapel, such as exists at the
entrance to the Valenciana mine in Mexico, where each miner spends half
an hour, going to or returning from his labors. Such a union of work and
worship seems a proper adjunct to the profit and the peril.

There is a faint glimmer of coming dawn far away in the east, as we
go forth into the midsummer-night, and we catch the distant notes of
chanticleer, as he sounds his shrill _réveille_ to the day.

As my confused brain seeks repose, and my weary limbs sink into the
softness of the never-so-welcome bed, my thoughts fly to distant ones,
to whom I would whisper,--as I do to you who have so patiently burrowed
with me,--"Only love me for the dangers I have passed!"

But it is in vain that you long for a similar experience, my dear Laura
Matilda. Being the first, we are also the last women to whom these
subterranean passages will yield their mysteries, their windings, and
their wonders. Against all of my own sex the Pandemonian depths of the
Minnesota Mines are henceforth as obstinately barred as ever were the
golden gates of the Mohammedan Paradise.



A LONELY HOUSE.


  "Some weighty crime that Heaven could not pardon,
  A secret curse, on that old building hung,
  And its deserted garden."

HOOD'S _Haunted House_.

One autumn evening, not very long ago, I was driving out with my uncle.
I had been spending several weeks at his house, and in that time had
driven with him very often, so that I supposed myself familiar with
nearly all the roads that stretched away from the pleasant village where
he resided; but on this occasion he proposed taking me in an entirely
new direction, over a tract of country I had never before seen.

For a mile or two after we left home, we bowled rapidly along on a
well-travelled turnpike; then a sudden turn to the right brought us,
with slackened speed, into a quiet country-road. Passing through the
fields that bordered the highway, we came into a wild, romantic region
of hill and dale that fully deserved all that my uncle had said in its
praise.

Giving ourselves up to the sweet influences of the scene, we trotted our
horses slowly, past dusky bits of forest that made the air fragrant with
the damp smell of the woods, and by occasional shining pools adorned
with floating pond-lilies, and shaded with thick, low bushes of
witch-hazel. The sunlight had that orange glow that comes only on autumn
evenings, the long, slant rays striking across the yellow fields and
lighting up the dark evergreens which dotted the landscape with a tawny
illumination, like dull flames. The locusts hummed drowsily, as if they
were almost asleep, and the frogs in the ponds sent out an occasional
muffled croak. Altogether, it was deliciously calm and deserted; we did
not meet a human being or a habitation for miles, as we wound along
the secluded path, now up and now down, but on the whole gradually
ascending, till we reached the summit of a hill larger and steeper than
the rest.

Here there stood a lonely house.

Pausing to allow our horses a moment's rest, my eye was caught by its
deserted and dilapidated appearance. It had evidently been uninhabited
for years. The fence had gone to decay, the gate lay rotting on the
ground, and a forlorn sleigh, looking strangely out of place in contrast
with the summer-flowers that had over-grown it, was drawn up before the
entrance. The grass had obliterated every trace of the path that once
led to the decayed steps, bushes had grown up thickly around the lower
story of the house, and tangled vines, creeping in through the broken
panes of the windows, hung in festoons from the moss-covered sills.
The door had dropped from its hinges, and on one side of the front the
boards had fallen off, so that I could see quite into the interior,
where I noticed, with surprise, some furniture yet remained, though in
great confusion, a broken chair and an overturned table being the most
prominent objects. Outside, the same disorder was manifest in the great
farm-wagon, left standing where it had last been used, and the neglected
out-buildings fast going to decay. About the whole place there was an
aspect of peculiar gloom, and the house itself stood on this bleak hill
looking out over the lonesome landscape with a sort of tragic melancholy
in its black and weather-beaten front.

Now such a sight as this is very rare in our busy New England, where
everything is turned to advantage, and where the thrifty owner of a
tenement too old for habitation is sure to tear it down and convert the
materials of which it is built to some other use. My curiosity was,
therefore, at once excited regarding this place, and I turned to my
uncle with an inquiry as to its history.

"It is a very sad one," he answered,--"so sad that it gives a terrible
dreariness to this solitary spot."

"Then I am sure you will tell me the causes which led to its desertion.
You know how much I like a story."

My uncle complied with the request, and, as we wended our way home
through the deepening twilight, related a series of strange facts,
which, at the time, took a powerful hold on my imagination, and which I
have since endeavored to group into a continuous narrative.

       *       *       *       *       *

This house, now so forlorn, was once a neat and happy home. It was built
by a young farmer named James Blount, who went into it with his young
wife when he brought her home from the distant State where he had
married her. For several years they seemed very prosperous and happy;
then a heavy affliction came. The healthy young farmer was thrown from
his horse, and carried to his home only to linger a few terrible hours
and expire in great agony. Thus early in its history was the doomed
house overshadowed with the gloom of sudden and violent death.

Every one was heartily sorry for the widow with her two little boys,
and the people of the country-side did all that they could to cheer
her loneliness and lighten her grief. But, as I have said, she was a
stranger among them, and she seems to have been naturally of a reserved
disposition, preferring solitude in her affliction; for she so repelled
their attentions, that, one by one, even her husband's friends deserted
her. Then, too, her house was three miles from the nearest neighbor, and
this was necessarily a barrier to frequent social intercourse. She very
rarely went into the village, even to church, and thus people came to
know very little of her manner of life; it was only guessed at by those
few acquaintance who, at rare intervals, made their way to the Blount
farm-house.

Among them it was remarked, that the widow, still quite young, was
unnaturally stern and cold, and that her two sons, who were growing up
in this sad isolation, were strangely like their mother, not only in
appearance, but in manners. Their names were James and John. There was
but little over a year between them, and they were so much alike that
most persons found a difficulty in distinguishing one from the other.
Both had fierce, black eyes, short, crisp, black hair, and swarthy
skins,--quite unlike our freckled-face Yankee boys,--so that the older
villagers declared, with a sigh, that there was not a trace of the
good-hearted father about them; they wholly resembled their strange
mother. The boys themselves did nothing to lessen this disagreeable
impression; they were unusually grave and reserved for their years,
taking no interest in the sports of other children; and after a time,
it became painfully evident to those who watched them that they had no
fondness for each other; on the contrary, that affection which would
naturally have sprung from their nearness in age and their constant
companionship seemed to be entirely wanting, and its place usurped by an
absolute dislike.

When this was first discovered, it was supposed to account for the
widow's aversion to society. This idea, being once started, made those
idle busybodies there are in every village eager to discover if the
suspicion were correct. Through the men hired to work on the farm, it
was ascertained that the poor mother, with all her sternness and her
iron law, had difficulty in keeping peace between the boys. Twenty times
a day they would fall into angry dispute about some trifle; and so
violent were these altercations, that it was said that she durst not for
a moment have them both out of her sight, lest one should inflict some
deadly injury upon the other. That this was no ill-founded fear was
evinced by a quarrel that took place between them, when John was perhaps
eleven, and James twelve years old.

It was witnessed by a village lad named Isaac Welles. He was an alert,
active person, who liked to earn a penny or two on his own account, out
of work-hours. With this notable intention, he arose soon after dawn of
a pleasant summer-morning, for the purpose of picking blackberries.
Now he knew that they were very plentiful in a field near the Blount
farmhouse, and, thinking such small theft no robbery, he made his
way thither with all speed, and was soon filling his basket with the
dew-sprinkled fruit. Early as it was, however, he soon discovered that
there was some one up before him. He heard a sound of talking in low,
caressing tones, and, glancing in the direction whence it came, he saw
John Blount sitting under a tree near by, and playing with a little
black squirrel, which appeared to be quite tame. Not caring to be
discovered and warned off, Isaac went on with his work quietly, taking
care to keep where he could see without being seen.

John was not long left alone in his innocent amusement, for in a few
moments James Blount came running down from the house towards him. As he
approached, John's face darkened; he caught up the squirrel, and made an
endeavor to hide it under his jacket.

"No, you don't!" said James, as he came up, breathless. "I see you have
got him, plain enough; he sha'n't get away this time,--so you might as
well give him to me."

"No, I won't!" replied John, sullenly.

"You won't?"

"No!" said John, more fiercely, and then burst out, passionately,--"I
don't see why you want to tease me about it; he a'n't your pet; I have
found him and tamed him; he knows me and loves me, and he don't care for
you; besides, you only want him to torment him. No! you sha'n't have
him!"

"Sha'n't I? we'll see!" And James made a step forward.

John drew back several paces, at the same time trying to soothe the
squirrel, which was becoming impatient of its confinement. His face
quivered with excitement, as he went on, passionately,--

"I know what you want him for: you want him to hurt some way. You wrung
my black kitten's neck, and now you want to kill my squirrel. You are a
bad, wicked boy, and I hate you!"

With the last words he started to run; but he had not gone far when his
foot struck a stone, and he fell. At this, the squirrel, terrified,
jumped from his arms; but James was close by, and before it could
escape, he had caught it. John was up in an instant, and James, seeing
that he could not avoid him, gave the poor little creature's neck a
sudden twist and flung it gasping at his brother's feet, exclaiming,--

"There, now, you may have it!"

For one moment John stood still, white with rage and grief; then he
uttered a sort of choking howl, and sprang at James,--

"You cruel coward!"

The words were accompanied with a half-articulate curse, as he struck
at him, blindly, fiercely, and they closed in what seemed a deadly
struggle. John, being the younger, had a slight disadvantage in size and
weight, but wrath gave him more than his usual strength; while James
fought desperately, as if for life. After a few moments they rolled on
the ground together.

It was a fearful sight, those two brothers, boys though they were,
fighting in that mad way. Their faces, so much alike that they seemed
almost reflections of each other, were crimson with anger; their eyes
shot fire; their breath came in sobbing pants; and very soon blood was
drawn on both. After a brief contest, John, with a tremendous effort,
threw James under him. With one hand he pinioned his arms, while the
other was at his throat, where it closed with a deadly gripe. James made
one last effort to save himself; with a violent wrench he succeeded in
fixing his teeth in his brother's arm, but he failed in making him relax
his hold, though they met in the firm flesh. John's brow grew darker,
but he only tightened his clasp closer and closer, muttering,--

"So help me, God! I will kill you!"

His words were near being verified; already the fallen boy's mouth had
unclosed, the red of his face turned to livid purple, and his eyes
stared wildly, when Mrs. Blount, pale, with disordered attire, as if she
had but just risen and dressed hastily, ran, screaming, down the hill.
Seizing John around the waist, she dragged him back, and flung him to
the ground, exclaiming,--

"Oh, my sons! my sons! are you not brothers? Will you never be at
peace?"

At this moment, Isaac arrived, breathless with running, at the spot.
When she saw him, the widow ceased speaking, and made no further
allusion to the quarrel while he remained. However, she gladly accepted
his offered assistance in lifting James, who lay gasping, and wellnigh
dead. As they turned towards the house, John rose, sullenly, and
wrapping a handkerchief round his wounded arm, which was bleeding
profusely, he glanced scowlingly at his brother.

"He will get over this," he muttered, with an oath; "but, sooner or
later, I swear I will kill him!"

Without noticing his mother's appealing look, he walked back to the tree
where the dead pet lay.

The half-strangled boy was carried to his bed, and a few simple remedies
restored him to consciousness. As soon as possible, Mrs. Blount
dismissed Isaac, declining his offers of going for a doctor, with cold
thanks. As he went back to resume his interrupted blackberrying, he saw
John sitting at the foot of the tree. He had dug a hole in which to bury
the poor squirrel; it lay on his knee, a stream of dark gore oozing
through its tiny white teeth. John was vainly endeavoring to wipe this
with the handkerchief already stained with his own blood, while his hot
tears fell fast and heavy.

As John had said, James recovered from the choking, and the only
apparent results of the fight were that both boys were scarred for life.
John bore on his right wrist the impression of his brother's teeth; and
James's throat was disfigured by two deep, black marks, on each side,
which were quite visible till his beard concealed them. Yet, I doubt
not, that desperate struggle, in that dawning summer-day, laid the
foundation of the inextinguishable hatred that blasted those men's lives
and was to be quenched only in death.

Several years passed after this, in which very little was known of what
passed at the lonely house. The boys were old enough to perform most of
the work of the farm, so that they no longer hired laborers except at
harvest. Mrs. Blount had herself given her sons all the instruction they
had ever received, and, being a woman of attainments beyond those usual
in her station, she seemed quite competent to the task. Nothing more was
heard of their quarrels; they were always coldly civil to each other,
when in the presence of others, and were regarded by their companions
with respect, though, I imagine, never with any cordial liking. So they
grew up to be grave, taciturn men, still retaining the same strong
resemblance of face and figure, though time had somewhat altered the
features, by fixing a different expression on each, giving to John a
fierce resolution, and to James a lurking distrustfulness of look. These
years made less change in Mrs. Blount than in her sons; she was the same
active, black-eyed woman, only that her sternness and reserve seemed to
increase with her age, and a few silver threads appeared in her raven
hair.

I have said that it was three miles from the Blount place to the nearest
house. This was at the toll-gate, which was kept by a man named Curtis.
He was a person of progressive tastes, supposed to have aristocratic
inclinations. As he was a well-to-do man, these were evinced in a
Brussels carpet and a piano-forte which figured in his small parlor, and
by his sending his only child, a daughter, to a city boarding-school.
She returned, as might have been expected, with ideas and desires far
beyond the hill-side cottage where she was condemned to vegetate. Now
she was very pretty, with dancing blue eyes and a profusion of golden
curls; she had, too, a most winning manner, hard for any one to resist;
and these personal attractions, added to style of dress that had never
been seen or imagined among the simple country-folk, rendered her a
most important person, so that no "tea-fight" or merry-making was
complete without Nelly Curtis.

However, it might have been long enough before the recluse young Blounts
would have encountered the gay little belle, had it not been that they
were of necessity obliged to pass through the toll-gate, and sometimes
forced to stop there. From some of her friends Nelly heard what a
secluded life the two brothers led, and how especially averse they
seemed to female society, and, with the appetite for conquest of a true
flirt, she at once determined on adding them to the list of her victims.
It was not long before she had an opportunity for beginning her wiles.

One fine spring morning, John Blount started on horseback to go to the
village. The sun shone very brightly, the hedge-rows blushed with early
blossoms, and the birds sang a song of rejoicing. It was one of those
clear, soft days when one feels new life and vigor at the thought of the
coming summer. Arrived at the toll-gate, John was surprised at seeing no
one there to open it; he waited a moment, somewhat impatiently, and then
called out,--

"Holloa!"

At this, as if startled at his voice, there appeared in the cottage
door-way a slender, rosy-cheeked maiden, who looked blooming and
graceful enough to be the incarnation of the fresh and beautiful May.

"Excuse me," she said, with a little curtsy; "I did not see you come
up."

This, as Nelly informed the friend to whom she related the adventure,
was a fib,--for Mr. Curtis was away, and she had been watching all the
morning, in hopes one of the Blounts would pass; but she considered it a
justifiable stratagem, as likely to secure his attention.

Meantime John was gazing spellbound at this apparition, which appeared
to him charming beyond anything he had ever imagined. He was so far
carried away, that he was quite speechless and wholly oblivious of the
toll, until she came up to the side of the horse and held out her hand.
Then he colored, and, with awkward apology, gave her the change.

"Thank you, Sir."

Nelly smiled sweetly, and was just about to undo the latch of the gate,
when John anticipated her by springing from his horse, and laying his
powerful brown hand over her small white one, saying,--

"You can't do anything with this great, heavy gate. Stand aside, and let
me open it."

Of course the offer was kindly accepted, and Nelly fairly overwhelmed
him with her thanks, being herself somewhat touched by the unusual
civility. John appeared quite overcome with confusion, and, remounting
his horse, he rode off with a gruff "Good day." However, I fancy, that
pleasant voice, and the accidental touch of that little hand, made an
impression that never was effaced.

Having thus enslaved John, it was not long before a similar opportunity
occurred for captivating James; though it would seem from Nelly's
confessions to her confidante that this was not so easily accomplished
with him as with his brother. The first time she opened the gate for
him, he paid but little more heed to her than he would have to her
father, and she never considered her conquest complete until one day
when Mr. Curtis availed himself of a vacant seat in James's wagon to
get Nelly taken into the village: that ride, she fancied, insured the
wished-for result. Whether this was a correct supposition or not,
certain it is that not many weeks elapsed before both the Blounts were
completely fascinated by the gay coquette.

For some time the passion of each brother remained a secret to the
other. Accident revealed it.

One soft summer-evening, John rode down to the village for letters. As
he passed through the toll-gate, he succeeded in making an appointment
with Nelly for a walk on his return. He came back an hour later, and
soon after sunset the two strolled down a shady path into the woods. It
was moonlight, and Nelly was doubtless very charming in the mysterious
radiance,--certainly her companion thought so,--for, when their walk
was over, he induced her to sit with him on a fallen log that lay just
within the shade of the trees, instead of returning to the house. They
had been chatting there perhaps half an hour, when they were interrupted
by the girl the Curtises kept to do "chores."

"Please, Miss Nelly, there's a gentleman wants to see you."

"Very well, tell him I will be there in a moment."

When the girl was gone, Nelly suddenly exclaimed, rather regretfully,--

"How stupid of me, not to ask who it was!"

John's answer is not reported, only that he succeeded in lengthening the
"moment" into a quarter of an hour, and then half an hour; and it might,
perhaps, have lasted the whole evening, had they not, in the midst of a
most interesting conversation, been startled by a rustling in the bushes
behind them.

"There is some one watching us!" cried John, excitedly, and half rising.

"Nonsense!" said Nelly; "it is only a cat. Sit down again."

This invitation was not to be declined. John sat down again, though
still a little restless and uneasy. For some moments all was still. John
had concluded that Nelly's suggestion was a correct one, and they had
begun to chat quite unconcernedly, when they were again interrupted.
This time the sound was that of an approaching footstep, and for an
instant a dark shadow fell across the moonlit path in front of them.
Nelly was now fairly frightened, she uttered a faint shriek, and clung
to John for protection. Doubtless this was a very pleasant appeal to the
young farmer, but just now wrath mastered every other feeling. He was
ever easily angered, and, to be sure, the thought that they were watched
was by no means agreeable. So, with a quick caress, he loosened her
clasp and started to his feet, exclaiming,--

"Don't be frightened, dear! I'll punish the rascal!"

He made a dash in the direction whence the sound had come. In the shade
of the trees stood the intruder quite still, making no attempt to avoid
the furious onset. Mad with rage, John seized him by the collar, and,
striking him repeatedly, and muttering curses, dragged him towards the
bench where Nelly sat trembling. A few staggering steps, and they were
on the path, with the pure, peaceful light of the moon falling full on
the stranger's face.

"Good God!" cried John, loosening his hold,--"it is my brother!"

James drew himself up, tossing back his disordered hair, and for a
moment the two men regarded each other with stern, fixed looks, as if
they were preparing for another encounter. By this time, Nelly, who was
completely terrified, had begun to weep convulsively, and her sobs broke
the ominous silence, as she gasped,--

"Oh, John, please don't strike him again!"

At these words, John started, as if stung, and, looking at her with
indignant sadness, said,--

"There, you needn't cry, Nelly! I won't hurt him; I will leave him to
you safely."

Then, overcome by the rush of recollection, he burst out,
passionately,--

"Oh, James! James! you have rendered my life miserable by your
treacheries, and now you have robbed me of her! This is no place to
settle our quarrels; but I have sworn it once, and I swear it again now,
some day I will be revenged!"

He would not stop to hear Nelly's entreating voice; but, full of the one
dreadful thought, that all her anxieties had been for another, while he
was indifferent to her, he mounted his horse, without one backward look,
and galloped fast away. I can fancy there was a wild whirl of emotion
in his passionate heart: deadly hatred, jealousy, and crossed love are
enough to drive any man mad.

Meantime, James apologized to Nelly for his intrusion, on the ground,
that, becoming tired of waiting, and hearing she had gone out for a
wait, he had started to meet them, but was about to turn back, fearing
to interrupt them, when John's rudeness compelled him to appear. The
excuse was accepted; and James soon occupied the seat recently vacated
by poor John. So well did he avail himself of the circumstances, that he
succeeded in convincing Nelly that his brother was a very ill-tempered
person, whom it would be well for her to avoid. On this, with the true
instinct of a flirt, she endeavored to persuade him that she had never
really cared for John's attentions. James was but too willing to be
convinced of this; and he parted from her, feeling satisfied that his
suit would be successful.

Knowing well that his life was scarcely safe, if he were for a moment
alone with John, after that night, James constantly exercised such
caution as prevented the possibility of an encounter. He was determined
as soon as possible to leave that neighborhood, always provided that
Nelly would go with him. For some time he considered this as certain.
John carefully avoided her, and no new suitor appeared.

I fear that pretty Nelly was a thorough coquette; for, having nearly
broken one brother's heart, she very soon tired of the other, for whom
she had never really cared a straw. These two men being the last to fall
into her toils, she began to sigh wearily over her too easily captured
victims, when her fickle fancy was caught by game more worthy so expert
a sportsman.

It happened that at this time there came to the village a gentleman from
New York, named Brooke, a bachelor of known wealth. He was perhaps forty
years old, and had run through a course of reckless dissipation which
had rendered him thoroughly tired of city ways and city women. On the
very first Sunday after his arrival, as he stood idly lounging at the
church-door, his eye was caught by Nelly's fresh, rosy face. He followed
her into church, and spent the time of service in staring her out of
countenance. It will be readily imagined that she was not slow to
follow up this first impression; and but few days elapsed before their
acquaintance had ripened into intimacy.

Of course, his unceasing attentions could not fail of attracting notice
and exciting remark; and it was not long before they came to the ears
of the Blounts. John received the news with sullen indifference. It
mattered little to him whom she liked now. James, however, refused to
believe that there could be anything in it, regarding it as a mere
passing caprice. In this view most of the village-people coincided; they
considered it absurd to suppose that there could be anything serious in
Mr. Brooke's devotion. Time would probably have proved the correctness
of this supposition, had it not been, fortunately for Nelly, that she
had a father with more steadiness of mind than her giddy brain was
capable of. Mr. Curtis succeeded in turning the rapid attachment to such
advantage, that in three weeks from the time of their first meeting they
were not only engaged, but actually married.

It had been Nelly's intention, with the vanity of a true woman, to
postpone the wedding a month longer, and then to have it on such a scale
as would excite the admiration and envy of all her companions; but Mr.
Curtis was too shrewd for this. He durst not put this rapid love to the
test of waiting; and he so worked upon his daughter's fears, that she
consented to a more hasty union. Mr. Brooke, too, showed some aversion
to any public demonstration. Perhaps he was conscious that his friends
would think he was doing a foolish thing, and he was therefore desirous
of having it over before they had time to remonstrate. So, on a fine
bright Sunday, early in September, the drowsy congregation, who were
dozing away the afternoon-service, were aroused by the publication
of the banns of marriage between Henry Brooke and Nelly Curtis. It
occasioned great whispering and tittering. But no one suspected that the
wedding was near at hand; and there were very few lingerers after the
service was over, when Kelly came in at the side-door with her father,
was joined by Mr. Brooke, and actually married then and there.

The Blount brothers never went to church, but they almost always came
into the village of a Sunday afternoon, and on this memorable day they
were there as usual, but not together. John was earnestly discussing a
new breed of cattle with a neighboring farmer, wholly oblivious of
the false Nelly. James was standing with a group of young men on the
village-green, when Isaac Welles, the whilom blackberry-boy, rushed
up, breathless, to say that he had been detained in the church and had
actually seen Nelly and Mr. Brooke married.

In the first eager questions that followed this announcement, no one
noticed James, until they were astonished to see him fall heavily to the
ground. He had fainted. They had not mentioned the publication of the
banns to him, and he was wholly unprepared for this utter annihilation
of all his hopes. Welles sprang to his side, and they raised him
quickly. He was a strong man, and before they could bring any
restoratives he had recovered.

"It is nothing," he said, with a sickly smile. "I think it must have
been a sunstroke. It is confoundedly hot."

This lame explanation was accepted, and James refused to go into any of
the neighbors' houses, though he consented to seat himself, for a few
moments, on a rustic bench in the shade of the trees.

Half an hour later, John, having finished his chat, strolled to the
green and approached the group. He looked surprised when he caught
sight of his brother, who of late had so carefully avoided him. His
astonishment increased when James rose, and, advancing a step, said,--

"John, Nelly Curtis is married to that Brooke!"

An angry flush rose to John's brow, and his black eyes flashed
ominously, as he answered, in a hoarse, low voice,--

"So much the better, for now she will never be your wife."

"Neither mine nor yours," said James, maliciously;--then, after a
moment, he added, "She was a worthless thing, and we are well rid of
her."

At this, a tornado of passion seemed to seize John. He sprang forward,
crying,--

"She was not worthless, and I will kill the first man who dares to say
so."

There was an interval of dead silence; the brothers regarded each other
for a moment, then James shrugged his shoulders contemptuously, and
turned away. John glanced around him defiantly on the astonished crowd,
and, seeing no one there likely to dispute with him, he seemed to have
formed a sudden resolution, for he walked off rapidly after his brother.

Isaac Welles had stood by, no unobservant witness of this scene. He
noted something in those two men's eyes that recalled the fierce quarrel
of the two boys; and as soon as it was possible for him to get away,
he went off after the Blounts, determined, if possible, to prevent
mischief.

Meantime John had not met his brother; but, seeing James's horse was
gone, he mounted his own and rode away towards home, determining to
catch James before he could reach there. However, he did not overtake
him. James was too cunning to ride directly to the farm-house, and
John's headlong speed availed only to bring him there in time to find
his mother alone and dangerously ill.

In a moment all other thoughts were laid aside. The pent-up affection of
John's heart had centred itself on his only parent. She had always been
cold and stern with her sons, yet they loved her with a tender devotion
which reclaimed natures that might otherwise have been wholly bad.

With all the tenderness of a woman, John assisted his mother to her bed,
and, not daring to leave her, awaited eagerly the coming of the only
other person who could summon aid,--his brother James.

At last he came,--riding slowly, with bowed head, up the lonely road.
John went out to meet him. James looked up angry and astonished, and
immediately threw himself into a position of defence. John shook his
head.

"James," he said, "I cannot settle our quarrel now. Mother is very
ill,--perhaps dying."

James started forward.

"Where is she? What is the matter?" he cried, eagerly.

"I do not know," answered John. "I will go for the doctor, now that you
are come. I durst not leave her before. But, James, stop one moment. As
long as she lives, you are safe,--I will not hurt you by word or act;
but when she is gone,--beware!"

James did not answer, except by a nod, and John, turning, saw Isaac
Welles standing at the gate. He had overheard the conversation and felt
that there was no danger of a quarrel, and he now came eagerly forward
with offers of assistance. They were gratefully accepted; for even the
taciturnity of the brothers seemed to give way before the pressing fear
that beset them.

There is ever great good-will and kindness in the scattered community of
a village, and, despite the unpopularity of the Blounts, neighbors and
friends soon came to them, ready and willing to aid them by every means
in their power.

Mrs. Blount's illness proved to be quite as alarming as John had
feared. The physician, from the first, held out very little hope of her
recovery. The strong, healthy woman was stricken, as if in a moment;
it was the first real illness she had ever had, and it made fearful
progress. Yet her naturally iron constitution resisted desperately, so
that, to the astonishment of all who saw her sufferings, she lingered
on, week after week, with wonderful tenacity of life. The summer faded
into autumn, and autumn died into winter, and still she lived, failing
slowly, each day losing strength, growing weaker and weaker, until it
seemed as if she existed only by the force of will.

Of course it had long ago been found necessary to have some other
dependence than the kindness of neighbors, and a stout Irish girl had
been hired for the kitchen, while Mrs. Clark, a good, responsible woman,
occupied the post of nurse. From these persons, and from Isaac Welles,
the rest of the story is collected.

During all these months of her illness, the two brothers had been
unfailing in their devotion to their poor suffering mother. Night and
day they never tired, watching by her bedside for hours, and seeming
scarcely to sleep. Of course they were much together, but no words of
harshness ever passed their lips. When out of Mrs. Blount's presence,
they spoke to each other as little as possible; in her presence, there
was a studied civility that might have deceived any one but a mother.
Even she was puzzled. She would lie and watch them with burning, eager
eyes, striving to discover if it was a heartfelt reconciliation or only
a hollow truce. It was the strong feeling she had that only her life
kept them apart, which gave her power to defy death. Perhaps on this
very account his stroke was all the more sudden at last.

It was a dark, lowering afternoon in December when the summons came.
Mrs. Blount had been lying in a half-doze for more than an hour. Her
sons had taken advantage of this sleep to attend to some necessary
duties. The nurse sat beside the fire, watching the flames flicker on
the dark walls, and idly wondering if the leaden-hued sky portended a
snow-storm. Her musings were broken by the voice of the invalid, very
faint, but quite distinct,--

"Nurse! nurse! Call my sons. I am dying!"

Mrs. Clark ran to the bed.

"Quick! quick!" cried Mrs. Blount. "Do not stop for me. You cannot help
me now. Call my sons before it is too late!"

Her tone and action were so imperative that they enforced obedience, and
the nurse ran down-stairs with all speed. She found no one but the hired
girl in the kitchen, who said, in answer to her hurried inquiries, that
both brothers were out, gone to bring in the cattle before the storm.
Mrs. Clark sent her in all haste to recall them, and then returned to
the sick-room. As she entered, the dying woman looked up quickly, her
face clouded with disappointment when she saw that she was alone. The
nurse said all in her power to assure her that her sons would soon be
there, but she could not allay the strange excitement into which their
absence seemed to have thrown her.

"My strength is failing," she said, sadly; "every moment is precious;
if I die without that promise which they could not refuse to a dying
mother's prayer, God knows what will become of them!"

Mrs. Clark urged the necessity of quiet, but the sufferer paid no heed
to the caution. She talked on, wildly, and sometimes incoherently,
about the hopes she built upon the reconciliation her death-bed would
effect,--showing, in these few moments of unnatural loquacity, how
deeply she had felt the animosity between her sons, and how great had
been the effort to conquer it. This excitement could not continue long;
her voice soon grew weaker, and at last she ceased speaking, appearing
to sink into a stupor of exhaustion.

An instant after, the door opened and John ran eagerly to the couch,
closely followed by James. Already the poor widow's eyes were closed;
the livid hue that is so fatally significant overspread her face; her
breath came in quick gasps.

"Mother! mother!" cried John, flinging himself on his knees beside her,
and seizing the thin, hard hand.

At that sound, she opened her eyes, but it was too late; she no longer
had the power of utterance. She glanced from one brother to the other
with a piteous, entreating look; her mouth moved convulsively; in the
effort to speak, she sat upright for an instant, ghastly and rigid, and
then fell heavily back.

All was over; her life of labor was changed for eternal rest; and the
two men, whom only her power had restrained, stood with the last barrier
between them removed, avowed and deadly enemies.

Yet, for all that, they were sincere mourners for the sole parent they
had ever known, though it seemed, that, jealous even in their grief,
neither cared to have the other see how much he suffered; for, after
the first few moments, when the heart refuses to be satisfied of the
certainty which it knows only too well, they turned away, and each
sought his own room. Afterwards, when all was prepared and the room
decently arranged, they returned, and alternately through the long night
kept their vigil beside the corpse. It is strange, that, in those quiet
hours of communion with the loved dead, no thought of relenting towards
each other ever suggested itself.

The snow that had been hanging all day in the dark clouds above them
towards evening began to fall. Stilly and continually the tiny flakes
came down, hiding all the ruggedness of earth under a spotless mantle,
even as the white shroud covered the toil-worn frame of the released
sufferer.

In the morning the news spread rapidly, and neighbors came to the
afflicted house. But the brothers seemed to resent their offers of
assistance as an intrusion, refusing to allow any other watchers,
themselves continuing night and day to watch beside the corpse; and that
awful vigil, instead of softening their hearts, seemed to harden them
into a more deadly hatred.

The third afternoon, when all the country-side was ghastly in its
winding-sheet of snow, and the clouds hung heavy as a pall over the
stricken earth, the little funeral held its way from the lonely
farm-house to the village-churchyard. As a last tribute of respect to
their mother, the two brothers drove side by side in the same sleigh.
Those who saw them said that it was a sight not to be forgotten,--those
two black figures, with their stern, pale faces, so much alike, yet so
unsympathizing, sitting motionless, not even leaning on each other in
that moment of grief. So they were together, yet apart, during the
ceremony that consigned the wife to the grave where five-and-twenty
years before they had laid the husband. So they were together, yet
apart, when they turned their horse's head towards their home and rode
away silently into the sombre twilight.

The last person who saw them that night was Mrs. Clark. The brothers
had insisted that both she and the Irish girl should leave early in the
day,--replying to all offers of putting the house in order, that they
preferred to be alone. But on her way home after the funeral, Mrs. Clark
passed the house in a friend's sleigh and stopped a moment for her
bundle, which in the hurry of the morning had been forgotten. To her
surprise, as she approached the door, she saw that there were no lights
visible in any of the windows, although it was already very dark.
Thinking the brothers were in the back part of the house, she pushed
open the door, which yielded to her touch, and was just about to make
her way towards the kitchen, when she heard a sound in the parlor, and
then these words, quite distinctly:--

"Are you ready, James?"

"Yes,--only one word. It is a long account we have to settle, and it
must be final."

"It shall be. Mine is a heavy score. Years ago I swore to wipe it out,
and now the time has come."

Mrs. Clark's knock interrupted them. There was an angry exclamation, and
the door was opened. To her intense surprise, no light came from within.
She could not understand how they could settle their accounts in the
darkness; but they gave her no time for reflection; an angry voice, in
answer to her inquiries, bade her go on to the kitchen, and she hastened
off. There she found a single candle burning dimly; by its light she
picked up her bundle, and, leaving the door open to see her way,
returned to the front of the house. Though not a nervous woman, she felt
an undefined fear at the mysterious darkness and silence; and as she
passed the brothers standing in the doorway, she was struck with fresh
terror at the livid pallor of those two stern faces that looked out from
the black shadow. When she was going out, she heard the door of the
parlor bolted within, and she rejoined her friends, right glad to be
away from the sad house.

So those two men were left alone, locked into the dark room together, in
the horrible companionship of their inextinguishable hatred and their
own bad hearts. It will forever remain unknown what passed between them
through the long hours of that awful night, when the wind howled madly
around the lightless house, and the clouds gathered blacker and thicker,
shrouding it in impenetrable gloom.

Three days passed before any living creature approached the spot,--three
days of cold unparalleled in the annals of that country,--cold so severe
that it compelled even the hardy farmers to keep as much as possible by
the fireside. On the fourth day, Isaac Welles began to think they had
been quite long enough alone, and he started with a friend to visit the
Blount brothers. Arrived at the farm-house, they saw the sleigh standing
before the door, but no sign of any one stirring. The shutters of the
windows were closed, and no smoke came out of the chimney. They knocked
at the door. No answer. Surprised at the silence, they at length tried
to open it. It was not locked, but some heavy substance barred the way.
With difficulty they forced it open wide enough to go in.

To this day those men shudder and turn pale, as they recall the awful
scene that awaited them within that house, which was, in fact, a tomb.

The obstacle which opposed their entrance was the dead body of John
Blount. He lay stretched on the floor,--his face mutilated by cuts and
disfigured with gore, his clothes disordered and bloody, and one hand
nearly severed from the arm by a deep gash at the wrist; yet it was
evident that none of these wounds were mortal. After that terrible
conflict, he had probably crawled to the door and fallen there, faint
with loss of blood; the silent, cruel cold had completed the work of
death.

Following the blood-track, the two men entered the parlor, with
suspended breath and hearts that almost ceased to beat. There they
found the dead body of James Blount,--his clothes half torn off, in the
violence of the strife that could end only in murder. A long, deep cut
on the throat had terminated that awful struggle, though many other less
dangerous wounds showed how desperate it had been. He lay just as he
fell,--his features still contracted with a look of defiance and
hatred, and in his right hand still clasped a long, sharp knife. He had
succumbed in that mortal conflict, which quenched a lifelong quarrel,
and was to prove fatal alike to victor and vanquished. Thus the vow of
John Blount was fulfilled,--the pent-up hatred of years satisfied in his
brother's murder.

The room was in the wildest disorder,--chairs thrown down and broken,
tables overturned, and the carpet torn. In one corner they found a
second long, sharp knife. It had been at least a fair fight.

They laid the two ghastly corpses side by side: they had been chained
together all their lives; they were chained together in death. The two
fratricides are buried in one grave.

This terrible tragedy blighted the spot where it took place. No one
would ever inhabit that house again. The furniture was removed, except
from the one room which to this day remains unchanged, and the building
left to fall to decay. The superstitious affirm, that, in the long
winter nights, oaths and groans steal out, muffled, on the rising wind,
from the dark shadows of the Lonely House.

       *       *       *       *       *


BARBARISM AND CIVILIZATION.


In the interior of the island of Borneo there has been found a certain
race of wild creatures, of which kindred varieties have been discovered
in the Philippine Islands, in Terra del Fuego, and in Southern Africa.
They walk usually almost erect upon two legs, and in that attitude
measure about four feet in height; they are dark, wrinkled, and hairy;
they construct no habitations, form no families, scarcely associate
together, sleep in trees or in caves, feed on snakes and vermin, on ants
and ants' eggs, on mice, and on each other; they cannot be tamed, nor
forced to any labor; and they are hunted and shot among the trees, like
the great gorillas, of which they are a stunted copy. When they are
captured alive, one finds, with surprise, that their uncouth jabbering
sounds like articulate language; they turn up a human face to gaze upon
their captor; the females show instincts of modesty; and, in fine, these
wretched beings are Men.

Men, "created in God's image," born immortal and capable of progress,
and so differing from Socrates and Shakspeare only in degree. It is but
a sliding scale from this melancholy debasement up to the most regal
condition of humanity. A traceable line of affinity unites these outcast
children with the renowned historic races of the world: the Assyrian,
the Egyptian, the Ethiopian, the Jew,--the beautiful Greek, the strong
Roman, the keen Arab, the passionate Italian, the stately Spaniard, the
sad Portuguese, the brilliant Frenchman, the frank Northman, the wise
German, the firm Englishman, and that last-born heir of Time, the
American, inventor of many new things, but himself, by his temperament,
the greatest novelty of all,--the American, with his cold, clear eye,
his skin made of ice, and his veins filled with lava.

Who shall define what makes the essential difference between those
lowest and these loftiest types? Not color; for the most degraded races
seem never to be the blackest, and the builders of the Pyramids were far
darker than the dwellers in the Aleutian Islands. Not unmixed purity of
blood; since the Circassians, the purest type of the supreme Caucasian
race, have given nothing to history but the courage of their men and the
degradation of their women. Not religion; for enlightened nations have
arisen under each great historic faith, while even Christianity has its
Abyssinia and Arkansas. Not climate; for each quarter of the globe has
witnessed both extremes. We can only say that there is an inexplicable
step in progress, which we call civilization; it is the development of
mankind into a sufficient maturity of strength to keep the peace and
organize institutions; it is the arrival of literature and art; it is
the lion and the lamb beginning to lie down together, without having, as
some one has said, the lamb inside of the lion.

There are innumerable aspects of this great transformation; but there is
one, in special, which has been continually ignored or evaded. In the
midst of our civilization, there is a latent distrust of civilization.
We are never weary of proclaiming the enormous gain it has brought
to manners, to morals, and to intellect; but there is a wide-spread
impression that the benefit is purchased by a corresponding physical
decay. This alarm has had its best statement from Emerson. "Society
never advances. It recedes as fast on one side as it gains on the
other.... What a contrast between the well-clad, reading, writing,
thinking American, with a watch, a pencil, and a bill of exchange in his
pocket, and the naked New-Zealander, whose property is a club, a spear,
a mat, and the undivided twentieth part of a shed to sleep under! But
compare the health of the two men, and you shall see that his aboriginal
strength the white man has lost. If the traveller tell us truly, strike
the savage with a broad-axe, and in a day or two the flesh shall unite
and heal as if you struck the blow into soft pitch; and the same blow
shall send the white man to his grave."

Were this true, the fact would be fatal. Man is a progressive being,
only on condition that he begin at the beginning. He can afford to wait
centuries for a brain, but he cannot subsist a second without a body. If
civilization sacrifice the physical thus hopelessly to the mental, and
barbarism merely sacrifice the mental to the physical, then barbarism is
unquestionably the better thing, so far as it goes, because it provides
the essential preliminary conditions, and so can afford to wait.
Barbarism is a one-story log-hut, a poor thing, but better than nothing;
while such a civilization would be simply a second story, with a first
story too weak to sustain it, a magnificent sky-parlor, with all heaven
in view from the upper windows, but with the whole family coming down in
a crash presently, through a fatal neglect of the basement. In such a
view, an American Indian or a Kaffir warrior may be a wholesome object,
good for something already, and for much more when he gets a brain
built on. But when one sees a bookworm in his library, an anxious
merchant-prince in his counting-room, tottering feebly about, his thin
underpinning scarcely able to support what he has already crammed
into that heavy brain of his, and he still piling in more,--one feels
disposed to cry out, "Unsafe passing here! Stand from under!"

Sydney Smith, in his "Moral Philosophy," has also put strongly this case
of physiological despair. "Nothing can be plainer than that a life of
society is unfavorable to all the animal powers of men.... A Choctaw
could run from here to Oxford without stopping. I go in the mail-coach;
and the time the savage has employed in learning to run so fast I have
employed in learning something useful. It would not only be useless in
me to run like a Choctaw, but foolish and disgraceful." But one may well
suppose, that, if the jovial divine had kept himself in training for
this disgraceful lost art of running, his diary might not have recorded
the habit of lying two hours in bed in the morning, "dawdling and
doubting," as he says, or the fact of his having "passed the whole day
in an unpleasant state of body, produced by laziness"; and he might
not have been compelled to invent for himself that amazing rheumatic
armor,--a pair of tin boots, a tin collar, a tin helmet, and a tin
shoulder-of-mutton over each of his natural shoulders, all duly filled
with boiling water, and worn in patience by the sedentary Sydney.

It is also to be remembered that this statement was made in 1805,
when England and Germany were both waking up to a revival of physical
training,--if we may trust Sir John Sinclair in the one case, and
Salzmann in the other,--such as America is experiencing now. Many years
afterwards, Sydney Smith wrote to his brother, that "a working senator
should lead the life of an athlete." But supposing the fact still true,
that an average red man can run, and an average white man cannot,--who
does not see that it is the debility, not the feat, which is
discreditable? Setting aside the substantial advantages of strength
and activity, there is a melancholy loss of self-respect in buying
cultivation for the brain by resigning the proper vigor of the body. Let
men say what they please, they all demand a life which shall be whole
and sound throughout, and there is a drawback upon all gifts that are
paid for in infirmities. There is no thorough satisfaction in art or
intellect, if we yet feel ashamed before the Indian because we cannot
run, and before the South-Sea Islander because we cannot swim. Give us a
total culture, and a success without any discount of shame. After all,
one feels a certain justice in Warburton's story of the Guinea trader,
in Spence's Anecdotes. Mr. Pope was with Sir Godfrey Kneller one day,
when his nephew, a Guinea trader, came in. "Nephew," said Sir Godfrey,
"you have the honor of seeing the two greatest men in the world." "I
don't know how great you may be," said the Guinea-man, "but I don't like
your looks; I have often bought a man, much better than both of you
together, all muscles and bones, for ten guineas."

Fortunately for the hopes of man, the alarm is unfounded. The advance
of accurate knowledge dispels it. Civilization is cultivation, whole
cultivation; and even in its present imperfect state, it not only
permits physical training, but promotes it. The traditional glory of
the savage body is yielding before medical statistics: it is becoming
evident that the average barbarian, observed from the cradle to the
grave, does not know enough and is not rich enough to keep his body in
its highest condition, but, on the contrary, is small and sickly and
short-lived and weak, compared with the man of civilization. The great
athletes of the world have been civilized; the long-lived men have been
civilized; the powerful armies have been civilized; and the average of
life, health, size, and strength is highest to-day among those races
where knowledge and wealth and comfort are most widely spread. And yet,
by the common lamentation, one would suppose that all civilization is a
slow suicide of the race, and that refinement and culture are to leave
man at last in a condition like that of the little cherubs on old
tomb-stones, all head and wings.

It must be owned that the delusion has all the superstitions of history
in its favor, and only the facts against it. If we may trust tradition,
the race has undoubtedly been tapering down from century to century
since the Creation, so that the original Adam must have been more than
twice the size of the Webster statue. However far back we go, admiring
memory looks farther. Homer and Virgil never let their hero throw a
stone without reminding us that modern heroes only live in glass houses,
to have stones thrown at them. Lucretius and Juvenal chant the same
lament. Xenophon, mourning the march of luxury among the Persians, says
that modern effeminacy has reached such a pitch, that men have even
devised coverings for their fingers, called gloves. Herodotus narrates,
that, when Cambyses sent ambassadors to the Macrobians, they asked what
the Persians had to eat and how long they commonly lived. He was told
that they sometimes attained the age of eighty, and that they ate a mass
of crushed grain, which they termed bread. On this, they said that it
was no wonder, if the Persians died young, when they partook of such
rubbish, and that probably they would not survive even so long, but for
the wine they drank; while the Macrobians lived on flesh and milk, and
survived one hundred and twenty years.

But, unfortunately, there were no Life Insurance Companies among the
Macrobians, and therefore nothing to bring down this formidable average
to a reliable schedule,--such as accurately informs every modern man how
long he may live honestly, without defrauding either his relict or his
insurers. We know, moreover, precisely what Dr. Windship can lift, at
any given date, and what the rest of us cannot; but Homer and Virgil
never weighed the stones which their heroes threw, nor even the words in
which they described the process. It is a matter of certainty that
all great exploits are severely tested by Fairbanks's scales and
stop-watches. It is wonderful how many persons, in the remoter
districts, assure the newspaper-editors of their ability to lift twelve
hundred pounds; and many a young oarsman can prove to you that he has
pulled his mile faster than Ward or Clark, if you will only let him give
his own guess at time and distance.

It is easy, therefore, to trace the origin of these exaggerations. Those
old navigators, for instance, who saw so many fine things which were
not to be seen, how should they help peopling the barbarous realms with
races of giants? Job Hartop, who three times observed a merman rise
above water to his waist, near the Bermudas,--Harris, who endured such
terrific cold in the Antarctics, that once, perilously blowing his nose
with his fingers, it flew into the fire and was seen no more,--Knyvett,
who, in the same regions, pulled off his frozen stockings, and his toes
with them, but had them replaced by the ship's surgeon,--of course
these men saw giants, and it is only a matter for gratitude that they
vouchsafed us dwarfs also, to keep up some remains of self-respect in
us. In Magellan's Straits, for instance, they saw, on one side, from
three to four thousand pigmies with mouths from ear to ear; while on the
other shore they saw giants whose footsteps were four times as large as
an Englishman's,--which was a strong expression, considering that the
Englishman's footstep had already reached round the globe.

The only way to test these earlier observations is by later ones. For
instance, in the year 1772, a Dutchman named Roggewein discovered Easter
Island. His expedition had cost the government a good deal, and he
had to bring home his money's worth of discoveries. Accordingly, his
islanders were all giants,--twice as tall, he said, as the tallest of
the Europeans; "they measured, one with another, the height of twelve
feet; so that we could easily,--who will not wonder at it?--without
stooping, have passed between the legs of these sons of Goliath.
According to their height, so is their thickness." Moreover, he "puts
down nothing but the real truth, and upon the nicest inspection," and,
to exhibit this caution, warns us that it would be wrong to rate the
women of those regions as high as the men, they being, as he pityingly
owns, "commonly not above ten or eleven feet." Sweet young creatures
they must have appeared, belle and steeple in one. And it was certainly
a great disappointment to Captain Cook, when, on visiting the same
Island, fifty years later, he could not find man or woman more than six
feet tall. Thus ended the tale of this Flying Dutchman.

Thus lamentably have the inhabitants of Patagonia been also dwindling,
though, there, if anywhere, still lies the Cape of Bad Hope for the
apostles of human degeneracy. Pigafetta originally estimated them at
twelve feet. In the time of Commodore Byron, they had already grown
downward; yet he said of them that they were "enormous goblins," seven
feet high, every one of them. One of his officers, however, writing an
independent narrative, seemed to think this a needless concession; he
admits, indeed, that the women were not, perhaps, more than seven feet,
or seven and a half, or, it might be, eight, "but the men were, for
the most part, about nine feet high, and very often more." Lieutenant
Cumming, he said, being but six feet two, appeared a mere pigmy among
them. But it seems, that, in after-times, on some one's questioning this
diminutive lieutenant as to the actual size of these enormous goblins,
the veteran frankly confessed, that, "had it been anywhere else but in
Patagonia, he should have called them good sturdy savages and thought no
more on't."

But, these facts apart, there are certain general truths which look
ominous for the reputation of the _physique_ of savage tribes.

First, they cannot keep the race alive, they are always tending to
decay. When first encountered by civilization, they usually tell stories
of their own decline in numbers, and after that the downward movement is
accelerated. They are poor, ignorant, improvident, oppressed by others'
violence, or exhausted by their own; war kills them, infanticide and
abortion cut them off before they reach the age of war, pestilences
sweep them away, whole tribes perish by famine and smallpox. Under the
stern climate of the Esquimaux and the soft skies of Tahiti, the same
decline is seen. Parkman estimates that in 1763 the whole number of
Indians east of the Mississippi was but ten thousand, and they were
already mourning their own decay. Travellers seldom visit a savage
country without remarking on the scarcity of aged people and of young
children. Lewis and Clarke, Mackenzie, Alexander Henry, observed this
among Indian tribes never before visited by white men; Dr. Kane remarked
it among the Esquimaux, D'Azara among the Indians of South America, and
many travellers in the South-Sea Islands and even in Africa, though the
black man apparently takes more readily to civilization than any other
race, and then develops a terrible vitality, as American politicians
find to their cost.

Meanwhile, the hardships which thus decimate the tribe toughen the
survivors, and sometimes give them an apparent advantage over civilized
men. The savages whom one encounters are necessarily the picked men of
the race, and the observer takes no census of the multitudes who have
perished in the process. Civilization keeps alive, in every generation,
multitudes who would otherwise die prematurely. These millions of
invalids do not owe to civilization their diseases, but their lives. It
is painful that your sick friend should live on Cherry Pectoral; but if
he had been born in barbarism, he would neither have had it to drink nor
survived to drink it.

And again, it is now satisfactorily demonstrated that these picked
survivors of savage life are commonly suffering under the same diseases
with their civilized compeers, and show less vital power to resist them.
In barbarous nations every foreigner is taken for a physician, and the
first demand is for medicines; if not the right medicines, then the
wrong ones; if no medicines are at hand, the written prescription,
administered internally, is sometimes found a desirable restorative. The
earliest missionaries to the South-Sea Islands found ulcers and dropsy
and hump-backs there before them. The English Bishop of New Zealand,
landing on a lone islet where no ship had ever touched, found the
whole population prostrate with influenza. Lewis and Clarke, the first
explorers of the Rocky Mountains, found Indian warriors ill with fever
and dysentery, rheumatism and paralysis, and Indian women in hysterics.
"The tooth-ache," said Roger Williams of the New England tribes, "is the
only paine which will force their stoute hearts to cry"; even the Indian
women, he says, never cry as he has heard "some of their men in this
paine"; but Lewis and Clarke found whole tribes who had abolished this
source of tears in the civilized manner, by having no teeth left. We
complain of our weak eyes as a result of civilized habits, and Tennyson,
in "Locksley Hall," wishes his children bred in some savage land, "not
with blinded eyesight poring over miserable books." But savage life
seems more injurious to the organs of vision than even the type of a
cheap edition; for the most vigorous barbarians--on the prairies, in
Southern archipelagos, on African deserts--suffer more from different
forms of ophthalmia than from any other disease; without knowing the
alphabet, they have worse eyes than if they were professors, and have
not even the melancholy consolation of spectacles.

Again, the savage cannot, as a general rule, endure transplantation,--he
cannot thrive in the country of the civilized man; whereas the latter,
with time for training, can equal or excel him in strength and endurance
on his own ground. As it is known that the human race generally can
endure a greater variety of climate than the hardiest of the lower
animals, so it is with the man of civilization, when compared with the
barbarian. Kane, when he had once learned how to live in the Esquimaux
country, lived better than the Esquimaux themselves; and he says
expressly, that "their powers of resistance are no greater than those of
well-trained voyagers from other lands." Richardson, Parkyns, Johnstone,
give it as their opinion, that the European, once acclimated, bears
the heat of the African deserts better than the native negro. "These
Christians are devils," say the Arabs; "they can endure both cold and
heat." What are the Bedouins to the Zouaves, who unquestionably would be
as formidable in Lapland as in Algiers? Nay, in the very climates where
the natives are fading away, the civilized foreigner multiplies: thus,
the strong New-Zealanders do not average two children to a family, while
the households of the English colonists are larger than at home,--which
is saying a good deal.

Most formidable of all is the absence of all recuperative power in
the savage who rejects civilization. No effort of will improves his
condition; he sees his race dying out, and he can only drink and forget
it. But the civilized man has an immense capacity for self-restoration;
he can make mistakes and correct them again, sin and repent, sink and
rise. Instinct can only prevent; science can cure in one generation, and
prevent in the next. It is known that some twenty years ago a thrill
of horror shot through all Anglo-Saxondom at the reported physical
condition of the operatives in English mines and factories. It is not so
generally known, that, by a recent statement of the medical inspector of
factories, there is declared to have been a most astounding renovation
of female health in such establishments throughout all England since
that time,--the simple result of sanitary laws. What science has done
science can do. Everybody knows which symptom of American physical decay
is habitually quoted, as most alarming; one seldom sees a dentist who
does not despair of the republic. Yet this calamity is nothing new; the
elder branch of our race has been through that epidemic, and outlived
it. In the robust days of Queen Bess, the teeth of the court ladies were
habitually so black and decayed, that foreigners used constantly to ask
if Englishwomen ate nothing but sugar. Hentzner, who visited the country
in 1697, speaks of the same calamity as common among the English of all
classes. Two centuries and a half have removed the stigma,--improved
physical habits have put fresh pearls between the lips of all England
now; and there seems no reason why we Americans may not yet be healthy,
in spite of our teeth.

Thus much for general considerations; let us come now to more specific
tests, beginning with the comparison of size. The armor of the knights
of the Middle Ages is too small for their modern descendants: Hamilton
Smith records that two Englishmen of average dimensions found no suit
large enough to fit them in the great collection of Sir Samuel Meyrick.
The Oriental sabre will not admit the English hand, nor the bracelet of
the Kaffir warrior the English arm. The swords found in Roman tumuli
have handles inconveniently small; and the great mediaeval two-handed
sword is now supposed to have been used only for one or two blows at the
first onset, and then exchanged for a smaller one. The statements given
by Homer, Aristotle, and Vitruvius represent six feet as a high standard
for full-grown men; and the irrefutable evidence of the ancient
doorways, bedsteads, and tombs proves the average size of the race to
have certainly not diminished in modern days. The gigantic bones have
all turned out to be animal remains; even the skeleton twenty-five
feet high and ten feet broad, which one _savant_ wrote a book called
"Gigantosteologia" to prove human, and another, a counter-argument,
called "Gigantomachia," to prove animal,--neither of the philosophers
taking the trouble to draw a single fragment of the fossil. The enormous
savage races have turned out, as has been shown, to be travellers'
tales,--even the Patagonians being brought down to an average of five
feet ten inches, and being, moreover, only a part of a race, the
Abipones, of which the other families are smaller. Indeed, we can all
learn by our own experience how irresistible is the tendency of the
imagination to attribute vast proportions to all hardy and warlike
tribes. Most persons fancy the Scottish Highlanders, for instance, to
have been a race of giants; yet Charles Edward was said to be taller
than any man in his Highland army, and his height was but five feet
nine. We have the same impression in regard to our own Aborigines. Yet,
when first, upon the prairies of Nebraska, I came in sight of a tribe of
genuine, unadulterated Indians, with no possession on earth but a
bow and arrow and a bear-skin,--bare-skin in a double sense, I might
add,--my instinctive exclamation was, "What race of dwarfs is this?"
They were the descendants of the glorious Pawnees of Cooper, the heroes
of every boy's imagination; yet, excepting the three chiefs, who were
noble-looking men of six feet in height, the tallest of the tribe could
not have measured five feet six inches.

The most careful investigations give the same results in respect to
physical strength. Early travellers among our Indians, as Hearne and
Mackenzie, and early missionaries to the South-Sea Islands, as Ellis,
report athletic contests in which the natives could not equal the
better-fed, better-clothed, better-trained Europeans. When the French
_savans_, Péron, Regnier, Ransonnet, carried their dynamometers to the
islands of the Indian Ocean, they found with surprise that an average
English sailor was forty-two per cent, stronger, and an average
Frenchman thirty per cent, stronger, than the strongest island tribe
they visited. Even in comparing different European races, it is
undeniable that bodily strength goes with the highest civilization.
It is recorded in Robert Stephenson's Life, that, when the English
"navvies" were employed upon the Paris and Boulogne Railway, they used
spades and barrows just twice the size of those employed by their
Continental rivals, and were regularly paid double. Quetelet's
experiments with the dynamometer on university students showed the same
results: first ranked the Englishman, then the Frenchman, then the
Belgian, then the Russian, then the Southern European: for those races
of Southern Europe which once ruled the Eastern and the Western worlds
by physical and mental power have lost in strength as they have paused
in civilization, and the easy victories of our armies in Mexico show us
the result.

It is impossible to deny that the observations on this subject are yet
very imperfect; and the only thing to be claimed is, that they all point
one way. So far as absolute statistical tables go, the above-named
French observations have till recently stood almost alone, and have been
the main reliance. The just criticism has, however, been made, that the
subjects of these experiments were the inhabitants of New Holland and
Van Diemen's Land, by no means the strongest instances on the side of
barbarism. It is, therefore, fortunate that the French tables have now
been superseded by some more important comparisons, accurately made by
A.S. Thomson, M.D., Surgeon of the Fifty-Eighth Regiment of the British
Army, and printed in the seventeenth volume of the Journal of the London
Statistical Society.

The observations were made in New Zealand,--Dr. Thomson being stationed
there with his regiment, and being charged with the duty of vaccinating
all natives employed by the government. The islanders thus used for
experiment were to some extent picked men, as none but able-bodied
persons would have been selected for employ, and as they were, moreover,
(he states,) accustomed to lifting burdens, and better-fed than the
majority of their countrymen. The New Zealand race, as a whole, is
certainly a very favorable type of barbarism, having but just emerged
from an utterly savage condition, having been cannibals within one
generation, and being the very identical people among whom were recorded
those wonderful cures of flesh-wounds to which Emerson has referred.
Cook and all other navigators have praised their robust physical aspect,
and they undoubtedly, with the Fijians and the Tongans, stand at the
head of all island races. They are admitted to surpass our American
Indians, as well as the Kaffirs and the Joloffs, probably the finest
African races; and a careful comparison between New-Zealanders and
Anglo-Saxons will, therefore, approach as near to an _experimentum
crucis_ as any single set of observations can. The following tables have
been carefully prepared from those of Dr. Thomson, with the addition
of some scanty facts from other sources,--scanty, because, as Quetelet
indignantly observes, less pains have as yet been taken to measure
accurately the physical powers of man than those of any machine he has
constructed or any animal he has tamed.

  TABLE.

  HEIGHT.            _Number measured.  Average._
  New-Zealanders...................  147  5 feet 6-3/4 inches.
  Students at Edinburgh............  800  5 "    7-1/10 "
  Class of 1860. Cambridge (Mass.).  106  5 "    7-3/5  "
  Students at Cambridge (Eng.).....   80  5 "    8-3/5  "

  WEIGHT.
  New-Zealanders...................  146  140 pounds.
  Soldiers 58th Regiment........... 1778  142     "
  Class of 1860. Cambridge (Mass.).  106  142-1/2 "
  Students at Cambridge (Eng.).....   80  143     "
  Men weighed at Boston (U.S.)
  Mechanics' Fair, 1860 .........   4369  146-3/4 "
  Englishmen (Dr. Thomson)......... 2648  148     "
  Cambridge, Eng. (a newspaper
  statement) .................... ----    151     "
  Revolutionary officers at West
  Point, August 10th, 1778,
  given in "Milledulcia," p. 273..   11    226   "

  AREA OF CHEST.
  New-Zealanders...................  151  35.36 inches.
  Soldiers 58th Regiment...........  628  36.71  "

  STRENGTH IN LIFTING.
  New-Zealanders...................   31  367 pounds.
  Students fit Edinburgh, aged 25.. ----  416  "
  Soldiers 58th Regiment...........   33  422  "

  NOTE. The range of strength among the New-Zealanders was from 250
  pounds to 420 pounds; among the soldiers, from 350 pounds to 504 pounds.

But it is the test of longevity which exhibits the greatest triumph for
civilization, because here the life-insurance tables furnish ample,
though comparatively recent statistics. Of course, in legendary ages all
lives were of enormous length; and the Hindoos in their sacred books
attribute to their progenitors a career of forty million years or
thereabouts,--what may safely be termed a ripe old age; for if a man
were still unripe after celebrating his forty-millionth birthday, he
might as well give it up. But from the beginning of accurate statistics
we know that the duration of life in any nation is a fair index of
its progress in civilization, Quetelet gives statistics, more or less
reliable, from every nation of Northern Europe, showing a gain of ten to
twenty-five per cent, during the last century. Where the tables are most
carefully prepared, the result is least equivocal. Thus, in Geneva,
where accurate registers have been kept for three hundred years, it
seems that from 1560 to 1600 the average lifetime of the citizens was
twenty-one years and two months; in the next century, twenty-five years
and nine months; in the century following, thirty-two years and nine
months; and in the year 1833, forty years and five months: thus nearly
doubling the average age of man in Geneva, within those three centuries
of social progress. In France, it is estimated, that, in spite of
revolutions and Napoleons, human life has been gaining at the rate
of two months a year for nearly a century. By a manuscript of the
fourteenth century, moreover, it is shown that the rate of mortality
in Paris was then one in sixteen,--one person dying annually to every
sixteen of the inhabitants. It is now one in thirty-two,--a gain of a
hundred per cent, in five hundred years. In England the progress
has been far more rapid. The rate of mortality in 1690 was one in
thirty-three; in 1780 it was one in forty; and it stands now at one in
sixty,--the healthiest condition in Europe,--while in half-barbarous
Russia the rate of mortality is one in twenty-seven. It would be easy to
multiply these statistics to any extent; but they all point one way, and
no medical statistician now pretends to oppose the dictum of Hufeland,
that "a certain degree of culture is physically necessary for man, and
promotes duration of life."

The simple result is, that the civilized man is physically superior to
the barbarian. There is now no evidence that there exists in any part of
the world a savage race who, taken as a whole, surpass or even equal the
Anglo-Saxon type in average physical condition; as there is also
none among whom the President elect of the United States and the
Commander-in-chief of his armies would not be regarded as remarkably
tall men, and Dr. Windship a remarkably strong one. "It is now well
known," says Prichard, "that all savage races have less muscular power
than civilized men." Johnstone in Northern Africa, and Cumming in
Southern Africa, could find no one to equal them in strength of arm.
At the Sandwich Islands, Ellis records, that, "when a boat manned by
English seamen and a canoe with natives left the shore together, the
canoe would uniformly leave the boat behind, but they would soon relax,
while the seamen, pulling steadily on, would pass them, but, if the
voyage took three hours, would invariably reach the destination first."
Certain races may have been regularly trained by position and necessity
in certain particular arts,--as Sandwich-Islanders in swimming, and our
Indians in running,--and may naturally surpass the average skill of
those who are comparatively out of practice in that speciality; yet it
is remarkable that their greatest feats even in these ways never seem
to surpass those achieved by picked specimens of civilization. The best
Indian runners could only equal Lewis and Clarke's men, and they have
been repeatedly beaten in prize-races within the last few years; while
the most remarkable aquatic feat on record is probably that of Mr.
Atkins of Liverpool, who recently dived to a depth of two hundred and
thirty feet, reappearing above water in one minute and eleven seconds.

In the wilderness and on the prairies, we find a general impression that
cultivation and refinement must weaken the race. Not at all; they simply
domesticate it. Domestication is not weakness. A strong hand does not
become less muscular under a kid glove; and a man who is a hero in a red
shirt will also be a hero in a white one. Civilization, imperfect as
it is, has already procured for us better food, better air, and better
behavior; it gives us physical training on system; and its mental
training, by refining the nervous organization, makes the same quantity
of muscular power go much farther. The young English ensigns and
lieutenants who at Waterloo (in the words of Wellington) "rushed to meet
death, as if it were a game of cricket," were the fruit of civilization.
They were representatives, indeed, of the aristocracy of their nation;
and here, where the aim of all institutions is to make the whole nation
an aristocracy, we must plan to secure the same splendid physical
superiority on a grander scale. It is in our power, by using even very
moderately for this purpose our magnificent machinery of common schools,
to give to the physical side of civilization an advantage which it has
possessed nowhere else, not even in England or Germany. It is not yet
time to suggest detailed plans on this subject, since the public mind
is not yet fully awake even to the demand. When the time comes, the
necessary provisions can be made easily,--at least, as regards boys;
for the physical training of girls is a far more difficult problem
The organization is more delicate and complicated, the embarrassments
greater, the observations less carefully made, the successes fewer,
the failures far more disastrous. Any intelligent and robust man may
undertake the physical training of fifty boys, however delicate their
organization, with a reasonable hope of rearing nearly all of them, by
easy and obvious methods, into a vigorous maturity; but what wise man
or woman can expect anything like the same proportion of success, at
present, with fifty American girls?

This is the most momentous health-problem with which we have to deal,--
to secure the proper physical advantages of civilization for American
women. Without this there can be no lasting progress. The Sandwich
Island proverb says,--

  "If strong be the frame of the mother,
  Her son shall make laws for the people."

But in this country, it is scarcely an exaggeration to say that
every man grows to maturity surrounded by a circle of invalid female
relatives, that he later finds himself the husband of an invalid wife
and the parent of invalid daughters, and that he comes at last to regard
invalidism, as Michelet coolly declares, the normal condition of that
sex,--as if the Almighty did not know how to create a woman. This, of
course, spreads a gloom over life. When I look at the morning throng of
schoolgirls in summer, hurrying through every street, with fresh, young
faces, and vesture of lilies, duly curled and straw-hatted and booted,
and turned off as patterns of perfection by proud mammas,--it is not sad
to me to think that all this young beauty must one day fade and die, for
there are spheres of life beyond this earth, I know, and the soul is
good to endure through more than one;--the sadness is in the unnatural
nearness of the decay, to foresee the living death of disease that is
waiting close at hand for so many, to know how terrible a proportion of
those fair children are walking unconsciously into a weary, wretched,
powerless, joyless, useless maturity. Among the myriad triumphs of
advancing civilization, there seems but one formidable danger, and that
is here.

It cannot be doubted, however, that the peril will pass by, with
advancing knowledge. In proportion to our national recklessness of
danger is the promptness with which remedial measures are adopted, when
they at last become indispensable. In the mean time, we must look for
proofs of the physical resources of woman into foreign and even
into savage lands. When an American mother tells me with pride, as
occasionally happens, that her daughter can walk two miles and back
without great fatigue, the very boast seems a tragedy; but when one
reads that Oberea, queen of the Sandwich Islands, lifted Captain Wallis
over a marsh as easily as if he had been a little child, there is a
slight sense of consolation. Brunhilde, in the "Nibelungen," binds her
offending lover with her girdle and slings him up to the wall. Cymburga,
wife of Duke Ernest of Lithuania, could crack nuts between her fingers,
and drive nails into a wall with her thumb;--whether she ever got her
husband under it is not recorded. Let me preserve from oblivion the
renown of my Lady Butterfield, who, about the year 1700, at Wanstead,
in Essex, (England,) thus advertised:--"This is to give notice to my
honored masters and ladies and loving friends, that my Lady Butterfield
gives a challenge to ride a horse, or leap a horse, or run afoot, or
_hollo_, with any woman in England seven years younger, but not a day
older, because I won't undervalue myself, being now 74 years of age."
Nor should be left unrecorded the high-born Scottish damsel whose
tradition still remains at the Castle of Huntingtower, in Scotland,
where two adjacent pinnacles still mark the Maiden's Leap. She sprang
from battlement to battlement, a distance of nine feet and four inches,
and eloped with her lover. Were a young lady to go through one of our
villages in a series of leaps like that, and were she to require her
lovers to follow in her footsteps, it is to be feared that she would die
single.

Yet the transplanted race which has in two centuries stepped from Delft
Haven to San Francisco has no reason to be ashamed of its physical
achievements, the more especially as it has found time on the way for
one feat of labor and endurance which may be matched without fear
against any historic deed. When civilization took possession of
this continent, it found one vast coating of almost unbroken forest
overspreading it from shore to prairie. To make room for civilization,
that forest must go. What were Indians, however deadly,--what
starvation, however imminent,--what pestilence, however lurking,--to a
solid obstacle like this? No mere courage could cope with it, no mere
subtlety, no mere skill, no Yankee ingenuity, no labor-saving machine
with head for hands; but only firm, unwearying, bodily muscle to every
stroke. Tree by tree, in two centuries, that forest has been felled.
What were the Pyramids to that? There does not exist in history an
athletic feat so astonishing.

But there yet lingers upon this continent a forest of moral evil more
formidable, a barrier denser and darker, a Dismal Swamp of inhumanity,
a barbarism upon the soil, before which civilization has thus far been
compelled to pause,--happy, if it could even check its spread. Checked
at last, there comes from it a cry as if the light of day had turned to
darkness,--when the truth simply is, that darkness is being mastered and
surrounded by the light of day. Is it a good thing to "extend the area
of freedom" by pillaging some feeble Mexico? and does the phrase become
a bad one only when it means the peaceful progress of constitutional
liberty within our own borders? The phrases which oppression teaches
become the watchwords of freedom at last, and the triumph of
Civilization over Barbarism is the only Manifest Destiny of America.



WHO WAS CASPAR HAUSER?


Recent publications have again attracted our attention to a subject
which about thirty years ago was the cause of great excitement and
innumerable speculations. The very extraordinary advent, life, and death
of Caspar Hauser, the novelty and singularity of all his thoughts and
actions, and his charming innocence and amiability, interested at the
time all Europe in his behalf. Thrown upon the world in a state of utter
helplessness, he was adopted by one of the cities of Germany, and became
not only a universal pet, but a sight which people flocked from all
parts to see. It became a perfect fever, raging throughout Germany, and
extending also to other countries. The papers teemed with accounts and
conjectures. Innumerable essays and even books were written, almost
every one advancing a different theory for the solution of the mystery.
But his death was still more the occasion for their appearance, and for
some time thereafter they literally swarmed from the press. Every one
who had in any way come in contact with him, and a great many who knew
him by reputation only, thought themselves called upon to give their
views, so that in a little while the subject acquired almost a
literature of its own.

But this excitement gradually disappeared, and with it most of the
literature which it had called forth. There are a few names, however,
which occur frequently in connection with that of Caspar Hauser, to
whose opinions we shall subsequently call attention. They are Feuerbach,
Daumer, Merker, Stanhope, Binder, Meier, and Fuhrmann.[A] Of these,
Binder was his earliest protector; Feuerbach conducted the legal
investigations to which Caspar's mysterious appearance gave rise; Daumer
was for a long time his teacher and host; Stanhope adopted him; Meier
afterwards filled Daumer's place; and Fuhrmann was the clergyman who
attended his death-bed. Merker, though never thrown very closely in
contact with Caspar, was a Prussian Counsellor of Police, and as such
his opinion may perhaps have more than ordinary weight with some. Most
of them published their various opinions during Caspar's life or soon
after his death, and the subject was then allowed to sink to its proper
level and attract no further attention. Within a few years, however, it
has again been brought into prominent light by some new publications.
One of these is an essay written by Feuerbach and published in his works
edited by his son, in which he endeavors to prove that Caspar Hauser was
the son of the Grand Duchess Stephanie of Baden; another is a book by
Daumer, which he devotes entirely to the explosion of all theories that
have ever been advanced; and a third, by Dr. Eschricht, contends
that Caspar was at first an idiot and afterwards an impostor. Before
considering these different theories, let us recall the principal
incidents of his life. These have, indeed, been placed within the
reach of the English reader by the Earl of Stanhope's book and by a
translation of Feuerbach's "Kaspar Hauser. Beispiel eines Verbrechens am
Seelenleben des Menschen,"[B] published in Boston in 1832; but, as the
former has, we believe, obtained little circulation in this country, and
the latter is now probably out of print, a short account of the life of
this singular being may not be deemed amiss.

[Footnote A: Daumer, in his _Disclosures concerning Caspar Hauser_,
refers to a great many more than these; but it is impossible to follow
his example in so limited a space.]

[Footnote B: _Caspar Hauser. An Example of a Crime against the Life, of
Man's Soul_.]

On the 26th of May, 1828, a citizen of Nuremberg, while loitering in
front of his house in the outskirts of the town, saw, tottering towards
him, a lad of sixteen or seventeen years, coarsely and poorly clad. He
held in his hand a letter, which he presented to the citizen; but to
all questions as to who he was, whence he came, and what he wanted, he
replied only in an unintelligible jargon. The letter was addressed to
the captain of a cavalry company then stationed at Nuremberg, to whom
he was taken. It stated substantially, that a boy had been left at the
writer's door on the 7th of October, 1812, that the writer was a poor
laborer with a large family, but that he had nevertheless adopted the
boy, and had reared him in such strict seclusion from the world that not
even his existence was known. The letter said further, that, so far from
being able to answer, the lad could not even comprehend any questions
put to him. It therefore discouraged all attempts to obtain any
information in that way, and ended with the advice, that, according to
his desire, he should be made a dragoon, as his father had been before
him. Inclosed in this letter was a note, professedly by the mother, and
pretending to have been left with him, when, as an infant, Caspar Hauser
was first cast upon the world, but, in reality, as it was afterwards
proved, written by the same person. This note gave the date of his
birth, pleaded the poverty of the mother as an excuse for thus
abandoning her child, and contained the same request as to his joining a
cavalry regiment when he should arrive at the age of seventeen.

The first impression produced by Caspar's appearance and behavior was,
that he was some idiot or lunatic escaped from confinement; it remained
only to be shown whence he had escaped. In the mean time he was placed
under the protection of the police, who removed him to their guard-room.
There he showed no consciousness of what was going on around him; his
look was a dull, brutish stare; nor did he give any indication of
intelligence, until pen and paper were placed in his hand, when he wrote
clearly and repeatedly, "Kaspar Hauser." Since then he has been known by
that name.

When it became evident that the first conjectures concerning him were
wrong, strenuous efforts were made by the police to sound the mystery,
but without the slightest success. He himself could give no clue; for he
neither understood what others said nor could make himself understood.
With the exception of some six words, the sounds Caspar uttered were
entirely meaningless. He recognized none of the places where he had
been, no trace could be obtained of him elsewhere, and the most vigilant
search brought nothing to light. The surprise which his first appearance
produced increased as he became better known. It then became more and
more evident that he was neither an idiot nor a lunatic; at the same
time his manners were so peculiar, and his ignorance of civilized life
and his dislike for its customs so great, that all sorts of conjectures
were resorted to in order to explain the mystery.

It was ascertained that he must have been incarcerated in some dungeon,
entirely shut out from the light of the sun, which gave him great pain.
The structure of his body, the tenderness of his feet, and the great
difficulty and suffering which he experienced in walking, indicated
beyond a doubt that he had been kept in a sitting posture, with his legs
stretched straight out before him. His sustenance had been bread and
water; for he not only evinced great repugnance to any other food, but
the smallest quantity affected his constitution in the most violent
manner. It was also evident that he had never come in contact with human
beings, beyond what was necessary for supplying his immediate wants,
and, strange to say, teaching him to write.

That these inferences were well-founded was proved by the subsequent
disclosures of Caspar himself, after he had acquired a sufficient
command of language. The account he then gave was as follows.

"He neither knows who he is nor where his home is. It was only at
Nuremberg that he came into the world. Here he first learned, that,
besides himself and 'the man with whom he had always been,' there
existed other men and other creatures. As long as he can recollect, he
had always lived in a hole, (a small, low apartment, which he sometimes
calls a cage,) where he had always sat upon the ground, with bare feet,
and clothed only with a shirt and a pair of breeches. In his apartment,
he never heard a sound, whether produced by a man, by an animal, or by
anything else. He never saw the heavens, nor did there ever appear a
brightening (daylight) such as at Nuremberg, he never perceived any
difference between day and night, and much less did he ever get a sight
of the beautiful lights in the heavens. Whenever he awoke from sleep, he
found a loaf of bread and a pitcher of water by him. Sometimes his water
had a bad taste; whenever this was the case, he could no longer keep
his eyes open, but was compelled to fall asleep; and when he afterwards
awoke, he found that he had a clean shirt on, and that his nails had
been cut.[C]

[Footnote C: When he resided with Professor Daumer, a drop of opium in a
glass of water was administered to him. After swallowing a mouthful, he
exclaimed, "That water is nasty; it tastes exactly like the water I was
sometimes obliged to drink in my cage."]

"He never saw the face of the man who brought him his meat and drink. In
his hole he had two wooden horses and several ribbons. With these horses
he had always amused himself as long as he was awake; and his only
occupation was, to make them run by his side, and to arrange the ribbons
about them in different positions. Thus one day had passed the same as
another; but he had never felt the want of anything, had never been
sick, and--once only excepted--had never felt the sensation of pain.
Upon the whole, he had been much happier there than in the world, where
he was obliged to suffer so much. How long he had continued to live in
this situation he knew not; for he had had no knowledge of time. He
knew not when or how he came there. Nor had he any recollection of ever
having been in a different situation, or in any other than in that
place. The man with whom he had always been never did him any harm. Yet
one day, shortly before he was taken away, when he had been running his
horse too hard, and had made too much noise, the man came and struck
him upon his arm with a stick, or with a piece of wood; this caused the
wound which he brought with him to Nuremberg.

"Pretty nearly about the same time, the man once came into his prison,
placed a small table over his feet, and spread something white upon it,
which he now knows to have been paper; he then came behind him, so as
not to be seen by him, took hold of his hand, and moved it backwards and
forwards on the paper, with a thing (a lead pencil) which he had stuck
between his fingers. He (Hauser) was then ignorant of what it was; but
he was mightily pleased, when he saw the black figures which began to
appear upon the white paper. When he felt that his hand was free,
and the man was gone from him, he was so much pleased with this new
discovery, that he could never grow tired of drawing these figures
repeatedly upon the paper. This occupation almost made him neglect his
horses, although he did not know what those characters signified. The
man repeated his visits in the same manner several times.

"Another time the man came, lifted him from the place where he lay,
placed him on his feet, and endeavored to teach him to stand. This he
repeated at several different times. The manner in which he effected
this was the following: he seized him firmly around the breast, from
behind, placed his feet behind Caspar's feet, and lifted these, as in
stepping forward.

"Finally, the man appeared once again, placed Caspar's hands over his
shoulders, tied them fast, and thus carried him on his back out of the
prison. He was carried up (or down) a hill. He knows not how he felt;
all became night, and he was laid upon his back."--By the expression,
"all became night," he meant that he fainted away. The little which
Caspar was able to relate in regard to his journey is not of any
particular interest, and we omit it here.

This is all that is known with any certainty of the early life of this
unfortunate being. The conjectures to which it has given rise will be
considered later. Let us first finish his history.

As was to be expected, Caspar Hauser's faculties developed very
gradually. His mind was in a torpor, and, placed suddenly amid, to
him, most exciting scenes, it was long before he could understand the
simplest phenomena of Nature. The unfolding of his mind was exactly like
that of a child. Feuerbach, in his book on Caspar Hauser, gives the main
features of this gradual development. We can only pick out a few.

It is remarkable that in the same proportion as he advanced in knowledge
and acquaintance with civilized life, the intensity of all his faculties
diminished. It was so with his memory. He was at first able to exhibit
most surprising feats. As an experiment, thirty, forty, and, on one
occasion, forty-five names of persons were mentioned to him, which he
afterwards repeated with all their titles,--to him, of course, entirely
meaningless. So, too, with his power of sight. At first, he was able to
see in the dark perfectly well, and much better than in the light of the
sun, which was very painful to him. He very frequently amused himself
at others groping in the dark, when he experienced not the slightest
difficulty. On one occasion, in the evening, he read the name on a
door-plate at the distance of one hundred and eighty paces. This
keenness of vision did not, however, retain its entire vigor, but
decreased as he became more accustomed to the sun. For some time after
he made his appearance he had no idea of perspective, but would clutch
like a child at objects far off. Nor had he any conception of the
beauties of Nature, which he afterwards explained by saying that it then
appeared to him like a mass of colors jumbled together. Nothing was
beautiful, unless it was red, except a starry heaven,--and the emotion
which he felt, on first beholding this, was truly touching. Until then,
he had invariably spoken of "the man with whom he had always been" with
feelings of affection; he longed to return to him, and looked upon all
his studies as merely a temporary thing; some day he would go back and
show the man how much he had learned. But when he first looked upon the
heavens, his tone became entirely changed, and he denounced the man
severely for never having shown him such beautiful things.

All his senses were thus at first wonderfully keen. It was so with his
hearing and smell. The latter was the source of most of his sufferings;
for, being so exceedingly sensitive, even the most scentless things made
him sick. He liked but one smell, that of bread, which had been his only
food for seventeen years. It was a long time, indeed, before he could
take any other food at all, and he only became accustomed to it very
gradually.

The effect produced upon Caspar Hauser by contact with or proximity to
animals was also very curious. He was able to detect their presence
under singularly unfavorable circumstances. Metals, too, had a very
powerful effect upon him, and possessed for him a strong magnetic power.
But it is impossible to give all the details, however interesting; for
them we must refer to Feuerbach.

His mind, as has been already said, was at first sunk in almost
impenetrable darkness. He knew of but two divisions of earthly
things,--man and beast, "_bua_" and "_ross_." The former was a word
of his own. The latter, which is the German for _horse_, included
everything not human, whether animate or inanimate. Between these he for
a long time saw no difference. He could not understand why pictures and
statues did not move, and he regarded his toy-horses as living things.
To inanimate things impelled by foreign forces he ascribed volition.

Religion he, of course, had none. He possessed naturally a very amiable
character, and his thoughts and conduct were as pure as though guided by
the soundest system of morality. But he knew nothing of a God, and one
of the greatest difficulties Daumer had to encounter was instructing
him on this point. His untutored mind could not master the doctrines of
theology, and he was constantly puzzled by questions which he himself
suggested, and which his instructor often found it impossible to answer
satisfactorily.

Physically he was very weak. The shortest walk would fatigue him.
At first he could scarcely shuffle along at all, on account of the
tenderness of his feet, and because his body had always been kept in
one position. He so far overcame this, however, as to be able to walk a
little, though always with an effort. But on horseback he never became
tired. From the first time that he mounted a horse, he showed a love
for the exercise, and a power of endurance utterly at variance with all
other exhibitions of his strength; and he very soon acquired a degree
of skill which made him an object of envy to all the cavalry-officers
stationed in the neighborhood. So inconsistent and incomprehensible was
everything about Caspar Hauser!

In October, 1829, while residing in the family of Professor Daumer, an
attempt was made upon his life, which was only so far successful as to
give a very violent shock to his delicate constitution. The perpetrator
of the crime was never discovered. Caspar was afterwards adopted by the
Earl of Stanhope, and by him removed to Anspach. Feuerbach gives a very
interesting description of him, as he appeared at this time.

"In understanding a man, in knowledge a little child, and in many things
more ignorant than a child, the whole of his language and demeanor shows
often a strangely contrasted mingling of manly and childish behavior.
With a serious countenance and in a tone of great importance, he often
utters things which, coming from any other person of the same age, would
be called stupid or silly, but which, coming from him, always force upon
us a sad, compassionate smile. It is particularly farcical to hear him
speak of the future plans of his life,--of the manner in which, after
having learned a great deal and earned money, he intends to settle
himself with his wife, whom he considers as an indispensable part of
domestic furniture."

"Mild and gentle, without vicious inclinations, and without passions and
strong emotions, his quiet mind resembles the smooth mirror of a lake
in the stillness of a moonlight night. Incapable of hurting an animal,
compassionate even to the worm, which he is afraid to tread upon, timid
even to cowardice, he will nevertheless act regardless of consequences,
and even without forbearance, according to his own convictions, whenever
it becomes necessary to defend or to execute purposes which he has once
perceived and acknowledged to be right. If he feels himself annoyed in
any manner, he will long bear it patiently, and will try to get out of
the way of the person who is thus troublesome to him, or will endeavor
to effect a change in his conduct by mild expostulations; but, finally,
if he cannot help himself in any other manner, as soon as an opportunity
of doing so offers, he will very quietly slip off the bonds that confine
him,--yet without bearing the least malice against him who may have
injured him. He is obedient, obliging, and yielding; but the man who
accuses him wrongfully, or asserts to be true what he believes to be
untrue, need not expect, that, from mere complaisance, or from other
considerations, he will submit to injustice or to falsehood; he will
always modestly, but firmly, insist upon his right; or perhaps, if the
other seems inclined obstinately to maintain his ground against him, he
will silently leave him."

But the fate which had been pursuing this unfortunate being, and without
which the tragedy of his life would have been incomplete, overtook him
at last. On the 15th of December, 1833, he was induced by some unknown
person to meet him in a retired spot in the city of Anspach, under the
pretence that he should then have the secret of his parentage revealed
to him. The real object was his murder, and this time it was successful.
Caspar was stabbed to the heart. He still had sufficient strength left
to walk about a thousand paces; and, indeed, the wound was outwardly so
insignificant, that it was at first believed to be a mere scratch. This
strengthened an opinion which was then gradually gaining ground, that
Caspar was an impostor; for it was firmly believed by some that he had
inflicted this wound upon himself, as well as the one received in 1829,
in order to quicken the somewhat languishing interest taken in him. Nor
did they give up this opinion when the wound was found to be fatal. They
then boldly asserted that he had wounded himself more severely than
he had intended. And not content with simply maintaining this absurd
opinion, they taunted him with it on his death-bed, so that he was not
even allowed to die in peace. Nothing was wanting to fill his bitter
cup. How terrible must have been the mental torture to wring from
so resigned a soul the exclamation, "O God! O God! to die thus with
contumely and disgrace!" The German is still more expressive,--_"Ach,
Gott! ach, Gott! so abkratzen müssen mit Schimpf und Schande!"_

Such was the life of Caspar Hauser. For nearly seventeen years the
inmate of a dreary prison, shut out from the light, without a single
companion in his misery, drugged when it was necessary to change his
linen, with no food but bread,--for seventeen years did he thus exist,
--his mind a perfect blank. Suddenly cast upon the world, amid strange
beings whom he could not understand and by whom he was not understood,
he long knew scarcely a sensation save that of pain. And when at last
he did become accustomed to civilized life, and the darkness which
enshrouded him disappeared before the rays of light that found entrance
into his intellect, it was only to awake to a knowledge of the utter
misery of his position. He then saw himself a helpless orphan, the
inferior of all with whom he came in contact, and a dependant upon the
charity of others for his support. He awoke to find that he had lost
seventeen years of this beautiful life, seventeen years which he never
could recall,--that he never could take his stand amongst men as their
equal, but would always be regarded as an unhappy being meriting their
pity,--much like that felt for the pains of some suffering brute. Nor
was this all. During the few years that were granted him in our
world, persecuted by some unknown person, against whom he was
helpless,--knowing that his life was aimed at by some one, but unable
to protect himself, and at last falling a victim to the threatened
blow,--and, worst of all, charged on his death-bed with being an
impostor,--such was the life of Caspar Hauser!

Among the different opinions which have existed in regard to his origin,
the most noticeable are those advanced by Stanhope and Merker, and by
Daumer, Eschricht, and Feuerbach. The Earl of Stanhope's connection
with Caspar Hauser was a rather peculiar one. He made his appearance in
Nuremberg at the time the first attempt was made upon Caspar's life,
but took no particular notice of him, and left without having shown
any interest in him. On a second visit, about seven months later, he
suddenly became passionately attached to Caspar, showed most unusual
marks of fondness for him, and finally adopted him. He then removed him
to Anspach, and remained his protector until his death in December,
1833. The day after his burial, Stanhope appeared in Anspach, and took
particular pains to proclaim then, and subsequently at a judicial
investigation in Munich, and in several tracts, his belief that Caspar
was an impostor. This had already been maintained by Merker, the
Prussian Counsellor of Police. The theory which Stanhope now advanced
was, that Caspar was a journeyman tailor or glover, from some small
village on the Austrian side of the river Salzach. The reasons which he
assigns for his belief in the imposture are all derived from Caspar's
supposed want of integrity and veracity. They impeach the character of
Caspar living, and not of Caspar dead. Why, then, did Stanhope wait for
his death before he proclaimed the imposture? Why did he remain his
protector, and thus make himself a party to the fraud? His conduct is
not easily explained. On the other hand, there is little ground for
Daumer's conclusions. These are given at length in his "Disclosures
concerning Caspar Hauser," published in 1859, a book called forth by
attacks made upon him by Eschricht. Considering Stanhope's conduct, and
his endeavor after Caspar's death to induce Daumer to support his views
as to the imposture, and, upon his indignant refusal, making him twice
the object of a personal attack, Daumer thinks that there is reason to
believe Stanhope personally interested. He thinks that Caspar was the
legitimate heir to some great English estate and title, that he was
removed in order to make way for some one else, and that his murder was
intrusted to some person who had not the courage or the wickedness
to perpetrate it, but removed him first to Hungary and afterwards to
Germany, and supported him in the manner indicated, hoping that he would
not long survive. When, however, he grew up, his support became irksome
and he was cast upon the world. There he attracted so much attention,
that the instigator of the crime, dreading a disclosure, sought his
life again. When this proved unsuccessful, he was removed to Anspach;
Feuerbach, who had shown the greatest determination to sound the
mystery, was removed from the world, and at last the tragedy was made
complete in Caspar's own death. All this points to Stanhope. And yet
Daumer has not taken the trouble to inquire whether it agrees with the
family history. It is possible that he may be right; but his story
carries with it so much the air of improbability, that we cannot give it
credit without further proof.

In the seventh volume of Hitzig's "Annals of Criminal Jurisprudence,"
there is a communication from Lieutenant von Pirch, disclosing Caspar's
acquaintance with certain Hungarian words. A little while before this
announcement was made, a story had gone the rounds of the papers of
Germany, that a governess residing in Pesth had fainted away, when the
account of Caspar Hauser's appearance was related to her. All this
naturally attracted attention to Hungary as the probable place of his
birth; and it is for these reasons, that Feuerbach, Daumer, and others,
suppose that he spent some part of his childhood in that country. After
his death, Stanhope sent Lieutenant Hickel to Hungary to investigate the
matter, but no traces were discovered,--a proof, as Stanhope has it,
that these conclusions were groundless, and, according to Daumer,
another proof of Stanhope's complicity. He believes that the very
superficial search made by the order of Stanhope was intended to lull
suspicion and prevent a more strict search being made.

To return to the opinion advanced by Merker, and subsequently adopted by
Stanhope,--the thing is simply impossible. In the first place, it would
have been impossible for an impostor to elude discovery. To trace him
would have been the easiest thing in the world. With a vigilant police,
in a thickly settled country, how could a man leave his place of abode,
and travel, were it for ever so short a distance, without being known?
But this is the least consideration. Caspar's whole life, his intellect,
his body, the feats which he accomplished, when submitted to the most
searching tests, were a refutation of the charge. But when it is
added that he wounded himself in order to do away with suspicion, the
accusation becomes so absurd as scarcely to merit refutation. It is
answered by the fact, that it was proved, from the nature of the
wounds, in both cases, that self-infliction was impossible. Nor is it
conceivable that any one should have been able so long to deceive
people who were constantly with him and always on the alert. And it is
remarkable that they who saw most of Caspar, and knew him best, were
most firmly convinced of his integrity,--whilst his traducers were,
almost without an exception, men who had never known him intimately.
Feuerbach, Daumer, Binder, Meier, Fuhrmann, and many others, maintain
his honesty in the strongest terms.

On the other hand, it is said, that it is equally impossible for a
person to have been kept in any community in the manner in which it is
asserted that he was kept; discovery was inevitable. But it must be
remembered that this instance does not stand alone. If search were made,
many cases of the same kind might be collected. It is by no means so
rare an occurrence for persons to be kept secluded in such a manner as
to conceal their existence from the world. Daumer mentions two similar
cases which happened about the same time. The very year that Caspar
Hauser appeared, the son of a lawyer, named Fleischmann, just deceased,
was discovered in a retired chamber of the house. He was thirty-eight
years old, and had been confined there since his twelfth year. The other
case, also mentioned by Feuerbach, was still more distressing. Dr. Horn
saw, in the infirmary at Salzburg, a girl, twenty-two years of age, who
had been brought up in a pig-sty. One of her legs was quite crooked,
from her having sat with them crossed; she grunted like a hog; and her
actions were "brutishly unseemly in human dress." Daumer also relates a
third case, which was made the subject of a romantic story published in
a Nuremberg paper, but which, he says, lacks confirmation. It was the
discovery, in a secret place, of the grown-up son of a clergyman by his
housekeeper. Whether this be true or not, both Feuerbach and Daumer
believe that many similar instances do exist, which never come to light.
It is not impossible, therefore, that Caspar Hauser was confined in a
cellar to which none but his keeper sought entrance. Who would suspect
the existence of a human being, taught to be perfectly submissive and
quiet and to have no wants, in such a place, when even the existence
of the subterranean, prison itself was probably unknown? The cases
mentioned above were certainly more singular in this respect.

But Eschricht's opinion is the most peculiar of all. In his "Unverstand
mid schlechte Erziehung," he maintains that Caspar was an idiot until
he was brought to Nuremberg, that his mind was then strengthened and
developed, and that he was then transformed from an idiot into an
impostor. This is still more impossible than Stanhope's theory; for in
this case Daumer, Feuerbach, Hiltel the jailer, Binder the mayor, and
indeed all Caspar's earliest friends, instead of being victims of an
imposture, are made partakers in the fraud. No one acquainted with the
irreproachable character of these men could entertain the idea for a
minute; and when we remember that it was not one, but many, who must
have been parties to it, it becomes doubly impossible.

We come now to consider the opinion of Feuerbach; and we shall do it the
more carefully, because in it, we feel confident, lies the true solution
of the question. He was at the time President of the Court of Appeal of
the Circle of Rezat. He had risen to this honorable position gradually,
and it was the reward of his distinguished merit alone. His works on
criminal jurisprudence, and the penal code which he drew up for the
kingdom of Bavaria, and which was adopted by other states, had placed
him in the first rank of criminal lawyers. It was he who conducted
the first judicial investigations concerning Caspar Hauser. He was,
therefore, intimately acquainted with all the circumstances of the case,
and had ample opportunity to form a deliberate opinion. How the idea
originated, that Caspar Hauser belonged to the House of Baden, it is
difficult to say. Feuerbach never published it to the world. In his book
on Caspar Hauser he makes no mention of it; but in 1832 he addressed a
paper to Queen Caroline of Bavaria, headed, "Who might Caspar Hauser
be?" in which he endeavors to show that he was the son of the
Grand-Duchess Stephanie. This paper was, we believe, first published
in 1852, in his "Life and Works," by his son.[D] The first part of it
treats of Caspar's rank and position in general, and he comes to the
following conclusions. Caspar was a legitimate child. Had he been
illegitimate, less dangerous and far easier means would have been
resorted to for concealing his existence and suppressing a knowledge
of his parentage. And here we may add, that the supposition has never
prevailed that he was the offspring of a criminal connection, and that
these means were taken for suppressing the mother's disgrace. A note
which Caspar brought with him, when he appeared at Nuremberg, indicated
that such was the case, but it was so evidently a piece of deception
that it never obtained much credit. The second conclusion at which
Feuerbach arrives is, that people were implicated who had command of
great and unusual means,--means which could prompt an attempt at murder
in a crowded city and in the open day, and which could over-bribe all
rewards offered for a disclosure. Third, Caspar was a person on whose
life or death great interests depended, else there would not have been
such care to conceal his existence. Interest, and not revenge or hate,
was the motive. He must have been a person of high rank. To prove this,
Feuerbach refers to dreams of Caspar's. On one occasion, particularly,
he dreamt that he was conducted through a large castle, the appearance
of which he imagined that he recognized, and afterwards minutely
described. This Feuerbach thinks was only the awakening of past
recollections. It would be interesting to know whether any palace
corresponding to the description given exists. In the absence of such
knowledge, this point of Feuerbach's argument appears a rather weak one.
From the above propositions he concludes that Caspar was the legitimate
child of princely parents, who was removed in order to open the
succession to others, in whose way he stood.

[Footnote D: ANSELM RITTER VON FEUERBACH'S _Leben und Wirken, aus
seinen ausgedruckten Briefen, Tagebüchern, Vorträgen und Denkschriften,
veröffentlicht von seinem Sohne_, LUDWIG FEUERBACH. Leipzig, 1852.]

The second division of the paper relates to the imprisonment, and
here he takes a ground entirely opposed to the opinions of others. He
believes that he was thus kept as a protection against some greater
evil. His wants were supplied, he was well taken care of, and his keeper
is therefore to be looked upon as his protector. Daumer sees in the
keeper nothing but a hired murderer, whose courage or whose wickedness
failed him. It is certainly difficult to imagine a kind friend immuring
one in a dark subterranean vault, feeding one on bread, excluding light,
fellowship, amusement, thoughts,--never saying a word, but studiously
allowing one's mind to become a dreary waste. It is a friendship to
which most of us would prefer death. We are therefore inclined to
think that Daumer is here in the right. But whatever the nature of his
imprisonment, the principal argument does not lose its force.

In the third place, Feuerbach speaks of the family to which Caspar must
have belonged. Just about the time of Caspar's birth, the eldest son of
the Grand-Duchess of Baden died an infant. His death was followed in
a few years by that of his only brother, leaving several sisters, who
could not inherit the duchy. By these deaths the old House of the
Zähringer became extinct, and the offspring of a morganatic marriage
became the heirs to the throne. It was, therefore, for their interest
that the other branch should die out. In addition to this, the mother
of the new house was a woman of unbounded ambition and determined
character, and had a bitter hatred for the Grand-Duchess. Without laying
too much stress, then, upon the nearness in date of the elder child's
death and Caspar's birth, as given in the letter, there is reason to
suppose that they were the same person. There was every feeling of
interest to prompt the deed, there was the opportunity of sickness to
accomplish it in, and there was an unscrupulous woman to take advantage
of it. Is it, then, impossible that she, having command of the
house-hold, should have been able to substitute a dead for the living
child? Accept the proposition, and the mystery is solved; reject it, and
we are still groping in the dark. Nevertheless, there are circumstances
which, even then, are incapable of explanation; but it is the most
satisfactory theory, and certainly has less objections than the others.
Feuerbach came to this conclusion early; for his paper addressed to
Queen Caroline of Bavaria was written in 1832, the year before Caspar's
death. Delicacy forbade the open discussion of the question; but, even
at the time, this theory found many supporters. Some even went so far
as to say that Feuerbach's sudden death the same year was owing to the
indefatigable zeal with which he was ferreting out the mystery.

Of all the different explanations, then, which have been given, that of
Feuerbach seems to be the most satisfactory. At the same time, like the
rest, it is founded on conjecture. Its truth may never be proved. They
whose interest it was to suppress the matter thirty years ago, and who
resorted to such extreme measures in doing so, no doubt took ample
precaution that every trace should be erased. It is barely possible that
some confession or the discovery of some paper may cast light upon the
subject; but the length of time which has elapsed renders it exceedingly
improbable, and the mystery of Caspar Hauser, like the mysteries of the
Iron Mask and Junius, will always remain a fruitful source of conjecture
only.

It may not be uninteresting to close this sketch with the consideration
of a point of law raised by Feuerbach in connection with the subject. It
will be recollected that he calls his book "Caspar Hauser. An Example
of a Crime against the Life of Man's Soul." The crime committed against
Caspar Hauser was, according to the Bavarian code, twofold. There was
the crime of _illegal imprisonment_, and the crime of _exposure_. And
here Feuerbach advances the doctrine, that it was not only the actual
confinement which amounted to illegal imprisonment, but that "we must
incontestably, and, indeed, principally, regard as such the cruel
withholding from him of the most ordinary gifts which Nature with a
liberal hand extends even to the most indigent,--the depriving him
of all the means of mental development and culture,--the unnatural
detention of a human soul in a state of irrational animality." "An
attempt," he says, "by artificial contrivances, to seclude a man from
Nature and from all intercourse with rational beings, to change
the course of his human destiny, and to withdraw from him all the
nourishment afforded by those spiritual substances which Nature has
appointed for food to the human mind, that it may grow and flourish,
and be instructed and developed and formed,--such an attempt must, even
quite independently of its actual consequences, be considered as,
in itself, a highly criminal invasion of man's most sacred and most
peculiar property,--of the freedom and the destiny of his soul.
...Inasmuch as the whole earlier part of his life was thus taken from
him, he may be said to have been the subject of a partial soul-murder."
This crime, if recognized, would, according to Feuerbach, far outweigh
the mere crime of illegal imprisonment, and the latter would be merged
in it.

Tittmann, in his "Hand-Book of Penal Law," also speaks of crimes against
the intellect, and particularly mentions the separation of a person from
all human society, if practised upon a child before it has learned to
speak and until the intellect Las become sealed up, as well as the
intentional rearing of a person to ignorance, as reducible to this head.
This was written before Caspar's case had occurred. He says, also, that
they are similar to cases of homicide; because the latter are punished
for destroying the rational being, and not the physical man. Murder and
the destruction of the intellect are, therefore, equally punishable. The
one merits the punishment of death as well as the other. Nor are we to
take the possibility of a cure into consideration, any more than we do
the possibility of extinguishing a fire. But where the law does not
prescribe the punishment of death irrespectively of the possibility of
recovery, the punishment would rarely exceed ten years in the House of
Correction. We must understand Tittmann's remarks, however, to refer
entirely to the law of Saxony,--that being the government under which he
lived, and the only one in whose criminal code this crime is recognized.

Feuerbach wished to have this murder of the soul inserted in the
criminal code of Bavaria as a punishable crime; but he was unsuccessful,
and the whole doctrine has subsequently been condemned. Mittermaier, in
a note to his edition of Feuerbach's "Text-Book of German Criminal Law,"
denies that there is any foundation for the distinction taken by him and
Tittmann. He says, that, in the first place, it has not such an actual
existence as is capable of proof; and, secondly, all crimes under it
can easily be reached by some other law. The last objection does not,
however, seem to be a very serious one. If, as Feuerbach says, the
crime against the soul is more heinous than that against the body, it
certainly deserves the first attention, even if the one is not merged in
the other. The crime being greater, the punishment would be greater;
and the demands of justice would no more be satisfied by the milder
punishment than if a murderer were prosecuted as a nuisance. The fact,
therefore, that the crime is reducible to some different head, is not an
objection. We meet with the most serious difficulty when we consider the
possibility of proof. Taking it for granted that the crime does exist in
the abstract, the only question is, whether it is of such a nature that
it would be expedient for government to take cognizance of it. The soul
being in its nature so far beyond the reach of man, and the difficulty
of ever proving the effect of human actions upon it, would seem to
indicate that it were better to allow a few exceptional cases to pass
unnoticed than to involve the criminal courts in endless and fruitless
inquiry. Upon the ground of expediency only should the crime go
unnoticed, and not because it can be reached in some other way. For
proof that it does exist, we can point to nothing more convincing than
the life of Caspar Hauser itself. No one can doubt that his soul was the
victim of a crime, for which the perpetrator, untouched by human laws,
stands accused before the throne of God.

       *       *       *       *       *


PAMPENEA.

AN IDYL.


  Lying by the summer sea,
  I had a dream of Italy.

  Chalky cliffs and miles of sand,
  Ragged reefs and salty caves,
  And the sparkling emerald waves
  Faded; and I seemed to stand,
  Myself a languid Florentine,
  In the heart of that fair land.
  And in a garden cool and green,
  Boccaccio's own enchanted place,
  I met Pampenea face to face,--
  A maid so lovely that to see
  Her smile is to know Italy.

  Her hair was like a coronet
  Upon her Grecian forehead set,
  Where one gem glistened sunnily,
  Like Venice, when first seen at sea.
  I saw within her violet eyes
  The starlight of Italian skies,
  And on her brow and breast and hand
  The olive of her native land.

  And knowing how, in other times,
  Her lips were ripe with Tuscan rhymes
  Of love and wine and dance, I spread
  My mantle by an almond-tree:
  "And here, beneath the rose," I said,
  "I'll hear thy Tuscan melody!"

  I heard a tale that was not told
  In those ten dreamy days of old,
  When Heaven, for some divine offence,
  Smote Florence with the pestilence,
  And in that garden's odorous shade
  The dames of the Decameron,
  With each a happy lover, strayed,
  To laugh and sing, at sorest need,
  To lie in the lilies, in the sun,
  With glint of plume and golden brede.

  And while she whispered in my ear,
  The pleasant Arno murmured near,
  The dewy, slim chameleons run
  Through twenty colors in the sun,
  The breezes broke the fountain's glass,
  And woke Aeolian melodies,
  And shook from out the scented trees
  The bleachèd lemon-blossoms on the grass.

  The tale? I have forgot the tale!--
  A Lady all for love forlorn;
  A Rosebud, and a Nightingale
  That bruised his bosom on a thorn;
  A pot of rubies buried deep;
  A glen, a corpse, a child asleep;
  A Monk, that was no monk at all,
  I' the moonlight by a castle-wall;--
  Kaleidoscopic hints, to be
  Worked up in farce or tragedy.

  Now while the sweet-eyed Tuscan wove
  The gilded thread of her romance,
  (Which I have lost by grievous chance,)
  The one dear woman that I love,
  Beside me in our seaside nook,
  Closed a white finger in her book,
  Half-vexed that she should read, and weep
  For Petrarch, to a man asleep.
  And scorning me, so tame and cold,
  She rose, and wandered down the shore,
  Her wine-dark drapery, fold in fold,
  Imprisoned by an ivory hand;
  And on a ridge of granite, half in sand,
  She stood, and looked at Appledore.

  And waking, I beheld her there
  Sea-dreaming in the moted air,
  A Siren sweet and debonair,
  With wristlets woven of colored weeds,
  And oblong lucent amber beads
  Of sea-kelp shining in her hair.
  And as I mused on dreams, and how
  The something in us never sleeps,
  But laughs or sings or moans or weeps,
  She turned,--and on her breast and brow
  I saw the tint that seemed not won
  From kisses of New England sun;
  I saw on brow and breast and hand
  The olive of a sunnier land!
  She turned,--and lo! within her eyes
  The starlight of Italian skies!

  Most dreams are dark, beyond the range
  Of reason; oft we cannot tell
  If they be born of heaven or hell;
  But to my soul it seems not strange,
  That, lying by the summer sea,
  With that dark woman watching me,
  I slept, and dreamed of Italy!



THE PROFESSOR'S STORY.


CHAPTER XXV.

THE PERILOUS HOUR.


Up to this time Dick Venner had not decided on the particular mode
and the precise period of relieving himself from the unwarrantable
interference which threatened to defeat his plans. The luxury of feeling
that he had his man in his power was its own reward. One who watches
in the dark, outside, while his enemy, in utter unconsciousness, is
illuminating his apartment and himself so that every movement of his
head and every button on his coat can be seen and counted, especially
if he holds a loaded rifle in his hand, experiences a peculiar kind of
pleasure, which he naturally hates to bring to its climax by testing his
skill as a marksman upon the object of his attention.

Besides, Dick had two sides in his nature, almost as distinct as we
sometimes observe in those persons who are the subjects of the condition
known as _double consciousness_. On his New England side he was cunning
and calculating, always cautious, measuring his distance before he
risked his stroke, as nicely as if he were throwing his lasso. But
he was liable to intercurrent fits of jealousy and rage, such as the
light-hued races are hardly capable of conceiving,--blinding paroxysms
of passion, which for the time overmastered him, and which, if they
found no ready outlet, transformed themselves into the more dangerous
forces that worked through the instrumentality of his cool craftiness.

He had failed as yet in getting any positive evidence that there was any
relation between Elsie and the schoolmaster other than such as might
exist unsuspected and unblamed between a teacher and his pupil. A book,
or a note, even, did not prove the existence of any sentiment. At one
time he would be devoured by suspicions, at another he would try to
laugh himself out of them. And in the mean while he followed Elsie's
tastes as closely as he could, determined to make some impression upon
her,--to become a habit, a convenience, a necessity,--whatever might aid
him in the attainment of the one end which was now the aim of his life.

It was to humor one of her tastes already known to the reader, that he
said to her one morning,--"Come, Elsie, take your castanets, and let us
have a dance."

He had struck the right vein in the girl's fancy, for she was in the
mood for this exercise, and very willingly led the way into one of the
more empty apartments. What there was in this particular kind of dance
which excited her it might not be easy to guess; but those who looked in
with the old Doctor, on a former occasion, and saw her, will remember
that she was strangely carried away by it, and became almost fearful in
the vehemence of her passion. The sound of the castanets seemed to make
her alive all over. Dick knew well enough what the exhibition would
be, and was almost afraid of her at these moments; for it was like
the dancing mania of Eastern devotees, more than the ordinary light
amusement of joyous youth,--a convulsion of the body and the mind,
rather than a series of voluntary modulated motions.

Elsie rattled out the triple measure of a saraband. Her eyes began to
glitter more brilliantly, and her shape to undulate in freer curves.
Presently she noticed that Dick's look was fixed upon her necklace. His
face betrayed his curiosity; he was intent on solving the question, why
she always wore something about her neck. The chain of mosaics she had
on at that moment displaced itself at every step, and he was peering
with malignant, searching eagerness to see if an unsunned ring of
fairer hue than the rest of the surface, or any less easily explained
peculiarity, were hidden by her ornaments.

She stopped suddenly, caught the chain of mosaics and settled it hastily
in its place, flung down her castanets, drew herself back, and stood
looking at him, with her head a little on one side, and her eyes
narrowing in the way he had known so long and well.

"What is the matter, Cousin Elsie? What do you stop for?" he said.

Elsie did not answer, but kept her eyes on him, full of malicious light.
The jealousy which lay covered up under his surface--thoughts took this
opportunity to break out.

"You wouldn't act so, if you were dancing with Mr. Langdon,--would you,
Elsie?" he asked.

It was with some effort that he looked steadily at her to see the effect
of his question.

Elsie _colored_,--not much, but still perceptibly. Dick could not
remember that he had ever seen her show this mark of emotion before,
in all his experience of her fitful changes of mood. It had a singular
depth of significance, therefore, for him; he knew how hardly her color
came. Blushing means nothing, in some persons; in others, it betrays
a profound inward agitation,--a perturbation of the feelings far more
trying than the passions which with many easily moved persons break
forth in tears. All who have observed much are aware that some men, who
have seen a good deal of life in its less chastened aspects and are
anything but modest, will blush often and easily, while there are
delicate and sensitive women who can turn pale, or go into fits, if
necessary, but are very rarely seen to betray their feelings in their
cheeks, even when their expression shows that their inmost soul is
blushing scarlet.

Presently she answered, abruptly and scornfully,--

"Mr. Langdon is a gentleman, and would not vex me as you do."

"A gentleman!" Dick answered, with the most insulting accent,--"a
gentleman! Come, Elsie, you've got the Dudley blood in your veins,
and it doesn't do for you to call this poor, sneaking schoolmaster a
gentleman!"

He stopped short. Elsie's bosom was heaving, the faint flush on her
cheek was becoming a vivid glow. Whether it were shame or wrath, he saw
that he had reached some deep-lying centre of emotion. There was no
longer any doubt in his mind. With another girl these signs of confusion
might mean little or nothing; with her they were decisive and final.
Elsie Venner loved Bernard Langdon.

The sudden conviction, absolute, overwhelming, which rushed upon him,
had wellnigh led to an explosion of wrath, and perhaps some terrible
scene which might have fulfilled some of Old Sophy's predictions. This,
however, would never do. Dick's face whitened with his thoughts, but he
kept still until he could speak calmly.

"I've nothing against the young fellow," he said; "only I don't think
there's anything quite good enough to keep the company of people that
have the Dudley blood in them. You a'n't as proud as I am. I can't quite
make up my mind to call a schoolmaster a gentleman, though this one may
be well enough. I've nothing against him, at any rate."

Elsie made no answer, but glided out of the room and slid away to her
own apartment. She bolted the door and drew her curtains close. Then she
threw herself on the floor, and fell into a dull, slow ache of passion,
without tears, without words, almost without thoughts. So she remained,
perhaps, for a half-hour, at the end of which time it seemed that her
passion had become a sullen purpose. She arose, and, looking cautiously
round, went to the hearth, which was ornamented with curious old Dutch
tiles, with pictures of Scripture subjects. One of these represented
the lifting of the brazen serpent. She took a hair-pin from one of her
braids, and, insinuating its points under the edge of the tile, raised
it from its place. A small leaden box lay under the tile, which she
opened, and, taking from it a little white powder, which she folded in a
scrap of paper, replaced the box and the tile over it.

Whether Dick had by any means got a knowledge of this proceeding, or
whether he only suspected some unmentionable design on her part, there
is no sufficient means of determining. At any rate, when they met, an
hour or two after these occurrences, he could not help noticing how
easily she seemed to have got over her excitement. She was very pleasant
with him,--too pleasant, Dick thought. It was not Elsie's way to come
out of a fit of anger so easily as that. She had contrived some way of
letting off her spite; that was certain. Dick was pretty cunning, as Old
Sophy had said, and, whether or not he had any means of knowing Elsie's
private intentions, watched her closely, and was on his guard against
accidents.

For the first time, he took certain precautions with reference to his
diet, such as were quite alien to his common habits. On coming to the
dinner-table, that day, he complained of headache, took but little food,
and refused the cup of coffee which Elsie offered him, saying that it
did not agree with him when he had these attacks.

Here was a new complication. Obviously enough, he could not live in this
way, suspecting everything but plain bread and water, and hardly feeling
safe in meddling with them. Not only had this school-keeping wretch come
between him and the scheme by which he was to secure his future fortune,
but his image had so infected his cousin's mind that she was ready to
try on him some of those tricks which, as he had heard hinted in the
village, she had once before put in practice upon a person who had
become odious to her.

Something must be done, and at once, to meet the double necessities of
this case. Every day, while the young girl was in these relations with
the young man, was only making matters worse. They could exchange words
and looks, they could arrange private interviews, they would be stooping
together over the same book, her hair touching his cheek, her breath
mingling with his, all the magnetic attractions drawing them together
with strange, invisible effluences. As her passion for the schoolmaster
increased, her dislike to him, her cousin, would grow with it, and all
his dangers would be multiplied. It was a fearful point he had reached.
He was tempted at one moment to give up all his plans and to disappear
suddenly from the place, leaving with the schoolmaster, who had
come between him and his object, an anonymous token of his personal
sentiments which would be remembered a good while in the history of the
town of Rockland. This was but a momentary thought; the great Dudley
property could not be given up in that way.

Something must happen at once to break up all this order of things. He
could think of but one Providential event adequate to the emergency,--an
event foreshadowed by various recent circumstances, but hitherto
floating in his mind only as a possibility. Its occurrence would at once
change the course of Elsie's feelings, providing her with something to
think of besides mischief, and remove the accursed obstacle which was
thwarting all his own projects. Every possible motive, then,--his
interest, his jealousy, his longing for revenge, and now his fears for
his own safety,--urged him to regard the happening of a certain casualty
as a matter of simple necessity. This was the self-destruction of Mr.
Bernard Langdon.

Such an event, though it might be surprising to many people, would not
be incredible, nor without many parallel cases. He was poor, a miserable
fag, under the control of that mean wretch up there at the school, who
looked as if he had sour buttermilk in his veins instead of blood. He
was in love with a girl above his station, rich, and of old family, but
strange in all her ways, and it was conceivable that he should become
suddenly jealous of her. Or she might have frightened him with some
display of her peculiarities which had filled him with a sudden
repugnance in the place of love. Any of these things were credible, and
would make a probable story enough,--so thought Dick over to himself
with the New-England half of his mind.

Unfortunately, men will not always take themselves out of the way when,
so far as their neighbors are concerned, it would be altogether the most
appropriate and graceful and acceptable service they could render. There
was at this particular moment no special reason for believing that the
schoolmaster meditated any violence to his own person. On the contrary,
there was good evidence that he was taking some care of himself. He was
looking well and in good spirits, and in the habit of amusing himself
and exercising, as if to keep up his standard of health, especially of
taking certain evening-walks, before referred to, at an hour when most
of the Rockland people had "retired," or, in vulgar language, "gone to
bed."

Dick Venner settled it, however, in his own mind, that Mr. Bernard
Langdon must lay violent hands upon himself. He even went so far as to
determine the precise hour, and the method in which the "rash act," as
it would undoubtedly be called in the next issue of "The Rockland
Weekly Universe," should be committed. Time,--_this evening._
Method,--asphyxia, by suspension. It was, unquestionably, taking a great
liberty with a man to decide that he should become _felo de se_ without
his own consent. Such, however, was the decision of Mr. Richard Venner
with regard to Mr. Bernard Langdon.

If everything went right, then, there would be a coroner's inquest
to-morrow upon what remained of that gentleman, found suspended to the
branch of a tree somewhere within a mile of the Apollinean Institute.
The "Weekly Universe" would have a startling paragraph announcing a
"SAD EVENT!!!" which had "thrown the town into an intense state of
excitement. Mr. Barnard Langden, a well known teacher at the Apollinean
Institute, was found, etc., etc. The vital spark was extinct. The
motive to the rash act can only be conjectured, but is supposed to be
disappointed affection. The name of an accomplished young lady of _the
highest respectability_ and great beauty is mentioned in connection with
this melancholy occurrence."

Dick Venner was at the tea-table that evening, as usual.--No, he would
take green tea, if she pleased,--the same as her father drank. It would
suit his headache better.--Nothing,--he was much obliged to her. He
would help himself,--which he did in a little different way from common,
naturally enough, on account of his headache. He noticed that Elsie
seemed a little nervous while she was rinsing some of the teacups before
their removal.

"There's something going on in that witch's head;" he said to himself.
"I know her,--she'd be savage now, if she hadn't got some trick in hand.
Let's see how she looks to-morrow!"

Dick announced that he should go to bed early that evening, on account
of this confounded headache which had been troubling him so much. In
fact, he went up early, and locked his door after him, with as much
noise as he could make. He then changed some part of his dress, so that
it should be dark throughout, slipped off his boots, drew the lasso out
from the bottom of the contents of his trunk, and, carrying that and
his boots in his hand, opened his door softly, locked it after him, and
stole down the back-stairs, so as to get out of the house unnoticed. He
went straight to the stable and saddled the mustang. He took a rope from
the stable with him, mounted his horse, and set forth in the direction
of the Institute.

Mr. Bernard, as we have seen, had not been very profoundly impressed by
the old Doctor's cautions,--enough, however, to follow out some of his
hints which were not troublesome to attend to. He laughed at the idea of
carrying a loaded pistol about with him; but still it seemed only fair,
as the old Doctor thought so much of the matter, to humor him about it.
As for not going about when and where he liked, for fear he might have
some lurking enemy, that was a thing not to be listened to nor thought
of. There was nothing to be ashamed of or troubled about in any of his
relations with the school-girls. Elsie, no doubt, showed a kind of
attraction towards him, as did perhaps some others; but he had been
perfectly discreet, and no father or brother or lover had any just cause
of quarrel with him. To be sure, that dark young man at the Dudley
mansion-house looked as if he were his enemy, when he had met him; but
certainly there was nothing in their relations to each other, or in his
own to Elsie, that would be like to stir such malice in his mind as
would lead him to play any of his wild Southern tricks at his, Mr.
Bernard's, expense. Yet he had a vague feeling that this young man was
dangerous, and he had been given to understand that one of the risks he
ran was from that quarter.

On this particular evening, he had a strange, unusual sense of some
impending peril. His recent interview with the Doctor, certain remarks
that had been dropped in his hearing, but above all an unaccountable
impression upon his spirits, all combined to fill his mind with a
foreboding conviction that he was very near some overshadowing danger.
It was as the chill of the ice-mountain towards which the ship is
steering under full sail. He felt a strong impulse to see Helen Darley
and talk with her. She was in the common parlour, and, fortunately,
alone.

"Helen," he said,--for they were almost like brother and sister now,--"I
have been thinking what you would do, if I should have to leave the
school at short notice, or be taken away suddenly by any accident."

"Do?" she said, her cheek growing paler than its natural delicate
hue,--"why, I do not know how I could possibly consent to live here, if
you left us. Since you came, my life has been almost easy; before, it
was getting intolerable. You must not talk about going, my dear friend;
you have spoiled me for my place. Who is there here that I can have any
true society with, but you? You would not leave us for another school,
would you?"

"No, no, my dear Helen," Mr. Bernard said; "if it depends on myself, I
shall stay out my full time, and enjoy your company and friendship. But
everything is uncertain in this world; I have been thinking that I might
be wanted elsewhere, and called when I did not think of it;--it was a
fancy, perhaps,--but I can't keep it out of my mind this evening. If any
of my fancies should come true, Helen, there are two or three messages
I want to leave with you. I have marked a book or two with a cross in
pencil on the fly-leaf;--these are for you. There is a little hymn-book
I should like to have you give to Elsie from me;--it may be a kind of
comfort to the poor girl."

Helen's eyes glistened as she interrupted him,--

"What do you mean? You must not talk so, Mr. Langdon. Why, you never
looked better in your life. Tell me now, you are not in earnest, are
you, but only trying a little sentiment on me?"

Mr. Bernard smiled, but rather sadly.

"About half in earnest," he said. "I have had some fancies in my
head,--superstitions, I suppose,--at any rate, it does no harm to tell
you what I should like to have done, if anything should happen,--very
likely nothing ever will. Send the rest of the books home, if you
please, and write a letter to my mother. And, Helen, you will find
one small volume in my desk enveloped and directed, you will see to
whom;--give this with your own hands; it is a keepsake."

The tears gathered in her eyes; she could not speak at first.
Presently,--

"Why, Bernard, my dear friend, my brother, it cannot be that you are in
danger? Tell me what it is, and, if I can share it with you, or counsel
you in any way, it will only be paying back the great debt I owe you.
No, no,--it can't be true,--you are tired and worried, and your spirits
have got depressed. I know what that is;--I was sure, one winter, that
I should die before spring; but I lived to see the dandelions
and buttercups go to seed. Come, tell me it was nothing but your
imagination."

She felt a tear upon her cheek, but would not turn her face away from
him; it was the tear of a sister.

"I am really in earnest, Helen," he said. "I don't know that there is
the least reason in the world for these fancies. If they all go off and
nothing comes of them, you may laugh at me, if you like. But if there
should be any occasion, remember my requests. You don't believe in
presentiments, do you?"

"Oh, don't ask me, I beg you," Helen answered. "I have had a good many
frights for every one real misfortune I have suffered. Sometimes I have
thought I was warned beforehand of coming trouble, just as many people
are of changes in the weather, by some unaccountable feeling,--but not
often, and I don't like to talk about such things. I wouldn't think
about these fancies of yours. I don't believe you have exercised
enough;--don't you think it's confinement in the school has made you
nervous?"

"Perhaps it has; but it happens that I have thought more of exercise
lately, and have taken walks late in the evening, besides playing my old
gymnastic tricks every day."

They talked on many subjects, but through all he said Helen perceived a
pervading tone of sadness, and an expression as of a dreamy foreboding
of unknown evil. They parted at the usual hour, and went to their
several rooms. The sadness of Mr. Bernard had sunk into the heart
of Helen, and she mingled many tears with her prayers that evening,
earnestly entreating that he might be comforted in his days of trial and
protected in his hour of danger.

Mr. Bernard stayed in his room a short time before setting out for his
evening walk. His eye fell upon the Bible his mother had given him when
he left home, and he opened it in the New Testament at a venture. It
happened that the first words he read were these,--"_Lest, coming
suddenly, he find you sleeping_." In the state of mind in which he
was at the moment, the text startled him. It was like a supernatural
warning. He was not going to expose himself to any particular danger
this evening; a walk in a quiet village was as free from risk as Helen
Darley or his own mother could ask; yet he had an unaccountable feeling
of apprehension, without any definite object. At this moment he
remembered the old Doctor's counsel, which he had sometimes neglected,
and, blushing at the feeling which led him to do it, he took the pistol
his suspicious old friend had forced upon him, which he had put away
loaded, and, thrusting it into his pocket, set out upon his walk.

The moon was shining at intervals, for the night was partially clouded.
There seemed to be nobody stirring, though his attention was unusually
awake, and he could hear the whirr of the bats overhead, and the
pulsating croak of the frogs in the distant pools and marshes. Presently
he detected the sound of hoofs at some distance, and, looking forward,
saw a horseman coming in his direction. The moon was under a cloud at
the moment, and he could only observe that the horse and his rider
looked like a single dark object, and that they were moving along at an
easy pace. Mr. Bernard was really ashamed of himself, when he found his
hand on the butt of his pistol. When the horseman was within a hundred
and fifty yards of him, the moon shone out suddenly and revealed each
of them to the other. The rider paused for a moment, as if carefully
surveying the pedestrian, then suddenly put his horse to the full
gallop, and dashed towards him, rising at the same instant in his
stirrups and swinging something round his head,--what, Mr. Bernard could
not make out. It was a strange manoeuvre,--so strange and threatening in
aspect that the young man forgot his nervousness in an instant, cocked
his pistol, and waited to see what mischief all this meant. He did not
wait long. As the rider came rushing towards him, he made a rapid motion
and something leaped five-and-twenty feet through the air, in Mr.
Bernard's direction. In an instant he felt a ring, as of a rope or
thong, settle upon his shoulders. There was no time to think,--he would
be lost in another second. He raised his pistol and fired,--not at the
rider, but at the horse. His aim was true; the mustang gave one bound
and fell lifeless, shot through the head. The lasso was fastened to his
saddle, and his last bound threw Mr. Bernard violently to the earth,
where he lay motionless, as if stunned.

In the mean time, Dick Venner, who had been dashed down with his horse,
was trying to extricate himself,--one of his legs being held fast under
the animal, the long spur on his boot having caught in the saddle-cloth.
He found, however, that he could do nothing with his right arm, his
shoulder having been in some way injured in his fall. But his Southern
blood was up, and, as he saw Mr. Bernard move as if he were coming to
his senses, he struggled violently to free himself.

"I'll have the dog, yet," he said,--"only let me get at him with the
knife!"

He had just succeeded in extricating his imprisoned leg, and was ready
to spring to his feet, when he was caught firmly by the throat, and,
looking up, saw a clumsy barbed weapon, commonly known as a hay-fork,
within an inch of his breast.

"Hold on there! What 'n thunder 'r' y' abaout, y' darned Portagee?" said
a voice, with a decided nasal tone in it, but sharp and resolute.

Dick looked from the weapon to the person who held it, and saw a sturdy,
plain man standing over him, with his teeth clinched, and his aspect
that of one all ready for mischief.

"Lay still, naow!" said Abel Stebbins, the Doctor's man; "'f y' don't,
I'll stick ye, 'z sure 'z y' 'r' alive! I been aäfter ye f'r a week, 'n'
I got y' naow! I knowed I'd ketch ye at some darned trick or 'nother
'fore I'd done 'ith ye!"

Dick lay perfectly still, feeling that he was crippled and helpless,
thinking all the time with the Yankee half of his mind what to do about
it. He saw Mr. Bernard lift his head and look around him. He would get
his senses again in a few minutes, very probably, and then he, Mr.
Richard Venner, would be done for.

"Let me up! let me up!" he cried, in a low, hurried voice,--"I'll give
you a hundred dollars in gold to let me go. The man a'n't hurt,--don't
you see him stirring? He'll come to himself in two minutes. Let me up!
I'll give you a hundred and fifty dollars in gold, now, here on the
spot,--and the watch out of my pocket; take it yourself, with your own
hands!"

"I'll see y' darned fust! Ketch me lett'n' go!" was Abel's emphatic
answer. "Yeou lay still, 'n' wait t'll that man comes tew."

He kept the hay-fork ready for action at the slightest sign of
resistance.

Mr. Bernard, in the mean time, had been getting, first his senses, and
then some Jew of his scattered wits, a little together.

"What is it?"--he said. "Who 'a hurt? What's happened?"

"Come along here 'z quick 'z y' ken," Abel answered, "'n' haälp me fix
this fellah. Y' been hurt, y'rself, 'n' the' 's murder come pooty nigh
happenin'."

Mr. Bernard heard the answer, but presently stared about and asked
again, _"Who's hurt? What's happened?"_

"Y' 'r' hurt, y'rself, I tell ye," said Abel; "'n' the''s been a murder,
pooty nigh."

Mr. Bernard felt something about his neck, and, putting his hands up,
found the loop of the lasso, which he loosened, but did not think to
slip over his head, in the confusion of his perceptions and thoughts. It
was a wonder that it had not choked him, but he had fallen forward so as
to slacken it.

By this time he was getting some notion of what he was about, and
presently began looking round for his pistol, which had fallen. He
found it lying near him, cocked it mechanically, and walked, somewhat
unsteadily, towards the two men, who were keeping their position as
still as if they were performing in a _tableau._

"Quick, naow!" said Abel, who had heard the click of cocking the pistol,
and saw that he held it in his hand, as he came towards him. "Gi' me
that pistil, and yeon fetch that 'ere rope layin' there. I'll have this
here fellah fixed 'n less 'n two minutes."

Mr. Bernard did as Abel said,--stupidly and mechanically, for he was but
half right as yet. Abel pointed the pistol at Dick's head.

"Naow hold up y'r hands, yeou fellah," he said, "'n' keep 'em up, while
this man puts the rope raound y'r wrists."

Dick felt himself helpless, and, rather than have his disabled arm
roughly dealt with, held up his hands. Mr. Bernard did as Abel said; he
was in a purely passive state, and obeyed orders like a child. Abel then
secured the rope in a most thorough and satisfactory complication of
twists and knots.

"Naow get up, will ye?" he said; and the unfortunate Dick rose to his
feet.

_"Who's hurt? What's happened?"_ asked poor Mr. Bernard again, his
memory having been completely jarred out of him for the time.

"Come, look here naow, yeou, don' stan' aäskin' questions over 'n'
over;--'t beats all I ha'n't I tol' y' a dozen times?"

As Abel spoke, he turned and looked at Mr. Bernard.

"Hullo! What 'n thunder's that'ere raoun' y'r neck? Ketched ye 'ith a
slippernoose, hey? Wal, if that a'n't the craowner! Hol' on a minute,
Cap'n, 'n' I'll show ye what that 'ere halter's good for."

Abel slipped the noose over Mr. Bernard's head, and put it round
the neck of the miserable Dick Venner, who made no sign of
resistance,--whether on account of the pain he was in, or from mere
helplessness, or because he was waiting for some unguarded moment to
escape,--since resistance seemed of no use.

"I'm go'n' to kerry y' home," said Abel; "th' ol' Doctor, he's got a
gre't cur'osity t' see ye. Jes' step along naow,--off that way, will
ye?--'n I'll hol' on t' th' bridle, f' fear y' sh'd run away."

He took hold of the leather thong, but found that it was fastened at the
other end to the saddle. This was too much for Abel.

"Wal, naow, yeou _be_ a pooty chap to hev raound! A fellah's neck in a
slippernoose at one eend of a halter, 'n' a boss on th' full spring at
t'other eend!"

He looked at him from head to foot as a naturalist inspects a new
specimen. His clothes had suffered in his fall, especially on the leg
which had been caught under the horse.

"Hullo! look o' there, naow! What's that 'ere stickin' aout o' y'r
boot?"

It was nothing but the handle of an ugly knife, which Abel instantly
relieved him of.

The party now took up the line of march for old Doctor Kittredge's
house, Abel carrying the pistol and knife, and Mr. Bernard walking in
silence, still half-stunned, holding the hay-fork, which Abel had thrust
into his hand. It was all a dream to him as yet. He remembered the
horseman riding at him, and his firing the pistol; but whether he was
alive, and these walls around him belonged to the village of Rockland,
or whether he had passed the dark river, and was in a suburb of the New
Jerusalem, he could not as yet have told.

They were in the street where the Doctor's house was situated.

"I guess I'll fire off one o' these here berrils," said Abel.

He fired.

Presently there was a noise of opening windows, and the nocturnal
headdresses of Rockland flowered out of them like so many developments
of the Night-blooming Cereus. White cotton caps and red bandanna
handkerchiefs were the prevailing forms of efflorescence. The main point
was that the village was waked up. The old Doctor always waked easily,
from long habit, and was the first among those who looked out to see
what had happened.

"Why, Abel!" he called out, "what have you got there? and what's all
this noise about?"

"We've ketched the Portagee!" Abel answered, as laconically as the hero
of Lake Erie in his famous dispatch. "Go in there, you fellah!"

The prisoner was marched into the house, and the Doctor, who had
bewitched his clothes upon him in a way that would have been miraculous
in anybody but a physician, was down in presentable form as soon as if
it had been a child in a fit that he was sent for.

"Richard Venner!" the Doctor exclaimed. "What is the meaning of all
this? Mr. Langdon, has anything happened to you?"

Mr. Bernard put his hand to his head.

"My mind is confused," he said. "I've had a fall.--Oh, yes!--wait a
minute and it will all come back to me."

"Sit down, sit down," the Doctor said. "Abel will tell me about it.
Slight concussion of the brain. Can't remember very well for an hour or
two,--will come right by to-morrow."

"Been stunded," Abel said. "He can't tell nothin'."

Abel then proceeded to give a Napoleonic bulletin of the recent combat
of cavalry and infantry and its results,--none slain, one captured.

The Doctor looked at the prisoner through his spectacles.

"What's the matter with your shoulder, Venner?"

Dick answered sullenly, that he didn't know,--fell on it when his horse
came down. The Doctor examined it as carefully as he could through his
clothes.

"Out of joint. Untie his hands, Abel."

By this time a small alarm had spread among the neighbors, and there was
a circle around Dick, who glared about on the assembled honest people
like a hawk with a broken wing.

When the Doctor said, "Untie his hands," the circle widened perceptibly.

"Isn't it a leetle rash to give him the use of his hands? I see there's
females and children standin' near."

This was the remark of our old friend, Deacon Soper, who retired from
the front row, as he spoke, behind a respectable-looking, but somewhat
hastily dressed person of the defenceless sex, the female help of a
neighboring household, accompanied by a boy, whose unsmoothed shock of
hair looked like a last-year's crow's-nest.

But Abel untied his hands, in spite of the Deacon's considerate
remonstrance.

"Now," said the Doctor, "the first thing is to put the joint back."

"Stop," said Deacon Soper,--"stop a minute. Don't you think it will be
safer--for the women-folks--jest to wait till mornin', afore you put
that j'int into the socket?"

Colonel Sprowle, who had been called by a special messenger, spoke up at
this moment.

"Let the women-folks and the deacons go home, if they're scared, and put
the fellah's j'int in as quick as you like. I'll resk him, j'int in or
out."

"I want one of you to go straight down to Dudley Venner's with a
message," the Doctor said. "I will have the young man's shoulder in
quick enough."

"Don't send that message!" said Dick, in a hoarse voice;--"do what you
like with my arm, but don't send that message! Let me go,--I can walk,
and I'll be off from this place. There's nobody hurt but I. Damn the
shoulder!--let me go! You shall never hear of me again!"

Mr. Bernard came forward.

"My friends," he said, "_I_ am not injured,--seriously, at least. Nobody
need complain against this man, if I don't. The Doctor will treat him
like a human being, at any rate; and then, if he will go, let him. There
are too many witnesses against him here for him to want to stay."

The Doctor, in the mean time, without saying a word to all this, had got
a towel round the shoulder and chest and another round the arm, and had
the bone replaced in a very few moments.

"Abel, put Cassia into the new chaise," he said, quietly. "My friends
and neighbors, leave this young man to me."

"Colonel Sprowle, you're a justice of the peace," said Deacon Soper,
"and you know what the law says in cases like this. I a'n't so clear
that it won't have to come afore the Grand Jury, whether we will or no."

"I guess we'll set that j'int to-morrow mornin'," said Colonel
Sprowle,--which made a laugh at the Deacon's expense, and virtually
settled the question.

"Now trust this young man in my care," said the old Doctor, "and go home
and finish your naps. I knew him when he was a boy, and, I'll answer for
it, he won't trouble you any more. The Dudley blood makes folks proud, I
can tell you, whatever else they are."

The good people so respected and believed in the Doctor that they left
the prisoner with him.

Presently, Cassia, the fast Morgan mare, came up to the front-door,
with the wheels of the new, light chaise flashing behind her in the
moonlight. The Doctor drove Dick forty miles at a stretch that night,
out of the limits of the State.

"Do you want money?" he said, before he left him.

Dick told him the secret of his golden belt.

"Where shall I send your trunk after you from your uncle's?"

Dick gave him a direction to a seaport town to which he himself was
going, to take passage for a port in South America.

"Good-bye, Richard," said the Doctor. "Try to learn something from
to-night's lesson."

The Southern impulses in Dick's wild blood overcame him, and he kissed
the old Doctor on both cheeks, crying as only the children of the sun
can cry, after the first hours in the dewy morning of life. So Dick
Venner disappears from this story. An hour after dawn, Cassia pointed
her fine ears homeward, and struck into her square, honest trot, as
if she had not been doing anything more than her duty during her four
hours' stretch of the last night.

Abel was not in the habit of questioning the Doctor's decisions.

"It's all right," he said to Mr. Bernard. "The fellah's Squire Venner's
relation, anyhaow. Don't you want to wait here, jest a little while,
till I come back? The' 's a consid'able nice saddle 'n' bridle on a dead
hoss that's layin' daown there in the road, 'n' I guess the' a'n't no
use in lettin' on 'em spile,--so I'll jest step aout 'n' fetch 'em
along. I kind o' calc'late 't won't pay to take the cretur's shoes 'n'
hide off to-night,--'n' the' won't be much iron on that hoss's huffs an
haour after daylight, I'll bate ye a quarter."

"I'll walk along with you," said Mr. Bernard;--"I feel as if I could get
along well enough now."

So they set off together. There was a little crowd round the dead
mustang already, principally consisting of neighbors who had adjourned
from the Doctor's house to see the scene of the late adventure. In
addition to these, however, the assembly was honored by the presence of
Mr. Principal Silas Peckham, who had been called from his slumbers by
a message that Master Langdon was shot through the head by a
highway-robber, but had learned a true version of the story by this
time. His voice was at that moment heard above the rest,--sharp, but
thin, like bad cider-vinegar.

"I take charge of that property, I say. Master Langdon 's actin' under
my orders, and I claim that hoss and all that's on him. Hiram! jest slip
off that saddle and bridle, and carry 'em up to the Institoot, and bring
down a pair of pinchers and a file,--and--stop--fetch a pair of shears,
too; there's hoss-hair enough in that mane and tail to stuff a bolster
with."

"You let that hoss alone!" spoke up Colonel Sprowle. "When a fellah
goes out huntin' and shoots a squirrel, do you think he's go'n' to
let another fellah pick him up and kerry him off? Not if he's got a
double-berril gun, and t'other berril ha'n't been fired off yet! I
should like to see the mahn that'll take off that seddle 'n' bridle,
excep' the one th't hez a fair right to the whole concern!"

Hiram was from one of the lean streaks in New Hampshire, and, not being
overfed in Mr. Silas Peckham's kitchen, was somewhat wanting in stamina,
as well as in stomach, for so doubtful an enterprise as undertaking to
carry out his employer's orders in the face of the Colonel's defiance.

Just then Mr. Bernard and Abel came up together.

"Here they be," said the Colonel. "Stan' beck, gentlemen!"

Mr. Bernard, who was pale and still a little confused, but gradually
becoming more like himself, stood and looked in silence for a moment.

All his thoughts seemed to be clearing themselves in this interval.
He took in the whole series of incidents: his own frightful risk; the
strange, instinctive, nay, Providential impulse which had led him so
suddenly to do the one only thing which could possibly have saved him;
the sudden appearance of the Doctor's man, but for which he might yet
have been lost; and the discomfiture and capture of his dangerous enemy.

It was all past now, and a feeling of pity rose in Mr. Bernard's heart.

"He loved that horse, no doubt," he said,--"and no wonder. A beautiful,
wild-looking creature! Take off those things that are on him, Abel, and
have them carried to Mr. Dudley Venner's. If he does not want them, you
may keep them yourself, for all that I have to say. One thing more. I
hope nobody will lift his hand against this noble creature to mutilate
him in any way. After you have taken off the saddle and bridle, Abel,
bury him just as he is. Under that old beech-tree will be a good place.
You'll see to it,--won't you, Abel?"

Abel nodded assent, and Mr. Bernard returned to the Institute, threw
himself in his clothes on the bed, and slept like one who is heavy with
wine.

Following Mr. Bernard's wishes, Abel at once took off the high-peaked
saddle and the richly ornamented bridle from the mustang. Then, with
the aid of two of three others, he removed him to the place indicated.
Spades and shovels were soon procured, and before the moon had set, the
wild horse of the Pampas was at rest under the turf at the wayside, in
the far village among the hills of New England.

       *       *       *       *       *


THE TEST.


_Musa loquitur._

  I hung my verses in the wind;
  Time and tide their faults may find.
  All were winnowed through and through;
  Five lines lasted sound and true;
  Five were smelted in a pot
  Than the South more fierce and hot.
  These the Siroc could not melt,
  Fire their fiercer flaming felt,
  And their meaning was more white
  Than July's meridian light.
  Sunshine cannot bleach the snow,
  Nor Time unmake what poets know.
  Have you eyes to find the five
  Which five thousand could survive?



RECOLLECTIONS OF KEATS.

_BY AN OLD SCHOOL-FELLOW._


In the village of Enfield, in Middlesex, ten miles on the north road
from London, was my father, John Clarke's school. The house had been
built by a West India merchant, in the latter end of the seventeenth or
beginning of the eighteenth century. It was of the better character of
the domestic architecture of that period,--the whole front being of the
purest red brick, wrought, by means of moulds, into rich designs of
flowers and pomegranates, with heads of cherubim over two niches in
the centre of the building. The elegance of the design and the perfect
finish of the structure were such as to secure its protection, when a
branch railway was brought from the Ware and Cambridge line to Enfield.
The old school-house was converted into the station-house, and the
railway company had the good taste to leave intact one of the few
remaining specimens of the graceful English domestic architecture of
long-gone days. Any of my readers who may happen to have a file of the
London "Illustrated News," may find in No. 360, March 3, 1849, a not
prodigiously enchanting wood-cut of the edifice.

Here it was that John Keats all but commenced and did complete his
school-education. He was born on the 29th of October, 1795; and I think
he was one of the little fellows who had not wholly emerged from the
child's costume upon being placed under my father's care. It will be
readily conceived difficult to recall from the "dark backward and
abysm" of nearly sixty years the general acts of perhaps the youngest
individual in a corporation of between seventy and eighty youngsters;
and very little more of Keats's child-life can I remember than that he
had a brisk, winning face, and was a favorite with all, particularly
with my mother.

His maternal grandfather, Jennings, was proprietor of a large
livery-stable, called "The Swan and Hoop," on the pavement in
Moorfields, opposite the entrance into Finsbury Circus. He had two sons
at my father's school. The elder was an officer in Duncan's ship in the
fight off Camperdown. After the battle, the Dutch Admiral, De Winter,
pointing to young Jennings, told Duncan that he had fired several
shots at that young man, and always missed his mark;--no credit to his
steadiness of aim; for Jennings, like his own admiral, was considerably
above the ordinary dimensions of stature.

Keats's father was the principal servant at the Swan and Hoop
Stables,--a man of so remarkably fine a common-sense and native
respectability, that I perfectly remember the warm terms in which his
demeanor used to be canvassed by my parents after he had been to visit
his boys. He was short of stature and well-knit in person, (John
resembling him both in make and feature,) with brown hair and dark hazel
eyes. He was killed by a fall from his horse, in returning from a visit
to the school. John's two brothers, George, older, and Thomas, younger
than himself, were like the mother,--who was tall, of good figure, with
large, oval face, sombre features, and grave in behavior. The last of
the family was a sister,--Fanny, I think, much younger than all,--of
whom I remember my mother once speaking with much fondness, for her
pretty, simple manners, while she was walking in the garden with her
brothers. She married Mr. Llanos, a Spanish refugee, the author of
"Don Estéban," and "Sandoval, the Free-Mason." He was a man of
liberal principles, attractive manners, and more than ordinary
accomplishments.--This is the amount of my knowledge and recollection of
the family.

In the early part of his school-life, John gave no extraordinary
indications of intellectual character; but it was remembered of him
afterwards, that there was ever present a determined and steady spirit
in all his undertakings; and, although of a strong and impulsive will,
I never knew it misdirected in his required pursuit of study. He was a
most orderly scholar. The future ramifications of that noble genius were
then closely shut in the seed, and greedily drinking in the moisture
which made it afterwards burst forth so kindly into luxuriance and
beauty.

My father was in the habit, at each half-year's vacation, of bestowing
prizes upon those pupils who had performed the greatest quantity of
voluntary extra work; and such was Keats's indefatigable energy for the
last two or three successive half-years of his remaining at school,
that, upon each occasion, he took the first prize by a considerable
distance. He was at work before the first school-hour began, and that
was at seven o'clock; almost all the intervening times of recreation
were so devoted; and during the afternoon-holidays, when all were at
play, I have seen him in the school,--almost the only one,--at his Latin
or French translation; and so unconscious and regardless was he of the
consequences of this close and persevering application, that he never
would have taken the necessary exercise, had he not been sometimes
driven out by one of us for the purpose.

I have said that he was a favorite with all. Not the less beloved was he
for having a highly pugnacious spirit, which, when roused, was one of
the most picturesque exhibitions--off the stage--I ever saw. One of the
transports of that marvellous actor, Edmund Kean--whom, by the way,
he idolized--was its nearest resemblance; and the two were not very
dissimilar in face and figure. I remember, upon one occasion, when an
usher, on account of some impertinent behavior, had boxed his brother
Tom's ears, John rushed up, put himself in the received posture of
offence, and, I believe, struck the usher,--who could have put him into
his pocket. His passions at times were almost ungovernable; his brother
George, being considerably the taller and stronger, used frequently to
hold him down by main force, when he was in "one of his moods" and
was endeavoring to beat him. It was all, however, a wisp-of-straw
conflagration; for he had an intensely tender affection for his
brothers, and proved it upon the most trying occasions. He was not
merely the "favorite of all," like a pet prize-fighter, for his terrier
courage; but his high-mindedness, his utter unconsciousness of a mean
motive, his placability, his generosity, wrought so general a feeling in
his behalf, that I never heard a word of disapproval from any one who
had known him, superior or equal.

The latter part of the time--perhaps eighteen months--that he remained
at school, he occupied the hours during meals in reading. Thus his
_whole_ time was engrossed. He had a tolerably retentive memory, and the
quantity that he read was surprising. He must in those last months
have exhausted the school--library, which consisted principally of
abridgments of all the voyages and travels of any note; Mayor's
Collection; also his Universal History; Robertson's Histories of
Scotland, America, and Charles the Fifth; all Miss Edgeworth's
productions; together with many other works, equally well calculated for
youth, not necessary to be enumerated. The books, however, that were
his constantly recurrent sources of attraction were Tooke's "Pantheon,"
Lemprière's "Classical Dictionary," which he appeared to _learn_, and
Spence's "Polymetis." This was the store whence he acquired his perfect
intimacy with the Greek mythology; here was he "suckled In that creed
outworn"; for his amount of classical attainment extended no farther
than the "Aeneid"; with which epic, indeed, he was so fascinated, that
before leaving school he had _voluntarily_ translated in writing a
considerable portion. And yet I remember that at that early age,--mayhap
under fourteen,--notwithstanding and through all its incidental
attractiveness, he hazarded the opinion to me that there was feebleness
in the structure of the work. He must have gone through all the better
publications in the school-library, for he asked me to lend him some of
my own books; and I think I now see him at supper, (we had all our meals
in the school-room,) sitting back on the form, and holding the folio
volume of Burnet's "History of his own Time" between himself and the
table, eating his meal from beyond it. This work, and Leigh Hunt's
"Examiner" newspaper,--which my father took in, and I used to lend to
Keats,--I make no doubt laid the foundation of his love of civil and
religious liberty. He once told me, smiling, that one of his guardians,
being informed what books I had lent him to read, declared, that, if he
had fifty children, he would not send one of them to my father's school.

When he left us,--I think at fourteen years of age,--he was apprenticed
to Mr. Thomas Hammond, a medical man, residing in Church Street,
Edmonton, and exactly two miles from Enfield. This arrangement appeared
to give him satisfaction; and I fear that it was the most placid period
of his painful life; for now, with the exception of the duty he had to
perform in the surgery, and which was by no means an onerous one, his
whole leisure hours were employed in indulging his passion for reading
and translating. It was during his apprenticeship that he finished the
latter portion of the "Aeneid."

The distance between our residences being so short, I encouraged his
inclination to come over, when he could be spared; and in consequence,
I saw him about five or six times a month, commonly on Wednesdays and
Saturdays, those afternoons being my own most leisure times. He rarely
came empty-handed; either he had a book to read, or brought one with him
to be exchanged. When the weather permitted, we always sat in an arbor
at the end of a spacious garden, and, in Boswellian phrase, "we had good
talk."

I cannot at this time remember what was the spark that fired the train
of his poetical tendencies,--I do not remember what was the first
signalized poetry he read; but he must have given me unmistakable tokens
of his bent of taste; otherwise, at that early stage of his career, I
never could have read to him the "Epithalamion" of Spenser; and this I
perfectly remember having done, and in that (to me) hallowed old arbor,
the scene of many bland and graceful associations,--all the substances
having passed away. He was at that time, I should suppose, fifteen or
sixteen years old; and at that period of life he certainly appreciated
the general beauty of the composition, and felt the more passionate
passages; for his features and exclamations were ecstatic. How often
have I in after-times heard him quote these lines:--

  "Behold, whiles she before the altar stands,
  Hearing the holy priest that to her speaks,
  And blesses her with his two happy hands,
  How the red roses flush up in her cheeks!
  And the pure snow, with goodly vermil stain,
  Like crimson dyed in grain,
  That even the angels, which continually
  About the sacred altar do remain,
  Forget their service, and about her fly,
  _Oft peeping in her face, that seems more fair,
  The more they on it stare;_
  But her sad eyes, still fastened on the ground,
  Are governèd with goodly modesty,
  That suffers not one look to glance awry,
  Which may let in a little thought unsound."

That night he took away with him the first volume of the "Faery Queen,"
and went through it, as I told his biographer, Mr. Monckton Milnes, "as
a young horse would through a spring meadow,--ramping!" Like a true
poet, too,--a poet "born, not manufactured,"--a poet in grain,--he
especially singled out the epithets, for that felicity and power in
which Spenser is so eminent. He hoisted himself up, and looked burly
and dominant, as he said,--"What an image that is,--_'Sea-shouldering
whales'!_"

It was a treat to see as well as hear him read a pathetic passage. Once,
when reading the "Cymbeline" aloud', I saw his eyes fill with tears, and
for some moments he was unable to proceed, when he came to the departure
of Posthumus, and Imogen's saying she would have watched him

  "till the diminution
  Of space had pointed him sharp as my needle;
  Nay, followed him till he had _melted from
  The smallness of a gnat to air_; and then
  Have _turned mine eye and wept_."

I cannot quite reconcile the time of our separating at this stage of his
career,--which of us first went to London; but it was upon an occasion
when I was walking thither, and, I think, to see Leigh Hunt, who had
just fulfilled his penalty of confinement in Horsemonger-Lane Prison for
the trivial libel upon the Prince Regent, that Keats, who was coming
over to Enfield, met me, and, turning, accompanied me back part of the
way to Edmonton. At the last field-gate, when taking leave, he gave
me the sonnet entitled, "Written on the Day that Mr. Leigh Hunt left
Prison." Unless I am utterly mistaken, this was the first proof I had
received of his having committed himself in verse; and how clearly can I
recall the conscious look with which he hesitatingly offered it! There
are some momentary glances of beloved friends that fade only with life.
I am not in a position to contradict the statement of his biographer,
that "the lines in imitation of Spenser,

  "'Now Morning from her orient charger came,
  And her first footsteps touched a verdant hill,' etc.,

"are the earliest known verses of his composition"; from the subject
being the inspiration of his first love--and such a love!--in poetry, it
is most probable; but certainly his first published poem was the sonnet
commencing,

  'O Solitude! if I must with thee dwell';

and that will be found in the "Examiner," some time, as I conjecture,
in 1816,--for I have not the paper to refer to, and, indeed, at this
distance, both of time and removal from the means of verification, I
would not be dogmatical.

When we both had come to London,--he to enter as a student of St.
Thomas's Hospital,--he was not long in discovering that my abode was
with my brother-in-law, in Little Warner Street, Clerkenwell; and
just at that time I was installed housekeeper, and was solitary. He,
therefore, would come and revive his loved gossip, till, as the author
of the "Urn Burial" says, "we were acting our antipodes,--the huntsmen
were up in America, and they already were past their first sleep in
Persia." At this time he lived in his first lodging upon coming to
London, near to St. Thomas's Hospital. I find his address in a letter
which must have preceded my appointing him to come and lighten my
darkness in Clerkenwell. At the close of the letter, he says,--"Although
the Borough is a beastly place in dirt, turnings, and windings, yet
No. 8, Dean Street, is not difficult to find; and if you would run the
gauntlet over London Bridge, take the first turning to the left, and
then the first to the right, and, moreover, knock at my door, which is
nearly opposite a meeting, you would do me a charity, which, as St. Paul
saith, is the father of all the virtues. At all events, let me hear from
you soon: I say, at all events, not excepting the gout in your fingers."
I have little doubt that this letter (which has no other date than the
day of the week, and no post-mark) preceded our first symposium; and a
memorable night it was in my life's career.

A copy, and a beautiful one, of the folio edition of Chapman's Homer had
been lent me. It was the property of Mr. Alsager, the gentleman who
for years had contributed no small share of celebrity to the great
reputation of the "Times" newspaper, by the masterly manner in which he
conducted the money-market department of that journal. At the time
when I was first introduced to Mr. Alsager, he was living opposite
Horsemonger-Lane Prison; and upon Mr. Leigh Hunt's being sentenced for
the libel, his first day's dinner was sent over by Mr. Alsager. He was
a man of the most studiously correct demeanor, with a highly cultivated
taste and judgment in the fine arts and music. He succeeded Hazlitt,
(which was no insignificant honor,) and for some time contributed the
critiques upon the theatres, but ended by being the reporter of the
state of the money-market. He had long been accustomed to have the first
trial at his own house of the best-reputed new foreign instrumental
music, which he used to import from Germany.

Well, then, we were put in possession of the Homer of Chapman, and to
work we went, turning to some of the "famousest" passages, as we had
scrappily known them in Pope's version. There was, for instance, that
perfect scene of the conversation on Troy wall of the old Senators with
Helen, who is pointing out to them the several Greek captains, with that
wonderfully vivid portrait of an orator, in Ulysses, in the Third Book,
beginning at the 237th line,--

  "But when the prudent Ithacus did to his counsels rise";

the helmet and shield of Diomed, in the opening of the Fifth Book; the
prodigious description of Neptune's passage in his chariot to the Achive
ships, in the opening of the Thirteenth Book,--

  "The woods, and all the great hills near,
  trembled beneath the weight
  Of his immortal moving feet."

The last was the whole of the shipwreck of Ulysses in the Fifth Book of
the "Odyssey." I think his expression of delight, during the reading of
those dozen lines, was never surpassed:--

  "Then forth he came, his both knees faltering, both
  His strong hands hanging down, and all with froth
  His cheeks and nostrils flowing, voice and breath
  Spent to all use, and down he sunk to death.
  _The sea had soaked his heart through_; all his veins
  His toils had racked t' a laboring woman's pains.
  Dead weary was he."

On an after-occasion I showed him the couplet of Pope's upon the same
passage:--

  "From mouth and nose the briny torrent ran,
  _And lost in lassitude, lay all the man._"

Chapman supplied us with many an after-feast; but it was in the teeming
wonderment of this, his first introduction, that, when I came down to
breakfast the next morning, I found upon my table a letter with no other
inclosure than his famous sonnet, "On first looking into Chapman's
Homer." We had parted, as I have already said, at day-spring; yet he
contrived that I should receive the poem, from a distance of nearly two
miles, before 10, A.M. In the published copy of this sonnet he made an
alteration in the seventh line:--

  "Yet did I never breathe its pure serene."

The original, which he sent me, had the phrase,

  "Yet could I never tell what men could mean";

which he said was bald, and too simply wondering. No one could more
earnestly chastise his thoughts than Keats. His favorite among Chapman's
Hymns of Homer was the one to Pan, and which he himself rivalled in the
"Endymion."

In one of our conversations about this period, I alluded to his position
at St. Thomas's Hospital,--coasting and reconnoitring, as it were, that
I might discover how he got on, and, with the total absorption that
had evidently taken place of every other mood of his mind than that of
imaginative composition, what was his bias for the future, and what his
feeling with regard to the profession that had been _chosen for him_,--a
circumstance I did not know at that time. He made no secret, however,
that he could not sympathize with the science of anatomy, as a main
pursuit in life; for one of the expressions that he used, in describing
his unfitness for its mastery, was perfectly characteristic. He said, in
illustration of his argument,--"The other day, for instance, during the
lecture, there came a sunbeam into the room, and with it a whole troop
of creatures floating in the ray; and I was off with them to Oberon
and Fairy-land." And yet, with all this self-styled unfitness for the
pursuit, I was afterwards informed, that at his subsequent
examination he displayed an amount of acquirement which surprised his
fellow-students, who had scarcely any other association with him than
that of a cheerful, crochety rhymester.

It was about this period, that, going to call upon Mr. Leigh Hunt,
who then occupied a pretty little cottage in the "Vale of Health," on
Hampstead Heath, I took with me two or three of the poems I had received
from Keats. I did expect that Hunt would speak encouragingly, and indeed
approvingly, of the compositions,--written, too, by a youth under age;
but my partial spirit was not prepared for the unhesitating and prompt
admiration which broke forth before he had read twenty lines of the
first poem. Mr. Horace Smith happened to be there, on the occasion, and
was not less demonstrative in his praise of their merits. The piece
which he read out, I remember, was the sonnet,--

  "How many bards gild the lapses of time!"

marking with particular emphasis and approbation the last six lines:--

  "So the unnumbered sounds that evening store,--
  The songs of birds, the whispering of the leaves,
  The voice of waters, the great bell that heaves
  With solemn sound, and thousand others more,
  _That distance of recognizance bereaves_,--
  Make pleasing music, and not wild uproar."

Smith repeated, with applause, the line in Italics, saying, "What a
well-condensed expression!" After making numerous and eager inquiries
about him, personally, and with reference to any peculiarities of mind
and manner, the visit ended in my being requested to bring him over
to the Vale of Health. That was a red-letter day in the young poet's
life,--and one which will never fade with me, as long as memory lasts.
The character and expression of Keats's features would unfailingly
arrest even the casual passenger in the street; and now they were
wrought to a tone of animation that I could not but watch with
intense interest, knowing what was in store for him from the bland
encouragement, and Spartan deference in attention, with fascinating
conversational eloquence, that he was to receive and encounter. When we
reached the Heath, I have present the rising and accelerated step, with
the gradual subsidence of all talk, as we drew towards the cottage. The
interview, which stretched into three "morning calls," was the
prelude to many after-scenes and saunterings about Caen Wood and its
neighborhood; for Keats was suddenly made a familiar of the household,
and was always welcomed.

It was in the library at Hunt's cottage, where an extemporary bed had
been made up for him on the sofa, that he composed the framework and
many lines of the poem on "Sleep and Poetry,"--the last sixty or seventy
being an inventory of the art-garniture of the room. The sonnet,

  "Keen, fitful gusts are whispering here and there,"

he gave me the day after one of our visits, and very shortly after his
installation at the cottage.

  "Give me a golden pen, and let me lean,"

was another, upon being compelled to leave "at an early hour." But the
occasion that recurs to me with the liveliest interest was the evening
when, some observations having been made upon the character, habits,
and pleasant associations of that reverenced denizen of the hearth,
the cheerful little fireside grasshopper, Hunt proposed to Keats the
challenge of writing, then, there, and to time, a sonnet "On the
Grasshopper and the Cricket." No one was present but myself, and they
accordingly set to. I, absent with a book at the end of the sofa, could
not avoid furtive glances, every now and then, at the emulants. I cannot
say how long the trial lasted; I was not proposed umpire, and had no
stop-watch for the occasion: the time, however, was short, for such
a performance; and Keats won, as to time. But the event of the
after-scrutiny was one of many such occurrences which have riveted the
memory of Leigh Hunt in my affectionate regard and admiration, for
unaffected generosity and perfectly unpretentious encouragement: his
sincere look of pleasure at the first line,--

  "The poetry of earth is never dead";

"Such a prosperous opening!" he said; and when he came to the tenth and
eleventh lines,--

  "On a lone winter evening, _when the frost
  Has wrought a silence_";

"Ah! that's perfect! bravo, Keats!"--and then he went on in a dilation
upon, the dumbness of all Nature during the season's suspension and
torpidity. With all the kind and gratifying things that were said to
him, Keats protested to me, as we were afterwards walking home, that he
preferred Hunt's treatment of the subject to his own.

He had left the neighborhood of the Borough, and was now living with his
brothers in apartments on the second floor of a house in the Poultry,
over the passage leading to the Queen's Head Tavern, and opposite one of
the City Companies' Halls,--the Ironmongers', if I mistake not. I have
the associating reminiscence of many happy hours spent in this lodging.
Here was determined upon, in great part written, and sent forth to the
world, the first little, but vigorous, offspring of his brain:--

  POEMS
  BY
  JOHN KEATS.

  "What more felicity can fell to creature
  Than to enjoy delight with liberty?"

  Fate of the Butterfly,--SPENSER

  LONDON:
  PRINTED FOR
  C. AND J. OLLIER, 3, WELBECK STREET,
  CAVENDISH SQUARE.
  1817.

Here, on the evening that the last proof-sheet was brought from the
printer, and, as his biographer has recorded, upon being informed, if
he purposed having a Dedication to the book, that it must be sent
forthwith, he went to a side-table, and, in the midst of mixed
conversation (for there were several friends in the room,) he brought to
Charles Ollier, the publisher, the Dedication-Sonnet to Leigh Hunt. If
the original manuscript of that poem--a legitimate sonnet, with
every restriction of rhyme and metre--could now be produced, and the
time--recorded in which it was written, it would be pronounced an
extraordinary performance; added to which, the non-alteration of a
single word in the poem (a circumstance noted at the time) claims for
it, I should suppose, a merit without a parallel.

"The poem which commences the volume," says Mr. Monckton Milnes, "was
suggested to Keats by a delightful summer's day, as he stood beside the
gate that loads from the battery on Hampstead Heath into a field by Caen
Wood"; and the lovely passage beginning,

  "Linger awhile upon some bending planks,"

and which contains the description of the "swarms of minnows that show
their little heads," Keats told me was the recollection of our having
frequently loitered over the rail of a foot-bridge that spanned a little
brook in the last field upon entering Edmonton. He himself thought the
picture was correct, and liked it; and I do not know who could improve
it.

Another example of his promptly suggestive imagination, and uncommon
facility in giving it utterance, occurred one day upon his returning
home and finding me asleep upon the sofa, with my volume of Chaucer open
at the "Flower and the Leaf." After expressing his admiration of the
poem, which he had been reading, he gave me the fine testimony of that
opinion, in pointing to the sonnet he had written at the close of it,
which was an extempore effusion, and it has not the alteration of a
single word. It lies before me now, signed, "J.K., Feb., 1817."

If my memory does not betray me, this charming out-door fancy-scene was
Keats's first introduction to Chaucer. Certain I am that the "Troilus
and Cresseide" was an after-acquaintance; and clearly do I remember his
approbation of the favorite passages that I had marked. I desired him to
retrace the poem, and with his pen confirm and denote those which were
congenial with his own feeling and judgment. These two circumstances,
connected with the literary career of this cherished object of his
friend's esteem and love, have stamped a priceless value upon that
friend's miniature 18mo copy of Chaucer.

The little first volume of Keats's Muse was launched amid the cheers and
fond anticipations of all his circle. Every one of us expected that it
would create a sensation in the literary world; and we calculated upon,
at least, a succession of reprints. Alas! it might have emerged in
Timbuctoo with stronger chance of fame and favor. It never passed to a
second edition; the first was but a small one, and that was never sold
off. The whole community, as if by compact, determined to know nothing
about it. The word had been passed that its author was a Radical; and in
those blessed days of "Bible-Crown-and-Constitution" supremacy, he might
with better chance of success have been a robber,--there were many
prosperous public ones,--if he had also been an Anti-Jacobin. Keats had
made no demonstration of political opinion; but he had dedicated his
book to Leigh Hunt, a Radical news-writer, and a dubbed partisan of the
French ruler, because he did not call him the "Corsican monster," and
other disgusting names. Verily, "the former times were _not_ better than
these." Men can now write the word "Liberty" without being chalked on
the back and hounded out.

Poor Keats! he little anticipated, and as little deserved, the cowardly
and scoundrel treatment that was in store for him upon the publication
of his second composition, the "Endymion." It was in the interval of
the two productions that he had moved from the Poultry, and had taken a
lodging in Well Walk, Hampstead,--in the first or second house, on the
right hand, going up to the Heath. I have an impression that he had been
some weeks absent at the sea-side before settling in this domicile; for
the "Endymion" had been begun, and he had made considerable advances in
his plan. He came to me one Sunday, and I walked with him, spending
the whole day in Well Walk. His constant and enviable friend Severn,
I remember, was present on the occasion, by the circumstance of our
exchanging looks upon Keats's reading to us portions of his new work
that had pleased himself. One of these, I think, was the "Hymn to Pan";
and another, I am sure, was the "Bower of Adonis," because his own
expression of face will never pass from me (if I were a Reynolds or a
Gainsborough, I could now stamp it forever) as he read the description
of the latter, with the descent and ascent of the ear of Venus. The
"Hymn to Pan" occurs early in the First Book:--

  "O thou, whose mighty palace-roof doth hang
  From jagged trunks," etc.

And the "Bower of Adonis," in the Second Book, commences,--

  "After a thousand mazes overgone."

Keats was indebted for his introduction to Mr. Severn to his
school-fellow Edward Holmes, who also had been one of the child-scholars
at Enfield; for he came to us in the frock-dress. They were sworn
companions at school, and remained friends through life. Mr. Holmes
ought to have been an educated musician from his first childhood; for
the passion was in him. I used to amuse myself with the piano-forte
after supper, when all had gone to bed. Upon some sudden occasion,
leaving the parlor, I heard a scuffle on the stairs, and discovered that
my young gentleman had left his bed to hear the music. At other times,
during the day, and in the intervals of school-hours, he would stand
under the window, listening. He at length intrusted to me his heart's
secret, that he should like to learn music. So I taught him his notes;
and he soon knew and could do as much as his tutor. Upon leaving
Enfield, he was apprenticed to the elder Seeley, a bookseller in Fleet
Street; but, hating his occupation, left it, I believe, before he was of
age. He had not lost sight of me; and I introduced him to Mr. Vincent
Novello, who had made himself a friend to me, and who not merely, with
rare profusion of bounty, gave Holmes instruction, but received him into
his house, and made him one of his family. With them he resided some
years. I was also the fortunate means of recommending him to the chief
proprietor of the "Atlas" newspaper; and to that journal, during a long
period, he contributed a series of essays and critiques upon the science
and practice of music, which raised the journal into a reference and an
authority in the art. He wrote for the proprietors of the "Atlas"
that elegant little book of dilettante criticism, "A Ramble among the
Musicians in Germany." He latterly contributed to the "Musical Times" a
whole series of masterly essays and analyses upon the Masses of Haydn,
Mozart, and Beethoven. But the work upon which his reputation will rest
was a "Life of Mozart," which was purchased by Chapman and Hall.

I have said that Holmes used to listen on the stairs. In after-years,
when Keats was reading to me his "Eve of St. Agnes," (and what a happy
day was that! I had come up to see him from Ramsgate, where I then
lived,) at the passage where Porphyro in Madeleine's chamber is
fearfully listening to the hubbub of the icing and the music in the hall
below, and the verse says,--

  "The boisterous midnight festive clarion,
  The kettle-drum and far-heard clarionet,
  Affray his ears, though but in dying tone:
  _The hall-door shuts again, and all the noise is gone_,"--

"That line," said he, "came into my head when I remembered how I used to
listen, in bed, to your music at school." Interesting would be a record
of the germs and first causes of all the greatest poets' conceptions!
The elder Brunei's first hint for his "shield," in constructing the
tunnel under the Thames, was taken from watching the labor of a
sea-insect, which, having a projecting hood, could bore into the ship's
timber, unmolested by the waves.

I fancy it was about this time that Keats gave that signal example of
his courage and stamina, in the recorded instance of his pugilistic
contest with a butcher-boy. He told me--and in his characteristic
manner--of their "passage of _arms_." The brute, he said, was tormenting
a kitten, and he interfered, when a threat offered was enough for his
mettle, and they set to. He thought he, should be beaten; for the fellow
was the taller and stronger; but, like an authentic pugilist, my young
poet found that he had planted a blow which "told" upon his antagonist.
In every succeeding round, therefore, (for they fought nearly an hour,)
he never failed of returning to the weak point; and the contest ended
in the hulk being led or carried home. In all my knowledge of my
fellow-beings, I never knew one who so thoroughly combined the sweetness
with the power of gentleness and the irresistible sway of anger as
Keats. His indignation would have made the boldest grave; and those who
have seen him under the influence of tyranny, injustice, and meanness of
soul will never forget the expression of his features,--"the form of his
visage was changed."

He had a strong sense of humor; yet, so to speak, he was not, in the
strict sense of the term, a humorist. His comic fancy lurked in the
outermost and most unlooked-for images of association,--which, indeed,
maybe said to be the components of humor; nevertheless, I think they
did not extend beyond the _quaint_, in fulfilment and success. But his
perception of humor, with the power of transmitting it by imitation, was
both vivid and irresistibly amusing. He once described to me his having
gone to see a bear-baiting,--the animal, the property of a Mr. Tom
Oliver. The performance not having began, Keats was near to and watched
a young aspirant, who had brought a younger under his wing to witness
the solemnity, and whom he oppressively patronized, instructing him in
the names and qualities of all the magnates present. Now and then, in
his zeal to manifest and impart his knowledge, he would forget himself,
and stray beyond the prescribed bounds, into the ring,--to the lashing
resentment of its comptroller, Mr. William Soames; who, after some hints
of a practical nature, to "keep back," began laying about him with
indiscriminate and unmitigable vivacity,--the Peripatetic signifying to
his pupil,--"My eyes! Bill Soames giv' me sich a licker!"--evidently
grateful, and considering himself complimented, upon being included in
the general dispensation. Keats's entertainment with this minor scene of
low life has often recurred to me. But his subsequent description of the
baiting, with his position, of his legs and arms bent and shortened,
till he looked like Bruin on his hind-legs, dabbing his fore-paws hither
and thither, as the dogs snapped at him, and now and then acting the
gasp of one that had been suddenly caught and hugged, his own capacious
mouth adding force to the personation, was a memorable display. I am
never reminded of this amusing relation, but it is associated with that
forcible picture in Shakspeare, (and what subject can we not associate
with him?) in the "Henry VI":--

  "as a bear encompassed round with dogs,
  Who having _pinched_ a few and _made them cry_,
  The rest stand all aloof and bark at him."

Keats also attended a prize-fight between two of the most skilful and
enduring "light-weights,"--Randal and Turner. It was, I believe, at
that remarkable wager, when, the men being so equally matched and
accomplished, they had been sparring for three-quarters of an hour
before a blow had been struck. In describing the rapidity of Randal's
blows while the other was falling, Keats tapped his fingers on the
window-pane.

I make no apology for recording these events in his life; they are
characteristics of the natural man,--and prove, moreover, that the
indulgence in such exhibitions did not for one moment blunt the gentler
emotions of his heart, or vulgarize his inborn love of all that was
beautiful and true. His own line was the axiom of his moral existence,
his political creed:--"A thing of beauty is a joy forever"; and I can
fancy no coarser consociation able to win him from this faith. Had he
been born in squalor, he would have emerged a gentleman. Keats was not
an easily swayable man; in differing with those he loved, his firmness
kept equal pace with the sweetness of his persuasion; but with the rough
and the unlovable he kept no terms,--within the conventional precincts,
I mean, of social order.

From Well Walk he moved to another quarter of the Heath,--Wentworth
Place the name, if I recollect. Here he became a sharing inmate with Mr.
Charles Armitage Brown, a gentleman who had been a Russia merchant, and
had retired to a literary leisure upon an independence. I do not know
how they became acquainted; but Keats never had a more zealous, a
firmer, or more practical friend and adviser than Brown. His robust
eagerness and zeal, with a headstrong determination of will, led him
into an undue prejudice against the brother, George, respecting some
money-transactions with John, which, however, the former redeemed to the
perfect satisfaction of all the friends of the family. After the death
of Keats, Armitage Brown went to reside in Florence, where he remained
some few years; then he settled at Plymouth, and there brought out a
work entitled, "Shakespeare's Autobiographical Poems. Being his Sonnets
clearly developed; with his Character, drawn chiefly from his Works."
It cannot be said that in this work the author has clearly educed his
theory; but, in the face of his failure upon that main point, the book
is interesting, for the heart-whole zeal and homage with which he has
gone into his subject. Brown was no half-measure man; "whatsoever his
hand found to do, he did it with his might." His last stage-scene in
life was passed in New Zealand, whither he emigrated with his son,
having purchased some land,--or, as his own letter stated, having been
thoroughly defrauded in the transaction. Brown accompanied Keats in his
tour in the Hebrides, a worthy event in the poet's career, seeing that
it led to the production of that magnificent sonnet to "Ailsa Rock." As
a passing observation, and to show how the minutest circumstance did not
escape him, he told me, that, when he first came upon the view of Loch
Lomond, the sun was setting; the lake was in shade, and of a deep blue;
and at the farther end was "_a slash across it_, of deep orange." The
description of the traceried window in the "Eve of St. Agnes" gives
proof of the intensity of his feeling for color.

It was during his abode in Wentworth Place that the savage and vulgar
attacks upon the "Endymion" appeared in the "Quarterly Review," and
in "Blackwood's Magazine." There was, indeed, ruffian, low-lived
work,--especially in the latter publication, which had reached a pitch
of blackguardism, (it used to be called "Blackguard's Magazine,") with
_personal abuse_,--ABUSE,--the only word,--that would damage the sale
of any review at this day. The very reverse of its present management.
There would not now be the _inclination_ for such rascal bush-fighting;
and even then, or indeed at any period of the Magazine's career, the
stalwart and noble mind of John Wilson would never have made itself
editorially responsible for such trash. As to him of the "Quarterly," a
thimble would have been "a mansion, a court," for his whole soul. The
style of the articles directed against the Radical writers, and those
especially whom the party had nicknamed the "Cockney school" of poetry,
may be conceived by its provoking the following observation from Hazlitt
to me:--"To pay those fellows, Sir, _in their own coin_, the way would
be, to begin with Walter Scott, and _have at his clump-foot_." "Verily,
the former times were not better than these."

To say that these disgusting misrepresentations did not affect the
consciousness and self-respect of Keats would be to underrate the
sensitiveness of his nature. He felt the insult, but more the injustice
of the treatment he had received; he told me so, as we lay awake one
night, when I slept in his brother's bed. They had injured him in the
most wanton manner; but if they, or my Lord Byron, ever for one moment
supposed that he was crushed or even cowed in spirit by the treatment he
had received, never were they more deluded. "Snuffed out by an article,"
indeed! He had infinitely more magnanimity, in its fullest sense,
than that very spoiled, self-willed, and mean-souled man,--and I have
authority for the last term. To say nothing of personal and private
transactions, pages 204-207 in the first volume of Mr. Monckton Milnes's
life of our poet will be full authority for my estimate of his Lordship.
"Johnny Keats" had, indeed, "a little body with a mighty heart," and
he showed it in the best way: not by fighting the ruffians,--though
he could have done that,--but by the resolve that he would produce
brain-work which not one of their party could approach; and he did.

In the year 1820 appeared the "Lamia," "Isabella," "Eve of St. Agnes,"
and "Hyperion," etc. But, alas! the insidious disease which carried him
off had made its approach, and he was going to, or had already departed
for, Italy, attended by his constant and self-sacrificing friend,
Severn. Keats's mother died of consumption; and he nursed his younger
brother in the same disease, to the last,--and, by so doing, in all
probability, hastened his own summons. Upon the publication of the last
volume of poems, Charles Lamb wrote one of his own finely appreciative
and cordial critiques in the "Morning Chronicle." This was sent to me in
the country, where I had for some time resided. I had not heard of the
dangerous state of Keats's health,--only that he and Severn were going
to Italy; it was, therefore, an unprepared shock which brought me the
news that he had died in Rome.

Mr. Monckton Milnes has related the anecdote of Keats's introduction to
Wordsworth, with the latter's appreciation of the "Hymn to Pan," which
its author had been desired to repeat, and the Rydal Mount poet's
snow-capped comment upon it,--"Uhm! a pretty piece of Paganism!" Mr.
Milnes, with his genial and placable nature, has made an amiable defence
for the apparent coldness of Wordsworth's appreciation,--"That it was
probably intended for some slight rebuke to his youthful compeer,
whom he saw absorbed in an order of ideas that to him appeared merely
sensuous, and would have desired that the bright traits of Greek
mythology should be sobered down by a graver faith." Keats, like
Shakspeare, and every other true poet, put his whole soul into what he
imagined, portrayed, or embodied; and hence he appeared the young Greek,
"suckled in that creed outworn." The wonder is, that Mr. Wordsworth
forgot to quote himself. From Keats's description of his Mentor's
manner, as well as behavior, that evening, I cannot but believe it to
have been one of the usual ebullitions of the egoism, not to say of the
uneasiness, known to those who were accustomed to hear the great moral
philosopher discourse upon his own productions and descant upon those
of a contemporary. During this same visit, he was dilating upon some
question in poetry, when, upon Keats's insinuating a confirmatory
suggestion to his argument, Mrs. Wordsworth put her hand upon his arm,
saying,--"Mr. Wordsworth is never interrupted." Again, during the same
interview, some one had said that the next Waverley novel was to be "Rob
Roy"; when Mr. Wordsworth took down his volume of Ballads, and read
to the company "Rob Roy's Grave,"--then, returning it to the shelf,
observed, "I do not know what more Mr. Scott can have to say upon the
subject." When Leigh Hunt had his first interview with Wordsworth, the
latter lectured to him--finely, indeed--upon his own writings; and
repeated the entire sonnet,

  "Great men have been among us,"--

which Hunt said he did "in a grand and earnest tone." Some one in a
company quoting the passage from "Henry V.,"--

  "So work the honey-bees,"

and each "picking out his pet plum" from that perfect piece of natural
history, Wordsworth objected to the line,

  "The singing masons building roofs of gold,"

because, he said, of the unpleasant repetition of the "_ing_" in it!
Where were his ears and judgment on that occasion? But I have more
than once heard it said that Wordsworth had not a genuine love of
Shakspeare,--that, when he could, he always accompanied a "_pro_" with
his "_con_," and, Atticus-like, would "just hint a fault and hesitate
dislike." Truly, indeed, we are all of "a mingled yarn, good and ill
together."

I can scarcely conceive of anything more unjust than the account
which that ill-ordered being, Haydon, left behind him in his "Diary,"
respecting the idolized object of his former intimacy, John Keats. At
his own eager request, after reading the manuscript specimens I had left
with Leigh Hunt, I had introduced their author to him; and for some time
subsequently I had frequent opportunities of seeing them together, and
can testify to the laudations that Haydon trowelled on to the young
poet. Before I left London, however, it had been said that things and
opinions had changed,--and, in short, that Haydon had abjured all
acquaintance with, and had even ignored, such a person as the author of
the sonnet to him, and those "On the Elgin Marbles." I say nothing of
the grounds of their separation; but, knowing the two men, and knowing,
I believe, to the core, the humane principle of the poet, I have such
faith in his steadfastness of friendship, that I am sure he would never
have left behind him an unfavorable _truth_, while nothing could have
induced him to utter a _calumny_ of one who had received pledges of
his former regard and esteem. Haydon's detraction was the more odious
because its object could not contradict the charge, and because it
supplied his old critical antagonists (if any remained) with an
authority for their charge against him of Cockney ostentation and
display. The most mean-spirited and trumpery twaddle in the paragraph
was, that Keats was so far gone in sensual excitement as to put Cayenne
pepper upon his tongue, when taking his claret! Poor fellow! he never
purchased a bottle of claret, within my knowledge of him; and, from
such observation as could not escape me, I am bound to assert that
his domestic expenses never could have occasioned him a regret or a
self-reproof.

When Shelley left England for Italy, Keats told me that he had received
from him an invitation to become his guest,--and, in short, to make one
of his household. It was upon the purest principle that Keats declined
the noble proffer; for he entertained an exalted opinion of Shelley's
genius, in itself an inducement; he also knew of his deeds of bounty;
and lastly, from their frequent intercourse, he had full faith in the
sincerity of his proposal; for a more crystalline heart than Shelley's
never beat in human bosom. He was incapable of an untruth or of a deceit
in any ill form. Keats told me, that, in declining the invitation, his
sole motive was the consciousness, which would be ever prevalent with
him, of his not being, in its utter extent, a free agent,--even
within such a circle as Shelley's,--himself, nevertheless, the most
unrestricted of beings. Mr. Trelawney, a familiar of the family, has
confirmed the unwavering testimony to Shelley's bounty of nature, where
he says, "Shelley was a being absolutely without selfishness." The
poorest cottagers knew and benefited by the thoroughly _practical_ and
unselfish character of his Christianity, during his residence at Marlow,
when he would visit them, and, having gone through a course of study
in medicine, in order that he might assist them with his advice, would
commonly administer the tonic which such systems usually require,--a
good basin of broth, or pea-soup. And I believe I am infringing on no
private domestic delicacy, when I repeat, that he has been known, upon a
sudden and immediate emergency, to purloin ("_convey_ the wise it call")
a portion of the warmest of Mrs. Shelley's wardrobe, to protect some
poor starving sister. One of the richer residents of Marlow told me that
"_they all_ considered him a madman." I wish he had bitten the whole
squad.

  "No settled senses of the world can match
  The 'wisdom' of that madness."

Shelley's figure was a little above the middle height, slender, and of
delicate construction, which appeared the rather from a lounging or
waving manner in his gait, as though his frame was compounded merely of
muscle and tendon, and that the power of walking was an achievement with
him, and not a natural habit. Yet I should suppose that he was not a
valetudinarian, although that has been said of him, on account of his
spare and vegetable diet: for I have the remembrance of his scampering
and bounding over the gorse-bushes on Hampstead Heath, late one
night,--now close upon us, and now shouting from the height, like a wild
school-boy. He was both an active and an enduring walker,--feats which
do not accompany an ailing and feeble constitution. His face was round,
flat, pale, with small features; mouth beautifully shaped; hair,
bright-brown and wavy; and such a pair of eyes as are rarely seen in
the human or any other head,--intensely blue, with a gentle and lambent
expression, yet wonderfully alert and engrossing: nothing appeared to
escape his knowledge.

Whatever peculiarity there might have been in Shelley's religious faith,
I have the best authority for believing that it was confined to the
early period of his life. The _practical_ result of its course of
_action_, I am sure, had its source from the "Sermon on the Mount."
There is not one clause in that divine code which his conduct towards
his fellow-mortals did not confirm, and substantiate him to be a
follower of Christ. Yet, when the news arrived in London of the death of
Shelley and Captain Williams by drowning, the "Courier" newspaper--an
evening journal of that day--capped the intelligence with the following
remark:--"He will now know whether there is a hell or not!"--I believe
that there are still one or two public fanatics who would _think_ that
surmise, but not one would dare to utter it in his journal. So much for
the progress of liberality, and the power of opinion.

At page 100 of the "Life of Keats," Vol. I., Mr. Monckton Milnes has
quoted a literary portrait of him, which he received from a lady who
used to see him at Hazlitt's lectures at the Surrey Institution. The
building was on the south or right-hand side, and close to Blackfriars'
Bridge. I believe that the whole of Hazlitt's lectures, on the British
Poets, the Writers of the Time of Elizabeth, and the Comic Writers, were
delivered in that Institution, during the years 1817 and 1818; shortly
after which time the establishment appears to have been broken up. The
lady's remark upon the character and expression of Keats's features is
both happy and true. She says,--"His countenance lives in my mind as one
of singular beauty and brightness; it had an expression _as if he had
been looking on some glorious sight_." That's excellent.--"His mouth was
full, and less intellectual than his other features." True again. But
when our artist pronounces that "his eyes were large and _blue_" and
that "his hair was _auburn_," I am naturally reminded of the fable of
the "Chameleon":--"They're _brown_, Ma'am,--_brown_, I assure you!" The
fact is, the lady was enchanted--and I cannot wonder at it--with the
whole character of that beaming face; and "blue" and "auburn" being the
favorite tints of the human front divine, in the lords of the creation,
the poet's eyes consequently became "blue," and his hair "auburn."
Colors, however, vary with the prejudice or partiality of the spectator;
and, moreover, people do not agree even upon the most palpable prismatic
tint. A writing-master whom we had at Enfield was an artist of more than
ordinary merit; but he had one dominant defect: he could not distinguish
between true blue and true green. So that, upon one occasion, when he
was exhibiting to us a landscape he had just completed, I hazarded
the critical question, why he painted his trees so _blue_? "Blue!" he
replied,--"what do you call green?"--Reader, alter in your copy of
Monckton Milnes's "Life of Keats," Vol. I., page 103, "eyes" _light
hazel_, "hair" _lightish-brown and wavy_.

The most perfect, and withal the favorite portrait of him, was the
one by Severn, published in Leigh Hunt's "Lord Byron and his
Contemporaries," and which I remember the artist's sketching in a few
minutes, one evening, when several of Keats's friends were at his
apartments in the Poultry. The portrait prefixed to the "Life," also
by Severn, is a most excellent one-look-and-expression likeness,--an
every-day, and of "the earth, earthy" one;--and the last, which the same
artist painted, and which is now in the possession of Mr. John Hunter,
of Craig Crook, Edinburgh, may be an equally felicitous rendering of one
look and manner; but I do not intimately recognize it. There is another,
and a _curiously unconscious_ likeness of him, in the charming Dulwich
Gallery of Pictures. It is in the portrait of Wouvermans, by Rembrandt.
It is just so much of a resemblance as to remind the friends of the
poet,--though not such a one as the immortal Dutchman would have
made, had the poet been his sitter. It has a plaintive and melancholy
expression, which, I rejoice to say, I do not associate with him.

There is one of his attitudes, during familiar conversation, which, at
times, (with the whole earnest manner and sweet expression of the man)
presents itself to me, as though I had seen him only last week. The
attitude I speak of was that of cherishing one leg over the knee of the
other, smoothing the instep with the palm of his hand. In this action I
mostly associate him in an eager parley with Leigh Hunt, in his little
cottage in the "Vale of Health." This position, if I mistake not, is in
the last portrait of him at Craig Crook; if not, it is in a reminiscent
one, painted after his death.

His stature could have been very little more than five feet; but he was,
withal, compactly made and--well-proportioned; and before the hereditary
disorder which carried him off began to show itself, he was active,
athletic, and enduringly strong,--as the fight with the butcher gave
full attestation.

The critical world,--by which term I mean the censorious portion of
it; for many have no other idea of criticism than, that of censure and
objection,--the critical world have so gloated over the feebler, or, if
they will, the defective side of Keats's genius, and his friends, his
gloryingly partial friends, have so amply justified him, that I feel
inclined to add no more to the category of opinions than to say, that
the only fault in his poetry I could discover was a redundancy of
imagery,--that exuberance, by-the-by, being a quality of the greatest
promise, seeing that it is the constant accompaniment of a young and
teeming genius. But his steady friend, Leigh Hunt, has rendered the
amplest and truest record of his mental accomplishment in the Preface to
the "Foliage," quoted at page 150 of the first volume of the "Life
of Keats"; and his biographer has so zealously, and, I would say, so
amiably, summed up his character and intellectual qualities, that I can
add no more than my assent.

Keats's whole course of life, to the very last act of it, was one
routine of unselfishness and of consideration for others' feelings.
The approaches of death having come on, he said to his untiring
nurse--friend,--"Severn,--I,--lift me up,--I am dying:--_I shall die
easy; don't be frightened;_--be firm, and thank God it has come."

There are constant indications through the memoirs, and in the letters
of Keats, of his profound reverence for Shakspeare. His own intensity of
thought and expression visibly strengthened with the study of his idol;
and he knew but little of him till he himself had become an author. A
marginal note by him in a folio copy of the Plays is an example of the
complete absorption his mind had undergone during the process of his
matriculation;--and, through life, however long with any of us, we are
all in progress of matriculation, as we study the "myriad-minded's"
system of philosophy. The note that Keats made was this;--"The genius
of Shakspeare was an _innate universality;_ wherefore he laid the
achievements of human intellect prostrate beneath his indolent and
kingly gaze: _he could do easily men's utmost;_ his plan of tasks to
come was not of this world. If what he proposed to do hereafter would
not in the idea answer the aim, how tremendous must have been his
conception of ultimates!"



THE EUROPEAN CRISIS.


It is not long since we listened to an interesting discussion of this
question:--Which was the more important year to Europe,--1859 or 1860?
The question is one that may be commended to the attention of those
ingenuous young gentlemen, in debating-societies assembled, who have not
yet settled whether Brutus, Cassius, & Co. were right in assassinating
"the mighty Julius," or whether Mary Stuart was a martyred saint or a
martyred sinner, or whether the cold chop to which Cromwell treated
Charles I. on a memorable winter-day was either a just or a politic
mode of touching for the king's evil. It would have the merit of
novelty,--and Americans are as fond of new things in their day of power
as ever were the Athenians in the day of their decline. A yet rarer
merit it would have, in the fact that a great deal could justly be said
on both sides of the question. An umpire would probably decide in favor
of 1859,--because, he might say, had the events of that year been
different, those of 1860 must have undergone a complete change.

The romantic conquest of Sicily by Garibaldi, and his successes in
Naples, whereby a junior branch of the Bourbon family has been sent
to "enjoy" that exile which has so long been the lot of the senior
branch,--and the destruction of the _Papalini_ by the Italian army of
Victor Emanuel II., which asserted the superiority of the children of
the soil over the bands of foreign ruffians assembled by De Merode and
Lamoricière for the oppression of the Peninsula in the name of the
venerable head of the Church of Rome,--these are events even more
striking than those by which the iron sceptre of Austria was cut through
in the earlier year, because they have been accomplished by Italian
genius and courage, the few foreigners in the army of Garibaldi not
counting for much in the contest. They prove the regeneration of Italy.
But it is evident that nothing of the kind could have been done in 1860,
if 1859 had been as quiet a year for Italy as its immediate predecessor.
Before the leaders and the soldiers of Italy could obtain the
indispensable place whereon to stand, it was imperatively necessary
that the power of Austria should be broken down, through the defeat and
consequent demoralization of her army. For a period of forty-four
years, Austria had had her own way in the Peninsula. From the fall
of Napoleon's Italian dominion, in 1814, to the day when the third
Napoleon's army entered Sardinia, there was, virtually, no other rule in
Italy but that which Austria approved. The events of 1848, which at one
time promised to remove "the barbarians," had for their conclusion the
re-establishment of her ascendency in greater force than ever; and the
last ten years of that ascendency will always be remembered as the
period when its tyrannical character was most fully developed. The hoary
proconsul of the Lorraines, Radetzky, if not personally cruel, was
determined to do for his masters what Castilian lieutenants had done
for the Austro-Burgundian monarchs of Spain and her dependencies,
the fairest portions of Italy being among those dependencies, in the
sixteenth and seventeenth centuries,--to destroy the public spirit of
Italy. Could he have completed a century of life, or had there been no
European nation ready to prevent the success of the Germanic policy
under which Italy was to wither to provincial worthlessness, he might
have been successful. But Austria lost her best man, the only one of
her soldiers who had shown himself capable of upholding her Italian
position, when he had reached to more than ninety years; and it pleased
Providence to raise up a friend to Italy in a quarter to which most men
had ceased to look for anything good.

Well has it been said, that "it is not the best tools that shape out
the best ends; if so, Martin Luther would not have been selected as the
master-spirit of the Reformation." Napoleon III. may deserve all that is
said against him by men of the extreme right and by men of the extreme
left,--by Catholics and infidels,--by _Whites_, and _Reds_, and
_Blues_,--but it cannot be denied that he gave to the Italians that
assistance without which they never could have obtained even partial
deliverance from the Austrian yoke, and which they could have procured
from no other potentate or power. Bankrupt though she was, Austria's
force was so superior to anything that Italy could present in the shape
of an army, that Sardinia must have been conquered, if she had contended
alone with her enemy; and a war between Austria and Sardinia was
inevitable, and would probably have broken out long before 1859, had the
former country been assured of the neutrality of France.

There has been a great inkshed, and a large expenditure of oratory, on
the question of the origin of the Italian war of 1859; and, as usual,
much nonsense has been written and said of and concerning the ambition
of France and the encroachments of Sardinia. But that war was brought
about neither by French ambition nor by Sardinian desire for territorial
aggrandizement. That it occurred in 1859 was undoubtedly owing to the
action of France, which country merely chose its own time to drub its
old foe; but the point at issue was, whether Austrian or Sardinian ideas
should predominate in the government of Italy. Austria's purpose never
could be accomplished so long as a constitutional polity existed in
the best, because the best governed and the best organized, of all the
Italian States; and Sardinia's purpose never could be accomplished so
long as Austria was in a condition to dictate to the Italians the manner
in which they should be ruled. A war between the two nations was, as we
have said, inevitable. The only point about which there could be any
dispute was, whether Sardinia would have to fight the battle of Italy
unaided, or be backed by some power beyond the mountains.

It shows how much men respect a military monarchy, how deferential they
are to the sword, that even those persons who assumed that France must
espouse the Sardinian cause were far from feeling confident that Austria
would be overmatched by an alliance of the two most liberal of the
Catholic nations of Europe. That monarchy is the type of force to all
minds; and though she has seldom won any splendid successes in the field
over the armies of enlightened nations, and has been repeatedly beaten
by Prussia and France, men cling to old ideas, and give her great
advantages at the beginning of every war in which she engages. The
common opinion, in the spring of 1859, was, that Austria would crush
Sardinia before the French could reach the field in force, and that her
soldiers, flushed by successes over the Italians, would hurl their new
foes out of the country, or leave them in its soil. As before, Italy was
to be the grave of the French,--only that their grave was to be dug at
the very beginning of the war, instead of being made, as in other days,
at its close. But it was otherwise ordered. The Austrians lost the
advantage which certainly was theirs at the opening of the contest,
and, that lost, disaster after disaster befell their arms, until the
"crowning mercy" of Solferino freed Italy from their rule, if it did not
entirely banish them from her land. That Solferino was not so great
a victory to the Allies as it was claimed to be at the time, that it
resembled less Austerlitz than Wagram, may be admitted, and yet its
importance remain unquestioned; for its decision gained for Italy the
only thing that it was necessary she should have in order to work out
her own salvation. Henceforth, she was not to tremble at the mere touch
of the hilt of the sword worn by the Viceroy at Milan, but was to have
the chance, at least, of ordering her own destinies. If not thoroughly
free, she was no longer utterly enslaved.

The peace of Villafranca surprised every one, from the Czar on the
Neva to the gold-gatherers on the Sacramento. Strange as had been the
doings--the world called them tricks--of Napoleon III., no man was
prepared for that; and even now, though seventeen eventful months have
rolled away since the first shock of it was experienced, the summer-day
it was received seems more like one of those days we see in dreams than
like a day of real life. Doubt, laughter, astonishment, and disgust
followed each other through the minds of millions of men. If curses
could kill, the man who had escaped the bombs of Orsini and the bullets
of the Austrians would certainly have died in the month that followed
the interview he had flogged his imperial brother into granting him. In
America,--where we are always doing so much (on paper) for the cause of
freedom, and for the deliverance of "oppressed nationalities" of the
proper degrees and shades of whiteness, in the firm conviction that the
free man is the better customer,--in America the reaction of opinion was
overwhelming; and there were but few persons in the United States who
would not have shouted over news that Henri Cinq was in Paris, and that
the French Empire had a third time made way for the Kingdom of France.
Time has not altogether removed the impression then created; for, if it
has not justified the belief that the French Emperor had abandoned
the Italian cause, it has convinced the world that he lost a noble
opportunity to effect the destruction of Austria. There may be--most
probably there are--facts yet unknown to the public, knowledge of which
would partially justify the conduct of the victor toward the vanquished,
in 1859; but, if we judge from what we know, which is all that any
monarch can demand of the formers of opinion, Napoleon III. was guilty
of a monstrous political and military blunder when he forced a truce
upon Francis Joseph.

There is no evidence that any European power was about to interfere in
behalf of Austria. Prussia, it is true, had taken a stern attitude, and
showed a disposition to place herself at the head of those German States
which were for beginning a march upon Paris at once, though M. le
Maréchal Duc de Malakoff was ready with two hundred thousand men to
receive them, and Paris itself was not the feeble place it had been in
1814 and 1815. It is altogether likely that Prussia was, as is usual
with her at every European crisis, shamming. She had no interest in the
maintenance of Austria's territorial integrity, and it was rather late
in the day to assume that Berlin was affected by the mortifications of
Vienna. Could the hearts of kings and the counsels of cabinets be known
with that literal exactness which is so desirable in politics, and
yet so unattainable, we should probably find that Prussia's apparent
readiness to lead Germany was owing to her determination that German
armies should be led nowhere to the assistance of Austria. England
had just changed her Ministry, the Derby Cabinet giving way to Lord
Palmerston's, which was recognized on all sides as a great gain to the
cause of Italian independence; and Lord John Russell had written one of
those crusty notes to the Prussian government for which he is so famous,
and which was hardly less Italian in its sentiments than that in which,
written in October last, he upheld the course of Garibaldi and Victor
Emanuel. Russia had evinced no disposition to interfere in behalf of
Austria, and perhaps the news of Magenta and Solferino was as agreeable
to the dwellers in St. Petersburg and Moscow as it was to the citizens
of New York and Boston. She was, indeed, believed to be backing France.
Politically, so far as we can judge, there was no cause or occasion for
the throwing up of the cards by the French, after Solferino.

Nor were the military reasons for the cessation of warlike operations of
a nature to convince men of their irresistible weightiness. A great
deal was said about the strength of "the Quadrilateral," and of the
impregnability of the position which it formed,--as if there ever had
existed a military position which could not be carried or turned, or out
of which its defenders could not be bought, or forced, or starved!
The strength of the Quadrilateral was as well known to the Emperor
in January as it was in July, and he must have counted its powers of
resistance before he resolved upon war. Victory he had organized, like
Carnot; and victory in Lombardy was sure to take his army to the Mincio.
Verona and Venetia were to be the complement of Milan. Then there was
the story that he frightened the Kaiser into giving his consent to the
truce by proving to him that the fortresses upon which he relied were
not in good defensible condition, his commissaries having placed the
funds in their pockets that should have been devoted to the purchase
of stores,--a story that wears a very probable air, in view of the
discovery subsequently made of the malversations of some of the highest
persons at Vienna, and which had much to do with the suicide of the
Minister of Finance. It is known, too, that the force which Napoleon
III. had assembled in the Adriatic was very strong, and could have been
so used as to have promoted an Hungarian insurrection in a sense not at
all pleasant to the Austrians, to have attacked Dalmatia and Istria, and
to have aided in the deliverance of Venice. That force was largely naval
in its character, and the French navy was burning to distinguish itself
in a war that had been so productive of glory to the sister-service: it
would have had a Magenta and a Palestro of its own, won where the Dorias
and the Pisani had struggled for fame and their countries' ascendency.
Instead of the Quadrilateral being a bar to the French, it would have
been a trap to the Austrians, who would have been taken there after the
manner in which Napoleon I. took their predecessors at Ulm. After the
war was over, it came out that Verona was not even half armed.

If Napoleon III. was bent upon carrying that imitation of his uncle, of
which he is so fond, to the extent of granting a magnanimous peace to a
crushed foe, he may be said to have caricatured that which he sought
to imitate. The first Napoleon's magnanimity after Austerlitz has been
attributed to the craft of the beaten party,--he allowing the Russians
to escape when they had extricated themselves from the false position in
which their master's folly had caused them to be placed. But the third
Napoleon did allow the Austrians to avoid the consequences of their
defeat, and so disappointed Italy and the world. He _was_ magnanimous,
and most astonishing to the minds of men was his magnanimity. Most
people called it stupidity, and strange stories were told of his
nervous system having been shattered by the sights and sounds of those
slaughter-fields which he had planned and fought and won!

We live rapidly in this age, when nations are breaking up all around us,
when unions are dissolving, when dynasties disappear before the light
like ghosts at cock-crowing, and when emperors and kings rely upon
universal suffrage, once so terrible a bugbear in their eyes, for the
titles to their crowns. Opinion is rapidly formed, and is as rapidly
dismissed. We may be as much astonished now at the peace of Villafranca
as we were on the day when first it was announced, and while looking
upon it only as a piece of diplomacy intended to put an end to a contest
costly in blood and gold; but we cannot say, as it was common then
to say, that the war which it closed has decided nothing. That war
established the freedom and nationality of Italy, and the peace so much
condemned was the means of demonstrating to the world the existence of
an _Italian People_. How far the French Emperor was self-deceived, and
to what extent he believed in the practicability of the arrangements
made at Villafranca and Zurich, are inscrutable mysteries. _Que
sais-je_? might be the form of his own answer, were any one entitled to
question him concerning his own opinion on his own acts of 1859. But
of the effects of his attack on Austria there can be no doubt. That
Lorraines and Bourbons have ceased to reign in Italy,--that the
Kingdom of Victor Emanuel has increased from six millions of people to
twenty-four millions,--that the same constitutional monarch who ruled at
Turin is now acknowledged in Milan, in Ancona, in Florence, in Naples,
and in Palermo, being King of Lombards, and Tuscans, and Romans, and
Neapolitans, and Sicilians,--and that the Austrians are no longer the
rulers of the Peninsula,--these things are all due to the conduct of the
French Emperor. Had the peace of Europe not been broken by France, the
Austrian power in Italy would have been unbroken at this moment, and
Naples have been still under the dominion of that mad tyrant whose
supreme delight it was to offend the moral sense of the world, and who
found even in the remonstrances of his brother-despots occasion for
increasing the weight of the chains of his victims, and of adding to the
intensity and the exquisiteness of their tortures.

These solid advantages to Italy, this freedom of hers from domestic
despotism and foreign control, are the fruits of French intervention;
and they could have been obtained in no other way. There was no nation
but France to which Italy could look for aid, and to France she did not
look in vain. Of the motives of her ally it would be idle to speak, as
there is no occasion to go beyond consequences; and those consequences
are just as good as if the French Emperor were as pure-minded and
unselfish as the most perfect of those paladins of romance who went
about redressing one class of wrongs by the creation of another.
What Italy desired, what alone she needed, was freedom from foreign
intervention; and that she got through the interposition of French
armies, and that she could have got from no other human source. This
single fact is an all-sufficient answer to the myriads of sneers that
were called forth by the failure of Napoleon III. to redeem his pledge
to make Italy free from the Alps to the Adriatic. What other potentate
did anything for that country in 1859, or has done anything for it since
that memorable year? Neither prince nor people, leaving Napoleon III.
and the French aside, has so much as lifted a hand to promote the
regeneration of Italy. America has enough to do in the way of attending
to domestic slavery, without concerning herself about the freedom of
foreigners; and she has given the Italians her--sympathies, which are of
as much real worth to her as would be a treatise on the Resolutions of
'98 to a man who should happen to tumble into the Niagara, with the
Falls close upon him. England would have had Italy submit to that
Austrian rule which had been established over her by English influence
in 1814, when even the perverse, pig-headed Francis II. could see sound
objections to it; and all because want of submission on her part would
disturb the equilibrium of Europe, and might tend to the aggrandizement
of France,--two things which she by no means desired to see happen.
Russia, like America, gave Italy her sympathies; but she had a better
excuse than we had for being prudent, as her monarch was engaged in
planning at least the freedom of the serfs. If the Russians desired the
overthrow of the Austrians, it was not because they loved the Italians,
but from hatred of their oppressors; and that hatred had its origin in
the refusal of Austria to join Russia when she was so hard pressed by
France and England, Turkey and Piedmont. Prussia, us we have seen, sided
with Austria; and though it is impossible to believe in her sincerity,
her moral power, so far as it went, was adverse to the Italian cause.
The other European nations were of no account, having no will of their
own, and being influenced only by the action of the members of the
Pentarchy. Save France, Italy had no friend possessed of the disposition
and the ability to afford her that assistance without which she must
soon have become in name, as she was fast becoming in fact, a mere
collection of Austrian provinces.

We dwell upon those well-known facts because an opinion seems to prevail
that no nation or government shall interfere for the protection of the
weak against the strong, unless it shall be able to show that it is
perfect itself, and that its intentions are of the most unselfish
nature. Peoples are to be delivered from oppression only as the
Israelites were delivered, by the direct and immediate interposition of
Heaven in human affairs; and the delivering agent must be as high-minded
and generous as Moses, who was allowed merely to gaze upon the Promised
Land. Men who thus reason about human action, and the motives of actors
on the great stage of life, must have read history to very little
purpose, and have observed the making of history round about them to no
purpose at all. The instruments of Providence are seldom perfect men,
and the broad light in which they live brings out their faults in full
force. Napoleon III. is not above the average morality of his time; and
if he had been so, probably he never would have become Emperor of the
French. But in this respect differs he much from those men who have
wrought great things for the world, and whom the world is content to
reverence? Robert Bruce, who saved Scotland from the misery that befell
Ireland; Henry IV., who renewed the life of France; Maurice of Saxony,
who prevented the Reformation from proving a stupendous failure; and
William III., without whose aid the Constitutionalists of England must
have gone down before the Stuarts: not one of these men was perfect;
and yet what losses the world would have experienced, if they had never
lived, or had failed in their great labors! It has been claimed for
Gustavus Adolphus that he was the only pure conqueror that ever lived;
but his purity may safely be placed to the account of the balls of
Lützen: he was not left unto temptation. We should extend to Napoleon
III. the same charity that we extend to men who have long been
historical characters, and judge him by his actions and their results,
and not criticise him by the canons of faction.

Italy was delivered by the war of 1859, and that war was terminated by
the peace of Villafranca. For the moment, it seemed as if there were
to be a restoration of the petty princes who had fled from Tuscany and
Parma and Modena, and that an Italian Confederation had been resolved
upon, in which the noxious influences of Austria and Naples and Papal
Rome should stifle the pure principles upheld by Sardinia. A few months
sufficed to show that these evils existed in apprehension only. The
Italians, by the withdrawal of the French, were thrown upon their own
resources, and by their conduct they dissipated the belief that they
were unequal to the emergency. Had the war been continued, had Venetia
been conquered, and had the last of the Austrians been driven beyond the
Isonzo, Italy would have been the prize of French valor and genius; for
all this must have been done on the instant, and before the Italians,
less the Sardinians, could have taken an effective part in the war. The
most devoted believer in the patriotism and bravery of the Italians must
perforce admit that they had little to do with the war of 1859. Leaving
the Sardinians aside, the Italian element in that contest was scarcely
appreciable. This we say without meaning any reflection on the Italians.
There were many good reasons why they should remain quiet. In common
with the rest of the world, even France herself, the war took them by
surprise, Austria bringing it on weeks, if not months, before Napoleon
III. had meant it to begin. They, too, had seen their country so often
abused by those who had conquered there, that they had some excuse for
waiting the progress of events. The most industrious and studied efforts
had been made to convince them that the object of the ruler of France
was the realization of another Napoleonic idea, namely, the restoration
of that Kingdom of Italy which perished in 1814; and though the rule of
Napoleon I. was the best that Italy had known for three hundred years,
it was hardly worth while to enter upon a doubtful fight for its
restoration. Hence the majority of the people of Italy were not so
active as they might have been; and their coolness is said to have had
much effect on the mind of the victor, who must have thought that the
people he had come to deliver were taking things very easily, and who
could not have felt much flattered, when assured, in the politest
terms, that those people believed him to be a selfish liar. His work,
therefore, was but partially performed. Instead of halting on the shores
of the historical Adriatic, his armies drew up on the banks of the
classic Mincius. Trance had done her part; let Italy do the rest, if
it were to be done. Thus abdicating his original purpose, and probably
feeling much as William III. felt when the English were so slow in
joining him that he talked of returning to his ships, Napoleon III.
gave up his power to dictate the future of Italy. He had no right,
thereafter, to say that the Bourbons should continue to govern in the
Two Sicilies, that the Dukes should be restored to their Duchies, and
that Venetia should be guarantied to Austria. He felt this, as the terms
of the treaties that were made very clearly show; for he was careful to
abstain from pledging himself to anything of a definite character. If
he had perfected his original work, and been possessed of the power to
effect a new settlement of Italy, he would, we presume, have stipulated
for the continuance of the Bourbon power in the southern portion of the
Peninsula and in Sicily; while the much talked-of purpose of creating an
Italian Kingdom or Duchy for Prince Napoleon would probably have been
carried out, and that gentleman have been established on the Arno. To
the Sardinian monarchy would have been assigned the spoils taken from
Austria,--Venice and Lombardy. The change in his political plans was the
consequence of the change in his military plan,--though either change
may be pronounced the cause or the effect, according to the point from
which the observer views the entire series of transactions. Thus the
peace of 1859 may be considered to have been a benefit to Italy, just
as the war it terminated had been. The war freed her from Austrian
dominion; the peace, from its character, and from the circumstances
under which it was made, left her people at liberty to act as they
pleased in the fair field that had been won for their exertions by the
skill and courage of the French and Sardinian armies.

The destinies of Italy being placed in her own hands, the Italians were
as prompt as politic considerations would allow them to be in promoting
the unification of their country. Central Italy soon became a part of
the constitutional monarchy which had grown up under the shadow of the
Alps. This could not have happened, if Napoleon III. had chosen to veto
the proceedings of the Italians, which had virtually nullified one of
his purposes. That he consented to this large addition to the power of
Sardinia on the condition of receiving Savoy and Nice is by no means
unlikely; and we do not think that Victor Emanuel was either unwise or
wanting in patriotism in parting with those countries for the benefit of
Italy. Taking advantage of the troubles in Sicily, Garibaldi led a
small expedition to that island, which there landed, and began those
operations which had their appropriate termination, in five months, in
the addition of all the territories of the wretched Francis II., except
Gaëta, to the dominions of the Sardinian King. The importance of
Garibaldi's undertaking it is quite impossible to overrate; but of what
account could it have been, if the Austrians had stood to Italy in the
same position that they held at the opening of 1859? Of none at all.
Garibaldi is preeminently a man of sense, and he would never have
thought of moving against Francis II., if Francis Joseph had been at
liberty to assist that scandalous caricature of kings. Or, if he had
been tempted to enter upon the project, he would have been "snuffed
out" as easily as was Murat, when, in 1815, he sought to recover the
Neapolitan throne. If Austrian ships had not prevented him from landing
in Sicily, Austrian troops would have destroyed him in that island. Nay,
it is but reasonable to believe that Bomba's navy and army would have
been amply sufficient to do their master's work. That his men were not
wanting in courage and conduct has been proved by their deeds since the
tyrant left his capital, on the Volturno and around Capua and at Gaëta.
It was not want of bravery that led to their failure in Sicily, but the
belief that their employer's system had failed, and that he and they
were given up to the vengeance of Italy, supposing the Italians to be
strong enough to do justice on them. They took courage when European
circumstances led them to conclude that Austria would be advised, at
the Warsaw Conference, to use her forces for the restoration of the old
order of things in Italy, and receive the support of Russia and Prussia.
To deserve such aid from the North, the Neapolitan army struggled hard,
but in vain. The Absolutist cause was lost in Naples when the sovereigns
met in the Polish capital; and though, forty years earlier, this would
have been held an additional reason for the entrance of the barbarians
into Italy, the successes of the patriots must have had their proper
weight with the Prince Regent of Prussia and the Czar, who are
understood to have been as deaf as adders to the charming of their young
brother from Vienna. What was resolved upon at Warsaw the world has no
positive means of knowing, and but little reliance is to be placed upon
the rumors that have been so abundant; but, as Austria has not
moved against the Italians, and as the instructions to her new
commander-in-chief in Venetia (Von Benedek) are reported to be strong
on the point of non-intervention, we are at liberty to infer that she
accepts all that has been done as accomplished facts, and means to
stand upon the defensive, in the hope of gaining moral support by her
moderation in being outwardly content with less than half the spoil
which was given to her at the expense of Italy, when Europe was
"settled," for the time, four-and-forty years ago.

The action of the Sardinian government, in sending its soldiers against
the legal banditti whom Lamoricière had sought to drill into the
semblance of an army, which was a direct attack on the Pope, and the
subsequent employment of those soldiers, and of the Sardinian fleet,
against the forces of Francis II., were model pieces of statesmanship,
and worthy of the great man whose name and fame have become indissolubly
associated with the redemption of Italy. The decision thus to act could
not have been taken without the consent of Napoleon III. having first
been had and obtained; and there is probably much truth in the story,
that, when Lamoricière had the coolness to threaten his conquerors with
the vengeance of the Emperor, they told him, half-laughingly, that, they
had planned the campaign with that illustrious personage at Chambéry,
which must have convinced him that the cause of the Keys had nothing to
expect from France beyond the sort of police aid which General Goyon was
affording to it in the name of his master. Lamoricière also expected
help from Austria, and professed to be able to number the few days at
the expiration of which the white-coats would be at Alessandria, which
would have been a diversion in his favor, that, had it been made, must
have saved him from the mortification of surrendering to men whom he
affected to despise, but who brought him and his army under the yoke.
The faith of the commander of the rabble of the Faith in Austrian
assistance was a Viennese inspiration, and was meant to induce him to
resist to the last. Nor was it altogether false; for the Kaiser and
Count Rechberg appear to have believed that they could induce the
governments of Russia and Prussia to support them in a crusade in behalf
of Rome and Naples, which was to rely upon Lutherans and supporters of
the Eastern Church for the salvation of the Western Church and its worst
members. The first interview between Rechberg and Gortschakoff, if we
can believe a despatch from Warsaw, led quickly to a quarrel, which must
have taken place not long after their chiefs, the Kaiser and the Czar,
had been locked in each other's arms at the railway-station. It is but
just to the Austrians to state, that they probably had received from St.
Petersburg some promises of assistance, which Alexander found himself
unable to redeem, so determined was Russian opinion in its expression of
aversion to Austria when its organs began to suspect that the old game
was to be renewed, and that Alexander contemplated doing in 1861
what Nicholas had done in 1849,--to step between Francis Joseph and
humiliation, perhaps destruction. If it be true that the Czar has
ordered all Russians to leave Italy, that piece of pitiful spite would
show how he hates the Italian cause, and also that it is not in his
power seriously to retard its progress at present. Instead of ordering
Russians from Italy, he would send them to that country in great masses,
could he have his way in directing the foreign policy of his empire.

The entire success of Victor Emanuel and Garibaldi has brought Italian
matters to a crisis. Carrying out the policy of Cavour, the King and the
Soldier have all but completed the unification of their country, at
the very time when the United States are threatened with disunion. The
Kingdom of Italy exists at this time, virtually, if not in terms, and
contains about twenty-four million people. It comprises the original
territories of Victor Emanuel, _minus_ Savoy and Nice, the Two Sicilies,
Lombardy, almost the whole of the Papal States, and Tuscany, Parma, and
Modena. If we except the fragment of his old possessions yet held by the
Pope, and the Austrian hold on Venetia, all Italy now acknowledges
the rule of Victor Emanuel, who is to meet an _Italian_ Parliament
in January, 1861. No political change of our century has been more
remarkable than this, whether we look to its extent, or have regard to
the agencies by which it has been brought about. Two years ago, there
was more reason to believe that the King of Sardinia would be an exile
than that the Bourbon King of Naples would be on his travels. No man
would have dared to prophesy that the former would be reigning over
seven-eighths of the Italians, while the latter should be reduced to one
town, garrisoned by foreign mercenaries. That these changes should be
wrought by universal suffrage, had it been predicted, would have been
thought too much to be related as a dream. Yet it is the voice of the
Italian People, speaking under a suffrage-system apparently more liberal
than ever has been known in America, which has accomplished all that has
been done since the summer of 1859 in the Peninsula and in Sicily. It
was because Napoleon III. would not place himself in opposition to the
opinion of the people of Central Italy, that the petty monarchs of
that country were not restored to their thrones, and that they became
subjects of Victor Emanuel; and the voting in Sicily and Naples
has confirmed the decision of arms, and made it imperative on the
reactionists to attack the people, should their policy lead them to
seek a reversal of the decrees of 1860. The new monarch of the Italians
expressly bases his title to reign on the will of the people, expressed
through the exercise of the least restricted mode of voting that ever
has been known among men; and the people of Southern Italy never could
have had the opportunity to vote their crown to him, if Garibaldi
had not first freed them from the savage tyranny of Francis II.; and
Garibaldi himself could not have acted for their deliverance, if Italy
had not previously been delivered from the Austrians by France. Thus we
have the French Emperor, designated as a _parvenu_ both in England and
America, and owing his power to his name,--the democrat Garibaldi, whose
power is from his deeds, and whose income is not equal to that of an
Irish laborer in the United States,--the rich and noble Cavour, whose
weekly revenues would suffice to purchase the fee-simple of Garibaldi's
island-farm,--the King of Sardinia, representing a race that was
renowned before the Normans reigned in England,--and the masses of the
Italian people,--all acting together for the redemption of a country
which needs only justice to enable it to assume, as near as modern
circumstances will permit, its old importance in the world's scale.
That there should have been such a concurrence of foreign friendship,
democratic patriotism, royal sagacity, aristocratic talent, and popular
good sense, for Italy's benefit, must help to strengthen the belief that
the Italians are indeed about to become a new _Power_ in Europe, and
in the world, and that their country is no more to be rated as a mere
"geographical expression."

The Italian crisis is a European crisis; for matters have now reached
a pass in which the foreigner must have something to say of Italy's
future: and it will be well for the general peace, if he shall use only
the words of justice, in giving his decision; for his right to speak
at all in the premises is derived only from an act of usurpation, long
acquiescence in which has clothed it with a certain show of legality. In
all that the Italians have thus far done, since the conclusion of the
with Austria, they have not necessarily been brought into conflict
with any foreign nation, though they may have terribly offended those
legitimate sovereigns who have been accustomed either to give law to
Europe or to see public opinion defer considerably to their will. Not a
single acquisition thus far made by Victor Emmanuel can be said to have
proceeded from any act at which Europe could complain with justice.
Lombardy was given to him by his ally of France, whose prize it was, and
who had an undid dispose of it in a most righteous manner. That Central
Italy was acquired by him was due partly to the cowardice of the old
rulers thereof, and partly to intelligence, activity, and patriotism of
its people. No foreign rights, conventional or otherwise, were assailed
or disregarded, when it passed under the Sardinian sceptre. When go much
of the Pope's temporal possessions were taken from him by the people
themselves, who had become weary of the worst system of misgovernment
known to the west of Bokhara, no doubt many pious Catholics were
shocked; but, if they knew anything of the history of the Papal temporal
rule and power, they could not complain at what was done, on the score
of illegality; and the deeds of Cialdini and Fanti and Persano were
performed against foreigners who had intruded themselves into Italy, and
who were employed to uphold the political supremacy of a few persons at
Rome, while they had no more connection with the religion of the ancient
Church than they had with that of Thibet. The King of the Two Sicilies,
by his tyranny, and by his persistence in the offensive course of his
house, had become an outlaw, as it were, and every _Italian_ at least
was fairly authorized to attack him; and in doing so he could not
be said to assail European order, nor could any European power
send assistance to a monarch who had refused to listen even to the
remonstrances of Austria against his cruelties. The stanchest of
English conservatives, while they said they must regard Garibaldi as
a freebooter, did not hesitate to express the warmest wishes for the
freebooter's success. When the Sardinians marched to Garibaldi's aid,
they did so in the interest of order, which has been promptly restored
to Southern Italy through their energetic course.

Thus far, that which has been done in Italy has been of a local
character; but nothing more can be done, in the way of completing the
independence and unity of Italy, without bringing the patriots into
conflict with Austria. That power still is supreme in Venetia, which is
one of the best portions of Italy, and which can be held by no foreign
sovereign without endangering the whole Peninsula. Were there no other
reason for seeking to redeem Venetia from Austrian oppression, the
safety of the rest of Italy would demand that that redemption should be
accomplished. Venetia, as she now is, is a place of arms for the chief,
we may say the only, foreign enemy that the Italian Kingdom has or can
have; and that enemy has a deep and a peculiar interest in seeking
occasion to bring about the new kingdom's destruction. If Austria should
succeed in conciliating the Hungarians,--which she might do, if she
were to act justly toward them,--and a change of government were to take
place in France,--and changes in the French government have occurred
so often since 1789 as not to be improbable now,--she would, through
possession of Venetia, be enabled to commence a new Italian war with the
chances of success greatly in her favor. The Italians, therefore, are
compelled to round and complete their work, in getting possession of
Venetia, by that desire for safety and for self-preservation which
actuates all men and all communities. A nobler feeling, too, moves them.
They feel the obligation that exists to extend to the Venetians that
freedom which is now enjoyed by all Italians except the Venetians and
a small portion of the Pope's subjects. They would be recreant to the
dictates of duty, and disregardful of those of honor, were they to leave
Venetia in the hands of Austria. What their feelings on this
momentous subject are may be gathered from Garibaldi's address to his
companions-in-arms, when, having completed his immediate work, he
withdrew from active service for the time, in November last. His words
point as directly to an attack on Venetia as his landing in Sicily
indicated his intention to overthrow Francis II.; and that attack,
according to the Patriot Soldier, is to be made under the lead of the
Patriot King, Victor Emanuel. A million of Italians are called for, that
it may be successfully made; and that number ought to be raised, if so
vast a host shall be found necessary to perfect the independence of
Italy. After what we have seen done by the Italians, we should not
distrust their power to do even more, if no delay should be permitted,
and full advantage be taken of the spirit of enthusiastic patriotism
which now animates them. That Garibaldi means no delay is proved by his
naming next March as the date for the renewal of the mighty crusade in
the course of which already such miracles have been wrought.

That Italy, as she stands to-day, would be found more than the equal
of Austria, no doubt can be felt by any one who is acquainted with the
condition of the two powers. Italy would enter upon a contest with
Austria under circumstances of peculiar advantage. She would have so
decided a naval superiority, that the Austrian flag would disappear from
the Mediterranean and the Adriatic, and she would be able to operate
powerfully from the sea against Venice. It is a military axiom, that,
wherever there is a sea-side, there is a weak side; and Venetia presents
this to an assailing force in quite a striking manner. Command of
the Adriatic and the neighboring waters would enable the Italians to
threaten many points of the Austrian territory, which would require to
be watched by large collections of soldiers; and aid could be sent to
the Hungarians, should they rise, by the way of Fiume. Italy could
raise a larger army to attack Venetia than Austria could employ for its
defence, with Hungary on the eve of revolution, Bohemia discontented,
Croatia not the loyal land it was in '48, and even the Tyrol no longer
a model of subserviency to the Imperial House. The Italians are at any
time the equals of the Austrians as soldiers, and at this time their
minds are in an exalted state, under the dominion of which they would
be found superior to any men who could be brought against them, if well
led; and among the Imperial commanders there is no man, unless Von
Benedek be an exception, who is to be named with the generals who have
led the way in the work we have seen done since last spring. In a
military sense, and in a moral sense, Italy is the superior of the
beaten, bankrupt monarchy of Austria, and capable of wresting Venetia
from the intrusive race, which holds it as much in defiance of common
sense as of common right.

But would Italy be permitted to settle her quarrel with her old
oppressor without foreign intervention? We fear that she would not.
Venetia is held by Austria in virtue of the Vienna settlement of Europe,
in the first place, and then under the treaty that followed the war of
1859. Some English statesmen would appear to be of opinion that Venetia
must remain among the possessions of Austria, without reference to the
interests of Italy, the party most concerned in the business. In his
first note to Sir James Hudson, British Minister at Turin, which note
was to be read to Count Cavour, Lord John Russell, Foreign Secretary,
writes more like an Austrian than an Englishman, going even to the
astounding length of declaring that a war to defend her right to Venetia
would be on Austria's part a patriotic war,--such a war, we presume the
Honorable Secretary of State must have meant, as Wallace waged against
Edward I., or that which the first William of Orange carried on against
Philip II.! Lord Palmerston seems inclined to indorse his colleague's
views: for he referred directly to this very note in terms of
approbation, in the speech which he made at the dinner of the
"Worshipful Company of Salters," on the 14th of November. It is true,
that, in a later note from Lord John Russell to Sir James Hudson,
extreme ground in favor of what had been done in Naples by the
Sardinians is taken, and sustained with eminent ability; and in the
speech of Lord Palmerston referred to, the object of the first note was
said to be the prevention of a rash course that "might have blighted all
the best hopes of Italian freedom." We do not for a moment suppose that
the English people would ever allow their government to do anything
to help Austria to maintain possession of Venetia; but the relations
between Austria and England are of old date, and an opinion prevails in
the latter country that the former should be kept strong, in order that
she may be preserved as a counterpoise, on the one side to Russia, and
on the other to France. England has a difficult part to play, and her
course, or rather that of her government, sometimes makes considerable
demand on the charitable construction of the world; but her people are
sound, and for a long series of years their weight has been felt on the
right side of European contests. The Italian cause is popular with all
classes of Englishmen, and their country will never do anything to the
prejudice of that cause. But it may refuse aid at a time when such aid
shall be much needed, and when even France may stand aloof, and refrain
from finishing the business which she commenced.

There is said to be an opinion growing up in France that Italy may be
made too strong for the good of her friend and ally. A new nation of
twenty-seven million souls--which would be Italy's strength, should Rome
and Venetia be gained for her--might become a potent enemy even to one
of its chief creators; and the taking of Savoy and Nice has caused
ill-feeling between the two countries, in which Garibaldi heartily
shares. Napoleon III. might be depended upon, himself, to support Italy
hereafter against any foreign enemy, but it is by no means clear that
France would support him in such a course; and he must defer to the
opinion of his subjects to a considerable extent, despotic though his
power is supposed to be. It is opinion, in the last resort, that governs
every where,--under an absolute monarchy quite as determinedly as under
a liberal polity like ours or England's. There is a large party in
France, composed of the most incongruous materials, which has the
profoundest interest in misrepresenting the policy of the Imperial
government, and which is full of men of culture and intellect,--men
whose labors, half-performed though they are, must have considerable
effect on the French mind. The first Napoleon had the ground honeycombed
under him by his enemies, who could not be suppressed, nor their labors
be made to cease, even by his stern system of repression. It may be so
with the present Emperor, who knows that one false step might upset his
dynasty as utterly as it was twice over-thrown by the armies of combined
Europe. What was then done by the lions and the eagles might now be done
by the moles. The worms that gnawed through the Dutch dykes did Holland
more damage than she experienced from the armies of Louis XIV. Let the
French mind become possessed with the idea that the Emperor is helping
Italy at the expense of France, and we may see a third Restoration in
that country, or even a third Republic. The elder Bourbons were driven
out because they were as a monument in Paris to Leipzig and Vittoria
and Waterloo, erected by the victors on those fatal fields. The Orléans
dynasty broke down because it had become an article in the belief of
most Frenchmen that it was disgracing France by the corruption of its
domestic policy and the subserviency of its foreign policy. Napoleon
III. could no more sustain himself against the belief that he was using
France for the benefit of Italy than the King of the French could
sustain himself against the conviction that he was abusing the country
he ruled over for the advancement of his family. He has already offended
the Catholic clergy by what he has done for Italy, which they regard as
having been done against their Church; and as they helped to make him,
so they may be able to unmake him. To satisfy grumblers, he took Savoy
and Nice. For some time past, rumor has been busy in attributing to him
the design of demanding the island of Sardinia. If he should ask for
Sardinia, and receive it, might he not ask also for Sicily, the country
of which he offered to become King in 1848, and did not receive one
vote, an incident that may still weigh upon the imperial heart, no man
ever forgetting a contemptuous slight? If he should make these demands,
or either of them, would the other European Powers permit the Italians
to comply with them? These are questions not to be answered hurriedly,
but they closely concern the Italian question, a solution of which must
soon be had, for the world's peace.

The third act of the drama approaches, and 1861 may be a more important
year to Italy than was either 1859 or 1860. The successful antagonist
of Austria she can be; but could she, without foreign aid, withstand an
alliance that should be formed against her in the name of order, while
her former ally should remain quiet and refuse to take any part in the
war? Austria, it has been intimated, might be induced to sell Venetia to
Italy, and this is possible, though such a settlement of the question in
dispute would be an extraordinary confession of weakness on the part of
the aristocratical military monarchy of the Lorraines, and a proceeding
of which it would be more ashamed than it would be even of a generous
action.

       *       *       *       *       *


A VISIT TO THE ASYLUM FOR AGED AND DECAYED PUNSTERS.


Having just returned from a visit to this admirable Institution in
company with a friend who is one of the Directors, we propose giving a
short account of what we saw and heard. The great success of the Asylum
for Idiots and Feeble-minded Youth, several of the scholars from which
have reached considerable distinction, one of them being connected with
a leading Daily Paper in this city, and others having served in the
State and National Legislatures, was the motive which led to the
foundation of this excellent Charity. Our late distinguished townsman,
Noah Dow, Esquire, as is welt known, bequeathed a large portion of his
fortune to this establishment,--"being thereto moved," as his will
expressed it, "by the desire of _N. Dowing_ some publick Institution
for the benefit of Mankind." Being consulted as to the Rules of the
Institution and the selection of a Superintendent, he replied, that "all
Boards must construct their own Platforms of operation. Let them select
_anyhow_ and he should be pleased." N.E. Howe, Esq., was chosen in
compliance with this delicate suggestion.

The Charter provides for the support of "One hundred aged and decayed
Gentlemen-Punsters." On inquiry if there was no provision for _females_,
my friend called my attention to this remarkable psychological fact,
namely:--

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A FEMALE PUNSTER.

This remark struck me forcibly, and on reflection I found that _I never
knew nor heard of one_, though I have once or twice heard a woman make
_a single detached_ pun, as I have known a hen to crow.

On arriving at the south gate of the Asylum grounds, I was about to
ring, but my friend held my arm and begged me to rap with my stick,
which I did. An old man with a very comical face presently opened the
gate and put out his head.

"So you prefer _Cane_ to _A bell_, do you?" he said,--and began
chuckling and coughing at a great rate.

My friend winked at me.

"You're here still, Old Joe, I see," he said to the old man.

"Yes, yes,--and it's very odd, considering how often I've _bolted_,
nights."

He then threw open the double gates for us to ride through.

"Now," said the old man, as he pulled the gates after us, "you've had a
long journey."

"Why, how is that, Old Joe?" said my friend.

"Don't you see?" he answered; "there's the _East hinges_ on one side of
the gate, and there's the West hinges_ on t'other side,--haw! haw! haw!"

We had no sooner got into the yard than a feeble little gentleman, with
a remarkably bright eye, came up to us, looking very seriously, as if
something had happened.

"The town has entered a complaint against the Asylum as a gambling
establishment," he said to my friend, the Director.

"What do you mean?" said my friend.

"Why, they complain that there's a _lot o' rye_ on the premises," he
answered, pointing to a field of that grain,--and hobbled away, his
shoulders shaking with laughter, as he went.

On entering the main building, we saw the Rules and Regulations for
the Asylum conspicuously posted up. I made a few extracts which may be
interesting.


Sect. I. OF VERBAL EXERCISES.

5. Each Inmate shall be permitted to make Puns freely from eight in the
morning until ten at night, except during Service in the Chapel and
Grace before Meals.

6. At ten o'clock the gas will be turned off, and no further Puns,
Conundrums, or other play on words, will be allowed to be uttered, or to
be uttered aloud.

9. Inmates who have lost their faculties and cannot any longer make Puns
shall be permitted to repeat such as may be selected for them by the
Chaplain out of the work of Mr. _Joseph Miller_.

10. Violent and unmanageable Punsters, who interrupt others when engaged
in conversation, with Puns or attempts at the same, shall be deprived
of their _Joseph Millers_, and, if necessary, placed in solitary
confinement.


Sect. III. OF DEPORTMENT AT MEALS.

4. No Inmate shall make any Pun, or attempt at the same, until the
Blessing has been asked and the company are decently seated.

7. Certain Puns having been placed on the _Index Expurgatorius_ of the
Institution, no Inmate shall be allowed to utter them, on pain of being
debarred the perusal of _Punch_ and _Vanity Fair_, and, if repeated,
deprived of his _Joseph Miller_.

Among these are the following:--

Allusions to _Attic salt_, when asked to pass the salt-cellar.

Remarks on the Inmates being _mustered_, etc., etc.

Associating baked beans with the _bene_factors of the Institution.

Saying that beef-eating is _befitting_, etc., etc.

The following are also prohibited, excepting to such Inmates as may have
lost their faculties and cannot any longer make Puns of their own:--

"----your own _hair_ or a wig"; "it will be _long enough_, "etc., etc.;
"little of its age," etc., etc.;--also, playing upon the following
words: _hos_pital; _mayor_; _pun_; _pitied_; _bread_; _sauce_, etc.,
etc., etc. See INDEX EXPURGATORIUS, _printed for use of Inmates_.

The subjoined Conundrum is not allowed:--Why is Hasty Pudding like the
Prince? Because it comes attended by its _sweet_;--nor this variation to
it, _to wit_: Because the _'lasses runs after it_.

The Superintendent, who went round with us, had been a noted punster in
his time, and well known in the business-world, but lost his customers
by making too free with their names,--as in the famous story he set
afloat in '29 of _four Jerries_ attaching to the names of a noted Judge,
an eminent Lawyer, the Secretary of the Board of Foreign Missions, and
the well-known Landlord at Springfield. One of the _four Jerries_, he
added, was of gigantic magnitude. The play on words was brought out
by an accidental remark of Solomons, the well-known Banker. "_Capital
punishment!_" the Jew was overheard saying, with reference to the guilty
parties. He was understood as saying, _A capital pun is meant_, which
led to an investigation and the relief of the greatly excited public
mind.

The Superintendent showed some of his old tendencies, as he went round
with us.

"Do you know"--he broke out all at once--"why they don't take steppes in
Tartary for establishing Insane Hospitals?"

We both confessed ignorance.

"Because there are _nomad_ people to be found there," he said, with a
dignified smile.

He proceeded to introduce us to different Inmates. The first was a
middle-aged, scholarly man, who was seated at a table with a Webster's
Dictionary and a sheet of paper before him.

"Well, what luck to-day, Mr. Mowzer?" said the Superintendent.

"Three or four only," said Mr. Mowzer. "Will you hear 'em now,--now I'm
here?"

We all nodded.

"Don't you see Webster _ers_ in the words cent_er_ and theat_er_?

"If he spells leather _lether_, and feather _fether_, isn't there danger
that he'll give us a _bad spell of weather_?

"Besides, Webster is a resurrectionist; he does not allow _u_ to rest
quietly in the _mould_.

"And again, because Mr. Worcester inserts an illustration in his text,
is that any reason why Mr. Webster's publishers should hitch one on in
their appendix? It's what I call a _Conntect-a-cut_ trick.

"Why is his way of spelling like the floor of an oven? Because it is
_under bread_.

"Mowzer!" said the Superintendent,--"that word is on the Index!"

"I forgot," said Mr. Mowzer;--"please don't deprive me of _Vanity Fair_,
this one time, Sir.

"These are all, this morning. Good day, Gentlemen. Then to the
Superintendent,--Add you, Sir!"

The next Inmate was a semi-idiotic-looking old man. He had a heap of
block-letters before him, and, as we came up, he pointed, without saying
a word, to the arrangements he had made with them on the table. They
were evidently anagrams, and had the merit of transposing the letters of
the words employed without addition or subtraction. Here are a few of
them:--

  TIMES.  SMITE!
  POST.  STOP!

  TRIBUNE.  TRUE NIB.
  WORLD.  DR. OWL.

  ADVERTISER.  (RES VERI DAT.
               (IS TRUE. READ!

  ALLOPATHY.  ALL O' TH' PAY.
  HOMEOPATHY.  O, THE--! O! O, MY! PAH!

The mention of several new York papers led to two or three questions.
Thus: Whether the Editor of the Tribune was _H.G. really?_ If the
complexion of his politics were not accounted for by his being an
_eager_ person himself? Whether Wendell _Fillips_ were not a reduced
copy of John _Knocks?_ Whether a New York _Feuilletoniste_ is not the
same thing as a _Fellow down East?_

At this time a plausible-looking, bald-headed man joined us, evidently
waiting to take a part in the conversation.

"Good morning, Mr. Riggles," said the Superintendent. "Anything fresh
this morning? Any Conundrum?"

"I haven't looked at the cattle," he answered, dryly.

"Cattle? Why cattle?"

"Why, to see if there's any _corn under 'em!_" he said; and immediately
asked, "Why is Douglas like the earth?"

We tried, but couldn't guess.

"Because he was _flattened out at the polls!_" said Mr. Riggles.

"A famous politician, formerly," said the Superintendent. "His
grandfather was a _seize-Hessian-ist_ in the Revolutionary War. By the
way, I hear the _freeze-oil_ doctrines don't go down at New Bedford."

The next Inmate looked as if be might have been a sailor formerly.

"Ask him what his calling was," said the Superintendent.

"Followed the sea," he replied to the question put by one of us. "Went
as mate in a fishing-schooner."

"Why did you give it up?"

"Because I didn't like working for _two mast-ers_," he replied.

Presently we came upon a group of elderly persons, gathered about a
venerable gentleman with flowing locks, who was propounding questions to
a row of Inmates.

"Can any Inmate give me a motto for M. Berger?" he said.

Nobody responded for two or three minutes. At last one old man, whom I
at once recognized as a Graduate of our University, (Anno 1800,) held up
his hand.

"Rem a _cue_ tetigit."

"Go to the head of the Class, Josselyn," said the venerable Patriarch.

The successful Inmate did as he was told, but in a very rough way,
pushing against two or three of the Class.

"How is this?" said the Patriarch.

"You told me to go up _jostlin',_" he replied.

The old gentlemen who had been shoved about enjoyed the Pun too much to
be angry.

Presently the Patriarch asked again,--

"Why was M. Berger authorized to go to the dances given to the Prince?"

The Class had to give up this, and he answered it himself:--

"Because every one of his carroms was a _tick-it_ to the _ball_."

"Who collects the money to defray the expenses of the last campaign in
Italy?" asked the Patriarch.

Here again the Class failed.

"The war-cloud's rolling _Dun_," he answered.

"And what is mulled wine made with?"

Three or four voices exclaimed at once,----

"_Sizzle-y_ Madeira!"

Here a servant entered, and said, "Luncheon-time." The old gentlemen,
who have excellent appetites, dispersed at once, one of them politely
asking us if we would not stop and have a bit of bread and a little mite
of cheese.

"There is one thing I have forgotten to show you," said the
Superintendent,--"the cell for the confinement of violent and
unmanageable Punsters."

We were very curious to see it, particularly with reference to the
alleged absence of every object upon which a play of words could
possibly be made.

The Superintendent led us up some dark stairs to a corridor, then
along a narrow passage, then down a broad flight of steps into another
passage-way, and opened a large door which looked out on the main
entrance.

"We have not seen the cell for the confinement of 'violent and
unmanageable' Punsters," we both exclaimed.

"This is the _sell!_" he exclaimed, pointing to the outside prospect.

My friend, the Director, looked me in the face so good-naturedly that I
had to laugh.

"We like to humor the Inmates," he said. "It has a bad effect, we
find, on their health and spirits to disappoint them of their little
pleasantries. Some of the jests to which we have listened are not new to
me, though I dare say you may not have heard them often before. The same
thing happens in general society,--with this additional disadvantage,
that there is no punishment provided for 'violent and unmanageable'
Punsters, as in our Institution."

We made our bow to the Superintendent and walked to the place where our
carriage was waiting for us. On our way, an exceedingly decrepit old man
moved slowly towards us, with a perfectly blank look on his face, but
still appearing as if he wished to speak.

"Look!" said the Director,--"that is our Centenarian."

The ancient man crawled towards us, cocked one eye, with which he seemed
to sec a little, up at us, and said,--

"Sarvant, young Gentlemen. Why is a--a--a--like a--a--a--? Give it up?
Because it's a--a--a--a--."

He smiled a pleasant smile, as if it were all plain enough.

"One hundred and seven last Christmas," said the Director. "He lost his
answers about the age of ninety-eight. Of late years he puts his whole
Conundrums in blank,--but they please him just as well."

We took our departure, much gratified and instructed by our visit,
hoping to have some future opportunity of inspecting the Records of this
excellent Charity and making extracts for the benefit of our Readers.

       *       *       *       *       *


THE QUESTION OF THE HOUR.


Dean Swift, in a letter to Lord Bolingbroke, says that he does not
"remember to have ever heard or seen one great genius who had long
success in the ministry; and recollecting a great many in my memory and
acquaintance, those who had the smoothest time were, at best, men of
middling degree in understanding." However true this may be in the
main,--and it undoubtedly is true that in ordinary times the speculative
and innovating temper of an original mind is less safe than the patience
of routine and persistence in precedent of a common-place one,--there
are critical occasions to which intellect of the highest quality,
character of the finest fibre, and a judgment that is inspired rather
than confused by new and dangerous combinations of circumstances, are
alone equal. Tactics and an acquaintance with the highest military
authorities were adequate enough till they were confronted with General
Bonaparte and the new order of things. If a great man struggling with
the storms of fate be the sublimest spectacle, a mediocre man in the
same position is surely the most pitiful. Deserted by his presence
of mind, which, indeed, had never been anything but an absence of
danger,--baffled by the inapplicability of his habitual principles of
conduct, (if that may be called a principle, which, like the act of
walking, is merely an unconscious application of the laws of gravity,)
--helpless, irresolute, incapable of conceiving the flower Safety in
the nettle Danger, much more of plucking it thence,--surely here, if
anywhere, is an object of compassion. When such a one is a despot who
has wrought his own destruction by obstinacy in a traditional evil
policy, like Francis II. of Naples, our commiseration is outweighed by
satisfaction that the ruin of the man is the safety of the state. But
when the victim is a so-called statesman, who has malversated the
highest trusts for selfish ends, who has abused constitutional forms
to the destruction of the spirit that gave them life and validity, who
could see nothing nobler in the tenure of high office than the means it
seemed to offer of prolonging it, who knows no art to conjure the spirit
of anarchy he has evoked but the shifts and evasions of a second-rate
attorney, and who has contrived to involve his country in the confusion
of principle and vacillation of judgment which have left him without
a party and without a friend,--for such a man we have no feeling but
contemptuous reprobation. Pan-urge in danger of shipwreck is but a
faint type of Mr. Buchanan in face of the present crisis; and that poor
fellow's craven abjuration of his "_former_ friend," Friar John, is
magnanimity itself, compared with his almost-ex-Excellency's treatment
of the Free States in his last Message to Congress. There are times
when mediocrity is a dangerous quality, and a man may drown himself as
effectually in milk-and-water as in Malmsey.

The question, whether we are a Government or an Indian Council, we do
not propose to discuss here; whether there be a right of secession
tempered by a right of coercion, like a despotism by assassination, and
whether it be expedient to put the latter in practice, we shall
not consider: for it is not always the part of wisdom to attempt a
settlement of what the progress of events will soon settle for us. Mr.
Buchanan seems to have no opinion, or, if he has one, it is a halting
between two, a bat-like cross of sparrow and mouse that gives timidity
its choice between flight and skulking. Nothing shocks our sense of the
fitness of things more than a fine occasion to which the man is wanting.
Fate gets her hook ready, but the eye is not there to clinch with it,
and so all goes at loose ends. Mr. Buchanan had one more chance offered
him of showing himself a common-place man, and he has done it full
justice. Even if they could have done nothing for the country, a few
manly sentences might have made a pleasing exception in his political
history, and rescued for him the fag-end of a reputation.

Mr. Buchanan, by his training in a system of politics without a parallel
for intrigue, personality, and partisanship, would have unfitted himself
for taking a statesmanlike view of anything, even if he had ever been
capable of it. His nature has been subdued to what it worked in. We
could not have expected from him a Message around which the spirit, the
intelligence, and the character of the country would have rallied. But
he might have saved himself from the evil fame of being the first of our
Presidents who could never forget himself into a feeling of the
dignity of the place he occupied. He has always seemed to consider the
Presidency as a retaining-fee paid him by the slavery-propagandists,
and his Message to the present Congress looks like the last juiceless
squeeze of the orange which the South is tossing contemptuously away.

Mr. Buchanan admits as real the assumed wrongs of the South Carolina
revolutionists, and even, if we understand him, allows that they are
great enough to justify revolution. But he advises the secessionists to
pause and try what can be done by negotiation. He sees in the internal
history of the country only a series of injuries inflicted by the
Free upon the Slave States; yet he affirms, that, so far as Federal
legislation is concerned, the rights of the South have never been
assailed, except in the single instance of the Missouri Compromise,
which gave to Slavery the unqualified possession of territory which the
Free States might till then have disputed. Yet that bargain, a losing
one as it was on the part of the Free States, having been annulled, can
hardly be reckoned a present grievance. South Carolina had quite as long
a list of intolerable oppressions to resent in 1832 as now, and not one
of them, as a ground of complaint, could be compared with the refusal
to pay the French-Spoliation claims of Massachusetts. The secession
movement then, as now, had its origin in the ambition of disappointed
politicians. If its present leaders are more numerous, none of them are
so able as Mr. Calhoun; and if it has now any other object than it had
then, it is to win by intimidation advantages that shall more than
compensate for its loss in the elections.

In 1832, General Jackson bluntly called the South Carolina doctrines
treason, and the country sustained him. That they are not characterized
in the same way now does not prove any difference in the thing, but only
in the times and the men. They are none the less treason because
James Buchanan is less than Andrew Jackson, but they are all the more
dangerous.

It has been the misfortune of the United States that the conduct of
their public affairs has passed more and more exclusively into the hands
of men who have looked on politics as a game to be played rather than
as a trust to be administered, and whose capital, whether of personal
consideration or of livelihood, has been staked on a turn of the cards.
A general skepticism has thus been induced, exceedingly dangerous
in times like these. The fatal doctrine of rotation in office has
transferred the loyalty of the numberless servants of the Government,
and of those dependent on or influenced by them, from the nation to
a party. For thousands of families every change in the National
Administration is as disastrous as revolution, and the Government has
thus lost that influence which the idea of permanence and stability
would exercise in a crisis like the present. At the present moment, the
whole body of office-holders at the South is changed from a conservative
to a disturbing element by a sense of the insecurity of their tenure.
Their allegiance having always been to the party in power at Washington,
and not to the Government of the Nation, they find it easy to transfer
it to the dominant faction at home.

The subservience on the question of Slavery, which has hitherto
characterized both the great parties of the country, has strengthened
the hands of the extremists at the South, and has enabled them to get
the control of public opinion there by fostering false notions of
Southern superiority and Northern want of principle. We have done so
much to make them believe in their importance to us, and given them so
little occasion even to suspect our importance to them, that we have
taught them to regard themselves as the natural rulers of the country,
and to look upon the Union as a favor granted to our weakness, whose
withdrawal would be our ruin. Accordingly, they have grown more and more
exacting, till at length the hack politicians of the Free States have
become so imbued with the notion of yielding, and so incapable of
believing in any principle of action higher than temporary expedients
to carry an election, or any object nobler than the mere possession of
office for its own sake, that Mr. Buchanan gravely proposes that the
Republican party should pacify South Carolina by surrendering the very
creed that called it into existence and holds it together, the only
fruit of its victory that made victory worth having. Worse than this,
when the Free States by overwhelming majorities have just expressed
their conviction, that slavery, as he creature of local law, can claim
no legitimate extension beyond the limits of that law, he asks their
consent to denationalize freedom and to nationalize slavery by an
amendment of the Federal Constitution, that shall make the local law of
the Slave States paramount throughout the Union. Mr. Buchanan would stay
the yellow fever by abolishing the quarantine hospital and planting a
good virulent case or two in every village in the land.

We do not underestimate the gravity of the present crisis, and we agree
that nothing should be done to exasperate it; but if the people of the
Free States have been taught anything by the repeated lessons of bitter
experience, it has been that submission is not the seed of conciliation,
but of contempt and encroachment. The wolf never goes for mutton to the
mastiff. It is quite time that it should be understood that freedom is
also an institution deserving some attention in a Model Republic, that
a decline in stocks is more tolerable and more transient than one in
public spirit, and that material prosperity was never known to abide
long in a country that had lost its political morality. The fault of the
Free States in the eyes of the South is not one that can be atoned for
by any yielding of special points here and there. Their offence is that
they are free, and that their habits and prepossessions are those of
Freedom. Their crime is the census of 1860. Their increase in numbers,
wealth, and power is a standing aggression. It would not be enough to
please the Southern States that we should stop asking them to abolish
slavery,--what they demand of us is nothing less than that we should
abolish the spirit of the age. Our very thoughts are a menace. It is not
the North, but the South, that forever agitates the question of Slavery.
The seeming prosperity of the cotton-growing States is based on a great
mistake and a great wrong; and it is no wonder that they are irritable
and scent accusation in the very air. It is the stars in their courses
that fight against their system, and there are those who propose to make
everything comfortable by Act of Congress.

It is almost incredible to what a pitch of absurdity the Slave-holding
party have been brought by the weak habit of concession which has been
the vice of the Free States. Senator Green of Missouri, whose own State
is rapidly gravitating toward free institutions, gravely proposes an
armed police along the whole Slave frontier for the arrest of fugitives.
Already the main employment of our navy is in striving to keep Africans
out, and now the whole army is to mount guard to keep them in. This is
but a trifle to the demands that will be made upon us, if we yield now
under the threats of a mob,--for men acting under passion or terror, or
both, are a mob, no matter what their numbers and intelligence.

A dissolution of the Union would be a terrible thing, but not so
terrible as an acquiescence in the theory that Property is the only
interest that binds men together in society, and that its protection
is the highest object of human government. Nothing could well be more
solemn than the thought of a disruption of our great and prosperous
Republic. Even if peaceful, the derangement consequent upon it would
cause incalculable suffering and disaster. Already the mere threat
of it, assisted by the efforts of interested persons, has caused a
commercial panic. But would it be wisdom in the Free States to put
themselves at the mercy of such a panic whenever the whim took South
Carolina to be discontented? That would be the inevitable result of a
craven spirit now. Let the Republican party be mild and forbearing,--for
the opportunity to be so is the best reward of victory, and taunts and
recriminations belong to boys; but, above all, let them be manly. The
moral taint of once submitting to be bullied is a scrofula that will
never out of the character.

We do not believe that the danger is so great as it appears. Rumor is
like one of those multiplying-mirrors that make a mob of shadows out
of one real object. The interests of three-fifths of the Slave-holding
States are diametrically opposed to secession; so are those of
five-sixths of the people of the seceding States, if they did but know
it. The difficulties in the way of organizing a new form of government
are great, almost insuperable; the expenses enormous. As the public
burdens grow heavier, the lesson of resistance and rebellion will find
its aptest scholars in the non-slave-owning majority who will be paying
taxes for the support of the very institution that has made and keeps
them poor. Men are not long in arriving at just notions of the value of
what they pay for, especially when it is for other people. Taxes are a
price that people are slowest to pay for a cat in a bag. If matters are
allowed to take their own course for a little longer, the inevitable
reaction is sure to set in. The Hartford Convention gave more uneasiness
to the Government and the country than the present movement in the
South, but the result of it was the ruin of the Federal Party, and not
of the Federal Union.

Even if the secessionists could accomplish their schemes, who would
be the losers? Not the Free States, certainly, with their variety of
resources and industry. The laws of trade cannot be changed, and the
same causes which have built up their agriculture, commerce, and
manufactures will not cease to be operative. The real wealth
and strength of states, other things being equal, depends upon
homogeneousness of population and variety of occupation, with a common
interest and common habits of thought. The cotton-growing States, with
their single staple, are at the mercy of chance. India, Australia, nay,
Africa herself, may cut the thread of their prosperity. Their population
consists of two hostile races, and their bone and muscle, instead
of being the partners, are the unwilling tools of their capital
and intellect. The logical consequence of this political theory is
despotism, which the necessity of coercing the subject race will make a
military one. Already South Carolina is discussing a standing army. If
history is not a lying gossip, the result of the system of labor will be
Jamaica, and that of the system of polity, Mexico. Instead of a stable
government, they will have a whirligig of _pronunciamientos_, or
stability will be purchased at a cost that will make it intolerable.
They have succeeded in establishing among themselves a fatal unanimity
on the question of Slavery,--fatal because it makes the office of spy
and informer honorable, makes the caprice of a mob the arbiter of
thought, speech, and action, and debases public opinion to a muddy
mixture of fear and prejudice. In peace, the majority of their
population will be always looked on as conspirators; in war, they would
become rebels.

It is time that the South should learn, if they do not begin to suspect
it already, that the difficulty of the Slavery question is slavery
itself,--nothing more, nothing less. It is time that the North should
learn that it has nothing left to compromise but the rest of its
self-respect. Nothing will satisfy the extremists at the South short of
a reduction of the Free States to a mere police for the protection of an
institution whose danger increases at an equal pace with its wealth.

It was the deliberate intention of Mr. Calhoun that the compact should
be broken the moment the absolute control of Government passed out of
the hands of the slaveholding clique. He was willing to wait till we
had stolen Texas and paid a hundred millions for Cuba; but if the game
seemed to be up, then secede at once. In a hasty moment, he started his
revolution, when there was a stronger man than he to confront him. South
Carolina was to all appearance as united then as now. But a few months
brought a reaction, and no one was more relieved than Mr. Calhoun that
matters stopped where they did. Whether the stirrers of the present
excitement, which finds vacillation in the Executive and connivance
In the Cabinet, will be wise enough to let it go out in the same way,
remains to be seen; but the greatest danger of disunion, would spring
from a want of self-possession and spirit in the Free States.



REVIEWS AND LITERARY NOTICES.


_Collection of Rare and Original Documents and Relations concerning the
Discovery and Conquest of America, chiefly from the Spanish Archives_.
Published in the Original, with Translations, Illustrative Notos, Maps,
and Biographical Sketches. By K.G. SQUIER, M.A., F.S.A., etc., etc. New
York: Charles B. Norton. 1860.

No. I. Carta dirigida al Key de Espana, por el Licenciado Dr. Don DIEGO
GARCIA DE PALACIO, Oydor de la Real Audiencia de Guatemala, Ano 1576.
Being a Description of the Ancient Provinces of Guazacapan, Izalco,
Cuscatlan, and Chiquimula, in the Audiencia of Guatemala: with an
Account of the Languages, Customs, and Religion of their Aboriginal
Inhabitants, and a Description of the Ruins of Copan. Square 8vo. pp.
132.

This tract is the first number of a series of Rare and Original
Documents, relating to the first settlement of America by the Spaniards,
which Mr. Squier proposes to edit and publish. The undertaking is one of
interest to all students of American history, and deserves a generous
encouragement from them. Its success must depend not on the usual
machinery of bookselling so much as on the ready support of individuals.

Mr. Squier's proposed collection resembles in its scope the well-known
"Recueil des Documents et Memoires Originaux" of M. Ternaux-Compans.
Familiar, by long residence and longer study, as few men are or ever
have been, with those portions of our continent of which the Spaniards
first took possession, acquainted with their antiquities and former
condition, and a curious investigator of their present state and
prospects, Mr. Squier is peculiarly fitted to select and edit--with
judgment such documents of historical interest as his unrivalled
opportunities have enabled him to collect.

The Letter of Palacio is now for the first time published in the
original, although it was largely used by Herrera in his "Historia
General." "To me," says Mr. Squier, "the relation has a special
interest. I have been over a great part of the ground that was traversed
by its author, and I am deeply impressed with the accuracy of his
descriptions.... His memoir will always stand as one of the best
illustrations of an interesting country, as it was at the period
immediately succeeding the Conquest." It appears, that, under an order
from the Crown, Palacio was deputed to visit a number of the Provinces
of Guatemala, and to report upon them, especially in respect to the
condition of their native inhabitants. The memoir now published relates
chiefly to the territory comprised in the present Republic of San
Salvador. It shows Palacio to have been an intelligent observer, and a
kindly, well-disposed man,--not free from the superstitions of his time
and race, but less credulous than many of his contemporaries. His
report is full of matter of value to the historical inquirer, and of
entertainment for the general reader. His stories of the manners of the
people, and his accounts of the animals of the district are brief, but
characteristic. But the most interesting part of his narrative is that
which relates to the wonderful ruins of Copan. It is a remarkable fact,
stated by Mr. Squier in his Prefatory Note, that these ruins do not
appear to have been noticed by any of the chroniclers of the country
down to the time of Fuentes, who wrote in 1689, more than one hundred
years after Palacio. It was not, indeed, until 1841, when Stephens
published his account of them, that an accurate description was given
to the world of these most interesting and most puzzling remains of a
forgotten people and an unknown antiquity. Even in Palacio's time, only
vague traditions existed regarding them. His account has a permanent
value from being the earliest known, and as proving that within fifty
years after the Spanish Conquest they presented very nearly the same
appearance as at present.

Mr. Squier has enriched Talacio's Letter with numerous and important
notes. He claims a lenient judgment of his translation, which is printed
side by side with the original, on account of the obscurities of the
manuscript, and the uncertainty as to the meaning of some of the
writer's expressions. But, allowing for these difficulties, we regret
that Mr. Squier did not bestow a little more pains on this part of his
work. He has fallen into some slight errors, which might easily have
been corrected, and he has, as we think, lost something of the spirit of
the original by too free a version. The book is one which in typographic
beauty would meet the demands of the most exacting bibliographer. We
regret the more that the pages are disfigured with misprints, many of
which are left uncorrected in the long list of _Errata_, while others
occur in the very list itself.


1. _Le Panlatinisme, Confédération Gallo-Latine et Celto-Gauloise,
Contre-Testament de Pierre le Grand et Contre-Panslavisme_. Paris:
Passard, Libraire-Éditeur. 1860. 8vo. pp. 260.

2. _Testament de Pierre le Grand, ou Plan de Domination Européenne
laissé par lui à ses Descendants et Successeurs au Trône de la Russie_.
Édition suivie de Notes et de Pièces Justificatives. Paris: Passard.
1860. 8vo.

We seem to be living in an age of pamphleteers. More than ever, both in
France and Germany, are pamphlets the order of the day. In Paris
alone, the year 1860 has given birth to hundreds of these writings of
circumstance,--political squibs, visionary remodellings of European
states,--vying with each other for ephemeral celebrity. They fill the
windows of the book-shops, and are spread by scores along the stands
in the numerous galleries which the Parisian population throngs of
evenings. Those issued in the early part of the year have gradually
descended from the rank of new publications, and may be found on
every quay, spread out, for a few _centimes_, side by side with
old weather-beaten books, odd volumes, refuse of libraries, which
book-lovers daily finger through in the hope of finding some pearl, some
rarity, in the worthless mass.

Thus we have seen the interminable Rhine question discussed in its every
possible phase,--still more that of Italy. Between come the Druses, the
Orient, the Turks. Then Italy again, Garibaldi, Naples, the Pope.

To state in general terms the tendency of these rockets of literature,
or to arrive at the spirit which seems to pervade them, is not quite so
easy as it would seem. They are written by authors of all party-colors,
within certain impassable limits prescribed by the parental restrictions
of Government. Still it seems to be the old story of soothing; and many
a conclusion--as where England is smoothed down by a few flatteries and
told that her most natural ally is France, or where Germany is heartily
assured that she has nothing to fear, that all the changes proposed are
for the good of the Teutonic race--reminds us very strongly of that
widely known verse in child-literature,--

  "Will you walk into my parlor," etc.

We have before us, however, a work which, from its size and from
the labor bestowed upon it, deserves to be ranked above the various
productions that have scarcely called forth more than a passing notice
in the daily press.

The pamphlet named at the head of this article, and which is but a
complement to the volume, is one of the numerous reconstructions and
rearrangements of European limits made in the quiet of the study. Were
it this alone, it would deserve but little attention. It is more. The
author bases his theories upon other than political reasons, having
labored hard to establish many debatable points of Ethnography in the
interesting notes appended to the work, and which form by far the most
remarkable part of it. So we have the question of Races discussed at
full length. There is certainly some philological legerdemain, as may be
seen from some of the convenient conclusions of the author concerning
the Celts and the Gauls. He is full of such paragraphs as this in his
argumentation:--

  "It has seemed to us proved, that the names,
  Volces, Volsks, Bolgs, Belgs, Belgians, Welsh,
  Welchs, Waels, Wuelchs or Walchs, Walls,
  Walloons, Valais, Valois, Vlaks, Wallachians,
  Galatians, Galtachs, Galls, Gaels or Caels,
  Gaelic, Galot, Gallegos, Gaul, and even Ola,
  Olatz, and Vallus, were but one and the same
  word under different forms."

The point to be established at all hazards is, that the French,
Spaniards, Portuguese, Italians, Belgians, and even the English and
Greeks, form but one great family, of one hundred and fifteen million
individuals,--the Gallo-Roman. This Neo-Latin world the author would
wish combined in one grand confederation, like the States of America.
Hence his use of the term _Panlatinism_, in opposition to the so much
debated one of _Panslavism_. The merit of the work under consideration
is, that, though decidedly French in all its views, it condenses in
a few paragraphs the present mooted question of race. The idea of
Panslavism, or the uniting of eighty millions of Sclavonians under one
banner, was, in its origin, republican and federal, whatever it may
have become since. Few words have acquired more diametrically opposite
meanings, according as they were uttered by radical or conservative.
Hence the confusion, hence the many strange phrases to be met with in
the periodical press. The author of the present work has sought to throw
some light on this important point. Leaving aside his prophetic fears of
future shocks with American or Asiatic powers as visionary, we can say
for the work that it presents in a clear light the question of races
as referring to European politics. The notes are good, and no research
seems to have been spared by the writer to establish the position he
maintains.


1. _Ancient Danish Ballads._ Translated from the Originals, by R.C.
ALEXANDER PRIOR, M.D. London: Williams & Norgate. Leipzig: R. Hartmann.
1860, 3 vols. pp. lx., 400, 468, 500.

2. _Edinburgh Papers._ By ROBERT CHAMBERS, F.R.S.E., etc., etc. _The
Romantic Scottish Ballads, their Epoch and Authorship._ W. & R.
Chambers: London and Edinburgh. 1859. pp. 40.

3. _The Romantic Scottish Ballads, and the Lady Wardlaw Heresy._ By
NORVAL CLYNE. Aberdeen: A. Brown & Co. 1859. pp. 49.

The expectations raised by the title of Dr. Prior's volumes are in a
great measure disappointed by their contents. The book is of value only
because it gives for the first time, in English, the substance of a
large number of Danish ballads, and points out the relations between
them and similar productions in other languages. Of the spirit and life
of these remarkable poems a person hitherto unfamiliar with them would
find but scanty indication in Dr. Prior's versions. He has merely done
them into English in a somewhat mechanical way, and one scarcely gets
a better notion of the more imaginative ones in his bald reproductions
than of the "Iliad" from the analysis of that poem in the "Epistolae
Obscurorum Virorum." It seems to require almost as peculiar powers to
translate an old ballad as to write a new one.

Dr. Prior complains of Jamieson, that his versions from the Danish are
done in a broad Scotch dialect, almost as unintelligible to ordinary
readers as the language of which they profess to give the meaning. But
if any one compare Jamieson's rendering of "The Buried Mother" with Dr.
Prior's, (Prior, vol. i. p. 368,) he will, we think, see cause to regret
that Jamieson did not do what Dr. Prior has attempted, and that he has
not left us a greater number of translations equally good. Jamieson's
fault was not so much his broad Scotch as his over-fondness for
archaisms, sometimes of mere spelling, which give rise to a needless
obscurity. We think that he was theoretically right; but he should not
have pushed his theory to the extent of puzzling the reader, where his
aim was to give only that air of strangeness which allures the fancy. As
respects ballads dealing with the supernatural, Jamieson's notion of
the duty of a translator was certainly the true one. There is something
almost ludicrous in a ghost talking the ordinary conversational language
of every-day life, which might, to be sure, serve very well for some
of Jung Stilling's spirits in bottle-green hunting-coats with brass
buttons, but hardly for the majesty of buried Denmark. Dr. Prior may
claim that his renderings are more literal; but it is the vice of
literal translation, that the phrases of one language, if exactly
reproduced in another, while they may have the same sense, convey a
wholly different impression to the imagination. It is to such cases that
the Italian proverb, _Tradutiore traditore_, applies. Dryden, citing
approvingly Denham's verses to Fanshawe,

  "They but preserve his ashes, thou his flame,
  True to his sense, but truer to his fame,"

says, with his usual pithiness, "Too faithfully is indeed pedantically."

In Dr. Prior's version of the "The Buried Mother" we find a case
precisely in point. The Stepmother says to the poor Orphans,--

  "In blind-house shall ye lie all night."

Jamieson gives it,--

  "Says, 'Ye sall ligg i' the mirk all night.'"

Now, the object in all translations of ballad-poetry being to reproduce
simple and downright phrases with equal simplicity and force, to give
us the same effects and not the same words, we vastly prefer Jamieson's
verse to Dr. Prior's, in spite of the affectation of _ligg_ for _lie_.
If _blind-house_ be the equivalent for _dark_ in the original, Dr.
Prior should have told us so in a note, giving us the stronger (because
simpler) English word in the text. He might as well write _hand-shoe_
for _glove_, in a translation from the German. Elsewhere Jamieson errs
in preferring _groff_ to _great_, and the more that _groff_ means more
properly _coarse_ than _large_.

The following couplet is also from Dr. Prior's translation of this
ballad:--

  "They cried one evening till the sound
  Their mother heard beneath the ground."

Jamieson has it,--

  "'Twas lang i' the night, and the bairnies
  grat [cried],
  Their mither she under the mools [mould]
  heard that."

Again, Dr. Prior gives us,--

  "Her eldest daughter then she sped
  To fetch Child Dyring out of bed";

instead of Jamieson's--

  "Till her eldest dochter syne [then] said she,
  'Ye bid Child Dyring come here to me.'"

And, still worse,--

  "Out from their chest she stretch'd her bones
  And rent her way through earth and stones";

where Jamieson is not only more literal, but more forcible,--

  "Wi' her banes sae stark a bowt she gae
  Hath riven both wall and marble gray."

The original is better than either,--

  "She upward heaved her mighty bones
  And rived both wall and gray marble-stones."

Jamieson had the true instinct of a translator, though his own verses
defy the stanchest reader; and, reasoning by analogy, Dr. Prior's
translations are so bad that he ought to be capable of very good
original poetry.

However, with all its defects, Dr. Prior's book is of value for the
information it gives. Under the dead ribs of his translations the reader
familiar with old ballads can create a life for himself, and can form
some conception of the spirit and strength of the originals.

Mr. Chambers's pamphlet is one that we should hardly have expected from
the editor of the best collection of ballads in the language before
that of Professor Child. Directly in the teeth of all probability, he
attributes the bulk of the _romantic_ Scottish ballads to Lady Wardlaw,
who wrote "Hardyknute." This is one of those theories (like that of Lord
Bacon being the author of Shakspeare's plays) which cannot be argued,
but which every one familiar with the subject challenges peremptorily.
Without going very deeply into the matter, Mr. Norval Clyne has put in
a clever plea in arrest of judgment. The truth is, that, in the present
state of our knowledge, "Hardyknute" could not pass muster as an antique
better than "Vortigern," or the poems of "Master Rowley"; and the notion
that Lady Wardlaw could have written "Sir Patrick Spens" will not hold
water better than a sieve, when we consider how hopelessly inferior are
the imitations of old ballads written by Scott, with fifty times her
familiarity with the originals, and a man of genius besides.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Miss Gilbert's Career_. An American Story. By J.G. HOLLAND. New York:
Charles Scribner.

There is scarcely a more hazardous experiment for any novelist than "a
novel with a purpose." If the moral does not run away with the story, it
is in most cases only because the author's lucky star has made the moral
too feeble, in spite of his efforts, to do that or anything else,--in
other words, because his book has fortunately defeated its own object.
That any clever girl will be kept from the perilous paths of authorship
by the warnings, however strongly inculcated, of any novel whatever, we
are not prepared to assert: we venture to say no one will be deterred by
the history of Miss Fanny Gilbert. If a woman's happiness is to be found
in love, and not in fame, the question nevertheless recurs,--What is she
to do before the love comes? Our author only shows that his heroine's
restless unhappiness was owing to her having to wait for her heart to be
awakened: to prove what he desires to prove, he should demonstrate that
it was owing to her having adopted authorship during the time of her
waiting. During that time, Miss Fanny Gilbert wrote novels, and was
unhappy: would she have been happy, if, in the interval, she had
chronicled small beer? And even admitting that her authorship caused her
unhappiness, we can scarcely believe Dr. Holland prepared to say, after
having allowed his heroine a real talent, as one condition of the
problem, that she ought to have concealed that talent in the decorous
napkin of silence.

What the moral loses the story gains. Our author has lost nothing of
that genuine love of Nature, of that quick perception of the comic
element in men and things, of that delightful freshness and liveliness,
which threw such a charm about the former writings of Timothy Titcomb.
No story can be pronounced a failure which has vivacity and interest;
and the volume before us adds to vivacity and interest vigorous sketches
of character and scenery, droll conversation and incidents, a frequent
and kindly humor, and, underlying all, a true, earnest purpose, which
claims not only approval for the author, but respect for the man.

Dr. Holland describes admirably whatever he has himself seen.
Unfortunately, he has not seen his hero or his heroine. About Arthur
Blague there is nothing real or distinctive. There is a life and reality
in many scenes of his experience; but the central figure of the group
stands conventional and inanimate,--the ordinary walking gentleman of
the stage,--the stereo-typed hero of the novel,--hero only by virtue of
his finally marrying the heroine. The one merit of the delineation--that
it is a portrait of a delicate Christian gentleman--is sadly marred by
the vulgar smartness of Arthur's repartees with the scampish New-Yorker.
A victory in such a contest was by no means necessary to vindicate the
hero's superiority; and if he so far forgot himself as to engage at all
in the degrading warfare, a defeat would have been more creditable. His
retorts are undeniably smart; but "smartness" is the attribute of a
"fellow," not of a "gentleman."

Miss Fanny Gilbert is a warm-hearted, high-spirited girl, clever and
ambitious, and disposed at first to look contemptuously on poor Arthur,
whose humble labors appear in most dingy and sordid colors, when
contrasted with the fair Fanny's gorgeous dreams. She is not a very
fascinating nor a very real heroine; but she is better than most of our
heroines, and some of her experiences are very pleasantly told.

Arthur's miserly employer is very good, and his shrewd friend Cheek is
capitally drawn. It was a peculiarly happy thought to make Cheek into
a railroad-conductor, and finally into a "gentlemanly and efficient"
superintendent. Nothing else would have suited his character half so
well. The business-like religionists, Moustache and Breastpin, are not
so good as the author meant to have them. The young bookseller is very
well done, and Dr. Gilbert very natural and lifelike. The story of the
Doctor's awakened interest in his daughter's success, and of his journey
to New York, is very well told. We like especially the lesson which
the triumphant authoress, in the full glory of her fame, receives,
on finding that her father sets a higher value on his son's least
achievement than on his daughter's highest success,--that, however a
woman may deserve a man's place, the world will never award it to her.
It would have been more effective, however, if Dr. Holland had not been
quite so anxious that no one should fail to perceive the moral,--if
he had had a little more confidence in his readers. But we can give
unqualified praise to the scene between Miss Gilbert and the little
crippled boy, which is one of the most beautiful and touching pictures
ever yet presented.

It is a real satisfaction to find a book which one may venture to
criticize fearlessly, knowing that it will bear the test,--especially
at present, when one needs be as chary of trying any book fairly as
Don Quixote was of proving his unlucky helmet. And an additional
satisfaction is caused by the fact, that the book, not only in origin,
but in essence, is American from cover to cover.



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