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Title: The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 08, No. 48, October, 1861
Author: Various
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 08, No. 48, October, 1861" ***

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48, OCTOBER, 1861***


THE ATLANTIC MONTHLY.

A MAGAZINE OF LITERATURE, ART, AND POLITICS.

VOL. VIII.--OCTOBER, 1861.--NO. XLVIII.



NEAR OXFORD.


On a fine morning in September, we set out on an excursion to
Blenheim,--the sculptor and myself being seated on the box of our
four-horse carriage, two more of the party in the dicky, and the
others less agreeably accommodated inside. We had no coachman, but two
postilions in short scarlet jackets and leather breeches with top-boots,
each astride of a horse; so that, all the way along, when not otherwise
attracted, we had the interesting spectacle of their up-and-down bobbing
in the saddle. It was a sunny and beautiful day, a specimen of the
perfect English weather, just warm enough for comfort,--indeed, a little
too warm, perhaps, in the noontide sun,--yet retaining a mere spice or
suspicion of austerity, which made it all the more enjoyable.

The country between Oxford and Blenheim is not particularly interesting,
being almost level, or undulating very slightly; nor is Oxfordshire,
agriculturally, a rich part of England. We saw one or two hamlets, and I
especially remember a picturesque old gabled house at a turnpike-gate,
and, altogether, the wayside scenery had an aspect of old-fashioned
English life; but there was nothing very memorable till we reached
Woodstock, and stopped to water our horses at the Black Bear. This
neighborhood is called New Woodstock, but has by no means the brand-new
appearance of an American town, being a large village of stone houses,
most of them pretty well time-worn and weather-stained. The Black Bear
is an ancient inn, large and respectable, with balustraded staircases,
and intricate passages and corridors, and queer old pictures and
engravings hanging in the entries and apartments. We ordered a lunch
(the most delightful of English institutions, next to dinner) to be
ready against our return, and then resumed our drive to Blenheim.

The park-gate of Blenheim stands close to the end of the village-street
of Woodstock. Immediately on passing through its portals, we saw the
stately palace in the distance, but made a wide circuit of the park
before approaching it. This noble park contains three thousand acres of
land, and is fourteen miles in circumference. Having been, in part,
a royal domain before it was granted to the Marlborough family, it
contains many trees of unsurpassed antiquity, and has doubtless been the
haunt of game and deer for centuries. We saw pheasants in abundance,
feeding in the open lawns and glades; and the stags tossed their antlers
and bounded away, not affrighted, but only shy and gamesome, as we
drove by. It is a magnificent pleasure-ground, not too tamely kept, nor
rigidly subjected within rule, but vast enough to have lapsed back into
Nature again, after all the pains that the landscape-gardeners of
Queen Anne's time bestowed on it, when the domain of Blenheim was
scientifically laid out. The great, knotted, slanting trunks of the old
oaks do not now look as if man had much intermeddled with their growth
and postures. The trees of later date, that were set out in the Great
Duke's time, are arranged on the plan of the order of battle in which
the illustrious commander ranked his troops at Blenheim; but the ground
covered is so extensive, and the trees now so luxuriant, that the
spectator is not disagreeably conscious of their standing in military
array, as if Orpheus had summoned them together by beat of drum. The
effect must have been very formal a hundred and fifty years ago, but has
ceased to be so,--although the trees, I presume, have kept their ranks
with even more fidelity than Marlborough's veterans did.

One of the park-keepers, on horseback, rode beside our carriage,
pointing out the choice views, and glimpses at the palace, as we drove
through the domain. There is a very large artificial lake, (to say the
truth, it seemed to me fully worthy of being compared with the Welsh
lakes, at least, if not with those of Westmoreland,) which was created
by Capability Brown, and fills the basin that he scooped for it, just as
if Nature had poured these broad waters into one of her own valleys.
It is a most beautiful object at a distance, and not less so on its
immediate banks; for the water is very pure, being supplied by a small
river, of the choicest transparency, which was turned thitherward for
the purpose. And Blenheim owes not merely this water-scenery, but almost
all its other beauties, to the contrivance of man. Its natural features
are not striking; but Art has effected such wonderful things that the
uninstructed visitor would never guess that nearly the whole scene was
but the embodied thought of a human mind. A skilful painter hardly does
more for his blank sheet of canvas than the landscape-gardener, the
planter, the arranges of trees, has done for the monotonous surface
of Blenheim,--making the most of every undulation,--flinging down a
hillock, a big lump of earth out of a giant's hand, wherever it
was needed,--putting in beauty as often as there was a niche for
it,--opening vistas to every point that deserved to be seen, and
throwing a veil of impenetrable foliage around what ought to be
hidden;--and then, to be sure, the lapse of a century has softened the
harsh outline of man's labors, and has given the place back to Nature
again with the addition of what consummate science could achieve.

After driving a good way, we came to a battlemented tower and adjoining
house, which used to be the residence of the Ranger of Woodstock
Park, who held charge of the property for the King before the Duke of
Marlborough possessed it. The keeper opened the door for us, and in the
entrance-hall we found various things that had to do with the chase and
woodland sports. We mounted the staircase, through several stories,
up to the top of the tower, whence there was a view of the spires
of Oxford, and of points much farther off,--very indistinctly seen,
however, as is usually the case with the misty distances of England.
Returning to the ground-floor, we were ushered into the room in which
died Wilmot, the wicked Earl of Rochester, who was Ranger of the Park in
Charles II.'s time. It is a low and bare little room, with a window in
front, and a smaller one behind; and in the contiguous entrance-room
there are the remains of an old bedstead, beneath the canopy of which,
perhaps, Rochester may have made the penitent end that Bishop Burnet
attributes to him. I hardly know what it is, in this poor fellow's
character, which affects us with greater tenderness on his behalf than
for all the other profligates of his day, who seem to have been neither
better nor worse than himself. I rather suspect that he had a human
heart which never quite died out of him, and the warmth of which is
still faintly perceptible amid the dissolute trash which he left behind.

Methinks, if such good fortune ever befell a bookish man, I should
choose this lodge for my own residence, with the topmost room of the
tower for a study, and all the seclusion of cultivated wildness beneath
to ramble in. There being no such possibility, we drove on, catching
glimpses of the palace in new points of view, and by-and-by came to
Rosamond's Well. The particular tradition that connects Fair Rosamond
with it is not now in my memory; but if Rosamond ever lived and loved,
and ever had her abode in the maze of Woodstock, it may well be believed
that she and Henry sometimes sat beside this spring. It gushes out from
a bank, through some old stone-work, and dashes its little cascade
(about as abundant as one might turn out of a large pitcher) into a
pool, whence it steals away towards the lake, which is not far removed.
The water is exceedingly cold, and as pure as the legendary Rosamond was
not, and is fancied to possess medicinal virtues, like springs at which
saints have quenched their thirst. There were two or three old women
and some children in attendance with tumblers, which they present to
visitors, full of the consecrated water; but most of us filled the
tumblers for ourselves, and drank.

Thence we drove to the Triumphal Pillar which was erected in honor of
the Great Duke, and on the summit of which he stands, in a Roman garb,
holding a winged figure of Victory in his hand, as an ordinary man might
hold a bird. The column is I know not how many feet high, but lofty
enough, at any rate, to elevate Marlborough far above the rest of
the world, and to be visible a long way off: and it is so placed in
reference to other objects, that, wherever the hero wandered about
his grounds, and especially as he issued from his mansion, he must
inevitably have been reminded of his glory. In truth, until I came to
Blenheim, I never had so positive and material an idea of what Fame
really is--of what the admiration of his country can do for a successful
warrior--as I carry away with me and shall always retain. Unless he
had the moral force of a thousand men together, his egotism (beholding
himself everywhere, imbuing the entire soil, growing in the woods,
rippling and gleaming in the water, and pervading the very air with
his greatness) must have been swollen within him like the liver of a
Strasbourg goose. On the huge tablets inlaid into the pedestal of the
column, the entire Act of Parliament, bestowing Blenheim on the Duke
of Marlborough and his posterity, is engraved in deep letters, painted
black on the marble ground. The pillar stands exactly a mile from the
principal front of the palace, in a straight line with the precise
centre of its entrance-hall; so that, as already said, it was the Duke's
principal object of contemplation.

We now proceeded to the palace-gate, which is a great pillared archway,
of wonderful loftiness and state, giving admittance into a spacious
quadrangle. A stout, elderly, and rather surly footman in livery
appeared at the entrance, and took possession of whatever canes,
umbrellas, and parasols he could get hold of, in order to claim sixpence
on our departure. This had a somewhat ludicrous effect. There is
much public outcry against the meanness of the present Duke in his
arrangements for the admission of visitors (chiefly, of course,
his native countrymen) to view the magnificent palace which their
forefathers bestowed upon his own. In many cases, it seems hard that a
private abode should be exposed to the intrusion of the public merely
because the proprietor has inherited or created a splendor which
attracts general curiosity; insomuch that his home loses its sanctity
and seclusion for the very reason that it is better than other men's
houses. But in the case of Blenheim, the public have certainly an
equitable claim to admission, both because the fame of its first
inhabitant is a national possession, and because the mansion was a
national gift, one of the purposes of which was to be a token of
gratitude and glory to the English people themselves. If a man chooses
to be illustrious, he is very likely to incur some little inconveniences
himself, and entail them on his posterity. Nevertheless, his present
Grace of Marlborough absolutely ignores the public claim above
suggested, and (with a thrift of which even the hero of Blenheim himself
did not set the example) sells tickets admitting six persons at ten
shillings: if only one person enters the gate, he must pay for six; and
if there are seven in company, two tickets are required to admit them.
The attendants, who meet you everywhere in the park and palace, expect
fees on their own private account,--their noble master pocketing the ten
shillings. But, to be sure, the visitor gets his money's worth, since it
buys him the right to speak just as freely of the Duke of Marlborough as
if he were the keeper of the Cremorne Gardens.[A]

[Footnote A: The above was written two or three years ago, or more; and
the Duke of that day has since transmitted his coronet to his successor,
who, we understand, has adopted much more liberal arrangements. There is
seldom anything to criticize or complain of, as regards the facility of
obtaining admission to interesting private houses in England.]

Passing through a gateway on the opposite side of the quadrangle, we had
before us the noble classic front of the palace, with its two projecting
wings. We ascended the lofty steps of the portal, and were admitted into
the entrance-hall, the height of which, from floor to ceiling, is not
much less than seventy feet, being the entire height of the edifice. The
hall is lighted by windows in the upper story, and, it being a clear,
bright day, was very radiant with lofty sunshine, amid which a swallow
was flitting to and fro. The ceiling was painted by Sir James Thornhill
in some allegorical design, (doubtless commemorative of Marlborough's
victories,) the purport of which I did not take the trouble to make
out,--contenting myself with the general effect, which was most
splendidly and effectively ornamental.

We were guided through the showrooms by a very civil person, who allowed
us to take pretty much our own time in looking at the pictures. The
collection is exceedingly valuable,--many of these works of Art having
been presented to the Great Duke by the crowned heads of England or the
Continent. One room was all aglow with pictures by Rubens; and there
were works of Raphael, and many other famous painters, any one of which
would be sufficient to illustrate the meanest house that might contain
it. I remember none of them, however, (not being in a picture-seeing
mood,) so well as Vandyck's large and familiar picture of Charles I on
horseback, with a figure and face of melancholy dignity such as never
by any other hand was put on canvas. Yet, on considering this face of
Charles, (which I find often repeated in half-lengths,) and translating
it from the ideal into literalism, I doubt whether the unfortunate king
was really a handsome or impressive-looking man: a high, thin-ridged
nose, a meagre, hatchet face, and reddish hair and beard,--these are the
literal facts. It is the painter's art that has thrown such pensive and
shadowy grace around him.

On our passage through this beautiful suite of apartments, we saw,
through the vista of open doorways, a boy of ten or twelve years old
coming towards us from the farther rooms. He had on a straw hat, a linen
sack that had certainly been washed and re-washed for a summer or two,
and gray trousers a good deal worn,--a dress, in short, which an
American mother in middle station would have thought too shabby for her
darling school-boy's ordinary wear. This urchin's face was rather pale,
(as those of English children are apt to be, quite as often as our own,)
but he had pleasant eyes, an intelligent look, and an agreeable, boyish
manner. It was Lord Sunderland, grandson of the present Duke, and heir--
though not, I think, in the direct line--of the blood of the great
Marlborough, and of the title and estate.

After passing through the first suite of rooms, we were conducted
through a corresponding suite on the opposite side of the entrance-hall.
These latter apartments are most richly adorned with tapestries, wrought
and presented to the first Duke by a sisterhood of Flemish nuns; they
look like great, glowing pictures, and completely cover the walls of the
rooms. The designs purport to represent the Duke's battles and sieges;
and everywhere we see the hero himself, as large as life, and as
gorgeous in scarlet and gold as the holy sisters could make him, with a
three-cornered hat and flowing wig, reining in his horse, and extending
his leading-staff in the attitude of command. Next to Marlborough,
Prince Eugene is the most prominent figure. In the way of upholstery,
there can never have been anything more magnificent than these
tapestries; and, considered as works of Art, they have quite as much
merit as nine pictures out of ten.

One whole wing of the palace is occupied by the library, a most noble
room, with a vast perspective length from end to end. Its atmosphere
is brighter and more cheerful than that of most libraries: a wonderful
contrast to the old college-libraries of Oxford, and perhaps less sombre
and suggestive of thoughtfulness than any large library ought to be;
inasmuch as so many studious brains as have left their deposit on the
shelves cannot have conspired without producing a very serious and
ponderous result. Both walls and ceiling are white, and there are
elaborate doorways and fireplaces of white marble. The floor is of oak,
so highly polished that our feet slipped upon it as if it had been
New-England ice. At one end of the room stands a statue of Queen Anne in
her royal robes, which are so admirably designed and exquisitely wrought
that the spectator certainly gets a strong conception of her royal
dignity; while the face of the statue, fleshy and feeble, doubtless
conveys a suitable idea of her personal character. The marble of this
work, long as it has stood there, is as white as snow just fallen, and
must have required most faithful and religious care to keep it so. As
for the volumes of the library, they are wired within the cases and turn
their gilded backs upon the visitor, keeping their treasures of wit and
wisdom just as intangible as if still in the unwrought mines of human
thought.

I remember nothing else in the palace, except the chapel, to which we
were conducted last, and where we saw a splendid monument to the first
Duke and Duchess, sculptured by Rysbrach, at the cost, it is said, of
forty thousand pounds. The design includes the statues of the deceased
dignitaries, and various allegorical flourishes, fantasies, and
confusions; and beneath sleep the great Duke and his proud wife, their
veritable bones and dust, and probably all the Marlboroughs that have
since died. It is not quite a comfortable idea, that these mouldy
ancestors still inhabit, after their fashion, the house where their
successors spend the passing day; but the adulation lavished upon the
hero of Blenheim could not have been consummated, unless the palace of
his lifetime had become likewise a stately mausoleum over his remains,
--and such we felt it all to be, after gazing at his tomb.

The next business was to see the private gardens. An old Scotch
under-gardener admitted us and led the way, and seemed to have a fair
prospect of earning the fee all by himself; but by-and-by another
respectable Scotchman made his appearance and took us in charge, proving
to be the head-gardener in person. He was extremely intelligent and
agreeable, talking both scientifically and lovingly about trees and
plants, of which there is every variety capable of English cultivation.
Positively, the Garden of Eden cannot have been more beautiful than this
private garden of Blenheim. It contains three hundred acres, and by
the artful circumlocution of the paths, and the undulations, and the
skilfully interposed clumps of trees, is made to appear limitless. The
sylvan delights of a whole country are compressed into this space,
as whole fields of Persian roses go to the concoction of an ounce of
precious attar. The world within that garden-fence is not the same weary
and dusty world with which we outside mortals are conversant; it is a
finer, lovelier, more harmonious Nature; and the Great Mother lends
herself kindly to the gardener's will, knowing that he will make evident
the half-obliterated traits of her pristine and ideal beauty, and allow
her to take all the credit and praise to herself. I doubt whether there
is ever any winter within that precinct,--any clouds, except the fleecy
ones of summer. The sunshine that I saw there rests upon my recollection
of it as if it were eternal. The lawns and glades are like the memory of
places where one has wandered when first in love.

What a good and happy life might be spent in a paradise like this! And
yet, at that very moment, the besotted Duke (ah! I have let out a secret
which I meant to keep to myself; but the ten shillings must pay for all)
was in that very garden, (for the guide told us so, and cautioned
our young people not to be uproarious,) and, if in a condition for
arithmetic, was thinking of nothing nobler than how many ten-shilling
tickets had that day been sold. Republican as I am, I should still love
to think that noblemen lead noble lives, and that all this stately and
beautiful environment may serve to elevate them a little way above the
rest of us. If it fail to do so, the disgrace falls equally upon the
whole race of mortals as on themselves; because it proves that no
more favorable conditions of existence would eradicate our vices and
weaknesses. How sad, if this be so! Even a herd of swine, eating the
acorns under those magnificent oaks of Blenheim, would be cleanlier and
of better habits than ordinary swine.

Well, all that I have written is pitifully meagre, as a description of
Blenheim; and I hate to leave it without some more adequate expression
of the noble edifice, with its rich domain, all as I saw them in that
beautiful sunshine; for, if a day had been chosen out of a hundred
years, it could not have been a finer one. But I must give up the
attempt; only further remarking that the finest trees here were cedars,
of which I saw one--and there may have been many such--immense in girth
and not less than three centuries old. I likewise saw a vast heap of
laurel, two hundred feet in circumference, all growing from one root;
and the gardener offered to show us another growth of twice that
stupendous size. If the Great Duke himself had been buried in that spot,
his heroic heart could not have been the seed of a more plentiful crop
of laurels.

We now went back to the Black Bear, and sat down to a cold collation, of
which we ate abundantly, and drank (in the good old English fashion) a
due proportion of various delightful liquors. A stranger in England,
in his rambles to various quarters of the country, may learn little
in regard to wines, (for the ordinary English taste is simple, though
sound, in that particular,) but he makes acquaintance with more
varieties of hop and malt liquor than he previously supposed to exist.
I remember a sort of foaming stuff, called hop-champagne, which is very
vivacious, and appears to be a hybrid between ale and bottled cider.
Another excellent tipple for warm weather is concocted by mixing
brown-stout or bitter ale with ginger-beer, the foam of which stirs
up the heavier liquor from its depths, forming a compound of singular
vivacity and sufficient body. But of all things ever brewed from
malt, (unless it be the Trinity Ale of Cambridge, which I drank long
afterwards, and which Barry Cornwall has celebrated in immortal verse,)
commend me to the Archdeacon, as the Oxford scholars call it, in honor
of the jovial dignitary who first taught these erudite worthies how to
brew their favorite nectar. John Barleycorn has given his very heart to
this admirable liquor; it is a superior kind of ale, the Prince of Ales,
with a richer flavor and a mightier spirit than you can find elsewhere
in this weary world. Much have we been strengthened and encouraged by
the potent blood of the Archdeacon!

A few days after our excursion to Blenheim, the same party set forth,
in two flies, on a tour to some other places of interest in the
neighborhood of Oxford. It was again a delightful day; and, in truth,
every day, of late, had been so pleasant that it seemed as if each must
be the very last of such perfect weather; and yet the long succession
had given us confidence in as many more to come. The climate of England
has been shamefully maligned; its sulkinesses and asperities are not
nearly so offensive as Englishmen tell us (their climate being the only
attribute of their country which they never overvalue); and the really
good summer weather is the very kindest and sweetest that the world
knows.

We first drove to the village of Cumnor, about six miles from Oxford,
and alighted at the entrance of the church. Here, while waiting for the
keys, we looked at an old wall of the churchyard, piled up of loose gray
stones which are said to have once formed a portion of Cumnor Hall,
celebrated in Mickle's ballad and Scott's romance. The hall must have
been in very close vicinity to the church,--not more than twenty yards
off; and I waded through the long, dewy grass of the churchyard, and
tried to peep over the wall, in hopes to discover some tangible and
traceable remains of the edifice. But the wall was just too high to be
overlooked, and difficult to clamber over without tumbling down some of
the stones; so I took the word of one of our party, who had been here
before, that there is nothing interesting on the other side. The
churchyard is in rather a neglected state, and seems not to have been
mown for the benefit of the parson's cow; it contains a good many
gravestones, of which I remember only some upright memorials of slate to
individuals of the name of Tabbs.

Soon a woman arrived with the key of the church-door, and we entered the
simple old edifice, which has the pavement of lettered tombstones, the
sturdy pillars and low arches, and other ordinary characteristics of
an English country-church. One or two pews, probably those of the
gentlefolk of the neighborhood, were better furnished than the rest, but
all in a modest style. Near the high altar, in the holiest place, there
is an oblong, angular, ponderous tomb of blue marble, built against the
wall, and surmounted by a carved canopy of the same material; and over
the tomb, and beneath the canopy, are two monumental brasses, such as we
oftener see inlaid into a church-pavement. On these brasses are engraved
the figures of a gentleman in armor and a lady in an antique garb, each
about a foot high, devoutly kneeling in prayer; and there is a long
Latin inscription likewise cut into the enduring brass, bestowing the
highest eulogies on the character of Anthony Forster, who, with his
virtuous dame, lies buried beneath this tombstone. His is the knightly
figure that kneels above; and if Sir Walter Scott ever saw this tomb,
he must have had an even greater than common disbelief in laudatory
epitaphs, to venture on depicting Anthony Forster in such hues as
blacken him in the romance. For my part, I read the inscription in full
faith, and believe the poor deceased gentleman to be a much-wronged
individual, with good grounds for bringing an action of slander in the
courts above.

But the circumstance, lightly as we treat it, has its serious moral.
What nonsense it is, this anxiety, which so worries us, about our good
fame, or our bad fame, after death! If it were of the slightest real
moment, our reputations would have been placed by Providence more in our
own power, and less in other people's, than we now find them to be. If
poor Anthony Forster happens to have met Sir Walter in the other world,
I doubt whether he has ever thought it worth while to complain of the
latter's misrepresentations.

We did not remain long in the church, as it contains nothing else of
interest; and driving through the village, we passed a pretty large and
rather antique-looking inn, bearing the sign of the Bear and Ragged
Staff. It could not be so old, however, by at least a hundred years,
as Giles Gosling's time; nor is there any other object to remind the
visitor of the Elizabethan age, unless it be a few ancient cottages,
that are perhaps of still earlier date. Cumnor is not nearly so large a
village, nor a place of such mark, as one anticipates from its romantic
and legendary fame; but, being still inaccessible by railway, it has
retained more of a sylvan character than we often find in English
country-towns. In this retired neighborhood the road is narrow and
bordered with grass, and sometimes interrupted by gates; the hedges grow
in unpruned luxuriance; there is not that close-shaven neatness and
trimness that characterize the ordinary English landscape. The
whole scene conveys the idea of seclusion and remoteness. We met no
travellers, whether on foot or otherwise.

I cannot very distinctly trace out this day's peregrinations; but, after
leaving Cumnor a few miles behind us, I think we came to a ferry over
the Thames, where an old woman served as ferry-man, and pulled a boat
across by means of a rope stretching from shore to shore. Our
two vehicles being thus placed on the other side, we resumed our
drive,--first glancing, however, at the old woman's antique cottage,
with its stone floor, and the circular settle round the kitchen
fireplace, which was quite in the mediaeval English style.

We next stopped at Stanton Harcourt, where we were received at the
parsonage with a hospitality which we should take delight in describing,
if it were allowable to make public acknowledgment of the private and
personal kindnesses which we never failed to find ready for our needs.
An American in an English house will soon adopt the opinion that the
English are the very kindest people on earth, and will retain that idea
as long, at least, as he remains on the inner side of the threshold.
Their magnetism is of a kind that repels strongly while you keep beyond
a certain limit, but attracts as forcibly if you get within the magic
line.

It was at this place, if I remember right, that I heard a gentleman ask
a friend of mine whether he was the author of "The Red Letter A"; and,
after some consideration, (for he did not seem to recognize his own
book, at first, under this improved title,) our countryman responded,
doubtfully, that he believed so. The gentleman proceeded to inquire
whether our friend had spent much time in America,--evidently thinking
that he must have been caught young, and have had a tincture of English
breeding, at least, if not birth, to speak the language so tolerably,
and appear so much like other people. This insular narrowness is
exceedingly queer, and of very frequent occurrence, and is quite as much
a characteristic of men of education and culture as of clowns.

Stanton Harcourt is a very curious old place. It was formerly the seat
of the ancient family of Harcourt, which now has its principal abode
at Nuneham Courtney, a few miles off. The parsonage is a relic of the
family-mansion, or castle, other portions of which are close at hand;
for, across the garden, rise two gray towers, both of them picturesquely
venerable, and interesting for more than their antiquity. One of these
towers, in its entire capacity, from height to depth, constituted the
kitchen of the ancient castle, and is still used for domestic purposes,
although it has not, nor ever had, a chimney; or we might rather say, it
is itself one vast chimney, with a hearth of thirty feet square, and
a flue and aperture of the same size. There are two huge fireplaces
within, and the interior walls of the tower are blackened with the smoke
that for centuries used to gush forth from them, and climb upward,
seeking an exit through some wide air-holes in the conical roof, full
seventy feet above. These lofty openings were capable of being so
arranged, with reference to the wind, that the cooks are said to have
been seldom troubled by the smoke; and here, no doubt, they were
accustomed to roast oxen whole, with as little fuss and ado as a modern
cook would roast a fowl. The inside of the tower is very dim and sombre,
(being nothing but rough stone walls, lighted only from the apertures
above mentioned,) and has still a pungent odor of smoke and soot, the
reminiscence of the fires and feasts of generations that have passed
away. Methinks the extremest range of domestic economy lies between an
American cooking-stove and the ancient kitchen, seventy dizzy feet in
height, of Stanton Harcourt.

Now--the place being without a parallel in England, and therefore
necessarily beyond the experience of an American--it is somewhat
remarkable, that, while we stood gazing at this kitchen, I was haunted
and perplexed by an idea that somewhere or other I had seen just this
strange spectacle before. The height, the blackness, the dismal void,
before my eyes, seemed as familiar as the decorous neatness of my
grandmother's kitchen; only my unaccountable memory of the scene was
lighted up with an image of lurid fires blazing all round the dim
interior circuit of the tower. I had never before had so pertinacious an
attack, as I could not but suppose it, of that odd state of mind wherein
we fitfully and teasingly remember some previous scene or incident, of
which the one now passing appears to be but the echo and reduplication.
Though the explanation of the mystery did not for some time occur to me,
I may as well conclude the matter here. In a letter of Pope's, addressed
to the Duke of Buckingham, there is an account of Stanton Harcourt, (as
I now find, although the name is not mentioned,) where he resided while
translating a part of the "Iliad." It is one of the most admirable
pieces of description in the language,--playful and picturesque, with
fine touches of humorous pathos,--and conveys as perfect a picture as
ever was drawn of a decayed English country-house; and among other
rooms, most of which have since crumbled down and disappeared, he dashes
off the grim aspect of this kitchen,--which, moreover, he peoples with
witches, engaging Satan himself as head-cook, who stirs the infernal
caldrons that seethe and bubble over the fires. This letter, and others
relative to his abode here, were very familiar to my earlier reading,
and, remaining still fresh at the bottom of my memory, caused the weird
and ghostly sensation that came over me on beholding the real spectacle
that had formerly been made so vivid to my imagination.

Our next visit was to the church, which stands close by, and is quite
as ancient as the remnants of the castle. In a chapel or side-aisle,
dedicated to the Harcourts, are found some very interesting
family-monuments,--and among them, recumbent on a tombstone, the figure
of an armed knight of the Lancastrian party, who was slain in the Wars
of the Roses. His features, dress, and armor are painted in colors,
still wonderfully fresh, and there still blushes the symbol of the Red
Rose, denoting the faction for which he fought and died. His head rests
on a marble or alabaster helmet; and on the tomb lies the veritable
helmet, it is to be presumed, which he wore in battle,--a ponderous iron
case, with the visor complete, and remnants of the gilding that once
covered it. The crest is a large peacock, not of metal, but of wood.
Very possibly, this helmet was but an heraldic adornment of his tomb;
and, indeed, it seems strange that it has not been stolen before
now, especially in Cromwell's time, when knightly tombs were little
respected, and when armor was in request. However, it is needless to
dispute with the dead knight about the identity of his iron pot, and
we may as well allow it to be the very same that so often gave him the
headache in his lifetime. Leaning against the wall, at the foot of the
tomb, is the shaft of a spear, with a wofully tattered and utterly faded
banner appended to it,--the knightly banner beneath which he marshalled
his followers in the field. As it was absolutely falling to pieces, I
tore off one little bit, no bigger than a finger-nail, and put it into
my waistcoat-pocket; but seeking it subsequently, it was not to be
found.

On the opposite side of the little chapel, two or three yards from this
tomb, is another, on which lie, side by side, one of the same knightly
race of Harcourts, and his lady. The tradition of the family is, that
this knight was the standard-bearer of Henry of Richmond in the Battle
of Bosworth Field; and a banner, supposed to be the same that he earned,
now droops over his effigy. It is just such a colorless silk rag as the
one already described. The knight has the order of the Garter on his
knee, and the lady wears it on her left arm,--an odd place enough for a
garter; but, if worn in its proper locality, it could not be decorously
visible. The complete preservation and good condition of these statues,
even to the minutest adornment of the sculpture, and their very
noses,--the most vulnerable part of a marble man, as of a living one,
are miraculous. Except in Westminster Abbey, among the chapels of the
kings, I have seen none so well preserved. Perhaps they owe it to the
loyalty of Oxfordshire, diffused throughout its neighborhood by the
influence of the University, during the great Civil War and the rule
of the Parliament. It speaks well, too, for the upright and kindly
character of this old family, that the peasantry, among whom they had
lived for ages, did not desecrate their tombs, when it might have been
done with impunity.

There are other and more recent memorials of the Harcourts, one of which
is the tomb of the last lord, who died about a hundred years ago. His
figure, like those of his ancestors, lies on the top of his tomb, clad,
not in armor, but in his robes as a peer. The title is now extinct,
but the family survives in a younger branch, and still holds this
patrimonial estate, though they have long since quitted it as a
residence.

We next went to see the ancient fish-ponds appertaining to the mansion,
and which used to be of vast dietary importance to the family in
Catholic times, and when fish was not otherwise attainable. There are
two or three, or more, of these reservoirs, one of which is of very
respectable size,--large enough, indeed, to be really a picturesque
object, with its grass-green borders, and the trees drooping over
it, and the towers of the castle and the church reflected within the
weed-grown depths of its smooth mirror. A sweet fragrance, as it were,
of ancient time and present quiet and seclusion was breathing all
around; the sunshine of to-day had a mellow charm of antiquity in its
brightness. These ponds are said still to breed abundance of such fish
as love deep and quiet waters: but I saw only some minnows, and one or
two snakes, which were lying among the weeds on the top of the water,
sunning and bathing themselves at once.

I mentioned that there were two towers remaining of the old castle: the
one containing the kitchen we have already visited; the other, still
more interesting, is next to be described. It is some seventy feet high,
gray and reverend, but in excellent repair, though I could not perceive
that anything had been done to renovate it. The basement story was once
the family-chapel, and is, of course, still a consecrated spot. At
one corner of the tower is a circular turret, within which a narrow
staircase, with worn steps of stone, winds round and round as it climbs
upward, giving access to a chamber on each floor, and finally emerging
on the battlemented roof. Ascending this turret-stair, and arriving at
the third story, we entered a chamber, not large, though occupying the
whole area of the tower, and lighted by a window on each side. It
was wainscoted from floor to ceiling with dark oak, and had a little
fireplace in one of the corners. The window-panes were small, and set in
lead. The curiosity of this room is, that it was once the residence of
Pope, and that he here wrote a considerable part of the translation of
Homer, and likewise, no doubt, the admirable letters to which I have
referred above. The room once contained a record by himself, scratched
with a diamond on one of the window-panes, (since removed for
safe-keeping to Nuneham Courtney, where it was shown me,) purporting
that he had here finished the fifth book of the "Iliad" on such a day.

A poet has a fragrance about him, such as no other human being is gifted
withal; it is indestructible, and clings forevermore to everything that
he has touched. I was not impressed, at Blenheim, with any sense that
the mighty Duke still haunted the palace that was created for him; but
here, after a century and a half, we are still conscious of the presence
of that decrepit little figure of Queen Anne's time, although he was
merely a casual guest in the old tower, during one or two summer months.
However brief the time and slight the connection, his spirit cannot be
exorcised so long as the tower stands. In my mind, moreover, Pope, or
any other person with an available claim, is right in adhering to the
spot, dead or alive; for I never saw a chamber that I should like better
to inhabit,--so comfortably small, in such a safe and inaccessible
seclusion, and with a varied landscape from each window. One of
them looks upon the church, close at hand, and down into the green
churchyard, extending almost to the foot of the tower; the others have
views wide and far, over a gently undulating tract of country. If
desirous of a loftier elevation, about a dozen more steps of the
turret-stair will bring the occupant to the summit of the tower,--where
Pope used to come, no doubt, in the summer evenings, and peep--poor
little shrimp that he was!--through the embrasures of the battlement.

From Stanton Harcourt we drove--I forget how far--to a point where a
boat was waiting for us upon the Thames, or some other stream; for I am
ashamed to confess my ignorance of the precise geographical whereabout.
We were, at any rate, some miles above Oxford, and, I should imagine,
pretty near one of the sources of England's mighty river. It was
little more than wide enough for the boat, with extended oars, to
pass,--shallow, too, and bordered with bulrushes and water-weeds, which,
in some places, quite overgrew the surface of the river from bank to
bank. The shores were flat and meadow-like, and sometimes, the boatman
told us, are overflowed by the rise of the stream. The water looked
clean and pure, but not particularly transparent, though enough so to
show us that the bottom is very much weed-grown; and I was told that the
weed is an American production, brought to England with importations of
timber, and now threatening to choke up the Thames and other English
rivers. I wonder it does not try its obstructive powers upon the
Merrimack, the Connecticut, or the Hudson,--not to speak of the St.
Lawrence or the Mississippi!

It was an open boat, with cushioned seats astern, comfortably
accommodating our party; the day continued sunny and warm, and perfectly
still; the boatman, well trained to his business, managed the oars
skilfully and vigorously; and we went down the stream quite as swiftly
as it was desirable to go, the scene being so pleasant, and the passing
hour so thoroughly agreeable. The river grew a little wider and deeper,
perhaps, as we glided on, but was still an inconsiderable stream; for it
had a good deal more than a hundred miles to meander through before it
should bear fleets on its bosom, and reflect palaces and towers and
Parliament-houses and dingy and sordid piles of various structure, as it
rolled to and fro with the tide, dividing London asunder. Not, in truth,
that I ever saw any edifice whatever reflected in its turbid breast,
when the sylvan stream, as we beheld it now, is swollen into the Thames
at London.

Once, on our voyage, we had to land, while the boatman and some other
persons drew our skiff round some rapids, which we could not otherwise
have passed; another time, the boat went through a lock. We, meanwhile,
stepped ashore to examine the ruins of the old nunnery of Godstowe,
where Fair Rosamond secluded herself, after being separated from her
royal lover. There is a long line of ruinous wall, and a shattered tower
at one of the angles; the whole much ivy-grown,--brimming over, indeed,
with clustering ivy, which is rooted inside of the walls. The nunnery is
now, I believe, held in lease by the city of Oxford, which has converted
its precincts into a barnyard. The gate was under lock and key, so that
we could merely look at the outside, and soon resumed our places in the
boat.

At three o'clock, or thereabouts, (or sooner or later,--for I took
little heed of time, and only wished that these delightful wanderings
might last forever,) we reached Folly Bridge, at Oxford. Here we took
possession of a spacious barge, with a house in it, and a comfortable
dining-room or drawing-room within the house, and a level roof, on which
we could sit at ease, or dance, if so inclined. These barges are common
at Oxford,--some very splendid ones being owned by the students of
the different colleges, or by clubs. They are drawn by horses, like
canal-boats; and a horse being attached to our own barge, he trotted off
at a reasonable pace, and we slipped through the water behind him, with
a gentle and pleasant motion, which, save for the constant vicissitude
of cultivated scenery, was like no motion at all. It was life without
the trouble of living; nothing was ever more quietly agreeable. In this
happy state of mind and body we gazed at Christ-Church meadows, as we
passed, and at the receding spires and towers of Oxford, and on a good
deal of pleasant variety along the banks: young men rowing or fishing;
troops of naked boys bathing, as if this were Arcadia, in the simplicity
of the Golden Age; country-houses, cottages, water-side inns, all with
something fresh about them, as not being sprinkled with the dust of the
highway. We were a large party now; for a number of additional guests
had joined us at Folly Bridge, and we comprised poets, novelists,
scholars, sculptors, painters, architects, men and women of renown, dear
friends, genial, outspoken, open-hearted Englishmen,--all voyaging
onward together, like the wise ones of Gotham in a bowl. I remember not
a single annoyance, except, indeed, that a swarm of wasps came aboard of
us and alighted on the head of one of our young gentlemen, attracted by
the scent of the pomatum which he had been rubbing into his hair. He was
the only victim, and his small trouble the one little flaw in our day's
felicity, to put us in mind that we were mortal.

Meanwhile a table had been laid in the interior of our barge, and
spread with cold ham, cold fowl, cold pigeon-pie, cold beef, and other
substantial cheer, such as the English love, and Yankees too,--besides
tarts, and cakes, and pears, and plums,--not forgetting, of course, a
goodly provision of port, sherry, and champagne, and bitter ale,
which is like mother's milk to an Englishman, and soon grows equally
acceptable to his American cousin. By the time these matters had been
properly attended to, we had arrived at that part of the Thames which
passes by Nuneham Courtney, a fine estate belonging to the Harcourts,
and the present residence of the family. Here we landed, and, climbing
a steep slope from the river-side, paused a moment or two to look at an
architectural object, called the Carfax, the purport of which I do not
well understand. Thence we proceeded onward, through the loveliest park
and woodland scenery I ever saw, and under as beautiful a declining
sunshine as heaven ever shed over earth, to the stately mansion-house.

As we here cross a private threshold, it is not allowable to pursue
my feeble narrative of this delightful day with the same freedom as
heretofore; so, perhaps, I may as well bring it to a close. I may
mention, however, that I saw the library, a fine, large apartment, hung
round with portraits of eminent literary men, principally of the last
century, most of whom were familiar guests of the Harcourts. The house
itself is about eighty years old, and is built in the classic style, as
if the family had been anxious to diverge as far as possible from the
Gothic picturesqueness of their old abode at Stanton Harcourt. The
grounds were laid out in part by Capability Brown, and seemed to me even
more beautiful than those of Blenheim. Mason the poet, a friend of the
house, gave the design of a portion of the garden. Of the whole place I
will not be niggardly of my rude Transatlantic praise, but be bold
to say that it appeared to me as perfect as anything earthly can
be,--utterly and entirely finished, as if the years and generations
had done all that the hearts and minds of the successive owners could
contrive for a spot they dearly loved. Such homes as Nuneham Courtney
are among the splendid results of long hereditary possession; and we
Republicans, whose households melt away like new-fallen snow in a
spring morning, must content ourselves with our many counterbalancing
advantages,--for this one, so apparently desirable to the far-projecting
selfishness of our nature, we are certain never to attain.

It must not be supposed, nevertheless, that Nuneham Courtney is one of
the great show-places of England. It is merely a fair specimen of the
better class of country-seats, and has a hundred rivals, and many
superiors, in the features of beauty, and expansive, manifold, redundant
comfort, which most impressed me. A moderate man might be content with
such a home,--that is all.

And now I take leave of Oxford without even an attempt to describe
it,--there being no literary faculty, attainable or conceivable by me,
which can avail to put it adequately, or even tolerably, upon paper. It
must remain its own sole expression; and those whose sad fortune it may
be never to behold it have no better resource than to dream about
gray, weather-stained, ivy-grown edifices, wrought with quaint Gothic
ornament, and standing around grassy quadrangles, where cloistered walks
have echoed to the quiet footsteps of twenty generations,--lawns and
gardens of luxurious repose, shadowed with canopies of foliage, and
lit up with sunny glimpses through archways of great boughs,--spires,
towers, and turrets, each with its history and legend,--dimly
magnificent chapels, with painted windows of rare beauty and brilliantly
diversified hues, creating an atmosphere of richest gloom,--vast
college-halls, high-windowed, oaken-panelled, and hung round with
portraits of the men, in every age, whom the University has nurtured to
be illustrious,--long vistas of alcoved libraries, where the wisdom
and learned folly of all time is shelved,--kitchens, (we throw in this
feature by way of ballast, and because it would not be English Oxford
without its beef and beer,) with huge fireplaces, capable of roasting a
hundred joints at once,--and cavernous cellars, where rows of piled-up
hogsheads seethe and fume with that mighty malt-liquor which is the true
milk of Alma Mater: make all these things vivid in your dream, and you
will never know nor believe how inadequate is the result to represent
even the merest outside of Oxford.

We feel a genuine reluctance to conclude this article without making our
grateful acknowledgements, by name, to a gentleman whose overflowing
kindness was the main condition of all our sight-seeings and enjoyments.
Delightful as will always be our recollection of Oxford and its
neighborhood, we partly suspect that it owes much of its happy coloring
to the genial medium through which the objects were presented to us,--to
the kindly magic of a hospitality unsurpassed, within our experience, in
the quality of making the guest contented with his host, with himself,
and everything about him. He has inseparably mingled his image with our
remembrance of the Spires of Oxford.



CYRIL WILDE.


For some reason which it does not concern us now to investigate,
Kentucky, under the dominion of the white man, has continued to justify
its native name of "Dark and Bloody Ground," in being the scene of a
remarkable number of tragedies in real life.

One of these, less known to the public in later times, we think
transcends all the others in boldness of conception, regularity of plot,
variety of passion and character displayed, and horror and pathos of
catastrophe. It might have furnished a worthy subject to the pen of
Sophocles or Shakespeare, one that they would have found already cast
into a highly dramatic form, requiring only fitting words to convey the
passions of the actors. Little invention of situation or incident
would have been needed, for neither could be imagined more intensely
interesting; nor could the most finished artist have constructed a plot
more coherent in all its details, or more strictly in accordance with
the rules of composition,--even to the preservation of the Aristotelian
unities of time and place. So perfect, indeed, does it seem, that,
were it not substantiated in every point by the records of a judicial
tribunal, it might well be taken for the invention of some master of
human nature and the dramatic art.

Captain Cyril Wilde, the hero, or rather the victim, of the events we
are about to narrate, was one of those perfectly happy men whom every
one has learned to regard as favorites of Fortune, and on whom no one
ever expects disaster to fall, simply because it never has done so. Well
descended, at a period when good birth was a positive honor in itself,
and connected, either by affinity or friendship, with the best society
of Kentucky, he held, by hereditary right, a high position among that
old aristocracy which then and for a long time afterward stoutly
maintained its own against the encroaching spirit of democratic
equality, and whose members still kept in mind many of the traditions,
honored in their own persons the dignity, and strove to preserve in
their households somewhat of the manners, of the Cavaliers of the Old
Dominion. Nor was wealth wanting to complete his happiness,--at least,
such wealth as was needed by one of his simple tastes and unostentatious
habits. He was rich beyond his disposition to spend, but not beyond his
capacity to enjoy,--a capacity multiplied by as many times as he had
friends to stimulate it;--summer friends, alas! too many of them proved
to be. His character was without reproach; his disposition easy and
genial; his mind of that happy middle order which always commands
respect, while it feels none of the restless ambition and impotent
longing for public recognition that usually attend the possession of
superior abilities.

Such was the position of Captain Wilde, and such the character he bore
during the first thirty-eight years of his life. Not many have known
a more lengthened prosperity,--and few, very few, a more sudden and
terrible reverse. Fortune, like a fond mistress, had lavished her gifts
on him without stint,--but, like a jealous one, seemed resolved that he
should owe everything to her gratuitous bounty, and the moment he sought
to win an object of desire by his own exertions turned her face away
forever, persecuting her former favorite thenceforth with vindictive
malice. Continuing to yield, for a time, with apparent complacency,
every boon he sought, she treacherously concealed therein the germs of
all his woes.

In the year 17--Captain Wilde was persuaded to better his already happy
condition by marriage. The lady he chose, or suffered to be chosen for
him, was a Miss M----, a scion of one of those extensive families, not
now so common as formerly, which by repeated intermarriage and always
settling together develop a spirit of clanship, so exclusive as to make
them almost incapable of any feeling of interest outside of their own
name and connection, and render them liable to regard any person
of different blood, who may happen to intermarry among them, as an
intruder. In some parts of the Union these clans may still be found
flourishing in considerable purity and vigor,--the same name sometimes
prevailing over a district of many miles,--a fact which an observant
traveller would surmise from a certain prevailing cast of form and
feature.

It was with a family of this kind that Captain Wilde was, in an evil
hour, induced to ally himself,--a step which soon proved to be the first
in a long career of misfortune. The lady possessed that worst of
all tempers, a quick and irritable, but at the same time hard and
unforgiving one. And she soon showed, that, in her estimation, the
feelings and interests of her husband were as nothing in comparison with
those of her family, and that, in any variance, she would leave the
former and cleave to the latter. Such variances were, unfortunately,
almost inevitable; for the family of Mrs. Wilde differed both in
politics and religion from her husband,--a fact, it may here be
remarked, which had no small influence on his subsequent fate,--and the
narrow, bigoted exclusiveness of the wife was utterly incompatible with
the free and open-hearted fellowship with which the husband received
his acquaintances, of whatever sect or party. In a very few months,
therefore, it began to be whispered abroad that the hitherto happy and
joyous bachelor's-hall had become a scene of constant bickerings and
heartburnings.

But mere incongruity of tempers and habits was not, as was supposed by
their neighbors, the only source of domestic discord. This might in time
have entirely disappeared; had conjugal confidence only been allowed its
natural growth, all might have been passably well in the end, in spite
of such serious drawbacks; for, from the necessity of his nature, the
husband would in time have become completely subservient to the sterner
spirit of his wife, which, in turn, might have been mollified in some
degree amid the peaceful duties of home;--a state of things that has
existed in many families, which have, nevertheless, enjoyed a fair
share of domestic happiness in spite of this inversion of the natural
relations of their heads. But Mrs. Wilde had brought into her husband's
house that deadliest foe of domestic peace, an elderly, ill-tempered,
suspicious female relative, serving in the capacity of _confidante_.
This curse was embodied in the person of a much older sister, who
happened to be neither maid, wife, nor widow, and, having once effected
an entrance under the pretence of assisting to arrange the disordered
household-affairs, easily contrived to render her position a permanent
one. So soon as this was achieved, she appears to have begun her hateful
work of sowing discord between the new-married pair. Having long since
blighted her own hopes of happiness, she seemed to find no consolation
so sweet as wrecking that of others;--not that she had no love for her
sister; on the contrary, her love, such as it was, was really strong
and lasting; and in her fierce grief for that sister's death she met
a punishment almost equal to her deserts. Nor was it long before she
provided herself with a most effectual means of accomplishing her
malicious object, of inflaming the troubles of the household into which
she had intruded herself. This was the discovery, real or pretended, of
a former illicit connection between her brother-in-law and a pretty and
intelligent mulatto girl, about eighteen or nineteen years of age, who
was still retained in the family in the capacity of housemaid. Having
once struck this jarring chord, she continued to play upon it with
diabolical skill. To those who watched the course of her unholy labors,
the energy and ingenuity with which this wretched woman wrought at her
task, and the completeness of her success, would have seemed a subject
of admiration, if the result had not been so deplorable as to merge all
other emotions in indignant detestation.

So thoroughly had her design been accomplished in the course of a single
year, that the birth of as sweet a child as ever smiled upon fond
parents, instead of serving as a point of union between Captain Wilde
and his wife, only increased their estrangement by furnishing another
subject of contention. Alas! the peace of Eden was not more utterly
destroyed by the treacherous wiles of the serpent than that of this
ill-starred household by the whispers of this serpent in woman's shape.
Under her continual exasperations, Mrs. Wilde's temper, naturally harsh,
became at last so outrageous and unbridled as to render her unfortunate
husband's life one long course of humiliation and misery. Far from
taking any pains to hide their discords from the world, she seemed
to court observation by seizing every opportunity of inflicting
mortification upon him in public, reckless of the reflections such
improprieties might bring upon herself.

But why, it may be asked, did not both parties seek a separation, when
affairs had reached such a state as this? First, because Captain Wilde,
though advised thereto, naturally shrank from the scandal such a step
always occasions; and, on the other side, because his wife was gifted
with one of those intolerable tempers that make some women cling to a
partner they hate with a jealous tenacity which love could scarcely
inspire, simply for the reason that a separation would put an end to
their power, so dearly prized, of inflicting pain;--for hatred has its
jealousy, as well as love.

Of the perverse ingenuity of these two women in causing the deepest
mortification to the unfortunate gentleman, whenever Fate and his own
weakness gave them the power, we will notice one instance, on account of
the important influence it had in bringing about the denouement of this
domestic tragedy.

According to the kindly custom of that time, Captain Wilde had on one
occasion requested the assistance of some of his neighbors in treading
out his grain; and the party had set to work at dawn, in order to avail
themselves of the cooler portion of the day. After waiting with longing
ears for the sound of the breakfast-horn, they finally, at a late hour,
repaired to the house, uncalled. Here the host, supposing all to be
ready, led his friends unceremoniously into the dining-room, where he
was astonished, and not a little angered, to find his wife and sister
seated composedly at their meal, which they had already nearly finished,
with only the three customary plates on the table, and no apparent
preparation for a larger number. On his beginning to remonstrate in a
rather heated tone, his wife arose, and, remarking that she had not been
used to eat in company with common laborers, swept disdainfully from the
room, followed by her sister. No more unpardonable insult could have
been offered to Kentucky farmers, at the very foundation of whose social
creed lay the principle of equality, and of whose character an intense
and jealous feeling of personal dignity was the most salient feature:
for these were men of independent means, who had come rather to
superintend the labors of their negroes than to labor themselves,--such
occasions being regarded only as pleasant opportunities for free and
unrestrained sociability, far more agreeable than formal and ceremonious
visits. On these occasions, the host would conduct his friends over
his farm to survey the condition of his crops, or point out to their
admiration his fine cattle, or obtain their opinion concerning some
contemplated improvement;--a most admirable means of drawing closer the
bonds of neighborly feeling and interest. A more bitter mortification,
therefore, could hardly have been devised for one who always prided
himself on his open-hearted Kentucky hospitality even to strangers.
Justly enraged by such foolish and ill-timed rudeness, he flung a knife,
which he had idly taken up, violently upon the table, swearing that his
friends should, in his house, be treated as gentlemen; at the same time
calling to the mulatto, Fanny, he bade her prepare breakfast, and added,
in a tone but half-suppressed, "You are the only woman on the place
who behaves like a lady." This imprudent remark was overheard by the
ever-present sister-in-law, and the use she made of it may be imagined.

In this unpleasant state of his domestic relations, the character of
Captain Wilde Seemed to undergo an entire transformation. From being
remarkable for his love of quiet retirement, he became restless and
dissatisfied; and instead of laughing, as formerly, at public employment
as only vanity and vexation, he, now that a greater vexation assailed
him in his once peaceful home, eagerly sought relief, not, as a younger
or less virtuous man might have done, in dissipation, but in the
distractions of public business. But here again his evil fortune granted
the desired boon in a shape pregnant with future disaster. The hostility
of Mrs. Wilde's family, which had now become deeply excited,--combined
with his own political heterodoxy,--forbade any hope of attaining a
place by popular choice; and in an evil hour his friends succeeded in
procuring him the office of exciseman.

Now there is no peculiarity more marked in all the branches of the
Anglo-Saxon race than the extreme impatience with which they submit to
any direct interference of the government in the private affairs of the
citizens; and no form of such interference has ever been so generally
odious as the excise, and, by consequence, no officer so generally
detested as the exciseman. This feeling, on account of the very large
number of persons engaged in distilling, was then formidably strong in
Kentucky,--all the more so that this form of taxation was a favorite
measure of the existing Federal Administration. Those who ventured to
accept so hateful an office at the hands of so hated a government were
sure to make themselves highly unpopular. In time, when the people began
to learn their own strength and the weakness of the authorities,
the enforcement of the law became dangerous, and at last altogether
impossible. The writer has been told, by a gentleman holding a
responsible position under our judicial system, that the name of his
grandfather--the last Kentucky exciseman--to this day stands charged on
the government-books with thousands of dollars arrears, although he was
a man of great courage and not at all likely to be deterred from the
discharge of his duty by any ordinary obstacle.

Such was the place sought and obtained by the unfortunate Wilde as
a refuge from domestic wretchedness. The consequence it was easy to
foresee. In a few months, he who had been accustomed to universal
good-will became an object of almost as general dislike; and as people
are apt to attribute all sorts of evil to one who has by any means
incurred their hostility, and are never satisfied until they have
blackened the whole character in which they have found one offensive
quality, the family difficulties of the unpopular official soon became a
theme of common scandal, all the blame, of course, being laid upon him.
This state of things, disagreeable in itself, proved most unfortunate in
its influence on his subsequent fate; for, had he retained his previous
popularity in the county, the last deplorable catastrophe would
certainly never have happened: since every lawyer knows full well, that,
in capital cases especially, juries are merely the exponents of public
sentiment, and that the power of any judge to cause the excited
sympathies of a whole community to sink into calm indifference at the
railing of a jury-box is about as effective as was the command of the
Dane in arresting the in-rolling waters of the ocean. This is peculiarly
true in this country, where the people, both in theory and in fact, are
so completely sovereign that the institutions of government are only
instruments, having little capability of independent, and none at all of
antagonistic action. The skilful advocate, therefore, always watches the
crowd of eager faces without the bar, with eye as anxious and far more
prophetic than that with which he studies the formal countenances of the
panel whom he directly addresses.

There was one circumstance, arising indirectly from his public
employment, that exercised no trivial influence upon Captain Wilde's
fate. On one occasion, while engaged with a brother-official in
arranging their books preparatory to the annual settlement, his wife,
becoming enraged because he failed to attend instantly to her orders
concerning some trifling domestic matter, rushed into his study and
caught up an armful of papers, which she attempted to throw into the
fire. The documents were of great importance; and to prevent her
carrying her childish purpose into execution, her husband was obliged
to seize her quickly and violently, and drag her from the hearth. The
reader will hardly recognize this incident in the form in which it was
afterward detailed from the witness-stand; and it is only on account
of the effect which this and other occurrences of like nature had in
bringing about the final event of our history, that we take the trouble
to narrate matters so trifling and uninteresting; for it appeared that
every incident of the kind was carefully registered in the memory of
the Erinnys of this devoted household, whence it came out magnified and
distorted into a brutal and unprovoked outrage.

Wretched indeed must have been the state of that family in which such
scenes were allowed to meet the eyes of strangers; and again it may be
asked, Why did not Captain Wilde take measures to dissolve a union
that had resulted in so much unhappiness, and in which all hope of
improvement must now have disappeared? Such a step would certainly have
been wise; nor could the strictest moralist have found aught to censure
therein. But it was now too late. No observer of human affairs has
failed to notice how surely a stronger character gains ascendency over a
weaker with which it is brought into familiar contact. No law of man can
abrogate this great law of Nature. Talk as we may about the power of
knowledge or intellect or virtue, the whole ordering of society shows
that it is strength of character which fixes the relative status of
individuals. In whatever community we may live, we need only look around
to discover that its real leaders are not the merely intelligent,
educated, and good, but the energetic, the self-asserting, the
aggressive. Nor will mere passive strength of will prevent subjection;
for how often do we see a spirit, whose only prominent characteristic is
a restless and tireless pugnacity, hold in complete subserviency those
who are far superior in actual strength of mind, purely through the
apathy of the latter, and their indisposition to live in a state of
constant effort! It is because this petty domineering temper is found
much oftener in women than in men, that we see a score of henpecked
husbands to one ill-used wife. Woe to the man who falls into this kind
of slavery to a wicked woman! for through him she will commit acts she
would never dare in her own person; and a double woe to him, if he be
not as wicked and hardened as his mistress! The bargain of the old
Devil-bought magicians was profitable, compared with his; since he gets
nothing whatever for the soul he surrenders up.

In the present case, a couple of years sufficed for the energetic and
ever-belligerent temper of the wife to subdue completely the mild and
peaceable nature of the husband. At her bidding most of his former
acquaintances were discarded; and even his warmest friends and nearest
relations, no longer meeting the old hearty welcome, gradually ceased
to visit his house. But the bitterest effect of this weak and culpable
abdication of his rights was experienced by his slaves. Sad indeed for
them was the change from the ease and abundance of the bachelor's-hall,
where slavery meant little more than a happy exemption from care, to
their present condition, in which it meant hopeless submission to the
power of a capricious and cruel mistress. The worst form of female
tyranny is that exhibited on a Southern plantation, under the sway of a
termagant. Her power to afflict is so complete and all-pervading, that
not an hour, nay, hardly a minute of the victim's life is exempt, if
the disposition exist to exercise it. Besides, this species of domestic
oppression has this in common with all the worst tyrannies which have
been most feared and hated by men: the severities are ordered by those
who neither execute them nor witness their execution,--that being
left to agents, usually hardened to their office, and who dare not be
merciful, even if so inclined. It adds two-fold to the bitterness of
such tyranny, that the tyrant is able to acquire a sort of exemption
from the weakness of pity. It is wisely ordered that few human beings
shall feel aught but pain in looking upon the extreme bodily anguish of
their fellow-men; and when a monster appears who seems to contradict
this benign law, he is embalmed as a monster, and transmitted to future
times along with such _rara aves_ as Caligula, Domitian, and Nana Sahib.
And here--as a Southern man, brought up in the midst of a household of
slaves--let me remark, that the worst feature of our system of slavery
is the possibility of the negroes falling into the hands of a brutal
owner capable of exercising all the power of inflicting misery which the
law gives him.

But the natural law of compensation is universal; and if the most
wretched object in existence be a slave subject to the sway of a brutal
owner, certainly the next is the humane master who has to do with a
sullen, malicious, or dishonest negro,--while for one instance of the
former, there are a hundred of the latter who would willingly give up
the whole value of their human chattels in order to get rid of the
vexations they occasion. And where master and man were equally bad, we
have known cases in which it was really hard to say which contrived to
inflict most misery: the one might get used to blows and curses so as
not much to mind them, but the other could never escape the agonies of
rage into which his contumacious chattel was able to throw him at any
time.

Captain Wilde's temper was more than usually mild and lenient; and he
was probably the most wretched being on his own plantation during the
last two years of his life,--a day seldom passing that he was not
compelled to inflict some sort of punishment upon his negroes. These,
however, never ceased to feel for him the respectful attachment inspired
by his kindness during the happy years of his bachelor-life; but,
strange as it may seem, that feeling was now mingled with a sort of
pity; for they well knew the painful reluctance with which he obeyed the
harsh commands of his wife. And of all who mourned the hapless fate
of this unfortunate gentleman, none mourned more bitterly, and few
cherished his memory so long or so tenderly, as these humble dependants,
who best knew his real character.

But it was upon the mulatto girl Fanny, particularly, that the
tyrannical cruelty of Mrs. Wilde was poured out in all its severity.
From some cause,--whether because her duties rendered her more liable
to commit irritating faults, or whether, being always in sight, she was
simply the most convenient object of abuse, or whether on account of the
alleged former intimacy between this girl and her master,--certain it
is that the hatred with which the mistress pursued her had something in
it almost diabolical. And she seemed to take a peculiar satisfaction
in making her husband the instrument of her persecutions: an ingenious
method of punishing both her victims, if the motive were the last of
those above suggested. And truly bitter it must have been to both, when
the hand that had been only too kind was now forced to the infliction
even of stripes; so that one hardly knows which to pity most: though,
if the essence of punishment be degradation, certainly the legal slave
suffered less of it than the moral one who had fallen so low beneath the
dominion of a termagant wife. But let it be ever remembered to the honor
of this wretched daughter of bondage, that, in spite of all, she never
lost that devoted attachment for her master which in one of a more
favored race might be called by a softer name. For, whatever may have
been his feelings toward her, there can remain no doubt of the nature of
hers for him,--so touchingly displayed at a subsequent period, when she
cast away the terror of violent death, so strong in all her race, and
sought, by a voluntary confession of guilt never imputed to her, to
save him by taking his place upon the scaffold. Surely, such heroic
self-sacrifice suffices to

                                    "sublime
  Her dark despair and plead for its one crime."

It was probably on a discovery of this feeling in the girl that the
intermeddling sister-in-law founded her charge against the master.

But there is a point beyond which human endurance cannot go,--at
which milder natures turn to voluntary death as a refuge from further
suffering, and fiercer ones begin to contemplate crime with savage
complacency. Towards this point the ruthless and persevering cruelty of
these two women was now rapidly driving their wretched victim, and soon,
very soon, they were to learn that they had been hunting, not a lamb,
but a tigress, whose single spring, when brought to bay, would be as
quick, as sure, and as deadly as was ever made from an Indian jungle.
For now, near the end of the third year of Captain Wilde's married life,
its wretched scenes of discord and tyranny were about to be closed in a
catastrophe that was to overwhelm a great community with consternation
and horror, and blot an entire family out of existence almost in a
single night,--a catastrophe in which Providence, true to that ideal of
perfect justice called poetical, working out the punishment of two
of the actors by means of their own inhumanity, at the same time
mysteriously involved two others,--one clothed in all the innocence
of infancy, and the other guilty only through weakness and as the
instrument of another. Seldom has destruction been more sudden or more
complete, and never, perhaps, was so annihilating a blow dealt by so
weak a hand.

Those who remember the early times of Kentucky know that the place of
the agricultural and mechanics' fairs of the present day was supplied
by "big meetings," which, under the various names of associations,
camp-meetings, and basket-meetings, continued in full popularity to a
quite recent period, and were at last partially suppressed on account
of the immorality which they occasioned and encouraged. It was to these
holy fairs--as now to secular ones--that the wealth and fashion of
early Kentucky crowded for the purpose of displaying themselves most
conspicuously before the eyes of assembled counties. Mrs. Wilde, like
most women of her temper, was passionately fond of such public triumphs,
and had determined, at a camp-meeting soon to be held in the vicinity,
to outshine all her rural neighbors in splendor. For the full
realization of this ambition, a new carriage was, in her opinion,
absolutely necessary. This fact she communicated to her husband, and
upon some demur on his part, a thing now very rare, her temper, as
usual, broke forth in a storm of reproach and abuse, so that the poor
man, completely subdued, was glad to purchase peace by acquiescence
in what his judgment regarded as a foolish expense; and he prepared
immediately to set off for L---- to procure the coveted vehicle. But
before he had mounted, his wife, yet hot from their recent altercation,
discovered or affected to discover some negligence on the part of the
mulatto girl, who was engaged in nursing the child, which was at this
time suffering from a dangerous illness. Now the one tender trait of
this violent woman was intense love for her offspring; but it was a
love that, far from softening her manner toward others, partook, on the
contrary, of the fierceness of her general character, and became, like
that of a wild animal for its young, a source of constant apprehension
to those whose duty compelled them to approach its object. So now,
seizing the weeping culprit by the hair, she dragged her to the door,
and, after exhausting her own powers of maltreatment, called to her
husband and ordered him to bring, on his return, a new cowhide,--"For
you shall," cried she, in uncontrollable rage, "give this wretch, in the
morning, two hundred lashes!" It was a brutal threat, falling from the
lips of one who was called a lady: for, of all tortures, that of
the cowhide is for the moment the most intolerable, in its sharp,
penetrating agony, as is well known by those who remember even a
moderate application of it to their own person in school-boy days. The
victim knew that the execution of the barbarous menace would be strict
to the letter, and that it would be but little preferable to death
itself. Yet, in spite of this, she now, for the first time, failed to
cower and tremble, but arose and faced her oppressor, erect and defiant.
The last drop had now been dashed into the cup of endurance,--the final
blow had been struck, under which the human spirit either falls crushed
and prostrated forever, or from which it springs up tempered to
adamantine hardness, and incapable thenceforth of feeling either fear
for itself or pity for its smiter. That one moment had entirely reversed
the relations of the two, making the slave mistress of her mistress's
fate, while the latter thenceforward held her very existence at the will
of her slave. The cruel woman had raised up for herself that enemy more
terrible even to throned tyrants than an army with banners: for there
is something truly terrific in the almost omnipotent power of harm
possessed by any intelligent being, whom hatred, or fanaticism, or
suffering has wound up to that point of desperation where it is willing
to throw away its own life in order to reach that of an adversary,
--such desperation as inspired the gladiator Maternus, in his romantic
expedition from the woods of Transylvania through the marshes of
Pannonia and the Alpine passes, to strike the lord of the Roman world
in the recesses of his own palace, and in the presence of his thousand
guards. He who has provoked such hostility can know no safety, but in
the destruction of his enemy,--a fact well understood by the elder
Napoleon, who, however he might admire, never pardoned those whose
attempts on his person showed them utterly reckless of the safety of
their own.

And now, for a few hours, the whole interest of our narrative centres in
her whom that moment had so completely transformed and made already a
murderess in heart and in purpose. And how thoroughly must that heart
have been steeled, and how entire must have been the banishment of all
counteracting feelings, when she could for a whole day, in the midst of
a household of fellow-servants, and under the watchful eyes of an angry
mistress, continue to discharge her usual tasks, bearing this deadly
purpose in her breast, yet never, by word, look, or gesture, betray the
slightest indication of its dreadful secret,--no, not even so much as to
draw suspicion toward herself after the discovery of the crime! There
was no time or opportunity for preparation, of which little was indeed
necessary; for human life is a frail thing, and a determined hand is
always strong. She had already undergone the most effectual preparation
for such a task,--that of the soul; and when that is once thoroughly
accomplished, not much more is needed: a fact which seems not to be
understood by those patriotic assassins--French and Italian--whose
elaborately contrived infernal-machines do but betray the anxious
precautions taken to insure lives which, according to their own
professions, have been rendered valueless by tyranny, and ought
therefore to be the more freely risked. Felton and Charlotte Corday
understood their business better; but even their preparations may be
called elaborate, compared with those of this poor slave-girl.

Captain Wilde returned late in the evening with the coveted coach; and
the whole family, white and black, of course, turned out to admire that
crowning addition to the family splendor. But among the noisy group of
the latter there stood one who gazed upon the object of admiration
with thoughts far different from those of her companions; and soon the
careless mirth of all was checked and chilled into silent fear, when
they saw their master take from beneath one of the seats a new specimen
of the well-known green cow-skin, and hand it, with a troubled,
deprecating look, to his wife. Ah! they all knew that appealing look
well, and the hard, relentless frown by which it was answered, as well
as they knew the use of the dreaded instrument itself. But there was
only one among them who comprehended its immediate purpose. The glance
of cruel meaning which the tyranness, after having examined the lithe,
twisted rod critically for an instant, cast upon the object of her
malice, probably banished the last lingering hesitation from the breast
of the latter,--who turned away ostensibly to the performance of her
accustomed duties, but in reality to settle the details of a crime
unsurpassed in coolness and resolution by aught recorded of pirate or
highwayman. It was probably during the hours immediately succeeding
Captain Wilde's return that her deadly purpose shaped itself forth in
the plan finally executed; because it was not till then that she became
cognizant of all the circumstances which entered into its formation.
Seldom have more nicely calculated combinations entered into the plots
of criminals, and never was a plot depending on so many chances more
completely successful. Yet the pivot of the whole, as often in more
extensive schemes of homicide, is to be found in the reckless daring and
utter disregard of personal safety manifested throughout. For this alone
she seems to have made no calculations and taken no precautions;
her whole mind being bent apparently on the solution of one single
difficulty,--how to approach her enemy undetected.

As to the details of this affair, let us mention one or two facts, and
then the conduct of the murderess will itself explain them. We have
already stated that the only child of Captain and Mrs. Wilde, an infant
about eighteen months old, was at this time dangerously ill. For a
fortnight it had been the custom of the parents to sit up with it on
alternate nights, this night it being the father's regular turn to
perform that duty; but his trip of twenty-five or thirty miles had
fatigued him so much that it was judged best for his wife to relieve
him,--his slumbers being usually so profound as to be almost lethargic,
so that, when once fairly asleep, the loudest noises even in the same
room would fail to arouse him, and it being feared, therefore, that the
little patient might suffer, if left to his care in his present state of
weariness. In the same room slept a young negro girl, whose duty it was
to carry the child into the open air when occasion required,--an office
which Fanny herself had more than once performed. The reader will note
how ingeniously every one of these circumstances was woven into the
girl's scheme of death, and how each was made subservient to the end in
view.

       *       *       *       *       *

At ten o'clock on the night of the 18th of July, 17--, everything had
become quiet about that lonely farm-house, so completely isolated in the
midst of its wide plantation that the barking of the dogs at the nearest
dwellings was barely heard in the profound stillness. A dim light, as
if from a deeply shaded candle, shone from one of the casements to the
right of the hall-door, showing where the parents watched by the bed of
their suffering infant. Along the high-road, which, a few rods in front,
stretched white and silent in the moonlight between its long lines of
worm-fences, a solitary traveller on horseback was journeying at this
hour. This gentleman afterward remembered being more than usually
impressed by the air of peace and repose that reigned about the place,
as he rode under the tall locust-trees which skirted the yard and cast
their dark shadows over into the highway. But he did not see a female
form flitting furtively from the negro-quarters in the rear, toward the
house; and a shade of suspicion might have crossed his mind, had he
glanced back a moment later and beheld that form approach the lighted
window with stealthy, cautious steps, and peer long and intently through
the partially drawn curtains upon the scene within, then, stooping low,
glide along the moonlit wall and disappear beneath the short flight of
wooden steps that led up to the front-door.

Here ensconced, safe from observation, the murderess lay listening to
every sound in the sick-room above. Ten,--eleven,--twelve,--one,--sounded
from the clock in the dining-room on the other side of the hall.
For three hours has she crouched there, but the opportunity
she expected has not yet come. The moon was setting and deep
darkness beginning to envelop the earth, when, just as she was about to
steal forth and regain her cabin unobserved, the door above her head
opened, and the young negro nurse, still half-asleep, came forth, stood
for a moment upon the topmost step to recover her senses, and then, with
the wailing infant in her arms, descended and passed round the corner of
the house. She had barely disappeared when the murderess crept from her
lair, and, swift and noiseless as a serpent or a cat, glided up the
steps through the open door, and in another moment had again concealed
herself beneath the leaves of a large table that stood in the hall
close to the door of the sick-room, which, standing ajar, gave her an
opportunity of studying once more the situation of things within. In the
corner farthest from her lurking-place stood the bed on which her master
was slumbering, concealing with its curtains the front-window against
which it was placed. At the foot of this, under the other front-window,
was the pallet of the nurse, and midway between it and the door through
which she peered was the low trundle-bed of the sick child, on which at
this moment lay the mother,--soon to become a mother again; while at
the farther end of the room a candle was burning dimly upon the hearth.
Thus, for half an hour, the murderess crouched within a few feet of her
victim and watched, noting every circumstance with the eye of a beast of
prey about to spring. At the end of that time the nurse returned, placed
the quieted child beside its mother, and, closing the door, retired to
her own pallet, whence her loud breathing almost immediately told that
she was asleep. Still with bated breath the mulatto waited, stooping
with her ear at the keyhole till the regular respirations of the mother
and the softened panting of the little invalid assured her that all
was safe. Then, at last, turning the handle of the latch silently and
gradually, she glided into the room and stood by the side of her victim.

The whole range of imaginative literature cannot furnish an incident
of more absorbing interest; nor can the whole history of the theatre
exhibit a situation of more tremendous scenical power than was presented
at this moment in that chamber of doom. The four unconscious sleepers
with the murderess in the midst of them, bending with hard, glittering
eyes over her prey, while around them all the huge shadows cast by the
dim, untrimmed light, like uncouth monsters, rose, flitted, and fell, as
if in a goblin-dance of joy over the scene of approaching guilt. Sleep,
solemn at any time, becomes almost awful when we gaze upon it amid the
stillness of night, so mysterious is it, and so near akin to the deeper
mystery of death,--so peaceful, with a peace so much like that of the
grave: men could scarcely comprehend the idea of the one, if they were
not acquainted with the reality of the other. There lay the mother, with
her arms around her sleeping child, whose painful breathing showed that
it suffered even while it slept. Such a spectacle might have moved the
hardest heart to pity; but it possessed no such power over that of the
desperate slave, whose vindictive purpose never wavered for an instant.
Passing round the bed, she stooped and softly encircled the emaciated
little neck with her fingers. One quick, strong gripe,--the poor, weak
hands were thrown up, a soft gasp and a slight spasm, and it was done.
The frail young life, which had known little except suffering, and which
disease would probably have extinguished in a few hours or days, was
thus at once and almost painlessly cut short by the hand of violence.

And now at last the way was clear. "I knew," said she afterwards, "the
situation of my mistress; and I thought that by jumping upon her with my
knees I should kill her at once." Disturbed by the slight struggle of
the dying child, Mrs. Wilde moved uneasily for a moment, and again sunk
into quietude, lying with her face--that hard, cold face--upward. This
was the opportunity for the destroyer. Bounding with all her might from
the floor, she came down with bended knees upon the body of her victim.
But the shock, though severe, was not fatal; and with a loud cry of
"Oh, Captain Wilde, help me!" she, by a convulsive effort, threw her
assailant to the floor. Though stunned and bewildered by the suddenness
and violence of the attack, the wretched woman in that terrible moment
recognized her enemy, and felt the desperate purpose with which she was
animated, and so recognizing and so feeling, must have known in that
momentary interval all that the human soul can know of despair and
terror. But it was only for a moment; for, before she could utter a
second cry for help, the baffled assailant was again upon her with the
bound of a tigress. A blind and breathless struggle ensued between the
desperate ferocity of the slave and the equally desperate terror of the
mistress; while faster and wilder went the huge, dim shadows in their
goblin-dance, as the yellow flame flared and flickered in the agitated
air. For a few moments, indeed, the result of the struggle seemed
doubtful, and Mrs. Wilde at length, by a violent effort, raised herself
almost upright, with the infuriated slave still hanging to her throat;
but the latter converted this into an advantage, by suddenly throwing
her whole weight upon the breast of her mistress, thus casting her
violently backward across the head-board of the bed, and dislocating the
spine. Another half-uttered cry, a convulsive struggle, and the deed was
accomplished. One slight shiver crept over the limbs, and then the body
hung limp and lifeless where it had fallen,--the head resting upon the
floor, on which the long raven hair was spread abroad in a disordered
mass. The victor gazed coolly on her work while recovering breath; and
then, to make assurance doubly sure, took up, as she thought, a stocking
from the bed and deliberately tied it tight round the neck of the
corpse. Then, gliding to the door, she quitted the scene of her fearful
labors as noiselessly as she had entered, leaving behind her not one
trace of her presence,--but leaving, unintentionally, a most fatal false
trace, which suspicion continued to follow until it had run an entirely
innocent man to his grave. The last act of the drama of woman's passion
and woman's revenge was over; the tragedy of man's suffering and
endurance still went on.

How or by whom the terrible spectacle in that chamber of death was
first discovered we are not told. All we know, from the reports of the
negroes, is, that Captain Wilde, who seemed stupefied at first, suddenly
passed into a state of excitement little short of distraction,--now
raving, as if to an imaginary listener, and then questioning and
threatening those about him with incoherent violence. To these simple
observers such conduct was entirely incomprehensible; but we may easily
suppose that at this moment the unfortunate man first realized the
fearful nature of the circumstances which surrounded him, and perceived
the abyss which had yawned so suddenly at his feet. And no wonder that
he shrank back from the prospect, overwhelmed for the moment with
consternation and despair,--not the prospect of death, but of a
degradation far worse to the proud spirit of the Kentucky gentleman,
on whose good name even political hatred had never been able to fix a
stain.

The terrified negroes carried the alarm to the nearest neighbors, and
soon the report of this appalling occurrence was flying like lightning
toward the utmost bounds of the county. The first stranger who reached
the scene of death was Mr. Summers, formerly an intimate friend of
Captain Wilde. When he entered the room, he found the poor gentleman
on his knees beside the body of his child, with his face buried in the
bed-clothes. At the sound of footsteps he raised his wild, tearless
eyes, exclaiming, "My God! my God! Mr. Summers, my wife has been
murdered here, in my own room, and it will be laid on me!" Shocked by
the almost insane excitement of his old friend, and sensible of the
imprudence of his words, Summers begged him to compose himself, pointing
out the danger of such language. But the terrible thought had mastered
his mind with a monomaniacal power, and to every effort at consolation
from those who successively came in the only reply was, "Oh, my God,
it will all be laid upon me!" Fortunately, those who heard these
expressions were old friends, who, although they had been long
unfamiliar, knew the native uprightness of the man, and still felt
kindly toward one whose estrangement they knew was the effect of weak
submission to the dictation of his wife, not the result of any change in
his own feelings. They regarded his wild words as only the incoherent
utterances of a mind bewildered by horror, and were anxious to put an
end to the harrowing scene, and remove the stricken man as soon as
possible from the observation of a mixed crowd that was now rapidly
assembling from all directions, many of whom knew Captain Wilde only
in his unpopular capacity of exciseman, and would therefore be apt to
suspect a darker explanation of his strange behavior.

So shocking had been the sight presented to their eyes, on entering
the room, that hitherto no one had had sufficient presence of mind to
examine the bodies closely; but at last Mr. Summers, cooler than the
rest, approached to raise that of Mrs. Wilde, and then, for the first
time, perceived the bandage about her neck. It proved to be _a white
silk neckerchief_, which Summers removed and began to examine. As he
did so, his face was seen to grow suddenly pale as death. All pressed
anxiously forward to see, and a silent, but fearfully significant
look passed round the circle; for in one corner, embroidered in large
letters, was the name of _Cyril Wilde_. As silently every eye sought the
devoted man, and on many countenances the look of doubt settled at once
into one of conviction, when they saw that he wore no cravat; and to
many ears the heart-broken moan of the wretched husband and father,
which a moment before seemed only the foreboding of over-sensitive
innocence, now sounded like the voice of self-accusing guilt. So great
is the power of imagination in modifying our beliefs!

After such a discovery an arrest followed as a matter of course; and a
popular feeling adverse to the accused quickly manifested itself in
the community. But it is pleasant to know, that, in spite of all
appearances, many of Captain Wilde's old friends never lost faith in his
innocence, or hesitated to renew in his hour of adversity the kindly
relations that had existed before his marriage; while his own
kindred stood by him and bravely fought his hopeless battle to the
last,--employing as his advocate the celebrated John Breckenridge, who
was then almost without a rival at the Kentucky bar. But, on the other
hand, his wife's family pursued their unfortunate relative with a
savageness of hatred hardly to be paralleled. Having hunted him to the
very foot of the scaffold, their persevering malice seemed unsated even
by the sight of their victim suspended as a felon before their very
eyes; for it was reported, at the time, that two of the murdered woman's
brothers were seen upon the ground during the execution.

And now it was that the unpopularity resulting from Captain Wilde's
official employment manifested its most baleful effects. Had he
possessed at this crisis the same general good-will he had enjoyed four
years before, he might have bid defiance to the rage of his enemies, and
have escaped, in spite of all the suspicious circumstances by which he
stood environed. For the general drift of sentiment in the West has
always been against capital penalties, and it is next to impossible
to carry such penalties into effect against a popular favorite. In a
country like this we might as soon expect to see the hands of a clock
move in a direction contrary to the machinery by which it is governed,
as a jury to run counter to plainly declared popular feelings. There may
now and then be instances of their acquitting contrary to the general
sentiment, where that sentiment is unimpassioned; but we much doubt
whether there has ever occurred a single example of a jury convicting a
person in whose favor the sympathy of a whole community was warmly and
earnestly expressed. Of such sympathy Captain Wilde had none; for to the
great majority he was known only as the exciseman, and as such was an
object of hostility. Not that this hostility at any time took the form
of insult and abuse,--for we are proud to say that outside of the large
towns such disgraceful exhibitions of feeling are unknown,--but it
left the minds of the general mass liable to be operated on by all
the suspicious circumstances of the case, and by the slanders of the
personal enemies of the accused.

On the 23d of November, an immense crowd of people, both men and women,
were assembled in the court-house at ---- to witness a trial which was
to fix a dark stain on the judicial annals of Kentucky, and in which,
for the thousandth time, a court of justice was to be led fatally astray
by the accursed thing called Circumstantial Evidence, and made the
instrument of that most deplorable of all human tragedies, a formal,
legalized murder. It is one of the most glaring inconsistencies of our
law, that it admits, in a trial where the life of a citizen is at stake,
a species of testimony which it regards as too inconclusive and too
liable to misconstruction to be allowed in a civil suit involving, it
may be, less than the value of a single dollar. True, it is a favorite
maxim of prosecutors, that "circumstances will not lie"; but it requires
little acquaintance with the history of criminal trials to prove that
circumstantial evidence has murdered more innocent men than all the
false witnesses and informers who ever disgraced courts of justice by
their presence; and the slightest reflection will convince us that this
shallow sophism contains even less practical truth than the general mass
of proverbs and maxims, proverbially false though they be. For not only
is the chance of falsehood, on the part of the witness who details the
circumstances, greater,--since a false impression can be conveyed with
far less risk of detection by distortion and exaggeration of a fact than
by the invention of a direct lie,--but there is the additional danger of
an honest misconception on his part; and every lawyer knows how hard
it is for a dull witness to distinguish between the facts and his
impressions of them, and how impossible it often is to make a witness
detail the former without interpolating the latter. But the greatest
risk of all is that the jury themselves may misconstrue the
circumstances, and draw unwarranted conclusions therefrom. It is an
awful assumption of responsibility to leap to conclusions in such cases,
and the leap too often proves to have been made in the dark. God help
the wretch who is arraigned on suspicious appearances before a jury who
believe that "circumstances won't lie"! for the Justice that presides at
such a trial is apt to prove as blind and capricious as Chance herself.
In reviewing the present trial in particular, one may well feel puzzled
to decide which of these deities presided over its conduct. A Greek or
Roman would have said, Neither,--but a greater than either,--Fate; and
we might almost adopt the old heathen notion, as we watch the downward
course of the doomed gentleman from this point, and note how invariably
every attempt to ward off destruction is defeated, as if by the
persevering malice of some superior power. We shall soon see the most
popular and influential attorney of the State driven from the case by an
awkward misunderstanding; another, hardly inferior, expire almost in
the very act of pleading it; and, finally, when the real criminal
comes forward, at the last moment, to avert the ruin which she has
involuntarily drawn down upon the head of her beloved master, and
take his place upon the scaffold, we shall behold her heroic offer of
self-sacrifice frustrated by influences the most unexpected,--political
influences which--with shame be it told--were sufficient to induce a
governor of Kentucky to withhold the exercise of executive clemency, the
most glorious prerogative intrusted to our chief magistrates, and
which it ought to have been a most pleasing privilege to grant: for,
incredible as it may seem, Governor ---- knew, when he signed the
death-warrant, that the man he was consigning to an ignominious grave
was innocent of the crime for which he was to suffer.

The trial was opened in the presence of a crowded assembly, among whom
it was easy to discern that general conviction of the prisoner's guilt
so chilling to the spirits of a defendant and his counsel, and so much
deprecated by the latter, because he knows too well how far it goes
toward a prejudgment of his cause. Several of the most prominent members
of the bar had been retained by the family of Mrs. Wilde to assist the
State's attorney in the prosecution. In the defence John Breckenridge
stood alone, needing no help; for all knew that whatever man could do in
behalf of his client would be done by him. The prisoner himself, upon
whom all eyes were turned, appeared dejected, but calm, like one who had
resigned all hope. The ominous foreboding, which had so overcome him on
the fatal morning of the murder, had never left him for a single moment.
From that hour he had looked upon himself as doomed, and had yielded
only a passive acquiescence in the measures of defence proposed by
his friends, awaiting the fate which he regarded as inevitable with
a patience almost apathetic. Adversity brought out in bold relief
qualities that might have sustained a cause whose victories are
martyrdoms, but how useless to one requiring active heroism!

All the damaging facts attending the discovery of the murder--the
failure of any signs of a stranger's presence in the apartment, the
peculiar behavior of the accused, the finding of his cravat on the neck
of the corpse, his acknowledgment of having worn it on the previous
day--were fully, but impartially, detailed by the witnesses for the
Commonwealth. No one could deny that the circumstances were strongly
against the prisoner: and these shadows, at best, and too often mere
delusive mirages of truth, the law allows to be weighed against the life
of a man. Against these shadows all the powers of Breckenridge were
taxed to the uttermost; and he might have succeeded, for his eloquence
was most persuasive, and his influence over the minds of the people
nearly unlimited, had not a false witness appeared to add strength by
deliberate perjuries to a case already strong. It was the ungrateful
sister-in-law of the accused, who had owed to him a home and an asylum
from the merited scorn of her family and the world, who now came forward
to complete the picture of her own detestable character, and put the
finishing hand to her unhallowed work, by swearing away that life which
her arts had rendered scarcely worth defending, could death have come
unaccompanied by disgrace. With a manner betraying suppressed, but
ill-concealed eagerness, and in language prompt and fluent, as if
reciting by rote a carefully kept journal, she went on to detail every
fault or neglect or impatient act of her relative, not sparing exposure
of the most delicate domestic events, at the same time carefully
suppressing all mention of his provocations. In reply to the question,
whether she had ever witnessed any violence that led her to fear
personal danger to her sister, she replied, that, on one occasion,
Captain Wilde, being displeased at something in relation to the
preparation of a meal, seized a large carving-knife and flung it at his
wife, who only escaped further outrage by flying from the house. On
another occasion, she remembered, he became furiously angry because her
sister wished him to see some guests, and, seizing her by the hair,
dragged her to the door of his study, and cast her into the hall so
violently that she lay senseless upon the floor until accidentally
discovered,--her husband not even calling assistance. It is easy to
imagine what an effect such exposures of the habitual brutality of the
man, narrated by a near relation of the sufferer, and interrupted at
proper intervals by sobs and tears, would have upon an impulsive jury,
obliged to derive their knowledge of the case wholly from such a source,
and already strongly impressed by the circumstantial details with a
presumption unfavorable to the defendant. Now, since there were other
persons in the court-house who had witnessed these two scenes of alleged
maltreatment, it may seem strange that they were not brought forward
to contradict this woman on those two points, which would at once have
destroyed the effect of her entire testimony,--the maxim, _Falsum in
uno, falsum in omnibus_, being always readily applied in such cases. Had
this been done, a reaction of popular feeling would almost certainly
have followed in favor of the accused, which might have borne him safely
through, in spite of all the presumptive proof against him. For nothing
is truer than Lord Clarendon's observation, that, "when a man is shown
to be less guilty than he is charged, people are very apt to consider
him more innocent than he may actually be." But in this case the
falsehood was secured from exposure by its very magnitude, until it was
too late for such exposure to be of any benefit to the prisoner. The
persons who had beheld the scenes as they really occurred never thought
of identifying them with brutal outrages, now narrated under oath, at
which their hearts grew hard toward the unmanly perpetrator as they
listened.

Against the strong array of facts and fictions presented by the
prosecution the only circumstance that could be urged by the counsel for
the prisoner was, that the child was murdered along with the mother;
and this could only avail to strengthen a presumption of innocence, had
innocence been otherwise rendered probable; but when a conviction of
his guilt had been arrived at already, it merely served to increase the
atrocity of his crime, and to insure the enforcement of its penalty.

After a two days' struggle, in which every resource of reason and
eloquence was exhausted by the defendant's counsel, the judge proceeded
to a summing up which left the jury scarcely an option, even had they
been inclined to acquit. The latter withdrew in the midst of a deep and
solemn silence, while the respectful demeanor of the spectators showed
that at last a feeling of pity was beginning to steal into their hearts
for the unhappy gentleman, who still sat, as he had done during those
two long days of suspense, with his face buried in his hands, as
motionless as a statue. A profound stillness reigned in the hall during
the absence of the jury, broken only occasionally by a stifled sob from
some of the ladies present. After an absence of less than an hour the
jury returned and handed in a written verdict; and as the fatal word
"Guilty" fell from the white lips of the agitated clerk, the calmest
face in that whole vast assembly was that of him whom it doomed to
the ignominious death of a felon. And calm he had been ever since the
dreadful morning of his arrest; for the vial of wrath had then been
broken upon his head, and he had tasted the whole bitterness of an agony
which can be endured but a short while, and can never be felt a second
time. For, as intense heat quickly destroys the vitality of the nerves
on which it acts, and as flesh once deeply cauterized by fire is
thenceforth insensible to impressions of pain, so the soul over which
one of the fiery agonies of life has passed can never experience a
repetition thereof. Besides, it is well known that the anticipation of
an unjust accusation is far more agitating to a virtuous man than the
reality, which is sure to arouse that strange martyr-spirit wherewith
injustice always arms its victim, and supported by which alone even the
most timid men have often suffered with fortitude, and the most unworthy
died with dignity.

At that time the judicial arrangements of Kentucky allowed an appeal,
in criminal cases, from the Circuit to the District Court; and it
was determined to carry this cause before the latter tribunal, Mr.
Breckenridge declaring that he believed he should be able to reverse the
verdict. On what ground he founded this opinion we do not know: whether
he felt convinced that the local prejudice against his client and the
influence of his enemies in the County of ---- had mainly contributed to
bring about the unfavorable result of the present hearing, and he hoped
to escape these adverse agencies by a change of venue,--or whether
he counted on a change of public feeling after the first burst of
excitement had subsided, to bear him through,--or whether he had
discovered the falsehood of the testimony of the sister-in-law,--or,
finally, whether it was that he had obtained a clearer and more
favorable insight into the case, and recognized grounds of hope
therein,--it is impossible now to say. But it is certain, that to
the defendant and his friends he declared his confidence of a final
acquittal, if the cause were transferred to the appellate court; and
John Breckenridge was not a man to boast emptily, or to hold out hopes
which he knew could never be realized. But at this crisis occurred a
strange misunderstanding, which drove from the support of the wretched
victim of Fate the only man who thoroughly understood the case in all
its minutest details, and would have been most likely to conduct it to
a happy termination. When the preparations for the last struggle were
almost completed, and the time set for the final trial drew near, Mr.
McC----, who, as Captain Wilde's brother-in-law, had been most active
and zealous in his behalf, was informed by some officious intermeddler
that Breckenridge had said in confidential conversation among his
friends, "that the case was entirely desperate, that he had no hope
whatever of altering the verdict by an appeal, and the family would save
money by letting the law take its course, there being no doubt of the
justice of the sentence." Mr. McC----, believing that he might rely on
the word of his informant, unfortunately, without making any inquiry as
to the truth of the tale, and without assigning any reason, wrote to Mr.
Breckenridge a curt letter of dismissal, and immediately employed George
---- to conduct the further defence. This gentleman, surpassed by no
man in Kentucky as a logician, lawyer, and orator, was inferior to the
discarded attorney in that great requisite of a jury-lawyer, personal
popularity, besides laboring under the disadvantage of being new to the
case, and having but a short time to make himself acquainted with its
details. Personal pique and professional punctilio, of course, withheld
his predecessor from affording any further assistance or advice in a
business from which he had been so summarily dismissed. We cannot now
measure accurately the effect of this change of counsel; we only know,
that, at the time, it was considered most disastrous by those having the
best opportunities of judging.

But if Mr. ---- went into the cause under this disadvantage, he was
spurred on by the consideration that in his client he was defending a
friend: for they had been friends in youth, and, though long separated,
the tie had never been interrupted. Hence he threw himself into the case
with an ardor which money could never have inspired, and in the course
of the few remaining days had succeeded in mastering all its essential
points.

The interest excited by this second trial was as deep and far more
widely spread than by the first. Few proceedings of the kind in Kentucky
ever called together a crowd at once so large and intelligent, a great
proportion being lawyers, who had been induced to attend by the desire
to witness what it was expected would be one of the most brilliant
efforts of an eminent member of their fraternity.

The principal difference between the two trials was, that, on this
occasion, the testimony of the sister-in-law was much damaged by the
exposure both of her exaggerations and suppressions of important facts
touching the incident at the breakfast-table. Having incautiously
allowed herself to be drawn into particularizing so minutely as to fix
the exact date, and so positively as to render retraction impossible,
she was, to her own evident discomfiture, flatly contradicted by more
than one of those present on that occasion, who described the scene
as it actually occurred. Of course, after such a revelation of
untruthfulness, her whole testimony became liable to suspicion, the
more violent that the falsehood was plainly intentional. Moreover, the
defendant was now provided with evidence of the constant and intolerable
provocations to which he had been subjected during the whole of his
married life. Of this, however, the most moderate and guarded use was to
be made; because, while it was necessary, by exposing the true character
and habitual violence of his wife, to relieve the prisoner of that load
of public indignation which had been excited against him on account
of his alleged brutality, it was even more important that no strong
resentment should be supposed to have grown up on his part against his
tormentor. This delicate task was managed by the attorney with such
consummate skill, that, when the evidence on both sides was closed,
public sympathy, if not public conviction, had undergone a very
perceptible change. The prosecutors, aware of this, felt the success of
their case endangered, and exerted themselves to the utmost to prevent
the tide, now almost in equilibrium, from ebbing back with a violence
proportionate to that of its flow. But the argument even of their ablest
champion, John ----, seemed almost puerile, in comparison with this, the
last effort of George ----,--an effort which was long remembered, even
less on account of its melancholy termination than for its extraordinary
eloquence. The Kentuckians of that day were accustomed to hear
Breckenridge, Clay, Talbot, Allen, and Grundy, all men of singular
oratorical fame,--but never, we have heard it affirmed, was a more
moving appeal poured into the ears of a Kentucky jury. Availing himself
of every resource of professional skill, he now demonstrated, to the
full satisfaction of many, the utter inadequacy of the circumstantial
evidence upon which so much stress had been laid to justify a
conviction,--sifting and weighing carefully every fact and detail,
and trying the conclusions that had been drawn therefrom by the most
rigorous and searching logic,--and then, assailing the credibility of
the testimony brought forward to prove the habitual cruelty of his
client, he gave utterance to a withering torrent of invective and
sarcasm, in which the character of the main hostile witness shrivelled
and blackened like paper in a flame. Then--having been eight hours on
his feet--he began to avail himself of that last dangerous resource
which genius only may use,--the final arrow in the lawyer's quiver,
which is so hard to handle rightly, and, failing, may prove worse than
useless, but, sped by a strong hand and true aim, often tells decisively
on a hesitating jury,--we mean a direct appeal to their feelings. Like a
skilful leader who gathers all his exhausted squadrons when he sees the
crisis of battle approaching, the great advocate seemed now to summon
every overtaxed power of body and spirit to his aid, as he felt that the
moment was come when he must wring an acquittal from the hearts of his
hearers. Nor did either soul or intellect fail at the call. Higher and
stronger surged the tide of passionate eloquence, until every one felt
that the icy barrier was beginning to yield,--for tears were already
seen on more than one of the faces now leaning breathlessly forward from
the jury-box to listen,--when all at once a dead silence fell throughout
the hall: the voice whose organ-tones had been filling its remotest
nook suddenly died away in a strange gurgle. Several physicians present
immediately divined what had happened; nor were the multitude near kept
long in doubt; for all saw, at the next moment, a crimson stream welling
forth from those lips just now so eloquent,--checking their eloquence,
alas, forever! It was quickly reported through the assembly that the
speaker had ruptured one of the larger blood-vessels in the lungs. The
accident was too dangerous for delay, and George ---- was borne almost
insensible from the scene of his struggles and his triumphs, to reënter,
as it proved, no more. He lived but three days longer,--long enough,
however, to learn that he had sacrificed his life in vain, the jury
having, after a lengthened consideration, affirmed the former verdict
against his friend and client.

The unfortunate man stood up to receive this second sentence with the
same face of impassive misery with which he had listened to the first.
To the solemn mockery, "If he had anything to urge why sentence of death
should not be passed upon him," he shook his head wearily, and answered,
"Nothing." It was evident that his mind was failing fast under the
overwhelming weight of calamity. It was sad to see this high-born,
but ill-fated gentleman thus bowing humbly to a felon's doom; and the
remembrance of that scene must have been a life-long remorse to his
judges, when the events of a few weeks revealed to them the terrible
truth, that he was innocent of the crime for which they had condemned
him.

We will not dwell upon the events alluded to; for even at the distance
of nearly three-quarters of a century they are too painful and
humiliating. Suffice it to say, that, when the murderess discovered that
her beloved master was to suffer for her crime, and that no other chance
of salvation remained, she made a full confession of the whole matter.
But the sentence had been pronounced, and the power of suspending its
execution rested with the Governor; and that dignitary--let his name,
in charity, remain unsaid--was about to be a candidate for reelection to
the office which he disgraced, while the family of the murdered lady was
one of the most extensive and influential in the State, the whole of
which influence was thrown into the scale against mercy and justice.
With what result was seen, when, on the morning of the ---- of April,
17--, the prison-doors were opened for the last time for his passage,
and Cyril Wilde was led forth to the execution of an iniquitous
sentence, though, even while the sad cart was moving slowly, very
slowly, through the crowded, strangely silent street, some of the very
men who had pronounced it were imploring the Governor almost on their
knees that it might be stayed. The prisoner alone seemed impatient to
hasten the reluctant march, and meet the final catastrophe. He knew of
the efforts that were making to save him, and the confession on which
they were founded. He had listened to hopeful words and confident
predictions; but no expression of hope had thereby been kindled for an
instant on his pale, dejected face. The ominous premonition which had
come upon him at the moment of that first overpowering realization of
his danger continued to gain strength with every successive stroke of
untoward Fate, until it had become the ruling idea of his mind, in which
there grew up the sort of desperate impatience with which we long for
any end we know to be inevitable. The waters of his life had been so
mingled with gall, and the bitter draught so long pressed to his lips,
that now he seemed only eager to drain at once the last dregs, and cast
the hated cup from him forever,--impatient to find peace and rest in
the grave, even if it were the grave of a felon, and at the foot of the
gallows.

Here let the curtain fall upon the sad closing scene. We will only
remark, in conclusion, that the name and family of this ill-fated victim
of false and circumstantial evidence have long since disappeared from
the land where they had known such disgrace; and but few persons are
now living who can recall the foregoing details of the once celebrated
"Wilde Tragedy."



CRAWFORD'S STATUES AT RICHMOND.


  Long I owe a song, my Brother, to thy dear and deathless claim;
  Long I've paused before thy ashes, in my poverty and shame:
  Something stirs me now from silence, with a fixed and awful breath;
  'Tis the offspring of thy genius, that was parent to thy death.

  They were murderous, these statues; as they left thy teeming brain,
  Their hurry and their thronging rent the mother-mould in twain:
  So the world that takes them sorrowful their beauties must deplore;
  From the portals whence they issued lovely things shall pass no more.

  With a ghostly presence wait they in a stern and dark remorse,
  As the marbles they are watching were sepulchral to thy corse;
  Nay, one draws his cloak about him, and the other standeth free
  With his patriot arms uplifted to the grasp of Liberty.

  Shall I speak to you, ye silent ones? Your father lies at rest,
  With the mighty impulse folded, like a banner, to his breast;
  Ye are crownèd with remembrance, and the glory of men's eyes;
  But within that heart, low buried, some immortal virtue lies.

  When with heavy strain and pressure ye were lifted to your height,
  Then his passive weight was lowered to the vaults of sorrowing Night:
  They who lifted struggled sorely, ere your robes on high might wave;
  They who lowered with a spasm laid such greatness in its grave.

  In the moonlight first I saw you,--with the dawn I take my leave;
  Others come to gaze and wonder,--not, like me, to pause and grieve:
  Sure, whatever heart doth hasten here, of master or of slave,
  This aspect of true nobleness makes merciful and brave.

  But I know the spot they gave him, with the cool green earth above,
  Where I saw the torchlight glitter on the tears of widowed love,
  And we left his garlands fading;--to redeem that moment's pain,
  Would that ye were yet in chaos, and your master back again!

  No! the tears have Nature's passport, but the wish is poor and vain,
  Since every noblest human work such sacrifice doth gain;
  God appoints the course of Genius, like the sweep of stars and sun:
  Honor to the World's rejoicing, and the Will that must be done!



JOURNAL OF A PRIVATEERSMAN.


II.


We left our privateer, the Revenge, Captain Norton, of Newport, Rhode
Island, making sail for New Providence, with her lately captured prize.
There was an English Court of Admiralty established on this island, and
here the prize was to be condemned and sold. The Journal begins again on
Monday, 10th August, 1741.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Monday, 10th._ Fine breeze of wind at N.W., with a large sea. At 5 A.M.
saw Hog Island & the island of Providence. Fired a gun & lay to for a
pilot to take us in. At 8 a pilot boat came off, & Jeremiah Harman,
Master of our prize, in her, having arrived the day before. Passed by
the Rose man of war, stationed here. We saluted her with 7 guns, &
she returned us 5. Ran aground for'ard & lay some time off of Major
Stewart's house, but the man of war sent his boat to carry out an anchor
for us, and we got off. The Cap't went ashore to wait on his Excellency,
& sent the pinnace off for the prisoners, who were immediately put in
jail.

_Thursday, 13th._ Landed all our corn, and made a clear hole of the
prize. At 9 P.M. it began to thunder & lighten very hard. Our sloop
received great damage from a thunderbolt that struck our mast & shivered
it very much, besides tearing a large piece off the hounds. As it fell,
it tore up the bitts, broke in the hatch way, and burst through both our
sides, starting the planks under her wale, melting several cutlasses &
pistols, and firing off several small arms, the bullets of which stuck
in her beam. It was some time before we perceived that she leaked, being
all thunder struck; but when the Master stepped over the side to examine
her, he put his foot on a plank that was started, and all this time the
water had been pouring in. We immediately brought all our guns on the
other side to give her a heel, & sent the boat ashore for the Doctor,
a man having been hurt by the lightning. When we got her on a heel,
we tried the pumps, not being able to do it before, for our careful
carpenter had ne'er a pump box rigged or fit to work; so, had it not
been for the kind assistance of the man of war's people, who came off as
soon as they heard of our misfortune, & put our guns on board the prize,
we must certainly have sunk, most of our own hands being ashore. This
day, James Avery, our boatswain, was turned out for neglect of duty.

_Friday, 14th._ This morning came on board Cap't Frankland to see the
misfortune we had suffered the night before, & offered to assist us
in all he could. He sent his carpenter, who viewed the mast & said he
thought he could make it do again. The Cap't, hearing of a piece of
timber for his purpose, waited on his Excellency to desire him to lay
his commands on Mr Thompson to spare it him. He sent Mr Scott, Judge of
the Admiralty, to get it in his name, promising to make it good to him
in case of any trouble arising from the timber not belonging to him.
Unloaded all our provisions & put them on board the prize, in order to
get ready for the carpenters to repair the sloop.

_Saturday, 15th._ A court was called at 4 o'clock P.M., Cap't Norton's
petition read, and an agent appointed for the owners. The Company's
Quartermaster & myself were examined, with John Evergin & Samuel
Eldridge, the two English prisoners, concerning the prize, and so the
court was adjourned till Monday, at 10 of the clock, A.M.

_Monday, 17th._ The court met according to adjournment. Jean Baptiste
Domas was examined concerning the freedom of the prisoners, and his
deposition taken in writing. All the evidence and depositions were then
read in court, sworn to, and signed, after which the court adjourned to
Wednesday at 10 of the clock. There are no lawyers in this place, the
only blessing that God could bestow on such a litigious people.

_Wednesday, 19th._ At 10 A.M., the court being opened, & the libel read,
I begged leave of his Honour to be heard, which being granted, I spoke
as follows:[A]--

[Footnote A: The speech of Peter Vezian is characteristic of the times
and of the privateering spirit. It gives expression to the popular
hatred of the Spaniards and the Romanists, to the common false charges
against the brave Oglethorpe, to the general inhuman feeling toward
negroes, and to the distrust of the pretenders to religious experience
during the "Great Revival" under the preaching of Wesley and Whitefield.
Its faults of diction add to its genuine flavor.]

May it please your Honour,--As there is no advocate appointed by this
Hon'ble Court to appear in behalf of the Capturers of a sloop taken
by Don Pedro Estrado July the 5th, belonging to some of His Majesty's
subjects of Great Britain or Ireland, and retaken by Cap't Benj. Norton
& Comp'y in a private sloop of war called the Revenge, July the 20th, &
brought into this court for condemnation, I, as Captain's Quartermaster,
appear in behalf of the owners, Cap't, & Comp'y, to prove that the said
sloop & cargo, together with the three mulattoes & one negro, which are
all slaves, belonging to some of the vassals or subjects of the King of
Spain, ought to be condemned for the benefit & use of the capturers as
aforesaid.

I'm certain I'm undertaking a task for which I am no ways qualified. But
as I have leave to speak in a court instituted by the laws of England,
and before a judge who I am certain is endued with the strictest honour
and justice, I don't doubt, that, if, through ignorance, I should omit
any proof that would be of advantage to us, your Honour will be so good
as to aid & assist me in it.

It will be needless, I believe, Sir, to bring any further proof than
what has been already brought & sworn to in Court to prove the right &
power we had to seize this sloop & cargo on the high seas, & bring her
here for condemnation. There is a late act of parliament, made in the
12th year of his present Majesty's reign, wherein it says, that all
vessels belonging to His Majesty's subjects of Great Britain or Ireland,
which shall have been taken by the enemy, and have been in their
possession the space of 96 hours, if retaken by any private man of
war, shall belong one half to the capturers, as salvage, free from all
charges. As this has been fully proved in court, that the time the enemy
has had her in possession is above 96 hours, I don't doubt but the one
half, free of all charges, will be allotted us for salvage. The thing
about which there is any dispute is the three mulattoes & one negro, all
slaves, taken by the prize, & said to belong to some vassals or subjects
of the King of Spain; and it is put upon us by this court to prove
that they are so, which I hope to do by several circumstances, and the
insufficiency of the evidence in their favour, which amounts to nothing
more than hearsay.

The first evidence in their favour is that of John Evergin, a native
of N'o Carolina, who professes himself to be a child of the Spirit. In
April last, having been taken prisoner by the said Don Pedro Estrado, &
brought to S't Augustine, he consented, for the value of a share in the
profits, to pilot them in the bowels of his native country, and betrayed
his countrymen to that cruel and barbarous nation. Can your Honour
confide in a man who has betrayed his countrymen, robbed them of their
lives, and what was dearer to them, their liberty? One who has exposed
his brethren to imminent danger & reduced them and their families to
extreme want by fire & sword, can the evidence, I say, of such a vile
wretch, who has forfeited his liege to his King by entering the enemy's
service, and unnaturally sold his countrymen, be of any weight in a
court of justice? No, I am certain, and I hope it will meet with none to
prove that these slaves are freemen; for all that he has said, by his
own confession, was only but hearsay. The other evidence is of a villain
of another stamp, a French runnagado, Jean Baptiste Domas. His evidence
is so contradictory that I hope it will meet the same fate as I think
will befall the first. I will own that he has sworn to it. But how? On a
piece of stick made in the shape of a thing they name a cross, said to
be blest and sanctified by the polluted words & hands of a wretched
priest, a spawn of the whore of Babylon, who is a monster of nature &
a servant to the Devil, who for a _real_ will pretend to absolve his
followers from perjury, incest, or parricide, and canonize them for
cruelties committed upon we heretics, as they style us, and even rank
them in the number of those cursed saints who by their barbarity have
rendered their names immortal & odious to all true believers. By devils
such as these they swear, and to them they pray. Can your Honour, then,
give credit to such evidence, when there is no doubt that it was agreed
between the witnesses to swear that the negroes were free? This they
might easily do, for there is no question but they told him so; and to
swear it was but a trifle, when absolution can be got so cheap. It does
not stand to reason, that slaves, who are in hopes of getting their
freedom, would acknowledge themselves to be slaves. Do not their
complexion and features tell all the world that they are the blood of
negroes, and have sucked slavery & cruelty from their infancy? Can any
one think, when we call to mind that barbarous action[B] committed
on his Majesty's brave subjects at the retaking of the fort at S't
Augustine, which was occasioned by the treachery of their vile General,
when he sacrificed them to that barbarous colour, that it was done by
any who had the least drop of blood either of liberty or Christianity
in them? No, I am confident your Honour can't think so; no, not even of
their Gov'r, under whose vile commission this was suffered to be done,
and went unpunished. It was headed by this Francisco, that cursed seed
of Cain, cursed from the foundation of the world, who has the impudence
to come into Court and plead that he is free. Slavery is too good for
such a savage; nay, all the cruelty invented by man will never make
amends for so vile a proceeding; and if I may be allowed to speak
freely, with submission, the torments of the world to come will not
suffice. God forgive me, if I judge unjustly! What a miserable state
must that man be in, who is under the jurisdiction of that vile & cruel
colour! I pity my poor fellow creatures who may have been made prisoners
in this war, and especially some that were lately sent to the Havanah,
and all by the treachery of that vile fellow, John Evergin, who says he
is possessed with the spirit of the inward man, but was possessed with
the spirit of Beelzebub, when he piloted the cursed Spaniards over the
bar of Obricock, as it has been proved in Court.

[Footnote B: It was reported that the English and American prisoners of
war had been barbarously mutilated and tortured.]

I don't doubt but this tragical act, acted at St Augustine, has reached
home before now. This case, perhaps, may travel as far; and when they
remember the sufferings of their countrymen under the command of this
Francisco, whom we have got in possession, together with some of his
comp'y who were concerned with him & under his command in that inhuman
act, they will agree, no doubt, as I hope your Honour will, that they
must be slaves who were concerned in it. I hope, therefore, that by the
contradictions which have been shown in Court between this Jean Baptiste
Domas, who affirms he never saw them till on board the privateer, and
the evidence of Francisco & Augustine, which proves that they knew him
some months before, and conversed with him, is proof enough they are
slaves; and I hope that by the old law of nations, where it says that
all prisoners of war, nay, even their posterity, are slaves, that by
that law Pedro Sanche & Andrew Estavie will be deemed such for the use
of the capturers. So I rest it with your Honour.

Then the Judge gave his decree, that the sloop & cargo should be sold at
vendue, & the one half thereof should be paid the Capturers for salvage,
free from all charges; that Jean Baptiste Domas, Pedro Sanche, & Andrew
Estavie, according to the laws of England, should remain as prisoners of
war till ransomed; and that Augustine & Francisco, according to the
laws of the plantations, should be the slaves, & for the use of the
Capturers. So the Court broke up.

_Friday, 21st._ This day made an end of selling the cargo of the prize.
Sold 55 bush. corn, 41 bb's pork, 6 bb's of beef, 4 bb's of oil, and
then set up Signor Cap't Francisco under the name of Don Blass. He was
sold to Mr. Stone for 34£ 8s. 8d. Pork & beef very much damnified.

_Thursday, 27th._ Got all our sails & powder from on shore, and took an
inventory of the prize's rigging and furniture, as she was to be sold on
Saturday next. Capt Frankland came on board to view her, intending to
buy her, I believe.

_Saturday, 29th._ To-day the sloop & furniture was sold, & bought by
Cap't Frankland.

_Monday, 31st._ The captain settled with everybody, intending to sail
to-morrow. He took bills of Exchange of Capt Frankland on his brother,
Messrs. Frankland & Lightfoot, merchants in Boston, and endorsed by the
Company's Quartermaster, for 540£, New England currency. The first bill
he sent to Cap't Freebody by Capt Green, bound to Boston in the prize,
with a letter.

_Wednesday, Sept. 2nd._ This morning at 8 A.M. weighed anchor, having a
pilot on board. The man of war's barge with their Lieut came on board to
search our hold & see that we did not carry any of his hands with us.

_Thursday, 3d._ At 10 A.M. had a vendue at the mast of the plunder taken
in the prize, which was sold to the amount of 50£.

_Friday, 4th._ Moderate weather till 4 A.M., when we hauled down our
mainsail to get clear of the keys & brought to under our ballast
mainsail, the wind blowing a mere hurricane.

_Sunday, 6th._ Out both reefs our mainsail. Hope to God to have fine
weather. Got clear of the reefs, and stood out the hurricane, which
was terrible. Very few godly enough to return God thanks for their
deliverance.

_Sunday, 13th._ The Captain gave the people a case bottle of rum, as a
tropick bottle for his pinnace. The people christened her and gave
her the name of _The Spaniard's Dread_. At 11 A.M. made the land of
Hispaniola & the island of Tortugas. We are now on cruising ground. The
Lord send us success against our enemies!

_Monday, 14th._ Hard gales of wind. Brought to off Tortugas under our
foresail, and about 5 A.M. saw a sloop bearing down upon us. Got all
things ready to receive her, fired our bow chaser, hoisted our jib &
mainsail & gave chase, and, as we outsailed her, she was soon brought
to. She proved to be a sloop from Philadelphia, bound to Jamaica; and
as it blew a mere fret of wind from N.E., we brought to again under our
ballast mainsail.

_Thursday, 17th._ Still cruising as above. At 7 P.M. saw 2 sloops, one
on our Starboard and the other on our Larboard bow, steering N.W. We
fired several shot to bring them to, but one of them was obstinate.
Capt. Hubbard, the Com'r of the other, came to at the first shot. He was
from Jamaica & bound to York, & informed us that there was a large fleet
just arrived from England to join the Admiral; that Admiral Vernon was
gone to St. Jago de Cuba; that there was a hot press both by sea & by
land; & that the Spanish Admiral was blown up in a large man of war at
the Havanah, which we hope may prove true. The other sloop, he said, was
one under Cap't Styles, bound also to York, and had sailed in comp'y
with him. Styles received some damage for his obstinacy in not bringing
to, for our shot hulled him and tore his sails. At 5 A.M. saw a top
sail schooner; but the master, while going to the mast head to see what
course she steered, had the misfortune to fall & break his arm just
above the wrist. Gave the vessel chase as far as Inagua Island, when she
came to. We made the Captain come on board with his papers, from which
we found that he came from Leogane, and was bound to Nantz in France,
loaded with sugars, indigo, and hides, and also 300 pieces of 8/8 sent
by the Intendant to the receiver of the customs of Nantz. We went aboard
in the Captain's yawl, and found the cargo agreeable to his bills of
lading, manifest, and clearance, and so let him pass. He informed us
that there was a brig belonging to the Spaniards at Leogane, that came
in there in distress, having lost his mast, which gentleman we hope to
have the honour of dining or supping with before long.

_Saturday, 19th._ Moderate weather. Saw a sail and gave chase.

_Sunday, 20th._ At 5 P.M. came up with the chase, which proved to be a
French ship that had been blown out of Leogane in the hurricane 6 days
ago. Her mizzen mast had been cut to get clear of the land; her quarters
stove in; her head carried away; and there was neither anchor nor cable
aboard. Of 16 hands, which were aboard, there was but one sailor, and he
was the master, and they were perishing for want of water. There was
on board 30 hhd sugar, 1 hhd & 1 bbl indigo, 13 hhd Bourdeaux wine, &
provisions in plenty. We ordered the master on board, and, as soon as he
came over the side, he fell on his knees and begged for help. When we
heard his deplorable case, we spared him some water, &, as he was an
entire stranger on the coast, put one of our hands aboard to navigate
his vessel. They kept company with us all night, and in the morning sent
us a hhd of wine. At 5 A.M., they being about a league to windward of
us, we made in for the Molo by Cape Nicholas, and she steering after us,
we brought her in. But the wind coming up ahead, & their ship out of
trim, they could not work up so far as we, so they came to an anchor a
league below us. The Cap't of the ship is named Doulteau, the ship La
Genereuse, Dutch built, and is from Rochelle in France.

_Monday, 21st._ Our Lieu't with two hands went ashore to see if he could
kill any cattle. Some others of the people went for water and found 7
wells. The people on board were busy in fishing, of which they caught
an abundance; but some of the hands who eat of the fish complained that
they were poisoned by them.

_Wednesday, 23d._ At 6 P.M. the master of the ship came on board to
return thanks to our Cap't for his kind assistance, & offered him
anything he might have occasion for. He gave the people another hhd of
claret & some sugar, & to the Cap't a quarter cask of wine for his own
drinking, also 6 lengths of old junk. At 6 A.M. left the poor Frenchman
in hopes of letting his Cap't know where he was, weighed anchor from the
Molo, and, the weather being moderate, got on our cruising ground, the
North side of Cuba.

_Saturday, 26th._ About 5 P.M. thought we saw a vessel at anchor under
the land. Lay off & on till 5 A.M., when we saw 2 sails, a brigantine &
a sloop. Gave them chase, the sloop laying to for us, & the brigantine
making the best of her way to the leeward. We presently came up with
the sloop, & when in gun shot, hoisted our pennant. The compliment was
returned with a Spanish ensign at mast head, and a gun to confirm it. We
then went alongside of him & received his broadside, which we cheerfully
returned. He then dropped astern, & bore away before the wind, crowding
all the sail he could, and we, having tacked and done the like, came
again within gun shot. While chasing, we shifted our bow guns to our
fore ports, and they had done the like with their after guns, moving
them to their cabin windows, from which they polled us with their stern
chasers, while we peppered them with our fore guns. At last, after some
brisk firing, they struck. We ordered their canoe on board, which was
directly manned, and brought their Capt, who delivered his commission &
sword to our Cap't, and surrendered himself a prisoner of war. He was
desperately wounded in the arm, & had received several small shot in his
head & body. Three of his hands were wounded, & one negro boy killed.
This vessel had been new fitted out in November last from the Havanah,
was on our coast early in the spring, & had taken several vessels and
brought them in to the Havanah, where in August she was again fitted
out, and had met with good success on the coast of Virginia. She
mounted 6 guns & 12 swivels, & had a crew of 30 hands, two of whom were
Englishmen, who had been taken prisoners, and had entered their service.
We now made all the sail we could crowd after the brigantine, which by
this time was almost out of sight. Our damage in the engagement was
not much; one man slightly wounded by a splinter, two more by a piece
accidentally going off after the fight, upwards of 20 shot in our sails,
2 through our mast, & 1 through our gunwale. This day the Revenge has
established her honour, which had almost been lost by letting the other
privateer go off with 4 ships, as before mentioned. Still in chase of
the brigantine, which is making for the land.

_Sunday, 27th._ At 4 A.M. came up with the chase, fired two guns, &
brought her to. She had been taken by the privateer 23 days before, in
Lat. 26.° N., while coming from Barbadoes; was loaded with rum, sugar, &
some bags of cotton, & was bound to Boston. Her owners are Messrs. Lee &
Tyler, Merchants there, Thomas Smith was her commander, & there were 5
Spaniards aboard, whom we took.

_Monday, 28th._ Put the Lieut on board the privateer prize with 7 hands;
also put on board the brigantine Capt Tho. Smith, with verbal orders to
follow us until we could get letters written to send her to Rhode Island
to Cap't Freebody.

_Tuesday, 29th._ Lost sight of both prizes, & lay to the best part of
the forenoon to let them come up with us.

_Wednesday, 30th._ Saw our prize, [the sloop,] bore down on her, &
ordered her canoe on board. The Quartermaster went on board & brought
off her powder & other stores, leaving 7 hands to navigate her, with
verbal orders to keep us company. No news of the brigantine; we suppose
she is gone to the northward. She has one of our hands on board.

_Thursday, Oct. 1st._ Calm weather, with thunder & rain. Brave living
with our people. Punch every day, which makes them dream strange things,
which foretells good success in our cruise. They dream of nothing but
mad bulls, Spaniards, & bags of gold. Examined the papers of the sloop,
& found several in Spanish & French, among which was the condemnation of
Cap't Stocking's sloop.

_Friday, 2nd._ At 6 A.M. saw a ship under the land. Stretched in for
her, when she hoisted a French pennant & an English ensign. Hoisted our
Spanish Jack at mast head, and sent our pinnace aboard to discover what
it was. She proved to be a ship that had been taken by Don Francisco
Loranzo, our prisoner, off the Capes of Virginia. He had put a Lieu't,
10 hands, & 5 Englishmen to carry her to the Havanah. But the Spaniards
ran her ashore on purpose. We brought off the 5 Englishmen, the
Spaniards having run for it. We caught one & brought him on board, and
sent our prize alongside to save what goods we could, for the ship was
bilged.

_Saturday, 3d._ The people busy in getting goods out of the ship, we
laying off & on.

_Sunday, 4th._ Sent John Webb as master with 7 mariners on board the
prize, & with them a Bermudian negro, who had been taken prisoner in a
fishing boat by the Spanish Cap't off the Bermudas, & a mulatto prisoner
belonging to the Spaniards, with the instructions which are underneath.

Latitude 22.° 50' N., Oct. 4th, 1741.

MR. JOHN WEBB,

You being appointed master of the sloop Invincible, late a Spanish
privateer, commanded by Cap't Don Francisco Loranzo, and taken by me &
company, we order you to keep company with us till farther orders. But
if, by some unforeseen accident, bad weather, or giving chase, we should
chance to part, then we order that you proceed directly with said sloop
& cargo to Rhode Island in New England. And if, by the Providence
of God, you safe arrive there, you must apply to Mr. John Freebody,
Merchant there, & deliver your sloop & cargo to him or his assigns.

You are also ordered to take care that you speak to no vessel, nor
suffer any to speak with you, during your passage, nor permit any
disorder on board; but you must take a special care of the cargo that
none be embezzled, and, if weather permits, you must be diligent in
drying the goods, to hinder them from spoiling. Wishing you a good
voyage, we remain your friends.

B.N.

D.M.

Copy of a letter sent to Capt Freebody per John Webb in the sloop.

SIR,--I hope my sundry letters sent you by different hands are come
safe.

This waits upon you with the agreeable news of our taking a Spanish
privateer on the 26th Sep't last, off Cape Roman, on the north side of
Cuba. She was conveying to the Havanah a brigantine which she had taken,
coming from Barbadoes & bound to Boston, & laden with rum, sugar, and
some bags of cotton. We had the pleasure of meeting him early in the
morning, & gave chase. When within about a mile of him we hoisted our
pennant, which compliment he immediately returned with his ensign at
mast head and a gun to confirm it. We received several shot from him, &
cheerfully returned them. He then made the best of his way off, crowding
all the sail he could; and we, doing the like, came again within gun
shot, and plied her with our bow chasers, which were shifted to the fore
ports for that purpose. They in return kept pelting us with their stern
chasers out of their cabin windows, but after some brisk firing they
struck. Our rigging, mast, & gunwale received some damage. Upwards of 25
shot went through our sails, 2 through our mast in its weakest part just
below where it was fished, 1 cut our fore shroud on the Larboard side, &
another went through our Starboard gunwale, port & all. Only one of our
men was wounded by the enemy, and he slightly by a splinter. Two
others were hurt in the arm by one of the people's pieces going off
accidentally after the engagement. The poor Cap't of the privateer was
wounded in the arm and the bone fractured, one negro boy killed,
& others wounded. He was fitted out last November at the Havanah,
proceeded to S't. Augustine, & while on our coast early in the spring
took several vessels. In August last he was again fitted out, & had
taken several more vessels on our coast. But we had the good fortune to
stop his course. His name is Don Francisco Loranzo, & by all report,
though an enemy, a brave man, endued with a great deal of clemency, &
using his prisoners with a great deal of humanity. The like usage he
receives with us, for he justly deserves it.

We have sent you the sloop commanded by John Webb, loaded with sundry
goods somewhat damaged, which I must desire you to unload directly & to
take care to get them dried. There is also a negro boy that is sickly,
a negro man said to have been taken off Bermudas by the privateer as he
was a fishing, & a mulatto belonging to some of the subjects or vassals
of the King of Spain, all of which we recommend to your care that they
may not elope.

The number of Spanish prisoners taken on board, the Captain included,
is 48, out of which 11 are of the blood of negroes, for which we don't
doubt that we shall have his Majesty's bounty money, which is 5£
sterling per head. We also desire that the vessel may not be condemned
till our arrival, but only unloaded & a just account taken of what was
on board. As to the brigantine, the Captain of her, whom we put in again
out of civility, has used us in a very rascally manner; for he ran away
from us in the night with the vessel, & no doubt designed to cheat us
out of our salvage, which is the half of brig & cargo, the enemy having
had possession of her for 22 days. As she is a vessel of value, I hope
you'l do your endeavors to recover our just dues, and apply to the
owners, who are, as we are credibly informed, Messrs Lee & Tyler of
Boston, both of whom are under the state of conviction since the gospel
of Whitfield & Tennant has been propagated in New England. So that we
are in hopes they will readily give a just account of her cargo & her
true value, & render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, which is
the moral preached by Whitefield.

As this will require a lawsuit, I hope you will get the best advice you
possibly can, &, if she is at Boston or elsewhere, get her seized &
condemned. She was designed to be consigned to you, & the master was
sent on board to take possession, & get things in order to sail, while
we were writing letters & bills of lading, but he gave us the slip. So,
relying on your care, we don't doubt but you will recover her and
add her to the privateer prize. The brigantine was called the Sarah,
commanded by Tho's Smith, & had on board 11 hhd of rum, 23 hhd of sugar,
& 12 bags of cotton. She was well fitted with 4 swivels, one gun, &
other stores. She was a new, pink stern vessel, & carried off one of our
hands, who, no doubt, will acquaint you of the whole affair. We hope
you will show no favour to the Cap't for his ill usage, but get a just
account of his venture, one half of which is our due. This affair is
recommended to you by all the company, and we hope that you will serve
us to the utmost of your power, not doubting in the least of your
justice & equity.

Inclosed you will receive Cap't Frankland's 2 Bills of Exchange on
his brother for 540£, also a list of the vessels which were taken by
Francisco Loranzo since he first went out on his cruise, which you may
use at pleasure either to publish or conceal. We are still cruising on
the Northern side of Cuba, & are in hopes of getting something worth
while in a short time.

We are all in good health; so, having no more to add but my kind
remembrances to all friends,

I remain

sincerely yours,

B.N.

_Monday, 5th._ The company gave the Cap't a night gown, a spencer wig, &
4 pair of thread stockings, & to the Lieut a pair of buck skin breeches.
The Doctor bought a suit of broad cloth, which cost him 28 pieces of
eight and is carried to his account in the sloop's ledger.

       *       *       *       *       *

Here Peter Vezian's journal abruptly comes to an end. But we know from
other papers, that the "Revenge," after a successful cruise, returned
safely to Newport; and thence in the next succeeding years often sailed
out against the Spaniards. Queer legends of those privateering days
still linger in Newport, and traces of ill-gotten wealth may still
be discovered there. The sailors of the old seaport are as bold and
adventurous as ever, but they are grown honester, and never again shall
a crew be found there to man either slave-trader or privateer. Northern
seamen have no liking for such occupation.



CONCERNING PEOPLE OF WHOM MORE MIGHT HAVE BEEN MADE.


It is recorded in history, that at a certain public dinner in America
a Methodist preacher was called on to give a toast. It may be supposed
that the evening was so far advanced that every person present had been
toasted already, and also all the friends of every one present. It thus
happened that the Methodist preacher was in considerable perplexity as
to the question, What being, or class of beings, should form the subject
of his toast. But the good man was a person of large sympathies; and
some happy link of association recalled to his mind certain words with
which he had a professional familiarity, and which set forth a subject
of a most comprehensive character. Arising from his seat, the Methodist
preacher said, that, without troubling the assembled company with any
preliminary observations, he begged to propose the health of ALL PEOPLE
THAT ON EARTH DO DWELL.

Not unnaturally, I have thought of that Methodist preacher and his
toast, as I begin to write this essay. For, though its subject was
suggested to me by various little things of very small concern to
mankind in general, though of great interest to one or two individual
beings, I now discern that the subject of this essay is in truth as
comprehensive as the subject of that toast. I have something to say
_Concerning People of whom More might have been Made_: I see now that
the class which I have named includes every human being. More might have
been made, in some respects, possibly in many respects, of _All
People that on Earth do Dwell_. Physically, intellectually, morally,
spiritually, more might have been made of all. Wise and diligent
training on the part of others, self-denial, industry, tact, decision,
promptitude, on the part of the man himself, might have made something
far better than he now is of every man that breathes. No one is made the
most of. There have been human beings who have been made the most of as
regards some one thing, who have had some single power developed to the
utmost; but no one is made the most of, all round; no one is even made
the most of as regards the two or three most important things of all.
And, indeed, it is curious to observe that the things in which human
beings seem to have attained to absolute perfection have for the most
part been things comparatively frivolous,--accomplishments which
certainly were not worth the labor and the time which it must have cost
to master them. Thus, M. Blondin has probably made as much of himself as
can be made of mortal, in the respect of walking on a rope stretched at
a great height from the ground. Hazlitt makes mention of a man who had
cultivated to the very highest degree the art of playing at rackets, and
who accordingly played at rackets incomparably better than any one else
ever did. A wealthy gentleman, lately deceased, by putting his whole
mind to the pursuit, esteemed himself to have reached entire perfection
in the matter of killing otters. Various individuals have probably
developed the power of turning somersets, of picking pockets, of
playing on the piano, jew's-harp, banjo, and penny trumpet, of mental
calculation in arithmetic, of insinuating evil about their neighbors
without directly asserting anything, to a measure as great as is
possible to man. Long practice and great concentration of mind upon
these things have sufficed to produce what might seem to tremble on the
verge of perfection,--what unquestionably leaves the attainments of
ordinary people at an inconceivable distance behind. But I do not call
it making the most of a man, to develop, even to perfection, the power
of turning somersets and playing at rackets. I call it making the most
of a man, when you make the best of his best powers and qualities,--when
you take those things about him which are the worthiest and most
admirable, and cultivate these up to their highest attainable degree.
And it is in this sense that the statement is to be understood, that
no one is made the most of. Even in the best, we see no more than the
rudiments of good qualities which might have been developed into a great
deal more; and in very many human beings, proper management might have
brought out qualities essentially different from those which these
beings now possess. It is not merely that they are rough diamonds, which
might have been polished into blazing ones,--not merely that they are
thoroughbred colts drawing coal-carts, which with fair training would
have been new Eclipses: it is that they are vinegar which might have
been wine, poison which might have been food, wild-cats which might have
been harmless lambs, soured miserable wretches who might have been happy
and useful, almost devils who might have been but a little lower than
the angels. Oh, the unutterable sadness that is in the thought of what
might have been!

Not always, indeed. Sometimes, as we look back, it is with deep
thankfulness that we see the point at which we were (we cannot say how)
inclined to take the right turning, when we were all but resolved to
take that which we can now see would have landed us in wreck and ruin.
And it is fit that we should correct any morbid tendency to brood upon
the fancy of how much better we might have been, by remembering also how
much worse we might have been. Sometimes the present state of matters,
good or bad, is the result of long training, of influences that were at
work through many years, and that produced their effect so gradually
that we never remarked the steps of the process, till some day we waken
up to a sense of the fact, and find ourselves perhaps a great deal
better, probably a great deal worse, than we had been vaguely imagining.
But the case is not unfrequently otherwise. Sometimes one testing-time
decided whether we should go to the left or to the right. There are in
the moral world things analogous to the sudden accident which makes a
man blind or lame for life: in an instant there is wrought a permanent
deterioration. Perhaps a few minutes before man or woman took the step
which can never be retraced, which must banish forever from all they
hold dear, and compel to seek in some new country far away a place where
to hide their shame and misery, they had just as little thought of
taking that miserable step as you, my reader, have of taking one like
it. And perhaps there are human beings in this world, held in the
highest esteem, and with not a speck on their snow-white reputation, who
know within themselves that they have barely escaped the gulf, that
the moment has been in which all their future lot was trembling in the
balance, and that a grain's weight more in the scale of evil and by this
time they might have been reckoned among the most degraded and abandoned
of the race. But probably the first deviation, either to right or left,
is in most cases a very small one. You know, my friend, what is meant by
the _points_ upon a railway. By moving a lever, the rails upon which the
train is advancing are, at a certain place, broadened or narrowed by
about the eighth of an inch. That little movement decides whether
the train shall go north or south. Twenty carriages have come so far
together; but here is a junction station, and the train is to be
divided. The first ten carriages deviate from the main line by a
fraction of an inch at first; but in a few minutes the two portions of
the train are flying on, miles apart. You cannot see the one from the
other, save by distant puffs of white steam through the clumps of trees.
Perhaps already a high hill has intervened, and each train is on its
solitary way,--one to end its course, after some hours, amid the roar
and smoke and bare ugliness of some huge manufacturing town; and the
other to come through green fields to the quaint, quiet, dreamy-looking
little city, whose place is marked, across the plain, by the noble spire
of the gray cathedral rising into the summer blue. We come to such
points in our journey through life,--railway-points, as it were, which
decide not merely our lot in life, but even what kind of folk we shall
be, morally and intellectually. A hair's breadth may make the deviation
at first. Two situations are offered you at once: you think there is
hardly anything to choose between them. It does not matter which you
accept; and perhaps some slight and fanciful consideration is allowed to
turn the scale. But now you look back, and you can see that _there_ was
the turning-point in your life; it was because you went there to the
right, and not to the left, that you are now a great English prelate,
and not a humble Scotch professor. Was there not a time in a certain
great man's life, at which the lines of rail diverged, and at which the
question was settled, Should he be a minister of the Scotch Kirk, or
should he be Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain? I can imagine a
stage in the history of a lad in a counting-house, at which the little
angle of rail may be pushed in or pushed back that shall send the train
to one of two places five hundred miles asunder: it may depend upon
whether he shall take or not take that half-crown, whether, thirty years
after, he shall be taking the chair, a rubicund baronet, at a missionary
society meeting, and receive the commendations of philanthropic peers
and earnest bishops, or be laboring in chains at Norfolk Island, a
brutalized, cursing, hardened, scourge-scarred, despairing wretch,
without a hope for this life or the other. Oh, how much may turn upon a
little thing! Because the railway train in which you were coming to a
certain place was stopped by a snowstorm, the whole character of your
life may have been changed. Because some one was in the drawing-room
when you went to see Miss Smith on a certain day, resolved to put to her
a certain question, you missed the tide, you lost your chance, you went
away to Australia and never saw her more. It fell upon a day that
a ship, coming from Melbourne, was weathering a rocky point on an
iron-bound coast, and was driven close upon that perilous shore. They
tried to put her about; it was the last chance. It was a moment of awful
risk and decision. If the wind catches the sails, now shivering as the
ship comes up, on the right side, then all on board are safe. If the
wind catches the sails on the other side, then all on board must perish.
And so it all depends upon which surface of certain square yards of
canvas the uncertain breeze shall strike, whether John Smith, who is
coming home from the diggings with twenty thousand pounds, shall go
down and never be heard of again by his poor mother and sisters away in
Scotland,--or whether he shall get safely back, a rich man, to gladden
their hearts, and buy a pretty little place, and improve the house on it
into the pleasantest picture, and purchase, and ride, and drive various
horses, and be seen on market-days sauntering in the High Street of the
county-town, and get married, and run about the lawn before his door,
chasing his little children, and become a decent elder of the Church,
and live quietly and happily for many years. Yes, from what precise
point of the compass the next flaw of wind should come would decide the
question between the long homely life in Scotland and a nameless burial
deep in a foreign sea.

It seems to me to be one of the main characteristics of human beings,
not that they actually are much, but that they are something of which
much may be made. There are untold potentialities in human nature. The
tree cut down, concerning which its heathen owner debated whether he
should make it into a god or into a three-legged stool, was positively
nothing in its capacity of coming to different ends and developments,
when we compare it with each human being born into this world. Man is
not so much a thing already, as he is the germ of something. He is,
so to speak, material formed to the hand of circumstances. He is
essentially a germ, either of good or evil. And he is not like the seed
of a plant, in whose development the tether allows no wider range than
that between the more or less successful manifestation of its inherent
nature. Give a young tree fair play, good soil and abundant air,--tend
it carefully, in short, and you will have a noble tree. Treat the young
tree unfairly,--give it a bad soil, deprive it of needful air and light,
and it will grow up a stunted and poor tree. But in the case of the
human being, there is more than this difference in degree. There may be
a difference in kind. The human being may grow up to be, as it were,
a fair and healthful fruit-tree, or to be a poisonous one. There is
something positively awful about the potentialities that are in
human nature. The Archbishop of Canterbury might have grown up under
influences which would have made him a bloodthirsty pirate or a sneaking
pickpocket. The pirate or the pickpocket, taken at the right time, and
trained in the right way, might have been made a pious, exemplary man.
You remember that good divine, two hundred years since, who, standing in
the market-place of a certain town, and seeing a poor wretch led by him
to the gallows, said, "There goes myself, but for the grace of God." Of
course, it is needful that human laws should hold all men as equally
responsible. The punishment of such an offence is such an infliction, no
matter who committed the offence. At least the mitigating circumstances
which human laws can take into account must be all of a very plain and
intelligible character. It would not do to recognize anything like a
graduated scale of responsibility. A very bad training in youth would be
in a certain limited sense regarded as lessening the guilt of any wrong
thing done; and you may remember, accordingly, how that magnanimous
monarch, Charles II., urged to the Scotch lords, in extenuation of the
wrong things he had done, that his father had given him a very bad
education. But though human laws and judges may vainly and clumsily
endeavor to fix each wrongdoer's place in the scale of responsibility,
and though they must, in a rough way, do what is rough justice in five
cases out of six, still we may well believe that in the view of the
Supreme Judge the responsibilities of men are most delicately graduated
to their opportunities. There is One who will appreciate with entire
accuracy the amount of guilt that is in each wrong deed of each
wrong-doer, and mercifully allow for such as never had a chance of being
anything but wrong-doers. And it will not matter whether it was from
original constitution or from unhappy training that these poor creatures
never had that chance. I was lately quite astonished to learn that some
sincere, but stupid American divines have fallen foul of the eloquent
author of "Elsie Venner," and accused him of fearful heresy, because he
declared his confident belief that "God would never make a man with a
crooked spine and then punish him for not standing upright." Why, that
statement of the "Autocrat" appears to me at least as certain as that
two and two make four. It may, indeed, contain some recondite and
malignant reference which the stupid American divines know, and which
I do not; it may be a mystic Shibboleth, indicating far more than it
asserts; as at one time in Scotland it was esteemed as proof that a
clergyman preached unsound doctrine, if he made use of the Lord's
Prayer. But, understanding it simply as meaning that the Judge of all
the Earth will do right, it appears to me an axiom beyond all question.
And I take it as putting in a compact form the spirit of what I have
been arguing for,--to wit, that, though human law must of necessity hold
all rational beings as alike responsible, yet in the eye of God the
difference may be immense. The graceful vase, that stands in the
drawing-room under a glass shade, and never goes to the well, has no
great right to despise the rough pitcher that goes often and is broken
at last. It is fearful to think what malleable material we are in the
hands of circumstances.

And a certain Authority, considerably wiser and incomparably more
charitable than the American divines already mentioned, recognized the
fact, when He taught us to pray, "Lead us not into temptation!" We shall
think, in a little while, of certain influences which may make or mar
the human being; but it may be said here that I firmly believe that
happiness is one of the best of disciplines. As a general rule, if
people were happier, they would be better. When you see a poor cabman
on a winter-day, soaked with rain, and fevered with gin, violently
thrashing the wretched horse he is driving, and perhaps howling at it,
you may be sure that it is just because the poor cabman is so miserable
that he is doing all that. It was a sudden glimpse, perhaps, of his bare
home and hungry children, and of the dreary future which lay before
himself and them, that was the true cause of those two or three furious
lashes you saw him deal upon the unhappy screw's ribs. Whenever I read
any article in a review, which is manifestly malignant, and intended not
to improve an author, but to give him pain, I cannot help immediately
wondering what may have been the matter with the man who wrote the
malignant article. Something must have been making him very unhappy,
I think. I do not allude to playful attacks upon a man, made in pure
thoughtlessness and buoyancy of spirit,--but to attacks which indicate a
settled, deliberate, calculating rancor. Never be angry with the man who
makes such an attack; you ought to be sorry for him. It is out of great
misery that malignity for the most part proceeds. To give the ordinary
mortal a fair chance, let him be reasonably successful and happy. Do not
worry a man into nervous irritability, and he will be amiable. Do not
dip a man in water, and he will not be wet.

Of course, my friend, I know who is to you the most interesting of all
beings, and whose history is the most interesting of all histories.
_You_ are to yourself the centre of this world, and of all the interests
of this world. And this is quite right.

There is no selfishness about all this, except that selfishness which
forms an essential element in personality,--that selfishness which must
go with the fact of one's having a self. You cannot help looking at all
things as they appear from your own point of view; and things press
themselves upon your attention and your feeling as they affect yourself.
And apart from anything like egotism, or like vain self-conceit, it is
probable that you may know that a great deal depends upon your exertion
and your life. There are those at home who would fare but poorly, if you
were just now to die. There are those who must rise with you, if you
rise, and sink with you, if you sink. Does it sometimes suddenly strike
you, what a little object you are, to have so much depending on you?
Vaguely, in your thinking and feeling, you add your circumstances
and your lot to your personality; and these make up an object of
considerable extension. You do so with other people as well as with
yourself. You have all their belongings as a background to the picture
of them which you have in your mind; and they look very little when
you see them in fact, because you see them without these belongings.
I remember, when a boy, how disappointed I was at first seeing the
Archbishop of Canterbury. It was Archbishop Howley. There he was,
a slender, pale old gentleman, sitting in an arm-chair at a public
meeting. I was chiefly disappointed, because there was _so little_ of
him. There was just the human being. There was no background of grand
accessories. The idea of the Primate of England which I had in some
confused manner in my mind included a vision of the venerable towers of
Lambeth,--of a long array of solemn predecessors, from Thomas à Becket
downwards,--of great historical occasions on which the Archbishop of
Canterbury had been a prominent figure; and in some way I fancied,
vaguely, that you would see the primate surrounded by all these things.
You remember the Highlander in "Waverley," who was much mortified when
his chief came to meet an English guest, unattended by any retinue, and
who exclaimed, in consternation and sorrow, "He has come without his
tail!" Even such was my early feeling. You understand later that
associations are not visible, and that they do not add to a man's
extension in space. But (to go back) you do, as regards yourself, what
you do as regards greater men: you add your lot to your personality,
and thus you make up a bigger object. And when you see yourself in your
tailor's shop, in a large mirror (one of a series) wherein you see your
figure all round, reflected several times, your feeling will probably
be, What a little thing you are! If you are a wise man, you will go away
somewhat humbled, and possibly somewhat the better for the sight. You
have, to a certain extent, done what Burns thought it would do all men
much good to do: you have "seen yourself as others see you." And even
to do so physically is a step towards a juster and humbler estimate of
yourself in more important things. It may here be said, as a further
illustration of the principle set forth, that people who stay very much
at home feel their stature, bodily and mental, much lessened when they
go far away from home, and spend a little time among strange scenes and
people. For, going thus away from home, you take only yourself. It is
but a small part of your extension that goes. You go; but you leave
behind your house, your study, your children, your servants, your
horses, your garden. And not only do you leave them behind, but they
grow misty and unsubstantial when you are far away from them. And
somehow you feel, that, when you make the acquaintance of a new friend
some hundreds of miles off, who never saw your home and your family, you
present yourself before him only a twentieth part or so of what you feel
yourself to be when you have all your belongings about you. Do you not
feel all that? And do you not feel, that, if you were to go away to
Australia forever, almost as the English coast turned blue and then
invisible on the horizon, your life in England would first turn
cloud-like, and then melt away?

But without further discussing the philosophy of how it comes to be, I
return to the statement that you yourself, as you live in your home, are
to yourself the centre of this world,--and that you feel the force of
any great principle most deeply, when you feel it in your own case.
And though every worthy mortal must be often taken out of himself,
especially by seeing the deep sorrows and great failures of other men,
still, in thinking of people of whom more might have been made, it
touches you most to discern that you are one of these. It is a very sad
thing to think of yourself, and to see how much more might have been
made of you. Sit down by the fire in winter, or go out now in summer and
sit down under a tree, and look back on the moral discipline you have
gone through,--look back on what you have done and suffered. Oh, how
much better and happier you might have been! And how very near you have
often been to what would have made you so much happier and better! If
you had taken the other turning when you took the wrong one, after much
perplexity,--if you had refrained from saying such a hasty word,--if you
had not thoughtlessly made such a man your enemy! Such a little thing
may have changed the entire complexion of your life. Ah, it was because
the points were turned the wrong way at that junction, that you are now
running along a line of railway through wild moorlands, leaving the warm
champaign below ever more hopelessly behind. Hastily, or pettedly,
or despairingly, you took the wrong turning; or you might have been
dwelling now amid verdant fields and silver waters in the country of
contentment and success. Many men and women, in the temporary bitterness
of some disappointment, have hastily made marriages which will embitter
all their future life,--or which at least make it certain that in this
world they will never know a joyous heart any more. Men have died
as almost briefless barristers, toiling into old age in heartless
wrangling, who had their chance of high places on the bench, but
ambitiously resolved to wait for something higher, and so missed the
tide. Men in the church have taken the wrong path at some critical time,
and doomed themselves to all the pangs of disappointed ambition. But I
think a sincere man in the church has a great advantage over almost all
ordinary disappointed men. He has less temptation, reading affairs by
the light of after-time, to look back with bitterness on any mistake he
may have made. For, if he be the man I mean, he took the decisive step
not without seeking the best of guidance; and the whole training of his
mind has fitted him for seeing a higher Hand in the allotment of human
conditions. And if a man acted for the best, according to the light he
had, and if he truly believes that God puts all in their places in
life, he may look back without bitterness upon what may appear the
most grievous mistakes. I must be suffered to add, that, if he is able
heartily to hold certain great truths and to rest on certain sure
promises, hardly any conceivable earthly lot should stamp him a soured
or disappointed man. If it be a sober truth, that "all things shall work
together for good" to a certain order of mankind, and if the deepest
sorrows in this world may serve to prepare us for a better,--why, then,
I think that one might hold by a certain ancient philosopher (and
something more) who said, "I have learned, in whatsoever state I am,
therewith to be content."

       *       *       *       *       *

You see, reader, that, in thinking of _People of whom More might have
been Made_, we are limiting the scope of the subject. I am not thinking
how more might have been made of us originally. No doubt, the potter
had power over the clay. Give a larger brain, of finer quality, and
the commonplace man might have been a Milton. A little change in the
chemical composition of the gray matter of that little organ which is
unquestionably connected with the mind's working as no other organ of
the body is, and, oh, what a different order of thought would have
rolled off from your pen, when you sat down and tried to write your
best! If we are to believe Robert Burns, some people have been made more
of than was originally intended. A certain poem records how that which,
in his homely phrase, he calls "stuff to mak' a swine," was ultimately
converted into a very poor specimen of a human being. The poet had no
irreverent intention, I dare say; but I am not about to go into the
field of speculation which is opened up by his words. I know, indeed,
that, in the hands of the Creator, each of us might have been made
a different man. The pounds of material which were fashioned into
Shakspeare might have made a bumpkin with little thought beyond pigs
and turnips, or, by some slight difference beyond man's skill to trace,
might have made an idiot. A little infusion of energy into the mental
constitution might have made the mild, pensive day-dreamer who is
wandering listlessly by the river-side, sometimes chancing upon noble
thoughts, which he does not carry out into action, and does not even
write down on paper, into an active worker, with Arnold's keen look, who
would have carved out a great career for himself, and exercised a real
influence over the views and conduct of numbers of other men. A very
little alteration in feature might have made a plain face into
a beautiful one; and some slight change in the position or the
contractibility of certain of the muscles might have made the most
awkward of manners and gaits into the most dignified and graceful. All
_that_ we all understand. But my present subject is the making which is
in circumstances after our natural disposition is fixed,--the training,
coming from a hundred quarters, which forms the material supplied by
Nature into the character which each of us actually bears. And setting
apart the case of great genius, whose bent towards the thing in which it
will excel is so strong that it will find its own field by inevitable
selection, and whose strength is such that no unfavorable circumstances
can hold it down, almost any ordinary human being may be formed into
almost any development. I know a huge massive beam of rough iron, which
supports a great weight. Whenever I pass it, I cannot help giving it a
pat with my hand, and saying to it, "You might have been hair-springs
for watches." I know an odd-looking little man attached to a certain
railway-station, whose business it is, when a train comes in, to go
round it with a large box of a yellow concoction and supply grease to
the wheels. I have often looked out of the carriage-window at that
odd little man and thought to myself, "Now you might have been a
chief-justice." And, indeed, I can say from personal observation that
the stuff ultimately converted into cabinet-ministers does not at an
early stage at all appreciably differ from that which never becomes more
than country-parsons. There is a great gulf between the human being who
gratefully receives a shilling, and touches his cap as he receives it,
and the human being whose income is paid in yearly or half-yearly sums,
and to whom a pecuniary tip would appear as an insult; yet, of course,
that great gulf is the result of training alone. John Smith the laborer,
with twelve shillings a week, and the bishop with eight thousand a
year, had, by original constitution, precisely the same kind of feeling
towards that much-sought, yet much-abused reality which provides the
means of life. Who shall reckon up by what millions of slight touches
from the hand of circumstance, extending over many years, the one man is
gradually formed into the giving of the shilling, and the other man into
the receiving of it with that touch of his hat? Who shall read back the
forming influences at work since the days in the cradle, that gradually
formed one man into sitting down to dinner, and another man into waiting
behind his chair? I think it would be occasionally a comfort, if one
could believe, as American planters profess to believe about their
slaves, that there is an original and essential difference between men;
for, truly, the difference in their positions is often so tremendous
that it is painful to think that it is the self-same clay and the
self-same common mind that are promoted to dignity and degraded to
servitude. And if _you_ sometimes feel _that_,--_you_, in whose favor
the arrangement tends,--what do you suppose your servants sometimes
think upon the subject? It was no wonder that the millions of Russia
were ready to grovel before their Czar, while they believed that he
was "an emanation from the Deity." But in countries where it is quite
understood that every man is just as much an emanation from the Deity
as any other, you will not long have that sort of thing. You remember
Goldsmith's noble lines, which Dr. Johnson never could read without
tears, concerning the English character. Is it not true that it is just
because the humble, but intelligent Englishman understands distinctly
that we are all of us _people of whom more might have been made_, that
he has "learnt to venerate himself as man"? And thinking of influences
which form the character, there is a sad reflection which has often
occurred to me. It is, that circumstances often develop a character
which it is hard to contemplate without anger and disgust. And yet, in
many such cases, it is rather pity that is due. The more disgusting the
character formed in some men, the more you should pity them. Yet it is
hard to do _that_. You easily pity the man whom circumstances have
made poor and miserable; how much more you should pity the man whom
circumstances have made bad! You pity the man from whom some terrible
accident has taken a limb or a hand; but how much more should you pity
the man from whom the influences of years have taken a conscience and a
heart! And something is to be said for even the most unamiable and worst
of the race. No doubt, it is mainly their own fault that they are so
bad; but still it is hard work to be always rowing against wind and
tide, and some people could be good only by doing _that_ ceaselessly. I
am not thinking now of pirates and pickpockets. But take the case of a
sour, backbiting, malicious, wrong-headed, lying old woman, who gives
her life to saying disagreeable things and making mischief between
friends. There are not many mortals with whom one is less disposed to
have patience. But yet, if you knew all, you would not be so severe in
what you think and say of her. You do not know the physical irritability
of nerve and weakness of constitution which that poor creature may have
inherited; you do not know the singular twist of mind which she may have
got from Nature and from bad and unkind treatment in youth; you do not
know the bitterness of heart she has felt at the polite snubbings and
ladylike tortures which in excellent society are often the share of the
poor and the dependent. If you knew all these things, you would bear
more patiently with my friend Miss Limejuice, though I confess that
sometimes you would find it uncommonly hard to do so.

As I wrote that last paragraph, I began dimly to fancy that somewhere I
had seen the idea which is its subject treated by an abler hand by far
than mine. The idea, you may be sure, was not suggested to me by books,
but by what I have seen of men and women. But it is a pleasant thing to
find that a thought which at the time is strongly impressing one's self
has impressed other men. And a modest person, who knows very nearly what
his humble mark is, will be quite pleased to find that another man has
not only anticipated his thoughts, but has expressed them much better
than he could have done. Yes, let me turn to that incomparable essay of
John Foster, "On a Man's writing Memoirs of Himself." Here it is.

"Make the supposition that any given number of persons,--a hundred,
for instance,--taken promiscuously, should be able to write memoirs of
themselves so clear and perfect as to explain, to your discernment at
least, the entire process by which their minds have attained their
present state, recounting all the most impressive circumstances. If they
should read these memoirs to you in succession, while your benevolence,
and the moral principles according to which you felt and estimated,
were kept at the highest pitch, you would often, during the disclosure,
regret to observe how many things may be the causes of irretrievable
mischief. 'Why is the path of life,' you would say, 'so haunted as if
with evil spirits of every diversity of noxious agency, some of which
may patiently accompany, or others of which may suddenly cross, the
unfortunate wanderer?' And you would regret to observe into how many
forms of intellectual and moral perversion the human mind readily yields
itself to be modified.

       *       *       *       *       *

"'I compassionate you,' would, in a very benevolent hour, be your
language to the wealthy, unfeeling _tyrant of a family and a
neighborhood_, who seeks, in the overawed timidity and unretaliated
injuries of the unfortunate beings within his power, the gratification
that should have been sought in their affections. Unless you had brought
into the world some extraordinary refractoriness to the influence of
evil, the process that you have undergone could not easily fail of being
efficacious. If your parents idolized their own importance in their
son so much that they never opposed your inclinations themselves nor
permitted it to be done by any subject to their authority,--if the
humble companion, sometimes summoned to the honor of amusing you, bore
your caprices and insolence with the meekness without which he had
lost his enviable privilege,--if you could despoil the garden of some
nameless dependent neighbor of the carefully reared flowers, and torment
his little dog or cat, without his daring to punish you or to appeal
to your infatuated parents,--if aged men addressed you in a submissive
tone, and with the appellation of 'Sir,' and their aged wives uttered
their wonder at your condescension, and pushed their grandchildren away
from around the fire for your sake, if you happened, though with the
strut of pertness, and your hat on your head, to enter one of their
cottages, perhaps to express your contempt of the homely dwelling,
furniture, and fare,--if, in maturer life, you associated with vile
persons, who would forego the contest of equality to be your allies in
trampling on inferiors,--and if, both then and since, you have been
suffered to deem your wealth the compendium or equivalent of every
ability and every good quality,--it would indeed be immensely strange,
if you had not become in due time the miscreant who may thank the power
of the laws in civilized society that he is not assaulted with clubs
and stones, to whom one could cordially wish the opportunity and the
consequences of attempting his tyranny among some such people as those
_submissive_ sons of Nature in the forests of North America, and whose
dependants and domestic relatives may be almost forgiven when they shall
one day rejoice at his funeral."

What do you think of _that_, my reader, as a specimen of embittered
eloquence and nervous pith? It is something to read massive and
energetic sense, in days wherein mystical twaddle, and subtlety which
hopelessly defies all logic, are sometimes thought extremely fine, if
they are set out in a style which is refined into mere effeminacy.

       *       *       *       *       *

I cherish a very strong conviction, (as has been said,) that, at least
in the case of educated people, happiness is a grand discipline for
bringing out what is amiable and excellent. You understand, of course,
what I mean by happiness. We all know, of course, that light-heartedness
is not very familiar to grown-up people, who are doing the work of life,
who feel its many cares, and who do not forget the many risks which hang
over it. I am not thinking of the kind of thing which is suggested to
the minds of children, when they read, at the end of a tale, concerning
its heroine and hero, that "they lived happily ever after." No, we don't
look for that. By happiness I mean freedom from terrible anxiety and
from pervading depression of spirits, the consciousness that we are
filling our place in life with decent success and approbation, religious
principle and character, fair physical health throughout the family, and
moderate good temper and good sense. And I hold, with Sydney Smith, and
with that keen practical philosopher, Becky Sharpe, that happiness and
success tend very greatly to make people passably good. Well, I see an
answer to the statement, as I do to most statements; but, at least, the
beam is never subjected to the strain which would break it. I have seen
the gradual working of what I call happiness and success in ameliorating
character. I have known a man who, by necessity, by the pressure of
poverty, was driven to write for the magazines,--a kind of work for
which he had no special talent or liking, and which he had never
intended to attempt. There was no more miserable, nervous, anxious,
disappointed being on earth than he was, when he began his writing for
the press. And sure enough, his articles were bitter and ill-set to a
high degree. They were thoroughly ill-natured and bad. They were not
devoid of a certain cleverness; but they were the sour products of
a soured nature. But that man gradually got into comfortable
circumstances: and with equal step with his lot the tone of his writings
mended, till, as a writer, he became conspicuous for the healthful,
cheerful, and kindly nature of all he produced. I remember seeing a
portrait of an eminent author, taken a good many years ago, at a time
when he was struggling into notice, and when he was being very severely
handled by the critics. That portrait was really truculent of aspect.
It was sour, and even ferocious-looking. Years afterwards I saw that
author, at a time when he had attained vast success, and was universally
recognized as a great man. How improved that face! All the savage lines
were gone; the bitter look was gone; the great man looked quite genial
and amiable. And I came to know that he really was all he looked. Bitter
judgments of men, imputations of evil motives, disbelief in anything
noble or generous, a disposition to repeat tales to the prejudice of
others, envy, hatred, malice, and all uncharitableness,--all these
things may possibly come out of a bad heart; but they certainly come out
of a miserable one. The happier any human being is, the better and more
kindly he thinks of all. It is the man who is always worried, whose
means are uncertain, whose home is uncomfortable, whose nerves are
rasped by some kind friend who daily repeats and enlarges upon
everything disagreeable for him to hear,--it is he who thinks hardly
of the character and prospects of humankind, and who believes in the
essential and unimprovable badness of the race.

       *       *       *       *       *

This is not a treatise on the formation of character: it pretends to
nothing like completeness. If this essay were to extend to a volume of
about three hundred and eighty pages, I might be able to set out and
discuss, in something like a full and orderly fashion, the influences
under which human beings grow up, and the way in which to make the best
of the best of these influences, and to evade or neutralize the worst.
And if, after great thought and labor, I had produced such a volume, I
am well aware that nobody would read it. So I prefer to briefly glance
at a few aspects of a great subject just as they present themselves,
leaving the complete discussion of it to solid individuals with more
leisure at their command.

       *       *       *       *       *

Physically, no man is made the most of. Look at an acrobat or a boxer:
_there_ is what your limbs might have been made for strength and
agility: _that_ is the potential which is in human nature in these
respects. I never witnessed a prize-fight, and assuredly I never will
witness one: but I am told, that, when the champions appear in the ring,
stripped for the combat, (however bestial and blackguard-looking their
countenances may be,) the clearness and beauty of their skin testify
that by skilful physical discipline a great deal more may be made of
that human hide than is usually made of it. Then, if you wish to see
what may be made of the human muscles as regards rapid dexterity, look
at the Wizard of the North or at an Indian juggler. I am very far,
indeed, from saying or thinking that this peculiar preëminence is worth
the pains it must cost to acquire it. Not that I have a word to say
against the man who maintains his children by bringing some one faculty
of the body to absolute perfection: I am ready even to admit that it is
a very right and fit thing that one man in five or six millions should
devote his life to showing the very utmost that can be made of the human
fingers, or the human muscular system as a whole. It is fit that a rare
man here and there should cultivate some accomplishment to a perfection
that looks magical, just as it is fit that a man here and there should
live in a house that cost a million of pounds to build, and round which
a wide tract of country shows what may be made of trees and fields where
unlimited wealth and exquisite taste have done their best to improve
Nature to the fairest forms of which it is capable. But even if it were
possible, it would not be desirable that all human beings should live in
dwellings like Hamilton Palace or Arundel Castle; and it would serve no
good end at all, certainly no end worth the cost, to have all educated
men muscular as Tom Sayers, or swift of hand as Robert Houdin. Practical
efficiency is what is wanted for the business of this world, not
absolute perfection: life is too short to allow any but exceptional
individuals, few and far between, to acquire the power of playing at
rackets as well as rackets can possibly be played. We are obliged to
have a great number of irons in the fire: it is needful that we should
do decently well a great number of things; and we must not devote
ourselves to one thing, to the exclusion of all the rest. And
accordingly, though we may desire to be reasonably muscular and
reasonably active, it will not disturb us to think that in both these
respects we are people of whom more might have been made. It may here
be said that probably there is hardly an influence which tends so
powerfully to produce extreme self-complacency as the conviction, that,
as regards some one physical accomplishment, one is a person of whom
more could not have been made. It is a proud thing to think that you
stand decidedly ahead of all mankind: that Eclipse is first, and the
rest nowhere; even in the matter of keeping up six balls at once, or of
noting and remembering twenty different objects in a shop-window as you
walk past it at five miles an hour. I do not think I ever beheld a human
being whose aspect was of such unutterable pride as a man I lately saw
playing the drum as one of a certain splendid military band. He was
playing in a piece in which the drum music was very conspicuous; and
even an unskilled observer could remark that his playing was absolute
perfection. He had the thorough mastery of his instrument. He did the
most difficult things not only with admirable precision, but without
the least appearance of effort. He was a great, tall fellow: and it was
really a fine sight to see him standing very upright, and immovable save
as to his arms, looking fixedly into distance, and his bosom swelling
with the lofty belief, that, out of four or five thousand persons who
were present, there was not one who, to save his life, could have done
what he was doing so easily.

So much of physical dexterity. As for physical grace, it will be
admitted that in that respect more might be made of most human beings.
It is not merely that they are ugly and awkward naturally, but that they
are ugly and awkward artificially. Sir Bulwer Lytton, in his earlier
writings, was accustomed to maintain, that, just as it is a man's duty
to cultivate his mental powers, so is it his duty to cultivate his
bodily appearance. And doubtless all the gifts of Nature are talents
committed to us to be improved; they are things intrusted to us to make
the best of. It may be difficult to fix the point at which the care
of personal appearance in man or woman becomes excessive. It does
so unquestionably when it engrosses the mind to the neglect of more
important things. But I suppose that all reasonable people now believe
that scrupulous attention to personal cleanliness, freshness, and
neatness is a Christian duty. The days are past, almost everywhere, in
which piety was held to be associated with dirt. Nobody would mention
now, as a proof how saintly a human being was, that, for the love of
God, he had never washed his face or brushed his hair for thirty
years. And even scrupulous neatness need bring with it no suspicion of
puppyism. The most trim and tidy of old men was good John Wesley; and
he conveyed to the minds of all who saw him the notion of a man whose
treasure was laid up beyond this world, quite as much as if he had
dressed in such a fashion as to make himself an object of ridicule,
or as if he had forsworn the use of soap. Some people fancy that
slovenliness of attire indicates a mind above petty details. I have seen
an eminent preacher ascend the pulpit with his bands hanging over his
right shoulder, his gown apparently put on by being dropped upon him
from the vestry ceiling, and his hair apparently unbrushed for several
weeks. There was no suspicion of affectation about that good man; yet I
regarded his untidiness as a defect, and not as an excellence. He gave
a most eloquent sermon; yet I thought it would have been well, had the
lofty mind that treated so admirably some of the grandest realities of
life and of immortality been able to address itself a little to the care
of lesser things. I confess, that, when I heard the Bishop of Oxford
preach, I thought the effect of his sermon was increased by the decorous
and careful fashion in which he was arrayed in his robes. And it is
to be admitted that the grace of the human aspect may be in no small
measure enhanced by bestowing a little pains upon it. You, youthful
matron, when you take your little children to have their photographs
taken, and when their nurse, in contemplation of that event, attired
them in their most tasteful dresses and arranged their hair in its
prettiest curls, you know that the little things looked a great deal
better than they do on common days. It is pure nonsense to say that
beauty when unadorned is adorned the most. For that is as much as to say
that a pretty young woman, in the matter of physical appearance, is a
person of whom no more can be made. Now taste and skill can make more of
almost anything. And you will set down Thomson's lines as flatly opposed
to fact, when your lively young cousin walks into your room to let you
see her before she goes out to an evening party, and when you compare
that radiant vision, in her robes of misty texture, and with hair
arranged in folds the most complicated, wreathed, and satin-shoed,
with the homely figure that took a walk with you that afternoon,
russet-gowned, tartan-plaided, and shod with serviceable boots for
tramping through country mud. One does not think of loveliness in the
case of men, because they have not got any; but their aspect, such as it
is, is mainly made by their tailors. And it is a lamentable thought,
how very ill the clothes of most men are made. I think that the art of
draping the male human body has been brought to much less excellence
by the mass of those who practise it than any other of the useful and
ornamental arts. Tailors, even in great cities, are generally extremely
bad. Or it may be that the providing the human frame with decent and
well-fitting garments is so very difficult a thing that (save by a great
genius here and there) it can be no more than approximated to. As for
tailors in little country villages, their power of distorting and
disfiguring is wonderful. When I used to be a country clergyman, I
remember how, when I went to the funeral of some simple rustic, I was
filled with surprise to see the tall, strapping, fine young country
lads, arrayed in their black suits. What awkward figures they looked
in those unwonted garments! How different from their easy, natural
appearance in their every-day fustian! Here you would see a young fellow
with a coat whose huge collar covered half his head when you looked at
him from behind; a very common thing was to have sleeves which entirely
concealed the hands; and the wrinkled and baggy aspect of the whole
suits could be imagined only by such as have seen them. It may be
remarked here, that those strong country lads were in another respect
people of whom more might have been physically made. Oh for a
drill-sergeant to teach them to stand upright, and to turn out their
toes, and to get rid of that slouching, hulking gait which gives such
a look of clumsiness and stupidity! If you could but have the
well-developed muscles and the fresh complexion of the country with the
smartness and alertness of the town! You have there the rough material
of which a vast deal may be made; you have the water-worn pebble which
will take on a beautiful polish. Take from the moorland cottage the
shepherd lad of sixteen; send him to a Scotch college for four years;
let him be tutor in a good family for a year or two; and if he be an
observant fellow, you will find in him the quiet, self-possessed air
and the easy address of the gentleman who has seen the world. And it is
curious to see one brother of a family thus educated and polished into
refinement, while the other three or four, remaining in their father's
simple lot, retain its rough manners and its unsophisticated feelings.
Well, look at the man who has been made a gentleman,--probably by the
hard labor and sore self-denial of the others,--and see in him what each
of the others might have been! Look with respect on the diamond which
needed only to be polished! Reverence the undeveloped potential which
circumstances have held down! Look with interest on these people of whom
more might have been made!

Such a sight as this sometimes sets us thinking how many germs of
excellence are in this world turned to no account. You see the polished
diamond and the rough one side by side. It is too late now; but the dull
colorless pebble might have been the bright glancing gem. And you may
polish the material diamond at any time; but if you miss your season in
the case of the human one, the loss can never be repaired. The bumpkin
who is a bumpkin at thirty must remain a bumpkin to threescore and ten.
But another thing that makes us think how many fair possibilities are
lost is to remark the fortuitous way in which great things have often
been done,--and done by people who never dreamt that they had in them
the power to do anything particular. These cases, one cannot but think,
are samples of millions more. There have been very popular writers who
were brought out by mere accident. They did not know what precious vein
of thought they had at command, till they stumbled upon it as if by
chance, like the Indian at the mines of Potosi. It is not much that we
know of Shakspeare, but it seems certain that it was in patching up
old plays for acting that he discovered within himself a capacity for
producing that which men will not easily let die. When a young military
man, disheartened with the service, sought for an appointment as an
Irish Commissioner of Excise, and was sadly disappointed because he did
not get it, it is probable that he had as little idea as any one else
had that he possessed that aptitude for the conduct of war which was
to make him the Duke of Wellington. And when a young mathematician,
entirely devoid of ambition, desired to settle quietly down and devote
all his life to that unexciting study, he was not aware that he was a
person of whom more was to be made,--who was to grow into the great
Emperor Napoleon. I had other instances in my mind, but after these last
it is needless to mention them. But such cases suggest to us that there
may have been many Folletts who never held a brief, many Keans who never
acted but in barns, many Vandyks who never earned more than sixpence a
day, many Goldsmiths who never were better than penny-a-liners, many
Michaels who never built their St. Peters,--and perhaps a Shakspeare who
held horses at the theatre-door for pence, as the Shakspeare we know of
did, and who stopped there.

Let it here be suggested, that it is highly illogical to conclude that
you are yourself a person of whom a great deal more might have been
made, merely because you are a person of whom it is the fact that very
little has actually been made. This suggestion may appear a truism; but
it is one of those simple truths of which we all need to be occasionally
reminded. After all, the great test of what a man can do must be what a
man does. But there are folk who live on the reputation of being pebbles
capable of receiving a very high polish, though from circumstances
they did not choose to be polished. There are people who stand high in
general estimation on the ground of what they might have done, if they
had liked. You will find students who took no honors at the university,
but who endeavor to impress their friends with the notion, that, if
they had chosen, they could have attained to unexampled eminence. And
sometimes, no doubt, there are great powers that run to waste. There
have been men whose doings, splendid as they were, were no more than a
hint of how much more they could have done. In such a case as that of
Coleridge, you see how the lack of steady industry and of all sense of
responsibility abated the tangible result of the noble intellect God
gave him. But as a general rule, and in the case of ordinary people, you
need not give a man credit for the possession of any powers beyond those
which he has actually exhibited. If a boy is at the bottom of his class,
it is probably because he could not attain its top. My friend Mr.
Snarling thinks he can write much better articles than those which
appear in the "Atlantic Monthly"; but as he has not done so, I am not
inclined to give him credit for the achievement. But you can see that
this principle of estimating people's abilities, not by what they have
done, but by what they think they could do, will be much approved by
persons who are stupid and at the same time conceited. It is a pleasing
arrangement, that every man should fix his own mental mark, and hold by
his estimate of himself. And then, never measuring his strength with
others, he can suppose that he could have beat them, if he had tried.

       *       *       *       *       *

Yes, we are all mainly fashioned by circumstances; and had the
circumstances been more propitious, they might have made a great deal
more of us. You sometimes think, middle-aged man, who never have passed
the limits of Britain, what an effect might have been produced upon your
views and character by foreign travel. You think what an indefinite
expansion of mind it might have caused,--how many narrow prejudices it
might have rubbed away,--how much wiser and better a man it might have
made you. Or more society and wider reading in your early youth might
have improved you,--might have taken away the shyness and the intrusive
individuality which you sometimes feel painfully,--might have called out
one cannot say what of greater confidence and larger sympathy. How very
little, you think to yourself, you have seen and known! While others
skim great libraries, you read the same few books over and over; while
others come to know many lands and cities, and the faces and ways of
many men, you look, year after year, on the same few square miles of
this world, and you have to form your notion of human nature from the
study of but few human beings, and these very commonplace. Perhaps it is
as well. It is not so certain that more would have been made of you, if
you had enjoyed what might seem greater advantages. Perhaps you learned
more, by studying the little field before you earnestly and long, than
you would have learned, if you had bestowed a cursory glance upon fields
more extensive by far. Perhaps there was compensation for the fewness of
the cases you had to observe in the keenness with which you were able
to observe them. Perhaps the Great Disposer saw that in your case the
pebble got nearly all the polishing it would stand,--the man nearly all
the chances he could improve.

If there be soundness and justice in this suggestion, it may afford
consolation to a considerable class of men and women: I mean those
people who, feeling within themselves many defects of character, and
discerning in their outward lot much which they would wish other than
it is, are ready to think that some one thing would have put them
right,--that some one thing would put them right even yet,--but
something which they have hopelessly missed, something which can never
be. There was just one testing event which stood between them and their
being made a vast deal more of. They would have been far better and far
happier, they think, had some single malign influence been kept away
which has darkened all their life, or had some single blessing been
given which would have made it happy. If you had got such a parish,
which you did not get,--if you had married such a woman,--if your little
child had not died,--if you had always the society and sympathy of such
an energetic and hopeful friend,--if the scenery round your dwelling
were of a different character,--if the neighboring town were four miles
off, instead of fifteen,--if any one of these circumstances had been
altered, what a different man you might have been! Probably many people,
even of middle age, conscious that the manifold cares and worries of
life forbid that it should be evenly joyous, do yet cherish at the
bottom of their heart some vague, yet rooted fancy, that, if but one
thing were given on which they have set their hearts, or one care
removed forever, they would be perfectly happy, even here. Perhaps you
overrate the effect which would have been produced on your character by
such a single cause. It might not have made you much better; it might
not even have made you very different. And assuredly you are wrong in
fancying that any such single thing could have made you happy,--that is,
entirely happy. Nothing in this world could ever make you _that_. It is
not God's purpose that we should be entirely happy here, "This is not
our rest." The day will never come which will _not_ bring its worry. And
the possibility of terrible misfortune and sorrow hangs over all. There
is but One Place where we shall be right; and _that_ is far away.

       *       *       *       *       *

Yes, more might have been made of all of us; probably, in the case of
most, not much more _will_ be made in this world. We are now, if we
have reached middle life, very much what we shall be to the end of the
chapter. We shall not, in this world, be much better; let us humbly
trust that we shall not be worse. Yet, if there be an undefinable
sadness in looking at the marred material of which so much more might
have been made, there is a sublime hopefulness in the contemplation of
material, bodily and mental, of which a great deal more and better will
certainly yet be made. Not much more may be made of any of us in life;
but who shall estimate what may be made of us in immortality? Think of a
"spiritual body"! think of a perfectly pure and happy soul! I thought of
this, on a beautiful evening of this summer, walking with a much valued
friend through a certain grand ducal domain. In front of a noble
sepulchre, where is laid up much aristocratic dust, there are
sculptured, by some great artist, three colossal faces, which are meant
to represent Life, Death, and Immortality. It was easy to represent
Death: the face was one of solemn rest, with closed eyes; and the
sculptor's skill was mainly shown in distinguishing Life from
Immortality. And he had done it well. _There_ was Life: a care-worn,
anxious, weary face, that seemed to look at you earnestly, and with
a vague inquiry for something,--the something that is lacking in all
things here. And _there_ was Immortality: life-like, but, oh, how
different from mortal Life! _There_ was the beautiful face, calm,
satisfied, self-possessed, sublime, and with eyes looking far away. I
see it yet, the crimson sunset warming the gray stone,--and a great
hawthorn-tree, covered with blossoms, standing by. Yes, _there_ was
Immortality; and you felt, as you looked at it,--that it was MORE MADE
OF LIFE!

       *       *       *       *       *


MY FRIEND'S LIBRARY.


That exquisite writer, Horae Subsecivae Brown, quotes, (without
comment,) as a motto to one of his volumes, an anecdote from Pierce
Egan, which I reproduce here:--

"A lady, resident in Devonshire, going into one of her parlors,
discovered a young ass, who had found its way into the room, and
carefully closed the door upon himself. He had evidently not been long
in this situation before he had nibbled a part of Cicero's Orations,
and eaten nearly all the index of a folio edition of Seneca in Latin, a
large part of a volume of La Bruyère's 'Maxims' in French, and several
pages of 'Cecilia.' He had done no other mischief whatever."

Spare your wit, Sir, or Madam! Why should _you_ laugh, and apply the
sting in Mr. Egan's story to the case of "Yours Truly"?

       *       *       *       *       *

I scarcely know a greater pleasure than to be allowed for a whole day to
spend the hours unmolested in my friend's library. So much _privilege_
abounds there, I call it _Urbanity Hall_. It is a plain, modestly
appointed apartment, overlooking a broad sheet of water; and I can see,
from where I like to sit and read, the sail-boats go tilting by, and
glancing across the bay. Sometimes, when a rainy day sets in, I run down
to my friend's house, and ask leave to browse about the library,--not
so much for the sake of reading, as for the intense enjoyment I have in
turning over the books that have a personal history as it were. Many of
them once belonged to authors whose libraries have been dispersed. My
friend has enriched her editions with autographic notes of those fine
spirits who wrote the books which illumine her shelves, so that one is
constantly coming upon some fresh treasure in the way of a literary
curiosity. I am apt to discover something new every time I take down a
folio or a miniature volume. As I ramble on from shelf to shelf,

  "Straight mine eye hath caught new pleasures,"

and the hours often slip by into the afternoon, and glide noiselessly
into twilight, before dinner-time is remembered. Drifting about only a
few days ago, I came by accident upon a magic quarto, shabby enough
in its exterior, with one of the covers hanging by the eyelids, and
otherwise sadly battered, to the great disfigurement of its external
aspect. I did not remember even to have seen it in the library before,
(it turned out to be a new comer,) and was about to pass it by with an
unkind thought as to its pauper condition, when it occurred to me, as
the lettering was obliterated from the back, I might as well open to the
title-page and learn the name at least of the tattered stranger. And I
was amply rewarded for the attention. It turned out to be "The Novels
and Tales of the Renowned John Boccacio, The first Refiner of Italian
Prose: containing A Hundred Curious Novels, by Seven Honorable Ladies
and Three Noble Gentlemen, Framed in Ten Days." It was printed in London
in 1684, "for Awnsham Churchill, at the Black Swan at Amen Corner." But
what makes this old yellow-leaved book a treasure-volume for all time is
the inscription on the first fly-leaf, in the handwriting of a man of
genius, who, many years ago, wrote thus on the blank page:

"To MARIANNE HUNT.

"Her Boccacio (_alter et idem_) come back to her after many years'
absence, for her good-nature in giving it away in a foreign country to a
traveller whose want of books was still worse than her own.

"From her affectionate husband,

"LEIGH HUNT.

"August 23,1839--Chelsea, England."

This record tells a most interesting story, and reveals to us an episode
in the life of the poet, well worth the knowing. I hope no accident
will ever cancel this old leather-bound veteran from the world's
bibliographic treasures. Spare it, Fire, Water, and Worms! for it does
the heart good to handle such a quarto.

       *       *       *       *       *

One does not need to look far among the shelves in my friend's library
to find companion-gems of this antiquated tome. Among so many of

  "The assembled souls of all that men held
  wise,"

there is no solitude of the mind. I reach out my hand at random, and,
lo! the first edition of Milton's "Paradise Lost"! It is a little brown
volume, "Printed by S. Simmons, and to be sold by S. Thomson at the
Bishop's-Head in Duck Lane, by H. Mortlack at the White Hart in
Westminster Hall, M. Walker under St. Dunstan's Church in Fleet Street,
and R. Boulten at the Turk's Head in Bishopsgate Street, 1668." Foolish
old Simmons deemed it necessary to insert over his own name the
following notice, which heads the Argument to the Poem:--

"THE PRINTER TO THE READER.

"Courteous Reader, There was no Argument at first intended to the Book,
but for the satisfaction of many that have desired it, I have procured
it, and withall a reason of that which stumbled many others, why the
Poem Rimes not."

The "Argument," which Milton omitted in subsequent editions, is very
curious throughout; and the reason which the author gives, at the
request of Mr. Publisher Simmons, why the poem "Rimes not," is quaint
and well worth transcribing an extract here, as it does not always
appear in more modern editions. Mr. Simmons's Poet is made to say,--

"The Measure is _English_ Heroic Verse without Rime, as that of _Homers_
in _Greek_, and of _Virgil_ in _Latin_; Rime being no necessary Adjunct
or true Ornament of Poem or good Verse, in longer Works especially, but
the Invention of a barbarous Age, to set off wretched matter and lame
Meeter; grac't indeed since by the use of some famous modern Poets,
carried away by Custom, but much to their own vexation, hindrance, and
constraint to express many things otherwise, and for the most part worse
then else they would have exprest them."

We give the orthography precisely as Milton gave it in this his first
edition.

There is a Table of Errata prefixed to this old copy, in which the
reader is told,

  "for hun_dreds_ read hun_derds_.
  for _we_ read _wee_."

Master Simmons's proof-reader was no adept in his art, if one may judge
from the countless errors which he allowed to creep into this immortal
poem when it first appeared in print. One can imagine the identical copy
now before us being handed over the counter in Duck Lane to some eager
scholar on the look-out for something new, and handed back again to Mr.
Thomson as too dull a looking poem for his perusal. Mr. Edmund Waller
entertained that idea of it, at any rate.

       *       *       *       *       *

One of the sturdiest little books in my friend's library is a thick-set,
stumpy old copy of Richard Baxter's "Holy Commonwealth," written in
1659, and, as the title-page informs us, "at the invitation of James
Harrington Esquire,"--as one would take a glass of Canary,--by
_invitation!_ There is a preface addressed "To all those in the Army or
elsewhere, that have caused our many and great Eclipses since 1646." The
worms have made dagger-holes through and through the "inspired leaves"
of this fat little volume, till much strong thinking is now very
perforated printing. On the flyleaf is written, in a rough, straggling
hand,

  "WILLIAM WORDSWORTH,

  "Rydal Mount."

The poet seems to have read the old book pretty closely, for there are
evident marks of his liking throughout its pages.

       *       *       *       *       *

Connected with the Bard of the Lakes is another work in my friend's
library, which I always handle with a tender interest. It is a copy of
Wordsworth's Poetical Works, printed in 1815, with all the alterations
afterwards made in the pieces copied in by the poet from the edition
published in 1827. Some of the changes are marked improvements, and
nearly all make the meaning clearer. Now and then a prosaic phrase gives
place to a more poetical expression. The well-known lines,

  "Of Him who walked in glory and in joy,
  Following his plough along the mountain-side,"

read at first,

  "_Behind_ his plough _upon_ the mountain-side."

       *       *       *       *       *

In a well-preserved quarto copy of "Rasselas," with illustrations by
Smirke, which my friend picked up in London a few years ago, I found
the other day an unpublished autograph letter from Dr. Johnson, so
characteristic of the great man that it is worth transcribing. It is
addressed

"_To the Reverend Mr. Compton.

"To be sent to Mrs. Williams_."

And it is thus worded:--

"Sir,

"Your business, I suppose, is in a way of as easy progress as such
business ever has. It is seldom that event keeps pace with expectation.

"The scheme of your book I cannot say that I fully comprehend. I would
not have you ask less than an hundred guineas, for it seems a large
octavo.

"Go to Mr. Davis, in Russell Street, show him this letter, and show him
the book if he desires to see it. He will tell you what hopes you may
form, and to what Bookseller you should apply.

"If you succeed in selling your book, you may do better than by
dedicating it to me. You may perhaps obtain permission to dedicate it to
the Bishop of London, or to Dr. Vyse, and make way by your book to more
advantage than I can procure you.

"Please to tell Mrs. Williams that I grow better, and that I wish to
know how she goes on. You, Sir, may write for her to,

  "Sir,

  "Your most humble Servant,

  "SAM: JOHNSON.

  "Octo. 24, 1782."

Dear kind-hearted old bear! On turning to Boswell's Life of his Ursine
Majesty, we learn who Mr. Compton was. When the Doctor visited France
in 1775, the Benedictine Monks in Paris entertained him in the most
friendly way. One of them, the Rev. James Compton, who had left England
at the early age of six to reside on the Continent, questioned him
pretty closely about the Protestant faith, and proposed, if at some
future time he should go to England to consider the subject more deeply,
to call at Bolt Court. In the summer of 1782 he paid the Doctor a
visit, and informed him of his desire to be admitted into the Church of
England. Johnson managed the matter satisfactorily for him, and he was
received into communion in St. James's Parish Church. Till the end of
January, 1783, he lived entirely at the Doctor's expense, his own means
being very scanty. Through Johnson's kindness he was nominated Chaplain
at the French Chapel of St. James's, and in 1802 we hear of him as being
quite in favor with the excellent Bishop Porteus and several other
distinguished Londoners. Thus, by the friendly hand of the hard-working,
earnest old lexicographer, Mr. Compton was led from deep poverty up to
a secure competency, and a place among the influential dignitaries of
London society. Poor enough himself, Johnson never shrank back, when
there was an honest person in distress to be helped on in the battle of
life. God's blessing on his memory for all his sympathy with struggling
humanity!

       *       *       *       *       *

My friend has an ardent affection for Walter Scott and Charles Lamb. I
find the first edition of "Marmion," printed in 1808, "by J. Ballantyne
& Co. for Archibald Constable and Company, Edinburgh," most carefully
bound in savory Russia, standing in a pleasant corner of the room. Being
in quarto, the type is regal. Of course the copy is enriched with a
letter in the handwriting of Sir Walter. It is addressed to a personal
friend, and is dated April 17, 1825. The closing passage in it is of
especial interest.

"I have seen Sheridan's last letter imploring Rogers to come to his
assistance. It stated that he was dying, and concluded abruptly
with these words 'they are throwing the things out of window.' The
memorialist certainly took pennyworths out of his friend's character.--I
sate three hours for my picture to Sir Thomas Lawrence during which the
whole conversation was filled up by Rogers with stories of Sheridan, for
the least of which if true he deserved the gallows."

Ever Yours, "WALTER SCOTT."

In the April of 1802 Scott was living in a pretty cottage at Lasswade;
and while there he sent off the following letter, which I find attached
with a wafer to my friend's copy of the Abbotsford edition of his works,
and written in a much plainer hand than he afterwards fell into. The
address is torn off.

"SIR,

"I esteem myself honored by the polite reception which you have given to
the Border Minstrelsy and am particularly flattered that so very good a
judge of poetical Antiquities finds any reason to be pleased with the
work.--There is no portrait of the _Flower of Yarrow_ in existence,
nor do I think it very probable that any was ever taken. Much family
anecdote concerning her has been preserved among her descendants of whom
I have the honor to be one. The epithet of '_Flower of Yarrow_' was in
later times bestowed upon one of her immediate posterity, Miss Mary
Lillias Scott, daughter of John Scott Esq. of Harden, and celebrated for
her beauty in the pastoral song of Tweedside,--I mean that set of modern
words which begins 'What beauty does Flora disclose.' This lady I myself
remember very well, and I mention her to you least you should receive
any inaccurate information owing to her being called like her
predecessor the 'Flower of Yarrow.' There was a portrait of this latter
lady in the collection at Hamilton which the present Duke transferred
through my hands to Lady Diana Scott relict of the late Walter Scott
Esq. of Harden, which picture was vulgarly but inaccurately supposed to
have been a resemblance of the original Mary Scott, daughter of Philip
Scott of Dryhope, and married to _Auld Wat_ of Harden in the middle of
the 16th century.

"I shall be particularly happy if upon any future occasion I can in
the slightest degree contribute to advance your valuable and patriotic
labours, and I remain, Sir,

"Your very faithful

"and obt. Servant

"WALTER SCOTT."

This letter is worthy to be printed, and the readers of the "Atlantic
Monthly" now see it for the first time, I believe, set in type.

       *       *       *       *       *

Old Bernard Lintott, at the Cross-Keys in Fleet Street, brought out
in 1714 "The Rape of the Lock, an Heroi-Comical Poem, in Five Cantos,
written by Mr. Pope." He printed certain words in the title-page in red,
and other certain words in black ink. His own name and Mr. Pope's he
chose to exhibit in sanguinary tint. A copy of this edition, very much
thumbed and wanting half a dozen leaves, fell into the hands of Charles
Lamb more than a hundred years after it was published. Charles bore it
home, and set to work to supply, in his small neat hand, from another
edition, what was missing from the text in his stall-bought copy. As he
paid only sixpence for his prize, he could well afford the time it took
him to write in on blank leaves, which he inserted, the lines from

  "Thus far both armies to Belinda yield,"

onward to the couplet,

  "And thrice they twitch'd the Diamond in her Ear,
  Thrice she look'd back, and thrice the Foe drew near."

Besides this autographic addition, enhancing forever the value of this
old copy of Pope's immortal poem, I find the following little note, in
Lamb's clerkly chirography, addressed to

"Mr. Wainright, on _Thursday_.

"Dear Sir,

"The _Wits_ (as Clare calls us) assemble at my cell (20 Russell Street,
Cov. Gar.) this evening at 1/4 before 7. Cold meat at 9. Puns at----a
little after. Mr. Cary wants to see you, to scold you. I hope you will
not fail.

"Yours &c. &c. &c.

"C. LAMB."

There are two books in my friend's library which once belonged to the
author of the "Elegy in a Country Churchyard." One of them is "A Voyage
to and from the Island of Borneo, in the East Indies: printed for T.
Warner at the Black Boy, and F. Batley at the Dove, in 1718." It has the
name of T. Gray, written by himself, in the middle of the title-page, as
was his custom always. Before Gray owned this book, it belonged to Mr.
Antrobus, his uncle, who wrote many original notes in it. The volume has
also this manuscript memorandum on one of the fly-leaves, signed by a
well-known naturalist, now living in England:--

"August 28, 1851.

"This book has Gray's autograph on the title page, written in his usual
neat hand. It has twice been my fate to witness the sale of Gray's most
interesting collection of manuscripts and books, and at the last sale
I purchased this volume. I present it to ---- as a little token of
affectionate regard by her old friend, now in his 85th year."

Who will not be willing to admit the great good-luck of my friend in
having such a donor for an acquaintance?

But one of the chief treasures in the library of which I write is Gray's
copy of Milton's "Poems upon several occasions. Both English and Latin.
Printed at the _Blew Anchor_ next Mitre Court over against Fetter
Lane in Fleet Street." When a boy at school, Gray owned and read this
charming old volume, and he has printed his name, school-boy fashion,
all over the title-page. Wherever there is a vacant space big enough to
hold _Thomas Gray_, there it stands in faded ink, still fading as time
rolls on. The Latin poems seem to have been most carefully conned by the
youthful Etonian, and we know how much he esteemed them in after-life.

       *       *       *       *       *

Scholarly Robert Southey once owned a book that now towers aloft in my
friend's library. It is a princely copy of Ben Jonson, the Illustrious.
Southey lent it, when he possessed the _magnifico_, to Coleridge, who
has begemmed it all over with his fine pencillings. As Ben once handled
the trowel, and did other honorable work as a bricklayer, Coleridge
discourses with much golden gossip about the craft to which the great
dramatist once belonged. The editor of this magazine would hardly
thank me, if I filled ten of his pages with extracts from the rambling
dissertations in S.T.C.'s handwriting which I find in this rare folio,
but I could easily pick out that amount of readable matter from the
margins. One manuscript anecdote, however, I must transcribe from the
last leaf. I think Coleridge got the story from "The Seer."

"An Irish laborer laid a wager with another hod bearer that the latter
could not carry him up the ladder to the top of a house in his hod,
without letting him fall. The bet is accepted, and up they go. There is
peril at every step. At the top of the ladder there is life and the loss
of the wager,--death and success below! The highest point is reached in
safety; the wagerer looks humbled and disappointed. 'Well,' said he,
'you have won; there is no doubt of that; worse luck to you another
time; but at the third story I HAD HOPES.'"

       *       *       *       *       *

In a quaint old edition of "The Spectator," which seems to have been
through many sieges, and must have come to grief very early in its
existence, if one may judge anything from the various names which are
scrawled upon it in different years, reaching back almost to the date
of its publication, I find this note in the handwriting of Addison,
sticking fast on the reverse side of his portrait. It is addressed to
Ambrose Philips, and there is no doubt that he went where he was
bidden, and found the illustrious Joseph all ready to receive him at a
well-furnished table.

"Tuesday Night.

"Sir,

"If you are at leisure for an hour, your company will be a great
obligation to

"Yr. most humble sev't.

"J. Addison.

"Fountain Tavern."

That night at the "Fountain," perchance, they discussed that war of
words which might then have been raging between the author of the
"Pastorals" and Pope, moistening their clay with a frequency to which
they were both somewhat notoriously inclined.

My friend rides hard her hobby for choice editions, and she hunts with
a will whenever a good old copy of a well-beloved author is up for
pursuit. She is not a fop in binding, but she must have _appropriate_
dresses for her favorites. She knows what

  "Adds a precious seeing to the eye"

as well as Hayday himself, and never lets her folios shiver when they
ought to be warm. Moreover, she _reads_ her books, and, like the scholar
in Chaucer, would rather have

           "At her beddès head
  A twenty bokes, clothed in black and red,
  Of Aristotle and his philosophy,
  Than robes rich, or fiddle, or psaltrie."

I found her not long ago deep in a volume of "Mr. Welsted's Poems";
and as that author is not particularly lively or inviting to a modern
reader, I begged to know why he was thus honored. "I was trying," said
she, "to learn, if possible, why Dicky Steele should have made his
daughter a birth-day gift of these poems. This copy I found on a stall
in Fleet Street many years ago, and it has in Sir Richard's handwriting
this inscription on one of the fly-leaves:--

 "ELIZABETH STEELE
      Her Book
  Giv'n by Her Father
           RICHARD STEELE.
  March 20th, 1723.

"Running my eye over the pieces, I find a poem in praise of 'Apple-Pye,'
and one of the passages in it is marked, as if to call the attention
of young Eliza to something worthy her notice. These are the lines the
young lady is charged to remember:--

  "'Dear Nelly, learn with Care the Pastry-Art,
  And mind the easy Precepts I impart:
  Draw out your Dough elaborately thin.
  And cease not to fatigue your Rolling-Pin:
  Of Eggs and Butter see you mix enough;
  For then the Paste will swell into a Puff,
  Which will in crumpling Sounds your Praise report,
  And eat, as Housewives speak, exceeding short.'"

Who was Abou Ben Adhem? Was his existence merely in the poet's brain,
or did he walk this planet somewhere,--and when? In a copy of the
"Bibliothèque Orientale," which once belonged to the author of that
exquisite little gem of poesy beginning with a wish that Abou's tribe
might increase, I find (the leaf is lovingly turned down and otherwise
noted) the following account of the forever famous dreamer.

"Adhem was the name of a Doctor celebrated for Mussulman traditions. He
was the contemporary of Aamarsch, another relater of traditions of the
first class. Adhem had a son noted for his doctrine and his piety. The
Mussulmans place him among the number of their Saints who have done
miracles. He was named Abou-Ishak-Ben-Adhem. It is said he was
distinguished for his piety from his earliest youth, and that he joined
the Sofis, or the Religious sect in Mecca, under the direction of
Fodhail. He went from there to Damas, where he died in the year 166 of
the Hegira. He undertook, it is said, to make a pilgrimage from Mecca,
and to pass through the desert alone and without provisions, making a
thousand genuflexions for every mile of the way. It is added that he was
twelve years in making this journey, during which he was often tempted
and alarmed by Demons. The Khalife Haroun Raschid, making the same
pilgrimage, met him upon the way and inquired after his welfare; the
Sofi answered him with an Arabian quatrain, of which this is the
meaning:--

"'We mend the rags of this worldly robe with the pieces of the robe of
Religion, which we tear apart for this end;

"'And we do our work so thoroughly that nothing remains of the latter,

"'And the garment we mend escapes out of our hands.

"'Happy is the servant who has chosen God for his master, and who
employs his present good only to acquire those which he awaits.'

"It is related also of Abou, that he saw in a dream an Angel who wrote,
and that having demanded what he was doing, the Angel answered, 'I
write the names of those who love God sincerely, those who perform
Malek-Ben-Dinár, Thaber-al-Benáni, Aioud-al-Sakhtiáni, etc.' Then said
he to the Angel, 'Am I not placed among these?' 'No,' replied the Angel.
'Ah, well,' said he, 'write me, then, I pray you, for love of these, as
the friend of all who love the Lord.' It is added, that the same Angel
revealed to him soon after that he had received an order from God to
place him at the head of all the rest. This is the same Abou who said
that he preferred Hell with the will of God to Paradise without it; or,
as another writer relates it: 'I love Hell, if I am doing the will of
God, better than the enjoyments of Paradise and disobedience.'"

       *       *       *       *       *

With books printed by "B. Franklin, Philadelphia," my friend's library
is richly stored. One of them is "The Charter of Privileges, granted by
William Penn Esq: to the Inhabitants of Pennsylvania and Territories."
"PRINTED AND SOLD BY B. FRANKLIN" looks odd enough on the dingy
title-page of this old volume, and the contents are full of interest.
Rough days were those when "Jehu Curtis" was "Speaker of the House," and
put his name to such documents as this:--

"And Be it Further Enacted by the authority aforesaid, That if any
Person shall wilfully or premeditately be guilty of Blasphemy, and shall
thereof be legally convicted, the Person so offending shall, for every
such Offence, be set in the Pillory for the space of Two Hours, and be
branded on his or her Foreshead with the letter B, and be publickly
whipt, on his or her bare Back, with Thirty nine Lashes _well laid on_."

       *       *       *       *       *

But I am rambling on too far and too fast for to-day. Here is one more
book, however, that I must say a word about, as it lies open on my knee,
the gift of PUIR ROBBIE BURNS to a female friend,--his own poems,--the
edition which gave him "so much real happiness to see in print." Laid in
this copy of his works is a sad letter, in the poet's handwriting, which
perhaps has never been printed. Addressed to Captain Hamilton, Dumfries,
it is in itself a touching record of dear Robin's poverty, and _a'
that_.

"SIR,

"It is needless to attempt an apology for my remissness to you in money
matters; my conduct is beyond all excuse.--Literally, Sir, I had it
not. The Distressful state of commerce at this town has this year taken
from my otherwise scanty income no less than £20.--That part of my
salary depends upon the Imposts, and they are no more for one year. I
inclose you three guineas; and shall soon settle all with you. I shall
not mention your goodness to me; it is beyond my power to describe
either the feelings of my wounded soul at not being able to pay you as I
ought; or the grateful respect with which I have the honor to be

"Sir, Your deeply obliged humble servant,

"ROBT. BURNS.

"Dumfries, Jany. 29, 1795."

And so I walk out of my friend's leafy paradise this July afternoon,
thinking of the bard who in all his songs and sorrows made

       "rustic life and poverty
  Grow beautiful beneath his touch,"

and whose mission it was

  "To weigh the inborn worth of _man_."



THE NAME IN THE BARK.


  The self of so long ago,
  And the self I struggle to know,
  I sometimes think we are two,--or are we shadows of one?
  To-day the shadow I am
  Comes back in the sweet summer calm
  To trace where the earlier shadow flitted awhile in the sun.

  Once more in the dewy morn
  I trod through the whispering corn,
  Cool to my fevered cheek soft breezy kisses were blown;
  The ribboned and tasselled grass
  Leaned over the flattering glass,
  And the sunny waters trilled the same low musical tone.

  To the gray old birch I came,
  Where I whittled my school-boy name:
  The nimble squirrel once more ran skippingly over the rail,
  The blackbirds down among
  The alders noisily sung,
  And under the blackberry-brier whistled the serious quail.

  I came, remembering well
  How my little shadow fell,
  As I painfully reached and wrote to leave to the future a sign:
  There, stooping a little, I found
  A half-healed, curious wound,
  An ancient scar in the bark, but no initial of mine!

  Then the wise old boughs overhead
  Took counsel together, and said,--
  And the buzz of their leafy lips like a murmur of prophecy passed,--
  "He is busily carving a name
  In the tough old wrinkles of fame;
  But, cut he as deep as he may, the lines will close over at last!"

  Sadly I pondered awhile,
  Then I lifted my soul with a smile,
  And I said,--"Not cheerful men, but anxious children are we,
  Still hurting ourselves with the knife,
  As we toil at the letters of life,
  Just marring a little the rind, never piercing the heart of the tree."

  And now by the rivulet's brink
  I leisurely saunter, and think
  How idle this strife will appear when circling ages have run,
  If then the real I am
  Descend from the heavenly calm,
  To trace where the shadow I seem once flitted awhile in the sun.



AGNES OF SORRENTO.


CHAPTER XII.

PERPLEXITIES.


Agnes returned from the confessional with more sadness than her simple
life had ever known before. The agitation of her confessor, the
tremulous eagerness of his words, the alternations of severity and
tenderness in his manner to her, all struck her only as indications of
the very grave danger in which she was placed, and the awfulness of the
sin and condemnation which oppressed the soul of one for whom she was
conscious of a deep and strange interest.

She had the undoubting, uninquiring reverence which a Christianly
educated child of those times might entertain for the visible head of
the Christian Church, all whose doings were to be regarded with an awful
veneration which never even raised a question.

That the Papal throne was now filled by a man who had bought his
election with the wages of iniquity, and dispensed its powers and
offices with sole reference to the aggrandizement of a family proverbial
for brutality and obscenity, was a fact well known to the reasoning and
enlightened orders of society at this time; but it did not penetrate
into those lowly valleys where the sheep of the Lord humbly pastured,
innocently unconscious of the frauds and violence by which their dearest
interests were bought and sold.

The Christian faith we now hold, who boast our enlightened
Protestantism, has been transmitted to us through the hearts and hands
of such,--who, while princes wrangled with Pope, and Pope with princes,
knew nothing of it all, but, in lowly ways of prayer and patient labor,
were one with us of modern times in the great central belief of the
Christian heart, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain."

As Agnes came slowly up the path towards the little garden, she was
conscious of a burden and weariness of spirit she had never known
before. She passed the little moist grotto, which in former times she
never failed to visit to see if there were any new-blown cyclamen,
without giving it even a thought. A crimson spray of gladiolus leaned
from the rock and seemed softly to kiss her cheek, yet she regarded
it not; and once stopping and gazing abstractedly upward on the
flower-tapestried walls of the gorge, as they rose in wreath and garland
and festoon above her, she felt as if the brilliant yellow of the broom
and the crimson of the gillyflowers, and all the fluttering, nodding
armies of brightness that were dancing in the sunlight, were too gay for
such a world as this, where mortal sins and sorrows made such havoc with
all that seemed brightest and best, and she longed to fly away and be at
rest.

Just then she heard the cheerful voice of her uncle in the little garden
above, as he was singing at his painting. The words were those of that
old Latin hymn of Saint Bernard, which, in its English dress, has
thrilled many a Methodist class-meeting and many a Puritan conference,
telling, in the welcome they meet in each Christian soul, that there is
a unity in Christ's Church which is not outward,--a secret, invisible
bond, by which, under warring names and badges of opposition, His true
followers have yet been one in Him, even though they discerned it not.

  "Jesu dulcis memoria,
  Dans vera cordi gaudia:
  Sed super mel et omnia
  Ejus dulcis praesentia.

  "Nil canitur suavius,
  Nil auditur jocundius,
  Nil cogitatur dulcius,
  Quam Jesus Dei Filius.

  "Jesu, spes poenitentibus,
  Quam pius es petentibus,
  Quam bonus te quaerentibus,
  Sed quis invenientibus!
  Nec lingua valet dicere,
  Nec littera exprimere:
  Expertus potest credere
  Quid sit Jesum diligere."[A]

[Footnote A:

  Jesus, the very thought of thee
    With sweetness fills my breast;
  But sweeter far thy face to see,
    And in thy presence rest!

  Nor voice can sing, nor heart can frame,
    Nor can the memory find
  A sweeter sound than thy blest name,
    O Saviour of mankind!

  O hope of every contrite heart,
    O joy of all the meek,
  To those who fall how kind thou art,
    How good to those who seek!

  But what to those who find! Ah, this
    Nor tongue nor pen can show!
  The love of Jesus, what it is
    None but his loved ones know.]

The old monk sang with all his heart; and his voice, which had been
a fine one in its day, had still that power which comes from the
expression of deep feeling. One often hears this peculiarity in the
voices of persons of genius and sensibility, even when destitute of any
real critical merit. They seem to be so interfused with the emotions of
the soul, that they strike upon the heart almost like the living touch
of a spirit.

Agnes was soothed in listening to him. The Latin words, the sentiment of
which had been traditional in the Church from time immemorial, had to
her a sacred fragrance and odor; they were words apart from all common
usage, a sacramental language, never heard but in moments of devotion
and aspiration,--and they stilled the child's heart in its tossings and
tempest, as when of old the Jesus they spake of walked forth on the
stormy sea.

"Yes, He gave His life for us!" she said; "He is ever reigning for us!

  "'Jesu dulcissime, e throno gloriae
  Ovem deperditam venisti quaerere!
  Jesu suavissime, pastor fidissime,
  Ad te O trahe me, ut semper sequar te!'"[B]

[Footnote B:

  Jesus most beautiful, from thrones in glory,
    Seeking thy lost sheep, thou didst descend!
  Jesus most tender, shepherd most faithful,
  To thee, oh, draw thou me, that I may follow thee,
    Follow thee faithfully world without end!]

"What, my little one!" said the monk, looking over the wall; "I thought
I heard angels singing. Is it not a beautiful morning?"

"Dear uncle, it is," said Agnes. "And I have been so glad to hear your
beautiful hymn!--it comforted me."

"Comforted you, little heart? What a word is that! When you get as far
along on your journey as your old uncle, then you may talk of _comfort_.
But who thinks of comforting birds or butterflies or young lambs?"

"Ah, dear uncle, I am not so very happy," said Agnes, the tears starting
into her eyes.

"Not happy?" said the monk, looking up from his drawing. "Pray, what's
the matter now? Has a bee stung your finger? or have you lost your
nosegay over a rock? or what dreadful affliction has come upon
you?--hey, my little heart?"

Agnes sat down on the corner of the marble fountain, and, covering her
face with her apron, sobbed as if her heart would break.

"What has that old priest been saying to her in the confession?" said
Father Antonio to himself. "I dare say he cannot understand her. She is
as pure as a dew-drop on a cobweb, and as delicate; and these priests,
half of them don't know how to handle the Lord's lambs.--Come now,
little Agnes," he said, with a coaxing tone, "what is its trouble?--tell
its old uncle,--there's a dear!"

"Ah, uncle, I can't!" said Agnes, between her sobs.

"Can't tell its uncle!--there's a pretty go! Perhaps you will tell
grandmamma?"

"Oh, no, no, no! not for the world!" said Agnes, sobbing still more
bitterly.

"Why, really, little heart of mine, this is getting serious," said the
monk; "let your old uncle try to help you."

"It isn't for myself," said Agnes, endeavoring to check her
feelings,--"it is not for myself,--it is for another,--for a soul lost.
Ah, my Jesus, have mercy!"

"A soul lost? Our Mother forbid!" said the monk, crossing himself.
"Lost in this Christian land, so overflowing with the beauty of the
Lord?--lost out of this fair sheepfold of Paradise?"

"Yes, lost," said Agnes, despairingly,--"and if somebody do not save
him, lost forever; and it is a brave and noble soul, too,--like one of
the angels that fell."

"Who is it, dear?--tell me about it," said the monk. "I am one of the
shepherds whose place it is to go after that which is lost, even till I
find it."

"Dear uncle, you remember the youth who suddenly appeared to us in the
moonlight here a few evenings ago?"

"Ah, indeed!" said the monk,--"what of him?"

"Father Francesco has told me dreadful things of him this morning."

"What things?"

"Uncle, he is excommunicated by our Holy Father the Pope."

Father Antonio, as a member of one of the most enlightened and
cultivated religious orders of the times, and as an intimate companion
and disciple of Savonarola, had a full understanding of the character of
the reigning Pope, and therefore had his own private opinion of how much
his excommunication was likely to be worth in the invisible world. He
knew that the same doom had been threatened towards his saintly master,
for opposing and exposing the scandalous vices which disgraced the high
places of the Church; so that, on the whole, when he heard that this
young man was excommunicated, so far from being impressed with horror
towards him, he conceived the idea that he might be a particularly
honest fellow and good Christian. But then he did not hold it wise to
disturb the faith of the simple-hearted by revealing to them the truth
about the head of the Church on earth.

While the disorders in those elevated regions filled the minds of the
intelligent classes with apprehension and alarm, they held it unwise
to disturb the trustful simplicity of the lower orders, whose faith in
Christianity itself they supposed might thus be shaken. In fact, they
were themselves somewhat puzzled how to reconcile the patent and
manifest fact, that the actual incumbent of the Holy See was not under
the guidance of any spirit, unless it were a diabolical one, with the
theory which supposed an infallible guidance of the Holy Spirit to
attend as a matter of course on that position. Some of the boldest of
them did not hesitate to declare that the Holy City had suffered a foul
invasion, and that a false usurper reigned in her sacred palaces in
place of the Father of Christendom. The greater part did as people now
do with the mysteries and discrepancies of a faith which on the whole
they revere: they turned their attention from the vexed question, and
sighed and longed for better days.

Father Antonio did not, therefore, tell Agnes that the announcement
which had filled her with such distress was far less conclusive with
himself of the ill desert of the individual to whom it related.

"My little heart," he answered, gravely, "did you learn the sin for
which this young man was excommunicated?"

"Ah, me! my dear uncle, I fear he is an infidel,--an unbeliever. Indeed,
now I remember it, he confessed as much to me the other day."

"Where did he tell you this?"

"You remember, my uncle, when you were sent for to the dying man? When
you were gone, I kneeled down to pray for his soul; and when I rose from
prayer, this young cavalier was sitting right here, on this end of the
fountain. He was looking fixedly at me, with such sad eyes, so full
of longing and pain, that it was quite piteous; and he spoke to me so
sadly, I could not but pity him."

"What did he say to you, child?"

"Ah, father, he said that he was all alone in the world, without
friends, and utterly desolate, with no one to love him; but worse than
that, he said he had lost his faith, that he could not believe."

"What did you say to him?"

"Uncle, I tried, as a poor girl might, to do him some good. I prayed him
to confess and take the sacrament; but he looked almost fierce when I
said so. And yet I cannot but think, after all, that he has not lost all
grace, because he begged me so earnestly to pray for him; he said his
prayers could do no good, and wanted mine. And then I began to tell him
about you, dear uncle, and how you came from that blessed convent in
Florence, and about your master Savonarola; and that seemed to interest
him, for he looked quite excited, and spoke the name over, as if it were
one he had heard before. I wanted to urge him to come and open his case
to you; and I think perhaps I might have succeeded, but that just then
you and grandmamma came up the path; and when I heard you coming, I
begged him to go, because you know grandmamma would be very angry, if
she knew that I had given speech to a man, even for a few moments; she
thinks men are so dreadful."

"I must seek this youth," said the monk, in a musing tone; "perhaps I
may find out what inward temptation hath driven him away from the fold."

"Oh, do, dear uncle! do!" said Agnes, earnestly. "I am sure that he has
been grievously tempted and misled, for he seems to have a noble and
gentle nature; and he spoke so feelingly of his mother, who is a saint
in heaven; and he seemed so earnestly to long to return to the bosom of
the Church."

"The Church is a tender mother to all her erring children," said the
monk.

"And don't you think that our dear Holy Father the Pope will forgive
him?" said Agnes. "Surely, he will have all the meekness and gentleness
of Christ, who would rejoice in one sheep found more than in all the
ninety-and-nine who went not astray."

The monk could scarcely repress a smile at imagining Alexander the
Sixth in this character of a good shepherd, as Agnes's enthusiastic
imagination painted the head of the Church; and then he gave an inward
sigh, and said, softly, "Lord, how long?"

"I think," said Agnes, "that this young man is of noble birth, for his
words and his bearing and his tones of voice are not those of common
men; even though he speaks so humbly and gently, there is yet something
princely that looks out of his eyes, as if he were born to command; and
he wears strange jewels, the like of which I never saw, on his hands and
at the hilt of his dagger,--yet he seems to make nothing of them. But
yet, I know not why, he spoke of himself as one utterly desolate and
forlorn. Father Francesco told me that he was captain of a band of
robbers who live in the mountains. One cannot think it is so."

"Little heart," said the monk, tenderly, "you can scarcely know what
things befall men in these distracted times, when faction wages war with
faction, and men pillage and burn and imprison, first on this side,
then on that. Many a son of a noble house may find himself homeless
and landless, and, chased by the enemy, may have no refuge but the
fastnesses of the mountains. Thank God, our lovely Italy hath a noble
backbone of these same mountains, which afford shelter to her children
in their straits."

"Then you think it possible, dear uncle, that this may not be a bad man,
after all?"

"Let us hope so, child. I will myself seek him out; and if his mind have
been chafed by violence or injustice, I will strive to bring him back
into the good ways of the Lord. Take heart, my little one,--all will yet
be well. Come now, little darling, wipe your bright eyes, and look at
these plans I have been making for the shrine we were talking of, in the
gorge. See here, I have drawn a goodly arch with a pinnacle. Under the
arch, you see, shall be the picture of our Lady with the blessed
Babe. The arch shall be cunningly sculptured with vines of ivy and
passion-flower; and on one side of it shall stand Saint Agnes with her
lamb,--and on the other, Saint Cecilia, crowned with roses; and on
this pinnacle, above all, Saint Michael, all in armor, shall stand
leaning,--one hand on his sword, and holding a shield with the cross
upon it."

"Ah, that will be beautiful!" said Agnes.

"You can scarcely tell," pursued the monk, "from this faint drawing,
what the picture of our Lady is to be; but I shall paint her to the
highest of my art, and with many prayers that I may work worthily. You
see, she shall be standing on a cloud with a background all of burnished
gold, like the streets of the New Jerusalem; and she shall be clothed in
a mantle of purest blue from head to foot, to represent the unclouded
sky of summer; and on her forehead she shall wear the evening star,
which ever shineth when we say the Ave Maria; and all the borders of her
blue vesture shall be cunningly wrought with fringes of stars; and the
dear Babe shall lean his little cheek to hers so peacefully, and there
shall be a clear shining of love through her face, and a heavenly
restfulness, that it shall do one's heart good to look at her. Many a
blessed hour shall I have over this picture,--many a hymn shall I sing
as my work goes on. I must go about to prepare the panels forthwith; and
it were well, if there be that young man who works in stone, to have him
summoned to our conference."

"I think," said Agnes, "that you will find him in the town; he dwells
next to the cathedral."

"I trust he is a youth of pious life and conversation," said the monk.
"I must call on him this afternoon; for he ought to be stirring himself
up by hymns and prayers, and by meditations on the beauty of saints and
angels, for so goodly a work. What higher honor or grace can befall a
creature than to be called upon to make visible to men that beauty of
invisible things which is divine and eternal? How many holy men have
given themselves to this work in Italy, till, from being overrun with
heathen temples, it is now full of most curious and wonderful churches,
shrines, and cathedrals, every stone of which is a miracle of beauty! I
would, dear daughter, you could see our great Duomo in Florence, which
is a mountain of precious marbles and many-colored mosaics; and the
Campanile that riseth thereby is like a lily of Paradise,--so tall, so
stately, with such an infinite grace, and adorned all the way up with
holy emblems and images of saints and angels; nor is there any part of
it, within or without, that is not finished sacredly with care, as an
offering to the most perfect God. Truly, our fair Florence, though she
be little, is worthy, by her sacred adornments, to be worn as the lily
of our Lady's girdle, even as she hath been dedicated to her."

Agnes seemed pleased with the enthusiastic discourse of her uncle. The
tears gradually dried from her eyes as she listened to him, and the hope
so natural to the young and untried heart began to reassert itself. God
was merciful, the world beautiful; there was a tender Mother, a reigning
Saviour, protecting angels and guardian saints: surely, then, there
was no need to despair of the recall of any wanderer; and the softest
supplication of the most ignorant and unworthy would be taken up by so
many sympathetic voices in the invisible world, and borne on in so many
waves of brightness to the heavenly throne, that the most timid must
have hope in prayer.

In the afternoon, the monk went to the town to seek the young artist,
and also to inquire for the stranger for whom his pastoral offices were
in requisition, and Agnes remained alone in the little solitary garden.

It was one of those rich slumberous afternoons of spring that seem to
bathe earth and heaven with an Elysian softness; and from her little
lonely nook shrouded in dusky shadows by its orange-trees, Agnes looked
down the sombre gorge to where the open sea lay panting and palpitating
in blue and violet waves, while the little white sails of fishing-boats
drifted hither and thither, now silvered in the sunshine, now fading
away like a dream into the violet vapor bands that mantled the horizon.
The weather would have been oppressively sultry but for the gentle
breeze which constantly drifted landward with coolness in its wings. The
hum of the old town came to her ear softened by distance and mingled
with the patter of the fountain and the music of birds singing in the
trees overhead. Agnes tried to busy herself with her spinning; but her
mind constantly wandered away, and stirred and undulated with a thousand
dim and unshaped thoughts and emotions, of which she vaguely questioned
in her own mind. Why did Father Francesco warn her so solemnly against
an earthly love? Did he not know her vocation? But still he was wisest
and must know best; there must be danger, if he said so. But then,
this knight had spoken so modestly, so humbly,--so differently from
Giulietta's lovers!--for Giulietta had sometimes found a chance to
recount to Agnes some of her triumphs. How could it be that a knight so
brave and gentle, and so piously brought up, should become an infidel?
Ah, uncle Antonio was right,--he must have had some foul wrong, some
dreadful injury! When Agnes was a child, in travelling with her
grandmother through one of the highest passes of the Apennines, she had
chanced to discover a wounded eagle, whom an arrow had pierced, sitting
all alone by himself on a rock, with his feathers ruffled, and a film
coming over his great, clear, bright eye,--and, ever full of compassion,
she had taken him to nurse, and had travelled for a day with him in her
arms; and the mournful look of his regal eyes now came into her memory.
"Yes," she said to herself, "he is like my poor eagle! The archers have
wounded him, so that he is glad to find shelter even with a poor maid
like me; but it was easy to see my eagle had been king among birds, even
as this knight is among men. Certainly, God must love him,--he is so
beautiful and noble! I hope dear uncle will find him this afternoon; he
knows how to teach him;--as for me, I can only pray."

Such were the thoughts that Agnes twisted into the shining white flax,
while her eyes wandered dreamily over the soft hazy landscape. At last,
lulled by the shivering sound of leaves, and the bird-songs, and wearied
with the agitations of the morning, her head lay back against the end of
the sculptured fountain, the spindle slowly dropped from her hand, and
her eyes were closed in sleep, the murmur of the fountain still sounding
in her dreams. In her dreams she seemed to be wandering far away among
the purple passes of the Apennines, where she had come years ago when
she was a little girl; with her grandmother she pushed through old
olive-groves, weird and twisted with many a quaint gnarl, and rustling
their pale silvery leaves in noonday twilight. Sometimes she seemed to
carry in her bosom a wounded eagle, and often she sat down to stroke it
and to try to give it food from her hand, and as often it looked upon
her with a proud, patient eye, and then her grandmother seemed to shake
her roughly by the arm and bid her throw the silly bird away;--but then
again the dream changed, and she saw a knight lie bleeding and dying in
a lonely hollow,--his garments torn, his sword broken, and his face pale
and faintly streaked with blood; and she kneeled by him, trying in vain
to stanch a deadly wound in his side, while he said reproachfully,
"Agnes, dear Agnes, why would you not save me?" and then she thought
he kissed her hand with his cold dying lips; and she shivered and
awoke,--to find that her hand was indeed held in that of the cavalier,
whose eyes met her own when first she unclosed them, and the same voice
that spoke in her dreams said, "Agnes, dear Agnes!"

For a moment she seemed stupefied and confounded, and sat passively
regarding the knight, who kneeled at her feet and repeatedly kissed her
hand, calling her his saint, his star, his life, and whatever other
fair name poetry lends to love. All at once, however, her face flushed
crimson red, she drew her hand quickly away, and, rising up, made a
motion to retreat, saying, in a voice of alarm,--

"Oh, my Lord, this must not be! I am committing deadly sin to hear you.
Please, please go! please leave a poor girl!"

"Agnes, what does this mean?" said the cavalier. "Only two days since,
in this place, you promised to love me; and that promise has brought me
from utter despair to love of life. Nay, since you told me that, I have
been able to pray once more; the whole world seems changed for me: and
now will you take it all away,--you, who are all I have on earth?"

"My Lord, I did not know then that I was sinning. Our dear Mother knows
I said only what I thought was true and right, but I find it was a sin."

"A sin _to love_, Agnes? Heaven must be full of sin, then; for there
they do nothing else."

"Oh, my Lord, I must not argue with you; I am forbidden to listen even
for a moment. Please go. I will never forget you, Sir,--never forget to
pray for you, and to love you as they love in heaven; but I am forbidden
to speak with you. I fear I have sinned in hearing and saying even this
much."

"Who forbids you, Agnes? Who has the right to forbid your good, kind
heart to love, where love is so deeply needed and so gratefully
received?"

"My holy father, whom I am bound to obey as my soul's director," said
Agnes; "he has forbidden me so much as to listen to a word, and yet I
have listened to many. How could I help it?"

"Ever these priests!" said the cavalier, his brow darkening with an
impatient frown; "wolves in sheep's clothing!"

"Alas!" said Agnes, sorrowfully, "why will you"--

"Why will I what?" he said, facing suddenly toward her, and looking down
with a fierce, scornful determination.

"Why will you be at war with the Holy Church? Why will you peril your
eternal salvation?"

"Is there a Holy Church? Where is it? Would there were one! I am blind
and cannot see it. Little Agnes, you promised to lead me; but you drop
my hand in the darkness. Who will guide me, if _you_ will not?"

"My Lord, I am most unfit to be your guide. I am a poor girl, without
any learning; but there is my uncle I spoke to you of. Oh, my Lord, if
you only would go to him, he is wise and gentle both. I must go in now,
my Lord,--indeed, I must. I must not sin further. I must do a heavy
penance for having listened and spoken to you, after the holy father had
forbidden me."

"No, Agnes, you shall _not_ go in," said the cavalier, suddenly stepping
before her and placing himself across the doorway; "you _shall_ see me,
and hear me too. I take the sin on myself; you cannot help it. How will
you avoid me? Will you fly now down the path of the gorge? I will follow
you,--I am desperate. I had but one comfort on earth, but one hope of
heaven, and that through you; and you, cruel, are so ready to give me up
at the first word of your priest!"

"God knows if I do it willingly," said Agnes; "but I know it is best;
for I feel I should love you too well, if I saw more of you. My Lord,
you are strong and can compel me, but I beg you to leave me."

"Dear Agnes, could you really feel it possible that you might love me
too well?" said the cavalier, his whole manner changing. "Ah! could I
carry you far away to my home in the mountains, far up in the beautiful
blue mountains, where the air is so clear, and the weary, wrangling
world lies so far below that one forgets it entirely, you should be my
wife, my queen, my empress. You should lead me where you would; your
word should be my law. I will go with you wherever you will,--to
confession, to sacrament, to prayers, never so often; never will I rebel
against your word; if you decree, I will bend my neck to king or priest;
I will reconcile me with anybody or anything only for your sweet sake;
you shall lead me all my life; and when we die, I ask only that you may
lead me to our Mother's throne in heaven, and pray her to tolerate me
for your sake. Come, now, dear, is not even one unworthy soul worth
saving?"

"My Lord, you have taught me how wise my holy father was in forbidding
me to listen to you. He knew better than I how weak was my heart, and
how I might be drawn on from step to step till----My Lord, I must be no
man's wife. I follow the blessed Saint Agnes. May God give me grace to
keep my vows without wavering!--for then I shall gain power to intercede
for you and bring down blessings on your soul. Oh, never, never speak to
me so again, my Lord!--you will make me very, _very_ unhappy. If there
is any truth in your words, my Lord, if you really love me, you will go,
and you will never try to speak to me again."

"Never, Agnes? never? Think what you are saying!"

"Oh, I do think! I know it must be best," said Agnes, much agitated;
"for, if I should see you often and hear your voice, I should lose all
my strength. I could never resist, and I should lose heaven for you and
me too. Leave me, and I will never, never forget to pray for you; and
go quickly too, for it is time for my grandmother to come home, and she
would be so angry,--she would never believe I had not been doing wrong,
and perhaps she would make me marry somebody that I do not wish to. She
has threatened that many times; but I beg her to leave me free to go to
my sweet home in the convent and my dear Mother Theresa."

"They shall never marry you against your will, little Agnes, I pledge
you my knightly word. I will protect you from that. Promise me, dear,
that, if ever you be man's wife, you will be mine. Only promise me that,
and I will go."

"Will you?" said Agnes, in an ecstasy of fear and apprehension, in which
there mingled some strange troubled gleams of happiness. "Well, then, I
will. Ah! I hope it is no sin."

"Believe me, dearest, it is not," said the knight. "Say it again,--say,
that I may hear it,--say, 'If ever I am man's wife, I will be
thine,'--say it, and I will go."

"Well, then, my Lord, if ever I am man's wife, I will be thine," said
Agnes. "But I will be no man's wife. My heart and hand are promised
elsewhere. Come, now, my Lord, your word must be kept."

"Let me put this ring on your finger, lest you forget," said the
cavalier. "It was my mother's ring, and never during her lifetime heard
anything but prayers and hymns. It is saintly, and worthy of thee."

"No, my Lord, I may not. Grandmother would inquire about it. I cannot
keep it; but fear not my forgetting: I shall never forget you."

"Will you ever want to see me, Agnes?"

"I hope not, since it is not best. But you do not go."

"Well, then, farewell, my little wife! farewell, till I claim thee!"
said the cavalier, as he kissed her hand, and vaulted over the wall.

"How strange that I _cannot_ make him understand!" said Agnes, when he
was gone. "I must have sinned, I must have done wrong; but I have been
trying all the while to do right. Why would he stay so and look at me so
with those deep eyes? I was very hard with him,--very! I trembled for
him, I was so severe; and yet it has not discouraged him enough. How
strange that he would call me so, after all, when I explained to him
I never could marry!--Must I tell all this to Father Francesco? How
dreadful! How he looked at me before! How he trembled and turned away
from me! What will he think now? Ah, me! why must I tell _him_? If I
could only confess to my mother Theresa, that would be easier. We have a
mother in heaven to hear us; why should we not have a mother on earth?
Father Francesco frightens me so! His eyes burn me! They seem to burn
into my soul, and he seems angry with me sometimes, and sometimes looks
at me so strangely! Dear, blessed Mother," she said, kneeling at the
shrine, "help thy little child! I do not want to do wrong: I want to do
right. Oh that I could come and live with thee!"

Poor Agnes! a new experience had opened in her heretofore tranquil life,
and her day was one of conflict. Do what she would, the words that
had been spoken to her in the morning would return to her mind, and
sometimes she awoke with a shock of guilty surprise at finding she had
been dreaming over what the cavalier said to her of living with him
alone, in some clear, high, purple solitude of those beautiful mountains
which she remembered as an enchanted dream of her childhood. Would he
really always love her, then, always go with her to prayers and mass and
sacrament, and be reconciled to the Church, and should she indeed have
the joy of feeling that this noble soul was led back to heavenly peace
through her? Was not this better than a barren life of hymns and prayers
in a cold convent? Then the very voice that said these words, that voice
of veiled strength and manly daring, that spoke with such a gentle
pleading, and yet such an undertone of authority, as if he had a right
to claim her for himself,--she seemed to feel the tones of that voice in
every nerve;--and then the strange thrilling pleasure of thinking
that he loved her so. Why should he, this strange, beautiful knight?
Doubtless he had seen splendid high-born ladies,--he had seen even
queens and princesses,--and what could he find to like in her, a poor
little peasant? Nobody ever thought so much of her before, and he was so
unhappy without her;--it was strange he should be; but he said so, and
it must be true. After all, Father Francesco might be mistaken about his
being wicked. On the whole, she felt sure he was mistaken, at least in
part. Uncle Antonio did not seem to be so much shocked at what she told
him; he knew the temptations of men better, perhaps, because he did not
stay shut up in one convent, but travelled all about, preaching and
teaching. If only he could see him, and talk with him, and make him a
good Christian,--why, then, there would be no further need of her;--and
Agnes was surprised to find what a dreadful, dreary blank appeared
before her when she thought of this. Why should she wish him to remember
her, since she never could be his?--and yet nothing seemed so dreadful
as that he should forget her. So the poor little innocent fly beat and
fluttered in the mazes of that enchanted web, where thousands of her
frail sex have beat and fluttered before her.


CHAPTER XIII.

THE MONK AND THE CAVALIER.


Father Antonio had been down through the streets of the old town of
Sorrento, searching for the young stonecutter, and, finding him, had
spent some time in enlightening him as to the details of the work he
wished him to execute.

He found him not so easily kindled into devotional fervors as he had
fondly imagined, nor could all his most devout exhortations produce
one-quarter of the effect upon him that resulted from the discovery that
it was the fair Agnes who originated the design and was interested in
its execution. Then did the large black eyes of the youth kindle into
something of sympathetic fervor, and he willingly promised to do his
very best at the carving.

"I used to know the fair Agnes well, years ago," he said, "but of late
she will not even look at me; yet I worship her none the less. Who can
help it that sees her? I don't think she is so hard-hearted as she
seems; but her grandmother and the priests won't so much as allow her to
lift up her eyes when one of us young fellows goes by. Twice these five
years past have I seen her eyes, and then it was when I contrived to get
near the holy water when there was a press round it of a saint's day,
and I reached some to her on my finger, and then she smiled upon me and
thanked me. Those two smiles are all I have had to live on for all
this time. Perhaps, if I work very well, she will give me another, and
perhaps she will say, 'Thank you, my good Pietro!' as she used to, when
I brought her birds' eggs or helped her across the ravine, years ago."

"Well, my brave boy, do your best," said the monk, "and let the shrine
be of the fairest white marble. I will be answerable for the expense; I
will beg it of those who have substance."

"So please you, holy father," said Pietro, "I know of a spot, a little
below here on the coast, where was a heathen temple in the old days; and
one can dig therefrom long pieces of fair white marble, all covered with
heathen images. I know not whether your Reverence would think them fit
for Christian purposes."

"So much the better, boy! so much the better!" said the monk, heartily.
"Only let the marble be fine and white, and it is as good as converting
a heathen any time to baptize it to Christian uses. A few strokes of the
chisel will soon demolish their naked nymphs and other such rubbish, and
we can carve holy virgins, robed from head to foot in all modesty, as
becometh saints."

"I will get my boat and go down this very afternoon," said Pietro; "and,
Sir, I hope I am not making too bold in asking you, when you see the
fair Agnes, to present unto her this lily, in memorial of her old
playfellow."

"That I will, my boy! And now I think of it, she spoke kindly of you as
one that had been a companion in her childhood, but said her grandmother
would not allow her to speak to you now."

"Ah, that is it!" said Pietro. "Old Elsie is a fierce old kite, with
strong beak and long claws, and will not let the poor girl have any good
of her youth. Some say she means to marry her to some rich old man, and
some say she will shut her up in a convent, which I should say was a
sore hurt and loss to the world. There are a plenty of women, whom
nobody wants to look at, for that sort of work; and a beautiful face is
a kind of psalm which makes one want to be good."

"Well, well, my boy, work well and faithfully for the saints on this
shrine, and I dare promise you many a smile from this fair maiden; for
her heart is set upon the glory of God and his saints, and she will
smile on any one who helps on the good work. I shall look in on you
daily for a time, till I see the work well started."

So saying, the old monk took his leave. Just as he was passing out of
the house, some one brushed rapidly by him, going down the street. As he
passed, the quick eye of the monk recognized the cavalier whom he had
seen in the garden but a few evenings before. It was not a face and form
easily forgotten, and the monk followed him at a little distance behind,
resolving, if he saw him turn in anywhere, to follow and crave an
audience of him.

Accordingly, as he saw the cavalier entering under the low arch that
led to his hotel, he stepped up and addressed him with a gesture of
benediction.

"God bless you, my son!"

"What would you with me, father?" said the cavalier, with a hasty and
somewhat suspicious glance.

"I would that you would give me an audience of a few moments on some
matters of importance," said the monk, mildly.

The tones of his voice seemed to have excited some vague remembrance in
the mind of the cavalier; for he eyed him narrowly, and seemed trying
to recollect where he had seen him before. Suddenly a light appeared to
flash upon his mind; for his whole manner became at once more cordial.

"My good father," he said, "my poor lodging and leisure are at your
service for any communication you may see fit to make."

So saying, he led the way up the damp, ill-smelling stone staircase, and
opened the door of the deserted room where we have seen him once before.
Closing the door, and seating himself at the one rickety table which the
room afforded, he motioned to the monk to be seated also; then taking
off his plumed hat, he threw it negligently on the table beside him, and
passing his white, finely formed hand through the black curls of his
hair, he tossed them carelessly from his forehead, and, leaning his chin
in the hollow of his hand, fixed his glittering eyes on the monk in a
manner that seemed to demand his errand.

"My Lord," said the monk, in those gentle, conciliating tones which
were natural to him, "I would ask a little help of you in regard of a
Christian undertaking which I have here in hand. The dear Lord hath put
it into the heart of a pious young maid of this vicinity to erect a
shrine to the honor of our Lady and her dear Son in this gorge of
Sorrento, hard by. It is a gloomy place in the night, and hath been said
to be haunted by evil spirits; and my fair niece, who is full of all
holy thoughts, desired me to draw the plan for this shrine, and, so far
as my poor skill may go, I have done so. See here, my Lord, are the
drawings."

The monk laid them down on the table, his pale cheek flushing with a
faint glow of artistic enthusiasm and pride, as he explained to the
young man the plan and drawings.

The cavalier listened courteously, but without much apparent interest,
till the monk drew from his portfolio a paper and said,--

"This, my Lord, is my poor and feeble conception of the most sacred form
of our Lady, which I am to paint for the centre of the shrine."

He laid down the paper, and the cavalier, with a sudden exclamation,
snatched it up, looking at it eagerly.

"It is she!" he said; "it is her very self!--the divine Agnes,--the lily
flower,--the sweet star,--the only one among women!"

"I see you have recognized the likeness," said the monk, blushing.
"I know it hath been thought a practice of doubtful edification to
represent holy things under the image of aught earthly; but when any
mortal seems especially gifted with a heavenly spirit outshining in the
face, it may be that our Lady chooses that person to reveal herself in."

The cavalier was gazing so intently on the picture that he scarcely
heard the apology of the monk; he held it up, and seemed to study it
with a long admiring gaze.

"You have great skill with your pencil, my father," he said; "one would
not look for such things from under a monk's hood."

"I belong to the San Marco in Florence, of which you may have heard,"
said Father Antonio, "and am an unworthy disciple of the traditions of
the blessed Angelico, whose visions of heavenly things are ever before
us; and no less am I a disciple of the renowned Savonarola, of whose
fame all Italy hath heard before now."

"Savonarola?" said the other, with eagerness,--"he that makes these vile
miscreants that call themselves Pope and Cardinals tremble? All Italy,
all Christendom, is groaning and stretching out the hand to him to free
them from these abominations. My father, tell me of Savonarola: how goes
he, and what success hath he?"

"My son, it is now many months since I left Florence; since which time
I have been sojourning in by-places, repairing shrines and teaching the
poor of the Lord's flock, who are scattered and neglected by the idle
shepherds, who think only to eat the flesh and warm themselves with the
fleece of the sheep for whom the Good Shepherd gave his life. My duties
have been humble and quiet; for it is not given to me to wield the sword
of rebuke and controversy, like my great master."

"And you have not heard, then," said the cavalier, eagerly, "that they
have excommunicated him?"

"I knew that was threatened," said the monk, "but I did not think it
possible that it could befall a man of such shining holiness of life,
so signally and openly owned of God that the very gifts of the first
Apostles seem revived in him."

"Does not Satan always hate the Lord," said the cavalier. "Alexander
and his councils are possessed of the Devil, if ever men were,--and are
sealed as his children by every abominable wickedness. The Devil sits in
Christ's seat, and hath stolen his signet-ring, to seal decrees against
the Lord's own followers. What are Christian men to do in such case?"

The monk sighed and looked troubled.

"It is hard to say," he answered. "So much I know,--that before I left
Florence our master wrote to the King of France touching the dreadful
state of things at Rome, and tried to stir him up to call a general
council of the Church. I much fear me this letter may have fallen into
the hands of the Pope."

"I tell you, father," said the young man, starting up and laying his
hand on his sword, "_we must fight_! It is the sword that must decide
this matter! Was not the Holy Sepulchre saved from the Infidels by the
sword?--and once more the sword must save the Holy City from worse
infidels than the Turks. If such doings as these are allowed in the Holy
City, another generation there will be no Christians left on earth.
Alexander and Caesar Borgia and the Lady Lucrezia are enough to drive
religion from the world. They make us long to go back to the traditions
of our Roman fathers,--who were men of cleanly and honorable lives and
of heroic deeds, scorning bribery and deceit. They honored God by noble
lives, little as they knew of Him. But these men are a shame to the
mothers that bore them."

"You speak too truly, my son," said the monk. "Alas! the creation
groaneth and travaileth in pain with these things. Many a time and oft
have I seen our master groaning and wrestling with God on this account.
For it is to small purpose that we have gone through Italy preaching and
stirring up the people to more holy lives, when from the very hill of
Zion, the height of the sanctuary, come down these streams of pollution.
It seems as if the time had come that the world could bear it no
longer."

"Well, if it come to the trial of the sword, as come it must," said the
cavalier, "say to your master that Agostino Sarelli has a band of one
hundred tried men and an impregnable fastness in the mountains, where he
may take refuge, and where they will gladly hear the Word of God from
pure lips. They call us robbers,--us who have gone out from the assembly
of robbers, that we might lead honest and cleanly lives. There is not
one among us that hath not lost houses, lands, brothers, parents,
children, or friends, through their treacherous cruelty. There be those
whose wives and sisters have been forced into the Borgia harem; there be
those whose children have been tortured before their eyes,--those who
have seen the fairest and dearest slaughtered by these hell-hounds, who
yet sit in the seat of the Lord and give decrees in the name of Christ.
Is there a God? If there be, why is He silent?"

"Yea, my son, there is a God," said the monk; "but His ways are not as
ours. A thousand years in His sight are but as yesterday, as a watch in
the night. He shall come, and shall not keep silence."

"Perhaps you do not know, father," said the young man, "that I, too,
am excommunicated. I am excommunicated, because, Caesar Borgia having
killed my oldest brother, and dishonored and slain my sister, and seized
on all our possessions, and the Pope having protected and confirmed him
therein, I declare the Pope to be not of God, but of the Devil. I will
not submit to him, nor be ruled by him; and I and my fellows will make
good our mountains against him and his crew with such right arms as the
good Lord hath given us."

"The Lord be with you, my son!" said the monk; "and the Lord bring His
Church out of these deep waters! Surely, it is a lovely and beautiful
Church, made dear and precious by innumerable saints and martyrs who
have given their sweet lives up willingly for it; and it is full of
records of righteousness, of prayers and alms and works of mercy that
have made even the very dust of our Italy precious and holy. Why hast
Thou abandoned this vine of Thy planting, O Lord? The boar out of the
wood doth waste it; the wild beast of the field doth devour it. Return,
we beseech Thee, and visit this vine of Thy planting!"

The monk clasped his hands and looked upward pleadingly, the tears
running down his wasted cheeks. Ah, many such strivings and prayers
in those days went up from silent hearts in obscure solitudes, that
wrestled and groaned under that mighty burden which Luther at last
received strength to heave from the heart of the Church.

"Then, father, you do admit that one may be banned by the Pope, and may
utterly refuse and disown him, and yet be a Christian?"

"How can I otherwise?" said the monk. "Do I not see the greatest saint
this age or any age has ever seen under the excommunication of the
greatest sinner? Only, my son, let me warn you. Become not irreverent to
the true Church, because of a false usurper. Reverence the sacraments,
the hymns, the prayers all the more for this sad condition in which you
stand. What teacher is more faithful in these respects than my master?
Who hath more zeal for our blessed Lord Jesus, and a more living faith
in Him? Who hath a more filial love and tenderness towards our blessed
Mother? Who hath more reverent communion with all the saints than he?
Truly, he sometimes seems to me to walk encompassed by all the armies of
heaven,--such a power goes forth in his words, and such a holiness in
his life."

"Ah," said Agostino, "would I had such a confessor! The sacraments might
once more have power for me, and I might cleanse my soul from unbelief."

"Dear son," said the monk, "accept a most unworthy, but sincere follower
of this holy prophet, who yearns for thy salvation. Let me have the
happiness of granting to thee the sacraments of the Church, which,
doubtless, are thine by right as one of the flock of the Lord Jesus.
Come to me some day this week in confession, and thereafter thou shalt
receive the Lord within thee, and be once more united to Him."

"My good father," said the young man, grasping his hand, and much
affected, "I will come. Your words have done me good; but I must think
more of them. I will come soon; but these things cannot be done without
pondering; it will take some time to bring my heart into charity with
all men."

The monk rose up to depart, and began to gather up his drawings.

"For this matter, father," said the cavalier, throwing several gold
pieces upon the table, "take these, and as many more as you need ask for
your good work. I would willingly pay any sum," he added, while a faint
blush rose to his cheek, "if you would give me a copy of this. Gold
would be nothing in comparison with it."

"My son," said the monk, smiling, "would it be to thee an image of an
earthly or a heavenly love?"

"Of both, father," said the young man. "For that dear face has been more
to me than prayer or hymn; it has been even as a sacrament to me, and
through it I know not what of holy and heavenly influences have come to
me."

"Said I not well," said the monk, exulting, "that there were those on
whom our Mother shed such grace that their very beauty led heavenward?
Such are they whom the artist looks for, when he would adorn a shrine
where the faithful shall worship. Well, my son, I must use my poor art
for you; and as for gold, we of our convent take it not except for the
adorning of holy things, such as this shrine."

"How soon shall it be done?" said the young man, eagerly.

"Patience, patience, my Lord! Rome was not built in a day, and our art
must work by slow touches; but I will do my best. But wherefore, my
Lord, cherish this image?"

"Father, are you of near kin to this maid?"

"I am her mother's only brother."

"Then I say to you, as the nearest of her male kin, that I seek this
maid in pure and honorable marriage; and she hath given me her promise,
that, if ever she be wife of mortal man, she will be mine."

"But she looks not to be wife of any man," said the monk; "so, at least,
I have heard her say; though her grandmother would fain marry her to a
husband of her choosing. 'Tis a wilful woman, is my sister Elsie, and a
worldly,--not easy to persuade, and impossible to drive."

"And she hath chosen for this fair angel some base peasant churl who
will have no sense of her exceeding loveliness? By the saints, if it
come to this, I will carry her away with the strong arm!"

"That is not to be apprehended just at present. Sister Elsie is dotingly
fond of the girl, which hath slept in her bosom since infancy."

"And why should I not demand her in marriage of your sister?" said the
young man.

"My Lord, you are an excommunicated man, and she would have horror of
you. It is impossible; it would not be to edification to make the common
people judges in such matters. It is safest to let their faith rest
undisturbed, and that they be not taught to despise ecclesiastical
censures. This could not be explained to Elsie; she would drive you from
her doors with her distaff, and you would scarce wish to put your sword
against it. Besides, my Lord, if you were not excommunicated, you are of
noble blood, and this alone would be a fatal objection with my sister,
who hath sworn on the holy cross that Agnes shall never love one of your
race."

"What is the cause of this hatred?"

"Some foul wrong which a noble did her mother," said the monk; "for
Agnes is of gentle blood on her father's side."

"I might have known it," said the cavalier to himself; "her words and
ways are unlike anything in her class.--Father," he added, touching his
sword, "we soldiers are fond of cutting all Gordian knots, whether of
love or religion, with this. The sword, father, is the best theologian,
the best casuist. The sword rights wrongs and punishes evil-doers, and
some day the sword may cut the way out of this embarrass also."

"Gently, my son! gently!" said the monk; "nothing is lost by patience.
See how long it takes the good Lord to make a fair flower out of a
little seed; and He does all quietly, without bluster. Wait on Him a
little in peacefulness and prayer, and see what He will do for thee."

"Perhaps you are right, my father," said the cavalier, cordially. "Your
counsels have done me good, and I shall seek them further. But do
not let them terrify my poor Agnes with dreadful stories of the
excommunication that hath befallen me. The dear saint is breaking
her good little heart for my sins, and her confessor evidently hath
forbidden her to speak to me or look at me. If her heart were left to
itself, it would fly to me like a little tame bird, and I would
cherish it forever; but now she sees sin in every innocent, womanly
thought,--poor little dear child-angel that she is!"

"Her confessor is a Franciscan," said the monk, who, good as he was,
could not escape entirely from the ruling prejudice of his order,--"and,
from what I know of him, I should think might be unskilful in what
pertaineth to the nursing of so delicate a lamb. It is not every one to
whom is given the gift of rightly directing souls."

"I'd like to carry her off from him!" said the cavalier, between his
teeth. "I will, too, if he is not careful!" Then he added aloud,
"Father, Agnes is mine,--mine by the right of the truest worship and
devotion that man could ever pay to woman,--mine because she loves me.
For I know she loves me; I know it far better than she knows it herself,
the dear innocent child! and I will not have her torn from me to waste
her life in a lonely, barren convent, or to be the wife of a stolid
peasant. I am a man of my word, and I will vindicate my right to her in
the face of God and man."

"Well, well, my son, as I said before, patience,--one thing at a time.
Let us say our prayers and sleep to-night, to begin with, and to-morrow
will bring us fresh counsel."

"Well, my father, you will be for me in this matter?" said the young
man.

"My son, I wish you all happiness; and if this be for your best good and
that of my dear niece, I wish it. But, as I said, there must be time and
patience. The way must be made clear. I will see how the case stands;
and you may be sure, when I can in good conscience, I will befriend
you."

"Thank you, my father, thank you!" said the young man, bending his knee
to receive the monk's parting benediction.

"It seems to me not best," said the monk, turning once more, as he was
leaving the threshold, "that you should come to me at present where I
am,--it would only raise a storm that I could not allay; and so great
would be the power of the forces they might bring to bear on the child,
that her little heart might break and the saints claim her too soon."

"Well, then, father, come hither to me to-morrow at this same hour, if I
be not too unworthy of your pastoral care."

"I shall be too happy, my son," said the monk. "So be it."

And he turned from the door just as the bell of the cathedral struck the
Ave Maria, and all in the street bowed in the evening act of worship.

       *       *       *       *       *


A NIGHT IN A WHERRY.


As the summer vacation drew near, and the closed shutters and
comparative quiet of the west end made one for a moment believe in the
phrase, "Nobody in town," I had, after some thought, determined to
resist the many temptations of a walking tour, and, instead of trusting
to shoe-leather, try what virtue lay in a stout pair of oars, and make a
trip by water instead of land.

But first, in what direction? The careful search of a huge chart and
some knowledge of the Northern and Eastern seaboard led me to mark out a
course along the shore of Massachusetts and among the beautiful islands
which stud the coast of Maine.

The cruise was at that time a novel one, and many were the doubts
expressed as to the seaworthiness of my boat. She was twenty-two feet
long, nine inches high, and thirty-two wide,--canvas-covered, except
about four feet of the middle section, with sufficient space to stow
two days' food and water, and to carry all the baggage necessary for a
week's voyage. The oars were made especially strong for the occasion,
of spruce, ten feet three inches in length, and nicely balanced. In
addition to provision and clothes, a gun, a couple of hundred feet of
stout line, and a boat-hook were stowed in the bottom.

The day fixed for departure rose clear. An east wind tempered the heat
of the sun; but the tide, which by starting earlier would have been in
my favor, was dead low, and would turn before I could round the northern
point of the city. After all my traps had been put on board, seating
myself carefully, the oars were handed in, and a few strokes sent me
ahead of the raft. The tide was low, dead low, in the fullest meaning of
the word; the sea-weed slowly circled and eddied round, floating neither
up nor down; while the unrippled surface of the Back Bay reflected the
city and bridges so perfectly that it was hard to tell where reality
ended and seeming began. Passing beneath the Cambridge draw, I turned
the boat's head for the next one, and kept close to the northern point
of the city. Seven bridges must be passed ere the bay opened before me.
The boat had just cleared the last, when, remembering that no matches
had been provided, and not knowing where a landing might be made, I
decided to lay in a stock before putting to sea. With a narrow shave
past the Chelsea ferry-boat, I backed water, and came alongside a raft
of ship-timber seasoning near one of the docks, tenanted by a score
or more of semi-amphibious urchins, who were running races over the
half-sunken logs, and taking all sizes of duckings, from the slight
spatter to the complete souse. Engaging the services of one of these
water-rats, by a judicious promise of a larger sum as payment than the
one intrusted to him for the purchase, I had soon a sufficient supply,
and, resting the boat-hook on one of the logs, pushed off. East Boston
ferry was quickly passed, my boat lifting and falling gracefully in the
swell of the steamer, and I began to feel the flow of the rising tide
setting steadily against her. Governor's Island showed rather hazy three
miles off; Apple Island, tufted with trees, looked in the shimmering
light like one of the palm-crowned Atolls of the Pacific; and, just
discernible through the foggy air, Deer Island and the Hospital loomed
up. A straight course would have saved at least two miles and avoided
the strength of the tide; but, though my boat drew only three inches,
and there was water enough and to spare on the flats, the sea-weed,
growing thick as grain in the harvest-field, and half floating where the
depth was three or four feet, collecting round the sharp bow as a long
tress of hay gathers round a tooth of a rake, and burying the oar-blade,
impeded all progress, and obliged me to pull almost double the distance
against the rapid tide-set of the circuitous channels. I worked through
the bends and reaches, till the deep, strong current of Shirley Gut was
to be stemmed, where the tide runs with great force,--nearly fifty feet
in depth of pure green water, eddying and whirling round, all sorts of
ripples and small whirlpools dimpling its surface,--with the rushing
sound which deep and swift water makes against its banks. A few moments'
tough pulling brought me through, and, once outside Deer Island, nothing
lay between me and Nahant. The well-known beach and the sandy headland
called "Grover" stood out at the edge of Lynn Bay, and the rise and
fall of the white surf, too distant to be heard, marked the long reef
stretching seaward. After dining, and allowing the boat to drift while
rearranging my provisions, I took my place, and, getting the proper
bearings astern, bent on the oars.

To those who have rowed only clumsy country-boats, with their awkward
row-locks and wretched oars, slimy, dirty, and leaking, trailing behind
tags and streamers of pond-weed, or who have only experimented with that
most uncivilized style of digging up the water called paddling, the real
pleasure of rowing is unknown.

Grover's Head went astern; Nahant grew more and more distinct. There was
but little wind, and the boat went rocking over the long roll of the
huge waves, cutting smoothly through their wrinkled surface. In sight
to the south and the east were the Brewsters, the outer light, and the
sails of vessels of all sizes and shapes which were slowly making their
way into the harbor. The afternoon was cloudy; but now and then a
brilliant ray of sunshine would fall on islands and vessels, lighting
them up for an instant, and then closing over again. My route took me
about three miles outside Nahant and in full view of the end of the
promontory. There was now a clear course, except that occasionally a
huge patch of floating seaweed would suddenly deaden and then stop the
boat's headway, compelling me to back water and clear the bow of the
long strands. It was at first very startling to be thus checked when
running at full speed; the sensation being that some one has grasped
the boat and is pushing her back. With the resistance come the rush and
ripple, as the sharp stem plunges through the floating mass of weed. The
wind, which had been light and baffling all the forenoon, after I had
passed Nahant, and was abreast of Egg Rock with its little whitewashed
light-house, freshened, and, veering to the southeast, blew across my
track. The vessels began to lean to its force, and the waves to rise. I
was then outside Swampscott Bay, about eight miles from land. The shore
was plainly visible, with the buildings dotted along like specks of
white, and the outlying reefs showing by the sparkle of the foam upon
them. Phillips's Beach, and the island called by the romantic name of
Ram, were now opposite. Half-Way Rock, so named from being half way from
Boston to Gloucester, was the point towards which I had been pulling for
two hours, and it could now for the first time be seen. It came in sight
as the boat was rising on a huge wave which broke under her and went
rushing shoreward, roaring savagely, with long streaks of foam down its
green back. The elevation of the eyes above the water was so small,
that, when my boat sank away in the trough of the sea, nothing could be
seen above the top of the advancing wave. I had, therefore, to watch my
chance, and when she rose, get my bearings.

Half-Way Rock is a water-washed mass of porphyritic stone, the top about
twenty feet above high tide, shaped much like a pyramid, and a few years
since was capped with a conical granite beacon, strongly built and
riveted down, but which had been two-thirds washed away by the
tremendous surf of the easterly storms. The rock stands at the outer
edge of a long sand-shoal, and is east of Salem. To the northward, a dim
blue line on the horizon, lay Cape Ann, by my reckoning, about eighteen
miles distant. I kept on pulling over the swell, which was growing
larger, not quite in the trough of the sea,--but when a particularly
large wave came easing up a little, so as to take the boat more on the
bow, the motion was not a pleasant one. It was a sort of half rolling,
half pitching,--very unlike the even, smooth slide of the early part of
the afternoon. The rock soon became plainer, and at last I rested on my
oars to watch the waves as they broke on its furrowed face. The great
rollers, which became higher as the water shoaled toward its foot,
fell upon it bursting into foam, and jetting the spray high above the
half-broken beacon. It was a beautiful sight as the spray broke under
the shadow of the seaward face and was thrown up into the sunlight.

Not heeding whither I was drifting, a nasal hail suddenly roused me to
the fact that there were other navigators in those seas. "Bo-oat ahoy!
Whar' ye bo-ound?" Giving a stroke with the larboard oar, I saw, hove
to, a fishing-schooner,--her whole crew of skipper, three men, and a boy
standing at the gangway and looking with all their ten eyes to make out,
if possible, what strange kind of sea-monster had turned up. My boat
could not have seemed very seaworthy, only seven inches above water,
disappearing in the trough of every sea that passed, then lifting its
long and slender bow of brilliant crimson above the white foam, and the
occupant apparently on a level with the water. The hail was repeated.
The answer, "Cape Ann," did not satisfy them; and the question, "Wa-ant
any he-elp?" was next bawled out. My only reply was by a shake of the
head; and settling back into my place, I gave way on the oars, and left
my fishing friends still looking and evidently very uncertain whether it
were not better to make an attempt at a rescue.

I now kept on about a mile farther toward the Cape, but found that
the time before sundown was too short to reach it. About seven miles
distant, perched on a cliff overlooking the sea, was the hospitable
mansion of Mr. T., where I was sure of a welcome and a good berth for my
boat, and which snug harbor could just be reached by nightfall. The way
lay straight across Gooseberry Shoal, on the outside of which stands
Half-Way Rock. The sea for my small boat was very heavy; but, having
full confidence in her buoyancy, I drove straight on. Upon the shoal
the color of the water changed from deep to light green; the sea was
shorter, much higher, and broke quicker; the waves washed over the stern
of the boat, burying it two feet or more, and coming almost into the
seat-room. Then she would lift herself free, and ride high and clear on
the backs of the great rollers, which would break and crush down under
her, sending her well ahead. The sunlight, falling from behind, shone
through the body of each wave, making it of the most transparent
brilliant emerald, and tinting the foam with every hue of the rainbow.
Pulling with the sea is very easy work, if the boat be long enough to
keep from broaching to,--that is, swinging sideways and rolling over, a
performance which dories are apt to indulge in. There are on the shoal
several reefs, whose black ridges are just awash at high tide; past
these the inner edge of the water deepens and the sea becomes smoother.
About an hour brought me inside what is called by the dwellers
thereabout the "outer island,"--its gray-red rocks tufted here and there
with patches of coarse grass, and weather-worn and seamed by surf and
storm, with the usual accompaniment of mackerel-gulls screaming and
soaring aloft at the approach of a stranger. When within about a quarter
of a mile of the shore, I backed round to come upon the beach stern
foremost through the surf. If the surf be high, coming ashore is a
delicate operation; for, should the boat be turned broadside on, she
would be thrown over upon the oarsman, and both washed up the beach in a
flood of sandy salt-water; so it requires some little steadiness to sit
back to the coming wave, hear the increasing roar, and feel the sudden
lift and toss shoreward which each roller gives you as it plunges down
upon the sand. Just before coming to the outer edge of the surf, I was
seen by my friends, who hastened down the cliff-road to receive me.
Resting on my oars, I waited, till, hearing a large roller coming, whose
voice gained in strength and depth as it drew nearer to the shore, I
looked behind. The crest was already beginning to curl, as it dashed
under the boat and swept me in-shore, breaking, as the stern passed, the
top of the sea, and carrying me in, full speed, with the flood of foam
and spray. After three or four quick strokes I jerked the oars out of
the row-locks, jumped into the water knee-deep, and wading dragged the
boat backwards as far as she would float, when the receding surf let
her gently down upon the sand, and before the next wave the servant
had taken the bow and I the stern and lifted her high and dry upon
the beach. And so my afternoon's pull of thirty miles was safely
and successfully finished, my boat having proved herself thoroughly
seaworthy, though my friends could hardly believe that such a craft
could be safely trusted. After removing the stores and arranging other
matters, we took her up, placed her quietly upon the grass, and left her
for the night.

The next morning was rather hazy. About nine o'clock I took my way to
the beach, and began to prepare for departure. Mr. T.'s house lies
several miles to the south and west of Cape Ann. Eastern Point, on
the Cape, was therefore the place to be steered for in a straight
line,--perhaps six miles distant. Two miles on, the white light-house on
the Point can be plainly seen. The tide was rising, and the two lines of
ripple met across the sand-bar which connects a little island with the
beach. My boat was now carried down from her night's resting-place and
set at the edge of the water. The oars being placed in readiness, two
of us waded out with her till she would just float, when, quickly and
cautiously stepping in, I met the advancing wave in time to ride over
it. The line of surf is hard to cross, unless one can catch the roller
before it begins to crest. Once outside the line, I turned and pulled
swiftly across the bar, over which the tide had risen a few inches, and,
bidding good-morning to my hospitable entertainers, set off for Eastern
Point. There was considerable swell, though not much wind. The shore
being familiar to me, I was rowing along leisurely, recognizing one
well-known cliff after another, as they came in sight, and was between
Kettle Island and the main, when a slight dampness in the air caused
me to turn my face to the eastward, and I saw coming in from the sea,
preceded by an advance guard of feathery mist, a dense bank of fog. It
swept in, blotting out sea, shore, everything but the view a few feet
around the boat. Fortunately knowing the place, and guided by the sound
of the surf, I soon neared the wet, brown rocks at the inner edge of
Kettle Island. Backing up into a little cove between two huge sea-weedy
boulders I waited, hoping that a turn in the wind might drive the mist
seaward and allow me to keep on. There I sat a full hour, watching the
star-fish, and the crabs scrambling about among the loose strands of the
olive-green and deep purple rock-weed, which looked almost black in
the shadow, while here and there, as it waved to and fro with the sea,
disclosing patches of yellow sand. Very beautiful was this natural
aquarium; but time was flying, and "The Shoals" were more than thirty
miles distant. The mist began to drive in long rifts, and a gleam of
sunshine came out, but only for a moment. I took advantage of it at
once, and pushed out from port.

The opposite shore of the cove, in the mouth of which the island lies,
was dimly discernible, and the dense foliage of the willows surrounding
the fishermen's houses loomed up in the distance, while at the extreme
end of the Point the sea broke heavily on the long protruding reef which
slanted eastward. I made rapidly for the Point, and reached the outside
line of rollers just in time; for the fog, which had been drifting
backwards and forwards and torn in long rents, now closed over again,
shutting down darker than ever. It was with the utmost difficulty that
I could make out the faint gray line of cliff and surf. On the whole,
however, it appeared best to keep on and feel my way along the coast,
navigating rather by sound than by sight. The shore grows higher as you
go northward towards Gloucester harbor, and is, if possible, more rugged
and broken than to the south. The chief danger was from sunken rocks,
which every wave submerged three or four feet, and which in the hollow
of the sea were wholly above water. I came upon one very suddenly, as
the wave was swelling above it, and the rock-weed afloat on its sunken
head looked, for the instant, like the hair of a drowning person. My
boat went directly over it, and the next moment its black crest rose in
the trough of the wave. One such chance of wreck was enough, and so I
kept farther out, losing sight almost entirely of the cliffs. The sun,
meanwhile, was pouring down an intense heat, making the fog luminous,
but not rendering the coast any more visible. I knew that before me,
somewhere, lay the reef of Norman's Woe. The huge rock on the inside of
the reef, separated from the shore by a narrow strait, I judged must be
right ahead, but not knowing how near, I kept on, cautiously looking
behind, every few strokes, and began to think I must have passed it in
the fog, when suddenly, as if it had stepped in the way, it rose before
me, its top lost in the mist, and with the sullen drip and splash of the
sea on its almost perpendicular sides. I had to back water with some
force, and, skirting the reef, stood on till fairly outside,--when,
turning shoreward again, I went on to the edge of the surf.

Resuming my former style of navigation, almost twisting my head off to
keep a sharp look-out for rocks and reefs, I came to what seemed to be
the mouth of Gloucester harbor, and there stopped for a moment. There
was no use in pulling up one side of the harbor and down the other, four
miles, while in a straight line to the Point it was only one and a half.
I had almost decided on rowing the longer distance, however, when I
heard a bell ringing somewhere in the direction of Eastern Point. It
was striking in measured time, and the sound came across the water with
great distinctness. It puzzled me a little, till I remembered there
was a fog-bell as well as a light-house on the Point. Hoping that the
tolling would continue, I aimed for the bell as straight as possible.
With a couple of strokes the shore vanished, and nothing could be seen
but fog. Rowing where there is plenty of light and yet nothing visible
is embarrassing business. One must rely wholly upon the sense of
hearing, as eyes are of no use in such a case. Fearing that the bell
might cease before I got across, I bent with a will upon the oars and
went racing through the fog. The sound grew more and more distinct with
each peal, when, suddenly as the apparition of Norman's Woe, right
before me sprang up the black dripping hull of a fishing-schooner,
becalmed, and rocking with the roll of the sea; one turn and I shot
beneath her bows, passed her, and was lost in the fog before the fat
darkey who was lazily fishing by the bowsprit could shift from one side
of the deck to the other to keep me in sight. The creaking of blocks
and the heavy flap of wet sails warned me of the neighborhood of other
vessels. In a short time I could hear the rusty grating of the pivot as
the bell turned; then my boat glided close under the rock on which the
light-house stands. At that moment the fog opened half across the bay,
showing clearly my track with more than a dozen vessels lying close by
it. The lifting was but for a moment; back rolled the cloud and all was
invisible again. I rounded the Point, however, and went ahead, pulling
along the eastern coast of the Cape in the fog.

It was hard work, this groping through the mist, and made me wish for
the Janus power of gazing out of the back of my head to save the trouble
of continually turning. The look-out was now necessarily more vigilant
than when on the lower shore, as I was entirely ignorant of the coast
and could not see twenty feet before me. The sea was calm, save the
ever-swinging ground-swell, which does not show its power till it meets
with some resistance; and though without crest, the surf on the rocks
was very high. There was nothing to deaden the force of the sea, and
it came on in huge green masses, sliding bodily up on the rocks with
a sound like distant thunder, making one feel that a boat would be
shivered to splinters, should she fall into its power. Once the breakers
nearly caught me broadside on, as I had begun to pull along the shore,
compelling me to keep outside the line of surf and thus follow it till
the rocky headland loomed up on the other side of the bay, then past the
reefs again till another bay curved inward,--nothing to be seen but fog,
dim white surf, and dimmer rocks. Once, when passing an outlying point,
I saw, for a moment, a couple of men fishing; they shouted something
which the surf rendered inaudible; then rock and fishers melted away
into the mist. After rowing in this manner for about an hour, the water
shoaled, the fog lightened, and an island appeared to the east, with the
sea rippling over the sand-bar which joined it to the shore. I pulled
on and found the depth but a few inches, just enough to cross without
touching. The island was very picturesque, and the end towards the
west was broken into ledges, on which were perched eight or ten small
weather-beaten houses. Half floating by the beach under the cliff,
or drawn up on it, were a number of dories, while a troop of little
children were wading, splashing, and shouting in the shallow water on
the bar. They stopped when they saw me, clustered together watching as
I passed, and when I was fairly over set up a shout and resumed their
play. I rowed on until two in the afternoon, when the fog became
thinner, and finding myself between two rocky headlands, in "Milk Island
Strait," as I conjectured, and it being dinner-time, I went ashore in a
little inlet, took out my provisions, and dined.

The mist, meanwhile, had disappeared, leaving the sky perfectly clear.
It was nearly three when dinner was finished. The Isles of Shoals were
full twenty-one miles distant, and if they were to be reached before
night, there was no time to be lost. So I backed out of the inlet, and,
getting the bearings, aimed for a point on the horizon where I supposed
the islands to be, and pulled without stopping for three hours. The wind
was fresh from the southeast, the sea high, and there was not the least
trace of the fog. The hills of Cape Ann, as I went on, changed from
green to blue, and the color grew fainter in the distance. The land,
which was ten miles inside to the westward, had now come nearer, and the
dark line of the woods was just visible.

It was time to see the Shoals. I turned, but the heavy sea tossed the
boat about so that it was not at all certain whether they were or were
not in sight. The only objects in view were a few small white clouds
about the horizon and the distant sails of a schooner; so again bringing
the Cape astern, I rowed on till sunset. The hills had then almost sunk
below the water, and it was full time to see White Island and the light
which would be kindled in a few moments. The boat swung into the trough
of the sea, and when on the top of a wave I looked up to the northward.
The sight was not a pleasant one for an evening pull: the sky was
covered with the dark clouds of a gathering storm rapidly rolling up,
and my old friend the fog was again working in, as the wind had shifted
to the east and north. In the distance nothing could be seen but black
sky and blacker water, while nearer crept on the line of mist, shutting
out all prospect. The Shoals were doubtless somewhere in the darkness,
but just where I could not determine. Something must be done at once
before the fog reached me. Calling a council of war, I debated. There
was no certainty of hitting the Shoals, and if I did come on them in any
other than the exact spot, my boat would be beaten into chips in five
minutes on some of the reefs which abound in that region. It would be
entirely dark when I reached the islands, and the wind and sea were
rising; it looked very much like the beginning of an easterly gale. So
the council concluded to let the Shoals go for that night, and stay out
at sea till morning. Should the gale come on, the boat could be beached
on the coast to the westward; and if the wind lulled, as it probably
would for a few hours on the next day, there was time enough to get
ashore. I was from eight to ten miles at sea, and six miles east and
south of the Shoals, as nearly as I could reckon. It was necessary to
get more to the westward to clear the islands in the night, when the
tide set in. Rowing for half an hour brought me far enough in to stop.
The fog was again all around me, and the thick clouds made it so dark
that it was impossible to see twice my boat's length. Resting on my
oars for a moment, I began to stow a few things more closely in the
seat-room, when a huge sea broke just ahead, and, striking the bow a
little on one side, whirled the boat round and rolled her half over,
pitching the crest into the seat-room and filling it with water. I
caught her with the oars barely in time to save her, and turned her
again head to the sea, keeping a watchful eye to windward. Then baling
out the seat-room, I took some crackers and a draught of water, and
turned the boat stern foremost to the sea.

It was, by guess, about nine o'clock; and there was no light except the
phosphorescence of the water. When a wave came rushing through the
fog, its black body invisible in the darkness, the crest glanced like
quicksilver and broke into ten thousand coruscations as the boat
balanced on the top,--pouring a flood of glittering water past the stern
and over the canvas cover, and dripping from the sides in sparkling
drops. Wherever a foam-bubble burst or oar dipped, it was like opening a
silver-lined casket. The boat left a luminous track, which rose with
the waves as they swelled behind her, and disappeared in the night. It
required a strong hand to keep her in her course; had she broached to, I
should have been rolled out and obliged to swim for it. A quick eye was
necessary to watch, lest, in spite of the oars, she might swing round
and turn over. The utter darkness and the storm so threatening at
sundown had come in full force. It was raining and blowing heavily, and
the strong wind driving the rain and mist in sheets across the water
deepened the hoarse roar of the sea. I was very wet, and not so fresh,
after my forty miles or more of hard, steady pulling, as in the morning;
I was also very sleepy, so that it was not easy to keep even one eye
open to look out for passing coasters,--the chief danger. My craft was
so slender they could have gone over her in the darkness and storm and
never have known it. The tide was still setting out, the sea was very
high, and there was not a ray of light from White Island. My best course
seemed to be to continue pulling slowly and keep the boat stern to the
sea till after midnight, when the tide would change and the wind would
lull for a short time,--unless it should prove to be the beginning of
the gale, and not its forerunner, as I had thought. The hours passed
slowly. There was much to do in heading straight and in easing up when
the great waves loomed through the fog. Midnight would decide whether at
day-dawn I must pull for it, and run, if possible, the line of breakers
on Rye Beach, with rather less than an even chance of coming out
right-end uppermost, or whether the wind and sea would go down so that I
could slip quietly ashore before the gale returned.

Midnight came at last; the rain ceased and the wind began to shift to
the south, and I knew that now the probability of going ashore decently
was good. The tide having turned, the wind moderated, and the sea,
though still high, was longer and did not break so quickly. Still
farther to the south veered the wind, and a little after three, as well
as I could tell by my watch, the fog thinned, so that, looking up, I
caught the faint glimmer of a star; then another peeped through the
cloud. The mist broke in several places, then drifted over, then broke
again; and, chancing to look seaward, a light flared into full blaze
for a moment, swung smaller, then vanished. There was no mistaking
it,--White Island light at last!

Backing with one oar, pulling with the other, I rose on the top of a
great sea, and caught the light again just as it began to come into
sight. Off I went, at a splendid pace, driving along in the trough and
over the crest of the waves, steering by a star behind me, for about ten
minutes; then light and stars sank back into the mist, and all was
black again. I waited a few moments, and again the light shone out; but
meantime the boat's bow had veered several points. Turning toward it,
I was off full speed this time for about five minutes, before the fog
swept in again. Then another rest on my oars. The fog drifted out and
drifted in backwards and forwards, now thinning here, then thinning
there; but no other glimpse of the light did I get that night. For a
moment, a shadowy-looking schooner glided slowly along a few hundred
feet ahead of me, and directly across my track,--then melted out into
the darkness. After waiting some time longer, finding no chance of
another glimpse of the light, I secured my oars, and, as the wind and
sea had decreased, got ready to turn in. The seat-room was only four
feet long,--two feet short of my length; and the washboard, which was
three inches in height, surrounded the seat-room and obliged me to use
the boat-sponge as a pillow. But trusting to chance that my craft would
come across nothing either fixed or floating, I retreated at once to the
land of Nod. What the weather was during the rest of that night, or what
might have been seen, I cannot say; for I did not wake till my watch
told seven in the morning. Then my eyes opened to, or rather in, as
choice a specimen of mist as had yet been met with.

It was perfectly calm; the sea was undulating slightly, and not a breath
of wind stirring. I sat up and looked around. Nothing visible but misty
atmosphere and leaden-colored water; the phosphorescent sparkle had
quite gone out of it. I listened, and with the low dull roar of the surf
on Rye Beach on one side came the break of the waves on the Shoals,
but so faint that it was doubtful whether it were really audible, when
another most unmistakable sound assured me Landlord Laighton was blowing
his breakfast-horn on Appledore Island. The familiar notes of that
very peculiar performance came clearly through the fog. Had he kept on
blowing twenty minutes longer, he would have had another guest; but he
stopped before ten strokes could be taken. So, reluctantly turning my
boat for the other shore, I pulled for the sound of the surf, which
increased as I approached it. The beach was still several miles distant,
when the short, quick rap of oars came to my ears. I knew at once the
fisherman's stroke, and, supposing that he had put out from the shore
and did not mean to stay out long, I gave chase at once, and pulled till
he stopped rowing and was apparently near. Then I hailed, and after
a twenty minutes' hunt caught a glimpse of his dory and immediately
introduced myself. He was fishing with two lines, one on each side of
the boat, and was about returning when I came up. He had never before
beheld such a craft as mine, and did not know what to make of her as she
came through the fog. He soon, however, drew in his lines, and, acting
as pilot, set out for the beach, from which we were then three miles
distant. After various twistings and circlings through the mist, the row
of sandy hillocks which backs Rye Beach appeared, and in a few moments
we pulled through the surf and landed, thus ending one part of my
summer's cruise.

       *       *       *       *       *


A STORY OF TO-DAY.


PART I.


Let me tell you a story of To-Day,--very homely and narrow in its scope
and aim. Not of the To-Day whose significance in the history of humanity
only those shall read who will live when you and I are dead. Let us bear
the pain in silence, if our hearts are strong enough, while the nations
of the earth stand far off pitying. I have no word of this To-Day to
speak. I write from the border of the battle-field, and I find in it no
theme for shallow argument or flimsy rhymes. The shadow of death has
fallen on us; it chills the very heaven. No child laughs in my face as
I pass down the street. Men have forgotten to hope, forgotten to pray;
only in the bitterness of endurance they say "in the morning, 'Would God
it were even!' and in the evening, 'Would God it were morning!'" Neither
I nor you have the prophet's vision to see the age as its meaning stands
written before God. Those who shall live when we are dead may tell their
children, perhaps, how, out of anguish and darkness such as the world
seldom has borne, the enduring morning evolved of the true world and the
true man. It is not clear to us. Hands wet with a brother's blood for
the Right, a slavery of intolerance, the hackneyed cant of men or
the bloodthirstiness of women, utter no prophecy to us of the great
To-Morrow of content and right that holds the world. Yet the To-Morrow
is there; if God lives, it is there. The voice of the meek Nazarene,
which we have deafened down as ill-timed, unfit to teach the watchword
of the hour, renews the quiet promise of its coming in simple, humble
things. Let us go down and look for it. There is no need that we should
feebly vaunt and madden ourselves over our self-seen lights, whatever
they may be, forgetting what broken shadows they are of eternal truths
in that calm where He sits and with His quiet hand controls us.

Patriotism and Chivalry are powers in the tranquil, unlimited lives to
come, as well as here, I know; but there are less partial truths, higher
hierarchies who serve the God-man, that do not speak to us in bayonets
and victories,--Humility, Mercy, and Love. Let us not quite neglect
them, however humble the voices they use may be. Why, the very low glow
of the fire upon the hearth tells me something of recompense coming in
the hereafter,--Christmas-days, and heartsome warmth; in these bare
hills trampled down by armed men, the yellow clay is quick with pulsing
fibres, hints of the great heart of life and love throbbing within;
God's slanted sunlight would show me, in these sullen smoke-clouds from
the camp, walls of amethyst and jasper, outer ramparts of the Promised
Land. Do not call us traitors, then, who choose to be cool and silent
through the fever of the hour,--who choose to search in common things
for auguries of the hopeful, helpful calm to come, finding even in these
poor sweet-peas, thrusting their tendrils through the brown mould, a
deeper, more healthful lesson for the eye and soul than warring evils or
truths. Do not call me a traitor, if I dare weakly to hint that there
are yet other characters besides that of Patriot in which a man may
appear creditably in the great masquerade, and not blush when it is
over; or if I tell you a story of To-Day, in which there shall be none
of the red glare of war,--only those homelier, subtler lights which we
have overlooked. If it prove to you that the sun of old times still
shines, and the God of old times still lives, is not that enough?

My story is very crude and homely, as I said,--only a rough sketch of
one or two of those people whom you see every day, and call "dregs"
sometimes,--a dull, plain bit of prose, such as you might pick for
yourself out of any of these warehouses or back-streets. I expect you to
call it stale and plebeian, for I know the glimpses of life it
pleases you best to find here: New England idyls delicately tinted;
passion-veined hearts, cut bare for curious eyes; prophetic utterances,
concrete and clear; or some word of pathos or fun from the old friends
who have indenizened themselves in everybody's home. You want something,
in fact, to lift you out of this crowded, tobacco-stained commonplace,
to kindle and chafe and glow in you. I want you to dig into this
commonplace, this vulgar American life, and see what is in it. Sometimes
I think it has a new and awful significance that we do not see.

Your ears are openest to the war-trumpet now. Ha! that is
spirit-stirring!--that wakes up the old Revolutionary blood! Your
manlier nature had been smothered under drudgery, the poor daily
necessity for bread and butter. I want you to go down into this common,
every-day drudgery, and consider if there might not be in it also a
great warfare. Not a serfish war; not altogether ignoble, though even
its only end may appear to be your daily food. A great warfare, I think,
with a history as old as the world, and not without its pathos. It has
its slain. Men and women, lean-jawed, crippled in the slow, silent
battle, are in your alleys, sit beside you at your table; its martyrs
sleep under every green hill-side.

You must fight in it; money will buy you no discharge from that war.
There is room in it, believe me, whether your post be on a judge's
bench, or over a wash-tub, for heroism, for knightly honor, for purer
triumph than his who falls foremost in the breach. Your enemy, Self,
goes with you from the cradle to the coffin; it is a hand-to-hand
struggle all the sad, slow way, fought in solitude,--a battle that began
with the first heart-beat, and whose victory will come only when the
drops ooze out, and sudden halt in the veins,--a victory, if you can
gain it, that will drift you not a little way upon the coasts of the
wider, stronger range of being, beyond death.

Let me roughly outline for you one or two lives that I have known, and
how they conquered or were worsted in the fight. Very common lives, I
know,--such as are swarming in yonder market-place; yet I dare to call
them voices of God,--all!

My reason for choosing this story to tell you is simple enough.

An old book, which I happened to find to-day, recalled it. It was a
ledger, iron-bound, with the name of the firm on the outside,--Knowles
& Co. You may have heard of the firm: they were large woollen
manufacturers: supplied the home market in Indiana for several years.
This ledger, you see by the writing, has been kept by a woman. That is
not unusual in Western trading towns, especially in factories where the
operatives are chiefly women. In such establishments, women can fill
every post successfully, but that of overseer: they are too hard with
the hands for that.

The writing here is curious: concise, square, not flowing,--very
legible, however, exactly suited to its purpose. People who profess
to read character in chirography would decipher but little from these
cramped, quiet lines. Only this, probably: that the woman, whoever she
was, had not the usual fancy of her sex for dramatizing her soul in her
writing, her dress, her face,--kept it locked up instead, intact; that
her words and looks, like her writing, were most likely simple, mere
absorbents by which she drew what she needed of the outer world to her,
not flaunting helps to fling herself, or the tragedy or comedy that lay
within, before careless passers-by. The first page has the date, in red
letters, _October 2, 1860_, largely and clearly written. I am sure the
woman's hand trembled a little when she took up the pen; but there is no
sign of it here; for it was a new, desperate adventure to her, and she
was young, with no faith in herself. She did not look desperate, at
all,--a quiet, dark girl, coarsely dressed in brown.

There was not much light in the office where she sat; for the factory
was in one of the close by-streets of the town, and the office they gave
her was only a small square closet in the seventh story. It had but one
window, which overlooked a back-yard full of dyeing vats. The sunlight
that did contrive to struggle in obliquely through the dusty panes and
cobwebs of the window had a sleepy odor of copperas latent in it. You
smelt it when you stirred. The manager, Pike, who brought her up, had
laid the day-books and this ledger open on the desk for her. As soon
as he was gone, she shut the door, listening until his heavy boots had
thumped creaking down the rickety ladder leading to the frame-rooms.
Then she climbed up on the high office-stool (climbed, I said, for she
was a little, little thing) and went to work, opening the books, and
copying from one to the other as steadily, monotonously, as if she had
been used to it all her life. Here are the first pages: see how sharp
the angles are of the blue and black lines, how even the long columns:
one would not think, that, as the steel pen traced them out, it seemed
to be lining out her life, narrow and black. If any such morbid fancy
were in the girl's head, there was no tear to betray it. The sordid,
hard figures seemed to her the types of the years coming, but she wrote
them down unflinchingly: perhaps life had nothing better for her, so
she did not care. She finished soon: they had given her only an hour or
two's work for the first day. She closed the books, wiped the pens in a
quaint, mechanical fashion, then got down and examined her new home.

It was soon understood. There were the walls with their broken plaster,
showing the laths underneath, with here and there, over them, sketches
with burnt coal, showing that her predecessor had been an artist in his
way,--his name, P. Teagarden, emblazoned on the ceiling with the smoke
of a candle; heaps of hanks of yarn in the dusty corners; a half-used
broom; other heaps of yarn on the old toppling desk covered with dust; a
raisin-box, with P. Teagarden done on the lid in bas-relief, half full
of ends of cigars, a pack of cards, and a rotten apple. That was all,
except an impalpable sense of dust and worn-outness pervading the whole.
One thing more, odd enough there: a wire cage, hung on the wall, and in
it a miserable pecking chicken, peering dolefully with suspicious eyes
out at her, and then down at the mouldy bit of bread on the floor of his
cage,--left there, I suppose, by the departed Teagarden. That was all
inside. She looked out of the window. In it, as if set in a square
black frame, was the dead brick wall, and the opposite roof, with a cat
sitting on the scuttle. Going closer, two or three feet of sky appeared.
It looked as if it smelt of copperas, and she drew suddenly back.

She sat down, waiting until it was time to go; quietly taking the dull
picture into her slow, unrevealing eyes; a sluggish, hackneyed weariness
creeping into her brain; a curious feeling, that all her life before had
been a silly dream, and this dust, these desks and ledgers, were real,
--all that was real. It was her birthday; she was twenty. As she
happened to remember that, another fancy floated up before her, oddly
life-like: of the old seat she made for herself under the currant-bushes
at home when she was a child, and the plans she laid for herself when
she should be a woman, sitting there,--how she would dig down into the
middle of the world, and find the kingdom of the griffins, or would go
after Mercy and Christiana in their pilgrimage. It was only a little
while ago since these things were more alive to her than anything else
in the world. The seat was under the currant-bushes still. Very little
time ago; but she was a woman now,--and, look here! A chance ray of
sunlight slanted in, falling barely on the dust, the hot heaps of wool,
waking a stronger smell of copperas; the chicken saw it, and began to
chirp a weak, dismal joy, more sorrowful than tears. She went to the
cage, and put her finger in for it to peck at. Standing there, if the
life coming rose up before her in that hard, vacant blare of sunlight,
she looked at it with the same still, waiting eyes, that told nothing.

The door opened at last, and a man came in,--Dr. Knowles, the principal
owner of the factory. He nodded shortly to her, and, going to the desk,
turned over the books, peering suspiciously at her work. An old man,
overgrown, looking like a huge misshapen mass of flesh, as he stood
erect, facing her.

"You can go now," he said, gruffly. "To-morrow you must wait for the
bell to ring, and go--with the rest of the hands."

A curious smile flickered over her face like a shadow; but she said
nothing. He waited a moment.

"So!" he growled, "the Howth blood does not blush to go down into the
slime of the gutter? is sufficient to itself?"

A cool, attentive motion,--that was all. Then she stooped to tie her
sandals. The old man watched her, irritated. She had been used to the
keen scrutiny of his eyes since she was a baby, so was cool under it
always. The face watching her was one that repelled most men: dominant,
restless, flushing into red gusts of passion, a small, intolerant eye,
half hidden in folds of yellow fat,--the eye of a man who would give to
his master (whether God or Satan) the last drop of his own blood, and
exact the same of other men.

She had tied her bonnet and fastened her shawl, and stood ready to go.

"Is that all you want?" he demanded. "Are you waiting to hear that your
work is well done? Women go through life as babies learn to walk,--a
mouthful of pap every step, only they take it in praise or love. Pap is
better. Which do you want? Praise, I fancy."

"Neither," she said, quietly brushing her shawl. "The work is well done,
I know."

The old man's eye glittered for an instant, satisfied; then he turned
to the books. He thought she had gone, but, hearing a slight clicking
sound, turned round. She was taking the chicken out of the cage.

"Let it alone!" he broke out, sharply. "Where are you going with it?"

"Home," she said, with a queer, quizzical face. "Let it smell the green
fields, Doctor. Ledgers and copperas are not good food for a chicken's
soul, or body either."

"Let it alone!" he growled. "You take it for a type of yourself, eh? It
has another work to do than to grow fat and sleep about the barnyard."

She opened the cage.

"I think I will take it."

"No," he said, quietly. "It has a master here. Not P. Teagarden. Why,
Margaret," pushing his stubby finger between the tin bars, "do you think
the God you believe in would have sent it here without a work to do?"

She looked up; there was a curious tremor in his flabby face, a shadow
in his rough voice.

"If it dies here, its life won't have been lost. Nothing is lost. Let it
alone."

"Not lost?" she said, slowly, refastening the cage. "Only I think"----

"What, child?"

She glanced furtively at him.

"It's a hard, scraping world where such a thing as that has work to do!"

He vouchsafed no answer. She waited to see his lip curl bitterly, and
then, amused, went down the stairs. She had paid him for his sneer.

The steps were but a long ladder set in the wall, not the great
staircase used by the hands: that was on the other side of the factory.
It was a huge, unwieldy building, such as crowd the suburbs of trading
towns. This one went round the four sides of a square, with the yard for
the vats in the middle. The ladders and passages she passed down were
on the inside, narrow and dimly lighted: she had to grope her way
sometimes. The floors shook constantly with the incessant thud of the
great looms that filled each story, like heavy, monotonous thunder. It
deafened her, made her dizzy, as she went down slowly. It was no short
walk to reach the lower hall, but she was down at last. Doors opened
from it into the ground-floor ware-rooms; glancing in, she saw vast,
dingy recesses of boxes piled up to the dark ceilings. There was a crowd
of porters and draymen cracking their whips, and lounging on the trucks
by the door, waiting for loads, talking politics, and smoking. The smell
of tobacco, copperas, and burning logwood was heavy to clamminess here.
She stopped, uncertain. One of the porters, a short, sickly man, who
stood aloof from the rest, pushed open a door for her with his staff.
Margaret had a quick memory for faces; she thought she had seen this one
before, as she passed,--a dark face, sullen, heavy-lipped, the hair cut
convict-fashion, close to the head. She thought, too, one of the men
muttered "jail-bird," jeering him for his forwardness. "Load for
Clinton! Western Railroad!" sung out a sharp voice behind her, and, as
she went into the street, a train of cars rushed into the hall to be
loaded, and men swarmed out of every corner,--red-faced and pale,
whiskey-bloated and heavy-brained, Irish, Dutch, black, with souls half
asleep somewhere, and the destiny of a nation in their grasp,--hands,
like herself, going through the slow, heavy work, for, as Pike the
manager would have told you, "three dollars a week,--good wages these
tight times." For nothing more? Some other meaning may have fallen
from their faces into this girl's quiet intuition in the instant's
glance,--cheerfuller, remoter aims, hidden in the most sensual
face,--homeliest home-scenes, low climbing ambitions, some delirium of
pleasure to come,--whiskey, if nothing better: aims in life like yours,
differing in degree, needing only to make them the same----did you say
what?

She had reached the street now,--a back-street, a crooked sort of lane
rather, running between endless piles of ware-houses. She hurried down
it to gain the suburbs, for she lived out in the country. It was a
long, tiresome walk through the outskirts of the town, where the
dwelling-houses were,--long rows of two-story bricks drabbled with
soot-stains. It was two years since she had been in the town.
Remembering this, and the reason why she had shunned it, she quickened
her pace, her face growing stiller than before. One might have fancied
her a slave putting on a mask, fearing to meet her master. The town,
being unfamiliar to her, struck her newly. She saw the expression on its
face better. It was a large trading city, compactly built, shut in by
hills. It had an anxious, harassed look, like a speculator concluding a
keen bargain; the very dwelling-houses smelt of trade, having shops in
the lower stories; in the outskirts, where there are cottages in other
cities, there were mills here; the trees, which some deluded dreamer had
planted on the flat pavements, had all grown up into abrupt Lombardy
poplars, knowing their best policy was to keep out of the way; the boys,
playing marbles under them, played sharply "for keeps"; the bony old
dray-horses, plodding through the dusty crowds, had speculative eyes,
that measured their oats at night with a "you-don't-cheat-me" look. Even
the churches had not the grave repose of the old brown house yonder in
the hills, where the few field-people--Arians, Calvinists, Churchmen--
gathered every Sunday, and air and sunshine and God's charity made the
day holy. These churches lifted their hard stone faces insolently,
registering their yearly alms in the morning journals. To be sure, the
back-seats were free for the poor; but the emblazoned crimson of the
windows, the carving of the arches, the very purity of the preacher's
style, said plainly that it was easier for a camel to go through the eye
of a needle than for a man in a red _warm-us_ to enter the kingdom of
heaven through that gate.

Nature itself had turned her back on the town: the river turned aside,
and but half a river crept reluctant by; the hills were but bare banks
of yellow clay. There was a cinder-road leading through these. Margaret
climbed it slowly. The low town-hills, as I said, were bare, covered at
their bases with dingy stubble-fields. In the sides bordering the road
gaped the black mouths of the coal-pits that burrowed under the hills,
under the town. Trade everywhere,--on the earth and under it. No wonder
the girl called it a hard, scraping world. But when the road had crept
through these hills, it suddenly shook off the cinders, and turned into
the brown mould of the meadows,--turned its back on trade and the smoky
town, and speedily left it out of sight contemptuously, never looking
back once. This was the country now in earnest.

Margaret slackened her step, drawing long breaths of the fresh cold air.
Far behind her, panting and puffing along, came a black, burly figure,
Dr. Knowles. She had seen him behind her all the way, but they did not
speak. Between the two there lay that repellant resemblance which made
them like close relations,--closer when they were silent. You know such
people? When you speak to them, the little sharp points clash. Yet they
are the people whom you surely know you will meet in the life beyond
death, "saved" or not. The Doctor came slowly along the quiet
country-road, watching the woman's figure going as slowly before him. He
had a curious interest in the girl,--a secret reason for the interest,
which as yet he kept darkly to himself. For this reason he tried to
fancy how her new life would seem to her. It should be hard enough, her
work,--he was determined on that; her strength and endurance must be
tested to the uttermost. He must know what stuff was in the weapon
before he used it. He had been reading the slow, cold thing for
years,--had not got into its secret yet. But there was power there, and
it was the power he wanted. Her history was simple enough: she was going
into the mill to support a helpless father and mother; it was a common
story; she had given up much for them;--other women did the same. He
gave her scanty praise. Two years ago (he had keen, watchful eyes, this
man) he had fancied that the poor homely girl had a dream, as most women
have, of love and marriage: she had put it aside, he thought, forever;
it was too expensive a luxury; she had to begin the life-long battle for
bread and butter. Her dream had been real and pure, perhaps; for she
accepted no sham love in its place: if it had left an empty hunger in
her heart, she had not tried to fill it. Well, well, it was the old
story. Yet he looked after her kindly, as he thought of it; as some
people look sorrowfully at children, going back to their own childhood.
For a moment he half relented in his purpose, thinking, perhaps, her
work for life was hard enough. But no: this woman had been planned and
kept by God for higher uses than daughter or wife or mother. It was his
part to put her work into her hands.

The road was creeping drowsily now between high grass-banks, out through
the hills. A sleepy, quiet road. The restless dust of the town never had
been heard of out there. It (the road) went wandering lazily through the
corn-fields, down by the river, into the very depths of the woods,--the
low October sunshine slanting warmly down it all the way, touching the
grass-banks and the corn-fields with patches of russet gold. Nobody in
such a road could be in a hurry. The quiet was so deep, the free air,
the heavy trees, the sunshine, all so full and certain and fixed, one
could be sure of finding them the same a hundred years from now. Nobody
ever was in a hurry. The brown bees came along there, when their work
was over, and hummed into the great purple thistles on the roadside in a
voluptuous stupor of delight. The cows sauntered through the clover
by the fences, until they wound up by lying down in it and sleeping
outright. The country-people, jogging along to the mill, walked their
fat old nags through the stillness and warmth so slowly that even
Margaret left them far behind. As the road went deeper into the hills,
the solitude and quiet grew even more penetrating and certain,--so
certain in these grand old mountains that one called them eternal, and,
looking up to the peaks fixed in the clear blue, grew surer of a world
beyond this where there is neither change nor death.

It was growing late; the evening air grew more motionless and cool;
the russet gold of the sunshine mottled only the hill-tops now; in the
valleys there was a duskier brown, deepening every moment. Margaret
turned from the road and went down the fields. One did not wonder,
feeling the silence of these hills and broad sweeps of meadow, that this
woman, coming down from among them, should be strangely still, with dark
questioning eyes dumb to their own secrets.

Looking into her face now, you could be sure of one thing: that she had
left the town, the factory, the dust far away, shaken the thought of
them off her brain. No miles could measure the distance between her
home and them. At a stile across the field an old man sat waiting. She
hurried now, her cheek coloring. Dr. Knowles could see them going to the
house beyond, talking earnestly. He sat down in the darkening twilight
on the stile, and waited half an hour. He did not care to hear the story
of Margaret's first day at the mill, knowing how her father and mother
would writhe under it, soften it as she would. It was nothing to her,
he knew. So he waited. After a while he heard the old man's laugh, like
that of a pleased child, and then went in and took her place beside him.
She went out, but came back presently, every grain of dust gone, in her
clear dress of pearl gray. The neutral tint suited her well. As she
stood by the window, listening gravely to them, the homely face and
waiting figure came into full relief. Nature had made this woman in a
freak of rare sincerity. There were no reflected lights about her: no
gloss on her skin, no glitter in her eyes, no varnish on her soul.
Simple and dark and pure, there she was, for God and her master alone to
conquer and understand. Her flesh was cold and colorless,--there were no
surface tints on it,--it warmed sometimes slowly from far within; her
voice was quiet,--out of her heart; her hair, the only beauty of the
woman, was lustreless brown, lay in unpolished folds of dark shadow. I
saw such hair once, only once. It had been cut from the head of a man,
who, quiet and simple as a child, lived out the law of his nature, and
set the world at defiance,--Bysshe Shelley.

The Doctor, talking to her father, watched the girl furtively, took in
every point, as one might critically survey a Damascus blade which he
was going to carry into battle. There was neither love nor scorn in
his look,--a mere fixedness of purpose to make use of her some day. He
talked, meanwhile, glancing at her now and then, as if the subject they
discussed were indirectly linked with his plan for her. If it were, she
was unconscious of it. She sat on the wooden step of the porch, looking
out on the melancholy sweep of meadow and hill range growing cool and
dimmer in the dun twilight, not hearing what they said, until the
sharpened, earnest tones roused her.

"You will fail, Knowles."

It was her father who spoke.

"Nothing can save such a scheme from failure. Neither the French nor
German Socialists attempted to base their systems on the lowest class,
as you design."

"I know," said Knowles. "That accounts for their partial success."

"Let me understand your plan practically," eagerly demanded her father.

She thought Knowles evaded the question,--wished to leave the subject.
Perhaps he did not regard the poor old schoolmaster as a practical judge
of practical matters. All his life he had called him thriftless and
unready.

"It never will do, Knowles," he went on in his slow way. "Any plan,
Phalanstery or Community, call it what you please, founded on
self-government, is based on a sham, the tawdriest of shams."

The old schoolmaster shook his head as one who knows, and tried to push
the thin gray hairs out of his eyes in a groping way. Margaret lifted
them back so quietly that he did not feel her.

"You'll call the Republic a sham next!" said the Doctor, coolly
aggravating.

"The Republic!" The old man quickened his tone, like a war-horse
scenting the battle near at hand. "There never was a thinner-crusted
Devil's egg in the world than democracy. I think I've told you that
before?"

"I think you have," said the other, dryly.

"You always were a Tory, Mr. Howth," said his wife, in her placid,
creamy way. "It is in the blood, I think, Doctor. The Howths fought
under Cornwallis, you know."

The schoolmaster waited until his wife had ended.

"Very true, Mrs. Howth," he said, with a grave smile. Then his thin face
grew hot again.

"No, Dr. Knowles. Your scheme is but a sign of the mad age we live
in. Since the thirteenth century, when the anarchic element sprang
full-grown into the history of humanity, that history has been chaos.
And this republic is the culmination of chaos."

"Out of chaos came the new-born earth," suggested the Doctor.

"But its foundations were granite," rejoined the old man with nervous
eagerness,--"granite, not the slime of yesterday. When you found
empires, go to work as God worked."

The Doctor did not answer; sat looking, instead, out into the dark
indifferently, as if the heresies which the old man hurled at him were
some old worn-out song. Seeing, however, that the schoolmaster's flush
of enthusiasm seemed on the point of dying out, he roused himself to
gibe it into life.

"Well, Mr. Howth, what will you have? If the trodden rights of the human
soul are the slime of yesterday, how shall we found our empire to last?
On despotism? Civil or theocratic?"

"Any despotism is better than that of newly enfranchised serfs," replied
the schoolmaster.

The Doctor laughed.

"What a successful politician you would have made! You would have had
such a winning way to the hearts of the great unwashed!"

Mrs. Howth laid down her knitting.

"My dear," she said, timidly, "I think that is treason."

The angry heat died out of his face instantly, as he turned to her,
without the glimmer of a covert smile at her simplicity. She was a
woman; and when he spoke to the Doctor, it was in a tone less sharp.

"What is it the boys used to declaim, their Yankee hearts throbbing
under their roundabouts? 'Happy, proud America!' Somehow in that way.
'Cursed, abased America!' better if they had said. Look at her, in the
warm vigor of her youth, most vigorous in decay! Look at the dregs of
nations, creeds, religions, fermenting together! As for the theory
of self-government, it will muddle down here, as in the three great
archetypes of the experiment, into a puling, miserable failure!"

The Doctor did not hear. Some sharper shadow seemed to haunt him than
the downfall of the Republic. What help did he seek in this girl? His
keen, deep eyes never left her unconscious face.

"No," Mr. Howth went on, having the field to himself,--"we left Order
back there in the ages you call dark, and Progress will trumpet the
world into the ditch."

"Comte!" growled the Doctor.

The schoolmaster's cane beat an angry tattoo on the hearth.

"You sneer at Comte? Because, having the clearest eye, the widest
sweeping eye ever given to man, he had no more? It was to show how far
flesh can go alone. Could he help it, if God refused the prophet's
vision?"

"I'm sure, Samuel," interrupted his wife with a sorrowful earnestness,
"your own eyes were as strong as a man's could be. It was ten years
after I wore spectacles that you began. Only for that miserable fever,
you could read short-hand now."

Her own quiet eyes filled with tears. There was a sudden silence.
Margaret shivered, as if some pain stung her. Holding her father's bony
hand in hers, she patted it on her knee. The hand trembled a little.
Knowles's sharp eyes darted from one to the other; then, with a
smothered growl, he shook himself, and rushed headlong into the old
battle which he and the schoolmaster had been waging now, off and on,
some six years. That was a fight, I can tell you! None of your shallow,
polite clashing of modern theories,--no talk of your Jeffersonian
Democracy, your high-bred Federalism! They took hold of the matter by
the roots, clear at the beginning.

Mrs. Howth's breath fairly left her, they went into the soul of the
matter in such a dangerous way. What if Joel should hear? No doubt he
would report that his master was an infidel,--that would be the next
thing they would hear. He was in the kitchen now: he finished his
wood-chopping an hour ago. Asleep, doubtless; that was one comfort.
Well, if he were awake, he could not understand. That class of
people----And Mrs. Howth (into whose kindly brain just enough of her
husband's creed had glimmered to make her say, "that class of people,"
in the tone with which Abraham would _not_ have spoken of Dives over the
gulf) went tranquilly back to her knitting, wondering why Dr. Knowles
should come ten times now where he used to come once, to provoke Samuel
into these wearisome arguments. Ever since their misfortune came on
them, he had been there every night, always at it. She should think he
might be a little more considerate. Mr. Howth surely had enough to think
of, what with his--his misfortune, and the starvation waiting for them,
and poor Margaret's degradation, (she sighed here,) without bothering
his head about the theocratic principle, or the Battle of Armageddon.
She had hinted as much to Dr. Knowles one day, and he had muttered out
something about its being "the life of the dog, Ma'am." She wondered
what he meant by that! She looked over at his bearish figure,
snuff-drabbled waistcoat, and shock of black hair. Well, poor man,
he could not help it, if he were coarse, and an Abolitionist, and
a Fourierite, and----She was getting a little muddy now, she was
conscious, so turned her mind back to the repose of her stocking.
Margaret took it very quietly, seeing her father flaming so. But
Margaret never had any opinions to express. She was not like the
Parnells: they were noted for their clear judgment. Mrs. Howth was a
Parnell.

"The combat deepens,--on, ye brave!"

The Doctor's fat, leathery face was quite red now, and his sentences
were hurled out in a sarcastic bass, enough to wither the marrow of a
weak man. But the schoolmaster was no weak man. His foot was entirely on
his native heath, I assure you. He knew every inch of the ground, from
the domination of the absolute faith in the ages of Fetichism, to its
pseudo-presentment in the tenth century, and its actual subversion in
the nineteenth. Every step. Our politicians might have picked up an idea
or two there, I should think! Then he was so cool about it, so skilful!
He fairly rubbed his hands with glee, enjoying the combat. And he was so
sure that the Doctor was savagely in earnest: why, any one with half an
ear could hear that! He did not see how, in the very heat of the fray,
his eyes would wander off listlessly. But Mr. Howth did not wander;
there was nothing careless or two-sided in the making of this man,--no
sham about him, or borrowing. They came down gradually, or out,--for, as
I told you, they dug into the very heart of the matter at first,--they
came out gradually to modern times. Things began to assume a more
familiar aspect. Spinoza, Fichte, Saint Simon,--one heard about them
now. If you could but have heard the schoolmaster deal with these his
enemies! With what tender charity for the man, what relentless vengeance
for the belief, he pounced on them, dragging the soul out of their
systems, holding it up for slow slaughter! As for Humanity, (how Knowles
lingered on that word, with a tenderness curious in so uncouth a mass of
flesh!)--as for Humanity, it was a study to see it stripped and flouted
and thrown out of doors like a filthy rag by this poor old Howth, a man
too child-hearted to kill a spider. It was pleasanter to hear him when
he defended the great Past in which his ideal truth had been faintly
shadowed. How he caught the salient tints of the feudal life! How the
fine womanly nature of the man rose exulting in the free picturesque
glow of the day of crusader and heroic deed! How he crowded in traits of
perfected manhood in the conqueror, simple trust in the serf, to color
and weaken his argument, not seeing that he weakened it! How, when he
thought he had cornered the Doctor, he would color and laugh like a boy,
then suddenly check himself, lest he might wound him! A curious laugh,
genial, cheery,--bubbling out of his weak voice in a way that put you in
mind of some old and rare wine. When he would check himself in one of
these triumphant glows, he would turn to the Doctor with a deprecatory
gravity, and for a few moments be almost submissive in his reply. So
earnest and worn it looked then, the poor old face, in the dim light!
The black clothes he wore were so threadbare and shining at the knees
and elbows, the coarse leather shoes brought to so fine a polish! The
Doctor idly wondered who had blacked them, glancing at Margaret's
fingers.

There was a flower stuck in the buttonhole of the schoolmaster's coat, a
pale tea-rose. If Dr. Knowles had been a man of fine instincts, (which
his opaque shining eyes would seem to deny,) he might have thought it
was not unapt or ill-placed even in the shabby, scuffed coat. A scholar,
a gentleman, though in patched shoes and trousers a world too short. Old
and gaunt, hunger-bitten even it may be, with loose-jointed, bony limbs,
and yellow face; clinging, loyal and brave, to the knightly honor, to
the quaint, delicate fancies of his youth, that were dust and ashes to
other men. In the very haggard face you could find the quiet purity of
the child he had been, and the old child's smile, fresh and credulous,
on the mouth.

The Doctor had not spoken for a moment. It might be that he was careless
of the poetic lights with which Mr. Howth tenderly decorated his old
faith, or it might be that even he, with the terrible intentness of a
real life-purpose in his brain, was touched by the picture of the far
old chivalry, dead long ago. The master's voice grew low and lingering
now. It was a labor of love, this. Oh, it is so easy to go back out of
the broil of dust and meanness and barter into the clear shadow of that
old life where love and bravery stand eternal verities,--never to be
bought and sold in that dusty town yonder! To go back? To dream back,
rather. To drag out of our own hearts, as the hungry old master did,
whatever is truest and highest there, and clothe it with name and deed
in the dim days of chivalry. Make a poem of it,--so much easier than to
make a life!

Knowles shuffled uneasily, watching the girl keenly, to know how the
picture touched her. Was, then, she thought, this grand dead Past so
shallow to him? These knights, pure, unstained, searching until death
for the Holy Greal, could he understand the life-long agony, the triumph
of their conflict over Self? These women, content to live in solitude
forever because they once had loved, could any man understand that?
Or the dead queen, dead that the man she loved might be free and
happy,--why, this _was_ life,--this death! But did pain, and martyrdom,
and victory lie back in the days of Galahad and Arthur alone? The
homely face grew stiller than before, looking out into the dun sweep of
moorland,--cold, unrevealing. It baffled the man that looked at it. He
shuffled, chewed tobacco vehemently, tilted his chair on two legs, broke
out in a thunder-gust at last.

"Dead days for dead men! The world hears a bugle-call to-day more noble
than any of your piping troubadours. We have something better to fight
for than a vacant tomb."

The old man drew himself up haughtily.

"I know what you would say,--Liberty for the low and vile. It is a
good word. That was a better which they hid in their hearts in the old
time,--Honor!"

Honor! I think, Calvinist though he was, that word was his religion. Men
have had worse. Perhaps the Doctor thought this; for he rose abruptly,
and, leaning on the old man's chair, said, gently,--

"It is better, even here. Yet you poison this child's mind. You make her
despise To-Day; make honor live for her now."

"It does not," the schoolmaster said, bitterly. "The world's a failure.
All the great old dreams are dead. Your own phantom, your Republic, your
experiment to prove that all men are born free and equal,--what is it
to-day?"

Knowles lifted his head, looking out into the brown twilight. Some word
of pregnant meaning flashed in his eye and trembled on his lip; but he
kept it back. His face glowed, though, and the glow and strength gave to
the huge misshapen features a grand repose.

"You talk of To-Day," the old man continued, querulously. "I am tired of
it. Here is its type and history," touching a county newspaper,--"a fair
type, with its cant, and bigotry, and weight of uncomprehended
fact. Bargain and sale,--it taints our religion, our brains, our
flags,--yours and mine, Knowles, with the rest. Did you never hear of
those abject spirits who entered neither heaven nor hell, who were
neither faithful to God nor rebellious, caring only for themselves?"

He paused, fairly out of breath. Margaret looked up. Knowles was
silent. There was a smothered look of pain on the coarse face; the
schoolmaster's words were sinking deeper than he knew.

"No, father," said Margaret, hastily ending his quotation, "'_io non
averei creduto, che [vita] tanta n' avesse disfatta._'"

Skilful Margaret! The broil must have been turbid in the old man's brain
which the grand, slow-stepping music of the Florentine could not calm.
She had learned that long ago, and used it as a nurse does some old song
to quiet her pettish infant. His face brightened instantly.

"Do not believe, then, child," he said, after a pause. "It is a noble
doubt in Dante or in you."

The Doctor had turned away; she could not see his face. The angry scorn
was gone from the old master's countenance; it was bent with its
usual wistful quiet on the floor. A moment after he looked up with a
flickering smile.

"'_Onorate l' altissimo poeta!_'" he said, gently lifting his finger to
his forehead in a military fashion. "Where is my cane, Margaret? The
Doctor and I will go and walk on the porch before it grows dark."

The sun had gone down long before, and the stars were out; but no one
spoke of this. Knowles lighted the schoolmaster's pipe and his own
cigar, and then moved the chairs out of their way, stepping softly that
the old man might not hear him. Margaret, in the room, watched them as
they went, seeing how gentle the rough, burly man was with her father,
and how, every time they passed the sweet-brier, he bent the branches
aside, that they might not touch his face. Slow, childish tears came
into her eyes as she saw it; for the schoolmaster was blind. This had
been their regular walk every evening, since it grew too cold for them
to go down under the lindens. The Doctor had not missed a night since
her father gave up the school, a month ago: at first, under pretence of
attending to his eyes; but since the day he had told them there was no
hope of cure, he had never spoken of it again. Only, since then, he had
grown doubly quarrelsome,--standing ready armed to dispute with the old
man every inch of every subject in earth or air, keeping the old man in
a state of boyish excitement during the long, idle days, looking forward
to this nightly battle.

It was very still; for the house, with its half-dozen acres, lay in an
angle of the hills, looking out on the river, which shut out all
distant noises. Only the men's footsteps broke the silence, passing
and repassing the window. Without, the October starlight lay white and
frosty on the moors, the old barn, the sharp, dark hills, and the river,
which was half hidden by the orchard. One could hear it, like some huge
giant moaning in his sleep, at times, and see broad patches of steel
blue glittering through the thick apple-trees and the bushes. Her mother
had fallen into a doze. Margaret looked at her, thinking how sallow the
plump, fair face had grown, and how faded the kindly blue eyes were now.
Dim with crying,--she knew that, though she never saw her shed a tear.
Always cheery and quiet, going placidly about the house in her gray
dress and Quaker cap, as if there were no such things in the world as
debt or blindness. But Margaret knew, though she said nothing. When her
mother came in from those wonderful foraging expeditions in search of
late pease or corn, she could see the swollen circle round the eyes,
and hear her breath like that of a child which has sobbed itself tired.
Then, one night, when she had gone late into her mother's room, the blue
eyes were set in a wild, hopeless way, as if staring down into years of
starvation and misery. The fire on the hearth burned low and clear; the
old worn furniture stood out cheerfully in the red glow, and threw a
maze of twisted shadow on the floor. But the glow was all that was
cheerful. To-morrow, when the hard daylight should jeer away the
screening shadows, it would unbare a desolate, shabby home. She knew;
struck with the white leprosy of poverty; the blank walls, the faded
hangings, the old stone house itself, looking vacantly out on the fields
with a pitiful significance of loss. Upon the mantel-shelf there was a
small marble figure, one of the Dancing Graces: the other two were gone,
gone in pledge. This one was left, twirling her foot, and stretching out
her hands in a dreary sort of ecstasy, with no one to respond. For a
moment, so empty and bitter seemed her home and her life, that she
thought the lonely dancer with her flaunting joy mocked her,--taunted
them with the slow, gray desolation that had been creeping on them for
years. Only for a moment the morbid fancy hurt her.

The red glow was healthier, suited her temperament better. She chose to
fancy the house as it had been once,--should be again, please God.
She chose to see the old comfort and the old beauty which the poor
schoolmaster had gathered about their home. Gone now. But it should
return. It was well, perhaps, that he was blind, he knew so little of
what had come on them. There, where the black marks were on the wall,
there had hung two pictures. Margaret and her father religiously
believed them to be a Tintoret and Copley. Well, they were gone now. He
had been used to dust them with a light brush every morning, himself,
but now he said,--

"You can clean the pictures to-day, Margaret. Be careful, my child."

And Margaret would remember the greasy Irishman who had tucked them
under his arm, and flung them into a cart, her blood growing hotter in
her veins.

It was the same through all the house; there was not a niche in the bare
rooms that did not recall a something gone,--something that should
return. She willed that, that evening, standing by the dim fire. What
women will, whose eyes are slow, attentive, still, as this Margaret's,
usually comes to pass.

The red fire-glow suited her; another glow, warming her floating fancy,
mingled with it, giving her quiet purpose the trait of heroism. The
old spirit of the dead chivalry, of succor to the weak, life-long
self-denial,--did it need the sand waste of Palestine or a tournament to
call it into life? Down in that trading town, in the thick of its mills
and drays, it could live, she thought. That very night, perhaps, in some
of those fetid cellars or sunken shanties, there were vigils kept of
purpose as unselfish, prayer as heaven-commanding, as that of the old
aspirants for knighthood. She, too,--her quiet face stirred with a
simple, childish smile, like her father's.

"Why, mother!" she said, stroking down the gray hair under the cap,
"shall you sleep here all night?" laughing.

A cheery, tender laugh, this woman's was,--seldom heard,--not far from
tears.

Mrs. Howth roused herself. Just then, a broad, high-shouldered man, in
a gray flannel shirt, and shoes redolent of the stable, appeared at the
door. Margaret looked at him as if he were an accusing spirit,--coming
down, as every woman must, from heights of self-renunciation or bold
resolve, to an undarned stocking or an uncooked meal.

"Kittle's b'ilin'," he announced, flinging in the information as a
general gratuity.

"That will do, Joel," said Mrs. Howth.

The tone of stately blandness which Mrs. Howth erected as a shield
between herself and "that class of people" was a study: a success, I
think; the _résumé_ of her experience in the combat that had devoured
half her life, like that of other American housekeepers. "Be gentle,
but let them know their place, my dear!" The class having its type and
exponent in Joel stopped at the door, and hitched up its suspenders.

"That will _do_, Joel," with a stern suavity.

Some idea was in Joel's head under the brush of red hair,--probably the
"anarchic element."

"Uh was wishin' toh read the G'zette." Whereupon he advanced into the
teeth of the enemy and bore off the newspaper, going before Margaret,
as she went to the kitchen, and seating himself beside a flaring
tallow-candle on the table.

Reading, with Joel, was not the idle pastime that more trivial minds
find it: a thing, on the contrary, to be gone into with slow spelling,
and face knitted up into savage sternness, especially now, when, as he
gravely explained to Margaret, "in _his_ opinion the crissis was jest at
hand, and ev'ry man must be seein' ef the gover'ment was carryin' out
the views of the people."

With which intent, Joel, in company with five thousand other sovereigns,
consulted, as definitive oracle, "The Daily Gazette" of Towbridge. The
schoolmaster need not have grumbled for the old time: feudality in the
days of Warwick and of "The Daily Gazette" was not so widely different
as he and Joel thought.

Now and then, partly as an escape-valve for his overcharged conviction,
partly in compassion to the ignorance of women in political economics,
he threw off to Margaret divers commentaries on the text, as she passed
in and out.

If she had risen to the full level of Joel's views, she might have
considered these views tinctured with radicalism, as they consisted in
the propriety of the immediate "impinging of the President." Besides,
(Joel was a good-natured man, too, merciful to his beast,) Nero-like, he
wished, with the tiger drop of blood that lies hid in everybody's heart,
that the few millions who differed with himself and the "Gazette" had
but one neck for their more convenient hanging. "It's all that'll save
the kentry," he said, and believed it, too.

If Margaret fell suddenly from the peak of outlook on life to the
homely labor of cooking supper, some of the healthy heroic flush of
the knightly days and the hearth-fire went down with her, I think. It
brightened and reddened the square kitchen with its cracked stove and
meagre array of tins; she bustled about in her quaint way, as if it
had been filled up and running over with comforts. It brightened and
reddened her face when she came in to put the last dish on the table,--a
cozy, snug table, set for four. Heroic dreams with poets, I suppose,
make them unfit for food other than some feast such as Eve set for the
angel. But then Margaret was no poet. So, with the kindling of her hope,
its healthful light struck out, and warmed and glorified these common
things. Such common things! Only a coarse white cloth, redeemed by
neither silver nor china, the amber coffee, (some that Knowles had
brought out to her father,--"thrown on his hands; he couldn't use
it,--product of slave-labor!--never, Sir!") the delicate brown fish that
Joel had caught, the bread her mother had made, the golden butter,--all
of them touched her nerves with a quick sense of beauty and pleasure.
And more, the gaunt face of the blind old man, his bony hand trembling
as he raised the cup to his lips, her mother and the Doctor managing
silently to place everything he liked best near his plate. Wasn't it
all part of the fresh, hopeful glow burning in her consciousness? It
brightened and deepened. It blotted out the hard, dusty path of the
future, and showed warm and clear the success at the end. Not much
to show, you think. Only the old home as it once was, full of quiet
laughter and content; only her mother's eyes clear shining again; only
that gaunt old head raised proudly, owing no man anything but courtesy.
The glow deepened, as she thought of it. It was strange, too, that, with
the deep, slow-moving nature of this girl, she should have striven so
eagerly to throw this light over the future. Commoner natures have done
more and hoped less. It was a poor gift, you think, this of the labor of
a life for so plain a duty; hardly heroic. She knew it. Yet, if there
lay in this coming labor any pain, any wearing effort, she clung to it
desperately, as if this should banish, it might be, worse loss. She
tried desperately, I say, to clutch the far, uncertain hope at the end,
to make happiness out of it, to give it to her silent hungry heart to
feed on. She thrust out of sight all possible life that might have
called her true self into being, and clung to this present shallow duty
and shallow reward. Pitiful and vain so to cling! It is the way of
women. As if any human soul could bury that which might have been in
that which is!

The Doctor, peering into her thought with sharp, suspicious eyes, heeded
the transient flush of enthusiasm but little. Even the pleasant cheery
talk that pleased her father so was but surface-deep, he knew. The woman
he must conquer for his great end lay beneath, dark and cold. It was
only for that end he cared for her. Through what cold depths of solitude
her soul breathed faintly mattered little. Yet an idle fancy touched
him, what a triumph the man had gained, whoever he might be, who had
held the master-key to a nature so rare as this, who had the kingly
power in his hand to break its silence into electric shivers of laughter
and tears,--terrible subtle pain, or joy as terrible. Did he hold the
power still, he wondered? Meanwhile she sat there quiet, unread.

The evening came on, slow and cold. Life itself, the Doctor thought,
impatiently, was cool and tardy here among the hills. Even he fell into
the tranquil tone, and chafed under it. Nowhere else did the evening
gray and sombre into the mysterious night impalpably as here. The quiet,
wide and deep, folded him in, forced his trivial heat into silence and
thought. The world seemed to think there. Quiet in the dead seas of fog,
that filled the valleys like restless vapor curdled into silence; quiet
in the listening air, stretching gray up to the stars,--in the solemn
mountains, that stood motionless, like hoary-headed prophets, waiting
with uplifted hands, day and night, to hear the Voice, silent now
for centuries; the very air, heavy with the breath of the sleeping
pine-forests, moved slowly and cold, like some human voice weary with
preaching to unbelieving hearts of a peace on earth. This man's heart
was unbelieving; he chafed in the oppressive quiet; it was unfeeling
mockery to a sick and hungry world,--a dead torpor of indifference.
Years of hot and turbid pain had dulled his eyes to the eternal secret
of the night; his soul was too sore with stumbling, stung, inflamed with
the needs and suffering of the countless lives that hemmed him in, to
accept the great prophetic calm. He was blind to the prophecy written on
the earth since the day God first bade it tell thwarted man of the great
To-Morrow.

He turned from the night in-doors. Human hearts were his proper study.
The old house, he thought, slept with the rest. One did not wonder that
the pendulum of the clock swung long and slow. The frantic, nervous
haste of town-clocks chorded better with the pulse of human life. Yet
life in the veins of these people flowed slow and cool; their sorrows
and joys were few and life-long. The slow, enduring air suited this
woman, Margaret Howth. Her blood could never ebb or flow with sudden
gusts of passion, like his own, throbbing, heating continually: one
current, absorbing, deep, would carry its tide from one eternity to the
other, one love or one hate. Whatever power was in the tide should
be his, in its entirety. It was his right. Was not his aim high, the
highest? It was his right.

Margaret, looking up, saw the man's intolerant eye fixed on her. She met
it coolly. All her short life, this strange man, so tender to the weak,
had watched her with a sort of savage scorn, sneering at her apathy, her
childish, dreamy quiet, driving her from effort to effort with a scourge
of impatient contempt. What did he want now with her? Her duty was
light; she took it up,--she was glad to take it up; what more would he
have? She put the whole matter away from her.

It grew late. She sat down by the lamp and began to read to her father,
as usual. Her mother put away her knitting; Joel came in half-asleep;
the Doctor put out his everlasting cigar, and listened, as he did
everything else, intently. It was an old story that she read,--the story
of a man who walked the fields and crowded streets of Galilee eighteen
hundred years ago. Knowles, with his heated brain, fancied that the
silence without in the night grew deeper, that the slow-moving air
stopped in its course to listen. Perhaps the simple story carried a
deeper meaning to these brooding mountains and this solemn sky than to
the purblind hearts within. It was a dim, far-off story to them,--very
far off. The old schoolmaster heard it with a lowered head, with the
proud obedience with which a cavalier would receive his leader's orders.
Was not the leader a knight, the knight of truest courage? All that was
high, chivalric in the old man sprang up to own him Lord. That he not
only preached to, but ate and drank with publicans and sinners, was a
requirement of his mission; nowadays----. Joel heard the "good word"
with a bewildered consciousness of certain rules of honesty to be
observed the next day, and a maze of crowns and harps shining somewhere
beyond. As for any immediate connection between the teachings of this
book and "The Daily Gazette," it was pure blasphemy to think of it. The
Lord held those old Jews in His hand, of course; but as for the election
next month, that was quite another thing. If Joel thrust the history out
of the touch of common life, the Doctor brought it down, and held it
there on trial. To him it was the story of a Reformer who had served
his day. Could he serve this day? Could he? The need was desperate. Was
there anything in this Christianity, freed from bigotry, to work out
the awful problem which the ages had left for America to solve? People
called this old Knowles an infidel, said his brain was as unnatural and
distorted as his body. God, looking down into his heart that night, saw
the fierce earnestness of the man to know the truth, and judged him with
other eyes than ours.

When the girl had finished reading, she went out and stood in the cool
air. The Doctor passed her without notice. The story stood alive in his
throbbing brain, demanding a hearing; it stood there always, needing but
a touch to waken it. All things were real to this man, this uncouth mass
of flesh that his companions sneered at; most real of all the unhelped
pain of life, the great seething mire of dumb wretchedness in our
streets and alleys, the cry for aid from the starved souls of the world.
You and I have other work to do than to listen,--pleasanter. But this
man, coming out of the mire, his veins thick with the blood of a
despised race, had carried up their pain and hunger with him: it was the
most real thing on earth to him,--more real than his own share in the
unseen heaven or hell. By the reality, the peril of the world's instant
need, he tried the offered help from Calvary. It was the work of years,
not of this night. Perhaps, if they who preach Christ crucified had
first doubted and tried him as this man did, their place in the coming
heaven might be higher,--and ours, who hear them.

He went, in his lumbering way, down the hill into the city. He was glad
to go back; the trustful, waiting quiet oppressed, taunted him. It sent
him back more mad against Destiny, his heart more bitter in its
great pity. Let him go back into the great city, with its stifling
gambling-hells, its negro-pens, its foul cellars. It is his place and
work. If he stumble blindly against unconquerable ills, and die, others
have so stumbled and so died. Do you think their work is lost?

       *       *       *       *       *


TIME'S HOUSEHOLD.


  Time is a lowly peasant, with whom bred
  Are sons of kings, of an immortal race.
  Their garb to their condition they debase,
  Eat of his fare, make on his straw their bed,
  Conversing, use his homely dialect,
  (Giving the words some meaning of their own,)
  Till, half forgetting purple, sceptre, throne,
  Themselves his children mere they nigh suspect.
  And when, divinely moved, one goes away,
  His royal right and glory to resume,
  Loss of his rags appears his life's decay,
  He weeps, and his companions mourn his doom.
  Yet doth a voice in every bosom say,
  "So perish buds while bursting into bloom."



WHAT WE ARE COMING TO.


In the year 1745 Charles Edward Stuart landed in the wilds of Moidart
and set up the standard of rebellion. The Kingdom of Scotland was then,
in nearly all but political rights, an independent nation. A very large
part of its population was of different blood from that of the southern
portion of the British Island. The Highland clans were as distinct in
manners, disposition, and race from their English neighbors as are the
Indian tribes remaining in our midst from the men of Massachusetts and
New York. They held to the old religion, the cardinal principle of which
is to admit the right of no other form, and which never has obtained the
upper hand without immediately attempting to put down all rivalry. They
were devotedly attached to their chiefs. They represented a patriarchal
system. They lived by means of a little agriculture and a great deal of
plunder. They were bred to arms, and despised every other calling. The
whole country of Scotland was possessed with an inextinguishable spirit
of nationality, stronger than that of Hungary or Poland. They were
traditional allies of France, the hereditary foe of England. Seven
hundred years of fighting had filled the border-land with battle-fields,
some of glorious and some of mournful memory, on which the Cross of
Saint Andrew had been matched against that of Saint George. Some of the
noblest families of the realm had won their knightly spurs and their
ancient earldoms by warlike prowess against the Southron. Flodden and
Bannockburn were household words, as potent as Agincourt and Cressy. Nor
had the conduct of the House of Hanover been such as to conciliate the
unwilling people. There was known to be a widespread disaffection even
in England to the German princes. These had governed their adopted for
the benefit of their native country. The sentiment of many counties was
thoroughly Jacobite. A corrupt and venal administration was filled with
secret adherents of the king over the water. One great university was in
sympathy with the fallen dynasty. A large part of the Church was imbued
with doctrines of divine right and passive obedience, of which the only
logical conclusion was the return of the Stuarts.

Between the two countries there was an antagonism of customs, of
manners, of character, more marked, more offensively displayed, and
breeding more rancorous hatred than any which can now exist between the
people of Boston and Charleston, between the Knickerbockers of New
York and the Creoles of New Orleans. A Scotchman was to the South a
comprehensive name for a greedy, beggarly adventurer, knavish and
money-loving to the last degree, full of absurd pride of pedigree,
clannish and cold-blooded, vindictive as a Corsican, and treacherous
as a modern Greek. An Englishman was to the North a bullying, arrogant
coward,--purse-proud, yet cringing to rank,--without loyalty and without
sentiment,--given over to mere material interests, not comprehending the
idea of honor, and believing, as the fortieth of his religious articles,
that any injury, even to a blow, could be compensated by money.

Into an island thus divided the heir of the ancient family to whom in
undoubted right of legitimacy the crown belonged, a young, gallant, and
handsome prince, had thrown himself with a chivalrous confidence
that touched every heart. There was every reason to suppose that the
interests of England's powerful enemy across the Channel were secretly
pledged to sustain his cause. Scotland was soon ablaze with sympathy and
devotion. The Prince advanced on Edinburgh. The city opened its gates.
He was acknowledged, and held his court in the old Palace of Holyrood,
where generation after generation of Stuarts had maintained their state.
The castle alone, closely beleaguered, held out like our own Sumter in
the centre of rebellion. A battle was fought almost beneath the walls of
the Scotch capital, and the first great army upon which the English hope
depended was ignominiously routed. A portion of the soldiery fled in
disgraceful panic; those who stood were cut to pieces by the charges
of a fiery valor against which discipline seemed powerless. The border
fortress of Carlisle was soon after taken. Liverpool, not the great
commercial port it now is, but of rising importance, and Manchester,
were menaced. Even London was in dismay. Men like Horace Walpole wrote
to their friends of a retreat to the garrets of Hanover. The funds fell.
The leading minister had been a man of eminently pacific policy, whose
chief state-maxim was _Quieta non movere_, and was taken by surprise.
There are many historians and students of history who now admit,
in looking back upon those times, that the fate of the established
government hung upon a thread, and that the daring advance of the
Pretender followed by another victory might have converted him into a
Possessor and Defender. Had any one then asked as to the possibilities
of a reconstruction of the severed Union, the answer would probably
have been not much unlike the predictions of the croakers of to-day who
clamor for acceptance of the Davisian olive-branch and an acknowledgment
of the fact of Secession. Yet the strength of numbers, of means, and of
public sentiment was altogether on the English side. Though paralyzed
somewhat by the sense of private treachery, with the feeling that all
branches of the public service were harboring men of doubtful loyalty,
and the knowledge that a great body of "submissionists" were ready
to acquiesce in the course of events, whatever that might be, the
Government prepared for an unconditional resistance. _From the outset
they treated it as a rebellion, and the adherents of the Stuarts as
rebels_. Time, the ablest of generals and wisest of statesmen, happened
to be on their side. The Pretender turned northward from Derby, and on
the field of Culloden the last hope of the exiled house was forever
broken. Yet it would even then seem as if reconstruction had been
rendered impossible. The Chevalier escaped to France, guarded by the
fond loyalty of men and women who defied alike torture and temptation.
While he lived, or the family remained, the danger continued to threaten
England, and the heart of Scotland to be fevered with a secret hope.
The old conflict of nationalities had been terribly envenomed by the
cruelties of Cumberland and the license of the conquering troops. There
was the same temptation ever lurking at the ear of France to whisper new
assaults upon England. Ireland was held as a subjugated province, and
was in a state of chronic discontent. To either wing of the British
empire, alliance with, nay, submission to France, was considered
preferable to remaining in the Union.

Thus far we have been looking at probabilities from the stand-point of
their times. There is a curious parallelism in the essentials of that
conflict with the present attempt to elevate King Cotton to the throne
of this Republic. It is close enough to show that the same great
rules have hitherto governed human action with unerring fidelity. The
Government displayed at the outset the same vacillation; the people were
apparently as thoroughly indifferent to the Hanoverian cause as the
Northern merchants, before the fall of Sumter, to the prosperity of
Lincoln's administration. The Russell of 1745, writing to the French
court his views of the public sentiment of England and especially of
London, probably gave an account of it not very dissimilar to that
which the Russell of 1861 wrote to the London "Times" after his first
encounter with the feeling of New York. There were doubtless the same
assurances on the part of confident partisans that the whole framework
of the British government would crumble at the first attack. There were,
too, the same extravagant alarms, the same wild misrepresentations, the
same volunteer enthusiasm on the part of loyal subjects a little
later on in the history. There was on the part of the rebels the same
confidence in the justice of their cause, the same utter blindness to
results, as in the devotees of Slavery. There was then, as now, an
educated and cultivated set of plotters, moved by personal ambition,
swaying with almost absolute power the minds of an ignorant and
passionate class. It was the combat so often begun in the world, yet so
inevitably ending always in the same way, between misguided enthusiasm
and the great public conviction of the value of order, security, and
peace.

The enmity seemed hopeless; the insurrection was a smouldering fire,
put out in one corner only to be renewed in another. If Virginia is a
country in which a guerrilla resistance can be indefinitely prolonged,
it is more open than the plains of Holland in comparison with
the Highlands of that era. Few Lowlanders had ever penetrated
them,--scarcely an Englishman. It was supposed that in those impregnable
fastnesses an army of hundreds might defy the thousands of the crown. At
Killiecrankie, Dundee and his Highlanders had beaten a well-appointed
and superior force. Dundee had himself been repulsed by a handful of
Covenanters at Loudoun Heath through the strength of their position.
Montrose had carried on a partisan war against apparently hopeless odds.
To overrun England might be a mad ambition, but to stand at bay in
Scotland was a thing which had been again and again attempted with no
inconsiderable success.

The rebellion failed, and there were several causes for the failure:
Dissensions among the rebels, the want of efficient aid from France,
the want of money, _and the conviction of a large part of the Scots
themselves of the value of the Union_. The rebellion failed, and sullen
submission to confiscation, military cruelty, and political proscription
followed.

On Sunday, the 18th of June, 1815, not quite seventy years after, there
charged side by side upon the _élite_ of a French army, with the men of
London, the Highlanders and Irish. A descendant of Cameron of Lochiel
fell leading them on. The last spark of Jacobite enthusiasm and Scottish
hatred of Englishmen had died out years before. Those who witnessed the
entry of the Chevalier into Edinburgh lived to see the whole nation
devouring with enthusiasm the novel of "Waverley,"--so entirely had the
bitterness of what had happened "sixty years since" passed from their
minds!

We have thus selected two points of history as the short answer to the
cry, "You can never reconstruct the Union," which History, the impartial
judge on the bench, pronounces to the wranglers at the bar below.
"Never" is a long word to speak, if it be a short one to spell. Events
move fast, and the logic of Fate is more convincing than the arguments
of daily editors. The "_tout arrive en France_" is true of the world in
general, so far as relates to isolated circumstances. The very fact that
a threatened disruption of our Union has been possible ought to forbid
any one from concluding that reconstruction, or rather restoration, is
impossible. Twenty years after the Battle of Culloden, Jacobitism was a
dream; fifty years after, it was a memory; a century after, it was an
antiquarian study.

The real question we are to ask concerning the present rebellion, and
the only one which is of importance, is, What is it based upon? an
eternal or an arbitrary principle? An eternal principle renews itself
till it succeeds,--if not in one century, then in another. An arbitrary
principle makes its fierce fight and then is slain, and men bury it as
soon as they can. The Stuarts represented an arbitrary principle. They
were the impersonation of unconstitutional power. Hereditary right
they had, and the Hanoverians had not. According to Mr. Thackeray, and
according to the strictest fact, we suspect the Georges were no
more personally estimable than the Jameses, and they were far less
kingly-mannered. But they were willing to govern England according to
law, and the Stuarts wore determined to govern according to prerogative.

What is the present issue? It is a contest, when reduced to its ultimate
terms, between free labor and slavery. It is very true that this
secession was planned before slavery considered itself aggrieved,
before abolitionism became a word of war. But the antipathy between
the slaveholder and the payer or receiver of wages was none the less
radical. The systems were just as hostile. We admit that the South can
make out its title of legitimacy. It has a slave population it must take
care of and is bound to take care of till somebody can tell what better
to do with it. It can show a refined condition of its highest society,
which contrasts not unfavorably with the tawdry display and vulgar
ostentation of the _nouveaux riches_ whom sudden success in trade or
invention has made conspicuous at the North. There is a fascination
about the Southern life and character which charms those who do not look
at it too closely into ardent championship. Even Mr. Russell, so long as
he looked into white faces in South Carolina, was fascinated, and only
when he came to look into black faces along the Mississippi found the
disenchantment. The decisive difference is, that the North is purposing
to settle and possess this land according to the law of right, and the
South according to the law of might.

We say, therefore, that the issue of the contest need not be doubtful.
The events of it may be very uncertain, but, from the parallel we have
sketched, we think we can indicate the four chief causes of the Scottish
failure as existing in the present crisis.

DISSENSIONS AMONG THE REBELS. These of course are hid from us by the
veil of smoke that rises above Bull Run. But as between the party of
advance and the party of defence, between the would-be spoilers of New
York bank-vaults and Philadelphia mint-coffers, and the more prudent who
desire "to be let alone," there is already an issue created. There are
State jealousies, and that impatience of control which is inherent in
the Southern mind, as it was in that of the Highland chieftains. There
will be, as events move on, the same feud developed between the Palmetto
of Carolina and the Pride-of-China of the Georgian, as then burned
between Glen-Garry of that ilk and Vich Ian Vohr. There are rivalries of
interest quite as fierce as those which roused the anti-tariff _furor_
of Mr. Calhoun. Much as Great Britain may covet the cotton of South
Carolina, she will not be disposed to encourage Louisiana to a
competition in sugar with her own Jamaica. Virginia will hardly brook
the opening of a rival Dahomey which shall cheapen into unprofitableness
her rearing of slaves. While fighting is to be done, these questions are
in abeyance; but so soon as men come to ask what they are fighting
for, they revive. There is selfishness inherent in the very idea of
secession.

There is a capital story, we think, in the "Gesta Romanorum," of three
thieves who have robbed a man of a large sum of gold. They propose a
carouse over their booty, and one is sent to the town to buy wine. While
he is gone, the two left behind plot to murder him on his return, so
as to have a half instead of a third to their shares. He, meanwhile,
coveting the whole, buys poison to put into the wine. They cut his
throat and sit down to drinking, which soon finishes them. It is an
admirable illustration of the probable future of successful secession.
Something very like this ruined the cause of James III., and something
not unlike it may be even now damaging the cause of H.S.I.M.,--His
Sea-Island Majesty, Cotton the First.

THE WANT OF EFFICIENT AID FROM ABROAD. We are not yet quite out of the
woods, and it behooveth us not to halloo that we certainly have found
the path. But it is more than probable that the Southern hope of English
or French aid has failed. Either nation by itself might be won over but
for the other. He is a bold and a good charioteer who can drive those
two steeds in double harness.

Either without the other is simply an addition of _x--x_ to the
equation. If by next November we can get a single cotton-port open, we
shall have settled that Uncle Tom and the Duchess of Sutherland may
return to the social cabinet of Great Britain,--and that being so, the
political cabinet is of small account.

With the want of foreign aid comes the next want, that of MONEY. The
Emperor of Austria has a convenient currency in his dominions, which
you can carry in sheets and clip off just what you need. But cross a
frontier and the very beggars' dogs turn up their noses at the _K.K.
Schein-Münze_. The Virginian and other Confederate scrip appears to be
at par of exchange with Austrian bank-notes,--in fact, of the same worth
as that "Brandon Money" of which Sol. Smith once brought away a hatful
from Vicksburg, and was fain to swap it for a box of cigars. The South
cannot long hold out under the wastefulness of war, unless relief come.
"With bread and gunpowder one may go anywhere," said Napoleon,--but with
limited hoecake and _no_ gunpowder, even Governor Wise would wisely
retreat.

But most certain of all in the long run is THE CONVICTION OF THE MEN
OF THE SOUTH THEMSELVES OF THE VALUE OF THE UNION. It is said that the
Union feeling is all gone at the South. That may be, and yet the facts
on which it was based remain. Feeling is a thing which comes and goes.
The value to the South of Federal care, Federal offices, Federal mail
facilities, and the like, is not lessened. The weight of direct taxation
is a marvellous corrector of the exciting effects of rhetoric. It is
pleasanter to have Federal troops line State Street in Boston to guard
the homeward passage of Onesimus to the longing Philemon than to have
them receiving without a challenge the fugitive Contrabands. It is
pleasanter to have B.F. Butler, Esq., argue in favor of the Dred Scott
decision than to have General Butler enforcing the Fortress Monroe
doctrine. Better to look up to a whole galaxy of stars, and to live
under a baker's dozen of stripes, than to dwell in perpetual fear of
choosing between the calaboose and the drill-room of the Louisiana
Zouaves. We have noticed that the sympathizers of the North are quoting
the sentence from Mr. Lincoln's inaugural to this effect,--What is to be
gained after fighting? We have got to negotiate at last, be the war long
or short. This is a very potent argument, as Mr. Lincoln meant it. To
men who must sooner or later negotiate their way back into the Union, it
is a very important consideration how much fighting and how much money
they can afford before negotiating. To us who cannot at any cost afford
to stop until they are thus ready to negotiate, it is only comparatively
a question. He says to the South, as a lawyer sure of a judgment and
confident of execution to be thereafter satisfied might say to his
adversary's client,--"Don't litigate longer than you can help, for you
are only making costs which must come out of your own pocket." To his
own client, he says,--"They may delay, but they cannot hinder, our
judgment."

Meanwhile what shall we do with the root of bitterness, the real cause
of antagonism? That will do for itself. We probably cannot do much to
help or hinder now. The negro and the white man will remain on the old
ground, but new relations must be established between them. What those
shall be will depend on many yet undeveloped contingencies. But--when
we reconstruct, it will be with a North stronger than ever before and a
government too strong for rebellion ever to touch it again. Under a
free government of majorities, such as ours, rebellion is simply the
resistance of a minority. Secession has been acted out to the bitter
end on a small scale ere now in this country. Daniel Shays tried it in
Massachusetts; Thomas Wilson Dorr tried it in Rhode Island. When they
had tried it sufficiently, they gave in. We remember the Dorr War, and
how bitterly the "Algerines," as they were called, were reviled. We
doubt if a remnant of that hostility could be dug up anywhere between
Beavertail Light and Woonsocket Falls. We have no doubt that men who
then were on the point of fighting with each other fought side by side
under Sprague, and fought all the better for having once before faced
the possibilities of real war. When the minority are satisfied that they
must give in, they do give in.

We do not purpose to debate now the question of the mode of
reconstruction. When the seceded States return, though they come back to
the old Constitution, they will come under circumstances demanding new
conditions. The wisdom of legislation will be needed to establish as
rapidly as possible pacification. What the circumstances will be
none can now say. But we are better satisfied than ever of the
impracticability of permanent secession. The American Revolution is not
a parallel case. The only parallel in history that we can now recall is
the one we have used so freely in this article. It is one in which the
parallel fails chiefly in presenting stronger grounds for a permanent
disruption. Scotland struggled against a geographical necessity. She did
so under the influence of far more powerful motives than now exist at
the South. She had far less binding ties than now are still living
between us and our revolted States. A geographical necessity as vast and
potent now links the Gulf of Mexico to the Great Lakes. The struggle is
a more gigantic one, and in its fierce convulsions men's minds may well
lose their present balance, and men's hearts their calm courage.

But everlasting laws are not to be put aside. The tornadoes which sweep
the tropic seas seem for a time to reverse the course of Nature. The
waters become turbid with the sands of the ocean's bed. The air strikes
and smites down with a solid force. The heaviest stones and beams of
massy buildings fly like feathers on the blast. Vessels are found far
up on the land, with the torn stumps of trees driven through their
planking. Life and property are buried in utter ruin. But the storm
passes, the sunshine comes back into the darkened skies, and the blue
waves sparkle within their ancient limits. The awful tempest passes away
into history,--for it is God, and not man, who measures the waters in
the hollow of His hand, and sends forth and restrains the breath of the
blasting of His displeasure.

       *       *       *       *       *


PANIC TERROR.


In those long-gone days when the gods of Olympus were in all their
glory, and when those gods were in the habit of disturbing the domestic
peace of worthy men, there was born unto an Arcadian nymph a son, for
whom no proper father could be found. The father was Mercury, who was a
_Dieu à bonnes fortunes_, and he did not, like some Christian gentlemen
in similar circumstances, altogether neglect his boy; for (so goes the
story) the child was "such a fright" that his mother was shocked and his
nurse ran away (Richard III. did not make a worse first appearance);
whereupon Mercury seized him, and bore him to Olympus, where he showed
him, with paternal partiality, to all the gods, who were so pleased with
the little monster that they named him _Pan_, as evidence that they were
_All_ delighted with his charming ugliness,--they being, it should seem,
as fond of hideous pets as if they had been mere mortals, and endowed
with a liberal share of humanity's bad taste. There are other accounts
of the birth of Pan, one of which is, that he was the child of Penelope,
born while she was waiting for the return of the crafty Ulysses, and
that his fathers were _all_ the aspirants to her favor,--a piece of
scandal to be rejected, as reflecting very severely upon the reputation
of a lady who is mostly regarded as having been a very model of
chastity. It would have astonished the gods, who were so joyous over the
consequence of their associate's irregularities, had they been told that
their pet was destined to outlast them all, and to affect human affairs,
by his action, long after their sway should be over. Jupiter has been
dethroned for ages, and exists only in marble or bronze; and Apollo,
and Mercury, and Bacchus, and all the rest of the old deities, are but
names, or the shadows of names; but Pan is as active to-day as he was,
when, nearly four-and-twenty centuries ago, he asked the worship of
the Athenians, and intimated that he might be useful to them in
return,--which intimation he probably made good but a little later
on the immortal field of Marathon. For not only was Pan the god of
shepherds, and the protector of bees, and the patron of sportsmen, but
to him were attributed those terrors which have decided the event of
many battles. He is generally identified with the Faunus of the Latins,
and a new interest in the _Fauni_ has been created by the genius of
Hawthorne. If it be true that the popular idea of Satan is derived from
Pan, we have another evidence therein of the breadth as well as the
length of his dominion over human affairs; for Satan, judging from men's
conduct, was never more active, more successful, and more grimly joyous
than he is in this year of grace (and disgrace) one thousand eight
hundred and sixty-one. "The harmless Faun," says Bulwer Lytton, "has
been the figuration of the most implacable of fiends." Satan and Pan
ought to be one, if we regard the kind of work in which the latter has
lately been engaged. The former's sympathies are undoubtedly with the
Secessionists, and to his active aid we must attribute their successes,
both as thieves and as soldiers.

The number of instances of panic terror in armies is enormous. Panics
have taken place in all armies, from that brief campaign in which Abram
smote the hosts of the plundering kings, hard by Damascus, to that
briefer campaign in which General McDowell did _not_ smite the
Secessionists, hard by Washington. The Athenians religiously believed
that Pan aided them at Marathon; and it would go far to account for
the defeat of the vast Oriental host, in that action, by a handful of
Greeks, if we could believe that that host became panic-stricken. At
Plataea, the allies of the Persians fell into a panic as soon as the
Persians were beaten, and fled without striking a blow. At the Battle
of Amphipolis, in the Peloponnesian War, and which was so fatal to the
Athenians, the Athenian left wing and centre fled in a panic, without
making any resistance. The Battle of Pydna, which placed the Macedonian
monarchy in the hands of the Romans, was decided by a panic befalling
the Macedonian cavalry after the phalanx had been broken. At Leuctra and
at Mantinea, battles so fatal to the Spartan supremacy in Greece, the
defeated armies suffered from panics. The decision at Pharsalia was in
some measure owing to a panic occurring among the Pompeian cavalry; and
at Thapsus, the panic terror that came upon the Pompeians gave to Caesar
so easy a victory that it cost him only fifty men, while the other
side were not only broken, but butchered. At Munda, the last and most
desperate of Caesar's battles, and in which he came very nearly losing
all that he had previously gained, a panic occurred in his army, from
the effects of which it recovered through admiration of its leader's
splendid personal example. The defeat of the Romans at Carrhae by the
Parthians was followed by a panic, against the effects of which not even
the discipline of the legions was a preventive. At the first Battle of
Philippi, the young Octavius came near being killed or captured, in
consequence of the success of Brutus's attack, which had the effect of
throwing his men into utter confusion, so that they fled in dismay. What
a change would have taken place in the ocean-stream of history, had the
future Augustus been slain or taken by the Republicans on that field on
which the Roman Republic fell forever! But the success of Antonius over
Cassius more than compensated for the failure of Octavius, and prepared
the way for the close of "the world's debate" at Actium. Actium, by the
way, was one of the few sea-fights which have had their decision through
the occurrence of panics, water not being so favorable to flight as
land. Whether the flight of Cleopatra was the result of terror, or
followed from preconcerted action, is still a question for discussion;
and one would not readily believe that the most gallant and manly of all
the Roman leaders--one of the very few of his race who were capable of
generous actions--was also capable of plotting deliberately to abandon
his followers, when the chances of battle had not been tried. Whether
that memorable flight was planned or not, the imitation of it by
Antonius created a panic in at least a portion of his fleet; and the
victory of the hard-minded Octavius over the "soft triumvir"--he was
"soft" in every sense on that day--was the speedy consequence of the
strangest exhibition of cowardice ever made by a brave man.

In modern wars, panics have been as common as ever they were in the
contests of antiquity. No people has been exempt from them. It has
pleased the English critics on our defeat at Bull Run to speak with much
bitterness of the panic that occurred to the Union army on that field,
and in some instances to employ language that would leave the impression
that never before did it happen to an army to suffer from panic terror.
No reflecting American ought to object to severe foreign criticism on
our recent military history; for through such criticism, perhaps, our
faults may be amended, and so our cause finally be vindicated. The
spectacle of soldiers running from a field of battle is a tempting one
to the enemies of the country to whom such soldiers may belong, and few
critics are able to speak of it in any other than a contemptuous tone.
Would Americans have spoken with more justice of Englishmen than
Englishmen have spoken of Americans, had the English army failed at the
Alma through a panic, as our army failed at Bull Run? Not they! The
bitter comments of our countrymen on the inefficiency of the British
forces in the Crimea, and the general American tendency to attribute
the successes of the Allies in the Russian War to the French, to the
Sardinians, or to the Turks,--to anybody and everybody but to the
English, who really were the principal actors in it,--are in evidence
that we are drinking from a bitter cup the contents of which were brewed
by ourselves. It is wicked and it is foolish to accuse our armies of
cowardice and inefficiency because they have met with some painful
reverses; but the sin and the folly of foreigners in this respect are no
greater than the sin and the folly that have characterized most American
criticism on the recent military history of England.

The most important fruitful battle mentioned in British history, next
to that of Hastings, is the Battle of Bannockburn, the event of which
secured the independence and nationality of Scotland, with all the
consequences thereof; and that event was the effect of a panic. The day
was with Bruce and his brave army; but it was by no means certain that
their success would be of that decisive character which endures forever,
until the English host became panic-stricken. Brilliant deeds had been
done by the Scotch, who had been successful in all their undertakings,
when Bruce brought up his reserve, which forced even the bravest of his
opponents either to retreat or to think of it; but their retreat might
have been conducted with order, and the English army have been saved
from utter destruction and for future work, had it not been for the
occurrence of one of those events, in which the elements of tragedy
and of farce are combined, by which the destinies of nations are often
decided, in spite of "the wisdom of the wise and the valor of the
brave." The followers of the Scottish camp, anxious to see how the
day went, or to obtain a share of the expected spoil, at that moment
appeared upon the ridge of an eminence, known as the Gillies' Hill,
behind their countrymen's line of battle, displaying horse-cloths and
similar articles for ensigns of war. The struggling English, believing
that they saw a new Scottish army rising as it were from the earth, were
struck with panic, and broke and fled; and all that followed was mere
butchery, though perfectly in accordance with the stern laws of the
field. The English army was routed even more completely than was the
French army, five centuries later, at Waterloo. Scott, with his usual
skill, has made use of this incident in "The Lord of the Isles," but he
ascribes to patriotic feeling what had a less lofty origin, which was an
exercise of his license as a poet.[A]

[Footnote A: An incident closely resembling that which created the
English panic at Bannockburn happened, with the same results, in one of
the battles won by the Swiss over their invaders; but we cannot call to
mind the name of the action in which it occurred.]

  "To arms they flew,--axe, club, or spear,--
  And mimic ensigns high they rear,
  And, like a bannered host afar,
  Bear down on England's wearied war.

  "Already scattered o'er the plain,
  Reproof, command, and counsel vain,
  The rearward squadrons fled amain,
    Or made but fearful stay:
  But when they marked the seeming show
  Of fresh and fierce and marshalled foe,
  The boldest broke array."

The last three lines describe almost exactly what, we are told, took
place at Bull Run, where our soldiers were beaten, it is asserted, in
consequence of the coming up of fresh men to the assistance of the
enemy, but who were not camp-followers, but the flower of that enemy's
force. The reinforcements, contrary to what was supposed, were not
numerous; but a fatigued, worn-out, ill-handled army cannot be expected
to be very clever at its arithmetic. Our men greatly overrated the
strength of the new column that presented itself,--at least, so we
judge from some powerful narratives of the crisis at Manassas that have
appeared. The eye of the mind did the counting, not the more trustworthy
bodily organ. They "looked, and saw what numbers numberless" "the sacred
soil of Virginia" appeared to be sending up to aid in its defence
against "the advance," and it cannot be surprising that their hearts
failed them at the moment, as has happened to veterans who had grown
gray since they had received the baptism of fire. Had there been a
couple of trained regiments at the command of General McDowell, at that
time, with which to have met the regiments that were restoring the
enemy's battle, the day would, perhaps, have remained with the Union
army; but, as there was no reserve force, trained or untrained, a
retreat became inevitable; and a retreat, in the case of a new army that
had become exhausted and alarmed, meant a rout, and could have meant
nothing else. We shall never hear the last of it, particularly from our
English friends, who are yet jeered and joked about the business at
Gladsmuir, in 1745, where and when their army was beaten in five minutes
and some odd seconds by Prince Charles Edward's Highlanders, their
cavalry running off in a panic, and their General never stopping
until he had put twenty miles between himself and the nearest of the
plaid-men. Indeed, he did not consider himself safe until he had left
even all Scotland behind him, and had got within his Britannic Majesty's
town of Berwick-upon-Tweed, which, as it was well fortified, promised
him protection for the time. Four months later, at Falkirk, a portion of
another English army was thrown into a panic by the sight of "the wild
petticoat-men," and made capital time in getting out of their way. Two
regiments of cavalry rushed right over a body of infantry lying on the
ground, bellowing, as they galloped, "Dear brethren, we shall all be
massacred this day!" They did their best to make their prediction true.
A third regiment, and that composed of veterans, were so frightened,
that, though they ran away with the utmost celerity, they did not have
sense enough to run out of danger, but galloped along the Highland line,
and received its entire fire. Some of the infantry were literally
so swift to follow the example of the cavalry, that the Highlanders
believed they were shamming, and so did not follow up their success with
sufficient promptitude to reap its proper fruits. One of the regiments
that ran was the Scots Royals, seeing which, Lord John Drummond
exclaimed, "These men behaved admirably at Fontenoy: surely this is a
feint." This suspicion of the enemy's purpose to entrap them actually
paralyzed the Highland army for so long a time that the panic-stricken
English were enabled for the most part to escape; so that to the
completeness of their fright the English owed their power to rally their
army, which did not stop in its retreat until it reached Edinburgh, the
next day. In the same war, half a dozen MacIntosh Highlanders, commanded
by a blacksmith, so acted as to throw fifteen hundred men, under Lord
Loudoun, into a panic, which caused them all to fly; and though but
one of their number was hurt by the enemy, they did much mischief to
themselves. This incident is known as "The Rout of Moy," as Loudoun's
force was marching upon Moy Castle, the principal seat of the
MacIntoshes, for the purpose of capturing Prince Charles Edward, who was
the guest of Lady MacIntosh, whose husband was with Lord Loudoun. To
render the mortification of the flying party complete, the affair was
suggested by a woman, Lady MacIntosh herself.

"The Races of Castlebar" are very renowned in the military history of
Britain. In 1798 _after_ the Irish Rebellion had been suppressed, a
small French force was landed at Killala, under command of General
Humbert, and soon established itself in that town. A British army, full
four thousand strong, was assembled to act against the invader, at the
head of which was General Lake, afterward Lord Lake,--elevated to the
peerage in reward of services performed in India, and one of the most
ruthless of those harsh and brutal proconsuls employed by England to
destroy the spirit of the people of Ireland. The two armies met at
Castlebar, the French numbering only eight hundred men, with whom were
about a thousand raw Irish peasants, most of whom had never had a
musket in their hands until within the few days that preceded the
battle,--races, we mean. A panic seized the British army, and it fled
from the field with the swiftness of the wind, but not with the wind's
power of destruction. The French had one small gun,--the British,
fourteen guns. Humbert afterward kept the whole British force at bay for
more than a fortnight, and did not surrender until his little army
had been surrounded by thirty thousand men. It is calculated that the
British made the best time from Castlebar that ever was made by a flying
army. It was no exaggeration to say that "the speed of thought was in
_their_ limbs" for a short time. Bull Run was a slow piece of business
compared to Castlebar; and our countrymen did not run from a foe that
was not half so strong as themselves, and who had neither position nor
artillery. The English have accused the Irish of not always standing
well to their work on the battle-field; but it would have required two
Irishmen to run half the distance in an hour that was made at Castlebar
by one Englishman. The most flagrant cases of panic that happened in the
'Forty-Five affair befell Englishmen, and rarely occurred to Irishmen or
to Scotchmen. The conduct of the Scots Royals at Falkirk was the only
striking exception to what closely approached to the nature of a general
rule.

The civil war which ours most resembles is that which was waged in
England a little more than two centuries ago, and which is known in
English history as "The Great Civil War," though in fact it was but a
small affair, if we compare it with that which took place nearly two
centuries earlier than Cromwell's time,--the so-called Wars of the
Roses. The resemblance between our contest and that in which the English
rose against, fought with, defeated, dethroned, tried, and beheaded
their king, is not very strong, we must confess; but the main thing is,
that both contests belong to that class of wars in which, to borrow
Shakspeare's words, "Civil blood makes civil hands unclean." Were there
no exhibitions of fear in that war, no flights, no panics on the _grand
scale_? Unless history is as great a liar as Talleyrand said it was,
when he declared that it was founded on a general conspiracy against
truth,--and who could suppose an English historian capable of
lying?--shameful exhibitions of fear, flights of whole bodies of troops,
and displays of panic terror were very common things with our English
ancestors who fought and flourished _tempore Caroli Primi_. The first
battle between the forces of the King and those of the Parliament was
that of Edgehill, which was fought on _Sunday_, October 23d, 1642.
Prince Rupert led his Cavaliers to the charge, ordering them, like a
true soldier, to use only the sword, which is the weapon that horsemen
always should employ. "The Roundheads," says Mr. Warburton, "seemed
swept away by the very wind of that wild charge. No sword was crossed,
no saddle emptied, no trooper waited to abide the shock; they fled with
_frantic fear_, but fell fast under the sabres of their pursuers. The
cavalry galloped furiously until they reached such shelter as the town
could give them; nor did their infantry fare better. No sooner were
the Royal horse upon them than they broke and fled; Mandeville and
Cholmondely vainly strove to rally their _terror-stricken_ followers;
they were swept away by the fiery Cavaliers." If this was not exactly
the effect of a panic, then it was something worse: it followed from
abject, craven fear. The bravest and best of armies have been known to
suffer from panic terror, but none but cowards run away at the first
charge that is made upon them. It is said, by way of excuse for the men
who thus fled, in spite of the gallant efforts of their officers to
rally them, that they were new troops. So were our men at Bull Run
new troops; and this much can be said of them, that, if they became
panic-stricken, it was not until after they had fought for several
hours on a hot day, and that they were not well commanded, the officers
setting the example of abandoning the field, and not seeking to
encourage the soldiers, as was done by the English Parliamentary
commanders at Edgehill. Therefore the English Bull Run was a far more
disgraceful affair than was that of America.

We shall not dwell upon the multitudinous panics and flights that
happened on both sides in the Great Civil War, but come at once to what
took place on the grand field-days of that contest,--Long-Marston Moor
and Naseby. At Long-Marston Moor, fought July 2, 1644, English, Irish,
and Scotch soldiers were present, so that all the island races were
on the field in the persons of some of the best of their number. The
Royalists charged the Scotch centre, and were twice repulsed; but their
third charge was more successful, and then most of the gallant Scotch
force broke in every direction, only some fragments of three regiments
standing their ground. "The Earl of Leven in vain hastened from one part
of the line to the other," says Mr. Langton Sanford, "endeavoring by
words and blows to keep the soldiers in the field, exclaiming, 'Though
you run from your enemies, yet leave not your general; though you fly
from them, yet forsake not me!' The Earl of Manchester, with great
exertions, rallied five hundred of the fugitives, and brought them back
to the battle. But these efforts to turn the fate of the day in this
quarter were fruitless, and at length the three generals of the
Parliament were compelled to seek safety in flight. Leven himself,
conceiving the battle utterly lost, in which he was confirmed by the
opinion of others then on the place near him, seeing they were fleeing
upon all hands toward Tadcaster and Cawood, was persuaded by his
attendants to retire and wait his better fortune. He did so, and never
drew bridle till he came to Leeds, nearly forty miles distant, having
ridden all that night with a cloak of _drap-de-berrie_ about him
belonging to the gentleman from whom we derive the information, then in
his retinue, with many other officers of good quality. Manchester and
Fairfax, carried away in the flight, soon returned to the field, but the
centre and right wing of their army were utterly broken. 'It was a sad
sight,' exclaims Mr. Ash, [an eye-witness of the affair,] 'to behold
many thousands posting away, amazed with _panic fears_!' Many fled
without striking a blow; _and multitudes of people that were spectators
ran away in such fear as daunted the soldiers still more_, some of the
horse never looking back till they got as far as Lincoln, some others
toward Hull, and others to Halifax and Wakefield, pursued by the enemy's
horse for nearly two miles from the field. Wherever they came, the
fugitives carried the news of the utter rout of the Parliament's
army."[B] This strong picture of the panic that prevailed in the very
army that won the Battle of Long-Marston Moor is confirmed by Sir Walter
Scott, who says that the Earl of Leven was driven from the field, and
was thirty miles distant, in full flight toward Scotland, when he was
overtaken by the news that his party had gained a complete victory. Yet
Leven was an experienced soldier, having served in the army of Gustavus
Adolphus, in which he rose to very high rank; and the Scottish forces
had many soldiers who had been trained in the same admirable school.
That there were many spectators of the battle, whose fright "daunted
the soldiers still more," shows that people were as fond of witnessing
battles in 1644 as they are in 1861, and that their presence on the Moor
was productive of almost as much evil to the Roundheads as the presence
of Congressmen and other civilians at Manassas was to the Federal troops
on the 21st of July. There would seem to be indeed nothing new under
the sun, and folly is eternally reproducing itself. One of the names
connected with our defeat is that of one of the most gallant of the
Parliament's commanders at Long-Marston: Fairfax being named after the
sixth Lord Fairfax, whose singular history furnished to Mr. Thackeray
the plan for his "Virginians."

[Footnote B: Mr. Sanford quotes from a letter written by a spectator
of the panic at Long-Marston Moor, which is so descriptive of what we
should expect such a scene to be, that we copy it. "I could not," says
the writer, "meet the Prince [Rupert] until after the battle was joined;
and in fire, smoke, and confusion of the day I knew not for my soul
whither to incline. The runaways on both sides were so many, so
breathless, so speechless, so full of fears, that I should not have
taken them for men but by their motion, which still served them very
well, not a man of them being able to give me the least hope where the
Prince was to be found, both armies being mingled, both horse and foot,
no side keeping their own posts. In this terrible distraction did I
scour the country; here meeting with a shoal of Scots crying out, 'Wae's
me! We're a' undone!' and so full of lamentations and mourning, as if
their day of doom had overtaken them, and from which they knew not
whither to fly. And anon I met with a ragged troop, reduced to four and
a cornet; by-and-by, a little foot-officer, without a hat, band, or
indeed anything but feet, and so much tongue as would serve to inquire
the way to the next garrisons, which, to say truth, were well filled
with stragglers on both sides within a few hours, though they lay
distant from the place of fight twenty or thirty miles."--See _Studies
and Illustrations of the Great Rebellion_, (p. 606,) the best work ever
written on the grand constitutional struggle made by the English against
the usurpations of the Stuarts. The letter here quoted was written by an
English gentleman, Mr. Trevor, to the best of the Royalist leaders, the
Marquis (afterward first Duke) of Ormond.]

The panic at Naseby (June 14, 1645) was not of so pronounced a character
as that at Long-Marston; but it helps to prove the Englishman's aptitude
for running, and shows, that, if we have skill in the use of heels, we
have inherited it: it is, in a double sense, matter of race. In spite of
the exertions of Ireton, the cavalry of the left wing of the Roundheads
was swept out of the field by Prince Rupert's dashing charge; while the
foot were as deaf to the entreaties of old Skippon that they would keep
their ranks. Later in the day the Cavaliers took their turn at the panic
business, their horse flying over the hills, and leaving the infantry
and the artillery, the women and the baggage, to the mercy of the
Puritans,--and everybody knows what that was. The Cavaliers were even
more subject to panics than the Puritans, as was but natural, seeing
that they could not or would not be disciplined; and there were many of
the leaders of the deboshed, godless crew of whom it could have been
sung, as it was of Peveril of the Peak,--

  "There was bluff old Sir Geoffrey loved brandy and mum well,
  And to see a beer-glass turned over the thumb well;
  But he fled like the wind, before Fairfax and Cromwell,
    Which nobody can deny!"

Cromwell's last victory but one, that of Dunbar, (September 3, 1650,)
was due to the impertinent interference of "outsiders" with the business
of the Scotch general, and to the occurrence of a panic in the Scotch
army. The priests did for Leslie's army what the politicians are charged
with having done for that of General McDowell. The Scotch were mostly
raw troops, and soon fell into confusion; and then came one of those
scenes of slaughter which were so common after the Cromwellian
victories, and which, in spite of Mr. Carlyle's crazy admiration of
them, must ever be regarded by sane and humane people as the work of the
Devil. It is in dispute whether Cromwell's last great victory, that of
Worcester, (September 3, 1651,) was a panic affair or not; for while
Cromwell himself wrote that "indeed it was a stiff business," and that
the dimensions of the mercy were above his thoughts, he complacently
says, "Yet I do not think we have lost above two hundred men." Now, as
the English critics on the Battle of Bull Run will have it that it was
but a cowardly affair on our side, because but few men were at one
time reported to have fallen in it, it follows that Cromwell's army at
Worcester must have been an army of cowards, as it lost less than two
hundred men, though it had to fight hard for several hours for victory.
"As stiff a contest, for four or five hours," said the Lord-General,
"as ever I have seen." And what shall we think of the Scotch, who lost
fourteen thousand men? Mr. Lodge, whose sympathies are all with the
Cavaliers, says that the action is undeservedly called the Battle of
Worcester, "for it was in fact the mere rout of a _panic-stricken_
army." Certainly all the circumstances of the day tend to confirm this
view of what occurred on it: the heavy loss of the Scotch, the small
loss of the English, and the all but total destruction of the Royal
army. That Cromwell should make the most of his victory, of the
"crowning mercy," as he hoped it might prove, was natural enough.
Nothing is more common than for the victor to sound the praises of the
vanquished, that being a delicate form of self-praise. If they were so
clever and so brave, how much greater must have been the cleverness and
bravery of the man who conquered them? The difficulty is in inducing
the vanquished to praise the victor. We have no doubt that General
Beauregard speaks very handsomely of General McDowell; but how speaks
General McDowell of General Beauregard? Wellington often spoke well of
Napoleon's conduct in the campaign of 1815; but among the bitterest
things ever said by one great man of another great man are Napoleon's
criticisms on the conduct of Wellington in that campaign. We are not to
suppose that Wellington was a more magnanimous person than Napoleon,
which he assuredly was not; but he was praising himself, after an
allowable fashion, when he praised Napoleon. There would have been a
complete change of words in the mouths of the two men, had the result of
Waterloo been, as it should have been, favorable to the French. Napoleon
said that he never saw the Prussians behave well but at Jena, where he
broke the army of the Great Frederick to pieces. He had not a word to
say in praise of the Prussians who fought at the Katzbach, at Dennewitz,
and at Waterloo. Human nature is a very small thing even in very great
men.

As we see that the Roundheads triumphed in England, notwithstanding the
panics from which their armies suffered, subduing the descendants of
the conquering chivalry of Normandy, "to whom victory and triumph were
traditional, habitual, hereditary things," may we not hope that the
American descendants and successors of the Roundheads will be able
to subdue the descendants of the conquered chivalry of the South, a
chivalry that has as many parents as had the Romans who proceeded from
the loins of the "robbers and reivers" who had been assembled, as per
proclamation, at the Rogues' Asylum on the Palatine Hill? The bravery
of the Southern troops is not to be questioned, and it never has been
questioned by sensible men; but their pretensions to Cavalier descent
are at the head of the long list of historical false pretences, and tend
to destroy all confidence in their words. They may be aristocrats, but
they have not the shadow of a claim to aristocratical origin.

Lord Macaulay's brilliant account of the Battle of Landen (July 19,
1693) establishes the fact, that it is possible for an army of veterans,
led by some of the best officers of their time, to become panic-stricken
while defending intrenchments and a strong position. "A little after
four in the afternoon," he says, "the whole line gave way." "Amidst
the rout and uproar, while arms and standards were flung away, while
multitudes of fugitives were choking up the bridges and fords of the
Gette or perishing in its waters, the King, [William III.,] having
directed Talmash to superintend the retreat, put himself at the head of
a few brave regiments, and by desperate efforts arrested the progress
of the enemy." Luxembourg failed to follow up his victory, or all would
have been lost. The French behaved as did the Southrons after Bull Run:
they gave their formidable foe time to rally, and to recover from the
effect of the panic that had covered the country with fugitives; and
time was all that was necessary for either the English King or the
American General to prevent defeat from being extended into conquest.

Two of Marlborough's greatest victories were largely owing to the
occurrence of panic among the veteran troops of France. At Ramillies,
the French left, which was partially engaged in covering the retreat of
the rest of their army, were struck with a panic, fled, and were pursued
for five leagues. At Oudenarde, (July 11, 1708,) the French commander,
Vendôme, "urged the Duke of Burgundy and a crowd of panic-struck
generals to take advantage of the night, and restore order; but finding
his arguments nugatory, he gave the word for a retreat, and generals
and privates, horse and foot, instantly hurried in the utmost disorder
toward Ghent." The retreat of this crowd, which was a complete flight,
he covered by the aid of a few brave men whom he had rallied and formed,
and whose firm countenance prevented the entire destruction of
the French army. Yet the French soldiers of that time were men of
experience, and were accustomed to all the phases of war.

At the Battle of Rossbach, (November 5, 1757,) the troops of France and
of the German Empire fell into a panic, and were routed by half their
number of Prussians. That defeat was the most disgraceful that ever
befell the arms of a military nation. The panic was complete, and no
body of terrified militia ever fled more rapidly than did the veteran
troops of Germany and France on that eventful day. Napoleon, half a
century later, said that Rossbach produced a permanent effect on the
French military, and on France, and was one of the causes of the
Revolution. The disgrace was laid to the account of the French
commander, the Prince de Soubise, who was a profligate, a coward, and a
booby, and who neither knew war nor was known by it.

The English army experienced whatever of pleasure there may be in a
panic, or rather in a pair of panics, at the grand Battle of Fontenoy,
(May 11, 1745,) on which field they were so unutterably thrashed by the
French and the Irish. In the first part of the action, the Allies were
successful, when suddenly the Dutch troops fell into a panic, and fled
as fast as it is ever given to Dutchmen to fly. There is nothing so
contagious as panic terror, and the rest of the army, exposed as it was
to a tremendous fire, soon caught the disease, and was giving way under
it, when their commander, the Duke of Cumberland, who was well seconded
by his officers, succeeded in rallying them. They renewed the combat,
and their enemy became so alarmed in their turn that even the French
King, and his son the Dauphin, were in danger of being swept away in the
rout. Again there came a turn in the battle, and, mostly because of the
daring and dash of the famous Irish Brigade, the Allies were beaten and
forced to retreat. It is stated that the whole body of heroic British
Grenadiers who were engaged at Fontenoy gave a strong proof of the
effect of the panic upon their minds--and bodies; thus establishing the
fact that they had stomachs for something besides the fight. "Not to put
too fine a point upon it," they, with a unity of place and time that
speaks well for their discipline, did that which was done by the valiant
General Sterling Price at the Battle of Boonville, and which has caused
them to leave a deep impression on the historic page, though nothing can
be said in support of the attractiveness of the illustration which those
gallant men contributed to that page.

There was a partial exhibition of panic terror made by the English
troops at the Battle of Bunker's Hill. They were twice made to run on
that Seventeenth of June of which something has been said during the
last six-and-eighty years; and they were brought up to the point
of making a third attack only by the greatest exertions of their
commanders, and after having been considerably reinforced. This third
attack would have been as promptly repulsed as its predecessors had
been, but that the American troops had used up all their powder, and few
of them had bayonets. The firmness, and skill as marksmen, of a body of
militia had caused a larger body of British veterans twice to retreat
in great disorder, and under circumstances much resembling those that
characterize what is known as a panic. Had a third repulse of the
assailants occurred, nothing could have prevented their flight to their
boats. But it was written that the Americans should retreat; and it is
safe to say that they showed much more steadiness in the retreat than
the enemy did alacrity in the pursuit.

Panic terror was no uncommon thing during the Reign of Terror in France,
in the armies of the French Republic. The early efforts of the French
Republicans in the field sometimes failed because of panics occurring in
their armies; and they were not unknown to any of the armies that took
part in the long series of wars that began in 1792 and lasted, with
brief intervals of peace, down to the summer of 1815. At Marengo, both
armies suffered from panics. As early as ten o'clock in the forenoon,
a portion of Victor's corps retired in disorder, crying out, "All is
lost!" There were, in fact, three Battles of Marengo, the Austrians
winning the first and second, and losing the third, which was losing
all,--war not exactly resembling whist. When Desaix said, at three
o'clock in the afternoon, that the battle was lost, but there was time
enough to win another, he spoke the truth, and like a good soldier. The
new movements that followed his arrival and advice caused surprise to
the Austrians, and surprise soon passed into panic. The panic extended
to a portion of the cavalry, no one has ever been able to say why;
and it galloped off the field toward the Bormida, shouting, "To the
bridges!" The panic then reached to men of all arms, and cavalry,
artillery, and infantry were soon crowded together on the banks of the
stream which they had crossed in high hopes but a few hours before. The
artillery sought to cross by a ford, but failed, and the French made
prisoners, and seized guns, horses, baggage, and all the rest of
the trophies of victory. Thus a battle which confirmed the Consular
government of Bonaparte, which prepared the way for the creation of
the French Empire, and which settled the fate of Europe for years, was
decided by the panic cries of a few horse-soldiers. The Austrian cavalry
has long and justly been reputed second to no other in the world, and in
1800 it was a veteran body, and had been steadily engaged in war, with
small interruption, for eight years; but neither its experience, nor its
valor, nor regard for the character which it had to maintain, could save
it from the common lot of armies. It became terrified, and senselessly
fled, and its evil example was swiftly communicated to the other troops:
for there is nothing so contagious as a panic, every man that runs
thinking, that, while he is himself ignorant of the existence of any
peculiar danger, all the others must know of it, and are acting upon
their knowledge. That Austrian panic made the conqueror master of Italy,
and with France and Italy at his command he could aspire to the dominion
of Europe. The man who began the panic at Marengo really opened the way
to Vienna to the legions of France, and to Berlin, and (but that brought
compensation) to Moscow also.

There were panics in most of the great battles of the French Empire,
or those battles were followed by panics. At Austerlitz the Austrians
suffered from them; and though the Russian soldiers are among the
steadiest of men, and keep up discipline under very extraordinary
difficulties, they fared no better than their associates on that
terrible field. They had more than one panic, and the confusion
was prodigious. It was while flying in terror, that the dense, yet
disorderly crowds sought to escape over some ponds, the ice of which
broke, and two thousand of them were ingulfed. One of their generals,
writing of that day, said,--"I had previously seen some lost battles,
but I had no conception of such a defeat." Jena was followed by panics
which extended throughout the army and over the monarchy, so that the
Prussian army and the Prussian kingdom disappeared in a month, though
Napoleon had anticipated a long, difficult, and doubtful contest with so
renowned a military organization as that which had been created by the
immortal Frederick; and he had remarked, at the beginning of the war,
that there would be much use for the spade in the course of it. In the
Austrian campaign of 1809, there was the beginning of a panic that might
have produced serious consequences. The Archduke John, the Patterson of
those days, was at the head of an Austrian army which was expected to
take part in the Battle of Wagram; but it was not until after that
battle had been gained by the French that that prince arrived near the
Marchfeld, in the rear of the victors. A panic broke out among
the persons who saw the heads of his columns,--camp-followers,
_vivandières_, long lines of soldiers bearing off wounded men, and
others. The young soldiers, who were exhausted by their labors and the
heat, were conspicuous among the runaways, and there was a general race
to "the banks of the dark-rolling Danube." Nay, it is said that the
panic was taken up on the other side of the river, and that quite a
number of individuals did not stop till they had reached Vienna. Terror
prevailed, and the confusion was fast spreading, when Napoleon, who had
been roused from an attempt to obtain some rest under a shelter formed
of drums, fit materials for a house for him, arrived on the scene. In
reply to his questions, Charles Lebrun, one of his officers, answered,
"It is nothing, Sire,--merely a few marauders." "What do you call
nothing?" exclaimed the Emperor. "Know, Sir, that there are no trifling
events in war: nothing endangers an army like an imprudent security.
Return and see what is the matter, and come back quickly and render me
an account." The Emperor succeeded in restoring order, but not without
difficulty, and the Archduke withdrew his forces without molestation.
The circumstances of the panic show, that, if he had arrived at his
intended place a few hours earlier, the French would have been beaten,
and probably the French Empire have fallen at Vienna in 1809, instead
of falling at Paris in 1814; and then the House of Austria would have
achieved one of those extraordinary triumphs over its most powerful
enemies that are so common in its extraordinary history. The incident
bears some resemblance to the singular panic that happened the day after
the Battle of Solferino, and which was brought on by the appearance of a
few Austrian hussars, who came out of their hiding-place to surrender,
many thousand men running for miles, and showing that the most
successful army of modern days could be converted into a mob by--
nothing.

Seldom has the world seen such a panic as followed the Battle of
Vittoria, in which Wellington dealt the French Empire the deadly blow
under which it reeled and fell; for, if that battle had not been fought
and won, the Allies would probably have made peace with Napoleon,
following up the armistice into which they had already entered with him;
but Vittoria encouraged them to hope for victory, and not in vain. The
French King of Spain there lost his crown and his carriage; the Marshal
of France commanding lost his _bâton_, and the honorable fame which he
had won nineteen years before at Fleurus; and the French army lost its
artillery, all but one piece, and, what was of more consequence, its
honor. It was the completest rout ever seen in that age of routs and
balls. And yet the defeated army was a veteran army, and most of its
officers were men whose skill was as little to be doubted as their
bravery.

There were panics at Waterloo, not a few; and, what is remarkable, they
happened principally on the side of the victors, the French suffering
nothing from them till after the battle was lost, when the pressure of
circumstances threw their beaten army into much confusion, and it was
not possible that it should be otherwise. Bylandt's Dutch-Belgian
brigade ran away from the French about two o'clock in the afternoon, and
swept others with them in their rush, much to the rage of the British,
some of whom hissed, hooted, and cursed, forgetting that quite as
discreditable incidents had occurred in the course of the military
history of their own country. One portion of the British troops that
desired to fire upon those exhibitors of "Dutch courage" actually
belonged to the most conspicuous of the regiments that ran away at
Falkirk, seventy years before. At a later hour Trip's Dutch-Belgian
cavalry-brigade ran away in such haste and disorder that some squadrons
of German hussars experienced great difficulty in maintaining their
ground against the dense crowd of fugitives. The Cumberland regiment
of Hanoverian hussars was deliberately taken out of the field by its
colonel when the shot began to fall about it, and neither orders nor
entreaties nor arguments nor execrations could induce it to form under
fire. Nay, it refused to form across the high-road, _out_ of fire, but
"went altogether to the rear, spreading alarm and confusion all the
way to Brussels." Nothing but the coming up of the cavalry-brigades
of Vivian and Vandeleur, at a late hour, prevented large numbers of
Wellington's infantry from leaving the field. The troops of Nassau fell
"back _en masse_ against the horses' heads of the Tenth Hussars, who,
keeping their files closed, prevented further retreat." The Tenth
belonged to Vivian's command. D'Aubremé's Dutch-Belgian infantry-brigade
was prevented from running off when the Imperial Guard began their
charge, only because Vandeleur's cavalry-brigade was in their rear, with
even the squadron-intervals closed, so that they had to elect between
the French bayonet and the English sabre. There was something resembling
a temporary panic among Maitland's British Guards, after the repulse
of the first column of the Imperial Guard, but order was very promptly
restored. It is impossible to read any extended account of the Battle of
Waterloo without seeing that it was a desperate business on the part of
the Allies, and that, if the Prussians could have been kept out of the
action, their English friends would have had an excellent chance to keep
the field--as the killed and wounded. Wellington never had the ghost of
a chance without the aid of Bülow, Zieten, and Blücher.[C]

[Footnote C: There is no great battle concerning which so much nonsense
has been written and spoken as that of Waterloo, which ought to console
us for the hundred-and-one accounts that are current concerning the
action of the 21st of July, no two of which are more alike than if the
one related to Culloden and the other to Arbela. The common belief is,
that toward the close of the day Napoleon formed two columns of the
_Old_ Guard, and sent them against the Allied line; that they advanced,
and were simultaneously repulsed by the weight and precision of the
English fire in front; and that, on seeing the columns of the Guard fall
into disorder, the French all fled, and Wellington immediately ordered
his whole line to advance, which prevented the French from rallying,
they flying in a disorderly mass, which was incapable of resistance. So
far is this view of the "Crisis of Waterloo" from being correct, that
the repulse of the Guard would not have earned with it the loss of the
battle, had it not been for a number of circumstances, some of
which made as directly in favor of the English as the others worked
unfavorably to the French. When Napoleon found that the operations of
Bülow's Prussians threatened to compromise his right flank and rear, he
determined to make a vigorous attempt to drive the Allies from their
position in his front, not merely by employing two columns of his Guard,
but by making a general attack on Wellington's line. For this purpose,
he formed one column of four battalions of the _Middle_ Guard, and
another of four other battalions of the _Middle_ Guard and two
battalions of the Old Guard. At the same time the corps of D'Erlon and
Reille were to advance, and a severe _tiraillade_ was opened by a great
number of skirmishers; and the attack was supported by a tremendous fire
from artillery. So animated and effective were the operations of the
various bodies of French not belonging to the Guard, that nothing but
the arrival of the cavalry brigades of Vandeleur and Vivian, from the
extreme left of the Allied line, prevented that line from being pierced
in several places. Those brigades had been relieved by the arrival of
the advance of Zieten's Prussian corps, and were made available for the
support of the points threatened by the French. They were drawn up in
rear of bodies of infantry, whom they would not permit to run away,
which they sought to do. The first column of the Guard was repulsed by
a fire of cannon and musketry, and when disordered it was charged by
Maitland's brigade of British Guards. The interval between the advance
of that column and that of the second column was from ten to twelve
minutes; and the appearance of the second column caused Maitland's
Guards to fall into confusion, and the whole body went to the rear. This
confusion, we are told, was not consequent upon either defeat or panic,
but resulted simply from a misunderstanding of the command. The coming
up of the second column led to a panic in a Dutch-Belgian brigade, which
would have left the field but for the presence of Vandeleur's cavalry,
through which the men could not penetrate; and yet the panic-stricken
men could not even see the soldiers before whose shouts they endeavored
to fly! The second column was partially supported, at first, by a body
of cavalry; but it failed in consequence of a flank attack made by the
Fifty-Second Regiment, which was aided by the operations of some other
regiments, all belonging to General Adam's brigade. This attack on its
left flank was assisted by the fire of a battery in front, and by the
musketry of the British Guards on its right flank. Thus assailed, the
defeat of the second column was inevitable. Had it been supported by
cavalry, so that it could not have been attacked on either flank, it
would have succeeded in its purpose. Adam's brigade followed up its
success, and Vivian's cavalry was ordered forward by Wellington, to
check the French cavalry, should it advance, and to deal generally
with the French reserves. Adam and Vivian did their work so well that
Wellington ordered his whole line of infantry to advance, supported by
cavalry and artillery. The French made considerable resistance after
this, but their retreat became inevitable, and soon degenerated into a
rout. An exception to the general disorganization was observed by the
victors, not unlike to an incident which we have seen mentioned in an
account of the Bull Run flight. In the midst of the crowd of fugitives
on the 21st of July, and forcing its way through that crowd, was seen a
company of infantry, marching as coolly and steadily as if on parade. So
it was after Waterloo, when the _grenadiers à cheval_ moved off at a
walk, "in close column, and in perfect order, as if disdaining to allow
itself to be contaminated by the confusion that prevailed around it." It
was unsuccessfully attacked, and the regiment "literally walked from the
field in the most orderly manner, moving majestically along the stream,
the surface of which was covered with the innumerable wrecks into which
the rest of the French army had been scattered." It was supposed that
this body of cavalry was engaged in protecting the retreat of the
Emperor, and, had all the French been as cool and determined as were
those veteran horsemen, the army might have been saved. Troops in
retreat, who hold firmly together, and show a bold countenance to the
enemy, are seldom made to suffer much.]

The Russian War was not of a nature to afford room for the occurrence of
any panic on an extensive scale, but between that contest and ours there
is one point of resemblance that may be noted. The failures and losses
of the Allies, who had at their command unlimited means, and the bravest
of soldiers in the greatest numbers, were all owing to bad management;
and our reverses in every instance are owing to the same cause. The
disaster at Bull Run, and the inability of our men to keep the ground
they had won at Wilson's Creek, in Missouri, (August 10,) were the
legitimate consequences of action over which the mass of the soldiers
could have no control. It is due to the soldiers to say this, for it
is the truth, as every man knows who has observed the course of the
contest, and who has seen it proceed from a political squabble to the
dimensions of a mighty war, the end of which mortal vision cannot
foresee.

It would be no difficult task to add a hundred instances to those we
have mentioned of the occurrence of panics in European armies; but it
is not necessary to pursue the subject farther. Nothing is better known
than that almost every eminent commander has suffered from panic terror
having taken control of the minds of his men, and nothing is more unjust
than to speak of the American panic of the 21st of July as if it were
something quite out of the common way of war. True, its origin has never
been fully explained; but in this point it only resembles most other
panics, the causes of which never have been explained and never will be.
It is characteristic of a panic that its occurrence cannot be accounted
for; and therefore it was that the ancients attributed it to the direct
interposition of a god, as arising from some cause quite beyond human
comprehension. If panics could be clearly explained, some device might
be hit upon, perhaps, for their prevention. But we see that they
occurred at the very dawn of history, that they have happened repeatedly
for five-and-twenty centuries, and that they are as common now in the
nineteenth Christian century as they were in those days when Pan was a
god. "Great Pan is _not_ dead," but sends armies to pot now as readily
as he did when there were hoplites and peltasts on earth. We can console
ourselves, though the consolation be but a poor one, with the reflection
that all military peoples have suffered from the same cause that has
brought so much mortification and so great loss immediately home to us.
Our panic is the greatest that ever was known only because it is the
latest one that has happened, and because it has happened to ourselves.
It is idle, and even laughable, to attempt to argue it out of sight. We
should admit its occurrence as freely as it is asserted by the bitterest
and most unfair of our critics; and we should recognize the truth of
what has been well said on the subject, that the only possible answer to
the attacks that have been made on the national character for military
capacity and courage is _victory_. If we shall succeed in this war, the
rout of Bull Run will no more destroy our character for manliness than
the rout of Landen destroyed the character of Englishmen for the same
virtue. If we fail, we must submit to be considered cowards: and we
shall deserve to be so held, if, with our superior numbers, and still
more superior means, we cannot maintain the Republic against the rebels.



OUR COUNTRY.


  On primal rocks she wrote her name;
    Her towers were reared on holy graves;
  The golden seed that bore her came
    Swift-winged with prayer o'er ocean waves.

  The Forest bowed his solemn crest,
    And open flung his sylvan doors;
  Meek Rivers led the appointed Guest
    To clasp the wide-embracing shores;

  Till, fold by fold, the broidered land
    To swell her virgin vestments grew,
  While Sages, strong in heart and hand,
    Her virtue's fiery girdle drew.

  O Exile of the wrath of kings!
    O Pilgrim Ark of Liberty!
  The refuge of divinest things,
    Their record must abide in thee!

  First in the glories of thy front
    Let the crown-jewel, Truth, be found;
  Thy right hand fling, with generous wont,
    Love's happy chain to farthest bound!

  Let Justice, with the faultless scales,
    Hold fast the worship of thy sons;
  Thy Commerce spread her shining sails
    Where no dark tide of rapine runs!

  So link thy ways to those of God,
    So follow firm the heavenly laws,
  That stars may greet thee, warrior-browed,
    And storm-sped Angels hail thy cause!

  O Land, the measure of our prayers,
    Hope of the world in grief and wrong,
  Be thine the tribute of the years,
    The gift of Faith, the crown of Song!



THE WORMWOOD CORDIAL OF HISTORY.

WITH A FABLE.


The great war which is upon us is shaking us down into solidity as corn
is shaken down in the measure. We were heaped up in our own opinion,
and sometimes running over in expressions of it. This rude jostling is
showing us the difference between bulk and weight, space and substance.

In one point of view we have a right to be proud of our inexperience,
and hardly need to blush for our shortcomings. These are the tributes we
are paying to our own past innocence and tranquillity. We have lived
a peaceful life so long that the traditional cunning and cruelty of a
state of warfare have become almost obsolete among us. No wonder that
hard men, bred in foreign camps, find us too good-natured, wanting in
hatred towards our enemies. We can readily believe that it is a special
Providence which has suffered us to meet with a reverse or two, just
enough to sting, without crippling us, only to wake up the slumbering
passion which is the legitimate and chosen instrument of the higher
powers for working out the ends of justice and the good of man.

There are a few far-seeing persons to whom our present sudden mighty
conflict may not have come as a surprise; but to all except these it
is a prodigy as startling as it would be, if the farmers of the North
should find a ripened harvest of blood-red ears of maize upon the
succulent stalks of midsummer. We have lived for peace: as individuals,
to get food, comfort, luxuries for ourselves and others; as communities,
to insure the best conditions we could for each human being, so that he
might become what God meant him to be. The verdict of the world was,
that we were succeeding. Many came to us from the old civilizations;
few went away from us, and most of these such as we could spare without
public loss.

We had almost forgotten the meaning and use of the machinery of
destruction. We had come to look upon our fortresses as the ornaments,
rather than as the defences of our harbors. Our war-ships were the
Government's yacht-squadron, our arsenals museums for the entertainment
of peaceful visitors. The roar of cannon has roused us from this
Arcadian dream. A ship of the line, we said, reproachfully, costs as
much as a college; but we are finding out that its masts are a part of
the fence round the college. The Springfield Arsenal inspired a noble
poem; but that, as we are learning, was not all it was meant for. What
poets would be born to us in the future without the "_placida quies_"
which "_sub libertate_" the sword alone can secure for our children?

It is all plain, but it has been an astonishment to us, as our war-comet
was to the astronomers. The comet, as some of them say, brushed us with
its tail as it passed; yet nobody finds us the worse for it. So, too, we
have been brushed lightly by mishap, as we ought to have been, and as we
ought to have prayed to be, no doubt, if we had known what was good for
us; yet at this very moment we stand stronger, more hopeful, more united
than ever before in our history.

Misfortunes are no new things; yet a man suffering from furuncles will
often speak as if Job had never known anything about them. We will take
up a book lying by us, and find all the evils, or most of those we have
been complaining of, described in detail, as they happened eight or ten
generations before our time.

It was in "a struggle for NATIONAL independence, liberty of conscience,
freedom of the seas, against sacerdotal and _world-absorbing tyranny_."
A plotting despot is at the bottom of it. "While the _riches of the
Indies_ continue, he thinketh he will be able to weary out all other
princes." But England had soldiers and statesmen ready to fight, even
though "Indies"--the King Cotton of that day--were declared arbiter of
the contest. "I pray God," said one of them, "that I live not to see
this enterprise quail, and with it the utter subversion of religion
throughout Christendom."--"The war doth defend England. Who is he that
will refuse to spend his life and living in it? If her Majesty consume
twenty thousand men in the cause, the experimented men that will remain
will double that strength to the realm."--_"The freehold of England will
be worth but little, if this action quail;_ and therefore I wish no
subject to spare his purse towards it."--"God hath stirred up this
action to be a school to breed up soldiers to defend the freedom of
England, which through these long times of peace and quietness is
brought into a most dangerous estate, if it should be attempted. Our
delicacy is such that we are already weary; yet this journey is nought
in respect to the misery and hardship that soldiers must and do endure."

"There can be no doubt," the historian remarks, "that the organization
and discipline of English troops were in anything but a satisfactory
state at that period."--"The soldiers required shoes and stockings,
bread and meat, and for those articles there were not the necessary
funds."--"There came no penny of treasure over."--"There is much still
due. They cannot get a penny, their credit is spent, _they perish for
want of victuals and clothing_ in great numbers. The whole are ready
to mutiny."--"There was no soldier yet able to buy himself _a pair of
hose_, and it is too, too great shame to see how they go, and _it
kills their hearts to show themselves among men_."--These "poor subjects
were no better than abjects," said the Lieutenant-General. "There is but
a small number of the first bands left," said another,--"and those so
pitiful and unable to serve again as I leave to speak further of
them, to avoid grief to your heart. A monstrous fault there hath been
somewhere." Of what nature the "monstrous fault" was we may conjecture
from the language of the Commander-in-Chief. "There can be no doubt of
our driving the enemy out of the country through famine and excessive
charges, if every one of us will put our minds to forward, _without
making a miserable gain by the wars_." (We give the Italics as we find
them in the text.) He believed that much of the work might be speedily
done; for he "would undertake to furnish from hence, upon two months'
warning, a navy for strong and tall ships, with their furniture and
mariners."

In the mean time "there was a whisper of peace-overtures," "rumors
which, whether true or false, were most pernicious in their effects";
for "it was war, not peace," that the despot "intended," and the "most
trusty counsellors [of England] knew to be inevitable." Worse than this,
there was treachery of the most dangerous kind. "Take heed whom you
trust," said the brother of the Commander-in-Chief to him; "for that
you have some false boys about you." In fact, "many of those nearest his
person and of highest credit out of England were his deadly foes, sworn
to compass his dishonor, his confusion, and eventually his death, and in
correspondence with his most powerful adversaries at home and abroad."

It was a sad state of things. The General "was much disgusted with the
raw material out of which he was expected to manufacture serviceable
troops." "Swaggering ruffians from the disreputable haunts of London"
"were not the men to be intrusted with the honor of England at a
momentous crisis." "Our simplest men in show have been our best men,
and your _gallant blood and ruffian men the worst of all others_." (The
Italics again are the author's.) Yet, said the muster-master, "there is
good hope that his Excellency will shortly establish such good order
for the government and training of our nation, that these weak, badly
furnished, ill-armed, and worse trained bands, thus rawly left unto
him, shall within a few months prove as well armed, complete, gallant
companies as shall be found elsewhere in Europe."

Very pleasant it must have been to the Commander-in-Chief to report to
his Government that in one of the first actions "five hundred Englishmen
of the best Flemish training had flatly and shamefully run away."
Yet this was the commencement of the struggle which ended with the
dispersion and defeat of the great Armada, and destroyed the projects of
the Spanish tyrant for introducing religious and political slavery into
England! It seems as if Mr. Motley's Seventh Chapter were a prophecy,
rather than a history.

       *       *       *       *       *

An invasion and a conspiracy may always be expected to make head at
first. The men who plan such enterprises are not fools, but cunning,
managing people. They always have, or think they have, a _primâ facie_
case to start with. They have been preparing just as the highwayman has
been preparing for his aggressive movement. They expect to find,
and they commonly do find, their victims only half ready, if at all
forewarned, and to take them at a disadvantage. If conspirators and
invaders do not strike heavy blows at once, their cause is desperate; if
they do, it proves very little, because that is the least they expected
to do.

It is very easy to run up a score behind the door of a tavern; credit
is good, and chalk is cheap. But these little marks have all got to be
crossed out by-and-by, and the time will surely come for turning all
empty pockets wrong side out. The aggressors begin in a great passion,
and are violent and dangerous at first; the nation or community assailed
are surprised, dismayed, perhaps, like the good people in the coach,
when they see Dick Turpin's pistol thrust in at the window.

The Romans were certainly a genuine fighting people. They kept the state
on a perpetual military footing. They were never without veterans, men
and leaders bred in camp and experienced in warfare. Yet what a piece of
work their African invader cut out for them! It seemed they had to learn
everything over again. Thousands upon thousands killed and driven into
Lake Trasimenus,--_fifteen thousand_ prisoners taken; total rout again
at Cannae,--rings picked from slain gentlemen's fingers by the peck or
bushel,--everything lost in battle, and a great revolt through the
Southern provinces as a natural consequence. What then? Rome was not to
be Africanized as yet. The great leader who had threatened the capital,
and scored these portentous victories, had at last to pay for them all
in defeat and humiliation on his own soil.

Even the robber Spartacus beat the Roman armies at first, with their
consuls at their head, and laid waste a large part of the peninsula.
These violent uprisings and incursions are always dangerous at their
onset; they are just like new diseases, which the doctors tell us must
be studied by themselves, and which are rarely treated with great
success until near the period of their natural cessation. After a time
Fabius learns how to handle the hot Southern invaders, and Crassus the
way of fighting the fierce gladiators with their classical bowie-knives.

Remember, _Rome_ never is beaten,--_Romans_ may be. It is inherent in
the very idea of a republic that its peaceful servants shall be liable
to be taken at fault. The counsels of the many, which are meant to
secure all men's rights in tranquil times, cannot in the nature of
things adapt themselves all at once to the sudden exigencies of war.
Consequently, a republic must expect to be beaten at first by any
concentrated power of nearly equal strength. After a time the
commander-in-chief emerges from the confused mass of counsellors, and
substitutes the action of one mind and will for the conflict of many.
The Romans recognized the Dictatorship as the necessary complement of
the Republic; and it is worthy of remark that that high office was
never abused so long as the people were worthy to be free. "_Ne quid
detrimenti respublica capiat_" was the formula according to which they
surrendered their liberty for the sake of their liberty. A great danger,
doubtless, for a people not leavened through and through with the spirit
of freedom; but not so where the army is only the representative of a
self-governing community. This army is not like to enslave itself or
the families it comes from, to please the leader whom it trusts for an
emergency. The pilot is absolute while the vessel is coming into harbor,
but the crew are not afraid of his remaining master of the ship.
Washington's reply to Nicola's letter, proposing to make him King, was
written at a time when the republican system under the shadow of which
three generations have been bred up to manhood was but as a grain of
mustard-seed compared to this mighty growth which now spreads over our
land. It is not likely that another man will make out so good a claim
to supremacy as he; it is pretty certain, that, if he does, he will not
have the opportunity of rejecting the insignia of royalty, and if this
should happen, he can hardly forget the great example before him.

It is curious to see that the difficulties a general has to contend
with now are much the same that were found in the first Revolution: bad
food,--the poor surgeon at Valley Forge, whose diary was printed the
other day, could not keep it on his stomach at any rate,--insufficient
clothing, and no shoes at all, as the bloody snow bore witness,--and
among our own New England troops "a spirit of insubordination which they
took for independence," as Washington expressed himself. We do not think
the New England men have rendered themselves liable to this reproach
of late,--and this is a remarkable tribute to the influence of a true
republican training. But in various quarters there has been enough of
it, and the consequent disorganization of at least one free and easy
regiment is no more than might have been expected.

A panic or two, with all the disgrace and suffering that attach to such
hysterical paroxysms, or at least a defeat, are the experiences through
which half-organized bodies often pass to teach them the meaning of
discipline and mechanical habit. An army must go through the annealing
process like glass; let a few regiments be cracked to pieces because
their leaders did not know how to withdraw them gradually from the
furnace of action, and the lesson will be all the better remembered
because taught by a costly example. Our early mishaps were all
predicted, sometimes in formal shape, as in various letters dated long
before the breaking out of hostilities, and very often in the common
talk of those about us. But, after all, when the first chastisement
from our hard schoolmaster, Experience, comes upon us, it is a kind of
surprise, in spite of all our preparation.

A writer in the present number of this magazine shows us that there is a
complete literature of panics, not merely as occurring among new levies,
but seizing on the best-appointed armies, containing as much individual
bravery as any that never ran away from an enemy. The men of Israel gave
way before the men of Benjamin, "retired" in the language of Scripture,
in order to lead them into ambush. At a given signal they faced about,
and the men of Benjamin "were amazed" (panic-struck) and "turned their
backs before the men of Israel unto the way of the wilderness,"--took to
the woods, as we should say. Their enemies did not lie still or run as
fast the other way, like ours at Bull Run, but they "inclosed" them, and
"chased them, and trode them down with ease," and "gleaned of them in
the highways," and "pursued hard after them." Yet "all these were men of
valor."

Not to return to our old classical friends, what modern nation has ever
known how to fight that had not learned how to be beaten and how to run?
The English ran ninety miles from Bannockburn, seared by the "gillies"
and the baggage-wagons. They paid back their debt at Culloden. The
Prussian armies were routed at Jena and Auerstädt. They had their
revenge in the "_sauve qui peut_" of Waterloo. The great armada, British
and French, undertook to bombard Sebastopol, and eight ships of the line
were so mauled that they had to go back to Toulon and Portsmouth for
repairs. Lord Raglan is said to have so far despaired of success as to
have contemplated raising the siege.

Everybody remembers the feeling produced by the repeated fruitless
attacks on the fortifications, the three unsuccessful bombardments,
the divided counsels, the disappointment and death of Lord Raglan, the
complaints of Canrobert of the want of a single commanding intellect,
and the relinquishment of his own position to Pelissier, itself a
confession of failure. If there ever was a campaign begun with defeat
and disaster, it was that which ended with the fall of Sebastopol.

Read the account of the retreat of the advanced force of our own army
at the Battle of Monmouth Court-House. Washington could not believe the
first story told him. Presently he met one fugitive after another, and
then Grayson's and Patton's regiments in disorderly retreat. He did not
know what to make of it. There had been no fighting except a successful
skirmish with the enemy's cavalry. He met Major Howard; this officer
could give no reason for the running,--had never seen the like. Another
officer swears they are flying from a shadow. Lee tries to account for
it,--troops confused by contradictory intelligence, by disobedience of
orders, by the meddling and blundering of individuals,--vague excuses
all, the plain truth being that they had given way to a panic. But for
Washington's fierce commands and threats, the retreat might have become
a total rout.

It is curious to see how the little incidents, even, of our late
accelerated retrograde movement recall those of the old Revolutionary
story. Mr. Russell speaks thus of the fugitives: "Faces black and dusty,
_tongues out in the heat_, eyes staring,--it was a most wonderful
sight." If Mr. Russell had ever read Stedman's account of his own
countrymen's twenty-mile run from Concord to Bunker's Hill, he would
have learned that they "were so much exhausted with fatigue, that they
were obliged to lie down for rest on the ground, _their tongues hanging
out of their mouths_, like those of dogs after a chase." One rout is as
much like another as the scamper of one flock of sheep like that of all
others.

A pleasing consequence of this war we are engaged in has hardly
been enough thought of. It is a rough way of introducing distant
fellow-citizens of the same land to each other's acquaintance. Next to
the intimacy of love is that of enmity. Nay,

  "Love itself could never pant
  For all that beauty sighs to grant
  With half the fervor hate bestows
  Upon the last embrace of foes,
  When, grappling in the fight, they fold
  Those arms that ne'er shall lose their hold."

"We shall learn to respect each other," as one of our conservative
friends said long ago. It is a great mistake to try to prove our own
countrymen cowards and degenerate from the old stock. It is worth the
price of some hard fighting to show the contrary to the satisfaction of
both parties. The Scotch and English called each other all possible hard
names in the time of their international warfare; but the day has come
for them, as it will surely come for us, when the rivals and enemies
must stand side by side and shoulder to shoulder, each proud of the
other's bravery.

       *       *       *       *       *

For three-quarters of a century we have been melting our several
destinies in one common crucible, to mould a new and mighty empire such
as the world has never seen. Our partners cannot expect to be allowed
to break the crucible or the mould, or to carry away the once separate
portions now flowing in a single incandescent flood. We cannot sell and
they cannot buy our past. Our nation has pledged itself to unity by the
whole course of its united action. There is one debt alone that all
the cotton-fields of the South could never pay: it is the price of
our voluntary humiliation for the sake of keeping peace with the
slaveholders. We may be robbed of our inalienable nationality, if
treason is strong enough, but we are trustees of the life of three
generations for the benefit of all that are yet to be. We cannot sell.
We dare not break the entail of freedom and disinherit the first-born of
half a continent.

When the Plebeians seceded to the Mons Sacer, some five hundred years
before the Christian era, the Consul Menenius Agrippa brought them back
by his well-known fable of the Belly and the Members. Perhaps it would
be too much to expect to call back our seceders with a fable which they
will hardly have the opportunity of reading in the present condition of
the postal service, but the state of the case may be put with a certain
degree of truth in this of

THE FRONT-TEETH AND THE GRINDERS.

Once on a time a mutiny arose among the teeth of a worthy man, in good
health and blessed with a sound constitution, commonly known as Uncle
Samuel. The cutting-teeth, or _incisors_, and the eye-teeth, or
_canines_, though not nearly so many, all counted, nor so large, nor so
strong as the grinders, and by no means so white, but, on the contrary,
very much discolored, began to find fault with the grinders as not good
enough company for them. The eye-teeth, being very sharp and fitted for
seizing and tearing, and standing out taller than the rest, claimed to
lead them. Presently, one of them complained that it ached very badly,
and then another and another. Very soon the cutting-teeth, which
pretended they were supplied by the same nerve, and were proud of
it, began to ache also. They all agreed that it was the fault of the
grinders.

About this time, Uncle Samuel, having used his old tooth-brush (which
was never a good one, having no stiffness in the bristles) for four
years, took a new one, recommended to him by a great number of people as
a homely, but useful article. Thereupon all the front-teeth, one after
another, declared that Uncle Samuel meant to scour them white, which was
a thing they would never submit to, though the whole civilized world was
calling on them to do so. So they all insisted on getting out of the
sockets in which they had grown and stood for so many years. But the
wisdom-teeth spoke up for the others and said,--

"Nay, there be but twelve of you front-teeth, and there be twenty of us
grinders. We are the strongest, and a good deal nearest the muscles
and the joint, but we cannot spare you. We have put up with your black
stains, your jumping aches, and your snappish looks, and now we are not
going to let you go, under the pretence that you are to be scrubbed
white, if you stay. You don't work half so hard as we do, but you can
bite the food well enough, which we can grind so much better than you.
We belong to each other. You must stay."

Thereupon the front-teeth, first the canines or dog-teeth, next the
incisors or cutting-teeth, proceeded to declare themselves out of their
sockets, and no longer belonging to the jaws of Uncle Samuel.

Then Uncle Samuel arose in his wrath and shut his jaws tightly together,
and swore that he would keep them shut till those aching and discolored
teeth of his went to pieces in their sockets, if need were, rather than
have them drawn, standing, as some of them did, at the very opening of
his throat and stomach.

And now, if you will please to observe, all those teeth are beginning
to ache worse than ever, and to decay very fast, so that it will take a
great deal of gold to stop the holes that are forming in them. But the
great white grinders are as sound as ever, and will remain so until
Uncle Samuel thinks the time has come for opening his mouth. In the mean
time they keep on grinding in a quiet way, though the others have had
to stop biting for a long time. When Uncle Samuel opens his mouth, they
will be as ready for work as ever; but those poor discolored teeth will
be tender for a great while, and never be so strong as they were before
they foolishly declared themselves out of their sockets.

       *       *       *       *       *

The foregoing fable is respectfully dedicated to the Southern Plebs,
who, under the lead of their "Patrician" masters, have "seceded," like
their predecessors in the days of Menenius Agrippa.





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