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Title: The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 08, No. 49, November, 1861
Author: Various
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 08, No. 49, November, 1861" ***

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49, NOVEMBER, 1861***





  "Deduci superbo
  Non humilis mulier triumpho."

These words are applied by Horace to the great Cleopatra, whose heroic
end he celebrates, even while exulting in her overthrow. We apply them
to another woman of royal soul, who, capitulating with the world of her
contemporaries, does not allow them the ignoble triumph of plundering
the secrets of her life. They have long clamored at its gates, long
shouted at its windows, in defamation and in glorification. Ready now
for their admission, she lets the eager public in; but what they were
most intent to find still eludes them. In the "Histoire de ma Vie" are
the records of her parentage, birth, education. Here are detailed the
subtile influences that aided or hindered Nature in one of her most
lavish pieces of work; here are study, religion, marriage, maternity,
authorship, friendship, travel, litigation: but the passionate loving
woman, and whom she loved, are not here. To the world's triumph they
belong not, and we honor the decency and self-respect which consign them
to oblivion. Nor shall we endeavor to lift the veil which she has thus
thrown over the most intimate portion of her private life. We will not
ask any _Chronique Scandaleuse_, of which there are plenty, to supply
any hiatus in the _dramatis personae_ of her life. We shall take her as
she gives herself to us, bringing out the full significance of what she
says, but not interpolating with it what other people say. For she has
been generous in telling us all that it imports us most to know.
The itching curiosity of the spiteful or the vicious must seek its
gratification at other hands than ours: we will not be its ministers.
With all this, we are not obliged to shut our eyes to the true
significance of what she tells us, or to assume that in the account
she gives us of herself there is necessarily less self-deception than
self-judgment generally exhibits. If she mistakes the selfish for the
heroic, exalts a gratification into a duty, and preaches to her sex as
from the standpoint of a morality superior to theirs, we shall set it
down as it seems to us. But, for the sake of manhood as well as of
womanhood, we would not that any mean or malignant hand should endeavor
to show where she failed, and how.

Was she not to all of us, in our early years, a name of doubt, dread,
and enchantment? Did not all of us feel, in our young admiration for
her, something of the world's great struggle between conservative
discipline and revolutionary inspiration? We knew our parents would not
have us read her, _if they knew_. We knew they were right. Yet we read
her at stolen hours, with waning and still entreated light; and as we
read, in a dreary wintry room, with the flickering candle warning us
of late hours and confiding expectations, the atmosphere grew warm and
glorious about us,--a true human company, a living sympathy crept near
us,--the very world seemed not the same world after as before. She had
given us a real gift; no criticism could take it away. The hands might
be sinful, but the box they broke contained an exceeding precious

At a later day we saw these things rather differently. The electric
intoxication over, which book or being gives but once to the same
person, its elements were viewed with some distrust. Passing from ideal
to real life, as all pass, who live on, we shook our heads over the
books, sighed, ceased to read them. Grown mothers ourselves, we quietly
removed them as far as possible from the young hands about us, and would
rather have deprived them of the noble French language altogether than
have allowed it to bring them such lessons as Jacques and Valentine.
Yet we retain the old love for her; the world of literature still seems
brighter for her footsteps; and should we live to learn her death, tears
must follow it, and the sense of void left by the loss of a true friend,
noble and loyal-hearted, if mistaken. With this confession of sympathy
with the woman, we begin the critical consideration of the memoirs of
herself she has given to the world.

These memoirs begin at the earliest possible period, including the lives
of her parents and grandparents. The latter were illustrious on
one side, obscure on the other. She tells us that by her paternal
grandmother she was allied to the kings of France, and by her maternal
grandfather to the lowest of the people. The grandmother in question
was the natural daughter of the famous Maréchal de Saxe, recognized and
educated, but finally left with slender resources, and married to M.
Dupin de Francueil, an accomplished person of good family and fortune,
greatly her senior. To him she bore one child, a son named Maurice,
after the great soldier. As might have been expected, her widowhood was
early and long, for her aged partner soon dropped from her side, beloved
and regretted. George tells us that her grandmother was wont to insist
that an old man can be more agreeable in the marital relation than a
young one, and that M. Dupin de Francueil, elegant, accomplished,
and devoted to her happiness, had in his life left nothing for her
imagination to desire or her heart to regret.

As this lady is one of the heroines of the "Histoire de ma Vie," we
cannot do it justice without lingering a little over her portraiture.
She is described as tall, fair, and of a Saxon type of beauty. Her
manners would seem to have been _de haute école_, and her culture was
on a large and noble scale. Austere in her morals, her faith was the
deistic philosophy of the ante-revolutionary period; but, like other
people of noble mind, instead of making doubt a pretext for license, she
brought up virtue to justify the latitude of her creed, that the solid
results of conscience should entitle her to the free interpretation of
doctrine. She was chaste, benevolent, and sincere. Her mother had been a
singer of merit and celebrity, and she, the daughter, had both inherited
her musical talent, and had received one of those thorough musical
educations which alone make the possession of the art a pleasure and
resource. It must often occur to those who hear our young ladies sing
and play, that the accomplishment is little valued by them, save as an
outward social adornment.

Hence those ambitious and perfectly uninteresting performances with
which we are constantly bored in the fashionable musical world. It is
self-love which gives us those flat, empty _adagios_, those cold,
keen runs and embellishments. Love of the art has more modesty in the
undertaking, and more warmth in the execution. George says that she
has heard all the greatest singers of modern times, but that her
grandmother, in her old age, singing fragments of the operas of her own
time in a cracked and trembling voice, and accompanying herself on an
old harpsichord with three fingers of a palsied hand, always remained to
her a type of art above all others.

The first volume of these memoirs gives interesting notice of the
friendships which surrounded Madame Dupin during her married life. These
embraced various celebrities, historical and literary. Her husband was
the congenial friend of the best minds of the day, and was able, among
other things, to procure her the difficult pleasure of an interview
with Jean Jacques Rousseau, then living near her in great spleen and
retirement. We cannot do better than to give the relation of this in
her own words, as preserved by her grand-daughter. It is highly
characteristic of the parties and of the times.

"Before I had seen Rousseau, I had read the 'Nouvelle Héloïse' in one
breath, and at the last pages I found myself so overcome that I wept and
sobbed. My husband gently rallied me for this; but that day I could only
cry from morning till evening. During this, M. de Francueil, with the
address and the grace which he knew how to put into everything, ran to
find Jean Jacques. I do not know how he managed it, but he carried him
off, he brought him, without having communicated to me his intention.

"I, unconscious of all this, was not hastening my toilet. I was with
Madame d'Esparbès de Lussan, my friend, the most amiable woman in
the world, and the prettiest, _though she squinted a little, and was
slightly deformed._ M. de Francueil had come several times to see if I
was ready. I did not observe any marks of haste in my husband, and did
not hurry myself, never suspecting that he was there, the sublime Bear,
in my parlor. He had entered, looking partly foolish and partly cross,
and had seated himself in a corner, showing no other impatience than
that about dinner, in order to get away very soon.

"Finally, my toilet finished, and my eyes still red and swollen, I go
to the parlor. I see a little man, ill-dressed and scowling, who rose
clumsily, who _chewed out_ some confused words. I look, and I guess who
it is,--I try to speak,--I burst into tears. Francueil tries to put
us in tune by a pleasantry, and bursts into tears. We could not say
anything to each other. Rousseau pressed my hand without addressing me a
single word. We tried to dine, to cut short all these sobs. But I could
eat nothing. M. de Francueil could not be witty that day, and
Rousseau escaped directly on leaving the table, without having said a
word,--displeased, perhaps, with having found a new contradiction to
his claim of being the most persecuted, the most hated, and the most
calumniated of men."

The simplicity of this narration justifies its quotation here, as
illustrative of the taste and manners that prevailed a hundred years
ago. The lively emotion provoked by the "Nouvelle Héloïse" is scarcely
more foreign to our ideas and experience than the triangular fit of
weeping in the parlor, and the dinner, silent through excess of feeling,
that followed it.

M. Dupin de Francueil lived with great, but generous extravagance, and,
as his widow averred, "ruined himself in the most amiable manner in the
world." He died, leaving large estates in great confusion, from which
his widow and young son were compelled to "accept the poverty" of
seventy-five thousand livres of annual income,--a sum which the
Revolution, at a later day, greatly reduced. Till its outbreak, Madame
Dupin lived in peace and affluence, though not on the grand scale of
earlier days,--devoting herself chiefly to the care and education of her
son, Maurice, in which latter task she secured the services of a young
abbé, who afterwards prudently became the _Citizen_ Deschartres, and who
continued in the service of the family during the rest of a tolerably
long life. This personage plays too important a part in the memoirs to
be passed over without special notice. He continued to be the faithful
teacher and companion of Maurice, until the exigencies of military life
removed the latter from his control. He was also the man of business of
Madame Dupin, and, at a later day, the preceptor of George herself, who,
with childish petulance, bestowed on him the sobriquet of _grand homme_,
in consequence, she tells us, of his _omnicompétence_ and his air of
importance. "My grandmother," she says, "had no presentiment, that, in
confiding to him the education of her son, she was securing the tyrant,
the saviour, and the friend of her whole remaining life." We would
gladly give here in full George's portrait of her tutor; but if we
should stop to sketch all the admirable photography of this work, our
review would become a volume. We can only borrow a trait or two, and
pass on to the consideration of other matters.

"He had been good-looking; but I am sure that no one, even in his best
days, could have looked at him without laughing, so clearly was the word
_pedant_ written in all the lines of his face and in every movement of
his person. To be complete, he should have been ignorant, _gourmand_,
and cowardly. But, far from this, he was very learned, temperate, and
madly courageous. He had all the great qualities of the soul, joined
to an insufferable disposition, and a self-satisfaction which amounted
almost to delirium. But what devotion, what zeal, what a tender and
generous soul!"

In the intervals of his necessary occupations he studied medicine and
surgery, in the latter of which he attained considerable skill. In the
many subsequent years of his country life, he made these accomplishments
very useful to the village folk. No stress of weather or
unseasonableness of hours could detain him from attending the sick, when
summoned; but being obliged, as George says, to be ridiculous as well as
sublime in all things, he was wont to beat his patients when they were
bold enough to offer him money for their cure, and even made missile
weapons of the poultry and game which they brought him in acknowledgment
of his services, assailing them with blows and harder words, till they
fled, amused or angry. Maurice, his first pupil, was a delicate and
indolent child, and showed little robustness of character till his early
manhood, when the necessity of a career forced him into the ranks of the
great army.

The first threatenings of the Revolution found in Madame Dupin an
unalarmed observer. As a disciple of Voltaire and Rousseau, she could
not but detest the abuses of the Court; she shared, too, the general
personal alienation of the aristocracy from the _German woman_, as they
called Marie Antoinette. She admired, in turn, the probity of Necker and
the genius of Mirabeau; but the current of disorder finally found its
way to her, and swept away her household peace among the innumerable
wrecks that marked its passage. Implicated as the depository of some
papers supposed to be of treasonable character, she was arrested and
imprisoned in Paris, her son and Deschartres being officially separated
from her and detained at Passy. The imprisonment lasted some months, and
its tedium was beguiled by the most fervent love-letters between the boy
of sixteen and his mother. The sorrow of this separation, George says,
metamorphosed the sickly, spoiled child into a fervent and resolute
youth, whose subsequent career was full of courage and self-denial. Of
the Revolution she writes:--

"In my eyes, it is one of the phases of evangelical life: a tumultuous,
bloody life, terrible at certain moments, full of convulsions, of
delirium, and of sobbing. It is the violent contest of the principle of
equality preached by Jesus, and passing, now like a radiant light, now
like a burning torch, from hand to hand, to our own days, against the
old pagan world, which is not destroyed, which will not be for a long
time yet, in spite of the mission of Christ, and so many other divine
missions, in spite of so many stakes, scaffolds, and martyrs. What is
there, then, to astonish us in the vertigo which seized all minds at
the period of the inextricable _mêlée_ into which France precipitated
herself in '93? When everything went by retaliation, when every one
became, by deed or intention, victim and executioner in turn, and when
between the oppression endured and the oppression exercised there was
no time for reflection or liberty of choice, how could passion have
abstracted itself in action, or impartiality have dictated quiet
judgments? Passionate souls were judged by others as passionate, and the
human race cried out as in the time of the ancient Hussites,--'This is a
time of mourning, of zeal, and of fury.'"

The tone of our author concerning this and subsequent revolutions which
have come within her own observation is throughout temperate, hopeful,
and charitable. The noblest side of womanhood comes out in this; and
however her fiery youth might have counselled, in the pages now under
consideration she appears as the apologist of humankind, the world's

George loves to linger over the details of her father's early life.
They are, indeed, all she possesses of him, as she was still in early
childhood when he died. So much and such charming narrations has she
to give us of his military life, his musical ability, his courage and
disinterestedness, that she herself does not manage to get born until
nearly the end of the third volume, and that through a series of
concatenations which we must hastily review.

The imprisonment of Madame Dupin was not long; after some months of
detention, she was allowed to rejoin her son at Passy, and the whole
family-party speedily removed to Nohant, in the heart of Berry, which
henceforth figures as the homestead in the pages of these volumes. But
Maurice is soon obliged to adopt a profession. His mother's revenues
have been considerably diminished by the political troubles. He feels in
himself the power, the determination, to carve out a career for
himself, and gallantly enters, as a simple soldier, the armies of the
Republic,--Napoleon Bonaparte being First Consul. Although he soon saw
service, his promotion seems to have been slow and difficult. He was
full of military ardor, and laborious in acquiring the science of his
profession; but there were already so many candidates for every smallest
distinction, and Maurice was no courtier, to help out his deserts with a
little fortunate flattery. He complains in his letters that the tide has
already turned, and that even in the army diplomacy fares better than
real bravery. Still, he soon rose from the ranks, served with honor on
the Rhine and in Italy, and became finally attached to the _personnel_
of Murat, during the occupation of the Peninsula. His title of grandson
of the Maréchal de Saxe was sometimes helpful, sometimes hurtful. In the
eyes of his comrades it won him honor; but Napoleon, on hearing his high
descent urged as a claim to consideration, is said to have replied,
brusquely,--"I don't want any of those people." In his letters to
his mother, he recounts his adventures, military and amorous, with
frankness, but without boasting; but his confidences soon become very
partial, and before she knows it the poor mother has a dangerous rival.
We will let him give his own account of the origin of this new relation.

"You know that I was in love in Milan. You guessed it, because I did not
tell you of it. At times I fancied myself beloved in return, and then I
saw, or thought I saw, that I was not. I wished to divert my thoughts; I
went away, desiring to think no more of it.

"This charming woman is here, and we have hardly spoken to each other.
We scarcely exchanged a look. I felt a little vexation, though that is
scarcely in my nature. She was proud towards me, although her heart is
tender and passionate. This morning, during breakfast, we heard distant
cannon. The General ordered me to mount at once, and go to see what it
was. I rise, take the staircase in two bounds, and run to the stable.
At the very moment of mounting my horse I turned and saw behind me this
dear woman, blushing, embarrassed, and casting on me a lingering look,
expressive of fear, interest, love."

This fatal look, as the experienced will readily conceive, did the
business. The young soldier dreamed only of a love affair like twenty
others which had made the pastime of his oft-changing quarters; but this
"dear woman," Sophie Victoire Antoinette Delaborde, daughter of an old
bird-fancier, was destined to become his wife, and the mother of his
daughter, Aurore Dupin, whom the world knows as George Sand. The
circumstances of her youth had been untoward. She was at this period
already the mother of one child, born out of marriage, and seems to have
been making the campaign of Italy under the so-called protection of some
rich man, whose name is not given us. This protection she hastened to
leave, following thenceforward with devotion the precarious fortunes
of the young soldier, and gaining her own subsistence, until their
marriage, by the toil of the needle, to which she had been bred. Of
course, Maurice's confidences to his mother under this head soon cease.
An amour with a person in Victoire's position could be admitted; but
a serious, solid affection, leading to marriage, this would break his
mother's heart, and indeed not without reason. The reader must remember
that this is a chapter out of French society, on which account we
suppress all hysterical comment upon a state of things universally
received and acknowledged therein. Maurice's trivial, and _we_ should
say, unprincipled pursuit of Victoire would be considered perfectly
legitimate in the sphere which made the world to him. The sequel,
perhaps, would not have been considered differently here and there; for,
however we may recognize the sacredness of true affection, a marriage
so unequal and with such sinister antecedents would be regarded in all
society with little approbation, or hope of good. His mother soon grew
alarmed, as various symptoms of an enduring and carefully concealed
attachment became evident to her keen observation. In the years that
followed, she left no means untried to break off this dangerous
connection;--her remonstrances were by turns tender and violent,--her
reasonings, no doubt, in great part just; but Maurice defended the woman
of his choice from all accusations, from every annoyance, on the ground
of her devoted and honorable attachment to him. After four years of
continued trouble and irresolution, in which, George tells us, he had
again and again made the endeavor to sacrifice Victoire to his mother's
happiness, and after the birth of several children, who soon ceased
to live, he wedded her by civil rite. The birth of his daughter soon
followed. "And thus it was," says George, "that I was born legitimate."

"My mother had on a pretty pink dress that day, and my father was
playing some _contredanses_ on his faithful Cremona (I have it yet, that
old instrument by the sound of which I first saw the light). My mother
left the dance and passed into her own room. As she went out very
quietly, the dance continued. At the last _chassez all round_, my Aunt
Lucy went into my mother's room, and immediately cried,--

"Come, come here, Maurice! You have a daughter!"

"She shall be named Aurore, for my poor mother, who is not here to bless
her, but who will bless her one day," said my father, receiving me in
his arms.

"She was born in music and in pink," said my aunt. "She will be happy."

Not eminent, perhaps, has been the realization of this augury.

The young couple were so poor, at this moment of their marriage, that a
slender thread of gold was forced to serve for the nuptial ring; it was
not until some days later that they were able to expend six francs in
the purchase of that indispensable ornament. The act once consummated,
Maurice gave himself up to some hours of bitter suffering, made
inevitable by what he considered a grave act of disobedience against the
best of mothers. His conscience, however, on the whole, justified
him. He had obeyed the Scripture precept, forsaking the old for the
inevitable new relation, and surrounding her who was really his wife
with the immunities of civil recognition. The marriage was concealed for
some months from his mother,--who at a subsequent period left no stone
unturned to prove its nullity. The religious ceremony, which Catholicism
considers as the indissoluble tie, had not yet been performed, and
Mme. Dupin hoped to prove some informality in the civil rite. In
this, however, she did not succeed, and after long resistance, and
ill-concealed displeasure, she concluded by acknowledging the unwelcome
alliance. It was the little Aurore herself whose unconscious hand
severed the Gordian knot of the family difficulties. Introduced by a
stratagem into her grandmother's presence, and seated in her lap as the
child of a stranger, the family traits were suddenly recognized, and the
little one (eight months old) effected a change of heart which neither
lawyer nor priest could have induced. St. Childhood is fortunately
always in the world, working ever these miracles of reconciliation.

George speaks with admirable candor of the inevitable relations between
these two women. She does full justice to the legitimacy of the
grandmother's objections to the marriage, and her fears for its result,
which were founded much more on moral than on social considerations. At
the same time she nobly asserts her mother's claim to rehabilitation
through a passionate and disinterested attachment, a faithful devotion
to the duties of marriage and maternity, and a widowhood whose sorrow
ended only with her life. She says,--"The doctrine of redemption is the
symbol of the principle of expiation and of rehabilitation"; but she
adds,--"Our society recognizes this principle in religious theory,
but not in practice; it is too great, too beautiful for us." She says
farther,--"There still exists a pretended aristocracy of virtue, which,
proud of its privileges, does not admit that the errors of youth are
susceptible of atonement. This condemnation is the more absurd, because,
for what is called the World, it is hypocritical. It is not only women
of really irreproachable life, nor matrons truly respected, who are
called upon to decide upon the merits of their misled sisters. It is not
the company of the excellent of the earth who make opinion. That is all
a dream. The great majority of women of the world is really a majority
of _lost women_." We must understand these remarks as applying to French
society, in respect even of which we are not inclined to admit their
truth. Yet there is a certain justice in the inference that women
are often most severely condemned by those who are no better than
themselves; and this insincerity of uncharity is far more to be dreaded
than the over-zeal of virtuous hearts, which oftenest helps and heals
where it has been obliged to wound.

At the risk of unduly multiplying quotations, we will quote here what
George says of her mother in this, the flower of her days. At a later
day, the ill-regulated character suffered and made others suffer with
its own discords, which education and moral training had done nothing to
reconcile. The manly support, too, of the nobler nature was wanting,
and the best half of her future and its possibilities was buried in the
untimely grave of her husband. Here is what she was when she was at her

"My mother never felt herself either humiliated or honored by the
company of people who might have considered themselves her superiors.
She ridiculed keenly the pride of fools, the vanity of _parvenus_, and,
feeling herself of the people to her very finger-ends, she thought
herself more noble than all the patricians and aristocrats of the earth.
She was wont to say that those of her race had redder blood and larger
veins than others,--which I incline to believe; for, if moral and
physical energy constitute in reality the excellence of races, we cannot
deny that this energy is compelled to diminish in those who lose the
habit of labor and the courage of endurance. This aphorism is certainly
not without exception, and we may add that excess of labor and of
endurance enervates the organization as much as the excess of luxury and
idleness. But it is certain, in general, that life rises from the bottom
of society, and loses itself in measure as it rises to the top, like the
sap in plants.

"My mother was not one of those bold _intrigantes_ whose secret passion
is to struggle against the prejudices of their time, and who think to
make themselves greater by clinging, at the risk of a thousand affronts,
to the false greatness of the world. She was far too proud to expose
herself even to coldness. Her attitude was so reserved that she passed
for a timid person; but if one attempted to encourage her by airs of
protection, she became more than reserved, she showed herself cold and
taciturn. With people who inspired her with respect, she was amiable and
charming; but her real disposition was gay, petulant, active, and, above
all, opposed to constraint. Great dinners, long _soirées_, commonplace
visits, balls themselves, were odious to her. She was the woman of the
fireside or of the rapid and frolicking walk; but in her interior, as in
her goings abroad, intimacy, confidence, relations of entire sincerity,
absolute freedom in her habits and the employment of her time, were
indispensable to her. She, therefore, always lived in a retired manner,
more anxious to avoid unpleasant acquaintances than eager to make
advantageous ones. Such, too, was the foundation of my father's
character, and in this respect never was couple better assorted. They
were never happy out of their little household. And they have bequeathed
me this secret _sauvagerie_, which has always rendered the [fashionable]
world insupportable to me, and home indispensable."

In referring back to these volumes, we are led into continual loiterings
by the way. The style of our heroine is so magical, that we are
constantly tempted to let her tell her own story, and to give to the
gems of hers which we insert in these pages the slightest possible
setting of our own. But it is not our business to anticipate for any one
a reading from which no student of modern literature, or, indeed, of
modern mind, will excuse himself. We must give only so much as shall
make it sure that others will seek more at the fountain-head; but for
this purpose we must turn less to the book, and trust for our narration
to a sufficiently recent perusal still vividly remembered.

Aurore could scarcely have passed out of her third year when she
accompanied her mother to Madrid, where her father was already in
attendance upon Murat. She remembers their quarters in the palace,
magnificently furnished, and the half-broken toys of the royal
children, whose destruction she was allowed to complete. To please his
commander-in-chief, her father caused her to assume a miniature uniform,
like those of the Prince's aide-de-camps, whose splendid discomfort she
still recalls. This would seem a sort of prophecy of that assuming
of male attire in later years which was to constitute a capital
circumstance in her life. The return from the Peninsula was weary and
painful to the mother and child, and made more so by the disgust with
which the Spanish roadside bill-of-fare inspired the more civilized
French stomach. They were forced to make a part of the journey in wagons
with the common soldiery and camp-retainers, and Aurore in this manner
took the itch, to her mother's great mortification. Arrived at Nohant,
however, the care of Deschartres, joined to a self-imposed _régime_ of
green lemons, which the little girl devoured, skins, seeds, and all,
soon healed the ignominious eruption. Here the whole family passed some
months of happy repose, too soon interrupted by the tragical death of
Maurice. He had brought back from Spain a formidable horse, which he had
christened the _terrible_ Leopardo, and which, brave cavalier as he was,
he never mounted without a certain indefinable misgiving. He often said,
"I ride him badly, because I am afraid of him, and he knows it."
Dining with some friends in the neighborhood, one day, he was late in
returning. His wife and mother passed the evening together, the first
jealous and displeased at his protracted absence, the second occupied in
calming the irritation and rebuking the suspicions of her companion. The
wife at last yielded, and retired to rest. But the mother's heart, more
anxious, watched and watched. Towards midnight, a slight confusion in
the house augmented her alarm. She started at once, alone and thinly
dressed, to go and meet her son. The night was dark and rainy; the
terrible Leopardo had fulfilled the prophetic forebodings of his rider.
The poor lady, brought up in habits of extreme inactivity, had taken but
two walks in all her life. The first had been to surprise her son at
Passy, when released from the Revolutionary prison. The second was to
meet and escort back his lifeless body, found senseless by the roadside.

We have done now with Aurore's ancestry, and must occupy our remaining
pages with accounts of herself. Much time is given by her to the record
of her early childhood, and the explanation of its various phases. She
loves children; it is perhaps for this reason that she dwells longest on
this period of her life, describing its minutest incidents with all the
poetry that is in her. One would think that her childhood seemed to
her that actual flower of her life which it is to few in their own
consciousness. Despite the loss of her father, and the vexed relations
between her mother and grandmother which followed his death, her
infancy was joyous and companionable, passed mostly with the country
surroundings and out-door influences which act so magically on the
young. It soon became evident that she was to be confided chiefly to her
grandmother's care; and this, which was at first a fear, soon came to be
a sorrow. Still her mother was often with her, and her time was divided
between the plays of her village-friends and the dreams of romantic
incident which early formed the main feature of her inner life. Already
at a very early age her mother used to say to those who laughed at the
little romancer,--"Let her alone; it is only when she is making her
novels between four chairs that I can work in peace." This habit of
mind grew with her growth. Her very dolls played grandiose parts in her
child-drama. The paper on the wall became animated to her at night, and
in her dreams she witnessed strange adventures between its Satyrs and
Bacchantes. Soon she imagined for herself a sort of angel-companion,
whose name was Corambé. His presence grew to be more real to her than
reality itself, and in her quiet moments she wove out the mythology of
his existence, as Bhavadgheetas and Mahabraatus have been dreamed. In
process of time, she built, or rather entwisted, for him a little shrine
in the woods. All pretty things the child could gather were brought
together there, to give him pleasure. But one day the foot of a little
playmate profaned this sanctuary, and Aurore sought it no more, while
still Corambé was with her everywhere.

Although she seems to have always suffered from her mother's
inequalities of temper, yet for many years she clung to her, and to the
thought of her, with jealous affection. The great difference of age
which separated her from her grandmother inspired fear, and the grand
manners and careful breeding of the elder lady increased this effect.
When left with her, the child fell into a state of melancholy, with
passionate reactions against the chilling, penetrating influence,
which yet, having reason on its side, was destined to subdue her. "Her
chamber, dark and perfumed, gave me the headache, and fits of spasmodic
yawning. When she said to me, '_Amuse yourself quietly_,' it seemed
to me as if she shut me up in a great box with her." What sympathetic
remembrances must this phrase evoke in all who remember the _gêne_ of
similar constraints! George draws from this inferences of the wisdom of
Nature in confiding the duties of maternity to young creatures, whose
pulses have not yet lost the impatient leap of early pleasure and
energy, and to whom repose and reflection have not yet become the primal
necessities of life. This want of the nearness and sympathy of age
she was to experience more, as, by the consent of both parties,
her education was to be conducted under the superintendence of her
grandmother, from whom the mother derived her pension, and whose estate
the child was to inherit. The separation from her mother, gradually
effected, was the great sorrow of her childhood. She revolted from it
sometimes openly, sometimes in secret; and the project of escaping and
joining her mother in Paris, where, with her half-sister Caroline,
they would support themselves by needle-work, was soon formed and
long cherished. For the expenses of this intended journey, the child
carefully gathered and kept her little treasures, a coral comb, a ring
with a tiny brilliant, etc., etc. In contemplating these, she consoled
many a heartache; as who is there of us who has not often effectually
beguiled _ennui_ and privation by dreams of joys that never were to have
any other reality? The mother seems to have entered into this plan only
for the moment; it soon escaped her remembrance altogether, and the
little girl waited and waited to be sent for, till finally the whole
vision faded into a dream.

Deschartres, the tutor of Maurice, and of Hippolyte, his illegitimate
son, became also the instructor of the little Aurore. With all her
passion for out-door life, she felt always, she tells us, an invincible
necessity of mental cultivation, and perpetually astonished those
who had charge of her by her ardor alike in work and in play. Her
grandmother soon found that the child was never ill, so long as
sufficient freedom of exercise was permitted; so she was soon allowed to
run at will, dividing her time pretty equally between the study and the
fields. Thus she grew in mind and body from seven to twelve, promising
to be tall and handsome, though not in after-years fulfilling this
promise; for of her stature she tells us that it did not exceed that of
her mother, whom she calls a _petite femme_,--and of her appearance
she simply says that in her youth "with eyes, hair, and a robust
organization," she was neither handsome nor ugly. At the age of twelve,
a social necessity compelled her to go through the form of confession
and the first communion. Her grandmother was divided between the
convictions of her own liberalism, and the desire not to place her
cherished charge in direct opposition to the imperious demands of a
Catholic community. The laxity of the period allowed the compromise to
be managed in a merely formal and superficial manner. The grandmother
tried to give the rite a certain significance, at the same time
imploring the child "not to suppose that she was about to _eat her
Creator_." The confessor asked none of those questions which our author
simply qualifies as infamous, and, with a very mild course of catechism
and slight dose of devotion, that Rubicon of maturity was passed. Not
far beyond it waited a terrible trial, perhaps as great a sorrow as the
whole life was to bring. Aurore's diligence in her studies was marred
by the secret intention, long cherished, of escaping to her mother, and
adopting with her her former profession of dress-maker. Having one day
answered reproof with a petulant assertion of her desire to rejoin her
mother at all hazards, the grandmother determined to put an end to such
projects by a severe measure. Aurore was banished from her presence
during a certain number of days. Neither friend nor servant spoke to
her. She describes naturally enough this lonely, uncomforted condition,
in which, more than ever, she meditated upon the wished-for return to
her mother, and the beginning with her of a new life of industry and
privation. Summoned at last to her grandmother's bedside, and kneeling
to ask for reconciliation, she is forced to stay there, and to listen
to the most cruel and literal account of her mother's life, its early
errors, and their inevitable consequences.

"All that she narrated was true in point of fact, and attested by
circumstances whose detail admitted of no doubt. But this terrible
history might have been unveiled to me without injury to my respect
and love for my mother, and, thus told, it would have been much more
probable and more true. It would have sufficed to tell all the causes of
her misfortunes,--loneliness and poverty from the age of fourteen years,
the corruption of the rich, who are there to lie in wait for hunger and
to blight the flower of innocence, the pitiless rigorism of opinion,
which allows no return and accepts no expiation. They should also have
told me how my mother had redeemed the past, how faithfully she had
loved my father, how, since his death, she had lived humble, sad, and
retired. Finally, my poor grandmother let fall the fatal word. My mother
was a lost woman, and I a blind child rushing towards a precipice."

The horror of this disclosure did not work the miracle anticipated.
Aurore submitted indeed outwardly, but a spell of hardness and
hopelessness was drawn around her young heart, which neither tears nor
tenderness could break. The blow struck at the very roots of life and
hope in her. Self-respect was wounded in its core. If the mother who
bore her was vile, then she was vile also. All object in life seemed
gone. She tried to live from day to day without interest, without hope.
From her dark thoughts she found refuge only in extravagant gayety,
which brought physical weariness, but no repose of mind. She, who
had been on the whole a docile, manageable child, became so riotous,
unreasonable, and insupportable, that the only alternative of utter
waste of character seemed to be the discipline and seclusion of
the convent. She was accordingly taken to Paris, and received as a
_pensionnaire_ in the Convent des Anglaises, which had been, in the
Revolution, her grandmother's prison. To Aurore it was rather a place of
refuge than a place of detention. The chords of life had been cruelly
jarred in her bosom, and the discords in her character thence resulting
agonized her more than they displeased others. As for the extraordinary
communication which had led to this disorder of mind, we do not
hesitate, under the circumstances, to pronounce it an act of gratuitous
cruelty. Of all pangs that can assail a human heart, none transcends
that of learning the worthlessness of those we love; and to lay this
burden, which has crushed and crazed the strongest natures, upon the
tender heart of a child, was little less than murderous. Nor can
the motive assigned justify an act so cruel; since modern morality
increasingly teaches that the means must justify themselves, as well as
the end. In spite of these odious revelations, the child felt that her
love for her mother was undiminished, and a pitying comprehension of the
natural differences between the two nearest to her on earth slowly arose
in her mind, allowing her to do justice to the intentions of both.

Aurore wandered at first about the convent with only a vague feeling
of loneliness. The young girls, French and English, who composed its
classes, surveyed her in the beginning with distrust. Soon the youngest
and wildest set, called _Diables_, accorded her affiliation, and in
their company she managed to increase tolerably the anxieties and
troubles of the under-mistresses.

She was early initiated into the _great secret_, the traditionary legend
of the convent. This pointed at the existence, in some subterranean
dungeon, of a wretched prisoner, or perhaps of several, cut off from
liberty and light; and to _deliver the victim_ became the object of a
hundred wild expeditions, by day and by night, through the uninhabited
rooms and extensive vaults of the ancient edifice. The little ladies
hoarded with care their candle-ends,--they tumbled up and down ruinous
staircases, listened for groans and complaints, tried to undermine walls
and partitions, fortunately with little success. The victim was never
found, but her story was bequeathed from class to class, and her
deliverance was always the object and excuse of the _Diables_.

After much time wasted in these pursuits, attended by a mediocre
progress in the ordinary course of study and what the French call
_leçons d'agrément_, and we accomplishments, a critical moment came for
Aurore. She was weary of frolic and mischief,--she had tormented the
nuns to her heart's content. She knew not what new comedy to invent. She
thought of putting ink in the holy water,--it had been done already; of
hanging the parrot of the under-mistress,--but they had given her so
many frights, there would be nothing new in that. She saw, one
evening, the door of the little chapel open;--its quiet, its exquisite
cleanliness and simplicity attracted her. She had followed thither to
mock at the awkward motions of a little hunch-backed sister at her
devotions,--but once within she forgot this object. A veiled nun was
kneeling in her stall at prayer,--a single lamp feebly illuminated the
white walls,--a star looked in at her through the dim window. The nun
slowly rose and departed. Aurore was left alone. A calm, such as she had
never known, took possession of her,--a sudden light seemed to envelop
her,--she heard the mystical sentence vouchsafed to Saint Augustin:
"_Toile, lege!_" Turning to see who whispered it, she found herself

"I cherished no vain illusion. I did not believe in a miraculous voice.
I understood perfectly the sort of hallucination into which I had
fallen. I was neither elated nor frightened at it. Only, I felt that
Faith was taking possession of me, as I had wished, through the heart. I
was so grateful, in such delight, that a torrent of tears inundated my
face. 'Yes, yes, the veil is torn!' I said, 'I see the light of heaven!
I will go! But, before all, let me render thanks. To whom? how? What is
thy name?' said I to the unknown God who called me to him. 'How shall I
pray to thee? What language worthy of thee and capable of expressing
its love can my soul speak to thee? I know not; but thou readest my
heart,--thou seest that I love thee!'"

From this moment, Aurore gave herself up to the passion of devotion,
which, in natures like hers, is often the first to unclose. There are
all sorts of religious experiences,--some poor and shallow, some rich
and deep, with every variety of shade between. But wherever Love is
capable of being heroic, Religion will also find room to work its larger
miracles. Aurore's devotion was not likely to be a frigid recognition of
doctrine, nor to consist in the minute care of an infinitesimal soul,
whose salvation could be of small avail to any save its possessor. Her
religion could only be a sympathetic and contagious flame, running from
soul to soul, as beacon-fires catch at night and illuminate a whole
tract of country. From this time she became patient, thorough, and
laborious in all the duties of her age and place. A closer sympathy now
drew her to the nuns, with several of whom she formed happy and intimate
relations. The convent life became for the time her ideal of existence,
and she formed the plan, so common among young girls educated in this
manner, of taking the veil herself, when such a step should become
possible. This hidden purpose she carried with her, when, at the age of
sixteen, she quitted the convent with bitter regret, fearing the strange
world, fearing a conventional marriage, and looking back to the pleasant
restraints of tutelage, whose thorn hedges are always in blossom when we
view them from the dusty ways and traffic of real, responsible life.

Aurore exchanged her convent for a life of equal retirement; for her
grandmother, fearing lest the pietistic influences to which she had been
subjected should awake too dominant a chord in the passionate nature of
her pupil, brought her to Nohant at once, where, for a few days, she
realized the delight of a greater freedom from rule and surveillance. It
was pleasant for once, she says, to sleep into _la grasse matinée_, to
wear a bright gingham instead of her dress of purple serge, and to comb
her hair without being reminded that it was indecent for a young girl to
uncover her temples. The projects of marriage which had alarmed her were
abandoned for the present, and she was left to enjoy, unmolested, the
pleasure of finding again the friends and playmates of her youth. It
soon appeared, however, that the convent education had left many a
_lacune_, and the grandmother felt that the result of the three years'
claustration in nowise corresponded to its expense. Aurore set
herself to work to fill up, in secret, the many blanks left by her
preceptresses,--wishing, as she says, to conceal, as far as she could,
their want of faith or of thoroughness. She sat at her books half the
night, being gifted, according to her own account, with a marvellous
power of sacrificing sleep to any other necessity. At this time she
learned to ride on horseback, her first exploit being to tame a colt of
four years, the after-companion of many a wild scramble, who grew old
and died in her service. Her grandmother becoming soon after disabled by
a paralytic stroke, the alternation of this new exercise enabled Aurore
to bear the fatigues of the sick-room without serious inconvenience. Of
this period of her life our heroine speaks as follows:--

"Had my destiny caused me to pass immediately from my grandmother's
control to that of a husband, or of a convent, it is possible that,
subjected always to influences already accepted, I should never have
been myself. But it was decided by Fate that at the age of seventeen
years I should experience a suspension of external authority, and that I
should belong wholly to myself for nearly a year, to become, for good or
evil, what I was to be for nearly all the rest of my life."

Passing much of her time at the bedside of the invalid, now incapable of
giving any further direction to the young life so dear to her, Aurore
plunged into many studies which opened to her new worlds of thought
and observation. She read Châteaubriand with delight. The "Genie du
Christianisme" proved to her rather an intellectual than a religious
stimulant, and under its impulse she proceeded, as she says, to
encounter without ceremony the French and other authors most quoted
at that time, to wit: Locke, Bacon, Montesquieu, Leibnitz, Pascal, La
Bruyère, Pope, Milton, Dante, and others not below these in difficulty.
She studied them in a crude and hurried manner; but that wonderful
alembic of youth, with its fiery heat of ardor, enabled her to compose
these far and hastily gathered ingredients into a certain homogeneity of
knowledge. "The brain was young," she says, "the memory always fugitive;
but the sentiment was quick, and the will ever tense." From these
pursuits, interrupted by the cares of nursing, she broke loose only to
mount her favorite Colette, and accompany Deschartres in his hunting
expeditions. She attempted also to acquire some knowledge of Natural
History, Mineralogy, and so on; but science was always less congenial to
her than literature, and of Leibnitz, the "Théodicée" is the only work
of which she speaks with any familiarity. For convenience in riding and
hunting, she adopted, on occasion, the dress of a boy, a blouse,
cap, and trousers, to the great scandal of the neighborhood, already
indisposed towards her by reason of her eccentric reputation; since, as
one can imagine, a small French province is the last place in the world
where a young girl can display the lone-star banner of individuality
with impunity.

Aurore had promised her aged relative that she would not read Voltaire
before the age of thirty; but her literary wanderings soon brought her
across the path of Rousseau.

The French make the reading of the "Nouvelle Héloïse" one of the epochs
in the life of woman. According to its motto, "The mother will not
allow the daughter to read it," this critical act is by common consent
adjourned till after marriage, when, we suppose, it appears something in
the light of a Bill of Rights, a coming to the knowledge of what women
can do, if they will. But as all Julie's _divagations_ occur before
marriage, and as her subsequent life becomes a model of Puritanic duty
and piety, one does not understand the applicability of her example to
French life, in which this progress is reversed. In this, as in all
works of true genius, people of the most opposite ways of thinking
take what is congenial to themselves,--the ardent and passionate fling
themselves on the swollen stream of Saint Preux's stormy love, the
older and colder justify Julie's repentance, and the slow but certain
rehabilitation of her character. With all its magnificences, and even
with the added zest of a forbidden book, the "Nouvelle Héloïse" would be
very slow reading for our youth of today. Its perpetual balloon voyage
of sentiment was suited to other times, or finds sympathy to-day
with other races. With all this, there is a great depth of truth and
eloquence in its pages,--and its moral, which at first sight would seem
to be, that the blossom of vice necessarily contains the germ of virtue,
proves to be this wiser one, that you can tell the tree only by its
fruits, which slowly ripen with length of life. As a novel, it is out of
fashion,--for novels have fashion; as a development of the individuality
of passion, it has perhaps no equal. Be sure that Aurore saw in it its
fullest significance. It was strange reading for the disciple of the
convent, but she had laid her bold hand upon the tree of the knowledge
of good and of evil. She was not to be saved like a woman, through
ignorance, but like a man, through the wisdom which has its heavenly and
its earthly side. "Émile," the "Contrat Social," and the rest of the
series succeeded each other in her studies; but she does not speak of
the "Confessions," a book most cruel to those who love the merits of the
author, and to whom the nauseating vulgarity of his personal character
is a disgust scarcely to be recovered from. Taken at his best, however,
Rousseau was the Saint John of the Revolutionary Gospel, though the
bloody complement of its Apocalypse was left for other hands than his to
trace. To Aurore, stumbling almost unaided through fragmentary studies
of science and philosophy, his glowing, broad, synthetic statement was
indeed a revelation. It made an epoch in her life. She compared him to
Mozart. "In politics," she says, "I became the ardent disciple of this
master, and I followed him long without restriction. As to religion,
he seemed to me the most Christian of all the writers of his time. I
pardoned his abjuration of Catholicism the more easily because its
sacraments and title had been given to him in an irreligious manner,
well calculated to disgust him with them." But with Aurore, too, the day
of Catholicism was over,--its rites were become "heavy and unhealthy" to
her. Her faith in things divine was unshaken; but the confessional was
empty, the mass dull, the ceremonial ridiculous to her. She was glad to
pray alone, and in her own words. Hers was a nature beyond forms. By
a rapid intuition, she saw and appropriated what is intrinsic in all
religions,--faith in God and love to man. However wild and volcanic may
have been her creed in other matters, she has never lost sight of these
two cardinal points, which have been the consolation of her life and its
redemption. The year comprising these studies and this new freedom ended
sadly with the death of her grandmother.

And now, her real protectress being removed, the discords of life broke
in upon her, and asserted themselves. Scarcely was the beloved form
cold, when Aurore's mother arrived, to wake the echoes of the chateau
with wild abuse of its late mistress. By testamentary disposition,
Madame Dupin had made Aurore her heir, and had named two of her own
relatives as guardians; but the mother now insisted on her own rights,
and, after much acrimonious dispute and comment, carried Aurore from her
beloved solitudes to her own quarters in Paris,--a journey of sorrow,
and the beginning of sorrows. In her childhood Aurore had often longed
for this mother's breast as her natural refuge, and the true home of her
childish affections. But it "was one of those characters of self-will
and passion which deteriorate in later life, and in which no new moral
beauties spring up to replace the impulsive graces of youth. Regarding
Aurore now as the work of another's hands, she made her the victim of
ceaseless and causeless petulance. Her gross abuse of her mother-in-law
gave Aurore many tears to shed in private, while her persecution of poor
Deschartres drove her daughter to the expedient of shielding him--with
a lie. The poor tutor had administered the affairs of Nohant for some
time. He was now called to account for every farthing with the most
malignant accuracy, and a sum of money, lost by ill-management, not
being satisfactorily accounted for, his new tormentor threatened him
with prison and trial. As he muttered to his late pupil that he would
not survive this disgrace, she stepped forward and shielded him after
the fashion of Consuelo.

"I have received this money," said she.

"You? Impossible! What have you done with it?"

"No matter, I have received it."

Deschartres was saved, and Aurore had only availed herself of the first
of a Frenchwoman's privileges. Nor will we reckon with her too harshly
for this lie, so benevolent in intention, so merciful in effect. A lie
sometimes seems the only refuge of the oppressed; but there is always
something better than a lie, if we could only find it out. Here is her
account of the scene itself:--

"To have gone through a series of lies and of false explanations would
not, perhaps, have been possible for me. But from the moment that it was
only necessary to persist in a 'yes' to save Deschartres, I thought that
I ought not to hesitate. My mother insisted:--

"'If M. Deschartres has paid you eighteen thousand francs, we can
easily find it out. You would not give your word of honor?'

"I felt a shudder, and I saw Deschartres ready to speak out.

"'I would give it!' I cried out

"'Give it, then,' said my aunt.

"'No, Mademoiselle,' said my mother's lawyer, 'don't give it.'

"'She shall give it!' cried my mother, to whom I could scarcely pardon
this infliction of torture.

"'I give it,' I replied;' and God is with me against you in this

"'She has lied! she lies!' cried my mother. 'A bigot, a
_philosophailleuse.' She is lying and defrauding herself.'

"'Oh, as to that,' said the lawyer, laughing, 'she has the right to do
it, since she robs only herself.'

"'I will take her with her Deschartres before the justice of the peace,'
said my mother. 'I will make her take oath by Christ, by the Gospel!'

"'No, Madame,' said the lawyer, 'you will go no further in this matter;
and as for you, Mademoiselle, I beg your pardon for the annoyance I have
given you. Charged with your interests, I felt obliged to do so.'"

Eternal shame to those who make use of any authority to force the
secrets of a generous heart, cutting off from it every alternative but
that of a loathed deceit, or still more hateful, and scarcely less
guilty, betrayal!

Aurore now found herself in the hands of a woman of the people, ennobled
for a time by beauty and a true affection, but sinking, her good
inspiration gone, into the bitterest ill-temper and most vulgar
uncharity. Detesting her superiors in rank and position, she soon
managed to cut off Aurore from all intercourse with her father's family,
and thus to frustrate every prospect of her marriage in the sphere for
which she had been so carefully educated. She was even forbidden to
visit her old friends at the convent, and was eventually placed by her
mother with a family nearly unknown to both, whose pity had been excited
by her friendless condition and unhappy countenance. Aurore's mother
seems to us, _du reste_, the perfect type of a Parisian lorette, the
sort of woman so keenly attractive with the bloom of youth and the
eloquence of passion,--but when these have passed their day, the most
detestable of mistresses, the most undesirable of companions. Men of all
ranks and ages acknowledge their attraction, endure their tyranny, and
curse the misery it inflicts. Marriage and competency had protected this
one from the deteriorations which almost inevitably await those of
her class, but they could not save her from the natural process of an
undisciplined mind, an ungoverned temper, and a caprice verging on
insanity. This self-torment of caprice could be assuaged only by
constant change of circumstance and surroundings; her only resource was
to metamorphose things about her as often and as rapidly as possible.
She changed her lodgings, her furniture, her clothes, retrimmed her
bonnets continually, always finding them worse than before. Finally, she
grew weary of her black hair, and wore a blond periwig, which disgusting
her in turn, she finished by appearing in a different head of hair every
day in the week.

Aurore's new friends proved congenial to her, and the influence of their
happy family-life dispersed, she says, her last dreams of the beatitudes
of the convent. It was in their company that she first met the man
destined to become her husband. Most of us would like to know the
impression he made upon her at first sight. We will give it in her own

"We were eating ices at Tortoni's, after the theatre, when my mother
Angèle [her new friend] said to her husband,--'See, there is Casimir.'

"A slender young man, rather elegant, with a gay aspect and military
bearing, came to shake hands with them. He seated himself by Madame
Angèle, and asked her in a low voice who I was.

"'It is my daughter,' she replied.

"'Then,' whispered he, 'she is my wife. You know that you have promised
me the hand of your eldest daughter. I thought it would have been
Wilfrid; but as this one seems of an age more suitable to mine, I accept
her, if you will give her to me.'

"Madame Angèle laughed at this, but the pleasantry proved a prediction."

Aurore had given her new protectors the titles of Mother Angèle and
Father James, and they in turn called her their daughter. The period of
her residence with them at Plessis appears in her souvenirs as an
ideal interval of happiness and repose, a renewal of the freedom and
_insousiance_ of childhood, with the added knowledge of their value, a
suspension of the terrible demands and interests of life. Would that
this ideal period could be prolonged for women!--but the exigencies
of the race, or perhaps the fears of society, do not permit it.
The two-faced spectre of marriage awaits her, for good or ill. The
_aphelion_ of a woman's liberty is soon reached, the dark organic forces
bind her to tread the narrow orbit of her sex, and if, at the farthest
bound of her individual progress, the attraction could fail, and let her
slip from the eternal circle, chaos would be the result.

Uninvited, therefore, but unrepulsed, Hymen approached our heroine in
the form of Casimir Dudevant, the illegitimate, but acknowledged son and
heir of Colonel Dudevant, an officer of good standing and reasonable
fortune. The only feeling he seems to have inspired in the bosom of his
future wife was one of mild good-will. His only recommendation was a
decent degree of suitableness in outward circumstances. For the true
wants of her nature he had neither fitness nor sympathy; but she did not
know herself then,--she was not yet George Sand. From the stand-point of
her later development, her marriage would seem to us a low one; but we
must remember that she started only from the plane, and not the highest
plane, of French society, in which a marriage of some sort is the
first necessity of a woman's life, and not the crowning point of her
experience. To compensate the rigor of such a requisition, a French
marriage, though civilly indissoluble, has yet a hundred modifications
which remove it far from the Puritan ideal which we of the Protestant
faith cherish. Hence the French novel, whose strained sentiment and
deeply logical immorality have wakened strange echoes among us of the
stricter rule and graver usage.

Without passion, then, or tender affection on either side, but with a
tolerable harmony of views for the moment, and after long and causeless
opposition on the part of Aurore's mother, this marriage took place.
Aurore was but eighteen; her bridegroom was of suitable age. With dreams
of a peaceful family existence, and looking forward to maternity as the
great joy and office of the coming years, she brought her husband to
Nohant, whose inheritance had been settled by contract upon the children
of this marriage.

But these dreams were not to be realized. Aurore was not born to be the
companion of a dull, narrow man, nor the Lady Bountiful of a little
village in the heart of France. Would she not have had it so? She tells
us that she would; and as honesty is one of her strong points, we may
believe her. She knew not the stormy ocean of life, nor the precious
freight she carried, when she committed the vessel of her fortunes to so
careless a hand as that of M. Dudevant. She throws no special blame or
odium upon him, nor does he probably deserve any.

The recital of the events spoken of above brings us well into the eighth
volume of the "Histoire de ma Vie"; and as there are but ten in all, the
treatment of the things that follow is pursued with much less
detail, and with many a gap, which the malevolent among our author's
contemporaries would assure us that they know well how to fill up.
Between the extreme reserve of the last two volumes and the wild
assertions of so many we would gladly keep the _juste milieu_, if
we could; but we wish only truth, and it is not at the hands of the
scandalmongers of any society--is it?--that we seek that commodity. The
decree of the court which at a later day gave her the guardianship
of her children, and the friendship of many illustrious and of some
irreproachable men, must be accepted in favor of her of whom we
write,--and the known fanaticism of slander, and the love of the
marvellous, which craves, in stories of good or evil, such monstrous
forms for its gratification, cause us, on the other side, to deduct
a large average from the narrations current against her. But we

Aurore, at first, was neither happy nor unhappy in her marriage. Her
surroundings were friendly and pleasant, and the birth of a son, a third
Maurice, soon brought to her experience the keenest joy of womanhood.
Before this child numbered two years, however, she began to feel a
certain blank in her household existence, an emptiness, a discouragement
as to all things, whose cause she could not understand. In this _ennui_,
she tells us, her husband sympathized, and by common consent they strove
to remedy it by frequent changes of abode. They visited Paris, Plessis,
returned to Nohant, made a journey in the Pyrenees, a visit to Guillery,
the château of Colonel Dudevant. Still the dark guest pursued them.
Aurore does not pretend that there was any special cause for her
suffering. It was but the void which her passionate nature found in a
conventional and limited existence, and for which as yet she knew no
remedy. The fervor of Catholic devotion had, as we have seen, long
forsaken her; her studies did not satisfy her; her children--she had by
this time a daughter--were yet in infancy; her husband was not unkind,
but indifferent, and the object of indifference. She occupied herself
with the business of her estate, and with the wants of the neighboring
poor; but she was unsuccessful in administering her expenses, and her
narrow revenue did not allow her to give large satisfaction to her
charitable impulses. After some years of seclusion and effort, she began
to dream of liberty, of wealth,--in a word, of trying her fortunes in
Paris. She felt a power within her for which she had found no adequate
task. She speaks vaguely, too, of a _Being_ platonically loved, and
loving in like manner, absent for most of the year, and seen only for
a few days at long intervals, whose correspondence had added a new
influence to her life. This attenuated relation was, however, broken
before she made her essay of a new life. Her half-brother, Hippolyte,
brought to Nohant a habit of joviality which soon degenerated into
chronic intemperance; and though she does not accuse her husband of
participation in this vice, or, indeed, of any wrong towards her, she
yet makes us understand that an occasional escape from Nohant became to
her almost a matter of necessity. She, therefore, made arrangements,
with her husband's free consent, to pass alternately three months in
Paris and three months at home, for an indefinite period; and leaving
Maurice in good hands, and the little Solange, her daughter, for a
short time only, she came to Paris in the winter with the intention of

Her hopes and pretensions were at first very modest. It had been agreed
that her husband should pay her an annual pension of fifteen hundred
francs. She would have been well satisfied to earn a like sum by her
literary efforts. She established herself in a small _mansarde_, a sort
of garret, and managed by great economy to furnish it so that Solange
could be made comfortable. She washed and ironed her fine linen with
her own hands. Not finding literary employment at once, and her slender
salary running very low, she adopted male attire for a while, as she
says, because she was too poor to dress herself suitably in any other.
The fashion of the period was favorable to her design. Men wore long
square-skirted overcoats, down to the heels. With one of these, and
trousers to match, with a gray hat and large woollen cravat, she might
easily pass for a young student.

"I cannot express the pleasure my boots gave me. I would gladly have
slept with them on. With these little iron-shod heels, I stood firm on
the pavement. I flew from one end of Paris to the other. I could have
made the circuit of the world, thus attired. Besides, my clothes did not
fear spoiling. I ran about in all weathers, I came back at all hours,
I went to the pit of every theatre. No one paid me any attention, or
suspected my disguise. Besides that, I wore it with ease; the entire
want of coquetry in my costume and physiognomy disarmed all suspicion.
I was too ill-dressed, and my manner was too simple, to attract or fix
attention. Women know little how to disguise themselves, even upon the
stage. They are unwilling to sacrifice the slenderness of their waists,
the smallness of their feet, the prettiness of their movements, the
brilliancy of their eyes; and it is by all these, nevertheless, it is
especially by the look, that they might avoid easy detection. There is a
way of gliding in everywhere without causing any one to turn round, and
of speaking in a low, unmodulated tone which does not sound like a
flute in the ears which may hear you. For the rest, in order not to
be remarked _as a man_, you must already have the habit of not making
yourself remarked _as a woman_."

This travesty, our heroine tells us, was of short duration;--it answered
the convenience of some months of poverty and obscurity. Its traditions
did not pass away so soon;--ten years later, her son, in his beardless
adolescence, was often taken for her, and sometimes amused himself
by indulging the error in those who accosted him. But in the greatly
changed circumstances in which she soon found herself, the disguise
became useless and unavailing. Its economy was no longer needed, and the
face of its wearer was soon too well known to be concealed by hat or

We would not be understood as relaxing in any degree the rigor of
repudiation which such an act deserved. Yet it is imaginable, even to an
undepraved mind, that a woman might sometimes like to be on the other
side of the fence, to view the mad bull of publicity in its own pasture,
and feel that it cannot gore her. Poor George! running about in the
little boots, and wearing a great ugly coat and woollen choker,--it was
not through vanity that you did this. Strange sights you must have seen
in Paris!--none, perhaps, stranger than yourself! The would-be nun of
the English convent walking the streets in male attire, and even, as you
tell us, with your hands in your pockets! Yet when little Solange came
to live with you, as we understand, you put on your weeds of weakness
again;--your little daughter made you once more a woman!

For she was George Sand now. Aurore Dupin was civilly dead, Aurore
Dudevant was uncivilly effaced. She had taken half a name from Jules
Sandeau,--she had wrought the glory of that name herself. Yes, a glory,
say what you will. Elizabeth Browning's hands were not too pure to
soothe that forehead, chiding while they soothed; and these hands,
not illustrious as hers, shall soil themselves with no mud flung at a
sister's crowned head.

Every one knows the story of the name: how she and Jules Sandeau wrote a
novel together, and sought a _nom de plume_ which should represent their
literary union,--how soon she found that she could do much better alone,
and the weak work of Carl Sand was forgotten in the strong personality
of George Sand. Of Jules Sandeau she speaks only as of the associate of
a literary enterprise;--the world accords him a much nearer relation to
her; but upon this point she cannot, naturally, be either explicit or
implicit. One thing is certain: she was a hard worker, and did with
her might what her hand found to do. She wrote "Indiana," "Lelia,"
"Valentine," and had fame and money at will. Neither, however, gave
her unmixed pleasure. The _éclat_ of her reputation soon destroyed her
_incognito_, while the sums of money she was supposed to receive for her
works attracted to her innumerable beggars and adventurers of all
sorts. To ascertain the real wants and character of those who in every
imaginable way claimed her assistance became one of the added labors of
her life. She visited wretched garrets or cellars, and saw miserable
families,--discovering often, too late, that both garret and family had
been hired for the occasion. It was now that she first saw the real
plagues and ulcers of society. Her convent had not shown her these, nor
her life amid the peasantry of Berry. Only great cities produce those
unhealthy and unnatural human growths whose monstrosities are their
stock in trade, whose power of life lies in their depravation. She tells
us that these horrors weighed upon her, and caused her to try various
solutions of the ills that are, and are permitted to be. She was never
tempted to become an atheist, never lost sight of the Divine in life,
yet the necessity of a terrible fatalism seemed to envelop her. With her
numerous friends, she sought escape from the dilemma through various
theories of social development; and they often sat or walked half
through the night, discussing the fortunes of the race, and the
intentions of God. With her most intimate set, this sometimes led to a
jest, and "It is time to settle the social question" became the formula
of announcing dinner. These considerations led the way to her adoption
of socialistic theories in later years, of which she herself informs
us, but hints at the same time at many important reservations in her
acceptance of them.

In process of time she visited Italy with Alfred de Musset. The fever
seized on her at Genoa, and she saw the wonders of the fair land through
half-shut eyes, alternately shivering and burning. In the languor of
disease, she allowed the tossing of a coin to decide whether she should
visit Rome or Venice. Venice came uppermost ten times, and she chose to
consider it an affair of destiny. Her long stay in this city suggested
the themes of several of her romances, and the "Lettres d'un Voyageur"
might almost be pages from her own journal. Her companion was here
seized with a terrible illness. She nursed him day and night through all
its length, being so greatly fatigued at the time of his recovery that
she saw every object double, through want of sleep. Yet De Musset went
forth from his sick-room with a heart changed towards her. Hatred
had taken the place of love. Some say that this cruel change was the
punishment of as cruel a deception; others call it a mania of the fever,
perpetuating itself thenceforth in a brain sound as to all else. The
world does not know about this, and she herself tells us nothing. In
the "Lettres d'un Voyageur," however, she gives us to understand that
constancy is not her _forte_, and a sigh escapes with this confession,
"_Prie pour moi, ô Marguerite Le Conte!_"

George Sand was now launched,--with brilliant success, in the world of
letters, unheeding the conventional restraints of domestic life. The
choicest spirits of the day gathered round her. She was the luminous
centre of a circle of light. She did not hold a _salon_, the mimic court
of every Frenchwoman of distinction,--nor were the worldly wits of
fashion her vain and supercilious satellites. But De Lamennais climbed
to her _mansarde_, and unfolded therein his theories of saintly and
visionary philosophy. Liszt and Chopin bound her in the enchantment
of their wonderful melodies. De Balzac feasted her in his fantastic
lodgings, and lighted her across the square with a silver-gilt flambeau,
himself attired in a flounced satin dressing-gown, of which he was
extremely proud. Pierre Leroux instructed her in the old and the new
religions, and taught her the history of secret societies. Louis Blanc,
Cavaignac, and Pauline Garcia were bound to her by ties of intimacy.
She knew Lablache, Quinet, Miekiewiez, whom she calls the equal of Lord
Byron. Her intimates in her own province were men of high character and
intelligence, nor were friends wanting among her own sex. Good-will
and sympathy, therefore, not ill-will and antipathy, inspired her best
works. Her views of parties were charitable and conciliatory, and her
revolutionism more reconstructive than destructive. Yet, with all this
array of good company, we cannot accord her a miraculous immunity from
the fatalities of her situation. Of the guilt we are not here called
upon to judge; of the suffering many pages in this record of her
life bear witness. Little as we know, however, of her own power of
self-protection against the tyranny of the selfish and the sensual, we
yet feel as if the really base could never have held her in other than
the briefest thraldom, and as if her nobler nature must have continually
asserted and reasserted itself, with a constant tendency towards that
higher liberty which she had sought in the abandonment of outward
restraints, but which can never be thus attained. Some great moral
safeguards she had in her tireless industry, her love of art, her
honesty and geniality of nature, and, above all, in her passionate love
for her children. Happily, these deep and solid forces of Nature are
calculated to outlast the heyday of the blood, and to redeem its errors.

In connection with her domestic life, she gives some explanations which
must not be overlooked. She did not at first quit her husband's roof
with an intention of permanent absence, but with the intention of a
periodical return thither. In time, however, her presence there became
unwelcome, and she found those arrangements of which, as she says, she
had no right to complain, but which she could not recognize. Friends
intervened, advising an effectual reintegration of the broken marriage;
but against this, she says, her conscience, no less than her heart,
rebelled. There existed, indeed, no virtual bond between herself and
her late husband. Whatever may have been the beginning of their
estrangement, it seems certain that he acquiesced in her independence
with easy satisfaction. He wrote to her,--"I shall not put up at your
lodgings when I come to Paris, because I wish as little to be in your
way as I wish to have you in mine." At the same time, by visiting
her there, and appearing with her in public, he had given a certain
recognition to her position. There was, therefore, no room for penitence
on the one side, for forgiveness on the other, and, through these, for
a renewable moral relation between the two. The law took cognizance of
these facts, when, some years later, M. Dudevant brought an action
for civil divorce, wishing to recover possession of his children. His
complicity in what had taken place, and the amicable nature of the
separation, were so fully established, that the court, recognizing in
the parties neither husband nor wife, followed the pleadings of Nature,
and bestowed the children where, in the present instance, they were
likely to find the warmest cherishing. Under this decision, she gave
up the estate of Nohant to M. Dudevant, who, becoming weary of its
management, returned it to her, by a later compromise, in exchange for
other property, and the home of her childhood now shelters her declining

For the history draws near its close; more travels, more novels, more
successes, more sorrows, much fond talk of her friends, many of whom
death has endeared to her, a shadowy sketch of her seven years' intimacy
with Chopin, a sob over the untimely grave of her married daughter, and
the wonderful book is ended. Surely, it tells its own moral; and we,
who have woven into short measure the tissue of its relations, need not
appear either as the apologist of a very exceptional woman, or as the
vindicator of laws inevitable and universal, the mischief of whose
violation no human knowledge can justly fathom. The world knows that the
life before us is no example for women to follow; but it also knows,
we think, that she who led it was on the whole an earnest and sincere
person, of ardent imagination and large heart, loving the good as well
as the beautiful, even if often mistaken in both,--and above all, honest
in her errors and their acknowledgment. Gross injustice has, no doubt,
been done her. The creations of her powerful fancy have been taken for
images of herself, and the popular mind, delighting to elevate all
things beyond the bounds of Nature, has made her a monster. It is clear,
we think, that those who have represented her as plunged headlong in a
career of vice and dissipation, the companion of all that is low and
trivial, have slandered alike her acts and her intentions. Like the
rest of us, she is the child of her antecedents and surroundings. Her
education was as exceptional as her character. Her marriage brought no
moral influence to bear upon her. Her separation opened before her a new
and strange way, never to be trodden by any with impunity. Yet we do not
believe, that, in the most undesirable circumstances of her life, she
ever long lost sight of its ideal object. We do not doubt that her zeal
for human progress, her sympathy for the wrongs of the race, and her
distrust of existing institutions were deep and sincere. We do not doubt
that she was devoted in friendship, disinterested in love, ardent in
philanthropy. She has seen the poverty and insincerity of society; she
has quarrelled with what she calls the shams of sacred things, the
merely conventional marriage, the God of bigotry and hypocrisy, the
government of oppression and fraud; but she ends by recognizing and
demanding the marriage of heart, the God of enlightened faith, the
government of order and progress. Responding to the dominant chord
of the nineteenth century, she strove to exalt individuality above
sociality, and passion above decorum and usage. Nor would she allow any
World's Congress of morals to settle the delicate limits between these
opposing vital forces, between what we owe to ourselves and what we owe
to others. If there be a divine of passion for which it is noble to
suffer and sacrifice, there is also a deeper divine of duty, far
transcending the other both in sacrifice and in reward. To this divine,
too often obscured to all of us, her later life increasingly renders
homage; and to its gentle redemption, our loving, pitying hearts--the
more loving, the more pitying for her story--are glad to leave her.

Ave, thou long laborious! Ave, thou worker of wonders, thou embalmer of
things most fleeting, most precious, so sealed in thy amber,

  "That Nature yet remembers
  What was so fugitive!"

Thou hast wrought many a picture of wild and guilty passion,--yet
methinks thou didst always paint the mean as mean, the generous as
generous. Nobler stories, too, thou hast told, and thy Consuelo is as
pure as holy charity and lofty art could make her. They complain, that,
in the world of thy creations, women are sublime and men weak; may not
these things, then, be seen and judged for once through woman's eyes?
Much harm hast thou done? Nay, that can only God know. They misquote
thee, who veil a life of low intrigue with high-flown _dicta_ borrowed
from thy works. Thou art not of their sort,--or, if it be indeed _thee_
they seek to imitate,

  "Decipit exemplar vitiis imitabile."

Thy faults have attracted them, not the virtues that redeem them. Shake
thyself free of such, and with those who have loved much, and to whom
much has been forgiven, go in peace! The shades of the Poets will greet
thee as they greeted Dante and Virgil, when, thyself a shade, thou goest
towards them. The heart that fainted at Francesca's sorrows will not
refuse a throb to thine. For there is a gallery of great women, great
with and without sin, where thou must sit, between Sappho and Cleopatra,
the Magdalen thy neighbor,--nor yet removed wholly out of sight the
Mother of the Great Forgiveness of God.

       *       *       *       *       *


It was really a magnificent ball! The host had determined that his
entertainment should minister to all the senses of his guests, and had
succeeded so well that there was only room to regret there were but five
senses to be gratified. Only five gates in the fortified wall within
which the shy soul intrenches itself, where an attack may be made. And
even when these are all carried by storm, there are sometimes inner
citadels, impregnable to the magic torrent streaming through the
Beautiful Gates, where she may survey intruders with calm disdain. In
vain floods of delicious intoxication beat against her lofty retreat:
she calmly analyzes the sweet poison, (as she thinks it,) separates and
retains the solid fact whose solution had enriched the otherwise barren
stream, and indifferently suffers the rest to flow by. These are the
souls of philosophers and wise men, who never are drowned, never
surprised. But the bountiful host had not cared only for these grand
super-sensual people, but had striven perfectly to satisfy the eyes, the
ears, the noses, the palates of the more numerous throng of weaker folk,
whose inner fortifications were not so well defended. Hundreds of wax
candles illuminated the far-reaching saloons with soft lustre. The walls
were tinted with the most delicate hues, that afforded a pleasant cool
background to the blazing rooms, and relieved the rich colors of the
pictures. In all the pictures adorning the walls, the eye revelled in
the luxurious coloring, careless of the absence of distinctness of form
and grand pure outline. Scenes in the dark heart of tropical forests,
the dense green foliage here and there startlingly relieved by a bright
scarlet flower or the brilliant plumage of a songless bird,--gorgeous
sunsets on American prairies, where the rolling purple ground contrasted
with the crimson and golden glories of eventide,--vivid sketches along
the Mediterranean, the blue sea embracing the twin sky,--vineyards
ripening under the mellow Italian sun,--fields of yellow wheat bending
to the sickles of English reapers,--and sometimes, half hidden by the
folds of a heavy crimson curtain, one was startled to discover the
solemn icebergs and everlasting snows of the Arctic regions. The
wood-work of all the rooms was of dark oak, so that each appeared with
its brilliantly dressed company to be a flashing gem set in a rich
casket. A shadow of music wandered through the air, sometimes blended
with the sound of the falling fountain in the green-house, sometimes
almost absorbed in the fragrance of the flowers.

For two hours the carriages had been steadily streaming under the
archway, and pouring their fair occupants, gauzy as summer, into the
blazing saloons. The flashing candelabra drew the poor little moths from
the outermost corners into the central vortex of light. Dazzled by the
hot radiance, they strove to retreat again into the cool conservatories
and side-rooms; but at that moment threads of music that had been
carelessly winding through the crowd were caught up by an unseen hand
and knotted,--and behold! already the moths found themselves imprisoned
in a strong net-work of sound, whose intricate meshes entangled the
rooms and the company, and the very light itself. The light, however,
was too subtile for long confinement; it slipped along the melodious
mazes, and melted into the rich odor that exhaled from the roses and
jessamines in the conservatory. The light was a welcome visitor to the
hyacinths and roses, obliged to hide in torturing silence in the still
green-house, pouring out their passionate dumb life in intensity of
fragrance. A life just hovering on the borders of the world, and yet
forbidden to enter! But, bathed in the glowing effulgence of the light,
this invisible fragrance could be born, and enter the visible world as
color. For the fragrance is the unborn soul of the flower; color, that
soul arrested in its restless wanderings,--_embodied_ fragrance. Then
the colors upon the purple hyacinths and white jessamines, and the
flashing gems that rested on white bosoms like glittering drops of ice
upon a snow-wreath, and the sheen of rustling silks, and the gilded
picture-frames, and the florid carpets, and the twinkling feet on the
carpets' roses, and the flushing of roses in the dancers' cheeks, and
the radiant heads of the white-robed girls, ran into one another,
blending into an intensity of color that dimmed itself. And the music
still kept spinning and spinning, and finally wove in the color and
fragrance and light with its subtile self; and the background of the
woof was the hum and murmur of voices, and the continual rustling of
feet. No wonder the poor moths were ensnared in such bewilderment!

Do you pity the captives? But it is a delicious imprisonment, and its
fullest delights cannot be realized except by prisoners. In the vast
halls of Intellect and Reason one may indeed be master, marching (a
little chilled perhaps) with firm step and head erect. But on these
enchanted grounds there is no medium between a wretched clearness of
insight that reduces every curve to a number of straight lines, all
clouds to precipitated vapor, all rainbows to an oblique coincidence
between a sunbeam and a drop of water, and a total surrender of self to
the influences of the flitting moment.

Away with these fellows, who would force their miserable microscopes
before the eyes of these happy gauzy moths!--to-night is only the time
for spinning cobwebs. Hold your breath, philosopher, lest you sweep them
away too rudely! Alas for the airy cobwebs! In that cool anteroom is a
philosopher's broom, hard at work, brushing them remorselessly into a
perplexing dilemma,--the frightful increase of the human race.

"If," said the philosopher, emphatically, "if there were any prospect
of emigrating to the moon, there would be some hope; but in the present
state of affairs we shall soon be eating our own heads off, as the
proverb says. Europe is almost exhausted, the _ultima Thule_ of arable
territory in America has been reached, Asia barely supports her own
immense population; nothing is left but Africa, and she presents a
merely hopeful prospect for the future. In a hundred years, what will
society do for breadstuffs?"

"Live on rice and potatoes," suggested Anthrops.

"Rash boy, and check the advance of civilization! Have you not reflected
that the culture of wheat has been an inseparable adjunct to progress
and refinement? The difficulties required to be overcome in preparing
the ground and sowing the grain promote prudence, foresight, and care."

"It is certainly hard work enough to dig potatoes," quoth Anthrops.

The philosopher passed over the interruption with a dignified wave of
the hand, and continued:--

"The watching and waiting, during its progress to maturity, necessarily
produce that patience which is so essential to all scientific effort;
and the graceful loveliness of the plant in its various stages of growth
materially assists in developing that love for the beautiful which is a
necessary element in all harmonious individual or social character. Now
what aesthetic culture can you evolve from that stubbed, straggling weed
you call the potato?"

The discomfited pupil meekly suggested that he had been considering the
dietetic, not the aesthetic properties of the despised vegetable.

"Impossible to separate them, Sir!" cried the philosopher. "If, indeed,
you could fill the stomach without the intervention of any process of
brain or hand, they might be considered apart. But consider the position
of the stomach. Like a Persian monarch, it occupies the centre of the
system; despotic from its remote situation and the absolute power it
exercises, all parts of the external organism are its ministers: the
feet must run for its daily food, the hands must prepare that food with
cunning devices, the brain must direct the operations of feet and hands.
Now, unlearned youth, wilt thou contend that the degree of refinement
evinced by attention or indifference to the niceties of cooking, and so
forth, has no bearing upon the character of the man and the race? Take
as a standard the method of immediately conveying the food to the mouth,
as it has progressed from barbarism. First, fingers; then, pieces of
bark; then, rough wooden spoons, knives, two-pronged steel forks;
and lastly, an epitome of civilization in each one that is used,
five-pronged silver forks, evincing both the increased complexity of the
nature that devises the extra prongs, and the refinement of taste that
insists upon the silver. It is impossible to use wheat in any of its
preparations," ("With five-pronged forks," murmured his attentive pupil
parenthetically,) "without at least a piece of bark, for mixing and
cooking, if not for eating. But in devouring potatoes, we are--I shudder
to think of it--each moment upon the brink of being reduced to the
absolute savageness of fingers. No, Sir! the moon and wheat both failing
us, there is but one method of escaping universal famine,--peremptory
reduction of the population."

Anthrops started; in that country murder was a capital offence.

"I do not mean," continued the philosopher, serenely, "by any forcible
diminution of the existing populace: unfortunately, the vulgar
prejudices in favor of life are so strong, owing to the miserable
preponderance of the Egoistic over the Altruistic instincts, that such
an expedient would be unadvisable. I refer to the"--

"What splendid hair!" suddenly exclaimed his young companion, starting
forward with great animation to gain a nearer glimpse of its beauties.
The owner had stopped for a moment in passing the secluded couple,
and the rich chestnut head was presented in clear relief against the
confused mass of color and light that streamed through the doorway of
the saloon. The billows of hair rose from purple depths of shadow into
gleaming crests of golden light, and fell away again in long undulations
into the whirlpool of the knot.

While Anthrops was feasting his rapt eyes on the lovely picture, some
treacherous fastening gave way, and the whole wavy mass overflowed upon
the white shoulders. Then there was bustling and officious assistance,
then there was flitting of maidens and crowding of men. They did not
care that the hair of the Naiads in the waterfall outside of the city
floated all day long over the glittering green waters, or that the
soughing grass in the marsh stream lazily swayed to and fro always in
sleepy ripples, or that the waving tresses of the weeping-willows were
even then sweeping dreamily through the colored air: they cared for none
of these things; but how eager and anxious were they to gain one glimpse
of her,--fairer in her blushing confusion than before in her stately
loveliness! She wound up the long tresses in her hand, and was
retreating to the dressing-room, when the music, which had paused for a
moment, renewed itself in an inspiriting waltz. Anthrops, forgetful of
wheat, potatoes, and universal famine, rushed forward to claim her hand
for the dance. The lady sighed, the waltz was so lovely, the young
man so attractive, but--her hair? She really must arrange that before
anything could be determined in any other direction. And she started
backwards in her embarrassment to reach the stairs, and slipped into a
little anteroom by mistake. There was but one door; so, when Anthrops
followed her in, she could not get out, without at least hearing an
additional reason for dancing.

"The waltz will be finished," urged Anthrops. "Take this little dagger,
and wind your hair around that; it will be a fitting ornament for you."

As he spoke, he drew from his pocket a small dagger, a toy, but richly
carved at the hilt, and offered it to the maiden. He had bought it that
day for a little nephew, and had happened to leave it in his pocket.
Doubtless, had the waltz been less enticing, or the youth less handsome,
or the little anteroom less secluded, Haguna would have rejected the odd
assistance. But, as it was, she accepted the jewelled toy, and in a few
minutes had dexterously hidden the tiny blade with the thick coils of
hair, just leaving the curiously carved face on the hilt to emerge from
its shadowy nestling-place.

With the readjustment of her tresses, Haguna recovered the marvellously
defensive self-possession that had been momentarily disturbed. So
subtile and indefinable was the curious atmosphere that surrounded her,
that, while it could be almost destroyed by the consciousness of a
disordered toilet, yet the keenest eye could not penetrate beneath it,
the most confident demeanor could not impress it, once reestablished.

Anthrops did not notice the change that had taken place in her aspect.
Was it not enjoyment enough to whirl through the maddening mazes of the
dance, into still deeper entanglements in the mysterious web that now
had immeshed the saloons, borne irresistibly along the rapid torrent of
music, through crowds swept in eddying circles by fresh gusts of sound,
like leaves blown about by the west wind,--at first in low, wide, slow
rounds, then whirling faster and faster, higher and higher, until the
spiral coil suddenly terminated, and the music and motion fell exhausted

It was quite another thing to return to his friend the philosopher, who
was now in a very bad humor.

"Such fooling!" he cried, when Anthrops came back much exhilarated.
"That woman is the plague of my life! See," he continued, sarcastically,
"I picked up one of the ugly little pins that she fastens her hair with;
perhaps you might like it for a keepsake."

Anthrops snatched eagerly at the little black thing his old friend held
contemptuously balanced on his fingers, but dropped it immediately. Such
a miserable thing to hold those glorious tresses! His dagger was better.
The recollection that it was his dagger that now confined them dispelled
the chill which the irate philosopher had thrown over his glowing
excitement; he submissively proposed a return to potatoes, piling up
famine and wheat over the one little thought that diffused such a
delicious warmth through his breast; as charcoal-burners heap dead ashes
over their fire, to hide it from the rough intrusion of chilling winds.

The nest day Haguna sent back the dagger, with a little note, thanking
the owner in graceful terms.

"Your graceful politeness last evening, Herr Anthrops, saved me much
perplexity, and procured me a delightful waltz. One should indeed be
well protected by fortune, to find so readily such a courteous little
sword," ("She does not know the difference between a sword and a
dagger," thought Anthrops, and he was pleased at her ignorance,) "to
supply one's awkward deficiencies." (Anthrops slightly winced as he
thought of the little black pins.) "The old man on the hilt is really
charming. I actually was obliged to kiss him at parting, he looked so
kindly and pleasantly at me. Besides, he was my true benefactor; and
my grandmother has often told me, that in her day maidens were very
properly more expressive in their gratitude than now." (Anthrops
fervently longed for a retrogression in the calendar.) "And I really
think my old friend must have been alive then, and have been changed
into wood, on purpose to preserve his looks till I could see him. It
would be a right pleasant destiny, when one begins to grow old and ugly,
to be transformed into wood, and carved as one would wish to appear
perpetually. And happier fate still, like Philemon and Baucis, to change
into living trees, and flourish for hundreds of years in youth and
vigor. There are willow-trees growing on the banks of the river that may
easily have been girls who wept themselves into trees, because their
hair would soon be gray, and they have exchanged it for tresses of
green. Near those willow-trees the princely stranger who has lately
occupied the castle will next week give a boating _fête_, to which I
am invited; I suppose you also, courteous Sir, will be present, a
knight-errant for distressed damsels?


Anthrops kissed the little old man on the dagger's hilt again and again,
and made two equally firm, but entirely disconnected resolutions,
simultaneously: namely, never to give his nephew the intended present,
and by all means to be at the boat-_fête_ the following week.

The day of the _fête_ arrived,--a clear, lovely day in early June. The
host had provided for the accommodation of his guests a number of boats
of different sizes, holding two, three, or a dozen people, according to
the fancy of the voyagers. Anthrops, descending the flight of steps that
led to the river, came unexpectedly upon his old friend the philosopher,
apparently emerging from the side of the hill.

"I expected you here," said he; "are you going on the river?"

Anthrops replied in the affirmative.

"Haguna is here, and I have come to exact a promise that you will not
sail with her. You will repent it, if you do."

"Better than starvation is a feast and repentance," cried the young man,
gayly. "What harm is there in the girl? Though, to be sure, I had no
particular intention of sailing with her."

"It would be of no use to warn you explicitly," said his friend; "you
would not believe me. But you must not go."

"Nay, good father," returned the youth, a little vexed,--"it is
altogether too unreasonable to expect me to obey like a child; give me
one good reason why I should avoid her as if she had the plague, and I
promise to be guided by you."

"All women have some plague-spot," said the philosopher, sententiously.

"Well, then, I may as well be infected by her as by any one," cried
Anthrops, lightly, and was rushing down the steps again, when the
philosopher caught him by the arm.

"Follow me," he said; "you will not believe, but still you may see."

He led the way down to the river, and, the youth still following,
entered one of the gayly trimmed row-boats and pushed from shore. The
boat seemed possessed by the will of its master, and, needing no other
guide or impetus, floated swiftly into the centre of the channel.
Obeying the same invisible helmsman, it there paused and rocked gently
backwards and forwards as over an unseen anchor. The philosopher drew
from his pocket a small cup and dipped up a little water. He then
handed it to the youth, and bade him look at it through a strong
magnifying-glass, which he also gave him. Anthrops was surprised to find
a white dust in the bottom of the cup.

"Ah!" said his companion, answering his look of inquiry, "it is
bone-dust; and now you may see where it comes from."

Anthrops looked through the magnifying-glass, as he was directed, at the
river itself, and found he could clearly see the sand at the bottom.
He was horrified at seeing the yellow surface strewn with human bones,
bleached by long exposure to the running water.

"Alas!" he exclaimed, sorrowfully, "have so many noble youths perished
in these treacherous waters? That golden sand might be ruddy with the
blood of its numerous victims!"

"Don't be blaming the innocent waters, simple boy!" half sneered
the philosopher. "Lay the blame where it is due, upon the artful
river-nixes. Since the creation of the world, the stream has flowed
tranquilly between these banks; and during that time do you not suppose
that these fair alluring sprites have had opportunity to entice such
silly boys as you into the cool green water there below?"

Anthrops gazed long into the still, cruel depths of the river, held
spell-bound by a horrible fascination; at last he raised his head, and,
drawing a long sigh of relief, exclaimed,--

"Thank fortune, Haguna is no water-nix!"

"What!" cried the angry philosopher, "your mind still running upon that
silly witch? Can you learn no wisdom from the fate of other generations
of fools, but must yourself add another to the catalogue? She is more
dangerous than the nixes: the snares which they laid for their victims
were cobwebs, compared to the one she is weaving for you. You admire her
hair, forsooth! The silk of the Indian corn is a fairer color, spiders'
webs are finer, and the back of the earth-mole is softer; yet in your
eyes nothing will compare with it."

"The silk of the Indian corn is golden, but coarse and rough; the
threads of the spider's web are fine, but dull and gray; the satin hair
of the blind mole is lifeless and stiff. Let me go, old man! I care
nothing for your fancied dangers. I shall row her to-day; that is
pleasure enough." And he attempted to seize the unused oar.

"Once more, pause! Reflect upon what you are leaving: the pleasures of
tranquil meditation, the keen excitements of science, the entrancing
delights of philosophy. All these you must abandon, if you leave me

Anthrops hesitated a moment.

"How so?" he asked.

"He who is devoted to philosophy must share his soul with no other
mistress. No restlessness, no longing after an unseen face, no feverish
anxiety for the love or approval of an earthly maiden must disturb the
balanced calm of his absorbed mind"--

"Herr Anthrops, Herr Anthrops, how you have forgotten your engagement!"

She was in a boat that had pushed up close to them unawares. Some girls
and young men occupied the bows. Haguna was leaning over the stern and
waving her hand to Anthrops. So suddenly had she appeared, that it was
as if she had risen out of the rippling river, and the ripples still
seemed to undulate on her sunny hair and laughing dimpled face: so fresh
and bright and fair she seemed in that glad June morning. What did it
matter whether he reasoned rightly on any subject?

"Let me go!" he exclaimed to his companion. "Farewell, philosophy!
farewell, science! I have chosen."

To his surprise, he discovered that he was suddenly quite alone in the
boat. The philosopher had disappeared,--whether by waxen wings, or an
invisible cap, or any of the other numerous contrivances of many-wiled
philosophers, he did not stop to consider, but hastened to join Haguna
and her companions.

"You are a welcome addition to our company," said Haguna, graciously
reaching out her white hand; "but you choose strange companions. An old
gray owl flew out of your boat a moment ago, scared to find himself
abroad in such a pleasant sunlight. I confess I don't altogether
admire your taste, not being an orni"--

She appealed in pretty perplexity to the student to help her out of the
difficulty into which she had fallen by her rash attempt at large words.

--"Thologist," added Anthrops, much wondering at these new tricks of
the philosopher,--and then again he so much the more applauded his own
wisdom in exchanging for her society the company of an old owl.

So all the day long he stayed by her, all the day long he followed her,
rowing or walking or dancing, or sitting by her under the willows on the
banks of the river. The soft breeze routed her shining hair from its
compact masses; it touched his cheek as he knelt beside her to pull
up the tough-rooted columbine that resisted her fingers; her fragrant
breath mingled with the odor of the sweet-scented violets that he
plucked for her; the trailing tresses of the mournful willow, swaying in
the breeze, brushed them both; the murmuring water at their feet heard a
new tale as it flowed past her, and babbled it to him, adding delicious
nonsense of its own, endless variations upon the same sweet theme. How
happy he was that day! It came to an end, of course; but its death
scattered the seeds of other days, that sprang up in gracious profusion,
yielding dear delights of flower and fruit. All over his garden these
bright plants grew, gradually triumphing over and expelling the coarser
and ruder vegetables.

Nothing but flowers would he cultivate now,--and cared not even that
they should be perennials, if only the present blooming were gay and

One June day, Anthrops joined a pleasure-seeking equestrian party, who
rode from the town to spend the day in the woods. What a lovely day it
was! The pure, fresh air seemed to contain the very essence of the life
it inspired, life drained of all impurity and sadness and foulness
by the early summer rains, the springing joyous life of the delicate
wood-flowers. The strong trees in the leafy woods trembled with
happiness in their boughs and tender sprays; the carolling birds poured
forth their brimming songs from full hearts. And upon the interlacing
greenery of the shrubbery, and the lichens upon the trees, and the soft
moss covering with jealous tenderness the bare places in the ground,
the slant sunbeams glittered in the early morning dew. As Anthrops rode
along silently by the side of Haguna, an inexpressible joyfulness filled
his heart; the light, round, white clouds nestling in the deep bosom of
the sky, the faint, delicious odor of the woods, the rustling, murmuring
presence that forever dwelt there, all made him unspeakably glad and
light-hearted. As he rode, he began to sing a little song that he had
learned awhile before.

  We rushed from the mountain,
    The streamlet and I,
  Restless, unquiet,
    We scarcely knew why,--
  Till we met a dear maiden,
    Whose beauty divine
  Stilled with great quiet
    This wild heart of mine;
  And awed and astonished
    To peacefulness sweet,
  The fierce mountain-torrent
    Lay still at her feet."

"A right rare power for beauty to possess!" laughed Haguna. "Are you so
restless that you need this soothing, fair Sir?"

A deep, sweet smile gushed out from his eyes and illumined his face.
He stretched out his arms lovingly into the warm air, as if he thus
infolded some rich joy, and answered, musingly,--

"In ordinary action, thought, and feeling,--we are too conscious of
ourselves, we are perplexed with the miserable little 'I,' that, by
claiming deed and thought for its own work, makes it little and mean.
But the wondrous Beautiful comes to us entirely from outside; our very
contemplation of it does not belong to us; we are overpowered
and conquered by the vast idea that broods over us. And so that
contemplation is pure happiness."

Haguna laughed a little, and a little wondered what he meant; then
observed, lightly,--

"You must value yourself very modestly, to consider your greatest
happiness to consist in losing your self-consciousness,--unless,
indeed, like Polycrates, you hope to insure future prosperity by
sacrificing your most valuable possession."

"If so, I, like Polycrates, am the gainer by my own precaution; for, in
your presence, dear lady, do I first truly find my right consciousness."

She clapped her hands gleefully, wilfully misunderstanding his meaning.

"Most complimentary of monarchs! So I am the haggard old fisherman who
replaced the lost bawble in the royal treasury! Pray, Sire, remember the
pension with which I should be rewarded!" And she bowed low, in mock
courtesy to her companion.

"Nay," rejoined Anthrops, vexed that his earnest compliment should be so
mishandled,--"blame your own perversity for such an interpretation. At
your side I forget that I live for any other purpose than to look at
you, and lavish my whole soul in an intensity of gazing; and then the
presumptuous thought, that you like to have me near you, nay, are
sometimes even pleased to talk to me, gives my poor self a value in my
own eyes, for the kindness you show me."

"I know all that well enough," said Haguna, quietly. "But in the mean
while, dear Anthrops, you must remember that it is really impolite to
stare so much."

By this time they had ridden deep into the still woods. Following the
light current of their talking, they wound in and out among the green
trees, under their broad arching boughs,--now following the path, now
beating a new track over the short grass mixed with the crisp gray moss.
The sunlight glanced shyly through the fluttering leaves, weaving with
their delicate shadows a rare tracery on the grass. The pattern was so
intricate and yet so suggestive, they were sure that some strange legend
was written there in mysterious characters,--something holding a fateful
reason for their ride together in the green woods. But just as they had
almost deciphered the secret, the broidered shadow disappeared under a
bush, leaving them in new perplexity. They looked for the story in the
windings of the checkerberry-vine and blue-eyed periwinkle, on the
lichens curiously growing on the boles of aged trees; but for all these
they had no dictionary. So they strayed on and on, in the endless
mazes of the forest, till they became entirely separated from their
companions, and lost all clue for recovering the path.

Anthrops looked in some perplexity at Haguna, to see if she were alarmed
at this position of affairs. He was rather surprised to find, that, far
from being discouraged, she seemed highly to enjoy the dilemma. She
leaned forward a little on her horse, her one gloved hand, dropping the
reins on his neck, nestled carelessly in his mane, while the forefinger
of the other hand rested on her lip, with a comical expression of mock
anxiety, as she looked inquiringly at Anthrops.

"I think," finally exclaimed Anthrops, "that we had better push straight
through the woods. We cannot go far without discovering some road that
will lead us back to the city."

"Nobly resolved, courageous Sir! But first tell me how we shall pass
this first barrier that besets our onward march."

And she pointed the end of the riding-whip that hung at her wrist to a
mass of brambles which formed an impenetrable wall immediately in their
path. Anthrops rubbed his eyes, for he could scarce believe that this
thicket had been there before; it seemed to have grown up suddenly while
he turned his head. He then tried to retrace his steps, but was thrown
into fresh perplexity by discovering that the trees seemed to have
closed in around them, so that he could find no opening for a horse.

"It seems evident to me," said Haguna, "that we must dismount, and find
our way on foot. If now we could have deciphered the hieroglyphs of the
shadows, we might have avoided this misfortune."

As cool water upon the brow of a fevered man, fell the clear tones
of her voice upon Anthrops, bewildered and confused by the sudden
enchantment. She, indeed, called it a misfortune, but so cheerily and
gayly that her voice belied the term; and Anthrops insensibly plucked up
heart, and shook off somewhat of that paralyzing astonishment.

He assisted her to dismount, and, leaving the horses to their fate,
they together hunted for some opening in the dense thicket. After much
search, Anthrops succeeded in discovering a small gap in the brambles,
through which he and Haguna crept, but only into fresh perplexity. They
gained a path, but with it no prospect of rejoining their companions;
for it wound an intricate course between ramparts of vine-covered
shrubbery, that shut it in on either side and intercepted all extended
view. The way was too narrow to admit of more than one person passing at
a time; and as Haguna happened to have emerged first from the thicket,
she boldly took the lead, following the path until they emerged into a
more open part of the forest, where the undulating ground was entirely
free from underbrush, and the eye roamed at pleasure through the wide
glades. Haguna followed some unseen waymarks with sure step, still
tacitly compelling Anthrops to follow her without inquiry. As she sped
lightly over the turf, she began to hum a little song:--

  "Nodding flowers, and tender grass,
  Bend and let the lady pass!
  Lighter than the south-wind straying,
  In the spring, o'er leaves decaying,
  Seeking for his ardent kisses
  One small flower that he misses,
  Will I press your snowy bosoms,
  Dainty, darling little blossoms!"

Singing thus, she descended a little hill, and, gliding round its base,
disappeared under a thick grape-vine that swung across it from two lofty
elms on either side. A spider in conscious security had woven his web
across the archway formed by the drooping festoons of the vine; the
untrodden path was overgrown with moss. Haguna lifted up the vine
and passed under, beckoning Anthrops to follow. He heard her still

  "Quick unclasp your tendrils clinging,
  Stealthily the trees enringing!
  I have learnt your wily secret:
  I will use it, I shall keep it!
  Cunning spider, cease your spinning!
  My web boasts the best beginning.
  Yours is wan and pale and ashen:
  After no such lifeless fashion
  Mine is woven. Golden sunbeams
  Prisoned in its meshes, light gleams
  From its shadowest recesses.
  Tell me, spider, made you ever
  Web so strong no knife could sever
  Woven of a maiden's tresses?"

On the other side of the viny curtain, Anthrops discovered the entrance
to a large cavern hollowed out in a rock. The cavern was carpeted with
the softest moss of the most variegated shades, ranging from faintest
green to a rich golden brown. The rocky walls were of considerable
height, and curved gracefully around the ample space,--a woodland
apartment. But the most remarkable feature in the grotto was a
rose-colored cloud, that seemed to have been imprisoned in the farther
end, and, in its futile efforts to escape, shifted perpetually into
strange, fantastic figures. Now, the massive form of the Israelitish
giant appeared lying at the feet of the Philistine damsel; anon, the
kingly shoulders of the swift-footed Achilles towered helplessly above
the heads of the island girls. The noble head of Marcus Antoninus bowed
in disgraceful homage before his wife; the gaunt figure of the stern
Florentine trembled at the footsteps of the light Beatrice; the sister
of Honorius, from the throne of half the world, saluted the sister
of Theodosius, grasping the sceptre of the other half in her slender
fingers. Every instance of weak compliance with the whims, of devoted
subjection to the power, of destructive attention to the caprices of
women by men, since Eve ruined her lord with the fatal apple, was
whimsically represented by the rapid configurations of this strange

Anthrops presently discovered Haguna half reclining on a raised
moss-seat, and dreamily running her white fingers through her hair,
which now fell unchecked to her feet. He had lost sight of her but a
few minutes, yet in that short time a strange change had come over her.
Perhaps it was because her rippling hair, which, slightly stirred by the
faint air of the cavern, rose and fell around her in long undulations,
made her appear as if floating in a golden brown haze. Perhaps it was
the familiarity with which she had taken possession of the grotto, as if
it had been a palace that she had expected, prepared for her reception.
But for some reason she appeared a great way off,--no longer a simple
maiden, involved with him in a woodland adventure, but a subtle
enchantress, who, through all the seeming accidents of the day, had
been pursuing a deep-laid plot, and now was awaiting its triumphant
consummation. She did not at first notice Anthrops as he stood in
curious astonishment in the doorway; but presently, looking up, she
motioned him to another place beside herself.

"This is a pleasant place to rest in for a while before we rejoin our
companions," she said; "we are fortunate in finding so pretty a spot."

The natural tone of her frank, girlish voice somewhat dissipated
Anthrops's vague bewilderment, and he accepted the proffered seat at
her side. He for the first time looked attentively at Haguna, as he had
until now been gazing at the shifting diorama behind her. He noticed, to
his surprise, a number of bright shining points, somewhat like stars,
glistening in her hair, and with some hesitation inquired their
nature. Haguna laughed, a low musical laugh, yet with an indescribable
impersonality in it,--as if a spring brook had just then leaped over a
little hill, and were laughing mockingly to itself at its exploit.

"They are souls," she said.

"Dear me!" exclaimed Anthrops; "are souls no bigger than that?"

"How do you know how large they are?" laughed Haguna, beginning to weave
her hair into a curiously intricate braid. "These are but the vital
germs of souls; but I hold them bound as surely by imprisoning these."

"But surely every soul is not so weak; all cannot be so cruelly

Again she laughed, that strange laugh.

"Strong and weak are merely relative terms. There is nothing you know
of so strong that it may not yield to a stronger, and anything can be
captured that is once well laid hold of. I will sing you a song by which
you may learn some of the ways in which other things beside souls are

Still continuing her busy weaving, Haguna began to sing. Except the song
she had hummed in the woods that afternoon, he had never heard her voice
but in speaking, and was astonished at its richness and power; yet it
was a simple chant she sang, that seemed to follow the gliding motion of
her fingers.

  "Running waters swiftly flowing,
  On the banks fair lilies growing
  Watch the dancing sunbeams quiver,
  Watch their faces in the river.
  Round their long roots, in and out,
  The supple river winds about,--
  Wily, oily, deep designing,
  Their foundations undermining.
  Fall the lilies in the river,
  Smoothly glides the stream forever."

The subtle song crept into Anthrops's brain, and seemed to spin a web
over it, which, though of lightest gossamer, confined him helplessly in
its meshes. Again she sang:--

  "From the swamp the mist is creeping;
  Fly the startled sunbeams weeping,
  Up the mountain feebly flying,
  Paling, waning, fainting, dying.
  All their cheerful work undoing,
  Crawls the cruel mist pursuing.
  Shrouded in a purple dimness,
  Quenched the sunlight is in shadow;
  Over hill and wood and meadow
  Broads the mist in sullen grimness."

She had already woven a great deal of her shining hair into a curious
braid, so broad and intricate as to be almost a golden web. A strange
fascination held Anthrops spell-bound; it was as if her song were
weaving her web, and her fingers chanting her song, and as if both song
and web were made of the wavering cloud that still shifted into endless
dioramas. Once more she sang:--

  "Drop by drop the charmed ear tingling,
  Rills of music intermingling,
  Murmuring in their mazy winding,
  All the steeped senses blinding,
  Their intricate courses wending,
  Closer still the streams are blending.
  Down the rapid channel rushing,
  Floods of melody are gushing;
  Flush the tender rills with gladness,
  Drown the listener in sweet madness.
  Onward sweeps the eddying singing,
  Ever new enchantment bringing.
  Break the bubbles on the river,
  Faints the wearied sound in darkness;
  But, as one that always hearkens,
  Floats the charmed soul forever."

As she finished the song, she arose, and threw over the youth the web
of her fatal hair. The charmed song had so incorporated itself with the
odorous air of the cavern, that every breath he drew seemed to be laden
with the subtle music. It oppressed, stifled him; he strove in vain to
escape its influence; and as he felt the soft hair brush his cheek, he
swooned upon the ground.

The philosopher's study was a very different place from the green
wood,--perched up, as it was, on the summit of a bare, bleak mountain.
The room was fitted up with the frugality demanded by philosophic
indifference to luxury, and the abundance necessitated by a wide range
of study. The walls were hung with a number of pictures, in whose
subjects an observer might detect a remarkable similarity. A satirical
pencil had been engaged in depicting some of the most striking instances
of successful manly resistance to female tyranny, of manly contempt for
feminine weakness, of manly endurance of woman-inflicted injury. The
unfortunate Longinus turned with contemptuous pity from the trembling
Zenobia; the valiant Thomas Aquinas hurled his protesting firebrand
against the too charming interruption of his scholastic pursuits; the
redoubtable Conqueror beat his rebellious sweetheart into matrimony.
The flickering light of a wood fire served not merely to illuminate
the actual portraits, but almost to discover the sarcastic face of the
anonymous artist, smiling in triumph from the background. On the hearth
in front of the fire stood the philosopher in earnest conversation with
a venerable friend.

"I am provoked beyond measure," exclaimed our friend, in an exceedingly
vexed tone. "So much as I had hoped from the boy,--that he, too, could
not keep from the silly snare! It is shameful, abominable;--she is
always in my way, upsetting all my plans, interfering with everything I
undertake. Would you believe it? at the death of one of her sisters, the
fools were not content with giving her a funeral good enough for a man,
but they must place her _hair_ in the sky for a constellation!"

"That was indeed an insult to Orion," said his sympathizing friend,

"My hands are absolutely tied," continued the irate philosopher. "I
bestow upon the boys the most careful education, enlarge their minds
by the study of the history and destiny of man, of the world, of the
stellar system, till I may hope that in the contemplation of the
vast universe they have lost their little prejudices and personal
preferences. I strengthen their judgment, assiduously exercise their
powers of ratiocination, fortify their minds with philosophy, train them
to habits of accuracy, patience, and perseverance by long scientific
research; and at the moment when I ought to find them useful as
philosophers, as seekers after eternal Truth, as lovers of imperishable
Wisdom, they degenerate into seekers after eyes and hair and cheeks, and
I know not what nonsense, lovers of frail, perishable women, who appear
to preserve an astonishing longevity on purpose to plague and thwart
rational people."

His friend pondered deeply upon the vexatious problem.

"You say," he remarked, "that this unfortunate attraction exists in
spite of philosophical training,--that it is exerted towards the
antipodes of their previous associations; that, as they have been
trained to yield only to well-grounded syllogisms, it is the illogical
mode of assault that vanquishes them unguarded; that their reasonable
minds have nothing to say to such, perfectly unreasonable fascinations;
that, in short, the enemy succeeds by supplying a vacuum, as the walls
of Visibis gave way under the pressure of the dammed-up river?"

"Alas, friend, your observations are too true!"

"Then my way becomes clearer. It surely cannot be unknown to you, sagest
of students, that in physical science we oppose a plenum to a vacuum,
in medicine we supply a deficiency of saline secretions by the common
expedient of salt. Wherefore not apply our knowledge painfully gleaned
from lower science to the study of these more complicated phenomena? The
coward who would flee the fire of the enemy may be kept at his post by
the equal dread of death from his commander. Open a double fire upon
these wayward youths. Make the Barbarians enlist in the Roman legions.
In short, teach Haguna and the others philosophy. There will then no
longer be an opposing force of entirely different nature, but merely an
influence of the same kind as he has been accustomed to, though vastly
inferior in power."

The philosopher started,--the idea was so new to him.

"But, my friend," he urged, doubtfully, "do you not remember,
that, after the Romans had painfully learnt ship-building from the
Carthaginians, they vanquished them with their own weapons? Might not
some such danger be apprehended in this case?"

His companion reddened with indignation, then spoke in a tone of mildly
severe rebuke.

"Are the girls Romans? Do you suppose that in ship-building the silly
little things would ever advance beyond scows? We shall have the double
advantage of the plenum, by their minds being turned in the same
direction as those of our students,--and of the defeat and shipwreck,
through fighting in unseaworthy vessels."

"I have another idea also," observed the philosopher. "Even supposing,
as I must confess there seems to me a possibility, that in a
philosophical tournament, or trial of wits, they should occasionally
come off victorious," (his friend shook his head angrily,) "the effect
of separation that we desire would still be obtained. Haguna would no
longer be able to entangle silly boys in her treacherous hair. Your
suggestion is good; I will act upon it."

After some deliberation, they agreed upon the method of procedure, which
the philosopher immediately began to put into practice.

Shortly after this conversation, invitations were sent to a select
number of the inhabitants of the city to a new kind of entertainment to
be given by the recluse philosopher of the mountain. The entertainment
was to consist of astronomical and chemical exhibitions; the infinitely
great and infinitesimally little were to be conjoined to form an
evening's amusement. Such was the programme; and the eager curiosity
of the select few who were invited brought them punctually to the
philosopher's eyry. Haguna of course was there,--as unconsciously lovely
as if the disappearance of the unfortunate Anthrops were as much
a mystery to her as to the rest of the wondering citizens. The
philosopher, laying aside the brusqueness acquired in his solitude,
devoted himself with the utmost courtesy to the amusement of his guests,
--opened for them dusty cases of butterflies, shells, and rare stones,
which he had collected in his pursuit of the various sciences that
made them a specialty,--placed ponderous tomes open at some curious
or amusing story of otherwise forgotten ages, to arrest the fancy
of elegant literati,--exhibited rare and grotesque curiosities, the
glittering mica that he had picked up in his long researches, as toys
for these idlers of taste.

The flashing gems and gay dresses of the brilliant assemblage
illuminated the dusky old study; the rustling of silks, and the merry
laughter, only a trifle subdued by the novelty of the circumstances, the
eager chattering, the tripping sound of girlish feet darting in and
out of every quaint nook and corner, the varied flow of sprightly
conversation, scared the solemn quiet of the library. Looming down
grimly from the shelves that lined the walls, stood ponderous volumes,
monuments over the graves in which their authors were buried. Oh, the
life's blood that had been wrung into those forgotten pages! Oh, the
eager hope and sickening disappointment, the vehement aspirations,
the intense longings, the bitter hatred, the scorn, the greater than
angelic, the human love and benevolence, the fortitude, the courage, the
whole strange life of hundreds of dead men, that burned between those
thick covers! Often books do not reveal their authors until many years
after their death. They are read at first for the mite of fuel that they
bring to some blazing controversy; the man is entirely forgotten in his
work. But when years, centuries, have passed away, and the fire that
threatened to consume the world has died out as quietly as any common
bonfire, then the "spirits of the mighty dead" come back calmly to their
world-work,--now doubtless seeing its little worth as clearly as their
modern critics, but also hallowing their mighty labors with regal
authority, as the living garment of a human soul. The marble tombs in
graveyards hold empty dust; the real men lie buried alive in quiet

The philosopher entertained his guests well. But underneath all the
polite suavity of his manner could be detected a curious satisfaction at
the contrast between the deep sea of still thought usually embosoming
his library, and this sparkling, shallow little stream now flowing into
it. The prominent popular tricks of science he played off for their
amusement, exhibited the standard stars, enlarged upon the most
wonder-striking and easily understood facts in the sublime science, and
bewildered them with a pleasant enthusiasm of acquisition, by a series
of brilliant chemical experiments. The labors of a lifetime were
concentrated on a few dazzling results: the long tedium of the
means, the painful training, the hard mathematical preparation, the
brain-sickness and heart-sickness of these years of solitude were
quietly ignored.

But it was round Haguna that he plied the most subtle enchantments,--to
her he exhibited the most glittering decoys of Knowledge. She was
completely fascinated. Her cheeks grew pale, her large dark eyes deeper
and darker, with intense interest. She hung upon every word that fell
from the philosopher's lips, pored over the elegant trifles the scholar
had collected for the wondering ignorant, and stood abashed before the
studied unconsciousness of power,--the power of vast learning, that she
felt for the first time. When the guests were departing, she was still
reluctant to go,--she timidly followed the watchful philosopher to the
mighty telescope that had brought down stars for their playthings that

"My ignorance and weakness overwhelm me," she exclaimed; "would that I
could spend my life in this awful library!"

The philosopher repressed his exultation at this confession, and

"Nothing is easier, Madam, than the gratification of your laudable
desire. I am in the habit of receiving pupils, and should be most happy
to admit you to my class."

An eager light leaped into her lovely face as she earnestly thanked him
for his condescension, and engaged to begin the lessons on the very next
day. So, when the guests had all gone, and the scared quiet ventured to
brood again over its ancient nestling-place, the wily philosopher
threw himself back into his great chair, and laughed a long while with
solitary enjoyment.

The next day Haguna wended her lonely way to the bleak hill. It was so
stony and bare and treeless,--jutting out against the gray cold sky
like a giant sentinel stripped naked, yet still with dogged obstinacy
clinging to his post. The hard path pushed up over jagged stones that
cut her tender feet, and they left bleeding waymarks on the difficult
ascent. Woe, woe to poor trembling Haguna! Uncouth birds whizzed in
circles round her head, clanging and clamoring with their shrill voices,
striving to beat her back with their flapping wings. The faint sweet
fragrance of brier-roses clustering at the foot of the mountain wafted
reproachfully upon the chill air an entreaty to return. Once, turning at
a sudden bend in the road, she spied a merry party of girls and children
crowning each other with quickly fading wreaths of clover-blossoms. A
rosy-cheeked child in the centre of the group, enjoying the glory of his
first coronation, accidentally pointed his fat fore-finger at her, as
if in derision of her undertaking. It was strange, that, although she
presently pressed forward eagerly again, she felt glad that none of
those laughing girls would leave the sunny valley to follow her example.
She had flung her whole soul into the scheme, as is the fashion with
girls, and could not recover it again now. It seemed absolutely
necessary that somewhere some woman like herself should be compelled
to scale this ascent, and she--one of those girls in the valley, for
instance, might not be nearly so well able as herself to face this
bleakness. Thus she might preserve those sportive triflers in their
everlasting childhood by the warning of her sad devotion. Faint shadows
of gigantic tasks to be conquered when the hill was surmounted swam
through her mind. And somewhat whimsically associated with these, a
portrait of the learned Hooker occurred vividly to her imagination,--his
face disfigured through his devotion to sedentary pursuits.
Involuntarily she smoothed her soft cheek with her little hand. It was
still round and velvet as an August peach. Nevertheless she threw this
possibility into the burden she was going to assume for humanity,
and felt happier as the burden waxed heavier. The innate hunger for
sacrifice was gratified, with only the definite prospect of suffering
from loss of complexion; a concrete living shape was given to the vague
longing that possessed her; and she cheerfully marched on, strong in the
hope of the love and reverence she was sure her devotion would gain. Ah,
sweet Haguna, Haguna! Sweating enough and toil enough already! Go back,
dear child, from a work thou canst not understand, and imprison sunbeams
for the panting world in flowery valleys!

By this time she had reached the philosophic hermitage. Her future
master met her at the door, and, saluting her with grave courtesy, led
the way to a small unfurnished apartment, from whose windows nothing
could be seen but the distant sea and sky,--always a solemn monotone of
sea and sky.

"And so," he said, with mild irony, "even the maidens must dim their
bright eyes with philosophy! Can they leave their dolls so long?"

The hot blood rushed into Haguna's face, as she exclaimed, with intense

"Is it my fault that I am a girl? I come to you to learn, to satisfy
the insatiable thirst for knowledge which you have awakened,--and you
reproach me with my ignorance! I have just discovered that the one thing
I have secretly needed always was to learn to exercise my mind cramped
with inaction, to share with you labor and toil."

"Poor child," sighed the philosopher, excited to sudden pity by her
ardor, "you know little of the sweat of brain-toil! Do you know that it
takes years of painful study to arrive at a single valuable result? that
for a distant, doubtful advantage, all your bright, unfettered life must
be sacrificed? Each enjoyment must be stinted and weighed,--each day
valued only as another step to be climbed in the endless ladder,--all
simple, sweet enjoyment of earth and air and sky, the careless, golden
halo of each free day, must be given up. Everything must be squared
according to an inexorable plan; self must be despised, passions
restrained and clarified, till the life becomes thin and attenuated
through careful discipline,--all hopes and fears laid aside till the
soul becomes accustomed to its chilly atmosphere. Then body and mind
must be trained to endure a fearful weariness, to pass the days under
such a stern pressure of toil that all loving, graceful interests shall
be rooted out of the stony soil. You must be prepared to lose precious
truths in a gulf of delusion,--to leave all your old beacon-lights and
wander forth in an eternal dark. The troubles that beset weak souls
may be dissipated, but new strength brings dreadful trials. Tremendous
conflicts, undreamt-of in your innocence, will agitate your adventurous
Intellect, penetrating into vast regions of Doubt, where the mind made
for belief often reels into madness, goaded by harassing anxiety.
Often the lonely night-hours must be spent in sore battle with fearful
spectres revived by the roaming soul from their frequent graves.
All this and more must he dare who aspires to the lofty service of

"All this and more would I gladly suffer," cried Haguna. "There is a
fire now in my brain; you have kindled it, and it must be fed. And,
moreover, I wish to endure this trial for its own sake; for it is not
fitting that men should suffer more than women. Perhaps, too,--am I
presumptuous in thinking so?--two workers may so lessen the toil of one
that this lonely trial maybe greatly helped by even my assistance."

And her bosom heaved, and glorious tears welled up into her deep blue
eyes. The repentant philosopher placed his hand on her lovely head, and
lifted a tress of her soft hair.

"Ah, child, child, you know little about it! What! will you sacrifice
these glorious tresses to a hard and joyless course of study? For none
can study Euclid with me with hair like this."

"Willingly! willingly!" cried Haguna, impetuously, and pulled a pair of
scissors from her pocket to immediately make the beautiful offering.

The reluctant philosopher arrested her hand.

"Rash girl! consider yet a moment. You are exchanging a treasure whose
value you know for--you know not what. You will bitterly repent."

But Haguna, would not consider. She impatiently tore away her hand, and
in a few minutes had closely shorn her head, and the neglected hair lay
in rich profusion on the floor. As it lay there, the warm golden brown
color faded and faded, and some glittering things entangled in its
abundant masses beamed forth for a moment like tiny stars, and then
disappeared. And had Haguna stepped into a cloud, that so great a change
had come over her? The fine contour of head and forehead, the soft
outline of face, the delicate moulding of the chin were the same
still,--the dark eyes glowed with even new lustre; but the graceful
throat and white arm were hidden in a dark muffling cloak, the delicious
blush had faded from the cheek, whose color was now firm and tranquil,
the well-cut lips had settled into almost too harsh lines, an air of
indescribably voluptuous grace had forever fled. Ah, hapless Haguna!

The philosopher made no further remonstrance, but led her immediately
to the library, and, seating her at the table, opened a worn copy of
Euclid, and began at "Two straight lines," and so forth.

A few moments after, Anthrops, released from his imprisonment, opened
the door of the upper room, walked quietly down-stairs, and returned to
the city, much to the joy of his friends and relations, who had long
mourned him as lost.

About a year after this, Anthrops strolled into the philosopher's study,
to inquire the solution of a certain problem.

"I will refer you," said his old instructor, "to my accomplished pupil";
then raising his voice,--"Haguna!"

Anthrops, startled at hearing her name in such a connection, awaited her
entrance with anxious curiosity. She speedily came in obedience to
the summons, bowed with an air of grave abstraction to Anthrops, and,
seating herself, composedly awaited the commands of her master. Her
former captive asked himself, wondering, if this could be the airy,
laughing, winsome maiden with whom in days past he had ridden into the
green forest. The billows of hair had ebbed away; the short, ungraceful,
and somewhat thin remnant was meant for use in covering the head, not
for luxurious beauty. All falling laces, all fluttering ribbons, all
sparkling jewels were discarded from the severe simplicity of the
scholastic gown; and with them had disappeared the glancing ripple that
before had sunnily flowed around her, like wavy undulations through a
field of corn. Very clear and still were the violet eyes, but their dewy
lustre had long ago dried up. Like a flowering tree whose blossoms have
been prematurely swept off by a cold wind was the maiden, as she sat
there, abstractedly drawing geometrical diagrams with her pencil.

"Now, Sir," said the philosopher, "if you will state your difficulty, I
have no doubt my pupil can afford you assistance."

So saying, he withdrew into a corner, that the discussion might have
free scope.

Haguna now looking inquiringly at Anthrops. He cleared his throat with a
somewhat dictatorial "hem!" and began.

"These circumstances, Madam, are really so unusual, that you must excuse
me, if I"--

"Proceed, Sir, to the point."

"When, avoiding the barbarous edict of Justinian, which condemned to a
perpetual silence the philosophic loquacity of the Athenian schools, the
second heptacle of wise men undertook a perilous journey to implore the
protection of Persia, they undoubtedly must at some stages of their
travels have passed the night on the road. In this case, the method of
so passing the time becomes an interesting object of research. Did the
last of the Greeks provide themselves with tents,--effeminately impede
their progress with luggage? Did they, skirting the north of the Arabian
desert, repose under the scattered palm-trees,--or rather, wandering
among the mountains of Assyria, find surer and colder shade? The
importance of this inquiry becomes evident upon reflecting that the
characters of the great are revealed by their behavior in the incidental
events of their lives."

"It is evident to my mind," returned Haguna, thoughtfully, "that the
seven sages, joyfully escaping from the frivolous necessities of
society, would return to the privileges of the children of eternal
Nature, and sleep confidingly under the blue welkin."

"Rheumatism," suggested Anthrops.

"Rheumatism!" echoed Haguna, disdainfully. "What is rheumatism? What are
any mere pains of the flesh, to the glorious content of the unshackled
spirit revelling in the freedom of its own nature? Thus the cultivated
Reason returns, with a touching appreciation of the Beautiful and the
Fit, to the simple couch of childish spontaneity. Mankind, after
long confinement in marble palaces, sepulchres of their inner being,
retrograde to the golden age. The wisdom of the world lies down to sleep
under the open sky. Such a beautiful comparison! It must be true."

"Really, Madam, your conclusions, although attained with great rapidity
of reasoning, are hardly deducible from the premises. Let me remark"--

"Reduce Camenes to Celarent, and the argument is plainly irrefragable.
It requires a mind deeply toned to sympathy with the inner significance
of all things to"--

"Contemporary testimony is absolutely necessary, if not suspiciously
sullied by credulity or deceit,--in which case, the nearest trustworthy
historian, if not more than a hundred years from the specified time, is
incomparably preferable. But"--

Haguna again interrupted, her voice a little raised with excitement. The
dispute waxed warm, on either side authorities were quoted and rejected,
and how it terminated has never been recorded. But the philosopher in
the corner rubbed his hands with satisfaction, exclaiming,--

"Thank fortune, we may now have a little peace!"


  What flower is this that greets the morn,
  Its hues from heaven so freshly born?
  With burning star and flaming band
  It kindles all the sunset land;--
  O, tell us what its name may be!
  Is this the Flower of Liberty?
      It is the banner of the free,
      The starry Flower of Liberty!

  In savage Nature's far abode
  Its tender seed our fathers sowed;
  The storm-winds rocked its swelling bud,
  Its opening leaves were streaked with blood,
  Till, lo! earth's tyrants shook to see
  The full-blown Flower of Liberty!
      Then hail the banner of the free,
      The starry Flower of Liberty!

  Behold its streaming rays unite
  One mingling flood of braided light,--
  The red that fires the Southern rose,
  With spotless white from Northern snows,
  And, spangled o'er its azure, see
  The sister Stars of Liberty!
      Then hail the banner of the free,
      The starry Flower of Liberty!

  The blades of heroes fence it round;
  Where'er it springs is holy ground;
  From tower and dome its glories spread;
  It waves where lonely sentries tread;
  It makes the land as ocean free,
  And plants an empire on the sea!
      Then hail the banner of the free,
      The starry Flower of Liberty!

  Thy sacred leaves, fair Freedom's flower,
  Shall ever float on dome and tower,
  To all their heavenly colors true,
  In blackening frost or crimson dew,--
  And GOD love us as we love thee,
  Thrice holy Flower of Liberty!
     Then hail the banner of the free,
     The starry FLOWER OF LIBERTY!


The memory of Alexis de Tocqueville belongs scarcely less to America
than to France. His book on "Democracy in America" was the foundation of
his fame. As a successful investigation by a foreigner of the nature and
working of institutions dissimilar from those of his own country, and
in many essential respects different from any which were elsewhere
established, it stands quite alone in political literature. It is still
further remarkable as the work of a very young man. Its merits were at
once acknowledged; and though twenty-six years have passed since it
appeared, it has been superseded by no later work. The book has a double
character, which has given to it an equal authority on both sides of
the Atlantic. For while it is a profound and sagacious analysis of the
spirit and methods of the American social and political system, it
is intended at the same time--more, however, by implied than open
comparison--to exhibit the relations of the principles established
here to the development of modern society and government in France and
elsewhere in Europe. It is a manual alike for the political theorist
and the practical statesman; and whatever changes our institutions may
undergo, its value will remain undiminished.

The volumes of Tocqueville's Inedited Works and Correspondence, with a
Memoir by his friend M. Gustave de Beaumont, which have lately appeared
in Paris, have, therefore, a special claim to the attention of American
readers. Their intrinsic interest is great as illustrating the life and
character not only of one of the most original and independent thinkers
of this generation, but also of a man not less distinguished by the
elevation and integrity of his character than by the power of his
intellect. The race of such men has seemed of late years to be dying out
in France. In the long list of her public characters during the past
thirty years, there are few names which can share the honor with
Tocqueville's of being those neither of apostates nor of schemers. Men
who hold to their principles in the midst of revolutions, who for the
sake of honor resist the temptations of power, who have faith in liberty
and in progress even when their hopes are overthrown, are rare at all
times and in all lands. "France no longer produces such men," said the
Duke de Broglie, when he heard of Tocqueville's death.

No book has been published of more importance than this in its
exhibition of the condition of thought and of society in France during
recent years. None has given more convincing evidence of the suppression
of intellectual liberty under the new Imperial rule. The reserves and
the omissions to which M. de Beaumont has been forced in the performance
of his work as editor display the oppressive nature of the censorship to
which the writings of the most honest and superior men are liable,
and the burdensome restraints by which such men are controlled and
disheartened. M. de Beaumont's notice of the life of Tocqueville, and
Tocqueville's own later correspondence, appear to a thoughtful reader as
accusations against Imperial despotism, as protests against the wrongs
from which freedom is now suffering in France. There is in them a
pervading tone of sadness, and, here and there, an expression of
bitterness of feeling, all the more effective for being conveyed in
restrained and unimpassioned words. There is no place for such men as
these in a system like that by which Louis Napoleon governs France.
The men of strong character, of incorruptible integrity, of thoughtful
moderation, and of fixed principles are more dangerous to the permanence
of despotic rule than the Victor Hugos, the Ledru Rollins, or the
Orsinis. It is the men with whom the love of liberty is founded upon
intellectual and moral convictions, not those with whom it is a hot and
reckless passion, that are the most to be feared by a ruler whose power
is based on the ignorance, the fears, the selfish ambitions, and the
material interests of the people whom he flatters and corrupts.

Tocqueville was born a thinker. His physical organization was delicate,
but he had an energy of spirit which led him often to overtask his
bodily forces in long-continued mental exertions. Without brilliancy
of imagination and with little liveliness of fancy, he possessed the
faculty of acute and discriminating observation, and early acquired the
rare power of deep and continuous reflection. His mind was large and
calm. The candor of his intellect was never stained by passion. He had
not the faculties of an original discoverer in the domain of abstract
truth, but, as an investigator of the causes of political and social
conditions, of the relation between particular facts and general
theories, of the influence of systems and institutions upon the life of
communities, he has rarely been surpassed. His book on "Democracy in
America," and still more his later work on "The Old Régime and the
Revolution," display in a remarkable degree the union of philosophic
insight and practical good sense, of clearness of thought and
condensation of statement.

But, however great the value of his writings may be, a still greater
value attaches to the character of the man himself, as it is displayed
in these volumes. M. de Beaumont's brief and affectionate memoir of his
friend, and Tocqueville's own letters, are not so much narratives of
events as evidences of character. His life was, indeed, not marked with
extraordinary incidents. It was the life of a man whose career was
limited both by his own temperament and by the public circumstances of
his times; of one who set more value upon ideas than upon events; who
sought intellectual satisfactions and distinctions rather than personal
advancement; who affected his contemporaries by his thought and his
integrity of principle more than by power of commanding position or
energy of resolute will. Although for many years in public life, he made
little mark on public affairs. But his influence, though indirect,
was perhaps not the less strong or permanent. The course of political
affairs is in the long run greatly modified, if not completely guided,
by the thinkers of a nation. Tocqueville's convictions kept him for the
most part in opposition to the successive governments of France during
the period of his public life. But his reputation and the weight of his
authority are continually increasing, and of the Frenchmen of the last
generation few have done so much as he to extend by his writings the
knowledge, and to strengthen by his example the love of those principles
by which liberty is maintained and secured, and upon which the real
advancement of society depends. The leading facts of his life may be
briefly told.

Born in 1805, at Paris, of an old and honorable family, his early years
were passed at home. As a youth, he was for some time at the college of
Metz; but his education was irregular, and he was not distinguished for
scholarship. In 1826 and 1827 he travelled with one of his brothers in
Italy and Sicily, and on his return to France was attached to the Court
of Justice at Versailles, where his father, the Count de Tocqueville,
was then Prefect, in the quality of _Juge-Auditeur_, an office to which
there is none correspondent in our courts. It was at this time that his
friendship with M. Gustave de Beaumont began.

For more than two years he performed the duties of this place with
marked fidelity and ability. But at the same time he pursued studies
less narrow and technical than the law, investigating with ardor the
general questions of politics, and laying the foundation of those
principles and opinions which he afterward developed in his writings and
his public life. He witnessed the Revolution of 1830 with regret, not
because he was personally attached to the elder branch of the Bourbons,
but because he dreaded the effect of a sudden and violent change of
dynasty upon the stability of those constitutional institutions which
were of too recent establishment to be firmly rooted in France, but to
which he looked as the safeguard of liberty. He gave his adhesion to the
new government without hesitation, but without enthusiasm; and having
little hope of advancement in his career as magistrate, he applied to
the Ministry of the Interior early in 1831 for an official mission to
America to examine the system of our prisons, which at that time was
exciting attention in France. But the real motive which led him
to desire to visit America was his wish to study the democratic
institutions of the United States with reference to their bearing upon
the political and social questions which underlay the violent changes
and revolutions of government in France, and of which a correct
appreciation was of continually increasing importance. It was plain that
the dominating principle in the modern development of society was that
of democratic equality; and this being the case, the question of prime
importance presenting itself for solution was, How is liberty to be
reconciled with equality and saved from the inevitable dangers to which
it is exposed? or in other words, Can equality, which, by dividing
men and reducing the mass to a common level, smooths the way for the
establishment of a despotism, either of an individual or of the mob, be
made to promote and secure liberty? For the study of this question,
and of others naturally connected with it, the United States afforded
opportunities nowhere else to be found.

Accompanied by M. de Beaumont, Tocqueville passed a year in this
country, and the chief results of his visit appeared in the first two
volumes of his "Democracy in America," which were published in January,
1835. The success of the book was instant and extraordinary. His
publisher, who had undertaken it with reluctance, had ventured on a
first edition of but five hundred copies; and in one of his letters,
shortly after its publication, Tocqueville tells pleasantly of the
bookseller's ingenuous surprise at the interest which the work had
excited. "I went yesterday morning to Gosselin's [the publisher]; he
received me with the most beaming face in the world, saying to me,
'Well, now, so it seems you have made a _chef-d'oeuvre_.' Does not
that expression paint the complete man of business? I sat down, and we
talked of our second edition."

From this time Tocqueville was famous. In the autumn of the same year,
1835, he married an English lady, Miss Mottley, who had long resided in
France, and the happiness of his private life was secured at the very
moment when he was entering upon the cares and anxieties of a public
career. In 1836 the French Academy decreed for his book an extraordinary
prize; in 1838 he was elected a member of the Institute; and in 1841,
a year after the publication of the last volumes of his work, he was
chosen member of the Academy. From 1839 to 1848, Tocqueville, elected
and reëlected from Valognes, sat without interruption in the Chamber of
Deputies, where he constantly voted with the constitutional opposition.
His nature was too sensitive and his health too delicate to enable him
to hold a foremost place as orator in the debates of this period. His
habits of mind were, moreover, those of a writer rather than of a public
speaker. But the firmness and moderation of his principles and the
clearness and justice of his opinions secured for him a general respect,
and gave weight and influence to his counsels. "In 1839, having been
named reporter on the proposition relative to the abolition of slavery
in the colonies, he succeeded," says his biographer, "not only in
tracing with an able and sure hand the great principles of justice and
of humanity which should lead on the triumph of this holy cause, but
also, by words full of respect for existing interests and acquired
rights, in preparing the government and the public mind for a
concession, and the colonists for a compromise." He was frequently
intrusted with the duty of reporting on other projects of the first
importance; but special labors of this sort did not prevent him from
taking broad and large views of the political and moral tendencies of
the time, and of forecasting with clear insight the results of the
measures of the government and of the influences at work upon the
people. On the 27th of January, 1848, he announced the Revolution, which
he saw to be at hand. A passage from his speech on this occasion is
given by M. de Beaumont. It is striking, when read by the light of
subsequent events, for the truth of its inferences, the force of its
statements, and its prophetic warnings. After speaking of the opinions
and ideas prevalent among the working classes, he said, "When such
opinions take root, when they spread themselves so widely, when they
strike down deeply into the masses, they must bring about, sooner or
later, I do not know when, I do not know how, but they must bring about,
sooner or later, the most formidable revolutions.... I believe that at
this moment we are asleep upon a volcano. (_Dissent_.) I am profoundly
convinced of it."

Tocqueville, thus anticipating the Revolution, was more afflicted and
disappointed than surprised, when it overthrew the monarchy in February.
He had comprehended beforehand that its character was to be rather
social than simply political. He had determined to accept it as a
necessary evil. He measured from the first the risk to which the
principles to the maintenance of which he was devoted were exposed, the
peril which, threatened liberty itself. Believing that the Republic now
afforded the only and perhaps the last chance of liberty in France, and
that its downfall would result in throwing power into the hands of an
individual ruler, he determined to give all his support to the new
government, and to endeavor to work out the good of his country by means
which gave little encouragement or hope of success. He took part in the
Constituent Assembly, was one of the committee to form the Constitution,
and in the autumn of 1848 represented France as plenipotentiary at the
Conference held at Brussels, which had for its object the mediation of
France and England between Austria and Sardinia. The next year, having
just been elected a member of the Legislative Assembly, he was invited
by the President of the Republic to take the portfolio of Foreign
Affairs in the ministry of M. Barrot. He did not hold office long.
The ministry was too honest and too firm to suit the designs of the
President, and on the 31st of October Louis Napoleon announced, in a
message which took the Assembly by surprise, that it had been dismissed,
and a new set of ministers appointed. The President endeavored to retain
Tocqueville, and to win him over to his party; but Tocqueville already
presaged the fall of the Republic, and witnessed with anxiety and
discouragement the approach of the Empire. He remained a member of the
Assembly to the last. He was one of the deputies arrested on the 2d of
December, 1851, and was confined for a time at Vincennes. "Here ended
his political life. It ended with liberty in France."

The remaining years of Tocqueville's life were spent in a retirement
which might have been happy, had he not felt too deeply for happiness
the despotism which weighed upon France. He engaged in the studies that
resulted in his masterly work on "The Old Régime and the Revolution";
but these studies, instead of diverting him from the contemplation
of what France had lost, gave poignancy to the sorrow excited by her
present condition. All his hopes for the prevalence of the principles
which he had sought during life to confirm and establish, all his
personal ambitions as a public man, were completely broken down. But,
though thus defeated in hope and in desire, he was not overcome in
spirit. And the record of the closing years of his life shows, more than
that of any other portion of it, the firmness, the strength, and the
sweetness of his character.

His health, which had never been vigorous, became from year to year more
and more uncertain, and the labor which he gave to the historical work
to which he now devoted himself was frequently followed by exhaustion.
He passed some time in England, where be had many warm friends, in
examining the collections in the British Museum concerning the French
Revolution; and in 1855 he made a visit of considerable length to
Germany for the purpose of studying the social institutions of the
country, so far as they might illustrate the condition of France under
the old regime. At the beginning of 1856 the first part of his great
work was published. The impression produced by it was extraordinary. It
was, as it were, a key that opened to men the secrets of a history with
the events of which they were so familiar that it had seemed to them
nothing more was to be learned concerning it. The book is one which,
though unfinished, is, so far as it advances, complete. It will retain
its place as an historical essay of the highest value; for it is a study
of the past, undertaken not merely with the intention of elucidating the
facts of a particular period of history, but also with the design of
investigating and establishing the general principles in politics and
government of which facts and events are but the external indications.
Tocqueville was too honest to write according to any predetermined
theory; but he also penetrated too deeply into the causes of things not
to arrive, at length, at definite conclusions as to the meaning and
teachings of history.

Tocqueville had now reached the summit of fame as an author. He enjoyed
the harvest of success, and his ambition was urged by it to new
exertion. But in the summer of 1858 he had an alarming attack of
bleeding at the lungs, accompanied with a general prostration of
strength. In the autumn, his physicians ordered him to the South, and
early in November he arrived at Cannes, where he was to spend the
winter. But neither change of climate nor tender nursing was sufficient
to prevent his disease from progressing. He suffered much, but he still
hoped. He became worse as the spring came on, and on the 16th of April,
1859, he died. He was fifty-four years old, but he had lived a long
life, if life be measured by thought and moral progress.

In his domestic life Tocqueville had been most happy, and it was in his
own home that his character appeared in its most delightful aspect. In
society he was a converser of extraordinary brilliancy. Few men were his
rivals in this art, so well practised in Paris. His flow of ideas was
not more remarkable than the choiceness and vigor of his expression. But
he was not a tyrant in talk, and he was as ready to listen as to seek
for listeners. His social powers were at the service of his friends. He
was not of a gay temper, but he had a peculiar thoughtfulness for others
which gave a charm to his manners far superior to that of careless
vivacity. M. de Beaumont speaks of him in his relations to his friends
in words full of feeling:--

"I have said that he had many friends; but he experienced a still
greater happiness, that of never losing one of them. He had also another
happiness: it was the knowing how to love them all so well, that none
ever complained of the share he received, even while seeing that of the
others. He was as ingenious as he was sincere in his attachments; and
never, perhaps, did example prove better than his how many charms
good-wit adds to good-will (_combien l'esprit ajoute de charmes à la

"Good as he was," continues M. de Beaumont, "he aspired without ceasing
to become better; and it is certain that each day he drew nearer to that
moral perfection which seemed to him the only end worthy of man....
Each day he brought into all his sentiments and all his actions
something of deeper piety, and stronger gratitude to God.... He was
more patient, more laborious, more watchful to lose nothing of that life
which he loved so well, and which he had the right to find beautiful,
he who made of it so noble a use! Finally, it may be said to his honor,
that at an epoch in which each man tends to concentrate his regard upon
himself, he had no other aim than that of seeking for truths useful to
his fellows, no other passion than that of increasing their well-being
and their dignity."--Vol. I. p. 124.

The correspondence of a man about whom such--words may be said without
exaggeration has more than a merely literary interest. This book is
one of which the literary critic is not the final judge. Tocqueville's
letters, like every genuine series of letters written without thought
of publication, have the charm and more than the simplicity of
autobiography. Their merit lies not so much in grace of style,
picturesqueness of description, or familiar freedom of composition,
as in their exhibition of power of thought combined with delicacy
and refinement of feeling, and in the frequent expression of ardent
patriotism and strong personal sympathies with public or with private
interests. They are the letters of a man who took a grave view of life,
regarding it "as an affair with which we are charged, which must be
carried through and ended with honor to ourselves." They are the letters
also of a man of strong and faithful affections; and the long series of
them addressed during twenty-five years to the Count Louis de Kergorlay
has, in addition to its interest from its variety of topics, a special
moral value as the record of a close and confidential friendship
maintained in spite of the widest divergence of political opinion during
a period of unusual political excitement. Few men have the temper or the
sentiment requisite for the support of intimate relations under
such conditions. But his friendships occupied a very large place in
Tocqueville's life. In them he found happiness and repose. To one of his
friends he writes in 1844, "The remembrance of you is the more precious
to me because it calms in me all those troubles of the soul that
politics engender." And thus in the most trying passages of his life,
and especially in the discouragement of his later years, the thought
of his friends seems to have been constantly with him, and his
correspondence with them became almost a necessity for his spirit.
His letters, or rather that portion of them which M. de Beaumont has
published, and which must some day be succeeded by a fuller collection,
have thus a double character: they contain the judgments of a wide and
profound thinker on the subjects which interested him, while they show
him in the most amiable and attractive light as a generous and constant
friend. They are not to be compared in wit or elaborate finish with the
brilliant letters of Courier; they have not the striking originality and
terse vigor of those of De Maistre, but they have the grace of simple
and pure feeling, and the worth of clear, manly, high-toned thought. No
one capable of appreciating them can read them without learning to
feel toward their author not merely respect, but also a strong personal
regard. The two following extracts have a special appropriateness to
the present condition of our own country, while at the same time they
display the qualities most characteristic of Tocqueville's intellect.
They are both from letters addressed to one of the most distinguished
correspondents of his later years, Madame de Swetchine.

"There are, it seems to me, two distinct divisions in morals, one as
important as the other in the eyes of God, but in which in our days his
ministers instruct us with very unequal ardor. One belongs to private
life: it embraces the relative duties of mankind as fathers, as sons, as
wives, as husbands. The other regards public life: the duties of every
citizen toward his country, and toward that human society of which he
forms a special part. Am I deceived in believing that the clergy of our
time are very much occupied with the first portion of morals, and very
little with the second? This appears to me especially observable in the
manner in which women think and feel. I see a great number of them who
have a thousand private virtues in which the direct and beneficent
action of religion manifests itself,--who, thanks to it, are most
faithful wives and excellent mothers, who show themselves just and
indulgent toward their domestics, charitable to the poor. But as to that
portion of duties which is connected with public life, they do not
seem to have even the idea of it. Not only they do not practise them
themselves, which is natural enough, but they do not seem even to have
the thought of inculcating them on those over whom they have influence.
It is a side of education that is, as it were, invisible to them. It
was not so under that old regime which, in the midst of many vices,
developed proud and manly virtues. I have often heard it told, that
my grandmother, who was a very religious (_très sainte_) woman, after
impressing upon her young son the exercise of all the duties of private
life, failed not to add,--'And then, my child, never forget that a man
owes himself above all to his country; that there is no sacrifice that
he ought not to make for her; that he cannot remain indifferent to her
fate; that God requires of him that he be always ready to consecrate,
if need be, his time, his fortune, even his life, to the service of the
State and of the king."--Vol. II. p. 341.

"I do not ask of the priests to require of the men whose education is
committed to them, or over whom they exercise influence, I do not ask of
them to require of these men, as a duty of conscience, to support the
republic or the monarchy; but I avow that I desire that they should
oftener tell them, that, as they are Christians, so they belong to one
of those great human associations which God has established, without
doubt in order to render more visible and more sensible the bonds which
ought to unite individuals to each other,--associations which are named
the people, and whose territory is called the country. I desire that
they should cause the fact to penetrate more deeply into the souls of
men, that each man owes himself to this collective existence before
belonging to himself; that in regard to this existence no man is allowed
to be indifferent, still less to make of indifference a sort of feeble
virtue which enervates many of the most noble instincts that have been
given to us; that all are responsible for what happens to it, and that
all, according to their light, are bound to labor constantly for its
prosperity, to take care that it be submitted only to beneficent,
respectable, and lawful authorities.... This is what I wish should be
inculcated on men, and especially on women. Nothing has more struck me,
in an experience now of considerable length in public affairs, than the
influence that women always exercise in this matter,--influence so much
the greater as it is indirect. I do not doubt that it is they above all
who give to every nation a certain moral temperament, which shows itself
afterwards in politics."--Vol. II. p. 348. Tocqueville's services to
France, to liberty, did not end with his life. The example, no less than
the writings of such a man, bears fruit in later times. It belongs to no
one land. Wherever men are striving in thought or in action to support
the cause of freedom and of law, to strengthen institutions founded
on principles of equal justice, to secure established liberties by
defending the government in which they are embodied, his teachings will
be prized, and his memory be honored.




The golden sunshine of the spring morning was deadened to a sombre tone
in the shadowy courts of the Capuchin convent. The reddish brown of the
walls was flecked with gold and orange spots of lichen; and here
and there, in crevices, tufts of grass, or even a little bunch of
gold-blooming flowers, looked hardily forth into the shadowy air. A
covered walk, with stone arches, inclosed a square filled with dusky
shrubbery. There were tall funereal cypresses, whose immense height and
scraggy profusion of decaying branches showed their extreme old age.
There were gaunt, gnarled olives, with trunks twisted in immense
serpent folds, and boughs wreathed and knotted into wild, unnatural
contractions, as if their growth had been a series of spasmodic
convulsions, instead of a calm and gentle development of Nature. There
were overgrown clumps of aloes, with the bare skeletons of former
flower-stalks standing erect among their dusky horns or lying rotting on
the ground beside them. The place had evidently been intended for the
culture of shrubbery and flowers, but the growth of the trees had long
since so intercepted the sunlight and fresh air that not even grass
could find root beneath their branches. The ground was covered with a
damp green mould, strewn here and there with dead boughs, or patched
with tufts of fern and lycopodium, throwing out their green hairy roots
into the moist soil. A few half-dead roses and jasmines, remnants of
former days of flowers, still maintained a struggling existence, but
looked wan and discouraged in the effort, and seemed to stretch and pine
vaguely for a freer air. In fact, the whole garden might be looked upon
as a sort of symbol of the life by which it was surrounded,--a life
stagnant, unnatural, and unhealthy, cut off from all those thousand
stimulants to wholesome development which are afforded by the open plain
of human existence, where strong natures grow distorted in unnatural
efforts, though weaker ones find in its lowly shadows a congenial

We have given the brighter side of conventual life in the days we are
describing: we have shown it as often a needed shelter of woman's
helplessness during ages of political uncertainty and revolution; we
have shown it as the congenial retreat where the artist, the poet, the
student, and the man devoted to ideas found leisure undisturbed to
develop themselves under the consecrating protection of religion. The
picture would be unjust to truth, did we not recognize, what, from our
knowledge of human nature, we must expect, a conventual life of far less
elevated and refined order. We should expect that institutions which
guarantied to each individual a livelihood, without the necessity of
physical labor or the responsibility of supporting a family, might in
time come to be incumbered with many votaries in whom indolence and
improvidence were the only impelling motives. In all ages of the world
the unspiritual are the majority,--the spiritual the exceptions. It was
to the multitude that Jesus said, "Ye seek me, not because ye saw the
miracles, but because ye did eat and were filled,"--and the multitude
has been much of the same mind from that day to this.

The convent of which we speak had been for some years under the lenient
rule of the jolly Brother Girolamo,--an easy, wide-spread, loosely
organized body, whose views of the purpose of human existence were
decidedly Anacreontic. Fasts he abominated; night-prayers he found
unfavorable to his constitution; but he was a judge of olives and good
wine, and often threw out valuable hints in his pastoral visits on the
cooking of maccaroni, for which he had himself elaborated a savory
recipe; and the cellar and larder of the convent, during his pastorate,
presented so many urgent solicitations to conventual repose, as to
threaten an inconvenient increase in the number of brothers. The monks
in his time lounged in all the sunny places of the convent like so many
loose sacks of meal, enjoying to the full the _dolce far niente_ which
seems to be the universal rule of Southern climates. They ate and drank
and slept and snored; they made pastoral visits through the surrounding
community which were far from edifying; they gambled, and tippled, and
sang most unspiritual songs; and keeping all the while their own private
pass-key to Paradise tucked under their girdles, were about as jolly
a set of sailors to Eternity as the world had to show. In fact, the
climate of Southern Italy and its gorgeous scenery are more favorable
to voluptuous ecstasy than to the severe and grave warfare of the true
Christian soldier. The sunny plains of Capua demoralized the soldiers of
Hannibal, and it was not without a reason that ancient poets made those
lovely regions the abode of Sirens whose song maddened by its sweetness,
and of a Circe who made men drunk with her sensual fascinations, till
they became sunk to the form of brutes. Here, if anywhere, is the
lotos-eater's paradise,--the purple skies, the enchanted shores, the
soothing gales, the dreamy mists, which all conspire to melt the energy
of the will, and to make existence either a half-doze of dreamy apathy
or an awaking of mad delirium.

It was not from dreamy, voluptuous Southern Italy that the religious
progress of the Italian race received any vigorous impulses. These came
from more northern and more mountainous regions, from the severe, clear
heights of Florence, Perugia, and Assisi, where the intellectual and the
moral both had somewhat of the old Etruscan earnestness and gloom.

One may easily imagine the stupid alarm and helpless confusion of these
easy-going monks, when their new Superior came down among them hissing
with a white heat from the very hottest furnace-fires of a new religious
experience, burning and quivering with the terrors of the world to
come,--pale, thin, eager, tremulous, and yet with all the martial
vigor of the former warrior, and all the habits of command of a former
princely station. His reforms gave no quarter to right or left; sleepy
monks were dragged out to midnight-prayers, and their devotions
enlivened with vivid pictures of hell-fire and ingenuities of eternal
torment enough to stir the blood of the most torpid. There was to be
no more gormandizing, no more wine-bibbing; the choice old wines were
placed under lock and key for the use of the sick and poor in the
vicinity; and every fast of the Church, and every obsolete rule of the
order, were revived with unsparing rigor. It is true, they hated their
new Superior with all the energy which laziness and good living had left
them, but they every soul of them shook in their sandals before him; for
there is a true and established order of mastery among human beings, and
when a man of enkindled energy and intense will comes among a flock of
irresolute commonplace individuals, he subjects them to himself by a
sort of moral paralysis similar to what a great, vigorous gymnotus
distributes among a fry of inferior fishes. The bolder ones, who made
motions of rebellion, were so energetically swooped upon, and consigned
to the discipline of dungeon and bread-and-water, that less courageous
natures made a merit of siding with the more powerful party, mentally
resolving to carry by fraud the points which they despaired of
accomplishing by force.

On the morning we speak of, two monks might have been seen lounging on
a stone bench by one of the arches, looking listlessly into the sombre
garden-patch we have described. The first of these, Father Anselmo, was
a corpulent fellow, with an easy swing of gait, heavy animal features,
and an eye of shrewd and stealthy cunning: the whole air of the man
expressed the cautious, careful voluptuary. The other, Father Johannes,
was thin, wiry, and elastic, with hands like birds' claws, and an eye
that reminded one of the crafty cunning of a serpent. His smile was a
curious blending of shrewdness and malignity. He regarded his companion
from time to time obliquely from the corners of his eyes, to see what
impression his words were making, and had a habit of jerking himself up
in the middle of a sentence and looking warily round to see if any one
were listening, which indicated habitual distrust.

"Our holy Superior is out a good while this morning," he said, at

The observation was made in the smoothest and most silken tones, but
they carried with them such a singular suggestion of doubt and inquiry
that they seemed like an accusation.

"Ah?" replied the other, perceiving evidently some intended undertone of
suspicion lurking in the words, but apparently resolved not to commit
himself to his companion.

"Yes," said the first; "the zeal of the house of the Lord consumes him,
the blessed man!"

"Blessed man!" echoed the second, rolling up his eyes, and giving a deep
sigh, which shook his portly proportions so that they quivered like

"If he goes on in this way much longer," continued Father Johannes,
"there will soon be very little mortal left of him; the saints will
claim him."

Father Anselmo gave something resembling a pious groan, but darted
meanwhile a shrewd observant glance at the speaker.

"What would become of the convent, were he gone?" said Father Johannes.
"All these blessed reforms which he has brought about would fall back;
for our nature is fearfully corrupt, and ever tends to wallow in the
mire of sin and pollution. What changes hath he wrought in us all! To be
sure, the means were sometimes severe. I remember, brother, when he had
you under ground for more than ten days. My heart was pained for you;
but I suppose you know that it was necessary, in order to bring you to
that eminent state of sanctity where you now stand."

The heavy, sensual features of Father Anselmo flushed up with some
emotion, whether of anger or of fear it was hard to tell; but he gave
one hasty glance at his companion, which, if a glance could kill, would
have struck him dead, and then there fell over his countenance, like a
veil, an expression of sanctimonious humility, as he replied,--

"Thank you for your sympathy, dearest brother. I remember, too, how I
felt for you that week when you were fed only on bread and water, and
had to take it on your knees off the floor, while the rest of us sat at
table. How blessed it must be to have one's pride brought down in that
way! When our dear, blessed Superior first came, brother, you were as a
bullock unaccustomed to the yoke, but now what a blessed change! It must
give you so much peace! How you must love him!"

"I think we love him about equally," said Father Johannes, his dark,
thin features expressing the concentration of malignity. "His labors
have been blessed among us. Not often does a faithful shepherd meet so
loving a flock. I have been told that the great Peter Abelard found far
less gratitude. They tried to poison him in the most holy wine."

"How absurd!" interrupted Father Anselmo, hastily; "as if the blood of
the Lord, as if our Lord himself, could be made poison!"

"Brother, it is a fact," insisted the former, in tones silvery with
humility and sweetness.

"A fact that the most holy blood can be poisoned?" replied the other,
with horror evidently genuine.

"I grieve to say, brother," said Father Johannes, "that in my profane
and worldly days I tried that experiment on a dog, and the poor brute
died in five minutes. Ah, brother," he added, observing that his obese
companion was now thoroughly roused, "you see before you the chief of
sinners! Judas was nothing to me; and yet, such are the triumphs
of grace, I am an unworthy member of this most blessed and pious
brotherhood; but I do penance daily in sackcloth and ashes for my

"But, Brother Johannes, was it really so? did it really happen?"
inquired Father Anselmo, looking puzzled. "Where, then, is our faith?"

"Doth our faith rest on human reason, or on the evidence of our senses,
Brother Anselmo? I bless God that I have arrived at that state where I
can adoringly say, 'I believe, because it is impossible.' Yea, brother,
I know it to be a fact that the ungodly have sometimes destroyed holy
men, like our Superior, who could not be induced to taste wine for
any worldly purpose, by drugging the blessed cup; so dreadful are the
ragings of Satan in our corrupt nature!"

"I can't see into that," said Father Anselmo, still looking confused.

"Brother," answered Father Johannes, "permit an unworthy sinner to
remind you that you must not try to see into anything; all that is
wanted of you in our most holy religion is to shut your eyes and
believe; all things are possible to the eye of faith. Now, humanly
speaking," he added, with a peculiarly meaning look, "who would believe
that you kept all the fasts of our order, and all the extraordinary ones
which it hath pleased our blessed Superior to lay upon us, as you surely
do? A worldling might swear, to look at you, that such flesh and color
must come in some way from good meat and good wine; but we remember how
the three children throve on the pulse and rejected the meat from the
king's table."

The countenance of Father Anselmo expressed both anger and alarm at
this home-thrust, and the changes did not escape the keen eye of Father
Johannes, who went on.

"I directed the eyes of our holy father upon you as a striking example
of the benefits of abstemious living, showing that the days of miracles
are not yet past in the Church, as some skeptics would have us believe.
He seemed to study you attentively. I have no doubt he will honor you
with some more particular inquiries,--the blessed saint!"

Father Anselmo turned uneasily on his seat and stealthily eyed his
companion, to see, if possible, how much real knowledge was expressed by
his words, and then answered on quite another topic.

"How this garden has fallen to decay! We miss old Father Angelo
sorely, who was always trimming and cleansing it. Our Superior is too
heavenly-minded to have much thought for earthly things, and so it

Father Johannes watched this attempt at diversion with a glitter of
stealthy malice, and, seeming to be absorbed in contemplation, broke out
again exactly where he had left off on the unwelcome subject.

"I mind me now, Brother Anselmo, that, when you came out of your cell to
prayers, the other night, your utterance was thick, and your eyes heavy
and watery, and your gait uncertain. One would swear that you had been
drunken with new wine; but we knew it was all the effect of fasting and
devout contemplation, which inebriates the soul with holy raptures, as
happened to the blessed Apostles on the day of Pentecost. I remarked the
same to our holy father, and he seemed to give it earnest heed, for
I saw him watching you through all the services. How blessed is such

"The Devil take him!" said Father Anselmo, suddenly thrown off his
guard; but checking himself, he added, confusedly,--"I mean"--

"I understand you, brother," said Father Johannes; "it is a motion of
the old nature not yet entirely subdued. A little more of the discipline
of the lower vaults, which you have found so precious, will set all that

"You would not inform against me?" said Father Anselmo, with an
expression of alarm.

"It would be my duty, I suppose," said Father Johannes, with a sigh;
"but, sinner that I am, I never could bring my mind to such proceedings
with the vigor of our blessed father. Had I been Superior of the
convent, as was talked of, bow differently might things have proceeded!
I should have erred by a sinful laxness. How fortunate that it was he,
instead of such a miserable sinner as myself!"

"Well, tell me, then, Father Johannes,--for your eyes are shrewd as a
lynx's,--is our good Superior so perfect as he seems? or does he have
his little private comforts sometimes, like the rest of us? Nobody,
you know, can stand it to be always on the top round of the ladder to
Paradise. For my part, between you and me, I never believed all that
story they read to us so often about Saint Simon Stylites, who passed so
many years on the top of a pillar and never came down. Trust me, the old
boy found his way down sometimes, when all the world was asleep, and got
somebody to do duty for him meantime, while he took a little something
comfortable. Is it not so?"

"I am told to believe, and I do believe," said Father Johannes, casting
down his eyes, piously; "and, dear brother, it ill befits a sinner like
me to reprove; but it seemeth to me as if you make too much use of the
eyes of carnal inquiry. Touching the life of our holy father, I cannot
believe the most scrupulous watch can detect anything in his walk or
conversation other than appears in his profession. His food is next to
nothing,--a little chopped spinach or some bitter herb cooked without
salt for ordinary days, and on fast days he mingles this with ashes,
according to a saintly rule. As for sleep, I believe he does without
it; for at no time of the night, when I have knocked at the door of
his cell, have I found him sleeping. He is always at his prayers or
breviary. His cell hath only a rough, hard board for a bed, with a log
of rough wood for a pillow; yet he complains of that as tempting to

Father Anselmo shrugged his fat shoulders, ruefully.

"It's all well enough," he said, "for those that want to take this hard
road to Paradise; but why need they drive the flock up with them?"

"True enough, Brother Anselmo," said Father Johannes; "but the flock
will rejoice in it in the end, doubtless. I understand he is purposing
to draw yet stricter the reins of discipline. We ought to be thankful."

"Thankful? We can't wink but six times a week now," said Father Anselmo;
"and by-and-by he won't let us wink at all."

"Hist! hush! here he comes," said Father Johannes, "What ails him? he
looks wild, like a man distraught."

In a moment more, in fact, Father Francesco strode hastily through the
corridor, with his deep-set eyes dilated and glittering, and a vivid
hectic flush on his hollow cheeks. He paid no regard to the salutation
of the obsequious monks; in fact, he seemed scarcely to see them, but
hurried in a disordered manner through the passages and gained the room
of his cell, which he shut and locked with a violent clang.

"What has come over him now?" said Father Anselmo.

Father Johannes stealthily followed some distance, and then stood with
his lean neck outstretched and his head turned in the direction where
the Superior had disappeared. The whole attitude of the man, with
his acute glittering eye, might remind one of a serpent making an
observation before darting after his prey.

"Something is working him," he said to himself; "what may it be?"

Meanwhile that heavy oaken door had closed on a narrow cell,--bare of
everything which could be supposed to be a matter of convenience in
the abode of a human being. A table of the rudest and most primitive
construction was garnished with a skull, whose empty eyeholes and
grinning teeth were the most conspicuous objects in the room. Behind
this stood a large crucifix, manifestly the work of no common master,
and bearing evident traces in its workmanship of Florentine art: it was,
perhaps, one of the relics of the former wealth of the nobleman who
had buried his name and worldly possessions in this living sepulchre. A
splendid manuscript breviary, richly illuminated, lay open on the table;
and the fair fancy of its flowery letters, the lustre of gold and silver
on its pages, formed a singular contrast to the squalid nakedness of
everything else in the room. This book, too, had been a family heirloom;
some lingering shred of human and domestic affection sheltered itself
under the protection of religion in making it the companion of his
self-imposed life of penance and renunciation.

Father Francesco had just returned from the scene in the confessional we
have already described. That day had brought to him one of those pungent
and vivid inward revelations which sometimes overset in a moment some
delusion that has been the cherished growth of years. Henceforth the
reign of self-deception was past,--there was no more self-concealment,
no more evasion. He loved Agnes,--he knew it,--he said it over and over
again to himself with a stormy intensity of energy; and in this hour
the whole of his nature seemed to rise in rebellion against the awful
barriers which hemmed in and threatened this passion. He now saw clearly
that all that he had been calling fatherly tenderness, pastoral zeal,
Christian unity, and a thousand other evangelical names, was nothing
more nor less than a passion that had gone to the roots of existence and
absorbed into itself all that there was of him. Where was he to look for
refuge? What hymn, what prayer had he not blent with her image? It was
this that he had given to her as a holy lesson,--it was that that she
had spoken of to him as the best expression of her feelings. This prayer
he had explained to her,--he remembered just the beautiful light in her
eyes, which were fixed on his so trustingly. How dear to him had been
that unquestioning devotion, that tender, innocent humility!--how dear,
and how dangerous!

We have read of flowing rivulets wandering peacefully without ripple or
commotion, so long as no barrier stayed their course, suddenly chafing
in angry fury when an impassable dam was thrown across their waters. So
any affection, however genial and gentle in its own nature, may become
an ungovernable, ferocious passion, by the intervention of fatal
obstacles in its course. In the case of Father Francesco, the sense of
guilt and degradation fell like a blight over all the past that had been
so ignorantly happy. He thought he had been living on manna, but found
it poison. Satan had been fooling him, leading him on blindfold, and
laughing at his simplicity, and now mocked at his captivity. And how
nearly had he been hurried by a sudden and overwhelming influence to the
very brink of disgrace! He felt himself shiver and grow cold to think of
it. A moment more and he had blasted that pure ear with forbidden words
of passion; and even now he remembered, with horror, the look of grave
and troubled surprise in those confiding eyes, that had always looked
up to him trustingly, as to God. A moment more and he had betrayed the
faith he taught her, shattered her trust in the holy ministry, and
perhaps imperilled her salvation. He breathed a sigh of relief when he
thought of it,--he had not betrayed himself, he had not fallen in her
esteem, he still stood on that sacred vantage-ground where his power
over her was so great, and where at least he possessed her confidence
and veneration. There was still time for recollection, for self-control,
for a vehement struggle which should set all right again: but, alas! how
shall a man struggle who finds his whole inner nature boiling in furious
rebellion against the dictates of his conscience,--self against self?

It is true, also, that no passions are deeper in their hold, more
pervading and more vital to the whole human being, than those that make
their first entrance through the higher nature, and, beginning with a
religious and poetic ideality, gradually work their way through the
whole fabric of the human existence.

From grosser passions, whose roots lie in the senses, there is always a
refuge in man's loftier nature. He can cast them aside with contempt,
and leave them as one whose lower story is flooded can remove to a
higher loft, and live serenely with a purer air and wider prospect. But
to love that is born of ideality, of intellectual sympathy, of harmonies
of the spiritual and Immortal nature, of the very poetry and purity of
the soul, if it be placed where reason and religion forbid its exercise
and expression, what refuge but the grave,--what hope but that wide
eternity where all human barriers fall, all human relations end, and
love ceases to be a crime? A man of the world may struggle by change of
scene, place, and employment. He may put oceans between himself and the
things that speak of what he desires to forget. He may fill the void in
his life with the stirring excitement of the battlefield, or the whirl
of travel from city to city, or the press of business and care. But what
help is there for him whose life is tied down to the narrow sphere of
the convent,--to the monotony of a bare cell, to the endless repetition
of the same prayers, the same chants, the same prostrations, especially
when all that ever redeemed it from monotony has been that image and
that sympathy which conscience now bids him forget?

When Father Francesco precipitated himself into his cell and locked
the door, it was with the desperation of a man who flies from a mortal
enemy. It seemed to him that all eyes saw just what was boiling within
him,--that the wild thoughts that seemed to scream their turbulent
importunities in his ears were speaking so loud that all the world would
hear. He should disgrace himself before the brethren whom he had so
long been striving to bring to order and to teach the lessons of holy
self-control. He saw himself pointed at, hissed at, degraded, by the
very men who had quailed before his own reproofs; and scarcely, when he
had bolted the door behind him, did he feel himself safe. Panting and
breathless, he fell on his knees before the crucifix, and, bowing his
head in his hands, fell forward upon the floor. As a spent wave melts at
the foot of a rock, so all his strength passed away, and he lay awhile
in a kind of insensibility,--a state in which, though consciously
existing, he had no further control over his thoughts and feelings. In
that state of dreamy exhaustion his mind seemed like a mirror, which,
without vitality or will of its own, simply lies still and reflects the
objects that may pass over it. As clouds sailing in the heavens cast
their images, one after another, on the glassy floor of a waveless sea,
so the scenes of his former life drifted in vivid pictures athwart his
memory. He saw his father's palace,--the wide, cool, marble halls,--the
gardens resounding with the voices of falling waters. He saw the fair
face of his mother, and played with the jewels upon her hands. He saw
again the picture of himself, in all the flush of youth and health,
clattering on horseback through the streets of Florence with troops of
gay young friends, now dead to him as he to them. He saw himself in the
bowers of gay ladies, whose golden hair, lustrous eyes, and siren wiles
came back shivering and trembling in the waters of memory in a thousand
undulating reflections. There were wild revels,--orgies such as Florence
remembers with shame to this day. There was intermingled the turbulent
din of arms,--the haughty passion, the sudden provocation, the swift
revenge. And then came the awful hour of conviction, the face of that
wonderful man whose preaching had stirred all souls,--and then those
fearful days of penance,--that darkness of the tomb,--that dying to the
world,--those solemn vows, and the fearful struggles by which they had
been followed.

"Oh, my God!" he cried, "is it all in vain?--so many prayers? so many
struggles?--and shall I fail of salvation at last?"

He seemed to himself as a swimmer, who, having exhausted his last gasp
of strength in reaching the shore, is suddenly lifted up on a cruel wave
and drawn back into the deep. There seemed nothing for him but to fold
his arms and sink.

For he felt no strength now to resist,--he felt no wish to conquer,--he
only prayed that he might lie there and die. It seemed to him that
the love which possessed him and tyrannized over his very being was a
doom,--a curse sent upon him by some malignant fate with whose power it
was vain to struggle. He detested his work,--he detested his duties,--he
loathed his vows,--and there was not a thing in his whole future to
which he looked forward otherwise than with the extreme of aversion,
except one to which he clung with a bitter and defiant tenacity,--the
spiritual guidance of Agnes. Guidance!--he laughed aloud, in the
bitterness of his soul, as he thought of this. He was her guide,--her
confessor,--to him she was bound to reveal every change of feeling;
and this love that he too well perceived rising in her heart for
another,--he would wring from her own confessions the means to repress
and circumvent it. If she could not be his, he might at least prevent
her from belonging to any other,--he might at least keep her always
within the sphere of his spiritual authority. Had he not a right to do
this?--had he not a right to cherish an evident vocation,--a right to
reclaim her from the embrace of an excommunicated infidel, and present
her as a chaste bride at the altar of the Lord? Perhaps, when that
was done, when an irrevocable barrier should separate her from all
possibility of earthly love, when the awful marriage-vow should have
been spoken which should seal her heart for heaven alone, he might
recover some of the blessed calm which her influence once brought over
him, and these wild desires might cease, and these feverish pulses be

Such were the vague images and dreams of the past and future that
floated over his mind, as he lay in a heavy sort of lethargy on the
floor of his cell, and hour after hour passed away. It grew afternoon,
and the radiance of evening came on. The window of the cell overlooked
the broad Mediterranean, all one blue glitter of smiles and sparkles.
The white-winged boats were flitting lightly to and fro, like
gauzy-winged insects in the summer air,--the song of the fishermen
drawing their nets on the beach floated cheerily upward. Capri lay like
a half-dissolved opal in shimmering clouds of mist, and Naples
gleamed out pearly clear in the purple distance. Vesuvius, with its
cloud-spotted sides, its garlanded villas and villages, its silvery
crown of vapor, seemed a warm-hearted and genial old giant lying down
in his gorgeous repose and holding all things on his heaving bosom in a
kindly embrace.

So was the earth flooded with light and glory, that the tide poured into
the cell, giving the richness of an old Venetian painting to its bare
and squalid furniture. The crucifix glowed along all its sculptured
lines with rich golden hues. The breviary, whose many-colored leaves
fluttered as the wind from the sea drew inward, was yet brighter in its
gorgeous tints. It seemed a sort of devotional butterfly perched before
the grinning skull, which was bronzed by the enchanted light into warmer
tones of color, as if some remembrance of what once it saw and felt came
back upon it. So also the bare, miserable board which served for
the bed, and its rude pillow, were glorified. A stray sunbeam, too,
fluttered down on the floor like a pitying spirit, to light up that
pale, thin face, whose classic outlines had now a sharp, yellow setness,
like that of swooning or death; it seemed to linger compassionately on
the sunken, wasted cheeks, on the long black lashes that fell over the
deep hollows beneath the eyes like a funereal veil. Poor man! lying
crushed and torn, like a piece of rockweed wrenched from its rock by a
storm and thrown up withered upon the beach!

From the leaves of the breviary there depends, by a fragment of gold
braid, a sparkling something that wavers and glitters in the evening
light. It is a cross of the cheapest and simplest material, that once
belonged to Agnes. She lost it from her rosary at the confessional, and
Father Francesco saw it fall, yet would not warn her of the loss, for he
longed to posses something that had belonged to her. He made it a mark
to one of her favorite hymns; but she never knew where it had gone.
Little could she dream, in her simplicity, what a power she held over
the man who seemed to her an object of such awful veneration. Little did
she dream that the poor little tinsel cross had such a mighty charm with
it, and that she herself, in her childlike simplicity, her ignorant
innocence, her peaceful tenderness and trust, was raising such a
turbulent storm of passion in the heart which she supposed to be above
the reach of all human changes.

And now, through the golden air, the Ave Maria is sounding from the
convent-bells, and answered by a thousand tones and echoes from the
churches of the old town, and all Christendom gives a moment's adoring
pause to celebrate the moment when an angel addressed to a mortal maiden
words that had been wept and prayed for during thousands of years. Dimly
they sounded through his ear, in that half-deadly trance,--not with
plaintive sweetness and motherly tenderness, but like notes of doom and
vengeance. He felt rebellious impulses within, which rose up in hatred
against them, and all that recalled to his mind the faith which seemed
a tyranny, and the vows which appeared to him such a hopeless and
miserable failure.

But now there came other sounds nearer and more earthly. His quickened
senses perceive a busy patter of sandalled feet outside his cell, and a
whispering of consultation,--and then the silvery, snaky tones of Father
Johannes, which had that oily, penetrative quality which passes through
all substances with such distinctness.

"Brethren," he said, "I feel bound in conscience to knock. Our blessed
Superior carries his mortifications altogether too far. His faithful
sons must beset him with filial inquiries."

The condition in which Father Francesco was lying, like many abnormal
states of extreme exhaustion, seemed to be attended with a mysterious
quickening of the magnetic forces and intuitive perceptions. He felt
the hypocrisy of those tones, and they sounded in his ear like the
suppressed hiss of a deadly serpent. He had always suspected that this
man hated him to the death; and he felt now that he was come with his
stealthy-tread and his almost supernatural power of prying observation,
to read the very inmost secrets of his heart. He knew that he longed for
nothing so much as the power to hurl him from his place and to reign in
his stead; and the instinct of self-defence roused him. He started up
as one starts from a dream, waked by a whisper in the ear, and, raising
himself on his elbow, looked towards the door.

A cautious rap was heard, and then a pause. Father Francesco smiled with
a peculiar and bitter expression. The rap became louder, more energetic,
stormy at last, intermingled with vehement calls on his name.

Father Francesco rose at length, settled his garments, passed his
hands over his brow, and then, composing himself to an expression of
deliberate gravity, opened the door and stood before them.

"Holy father," said Father Johannes, "the hearts of your sons have
been saddened. A whole day have you withdrawn your presence from our
devotions. We feared you might have fainted, your pious austerities so
often transcend the powers of Nature."

"I grieve to have saddened the hearts of such affectionate sons," said
the Superior, fixing his eye keenly on Father Johannes; "but I have
been performing a peculiar office of prayer to-day for a soul in deadly
peril, and have been so absorbed therein that I have known nothing that
passed. There is a soul among us, brethren," he added, "that stands at
this moment so near to damnation that even the most blessed Mother of
God is in doubt for its salvation, and whether it can be saved at all
God only knows."

These words, rising up from a tremendous groundswell of repressed
feeling, had a fearful, almost supernatural earnestness that made the
body of the monks tremble. Most of them were conscious of living but a
shabby, shambling, dissembling life, evading in every possible way the
efforts of their Superior to bring them up to the requirements of their
profession; and therefore, when these words were bolted out among them
with such a glowing intensity, every one of them began mentally feeling
for the key of his own private and interior skeleton-closet, and
wondering which of their ghastly occupants was coming to light now.

Father Johannes alone was unmoved, because he had long since ceased to
have a conscience. A throb of moral pulsation had for years been an
impossibility to the dried and hardened fibre of his inner nature. He
was one of those real, genuine, thorough unbelievers in all religion and
all faith and all spirituality, whose unbelief grows only more callous
by the constant handling of sacred things. Ambition was the ruling
motive of his life, and every faculty was sharpened into such
acuteness under its action that his penetration seemed at times almost

While he stood with downcast eyes and hands crossed upon his breast,
listening to the burning words which remorse and despair wrung from his
Superior, he was calmly and warily studying to see what could be made of
the evident interior conflict that convulsed him. Was there some secret
sin? Had that sanctity at last found the temptation that was more than a
match for it? And what could it be?

To a nature with any strong combative force there is no tonic like the
presence of a secret and powerful enemy, and the stealthy glances
of Father Johannes's serpent eye did more towards restoring Father
Francesco to self-mastery than the most conscientious struggles could
have done. He grew calm, resolved, determined. Self-respect was dear to
him,--and dear to him no less that reflection of self-respect which a
man reads in other eyes. He would not forfeit his conventual honor, or
bring a stain on his order, or, least of all, expose himself to the
scoffing eye of a triumphant enemy. Such were the motives that now came
to his aid, while as yet the whole of his inner nature rebelled at the
thought that he must tear up by the roots and wholly extirpate this love
that seemed to have sent its fine fibres through every nerve of his
being. "No!" he said to himself, with a fierce interior rebellion,
"_that_ I will not do! Right or wrong, come heaven, come hell, I _will_
love her; and if lost I must be, lost I will be!" And while this
determination lasted, prayer seemed to him a mockery. He dared not pray
alone now, when most he needed prayer; but he moved forward with dignity
towards the convent-chapel to lead the vesper devotions of his brethren.
Outwardly he was calm and rigid as a statue; but as he commenced the
service, his utterance had a terrible meaning and earnestness that were
felt even by the most drowsy and leaden of his flock. It is singular
how the dumb, imprisoned soul, locked within the walls of the body,
sometimes gives such a piercing power to the tones of the voice during
the access of a great agony. The effect is entirely involuntary, and
often against the most strenuous opposition of the will; but one
sometimes hears another reading or repeating words with an intense
vitality, a living force, which tells of some inward anguish or conflict
of which the language itself gives no expression.

Never were the long-drawn intonations of the chants and prayers of the
Church pervaded by a more terrible, wild fervor than the Superior that
night breathed into them. They seemed to wail, to supplicate, to combat,
to menace, to sink in despairing pauses of helpless anguish, and anon to
rise in stormy agonies of passionate importunity; and the monks quailed
and trembled, they scarce knew why, with forebodings of coming wrath and

In the evening exhortation, which it had been the Superior's custom to
add to the prayers of the vesper-hour, he dwelt with a terrible and
ghastly eloquence on the loss of the soul.

"Brethren," he said, "believe me, the very first hour of a damned spirit
in hell will outweigh all the prosperities of the most prosperous life.
If you could gain the whole world, that one hour of hell would outweigh
it all; how much more such miserable, pitiful scraps and fragments of
the world as they gain who for the sake of a little fleshly ease neglect
the duties of a holy profession! There is a broad way to hell through a
convent, my brothers, where miserable wretches go who have neither the
spirit to serve the Devil wholly, nor the patience to serve God; there
be many shaven crowns that gnash their teeth in hell to-night,--many a
monk's robe is burning on its owner in living fire, and the devils call
him a fool for choosing to be damned in so hard a way. 'Could you not
come here by some easier road than a cloister?' they ask. 'If you must
sell your soul, why did you not get something for it?' Brethren, there
be devils waiting for some of us; they are laughing at your paltry
shifts and evasions, at your efforts to make things easy,--for they know
how it will all end at last. Rouse yourselves! Awake! Salvation is no
easy matter,--nothing to be got between sleeping and waking. Watch,
pray, scourge the flesh, fast, weep, bow down in sackcloth, mingle your
bread with ashes, if by any means ye may escape the everlasting fire!"

"Bless me!" said Father Anselmo, when the services were over, casting
a half-scared glance after the retreating figure of the Superior as he
left the chapel, and drawing a long breath; "it's enough to make one
sweat to hear him go on. What has come over him? Anyhow, I'll give
myself a hundred lashes this very night: something must be done."

"Well," said another, "I confess I did hide a cold wing of fowl in the
sleeve of my gown last fast-day. My old aunt gave it to me, and I was
forced to take it for relation's sake; but I'll do so no more, as I'm a
living sinner. I'll do a penance this very night."

Father Johannes stood under one of the arches that looked into the
gloomy garden, and, with his hands crossed upon his breast, and his
cold, glittering eye fixed stealthily now on one and now on another,
listened with an ill-disguised sneer to these hasty evidences of fear
and remorse in the monks, as they thronged the corridor on the way to
their cells. Suddenly turning to a young brother who had lately joined
the convent, he said to him,--

"And what of the pretty Clarice, my brother?"

The blood flushed deep into the pale cheek of the young monk, and his
frame shook with some interior emotion, as he answered,--

"She is recovering."

"And she sent for thee to shrive her?"

"My God!" said the young man, with an imploring, wild expression in his
dark eyes, "she did; but I would not go."

"Then Nature is still strong," said Father Johannes, pitilessly eying
the young man.

"When will it ever die?" said the stripling, with a despairing gesture;
"it heeds neither heaven nor hell."

"Well, patience, boy! if you have lost an earthly bride, you have gained
a heavenly one. The Church is our espoused in white linen. Bless the
Lord, without ceasing, for the exchange."

There was an inexpressible mocking irony in the tones in which this was
said, that made itself felt to the finely vitalized spirit of the youth,
though to all the rest it sounded like the accredited average pious talk
which is more or less the current coin of religious organizations.

Now no one knows through what wanton deviltry Father Johannes broached
this painful topic with the poor youth; but he had a peculiar faculty,
with his smooth tones and his sanctimonious smiles, of thrusting red-hot
needles into any wounds which he either knew or suspected under the
coarse woollen robes of his brethren. He appeared to do it in all
coolness, in a way of psychological investigation.

He smiled, as the youth turned away, and a moment after started as if a
thought had suddenly struck him.

"I have it!" he said to himself. "There may be a woman at the bottom
of this discomposure of our holy father; for he is wrought upon by
something to the very bottom of his soul. I have not studied human
nature so many years for nothing. Father Francesco hath been much in the
guidance of women. His preaching hath wrought upon them, and perchance
among them.--Aha!" he said to himself, as he paced up and down, "I have
it! I'll try an experiment upon him!"



Father Francesco sat leaning his head on his hand by the window of his
cell, looking out upon the sea as it rose and fell, with the reflections
of the fast coming stars glittering like so many jewels on its breast.
The glow of evening had almost faded, but there was a wan, tremulous
light from the moon, and a clearness, produced by the reflection of such
an expanse of water, which still rendered objects in his cell quite

In the terrible denunciations and warnings just uttered, he had been
preaching to himself, striving to bring a force on his own soul by which
he might reduce its interior rebellion to submission; but, alas! when
was ever love cast out by fear? He knew not as yet the only remedy
for such sorrow,--that there is a love celestial and divine, of which
earthly love in its purest form is only the sacramental symbol and
emblem, and that this divine love can by God's power so outflood human
affections as to bear the soul above all earthly idols to its only
immortal rest. This great truth rises like a rock amid stormy seas, and
many is the sailor struggling in salt and bitter waters who cannot yet
believe it is to be found. A few saints like Saint Augustin had reached
it,--but through what buffetings, what anguish!

At this moment, however, there was in the heart of the father one of
those collapses which follow the crisis of some mortal struggle. He
leaned on the windowsill, exhausted and helpless.

Suddenly, a kind of illusion of the senses came over him, such as is not
infrequent to sensitive natures in severe crises of mental anguish. He
thought he heard Agnes singing, as he had sometimes heard her when he
had called in his pastoral ministrations at the little garden and paused
awhile outside that he might hear her finish a favorite hymn, which,
like a shy bird, she sang all the more sweetly for thinking herself

Quite as if they were sung in his ear, and in her very tones, he heard
the words of Saint Bernard, which we have introduced to our reader:--

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

  "Jesu, spes poenitentibus,
  Quam pius es petentibus,
  Quam bonus te quaerentibus,
  Sed quis invenientibus!"

Soft and sweet and solemn was the illusion, as if some spirit breathed
them with a breath of tenderness over his soul; and he threw himself
with a burst of tears before the crucifix.

"O Jesus, where, then, art Thou? Why must I thus suffer? She is not the
one altogether lovely; it is Thou,--Thou, her Creator and mine! Why,
why cannot I find Thee? Oh, take from my heart all other love but Thine

Yet even this very prayer, this very hymn, were blent with the
remembrance of Agnes; for was it not she who first had taught him the
lesson of heavenly love? Was not she the first one who had taught him to
look upward to Jesus other than as an avenging judge? Michel Angelo has
embodied in a fearful painting, which now deforms the Sistine Chapel,
that image of stormy vengeance which a religion debased by force
and fear had substituted for the tender, good shepherd of earlier
Christianity. It was only in the heart of a lowly maiden that Christ had
been made manifest to the eye of the monk, as of old he was revealed to
the world through a virgin. And how could he, then, forget her, or cease
to love her, when every prayer and hymn, every sacred round of the
ladder by which he must climb, was so full of memorials of her? While
crying and panting for the supreme, the divine, the invisible love, he
found his heart still craving the visible one,--the one so well known,
revealing itself to the senses, and bringing with it the certainty of
visible companionship.

As he was thus kneeling and wrestling with himself, a sudden knock at
his door startled him. He had made it a point, never, at any hour of the
day or night, to deny himself to a brother who sought him for counsel,
however disagreeable the person and however unreasonable the visit. He
therefore rose and unbolted the door, and saw Father Johannes standing
with folded arms and downcast head, in an attitude of composed humility.

"What would you with me, brother?" he asked, calmly.

"My father, I have a wrestling of mind for one of our brethren whose
case I would present to you."

"Come in, my brother," said the Superior. At the same time he lighted a
little iron lamp, of antique form, such as are still in common use in
that region, and, seating himself on the board which served for his
couch, made a motion to Father Johannes to be seated also.

The latter sat down, eying, as he did so, the whole interior of the
apartment, so far as it was revealed by the glimmer of the taper.

"Well, my son," said Father Francesco, "what is it?"

"I have my doubts of the spiritual safety of Brother Bernard," said
Father Johannes.

"Wherefore?" asked the Superior, briefly.

"Holy father, you are aware of the history of the brother, and of the
worldly affliction that drove him to this blessed profession?"

"I am," replied the Superior, with the same brevity.

"He narrated it to me fully," said Father Johannes. "The maiden he was
betrothed to was married to another in his absence on a long journey,
being craftily made to suppose him dead."

"I tell you I know the circumstances," said the Superior.

"I merely recalled them, because, moved doubtless by your sermon, he
dropped words to me to-night which led me to suppose that this sinful,
earthly love was not yet extirpated from his soul. Of late the woman was
sick and nigh unto death, and sent for him."

"But he did not go?" interposed Father Francesco.

"No, he did not,--grace was given him thus far,--but he dropped words
to me to the effect, that in secret he still cherished the love of this
woman; and the awful words your Reverence has been, speaking to us
to-night have moved me with fear for the youth's soul, of the which I,
as an elder brother, have had some charge, and I came to consult with
you as to what help there might be for him."

Father Francesco turned away his head a moment and there was a pause;
at last he said, in a tone that seemed like the throb of some deep,
interior anguish,--

"The Lord help him!"

"Amen!" said Father Johannes, taking keen note of the apparent emotion.

"You must have experience in these matters, my father," he added, after
a pause,--"so many hearts have been laid open to you. I would crave to
know of you what you think is the safest and most certain cure for this
love of woman, if once it hath got possession of the heart."

"Death!" said Father Francesco, after a solemn pause.

"I do not understand you," said Father Johannes.

"My son," said Father Francesco, rising up with an air of authority,
"you do not understand,--there is nothing in you by which you should
understand. This unhappy brother hath opened his case to me, and I have
counselled him all I know of prayer and fastings and watchings and
mortifications. Let him persevere in the same; and if all these fail,
the good Lord will send the other in His own time. There is an end to
all things in this life, and that end shall certainly come at last. Bid
him persevere and hope in this.--And now, brother," added the Superior,
with dignity, "if you have no other query, time flies and eternity comes
on,--go, watch and pray, and leave me to my prayers also."

He raised his hand with a gesture of benediction, and Father Johannes,
awed in spite of himself, felt impelled to leave the apartment.

"Is it so, or is it not?" he said. "I cannot tell. He did seem to wince
and turn away his head when I proposed the case; but then he made fight
at last. I cannot tell whether I have got any advantage or not; but
patience! we shall see!"

       *       *       *       *       *


All the world has heard a great deal of the sufferings and mortality
of the English and French armies in the late Russian war; and in most
countries the story has been heard to some purpose. Reforms and new
methods have been instituted in almost every country in Europe,--so
strong has been the effect of the mere outline of the case, which is all
that has been furnished to the public. The broad facts of the singular
mortality first, and the singular healthfulness of the British army
afterwards, on the same spot and under the same military circumstances
as before, have interested all rulers of armies, and brought about great
benefits to the soldier, throughout the length and breadth of Europe.
Within these broad outlines there was a multitude of details which were
never recorded in a systematic way, or which, for good and sufficient
reasons, could not be made public at the time; and these details are the
part of the story most interesting to soldiers actually in the field
or likely to be called there soon. They are also deeply interesting to
every order of persons concerned in a civil war; for such a war summons
forth a citizen soldiery to form a system for themselves in regard to
the life of the march and the camp, and to do the best they can for that
life and health which they have devoted to their country. Under such
circumstances it cannot but be interesting to the patriots in the camp
and to their families at home to know some facts which they cannot have
heard before of the mistakes made at the beginning of the last Russian
war, and the repair of those mistakes before the end of it. The prompt
and anxious care exercised by the American Sanitary Commission, and the
benevolent diligence bestowed on the organization of hospitals for the
Federal forces, show that the lesson of the Crimean campaign has been
studied in the United States; and this is an encouragement to afford
further illustrations of the case, when new material is at command.

I am thinking most of the volunteer forces at this moment, for the
obvious reason that their health is in greater danger than that of the
professional soldier. The regular troops live under a system which is
always at work to feed, clothe, lodge, and entertain them: whereas
the volunteers are quitting one mode of life for another, all the
circumstances of which had to be created at the shortest notice. To them
their first campaign must be very like what it was to British soldiers
who had never seen war to be sent to Turkey first, and then to the
Crimea, to live a new kind of life, and meet discomforts and dangers
which they had never dreamed of. I shall therefore select my details
with a view to the volunteers and their friends in the first place.

The enthusiasm which started the volunteers of every Northern State on
their new path of duty could hardly exceed that by which the British
troops were escorted from their barrack-gates to the margin of the sea.
The war was universally approved (except by a clique of peace-men); and
there was a universal confidence that the troops would do their duty
well, though not one man in a thousand of them had ever seen war. As
they marched down to their ships, in the best mood, and with every
appearance of health and spirit, nobody formed any conception of what
would happen. Parliament had fulfilled the wishes of the people
by voting liberal sums for the due support of the troops; the
Administration desired and ordered that everything should be done for
the soldier's welfare; and as far as orders and arrangements went, the
scheme was thoroughly well intended and generous. Who could anticipate,
that, while the enemy never once gained a battle or obtained an
advantage over British or French, two-thirds of that fine stout British
force would perish in a few months? Of the twenty-five thousand who went
out, eighteen thousand were dead in a year; and the enemy was answerable
for a very small proportion of those deaths. Before me lie the returns
of six months of those twelve, showing the fate of the troops for that
time; and it furnishes the key to the whole story.

In those six months, the admissions into hospital in the Crimea
(exclusive of the Santari Hospital) were 52,548. The number shows that
many must have entered the hospitals more than once, as well as that the
place of the dead was supplied by new comers from England. Of these,
nearly fifty thousand were absolutely untouched by the Russians. Only
3,806 of the whole number were wounded. Even this is not the most
striking circumstance. It is more impressive that three-fourths of the
sick suffered unnecessarily. Seventy-five per cent. of them suffered
from preventable diseases. That is, the naturally sick were 12,563;
while the needlessly sick were 36,179. When we look at the deaths from
this number, the case appears still more striking. The deaths were
5,359; and of these scarcely more than the odd hundreds were from
wounds,--that is, 373. Of the remainder, little more than one-tenth were
unavoidable deaths. The natural deaths, as we may call them, were only
521; while the preventable deaths were 4,465. Very different would have
been the spirit of the parting in England, if the soldiers' friends had
imagined that so small a number would fall by Russian gun or bayonet, or
by natural sickness, while the mortality from mismanagement would at one
season of the next year exceed that of London in the worst days of the
Great Plague.

That the case was really what is here represented was proved by the
actual prevention of this needless sickness during the last year of the
war. In the same camp, and under the same circumstances of warfare, the
mortality was reduced, by good management, to a degree unhoped for by
all but those who achieved it. The deaths for the last half year were
one-third fewer than at home! And yet the army that died was composed of
fine, well-trained troops; while the army that lived and flourished was
of a far inferior material when it came out,--raw, untravelled, and
unhardened to the military life.

How did these things happen? There can be no more important question for
Americans at this time.

I will not go into the history of the weaknesses and faults of the
administration of departments at home. They have been abundantly
published already; and we may hope that they bear no relation to the
American case. It is more interesting to look into the circumstances of
the march and the camp, for illustration of what makes the health or the
sickness of the soldier.

Wherever the men were to provide themselves with anything to eat or to
wear out of their pay, they were found to suffer. There is no natural
market, with fair prices, in the neighborhood of warfare; and, on the
one hand, a man cannot often get what he wishes, and, on the other,
he is tempted to buy something not so good for him. If there are
commissariat stores opened, there is an endless accumulation of
business,--a mass of accounts to keep of the stoppages from the men's
pay. On all accounts it is found better for all parties that the wants
of the soldier should be altogether supplied in the form of rations of
varied food and drink, and of clothing varying with climate and season.

In regard to food, which comes first in importance of the five heads of
the soldier's wants, the English soldier was remarkably helpless till
he learned better. The Russians cut that matter very short. Every man
carried a certain portion of black rye bread and some spirit. No cooking
was required, and the men were very independent. But the diet is bad;
and the Russian regiments were composed of sallow-faced men, who died
"like flies" under frequently recurring epidemics. The Turks were in
their own country, and used their accustomed diet. The French are the
most apt, the most practised, and the most economical managers of food
of any of the parties engaged in the war. Their campaigns in Algeria had
taught them how to help themselves; and they could obtain a decent meal
where an Englishman would have eaten nothing, or something utterly
unwholesome. The Sardinians came next, and it was edifying to see how
they could build a fire-place and obtain a fire in a few minutes to boil
their pot. In other ways both French and Sardinians suffered miserably
when the British had surmounted their misfortunes. The mortality from
cholera and dysentery in the French force, during the last year, was
uncalculated and unreported. It was so excessive as, in fact, to close
the war too soon. The Sardinians were ravaged by disease from their huts
being made partly under ground. But, so far as the preparation of their
food went, both had the advantage of the British, in a way which will
never happen again. I believe the Americans and the English are bad
cooks in about the same degree; and the warning afforded by the one may
be accepted by the other.

At the end of a day, in Bulgaria or the Crimea, what happened was this.

The soldiers who did not understand cooking or messing had to satisfy
their hunger any way they could. They were so exhausted that they were
sure to drink up their allowance of grog the first moment they could lay
hands on it. Then there was hard biscuit, a lump of very salt pork or
beef, as hard as a board, and some coffee, raw. Those who had no touch
of scurvy (and they were few) munched their biscuit while they poked
about everywhere with a knife, digging up roots or cutting green wood to
make a fire. Each made a hole in the ground, unless there was a bank
or great stone at hand, and there he tried, for one half-hour after
another, to kindle a fire. When he got up a flame, there was his salt
meat to cook: it ought to have been soaked and stewed for hours; but he
could not wait; and he pulled it to pieces, and gnawed what he could of
it, when it was barely warm. Then he had to roast his coffee, which he
did in the lid of his camp-kettle, burning it black, and breaking it as
small as he could, with stones or anyhow. Such coffee as it would make
could hardly be worth the trouble. It was called by one of the doctors
charcoal and water. Such a supper could not fit a man for outpost duty
for the night, nor give him good sleep after the toils of the day.

The Sardinians, meantime, united in companies, some members of which
were usually on the spot to prepare supper for the rest. They knew how
to look for or provide a shelter for their fire, if only a foot high;
and how to cut three or four little trenches, converging at the fire, so
as to afford a good draught which would kindle even bad fuel. They had
good stews and porridge and coffee ready when wanted. The French always
had fresh bread. They carried portable ovens and good bakers. The
British had flour, after a time, but they did not know how to make
bread; and if men volunteered for the office, day after day, it usually
turned out that they had a mind for a holiday, and knew nothing of
baking; and their bread came out of the oven too heavy, or sour, or
sticky, or burnt, to be eaten. As scurvy spread and deepened, the
doctors made eager demands on Government for lime-juice, and more
lime-juice. Government had sent plenty of lime-juice; but it was somehow
neglected among the stores for twenty-four days when it was most wanted,
as was the supply of rice for six weeks when dysentery was raging. All
the time, the truth was, as was acknowledged afterwards, that the thing
really wanted was good food. The lime-juice was a medicine, a specific;
but it could be of no real use till the frame was nourished with proper

When flour, and preserved vegetables, and fresh meat were served out,
and there were coffee-mills all through the camp, the men were still
unable to benefit by the change as their allies did. They could grind
and make their coffee; but they were still without good fresh bread and
soup. They despised the preserved vegetables, not believing that those
little cakes could do them any good. When they learned at last how two
ounces of those little cakes were equal, when well cooked, to eight
ounces of fresh vegetables, and just as profitable for a stew or with
their meat, they duly prized them, and during the final healthy period
those pressed vegetables were regarded in the camp as a necessary of
life. By that time, Soyer's zeal had introduced good cookery into the
camp. Roads were made by which supplies were continually arriving. Fresh
meat abounded; and it was brought in on its own legs, so that it was
certain that beef was beef, and mutton mutton, instead of goat's flesh
being substituted, as in Bulgaria. By that time it was discovered that
the most lavish orders at home and the profusest expenditure by the
commissariat will not feed and clothe an army in a foreign country,
unless there is some agency, working between the commissariat and the
soldiers, to take care that the food is actually in their hands in an
eatable form, and the clothes on their backs.

It is for American soldiers to judge how much of this applies to their
case. The great majority of the volunteers must be handy, self-helping
men; and bands of citizens from the same towns or villages must be
disposed and accustomed to concerted action; but cooking is probably the
last thing they have any of them turned their hand to. Much depends on
the source of their food-supply. I fear they live on the country they
are in,--at least, when in the enemy's country. This is very easy
living, certainly. To shoot pigs or fowls in road or yard is one way of
getting fresh meat, as ravaging gardens is a short way of feasting on
vegetables. But supposing the forces fed from a regular commissariat
department, is there anything to be learned from the Crimean campaigns?

The British are better supplied with the food of the country, wherever
they are, than the French, because it is their theory and practice to
pay as they go; whereas it is the French, or at least the Bonapartist
theory and practice, to "make the war support itself," that is, to live
upon the people of the country. In the Peninsular War, the French often
found themselves in a desert where they could not stay; whereas, when
Wellington and his troops followed upon their steps, the peasants
reappeared from all quarters, bringing materials for a daily market. In
the Crimea, the faithful and ready payments of the English commissariat
insured plenty of food material, in the form of cattle and flour,
biscuit and vegetables. The defect was in means of transport for
bringing provisions to the camp. The men were trying to eat hard salt
meat and biscuit, when scurvy made all eating difficult, while herds
of cattle were waiting to be slaughtered, and ship-loads of flour were
lying seven miles off. Whole deck-loads of cabbages and onions were
thrown into the sea, while the men in camp were pining for vegetable
food. An impracticable track lay between; and the poor fellows died by
thousands before the road could be made good, and transport-animals
obtained, and the food distributed among the tents and huts. Experience
taught the officers that the food should be taken entire charge of by
departments of the army till it was actually smoking in the men's hands.
There were agents, of course, in all the countries round, to buy up the
cattle, flour, and vegetables needed. The animals should be delivered
at appointed spots, alive and in good condition, that there might be no
smuggling in of joints of doubtful character. There should be a regular
arrangement of shambles, at a proper distance from the tents, and
provided with a special drainage, and means of disposing instantly of
the offal. Each company in the camp should have its kitchen, and one
or two skilled cooks,--one to serve on each day, with perhaps two
assistants from the company. After the regular establishment of the
kitchens, there was always food ready and coffee procurable for the
tired men who came in from the trenches or outpost duty; and it was a
man's own fault, if he went without a meal when off duty.

It was found to be a grave mistake to feed the soldiers on navy salt
beef and pork. Corned beef and pork salted for a fortnight have far more
nourishment and make much less waste in the preparation than meat which
is salted for a voyage of months. After a time, very little of the hard
salted meat was used at all. When it was, it was considered essential
to serve out peas with the pork, and flour, raisins, and suet, for a
pudding, on salt-beef days. In course of time there were additions
which made considerable variety: as rice, preserved potatoes, pressed
vegetables, cheese, dried fruits and suet for puddings, sugar, coffee
properly roasted, and malt liquor. Beer and porter answer much better
than any kind of spirit, and are worth pains and cost to obtain. With
such variety as this, with portable kitchens in the place of the
cumbersome camp-kettle per man, with fresh bread, well-cooked meat and
vegetables, and well-made coffee, the soldiers will have every chance
of health that diet can afford. Whereas hard and long-kept salt meat,
insufficiently soaked and cooked, and hastily broiled meat or fowls,
just killed, and swallowed by hungry men unskilled in preparing food,
help on diseases of the alimentary system as effectually as that
intemperance in melons and cucumbers and unripe grapes and apples which
has destroyed more soldiers than all the weapons of all enemies.

So much for the food. Next in order come the clothing, and care of the

The newspapers have a great deal to say, as we have all seen, about the
badness of much of the clothing furnished to the Federal troops. There
is no need to denounce the conduct of faithless contractors in such a
case; and the glorious zeal of the women, and of all who can help to
make up clothing for the army, shows that the volunteers at least will
be well clad, if the good-will of society can effect it. Whatever the
form of dress, it is the height of imprudence to use flimsy material for

It seems to be everywhere agreed, in a general way, that the soldier's
dress should be of an easy fit, in the first place; light enough for hot
weather and noon service, with resources of warmth for cold weather and
night duty. In Europe, the blouse or loose tunic is preferred to every
other form of coat, and knickerbockers or gaiters to any form of
trousers. The shoe or boot is the weak point of almost all military
forces. The French are getting over it; and the English are learning
from them. The number of sizes and proportions is, I think, five to one
of what it used to be in the early part of the century, so that any
soldier can get fitted. The Duke of Wellington wrote home from the
Peninsula in those days,--"If you don't send shoes, the army can't
march." The enemy marched away to a long distance before the shoes
arrived; and when they came, they were all too small. Such things do not
happen now; but it often does happen that hundreds are made footsore,
and thrown out of the march, by being ill-shod; and there seems reason
to believe that much of the lagging and apparent desertion of stragglers
in the marches of the volunteers of the Federal army is owing to the
difficulty of keeping up with men who walk at ease. If the Southern
troops are in such want of shoes as is reported, that circumstance alone
is almost enough to turn the scale, provided the Northern regiments
attain the full use of their feet by being accurately fitted with stout
shoes or boots. During the darkest days in the Crimea, those who had
boots which would stick on ceased to take them off. They slept in them,
wet or dry, knowing, that, once off, they could never be got on again.
Such things cannot happen in the Northern States, where the stoppage of
the trade in shoes to the South leaves leather, skill, and time for the
proper shoeing of the army; but it may not yet be thoroughly understood
how far the practical value of every soldier depends on the welfare of
his feet, and how many sizes and proportions of shoe are needed for duly
fitting a thousand men.

As for the rest, the conclusion after the Crimean campaign was that
flannel shirts answer better than cotton on the whole. If the shirt is
cotton, there must be a flannel waistcoat; and the flannel shirt answers
the purpose of both, while it is as easily washed as any material. Every
man should have a flannel bandage for the body, in case of illness, or
unusual fatigue, or sudden changes of temperature. The make and pressure
of the knapsack are very important, so that the weight may be thrown on
the shoulders, without pressure on the chest or interference with the
arms. The main object is the avoidance of pressure everywhere, from the
toe-joints to the crown of the head. For this the head-covering should
be studied, that it may afford shelter and shade from heat and light,
and keep on, against the wind, without pressure on the temples or
forehead. For this the neck-tie should he studied, and the cut of the
coat-chest and sleeve, when coats must be worn: and every man must have
some sort of overcoat, for chilly and damp hours of duty. There is great
danger in the wearing of water-proof fabrics, unless they are so loose
as to admit of a free circulation of air between them and the body.

With the clothing is generally connected the care of the person. It
is often made a question, With whom rests the responsibility of the
personal cleanliness of the soldier? The medical men declare that they
do what they can, but that there is nothing to be said when the men are
unsupplied with water; and all persuasions are thrown away when the poor
fellows are in tatters, and sleeping on dirty straw or the bare ground.
The indolent ones, at least, go on from day to day without undressing,
combing, or washing, till they are swarming with vermin; and then they
have lost self-respect. But if, before it is too late, there is an issue
of new shirts, boots, stockings, comforters, or woollen gloves, the
event puts spirit into them; they will strip and wash, and throw out
dirt and rags from their sleeping-places, and feel respectable again.

Perhaps the first consideration should be on the part of the
quartermaster, whose business it is to see to the supply of water; and
the sanitary officer has next to take care that every man gets his eight
or ten gallons per day. If the soldiers are posted near a stream which
can be used for bathing and washing clothes, there ought to be no
difficulty; and every man may fairly be required to be as thoroughly
washed from head to foot every days and as clean in his inner clothing,
as his own little children at home. If on high and dry ground, where the
water-supply is restricted, some method and order are needed; but no
pains should be spared to afford each man his eight or ten gallons.

This cannot be done, unless the source of supply is properly guarded.
When unrestrained access is afforded to a spring-head or pond, the water
is fatally wasted and spoiled. In the Crimea, the English officers
had to build round the spring-heads, and establish a regular order in
getting supplied. Where there is crowding, dirt gets thrown in, the
water is muddied, or animals are brought to drink at the source. This
ruins everything; for animals will not drink below, when the mouth
of horse, mule, or cow has touched the water above. The way is for
guardians to take possession, and board over the source, and make a
reservoir with taps, allowing water to be taken first for drinking and
washing purposes, a flow being otherwise provided by spout and troughs
for the animals, and for cleansing the camp. The difference on the same
spot was enormous between the time when a British sergeant wrote that he
was not so well as at home, and could not expect it, not having had his
shoes or any of his clothes off for five months, and the same time the
next year, when every respectable soldier was fresh and tidy, with his
blood flowing healthfully under a clean skin. The poor sergeant said, in
his days of discomfort: "I wonder what our sweethearts would think of
us, if they were to see us now,--unshaved, unwashed, and quite old men!"
Cut in a year, those who survived had grown young again,--not shaven,
perhaps, for their beards were a great natural comfort on winter duty,
but brushed and washed, in vigorous health, and gay spirits.

The next consideration is the soldier's abode,--whether tent, or hut, or

I have shown certain British doctors demanding lime-juice when food was
necessary first. In the same way, there was a cry from the same quarter
for peat charcoal, instead of preventing the need of disinfectants.
Wherever men are congregated in large numbers,--in a caravan, at a
fair in the East or a protracted camp-meeting in the far West, or as a
military force anywhere, there is always animal refuse which should
not be permitted to lie about for a day or an hour. Dead camels among
Oriental merchants, dead horses among Western soldiers, are the cause of
plague. It is to be hoped that there will never be a military encampment
again without the appointment of officers whose business it shall be to
see that all carrion, offal, and dirt of every kind is put away into
its proper place instantly. For those receptacles, and for stables and
shambles, peat charcoal is a great blessing; but it ought not to be
needed in or about the abodes of the men. The case is different in
different armies. The French have a showy orderliness in their way of
settling themselves on new ground,--forming their camp into streets,
with names painted up, and opening post-office, _cafés_, and bazaars of
camp-followers; but they are not radically neat in their ways. In a few
days or weeks their settlement is a place of stench, turning to disease;
and thus it was, that, notwithstanding their fresh bread, and good
cookery, and clever arrangements, they were swept away by cholera and
dysentery, to an extent unrevealed to this day, while the British force,
once well fed and clothed, had actually only five per cent sick from all
causes, in their whole force.

The Sardinians suffered, as I have already observed, from their way of
making their huts. They excavated a space, to the depth of three or four
feet, and used the earth they threw out to embank the walls raised upon
the edge of the excavation. This procured warmth in winter and coolness
in hot weather; but the interior was damp and ill-ventilated; and as
soon as there was any collection of refuse within, cholera and fever
broke out. It is essential to health that the dwelling should be above
ground, admitting the circulation of air from the base to the ridge of
the roof, where there should be an escape for it at all hours of the day
and night.

Among volunteer troops in America, the difficulty would naturally seem
to be the newness of the discipline, the strangeness of the requisite
obedience. Something must be true of all that is said of the scattering
about of food, and other things which have no business to lie about on
the ground. A soldier is out of his duty who throws away a crust of
bread or meat, or casts bones to dogs, or in any way helps to taint the
air or obstruct the watercourses or drains. It may be troublesome to
obey the requisitions of the sanitary authorities; but it is the only
chance for escaping camp-disease.

On the other hand, in fixing on a spot for encampment, it is due to
the soldier to avoid all boggy places, and all places where the air is
stagnant from inclosure by woods, or near burial-grounds, or where the
soil is unfavorable to drainage. The military officer must admit the
advice of the sanitary officer in the case, though he may not be
always able to adopt it. When no overwhelming military considerations
interfere, the soldiers have a right to be placed on the most dry and
pervious soil that may offer, in an airy situation, removed from swamps
and dense woods, and admitting of easy drainage. Wood and water used to
be the quartermaster's sole demands; now, good soil and air are added,
and a suitable slope of the ground, and other minor requisites.

It depends on the character of the country whether quarters in towns and
villages are best, or huts or tents. In Europe, town quarters are found
particularly fatal; and the state of health of the inmates of tents and
huts depends much on the structure and placing of either. Precisely the
same kind of hut in the Crimea held a little company of men in perfect
health, or a set of invalids, carried out one after another to their
graves. Nay, the same hut bore these different characters, according to
its position at the top of a slope, or half-way down, so as to collect
under its floor the drainage from a spring. American soldiers, however,
are hardly likely to be hutted, I suppose; so I need say no more than
that in huts and tents alike it is indispensable to health that there
should be air-holes,--large spaces, sheltered from rain,--in the highest
part of the structure, whether the entrance below be open or closed. The
sanitary officers no doubt have it in charge to see that every man has
his due allowance of cubic feet of fresh air,--in other words, to take
care that each tent or other apartment is well ventilated, and not
crowded. The men's affair is to establish such rules among comrades as
that no one shall stop up air-holes, or overcrowd the place with guests,
or taint the air with unwholesome fumes. In the British army, bell-tents
are not allowed at all as hospital tents. Active, healthy men may use
them in their resting hours; but their condemnation as abodes for the
sick shows how pressing is the duty of ventilating them for the use of
the strongest and healthiest.

A sound and airy tent being provided, the next consideration is of

The surgeons of the British force were always on the lookout for straw
and hay, after being informed at the outset that the men could not have
bedding, though it was hoped there was enough for the hospitals. A few
nights in the dust, among the old bones and rubbish of Gallipoli, and
then in the Bulgarian marshes, showed that it would be better to bestow
the bedding before the men went into hospital, and sheets of material
were obtained for some of them to lie upon. A zealous surgeon pointed
out to the proper officer that this bedding consisted in fact of double
ticking, evidently intended as _paillasses_, to be stuffed with straw.
The straw not being granted, he actually set to work to make hay; and,
being well aided by the soldiers, he soon saw them sleeping on
good mattresses. It was understood in England, and believed by the
Government, that every soldier in camp had three blankets; and after a
time, this came true: but in the interval, during the damp autumn and
bitter winter, they had but one. Lying on wet ground, with one damp and
dirty blanket over them, prepared hundreds for the hospital and the
grave. The mischief was owing to the jealousy of some of the medical
authorities, in the first place, who would not see, believe, or allow to
be reported, the fact that the men were in any way ill-supplied, because
these same doctors had specified the stores that would be wanted,--and
next, to the absence of a department for the actual distribution of
existing stores. With the bedding the case was the same as with the
lime-juice and the rice: there was plenty; but it was not served out
till too late. When the huts were inhabited, in the Crimea, and the
wooden platforms had a dry soil beneath, and every man had a bed of some
sort and three blankets, there was no more cholera or fever.

The American case is radically unlike that of any of the combatants in
the Crimean War, because they are on the soil of their own country,
within reach of their own railways, and always in the midst of the
ordinary commodities of life. In such a position, they can with the
utmost ease be supplied with whatever they really want,--so profuse as
are the funds placed at the command of the authorities. Considering
this, and the well-known handiness of Americans, there need surely be no
disease and death from privation. This may be confidently said while we
have before us the case of the British in the Crimea during the second
winter of the war. A sanitary commission had been sent out; and
under their authority, and by the help of experience, everything was
rectified. The healthy were stronger than ever; there was scarcely any
sickness; and the wounded recovered without drawback. As the British
ended, the Americans ought to begin.

On the last two heads of the soldier's case there is little to be said
here, because the American troops are at home, and not in a perilous
foreign climate, and on the shores of a remote sea. Their drill can
hardly be appointed for wrong hours, or otherwise mismanaged. In regard
to transport, they have not the embarrassment of crowds of sick and
wounded, far away in the Black Sea, without any adequate supply of
mules and carriages, after the horses had died off, and without any
organization of hospital ships at all equal to the demand. Neither do
they depend for clothing and medicines on the arrival of successive
ships through the storms of the Euxine; and they will never see the
dreary spectacle of the foundering of a noble vessel just arriving, in
November, with ample stores of winter clothing, medicines, and comforts,
which six hours more would have placed in safety. Under the head of
transport, they ought to have nothing to suffer.

Having gone through the separate items, and looking at the case as a
whole, we may easily perceive that in America, as in England and France
and every other country, the responsibility of the soldier's health in
camp is shared thus.

The authorities are bound so to arrange their work as that there shall
be no hitch through which disaster shall reach the soldiery. The
relations between the military and medical authorities must be so
settled and made clear as that no professional jealousy among the
doctors shall keep the commanding officers in the dark as to the
needs--of their men, and that no self-will or ignorance in commanding
officers shall neutralize the counsels of the medical men. The military
authorities must not depend on the report of any doctor who may be
incompetent as to the provision made for the men's health, and the
doctor must be authorized to represent the dangers of a bad encampment
without being liable to a recommendation to keep his opinion to himself
till he is asked for it. These particular dangers are best obviated by
the appointment of sanitary officers, to attend the forces, and take
charge of the health of the army, as the physicians and surgeons take
charge of its sickness. If, besides, there is a separate department
between the commissariat and the soldiery, to see that the comforts
provided are actually brought within every man's grasp, the authorities
will have done their part.

The rest is the soldier's own concern. When cruelly pressed by hardship,
the soldiers in Turkey and the Crimea took to drinking; and what they
drank was poison. The vile raid with which they intoxicated themselves
carried hundreds to the grave as surely as arsenic would have done.
When, at last, they were well fed, warm, clean, and comfortable, and
well amused in the coffee-houses opened for them, there was an end, or
a vast diminution, of the evil of drunkenness. Good coffee and harmless
luxuries were sold to them at cost price; and books and magazines and
newspapers, chess, draughts, and other games, were at their command. The
American soldiery are a more cultivated set of men than these, and are
in proportion more inexcusable for any resort to intemperance. They
ought to have neither the external discomfort nor the internal vacuity
which have caused drunkenness in other armies. The resort to strong
drinks so prevalent in the Americans is an ever-lasting mystery to
Europeans, who recognize in them a self-governing people, universally
educated up to a capacity for intellectual interests such as are
elsewhere found to be a safeguard against intemperance in drink. If the
precautions instituted by the authorities are well supported by the
volunteers themselves, the most fatal of all perils will be got rid of.
If not, the army will perish by a veritable suicide. But such a fate
cannot be in store for such an army.

There is something else almost as indispensable to the health of
soldiers as sobriety, and that is subordination. The true, magnanimous,
patriotic spirit of subordination is not more necessary to military
achievement than it is to the personal composure and the trustworthiness
of nerve of the individual soldier. A strong desire and fixed habit of
obedience to command relieve a man of all internal conflict between
self-will and circumstance, and give him possession of his full powers
of action and endurance. If absolute reliance on authority is a
necessity to the great majority of mankind, (which it is,) it is to the
few wisest and strongest a keen enjoyment when they can righteously
indulge in it; and the occasion on which it is supremely a duty--in the
case of military or naval service--is one of privilege. Americans are
less accustomed than others to prompt and exact obedience, being a
self-governing and unmilitary nation: and they may require some time to
become aware of the privileges of subordination to command. But time
will satisfy them of the truth; and those who learn the lesson most
quickly will be the most sensible of the advantage to health of body,
through ease of mind. The abdication of self-will in regard to the
ordering of affairs, the repose of reliance upon the responsible
parties, the exercise of silent endurance about hardships and fatigues,
the self-respect which relishes the honor of cooperation through
obedience, the sense of patriotic devotedness which glows through every
act of submission to command,--all these elevated feelings tend to
composure of the nerves, to the fortifying of brain and limb, and the
genial repose and exaltation of all the powers of mind and body. I
need not contrast with this the case of the discontented and turbulent
volunteer, questioning commands which he is not qualified to judge of,
and complaining of troubles which cannot be helped. It is needless to
show what wear-and-tear is caused by such a spirit, and how nerve and
strength must, in such a case, fail in the hour of effort or of crisis,
and give way at once before the assault of disease. By the aid of
sobriety and the calm and cheerful subordination of the true military
character, the health of the Federal army may be equal to its high
mission: and all friends of human freedom, in all lands, must heartily
pray that it may be so.

There is another department of the subject which I propose to treat of
another month: "Health in the Military Hospital."


  Where the gray crags beat back the northern main,
  And all around, the ever restless waves,
  Like white sea-wolves, howl on the lonely sands,
  Clings a low roof, close by the sounding surge.
  If, in your summer rambles by the shore,
  His spray-tost cottage you may chance espy,
  Enter and greet the blind old mariner.

  Full sixty winters he has watched beside
  The turbulent ocean, with one purpose warmed:
  To rescue drowning men. And round the coast--
  For so his comrades named him in his youth--
  They know him as "The Stormy Petrel" still.

  Once he was lightning-swift, and strong; his eyes
  Peered through the dark, and far discerned the wreck
  Plunged on the reef. Then with bold speed he flew,
  The life-boat launched, and dared the smiting rocks.

  'T is said by those long dwelling near his door,
  That hundreds have been storm-saved by his arm;
  That never was he known to sleep, or lag
  In-doors, when danger swept the seas. His life
  Was given to toil, his strength to perilous blasts.
  In freezing floods when tempests hurled the deep,
  And battling winds clashed in their icy caves,
  Scared housewives, waking, thought of him, and said,
  "'The Stormy Petrel' is abroad to-night,
  And watches from the cliffs."

                             He could not rest
  When shipwrecked forms might gasp amid the waves,
  And not a cry be answered from the shore.

  Now Heaven has quenched his sight; but when he hears
  By his lone hearth the sullen sea-winds clang,
  Or listens, in the mad, wild, drowning night,
  As younger footsteps hurry o'er the beach
  To pluck the sailor from his sharp-fanged death,--
  The old man starts, with generous impulse thrilled,
  And, with the natural habit of his heart,
  Calls to his neighbors in a cheery tone,
  Tells them he'll pilot toward the signal guns,
  And then, remembering all his weight of years,
  Sinks on his couch, and weeps that he is blind.


Margaret stood looking down in her quiet way at the sloping moors and
fog. She, too, had her place and work. She thought that night she saw it
clearly, and kept her eyes fixed on it, as I said. They plodded steadily
down the wide years opening before her. Whatever slow, unending work
lay in them, whatever hungry loneliness they held for her heart, or
coarseness of deed, she saw it all, shrinking from nothing. She
looked at the tense blue-corded veins in her wrist, full of fine
pure blood,--gauged herself coolly, her lease of life, her power of
endurance,--measured it out against the work waiting for her. The work
would be long, she knew. She would be old before it was finished, quite
an old woman, hard, mechanical, worn out. But the day would be so
bright, when it came, it would atone for all: the day would be bright,
the home warm again; it would hold all that life had promised her of

All? Oh, Margaret, Margaret! Was there no sullen doubt in the brave
resolve? Was there no shadow rose just then, dark, ironical, blotting
out father and mother and home, coming nearer, less alien to your soul
than these, than even your God?

If any such cold, masterful shadow rose out of years gone, and clutched
at the truest life of her heart, she stifled it, and thrust it down.
And yet, leaning on the gate, and thinking drearily, vacantly, she
remembered a time when God came nearer to her than He did now, and came
through that shadow,--when, by the help of that dead hope, He of whom
she read to-night came close, an infinitely tender Helper, who, with the
human love that was in her heart to-day, had loved his mother and John
and Mary. Now, struggle as she would for healthy hopes and warmth, the
world was gray and silent. Her defeated woman's nature called it so,
bitterly. Christ was a dim ideal power, heaven far-off. She doubted if
it held anything as real as that which she had lost.

As if to bring back the old times more vividly to her, there happened
one of those curious little coincidences with which Fate, we think, has
nothing to do. She heard a quick step along the clay road, and a muddy
little terrier jumped up, barking, beside her. She stopped with a
suddenness strange in her slow movements. _"Tiger!"_ she said, stroking
its head with passionate eagerness. The dog licked her hand, smelt her
clothes to know if she were the same: it was two years since he had seen
her. She sat there, softly stroking him. Presently there was a sound of
wheels jogging down the road, and a voice singing snatches of some song,
one of those cheery street-songs that the boys whistle. It was a low,
weak voice, but very pleasant. Margaret heard it through the dark; she
kissed the dog with a strange paleness on her face, and stood up, quiet,
attentive as before. Tiger still kept licking her hand, as it hung by
her side: it was cold, and trembled as he touched it. She waited a
moment, then pushed the dog from her, as if his touch, even, caused her
to break some vow. He whined, but she hurried away, not waiting to know
how he came, or with whom. Perhaps, if Dr. Knowles had seen her face as
she looked back at him, he would have thought there were depths in her
nature which his probing eyes had never reached.

The wheels came close, and directly a cart stopped at the gate. It was
one of those little wagons that hucksters drive; only this seemed to be
a home-made affair, patched up with wicker-work and bits of board. It
was piled up with baskets of vegetables, eggs, and chickens, and on a
broken bench in the middle sat the driver, a woman. You could not
help laughing, when you looked at the whole turn-out, it had such a
make-shift look altogether.

The reins were twisted rope, the wheels uneven. It went jolting along in
such a careless, jolly way, as if it would not care in the least, should
it go to pieces any minute just there in the road. The donkey that drew
it was bony and blind of one eye; but he winked the other knowingly at
you, as if to ask if you saw the joke of the thing. Even the voice of
the owner of the establishment, chirruping some idle song, as I told
you, was one of the cheeriest sounds you ever heard. Joel, up at the
barn, forgot his dignity to salute it with a prolonged "Hillo!" and
presently appeared at the gate.

"I'm late, Joel," said the weak voice. It sounded like a child's near at

"We can trade in the dark, Lois, both bein' honest," he responded,
graciously, hoisting a basket of tomatoes into the cart, and taking out
a jug of vinegar.

"Is that Lois?" said Mrs. Howth, coming to the gate. "Sit still, child.
Don't get down."

But the child, as she called her, had scrambled off the cart, and stood
beside her, leaning on the wheel, for she was helplessly crippled.

"I thought you would be down tonight. I put some coffee on the stove.
Bring it out, Joel."

Mrs. Howth never put up the shield between herself and this member of
"the class,"--because, perhaps, she was so wretchedly low in the social
scale. However, I suppose she never gave a reason for it even to
herself. Nobody could help being kind to Lois, even if he tried. Joel
brought the coffee with more readiness than he would have waited on Mrs.

"Barney will be jealous," he said, patting the bare ribs of the old
donkey, and glancing wistfully at his mistress.

"Give him his supper, surely," she said, taking the hint.

It was a real treat to see how Lois enjoyed her supper, sipping and
tasting the warm coffee, her face in a glow, like an epicure over some
rare Falernian. You would be sure, from, just that little thing, that no
sparkle of warmth or pleasure in the world slipped by her which she did
not catch and enjoy and be thankful for to the uttermost. You would
think, perhaps, pitifully, that not much pleasure or warmth would ever
go down so low, within her reach. Now that she stood on the ground, she
scarcely came up to the level of the wheel; some deformity of her legs
made her walk with a curious rolling jerk, very comical to see. She
laughed at it, when other people did; if it vexed her at all, she never
showed it. She had turned back her calico sun-bonnet, and stood looking
up at Mrs. Howth and Joel, laughing as they talked--with her. The face
would have startled you on so old and stunted a body. It was a child's
face, quick, eager, with that pitiful beauty you always see in deformed
people. Her eyes, I think, were the kindliest, the hopefullest I ever
saw. Nothing but the pale thickness of her skin betrayed the fact that
set Lois apart from even the poorest poor,--the taint in her veins of
black blood.

"Whoy! be n't this Tiger?" said Joel, as the dog ran yelping about him.
"How comed yoh with him, Lois?"

"Tiger an' his master's good friends o' mine,--you remember they allus
was. An' he's back now, Mr. Holmes,--been back for a month."

Margaret, walking in the porch with her father, stopped.

"Are you tired, father? It is late."

"And you are worn out, poor child! It was selfish in me to forget.
Good-night, dear!"

Margaret kissed him, laughing cheerfully, as she led him to his
room-door. He lingered, holding her dress.

"Perhaps it will be easier for you tomorrow than it was to-day?"

"I am sure it will. To-morrow will be sure to be better than to-day."

She left him, and went away with a slow step that did not echo the
promise of her words.

Joel, meanwhile, consulted apart with his mistress.

"Of course," she said, emphatically.--"You must stay until morning,
Lois. It is too late. Joel will toss you up a bed in the loft."

The queer little body hesitated.

"I can stay," she said, at last. "It's his watch at the mill to-night."

"Whose watch?" demanded Joel.

Her face brightened.

"Father's. He's back, mum."

Joel caught himself in a whistle.

"He's very stiddy, Joel,--as stiddy as yuh."

"I am very glad he has come back, Lois," said Mrs. Howth, gravely.

At every place where Lois had been that day she had told her bit of good
news, and at every place it had been met with the same kindly smile and
"I'm glad he's back, Lois."

Yet Joe Yare, fresh from two years in the penitentiary, was not exactly
the person whom society usually welcomes with open arms. Lois had a
vague suspicion of this, perhaps; for, as she hobbled along the path,
she added to her own assurance of his "stiddiness" earnest explanations
to Joel of how he had a place in the Croft Street woollen-mills, and
how Dr. Knowles had said he was as ready a stoker as any in the

The sound of her weak, eager voice was silent presently, and nothing
broke the quiet and cold of the night. Even the morning, when it came
long after, came quiet and cool,--the warm red dawn helplessly smothered
under great waves of gray cloud. Margaret, looking out into the thick
fog, lay down wearily again, closing her eyes. What was the day to her?

Very slowly the night was driven back. An hour after, when she lifted
her head again, the stars were still glittering through the foggy arch,
like sparks of brassy blue, and the sky and hills and valleys were one
drifting, slow-heaving mass of ashy damp. Off in the east a stifled red
film groped through. It was another day coming; she might as well get
up, and live the rest of her life out;--what else had she to do?

Whatever this night had been to the girl, it left one thought sharp,
alive, in the exhausted quiet of her brain: a cowardly dread of the
trial of the day, when she would see him again. Was the old struggle of
years before coming back? Was it all to go over again? She was worn out.
She had been quiet in these--two years: what had gone before she never
looked back upon; but it made her thankful for even this stupid quiet.
And now, when she had planned her life, busy and useful and contented,
why need God have sent the old thought to taunt her? A wild, sickening
sense of what might have been struggled up: she thrust it down,--she had
kept it down all night; the old pain should not come back,--it should
not. She did not think of the love she had given up as a dream, as
verse-makers or sham people do; she knew it to be the reality of her
life. She cried for it even now, with all the fierce strength of her
nature; it was the best she knew; through it she came nearest to God.
Thinking of the day when she had given it up, she remembered it with a
vague consciousness of having fought a deadly struggle with her fate,
and that she had been conquered,--never had lived again. Let it be; she
could not bear the struggle again.

She went on dressing herself in a dreary, mechanical way. Once, a bitter
laugh came on her face, as she looked into the glass, and saw the dead,
dull eyes, and the wrinkle on her forehead. Was that the face to be
crowned with delicate caresses and love? She scorned herself for the
moment, grew sick of herself, balked, thwarted in her true life as she
was. Other women whom God has loved enough to probe to the depths of
their nature have done the same,--saw themselves as others saw them:
their strength drying up within them, jeered at, utterly alone. It is
a trial we laugh at. I think the quick fagots at the stake were fitter
subjects for laughter than the slow gnawing hunger in the heart of many
a slighted woman or a selfish man. They come out of the trial as out of
martyrdom, according to their faith: you see its marks sometimes in a
frivolous old age going down with tawdry hopes and starved eyes to the
grave; you see its victory in the freshest, fullest lives in the earth.
This woman had accepted her trial, but she took it up as an inflexible
fate which she did not understand; it was new to her; its solitude, its
hopeless thirst were freshly bitter. She loathed herself as one whom God
had thought unworthy of every woman's right,--to love and be loved.

She went to the window, looking blankly out into the gray cold. Any
one with keen analytic eye, noting the thin muscles of this woman, the
childish, scarlet lips, the eyes deep, concealing, would have foretold
that she would conquer in the trial, that she would force her soul
down,--but that the forcing down would leave the weak, flaccid body
spent and dead. One thing was certain: no curious eyes would see the
struggle; the body might be nerveless or sickly, but it had the great
power of reticence; the calm with which she faced the closest gaze was
natural to her,--no mask. When she left her room and went down, the
same unaltered quiet that had baffled Knowles steadied her step and
cooled her eyes.

After you have made a sacrifice of yourself for others, did you ever
notice how apt you were to doubt, as soon as the deed was irrevocable,
whether, after all, it were worth while to have done it? How poor seems
the good gained! How new and unimagined the agony of empty hands and
stifled wish! Very slow the angels are, sometimes, that are sent to

Margaret, going down the stairs that morning, found none of the
chivalric unselfish glow of the night before in her home. It was an old,
bare house in the midst of dreary moors, in which her life was slowly to
be worn out: that was all. It did not matter; life was short: she could
thank God for that at least.

She opened the house-door. A draught of cold morning air struck her
face, sweeping from the west; it had driven the fog in great gray banks
upon the hills, or in shimmering broken swamps into the cleft hollows:
a vague twilight filled the space left bare. Tiger, asleep in the hall,
rushed out into the meadow, barking, wild with the freshness and cold,
then back again to tear round her for a noisy good-morning. The touch of
the dog seemed to bring her closer to his master; she put him away; she
dared not suffer even that treachery to her purpose: because, in fact,
the very circumstances that had forced her to give him up made it weak
cowardice to turn again. It was a simple story, yet one which she dared
not tell to herself; for it was not altogether for her father's sake she
had made the sacrifice. She knew, that, though she might be near to
this man Holmes as his own soul, she was a clog on him,--stood in his
way,--kept him back. So she had quietly stood aside, taken up her own
solitary burden, and left him with his clear self-reliant life,--with
his Self, dearer to him than she had ever been. Why should it not be?
she thought,--remembering the man as he was, a master among men. He was
back again; she must see him. So she stood there with this persistent
dread running through her brain.

Suddenly, in the lane by the house, she heard a voice talking to
Joel,--the huckster-girl. What a weak, cheery sound it was in the cold
and fog! It touched her curiously: broke through her morbid thought as
anything true and healthy would have done. "Poor Lois!" she thought,
with an eager pity, forgetting her own intolerable future for the
moment, as she gathered up some breakfast and went with it down the
lane. Morning had come; great heavy bars of light fell from behind the
hills athwart the banks of gray and black fog; there was shifting,
uneasy, obstinate tumult among the shadows; they did not mean to yield
to the coming dawn. The hills, the massed woods, the mist opposed their
immovable front, scornfully. Margaret did not notice the silent contest
until she reached the lane. The girl Lois, sitting in her cart, was
looking, quiet, attentive, at the slow surge of the shadows, and the
slower lifting of the slanted rays.

"T' mornin' comes grand here, Miss Marg'et!" she said, lowering her

Margaret said nothing in reply; the morning, she thought, was gray
and cold, as her own life. She stood leaning on the low cart;
some strange sympathy drew her to this poor wretch, dwarfed,
alone in the world,--some tie of equality, which the odd childish
face, nor the quaint air of content about the creature, did
not lessen. Even when Lois shook down the patched skirt of her flannel
frock straight, and settled the heaps of corn and tomatoes about her,
preparatory for a start, Margaret kept her hand on the side of the cart,
and walked slowly by it down the road. Once, looking at the girl, she
thought with a half smile how oddly clean she was. The flannel skirt she
arranged so complacently had been washed until the colors had run madly
into each other in sheer desperation; her hair was knotted with a
relentless tightness into a comb such as old women wear. The very cart,
patched as it was, had a snug, cozy look; the masses of vegetables,
green and crimson and scarlet, were heaped with a certain reference to
the glow of color, Margaret noticed, wondering if it were accidental.
Looking up, she saw the girl's brown eyes fixed on her face. They were
singularly soft, brooding brown.

"Ye'r' goin' to th' mill, Miss Marg'et?" she asked, in a half whisper.

"Yes. You never go there now, Lois?"

"No, 'm."

The girl shuddered, and then tried to hide it in a laugh. Margaret
walked on beside her, her hand on the cart's edge. Somehow this
creature, that Nature had thrown impatiently aside as a failure, so
marred, imperfect, that even the dogs were kind to her, came strangely
near to her, claimed recognition by some subtile instinct.

Partly for this, and partly striving to forget herself, she glanced
furtively at the childish face of the distorted little body, wondering
what impression the shifting dawn made on the unfinished soul that was
looking out so intently through the brown eyes. What artist sense had
she,--what could she know--the ignorant huckster--of the eternal laws
of beauty or grandeur? Nothing. Yet something in the girl's face made
her think that these hills, this air and sky, were in fact alive to
her,--real; that her soul, being lower, it might be, than ours, lay
closer to Nature, knew the language of the changing day, of these
earnest-faced hills, of the very worms crawling through the brown mould.
It was an idle fancy; Margaret laughed at herself for it, and turned
to watch the slow morning-struggle which Lois followed with such eager

The light was conquering, growing stronger. Up the gray arch the soft,
dewy blue crept gently, deepening, broadening; below it, the level bars
of light struck full on the sullen black of the west, and worked there
undaunted, tinging it with crimson and imperial purple. Two or three
coy mist-clouds, soon converted to the new allegiance, drifted giddily
about, mere flakes of rosy blushes. The victory of the day came slowly,
but sure, and then the full morning flushed out, fresh with moisture and
light and delicate perfume. The bars of sunlight fell on the lower earth
from the steep hills like pointed swords; the foggy swamp of wet vapor
trembled and broke, so touched, rose at last, leaving patches of damp
brilliance on the fields, and floated majestically up in radiant victor
clouds, led by the conquering wind. Victory: it was in the cold, pure
ether filling the heavens, in the solemn gladness of the hills. The
great forests thrilling in the soft light, the very sleepy river
wakening under the mist, chorded in with a grave bass to the rising
anthem of welcome to the new life which God had freshly given to the
world. From the sun himself, come forth as a bridegroom from his
chamber, to the flickering raindrops on the road-side mullein, the world
seemed to rejoice exultant in victory. Homely, cheerier sounds broke the
outlined grandeur of the morning, on which Margaret looked wearily. Lois
lost none of them; no morbid shadow of her own balked life kept their
meaning from her.

The light played on the heaped vegetables in the old cart; the bony legs
of the donkey trotted on with fresh vigor. There was not a lowing cow in
the distant barns, nor a chirping swallow on the fence-bushes, that
did not seem to include the eager face of the little huckster in their
morning greetings. Not a golden dandelion on the road-side, not a gurgle
of the plashing brown water from the well-troughs, which did not give
a quicker pleasure to the glowing face. Its curious content stung the
woman walking by her side. What secret of recompense had this poor
wretch found?

"Your father is here, Lois," she said carelessly, to break the silence.
"I saw him at the mill yesterday."

Her face kindled instantly.

"He's home, Miss Marg'et,--yes. An' it's all right wid him. Things allus
do come right, some time," she added, in a reflective tone, brushing a
fly off Sawney's ear.

Margaret smiled.

"Always? Who brings them right for you, Lois?"

"The Master," she said, turning with an answering smile.

Margaret was touched. The owner of the mill was not a more real
verity to this girl than the Master of whom she spoke with such quiet

"Are things right in the mill?" she said, testing her.

A shadow came on her face; her eyes wandered uncertainly, as if her weak
brain were confused,--only for a moment.

"They'll come right!" she said, bravely. "The Master'll see to it!"

But the light was gone from her eyes; some old pain seemed to be surging
through her narrow thought; and when she began to talk, it was in a
bewildered, doubtful way.

"It's a black place, th' mill," she said, in a low voice. "It was a good
while I was there: frum seven year old till sixteen. 'T seemed longer t'
me 'n 't was. 'T seemed as if I'd been there allus,--jes' forever, yoh
know. 'Fore I went in, I had the rickets, they say: that's what ails me.
'T hurt my head, they've told me,--made me different frum other folks."

She stopped a moment, with a dumb, hungry look in her eyes. After a
while she looked at Margaret furtively, with a pitiful eagerness.

"Miss Marg'et, I think there _is_ something wrong in my head. Did yoh
ever notice it?"

Margaret put her hand kindly on the broad, misshapen forehead.

"Something is wrong everywhere, Lois," she said, absently.

She did not see the slow sigh with which the girl smothered down
whatever hope had risen just then, nor the wistful look of the brown
eyes that brightened into bravery after a while.

"It'll come right," she said, steadily, though her voice was lower than

"But the mill,"--Margaret recalled her.

"Th' mill,--yes. There was three of us,--father 'n' mother 'n' me,--'n'
pay was poor. They said times was hard. They _was_ hard times, Miss
Marg'et!" she said, with a nervous laugh, the brown eyes strangely

"Yes, hard,"--she soothed her, gently.

"Pay was poor, 'n' many things tuk money." (Remembering the girl's
mother, Margaret knew gin would have covered the "many things.") "Worst
to me was th' mill. I kind o' grew into that place in them years: seemed
to me like as I was part o' th' engines, somehow. Th' air used to be
thick in my mouth, black wi' smoke 'n' wool 'n' smells. It 's better
now there. I got stunted then, yoh know. 'N' th' air in th' alleys was
worse, where we slep'. I think mebbe as 't was then I went wrong in my
head. Miss Marg'et!"

Her voice went lower.

"'T isn't easy to think o' th' Master--down _there_, in them cellars.
Things comes right--slow there,--slow."

Her eyes grew stupid, as if looking down into some dreary darkness.

"But the mill?"

The girl roused herself with a sharp sigh.

"In them years I got dazed in my head, I think. 'T was th' air 'n' th'
work. I was weak allus. 'T got so that th' noise o' th' looms went on in
my head night 'n' day,--allus thud, thud. 'N' hot days, when th' hands
was chaffin' 'n' singin', th' black wheels 'n' rollers was alive,
starin' down at me, 'n' th' shadders o' th' looms was like snakes
creepin',--creepin' anear all th' time. They was very good to me, th'
hands was,--very good. Ther' 's lots o' th' Master's people down there,
out o' sight, that's so low they never heard His name: preachers don't
go there. But He'll see to't. He'll not min' their cursin' o' Him,
seein' they don't know His face, 'n' thinkin' He belongs to th' gentry.
I knew it wud come right wi' me, when times was th' most bad. I knew"--

The girl was trembling now with excitement, her hands working together,
her eyes set, all the slow years of ruin that had eaten into her brain
rising before her, all the tainted blood in her veins of centuries of
slavery and heathenism struggling to drag her down. But above all, the
Hope rose clear, simple: the trust in the Master: and shone in her
scarred face,--through her marred senses.

"I knew it wud come right, allus. I was alone then: mother was dead, and
father was gone, 'n' th' Lord thought 't was time to see to me,--special
as th' overseer was gettin' me an enter to th' poorhouse. So He sent Mr.
Holmes along. Then it come right!"

Margaret did not speak. Even this mill-girl could talk of him, pray for
him; but she never must take his name on her lips!

"He got th' cart fur me, 'n' this blessed old donkey, 'n' my room. Did
yoh ever see my room, Miss Marg'et?"

Her face lighted suddenly with its peculiar childlike smile.

"No? Yoh'll come some day, surely? It's a pore place, yoh'll think; but
it's got th' air,--th' air."

She stopped to breathe the cold morning wind, as if she thought to find
in its fierce freshness the life and brains she had lost.

"Ther' 's places in them alleys 'n' dark holes, Miss Marg'et, like th'
openin's to hell, with th' thick smells 'n' th' sights yoh'd see."

She went back with a terrible clinging pity to the Gehenna from which
she had escaped. The ill of life was real enough to her,--a hungry devil
down in those alleys and dens. Margaret listened, waking to the sense
of a different pain in the world from her own,--lower deeps from which
women like herself draw delicately back, lifting their gauzy dresses.

"Openin's to hell, they're like. People as come down to preach in them
think that, 'pears to me,--'n' think we've but a little way to go, bein'
born so near. It's easy to tell they thinks it,--shows in their looks.
Miss Marg'et!"

Her face flashed.

"Well, Lois?"

"Th' Master has His people 'mong them very lowest, that's not for such
as yoh to speak to. He knows 'em: men 'n' women starved 'n' drunk into
jails 'n' work-houses, that'd scorn to be cowardly or mean,--that shows
God's kindness, through th' whiskey 'n' thievin', to th' orphints
or--such as me. Ther 's things th' Master likes in them, 'n' it'll
come right," she sobbed, "it'll come right at last; they'll have a

Margaret did not speak; let the poor girl sob herself into quiet. What
had she to do with this gulf of pain and wrong? Her own higher life was
starved, thwarted. Could it be that the blood of these her brothers
called against _her_ from the ground? No wonder that the huckster-girl
sobbed, she thought, or talked heresy. It was not an easy thing to see
a mother drink herself into the grave. And yet--was she to blame? Her
Virginian blood was cool, high-bred; she had learned conservatism in her
cradle. Her life in the West had not yet quickened her pulse. So she put
aside whatever social mystery or wrong faced her in this girl, just as
you or I would have done. She had her own pain to bear. Was she her
brother's keeper? It was true, there was wrong; this woman's soul lay
shattered by it; it was the fault of her blood, of her birth, and
Society had finished the work. Where was the help? She was free,--and
liberty, Dr. Knowles said, was the cure for all the soul's diseases,

Well, Lois was quiet now,--ready with her childish smile to be drawn
into a dissertation on Barney's vices and virtues, or a description of
her room, where "th' air was so strong, 'n' the fruit 'n' vegetables
allus stayed fresh,--best in _this_ town," she said, with a bustling

They went on down the road, through the corn-fields sometimes, or on
the riverbank, or sometimes skirting the orchards or barn-yards of the
farms. The fences were well built, she noticed,--the barns wide and
snug-looking: for this county in Indiana is settled by New England
people, as a general thing, or Pennsylvanians. They both leave their
mark on barns or fields, I can tell you! The two women were talking all
the way. In all his life Dr. Knowles had never heard from this silent
girl words as open and eager as she gave to the huckster about paltry,
common things,--partly, as I said, from a hope to forget herself, and
partly from a vague curiosity to know the strange world which opened
before her in this disjointed talk. There were no morbid shadows in this
Lois's life, she saw. Her pains and pleasures were intensely real, like
those of her class. If there were latent powers in her distorted brain,
smothered by hereditary vice of blood, or foul air and life, she knew
nothing of it. She never probed her own soul with fierce self-scorn,
as this quiet woman by her side did;--accepted, instead, the passing
moment, with keen enjoyment. For the rest, childishly trusted "the

This very drive, now, for instance,--although she and the cart and
Barney went through the same routine every day, you would have thought
it was a new treat for a special holiday, if you had seen the perfect
_abandon_ with which they all threw themselves into the fun of the
thing. Not only did the very heaps of ruby tomatoes, and corn in
delicate green casings, tremble and shine as though they enjoyed the
fresh light and dew, but the old donkey cocked his ears, and curved his
scraggy neck, and tried to look as like a high-spirited charger as he
could. Then everybody along the road knew Lois, and she knew everybody,
and there was a mutual liking and perpetual joking, not very refined,
perhaps, but hearty and kind. It was a new side of life for Margaret.
She had no time for thoughts of self-sacrifice, or chivalry, ancient or
modern, watching it. It was a very busy ride,--something to do at every
farmhouse: a basket of eggs to be taken in, or some egg-plants, maybe,
which Lois laid side by side, Margaret noticed,--the pearly white balls
close to the heap of royal purple. No matter how small the basket was
that she stopped for, it brought out two or three to put it in; for Lois
and her cart were the event of the day for the lonely farm-houses. The
wife would come out, her face ablaze from the oven, with an anxious
charge about that butter; the old man would hail her from the barn to
know "ef she'd thought toh look in th' mail yes'rday"; and one or the
other was sure to add, "Jes' time for breakfast, Lois." If she had no
baskets to stop for, she had "a bit o' business," which turned out to be
a paper she had brought for the grandfather, or some fresh mint for the
baby, or "jes' to inquire fur th' fam'ly."

As to the amount that cart carried, it was a perpetual mystery to Lois.
Every day since she and the cart went into partnership, she had gone
into town with a dead certainty in the minds of lookers-on that it
would break down in five minutes, and a triumphant faith in hers in its
unlimited endurance. "This cart'll be right side up fur years to come,"
she would assert, shaking her head. "It's got no more notion o' givin'
up than me nor Barney,--not a bit." Margaret had her doubts,--and so
would you, if you had heard how it creaked under the load,--how they
piled in great straw panniers of apples: black apples with yellow
hearts,--scarlet veined, golden pippin apples, that held the warmth and
light longest,--russet apples with a hot blush on their rough brown
skins,--plums shining coldly in their delicate purple bloom,--peaches
with the crimson velvet of their cheeks aglow with the prisoned heat of
a hundred summer days.

I wish with all my heart some artist would paint me Lois and her cart!
Mr. Kitts, the artist in the city then, used to see it going past his
room out by the coal-pits every day, and thought about it seriously. But
he had his grand battle-piece on hand then,--and after that he went the
way of all geniuses, and died down into colorer for a photographer. He
met them, that day, out by the stone quarry, and touched his hat as he
returned Lois's "Good-morning," and took a couple of great papaws from
her. She was a woman, you see, and he had some of the schoolmaster's
old-fashioned notions about women. He was a sickly-looking soul. One day
Lois had heard him say that there were papaws on his mother's place in
Ohio; so after that she always brought him some every day. She was one
of those people who must give, if it is nothing better than a Kentucky

After they passed the stone quarry, they left the country behind them,
going down the stubble-covered hills that fenced in the town. Even in
the narrow streets, and through the warehouses, the strong, dewy air had
quite blown down and off the fog and dust. Morning (town morning, to be
sure, but still morning) was shining in the red window-panes, in the
tossing smoke up in the frosty air, in the very glowing faces of people
hurrying from market with their noses nipped blue and their eyes
watering with cold. Lois and her cart, fresh with country breath hanging
about them, were not so out of place, after all. House-maids left the
steps half-scrubbed, and helped her measure out the corn and beans,
gossiping eagerly; the newsboys "Hi-d!" at her in a friendly,
patronizing way; women in rusty black, with sharp, pale faces, hoisted
their baskets, in which usually lay a scraggy bit of flitch, on to the
wheel, their whispered bargaining ending oftenest in a low "Thank ye,
Lois!"--for she sold cheaper to some people than they did in the market.

Lois was Lois in town or country. Some subtile power lay in the coarse,
distorted body, in the pleading child's face, to rouse, wherever they
went, the same curious, kindly smile. Not, I think, that dumb, pathetic
eye, common to deformity, that cries, "Have mercy upon me, O my friend,
for the hand of God hath touched me!"--a deeper, mightier charm, rather:
a trust down in the fouled fragments of her brain, even in the bitterest
hour of her bare, wretched life,--a faith, faith in God, faith in her
fellow-man, faith in herself. No human soul refused to answer its
summons. Down in the dark alleys, in the very vilest of the black and
white wretches that crowded sometimes about her cart, there was an
undefined sense of pride in protecting this wretch whose portion of life
was more meagre and low than theirs. Something in them struggled up to
meet the trust in the pitiful eyes,--something which scorned to betray
the trust,--some Christ-like power, smothered, dying, under the filth of
their life and the terror of hell. Not lost. If the Great Spirit of love
and trust lives, not lost!

Even in the cold and quiet of the woman walking by her side the homely
power of the poor huckster was not weak to warm or to strengthen.
Margaret left her, turning into the crowded street leading to the part
of the town where the factories lay. The throng of anxious-faced men and
women jostled and pushed, but she passed through them with a different
heart from yesterday's. Somehow, the morbid fancies were gone; she was
keenly alive; the homely real life of this huckster had fired her,
touched her blood with a more vital stimulus than any tale of crusader.
As she went down the crooked maze of dingy lanes, she could hear Lois's
little cracked bell far off: it sounded like a Christmas song to her.
She half smiled, remembering how sometimes in her distempered brain
the world had seemed a gray, dismal Dance of Death. How actual it
was to-day,--hearty, vigorous, alive with honest work and tears and
pleasure! A broad, good world to live and work in, to suffer or die, if
God so willed it,--God, the good! She entered the vast, dingy factory;
the woollen dust, the clammy air of copperas were easier to breathe in;
the cramped, sordid office, the work, mere trifles to laugh at; and she
bent over the ledger with its hard lines in earnest good-will,
through the slow creeping hours of the long day. She noticed that the
unfortunate chicken was making its heart glad over a piece of fresh
earth covered with damp moss. Dr. Knowles stopped to look at it when he
came, passing her with a surly nod.

"So your master's not forgotten you," he snarled, while the blind old
hen cocked her one eye up at him.

Pike, the manager, had brought in some bills.

"Who's its master?" he said, curiously, stopping by the door.

"Holmes,--he feeds it every morning."

The Doctor drawled out the words with a covert sneer, watching the
quiet, cold face bending over the desk, meantime.

Pike laughed.

"Bah! it's the first thing he ever fed, then, besides himself. Chickens
must lie nearer his heart than men."

Knowles scowled at him; he had no fancy for Pike's scurrilous gossip.

The quiet face was unmoved. When he heard the manager's foot on the
ladder without, he tested it again. He had a vague suspicion which he
was determined to verify.

"Holmes," he said, carelessly, "has an affinity for animals. No wonder.
Adam must have been some such man as he, when the Lord gave him
'dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air.'"

The hand paused courteously a moment, then resumed its quick, cool
movement over the page. He was not baffled.

"If there were such a reality as mastership, that man was born to rule.
Pike will find him harder to cheat than me, when he takes possession

She looked up now, attentive.

"He came here to take my place in the mills,--buy me out,--articles will
be signed in a day or two. I know what you think,--no,--not worth
a dollar. Only brains and a soul, and he's sold them at a high
figure,--threw his heart in,--the purchaser being a lady. It was light,
I fancy,--starved out, long ago."

The old man's words were spurted out in the bitterness of scorn. The
girl listened with a cool incredulity in her eyes, and went back to her

"Miss Herne is the lady,--my partner's daughter. Herne and Holmes
they'll call the firm. He is here every day, counting future profit."

Nothing could be read on the cold still face; so he left her, cursing,
as he went, men who put themselves up at auction,--worse than Orleans
slaves. Margaret laughed to herself at his passion; as for the story he
hinted, it was absurd. She forgot it in a moment.

Two or three gentlemen down in one of the counting-rooms, just then,
looked at the story from another point of view. They were talking low,
out of hearing from the clerks.

"It's a good thing for Holmes," said one, a burly, farmer-like man, who
was choosing specimens of wool.

"Cheap. And long credit. Just half the concern he takes."

"There is a lady in the case?" suggested a young doctor, who, by virtue
of having spent six months in the South, dropped his _r_-s, and talked
of "niggahs" in a way to make a Georgian's hair stand on end.

"A lady in the case?"

"Of course. Only child of Herne's. _He_ comes down with the dust as
dowry. Good thing for Holmes. 'Stonishin' how he's made his way up. If
money's what he wants in this world, he's making a long stride now to

The young doctor lighted his cigar, asserting that--

"Ba George, some low people did get on, re-markably! Mary Herne, now,
was best catch in town."

"Do you think money is what he wants?" said a quiet little man, sitting
lazily on a barrel,--a clergyman, whom his clerical brothers shook their
heads when they named, but never argued with, and bowed to with uncommon

The wool-buyer hesitated with a puzzled look.

"No," he said, slowly; "Stephen Holmes is not miserly. I've knowed him
since a boy. To buy place, power, perhaps, eh? Yet not that, neither,"
he added, hastily. "We think a sight of him out our way, (self-made, you
see,) and would have had him the best office in the State before this,
only he was so cursedly indifferent."

"Indifferent, yes. No man cares much for stepping-stones in themselves,"
said the clergyman, half to himself.

"Great fault of American society, especially in West," said the young
aristocrat. "Stepping-stones lie low, as my reverend friend suggests;
impudence ascends; merit and refinement scorn such dirty paths,"--with a
mournful remembrance of the last dime in his waistcoat-pocket.

"But do you," exclaimed the farmer, with sudden solemnity, "do you
understand this scheme of Knowles's? Every dollar he owns is in this
mill, and every dollar of it is going into some castle in the air that
no sane man can comprehend."

"Mad as a March hare," contemptuously muttered the doctor.

His reverend friend gave him a look,--after which he was silent.

"I wish to the Lord some one would persuade him out of it," persisted
the wool-man, earnestly looking at the quiet face of his listener. "We
can't spare old Knowles's brain or heart while he ruins himself. It's
something of a Communist fraternity: I don't know the name, but I know
the thing."

Very hard common-sense shone out of his eyes just then at the clergyman,
whom he suspected of being one of Knowles's abettors.

"There's two ways for 'em to end. If they're made out of the top of
society, they get so refined, so idealized, that every particle flies
off on its own special path to the sun, and the Community's broke; and
if they're made of the lower mud, they keep going down, down together,
--they live to drink and eat, and make themselves as near the brutes as
they can. It isn't easy to believe, Sir, but it's true. I have seen it.
I've seen every one of them the United States can produce. It's _facts_,
Sir; and facts, as Lord Bacon says, are the basis of every sound

The last sentence was slowly brought out, as quotations were not exactly
his _forte_, but, as he said afterwards,--"You see, that nailed the

The parson nodded gravely.

"You'll find no such experiment in the Bible," threw in the young
doctor, alluding to "serious things" as a peace-offering to his reverend

"One, I believe," dryly.

"Well," broke in the farmer, folding up his wool, "that's neither here
nor there. This experiment of Knowles's is like nothing known since
the Creation. Plan of his own. He spends his days now hunting out the
gallows-birds out of the dens in town here, and they're all to be
transported into the country to start a new Arcadia. A few men and women
like himself, but the bulk is from the dens, I tell you. All start fair,
level ground, perpetual celibacy, mutual trust, honor, rise according to
the stuff that's in them,--pah! it makes me sick!"

"Knowles's inclination to that sort of people is easily explained,"
spitefully lisped the doctor. "Blood, Sir. His mother was a half-breed
Creek, with all the propensities of the redskins to fire-water and
'itching palms.' Blood will out."

"Here he is," maliciously whispered the wool-man. "No, it's Holmes," he
added, after the doctor had started into a more respectful posture, and
glanced around frightened.

He, the doctor, rose to meet Holmes's coming footstep,--"a low fellah,
but always sure to be the upper dog in the fight, goin' to marry the
best catch," etc., etc. The others, on the contrary, put on their hats
and sauntered away into the street.

So the day broadened hotly; the shadows of the Lombardy poplars curdling
up into a sluggish pool of black at their roots along the dry gutters.
The old schoolmaster in the shade of the great horse-chestnuts (brought
from the homestead in the Piedmont country, every one) husked corn for
his wife, composing, meanwhile, a page of his essay on the "Sirventes
de Bertrand de Born." The day passed for him as did his life, half in
simple-hearted deed, half in vague visions of a dead world, never to be
real again. Joel, up in the barn by himself, worked through the long day
in the old fashion,--pondering gravely (being of a religious turn) upon
a sermon by the Reverend Mr. Clinche, reported in the "Gazette"; wherein
that disciple of the meek Teacher invoked, as he did once a week, the
curses of the law upon his political opponents, praying the Lord to
sweep them immediately from the face of the earth. Which rendering of
Christian doctrine was so much relished by Joel, and the other leading
members of Mr. Clinche's church, that they hinted to him it might be as
well to continue choosing his texts from Moses and the Prophets
until the excitement of the day was over. The New Testament
was,--well,--hardly suited for the emergency; did not, somehow, chime in
with the lesson of the hour. I may remark, in passing, that this course
of conduct so disgusted the High-Church rector of the parish, that he
not only ignored all new devils, (as Mr. Carlyle might have called
them,) but talked as if the millennium, were _un fait accompli_, and he
had leisure to go and hammer at the poor dead old troubles of Luther's
time. One thing, though, about Joel: while he was joining in Mr.
Clinche's prayer for the "wiping out" of some few thousands, he was
using up all the fragments of the hot day in fixing a stall for a
half-dead old horse he had found by the road-side. Let us hope, that,
even if the listening angel did not grant the prayer, he marked down the
stall at least, as a something done for eternity.

Margaret, through the heat and stifling air, worked steadily alone in
the dusty office, the cold, homely face bent over the books, never
changing but once. It was a trifle then; yet, when she looked back
afterwards, the trifle was all that gave the day a name. The room shook,
as I said, with the thunderous, incessant sound of the engines and the
looms; she scarcely heard it, being used to it. Once, however, another
sound came between,--a slow, quiet tread, passing through the long
wooden corridor,--so firm and measured that it sounded like the
monotonous beatings of a clock. She heard it through the noise in the
far distance; it came slowly nearer, up to the door without,--passed it,
going down the echoing plank walk. The girl sat quietly, looking out at
the dead brick wall. The slow step fell on her brain like the sceptre of
her master; if Knowles had looked in her face then, he would have seen
bared the secret of her life. Holmes had gone by, unconscious of who was
within the door. She had not seen him; it was nothing but a step she
heard. Yet a power, the power of the girl's life, shook off all outward
masks, all surface cloudy fancies, and stood up in her with a terrible
passion at the sound; her blood burned fiercely; her soul looked out
from her face, her soul as it was, as God knew it,--God and this man. No
longer a cold, clear face; you would have thought, looking at it, what a
strong spirit the soul of this woman would be, if set free in heaven
or in hell. The man who held it in his power went on carelessly, not
knowing that the mere sound of his step had raised it as from the
dead. She, and her right, and her pain, were nothing to him now, she
remembered, staring out at the taunting hot sky. Yet so vacant was the
sudden life opened before her when he was gone, that, in the desperation
of her weakness, her mad longing to see him but once again, she would
have thrown herself at his feet, and let the cold, heavy step crush her
life out,--as he would have done, she thought, choking down the icy
smother in her throat, if it had served his purpose, though it cost his
own heart's life to do it. He would trample her down, if she kept him
back from his end; but be false to her, false to himself, that he would
never be!

So the hot, long day wore on,--the red bricks, the dusty desk covered
with wool, the miserable chicken peering out, growing sharper and more
real in the glare. Life was no morbid nightmare now; her weak woman's
heart found it actual and near. There was not a pain nor a want, from
the dumb hunger in the dog's eyes that passed her on the street, to her
father's hopeless fancies, that did not touch her sharply through her
own loss, with a keen pity, a wild wish to help to do something to save
others with this poor life left in her hands.

So the hot day wore on in the town and country; the old sun glaring down
like some fierce old judge, intolerant of weakness or shams,--baking the
hard earth in the streets harder for the horses' feet, drying up the
bits of grass that grew between the boulders of the gutter, scaling off
the paint from the brazen faces of the interminable brick houses. He
looked down in that city as in every American town, as in these where
you and I live, on the same countless maze of human faces going day by
day through the same monotonous routine. Knowles, passing through the
restless crowds, read with keen eye among them strange meanings by this
common light of the sun,--meanings such as you and I might read, if our
eyes were clear as his,--or morbid, it may be. A commonplace crowd
like this in the street without: women with cold, fastidious faces,
heavy-brained, bilious men, dapper 'prentices, draymen, prize-fighters,
negroes. Knowles looked about him as into a seething caldron, in which
the people I tell you of were atoms, where the blood of uncounted races
was fused, but not mingled,--where creeds, philosophies, centuries old,
grappled hand to hand in their death-struggle,--where innumerable aims
and beliefs and powers of intellect, smothered rights and triumphant
wrongs, warred together, struggling for victory.

Vulgar American life? He thought it a life more potent, more tragic in
its history and prophecy, than any that has gone before. People called
him a fanatic. It may be that he was one: yet the uncouth old man, sick
in soul from some gnawing pain of his own life, looked into the depths
of human loss with a mad desire to set it right. On the very faces
of those who sneered at him he found some traces of failure or pain,
something that his heart carried up to God with a loud and exceeding
bitter cry. The voice of the world, he thought, went up to heaven a
discord, unintelligible, hopeless,--the great blind world, astray since
the first ages! Was there no hope, no help?

The hot sun shone down, as it had done for six thousand years; it shone
on open problems in the lives of these men and women who walked the
streets, problems whose end and beginning no eye could read. There were
places where it did not shine: down in the fetid cellars, in the slimy
cells of the prison yonder: what riddles of human life lay there he
dared not think of. God knows how the man groped for the light,--for any
voice to make earth and heaven clear to him.

So the hot, long day wore on, for all of them. There was another light
by which the world was seen that day, rarer than the sunshine, purer. It
fell on the dense crowds,--upon the just and the unjust. It went into
the fogs of the fetid dens from which the coarser light was barred, into
the deepest mires where a human soul could wallow, and made them clear.
It lighted the depths of the hearts whose outer pain and passion men
were keen to read in the unpitying sunshine, and bared in those depths
the feeble gropings for the right, the loving hope, the unuttered
prayer. No kindly thought, no pure desire, no weakest faith in a God and
heaven somewhere could be so smothered under guilt that this subtile
light did not search it out, glow about it, shine through it, hold it up
in full view of God and the angels,--lighting the world other than the
sun had done for six thousand years. We have no name for the light: it
has a name,--yonder. Not many eyes were clear to see its shining that
day; and if they did, it was as through a glass, darkly. Yet it belonged
to us also, in the old time, the time when men could "hear the voice of
the Lord God in the garden in the cool of the day." It is God's light
now alone.

Yet poor Lois caught faint glimpses, I think, sometimes, of its heavenly
clearness. I think it was this light that made the burning of Christmas
fires warmer for her than for others, that showed her all the love and
outspoken honesty and hearty frolic which her eyes saw perpetually in
the old warm-hearted world. That evening, as she sat on the step of her
brown frame shanty, knitting at a great blue stocking, her scarred face
and misshapen body very pitiful to the passers-by, it was this light
that gave to her face its homely, cheery smile. It made her eyes quick
to know the message in the depths of color in the evening sky, or even
the flickering tints of the green creeper on the wall with its crimson
cornucopias filled with hot sunshine. She liked clear, vital colors,
this girl,--the crimsons and blues. They answered her, somehow. They
could speak. There were things in the world that like herself were
marred,--did not understand,--were hungry to know: the gray sky, the
mud swamps, the tawny lichens. She cried sometimes, looking at them,
hardly knowing why: she could not help it, with a vague sense of loss.
It seemed at those times so dreary for them to be alive,--or for her.
Other things her eyes were quicker to see than ours: delicate or grand
lines, which she perpetually sought for unconsciously,--in the homeliest
things, the very soft curling of the woollen yarn in her fingers, as
in the eternal sculpture of the mountains. Was it the disease of her
injured brain that made all things alive to her,--that made her watch,
in her ignorant way, the grave hills, the flashing, victorious rivers,
look pitifully into the face of some dingy mushroom trodden in the mud
before it scarce had lived, just as we should look into human faces to
know what they would say to us? Was it the weakness and ignorance that
made everything she saw or touched nearer, more human to her than to you
or me? She never got used to living as other people do; these sights and
sounds did not come to her common, hackneyed. Why, sometimes, out in the
hills, in the torrid quiet of summer noons, she had knelt by the
shaded pools, and buried her hands in the great slumberous beds of
water-lilies, her blood curdling in a feverish languor, a passioned
trance, from which she roused herself, weak and tired.

She had no self-poised artist sense, this Lois,--knew nothing of
Nature's laws. Yet sometimes, watching the dun sea of the prairie rise
and fall in the crimson light of early morning, or, in the farms,
breathing the blue air trembling up to heaven exultant with the life of
bird and forest, she forgot the poor coarse thing she was, some coarse
weight fell off, and something within, not the sickly Lois of the town,
went out, free, like an exile dreaming of home.

You tell me, that, doubtless, in the wreck of the creature's brain,
there were fragments of some artistic insight that made her thus rise
above the level of her daily life, drunk with the mere beauty of form
and color. I do not know,--not knowing how sham or real a thing you mean
by artistic insight. But I do know that the clear light I told you of
shone for this girl dimly through this beauty of form and color; and
ignorant, with no words for her thoughts, she believed in it as the
Highest that she knew. I think it came to her thus an imperfect
language, (not an outward show of tints and lines, as to some
artists,)--a language, the same that Moses heard when he stood alone,
with nothing between his naked soul and God, but the desert and the
mountain and the bush that burned with fire. I think the weak soul
of the girl staggered from its dungeon, and groped through these
heavy-browed hills, these color-dreams, through even the homely kind
faces on the street, to find the God that lay behind. So the light
showed her the world, and, making its beauty and warmth divine and near
to her, the warmth and beauty became real in her, found their homely
shadows in her daily life. So it showed her, too, through her vague
childish knowledge, the Master in whom she believed,--showed Him to her
in everything that lived, more real than all beside. The waiting earth,
the prophetic sky, the coarsest or fairest atom that she touched was but
a part of Him, something sent to tell of Him,--she dimly felt; though,
as I said, she had no words for such a thought. Yet even more real than
this. There was no pain nor temptation down in those dark cellars where
she went that He had not borne,--not one. Nor was there the least
pleasure came to her or the others, not even a cheerful fire, or kind
words, or a warm, hearty laugh, that she did not know He sent it and was
glad to do it. She knew that well! So it was that He took part in her
humble daily life, and became more real to her day by day. Very homely
shadows her life gave of His light, for it was His: homely, because of
her poor way of living, and of the depth to which the heavy foot of the
world had crushed her. Yet they were there all the time, in her cheery
patience, if nothing more. To-night, for instance, how differently the
surging crowd seemed to her from what it did to Knowles! She looked down
on it from her high wood-steps with an eager interest, ready with her
weak, timid laugh to answer every friendly call from below. She had no
power to see them as types of great classes; they were just so many
living people, whom she knew, and who, most of them, had been kind to
her. Whatever good there was in the vilest face, (and there was always
something,) she was sure to see it. The light made her poor eyes strong
for that.

She liked to sit there in the evenings, being alone, yet never growing
lonesome; there was so much that was pleasant to watch and listen to, as
the cool brown twilight came on. If, as Knowles thought, the world was
a dreary discord, she knew nothing of it. People were going from their
work now,--they had time to talk and joke by the way,--stopping, or
walking slowly down the cool shadows of the pavement; while here and
there a lingering red sunbeam burnished a window, or struck athwart the
gray boulder-paved street. From the houses near you could catch a faint
smell of supper: very friendly people those were in these houses; she
knew them all well. The children came out with their faces washed, to
play, now the sun was down: the oldest of them generally came to sit
with her and hear a story.

After it grew darker, you would see the girls in their neat blue
calicoes go sauntering down the street with their sweethearts for
a walk. There was old Polston and his son Sam coming home from the
coal-pits, as black as ink, with their little tin lanterns on their
caps. After a while Sam would come out in his suit of Kentucky jean, his
face shining with the soap, and go sheepishly down to Jenny Ball's, and
the old man would bring his pipe and chair out on the pavement, and his
wife would sit on the steps. Most likely they would call Lois down,
or come over themselves, for they were the most sociable, coziest old
couple you ever knew. There was a great stopping at Lois's door, as
the girls walked past, for a bunch of the flowers she brought from the
country, or posies, as they called them, (Sam never would take any to
Jenny but "old man" and pinks,) and she always had them ready in broken
jugs inside. They were good, kind girls, every one of them,--had taken
it in turn to sit up with Lois last winter all the time she had the
rheumatism. She never forgot that time,--never once.

Later in the evening you would see an old man coming along, close by the
wall, with his head down,--a very dark man, with gray, thin hair,--Joe
Yare, Lois's old father. No one spoke to him,--people always were
looking away as he passed; and if old Mr. or Mrs. Polston were on the
steps when he came up, they would say, "Good-evening, Mr. Yare," very
formally, and go away presently. It hurt Lois more than anything else
they could have done. But she bustled about noisily, so that he would
not notice it. If they saw the marks of the ill life he had lived on his
old face, she did not; his sad, uncertain eyes may have been dishonest
to them, but they were nothing but kind to the misshapen little soul
that he kissed so warmly with a "Why, Lo, my little girl!" Nobody else
in the world ever called her by a pet name.

Sometimes he was gloomy and silent, but generally he told her of all
that had happened in the mill, particularly any little word of notice or
praise he might have received, watching her anxiously until she laughed
at it, and then rubbing his hands cheerfully. He need not have doubted
Lois's faith in him. Whatever the rest did, she believed in him; she
always had believed in him, through all the dark, dark years, when he
was at home, and in the penitentiary. They were gone now, never to come
back. It had come right. She, at least, thought his repentance sincere.
If the others wronged him, and it hurt her bitterly that they did, that
would come right some day too, she would think, as she looked at the
tired, sullen face of the old man bent to the window-pane, afraid to go
out. They had very cheerful little suppers there by themselves in the
odd, bare little room, as homely and clean as Lois herself.

Sometimes, late at night, when he had gone to bed, she sat alone in the
door, while the moonlight fell in broad patches over the quiet square,
and the great poplars stood like giants whispering together. Still the
far sounds of the town came up cheerfully, while she folded up her
knitting, it being dark, thinking how happy an ending this was to a
happy day. When it grew quiet, she could hear the solemn whisper of the
poplars, and sometimes broken strains of music from the cathedral in the
city floated through the cold and moonlight past her, far off into the
blue beyond the hills. All the keen pleasure of the day, the warm,
bright sights and sounds, coarse and homely though they were, seemed to
fade into the deep music, and make a part of it.

Yet, sitting there, looking out into the listening night, the poor
child's face grew slowly pale as she heard it. It humbled her. It made
her meanness, her low, weak life so real to her! There was no pain nor
hunger she had known that did not find a voice in its inarticulate cry.
She! what was she? All the pain and wants of the world must be going up
to God in that sound, she thought. There was something more in it,--an
unknown meaning that her shattered brain struggled to grasp. She could
not. Her heart ached with a wild, restless longing. She had no words
for the vague, insatiate hunger to understand. It was because she was
ignorant and low, perhaps; others could know. She thought her Master was
speaking. She thought the unknown meaning linked all earth and heaven
together, and made it plain. So she hid her face in her hands, and
listened while the low harmony shivered through the air, unheeded by
others, with the message of God to man. Not comprehending, it may
be,--the poor girl,--hungry still to know. Yet, when she looked up,
there were warm tears in her eyes, and her scarred face was bright with
a sad, deep content and love.

So the hot, long day was over for them all,--passed as thousands of days
have done for us, gone down, forgotten: as that long, hot day we call
life will be over some time, and go down into the gray and cold. Surely,
whatever of sorrow or pain may have made darkness in that day for you or
me, there were countless openings where we might have seen glimpses of
that other light than sunshine: the light of the great Tomorrow, of the
land where all wrongs shall be righted. If we had but chosen to see
it,--if we only had chosen!



You drive out, let us suppose, upon a certain day. To your surprise and
mortification, your horse, usually lively and frisky, is quite dull
and sluggish. He does not get over the ground as he is wont to do. The
slightest touch of whip-cord, on other days, suffices to make him dart
forward with redoubled speed; but upon this day, after two or three
miles, he needs positive whipping, and he runs very sulkily with it
all. By-and-by his coat, usually smooth and glossy and dry through all
reasonable work, begins to stream like a water-cart. This will not do.
There is something wrong. You investigate; and you discover that your
horse's work, though seemingly the same as usual, is in fact immensely
greater. The blockheads who oiled your wheels yesterday have screwed up
your patent axles too tightly; the friction is enormous; the hotter
the metal gets, the greater grows the friction; your horse's work is
quadrupled. You drive slowly home, and severely upbraid the blockheads.

There are many people who have to go through life at an analogous
disadvantage. There is something in their constitution of body or mind,
there is something in their circumstances, which adds incalculably to
the exertion they must go through to attain their ends, and which holds
them back from doing what they might otherwise have done. Very probably
that malign something exerted its influence unperceived by those around
them. They did not get credit for the struggle they were going through.
No one knew what a brave fight they were making with a broken right arm;
no one remarked that they were running the race, and keeping a fair
place in it, too, with their legs tied together. All they do, they do at
a disadvantage. It is as when a noble race-horse is beaten by a sorry
hack; because the race-horse, as you might see, if you look at the list,
is carrying twelve pounds additional. But such men, by a desperate
effort, often made silently and sorrowfully, may (so to speak) run in
the race, and do well in it, though you little think with how heavy a
foot and how heavy a heart. There are others who have no chance at all.
_They_ are like a horse set to run a race, tied by a strong rope to a
tree, or weighted with ten tons of extra burden. _That_ horse cannot run
even poorly. The difference between their case and that of the men who
are placed at a disadvantage is like the difference between setting a
very near-sighted man to keep a sharp look-out and setting a man who is
quite blind to keep that sharp look-out. Many can do the work of life
with difficulty; some cannot do it at all. In short, there are PEOPLE

And you, my friend, who are doing the work of life well and
creditably,--you who are running in the front rank, and likely to do so
to the end, think kindly and charitably of those who have broken down
in the race. Think kindly of him who, sadly overweighted, is struggling
onwards away half a mile behind you; think more kindly yet, if that be
possible, of him who, tethered to a ton of granite, is struggling hard
and making no way at all, or who has even sat down and given up the
struggle in dumb despair. You feel, I know, the weakness in yourself
which would have made you break down, if sorely tried like others. You
know there is in your armor the unprotected place at which a well-aimed
or a random blow would have gone home and brought you down. Yes, you are
nearing the winning-post, and you are among the first; but six pounds
more on your back, and you might have been nowhere. You feel, by your
weak heart and weary frame, that, if you had been sent to the Crimea in
that dreadful first winter, you would certainly have died. And you feel,
too, by your lack of moral stamina, by your feebleness of resolution,
that it has been your preservation from you know not what depths of
shame and misery, that you never were pressed very hard by temptation.
Do not range yourself with those who found fault with a certain great
and good Teacher of former days, because he went to be guest with a man
that was a sinner. As if He could have gone to be guest with any man who
was not!

       *       *       *       *       *

There is no reckoning up the manifold _impedimenta_ by which human
beings are weighted for the race of life; but all may be classified
under the two heads of unfavorable influences arising out of the mental
or physical nature of the human beings themselves, and unfavorable
influences arising out of the circumstances in which the human beings
are placed. You have known men who, setting out from a very humble
position, have attained to a respectable standing, but who would have
reached a very much higher place but for their being weighted with a
vulgar, violent, wrong-headed, and rude-spoken wife. You have known men
of lowly origin who had in them the makings of gentlemen, but whom this
single malign influence has condemned to coarse manners and a frowzy,
repulsive home for life. You have known many men whose powers are
crippled and their nature soured by poverty, by the heavy necessity
for calculating how far each shilling will go, by a certain sense of
degradation that comes of sordid shifts. How can a poor parson write an
eloquent or spirited sermon when his mind all the while is running upon
the thought how he is to pay the baker or how he is to get shoes for his
children? It will be but a dull discourse which, under that weight, will
be produced even by a man who, favorably placed, could have done very
considerable things. It is only a great genius here and there who can do
great things, who can do his best, no matter at what disadvantage he may
be placed; the great mass of ordinary men can make little headway with
wind and tide dead against them. Not many trees would grow well, if
watered daily (let us say) with vitriol. Yet a tree which would
speedily die under that nurture might do very fairly, might even do
magnificently, if it had fair play, if it got its chance of common
sunshine and shower. Some men, indeed, though always hampered by
circumstances, have accomplished much; but then you cannot help thinking
how much more they might have accomplished, had they been placed more
happily. Pugin, the great Gothic architect, designed various noble
buildings; but I believe he complained that he never had fair play with
his finest,--that he was always weighted by considerations of expense,
or by the nature of the ground he had to build on, or by the number
of people it was essential the building should accommodate. And so he
regarded his noblest edifices as no more than hints of what he could
have done. He made grand running in the race; but, oh, what running he
could have made, if you had taken off those twelve additional pounds! I
dare say you have known men who labored to make a pretty country-house
on a site which had some one great drawback. They were always battling
with that drawback, and trying to conquer it; but they never could quite
succeed. And it remained a real worry and vexation. Their house was on
the north side of a high hill, and never could have its due share of
sunshine. Or you could not reach it but by climbing a very steep ascent;
or you could not in any way get water into the landscape. When Sir
Walter was at length able to call his own a little estate on the banks
of the Tweed he loved so well, it was the ugliest, bleakest, and least
interesting spot upon the course of that beautiful river; and the public
road ran within a few yards of his door. The noble-hearted man made a
charming dwelling at last; but he was fighting against Nature in the
matter of the landscape round it; and you can see yet, many a year after
he left it, the poor little trees of his beloved plantations contrasting
with the magnificent timber of various grand old places above and below
Abbotsford. There is something sadder in the sight of men who carried
weight within themselves, and who, in aiming at usefulness or at
happiness, were hampered and held back by their own nature. There are
many men who are weighted with a hasty temper; weighted with a nervous,
anxious constitution; weighted with an envious, jealous disposition;
weighted with a strong tendency to evil speaking, lying, and slandering;
weighted with a grumbling, sour, discontented spirit; weighted with a
disposition to vaporing and boasting; weighted with a great want of
common sense; weighted with an undue regard to what other people may be
thinking or saying of them; weighted with many like things, of which
more will be said by-and-by. When that good missionary, Henry Martyn,
was in India, he was weighted with an irresistible drowsiness. He could
hardly keep himself awake. And it must have been a burning earnestness
that impelled him to ceaseless labor, in the presence of such a
drag-weight as that. I am not thinking or saying, my friend, that it is
wholly bad for us to carry weight,--that great good may not come of the
abatement of our power and spirit which may be made by that weight. I
remember a greater missionary than even the sainted Martyn, to whom the
Wisest and Kindest appointed that he should carry weight, and that he
should fight at a sad disadvantage. And the greater missionary tells us
that he knew why that weight was appointed him to carry; and that he
felt he needed it all to save him from a strong tendency to undue
self-conceit. No one knows, now, what the burden was which he bore; but
it was heavy and painful; it was "a thorn in the flesh." Three times
he earnestly asked that it might be taken away; but the answer he got
implied that he needed it yet, and that his Master thought it a better
plan to strengthen the back than to lighten the burden. Yes, the blessed
Redeemer appointed that St. Paul should carry weight in life; and I
think, friendly reader, that we shall believe that it is wisely and
kindly meant, if the like should come to you and me.

We all understand what is meant, when we hear it said that a man is
doing very well, or has done very well, _considering_. I do not know
whether it is a Scotticism to stop short at that point of the sentence.
We do it, constantly, in this country. The sentence would be completed
by saying, _considering the weight he has to carry_, or _the
disadvantage at which he works_. And things which are _very good,
considering_, may range very far up and down the scale of actual merit.
A thing which is _very good, considering_, may be very bad, or may be
tolerably good. It never can be absolutely very good; for, if it
were, you would cease to use the word _considering_. A thing which is
absolutely very good, if it have been done under extremely unfavorable
circumstances, would not be described as _very good, considering_; it
would be described as _quite wonderful, considering_, or as _miraculous,
considering_. And it is curious how people take a pride in accumulating
unfavorable circumstances, that they may overcome them, and gain the
glory of having overcome them. Thus, if a man wishes to sign his name,
he might write the letters with his right hand; and though he write them
very clearly and well and rapidly, nobody would think of giving him any
credit. But if he write his name rather badly with his left hand, people
would say it was a remarkable signature, considering; and if he write
his name very ill indeed with his foot, people would say the writing was
quite wonderful, considering. If a man desire to walk from one end of a
long building to the other, he might do so by walking along the floor;
and though he did so steadily, swiftly, and gracefully, no one would
remark that he had done anything worth notice. But if he choose for his
path a thick rope, extended from one end of the building to the other,
at a height of a hundred feet, and if he walk rather slowly and
awkwardly along it, he will be esteemed as having done something very
extraordinary: while if, in addition to this, he is blindfolded, and has
his feet placed in large baskets instead of shoes, he will, if in any
way he can get over the distance between the ends of the building, be
held as one of the most remarkable men of the age. Yes, load yourself
with weight which no one asks you to carry; accumulate disadvantages
which you need not face, unless you choose; then carry the weight in any
fashion, and overcome the disadvantages in any fashion; and you are a
great man, considering: that is, considering the disadvantages and the
weight. Let this be remembered: if a man is so placed that he cannot do
his work, except in the face of special difficulties, then let him be
praised, if he vanquish these in some decent measure, and if he do his
work tolerably well. But a man deserves no praise at all for work which
he has done tolerably or done rather badly, because he chose to do it
under disadvantageous circumstances, under which there was no earthly
call upon him to do it. In this case he probably is a self-conceited
man, or a man of wrong-headed independence of disposition; and in this
case, if his work be bad absolutely, don't tell him that it is good,
considering. Refuse to consider. He has no right to expect that you
should. There was a man who built a house entirely with his own hands.
He had never learned either mason-work or carpentry: he could quite well
have afforded to pay skilled workmen to do the work he wanted; but he
did not choose to do so. He did the whole work himself. The house was
finished; its aspect was peculiar. The walls were off the perpendicular
considerably, and the windows were singular in shape; the doors fitted
badly, and the floors were far from level. In short, it was a very bad
and awkward-looking house: but it was a wonderful house, considering.
And people said that it was so, who saw nothing wonderful in the
beautiful house next it, perfect in symmetry and finish and comfort, but
built by men whose business it was to build. Now I should have declined
to admire that odd house, or to express the least sympathy with its
builder. He chose to run with a needless hundred-weight on his back: he
chose to walk in baskets instead of in shoes. And if, in consequence
of his own perversity, he did his work badly, I should have refused
to recognize it as anything but bad work. It was quite different with
Robinson Crusoe, who made his dwelling and his furniture for himself,
because there was no one else to make them for him. I dare say his cave
was anything but exactly square; and his chairs and table were cumbrous
enough; but they were wonderful, considering certain facts which he was
quite entitled to expect us to consider. Southey's _Cottonian Library_
was all quite right; and you would have said that the books were very
nicely bound, considering; for Southey could not afford to pay the
regular binder's charges; and it was better that his books should be
done up in cotton of various hues by the members of his own family than
that they should remain not bound at all. You will think, too, of the
poor old parson who wrote a book which he thought of great value, but
which no publisher would bring out. He was determined that all his
labor should not be lost to posterity. So he bought types and a
printing-press, and printed his precious work, poor man: he and his
man-servant did it all. It made a great many volumes; and the task
took up many years. Then he bound the volumes with his own hands; and
carrying them to London, he placed a copy of his work in each of the
public libraries. I dare say he might have saved himself his labor. How
many of my readers could tell what was the title of the work, or what
was the name of its author? Still, _there_ was a man who accomplished
his design, in the face of every disadvantage.

There is a great point of difference between our feeling towards the
human being who runs his race much overweighted and our feeling towards
the inferior animal that does the like. If you saw a poor horse gamely
struggling in a race, with a weight of a ton extra, you would pity it.
Your sympathies would all be with the creature that was making the best
of unfavorable circumstances. But it is a sorrowful fact, that the
drag-weight of human beings not unfrequently consists of things which
make us angry rather than sympathetic. You have seen a man carrying
heavy weight in life, perhaps in the form of inveterate wrong-headedness
and suspiciousness; but instead of pitying him, our impulse would rather
be to beat him upon that perverted head. We pity physical malformation
or unhealthiness; but our bent is to be angry with intellectual and
moral malformation or unhealthiness. We feel for the deformed man, who
must struggle on at that sad disadvantage; feeling it, too, much more
acutely than you would readily believe. But we have only indignation for
the man weighted with far worse things, and things which, in some cases
at least, he can just as little help. You have known men whose extra
pounds, or even extra ton, was a hasty temper, flying out of a sudden
into ungovernable bursts: or a moral cowardice leading to trickery and
falsehood: or a special disposition to envy and evil-speaking: or a
very strong tendency to morbid complaining about their misfortunes and
troubles: or an invincible bent to be always talking of their sufferings
through the derangement of their digestive organs. Now, you grow angry
at these things. You cannot stand them. And there is a substratum of
truth to that angry feeling. A man _can_ form his mind more than he can
form his body. If a man be well-made, physically, he will, in ordinary
cases, remain so: but he may, in a moral sense, raise a great hunchback
where Nature made none. He may foster a malignant temper, a grumbling,
fretful spirit, which by manful resistance might be much abated, if not
quite put down. But still, there should often be pity, where we are
prone only to blame. We find a person in whom a truly disgusting
character has been formed: well, if you knew all, you would know that
the person had hardly a chance of being otherwise: the man could not
help it. You have known people who were awfully unamiable and repulsive:
you may have been told how very different they once were,--sweet-tempered
and cheerful. And surely the change is a far sadder one than
that which has passed upon the wrinkled old woman who was once (as you
are told) the loveliest girl of her time. Yet many a one who will look
with interest upon the withered face and the dimmed eyes, and try to
trace in them the vestiges of radiant beauty gone, will never think of
puzzling out in violent spurts of petulance the perversion of a quick
and kind heart; or in curious oddities and pettinesses the result of
long and lonely years of toil in which no one sympathized; or in cynical
bitterness and misanthropy an old disappointment never got over. There
is a hard knot in the wood, where a green young branch was lopped away.
I have a great pity for old bachelors. Those I have known have for the
most part been old fools. But the more foolish and absurd they are, the
more pity is due them. I believe there is something to be said for even
the most unamiable creatures. The shark is an unamiable creature. It
is voracious. It will snap a man in two. Yet it is not unworthy of
sympathy. Its organization is such that it is always suffering the most
ravenous hunger. You can hardly imagine the state of intolerable famine
in which that unhappy animal roams the ocean. People talk of its awful
teeth and its vindictive eye. I suppose it is well ascertained that the
extremity of physical want, as reached on rafts at sea, has driven human
beings to deeds as barbarous as ever shark was accused of. The worse a
human being is, the more he deserves our pity. Hang him, if _that_ be
needful for the welfare of society; but pity him even as you hang. Many
a poor creature has gradually become hardened and inveterate in guilt
who would have shuddered at first, had the excess of it ultimately
reached been at first presented to view. But the precipice was sloped
off: the descent was made step by step. And there is many a human being
who never had a chance of being good: many who have been trained, and
even compelled, to evil from very infancy. Who that knows anything of
our great cities, but knows how the poor little child, the toddling
innocent, is sometimes sent out day by day to steal, and received in his
wretched home with blows and curses, if he fail to bring back enough?
Who has not heard of such poor little things, unsuccessful in their
sorry work, sleeping all night in some wintry stair, because they durst
not venture back to their drunken, miserable, desperate parents? I could
tell things at which angels might shed tears, with much better reason
for doing so than seems to me to exist in some of those more imposing
occasions on which bombastic writers are wont to describe them as
weeping. Ah, there is One who knows where the responsibility for all
this rests! Not wholly with the wretched parents: far from _that_.
_They_, too, have gone through the like: they had as little chance as
their children. _They_ deserve our deepest pity, too. Perhaps the deeper
pity is not due to the shivering, starving child, with the bitter wind
cutting through its thin rags, and its blue feet on the frozen pavement,
holding out a hand that is like the claw of some beast; but rather to
the brutalized mother who could thus send out the infant she bore.
Surely the mother's condition, if we look at the case aright, is the
more deplorable. Would not you, my reader, rather endure any degree of
cold and hunger than come to this? Doubtless, there is blame somewhere,
that such things should be: but we all know that the blame of the
most miserable practical evils and failures can hardly be traced to
particular individuals. It is through the incapacity of scores of public
servants that an army is starved. It is through the fault of millions of
people that our great towns are what they are: and it must be confessed
that the actual responsibility is spread so thinly over so great a
surface that it is hard to say it rests very blackly upon any one spot.
Oh that we could but know whom to hang, when we find some flagrant,
crying evil! Unluckily, hasty people are ready to be content, if they
can but hang anybody, without minding much whether that individual be
more to blame than many beside. Laws and kings have something to do
here: but management and foresight on the part of the poorer classes
have a great deal more to do. And no laws can make many persons managing
or provident. I do not hesitate to say, from what I have myself seen
of the poor, that the same short-sighted extravagance, the same
recklessness of consequences, which are frequently found in them, would
cause quite as much misery, if they prevailed in a like degree among
people with a thousand a year. But it seems as if only the tolerably
well-to-do have the heart to be provident and self-denying. A man with a
few hundreds annually does not marry, unless he thinks he can afford it:
but the workman with fifteen shillings a week is profoundly indifferent
to any such calculation. I firmly believe that the sternest of all
self-denial is that practised by those who, when we divide mankind into
rich and poor, must be classed (I suppose) with the rich. But I turn
away from a miserable subject, through which I cannot see my way
clearly, and on which I cannot think but with unutterable pain. It is an
easy way of cutting the knot, to declare that the rich are the cause of
all the sufferings of the poor; but when we look at the case in all its
bearings, we shall see that that is rank nonsense. And on the other
hand, it is unquestionable that the rich are bound to do something. But
what? I should feel deeply indebted to any one who would write out, in
a few short and intelligible sentences, the practical results that are
aimed at in the "Song of the Shirt." The misery and evil are manifest:
but tell us whom to hang; tell us what to do!

One heavy burden with which many men are weighted for the race of life
is depression of spirits. I wonder whether this used to be as common in
former days as it is now. There was, indeed, the man in Homer who walked
by the seashore in a very gloomy mood; but his case seems to have been
thought remarkable. What is it in our modern mode of life and our
infinity of cares, what little thing is it about the matter of the brain
or the flow of the blood, that makes the difference between buoyant
cheerfulness and deep depression? I begin to think that almost all
educated people, and especially all whose work is mental rather than
physical, suffer more or less from this indescribable gloom. And
although a certain amount of sentimental sadness may possibly help the
poet, or the imaginative writer, to produce material which may be very
attractive to the young and inexperienced, I suppose it will be admitted
by all that cheerfulness and hopefulness are noble and healthful
stimulants to worthy effort, and that depression of spirits does (so to
speak) cut the sinews with which the average man must do the work of
life. You know how lightly the buoyant heart carries people through
entanglements and labors under which the desponding would break down,
or which they never would face. Yet, in thinking of the commonness of
depressed spirits, even where the mind is otherwise very free from
anything morbid, we should remember that there is a strong temptation to
believe that this depression is more common and more prevalent than it
truly is. Sometimes there is a gloom which overcasts all life, like
that in which James Watt lived and worked, and served his race so
nobly,--like that from which the gentle, amiable poet, James Montgomery,
suffered through his whole career. But in ordinary cases the gloom is
temporary and transient. Even the most depressed are not always so.
Like, we know, suggests like powerfully. If you are placed in some
peculiar conjuncture of circumstances, or if you pass through some
remarkable scene, the present scene or conjuncture will call up before
you, in a way that startles you, something like itself which you had
long forgotten, and which you would never have remembered but for this
touch of some mysterious spring. And accordingly, a man depressed in
spirits thinks that he is always so, or at least fancies that such
depression has given the color to his life in a very much greater
degree than it actually has done so. For this dark season wakens up the
remembrance of many similar dark seasons which in more cheerful days are
quite forgot; and these cheerful days drop out of memory for the time.
Hearing such a man speak, if he speak out his heart to you, you think
him inconsistent, perhaps you think him insincere. You think he is
saying more than he truly feels. It is not so; he feels and believes
it all at the time. But he is taking a one-sided view of things; he is
undergoing the misery of it acutely for the time, but by-and-by he will
see things from quite a different point. A very eminent man (there can
be no harm in referring to a case which he himself made so public)
wrote and published something about his _miserable home_. He was quite
sincere, I do not doubt. He thought so at the time. He _was_ miserable
just then; and so, looking back on past years, he could see nothing but
misery. But the case was not really so, one could feel sure. There
had been a vast deal of enjoyment about his home and his lot; it was
forgotten then. A man in very low spirits, reading over his diary,
somehow lights upon and dwells upon all the sad and wounding things; he
involuntarily skips the rest, or reads them with but faint perception
of their meaning. In reading the very Bible, he does the like thing.
He chances upon that which is in unison with his present mood. I think
there is no respect in which this great law of the association of ideas
holds more strictly true than in the power of a present state of mind,
or a present state of outward circumstances, to bring up vividly before
us all such states in our past history. We are depressed, we are
worried; and when we look back, all our departed days of worry and
depression appear to start up and press themselves upon our view to the
exclusion of anything else; so that we are ready to think that we have
never been otherwise than depressed and worried all our life. But when
more cheerful times come, they suggest only such times of cheerfulness,
and no effort will bring back the depression vividly as when we felt
it. It is not selfishness or heartlessness, it is the result of an
inevitable law of mind, that people in happy circumstances should
resolutely believe that it is a happy world after all; for, looking
back, and looking around, the mind refuses to take distinct note of
anything that is not somewhat akin to its present state. And so, if any
ordinary man, who is not a distempered genius or a great fool, tells you
that he is always miserable, don't believe him. He feels so now, but he
does not always feel so. There are periods of brightening in the darkest
lot. Very, very few live in unvarying gloom. Not but that there is
something very pitiful (by which I mean deserving of pity) in what
may be termed the Micawber style of mind,--in the stage of hysteric
oscillations between joy and misery. Thoughtless readers of "David
Copperfield" laugh at Mr. Micawber, and his rapid passages from the
depth of despair to the summit of happiness, and back again. But if you
have seen or experienced that morbid condition, you would know that
there is more reason to mourn over it than to laugh at it. There
is acute misery felt now and then; and there is a pervading,
never-departing sense of the hollowness of the morbid mirth. It is but
a very few degrees better than "moody madness, laughing wild, amid
severest woe." By depression of spirits I understand a dejection without
any cause that could be stated, or from causes which in a healthy mind
would produce no such degree of dejection. No doubt, many men can
remember seasons of dejection which was not imaginary, and of anxiety
and misery whose causes were only too real. You can remember, perhaps,
the dark time in which you knew quite well what it was that made it so
dark. Well, better days have come. That sorrowful, wearing time, which
exhausted the springs of life faster than ordinary living would have
done, which aged you in heart and frame before your day, dragged over,
and it is gone. You carried heavy weight, indeed, while it lasted. It
was but poor running you made, poor work you did, with that feeble,
anxious, disappointed, miserable heart. And you would many a time have
been thankful to creep into a quiet grave. Perhaps that season did you
good. Perhaps it was the discipline you needed. Perhaps it took out your
self-conceit, and made you humble. Perhaps it disposed you to feel for
the griefs and cares of others, and made you sympathetic. Perhaps,
looking back now, you can discern the end it served. And now that it has
done its work, and that it only stings you when you look back, let that
time be quite forgotten!

       *       *       *       *       *

There are men, and very clever men, who do the work of life at a
disadvantage, through _this_, that their mind is a machine fitted for
doing well only one kind of work,--or that their mind is a machine
which, though doing many things well, does some one thing, perhaps a
conspicuous thing, very poorly. You find it hard to give a man credit
for being possessed of sense and talent, if you hear him make a speech
at a public dinner, which speech approaches the idiotic for its
silliness and confusion. And the vulgar mind readily concludes that he
who does one thing extremely ill can do nothing well, and that he who is
ignorant on one point is ignorant on all. A friend of mine, a country
parson, on first going to his parish, resolved to farm his glebe for
himself. A neighboring farmer kindly offered the parson to plough one
of his fields. The farmer said that he would send his man John with a
plough and a pair of horses, on a certain day. "If ye're goin' about,"
said the farmer to the clergyman, "John will be unco' weel pleased, if
you speak to him, and say it's a fine day, or the like o' that; but
dinna," said the farmer, with much solemnity, "dinna say onything to him
aboot ploughin' and sawin'; for John," he added, "is a stupid body, but
he has been ploughin' and sawin' all his life, and he'll see in a minute
that _ye_ ken naething aboot ploughin' and sawin'. And then," said the
sagacious old farmer, with extreme earnestness, "if he comes to think
that ye ken naething aboot ploughin' and sawin', he'll think that ye ken
naething aboot onything!" Yes, it is natural to us all to think, that,
if the machine breaks down at that work in which we are competent to
test it, then the machine cannot do any work at all.

If you have a strong current of water, you may turn it into any channel
you please, and make it do any work you please. With equal energy and
success it will flow north or south; it will turn a corn-mill, or a
threshing-machine, or a grindstone. Many people live under a vague
impression that the human mind is like that. They think,--Here is so
much ability, so much energy, which may be turned in any direction, and
made to do any work; and they are surprised to find that the power,
available and great for one kind of work, is worth nothing for another.
A man very clever at one thing is positively weak and stupid at another
thing. A very good judge may be a wretchedly bad joker; and he must go
through his career at this disadvantage, that people, finding him silly
at the thing they are able to estimate, find it hard to believe that he
is not silly at everything. I know, for myself, that it would not be
right that the Premier should request me to look out for a suitable
Chancellor. I am not competent to appreciate the depth of a man's
knowledge of equity; by which I do not mean justice, but chancery law.
But, though quite unable to understand how great a Chancellor Lord Eldon
was, I am quite able to estimate how great a poet he was, also how great
a wit. Here is a poem by that eminent person. Doubtless he regarded it
as a wonder of happy versification, as well as instinct with the most
convulsing fun. It is intended to set out in a metrical form the career
of a certain judge, who went up as a poor lad from Scotland to England,
but did well at the bar, and ultimately found his place upon the bench.
Here is Lord Chancellor Eldon's humorous poem:--

  "James Allan Parke
  Came naked stark
    From Scotland:
  But he got clothes,
  Like other beaux,
    In England!"

Now the fact that Lord Eldon wrote that poem, and valued it highly,
would lead some folk to suppose that Lord Eldon was next door to an
idiot. And a good many other things which that Chancellor did, such as
his quotations from Scripture in the House of Commons, and his attempts
to convince that assemblage (when Attorney-General) that Napoleon I. was
the Apocalyptic Beast or the Little Horn, certainly point towards the
same conclusion. But the conclusion, as a general one, would be
wrong. No doubt, Lord Eldon was a wise and sagacious man as judge and
statesman, though as wit and poet he was almost an idiot. So with other
great men. It is easy to remember occasions on which great men have
done very foolish things. There never was a truer hero nor a greater
commander than Lord Nelson; but in some things he was merely an awkward,
overgrown midshipman. But then, let us remember that a locomotive
engine, though excellent at running, would be a poor hand at flying.
_That_ is not its vocation. The engine will draw fifteen heavy carriages
fifty miles in an hour; and _that_ remains as a noble feat, even though
it be ascertained that the engine could not jump over a brook which
would be cleared easily by the veriest screw. We all see this.

But many of us have a confused idea that a great and clever man is (so
to speak) a locomotive that can fly; and when it is proved that he
cannot fly, then we begin to doubt whether he can even run. We think he
should be good at everything, whether in his own line or not. And he is
set at a disadvantage, particularly in the judgment of vulgar and stupid
people, when it is clearly ascertained that at some things he is very
inferior. I have heard of a very eminent preacher who sunk considerably
(even as regards his preaching) in the estimation of a certain family,
because it appeared that he played very badly at bowls. And we all know
that occasionally the Premier already mentioned reverses the vulgar
error, and in appointing men to great places is guided by an axiom which
amounts to just this: this locomotive can run well, therefore it will
fly well. This man has filled a certain position well, therefore let us
appoint him to a position entirely different; no doubt, he will do
well there too. Here is a clergyman who has edited certain Greek plays
admirably; let us make him a bishop.

It may be remarked here, that the men who have attained the greatest
success in the race of life have generally carried weight. _Nitor in
adversum_ might be the motto of many a man besides Burke. It seems to
be almost a general rule, that the raw material out of which the finest
fabrics are made should look very little like these, to start with. It
was a stammerer, of uncommanding mien, who became the greatest orator
of graceful Greece. I believe it is admitted that Chalmers was the most
effective preacher, perhaps the most telling speaker, that Britain has
seen for at least a century; yet his aspect was not commanding, his
gestures were awkward, his voice was bad, and his accent frightful. He
talked of an _oppning_ when be meant an _opening_, and he read out the
text of one of his noblest sermons, "He that is fulthy, let him be
fulthy stall." Yet who ever thought of these things after hearing the
good man for ten minutes? Ay, load Eclipse with what extra pounds you
might, Eclipse would always be first! And, to descend to the race-horse,
_he_ had four white legs, white to the knees; and he ran more awkwardly
than racer ever did, with his head between his forelegs, close to the
ground, like a pig. Alexander, Napoleon, and Wellington were all little
men, in places where a commanding presence would have been of no small
value. A most disagreeably affected manner has not prevented a barrister
with no special advantages from rising with general approval to the
highest places which a barrister can fill. A hideous little wretch has
appeared for trial in a criminal court, having succeeded in marrying
seven wives at once. A painful hesitation has not hindered a certain
eminent person from being one of the principal speakers in the British
Parliament for many years. Yes, even disadvantages never overcome
have not sufficed to hold in obscurity men who were at once able and
fortunate. But sometimes the disadvantage was thoroughly overcome.
Sometimes it served no other end than to draw to one point the attention
and the efforts of a determined will; and that matter in regard to which
Nature seemed to have said that a man should fall short became the thing
in which he attained unrivalled perfection.

A heavy drag-weight upon the powers of some men is the uncertainty of
their powers. The man has not his powers at command. His mind is a
capricious thing, that works when it pleases, and will not work except
when it pleases. I am not thinking now of what to many is a sad
disadvantage: that nervous trepidation which cannot be reasoned away,
and which often deprives them of the full use of their mental abilities
just when they are most needed. It is a vast thing in a man's favor,
that whatever he can do he should be able to do at any time, and to
do at once. For want of coolness of mind, and that readiness which
generally goes with it, many a man cannot do himself justice; and in a
deliberative assembly he may be entirely beaten by some flippant person
who has all his money (so to speak) in his pocket, while the other must
send to the bank for his. How many people can think next day, or even
a few minutes after, of the precise thing they ought to have said, but
which would not come at the time! But very frequently the thing is of no
value, unless it come at the time when it is wanted. Coming next day, it
is like the offer of a thick fur great-coat on a sweltering day in July.
You look at the wrap, and say, "Oh, if I could but have had you on the
December night when I went to London by the limited mail, and was nearly
starved to death!" But it seems as if the mind must be, to a certain
extent, capricious in its action. Caprice, or what looks like it,
appears of necessity to go with complicated machinery, even material.
The more complicated a machine is, the liker it grows to mind, in the
matter of uncertainty and apparent caprice of action. The simplest
machine--say a pipe for conveying water--will always act in precisely
the same way. And two such pipes, if of the same dimensions, and
subjected to the same pressure, will always convey the self-same
quantities. But go to more advanced machines. Take two clocks or two
locomotive engines, and though these are made in all respects exactly
alike, they will act (I can answer at least for the locomotive engines)
quite differently. One locomotive will swallow a vast quantity of water
at once; another must be fed by driblets; no one can say why. One engine
is a _fac-simile_ of the other; yet each has its character and its
peculiarities as truly as a man has. You need to know your engine's
temper before driving it, just as much as you need to know that of your
horse, or that of your friend. I know, of course, there is a mechanical
reason for this seeming caprice, if you could trace the reason. But not
one man in a thousand could trace out the reason. And the phenomenon, as
it presses itself upon us, really amounts to this: that very complicated
machinery appears to have a will of its own,--appears to exercise
something of the nature of choice. But there is no machine so capricious
as the human mind. The great poet who wrote those beautiful verses could
not do _that_ every day. A good deal more of what he writes is poor
enough; and many days he could not write at all. By long habit the mind
may be made capable of being put in harness daily for the humbler task
of producing prose; but you cannot say, when you harness it in the
morning, how far or at what rate it will run that day.

Go and see a great organ of which you have been told. Touch it, and you
hear the noble tones at once. The organ can produce them at any time.
But go and see a great man; touch _him_,--that is, get him to begin to
talk. You will be much disappointed, if you expect, certainly, to hear
anything like his book or his poem. A great man is not a man who is
always saying great things, or who is always able to say great things.
He is a man who on a few occasions has said great things; who on the
coming of a sufficient occasion may possibly say great things again;
but the staple of his talk is commonplace enough. Here is a point of
difference from machinery, with all machinery's apparent caprice. You
could not say, as you pointed to a steam-engine, "The usual power of
that engine is two hundred horses; but once or twice it has surprised us
all by working up to two thousand." No; the engine is always of nearly
the power of two thousand horses, if it ever is. But what we have been
supposing as to the engine is just what many men have done. Poe wrote
"The Raven"; he was working then up to two thousand horse power. But
he wrote abundance of poor stuff, working at about twenty-five. Read
straight through the volumes of Wordsworth, and I think you will find
traces of the engine having worked at many different powers, varying
from twenty-five horses or less up two thousand or more. Go and hear a
really great preacher, when he is preaching in his own church upon a
common Sunday, and possibly you may hear a very ordinary sermon. I have
heard Mr. Melvill preach very poorly. You must not expect to find people
always at their best. It is a very unusual thing that even the ablest
men should be like Burke, who could not talk with an intelligent
stranger for five minutes without convincing the stranger that he had
talked for five minutes with a great man. And it is an awful thing, when
some clever youth is introduced to some local poet who has been told how
greatly the clever youth admires him, and what vast expectations
the clever youth has formed of his conversation, and when the local
celebrity makes a desperate effort to talk up to the expectations formed
of him. I have witnessed such a scene; and I can sincerely say that I
could not previously have believed that the local celebrity could have
made such a fool of himself. He was resolved to show that he deserved
his fame, and to show that the mind which had produced those lovely
verses in the country newspaper could not stoop to commonplace things.

       *       *       *       *       *

Undue sensitiveness, and a too lowly estimate of their own powers, hang
heavily upon some men,--probably upon more men than one would imagine.
I believe that many a man whom you would take to be ambitious,
pushing, and self-complacent, is ever pressed with a sad conviction of
inferiority, and wishes nothing more than quietly to slip through life.
It would please and satisfy him, if he could but be assured that he is
just like other people. You may remember a touch of nature (that is, of
some people's nature) in Burns; you remember the simple exultation of
the peasant mother, when her daughter gets a sweetheart: she is "well
pleased to see _her_ bairn respeckit _like the lave_," that is, like the
other girls round. And undue humility, perhaps even befitting humility,
holds back sadly in the race of life. It is recorded that a weaver in a
certain village in Scotland was wont daily to offer a singular petition;
he prayed daily and fervently for a better opinion of himself. Yes, a
firm conviction of one's own importance is a great help in life. It
gives dignity of bearing; it does (so to speak) lift the horse over many
a fence at which one with a less confident heart would have broken down.
But the man who estimates himself and his place humbly and justly will
be ready to shrink aside, and let men of greater impudence and not
greater desert step before him. I have often seen, with a sad heart, in
the case of working people that manner, difficult to describe, which
comes of being what we in Scotland sometimes call _sair hadden down_. I
have seen the like in educated people, too. And not very many will take
the trouble to seek out and to draw out the modest merit that keeps
itself in the shade. The energetic, successful people of this world are
too busy in pushing each for himself to have time to do _that_. You will
find that people with abundant confidence, people who assume a good
deal, are not unfrequently taken at their own estimate of themselves. I
have seen a Queen's Counsel walk into court, after the case in which he
was engaged had been conducted so far by his junior, and conducted
as well as mortal could conduct it. But it was easy to see that the
complacent air of superior strength with which the Queen's Counsel took
the management out of his junior's hands conveyed to the jury, (a common
jury,) the belief that things were now to be managed in quite different
and vastly better style. And have you not known such a thing as that a
family, not a whit better, wealthier, or more respectable than all
the rest in the little country town or the country parish, do yet, by
carrying their heads higher, (no mortal could say why,) gradually elbow
themselves into a place of admitted social superiority? Everybody knows
exactly what they are, and from what they have sprung; but somehow,
by resolute assumption, by a quiet air of being better than their
neighbors, they draw ahead of them, and attain the glorious advantage
of one step higher on the delicately graduated social ladder of the
district. Now it is manifest, that, if such people had sense to see
their true position, and the absurdity of their pretensions, they would
assuredly not have gained that advantage, whatever it may be worth.

But sense and feeling are sometimes burdens in the race of life; that
is, they sometimes hold a man back from grasping material advantages
which he might have grasped, had he not been prevented by the possession
of a certain measure of common sense and right feeling. I doubt not, my
friend, that you have acquaintances who can do things which you could
not do for your life, and who by doing these things push their way in
life. They ask for what they want, and never let a chance go by them.
And though they may meet many rebuffs, they sometimes make a successful
venture. Impudence sometimes attains to a pitch of sublimity; and at
that point it has produced a very great impression upon many men. The
incapable person who started for a professorship has sometimes got it.
The man who, amid the derision of the county, published his address to
the electors, has occasionally got into the House of Commons. The vulgar
half-educated preacher, who without any introduction asked a patron for
a vacant living in the Church, has now and then got the living. And
however unfit you may be for a place, and however discreditable may have
been the means by which you got it, once you have actually held it for
two or three years people come to acquiesce in your holding it. They
accept the fact that you are there, just as we accept the fact that any
other evil exists in this world, without asking why, except on very
special occasions. I believe, too, that, in the matter of worldly
preferment, there is too much fatalism in many good men. They have a
vague trust that Providence will do more than it has promised. They are
ready to think, that, if it is God's will that they are to gain such a
prize, it will be sure to come their way without their pushing. That is
a mistake. Suppose you apply the same reasoning to your dinner. Suppose
you sit still in your study and say, "If I am to have dinner to-day, it
will come without effort of mine; and if I am not to have dinner to-day,
it will not come by any effort of mine; so here I sit still and do
nothing." Is not _that_ absurd? Yet that is what many a wise and good
man practically says about the place in life which would suit him, and
which would make him happy. Not Turks and Hindoos alone have a tendency
to believe in their _Kismet_. It is human to believe in that. And we
grasp at every event that seems to favor the belief. The other evening,
in the twilight, I passed two respectable-looking women who seemed like
domestic servants; and I caught one sentence which one said to the other
with great apparent faith. "You see," she said, "if a thing's to come
your way, it'll no gang by ye!" It was in a crowded street; but if
it had been in my country parish, where everyone knew me, I should
certainly have stopped the women, and told them, that, though what they
said was quite true, I feared they were understanding it wrongly, and
that the firm belief we all hold in God's Providence which reaches to
all events, and in His sovereignty which orders all things, should be
used to help us to be resigned, after we have done our best and failed,
but should never be used as an excuse for not doing our best. When we
have set our mind on any honest end, let us seek to compass it by every
honest means; and if we fail after having used every honest means,
_then_ let us fall back on the comfortable belief that things are
ordered by the Wisest and Kindest; _then_ is the time for the _Fiat
Voluntas Tua_.

You would not wish, my friend, to be deprived of common sense and of
delicate feeling, even though you could be quite sure that once _that_
drag-weight was taken off, you would spring forward to the van, and make
such running in the race of life as you never made before. Still, you
cannot help looking with a certain interest upon those people who, by
the want of these hindering influences, are enabled to do things and
say things which you never could. I have sometimes looked with no small
curiosity upon the kind of man who will come uninvited, and without
warning of his approach, to stay at another man's house: who will stay
on, quite comfortable and unmoved, though seeing plainly he is not
wanted: who will announce, on arriving, that his visit is to be for
three days, and who will then, without farther remark, and without
invitation of any kind, remain for a month or six weeks: and all
the while sit down to dinner every day with a perfectly easy and
unembarrassed manner. You and I, my reader, would rather live on much
less than sixpence a day than do all this. We _could not_ do it. But
some people not merely can do it, but can do it without any appearance
of effort. Oh, if the people who are victimized by these horse-leeches
of society could but gain a little of the thickness of skin which
characterizes the horse-leeches, and bid them be off, and not return
again till they are invited! To the same pachydermatous class belong
those individuals who will put all sorts of questions as to the private
affairs of other people, but carefully shy off from any similar
confidence as to their own affairs: also those individuals who borrow
small sums of money and never repay them, but go on borrowing till the
small sums amount to a good deal. To the same class may be referred
the persona who lay themselves out for saying disagreeable things, the
"candid friends" of Canning, the "people who speak their mind," who form
such pests of society. To find fault is to right-feeling men a very
painful thing; but some take to the work with avidity and delight. And
while people of cultivation shrink, with a delicate intuition, from
saying any thing which may give pain or cause uneasiness to others,
there are others who are ever painfully treading upon the moral corns of
all around them. Sometimes this is done designedly: as by Mr. Snarling,
who by long practice has attained the power of hinting and insinuating,
in the course of a forenoon call, as many unpleasant things as may
germinate into a crop of ill-tempers and worries which shall make the
house at which he called uncomfortable all that day. Sometimes it
is done unawares, as by Mr. Boor, who, through pure ignorance and
coarseness, is always bellowing out things which it is disagreeable
to some one, or to several, to hear. Which was it, I wonder, Boor or
Snarling, who once reached the dignity of the mitre, and who at prayers
in his house uttered this supplication on behalf of a lady visitor who
was kneeling beside him: "Bless our friend, Mrs. ----: give her a little
more common sense; and teach her to dress a little less like a tragedy
queen than she does at present"?

       *       *       *       *       *

But who shall reckon up the countless circumstances which lie like a
depressing burden on the energies of men, and make them work at that
disadvantage which we have thought of under the figure of _carrying
weight in life?_ There are men who carry weight in a damp, marshy
neighborhood, who, amid bracing mountain air might have done things
which now they will never do. There are men who carry weight in an
uncomfortable house: in smoky chimneys: in a study with a dismal
look-out: in distance from a railway-station: in ten miles between them
and a bookseller's shop. Give another hundred a year of income, and the
poor struggling parson who preaches dull sermons will astonish you
by the talent he will exhibit when his mind is freed from the dismal
depressing influence of ceaseless scheming to keep the wolf from the
door. Let the poor little sick child grow strong and well, and with
how much better heart will its father face the work of life! Let the
clergyman who preached, in a spiritless enough way, to a handful of
uneducated rustics, be placed in a charge where weekly he has to address
a large cultivated congregation, and, with the new stimulus, latent
powers may manifest themselves which no one fancied he possessed, and he
may prove quite an eloquent and attractive preacher. A dull, quiet
man, whom you esteemed as a blockhead, may suddenly be valued very
differently when circumstances unexpectedly call out the solid qualities
he possesses, unsuspected before. A man devoid of brilliancy may on
occasion show that he possesses great good sense, or that he has the
power of sticking to his task in spite of discouragement. Let a man be
placed where dogged perseverance will stand him in stead, and you may
see what he can do when he has but a chance. The especial weight which
has held some men back, the thing which kept them from doing great
things and attaining great fame, has been just this: that they were not
able to say or to write what they have thought and felt. And, indeed,
a great poet is nothing more than the one man in a million who has the
gift to express that which has been in the mind and heart of multitudes.
If even the most commonplace of human beings could write all the poetry
he has felt, he would produce something that would go straight to the
hearts of many.

It is touching to witness the indications and vestiges of sweet and
admirable things which have been subjected to a weight which has
entirely crushed them down,--things which would have come out into
beauty and excellence, if they had been allowed a chance. You may
witness one of the saddest of all the losses of Nature in various old
maids. What kind hearts are there running to waste! What pure and gentle
affections blossom to be blighted! I dare say you have heard a young
lady of more than forty sing, and you have seen her eyes fill with tears
at the pathos of a very commonplace verse. Have you not thought that
there was the indication of a tender heart which might have made some
good man happy, and, in doing so, made herself happy, too? But it was
not to be. Still, it is sad to think that sometimes upon cats and dogs
there should be wasted the affection of a kindly human being! And you
know, too, how often the fairest promise of human excellence is never
suffered to come to fruit. You must look upon gravestones to find the
names of those who promised to be the best and noblest specimens of
the race. They died in early youth,--perhaps in early childhood. Their
pleasant faces, their singular words and ways, remain, not often talked
of, in the memories of subdued parents, or of brothers and sisters now
grown old, but never forgetting how _that_ one of the family, that
was as the flower of the flock, was the first to fade. It has been a
proverbial saying, you know, even from heathen ages, that those whom the
gods love die young. It is but an inferior order of human beings that
makes the living succession to carry on the human race.

       *       *       *       *       *


We have chosen a guarded and passionless wording for a topic on which
we wish to offer a few frankly spoken, but equally passionless remarks.
With the bitterness and venom and exaggeration of statement which both
English and American papers have interchanged in reference to matters of
opinion and matters of feeling connected with our national troubles we
do not now intermeddle. We would not imitate it: we regret it, and
on our own side we are ashamed of it. We have read editorials and
communications in our own papers so grossly vituperative and stinging in
the rancor of their spirit, that it would not have surprised us, if some
Englishmen, of a certain class, had organized a hostile association
against us in revenge for our truculent defiance. The real spirit of
bullyism, of the cockpit and the pugilistic ring, has been exhibited in
this interchange of newspaper opinion. The more is the reason why we
should not overlook or be blind to the real grievances in the case, nor
fail to give expression to them in the strongest way of which their
emphatic, but unembittered, statement will admit. Whether the London
"Times" is or is not an authoritative vehicle for the utterance of
average English opinion, and an index, in its general tone, of the
prevailing sentiment of that people, is a question which, so far from
wishing to decide, we must decline to entertain, as mainly irrelevant to
our present purpose. As a matter of fact, however, if we did accept that
print as an authority and a standard in English opinion, we should throw
more of temper than we hope to prevent escaping through our words into
the remarks which are to follow. That paper evidently represents the
opinion of one class, perhaps of more than one class of Englishmen. An
intelligent American reader of its comments on our affairs can always
read it, as even the best-informed Englishman cannot, with the skill and
ability to discern its spirit, often covertly mean, and to detect its
misrepresentations, some of the grossest of which are made the basis of
its arguments and inferences. From the very opening of our strife to the
last issue of that print which has crossed the water, its comments and
records relating to our affairs have presented a most ingenious and
mischievous combination of everything false, ill-tempered, malignant,
and irritating. It is at present exercising itself upon the financial
arrangements of our Government, and uttering prophecies, falsified
before they have come to our knowledge, about the inability or the
unwillingness of our loyal people to furnish the necessary money.

But enough of the London "Times." We have in view matters not identified
with the spirit and comments of a single newspaper, however influential.
We have in view graver and more comprehensive facts,--facts, too, more
significant of feelings and opinion. Stating our point in general terms,
which we shall reduce to some particulars before we close, we affirm
frankly and emphatically, that the North, we might even say this Nation,
as a government standing in solemn treaty relations with Great Britain,
has just cause of complaint and offence at the prevailing tone and
spirit of the English people, and press, and mercantile classes, towards
us, in view of the rebellion which is convulsing our land. That tone
and spirit have not been characterized by justice, magnanimity, or
true sympathy with a noble and imperilled cause; they have not been in
keeping with the professions and avowed principles of that people; they
have not been consistent with the former intimations of English opinion
towards us, as regards our position and our duty; and they have sadly
disappointed the hopes on whose cheering support we had relied when the
dark hours which English influence had helped to prepare for us should

Before we proceed to our specifications, let us meet the suggestion
often thrown out, that we have been unduly and morbidly sensitive to
English opinion in this matter; and let us gratefully allow for the
exceptions that may require to be recognized in the application of our
charges against the English people or press as a whole. It has been
said that we have shown a timid and almost craven sensitiveness to the
opinions pronounced abroad upon our national struggle, especially those
pronounced by our own kinsfolk of England. It is urged, that a strong
and prosperous and united people, if conscious of only a rightful cause,
and professing the ability to maintain it, should be self-reliant,
independent of foreign judgment, and ready to trust to time and the sure
candor and fulness of the expositions which it brings with it, to set us
right before the eyes of the world. But what if another nation, supposed
to be friendly, known even to have recommended and urged upon us
the very cause for which we are contending, represents it in such a
contumelious and disheartening way as to show us that we have not even
her sympathy? Further, what if there is a spirit and a tone of treatment
towards us which suggests the possibility that at some critical moment
she may interfere in a way that will embarrass us and encourage our
enemies? The sensitiveness of a people to the possible power of mischief
that may lie against them in the hands of a jealous neighbor, ready to
be used at the will or caprice of its possessor, may indicate timidity
or weakness. But Great Britain, knowing very well what the feeling is,
ought to understand that it may consist with real strength, courage, and
right purposes. It is notorious now to all the civilized world, as
a fact often ludicrously and sometimes lugubriously set forth, that
millions of sturdy English folk have lived for many years, and live at
this hour, in a state of quaking trepidation as to the designs of a
single man of "ideas" across their Channel. What bulletin have the
English people ever read from day to day with such an intermittent pulse
as that with which they peruse quotations from the "Moniteur"? The
English people, whatever might have been true of them once, are now
the last people in the world--matched and overawed as they are by the
French--to charge upon another people a timid sensitiveness for even the
slightest intimations of foreign feeling and possible intentions.

We must allow also for exceptions to the sweep of the specific charges
under which we shall express our grievances at the general course of
English treatment towards us. There have been messages in many private
letters from Englishmen and Englishwomen of high public and of dignified
private station, there have been editorials and communications in a few
English papers, there have been brief utterances in Parliament, and
from leading speakers at political, mercantile, literary, and religious
assemblies, which have shown a full appreciation of the import of our
present strife, and have conveyed to us in words of most precious and
grateful encouragement the assurance that many hearts are beating with
ours across the sea. That the truculence and venom of some of our own
papers may have repressed the feeling and the utterance of this same
sympathy in many individuals and ways where it might otherwise have
manifested itself is not unnatural, and is very probable. We acknowledge
most gratefully the cheer and the inspiration which have come to us from
every word, wish, and act from abroad that has recognized the stake of
our conflict; and we will take for granted the real existence and the
glowing heartiness of much of the same which has not been expressed, or
has not reached us. Farther even than this we will go in tempering or
qualifying the utterance of our grievances. We will take for granted
that very much of the coldness, or antipathy, or contemptuousness, or
misrepresentation which we have recognized in the general treatment of
us and our cause by Englishmen is to be accounted to actual ignorance
or a very partial understanding of our real circumstances and of the
conditions of the conflict, and of the relations of parties to it. De
Tocqueville is universally regarded among us as the only foreigner
who ever divined the theoretical and the practical method of our
institutions. Englishmen, English statesmen even, have never penetrated
to the mystery of them. Many intelligent British travellers have seemed
to wish to do so, and to have tried to do so. But the study bothers
them, the secret baffles them. They give it up with a gruff impatience
which writes on their features the sentence, "You have no right to have
such complicated and unintelligible arrangements in your governments,
State and Federal: they are quite un-English." Our foreign kinsfolk seem
unwilling to realize the extent of our domain, and the size of some
of our States as compared with their own island, and incapable of
understanding how different institutions, forms, limitations, and
governmental arrangements may exist in the several States, independently
of, or in subordination to, the province and administration of the
Federal Government. Nearly every English journal which undertakes
to refer to our affairs will make ludicrous or serious blunders,
if venturing to enter into details. The "Edinburgh Review" kindly
volunteered to be the champion of American institutions and products in
opposition to the extreme Toryism of the "Quarterly." Sydney Smith took
us, our authors and early enterprises, under his special patronage,
and he wrote many favorable articles of that character. One would have
supposed, that, in the necessary preparation for such labors, he would
have acquired some geographical, statistical, and other rudimentary
knowledge about us, enough to have kept him from gross blunders.
Unluckily, for him and for us, for the sake of getting here on his money
double the interest which he could get at home, and not considering
that the greater the promised profit the greater the risk, he made
investments in some of our stock companies and bonds. When these
investments proved disastrous, he raved and fumed, calling upon our
Government--which had nothing more to do with the matter than had the
English Parliament--to make good his losses.

We are tempted for a moment to drop the graver thread of our theme to
relate an anecdote in illustration of our present point. It happened a
few years ago that we had as a household guest for two or three weeks an
English gentleman, well-informed, courteous, and excellent, who had been
for several years the editor of a London paper. On the day after his
domestication with us, which was within the first week of his arrival
at New York, sitting where we are now writing, after breakfast, he
announced that "he had a commission to execute for a friend, with a
person residing in Springfield." Opening his note-book, he handed us a
slip of paper bearing the gentleman's name and address, "Springfield,
Ohio." Furnishing him with writing-materials, we were about turning to
our own occupation, when, suddenly, with a quick exclamation, as if
recalling something, he said, "Sure, I have been in Springfield. I
remember a short, a very short time was allowed for dinner, as I came
from New York." We explained, or tried to explain to him, that the
Springfield through which he had passed and the Springfield to which he
was writing were in different States widely separated, and that there
were also several other "Springfields." To this he demurred, protesting
that it made matters quite confusing to foreigners to have the same
names repeated in different parts of the Country. In vain did we suggest
that all confusion was avoided by adding the abbreviated name of the
State. No! "It was very confusing." Suddenly, a thought occurred to
us, and, refreshing our memory by a glance at the Index of our English
"Road-Book," we suggested triumphantly that names were repeated for
different localities in England: thus, there are four Ashfords, two
Dorchesters, six Hortons, seven Newports, etc., etc. Our guest, with an
air and vehemence that quite outvied our triumph, exclaimed,--"Oh! but
they are in different shi_rrr_hes, in different shi_rrr_hes!" Sure
enough, one of his own _shires_ is a larger thing to an Englishman than
one of our States. He lives on an island which is to him larger than all
the rest of the world, though any one starting from the centre of it, on
a fast horse, unless he crossed the border into Scotland, could scarcely
ride in any direction twenty-four hours without getting overboard.

To the actual ignorance or obfuscation of mind of the majority of the
English people, as regards our country and its institutions, we are
doubtless to refer much of the ill-toned and seemingly unfriendly
comments made upon our affairs in their organs. Thus, it is intimated
to us by many English writers, that they regard the North now as
simply undertaking to patch up a Union founded and sustained by mean
compromises, an object which has already led us into many humiliating
concessions,--and that the moment we announce that we are striking a
blow for Liberty, we shall have their sympathy without stint or measure.
No Englishman who really understood our affairs would talk in that way.
One of the chief lures which instigated and encouraged the Southern
rebellion was the assurance, adroitly insinuated by the leading traitors
into their duped followers, that opposition by the rest of the country
to their schemes would take the form of an anti-slavery crusade, in
which form the opposition would be put down by the combined force of
those who did not belong to the Republican party. They were deceived.
Opposition to them took the form of a rallying by all parties to the
defence of the Constitution, the maintenance of the Union. For any
anti-slavery zeal to have attempted to divert the aroused patriotism of
the land to a breach of one of its fundamental constitutional provisions
would have been treacherous and futile. The majority of our enlisted
patriotic soldiers would have laid down their arms. If the leadings of
Providence shall direct the thickening strife into an exterminating
crusade against slavery, doubtless our patriots will wait on Providence.
But we could not have started in our stern work avowing that as an
object of our own. And as to the meanness of our concessions and
compromises for Union, we have to consider what woes and wrongs that
Union has averted. Has England no discreditable passages in her own
Parliamentary history? Have her attempts at governing large masses of
men, Christian and heathen, Roman Catholic and Protestant, and of all
sects, privileged and oppressed, never led her into any truckling or
tyrannical legislation, any concessions or compromises of ideal or
abstract right?

But we must come to our specifications, introducing them with but a
single other needful suggestion. We have not to complain of any acts or
formal measures of the English Government against us,--nor even of the
omission of any possible public manifestation which might have turned
to our encouragement or service. But it will be admitted that we have
grievances to complain of, if the tone and the strain of English opinion
and sentiment have been such as to inspirit the South and to dispirit
the North. If English comments have palliated or justified the original
and the incidental measures of the Rebellion,--if they have been zealous
to find or to exaggerate excuses for it, to overstate the apparent or
professed grounds of it, to wink at the meannesses and outrages by which
it has thriven,--if they have perverted or misrepresented the real
issue, have ridiculed or discouraged the purposes of its patriotic
opponents, have embarrassed or impeded their hopes of success, or have
prejudged or foreclosed the probable result,--it will be admitted, we
say, that we have grievances against those who have so dealt by us in
the hour of our dismay and trial. And it is an enormous aggravation of
the disappointment or the wrong which we are bearing, that it is visited
upon us by England just as we have initiated measures for at least
restraining and abating the dominant power of that evil institution for
our complicity in the support of which she has long been our unsparing
censor. We complain generally of the unsympathizing and contemptuous
tone of England towards us,--of the mercurial standard by which she
judges our strife,--of the scarcely qualified delight with which she
parades our occasional ill-successes and discomfitures,--of the baste
which she has made to find tokens of a rising despotism or a military
dictatorship in those measures of our Government which are needful
and consistent with the exigencies of a state of warfare, such as the
suspension, on occasions, of the _habeas corpus_, the suppression of
disloyal publications, the employment of spies, and the requisition of
passports,--and finally, of the contemptible service to which England
has tried to put our last tariff, and of her evident unwillingness to
have us find or furnish the finances of our war. Not to deal, however,
with generalities, we proceed to make three distinct points of an
argument that crowds us with materials.

Foremost among the grievances which we at the North may allege against
our brethren across the water--foremost, both in time and in the harmful
influence of its working--we may specify this fact, that the English
press, with scarce an exception, made haste, in the very earliest stages
of the Southern Rebellion, to judge and announce the hopeless partition
of our Union, as an event accomplished and irrevocable. The way in which
this judgment was reached and pronounced, the time and circumstances of
its utterance, and the foregone conclusions which were drawn from it,
gave to it a threatening and mischievous agency, only less prejudicial
to our cause, we verily believe, than would have been an open alliance
between England and the enemies of the Republic. This haste to announce
the positive and accomplished dissolution of our National Union was
forced most painfully upon our notice in the darkest days of our opening
strife. Those who undertook to guide and instruct English opinion in
the matter had easy means of informing themselves about the strangely
fortuitous and deplorable, though most opportune and favoring
combination of circumstances under which "Secession" was initiated and
strengthened. They knew that the Administration, then in its last days
of power, was half-covertly, half-avowedly in sympathy and in active
cooperation with the cause of rebellion. The famous "Ostend Conference"
had had its doings and designs so thoroughly aired in the columns of the
English press, that we cannot suppose either the editors or the readers
ignorant of the spirit or intentions of those who controlled the policy
of that Administration. Early information likewise crossed the water to
them of the discreditable and infamous doings and plottings of members
of the Cabinet, evidently in league with the fomenting treachery. They
knew that the head of the Navy Department had either scattered our
ships of war to the ends of the earth, or had moored them in helpless
disability at our dockyards,--that the head of the War Department had
been plundering the arsenals of loyal States to furnish weapons for
intended rebellion,--that the head of the Treasury Department was
purloining its funds,--and that the President himself, while allowing
national forts to be environed by hostile batteries, had formally
announced that both Secession itself and all attempts to resist it were
alike unconstitutional,--the effect of which grave opinion was to
let Secession have its way till _Coercion_ would seem to be not only
unconstitutional, but unavailing. Our English kinsfolk also knew that
our prominent diplomatic agents abroad, representing solemn treaty
relations with them of this nation as a unit, under sacred oaths of
loyalty to it, and living on generous grants from its Treasury, were
also in more or less of active sympathy with traitorous schemes. So far,
it must be owned, there was little in the promise of whatever might grow
from these combined enormities to engage the confidence or the good
wishes of true-hearted persons on either side of the water.

But whatever power of mischief lay in this marvellous combination of
evil forces, so malignly working together, the Administration in which
they found their life and whose agencies they employed was soon to yield
up its fearfully desecrated trust. A new order of things, representing
at least the spirit and purpose of that philanthropy and public
righteousness to which our English brethren had for years been prompting
us, was to come in with a new Administration, already constitutionally
recognized, but not as yet put into power. It was asking but little of
intelligent foreigners of our own blood and language, that they should
make due allowance for that recurring period in the terms of our
Government--as easily turned to mischievous influences as is an
interregnum in a monarchy--by which there is a lapse of four months
between the election and the inauguration of our Chief Magistrate. A
retiring functionary may work and plan and provide an immense amount of
disabling, annoying, and damaging experience to be encountered by his
successor. That successor may at a distance, or close at hand, be an
observer of all this influence; but whether it be simply of a partisan
or of a malignant character, he is powerless to resist it, and good
taste and the proprieties of his position seem to suggest that he make
no public recognition of it. Every Chief Magistrate of this Republic,
before its present head, acceded to office with its powers and dignities
and facilities and trusts unimpaired by his predecessor. We have thought
that among the thorns of the pillow on which a certain "old public
functionary" lays his head, as he watches the dismal working of elements
which he had more power than any other to have dispelled, not the
least sharp one must be that which pierces him with the thought of the
difference between the position which his predecessors prepared for him
and that which he prepared for his successor. Not among the least of
the claims which that successor has upon the profound and respectful
sympathy of all good men everywhere is the fact that there has been no
public utterance of complaining or reproachful words from his lips,
reflecting upon his predecessor, or even asking indulgence on the score
of the shattered and almost wrecked fabric of which we have put him in
charge. We confess that we have looked through the English papers for
months for some magnanimous and high-souled tribute of this sort to the
Man who thus nobly represents a sacred and imperilled cause. If such
tribute has been rendered, it has escaped our notice.

Now, as we are reflecting upon the tone and spirit of the English press
at the opening of the Rebellion, we have to recall to the minds of our
readers the fact, that in all its early stages, even down to and almost
after the proclamation of the President summoning a volunteer force to
resist it, we ourselves, at the North, utterly refused to consider the
Seceders as in earnest. We may have been stupid, besotted, infatuated
even, in our blindness and incredulity. But none the less did we, that
is, the great majority of us, regard all the threats and measures of the
South as something less formidable and actual than open war and probable
or threatening revolution. We were persuaded that the people of the
South had been wrought up by artful and ambitious leaders to wild alarm
that the new Administration would visit outrages upon them and try to
turn them into a state of vassalage. Utterly unconscious as we were of
any purpose to trespass upon or reduce their fullest constitutional
rights, we knew how grossly our intentions were misrepresented to them.
We applied the same measure to the distance between their threats and
the probability that they would carry them out which we knew ought to be
applied to the difference between our supposed and our real
intentions. In a word,--for this is the simple truth,--we regarded the
manifestations of the seceding and rebelling States--or rather of the
leaders and their followers in them--as in part bluster and in part a
warning of what might ensue, though it would not be likely to ensue when
their eyes were open to the truth. We were met by bold defiance, by
outrageous abuse, and with an almost overwhelming venting of falsehoods.
There was boastfulness, arrogance, assured claims of sufficient
strength, and daring prophecies of success, enough to have made any
cause triumphant, if triumph comes through such means. Still we were
incredulous, perhaps foolishly and culpably so,--but incredulous, and
unintimidated, and confident, none the less. We believed that wise,
forbearing, and temperate measures of the new Administration would
remove all real grievances, dispel all false alarms, and at least leave
open the way to bloodless methods of preserving the Union. Part of our
infatuation consisted in our seeing so plainly the infatuation of the
South, while we did not allow for the lengths of wild and reckless folly
into which it might drive them. We could see most plainly that either
success in their schemes, or failure through a struggle to accomplish
them, would be alike ruinous to them; that no cause standing on the
basis and contemplating the objects recognized by them could possibly
prosper, so long as the throne of heaven had a sovereign seated upon it.
Full as much, then, from our conviction that the South would not insist
upon doing itself such harm as from any fear of what might happen to
us, did we refuse to regard Secession as a fixed fact. At the period of
which we are speaking, there was probably not a single man at the North,
of well-furnished and well-balanced mind--who stood clear in heart
and pocket of all secret or interested bias toward the South--that
deliberately recognized the probability of the dissolution of the Union.
Very few such men will, indeed, recognize that possibility now, except
as they recognize the possibility of the destruction of an edifice of
solid blocks and stately columns by the grinding to powder of each large
mass of the fabric, so that no rebuilding could restore it.

This was the state of mind and feeling with which we, who had so much at
stake and could watch every pulsation of the excitement, contemplated
the aspect of our opening strife. But with the first echo from abroad of
its earliest announcements here came the most positive averments in the
English papers, with scarcely a single exception, that the knell of this
Union had struck. We had fallen asunder, our bond was broken, we had
repudiated our former league or fellowship, and henceforth what had been
a unit was to be two or more fragments, in peaceful or hostile relations
as the case might be, but never again One. It would but revive for us
the first really sharp and irritating pangs of this dismal experience,
to go over the files of papers for those extracts which were like
vinegar to our eyes as we first read them. Their substance is repeated
to us in the sheets which come by every steamer. There were, of course,
variations of tone and spirit in these evil prognostications and these
raven-like croaks. Sometimes there was a vein of pity, and of that kind
of sorrow which we feel and of that other kind which we express for
other people's troubles. Sometimes there was a start of surprise, an
ejaculation of amazement, or even profound dismay, at the calamity which
had come upon us. In others of these newspaper comments there was
that unmistakable superciliousness, that goading contemptuousness
of self-conceit and puffy disdain, which John Bull visits on all
"un-English" things, especially when they happen under their unfortunate
aspects. In not a few of these same comments there was a tone of
exultation, malignant and almost diabolical, as at the discomfiture of
a hated and dangerous rival. We have read at least three English
newspapers for each week that has passed since our troubles began; we
have been readers of these papers for a score of years. In not one of
them have we met the sentence or the line which pronounces hopefully,
with bold assurance, for the renewed life of our Union. In by far the
most of them there is reiterated the most positive and dogged averment
that there is no future for us. We are not unmindful of the manliness
and stout cheer with which a very few of them have avowed their wish and
faith that the Rebels may be utterly discomfited and held up before the
world in their shame and friendlessness, and have coupled with these
utterances words of warm sympathy and approval for the North. But these
ill-wishes for the one party and these good wishes for the other
party are independent of anything but utter hopelessness as to the
preservation or the restoration of the Union.

Now some may suggest that we make altogether too much of what so far
is but the expression of an opinion, and, at worst, of an unfavorable
opinion,--an opinion, too, which may yet prove to be correct. But the
giving of an opinion on some matters has all the effect of taking a
side, and often helps much to decide the stake. On very many accounts,
this expression of English opinion, at the time it was uttered and with
such emphasis, was most unwarranted and most mischievous. It is very
easy to distribute its harmful influence upon our interests and
prospects into three very different methods, all of which combined to
injure or obstruct the Northern cause,--the National cause. Thus, this
opinion of the hopelessness of our resistance of the men of our
Union was of great value to the Rebels as an encouragement under any
misgivings they might have; it was calculated to prejudice our position
in the eyes of the world; and it had a tendency to dispirit many among
ourselves. A word upon each of these points.--How quickening must it
have been to the flagging hopes or determination of the Rebels to read
in the English journals that they were sure of success, that the result
was already registered, that they had gained their purpose simply by
proposing it! Nor was it possible to regard this opinion as not carrying
with it some implication that the cause of the Rebels was a just one,
and was sure of success, if for other reasons, for this, too, among
them, namely, that it was just. Why else were the Rebels so sure of a
triumph? Was it because of their superior strength or resources? A very
little inquiry would have set aside that suggestion. Was it because
of the nobleness of their cause? A very frank avowal from the
Vice-President of the assumed Confederacy announced to liberty-loving
Englishmen that that cause was identified with a slavocracy. Or was
the Rebel cause to succeed through the dignity and purity of the means
enlisted in its service? It was equally well known on both sides of the
water by what means and appliances of fraud, perfidy, treachery, and
other outrages, the schemes of the Rebellion were initiated and pursued.
If, in spite of all these negatives, the English press prophesies
success to the Rebels, was not the prophecy a great comfort and spur
to them?--Again, this prophecy of our sure discomfiture prejudiced us
before the world. It gave a public character and aspect of hopelessness
to our cause; it invited coldness of treatment towards us; it seemed to
warn off all nations from giving us aid or comfort; and it virtually
affirmed that any outlay of means or life by us in a cause seen to be
impracticable would be reckless, sanguinary, cruel, and inhuman.--And,
once more, to those among ourselves who are influenced by evil
prognostications, it was most dispiriting to be told, as if by cool,
unprejudiced observers from outside, that no uprising of patriotism, no
heroism of sacrifice, no combination of wisdom and power would be of any
avail to resist a foreordained catastrophe.--In these three harmful
ways of influence, the ill-omened opinion reiterated from abroad had
a tendency to fulfil itself. The whole plea of justification offered
abroad for the opinion is given in the assertion that those who have
once been bitterly alienated can never be brought into true harmony
again, and that it is impossible to govern the unwilling as equals.
England has but to read the record of her own strifes and battles and
infuriated passages with Scotland and Ireland,--between whom and herself
alienations of tradition, prejudice, and religion seemed to make harmony
as impossible as the promise of it is to these warring States,--England
has only to refresh her memory on these points, in order to relieve us
of the charge of folly in attempting an impossibility. So much for the
first grievance we allege against our English brethren.

Another of our specifications of wrong is involved in that already
considered. If English opinion decided that our nationality must
henceforth be divided, it seemed also to imply that we ought to divide
according to terms dictated by the Seceders. This was a precious
judgment to be pronounced against us by a sister Government which
was standing in solemn treaty relations with us as a unit in our
nationality! What did England suppose had become of our Northern
manhood, of the spirit of which she herself once felt the force? There
was something alike humiliating and exasperating in this implied advice
from her, that we should tamely and unresistingly submit to a division
of continent, bays, and rivers, according to terms defiantly and
insultingly proposed by those who had a joint ownership with ourselves.
How would England receive such advice from us under like circumstances?
But we must cut short the utterance of our feelings on this point, that
we may make another specification,--

Which is, that our English critics see only, or chiefly, in the fearful
and momentous conflict in which we are engaged, "a bursting of the
bubble of Democracy"! Shall we challenge now the intelligence or the
moral principle, the lack of one or the other of which is betrayed
in this sneering and malignant representation--this utter
misrepresentation--of the catastrophe which has befallen our nation?
Intelligent Englishmen know full well that the issue raised among us
does not necessarily touch or involve at a single point the principles
of Democracy, but stands wide apart and distinct from them. We might
with as much propriety have said that the Irish Rebellion and the Indian
Mutiny showed "the bursting of the bubble of Monarchy." The principles
of Democracy stand as firm and find our people as loyal to them in every
little town-meeting and in every legislature of each loyal State in the
Union as they did in the days of our first enthusiastic and successful
trial of them. Supposing even that the main assumption on which so many
Englishmen have prematurely vented their scorn were a fact; we cannot
but ask if the nation nearest akin to us, and professing to be guided
in this century by feelings which forbid a rejoicing over others' great
griefs, has no words of high moral sympathy, no expressions of regretful
disappointment in our calamities? Is it the first or the most emphatic
thing which it is most fitting for Christian Englishmen to say over the
supposed wreck of a recently noble and promising country, the prospered
home of thirty millions of God's children,--that "a bubble has burst"?
We might interchange with our foreign "comforters" a discussion by
arguments and facts as to whether a monarchy or a democracy has about it
more of the qualities of a bubble, but the debate would be irrelevant
to our present purpose. We believe that Democracy in its noblest and
all-essential and well-proved principles will survive the shock which
has struck upon our nation, whatever the result of that shock may yet
prove to be. We believe, further, that the principles of Democracy will
come out of the struggle which is trying, not themselves, but something
quite distinct from them, with a new affirmation and vindication. But
let that be as it may, we are as much ashamed for England's sake as
we are aggrieved on our own account that from the vehicles of public
sentiment in "the foremost realm in the world for all true culture,
advanced progress, and the glorious triumphs of liberty and religion,"
what should be a profoundly plaintive lament over our supposed ruin
is, in reality, a mocking taunt and a hateful gibe over our failure in
daring to try an "un-English" experiment.[A]

[Footnote A: The following precious utterances of John Bull moralizing,
which might have been spoken of the Thugs in India, or some provincial
Chinese enterprise, are extracted from the cotton circular of Messrs.
Neill, Brothers, addressed to their correspondents, and dated,
Manchester, Aug. 21. We find the circular copied in a _religious_
newspaper published in London, without any rebuke. "The North will have
to learn the limited extent of her powers as compared with the
gigantic task she has undertaken. One and perhaps two defeats will be
insufficient to reverse the false education of a lifetime. Many lessons
will probably be necessary, and, meantime, any success the Northern
troops may obtain will again inflame the national vanity, and the
lessons of adversity will need to be learned over again. More effect
will probably be produced by sufferings at home, by the ruin of the
higher classes and pauperization of the lower, and by the general
absorption of the floating capital of the country"! There, good reader,
what think you of the cotton moralizing of a comfortable factor,
dwelling in immaculate England, dealing with us in cotton, and with the
Chinese in opium?]

The stately "Quarterly Review," in its number for July, uses a little
more of dignity in wording the title of an article upon our affairs
thus,--"Democracy on its Trial"; but it makes up for the waste of
refinement upon its text by a lavish indulgence in scurrility and
falsehood in its comments. As a specimen, take the following. Living
here in this goodly city of Boston, and knowing and loving well its
ways and people, we are asked to credit the following story, which the
Reviewer says he heard from "a well-known traveller." The substance of
the story is, that a Boston merchant proposed to gild the lamp over his
street-door, but was dissuaded from so doing by the suggestion of a
friend, that by savoring of aristocracy the ornamented gas-burner would
offend the tyrannical people and provoke violence against it! This, the
latest joke in the solemn Quarterly, has led many of its readers here to
recall the days of Madame Trollope and the Reverend Mr. Fiddler, those
veracious and "well-known travellers." There are, we are sorry to say,
many gilded street-lamps, burnished and blazing every night, in Boston.
But instead of standing before the houses of our merchants, they
designate quite a different class of edifices. Our merchants, as a
general thing, would object, both on the score of good taste and on
grounds of disagreeable association with the signal, to raise such an
ornament before the doors of their comfortable homes. The common people,
however, so far from taking umbrage at the spectacle, would be rather
gratified by the generosity of our grandees in being willing to show
some of their finery out of doors. This would be the feeling especially
of that part of our population which is composed of foreigners, who have
been used to the sight of such demonstrations in their native countries,
which are not democracies. In fact, we suspect that the reason why
English "flunkeys" hate American "flunkeyism," with its laced coachmen,
etc., is because mere money, by aping the insignia of rank, its gewgaws
and trumpery, shows too plainly how much of the rank itself depends upon
the fabrics and demonstrations through which it sets itself forth. We
can conceive that an English nobleman travelling in this country, who
might chance in one of our cities to see a turn-out with its outriders,
tassels, and crests, almost or quite as fine as his own, if he were
informed that it belonged to a plebeian who had grown vastly rich
through some coarse traffic, might resolve to reduce all the display
of his own equipage the moment he reached home. The labored and
mean-spirited purpose of the writer of the aforesaid article in the
Quarterly, and of other writers of like essays, is to find in our
democracy the material and occasion of everything of a discreditable
sort which occurs in our land. Now we apprehend, not without some means
of observation and inquiry, that the state and features of society in
Great Britain and in all our Northern regions are almost identically the
same, or run in parallelisms, by which we might match every phenomenon,
incident, prejudice, and folly, every good and every bad trait and
manifestation in the one place with something exactly like it in the
other. During a whole score of years, as we have read the English
journals and our own, the thought has over and over again suggested
itself to us that any one who had leisure and taste for the task might
cut out from each series of papers respectively, for a huge commonplace
book, matters of a precisely parallel nature in both countries. A simple
difference in the names of men and of places would be all that would
appear or exist. Every noble and every mean and every mixed exhibition
of character,--every act of munificence and of baseness,--every
narrative of thrilling or romantic interest,--every instance and example
of popular delusion, humbug, man-worship, breach of trust, domestic
infelicity, and of cunning or astounding depravity and hypocrisy,--every
religious, social, and political excitement,--every panic,--and every
accident even, from carelessness or want of skill,--each and all these
have their exact parallels, generally within the same year of time in
Great Britain and in our own country. The crimes and the catastrophes,
in each locality, have seemed almost repetitions of the same things on
either continent. Munificent endowments of charitable institutions, zeal
in reformatory enterprises and in the correction of abuses, have shown
that the people of both regions stand upon the same plane of humanity
and practical Christian culture. The same great frauds have indicated
in each the same amount of rottenness in men occupying places of trust.
Both regions have had the same sort of unprincipled "railway kings" and
bankers, similar railroad disasters, similar cases of the tumbling
down of insecure walls, and of wife-poisoning. A Chartist insurrection
enlists a volunteer police in London, and an apprehended riot among
foreigners is met by a similar precaution in one of our cities. An
intermittent controversy goes on in England about the interference of
religion with common education, and Boston or New York is agitated at
the same time with the question about the use of the Bible in the public
schools. Boston rowdies mob an English intermeddler with the ticklish
matters of our national policy, and English rowdies mob an Austrian
Haynau. England goes into ecstasies over the visit of a Continental
Prince, and our Northern States repeat the demonstration over the visit
of a British Prince. The Duke of Wellington alarms his fellow-subjects
by suggesting that their national defences would all prove insufficient
against the assaults of a certain terrible Frenchman, and an American
cabinet official echoes the suggestion that England may, perhaps, try
her strength in turn against us. There are evidently a great many
bubbles in this world, and, for all that we know to the contrary, they
are all equally liable to burst. Some famous ones, bright in royal
hues, have burst within the century. Some more of the same may, not
impossibly, suffer a collapse before the century has closed. So that,
for this matter, "the bubble of Democracy" must take its chance with the

We have one more specification to make under our general statement
of reasons why the North feels aggrieved with the prevailing tone of
sentiment and comment in the English journals in reference to our great
calamity. We protest against the verdict which finds expression in all
sorts of ways and with various aggravations, that, in attempting to
rupture our Union, and to withdraw from it on their own terms, at their
own pleasure, the seceding States are but repeating the course of the
old Thirteen Colonies in declaring themselves independent, and sundering
their ties to the mother country. There is evidently the rankling of an
old smart in this plea for rebels, which, while it is not intended to
justify rebellion in itself, is devised as a vindication of rebels
against rebels. There is manifest satisfaction and a high zest, and
something of the morally awful and solemnly remonstrative, in the way in
which the past is evoked to visit its ghostly retribution upon us. The
old sting rankles in the English breast. She is looking on now to see us
hoist by our own petard. These pamphlet pages, with their circumscribed
limits and their less ambitious aims, do not invite an elaborate dealing
with the facts of the case, which would expose the sophistical, if not
the vengeful spirit of this English plea, as for rebels against rebels.
A thorough exposition of the relations which the present Insurrection
bears to the former Revolution would demand an essay. The relations
between them, however, whether stated briefly or at length, would be
found to be simply relations of difference, without one single point
of resemblance, much less of coincidence. We can make but the briefest
reference to the points of contrast and unlikeness between the two
things, after asserting that they have no one common feature. It might
seem evasive in us to suggest to our English critics that they should
refresh their memories about the causes and the justification of our
Revolution by reading the pages of their own Burke. We are content to
rest our case on his argument, simply affirming that on no one point
will it cover the alleged parallelism of the Southern Rebellion.

The relations of our States to each other and to the Union are quite
unlike those in which the Colonies stood to England. England claimed by
right of discovery and exploration the soil on which her Colonies here
were planted, though she had rival claimants from the very first. A
large number of the Colonists never had any original connection with
England, and owed her no allegiance. Holland, Sweden, and other
countries furnished much of the first stock of our settlers, who thought
they were occupying a wild part of God's earth rather than a portion of
the English dominions. The Colonies were not planted at public charge,
by Government cost or enterprise. The English exiles, with but slender
grounds of grateful remembrance of the land they had left, brought with
them their own private means, subdued a wilderness, extinguished the
aboriginal titles, and slowly and wearily developed the resources of the
country. Often in their direst straits did they decline to ask aid from
England, lest they might thereby furnish a plea for her interference
with their internal affairs. Several of the Colonies from the first
acted upon their presumed independence, and resolved on the frank
assertion of it as soon as they might dare the venture. That time for
daring happened to be contemporaneous with a tyrannical demand upon them
for tribute without representation. Thus the relations of the Colonies
to England were of a hap-hazard, abnormal, incidental, and always
unsettled character. They might be modified or changed without any
breach of contract. They might be sundered without perjury or perfidy.

How unlike in all respects are the relations of these States to each
other and to the Union! Drawn together after dark days and severe
trials,--solemnly pledged to each other by the people whom the Union
raised to a full citizenship in the Republic,--bound by a compact
designed to be without limitation of time,--lifted by their
consolidation to a place and fame and prosperity which they would never
else have reached,--mutually necessary to each other's thrift and
protection,--making a nation adapted by its organic constitution to the
region of the earth which it occupies,--and now, by previous memories
and traditions, by millions of social and domestic alliances, knit by
heart-strings the sundering of which will be followed by a flow of the
life-blood till all is spent,--these terms are but a feeble setting
forth of the relations of these States to each other and to the Union.
Some of these States which have been voted out of the Union by lawless
Conventions owe their creation to the Union. Their very soil has been
paid for out of the public treasury. Indeed, the Union is still in debt
under obligations incurred by their purchase.

How striking, too, is the contrast between the character and method of
the proceedings which originated and now sustain the Rebellion, and
those which initiated and carried through the Revolution! The Rebellion
exhibits to us a complete inversion of the course of measures which
inaugurated the Revolution. "Secession" was the invention of ambitious
leaders, who overrode the forms of law, and have not dared to submit
their votes and their doings to primary meetings of the people whom
they have driven with a despotic tyranny. In the Revolution the
people themselves were the prime movers. Each little country town and
municipality of the original Colonies, that has a hundred years of
history to be written, will point us boastfully to entries in its
records showing how it _instructed_ its representatives first to
remonstrate against tyranny, and then to resist it by successive
measures, each of which, with its limitations and its increasing
boldness, was dictated by the same people. The people of Virginia,
remembering the ancient precedent which won them their renown,
_intended_ to follow it in an early stage of our present strife. They
allowed a Convention to assemble, under the express and rigid condition,
that, if it should see fit to advise any measure which would affect the
relations of their State to the Union, a reference should be made of it,
prior to any action, to the will of the people. The Convention covertly
and treacherously abused its trust. In secret session it authorized
measures on the strength of which the Governor of the State proceeded
to put it into hostile relations with the Union. When the foregone
conclusion was at last farcically submitted to the people, a perjured
Senator of the National Congress notified such of them as would not
ratify the will of the Convention, that they must leave the State.

Once more, in our Revolution, holders of office and of lucrative trusts
in the interest of England were to a man loyal to the Home Government,
and our independence was effected without any base appliances. In the
work of secession and rebellion, the very officials and sworn guardians
of our Government have been the foremost plotters. They have used their
opportunities and their trusts for the most perfidious purposes. Nothing
but perjury in the very highest places could have initiated secession
and rebellion, and to this very moment they derive all their vigor in
the council-chamber and on the field from forsworn men, most of whom
have been trained from their childhood, nurtured, instructed, and fed,
and all of whom have been fostered in their manhood, and gifted with
their whole power for harming her, by the kindly mother whose life they
are assailing. If the Man with the Withered Hand had used the first
thrill of life and vigor coming into it by the word of the Great
Physician to aim a blow at his benefactor, his ingratitude would have
needed to stand recorded only until this year of our Lord, to have been
matched by deeds of men who have thrown this dear land of ours into
universal mourning. Yet our English brethren would try to persuade
us that these men are but repeating the course and the deeds of the
American Revolution!

       *       *       *       *       *


  Only the dusty common road,
    The glaring weary heat;
  Only a man with a soldier's load,
    And the sound of tired feet.

  Only the lonely creaking hum
    Of the Cicada's song;
  Only a fence where tall weeds come
    With spikèd fingers strong.

  Only a drop of the heaven's blue
    Left in a way-side cup;
  Only a joy for the plodding few
    And eyes that look not up.

  Only a weed to the passer-by,
    Growing among the rest;--
  Yet something clear as the light of the sky
    It lodges in my breast.


In the month of August, 1620, a Dutch man-of-war from Guinea entered
James River and sold "twenty negars." Such is the brief record left by
John Rolfe, whose name is honorably associated with that of Pocahontas.
This was the first importation of the kind into the country, and the
source of existing strifes. It was fitting that the system which from
that slave-ship had been spreading over the continent for nearly two
centuries and a half should yield for the first time to the logic of
military law almost upon the spot of its origin. The coincidence may not
inappropriately introduce what of experience and reflection the writer
has to relate of a three-months' soldier's life in Virginia.

On the morning of the 22d of May last, Major-General Butler, welcomed
with a military salute, arrived at Fortress Monroe, and assumed the
command of the Department of Virginia. Hitherto we had been hemmed up in
the peninsula of which the fort occupies the main part, and cut off from
communication with the surrounding country. Until within a few days our
forces consisted of about one thousand men belonging to the Third and
Fourth Regiments of Massachusetts militia, and three hundred regulars.
The only movement since our arrival on the 20th of April had been
the expedition to Norfolk of the Third Regiment, in which it was
my privilege to serve as a private. The fort communicates with the
main-land by a dike or causeway about half a mile long, and a wooden
bridge, perhaps three hundred feet long, and then there spreads out a
tract of country, well wooded and dotted over with farms. Passing from
this bridge for a distance of two miles northwestward, you reach a creek
or arm of the bay spanned by another wooden bridge, and crossing it you
are at once in the ancient village of Hampton, having a population
of some fifteen hundred inhabitants. The peninsula on which the fort
stands, the causeway, and the first bridge described, are the property
of the United States. Nevertheless, a small picket-guard of the
Secessionists had been accustomed to occupy a part of the bridge,
sometimes coming even to the centre, and a Secession flag waved in sight
of the fort. On the 13th of May, the Rebel picket-guard was driven from
the bridge, and all the Government property was taken possession of by a
detachment of two companies from the Fourth Regiment, accompanied by a
dozen regulars with a field-piece, acting under the orders of Colonel
Dimick, the commander of the post. They retired, denouncing vengeance
on Massachusetts troops for the invasion of Virginia. Our pickets then
occupied the entire bridge and a small strip of the main-land beyond,
covering a valuable well; but still there was no occupation in force of
any but Government property. The creation of a new military department,
to the command of which a major-general was assigned, was soon to
terminate this isolation. On the 13th of May the First Vermont Regiment
arrived, on the 24th the Second New York, and two weeks later our forces
numbered nearly ten thousand.

On the 23d of May General Butler ordered the first reconnoitring
expedition, which consisted of a part of the Vermont Regiment, and
proceeded under the command of Colonel Phelps over the dike and bridge
towards Hampton. They were anticipated, and when in sight of the second
bridge saw that it had been set on fire, and, hastening forward,
extinguished the flames. The detachment then marched into the village. A
parley was held with a Secession officer, who represented that the men
in arms in Hampton were only a domestic police. Meanwhile the white
inhabitants, particularly the women, had generally disappeared. The
negroes gathered around our men, and their evident exhilaration was
particularly noted, some of them saying, "Glad to see you, Massa,"
and betraying the fact, that, on the approach of the detachment, a
field-piece stationed at the bridge had been thrown into the sea. This
was the first communication between our army and the negroes in this

The reconnoissance of the day had more important results than were
anticipated. Three negroes, owned by Colonel Mallory, a lawyer of
Hampton and a Rebel officer, taking advantage of the terror prevailing
among the white inhabitants, escaped from their master, skulked during
the afternoon, and in the night came to our pickets. The next morning,
May 24th, they were brought to General Butler, and there, for the first
time, stood the Major-General and the fugitive slave face to face. Being
carefully interrogated, it appeared that they were field-hands, the
slaves of an officer in the Rebel service, who purposed taking them to
Carolina to be employed in military operations there. Two of them
had wives in Hampton, one a free colored woman, and they had several
children in the neighborhood. Here was a new question, and a grave one,
on which the Government had as yet developed no policy. In the absence
of precedents or instructions, an analogy drawn from international
law was applied. Under that law, contraband goods, which are directly
auxiliary to military operations, cannot in time of war be imported by
neutrals into an enemy's country, and may be seized as lawful prize when
the attempt is made so to import them. It will be seen, that, accurately
speaking, the term applies exclusively to the relation between a
belligerent and a neutral, and not to the relation between belligerents.
Under the strict law of nations, all the property of an enemy may be
seized. Under the Common Law, the property of traitors is forfeit. The
humaner usage of modern times favors the waiving of these strict rights,
but allows,--without question, the seizure and confiscation of all
such goods as are immediately auxiliary to military purposes. These
able-bodied negroes, held as slaves, were to be employed to build
breastworks, to transport or store provisions, to serve as cooks or
waiters, and even to bear arms. Regarded as property, according to their
master's claim, they could be efficiently used by the Rebels for the
purposes of the Rebellion, and most efficiently by the Government in
suppressing it. Regarded as persons, they had escaped from communities
where a triumphant rebellion had trampled on the laws, and only the
rights of human nature remained, and they now asked the protection of
the Government, to which, in prevailing treason, they were still loyal,
and which they were ready to serve as best they could.

The three negroes, being held contraband of war, were at once set to
work to aid the masons in constructing a new bakehouse within the fort.
Thenceforward the term "contraband" bore a new signification, with which
it will pass into history, designating the negroes who had been held as
slaves, now adopted under the protection of the Government. It was used
in official communications at the fort. It was applied familiarly to the
negroes, who stared somewhat, inquiring, "What d' ye call us that
for?" Not having Wheaton's "Elements" at hand, we did not attempt an
explanation. The contraband notion was adopted by Congress in the Act
of July 6th, which confiscates slaves used in aiding the Insurrection.
There is often great virtue in such technical phrases in shaping public
opinion. They commend practical action to a class of minds little
developed in the direction of the sentiments, which would be repelled by
formulas of a broader and nobler import. The venerable gentleman,
who wears gold spectacles and reads a conservative daily, prefers
confiscation to emancipation. He is reluctant to have slaves declared
freemen, but has no objection to their being declared contrabands. His
whole nature rises in insurrection when Beecher preaches in a sermon
that a thing ought to be done because it is a duty, but he yields
gracefully when Butler issues an order commanding it to be done because
it is a military necessity.

On the next day, Major John B. Cary, another Rebel officer, late
principal of an academy in Hampton, a delegate to the Charleston
Convention, and a seceder with General Butler from the Convention at
Baltimore, came to the fort with a flag of truce, and, claiming to act
as the representative of Colonel Mallory, demanded the fugitives.
He reminded General Butler of his obligations under the Federal
Constitution, under which he claimed to act. The ready reply was, that
the Fugitive-Slave Act could not be invoked for the reclamation of
fugitives from a foreign State, which Virginia claimed to be, and she
must count it among the infelicities of her position, if so far at least
she was taken at her word.

The three pioneer negroes were not long to be isolated from their race.
There was no known channel of communication between them and their old
comrades, and yet those comrades knew, or believed with the certainty of
knowledge, how they had been received. If inquired of whether more were
coming, their reply was, that, if they were not sent back, others would
understand that they were among friends, and more would come the next
day. Such is the mysterious spiritual telegraph which runs through the
slave population. Proclaim an edict of emancipation in the hearing of a
single slave on the Potomac, and in a few days it will be known by his
brethren on the Gulf. So, on the night of the Big Bethel affair, a squad
of negroes, meeting our soldiers, inquired anxiously the way to "the
freedom fort."

The means of communicating with the fort from the open country became
more easy, when, on the 24th of May, (the same day on which the first
movement was made from Washington into Virginia,) the Second New York
Regiment made its encampment on the Segar farm, lying near the bridge
which connected the fort with the main-land, an encampment soon enlarged
by the First Vermont and other New York regiments. On Sunday morning,
May 26th, eight negroes stood before the quarters of General Butler,
waiting for an audience.

They were examined in part by the Hon. Mr. Ashley, M.C. from Ohio, then
a visitor at the fort. On May 27th, forty-seven negroes of both sexes
and all ages, from three months to eighty-five years, among whom were
half a dozen entire families, came in one squad. Another lot of a dozen
good field-hands arrived the same day; and then they continued to come
by twenties, thirties, and forties. They were assigned buildings outside
of the fort or tents within. They were set to work as servants to
officers, or to store provisions landed from vessels,--thus relieving
us of the fatigue duty which we had previously done, except that of
dragging and mounting columbiads on the ramparts of the fort, a service
which some very warm days have impressed on my memory.

On the 27th of May, the Fourth Massachusetts Regiment, the First
Vermont, and some New York regiments made an advance movement and
occupied Newport News, (a promontory named for Captain Christopher
Newport, the early explorer,) so as more effectually to enforce the
blockade of James River. There, too, negroes came in, who were employed
as servants to the officers. One of them, when we left the fort, more
fortunate than his comrades, and aided by a benevolent captain, eluded
the vigilance of the Provost Marshal, and is now the curiosity of a
village in the neighborhood of Boston.

It was now time to call upon the Government for a policy in dealing with
slave society thus disrupted and disorganized. Elsewhere, even under
the shadow of the Capitol, the action of military officers had been
irregular, and in some cases in palpable violation of personal rights.
An order of General McDowell excluded all slaves from the lines.
Sometimes officers assumed to decide the question whether a negro was a
slave, and deliver him to a claimant, when, certainly in the absence of
martial law, they had no authority in the premises, under the Act of
Congress,--that power being confided to commissioners and marshals. As
well might a member of Congress or a State sheriff usurp the function.
Worse yet, in defiance of the Common Law, they made color a presumptive
proof of bondage. In one case a free negro was delivered to a claimant
under this process, more summary than any which the Fugitive-Slave Act
provides. The colonel of a Massachusetts regiment showed some practical
humor in dealing with a pertinacious claimant who asserted title to a
negro found within his lines, and had brought a policeman along with
him to aid in enforcing it. The shrewd colonel, (a Democrat he is,)
retaining the policeman, put both the claimant and claimed outside of
the lines together to try their fleetness. The negro proved to be the
better gymnast and was heard of no more. This capricious treatment of
the subject was fraught with serious difficulties as well as personal
injuries, and it needed to be displaced by an authorized system.

On the 27th of May, General Butler, having in a previous communication
reported his interview with Major Cary, called the attention of the War
Department to the subject in a formal despatch,--indicating the hostile
purposes for which the negroes had been or might be successfully used,
stating the course he had pursued in employing them and recording
expenses and services, and suggesting pertinent military, political, and
humane considerations. The Secretary of War, under date of the 30th of
May, replied, cautiously approving the course of General Butler, and
intimating distinctions between interfering with the relations of
persons held to service and refusing to surrender them to their alleged
masters, which it is not easy to reconcile with well-defined views of
the new exigency, or at least with a desire to express them. The note
was characterized by diplomatic reserve which it will probably be found
difficult long to maintain.

The ever-recurring question continued to press for solution. On the 6th
of July the Act of Congress was approved, declaring that any person
claiming the labor of another to be due to him, and permitting such
party to be employed in any military or naval service whatsoever against
the Government of the United States, shall forfeit his claim to such
labor, and proof of such employment shall thereafter be a full answer
to the claim. This act was designed for the direction of the civil
magistrate, and not for the limitation of powers derived from military
law. That law, founded on _salus republicae_, transcends all codes,
and lies outside of forms and statutes. John Quincy Adams, almost
prophesying as he expounded, declared, in 1842, that under it slavery
might be abolished. Under it, therefore, Major-General Fremont, in a
recent proclamation, declared the slaves of all persons within his
department, who were in arms against the Government, to be freemen, and
under it has given title-deeds of manumission. Subsequently President
Lincoln limited the proclamation to such slaves as are included in the
Act of Congress, namely, the slaves of Rebels used in directly hostile
service. The country had called for Jacksonian courage, and its first
exhibition was promptly suppressed. If the revocation was made in
deference to protests from Kentucky, it seems, that, while the loyal
citizens of Missouri appeared to approve the decisive measure, they were
overruled by the more potential voice of other communities who professed
to understand their affairs better than they did themselves. But if, as
is admitted, the commanding officer, in the plenitude of military power,
was authorized to make the order within his department, all human beings
included in the proclamation thereby acquired a vested title to their
freedom, of which neither Congress nor President could dispossess them.
No conclusive behests of law necessitating the limitation, it cannot
rest on any safe reasons of military policy. The one slave who carries
his master's knapsack on a march contributes far less to the efficiency
of the Rebel army than the one hundred slaves who hoe corn on his
plantation with which to replenish its commissariat. We have not yet
emerged from the fine-drawn distinctions of peaceful times. We may
imprison or slaughter a Rebel, but we may not unloose his hold on a
person he has claimed as a slave. We may seize all his other property
without question, lands, houses, cattle, jewels; but his asserted
property in man is more sacred than the gold which overlay the Ark of
the Covenant, and we may not profane it. This reverence for things
assumed to be sacred, which are not so, cannot long continue. The
Government can well turn away from the enthusiast, however generous his
impulses, who asks the abolition of slavery on general principles of
philanthropy, for the reason that it already has work enough on its
hands. It may not change the objects of the war, but it must of
necessity at times shift its tactics and its instruments, as the
exigency demands. Its solemn and imperative duty is to look every
issue, however grave and transcendent, firmly in the face; and having
ascertained upon mature and conscientious reflection what is necessary
to suppress the Rebellion, it must then proceed with inexorable purpose
to inflict the blows where Rebellion is the weakest and under which it
must inevitably fall.

On the 30th of July, General Butler, being still unprovided with
adequate instructions,--the number of contrabands having now reached
nine hundred,--applied to the War Department for further directions. His
inquiries, inspired by good sense and humanity alike, were of the most
fundamental character, and when they shall have received a full answer
the war will be near its end. Assuming the slaves to have been the
property of masters, he considers them waifs abandoned by their
owners, in which the Government as a finder cannot, however, acquire a
proprietary interest, and they have therefore reverted to the normal
condition of those made in God's image, "if not free-born, yet
free-manumitted, sent forth from the hand that held them, never to
return." The author of that document may never win a victor's laurels
on any renowned field, but, depositing it in the archives of the
Government, he leaves a record in history which will outlast the
traditions of battle or siege. It is proper to add, that the answer of
the War Department, so far as its meaning is clear, leaves the General
uninstructed as to all slaves not confiscated by the Act of Congress.

The documentary history being now completed, the personal narrative of
affairs at Fortress Monroe is resumed.

The encampment of Federal troops beyond the peninsula of the fort and in
the vicinity of the village of Hampton was immediately followed by an
hegira of its white inhabitants, burning, as they fled, as much of the
bridge as they could. On the 28th of May, a detachment of troops entered
the village and hoisted the stars and stripes on the house of Colonel
Mallory. Picket-guards occupied it intermittently during the month of
June. It was not until the first day of July that a permanent encampment
was made there, consisting of the Third Massachusetts Regiment, which
moved from the fort, the Fourth, which moved from Newport News, and the
Naval Brigade, all under the command of Brigadier-General Pierce,--the
camp being informally called Camp Greble, in honor of the lieutenant of
that name who fell bravely in the disastrous affair of Big Bethel.
Here we remained until July 16th, when, our term of enlistment having
expired, we bade adieu to Hampton, its ancient relics, its deserted
houses, its venerable church, its trees and gardens, its contrabands,
all so soon to be wasted and scattered by the torch of Virginia Vandals.
We passed over the bridge, the rebuilding of which was completed the day
before, marched to the fort, exchanged our rifle muskets for an older
pattern, listened to a farewell address from General Butler, bade
good-bye to Colonel Dimick, and embarked for Boston. It was during this
encampment at Hampton, and two previous visits, somewhat hurried, while
as yet it was without a permanent guard, that my personal knowledge of
the negroes, of their feelings, desires, aspirations, capacities, and
habits of life was mainly obtained.

A few words of local history and description may illustrate the
narrative. Hampton is a town of considerable historic interest. First
among civilized men the illustrious adventurer Captain John Smith with
his comrades visited its site in 1607, while exploring the mouth of
James River to find a home for the first colonists. Here they smoked the
calumet of peace with an Indian tribe. To the neighboring promontory,
where they found good anchorage and hospitality, they gave the name of
Point Comfort, which it still bears. Hampton, though a settlement was
commenced there in 1610, did not become a town until 1705. Hostile
fleets have twice appeared before it. The first time was in October,
1775, when some tenders sent by Lord Dunmore to destroy it were repulsed
by the citizens, aided by the Culpepper riflemen. Then and there was the
first battle of the Revolution in Virginia. Again in June, 1813, it was
attacked by Admiral Cockburn and General Beckwith, and scenes of pillage
followed, dishonorable to the British soldiery. Jackson, in his address
to his army just before the Battle of New Orleans, conjured his soldiers
to remember Hampton. Until the recent conflagration, it abounded in
ancient relics. Among them was St. John's Church, the main body of which
was of imported brick, and built at the beginning of the eighteenth
century. The fury of Secession irreverently destroyed this memorial of
antiquity and religion, which even a foreign soldiery had spared. One
inscription in the graveyard surrounding the church is as early as 1701,
and even earlier dates are found on tombstones in the fields a mile
distant. The Court-House, a clumsy old structure, in which was the
law-office of Colonel Mallory, contained judicial records of a very
early colonial period. Some, which I examined, bore date of 1634.
Several old houses, with spacious rooms and high ornamented ceilings,
gave evidence that at one time they had been occupied by citizens of
considerable taste and rank. A friend of mine found among the rubbish of
a deserted house an English illustrated edition of "Paradise Lost,"
of the date of 1725, and Boyle's Oxford edition of "The Epistles of
Phalaris," famous in classical controversy, printed in 1718. The
proximity of Fortress Monroe, of the fashionable watering-place of Old
Point, and of the anchorage of Hampton Roads, has contributed to the
interest of the town. To this region came in summer-time public men
weary of their cares, army and navy officers on furlough or retired, and
the gay daughters of Virginia. In front of the fort, looking seaward,
was the summer residence of Floyd; between the fort and the town was
that of John Tyler. President Jackson sought refuge from care and
solicitation at the Rip Raps, whither he was followed by his devoted
friend, Mr. Blair. So at least a contraband informed me, who said he had
often seen them both there.

Nevertheless, the town bore no evidence of thrift. It looked as though
it were sleepy and indolent in the best of times, having oysters for its
chief merchandise. The streets were paved, but the pavements were of
large irregular stones, and unevenly laid. Few houses were new, and,
excepting St. John's Church, the public edifices were mean. All these
have been swept away by the recent conflagration, a waste of property
indefensible on any military principles. The buildings might have
furnished winter-quarters for our troops, but in that climate they were
not necessary for that purpose, perhaps not desirable, or, if required,
could be easily replaced by temporary habitations constructed of
lumber imported from the North by sea. But the Rebel chiefs had thrown
themselves into heroic attitudes, and while playing the part of
incendiaries, they fancied their action to be as sublime as that of the
Russians at Moscow. With such a precedent of Vandalism, no ravages of
our own troops can hereafter be complained of.

The prevailing exodus, leaving less than a dozen white men behind,
testifies the political feelings of the people. Only two votes were
thrown against the ordinance of Secession. Whatever of Union sentiment
existed there had been swept away by such demagogues as Mallory, Cary,
Magruder, Shiels, and Hope. Hastily as they left, they removed in most
cases all their furniture, leaving only the old Virginia sideboard, too
heavy to be taken away. In a few exceptional cases, from the absence of
the owner or other cause, the house was still furnished; but generally
nothing but old letters, torn books, newspapers, cast-off clothing,
strewed the floors. Rarely have I enjoyed the hours more than when
roaming from cellar to garret these tenantless houses. A deserted
dwelling! How the imagination is fascinated by what may have there
transpired of human joy or sorrow,--the solitary struggles of the soul
for better things, the dawn and the fruition of love, the separations
and reunions of families, the hearth-stone consecrated by affection and
prayer, the bridal throng, the birth of new lives, the farewells to the
world, the funeral train.

But more interesting and instructive were the features of slave-life
which here opened to us. The negroes who remained, of whom there may
have been three hundred of all ages, lived in small wooden shanties,
generally in the rear of the master's house, rarely having more than one
room on the lower floor, and that containing an open fireplace where the
cooking for the master's family was done, tables, chairs, dishes, and
the miscellaneous utensils of household life. The masters had taken with
them, generally, their waiting-maids and house-servants, and had
desired to carry all their slaves with them. But in the hasty
preparations,--particularly where the slaves were living away from
their master's close, or had a family,--it was difficult to remove them
against their will, as they could skulk for a few hours and then go
where they pleased. Some voluntarily left their slaves behind, not
having the means to provide for them, or, anticipating a return at no
distant day, desired them to stay and guard the property. The slaves who
remained lived upon the little pork and corn-meal that were left and the
growing vegetables. They had but little to do. The women looked after
their meagre household concerns, but the men were generally idle,
standing in groups, or sitting in front of the shanties talking with the
women. Some began to serve our officers as soon as we were quartered in
the town,--while a few others set up cake-stands upon the street.

It was necessary for the protection of the post that some breastworks
should be thrown up, and a line was planned extending from the old
cemetery northward to the new one, a quarter of a mile distant. Our own
troops were disinclined to the labor, their time being nearly expired,
and they claiming that they had done their share of fatigue duty both
at the fort and at Newport News. A member of Brigadier-General Pierce's
staff--an efficient officer and a humane gentleman--suggested the
employment of the contrabands and the furnishing of them with rations,
an expedient best for them and agreeable to us. He at once dictated
a telegram to General Butler in these words:--"Shall we put the
contrabands to work on the intrenchments, and will you furnish them with
rations?" An affirmative answer was promptly received on Monday morning,
July 8th, and that was the first day in the course of the war in which
the negro was employed upon the military works of our army. It therefore
marks a distinct epoch in its progress and in its relations to the
colored population. The writer--and henceforth his narrative must
indulge in the frequent use of the first person--was specially detailed
from his post as private in Company L of the Third Regiment to collect
the contrabands, record their names, ages, and the names of their
masters, provide their tools, superintend their labor, and procure their
rations. My comrades smiled, as I undertook the novel duty, enjoying
the spectacle of a Massachusetts Republican converted into a Virginia
slave-master. To me it seemed rather an opportunity to lead them from
the house of bondage never to return. For, whatever may be the general
duty to this race, to all such as we have in any way employed to aid our
armies our national faith and our personal honor are pledged. The
code of a gentleman, to say nothing of a higher law of rectitude,
necessitates protection to this extent. Abandoning one of these faithful
allies, who, if delivered up, would be reduced to severer servitude
because of the education he had received and the services he had
performed, probably to be transported to the remotest slave region as
now too dangerous to remain near its borders, we should be accursed
among the nations of the earth. I felt assured that from that hour,
whatsoever the fortunes of the war, every one of those enrolled
defenders of the Union had vindicated beyond all future question, for
himself, his wife, and their issue, a title to American citizenship, and
become heir to all the immunities of Magna Charta, the Declaration of
Independence, and the Constitution of the United States.

Passing through the principal streets, I told the contrabands that when
they heard the court-house bell, which would ring soon, they must go to
the court-house yard, where a communication would be made to them. In
the mean time I secured the valuable services of some fellow-privates,
one for a quarter-master, two others to aid in superintending at the
trenches, and the orderly-sergeant of my own company, whose expertness
in the drill was equalled only by his general good sense and business
capacity. Upon the ringing of the bell, about forty contrabands came to
the yard. A second exploration added to the number some twenty or
more, who had not heard the original summons. They then came into the
building, where they were called to order and addressed. I had argued to
judges and juries, but I had never spoken to such auditors before in a
court-room. I told them that the colored men had been employed on the
breastworks of the Rebels, and we needed their aid,--that they would
be required to do only such labor as we ourselves had done,--that they
should be treated kindly, and no one should be obliged to work beyond
his capacity, or if unwell,--and that they should be furnished in a day
or two with full soldiers' rations. I told them that their masters
had said they were an indolent people,--that I did not believe the
charge,--that I was going home to Massachusetts soon and should be glad
to report that they were as industrious as the whites. They generally
showed no displeasure, some even saying, that, not having done much for
some time, it was the best thing for them to be now employed. Four or
five men over fifty years old said that they suffered from rheumatism,
and could not work without injury. Being confirmed by the by-standers,
they were dismissed. Other old men said they would do what they could,
and they were assured that no more would be required of them. Two of
them, provided with a bucket and dipper, were detailed to carry water
all the time along the line of laborers. Two young men fretted a little,
and claimed to be disabled in some way. They were told to resume their
seats, and try first and see what they could do,--to the evident
amusement of the rest, who knew them to be indolent and disposed to
shirk. A few showed some sulkiness, but it all passed away after the
first day, when they found that they were to be used kindly. One
well-dressed young man, a carpenter, feeling a little better than his
associates, did not wear a pleasant face at first. Finding out his
trade, we set him to sawing the posts for the intrenchments, and he was
entirely reconciled. Free colored men were not required to work; but
one volunteered, wishing, as he said, to do his part. The contrabands
complained that the free colored men ought to be required to work on the
intrenchments as well as they. I thought so too, but followed my orders.
A few expressed some concern lest their masters should punish them for
serving us, if they ever returned. One inquired suspiciously why we took
the name of his master. My reply was, that it was taken in order to
identify them,--an explanation with which he was more satisfied than I
was myself. Several were without shoes, and said that they could not
drive the shovel into the earth. They were told to use the picks. The
rest of the forenoon being occupied in registering their names and ages,
and the names of their masters, they were dismissed to come together on
the ringing of the bell, at two, P.M.

It had been expressly understood that I was to have the exclusive
control and supervision of the negroes, directing their hours of labor
and their rests, without interference from any one. The work itself was
to be planned and superintended by the officers of the Third and Fourth
Regiments. This exclusive control of the men was necessarily confided
to one, as different lieutenants detailed each day could not feel a
responsibility for their welfare. One or two of these, when rests were
allowed the negroes, were somewhat disgusted, saying that negroes
could dig all the time as well as not. I had had some years before an
experience with the use of the shovel under a warm sun, and knew better,
and I wished I could superintend a corps of lieutenants and apply their
own theory to themselves.

At two, P.M., the contrabands came together, answered to their names,
and, each taking a shovel, a spade, or a pick, began to work upon the
breastworks farthest from the village and close to the new cemetery. The
afternoon was very warm, the warmest we had in Hampton. Some, used only
to household or other light work, wilted under the heat, and they were
told to go into the cemetery and lie down. I remember distinctly a
corpulent colored man, down whose cheeks the perspiration rolled and who
said he felt badly. He also was told to go away and rest until he was
better. He soon came back relieved, and there was no more faithful
laborer among them all during the rest of the time. Twice or three times
in the afternoon an intermission of fifteen minutes was allowed to all.
Thus they worked until six in the evening, when they were dismissed for
the day. They deposited their tools in the court-house, where each one
of his own accord carefully put his pick or shovel where he could find
it again,--sometimes behind a door and sometimes in a sly corner or
under a seat, preferring to keep his own tool. They were then informed
that they must come together on the ringing of the bell the next morning
at four o'clock. They thought that too early, but they were assured
that the system best for their health would be adopted, and they would
afterwards be consulted about changing it. The next morning we did not
rise quite so early as four, and the bell was not rung till some minutes
later. The contrabands were prompt, their names had been called, and
they had marched to the trenches, a quarter of a mile distant, and were
fairly at work by half-past four or a quarter before five. They did
excellent service during the morning hours, and at seven were dismissed
till eight. The roll was then called again, absences, if any, noted,
and by half-past eight they were at their post. They continued at the
trenches till eleven, being allowed rests, and were then dismissed until
three, P.M., being relieved four hours in the middle of the day, when,
the bell being rung and the roll called, they resumed their work and
continued till six, when they were dismissed for the day. Such were the
hours and usual course of their labor. Their number was increased some
half dozen by fugitives from the back-country, who came in and asked to
be allowed to serve on the intrenchments.

The contrabands worked well, and in no instance was it found necessary
for the superintendents to urge them. There was a public opinion among
them against idleness, which answered for discipline. Some days they
worked with our soldiers, and it was found that they did more work, and
did the nicer parts--the facings and dressings--better. Colonels Packard
and Wardrop, under whose direction the breastworks were constructed, and
General Butler, who visited them, expressed satisfaction at the work
which the contrabands had done. On the 14th of July, Mr. Russell, of the
London "Times," and Dr. Bellows, of the Sanitary Commission, came to
Hampton and manifested much interest at the success of the experiment.
The result was, indeed, pleasing. A subaltern officer, to whom I had
insisted that the contrabands should be treated with kindness, had
sneered at the idea of applying philanthropic notions in time of war. It
was found then, as always, that decent persons will accomplish more when
treated at least like human beings. The same principle, if we will but
credit our own experience and Mr. Rarey, too, may with advantage be
extended to our relations with the beasts that serve us.

Three days after the contrabands commenced their work, five days'
rations were served to them,--a soldier's ration for each laborer, and
half a ration for each dependant. The allowance was liberal,--as a
soldier's ration, if properly cooked, is more than he generally needs,
and the dependant for whom a half-ration was received might be a wife
or a half-grown child. It consisted of salt beef or pork, hard bread,
beans, rice, coffee, sugar, soap, and candles, and where the family was
large it made a considerable pile. The recipients went home, appearing
perfectly satisfied, and feeling assured that our promises to them would
be performed. On Sunday fresh meat was served to them in the same manner
as to the troops.

There was one striking feature in the contrabands which must not be
omitted. I did not hear a profane or vulgar word spoken by them during
my superintendence, a remark which it will be difficult to make of any
sixty-four white men taken together anywhere in our army. Indeed, the
greatest discomfort of a soldier, who desires to remain a gentleman in
the camp, is the perpetual reiteration of language which no decent lips
would utter in a sister's presence. But the negroes, so dogmatically
pronounced unfit for freedom, were in this respect models for those who
make high boasts of civility of manners and Christian culture. Out of
the sixty-four who worked for us, all but half a dozen were members of
the Church, generally the Baptist. Although without a pastor, they held
religious meetings on the Sundays which we passed in Hampton, which were
attended by about sixty colored persons and three hundred soldiers. The
devotions were decorously conducted, bating some loud shouting by one
or two excitable brethren, which the better sense of the rest could not
suppress. Their prayers and exhortations were fervent, and marked by a
simplicity which is not infrequently the richest eloquence. The soldiers
behaved with entire propriety, and two exhorted them with pious unction,
as children of one Father, ransomed by the same Redeemer.

To this general propriety of conduct among the contrabands intrusted to
me there was only one exception, and that was in the case of Joe ----;
his surname I have forgotten. He was of a vagrant disposition, and an
inveterate shirk. He had a plausible speech and a distorted imagination,
and might be called a demagogue among darkies. He bore an ill
physiognomy,--that of one "fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils." He
was disliked by the other contrabands, and had been refused admission to
their Church, which he wished to join in order to get up a character.
Last, but not least, among his sins, he was accustomed to boat his wife,
of which she accused him in my presence; whereupon he justified himself
on the brazen assumption that all husbands did the same. There was no
good reason to believe that he had already been tampered with by Rebels;
but his price could not be more than five dollars. He would be a
disturbing element among the laborers on the breastworks, and he was a
dangerous person to be so near the lines; we therefore sent him to the
fort. The last I heard of him, he was at the Rip Raps, bemoaning his
isolation, and the butt of our soldiers there, who charged him with
being a "Secesh," and confounded him by gravely asserting that they were
such themselves and had seen him with the "Secesh" at Yorktown. This was
the single goat among the sheep.

On Monday evening, July 15th, when the contrabands deposited their tools
in the court-house, I requested them to stop a moment in the yard. I
made each a present of some tobacco, which all the men and most of the
women use. As they gathered in a circle around me, head peering over
head, I spoke to them briefly, thanking them for their cordial work and
complimenting their behavior, remarking that I had heard no profane or
vulgar word from them, in which they were an example to us,--adding that
it was the last time I should meet them, as we were to march homeward in
the morning, and that I should bear to my people a good report of their
industry and morals. There was another word that I could not leave
without speaking. Never before in our history had a Northern man,
believing in the divine right of all men to their liberty, had an
opportunity to address an audience of sixty-four slaves and say what the
Spirit moved him to utter,--and I should have been false to all that is
true and sacred, if I had let it pass. I said to them that there was one
more word for me to add, and that was, that every one of them was as
much entitled to his freedom as I was to mine, and I hoped they would
all now secure it. "Believe you, boss," was the general response, and
each one with his rough gravelly hand grasped mine, and with tearful
eyes and broken utterances said, "God bless you!" "May we meet in
Heaven!" "My name is Jack Allen, don't forget me!" "Remember me, Kent
Anderson!" and so on. No,--I may forget the playfellows of my childhood,
my college classmates, my professional associates, my comrades in arms,
but I will remember you and your benedictions until I cease to breathe!
Farewell, honest hearts, longing to be free! and may the kind Providence
which for-gets not the sparrow shelter and protect you!

During our encampment at Hampton, I occupied much of my leisure time
in conversations with the contrabands, both at their work and in their
shanties, endeavoring to collect their currents of thought and feeling.
It remains for me to give the results, so far as any could be arrived

There were more negroes of unmixed African blood than we expected
to find. But many were entirely bleached. One man, working on the
breastworks, owned by his cousin, whose name he bore, was no darker than
white laborers exposed by their occupation to the sun, and could not be
distinguished as of negro descent. Opposite our quarters was a young
slave woman who had been three times a mother without ever having been
a wife. You could not discern in her three daughters, either in color,
feature, or texture of hair, the slightest trace of African lineage.
They were as light-faced and fair-haired as the Saxon slaves whom the
Roman Pontiff, Gregory the Great, met in the markets of Rome. If they
were to be brought here and their pedigree concealed, they could readily
mingle with our population and marry white men, who would never suspect
that they were not pure Caucasians.

From the best knowledge I could obtain, the negroes in Hampton had
rarely been severely whipped. A locust-tree in front of the jail had
been used for a whipping-post, and they were very desirous that it
should be cut down. It was used, however, only for what are known
there as flagrant offences, like running away. Their masters, when in
ill-temper, had used rough language and inflicted chance blows, but no
one ever told me that he had suffered from systematic cruelty or been
severely whipped, except Joe, whose character I have given. Many of them
bore testimony to the great kindness of their masters and mistresses.

Separations of families had been frequent. Of this I obtained definite
knowledge. When I was registering the number of dependants, preparatory
to the requisition for rations, the answer occasionally was, "Yes, I
have a wife, but she is not here." "Where is she?" "She was sold off two
years ago, and I have not heard of her since." The husband of the woman
who took care of the quarters of General Pierce had been sold away from
her some years before. Such separations are regarded as death, and the
slaves re-marry. In some cases the bereft one--so an intelligent negro
assured me--pines under his bereavement and loses his value; but so
elastic is human nature that this did not appear to be generally the
case. The same answer was given about children,--that they had been sold
away. This, in a slave-breeding country, is done when they are about
eight years old. Can that be a mild system of servitude which permits
such enforced separations? Providence may, indeed, sunder forever those
dearest to each other, and the stricken soul accepts the blow as the
righteous discipline of a Higher Power; but when the bereavement is
the arbitrary dictate of human will, there are no such consolations to
sanctify grief and assuage agony.

There is a universal desire among the slaves to be free. Upon this point
my inquiries were particular, and always with the same result. When
we said to them, "You don't want to be free,--your masters say you
don't,"--they manifested much indignation, answering, "We do want to be
free,--we want to be for ourselves." We inquired further, "Do the house
slaves who wear their master's clothes want to be free?" "We never heard
of one who did not," was the instant reply. There might be, they said,
some half-crazy one who did not care to be free, but they had never seen
one. Even old men and women, with crooked backs, who could hardly walk
or see, shared the same feeling. An intelligent Secessionist, Lowry by
name, who was examined at head-quarters, admitted that a majority of the
slaves wanted to be free. The more intelligent the slave and the better
he had been used, the stronger this desire seemed to be. I remember one
such particularly, the most intelligent one in Hampton, known as "an,
influential darky" ("darky" being the familiar term applied by the
contrabands to themselves). He could read, was an exhorter in the
Church, and officiated in the absence of the minister. He would have
made a competent juryman. His mistress, he said, had been kind to him,
and had never spoken so harshly to him as a captain's orderly in the
Naval Brigade had done, who assumed one day to give him orders. She had
let him work where he pleased, and he was to bring her a fixed sum, and
appropriate the surplus to his own use. She pleaded with him to go away
with her from Hampton at the time of the exodus, but she would not force
him to leave his family. Still he hated to be a slave, and he talked
like a philosopher about his rights. No captive in the galleys of
Algiers, not Lafayette in an Austrian dungeon, ever pined more for free
air. He had saved eighteen hundred dollars of his surplus earnings in
attending on visitors at Old Point, and had spent it all in litigation
to secure the freedom of his wife and children, belonging to another
master, whose will had emancipated them, but was contested on the ground
of the insanity of the testator. He had won a verdict, but his lawyers
told him they could not obtain a judgment upon it, as the judge was
unfavorable to freedom.

The most frequent question asked of one who has had any means of
communication with the contrabands during the war is in relation to
their knowledge of its cause and purposes, and their interest in it. One
thing was evident,--indeed, you could not talk with a slave who did not
without prompting give the same testimony,--that their masters had been
most industrious in their attempts to persuade them that the Yankees
were coming down there only to get the land,--that they would kill the
negroes and manure the ground with them, or carry them off to Cuba or
Hayti and sell them. An intelligent man who had belonged to Colonel
Joseph Segar--almost the only Union man at heart in that region, and who
for that reason, being in Washington at the time the war began, had not
dared to return to Hampton--served the staff of General Pierce. He bore
the highest testimony to the kindness of his master, who, he said, told
him to remain,--that the Yankees were the friends of his people, and
would use them well. "But," said David,--for that was his name,--"I
never heard of any other master who talked that way, but they all told
the worst stories about the Yankees, and the mistresses were more
furious even than the masters." David, I may add, spite of his good
master, longed to be free.

The masters, in their desperation, had within a few months resorted
to another device to secure the loyalty of their slaves. The colored
Baptist minister had been something of a pet among the whites, and had
obtained subscriptions from some benevolent citizens to secure the
freedom of a handsome daughter of his who was exposed to sale on an
auction block, where her beauty inspired competition. Some leading
Secessionists, Lawyer Hope for one, working somewhat upon his gratitude
and somewhat upon his vanity, persuaded him to offer the services of
himself and his sons, in a published communication, to the cause of
Virginia and the Confederate States. The artifice did not succeed. He
lost his hold on his congregation, and could not have safely remained
after the whites left. He felt uneasy about his betrayal, and tried to
restore himself to favor by saying that he meant no harm to his people;
but his protestations were in vain. His was the deserved fate of those
in all ages who, victims of folly or bribes, turn their backs on their

Notwithstanding all these attempts, the negroes, with rare exceptions,
still believed that the Yankees were their friends. They had learned
something in Presidential elections, and they thought their masters
could not hate us as they did, unless we were their friends. They
believed that the troubles would somehow or other help them, although
they did not understand all that was going on. They may be pardoned
for their want of apprehension, when some of our public men, almost
venerable, and reputed to be very wise and philosophical, are bewildered
and grope blindly. They were somewhat perplexed by the contradictory
statements of our soldiers, some of whom, according to their wishes,
said the contest was for them, and others that it did not concern them
at all and they would remain as before. If it was explained to them,
that Lincoln was chosen by a party who were opposed to extending
slavery, but who were also opposed to interfering with it in
Virginia,--that Virginia and the South had rebelled, and we had come to
suppress the rebellion,--and although the object of the war was not to
emancipate them, yet that might be its result,--they answered, that they
understood the statement perfectly. They did not seem inclined to fight,
although willing to work. More could not be expected of them while
nothing is promised to them. What latent inspirations they may have
remains to be seen. They had at first a mysterious dread of fire-arms,
but familiarity is rapidly removing that.

The religious element of their life has been noticed. They said they
had prayed for this day, and God had sent Lincoln in answer to their
prayers. We used to overhear their family devotions, somewhat loud
according to their manner, in which they prayed earnestly for our
troops. They built their hopes of freedom on Scriptural examples,
regarding the deliverance of Daniel from the lions' den, and of the
Three Children from the furnace, as symbolic of their coming freedom.
One said to me, that masters, before they died, by their wills sometimes
freed their slaves, and he thought that a _type_ that they should become

One Saturday evening one of them asked me to call and see him at his
home the next morning. I did so, and he handed me a Bible belonging
to his mistress, who had died a few days before, and whose bier I had
helped to carry to the family vault. He wanted me to read to him the
eleventh chapter of Daniel. It seemed, that, as one of the means of
keeping them quiet, the white clergymen during the winter and spring
had read them some verses from it to show that the South would prevail,
enforcing passages which ascribed great dominion to "the king of the
South," and suppressing those which subsequently give the supremacy to
"the king of the North." A colored man who could read had found the
latter passages and made them known. The chapter is dark with mystery,
and my auditor, quite perplexed as I read on, remarked, "The Bible is a
very mysterious book." I read to him also the thirty-fourth chapter of
Jeremiah, wherein the sad prophet of Israel records the denunciations
by Jehovah of sword, pestilence, and famine against the Jews for not
proclaiming liberty to their servants and handmaids. He had not known
before that there were such passages in the Bible.

The conversations of the contrabands on their title to be regarded as
freemen showed reflection. When asked if they thought themselves fit for
freedom, and if the darkies were not lazy, their answer was, "Who
but the darkies cleared all the land round here? Yes, there are lazy
darkies, but there are more lazy whites." When told that the free blacks
had not succeeded, they answered that the free blacks have not had a
fair chance under the laws,--that they don't dare to enforce their
claims against white men,--that a free colored blacksmith had a thousand
dollars due to him from white men, but he was afraid to sue for any
portion of it. One man, when asked why he ought to be free, replied,--"I
feed and clothe myself and pay my master one hundred and twenty dollars
a year; and the one hundred and twenty dollars is just so much taken
from me, which ought to be used to make me and my children comfortable."
Indeed, broken as was their speech and limited as was their knowledge,
they reasoned abstractly on their rights as well as white men. Locke or
Channing might have fortified the argument for universal liberty from
their simple talk. So true is it that the best thoughts which the human
intellect has produced have come, not from affluent learning or ornate
speech, but from the original elements of our nature, common to all
races of men and all conditions in life; and genius the highest and most
cultured may bend with profit to catch the lowliest of human utterances.

There was a very general desire among the contrabands to know how to
read. A few had learned; and these, in every instance where we inquired
as to their teacher, had been taught on the sly in their childhood by
their white playmates. Others knew their letters, but could not "put
them together," as they said. I remember of a summer's afternoon seeing
a young married woman, perhaps twenty-five years old, seated on a
door-step with her primer before her, trying to make progress.

In natural tact and the faculty of getting a livelihood the contrabands
are inferior to the Yankees, but quite equal to the mass of the Southern
population. It is not easy to see why they would be less industrious, if
free, than the whites, particularly as they would have the encouragement
of wages. There would be transient difficulties at the outset, but no
more than a bad system lasting for ages might be expected to leave
behind. The first generation might be unfitted for the active duties and
responsibilities of citizenship; but this difficulty, under generous
provisions for education, would not pass to the next. Even now they are
not so much behind the masses of the whites. Of the Virginians who took
the oath of allegiance at Hampton, not more than one in fifteen could
write his name, and the rolls captured at Hatteras disclose an equally
deplorable ignorance. The contrabands might be less addicted than the
now dominant race to bowie-knives and duels, think less of the value
of bludgeons as forensic arguments, be less inhospitable to innocent
sojourners from Free States, and have far inferior skill in robbing
forts and arsenals, plundering the Treasury, and betraying the country
at whose crib they had fattened; but mankind would forgive them for not
acquiring these accomplishments of modern treason. As a race, they may
be less vigorous and thrifty than the Saxon, but they are more social,
docile, and affectionate, fulfilling the theory which Channing held in
relation to them, if advanced to freedom and civilization.

If in the progress of the war they should be called to bear arms, there
need be no reasonable apprehension that they would exhibit the ferocity
of savage races. Unlike such, they have been subordinated to civilized
life. They are by nature a religious people. They have received an
education in the Christian faith from devout teachers of their own and
of the dominant race. Some have been taught (let us believe it) by
the precepts of Christian masters, and some by the children of those
masters, repeating the lessons of the Sabbath-school. The slaveholders
assure us that they have all been well treated. If that be so, they have
no wrongs to avenge. Associated with our army, they would conform to
the stronger and more disciplined race. Nor is this view disproved by
servile insurrections. In those cases, the insurgents, without arms,
without allies, without discipline, but throwing themselves against
society, against government, against everything, saw no other escape
than to devastate and destroy without mercy in order to get a foothold.
If they exterminated, it was because extermination was threatened
against them. In the Revolution, in the army at Cambridge, from the
beginning to the close of the war, against the protests of South
Carolina by the voice of Edward Rutledge, but with the express sanction
of Washington,--ever just, ever grateful for patriotism, whencesoever
it came,--the negroes fought in the ranks with the white men, and they
never dishonored the patriot cause. So also at the defence of New
Orleans they received from General Jackson a noble tribute to their
fidelity and soldier-like bearing. Weighing the question historically
and reflectively, and anticipating the capture of Richmond and New
Orleans, there need be more serious apprehension of the conduct of
some of our own troops recruited in large cities than of a regiment of
contrabands officered and disciplined by white men.

But as events travel faster than laws or proclamations, already in
this war with Rebellion the two races have served together. The same
breastworks have been built by their common toil. True and valiant, they
stood side by side in the din of cannonade, and they shared as comrades
in the victory of Hatteras. History will not fail to record that on the
28th day of August, 1861, when the Rebel forts were bombarded by the
Federal army and navy, under the command of Major-General Butler and
Commodore Stringham, fourteen negroes, lately Virginia slaves, now
contraband of war, faithfully and without panic worked the after-gun of
the upper deck of the Minnesota, and hailed with a victor's pride the
Stars and Stripes as they again waved on the soil of the Carolinas.


  Along a river-side, I know not where,
  I walked last night in mystery of dream;
  A chill creeps curdling yet beneath my hair,
  To think what chanced me by the pallid gleam
  Of a moon-wraith that waned through haunted air.

  Pale fire-flies pulsed within the meadow mist
  Their halos, wavering thistle-downs of light;
  The loon, that seemed to mock some goblin tryst,
  Laughed; and the echoes, huddling in affright,
  Like Odin's hounds, fled baying down the night.

  Then all was silent, till there smote my ear
  A movement in the stream that checked my breath:
  Was it the slow plash of a wading deer?
  But something said, "This water is of Death!
  The Sisters wash a Shroud,--ill thing to hear!"

  I, looking then, beheld the ancient Three,
  Known to the Greek's and to the Norseman's creed,
  That sit in shadow of the mystic Tree,
  Still crooning, as they weave their endless brede,
  One song: "Time was, Time is, and Time shall be."

  No wrinkled crones were they, as I had deemed,
  But fair as yesterday, to-day, to-morrow,
  To mourner, lover, poet, ever seemed;
  Something too deep for joy, too high for sorrow,
  Thrilled in their tones and from their faces gleamed.

  "Still men and nations reap as they have strawn,"--
  So sang they, working at their task the while,--
  "The fatal raiment must be cleansed ere dawn:
  For Austria? Italy? the Sea-Queen's Isle?
  O'er what quenched grandeur must our shroud be drawn?

  "Or is it for a younger, fairer corse,
  That gathered States for children round his knees,
  That tamed the wave to be his posting-horse,
  The forest-feller, linker of the seas,
  Bridge-builder, hammerer, youngest son of Thor's?

  "What make we, murmur'st thou, and what are we?
  When empires must be wound, we bring the shroud,
  The time-old web of the implacable Three:
  Is it too coarse for him, the young and proud?
  Earth's mightiest deigned to wear it; why not he?"

  "Is there no hope?" I moaned. "So strong, so fair!
  Our Fowler, whose proud bird would brook erewhile
  No rival's swoop in all our western air!
  Gather the ravens, then, in funeral file,
  For him, life's morn-gold bright yet in his hair?

  "Leave me not hopeless, ye unpitying dames!
  I see, half-seeing. Tell me, ye who scanned
  The stars, Earth's elders, still must noblest aims
  Be traced upon oblivious ocean-sands?
  Must Hesper join the wailing ghosts of names?"

  "When grass-blades stiffen with red battle-dew,
  Ye deem we choose the victors and the slain:
  Say, choose we them that shall be leal and true
  To the heart's longing, the high faith of brain?
  Yet here the victory is, if ye but knew.

  "Three roots bear up Dominion: Knowledge, Will,--
  These two are strong, but stronger yet the third,--
  Obedience, the great tap-root, that still,
  Knit round the rock of Duty, is not stirred,
  Though the storm's ploughshare spend its utmost skill.

  "Is the doom sealed for Hesper? 'T is not we
  Denounce it, but the Law before all time:
  The brave makes danger opportunity;
  The waverer, paltering with the chance sublime,
  Dwarfs it to peril: which shall Hesper be?

  "Hath he let vultures climb his eagle's seat
  To make Jove's bolts purveyors of their maw?
  Hath he the Many's plaudits found more sweet
  Than wisdom? held Opinion's wind for law?
  Then let him hearken for the headsman's feet!

  "Rough are the steps, slow-hewn in flintiest rock,
  States climb to power by; slippery those with gold
  Down which they stumble to eternal mock:
  No chafferer's hand shall long the sceptre hold,
  Who, given a Fate to shape, would sell the block.

  "We sing old sagas, songs of weal and woe,
  Mystic because too cheaply understood;
  Dark sayings are not ours; men hear and know,
  See Evil weak, see only strong the Good,
  Yet hope to balk Doom's fire with walls of tow.

  "Time Was unlocks the riddle of Time Is,
  That offers choice of glory and of gloom;
  The solver makes Time Shall Be surely his.--
  But hasten, Sisters! for even now the tomb
  Grates its slow hinge and calls from the abyss."

  "But not for him," I cried, "not yet for him,
  Whose large horizon, westering, star by star
  Wins from the void to where on ocean's rim
  The sunset shuts the world with golden bar,--
  Not yet his thews shall fail, his eye grow dim!

  "His shall be larger manhood, saved for those
  That walk unblenching through the trial-fires;
  Not suffering, but faint heart is worst of woes,
  And he no base-born son of craven sires,
  Whose eye need droop, confronted with his foes.

  "Tears may be ours, but proud, for those who win
  Death's royal purple in the enemy's lines:
  Peace, too, brings tears; and 'mid the battle-din,
  The wiser ear some text of God divines;
  For the sheathed blade may rust with darker sin.

  "God, give us peace!--not such as lulls to sleep,
  But sword on thigh, and brow with purpose knit!
  And let our Ship of State to harbor sweep,
  Her ports all up, her battle-lanterns lit,
  And her leashed thunders gathering for their leap!"

  So said I, with clenched hands and passionate pain,
  Thinking of dear ones by Potomac's side:
  Again the loon laughed, mocking; and again
  The echoes bayed far down the night, and died,
  While waking I recalled my wandering brain.

       *       *       *       *       *


_Sermons preached in the Chapel of Harvard College._ By JAMES WALKER,
D.D. Boston: Ticknor & Fields. 12mo.

The great reputation which Dr. Walker has long enjoyed, as one of the
most impressive pulpit orators of the country, will suffer little
diminution by the publication of these specimens of his rare powers of
statement, argument, and illustration. To the general reader, they are,
to be sure, deprived of the fascination of his voice and manner; but
as the peculiarities of his elocution have their source in the
peculiarities of his mental and moral organization, it will be found
that the style and structure of these printed sermons suggest the mule
of their delivery, which is simply the emphatic utterance of emphatic
thought. The Italicized words, with which the volume abounds, palpably
mark the results of thinking, and arrest attention because they are not
less emphasized by the intellect than by the type. In reflecting Dr.
Walker's mind, the work at the same time reflects his manner.

Every reader of these sermons will be struck by their thorough
reasonableness,--a reasonableness which does not exclude, but includes,
the deepest and warmest religious sensibility. Moral and religious
feeling pervades every statement; but the feeling is still confined
within a flexible framework of argument, which, while it enlarges with
every access of emotion, is always an outlying boundary of thought,
beyond which passion does not pass. Light continually asserts itself as
more comprehensive in its reach than heat; and the noblest spiritual
instincts and impulses are never allowed unchecked expression as
sentiments, but have to submit to the restraints imposed by principles.
Even in the remarkable sermon entitled, "The Heart more than the Head,"
it will be found that it is the head which legitimates the action of
the heart. The sentiments are exalted above the intellect by a process
purely intellectual, and the inferiority of the reason is shown to be
a principle essentially reasonable. Thus, throughout the volume, the
author's mental insight into the complex phenomena of our spiritual
nature is always accompanied by a mental oversight of its actual and
possible aberrations. A sound, large, "round-about" common sense, keen,
eager, vigilant, sagacious, encompasses all the emotional elements of
his thought. He has a subtile sense of mystery, but he is not a mystic.
The most marvellous workings of the Divine Spirit he apprehends under
the conditions of Law, and even in the raptures of devotion he never
forgets the relation of cause and effect.

The style of these sermons is what might be expected from the character
of the mind it expresses. If Dr. Walker were not a thinker, it is plain
that he could never have been a rhetorician. He has no power at all as
a writer, if writing be considered an accomplishment which can be
separated from earnest thinking. Words are, with him, the mere
instruments for the expression of things; and he hits on felicitous
words only under that impatient stress of thought which demands exact
expression for definite ideas. All his words, simple as they are, are
therefore fairly earned, and he gives to them a force and significance
which they do not bear in the dictionary. The mind of the writer is felt
beating and burning beneath his phraseology, stamping every word with
the image of a thought. Largeness of intellect, acute discrimination,
clear and explicit statement, masterly arrangement of matter, an
unmistakable performance of the real business of expression,--these
qualities make every reader of the sermons conscious that a mind of
great vigor, breadth, and pungency is brought into direct contact
with his own. The almost ostentatious absence of "fine writing" only
increases the effect of the plain and sinewy words.

If we pass from the form to the substance of Dr. Walker's teachings, we
shall find that his sermons are especially characterized by practical
wisdom. A scholar, a moralist, a metaphysician, a theologian, learned
in all the lore and trained in the best methods of the schools, he is
distinguished from most scholars by his broad grasp of every-day life.
It is this quality which has given him his wide influence as a preacher,
and this is a prominent charm of his printed sermons. He brings
principles to the test of facts, and connects thoughts with things. The
conscience which can easily elude the threats, the monitions, and the
appeals of ordinary sermonizers, finds itself mastered by his mingled
fervor, logic, and practical knowledge. Every sermon in the present
volume is good for use, and furnishes both inducements and aids to the
formation of manly Christian character. There is much, of course, to
lift the depressed and inspire the weak; but the great peculiarity of
the discourses is the resolute energy with which they grapple with the
worldliness and sin of the proud and the strong.

_The Monks of the West, from St. Benedict to St. Bernard_. By the COUNT
DE MONTALEMBERT, Member of the French Academy. Authorized Translation.
Volumes I. and II. Edinburgh and London: W. Blackwood & Sons. 1861. 8vo.
pp. xii. and 515, 549.

These volumes form the first instalment of a work in which one of the
great lights of the Romish Church in our day proposes to recount the
glories of Western Monasticism, and to narrate the lives of some of the
remarkable men who successively passed from the cloister to the Papal
throne, or in positions scarcely less conspicuous permanently affected
the history of the Church. His original design, however, does not appear
to have extended beyond writing the life of St. Bernard of Clairvaux,
which he intended to make in some measure a complement to his life of
St. Elizabeth of Hungary. But he judged rightly, that, in order to
exhibit the character and influence of that remarkable man under all
their various aspects, it was needful at the outset to retrace the early
history of monastic institutions in the West, and to show how far
they tended to prepare the way for such a man. Only a part of this
preliminary task has been accomplished as yet; but enough has been done
to show in what spirit the historian has approached his subject, how
thoroughly he has explored the original sources of information, and
what will probably be the real worth of his labors. For such a
work Montalembert possesses adequate and in some respects peculiar
qualifications. His learning, eloquence, and candor will be conceded by
every one who is familiar with his previous writings or with his public
life; and at the same time he unites a passionate love of liberty,
everywhere apparent in his book, with a zeal for the Church, worthy of
any of the monks whom he commemorates. While his narrative is always
animated and picturesque, and often rises into passages of fervid
eloquence, he has conducted his researches with the unwearied
perseverance of a mere antiquary, and has exhausted every source of
information. "Every word which I have written," he says, "has been drawn
from original and contemporary sources; and if I have quoted facts
or expressions from second-hand authors, it has never been without
attentively verifying the original or completing the text. A single
date, quotation, or note, apparently insignificant, has often cost me
hours and sometimes days of labor. I have never contented myself with
being approximately right, nor resigned myself to doubt until every
chance of arriving at certainty was exhausted." To the spirit and temper
in which the book is written no well-founded exception can be taken; but
considerable abatement must be made from the author's estimate of
the services rendered by the monks to Christian civilization, and no
Protestant will accept his views as to the permanent worth of monastic
institutions. With this qualification, and with some allowance for
needless repetitions, we cannot but regard his work as a most attractive
and eloquent contribution to ecclesiastical history.

About half of the first volume is devoted to a General Introduction,
explanatory of the origin and design of the work, but mainly intended to
paint the character of monastic institutions, to describe the happiness
of a religious life, and to examine the charges brought against the
monks. These topics are considered in ten chapters, filled with curious
details, and written with an eloquence and an earnestness which it is
difficult for the reader to resist. Following this we have a short and
brilliant sketch of the social and political condition of the Roman
Empire after the conversion of Constantine, exhibiting by a few masterly
touches its wide-spread corruption, the feebleness of its rulers, and
the utter degradation of the people. The next two books treat of the
Monastic Precursors in the East as well as in the West, and present a
series of brief biographical sketches of the most famous monks, from
St. Anthony, the father of Eastern monasticism, to St. Benedict,
the earliest legislator for the monasteries of the West. Among the
illustrious men who pass before us in this review, and all of whom are
skilfully delineated, are Basil of Caesarea and his friend Gregory
Nazianzen, Chrysostom, Jerome, Augustine, Athanasius, Martin of Tours,
and the numerous company of saints and doctors nurtured in the great
monastery of Lerins. And though an account of the saintly women who have
led lives of seclusion would scarcely seem to be included under the
title of Montalembert's work, he does not neglect to add sketches of the
most conspicuous of them,--Euphrosyne, Pelagia, Marcella, Furia, and
others. These preliminary sketches fill the last half of the first

The Fourth Book comprises an account of the Life and Rule of St.
Benedict, and properly opens the history which Montalembert proposes
to narrate. It presents a sufficiently minute sketch of the personal
history of Benedict and his immediate followers; but its chief merit is
in its very ample and satisfactory exposition of the Benedictine Rule.
The next book traces the history of monastic institutions in Italy and
Spain during the sixth and seventh centuries, and includes biographical
notices of Cassiodorus, the founder of the once famous monastery of
Viviers in Calabria, of St. Gregory the Great, of Leander, Bishop of
Seville, and his brother Isidore, of Ildefonso of Toledo, and of many
others of scarcely less renown in the early monastic records. The Sixth
Book is devoted to the monks under the first Merovingians, and is
divided into five sections, treating respectively of the conquest
of Gaul by the Franks, of the arrival of St. Maur in Anjou and the
propagation of the Benedictine rule there, of the relations previously
existing between the monks and the Merovingians, of St. Radegund and her
followers, and of the services of the monks in clearing the forests
and opening the way for the advance of civilization. The Seventh Book
records the life of St. Columbanus, and describes at much length his
labors in Gaul, as well as those of his disciples, both in the great
monastery of Luxeuil and in the numerous colonies which issued from it
and spread over the whole neighborhood, bringing the narrative down
to the close of the seventh century. At this point the portion of
Montalembert's work now published terminates, leaving, we presume,
several additional volumes to follow. For their appearance we shall look
with much interest. If the remainder is executed in the same spirit as
the portion now before us, and is marked by the same diligent study of
the original authorities and the same persuasive eloquence, it will form
one of the most valuable of the many attractive monographs which we
owe to the French historians of our time, and will be read with equal
interest by Catholics and Protestants.

_Eighty Years' Progress of the United States, showing the Various
Channels of Industry and Education through which the People of the
United States have arisen from a British Colony to their Present
National Importance_. Illustrated with over Two Hundred Engravings. New
York: 51 John Street. Worcester: L. Stebbins. Two Volumes. 8vo.

A vast amount of useful information is treasured up in these two
national volumes. Agriculture, commerce and trade, the cultivation of
cotton, education, the arts of design, banking, mining, steam, the
fur-trade, etc., are subjects of interest everywhere, and the present
writers seem to be specially competent for the task they have assumed.
If the household library should possess such books more frequently, less
ignorance would prevail on topics concerning which every American ought
to be well-informed. Woful silence usually prevails when a foreigner
asks for statistics on any point connected with our industrial progress,
and very few take the trouble to get at facts which are easy enough
to be had with a little painstaking. We are glad to see so much good
material brought together as we find in these two well-filled volumes.

_Electro-Physiology and Electro-Therapeutics: Showing the Rules and
Methods for the Employment of Galvanism in Nervous Diseases_, etc.
Second Edition, with Additions. Boston: Ticknor & Fields. 1861.

At a time when the partition-wall between Jew and Gentile of the medical
world is pretty thoroughly breached, if not thrown down, and quackery
and imposture are tolerated as necessary evils, it is agreeable to meet
with a real work of science, emanating from the labors of a regular
physician, concerning the influences exerted by electricity on the human
body, both in health and disease.

Electricity is one of the great powers of Nature, pervading all matter,
existing in all mineral, vegetable, and animal bodies, not only acting
in the combinations of the elements and molecules, but also serving as a
means for their separation from each other. This imponderable fluid or
power, whatever it may be, whether one or two, or a polarization of one
force into the states + and -, is one of the most active agencies known
to man, and although not capable of being weighed in the balance, is not
found wanting anywhere in Nature. It courses in great currents beneath
our feet, in the solid rocks of the earth, penetrating to the very
interior of the globe, while it also rushes through our atmosphere in
lurid flashes, and startles us with the crash and roar of heaven's
artillery. It gives magnetic polarity to the earth, and directs the
needle by its influence; for magnetic attraction is only an effect of
the earth's thermo-electricity, excited by the sun's rays acting in
a continuous course. Both animal and vegetable life are dependent on
electric forces for their development; and many of their functions,
directly or indirectly, result from their agency.

If this force controls to a great degree the living functions of our
organs in their healthy action, it must be that it is concerned in those
derangements and lesions which constitute disease and abnormal actions
or disorders. It must have a remedial and the opposite effect, according
as it is applied.

Is such a gigantic power to be left in the hands of charlatans, or shall
it be reserved for application by scientific physicians? This is a
question we must meet and answer practically.

It may be asked why a force of this nature has been so long neglected by
practising physicians. The answer is very simple, and will be recognized
as true by all middle-aged physicians in this country.

For the past fifty years it has been customary to state in lectures in
our medical colleges, that "chemistry has nothing to do with medicine";
and since our teachers knew nothing of the subject themselves, they
denounced such knowledge as unnecessary to the physician. Electricity,
the great moving power in all chemical actions, shared the fate of
chemistry in general, and met with condemnation without trial. A young
physician did not dare to meddle with chemicals or with any branch of
natural or experimental science for fear of losing his chance of medical
employment by sinking the doctor among his gallipots.

Electricity, thus neglected, fell into the hands of irregular
practitioners, and was as often used injuriously as beneficially, and
more frequently without any effect. The absurd pretensions of galvanic
baths for the extraction of mercury from the system will be remembered
by most of our citizens, and the shocking practice of others is not

It was therefore earnestly desired by medical practitioners who
themselves were not by education competent to manage electric and
galvanic machinery, that some medical man of good standing, who had
made a special study of this subject, should undertake the treatment of
diseases requiring the use of electricity. Dr. Garratt was induced
to undertake this important duty, and he has prepared a work on this
practice which embraces all that has appeared in the writings of others,
both in this country and Europe, while he has, from his own researches
and rich experience, added much new matter of great practical value.
Among his original contributions we note,--

1st. A definite, systematic method for the application of Galvanic and
Faradaic currents of electricity to the human organism, for curing or
aiding in the cure of given classes of diseases. (See pages 475, 479,
and 669 to 706; also Chap. 5, p. 280.)

2d. Improvements in the methods of applying electricity, as stated on
pages 293 to 296, and 300, 329, and 332, which we have not room to copy.

3d. He has introduced the term Faradaic current to represent the induced
current, first discovered by Professor Henry, and so much extended in
application by Faraday.

4th. The determination of several definite points in sentient and
mixed nerves, often the seats of neuralgic pain,--thus correcting Dr.
Valleix's painful points.

5th. The treatment of uterine, and some other female disorders, by means
of the induced galvanic current (pages 612 to 621).

A careful examination of this book shows it to contain a very full
_résumé_ of the best which have been written on the subjects embraced
under the medical applications of electricity in its various modes of
development, and a careful analysis of the doctrines of others; while
the author has given frankly an account of cases in which he has failed,
as of those in which he has been successful. He does not offer electric
treatment as a panacea for "all the ills which flesh is heir to," but
shows how far and in what cases it proves beneficial. He has shown that
there is a right and a wrong way of operating, and that mischief may be
done by an unskilful hand, while one who is well qualified by scientific
knowledge and practical experience may do much good, and in many
diseases,--more especially in those of the nerves, such as neuralgia
and partial paralysis, in which remarkable cures have been effected. We
commend this work to the attention of medical gentlemen, and especially
to students of medicine who wish to be posted up in the novel methods
of treating diseases. It is also a book which all scientific men may
consult with advantage, and which will gratify the curiosity of the
general scholar.

_Memoir of Edward Forbes, F.R.S., Late Regius Professor of Natural
History in the University of Edinburgh_. By GEORGE WILSON, M.D.,
F.R.S.E., and ARCHIBALD GEIKIE, F.R.S.E., etc. Cambridge and London:
MacMillan & Co.

Dr. Wilson did not live to finish the memoir which he so ably began.
The great naturalist, Edward Forbes, deserved the best from his
contemporaries, and we are glad to have the combined labors of such
distinguished men as Wilson and Geikie put forth in commemoration of
him. The chair of Natural History at Edinburgh was honored by him
whose biography is now before us. His advent to that eminent post was
everywhere hailed with a unanimity that augured well for his career, and
no one could have been chosen to succeed the illustrious Jameson for
whom there could have been more enthusiasm. His admitted genius and the
range of his acquirements fully entitled him to the office, and all who
know him looked forward to brilliant accomplishments in his varied paths
of science. Death closed the brief years of this earnest student at the
early age of thirty-nine. Cut off in the prime of his days, with his
powers and purposes but partially unfolded, he yet shows grandly among
the best men of his time.



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Eighty Years' Progress of the United States, showing the Various
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