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Title: The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 08, No. 45, July, 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 08, No. 45, July, 1861" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

45, JULY, 1861***


THE ATLANTIC MONTHLY.

A MAGAZINE OF LITERATURE, ART, AND POLITICS.

VOL. VIII.--JULY, 1861.--NO. XLV.



  OUR ORDERS.

  Weave no more silks, ye Lyons looms,
  To deck our girls for gay delights!
  The crimson flower of battle blooms,
  And solemn marches fill the nights.

  Weave but the flag whose bars to-day
  Drooped heavy o'er our early dead,
  And homely garments, coarse and gray,
  For orphans that must earn their bread!

  Keep back your tunes, ye viols sweet,
  That pour delight from other lands!
  Rouse there the dancer's restless feet,--
  The trumpet leads our warrior bands.

  And ye that wage the war of words
  With mystic fame and subtle power,
  Go, chatter to the idle birds,
  Or teach the lesson of the hour!

  Ye Sibyl Arts, in one stern knot
  Be all your offices combined!
  Stand close, while Courage draws the lot,
  The destiny of humankind!

  And if that destiny could fail,
  The sun should darken in the sky,
  The eternal bloom of Nature pale,
  And God, and Truth, and Freedom die!



AGNES OF SORRENTO.


CHAPTER VII.

THE DAY AT THE CONVENT.


The Mother Theresa sat in a sort of withdrawing-room, the roof of which
rose in arches, starred with blue and gold like that of the cloister,
and the sides were frescoed with scenes from the life of the Virgin.
Over every door, and in convenient places between the paintings, tests
of Holy Writ were illuminated in blue and scarlet and gold, with a
richness and fancifulness of outline, as if every sacred letter had
blossomed into a mystical flower. The Abbess herself, with two of her
nuns, was busily embroidering a new altar-cloth, with a lavish profusion
of adornment; and, from time to time, their voices rose in the musical
tones of an ancient Latin hymn. The words were full of that quaint
and mystical pietism with which the fashion of the times clothed the
expression of devotional feeling:--

  "Jesu, corona virginum,
  Quem mater illa concepit,
  Quae sola virgo parturit,
  Haec vota clemens accipe.

  "Qui pascis inter lilia
  Septus choreis virginum,
  Sponsus decoris gloria
  Sponsisque reddens praemia.

  "Quocunque pergis, virgines
  Sequuntur atque laudibus
  Post te canentes cursitant
  Hymnosque dulces personant[A]."

[Footnote A:

  "Jesus, crown of virgin spirits,
  Whom a virgin mother bore,
  Graciously accept our praises
  While thy footsteps we adore.

  "Thee among the lilies feeding
  Choirs of virgins walk beside,
  Bridegroom crowned with glorious beauty
  Giving beauty to thy bride.

  "Where thou goest still they follow
  Singing, singing as they move,
  All those souls forever virgin
  Wedded only to thy love."]

This little canticle was, in truth, very different from the hymns
to Venus which used to resound in the temple which the convent had
displaced. The voices which sang were of a deep, plaintive contralto,
much resembling the richness of a tenor, and us they moved in modulated
waves of chanting sound the effect was soothing and dreamy. Agnes
stopped at the door to listen.

"Stop, dear Jocunda," she said to the old woman, who was about to push
her way abruptly into the room, "wait till it is over."

Jocunda, who was quite matter-of-fact in her ideas of religion, made a
little movement of impatience, but was recalled to herself by observing
the devout absorption with which Agnes, with clasped hands and downcast
head, was mentally joining in the hymn with a solemn brightness in her
young face.

"If she hasn't got a vocation, nobody ever had one," said Jocunda,
mentally. "Deary me, I wish I had more of one myself!"

When the strain died away, and was succeeded by a conversation on the
respective merits of two kinds of gold embroidering-thread, Agnes and
Jocunda entered the apartment. Agnes went forward and kissed the hand of
the Mother reverentially.

Sister Theresa we have before described as tall, pale, and sad-eyed,--a
moonlight style of person, wanting in all those elements of warm color
and physical solidity which give the impression of a real vital human
existence. The strongest affection she had ever known had been that
which had been excited by the childish beauty and graces of Agnes, and
she folded her in her arms and kissed her forehead with a warmth that
had in it the semblance of maternity.

"Grandmamma has given me a day to spend with you, dear mother," said
Agnes.

"Welcome, dear little child!" said Mother Theresa. "Your spiritual home
always stands open to you."

"I have something to speak to you of in particular, my mother," said
Agnes, blushing deeply.

"Indeed!" said the Mother Theresa, a slight movement of curiosity
arising in her mind as she signed to the two nuns to leave the
apartment.

"My mother," said Agnes, "yesterday evening, as grandmamma and I were
sitting at the gate, selling oranges, a young cavalier came up and
bought oranges of me, and he kissed my forehead and asked me to pray for
him, and gave me this ring for the shrine of Saint Agnes."

"Kissed your forehead!" said Jocunda, "here's a pretty go! it isn't like
you, Agnes, to let him."

"He did it before I knew," said Agnes. "Grandmamma reproved him, and
then he seemed to repent, and gave this ring for the shrine of Saint
Agnes."

"And a pretty one it is, too," said Jocunda. "We haven't a prettier in
all our treasury. Not even the great emerald the Queen gave is better in
its way than this."

"And he asked you to pray for him?" said Mother Theresa.

"Yes, mother dear; he looked right into my eyes and made me look into
his, and made me promise;--and I knew that holy virgins never refused
their prayers to any one that asked, and so I followed their example."

"I'll warrant me he was only mocking at you for a poor little fool,"
said Jocunda; "the gallants of our day don't believe much in prayers."

"Perhaps so, Jocunda," said Agnes, gravely; "but if that be the case, he
needs prayers all the more."

"Yes," said Mother Theresa. "Remember the story of the blessed Saint
Dorothea,--how a wicked young nobleman mocked at her, when she was going
to execution, and said, 'Dorothea, Dorothea, I will believe, when you
shall send me down some of the fruits and flowers of Paradise'; and she,
full of faith, said, 'To-day I will send them'; and, wonderful to tell,
that very day, at evening, an angel came to the young man with a basket
of citrons and roses, and said, 'Dorothea sends thee these, wherefore
believe.' See what grace a pure maiden can bring to a thoughtless young
man,--for this young man was converted and became a champion of the
faith."

"That was in the old times," said Jocunda, skeptically. "I don't believe
setting the lamb to pray for the wolf will do much in our day. Prithee,
child, what manner of man was this gallant?"

"He was beautiful as an angel," said Agnes, "only it was not a good
beauty. He looked proud and sad, both,--like one who is not at ease in
his heart. Indeed, I feel very sorry for him; his eyes made a kind of
trouble in my mind, that reminds me to pray for him often."

"And I will join my prayers to yours, dear daughter," said the Mother
Theresa; "I long to have you with us, that we may pray together every
day;--say, do you think your grandmamma will spare you to us wholly
before long?"

"Grandmamma will not hear of it yet," said Agnes; "and she loves me so,
it would break her heart, if I should leave her, and she could not be
happy here;--but, mother, you have told me we could carry an altar
always in our hearts, and adore in secret. When it is God's will I
should come to you, He will incline her heart."

"Between you and me, little one," said Jocunda, "I think there will soon
be a third person who will have something to say in the case."

"Whom do you mean?" said Agnes.

"A husband," said Jocunda; "I suppose your grandmother has one picked
out for you. You are neither humpbacked nor cross-eyed, that you
shouldn't have one as well as other girls."

"I don't want one, Jocunda; and I have promised to Saint Agnes to come
here, if she will only get grandmother to consent."

"Bless you, my daughter!" said Mother Theresa; "only persevere and the
way will be opened."

"Well, well," said Jocunda, "we'll see. Come, little one, if you
wouldn't have your flowers wilt, we must go back and look after them."

Reverently kissing the hand of the Abbess, Agnes withdrew with her old
friend, and crossed again to the garden to attend to her flowers.

"Well now, childie," said Jocunda, "you can sit here and weave your
garlands, while I go and look after the conserves of raisins and citrons
that Sister Cattarina is making. She is stupid at anything but her
prayers, is Cattarina. Our Lady be gracious to me! I think I got my
vocation from Saint Martha, and if it wasn't for me, I don't know what
would become of things in the Convent. Why, since I came here, our
conserves, done up in fig-leaf packages, have had quite a run at Court,
and our gracious Queen herself was good enough to send an order for a
hundred of them last week. I could have laughed to see how puzzled the
Mother Theresa looked;--much she knows about conserves! I suppose she
thinks Gabriel brings them straight down from Paradise, done up in
leaves of the tree of life. Old Jocunda knows what goes to their making
up; she's good for something, if she is old and twisted; many a scrubby
old olive bears fat berries," said the old portress, chuckling.

"Oh, dear Jocunda," said Agnes, "why must you go this minute? I want to
talk with you about so many things!"

"Bless the sweet child! it does want its old Jocunda, does it?" said the
old woman, in the tone with which one caresses a baby. "Well, well, it
should, then! Just wait a minute, till I go and see that our holy Saint
Cattarina hasn't fallen a-praying over the conserving-pan. I'll be back
in a moment."

So saying, she hobbled off briskly, and Agnes, sitting down on the
fragment sculptured with dancing nymphs, began abstractedly pulling her
flowers towards her, shaking from them the dew of the fountain.

Unconsciously to herself, as she sat there, her head drooped into the
attitude of the marble nymph, and her sweet features assumed the same
expression of plaintive and dreamy thoughtfulness; her heavy dark lashes
lay on her pure waxen cheeks like the dark fringe of some tropical
flower. Her form, in its drooping outlines, scarcely yet showed the full
development of womanhood, which after-years might unfold into the ripe
fulness of her countrywomen. Her whole attitude and manner were those of
an exquisitively sensitive and highly organized being, just struggling
into the life of some mysterious new inner birth,--into the sense of
powers of feeling and being hitherto unknown even to herself.

"Ah," she softly sighed to herself, "how little I am! how little I can
do! Could I convert one soul! Ah, holy Dorothea, send down the roses of
heaven into his soul, that he also may believe!"

"Well, my little beauty, you have not finished even one garland," said
the voice of old Jocunda, bustling up behind her. "Praise to Saint
Martha, the conserves are doing well, and so I catch a minute for my
little heart."

So saying, she sat down with her spindle and flax by Agnes, for an
afternoon gossip.

"Dear Jocunda, I have heard you tell stories about spirits that haunt
lonesome places. Did you ever hear about any in the gorge?"

"Why, bless the child, yes,--spirits are always pacing up and down in
lonely places. Father Anselmo told me that; and he had seen a priest
once that had seen that in the Holy Scriptures themselves,--so it must
be true."

"Well, did you ever hear of their making the most beautiful music?"

"Haven't I?" said Jocunda,--"to be sure I have,--singing enough to draw
the very heart out of your body,--it's an old trick they have. Why, I
want to know if you never heard about the King of Amalfi's son coming
home from fighting for the Holy Sepulchre? Why, there's rocks not far
out from this very town where the Sirens live; and if the King's son
hadn't had a holy bishop on board, who slept every night with a piece of
the true cross under his pillow, the green ladies would have sung him
straight into perdition. They are very fair-spoken at first, and sing so
that a man gets perfectly drunk with their music, and longs to fly to
them; but they suck him down at last under water, and strangle him, and
that's the end of him."

"You never told me about this before, Jocunda."

"Haven't I, child? Well, I will now. You see, this good bishop, he
dreamed three times that they would sail past those rocks, and he was
told to give all the sailors holy wax from an altar-candle to stop their
ears, so that they shouldn't hear the music. Well, the King's son said
he wanted to hear the music, so he wouldn't have his ears stopped; but
he told 'em to tie him to the mast, so that he could hear it, but not to
mind a word he said, if he begged 'em ever so hard to untie him.

"Well, you see they did it; and the old bishop, he had his ears sealed
up tight, and so did all the men; but the young man stood tied to the
mast, and when they sailed past he was like a demented creature. He
called out that it was his lady who was singing, and he wanted to go to
her,--and his mother, who they all knew was a blessed saint in paradise
years before; and he commanded them to untie him, and pulled and
strained on his cords to get free; but they only tied him the tighter,
and so they got him past,--for, thanks to the holy wax, the sailors
never heard a word, and so they kept their senses. So they all got safe
home; but the young prince was so sick and pining that he had to be
exorcised and prayed for seven times seven days before they could get
the music out of his head."

"Why," said Agnes, "do those Sirens sing there yet?"

"Well, that was a hundred years ago. They say the old bishop, he prayed
'em down; for he went out a little after on purpose, and gave 'em a
precious lot of holy water; most likely he got 'em pretty well under,
though my husband's brother says he's heard 'em singing in a small way,
like frogs in spring-time; but he gave 'em a pretty wide berth. You see,
these spirits are what's left of old heathen times, when, Lord bless us!
the earth was just as full of 'em as a bit of old cheese is of mites.
Now a Christian body, if they take reasonable care, can walk quit of
'em; and if they have any haunts in lonesome and doleful places, if one
puts up a cross or a shrine, they know they have to go."

"I am thinking," said Agnes, "it would be a blessed work to put up some
shrines to Saint Agnes and our good Lord in the gorge, and I'll promise
to keep the lamps burning and the flowers in order."

"Bless the child!" said Jocunda, "that is a pious and Christian
thought."

"I have an uncle in Florence who is a father in the holy convent of San
Marco, who paints and works in stone,--not for money, but for the glory
of God; and when he comes this way I will speak to him about it," said
Agnes. "About this time in the spring he always visits us."

"That's mighty well thought of," said Jocunda. "And now, tell me, little
lamb, have you any idea who this grand cavalier may be that gave you the
ring?"

"No," said Agnes, pausing a moment over the garland of flowers she was
weaving,--"only Giulietta told me that he was brother to the King.
Giulietta said everybody knew him."

"I'm not so sure of that," said Jocunda. "Giulietta always thinks she
knows more than she does."

"Whatever he may be, his worldly state is nothing to me," said Agnes. "I
know him only in my prayers."

"Ay, ay," muttered the old woman to herself, looking obliquely out of
the corner of her eye at the girl, who was busily sorting her flowers;
"perhaps he will be seeking some other acquaintance."

"You haven't seen him since?" said Jocunda.

"Seen him? Why, dear Jocunda, it was only last evening"--

"True enough. Well, child, don't think too much of him. Men are dreadful
creatures,--in these times especially; they snap up a pretty girl as a
fox does a chicken, and no questions asked."

"I don't think he looked wicked, Jocunda; he had a proud, sorrowful
look. I don't know what could make a rich, handsome young man sorrowful;
but I feel in my heart that he is not happy. Mother Theresa says that
those who can do nothing but pray may convert princes without knowing
it."

"May be it is so," said Jocunda, in the same tone in which thrifty
professors of religion often assent to the same sort of truths in our
days. "I've seen a good deal of that sort of cattle in my day; and one
would think, by their actions, that praying souls must be scarce where
they came from."

Agnes abstractedly stooped and began plucking handfuls of lycopodium,
which was growing green and feathery on one side of the marble frieze on
which she was sitting; in so doing, a fragment of white marble, which
had been overgrown in the luxuriant green, appeared to view. It was
that frequent object in the Italian soil,--a portion of an old Roman
tombstone. Agnes bent over, intent on the mystic "_Dis Manibus_" in old
Roman letters.

"Lord bless the child! I've seen thousands of them," said Jocunda; "it's
some old heathen's grave, that's been in hell these hundred years."

"In hell?" said Agnes, with a distressful accent.

"Of course," said Jocunda. "Where should they be? Serves 'em right, too;
they were a vile old set."

"Oh, Jocunda, it's dreadful to think of, that they should have been in
hell all this time."

"And no nearer the end than when they began," said Jocunda.

Agnes gave a shivering sigh, and, looking up into the golden sky that
was pouring such floods of splendor through the orange-trees and
jasmines, thought, How could it be that the world could possibly be
going on so sweet and fair over such an abyss?

"Oh, Jocunda!" she said, "it does seem _too_ dreadful to believe! How
could they help being heathen,--being born so,--and never hearing of the
true Church?"

"Sure enough," said Jocunda, spinning away energetically, "but that's no
business of mine; my business is to save _my_ soul, and that's what I
came here for. The dear saints know I found it dull enough at first, for
I'd been used to jaunting round with my old man and the boys; but what
with marketing and preserving, and one thing and another, I get on
better now, praise to Saint Agnes!"

The large, dark eyes of Agnes were fixed abstractedly on the old woman
as she spoke, slowly dilating, with a sad, mysterious expression, which
sometimes came over them.

"Ah! how can the saints themselves be happy?" she said. "One might be
willing to wear sackcloth and sleep on the ground, one might suffer ever
so many years and years, if only one might save some of them."

"Well, it does seem hard," said Jocunda; "but what's the use of thinking
of it? Old Father Anselmo told us in one of his sermons that the Lord
wills that his saints should come to rejoice in the punishment of all
heathens and heretics; and he told us about a great saint once, who took
it into his head to be distressed because one of the old heathen whose
books he was fond of reading had gone to hell,--and he fasted and
prayed, and wouldn't take no for an answer, till he got him out."

"He did, then?" said Agnes, clasping her hands in an ecstasy.

"Yes; but the good Lord told him never to try it again,--and He struck
him dumb, as a kind of hint, you know. Why, Father Anselmo said that
even getting souls out of purgatory was no easy matter. He told us of
one holy nun who spent nine years fasting and praying for the soul of
her prince, who was killed in a duel, and then she saw in a vision
that he was only raised the least little bit out of the fire,--and she
offered up her life as a sacrifice to the Lord to deliver him, but,
after all, when she died he wasn't quite delivered. Such things made me
think that a poor old sinner like me would never get out at all, if I
didn't set about it in earnest,--though it a'n't all nuns that save
their souls either. I remember in Pisa I saw a great picture of the
Judgment-Day in the Campo Santo, and there were lots of abbesses, and
nuns, and monks, and bishops too, that the devils were clearing off into
the fire."

"Oh, Jocunda, how dreadful that fire must be!"

"Yes," said Jocunda. "Father Anselmo said hell-fire wasn't like any kind
of fire we have here,--made to warm us and cook our food,--but a kind
made especially to torment body and soul, and not made for anything
else. I remember a story he told us about that. You see, there was an
old duchess that lived in a grand old castle,--and a proud, wicked old
thing enough; and her son brought home a handsome young bride to the
castle, and the old duchess was jealous of her,--'cause, you see, she
hated to give up her place in the house, and the old family-jewels, and
all the splendid things,--and so one time, when the poor young thing was
all dressed up in a set of the old family-lace, what does the old hag do
but set fire to it!"

"How horrible!" said Agnes.

"Yes; and when the young thing ran screaming in her agony, the old hag
stopped her and tore off a pearl rosary that she was wearing, for fear
it should be spoiled by the fire."

"Holy Mother! can such things be possible?" said Agnes.

"Well, you see, she got her pay for it. That rosary was of famous old
pearls that had been in the family a hundred years; but from that moment
the good Lord struck it with a curse, and filled it white-hot with
hell-fire, so that, if anybody held it a few minutes in their hand, it
would burn to the bone. The old sinner made believe that she was in
great affliction for the death of her daughter-in-law, and that it was
all an accident, and the poor young man went raving mad,--but that awful
rosary the old hag couldn't get rid of. She couldn't give it away,--she
couldn't sell it,--but back it would come every night, and lie right
over her heart, all white-hot with the fire that burned in it. She gave
it to a convent, and she sold it to a merchant, but back it came; and
she locked it up in the heaviest chests, and she buried it down in the
lowest vaults, but it always came back in the night, till she was worn
to a skeleton; and at last the old thing died without confession or
sacrament, and went where she belonged. She was found lying dead in her
bed one morning, and the rosary was gone; but when they came to lay her
out, they found the marks of it burned to the bone into her breast.
Father Anselmo used to tell us this, to show us a little what hell-fire
was like."

"Oh, please, Jocunda, don't let us talk about it any more," said Agnes.

Old Jocunda, with her tough, vigorous organization and unceremonious
habits of expression, could not conceive the exquisite pain with which
this whole conversation had vibrated on the sensitive being at her right
hand,--that what merely awoke her hard-corded nerves to a dull vibration
of not unpleasant excitement was shivering and tearing the tenderer
chords of poor little Psyche beside her.

Ages before, beneath those very skies that smiled so sweetly over
her,--amid the bloom of lemon and citron, and the perfume of jasmine and
rose, the gentlest of old Italian souls had dreamed and wondered what
might be the unknown future of the dead, and, learning his lesson from
the glorious skies and gorgeous shores which witnessed how magnificent a
Being had given existence to man, had recorded his hopes of man's future
in the words--_Aut beatus, aut nihil_; but, singular to tell, the
religion which brought with it all human tenderness and pities,--the
hospital for the sick, the refuge for the orphan, the enfranchisement
of the slave,--this religion brought also the news of the eternal,
hopeless, living torture of the great majority of mankind, past and
present. Tender spirits, like those of Dante, carried this awful mystery
as a secret and unexplained anguish; saints wrestled with God and
wept over it; but still the awful fact remained, spite of Church and
sacrament, that the gospel was in effect, to the majority of the human
race, not the glad tidings of salvation, but the sentence of immitigable
doom.

The present traveller in Italy sees with disgust the dim and faded
frescoes in which this doom is portrayed in all its varied refinements
of torture; and the vivid Italian mind ran riot in these lurid fields,
and every monk who wanted to move his audience was in his small way a
Dante. The poet and the artist give only the highest form of the ideas
of their day, and he who cannot read the "Inferno" with firm nerves may
ask what the same representations were likely to have been in the grasp
of coarse and common minds.

The first teachers of Christianity in Italy read the Gospels by the
light of those fiendish fires which consumed their fellows. Daily made
familiar with the scorching, the searing, the racking, the devilish
ingenuities of torture, they transferred them to the future hell of the
torturers. The sentiment within us which asserts eternal justice and
retribution was stimulated to a kind of madness by that first baptism of
fire and blood, and expanded the simple and grave warnings of the gospel
into a lurid poetry of physical torture. Hence, while Christianity
brought multiplied forms of mercy into the world, it failed for many
centuries to humanize the savage forms of justice; and rack and wheel,
fire and fagot were the modes by which human justice aspired to a
faint imitation of what divine justice was supposed to extend through
eternity.

But it is remarkable always to observe the power of individual minds
to draw out of the popular religious ideas of their country only those
elements which suit themselves, and to drop others from their thought.
As a bee can extract pure honey from the blossoms of some plants whose
leaves are poisonous, so some souls can nourish themselves only with the
holier and more ethereal parts of popular belief.

Agnes had hitherto dwelt only on the cheering and the joyous features of
her faith; her mind loved to muse on the legends of saints and angels
and the glories of paradise, which, with a secret buoyancy, she hoped to
be the lot of every one she saw. The mind of the Mother Theresa was of
the same elevated cast, and the terrors on which Jocunda dwelt with such
homely force of language seldom made a part of her instructions.

Agnes tried to dismiss these gloomy images from her mind, and, after
arranging her garlands, went to decorate the shrine and altar,--a
cheerful labor of love, in which she delighted.

To the mind of the really spiritual Christian of those ages the air of
this lower world was not as it is to us, in spite of our nominal faith
in the Bible, a blank, empty space from which all spiritual sympathy
and life have fled, but, like the atmosphere with which Raphael has
surrounded the Sistine Madonna, it was full of sympathizing faces, a
great "cloud of witnesses." The holy dead were not gone from earth;
the Church visible and invisible were in close, loving, and constant
sympathy,--still loving, praying, and watching together, though with a
veil between.

It was at first with no idolatrous intention that the prayers of the
holy dead were invoked in acts of worship. Their prayers were asked
simply because they were felt to be as really present with their former
friends and as truly sympathetic as if no veil of silence had fallen
between. In time this simple belief had its intemperate and idolatrous
exaggerations,--the Italian soil always seeming to have a fiery
and volcanic forcing power, by which religious ideas overblossomed
themselves, and grew wild and ragged with too much enthusiasm; and, as
so often happens with friends on earth, these too much loved and revered
invisible friends became eclipsing screens instead of transmitting
mediums of God's light to the soul.

Yet we can see in the hymns of Savonarola, who perfectly represented the
attitude of the highest Christian of those times, how perfect might
be the love and veneration for departed saints without lapsing into
idolatry, and with what an atmosphere of warmth and glory the true
belief of the unity of the Church, visible and invisible, could inspire
an elevated soul amid the discouragements of an unbelieving and
gainsaying world.

Our little Agnes, therefore, when she had spread all her garlands out,
seemed really to feel as if the girlish figure that smiled in sacred
white from the altar-piece was a dear friend who smiled upon her, and
was watching to lead her up the path to heaven.

Pleasantly passed the hours of that day to the girl, and when at evening
old Elsie called for her, she wondered that the day had gone so fast.

Old Elsie returned with no inconsiderable triumph from her stand. The
cavalier had been several times during the day past her stall, and once,
stopping in a careless way to buy fruit, commented on the absence of
her young charge. This gave Elsie the highest possible idea of her own
sagacity and shrewdness, and of the promptitude with which she had taken
her measures, so that she was in as good spirits as people commonly are
who think they have performed some stroke of generalship.

As the old woman and young girl emerged from the dark-vaulted passage
that led them down through the rocks on which the convent stood to the
sea at its base, the light of a most glorious sunset burst upon them, in
all those strange and magical mysteries of light which any one who has
walked that beach of Sorrento at evening will never forget.

Agnes ran along the shore, and amused herself with picking up little
morsels of red and black coral, and those fragments of mosaic pavements,
blue, red, and green, which the sea is never tired of casting up from
the thousands of ancient temples and palaces which have gone to wreck
all around these shores.

As she was busy doing this, she suddenly heard the voice of Giulietta
behind her.

"So ho, Agnes! where have you been all day?"

"At the Convent," said Agnes, raising herself from her work, and smiling
at Giulietta, in her frank, open way.

"Oh, then you really did take the ring to Saint Agnes?"

"To be sure I did," said Agnes.

"Simple child!" said Giulietta, laughing; "that wasn't what he meant you
to do with it. He meant it for you,--only your grandmother was by. You
never will have any lovers, if she keeps you so tight."

"I can do without," said Agnes.

"I could tell you something about this one," said Giulietta.

"You did tell me something yesterday," said Agnes.

"But I could tell you some more. I know he wants to see you again."

"What for?" said Agnes.

"Simpleton, he's in love with you. You never had a lover;--it's time you
had."

"I don't want one, Giulietta. I hope I never shall see him again."

"Oh, nonsense, Agnes! Why, what a girl you are! Why, before I was as old
as you I had half-a-dozen lovers."

"Agnes," said the sharp voice of Elsie, coming up from behind, "don't
run on ahead of me again;--and you, Mistress Baggage, let my child
alone."

"Who's touching your child?" said Giulietta, scornfully. "Can't a body
say a civil word to her?"

"I know what you would be after," said Elsie,--"filling her head with
talk of all the wild, loose gallants; but she is for no such market, I
promise you! Come, Agnes."

So saying, old Elsie drew Agnes rapidly along with her, leaving
Giulietta rolling her great black eyes after them with an air of
infinite contempt.

"The old kite!" she said; "I declare he shall get speech of the little
dove, if only to spite her. Let her try her best, and see if we don't
get round her before she knows it. Pietro says his master is certainly
wild after her, and I have promised to help him."

Meanwhile, just as old Elsie and Agnes were turning into the
orange-orchard which led into the Gorge of Sorrento, they met the
cavalier of the evening before.

He stopped, and, removing his cap, saluted them with as much deference
as if they had been princesses. Old Elsie frowned, and Agnes blushed
deeply;--both hurried forward. Looking back, the old woman saw that he
was walking slowly behind them, evidently watching them closely, yet not
in a way sufficiently obtrusive to warrant an open rebuff.


CHAPTER VIII.

THE CAVALIER.


Nothing can be more striking, in common Italian life, than the contrast
between out-doors and in-doors. Without, all is fragrant and radiant;
within, mouldy, dark, and damp. Except in the well-kept palaces of the
great, houses in Italy are more like dens than habitations, and a sight
of them is a sufficient reason to the mind of any inquirer, why their
vivacious and handsome inhabitants spend their life principally in the
open air. Nothing could be more perfectly paradisiacal than this evening
at Sorrento. The sun had sunk, but left the air full of diffused
radiance, which trembled and vibrated over the thousand many-colored
waves of the sea. The moon was riding in a broad zone of purple, low
in the horizon, her silver forehead somewhat flushed in the general
rosiness that seemed to penetrate and suffuse every object. The
fishermen, who were drawing in their nets, gayly singing, seemed to
be floating on a violet-and-gold-colored flooring that broke into a
thousand gems at every dash of the oar or motion of the boat. The old
stone statue of Saint Antonio looked down in the rosy air, itself tinged
and brightened by the magical colors which floated round it. And the
girls and men of Sorrento gathered in gossiping knots on the old Roman
bridge that spanned the gorge, looked idly down into its dusky shadows,
talking the while, and playing the time-honored game of flirtation which
has gone on in all climes and languages since man and woman began.

Conspicuous among them all was Giulietta, her blue-black hair recently
braided and polished to a glossy radiance, and all her costume arranged
to show her comely proportions to the best advantage,--her great pearl
ear-rings shaking as she tossed her head, and showing the flash of
the emerald in the middle of them. An Italian peasant-woman may trust
Providence for her gown, but ear-rings she attends to herself,--for what
is life without them? The great pearl ear-rings of the Sorrento women
are accumulated, pearl by pearl, as the price of years of labor.
Giulietta, however, had come into the world, so to speak, with a gold
spoon in her mouth,--since her grandmother, a thriving, stirring,
energetic body, had got together a pair of ear-rings of unmatched size,
which had descended as heirlooms to her, leaving her nothing to do but
display them, which she did with the freest good-will. At present she
was busily occupied in coquetting with a tall and jauntily-dressed
fellow, wearing a plumed hat and a red sash, who seemed to be mesmerized
by the power of her charms, his large dark eyes following every
movement, as she now talked with him gayly and freely, and now pretended
errands to this and that and the other person on the bridge, stationing
herself here and there, that she might have the pleasure of seeing
herself followed.

"Giulietta," at last said the young man, earnestly, when he found her
accidentally standing alone by the parapet, "I must be going to-morrow."

"Well, what is that to me?" said Giulietta, looking wickedly from under
her eyelashes.

"Cruel girl! you know"----

"Nonsense, Pietro! I don't know anything about you"; but as Giulietta
said this, her great, soft, dark eyes looked out furtively, and said
just the contrary.

"You will go with me?"

"Did I ever hear anything like it? One can't be civil to a fellow but he
asks her to go to the world's end. Pray, how far is it to your dreadful
old den?"

"Only two days' journey, Giulietta."

"Two days!"

"Yes, my life; and you shall ride."

"Thank you, Sir,--I wasn't thinking of walking. But seriously, Pietro, I
am afraid it's no place for an honest girl to be in."

"There are lots of honest women there,--all our men have wives; and our
captain has put his eye on one, too, or I'm mistaken."

"What! little Agnes?" said Giulietta. "He will be bright that gets her.
That old dragon of a grandmother is as tight to her as her skin."

"Our captain is used to helping himself," said Pietro. "We might carry
them both off some night, and no one the wiser; but he seems to want to
win the girl to come to him of her own accord. At any rate, we are to
be sent back to the mountains while he lingers a day or two more round
here."

"I declare, Pietro, I think you all little better than Turks or
heathens, to talk in that way about carrying off women; and what if one
should be sick and die among you? What is to become of one's soul, I
wonder?"

"Pshaw! don't we have priests? Why, Giulietta, we are all very pious,
and never think of going out without saying our prayers. The Madonna is
a kind Mother, and will wink very hard on the sins of such good sons as
we are. There isn't a place in all Italy where she is kept better in
candles, and in rings and bracelets, and everything a woman could want.
We never come home without bringing her something; and then we have lots
left to dress all our women like princesses; and they have nothing to do
from morning till night but play the lady. Come now?"

At the moment this conversation was going on in the balmy, seductive
evening air at the bridge, another was transpiring in the Albergo della
Torre, one of those dark, musty dens of which we have been speaking.
In a damp, dirty chamber, whose brick floor seemed to have been
unsuspicious of even the existence of brooms for centuries, was sitting
the cavalier whom we have so often named in connection with Agnes. His
easy, high-bred air, his graceful, flexible form and handsome face
formed a singular contrast to the dark and mouldy apartment, at whose
single unglazed window he was sitting. The sight of this splendid man
gave an impression of strangeness, in the general bareness, much as if
some marvellous jewel had been unaccountably found lying on that dusty
brick floor.

He sat deep in thought, with his elbow resting on a rickety table, his
large, piercing, dark eyes seeming intently to study the pavement.

The door opened, and a gray-headed old man entered, who approached him
respectfully.

"Well, Paolo?" said the cavalier, suddenly starting.

"My Lord, the men are all going back to-night."

"Let them go, then," said the cavalier, with an impatient movement. "I
can follow in a day or two."

"Ah, my Lord, if I might make so bold, why should you expose your person
by staying longer? You may be recognized and"----

"No danger," said the other, hastily.

"My Lord, you must forgive me, but I promised my dear lady, your mother,
on her death-bed"----

"To be a constant plague to me," said the cavalier, with a vexed smile
and an impatient movement; "but speak on, Paolo,--for when you once get
anything on your mind, one may as well hear it first as last."

"Well, then, my Lord, this girl,--I have made inquiries, and every one
reports her most modest and pious,--the only grandchild of a poor old
woman. Is it worthy of a great lord of an ancient house to bring her to
shame?"

"Who thinks of bringing her to shame? 'Lord of an ancient house'!"
added the cavalier, laughing bitterly,--"a landless beggar, cast out of
everything,--titles, estates, all! Am I, then, fallen so low that my
wooing would disgrace a peasant-girl?"

"My Lord, you cannot mean to woo a peasant-girl in any other way than
one that would disgrace her,--one of the House of Sarelli, that goes
back to the days of the old Roman Empire!"

"And what of the 'House of Sarelli that goes back to the days of the old
Roman Empire'? It is lying like weeds' roots uppermost in the burning
sun. What is left to me but the mountains and my sword? No, I tell
you, Paolo, Agostino Sarelli, cavalier of fortune, is not thinking of
bringing disgrace on a pious and modest maiden, unless it would disgrace
her to be his wife."

"Now may the saints above help us! Why, my Lord, our house in days past
has been allied to royal blood. I could tell you how Joachim VI."--

"Come, come, my good Paolo, spare me one of your chapters of genealogy.
The fact is, my old boy, the world is all topsy-turvy, and the bottom is
the top, and it isn't much matter what comes next. Here are shoals
of noble families uprooted and lying round like those aloes that the
gardener used to throw over the wall in spring-time; and there is that
great boar of a Caesar Borgia turned in to batten and riot over our
pleasant places."

"Oh, my Lord," said the old serving-man, with a distressful movement,
"we have fallen on evil times, to be sure, and they say his Holiness has
excommunicated us. Anselmo heard that in Naples yesterday."

"Excommunicated!" said the young man,--every feature of his fine face,
and every nerve of his graceful form seeming to quiver with the effort
to express supreme contempt. "Excommunicated! I should _hope_ so! One
would hope through Our Lady's grace to act so that Alexander, and his
adulterous, incestuous, filthy, false-swearing, perjured, murderous
crew, _would_ excommunicate us! In these times, one's only hope of
paradise lies in being excommunicated."

"Oh, my dear master," said the old man, falling on his knees, "what is
to become of us? That I should live to hear you talk like an infidel and
unbeliever!"

"Why, hear you, poor old fool! Did you never hear in Dante of the Popes
that are burning in hell? Wasn't Dante a Christian, I beg to know?"

"Oh, my Lord, my Lord! a religion got out of poetry, books, and romances
won't do to die by. We have no business with the affairs of the Head of
the Church,--it's the Lord's appointment. We have only to shut our eyes
and obey. It may all do well enough to talk so when you are young and
fresh; but when sickness and death come, then we _must_ have religion,--
and if we have gone out of the only true Roman Catholic Apostolic
Church, what becomes of our souls? Ah, I misdoubted about your taking so
much to poetry, though my poor mistress was so proud of it; but these
poets are all heretics, my Lord,--that's my firm belief. But, my Lord,
if you do go to hell, I'm going there with you; I'm sure I never could
show my face among the saints, and you not there."

"Well, come, then, my poor Paolo," said the cavalier, stretching out his
hand to his serving-man, "don't take it to heart so. Many a better man
than I has been excommunicated and cursed from toe to crown, and been
never a whit the worse for it. There's Jerome Savonarola there in
Florence--a most holy man, they say, who has had revelations straight
from heaven--has been excommunicated; but he preaches and gives the
sacraments all the same, and nobody minds it."

"Well, it's all a maze to me," said the old serving-man, shaking his
white head. "I can't see into it, I don't dare to open my eyes for fear
I should get to be a heretic; it seems to me that everything is getting
mixed up together. But one must hold on to one's religion; because,
after we have lost everything in this world, it would be too bad to burn
in hell forever at the end of that."

"Why, Paolo, I am a good Christian. I believe, with all my heart, in the
Christian religion, like the fellow in Boccaccio,--because I think it
must be from God, or else the Popes and Cardinals would have had it out
of the world long ago. Nothing but the Lord Himself could have kept it
against them."

"There you are, my dear master, with your romances! Well, well, well! I
don't know how it'll end. I say my prayers, and try not to inquire into
what's too high for me. But now, dear master, will you stay lingering
after this girl till some of our enemies hear where you are and pounce
down upon us? Besides, the troop are never so well affected when you are
away; there are quarrels and divisions."

"Well, well," said the cavalier, with an impatient movement,--"one day
longer. I must get a chance to speak with her once more. I _must_ see
her."

       *       *       *       *       *


SUN-PAINTING AND SUN-SCULPTURE;

WITH A STEREOSCOPIC TRIP ACROSS THE ATLANTIC.


There is one old fable which Lord Bacon, in his "Wisdom of the
Ancients," has not interpreted. This is the flaying of Marsyas by
Apollo. Everybody remembers the accepted version of it, namely,--that
the young shepherd found Minerva's flute, and was rash enough to enter
into a musical contest with the God of Music. He was vanquished, of
course,--and the story is, that the victor fastened him to a tree and
flayed him alive.

But the God of Song was also the God of Light, and a moment's reflection
reveals the true significance of this seemingly barbarous story. Apollo
was pleased with his young rival, fixed him in position against an iron
rest, (the _tree_ of the fable,) and took a _photograph_, a sun-picture,
of him. This thin film or _skin_ of light and shade was absurdly
interpreted as being the _cutis_, or untanned leather integument of the
young shepherd. The human discovery of the art of photography enables us
to rectify the error and restore that important article of clothing to
the youth, as well as to vindicate the character of Apollo. There is
one spot less upon the sun since the theft from heaven of Prometheus
Daguerre and his fellow-adventurers has enabled us to understand the
ancient legend.

We are now flaying our friends and submitting to be flayed ourselves,
every few years or months or days, by the aid of the trenchant sunbeam
which performed the process for Marsyas. All the world has to submit to
it,--kings and queens with the rest. The monuments of Art and the face
of Nature herself are treated in the same way. We lift an impalpable
scale from the surface of the Pyramids. We slip off from the dome of St.
Peter's that other imponderable dome which fitted it so closely that it
betrays every scratch on the original. We skim off a thin, dry cuticle
from the rapids of Niagara, and lay it on our unmoistened paper without
breaking a bubble or losing a speck of foam. We steal a landscape from
its lawful owners, and defy the charge of dishonesty. We skin the flints
by the wayside, and nobody accuses us of meanness.

These miracles are being worked all around us so easily and so cheaply
that most people have ceased to think of them as marvels. There is a
photographer established in every considerable village,--nay, one may
not unfrequently see a photographic _ambulance_ standing at the wayside
upon some vacant lot where it can squat unchallenged in the midst of
burdock and plantain and apple-Peru, or making a long halt in the middle
of a common by special permission of the "Selectmen."

We must not forget the inestimable preciousness of the new Promethean
gifts because they have become familiar. Think first of the privilege we
all possess now of preserving the lineaments and looks of those dear to
us.

  "Blest be the art which can immortalize,"

said Cowper. But remember how few painted portraits really give their
subjects. Recollect those wandering Thugs of Art whose murderous doings
with the brush used frequently to involve whole families; who passed
from one country tavern to another, eating and painting their
way,--feeding a week upon the landlord, another week upon the landlady,
and two or three days apiece upon the children; as the walls of those
hospitable edifices too frequently testify even to the present day. Then
see what faithful memorials of those whom we love and would remember are
put into our hands by the new art, with the most trifling expenditure of
time and money.

This new art is old enough already to have given us the portraits of
infants who are now growing into adolescence. By-and-by it will show
every aspect of life in the same individual, from the earliest week to
the last year of senility. We are beginning to see what it will reveal.
Children grow into beauty and out of it. The first line in the forehead,
the first streak in the hair are chronicled without malice, but without
extenuation. The footprints of thought, of passion, of purpose are all
treasured in these fossilized shadows. Family-traits show themselves in
early infancy, die out, and reappear. Flitting moods which have escaped
one pencil of sunbeams are caught by another. Each new picture gives us
a new aspect of our friend; we find he had not one face, but many.

It is hardly too much to say, that those whom we love no longer leave us
in dying, as they did of old. They remain with us just as they appeared
in life; they look down upon us from our walls; they lie upon our
tables; they rest upon our bosoms; nay, if we will, we may wear their
portraits, like signet-rings, upon our fingers. Our own eyes lose the
images pictured on them. Parents sometimes forget the faces of their own
children in a separation of a year or two. But the unfading artificial
retina which has looked upon them retains their impress, and a fresh
sunbeam lays this on the living nerve as if it were radiated from the
breathing shape. How these shadows last, and how their originals fade
away!

What is true of the faces of our friends is still more true of the
places we have seen and loved. No picture produces an impression on the
imagination to compare with a photographic transcript of the home of our
childhood, or any scene with which we have been long familiar. The very
point which the artist omits, in his effort to produce general effect,
may be exactly the one that individualizes the place most strongly to
our memory. There, for instance, is a photographic view of our own
birthplace, and with it of a part of our good old neighbor's dwelling.
An artist would hardly have noticed a slender, dry, leafless stalk which
traces a faint line, as you may see, along the front of our neighbor's
house next the corner. That would be nothing to him,--but to us it marks
the stem of the _honeysuckle-vine_, which we remember, with its pink
and white heavy-scented blossoms, as long as we remember the stars in
heaven.

To this charm of fidelity in the minutest details the stereoscope adds
its astonishing illusion of solidity, and thus completes the effect
which so entrances the imagination. Perhaps there is also some
half-magnetic effect in the fixing of the eyes on the twin
pictures,--something like Mr. Braid's _hypnotism_, of which many of our
readers have doubtless heard. At least the shutting out of surrounding
objects, and the concentration of the whole attention, which is a
consequence of this, produce a dream-like exaltation of the faculties, a
kind of clairvoyance, in which we seem to leave the body behind us
and sail away into one strange scene after another, like disembodied
spirits.

"Ah, yes," some unimaginative reader may say; "but there is no color and
no motion in these pictures you think so life-like; and at best they are
but petty miniatures of the objects we see in Nature."

But color is, after all, a very secondary quality as compared with form.
We like a good crayon portrait better for the most part in black and
white than in tints of pink and blue and brown. Mr. Gibson has never
succeeded in making the world like his flesh-colored statues. The color
of a landscape varies perpetually, with the season, with the hour of the
day, with the weather, and as seen by sunlight or moonlight; yet our
home stirs us with its old associations, seen in any and every light.

As to motion, though of course it is not present in stereoscopic
pictures, except in those toy-contrivances which have been lately
introduced, yet it is wonderful to see how nearly the effect of motion
is produced by the slight difference of light on the water or on the
leaves of trees as seen by the two eyes in the double-picture.

And lastly with respect to size, the illusion is on the part of those
who suppose that the eye, unaided, ever sees anything but miniatures
of objects. Here is a new experiment to convince those who have not
reflected on the subject that the stereoscope shows us objects of their
natural size.

We had a stereoscopic view taken by Mr. Soule out of our parlor-window,
overlooking the town of Cambridge, with the river and the bridge in the
foreground. Now, placing this view in the stereoscope, and looking with
the left eye at the right stereographic picture, while the right eye
looked at the natural landscape, through the window where the view was
taken, it was not difficult so to adjust the photographic and real views
that one overlapped the other, and then it was shown that the two almost
exactly coincided in all their dimensions.

Another point in which the stereograph differs from every other
delineation is in the character of its evidence. A simple photographic
picture may be tampered with. A lady's portrait has been known to come
out of the finishing-artist's room ten years younger than when it left
the camera. But try to mend a stereograph and you will soon find the
difference. Your marks and patches float above the picture and never
identify themselves with it. We had occasion to put a little cross on
the pavement of a double photograph of Canterbury Cathedral,--copying
another stereoscopic picture where it was thus marked. By careful
management the two crosses were made perfectly to coincide in the field
of vision, but the image seemed suspended above the pavement, and did
not absolutely designate any one stone, as it would have done, if it
had been a part of the original picture. The impossibility of the
stereograph's perjuring itself is a curious illustration of the law of
evidence. "At the mouth of _two witnesses_, or of three, shall he that
is worthy of death be put to death; but at the mouth of one he shall not
be put to death." No woman may be declared youthful on the strength of a
single photograph; but if the stereoscopic twins say she is young, let
her be so acknowledged in the high court of chancery of the God of Love.

Some two or three years since, we called the attention of the readers
of this magazine to the subject of the stereoscope and the stereograph.
Some of our expressions may have seemed extravagant, as if heated by the
interest which a curious novelty might not unnaturally excite. We have
not lost any of the enthusiasm and delight which that article must have
betrayed. After looking over perhaps a hundred thousand stereographs
and making a collection of about a thousand, we should feel the same
excitement on receiving a new lot to look over and select from as
in those early days of our experience. To make sure that this early
interest has not cooled, let us put on record one or two convictions of
the present moment.

First, as to the wonderful nature of the invention. If a strange planet
should happen to come within hail, and one of its philosophers were to
ask us, as it passed, to hand him the most remarkable material product
of human skill, we should offer him, without a moment's hesitation, a
stereoscope containing an _instantaneous_ double-view of some great
thoroughfare,--one of Mr. Anthony's views of Broadway, (No. 203,) for
instance.

Secondly, of all artificial contrivances for the gratification of human
taste, we seriously question whether any offers so much, on the whole,
to the enjoyment of the civilized races as the self-picturing of Art
and Nature,--with three exceptions: namely, dress, the most universal,
architecture, the most imposing, and music, the most exciting, of
factitious sources of pleasure.

No matter whether this be an extravagance or an over-statement; none
can dispute that we have a new and wonderful source of pleasure in
the sun-picture, and especially in the solid sun-_sculptures_ of the
stereograph. Yet there is a strange indifference to it, even up to the
present moment, among many persons of cultivation and taste. They do not
seem to have waked up to the significance of the miracle which the Lord
of Light is working for them. The cream of the visible creation has been
skimmed off; and the sights which men risk their lives and spend their
money and endure sea-sickness to behold,--the views of Nature and Art
which make exiles of entire families for the sake of a look at them,
and render "bronchitis" and dyspepsia, followed by leave of absence,
endurable dispensations to so many worthy shepherds,--these sights,
gathered from Alps, temples, palaces, pyramids, are offered you for
a trifle, to carry home with you, that you may look at them at your
leisure, by your fireside, with perpetual fair weather, when you are in
the mood, without catching cold, without following a _valet-de-place_,
in any order of succession,--from a glacier to Vesuvius, from Niagara
to Memphis,--as long as you like, and breaking off as suddenly as you
like;--and you, native of this incomparably dull planet, have hardly
troubled yourself to look at this divine gift, which, if an angel had
brought it from some sphere nearer to the central throne, would have
been thought worthy of the celestial messenger to whom it was intrusted!

It seemed to us that it might possibly awaken an interest in some of our
readers, if we should carry them with us through a brief stereographic
trip,--describing, not from places, but from the photographic pictures
of them which we have in our own collection. Again, those who have
collections may like to compare their own opinions of particular
pictures mentioned with those here expressed, and those who are buying
stereographs may be glad of some guidance in choosing.

But the reader must remember that this trip gives him only a glimpse of
a few scenes selected out of our gallery of a thousand. To visit them
all, as tourists visit the realities, and report what we saw, with the
usual explanations and historical illustrations, would make a formidable
book of travels.

Before we set out, we must know something of the sights of our own
country. At least we must see Niagara. The great fall shows infinitely
best on glass. Thomson's "Point View, 28," would be a perfect picture of
the Falls in summer, if a lady in the foreground had not moved her shawl
while the pictures were taking, or in the interval between taking the
two. His winter view, "Terrapin Tower, 37," is perfection itself. Both
he and Evans have taken fine views of the rapids, _instantaneous_,
catching the spray as it leaped and the clouds overhead. Of Blondin on
his rope there are numerous views; standing on one foot, on his head,
carrying a man on his back, and one frightful picture, where he hangs by
one leg, head downward, over the abyss. The best we have seen is Evans's
No. 5, a front view, where every muscle stands out in perfect relief,
and the symmetry of the most unimpressible of mortals is finely shown.
It literally makes the head swim to fix the eyes on some of these
pictures. It is a relief to get away from such fearful sights and look
up at the Old Man of the Mountain. There stands the face, without any
humanizing help from the hand of an artist. Mr. Bierstadt has given it
to us very well. Rather an imbecile old gentleman, one would say,
with his mouth open; a face such as one may see hanging about
railway-stations, and, what is curious, a New-England style of
countenance. Let us flit again, and just take a look at the level sheets
of water and broken falls of Trenton,--at the oblong, almost squared
arch of the Natural Bridge,--at the ruins of the Pemberton Mills, still
smoking,--and so come to Mr. Barnum's "Historical Series." Clark's
Island, with the great rock by which the Pilgrims "rested, according to
the commandment," on the first Sunday, or Sabbath, as they loved to call
it, which they passed in the harbor of Plymouth, is the most interesting
of them all to us. But here are many scenes of historical interest
connected with the great names and events of our past. The Washington
Elm, at Cambridge, (through the branches of which we saw the first
sunset we ever looked upon, from this planet, at least,) is here in all
its magnificent drapery of hanging foliage. Mr. Soule has given another
beautiful view of it, when stripped of its leaves, equally remarkable
for the delicacy of its pendent, hair-like spray.

We should keep the reader half an hour looking through this series,
if we did not tear ourselves abruptly away from it. We are bound for
Europe, and are to leave _via_ New York immediately.

Here we are in the main street of the great city. This is Mr. Anthony's
miraculous instantaneous view in Broadway, (No. 203,) before referred
to. It is the Oriental story of the petrified city made real to our
eyes. The character of it is, perhaps, best shown by the use we make of
it in our lectures, to illustrate the physiology of walking. Every foot
is caught in its movement with such suddenness that it shows as clearly
as if quite still. We are surprised to see, in one figure, how long the
stride is,--in another, how much the knee is bent,--in a third, how
curiously the heel strikes the ground before the rest of the foot,--in
all, how singularly the body is accommodated to the action of walking.
The facts which the brothers Weber, laborious German experimenters and
observers, had carefully worked out on the bony frame, are illustrated
by the various individuals comprising this moving throng. But what a
wonder it is, this snatch at the central life of a mighty city as it
rushed by in all its multitudinous complexity of movement! Hundreds of
objects in this picture could be identified in a court of law by their
owners. There stands Car No. 33 of the Astor House and Twenty-Seventh
Street Fourth Avenue line. The old woman would miss an apple from that
pile which you see glistening on her stand. The young man whose back is
to us could swear to the pattern of his shawl. The gentleman between two
others will no doubt remember that he had a headache the next morning,
after this walk he is taking. Notice the caution with which the man
driving the dapple-gray horse in a cart loaded with barrels holds his
reins,--wide apart, one in each hand. See the shop-boys with their
bundles, the young fellow with a lighted cigar in his hand, as you see
by the way he keeps it off from his body, the _gamin_ stooping to
pick up something in the midst of the moving omnibuses, the stout
philosophical carman sitting on his cart-tail, Newman Noggs by the
lamp-post at the corner. Nay, look into Car No. 33 and you may see the
passengers;--is that a young woman's face turned toward you looking
out of the window? See how the faithful sun-print advertises the rival
establishment of "Meade Brothers, Ambrotypes and Photographs." What a
fearfully suggestive picture! It is a leaf torn from the book of God's
recording angel. What if the sky is one great concave mirror, which
reflects the picture of all our doings, and photographs every act on
which it looks upon dead and living surfaces, so that to celestial eyes
the stones on which we tread are written with our deeds, and the leaves
of the forest are but undeveloped negatives where our summers stand
self-recorded for transfer into the imperishable record? And what a
metaphysical puzzle have we here in this simple-looking paradox! Is
motion but a succession of rests? All is still in this picture of
universal movement. Take ten thousand instantaneous photographs of the
great thoroughfare in a day; every one of them will be as still as the
_tableau_ in the "Enchanted Beauty." Yet the hurried day's life of
Broadway will have been made up of just such stillnesses. Motion is as
rigid as marble, if you only take a wink's worth of it at a time.

We are all ready to embark now. Here is the harbor; and there lies the
Great Eastern at anchor,--the biggest island that ever got adrift.
Stay one moment,--they will ask us about secession and the revolted
States,--it may be as well to take a look at Charleston, for an instant,
before we go.

These three stereographs were sent us by a lady now residing in
Charleston. The Battery, the famous promenade of the Charlestonians,
since armed with twenty-four-pounders facing Fort Sumter; the interior
of Fort Moultrie, with the guns spiked by Major Anderson; and a more
extensive view of the same interior, with the flag of the seven stars,
(corresponding to the seven deadly sins,)--the free end of it tied to
a gun-carriage, as if to prevent the winds of the angry heaven from
rending it to tatters. In the distance, to the right, Fort Sumter,
looking remote and inaccessible,--the terrible rattle which our foolish
little spoiled sister Caroline has insisted on getting into her
rash hand. How ghostly, yet how real, it looms up out of the dim
atmosphere,--the guns looking over the wall and out through the
embrasures,--meant for a foreign foe,--this very day (April 13th) turned
in self-defence against the children of those who once fought for
liberty at Fort Moultrie! It is a sad thought that there are truths
which can be got out of life only by the _destructive analysis_ of war.
Statesmen deal in _proximate principles_,--unstable compounds; but war
reduces facts to their simple elements in its red-hot crucible, with its
black flux of carbon and sulphur and nitre. Let us turn our back on this
miserable, even though inevitable, fraternal strife, and, closing our
eyes for an instant, open them in London.

Here we are at the foot of Charing Cross. You remember, of course, how
this fine equestrian statue of Charles I. was condemned to be sold and
broken up by the Parliament, but was buried and saved by the brazier who
purchased it, and so reappeared after the Restoration. To the left, the
familiar words "Morley's Hotel" designate an edifice about half windows,
where the plebeian traveller may sit and contemplate Northumberland
House opposite, and the straight-tailed lion of the Percys surmounting
the lofty battlement which crowns its broad _façade_. We could describe
and criticize the statue as well as if we stood under it, but other
travellers have done that. Where are all the people that ought to be
seen here? Hardly more than three or four figures are to be made out;
the rest were moving, and left no images in this slow, old-fashioned
picture,--how unlike the miraculous "instantaneous" Broadway of Mr.
Anthony we were looking at a little while ago! But there, on one side,
an omnibus has stopped long enough to be caught by the sunbeams. There
is a mark on it. Try it with a magnifier.

  Charing

  Strand
  633.

Here are the towers of Westminster Abbey. A dead failure, as we well
remember them,--miserable modern excrescences, which shame the noble
edifice. We will hasten on, and perhaps by-and-by come back and enter
the cathedral.

How natural Temple Bar looks, with the loaded coach and the cab going
through the central arch, and the blur of the hurrying throng darkening
the small lateral ones! A fine old structure,--always reminds a
Bostonian of the old arch over which the mysterious _Boston Library_ was
said still to linger out its existence late into the present century.
But where are the spikes on which the rebels' heads used to grin until
their jaws fell off? They must have been ranged along that ledge which
forms the chord of the arch surmounting the triple-gated structure. To
the left a woman is spreading an awning before a shop;--a man would do
it for her here. Ghost of a boy with bundle,--seen with right eye only.
Other ghosts of passers or loiterers,--one of a pretty woman, as we
fancy at least, by the way she turns her face to us. To the right,
fragments of signs, as follow:

  22
  PAT

  CO
  BR
  PR

What can this be but 229, _Patent Combs and Brushes_, PROUT? At any
rate, we were looking after Front's good old establishment, (229,
Strand,) which we remembered was close to Temple Bar, when we discovered
these fragments, the rest being cut off by the limits of the picture.

London Bridge! Less imposing than Waterloo Bridge, but a massive pile of
masonry, which looks as if its rounded piers would defy the Thames as
long as those of the Bridge of Sant' Angelo have stemmed the Tiber.
Figures indistinct or invisible, as usual, in the foreground, but
farther on a mingled procession of coaches, cabs, carts, and people.
See the groups in the recesses over the piers. The parapet is
breast-high;--a woman can climb over it, and drop or leap into the dark
stream lying in deep shadow under the arches. Women take this leap
often. The angels hear them like the splash of drops of blood out of the
heart of our humanity. In the distance, wharves, storehouses, stately
edifices, steeples, and rising proudly above them, "like a tall bully,"
London Monument.

Here we are, close to the Monument. Tall, square base, with reliefs,
fluted columns, queer top;--looks like an inverted wineglass with a
shaving-brush standing up on it: representative of flame, probably.
Below this the square _cage_ in which people who have climbed the stairs
are standing; seems to be ten or twelve feet high, and is barred or
wired over. Women used to jump off from the Monument as well as from
London Bridge, before they made the cage safe in this way.

"Holloa!" said a man standing in the square one day, to his
companion,--"there's the flag coming down from the Monument!"

"It's no flag," said the other, "it's a woman!"

Sure enough, and so it was.

Nobody can mistake the four pepper-boxes, with the four weathercocks on
them, surmounting the corners of a great square castle, a little way
from the river's edge. That is the Tower of London. We see it behind the
masts of sailing-vessels and the chimneys of steamers, gray and misty in
the distance. Let us come nearer to it. Four square towers, crowned by
four Oriental-looking domes, not unlike the lower half of an inverted
balloon: these towers at the angles of a square building with buttressed
and battlemented walls, with two ranges of round-arched windows on the
side towards us. But connected with this building are other towers,
round, square, octagon, walls with embrasures, moats, loop-holes,
turrets, parapets,--looking as if the beef-eaters really meant to hold
out, if a new army of Boulogne should cross over some fine morning. We
can't stop to go in and see the lions this morning, for we have come in
sight of a great dome, and we cannot take our eyes away from it.

That is St. Paul's, the Boston State-House of London. There is a
resemblance in effect, but there is a difference in dimensions,--to the
disadvantage of the native edifice, as the reader may see in the plate
prefixed to Dr. Bigelow's "Technology." The dome itself looks light
and airy compared to St. Peter's or the Duomo of Florence, not only
absolutely, but comparatively. The colonnade on which it rests divides
the honors with it. It does not brood over the city, as those two others
over their subject towns. Michel Angelo's forehead repeats itself in the
dome of St. Peter's. Sir Christopher had doubtless a less ample frontal
development; indeed, the towers he added to Westminster Abbey would
almost lead us to doubt if he had not a vacancy somewhere in his brain.
But the dome of the London "State-House" is very graceful,--so light
that it looks as if Its lineage had been crossed by a spire. Wait until
we have gilded the dome of our Boston St. Paul's before drawing any
comparisons.

We have seen the outside of London. What do we care for the Crescent,
and the Horseguards, and Nelson's Monument, and the statue of Achilles,
and the new Houses of Parliament? The Abbey, the Tower, the Bridge,
Temple Bar, the Monument, St. Paul's: these make up the great features
of the London we dream about. Let us go into the Abbey for a few
moments. The "dim religious light" is pretty good, after all. We can
read every letter on that mural tablet to the memory of "the most
illustrious and most benevolent John Paul Howard, Earl of Stafford,"
"a Lover of his Country, A _Relation to Relations_" (what a eulogy and
satire in that expression!) and in many ways virtuous and honorable, as
"The Countess Dowager, in Testimony of her great Affection and Respect
to her Lord's Memory," has commemorated on his monument. We can see all
the folds of the Duchess of Suffolk's dress, and the meshes of the net
that confines her hair, as she lies in marble effigy on her sculptured
sarcophagus. It looks old to our eyes,--for she was the mother of Lady
Jane Grey, and died three hundred years ago,--but see those two little
stone heads lying on their stone pillow, just beyond the marble Duchess.
They are children of Edward III.,--the Black Prince's baby-brothers.
They died five hundred years ago,--but what are centuries in Westminster
Abbey? Under this pillared canopy, her head raised on two stone
cushions, her fair, still features bordered with the spreading cap
we know so well in her portraits, lies Mary of Scotland. These fresh
monuments, protected from the wear of the elements, seem to make twenty
generations our contemporaries. Look at this husband warding off the
dart which the grim, draped skeleton is aiming at the breast of his
fainting wife. Most famous, perhaps, of all the statues in the Abbey is
this of Joseph Gascoigne Nightingale and his Lady, by Roubilliac. You
need not cross the ocean to see it. It is here, literally to every
dimple in the back of the falling hand, and every crinkle of the
vermiculated stone-work. What a curious pleasure it is to puzzle out the
inscriptions on the monuments in the background!--for the beauty of your
photograph is, that you may work out minute derails with the microscope,
just as you can with the telescope in a distant landscape in Nature.
There is a lady, for instance, leaning upon an urn,--suggestive, a
little, of Morgiana and the forty thieves. Above is a medallion of one
wearing a full periwig. Now for a half-inch lens to make out the specks
that seem to be letters. "Erected to the Memory of William Pulteney,
Earl of Bath, by his Brother"--That will do,--the inscription operates
as a cold bath to enthusiasm. But here is our own personal namesake,
the once famous Rear Admiral of the White, whose biography we can find
nowhere except in the "Gentleman's Magazine," where he divides the glory
of the capture of Quebec with General Wolfe. A handsome young man with
hyacinthine locks, his arms bare and one hand resting on a cannon. We
remember thinking our namesake's statue one of the most graceful in the
Abbey, and have always fallen back on the memory of that and of Dryden's
Achates of the "Annus Mirabilis," as trophies of the family.

Enough of these marbles; there is no end to them; the walls and floor of
the great, many-arched, thousand-pillared, sky-lifted cavern are crusted
all over with them, like stalactites and stalagmites. The vast temple is
alive with the images of the dead. Kings and queens, nobles, statesmen,
soldiers, admirals, the great men whose deeds we all know, the great
writers whose words are in all our memories, the brave and the beautiful
whose fame has shrunk into their epitaphs, are all around us. What is
the cry for alms that meets us at the door of the church to the mute
petition of these marble beggars, who ask to warm their cold memories
for a moment in our living hearts? Look up at the mighty arches
overhead, borne up on tall clustered columns,--as if that avenue of
Royal Palms we remember in the West India Islands (photograph) had been
spirited over seas and turned into stone. Make your obeisance to the
august shape of Sir Isaac Newton, reclining like a weary swain in the
niche at the side of the gorgeous screen. Pass through Henry VII.'s
Chapel, a temple cut like a cameo. Look at the shining oaken stalls of
the knights. See the banners overhead. There is no such speaking record
of the lapse of time as these banners,--there is one of them beginning
to drop to pieces; the long day of a century has decay for its
dial-shadow.

We have had a glimpse of London,--let us make an excursion to
Stratford-on-Avon.

Here you see the Shakspeare House as it was,--wedged in between, and
joined to, the "Swan and Maidenhead" Tavern and a mean and dilapidated
brick building, not much worse than itself, however. The first
improvement (as you see in No. 2) was to pull down this brick building.
The next (as you see in No. 3)--was to take away the sign and the
bay-window of the "Swan and Maidenhead" and raise two gables out of its
roof, so as to restore something like its ancient aspect. Then a rustic
fence was put up and the outside arrangements were completed. The
cracked and faded sign projects as we remember it of old. In No. 1 you
may read "THE IMMORTAL SHAKES_peare ... Born in This House_" about as
well as if you had been at the trouble and expense of going there.

But here is the back of the house. Did little Will use to look out at
this window with the bull's-eye panes? Did he use to drink from this old
pump, or the well in which it stands? Did his shoulders rub against this
angle of the old house, built with rounded bricks? It a strange picture,
and sets us dreaming. Let us go in and up-stairs. In this room he was
born. They say so, and we will believe it. Rough walls, rudely boarded
floor, wide window with small panes, small bust of him between two
cactuses in bloom on window-seat. An old table covered with prints and
stereographs, a framed picture, and under it a notice "Copies of this
Portrait" ... the rest, in fine print, can only be conjectured.

Here is the Church of the Holy Trinity, in which he lies buried. The
trees are bare that surround it; see the rooks' nests in their tops.
The Avon is hard by, dammed just here, with flood-gates, like a canal.
Change the season, if you like,--here are the trees in leaf, and in
their shadow the tombs and graves of the mute, inglorious citizens of
Stratford.

Ah, how natural this interior, with its great stained window, its mural
monuments, and its slab in the pavement with the awful inscription! That
we cannot see here, but there is the tablet with the bust we know so
well. But this, after all, is Christ's temple, not Shakspeare's. Here
are the worshippers' seats,--mark how the polished wood glistens,--there
is the altar, and there the open prayer-book,--you can almost read the
service from it. Of the many striking things that Henry Ward Beecher
has said, nothing, perhaps, is more impressive than his account of his
partaking of the communion at that altar in the church where Shakspeare
rests. A memory more divine than his overshadowed the place, and he
thought of Shakspeare, "as he thought of ten thousand things, without
the least disturbance of his devotion," though he was kneeling directly
over the poet's dust.

If you will stroll over to Shottery now with me, we can see the Ann
Hathaway cottage from four different points, which will leave nothing
outside of it to be seen. Better to look at than to live in. A fearful
old place, full of small vertebrates that squeak and smaller articulates
that bite, if its outward promise can be trusted. A thick thatch covers
it like a coarse-haired hide. It is patched together with bricks and
timber, and partly crusted with scaling plaster. One window has the
diamond panes framed in lead, such as we remember seeing of old in one
or two ancient dwellings in the town of Cambridge, hard by. In this view
a young man is sitting, pensive, on the steps which Master William, too
ardent lover, used to climb with hot haste and descend with lingering
delay. Young men die, but youth lives. Life goes on in the cottage just
as it used to three hundred years ago. On the rail before the door sits
the puss of the household, of the fiftieth generation, perhaps, from
that "harmless, necessary cat" which purred round the poet's legs as he
sat talking love with Ann Hathaway. At the foot of the steps is a huge
basin, and over the rail hangs--a dishcloth, drying. In these homely
accidents of the very instant, that cut across our romantic ideals with
the sharp edge of reality, lies one of the ineffable charms of the
sun-picture. It is a little thing that gives life to a scene or a face;
portraits are never absolutely alive, because they do not _wink_.

Come, we are full of Shakspeare; let us go up among the hills and see
where another poet lived and lies. Here is Rydal Mount, the home of
Wordsworth. Two-storied, ivy-clad, hedge-girdled, dropped into a crease
among the hills that look down dimly from above, as if they were hunting
after it as ancient dames hunt after a dropped thimble. In these walks
he used to go "booing about," as his rustic neighbor had it,--reciting
his own verses. Here is his grave in Grasmere. A plain slab, with
nothing but his name. Next him lies Dora, his daughter, beneath a taller
stone bordered with a tracery of ivy, and bearing in relief a lamb and
a cross. Her husband lies next in the range. The three graves have just
been shorn of their tall grass,--in this other view you may see them
half-hidden by it. A few flowering stems have escaped the scythe in the
first picture, and nestle close against the poet's headstone. Hard by
sleeps poor Hartley Coleridge, with a slab of freestone graven with a
cross and a crown of thorns, and the legend, "By thy Cross and Passion,
Good Lord, deliver us."[A] All around are the graves of those whose
names the world has not known. This view, (302,) from above Rydal Mount,
is so Claude-like, especially in its trees, that one wants the solemn
testimony of the double-picture to believe it an actual transcript of
Nature. Of the other English landscapes we have seen, one of the most
pleasing on the whole is that marked 43,--Sweden Bridge, near Ambleside.
But do not fail to notice St. Mary's Church (101) in the same
mountain-village. It grows out of the ground like a crystal, with
spur-like gables budding out all the way up its spire, as if they were
ready to flower into pinnacles, like such as have sprung up all over the
marble multiflora of Milan.

[Footnote A: Miss Martineau, who went to his funeral, and may be
supposed to describe after a visit to the churchyard, gives the
inscription incorrectly. See Atlantic Monthly for May, 1861, p. 552.
Tourists cannot be trusted; stereographs can.]

And as we have been looking at a steeple, let us flit away for a moment
and pay our reverence at the foot of the tallest spire in England,--that
of Salisbury Cathedral. Here we see it from below, looking up,--one of
the most striking pictures ever taken. Look well at it; Chichester has
just fallen, and this is a good deal like it,--some have thought raised
by the same builder. It has bent somewhat (as you may see in these other
views) from the perpendicular; and though it has been strengthened with
clamps and framework, it must crash some day or other, for there has
been a great giant tugging at it day and night for five hundred years,
and it will at last shut up into itself or topple over with a sound and
thrill that will make the dead knights and bishops shake on their stone
couches, and be remembered all their days by year-old children. This is
the first cathedral we ever saw, and none ever so impressed us since.
Vast, simple, awful in dimensions and height, just beginning to grow
tall at the point where our proudest steeples taper out, it fills the
whole soul, pervades the vast landscape over which it reigns, and, like
Niagara and the Alps, abolishes that five- or six-foot personality in
the beholder which is fostered by keeping company with the little life
of the day in its little dwellings. In the Alps your voice is as the
piping of a cricket. Under the sheet of Niagara the beating of your
heart seems to trivial a movement to take reckoning of. In the
buttressed hollow of one of these palaeozoic cathedrals you are ashamed
of your ribs, and blush for the exiguous pillars of bone on which your
breathing structure reposes. Before we leave Salisbury, let us look for
a moment into its cloisters. A green court-yard, with a covered gallery
on its level, opening upon it through a series of Gothic arches. You may
learn more, young American, of the difference between your civilization
and that of the Old World by one look at this than from an average
lyceum-lecture an hour long. Seventy years of life means a great deal to
you; how little, comparatively, to the dweller in these cloisters! You
will have seen a city grow up about you, perhaps; your whole world will
have been changed half a dozen times over. What change for him? The
cloisters are just as when he entered them,--just as they were a hundred
years ago,--just as they will be a hundred years hence.

These old cathedrals are beyond all comparison what are best worth
seeing, of a man's handiwork, in Europe. How great the delight to be
able to bring them, bodily, as it were, to our own firesides! A hundred
thousand pilgrims a year used to visit Canterbury. Now Canterbury visits
us. See that small white mark on the pavement. That marks the place
where the slice of Thomas à Becket's skull fell when Reginald Fitz Urse
struck it off with a "Ha!" that seems to echo yet through the vaulted
arches. And see the broad stains, worn by the pilgrims' knees as they
climbed to the martyr's shrine. For four hundred years this stream of
worshippers was wearing itself into these stones. But there was the
place where they knelt before the altar called "Beckets's Crown."
No! the story that those deep hollows in the marble were made by the
pilgrims' knees is too much to believe,--but there are the hollows, and
that is the story.

And now, if you would see a perfect gem of the art of photography, and
at the same time an unquestioned monument of antiquity which no person
can behold without interest, look upon this,--the monument of the Black
Prince. There is hardly a better piece of work to be found. His marble
effigy lies within a railing, with a sounding board. Above this, on a
beam stretched between two pillars, hang the arms he wore at the Battle
of Poitiers,--the tabard, the shield, the helmet, the gauntlets, and
the sheath that held his sword, which weapon it is said that Cromwell
carried off. The outside casing of the shield has broken away, as you
observe, but the lions or lizards, or whatever they were meant for, and
the flower-de-laces or plumes may still be seen. The metallic scales, if
such they were, have partially fallen from the tabard, or frock, and the
leather shows bare in parts of it.

Here, hard by, is the sarcophagus of Henry IV. and his queen, also
inclosed with a railing like the other. It was opened about thirty years
ago, in presence of the dean of the cathedral. There was a doubt, so
it was said, as to the monarch's body having been really buried there.
Curiosity had nothing to do with it, it is to be presumed. Every
over-ground sarcophagus is opened sooner or later, as a matter of
course. It was hard work to get it open; it had to be sawed. They found
a quantity of hay,--fresh herbage, perhaps, when it was laid upon the
royal body four hundred years ago,--and a cross of twigs. A silken mask
was on the face. They raised it and saw his red beard, his features
well preserved, a gap in the front-teeth, which there was probably no
court-dentist to supply,--the same the citizens looked on four centuries
ago

  "In London streets that coronation-day,
  When Bolingbroke rode on roan Barbary";

then they covered it up to take another nap of a few centuries,
until another dean has an historical doubt,--at last, perhaps, to be
transported by some future Australian Barnum to the Sidney Museum and
exhibited as the mummy of one of English Pharaohs. Look, too, at the
"Warriors' Chapel," in the same cathedral. It is a very beautiful
stereograph, and may be studied for a long time, for it is full of the
most curious monuments.

Before leaving these English churches and monuments, let us enter, if
but for a moment, the famous Beauchamp Chapel at Warwick. The finest
of the views (323, 324) recalls that of the Black Prince's tomb, as a
triumph of photography. Thus, while the whole effect of the picture is
brilliant and harmonious, we shall find, on taking a lens, that we can
count every individual bead in the chaplet of the monk who is one of the
more conspicuous reliefs on the sarcophagus. The figure of this monk
itself is about half an inch in height, and its face may be completely
hidden by the head of a pin. The whole chapel is a marvel of workmanship
and beauty. The monument of Richard Beauchamp in the centre, with the
frame of brass over the recumbent figure, intended to support the
drapery thrown upon it to protect the statue,--with the mailed shape of
the warrior, his feet in long-pointed shoes resting against the muzzled
bear and the griffin, his hands raised, but not joined,--this monument,
with the tomb of Dudley, Earl of Leicester,--Elizabeth's Leicester,
--and that of the other Dudley, Earl of Warwick,--all enchased in these
sculptured walls and illuminated through that pictured window, where we
can dimly see the outlines of saints and holy maidens,--form a group of
monumental jewels such as only Henry VII.'s Chapel can equal. For these
two pictures (323 and 324) let the poor student pawn his outside-coat,
if he cannot have them otherwise.

Of abbeys and castles there is no end, ago No. 4, Tintern Abbey, is the
finest, on the whole, we have ever seen. No. 2 is also very perfect and
interesting. In both, the masses of ivy that clothe the ruins are given
with wonderful truth and effect. Some of these views have the advantage
of being very well colored. Warwick Castle (81) is one of the best and
most the interesting of the series of castles; Caernarvon is another
still more striking.

We may as well break off here as anywhere, so far as England is
concerned. England is one great burial-ground to an American. As islands
are built up out of the shields of insects, so her soil is made the land
of Burns, and see what one man can do to idealize and glorify the common
life about him! Here is a poor "ten-footer", as we should call it, the
cottage William "Burness" built with his own hands, where he carried his
young bride Agnes, and where the boy Robert, his first-born, was given
to the light and air which he made brighter and freer for mankind. Sit
still and do not speak,--but see that your eyes do not grow dim as these
pictures pass before them: The old hawthorn under which Burns sat with
Highland Mary,--a venerable duenna-like tree, with thin arms and sharp
elbows, and scanty _chevelure_ of leaves; the Auld Brig o' Doon (No.
4),--a daring arch that leaps the sweet stream at a bound, more than
half clad in a mantle of ivy, which has crept with its larva-like
feet beyond the key-stone; the Twa Brigs of Ayr, with the beautiful
reflections in the stream that shines under their eyebrow-arches; and
poor little Alloway Kirk, with its fallen roof and high gables. Lift
your hand to your eyes and draw a long breath,--for what words would
come so near to us as these pictured, nay, real, memories of the dead
poet who made a nation of a province, and the hearts of mankind its
tributaries?

And so we pass to many-towered and turreted and pinnacled Abbotsford,
and to large-windowed Melrose, and to peaceful Dryburgh, where, under a
plain bevelled slab, lies the great Romancer whom Scotland holds only
second in her affections to her great poet. Here in the foreground of
the Melrose Abbey view (436) is a gravestone which looks as if it might
be deciphered with a lens. Let us draw out this inscription from the
black archives of oblivion. Here it is:

  In Memory of
  Francis Cornel, late
  Labourer in Greenwell,
  Who died 11th July, 1827,
  aged 89 years. Also
  Margaret Betty, his
  Spouse, who died 2'd Dec'r,
  1831, aged 89 years.

This is one charm, as we have said over and over, of the truth-telling
photograph. We who write in great magazines of course float off from the
wreck of our century, on our life-preserving articles, to immortality.
What a delight it is to snatch at the unknown head that shows for an
instant through the wave, and drag it out to personal recognition and
a share in our own sempiternal buoyancy! Go and be photographed on the
edge of Niagara, O unknown aspirant for human remembrance! Do not throw
yourself, O traveller, into Etna, like Empedocles, but be taken by the
camera standing on the edge of the crater! Who is that lady in the
carriage at the door of Burns's cottage? Who is that gentleman in the
shiny hat on the sidewalk in front of the Shakspeare house? Who are
those two fair youths lying dead on a heap of dead at the trench's side
in the cemetery of Melegnano, in that ghastly glass stereograph in our
friend Dr. Bigelow's collection? Some Austrian mother has perhaps seen
her boy's features in one of those still faces. All these seemingly
accidental figures are not like the shapes put in by artists to fill the
blanks in their landscapes, but real breathing persons, or forms that
have but lately been breathing, not found there by chance, but brought
there with a purpose, fulfilling some real human errand, or at least, as
in the last-mentioned picture, waiting to be buried.

Before quitting the British Islands, it would be pleasant to wander
through the beautiful Vale of Avoca in Ireland, and to look on those
many exquisite landscapes and old ruins and crosses which have been so
admirably rendered in the stereograph. There is the Giant's Causeway,
too,--not in our own collection, but which our friend Mr. Waterston
has transplanted with all its basaltic columns to his Museum of Art in
Chester Square. Those we cannot stop to look at now, nor these many
objects of historical or poetical interest which lie before us on our
own table. Such are the pictures of Croyland Abbey, where they kept that
jolly drinking-horn of "Witlaf, King of the Saxons", which Longfellow
has made famous; Bedd-Gelert, the grave of the faithful hound
immortalized by--nay, who has immortalized--William Spencer; the stone
that marks the spot where William Rufus fell by Tyrrel's shaft; the
Lion's Head in Dove Dale, fit to be compared with our own Old Man of the
Mountain; the "Bowder Stone," or the great boulder of Borrowdale; and
many others over which we love to dream at idle moments.

When we began these notes of travel, we meant to take our
fellow-voyagers over the continent of Europe, and perhaps to all the
quarters of the globe. We should make a book, instead of an article, if
we attempted it. Let us, instead of this, devote the remaining space to
an enumeration of a few of the most interesting pictures we have met
with, many of which may be easily obtained by those who will take the
trouble we have taken to find them.

Views of Paris are everywhere to be had, good and cheap. The finest
illuminated or transparent paper view we have ever seen is one of the
Imperial Throne. There is another illuminated view, the Palace of the
Senate, remarkable for the beauty with which it gives the frescoes on
the cupola. We have a most interesting stereograph of the Amphitheatre
of Nismes, with a _bull-fight_ going on in its arena at the time when
the picture was taken. The contrast of the vast Roman structure, with
its massive arched masonry, and the scattered assembly, which seems
almost lost in the spaces once filled by the crowd of spectators who
thronged to the gladiatorial shows, is one of the most striking we have
ever seen. At Quimperlé is a house so like the curious old building
lately removed from Dock Square in Boston, that it is commonly taken for
it at the first view. The Roman tombs at Arles and the quaint streets at
Troyes are the only other French pictures we shall speak of, apart from
the cathedrals to be mentioned.

Of the views in Switzerland, it may be said that the Glaciers are
perfect, in the glass pictures, at least. Waterfalls are commonly poor:
the water glares and looks like cotton-wool. Staubbach, with the Vale
of Lauterbrunnen, is an exquisite exception. Here are a few signal
specimens of Art. No. 4018, Seelisberg,--unsurpassed by any glass
stereograph we have ever seen, in all the qualities that make a
faultless picture. No. 4119, Mont Blanc from Sta. Rosa,--the finest
view of the mountain for general effect we have met with. No. 4100,
Suspension-Bridge of Fribourg,--very fine, but makes one giddy to look
at it. Three different views of Goldau, where the villages lie buried
under these vast masses of rock, recall the terrible catastrophe of
1806, as if it had happened but yesterday.

Almost everything from Italy is interesting. The ruins of Rome, the
statues of the Vatican, the great churches, all pass before us but in
a flash, as we are expressed by them on our ideal locomotive. Observe:
next to snow and ice, stone is best rendered in the stereograph. Statues
are given absolutely well, except where there is much foreshortening to
be done, as in this of the Torso, where you see the thigh is unnaturally
lengthened. See the mark on the Dying Gladiator's nose. That is where
Michel Angelo mended it. There is Hawthorne's Marble Faun, (the one
called of Praxiteles,) the Laocoön, the Apollo Belvedere, the Young
Athlete with the Strigil, the Forum, the Cloaca Maxima, the Palace of
the Caesars, the bronze Marcus Aurelius,--those wonders all the world
flocks to see,--the God of Light has multiplied them all for you, and
you have only to give a paltry fee to his servant to own in fee-simple
the best sights that earth has to show.

But look in at Pisa one moment, not for the Leaning Tower and the other
familiar objects, but for the interior of the Campo Santo, with its
holy earth, its innumerable monuments, and the fading frescoes on its
walls,--see! there are the Three Kings of Andrea Orgagna. And there hang
the broken chains that once, centuries ago, crossed the Arno,--standing
off from the wall, so that it seems as if they might clank, if you
jarred the stereoscope. Tread with us the streets of Pompeii for a
moment: there are the ruts made by the chariots of eighteen hundred
years ago,--it is the same thing as stooping down and looking at the
pavement itself. And here is the amphitheatre out of which the Pompeians
trooped when the ashes began to fall round them from Vesuvius. Behold
the famous gates of the Baptistery at Florence,--but do not overlook the
exquisite iron gates of the railing outside; think of them as you enter
our own Common in Boston from West Street, through those portals which
are fit for the gates of--not paradise. Look at this sugar-temple,--no,
it is of marble, and is the monument of one of the Scalas at Verona.
What a place for ghosts that vast _palazzo_ behind it! Shall we stand in
Venice on the Bridge of Sighs, and then take this stereoscopic gondola
and go through it from St. Mark's to the Arsenal? Not now. We will only
look at the Cathedral,--all the pictures under the arches show in our
glass stereograph,--at the Bronze Horses, the Campanile, the Rialto,
and that glorious old statue of Bartholomew Colleoni,--the very image of
what a partisan leader should be, the broad-shouldered, slender-waisted,
stern-featured old soldier who used to leap into his saddle in full
armor, and whose men would never follow another leader when he died.
Well, but there have been soldiers in Italy since his day. Here are
the encampments of Napoleon's army in the recent campaign. This is the
battle-field of Magenta with its trampled grass and splintered trees,
and the fragments of soldiers' accoutrements lying about.

And here (leaving our own collection for our friend's before-mentioned)
here is the great trench in the cemetery of Melegnano, and the heap of
dead lying unburied at its edge. Look away, young maiden and tender
child, for this is what war leaves after it. Flung together, like sacks
of grain, some terribly mutilated, some without mark of injury, all
or almost all with a still, calm look on their faces. The two youths,
before referred to, lie in the foreground, so simple-looking, so like
boys who had been overworked and were lying down to sleep, that one can
hardly see the picture for the tears these two fair striplings bring
into the eyes.

The Pope must bless us before we leave Italy. See, there he stands on
the balcony of St. Peter's, and a vast crowd before him with uncovered
heads as he stretches his arms and pronounces his benediction.

Before entering Spain we must look at the Circus of Gavarni, a
natural amphitheatre in the Pyrenees. It is the most picturesque of
stereographs, and one of the best. As for the Alhambra, we can show that
in every aspect; and if you do not vote the lions in the court of the
same a set of mechanical h----gs and nursery bugaboos, we have no skill
in entomology. But the Giralda, at Seville, is really a grand tower,
worth looking at. The Seville Boston-folks consider it the linchpin,
at least, of this rolling universe. And what a fountain this is in the
Infanta's garden! what shameful beasts, swine and others, lying about on
their stomachs! the whole surmounted by an unclad gentleman squeezing
another into the convulsions of a galvanized frog! Queer tastes they
have in the Old World. At the Fountain of the Ogre in Berne, the giant,
or large-mouthed private person, upon the top of the column, is eating a
little infant as one eats a radish, and has plenty more,--a whole bunch
of such,--in his hand, or about him.

A voyage down the Rhine shows us nothing better than St. Goar, (No.
2257,) every house on each bank clean and clear as a crystal. The
Heidelberg views are admirable;--you see a slight streak in the
background of this one: we remember seeing just such a streak from the
castle itself, and being told that it was the Rhine, just visible, afar
off. The man with the geese in the goose-market at Nuremberg gives
stone, iron, and bronze, each in perfection.

So we come to quaint Holland, where we see windmills, _ponts-levis_,
canals, galiots, houses with gable-ends to the streets and little
mirrors outside the windows, slanted so as to show the frows inside what
is going on.

We must give up the cathedrals, after all: Santa Maria del Fiore, with
Brunelleschi's dome, which Michel Angelo wouldn't copy and couldn't
beat; Milan, aflame with statues, like a thousand-tapered candelabrum;
Tours, with its embroidered portal, so like the lace of an archbishop's
robe; even Notre Dame of Paris, with its new spire; Rouen, Amiens,
Chartres,--we must give them all up.

Here we are at Athens, looking at the buttressed Acropolis and the
ruined temples,--the Doric Parthenon, the Ionic Erechtheum, the
Corinthian temple of Jupiter, and the beautiful Caryatides. But see
those steps cut in the natural rock. Up those steps walked the Apostle
Paul, and from that summit, Mars Hill, the Areopagus, he began his noble
address, "Ye men of Athens!"

The Great Pyramid and the Sphinx! Herodotus saw them a little fresher,
but of unknown antiquity,--far more unknown to him than to us. The
Colossi of the Plain! Mighty monuments of an ancient and proud
civilization standing alone in a desert now.

  My name is Osymandyas, King of Kings;
  Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!

But nothing equals these vast serene faces of the Pharaohs on the
great rock-temple of Abou Simbel (Ipsambul) (No. 1, F. 307). It Is the
sublimest of stereographs, as the temple of Kardasay, this loveliest of
views on glass, is the most poetical. But here is the crocodile lying in
wait for us on the sandy bank of the Nile, and we must leave Egypt for
Syria.

Damascus makes but a poor show, with its squalid houses, and glaring
clayed roofs. We always wanted to invest in real estate there in Abraham
Street or Noah Place, or some of its well-established thoroughfares, but
are discouraged since we have had these views of the old town. Baalbec
does better. See the great stones built into the wall there,--the
biggest 64 x 13 x 13! What do you think of that?--a single stone bigger
than both your parlors thrown into one, and this one of three almost
alike, built into a wall as if just because they happened to be lying
round, handy! So, then, we pass on to Bethlehem, looking like a fortress
more than a town, all stone and very little window,--to Nazareth, with
its brick oven-like houses, its tall minaret, its cypresses, and the
black-mouthed, open tombs, with masses of cactus growing at their
edge,--to Jerusalem,--to the Jordan, every drop of whose waters seems
to carry a baptismal blessing,--to the Dead Sea,--and to the Cedars of
Lebanon. Almost everything may have changed in these hallowed places,
except the face of the stream and the lake, and the outlines of hill and
valley. But as we look across the city to the Mount of Olives, we know
that these lines which run in graceful curves along the horizon are the
same that He looked upon as he turned his eyes sadly over Jerusalem. We
know that these long declivities, beyond Nazareth, were pictured in the
eyes of Mary's growing boy just as they are now in ours sitting here by
our own firesides.

This is no _toy_, which thus carries us into the very presence of all
that is most inspiring to the soul in the scenes which the world's
heroes and martyrs, and more than heroes, more than martyrs, have
hallowed and solemnized by looking upon. It is no toy: it is a divine
gift, placed in our hands nominally by science, really by that
inspiration which is revealing the Almighty through the lips of the
humble students of Nature. Look through it once more before laying it
down, but not at any earthly sight. In these views, taken through the
telescopes of De la Rue of London and of Mr. Rutherford of New York, and
that of the Cambridge Observatory by Mr. Whipple of Boston, we see
the "spotty globe" of the moon with all its mountains and chasms, its
mysterious craters and groove-like valleys. This magnificent stereograph
by Mr. Whipple was taken, the first picture February 7th, the second
April 6th. In this way the change of position gives the solid effect of
the ordinary stereoscopic views, and the sphere rounds itself out so
perfectly to the eye that it seems as if we could grasp it like an
orange.

If the reader is interested, or like to become interested, in the
subject of sun-sculpture and stereoscopes, he may like to know what the
last two years have taught us as to the particular instruments best
worth owning. We will give a few words to the subject. Of simple
instruments, for looking at one slide at a time, Smith and Beck's is the
most perfect we have seen, but the most expensive. For looking at paper
slides, which are light, an instrument which may be held in the hand
is very convenient. We have had one constructed which is better, as
we think, than any in the shops. Mr. Joseph L. Bates, 129, Washington
Street, has one of them, if any person is curious to see it. In buying
the instruments which hold many slides, we should prefer two that hold
fifty to one that holds a hundred. Becker's small instrument, containing
fifty paper slides, back to back, is the one we like best for these
slides, but the top should be arranged so as to come off,--the first
change we made in our own after procuring it.

We are allowed to mention the remarkable instrument contrived by our
friend Dr. H.J. Bigelow, for holding fifty glass slides. The spectator
looks in: all is darkness. He turns a crank: the gray dawn of morning
steals over some beautiful scene or the _façade_ of a stately temple.
Still, as he turns, the morning brightens through various tints of rose
and purple, until it reaches the golden richness of high noon. Still
turning, all at once night shuts down upon the picture as at a tropical
sunset, suddenly, without blur or gradual dimness,--the sun of the
picture going down,

  "Not as in Northern climes obscurely bright,
  But one unclouded blaze of living light."

We have not thanked the many friendly dealers in these pictures, who
have sent us heaps and hundreds of stereographs to look over and select
from, only because they are too many to thank. Nor do we place any price
on this advertisement of their most interesting branch of business. But
there are a few stereographs we wish some of them would send us,
with the bill for the same: such as Antwerp and Strasbourg
Cathedrals,--Bologna, with its brick towers,--the Lions of Mycenae, if
they are to be had,--the Walls of Fiesole,--the Golden Candlestick in
the Arch of Titus,--and others which we can mention, if consulted;
some of which we have hunted for a long time in vain. But we write
principally to wake up an interest in a new and inexhaustible source of
pleasure, and only regret that the many pages we have filled can do no
more than hint the infinite resources which the new art has laid open to
us all.



THE LONDON WORKING-MEN'S COLLEGE.


In what is now as near the centre of the Map of London as any house
can properly be said to be is an old-fashioned dwelling-house on
Great-Ormond Street, which is occupied, and densely occupied, by
Frederic Denison Maurice's "Working-Men's College." The house looks, I
suppose, very much as it did in 1784, when Great-Ormond Street bordered
on the country,--when Lord Thurlow, the Chancellor of England, lived in
this house,--when some thieves jumped over his garden-wall, forced
two bars from the kitchen-window, entered a room adjoining the Lord
Chancellor's study, and stole the Great Seal of England, "inclosed in
two bags, one of leather and one of silk." London has grown so much
since, that anything that is stolen from the Working-Men's College
will not be stolen by thieves entering from the fields. I may say, in
passing, that this theft "threw London into consternation"; there being
an impression, that, for want of the Great Seal, all the functions of
the Executive Government must be suspended. The Privy-Council, however,
did not share this impression. They had a new seal made before night;
and though the Government of England has often moved very slowly since,
it has never confessedly stopped, as some Governments nearer home have
done, from that day to this day.

In view of what is done in Lord Thurlow's old house now, it is worth
while to linger a moment on what it was then and what he was. He was the
Keeper of George III.'s conscience, until he caballed against Mr. Pitt,
and was unceremoniously turned out by him. As Lord High-Chancellor, he
was guardian-in-chief of all the wards in Chancery; and I suppose, for
instance, without looking up the quotation in Boswell, that he was the
particular Lord Chancellor to whom Dr. Johnson said he should like to
intrust the making of all the matches in England. Louis Napoleon has
just now undertaken to make all the friction-matches in France,--but Dr.
Johnson's proposal referred to the matrimonial matches, the _dénouemens_
of the comedies and tragedies of domestic life. To us Americans, Thurlow
is notable for the strong and uncompromising language which he used
against us all through our Revolution, which excessively delighted the
King. As to his faculty for keeping a conscience, it may be said, that,
though he never married, he resided in this Great-Ormond Street house
with his own mistress and his illegitimate children. Lord Campbell, who
mentions this fact, informs us, that, as early as his own youth, the
British Bench had reached such purity that judges were expected to marry
their mistresses when they were appointed to the Bench. He adds, that
it is long since any such condition as that was necessary. In Thurlow's
time this stage of decency had not been attained even by Lord
Chancellors. His humanity may be indicated by his stiff opposition to
every reform ever proposed in the English criminal law, or in the social
order of the time. He battled the bills for suppressing the slave-trade
with all his might. "I desire of you, my Lords, in your humane
frenzy, to show some humanity to the whites as well as to the
negroes",--illustrating this remark by a picture of the sufferings of an
English trader who had risked thirty thousand pounds on the slave-trade
that year. When an entering wedge was attempted for the improvement of
the bloody code of criminal law, Thurlow opposed it with passion. The
particular clause selected by the reformers was one which demanded that
women who had been connected with any treasonable movements should be
burnt alive. It was proposed to reduce their punishment to the same
scale as men's. Thurlow made it his duty to defend the ancient practice.
He was, in short, mixed up with every effort of his time, which we now
consider disgraceful, for arresting the gradual progress of reform.

Now that Thurlow's wine-cellar is a college-chapel, that young men study
arithmetic in the room the Great Seal was stolen from, that Mr. Ruskin
teaches water-color drawing in Thurlow's bed-chamber, that Tom Brown,
_alias_ Mr. Hughes, presides over a weekly tea-party in the three-pair
back, and drills the awkward squad of the working-men's battalion in the
garden, it seems worth while to show that at least some places in the
world have improved in eighty years, whether the world itself is to
be given up as a mistake or not. We will let Lord Thurlow go, as Lord
Campbell does, with this charitable wish:--"I have not learned," he
says, "any particulars of his end, but I will hope that it was a
good one. I trust, that, conscious of the approaching change, having
sincerely repented of his violence of temper, of the errors into which
he had been led by worldly ambition, and of the irregularities of his
private life, he had seen the worthlessness of the objects by which he
had been allured; that, having gained the frame of mind which his awful
situation required, he received the consolations of religion; and that,
in charity with mankind, he tenderly bade a long and last adieu to the
relations and friends who surrounded him." There is not an atom of fact
known on which to found Lord Campbell's hope. But I, also, will leave
Lord Thurlow with this charitable wish, and I will now ask the readers
of the "Atlantic," who may be enough interested in social reform and a
mutual education, to see what has happened between his wine-cellar and
ridge-pole since the "London Working-Men's College" was established
there.

The founder of the Working-Men's College, as I have intimated, is the
Rev. Frederic Denison Maurice, the eminent practical theologian. Its
age is now six years,--as it was founded in the autumn of 1854. He says
himself, in a striking speech he made at Manchester not long since, that
the plan originated in that "awful year 1848, which I shall always look
upon as one of the great epochs in history." He says that "a knot of
men, of different professions, lawyers, doctors, parsons, artists,
chemists, and such like," thought they saw, in the convulsions of 1848,
a handwriting on the wall, sent them by God himself, testifying, "that,
if either rank or wealth or knowledge is not held as a trust for men, if
any one of these things is regarded as a possession of our own, it must
perish." In a real desire, then, to "make their own little education of
use to such persons as had less," and, in so doing, to establish a
vital and effective relation between themselves and the men of the
working-classes below them, they looked round for opportunities to work
in the education of _men_. Anybody who remembers "Amyas Leigh" will
remember how earnestly Charles Kingsley there presses the theory that
most of what we learn as children should be left to be learned by men,
as it was in the days of Queen Bess. I suppose that Maurice's "knot of
parsons and such like" shared that view. At all events, they lectured to
Mechanics' Institutes, and did other such wish-wash work, which is not
good for much, except for the motive it shows; and having found that
out, they were all the more willing to join in arrangements more
definite and profitable. According to Mr. Maurice, the formation of the
People's College in Sheffield started them on the plan of a college,
and determined them, as far as they could, to give consistency to
their dreams by carrying out the plan of an English college in their
arrangements for working-men.

At this point I must beg the accomplished company of readers to
recollect what an English college is. In its organization, and in much
of its consequent _esprit du corps_, it is as different from an American
college as an Odd-Fellows' lodge is from a country academy. The
difference is also of precisely the same sort. The man or the boy who
connects himself with an English college is, in theory, still the
student of a thousand years ago, who came on foot to Oxford or
Cambridge, because he had heard, in the wilds of Mercia or of Wessex,
that there were some books at those places,--and that some Alfred or
Ethelred or Eldred had given some privileges to students coming there.
When he has arrived, he joins one or other of the societies of students
whom he may find there, just as the Mercian Athelstan may have done.
From the moment that the established society has tested him,--and the
tests are very mild,--he is admitted as a member of a fraternity,
sharing the privileges of that fraternity, and, to a certain extent, its
duties. He is at first a junior member, it is true. Among his duties,
therefore, will be obedience to some of the senior members, and respect
to all. But none the less is he a neophyte member of a corporation which
extends back hundreds of years perhaps,--he is a co-proprietor of its
honors and privileges, is responsible for their preservation, and is,
from the first, inoculated with its _esprit du corps_.

Now in an American college there is _esprit du corps_ enough, and sense
of college dignity enough. But the student's _esprit du corps_ is one
thing, and the government's is another. The Commons Hall, for instance,
has died out of most of our colleges. Why? Why, because it had ceased to
be a _Commons_ Hall. It was not the place where the junior and senior
members of a college, the pupils and all their instructors, met
together. It was the place where the undergraduates were fed,--and where
a few wretched tutors were fed at their sides. But every member of the
governing body who could possibly escape did so. At our Cambridge,
they even went so far as to set apart a Commons Hall for each class of
undergraduates at last,--for fear men should see each other eat; as at
"Separate Prisons" the idea of communion in worship is carried out by
introducing each prisoner into a state-pew or royal-box whose partitions
are so high that he cannot see his neighbors. This was before they gave
the _coup-de-grace_ to the whole thing, and scattered the members of
their college just as widely as they could at meal-times, as at all
other times. The recitation, again, probably the only occasion when an
American student meets his instructor, is conducted according to an
arrangement by which the instructor meets all of a large section or
class together, meeting them for recitation simply. In a word, the
American college differs from any other American school chiefly in
having larger endowments and older pupils.

In the English college, on the other hand, before a freshman has
been there three months, he may have established his claim to some
"scholarship," which shall be his post and his "foundation" there
for years. From the very beginning, one or another honor or prize
is proposed to him,--which is the first stepping-stone on a line of
promotion of which the last may be his appointment to the highest
dignities in the University or in the Church. From the beginning,
therefore, he has his duties in the college assigned to him, if he have
earned any right to such honors. Thus, it may be his place to read the
Scripture Lesson at prayers, or to read the Latin grace at the end of
dinner,--the President and Vice-President of his college having done the
same at the beginning.

These arrangements are not to be confounded with the services rendered
by charity students. We have imitated some of these, which are so sadly
described in "Tom Brown at Oxford." But we have no arrangements which
correspond at all to those of the system which in England brings
graduates and undergraduates to a certain extent into a common life,
mutually interested in the honor and popularity of "Our College."

When Mr. Maurice and his friends spoke of "a college," they meant to
carry to the utmost these social and mutual views of college life. They
wanted to come into closer connection with the working-men of London,
and formed the Working-Men's College that they might do so.

They had, therefore, something in mind very different from sitting for
an hour in presence of a dozen students, hearing them recite a lesson,
saying then, "_Ite, missa est_," and departing all, every man to his
own way. They foresaw their difficulties, undoubtedly, and they have
undoubtedly met some which they did not foresee. But they meant to
establish, on paper, if nowhere else, a mutual society,--a society, it
is true, in which those who knew the most should teach those who knew
the least, but still a society where the learners and the teachers met
as members of the same fraternity,--equals so far as the laws of that
society went,--and with certain common interests arising from their
connection with it.

Not only does the necessity for such an undertaking appear in England
as it does not here, but the difficulty of it is, on a moderate
calculation, ten thousand times greater than it is here. Here, in the
first place, if the "working-man" as a boy has felt any particular fancy
for algebra or Greek or Latin, (and those fancies, in a fast country,
are apt to develop before the boy is eighteen,) he has e'en gone to a
high-school, and, if he wanted, to a "college," where, if he had not the
means himself, some State Scholarship or Education Society has floated
him through, and he has gained his fill of algebra, Latin, or Greek, or
is on the way to do so. Or, if he have not done this,--if the appetite
for these things, or for physical science, historical science, or
political science, has developed itself a little later in life, he has
hoarded up books for a few years, and has made himself meanwhile rather
more necessary to his master than he was before, so that, when he says,
some day, "I think we must arrange so that I can leave the shop earlier
in the afternoon," the master has bowed submiss, and the incipient
chemist, historian, or politician has worked his own sweet will. Or,
thirdly, if he wanted instruction from anybody in the category we first
named, who had tried the high-school and college plan, he had only to go
and ask for it.

Very likely the man is his brother; at all events, he is somebody's
brother: and there is no difference in their social _status_ which makes
any practical difficulty in their meeting together, man-fashion, to
teach and to learn. But in saying all this, we speak of things which
London understands no more than it does the system of society of the
Chinese Empire. To begin: the thriving Oxford-Street retailer will tell
you very frankly, perhaps, that he had rather his son should not learn
to read, if he could only sign his name without learning. Reason: that
the father has observed that his older son read so much more of bad than
good, that he is left to doubt the benefits conferred by letters. I do
not mean, that, practically, the London tradesman's son does not learn
to read; but I do mean that that process meets this sort of prejudice.
Grant, however, that he does learn to read, and has appetite for more;
grant that he gets well through with A B C, and what follows; grant that
he can read well enough to read the translations from French filth which
his father is afraid of; but grant that his father and his mother,
working with the blessing of his God, have kept him pure enough to steer
clear of that temptation; grant that he becomes one-and-twenty, eager
for algebra, for chemistry, for Latin, or for Greek. What are you going
to do about it then? Then comes in the necessity which Mr. Maurice
wanted to meet,--and there comes in, by the same steps, the exceeding
difficulty of his experiment.

It is the difficulty of caste. I do not know how many castes there are
in England; but I should think there were about thirty-seven. Any member
of either of these finds it as hard to associate with a member of any
other as a Sudra does to associate with a Brahmin, or a Brahmin with a
Sudra. It is not that people are unwilling to condescend to the castes
below them. At least, it is not that chiefly. It is, quite as much or
more, that, with a good, solid, English pride, they do not care to be
snobbish, and do not choose to put themselves upon people who are above
them. They "know their place," they say. And, for a race which has as
good reason as the English for pride in its ability to stand firm,
to "know one's place" is a great thing to boast of. People who have
travelled on the Continent have been amused to see how zealously Sir
John and Lady Jane and Miss Jeanette talked together at the _table
d'hôte_ for a week, never by accident speaking to Mr. Williams, Mrs.
Williams, and Miss Williamina, who sat next them. This is not inability
to condescend, however. The Ws are as unwilling to speak to the Js. This
difficulty is the same difficulty which Mr. Litchfield describes in an
account of his "Five Years' Teaching at Working-Men's College." "When a
man first comes to our college," he says, "he is apt to walk into his
class-room in the solemn and discreet manner befitting an entry into a
public institution, and generally for a night or two will persist in
regarding his teacher as a severely official personage, whose dignity is
not to be lightly trifled with. Now nothing, I believe, can really be
done, till this notion is extinguished,--till teacher and students have
got to understand each other, and have agreed to banish the foolish
_mauvaise honte_ which makes every Englishman shy of talking to a
fellow-creature. The freer the colloquial intercourse between teacher
and students, the more is learned in the time. To establish this is not
easy; but harder still is the task of setting the students on a familiar
footing with each other. There seems to be _some impassable obstacle to
the fraternization of a dozen Londoners_, though sitting side by side,
week after week, doing the same work." The truth being, that the dozen
Londoners might belong to twelve different castes. And just as in "the
Rifle Movement" the clerks in the Queen's civil service could not serve
in the same battalion with architects' clerks on the one hand, or
students at law on the other,--you may have, in your algebra class,
a goldsmith who is afraid of being snobbish if he speaks to a
map-engraver, or a tailor who does not presume to address an opinion on
Archimedes' square to a piano-forte maker.

But the Brahmin and the Sudra may both be converted to Christianity. In
that case, though it seems very odd to both, the distinction of caste
goes to the wall. And the "knot of parsons and such like," spoken of
above, having, very fortunately for the world, been born into the
Christian Church, made it, as we have seen, their business to face the
difficulty because of the necessity,--and the Working-Men's College is
the result of their endeavor. Mr. Maurice himself took the first step.
Before the College itself was opened, he undertook a Bible-class. He
invited whoever would to come. He read a portion of the Scriptures,
explained its meaning as he could,--and invited all possible
questioning. He testifies, in the most public way, that he got more good
than he gave in the intercourse which followed. "I have learned more
myself than I have imparted. Again and again the wish has come into my
mind, when I have left those classes, 'Would to God that anything I have
said to them has been as useful to them as what they have said to me has
been to me!'"

If now the American reader will free his mind from any comparisons
with an American college, and take, instead, his notion of this
"Bible-class," we can give him some conception of what the Working-Men's
College is. For there is not a clergyman in America who has not
conducted such a class, for the benefit of any who would come. And
such classes are considered as mutual classes. Everybody may ask
questions,--everybody may bring in any contribution he can to the
conversation. Very clearly there is no reason why chemistry, algebra,
Latin, or Greek may not be taught from the same motive, in classes
gathered in much the same way, and with a like feeling of cooperation
among those concerned. This is what the Working-Men's College attempts.
The instructors volunteer their services. They go, for the love of
teaching, or to be of use, or to extend their acquaintance among their
fellow-men. The students go, in great measure, doubtless, to learn. But
they are encouraged to feel themselves members of a great coöperation
society. So soon as possible, they are commissioned as teachers
themselves, and are put in a position to take preparatory classes in the
College. A majority of the finance-board consists of students. Let us
now see what is the programme which grows out of such a plan. I have not
at hand the schedule of exercises for the current year. I must therefore
give that which was in force in the autumn of 1859, when by paying
half-a-crown I became a member of the Working-Men's College. As I
make this boast, I must confess that I never took any certificate of
proficiency there, nor was I ever "sent up" for any, even the humblest,
degree. For the Working-Men's College may send up students to the
University of London for degrees.

Remember, then, that to accommodate London working-hours, all the
classes begin as late as seven o'clock in the evening. There are some
Women's Classes in the afternoon, but they are under a wholly different
management. From seven to ten every evening, Lord Thurlow's house is, so
to speak, in full blast. Mr. Ruskin is the earliest professor. He comes
at seven on Thursday, to teach drawing in landscape from seven till
half-past ten. Work begins on other evenings and in other classes at
half-past seven. Four other teachers of drawing are at work with their
pupils on different evenings of the week. Monday and Thursday are the
Latin days, Monday and Wednesday the Greek,--all taught by graduates of
the Universities. The mathematics are Arithmetic, Algebra, Geometry in
two classes, and Trigonometry. There was a class in Geology the winter I
knew the College,--there had been classes in Botany and Chemistry. There
were also classes in French, in German, in English Grammar, in Logic,
in Political Economy, and in Vocal Music, a class on the Structure and
Functions of the Human Body, and some general lectures or studies in
History. There were also "practice classes," where the students worked
with others more advanced than themselves on the subjects of the several
exercises,--there were preparatory classes, and an adult school to teach
men to read.

Now this is rather a rambling conspectus of a curriculum of study. But
it teaches, I suppose, first, what the right men would volunteer to
teach,--second, what the working-men wanted to learn. It is pretty
clear, that, if the plan succeeds, it will bring up a body of young men
who will know what is the advantage of a systematic line of study a good
deal better than any of them can be expected to know at the beginning.
Meanwhile here is certainly a very remarkable exhibition of instruction
to any man in London for a price merely nominal. After he has once paid
an entrance-fee,--half-a-crown, as I have said,--he may join any
class in the College whenever he wishes, on the payment of a very
insignificant additional fee. For the drawing-classes this fee is five
shillings. For the courses of one hour a week it is two shillings
sixpence, for those of two hours it is four shillings. The
drawing-classes are a trifle more costly, because the room for drawing
is kept open ready for practice-work every evening in the week. There
is also open for everybody every evening a Library, and the Principal's
Bible-class is open to all comers.

So much for the instruction side. Now to describe the social side, I
had best perhaps give the detail of one or two of my own visits at the
College. Walk into the front room on the lower floor of any house in
Colonnade Row in Boston, where the entry is on the right of the house,
and you see such a room as the present "Library" was when Lord Thurlow
lived there. Here is the office of the College. Here I found Mr.
Shorter, the Secretary, in a corner, at a little desk piled with
catalogues, circulars, "Working-Men's College Magazines," etc. There
was a coal fire in a grate, [_Mem._ Hot-air furnaces hardly known in
England,] a plain suite of book-shelves on one or more sides of the
room, and a suite of narrow tables for readers running across. There
were, perhaps, a dozen young men sitting there to read. This is
virtually a club-room for the College, and serves just the same
purpose that the reading-room of the Christian Union or the Christian
Association does with us, but that they take no newspapers. [_Mem. 2d_.
If you are in England, you say, "They _take in_ none." In America, the
newspapers take in the subscribers.]

I told Mr. Shorter that I wanted to learn about the practical working
of the College. He informed me very pleasantly of all that I inquired
about. It proved that they published a monthly magazine, "The
Working-Men's College Magazine," which was devoted to their interests.
The subscription is a trifle, and I took the volume for the year. It
proved, again, that I could become a member of the College by paying
half-a-crown; so I paid, was admitted to the privilege of the
reading-room, and sat down to read up, from the Magazine, as to the
working of the College. It appeared, that, after my initiation, I might
join any class, though it were not at the beginning of the term. So I
boldly proposed to Mr. Shorter that I would join Mr. Ruskin's class.
To tell the whole truth, I thought the experiment would be well worth
making, if I only gained by it a single personal interview with the
Oxford graduate, though I was doubtful about the quality of my impromptu
skies.

  "Says Paddy, 'There's few play
  This music,--can you play?'--
  Says I, 'I don't know, for I never did try.'"

I could at least have said this to the distinguished critic, if I found
that his class was more advanced than I. But it proved that their
session was within quarter of an hour of its end,--and with some
lingering remains of native modesty, I waited for another occasion,--a
morrow which never came,--before putting myself under Mr. Ruskin's
volunteer tuition. But I tell the story to illustrate what might have
been. Had I been legitimately a working-man in London, whatever the
character of my work, I had a right to that privilege.

The Library proved to be one of those miscellaneous collections, such as
all new establishments have, so long as they rely on the books which
are given to them. I took down a volume of the "Reports of the Social
Association,"--an institution which they have in England now, for the
double purpose of giving an additional chance to philanthropists to
talk, and of saving the world from the Devil by drainage, statistics,
statutes, and machinery generally. But I looked over the edge of the
book a good deal to see who drifted in and out. As different classes
finished their work, one and another member came in,--and a few lingered
to read. The aspect of activity and resolute purpose was the striking
thing about the whole. The men were all young,--seemed at home, and
interested in what they were doing. Half-past nine, or thereabouts,
came, and a bell announced that all instruction was over, and that
evening prayers would close the work of the day. Down-stairs I went,
therefore, with those who stayed, into Lord Thurlow's wine-cellar,
which, as I said, is the chapel.

The arrangements for this religious service, if I understood the matter
rightly, are in the hands of Mr. Hughes, the well-known biographer
of Tom Brown at Rugby and at Oxford. In an amusing speech about his
connection with the College, Mr. Hughes gives an account of the way his
services as a law professor were gradually dispensed with, and says,
"Being a loose hand, they cast round to see what should be done with
me." Then, he says, they gave him the charge of the common room of the
College,--and that he considers it his business to promote, in whatever
way he can, the "common life," or the communion, we may say, of the
members who belong to different classes. In this view, for instance, in
the tea-room, where there is always tea for any one who wants it, he
presides at a social party weekly;--he had charge, when I was there, of
the drill class, and, I think, at other seasons, conducted the cricket
club, the gymnastics, or had an eye to them. In such a relation as that,
such a man would think of the union in worship as an essential feature
in his plans. And here I am tempted to say, that in a thousand things
in England which seem a hopeful improvement on English lethargy, one
catches sight of Dr. Arnold as being, behind all, the power that is
moving. Hodson, in the East-Indian army, seems so different from anybody
else, that you wonder where he came from, till it proves he was one
of Arnold's boys. Price's Candle-Works, in London, and Spottiswoode's
Printing-House have been before us here, in all our studies for the
Christian oversight of great workshops,--and it turns out that it was
Arnold who started the men who set these successes in order. The Bishop
of London would not thank me for intimating that he gained something
from being Arnold's successor; but I am sure Mr. Hughes would be
pleased to think that Arnold's spirit still lives and works in his
cellar-chapel.

The chapel is but one of the recitation-rooms,--and, like all the
others, is fitted with the plainest unpainted tables and benches. Two
gentlemen read the lessons and a short form of prayer, prepared, I
think, by Mr. Maurice himself,--and so adapted to the place and the
occasion. Thirty or more of the students were present.

I dare not say that it was a piece of Working-Men's College
good-fellowship,--but, led either by that or by English hospitality, one
of the gentlemen who officiated, to whom I had introduced myself with
no privilege but that of a "fellow-commoner" at the College, not only
showed me every courtesy there, but afterwards offered me every service
which could facilitate my objects in London. This fact is worth
repeating, because it shows, at least, what is possible in such an
institution.

After an introduction so cordial, it may well be supposed that I often
looked in on the College of an evening. If I were in that part of the
town when evening came on, I made the Library my club-room, to write a
note or to waste an hour. I am sure, that, had it been in my power, I
should have dropped in often,--so pleasant was it to watch the modest
work of the place, and the energy of the crowded rooms,--and so new
to me the aspects of English life it gave. I felt quite sure that the
College was gaining ground, on the whole. I can easily understand that
some classes drag,--perhaps some studies, which the managers would be
most glad to see successful. But, on the whole, there seems spirit and
energy,--and of course success.

My travelling companion, Chiron, is fond of twitting me as to the
success of one of the "social meetings" to which I dragged him,
promising to show him something of working-men's life. We arrived too
early. But the Secretary told us that the garden was lighted up for
drill, and that the working-men's battalion was drilling there. It was
under the charge of Sergeant Reed, a medal soldier from the Crimea. At
that time England was in one of her periodical fits of expecting an
invasion. For some reason they will not call on every able-bodied man to
serve in a militia;--I thought because they were afraid to arm all their
people,--though no Englishman so explained it to me. They did, however,
call for volunteers from those classes of society which could afford
to buy uniforms and obtain "practice-grounds three hundred yards in
length." This included, I should say, about eleven of the thirty-seven
castes of English society. It intentionally left out those beneath,--as
it did all Ireland. Mr. Hughes, however, seized on it as an admirable
chance for his College,--its common feeling, its gymnastics,--and many
other "good things," looking down the future. In general, the drills
which were going on all over England were sad things to me. This idea
of staking guineas against _sous_, when the contest with Napoleon did
come,--staking an English judge, for instance, with his rifle, against
some wretched conscript whom Napoleon had been drilling thoroughly, with
his, seemed and seems to me wretched policy. But--if it were to be done
this way--of course the best thing possible was to work as widely as you
could in getting your recruits; and,--if England were too conservative
to say, "We are twenty-eight millions, one-fifth fighting men,"--too
conservative to put rifles or muskets into the hands of those five or
six million fighters,--the next best thing was to rank as many as you
could in your handful of upper-class riflemen. However, I offered my
advice liberally to all comers, and explained that at home I was a
soldier when the Government wanted me,--was registered somewhere,--and
could be marched to San Juan, about which General Harney was vaporing
just then, whenever the authorities chose. So it was that I and Chiron
stood superior to see Sergeant Reed drill thirty-nine working-men. Mr.
Hughes was on the terrace, teaching an awkward squad their facings.

Sergeant Reed paraded his men,--and wanted one or two more. He came and
asked Mr. Hughes for them,--and he in turn told us very civilly, that,
if "we knew our facings," we might fall in. Alas for the theory of the
_Landsturm!_ Alas for the fame of the Massachusetts militia! Here are
two of the "one hundred and fifty-two thousand eight hundred and fifty
non-commissioned officers, musicians, artificers, and privates" whom
Massachusetts that year registered at Washington,--two soldiers for
whom somebody, somewhere, has two cartridge-boxes, two muskets, two
shoulder-straps, and the rest;--here is an opportunity for them to show
the gentlemen of a foreign service how much better we know our facings
than they theirs,--and, alas, the representative two do not know their
facings at all! We declined the invitation as courteously as it was
offered. Perhaps we thus escaped a prosecution under the Act of 1819,
when we came home,--for having entered the service of a foreign power.
Certainly we avoided the guilt of felony, in England; for it is felony
for an alien to take any station of trust or honor under the Queen,--and
when Mr. Bates and Louis Napoleon were sworn in as special constables on
the Chartists' day, they might both have been tried for felony on the
information of Fergus O'Connor, and sent to some Old Bailey or other.
None the less did we regret our ignorance of the facings, and, after a
few minutes, sadly leave the field of glory.

My last visit to the Working-Men's College was to attend one of Mr.
Maurice's Sunday-evening classes, and this was the only occasion when I
ever appeared as a student. It was held at nine in the evening,--out of
the way, therefore, of any Church-service. There gathered nearly twenty
young men, who seemed in most instances to be personally strangers to
each other. Mr. Maurice is so far an historical person that I have a
right, I believe, to describe his appearance. He must be about fifty
years old now. He looks as if he had done more than fifty years' worth
of work,--and yet does not look older than that, on the whole. His hair
is growing white; his face shows traces of experience of more sorts
than one, but is very gentle and winning in its expression, both in his
welcome, and in the vivid conversation which is called his lecture. He
sat at a large table, and we gathered around it with our Testaments and
note-books. The subject was the fourth chapter of the Epistle to the
Hebrews,--the conversation turning mostly, of course, on the "rest"
which the people of God enter into. This is not the place for a
report of the exposition, at once completely devout and completely
transcendental, by which this distinguished theologian lighted up this
passage for that cluster of young men. But I may say something of the
manner of one so well known and so widely honored among a "present
posterity" in America, for his works. He read the chapter through,--with
a running commentary at first,--blocking out, as it were, his ground
notion of it. This was the first _ébauche_ of his criticism; but you
felt after its details without quite finding them. In a word, the
impression was precisely the uneasy impression you feel after the first
reading of one of his sermons or lectures,--that there is a very grand
general conception, but that you do not see how it is going to "fay in"
in its respective parts. One of the students intimated some such doubt
regarding some of the opening verses,--and there at once appeared enough
to show how frank was the relation, in that class at least, between the
teacher and the pupils. Then began the real work and the real joy of the
evening. Then on the background he had washed in before he began to put
in his middle-distance, and at last his foreground, and, last of all,
to light up the whole by a set of flashes, which he had reserved,
unconsciously, to the close. He dropped his forehead on his hand, worked
it nervously with his fingers, as if he were resolved that what was
within should serve him, went over the whole chapter in much more detail
a second time, held us all charged with his electricity, so that we
threw in this, that, or another question or difficulty,--till he fell
back yet a third time, and again went through it, weaving the whole
together, and making part illustrate part under the light of the comment
and illumination which it had received before,--and so, when we read
it with him for the fourth and last time, it was no longer a string
of beads,--a set of separate verses,--Jewish, antiquated, and
fragmentary,--but one vivid illustration of the "peace which passeth all
understanding" into which the Christian man may enter.

With this fortunate illustration and exposition of the worth and work of
the Working-Men's College my connection with it closed. It seems to me a
beautiful monument of the love and energy of its founder. Perhaps we are
all best known through our friends, or, as the proverb says, "by the
company we keep." Let the reader know Mr. Maurice, then, by remembering
that he is the godfather of Tennyson's son,--

  "Come, when no graver cares annoy,
  Godfather, come and see your boy,"--

that Charles Kingsley has a Frederic Maurice among his children,--and
that Thomas Hughes has a Maurice also. The last was lost, untimely, from
this world, in bathing in the Thames. The magnetism of such a man has
united the group of workers who have formed the Working-Men's College.
We need not wonder that with such a spirit it succeeds.



EMANCIPATION IN RUSSIA.


Two great nations are peculiarly entitled to be considered modern
in their general character, though each is living under ancient
institutions. They are the _United States_ and _Russia_. Neither of
these nations is a century old, regarded as a power that largely affects
affairs by its action, and into the composition of each there enters a
great variety of elements. The United States may be said to date from
1761, just one hundred years ago, when the American debate began on the
question of granting Writs of Assistance to the revenue-officers of the
crown. The struggle between England and America was then commenced in
the chief court of the Colony of Massachusetts Bay, and the Declaration
of Independence was but the logical conclusion of the argument of James
Otis; but that conclusion would not have established anything, had it
not been confirmed by the inexorable logic of cannon. The last resort of
kings was then on the side of the people, and gave them the victory.
The fifteen years that passed between the time when James Otis spoke
in Boston and the time when John Adams spoke in Philadelphia belong
properly to our national history, and should be so regarded. The
grandson and biographer of John Adams says that Mr. Adams "was attending
the court as a member of the bar, and heard, with enthusiastic
admiration, the argument of Otis, the effect of which was to place him
at the head of that race of orators, statesmen, and patriots, by whose
exertions the Revolution of American Independence was achieved. This
cause was unquestionably the incipient struggle for that independence.
It was to Mr. Adams like the oath of Hamilcar administered to Hannibal.
It is doubtful whether Otis himself, or any person of his auditory,
perceived or imagined the consequences which were to flow from the
principles developed in that argument. For although, in substance,
it was nothing more than the question upon the legality of general
warrants,--a question by which, when afterward raised in England, in
Wilkes's case, Lord Camden himself was taken by surprise, and gave at
first an incorrect decision,--yet, in the hands of James Otis, this
question involved the whole system of the relations of authority and
subjection between the British government and their colonies in America.
It involved the principles of the British Constitution, and the whole
theory of the social compact and the natural rights of mankind."

In the summer of 1762, about seventeen months after Otis had made his
argument, the existence of modern Russia began. Catharine II. then
commenced her wonderful reign, having dethroned and murdered her
husband, Peter III., the last of the sovereigns of Russia who could make
any pretensions to possession of the blood of the Romanoffs. A minor
German princess, who originally had no more prospect of becoming
Empress-Regnant of Russia than she had of becoming Queen-Regnant of
France, Sophia-Augusta of Anhalt-Zerbst was elevated to the throne of
the Czars on the 9th of July, 1762; and a week later her miserable
husband learned how true was the Italian dogma, that the distance
between the prisons of princes and their graves is but short. Catharine
II. founded a new dynasty in Russia, and gave to that country the
peculiar character which it has ever since borne, and which has enabled
it on more than one occasion to decide the fate of Europe, and therefore
of the world. Important as were the labors of Peter the Great, it does
not appear to admit of a doubt that their force was wellnigh spent when
Peter III. ascended the throne; and his conduct indicated the triumph of
the old Russian party and policy, as the necessary consequence of his
violent feeling in behalf of German influences, ideas, and practices.
The Czarina, like those Romans who became more German than the Germans
themselves, affected to be fanatically Russian in her sentiments and
purposes, and so acquired the power to Europeanize the policy of her
empire. She it was who definitely placed the face of Russia to the West,
and prepared the way for the entrance of Russian armies into Italy and
France, and for the partition of Poland, the ultimate effect of which
promises to be the reunion of that country under the sceptre of the
Czar. It was the seizure of so much of Poland by Russia that fixed the
latter's international character; and it was Catharine II. who destroyed
Poland, and added so much of its territory to the dominions of the
Czars. After the first partition had been effected, it was no longer
in Russia's power to refrain from taking a leading part in European
politics; and when her grandson, in 1814, was on the point of making
war on England, France, and Austria, rather than abandon the new Polish
spoil which he had torn from Napoleon I., he was but carrying out the
great policy of the Great Catharine. If we look into the political
literature of the last century, we shall find that Peter I.'s action
had very little effect in the way of increasing the influence of Russia
abroad. His eccentric conduct caused him to be looked upon as a sort of
royal wild man of the woods, rather than as a great reformer whose aim
it was to elevate his country to an equality with kingdoms that had
become old while Russia was ruled by barbarians of the remote East. He
was "a self-made man" on a throne, and displayed all the oddities and
want of breeding that usually mark the demeanor of persons whose youth
has not had the advantages that proceed from good examples and regular
instruction. Of the courtly graces, and of those accomplishments
which are most valued in courts, he had as many as belong to an
ill-conditioned baboon. A railway-car on a cattle-train does not require
more cleaning, at the end of a long journey, than did a room in a palace
after it had been occupied by Peter and his clever spouse. Some of his
best-authenticated acts could not be paralleled outside of a piggery.
The Prussian court, one hundred and sixty years since, was not a very
nice place, and its members were by no means remarkable for refinement;
but they were shocked by the proceedings of the Czar and the Czarina,
some of which greatly resembled those which are not uncommon in a very
wild "wilderness of monkeys." The last of Peter's descendants who
reigned _and ruled_ was his daughter Elizabeth, who died in 1761, and
who was a most admirable representative of her admirable parents.
Neither the manners nor the morals of the Russian court and the Russian
empire had improved during the twenty years that she governed; and as to
policy in government, she had none, and apparently she was incapable of
comprehending a political principle. Had her reign been followed by that
of some Russian prince of kindred character as well as of kindred blood,
and had that reign extended to twenty years' time, Russia would have
fallen back to the position she had held in 1680, and never could have
become a European power. Fortunately or unfortunately,--who shall as yet
undertake to decide which, considering as well European interests as
Russian interests?--the reign of Peter III. was too short to be worth
historical counting, and Elizabeth's real successor was a foreigner,
who not only was capable of comprehending Peter the Great's ideas and
purpose, but who had the advantage of understanding that world the
civilization and vices of which Peter had sought to engraft on the
Russian stock. The grand barbarian himself never could understand more
than one-half of the work to which he devoted his life, as there was
nothing in his nature to which Occidental thought could firmly fasten
itself. He knew little of that the effects of which he so much admired.
His mind was essentially Oriental in its cast, and the creation of his
Northern capital was a piece of work that might have been done by some
Eastern despot; and in the preceding century something like it had
been done by Shah Jehan, when he created the new city of Delhi. In no
European country could such an undertaking have been attempted. It
pleased Catharine II., in after-days, to say of Peter, that "he
introduced European manners and European costumes amongst a European
people"; but this was only a piece of flattery to her subjects, whom
she did so much to Europeanize by making them believe that they were of
Europe, and were destined to rule that continent. She it was who did
what Peter planned, and by making use of Russians as her agents. Her
statesmen, her generals, and her "favorites" were Russians; and it was
after her character and purposes became known that the rulers of Western
Europe were forced to the conclusion that a change of policy was
inevitable. But for the occurrence of the French Revolution, that
Anglo-French Alliance which has been regarded as one of the prodigies of
our prodigy-creating age would have been anticipated by more than sixty
years. By destroying Poland and humiliating Turkey, Catharine forever
settled the character of the Russian Empire; and her successors were
enabled to solidify her work in consequence of the course which events
took after the overthrow of the old French monarchy. Russian support
was highly bidden for by both those parties in Europe which were headed
respectively by France and by England; and it is difficult to decide
from which Russia most profited in those days, the friendship of England
or the enmity of France. One thing was sufficiently clear,--and that
was, that, when the war had been decided in favor of the reactionists,
Russia was the greatest power in the world. In the autumn of 1815, a
Russian army one hundred and sixty thousand strong was reviewed near
Paris, a spectacle that must have caused the sovereigns and statesmen of
the West to have some doubts as to the wisdom of their course in paying
so very high a price for the overthrow of Napoleon. It was certain that
the genie had broken from his confinement, and that, while he towered to
the skies, his shadow lay upon the world. The hegemony which Russia held
for almost forty years after that date justified the fears which then
were expressed by reflecting men. It only remained to be seen whether
the Russian sovereigns, proceeding in the spirit that had moved Peter
and Catharine, would take those measures by which alone a _Russian
People_ could be formed; and to that end, the abolition of serfdom was
absolutely necessary: the masses of their subjects, the very population
from which their victorious armies were conscribed, being in a certain
sense slaves, a state of things that had no parallel in the condition of
any European country.[A]

[Footnote A: At what precise time Russia's policy began to influence
the action of the European powers it would not be easy to say.
Unquestionably, Peter I.'s conduct was not without its effect, and his
triumph over Charles XII. makes itself felt even to this day, and it
ever will be felt. "Pultowa's day" was one of the grand field-days of
history. Sweden had obtained a high place in Europe, in consequence of
the grand part she played in the Thirty Years' War, to which contest she
contributed the greatest generals, the ablest statesmen, and the best
soldiers; and the successes of Charles XII. in the first half of his
reign promised to increase the power of that country, which had become
great under the rule and direction of Gustavus Adolphus and Oxenstierna.
This fair promise was lost with the Battle of Pultowa; and a country
that might have successfully resisted Russia, and which, had its
greatness continued, could have protected Poland,--if, indeed,
Poland could have been threatened, had Russia been unsuccessful at
Pultowa,--was thrown into the list of third-rate nations. Poland was
virtually given up to Russia through the defeat of Charles XII., just
as, a century later, she failed of revival through the defeat of
Napoleon I. in his Russian expedition. But the effect of Sweden's defeat
was not fully seen until many years after its occurrence. Prussia became
alarmed at the progress of Russia at an early day. The War of the Polish
Succession was decided by Russian intervention, in 1733. In 1741 Maria
Theresa relied on Russia, and in 1746 Russia and the Empress of Germany
formed a defensive alliance. The _Cotillon_ Coalition of the Seven
Years' War, formed for the destruction of Frederic II., and the parties
to which were the Czarina Elizabeth, Maria Theresa, and Madame de
Pompadour,--a drunkard, a prude, and a harlot,--brought Russia famously
forward in Europe. In the Eighty-Seventh Letter of Goldsmith's _Citizen
of the World_, published a century ago, are some very just and
discriminating remarks on "the folly of the Western parts of Europe in
employing the Russians to fight their battles," which show that their
author was far in advance of his time, and that he foresaw the growth
of Russia in importance before she had seized upon Poland. In Catharine
II.'s time, the Russian Empire was the object of much adulation from
Western envoys, and the English sought to obtain the assistance of
the barbarians in the American War, but with not such success as they
desired, though they managed to keep our envoy from the court, and to
make Russia unfriendly to us. Our diplomatic relations with Russia did
not begin until a generation after the Declaration of Independence.]

Thus the United States and Russia began their careers at the same time,
as nations destined to have influence in the ordering of Western life.
They were then, as they are now, very unlike to each other. In one
respect only was there any resemblance between them: In this country
there were some myriads of slaves, and in Russia there were many
millions of serfs. Now who, of all the sagacious, far-sighted men then
living, could have ventured to predict that at the end of one hundred
years the American nation that was so soon to be should be engaged in a
civil contest having for its object, on the part of those who began
it, the perpetuation and extension of slavery, while Russia should be
threatened with such a contest because her government, an autocracy,
had abolished serfdom? Many years earlier, Berkeley had predicted that
Time's last and noblest offspring would be the nation that was growing
up in North America; and when he died, in 1753, he would not have
admitted that slavery was an institution which his favorite land could
hug to its bosom, or that America would be less benevolent than that
semi-barbarous empire which was rising in the East,--an empire, to use
his own thought, which Europe was breeding in her decay. Franklin was
then at the height of his fame as a philosopher, and his merits as a
statesman were beginning to be acknowledged; but, wise as he was, he
would have smiled, had there been a prophet capable of telling him the
exact truth as to the future of America. Probably there was not a person
then on earth who could have supposed that that would be which was
written in the Book of Fate. That freedom should come to a people from
a despot's throne was almost as hard to understand as that the rankest
kind of despotism should rise up from among a people the most boastful
of their liberty that ever existed. There are, unhappily, but too many
instances of free nations that have behaved oppressively. The first
African slaves that were brought into the territory of the American
nation came under the flag of a people who had most heroically struggled
for their rights, and the recollection of whose efforts has been revived
by the brilliant labors of the most accomplished of living American
historians. The Greeks, who had so much to say about their own liberty,
believed that they had the right to enslave all other men; and the
Romans, who sometimes talked as if they had a Fourth of July of their
own, assumed that it was in the power of society to enslave any race
whose services its members required. The slaves of free peoples have
generally fared worse than the slaves of men themselves despotically
governed. Thus there is nothing so very strange in the conduct of those
Americans who, concerned for their "right" to trade in black humanity,
and to live on the sweat of black humanity's brows. That which is
strange in the condition of the world is the contrast which is furnished
to the action of our Southern population by the action of the rulers of
Russia. Since American democrats have endeavored to show that no such
contrast exists,--that between the enslavement of black men and the
granting of freedom to white men there is a close resemblance,--and that
the two proceedings are one in fact, how much soever they may differ in
name; that it is not because he is an enemy of slavery, as it is here
understood, that the Czar has become an emancipationist, but because he
is hostile to the slavery of white men,--that, were the Russian serfs as
dark as American slaves, his heart would have remained as hard toward
them as that of Pharaoh toward the Israelites when the plague-pressure
was temporarily removed from his people,--that he would as soon have
thought of washing the Ethiopian white with his own imperial hands as of
conferring freedom upon this race. Such is the theory of those of our
democrats who would still maintain their regard for the Czar and their
worship of Czarism. Alexander has not, they aver, been so bad as the
Abolitionists have drawn him. Like another illustrious personage, he
is not half so black as he is painted. Nay, he is not black at all. He
worships the white theory, and might run for the Montgomery Congress in
South Carolina without any danger of being numbered among the victims
of Lynch-law. Other democrats are not so well disposed toward the Czar,
their feelings respecting him having changed as completely as did those
of certain earlier democrats in regard to Mr. O'Connell, when the great
Irishman denounced slavery in America. It is a sore subject with our
pro-slavery people, this faithlessness of Russia to the cause of human
oppression. How they sympathized with her in the war with the Western
powers, and prophesied the defeat of the Allies in the Crimea, is well
remembered; but when the new Czar announced his purpose to abolish
serfdom, they, as Lord Castlereagh would have said, "turned their backs
upon themselves," and could see no good in the great Northern Empire.
Russia as the great revolution-queller, reading the Riot Act to the
liberals of Europe, and sending one hundred and fifty thousand men to
"crush out" the nationality of Hungary, and to revivify the power of
Austria, was to them an object of reverence; but Russia the liberator of
serfs, and the backer of France in the Italian War, became an object of
hate and fear. Nicholas might have patronized our Secessionists, for he
was partial to rebels who supported his opinions; but his son can
have no sympathy with men whose every act is a condemnation of those
principles which govern his conduct as a Russian ruler,--though in his
bearing toward Poland and others of the conquered portions of his empire
he may prove himself no more lenient than Mr. Jefferson Davis would
toward a Northern State that had declared itself independent of Southern
supremacy, could he "subdue" it.

It would, however, be most unjust so to speak of Russian serfdom as to
convey the impression that it ever was quite so bad as American slavery
is. It is the peculiarity of American slavery, that it has no redeeming
features. Long before it had become so odious as we see it, and before
its existence was found incompatible with the peaceful prevalence of
a constitutional system of government, its character was emphatically
summed up in a few words by a great man, who called it "the sum of
all villanies." Time has not improved its character, but has made the
institution worse, by extending the effect of its operations. The
political character which American slavery has had ever since the
formation of the Constitution has not only stood in the way of every
emancipation project, but it has made slaveholders, and men who have
sought political preferment through working on the prejudices of
slaveholders, supporters of the institution on grounds that have had no
existence in other countries; and the contest in which this country is
now involved is the natural effect of the more rapid growth of the Free
States in everything that leads to political power in modern times. Had
the Slave States in 1860 been found relatively as strong as they were in
1840, the Secession movement could not have occurred; for most of the
men who lead in it would have preferred to rule the United States, and
would have cared little for the defeat of any political party, confident
as they would have been in their capacity to control all American
parties. As slavery is the foundation of political power in this
country, its friends cannot abandon their ideas without abdicating their
position. Hence the fierceness with which they have put forth, and
advocated with all their strength, opinions that never were held by any
other class of man-owners, and which would have been scouted in Barbary
even in those days when religious animosity added additional venom to
the feelings of the Mussulmans toward their Christian captives, and when
Spain and Italy were Africa's Africa. The slave population of the United
Slates are forbidden to hope. They form a doomed race, the physical
peculiarities of which are forever to keep them out of the list of
the elect. They are slaves, they and their ancestors always have been
slaves, and they and their descendants always must be slaves. Such is
the Southern theory, and the practice under it does that theory no
violence. In Russia the condition of the enslaved has never been so
bad as this, nor anything like it. Between the slave and the serf the
difference has been almost as great as that between the serf and the
free citizen.

Nothing certain is known as to the origin of Russian serfage. Able men
have found the institution existing in very early times; and other men,
of not less ability, and well acquainted with Russian history, are
confident that it is a modern institution. Count Gurowski, whose
authority on such a point he ought to be a very bold man to question,
says,--"In Russia, slavery dates, with the utmost probability, since the
introduction of the Northmen, originating with prisoners of war, and
being established over conquered tribes of no Slavic descent. This was
done when Rurik and his successors descended the Dwina, the Dnieper, and
established there new dominions. In the course of time, the conquerors
cleared the forests, established villages and cities. As, in other
feudal countries, the tower, the _Schloss_, was outside of the village
or of the borough,--so was In Russia the _dwor_ or manor, where the
conqueror or master dwelt,--and from which was derived his name of
_dworianin_. That the genuine Russian of that time, whatever may have
been his social position, was free in his village, is beyond doubt,--as,
according to old records, the boroughs and villages, dependencies of the
manor, were settled principally with prisoners of war and the conquered
population. It was during the centuries of the Tartar dominion that the
people, the peasantry, became nailed to the soil, and deprived of
the right of freely changing their domicile. Then successively every
peasant, that is, every agriculturist tilling the soil with his own
hands, became enslaved. Only in estates owned by monasteries and
convents, which were very numerous and generally very rich, slavery
being judged to be opposed to Christian doctrine, it did not take
root at once. Generally, monks were reluctant to the utmost, and even
directly opposed to the sale of men in the markets, and the dependants
of a monastery were never sold in such a manner." The common view is,
that Borys Gudenoff, who reigned at the beginning of the seventeenth
century, established serfage age in Russia; but though the exact
character of his legislation is yet in dispute, it is obvious that no
Czar, and least of all one situated as was Borys, could have enslaved a
people. His legislation is involved in as much doubt as for a long time
were the Sempronian Laws of Rome. If we could believe that he instituted
the system of serfage, or seriously strengthened it, we should find that
Russian slavery came into existence but a few years before American
slavery; but such a "coincidence" cannot be rigidly insisted upon. It
would, however, we think, be difficult to show that the condition of
the Russian laboring classes was not made worse by the action of the
usurper.

Peter the Great was so affected by the circumstance that men and women
and children could be sold like cattle, as American slaves now are, that
he sought to put a stop to the infamous traffic, but without success.
Catharine II. was a philosopher, and a patron of that eighteenth-century
philosophy which so largely favored human rights, and she regretted
the existence of serfage; but, in spite of this regret, and of some
sentimental efforts toward emancipation, she strengthened the system of
slavery under which so great a majority of her subjects lived. She gave
peasants to her "favorites," and to others whom she wished to reward
or to bribe. The brothers Orloff are said to have received forty-five
thousand peasants from her, being in part payment for what was done by
their family in setting up the new Russian dynasty founded by the German
princess. Potemkin received myriads of peasants. Some outrageous abuses
were practised by wealthy landholders, in consequence of the Czarina
having proclaimed that the laborers in Little Russia should belong to
the soil on which they were at that date employed. Thousands of persons
were entrapped into serfdom through a measure which the sovereign had
intended should lessen the evils of that institution. Catharine's
authority was never but once seriously disputed at home, and that was
by the rebellion of Pugatscheff, which is sometimes spoken of as an
outbreak against serfdom, which it was not in any proper sense, though
the abuses of the owners of serfs may have contributed to swell the
ranks of the pretender,--Pugatscheff calling himself Peter III. The Czar
Paul would not allow serfs to be sold apart from the soil to which they
belonged. It is a curious incident, that, when Paul restored Kosciusko
to liberty, he offered to give him a number of Russian peasants. The
Polish patriot had no hesitation in refusing to accept the Emperor's
offer, for which, in these times, there are Americans who think he was a
fool; but in 1797 certain lights had not been vouchsafed to the American
mind, that have since led some of our countrymen to become champions of
the cause of darkness.

Alexander, whose reign began in 1801, was moved by a sincere desire to
get rid of serfdom. Schnitzler says that he "solemnly declared that he
would not endure the habit of making grants of peasants, a practice
hitherto common with the autocrats, and forbade the announcement in
public papers of the sales of human beings,"--and that "he permitted his
nobles to sell to their serfs, together with their personal liberty,
portions of land, which should thus become the _bona fide_ property of
the serf purchaser. This was a most important act; for Alexander thus
laid the basis of a class of free cultivators." A public man having
requested an estate with its serfs as hereditary possessions, the Czar
replied as follows:--"The peasants of Russia are for the most part
_slaves_. I need not expatiate upon the degradation or the misfortune
of such a condition. Accordingly, I have made a vow not to augment the
number; and to this end I have laid down the principle, that I will not
give away peasants as property." The Czar was determined to go farther
than this. Not only would he not increase the number of the serfs, but
he would lessen their number. The serfs of Esthonia were first favored,
their emancipation beginning in 1802, and being completed in 1816, the
year in which Alexander may be regarded as having been at the height of
his greatness, for he had completed the overthrow of Napoleon, and had
seen France saved from partition through his influence and exertions.
The Courland serfs were emancipated in 1817. Two years later, the nobles
of Livonia formed a plan of emancipation in their country, and when they
submitted it to the Czar, his answer was,--"I am delighted to see that
the nobility of Livonia have fulfilled my expectations. You have set an
example that ought to be imitated. You have acted in the spirit of our
age, and have felt that liberal principles alone can form the basis of
the people's happiness." So long as Alexander remained true to liberal
principles himself, there was some hope that he might abolish serfdom
throughout his dominions. He abhorred the "peculiar institution" of his
empire with all the force of a mind that certainly was generous, and
which had a strong bias in the direction of justice. Once he made a
solemn religious vow that he would abolish it. It is probable that
he would have made an attempt at complete emancipation, if the
circumstances of his time and his country had enabled him to concentrate
his thoughts and his labors upon domestic affairs. Unhappily for Russia,
and for the Czar's fame, he was soon drawn into the European vortex, and
became one of the principal actors in the grand drama of that age, so
that Russian interests were sacrificed to ambition, to the love of
military glory, and to the Czar's desire to become Don Quixote with an
imperial crown and sceptre. He wished to reconstruct the map of Europe,
which had been so terribly deranged by those terrible map-destroyers and
map-makers, the French republicans. Catharine II. had had the sense to
keep out of the war that had been waged against France, though no person
in Europe--not even George III. himself--hated the revolutionists more
intensely. She wished to see them subdued, but she preferred that the
work of subjugation should be done by others, so that she might be at
liberty to pursue her designs against Poland and Turkey and Persia. The
destruction of Poland she completed, but she was called away before she
could conquer the followers of Omar and of Ali. Paul was a party to the
second coalition against France, and his armies tore Italy from its
conquerors, and but for the stupidity of Austria there might have been
a Russian restoration of the Bourbons in 1709. Alexander resumed the
policy which his father had adopted only to discard, and though at one
period of his reign he appeared well inclined to Napoleon, there never
was any sincerity in the alliance between the two masters of so many
millions. The Czar was easily induced to favor the strange scheme of
an Italian adventurer for the rehabilitation of Europe, which had been
adopted by his friend and counsellor, the Prince Czartoryski, and
which ultimately furnished the basis, and many of the details, of that
pacification which was effected in 1815. We have seen the treaties of
that memorable year torn to tatters by Napoleon III., but the adoption
of Piatoli's project by Alexander affected the last generation as
intimately as the French Emperor's conduct has affected the men of
to-day. It led the Czar away from his original purpose, and converted
him, from a benevolent ruler, into a harsh, suspicious, unfeeling
despot. There could be nothing done for Russian serfs while their
sovereign was crusading it for the benefit of the Bourbons in particular
and of legitimacy in general. "God is in heaven, and the Czar is afar
off!" words once common with the suffering serfs, were of peculiar force
when the Czar, who believed himself to be the chosen instrument of
Heaven, was at Paris or Vienna, laboring for the settlement of Europe
according to ideas adopted in the early years of his reign. Napoleonism
and Liberalism were the same thing in the mind of Alexander, and he
finally came to regard serfdom itself as something that should not be
touched. It was a stone in that social edifice which he was determined
to maintain at all hazards. The plan of emancipation had worked well in
the outlying Baltic provinces, where there were few or no Russians, but
he discouraged its application to other portions of his dominions.
Some of his greatest nobles were anxious to take the lead as
emancipationists, but he would not allow them to proceed in the only way
that promised success, and so the bondage system was continued with the
approbation of the Czar. In his last years, Alexander, though still
quite a young man,--he was but forty-eight when he died,--was the most
determined enemy of liberty in Europe or Asia.

The Emperor Nicholas began his remarkable reign with the desire strong
in his mind to emancipate the serfs,--or, if that be too sweeping
an expression, so to improve their condition as to render their
emancipation by his successors a comparatively easy proceeding. Much of
his legislation shows this, and that he was aware that the time must
come when the serfs could no longer be deprived of their freedom. Such
was the effect of his conduct, however, that all that he did in
behalf of the serfs was attributed to a desire on his part to create
ill-feeling between the nobility and the peasants. Then he was so
thoroughly arbitrary in his disposition, that he often neutralized the
good he did by his manner of doing it. But that which mainly prevented
him from doing much for his people was his determination to maintain the
position which Russia had acquired in Europe, and to maintain it, too,
in the interest of despotism, "pure and simple." A succession of events
caused the Czar's attention to be drawn to foreign affairs. The French
Revolution of 1830, the Polish Revolution of the same year, the troubles
in Germany, the Reform contest in England, the change in the order of
the Spanish succession, the outbreaks in Italy,--these things, and
others of a similar character, all of which were protests against
that European system which Russia had established and still favored,
compelled Nicholas to look abroad, and to neglect, measurably, domestic
government. At a later period, he was one of the parties to that
combination of great powers which threatened France with a renewal of
those invasions from which she had suffered so much in 1814 and 1815.
Turkey was the source of perpetual trouble to the Czar; and his eyes
were frequently drawn to India, where one of his envoys half threatened
an English minister that the troops of their two countries might meet,
and was curtly answered by the minister that he cared not how soon the
interview should begin. The extinction of Cracow served to show how
close was the watch which the Czar kept upon the West, and that he was
ready to crush even the smallest of those countries in which the spirit
of liberty should show itself. Had San Marino lain within his reach, he
would have been induced neither by its weakness nor its age to spare
it. The struggle with the Circassians was long, vexatious, and costly.
Finally, the Revolutions of 1848, leading, as they did, to the invasion
of Hungary, in the first place, and then to the war with the Western
Powers, operated to prejudice the Imperial mind against every form of
freedom, and to provide too much occupation for the Emperor and his
ministers to permit them to labor with care and effect in behalf of the
oppressed serfs at home. It would have been a strange spectacle, had
the man who was trampling down the Hungarians employed his leisure in
raising his own serfs from the dust.

The Emperor Nicholas died in March, 1855, having lived long enough after
the beginning of that great war which he had so rashly provoked to see
his armies everywhere beaten and his fleets everywhere blockaded, while
the Russian leadership of Europe was struck down at a blow, never to be
resumed, unless there should be a radical change effected in Russian
institutions. Nearly thirty years of the most arrogant rule ever known
to the world came to an end in a moment, because the Emperor took "a
slight cold." A breath of the Northern winter served to stop the breath
of the Emperor of the North. He slept with his fathers, and his
son, Alexander II., reigned in his stead. The new Czar, who has the
reputation of being a much milder man than his father, and to bear
considerable resemblance to his uncle, as that uncle was in his best
days, was soon reported to be an emancipationist; but as the same
reports had prevailed respecting both Alexander I. and Nicholas, the
world gave little heed to what was said on the subject. It was not until
he had reigned for almost two years that something definite was done in
relation to it by the Czar; and then as many obstacles were thrown in
the way of the reform as would have served to disgust any man who had
not been in downright earnest. The Czar then took matters into his own
hands, so far as that was possible, and the work was pushed forward
with considerable speed. There was much discussion, and there were many
disappointments, in the course of the business; but through all the Czar
held to his determination, with a pertinacity that was not expected of
him, and which leaves the impression that his character has not been
properly understood. The history of the undertaking is yet to be
written, but, from what little is known of its details, we should say
that Alexander II. experienced more opposition, and that of an extremely
disagreeable character, from the nobility, than Alexander I. would
have encountered from the nobles of his time, had he resolved upon
emancipation in good faith, and adhered to his resolution, as his nephew
has done. Persons who suppose that a Russian Czar cannot be drowned,
because belonging to that select class who are born to be strangled,
would have it that the question would be settled by an application of
the bowstring, or the sash of some guardsman, to the Imperial throat;
and so a successful palace revolution lead to the postponement of the
plan of emancipation for another quarter of a century. But Russian
morality is of a much higher character than it was, and the members
of the reigning house are models of decorum, and know how to defer to
opinion. The nobles, too, are men of a very different stamp from their
predecessors of 1762 and 1801. The Russian polity is no longer a
despotism tempered by the cord. Fighting the good fight with something
of a Puritanical perseverance, the Czar was enabled to triumph over all
opposition to his preliminary project; and on the 3d of March, (N.S.,)
1861, the "Imperial Manifesto" emancipating the serfs was published.

In the opening paragraph of this document, the Autocrat declares, that,
on ascending the throne, he took a vow in his innermost heart so to
respond to the mission which was intrusted to him as to surround with
his affection and his Imperial solicitude all his faithful subjects of
every rank and of every condition, from the warrior who nobly bears arms
for the defence of the country to the humble artisan devoted to the
works of industry,--from the official in the career of the high offices
of the State to the laborer whose plough furrows the soil; and then
proceeds to say,--"In considering the various classes and conditions
of which the State is composed, we came to the conviction that the
legislation of the empire, having wisely provided for the organization
of the upper and middle classes, and having defined with precision their
obligations, their rights, and their privileges, has not attained the
same degree of efficiency as regards the peasants attached to the soil,
thus designated because either from ancient laws or from custom they
have been hereditarily subjected to the authority of the proprietors, on
whom it was incumbent at the same time to provide for their welfare.
The rights of the proprietors have been hitherto very extended and very
imperfectly defined by the law, which has been supplied by tradition,
custom, and the good pleasure of the proprietors. In the most favorable
cases this state of things has established patriarchal relations founded
upon a solicitude sincerely equitable and benevolent on the part of
the proprietors, and on an affectionate submission on the part of the
peasants; but in proportion as the simplicity of morals diminished,
as the diversity of the mutual relations became complicated, as the
paternal character of the relations between the proprietors and the
peasants became weakened, and, moreover, as the seigneurial authority
fell sometimes into hands exclusively occupied with their personal
interests, those bonds of mutual good-will slackened, and a wide opening
was made for an arbitrary sway which weighed upon the peasants, was
unfavorable to their welfare, and made them indifferent to all progress
under the conditions of their existence. These facts had already
attracted the notice of our predecessors of glorious memory, and they
had taken measures for improving the condition of the peasants; but
among those measures some were not stringent enough, insomuch as they
remained subordinate to the spontaneous initiative of such proprietors
as showed themselves animated with liberal intentions; and others,
called forth by peculiar circumstances, have been restricted to certain
localities, or simply adopted as an experiment. It was thus that
Alexander I. published the regulation for the free cultivators, and that
the late Emperor Nicholas, our beloved father, promulgated that one
which concerns the peasants bound by contract. ... We thus came to the
conviction that the work of a serious improvement of the condition
of the peasants was a sacred inheritance bequeathed to us by our
ancestors,--a mission which, in the course of events, Divine Providence
called upon us to fulfil."

It will be observed that the Czar goes no farther back than the
beginning of the reign of his uncle, sixty years since, in speaking of
the measures that have been taken for the improvement of the peasants'
condition; and he names only his father and his uncle as reforming
Emperors, though his language is such as to warrant the belief that
all his ancestors, who had reigned, had been friends of the serf,
and anxious to promote their welfare. But Alexander II. is too well
acquainted with the history of his family to venture to speak of the
actions of either the Great Peter or the Grand Catharine toward the
peasants. Gurowski tells us of the effect of one of Peter's acts in very
plain language. "In 1718," he says, "Peter the Great ordered a general
census to be taken all over the empire. The census officials, most
probably through thoughtlessness or caprice, divided the whole rural
population into two sections: First, the free peasants belonging to the
crown or its domains; and, secondly, all the rest of the peasantry,
the _krestianins_, or serfs living on private estates, were inscribed
_khrepostnoie kholopy_, that is, as chattels. The primitive Slavic
communal organization thus survived only on the royal domain, and there
it exists till the present day. The census of Peter having thus fairly
inaugurated chattelhood, it immediately began to develop itself in all
its turpitude. The masters grew more reckless and cruel; they sold
chattels separately from the lands; they brought them singly into
market, disregarding all family-ties and social bonds. Estates were no
more valued according to the area of land they contained, but according
to the number of their chattels, who were now called souls. In short,
all the worst features of chattelism, as it exists at the present day in
the American Slave States, immediately followed the publication of this
accursed census."[B] The same authority states that Nicholas in reality
was the first Emperor who granted estates excepting therefrom the
resident peasantry.

[Footnote B: _Slavery in History_, pp. 245, 246.]

Alexander II., in his Manifesto, expresses his confidence in the
nobility of Russia, which compliment is pronounced ironical, inasmuch as
they did not yield their consent to emancipation until they discovered
that the Czar and the serfs had united to extort it. "It is to the
nobles themselves," says the Czar, "conformably to their own wishes,
that we have reserved the task of drawing up the propositions for the
new organization of the peasants,--propositions which make it incumbent
upon them to limit their rights over the peasants, and to accept the
_onus_ of a reform which could not be accomplished without some material
losses. Our confidence has not been deceived. We have seen the nobles
assembled in committees in the districts, through the medium of their
confidential agents, making the voluntary sacrifice of their rights as
regards the personal servitude of the peasants. These committees,
after having collected the necessary _data_, have formulated their
propositions concerning the new organization of the peasants attached
to the soil in their relations with the proprietors. These propositions
having been found very diverse, as was to be expected from the nature
of the question, they have been compared, collated, and reduced to a
regular system, then rectified and completed in the superior committee
instituted for that purpose; and these new dispositions thus formulated
relative to the peasants and domestics of the proprietors have been
examined in the Council of the Empire." Invoking the Divine assistance,
the Czar says that he is resolved to carry this work into execution. In
virtue of the new dispositions, the peasants attached to the soil are to
be invested with all the rights of free cultivators. The proprietors are
to retain their rights of property in all the land belonging to them,
but they are to grant to the peasants for a fixed regulated rental the
full enjoyment of their _close_, or homestead; and, to assure their
livelihood, and to guaranty the fulfilment of their obligations toward
the Government, the quantity of arable land is fixed, as well as other
rural appurtenances. In return for the enjoyment of these territorial
allotments, the peasants are obligated to acquit the rentals fixed
to the profit of the proprietors; but in this state, which must be a
transitory one, the peasants shall be designated as "temporarily bound."
The peasants are granted the right of purchasing their homesteads, and,
with the consent of the proprietors, they may acquire in full property
the arable lands and other appurtenances which are allotted to them as a
permanent holding. By the acquisition in full property of the quantity
of land fixed the peasants will become free from their obligations
toward the proprietors for land thus purchased, and they will enter
definitively into the condition of free peasants, or landholders. A
transitory state is fixed for the domestics, adapted to their callings,
and to the exigencies of their position. At the close of two years,
they are to receive their full enfranchisement, and some temporary
immunities. "It is according to these fundamental principles," says the
Manifesto, "that the dispositions have been formulated which define
the future organization of the peasants and of the domestics, which
establish the order of the general administration of this class, and
specify in all their details the rights given to the peasants and to
the domestics, as well as the obligations imposed upon them toward the
Government and toward the proprietors. Although these dispositions,
general as well as local, and the special supplementary rules for some
particular localities, for the lands of small proprietors, and for
the peasants who work in the manufactories and establishments of the
proprietors, have been, as far as was possible, adapted to economical
necessities and local customs, nevertheless, to preserve the existing
state where it presents reciprocal advantages, we leave it to the
proprietors to come to amicable terms with the peasants, and to conclude
transactions relative to the extent of the territorial allotment, and to
the amount of rental to be fixed in consequence, observing at the
same time the established rules to guaranty the inviolability of such
agreements." The new organization, however, cannot be immediately put in
execution, in consequence of the inevitable complexity of the changes
which it necessitates. Not less than two years, or thereabout, will be
required to perfect the work; and to avoid all misunderstanding, and to
protect public and private interests during this interval, the existing
system will be maintained up to the moment when a new one shall have
been instituted by the completion of the required preparatory measures.
To this end, the Czar has deemed it advisable,--

"1. To establish in each district a special court for the question of
the peasants; it will have to investigate the affairs of the rural
communes established on the land of the lords of the soil.

"2. To appoint in each district justices of the peace to investigate
on the spot all misunderstandings and disputes which may arise on the
occasion of the introduction of the new regulation, and to form district
assemblies with these justices of the peace.

"3. To organize in the seigneurial properties communal administrations,
and to this end to leave the rural communes in their actual composition,
and to open in the large villages district administrations (provincial
boards) by uniting the small communes under one of these district
administrations.

"4. To formulate, verify, and confirm in each rural district or estate
a charter of rules, in which shall be enumerated, on the basis of the
local statute, the amount of land reserved to the peasants in permanent
enjoyment, and the extent of the charges which may be exacted from them
for the benefit of the proprietor, as well for the land as for other
advantages granted by him.

"5. To put these charters of rules into execution as they are gradually
confirmed in each estate, and to introduce their definitive execution
within the term of two years, dating from the day of publication of the
present manifesto.

"6. Up to the expiration of this term the peasants and domestics are to
remain in the same obedience towards their proprietors, and to fulfil
their former obligations without scruple.

"7. The proprietors will continue to watch over the maintenance of order
on their estates, with the right of jurisdiction and of police, until
the organization of the districts and of the district tribunals has been
effected."

In the concluding portion of the Manifesto, the Czar expresses his
confidence in the nobility, and his belief that they will so labor as to
perfect the great work upon which all parties in Russia are engaged; but
there is something in the language he employs that sounds hollow, as
if he were not altogether so certain of support as he claims to be. He
speaks less like a man stating a fact than like one appealing to the
controllers of powerful interests. He also warns those persons who
have misunderstood the Imperial purpose, "individuals more intent upon
liberty than mindful of the duties which it imposes," and whose conduct
was not beyond reproach when the first news of the great reform became
diffused among the rural population. The serfs are called upon, with
much unction, to appreciate and recognize the considerable sacrifices
which the nobility have made on their behalf. They are expected to
understand that the blessings of an existence supported upon the
basis of guarantied property, as well as a greater liberty in the
administration of their goods, entail upon them, with new duties toward
society and themselves, the obligation of justifying the protecting
designs of the law by a loyal and judicious use of the rights which are
now accorded to them. "For," says the Autocrat, "if men do not labor
themselves to insure their own well-being under the shield of the laws,
the best of those laws cannot guaranty it to them." These are "noble
sentiments"; but the shrewder portion of the serfs will probably attach
more importance to the declaration, that, "to render the transactions
between the proprietors and the peasants more easy, in virtue of which
the latter may acquire in full property their homestead and the land
they occupy, the Government will advance assistance, according to
a special regulation, by means of loans, or a transfer of debts
encumbering an estate."

Such are the principal details of this great measure, the most important
undertaking of modern days, whether we refer only to the measure itself,
or take its probable consequences into consideration. That forty-five
millions of human beings should be lifted out of the slough of slavery,
and placed in a condition to become _men_, would alone be a proceeding
that ought to take first rank among the illustrations of this age. But
we cannot consider it solely by itself. Every deed that is likely to
influence the life of a nation that is endowed with great vitality and
energy must be considered in connection with its probable consequences.
Russia stands in the fore-front rank of the leading nations of the
world. In the European Pentarchy, she is the superior of Austria, the
controller of Prussia, and the equal of France and England. The growth
of the United States in political power having received a check through
the occurrence of the Secession Rebellion, the relations of the great
empires, which our advance had threatened to disturb in an essential
manner, will probably remain unchanged; and so Russia, unless she should
become internally convulsed, will maintain her place. Assuming that the
work of emancipation is to be peacefully and successfully accomplished,
it would be fair to argue that the power of the Russian Empire will
be incalculably increased through the elevation of the masses of its
population. The Czar is doing for his dominions what Tiberius Gracchus
sought to do for the Roman Republic when he began that course of much
misunderstood agrarian legislation which led to his destruction, and to
the overthrow of the constitutional party in his country. As the Roman
Tribune sought to renew the Roman people, and to substitute a nation of
independent cultivators for those slaves who had already begun to eat
out the heart of the republic, so does the Russian Autocrat seek to
create a nation of freemen to take the place of a nation of serfs. If
the Roman had succeeded, the course of history must have been entirely
changed; and if the Russian shall succeed, we may feel assured that his
success will have prodigious results, though different from what are
expected, perhaps, by the Imperial reformer himself. His motives
of action are probably of that mixed character which governs the
proceedings of most men. Undoubtedly he wishes well to the millions for
whose freedom he has labored and is laboring; but then he would improve
their condition in order that he may become more powerful than ever
were his predecessors. He would rule over men rather than over slaves,
because men make better subjects and better soldiers than slaves ever
could be expected to make. The Russian serf has certainly proved himself
to be possessed of high military qualities in the past, but it admits
of a good deal of doubt whether he is equal to the present military
standard; and Russia cannot safely fall behind her neighbors and
contemporaries in the matter of soldiership. The events of all the wars
in which Russia has been engaged since 1815 prove that her armies
have not kept pace with those of most other countries. The first of
Nicholas's wars with Turkey would have ended in his total defeat, if the
Turks had been able to find a leader of ordinary capacity and average
integrity. The Persian War was successful because Persia is weak, and
she had not the means of making a powerful resistance to her old enemy.
The Poles, in 1831, held the Russians at bay for months, and would have
established their independence but for their own dissensions; and even
then Russia was much assisted by Prussia. The invasion of Hungary was a
military promenade, and the failure of the patriots was owing less to
the ability of Paskevitch than to the treason of Görgei. In the contest
between Russia and the Western powers, (1854-6,) the former was beaten
in every battle; and when she had only the Turks on her hands, in 1853,
her every purpose was foiled, and not one victory did her armies in
Europe win over that people. The world saw that a new breed of men had
taken the places of those soldiers who had been so prominent in the work
of overthrowing Napoleon; and even the heroes of 1812-15 were admitted
to be inferior to _their_ predecessors, the soldiers of Zürich and
Trebbia and Novi. It is the fact, and one upon which military men can
ruminate at their leisure, that the Russian armies showed more real
power and "pluck" a century ago than they have exhibited in any of
the wars of the last sixty years. They fought better at Zorndorf and
Kunersdorf, against the great Frederic, than they did at Austerlitz
and Friedland, against the greater Napoleon, or than we have seen them
fight, at the Alma, and at Inkerman, and at Eupatoria, against Raglan,
and St. Arnaud, and Omar Pacha. There was no falling off in the soldiers
of Suvaroff; but personal character had much to do with his successes,
as he was a man of genius, and the only original soldier that Russia
has ever had; and the men whom he led to victory in Turkey, Poland,
and Italy were trained by officers who had learned their trade of the
warriors who had fought against Frederic. But in the nineteenth Century
the change in the Russian army was perceptible to all men, and in none
could that change have produced more serious feelings than in the
present Czar and his father. Nicholas is supposed to have died of
mortification because his army, the instrument of his power over Europe,
had been cut through by the swords of the West; and Alexander II.
succeeded to a disgraced throne because his troops had proved themselves
unworthy successors of the men of Kulm. Wishing to have better soldiers
than he found in his armies, or than had served his father, Alexander
II. hastened that scheme of emancipation which he had been thinking of,
we may presume, for years, and which, he asserts, is the hereditary
idea of his line. We do not suppose that he is less inclined to rule
despotically than was his father, or that he would be averse to the
recovery of the position which was held by his uncle and his father. We
find not the slightest evidence, in all the proceedings of the Russian
Government, that the _people_ whom the Czar means to create are to
be endowed with political freedom. A more vigorous race of Russians,
morally speaking, is needed, and, except in some parts of the United
States, there are no men to be found capable of arguing that any portion
of the human family is susceptible of improvement through servitude. The
serf is naturally clever, and can "turn his hand" to almost anything.
The inference that freedom would exalt his mind and improve his
condition is one that was logically drawn at St. Petersburg and Moscow,
though they reason differently at Richmond and Montgomery. An army
recruited from slaves could not, in these times, when even bayonets
think and cannon reason much more accurately than they did when Louis
XIV. was a pattern monarch, ever look in the face the intelligent
trained legions of France or England or Germany. A combination of
political circumstances, similar to those of 1840, might give victory to
a grand Russian army, like that laurelless triumph which was then won
in Hungary, when the victors were nothing but the bloodhounds and
gallows-feeders of the House of Austria; but of _military_ glory the
present Russians could hope to have no more. To regain the place they
had held, it was necessary that they should be made personally free.
That they might be the better prepared to enslave others, they were
themselves to be converted into men. The freedom of the individuals
might be the means of supplying soldiers who should equal the fanatics
who followed Suvaroff, or the patriots who followed Kutusoff, or the
avengers who followed the first Alexander to Paris. The experiment, at
all events, was worth trying; and the Czar is trying it on a scale that
most impressively affects both the mind and the imagination of mankind,
who may learn that his works are destined greatly to bear upon their
interests.

In war, it is not only men that are wanted, and in large numbers, but
money, and in large sums. Always of importance to the military monarch,
money is now the first thing that he must think of and provide, or his
operations will be checked effectually. War is a luxury that no poor
nation or poor king can now long enjoy. It is reserved for wealthy
nations, and for sovereigns who may possess the riches of Solomon
without being endowed with his wisdom. Having impressed so many agents
into its service, and subdued science itself to the condition of a
bondman, war consumes gold almost as rapidly as the searches and labors
of millions can produce it. The only sure, enduring source of wealth
is industry,--industry as enlightened in its modes and processes as
imperfect man will allow to exist. Russia is an empire that abounds with
the means of wealth, rather than with wealth itself. It is a country, or
collection of countries, of which almost anything in the way of
riches may be predicated, should intelligent labor be directed to the
development of its immense and various resources. Russian sovereigns
have frequently sought to do something for the people; but Alexander
II., a wiser man than any of his predecessors, is willing that the
people should do something for themselves, because he knows that all
that they shall gain, each man for himself, will be so much added to the
common stock of the empire. The many must become wealthy, in order that
one, the head of all, may become strong. Time and again has Russia found
her armies paralyzed and her victories barren because she was moneyless;
and but for the gold of foreign nations she must have halted in her
course, and never have become a European power. With a nation of freemen
all this may be, and most probably it will be, changed,--though it is
not so certain that the change will be attended with exactly that
order of results which the Czar may have arranged in his own mind. The
mightiest of monarchs are not exempt from the rule, that, while man
proposes, it is God who disposes the things of this world. Not one of
those reforming kings who broke down the power of the great nobles of
Western Europe, and so created absolute monarchies, appears to have had
any just conception of the business in which he was engaged; but all
were instruments in the hands of that mighty Power which overrules the
ambition of individuals so that it shall promote the welfare of the
world.

The two years that are set apart for the completion of the plan of
emancipation will be the trial time of Russia. They may expire, and
nothing have been done, and the condition of the peasants be no more
hopeful than it was in those years which followed the "good intentions"
of Alexander I. It is not difficult to see that there are numerous and
powerful disturbing causes to the success of the project. These causes
are of a twofold character. They are to be found in the internal state
of the empire, and in the relations which it holds to foreign
countries. There is still a powerful party in Russia who are opposed to
emancipation, and who, though repulsed for the time, are far from being
disheartened. One-half the nobility are supposed to be enemies of the
Imperial plan, and they will continue to throw every possible obstacle
in the way of its success. There is nothing so pertinacious, so
unrelenting, and so difficult to change, as an aristocratical body. The
best liberals the world has seen have been of aristocratical origin,
or democracy would have made but little advance; but what is true of
individuals is not true of the mass, which is obstinate and unyielding.
There is nothing that men so reluctantly abandon as direct power over
their fellows. The chief of egotists is the slaveholder, unless he
happen to be the wisest and best of men. Man loves his fellow-man--as
a piece of property, as a chattel, above all things. It is a striking
proof of superiority to be able to command men with the certainty of
being as blindly obeyed as was the Roman centurion. The sense of power
that is created by the possession of slaves is sure to render men
arbitrary of disposition and insolent in their conduct. The troubles of
our own country ought to be sufficient to convince every one that there
must be nobles in Russia who would prefer resistance to the Czar to the
elevation of millions whose depression is evidence of the power of the
privileged classes. But for the conviction that the United States could
no longer be ruled in the interest of the slaveholders, the Secession
movement would have been postponed for another generation, and certain
traitors would have gone to their graves with the reputation of having
been honest men. There are Secessionists in Russia, and for the next two
years they may be able to do much to prevent the completion of the work
so well begun by Alexander II. But he appears to be as resolute as they
can be, and even fanatically determined upon having his way. Supported
by one-half the nobles, and by all the serfs, and confident of the
army's loyalty, he ought to be able to triumph over all internal
opposition. What he has already effected has been extorted from a
powerful foe; and that costly step, the first step, having been taken,
the Russian reformers, headed by the Emperor, ought to prove victorious
in so vitally important a contest as that in which they have voluntarily
engaged.

The greatest danger to the emancipation project proceeds from the side
of foreign countries. As we have seen, both Alexander I. and Nicholas
were led away from the pursuit of a policy that might long since have
converted the Russian serfs into a Russian people, through their desire
to interfere in the affairs of other nations. They could not reform
Russia and crush reformers elsewhere. That they might decide grand
contests in which Russia had no immediate interest, it was necessary
that Russians should remain enslaved. What was it to Russia whether
Bourbons or Bonapartes should reign over France? If she had an interest
in the question, it was rather favorable to the Bonapartes, whom she
overthrew, than to the Bourbons, whom she set up in order that the
French might again overthrow them. The old Bourbons were never friendly
to Russia, and would gladly have headed a coalition to drive her back to
her forests; and the first Bonaparte was very desirous of being on good
terms with the Northern Colossus, as if he were dimly forewarned of his
coming fate at its hands. Led away from the true path, Alexander I.
squandered on foreign affairs the time, the industry, and the money that
should have been devoted to the prosecution of those internal reforms
that were necessary to convert his subjects into men. Nicholas inherited
from his unwise brother that policy which he so vehemently supported,
and which caused him to waste on France and Austria the attention and
the energy which, as a conscientious sovereign, he was bound to bestow
upon Russia. The danger now is that Alexander II. will walk in the same
wrong path that was found to lead only to destruction by his uncle and
his father. The world was never so unsettled as it is now, and wars of
the most extensive character threaten every country that is competent to
put an army into the field. The Italian question is yet to be solved,
and its solution concerns Russia, which is strongly interested in
every movement that threatens to break up the Austrian Empire, or that
promises to create in the Kingdom of Italy a new Mediterranean nation.
The Schleswig-Holstein question is yet to be settled, and Russia has an
immediate interest in its settlement, as Denmark, she expects, will one
day be her own. The Eastern question is as unanswerable as ever it has
been, and it is but a few weeks since the belief was common that Russia
and France were to unite for the purpose of settling it, which could
have meant nothing less than the partition of the Turkish Empire,--the
union of one of the "sick man's" old protectors with his enemy, for the
perfect plundering of his possessions. This arrangement, had it been
completed, would have led to a war between France and Russia, on the one
side, and England and Austria on the other, while half a dozen lesser
nations would have been drawn into the conflict. But if an alliance for
any such purpose was ever thought of by the Autocrat and the Stratocrat,
it is supposed that it fell through in consequence of the occurrence of
troubles in Russian Poland,--the Polish question, after having been kept
entirely out of sight for years, having suddenly forced itself on the
attention of Europe's monarchs, to the no small increase of their
perplexities. Here are four great questions that are intimately
connected with Russia's interests, any one of which, if pressed by
circumstances to a decision, would probably plunge her into a long
and costly war, one of the effects of which would be to postpone the
emancipation of the serfs for many years. No empire could effect an
internal change like that which the Czar has begun, and at the same time
carry on a war that would require immense expenditures and the active
services of a million of men. The Czar is in constant danger of being
"coerced" into a foreign war; and the enemies of emancipation would
throw all their weight on the side of the war faction, even if they
should feel but little interest in the fortunes of either party to
a contest into which Russia might be plunged. Leaving aside all the
questions mentioned but that of Turkey, that alone is ever threatening
to bring Russia into conflict with some of her neighbors. Neither
England nor Austria could allow her to have her will of Turkey, no
matter how excellent an opportunity might be presented by the death of
the Sultan, or some similar event, to strike an effectual blow at that
tottering, doomed empire. So that war ever hangs over the Czar from that
side, unless he should, for the sake of the domestic reform he so much
desiderates, disregard the traditions and abandon the purpose of his
house. Were he to do so, it would be a splendid example of self-denial,
and such as few men who have reigned have ever been capable of affording
either to the admiration or the derision of the world. But could he
safely do it? Then it does not altogether depend either upon the Czar or
upon his subjects whether he or they shall preserve the peace of their
country. Suppose Poland to rise,--and she has been becoming very wakeful
of late,--then war would be forced upon Russia; and that war might be
extended over most of Continental Europe. A Polish war could hardly
fail to draw Prussia and Austria into it, they being almost as much
interested in the maintenance of the partition as Russia; and France
could scarcely be kept out of such a contest, she having been the patron
of Poland ever since the partition was effected.

Considering the matter in its various bearings, and noting how
inflammable is the condition of the world, and observing that a Russian
war would be fatal to emancipation, we can but say, that the freedom of
the serfs is something that may be hoped for, but which we should not
speak of as assured. Alexander II. wishes to complete his work, but he
is only an instrument in the hands of Fate, and things may so fall
out as to cover the present fair prospect with those clouds and
that darkness in which have been forever enveloped some of the best
undertakings for the promotion of man's welfare. We may hope and pray
for a good ending to the reform that has been commenced, but it is not
without fear and trembling that we do so.

       *       *       *       *       *


THE HAUNTED SHANTY.


As the principal personage of this story is dead, and there is no
likelihood that any of the others will ever see the "Atlantic Monthly,"
I feel free to tell it without reservation.

The mercantile house of which I was until recently an active member
had many business connections throughout the Western States, and I was
therefore in the habit of making an annual journey through them, in the
interest of the firm. In fact, I was always glad to escape from the dirt
and hubbub of Cortland Street, and to exchange the smell of goods and
boxes, cellars and gutters, for that of prairie grass and even of
prairie mud. Although wearing the immaculate linen and golden studs of
the city Valentine, there still remained a good deal of the country
Orson in my blood, and I endured many hard, repulsive, yea, downright
vulgar experiences for the sake of a run at large, and the healthy
animal exaltation which accompanied it.

Eight or nine years ago, (it is, perhaps, as well not to be very
precise, as yet, with regard to dates,) I found myself at Peoria, in
Illinois, rather late in the season. The business I had on hand was
mostly transacted; but it was still necessary that I should visit
Bloomington and Terre Haute before returning to the East. I had come
from Wisconsin and Northern Illinois, and, as the great railroad spider
of Chicago had then spun but a few threads of his present tremendous
mesh, I had made the greater part of my journey on horseback. By the
time I reached Peoria the month of November was well advanced, and the
weather had become very disagreeable. I was strongly tempted to sell my
horse and take the stage to Bloomington, but the roads were even worse
to a traveller on wheels than to one in the saddle, and the sunny day
which followed my arrival flattered me with the hope that others as fair
might succeed it.

The distance to Bloomington was forty miles, and the road none of the
best; yet, as my horse "Peck" (an abbreviation of "Pecatonica") had had
two days' rest, I did not leave Peoria until after the usual dinner at
twelve o'clock, trusting that I should reach my destination by eight or
nine in the evening, at the latest. Broad bands of dull, gray, felt-like
clouds crossed the sky, and the wind had a rough edge to it which
predicted that there was rain within a day's march.

The oaks along the rounded river-bluffs still held on to their leaves,
although the latter were entirely brown and dead, and rattled around me
with an ominous sound, as I climbed to the level of the prairie, leaving
the bed of the muddy Illinois below. Peck's hoofs sank deeply into the
unctuous black soil, which resembled a jetty tallow rather than earth,
and his progress was slow and toilsome. The sky became more and more
obscured: the sun faded to a ghastly moon, then to a white blotch in the
gray vault, and finally retired in disgust. Indeed, there was nothing in
the landscape worth his contemplation. Dead flats of black, bristling
with short corn-stalks, flats of brown grass, a brown belt of low woods
in the distance,--that was all the horizon inclosed: no embossed bowl,
with its rim of sculptured hills, its round of colored pictures, but a
flat earthen pie-dish, over which the sky fell like a pewter cover.

After riding for an hour or two over the desolate level, I descended
through rattling oaks to the bed of a stream, and then ascended through
rattling oaks to the prairie beyond. Here, however, I took the wrong
road, and found myself, some three miles farther, at a farm-house, where
it terminated. "You kin go out over the perairah yander," said the
farmer, dropping his maul beside a rail he had just split off,--"there's
a plain trail from Sykes's that'll bring you onto the road not fur from
Sugar Crick." With which knowledge I plucked up heart and rode on.

What with the windings and turnings of the various cart-tracks, the
family resemblance in the groves of oak and hickory, and the heavy,
uniform gray of the sky, I presently lost my compass-needle,--that
natural instinct of direction, on which I had learned to rely. East,
west, north, south,--all were alike, and the very doubt paralyzed the
faculty. The growing darkness of the sky, the _watery_ moaning of
the wind, betokened night and storm; but I pressed on, hap-hazard,
determined, at least, to reach one of the incipient villages on the
Bloomington road.

After an hour more, I found myself on the brink of another winding
hollow, threaded by a broad, shallow stream. On the opposite side, a
quarter of a mile above, stood a rough shanty, at the foot of the rise
which led to the prairie. After fording the stream, however, I found
that the trail I had followed continued forward in the same direction,
leaving this rude settlement on the left. On the opposite side of the
hollow, the prairie again stretched before me, dark and flat, and
destitute of any sign of habitation. I could scarcely distinguish the
trail any longer; in half an hour, I knew, I should be swallowed up in a
gulf of impenetrable darkness; and there was evidently no choice left
me but to return to the lonely shanty, and there seek shelter for the
night.

To be thwarted in one's plans, even by wind or weather, is always
vexatious; but in this case, the prospect of spending a night in such
a dismal corner of the world was especially disagreeable. I am--or at
least I consider myself--a thoroughly matter-of-fact man, and my first
thought, I am not ashamed to confess, was of oysters. Visions of a
favorite saloon, and many a pleasant supper with Dunham and Beeson, (my
partners,) all at once popped into my mind, as I turned back over the
brow of the hollow and urged Peck down its rough slope. "Well," thought
I, at last, "this will be one more story for our next meeting. Who knows
what originals I may not find, even in a solitary settler's shanty?"

I could discover no trail, and the darkness thickened rapidly while I
picked my way across dry gullies, formed by the drainage of the prairie
above, rotten tree-trunks, stumps, and spots of thicket. As I approached
the shanty, a faint gleam through one of its two small windows showed
that it was inhabited. In the rear, a space of a quarter of an acre,
inclosed by a huge worm-fence, was evidently the vegetable patch, at one
corner of which a small stable, roofed and buttressed with corn-fodder,
leaned against the hill. I drew rein in front of the building, and was
about to hail its inmates, when I observed the figure of a man issue
from the stable. Even in the gloom, there was something forlorn and
dispiriting in his walk. He approached with a slow, dragging step,
apparently unaware of my presence.

"Good evening, friend!" I said.

He stopped, stood still for half a minute, and finally responded,--

"Who air you?"

The tone of his voice, querulous and lamenting, rather implied, "Why
don't you let me alone?"

"I am a traveller," I answered, "bound from Peoria to Bloomington, and
have lost my way. It is dark, as you know, and likely to rain, and I
don't see how I can get any farther to-night."

Another pause. Then he said, slowly, as if speaking to himself,--

"There a'n't no other place nearer 'n four or five mile."

"Then I hope you will let me stay here."

The answer, to my surprise, was a deep sigh.

"I am used to roughing it," I urged; "and besides, I will pay for any
trouble I may give you."

"It a'n't _that_," said he; then added, hesitatingly,--"fact is, we're
lonesome people here,--don't often see strangers; yit I s'pose you can't
go no furder;--well, I'll talk to my wife."

Therewith he entered the shanty, leaving me a little disconcerted with
so uncertain, not to say suspicious, a reception. I heard the sound of
voices--one of them unmistakable in its nasal shrillness--in what seemed
to be a harsh debate, and distinguished the words, "I didn't bring
it on," followed with, "Tell him, then, if you like, and let him
stay,"--which seemed to settle the matter. The door presently opened,
and the man said,--

"I guess we'll have t' accommodate you. Give me your things, an' then
I'll put your horse up."

I unstrapped my valise, took off the saddle, and, having seen Peck to
his fodder-tent, where I left him with some ears of corn in an
old basket, returned to the shanty. It was a rude specimen of the
article,--a single room of some thirty by fifteen feet, with a large
fireplace of sticks and clay at one end, while a half-partition of
unplaned planks set on end formed a sort of recess for the bed at the
other. A good fire on the hearth, however, made it seem tolerably
cheerful, contrasted with the dismal gloom outside. The furniture
consisted of a table, two or three chairs, a broad bench, and a
kitchen-dresser of boards. Some golden ears of seed-corn, a few sides of
bacon, and ropes of onions hung from the rafters.

A woman in a blue calico gown, with a tin coffee-pot in one hand and a
stick in the other, was raking out the red coals from under the burning
logs. At my salutation, she partly turned, looked hard at me, nodded,
and muttered some inaudible words. Then, having levelled the
coals properly, she put down the coffee-pot, and, facing about,
exclaimed,--"Jimmy, git off that cheer!"

Though this phrase, short and snappish enough, was not worded as an
invitation for me to sit down, I accepted it as such, and took the chair
which a lean boy of some nine or ten years old had hurriedly vacated.
In such cases, I had learned by experience, it is not best to be too
forward: wait quietly, and allow the unwilling hosts time to get
accustomed to your presence. I inspected the family for a while, in
silence. The spare, bony form of the woman, her deep-set gray eyes,
and the long, thin nose, which seemed to be merely a scabbard for her
sharp-edged voice, gave me her character at the first glance. As for the
man, he was worn by some constant fret or worry, rather than naturally
spare. His complexion was sallow, his face honest, every line of it,
though the expression was dejected, and there was a helpless patience
in his voice and movements, which I have often seen in women, but never
before in a man. "Henpecked in the first degree," was the verdict I
gave, without leaving my seat. The silence, shyness, and puny appearance
of the boy might be accounted for by the loneliness of his life, and
the usual "shakes"; but there was a wild, frightened look in his eye, a
nervous restlessness about his limbs, which excited my curiosity. I
am no believer in those freaks of fancy called "presentiments," but I
certainly felt that there was something unpleasant, perhaps painful, in
the private relations of the family.

Meanwhile, the supper gradually took shape. The coffee was boiled, (far
too much, for my taste,) bacon fried, potatoes roasted, and certain
lumps of dough transformed into farinaceous grape-shot, called
"biscuits." Dishes of blue queensware, knives and forks, cups and
saucers of various patterns, and a bowl of molasses were placed upon the
table; and finally the woman said, speaking to, though not looking at,
me,--

"I s'pose you ha'n't had your supper."

I accepted the invitation with a simple "No," and ate enough of the rude
fare (for I was really hungry) to satisfy my hosts that I was not proud.
I attempted no conversation, knowing that such people never talk when
they eat, until the meal was over, and the man, who gladly took one of
my cigars, was seated comfortably before the fire. I then related my
story, told my name and business, and by degrees established a mild flow
of conversation. The woman, as she washed the dishes and cleared up
things for the night, listened to us, and now and then made a remark
to the coffee-pot or frying-pan, evidently intended for our ears. Some
things which she said must have had a meaning hidden from me, for I
could see that the man winced, and at last he ventured to say,--

"Mary Ann, what's the use in talkin' about it?"

"Do as you like," she snapped back; "only I a'n't a-goin' to be blamed
for _your_ doin's. The stranger'll find out, soon enough."

"You find this life rather lonely, I should think," I remarked, with a
view of giving the conversation a different turn.

"Lonely!" she repeated, jerking out a fragment of malicious laughter.
"It's lonely enough in the daytime, Goodness knows; but you'll have your
fill o' company afore mornin'."

With that, she threw a defiant glance at her husband.

"Fact is," said he, shrinking from her eye, "we're sort o' troubled
with noises at night. P'raps you'll be skeered, but it's no more 'n
noise,--onpleasant, but never hurts nothin'."

"You don't mean to say this shanty is haunted?" I asked.

"Well,--yes: some folks 'd call it so. There _is_ noises an' things
goin' on, but you can't see nobody."

"Oh, if that is all," said I, "you need not be concerned on my account.
Nothing is so strange, but the cause of it can be discovered."

Again the man heaved a deep sigh. The woman said, in rather a milder
tone,--

"What's the good o' knowin' what makes it, when you can't stop it?"

As I was neither sleepy nor fatigued, this information was rather
welcome than otherwise. I had full confidence in my own courage; and if
anything _should_ happen, it would make a capital story for my first
New-York supper. I saw there was but one bed, and a small straw mattress
on the floor beside it for the boy, and therefore declared that I should
sleep on the bench, wrapped in my cloak. Neither objected to this, and
they presently retired. I determined, however, to keep awake as long as
possible. I threw a fresh log on the fire, lit another cigar, made a few
entries in my note-book, and finally took the "Iron Mask" of Dumas from
my valise, and tried to read by the wavering flashes of the fire.

In this manner another hour passed away. The deep breathing--not to say
snoring--from the recess indicated that my hosts were sound asleep, and
the monotonous whistle of the wind around the shanty began to exercise a
lulling influence on my own senses. Wrapping myself in my cloak, with my
valise for a pillow, I stretched myself out on the bench, and strove to
keep my mind occupied with conjectures concerning the sleeping family.
Furthermore, I recalled all the stories of ghosts and haunted houses
which I had ever heard, constructed explanations for such as were still
unsolved, and, so far from feeling any alarm, desired nothing so much as
that the supernatural performances might commence.

My thoughts, however, became gradually less and less coherent, and I
was just sliding over the verge of slumber, when a faint sound in the
distance caught my ear. I listened intently: certainly there _was_ a
far-off, indistinct sound, different from the dull, continuous sweep
of the wind. I rose on the bench, fully awake, yet not excited, for my
first thought was that other travellers might be lost or belated. By
this time the sound was quite distinct, and, to my great surprise,
appeared to proceed from a drum, rapidly beaten. I looked at my watch:
it was half-past ten. Who could be out on the lonely prairie with
a drum, at that time of night? There must have been some military
festival, some political caucus, some celebration of the Sons of Malta,
or jubilation of the Society of the Thousand and One, and a few of the
scattered members were enlivening their dark ride homewards. While I was
busy with these conjectures, the sound advanced nearer and nearer,--and,
what was very singular, without the least pause or variation,--one
steady, regular roll, ringing deep and clear through the night.

The shanty stood at a point where the stream, leaving its general
southwestern course, bent at a sharp angle to the southeast, and faced
very nearly in the latter direction. As the sound of the drum came from
the east, it seemed the more probable that it was caused by some person
on the road which crossed the creek a quarter of a mile below. Yet, on
approaching nearer, it made directly for the shanty, moving, evidently,
much more rapidly than a person could walk. It then flashed upon my mind
that _this_ was the noise I was to hear, _this_ the company I was to
expect! Louder and louder, deep, strong, and reverberating, rolling
as if for a battle-charge, it came on: it was now but a hundred
yards distant,--now but fifty,--ten,--just outside the rough
clapboard-wall,--but, while I had half risen to open the door, it passed
directly through the wall and sounded at my very ears, inside the
shanty!

The logs burned brightly on the hearth: every object in the room could
be seen more or less distinctly: nothing was out of its place, nothing
disturbed, yet the rafters almost shook under the roll of an invisible
drum, beaten by invisible hands! The sleepers tossed restlessly, and a
deep groan, as if in semi-dream, came from the man. Utterly confounded
as I was, my sensations were not those of terror. Each moment I doubted
my senses, and each moment the terrific sound convinced me anew. I do
not know how long I sat thus in sheer, stupid amazement. It may have
been one minute, or fifteen, before the drum, passing over my head,
through the boards again, commenced a slow march around the shanty. When
it had finished the first, and was about commencing the second round, I
shook off my stupor, and determined to probe the mystery. Opening the
door, I advanced in an opposite direction to meet it. Again the sound
passed close beside my head, but I could see nothing, touch nothing.
Again it entered the shanty, and I followed. I stirred up the fire,
casting a strong illumination into the darkest corners; I thrust my hand
into the very heart of the sound, I struck through it in all directions
with a stick,--still I saw nothing, touched nothing.

Of course, I do not expect to be believed by half my readers,--nor can
I blame them for their incredulity. So astounding is the circumstance,
even yet, to myself, that I should doubt its reality, were it not
therefore necessary, for the same reason, to doubt every event of my
life.

At length the sound moved away in the direction whence it came, becoming
gradually fainter and fainter until it died in the distance. But
immediately afterwards, from the same quarter, came a thin, sharp blast
of wind,--or what seemed to be such. If one could imagine a swift,
intense stream of air, no thicker than a telegraph-wire, producing a
keen, whistling rush in its passage, he would understand the impression
made upon my mind. This wind, or sound, or whatever it was, seemed to
strike an invisible target in the centre of the room, and thereupon
ensued a new and worse confusion. Sounds as of huge planks lifted at
one end and then allowed to fall, slamming upon the floor, hard, wooden
claps, crashes, and noises of splitting and snapping, filled the shanty.
The rough boards of the floor jarred and trembled, and the table and
chairs were jolted off their feet. Instinctively, I jerked away my legs,
whenever the invisible planks fell too near them.

It never came into my mind to charge the family with being the authors
of these phenomena: their care and distress were too evident. There was
certainly no other human being but myself in or near the shanty.
My senses of sight and touch availed me nothing, and I confined my
attention, at last, to simply noting the manifestations, without
attempting to explain them. I began to experience a feeling, not of
terror, but of disturbing uncertainty. The solid ground was taken from
beneath my feet.

Still the man and his wife groaned and muttered, as if in a nightmare
sleep, and the boy tossed restlessly on his low bed. I would not disturb
them, since, by their own confession, they were accustomed to the
visitation. Besides, it would not assist me, and, so long as there was
no danger of personal injury, I preferred to watch alone. I recalled,
however, the woman's remarks, remembering the mysterious blame she had
thrown upon her husband, and felt certain that she had adopted some
explanation of the noises, at his expense.

As the confusion continued, with more or less violence, sometimes
pausing for a few minutes, to begin again with renewed force, I felt an
increasing impression of somebody else being present. Outside the shanty
this feeling ceased, but every time I opened the door I fully expected
to see some one standing in the centre of the room. Yet, looking through
the little windows, when the noises were at their loudest, I could
discover nothing. Two hours had passed away since I first heard the
drum-beat, and I found myself at last completely wearied with my
fruitless exertions and the unusual excitement. By this time the
disturbances had become faint, with more frequent pauses. All at once,
I heard a long, weary sigh, so near me that it could not have proceeded
from the sleepers. A weak moan, expressive of utter wretchedness,
followed, and then came the words, in a woman's voice,--came I know not
whence, for they seemed to be uttered close beside me, and yet far, far
away,--"How great is my trouble! How long shall I suffer? I was married,
in the sight of God, to Eber Nicholson. Have mercy, O Lord, and give him
to me, or release me from him!"

These were the words, not spoken, but rather moaned forth in a slow,
monotonous wail of utter helplessness and broken-heartedness. I have
heard human grief expressed in many forms, but I never heard or imagined
anything so desolate, so surcharged with the despair of an eternal woe.
It was, indeed, too hopeless for sympathy. It was the utterance of a
sorrow which removed its possessor into some dark, lonely world girdled
with iron walls, against which every throb of a helping or consoling
heart would beat in vain for admittance. So far from being moved or
softened, the words left upon me an impression of stolid apathy. When
they had ceased, I heard another sigh,--and some time afterwards,
far-off, retreating forlornly through the eastern darkness, the wailing
repetition,--"I was married, in the sight of God, to Eber Nicholson.
Have mercy, O Lord!"

This was the last of those midnight marvels. Nothing further disturbed
the night except the steady sound of the wind. The more I thought of
what I had heard, the more I was convinced that the phenomena were
connected, in some way, with the history of my host. I had heard his
wife call him "Ebe," and did not doubt that he was the Eber Nicholson
who, for some mysterious crime, was haunted by the reproachful ghost.
Could murder, or worse than murder, lurk behind these visitations? It
was useless to conjecture; yet, before giving myself up to sleep, I
determined to know everything that could be known, before leaving the
shanty.

My rest was disturbed: my hip-bones pressed unpleasantly on the hard
bench; and every now and then I awoke with a start, hearing the
same despairing voice in my dreams. The place was always quiet,
nevertheless,--the disturbances having ceased, as nearly as I could
judge, about one o'clock in the morning. Finally, from sheer weariness,
I fell into a deep slumber, which lasted until daylight. The sound of
pans and kettles aroused me. The woman, in her lank blue gown, was
bending over the fire; the man and boy had already gone out. As I rose,
rubbing my eyes and shaking myself, to find out exactly where and who
I was, the woman straightened herself and looked at me with a keen,
questioning gaze, but said nothing.

"I must have been very sound asleep," said I.

"There's no sound sleepin' here. Don't tell me that."

"Well," I answered, "your shanty is rather noisy; but, as I'm neither
scared nor hurt, there's no harm done. But have you never found out what
occasions the noise?"

Her reply was a toss of the head and a peculiar snorting interjection,
"Hngh!" (impossible to be represented by letters,) "it's all _her_
doin'."

"But who is _she_?"

"You'd better ask _him_."

Seeing there was nothing to be got out of her, I went down to the
stream, washed my face, dried it with my pocket-handkerchief, and then
looked after Peck. He gave a shrill whinny of recognition, and, I
thought, seemed to be a little restless. A fresh feed of corn was in the
old basket, and presently the man came into the stable with a bunch of
hay, and commenced rubbing off the marks of Peck's oozy couch which were
left on his flanks. As we went back to the shanty I noticed that he
eyed me furtively, without daring to look me full in the face. As I was
apparently none the worse for the night's experiences, he rallied at
last, and ventured to talk _at_, as well as to, me.

By this time, breakfast, which was a repetition of supper, was ready,
and we sat down to the table. During the meal, it occurred to me to make
an experimental remark. Turning suddenly to the man, I asked,--

"Is your name Eber Nicholson?"

"There!" exclaimed the woman, "I knowed he'd heerd it!"

He, however, flushing a moment, and then becoming move sallow than ever,
nodded first, and then--as if that were not sufficient--added, "Yes,
that's my name."

"Where did you move from?" I continued, falling back on the first plan I
had formed in my mind.

"The Western Reserve, not fur from Hudson."

I turned the conversation on the comparative advantages of Ohio and
Illinois, on farming, the price of land, etc., carefully avoiding the
dangerous subject, and by the time breakfast was over had arranged,
that, for a consideration, he should accompany me as far as the
Bloomington road, some five miles distant.

While he went out to catch an old horse, ranging loose in the
creek-bottom, I saddled Peck, strapped on my valise, and made myself
ready for the journey. The feeling of two silver half-dollars in her
hard palm melted down the woman's aggressive mood, and she said, with a
voice the edge whereof was mightily blunted,--

"Thankee! it's too much fur sich as you had."

"It's the best you can give," I replied.

"That's so!" said she, jerking my hand up and down with a pumping
movement, as I took leave.

I felt a sense of relief when we had climbed the rise and had the open
prairie again before us. The sky was overcast and the wind strong,
but some rain had fallen during the night, and the clouds had lifted
themselves again. The air was fresh and damp, but not chill. We rode
slowly, of necessity, for the mud was deeper than ever.

I deliberated what course I should take, in order to draw from my guide
the explanation of the nightly noises. His evident shrinking, whenever
his wife referred to the subject, convinced me that a gradual approach
would render him shy and uneasy; and, on the whole, it seemed best to
surprise him by a sudden assault. Let me strike to the heart of the
secret, at once,--I thought,--and the details will come of themselves.

While I was thus reflecting, he rode quietly by my side. Half turning
in the saddle, I looked steadily at his face, and said, in an earnest
voice,--

"Eber Nicholson, who was it to whom you were married in the sight of
God?"

He started as if struck, looked at me imploringly, turned away his eyes,
then looked back, became very pale, and finally said, in a broken,
hesitating voice, as if the words were forced from him against his
will,--

"Her name is Rachel Emmons."

"Why did you murder her?" I asked, in a still sterner tone.

In an instant his face burned scarlet. He reined up his horse with a
violent pull, straightened his shoulders so that he appeared six inches
taller, looked steadily at me with a strange, mixed expression of anger
and astonishment, and cried out,--

"Murder her? _Why, she's livin' now!_"

My surprise at the answer was scarcely less great than his at the
question.

"You don't mean to say she's not dead?" I asked.

"Why, no!" said he, recovering from his sudden excitement, "she's not
dead, or she wouldn't keep on troublin' me. She's been livin' in Toledo,
these ten year."

"I beg your pardon, my friend," said I; "but I don't know what to think
of what I heard last night, and I suppose I have the old notion in my
head that all ghosts are of persons who have been murdered."

"Oh, if I had killed her," he groaned, "I'd 'a' been hung long ago, an'
there 'd 'a' been an end of it."

"Tell me the whole story," said I. "It's hardly likely that I can help
you, but I can understand how you must be troubled, and I'm sure I pity
you from my heart."

I think he felt relieved at my proposal,--glad, perhaps, after long
silence, to confide to another man the secret of his lonely, wretched
life.

"After what you've heerd," said he, "there's nothin' that I don't care
to tell. I've been sinful, no doubt,--but, God knows, there never was a
man worse punished.

"I told you," he continued, after a pause, "that I come from the Western
Reserve. My father was a middlin' well-to-do farmer,--not rich, nor yit
exactly poor. He's dead now. He was always a savin' man,--looked after
money a _leetle_ too sharp, I've often thought sence: howsever, 't isn't
my place to judge him. Well, I was brought up on the farm, to hard work,
like the other boys. Rachel Emmons,--she's the same woman that haunts
me, you understand,--she was the girl o' one of our neighbors, an' poor
enough _he_ was. His wife was always sickly-like,--an' you know it
takes a woman as well as a man to git rich farmin'. So they were always
scrimped, but that didn't hinder Rachel from bein' one o' the likeliest
gals round. We went to the same school in the winter, he an' me, ('t
isn't much schoolin' I ever got, though,) an' I had a sort o' nateral
hankerin' after her, as fur back as I can remember. She was different
lookin' then from, what she is now,--an' me, too, for that matter.

"Well, you know how boys an' gals somehow git to likin' each other afore
they know it. Me an' Rachel was more an' more together, the more we
growed up, only more secret-like; so by the time I was twenty an' she
was nineteen, we was promised to one another as true as could be. I
didn't keep company with her, though,--leastways, not reg'lar: I was
afeard my father 'd find it out, an' I knowed what _he_ 'd say to it. He
kep' givin' me hints about Mary Ann Jones,--that was my wife's maiden
name. Her father had two hundred acres an' money out at interest, an'
only three children. He'd had ten, but seven of 'em died. I had nothin'
agin Mary Ann, but I never thought of her that way, like I did towards
Rachel.

"Well, things kep' runnin' on; I was a good deal worried about it, but
a young feller, you know, don't look fur ahead, an' so I got along. One
night, howsever,--'t was jist about as dark as last night was,--I'd been
to the store at the Corners, for a jug o' molasses. Rachel was
there, gittin' a quarter of a pound o' tea, I think it was, an' some
sewin'-thread. I went out a little while after her, an' follered as fast
as I could, for we had the same road nigh to home.

"It weren't long afore I overtook her. 'T was mighty dark, as I was
sayin', an' so I hooked her arm into mine, an' we went on comfortable
together, talkin' about how we jist suited each other, like we was cut
out o' purpose, an' how long we'd have to wait, an' what folks 'd say.
O Lord! don't I remember every word o' _that_ night? Well, we got quite
tender-like when we come t' Old Emmons's gate, an' I up an' giv' her a
hug and a lot o' kisses, to make up for lost time. Then she went into
the house, an' I turned for home; but I hadn't gone ten steps afore I
come agin somebody stan'in' in the middle o' the road. 'Hullo!' says
I. The next thing he had a holt o' my coat-collar an' shuck me like a
tarrier-dog shakes a rat. I knowed who it was afore he spoke; an' I
couldn't 'a' been more skeered, if the life had all gone out o' me. He'd
been down to the tavern to see a drover, an' comin' home he'd follered
behind us all the way, hearin' every word we said.

"I don't like to think o' the words he used that night. He was a
professin' member, an' yit he swore the awfullest I ever heerd."--Here
the man involuntarily raised his hands to his ears, as if to stop them
against even the memory of his father's curses.--"I expected every
minute he'd 'a' struck me down. I've wished, sence, he _had_: I don't
think I could 'a' stood _that_. Howsever, he dragged me home, never
lettin' go my collar, till we got into the room where mother was settin'
up for us. Then he told _her_, only makin' it ten times harder 'n it
really was. Mother always kind o' liked Rachel, 'cause she was mighty
handy at sewin' an' quiltin', but she'd no more dared stan' up agin
father than a sheep agin a bull-dog. She looked at me pityin'-like, I
must say, an' jist begun to cry,--an' I couldn't help cryin' nuther,
when I saw how it hurt her.

"Well, after that, 't wa'n't no use thinkin' o' Rachel any more. I _had_
to go t' Old Jones's, whether I wanted to or no. I felt mighty mean when
I thought o' Rachel, an' was afeard no good 'd come of it; but father
jist managed things _his_ way, an' I couldn't help myself. Old Jones had
nothin' agin me, for I was a stiddy, hard-workin' feller as there was
round,--an' Mary Ann was always as pleasant as could be, _then_;--well,
I oughtn't to say nothin' agin her now; she's had a hard life of it,
'longside o' me. Afore long we were bespoke, an' the day set. Father
hurried things, when it got that fur. I don't think Rachel knowed
anything about it till the day afore the weddin', or mebby the very day.
Old Mr. Larrabee was the minister, an' there was only the two families
at the house, an' Miss Plankerton,--her that sewed for Mary Ann. I never
felt so oneasy in my life, though I tried hard not to show it.

"Well, 't was all jist over, an' the kissin' about to begin, when I
heerd the house-door bu'st open, suddent. I felt my heart give one jump
right up to the root o' my tongue, an' then fall back ag'in, sick an'
dead-like.

"The parlor-door flew open right away, an' in come Rachel without a
bunnet, an' her hair all frowzed by the wind. She was as white as a
sheet, an' her eyes like two burnin' coals. She walked straight through
'em all an' stood right afore me. They was all so taken aback that they
never thought o' stoppin' her. Then she kind o' screeched out,--'Eber
Nicholson, what are you doin'?' Her voice was strange an'
onnatural-like, an' I'd never 'a' knowed it to be hern, if I hadn't 'a'
seen her. I couldn't take my eyes off of her, an' I couldn't speak: I
jist stood there. Then she said ag'in,--'Eber Nicholson, what are you
doin'? You are married to me, in the sight of God. You belong to me an'
I to you, forever an' forever!' Then they begun cryin' out,--'Go 'way!'
'Take her away!' 'What d's she mean?' an' old Mr. Larrabee ketched holt
of her arm. She begun to jerk an' trimble all over; she drawed in her
breath in a sort o' groanin' way, awful to hear, an' then dropped down
on the floor in a fit. I bu'st out in a terrible spell o' cryin';--I
couldn't 'a' helped it, to save my life."

The man paused, drew his sleeve across his eyes, and then timidly looked
at me. Seeing nothing in my face, doubtless, but an expression of the
profoundest commiseration, he remarked, with a more assured voice, as if
in self-justification,--

"It was a pretty hard thing for a man to go through with, now, wasn't
it?"

"You may well say that," said I. "Your story is not yet finished,
however. This Rachel Emmons,--you say she is still living,--in what way
does she cause the disturbances?"

"I'll tell you all I know about it," said he,--"an' if you understand
it _then_, you're wiser 'n I am. After they carried her home, she had a
long spell o' sickness,--come near dyin', they said; but they brought
her through, at last, an' she got about ag'in, lookin' ten year older.
I kep' out of her sight, though. I lived awhile at Old Jones's, till I
could find a good farm to rent, or a cheap un to buy. I wanted to git
out o' the neighborhood: I was oneasy all the time, bein' so near
Rachel. Her mother was wuss, an' her father failin'-like, too. Mother
seen 'em often: she was as good a neighbor to 'em as she dared be. Well,
I got sort o' tired, an' went out to Michigan an' bought a likely farm.
Old Jones giv' me a start. I took Mary Ann out, an' we got along well
enough, a matter o' two year. We heerd from home now an' then. Rachel's
father an' mother both died, about the time we had our first boy,--him
that you seen,--an' she went off to Toledo, we heerd, an' hired out to
do sewin'. She was always a mighty good hand at it, an' could cut out as
nice as a born manty-maker. She'd had another fit after the funerals,
an' was older-lookin' an' more serious than ever, they said.

"Well, Jimmy was six months old, or so, when we begun to be woke up
every night by his cryin'. Nothin' seemed to be the matter with him:
he was only frightened-like, an' couldn't be quieted. I heerd noises
sometimes,--nothin' like what come afterwards,--but sort o' crackin' an'
snappin', sich as you hear in new furnitur', an' it seemed like somebody
was in the room; but I couldn't find nothin'. It got wuss and wuss: Mary
Ann was sure the house was haunted, an' I had to let her go home for a
whole winter. When she was away, it went on the same as ever,--not every
night,--sometimes not more 'n onst a week,--but so loud as to wake me
up, reg'lar. I sent word to Mary Ann to come on, an' I'd sell out an' go
to Illinois. Good perairah land was cheap then, an' I'd ruther go furder
off, for the sake o' quiet.

"So we pulled up stakes an' come out here: but it weren't long afore the
noise follered us, wuss 'n ever, an' we found out at last what it was.
One night I woke up, with my hair stan'in' on end, an' heerd Rachel
Emmons's voice, jist as you heerd it last night. Mary Ann heerd it too,
an' it's little peace she's giv' me sence that time. An' so it's been
goin' on an' on, these eight or nine year."

"But," I asked, "are you sure she is alive? Have you seen her since?
Have you asked her to be merciful and not disturb you?"

"Yes," said he, with a bitterness of tone which seemed quite to
obliterate the softer memories of his love, "I've seen her, an' I've
begged her on my knees to let me alone; but it's no use. When it got to
be so bad I couldn't stan' it, I sent her a letter, but I never got no
answer. Next year, when our second boy died, frightened and worried to
death, I believe, though he _was_ scrawny enough when he was born, I
took some money I'd saved to buy a yoke of oxen, an' went to Toledo o'
purpose to see Rachel. It cut me awful to do it, but I was desprit. I
found her livin' in a little house, with a bit o' garden, she'd bought.
I s'pose she must 'a' had five or six hundred dollars when the farm was
sold, an' she made a good deal by sewin', besides. She was settin' at
her work when I went in, an' knowed me at onst, though I don't believe
I'd ever 'a' knowed _her_. She was old, an' thin, an' hard-lookin'; her
mouth was pale an' sot, like she was bitin' somethin' all the time; an'
her eyes, though they was sunk into her head, seemed to look through an'
through an' away out th' other side o' you.

"It jist shut me up when she looked at me. She was so corpse-like I was
afraid she'd drop dead, then and there: but I made out at last to say,
'Rachel, I've come all the way from Illinois to see you.' She kep'
lookin' straight at me, never sayin' a word. 'Rachel,' says I, 'I know
I've acted bad towards you. God knows I didn't mean to do it. I don't
blame you for payin' it back to me the way you're doin', but Mary Ann
an' the boy never done you no harm. I've come all the way o' purpose
to ask your forgiveness, hopin' you'll be satisfied with what's _been_
done, an' leave off bearin' malice agin us.' She looked kind o'
sorrowful-like, but drawed a deep breath, an' shuck her head, 'Oh,
Rachel,' says I,--an' afore I knowed it I was right down on my knees at
her feet,--'Rachel, don't be so hard on me. I'm the onhappiest man that
lives. I can't stan' it no longer. Rachel, you didn't use to be so
cruel, when we was boys an' girls together. Do forgive me, an' leave
off' hauntin' me so.'

"Then she spoke up, at last, an' says she,--

"'Eber Nicholson, I was married to you, in the sight o' God!'

"'I know it,' says I; 'you say it to me every night; an' it wasn't my
doin's that you're not my wife now: but, Rachel, if I'd 'a' betrayed
you, an' ruined you, an' killed you, God couldn't 'a' punished me wuss
than you're a-punishin' me.'

"She giv' a kind o' groan, an' two tears run down her white face. 'Eber
Nicholson,' says she, 'ask God to help you, for I can't. There might 'a'
been a time,' says she, 'when I could 'a' done it, but it's too late
now.'

"'Don't say that, Rachel,' says I; 'it's never too late to be merciful
an' forgivin'.'

"'It doesn't depend on myself,' says she; 'I'm _sent_ to you. It's th'
only comfort I have in life to be near you; but I'd give up that, if I
could. Pray to God to let me die, for then we shall both have rest.'

"An' that was all I could git out of her.

"I come home ag'in, knowin' I'd spent my money for nothin'. Sence then,
it's been jist the same as before,--not reg'lar every night, but sort o'
comes on by spells, an' then stops three or four days, an' then comes
on ag'in. Fact is, what's the use o' livin' in this way? We can't be
neighborly; we're afeard to have anybody come to see us; we've got no
peace, no comfort o' bein' together, an' no heart to work an' git ahead,
like other folks. It's jist killin' me, body an' soul."

Here the poor wretch fairly broke down, bursting suddenly into an
uncontrollable fit of weeping. I waited quietly until the violence of
his passion had subsided. A misery so strange, so completely out of the
range of human experience, so hopeless apparently, was not to be reached
by the ordinary utterances of consolation. I had seen enough to enable
me fully to understand the fearful nature of the retribution which had
been visited upon him for what was, at worst, a weakness to be pitied,
rather than a sin to be chastised. "Never was a man worse punished," he
had truly said. But I was as far as ever from comprehending the secret
of those nightly visitations. The statement of Rachel Emmons, that they
were now produced without her will, overturned--supposing it to be
true--the conjecture which I might otherwise have adopted. However, it
was now plain that the unhappy victim sobbing at my side could throw no
further light on the mystery. He had told me all he knew.

"My friend," said I, when he had become calmer, "I do not wonder at your
desperation. Such continual torment as you must have endured is enough
to drive a man to madness. It seems to me to spring from the malice of
some infernal power, rather than the righteous justice of God. Have you
never tried to resist it? Have you never called aloud, in your heart,
for Divine help, and gathered up your strength to meet and defy it, as
you would to meet a man who threatened your life?"

"Not in the right way, I'm afeard," said he. "Fact is, I always tuck it
as a judgment hangin' over me, an' never thought o' nothin' else than
jist to grin and bear it."

"Enough of that," I urged,--for a hope of relief had suggested itself to
me,--"you have suffered enough, and more than enough. Now stand up to
meet it like a man. When the noises come again, think of what you have
endured, and let it make you indignant and determined. Decide in your
heart that you _will_ be free from it, and perhaps you may be so. If
not, build another shanty and sleep away from your wife and boy, so
that they may escape, at least. Give yourself this claim to your wife's
gratitude, and she will be kind and forbearing."

"I don't know but you're more 'n half right, stranger," he replied, in
a more cheerful tone. "Fact is, I never thought on it that way. It's
lightened my heart a heap, tellin' you; an' if I'm not too broke an'
used-up-like, I'll try to foller your advice. I couldn't marry Rachel
now, if Mary Ann _was_ dead, we've been druv so fur apart. I don't know
how it'll be when we're _all_ dead: I s'pose them 'll go together that
belongs together;--leastways, 't ought to be so."

Here we struck the Bloomington road, and I no longer needed a guide.
When we pulled our horses around, facing each other, I noticed that the
flush of excitement still burned on the man's sallow cheek, and his
eyes, washed by probably the first freshet of feeling which had
moistened them for years, shone with a faint lustre of courage.

"No, no,--none o' that!" said he, as I was taking out my porte-monnaie;
"you've done me a mighty sight more good than I've done you, let alone
payin' me to boot. Don't forgit the turn to the left, after crossin'
Jackson's Run. Good-bye, stranger! Take good keer o' yourself!"

And with a strong, clinging, lingering grasp of the hand, in which the
poor fellow expressed the gratitude which he was too shy and awkward
to put into words, we parted. He turned his horse's head, and slowly
plodded back through the mud towards the lonely shanty.

On my way to Bloomington, I went over and over the man's story, in
memory. The facts were tolerably clear and coherent: his narrative was
simple and credible enough, after my own personal experience of the
mysterious noises, and the secret, whatever it was, must be sought for
in Rachel Emmons. She was still living in Toledo, Ohio, he said, and
earned her living as a seamstress; it would, therefore, not be difficult
to find her. I confess, after his own unsatisfactory interview, I
had little hope of penetrating her singular reserve; but I felt the
strongest desire to see her, at least, and thus test the complete
reality of a story which surpassed the wildest fiction. After visiting
Terre Haute, the next point to which business called me, on the homeward
route, was Cleveland; and by giving an additional day to the journey, I
could easily take Toledo on my way. Between memory and expectation the
time passed rapidly, and a week later I registered my name at the Island
House, Toledo.

After wandering about for an hour or two, the next morning, I
finally discovered the residence of Rachel Emmons. It was a small
story-and-a-half frame building, on the western edge of the town, with a
locust-tree in front, two lilacs inside the paling, and a wilderness of
cabbage-stalks and currant-bushes in the rear. After much cogitation, I
had not been able to decide upon any plan of action, and the interval
between my knock and the opening of the door was one of considerable
embarrassment to me. A small, plumpish woman of forty, with peaked nose,
black eyes, and but two upper teeth, confronted me. She, certainly, was
not the one I sought.

"Is your name Rachel Emmons?" I asked, nevertheless.

"No, I'm not her. This is her house, though."

"Will you tell her a gentleman wants to see her?" said I, putting my
foot inside the door as I spoke. The room, I saw, was plainly, but
neatly furnished. A rag-carpet covered the floor; green rush-bottomed
chairs, a settee with chintz cover, and a straight-backed rocking-chair
were distributed around the walls; and for ornament there was an
alphabetical sampler in a frame, over the low wooden mantel-piece.

The woman, however, still held the door-knob in her hand, saying, "Miss
Emmons is busy. She can't well leave her work. Did you want some sewin'
done?"

"No," said I; "I wish to speak with her. It's on private and particular
business."

"Well," she answered with some hesitation, "I'll _tell_ her. Take a
cheer."

She disappeared through a door into a back room, and I sat down. In
another minute the door noiselessly reopened, and Rachel Emmons came
softly into the room. I believe I should have known her anywhere. Though
from Eber Nicholson's narrative she could not have been much over
thirty, she appeared to be at least forty-five. Her hair was streaked
with gray, her face thin and of an unnatural waxy pallor, her lips of a
whitish-blue color and tightly pressed together, and her eyes, seemingly
sunken far back in their orbits, burned with a strange, ghastly--I had
almost said phosphorescent--light. I remember thinking they must shine
like touch-wood in the dark. I have come in contact with too many
persons, passed through too wide a range of experience, to lose my
self-possession easily; but I could not meet the cold, steady gaze of
those eyes without a strong internal trepidation. It would have been the
same, if I had known nothing about her.

She was probably surprised at seeing a stranger, but I could discern no
trace of it in her face. She advanced but a few steps into the room, and
then stopped, waiting for me to speak.

"You are Rachel Emmons?" I asked, since a commencement of some sort must
be made.

"Yes."

"I come from Eber Nicholson," said I, fixing my eyes on her face.

Not a muscle moved, not a nerve quivered, but I fancied that a faint
purple flush played for an instant under the white mask. If I were
correct, it was but momentary. She lifted her left hand slowly, pressed
it on her heart, and then let it fall. The motion was so calm that I
should not have noticed it, if I had not been watching her so steadily.

"Well?" she said, after a pause.

"Rachel Emmons," said I,--and more than one cause conspired to make my
voice earnest and authoritative,--"I know all. I come to you not to
meddle with the sorrow--let me say the sin--which has blighted your
life; not because Eber Nicholson sent me; not to defend him or to
accuse you; but from that solemn sense of duty which makes every man
responsible to God for what he does or leaves undone. An equal pity
for him and for you forces me to speak. He cannot plead his cause; you
cannot understand his misery. I will not ask by what wonderful power you
continue to torment his life; I will not even doubt that you pity while
you afflict him; but I ask you to reflect whether the selfishness of
your sorrow may not have hardened your heart, and blinded you to that
consolation which God offers to those who humbly seek it. You say that
you are married to Eber Nicholson, in His sight. Think, Rachel Emmons,
think of that moment when you will stand before His awful bar, and the
poor, broken, suffering soul, whom your forgiveness might still make
yours in the holy marriage of heaven, shrinks from you with fear and
pain, as in the remembered persecutions of earth!"

The words came hot from my very heart, and the ice-crust of years under
which hers lay benumbed gave way before them. She trembled slightly;
and the same sad, hopeless moan which I had heard at midnight in the
Illinois shanty came from her lips. She sank into a chair, letting her
hands fall heavily at her side. There was no movement of her features,
yet I saw that her waxy cheeks were moist, as with the slow ooze of
tears so long unshed that they had forgotten their natural flow.

"I do pity him," she murmured at last, "and I believe I forgive him;
but, oh! I've become an instrument of wrath for the punishment of both."

If any feeling of reproof still lingered in my mind, her appearance
disarmed me at once. I felt nothing but pity for her forlorn, helpless
state. It was the apathy of despair, rather than the coldness of
cherished malice, which had so frozen her life. Still, the mystery of
those nightly persecutions!

"Rachel Emmons," I said, "you certainly know that you still continue to
destroy the peace of Eber Nicholson and his family. Do you mean to say
that you _cannot_ cease to do so, if you would?"

"It is too late," said she, shaking her head slowly, as she clasped both
hands hard against her breast. "Do you think I would suffer, night after
night, if I could help it? Haven't I stayed awake for days, till my
strength gave way, rather than fall asleep, for _his_ sake? Wouldn't I
give my life to be free?--and would have taken it, long ago, with my own
hands, but for the sin!"

She spoke in a low voice, but with a wild earnestness which startled me.
She, then, was equally a victim!

"But," said I, "this thing had a beginning. Why did you visit him in the
first place, when, perhaps, you might have prevented it?"

"I am afraid that was my sin," she replied, "and this is the punishment.
When father and mother died, and I was layin' sick and weak, with
nothin' to do but think of _him_, and me all alone in the world, and not
knowin' how to live without him, because I had nobody left,--that's when
it begun. When the deadly kind o' sleeps came on--they used to think I
was dead, or faintin', at first--and I could go where my heart drawed
me, and look at him away off where he lived, 't was consolin', and I
didn't try to stop it. I used to long for the night, so I could go and
be near him for an hour or two. I don't know how I went: it seemed to
come of itself. After a while I felt I was troublin' him and doin' no
good to myself, but the sleeps came just the same as ever, and then I
couldn't help myself. They're only a sorrow to me now, but I s'pose I
shall have 'em till I'm laid in my grave."

This was all the explanation she could give. It was evidently one of
those mysterious cases of spiritual disease which completely baffle our
reason. Although compelled to accept her statement, I felt incapable of
suggesting any remedy. I could only hope that the abnormal condition
into which she had fallen might speedily wear out her vital energies,
already seriously shattered. She informed me, further, that each attack
was succeeded by great exhaustion, and that she felt herself growing
feebler, from year to year. The immediate result, I suspected, was a
disease of the heart, which might give her the blessing of death sooner
than she hoped. Before taking leave of her, I succeeded in procuring
from her a promise that she would write to Eber Nicholson, giving him
that free forgiveness which would at least ease his conscience, and make
his burden somewhat lighter to bear. Then, feeling that it was not in my
power to do more, I rose to depart. Taking her hand, which lay cold and
passive in mine,--so much like a dead hand that it required a strong
effort in me to repress a nervous shudder,--I said, "Farewell, Rachel
Emmons, and remember that they who seek peace in the right spirit will
always find it at last."

"It won't be many years before I find it", she replied, calmly; and the
weird, supernatural light of her eyes shone upon me for the last time.

I reached New York in due time, and did not fail, sitting around the
broiled oysters and celery, with my partners, to repeat the story of the
Haunted Shanty. I knew, beforehand, how they would receive it; but the
circumstances had taken such hold of my mind,--so _burned_ me, like a
boy's money, to keep buttoned up in the pocket,--that I could no more
help telling the tale than the man I remember reading about, a great
while ago, in a poem called "The Ancient Mariner". Beeson, who, I
suspect, don't believe much of anything, is always apt to carry
his raillery too far; and thenceforth, whenever the drum of a
target-company, marching down Broadway, passed the head of our street,
he would whisper to me, "There comes Rachel Emmons!" until I finally
became angry, and insisted that the subject should never again be
mentioned.

But I none the less recalled it to my mind, from time to time, with
a singular interest. It was the one supernatural, or, at least,
inexplicable experience of my life, and I continued to feel a profound
curiosity with regard to the two principal characters. My slight
endeavor to assist them by such counsel as had suggested itself to me
was actuated by the purest human sympathy, and upon further reflection
I could discover no other means of help. A spiritual disease could be
cured only by spiritual medicine,--unless, indeed, the secret of Rachel
Emmons's mysterious condition lay in some permanent dislocation of the
relation between soul and body, which could terminate only with their
final separation.

With the extension of our business, and the increasing calls upon my
time during my Western journeys, it was three years before I again found
myself in Toledo, with sufficient leisure to repeat my visit. I had
some difficulty in finding the little frame house; for, although it
was unaltered in every respect, a number of stately brick "villas" had
sprung up around it and quite disguised the locality. The door was
opened by the same little black-eyed woman, with the addition of four
artificial teeth, which were altogether too large and loose. They were
attached by plated hooks to her eye-teeth, and moved up and down when
she spoke.

"Is Rachel Emmons at home?" I asked.

The woman stared at me in evident surprise.

"She's dead," said she, at last, and then added,--"let's see,--ain't you
the gentleman that called here, some three or four years ago?"

"Yes", said I, entering the room; "I should like to hear about her
death."

"Well,--_'twas_ rather queer. She was failin' when you was here. After
that she got softer and weaker-like, an' didn't have her deathlike
wearin' sleeps so often, but she went just as fast for all that. The
doctor said 'twas heart-disease, and the nerves was gone, too; so he
only giv' her morphy, and sometimes pills, but he knowed she'd no chance
from the first. 'Twas a year ago last May when she died. She'd been
confined to her bed about a week, but I'd no thought of her goin' so
soon. I was settin' up with her, and 'twas a little past midnight,
maybe. She'd been layin' like dead awhile, an' I was thinkin' I could
snatch a nap before she woke. All't onst she riz right up in bed, with
her eyes wide open, an' her face lookin' real happy, an' called out,
loud and strong,--'Farewell, Eber Nicholson! farewell! I've come for the
last time! There's peace for me in heaven, an' peace for you on earth!
Farewell! farewell!' Then she dropped back on the piller, stone-dead.
She'd expected it, 't seems, and got the doctor to write her will. She
left me this house and lot,--I'm her second cousin on the mother's
side,--but all her money in the Savin's Bank, six hundred and
seventy-nine dollars and a half, to Eber Nicholson. The doctor writ
out to Illinois, an' found he'd gone to Kansas, a year before. So the
money's in bank yit; but I s'pose he'll git it, some time or other."

As I returned to the hotel, conscious of a melancholy pleasure at the
news of her death, I could not help wondering,--"Did he hear that last
farewell, far away in his Kansas cabin? Did he hear it, and fall asleep
with thanksgiving in his heart, and arise in the morning to a liberated
life?" I have never visited Kansas, nor have I ever heard from him
since; but I know that the _living ghost_ which haunted him is laid
forever.

Reader, you will not believe my story: BUT IT IS TRUE.

       *       *       *       *       *


  RHOTRUDA.


  In the golden reign of Charlemaign the king,
  The three-and-thirtieth year, or thereabout,
  Young Eginardus, bred about the court,
  (Left mother-naked at a postern-door,)
  Had thence by slow degrees ascended up,--
  First page, then pensioner, lastly the king's knight
  And secretary; yet held these steps for nought,
  Save as they led him to the Princess' feet,
  Eldest and loveliest of the regal three,
  Most gracious, too, and liable to love:
  For Bertha was betrothed; and she, the third,
  Giselia, would not look upon a man.
  So, bending his whole heart unto this end,
  He watched and waited, trusting to stir to fire
  The indolent interest in those large eyes,
  And feel the languid hands beat in his own,
  Ere the new spring. And well he played his part,--
  Slipping no chance to bribe or brush aside
  All that would stand between him and the light:
  Making fast foes in sooth, but feeble friends.
  But what cared he, who had read of ladies' love,
  And how young Launcelot gained his Guenovere,--
  A foundling, too, or of uncertain strain?
  And when one morning, coming from the bath,
  He crossed the Princess on the palace-stair,
  And kissed her there in her sweet disarray,
  Nor met the death he dreamed of in her eyes,
  He knew himself a hero of old romance,--
  Not seconding, but surpassing, what had been.

  And so they loved; if that tumultuous pain
  Be love,--disquietude of deep delight,
  And sharpest sadness: nor, though he knew her heart
  His very own,--gained on the instant, too,
  And like a waterfall that at one leap
  Plunges from pines to palms, shattered at once
  To wreaths of mist and broken spray-bows bright,--
  He loved not less, nor wearied of her smile;
  But through the daytime held aloof and strange
  His walk; mingling with knightly mirth and game;
  Solicitous but to avoid alone
  Aught that might make against him in her mind;
  Yet strong in this,--that, let the world have end,
  He had pledged his own, and held Rhotruda's troth.

  But Love, who had led these lovers thus along,
  Played them a trick one windy night and cold:
  For Eginardus, as his wont had been,
  Crossing the quadrangle, and under dark,--
  No faint moonshine, nor sign of any star,--
  Seeking the Princess' door, such welcome found,
  The knight forgot his prudence in his love;
  For lying at her feet, her hands in his,
  And telling tales of knightship and emprise
  And ringing war, while up the smooth white arm
  His fingers slid insatiable of touch,
  The night grew old: still of the hero-deeds
  That he had seen he spoke, and bitter blows
  Where all the land seemed driven into dust,
  Beneath fair Pavia's wall, where Loup beat down
  The Longobard, and Charlemaign laid on,
  Cleaving horse and rider; then, for dusty drought
  Of the fierce tale, he drew her lips to his,
  And silence locked the lovers fast and long,
  Till the great bell crashed One into their dream.

  The castle-bell! and Eginard not away!
  With tremulous haste she led him to the door,
  When, lo! the courtyard white with fallen snow,
  While clear the night hung over it with stars!
  A dozen steps, scarce that, to his own door:
  A dozen steps? a gulf impassable!
  What to be done? Their secret must not lie
  Bare to the sneering eye with the first light;
  She could not have his footsteps at her door!
  Discovery and destruction were at hand:
  And, with the thought, they kissed, and kissed again;
  When suddenly the lady, bending, drew
  Her lover towards her half-unwillingly,
  And on her shoulders fairly took him there,--
  Who held his breath to lighten all his weight,--
  And lightly carried him the courtyard's length
  To his own door; then, like a frightened hare,
  Fled back in her own tracks unto her bower,
  To pant awhile, and rest that all was safe.

  But Charlemaign the king, who had risen by night
  To look upon memorials, or at ease
  To read and sign an ordinance of the realm,--
  The Fanolehen or Cunigosteura
  For tithing corn, so to confirm the same
  And stamp it with the pommel of his sword,--
  Hearing their voices in the court below,
  Looked from his window, and beheld the pair.

  Angry the king,--yet laughing-half to view
  The strangeness and vagary of the feat:
  Laughing indeed! with twenty minds to call
  From his inner bed-chamber the Forty forth,
  Who watched all night beside their monarch's bed,
  With naked swords and torches in their hands,
  And test this lover's-knot with steel and fire;
  But with a thought, "To-morrow yet will serve
  To greet these mummers," softly the window closed,
  And so went back to his corn-tax again.

  But, with the morn, the king a meeting called
  Of all his lords, courtiers and kindred too,
  And squire and dame,--in the great Audience Hall
  Gathered; where sat the king, with the high crown
  Upon his brow, beneath a drapery
  That fell around him like a cataract,
  With flecks of color crossed and cancellate;
  And over this, like trees about a stream,
  Rich carven-work, heavy with wreath and rose,
  Palm and palmirah, fruit and frondage, hung.

  And more the high hall held of rare and strange:
  For on the king's right hand Leoena bowed
  In cloudlike marble, and beside her crouched
  The tongueless lioness; on the other side,
  And poising this, the second Sappho stood,--
  Young Erexcéa, with her head discrowned,
  The anadema on the horn of her lyre:
  And by the walls there hung in sequence long
  Merlin himself, and Uterpendragon,
  With all their mighty deeds, down to the day
  When all the world seemed lost in wreck and rout,
  A wrath of crashing steeds and men; and, in
  The broken battle fighting hopelessly,
  King Arthur, with the ten wounds on his head.

  But not to gaze on these appeared the peers.
  Stern looked the king, and, when the court was met,--
  The lady and her lover in the midst,--
  Spoke to his lords, demanding them of this:
  "What merits he, the servant of the king,
  Forgetful of his place, his trust, his oath,
  Who, for his own bad end, to hide his fault,
  Makes use of her, a Princess of the realm,
  As of a mule,--a beast of burden!--borne
  Upon her shoulders through the winter's night
  And wind and snow?" "Death!" said the angry lords;
  And knight and squire and minion murmured, "Death!"
  Not one discordant voice. But Charlemaign--
  Though to his foes a circulating sword,
  Yet, as a king, mild, gracious, exorable,
  Blest in his children too, with but one born
  To vex his flesh like an ingrowing nail--
  Looked kindly on the trembling pair, and said:
  "Yes, Eginardus, well hast thou deserved
  Death for this thing; for, hadst thou loved her so,
  Thou shouldst have sought her Father's will in this,--
  Protector and disposer of his child,--
  And asked her hand of him, her lord and thine.
  Thy life is forfeit here; but take it, thou!--
  Take even two lives for this forfeit one;
  And thy fair portress--wed her; honor God,
  Love one another, and obey the king."

  Thus far the legend; but of Rhotrude's smile,
  Or of the lords' applause, as truly they
  Would have applauded their first judgment too,
  We nothing learn: yet still the story lives,
  Shines like a light across those dark old days,
  Wonderful glimpse of woman's wit and love,
  And worthy to be chronicled with hers
  Who to her lover dear threw down her hair,
  When all the garden glanced with angry blades;
  Or like a picture framed in battle-pikes
  And bristling swords, it hangs before our view,--
  The palace-court white with the fallen snow,
  The good king leaning out into the night,
  And Rhotrude bearing Eginard on her back.



GREEK LINES.


[Concluded.]


  "As when a ship, by skilful steersman wrought
  Nigh river's mouth or foreland, where the
  wind
  Veers oft, as oft so steers, and shifts her sail,--
  So varied he, and of his tortuous train
  Curl'd many a wanton wreath in sight of
  Eve
  To lure her eye."

And Eve, alas! yielded to the blandishments of the wily serpent, as we
moderns, in our Art, have yielded to the licentious, specious life-curve
of Hogarth. When I say Art, I mean that spirit of Art which has made us
rather imitative than creative, has made us hold a too faithful mirror
up to Nature, and has been content to let the great Ideal remain
petrified in the marbles of Greece.

I have endeavored to show how this Ideal may be concentrated in a
certain abstract line, not only of sensuous, but of intellectual
Beauty,--a line which, while it is as wise and subtle as the serpent, is
as harmless and loving as the sacred dove of Venus. I have endeavored
to prove how this line, the gesture of Attic eloquence, expresses the
civilization of Pericles and Plato, of Euripides and Apelles. It is now
proposed briefly to relate how this line was lost, when the politeness
and philosophy, the literature and the Art of Greece were chained to the
triumphal cars of Roman conquerors,--and how it seems to have been found
again in our own day, after slumbering so long in ruined temples, broken
statues, and cinerary urns.

The scholar who studies the aesthetical anatomy of Greek Art has
a melancholy pleasure, like a surgeon, in watching its slow, but
inevitable atrophy under the incubus of Rome. The wise, but childlike
serenity and cheerfulness of soul, so tenderly pictured in the white
stones from the quarries of Pentelicus, had, it is true, a certain
sickly, exoteric life in Magna Graecia, as Pompeii and Herculaneum have
proved to us. But the brutal manhood of Rome overshadowed and tainted
the gentle exotic like a Upas-tree. Where, as in these places,
the imported Greek could have some freedom, it grew up into a dim
resemblance of its ancient purity under other skies. It had, I think,
an elegiac plaintiveness in it, like a song of old liberty sung in
captivity. Yet there was added to it a certain fungus-growth, never
permitted by that far-off Ideal whose seeds were indigenous in the
Peloponnesus, but rather springing from the rank ostentation of Rome. In
its more monumental developments, under these new influences, the true
line of Beauty became gradually vulgarized, and, by degrees, less
intellectual and pure, till its spirit of fine and elegant reserve was
quite lost in a coarse splendor. It must be admitted, however, that the
Greek colonies of Italy expressed not a little of the old refinement
in the lamps and candelabra and vases and _bijouterie_ which we have
exhumed from the ashes of Vesuvius.

But, turning to Rome herself, the most casual examination will impress
us with the fact that there the lovely Greek lines were seized by rude
conquerors, and at once were bent to answer base and brutal uses. To
narrow a broad subject down to an illustration, let us look at a single
feature, the _Cymatium_, as it was understood in Greece and Rome. This
is a moulding of very frequent occurrence in classic entablatures, a
curved surface with a double flexure. Perhaps the type of Greek lines,
as represented in the previous paper on this subject, may be safely
accepted as a fair example of the Greek interpretation of this feature.
The Romans, on the other hand, not being able to understand and
appreciate the delicacy and deep propriety of this line, seized their
compasses, and, without thought or love, mechanically produced a gross
likeness to it by the union of two quarter-circles thus:--

[Illustration:

Greek.

Roman.]

Look upon this picture, and on this!--the one, refined, delicate,
sensitive, fastidious, severe, never repeated; the other, thoughtless,
vulgar, mathematical, common-sense, sensuous, reappearing ever with a
stolid monotony. And such is the sentiment pervading all Roman Art.
The conquerors took the _letter_ from the Greeks, but never had the
slightest feeling for its Ideal. But even this _letter_, when they
transcribed it, writhed and was choked beneath hands which knew better
the iron caestus of the gladiator than the subtile and spiritual touch
of the artist.

We can have no stronger and more convincing proof that Architecture is
the truest record of the various phases of civilization than we find in
this. There was Greek Art, living and beautiful, full of inductive power
and capacities of new expressions; and there were the boundless wealth
and power of Rome. But Rome had her own ideas to enunciate; and so
possessed was she with the impulse to give form to these ideas, to
her ostentatious brutality, her barbarous pride, her licentious
magnificence, that she could not pause to learn calm and serious lessons
from the Greeks who walked her very forums, but, seizing their fair
sanctuaries, she stretched them out to fit her standard; she took the
pure Greek orders to decorate her arches, she piled these orders one
above the other, she bent them around her gigantic circuses, till at
last they had become acclimated and lost all their peculiar refinement,
all their intellectual and dignified humanity. Every moulding, every
capital, every detail was changed. The Romans had neither time nor
inclination to bestow any love or thought on the expressiveness and
tender meaning of subordinate parts. But out of the suggestions and
reminiscences of Greek lines they made a rigid and inflexible grammar of
their own,--a grammar to suit the mailed clang of Roman speech, which,
in its cruel martial strength, sought no refinements, no delicate
inflections from a distant Acropolis. The result was the coarse splendor
of the Empire. How utterly the still Greek Ideal was forgotten in this
noisy splendor, how entirely the chaste spirituality of the Greek line
was lost in the round and lusty curves which are the _inevitable_
footprints of Sensual Life, scarcely needs further amplification. I
have referred to the Ionic capital of the Erechtheum as containing a
microcosm of Attic Art, as presenting a fair epitome of the thought and
love which Hellenic artists offered in the worship of their gods. Turn
now to the Roman Ionic, as developed in any one of the most familiar
examples of it, in the Temple of Concord, near the Via Sacra, in the
Theatre of Marcellus, or the Colosseum. What a contrast! How formal,
mechanical, pattern-like it has become! The grace of its freedom, the
intellectual reserve of its strength, the secret humanity that thrilled
through all its lines, the divine Art which obtained such sweet repose
there,--all these are gone. Quality has yielded to quantity, and nothing
is left save those external characteristics which he who runs may read,
and he who pauses to study finds cold, vacant, and unsatisfactory. What
the Ionic capital of Rome wants, and what all Roman Art wants, is _the
inward life_, the living soul, which gives a peculiar expressiveness
to every individual work, and raises it infinitely above the dangerous
academic formalism of the schools.

In view of our own architecture, that which touches our own experience
and is of us and out of us, the danger of this academic formalism
cannot be too emphatically spoken of. When one carefully examines the
transition from Greek to Roman Art, he cannot but be impressed with the
fact, that the spirit which worked in this transition was the spirit of
a vulgar and greedy conqueror. To illustrate his rude magnificence
and to give a finer glory to his triumph, by right of conquest he
appropriated the Greek orders. But the living soul which was in those
orders, and gave them an infinity of meaning, an ever-varying poetry of
expression, could not be enslaved; nor could the worshipful Love which
created them find a home under the helmet of the soldier. So they became
lifeless; they were at once formally systematized and classified,
subjected to strict proportions and rules, and cast, as it were, in
moulds. This arrangement enabled the conqueror, without waste of time in
that long contemplative stillness out of which alone the beauty of the
true Ideal arises, out of which alone man can create like a god, to
avail himself at once of the Greek orders, not as a sensitive and
delicate means of fine aesthetic expression, but as a mechanical
language of contrasts of form to be used according to the exigencies of
design. The service of Greek Art was perfect freedom; enslaved at Rome,
it became academic. Thus systematized, it is true, it awes us by the
superb redundancy and sumptuousness of its use in the temples and forums
reared by that omnipresent power from Britannia to Baalbec. But the Art
which is systematized is degraded. Emerson somewhere remarks that man
descends to meet his fellows,--meaning, I suppose, that he has to
sacrifice some of the higher instincts of his individuality when he
desires to become social, and to meet his fellows on that low level of
society, which, made up as it is of many individualities, has none of
those secret aspirations which arise out of his own isolation. Society
is a systematic aggregation for the benefit of the multitude, but great
men lift themselves above it into a purer atmosphere. As Longfellow
says, "They rise like towers in the city of God." So with Art,--when we
systematize it for the indiscriminate use of thoughtless and unloving
men, we degrade it. And a singular proof of this is found in the fact
that the Roman academical orders never have anything in them reserved
from the common ken. They are superficial. They say all that they have
to say and express all that they have to express at once, and disturb
the mind with no doubt about any hidden meaning. They are at once
understood. All their intention and purpose are patent to the most
casual observer. He does not pause to inquire what motives actuated the
architect in the composition of any Corinthian capital, because he feels
that it is made according to the dictates of a rigid school created for
the convenience of an unartistic age, and there is no individual love or
aspiration in it.

Virtually, the Roman orders died in the first century of the Christian
era. We all know how, when the authority of the Pagan schools was gone
and the stern Vitruvian laws had become lost in the mists of antiquity,
these orders gradually fell from their strict allegiance, and imbibed a
new and healthy life from that rude but earnest Romanesque spirit, as in
Byzantium and Lombardy. And we know, too, how, in after Gothic times,
the spirit of the forgotten Aphrodite, Ideal Beauty, sometimes
lurked furtively in the image of the Virgin Mary, and inspired the
cathedral-builders with somewhat of the old creative impulse of Love.
But the workings of this impulse are singularly contrasted in the
productions of the Greek and Mediaeval artists. Nature, we have seen,
offered to the former mysterious and oracular Sibylline leaves,
profoundly significant of an indwelling humanity diffused through all
her woods and fields and mountains, all her fountains, streams, and
seas. Those meditative creators sat at her feet, earnest disciples,
but gathering rather the spirit and motive of her gifts than the gifts
themselves, making an Ideal and worshipping it as a deity. But for the
cathedral-builder, Dryads and Hamadryads, Oreads, Fauns, and Naiads did
not exist,--the Oak of Dodona uttered no oracles.

  "A primrose by the river's brim
  A yellow primrose was to him,
  And it was nothing more."

To him Nature was an open book, from which he continually quoted with a
loving freedom, not to illustrate his own deep relationships with her,
but to give greater glory to that vast Power which stood behind her
beautiful text and was revealed to him in the new religion from
Palestine. He loved fruits and flowers and leaves because they were
manifestations of the Love of God; and he used them in his Art, not as
motives out of which to create abstract forms, out of which to eliminate
an ideal humanity, but to show his intense appreciation of the Divine
Love which gave them. Had he been a Pantheist, as Orpheus was, it is
probable he would have idealized these things and created Greek lines.
But believing in a distinct God, the supreme Originator of all things,
he was led to a worship of sacrifice and offerings, and needed no Ideal.
So, with a lavish hand, he appropriated the abundant Beauty of Nature,
imitating its external expressions with his careful chisel, and
suffering his sculptured lines to throw their wayward tendrils and
vagrant leaflets outside the strict limits of his spandrels. The life of
Gothic lines was in their sensuous liberty; the life of Greek lines
was in their intellectual reserve. Those arose out of a religion of
emotional ardor; these, out of a religion of philosophical reflection.
Hence, while the former were wild and picturesque, the latter were
serious, chaste, and very human.

Doubtless the nearest approach to ideal abstractions to be found in
Mediaeval Art is contained in that remarkable and very characteristic
system of foliations and cuspidations in tracery, which were suggested
by the leaf-forms in Nature. In this adaptation, when first it was
initiated in the earliest phases of Gothic, there is something like
Greek Love. The simple trefoil aperture seems a fair architectural
version of the clover-leaves. But the propriety of the use of these
clover-lines was hinted by a constructive exigency, the pointed arch.
The inevitable assimilation of the natural forms of leaves with this
feature was too evident not to be improved by such active and ardent
worshippers as the Freemasons. Thus originated Gothic tracery, which
afterwards branched out into such sumptuous and unrestrained luxury as
we find in the Decorated styles of England, the Flamboyant of France,
the late Geometric of Germany. Thus were the masons true to the zealous
and passionate enthusiasm of their religion. They used foliations, not
on account of their subjective significance, as the Greek artists did,
but on account of their objective and material applicability to the
decoration of their architecture. But no natural form was ever made
use of by a Greek artist merely because suggested by a constructive
exigency. It was the inward life of the thing itself which he saw, and
it was his love for it which made him adopt it. This love refined and
purified its object, and never would have permitted it to grow into any
wild and licentious Flamboyant under the serene and quiet skies of the
Aegean.

And so the Greek lines slept in patient marble through the long Dark
Ages, and no one came to awaken them into beautiful life again. No one,
consecrated Prince by the chrism of Nature, wandered into the old land
to kiss the Sleeping Beauty into life, and break the deep spell which
was around her kingdom.

Then came the Renaissance in the fifteenth century. But--alas that we
must say it!--it was fundamentally a Renaissance of error rather than of
truth. It was a revival of Roman Art, and not of Greek. The line which
we call Hogarth's, but which in reality is as old as human life and its
passions, was the key-note of it all. So wanton were the wreaths it
curled in the sight of the great masters of that period, that they all
yielded to its subtle fascinations and sinned,--sinned, inasmuch as they
devoted their vast powers to the revival and refinement of a sensuous
academic formalism, instead of breathing into all the architectural
forms and systems then known (a glorious material to work with) the pure
life of the Ideal. Had such men as Michel Angelo, San Gallo, Palladio,
Scamozzi, Vignola, San Michele, Bernini, been inspired by the highest
principles of Art, and known the thoughtful lines of Greece, so catholic
to all human moods, and so wisely adapted to the true spirit of
reform,--had they known these, all subsequent Art would have felt the
noble impulse, and been developed into that sphere of perfection
which we see rendering illustrious the primitive posts and lintels of
antiquity, and which we picture to ourselves in the imaginary future of
Hope as glorifying a far wider scope of human knowledge and ingenuity.

The Gothic architecture of the early part of the fifteenth century
was ripe for the spirit of healthy reform. It had been actively
accumulating, during the progress of the age of Christianity, a
boundless wealth of forms, a vast amount of constructive resources, and
material fit for innumerable architectural expressions of human power.
But in the last two centuries of this era the Love which gave life to
this architecture in its earlier developments gradually became swallowed
up in the Pride of the workman; and the luscious and abandoned luxury of
line led it farther and farther astray from the true path, till at last
it became like an unweeded garden run to seed, and there was no health
in it. In the year 1555, at Beauvais, the masonic workmen uttered their
last cry of defiance against the old things made new in Italy. Jean Wast
and François Maréchal of that town, two cathedral-builders, said,--"that
they had heard of the Church of St. Peter at Rome, and would maintain
that their Gothic could be built as high and on as grand a scale as the
antique orders of this Michel Angelo." And with this spirit they built a
wonderful pyramid over the cross of their cathedral. But, alas! it fell
in the fifth year of its arrogant pride, and this is the last we hear of
Gothic architecture in those times. Over the wild and picturesque ruins
the spirits of the old conquerors of Gaul once more strode with measured
tread, and began to set up their prevailing standards in the very
strongholds of Gothic supremacy. These conquerors trampled down the true
as well as the false in the Mediaeval _régime_, and utterly extinguished
that sole lamp of knowledge which had given light to the Ages of
Darkness and had kindled into life and beauty the cathedrals of Europe.

This was the error of the Renaissance. Its apostles would not recognize
the capacities existing in the great architecture they displaced,
for opening into a new life under the careful culture of a revived
knowledge. But they rooted it out bodily, and planted instead an exotic
of the schools. It was the re-birth of an Art _system_, which in its
former existence had developed in an atmosphere of conquest. It taught
them to kill, burn, and destroy all that opposed the progress of its
triumph. It was eminently revolutionary in its character, and its reign,
to all those multitudinous expressions of life and thought which had
arisen under the intermediate and more liberal dynasty, was one of
terror. Truly, it was a fierce and desolating instrument of reform.

It would be a tempting theme of speculation to follow in the imagination
the probable progress of a Greek, instead of a Roman Renaissance, into
such active, but misguided schools as those of Rouen and Tours in the
latter part of the fifteenth century,--of Rouen, with its Roger Arge,
its brothers Leroux, who built the old and famous Hôtel Bourgtheroulde
there, its Pierre de Saulbeaux, and all that legion of architects and
builders who were employed by the Cardinal Amboise in his castle of
Gaillon,--of Tours, with its Pierre Valence, its François Marchant, its
Viart and Colin Byart, out of whose rich and picturesque craft-spirit
arose the quaint fancies of the palaces of Blois and Chambord, and the
playfulness of many an old Flemish house-front. Such a Renaissance
would not have come among these venial sins of _naïveté_, this sportive
affluence of invention, to overturn ruthlessly and annihilate. Its
mission would inevitably have been, not to destroy, but to fulfil,--to
invest these strange results of human frailty and human power with that
grave ideal beauty which nineteen centuries before had done a good work
with the simple columns and architraves on the banks of the Ilissus, and
which, under the guidance of Love, would have made the arches and vaults
and buttresses and pinnacles of a later civilization illustrious with
even more eloquent expressions of refinement. For Greek lines do not
stand apart from the sympathies of men by any spirit of ceremonious and
exclusive rigor, as is undeniably the case with those which were adopted
from Rome. They are not a _system_, but a _sentiment_, which, wisely
directed, might creep into the heart of any condition of society, and
leaven all its architecture with a purifying and pervading power without
destroying its independence, where an inflexible system could assume a
position only by tyrannous oppression.

Yet when we examine the works of the Renaissance, after the system had
become more manageable and acclimated under later Italian and French
hands, we cannot but admire the skill with which the lightest fancies
and the most various expressions of human contrivance were reconciled to
the formal rules and proportions of the Roman orders. The Renaissance
palaces and civil buildings of the South and West of Europe are so full
of ingenuity, and the irrepressible inventive power of the artist moves
with so much freedom and grace among the stubborn lines of that revived
architecture, that we cannot but regard the results with a sort of
scholastic pride and pleasure. We cannot but ask ourselves, If the
spirit of those architects could obtain so much liberty under the
restrictions of such an unnatural and unnecessary despotism, what would
have been the result, if they had been put in possession of the very
principles of Hellenic Art, instead of these dangerous and complex
models of Rome, which were so far removed from the purity and simplicity
of their origin? Up to a late day, the great aim of the Renaissance has
been to interpret an advanced civilization with the sensuous line; and
_so far as this line is capable of such expression_, the result has been
satisfactory.

Thus four more weary centuries were added to the fruitless slumbers
of Ideal Beauty among the temples of Greece. Meanwhile, in turn, the
Byzantine, the Northman, the Frank, the Turk, and finally the bombarding
Venetian, left their rude invading footprints among her most cherished
haunts, and defiled her very sanctuary with the brutal touch of
barbarous conquest. But the kiss which was to dissolve this enchantment
was one of Love; and not Love, but cold indifference, or even scorn,
was in the hearts of the rude warriors. So she slept on undisturbed in
spirit, though broken and shattered in the external type, and it was
reserved for a distant future to be made beautiful by her disenchantment
and awakening.

In 1672, a pupil of the artist Lebrun, Jacques Carrey, accompanied the
Marquis Ollier de Nointee, ambassador of Louis XIV., to Constantinople.
On his way he spent two months at Athens, making drawings of the
Parthenon, then in an excellent state of preservation. These drawings,
more useful in an archaeological than an artistic point of view, are
now preserved in the Bibliothèque Impériale of Paris. In 1676, two
distinguished travellers, one a Frenchman, Dr. Spon, the other an
Englishman, Sir George Wheler, tarried at Athens, and gave valuable
testimony, in terms of boundless admiration, to the beauty and splendor
of the temples of the Acropolis and its neighborhood, then quite unknown
to the world. Other travellers followed these pioneers in the traces of
that old civilization. But in 1687 Königsmark and his Venetian forces
threw their hideous bombshells among the exquisite temples of the
Acropolis, and, igniting thereby the powder-magazine with which the
Turks had desecrated the Parthenon, tore into ruins that loveliest of
the lovely creations of Hellas. It was not until the publishing of the
famous work of Stuart and Revett on "The Antiquities of Athens," in
1762, that the world was made familiar with the external expressions
of Greek Architecture. This publication at once created a curious
revolution in the practice of architecture,--a revolution extending in
its effects throughout Europe. A fever arose to reproduce Greek temples;
and to such an extent was this vacant and thoughtless reproduction
carried out, that at one time it bid fair to supplant the older
Renaissance. The spirit of the new Renaissance, however, was one of mere
imitation, and had not the elements of life and power to insure its
ultimate success. No attempt was made to acclimate the exotic to suit
the new conditions it was thus suddenly called upon to fulfil; for the
_sentiment_ which actuated it, and the Love with which it was created,
were not understood. It was the mere setting up of old forms in new
places; and the Grecian porticos and pediments and columns, which were
multiplied everywhere from the models supplied by Stuart and Revett,
and found their way profusely into this New World, still stare upon us
gravely with strange alien looks. The impetuous current of modern life
beats impatiently against that cumbrous solidity of peristyle which
sheltered well in its day the serene philosophers of the Agora, but
which is now the merest impediment in the way of modern traffic and
modern necessities. But presently the spirit of formalism, engendered by
the old Renaissance, took hold of the revived Greek lines, and
stiffened them into acquiescence with a base mathematical system, which
effectually deprived them of that life and reproductive power which
belong only to a state of artistic freedom. They were reduced to rule
and deadened in the very process of their revival.

So the Greek Ideal, though strangely transplanted thus into the noise of
modern streets, was not awakened from its long repose by the clatter and
roaring of our new civilization. As regarded the uses of life, it still
slept in petrifactions of Pentelic marble. And when those petrifactions
were repeated in modern quarries, it was merely the shell they gave; the
spirit within had not yet broken through.

Greek lines, therefore, owed their earliest revival to the vagaries of a
capricious taste, and the desire to give zest to the architecture of the
day by their novelty. It was not for the sake of the new life there was
in them, and of that pliable spirit of refinement so suited to the wise
re-birth of ancient Love in Art. It is not surprising that some of the
more modern masters of the old Renaissance, with whom that system had
become venerable, from its universal use as the vehicle by which
the greatest artists of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries had
expressed their thoughts and inspirations, regarded with peculiar
distrust these outlandish innovations on the exclusive walks of their
own architecture. For they saw only a few external forms which the
beautiful principles of Hellenic Art had developed to fit an old
civilization; the applicability of these primary principles to the
refinement of the architectural expressions of a modern state of society
they could not of course comprehend. About the year 1786, we find Sir
William Chambers, the leading architect of his day in England, in his
famous treatise on "The Decorative Part of Civil Architecture," giving
elaborate and emphatic expression to his contempt of that Greek Art,
which had presented itself to him in a guise well suited to cause
misapprehension and error. "It must candidly be confessed," he says,
"that the Grecians have been far excelled by other nations, not only in
the magnitude and grandeur of their structures, but likewise in point of
fancy, ingenuity, variety, and elegant selection." A heresy, indeed!

Two distinguished German artists--the one, Schinkel of Berlin, born in
1781,--the other, Klenze of Munich, born in 1784--were children when
Chambers uttered these treasonable sentiments concerning Greek Art.
Later, at separate times, these artists visited Greece, and so filled
themselves with the feeling and sentiment of the Art there, so
consecrated their souls with the appreciative study of its divine Love,
that the patient Ideal at last awoke from its long slumbers, entered
into the breathing human temples thus prepared for it by the pure rites
of Aphrodite, _and once more lived_. Thus in the opening years of the
nineteenth century was a new and reasonable Renaissance, not of an
antique type, but of a spirit which had the gift of immortal youth, and
uttered oracles of prophecy to these chosen Pythians of Art.

Through Schinkel, the pure Hellenic style, only hinted at previously in
the attempts of less inspired Germans, such as Langhaus, who embodied
his crude conceptions in the once celebrated Brandenburg Gate, was
fairly and grandly revived in the Hauptwache Theatre and the beautiful
Museum and the Bauschule and Observatory of Berlin. He competed with
Klenze in a series of designs for the new palace at Athens, rich with a
truly royal array of courts, corridors, saloons, and colonnades. But the
evil fate which ever hangs over the competitions of genius was baleful
even here, and the barrack-like edifice of Gütner was preferred. His
latest conception was a design of a summer palace at Orianda, in the
Crimea, for the Empress of Russia, where the purity of the old Greek
lines was developed into the poetry of terraces and hanging-gardens and
towers, far-looking over the Black Sea. Schinkel was called the Luther
of Architecture; and the spiritual serenity which he breathed into the
pomp and ceremonious luxury of the Art of his day seems to give him some
title to this distinction. Yet, with all the freedom and originality
with which he wrought out the new advent, he was perhaps rather too
timid than too bold in his reforms,--adhering too strictly to the
original letter of Greek examples, especially with regard to the orders.
He could not entirely shake off the old incubus of Rome.

And so, though in a less degree, with Klenze. When, in 1825, Louis of
Bavaria came to the throne, he was appointed Government Architect, and
in this capacity gave shape to the noble dreams of that monarch, in the
famous Glyptothèque, the Pinacothèque, the palace, and those civil and
ecclesiastical buildings which render Munich one of the most monumental
cities of Europe. It was his confessed aim to take up the work of the
Renaissance artists, having regard to our increased knowledge of that
antique civilization of which the masters of the sixteenth century could
study only the most complex developments, and those models of Rome which
were farthest removed from the pure fountain-head of Greece. "To-day,"
he said, "put in possession of the very principles of Hellenic Art,
we can apply them to all our actual needs,--learning from the Greeks
themselves to preserve our independence, and at the same time to be duly
novel and unrestrained according to circumstances." These are certainly
noble sentiments; and one cannot but wish, that, when, in 1830, Klenze
was called upon to prepare plans for the grand Walhalla of Bavaria, he
had remembered his sublime theory and worked up to its spirit, instead
of recalling the Parthenon in his exterior and the Olympian temple of
Agrigentum in his interior. The last effort of this distinguished artist
was the building of three superb palaces for the museum of the Emperor
at St. Petersburg, finished in 1851.

The seed thus planted fell upon good ground and brought forth a
hundred-fold. Then, throughout Germany, the scholastic formalism of the
old Renaissance began to fall into disrepute, and a finer feeling for
the eloquence of pure lines began to show itself. The strict limitations
of the classic orders were no longer recognized as impassable; a
sentiment of artistic freedom, a consciousness of enlarged resources,
a far wider range of form and expression, were evident in town and
country, in civil and ecclesiastical structures; and with all this
delightful and refreshing liberty was mingled that peculiar refinement
of line which was revived from Greece and was the secret of this change.
It was not over monumental edifices alone that this calm and thoughtful
spirit was breathed, but the most playful fancies of domestic
architecture derived from it an increased grace and purity, and the
study of Love moved over them, elegant and light-footed as Camilla.

  "The flower she touched on dipped and rose,
  And turned to look at her."

This revival of Hellenic principles is now infusing life into modern
German designs; and so well are these principles beginning to be
understood, that architects do not content themselves with the mere
reproduction of that narrow range of motives which was uttered in the
temples of heroic Greece, but, under these new impulses, they gather in
for their use all that has been done in ancient or modern Italy, in the
Romanesque of Europe, in the Gothic period, in Saracenic or Arabic Art,
in all the expressions of the old Renaissance. By the very necessity
of the Greek line, they are rendered catholic and unexcluding in their
choice of forms, but fastidious and hesitating in their interpretation
of them into this new language of Art. Thus the good work is going on in
Germany, and architecture _lives_ there, thanks to those two illustrious
pilgrims who brought back from the land of epics, not only the
scallop-shells upon their shoulders, but in their hearts the
consecration of Ideal Beauty.

According to the usual custom, in the year 1827, a scholar of the École
des Beaux Arts in Paris, having achieved the distinguished honor of
being named _Grand Pensionnaire_ of Architecture for that year,--was
sent to the Académie Française in the Villa Medici at Rome, to pursue
his studies there for five years at the expense of the Government. This
scholar was Henri Labrouste. While in Italy, his attention was directed
to the Greek temples of Paestum. Trained, as he had been, in the
strictest academic architecture of the Renaissance, he was struck by
many points of difference between these temples and the Palladian
formulae which had hitherto held despotic sway over his studies. In
grand and minor proportions, in the disposition of triglyphs in the
frieze, in mouldings and general sentiment, he perceived a remarkable
freedom from the restraints of his school,--a freedom which, so far from
detracting from the grandeur of the architecture, gave to it a degree of
life and refinement which his appreciative eye now sought for in vain
among the approved models of the Academy. Studying these new revelations
with love and veneration, it was not long before the pure Hellenic
spirit, confined in the severe peristyles and cellas of the Paestum
temples, entered into his heart, with all its elastic capacities, all
its secret and mysterious sympathies for the new life which had sprung
up during its long imprisonment in those stained and shattered marbles.
Labrouste, on his return to Paris, in 1830, surprised the grave
professors of the Academy, Le Bas, Baltard, and the rest, by presenting
to them, as the result of his studies, carefully elaborated drawings
of the temples at Paestum. Witnessing, with pious horror, the grave
departures from their rules contained in the drawings of their former
favorite, they charged him with error, even as a copyist. True to their
prejudices, their eyes did not penetrate beyond the outward type, and
they at once began to find technical objections. They told him, never
did such an absurdity occur in classic architecture as a triglyph on a
corner! Palladio and the Italian masters never committed such an obvious
crime against propriety, nor could an instance of it be found in all
Roman antiquities. It was in vain that poor Labrouste upheld the
accuracy of his work, and reminded the Academy that among the Roman
models no instance had been found of a Doric corner,--that this order
occurred only so ruined that no corner was left for examination, or in
the grand circumferences of the Colosseum and the Theatre of Marcellus,
where, from the nature of the case, no corner could be. The professors
still maintained the integrity of their long-established ordinances,
and, to disprove the assertions of the young pretender, even sent
a commission to examine the temples in question. The result was a
confirmation of the fact, the ridicule of Paris, the consequent branding
of the young artist as an architectural heretic, and a continued
persecution of him by the École des Beaux Arts. Undaunted, however,
Labrouste established an _atelier_ in Paris, to which flocked many
intelligent students, sympathizing with the courage which could be
so strong in the conviction of truth as to brave in its defence the
displeasure of the powerful hierarchy of the School.

Thus was founded the new Renaissance in France; and, in this genial
atmosphere, Greek lines began to exercise an influence far more thorough
and healthy than had hitherto been experienced in the whole history of
Art. To the lithe and elegant fancy of the French this Revelation was
especially grateful. For the youth of this nation soon learned that
in these newly opened paths, their invention and sentiment, so long
straitened and confined within the severe limits of the old system,
could move with the utmost freedom, and at the same time be preserved
from licentious excess by the delicate spirit of the new lines. Thus
natural fervor, grace, and fecundity of thought found here a most
welcome outlet.

For some time the designs of the new school were not recognized in the
competitions of the École des Beaux Arts; but when, in the course of
Nature, some two or three of the more strenuous and bigoted professors
of Palladio's golden rules were removed from the scene of contest, the
_Romantique_ (for so the new system had been named) was received at
length into the bosom of the architectural church, and now it may be
justly deemed _the distinctive architectural expression of French Art_.

Labrouste was not alone in his efforts; but Duban and Constant Dufeux
seconded him with genius and energy. Most of the important buildings
which have been erected in France within the last six or eight years
have either been unreservedly and frankly in the new style, or been
refined by more limited applications of Hellenic principles. Even the
revived Mediaeval school, which, under the distinguished leadership of
M. Viollet le Duc and the lamented M. J.B.A. Lassus, has lately been
strengthened to a remarkable degree in France, and which shared with
the _Romantique_ the displeasure of the Academy,--even this has tacitly
acknowledged the power of Greek lines, and instinctively suffered them
to purify, to a certain degree, the old grotesque Gothic license. Most
of the modern buildings of Paris along the new Boulevards, around the
tower of St. Jacques, and wherever else the activity of the Emperor
has made itself felt in the improvements of the French capital, are by
masters or pupils of the _Romantique_ persuasion, and, in their design,
are distinguished by that tenderness of Love and earnestness of Thought
which are the fountains of living Art. One of the most remarkable
peculiarities of this school is, that it brings out of every mind which
studies and builds in it strong traits of individuality; so that every
work appears as if its author had something particular to express in
it,--something to say with especial grace and emphasis. The ordinary
decorations of windows and doors are not made in conventional shapes,
as of yore, but are highly idiosyncratic. The designer had a distinct
thought about this window or that door,--and when he would use his
thought to ornament these features, he idealized it with his Greek lines
to make it architectural, just as a poet attunes his thought to the
harmony and rhythm of verse. Antique prejudices, bent into rigid
conformity with antique rubrics, are often shocked at the strange
innovations of these new Dissenters from the faith of Palladio and
Philibert Delorme,--shocked at the naked humanity in the new works,
and would cover it with the conventional fig-leaves prescribed in the
homilies of Vignola. Laymen, accustomed to the cold architectural
proprieties of the old Renaissance, and habituated to the formalities
of the five orders, the prudish decorum of Italian window-dressings and
pediments and pilasters and scrolls, are apt to be surprised at such
strange dispositions of unprecedented and heretical features, that the
intention of the building in which they occur is at once patent to the
most casual observer, and the story of its destination told with the
eloquence of a poetical and monumental language. All great revolutions
have proved how hard it is to break through the crust of custom, and
this has been no exception to the rule; yet in justice it must be said
that every intelligent mind, every eye possessing the "gifted simplicity
of vision", to use a happy phrase of Hawthorne's, recognizes the truth
and wisdom there are in the blessed renovations of the _Romantique_,
and looks upon them as the sweeps of a besom clearing away the dust
and cobwebs which ages of prejudice have spread thickly around the
magnificent art of architecture.

Unlike the unwieldy and ponderous classic or Italian systems, whose
pride cannot stoop to anything beneath the haughtiest uses of life
without being broken into the whims of the grotesque and _Rococo_, the
_Romantique_ has already exhibited the graceful ease with which it may
be applied to the most playful as well as the most serious employments
of Art. It has decorated the perfumer's shop on the Boulevards with the
most delicate fancies woven out of the odor of flowers and the finest
fabrics of Nature, and, in the hands of Labrouste, has built the great
Bibliothèque Ste. Geneviève, the most important work with pure Greek
lines, and perhaps the most exquisite, while it is one of the most
serious, of modern buildings. The lore of the classics and the knowledge
of the natural world, idealized and harmonized by affectionate study,
are built up in its walls, and, internally and externally, it is a work
of the highest Art. The _Romantique_ has also been used with especial
success in funereal monuments. Structures of this character, demanding
earnestly in their composition the expression of human sentiment, have
hitherto been in most cases unsatisfactory, as they have been built
out of a narrow range of Renaissance, Egyptian and Gothic _motives_,
originally invented for far different purposes, and, since then,
_classified_, as it were, for use, and reduced to that inflexible system
out of which have come the formal restrictions of modern architecture.
Hence these _motives_ have never come near enough to human life, in its
individual characteristics, to be plastic for the expression of those
emotions to which we desire to give the immortality of stone in memory
of departed friends. The _Romantique_, however, confined to no rigid
types of external form, out of its noble freedom is capable of giving
"a local habitation and a name" to a thousand affections which hitherto
have wandered unseen from heart to heart, or been palpable only in words
and gestures which disturb our sympathies for a while and then die.
Probably the most remarkable indication of this capacity, as yet shown,
is contained in a tomb erected by Constant Dufeux in the Cimetière du
Sud, near Paris, for the late Admiral Dumont d'Urville. This structure
contains in its outlines a symbolic expression of human life, death,
and immortality, and in its details an architectural version of the
character and public services of the distinguished deceased. The finest
and most eloquent resources of color and the chisel are brought to bear
on the work; and the whole, combined by a very sensitive and delicate
feeling for proportion, thus embodies one of the most expressive elegies
ever written. The tomb of Madame Delaroche, _née_ Vernet, in the
Cimetière Montmartre, by Duban, is another remarkable instance of this
elastic capacity of Greek lines; and though taken frankly, in its
general form, from a common Gothic type, its chaste and graceful
freedom from Gothic restrictions in detail gives it a life and poetic
expressiveness which must be exceedingly grateful to the Love which
commanded its erection.

Paris thus affords us, in its modern architecture, a happy proof of the
inevitable reforming and refining tendencies of the abstract lines
of Greece, when properly understood and fairly applied. Under their
influence old things have been made new, and the coldness and hardness
of Academic Art have been warmed and softened into life. Through the
agency of the _Romantique_ school, perhaps more new and directly
symbolic architectural expressions have been uttered within the last
four years than within the last four centuries combined. Like the
gestures of pantomime, which constitute an instinctive and universal
language, these abstract lines, coming out of our humanity and rendered
elegant by the idealization of study, are restoring to architecture its
highest capacity of conveying thought in a monumental manner. One of the
most dangerous results of that eclecticism which the advanced state of
our archaeological knowledge has made the principal characteristic
of modern design consists in the fatal facility thus afforded us
of availing ourselves of vast resources of forms and combinations
ready-made to suit almost all the exigencies of composition, as we have
understood it. The public has thus been made so familiar with the set
variations of classic orders and Palladian windows and cornices, with
all manner of Gothic chamfers and cuspidations and foliations, and the
other conventional symbols of architecture, which undeniably have more
of _knowledge_ than _love_ in them,--so accustomed have the people
become to these things, that the great art of which these have been the
only language now almost invariably fails to strike any responsive chord
in the human heart or to do any of that work which it is the peculiar
province of the fine arts to accomplish. Instead of leading the age, it
seems to lag behind it, and to content itself with reflecting into our
eyes the splendor of the sun which has set, instead of facing the east
and foretelling the glory which is coming. Architecture, properly
conceived, should always contain within itself a direct appeal to the
sense of fitness and propriety, the common-sense of mankind, which is
ever ready to recognize reason, whether conveyed by the natural motions
of the mute or the no less natural motions of lines. Now history has
proved to us, as has been shown, how, when the eloquence of these
simple, instinctive lines has been used as the primary element of
design, great eras of Art have arisen, full of the sympathies of
humanity, immortal records of their age. It cannot be denied, on the
other hand, that our eclectic architecture, popularly speaking, is not
comprehended, even by the most intelligent of cultivated people; and
this is plainly because it is based on learning and archeology,
instead of that natural love which scorns the limitations of any other
_authorities and precedents_ than those which can be found in the human
heart, where the true architecture of our time is lying unsuspected,
save in those half-conscious Ideals which yearn for free expression in
Art.

Let our artists turn to Greece, and learn how, in the meditative repose
of that antiquity, these Ideals arose to life beneficent with the
baptism of grace, and became visible in the loveliness of a hundred
temples. Let them there learn how in our own humanity is the essence of
form as a language, and that _to create_, as true artists, we must
know ourselves and our own distinctive capacities for the utterance of
monumental history. After this sublime knowledge comes the necessity
of the knowledge of precedent. The great Past supplies us with the raw
material, with orders, colonnades and arcades, pediments, consoles,
cornices, friezes and architraves, buttresses, battlements, vaults,
pinnacles, arches, lintels, rustications, balustrades, piers, pilasters,
trefoils, and all the innumerable conventionalities of architecture. It
is plainly our duty not to revive and combine these in those cold and
weary changes which constitute modern design, but to make them live and
speak intelligibly to the people through the eloquent modifications of
our own instinctive lines of Life and Beauty.

The riddle of the modern Sphinx is, How to create a new architecture?
and we find the Oedipus who shall solve it concealed in our own hearts.


       *       *       *       *       *


THE ORDEAL BY BATTLE.


Virginia, which began by volunteering as peacemaker in our civil
troubles, seems likely to end by being their battleground; as Mr.
Pickwick, interfering between the belligerent rival editors, only
brought upon his own head the united concussion of their carpet-bags.
And as Dickens declares that the warriors engaged far more eagerly in
that mimic strife, on discovering that all blows were to be received
by deputy, so there is evidently an increased willingness to deal hard
knocks on both sides, in the present case, so long as it is clear that
only Virginia will take them. Maryland, under protection of our army,
adroitly contrives to shift the scene of action farther South. The Gulf
States, with profuse courtesies for the Old Dominion, consent to shift
it farther North. The Southern Confederacy has talked about
paying Richmond the "compliment" of selecting it for the seat of
government;--as if a bully, about to be lynched in his own house by the
crowd, should compliment his next-door neighbor by climbing in at his
window. It is very pleasant to have a hospitable friend; but it is
counting on his hospitality rather too strongly, when you make choice of
his apartments to be tarred and feathered in.

Thus fades the fancy of an "independent neutrality" for the Old
Dominion. It ought to fade;--for neutrality is a crime, where one's
mother's life is at stake; and the Border theory of independence only
reminds one of Pitt's definition of an independent statesman, "a
statesman not to be depended on". How sad has been the decline of
Virginia! How strange, that in 1790, of the ten American post-offices
yielding more than a thousand dollars annually, that stately old
commonwealth held five! Now "a poverty-stricken State", by confession of
her own newspapers,--beleaguered, blockaded,--with no imports but
hungry and moneyless soldiers, and no exports save fugitives of all
colors,--what has she to hope from the present warfare? Elsewhere riches
have wings; in Virginia they are yet more transitory, having legs. Two
hundred million dollars' worth of her property has become unsalable, if
not worthless, within two months. She has but two great staples: tobacco
to send North, and slaves to send South. The slaves at present go only
to the wrong point of the compass, at rates remunerative to themselves
alone; and the tobacco-trade, for this season, will not even end in
smoke.

But that which is now the condition of Virginia must ultimately be
the condition of the other seceding States. The tide of Secession has
already turned, and such tides never turn twice. The conspirators in
Maryland and Missouri had but one opportunity, and it was lost; with it
also went the whole cause of the Secessionists. For one week the North
shuddered, knowing the defenceless condition of Washington. Now no
Northern man shudders, except those whose Southern female cousins have
not yet found a refuge with the household gods of the eminent Senator
from Texas.

The man who ever doubted that the first gun fired by the insurgents
would instantly unite the nation against them knew as little of the
American people as if he were editor of the London "Times." There is no
chemical solvent like gunpowder. Even the Mexican War, utterly opposed
to the moral convictions of the majority of Northern men, swept them
away in such a current that the very party which opposed it could find
no path to the Presidency but for its chief hero. Had the present
outbreak occurred far less favorably than it has, had the discretion of
President Lincoln been much less, or that of Mr. Davis much greater,
still the unanimity would have been merely a question of time, and
the danger of Washington would have reconciled all minor feuds. The
Democratic party would inevitably have embraced the war, when once
declared; Douglas would have made speeches for it, Buchanan subscribed
money for it, and Butler joined in it; Bennett would still have floated
triumphant on the tide of zeal, and Caleb Cushing still have offered to
the Government his cavalry company of one. It is a grace not given to
any American party, to stand out long against the enthusiasm of a war.

No doubt the Secession leaders have treated us very handsomely, as to
amount of provocation. It is rare that any great contest begins by a
blow so unequivocal as the bombardment of Fort Sumter; and rare in
recent days for any set of belligerents to risk the ignominy of
privateering. But, after all, it is the startling social theories
announced by the new "government" which form the chief strength of its
enemies. Either slavery is essential to a community, or it must be fatal
to it,--there is no middle ground; and the Secessionists have taken one
horn of the dilemma with so delightful a frankness as to leave us no
possible escape from taking the other. Never, in modern days, has there
been a conflict in which the contending principles were so clearly
antagonistic. The most bigoted royal house in Europe never dreamed of
throwing down the gauntlet for the actual ownership of man by man. Even
Russia never fought for serfdom, and Austria has only enslaved nations,
not individuals. In civil wars, especially, all historic divergences
have been trivial compared to ours, so far as concerned the avowed
principles of strife. In the French wars of the Fronde, the only
available motto for anybody was the _Tout arrive en France_, "Anything
may happen in France," which gayly recognized the absurd chaos of the
conflict. In the English civil wars, the contending factions first
disagreed upon a shade more or less of royal prerogative, and it took
years to stereotype the hostility into the solid forms with which we now
associate it. Even at the end of that contest, no one had ventured to
claim such a freedom as our Declaration of Independence asserts, on
the one side,--nor to recognize the possibility of such a barbarism
as Jefferson Davis glorifies, on the other. The more strongly the
Secessionists state their cause, the more glaringly it is seen to differ
from any cause for which any sane person has taken up arms since the
Roman servile wars. Their leaders may be exhibiting very sublime
qualities; all we can say is, as Richardson said of Fielding's heroes,
that their virtues are the vices of a decent man.

We are now going through not merely the severest, but the only danger
which has ever seriously clouded our horizon. The perils which harass
other nations are mostly traditional for us. Apart from slavery,
democratic government is long since _un fait accompli_, a fixed fact,
and the Anglo-American race can no more revert in the direction of
monarchy than of the Saurian epoch. Our geographical position frees us
from foreign disturbance, and there is no really formidable internal
trouble, slavery alone excepted. Let us come out of this conflict
victorious in the field, escaping also the more serious danger of
conquering ourselves by compromise, and the case of free government is
settled past cavil. History may put up her spy-glass, like Wellington at
Waterloo, saying, "The field is won. Let the whole line advance."

There has been a foolish suspicion that the North was strong in
diplomacy and weak in war. The contrary is the case. We are proving
ourselves formidable enough in war to cover our shortcomings in
diplomacy. How narrowly we escaped demoralizing ourselves, at the last
moment before Congress adjourned, by some concession which would have
destroyed our consistency without strengthening our position! If we
could even now bind our generals to imitate our Cabinet in its admirable
and novel policy of silence,--to eschew pen and ink as carefully as if
they were in training for the Presidency! The country is safe so long as
they shut their mouths and open their batteries.

The ordeal by battle is a stern test of the solid power of a nation.
There must always be some great quality to produce great military
superiority,--skill, or daring, or endurance, or numbers, or wealth,
or all together. Except the first two, neither of these special
qualifications has been even claimed by the Secessionists; and these two
have been taken for granted with such superfluous boastfulness as to
yield strong internal evidence against the claim. Certainly their
general strategy, up to this moment, has yielded not a single evidence
of far-sighted judgment or conscious power, while it has shown decided
glimpses of weakness and indecision. Indeed, how can an army like theirs
be strong? Its members mostly unaccustomed to steady exertion or precise
organization; without mechanic skill or invention; without cash or
credit; fettered in their movements by the limited rolling stock of
their scanty railways; tethered to their own homes by the fear of
insurrection;--what element of solid strength have they, to set against
these things? In the present state of the world, strong in peace is
strong in war. In modern times an army of heroes is useless without
facilities for arming, transporting, and feeding it, to say nothing of
the more ignoble circumstance of pay. Considerations of simple political
economy render it almost impossible for a slaveholding army to be strong
collectively, nor do the habits of Southern life usually fit its members
to be strong singly.

In remembering the Battle of New Orleans, we forget that the Southwest
was then a region of hardy pioneers, such as are now rather to be sought
for in Kansas and California. The famous Tennessee riflemen of that day
were not necessarily slaveholders, and their legitimate descendants are
yet to be found among the brave men who rally round the nearest approach
to Andrew Jackson whom the State now boasts,--a tolerable fac-simile
both as to character and etymology,--Andrew Johnson. There is no need of
disparaging the personal courage of any man, and the Southern army has
some good officers,--too good, probably, in spite of themselves, to
bring to bear their clearest judgment and their best energies in
striking down the flag they have all sworn to die for. They have
eminent foreign advisers also, or one at least; for Mr. W.H. Russell,
self-appointed plenipotentiary near the Court of St. Jefferson, is
said to have lent the aid of his valuable military experience to that
commanding officer so appropriately named Captain Bragg. But, Bragg or
no brag, it is almost a moral impossibility that a slaveholding army
should be strong.

The Secessionists have suggested to us a fatal argument. "The superior
race must control the inferior." Very well; if they insist on invoking
the ordeal by battle to decide which is the superior, let it be so. It
will be found that they have made the common mistake of confounding
barbarism with strength. Because the Southern masses are as ignorant of
letters and of arts as the Scottish Highlanders, they infer themselves
to be as warlike. But even the brave and hardy Highlanders proved
powerless against the imperfect military resources of England, a century
ago, and it is not easy to see why those who now parody them should
fare better. The absence of the alphabet does not necessarily prove the
presence of strength, nor is the ignorance of all useful arts the best
preparation for the elaborate warfare of modern times. The nation is
grown well weary of this sham "chivalry," that would sell Bayard or Du
Gueselin at auction, if it could be shown that the mother of either had
a drop of marketable blood in her veins. It had always been charitably
fancied that in South Carolina at least there was some remnant of more
knightly honor, until a kind Providence sent Preston S. Brooks to dispel
the illusion. It may be possible that even a brave man, in some moment
of insane inconsistency, may commit some act which is the consummation
of all cowardice; but it is utterly and absolutely impossible that any
brave community should approve it. Time has long since carried the
perpetrator of that dastardly outrage to a higher tribunal, but nothing
can ever redeem the State of his birth from the crowning shame of its
indorsement.

It is not recorded whether the proverbial English army in Flanders lied
as terribly as they swore; the genius of the nation did not take that
direction. But if they did, they have now met their match in audacity of
falsehood. Captain Bobadil in the play, who submitted a plan of killing
off an army of forty thousand men by the prowess of twenty, each man to
do his twenty _per diem_ in successive single combats, might have raised
his proposed score of heroes among any handful of Secessionists. There
seems to be no one to stop these prodigious fellows as a party of
Buford's men were once checked by their commander, in the writer's
hearing, on their way down the Missouri River, in 1856. "Boys," quoth
the contemptuous official, "you had better shut up. Whenever we came in
sight of the enemy, you always took a vote whether to fight or run,
and you always voted to run." Then the astounding tales they have told
respecting our people, down to the last infamous fabrication of "Booty
and Beauty," as the supposed war-cry for the placid Pennsylvanians!
Booty, forsooth! In the words of the "Richmond Whig," "there is more
rich spoil within a square mile of New York and Philadelphia than can be
found in the whole of the poverty-stricken State of Virginia"; and the
imaginary war-cry suggests Wilkes's joke about the immense plunder
carried off by some freebooter from the complete pillage of seven Scotch
isles: he reëmbarked with three-and-sixpence.

It might not be wise to claim that the probable lease of life for our
soldiers is any longer than for the Secessionists, but it certainly
looks as if ours would have the credit of dying more modestly. Indeed,
the men of the Free States, as was the wont of their ancestors, have
made up their minds to this fight with a slow reluctance which would
have been almost provoking but for the astonishing promptness which
marked their action when once begun. It is interesting to notice how
clearly the future is sometimes foreseen by foreigners, while still
veiled from the persons most concerned. Thus, twelve years before the
Battle of Bunker's Hill, the Duc de Choiseul predicted and prepared for
the separation of the American colonies from England. One month after
that, the Continental Congress still clung to the belief that they
should escape a division. And so, some seven years ago, the veteran
French advocate Guépin, in a most able essay suggested by the "Burns
affair" in Boston, prophesied civil war in America within ten years.
"_Une grande lutte s'apprête donc_," he wrote; "A great contest is at
hand."

Thus things looked to foreigners, both in 1775 and in 1854, while in
both cases our people were yielding only step by step to the inevitable
current which swept events along. It is the penalty of caution, that it
sometimes appears, even to itself, like irresolution, or timidity. Not a
foolish charge has been brought against Northern energy in this contest,
that was not urged equally in the time of the Revolution. The royal
troops thought Massachusetts as easy to subdue as the South
Carolinians affect to think, and expressed it in almost the same
language:--"Whenever it comes to blows, he that can run the fastest will
think himself best off." The revolutionists admitted that "the people
abroad have too generally got the idea that the Americans are all
cowards and poltroons." A single regiment, it was generally asserted,
could march triumphant through New England. The people took no pains to
deny it. The guard in Boston captured thirteen thousand cartridges at
a stroke. The people did not prevent it. A citizen was tarred and
feathered in the streets by the royal soldiery, while the band played
"Yankee Doodle." The people did not interfere. "John Adams writes, there
is a great spirit in the Congress, and that we must furnish ourselves
with artillery and arms and ammunition, but avoid war, if possible,--if
possible." At last, one day, these deliberate people finally made up
their minds that it was time to rise,--and when they rose, everything
else fell. In less than a year afterwards, Boston being finally
evacuated, one of General Howe's mortified officers wrote home to
England, in words which might form a Complete Letter-Writer for every
army-officer who has turned traitor, from Beauregard downward,--"Bad
times, my dear friend. The displeasure I feel in the small share I have
in our present insignificancy is so great, that I do not know the thing
so desperate I would not undertake, in order to change our situation."

It is fortunate that the impending general contest has also been
recently preceded by a local one, which, though waged under
circumstances far less favorable to the North, yet afforded important
hints by its results. It was worth all the cost of Kansas to have
the lesson she taught, in passing through her ordeal. It was not the
Emigrant Aid Society which gave peace at last to her borders, nor was it
her shifting panorama of evanescent governors; it was the sheer physical
superiority of her Free-State emigrants, after they took up arms. Kansas
afforded the important discovery, as some Southern officers once naïvely
owned at Lecompton, that "Yankees _would_ fight." Patient to the verge
of humiliation, the settlers rose at last only to achieve a victory so
absurdly rapid that it was almost a new disappointment; the contest was
not so much a series of battles as a succession of steeplechases, of
efforts to get within shot,--Missouri, Virginia, and South Carolina
invariably disappearing over one prairie-swell, precisely as the
Sharp's rifles of the emigrants appeared on the verge of the next. The
slaveholders had immense advantages: many of the settlers were in league
with them to drive out the remainder; they had the General Government
always aiding them, more or less openly, with money, arms, provisions,
horses, men, and leaders; they had always the Missouri border to retreat
upon, and the Missouri River to blockade. Yet they failed so miserably,
that every Kansas boy at last had his story to tell of the company of
ruffians whom he had set scampering by the casual hint that Brown or
Lane was lurking in the bushes. The terror became such a superstition,
that the largest army which ever entered Kansas--three thousand men, by
the admission of both sides--turned back before a redoubt at Lawrence
garrisoned by only two hundred, and retreated over the border without
risking an engagement.

It is idle to say that these wore not fair specimens of Southern
companies. They were composed of precisely the same material as the
flower of the Secession army,--if flower it have. They were members of
the first families, planters' sons and embryo Wigfalls. South Carolina
sent them forth, like the present troops, with toasts and boasts and
everything but money. They had officers of some repute; and they had
enthusiasm with no limit except the supply of whiskey. Slavery was
divine, and Colonel Buford was its prophet. The city of Atchison was
before the dose of 1857 to be made the capital of a Southern republic.
Kansas was to be conquered: "We will make her a Slave State, or form a
chain of locked arms and hearts together, and die in the attempt." Yet
in the end there were no chains, either of flesh or iron,--no chains,
and little dying, but very liberal running away. Thus ended the war in
Kansas. It seems impossible that Slavery should not make in this case a
rather better fight, where all is at stake. But it is well to remember
that no Border Ruffian of Secession can now threaten more loudly, swear
more fiercely, or retreat more rapidly, than his predecessors did then.

One does not hear much lately of that pleasant fiction, so abundant a
year or two ago, that North and South really only needed to visit each
other and become better acquainted. How cordially these endearing words
sounded, to be sure, from the lips of Southern gentlemen, as they sat at
Northern banquets and partook unreluctantly of Northern wine! Can those
be the gay cavaliers who are now uplifting their war-whoops with such a
modest grace at Richmond and Montgomery? Can the privations of the
camp so instantaneously dethrone Bacchus and set up Mars? It is to be
regretted; they appeared more creditably in their cups, and one would
gladly appeal from Philip sober to Philip drunk. Intimate intercourse
has lost its charm. New York merchants more than ever desire an
increased acquaintance with the coffers of their repudiating debtors;
but so far as the knowledge of their peculiar moral traits is concerned,
enough is as good as a feast. No Abolitionist has ever dared to pillory
the slave-propagandists so conspicuously as they are doing it for
themselves every day. Sumner's "Barbarism of Slavery" seemed tolerably
graphic in its time, but how tamely it reads beside the "New Orleans
Delta"!

A Scotchman once asked Dr. Johnson what opinion he would form of
Scotland from what strangers had said of it.

"Sir," said the Doctor, "I should think it a region of the earth to be
avoided, so far as convenient."

"But how," persisted the patriot, "if you listened to what its natives
say of it?"

"Then, Sir," roared Old Obstinacy, "I should avoid it altogether."

Take the seceded States upon their own showing, and it is absurd to
suppose that they can ever resume their former standing in the nation.
Are there any stronger oaths than their generals have broken, any closer
ties to honesty than their financiers have spurned, any deeds more
damning than their legislatures have voted thanks for? No one supposes
that the individual traitors can be restored to confidence, that Twiggs
can re-dye his reputation, or any deep-sea-soundings fish up Maury's
drowned honor. But the influence of the States is gone with that of
their representatives. They may worship the graven image of President
Lincoln in Mobile; they may do homage to the ample stuffed regimentals
of General Butler in Charleston; but it will not make the nation forget.
Could their whole delegation resume its seat in Congress to-morrow, with
the three-fifths representation intact, it would not help them. Can we
ever trust them to build a ship or construct a rifle again? No time,
no formal act can restore the past relations, so long as slavery shall
live. It is easy for the Executive to pardon some convict from the
penitentiary; but who can pardon him out of that sterner prison of
public distrust which closes its disembodied walls around him, moves
with his motions, and never suffers him to walk unconscious of it
again? Henceforth he dwells as under the shadow of swords, and holds
intercourse with men only by courtesy, not confidence. And so will they.

Not that the United States Government is yet prepared to avow itself
anti-slavery, in the sense in which the South is pro-slavery. We
conscientiously strain at gnats of Constitutional clauses, while they
gulp down whole camels of treason. We still look after their legal
safeguards long after they have hoisted them with their own petards. But
both sides have trusted themselves to the logic of events, and there is
no mistaking the direction in which that tends. In times like these, men
care more for facts than for phrases, and reason quite as rapidly as
they act. It is impossible to blink the fact that Slavery is the root
of the rebellion; and so War is proving itself an Abolitionist, whoever
else is. Practically speaking, the verdict is already entered, and the
doom of the destructive institution pronounced, in the popular mind.
Either the Secessionists will show fight handsomely, or they will fail
to do so. If they fail to do it, they are the derision of the world
forever,--since no one ever spares a beaten bully,--and thenceforward
their social system must go down of itself. If, on the other hand, they
make a resistance which proves formidable and costly, then the adoption
of the John-Quincy-Adams policy of military emancipation is an ultimate
necessity, and there is nobody more likely to put it in effective
operation than a certain gentleman who lately wrote an eloquent
letter to his Governor on the horrors of slave-insurrection. No doubt
insurrection is a terrible thing, but so is all war, and every man of
humanity approaches either with a shudder. But if the truth were told,
it would be that the Anglo-Saxon habitually despises the negro because
he is _not_ an insurgent, for the Anglo-Saxon would certainly be one in
his place. Our race does not take naturally to non-resistance, and has
far more spontaneous sympathy with Nat Turner than with Uncle Tom. But
be it as it may with our desires, the rising of the slaves, in case of
continued war, is a mere destiny. We must take facts as they are.

Insurrection is one of the risks voluntarily assumed by Slavery,--and
the greatest of them. The slaves know it, and so do the masters. When
they seriously assert that they feel safe on this point, there is really
no answer to be made but that by which Traddles in "David Copperfield"
puts down Uriah Heep's wild hypothesis of believing himself an innocent
man. "But you don't, you know," quoth the straightforward Traddles;
"therefore, if you please, we won't suppose any such thing." They cannot
deceive us, for they do not deceive themselves. Every traveller who has
seen the faces of a household suddenly grow pale, in a Southern
city, when some street tumult struck to their hearts the fear of
insurrection,--every one who has seen the heavy negro face brighten
unguardedly at the name of John Brown, though a thousand miles away
from Harper's Ferry,--has penetrated the final secret of the military
weakness which saved Washington for us and lost the war for them.

It is time to expose this mad inconsistency which paralyzes common sense
on all Southern tongues, so soon as Slavery becomes the topic. These
same negroes, whom we hear claimed, at one moment, as petted darlings
whom no allurements can seduce, are denounced, next instant, as fiends
whom a whisper can madden. Northern sympathizers are first ridiculed
as imbecile, then lynched as destructive. Either position is in itself
intelligible, but the combination is an absurdity. We can understand
why the proprietor of a powder-house trembles at the sight of flint
and steel; and we can also understand why some new journeyman, being
inexperienced, may regard the peril without due concern. But we should
decide either to be a lunatic, if he in one breath proclaimed his
gunpowder to be incombustible, and at the next moment assassinated a
visitor for lighting a cigar on the premises. A slave population is
either contented and safe, or discontented and unsafe; it cannot at the
same time be friendly and hostile, blissful and desperate.

The result described is inevitable, should the Secessionists dare to
tempt the ordeal by battle long enough. If it stop short of this, it
will be because the prestige of Southern military power is so easily
broken down that there is no temptation to declare the Adams policy.
But even this consummation must have the most momentous results, and
entirely modify the whole anti-slavery movement of the nation. Should
the war cease to-morrow, it has inaugurated a new era in our nation's
history. The folly of the Gulf States, in throwing away a political
condition where the conservative sentiment stood by them only too well,
must inevitably recoil on their own heads, whether the strife last a day
or a generation. No man can estimate the new measures and combinations
to which it is destined to give rise. There stands the Constitution,
with all its severe conditions,--severe or weak, however, according to
its interpretations;--which interpretations, again, will always prove
plastic before the popular will. The popular will is plainly destined
to a change; and who dare predict the results of its changing? The
scrupulous may still hold by the letter of the bond; but since the
South has confessedly prized all legal guaranties only for the sake of
Slavery, the North, once free to act, will long to construe them, up to
the very verge of faith, in the interest of Liberty. Was the original
compromise, a Shylock bond?--the war has been our Portia. Slavery long
ruled the nation politically. The nation rose and conquered it with
votes. With desperate disloyalty, Slavery struck down all political
safeguards, and appealed to arms. The nation has risen again, ready to
meet it with any weapons, sure to conquer with any Twice conquered, what
further claim will this defeated desperado have? If it was a disturbing
element before, and so put under restriction, shall it be spared when it
has openly proclaimed itself a destroying element also? Is this to be
the last of American civil wars, or only the first one? These are the
questions which will haunt men's minds, when the cannon are all bushed,
and the bells are pealing peace, and the sons of our hearth-stones come
home. The watchword "Irrepressible Conflict" only gave the key, but War
has flung the door wide open, and four million slaves stand ready to
file through. It is merely a question of time, circumstance, and method.
There is not a statesman so wise but this war has given him new light,
nor an Abolitionist so self-confident but must own its promise better
than his foresight. Henceforth, the first duty of an American legislator
must be, by the use of all legitimate means, to weaken Slavery. _Delenda
est Servitudo_. What the peace which the South has broken was not doing,
the war which she has instituted must secure.

       *       *       *       *       *


THE UNITED STATES AND EUROPE.


The modern world differs from the world of antiquity in nothing more
than in the existence of a brotherhood of nations, which was unknown to
the ancients, who seem to have been incapable of understanding that it
was impossible for either good or evil to be confined within certain
limits. The attempts of the Persians to extend their dominion into
Europe did for a time cause some faint approach to ideas and practices
that are common to the moderns; but, as a general rule, every monarchy
or people had its own system, to which it adhered until it was worn out
by internal decay, or was overthrown by foreign conquest. It was owing
to this exclusiveness, and to the inability of ancient statesmen to work
out an international system, that the Romans were enabled to extend
their dominion until it comprehended the best parts of the world. Had
the rulers and peoples of Carthage, Macedonia, Greece, and Syria been
capable of forming an alliance for common defence, the conquests of Rome
in the East might have been early checked, and her efforts have been
necessarily confined to the North and the West. But no international
system then existed, and the rude attempts at mutual assistance that
were occasionally made, as the conquering race strode forward, were of
no avail; and the swords of the legionaries reaped the whole field. It
is singular that what is so well known to the moderns, and was known
to them at times when they were far inferior to the best races of
antiquity, should have remained unknown to the latter. The chief reason
of this want of combining power in men who have never been surpassed in
ability is to be found in the then prevailing idea, that every stranger
was an enemy. There was a total want of confidence in one another among
the peoples of the ante-Christian period. Differences of race were
augmented by differences in religion, and by the absence of strong
business interests. Christianity had not been vouchsafed to man, and
commerce had very imperfectly done its work, while war was carried on in
the most ruthless and destructive manner.

The modern world differs in this matter entirely from the ancient world;
and though the change is perfect only in Christendom, the effect of it
is felt in countries where the Christian religion does not prevail, but
into which Christian armies and Christian merchants have penetrated.
Christendom is the leading portion of the world, and is fast giving
law to lands in which Christianity is still hated. It is the policy of
Christendom that orders the world. A Christian race rules over the whole
of that immense country, or collection of countries, which is known as
India. Another Christian race threatens to seize upon Persia. Christians
from the extreme West of Europe have dictated the terms of treaties to
the Tartar lords of China; and Christians from America have led the way
in breaking through the exclusive system of Japan. Christian soldiers
have for a year past acted as the police of Syria, Christianity's early
home, but now held by the most bigoted and cruel of Mussulmans; and it
is only the circumstance that they cannot agree upon a division of the
spoil that prevents the five great powers of Europe--the representatives
of the leading branches of the Christian religion--from partitioning
the vast, but feeble Ottoman Empire. The Christian idea of man's
brotherhood, so powerful in itself, is supported by material forces so
vast, and by ingenuity and industry so comprehensive and so various in
themselves and their results, that it must supersede all others, and
be accepted in every country where there are people capable of
understanding it. From the time of the first Crusade there has been a
steady tendency to the unity of Christian countries; and notwithstanding
all their conflicts with one another, and partly as one of the effects
of those conflicts, they have "fraternized," until now there exists a
mighty Christian Commonwealth, the members of which ought to be able to
govern the world in accordance with the principles of a religion that is
in itself peace. Under the influence of these principles, the Christian
nations, though not in equal degrees, have developed their resources,
and a commercial system has been created which has enlisted the material
interests of men on the same side with the highest teachings of the
purest religion. Selfishness and self-denial march under the same
banner, and men are taught to do unto others as they would that others
should do unto them, because the rule is as golden economically as it is
morally. This teaching, however, it must be allowed, is very imperfectly
done, and it encounters so many disturbing forces to its proper
development that an observer of the course of Christian nations might be
pardoned, if he were at times to suppose there is little of the spirit
of Christianity in the ordering of the policy of Christendom, and also
that the true nature of material interests is frequently misunderstood.
Still, it is undeniable that there is a general bond of union in
Christendom, and that no part of that division of the world can be
injured or improved without all the other parts of it being thereby
affected. What is known as "the business world" exists everywhere, but
it is in Christendom that it has its principal seats, and in which its
mightiest works are done. It forms one community of mankind; and what
depresses or exalts one nation is felt by its effects in all nations.
There cannot be a Russian war, or a Sepoy mutiny, or an Anglo-French
invasion of China, or an emancipation of the serfs of Russia, without
the effect thereof being sensibly experienced on the shores of Superior
or on the banks of the Sacramento; and the civil war that is raging in
the United States promises to produce permanent consequences to the
inhabitants of Central India and of Central Africa. The wars, floods,
plagues, and famines of the farthest East bear upon the people of the
remotest West. The Oregon flows in sympathy with the Ganges; and a very
mild winter in New England might give additional value to the ice-crop
of the Neva. So closely identified are all nations at this time, that
the hope that there may be no serious difficulties between the United
States and the Western powers of Europe, as a consequence of the Federal
Government's blockade of the Southern ports of the Union, is based as
much upon the prospect of the European food-crops being small this year
as upon the sense of justice that may exist in the bosoms of the rulers
of France and England. If those crops should prove to be of limited
amount, peace could be counted upon; if abundant, we might as well make
ample preparation for a foreign war. Nations threatened with scarcity
cannot afford to begin war, though they may find themselves compelled
to wage it. A cold season in Europe would be the best security that we
could have that we shall not be vexed with European intervention in
our troubles; for then Europeans would desire to have the privilege
of securing that portion of our food which should not be needed for
home-consumption. This is the fair side of the picture that is presented
by the bond of nations. There is another side to the picture, which is
far from being so agreeable to us, and which may be called the Cotton
side; and it is because England, and to a lesser degree France, is
of opinion that American cotton must be had, that our civil troubles
threaten to bring upon us, if not a foreign war, at least grave disputes
and difficulties with those European nations with which we are most
desirous of remaining on the best of terms, and to secure the friendship
of which all Americans are disposed to make every sacrifice that is
compatible with the preservation of national honor.

From the beginning of the troubles in this country that have led to
civil war, the desire to know what course would be pursued by the
principal nations of Europe toward the contending parties has been very
strongly felt on both sides; but the feeling has been greater on the
side of the rebels than on that of the nation, because the rebellion has
depended even for the merest chance of success upon the favorable view
of European governments, and the nation has got beyond the point of
caring much for the opinions or the actions of those governments. The
Union's existence depends not upon European friendship or enmity; but
without the aid of the Old World, the new Confederacy could not look for
success, had it received twice the assistance it did from the Buchanan
administration, and were it formed of every Slaveholding State, with
not a Union man in it to wound the susceptible minds of traitors by his
presence. The belief among the friends of order was, that Europe would
maintain a rigid neutrality, not so much from regard to this country as
from disgust at the character of the Confederacy's polity, and at the
opinions avowed by its officers, its orators, and its journals, opinions
which had been most forcibly illustrated in advance by acts of the
grossest robbery. That any civilized nation should be willing to afford
any countenance, and exclusively on grounds of interest, to a band of
ruffians who avowed opinions that could not now find open supporters
in Bokhara or Barbary, was what the American people could not believe.
Conscious that the Southern rebellion was utterly without provocation,
and that it had been brought about by the arts of disappointed
politicians, most of us were convinced that the rebels would be
discountenanced by the rulers of every European state to whom their
commissioners should apply either for recognition or for assistance.
We knew the power of King Cotton was great, though much exaggerated in
words by his servile subjects; but we did not, because we could not,
believe that he was able to control the policy of old empires, to
subvert the principle of honor upon which aristocracies profess to rely
as their chief support, and to turn whole nations from the roads in
which they had been accustomed to travel. That Cotton has done this we
do not assert; but it has done not a little to show how feeble; the
regard of certain classes in Europe for morality, when adherence to
principle may possibly cause them some trouble, and perhaps lead to some
loss. If the Southern plant has not become the tyrant of Europe, as for
a long time it was of America, it has certainly done much in a brief
time to unsettle English opinion, and to convert the Abolitionists of
Great Britain, the men who could tax the whites of their empire in the
annual interest of one hundred million dollars in order that the slavery
of the blacks in that empire might come to an end, into the supporters
of American slavery, and of its extension over this continent, which
might be made into a Cotton paradise, if the supply of negroes from
Africa should not be interrupted; and the logical conclusion from the
position laid down by Lord John Russell is, that the slave-trade must
be revived, as that is what his "belligerent" friends of the Southern
Confederacy are contending for. The American people had long been
taunted by the English with their subserviency to the slaveholding
interest, and with their readiness to sacrifice the welfare of a weak
and wronged race on the altars of Mammon. Whether these taunts were
well deserved by us, we shall not stop to inquire; but it is the most
melancholy of facts, that, no sooner have we given the best evidence
which it is in our power to give of our determination to confine slavery
within its present limits, and to put an end to the abuse of our
Government's power by the slaveholders, than the Government of Great
Britain, acting as the agent and representative of the British nation,
places itself directly across our path, and prepares to tell us to
stay our hand, and not dare to meddle with the institution of slavery,
because from the success of that institution proceeds cotton, and upon
the supply of cotton not being interfered with depend the welfare and
the strength of the liberty-and-order loving and morality-and-religion
worshipping race! So far as they have dared to do it, the British
ministers have placed their country on the side of those men who have
revolted in America because they saw that they could no longer make use
of slavery to misgovern the Union; and we must wait to see how far they
are to be supported by the opinion of that country, before a distinction
can be made between the ministers and the people. Left to themselves,
and unbiased by any of those selfish motives that go to make up the sum
of politics, we have not the slightest doubt that the English people, in
the proportion of ten to one, would decide in behalf of the supporters
of freedom in this country; but we are by no means so sure that the
ministers would not be sustained, were they to plunge their country into
a third American War, and sustained, too, in sending fleets to raise
our blockade of the American coast of Africa, and armies to fight the
battles of Slavery in Virginia and the Carolinas, where British officers
stole negroes eighty years ago, and sent them to the West India markets,
and found that that kind of commerce flourished well in war. A war for
the maintenance of American slavery, and to secure for slaveholders
the full and perfect enjoyment of all the "rights" of their "peculiar"
property, would be no worse than was the war which was waged against our
ancestors of the Revolution, or than those wars which were carried on
against Republican and Imperial France, ostensibly for the preservation
of order, but really for the restoration of a despotism which cannot now
find a single apologist on earth. There is often a wide distinction to
be made between a nation and its government, as our own recent history
but too deplorably proves; and the men who govern England may be enabled
to do that now which has more than once been done by their predecessors,
array their country in support of evil against that country's sense and
wishes. We should be prepared for this, and should look the evil that
threatens us fairly in the face, as the first thing to be done to
prevent it from getting beyond the threatening-point. The words of Sir
Boyle Roche, that the best way to avoid danger is to meet it plump, are
strikingly applicable to our condition. If we would not have a foreign
war on our hands before we shall have settled with the rebels, we should
make it very clear to foreigners that to fight with us would be a sort
of business that would be sure not to pay.

That war may follow from the course which England has elected to pursue
toward the parties to our civil conflict will not appear a strange view
of affairs to those who know something of the history of Great Britain
and the United States in the early part of this century. That which the
British Government is now doing bears strong resemblance to the course
which the same Government, with different ministers, pursued toward the
United States during the war with Napoleon I., and which led to the
contest of 1812,--a contest which Franklin had predicted, and which he
said would be our War of _Independence_, as that of 1775-83 had been
our War of _Revolution_. The same ignorance of America, and the same
disposition to insult, to annoy, and to injure Americans, that were so
common under the ministries of Pitt, Portland, and Perceval, and which
move both our mirth and our indignation when we read of them long after
the tormentors and the tormented have gone to their last repose, are
exhibited by the Palmerston Ministry,--though it is but justice to Lord
Palmerston to say, that he has borne himself more manfully toward us
than have his associates. England treats us as she would not dare to
treat any European power, making an exception in our case to her
general policy, which has been, since 1815, to truckle before her
contemporaries. She has crouched before France repeatedly, when she
had much better ground for fighting her than she now has for taking
preliminary steps to fight us. We are not entitled to the same treatment
that she thinks is due to the nations of the continent of Europe. She
cannot rid herself of the feeling that we still are colonists, and that
the rules which apply to her intercourse with old nations cannot apply
to her intercourse with us, the United States having been a portion of
the British Empire within the recollection of persons yet living. No
sooner, therefore, had a state of things arisen here that seemed to
warrant a renewal of the insulting treatment that was a thing of course
in 1807, than we were made to see how hollow were those professions of
friendship for America that were not uncommon in the mouths of British
statesmen during the ten or twelve years that preceded the advent of
Secession. So long as we were deemed powerful, we received assurances of
"the most distinguished consideration"; but we have at last ascertained
that those assurances were as false as they are when they are appended
to the letter of some diplomatist who is engaged in the work of cheating
some one who is neither better nor worse than himself. It is positively
mortifying to think how shockingly we have been taken in, and that the
"cordial understanding" that had, apparently, been growing up between
the two nations was a misunderstanding throughout, though we were
sincere in desiring its existence. Perhaps, when the evidences of the
strength that we possess, in spite of Secession, shall have all been
placed before the rulers of England, they will be found less ready to
quarrel with the American people than they were a month ago. A nation
that is capable of placing a quarter of a million of men in the field in
sixty days, and of giving to that immense force a respectable degree of
consistency and organization, is worth being conciliated after having
been insulted. But would any amount of conciliation suffice to restore
the feeling that existed here when the Prince of Wales was our guest? We
fear that it would not, and that for some years to come the sentiment
in America toward England will be as hostile as it was in the last
generation, when it was in the power of any politician to make political
capital by assailing the mother-land. The belief is created that England
in her heart hates us as profoundly as ever she did, that the forty-six
years' peace has produced no change in her feeling with respect to us,
and that she is watching ever for an opportunity to gratify the grudge
of which we are the object. Practically it will matter very little
whether this belief shall be well founded or not, so long as English
ministers, whether from want of judgment or from any other cause, shall
omit no occasion for the insulting and annoying of the United States. An
opinion that is sincerely held by the people of a powerful nation is in
itself a fact of the first importance, no matter whether it be founded
in truth or not; and if the blundering of another powerful nation shall
help to maintain that opinion, that nation would have no right to
complain of any consequences that should follow from its inability to
comprehend the condition of its neighbor. This country will not submit
to the degradation which England would inflict upon it, and which no
other European nation appears inclined to aid the insular empire in
inflicting. Even Spain, proverbially foolish in her foreign policy, and
seemingly unable to get within a hundred years of the present time,
observes a decorum in the premises to which Great Britain is a stranger.

The manner of proceeding on the part of the British Government, and
the arguments which have been put forward in justification of its
pro-slavery policy, are serious aggravations of its original offence.
The first declaration of Lord John Russell, Secretary of State for
Foreign Affairs, was to the effect that England would not show any favor
to the Secessionists. His subordinate (Lord Wodehouse, Under-Secretary
of State for Foreign Affairs) was even more emphatic than his chief in
speaking to the same purpose. Suddenly, the Foreign Secretary turned
about, with a facility and promptness for which men had not been
prepared even by his rapid changes on the questions of the Russian War
and Italian Nationality, and said that the Southern Confederacy would be
recognized as a belligerent, which is, to all intents and purposes of a
practical character, the same thing as acknowledging it to be a nation.
What was the cause of this sudden change? We have only to look at the
dates of the events that, followed the fall of Fort Sumter to find an
answer. Lord John Russell believed that the capital of the United States
had fallen into the hands of the rebels, and he was anxious to please
the masters of the cotton-fields by showing them that he had not waited
to hear of their victory to behold their virtues. There was some excuse
for his belief that the raid upon Washington had succeeded; for down to
the 27th of April there was but too much reason for supposing that that
city was in serious danger of becoming the prey of the Confederates,
who might have taken it, if they had been half as forward in their
preparations for war as they were supposed to have been by the chiefs of
the British Government. But this belief that the rebels had delivered
an effective blow at the Union only places the meanness of Lord John
Russell and his associates in a worse light than we could view it in,
if they had acted solely upon principle. Their political opinions had
pledged them to oppose the principles of the Secessionists; but they
were in a hurry to give all the support they could to those principles,
because they had come to the conclusion that victory was to be with the
Secessionists. They desired to appropriate the merit of being the first
of European statesmen to welcome the destroyers of the American Union
into the family of nations. Had the event justified their expectations,
they would have gained much by their action, and would have enjoyed
whatever of glory the European world might have been disposed to accord
to the allies of American pirates.

The Royal Proclamation of May 13th, in which the neutrality of England
is peremptorily laid down, and all British subjects are forbidden to
take any part in the war "between the Government of the United States of
America and certain States calling themselves the Confederate States of
America," is a paper in many respects most offensive to the people of
this country, though probably it was better in its intention than it
is in its execution. That part of it which most concerns us is the
recognition of "any blockade lawfully and actually established by or on
behalf of either of the said contending parties." It is important to us
that the British Government has admitted our right to blockade the ports
of the rebels, provided we shall do so in force; and though Lord Derby
has exhibited his ignorance of our naval power by saying that we cannot
enforce the blockade we have declared and instituted, we shall show to
the world, before the next cotton-crop shall be ready for exportation,
that we are fully up to the work that is demanded of us, by having at
least one hundred vessels, strongly armed and well manned, employed in
watching every part of the Southern coast to which any foreign ship
would think of going with a cargo or for the purpose of receiving one.
The naval strength of the Union is as capable of vast and effective
development as its military strength; and there is no reason why we
should not have afloat, and ready for action, by the beginning of
autumn, fleets sufficient to close up the Confederate ports as
thoroughly as the Allies closed those of Russia in 1854-6, and the
advanced guard of other fleets to be made ready to contend with the
forces that insolent foreign nations may send into the waters of America
for the purpose of fighting the battles of the slaveholders.

With the single exception of the admission of the right of blockade, the
Royal Proclamation is unfriendly to the United States. It admits the
right of the Confederacy's Government to issue letters of marque, from
which it follows that American ships captured by cruisers of the rebels
could be taken into English ports, and there sold, after having been
condemned by prize courts sitting at any one of the places belonging
to the Confederacy. This is no light aid to the pirates; for there are
English ports on every sea, and on almost every one of the ocean's
tributaries. Vessels belonging to America, and captured by the
Confederacy's privateers in the Mediterranean, could be taken into
Gibraltar, into Valetta, and into Corfu, all of which are English ports.
Those captured in the Mexican Gulf and the Caribbean could be sent into
any one of the many ports that belong to England in the West Indies.
If captured in the North Atlantic, or the Baltic, or any other of the
waters of Northern Europe, they could be sent into the ports of England,
Scotland, Wales, and Ireland. In the South Atlantic are St. Helena and
Cape Town, which would afford shelter to Mr. Davis's privateers and
their prizes. In the East Indies British ports are numerous, from Aden
to the last places wrested from the Chinese, and they would be all open
to the enterprise of the Confederacy's cruisers. In the Pacific are
the English harbors on the Northwest Coast; and in Australia there are
British ports that ought, considering their origin, to be particularly
friendly to men who should enter the navy of the Secessionists. England
has in advance provided places for the transaction of all the business
that shall be necessary to render privateering profitable to the
"lawless brood" of the whole world. Into all of her thousand seaports
could the lucky Confederates go, and dispose of their captures, just as
the old Buccaneers used to sell their prizes in the ports of the English
colonies. Nor could all the efforts of all the navies of the world
prevent privateers from preying upon our commerce, as they are to be
commissioned in foreign countries, and will sail from the ports of those
countries. The East Indian seas, the Levant, and the Caribbean are the
old homes and haunts of pirates; and under the encouragement which
England is disposed to afford to piracy, for the especial benefit
of Slavery, the buccaneering business could not fail to flourish
exceedingly. True, our Government would not allow privateers to be
fitted out in our ports, during the Russian War, to prey upon the
commerce of France and England; but what of that? One good turn does
_not_ deserve another, according to the public morality of nations so
orderly and pious as are England and France.

According to the Royal Proclamation, the blockade of any one of the
Northern ports by one of the ships of the Secessionists would be as
lawful an act as the blockade of Charleston by a dozen of the Union's
cruisers; and England allows that a privateer from Pensacola could seize
an English ship that should be engaged in bringing arras to New York or
Philadelphia. Thus are the two "parties" to the war placed on the same
footing by the decision of the English Government, though the one party
is a nation having treaties with England, and engaged in maintaining the
cause of order, and the other is only a band of conspirators, who have
established their power through the institution of a system of terror,
much after the fashion of Monsieur Robespierre and his associates, whose
conduct was so offensive to all Britons seven-and-sixty years ago. But
Montgomery is much farther from England than Paris, and the French had
no cotton to tempt the British statesmen of 1793-4 to strike an account
between manufacturing and morality. Distance and time appear to have
united their powers to make things appear fair in the eyes of Russell
that inexpressibly horrible to those of "the monster Pitt."

The Royal Proclamation forbids Englishmen affording the Union assistance
in any way. No British gunmaker can sell us a weapon, no English
merchant can use one of his ships to send us the cannon and rifles we
have purchased in his country, and no English subject of any degree can
lawfully carry a despatch for our Government. Never was there--a
more forbidding state-paper put forth; and the arid language of the
Proclamation is rendered doubly disagreeable by the purpose for which
it is employed. We are placed by its terms on the level of the men of
Montgomery, who must be vastly pleased to see that they are held in as
much esteem in England as are the constitutional authorities of the
United States. If we were to seek for a contrast to this extraordinary
document, we should find it in the proclamation put forth by our own
Government at the time of the "Canadian Rebellion," and in which it was
_not_ sought to convey the impression that we had the right to regard
rebels and loyalists as men entitled to the same treatment at our hands.
It is a source of pride to Americans, that nothing in their own history
can be quoted in justification of the cold-blooded conduct of the
British Government.

It has been sought to defend the action of England by referring to
precedents. We are reminded by Lord John Russell of the acknowledgment
of the Greeks as belligerents by England; and others have pointed to her
acknowledgment of the Belgians, and of those Spanish--Americans who had
revolted against the rule of Old Spain. We cannot go into an extended
examination of these precedents, for the purpose of showing that they do
not apply to the present case; but we may say, and an examination into
the facts will be found to justify our assertion, that England was in
no such hurry to acknowledge the Greeks, the Belgians, and the
Spanish-Americans as she has been to acknowledge the Secessionists.
Years elapsed after the beginning of the struggle in Greece before the
English Government professed to regard the parties to that memorable
conflict even with indifference. The British historian of the Greek
Revolution, writing of the year 1821, says,--"Among the European
Governments, England was probably, next to Austria, the one most hostile
to Greece at that period, when her foreign policy was guided by a spirit
akin to that of Metternich; the hired organs of Ministry were loud in
defence of Islam, and gall dropped from their pens on the Christian
cause." And when, some years later, England did profess neutrality
between the "parties" to the war, it was less to prevent the Greeks
from falling into the hands of the Turks than to prevent the Turks from
falling into the hands of the Russians. Another object she had in view
was the suppression of that horrible piracy which then raged in the
Hellenic seas. She was then as anxious to suppress piracy because it was
injurious to her commerce, as, apparently, she is now anxious to promote
it because its existence would be injurious to our commerce. The famous
Treaty of London, made in 1827, the parties to which were Russia,
France, and England, was justified on the ground of "the necessity of
putting an end to the sanguinary contest which, by delivering up the
Greek provinces and the isles of the Archipelago to the disorders
of anarchy, produces daily fresh impediments to the commerce of the
European states, and gives occasion to piracies which not only expose
the subjects of the contracting powers to considerable losses, but
render necessary burdensome measures of suppression and protection."
In the autumn of the same year, an Order in Council decreed that "the
British ships in the Mediterranean should seize every vessel they saw
under the Greek flag, or armed and fitted out at a Greek port, except
such as were under the immediate orders of the Greek Government." The
object of this strong measure was the suppression of piracy. Thus
England had to interfere to put down the Greek pirates; and if she means
to insist upon there being any resemblance between the case of the
Greeks and that of the Secessionists, (President Lincoln to appear as
the Grand Turk, or Sultan Mahmoud II., the destroyer of the Janizaries,)
we should not object, so far as relates to the finale of the piece,
which is very likely, through her most injudicious action, to produce
a large crop of Selims and Abdallahs, by whom any amount of sea-roving
will be done, but as much at Britain's expense as at ours.

The case of Belgium is not at all to the point, the Dutch being by no
means anxious that the foolish arrangement made at Vienna, by which
Holland and Belgium had been formally united, should be continued,
though the House of Orange was averse to the loss of so much of its
dominions. The disputes that followed the expulsion of the Dutch from
Belgium were about details, and the whole matter was finally settled by
the action of the Great Powers, and England was not then in a condition
to decide it, had it been left for her decision. The makers of the
Kingdom of the Netherlands destroyed their own work, after it had been
found to be a bad job, and had had fifteen years and upward of fair
trial. England had no choice in the matter,--especially as the effect
of determined opposition on her part would have thrown Belgium into the
arms of France, and have brought about a French war, which would have
extended to the whole of Europe, with the revolutionists in every
country for the allies of France. Louis Philippe either would have been
overthrown very speedily after his elevation, or he would have been
enabled to wear his new crown only by placing the old _bonnet rouge_
above it.

That England recognized the Spanish-Americans is true; but why did
she recognize them? Because she had to choose between doing that and
allowing the Holy Alliance to enter upon the reconquest of the Spanish
colonies. Mr. Canning declared that he had called a new world into
existence to redress the balance of the old,--and that, if France, as
the tool of the Holy Alliance, should have Spain, it should not be
"Spain--with the Indies." This was in 1823, though it was not until 1826
that Mr. Canning made use of the language quoted; and so serious was the
matter, that our country was prepared to make common cause with England
in resisting the interference of the Allies and their dependants in the
affairs of Spanish-America. The question was one which did not relate to
English interests alone, but concerned those of the whole world; and it
was not decided with reference to the interests of any one country,
but after it had been ascertained that its decision would closely and
immediately affect the welfare of Christendom. England had to choose
between diplomatic resistance to the Continental Powers and the support
of a policy which she could not adopt without degrading herself.
Naturally she elected to resist, and she did so with success. The
Spanish-American countries, however, were freed from the rule of Spain
long before she recognized them, and Spain had not the means of subduing
them. England, therefore, did not acknowledge them as against Spain, but
as against France, and in opposition to the Holy Alliance, the decrees
of which France was engaged in enforcing at the expense of the Spanish
Constitutionalists, and which process of enforcement the French
Government was prepared to extend to Peru and Mexico, and to the whole
of that part of America which had belonged to the Spanish Bourbons. Mr.
Canning's conduct was statesmanlike, but it was also spiteful; and had
England been in the condition to send sixty thousand men to Spain,
probably the recognition of the independence of Spanish-America would
have been much longer delayed. He had to strike a blow at a mighty
enemy, and he delivered it skilfully at that enemy's only exposed point,
where it told at once, and where it is telling to this day. But his
action affords no precedent to the present rulers of England for the
treatment of our case, for he moved not until after the colonies had
achieved their independence. Now the British Government proclaims its
purpose to acknowledge the Southern Confederacy in less than a month
after the beginning of the attack on Fort Sumter, and in about a week
after it had heard of the fall of that ill-used fortress! Is there not
some difference between the two cases?

England did not admit the Poles to the honors she has allowed to the
American Secessionists, after their revolt from the Czar, in 1830-31,
though their cause was popular in that country, and they had achieved
such successes over the Russian armies as the Secessionists have not
won over the armies of the Union. Neither did she acknowledge the
Hungarians, in 1849, though they had actually won their independence,
which they would have preserved but for the intervention of Russia. It
was not for her interest that Austria should be weakened. Is it for her
interest that the United States should be weakened? Is it the purpose of
her Government to give our rebels encouragement, step by step, in order
that the American nation may be thrown back to the place it held twenty
years ago?

The Cottonocracy of England, and those who for reasons of political
interest support them, proceed erroneously, we think, when they assume
that American cotton is the chief necessary of English life, and that
without a full supply of it there must ensue great suffering throughout
the British Empire. That it would be better for England to receive her
cotton without interruption may be admitted, without its following that
she must be ruined if there should be a discontinuance of the American
cotton-trade. Men are so accustomed to think that that which is must
ever continue to be, or all will be lost, that it is not surprising that
British manufacturers should suppose change in this instance to be ruin.
They are quite ready to innovate on the British Constitution, because in
that way they hope to obtain political power, and to injure the landed
aristocracy; but the idea of change in modes of business strikes them
with terror, and hence all their wonted sagacity is now at fault.
Lancashire is to become a Sahara, because President Lincoln, in
accordance with the demands of twenty million Americans, proclaims the
ports of the rebels under blockade, and enforces that blockade with a
fleet quite sufficient to satisfy even Lord John Russell's notions as to
effectiveness. We have never believed, and we do not now believe, that
it is in the power of any part of America thus to control the condition
of England. We would not have it so, if we could, as we are sure that
the power would be abused. If America really possessed the ability to
rule England that her cotton-manufacturers assert she possesses, all
Englishmen should rejoice that events have occurred here that promise to
work out their country's deliverance from so degrading a vassalage. But
it is not so, and England will survive the event of our conflict, no
matter what that event may be. The nation that triumphed over the
Continental System of Napoleon, and which was not injured by our Embargo
Acts of fifty years ago, should be ashamed to lay so much stress upon
the value of our cotton-crop, when it has its choice of the lands of the
tropics from which to draw the raw material it requires. As to France,
it would be most impolitic in her to seek our destruction, unless she
wishes to see the restoration of England's maritime supremacy. The
French navy, great and powerful as it now is, can be regarded only as
the result of a skilful and most costly forcing process, carried on by
Bourbons, Orleanists, Republicans, and Imperialists, during forty-six
years of maritime peace. It could not be maintained against the attacks
of England, which is a naval country by position and interest. We never
could be the rival of France, but we could always be relied upon to
throw our weight on her side in a maritime war; and while our policy
would never allow of our having a very large navy in time of peace, we
have in abundance all the elements of naval power. Nor should England
be indifferent to the aid which we could afford her, were she to be
assailed by the principal nations of Continental Europe. Strike the
American Union out of the list of the nations, or cause it to be
sensibly weakened, or treat it so as to revive in force the old American
hatred of England, and it is possible that the predictions of those who
see in Napoleon III. only the Avenger of Napoleon I. may be justified by
the event.

       *       *       *       *       *


WASHINGTON AS A CAMP.


OUR BARRACKS AT THE CAPITOL.


We marched up the hill, and when the dust opened there was our Big Tent
ready pitched.

It was an enormous tent,--the Sibley pattern modified. A simple soul in
our ranks looked up and said,--"Tent! canvas! I don't see it: that's
marble!" Whereupon a simpler soul informed us,--"Boys, that's the
Capitol."

And so it was the Capitol,--as glad to see the New York Seventh Regiment
as they to see it. The Capitol was to be our quarters, and I was pleased
to notice that the top of the dome had been left off for ventilation.

The Seventh had had a wearisome and anxious progress from New York, as I
have chronicled in the June "Atlantic." We had marched from Annapolis,
while "rumors to right of us, rumors to left of us, volleyed and
thundered." We had not expected that the attack upon us would be merely
verbal. The truculent citizens of Maryland notified us that we were to
find every barn a Concord and every hedge a Lexington. Our Southern
brethren at present repudiate their debts; but we fancied they would
keep their warlike promises. At least, everybody thought, "They will
fire over our heads, or bang blank cartridges at us." Every nose was
sniffing for the smell of powder. Vapor instead of valor nobody looked
for. So the march had been on the _qui vive_. We were happy enough that
it was over, and successful.

Successful, because Mumbo Jumbo was not installed in the White House. It
is safe to call Jeff. Davis Mumbo Jumbo now. But there is no doubt that
the luckless man had visions of himself receiving guests, repudiating
debts, and distributing embassies in Washington, May 1, 1861. And as to
La' Davis, there seems to be documentary evidence that she meant to be
"At Home" in the capital, bringing the first strawberries with her from
Montgomery for her May-day _soirée_. Bah! one does not like to sneer at
people who have their necks in the halter; but one happy result of this
disturbance is that the disturbers have sent themselves to Coventry. The
Lincoln party may be wanting in finish. Finish comes with use. A little
roughness of manner, the genuine simplicity of a true soul like Lincoln,
is attractive. But what man of breeding could ever stand the type
Southern Senator? But let him rest in such peace as he can find! He and
his peers will not soon be seen where we of the New York Seventh were
now entering.

They gave us the Representatives Chamber for quarters. Without running
the gauntlet of caucus primary and election, every one of us attained
that sacred shrine.

In we marched, tramp, tramp. Bayonets took the place of buncombe. The
frowzy creatures in ill-made dress-coats, shimmering satin waistcoats,
and hats of the tile model, who lounge, spit, and vociferate there, and
name themselves M.C., were off. Our neat uniforms and bright barrels
showed to great advantage, compared with the usual costumes of the usual
_dramatis personae_ of the scene.

It was dramatic business, our entrance there. The new Chamber is
gorgeous, but ineffective. Its ceiling is flat, and panelled with
transparencies. Each panel is the coat-of-arms of a State, painted on
glass. I could not see that the impartial sunbeams, tempered by this
skylight, had burned away the insignia of the malecontent States. Nor
had any rampant Secessionist thought to punch any of the seven lost
Pleiads out from that firmament with a long pole. Crimson and gold are
the prevailing hues of the decorations. There is no unity and breadth of
coloring. The desks of the members radiate in double files from a white
marble tribune at the centre of the semicircle.

In came the new actors on this scene. Our presence here was the
inevitable sequel of past events. We appeared with bayonets and bullets
because of the bosh uttered on this floor; because of the bills--with
treasonable stump-speeches in their bellies--passed here; because of
the cowardice of the poltroons, the imbecility of the dodgers, and the
arrogance of the bullies, who had here cooperated to blind and corrupt
the minds of the people. Talk had made a miserable mess of it. The
_ultima ratio_ was now appealed to.

Some of our companies were marched up-stairs into the galleries. The
sofas were to be their beds. With their white cross-belts and bright
breastplates, they made a very picturesque body of spectators for
whatever happened in the Hall, and never failed to applaud in the right
or the wrong place at will.

Most of us were bestowed in the amphitheatre. Each desk received its
man. He was to scribble on it by day, and sleep under it by night. When
the desks were all taken, the companies overflowed into the corners and
into the lobbies. The staff took committee-rooms. The Colonel reigned in
the Speaker's parlor.

Once in, firstly, we washed.

Such a wash merits a special paragraph. I compliment the M.C.s, our
hosts, upon their water-privileges. How we welcomed this chief luxury
after our march! And thenceforth how we prized it! For the clean face
is an institution which requires perpetual renovation at Washington.
"Constant vigilance is the price" of neatness. When the sky here is not
travelling earthward in rain, earth is mounting skyward in dust. So much
dirt must have an immoral effect.

After the wash we showed ourselves to the eyes of Washington, marching
by companies, each to a different hotel, to dinner. This became one of
the ceremonies of our barrack-life. We liked it. The Washingtonians were
amused and encouraged by it. Three times a day, with marked punctuality,
our lines formed and tramped down the hill to scuffle with awkward
squads of waiters for fare more or less tolerable. In these little
marches, we encountered by-and-by the other regiments, and, most
soldierly of all, the Rhode Island men, in blue flannel blouses and
_bersaglière_ hats. But of them hereafter.

It was a most attractive post of ours at the Capitol. Spring was at its
freshest and fairest. Every day was more exquisite than its forerunner.
We drilled morning, noon, and evening, almost hourly, in the pretty
square east of the building. Old soldiers found that they rattled
through the manual twice as alert as ever before. Recruits became old
soldiers in a trice. And as to awkward squads, men that would have been
the veriest louts and lubbers in the piping times of peace now learned
to toe the mark, to whisk their eyes right and their eyes left, to drop
the butts of their muskets without crushing their corns, and all the
mysteries of flank and file,--and so became full-fledged heroes before
they knew it.

In the rests between our drills we lay under the young shade on the
sweet young grass, with the odors of snowballs and horse-chestnut blooms
drifting to us with every whiff of breeze, and amused ourselves with
watching the evolutions of our friends of the Massachusetts Eighth, and
other less experienced soldiers, as they appeared upon the field. They,
too, like ourselves, were going through the transformations. These
sturdy fellows were then in a rough enough chrysalis of uniform. That
shed, they would look worthy of themselves.

But the best of the entertainment was within the Capitol. Some three
thousand or more of us were now quartered there. The Massachusetts
Eighth were under the dome. No fear of want of air for them. The
Massachusetts Sixth were eloquent for their State in the Senate Chamber.
It was singularly fitting, among the many coincidences in the history of
this regiment, that they should be there, tacitly avenging the assault
upon Sumner and the attempts to bully the impregnable Wilson.

In the recesses, caves, and crypts of the Capitol what other legions
were bestowed I do not know. I daily lost myself, and sometimes when
out of my reckoning was put on the way by sentries of strange corps, a
Reading Light Infantry man, or some other. We all fraternized. There was
a fine enthusiasm among us: not the soldierly rivalry in discipline that
may grow up in future between men of different States acting together,
but the brotherhood of ardent fellows first in the field and earnest in
the cause.

All our life in the Capitol was most dramatic and sensational.

Before it was fairly light in the dim interior of the Representatives
Chamber, the _réveilles_ of the different regiments came rattling
through the corridors. Every snorer's trumpet suddenly paused. The
impressive sound of the hushed breathing of a thousand sleepers, marking
off the fleet moments of the night, gave way to a most vociferous
uproar. The boy element is large in the Seventh Regiment. Its slang
dictionary is peculiar and unabridged. As soon as we woke, the pit began
to chaff the galleries, and the galleries the pit. We were allowed noise
nearly _ad libitum_. Our riotous tendencies, if they existed, escaped
by the safety-valve of the larynx. We joked, we shouted, we sang, we
mounted the Speaker's desk and made speeches,--always to the point; for
if any but a wit ventured to give tongue, he was coughed down without
ceremony. Let the M.C.s adopt this plan and silence their dunces.

With all our jollity we preserved very tolerable decorum. The regiment
is _assez bien composé_. Many of its privates are distinctly gentlemen
of breeding and character. The tone is mainly good, and the _esprit de
corps_ high. If the Colonel should say, "Up, boys, and at 'em!" I know
that the Seventh would do brilliantly in the field. I speak now of its
behavior in-doors. This certainly did it credit. Our thousand did the
Capitol little harm that a corporal's guard of Biddies with mops and
tubs could not repair in a forenoon's campaign.

Perhaps we should have served our country better by a little Vandalism.
The decorations of the Capitol have a slight flavor of the Southwestern
steamboat saloon. The pictures (now, by the way, carefully covered)
would most of them be the better, if the figures were bayoneted and the
backgrounds sabred out. Both--pictures and decorations--belong to that
bygone epoch of our country when men shaved the moustache, dressed like
parsons, said "Sir," and chewed tobacco,--a transition epoch, now become
an historic blank.

The home-correspondence of our legion of young heroes was illimitable.
Every one had his little tale of active service to relate. A decimation
of the regiment, more or less, had profited by the tender moment of
departure to pop the question and to receive the dulcet "Yes." These
lucky fellows were of course writing to Dulcinea regularly, three meals
of love a day. Mr. Van Wyck, M.C., and a brace of colleagues were kept
hard at work all day giving franks and saving threepennies to the ardent
scribes. Uncle Sam lost certainly three thousand cents a day in this
manner.

What crypts and dens, caves and cellars there are under that great
structure! And barrels of flour in every one of them this month of May,
1861. Do civilians eat in this proportion? Or does long standing in the
"Position of a Soldier" (_vide_ "Tactics" for a view of that graceful
_pose_) increase a man's capacity for bread and beef so enormously?

It was infinitely picturesque in these dim vaults by night. Sentries
were posted at every turn. Their guns gleamed in the gaslight. Sleepers
were lying in their blankets wherever the stones were softest. Then in
the guard-room the guard were waiting their turn. We have not had much
of this scenery in America, and the physiognomy of volunteer military
life is quite distinct from anything one sees in European service. The
People have never had occasion until now to occupy their Palace with
armed men.


THE FOLLOWING IS THE OATH.


We were to be sworn into the service of the United States the afternoon
of April 26th. All the Seventh, raw men and ripe men, marched out
into the sweet spring sunshine. Every fellow had whitened his belts,
burnished his arms, curled his moustache, and was scowling his manliest
for Uncle Sam's approval.

We were drawn up by companies in the Capitol Square for mustering in.

Presently before us appeared a gorgeous officer, in full fig. "Major
McDowell!" somebody whispered, as we presented arms. He is a General,
or perhaps a Field Marshal, now. Promotions come with a hop, skip, and
jump, in these times, when demerit resigns and merit stands ready to
step to the front.

Major-Colonel-General McDowell, in a soldierly voice, now called the
roll, and we all answered, "Here!" in voices more or less soldierly. He
entertained himself with this ceremony for an hour. The roll over, we
were marched and formed in three sides of a square along the turf. Again
the handsome officer stepped forward, and recited to us the conditions
of our service. "In accordance with a special arrangement, made with the
Governor of New York," says the Major, "you are now mustered into the
service of the United States, to serve for thirty days, unless sooner
discharged"; and continues he, "The oath will now be read to you by the
magistrate."

Hereupon a gentleman _en mufti_, but wearing a military cap with an
oil-skin cover, was revealed. Until now he had seemed an impassive
supernumerary. But he was biding his time, and--with due respect be it
said--saving his wind, and now in a Stentorian voice he ejaculated,--

"_The following is the oath!_"

_Per se_ this remark was not comic. But there was something in the
dignitary's manner which tickled the regiment. As one man the thousand
smiled, and immediately adopted this new epigram among its private
countersigns.

But the good-natured smile passed away as we listened to the impressive
oath, following its title.

We raised our right hands, and, clause by clause, repeated the solemn
obligation, in the name of God, to be faithful soldiers of our country.
It was not quite so comprehensive as the beautiful knightly pledge
administered by King Arthur to his comrades, and transmitted to our time
by Major-General Tennyson of the Parnassus Division. We did not swear,
as they did of yore, to be true lovers as well as loyal soldiers. _Ça va
sans dire_ in 1861,--particularly when you were engaged to your Amanda
the evening before you started, as was the case with many a stalwart
brave and many a mighty man of a corporal or sergeant in our ranks.

We were thrilled and solemnized by the stately ceremony of the oath.
This again was most dramatic. A grand public recognition of a duty. A
reavowal of the fundamental belief that our system was worthy of the
support, and our Government of the confidence, of all loyal men. And
there was danger in the middle distance of our view into the future,
--danger of attack, or dangerous duty of advance, just enough to keep
any trifler from feeling that his pledge was mere holiday business.

So, under the cloudless blue sky, we echoed in unison the sentences of
the oath. A little low murmur of rattling arms, shaken with the hearty
utterance, made itself heard in the pauses. Then the band crashed in
magnificently.

We were now miserable mercenaries, serving for low pay and rough
rations. Read the Southern papers and you will see us described.
"Mudsills,"--that, I believe, is the technical word. By repeating a form
of words after a gentleman in a glazed cap and black raiment, we had
suffered change into base assassins, the offscouring of society,
starving for want of employment, and willing to "imbrue our coarse fists
in fraternal blood" for the sum of eleven dollars a month, besides hard
tack, salt junk, and the hope of a Confederate States bond apiece for
bounty, or free loot in the treasuries of Florida, Mississippi, and
Arkansas, after the war. How carefully from that day we watched the
rise and fall of United States stocks! If they should go low among
the nineties, we felt that our eleven dollars _per mensem_ would be
imperilled.

We stayed in our palace for a week or so after April 26th, the day of
the oath. That was the most original part of our duty thus far. New York
never had so unanimous a deputation on the floor of the Representatives
Chamber before, and never a more patriotic one. Take care, Gentlemen
Members of Congress! look to your words and your Acts honestly and
wisely in future! don't palter with Liberty again! it is not well that
soldiers should get into the habit of thinking they are always to
unravel the snarls and cut the knots twisted and tied by clumsy or
crafty fingers. The traitor States already need the _main de fer_,--yes,
and without the _gant de velours_. Let us beware, and keep ourselves
worthy of the boon of self-government, man by man! I do not wish to
hear, "Order arms!" and "Charge bayonets!" in the Capitol. But this
present defence of Free Speech and Free Thought ends, let us hope, that
danger forever.

When we had been ten days in our showy barracks we began to quarrel with
luxury. What had private soldiers to do with the desks of law-givers?
Why should we be allowed to revel longer in the dining-rooms of
Washington hotels, partaking the admirable dainties there?

The May sunshine, the birds and the breezes of May, invited us to
Camp,--the genuine thing, under canvas. Besides, Uncles Sam and Abe
wanted our room for other company. Washington was filling up fast with
uniforms. It seemed as if all the able-bodied men in the country were
moving, on the first of May, with all their property on their backs, to
agreeable, but dusty lodgings on the Potomac.

We also made our May move. One afternoon, my company, the Ninth, and the
Engineers, the Tenth, were detailed to follow Captain Vielé, and lay out
a camp on Meridian Hill.


CAMP CAMERON.


As we had the first choice, we got, on the whole, the best site for a
camp. We occupy the villa and farm of Dr. Stone, two miles due north of
Willard's Hotel. I assume that hotel as a peculiarly American point of
departure, and also because it is the hub of Washington,--the centre of
an eccentric, having the White House at the end of its shorter, and the
Capitol at the end of its longer radius,--moral, so they say, as well
as geometrical.

Sundry dignitaries, Presidents and what not, have lived here in times
gone by. Whoever chose the site ought to be kindly remembered for his
good taste. The house stands upon the pretty terrace commanding the
plain of Washington. From the upper windows we can see the Potomac
opening southward like a lake, and between us and the water ambitious
Washington stretching itself along and along, like the shackly files of
an army of recruits.

Oaks love the soil of this terrace. There are some noble ones on the
undulations before the house. It may be permitted even for one who is
supposed to think of nothing but powder and ball to notice one of these
grand trees. Let the ivy-covered stem of the Big Oak of Camp Cameron
take its place in literature! And now enough of scenery. The landscape
will stay, but the troops will not. There are trees and slopes of
green-sward elsewhere, and shrubbery begins to blossom in these bright
days of May before a thousand pretty homes. The tents and the tent-life
are more interesting for the moment than objects which cannot decamp.

The old villa serves us for head-quarters. It is a respectable place,
not without its pretensions. Four granite pillars, as true grit as if
the two Presidents Adams had lugged them on their shoulders all the way
from Quincy, Mass., make a carriage-porch. Here is the Colonel in the
big west parlor, the Quartermaster and Commissary in the rooms with
sliding-doors on the east, the Hospital upstairs, and so on. Other
rooms, numerous as the cells in a monastery, serve as quarters for the
Engineer Company. These dens are not monastic in aspect. The house is,
of course, a Certosa, so far as the gentler sex are concerned; but no
anchorites dwell here at present. If the Seventh disdained everything
but soldiers' fare,--which it does not,--common civility would require
that it should do violence to its disinclination for comfort and luxury,
and consume the stores sent down by ardent patriots in New York. The
cellars of the villa overflow with edibles, and in the greenhouse is a
most appetizing array of barrels, boxes, cans, and bottles, shipped here
that our Sybarites might not sigh for the flesh-pots of home. Such trash
may do very well to amuse the palate in these times of half-peace,
half-hostility; but when

  "war, which for a space does fail,
  Shall doubly thundering swell the gale,"

then every soldier should drop gracefully to the simple ration, and
cease to dabble with frying-pans. Cooks to their aprons, and soldiers to
their guns!

Our tents are pitched on a level clover-field sloping to the front
for our parade-ground. We use the old wall tent without a fly. It is
necessary to live in one of these awhile to know the vast superiority of
the Sibley pattern. Sibley's tent is a wrinkle taken from savage life.
It is the Sioux buffalo-skin, lodge, or _Tepee_, improved,--a cone
truncated at the top and fitted with a movable apex for ventilation. A
single tent-pole, supported upon a hinged tripod of iron, sustains the
structure. It is compacter, more commodious, healthier, and handsomer
than the ancient models. None other should be used in permanent
encampments. For marching troops, the French _Tente d'abri_ is a capital
shelter.

Still our fellows manage to be at home as they are. Some of our
model tents are types of the best style of temporary cottages. Young
housekeepers of limited incomes would do well to visit and take heed. A
whole elysium of household comfort can be had out of a teapot,--tin; a
brace of cups,--tin; a brace of plates,--tin; and a frying-pan.

In these days of war everybody can see a camp. Every one who stays at
home has a brother or a son or a lover quartered in one of the myriad
tents that have blossomed with the daffodil-season all over our green
fields of the North. I need not, then, describe our encampment in
detail,--its guard-tent in advance,--its guns in battery,--its
flagstaff,--its companies quartered in streets with droll and fanciful
names,--its officers' tents in the rear, at right angles to the lines of
company-tents,--its kitchens, armed with Captain Vielé's capital army
cooking-stoves,--its big marquees, "The White House" and "Fort Pickens,"
for the lodging and messing of the new artillery company,--its barbers'
shops,--its offices. The same, more or less well arranged, can be seen
in all the rendezvous where the armies are now assembling. Instead of
such description, then, let me give the log of a single day at our camp.


JOURNAL OF A DAY AT CAMP CAMERON, BY PRIVATE W., COMPANY I.


BOOM!

I would rather not believe it; but it is--yes, it is--the morning gun,
uttering its surly "Hullo!" to sunrise.

Yes,--and, to confirm my suspicions, here rattle in the drums and pipe
in the fifes, wooing us to get up, _get up_, with music too peremptory
to be harmonious.

I rise up _sur mon séant_ and glance about me. I, Private W., chance, by
reason of sundry chances, to be a member of a company recently largely
recruited and bestowed all together in a big marquee. As I lift myself
up, I see others lift themselves up on those straw bags we kindly call
our mattresses. The tallest man of the regiment, Sergeant K., is on one
side of me. On the other side I am separated from two of the fattest men
of the regiment by Sergeant M., another excellent fellow, prime cook and
prime forager.

We are all presently on our pins,--K. on those lengthy continuations of
his, and the two stout gentlemen on their stout supporters. The deep
sleepers are pulled up from those abysses of slumber where they had been
choking, gurgling, strangling, death-rattling all night. There is for a
moment a sound of legs rushing into pantaloons and arms plunging into
jackets.

Then, as the drums and fifes whine and clatter their last notes, at the
flap of our tent appears our orderly, and fierce in the morning sunshine
gleams his moustache,--one month's growth this blessed day. "Fall in,
for roll-call!" he cries, in a ringing voice. The orderly can speak
sharp, if need be.

We obey. Not "Walk in!" "March in!" "Stand in!" is the order; but "Fall
in!" as sleepy men must. Then the orderly calls off our hundred. There
are several boyish voices which reply, several comic voices, a few
mean voices, and some so earnest and manly and alert that one says to
himself, "Those are the men for me, when work is to be done!" I read the
character of my comrades every morning in each fellow's monosyllable
"Here!"

When the orderly is satisfied that not one of us has run away and
accepted a Colonelcy from the Confederate States since last roll-call,
he notifies those unfortunates who are to be on guard for the next
twenty-four hours of the honor and responsibility placed upon their
shoulders. Next he tells us what are to be the drills of the day. Then,
"Right face! Dismissed! Break ranks! March!"

With ardor we instantly seize tin basins, soap, and towels, and invade a
lovely oak-grove at the rear and left of our camp. Here is a delicious
spring into which we have fitted a pump. The sylvan scene becomes
peopled with "National Guards Washing,"--a scene meriting the notice of
Art as much as any "Diana and her Nymphs." But we have no Poussin
to paint us in the dewy sunlit grove. Few of us, indeed, know how
picturesque we are at all times and seasons.

After this _beau idéal_ of a morning toilet comes the ante-prandial
drill. Lieutenant W. arrives, and gives us a little appetizing exercise
in "Carry arms!" "Support arms!" "By the right flank, march!" "Double
quick!"

Breakfast follows. My company messes somewhat helter-skelter in a big
tent. We have very tolerable rations. Sometimes luxuries appear of
potted meats and hermetical vegetables, sent us by the fond New
Yorkers. Each little knot of fellows, too, cooks something savory. Our
table-furniture is not elegant, our plates are tin, there is no silver
in our forks; but _à la guerre, comme à la guerre_. Let the scrubs
growl! Lucky fellows, if they suffer no worse hardships than this!

By-and-by, after breakfast, come company-drills, bayonet-practice,
battalion-drills, and the heavy work of the day. Our handsome Colonel,
on a nice black nag, manoeuvres his thousand men of the line-companies
on the parade for two or three hours. Two thousand legs step off
accurately together. Two thousand pipe-clayed cross-belts--whitened with
infinite pains and waste of time, and offering a most inviting mark to
a foe--restrain the beating bosoms of a thousand braves, as they--the
braves, not the belts--go through the most intricate evolutions
unerringly. Watching these battalion movements, Private W., perhaps,
goes off and inscribes in his journal,--"Any clever, prompt man, with a
mechanical turn, an eye for distance, a notion of time, and a voice
of command, can be a tactician. It is pure pedantry to claim that the
manoeuvring of troops is difficult: it is not difficult, if the troops
are quick and steady. But to be a general, with patience and purpose and
initiative,--ah!" thinks Private W., "for that you must have the man of
genius; and already in this war he begins to appear out of Massachusetts
and elsewhere."

Private W. avows without fear that about noon, at Camp Cameron, he takes
a hearty dinner, and with satisfaction. Private W. has had his feasts
in cot and chateau in Old World and New. It is the conviction of said
private that nowhere and no-when has he expected his ration with more
interest, and remembered it with more affection, than here.

In the middle hours of the day it is in order to get a pass to go to
Washington, or to visit some of the camps, which now, in the middle
of May, begin to form a cordon around the city. Some of these I may
criticize before the end of this paper. Our capital seems arranged by
Nature to be protected by fortified camps on the circuit of its hills.
It may be made almost a Verona, if need be. Our brother regiments have
posts nearly as charming as our own in these fair groves and on these
fair slopes on either side of us.

In the afternoon, comes target-practice, skirmishing-drill, more
company- or recruit-drill, and, at half-past five, our evening parade.
Let me not forget tent-inspection, at four, by the officer of the day,
when our band plays deliciously.

At evening parade all Washington appears. A regiment of ladies,
rather indisposed to beauty, observe us. Sometimes the Dons
arrive,--Secretaries of State, of War, of Navy,--or military Dons,
bestriding prancing steeds, but bestriding them as if "'twas _not_ their
habit often of an afternoon." All which,--the bad teeth, pallid skins,
and rustic toilets of the fair, and the very moderate horsemanship of
the brave,--privates, standing at ease in the ranks, take note of, not
cynically, but as men of the world.

Wondrous gymnasts are some of the Seventh, and after evening parade they
often give exhibitions of their prowess to circles of admirers. Muscle
has not gone out, nor nerve, nor activity, if these athletes are to be
taken as the types or even as the leaders of the young city-bred men of
our time. All the feats of strength and grace of the gymnasiums are to
be seen here, and show to double advantage in the open air.

Then comes sweet evening. The moon rises. It seems always full moon
at Camp Cameron. Every tent becomes a little illuminated pyramid.
Cooking-fires burn bright along the alleys. The boys lark, sing, shout,
do all those merry things that make the entertainment of volunteer
service. The gentle moon looks on, mild and amused, the fairest lady of
all that visit us.

At last, when the songs have been sung and the hundred rumors of the day
discussed, at ten the intrusive drums and scolding fifes get together
and stir up a concert, always premature, called tattoo. The Seventh
Regiment begins to peel for bed: at all events, Private W. does; for
said W. takes, when he can, precious good care of his cuticle, and never
yields to the lazy and unwholesome habit of soldiers,--sleeping in the
clothes. At taps--half-past ten--out go the lights. If they do not,
presently comes the sentry's peremptory command to put them out. Then,
and until the dawn of another day, a cordon of snorers inside of a
cordon of sentries surrounds our national capital. The outer cordon
sounds its "All's well"; and the inner cordon, slumbering, echoes it.

And that is the history of any day at Camp Cameron. It is monotonous, it
is not monotonous, it is laborious, it is lazy, it is a bore, it is a
lark, it is half war, half peace, and totally attractive, and not to be
dispensed with from one's experience in the nineteenth century.


OUR ADVANCE INTO VIRGINIA.


Meantime the weeks went on. May 23d arrived. Lovely creatures with their
taper fingers had been brewing a flag for us. Shall I say that its red
stripes were celestial rosy as their cheeks, its white stripes virgin
white as their brows, its blue field cerulean as their eyes, and its
stars scintillating as the beams of the said peepers? Shall I say this?
If I were a poet, like Jeff. Davis and each and every editor of each
and every newspaper in our misbehaving States, I might say it. And
involuntarily I have said it.

So the young ladies of New York--including, I hope, her who made my
sandwiches for the march hither--had been making us a flag, as they
have made us havelocks, pots of jelly, bundles of lint, flannel
dressing-gowns, embroidered slippers for a rainy day in camp, and other
necessaries of the soldier's life.

May 23d was the day we were to get this sweet symbol of good-will. At
evening parade appeared General Thomas, as the agent of the ladies, the
donors, with a neat speech on a clean sheet of paper. He read it with
feeling; and Private W., who has his sentimental moments, avows that he
was touched by the General's earnest manner and patriotic words. Our
Colonel responded with his neat speech, very _apropos_. The regiment
then made its neat speech, nine cheers and a roar of tigers,--very brief
and pointed.

There had been a note of preparation in General Thomas's remarks,--a
"_Virginia, cave canem!_" And before parade was dismissed, we saw our
officers holding parley with the Colonel.

Something in the wind! As I was strolling off to see the sunset and the
ladies on parade, I began to hear great irrepressible cheers bursting
from the streets of the different companies.

"Orders to be ready to march at a moment's notice!"--so I learned
presently from dozens of overjoyed fellows. "Harper's Ferry!" says one.
"Alexandria!" shouts a second. "Richmond!" only Richmond will content
a third. And some could hardly be satisfied short of the hope of a
breakfast in Montgomery.

What a happy thousand were the line-companies! How their suppressed
ardors stirred! No want of fight in these lads! They may be rather
luxurious in their habits, for camp-life. They may be a little impatient
of restraint. They may have--as the type regiment of militia--the type
faults of militia on service. But a desire to dodge a fight is not one
of these faults.

Every man in camp was merry, except two hundred who were grim. These
were the two artillery companies, ordered to remain in guard of our
camp. They swore as if Camp Cameron were Flanders.

I by rights belonged with these malecontent and objurgating gentlemen;
but a chronicler has privileges, and I got leave to count myself into
the Eighth Company, my old friend Captain Shumway's. We were to move,
about midnight, in light marching order, with one day's rations.

It has been always full moon at our camp. This night was full moon at
its fullest,--a night more perfect than all perfection, mild, dewy,
refulgent. At one o'clock the drum beat; we fell into ranks, and marched
quietly off through the shadowy trees of the lane, into the highway.


ACROSS THE LONG BRIDGE.


I have heretofore been proud of my individuality, and resisted, so
far as one may, all the world's attempts to merge me in the mass.
_In pluribus unum_ has been my motto. But whenever I march with the
regiment, my pride is that I lose my individuality, that I am merged,
that I become a part of a machine, a mere walking gentleman, a No. 1
or a No. 2, front rank or rear rank, file-leader or file-closer. The
machine is so steady and so mighty, it moves with such musical cadence
and such brilliant show, that I enjoy it entirely as the _unum_ and lose
myself gladly as a _pluribus_.

Night increases this fascination. The outer world is vague in the
moonlight. Objects out of our ranks are lost. I see only glimmering
steel and glittering buttons and the light-stepping forms of my
comrades. Our array and our step connect us. We move as one man. A
man made up of a thousand members and each member a man is a grand
creature,--particularly when you consider that he is self-made. And the
object of this self-made giant, men-man, is to destroy another like
himself, or the separate pigmy members of another such giant. We have
failed to put ourselves--heads, arms, legs, and wills--together as a
unit for any purpose so thoroughly as to snuff out a similar unit. Up to
1861, it seems that the business of war compacts men best.

Well, the Seventh, a compact projectile, was now flinging itself along
the road to Washington. Just a month ago, "in such a night as this,"
we made our first promenade through the enemy's country. The moon of
Annapolis,--why should we not have our ominous moon, as those other
fellows had their sun of Austerlitz?--the moon of Annapolis shone over
us. No epithets are too fine or too complimentary for such a luminary,
and there was no dust under her rays.

So we pegged along to Washington and across Washington,--which at that
point consists of Willard's Hotel, few other buildings being in sight. A
hag in a nightcap reviewed us from an upper window as we tramped by.

Opposite that bald block, the Washington Monument, and opposite what was
of more importance to us, a drove of beeves putting beef on their bones
in the seedy grounds of the Smithsonian Institution, we were halted
while the New Jersey brigade--some three thousand of them--trudged by,
receiving the complimentary fire of our line as they passed. New Jersey
is not so far from New York but that the dialects of the two can
understand each other. Their respective slangs, though peculiar, are of
the same genus. By the end of this war, I trust that these distinctions
of locality will be quite annulled.

We began to feel like an army as these thousands thronged by us. This
was evidently a movement in force. We rested an hour or more by the
road. Mounted officers galloping along down the lines kept up the
excitement.

At last we had the word to fall in again and march. It is part of the
simple perfection of the machine, a regiment, that, though it drops to
pieces for a rest, it comes together instantly for a start, and nobody
is confused or delayed. We moved half a mile farther, and presently a
broad pathway of reflected moonlight shone up at us from the Potomac.

No orders, at this, came from the Colonel, "Attention, battalion! Be
sentimental!" Perhaps privates have no right to perceive the beautiful.
But the sections in my neighborhood murmured admiration. The utter
serenity of the night was most impressive. Cool and quiet and tender the
moon shone upon our ranks. She does not change her visage, whether it be
lovers or burglars or soldiers who use her as a lantern to their feet.

The Long Bridge thus far has been merely a shabby causeway with
waterways and draws. Shabby,--let me here pause to say that in Virginia
shabbiness is the grand universal law, and neatness the spasmodic
exception, attained in rare spots, an _aeon_ beyond their Old Dominion
age.

The Long Bridge has thus far been a totally unhistoric and prosaic
bridge. Roads and bridges are making themselves of importance and
shining up into sudden renown in these times. The Long Bridge has done
nothing hitherto except carry passengers on its back across the Potomac.
Hucksters, planters, dry-goods drummers, Members of Congress, _et ea
genera omnia_, have here gone and come on their several mercenary
errands, and, as it now appears, some sour little imp--the very reverse
of a "sweet little cherub"--took toll of every man as he passed,--a
heavy toll, namely, every man's whole store of Patriotism and Loyalty.
Every man--so it seems--who passed the Long Bridge was stripped of his
last dollar of _Amor Patriae_, and came to Washington, or went home,
with a waistcoat-pocket full of bogus in change. It was our business now
to open the bridge and see it clear, and leave sentries along to keep it
permanently free for Freedom.

There is a mile of this Long Bridge. We seemed to occupy the whole
length of it, with our files opened to diffuse the weight of our column.
We were not now the tired and sleepy squad which just a moon ago had
trudged along the railroad to the Annapolis Junction, looking up a
Capital and a Government, perhaps lost.

By the time we touched ground across the bridge, dawn was breaking,--a
good omen for poor old sleepy Virginia. The moon, as bright and handsome
as a new twenty-dollar piece, carried herself straight before us,--a
splendid oriflamme.

Lucky is the private who marches with the van! It may be the post of
more danger, but it is also the post of less dust. My throat, therefore,
and my eyes and beard, wore the less Southern soil when we halted half a
mile beyond the bridge, and let sunrise overtake us.

Nothing men can do--except picnics, with ladies in straw flats with
feathers--is so picturesque as soldiering. As soon as the Seventh halt
anywhere, or move anywhere, or camp anywhere, they resolve themselves
into a grand _tableau_.

Their own ranks should supply their own Horace Vernet. Our groups
were never more entertaining than at this halt by the roadside on the
Alexandria road. Stacks of guns make a capital framework for drapery,
and red blankets dot in the lights most artistically. The fellows lined
the road with their gay array, asleep, on the rampage, on the lounge,
and nibbling at their rations.

By-and-by, when my brain had taken in as much of the picturesque as it
could stand, it suffered the brief congestion known as a nap. I was
suddenly awaked by the rattle of a horse's hoofs. Before I had rubbed
my eyes the rider was gone. His sharp tidings had stayed behind him.
Ellsworth was dead,--so he said hurriedly, and rode on. Poor Ellsworth!
a fellow of genius and initiative! He had still so much of the boy in
him, that he rattled forward boyishly, and so died. _Si monumentum
requiris_, look at his regiment. It was a brilliant stroke to levy it;
and if it does worthily, its young Colonel will not have lived in vain.

As the morning hours passed, we learned that we were the rear-guard of
the left wing of the army advancing into Virginia. The Seventh, as the
best organized body, acted as reserve to this force. It didn't wish
to be in the rear; but such is the penalty of being reliable for an
emergency. Fellow-soldier, be a scalawag, be a bashi-bazouk, be a
Billy-Wilsoneer, if you wish to see the fun in the van!

When the road grew too hot for us, on account of the fire of sunshine
in our rear, we jumped over the fence into the Race-Course, a big field
beside us, and there became squatter sovereigns all day. I shall be
a bore, if I say again what a pretty figure we cut in this military
picnic, with two long lines of blankets draped on bayonets for parasols.

The New Jersey brigade were meanwhile doing workie work on the ridge
just beyond us. The road and railroad to Alexandria follow the general
course of the river southward along the level. This ridge to be
fortified is at the point where the highway bends from west to south.
The works were intended to serve as an advanced _tête du pont_,--a
bridge-head, with a very long neck connecting it with the bridge. That
fine old Fabius, General Scott, had no idea of flinging an army out
broadcast into Virginia, and, in the insupposable case that it turned
tail, leaving it no defended passage to run away by.

This was my first view of a field-work in construction,--also, my first
hand as a laborer at a field-work. I knew glacis and counterscarp on
paper; also, on paper, superior slope, banquette, and the other dirty
parts of a redoubt. Here they were, not on paper. A slight wooden
scaffolding determined the shape of the simple work; and when I arrived,
a thousand Jerseymen were working, not at all like Jerseymen,--with
picks, spades, and shovels, cutting into Virginia, digging into
Virginia, shovelling up Virginia, for Virginia's protection against
pseudo-Virginians.

I swarmed in for a little while with our Paymaster, picked a little,
spaded a little, shovelled a little, took a hand to my great
satisfaction at earth-works, and for my efforts I venture to suggest
that Jersey City owes me its freedom in a box, and Jersey State a basket
of its finest Clicquot.

Is my gentle reader tired of the short marches and frequent halts of
the Seventh? Remember, gentle reader, that you must be schooled by such
alphabetical exercises to spell bigger words--skirmish, battle, defeat,
rout, massacre--by-and-by.

Well,--to be Xenophontic,--from the Race-Course that evening we marched
one stadium, one parasang, to a cedar-grove up the road. In the grove
is a spring worthy to be called a fountain, and what I determined by
infallible indications to be a _lager-bier_ saloon. Saloon no more! War
is no respecter of localities. Be it Arlington House, the seedy palace
of a Virginia Don,--be it the humbler, but seedy, pavilion where the
tired Teuton washes the dust of Washington away from his tonsils,--each
must surrender to the bold soldier-boy. Exit Champagne and its goblet;
exit _lager_ and its mug; enter whiskey-and-water in a tin pot. Such are
the horrors of civil war!

And now I must cut short my story, for graver matters press. As to
the residence of the Seventh in the cedar-grove for two days and two
nights,--how they endured the hardship of a bivouac on soft earth and
the starvation of coffee _sans_ milk,--how they digged manfully in the
trenches by gangs all these two laborious days,--with what supreme
artistic finish their work was achieved,--how they chopped off their
corns with axes, as they cleared the brushwood from the glacis,--how
they blistered their hands,--how they chafed that they were not
lunging with battailous steel at the breasts of the minions of the
oligarchs,--how Washington, seeing the smoke of burning rubbish, and
hearing dropping shots of target-practice, or of novices with the musket
shooting each other by accident,--how Washington, alarmed, imagined a
battle, and went into panic accordingly,--all this, is it not written
in the daily papers?

On the evening of the 26th, the Seventh travelled back to Camp Cameron
in a smart shower. Its service was over. Its month was expired. The
troops ordered to relieve it had arrived. It had given the other
volunteers the benefit of a month's education at its drills and parades.
It had enriched poor Washington to the tune of fifty thousand dollars.
Ah, Washington! that we, under Providence and after General Butler,
saved from the heel of Secession! Ah, Washington, why did you charge us
so much for our milk and butter and strawberries? The Seventh, then,
after a month of delightful duty, was to be mustered out of service, and
take new measures, if it would, to have a longer and a larger share in
the war.


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS.


I took advantage of the day of rest after our return to have a gallop
about the outposts. Arlington Heights had been the spot whence the
alarmists threatened us daily with big thunder and bursting bombs. I was
curious to see the region that had had Washington under its thumb.

So Private W., tired of his foot-soldiering, got a quadruped under him,
and felt like a cavalier again. The horse took me along the tow-path of
the Cumberland Canal, as far as the redoubts where we had worked our
task. Then I turned up the hill, took a look at the camp of the New York
Twenty-Fifth at the left, and rode along for Arlington House.

Grand name! and the domain is really quite grand, but ill-kept. Fine
oaks make beauty without asking favors. Fine oaks and a fair view make
all the beauty of Arlington. It seems that this old establishment, like
many another old Virginian, had claimed its respectability for its
antiquity, and failed to keep up to the level of the time. The road
winds along through the trees, climbing to fairer and fairer reaches of
view over the plain of Washington. I had not fancied that there was any
such lovely site near the capital. But we have not yet appreciated what
Nature has done for us there. When civilization once makes up its mind
to colonize Washington, all this amphitheatre of hills will blossom with
structures of the sublimest gingerbread.

Arlington House is the antipodes of gingerbread, except that it is
yellow, and disposed to crumble. It has a pompous propylon of enormous
stuccoed columns. Any house smaller than Blenheim would tail on
insignificantly after such a frontispiece. The interior has a certain
careless, romantic, decayed-gentleman effect, wholly Virginian. It was
enlivened by the uniforms of staff-officers just now, and as they rode
through the trees of the approach and by the tents of the New York
Eighth, encamped in the grove to the rear, the _tableau_ was brilliantly
warlike. Here, by the way, let me pause to ask, as a horseman, though a
foot-soldier, why generals and other gorgeous fellows make such guys of
their horses with trappings. If the horse is a screw, cover him thick
with saddle-cloths, girths, cruppers, breast-bands, and as much brass
and tinsel as your pay will enable you to buy; but if not a screw, let
his fair proportions be seen as much as may be, and don't bother a lover
of good horseflesh to eliminate so much uniform before he can see what
is beneath.

From Arlington I rode to the other encampments,--the Sixty-Ninth, Fifth,
and Twenty-Eighth, all of New York,--and heard their several stories
of alarms and adventures. This completed the circuit of the new
fortification of the Great Camp. Washington was now a fortress. The
capital was out of danger, and therefore of no further interest to
anybody. The time had come for myself and my regiment to leave it by
different ways.


"PARTANT POUR LA SYRIE."


I should have been glad to stay and see my comrades through to their
departure; but there was a Massachusetts man down at Fortress Monroe,
Butler by name,--has any one heard of him?--and to this gentleman it
chanced that I was to report myself. So I packed my knapsack, got my
furlough, shook hands with my fellows, said good-bye to Camp Cameron,
and was off, two days after our month's service was done.


FAREWELL TO THE SEVENTH.


Under Providence, Washington owes its safety, 1st, To General Butler,
whose genius devised the circumvention of Baltimore and its rascal rout,
and whose utter bravery executed the plan;--he is the Grand Yankee of
this little period of the war. 2d, To the other Most Worshipful Grand
Yankees of the Massachusetts regiment who followed their leader, as he
knew they would, discovered a forgotten colony called Annapolis, and
dashed in there, asking no questions. 3d, And while I gladly yield the
first places to this General and his men, I put the Seventh in, as
last, but not least, in saving the capital. Character always tells. The
Seventh, by good, hard, faithful work at drill, had established its fame
as the most thorough militia regiment in existence. Its military and
moral character were excellent. The mere name of the regiment carried
weight. It took the field as if the field were a ball-room. There were
myriads eager to march; but they had not made ready beforehand. Yes,
the Seventh had its important share in the rescue. Without our support,
whether our leaders tendered it eagerly or hesitatingly, General
Butler's position at Annapolis would have been critical, and his forced
march to the capital a forlorn hope,--heroic, but desperate.

So, honor to whom honor is due.

Here I must cut short my story. So good-bye to the Seventh, and thanks
for the fascinating month I have passed in their society. In this pause
of the war our camp-life has been to me as brilliant as a permanent
picnic.

Good-bye to Company I, and all the fine fellows, rough and smooth, cool
old hands and recruits verdant but ardent! Good-bye to our Lieutenants,
to whom I owe much kindness! Good-bye, the Orderly, so peremptory on
parade, so indulgent off! Good-bye, everybody!

And so in haste I close.



BETWEEN SPRING AND SUMMER.

(A BIRTHDAY POEM, WITH ROSES.)


  To her whose birth and being
  Touch summer out of spring,
  These roses, reaching forward
  From May to June, I bring.

  To her whose fragrant friendship
  Sweetens the life I live,
  These flowers, Love's message hinting
  With perfumed breath, I give.

  The violet and the lily
  Shall stand for these and those;
  But give her roses only
  Whose soul suggests the rose,--

  Whose Life's idea ranges
  Through all of sweet and bright,
  A vernal flow of feeling,
  A summer day of light.

  I bless the child whose coming
  Sheds grace around us, where
  Her voice falls soft as music,
  Her step drops light as air:

  Fair grace, to good related
  In her, sweet sisters twin;
  As in this House of Roses
  The fruits and flowers are kin.

       *       *       *       *       *


ELLSWORTH.


The beginnings of great periods have often been marked and made
memorable by striking events. Out of the cloud that hangs around the
vague inceptions of revolutions, a startling incident will sometimes
flash like lightning, to show that the warring elements have begun their
work. The scenes that attended the birth of American nationality formed
a not inaccurate type of those that have opened the crusade for its
perpetuation. The consolidation of public sentiment which followed the
magnificent defeat at Bunker's Hill, in which the spirit of indignant
resistance was tempered by the pathetic interest surrounding the fate
of Warren, was but a foreshadowing of the instant rally to arms which
followed the fall of the beleaguered fort in Charleston harbor, and of
the intensity of tragic pathos which has been added to the stern purpose
of avenging justice by the murder of Colonel Ellsworth.

Ephraim Elmer Ellsworth was born in the little village of
Mechanicsville, on the left bank of the Hudson, on the 23d day of April,
1837. When he was very young, his father, through no fault of his own,
lost irretrievably his entire fortune, in the tornado of financial ruin
that in those years swept from the sea to the mountains. From this
disaster he never recovered. Misfortune seems to have followed him
through life, with the insatiable pertinacity of the Nemesis of a Greek
tragedy. And now in his old age, when for a moment there seemed to shine
upon his path the sunshine that promised better days, he finds that
suddenly withdrawn, and stands desolate, "stabbed through the heart's
affections, to the heart." His younger son died some years ago, of
small-pox, in Chicago, and the murder at Alexandria leaves him with his
sorrowing wife, lonely, amid the sympathy of the world.

The days of Elmer's childhood and early youth--were passed at Troy
and in the city of New York, in pursuits various, but energetic and
laborious. There is little of interest in the story of these years. He
was a proud, affectionate, sensitive, and generous boy, hampered by
circumstance, but conscious of great capabilities,--not morbidly
addicted to day-dreaming, but always working heartily for something
beyond. He was still very young--when he went to Chicago, and associated
himself in business with Mr. Devereux of Massachusetts.[A] They managed
for a little while, with much success, an agency for securing patents to
inventors. Through the treachery of one in whom they had reposed great
confidence they suffered severe losses which obliged them to close
their business, and Devereux went back to the East. The next year of
Ellsworth's life was a miracle of endurance and uncomplaining fortitude.
He read law with great assiduity, and supported himself by copying,
in the hours that should have been devoted to recreation. He had no
pastimes and very few friends. Not a soul beside himself and the baker
who gave him his daily loaf knew how he was living. During all that
time, he never slept in a bed, never ate with friends at a social board.
So acute was his sense of honor, so delicate his ideas of propriety,
that, although himself the most generous of men, he never would accept
from acquaintances the slightest favors or courtesies which he was
unable to return. He told me once of a severe struggle between
inclination and a sense of honor. At a period of extreme hunger, he
met a friend in the street who was just starting from the city. He
accompanied his friend into a restaurant, wishing to converse with him,
but declined taking any refreshment. He represented the savory fragrance
of his friend's dinner as almost maddening to his famished senses,
while he sat there pleasantly chatting, and deprecating his friend's
entreaties to join him in his repast, on the plea that he had just
dined.

[Footnote A: Arthur F. Devereux, Esq., now in command of the Salem
Zouave Corps, Eighth Massachusetts Regiment, distinguished for the
gallant part borne by it in opening the route to Washington through
Annapolis, and in the rescue of the frigate Constitution, "Old
Ironsides," from the hands of the rebels.]

What would have killed an ordinary man did not injure Ellsworth. His
iron frame seemed incapable of dissolution or waste. Circumstance had no
power to conquer his spirit. His hearty good-humor never gave way. His
sense of honor, which was sometimes even fantastic in its delicacy,
freed him from the very temptation to wrong. He knew there was a better
time coming for him. Conscious of great mental and bodily strength, with
that bright outlook that industry and honor always give a man, he was
perfectly secure of ultimate success. His plans mingled in a singular
manner the bright enthusiasm of the youthful dreamer and the eminent
practicality of the man of affairs. At one time, his mind was fixed
on Mexico,--not with the licentious dreams that excited the ragged
_Condottieri_ who followed the fated footsteps of the "gray-eyed man of
Destiny," in the wild hope of plunder and power,--nor with the vague
reverie in which fanatical theorists construct impossible Utopias on
the absurd framework of Icarias or Phalansteries. His clear, bold, and
thoroughly executive mind planned a magnificent scheme of commercial
enterprise, which, having its centre of operations at Guaymas, should
ramify through the golden wastes that stretch in silence and solitude
along the tortuous banks of the Rio San José. This was to be the
beginning and the ostensible end of the enterprise. Then he dreamed of
the influence of American arts and American energy penetrating into the
twilight of that decaying nationality, and saw the natural course of
events leading on, first, Emigration, then Protection, and at last
Annexation. Yet there was no thought of conquest or rapine. The idea was
essentially American and Northern. He never wholly lost that dream.
One day last winter, when some one was discussing the propriety of an
amputation of the States that seemed thoroughly diseased, Ellsworth
swept his hand energetically over the map of Mexico that hung upon the
wall, and exclaimed,--"_There_ is an unanswerable argument against the
recognition of the Southern Confederacy."

But the central idea of Ellsworth's short life was the thorough
reorganization of the militia of the United States. He had studied with
great success the theory of national defence, and, from his observation
of the condition of the militia of the several States, he was convinced
that there was much of well-directed effort yet lacking to its entire
efficiency. In fact, as he expressed it, a well-disciplined body of five
thousand troops could land anywhere on our coast and ravage two or three
States before an adequate force could get into the field to oppose them.
To reform this defective organization, he resolved to devote whatever
of talent or energy was his. This was very large undertaking for a boy,
whose majority and moustache were still of the substance of things hoped
for. But nothing that he could propose to himself ever seemed absurd. He
attacked his work with his usual promptness and decision.

The conception of a great idea is no proof of a great mind; a man's
calibre is shown by the way in which he attempts to realize his idea. A
great design planted in a little mind frequently bursts it, and nothing
is more pitiable than the spectacle of a man staggering into insanity
under a thought too large for him. Ellsworth chose to begin his work
simply and practically. He did not write a memorial to the President, to
be sent to the Secretary of War, to be referred to the Chief Clerk, to
be handed over to File-Clerk No. 99, to be glanced at and quietly thrust
into a pigeon-hole labelled "Crazy and trashy." He did not haunt the
anteroom of Congressman Somebody, who would promise to bring his plan
before the House, and then, bowing him out, give general orders to his
footman, "Not at home, hereafter, to that man." He did not float, as
some theorists do, ghastly and seedy, around the _Adyta_ of popular
editors, begging for space and countenance. He wisely determined to
keep his theories to himself until he could illustrate them by living
examples. He first put himself in thorough training. He practised the
manual of arms in his own room, until his dexterous precision was
something akin to the sleight of a juggler. He investigated the theory
of every movement in an anatomical view, and made several most valuable
improvements on Hardee. He rearranged the manual so that every movement
formed the logical groundwork of the succeeding one. He studied the
science of fence, so that he could hold a rapier with De Villiers, the
most dashing of the Algerine swordsmen. He always had a hand as true as
steel, and an eye like a gerfalcon. He used to amuse himself by shooting
ventilation-holes through his window-panes. Standing ten paces from the
window, he could fire the seven shots from his revolver and not shiver
the glass beyond the circumference of a half-dollar.

I have seen a photograph of his arm taken at this time. The knotted coil
of thews and sinews looks like the magnificent exaggerations of antique
sculpture.

His person was strikingly prepossessing. His form, though
slight,--exactly the Napoleonic size,--was very compact and commanding;
the head statuesquely poised, and crowned with a luxuriance of curling
black hair; a hazel eye, bright, though serene, the eye of a gentleman
as well as a soldier; a nose such as you see on Roman medals; a light
moustache just shading the lips, that were continually curving into
the sunniest smiles. His voice, deep and musical, instantly attracted
attention; and his address, though not without soldierly brusqueness,
was sincere and courteous. There was one thing his backwoods detractors
could never forgive: he always dressed well; and sometimes wore the
military insignia presented to him by different organizations. One of
these, a gold circle, inscribed with the legend, NON NOBIS, SED PRO
PATRIA, was driven into his heart by the slug of the Virginian assassin.

He had great tact and executive talent, was a good mathematician,
possessed a fine artistic eye, sketched well and rapidly, and in short
bore a deft and skilful hand in all gentlemanly exercise.

No one ever possessed greater power of enforcing the respect and
fastening the affections of men. Strangers soon recognized and
acknowledged this power; while to his friends he always seemed like a
Paladin or Cavalier of the dead days of romance and beauty. He was so
generous and loyal, so stainless and brave, that Bayard himself would
have been proud of him. The grand bead-roll of the virtues of the Flower
of Kings contains the principles that guided his life; he used to read
with exquisite appreciation these lines:--

  "To reverence the King as if he were
  Their conscience, and their conscience as
  their King,--
  To break the heathen and uphold the
  Christ,--
  To ride abroad redressing human wrongs,--
  To speak no slander, no, nor listen to it,--
  To lead sweet lives in purest chastity,--
  To love one maiden only, cleave to her,
  And worship her by years of noble deeds,
  Until they won her";

and the rest,--

  "high thoughts, and amiable words,
  And courtliness, and the desire of fame,
  And love of truth, and all that makes a man."

Such, in person and character, was Ellsworth, when he organized, on the
4th day of May, 1859, the United States Zouave Cadets of Chicago.

This company was the machine upon which he was to experiment.
Disregarding all extant works upon tactics, he drew up a simpler system
for the use of his men. Throwing aside the old ideas of soldierly
bearing, he taught them to use vigor, promptness, and ease. Discarding
the stiff buckram strut of martial tradition, he educated them to move
with the loafing _insouciance_ of the Indian, or the graceful ease of
the panther. He tore off their choking collars and binding coats, and
invented a uniform which, though too flashy and conspicuous for actual
service, was very bright and dashing for holiday occasions, and left the
wearer perfectly free to fight, strike, kick, jump, or run.

He drilled these young men for about a year at short intervals. His
discipline was very severe and rigid. Added to the punctilio of the
martinet was the rigor of the moralist. The slightest exhibition of
intemperance or licentiousness was punished by instant degradation and
expulsion. He struck from the rolls at one time twelve of his best men
for breaking the rule of total abstinence. His moral power over them was
perfect and absolute. I believe anyone of them would have died for him.

In two or three principal towns of Illinois and Wisconsin he drilled
other companies: in Springfield, where he made the friends who best
appreciated what was best in him; and in Rockford, where he formed an
attachment which imparted a coloring of tender romance to all the days
of his busy life that remained. This tragedy would not have been perfect
without the plaintive minor strain of Love in Death.

His company took the Premium Colors at the United States Agricultural
Pair, and Ellsworth thought it was time to show to the people some fruit
of his drill. They issued their soldierly _défi_ and started on their
_Marche de Triomphe_. It is useless to recall to those who read
newspapers the clustering glories of that bloodless campaign. Hardly had
they left the suburbs of Chicago when the murmur of applause began. New
York, secure in the championship of half a century, listened with quiet
metropolitan scorn to the noise of the shouting provinces; but when the
crimson phantasms marched out of the Park, on the evening of the 15th of
July, New York, with metropolitan magnanimity, confessed herself utterly
vanquished by the good thing that had come out of Nazareth. There was no
resisting the Zouaves. As the erring Knight of the Round Table said,--

  "men went down before his spear at a touch,
  But knowing he was Lancelot; his great name conquered."

There were one or two Southern companies that issued insulting
defiances, but, after a little expenditure of epistolary valor,
prudently, though ingloriously, stayed afar,--as is usual in New
Gascony. With these exceptions, the heart of the nation went warmly out
to these young men. Their endurance, their discipline, their alertness,
their _élan_, surprised the sleepy drill-masters out of their propriety,
and waked up the people to intense and cordial admiration. Chicago
welcomed them home proudly, covered with tan and dust and glory.

Ellsworth found himself for his brief hour the most talked-of man in
the country. His pictures sold like wildfire in every city of the land.
School-girls dreamed over the graceful wave of his curls, and shop-boys
tried to reproduce the _Grand Seigneur_ air of his attitude. Zouave
corps, brilliant in crimson and gold, sprang up, phosphorescently, in
his wake, making bright the track of his journey. The leading journals
spoke editorially of him, and the comic papers caricatured his drill.

So one thing was accomplished. He had gained a name that would entitle
him hereafter to respectful attention, and had demonstrated the
efficiency of his system of drill. The public did not, of course,
comprehend the resistless moral power which he exercised,--imperiously
moulding every mind as he willed,--inspiring every soul with his own
unresting energy. But the public recognized success, and that for the
present was enough.

He quietly formed a regiment in the upper counties of Illinois, and made
his best men the officers of it. He tendered its services to Governor
Yates immediately on his inauguration, "for any service consistent with
honor." This was the first positive tender made of an organized force in
defence of the Constitution. He seemed to recognize more clearly than
others the certainty of the coming struggle. It was the soldierly
instinct that heard "the battle afar off, the thunder of the captains,
and the shouting."

Still intent upon the great plan of militia reform, he came to
Springfield. He hoped, in case of the success of Mr. Lincoln in the
canvass then pending, to be able to establish in the War Department a
Bureau of Militia, which would prove a most valuable auxiliary to his
work. His ideas were never vague or indefinite. Means always presented
themselves to him, when he contemplated ends. The following were the
duties of the proposed bureau, which may serve as a guide to some future
reformer: I copy from his own exquisitely neat and clear memorandum,
which lies before me:--

"First. The gradual concentration of all business pertaining to the
militia now conducted by the several bureaus of this Department.

"Second. The collection and systematizing of accurate information of the
number, arm, and condition of the militia of all classes of the several
States, and the compilation of yearly reports of the same for the
information of this Department.

"Third. The compilation of a report of the actual condition of the
militia and the working of the present systems of the General Government
and the various States.

"Fourth. The publication and distribution of such information as is
important to the militia, and the conduct of all correspondence relating
to militia affairs.

"Fifth. The compilation of a system of instruction for light troops for
distribution to the several States, including everything pertaining to
the instruction of the militia in the school of the soldier,--company
and battalion, skirmishing, bayonet, and gymnastic drill, adapted for
self-instruction.

"Sixth. The arrangement of a system of organization, with a view to the
establishment of a uniform system of drill, discipline, equipment, and
dress, throughout the United States."

His plan for this purpose was very complete and symmetrical. Though
enthusiastic, he was never dreamy. His idea always went forth fully
armed and equipped.

Nominally, he was a student of law in the office of Lincoln and Herndon,
but in effect he passed his time in completing his plans of militia
reform. He made in October many stirring and earnest speeches for the
Republican candidates. He was very popular among the country people.
His voice was magnificent in melody and volume, his command of language
wonderful in view of the deficiencies of his early education, his humor
inexhaustible and hearty, and his manner deliberate and impressive,
reminding his audiences in Central Illinois of the earliest and best
days of Senator Douglas.

When the Legislature met, he prepared an elaborate military bill, the
adoption of which would have placed the State in an enviable attitude
of defence. The stupid jealousy of colonels and majors who had won
bloodless glory, on both sides, in the Mormon War, and the malignant
prejudice instigated by the covert treason that lurked in Southern
Illinois, succeeded in staving off the passage of the bill, until it was
lost by the expiration of the term. Many of these men are now in the
ranks, shouting the name of Ellsworth as a battle-cry.

He came to Washington in the escort of the President elect. Hitherto he
had been utterly independent of external aid. The time was come when he
must wait for the cooperation of others, for the accomplishment of his
life's great purpose. He wished a position in the War Department, which
would give him an opportunity for the establishment of the Militia
Bureau. He was a strange anomaly at the capital. He did not care for
money or luxury. Though sensitive in regard to his reputation, for the
honor of his work, his motto always was that of the sage Merlin,--"I
follow use, not fame." An office-seeker of this kind was an eccentric
and suspicious personage. The hungry thousands that crowded and pushed
at Willard's thought him one of them, only deeper and slier. The
simplicity and directness of his character, his quick sympathy and
thoughtless generosity, and his delicate sense of honor unfitted him for
such a scramble as that which degrades the quadrennial rotations of our
Departments. He withdrew from the contest for the position he desired,
and the President, who loved him like a younger brother, made him a
lieutenant in the army, intending to detail him for special service.

The jealousy of the staff-officers of the regular army, who always
discover in any effective scheme of militia reform the overthrow of
their power, and who saw in the young Zouave the promise of brilliant
and successful innovation, was productive of very serious annoyance
and impediment to Ellsworth. In the midst of this, he fell sick at
Willard's. While he lay there, the news from the South began to show
that the rebels were determined upon war, and the rumors on the street
said that a wholesome North-westerly breeze was blowing from the
Executive Mansion. These indications were more salutary to Ellsworth
than any medicine. We were talking one night of coming probabilities,
and I spoke of the doubt so widely existing as to the loyalty of the
people. He rejoined, earnestly,--"I can only speak for myself. You know
I have a great work to do, to which my life is pledged; I am the only
earthly stay of my parents; there is a young woman whose happiness I
regard as dearer than my own: yet I could ask no better death than to
fall next week before Sumter. I am not better than other men. You will
find that patriotism is not dead, even if it sleeps."

Sumter fell, and the sleeping awoke. The spirit of Ellsworth, cramped by
a few weeks' intercourse with politicians, sprang up full-statured
in the Northern gale. He cut at once the meshes of red tape that had
hampered and held him, threw up his commission, and started for New York
without orders, without assistance, without authority, but with the
consciousness that the President would sustain him. The rest the world
knows. I will be brief in recalling it.

In an incredibly short space of time he enlisted and organized a
regiment, eleven hundred strong, of the best fighting material that ever
went to war. He divided it, according to an idea of his own, into
groups of four comrades each, for the campaign. He exercised a personal
supervision over the most important and the most trivial minutiae of the
regimental business. The quick sympathy of the public still followed
him. He became the idol of the Bowery and the pet of the Avenue. Yet not
one instant did he waste in recreation or lionizing. Indulgent to all
others, he was merciless to himself. He worked day and night, like an
incarnation of Energy. When he arrived with his men in Washington, he
was thin, hoarse, flushed, but entirely contented and happy, because
busy and useful.

Of the bright enthusiasm and the quenchless industry of the next few
weeks what need to speak? Every day, by his unceasing toil and care, by
his vigor, alertness, activity, by his generosity, and by his relentless
rigor when duty commanded, he grew into the hearts of his robust and
manly followers, until every man in the regiment feared him as a Colonel
should be feared, and loved him as a brother should be loved.

On the night of the twenty-third of May, he called his men together,
and made a brief, stirring speech to them, announcing their orders to
advance on Alexandria. "Now, boys, go to bed, and wake up at two o'clock
for a sail and a skirmish." When the camp was silent, he began to work.
He wrote many hours, arranging the business of the regiment. He finished
his labor as the midnight stars were crossing the zenith. As he sat in
his tent by the shore, it seems as if the mystical gales from the near
eternity must have breathed for a moment over his soul, freighted with
the odor of amaranths and asphodels. For he wrote two strange letters:
one to her who mourns him faithful in death; one to his parents. There
is nothing braver or more pathetic. With the prophetic instinct of love,
he assumed the office of consoler for the stroke that impended.

In the dewy light of the early dawn he occupied the first rebel town.
With his own hand he tore down the first rebel flag. He added to the
glories of that morning the seal of his blood.

The poor wretch who stumbled upon an immortality of infamy by murdering
him died at the same instant. The two stand in the light of that
event--clearly revealed--types of the two systems in conflict to-day:
the one, brave, refined, courtly, generous, tender, and true; the other,
not lacking in brute courage, reckless, besotted, ignorant, and cruel.

Let the two systems, Freedom and Slavery, stand thus typified forever,
in the red light of that dawn, as on a Mount of Transfiguration. I
believe that may solve the dark mystery why Ellsworth died.



REVIEWS AND LITERARY NOTICES.


_Chambers's Encyclopaedia: A Dictionary of Universal Knowledge for
the People; on the Basis of the Latest Edition of the German
Conversations-Lexicon_. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott & Co. Vols. I. and
II.

An Encyclopaedia is both a luxury and a necessity. Few readers now
collect a library, however scant, without including one of some sort.
Many of them, even in the absence of all other books, of themselves
constitute a complete library. The Britannica, Edinburgh, Metropolitana,
English, Penny, London, Oxford, and that of Kees, are most elaborate
works, extending respectively to about a score of heavy volumes,
averaging eight or nine hundred pages each. Such publications must
necessarily be expensive. They are, moreover, to be regarded rather as a
collection of exhaustive treatises,--great prominence being given to
the physical and mathematical sciences, and to general history. For
instance, in the Britannica, the publication of the eighth edition
of which is just completed, the length of some of the articles is as
follows: Astronomy, 155 quarto pages; Chemistry, 88; Electricity, 104;
Hydrodynamics, 119; Optics, 176; Mammalia, 120; Ichthyology, 151;
Entomology, 265; Britain, 300; England, 136; France, 284. Each one of
these papers is equal to a large octavo volume; some of them would
occupy several volumes; and the entire work, containing a collection of
such articles, can be regarded in no other light than as an attempted
exhibition of the sum of human knowledge, commending itself, of course,
to professional and highly educated minds, but far transcending, in
extent and costliness, the requirements and the means of the great class
of general readers. For the wants of this latter class a different sort
of work is desirable, which shall be cheaper in price, less exhaustive
in its method, and more diversified in its range. In these particulars
the Germans seem to have hit upon the happy medium in their famous
"Conversations-Lexicon," which has passed through a great many editions,
and been translated into the principal languages of Europe. This is
taken as the type, and in some respects as the basis, of the present
publication,--there being engrafted upon it new contributions from
leading authors of this and other countries, together with such
extensive improvements, revisals, rewritings, additions, and
modifications throughout, as to constitute a substantially new work,
exhibiting in combination the results of the best labors of the German,
English, and American mind. In the departments of statistics, geography,
history, and science, the articles are all within readable limits,
accurate, and up to the times; while in the biographical and literary
articles there is a freshness and originality of criticism, and a
vivacity of style, seldom met with in this class of publications.

The peculiar merit of this Encyclopaedia is its convenient adaptedness
to popular use. The subjects treated of are broken up and distributed
alphabetically under their proper heads, so as to facilitate reference.
We are thus furnished with a dictionary of facts and events, where we
may readily find whatever properly appertains to any particular point,
without being compelled to explore an entire treatise. This, by the
way, makes it a sort of hand-book even for those who possess the more
voluminous works. As a necessary result of such a method of treatment,
it will be found, upon an actual count and comparison, to contain more
separate titles than any other Encyclopaedia ever published. Although
the articles are generally brief, it must not be supposed that they are
meagre, for they will be found to present a clear and comprehensive view
of the existing information upon the particular topic, with a mastery
which arises only from familiarity. Montesquieu said that Tacitus
abridged all because he knew all; and no reader can peruse a number of
this Encyclopaedia without being convinced that the success in preparing
the perspicuous abridgments it contains is due to thorough knowledge.
Its excellence is not confined, however, to the letter-press; for we are
furnished with a series of colored maps, embodying the results of
the most recent explorations, and also with a profusion of admirable
woodcuts, illustrating the subject wherever pictorial exposition may aid
the verbal. It will be recollected that no other Encyclopaedia published
in this country has the advantage of illustrations.

The character of Messrs. William and Robert Chambers of itself gives
ample assurance that the work is prepared and executed in a superior
manner; but when we superadd to this the fact that they have spared no
labor or expense, but have devoted to it all the resources of their
experience, enterprise, and skill, in order to make the work, in all its
departments, their crowning contribution to the cause of knowledge, we
are the more ready to believe that it actually is all that it claims to
be. The American edition by J.B. Lippincott & Co., of Philadelphia,
is published in numbers simultaneously with the Edinburgh and London
edition, and in an unexceptionable style of typography. Its low price
brings it within the reach of almost every reader. Indeed, when we
consider the size of the volumes, the number of illustrations and maps,
the mechanical execution, and the compensation to the writers, we are
at a loss to conceive how it can be profitably furnished at so cheap a
rate.


_The Recreations of a Country Parson_. Boston: Ticknor & Fields. 12mo.

The essays of which this volume is made up were originally contributed
to "Fraser's Magazine." The "Recreations" they record are therefore
those of an English, and not an American "Parson"; but there is nothing
in them which a parson of any church or denomination would feel inclined
to repudiate, on the score either of their fineness of mental perception
or healthiness of moral sense. The author tells us, that, in writing
these essays, he has not been rapt away into heroic times and distant
scenes, but has written of daily work and worry amid daily work and
worry: and herein lies the charm of his discourses. He has one of those
sensible, elastic, cheerful natures whose ideal qualities are not
perverted by fretfulness and discontent. That most wicked of Byronisms,
which consists in depreciating the duties of common life in order to
exalt the claims of a kind of spiritualized sensuality and poetic
self-importance, he instinctively avoids. The thirteen shrewd,
suggestive, and practical essays which compose the present volume are
transcripts of his own experience and meditations, and teem with facts
and observations such as might be expected from the clear insight of a
man who has mingled with his fellow-men, and who is curiously critical
of the non-romantic phenomena of their daily life. The essays on the Art
of Putting Things, on Petty Malignity and Petty Trickery, on Tidiness,
on Nervous Fears, on Hurry and Leisure, on Work and Play, on Dulness,
and on Growing Old, are full of fresh and delicate perceptions of the
ordinary facts of human experience. His best and brightest remarks
surprise us with the unexpectedness of homely common sense, as flashed
on a world of organized illusions. The entire absence of rhetoric in the
author's mode of "putting things" adds to its effectiveness. He attempts
to reveal the common,--one of the rarest of revelations; and shows what
heroic qualities are needed to overcome the superficial circumstances
of our life, and transmute them into occasions for that humble, obscure
heroism which God alone apprehends and rewards. The freedom of the
writer from all the stereotyped phraseology of sanctity in doing this
work, and his innocent sympathy with everything cheerful, pleasurable,
and lovable in Nature and human nature, only add to the power of his
teachings. These "Recreations" of the "Parson" will, to the generality
of readers, produce more beneficent results than could have been
produced, had he given us his most carefully prepared sermons,--for they
connect religion with life. Nobody can read the volume without feeling
the moral and religious purpose which underlies its graceful and genial
exhibition of human character and manners. The common objection to
clergymen is, that they are ignorant of the world. No sagacious reader
of the present book can doubt that this parson, at least, is an
exception to the general rule; for he palpably knows more of the world
than most men who have made it a special study.



RECENT AMERICAN PUBLICATIONS

RECEIVED BY THE EDITORS OF THE ATLANTIC MONTHLY.


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History of Latin Christianity, including that of the Popes to the
Pontificate of Nicolas V. By Henry Hart Milman, D.D., Dean of St.
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Chambers's Encyclopedia: A Dictionary of Universal Knowledge for
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