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Title: The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 08, No. 47, September, 1861
Author: Various
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 08, No. 47, September, 1861" ***

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47, SEPTEMBER, 1861***


THE ATLANTIC MONTHLY.

A MAGAZINE OF LITERATURE, ART, AND POLITICS.

VOL. VIII.--SEPTEMBER, 1861.--NO. XLVII.



THE SHAKESPEARE MYSTERY.


In 1853 there went up a jubilant cry from many voices upon the
publication of Mr. Collier's "Notes and Emendations to the Text of
Shakespeare's Plays from Early Manuscript Corrections," etc. "Now," it
was said, "doubt and controversy are at an end. The text is settled by
the weight of authority, and in accordance with common sense. We shall
enjoy our Shakespeare in peace and quiet." Hopeless ignorance of
Shakespeare-loving nature! The shout of rejoicing had hardly been
uttered before there arose a counter cry of warning and defiance from
a few resolute lips, which, swelling, mouth by mouth, as attention was
aroused and conviction strengthened, has overwhelmed the other, now sunk
into a feeble apologetic plea. The dispute upon the marginal readings in
this notorious volume, as to their intrinsic value and their pretence to
authority upon internal evidence, has ended in the rejection of nearly
all of the few which are known to be peculiar to it, and the conclusion
against any semblance of such authority. The investigation of the
external evidence of their genuineness, though it has not been quite so
satisfactory upon all points, has brought to light so many suspicious
circumstances connected with Mr. Collier's production of them before the
public, that they must be regarded as unsupported by the moral weight of
good faith in the only person who is responsible for them.

Since our previous article upon this subject,[A] nothing has appeared
upon it in this country; but several important publications have
been made in London concerning it; and, in fact, this department of
Shakespearian literature threatens to usurp a special shelf in the
dramatic library. The British Museum has fairly entered the field, not
only in the persons of Mr. Hamilton and Mr. Maskelyne, but in that of
Sir Frederic Madden himself, the head of its Manuscript Department, and
one of the very first paleographers of the age; Mr. Collier has made a
formal reply; the Department of Public Records has spoken through Mr.
Duffus Hardy; the "Edinburgh Review" has taken up the controversy on one
side and "Fraser's Magazine" on the other; the London "Critic" has kept
up a galling fire on Mr. Collier, his folio, and his friends, to which
the "Athenaeum" has replied by an occasional shot, red-hot; the author
of "Literary Cookery," (said to be Mr. Arthur Edmund Brae,) a well-read,
ingenious, caustic, and remorseless writer, whose first book was
suppressed as libellous, has returned to the charge, and not less
effectively because more temperately; and finally an LL.D., Mansfield
Ingleby, of Trinity College, Cambridge, comes forward with a "Complete
View of the Controversy," which is manifestly meant for a complete
extinction of Mr. Collier. Dr. Ingleby's book is quite a good one of its
kind, and those who seek to know the history and see the grounds of this
famous and bitter controversy will find it very serviceable. It gives,
what it professes to give, a complete view of the whole subject from the
beginning, and treats most of the prominent points of it with care, and
generally with candor. Its view, however, is from the stand-point of
uncompromising hostility to Mr. Collier, and its spirit not unlike that
with which a man might set out to exterminate vermin.[B]

[Footnote A: October, 1859. No. XXIV.]

[Footnote B: We do not attribute the spirit of Dr. Ingleby's book to any
inherent malignity or deliberately malicious purpose of its author, but
rather to that relentless partisanship which this folio seems to have
excited among the British critics. So we regard his reference to
"almighty smash" and "catawampously chawed up" as specimens of the
language used in America, and his disparagement of the English in vogue
here, less as a manifestation of a desire to misrepresent, or even a
willingness to sneer, than as an amusing exhibition of utter ignorance.
In what part of America and from what lips did Dr. Ingleby ever hear
these phrases? We have never heard them; and in a somewhat varied
experience of American life have never been in any society, however
humble, in which they would not excite laughter, if not astonishment,
--astonishment even greater than that with which Americans of average
cultivation would read such phrases as these in a goodly octavo
published by a Doctor of the Laws of Cambridge University. "And one
ground upon which the hypothesis of Hamlet's insanity has been built is
'_swagged_.'" (_Complete View_, p. 82.) "The interests of literature
_jeopardized_, but not compromised." (_Ib_. p. 10.) "The rest of Mr.
Collier's remarks on the H.S. letter _relates_," etc. (_Ib_. p. 260.)
"_In_ the middle of this volume has been foisted." (_Ib_. p. 261.) We
shall not say that this is British English; but we willingly confess
that it is not American English. Such writing would not be tolerated in
the leading columns of any newspaper of reputation in this country; it
might creep in among the work of the second or third rate reporters.]

And here we pause a moment to consider the temper in which this question
has been discussed among the British critics and editors. From the very
beginning, eight years ago, there have been manifestations of personal
animosity, indications of an eagerness to seize the opportunity of
venting long secreted venom. This has appeared as well in books as in
more ephemeral publications, and upon both sides, and even between
writers on the same side. On every hand there has been a most deplorable
impeachment of motive, accompanied by a detraction of character by
imputation which is quite shocking. Petty personal slights have been
insinuated as the ultimate cause of an expression of opinion upon an
important literary question, and testimony has been impeached and
judgment disparaged by covert allegations of disgraceful antecedent
conduct on the part of witnesses or critics. Indeed, at times there has
seemed reason to believe the London "Literary Gazette" (we quote from
memory) right in attributing this whole controversy to a quarrel which
has long existed in London, and which, having its origin in the alleged
abstraction of manuscripts from a Cambridge library by a Shakespearian
scholar, has made most of the British students of this department
of English letters more or less partisans on one side or the other.
Certainly the "Saturday Review" is correct, (in all but its English,)
when it says that in this controversy "a mere literary question and a
grave question of personal character are being awkwardly mixed together,
and neither question is being conducted in a style at all satisfactory
or creditable to literary men."

Mr. Collier is told by Mr. Duffus Hardy that "he has no one to blame but
himself" for "the tone which has been adopted by those who differ from
him upon this matter," because he, (Mr. Collier,) by his answer in the
"Times" to Mr. Hamilton, made it "a personal, rather than a literary
question." But, we may ask, how is it possible for a man accused
of palming off a forgery upon the public to regard the question as
impersonal, even although it may not be alleged in specific terms that
he is the forger? Mr. Collier is like the frog in the fable. This
pelting with imputations of forgery may be very fine fun to the pelters,
but it is death to him. To them, indeed, it may be a mere question of
evidence and criticism; but to him it must, in any case, be one of vital
personal concern. Yet we cannot find any sufficient excuse for the
manner in which Mr. Collier has behaved in this affair from the very
beginning. His cause is damaged almost as much by his own conduct, and
by the tone of his defence, as by the attacks of his accusers. A very
strong argument against his complicity in any fraudulent proceeding
in relation to his folio might have been founded upon an untarnished
reputation, and a frank and manly attitude on his part; but, on the
contrary, his course has been such as to cast suspicion upon every
transaction with which he has been connected.

First he says[C] that he bought this folio in 1849 to "complete another
poor copy of the seconde folio"; and in the next paragraph he adds, "As
it turned out, I at first repented my bargain, because when I took it
home, it appeared that two leaves which I wanted were unfit for my
purpose, not merely by being too short, but damaged and defaced."
And finally he says that it was not until the spring of 1850 that he
"observed some marks in the margin of this folio." Now did Mr. Collier,
by some mysterious instinct, light directly, first upon one of the
leaves, and then upon the other, which he wished to find, in a folio of
nine hundred pages? It is almost incredible that he did so once; that he
did so twice is quite beyond belief. It is equally incredible, that if
the textual changes were then upon the margins in the profusion in which
they now exist, he could have looked for the two leaves which he needed
without noticing and examining such a striking peculiarity. Clearly
those marginal readings must have been seen by Mr. Collier in his search
for the two leaves he needed, or they have been written since. Either
case is fatal to his reputation. His various accounts of his interviews
with Mr. Parry, who, it was thought, once owned the book, are
inconsistent with each other, and at variance with Mr. Parry's own
testimony, and the probabilities, not to say the possibilities, of the
case. He says, for instance, that he showed the folio to Mr. Parry; and
that Mr. Parry took it into his hand, examined it, and pronounced it the
volume he had once owned. But, on the contrary, Mr. Parry says that Mr.
Collier showed him no book; that he exhibited only fac-similes; that he
(Mr. Parry) was, on the occasion in question, unable to hold a book, as
his hands were occupied with two sticks, by the assistance of which he
was limping along the road. And on being shown Mr. Collier's folio at
the British Museum, Mr. Parry said that he never saw that volume before,
although he distinctly remembered the size and appearance of his own
folio; and the accuracy of his memory has been since entirely confirmed
by the discovery of a fly-leaf lost from his folio which conforms to
his description, and is of a notably different size and shape from the
leaves of the Collier folio.[D]--Mr. Collier has declared, in the most
positive and explicit manner, that he has "often gone over the thousands
of marks of all kinds" on the margins of his folio; and again, that he
has "reëxamined every fine and letter"; and finally, that, to enable
"those interested in such matters" to "see _the entire body _in the
shortest form," he "appended them to the present volume [_Seven
Lectures_, etc.] in one column," etc. This column he calls, too, "A
List of _Every Manuscript Note and Emendation_ in Mr. Collier's Copy of
Shakespeare's Works, folio, 1632." Now Mr. Hamilton, having gone over
the margins of "Hamlet" in the folio, finds that Mr. Collier's published
list "_does not contain one-half_ of the corrections, many of the most
significant being among those omitted." He sustains his allegation by
publishing the results of the collation of "Hamlet," to which we shall
hereafter refer more particularly, when we shall see that the reason of
Mr. Collier's suppression of so large a portion of these alterations and
additions was, that their publication would have made the condemnation
of his folio swift and certain. We have here a distinct statement of
the thing that is not, and a manifest and sufficient motive for the
deception.

[Footnote C: Notes and Emendations, p. vii.]

[Footnote D: This volume is universally spoken of as the Perkins folio
by the British critics. But we preserve the designation under which it
is so widely known in America.]

It has also been discovered that Mr. Collier has misrepresented the
contents of the postscript of a letter from Mistress Alleyn to her
husband, Edward Alleyn, the eminent actor of Shakespeare's day. This
letter was first published by Mr. Collier in his "Memoirs of Edward
Alleyn" in 1841, where he represents the following broken passage as
part of it:--

"Aboute a weeke a goe there came a youthe who said he was Mr Frauncis
Chaloner who would have borrowed X'li. to have bought things for ... and
_said he was known unto you and Mr Shakespeare of the globe, who came
... said he knewe hym not, onely he herde of hym that he was a roge...
so he was glade we did not lend him the monney ... Richard Johnes [went]
to seeke_ and inquire after the fellow," etc.

The paper on which this postscript is written is very much decayed,
and has been broken and torn away by the accidents of time; but enough
remains to show that the passage in question stands thus,--the letters
in brackets being obliterated:--

"Aboute a weeke agoe ther[e] [cam]e a youthe who said he was || Mr.
Frauncis Chalo[ner]s man [& wou]ld have borrow[e]d x's.--to || have
bought things for [hi]s Mri[s]..... [tru]st hym || Cominge wthout...
token.... d ||I would have.... || [i]f I bene sue[r] ..... || and
inquire after the fellow," etc.

The parallels || in the above paragraph indicate the divisions of the
lines in the original manuscript; and a moment's examination will
convince the reader that the existence of those words of Mr. Collier's
version which we have printed in Italic letter in the place to which he
assigns them is a physical impossibility, as Mr. Hamilton has clearly
shown.[E] And that the mention of Shakespeare, and what he said, was not
on a part of the letter which has been broken away, is made certain by
the fortunate preservation of enough of the lower margin to show that no
such passage could have been written upon it.

[Footnote E: _An Inquiry_, etc., pp. 86-89. See also Ingleby's _Complete
View_, etc., pp. 279-288. Both Mr. Hamilton and Dr. Ingleby give
fac-similes of this important postscript.]

Mr. Collier has also been convicted by Mr. Dyce of positive and
malicious misrepresentation in various passages of the Prolegomena and
Notes to his last edition of Shakespeare. (London, 1858, 6 vols.) The
misrepresentations refer so purely to matters of textual criticism,
and the exhibition of even one of them would involve the quotation of
passages so uninteresting to the general reader, that we shall ask him
to be content with our assurance that these disgraceful attempts to
injure a literary opponent and former friend assume severally the form
of direct misstatement, suppression of the truth, prevarication,
and cunning perversion; the manner and motive throughout being very
shabby.[F] The purpose of all these attacks upon Mr. Dyce is not only to
wound and disparage him, but to secure for the writer a reputation for
superior sagacity and antiquarian learning; and we regret that we are
obliged to close this part of our paper by saying that we find that the
same motive has led Mr. Collier into similar courses during a great part
of his literary career. It has been necessary for us to examine all
that he has written upon Shakespeare, and we have again and again
found ourselves misled into giving him temporary credit for a point
established or a fact discovered, when in truth this credit was due
to Malone or Chalmers or some other Shakespearian scholar of the past
century, and was sought to be appropriated by Mr. Collier, not through
direct misstatement, but by such an ingenious wording and construction
of sentences as would accomplish the purpose without absolute falsehood.
An instance of this kind of manoeuvring is brought to light in
connection with the investigations into the discovery and character of a
paper known as "The Players' Petition," which was first made public by
Mr. Collier in his "Annals of the Stage," (Vol. i. p. 298,) and which
has been pronounced a forgery. Of this he says, in his "Reply to Mr.
Hamilton," (p. 59,) "Mr. Lemon, Senior, _undoubtedly did_ bring the
'Players' Petition' under my notice, and very much obliged I was," etc.
Now Mr. Collier, in the "Annals of the Stage," after extended remarks
upon the importance of the document, merely says, "This remarkable paper
has, perhaps, never seen the light from the moment it was presented,
until it was recently discovered." No direct assertion here that Mr.
Collier discovered it, but a leading of the reader to infer that he did;
and not a word about Mr. Lemon's agency, until, upon the suggestion of
that gentleman's son, it is serviceable to Mr. Collier to remember it.
By reference to Mr. Grant White's "Shakespeare," Vol. ii. p. lx., an
instance may be seen of a positive misstatement by Mr. Collier, of
which, whatever the motive or the manner, the result is to deprive
Chalmers of a microscopic particle of antiquarian credit and to
bestow it upon himself. In fact, our confidence in Mr. Collier's
trustworthiness, which, diminished by discoveries like these, as our
knowledge of his labors increased, has been quite extinguished under the
accumulated evidence of either his moral obliquity or his intellectual
incapacity for truth. We can now accept from him, merely upon his word,
no statement as true by which he has anything to gain.

[Footnote F: See Dyce's _Strictures_, etc., pp. 2, 22, 28, 35, 51, 54,
56, 57, 58, 70, 123, 127, 146, 168, 192, 203, 204.]

The bad effect of what he does is increased by the manner in which he
seeks to shield himself from the consequences of his acts. He should
have said at once, "Let this matter be investigated, and here am I to
aid in the investigation," Soon after this folio was brought into public
notice, Mr. Charles Knight proposed that it should be submitted to a
palaeographic examination by gentlemen of acknowledged competence; but
so far was Mr. Collier from yielding to this suggestion, that we have
good reason for saying that it was not until after the volume passed, in
1859, into the hands of Sir Frederic Madden of the British Museum,
that the more eminent Shakespearian scholars in London had even an
opportunity to look at it closely.[G] The attacks upon the genuineness
of the writing on its margins Mr. Collier was at once too ready to
regard as impeachments of his personal integrity, and to shirk by making
counter-insinuations against the integrity of his opponents and the
correctness of their motives. He attributes to the pettiest personal
spite or jealousy the steps which they have taken in discharge of a duty
to the interests of literature and the literary guild, and at the risk
of their professional reputations, and then slinks back from his charges
with,--"I have been told this, but I don't believe it: this may be so,
but yet it cannot be: I did something that Mr. So-and-so's father did
not like, yet I wouldn't for a moment insinuate," etc., etc.[H] Then,
Mr. Collier, why do you insinuate? And what in any case do you gain?
Suppose the men who deny the good faith of your marginalia are the
small-souled creatures you would have us believe they are, they do not
make this denial upon their personal responsibility merely; they produce
facts. Meet those; and do not go about to make one right out of two
wrongs. Cease, too, this crawling upon your belly before the images of
dukes and carls and lord chief-justices; digest speedily the wine and
biscuits which a gentleman has brought to you in his library, and let
them pass away out of your memory. Let us have no more such sneaking
sentences as, "I have always striven to make myself as unobjectionable
as I could"; but stand up like a man and speak like a man, if you have
aught to say that is worth saying; and your noble patrons, no less than
the world at large, will have more faith in you, and more respect for
you.

[Footnote G: Such hasty examinations as those which it must have
received at the Society of Antiquaries and the Shakespeare Society,
where Mr. Collier took it, are of little importance.]

[Footnote H: See, for instance, "I have been told, but I do not believe
it, that Sir F. Madden and his colleagues were irritated by this piece
of supposed neglect; and that they also took it ill that I presented the
Perkins folio to the kindest, most condescending, and most liberal of
noblemen, instead of giving it to their institution." (_Reply_, p. 11.)
And see the same pamphlet and Mr. Collier's letters, _passim_.]

But what has been established by the examination of Mr. Collier's folio
and the manuscripts which he has brought to light? These very important
points:--

The folio contains more than twice, nearly three times, as many marginal
readings, including stage-directions and changes of orthography, as are
enumerated in Mr. Collier's "List of Every," etc.

The margins retain in numerous places the traces of
pencil-memorandums.[I]

[Footnote I: This is finally admitted even by Mr. Collier's supporters.
The Edinburgh Reviewer says,--"But then the mysterious pencil-marks!
They are there, most undoubtedly, and in very great numbers too. The
natural surprise that they were not earlier detected is somewhat
diminished on inspection. Some say they have 'come out' more in the
course of years; whether this is possible we know not. But even now they
are hard to discover, until the eye has become used to the search. But
when it has,--especially with the use of a glass at first,--they become
perceptible enough, words, ticks, points, and all."]

These pencil-memorandums are in some instances written in a modern
cursive hand, to which marginal readings in ink, written in an antique
hand, correspond.

There are some pencil-memorandums to which no corresponding change in
ink has been made; and one of these is in short-hand of a system which
did not come into use until 1774.[J]

[Footnote J: In _Coriolanus_, Act v. sc. 2, (p. 55, col. 2, of the C.
folio,) "struggles or instead noise,"--plainly a memorandum for a
stage-direction in regard to the impending fracas between Menenius and
the Guard.]

These pencil-memorandums in some instances underlie the words in ink
which correspond to them.

Similar modern pencil-writing, underlying in like manner antique-seeming
words in ink, has been discovered in the Bridgewater folio, (Lord
Ellesmere's,) the manuscript readings in which Mr. Collier was the first
to bring into notice.

Some of the pencilled memorandums in the folio of 1632 seem to be
unmistakably in the handwriting of Mr. Collier.[K]

[Footnote K: Having at hand some of Mr. Collier's own writing in pencil,
we are dependent as to this point, in regard to the pencillings in
the folio, only upon the accuracy of the fac-similes published by Mr.
Hamilton and Dr. Ingleby, which correspond in character, though made by
different fac-similists.]

Several manuscripts, professing to be contemporary with Shakespeare, and
containing passages of interest in regard to him, or to the dramatic
affairs of his time, have been pronounced spurious by the highest
palaeographic authorities in England, and in one of them (a letter
addressed to Henslow, and bearing Marston's signature) a pencilled guide
for the ink, like those above mentioned, has been discovered. These
manuscripts were made public by Mr. Collier, who professed to have
discovered them chiefly in the Bridgewater and Dulwich collections.

In his professed reprint of one manuscript (Mrs. Alleyn's letter) Mr.
Collier has inserted several lines relating to Shakespeare which could
not possibly have formed a part of the passage which he professes to
reprint.

In the above enumeration we have not included the many complete and
partial erasures upon the margins of Mr. Collier's folio; because these,
although they are inconsistent with the authoritative introduction of
the manuscript readings, do not affect the question of the good faith of
the person who introduced those readings, or serve as any indication of
the period at which he did his work. But it must be confessed that
the points enumerated present a very strong, and, when regarded by
themselves, an apparently incontrovertible case against Mr. Collier and
the genuineness of the folios and the manuscripts which he has brought
to light. Combined with the evidence of his untrustworthiness, they
compel, even from us who examine the question without prejudice, the
unwilling admission that there can be no longer any doubt that he has
been concerned in bringing to public notice, under the prestige of his
name, a mass of manuscript matter of seeming antiquity and authority
much of which at least is spurious. We say, without prejudice; for
it cannot be too constantly kept in mind that the question of the
genuineness of the manuscript readings in Mr. Collier's folio--that is,
of the good faith in which they were written--has absolutely nothing
whatever to do with that of their value or authority, at least in our
judgment. Six years before the appearance of Mr. Hamilton's first letter
impeaching their genuineness, we had expressed the decided opinion that
they were "entitled to no other consideration than is due to their
intrinsic excellence";[L] and this opinion is now shared even by the
authority which gave them at first the fullest and most uncompromising
support.[M]

[Footnote L: See _Putnam's Magazine_, October, 1853, and _Shakespeare's
Scholar_, 1854, p. 74.]

[Footnote M: See the London _Athenaeum_ of January 8th, 1853:--"We
cannot hesitate to infer that there must have been _something more than
mere conjecture_,--some authority from which they were derived.... The
consideration of the nine omitted lines stirs up Mr. Collier to a little
greater boldness on the question of authority; but, after all, we do not
think he goes the full length which the facts would warrant."

Compare this with the following extracts from the same journal of July
9th, 1859;--"The folio never had any ascertained external authority.
All the warrant it has ever brought to reasonable critics is internal."
"If anybody, in the heat of argument, ever claimed for them [the MS.
readings] a right of acceptance beyond the emendations of Theobald,
Malone, Dyce, and Singer, (that is, a right not justified by their
obvious utility or beauty,) such a claim must have been untenable, by
whomsoever urged."]

Other points sought to be established against Mr. Collier and the
genuineness of his manuscript authorities must be noticed in an article
which aims at the presentation of a comprehensive view of this subject.
These are based on certain variations between Mr. Collier's statements
as to the readings of his manuscript authorities and a certain supposed
"philological" proof of the modern origin of one of those authorities,
the folio of 1632. Upon all these points the case of Mr. Collier's
accusers breaks down. It is found, for instance, that in the folio an
interpolated line in "Coriolanus," Act iii. sc. 2, reads,--

"To brook _controul_ without the use of anger,"

and that so Mr. Collier gave it in both editions of his "Notes and
Emendations," in his fac-similes made for private distribution, in his
vile one-volume Shakespeare, and in the "List," etc., appended to the
"Seven Lectures." But in his new edition of Shakespeare's Works (6 vols.
1858) he gives it,--

"To brook _reproof_ without the use of anger,"

and hereupon Dr. Ingleby asks,--"Is it not possible that here Mr.
Collier's remarkable memory is too retentive, and that, though second
thoughts may be best, first thoughts are sometimes inconveniently
remembered to the prejudice of the second?"[N] Here we see a palpable
slip of memory or of the pen, by which an old man substituted one word
for another of similar import, as many a younger man has done before
him, tortured into evidence of forgery. Such an objection is worthy of
notice only as an example of the carping, unjudicial spirit in which
this subject is treated by some of the British critics.

[Footnote N: _The Shakespeare Fabrications_, p. 45.]

Mr. Collier is accused at least of "inaccuracy" and "ignorance" on
account of some of these variations. Thus, in Mrs. Alleyn's Letter, she
says that a boy "would have borrowed x's." (ten shillings); and this Mr.
Collier reads "would have borrowed x'li." (ten pounds). Whereupon Mr.
Duffus Hardy, Assistant Keeper of the Public Records, produces this as
one of "the most striking" of Mr. Collier's inaccuracies in regard to
this letter, and says that it "certainly betrays no little ignorance,
as 10_l_. in those days would have equalled about 60_l_. of our present
money." "A strange youth," he adds, "calls on Mrs. Alleyn and asks the
loan of 10_l_. as coolly as he would ask for as many pence!" Let us
measure the extent of the ignorance shown by this inaccuracy, and
estimate its significance by a high standard. In one of the documents
which Mr. Collier has brought forward--an account by Sir Arthur
Mainwayring, auditor to Sir Thomas Egerton, in James I.'s reign, which
is pronounced to be a forgery, and which probably is one--is an entry
which mentions the performance of "Othello" in 1602. The second part of
this entry is,[O]--

  "Rewards; to m'r. Lyllyes man w'ch   }
  brought y'e lotterye boxe to         }
  x's. Harefield: p m'r. Andr. Leigh." }

[Footnote O: See the fac-simile in Dr. Ingleby's _Complete View_. p.
262.]

Mr. Lyllye's man got ten shillings, then, for his job,--very princely
pay in those days. But Mr. Hardy[P] prints this entry,--"Rewarde to Mr.
Lillye's man, which brought the lotterye box to Harefield x'li."--ten
_pounds_!--the same sum that Mr. Collier made Mr. Chaloner's boy ask
of Mrs. Alleyn. In other words, according to Mr. Hardy, Sir Arthur
Mainwayring gave a serving-man, for carrying a box, ten pounds as coolly
as he would have given as many pence! Now, Mr. Hardy, "as 10_l_. in
those days would have equalled about 60_l_. of our present money," on
your honor and your palaeographical reputation, does it betray "no
little ignorance" to mistake, or, if you please, to misprint, 10's. for
ten 10'li.? If no, so much the better for poor Mr. Collier; but if ay,
is not the Department of Public Records likely to come to grief?[Q]

[Footnote P: _A Review_, etc., p. 60.]

[Footnote Q: We could point out numerous other similar failures and
errors in the publications in which Mr. Collier is attacked; but we
cannot spare time or space for these petty side-issues.]

A very strong point has been made upon the alteration of "so eloquent as
a _chair_" to "so eloquent as a _cheer_" in Mr. Collier's folio. It is
maintained by Mr. Arthur Edmund Brae, and by Dr. Ingleby, that "cheer"
as a shout of "admirative applause" did not come into use until
the latter part of the last century. This is the much vaunted
philologico-chronological proof that the manuscript readings in that
folio are of very recent origin. Dr. Ingleby devotes twenty pages to
this single topic. Never was labor more entirely wasted. For the
result of it all is the establishment of these facts in regard to
"cheer":--that shouts of encouragement and applause were called "cheers"
as early, at least, as 1675, and that in the middle of the century
1500, if not before, "to cheer" meant to utter an audible expression of
applause. The first appears from the frequent use of the noun in the
Diary of Henry Teonge, a British Navy Chaplain, dated 1675-1679, by
which it appears that "three cheers" were given then, just as they are
now; the second, from a passage in Phaer's Translation of the "Aeneid,"
published in 1558, in which "_Excipiunt plausu pavidos_" is rendered
"The Trojans them did _chere_." And now will it be believed that
an LL.D. of Trinity College, Cambridge, and a professed student of
Shakespeare, seeks to avoid the force of these facts by pleading, that,
although Teonge speaks of "three cheers," it does not follow that there
was such a thing known in his day as a cheer; that "three cheers" was
a recognized phrase for a certain naval salute; and that "to confound
_three cheers_ with _a cheer_ would be as ignorant a proceeding as
to confound the phrases 'manning the yards' and 'manning a
yard'"?--Exactly, Dr. Ingleby,--just as ignorant; but three times one
are three; and when one yard is manned the sailors have manned a yard,
and while they are a-doing it they are manning a yard. What did the
people call one-third of their salute in 1675? And are we to suppose
that they were never led to give "one more" cheer, as they do nowadays?
And have the LL.D.s of Cambridge--old Cambridge--yet to learn that the
compound always implies the preëxistence of the simple, and that "a
cheer" is, by logical necessity, the antecedent of "three cheers"?
Can they fail to see, too, as "cheer" meant originally face, then
countenance, then comfort, encouragement, that, before it could be used
as a verb to mean the _expression_ of applause, it must have previously
been used as a noun to mean applause? And finally, has an intelligent
and learned student of Shakespeare read him so imperceptively as not to
know, that, if "cheer," or any other word, had been used in his time
only as a verb, he would not have hesitated a moment about using it as a
noun, if it suited his purpose to do so? That the original text in the
passage in question, "so eloquent as a chair," is correct, we have no
doubt; but the attempt to make the introduction of "cheer" into Mr.
Collier's folio a chronological test of the good faith of its MS.
readings has failed entirely.

But Mr. Collier's accusers fall short of their aim upon other and no
less important points. It seems more than doubtful that the spuriousness
of all the marginal readings in the notorious folio and all the
documents brought forward by Mr. Collier has been established. Under
ordinary circumstances, when palaeographers like Sir Frederic Madden,
Sir Francis Palgrave, and Mr. Duffus Hardy, tell us that a manuscript,
professing to be ancient and original, is a modern fabrication, we
submit at once. A judgment pronounced by such experts commands the
unquestioning deference of laymen; unless, indeed, the doctors differ;
and then the humblest and most ignorant of us all must endeavor
to decide between them. And when a court, under extraordinary
circumstances,--and those of the present case are very extraordinary,--
not only pronounces judgment, but feels compelled to assign the reasons
for that judgment, thinking men who are interested in the question under
consideration will examine the evidence and weigh the arguments for
themselves.

In the present case reasons have been given by Sir Frederic Madden, Mr.
Hardy, and Dr. Ingleby, the chief-justice and two puisne judges of our
court. The first says, (in his letter of March 24th, 1860, to the London
"Critic,") that, on examining the folio with Mr. Bond, the Assistant
Keeper of his Department, they were both "struck with the very
suspicious character of the writing,"--certainly the work of one hand,
but presenting varieties of forms assignable to different periods,--the
evident painting of the letters, and the artificial look of the ink.

Mr. Hardy speaks more explicitly to the same purpose; and we must quote
him at some length. He says,--

"The handwriting of the notes and alterations in the Devonshire folio
[Mr. Collier's] is of a mixed character, varying even in the same page,
from the stiff, labored Gothic hand of the sixteenth century to the
round text-hand of the nineteenth, a fact most perceptible in the
capital letters. It bears unequivocal marks also of laborious imitation
throughout.

"In their broader characteristics, the features of the handwriting of
this country, from the time of the Reformation, may be arranged under
four epochs, sufficiently distinct to elucidate our argument:--

"1. The stiff upright Gothic of Henry VIII. and Edward VI.

"2. The same, inclining and less stiff, as a greater amount of
correspondence demanded an easier style of writing, under Elizabeth.

"3. The cursive, based on an Italian model, (the Gothic becoming more
flexible and now rapidly disappearing,) in the reign of James I., and
continuing in use for about a century.

"4. The round hand of the schoolmaster, under the House of Hanover,
degenerating into the careless, half-formed hands of the present day.

"Now it is perfectly possible that any two of these hands in succession
may have been practised by the same person.... That the first and third
or the second and fourth should be coexistent is very improbable. That
all, or that the first, second, and fourth, should be found together, as
belonging to one and the same era, we hold to be utterly impossible.

"Yet this is a difficulty that Mr. Collier has to explain; as the
handwritings of the MS. corrections in the Devonshire folio, including
those in pencil, vary as already said, from the stiff, upright,
labored, and earlier Gothic, to the round text-hand of the nineteenth
century."[R]

[Footnote R: A _Review_, etc., pp. 6, 7.]

On this point Dr. Ingleby says, succinctly and decidedly, "The primal
evidence of the forgery lies in the ink writing, and in that alone";[S]
but he expressly bases this dictum upon the decisions of the professed
palaeographers of the British Museum and the Record Office. He goes on,
however, to assign important collateral proof of the forgery, both of
the readings in the folio and the documents brought forward by Mr.
Collier, by connecting them with each other. Thus he says, that whoever
will compare the fac-similes of the document known as "The Certificate
of the Blackfriars Players" with those which he gives of two passages in
the folio "will surely entertain no doubt that one hand wrote both."[T]
He expresses also the same confidence that "there can be but one
intelligent opinion" that another important document, known as "The
Blackfriars Petition," was, as Mr. Hamilton believes, "executed by the
same hand" as that to which we owe the Certificate, and, consequently,
the folio readings.[U] Again, with regard to another of these documents,
known as "The Daborne Warrant," Dr. Ingleby says,--"Mr. Hamilton
remarks, what must be plain to every one who compares the fac-simile
of the Daborne Warrant with those of the manuscript emendations in the
Perkins folio, that the same hand wrote both. In particular the
letters E, S, J, and C are formed in the same peculiar pseudo-antique
manner."[V] And finally, Mr. Hamilton decides, and Dr. Ingleby concurs
with him, that a certain List of Players appended to a letter from the
Council to the Lord Mayor, in which Shakespeare's name stands third, is
"done by the same hand" which produced the professed contemporary copy
of a letter signed H.S. about Burbage and Shakespeare, supposed to be
from the Earl of Southampton. Giving his reason for this opinion, Dr.
Ingleby says,--"Among other similarities in the forms of the letters
to those characterizing the H.S. letter, is the very remarkable _g_ in
'Hemminges'."[W]

[Footnote S: A _Complete View_, p. 114.]

[Footnote T: _Ib._ p. 250.]

[Footnote U: _Ib._ p. 293.]

[Footnote V: _Ib._ p. 256.]

[Footnote W: _Ib._ p. 271.]

Let us examine the alleged grounds of these decisions,--"the varieties
of forms assignable to different periods," and the extension of those
varieties "from the stiff, labored Gothic hand of the sixteenth century
to the round-text hand of the nineteenth." This judgment is passed upon
_all_ the writing on the margins of the folio, including the pencil
memorandums. For the present we shall set aside the latter,--the pencil
memorandums,--as not properly belonging to this branch of the subject.
For this pencil writing, although it has a most important bearing
upon the question of the good faith of the marginal readings, has no
professed character, antique or modern: it is, of course, not set forth
directly or indirectly, either by the unknown writer of the marginalia,
or by Mr. Collier, as evidence of the date at which they were made. And
as, according to Dr. Ingleby, "the primal evidence of the forgery lies
in the ink writing, and in that alone," with that alone we shall at
present concern ourselves. As the careless, half-formed hand of the
present day, degenerate from "the round hand of the school-master,"
appears only in the pencil writing, we have therefore to deal but with
the first three styles of writing enumerated by Mr. Hardy; and as he
himself admits that "it is perfectly possible that any two of these
hands in succession may have been practised by the same person," if
those who maintain the side of forgery fail to show that "the stiff
upright Gothic of Henry VIII. and Edward VI." appears upon the margins
of this folio, we shall only have the second and third styles enumerated
by Mr. Hardy, i.e., the hands of Elizabeth and James I., to take into
consideration; and the so-called "primal evidence of the forgery," in
the "varieties of forms assignable to different periods," falls to the
ground.

Now it is most remarkable, that, among all the numerous fac-similes
of the writing in this volume which have been published either by Mr.
Collier himself, or by his opponents, with the very purpose of proving
the forgery, not a word or a letter has appeared in a hand which was not
in common use from the latest years of Elizabeth's reign, through James
I.'s and Charles I.'s, down through the Commonwealth to and well past
the time of the Restoration,--a period, be it remembered, of only
between fifty and seventy-five years. We are prepared to show, upon
the backs of title-pages and upon the margins of various books printed
between 1580 and 1660, and in copy-books published and miscellaneous
documents dated between 1650 and 1675, writing as ancient in all its
characteristics as any that has been fac-similed and published with the
purpose of invalidating the genuineness of the marginal readings of Mr.
Collier's folio.

We are also prepared to show that the lack of homogeneousness (aside
from the question of period or fashion) and the striking and various
appearance of the ink even on a single page, which have been relied upon
as strong points against the genuineness of the marginal readings, are
matters of little moment, because they are not evidence either of an
assumed hand or of simulated antiquity; and even further, that the fact
that certain of the pencilled words are in a much more modern-seeming
hand than the words in ink which overlie them is of equally small
importance in the consideration of this question. Our means of
comparison in regard to the folio are limited, indeed, but they are none
the less sufficient; for we may be sure that Mr. Collier's opponents,
who have followed his tracks page by page with microscopes and chemical
tests, who hang their case upon pot-hooks and trammels, and lash
themselves into palaeographic fury with the tails of remarkable _g_-s,
have certainly made public the strongest evidence against him that they
could discover.

Among many old books, defaced after the fashion of old times with
writing upon their blank leaves and spaces, in the possession of the
present writer, is a copy of the second edition of Bartholomew Young's
translation of Guazzo's "Civile Conversation," London, 4to., 1586. This
volume was published without that running marginal abstract of the
contents which is so common upon the books of its period. This omission
an early possessor undertook to supply; and in doing so he left evidence
which forbids us to accept all the conclusions as to the Collier folio
and manuscripts which the British palaeographists draw from the premises
which they set forth. Upon the very first page of the Preface he writes,
in explanation of the phrase "hee which fired the temple of Diana," the
name "_Erostrato_" in a manner which brings to mind one point strongly
made by Dr. Ingleby against the genuineness of a Ralegh letter brought
forward by Mr. Collier, as well as of the manuscript readings in the two
folio Shakespeares, which he also brought to light. Dr. Ingleby says,
"I have given a copy of Mr. Collier's fac-simile in sheet No. II.,
and alongside of that I have placed the impossible E in the Ralegh
signature, and the almost exactly similar E which occurs in the
emendation _End, vice_ 'And,' in the Bridgewater Folio. By means of this
monstrous letter we are enabled to trace the chain of forgery from the
Perkins Folio through the Bridgewater Folio, to the perpetration of the
abomination at the foot of the Ralegh letter."[X]

[Footnote X: _Complete View_, p. 309.]

Below we give fac-similes of six E-s. No. I is from the margin of the
first page of the Preface to Guazzo, mentioned above; No. 2 from the
third, and No. 3 from the fifth page of the same Preface; No. 4 from
fol. 27 _b_ of the body of the work; No. 5 is the "monstrous letter"
of the Bridgewater folio; and No. 6 the "impossible E" of the Ralegh
signature.

[Illustration]

Now how monstrous the last two letters are is a matter of taste,--how
impossible, a matter of knowledge; but we submit that any man with a
passable degree of either taste or knowledge is able to decide, and
will decide that No. 6 is not more impossible than No. 1, or No. 4 more
monstrous than No. 2; while in Nos. 1, 2, 3, and 4, there is exhibited a
variation in the form of capital letters, instances of which Dr. Ingleby
intimates it is impossible to find in genuine handwriting, and the
existence of which in the Collier folio Mr. Hamilton sets forth as one
reason for invalidating the good faith of its marginal readings.[Y]

[Footnote Y: Inquiry, p. 23.]

But our copy of Guazzo is of further use to us in the examination of
this subject. It exhibits, within less than one hundred folios of
marginal annotations, almost all the characteristics (except, be it
remembered, those of the pencil writing) which are relied upon as proofs
of the forgery of the marginalia of Mr. Collier's folio. The writing
varies from a cursive hand which might almost have been written at the
present day to (in Mr. Duffus Hardy's phrase) "the cursive based on an
Italian model,"--that is, the "sweet Roman hand" which the Countess
Olivia wrote, as became a young woman of fashion when "Twelfth Night"
was produced; and from this again to the modified chancery hand which
was in such common use in the first half of the century 1600, and again
to a cramped and contracted chirography almost illegible, which went out
of general use in the last years of Elizabeth and the first of James I.
All these varieties of handwriting, except the last, were in use from
1600 to the Restoration. They will be found in the second edition of
Richard Gethinge's "Calligraphotechnia, or The Arte of Faire Writing,
1652." This, in spite of its sounding name, is nothing more than a
writing-master's copper-plate copy-book; and its republication in
1652, with these various styles of chirography, is important accessory
evidence in the present case.[Z]

[Footnote Z: Lowndes mentions no other edition than that of 1652; and
Mr. Bohn in his new edition of the Bibliographer has merely repeated the
original in this respect. But if Lowndes had seen only the edition of
1652, he might have found in it evidence of the date of the publication
of the book. It is dedicated to "Sir Francis Bacon Knight, his Ma'ties
Attorney Generall"; and as Bacon was made Attorney General in 1613 and
Lord Keeper in 1617, the book must have been published between those
dates; and one of the plates, the 18th, is dated "Anno 1615," and
another, the 24th, "1616."]

But to return to the margins of our Guazzo, from five pages of which we
here give fac-similes.

[Illustration]

The writer of the annotations began his work in that clear Italian hand
which came into vogue in the reign of James I., (see, for instance,
Gethinge, Plates 18 to 28,) of which fac-simile No. 1, "_Experience of
father_" is an example. In the course of the first few pages, however,
his chirography, on the one hand, shows traces of the old English
chancery-hand, and, on the other, degenerates into a careless, cursive,
modern-seeming style, of which fac-simile No. 2, "_England_," is a
striking instance. But he soon corrects himself, and writes for twenty
folios (to the recto of folio 27) with more or less care in his clear
Roman hand. Thence he begins to return rapidly, but by perceptible
degrees, to the old hand, until, on the recto of folio 31, and a page
or two before it, he writes, illegibly to most modern eyes, as in
fac-simile No. 3, "_a proverbe_." Thereafter, except upon certain rare
and isolated occasions, he never returns to his Italian hand, but
becomes more and more antique in his style, so that on folio 65, and for
ten folios before and after, we have such writing as that of fac-simile
No. 4, "_strangers where they come change the speech there used_." On
folios 93 to 95 we find characters like those given in fac-simile No. 5,
which it requires more experience than ours in record-reading entirely
to decipher. On the reverse of folio 95 the annotator, apparently weary
of his task, stayed his hand.

Now in these ninety-nine folios (including the Preface, which is not
numbered) are not only all the five varieties of chirography fac-similed
above, but others partaking the character of some two of these, and
all manifestly written by the same hand; which is shown no less by the
phraseology than by the chirographic traits common to all the notes. And
besides, not a few of these notes, which fill the margins, are in
Latin, and these Latin notes are always written in the Italian hand of
fac-simile No. 1; so that we find that hand, in which all the notes,
English and Latin, (with a few exceptions, like "_England_,") are
written for the first twenty-seven folios, afterward in juxtaposition
with each of the other hands. For instance, on folio 87, recto, we find
"_tolerare laborem propter virtutem quis vult si praemia desunt_,"
written in the style of "_Experience_" No. 1 above, though not so
carefully, and immediately beneath it, manifestly with the same pen, and
it would seem with the same pen-full of ink, "the saying of Galen," in
the style of No. 4, "_strangers where they come_," etc.

The ink, too, in which these notes are written illustrates the shifts to
which our ancestors were put when writing-materials were not made and
bought by the quantity, as they are now,--a fact which bears against
a not yet well-established point made by Mr. Maskelyne of the British
Museum against Mr. Collier's marginalia. This writing exhibits every
possible variety of tint and of shade, and also of consistence and
composition, that ink called black could show. As far as the recto of
folio 12 it has the look of black ink slightly faded. On the reverse of
that folio it suddenly assumes a pale gray tint, which it preserves to
the recto of folio 20. There it becomes of a very dark rich brown, so
smooth in surface as almost to have a lustre, but in the course of a few
folios it changes to a pale tawny tint; again back to black, again
to gray, again to a fine clear black that might have been written
yesterday, and again to the pale tawny, with which it ends. It is also
worthy of notice, that, where this ink has the dark rich brown hue, it
also seems, in the words of Professor Maskelyne, in his letter to the
London "Times," dated July 13, 1859, to be "on rather than in the
paper"; and it also proved in this instance, to use the phraseology of
the same letter, to be "removable, with the exception of a slight stain,
by mere water." But who will draw hence the conclusion of the Professor
with regard to the fluid used on the Collier folio, that it is "a
water-color paint rather than ink,"--unless "ink" is used in a mere
technical sense, to mean only a compound of nutgalls and sulphate of
iron?[aa]

[Footnote aa: The effect produced upon the brown ink on the margins of
the Guazzo by the mere washing it for a few seconds with lint and warm
water may be seen in the word "_apollegy_" on folio 25, reverse, of that
volume, which, with the others noticed in this article, will be left
for inspection at the Astor Library, in the care of Dr. Cogswell, for a
fortnight after the publication of this number of the _Atlantic_. This
slight ablution, hardly more effective than the rubbing of a child's wet
finger, leaves only a pale yellow stain upon the paper.]

Now it should be observed, that, among all the fac-similes published of
the marginal readings in Mr. Collier's folio, there are none either
so modern or so antique in their character as the five fac-similes
respectively given above; nor is there in the former a variation of
style approaching that exhibited in the latter, which all surely
represent the work of one hand. Neither do the fac-similes of the folio
corrections exhibit any chirography more ancient, more "Gothic," than
that of the account a specimen of which was published in our previous
article upon this subject,[bb] and which could not have been written
before 1656, and was quite surely not written until ten years later.

[Footnote bb: See the _Atlantic_ for October, 1859, p. 516.]

       *       *       *       *       *

We have thus far left out of consideration the faint pencil-memorandums
which play so important a part in the history of Mr. Collier's folio.
We now examine one of their bearings upon the question at issue. Is it
possible that they, or any considerable proportion of them, may be
the traces of pencil-marks made in the century 1600? The very great
importance of this question need not be pointed out. It was first
indicated in this magazine in October, 1859. Mr. Collier has seen it,
and, not speaking with certainty as to the use of plumbago pencils at
that period, he says,--"But if it be true that pencils of plumbago were
at that time in common use, as I believe they were, the old corrector
may himself have now and then adopted this mode of recording on the
spot changes which, in his judgment, ought hereafter [thereafter?]
permanently to be made in Shakespeare's text."[cc]

[Footnote cc: _Reply_, p. 20.]

Another volume in the possession of the present writer affords
satisfactory evidence that these pencil-marks may be memorandums made in
the latter half of the century 1600. It is a copy of "The Historie of
the Life and Death of Mary Stuart Queene of Scotland," London, 1636,--a
small, narrow duodecimo, in the original binding. Upon the first one
hundred and sixty-nine pages of this volume, within the ruled margin so
common in old books, are annotations, very brief and sparse, rarely
more than two upon a page, and often not more than one, and consisting
sometimes of only two or three abbreviated words,--all evidently written
in haste, and all entirely without interest. These annotations, or,
rather, memorandums, like those in the Guazzo, explain or illustrate the
text. At the top of the page, within the margin-rules, the annotator has
written the year during which the events there related took place; and
he has also paged the Preface. Now of these annotations _about one half
are in pencil_, the numbering entirely so, with a single exception. This
pencil-writing is manifestly the product of a period within twenty-five
or thirty years of the date of the printing of the book, and yet it
presents apparent variations in style which are especially noteworthy in
connection with our present subject. Some of this pencil-writing is
as clear as if it were freshly written; but the greater part is much
rubbed, apparently by the mere service that the volume has seen; and
some of it is so faint as to be legible only in a high, reflected light,
in which, however, to sharp eyes it becomes distinctly visible.[dd] That
ordinary black pencil-marks will endure on paper for two centuries
may very likely be doubted by many readers, but without reason.
Plumbago-marks, if not removed by rubbing, are even more durable than
ink; because plumbago is an organic, insoluble substance, not subject
to the chemical changes which moisture, the atmosphere, and fluids
accidentally spilled, and solvents purposely applied, make in the
various kinds of ink which are known to us. The writer discovered this
in the course of many amateur print- and book-cleaning experiments, and
has since found his experience confirmed by the high authority of M.
Bonnardot, in his "Essai sur l'Art de Restaurer les Estampes et les
Livres." Paris, 1858.[ee] Of the annotations in the "History of Queen
Mary," many are in a strange short-hand, in which various combinations
of simple angles, triangles, circles, semicircles, and straight lines
play a conspicuous part, which we find, upon examination, is not written
according to any system promulgated since the middle of the last
century. Our present concern is, however, only with the writing which
is in the ordinary letter, and in pencil. Of this there follow three
specimen fac-similes, including the figures indicating the Anno Domini
at the top of the page from which the words are taken. Three of the
figures (4, 7, 8) by which the Preface is paged are also added.[ff]

[Footnote dd: Some of our readers may be glad to know that writing so
faint as to be indistinguishable even in a bright open light may be
often read in the shadow with that very light reflected upon it, as, for
instance, from the opposite page of a book.]

[Footnote ee: Mr. Bonnardot says:--"_Taches des crayons._ (_Plombagine,
sanguine, crayon noir_, etc.) Les traces _récentes_ que laissent sur le
papier ces divers crayons s'effacent au contact du caoutchouc, ou de la
mie de pain; mais, _quand elles sont trop anciennes, elles résistent à
ces moyens;_ on a recours alors à l'application du savon, etc., etc.
On frotte, etc., etc. S'il restait, après cette opération, des traces
opiniâtres sur le papier, _il faudrait désespérer les enlever_." p. 81.]

[Footnote ff: By a common mistake, easily understood, the fac-similes
have been put upon the block in reverse order. The lines between the
words represent the coarse column-rules of the margins. (Illustration)]

Of these, No. 1 ("_ffer Ph: 2_") explains that "the Emperour & the King
of Spaine" of the text are Ferdinand and Philip II.; No. 2 ("_ffr: 2
death_") directs attention to the mention of the decease of Francis II.
of France; and No. 3 ("_Dudley Q Eliz great favorite_") is apropos of
a supposition by the author of the History that the Virgin Queen "had
assigned Dudley for her own husband." Of the pencil-writing fac-similed
above, the "1559" and the "_e_" in No. 1 and the "_Dudley_" in No. 8 are
so faint as to be almost indistinguishable; the rest of it, though very
much rubbed, is plain enough to those who have good eyes. As to the
period when these annotations were written, there can be no doubt that
it was between 1636 and the end of the third quarter of that century;
yet the difference between Nos. 1 and 2 and the last line of No. 8 is
very noticeable. There are many other words in pencil in the same volume
quite as modern-looking as "_favorite_" in No. 3. Does not this make it
clear that the pencil-writing on the margins of Mr. Collier's folio, the
greater part of which is so indistinct that to most eyes it is illegible
without the aid of a magnifying-glass, and of which not a few of the
most legible words are incomplete, may be the pencil-memorandums of a
man who entered these marginal readings in the century 1600? Who shall
undertake to say that pencil-writing so faint as to have its very
existence disputed, and which is written over so as to be partially
concealed, possesses a decided modern character, when such writing
as that of "_favorite_" above exists, both in pencil and in ink, the
production of which between 1636 and 1675 it would be the merest folly
to question? The possibility of the readings having been first entered
in pencil need not be discussed. It is not only probable that they would
be so entered, but that would be the method naturally adopted by a
corrector of any prudence, who had not an authoritative copy before him;
and that this corrector had such aid not one now pretends to believe. We
shall also find, farther on, that pencil-memorandums or guides, the good
faith of which no one pretends to gainsay, were used upon this volume. A
similar use of pencil is common enough nowadays. We know some writers,
who, when correcting their own proofs, always go over them with pencil
first, and on a second reading make the corrections, often with material
changes, in ink over the pencil-marks. Even letters are, or rather were,
written in this manner by young people in remote rural districts, where
an equal scarcity of money and paper made an economy of the latter
necessary,--a fact which would have a bearing upon the pencilled Marston
letter, but for one circumstance to be noticed hereafter.

But one point, and that apparently the strongest, made against another
of Mr. Collier's MSS., we are able to set aside entirely. It is that
alleged identity of origin between the List of Players appended to the
letter from the Council to the Lord Mayor of London and the well-known
"Southampton" letter signed H.S., which is based upon an imagined
general similarity of hand and a positive identity of form in a certain
"very remarkable _g_" which is found in both.[gg] The general similarity
seems to us sheerly imaginary; but the _g_ common to the two documents
is undoubtedly somewhat unusual in form. That it is not peculiar to the
documents in question, however, whether they were written by one hand or
two, we happen to be in a position to show. _Ecce signum!_

[Footnote gg: See above, p. 266.]

[Illustration]

No. 1 of the above fac-similes is the _g_ of the H.S. letter, No. 2 the
_g_ of the List of Players, and in the name below is a _g_ of exactly
the same model. This name is written upon the last page of "The Table"
of a copy of Guevara's "Chronicle conteyning the lives of tenne
Emperours of Rome," translated by Edward Hellowes, London, 1577. This
book is bound up in ancient binding with copies of the "Familiar
Epistles" of the same writer, Englished by the same translator, 1582,
and of his "Familiar Epistles," translated by Geffrey Fenton, 1582.
The volume is defaced by little writing besides the names of three
possessors whose hands it passed through piecemeal or as a whole; but it
is remarkable, that, while one possessor has written on the first title
in ink the price which he paid for it, "_pr. 2s. 6d._," in a handwriting
like that of "_proverbe_" in the third fac-simile from Guazzo, on p. 268
above, another has recorded _in pencil_ on the next leaf the amount it
cost him, "pr: 5s.," in a hand of perhaps somewhat later date, more in
the style of the fac-similes from the "Life of Queen Mary," on p. 271.
This pencil memorandum is very plain.[hh] It is worthy of special note
also, that one of the owners of this volume, a Simon Holdip, writes on
the last page of the "Lives of the Ten Emperors," the last in order
of binding, "_per me Simone Holdip in te domine speravi_" in the old
so-called chancery-hand, while on the first page of the Dedication
of the "Familiar Epistles," the first in order of binding, he writes
"_Simon Holdip est verus possessor hujus libri_," in as fair an Italian
hand as Richard Gethinge or the Countess Olivia herself could show. This
evidence of property a subsequent owner has stricken through many times
with his pen. In this volume we not only find the "remarkable _g_," the
tail of which is relied upon as a link in the chain of evidence to prove
the forgery of two documents, but yet another instance of the use of
dissimilar styles of writing by the same individual two hundred or two
hundred and fifty years ago, and also a well-preserved pencil memorandum
of the same period.[ii] But we have by no means disposed of all of this
question as to the pencil-writing, and we shall revert to it.

[Footnote hh: It probably records the price paid by the buyer of the
whole volume at second-hand in the first part of the century 1600.
The first memorandum is quite surely the price paid for the _Familiar
Epistles_ alone; for on the binding of the three books into one volume,
which took place at an early date, the tops of the capital letters of
this possessor's name were slightly cut down.]

[Footnote ii: Similar evidence must abound; and perhaps there is more
even within the reach of the writer of this article. For he has made
no particular search for it; but merely, after reading Dr. Ingleby's
_Complete View_, looked somewhat hastily through those of his old books
which, according to his recollection, contained old writing,--which, by
the way, has always recommended an antique volume to his attention.]

That the writing of the "Certificate of the Blackfriars Players," the
"Blackfriars Petition," and the marginal readings in Mr. Collier's folio
shows that they are by the same hand we cannot see. Their chirography is
alike, it is true, but it is not the same. Such likeness is often to
be seen. The capital letters are formed on different models; and the
variation in the _f-s, s-s, d-s_, and _y-s_ is very noticeable.

       *       *       *       *       *

We now turn to another, and, to say the least, not inferior department
of the evidence in this complicated case. Mr. Hamilton has done yeoman's
service by his collation and publication of all the manuscript readings
found on the margins of "Hamlet" in Mr. Collier's folio. It is by far
the most important part of his "Inquiry." It fixes indelibly the stigma
of entire untrustworthiness upon Mr. Collier, by showing, that, when he
professed, after many examinations, to give a list of all the marginal
readings in that folio, he did not, in this play at least, give much
more than one-third of them, and that some of those which he omitted
were even more striking than those which he published. We must be as
brief as possible; and we shall therefore bring forward but one example
of these multitudinous sins against truth; and one is as fatal as a
dozen. In the last scene of the play, Horatio's last speech (spoken, it
will be remembered, after the death of the principal characters and the
entrance of Fortinbras) is correctly as follows, according to the text
both of the folios and the quartos:--

  "Of that I shall have also cause to speak;
  And from his mouth, whose voice will draw on more:
  But let this same be presently perform'd,
  Even while men's minds are wild, lest more mischance,
  On plots and errors, happen."

But in Mr. Collier's folio it is "corrected" after this astounding
fashion:--

  "Of that I shall have also cause to speak,
  And from his mouth, whose voice shall draw on more.
  But let this _scene_ be presently perform'd,
  _While I remaine behind to tell a tale
  That shall hereafter turn the hearers pale_."

Now, while Mr. Collier publishes the specious change of "this same" to
"this _scene_" he entirely passes over the substitution of two whole
lines immediately below. And who needs to be told why? Mr. Collier could
have the face and the folly to bring forward other priceless additions
of whole lines, even, in "Henry VI,"--

  "My staff! Here, noble Henry, is my staff:
  _To think I fain would keep it makes me
  laugh_,"--

but he had judgment enough to see, that, if it were known that his
corrector had foisted the two lines in Italic letter above into the most
solemn scene in "Hamlet," the whole round world would ring with scornful
laughter. This collation of "Hamlet" has not only extinguished Mr.
Collier as a man of veracity, but it has given the _coup de grace_ to
any pretence of deference due to these marginal readings on any score.
But it has done something else. It has brought facts to light which in
themselves are inconsistent with the supposition that Mr. Collier or any
other man forged all these marginal readings,--that is, wrote them in
a pretended antique character,--and which, taken in connection with
the evidence that we have already examined, settles this part of the
question forever.

The number of marginal alterations in this play, according to Dr.
Ingleby's count, which we believe is correct, is four hundred and
twenty-six. Now for how many of this number does the reader suppose
that the sharp eyes and the microscopes of the British Museum and its
unofficial aids have discovered the relics of pencil memorandums?
Exactly ten,--as any one may see by examining Mr. Hamilton's collation.
Of these ten, three are for punctuation,--the substitution of a period
for a semicolon, the introduction of three commas, and the substitution
of an interrogation point for a comma; the punctuation being of not the
slightest service in either case, as the sense is as clear as noonday
in all. Two are for the introduction of stage-directions in Act I.,
Sc. 3,--"_Chambers_," and, on the entrance of the Ghost, "_armed as
before_"; neither of which, again, added anything to the knowledge of
the modern reader. This leaves but five pencil memorandums of changes in
the text; and they, with two exceptions, are the mere adding of letters
not necessary to the sense.

Of these four hundred and twenty-six marginal changes, a very large
proportion, quite one-half, and we should think more, are mere
insignificant literal changes or additions, such as an editor in
supervising manuscript, or an author in reading proof, passes over, and
leaves to the proof-readers of the printing-office, by whom they are
called "literals," we believe. Such are the change of "_Whon_ yond
same starre" to "_When_ yond," etc.; "_Looke_ it not like the king" to
"_Lookes_ it," etc.; "He _smot_ the sledded Polax" to "He _smote_,"
etc.; "_Heaven_ will direct it" to "_Heavens_ will," etc.; "list,
_Hamle_, list," to "list, _Hamlet_, list"; "the _Mornings_ Ayre" to
"the _Morning_ Ayre"; "My Liege and _Madrm_" to "My Liege and _Madam_";
"_locke_ of Wit" to "_lacke_ of Wit"; "both our _judgement_ joyne"
to "both our _judgements_ joyne"; "my _convseration_" to "my
_conversation_"; "the _strucken_ Deere" to "the _stricken_ Deere";
"_Requit_ him for your Father" to "_Requite_ him," etc.; "I'll _anoiot_
my sword" to "I'll _anoint_" etc.; "the _gringding_ of the Axe" to "the
_grinding_" etc. To corrections like these the alleged forger must
have devoted more than half his time; and if the thirty-one pages that
"Hamlet" fills in the folio furnish us a fair sample of the whole of
the forger's labors,[jj] we have the enormous sum of six thousand four
hundred, and over, of such utterly useless changes upon the nine hundred
pages of that volume. Such another laborious scoundrel, who labored for
the labor's sake, the world surely never saw!

[Footnote jj: Dr. Ingleby says,--"The collations of that single play are
a perfect picture of the contents of the original, and a just sample of
the other plays in that volume."--_Complete View_, p. 131.]

But among these marginal changes in "Hamlet," a large number present
a very striking and significant peculiarity,--a peculiarity which was
noticed in our previous article as characterizing other marginal changes
in the same volume, and which it is impossible to reconcile with the
purpose of a forger who knew enough to make the body of the corrections
on these margins, and who meant to obtain authority for them as being,
in the words of Mr. Collier, "Early Manuscript Corrections in the Folio
of 1632." That peculiarity is a _modernization of the text absolutely
fatal to the "early" pretensions of the readings;_ and it appears in the
regulation of the loose spelling prevalent at the publication of this
folio, and for many years after, by the standard of the more regular
and approximately analogous fashion of a later period, and also in the
establishment of grammatical concords, which, entirely disregarded in
the former period, were observed by well-educated people in the latter.

Thus we find "He _smot_" changed to "He _smote_"; "Some _sayes_" to
"Some _say_"; "_veyled_ lids" to "_vayled_ lids"; "_Seemes_ to me all
the uses" to "_Seem_ to me all the uses"; "It lifted up _it_ head" to
"It lifted up _its_ head"; "_dreins_ his draughts" to "_drains_ his
draughts"; "fast in _fiers_" to "fast in _fires_"; "a _vild_ phrase,
beautified is a _vild_ phrase," to "a _vile_ phrase, beautified is a
_vile_ phrase"; "How in my words _somever_ she be shent" to "How in my
words _soever_," etc.; "_currants_ of this world" to "_currents_," etc.;
"theres _matters_" to "theres _matter_"; "like some _oare_" to "like
some _ore_"; "this _vilde_ deed" to "this _vile_ deed"; "a sword
_unbaited_" to "a sword _unbated_"; "a _stoape_ liquor" to "a _stoop_
liquor"; and "the _stopes_ of wine" to "the _stoopes_ of wine." Of
corrections like these we have discovered twenty-eight among the
collations of "Hamlet" alone, and there are probably more. We may safely
assume that in this respect "Hamlet" fairly represents the other plays
in Mr. Collier's folio; for we have not only Dr. Ingleby's assurance
that it is a "just sample" of the volume, but in the four octavo sheets
of fac-similes privately printed by Mr. Collier we find these instances
of like corrections: "_Betide_ to any creature" to "_Betid_," etc.;
"_Wreaking_ as little" to "_Wrecking_ as little"; "painted _cloathes_"
to "painted _clothes_"; "words that _shakes_" to "words that _shake_."
Twenty-eight such corrections for the thirty-one pages of "Hamlet" give
us about eight hundred and fifty for the nine hundred pages of the whole
volume,--eight hundred and fifty instances in which the alleged forger,
who wished to obtain for his supposed fabrication the consideration due
to antiquity, modernized the text, though he obtained thereby only a
change of form, and not a single new reading, in any sense of the term!

We turn to kindred evidence in the stage-directions. In "Love's Labor's
Lost," Act IV., Sc. 3, when Birone conceals himself from the King, the
stage-direction in the folio of 1632, as well as in that of 1623, is
"_He stands aside_." But in Mr. Collier's folio of 1632 this is changed
to "_He climbs a tree_," and he is afterward directed to speak "_in the
tree_." So again in "Much Ado about Nothing," Act II., Sc. 3, there is a
MS. stage-direction to the effect that Benedick, when he hides "in the
arbour," "_Retires behind the trees_." Now as this use of scenery
did not obtain until after the Restoration, these stage-directions
manifestly could not have been written until after that period. Upon
this point--which was first made in "Putnam's Magazine" for October,
1853, in the article "The Text of Shakespeare: Mr. Collier's Corrected
Folio of 1632,"--Mr. Halliwell says (fol. Shak. Vol. IV. p. 340) that
the writer of that article "fairly adduces these MS. directions as
incontestable evidences of the late period of the writing in that
volume, 'practicable' trees certainly not having been introduced on the
English stage until after the Restoration." See, too, in the following
passage from "The Noble Stranger," by Lewis Sharpe, London, 1640, direct
evidence as to the stage customs in London, eight years after the
publication of Mr. Collier's folio, in situations like those of Birone
and Benedick:--

  "I am resolv'd, I over-
  Heard them in the presence appoynt to walke
  Here in the garden: now in _yon thicket
  I'll stay_," etc.

  "_Exit behind the Arras_."

But no man in the world knows the ancient customs of the English stage
better than Mr. Collier,--we may even say, so well, and pay no undue
compliment to the historian of that stage;[kk] and though he might
easily, in the eagerness of discovery, overlook the bearing of such
stage-directions as those in question, will it be believed, by any one
not brimful of blinding prejudice, that, in attempting the imposition
with which he is charged, and in forging in a copy of the folio of 1632
notes and emendations for which he claimed deference because they were,
in his own words, "in a handwriting not much later than the time when it
came from the press," he deliberately wrote in these stage-directions,
which in any case added nothing to the reader's information, and which
he, of all men, knew would prove that his volume was not entitled to the
credit he was laboring to obtain for it?

[Footnote kk: _The History of English Dramatic Poetry to the Time of
Shakespeare: and Annals of the Stage to the Restoration_. By J. Payne
Collier, Esq., F.S.A. 3 vols. 8vo. London, 1831.]

Again, Mr. Hamilton's collations of "Hamlet" show that no less than
thirty-six passages have been erased from that play in this folio. These
erased passages are from a few insignificant words to fifty lines in
extent They include lines like these in Act I., Sc. 2:--

  "With one auspicious and one dropping eye,
  With mirth in funeral, and with dirge in
  marriage,"--

and these from the same scene:--

  "It shows a will most incorrect to heaven;
  A heart unfortified, or mind impatient;
  An understanding simple and unschool'd:
  For what we know must be, and is as common
  As any the most vulgar thing to sense,
  Why should we, in our peevish opposition,
  Take it to heart? Fie! 't is a fault to heaven,
  A fault against the dead, a fault to nature,
  To reason most absurd; whose common theme
  Is death of fathers, and who still hath cried,
  From the first corse, till he that died to-day,
  This must be so."

In the last scene, all after Horatio's speech; "Now cracks a noble
heart," etc., is struck out. Who will believe that any man in his
senses, making corrections for which he meant to claim the deference
due to a higher authority than the printed test, would make such and so
numerous erasures? In fact, no one does so believe.

But the collations of "Hamlet" furnish in these erasures one other very
important piece of evidence. In Act II., Sc. 1, the passage from and
including Reynaldo's speech, "As gaming, my Lord," to his other speech,
"Ay, my Lord, I would know that," is crossed out. But the lines are not
only crossed through in ink, they are "also marked in pencil." Now it
is confessed by the accusers of Mr. Collier that these erasures are the
marks of an ancient adaptation of the text to stage purposes, which were
made before the marginal corrections of the text; otherwise they must
needs have maintained the preposterous position just above set forth.
And besides, it is admitted, that, in the numerous passages which are
both erased and corrected, the work itself shows that the corrections
were made upon the erasures, and not the erasures upon the corrections.
We have, therefore, here, upon the very pages of this folio, evidence
that alterations in pencil not only might have been, but were, made upon
it at an early period, even in regard to so very slight a matter as the
crossing out of fourteen lines; and that these pencilled lines served as
a guide for the subsequent permanent erasure in ink.

And this collation of "Hamlet" also enables us to decide with
approximate certainty upon the period when these manuscript readings
were entered upon the margins of the folio. Not more surely did the
lacking aspirate betray the Ephraimite at Jordan than the spelling of
this manuscript corrector reveals the period at which he performed his
labors. Take, for instance, the word "vile." Any man who could make the
body of these corrections knows that the most common spelling of "vile"
down to the middle of the century 1600 was _vild_ or _vilde_. This
spelling has even been retained in the text by some editors, and with at
least a semblance of reason, as being not a mere variation in spelling,
but as representing a different form of the word. No man knows all this
better than Mr. Collier; and yet we are called upon to believe that he,
meaning to obtain authoritative position for the marginal readings in
this folio, by making them appear to have been written by a contemporary
of Shakespeare's later years, altered _vild_ to _vile_ in three passages
of a single play, though he thereby made not the slightest shade of
difference in the meaning of the passage! And the same demand is made
upon our credulity in regard to the eight hundred and fifty similar
instances! Sir Frederic Madden, Mr. Duffus Hardy, Mr. Hamilton,
Dr. Ingleby, accomplished palaeographers, keen-eyed, remorseless
investigators, learned doctors though you be, you cannot make men who
have common sense believe this. Your tests, your sharp eyes, and your
optical aids, even that dreadful "microscope bearing the imposing and
scientific name of the Simonides Uranius," which carried such terror to
the heart of Mr. Collier, will fail to convince the world that he spent
hour after hour and day after day in labors the only purpose of which
was directly at war with that which you attribute to him, and which, if
he made these manuscript corrections, must have been the motive of his
labors.

But if Mr. Collier, or some other man of this century, did not make
these orthographical changes, when were they made? Let us trace the
fortunes of _vile_, which is a good test word, as being characteristic,
and as it occurs several times in "Hamlet," and is there thrice
modernized by the manuscript corrector. It occurs five times in that
play, as the reader may see by referring to Mrs. Clarke's "Concordance."
In the folio of 1623, in all these cases, except the first, it is
spelled _vild_; in the folio of 1632, with the same exception, we also
find _vild_; even in the folio of 1664[ll] the spelling in all these
instances remains unchanged; but in the folio of 1685, _vild_ gives
place to _vile_ in every case. As with "vild," so with the other words
subjected to like changes. To make a long story short, the spelling
throughout the marginal readings of this folio, judged by the numerous
fac-similes and collations that have been published, indicates the close
of the last quarter of the century 1600 as the period about which the
volume in which they appear was subjected to correction. The careful
removal (though with some oversights) of those irregularities and
anomalies of spelling which were common before the Restoration, and the
harmonizing of grammatical discords which were disregarded before that
period, and, on the other hand, the retention of the superfluous final
_e_, (once the _e_ of prolongation,) and of the _l_ in the contractions
of "would," in accordance with a pronunciation which prevailed in
England until 1700 and later, all point to this date, which is also
indicated by various other internal proofs to which attention has been
heretofore sufficiently directed.[mm] The punctuation, too, which,
as Mr. Collier announced in "Notes and Emendations," etc., 1853, is
corrected "with nicety and patience," is that of the books printed after
the Restoration, as may be seen by a comparison of Mr. Collier's private
fac-similes and the collations of "Hamlet" in Mr. Hamilton's book with
the original editions of poems and plays printed between 1660 and 1675.

[Footnote ll: Or 1663, according to the title-pages of some copies that
we have seen.]

[Footnote mm: See _Shakespeare's Scholar_, pp. 56-62. And to the
passages noticed there, add this: In _King Henry VI_., Part II., Act
IV., Sc. 5, is this couplet:--

  "Fight for your King, your country, and your lives.
  And so farewell; for I must hence again."

The last line of which in Mr. Collier's folio is changed to

  "And so farewell; _Rebellion never thrives_."

Plainly this was written when Charlie was no longer over the water.]

From the foregoing examination of the evidence upon this most
interesting question, it appears, we venture to assume, that the
conclusions drawn by Mr. Collier's opponents as to the existence of
primal evidence of forgery in the ink writing alone in his folio are not
sustained by the premises which are brought forward in their support. It
seems also clear, that, to say the least, it is not safe to assume that
all the pencil memorandums which appear upon the margins of that
volume as guides for the corrections in ink are proofs of the spurious
character of those corrections; but that, on the contrary, those
pencil-marks, with certain exceptions, may be the faint vestiges of the
work of a corrector who lived between 1632 and 1675, and who entered his
readings in pencil before finally completing them in ink. We have found,
too, that this volume, for the manuscript readings in which the alleged
forger claimed an authority based upon the early date at which they were
written, presents upon its every page changes in phraseology, grammar,
orthography, and punctuation, which, utterly useless for a forger's
purpose, could not have been made before a late period in the century
1600. Now when, in view of these facts, we consider that the man who is
accused of committing this forgery is a professed literary antiquary,
who, at the time when he brought forward this folio, (in 1852,) had been
engaged in the minute study of the text of old plays and poems for more
than thirty years,[nn] can we hesitate in pronouncing a verdict of not
guilty of the offence as charged? It is as manifest as the sun in
the heavens that Mr. Collier is not the writer of the mass of the
corrections in this folio. It is morally impossible that he should have
made them; and, on the other hand, the physical evidence which is relied
upon by his accusers breaks down upon examination.

[Footnote nn: _The Poetical Decameron, or Ten Conversations on English
Poets and Poetry, particularly of the Reigns of Elizabeth and James I._
London, 1820.]

       *       *       *       *       *

But the modern cursive pencil-writing!--for you see that it is this
cursive writing that damns this folio,--what story does that tell?
What is its character? Who wrote it? Mr. Hamilton and Dr. Ingleby have
answered these questions by the publication of between twenty and thirty
fac-similes of this pencil-writing, consisting in only five instances of
more than a single word, letter, or mark. But these are undeniably the
work of a modern hand,--a hand of this century, as may be seen by the
following reproductions of two of the fac-similes:--

[Illustration: Handwriting sample.]

The upper one represents the stage-direction in ink, with its
accompanying pencil-memorandum, for an _aside_ speech in "King
John," Act II., Sc. 1,--doubtless that of Faulconbridge,--"O prudent
discipline," etc. This is reproduced from a fac-simile published by Dr.
Ingleby. Mr. Hamilton has given a fac-simile of the same words; but Dr.
Ingleby says that his is the more accurate. The lower memorandum is a
pencilled word, "_begging_" opposite the line in "Hamlet," Act III., Sc.
2, "And crook the pregnant hinges of the knee," to which there is no
corresponding word in ink. Both these words are manifestly not examples
of an ancient cursive hand, like those of which fac-similes are given
above, but of rapid pencil-writing of the present century. They fairly
represent the character of all the fac-similes of words in pencil, with
two exceptions, which Mr. Hamilton and Dr. Ingleby have published. But
the question as to their origin can be brought down to a narrower point.
For not only does competent testimony from London assure us that Mr.
Collier's handwriting and that of these pencil-memorandums is identical,
but, having some of that gentleman's writing in pencil by us, we are
able to see this identity for ourselves. We can discover not the
slightest room for doubt that a certain number of the pencil-guides for
the corrections upon the margins of this folio were written either by
Mr. Collier himself, or in the British Museum by some malicious
person who desired to inculpate him in a forgery. The reader who has
accompanied us thus far can have no doubt as to which alternative we
feel compelled to choose. The indications of the pencilled words
in modern cursive writing are strengthened by the short-hand
stage-direction in "Coriolanus," Act V., Sc. 2, "Struggles or instead
noise," in the characters of Palmer's system, which was promulgated in
1774. This system is one which a man of Mr. Collier's years would be
likely to use, and the purport of the memorandum is obvious. Would Mr.
Collier have us believe that this also was introduced in the British
Museum?

We have chosen the word "begging" for fac-simile not merely because of
the marked character of its chirography. It has other significance. Mr.
Collier asks, "What is gained by it?" and says, that, as there is no
corresponding change in the text, "'begging' must have been written in
the margin ... merely as an explanation, and a bad explanation, too, if
it refer to 'pregnant' in the poet's text."[oo] It is, of course, no
explanation; but it seems plainly that it is the memorandum for a
proposed, but abandoned, substitution. Who that is familiar with the
corrections in Mr. Collier's folio does not recognize this as one of
those which have been so felicitously described by an American critic as
taking "the fire out of the poetry, the fine tissue out of the thought,
and the ancient flavor and aroma out of the language"?[pp] The corrector
in this case plainly thought of reading,

  "And crook the begging hinges of the knee";

but, doubtful as to this at first, (for we regard the
interrogation-point as a query to himself, and not as indicating the
insertion of that point after "Dost thou hear,") he finally came to the
conclusion, that, although he, and many a respectable poet, might have
written "begging" in this passage, Shakespeare was just the man to write
"pregnant,"--an instance of critical sagacity of which he has left us
few examples. Now it is remarkable that the majority of the changes
proposed by Mr. Collier in the notes to this edition of Shakespeare
(8 vols., 8vo., 1842-3) evince a capacity for the apprehension of
figurative language and for conjectural emendation of the very calibre
indicated by this proposed change of "pregnant hinges" to "_begging_
hinges." He has throughout his literary career, which began, we believe,
with the publication of the "Poetical Decameron," in 1820, shown
rather the faithfulness, the patience, and the judgment of a literary
antiquary, than the insight, the powers of comparison, the sensibility,
and the constructive ingenuity of a literary critic. And one of the
great improbabilities against his authorship of all the corrections in
his folio is, that it is not according to Nature that so late in life he
should develop the constructive ability necessary for the production
of many of its specious and ingenious, though inadmissible, original
readings.

[Footnote oo: _Reply_, p. 22.]

[Footnote pp: Rev. N.L. Frothingham, D.D., in the _Christian Examiner_
for November, 1853.]

We see, then, no way of avoiding the conclusion that this notorious
folio was first submitted to erasure for stage purposes; that afterward,
at some time between 1650 and 1675, it was carefully corrected for
the press with the view to the publication of a new edition; and that
finally it fell into the hands of Mr. Collier, who, either alone or by
the aid of an accomplice, introduced other readings upon its margins,
for the purpose of obtaining for them the same deference which he
supposed those already there would receive for their antiquity.
Either this is true, or Mr. Collier is the victim of a mysterious
and marvellously successful conspiracy; and by his own unwise and
unaccountable conduct--to use no harsher terms--has aided the plans of
his enemies.

Mr. Collier's position in this affair is, in any case, a most singular
and unenviable one. His discoveries, considering their nature and
extent and the quarters in which they were made, are exceedingly
suspicious:--the Ellesmere folio, the Bridgewater House documents,
including the Southampton letter, the Dulwich College documents,
including the Alleyn letter, the Petition of the Blackfriars Company
in the State Paper Office, and the various other letters, petitions,
accounts, and copies of verses, all of which are justly open to
suspicion of tampering, if not of forgery. What a strange and
unaccountable fortune to befall one man! How has this happened? What
fiend has followed Mr. Collier through the later years of his life,
putting manuscripts under his pillow and folios into his pew, and so
luring him on to moral suicide? Alas! there is probably but one man
now living that can tell us, and he will not. But this protracted
controversy, which has left so much unsettled, has greatly served the
cause of literature, in showing that by whomsoever and whensoever these
marginal readings, which so took the world by storm nine years ago, were
written, they have no pretence to any authority whatever, not even
the quasi authority of an antiquity which would bring them within the
post-Shakespearian period. All must now see, what a few at first saw,
that their claim to consideration rests upon their intrinsic merit only.
But what that merit is, we fear will be disputed until the arrival of
that ever-receding Shakespearian millenium when the editors shall no
longer rage or the commentators imagine a vain thing.

       *       *       *       *       *


THE BATH.


  Off, fetters of the falser life,--
  Weeds that conceal the statue's form!
  This silent world with truth is rife,
  This wooing air is warm.

  Now fall the thin disguises, planned
  For men too weak to walk unblamed;
  Naked beside the sea I stand,--
  Naked, and not ashamed.

  Where yonder dancing billows dip,
  Far-off, to ocean's misty verge,
  Ploughs Morning, like a full-sailed ship,
  The Orient's cloudy surge.

  With spray of scarlet fire before
  The ruffled gold that round her dies,
  She sails above the sleeping shore,
  Across the waking skies.

  The dewy beach beneath her glows;
  A pencilled beam, the light-house burns:
  Full-breathed, the fragrant sea-wind blows,--
  Life to the world returns!

  I stand, a spirit newly born,
  White-limbed and pure, and strong, and fair,--
  The first-begotten son of Morn,
  The nursling of the air!

  There, in a heap, the masks of Earth,
  The cares, the sins, the griefs, are thrown
  Complete, as, through diviner birth,
  I walk the sands alone.

  With downy hands the winds caress,
  With frothy lips the amorous sea,
  As welcoming the nakedness
  Of vanished gods, in me.

  Along the ridged and sloping sand,
  Where headlands clasp the crescent cove,
  A shining spirit of the land,
  A snowy shape, I move:

  Or, plunged in hollow-rolling brine,
  In emerald cradles rocked and swung,
  The sceptre of the sea is mine,
  And mine his endless song.

  For Earth with primal dew is wet,
  Her long-lost child to rebaptize:
  Her fresh, immortal Edens yet
  Their Adam recognize.

  Her ancient freedom is his fee;
  Her ancient beauty is his dower:
  She bares her ample breasts, that he
  May suck the milk of power.

  Press on, ye hounds of life, that lurk
  So close, to seize your harried prey!
  Ye fiends of Custom, Gold, and Work,
  I hear your distant bay!

  And like the Arab, when he bears
  To the insulted camel's path
  His garment, which the camel tears,
  And straight forgets his wrath;

  So, yonder badges of your sway,
  Life's paltry husks, to you I give:
  Fall on, and in your blindness say,
  We hold the fugitive!

  But leave to me this brief escape
  To simple manhood, pure and free,--
  A child of God, in God's own shape,
  Between the land and sea!



SACCHARISSA MELLASYS.


I.

THE HERO.


When I state that my name is A. Bratley Chylde, I presume that I am
already sufficiently introduced.

My patronymic establishes my fashionable position. Chylde, the
distinguished monosyllable, is a card of admission everywhere,--
everywhere that is anywhere.

And my matronymic, Bratley, should have established my financial
position for life. It should have--allow me a vulgar term--"indorsed" me
with the tradesmen who have the honor to supply me with the glove, the
boot, the general habiliment, and all the requisites of an elegant
appearance upon the carpet or the _trottoir_.

But, alas! I am not so indorsed--pardon the mercantile aroma of the
word--by the name Bratley.

The late Mr. A. Bratley, my grandfather, was indeed one of those rude,
laborious, and serviceable persons whose office is to make money--or
perhaps I should say to accumulate the means of enjoyment--for the upper
classes of society.

But my father, the late Mr. Harold Chylde, had gentlemanly tastes.

How can I blame him? I have the same.

He loved to guide the rapid steed along the avenue.

I also love to guide the rapid steed.

He could not persuade his delicate lungs--pardon my seeming knowledge of
anatomy--to tolerate the confined air in offices, counting-houses, banks,
or other haunts of persons whose want of refinement of taste impels them
to the crude distractions of business-life.

I have the same delicacy of constitution. Indeed, unless the atmosphere
I breathe is rendered slightly narcotic by the smoke of Cabañas and
slightly stimulating by the savor of heeltaps,--excuse the technical
term,--I find myself debilitated to a degree. The open air is extremely
offensive to me. I confine myself to clubs and billiard-rooms.

My late father, being a man distinguished for his clear convictions, was
accustomed to sustain the statement of those convictions by wagers.
The inherent generosity of his nature obliged him often to waive his
convictions in behalf of others, and thus to abandon the receipt of
considerable sums. He also found the intellectual excitement of games of
chance necessary to his mental health.

I cannot blame him for these and similar gentlemanly tastes. My own are
the same.

The late Mr. A. Bratley, at that time in his dotage, and recurring to
the crude idioms of his homely youth, constantly said to my father,--

"Harold, you are a spendthrift and a rake, and are bringing up your son
the same."

I object, of course, to his terms; but since he foresaw that my habits
would be expensive, it is to be regretted that he did not make suitable
provision for their indulgence.

He did not, however, do so. Persons of low-breeding never can comprehend
their duties to the more refined.

The respective dusts of my father and grandfather were consigned to the
tomb the same week, and it was found that my mother's property had all
melted away, as--allow me a poetical figure--ice-cream melts between the
lips of beauty heated after the German.

Yes,--all was gone, except a small pittance in the form of an annuity. I
will not state the ridiculously trifling amount. I have seen more
than our whole annual income lost by a single turn of a card at the
establishment of the late Mr. P. Hearn, and also in private circles.

Something must be done. Otherwise, that deprivation of the luxuries of
life which to the aristocratic is starvation.

I stated my plans to my mother. They were based in part upon my
well-known pecuniary success at billiards--I need not say that I prefer
the push game, as requiring no expenditure of muscular force. They were
also based in part upon my intimacy with a distinguished operator in
Wall Street. Our capital would infallibly have been quadrupled,--what
do I say? decupled, centupled, in a short space of time.

My mother is a good, faithful creature. She looks up to me as a Bratley
should to a Chylde. She appreciates the honor my father did her by his
marriage, and I by my birth. I have frequently remarked a touching
fidelity of these persons of the lower classes of society toward those
of higher rank.

"I would make any sacrifice in the world," she said, "to help you, my
dear A---"

"Hush!" I cried.

I have suppressed my first name as unmelodious and connecting me too
much with a religious persuasion meritorious for its wealth alone. Need
I say that I refer to the faith of the Rothschild?

"All that I have is yours, my dear Bratley," continued my mother.

Quite touching! was it not? I was so charmed, that I mentally promised
her a new silk when she went into half-mourning, and asked her to go
with me to the opera as soon as she got over that feeble tendency to
tears which kept her eyes red and unpresentable.

"I would gladly aid you," the simple-hearted creature said, "in any
attempt to make your fortune in an honorable and manly way."

"Brava! brava!" I cried, and I patted applause, as she deserved. "And
you had better make over your stocks to me at once," I continued.

"I cannot without your Uncle Bratley's permission. He is my trustee. Go
to him, my dear son."

I went to him very unwillingly. My father and I had always as much as
possible ignored the Bratley connection. They live in a part of New York
where self-respect does not allow me to be seen. They are engaged in
avocations connected with the feeding of the lower classes. My father
had always required that the females of their families should call on
my mother on days when she was not at home to our own set, and at hours
when they were not likely to be detected. None of them, I am happy to
say, were ever seen at our balls or our dinners.

I nerved myself, and penetrated to that Ultima Thule where Mr. Bratley
resides. His house already, at that early hour of two, smelt vigorously
of dinner. Nothing but the urgency of my business could have induced me
to brave these odors of plain roast and boiled.

A mob of red-faced children rushed to see me as I entered, and I heard
one of them shouting up the stairs,--

"Oh, pa! there's a stiffy waiting to see you."

The phrase was new to me. I looked for a mirror, to see whether any
inaccuracy in my toilet might have suggested it.

Positively there was no mirror in the _salon_.

Instead of it, there were nothing but distressingly bright pictures by
artists who had had the bad taste to paint raw Nature just as they saw
it.

My uncle entered, and quite overwhelmed me with a robust cordiality
which seemed to ignore my grief.

"Just in time, my boy," said he, "to take a cut of rare roast beef and a
hot potato and a mug of your Uncle Sam's beer with us."

I shuddered, and rebuked him with the intelligence that I had just
lunched at the club, and should not dine till six.

Then I stated my business, curtly.

He looked at me with a stare, which I have frequently observed in
persons of limited intelligence.

"So you want to gamble away your mother's last dollar," said he.

In vain I stated and restated to him my plans. The fellow, evidently
jealous of my superior financial ability, constantly interrupted me with
ejaculations of "Pish!" "Bosh!" "Pshaw!" "No go!" and finally, with a
loud thump on a table, covered with such costly but valueless objects as
books and plates, he cried,

"What a d--d fool!"

I was glad to perceive that he began to admit my wisdom and his
stolidity. And so I told him.

"A---," said he, using my abhorred name in full, "I believe you are a
greater ass than your father was."

"Sir," said I, much displeased, "these intemperate ebullitions will
necessarily terminate our conference."

"Conference be hanged!" he rejoined. "You may as well give it up. You
are not going to get the first red cent out of me."

"Have I referred, Sir," said I, "to the inelegant coin you name?"

The creature grinned. "I shall pay your mother's income quarterly, and
do the best I can by her," he continued; "and if you want to make a
man of yourself, I'll give you a chance in the bakery with me; or Sam
Bratley will take you into his brewery; or Bob into his pork-packery."

I checked my indignation. The vulgarian wished to drag me, a Chylde,
down to the Bratley level. But I suppressed my wrath, for fear he might
find some pretext for suppressing the quarterly income, and alleged my
delicate health as a reason for my refusing his insulting offer.

"Well," said he, "I don't see as there is anything else for you to do,
except to find some woman fool enough to marry you, as Betsey did your
father. There's a hundred dollars!"

I have seldom seen dirtier bills than those he produced and handed to
me. Fortunately I was in deep mourning and my gloves were dark lead
color.

"That's right," says he,--"grab 'em and fob 'em. Now go to Newport and
try for an heiress, and don't let me see your tallow face inside of my
door for a year."

He had bought the right to be despotic and abusive. I withdrew and
departed, ruminating on his advice. Singularly, I had not before thought
of marrying. I resolved to do so at once.

Newport is the mart where the marriageable meet. I took my departure for
Newport next day.


II.

THE HEROINE.


I need hardly say, that, on arriving at Newport, one foggy August
morning, I drove at once to the Millard.

The Millard attracted me for three reasons: First, it was new; second,
it was fashionable; third, the name would be sure to be in favor with
the class I had resolved to seek my spouse among. The term _spouse_ I
select as somewhat less familiar than _wife_, somewhat more permanent
than _bride_, and somewhat less amatory than _the partner of my bosom_.
I wish my style to be elevated, accurate, and decorous. It is my object,
as the reader will have already observed, to convey heroic sentiments in
the finest possible language.

It was upon some favored individual of the class Southern Heiress that
I designed to let fall the embroidered handkerchief of affectionate
selection. At the Millard I was sure to find her. That enormously
wealthy and highly distinguished gentleman, her father, would naturally
avoid the Ocean House. The adjective _free_, so intimately connected
with the _substantive_ ocean, would constantly occur to his mind and
wound his sensibilities. The Atlantic House was still more out of the
question. The name must perpetually remind the tenants of that hotel of
a certain quite objectionable periodical devoted to propagandism. In
short, not to pursue this process of elimination farther, and perhaps
offend some friend of the class Hotel-Keeper, the Millard was not only
about the cheese, _per se_,--I punningly allude here to the creaminess
of its society,--but inevitably the place to seek my charmer.

The clock of the Millard was striking eleven as I entered the _salle à
manger_ for a late breakfast after my night-journey from New York by
steamboat.

I flatter myself that I produced, as I intended, a distinct impression.
My deep mourning gave me a most interesting look, which I heightened
by an air of languor and abstraction as of one lost in grief. My
shirt-studs were jet. The plaits of my shirt were edged with black. My
Clarendon was, of course, black, and from its breast-pocket appeared a
handkerchief dotted with spots, not dissimilar to black peppermint-drops
on a white paper. In consequence of the extreme heat of the season, I
wore waistcoat and trousers of white duck; but they, too, were qualified
with sombre contrasts of binding and stripes.

The waiters evidently remarked me. It may have been the hope of
pecuniary reward, it may have been merely admiration for my dress and
person; but several rushed forward, diffusing that slightly oleaginous
perfume peculiar to the waiter, and drew chairs for me.

I had, however, selected my position at the table at the moment of
my entrance. It was _vis-à-vis_ a party of four persons,--two of the
sterner, two of the softer sex. A back view interpreted them to me.
There is much physiognomy in the backs of human heads, because--and here
I flatter myself that I enunciate a profound truth--people wear that
well-known mask, the human countenance, on the front of the human head
alone, and think it necessary to provide such concealment nowhere else.

"A rich Southern planter and his family!" I said to myself, and took my
seat opposite them.

"Nothing, Michel," I replied to the waiter's recital of his
bill-of-fare. "Nothing but a glass of iced water and bit of dry toast.
Only that, thank you, Michel."

My appetite was good, particularly as, in consequence of the agitation
of the water opposite Point Judith, my stomach had ceased to be occupied
with relics of previous meals. My object in denying myself, and
accepting simply hermit fare, was to convey to observers my grief for my
bereavement. I have always deemed it proper for persons of distinguished
birth to deplore the loss of friends in public. Hunger, if extreme, can
always be reduced by furtive supplies from the pastry-cook.

I could not avoid observing that the party opposite had each gone
through the whole breakfast bill-of-fare in a desultory, but exhaustive
manner.

As I ordered my more delicate meal, the younger of the two gentlemen
cast upon me a look of latent truculence, such as I have often remarked
among my compatriots of the South. He seemed to detect an unexpressed
sarcasm in the contrast between my gentle refection and his robust
_déjeuner_.

I hastened to disarm such a suspicion by a half-articulate sigh. No one,
however crass, could have failed to be touched by this token of a grief
so bitter as to refuse luxurious nutriment.

As I sighed, I glanced with tender meaning at the young lady. Her
feminine heart, I hoped, would interpret and pity me.

I fancied, that, at my look, her cheeks, though swarthy, blushed. She
was certainly interested, and somewhat confused, and paused a moment
in her mastication. Ham was the viand she was engaged upon, and she
(playfully, I have no doubt) ate with her knife. I have remarked the
same occasional superiority to what might be called Fourchettism and its
prejudices in others of established position in society.

I lavished a little languid and not too condescending civility upon the
party by passing them, when Michel was absent, the salt, the butter, the
bread, and other commonplace condiments. Presently I withdrew, that my
absence might make me desired. Before I did so, however, I took pains,
by the exhibition of the "New York Herald" in my hands, to show that my
political sentiments were unexceptionable.

I lost no time in consulting the books of the hotel for the names and
homes of the strangers.

I read as follows:--

  _Sachary Mellasys and Lady,     }   Bayou La
  Miss Saccharissa Mellasys,      }   Farouche,
  Mellasys Plickaman,             }      La._

Saccharissa Mellasys! I rolled the name like a sweet morsel under
my tongue. I forgot that she was not beautiful in form, feature, or
complexion. How slight, indeed, is the charm of beauty, when compared
with other charms more permanent! Ah, yes!

The complexion of Miss Mellasys announced a diet of alternate pickles
and _pralines_ during her adolescent years,--the pickles taken to excite
an appetite for the _pralines_, the _pralines_ absorbed to occupy the
interval until pickle-time approached. Neither her form nor her features
were statuesque. But the name glorified the person.

Sachary Mellasys was, as I was well aware, the great sugar-planter of
Louisiana, and Saccharissa his only child.

I am an imaginative man. I have never doubted, that, if I should ever
give my fancies words, they would rank with the great creations of
genius. At the dulcet name of Mellasys a fairy scene grew before
my eyes. I seemed to see an army of merry negroes cultivating the
sugar-cane to the inspiring music of a banjo band. Ever and anon a
company of the careless creatures would pause and dance for pure
gayety of heart. Then they would recline under the shade of the wild
bandanna-tree,--I know this vegetable only through the artless poetry of
the negro minstrels,--while sleek and sprightly negresses, decked with
innocent finery, served them beakers of iced _eau sucré_.

As I was shaping this Arcadian vision, Mr. Mellasys passed me on his
way to the bar-room. I hastened to follow, without the appearance of
intention.

My reader is no doubt aware that at the fashionable bar-room the cigars
are all of the same quality, though the prices mount according to the
ambition of the purchaser. I found Mr. Mellasys gasping with efforts to
light a dime cigar. Between his gasps, profane expressions escaped him.

"Sir," said I, "allow a stranger to offer you a better article."

At the same time I presented my case filled with choice
Cabañas,--smuggled. My limited means oblige me to employ these judicious
economies.

Mr. Mellasys took a cigar, lighted, whiffed, looked at me, whiffed
again,--

"Sir," says he, "dashed if that a'n't the best cigar I've smoked sence I
quit Bayou La Farouche!"

"Ah! a Southerner!" said I. "Pray, allow the harmless weed to serve as a
token of amity between our respective sections."

Mr. Mellasys grasped my hand.

"Take a drink, Mr. ----?" said he.

"Bratley Chylde," rejoined I, filling the hiatus,--"and I shall be most
happy."

The name evidently struck him. It was a combination of all aristocracy
and all plutocracy. As I gave my name, I produced and presented my card.
I was aware, that, with the uncultured, the possession of a card is a
proof of gentility, as the wearing of a coat-of-arms proves a long line
of distinguished ancestry.

Mr. Mellasys took my card, studied it, and believed in it with
refreshing _naiveté_.

"I'm proud to know you, Mr. Chylde," said he. "I haven't a card;
but Mellasys is my name, and I'll show it to you written on the
hotel-books."

"We will waive that ceremony," said I. "And allow me to welcome you to
Newport and the Millard. Shall we enjoy the breeze upon the piazza?"

Before our second cigar was smoked, the great planter and I were on the
friendliest terms. My political sentiments he found precisely in accord
with his own. Indeed, our general views of life harmonized.

"I dare say you have heard," said Mellasys, "from some of the bloated
aristocrats of my section that I was a slave-dealer once."

"Such a rumor has reached me," rejoined I. "And I was surprised to find,
that, in some minds of limited intelligence and without development of
the logical faculty, there was a prejudice against the business."

"You think that buyin' and sellin' 'em is just the same as ownin' 'em?"

"I do."

"Your hand!" said he, fervently.

"Mr. Mellasys," said I, "let me take this opportunity to lay down my
platform,--allow me the playful expression. Meeting a gentleman of your
intelligence from the sunny South, I desire to express my sentiments as
a Christian and a gentleman."

Here I thought it well to pause and spit, to keep myself in harmony with
my friend.

"A gentleman," I continued, "I take to be one who confines himself to
the cultivation of his tastes, the decoration of his person, and the
preparation of his whole being to shine in the _salon_. Now to such
a one the condition of the laboring classes can be of no possible
interest. As a gentleman, I cannot recognize either slaves or laborers.
But here Christianity comes in. Christianity requires me to read and
interpret my Bible. In it I find such touching paragraphs as, 'Cursed
be Canaan!' Canaan is of course the negro slave of our Southern States.
Curse him! then, I say. Let us have no weak and illogical attempts to
elevate his condition. Such sentimentalism is rank irreligion. I view
the negro as _a man permanently upon the rack_, who is to be punished
just as much as he will bear without diminishing his pecuniary value.
And the allotted method of punishment is hard work, hard fare, the
liberal use of the whip, and a general negation of domestic privileges."

"Mr. Chylde," said Mr. Mellasys, rising, "this is truth! this is
eloquence! this is being up to snuff! You are a high-toned gentleman!
you are an old-fashioned Christian! you should have been my partner in
slave-driving! Your hand!"

The quality of the Mellasys hand was an oleaginous clamminess. My only
satisfaction, in touching it, was, that it seemed to suggest a deficient
circulation of the blood. Mr. Mellasys would probably go off early with
an apoplexy, and the husband of Miss Mellasys would inherit without
delay.

"And now," continued the planter, "let me introduce you to my daughter."

I felt that my fortune was made.

I knew that she would speedily yield to my fascinations.

And so it proved. In three days she adored me. For three days more I was
coy. In a week she was mine.


III.

THE SUNNY SOUTH.


We were betrothed, Saccharissa Mellasys and I.

In vain did Mellasys Plickaman glower along the corridors of the
Millard. I pitied him for his defeat too much to notice his attempts
to pick a quarrel. Firm in the affection of my Saccharissa and in the
confidence of her father, I waived the insults of the aggrieved and
truculent cousin. He had lost the heiress. I had won her. I could afford
to be generous.

We were to be married in December, at Bayou La Farouche. Then we were
to sail at once for Europe. Then, after a proud progress through the
principal courts, we were to return and inhabit a stately mansion in New
York. How the heart of my Saccharissa throbbed at the thought of bearing
the elevated name of Chylde and being admitted to the sacred circles of
fashion, as peer of the most elevated in social position!

I found no difficulty in getting a liberal credit from my tailor. Upon
the mere mention of my engagement, that worthy artist not only provided
me with an abundant supply of raiment, but, with a most charming
delicacy, placed bank-notes for a considerable amount in the pockets
of my new trousers. I was greatly touched by this attention, and very
gladly signed an acknowledgment of debt.

I regret, that, owing to circumstances hereafter to be mentioned, the
diary kept jointly by Saccharissa and myself during our journey to the
sunny South has passed out of my possession. Its pages overflowed with
tenderness. How beautiful were our dreams of the balls and _soirées_ we
were to give! How we discussed the style of our furniture, our carriage,
and our coachman! How I fed Saccharissa's soul with adulation! She
was ugly, she was vulgar, she was jealous, she was base, she had had
flirtations of an intimate character with scores; but she was rich, and
I made great allowances.

At last we arrived at Bayou La Farouche.

I cannot state that the locality is an attractive one. Its land scenery
is composed of alligators and mud in nearly equal proportions.

I never beheld there my fancy realized of a band of gleeful negroes
hoeing cane to the music of the banjo. There are no wild bandanna-trees,
and no tame ones, either. The slaves of Mr. Mellasys never danced,
except under the whip of a very noisome person who acted as overseer.
There were no sleek and sprightly negresses in gay turbans, and no iced
_eau sucré_. Canaan was cursed with religious rigor on the Mellasys
plantation at Bayou La Farouche.

All this time Mellasys Plickaman had been my _bête noir_.

I know nothing of politics. Were our country properly constituted,
I should be in the House of Peers. The Chylde family is of sublime
antiquity, and I am its head in America. But, alas! we have no
hereditary legislators; and though I feel myself competent to wear the
strawberry-leaves, or even to sit upon a throne, I have not been willing
to submit to the unsavory contacts of American political life. Mr.
Mellasys Plickaman took advantage of my ignorance.

When several gentlemen of the neighborhood were calling upon me in the
absence of Mr. Mellasys, my defeated rival introduced the subject of
politics.

"I suppose you are a good Democrat, Mr. Chylde?" said one of the
strangers.

"No, I thank you," replied I, sportively,--meaning, of course, that
they should understand I was a good Aristocrat.

"Who's your man for President?" my interlocutor continued, rather
roughly.

I had heard in conversation, without giving the fact much attention,
that an election for President was to take place in a few days. These
struggles of commonplace individuals for the privilege of residing in
a vulgar town like Washington were without interest to me. So I
answered,--

"Oh, any of them. They are all alike to me."

"You don't mean to say," here another of the party loudly broke in,
"that Breckenridge and Lincoln are the same to you?"

The young man wore long hair and a black dress-coat, though it was
morning. His voice was nasal, and his manner intrusive. I crushed
him with a languid "Yes." He was evidently abashed, and covered his
confusion by lighting a cigar and smoking it with the lighted end in
his mouth. This is a habit of many persons in the South, who hence are
called Fire-Eaters.

Mellasys Plickaman here changed the subject to horses, which I _do_
understand, and my visitors presently departed.

  "How happily the days of Thalaba went by!"

as the poet has it. My Saccharissa and myself are both persons of a
romantic and dreamy nature. Often for hours we would sit and gaze
upon each other with only occasional interjections,--"How warm!" "How
sleepy!" "Is it not almost time for lunch?" As Saccharissa was not in
herself a beautiful object, I accustomed myself to see her merely as a
representative of value. Her yellowish complexion helped me in imagining
her, as it were, a golden image which might be cut up and melted down.
I used to fancy her dresses as made of certificates of stock, and
her ribbons as strips of coupons. Thus she was always an agreeable
spectacle.

So time flew, and the sun of the sixth of November gleamed across the
scaly backs of the alligators of Bayou La Farouche.

In three days I was to be made happy with the possession of one
hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) on the nail,--excuse the homely
expression,--great expectations for the future, and the hand of my
Saccharissa.

For these I exchanged the name and social position of a Chylde, and my
own, I trust, not unattractive person.

I deemed that I gave myself away dirt-cheap,--excuse again the
colloquialism; the transaction seems to require such a phrase,--for
there is no doubt that Mr. Mellasys was greatly objectionable. It was
certainly very illogical; but his neighbors who owned slaves insisted
upon turning up their noses at Mellasys, because he still kept up his
slave-pen on Touchpitchalas Street, New Orleans. Besides,--and here
again the want of logic seems to culminate into rank absurdity,--he was
viewed with a purely sentimental abhorrence by some, because he had
precluded a reclaimed fugitive from repeating his evasion by roasting
the soles of his feet before a fire until the fellow actually died. The
fact, of coarse, was unpleasant, and the loss considerable,--a prime
field-hand, with some knowledge of carpentry and a good performer on
the violin,--but evasions must be checked, and I cannot see why Mr.
Mellasys's method was too severe. Mr. Mellasys was also considered a
very unscrupulous person in financial transactions,--indeed, what would
be named in some communities a swindler; and I have heard it whispered
that the estimable, but somewhat obese and drowsy person who passed as
his wife was not a wife, ceremonially speaking. The dusky hues of her
complexion were also attributed to an infusion of African blood. There
was certainly more curl in her hair than I could have wished; and
Saccharissa's wiggy looks waged an irrepressible conflict with the
unguents which strove to reduce their crispness.

Indeed, why should I not be candid? Mellasys _per se_ was a pill, Mrs.
Mellasys was a dose, and Saccharissa a bolus, to one of my refined and
sensitive taste.

But the sugar coated them.

To marry the daughter of the great sugar-planter of Louisiana I would
have taken medicines far more unpalatable and assafoetidesque than any
thus far offered.

Meanwhile Mr. Mellasys Plickaman, cousin of my betrothed, had changed
his tactics and treated me with civility and confidence. We drank
together freely, sometimes to the point of inebriation. Indeed, unless
he put me to bed, on the evening before the day of the events I am about
to describe, I do not know how I got there.

Morning dawned on the sixth of November.

I was awakened, as usual, by the outcries of the refractory negroes
receiving their matinal stripes in the whipping-house. Feeling a little
languid and tame, I strolled down to witness the spectacle.

It stimulated me quite agreeably. The African cannot avoid being comic.
He is the grotesque element in our civilization. He will be droll even
under the severest punishment. His contortions of body, his grimaces,
his ejaculations of "O Lor'! O Massa!" as the paddle or the lash strikes
his flesh, are laughable in the extreme.

I witnessed the flagellation of several pieces of property of either
sex. The sight of their beating had the effect of a gentle tickling upon
me. The tone of my system was restored. I grew gay and lightsome. I
exchanged jokes with the overseer. He appreciated my mood, and gave a
farcical turn to the incidents of the occasion.

I enjoyed my breakfast enormously. Saccharissa never looked so sweet;
Mr. Mellasys never so little like--pardon the expression--a cross
between a hog and a hyena; and I began to fancy that my mother-in-law's
general flabbiness of flesh and drapery was not so very offensive.

After breakfast, Mr. Mellasys left us. It was, he said, the day of the
election for President. How wretched that America should not be governed
by hereditary sovereigns and an order of nobles trained to control!

The day passed. It was afternoon, and I sat reading one of the novels
of my favorite De Balzac to my Saccharissa. At the same time my
imagination, following the author, strayed to Paris, and recalled to me
my bachelor joys in that gay capital. I resolved to repeat them again,
on our arrival there, at my bride's expense. How charming to possess a
hundred thousand dollars, ($100,000,) even burdened with a wife!

My reading and my reverie were interrupted by the tramp of horses
without. Six persons in dress-coats rode up, dismounted, and approached.
All were smoking cigars with the lighted ends in their mouths. Mellasys
Plickaman led the party. I recognized also the persons who had
questioned me as to my politics. They entered the apartment where I sat
alone with Saccharissa.

"Thar he is!" said Mellasys Plickaman. "Thar is the d--d Abolitionist!"

Seeing that he indicated me, and that his voice was truculent, I
looked to my betrothed for protection. She burst into tears and drew a
handkerchief.

An odor of musk combated for an instant with the whiskey reek diffused
by Mr. Plickaman and his companions. The balmy odor was, however,
quelled by the ruder scent.

"I am surprised, Mr. Plickaman," said I, mildly, but conscious of
tremors, "at your use of opprobrious epithets in the presence of a
lady."

"Oh, you be blowed!" returned he, with unpardonable rudeness. "You can't
skulk behind Saccharissy."

"To what is this change in tone and demeanor owing, Sir?" I asked, with
dignity.

"Don't take on airs, you little squirt!" said he.

It will be observed that I quote his very language. His intention was
evidently insulting.

"Mr. Chylde," remarked Judge Pyke, one of the gentlemen who had been
inquisitive as to my political sentiments, "The Vigilance Committee of
Fire-Eaters of Bayou La Farouche have come to the conclusion that you
are a spy, an Abolitionist, and a friend of Beecher and Phillips. We
intend to give you a fair trial; but I may as well state that we have
all made up our minds as to the law, the facts, and the sentence.
Therefore, prepare for justice. Colonel Plickaman, have you given
directions about the tar?"

"It'll be b'ilin' in about eight minutes," replied my quondam rival,
with a boo-hoo of vulgar laughter.

"Culprit!" said Judge Pyke, looking at me with a truly terrible
expression, "I have myself heard you avow, with insolent audacity,
that you were not a Democrat. Do you not know, Sir, that nothing but
Democrats are allowed to breathe the zephyrs of Louisiana? Silence,
culprit! Not a word! The court cannot be interrupted. I have also heard
you state that the immortal Breckenridge, Kentucky's favorite son,
was the same to you as the tiger Lincoln, the deadly foe of Southern
institutions. Silence, culprit!"

Here Saccharissa moaned, and wafted a slight flavor of musk to me from
her cambric wet with tears.

"Colonel Plickaman," continued the Judge, "produce the letters and
papers of the culprit."

I am aware that a rival has rights, and that a defeated suitor may,
according to the code, calumniate and slander the more fortunate one. I
have done so myself. But it seems to me that there should be limits; and
I cannot but think that Mr. Mellasys Plickaman overstepped the limits
of fair play, when he took advantage of my last night's inebriety
to possess himself of my journal and letters. I will not, however,
absolutely commit myself on this point. Perhaps everything is fair in
love. Perhaps I may desire to avail myself of the same privilege in
future.

I had spoken quite freely in my journal of the barbarians of Bayou La
Farouche. Each of the gentlemen now acting upon my jury was alluded to.
Colonel Plickaman read each passage in a pointed way, interjecting,--"Do
you hear that, Billy Sangaree?" "How do you like yourself now, Major
Licklickin?" "Here's something about your white cravat, Parson
Butterfut."

The delicacy and wit of my touches of character chafed these gentlemen.
Their aspect became truly formidable.

Meantime I began to perceive an odor which forcibly recalled to me the
asphaltum-kettles of the lively Boulevards of Paris.

"Wait awhile, Fire-Eaters," said Plickaman, "the tar isn't quite ready
yet."

The tar! What had that viscous and unfragrant material to do with the
present interview?

"I won't read you what he says of me," resumed the Colonel.

"Yes,--out with it!" exclaimed all.

Suffice it to say that I had spoken of Mr. Mellasys Plickaman as a
person so very ill-dressed, so very lavish in expectoration, so entirely
destitute of the arts and graces of the higher civilization, merited.
His companions required that he should read his own character. He did
so. I need not say that I was suffering extremities of apprehension all
this time; but still I could not refrain from a slight sympathetic smile
of triumph as the others roared with laughter at my accurate analysis of
my rival.

"You'll pay for this, Mr. A. Bratley Chylde!" says Plickaman.

So long as my Saccharissa was on my side, I felt no special fear of what
my foes might do. I knew the devoted nature of the female sex. "_Elles
meurent, ou elles s'attachent_,"--beautiful thought! These riflers
of journals would, I felt confident, be unable to produce anything
reflecting my real sentiments about my betrothed. I had spoken of her
and her family freely--one must have a vent somewhere--to Mr. Derby
Deblore, my other self, my _Pylades_, my _Damon_, my _fidus Achades_ in
New York; but, unless they found Derby and compelled him to testify,
they could not alienate my Saccharissa.

I gave her a touching glance, as Mellasys Plickaman closed his reading
of my private papers.

She gave me a touching glance,--or rather, a glance which her amorphous
features meant to make touching,--and, waving musk from her handkerchief
through the apartment, cried,--

"Never mind, Arthur dear! I don't like you a bit the less for saying
what barbarous creatures these men are. They may do what they
please,--I'll stand by you. You have my heart, my warm Southern heart,
my Arthur!"

"Arthur!" shouted that atrocious Plickaman,--"the loafer's name's
Aminadab, after that old Jew, his grandfather."

Saccharissa looked at him and smiled contemptuously.

I tried to smile. I could not. Aminadab _was_ my name. That old dotard,
my grandfather, had borne it before me. I had suppressed it carefully.

"Aminadab's his name," repeated the Colonel. "His own mother ought to
know what he was baptized, and here is a letter from her which the
postmaster and I opened this morning. Look!--'My dear Aminadab.'"

"Don't believe it, Saccharissa," said I, faintly, "It is only one of
those tender nicknames, relics of childhood, which the maternal parent
alone remembers."

"Silence, culprit!" exclaimed Judge Pyke. "And now, Colonel, read the
letter upon which our sentence is principally based,--that traitorous
document which you and our patriotic postmaster arrested."

The ruffian, with a triumphant glance at me, took from his pocket
a letter from Derby Deblore. He cleared his throat by a plenteous
expectoration, and then proceeded to read as follows:--

"Dear Bratley,--Nigger ran like a hound. Marshall and the rest only saw
his heels. I'm going on to Toronto to see how he does there. Keep your
eyes peeled, when you come through Kentucky. There's more of the same
stock there, only waiting for somebody to say, 'Leg it!' and they'll go
like mad."

Here the audience interrupted,--"Hang him! hang him! tar and feathers
a'n't half bad enough for the dam' nigger-thief!"

I began to comprehend Deblore's innocent reference to his favorite horse
Nigger; and a successful race he had made with the well-known racer
Marshall--not Rynders--was construed by my jury into a knowledge on my
part of the operations of the "Underground Railroad." What could have
been more absurd? I endeavored to protest. I endeavored to show them, on
general and personal grounds, how utterly devoted I was to the "Peculiar
Institution."

"Billy Sangaree," said Judge Pyke, "do you and Major Licklickin stand by
the low-lived Abolitionist, and if he says another word, blow out his
Black Republican heart."

They did so. I was silent. Saccharissa gave me a glance expressive of
continued devotion. So long as I kept her and her hundred thousand
dollars, ($100,000,) I little cared for the assaults of these noisy and
ill-bred persons.

"Continue, Colonel," said Judge Pyke, severely.

Plickaman resumed the reading of my friend's letter.

"Well, Bratley," Deblore went on, "I hope you'll be able to stand Bayou
La Farouche till you're married. I couldn't do it. I roar over your
letters. But I swear I respect your powers of humbug. I suppose, if you
didn't let out to me, you never could lie so to your dear Saccharissa.
Do you know I think you are a little too severe in calling her a mean,
spiteful, slipshod, vulgar, dumpy little flirt?"

"Read that again!" shrieked Saccharissa.

"You are beginning to find out your Aminadab!" says Plickaman.

I moved my lips to deny my name; but the pistol of Billy Sangaree was
at my right temple, the pistol of Major Licklickin at my left. I was
silent, and bore the scornful looks of my persecutors with patience and
dignity.

Plickaman repeated the sentence.

"But hear the rest," said he, and read on:--

"From what you say of her tinge of African blood and other charming
traits, I have constructed this portrait of the future Mrs. Bratley
Chylde, as the Hottentot Venus. Behold it!"

And Mellasys held up a highly colored caricature, covering one whole
side of my friend's sheet.

Saccharissa rose from the sofa where she had been sitting during the
whole of my trial.

She stood before me,--really I cannot deny it,--a little, ugly, vulgar
figure, overloaded with finery, and her laces and ribbons trembled with
rage.

She seemed not to be able to speak, and, by way of relieving herself of
her overcharge of wrath, smote me several times on either ear with that
pudgy hand I had so often pressed in mine or tenderly kissed.

At this exhibition of a resentment I can hardly deem feminine, the
Fire-Eaters roared with laughter and cheered her to continue. A circle
of negroes also, at the window, expressed their amusement at the scene
in the guttural manner of their race.

I could not refrain from tears at these unhappy exhibitions on the part
of my betrothed. They augured ill for the harmony of our married life.

"Hit him again, Rissy! he's got no friends," that vulgar Plickaman
urged.

She again advanced, seized me by the hair, and shook me with greater
muscular force than I should have expected of one of her indolent
habits. Delicacy for her sex of course forbade my offering resistance;
and besides, there were my two sentries, roaring with vulgar laughter,
but holding their pistols with a most unpleasant accuracy of aim at my
head.

"Saccharissa, my love," I ventured to say, in a pleading tone, "these
momentary ebullitions of a transitory rage will give the bystanders
unfavorable impressions of your temper."

"You horrid little wretch!" she screeched, "you sneak! you irreligious
infidel! you Black Republican! you Aminadab!"----

Here her unnecessary passion choked her, and she took advantage of
the pause to handle my hair with extreme violence. The sensation was
unpleasant, but I began to hope that no worse would befall me, and
I knew that with a few dulcet words in private I could remove from
Saccharissa's mind the asperity induced by my friend's caricature.

"I leave it to you, gentlemen," said she, "whether I am vulgar, as this
fellow's correspondence asserts."

"Certainly not," said Judge Pyke. "You are one of the most high-toned
beauties in the sunny South, the land of the magnolia and the papaw."

"Your dignity," said Major Licklickin, "is only surpassed by your grace,
and both by your queenly calmness."

The others also gave her the best compliments they could, poor fellows!
I could have taught them what to say.

Here a grinning negro interrupted with,--

"De tar-kittle's a b'ilin' on de keen jump, Mas'r Mellasys."

"Gentlemen of the Jury," said Judge Pyke, "as you had agreed upon your
verdict before the trial, it is not requisite that you should retire to
consult. Prisoner at the Bar, rise to receive sentence."

I thought it judicious to fall upon my knees and request forgiveness;
but my persecutors were blinded by what no doubt seemed to them a
religious zeal.

"Git up!" said Major Licklickin; and I am ashamed, for his sake, to say
that there was an application of boot accompanying this remark.

"Prisoner," continued my Rhadamanthus, "you have had a fair trial, and
you are found guilty on all the counts of the indictment. First: Of
disloyalty to the South. Second: Of indifference to the Democratic
candidate for the Presidency. Third: Of maligning the character
of Southern patriots in a book intended, no doubt, for universal
circulation through the Northern States. Fourth: Of holding
correspondence with an agent of the Underground Railroad, who, as he
himself avows, has recently run off a nigger to Toronto.--Silence, Sir!
Choke him, Billy Sangaree, if he says a word!--Fifth: Of defaming a
Southern lady, while at the same time you were endeavoring to win her
most attractive property and person from those who should naturally
acquire them. Sixth: Of Agrarianism, Abolitionism, Atheism, and
Infidelity. Prisoner at the Bar, your sentence is, that you be tarred
and cottoned and leave the State. If you are caught again, you will be
hung by the neck, and Henry Ward Beecher have mercy on your soul!"

I was now marched along by my two sentries to a huge tree, not of the
bandanna species. Beneath it a sugar-kettle filled with ebullient tar
was standing.

My persecutors, with tranquil brutality, proceeded to disrobe me. As my
nether garments were removed, Mellasys Plickaman succeeded in persuading
Saccharissa to retire. She, however, took her station at a window
and peered through the blinds at the spectacle. I do not envy her
sensations. All her bright visions of fashionable life were destroyed
forever. She would now fall into the society from which I had endeavored
to lift her. Poor thing! knowing, too, that I, and my friend Derby
Deblore, perhaps the most elegant young man in America, regarded her as
a Hottentot Venus. Poor thing! I have no doubt that she longed to rush
out, fling herself at my feet, and pray me to forgive her and reconsider
my verdict of dumpiness and vulgarity.

Meantime I had been reduced to my shirt and drawers,--excuse the nudity
of my style in stating this fact. Mellasys Plickaman took a ladle-full
of the viscous fluid and poured it over my head.

"Aminadab," said he, "I baptize thee!"

I have experienced few sensations more unpleasant than this application.
The tar descended in warm and sluggish streams, trickling over my
forehead, dropping from my eyelids, rolling over my cheeks, sealing my
mouth, gluing my ears to my skull, identifying itself with my hair,
pursuing the path indicated by my spine beneath my shirt,--in short,
enveloping me with a close-fitting armor of a glutinous and most
unsavory material.

Each of the jury followed the example of my detested rival. In a few
moments the tarring was complete. Few can see themselves mentally or
physically as others see them; but, judging from the remarks made, I am
convinced that I must have afforded an entertaining spectacle to the
party. They roared with laughter, and jeered me. I, however, preserved a
silence discreet, and, I flatter myself, dignified.

The negroes, particularly those at whose fustigation I had assisted
in the morning, joined in the scoffs of their masters, calling me
Bobolitionist, Black Republican, Liberator, and other nicknames by
which these simple-hearted and contented creatures express dislike and
distrust.

"Bring the cotton!" now cried Mellasys Plickaman.

A bag of that regal product was brought.

"Roll him in it!" said Billy Sangaree.

"Let the Colonel work his own tricks," Major Licklickin said. "He's an
artist, he is."

I must admit that he was an artist. He fabricated me an elaborate wig of
the cotton. He arranged me a pair of bushy white eyebrows. He stuck
a venerable beard upon my chin, and a moustache upon my lip. Then he
proceeded to indicate my ribs with lines of cotton, and to cap my
shoulders with epaulets. It would be long to describe the fantastic
tricks he played with me amid the loud laughter of his crew.

Occasionally, also, I heard suppressed giggles from Saccharissa at the
window.

I have no doubt that I should have strangled my late _fiancée_, if such
an act had been consistent with my personal safety.

When I was completely cottoned, in the decorative manner I have
described, Mellasys took a banjo from an old negro, and, striking it,
not without a certain unsophisticated and barbaric grace appropriate to
the instrument, commanded me to dance.

I essayed to do so. But my heart was heavy; consequently my heels were
not light. My faint attempts at pirouettes were not satisfactory.

"Dance jollier, or we'll hang you," said Plickaman.

"No," says Judge Pyke,--"the sentence of the Court has been executed.
In the sacred name of Justice I protest against proceeding farther.
Culprit," continued he, in a voice of thunder, "cut for the North Star,
and here's passage-money for you."

He stuck a half-eagle into the tarry integument of my person. Billy
Sangaree, Major Licklickin, and others of the more inebriated, imitated
him. My dignity of bearing had evidently made a favorable impression.

I departed amid cheers, some ironical, some no doubt sincere. But to the
last, these chivalric, but prejudiced and misguided gentlemen declined
to listen to my explanations. Mellasys Plickaman had completely
perverted their judgments against me.

The last object I saw was Saccharissa, looking more like a Hottentot
Venus than ever, waving her handkerchief and kissing her hand to me. Did
she repent her brief disloyalty? For a moment I thought so, and resolved
to lie in wait, return by night, and urge her to fly with me. But while
I hesitated, Mellasys Plickaman drew near her. She threw herself into
his arms, and there, before all the Committee of Fire-Eaters of Bayou La
Farouche, she kissed him with those amorphous lips I had often compelled
myself to taste. Faugh!

I deemed this scene a token that my engagement was absolutely
terminated.

There was no longer any reason why I should degrade myself by remaining
in this vulgar society. I withdrew into the thickets of the adjoining
wood and there for a time abandoned myself to melancholy reminiscences.

Presently I heard footsteps. I turned and saw a black approaching,
bearing the homely viand known as corn-dodger. He offered it. I accepted
it as a tribute from the inferior race to the superior.

I recognized him as one whose fustigation had so revived my crapulous
spirits in the morning. He seemed to bear no malice. Malignity is
perhaps a mark of more highly developed character. I, for example,
possess it to a considerable degree.

The black led me to a lair in the wood. He took my half-eagles from my
tar. He scraped and cleansed me by simple methods of which he had the
secret. He clothed me in rude garments. Gunny-bag was, I think, the
material. He gave me his own shoes. The heels were elongated; but this
we remedied by a stuffing of leaves. He conducted me toward the banks of
Bayou La Farouche.

On our way, we were compelled to pass not far from the Mellasys mansion.
There was a sound of revelry. It was night. I crept cautiously up and
peered into the window.

There stood the Reverend Onesimus Butterfut, since a prominent candidate
for the archbishopric of the Southern Confederacy. Saccharissa, more
over-dressed than usual, and her cousin Mellasys Plickaman, somewhat
unsteady with inebriation, stood before him. He was pronouncing them man
and wife,--why not ogre and hag?

How fortunate was my escape!

As my negro guide would not listen to my proposal to set the Mellasys
establishment on fire while the inmates slept, I followed him to the
banks of the Bayou. He provided me with abundant store of the homely
food already alluded to. He launched me in a vessel; known to some as
a dug-out, to some as a gundalow. His devotion was really touching.
It convinced me more profoundly than ever of the canine fidelity and
semi-animal characteristics of his race.

I floated down the Bayou. I was picked up by a cotton-ship in the Gulf.
I officiated as assistant to the cook on the homeward voyage.

At the urgent solicitation of my mother, I condescended, on my return,
to accept a situation in my Uncle Bratley's cracker-bakery. The business
is not aristocratic. But what business is? I cannot draw the line
between the baker of hard tack--such is the familiar term we employ--and
the seller of the material for our product, by the barrel or the cargo.
From the point of view of a Chylde, all avocations for the making of
money seem degrading, and only the spending is dignified.

As my conduct during the Mellasys affair has been maligned and scoffed
at by persons of crude views of what is _comme il faut_, I have drawn up
this statement, confident that it will justify me to all of my order,
which I need not state is distinctively that of the Aristocrat and the
Gentleman.



MY ODD ADVENTURE WITH JUNIUS BRUTUS BOOTH.


More than twenty years ago, being pastor of a church in one of our
Western cities, I was sitting, one evening, meditating over my coal
fire, which was cheerfully blazing up and gloomily subsiding again, in
the way that Western coal fires in Western coal grates were then very
much in the habit of doing. I was a young, and inexperienced minister.
I had come to the West, fresh from a New England divinity-school, with
magnificent ideas of the vast work which was to be done, and with rather
a vague notion of the way in which I was to do it. My views of the West
were chiefly derived from two books, both of which are now obsolete.
When a child, with the omnivorous reading propensity of children, I had
perused a thin, pale octavo, which stood on the shelves of our library,
containing the record of a journey by the Rev. Thaddeus Mason Harris, of
Dorchester, from Massachusetts to Marietta, Ohio. Allibone, whom nothing
escapes, gives the title of the book, "Journal of a Tour into the
Territory Northwest of the Allegheny Mountains in 1803, Boston, 1805."
That a man should write an octavo volume about a journey to Marietta now
strikes us as rather absurd; but in those days the overland journey to
Ohio was as difficult as that to California is now. The other book was a
more important one, being Timothy Flint's "Ten Years' Recollections
of the Mississippi Valley," published in 1826. Mr. Flint was a man of
sensibility and fancy, a sharp observer, and an interesting writer. His
book opened the West to us in its scenery and in its human interest.

I was sitting in my somewhat lonely position, watching my coal fire, and
thinking of the friends I had left on the other side of the mountains.
I had not succeeded as I had hoped in my work. I came to the West
expecting to meet with opposition, and I found only indifference. I
expected infidelity, and found worldliness. I had around me a company
of good Christian friends, but they were no converts of mine; they were
from New England, like myself, and brought their religion with them.
Upon the real Western people I had made no impression, and could not see
how I should make any. Those who were religious seemed to be bigots;
those who were not religious cared apparently more for making money, for
politics, for horseracing, for duelling, than for the difference between
Homoousians and Homoiousians. They were very fond of good preaching, but
their standard was a little different from that I had been accustomed
to. A solid, meditative, carefully written sermon had few attractions
for them. They would go to hear our great New England divines on account
of their reputation, but they would run in crowds to listen to John
Newland Maffit. What they wanted, as one of them expressed it, was "an
eloquent divine and no common orator." They liked sentiment run out into
sentimentalism, fluency, point, plenty of illustration, and knock-down
argument. How could a poor boy, fresh from the groves of our Academy,
where Good Taste reigned supreme, and where to learn how to manage one's
voice was regarded as a sin against sincerity, how could he meet such
demands as these?

I was more discouraged than I need to have been; for, after all, the
resemblances in human beings are more than their differences. The
differences are superficial,--the resemblances radical. Everywhere men
like, in a Christian minister, the same things,--sincerity, earnestness,
and living Christianity. Mere words may please, but not long. Men differ
in taste about the form of the cup out of which they drink this wine of
Divine Truth, but they agree in their thirst for the same wine.

But to my story.

I was sitting, therefore, meditating somewhat sadly, when a knock came
at the door. On opening it, a negro boy, with grinning face, presented
himself, holding a note. The great fund of good-humor which God has
bestowed on the African race often makes them laugh when we see no
occasion for laughter. Any event, no matter what it is, seems to them
amusing. So this boy laughed merely because he had brought me a note,
and not because there was anything peculiarly amusing in the message
which the note contained. It is true that you sometimes meet a
melancholy negro. But such, I fancy, have some foreign blood in
them,--they are not Africans _pur sang_. The race is so essentially
joyful, that centuries of oppression and hardship cannot depress its
good spirits. It is cheerful in spite of slavery, and in spite of cruel
prejudice.

The note the boy brought me did not seem adapted to furnish much
provocation for laughter. It was as follows:--

"_United States Hotel_, Jan. 4th, 1834.

"SIR,--I hope you will excuse the liberty of a stranger addressing you
on a subject he feels great interest in. It is to require a place of
interment for his friend[s] in the church-yard, and also the expense
attendant on the purchase of such place of temporary repose.

"Your communication on this matter will greatly oblige,

"Sir,

"Your respectful and

"Obedient Servant,

"J.B. BOOTH."

It will be observed that after the word "friend" an [s] follows in
brackets. In the original the word was followed by a small mark which
might or might not give it the plural form. It could be read either
"friend" or "friends"; but as we do not usually find ourselves called
upon to bury more than one friend at a time, the hasty reader would
not notice the mark, but would read it "friend." So did I; and only
afterward, in consequence of the _dénouement_, did I notice that it
might be read in the other way.

Taking my hat, I stepped into the street. Gas in those days was not;
an occasional lantern, swung on a wire across the intersection of the
streets, reminded us that the city was once French, and suggested the
French Revolution and the cry, "_À la lanterne!_" First I went to my
neighbor, the mayor of the city, in pursuit of the desired information.
A jolly mayor was he,--a Yankee melted down into a Western man,
thoroughly Westernized by a rough-and-tumble life in Kentucky during
many years. Being obliged to hold a mayor's court every day, and knowing
very little of law, his chief study was, as he expressed it, "how to
choke off the Kentucky lawyers." Mr. Mayor not being at home, I turned
next to the office of another naturalized Yankee,--a Yankee naturalized,
but never Westernized. He was one of those who do not change their mind
with their sky, who, exiled from the dear hills of New England, can
never get away from the inborn, inherent Yankee. He was a Plymouth man,
and religiously preserved every opinion, habit, and accent which he had
brought from Plymouth Rock. When Kentucky was madly Democratic and wept
over the dead Jefferson as over her saint, he had expressed the opinion
that it would have been well for the country, if he had died long
before,--for which expression he came near being lynched. He was the
most unpopular and the most indispensable man in the city,--they could
live neither with him nor without him. He founded and organized the
insurance companies, the public schools, the charitable associations,
the great canal, the banking-system,--in short, all Yankee institutions.
The city was indebted to him for much of its prosperity, but disliked
him while it respected him. For he spared no Western prejudice; he
remorselessly criticized everything that was not done as Yankees do it:
and the most provoking thing of all was that he never made a mistake; he
was always right.

Finding no one at home, and so not being able to learn about the price
of lots in the church-yard, I walked on to the hotel, and asked to see
Mr. J.B. Booth. I was shown into a private parlor, where he and another
gentleman were sitting by a table. On the table were candles, a decanter
of wine, and glasses, a plate of bread, cigars, and a book. Mr. Booth
rose when I announced myself, and I at once recognized the distinguished
actor. I had met him once before, and travelled with him for part of a
day. He was a short man, but one of those who seem tall when they choose
to do so. He had a clear blue eye and fair complexion. In repose
there was nothing to attract attention to him; but when excited, his
expression was so animated, his eye was so brilliant, and his figure so
full of life, that he became another man.

Having told him that I had not been successful in procuring the
information he desired, but would bring it to him on the following
morning, he thanked me, and asked me to sit down. It passed through my
mind, that, as he had lost a friend and was a stranger in the place, I
might be of use to him. Perhaps he needed consolation, and it was my
office to sympathize with the bereaved. So I sat down. But it did not
appear that he was disposed to seek for such comfort, or engage in such
discourse. Once or twice I endeavored, but without success, to turn
the conversation to his presumed loss. I asked him if the death of his
friend was sudden.

"Very," he replied.

"Was he a relative?"

"Distant," said he, and changed the subject.

It is twenty-seven years since these events took place, and I do not
pretend to give the conversation very accurately, but what occurred was
very much like this. It was a dialogue between Booth and myself, the
third party saying not a word during the evening. Mr. Booth first asked
me to take a glass of wine, or a cigar, both of which I declined.

"Well," said he, "let me try to entertain you in another way. When you
came in, I was reading aloud to my friend. Perhaps you would like to
hear me read."

"I certainly should," said I.

"What shall I read?"

"Whatever you like best. What you like to read I shall like to hear."

"Then suppose I attempt Coleridge's 'Ancient Mariner'? Have you time for
it? It is long."

"Yes, I should like it much."

So he read aloud the whole of this magnificent poem. I have listened to
Macready, to Edmund Kean, to Rachel, to Jenny Lind, to Fanny Kemble,--to
Webster, Clay, Everett, Harrison Gray Otis,--to Dr. Channing, Henry
Ward Beecher, Wendell Phillips, Father Taylor, Ralph Waldo Emerson,--to
Victor Hugo, Coquerel, Lacordaire; but none of them affected me as I was
affected by this reading. I forgot the place where I was, the motive of
my coming, the reader himself. I knew the poem almost by heart, yet I
seemed never to have heard it before. I was by the side of the doomed
mariner. I was the wedding-guest, listening to his story, held by his
glittering eye. I was with him in the storm, among the ice, beneath
the hot and copper sky. Booth became so absorbed in his reading, so
identified with the poem, that his tone and manner were saturated with
a feeling of reality. He actually thought himself the mariner,--so I am
persuaded,--while he was reading. As the poem proceeded, and we plunged
deeper and deeper into its mystic horrors, the actual world receded
into a dim, indefinable distance. The magnetism of this marvellous
interpreter had caught up himself, and me with him, into Dreamland, from
which we gently descended at the end of Part VI., and "the spell was
snapt."

  "And now, all in my own countree,
  I stood on the firm land,"--

returned from a voyage into the inane. Again I found myself sitting in
the little hotel parlor, by the side of a man with glittering eye, with
a third somebody on the other side of the table.

I drew a long breath.

Booth turned over the leaves of the volume. It was the collected Works
of Coleridge, Shelley, and Keats.

"Did you ever read," said he, "Shelley's argument against the use of
animal food, at the end of 'Queen Mab'?"

"Yes, I have read it."

"And what do you think of the argument?"

"Ingenious, but not satisfactory."

"To me it _is_ satisfactory. I have long been convinced that it is wrong
to take the life of an animal for our pleasure. I eat no animal food.
There is my supper,"--pointing to the plate of bread. "And, indeed,"
continued he, "I think the Bible favors this view. Have you a Bible with
you?"

I had not.

Booth thereupon rang the bell, and when the boy presented himself,
called for a Bible. _Garçon_ disappeared, and came back soon with a
Bible on a waiter.

Our tragedian took the book, and proceeded to argue his point by means
of texts selected skilfully here and there, from Genesis to Revelation.
He referred to the fact that it was not till after the Deluge men were
allowed, "for the hardness of their hearts," as he maintained, to eat
meat. But in the beginning it was not so; only herbs were given to man,
at first, for food. He quoted the Psalmist (Psalm civ. 14) to show that
man's food came from the earth, and was the green herb; and contended
that the reason why Daniel and his friends were fairer and fatter than
the children who ate their portion of meat was that they ate only pulse
(Daniel i. 12-15). These are all of his Scriptural arguments which I now
recall; but I thought them very ingenious at the time.

The argument took some time. Then he recited one or two pieces bearing
on the same subject, closing with Byron's Lines to his Newfoundland Dog.

"In connection with that poem," he continued, "a singular event once
happened to me. I was acting in Petersburg, Virginia. My theatrical
engagement was just concluded, and I dined with a party of friends
one afternoon before going away. We sat after dinner, singing songs,
reciting poetry, and relating anecdotes. At last I recited those lines
of Byron on his dog. I was sitting by the fireplace, my feet resting
against the jamb, and a single candle was burning on the mantel. It had
become dark. Just as I came to the end of the poem,--

  "'To mark a friend's remains these stones arise,
  I never knew but one, and here he lies,'--

"my foot slipped down the jamb, and struck a _dog_, who was lying
beneath. The dog sprang up, howled, and ran out of the room, and at the
same moment the candle went out. I asked whose dog it was. No one knew.
No one had seen the dog till that moment. Perhaps you will smile at me,
Sir, and think me superstitious,--but I could not but think that the
animal was brought there by _occult sympathy_."

Having uttered these oracular words in a very solemn tone, Booth rose,
and, taking one of the candles, said to me, "Would you like to look at
the remains?"

I assented. Asking our silent friend to excuse us, he led me into an
adjoining chamber. I looked toward a bed in the corner of the room,
expecting to see a corpse. There was none there. But Booth went to
another corner of the room, where, spread out upon a large sheet, I
saw--what do you suppose, dear reader?

_About a bushel of Wild Pigeons!_

Booth knelt down by the side of the birds, and with every evidence of
sincere affliction began to mourn over them. He took them up in his
hands tenderly, and pressed them to his heart. For a few moments he
seemed to forget my presence. For this I was glad, for it gave me a
little time to recover from my astonishment, and to consider rapidly
what it might mean. As I look back now, and think of the oddity of
the situation, I rather wonder at my own self-possession. It was a
sufficiently trying position. At first I thought it was a hoax, an
intentional piece of practical fun, of which I was to be the object. But
even in the moment allowed me to think, I decided that this could not
be. For I recalled the long and elaborate Bible argument against taking
the life of animals, which could hardly have been got up for the
occasion. I considered also that as a joke it would be too poor in
itself, and too unworthy a man like Booth. So I decided that it was a
sincere conviction,--an idea, exaggerated perhaps to the borders of
monomania, of the sacredness of all life. And I determined to treat
the conviction with respect, as all sincere and religious convictions
deserve to be treated.

I also saw the motive for this particular course of action. During the
week immense quantities of the Wild Pigeon (Passenger Pigeon, _Columba
Migratoria_) had been flying over the city, in their way to and from
a _roost_ in the neighborhood. These birds had been slaughtered by
myriads, and were for sale by the bushel at the corners of every street
in the city. Although all the birds which could be killed by man made
the smallest impression on the vast multitude contained in one of these
flocks,--computed by Wilson to consist of more than twenty-two hundred
millions,--yet to Booth the destruction seemed wasteful, wanton, and
from his point of view was a wilful and barbarous murder.

Such a sentiment was perhaps an exaggeration; still I could not but
feel a certain sympathy with its humanity. It was an error in a good
direction. If an insanity, it was better than the cold, heartless sanity
of most men. By the time, therefore, that Booth was ready to speak, I
was prepared to answer.

"You see," said he, "these innocent victims of man's barbarity. I wish
to testify in some public way against this wanton destruction of life.
And I wish you to help me. Will you?"

"Hardly," I replied. "I expected something very different from this,
when I received your note. I did not come to see you expecting to be
called to assist at the funeral solemnities of birds."

"Nor did I send for you," he answered. "I merely wrote to ask about the
lot in the grave-yard. But now you are here, why not help me? Do you
fear the laugh of man?"

"No," I returned. "If I agreed with you in regard to this subject, I
might, perhaps, have the courage to act out my convictions. But I do
not look at it as you do. There is no reason, then, why I should have
anything to do with it. I respect your convictions, but do not share
them."

"That is fair," he said. "I cannot ask anything more. I am obliged to
you for coming to see me. My intention was to purchase a place in the
burial-ground, and have them put into a coffin and carried in a hearse.
I might do it without any one's knowing that it was not a human body.
Would you assist me, then?"

"But if no one _knew_ it," I said, "how would it be a public testimony
against the destruction of life?"

"True, it would not. Well, I will consider what to do. Perhaps I may
wish to bury them privately in some garden."

"In that case," said I, "I will find you a place in the grounds of some
of my friends."

He thanked me, and I took my leave,--exceedingly astonished and amused
by the incident, but also interested in the earnestness of conviction of
the man.

I heard, in a day or two, that he had actually purchased a lot in the
cemetery, two or three miles below the city, that he had had a coffin
made, hired a hearse and carriage, and had gone through all the
solemnity of a regular funeral. For several days he continued to visit
the grave of his little friends, and mourned over them with a grief
which did not seem at all theatrical.

Meantime he acted every night at the theatre, and my friends told me
that his acting was of unsurpassed excellence. A vein of insanity began,
however, to mingle in his conduct. His fellow-actors were afraid of
him. He looked terribly in earnest on the stage; and when he went behind
the scenes, he spoke to no one, but sat still, looking sternly at the
ground. During the day he walked about town, giving apples to the
horses, and talked to the drivers, urging them to treat their animals
with kindness.

An incident happened, one day, which illustrated still further his
sympathy for the humbler races of animals. One of the sudden freshets
which come to the Ohio, caused commonly by heavy rains melting the snow
in the valleys of its tributary streams, had raised the river to an
unusual height. The yellow torrent rushed along its channel, bearing
on its surface logs, boards, and the _debris_ of fences, shanties, and
lumber-yards. A steamboat, forced by the rapid current against the stone
landing, had been stove, and lay a wreck on the bottom, with the water
rising rapidly around it. A horse had been left, fastened on the boat,
and it looked as if he would be drowned. Booth was on the landing, and
he took from his pocket twenty dollars, and offered it to any one who
would get to the boat and cut the halter, so that the horse might swim
ashore. Some one was found to do it, and the horse's life was saved.

So this golden thread of human sympathy with all creatures whom God had
made ran through the darkening moods of his genius. He had well laid to
heart the fine moral of his favorite poem,--that

  "He prayeth well, who loveth well
  Both man, and bird, and beast.

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

In a week or less the tendency to derangement in Booth became more
developed. One night, when he was to act, he did not appear; nor could
he be found at his lodgings. He did not come home that night. Next
morning he was found in the woods, several miles from the city,
wandering through the snow. He was taken care of. His derangement proved
to be temporary, and his reason returned in a few days. He soon left the
city. But before he went away he sent to me the following note, which I
copy from the original faded paper, now lying before me:--

"--_Theatre_,

"January 18, 1834.

"MY DEAR SIR,

"Allow me to return you my grateful acknowledgments for your prompt and
benevolent attention to my request last Wednesday night. Although I am
convinced _your_ ideas and _mine_ thoroughly coincide as to the _real_
cause of man's bitter degradation, yet I fear human means to redeem him
are now fruitless. The Fire must burn, and Prometheus endure his agony.
The Pestilence of Asia must come again, ere the savage will be taught
humanity. May _you_ escape! God bless you, Sir!

"J.B. BOOTH."

Certainly I may call this "an odd adventure" for a young minister,
less than six months in his profession. But it left in my mind a very
pleasant impression of this great tragedian. It may be asked why he came
to me, the youngest and newest clergyman in the place. The reason he
gave me himself. I was a Unitarian. He said he had more sympathy with me
on that account, as he was of Jewish descent, and a Monotheist.



MY OUT-DOOR STUDY.


The noontide of the summer-day is past, when all Nature slumbers, and
when the ancients feared to sing, lest the great god Pan should be
awakened. Soft changes, the gradual shifting of every shadow on every
leaf, begin to show the waning hours. Ineffectual thunder-storms have
gathered and gone by, hopelessly defeated. The floating-bridge is
trembling and resounding beneath the pressure of one heavy wagon, and
the quiet fishermen change their places to avoid the tiny ripple that
glides stealthily to their feet above the half-submerged planks. Down
the glimmering lake there are miles of silence and still waters and
green shores, overhung with a multitudinous and scattered fleet of
purple and golden clouds, now furling their idle sails and drifting away
into the vast harbor of the South. Voices of birds, hushed first by
noon and then by possibilities of tempest, cautiously begin once more,
leading on the infinite melodies of the June afternoon. As the freshened
air invites them forth, so the smooth and stainless water summons us.
"Put your hand upon the oar," says Charon in the old play to Bacchus,
"and you shall hear the sweetest songs." The doors of the boathouse
swing softly open, and the slender wherry, like a water-snake, steals
silently in the wake of the dispersing clouds.

The woods are hazy, as if the warm sunbeams had melted in among the
interstices of the foliage and spread a soft film throughout the whole.
The sky seems to reflect the water, and the water the sky; both are
roseate with color, both are darkened with clouds, and between them
both, as the boat recedes, the floating-bridge hangs suspended, with its
motionless fishermen and its moving team. The wooded islands are poised
upon the lake, each belted with a paler tint of softer wave. The air
seems fine and palpitating; the drop of an oar in a distant row-lock,
the sound of a hammer on a dismantled boat, pass into some region of
mist and shadows, and form a metronome for delicious dreams.

Every summer I launch my boat to seek some realm of enchantment beyond
all the sordidness and sorrow of earth, and never yet did I fail to
ripple with my prow at least the outskirts of those magic waters. What
spell has fame or wealth to enrich this midday blessedness with a joy
the more? Yonder barefoot boy, as he drifts silently in his punt beneath
the drooping branches of yonder vine-clad bank, has a bliss which no
Astor can buy with money, no Seward conquer with votes,--which yet is
no monopoly of his, and to which time and experience only add a more
subtile and conscious charm. The rich years were given us to increase,
not to impair, these cheap felicities. Sad or sinful is the life of
that man who finds not the heavens bluer and the waves more musical in
maturity than in childhood. Time is a severe alembic of youthful joys,
no doubt; we exhaust book after book and leave Shakespeare unopened; we
grow fastidious in men and women; all the rhetoric, all the logic, we
fancy we have heard before; we have seen the pictures, we have listened
to the symphonies: but what has been done by all the art and literature
of the world towards describing one summer day? The most exhausting
effort brings us no nearer to it than to the blue sky which is its dome;
our words are shot up against it like arrows, and fall back helpless.
Literary amateurs go the tour of the globe to renew their stock of
materials, when they do not yet know a bird or a bee or a blossom beside
their homestead-door; and in the hour of their greatest success they
have not an horizon to their life so large as that of yon boy in his
punt. All that is purchasable in the capitals of the world is not to be
weighed in comparison with the simple enjoyment that may be crowded into
one hour of sunshine. What can place or power do here? "Who could be
before me, though the palace of Caesar cracked and split with emperors,
while I, sitting in silence on a cliff of Rhodes, watched the sun as he
swung his golden censer athwart the heavens?"

It is pleasant to observe a sort of confused and latent recognition of
all this in the instinctive sympathy which is always rendered to any
indication of out-door pursuits. How cordially one sees the eyes of
all travellers turn to the man who enters the railroad-station with
a fowling-piece in hand, or the boy with water-lilies! There is a
momentary sensation of the freedom of the woods, a whiff of oxygen for
the anxious money-changers. How agreeably sounds the news--to all
but his creditors--that the lawyer or the merchant has locked his
office-door and gone fishing! The American temperament needs at this
moment nothing so much as that wholesome training of semi-rural life
which reared Hampden and Cromwell to assume at one grasp the sovereignty
of England, and which has ever since served as the foundation of
England's greatest ability. The best thoughts and purposes seem ordained
to come to human beings beneath the open sky, as the ancients fabled
that Pan found the goddess Ceres when he was engaged in the chase, whom
no other of the gods could find when seeking seriously. The little I
have gained from colleges and libraries has certainly not worn so well
as the little I learned in childhood of the habits of plant, bird, and
insect. That "weight and sanity of thought," which Coleridge so finely
makes the crowning attribute of Wordsworth, is in no way so well matured
and cultivated as in the society of Nature.

There may be extremes and affectations, and Mary Lamb declared that
Wordsworth held it doubtful if a dweller in towns had a soul to be
saved. During the various phases of transcendental idealism among
ourselves, in the last twenty years, the love of Nature has at times
assumed an exaggerated and even a pathetic aspect, in the morbid
attempts of youths and maidens to make it a substitute for vigorous
thought and action,--a lion endeavoring to dine on grass and green
leaves. In some cases this mental chlorosis reached such a height as
almost to nauseate one with Nature, when in the society of the victims;
and surfeited companions felt inclined to rush to the treadmill
immediately, or get chosen on the Board of Selectmen, or plunge into any
conceivable drudgery, in order to feel that there was still work enough
in the universe to keep it sound and healthy. But this, after all, was
exceptional and transitory, and our American life still needs, beyond
all things else, the more habitual cultivation of out-door habits.

Probably the direct ethical influence of natural objects may be
overrated. Nature is not didactic, but simply healthy. She helps
everything to its legitimate development, but applies no goads, and
forces on us no sharp distinctions. Her wonderful calmness, refreshing
the whole soul, must aid both conscience and intellect in the end, but
sometimes lulls both temporarily, when immediate issues are pending. The
waterfall cheers and purifies infinitely, but it marks no moments, has
no reproaches for indolence, forces to no immediate decision, offers
unbounded to-morrows, and the man of action must tear himself away, when
the time comes, since the work will not be done for him. "The natural
day is very calm, and will hardly reprove our indolence."

And yet the more bent any man is upon action, the more profoundly he
needs the calm lessons of Nature to preserve his equilibrium. The
radical himself needs nothing so much as fresh air. The world is called
conservative; but it is far easier to impress a plausible thought on the
complaisance of others than to retain an unfaltering faith in it for
ourselves. The most dogged reformer distrusts himself every little
while, and says inwardly, like Luther, "Art thou alone wise?" So he is
compelled to exaggerate, in the effort to hold his own. The community is
bored by the conceit and egotism of the innovators; so it is by that of
poets and artists, orators and statesmen; but if we knew how heavily
ballasted all these poor fellows need to be, to keep an even keel amid
so many conflicting tempests of blame and praise, we should hardly
reproach them. But the simple enjoyments of out-door life, costing next
to nothing, tend to equalize all vexations. What matter, if the Governor
removes you from office? he cannot remove you from the lake; and if
readers or customers will not bite, the pickerel will. We must keep
busy, of course; yet we cannot transform the world except very slowly,
and we can best preserve our patience in the society of Nature, who does
her work almost as imperceptibly as we.

And for literary training, especially, the influence of natural beauty
is simply priceless Under the present educational systems, we need
grammars and languages far less than a more thorough out-door experience.
On this flowery bank, on this ripple-marked shore, are the true literary
models. How many living authors have ever attained to writing a single
page which could be for one moment compared, for the simplicity and
grace of its structure, with this green spray of wild woodbine or yonder
white wreath of blossoming clematis? A finely organized sentence should
throb and palpitate like the most delicate vibrations of the summer
air. We talk of literature as if it were a mere matter of rule and
measurement, a series of processes long since brought to mechanical
perfection: but it would be less incorrect to say that it all lies
in the future; tried by the out-door standard, there is as yet no
literature, but only glimpses and guideboards; no writer has yet
succeeded in sustaining, through more than some single occasional
sentence, that fresh and perfect charm. If by the training of a lifetime
one could succeed in producing one continuous page of perfect cadence,
it would be a life well spent, and such a literary artist would fall
short of Nature's standard in quantity only, not in quality.

It is one sign of our weakness, also, that we commonly assume Nature to
be a rather fragile and merely ornamental thing, and suited for a model
of the graces only. But her seductive softness is the last climax of
magnificent strength. The same mathematical law winds the leaves around
the stem and the planets round the sun. The same law of crystallization
rules the slight-knit snow-flake and the hard foundations of the earth.
The thistle-down floats secure upon the same summer zephyrs that are
woven into the tornado. The dew-drop holds within its transparent cell
the same electric fire which charges the thunder-cloud. In the softest
tree or the airiest waterfall, the fundamental lines are as lithe and
muscular as the crouching haunches of a leopard; and without a pencil
vigorous enough to render these, no mere mass of foam or foliage,
however exquisitely finished, can tell the story. Lightness of touch is
the crowning test of power.

Yet Nature does not work by single spasms only. That chestnut spray is
not an isolated and exhaustive effort of creative beauty: look upward
and see its sisters rise with pile above pile of fresh and stately
verdure, till tree meets sky in a dome of glorious blossom, the whole as
perfect as the parts, the least part as perfect as the whole. Studying
the details, it seems as if Nature were a series of costly fragments
with no coherency,--as if she would never encourage us to do anything
systematically, would tolerate no method but her own, and yet had none
of her own,--were as abrupt in her transitions from oak to maple as
the heroine who went into the garden to cut a cabbage-leaf to make an
apple-pie; while yet there is no conceivable human logic so close
and inexorable as her connections. How rigid, how flexible are, for
instance, the laws of perspective! If one could learn to make his
statements as firm and unswerving as the horizon-line,--his continuity
of thought as marked, yet as unbroken, as yonder soft gradations by
which the eye is lured upward from lake to wood, from wood to hill, from
hill to heavens,--what more bracing tonic could literary culture demand?
As it is, Art misses the parts, yet does not grasp the whole.

Literature also learns from Nature the use of materials: either to
select only the choicest and rarest, or to transmute coarse to fine by
skill in using. How perfect is the delicacy with which the woods and
fields are kept, throughout the year! All these millions of living
creatures born every season, and born to die; yet where are the dead
bodies? We never see them. Buried beneath the earth by tiny nightly
sextons, sunk beneath the waters, dissolved into the air, or distilled
again and again as food for other organizations,--all have had their
swift resurrection. Their existence blooms again in these violet-petals,
glitters in the burnished beauty of these golden beetles, or enriches
the veery's song. It is only out of doors that even death and decay
become beautiful. The model farm, the most luxurious house, have their
regions of unsightliness; but the fine chemistry of Nature is constantly
clearing away all its impurities before our eyes, and yet so delicately
that we never suspect the process. The most exquisite work of literary
art exhibits a certain crudeness and coarseness, when we turn to it from
Nature,--as the smallest cambric needle appears rough and jagged,
when compared through the magnifier with the tapering fineness of the
insect's sting.

Once separated from Nature, literature recedes into metaphysics, or
dwindles into novels. How ignoble seems the current material of London
literary life, for instance, compared with the noble simplicity which, a
half-century ago, made the Lake Country an enchanted land forever! Is
it worth a voyage to England to sup with Thackeray in the Pot Tavern?
Compare the "enormity of pleasure" which De Quincey says Wordsworth
derived from the simplest natural object with the serious protest of
Wilkie Collins against the affectation of caring about Nature at all.
"Is it not strange", says this most unhappy man, "to see how little real
hold the objects of the natural world amidst which we live can gain on
our hearts and minds? We go to Nature for comfort in joy and sympathy
in trouble, only in books.... What share have the attractions of Nature
ever had in the pleasurable or painful interests and emotions of
ourselves or our friends?... There is surely a reason for this want of
inborn sympathy between the creature and the creation around it."

Leslie says of "the most original landscape-painter he knew," meaning
Constable, that, whenever he sat down in the fields to sketch, he
endeavored to forget that he had ever seen a picture. In literature this
is easy, the descriptions are so few and so faint. When Wordsworth was
fourteen, he stopped one day by the wayside to observe the dark outline
of an oak against the western sky; and he says that he was at that
moment struck with "the infinite variety of natural appearances which
had been unnoticed by the poets of any age or country," so far as he was
acquainted with them, and "made a resolution to supply in some degree
the deficiency." He spent a long life in studying and telling these
beautiful wonders; and yet, so vast is the sum of them, they seem almost
as undescribed before, and men to be still as content with vague or
conventional representations. On this continent, especially, people
fancied that all must be tame and second-hand, everything long since
duly analyzed and distributed and put up in appropriate quotations, and
nothing left for us poor American children but a preoccupied universe.
And yet Thoreau camps down by Walden Pond and shows us that absolutely
nothing in Nature has ever yet been described,--not a bird nor a berry
of the woods, nor a drop of water, nor a spicula of ice, nor summer, nor
winter, nor sun, nor star.

Indeed, no person can portray Nature from any slight or transient
acquaintance. A reporter cannot step out between the sessions of a
caucus and give a racy abstract of the landscape. It may consume the
best hours of many days to certify for one's self the simplest out-door
fact, but every such piece of knowledge is intellectually worth the
time. Even the driest and barest book of Natural History is good and
nutritious, so far as it goes, if it represents genuine acquaintance;
one can find summer in January by poring over the Latin catalogues
of Massachusetts plants and animals in Hitchcock's Report. The most
commonplace out-door society has the same attraction. Every one of those
old outlaws who haunt our New England ponds and marshes, water-soaked
and soakers of something else,--intimate with the pure fluid in that
familiarity which breeds contempt,--has yet a wholesome side when you
explore his knowledge of frost and freshet, pickerel and musk-rat, and
is exceedingly good company while you can keep him beyond scent of the
tavern. Any intelligent farmer's boy can give you some narrative
of out-door observation which, so far as it goes, fulfils Milton's
definition of poetry, "simple, sensuous, passionate." He may not write
sonnets to the lake, but he will walk miles to bathe in it; he may not
notice the sunsets, but he knows where to search for the black-bird's
nest. How surprised the school-children looked, to be sure, when the
Doctor of Divinity from the city tried to sentimentalize, in addressing
them, about "the bobolink in the woods"! They knew that the darling of
the meadow had no more personal acquaintance with the woods than was
exhibited by the preacher.

But the preachers are not much worse than the authors. The prosaic
Buckle, to be sure, admits that the poets have in all time been
consummate observers, and that their observations have been as valuable
as those of the men of science; and yet we look even to the poets
for very casual and occasional glimpses of Nature only, not for any
continuous reflection of her glory. Thus, Chaucer is perfumed with early
spring; Homer resounds like the sea; in the Greek Anthology the sun
always shines on the fisherman's cottage by the beach; we associate the
Vishnu Purana with lakes and houses, Keats with nightingales in forest
dim, while the long grass waving on the lonely heath is the last
memorial of the fading fame of Ossian. Of course Shakspeare's
omniscience included all natural phenomena; but the rest, great or
small, associate themselves with some special aspects, and not with the
daily atmosphere. Coming to our own times, one must quarrel with Ruskin
as taking rather the artist's view of Nature, selecting the available
bits and dealing rather patronizingly with the whole; and one is tempted
to charge even Emerson, as he somewhere charges Wordsworth, with not
being of a temperament quite liquid and musical enough to admit the full
vibration of the great harmonics. The three human foster-children who
have been taken nearest into Nature's bosom, perhaps,--an odd triad,
surely, for the whimsical nursing mother to select,--are Wordsworth,
Bettine Brentano, and Thoreau. Is it yielding to an individual
preference too far, to say, that there seems almost a generic difference
between these three and any others,--however wide be the specific
differences among themselves,--to say that, after all, they in their
several paths have attained to an habitual intimacy with Nature, and the
rest have not?

Yet what wonderful achievements have some of the fragmentary artists
performed! Some of Tennyson's word-pictures, for instance, bear almost
as much study as the landscape. One afternoon, last spring, I had been
walking through a copse of young white birches,--their leaves scarce yet
apparent,--over a ground delicate with wood-anemones, moist and mottled
with dog's-tooth-violet leaves, and spangled with the delicate clusters
of that shy creature, the Claytonia or Spring Beauty. All this was
floored with last year's faded foliage, giving a singular bareness
and whiteness to the foreground. Suddenly, as if entering a cavern, I
stepped through the edge of all this, into a dark little amphitheatre
beneath a hemlock-grove, where the afternoon sunlight struck broadly
through the trees upon a tiny stream and a miniature swamp,--this last
being intensely and luridly green, yet overlaid with the pale gray of
last year's reeds, and absolutely flaming with the gayest yellow light
from great clumps of cowslips. The illumination seemed perfectly weird
and dazzling; the spirit of the place appeared live, wild, fantastic,
almost human. Now open your Tennyson:--

  "_And the wild marsh-marigold shines like fire
  in swamps and hollows gray_."

Our cowslip is the English marsh-marigold.

History is a grander poetry, and it is often urged that the features of
Nature in America must seem tame because they have no legendary wreaths
to decorate them. It is perhaps hard for those of us who are untravelled
to appreciate how densely even the ruralities of Europe are overgrown
with this ivy of associations. Thus, it is fascinating to hear that
the great French forests of Fontainebleau and St. Germain are full of
historic trees,--the oak of Charlemagne, the oak of Clovis, of Queen
Blanche, of Henri Quatre, of Sully,--the alley of Richelieu,--the
rendezvous of St. Hérem,--the star of Lamballe and of the Princesses,
a star being a point where several paths or roads converge. It is said
that every topographical work upon these forests has turned out a
history of the French monarchy. Yet surely we lose nearly as much as
we gain by this subordination of imperishable beauty to the perishable
memories of man. It may not be wholly unfortunate, that, in the
absence of those influences which come to older nations from ruins and
traditions, we must go more directly to Nature. Art may either rest upon
other Art, or it may rest directly upon the original foundation; the one
is easier, the other more valuable. Direct dependence on Nature leads
to deeper thought and affords the promise of far fresher results. Why
should I wish to fix my study in Heidelberg Castle, when I possess the
unexhausted treasures of this out-door study here?

The walls of my study are of ever-changing verdure, and its roof and
floor of ever-varying blue. I never enter it without a new heaven above
and new thoughts below. The lake has no lofty shores and no level ones,
but a series of undulating hills, fringed with woods from end to end.
The profaning axe may sometimes come near the margin, and one may hear
the whetting of the scythe; but no cultivated land abuts upon the main
lake, though beyond the narrow woods there are here and there glimpses
of rye-fields that wave like rolling mist. Graceful islands rise from
the quiet waters,--Grape Island, Grass Island, Sharp Pine Island,
and the rest, baptized with simple names by departed generations of
farmers,--all wooded and bushy and trailing with festoonery of vines.
Here and there the banks are indented, and one may pass beneath drooping
chestnut-leaves and among alder-branches into some secret sanctuary of
stillness. The emerald edges of these silent tarns are starred with
dandelions which have strayed here, one scarce knows how, from their
foreign home; the buck-bean perchance grows in the water, or the Rhodora
fixes here one of its shy camping-places, or there are whole skies of
lupine on the sloping banks;--the catbird builds its nest beside us,
the yellow-bird above, the wood-thrush sings late and the whippoorwill
later, and sometimes the scarlet tanager and his golden-haired bride
send a gleam of the tropics through these leafy aisles.

Sometimes I rest in a yet more secluded place amid the waters, where
a little wooded island holds a small lagoon in the centre, just wide
enough for the wherry to turn round. The entrance lies between two
hornbeam trees, which stand close to the brink, spreading over it their
thorn-like branches and their shining leaves. Within there is perfect
shelter; the island forms a high circular bank, like a coral reef, and
shuts out the wind and the passing boats; the surface is paved with
leaves of lily and pond-weed, and the boughs above are full of song. No
matter what white caps may crest the blue waters of the pond, which here
widens out to its broadest reach, there is always quiet here. A few
oar-strokes distant lies a dam or water-break, where the whole lake is
held under control by certain distant mills, towards which a sluggish
stream goes winding on through miles of water-lilies. The old gray
timbers of the dam are the natural resort of every boy or boatman within
their reach; some come in pursuit of pickerel, some of turtles, some of
bull-frogs, some of lilies, some of bathing. It is a good place for the
last desideratum, and it is well to leave here the boat tethered to
the vines which overhang the cove, and perform a sacred and Oriental
ablution beneath the sunny afternoon.

Oh, radiant and divine afternoon! The poets profusely celebrate silver
evenings and golden mornings; but what floods on floods of beauty steep
the earth and gladden it in the first hours of day's decline! The
exuberant rays reflect and multiply themselves from every leaf and
blade; the cows lie upon the hill-side, with their broad peaceful backs
painted into the landscape; the hum of insects, "tiniest bells on the
garment of silence," fills the air; the gorgeous butterflies doze upon
the thistle-blooms till they almost fall from the petals; the air is
full of warm fragrance from the wild-grape clusters; the grass is
burning hot beneath the naked feet in sunshine, and cool as water in the
shade. Diving from this overhanging beam,--for Ovid evidently meant that
Midas to be cured must dive,--

  "Subde caput, corpusque simul, simul elue
  crinem,"--

one finds as kindly a reception from the water as in childish days, and
as safe a shelter in the green dressing-room afterwards; and the patient
wherry floats near by, in readiness for a reëmbarkation.

Here a word seems needed, unprofessionally and non-technically, upon
boats,--these being the sole seats provided for occupant or visitor in
my out-door study. When wherries first appeared in this peaceful inland
community, the novel proportions occasioned remark. Facetious bystanders
inquired sarcastically whether that thing were expected to carry
more than one,--plainly implying by labored emphasis that it would
occasionally be seen tenanted by even less than that number.
Transcendental friends inquired, with more refined severity, if the
proprietor expected to _meditate_ in that thing? This doubt at least
seemed legitimate. Meditation seems to belong to sailing rather than
rowing; there is something so gentle and unintrusive in gliding
effortless beneath overhanging branches and along the trailing edges of
clematis thickets;--what a privilege of fairy-land is this noiseless
prow, looking in and out of one flowery cove after another, scarcely
stirring the turtle from his log, and leaving no wake behind! It seemed
as if all the process of rowing had too much noise and bluster, and as
if the sharp slender wherry, in particular, were rather too pert and
dapper to win the confidence of the woods and waters. Time has dispelled
the fear. As I rest poised upon the oars above some submerged shallow,
diamonded with ripple-broken sunbeams, the fantastic Notonecta or
water-boatman rests upon his oars below, and I see that his proportions
anticipated the wherry, as honeycombs antedated the problem of the
hexagonal cell. While one of us rests, so does the other; and when one
shoots away rapidly above the water, the other does the same beneath.
For the time, as our motions seem the same, so with our motives,--my
enjoyment certainly not less, with the conveniences of humanity thrown
in.

But the sun is declining low. The club-boats are out, and from island
to island in the distance these shafts of youthful life shoot swiftly
across. There races some swift Atalanta, with no apple to fall in her
path but some soft and spotted oak-apple from an overhanging tree; there
the Phantom, with a crew white and ghostlike in the distance, glimmers
in and out behind the headlands, while yonder wherry glides lonely
across the smooth expanse. The voices of all these oarsmen are dim and
almost inaudible, being so far away; but one would scarcely wish that
distance should annihilate the ringing laughter of these joyous
girls, who come gliding, in a safe and heavy boat, they and some blue
dragon-flies together, around yonder wooded point.

Many a summer afternoon have I rowed joyously with these same maidens
beneath these steep and garlanded shores; many a time have they pulled
the heavy four-oar, with me as coxswain at the helm,--the said patient
steersman being oft-times insulted by classical allusions from rival
boats, satirically comparing him to an indolent Venus drawn by doves,
while the oarswomen in turn were likened to Minerva with her feet upon
a tortoise. Many were the disasters in the earlier days of feminine
training;--first of toilet, straw hats blowing away, hair coming down,
hair-pins strewing the floor of the boat, gloves commonly happening to
be off at the precise moment of starting, and trials of speed impaired
by somebody's oar catching in somebody's dress-pocket. Then the actual
difficulties of handling the long and heavy oars,--the first essays
at feathering, with a complicated splash of air and water, as when a
wild-duck in rising swims and flies together, and uses neither element
handsomely,--the occasional pulling of a particularly vigorous stroke
through the atmosphere alone, and at other times the compensating
disappearance of nearly the whole oar beneath the liquid surface, as if
some Uncle Kühleborn had grasped it, while our Undine by main strength
tugged it from the beguiling wave. But with what triumphant abundance
of merriment were these preliminary disasters repaid, and how soon
outgrown! What "time" we sometimes made, when nobody happened to be near
with a watch, and how successfully we tossed oars in saluting, when the
world looked on from a pic-nic! We had our applauses, too. To be sure,
owing to the age and dimensions of the original barge, we could not
command such a burst of enthusiasm as when the young men shot by us in
their race-boat;--but then, as one of the girls justly remarked, we
remained longer in sight.

And many a day, since promotion to a swifter craft, have they rowed with
patient stroke down the lovely lake, still attended by their guide,
philosopher, and coxswain,--along banks where herds of young birch-trees
overspread the sloping valley and ran down in a blaze of sunshine to the
rippling water,--or through the Narrows, where some breeze rocked the
boat till trailing shawls and ribbons were water-soaked, and the bold
little foam would even send a daring drop over the gunwale, to play at
ocean,--or to Davis's Cottage, where a whole parterre of lupines bloomed
to the water's edge, as if relics of some ancient garden-bower of a
forgotten race,--or to the dam by Lily Pond, there to hunt among the
stones for snakes' eggs, each empty shell cut crosswise, where the
young creatures had made their first fierce bite into the universe
outside,--or to some island, where white violets bloomed fragrant and
lonely, separated by relentless breadths of water from their shore-born
sisters, until mingled in their visitors' bouquets,--then up the lake
homeward again at nightfall, the boat all decked with clematis, clethra,
laurel, azalea, or water-lilies, while purple sunset clouds turned forth
their golden linings for drapery above our heads, and then unrolling
sent northward long roseate wreaths to outstrip our loitering speed, and
reach the floating-bridge before us.

It is nightfall now. One by one the birds grow silent, and the soft
dragon-flies, children of the day, are fluttering noiselessly to their
rest beneath the under sides of drooping leaves. From shadowy coves the
evening air is thrusting forth a thin film of mist to spread a white
floor above the waters. The gathering darkness deepens the quiet of the
lake, and bids us, at least for this time, to forsake it. "_De soir
fontaines, de matin montaignes_," says the old French proverb,--Morning
for labor, evening for repose.



A SERMON IN A STONE.


  Harry Jones and Tom Murdock got down from the cars,
  Near a still country village, and lit their cigars.
  They had left the hot town for a stroll and a chat,
  And wandered on looking at this and at that,--
  Plumed grass with pink clover that waltzed in the breeze,
  Ruby currants in gardens, and pears on the trees,--
  Till a green church-yard showed them its sun-checkered gloom,
  And in they both went and sat down on a tomb.
  The dead name was mossy; the letters were dim;
  But they spelled out "James Woodson," and mused upon him,
  Till Harry said, poring, "I wish I could know
  What manner of man used the bones down below."
  Answered Tom,--as he took his cigar from his lip
  And tapped off the ashes that crusted the tip,
  His quaint face somewhat shaded with awe and with mystery,--
  "You shall hear, if you will, the main points in his story."--
  "You don't mean you knew him? You could not! See here!
  Why, this, since he died, is the thirtieth year!"--
  "I never saw him, nor the place where he lay,
  Nor heard of nor thought of the man, till to-day;
  But I'll tell you his story, and leave it to you
  If 'tis not ten to one that my story is true.

  "The man whose old mould underneath us is hid
  Meant a great deal more good and less harm than he did.
  He knelt in yon church 'mid the worshipping throng,
  And vowed to do right, but went out to do wrong;
  For, going up of a Sunday to look at the gate
  Of Saints' Alley, he stuck there and found it was strait,
  And slid back of a Monday to walk in the way
  That is popular, populous, smooth-paved, and gay.
  The flesh it was strong, but the spirit was faint.
  He first was too young, then too old, for a saint.
  He wished well by his neighbors, did well by himself,
  And hoped for salvation, and struggled for pelf;
  And easy Tomorrow still promised to pay
  The still swelling debts of his bankrupt Today,
  Till, bestriding the deep sudden chasm that is fixed
  The sunshiny world and the shadowy betwixt,
  His Today with a pale wond'ring face stood alone,
  And over the border Tomorrow had flown.
  So after went he, his accounts as he could
  To settle and make his loose reckonings good,
  And left us his tomb and his skeleton under,--
  Two boons to his race,--to sit down on and ponder.
  Heaven help him! Yet heaven, I fear, he hath lost.
  Here lies his poor dust; but where cries his poor ghost?
  We know not. Perhaps we shall see by-and-by,
  When out of our coffins we get, you and I."



AGNES OF SORRENTO.


CHAPTER X.

THE INTERVIEW.


The dreams of Agnes, on the night after her conversation with the monk
and her singular momentary interview with the cavalier, were a strange
mixture of images, indicating the peculiarities of her education and
habits of daily thought.

She dreamed that she was sitting alone in the moonlight, and heard some
one rustling in the distant foliage of the orange-groves, and from them
came a young man dressed in white of a dazzling clearness like sunlight;
large pearly wings fell from his shoulders and seemed to shimmer with
a phosphoric radiance; his forehead was broad and grave, and above it
floated a thin, tremulous tongue of flame; his eyes had that deep,
mysterious gravity which is so well expressed in all the Florentine
paintings of celestial beings: and yet, singularly enough, this
white-robed, glorified form seemed to have the features and lineaments
of the mysterious cavalier of the evening before,--the same deep,
mournful, dark eyes, only that in them the light of earthly pride had
given place to the calm, strong gravity of an assured peace,--the same
broad forehead,--the same delicately chiselled features, but elevated
and etherealized, glowing with a kind of interior ecstasy. He seemed to
move from the shadow of the orange-trees with a backward floating of his
lustrous garments, as if borne on a cloud just along the surface of
the ground; and in his hand he held the lily-spray, all radiant with a
silvery, living light, just as the monk had suggested to her a divine
flower might be. Agnes seemed to herself to hold her breath and marvel
with a secret awe, and, as often happens in dreams, she wondered to
herself,--"Was this stranger, then, indeed, not even mortal, not even a
king's brother, but an angel?--How strange," she said to herself, "that
I should never have seen it in his eyes!" Nearer and nearer the vision
drew, and touched her forehead with the lily, which seemed dewy and
icy cool; and with the contact it seemed to her that a delicious
tranquillity, a calm ecstasy, possessed her soul, and the words were
impressed in her mind, as if spoken in her ear, "The Lord hath sealed
thee for his own!"--and then, with the wild fantasy of dreams, she saw
the cavalier in his wonted form and garments, just as he had kneeled to
her the night before, and he said, "Oh, Agnes! Agnes! little lamb of
Christ, love me and lead me!"--and in her sleep it seemed to her that
her heart stirred and throbbed with a strange, new movement in answer to
those sad, pleading eyes, and thereafter her dream became more troubled.

The sea was beginning now to brighten with the reflection of the coming
dawn in the sky, and the flickering fire of Vesuvius was waxing sickly
and pale; and while all the high points of rocks were turning of a rosy
purple, in the weird depths of the gorge were yet the unbroken shadows
and stillness of night. But at the earliest peep of dawn the monk had
risen, and now, as he paced up and down the little garden, his morning
hymn mingled with Agnes's dreams,--words strong with all the nerve of
the old Latin, which, when they were written, had scarcely ceased to be
the spoken tongue of Italy.

  Splendor paternae gloriae,
  De luce lucem proferens,
  Lux lucis et fons luminis
  Dies diem illuminans!

  "Votis vocemus et Patrem,
  Patrem potentis gratiae,
  Patrem perennis gloriae:
  Culpam releget lubricam!

  "Confirmet actus strenuos,
  Dentes retundat invidi,
  Casus secundet asperos,
  Donet gerendi gratiam!

  "Christus nobis sit cibus,
  Potusque noster sit fides:
  Laeti bibamus sobriam
  Ebrietatem spiritus!

  "Laetus dies hic transeat,
  Pudor sit ut diluculum,
  Fides velut meridies,
  Crepusculum mens nesciat!"[A]

[Footnote A:

  Splendor of the Father's glory,
  Bringing light with cheering ray,
  Light of light and fount of brightness,
  Day, illuminating day!

  In our prayers we call thee Father,
  Father of eternal glory,
  Father of a mighty grace:
  Heal our errors, we implore thee!

  Form our struggling, vague desires;
  Power of spiteful spirits break;
  Help us in life's straits, and give us
  Grace to suffer for thy sake!

  Christ for us shall be our food;
  Faith in him our drink shall be;
  Hopeful, joyful, let us drink
  Soberness of ecstasy!

  Joyful shall our day go by,
  Purity its dawning light,
  Faith its fervid noontide glow,
  And for us shall be no night!]

The hymn in every word well expressed the character and habitual pose
of mind of the singer, whose views of earthly matters were as different
from the views of ordinary working mortals as those of a bird, as he
flits and perches and sings, must be from those of the four-footed
ox who plods. The "_sobriam ebrietatem spiritus_" was with him first
constitutional, as a child of sunny skies, and then cultivated by every
employment and duty of the religious and artistic career to which from
childhood he had devoted himself. If perfect, unalloyed happiness has
ever existed in this weary, work-day world of ours, it has been in the
bosoms of some of those old religious artists of the Middle Ages, whose
thoughts grew and flowered in prayerful shadows, bursting into thousands
of quaint and fanciful blossoms on the pages of missal and breviary. In
them the fine life of color, form, and symmetry, which is the gift of
the Italian, formed a rich stock on which to graft the true vine of
religious faith, and rare and fervid were the blossoms.

For it must be remarked in justice of the Christian religion, that the
Italian people never rose to the honors of originality in the beautiful
arts till inspired by Christianity. The Art of ancient Rome was a
second-hand copy of the original and airy Greek,--often clever, but
never vivid and self-originating. It is to the religious Art of the
Middle Ages, to the Umbrian and Florentine schools particularly, that we
look for the peculiar and characteristic flowering of the Italian mind.
When the old Greek Art revived again in modern Europe, though at first
it seemed to add richness and grace to this peculiar development, it
smothered and killed it at last, as some brilliant tropical parasite
exhausts the life of the tree it seems at first to adorn. Raphael and
Michel Angelo mark both the perfected splendor and the commenced decline
of original Italian Art; and just in proportion as their ideas grew less
Christian and more Greek did the peculiar vividness and intense flavor
of Italian nationality pass away from them. They became again like the
ancient Romans, gigantic imitators and clever copyists, instead of
inspired kings and priests of a national development.

The tones of the monk's morning hymn awakened both Agnes and Elsie, and
the latter was on the alert instantly.

"Bless my soul!" she said, "brother Antonio has a marvellous power of
lungs; he is at it the first thing in the morning. It always used to be
so; when he was a boy, he would wake me up before daylight, singing.

"He is happy, like the birds," said Agnes, "because he flies near
heaven."

"Like enough: he was always a pious boy; his prayers and his pencil were
ever uppermost: but he was a poor hand at work: he could draw you an
olive-tree on paper; but set him to dress it, and any fool would have
done better."

The morning rites of devotion and the simple repast being over, Elsie
prepared to go to her business. It had occurred to her that the visit
of her brother was an admirable pretext for withdrawing Agnes from the
scene of her daily traffic, and of course, as she fondly supposed,
keeping her from the sight of the suspected admirer.

Neither Agnes nor the monk had disturbed her serenity by recounting the
adventure of the evening before. Agnes had been silent from the habitual
reserve which a difference of nature ever placed between her and her
grandmother,--a difference which made confidence on her side an utter
impossibility. There are natures which ever must be silent to other
natures, because there is no common language between them. In the same
house, at the same board, sharing the same pillow even, are those
forever strangers and foreigners whose whole stock of intercourse is
limited to a few brief phrases on the commonest material wants of life,
and who, as soon as they try to go farther, have no words that are
mutually understood.

"Agnes," said her grandmother, "I shall not need you at the stand
to-day. There is that new flax to be spun, and you may keep company with
your uncle. I'll warrant me, you'll be glad enough of that!"

"Certainly I shall," said Agnes, cheerfully. "Uncle's comings are my
holidays."

"I will show you somewhat further on my Breviary," said the monk.
"Praised be God, many new ideas sprang up in my mind last night, and
seemed to shoot forth in blossoms. Even my dreams have often been made
fruitful in this divine work."

"Many a good thought comes in dreams," said Elsie; "but, for my part, I
work too hard and sleep too sound to get much that way."

"Well, brother," said Elsie, after breakfast, "you must look well after
Agnes to-day; for there be plenty of wolves go round, hunting these
little lambs."

"Have no fear, sister," said the monk, tranquilly; "the angels have
her in charge. If our eyes were only clear-sighted, we should see that
Christ's little ones are never alone."

"All that is fine talk, brother; but I never found that the angels
attended to any of my affairs, unless I looked after them pretty sharp
myself; and as for girls, the dear Lord knows they need a legion apiece
to look after them. What with roystering fellows and smooth-tongued
gallants, and with silly, empty-headed hussies like that Giulietta, one
has much ado to keep the best of them straight. Agnes is one of the
best, too,--a well-brought up, pious, obedient girl, and industrious
as a bee. Happy is the husband who gets her. I would I knew a man good
enough for her."

This conversation took place while Agnes was in the garden picking
oranges and lemons, and filling the basket which her grandmother was to
take to the town. The silver ripple of a hymn that she was singing came
through the open door; it was part of a sacred ballad in honor of Saint
Agnes:--

  "Bring me no pearls to bind my hair,
  No sparkling jewels bring to me!
  Dearer by far the blood-red rose
  That speaks of Him who died for me.

  "Ah! vanish every earthly love,
  All earthly dreams forgotten be!
  My heart is gone beyond the stars,
  To live with Him who died for me."

"Hear you now, sister," said the monk, "how the Lord keeps the door of
this maiden's heart? There is no fear of her; and I much doubt, sister,
whether you would do well to interfere with the evident call this child
hath to devote herself wholly to the Lord."

"Oh, you talk, brother Antonio, who never had a child in your life,
and don't know how a mother's heart warms towards her children and her
children's children! The saints, as I said, must be reasonable, and
oughtn't to be putting vocations into the head of an old woman's only
staff and stay; and if they oughtn't to, why, then, they won't. Agnes is
a pious child, and loves her prayers and hymns; and so she will love her
husband, one of these days, as an honest woman should."

"But you know, sister, that the highest seats in Paradise are reserved
for the virgins who follow the Lamb."

"Maybe so," said Elsie, stiffly; "but the lower seats are good enough
for Agnes and me. For my part, I would rather have a little comfort as I
go along, and put up with less in Paradise, (may our dear Lady bring us
safely there!) say I."

So saying, Elsie raised the large, square basket of golden fruit to
her head, and turned her stately figure towards the scene of her daily
labors.

The monk seated himself on the garden-wall, with his portfolio by his
side, and seemed busily sketching and retouching some of his ideas.
Agnes wound some silvery-white flax round her distaff, and seated
herself near him under an orange-tree; and while her small fingers were
twisting the flax, her large, thoughtful eyes were wandering off on the
deep blue sea, pondering over and over the strange events of the day
before, and the dreams of the night.

"Dear child," said the monk, "have you thought more of what I said to
you?"

A deep blush suffused her cheek as she answered,--

"Yes, uncle; and I had a strange dream last night."

"A dream, my little heart? Come, then, and tell it to its uncle. Dreams
are the hushing of the bodily senses, that the eyes of the Spirit may
open."

"Well, then," said Agnes, "I dreamed that I sat pondering as I did last
evening in the moonlight, and that an angel came forth from the trees"--

"Indeed!" said the monk, looking up with interest; "what form had he?"

"He was a young man, in dazzling white raiment, and his eyes were deep
as eternity, and over his forehead was a silver flame, and he bore a
lily-stalk in his hand, which was like what you told of, with light in
itself."

"That must have been the holy Gabriel," said the monk, "the angel that
came to our blessed Mother. Did he say aught?"

"Yes, he touched my forehead with the lily, and a sort of cool rest and
peace went all through me, and he said, 'The Lord hath sealed thee for
his own!'"

"Even so," said the monk, looking up, and crossing himself devoutly, "by
this token I know that my prayers are answered."

"But, dear uncle," said Agnes, hesitating and blushing painfully, "there
was one singular thing about my dream,--this holy angel had yet a
strange likeness to the young man that came here last night, so that I
could not but marvel at it."

"It may be that the holy angel took on him in part this likeness to show
how glorious a redeemed soul might become, that you might be encouraged
to pray. The holy Saint Monica thus saw the blessed Augustine standing
clothed in white among the angels while he was yet a worldling and
unbeliever, and thereby received the grace to continue her prayers for
thirty years, till she saw him a holy bishop. This is a sure sign that
this young man, whoever he may be, shall attain Paradise through your
prayers. Tell me, dear little heart, is this the first angel thou hast
seen?"

"I never dreamed of them before. I have dreamed of our Lady, and Saint
Agnes, and Saint Catharine of Siena; and sometimes it seemed that they
sat a long time by my bed, and sometimes it seemed that they took me
with them away to some beautiful place where the air was full of music,
and sometimes they filled my hands with such lovely flowers that when I
waked I was ready to weep that they could no more be found. Why, dear
uncle, do _you_ see angels often?"

"Not often, dear child, but sometimes a little glimpse. But you should
see the pictures of our holy Father Angelico, to whom the angels
appeared constantly; for so blessed was the life he lived, that it was
more in heaven than on earth. He would never cumber his mind with the
things of this world, and would not paint for money, nor for prince's
favor; nor would he take places of power and trust in the Church, or
else, so great was his piety, they had made a bishop of him; but he kept
ever aloof and walked in the shade. He used to say, 'They that would do
Christ's work must walk with Christ.' His pictures of angels are indeed
wonderful, and their robes are of all dazzling colors, like the rainbow.
It is most surely believed among us that he painted to show forth what
he saw in heavenly visions."

"Ah!" said Agnes, "how I wish I could see some of these things!"

"You may well say so, dear child. There is one picture of Paradise
painted on gold, and there you may see our Lord in the midst of the
heavens crowning his blessed Mother, and all the saints and angels
surrounding; and the colors are so bright that they seem like the sunset
clouds,--golden, and rosy, and purple, and amethystine, and green like
the new, tender leaves of spring: for, you see, the angels are the
Lord's flowers and birds that shine and sing to gladden his Paradise,
and there is nothing bright on earth that is comparable to them,--so
said the blessed Angelico, who saw them. And what seems worthy of note
about them is their marvellous lightness, that they seem to float as
naturally as the clouds do, and their garments have a divine grace of
motion like vapor that curls and wavers in the sun. Their faces, too,
are most wonderful; for they seem so full of purity and majesty, and
withal humble, with an inexpressible sweetness; for, beyond all others,
it was given to the holy Angelico to paint the immortal beauty of the
soul."

"It must be a great blessing and favor for you, dear uncle, to see all
these things," said Agnes; "I am never tired of hearing you tell of
them."

"There is one little picture," said the monk, "wherein he hath painted
the death of our dear Lady; and surely no mortal could ever conceive
anything like her sweet dying face, so faint and weak and tender that
each man sees his own mother dying there, yet so holy that one feels
that it can be no other than the mother of our Lord; and around her
stand the disciples mourning; but above is our blessed Lord himself, who
receives the parting spirit, as a tender new-born babe, into his bosom:
for so the holy painters represented the death of saints, as of a birth
in which each soul became a little child of heaven."

"How great grace must come from such pictures!" said Agnes. "It seems
to me that the making of such holy things is one of the most blessed of
good works.--Dear uncle," she said, after a pause, "they say that this
deep gorge is haunted by evil spirits, who often waylay and bewilder the
unwary, especially in the hours of darkness."

"I should not wonder in the least," said the monk; "for you must know,
child, that our beautiful Italy was of old so completely given up and
gone over to idolatry that even her very soil casts up fragments of
temples and stones that have been polluted. Especially around these
shores there is scarcely a spot that hath not been violated in all times
by vilenesses and impurities such as the Apostle saith it is a shame
even to speak of. These very waters cast up marbles and fragments of
colored mosaics from the halls which were polluted with devil-worship
and abominable revellings; so that, as the Gospel saith that the evil
spirits cast out by Christ walk through waste places, so do they cling
to these fragments of their old estate."

"Well, uncle, I have longed to consecrate the gorge to Christ by having
a shrine there, where I might keep a lamp burning."

"It is a most pious thought, child."

"And so, dear uncle, I thought that you would undertake the work. There
is one Pietro hereabout who is a skilful worker in stone, and was a
playfellow of mine,--though of late grandmamma has forbidden me to talk
with him,--and I think he would execute it under your direction."

"Indeed, my little heart, it shall be done," said the monk, cheerfully;
"and I will engage to paint a fair picture of our Lady to be within; and
I think it would be a good thought to have a pinnacle on the outside,
where should stand a statue of Saint Michael with his sword. Saint
Michael is a brave and wonderful angel, and all the devils and vile
spirits are afraid of him. I will set about the devices to-day."

And cheerily the good monk began to intone a verse of an old hymn,--

  "Sub tutela Michaelis,
  Pax in terra, pax in coelis."[B]

[Footnote B:

  "'Neath Saint Michael's watch is given
  Peace on earth and peace in heaven."]

In such talk and work the day passed away to Agnes; but we will not say
that she did not often fall into deep musings on the mysterious visitor
of the night before. Often while the good monk was busy at his drawing,
the distaff would droop over her knee and her large dark eyes become
intently fixed on the ground, as if she were pondering some absorbing
subject.

Little could her literal, hard-working grandmother, or her artistic,
simple-minded uncle, or the dreamy Mother Theresa, or her austere
confessor, know of the strange forcing process which they were all
together uniting to carry on in the mind of this sensitive young girl.
Absolutely secluded by her grandmother's watchful care from any actual
knowledge and experience of real life, she had no practical tests by
which to correct the dreams of that inner world in which she delighted
to live and move, and which was peopled with martyrs, saints, and
angels, whose deeds were possible or probable only in the most exalted
regions of devout poetry.

So she gave her heart at once and without reserve to an enthusiastic
desire for the salvation of the stranger, whom Heaven, she believed, had
directed to seek her intercessions; and when the spindle drooped from
her hand, and her eyes became fixed on vacancy, she found herself
wondering who he might really be, and longing to know yet a little more
of him.

Towards the latter part of the afternoon, a hasty messenger came to
summon her uncle to administer the last rites to a man who had just
fallen from a building, and who, it was feared, might breathe his last
unshriven.

"Dear daughter, I must hasten and carry Christ to this poor sinner,"
said the monk, hastily putting all his sketches and pencils into her
lap. "Have a care of these till I return,--that is my good little one!"

Agnes carefully arranged the sketches and put them into the book, and
then, kneeling before the shrine, began prayers for the soul of the
dying man.

She prayed long and fervently, and so absorbed did she become, that she
neither saw nor heard anything that passed around her.

It was, therefore, with a start of surprise, as she rose from prayer,
that she saw the cavalier sitting on one end of the marble sarcophagus,
with an air so composed and melancholy that he might have been taken for
one of the marble knights that sometimes are found on tombs.

"You are surprised to see me, dear Agnes," he said, with a calm, slow
utterance, like a man who has assumed a position he means fully to
justify; "but I have watched day and night, ever since I saw you, to
find one moment to speak with you alone."

"My Lord," said Agnes, "I humbly wait your pleasure. Anything that a
poor maiden may rightly do I will endeavor, in all loving duty."

"Whom do you take me for, Agnes, that you speak thus?" said the
cavalier, smiling sadly.

"Are you not the brother of our gracious King?" said Agnes.

"No, dear maiden; and if the kind promise you lately made me is founded
on this mistake, it may be retracted."

"No, my Lord," said Agnes,--"though I now know not who you are, yet if
in any strait or need you seek such poor prayers as mine, God forbid I
should refuse them!"

"I am, indeed, in strait and need, Agnes; the sun does not shine on a
more desolate man than I am,--one more utterly alone in the world; there
is no one left to love me. Agnes, can you not love me a little?--let it
be ever so little, it shall content me."

It was the first time that words of this purport had ever been addressed
to Agnes; but they were said so simply, so sadly, so tenderly, that they
somehow seemed to her the most natural and proper things in the world
to be said; and this poor handsome knight, who looked so earnest and
sorrowful,--how could she help answering, "Yes"? From her cradle she had
always loved everybody and every thing, and why should an exception be
made in behalf of a very handsome, very strong, yet very gentle and
submissive human being, who came and knocked so humbly at the door
of her heart? Neither Mary nor the saints had taught her to be
hard-hearted.

"Yes, my Lord," she said, "you may believe that I will love and pray for
you; but now you must leave me, and not come here any more,--because
grandmamma would not be willing that I should talk with you, and it
would be wrong to disobey her, she is so very good to me."

"But, dear Agnes," began the cavalier, approaching her, "I have many
things to say to you,--I have much to tell you."

"But I know grandmamma would not be willing," said Agnes; "indeed, you
must not come here any more."

"Well, then," said the stranger, "at least you will meet me at some
time,--tell me only where."

"I cannot,--indeed, I cannot," said Agnes, distressed and embarrassed.
"Even now, if grandmamma knew you were here, she would be so angry."

"But how can you pray for me, when you know nothing of me?"

"The dear Lord knoweth you," said Agnes; "and when I speak of you, He
will know what you need."

"Ah, dear child, how fervent is your faith! Alas for me, I have lost the
power of prayer! I have lost the believing heart my mother gave me,--my
dear mother who is now in heaven."

"Ah, how can that be?" said Agnes. "Who could lose faith in so dear a
Lord as ours, and so loving a mother?"

"Agnes, dear little lamb, you know nothing of the world; and I should be
most wicked to disturb your lovely peace of soul with any sinful doubts.
Oh, Agnes, Agnes, I am most miserable, most unworthy!"

"Dear Sir, should you not cleanse your soul by the holy sacrament of
confession, and receive the living Christ within you? For He says,
'Without me ye can do nothing.'"

"Oh, Agnes, sacrament and prayer are not for such as me! It is only
through your pure prayers I can hope for grace."

"Dear Sir, I have an uncle, a most holy man, and gentle as a lamb. He is
of the convent San Marco in Florence, where there is a most holy prophet
risen up."

"Savonarola?" said the cavalier, with flashing eyes.

"Yes, that is he. You should hear my uncle talk of him, and how blessed
his preaching has been to many souls. Dear Sir, come some time to my
uncle."

At this moment the sound of Elsie's voice was heard ascending the path
to the gorge outside, talking with Father Antonio, who was returning.

Both started, and Agnes looked alarmed.

"Fear nothing, sweet lamb," said the cavalier; "I am gone."

He kneeled and kissed the hand of Agnes, and disappeared at one bound
over the parapet on the side opposite that which they were approaching.

Agnes hastily composed herself, struggling with that half-guilty
feeling which is apt to weigh on a conscientious nature that has been
unwittingly drawn to act a part which would be disapproved by those
whose good opinion it habitually seeks. The interview had but the more
increased her curiosity to know the history of this handsome stranger.
Who, then, could he be? What were his troubles? She wished the interview
could have been long enough to satisfy her mind on these points. From
the richness of his dress, from his air and manner, from the poetry and
the jewel that accompanied it, she felt satisfied, that, if not what she
supposed, he was at least nobly born, and had shone in some splendid
sphere whose habits and ways were far beyond her simple experiences. She
felt towards him somewhat of the awe which a person of her condition in
life naturally felt toward that brilliant aristocracy which in those
days assumed the state of princes, and the members of which were
supposed to look down on common mortals from as great a height as the
stars regard the humblest flowers of the field.

"How strange," she thought, "that he should think so much of me! What
can he see in me? And how can it be that a great lord, who speaks so
gently and is so reverential to a poor girl, and asks prayers so humbly,
can be so wicked and unbelieving as he says he is? Dear God, it cannot
be that he is an unbeliever; the great Enemy has been permitted to try
him, to suggest doubts to him, as he has to holy saints before now. How
beautifully he spoke about his mother!--tears glittered in his eyes
then,--ah, there must be grace there after all!"

"Well, my little heart," said Elsie, interrupting her reveries, "have
you had a pleasant day?"

"Delightful, grandmamma," said Agnes, blushing deeply with
consciousness.

"Well," said Elsie, with satisfaction, "one thing I know,--I've
frightened off that old hawk of a cavalier with his hooked nose. I
haven't seen so much as the tip of his shoe-tie to-day. Yesterday he
made himself very busy around our stall; but I made him understand that
you never would come there again till the coast was clear."

The monk was busily retouching the sketch of the Virgin of the
Annunciation. He looked up, and saw Agnes standing gazing towards the
setting sun, the pale olive of her cheek deepening into a crimson
flush. His head was too full of his own work to give much heed to the
conversation that had passed, but, looking at the glowing face, he said
to himself,--

"Truly, sometimes she might pass for the rose of Sharon as well as the
lily of the valley!"

The moon that evening rose an hour later than the night before, yet
found Agnes still on her knees before the sacred shrine, while Elsie,
tired, grumbled at the draft on her sleeping-time.

"Enough is as good as a feast," she remarked between her teeth; still
she had, after all, too much secret reverence for her grandchild's piety
openly to interrupt her. But in those days, as now, there were the
material and the spiritual, the souls who looked only on things that
could be seen, touched, and tasted, and souls who looked on the things
that were invisible.

Agnes was pouring out her soul in that kind of yearning, passionate
prayer possible to intensely sympathetic people, in which the
interests and wants of another seem to annihilate for a time personal
consciousness, and make the whole of one's being seem to dissolve in an
intense solicitude for something beyond one's self. In such hours prayer
ceases to be an act of the will, and resembles more some overpowering
influence which floods the soul from without, bearing all its faculties
away on its resistless tide.

Brought up from infancy to feel herself in a constant circle of
invisible spiritual agencies, Agnes received this wave of intense
feeling as an impulse inspired and breathed into her by some celestial
spirit, that thus she should be made an interceding medium for a soul in
some unknown strait or peril. For her faith taught her to believe in an
infinite struggle of intercession in which all the Church Visible and
Invisible were together engaged, and which bound them in living bonds of
sympathy to an interceding Redeemer, so that there was no want or woe
of human life that had not somewhere its sympathetic heart, and its
never-ceasing prayer before the throne of Eternal Love. Whatever may be
thought of the actual truth of this belief, it certainly was far more
consoling than that intense individualism of modern philosophy which
places every soul alone in its life-battle,--scarce even giving it a God
to lean upon.


CHAPTER XI.

THE CONFESSIONAL.


The reader, if a person of any common knowledge of human nature,
will easily see the direction in which a young, inexperienced, and
impressible girl would naturally be tending under all the influences
which we perceive to have come upon her.

But in the religious faith which Agnes professed there was a modifying
force, whose power both for good and evil can scarcely be estimated.

The simple Apostolic direction, "Confess your faults one to another,"
and the very natural need of personal pastoral guidance and assistance
to a soul in its heavenward journey, had in common with many other
religious ideas been forced by the volcanic fervor of the Italian nature
into a certain exaggerated proposition. Instead of brotherly confession
one to another, or the pastoral sympathy of a fatherly elder, the
religious mind of the day was instructed in an awful mysterious
sacrament of confession, which gave to some human being a divine right
to unlock the most secret chambers of the soul, to scrutinize and direct
its most veiled and intimate thoughts, and, standing in God's stead, to
direct the current of its most sensitive and most mysterious emotions.

Every young aspirant for perfection in the religious life had to
commence by an unreserved surrender of the whole being in blind faith at
the feet of some such spiritual director, all whose questions must
be answered, and all whose injunctions obeyed, as from God himself.
Thenceforward was to be no soul-privacy, no retirement, nothing too
sacred to be expressed, too delicate to be handled and analyzed. In
reading the lives of those ethereally made and moulded women who
have come down to our day canonized as saints in the Roman Catholic
communion, one too frequently gets the impression of most regal natures,
gifted with all the most divine elements of humanity, but subjected to
a constant unnatural pressure from the ceaseless scrutiny and ungenial
pertinacity of some inferior and uncomprehending person invested with
the authority of a Spiritual Director.

That there are advantages attending this species of intimate direction,
when wisely and skilfully managed, cannot be doubted. Grovelling and
imperfect natures have often thus been lifted up and carried in the arms
of superior wisdom and purity. The confession administered by a Fenelon
or a Francis de Sales was doubtless a beautiful and most invigorating
ordinance; but the difficulty in its actual working is the rarity of
such superior natures,--the fact, that the most ignorant and most
incapable may be invested with precisely the same authority as the most
intelligent and skilful.

He to whom the faith of Agnes obliged her to lay open her whole soul,
who had a right with probing-knife and lancet to dissect out all the
finest nerves and fibres of her womanly nature, was a man who had been
through all the wild and desolating experiences incident to a dissipated
and irregular life in those turbulent days.

It is true, that he was now with most stringent and earnest solemnity
striving to bring every thought and passion into captivity to the spirit
of his sacred vows; but still, when a man has once lost that unconscious
soul-purity which exists in a mind unscathed by the fires of passion, no
after-tears can weep it back again. No penance, no prayer, no anguish
of remorse can give back the simplicity of a soul that has never been
stained.

If Padre Francesco had not failed to make those inquiries into the
character of Agnes's mysterious lover which he assumed to be necessary
as a matter of pastoral faithfulness.

It was not difficult for one possessing the secrets of the confessional
to learn the real character of any person in the neighborhood, and it
was with a kind of bitter satisfaction which rather surprised himself
that the father learned enough ill of the cavalier to justify his using
every possible measure to prevent his forming any acquaintance with
Agnes. He was captain of a band of brigands, and, of course, in array
against the State; he was excommunicated, and, of course, an enemy of
the Church. What but the vilest designs could be attributed to such a
man? Was he not a wolf prowling round the green, secluded pastures where
as yet the Lord's lamb had been folded in unconscious innocence?

Father Francesco, when he next met Agnes at the confessional, put such
questions as drew from her the whole account of all that had passed
between her and the stranger. The recital on Agnes's part was perfectly
translucent and pure, for she had said no word and had had no thought
that brought the slightest stain upon her soul. Love and prayer had been
the prevailing habit of her life, and in promising to love and pray she
had had no worldly or earthly thought. The language of gallantry, or
even of sincere passion, had never reached her ear; but it had always
been as natural to her to love every human being as for a plant
with tendrils to throw them round the next plant, and therefore she
entertained the gentle guest who had lately found room in her heart
without a question or a scruple.

As Agnes related her childlike story of unconscious faith and love, her
listener felt himself strangely and bitterly agitated. It was a vision
of ignorant purity and unconsciousness rising before him, airy and
glowing as a child's soap-bubble, which one touch might annihilate; but
he felt a strange remorseful tenderness, a yearning admiration, at its
unsubstantial purity. There is something pleading and pitiful in the
simplicity of perfect ignorance,--a rare and delicate beauty in its
freshness, like the morning-glory cup, which, once withered by the heat,
no second morning can restore. Agnes had imparted to her confessor, by
a mysterious sympathy, something like the morning freshness of her own
soul; she had redeemed the idea of womanhood from gross associations,
and set before him a fair ideal of all that female tenderness and purity
may teach to man. Her prayers--well he believed in them,--but be set
his teeth with a strange spasm of inward passion,--when he thought
of her prayers and love being given to another. He tried to persuade
himself that this was only the fervor of pastoral zeal against a vile
robber who had seized the fairest lamb of the sheepfold; but there was
an intensely bitter, miserable feeling connected with it, that scorched
and burned his higher aspirations like a stream of lava running among
fresh leaves and flowers.

The conflict of his soul communicated a severity of earnestness to
his voice and manner which made Agnes tremble, as he put one probing
question after another, designed to awaken some consciousness of sin
in her soul. Still, though troubled and distressed by his apparent
disapprobation, her answers came always clear, honest, unfaltering, like
those of one who _could_ not form an idea of evil.

When the confession was over, he came out of his recess to speak
with Agnes a few words face to face. His eyes had a wild and haggard
earnestness, and a vivid hectic flush on either cheek told how extreme
was his emotion. Agnes lifted her eyes to his with an innocent wondering
trouble and an appealing confidence that for a moment wholly unnerved
him. He felt a wild impulse to clasp her in his arms; and for a moment
it seemed to him he would sacrifice heaven and brave hell, if he could
for one moment hold her to his heart, and say that he loved her,--her,
the purest, fairest, sweetest revelation of God's love that had ever
shone on his soul,--her, the only star, the only flower, the only
dew-drop of a burning, barren, weary life. It seemed to him that it was
not the longing, gross passion, but the outcry of his whole nature for
something noble, sweet, and divine.

But he turned suddenly away with a sort of groan, and, folding his robe
over his face, seemed engaged in earnest prayer. Agnes looked at him
awe-struck and breathless.

"Oh, my father!" she faltered, "what have I done?"

"Nothing, my poor child," said the father, suddenly turning toward her
with recovered calmness and dignity; "but I behold in thee a fair lamb
whom the roaring lion is seeking to devour. Know, my daughter, that I
have made inquiries concerning this man of whom you speak, and find that
he is an outlaw and a robber and a heretic,--a vile wretch stained
by crimes that have justly drawn down upon him the sentence of
excommunication from our Holy Father the Pope."

Agnes grew deadly pale at this announcement.

"Can it be possible?" she gasped. "Alas! what dreadful temptations have
driven him to such sins?"

"Daughter, beware how you think too lightly of them, or suffer his good
looks and flattering words to blind you to their horror. You must from
your heart detest him as a vile enemy."

"Must I, my father?"

"Indeed you must."

"But if the dear Lord loved us and died for us when we were his enemies,
may we not pity and pray for unbelievers? Oh, say, my dear father, is it
not allowed to us to pray for all sinners, even the vilest?"

"I do not say that you may not, my daughter," said the monk, too
conscientious to resist the force of this direct appeal; "but,
daughter," he added, with an energy that alarmed Agnes, "you must watch
your heart; you must not suffer your interest to become a worldly love:
remember that you are chosen to be the espoused of Christ alone."

While the monk was speaking thus, Agnes fixed on him her eyes with an
innocent mixture of surprise and perplexity,--which gradually deepened
into a strong gravity of gaze, as if she were looking through him,
through all visible things into some far-off depth of mysterious
knowledge.

"My Lord will keep me," she said; "my soul is safe in His heart as a
little bird in its nest; but while I love Him, I cannot help loving
everybody whom He loves, even His enemies: and, father, my heart prays
within me for this poor sinner, whether I will or no; something within
me continually intercedes for him."

"Oh, Agnes! Agnes! blessed child, pray for me also," said the monk, with
a sudden burst of emotion which perfectly confounded his disciple. He
hid his face with his hands.

"My blessed father!" said Agnes, "how could I deem that holiness like
yours had any need of my prayers?"

"Child! child! you know nothing of me. I am a miserable sinner, tempted
of devils, in danger of damnation."

Agnes stood appalled at this sudden burst, so different from the rigid
and restrained severity of tone in which the greater part of the
conversation had been conducted. She stood silent and troubled; while
he, whom she had always regarded with such awful veneration, seemed
shaken by some internal whirlwind of emotion whose nature she could not
comprehend.

At length Father Francesco raised his head, and recovered his wonted
calm severity of expression.

"My daughter," he said, "little do the innocent lambs of the flock know
of the dangers and conflicts through which the shepherds must pass who
keep the Lord's fold. We have the labors of angels laid upon us, and we
are but men. Often we stumble, often we faint, and Satan takes advantage
of our weakness. I cannot confer with you now as I would; but, my child,
listen to my directions. Shun this young man; let nothing ever lead
you to listen to another word from him; you must not even look at him,
should you meet, but turn away your head and repeat a prayer. I do not
forbid you to practise the holy work of intercession for his soul, but
it must be on these conditions.

"My father," said Agnes, "you may rely on my obedience"; and, kneeling,
she kissed his hand.

He drew it suddenly away, with a gesture of pain and displeasure.

"Pardon a sinful child this liberty," said Agnes.

"You know not what you do," said the father, hastily. "Go, my
daughter,--go, at once; I will confer with you some other time"; and
hastily raising his hand in an attitude of benediction, he turned and
went into the confessional.

"Wretch! hypocrite! whited sepulchre!" he said to himself,--"to warn
this innocent child against a sin that is all the while burning in my
own bosom! Yes, I do love her,--I do! I, that warn her against earthly
love, I would plunge into hell itself to win hers! And yet, when I know
that the care of her soul is only a temptation and a snare to me, I
cannot, will not give her up! No, I cannot!--no, I will not! Why should
I _not_ love her? Is she not pure as Mary herself? Ah, blessed is he
whom such a woman leads! And I--I--have condemned myself to the society
of swinish, ignorant, stupid monks,--I must know no such divine souls,
no such sweet communion! Help me, blessed Mary!--help a miserable
sinner!"

Agnes left the confessional perplexed and sorrowful. The pale, proud,
serious face of the cavalier seemed to look at her imploringly, and she
thought of him now with the pathetic interest we give to something noble
and great exposed to some fatal danger. "Could the sacrifice of my whole
life," she thought, "rescue this noble soul from perdition, then I shall
not have lived in vain. I am a poor little girl; nobody knows whether
I live or die. He is a strong and powerful man, and many must stand or
fall with him. Blessed be the Lord that gives to his lowly ones a
power to work in secret places! How blessed should I be to meet him in
Paradise, all splendid as I saw him in my dream! Oh, that would be worth
living for,--worth dying for!"

       *       *       *       *       *


THE AQUARIUM.


The sumptuous abode of Licinius Crassus echoes with his sighs and
groans. His children and slaves respect his profound sorrow, and leave
him with intelligent affection to solitude,--that friend of great grief,
so grateful to the afflicted soul, because tears can flow unwitnessed.
Alas! the favorite sea-eel of Crassus is dead, and it is uncertain
whether Crassus can survive it!

This sensitive Roman caused his beloved fish to be buried with great
magnificence: he raised a monument to its memory, and never ceased to
mourn for it. So say Macrobius and Aelian.

This man, we are told, who displayed so little tenderness towards his
servants, had an extraordinary weakness concerning his fine sea-eels. He
passed his life beside the superb fish-pond, where he lovingly
fattened them from his own hand. Nor was his fondness for pisciculture
exceptional in his times. The fish-pond, to raise and breed the
finest varieties of fish, was as necessary an adjunct to a complete
establishment as a barn-yard or hen-coop to a modern farmer or rural
gentleman. Wherever there was a well-appointed Roman villa, it contained
a _piscina_; while many gardens near the sea could boast also a
_vivarium_, which, in this connection, means an oyster-bed.

Fish-ponds, of course, varied with the wealth, the ingenuity, and the
taste of their owners. Many were of vast size and of heterogeneous
contents. The costly _Muraena_, the carp, the turbot, and many other
varieties, sported at will in the great inclosures prepared for them.
The greater part of the Roman emperors were very fond of sea-eels.
The greedy Vitellius, growing tired of this dish, would at last, as
Suetonius assures us, eat only the soft roe; and numerous vessels
ploughed the seas in order to obtain it for him. The family of Licinius
took their surname of Muraena from these fish, in order thus to
perpetuate their silly affection for them. The love of fish became a
real mania, and the _Murcena Helena_ was worshipped.

Hortensius, who possessed three splendid country-seats, constructed in
the grounds of his villa at Bauli a fish-tank so massive that it has
endured to the present day, and so vast as to gain for it even then the
name of _Piscina Mircihilis_. It is a subterraneous edifice, vaulted,
and divided by four rows of arcades and numerous columns,--some ten
feet deep, and of very great extent. Here the largest fishes could be
fattened at will; and even the mighty sturgeon, prince of good-cheer,
might find ample accommodations.

Lucullus, that most ostentatious of patricians, and autocrat of
_bons-vivants_, had a mountain cut through in the neighborhood of
Naples, so as to open a canal, and bring up the sea and its fishes to
the centre of the gardens of his sumptuous villa. So Cicero well names
him one of the Tritons of fish-pools. His country-seat of Pausilypum
resembled a village rather than a villa, and, if of less extent, was
more magnificent in luxury than the gigantic villa of Hadrian, near
Tivoli. Great masses of stone-work are still visible, glimmering under
the blue water, where the marble walls repelled the waves, and ran out
in long arcades and corridors far into the sea. Inlets and creeks,
which wear even now an artificial air, mark the site of _piscinae_ and
refreshing lakes. Here were courts, baths, porticoes, and terraces, in
the _villa urbana_, or residence of the lord,--the _villa rustica_ for
the steward and slaves,--the _gallinarium_ for hens,--the _apiarium_ for
bees,--the _suile_ for swine,--the _villa fructuaria_, including the
buildings for storing corn, wine, oil, and fruits,--the _horius_, or
garden,--and the park, containing the fish-pond and the _vivarium_.
Statues, groves, and fountains, pleasure-boats, baths, jesters, and even
a small theatre, served to vary the amusements of the lovely grounds and
of the tempting sea.

But it was not to be supposed that men satiated with the brutal shows
of the amphitheatre, even if enervated by their frequentation of the
Suburra, could, on leaving the city, be always content with simple
pleasures, rural occupations, or pleasure-sails. Habit demanded
something more exciting; and the ready tragedy of a fish-pond filled
with ravenous eels fed upon human flesh furnished the needed excitement.
For men _blasé_ with the spectacles of lions and tigers lacerating the
_bestiarii_. It was much more exciting to witness a swarm of sea-eels
tearing to pieces an awkward or rebellious slave. Vedius Pollio, a Roman
knight of the highest distinction, could find nothing better to do for
his dear Muraenae than to throw them slaves alive; and he never
failed to have sea-eels served to him after their odious repast, says
Tertullian. It is true, these wretched creatures generally deserved this
terrible punishment; for instance, Seneca speaks of one who had the
awkwardness to break a crystal vase while waiting at supper on the
irascible Pollio.

Pisciculture was carried so far that fish-ponds were constructed on
the roofs of houses. More practical persons conducted a stream of
river-water through their dining-rooms, so that the fish swam under the
table, and it "was only necessary to stoop and pick them out the moment
before eating them; and as they were often cooked on the table, their
perfect freshness was thus insured. Martial (Lib. X., Epigram. XXX., vv.
16-25) alludes to this custom, as well as to the culture and taming of
fish in the _piscina_.

  "Nec seta largo quaerit in mari praedam,
  Sed e cubiclo lectuloque jactatam
  Spectatus alte lineam trahit piscis.
  Si quando Nereus sentit Aeoli regnum,
  Ridet procellas tula de suo mensa.
  Piscina rhombum pascit et lupos vernas,
  Nomenculator mugilem citat notum
  Et adesse jussi prodeunt senes mulli."

It having been remarked that the red mullet passed through many changes
of color in dying, like the dolphin, fashion decreed that it should die
upon the table. Served alive, inclosed in a glass vessel, it was cooked
in the presence of the attentive guests, by a slow fire, in order
that they might gloat upon its sufferings and expiring hues, before
satisfying their appetites with its flesh.

It will not surprise us to learn that the eminent _gourmand_ Apicius
offered a prize to the inventor of a new sauce made of mullets' livers.

But we may remark, that fish, like all other natural objects, were
studied by the ancients only to pet or to eat. All their views of
Nature were essentially selfish; none were disinterested, reverential,
deductive, or scientific. Nature ministered only to their appetites,
in her various kinds of food,--to their service, in her beasts of
burden,--or to their childish or ferocious amusement, with talking
birds, as the starling, with pet fish, or with pugnacious wild beasts.
There was no higher thought. The Greeks, though fond of flowers, and
employing them for a multitude of adornments and festive occasions
entirely unequalled now, yet did not advance to their botanical study or
classification. The Roman, if enamored of the fine arts, could see no
Art in Nature. There was no experiment, no discovery, and but little
observation. The whole science of Natural History, which has assumed
such magnitude and influence in our times, was then almost entirely
neglected.

And yet what an opportunity there was for the naturalist, had a single
enthusiast arisen? All lands, all climes, and all their natural
productions were subservient to the will of the Emperor. The orb of the
earth was searched for the roe of eels or the fins of mullets to gratify
Caesar. And the whole world might have been explored, and specimens
deposited in one gigantic museum in the Eternal City, at the nod of a
single individual. But the observer, the lover of Nature, was wanting;
and the whole world was ransacked merely to consign its living tenants
to the _vivaria_, and thence to the fatal arena of the amphitheatre. Yet
even here the naturalist might have pursued his studies on individuals,
and even whole species, both living and dead, without quitting Rome. The
animal kingdom lay tributary at his feet, but served only to satiate his
appetite or his passions, and not to enrich his mind.

So, again, Rome's armies traversed the globe, and her legions were often
explorers of hitherto unknown regions. But no men of science, no corps
of _savans_ was attached to her cohorts, to march in the footsteps
of conquest and gather the fruits of victory to enrich the schools.
Provinces were devastated, great cities plundered, nations made captive,
and all the masterpieces of Art borne off to adorn Rome. But Nature was
never rifled of her secrets; nor was discovery carried beyond the most
material things. The military spirit stifled natural science.

There were then, to be sure, no tendencies of thought to anything but
war, pleasure, literature, or art. There was comparatively no knowledge
of the physical sciences, whose culture Mr. Buckle has shown to have
exerted so powerful an influence on civilization. The convex lens--as
since developed into the microscope, the giver of a new world to
man--was known to Archimedes only as an instrument to burn the enemy's
fleet.

       *       *       *       *       *

Modern pisciculture in some measure imitates, although, it does not
rival the ancient. Many methods have been devised in France and England
of breeding and nurturing the salmon, the trout, and other valuable
fish, which are annually becoming more scarce in all civilized
countries. But all this is on a far different principle from that
pursued at Rome. We follow pisciculture from necessity or economy,
because fish of certain kinds are yearly dying out, and to produce
a cheap food; but the Romans followed it as a luxury, or a childish
amusement, alone. And although our aldermen may sigh over a missing
Chelonian, as Crassus for his deceased eel, or the first salmon of the
season bring a fabulous price in the market, yet the time has long
passed when the gratification of appetite is alone thought of in
connection with Nature. We know that living creatures are to be studied,
as well as eaten; and that the faithful and reverent observation of
their idiosyncrasies, lives, and habits is as healthful and pleasing to
the mind as the consumption of their flesh is wholesome and grateful
to the body. The whole science of Zoölogy has arisen, with its simple
classifications and its vast details. The _vivaria_ of the Jardin des
Plantes rival those of the Colosseum in magnitude, and excel them in
object. Nature is ransacked, explored, and hunted down in every field,
only that she may add to the general knowledge. Museums collect and
arrange all the types of creative wisdom, from the simple cell to man.
Science searches out their extinct species and fossil remains, and tells
their age by Geology. The microscope pursues organic matter down into an
infinity of smallness, proportionately as far as the telescope traces it
upwards in the infinity of illimitable space. Last of all, though not
till long after the earth and the air had been seemingly exhausted,
the desire of knowledge began to push its way into the arcana of the
sea,--that hidden half of Nature, where are to be found those wonders
described by Milton at the Creation,--where, in obedience to the Divine
command,

  "Be fruitful, multiply, and in the seas
  And lakes and running streams the waters fill, ...
  Forthwith the sounds and seas, each creek and bay,
  With fry innumerable swarm, and shoals
  Of fish, that with their fins and shining scales
  Glide under the green wave in sculls that oft
  Bank the mid sea: part single or with mate
  Graze the sea-weed, their pasture, and through groves
  Of coral stray, or sporting with quick glance
  Show to the sun their waved coats dropt with gold,
  Or in their pearly shells at ease attend
  Moist nutriment, or under rocks their food
  In jointed armor watch."

But no means were at hand to pursue these unknown creatures to their
unknown residences, and to observe their manners when at home. Single,
withered, and often mutilated specimens of minute fish, mollusks, or
radiata, in the museum, alone illustrated the mysteries of the deep sea.
Fish, to be sure, could be kept for longer or shorter periods in globes
of glass filled with water; but the more delicate creatures inevitably
perished soon after their removal from their mysterious abodes. Such
a passionate desire to "search Nature and know her secrets" finally
originated the idea of the Aquarium.

The term _vivarium_ was used among the ancients to signify many
things,--from the dens of the wild animals which opened under the
Colosseum, to an oyster-bed; and so now it may mean any collection of
living creatures. Hence it could convey no distinct idea of a marine
collection such as we propose to describe. The term _aqua_ was added to
express the watery element; but the compound _aqua-vivarium_ was too
clumsy for frequent employment, and the abbreviated word _aquarium_ has
come into general use.

Thus the real Aquarium is a water-garden and a menagerie combined,--and
aims to show life beneath the waters, both animal and vegetable, in
all the domestic security of its native home, and in all the beauty,
harmony, and nice adaptation of Nature herself. It is no sudden
discovery, but the growth of a long and patient research by naturalists.

"What happens, when we put half a dozen gold-fish into a globe? The
fishes gulp in water and expel it at the gills. As it passes through the
gills, whatever free oxygen the water contains is absorbed, and carbonic
acid given off in its place; and in course of time, the free oxygen of
the water is exhausted, the water becomes stale, and at last poisonous,
from excess of carbonic acid. If the water is not changed, the fishes
come to the surface and gulp atmospheric air. But though they naturally
breathe air (oxygen) as we do, yet they are formed to extract it from
the water; and when compelled to take air from the surface, the gills,
or lungs, soon get inflamed, and death at last puts an end to their
sufferings.

"Now, if a fish-globe be not overcrowded with fishes, we have only
to throw in a goodly handful of some water-weed,--such as the
_Callitriche_, for instance,--and a new set of chemical operations
commences at once, and it becomes unnecessary to change the water. The
reason of this is easily explained. Plants absorb oxygen as animals
do; but they also absorb carbonic acid, and from the carbonic add thus
absorbed they remove the pure carbon, and convert it into vegetable
tissue, giving out the free oxygen either to the water or the air, as
the case may be. Hence, in a vessel containing water-plants in a state
of healthy growth, the plants exhale more oxygen than they absorb, and
thus replace that which the fishes require for maintaining healthy
respiration. Any one who will observe the plants in an aquarium, when
the sun shines through the tank, will see the leaves studded with bright
beads, some of them sending up continuous streams of minute bubbles.
These beads and bubbles are pure oxygen, which the plants distil from
the water itself, in order to obtain its hydrogen, and from carbonic
acid, in order to obtain its carbon."[A]

[Footnote A:_The Book of the Aquarium_, by Sidney Hibbert.]

Thus the water, if the due proportion of its animal and vegetable
tenants be observed, need never be changed. This is the true Aquarium,
which aims to imitate the balance of Nature. By this balance the whole
organic world is kept living and healthy. For animals are dependent upon
the vegetable kingdom not only for all their food, but also for
the purification of the air, which they all breathe, either in the
atmosphere or in the water. The divine simplicity of this stupendous
scheme may well challenge our admiration. Each living thing, animal or
plant, uses what the other rejects, and gives back to the air what the
other needs. The balance must be perfect, or all life would expire, and
vanish from the earth.

This is the balance which we imitate in the Aquarium. It is the whole
law of life, the whole scheme of Nature, the whole equilibrium of our
organic world, inclosed in a bottle.

For the rapid evolution of oxygen by plants the action of sunlight is
required. That evolution becomes very feeble, or ceases entirely, in the
darkness of the night. Some authorities assert even that carbonic acid
is given off during the latter period. So, too, they claim that there
are two distinct processes carried on by the leaves of plants,--namely,
respiration and digestion: that the first is analogous to the same
process in animals; and that by it oxygen is absorbed from, and carbonic
acid returned to the atmosphere, though to a limited degree: and that
digestion consists in _the decomposition of carbonic acid by the green
tissues of the leaves under the stimulus of the light, the fixation of
solid carbon, and the evolution of pure oxygen_. The theory of distinct
respiration has been somewhat doubted by the highest botanical authority
of this country; but the theory of digestion is indisputable. And it is
no less certain that all forms of vegetation give to the air much more
free oxygen than they take from it, and much less carbonic acid, as
their carbonaceous composition shows. If fresh leaves are placed in
a bell-glass containing air charged with seven or eight per cent. of
carbonic acid, and exposed to the light of the sun, it will be found
that a large proportion of the carbonic acid will have disappeared, and
will be replaced by pure oxygen. But this change will not be effected in
the dark, nor by any degree of artificial light. Under water the oxygen
evolved from healthy vegetation can be readily collected as it rises, as
has been repeatedly proved.

Why carbonic acid is, to a limited degree, given off by the plant in the
night, is merely because the vital process, or the fixation of carbon
and evolution of oxygen, ceases when the light is withdrawn. The plant
is only in a passive state. Ordinary chemical forces resume their sway,
and the oxygen of the air combines with the newly deposited carbon to
reproduce a little carbonic acid. But this must be placed to the account
of decomposing, not of growing vegetation; for by so much as plants
grow, they decompose carbonic acid and give its oxygen to the air, or,
in other words, purify the air.

It has been found by experiment, that every six pounds of carbon in
existing plants has withdrawn twenty-two pounds of carbonic acid gas
from the atmosphere, and replaced it with sixteen pounds of oxygen gas,
occupying the same bulk. And when we consider the amount of carbon that
is contained in the tissues of living, and of extinct vegetation also,
in the form of peat and coal, we may have some idea of the vast body of
oxygen which the vegetable kingdom has added to the atmosphere.

And it is also to be considered, that this is the only means we know of
whereby free oxygen is given to supply the quantity constantly consumed
in respiration, combustion, and other vast and endless oxygen-using
processes. It follows, therefore, that animals are dependent upon plants
for their pure oxygen, as well as for their food. But the vegetable
kingdom might exist independently of the animal; since plants may derive
enough carbon from the soil, enriched by the decaying members of their
own race.

There is, however, one exception to the law that plants increase the
amount of oxygen in the air. During flowering and fruiting, the stores
of carbon laid up in the plant are used to support the process, and,
combining with the oxygen of the air, both carbonic acid and heat are
given off. This has been frequently proved. In large tropical plants,
where an immense number of blossoms are crowded together, the
temperature has risen twenty to fifty degrees above that of the
surrounding air.

As most of the aquatic plants are cryptogamous, or producing by spores,
and not by flowers, it seems probable that the evolution of carbonic
acid and heat is much less in degree in them, and therefore less in the
water than in the air. We may, therefore, venture to lay it down as a
general principle, that plants evolve free oxygen in water, when in
the sunlight, and remove the carbonic acid added to the water by the
respiration of the animals.

But since this is a digestive or nutritive process, it follows that
aquatic plants may derive much or all of their food from the water
itself, or the carbon in it, in the same manner as the so-called
air-plant, which grows without soil, does from the air. It is true, at
any rate, that, in the fresh-water aquarium, the river and brook plants
need no soil but pebbles; and that the marine plants have no proper
root, but are attached by a sort of sucker or foot-stalk to stones and
masses of rock. It is very easy to see, then, how the aquarium may
be made entirely self-supporting; and that, excepting for the larger
carnivorous fish, who exhaust in a longer or shorter period the minute
creatures on which they live, no external food is required.

A very simple experiment will prove the theory and practicability of the
aquarium. In a glass jar of moderate size was placed a piece of _Ulva
latissima_, or Sea-Lettuce, a broad-leaved, green, aquatic plant, and a
small fish. The mouth was closed by a ground glass stopper. The jar was
exposed to the light daily; the water was never changed; nor was the
glass stopper removed, excepting to feed the fish, once or twice a week,
with small fragments of meat. At the end of eight months both remained
flourishing: the fish was lively and active; and the plant had more than
half filled the bottle with fresh green leaves.

Any vessel that will hold water can, of course, be readily converted
into an aquarium. But as we desire a clear view of the contents at all
times, glass is the best material. And since glass globes refract the
light irregularly and magnify and distort whatever is within them, we
shall find an advantage in having the sides of the aquarium parallel and
the form rectangular. As the weight of the aquarium, when filled with
water, is enormous,--far more than we should at first imagine,--it
follows that it must be capable of resisting pressure both from above
and from within. The floor and stand, the frame and joints must be
strong and compact, and the walls of plate or thick crown glass. The
bottom should be of slate; and if it is designed to attach arches of
rock-work inside to the ends, they, too, must be of slate, as cement
will not stick to glass. The frame should be iron, zinc, or well-turned
wood; the joints closed with white-lead putty; the front and back of
glass. There is one objection to having the side which faces the light
of transparent glass, and that is that it transmits too much glare of
sunlight for the health of the animals. In Nature's aquarium the light
enters only from above; and the fish and delicate creatures have always,
even then, the shady fronds of aquatic plants or the shelter of the
rocks,--as well as the power of seeking greater depths of water, where
the light is less,--to protect themselves from too intense a sunshine.
It is, therefore, sometimes advisable to have the window side of the
aquarium made of glass stained of a green color. It is desirable that
all aquarial tanks should have a movable glass cover to protect them
from dust, impure gases, and smoke.

When we speak of an aquarium, we mean a vessel holding from eight to
thirty gallons of water. Mr. Gosse describes his larger tank as being
two feet long by eighteen inches wide and eighteen inches deep, and
holding some twenty gallons. Smaller and very pretty tanks may be
made fifteen inches long by twelve inches wide and twelve deep. Great
varieties in form and elegance may be adapted to various situations.

There are two kinds of aquaria, the fresh- and the salt-water: the one
fitted for the plants and animals of ponds and rivers; the other for the
less known tenants of the sea. They are best described as the River and
the Marine Aquarium, and they differ somewhat from each other. We shall
speak first of the fresh-water aquarium.

The tank being prepared, and well-seasoned, by being kept several weeks
alternately full and empty, and exposed to the sun and air, so that all
paint, oil, varnish, tannin, etc., may be wholly removed, the next thing
is to arrange the bottom and to plant it. Some rough fragments of rock,
free from iron or other metals that stain the water, may be built into
an arch with cement, or piled up in any shape to suit the fancy. The
bottom should be composed entirely of shingle or small pebbles, well
washed. Common silver sand, washed until the water can be poured through
it quite clear, is also suitable.

Mould, or soil adapted to ordinary vegetation, is not necessary to
the aquatic plants, and is, moreover, worse than useless; since it
necessitates the frequent changing of the water for some time, in order
to get rid of the soluble vegetable matter, and promotes the growth of
Confervae, and other low forms of vegetation, which are obnoxious.

Aquatic plants of all kinds have been found to root freely and flourish
in pebbles alone, if their roots be covered. The plants should be
carefully cleared of all dead parts; the roots attached to a small
stone, or laid on the bottom and covered with a layer of pebbles and
sand.

The bottom being planted, the water may be introduced through a
watering-pot, or poured against the side of the tank, so as to avoid any
violent agitation of the bottom. The water should be pure and bright.
River-water is best; spring-water will do, but must be softened by the
plants for some days before the fishes are put in.

Sunshine is good for the tank at all seasons of the year. The
fresh- requires more than the salt-water aquarium. The amount of
oxygen given off by the plants, and hence their growth and the
sprightliness of the fishes, are very much increased while the sun
is shining on them.

In selecting plants for the aquarium some regard is to be paid to the
amount of oxygen they will evolve, and to their hardiness, as well as to
their beauty. When it is desired to introduce the fishes without waiting
long for the plants to get settled and to have given off a good supply
of oxygen, there is no plant more useful than the _Callitricke_, or
Brook Star-wort. It is necessary to get a good supply, and pick off the
green heads, with four or six inches only of stem; wash them clean,
and throw them into the tank, without planting. They spread over the
surface, forming a rich green ceiling, grow freely, and last for months.
They are continually throwing out new roots and shoots, and create
abundance of oxygen. Whenever desired, they can be got rid of by simply
lifting them out.

The _Vallisneria_, or Tape-Grass, common in all our ponds, is essential
to every fresh-water tank. It must be grown as a bottom-plant, and
flourishes only when rooted. The _Nitella_ is another pleasing variety.
The _Ranunculus aquatilis_, or Water-Crowfoot, is to be found in almost
every pond in bloom by the middle of May, and continues so into the
autumn. It is of the buttercup family, and may be known as a white
buttercup with a yellow centre. The floating leaves are fleshy; the
lower ones finely cut. It must be very carefully washed, and planted
from a good joint, allowing length enough of stem to reach the surface.
Some of the blossom-heads may also be sprinkled over the surface, where
they will live and bloom all through the summer. The _Hydrocharis_,
or Frog's-Bit, and the _Alisma_, or Water-Plantain, are also easily
obtained, hardy and useful, as well as pleasing. Many rarer and more
showy varieties may be cultivated; we have given only the most common
and essential. All the varieties of _Chara_ are interesting to the
microscopist, as showing the phenomenon of the circulation of the sap,
or Cyclosis.

Of the living tenants of the aquarium, those most interesting, as well
as of the highest organization, are the fishes. And among fishes, the
family of the _Cyprinidae_ are the best adapted to our purpose; for we
must select those which are both hardy and tamable. _Cyprinus gibelio_,
the Prussian Carp, is one of the best. It will survive, even if the
water should accidentally become almost exhausted of oxygen. It may
be taught, also, to feed from the hand. None of the carp are very
carnivorous. _Cyprinus auratus_, or the Gold-fish, is one of the most
ornamental objects in an aquarium. But the Minnow, _C. phoxinus_, is the
jolliest little fish in the tank. He is the life of the collection, and
will survive the severest trials of heat and cold. The Chub, a common
tenant of our ponds, is also a good subject for domestication. The
Tench and Loach are very interesting, but also very delicate. Among the
spiny-finned fishes, the Sticklebacks are the prettiest, but so savage
that they often occasion much mischief. For a vessel containing
twelve gallons the following selection of live stock is among those
recommended: Three Gold Carp, three Prussian Carp, two Perch, four
large Loach, a dozen Minnows, six Bleak, and two dozen Planorbis. Some
varieties of the Water-Beetles, or Water-Spiders, which the fishes
do not eat, may also well be added. The Newt, too, is attractive and
harmless.

All may go on well, and the water remain clear; but after the tank has
been established several weeks, the inner sides of the glass will show a
green tinge, which soon increases and interferes with the view. This is
owing to the growth of a minute confervoid vegetation, which must be
kept down. For this purpose the Snail is the natural remedy, being the
ready scavenger of all such nuisances. Snails cling to the sides, and
clean away and consume all this vegetable growth. The _Lymnea_ is among
the most efficient, but unfortunately is destructive, by eating holes
in the young fronds of the larger plants, and thus injuring their
appearance. To this objection some other varieties of snail are not
open. The _Paludina_ and _Planorbis_ are the only kinds which are
trustworthy. The former is a handsome snail, with a bronze-tinted,
globular shell; the latter has a spiral form. These will readily reduce
the vegetation. And to preserve the crystal clearness of the water, some
Mussels may be allowed to burrow in the sand, where they will perform
the office of animated filters. They strain off matters held in
suspension in the water, by means of their siphons and ciliated gills.
With these precautions, a well-balanced tank will long retain all the
pristine purity of Nature.

Specimens for the river aquarium may be readily obtained in almost
any brook or pool, by means of the hand-net or dredge. It will be
astonishing to see the variety of objects brought up by a successful
haul. Small fish, newts, tadpoles, mollusks, water-beetles, worms,
spiders, and spawn of all kinds will be visible to the naked eye; while
the microscope will bring out thousands more of the most beautiful
objects.

A very different style of appearance and of objects distinguishes the
Salt-water or Marine Aquarium.

As the greater part of the most curious live stock of the salt-water
aquarium live upon or near the bottom, so the marine tank should be more
shallow, and allow an uninterrupted view from above. Marine creatures
are more delicately constituted than fresh-water ones; and they demand
more care, patience, and oversight to render the marine aquarium
successful.

Sea-sand and pebbles, washed clean, form the best bottom for the
salt-water aquarium. It must be recollected that many of the marine
tenants are burrowers, and require a bottom adapted to their habits.
Some rock-work is considered essential to afford a grateful shelter and
concealment to such creatures as are timid by nature, and require a spot
in which to hide: this is true of many fishes. Branches of coral, bedded
in cement, may be introduced, and form beautiful and natural objects, on
which plants will climb and droop gracefully.

Sea-water dipped from the open sea, away from the mouths of rivers,
is, of course, the best for the marine aquarium. If pure, it will bear
transportation and loss of time before being put into the tank. It may,
however, not always be possible to get sea-water, particularly for the
aquarium remote from the seaboard, and it is therefore fortunate that
artificial sea-water will answer every purpose.

The composition of natural sea-water is, in a thousand parts,
approximately, as follows: Water, 964 parts; Common Salt, 27; Chloride
of Magnesium, 3.6; Chloride of Potassium, 0.7; Sulphate of Magnesia,
(Epsom Salts,) 2; Sulphate of Lime, 1.4; Bromide of Magnesium, Carbonate
of Lime, etc., .02 to .03 parts. Now the Bromide of Magnesium, and
Sulphate and Carbonate of Lime, occur in such small quantities, that
they can be safely omitted in making artificial seawater; and besides,
river and spring water always contain a considerable proportion of lime.
Therefore, according to Mr. Gosse, we may use the following formula: In
every hundred parts of the solid ingredients, Common Salt, 81 parts;
Epsom Salts, 7 parts; Chloride of Magnesium, 10 parts; Chloride of
Potassium, 2 parts; and of Water about 2900 parts, although this must be
accurately determined by the specific gravity. The mixture had better
be allowed to stand several days before filling the tank; for thus the
impurities of the chemicals will settle, and the clear liquor can be
decanted off. The specific gravity should then be tested with the
hydrometer, and may safely range from 1026 to 1028,--fresh water being
1000. If a quart or two of real sea-water can be obtained, it is a very
useful addition to the mixture. It may now be introduced into the tank
through a filter. But no living creatures must be introduced until the
artificial water has been softened and prepared by the growth of the
marine plants in it for several weeks. Thus, too, it will be oxygenated,
and ready for the oxygen-using tenants.

It is a singular fact, that water which has been thus prepared, with
only four ingredients, will, after being a month or more in the
aquarium, acquire the other constituents which are normally present in
minute quantities in the natural sea-water. It must derive them from the
action of the plants or animals, or both. Bromine may come from sponges,
or sea-wrack, perhaps. Thus artificial water eventually rights itself.

The tank, having been prepared and seasoned with the same precaution
used for the river aquarium, and having a clear bottom and a supply of
good water, is now ready for planting. Many beautifully colored and
delicately fringed Algae and Sea-Wracks will be found on the rocks at
low tide, and will sadly tempt the enthusiast to consign their delicate
hues to the aquarium. All such temptations must be resisted. Green is
the only color well adapted for healthy and oxygenating growth in the
new tank. A small selection of the purple or red varieties may perhaps
be introduced and successfully cultivated at a later day, but they are
very delicate; while the olives and browns are pretty sure to die and
corrupt the water. It must be remembered, too, that the Algae are
cryptogamous, and bear no visible flowers to delight the eye or fancy.
Of all marine plants, the _Ulva latissima_, or Sea-Lettuce, is first and
best. It has broad, light-green fronds, and is hardy and a rapid grower,
and hence a good giver of oxygen. Next to this in looks and usefulness
comes the _Enteromorpha compressa_, a delicate, grass-like Alga. After
a while the _Chondrus crispus_, or common Carrageen Moss, may be chosen
and added. These ought to be enough for some months, as it is not safe
to add too many at once. Then the green weeds _Codium tomentosum_ and
_Cladophora_ may be tried; and, still later, the beautiful _Bryopsis
plumosa_. But it is much better to be content with a few Ulvae, and
others of that class, to begin with; for a half dozen of these will
support quite a variety of animal life.

After a few hardy plants are well set, and thriving for a week or two,
and the water is clear and bubbly with oxygen, it will be time to look
about for the live stock of the marine aquarium. Fishes, though most
attractive, must be put in last; for as they are of the highest
vitality, so they require the most oxygen and food, and hence should not
be trusted until everything in the tank is well a-going.

The first tenants should be the hardy varieties of the Sea-Anemones,
or _Actiniae_,--which are Polyps, of the class Radiata. The _Actinia
mesembryanthemum_ is the common smooth anemone, abounding on the coast,
and often to be found attached to stones on the beach. "When closed,"
says Mr. Hibbert, "it has much resemblance to a ripe strawberry,
being of a deep chocolate color, dotted with small yellow spots. When
expanded, a circle of bright blue beads or tubercles is seen within the
central opening; and a number of coral-like fingers or tentacles unfold
from the centre, and spread out on all sides." It remains expanded for
many days together, if the water be kept pure; and, having little desire
for locomotion, stays, generally, about where it is placed. It is
a carnivorous creature, and seeks its food with its ever-searching
tentacles, thus drawing in fishes and mollusks, but, most frequently,
the minute Infusoria. Like other polyps, it may be cut in two, and each
part becomes a new creature. It is a very pretty and hardy object in the
aquarium. There are many varieties, some of which are very delicate, as
the _Actinia anguicoma_, or Snaky-locked Anemone, and the pink and brown
_Actinia bellis_, which so resembles a daisy. Others, as the _Actinia
parasitica_, are obtainable only by deep-sea dredging; "and, as its name
implies, it usually inhabits the shell of some defunct mollusk. And more
curious still, in the same shell we usually find a pretty crab, who
acts as porter to the anemone. He drags the shell about with him like
a palanquin, on which sits enthroned a very bloated, but gayly-dressed
potentate, destitute of power to move it for himself."[B]

[Footnote B: Hibbert's _Book of the Aquarium_.]

The _Actinia gemmacea_, or Gemmed Anemone, the _Actinia crassicornis_,
and the Plumose Anemone are all beautiful, but tender varieties.

The Anemones require but little care; they do not generally need
feeding, though the Daisy and Plumose Anemone greedily take minced
mutton, or oyster. But, as a rule, there are enough Infusoria for their
subsistence; and it is safer not to feed them, as any fragments not
consumed will decay, and contaminate the water.

Next in order of usefulness, hardiness, and adaptability to the new
aquarium, come the Mollusks. And of these, Snails and Periwinkles claim
our respectful attention, as the most faithful, patient, and necessary
scavengers of the confervoid growths, which soon obscure the marine
aquarium.

"It is interesting," says Mr. Gosse, "to watch the business-like way in
which the Periwinkle feeds. At very regular intervals, the proboscis, a
tube with thick fleshy walls, is rapidly turned inside out to a certain
extent, until a surface is brought into contact with the glass having a
silky lustre; this is the tongue; it is moved with a short sweep,
and then the tubular proboscis infolds its walls again, the tongue
disappearing, and every filament of Conferva being carried up into the
interior, from the little area which had been swept. The next instant,
the foot meanwhile having made a small advance, the proboscis unfolds
again, the makes another sweep, and again the whole is withdrawn; and
this proceeds with great regularity. I can compare the action to nothing
so well as to the manner in which the tongue of an ox licks up the grass
of the field, or to the action of the mower cutting swath after swath."

Of Crustacea, the Prawns and the smaller kinds of Crabs may be
admitted to the aquarium, though but sparingly. They are rude, noisy,
quarrelsome, and somewhat destructive,--but, for the same reason,
amusing tenants of the tank.

All are familiar with the mode in which the Soldier or Hermit Crab takes
possession of and lives in the shells of Whelks and Snails. Poorly
protected behind by Nature, the homeless crab wanders about seeking a
lodging. Presently he meets with an empty shell, and, after probing it
carefully with his claw to be sure it is not tenanted, he pops into it
back foremost in a twinkling, and settles himself in his new house.
Often, too, he may be seen balancing the conveniences of the one he is
in and of another vacant lodging he has found in his travels; and he
even ventures out of his own, and into the other, and back again, before
being satisfied as to their respective merits. In all these manoeuvres,
as well as in his daily battles with his brethren, he is one of the
drollest of creatures.

As we advance in our practice with the aquarium we may venture to
introduce more delicate lodgers. Such are the beautiful family of the
_Annelidae_: the _Serpula_, in his dirty house; and the _Terebella_,
most ancient of masons, who lays the walls of his home in water-proof
cement.

The great class of Zoöphytes can be introduced, but many varieties of
them will be found already within the aquarium, in the company of their
more bulky neighbors. These peculiar creatures, or things, form the
boundary where the last gleam of animal life is so feeble and flickering
as to render it doubtful whether they belong to the animal or vegetable
kingdom. Agassiz calls them _Protozoa_,--Primary Existences. Some divide
them into two great classes, namely: the _Anthozoa_, or Flower-Life; and
the _Polyzoa_, or Many-Life, in which the individuals are associated in
numbers. They are mostly inhabitants of the water; all are destitute of
joints, nerves, lungs, and proper blood-vessels; but they all possess
an _irritable_ system, in obedience to which they expand or contract at
will. Among the _Anthozoa_ are the Anemones; among the _Polyzoa_,
are the Madrepores, or Coral-Builders, and many others. Many are
microscopic, and belong to the class of animalcules called _Infusoria_.

A very remarkable quality which the Infusoria possess--one very useful
for the aquarium, and one which would seem to settle their place in the
_vegetable_ kingdom--is that they _exhale oxygen_ like plants. This has
been proved by Liebig, who collected several jars of oxygen from tanks
containing Infusoria only.

A piece of honeycomb coral (_Eschara foliacea_) is easily found, and,
when well selected and placed in the aquarium, may continue to grow
there by the labors of its living infusorial tenants: they are not
unworthy rivals of the Madrepores, or deep-sea coral-builders of warmer
latitudes. The walls of its cells are not more than one-thirtieth of an
inch in thickness, and each cell has its occupant. So closely are they
packed, that in an area of one-eighth of an inch square the orifices of
forty-five cells can be counted. As these are all double, this would
give five thousand seven hundred and sixty cells to the square inch. Now
a moderate-sized specimen will afford, with all its convolutions,
at least one hundred square inches of wall, which would contain a
population of five hundred and seventy-six thousand inhabitants,--a very
large city. So says Mr. Gosse. We cannot forbear, with him, from quoting
Montgomery's lines on the labors of the coral-worms, which modern
science has enabled us to study in our parlors.

  "Millions on millions thus, from age to age,
  With simplest skill, and toil unweariable,
  No moment and no movement unimproved,
  Laid line on line, on terrace terrace spread,
  To swell the heightening, brightening, gradual mound,
  By marvellous structure climbing towards the day.
  Each wrought alone, yet all together wrought,
  Unconscious, not unworthy instruments,
  By which a hand invisible was rearing
  A new creation in the secret deep.
  .....I saw the living pile ascend,
  The mausoleum of its architects,
  Still dying upwards as their labors closed;
  Slime the material, but the slime was turned
  To adamant by their petrific touch:
  Frail were their frames, ephemeral their lives,
  Their masonry imperishable."

The deep-sea soundings taken recently for the Atlantic telegraph have
demonstrated the existence of organic life even at the bottom of the
ocean. Numerous living Infusoria have been brought to the light of day,
from their hidden recesses, by the lead. "Deeper than ever plummet
sounded" before these latter days, there exist myriads of minute
creatures, and of Algae to furnish their food. It is an unanswered
problem, How they can resist the enormous pressure to which they must
be there subjected, amounting, not infrequently, to several tons to the
square inch. And still another point of interest for us springs
from this. It is an inquiry of practical importance to the aquarian
naturalist, How far the diminished pressure which they meet with in the
tank, on being transferred from their lower homes to the aquarium, may
influence their viability. May not some of the numerous deaths in the
marine tank be reasonably attributed to this lack of pressure?

What a difference, too, has Nature established, in the natural power to
resist pressure, between those creatures which float near the surface
and those which haunt the deeper sea! The Jelly-fish can live only near
the top of the water, and, floating softly through a gentle medium, is
yet crushed by a touch; while the Coral-builder bears the superincumbent
weight of worlds on his vaulted cell with perfect impunity.

Another important question is, How far alteration in the amount of light
may affect the more delicate creatures. What fishes do without light has
been solved by the darkness of the Mammoth Cave, the tenants of whose
black pools are eyeless, evidently because there is nothing to see. The
more deeply located Infusoria and Mollusks must dwell in an endless
twilight; for Humboldt has found, by experiment, that at a depth one
hundred and ninety-two feet from the surface the amount of sunlight
which can penetrate is equal only to one-half of the light of an
ordinary candle one foot distant.

Thus ever in gloom, yet in a state of constant safety from storms and
the agitations of the upper air, the thousand forms of low organic life
and cryptogamic vegetation live and thrive in peace and quietness.

  "The floor is of sand like the mountain drift,
  And the pearl-shells spangle the flinty snow;
  From the coral rocks the sea-plants lift
  Their boughs, where the tides and billows flow.

         *       *       *       *       *

  "And life in rare and beautiful forms
  Is sporting amid those bowers of stone,
  And is safe, when the wrathful spirit of storms
  Has made the top of the waves his own."[C]

[Footnote C: Percival.]

Upon the bottom, at various depths, lies that brilliant Radiate--type of
his class--the Star-fish. These are quiet and harmless creatures, and
favorites in the aquarium, from the pretty contrast they make with
marine plants and other objects.

The perfect transparency, elegant form, and graceful navigation of the
_Medusae_, or Jelly-fishes, render them much admired in their native
haunts, and prized for the aquarium. But they are very delicate. How
beautiful and remarkable are these headless _Discophori_, as they
float, and propel themselves with involutions of their disks and gently
trailing tentacles, and the central peduncle hanging far below, like the
clapper of a transparent bell! And yet these wonders are but so much
sea-water, inclosed in so slight a tissue that it withers in the sun,
and leaves only a minute spot of dried-up gelatinous substance behind.

Finally come the Fishes, many of which are of similar genera to those
recommended for the fresh-water tank. The Black Goby is familiar,
tamable, but voracious; the Gray Mullet is very hardy, but also rather
savage; the Wrasses are some of the most showy fish,--called in some
parts of the country Cunners,--and of these, the Ancient Wrasse,
(_Labrus maculatus_,) covered with a network of vermilion meshes on a
brown and white ground, is the most elegant.

Some points of general management are so important, and some dangers so
imminent, that we cannot pass them by unnoticed. The aquarian enthusiast
is very apt to be in too great haste to see everything going on, and
commits the common error of trying too many things at once. The aquarium
must be built up slowly and tentatively, object by object: plants first,
and of the simplest kinds; and not until they are well settled, and the
water beaded with oxygen bubbles, should we think of introducing living
creatures,--and even then only the hardier kinds of actinias, mollusks,
and crabs. All delicate animals must be intrusted one by one to their
new home, and carefully watched for deaths and decay, which, whether
arising from dead plants or animals, ruin everything very quickly,
unless they be promptly removed. For sulphuretted hydrogen, even in very
minute quantities, is sure death to all these little creatures.

The emanations from paint and putty are often fatal in new tanks.
Several weeks' exposure to water, air, and sunlight is necessary to
season the new-made aquarium. Of equal consequence is it that the water
be absolutely pure; and if brought from the sea, care must be exercised
about the vessel containing it. Salt acts upon the glazing of earthen
ware of some kinds. Stone or glass jars are safest. New oak casks are
fatal from the tannin which soaks out; fir casks are safe and good. So
delicate and sensitive are the minute creatures which people the sea,
that they have been found dead on opening a cask in which a new oak
bung was the only source of poison. And no wonder; for a very slight
proportion of tannic acid in the water corrugates and stiffens the thin,
smooth skin of the anemone, like the tanning of leather.

A certain natural density of the sea-water must also be preserved,
ranging between no wider limits than 1026 and 1028. And in the open tank
evaporation is constantly deranging this, and must be met by a supply
from without. As the pure water alone evaporates, and the salts and
earthy or mineral constituents are left behind, two things result: the
water remaining becomes constantly more dense; and this can be remedied
only by pure fresh water poured in to restore the equilibrium. Hence the
marine aquarium must be replenished with _fresh water_, until the proper
specific gravity, as indicated by the hydrometer, is restored.

The aquarium may be found some morning with a deep and permanent green
stain discoloring the water. This unsightly appearance is owing to the
simultaneous development of the spores of multitudes of minute Algae and
Confervae, and can be obviated by passing the water through a charcoal
filter. When any of the fishes give signs of sickness or suffocation, by
coming to the surface and gulping air, they may be revived by having the
water aerated by pouring it out repeatedly from a little elevation, or
by a syringe. The fishes are sometimes distressed, also, when the room
gets too warm for them. A temperature of 60° is about what they require.
And they will stand cold, many of them, even to being frozen with the
water into ice, and afterwards revive.

The degree of light should be carefully regulated by a stained glass
side, or a shade. Yet it must be borne in mind that sunlight is
indispensable to the free evolution of oxygen by the plants. And when
the sun is shining on the water, all its occupants appear more lively,
and the fishes seem intoxicated--as they doubtless are--with oxygen.

A novice is apt to overstock his aquarium. Not more than two
moderate-sized fishes to a gallon of water is a safe rule. Care, too,
must be taken to group together those kinds of creatures which are not
natural enemies, or natural food for each other, or a sad scene of
devastation and murder will ensue.

Cleansing cannot be always intrusted to snails. But the sides may be
scrubbed with a soft swab, made of cotton or wick-yarn. Deaths will
occasionally take place; and even suicide is said to be resorted to by
the wicked family of the Echinoderms.

To procure specimens for the aquarium requires some knack and knowledge.
The sea-shore must be haunted, and even the deep sea explored. At the
extreme low-water of new or full moon tides, the rocks and tide-pools
are to be zealously hunted over by the aquarian naturalist. Several
wide-mouthed vials and stone jars are necessary; and we would repeat,
that no plant should be taken, unless its attachment is preserved. It
is often a long and difficult job to get some of the Algae; with their
tender connections unsevered from the hard rock, which must be chipped
away with the chisel, and often with the blows of the hammer deadened by
being struck under water. It is by lifting up the overhanging masses of
slimy fuel, tangles, and sea-grass, that we find the delicate varieties,
as the _Chondrus_ with its metallic lustre, and the red _Algae_, or the
stony _Corallina_, which delights in the obscurity of shaded pools.

The sea-weeds will be found studded with mollusks,--as Snails and
Periwinkles of many queer varieties. Anemones, of the more common kinds,
are found clinging to smooth stones. Crabs on the sand. Prawns, Shrimps,
Medusae, and fishes of many species, in the little pools which the tide
leaves behind, and which it will require a sharp eye and a quick hand
to explore with success. But the rarer forms of Actinias, Star-fishes,
Sepioles, Madrepores, Annelidae, and Zoophytes, of a thousand shapes,
live on the bottom, in deep water, and must be captured there.

For this purpose we must dredge from a boat, under sail. The
naturalist's dredge is an improved oyster-dredge, with each of the two
long sides of the mouth made into a scraping lip of iron. The body is
made of spun-yarn, or fishing-line, netted into a small mesh. Two long
triangles are attached by a hinge to the two short sides of the frame,
and meeting in front, at some distance from the mouth, are connected by
a swivel-joint. To this the dragging rope is bent, which must be three
times as long, in dredging, as the depth of the water. This is fastened
to the stern of a boat under sail, and thus the bottom is raked of
all sorts of objects; among which, on emptying the net, many living
creatures for the aquarium are found. These may be placed temporarily in
jars; though plants, mollusks, Crustacea and Actiniae may be kept and
transmitted long distances packed in layers of moist sea-weed.

For all this detail, labor, and patient care, we may reasonably find
two great objects: first, the cultivation and advancement of natural
science; second, the purest delight and healthiest amusement.

In the aquarium we have a most convenient field for the study of
Natural History: to learn the varieties, nature, names, habits, and
peculiarities of those endless forms of animated existence which dwell
in the hidden depths of the sea, and at the same time to improve our
minds by cultivating our powers of observation.

The pleasure derived from the aquarium comes from the excitement of
finding and collecting specimens, as well as from watching the tank
itself. There can be no more pleasant accompaniment to the sea-side walk
of the casual visitor or summer resident of a watering-place, than to
search for marine plants and animals among the fissures, rocks, and
tide-pools of the sea-washed beach or cape.

Nature is always as varied as beautiful. Thousands of strange forms
sport under the shadow of the brown, waving sea-weeds, or among the
delicate scarlet fronds of the dulse, which is found growing in the
little ponds that the inequalities of the beach have retained. It is
down among the great boulders which the Atlantic piles upon our coast,
that we may find endless varieties of life to fill the aquarium, though
not those more gorgeous hues which distinguish the tenants of the coral
reefs on tropical shores. Yet even here Nature is absolutely infinite;
and we shall find ourselves, day after day, imitating that botanist who,
walking through the same path for a month, found always a new plant
which had escaped his notice before. So, too, in exploring the open sea,
besides the pleasure of sailing along a variegated coast, with sun and
blue water, we have the constant excitement of unexpected discovery:
for, as often as we pull up the dredge, some new wonder is revealed.

Words fail to describe the wonders of the sea. And all that we drag
from the bottom, all that we admire in the aquarium, are but a few
disconnected specimens of that infinite whole which makes up their home.

So, too, in watching the aquarium itself, we shall see endless
repetitions of those "sea-changes" which Shakspeare sang. Ancient
mythology typified the changing wonders of aquatic Nature, as well
as the fickleness of the treacherous sea, in those shifting deities,
Glaucus and Proteus, who tenanted the shore.

The one the fancy of Ovid metamorphosed from a restless man to a fickle
sea-god; the other assumed so many deceptive shapes to those who visited
his cave, that his memory has been preserved in the word Protean. Such
fancies well apply to a part of Nature which shifts like the sands, and
ranges from the hideous Cuttle-fish and ravenous Shark to the delicate
Medusa, whose graceful form and trailing tentacles float among the
waving fronds of colored Algae, like

  "Sabrina fair,
  Under the glassy, cool, translucent wave,
  In twisted braids of lilies knitting
  The loose train of her amber-dropping hair."

       *       *       *       *       *


THE YOUNG REPEALER.


About eighteen years ago, when I was confined to two rooms by illness
of long standing, I received a remarkable note by post one day. The
envelope, bearing the Dublin postmark, was addressed in a good, bold,
manly handwriting; but the few lines within showed traces of agitation.
What I am going to relate is a true story,--altogether true, so far as
I can trust my memory,--except the name of the Young Repealer. I might
give his real name without danger of hurting any person's feelings but
one; but, for the sake of that one, who will thus be out of the reach
of my narrative, I speak of him under another name. Having to choose
a name, I will take a thoroughly Irish one, and call my correspondent
Patrick Monahan.

The few lines which showed agitation in the handwriting were calm
in language, but very strange. Patrick Monahan told me that he was
extremely unhappy, and that he had reason to believe that I, and I
alone, could do him good. This, with the address,--to a certain number
in a street in Dublin,--was all.

There was little time before the post went out; I was almost unable to
write from illness; but, after a second glance at this note, I felt that
I dared not delay my reply. I did not think that it was money that he
wished to ask. I did not think that he was insane. I could not conceive
why he should apply to me, nor why he did not explain what he wished
from me; but I had a strong impression that it was safest to reply at
once. I did so, in half a dozen lines, promising to write next day,
after a further attempt to discover his meaning, and begging him to
consider how completely in the dark I was as to him and his case. It was
well that I wrote that day. Long after, when he was letting me into all
the facts of his life, he told me that he had made my replying at once
or not the turning-point of his fate. If the post had brought him
nothing, he would have drowned himself in the Liffey.

My second letter was the only sort of letter that it could be,--an
account of my own conjectures about him, and of my regret that I could
see no probability of my being of use to him, except in as far as my
experience of many troubles might enable me to speak suitably to him. I
added some few words on the dangers attending any sort of trouble, when
too keenly felt.

In answer to my first note came a few lines, telling me that the purpose
of his application was mainly answered, and that my reply was of
altogether greater consequence than I could have any idea of. He was
less unhappy now, and believed he should never be so desperately
wretched again. Wild as this might appear, I was still persuaded that he
was not insane.

By the next post came a rather bulky packet. It contained, besides a
letter from him, two or three old parchment documents, which showed that
Patrick's forefathers had filled some chief municipal offices in the
city in which the family had been settled for several generations. I had
divined that Patrick was a gentleman; and he now showed me that he came
of a good and honorable family, and had been well-educated. He was an
orphan, and had not a relation in the world,--if I remember right. It
was evident that he was poor; but he did not ask for money, nor seem to
write on that account. He aspired to a literary life, and believed
he should have done so, even if he had had the means of professional
education. But he did not ask me for aid in trying his powers in
literature. It was very perplexing; and the fact became presently clear
that he expected me to tell him how I could be of use to him,--he being
in no way able to afford me that information. I may as well give here
the key to the mystery, which I had to wait for for some time. When poor
Patrick was in a desperate condition,--very ill, in a lodging of which
he could not pay the rent,--threatened with being turned into the street
as soon as the thing could be done without danger to his life,--galled
with a sense of disgrace, and full of impotent wrath against an
oppressor,--and even suffering under deeper griefs than these,--at such
a time, the worn man fell asleep, and dreamed that I looked kindly upon
him. This happened three times; and on this ground, and this alone, he
applied to me for comfort.

Before I learned this much, I had taken upon me to advise freely
whatever occurred to me as best, finding Patrick entirely docile under
my suggestions. Among other things, I advised him not to take offence,
or assume any reserve, if a gentleman should call on him, with a desire
to be of use to him. A gentleman did call, and was of eminent use to
him. I had written to a benevolent friend of mine, a chief citizen of
Dublin, begging him to obtain for me, through some trusty clerk or other
messenger, some information as to what Patrick was like,--how old he
was, what he was doing, and whether anything effectual could be done for
him. Mr. H. went himself. He found Patrick sitting over a little fire
in a little room, his young face thin and flushed, and his thin hands
showing fever. He had had inflammation of the lungs, and, though he
talked cheerfully, he was yet very far from well. Mr. H. was charmed
with him. He found in him no needless reserves, and not so much
sensitive pride as we had feared. Patrick had great hopes of sufficient
employment, when once he could get out and go and see about it; and he
pointed out two or three directions in which he believed he could obtain
engagements. Two things, however, were plain: that there was some
difficulty about getting out, and that his mind was set upon going
to London at the first possible moment. He had not only the ordinary
provincial ambition to achieve an entrance into the London literary
world, but he had another object: he could serve his country best in
London. Mr. H. easily divined the nature of the obstacle to his going
out into the fresh air which he needed so much; and in a few days
Patrick had a good suit of clothes. This was Mr. H.'s doing; and he also
removed the danger of Patrick's being turned out of his lodging.
The landlord had no wish to do such a thing; the young man was a
gentleman,--regular and self-denying in his habits, and giving no
trouble that he could help: but he had been very ill; and it was so
desolate! Nobody came to see him; no letters arrived for him; no
money was coming in, it was clear; and he could not go on living
there,--starving, in fact.

Once able to go about again, Patrick cheered up; but it was plain that
there was one point on which he would not be ruled. He would not stay
in Dublin, under any inducement whatever; and he would go to London.
I wrote very plainly to him about the risk he was running,--even
describing the desolate condition of the unsuccessful literary
adventurer in the dreary peopled wilderness, in which the friendless may
lie down and die alone, as the starved animal lies down and perishes in
the ravine in the desert. I showed him how impossible it was for me or
anybody to help him, except with a little money, till he had shown what
he could do; and I entreated him to wait two years,--one year,--six
months, before rushing on such a fate. Here, and here alone, he was
self-willed. At first he explained to me that he had one piece of
employment to rely on. He was to be the London correspondent of the
Repeal organ in Dublin,--the "Nation" newspaper. The pay was next to
nothing. He could not live, ever so frugally, on four times the amount:
but it was an engagement; and it would enable him to serve his country.
So, as there was nothing else to be done, Mr. H. started him for London,
with just money enough to carry him there. Once there, he was sure he
should do very well.

I doubted this; and he was met, at the address he gave, (at an Irish
greengrocer's, the only person he knew in London,) by an order for money
enough to carry him over two or three weeks,--money given by two or
three friends to whom I ventured to open the case. I have seldom read
a happier letter than Patrick's first from London; but it was not even
then, nor for some time after, that he told me the main reason of his
horror at remaining in Dublin.

He had hoped to support himself as a tutor while studying and practising
for the literary profession; and he had been engaged to teach the
children of a rich citizen,--not only the boys, but the daughter. He, an
engaging youth of three-and-twenty, with blue eyes and golden hair, an
innocent and noble expression of countenance, an open heart, a glowing
imagination, and an eloquent tongue, was set to teach Latin and literary
composition to a pretty, warm-hearted, romantic girl of twenty; and when
they were in love and engaged, the father considered himself the victim
of the basest treachery that ever man suffered under. In vain the young
people pleaded for leave to love and wait till Patrick could provide a
home for his wife. They asked no favor but to be let alone. Patrick's
family was as good as hers; and he had the education and manners of a
gentleman, without any objectionable habits or tastes, but with every
possible desire to win an honorable home for his beloved. I am not sure,
but I think there was a moment when they thought of eloping some day,
if nothing but the paternal displeasure intervened between them and
happiness; but it was not yet time for this. There was much to be done
first. What the father did first was to turn Patrick out of the house,
under such circumstances of ignominy as he could devise. What he did
next was the blow which broke the poor fellow down. Patrick had written
a letter, in answer to the treatment he had received, in which he
expressed his feelings as strongly as one might expect. This letter was
made the ground of a complaint at the police-office; and Patrick was
arrested, marched before the magistrate, and arraigned as the sender of
a threatening letter to a citizen. In vain he protested that no idea of
threatening anybody had been in his mind. The letter, as commented on by
his employer, was pronounced sufficiently menacing to justify his being
bound over to keep the peace towards this citizen and all his family.
The intention was, no doubt, to disgrace him, and put him out of the
question as a suitor; for no man could pretend to be really afraid of
violence from a candid youth like Patrick, who loved the daughter too
well to lift a finger against any one connected with her. The scheme
succeeded; for he believed it had broken his heart. He supposed himself
utterly disgraced in Dublin; and he could live there no longer. Hence
his self-will about going to London.

In addition to this personal, there was a patriotic view. Very early in
our correspondence, Patrick told me that he was a Repealer. He fancied
himself a very moderate one, and likely on that account to do the more
good. Those were the days of O'Connell's greatest power; or, if it was
on the wane, no one yet recognized any change. Patrick knew one of the
younger O'Connells, and had been flatteringly noticed by the great Dan
himself, who had approved the idea of his going to London, hoped to see
him there some day, and had prophesied that this young friend of his
would do great things for the cause by his pen, and be conspicuous among
the saviours of Ireland. Patrick's head was not quite turned by this;
and he lamented, in his letters to me, the plans proposed and the
language held by the common run of O'Connell's followers. Those were the
days when the Catholic peasantry believed that "Repale" would make every
man the owner of the land he lived on, or of that which he wished to
live on; and the great Dan did not disabuse them. Those were the days
when poor men believed that "Repale" would release every one from the
debts he owed; and Dan did not contradict it. When Dan was dead, the
consequence of his not contradicting it was that a literal-minded fellow
here and there shot the creditor who asked for payment of the coat, or
the pig, or the meal. For all this delusion Patrick was sorry. He was
sorry to hear Protestant shopmen wishing for the day when Dublin streets
would be knee-deep in Catholic blood, and to hear Catholic shopmen
reciprocating the wish in regard to Protestant blood. He was anxious to
make me understand that he had no such notions, and that he even thought
O'Connell mistaken in appearing to countenance such mistakes. But still
he, Patrick, was a Repealer; and he wished me to know precisely what he
meant by that, and what he proposed to do in consequence. He thought it
a sin and shame that Ireland should be trodden under the heel of the
Saxon; he thought the domination of the English Parliament intolerable;
he considered it just that the Irish should make their own laws, own
their own soil, and manage their own affairs. He had no wish to bring in
the French, or any other enemy of England; and he was fully disposed to
be loyal to the Crown, if the Crown would let Ireland entirely alone.
Even the constant persecution inflicted upon Ireland had not destroyed
his loyalty to the Crown. Such were the views on which his letters to
the "Nation" newspaper were to be grounded. In reply, I contented myself
with proposing that he should make sure of his ground as he went along;
for which purpose he should ascertain what proportion of the people of
Ireland wished for a repeal of the Union; and what sort of people they
were who desired Repeal on the one hand, or continued Union on the
other. I hoped he would satisfy himself as to what Repeal could
and could not effect; and that he would study the history of Irish
Parliaments, to learn what the character and bearing of their
legislation had been, and to estimate the chances of good government by
that kind of legislature, in comparison with the Imperial Parliament.

If any foreign reader should suppose it impossible, that, in modern
times, there can have been hopes entertained in Dublin of the streets
being inundated with blood, such reader may be referred to the evidence
afforded of Repeal sentiment five years later than the time of which I
write. When the heroes of that rising of 1848--of whom John Mitchell
is the sample best known in America--were tracked in their plans and
devices, it appeared what their proposed methods of warfare were. Some
of these, detailed in Repeal newspapers, and copied into American
journals, were proposed to the patriotic women of Ireland, as their
peculiar means of serving their country; and three especially. Red-hot
iron hoops, my readers may remember, were to be cast down from
balconies, so as to pin the arms of English soldiers marching in the
street, and scorch their hearts. Vitriol was to be flung into their
eyes. Boiling oil was to be poured upon them from windows. This is
enough. Nobody believes that the thing would ever have been done; but
the lively and repeated discussion of it shows how the feelings of the
ignorant are perverted, and the passions of party-men are stimulated in
Ireland, when unscrupulous leaders arise, proposing irrational projects.
The consequences have been seen in Popish and Protestant fights in
Ulster, and in the midnight drill of Phoenix Clubs in Munster, and in
John Mitchell's passion for fat negroes in the Slave States of America.
In Ireland such notions are regarded now as a delirious dream, except
by a John Mitchell here and there. Smith O'Brien himself declares that
there is nothing to be done while the people of Ireland are satisfied
with the government they live under; and that, if it were otherwise,
nothing can be done for a people which either elects jobbers to
Parliament, or suspects every man of being a traitor who proceeds, when
there, to do the business of his function. I suspected that Patrick
would find out some of these things for himself in London; and I left
him to make his own discoveries, when I had pointed out one or two paths
of inquiry.

The process was a more rapid one than I had anticipated. He reported his
first letter to the "Nation" with great satisfaction. He had begun his
work in London. He went to the House of Commons, and came away sorely
perplexed. After having heard and written so much of the wrongs of
Ireland under the domination of the English Parliament, he found that
Ireland actually and practically formed a part of that Parliament,--the
legislature being, not English, but Imperial. He must have known this
before; but he had never felt it. He now saw that Ireland was as well
represented as England or Scotland; that political offices were held in
fair proportion by Irishmen; and that the Irish members engrossed much
more than a fair share of the national time in debate and projects of
legislation. He saw at once that here was an end of all excuse for talk
of oppression by Parliament, and of all complaints which assumed that
Ireland was unrepresented. He was previously aware that Ireland was
more lightly taxed than the rest of the empire. The question remained,
whether a local legislature would or would not be a better thing than a
share in the Imperial Parliament. This was a fair subject of argument;
but he must now dismiss all notions grounded on the mistake of Ireland
being unrepresented, and oppressed by the representatives of other
people.

In the letter which disclosed these new views Patrick reported his visit
to O'Connell. He had reminded his friend, the junior O'Connell, of Dan's
invitation to him to go to see him in London; and he had looked forward
to their levee with delight and expectation. Whether he had candidly
expressed his thoughts about the actual representation of Ireland, I
don't know; but it was plain that he had not much enjoyed the interview.
O'Connell looked very well: the levee was crowded: O'Connell was
surrounded by ardent patriots: the junior O'Connell had led Patrick up
to his father with particular kindness. Still, there was no enthusiasm
in the report; and the next letter showed the reason why. Patrick could
not understand O'Connell at all. It was certain that Dan remembered him;
and he could not have forgotten the encouragement he gave him to write
on behalf of his country; yet now he was cold, even repellent in his
manner; and he tried to pretend that he did not know who Patrick was.
What could this mean?

Again I trusted to Patrick's finding out for himself what it meant. To
be brief about a phase of human experience which has nothing new in it,
Patrick presently saw that the difficulty of governing Ireland by a
local legislature, and executive is this:--that no man is tolerated from
the moment he can do more than talk. Irish members under O'Connell's eye
were for the most part talkers only. Then and since, every Irishman
who accepts the office so vehemently demanded is suspected of a good
understanding with Englishmen, and soon becomes reviled as a traitor
and place-hunter. Between the mere talkers and the proscribed
office-holders, Ireland would get none of her business done, if the
Imperial Government did not undertake affairs, and see that Ireland was
taken care of by somebody or other. Patrick saw that this way of
putting Government in abeyance was a mild copy of what happened when a
Parliament sat in Dublin, perpetrating the most insolent tyranny and the
vilest jobs ever witnessed under any representative system. He told me,
very simply, that the people of Ireland should send to Parliament men
whom they could trust, and should trust them to act when there: the
people should either demand a share of office for their countrymen, or
make up their minds to go without; they ought not first to demand office
for Irishmen, and then call every Irishman a traitor and self-seeker who
took it. In a very short time he told me that he found he had much to
unlearn as well as learn: that many things of which he had been most
sure now turned out to be mistakes, and many very plain matters to be
exceedingly complicated; but that the one thing about which there could
be no mistake was, that, in such a state of opinion, he was no proper
guide for the readers of the "Nation," and he had accordingly sent in
his resignation of his appointment, together with some notices to the
editor of the different light in which Irish matters appear outside the
atmosphere of Repeal meetings.

In thus cutting loose from his only means of pecuniary support, Patrick
forfeited also his patriotic character. He was as thoroughly ruined in
the eyes of Repealers as if he had denounced the "Saxon" one hour and
the next crept into some warm place in the Custom-House on his knees.
Here ended poor Patrick's short political life, after, I think, two
letters to the "Nation," and here ended all hope of aid from his
countrymen in London. His letter was very moving. He knew himself to be
mortified by O'Connell's behavior to him; but he felt that he could not
submit to be regarded with suspicion because he had come to see for
himself how matters stood. He did not give up Repeal yet: he only wanted
to study the case on better knowledge; and in order to have a
perfectly clear conscience and judgment, he gave up his only pecuniary
resource,--his love and a future home being in the distance, and always
in view, all the time. Here, in spite of some lingering of old hopes,
two scenes of his young life had closed. His Irish life was over, and
his hope of political service.

I had before written about him to two or three literary friends in
London; and now I felt bound to see what could be done in opening a way
for him. He had obtained the insertion of a tale in a magazine, for
which he had one guinea in payment. This raised his spirits, and gave
him a hope of independence; for it was a parting of the clouds, and
there was no saying how much sunlight might be let down. He was willing
to apply himself to any drudgery; but his care to undertake nothing that
he was not sure of doing well was very striking. He might have obtained
good work as classical proof-corrector; but he feared, that, though his
classical attainments were good, his training had not qualified him
for the necessary accuracy. He had some employment of the sort, if I
remember right, which defrayed a portion of his small expenses. His
expenses were indeed small. He told me all his little gains and his
weekly outlay; and I was really afraid that he did not allow himself
sufficient food. Yet he knew that there was a little money in my hands,
when he wanted it. His letters became now very gay in spirits. He keenly
relished the society into which he was invited; and, on the other hand,
everybody liked him. It was amusing to me, in my sick room, three
hundred miles off, to hear of the impression he made, with his
innocence, his fresh delight in his new life, his candor, his modesty,
and his bright cleverness,--and then, again, to learn how diligently he
had set about learning what I, his correspondent, was really like. In
his dreams he had seen me very aged,--he thought upwards of eighty; and
he had never doubted of the fact being so. In one letter he told me,
that, finding a brother of mine was then in London, he was going that
afternoon to a public meeting to see him, in order to have some idea of
my aspect. A mutual friend told me afterwards that Patrick had come away
quite bewildered and disappointed. He had expected to see in my brother
a gray-haired ancient; whereas he found a man under forty. I really
believe he was disturbed that his dreams had misled him. Yet I never
observed any other sign of superstition in him.

At last the happy day came when he had a literary task worthy of him,--a
sort of test of his capacity for reviewing. One of the friends to whom
I had introduced him was then sub-editor of the "Athenaeum,"--a weekly
periodical of higher reputation at that time than now. Patrick was
commissioned to review a book of some weight and consequence,--Sir
Robert Kane's "Industrial Resources of Ireland,"--and he did it so well
that the conductors hoped to give him a good deal of employment. What
they gave him would have led to more; and thus he really was justified
in his exultation at having come to London. I remember, that, in the
midst of his joy, he startled me by some light mention of his having
spit blood, after catching cold,--a thing which had happened before in
Ireland. In answer to my inquiries, my friends told me that he certainly
looked very delicate, but made light of it. It happened, unfortunately,
that he was obliged just then to change his lodging. He increased his
cold by going about in bad weather to look for another. He found one,
however, and settled himself, in hope of doing great things there.

He had not been there a week before he rang his bell one day, and was
found bleeding from the lungs. His landlady called in a physician;
and it is probable that this gentleman did not know or suspect the
circumstances of his patient; for he not only ordered ice and various
expensive things, but took fees, while the poor patient was lying
forbidden to speak, and gnawed with anxiety as to where more money was
to come from, and with eagerness to get to work. His friends soon found
him out in his trouble; and I understood from him afterwards, and from
others who knew more about it than he did, that they were extremely
kind. I believe that one left a bank-note of a considerable amount at
the door, in a blank envelope. All charges were defrayed, and he was
bidden not to be anxious. Yet something must be done. What must it be?

As soon as he was allowed to raise his head from his pillow, he wrote me
a note in pencil; and it afforded an opening for discussing his affairs
with him. He had some impression of his life's being in danger; for it
was now that he confided to me the whole story of his attachment, and
the sufferings attending it: but he was still sanguine about doing great
things in literature, and chafing at his unwilling idleness. I was
strongly of opinion that the best way of dealing with him was to be
perfectly open; and, after proposing that we should have no reserves, I
told him what (proceeding on his own report of his health) I should in
his place decide upon doing. His pride would cause him some pain in
either of the two courses which were open to him,--but, I thought, more
in one than the other. If he remained in his lodgings, he would break
his heart about being a burden (as he would say) to his friends; and he
would fret after work so as to give himself no chance of such recovery
as might be hoped for: whereas, if he could once cheerfully agree to
enter a hospital, he would have every chance of rallying, and all the
sooner for being free from any painful sense of obligation. If the
treatment should succeed, this passage in his life would be something to
smile at hereafter, or to look back upon with sound satisfaction; and if
not, he would have friends about him, just as he would in a lodging.

The effect was what I wished. My letter gave no offence, and did him no
harm. He only begged for a few days more, before deciding that he might
satisfy himself whether he was getting well or not: if not, he would
cheerfully go wherever his friends advised, and believe that the plan
was the best for him.

In those few days arrangements were made for his being received at
the Sanatorium,--an institution in which sick persons who had either
previously subscribed, or who were the nominees of subscribers, were
received, and well tended for a guinea a week, under the comfortable
circumstances of a private house. Each patient had a separate chamber;
and the medical attendance, diet, and arrangements were of a far higher
order than poor Patrick could have commanded in lodgings. Above all, the
resident surgeon--now a distinguished physician, superintendent of a
lunatic asylum--was a man to make a friend of,--a man of cultivated
mind, tender heart, and cheerful and gentle manners. Patrick won his
heart at once; and every note of Patrick's glowed with affection for
Doctor H--. After a few weeks of alternating hope and fear, after a
natural series of fluctuations of spirits, Patrick wrote me a remarkably
quiet letter. He told me that both his doctors had given him a plain
answer to his question whether he could recover. They had told him
that it was impossible; but he could not learn from them how long they
thought he would live. He saw now, however, that he must give up his
efforts to work. He believed he could have worked a little: but perhaps
he was no judge; and if he really was dying, he could not be wrong in
obeying the directions of those who had the care of him. Once afterwards
he told me that his physicians did not, he saw, expect him to live many
months,--perhaps not even many weeks.

It was now clear to my mind what would please him best. I told him,
that, if he liked to furnish me with the address of that house in Dublin
in which his thoughts chiefly lived, I would take care that the young
lady there should know that he died in honor, having fairly entered upon
the literary career which had always been his aspiration, and surrounded
by friends whose friendship was a distinction. His words in reply were
few, calm, and fervent, intimating that he now had not a care left in
the world: and Doctor H--wondered what had happened to make him so gay
from the hour he received my letter.

His decline was a rapid one; and I soon learned, by very short notes,
that he hardly left his bed. When it was supposed that he would never
leave his room again, he surprised the whole household by a great feat.
I should have related before what a favorite he was with all the other
patients. He was the sunshine of the house while able to get to the
drawing-room, and the pet of each invalid by the chamber-fire. On
Christmas morning, he slipped out of bed, and managed to get his clothes
on, while alone, and was met outside his own door, bent on giving a
Christmas greeting to everybody in the house. He was indulged in this;
for it was of little consequence now what he did. He appeared at each
bedside, and at every sofa,--and not with any moving sentiment, but with
genuine gayety. It was full in his thoughts that he had not many days to
live, but he hoped the others had; and he entered into their prospect
of renewed health and activity. At night they said that Patrick had
brightened their Christmas Day.

He died very soon after,--sinking at last with perfect
consciousness,--writing messages to me on his slate while his fingers
would hold the pencil,--calm and cheerful without intermission. After
his death, when the last offices were to be begun, my letters were taken
warm from his breast. Every line that I had ever written to him was
there; and the packet was sent to me by Doctor H--bound round with the
green ribbon which he had himself tied before he quite lost the power.
The kind friends who had watched over him during the months of his
London life wrote to me not to trouble myself about his funeral. They
buried him honorably, and two of his distinguished friends followed him
to the grave.

Of course, I immediately performed my promise. I had always intended
that not only the young lady, but her father, should know what we
thought of Patrick, and what he might have been, if he had lived. I
wrote to that potential personage, telling him of all the facts of the
case, except the poverty, which might be omitted as essentially a slight
and temporary circumstance. I reported of his life of industry and
simple self-denial,--of his prospects, his friendships, his sweet and
gay decline and departure, and his honorable funeral. No answer was
needed; and I had supposed there would hardly be one. If there should
be one, it was not likely to be very congenial to the mood of Patrick's
friends: but I could hardly have conceived of anything so bad as it was.
The man wrote that it was not wonderful that any young man should get on
under the advantage of my patronage; and that it was to be hoped that
this young man would have turned out more worthy of such patronage than
he was when he ungratefully returned his obligations to his employer by
engaging the affections of his daughter. The young man had caused great
trouble and anxiety to one who, now he was dead, was willing to forgive
him; but no circumstance could ever change the aspect of his conduct,
in regard to his treacherous behavior to his benefactor; and so forth.
There was no sign of any consciousness of imprudence on the father's
own part; but strong indications of vindictive hatred, softened in
the expression by being mixed up with odious flatteries to Patrick's
literary friends. The only compensation for the disgust of this letter
was the confirmation it afforded of Patrick's narrative, in which, it
was clear, he had done no injustice to his oppressor.

I have not bestowed so much thought as this on the man and his letter,
from the day I received it, till now; but it was necessary to speak of
it at the close of the story. I lose sight of the painful incidents in
thinking of Patrick himself. I only wish I had once seen his face, that
I might know how near the truth is the image that I have formed of him.

There may have been, there no doubt have been, other such young
Irishmen, whose lives have been misdirected for want of the knowledge
which Patrick gained in good time by the accident of his coming to
England. I fear that many such have lived a life of turbulence,
or impotent discontent, under the delusion that their country was
politically oppressed. The mistake may now be considered at an end.
It is sufficiently understood in Ireland that her woes have been from
social and not political causes, from the day of Catholic emancipation.
But it is a painful thought what Patrick's short life might have been,
if he had remained under the O'Connell influence; and what the lives of
hundreds more have been,--rendered wild by delusion, and wretched by
strife and lawlessness, for want of a gleam of that clear daylight which
made a sound citizen of a passionate Young Repealer.



BREAD AND THE NEWSPAPER.


This is the new version of the _Panem et Circenses_ of the Roman
populace. It is our _ultimatum_, as that was theirs. They must have
something to eat, and the circus-shows to look at. We must have
something to eat, and the papers to read.

Everything else we can give up. If we are rich, we can lay down our
carriages, stay away from Newport or Saratoga, and adjourn the trip to
Europe _sine die_. If we live in a small way, there are at least new
dresses and bonnets and every-day luxuries which we can dispense with.
If the young Zouave of the family looks smart in his new uniform,
its respectable head is content, though he himself grow seedy as a
caraway-umbel late in the season. He will cheerfully calm the perturbed
nap of his old beaver by patient brushing in place of buying a new one,
if only the Lieutenant's jaunty cap is what it should be. We all take a
pride in sharing the epidemic economy of the time. Only _bread and the
newspaper_ we must have, whatever else we do without.

How this war is simplifying our mode of being! We live on our emotions,
as the sick man is said in the common speech to be nourished by his
fever. Our common mental food has become distasteful, and what would
have been intellectual luxuries at other times are now absolutely
repulsive.

All this change in our manner of existence implies that we have
experienced some very profound impression, which will sooner or later
betray itself in permanent effects on the minds and bodies of many among
us. We cannot forget Corvisart's observation of the frequency with which
diseases of the heart were noticed as the consequence of the terrible
emotions produced by the scenes of the great French Revolution. Laennec
tells the story of a convent, of which he was the medical director,
where all the nuns were subjected to the severest penances and schooled
in the most painful doctrines. They all became consumptive soon after
their entrance, so that, in the course of his ten years' attendance, all
the inmates died out two or three times, and were replaced by new ones.
He does not hesitate to attribute the disease from which they suffered
to those depressing moral influences to which they were subjected.

So far we have noticed little more than disturbances of the nervous
system as a consequence of the war excitement in non-combatants. Take
the first trifling example which comes to our recollection. A sad
disaster to the Federal army was told the other day in the presence of
two gentlemen and a lady. Both the gentlemen complained of a sudden
feeling at the _epigastrium_, or, less learnedly, the pit of the
stomach, changed color, and confessed to a slight tremor about the
knees. The lady had a _"grande revolution_," as French patients
say,--went home, and kept her bed for the rest of the day. Perhaps the
reader may smile at the mention of such trivial indispositions, but in
more sensitive natures death itself follows in some cases from no more
serious cause. An old gentleman fell senseless in fatal apoplexy, on
hearing of Napoleon's return from Elba. One of our early friends, who
recently died of the same complaint, was thought to have had his attack
mainly in consequence of the excitements of the time.

We all know what the _war fever_ is in our young men,--what a devouring
passion it becomes in those whom it assails. Patriotism is the fire
of it, no doubt, but this is fed with fuel of all sorts. The love of
adventure, the contagion of example, the fear of losing the chance of
participating in the great events of the time, the desire of personal
distinction, all help to produce those singular transformations which
we often witness, turning the most peaceful of our youth into the most
ardent of our soldiers. But something of the same fever in a different
form reaches a good many non-combatants, who have no thought of losing a
drop of precious blood belonging to themselves or their families. Some
of the symptoms we shall mention are almost universal; they are as plain
in the people we meet everywhere as the marks of an influenza, when that
is prevailing.

The first is a nervous restlessness of a very peculiar character. Men
cannot think, or write, or attend to their ordinary business. They
stroll up and down the streets, they saunter out upon the public places.
We confessed to an illustrious author that we laid down the volume
of his work which we were reading when the war broke out. It was as
interesting as a romance, but the romance of the past grew pale before
the red light of the terrible present. Meeting the same author not long
afterwards, he confessed that he had laid down his pen at the same time
that we had closed his book. He could not write about the sixteenth
century any more than we could read about it, while the nineteenth was
in the very agony and bloody sweat of its great sacrifice.

Another most eminent scholar told us in all simplicity that he had
fallen into such a state that he would read the same telegraphic
despatches over and over again in different papers, as if they were
new, until he felt as if he were an idiot. Who did not do just the same
thing, and does not often do it still, now that the first flush of the
fever is over? Another person always goes through the side streets on
his way for the noon _extra_,--he is so afraid somebody will meet him
and _tell_ the news he wishes to _read_, first on the bulletin-board,
and then in the great capitals and leaded type of the newspaper.

When any startling piece of war-news comes, it keeps repeating itself
in our minds in spite of all we can do. The same trains of thought go
tramping round in circle through the brain like the supernumeraries that
make up the grand army of a stage-show. Now, if a thought goes round
through the brain a thousand times in a day, it will have worn as
deep a track as one which has passed through it once a week for
twenty years. This accounts for the ages we seem to have lived
since the twelfth of April last, and, to state it more generally, for
that _ex post facto_ operation of a great calamity, or any very powerful
impression, which we once illustrated by the image of a stain spreading
backwards from the leaf of life open before us through all those which
we have already turned.

Blessed are those who can sleep quietly in times like these! Yet, not
wholly blessed, either; for what is more painful than the awaking from
peaceful unconsciousness to a sense that there is something wrong, we
cannot at first think what,--and then groping our way about through the
twilight of our thoughts until we come full upon the misery, which, like
some evil bird, seemed to have flown away, but which sits waiting for us
on its perch by our pillow in the gray of the morning?

The converse of this is perhaps still more painful. Many have the
feeling in their waking hours that the trouble they are aching with is,
after all, only a dream,--if they will rub their eyes briskly enough and
shake themselves, they will awake out of it, and find all their supposed
grief is unreal. This attempt to cajole ourselves out of an ugly fact
always reminds us of those unhappy flies who have been indulging in the
dangerous sweets of the paper prepared for their especial use.

Watch one of them. He does not feel quite well,--at least, he suspects
himself of indisposition. Nothing serious,--let us just rub our
fore-feet together, as the enormous creature who provides for us rubs
his hands, and all will be right. He rubs them with that peculiar
twisting movement of his, and pauses for the effect. No! all is not
quite right yet.--Ah! it is our head that is not set on just as it ought
to be. Let us settle _that_ where it should be, and _then_ we shall
certainly be in good trim again. So he pulls his head about as an old
lady adjusts her cap, and passes his fore-paw over it like a kitten
washing herself.--Poor fellow! It is not a fancy, but a fact, that he
has to deal with. If he could read the letters at the head of the sheet,
he would see they were _Fly-Paper_.--So with us, when, in our waking
misery, we try to think we dream! Perhaps very young persons may not
understand this; as we grow older, our waking and dreaming life run more
and more into each other.

Another symptom of our excited condition is seen in the breaking up of
old habits. The newspaper is as imperious as a Russian Ukase; it will be
had, and it will be read. To this all else must give place. If we must
go out at unusual hours to get it, we shall go, in spite of after-dinner
nap or evening somnolence. If it finds us in company, it will not stand
on ceremony, but cuts short the compliment and the story by the divine
right of its telegraphic despatches.

War is a very old story, but it is a new one to this generation of
Americans. Our own nearest relation in the ascending line remembers the
Revolution well. How should she forget it? Did she not lose her doll,
which was left behind, when she was carried out of Boston, then growing
uncomfortable by reason of cannon-balls dropping in from the neighboring
heights at all hours,--in token of which see the tower of Brattle-Street
Church at this very day? War in her memory means '76. As for the brush
of 1812, "we did not think much about that"; and everybody knows that
the Mexican business did not concern us much, except in its political
relations. No! War is a new thing to all of us who are not in the last
quarter of their century. We are learning many strange matters from our
fresh experience. And besides, there are new conditions of existence
which make war as it is with us very different from war as it has been.

The first and obvious difference consists in the fact that the whole
nation is now penetrated by the ramifications of a network of iron
nerves which flash sensation and volition backward and forward to and
from towns and provinces as if they were organs and limbs of a single
living body. The second is the vast system of iron muscles which, as it
were, move the limbs of the mighty organism one upon another. What was
the railroad-force which put the Sixth Regiment in Baltimore on the 19th
of April but a contraction and extension of the arm of Massachusetts
with a clenched fist full of bayonets at the end of it?

This perpetual intercommunication, joined to the power of instantaneous
action, keeps us always alive with excitement. It is not a breathless
courier who comes back with the report from an army we have lost sight
of for a month, nor a single bulletin which tells us all we are to know
for a week of some great engagement, but almost hourly paragraphs, laden
with truth or falsehood as the case may be, making us restless always
for the last fact or rumor they are telling. And so of the movements of
our armies. To-night the stout lumbermen of Maine are encamped under
their own fragrant pines. In a score or two of hours they are among the
tobacco-fields and the slave-pens of Virginia. The war passion burned
like scattered coals of fire in the households of Revolutionary times;
now it rushes all through the land like a flame over the prairie. And
this instant diffusion of every fact and feeling produces another
singular effect in the equalizing and steadying of public opinion. We
may not be able to see a month ahead of us; but as to what has passed,
a week afterwards it is as thoroughly talked out and judged as it would
have been in a whole season before our national nervous system was
organized.

  "As the wild tempest wakes the slumbering sea,
  Thou only teachest all that man can be!"

We indulged in the above apostrophe to War in a Phi Beta Kappa poem of
long ago, which we liked better before we read Mr. Cutler's beautiful
prolonged lyric delivered at the recent anniversary of that Society.

Oftentimes, in paroxysms of peace and good-will towards all mankind, we
have felt twinges of conscience about the passage,--especially when one
of our orators showed us that a ship of war costs as much to build and
keep as a college, and that every port-hole we could stop would give us
a new professor. Now we begin to think that there was some meaning in
our poor couplet. War _has_ taught us, as nothing else could, what we
can be and are. It has exalted our manhood and our womanhood, and driven
us all back upon our substantial human qualities, for a long time more
or less kept out of sight by the spirit of commerce, the love of art,
science, or literature, or other qualities not belonging to all of us as
men and women.

It is at this very moment doing more to melt away the petty social
distinctions which keep generous souls apart from each other, than the
preaching of the Beloved Disciple himself would do. We are finding out
that not only "patriotism is eloquence," but that heroism is gentility.
All ranks are wonderfully equalized under the fire of a masked battery.
The plain artisan or the rough fireman, who faces the lead and iron like
a man, is the truest representative we can show of the heroes of
Crecy and Agincourt. And if one of our fine gentlemen puts off his
straw-colored kids and stands by the other, shoulder to shoulder, or
leads him on to the attack, he is as honorable in our eyes and in theirs
as if he were ill-dressed and his hands were soiled with labor.

Even our poor "Brahmins,"--whom a critic in ground-glass spectacles (the
same who grasps his statistics by the blade and strikes at his
supposed antagonist with the handle) oddly confounds with the "bloated
aristocracy," whereas they are very commonly pallid, undervitalized,
shy, sensitive creatures, whose only birthright is an aptitude for
learning,--even these poor New England Brahmins of ours, _subvirates_
of an organizable base as they often are, count as full men, if their
courage is big enough for the uniform which hangs so loosely about their
slender figures.

A young man was drowned not very long ago in the river running under our
windows. A few days afterwards a field-piece was dragged to the water's
edge and fired many times over the river. We asked a bystander, who
looked like a fisherman, what that was for. It was to "break the gall,"
he said, and so bring the drowned person to the surface. A strange
physiological fancy and a very odd _non sequitur_; but that is not our
present point. A good many extraordinary objects do really come to the
surface when the great guns of war shake the waters, as when they roared
over Charleston harbor.

Treason came up, hideous, fit only to be huddled into its dishonorable
grave. But the wrecks of precious virtues, which had been covered with
the waves of prosperity, came up also. And all sorts of unexpected and
unheard-of things, which had lain unseen during our national life of
fourscore years, came up and are coming up daily, shaken from their bed
by the concussions of the artillery bellowing around us.

It is a shame to own it, but there were persons otherwise respectable
not unwilling to say that they believed the old valor of Revolutionary
times had died out from among us. They talked about our own Northern
people as the English in the last centuries used to talk about the
French,--Goldsmith's old soldier, it may be remembered, called one
Englishman good for five of them. As Napoleon spoke of the English,
again, as a nation of shopkeepers, so these persons affected to consider
the multitude of their countrymen as unwarlike artisans,--forgetting
that Paul Revere taught himself the value of liberty in working upon
gold, and Nathaniel Greene fitted himself to shape armies in the labor
of forging iron.

These persons have learned better now. The bravery of our free
working-people was overlaid, but not smothered, sunken, but not drowned.
The hands which had been busy conquering the elements had only to change
their weapons and their adversaries, and they were as ready to conquer
the masses of living force opposed to them as they had been to build
towns, to dam rivers, to hunt whales, to harvest ice, to hammer brute
matter into every shape civilization can ask for.

Another great fact came to the surface, and is coming up every day in
new shapes,--that we are one people. It is easy to say that a man is a
man in Maine or Minnesota, but not so easy to feel it, all through our
bones and marrow. The camp is deprovincializing us very fast. Poor
Winthrop, marching with the city _élégants_, seems almost to have been
astonished to find how wonderfully human were the hard-handed men of the
Eighth Massachusetts. It takes all the nonsense out of everybody, or
ought to do it, to see how fairly the real manhood of a country is
distributed over its surface. And then, just as we are beginning to
think our own soil has a monopoly of heroes as well as of cotton, up
turns a regiment of gallant Irishmen, like the Sixty-Ninth, to show us
that continental provincialism is as bad as that of Coos County, New
Hampshire, or of Broadway, New York.

Here, too, side by side in the same great camp, are half a dozen
chaplains, representing half a dozen modes of religious belief. When the
masked battery opens, does the "Baptist" Lieutenant believe in his
heart that God takes better care of him than of his "Congregationalist"
Colonel? Does any man really suppose, that, of a score of noble young
fellows who have just laid down their lives for their country,
the _Homoousians_ are received to the mansions of bliss, and the
_Homoiousians_ translated from the battle-field to the abodes of
everlasting woe? War not only teaches what man can be, but it teaches
also what he must not be. He must not be a bigot and a fool in the
presence of that day of judgment proclaimed by the trumpet which calls
to battle, and where a man should have but two thoughts: to do his duty,
and trust his Maker. Let our brave dead come back from the fields where
they have fallen for law and liberty, and if you will follow them to
their graves, you will find out what the Broad Church means; the narrow
church is sparing of its exclusive formulae over the coffins wrapped in
the flag which the fallen heroes had defended! Very little comparatively
do we hear at such times of the dogmas on which men differ; very much of
the faith and trust in which all sincere Christians can agree. It is a
noble lesson, and nothing less noisy than the voice of cannon can teach
it so that it shall be heard over all the angry voices of theological
disputants.

Now, too, we have a chance to test the sagacity of our friends, and to
get at their principles of judgment. Perhaps most of us will agree that
our faith in domestic prophets has been diminished by the experience of
the last six months. We had the notable predictions attributed to the
Secretary of State, which so unpleasantly refused to fulfil themselves.
We were infested at one time with a set of ominous-looking seers, who
shook their heads and muttered obscurely about some mighty preparations
that were making to substitute the rule of the minority for that of the
majority. Organizations were darkly hinted at; some thought our armories
would be seized; and there are not wanting ancient women in the
neighboring University town who consider that the country was saved by
the intrepid band of students who stood guard, night after night, over
the G.R. cannon and the pile of balls in the Cambridge Arsenal.

As a general rule, it is safe to say that the best prophecies are those
which the sages _remember_ after the event prophesied of has come to
pass, and remind us that they have made long ago. Those who are rash
enough to predict publicly beforehand commonly give us what they hope,
or what they fear, or some conclusion from an abstraction of their own,
or some guess founded on private information not half so good as what
everybody gets who reads the papers,--_never_ by any possibility a word
that we can depend on, simply because there are cob-webs of contingency
between every to-day and to-morrow that no field-glass can penetrate
when fifty of them lie woven one over another. Prophesy as much as you
like, but always _hedge_. Say that you think the rebels are weaker than
is commonly supposed, but, on the other hand, that they may prove to be
even stronger than is anticipated. Say what you like,--only don't be too
peremptory and dogmatic; we _know_ that wiser men than you have been
notoriously deceived in their predictions in this very matter.

  _Ibis et redibis nunquam in bello peribis._

Let that be your model; and remember, on peril of your reputation as a
prophet, not to put a stop before or after the _nunquam_.

There are two or three facts connected with _time_, besides that already
referred to, which strike us very forcibly in their relation to the
great events passing around us. We spoke of the long period seeming to
have elapsed since this war began. The buds were then swelling which
held the leaves that are still green. It seems as old as Time himself.
We cannot fail to observe how the mind brings together the scenes of
to-day and those of the old Revolution. We shut up eighty years into
each other like the joints of a pocket-telescope. When the young men
from Middlesex dropped in Baltimore the other day, it seemed to bring
Lexington and the other Nineteenth of April close to us. War has always
been the mint in which the world's history has been coined, and now
every day or week or month has a new medal for us. It was Warren that
the first impression bore in the last great coinage; if it is Ellsworth
now, the new face hardly seems fresher than the old. All battle-fields
are alike in their main features. The young fellows who fell in our
earlier struggle seemed like old men to us until within these few
months; now we remember they were like these fiery youth we are cheering
as they go to the fight; it seems as if the grass of our bloody
hill-side was crimsoned but yesterday, and the cannon-ball imbedded in
the church-tower would feel warm, if we laid our hand upon it.

Nay, in this our quickened life we feel that all the battles from
earliest time to our own day, where Right and Wrong have grappled, are
but one great battle, varied with brief pauses or hasty bivouacs upon
the field of conflict. The issues seem to vary, but it is always a
right against a claim, and, however the struggle of the hour may go, a
movement onward of the campaign, which uses defeat as well as victory to
serve its mighty ends. The very weapons of our warfare change less than
we think. Our bullets and cannon-balls have lengthened into bolts like
those which whistled out of old arbalests. Our soldiers fight with
Bowie-knives, such as are pictured on the walls of Theban tombs, wearing
a newly-invented head-gear as old as the days of the Pyramids.

Whatever miseries this war brings upon us, it is making us wiser,
and, we trust, better. Wiser, for we are learning our weakness, our
narrowness, our selfishness, our ignorance, in lessons of sorrow and
shame. Better, because all that is noble in men and women is demanded by
the time, and our people are rising to the standard the time calls for.
For this is the question the hour is putting to each of us: Are you
ready, if need be, to sacrifice all that you have and hope for in this
world, that the generations to follow you may inherit a whole country
whose natural condition shall be peace, and not a broken province which
must live under the perpetual threat, if not in the constant presence,
of war and all that war brings with it? If we are all ready for this
sacrifice, battles may be lost, but the campaign and its grand object
must be won.

Heaven is very kind in its way of putting questions to mortals. We are
not abruptly asked to give up all that we most care for, in view of the
momentous issues before us. Perhaps we shall never be asked to give up
all, but we have already been called upon to part with much that is dear
to us, and should be ready to yield the rest as it is called for. The
time may come when even the cheap public print shall be a burden our
means cannot support, and we can only listen in the square that was once
the market-place to the voices of those who proclaim defeat or victory.
Then there will be only our daily food left. When we have nothing to
read and nothing to eat, it will be a favorable moment to offer a
compromise. At present we have all that Nature absolutely demands,--we
can live on bread and the newspaper.

       *       *       *       *       *


"UNDER THE CLOUD AND THROUGH THE SEA."


  So moved they, when false Pharaoh's legion pressed,
  Chariots and horsemen following furiously,--
  Sons of old Israel, at their God's behest,
  Under the cloud and through the swelling sea.

  So passed they, fearless, where the parted wave,
  With cloven crest uprearing from the sand,--
  A solemn aisle before,--behind, a grave,--
  Rolled to the beckoning of Jehovah's hand.

  So led He them, in desert marches grand,
  By toils sublime, with test of long delay,
  On, to the borders of that Promised Land
  Wherein their heritage of glory lay.

  And Jordan raged along his rocky bed,
  And Amorite spears flashed keen and fearfully:
  Still the same pathway must their footsteps tread,--
  Under the cloud and through the threatening sea.

  God works no otherwise. No mighty birth
  But comes by throes of mortal agony;
  No man-child among nations of the earth
  But findeth baptism in a stormy sea.

  Sons of the Saints who faced their Jordan-flood
  In fierce Atlantic's unretreating wave,--
  Who by the Red Sea of their glorious blood
  Reached to the Freedom that your blood shall save!

  O Countrymen! God's day is not yet done!
  He leaveth not His people utterly!
  Count it a covenant, that He leads us on
  Beneath the Cloud and through the crimson Sea!



JOURNAL OF A PRIVATEERSMAN.


The following journal was written by the Captain's Quartermaster on
board the Sloop Revenge, of Newport, Rhode Island, on a cruise against
the Spaniards in the year 1741. Rhode Island was famous at that time
for the number and the success of her privateers. There was but little
objection felt to the profession of privateering. Franklin had not yet
roused by his effective protest the moral sentiment of the civilized
world against it. The privateers that were fitted out in those days were
intended for service against foreign enemies; they were not manned by
rebels, with design to ruin their loyal fellow-citizens. England and
Spain were at war, and the West Indian seas were white with the sails of
national fleets and private armed vessels. Privateering afforded a vent
for the active and restless spirits of the colonies; it was not without
some creditable associations; and the life of a privateersman was full
of the charms of novelty, adventure, and risk. This journal shows
something of its character.

A journal _of all the transactions on board the sloop_ REVENGE, _Benj'n
Norton Com'r by God's grace and under his protection, bound on a
cruising voyage against the Spaniards. Begun June the 5th, 1741_.

_Friday, 5th._ This day, at 4 A.M., the Cap't went from Taylor's wharf
on board his sloop, which lay off of Connanicut, & at 6 o'clock Cap't
John Freebody [the chief owner] came off in the pinnace with several
hands. We directly weighed anchor with 40 hands, officers included,
bound to New York to get more hands, a Doctor, and some more provisions
and other stores we stood in need of. The wind coming contrary, was
obliged to put back. Came to an anchor again under Connanicut at 8 P.M.

_Saturday, 6th._ Weighed from under Connanicut at 4 A.M. with a small
breeze of wind. Met several vessells bound to Newport and Boston. At 7
P.M. anchored under Block Island, over against the £10,000 Pear [pier?].
Bought 10s. worth of Codfish for the people.

_Sunday, 7th._ About 4 A.M. weighed from Block Island, and Monday, the
8th instant, at 9 A.M., anchored in Huntington Bay.

_Tuesday, 9th._ Weighed from Huntington Bay at 3 P.M. At 11 came to the
white stone. Fired a gun & beat the drum to let them know what we were.
The Ferryboat came off & told us we could not get hands at York, for the
sloops fitted by the country had got them all. At 12 came to anchor at
the 2 Brothers. At 4 took an acc't of all the provisions on board, with
the cost; together with a list of all the people on board. Price, a hand
that came with us from Rhode Island, askt leave to go to York to see
his wife. Set a shilling crazy fellow ashore, not thinking him fit to
proceed the Voyage, his name unknown to me.

_Wednesday, 10th._ This morning, about 5 A.M., Cap't Freebody went up to
York in the pinnace to get provisions and leave to beat about for more
hands. At 1 P.M. the Pinnace returned and brought word to Cap't Norton
from Mr. Freebody that he had waited on his Honour the Gov'r, and that
he would not give him leave to beat up for Volunteers. The chief reason
he gave was that the City was thinned of hands by the 2 country sloops
that were fitted out by the Council to cruise after the Spanish
privateers on the coast, and that his Grace the Duke of Newcastle had
wrote him word, that, if Admiral Vernon or Gen. Wentworth[A] should
write for more recruits, to use his endeavors to get them, so that he
could not give encouragement to any privateers to take their men away.
Three of the hands that went up to York left us. At 4 P.M. Edward
Sampford, our pilot, went ashore in a canoe with four more hands,
without leave from the Cap'n. When he came on board again the Cap'n
talked to him, & found that he was a mutinous, quarrelsome fellow, and
so ordered him to bundle up his clothes & go ashore for good. He carried
with him 5 more hands. After they were gone, I read the articles to
those on board, who readily signed; so hope we shall lead a peaceable
life. Remain, out of the 41 hands that came with us from Rhode Island,
29 hands.

[Footnote A: Admiral Vernon (whose name is familiar to every
American,--Mount Vernon was named in his honor) was in command of
the British fleet in the Spanish Main. General Wentworth, an officer
"without experience, authority, or resolution," had command of the land
forces in the West Indies. All the North American, colonies, except
Georgia, which was too recently settled, and whose own borders were too
much exposed, had been called upon to give aid to the expedition against
the Spaniards, and a regiment thirty-six hundreds strong was actually
supplied by them. The war was one in which the colonists took an active
interest.]

_Friday, 12th._ Went to York with a letter from the Cap'n to Mr.
Freebody, who ordered the vessel up to York. Three of our hands left me
to see some negroes burnt,[B] took a pilot in to bring the vessel up,
and so returned on board at 3 P.M.

[Footnote B: This little, indifferent phrase refers to one of the most
shocking and cruel incidents of the colonial history of New York, the
result of a delusion "less notorious," says Mr. Hildreth, (_Hist, of
the United States, ii. 391_,) "but not less lamentable, than the Salem
witchcraft. The city of New York now contained some seven or eight
thousand inhabitants, of whom twelve or fifteen hundred were slaves.
Nine fires in rapid succession, most of them, however, merely the
burning of chimneys, produced a perfect insanity of terror. An indented
servant-woman purchased her liberty and secured a reward of one hundred
pounds by pretending to give information of a plot formed by a low
tavern-keeper, her master, and three negroes, to burn the city and
murder the whites. This story was confirmed and amplified by an Irish
prostitute convicted of a robbery, who, to recommend herself to mercy,
reluctantly turned informer. Numerous arrests had been already made
among the slaves and free blacks. Many others followed. The eight
lawyers who then composed the bar of New York all assisted by turns in
behalf of the prosecution. The prisoners, who had no counsel, were tried
and convicted upon most insufficient evidence. Many confessed to save
their lives, and then accused others. Thirteen unhappy convicts were
burned at the stake, eighteen were hanged, and seventy-one transported."
Such are the panics of a slaveholding community!]

_Saturday, 13th._ At 5 A.M. weighed from the 2 Brothers and went to
York. At 7 anchored off the town. Saluted it with 7 guns. Ship't 7 hands
to proceed the voyage.

_Sunday, 14th._ Between 6 & 7 A.M. came in a brig from Aberdeen with 40
servants,[C] but brings no news.

[Footnote C: At this time much of the agricultural and domestic labor in
the colonies, especially south of New England, was performed by indented
servants brought from Great Britain, Ireland, and Germany. They were
generally an ill-used class. Their services were purchased of the
captains who brought them over; the purchaser had a legal property in
them during the time they were bound for, could sell or bequeath them,
and, like other chattels, they were liable to be seized for debts.]

_Thursday, 18th._ At 11 A.M. our pilot came on board with 4 of our men
that had left us when the Cap'n turned Edward Sampford ashore. At 2 P.M.
the Cap'n ordered our gunner to deliver arms to them that had none.
25 hands fitted themselves. Great firing at our buoy, supposing him a
Spaniard. I hope to God their courage may be as good, if ever they meet
with any.

_Saturday, 20th._ At 10 A.M. there came in the Squirrel man of war,
Cap'n Warren[D] Com'r, from Jamaica, who informed us that Admiral Vernon
had taken all the forts at Carthagena except one, and the town.[E] We
saluted him with 3 guns, having no more loaded. He returned us one, and
we gave three cheers, which were returned by the ship. He further told
the Captain, that, if he would come up to York, he would put him on a
route which would be of service to his voyage.

[Footnote D: Captain, afterward Sir Peter Warren, was a distinguished
naval officer in his day. In 1745 he was made Rear-Admiral for his
services at the siege of Louisbourg. He married in New York.]

[Footnote E: The report of the taking of Cartagena was false, and the
colonists were greatly disappointed at the failure of Vernon's great
enterprise.]

_Tuesday, 23d._ Wrote a letter, by the Captain's order, to get Davison
to go as mate with us. Our Captain went to York to carry it to Capt.
Potter. At 3 P.M. came in a sloop from Jamaica, in a 20 days passage,
from which we learn that Admiral Vernon's fleet was fitting out for
Cuba.[F] I wish them more success than what they got against Carthagena;
for by all report they got more blows than honour. At 4 P.M. the Captain
returned and brought a hand with him, John Watson, Clerk of a Dutch
church.

[Footnote F: Five hundred additional men were sent from Massachusetts
to take part in this new expedition. It was a total failure, like the
preceding one, and Few of the colonial troops lived to return home.]

_Wednesday, 24th._ About 10 A.M. the pilot came on board with a message
from Capt Freebody, who was returned from Long Island, to agree with a
Doctor who had offered to go with us. At 1 P.M. came in a sloop from
Jamaica, a prize of Capt Warren, which had formerly been taken by the
Spaniards. She belonged to Providence, and had been retaken by the
Squirrel. At 6 P.M. Mr. Stone & the Doctor came on board to see the
Captain, but, he being at York, they went there to see him.

_Thursday, 25th._ Nothing remarkable the fore part of the day, but
quarreling not worth mentioning. At 1 P.M. a sloop came in from Jamaica,
and brought for news that they had spoken an English man of war at Port
Marant, by which they had been informed that a fresh war was daily
expected; also that the Bay was entirely cut off by the Spaniards. No
Doctor as yet, for he that the Captain went to agree with was a drunkard
and an extortioner, so we are better without him than with him.

_Friday, 26th._ The most remarkablest day this great while. All has
been peace & quietness. Three ships came down the Narrows, one bound to
London, another bound to Newfoundland, & the third to Ireland.

_Saturday, 27th._ This morning, about 10, the Cap't went to York to take
his leave of Cap't Freebody, who was going to Rhode Island. At 2 P.M.
he came on board & brought with him 2 bb's of pork. At 3 came in a
privateer from Bermudas, Capt Love Com'r, who came here for provisions
for himself & his consort, who waited for him there. This day we heard
that the two country sloops were expected in by Wednesday next. Lord
send it, for we only wait for them in hopes of getting a Doctor & some
more hands to make up our complement.

_Friday, July 3d._ At 5 A.M. we saw three hands who had left us the day
before on board the Humming Bird privateer, who had been enticed by some
of the owners to leave us by making of them drunk. About 10 we saw their
canoe going ashore with our hands in her, also Joseph Ferrow, whom we
had brought from Rhode Island, and since given him clothes, but who
had entered on board that sloop as boatswain. As soon as they had done
watering, and were returning to the ship, we manned our pinnace, and,
having boarded their canoe, took our three hands out of her, and brought
them and Joseph Ferrow aboard. Some time after, the Humming Bird's canoe
coming alongside, Ferrow jumpt into it, and they put off. Our pinnace
being hauled up in the tackles, we immediately let her down, but
unfortunately the plug was out, and the hands which had jumped into her
being raw, she almost filled with water, which caused such confusion
that the canoe got on board before we got off. Our hands then went to
demand Ferrow, but the privateersmen got out their arms and would not
suffer us to board them. At 4 P.M. the Cap' of the little Privateer came
on board of us to know the reason of the disturbance between his people
and ours. Our Captain told him the reason, and forbid him to carry that
fellow away, for, if he did, he might chance to hear of him in the West
Indies, &, if he did, he would go 100 leagues to meet him, and take ten
for one, and break up his voyage, & send him home to his owners, and
give his people a good dressing. (I don't doubt but he'll be as good as
his word.) Opened a bbl of bread. Thunder and lightning with a great
deal of rain.

_Saturday, 4th._ This morning, about 5 A.M., came in a ship from
Marblehead bound to S'o Carolina. She had lost her main mast, mizzen
mast, & fore topmast. In Latitude 35 she met with a hard gale of wind
which caused the disaster, and obliged her to put in to New York to
refit. About 11 o'clock the Humming Bird weighed anchor for Philadelphia
to get hands. At 4 P.M. the Lieu't and 2 sergeants belonging to Capt
Rigg's Company came on board to look for some soldiers who were supposed
to be on board the Humming Bird, which was lying off Coney Island, but,
the wind and tide proving contrary, they were obliged to return. At 6
came in a ship from Lisbon, having made the passage in 6 weeks; also a
sloop from Turks Island: both loaded with salt. The ship appearing to be
a lofty vessel, our people were panic struck with fear, taking her for a
70 gun ship, and, as we had several deserters from the men at war, they
desired the Cap't to hoist the Jack and lower our pennant as a signal
for our pinnace, which was then ashore, so that, if she proved to be a
man of war, they might get ashore, and clear of the press. But it proved
quite the contrary; for the ship & sloop's crew, taking us, by the
signal we had made for our pinnace, for a tender of a man of war, laying
there to press hands, quitted their vessels and ran ashore, as soon as
they saw our pinnace manned, and made for the bushes. At night the Cap'
gave the people a pail of punch to recover them of their fright. Thunder
& lightning all this day.

_Sunday, 5th._ At 5 A.M. shipped a hand. Our mate went ashore to get
water. About 8 he returned, and informed us that the two country sloops
lay at the Hook, and only waited for a pilot to bring them up, which
I hope will prove true. We are all tired of staying here. At 2 P.M.
weighed anchor and got nearer in shore, out of the current. Rainy,
squally, windy weather. Here lie a brig bound to Newfoundland, a ship to
Jamaica, and a sloop which at 6 P.M. weighed anchor, bound to Barbadoes,
loaded with lumber and horses. This day being a month since we left our
commission port, I have set down what quantity of provisions has been
expended, viz., 9-1/2 bb's of beef, 1 bb of pork, 14 bb of Bread.
Remaining, 49-1/2 bb's of beef, 29 bb's of pork, 40 cwt of bread.

_Monday, 6th._ About 6 A.M. came in the two Country sloops so long
waited for. They were fitted out to take a Spanish privateer that
has been cruising on the coast, and has taken several of our English
vessels. A ship from Newfoundland also came up, and also the Humming
bird privateer, which had been to meet them to get hands. Cap't Langden,
Com'r of one of the above sloops, as he came alongside, gave us three
cheers, which we returned. The Cap't went up to York to get a Doctor and
some hands. One promised to give him an answer the next day. At 10 a
hand came on board to list, but went away without signing.

_Tuesday, 6th._ This morning the Captain went up to York, and at last
agreed with a Doctor who had been in the employ of Capt Cunningham,
Com'r of one of the Privateer Sloops that came in the day before. His
name is William Blake. He is a young gentleman, and well recommended by
the Gen'l of York. At 6 P.M. the Captain returned on board, and brought
with him a chest of medicines, a Doctor's box which cost 90£ York
currency; also 10 pistols and cutlasses.

_Tuesday, 14th._ Weighed about 2 P.M., from the Hook with the wind at
W.S.W, with a fresh gale, & by God's leave and under his protection,
bound on our cruise against the proud Dons, the Spaniards. The Captain
ordered the people a pail of punch to drink to a good voyage. Opened a
bb of beef & a tierce of bread. The people were put on allowance for the
time, one pound of beef per man & 7 pounds of bread, per week.

_Wednesday, 15th._ At 3 P.M. set our shrouds up. There was a great,
swelling sea. About 5 A.M. saw a sail under our bow, about a league
distant. All hands were called upon deck, and got ready to receive her,
should she prove an enemy. We fired one of our bow chasers & brought her
to, and found that she was a sloop from Nantucket, Russell Master. He
said he had met nothing since he had been out, which was 4 days. Our
people returned to their _statu quo_, being all peaceable since they
have got a Quartermaster to control them.

_Tuesday, 28th._ About 5 A.M. spied a sail under our lee bow, bore
down on her, and when in gunshot fired one of our bow chasers. She
immediately lowered all her sails, & went astern of us. We then ordered
the master to send his boat aboard, which he did, and came himself with
one hand. Upon examination, we found that she was a sloop belonging to
some of the subjects of his Brittanick majesty, & was taken by a
Spanish privateer. The sloop had been taken off of Obricock,[G] near N.
Carolina, and when taken by us was in Latitude 31° 59' N., Longitude 73°
6' W. The master, when he came aboard, brought three Spanish papers,
which he declared to be, the first, a copy of his commission; the
second, Instructions what signal to make when arrived at S't Augustine,
where she was to be condemned; and the third paper was to let him know
what route he was to steer. We sent our Lieu't aboard, who reported that
she was loaded with Pork, Beans, Live Hogs, &c., and a horse, & had on
board 2 Englishmen; the Master, who is a Frenchman born, but turned
Spaniard; 3 Spaniard slaves, & one negro. Upon examination, John
Evergin, one of the owners, declared that he had been taken some time in
April last by Don Pedro Estrado, Cap't of the privateer that had taken
this sloop, & that he forced him to list with them, and to pilot their
vessel on the coast of N. Carolina, and that then they took this sloop
at Obricock, on July 5'th; also 2 more sloops and a ship loaded with
lumber & bound to S'o Carolina; that the Cap't of the privateer put him
on board with the French master, and another Englishman, Saml Elderidge,
to navigate the vessel to Augustine, and that they were making the best
of their way to that place. We sent our Master on board to fetch all
the papers & bring the prisoners as above mentioned. At 11 A.M. sent
Jeremiah Harman & John Webb with four hands to take care of the prize,
the first to be master & the other mate. The Captain gave the master &
mate the following orders, viz.,--

[Footnote G: Perhaps a misspelling of Occacoke, an island on the coast
of North Carolina.]

On Board the Revenge,

_July 28th, 1741._

You, Jeremiah Harman, being appointed Master, & you, John Webb, mate, of
a sloop taken by a Spanish privateer some time ago, belonging to some of
the subjects of his Brittanick Majesty, and retaken by me by virtue of
a commission granted to me by the Hon'ble Ritchard Ward, Esq., Gov'r in
chief over Rhode Island & Providence plantations, &c., in New England,
I order, that you keep company with my sloop, the Revenge, as long as
weather will permit, & if by the Providence of God, by stormy weather,
or some unforeseen accident, we should part, I then order you to proceed
directly to the island of Providence, one of the Bahamia islands, and
there to wait my arrival, and not to embezzle, diminish, waste, sell, or
unload any part of her cargo till I am there present, under the penalty
of the articles already signed by you. Upon your arrival at Providence,
make a just report to his Hon'r the Gov'r of that place of the sloop &
cargo, & what is on board, & how we came by her. I am y'rs,

B. NORTON. To Jeremiah Harman, Mas'r & John Webb, mate.

For signal, hoist your Dutch jack at mast head; if we hoist first, you
answer us, & do not keep it up long.

_Wednesday, 29th._ About 4 P.M. saw a sloop. Gave chase, but, the
weather being calm, was forced to get out our oars. Fired our bow chase
to bring her to; but as the people were in confusion, the ship tacking
about, and the night coming on very foggy, we were unable to speak to
her. By her course she was bound to the North'd. Lost sight of our
prize. The two Englishmen, who were taken prisoners by the Spanish
privateer, signed our articles to-day.

_Saturday, Aug 1st._ The prize still alongside of us. Ordered the Master
to send us the negro prisoner, having been informed that he was Cap't of
a Comp'y of Indians, mulattoes, and negroes, that was at the retaking of
the Fort at St Augustine, which had formerly been taken while under the
command of that worthiest G--O--pe,[H] who by his treachery suffered
so many brave fellows to be mangled by those barbarians. The negro went
under the name of Signior Capitano Francisco. Sent one of the mulattoes
in his room on board the prize. Gave the people a pail of punch.

[Footnote H: General Oglethorpe, who was at this time the victim of
unfavorable reports and calumnious stories, that had been spread by
disaffected members of the infant settlements in Georgia, and by some
of the officers who had served under him in his unsuccessful attempt
to reduce the town of Saint Augustine in Florida, "The fort at Saint
Augustine," to which the writer of this Journal refers, as having been
taken while under the command of Oglethorpe, was Fort Moosa, three miles
from Saint Augustine, where a detachment of one hundred and thirty-seven
men, under Colonel Palmer of Carolina, had been attacked by a vastly
superior force of Spaniards, negroes, and Indians, and had been cut
off almost to a man. This misfortune seems to have been due to Colonel
Palmer's disregard of Oglethorpe's orders, and Oglethorpe himself was
in no way responsible for it, although the popular blame fell on his
shoulders.]

_Sunday, 2nd._ At 1 P.M. we examined the negro, who frankly owned that
he was Cap't of a Comp'y as aforesaid, & that his commission was on
board the privateer; that he was in the privateer in hopes of getting to
the Havanah, & that there he might get a passage to Old Spain to get the
reward of his brave actions. We then askt him if it was his comp'y that
had used the English so barbarously, when taken at the fort. He denied
that it was his compy, but laid that cruel action to the Florida
Indians, and nothing more could we get out of him. We then tied him to a
gun & made the Doctor come with instruments, seemingly to treat him as
they had served the English [prisoners], thinking by that means to get
some confession out of him; but he still denied it. We then tried a
mulatto, one that was taken with him, to find out if he knew anything
about the matter. We gave him a dozen of stripes, but he declared that
he knew nothing more than that he [the negro] had been Cap't of a Comp'y
all that time. The other fellow on board the sloop, he said, knew all
about it. We sent to him, & he declared the whole truth, that it was
the Florida Indians who had committed the acts under his [the negro's]
command, but did not know if he was consenting to it. However, to make
sure, & to make him remember that he bore such a commission, we gave him
200 lashes, & having pickled him, left him to the care of the Doctor.
Opened a tierce of bread and killed the 2 hogs.

_Monday, 3d._ Small breeze of wind. About 10 saw a schooner standing to
N'ward. Gave her chase.

_Tuesday, 4th._ A fine breeze of wind. Still in chase of the schooner.
At 5 P.M. gave her a gun, in hopes to bring her to and find out what she
was; but she did not mind it, neither hoisted any colors. Then she bore
down on us, tacked and bore away. We fired 10 shot, but all did not
signify, for she hugged her wind, & it growing dark, and having a good
pair of heels, she was soon lost sight of. We imagined she was an
eastward schooner both by her build & course; but let her be what she
will, she had a brave fellow for a Comr.

_Wednesday, 5th._ Fine breeze of wind. The man at the mast head about 2
P.M. spied 5 sail of vessels steering to the westward. Gave them chase
till 1 A.M. About 2 we could see them at a great distance to leeward
of us. Lay to till 4, and then began the chase again, they having got
almost out of sight.

_Thursday, 6th._ Still in chase of the 5 vessels. Set our spritsail,
topsail & squaresail, with a fair breeze of wind. One of the ships
brought to and fired a gun to wait for a sloop that was in Comp' with
her, & to wait for us. We took in all our small sails, bore down on her,
& hoisted our pennant. When alongside of her she fired 6 shot at us, but
did us no damage. We still hedged upon her, and, having given her our
broadside, stood off. The sloop tacked immediately and bore down on us,
in hopes to get us between them to pepper us, as we supposed. At sight
of this, we gave them three cheers. Our people were all agreed to fight
them, & told the Captain, if he would venture his sloop, they would
venture their lives; but he seemed unwilling, and gave for reason, that
the prize would be of little profit, if taken, and perhaps would
not make good a limb, if it was lost. He also said we had not hands
sufficient to man them, and to bring them into Providence, & to carry
them to the N'ward would be the breaking up of the voyage without
profit. Nevertheless we let the sloop come alongside us, & received her
shot. In return we gave her a broadside & a volley of small arms with
three huzzas, and then bore down on the ship, which all this time had
been pelting us with her shot, but to no purpose. As we passed, we gave
her a broadside which did some damage, for she bore down to the sloop,
and never fired another shot, but careened her over and let some men
down the side to stop her holes, & sent some to repair the rigging and
sails, which were full of shot holes. All the damage we got was one shot
through our main-sail. The ship mounted 6 guns of a side, and the sloop
eight. She was a Spanish privateer, bound on a cruize to the N'ward, &
had taken 5 ships & the sloop which we had retaken some time before. It
grieved us to think that the fellow should go off with those prizes,
which he would not have done, had the Captain been as willing to fight
as we. This battle took place in the Latitude 29° 26', Long. 74° 30' W.
But no blood was shed on our side.



THE ADVANTAGES OF DEFEAT.


When the news flashed over the country, on Monday, the 22d of July, that
our army, whose advance into Virginia had been so long expected, and had
been watched with such intense interest and satisfaction,--that our army
had been defeated, and was flying back in disorder to the intrenchments
around Washington, it was but natural that the strong revulsion of
feeling and the bitter disappointment should have been accompanied by a
sense of dismay, and by alarm as to what was to follow. The panic which
had disgraced some of our troops at the close of the fight found its
parallel in the panic in our own hearts. But as the smoke of the battle
and the dust of the retreat, which overshadowed the land in a cloud of
lies and exaggerations, by degrees cleared away, men regained the even
balance of their minds, and felt a not unworthy shame at their transient
fears.

It is now plain that our defeat at Bull Run was in no true sense a
disaster; that we not only deserved it, but needed it; that its ultimate
consequences are better than those of a victory would have been. Far
from being disheartened by it, it should give us new confidence in our
cause, in our strength, in our final success. There are lessons which
every great nation must learn which are cheap at any cost, and for some
of those lessons the defeat of the 21st of July was a very small price
to pay. The essential question now is, Whether this schooling has been
sufficient and effectual, or whether we require still further hard
discipline to enforce its instructions upon us.

In this moment of pause and compelled reflection, it is for us to
examine closely the spirit and motives with which we have engaged in
war, and to determine the true end for which the war must be carried on.
It is no time for indulging in fallacies of the fancy or in feebleness
of counsel. The temper of the Northern people, since the war was forced
upon them, has been in large measure noble and magnanimous. The sudden
interruption of peace, the prospect of a decline of long continued
prosperity, were at once and manfully faced. An eager and emulous zeal
in the defence of the imperilled liberties and institutions of the
nation showed itself all over the land, and in every condition of life.
None who lived through the months of April and May can ever forget the
heroic and ideal sublimity of the time. But as the weeks went on, as
the immediate alarm that had roused the invincible might of the people
passed away, something of the spirit of over-confidence, of excited
hope, of satisfied vanity mingled with and corrupted the earlier and
purer emotion. The war was to be a short one. Our enemies would speedily
yield before the overwhelming force arrayed against them; they would run
from Northern troops; we were sure of easy victory. There was little
sober foreboding, as our army set out from Washington on its great
advance. The troops moved forward with exultation, as if going on a
holiday and festive campaign; and the nation that watched them shared
in their careless confidence, and prophesied a speedy triumph. But the
event showed how far such a spirit was from that befitting a civil
war like this. Never were men engaged in a cause which demanded more
seriousness of purpose, more modesty and humility of pretension.

The duty before us is honorable in proportion to its difficulty. God has
given us work to do not only for ourselves, but for coming generations
of men. He has imposed on us a task which, if well performed, will
require our most strenuous endeavors and our most patient and
unremitting exertions. We are fairly engaged in a war which cannot be
a short one, even though our enemies should before long lay down their
arms; for it is a war not merely to support and defend the Constitution
and to retake the property of the United States, not merely to settle
the question of the right of a majority to control an insolent and
rebellious minority in the republic, nor to establish the fact of the
national existence and historic unity of the United States; but it is
also and more essentially a war for the establishment of civilization in
that immense portion of our country in which for many years barbarism
has been gaining power. It is for the establishment of liberty and
justice, of freedom of conscience and liberty of thought, of equal law
and of personal rights, throughout the South. If these are not to be
secured without the abolition of slavery, it is a war for the abolition
of slavery. We are not making war to reëstablish an old order of things,
but to set up a new one. We are not giving ourselves and our fortunes
for the purpose of fighting a few battles, and then making peace,
restoring the Southern States to their old place in the Union,--but for
the sake of destroying the root from which this war has sprung, and of
making another such war impossible. It is not worth while to do only
half or a quarter of our work. But if we do it thoroughly, as we ought,
the war must be a long one, and will require from us long sacrifices. It
is well to face up to the fact at once, that this generation is to be
compelled to frugality, and that luxurious expenses upon trifles and
superfluities must be changed for the large and liberal costliness of a
noble cause. We are not to expect or hope for a speedy return of what is
called prosperity; but we are greatly and abundantly prosperous, if we
succeed in extending and establishing the principles which alone can
give dignity and value to national or individual life, and without
which, material abundance, success in trade, and increase of wealth are
evidences rather of the decline than of the progress of a state. We, who
have so long been eager in the pursuit and accumulation of riches, are
now to show more generous energies in the free spending of our means
to gain the invaluable objects for which we have gone to war. There is
nothing disheartening in this prospect. Our people, accustomed as they
have been during late years to the most lavish use of money, and to
general extravagance in expense, have not yet lost the tradition of the
economies and thrift of earlier times, and will not find it difficult
to put them once more into practice. The burden will not fall upon any
class; and when each man, whatever be his station in life, is called
upon to lower his scale of living, no one person will find it too hard
to do what all others are doing.

But if such be the objects and the prospects of the war, it is plain
that they require more sober thought and more careful forecasting and
more thorough preparation than have thus far been given to them. If we
be the generation chosen to accomplish the work that lies ready to
our hands, if we be commissioned to so glorious and so weighty an
enterprise, there is but one spirit befitting our task. The war, if it
is to be successful, must be a religious war: not in the old sense of
that phrase, not a war of violent excitement and passionate enthusiasm,
not a war in which the crimes of cruel bigots are laid to the charge of
divine impulse, bur a war by itself, waged with dignified and solemn
strength, with clean hands and pure hearts,--a war calm and inevitable
in its processes as the judgments of God. When Cromwell's men went out
to win the victory at Winceby Fight, their watchword was "_Religion_."
Can we in our great struggle for liberty and right adopt any other
watchword than this? Do we require another defeat and more suffering to
bring us to a sense of our responsibility to God for the conduct and the
issue of this war?

It is only by taking the highest ground, by raising ourselves to the
full conception of what is involved in this contest, that we shall
secure success, and prevent ourselves from sinking to the level of those
who are fighting against us. The demoralization necessarily attendant
upon all wars is to be met and overcome only by simple and manly
religious conviction and effort. It will be one of the advantages
of defeat to have made it evident that a regiment of bullies and
prize-fighters is not the best stuff to compose an army. "Your men are
not vindictive enough," Mr. Russell is reported to have said, as he
watched the battle. It was the saying of a shrewd observer, but it
expresses only an imperfect apprehension of the truth. Vindictiveness is
not the spirit our men should have, but a resoluteness of determination,
as much more to be relied upon than a vindictive passion as it is
founded upon more stable and more enduring qualities of character.
The worst characters of our great cities may be the fit equals of
Mississippi or Arkansas ruffians, but the mass of our army is not to be
brought down to the standard of rowdies or the level of barbarians. The
men of New England and of the West do not march under banners with
the device of "Booty and Beauty," though General Beauregard has the
effrontery to declare it, and Bishop, now General, Polk the ignorance
to utter similar slanders. The atrocities committed on our wounded and
prisoners by the "chivalry" of the South may excite not only horror, but
a wild fury of revenge. But our cause should not be stained with cruelty
and crime, even in the name of vengeance. If the war is simply one in
which brute force is to prevail, if we are fighting only for lust and
pride and domination, then let us have our "Ellsworth Avengers," and
let us slay the wounded of our enemy without mercy; let us burn their
hospitals, let us justify their, as yet, false charges against us; let
us admit the truth of the words of the Bishop of Louisiana, that the
North is prosecuting this war "with circumstances of barbarity which it
was fondly believed would never more disgrace the annals of a civilized
people." But if we, if our brothers in the army, are to lose the proud
distinctions of the North, and to be brought down to the level of
the tender mercies and the humane counsels of slaveholders and
slave-drivers, there would be little use in fighting. If our
institutions at the North do not produce better, more humane, and more
courageous men than those of the South, when taken in the mass, there is
no reason for the sacrifice of blood and treasure in their support. War
must be always cruel; it is not to be waged on principles of tenderness;
but a just, a religious war can be waged only mercifully, with no
excess, with no circumstance of avoidable suffering. Our enemies are our
outward consciences, and their reproaches may warn us of our dangers.

The soldiers of the Northern army generally are men capable of
understanding the force of moral considerations. They are intelligent,
independent, vigorous,--as good material as an army ever was formed
from. A large proportion of them have gone to the war from the best
motives, and with clear appreciation of the nature and grounds of the
contest. But they require to be confirmed in their principles, and to
be strengthened against the temptations of life in the camp and in the
field, by the voice and support of the communities from which they
have come. If the country is careless or indifferent as to their moral
standard, they will inevitably become so themselves, and lose the
perception of the objects for which they are fighting, forgetting their
responsibilities, not only as soldiers, but as good men. It is one of
the advantages of defeat to force the thoughts which camp-life may have
rendered unfamiliar back into the soldier's mind. The boastfulness of
the advance is gone,--and there is chance for sober reflection.

It is especially necessary for our men, unaccustomed to the profession
of arms, and entering at once untried upon this great war, to take a
just and high view of their new calling: to look at it with the eyes,
not of mercenaries, but of men called into their country's service; to
regard it as a life which is not less, but more difficult than any other
to be discharged with honor. "Our profession," said Washington, "is the
chastest of all; even the shadow of a fault tarnishes the lustre of our
finest achievements." Our soldiers in Virginia, and in the other Slave
States, have not only their own reputation to support, but also that
of the communities from which they come. There must be a rivalry in
generous efforts among the troops of different States. Shall we not now
have our regiments which by their brave and honorable conduct shall win
appellations not less noble than that of the _Auvergne sans tache_,
"Auvergne without a stain"? If the praise that Mr. Lincoln bestowed upon
our men in his late Message to Congress be not undeserved, they are
bound to show qualities such as no other common soldiers have ever
been called to exhibit. There are among them more men of character,
intelligence, and principle than were ever seen before in the ranks.
There should be a higher tone in our service than in that of any other
people; and it would be a reproach to our institutions, if our soldiers
did not show themselves not only steady and brave in action,
undaunted in spirit, unwearied in energy, but patient of discipline,
self-controlled, and forbearing. The disgrace to our arms of the defeat
at Bull Run was not so great as that of the riotous drunkenness and
disorderly conduct of our men during the two or three days that
succeeded at Washington. If our men are to be the worthy soldiers of so
magnificent a cause as that in which they are engaged, they must raise
themselves to its height. Battles may be won by mere human machines, by
men serving for eleven dollars a month; but a victory such as we have to
gain can be won only by men who know for what and why they are
fighting, and who are conscious of the dignity given to them and the
responsibility imposed upon them by the sacredness of their cause. The
old flag, the stars and stripes, must not only be the symbol in their
eyes of past glories and of the country's honor, but its stars must
shine before them with the light of liberty, and its stripes must be the
emblem of the even and enduring lines of equal justice.

The retreat from Bull Run and the panic that accompanied it were not
due to cowardice among our men. During long hours our troops had fought
well, and showed their gallantry under the most trying circumstances.
They were not afraid to die. It was not strange that raw volunteers, as
many of them were, inefficiently supported, and poorly led, should at
length give way before superior force, and yield to the weakness induced
by exhaustion and hunger. But the lesson of defeat would be imperfectly
learned, did not the army and the nation alike gain from it a juster
sense than they before possessed of the value of individual life.
Never has life been so much prized and so precious as it has become in
America. Never before has each individual been of so much worth. It
costs more to bring up a man here, and he is worth more when brought up,
than elsewhere. The long peace and the extraordinary amount of comfort
which the nation has enjoyed have made us (speaking broadly) fond of
life and tender of it. We of the North have looked with astonishment at
the recklessness of the South concerning it. We have thought it braver
to save than to spend it; and a questionable humanity has undoubtedly
led us sometimes into feeble sentimentalities, and false estimates of
its value. We have been in danger of thinking too much of it, and of
being mean-spirited in its use. But the first sacrifice for which war
calls is life; and we must revise our estimates of its value, if we
would conduct our war to a happy end. To gain that end, no sacrifice can
be too precious or too costly. The shudder with which we heard the first
report that three thousand of our men were slain was but the sign of the
blow that our hearts received. But there must be no shrinking from the
prospect of the death of our soldiers. Better than that we should fail
that a million men should die on the battle-field. It is not often that
men can have the privilege to offer their lives for a principle; and
when the opportunity comes, it is only the coward that does not welcome
it with gladness. Life is of no value in comparison with the spiritual
principles from which it gains its worth. No matter how many lives it
costs to defend or secure truth or justice or liberty, truth and justice
and liberty must be defended and secured. Self-preservation must yield
to Truth's preservation. The little human life is for to-day,--the
principle is eternal. To die for truth, to die open-eyed and resolutely
for the "good old cause," is not only honor, but reward. "Suffering is
a gift not given to every one," said one of the Scotch martyrs in 1684,
"and I desire to bless the Lord with my whole heart and soul that He has
counted such a poor thing as I am worthy of the gift of suffering."

The little value of the individual in comparison with the principles
upon which the progress and happiness of the race depend is a lesson
enforced by the analogies of Nature, as well as by the evidence of
history and the assurance of faith. Nature is careless of the single
life. Her processes seem wasteful, but out of seeming waste she produces
her great and durable results. Everywhere in her works are the signs of
life cut short for the sake of some effect more permanent than itself.
And for the establishing of those immortal foundations upon which the
human race is to stand firm in virtue and in hope, for the building of
the walls of truth, there will be no scanty expenditure of individual
life. Men are nothing in the count,--man is everything.

The spirit of the nation will be shown in its readiness to meet without
shrinking such sacrifice of life as may be demanded in gaining our end.
We must all suffer and rejoice together,--but let there be no unmanly or
unwomanly fear of bloodshed. The deaths of our men from sickness, from
camp epidemics, are what we should fear and prevent; death on the
battle-field we have no right to dread. The men who die in this cause
die well; they could wish for no more honorable end of life.

The honor lost in our recent defeat cannot be regained,--but it is
indeed one of the advantages of defeat to teach men the preciousness of
honor, the necessity of winning and keeping it at any cost. Honor and
duty are but two names for the same thing in war. But the novelty of war
is so great to us, we are so unpractised in it, and we have thought so
little of it heretofore as concerning ourselves, that there is danger
lest we fail at first to appreciate its finer elements, and neglect the
opportunities it affords for the practice of virtues rarely called out
in civil life. The common boast of the South, that there alone was to be
found the chivalry of America, and that among the Southern people was
a higher strain of courage and a keener sense of honor than among the
people of the North, is now to be brought to the test. There is not
need to repeat the commonplaces about bravery and honor. But we and our
soldiers should remember that it is not the mere performance of set work
that is required of them, but the valiant and generous alacrity of noble
minds in deeds of daring and of courtesy. Though the science of war
has in modern times changed the relations and the duties of men on the
battle-field from what they were in the old days of knighthood, yet
there is still room for the display of stainless valor and of manful
virtue. Honor and courage are part of our religion; and the coward or
the man careless of honor in our army of liberty should fall under
heavier shame than ever rested on the disgraced soldier in former times.
The sense of honor is finer than the common sense of the world. It
counts no cost and reckons no sacrifice great. "Then the king wept, and
dried his eyes, and said, 'Your courage had neere hand destroyed you,
for I call it folly knights to abide when they be overmatched.'
'Nay,' said Sir Lancelot and the other, 'for once shamed may never be
recovered.'" The examples of Bayard,--_sans peur et sans reproche_,--of
Sidney, of the heroes of old or recent days, are for our imitation. We
are bound to be no less worthy of praise and remembrance than they. They
did nothing too high for us to imitate. And in their glorious company
we may hope that some of our names may yet be enrolled, to stand as
the inspiring exemplars and the models for coming times. If defeat has
brought us shame, it has brought us also firmer resolve. No man can be
said to know himself, or to have assurance of his force of principle and
character, till he has been tested by the fires of trial in the crucible
of defeat. The same is true of a nation. The test of defeat is the test
of its national worth. Defeat shows whether it deserves success. We may
well be grateful and glad for our defeat of the 21st of July, if we
wrest from it the secrets of our weakness, and are thrown back by it to
the true sources of strength. If it has done its work thoroughly, if we
profit sufficiently by the advantages it has afforded us, we may be well
content that so slight a harm has brought us so great a good. But if
not, then let us be ready for another and another defeat, till our souls
shall be tempered and our forces disciplined for the worthy attainment
of victory. For victory we shall in good time have. There is no need to
fear or be doubtful of the issue. As soon as we deserve it, victory will
be ours; and were we to win it before, it would be but an empty
and barren triumph. All history is but the prophecy of our final
success,--and Milton has put the prophecy into words: "Go on, O Nation,
never to be disunited! Be the praise and the heroic song of all
posterity! Merit this, but seek only virtue, not to extend your limits,
(for what needs to win a fading triumphant laurel out of the tears of
wretched men?) but to settle the pure worship of God in his church, and
justice in the state. Then shall the hardest difficulties smooth out
themselves before thee; envy shall sink to hell, craft and malice be
confounded, whether it be home-bred mischief or outlandish cunning; yea,
other nations will then covet to serve thee, for lordship and victory
are but the pages of justice and virtue. Use thine invincible might to
do worthy and godlike deeds, and then he that seeks to break your union
a cleaving curse be his inheritance to all generations!"

       *       *       *       *       *


ODE TO HAPPINESS.


  I.


  Spirit, that rarely comest now,
  And only to contrast my gloom,
  Like rainbow-feathered birds that bloom
  A moment on some autumn bough
  Which, with the spurn of their farewell,
  Sheds its last leaves,--thou once didst dwell
  With me year-long, and make intense
  To boyhood's wisely-vacant days
  That fleet, but all-sufficing grace
  Of trustful inexperience,
  While yet the soul transfigured sense,
  And thrilled, as with love's first caress,
  At life's mere unexpectedness.


  II.


  Those were thy days, blithe spirit, those
  When a June sunshine could fill up
  The chalice of a buttercup
  With such Falernian juice as flows
  No longer,--for the vine is dead
  Whence that inspiring drop was shed:
  Days when my blood would leap and run,
  As full of morning as a breeze,
  Or spray tossed up by summer seas
  That doubts if it be sea or sun;
  Days that flew swiftly, like the band
  That in the Grecian games had strife
  And passed from eager hand to hand
  The onward-dancing torch of life.


  III.


  Wing-footed! thou abid'st with him
  Who asks it not; but he who hath
  Watched o'er the waves thy fading path
  Shall nevermore on ocean's rim,
  At morn or eve, behold returning
  Thy high-heaped canvas shoreward yearning!
  Thou first reveal'st to us thy face
  Turned o'er the shoulder's parting grace,
  A moment glimpsed, then seen no more,--
  Thou whose swift footsteps we can trace
  Away from every mortal door!


  IV.


  Nymph of the unreturning feet,
  How may I woo thee back? But no,
  I do thee wrong to call thee so;
  'Tis we are changed, not thou art fleet:
  The man thy presence feels again
  Not in the blood, but in the brain,
  Spirit, that lov'st the upper air,
  Serene and vaporless and rare,
  Such as on mountain-heights we find
  And wide-viewed uplands of the mind,
  Or such as scorns to coil and sing
  Round any but the eagle's wing
  Of souls that with long upward beat
  Have won an undisturbed retreat,
  Where, poised like wingèd victories,
  They mirror in unflinching eyes
  The life broad-basking 'neath their feet,--
  Man always with his Now at strife,
  Pained with first gasps of earthly air,
  Then begging Death the last to spare,
  Still fearful of the ampler life.


  V.


  Not unto them dost thou consent
  Who, passionless, can lead at ease
  A life of unalloyed content,
  A life like that of landlocked seas,
  That feel no elemental gush
  Of tidal forces, no fierce rush
  Of storm deep-grasping, scarcely spent
  'Twixt continent and continent:
  Such quiet souls have never known
  Thy truer inspiration, thou
  Who lov'st to feel upon thy brow
  Spray from the plunging vessel thrown,
  Grazing the tusked lee shore, the cliff
  That o'er the abrupt gorge holds its breath,
  Where the frail hair's-breadth of an If
  Is all that sunders life and death:
  These, too, are cared for, and round these
  Bends her mild crook thy sister Peace;
  These in unvexed dependence lie
  Each 'neath his space of household sky;
  O'er them clouds wander, or the blue
  Hangs motionless the whole day through;
  Stars rise for them, and moons grow large
  And lessen in such tranquil wise
  As joys and sorrows do that rise
  Within their nature's sheltered marge;
  Their hours into each other flit,
  Like the leaf-shadows of the vine
  And fig-tree under which they sit;
  And their still lives to heaven incline
  With an unconscious habitude,
  Unhistoried as smokes that rise
  From happy hearths and sight elude
  In kindred blue of morning skies.


  VI.


  Wayward! when once we feel thy lack,
  'Tis worse than vain to tempt thee back!
  Yet there is one who seems to be
  Thine elder sister, in whose eyes
  A faint, far northern light will rise
  Sometimes and bring a dream of thee:
  She is not that for which youth hoped;
  But she hath blessings all her own,
  Thoughts pure as lilies newly oped,
  And faith to sorrow given alone:
  Almost I deem that it is thou
  Come back with graver matron brow,
  With deepened eyes and bated breath,
  Like one who somewhere had met Death.
  "But no," she answers, "I am she
  Whom the gods love, Tranquillity;
  That other whom you seek forlorn.
  Half-earthly was; but I am born
  Of the immortals, and our race
  Have still some sadness in our face:
  He wins me late, but keeps me long,
  Who, dowered with every gift of passion,
  In that fierce flame can forge and fashion
  Of sin and self the anchor strong;
  Can thence compel the driving force
  Of daily life's mechanic course,
  Nor less the nobler energies
  Of needful toil and culture wise:
  Whose soul is worth the tempter's lure,
  Who can renounce and yet endure,
  To him I come, not lightly wooed,
  And won by silent fortitude."

       *       *       *       *       *


ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING.


_Florence_, July 5th, 1861.

  "When some belovèd voice that was to you
  Both sound and sweetness faileth suddenly,
  And silence, against which you dare not cry,
  Aches round you like a strong disease and new,--
  What hope? what help? what music will undo
  That silence to your sense? Not friendship's sigh,--
  Not reason's subtle count,--not melody
  Of viols, nor of pipes that Faunus blew,--
  Not songs of poets, nor of nightingales,
  Whose hearts leap upward through the cypress-trees
  To the clear moon,--nor yet the spheric laws
  Self-chanted,--nor the angels' sweet All-hails,
  Met in the smile of God. Nay, none of these!
  Speak THOU, availing Christ, and fill this pause!"

Thus sang the Muse of a great woman years ago; and now, alas! she, who,
with constant suffering of her own, was called upon to grieve often for
the loss of near and dear ones, has suddenly gone from among us, "and
silence, against which we dare not cry, aches round us like a strong
disease and new." Her own beautiful words are our words, the world's
words,--and though the tears fall faster and thicker, as we search
for all that is left of her in the noble poems which she bequeaths to
humanity, there follows the sad consolation in feeling assured that she
above all others _felt_ the full value of life, the full value of death,
and was prepared to meet her God humbly, yet joyfully, whenever He
should claim her for His own. Her life was one long, large-souled,
large-hearted prayer for the triumph of Right, Justice, Liberty; and she
who lived for others was

       "poet true,
  Who died for Beauty, as martyrs do
  For Truth,--the ends being scarcely two."

Beauty _was_ truth with her, the wife, mother, and poet, three in one,
and such an earthly trinity as God had never before blessed the world
with.

This day week, at half-past four o'clock in the morning, Mrs. Browning
died. A great invalid from girlhood, owing to an unfortunate accident,
Mrs. Browning's life was a prolonged combat with disease thereby
engendered; and had not God given her extraordinary vitality of spirit,
the frail body could never have borne up against the suffering to which
it was doomed. Probably there never was a greater instance of the power
of genius over the weakness of the flesh. Confined to her room in
the country or city home of her father in England, Elizabeth Barrett
developed into the great artist and scholar.

From her couch went forth those poems which have crowned her as "the
world's greatest poetess"; and on that couch, where she lay almost
speechless at times, and seeing none but those friends dearest and
nearest, the soul-woman struck deep into the roots of Latin and Greek,
and drank of their vital juices. We hold in kindly affection her
learned and blind teacher, Hugh Stuart Boyd, who, she tells us, was
"enthusiastic for the good and the beautiful, and one of the most simple
and upright of human beings." The love of his grateful scholar, when
called upon to mourn the good man's death, embalms his memory among her
Sonnets, where she addresses him as her

  "Beloved friend, who, living many years
  With sightless eyes raised vainly to the sun,
  Didst learn to keep thy patient soul in tune
  To visible Nature's elemental cheers!"

Nor did this "steadfast friend" forget his poet-pupil ere he went to
"join the dead":--

  "Three gifts the Dying left me,--Aeschylus,
  And Gregory Nazianzen, and a clock
  Chiming the gradual hours out like a flock
  Of stars, whose motion is melodious."

We catch a glimpse of those communings over "our Sophocles the royal,"
"our Aeschylus the thunderous," "our Euripides the human," and "my Plato
the divine one," in her pretty poem of "Wine of Cyprus," addressed to
Mr. Boyd. The woman translates the remembrance of those early lessons
into her heart's verse:--

  "And I think of those long mornings
  Which my thought goes far to seek,
  When, betwixt the folio's turnings,
  Solemn flowed the rhythmic Greek.
  Past the pane, the mountain spreading,
  Swept the sheep-bell's tinkling noise,
  While a girlish voice was reading,--
  Somewhat low for [Greek: ais] and [Greek: ois]."

These "golden hours" were not without that earnest argument so welcome
to candid minds:--

  "For we sometimes gently wrangled,
  Very gently, be it said,--
  Since our thoughts were disentangled
  By no breaking of the thread!
  And I charged you with extortions
  On the nobler fames of old,--
  Ay, and sometimes thought your Persons
  Stained the purple they would fold."

What high honor the scholar did her friend and teacher, and how nobly
she could interpret the "rhythmic Greek," let those decide who have read
Mrs. Browning's translations of "Prometheus Bound" and Bion's "Lament
for Adonis."

Imprisoned within the four walls of her room, with books for her world
and large humanity for her thought, the lamp of life burning so low at
times that a feather would be placed on her lips to prove that there was
still breath, Elizabeth Barrett read and wrote, and "heard the nations
praising" her "far off." She loved

       "Art for art,
  And good for God himself, the essential Good,"

until destiny (a destiny with God in it) brought two poets face to face
and heart to heart. Mind had met mind and recognized its peer previously
to that personal interview which made them one in soul; but it was not
until after an acquaintance of two years that Elizabeth Barrett and
Robert Browning were united in marriage for time and for eternity, a
marriage the like of which can seldom be recorded. What wealth of love
she could give is evidenced in those exquisite sonnets purporting to be
from the Portuguese, the author being too modest to christen them by
their right name, Sonnets from the Heart. None have failed to read the
truth through this slight veil, and to see the woman more than the poet
in such lines as these:--

  "I yield the grave for thy sake, and exchange
  My near sweet view of heaven for earth with thee!"

We have only to turn to the concluding poem in "Men and Women,"
inscribed to E.B.B., to see how reciprocal was this great love.

From their wedding-day Mrs. Browning seemed to be endowed with new life.
Her health visibly improved, and she was enabled to make excursions in
England prior to her departure for the land of her adoption, Italy,
where she found a second and a dearer home. For nearly fifteen years
Florence and the Brownings have been one in the thoughts of many English
and Americans; and Casa Guidi, which has been immortalized by Mrs.
Browning's genius, will be as dear to the Anglo-Saxon traveller as
Milton's Florentine residence has been heretofore. Those who now pass by
Casa Guidi fancy an additional gloom has settled upon the dark face of
the old palace, and grieve to think that those windows from which
a spirit-face witnessed two Italian revolutions, and those large
mysterious rooms where a spirit-hand translated the great Italian Cause
into burning verse, and pleaded the rights of humanity in "Aurora
Leigh," are hereafter to be the passing homes of the thoughtless or the
unsympathizing.

Those who have known Casa Guidi as it was could hardly enter the loved
rooms now and speak above a whisper. They who have been so favored
can never forget the square anteroom, with its great picture and
piano-forte, at which the boy Browning passed many an hour,--the
little dining-room covered with tapestry, and where hung medallions
of Tennyson, Carlyle, and Robert Browning,--the long room filled with
plaster casts and studies, which was Mr. Browning's retreat,--and,
dearest of all, the large drawing-room, where she always sat. It opens
upon a balcony filled with plants, and looks out upon the old iron-gray
church of Santa Felice. There was something about this room that seemed
to make it a proper and especial haunt for poets. The dark shadows
and subdued light gave it a dreamy look, which was enhanced by the
tapestry-covered walls and the old pictures of saints that looked
out sadly from their carved frames of black wood. Large book-cases,
constructed of specimens of Florentine carving selected by Mr. Browning,
were brimming over with wise-looking books. Tables were covered with
more gayly bound volumes, the gifts of brother authors. Dante's
grave profile, a cast of Keats's face and brow taken after death, a
pen-and-ink sketch of Tennyson, the genial face of John Kenyon, Mrs.
Browning's good friend and relative, little paintings of the boy
Browning, all attracted the eye in turn, and gave rise to a thousand
musings. A quaint mirror, easy-chairs and sofas, and a hundred nothings
that always add an indescribable charm, were all massed in this room.
But the glory of all, and that which sanctified all, was seated in a low
arm-chair near the door. A small table, strewn with writing-materials,
books, and newspapers, was always by her side.

To those who loved Mrs. Browning (and to know her was to love her) she
was singularly attractive. Hers was not the beauty of feature; it was
the loftier beauty of expression. Her slight figure seemed hardly large
enough to contain the great heart that beat so fervently within, and the
soul that expanded more and more as one year gave place to another. It
was difficult to believe that such a fairy hand could pen thoughts of
such ponderous weight, or that such a "still small voice" could utter
them with equal force. But it was Mrs. Browning's face upon which one
loved to gaze,--that face and head which almost lost themselves in the
thick curls of her dark brown hair. That jealous hair could not hide the
broad, fair forehead, "royal with the truth," as smooth as any girl's,
and

  "Too large for wreath of modern wont."

Her large brown eyes were beautiful, and were in truth the windows
of her soul. They combined the confidingness of a child with the
poet-passion of heart and of intellect; and in gazing into them it was
easy to read _why_ Mrs. Browning wrote. God's inspiration was her motive
power, and in her eyes was the reflection of this higher light.

  "And her smile it seemed half holy,
  As if drawn from thoughts more far
  Than our common jestings are."

Mrs. Browning's character was wellnigh perfect. Patient in long
suffering, she never spoke of herself, except when the subject was
forced upon her by others, and then with no complaint. She _judged not_,
saving when great principles were imperilled, and then was ready to
sacrifice herself upon the altar of Right. Forgiving as she wished to be
forgiven, none approached her with misgivings, knowing her magnanimity.
She was ever ready to accord sympathy to all, taking an earnest interest
in the most insignificant, and so humble in her greatness that her
friends looked upon her as a divinity among women. Thoughtful in the
smallest things for others, she seemed to give little thought to
herself; and believing in universal goodness, her nature was free from
worldly suspicions. The first to see merit, she was the last to censure
faults, and gave the praise that she _felt_ with a generous hand. No one
so heartily rejoiced at the success of others, no one was so modest in
her own triumphs, which she looked upon more as a favor of which she
was unworthy than as a right due to her. She loved all who offered
her affection, and would solace and advise with any. She watched the
progress of the world with tireless eye and beating heart, and, anxious
for the good of the _whole_ world, scorned to take an insular view
of any political question. With her a political question was a moral
question as well. Mrs. Browning belonged to no particular country; the
world was inscribed upon the banner under which she fought. Wrong was
her enemy; against this she wrestled, in whatever part of the globe it
was to be found.

A noble devotion to and faith in the regeneration of Italy was a
prominent feature in Mrs. Browning's life. To her, Italy was from the
first a living fire, not the bed of dead ashes at which the world was
wont to sneer. Her trust in God and the People was supreme; and when
the Revolution of 1848 kindled the passion of liberty from the Alps to
Sicily, she, in common with many another earnest spirit, believed
that the hour for the fulfilment of her hopes had arrived. Her joyful
enthusiasm at the Tuscan uprising found vent in the "Eureka" which she
sang with so much fervor in Part First of "Casa Guidi Windows."

  "But never say 'No more'
  To Italy's life! Her memories undismayed
  Still argue 'Evermore'; her graves implore
  Her future to be strong and not afraid;
  Her very statues send their looks before."

And even she was ready to believe that a Pope _might_ be a reformer.

  "Feet, knees, and sinews, energies divine,
  Were never yet too much for men who ran
  In such hard ways as must be this of thine,
  Deliverer whom we seek, whoe'er thou art,
  Pope, prince, or peasant! If, indeed, the first,
  The noblest therefore! since the heroic heart
  Within thee must be great enough to burst
  Those trammels buckling to the baser part
  Thy saintly peers in Rome, who crossed and cursed
  With the same finger."

The Second Part of "Casa Guidi Windows" is a sad sequel to the First,
but Mrs. Browning does not deride. She bows before the inevitable, but
is firm in her belief of a future living Italy.

  "In the name of Italy
  Meantime her patriot dead have benison;
  They only have done well;--and what they did
  Being perfect, it shall triumph. Let them slumber!"

Her short-lived credence in the good faith of Popes was buried with much
bitterness of heart:--

  "And peradventure other eyes may see,
  From Casa Guidi windows, what is done
  Or undone. Whatsoever deeds they be,
  Pope Pius will be glorified in none."

It is a matter of great thankfulness that God permitted Mrs. Browning to
witness the second Italian revolution before claiming her for heaven. No
patriot Italian, of whatever high degree, gave greater sympathy to the
aspirations of 1859 than Mrs. Browning, an echo of which the world has
read in her "Poems before Congress" and still later contributions to the
New York "Independent." Great was the moral courage of this frail woman
to publish the "Poems before Congress" at a time when England was most
suspicious of Napoleon. Greater were her convictions, when she abased
England and exalted France for the cold neutrality of the one and the
generous aid of the other in this war of Italian independence. Bravely
did she bear up against the angry criticism excited by such anti-English
sentiment. Strong in her right, Mrs. Browning was willing to brave the
storm, confident that truth would prevail in the end. Apart from certain
_tours de force_ in rhythm, there is much that is grand and as much that
is beautiful in these Poems, while there is the stamp of _power_ upon
every page. It is felt that a great soul is in earnest about vital
principles, and earnestness of itself is a giant as rare as forcible.
Though there are few now who look upon Napoleon as

  "Larger so much by the heart"

than others "who have governed and led," there are many who acknowledge
him to be

  "Larger so much by the head,"

and regard him as she did,--Italy's best friend in the hour of need. Her
disciples are increasing, and soon "Napoleon III. in Italy" will be read
with the admiration which it deserves.

Beautiful in its pathos is the poem of "A Court Lady," and there are few
satires more biting than "An August Voice," which, as an interpretation
of the Napoleonic words, is perfect. Nor did she fail to vindicate the
Peace of Villafranca:--

  "But He stood sad before the sun
  (The peoples felt their fate):
  'The world is many,--I am one;
  My great Deed was too great.
  God's fruit of justice ripens slow:
  Men's souls are narrow; let them grow.
  My brothers, we must wait.'"

And truly, what Napoleon then failed, from opposition, to accomplish by
the sword, has since been, to a great extent, accomplished by diplomacy.

But though Mrs. Browning wrote her "Tale of Villafranca" in full faith,
after many a mile-stone in time lay between her and the _fact_, her
friends remember how the woman bent and was wellnigh crushed, as by a
thunderbolt, when the intelligence of this Imperial Treaty was first
received. Coming so quickly upon the heels of the victories of Solferino
and San Martino, it is no marvel that what stunned Italy should have
almost killed Mrs. Browning. That it hastened her into the grave is
beyond a doubt, as she never fully shook off the severe attack of
illness occasioned by this check upon her life-hopes. The summer of 1859
was a weary, suffering season for her in consequence; and although the
following winter, passed in Rome, helped to repair the evil that had
been wrought, a heavy cold, caught at the end of the season, (and
for the sake of seeing Rome's gift of swords to Napoleon and Victor
Emmanuel,) told upon her lungs. The autumn of 1860 brought with it
another sorrow in the death of a beloved sister, and this loss seemed
more than Mrs. Browning could bear; but by breathing the soft air of
Rome again she seemed to revive, and indeed wrote that she was "better
in body and soul."

Those who have known Mrs. Browning in later years thought she never
looked better than upon her return to Florence in the first days of last
June, although the overland journey had been unusually fatiguing to her.
But the meeting was a sad one; for Cavour had died, and the national
loss was as severe to her as a personal bereavement. Her deep nature
regarded Italy's benefactor in the light of a friend; for had he not
labored unceasingly for that which was the burden of her song? and could
she allow so great a man to pass away without many a heart-ache? It is
as sublime as it is rare to see such intense appreciation of great deeds
as Mrs. Browning could give. Her fears, too, for Italy, when the patriot
pilot was hurried from the helm, gave rise to much anxiety, until
quieted by the assuring words of the new minister, Ricasoli.

Nor was Mrs. Browning so much engrossed in the Italian regeneration that
she had no thought for other nations and for other wrongs. Her interest
in America was very great,--

  "For poets, (bear the word!)
  Half-poets even, are still whole democrats:
  Oh, not that we're disloyal to the high,
  But loyal to the low, and cognizant
  Of the less scrutable majesties."

In Mrs. Browning's poem of "A Curse for a Nation," where she foretold
the agony in store for America, and which has fallen upon us with the
swiftness of lightning, she was loath to raise her poet's voice against
us, pleading,--

  "For I am hound by gratitude,
  By love and blood,
  To brothers of mine across the sea,
  Who stretch out kindly hands to me."

And in one of her last letters, addressed to an American friend who
had reminded her of her prophecy and of its present fulfilment, she
replied,--"Never say that I have 'cursed' your country. I only _declared
the consequence of the evil_ in her, and which has since developed
itself in thunder and flame. I feel with more pain than many Americans
do the sorrow of this transition-time; but I do know that it _is_
transition, that it _is_ crisis, and that you will come out of the fire
purified, stainless, having had the angel of a great cause walking with
you in the furnace." Are not such burning, hopeful words from such a
source--worthy of the grateful memory of the Americans? Our cause has
lost an ardent supporter in Mrs. Browning; and did we dare rebel against
God's will, we should grieve deeply that she was not permitted to
glorify the Right in America as she has glorified it in Italy. Among
the last things that she read were Motley's letters on the "American
Crisis," and the writer will ever hold in dear memory the all but
final conversation had with Mrs. Browning, in which these letters were
discussed and warmly approved. In referring to the attitude taken by
foreign nations with regard to America, she said,--"Why do you heed what
others say? You are strong, and can do without sympathy; and when you
have triumphed, your glory will be the greater." Mrs. Browning's most
enthusiastic admirers are Americans; and I am sure, that, now she is no
longer of earth, they will love her the more for her sympathy in the
cause which is nearest to all hearts.

Mrs. Browning's conversation was most interesting. It was not
characterized by sallies of wit or brilliant repartee, nor was it
of that nature which is most welcome in society. It was frequently
intermingled with trenchant, quaint remarks, leavened with a quiet,
graceful humor of her own; but it was eminently calculated for a
_tête-à-tête_. Mrs. Browning never made an insignificant remark. All
that she said was _always_ worth hearing;--a greater compliment could
not be paid her. She was a most conscientious listener, giving you her
mind and heart, as well as her magnetic eyes. Though the latter spoke an
eager language of their own, she conversed slowly, with a conciseness
and point that, added to a matchless earnestness, which was the
predominant trait of her conversation as it was of her character, made
her a most delightful companion. _Persons_ were never her theme,
unless public characters were under discussion, or friends were to be
praised,--which kind office she frequently took upon herself. One never
dreamed of frivolities in Mrs. Browning's presence, and gossip felt
itself out of place. _Your_self (not _her_self) was always a pleasant
subject to her, calling out all her best sympathies in joy, and yet more
in sorrow. Books and humanity, great deeds, and, above all, politics,
which include all the grand questions of the day, were foremost in her
thoughts, and therefore oftenest on her lips. I speak not of religion,
for with her everything was religion. Her Christianity was not confined
to church and rubric: it meant _civilization_.

Association with the Brownings, even though of the slightest nature,
made one better in mind and soul. It was impossible to escape the
influence of the magnetic fluid of love and poetry that was constantly
passing between husband and wife. The unaffected devotion of one to the
other wove an additional charm around the two, and the very contrasts
in their natures made the union a more beautiful one. All remember Mrs.
Browning's pretty poem on her "Pet Name":--

  "I have a name, a little name,
  Uncadenced for the ear,
  Unhonored by ancestral claim,
  Unsanctified by prayer and psalm
  The solemn font anear.

         *       *       *       *       *

  "My brother gave that name to me,
  When we were children twain,--
  When names acquired baptismally
  Were hard to utter, as to see
  That life had any pain."

It was this pet name of two small letters lovingly combined that dotted
Mr. Browning's spoken thoughts, as moonbeams fleck the ocean, and seemed
the pearl-bead that linked conversation together in one harmonious
whole. But what was written has now come to pass. The pet name is
engraved only in the hearts of a few.

  "Though I write books, it will be read
  Upon the leaves of none;
  And afterward, when I am dead,
  Will ne'er be graved, for sight or tread,
  Across my funeral stone."

Mrs. Browning's letters are masterpieces of their kind. Easy and
conversational, they touch upon no subject without leaving an indelible
impression of the writer's originality; and the myriad matters of
universal interest with which many of them are teeming will render them
a precious legacy to the world, when the time shall have arrived for
their publication. Of late, Italy has claimed the lion's share in these
unrhymed sketches of Mrs. Browning in the _négligée_ of home. Prose has
recorded all that poetry threw aside; and thus much political thought,
many an anecdote, many a reflection, and much womanly enthusiasm have
been stored up for the benefit of more than the persons to whom these
letters were addressed. And while we wait patiently for this great
pleasure, which must sooner or later be enjoyed and appreciated, we may
gather a foretaste of Mrs. Browning's power in prose-writing from her
early essays, and from the admirable preface to the "Poems before
Congress." The latter is simple in its style, and grand in teachings
that find few followers among _nations_ in these _enlightened_ days.

Some are prone to moralize over precious stones, and see in them the
petrified souls of men and women. There is no stone so sympathetic as
the opal, which one might fancy to be a concentration of Mrs. Browning's
genius. It is essentially the _woman-stone_, giving out a sympathetic
warmth, varying its colors from day to day, as though an index of the
heart's barometer. There is the topmost purity of white, blended with
the delicate, perpetual verdure of hope, and down in the opal's centre
lies the deep crimson of love. The red, the white, and the green,
forming as they do the colors of Italy, render the opal doubly like Mrs.
Browning. It is right that the woman-stone should inclose the symbols of
the "Woman Country."

Feeling all these things of Mrs. Browning, it becomes the more painful
to place on record an account of those last days that have brought with
them so universal a sorrow. Mrs. Browning's illness was only of a week's
duration. Having caught a severe cold of a more threatening nature than
usual, medical skill was summoned; but, although anxiety in her behalf
was necessarily felt, there was no whisper of great danger until the
third or fourth night, when those who most loved her said they had never
seen her so ill; on the following morning, however, she was better, and
from that moment was thought to be improving in health. She herself
believed this; and all had such confidence in her wondrous vitality, and
the hope was so strong that God would spare her for still greater good,
that a dark veil was drawn over what might be. It is often the case,
where we are accustomed to associate constant suffering with dear
friends, that we calmly look danger in the face without misgivings. So
little did Mrs. Browning realize her critical condition, that, until the
last day, she did not consider herself sufficiently indisposed to remain
in bed, and then the precaution was accidental. So much encouraged
did she feel with regard to herself, that, on this final evening, an
intimate female friend was admitted to her bedside and found her in good
spirits, ready at pleasantry and willing to converse on all the old
loved subjects. Her ruling passion had prompted her to glance at the
"Athenaeum" and "Nazione"; and when this friend repeated the opinions
she had heard expressed by an acquaintance of the new Italian Premier,
Ricasoli, to the effect that his policy and Cavour's were identical,
Mrs. Browning "smiled like Italy," and thankfully replied,--"I am glad
of it; I thought so." Even then her thoughts were not of self. This near
friend went away with no suspicion of what was soon to be a terrible
reality. Mrs. Browning's own bright boy bade his mother goodnight,
cheered by her oft-repeated, "I am better, dear, much better." Inquiring
friends were made happy by these assurances.

One only watched her breathing through the night,--he who for fifteen
years had ministered to her with all the tenderness of a woman. It was a
night devoid of suffering _to her_. As morning approached, and for
two hours previous to the dread moment, she seemed to be in a partial
ecstasy; and though not apparently conscious of the coming on of death,
she gave her husband all those holy words of love, all the consolation
of an oft-repeated blessing, whose value death has made priceless.
Such moments are too sacred for the common pen, which pauses as the
woman-poet raises herself up to die in the arms of her poet-husband. He
knew not that death had robbed him of his treasure, until the drooping
form grew chill and froze his heart's blood.

At half-past four, on the morning of the 29th of June, Elizabeth Barrett
Browning died of congestion of the lungs. Her last words were, "_It is
beautiful!_" God was merciful to the end, sparing her and hers the agony
of a frenzied parting, giving proof to those who were left of the glory
and happiness in store for her, by those few words, "_It is beautiful!_"
The spirit could see its future mission even before shaking off the dust
of the earth.

Gazing on her peaceful face with its eyes closed on us forever, our cry
was _her_ "Cry of the Human."

  "We tremble by the harmless bed
  Of one loved and departed;
  Our tears drop on the lips that said
  Last night, 'Be stronger-hearted!'
  O God! to clasp those fingers close,
  And yet to feel so lonely!
  To see a light upon such brows,
  Which is the daylight only!
  Be pitiful, O God!"

On the evening of July 1st, the lovely English burying-ground without
the walls of Florence opened its gates to receive one more occupant. A
band of English, Americans, and Italians, sorrowing men and women,
whose faces as well as dress were in mourning, gathered around the bier
containing all that was mortal of Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Who of
those present will forget the solemn scene, made doubly impressive by
the grief of the husband and son? "The sting of death is sin," said the
clergyman. Sinless in life, _her_ death, then, was without sting; and
turning our thoughts inwardly, we murmured _her_ prayers for the dead,
and wished that they might have been her burial-service. We heard her
poet-voice saying,--

  "And friends, dear friends, when it shall be
  That this low breath is gone from me,
  And round my bier ye come to weep,
  Let one most loving of you all
  Say, 'Not a tear must o'er her fall,--
  He giveth His beloved sleep.'"

But the tears would fall, as they bore her up the hill, and lowered "His
beloved" into her resting-place, the grave. The sun itself was sinking
to rest behind the western hills, and sent a farewell smile of love
into the east, that it might glance on the lowering bier. The distant
mountains hid their faces in a misty veil, and the tall cypress-trees
of the cemetery swayed and sighed as Nature's special mourners for her
favored child; and there they are to stand keeping watch over her.

  "Oh, the little birds sang east, and the little
  birds sang west,
  _Toll slowly!_
  And I said in under-breath, All our life is
  mixed with death,
  And who knoweth which is best?

         *       *       *       *       *

  "Oh, the little birds sang east, and the little
  birds sang west,
  _Toll slowly!_
  And I 'paused' to think God's greatness
  flowed around our incompleteness,--
  Round our restlessness, His rest."

Dust to dust,--and the earth fell with a dull echo on the coffin. We
gathered round to take one look, and saw a double grave, too large for
her;--may it wait long and patiently for _him!_

And now a mound of earth marks the spot where sleeps Elizabeth Barrett
Browning. A white wreath to mark her woman's purity lies on her head;
the laurel wreath of the poet lies at her feet; and friendly hands
scatter white flowers over the grave of a week as symbols of the dead.

We feel as she wrote,--

  "God keeps a niche
  In heaven to hold our idols; and albeit
  He brake them to our faces, and denied
  That our close kisses should impair their white,
  I know we shall behold them raised, complete,
  The dust swept from their beauty, glorified,
  New Memnons singing in the great God-light."

It is strange that Cavour and Mrs. Browning should have died in the same
month, within twenty-three days of each other,--the one the head, the
other the heart of Italy. As head and heart made up the perfect life,
so death was not complete until Heaven welcomed both. It seemed also
strange, that on the night after Mrs. Browning's decease an unexpected
comet should glare ominously out of the sky. For the moment we were
superstitious, and believed in it as a minister of woe.

Great as is this loss, Mrs. Browning's death is not without a sad
consolation. From the shattered condition of her lungs, the physician
feels assured that existence could not at the farthest have been
prolonged for more than six months. Instead of a sudden call to God,
life would have slowly ebbed away; and, too feeble for the slightest
exertion, she must have been denied the solace of books, of friends, of
writing, perhaps of thought even. God saved her from a living grave,
and her husband from protracted misery. Seeking for the shadow of Mrs.
Browning's self in her poetry, (for she was a rare instance of an
author's superiority to his work,) many an expression is found that
welcomes the thought of a change which would free her from the suffering
inseparable from her mortality. There is a yearning for a more fully
developed life, to be found most frequently in her sonnets. She writes
at times as though, through weakness of the body, her wings were tied:--

  "When I attain to utter forth in verse
  Some inward thought, my soul throbs audibly
  Along my pulses, yearning to be free,
  And something farther, fuller, higher rehearse,
  To the individual true, and the universe,
  In consummation of right harmony!
  But, like a wind-exposed, distorted tree,
  We are blown against forever by the curse
  Which breathes through Nature. Oh, the world is weak;
  The effluence of each is false to all;
  Add what we best conceive, we fail to speak!
  Wait, soul, until thine ashen garments fall,
  And then resume thy broken strains, and seek
  Fit peroration without let or thrall!"

The "ashen garments" have fallen,--

  "And though we must have and have had
  Right reason to be earthly sad,
  Thou Poet-God art great and glad!"

It was meet that Mrs. Browning should come home to die in her Florence,
in her Casa Guidi, where she had passed her happy married life, where
her boy was born, and where she had watched and rejoiced over the second
birth of a great nation. Her heart-strings did not entwine themselves
around Rome as around Florence, and it seems as though life had been so
eked out that she might find a lasting sleep in Florence. Rome holds
fast its Shelley and Keats, to whose lowly graves there is many a
reverential pilgrimage; and now Florence, no less honored, has its
shrine sacred to the memory of Theodore Parker and Elizabeth Barrett
Browning.

The present Florence is not the Florence of other days. It can never be
the same to those who loved it as much for Mrs. Browning's sake as for
its own. Her reflection remains and must ever remain; for,

  "while she rests, her songs in troops
  Walk up and down our earthly slopes,
  Companioned by diviner hopes."

The Italians have shown much feeling at the loss which they, too, have
sustained,--more than might have been expected, when it is considered
that few of them are conversant with the English language, and that to
those few English poetry (Byron excepted) is unknown.

A battalion of the National Guard was to have followed Mrs. Browning's
remains to the grave, had not a misunderstanding as to time frustrated
this testimonial of respect. The Florentines have expressed great
interest in the young boy, Tuscan-born, and have even requested that
he should be educated as an Italian, when any career in the new Italy
should be open to him. Though this offer will not be accepted, it was
most kindly meant, and shows with what reverence Florence regards the
name of Browning. Mrs. Browning's friends are anxious that a tablet to
her memory should be placed in the Florentine Pantheon, the Church of
Santa Croce. It is true she was not a Romanist, neither was she an
Italian,--yet she was Catholic, and more than an Italian. Her genius and
what she has done for Italy entitle her to companionship with Galileo,
Michel Angelo, Dante, and Alfieri. The friars who have given their
permission for the erection of a monument to Cavour in Santa Croce ought
willingly to make room for a tablet on which should be inscribed,

  SHE SANG THE SONG OF ITALY.
  SHE WROTE "AURORA LEIGH."



REVIEWS AND LITERARY NOTICES.


_Edwin of Deira._ By ALEXANDER SMITH. London: Macmillan & Co. Boston:
Ticknor & Fields. 16mo.

A third volume of verse by Alexander Smith certainly claims a share of
public attention. We should not be at all surprised, if this, his latest
venture, turn out his most approved one. The volcanic lines in his
earlier pieces drew upon him the wrath of Captain Stab and many younger
officers of justice, till then innocent of ink-shed. The old weapons
will, no doubt, be drawn upon him profusely enough now. Suffice it for
us, this month, if we send to the printer a taste of Alexander's last
feast and ask him to "hand it round."

       *       *       *       *       *

BERTHA.

  "So, in the very depth of pleasant May,
  When every hedge was milky white, the lark
  A speck against a cape of sunny cloud,
  Yet heard o'er all the fields, and when his heart
  Made all the world as happy as itself,--
  Prince Edwin, with a score of lusty knights,
  Rode forth a bridegroom to bring home his bride.
  Brave sight it was to see them on their way,
  Their long white mantles ruffling in the wind,
  Their jewelled bridles, horses keen as flame
  Crushing the flowers to fragrance as they moved!
  Now flashed they past the solitary crag,
  Now glimmered through the forest's dewy gloom,
  Now issued to the sun. The summer night
  Hung o'er their tents, within the valley pitched,
  Her transient pomp of stars. When that had paled,
  And when the peaks of all the region stood
  Like crimson islands in a sea of dawn,
  They, yet in shadow, struck their canvas town;
  For Love shook slumber from him as a foe,
  And would not be delayed. At height of noon,
  When, shining from the woods afar in front,
  The Prince beheld the palace-gates, his heart
  Was lost in its own beatings, like a sound
  In echoes. When the cavalcade drew near,
  To meet it, forth the princely brothers pranced,
  In plume and golden scale; and when they met,
  Sudden, from out the palace, trumpets rang
  Gay wedding music. Bertha, among her maids,
  Upstarted, as she caught the happy sound,
  Bright as a star that brightens 'gainst the night.
  When forth she came, the summer day was dimmed;
  For all its sunshine sank into her hair,
  Its azure in her eyes. The princely man
  Lord of a happiness unknown, unknown,
  Which cannot all be known for years and years,--
  Uncomprehended as the shapes of hills
  When one stands in the midst! A week went by,
  Deepening from feast to feast; and at the close,
  The gray priest lifted up his solemn hands,
  And two fair lives were sweetly blent in one,
  As stream in stream. Then once again the knights
  Were gathered fair as flowers upon the sward,
  While in the distant chambers women wept,
  And, crowding, blessed the little golden head,
  So soon to lie upon a stranger's breast,
  And light that place no more. The gate stood wide:
  Forth Edwin came enclothed with happiness;
  She trembled at the murmur and the stir
  That heaved around,--then, on a sudden, shrank,
  When through the folds of downcast lids she felt
  Burn on her face the wide and staring day,
  And all the curious eyes. Her brothers cried,
  When she was lifted on the milky steed,
  'Ah! little one, 't will soon be dark to-night!
  A hundred times we'll miss thee in a day,
  A hundred times we'll rise up to thy call,
  And want and emptiness will come on us!
  Now, at the last, our love would hold thee back!
  Let this kiss snap the cord! Cheer up, my girl!
  We'll come and see thee when thou hast a boy
  To toss up proudly to his father's face,
  To let him hear it crow!' Away they rode;
  And still the brethren watched them from the door,
  Till purple distance took them. How she wept,
  When, looking back, she saw the things she knew--
  The palace, streak of waterfall, the mead,
  The gloomy belt of forest--fade away
  Into the gray of mountains! With a chill
  The wide strange world swept round her, and she clung
  Close to her husband's side. A silken tent
  They spread for her, and for her tiring-girls,
  Upon the hills at sunset. All was hushed
  Save Edwin; for the thought that Bertha slept
  In that wild place,--roofed by the moaning wind,
  The black blue midnight with its fiery pulse,--
  So good, so precious, woke a tenderness
  In which there lived uneasily a fear
  That kept him still awake. And now, high up,
  There burned upon the mountain's craggy top
  Their journey's rosy signal. On they went;
  And as the day advanced, upon a ridge,
  They saw their home o'ershadowed by a cloud;
  And, hanging but a moment on the steep,
  A sunbeam touched it into dusty rain;
  And, lo, the town lay gleaming 'mong the woods,
  And the wet shores were bright. As nigh they drew,
  The town was emptied to its very babes,
  And spread as thick as daisies o'er the fields.
  The wind that swayed a thousand chestnut cones,
  And sported in the surges of the rye,
  Forgot its idle play, and, smit with love,
  Dwelt in her fluttering robe. On every side
  The people leaped like billows for a sight,
  And closed behind, like waves behind a ship.
  Yet, in the very hubbub of the joy,
  A deepening hush went with her on her way;
  She was a thing so exquisite, the hind
  Felt his own rudeness; silent women blessed
  The lady, as her beauty swam in eyes
  Sweet with unwonted tears. Through crowds she passed,
  Distributing a largess of her smiles;
  And as she entered through the palace-gate,
  The wondrous sunshine died from out the air,
  And everything resumed its common look.
  The sun dropped down into the golden west,
  Evening drew on apace; and round the fire
  The people sat and talked of her who came
  That day to dwell amongst them, and they praised
  Her sweet face, saying she was good as fair.

  "So, while the town hummed on as was its wont,
  With mill, and wheel, and scythe, and lowing steer
  In the green field,--while, round a hundred hearths,
  Brown Labor boasted of the mighty deeds
  Done in the meadow swaths, and Envy hissed
  Its poison, that corroded all it touched,--
  Rusting a neighbor's gold, mildewing wheat,
  And blistering the pure skin of chastest maid,--
  Edwin and Bertha sat in marriage joy,
  From all removed, as heavenly creatures winged,
  Alit upon a hill-top near the sun,
  When all the world is reft of man and town
  By distance, and their hearts the silence fills--
  Not long: for unto them, as unto all,
  Down from love's height unto the world of men
  Occasion called with many a sordid voice.
  So forth they fared with sweetness in their hearts,
  That took the sense of sharpness from the thorn.
  Sweet is love's sun within the heavens alone,
  But not less sweet when tempered by a cloud
  Of daily duties! Love's elixir, drained
  From out the pure and passionate cup of youth,
  Is sweet; but better, providently used,
  A few drops sprinkled in each common dish
  Wherewith the human table is set forth,
  Leavening all with heaven. Seated high
  Among his people, on the lofty dais,
  Dispensing judgment,--making woodlands ring
  Behind a flying hart with hound and horn,--
  Talking with workmen on the tawny sands,
  'Mid skeletons of ships, how best the prow
  May slice the big wave and shake off the foam,--
  Edwin preserved a spirit calm, composed,
  Still as a river at the full of tide;
  And in his eye there gathered deeper blue,
  And beamed a warmer summer. And when sprang
  The angry blood, at sloth, or fraud, or wrong,
  Something of Bertha touched him into peace
  And swayed his voice. Among the people went
  Queen Bertha, breathing gracious charities,
  And saw but smiling faces; for the light
  Aye looks on brightened colors. Like the dawn
  (Beloved of all the happy, often sought
  In the slow east by hollow eyes that watch)
  She seemed to husked find clownish gratitude,
  That could but kneel and thank. Of industry
  She was the fair exemplar, us she span
  Among her maids; and every day she broke
  Bread to the needy stranger at her gate.
  All sloth and rudeness fled at her approach;
  The women blushed and courtesied as she passed,
  Preserving word and smile like precious gold;
  And where on pillows clustered children's heads,
  A shape of light she floated through their dreams."


_History, Theory, and Practice of the Electric Telegraph_. By GEORGE B.
PRESCOTT, Superintendent of Electric Telegraph Lines. Boston: Ticknor
and Fields. 1861. 12mo.

It may be safely said that no one of the wonder-working agencies of the
nineteenth century, of an importance in any degree equal to that of the
Electric Telegraph, is so little understood in its practical details by
the world at large. Its results come before us daily, to satisfy
our morning and evening appetite for news; but how few have a clear
knowledge of even the simplest rules which govern its operation, to say
nothing of the vast and complicated system by which these results are
made so universal! The general intelligence, at present, doubtless
outruns the dull apprehension of the typical Hibernian, who, in earlier
telegraphic times, wasted the better part of a day in watching for the
passage of a veritable letter over the wires; but even now,--after
twenty years of Electric Telegraphy, during which the progress of the
magic wire has been so rapid that it has already reached an extent of
nearly sixty thousand miles in the United States alone,--even now the
ideas of men in general as to the _modus operandi_ of this great
agency are, to say the least, extremely vague. Even the chronic and
pamphlet-producing quarrel between the managers of our telegraphic
system and their Briarean antagonist, the daily-newspaper-press, fails
to convey to our general sense anything beyond the impression that
the most gigantic benefits may be so abused as to tempt us into an
occasional wish that they had never existed.

One reason of this general ignorance has been the absence of any
text-book or manual on the subject, giving a clear and thorough
exposition of its mysteries. The present is the first American work
which takes the subject in hand from the beginning and carries it
through the entire process which leads to the results we have spoken of.
Its author brings to his work the best possible qualification,--a
long familiarity with the subject in the every-day details of its
development. His Introduction informs the reader that he has been
engaged for thirteen years in the business of practical telegraphing.
He is thus sure of his ground, from the best of sources, personal
experience.

We shall not criticize the work in detail, but shall rest satisfied with
saying that the author has succeeded in his design of making the whole
subject clear to any reader who will follow his lucid and systematic
exposition. The plan of the work is simple, and the arrangement orderly
and proper. A concise statement is given of the fundamental principles
of electricity, and of the means of its artificial propagation. This
includes, of course, a description of the various batteries used in
telegraphing. Then follows a chapter upon electro-magnetism and its
application to the telegraph. This prepares the way for a statement
of the physical conditions under which the electrical current may be
conveyed. The author then describes the instruments necessary for the
transmission and recording of intelligible signs, under which general
head of "Electric Telegraph Apparatus" the various telegraphic systems
are made the subject of careful description. A chapter is given to the
history of each system,--the Morse, the Needle, the House, the Bain, the
Hughes, the Combination, and others of less note. These chapters are
very complete and very interesting, embodying, as they do, the history
of each instrument, the details of its use, and a statement of its
capabilities. The system most used in America is the Combination
system, the printing instrument of which is the result of an ingenious
combination of the most desirable qualities of the House and Hughes
systems. Of this fine instrument a full-page engraving is given, which,
with Mr. Prescott's careful explanation, renders the recording process
very clear.

The next division of the work relates to subterranean and submarine
telegraphic lines. Of this the greater portion is devoted to the
Atlantic cable, the great success and the great failure of our time.
The chapter devoted to this unfortunate enterprise gives the completest
account of its rise, progress, and decline that we have ever seen. It
seems to set at rest, so far as evidence can do it, the mooted question
whether any message ever did really pass through the submerged cable,--a
point upon which there are many unbelievers, even at the present day. We
think these unbelievers would do well to read the account before us. Mr.
Prescott informs us, that, from the first laying of the cable to the day
when it ceased to work, no less than four hundred messages were actually
transmitted: one hundred and twenty-nine from Valentia to Trinity Bay,
and two hundred and seventy-one from Trinity Bay to Valentia. The
curious reader may find copies of all these messages chronologically set
down in this volume. Mr. Prescott expresses entire confidence in the
restoration of telegraphic communication between the two hemispheres. It
may be reasonably doubted, however, if _direct submarine_ communication
will ever be resumed. Two other routes are suggested as more likely
to become the course of the international wires. One is that lately
examined by Sir Leopold M'Clintock and Captain Young, under the auspices
of the British Government. This route, taking the extreme northern coast
of Scotland as its point of departure, and touching the Faroe Islands,
Iceland, and Greenland, strikes our continent upon the coast of
Labrador, making the longest submarine section eight hundred miles,
about one-third the length of the Atlantic cable. There is not a little
doubt, however, as to the practicability of this route; and as the
British Government has already expended several hundred thousand pounds
in experimenting upon submarine cables, it is not likely that it will
venture much more upon any project not holding out a very absolute
promise of success. What seems more likely is, that our telegraphic
communication with Europe will be made eventually through Asia. Even
now the Russian Government is vigorously pushing its telegraphic lines
eastward from Moscow; and its own interest affords a strong guaranty
that telegraphic communication will soon be established between its
commercial metropolis and its military and trading posts on the Pacific
border. A project has also recently taken form to establish a line
between Quebec and the Hudson Bay Company's posts north of the Columbia
River. With the two extremes so near meeting, a submarine wire would
soon be laid over Behring's Straits, or crossing at a more southern
point and touching the Aleutian Islands in its passage.

Two of the chapters of this work will be recognized by readers of the
"Atlantic" as having first appeared in its pages,--a chapter upon the
Progress and Present Condition of the Electric Telegraph in the various
countries of the world, and a description of the Electrical Influence
of the Aurora Borealis upon the Working of the Telegraph. These, with
a curiously interesting chapter upon the Various Applications of the
Telegraph, and an amusing miscellaneous chapter showing that the
Telegraph has a literature of its own, complete the chief popular
elements of the volume. The remainder is devoted mainly to a technical
treatise on the proper method of constructing telegraphic lines,
perfecting insulation, etc. In an Appendix we have a more careful
consideration of Galvanism, and a more detailed examination of the
qualities and capacities of the various batteries.

As is becoming in any, and especially in an American, treatise upon this
great subject, Mr. Prescott devotes some space to a detailed account of
the labors of Professor Morse, which have led to his being regarded as
the father of our American system of telegraphing. In a chapter entitled
"Early Discoveries in Electro-Dynamics," he publishes for the first time
some interesting facts elicited during the trial, in the Supreme Court
of the United States, of the suit of the Morse patentees against the
House Company for alleged infringement of patent. In this chapter we
have a _résumé_ of the evidence before the Court, and an abstract of the
decision of Judge Woodbury. This leads clearly to the conclusion, that,
although Professor Morse had no claims to any merit of actual invention,
yet he had the purely mechanical merit of having gone beyond all his
compeers in the application of discoveries and inventions already made,
and that he was the first to contrive and set in operation a thoroughly
effective instrument.

Mr. Prescott has produced a very readable and useful book. It has been
thoroughly and appropriately illustrated, and is a very elegant specimen
of the typographer's art.


_Great Expectations_. By CHARLES DICKENS. Philadelphia: T.B. Peterson &
Brothers. 8vo.

The very title of this book indicates the confidence of conscious
genius. In a new aspirant for public favor, such a title might have been
a good device to attract attention; but the most famous novelist of the
day, watched by jealous rivals and critics, could hardly have selected
it, had he not inwardly felt the capacity to meet all the expectations
he raised. We have read it, as we have read all Mr. Dickens's previous
works, as it appeared in instalments, and can testify to the felicity
with which expectation was excited and prolonged, and to the series of
surprises which accompanied the unfolding of the plot of the story. In
no other of his romances has the author succeeded so perfectly in at
once stimulating and baffling the curiosity of his readers. He stirred
the dullest minds to guess the secret of his mystery; but, so far as
we have learned, the guesses of his most intelligent readers have been
almost as wide of the mark as those of the least apprehensive. It has
been all the more provoking to the former class, that each surprise was
the result of art, and not of trick; for a rapid review of previous
chapters has shown that the materials of a strictly logical development
of the story were freely given. Even after the first, second, third, and
even fourth of these surprises gave their pleasing electric shocks
to intelligent curiosity, the _dénouement_ was still hidden, though
confidentially foretold. The plot of the romance is therefore
universally admitted to be the best that Dickens has ever invented. Its
leading events are, as we read the story consecutively, artistically
necessary, yet, at the same time, the processes are artistically
concealed. We follow the movement of a logic of passion and character,
the real premises of which we detect only when we are startled by the
conclusions.

The plot of "Great Expectations" is also noticeable as indicating,
better than any of his previous stories, the individuality of Dickens's
genius. Everybody must have discerned in the action of his mind two
diverging tendencies, which, in this novel, are harmonized. He possesses
a singularly wide, clear, and minute power of accurate observation,
both of things and of persons; but his observation, keen and true to
actualities as it independently is, is not a dominant faculty, and is
opposed or controlled by the strong tendency of his disposition to
pathetic or humorous idealization. Perhaps in "The Old Curiosity Shop"
these qualities are best seen in their struggle and divergence, and
the result is a magnificent juxtaposition of romantic tenderness,
melodramatic improbabilities, and broad farce. The humorous
characterization is joyously exaggerated into caricature,--the serious
characterization into romantic unreality, Richard Swiveller and Little
Nell refuse to combine. There is abundant evidence of genius both in the
humorous and the pathetic parts, but the artistic impression is one of
anarchy rather than unity.

In "Great Expectations," on the contrary, Dickens seems to have attained
the mastery of powers which formerly more or less mastered him. He has
fairly discovered that he cannot, like Thackeray, narrate a story as if
he were a mere looker-on, a mere "knowing" observer of what he describes
and represents; and he has therefore taken observation simply as the
basis of his plot and his characterization. As we read "Vanity Fair" and
"The Newcomes," we are impressed with the actuality of the persons and
incidents. There is an absence both of directing ideas and disturbing
idealizations. Everything drifts to its end, as in real life. In "Great
Expectations" there is shown a power of external observation finer and
deeper even than Thackeray's; and yet, owing to the presence of other
qualities, the general impression is not one of objective reality. The
author palpably uses his observations as materials for his creative
faculties to work upon; he does not record, but invents; and he produces
something which is natural only under conditions prescribed by his own
mind. He shapes, disposes, penetrates, colors, and contrives everything,
and the whole action, is a series of events which could have occurred
only in his own brain, and which it is difficult to conceive of as
actually "happening." And yet in none of his other works does he
evince a shrewder insight into real life, and a clearer perception
and knowledge of what is called "the world." The book is, indeed, an
artistic creation, and not a mere succession of humorous and pathetic
scenes, and demonstrates that Dickens is now in the prime, and not in
the decline of his great powers.

The characters of the novel also show how deeply it has been meditated;
for, though none of them may excite the personal interest which clings
to Sam Weller or little Dombey, they are better fitted to each other and
to the story in which they appear than is usual with Dickens. They all
combine to produce that unity of impression which the work leaves on
the mind. Individually they will rank among the most original of the
author's creations. Magwitch and Joe Gargery, Jaggers and Wemmick,
Pip and Herbert, Wopsle, Pumblechook, and "the Aged," Miss Havisham,
Estella, and Biddy, are personages which the most assiduous readers of
Dickens must pronounce positive additions to the characters his rich and
various genius had already created.

Pip, the hero, from whose mind the whole representation takes its form
and color, is admirably delineated throughout. Weak, dreamy, amiable,
apprehensive, aspiring, inefficient, the subject and the victim of
"Great Expectations," his individuality is, as it were, diffused through
the whole narrative. Joe is a noble character, with a heart too great
for his powers of expression to utter in words, but whose patience,
fortitude, tenderness, and beneficence shine lucidly through his
confused and mangled English. Magwitch, the "warmint" who "grew up took
up," whose memory extended only to that period of his childhood when he
was "a-thieving turnips for his living" down in Essex, but in whom a
life of crime had only intensified the feeling of gratitude for the one
kind action of which he was the object, is hardly equalled in grotesque
grandeur by anything which Dickens has previously done. The character
is not only powerful in itself, but it furnishes pregnant and original
hints to all philosophical investigators into the phenomena of crime. In
this wonderful creation Dickens follows the maxim of the great master of
characterization, and seeks "the soul of goodness in things evil."

The style of the romance is rigorously close to things. The author is so
engrossed with the objects before his mind, is so thoroughly in earnest,
that he has fewer of those humorous caprices of expression in which
formerly he was wont to wanton. Some of the old hilarity and play of
fancy is gone, but we hardly miss it in our admiration of the effects
produced by his almost stern devotion to the main idea of his work.
There are passages of description and narrative in which we are hardly
conscious of the words, in our clear apprehension of the objects and
incidents they convey. The quotable epithets and phrases are less
numerous than in "Dombey & Son" and "David Copperfield"; but the scenes
and events impressed on the imagination are perhaps greater in number
and more vivid in representation. The poetical element of the writer's
genius, his modification of the forms, hues, and sounds of Nature by
viewing them through the medium of an imagined mind, is especially
prominent throughout the descriptions with which the work abounds.
Nature is not only described, but individualized and humanized.

Altogether we take great joy in recording our conviction that "Great
Expectations" is a masterpiece. We have never sympathized in the mean
delight which some critics seem to experience in detecting the signs
which subtly indicate the decay of power in creative intellects. We
sympathize still less in the stupid and ungenerous judgments of those
who find a still meaner delight in wilfully asserting that the last book
of a popular writer is unworthy of the genius which produced his first.
In our opinion, "Great Expectations" is a work which proves that we may
expect from Dickens a series of romances far exceeding in power and
artistic skill the productions which have already given him such a
preeminence among the novelists of the age.


_Tom Brown at Oxford: A Sequel to School-Days at Rugby_. By the Author
of "School-Days at Rugby," "Scouring of the White Horse," etc. Boston:
Ticknor & Fields. 2 vols. 16mo.

Thomas Hughes, the author of these volumes, does not, on a superficial
examination, seem to deserve the wide reputation he has obtained. We
hunt his books in vain for any of those obvious peculiarities of style,
thought, and character which commonly distinguish a man from his
fellows. He does not possess striking wit, or humor, or imagination, or
power of expression. In every quality, good or bad, calculated to create
"a sensation," he is remarkably deficient. Yet everybody reads him with
interest, and experiences for him a feeling of personal affection and
esteem. An unobtrusive, yet evident nobility of character, a sound,
large, "round-about" common-sense, a warm sympathy with English and
human kind, a practical grasp of human life as it is lived by ordinary
people, and an unmistakable sincerity and earnestness of purpose animate
everything he writes. His "School-Days at Rugby" delighted men as well
as boys by the freshness, geniality, and truthfulness with which it
represented boyish experiences; and the Tom Brown who, in that book,
gained so many friends wherever the English tongue is spoken, parts with
none of his power to interest and charm in this record of his collegiate
life. Mr. Hughes has the true, wholesome English love of home, the
English delight in rude physical sports, the English hatred of hypocrisy
and cant, the English fidelity to facts, the English disbelief in all
piety and morality which are not grounded in manliness. The present work
is full of illustrations of these healthy qualities of his nature,
and they are all intimately connected with an elevated, yet eminently
sagacious spirit of Christian philanthropy. Tom Brown at Oxford, as well
as Tom Brown at Rugby, will, so far as he exerts any influence, exert
one for good. He has a plentiful lack of those impossible virtues which
disgust boys and young men with the models set up as examples for them
to emulate in books deliberately moral and religious; but he none the
less shows how a manly and Christian character can be attained by
methods which are all the more influential by departing from the common
mechanical contrivances for fashioning lusty youths into consumptive
saints, incompetent to do the work of the Lord in this world, however
they may fare in the next. Mr. Hughes can hardly be called a disciple of
"Muscular Christianity," except so far as muscle is necessary to give
full efficiency to mind; but he feels all the contempt possible to such
a tolerant nature for that spurious piety which kills the body in order
to give a sickly appearance of life to the soul.

       *       *       *       *       *


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