Home
  By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon


We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 08, No. 50, December, 1861
Author: Various
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 08, No. 50, December, 1861" ***

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



THE ATLANTIC MONTHLY.

A MAGAZINE OF LITERATURE, ART, AND POLITICS.

VOL. VIII--DECEMBER, 1861.--NO. L.



THE HOME OF LAFAYETTE.


After General Lafayette's visit to the United States, in 1824, every
American who went to France went with a firm conviction that he had
a right to take as much as he chose of the old gentleman's time and
hospitality, at his own estimate of their value. Fortunately, the number
of travellers was not great in those days, although a week seldom passed
without bringing two or three new faces to the Rue d'Anjou or La Grange.
It was well both for the purse and the patience of the kind-hearted old
man that ocean steamers were still a doubtful problem, and first-class
packets rarely over five hundred tons.

It could hardly be expected that a boy of sixteen should have more
discretion than his elders; and following the universal example of my
countrymen, the first use that I made of a Parisian cabriolet was to
drive to No. 6, Rue d'Anjou. The _porte cochère_ was open, and the
porter in his lodge,--a brisk little Frenchman, somewhat past middle
age, with just bows enough to prove his nationality, and very expressive
gestures, which I understood much better than I did his words; for they
said, or seemed to say,--"The General is out, and I will take charge
of your letter and card." There was nothing else for me to do, and
so, handing over my credentials, I gave the rest of the morning to
sightseeing, and, being a novice at it and alone, soon got tired and
returned to my hotel.

I don't know how that hotel would look to me now; but to my untrained
eyes of that day it looked wonderfully fine. I liked the name,--the
Petit Hôtel Montmorenci,--for I knew enough of French history to know
that Montmorenci had always been a great name in France. Then it was the
favorite resort of Americans; and although I was learning the phrases
in Blagdon as fast as I could, I still found English by far the most
agreeable means of communication for everything beyond an appeal to the
waiter for more wood or a clean towel. Table d'Hôte, too, brought us
all together, with an abundant, if not a rich, harvest of personal
experiences gathered during the day from every quarter of the teeming
city. Bradford was there with his handsome face and fine figure,--an old
resident, as it then seemed to me; for he had been abroad two years, and
could speak what sounded to my ears as French-like as any French I had
ever heard. Poor fellow! scarce three years had passed when he laid him
down to his last sleep in a convent of Jerusalem, without a friend to
smooth his pillow or listen to his last wishes. Of most of the others
the names have escaped me; but I shall never forget how wide I opened
my eyes, one evening, at the assertion of a new-comer, that he had done
more for the enlightenment of France than any man living or dead. The
incomparable gravity with which the assertion was made drew every eye to
the speaker, who, after enjoying our astonishment for a while, told us
that he had been the first to send out a whaler from Havre, and had
secured almost a monopoly of the oil-trade. Some years afterwards I made
a passage with his brother, and learned from him the history of
this Yankee enterprise, which had filled two capacious purses, and
substituted the harpoon for the pruning-knife, the whale-ship for the
olive-orchard, in the very stronghold of the emblem of peace; and now
the collier with his pickaxe has driven them both from the field. But
the Petit Hotel Montmorenci did not wait for the change. Its broad court
was never enlivened by gas. Its tables and mantels were decked to the
last hour with the alabaster whiteness of those pure wax tapers which
shed such a soft light upon your book, and grew up into such formidable
items in your bills. A long passage--one of those luxuries of rainy,
muddy Paris, lined with stores that you cannot help lingering over, if
for nothing else, to wonder at the fertility of the human brain when it
makes itself the willing minister of human caprice--covers the whole
space which the hotel stood on, and unites the Neuve St. Marc with the
once distant Boulevard.

As I passed the porter's lodge, he handed me a letter. The hand was one
that I had never seen before; the address was in French; and the seal,
red wax thinly spread, but something which had been put on it before it
was cool had entirely effaced the impress: as I afterwards learned, it
was the profile of Washington. I opened it, and judge my surprise and
delight on reading the following words:--

"Paris, Thursday.

"I am very sorry not to have had the pleasure to see you when you have
called this morning, my dear Sir. My stay in town will be short. But you
will find me to-morrow from nine in the morning until twelve. I hope we
shall see you soon at La Grange, which I beg of you to consider as
your home, being that of your grandfather's most intimate friend and
brother-in-arms.

"LAFAYETTE."

It was nearly eleven when I reached the Rue d'Anjou and began for
the first time to mount the broad stairway of a Parisian palace. The
General's apartments were on the entresol, with a separate staircase
from the first landing of the principal one; for his lameness made
it difficult for him to go up-stairs, and the entresol, a half-story
between the ground floor and the first story, when, as was the case
here, high enough in the ceiling, is one of the freest and pleasantest
parts of a French house. His apartments comprised five rooms on a
line,--an antechamber, a dining-room, two parlors, and a bed-room,
with windows on the street,--and the same number of smaller rooms on a
parallel line, with their windows on the court-yard, which served for
his secretary and servants. The furniture throughout was neat and plain:
the usual comfortable arm-chairs and sofas, the indispensable clock and
mirror over the mantelpiece, and in each fireplace a cheerful wood-fire.
There were two or three servants in the antechamber, well-dressed, but
not in livery; and in the parlor, into which I was shown on handing my
card, two or three persons waiting for an audience. Fortunately for me,
they were there on business, and the business was soon despatched; and
passing, in turn, into the reception parlor, I found myself in the
presence of the friend of Washington and my grandfather.

He received me so cordially, with such kind inquiries into the object
and cause of my journey, such a fatherly interest in my plans and aims,
such an earnest repetition of the invitation he had given me in his note
to look upon La Grange as my home, that I felt at once that I was no
longer without a guide and protector in a foreign land. It was some time
before I could observe him closely enough to get a just idea of his
appearance; for I had never before been consciously in the presence of
a man who had filled so many pages of real history, and of the history
which above all others I was most interested in. I felt as if a veil had
been suddenly lifted, and the great men I had read of and dreamed of
were passing before me. There were the features which, though changed,
had so often called up a smile of welcome to the lips of Washington;
there was the man who had shared with my grandfather the perils of the
Brandywine and Monmouth, the long winter encampment, and the wearisome
summer march; the man whom Napoleon had tried all the fascinations of
his art upon, and failed to lure him from his devotion to the cause of
freedom; whom Marat and Robespierre had marked out for destruction, and
kings and emperors leagued against in hatred and fear. It was more like
a dream than a reality, and for the first twenty minutes I was almost
afraid to stir for fear I might wake up and find the vision gone. But
when I began to look at him as a being of real flesh and blood, I found
that Ary Scheffer's portrait had not deceived me. Features, expression,
carriage, all were just as it had taught me to expect them, and it
seemed to me as if I had always known him. The moment I felt this I
began to feel at my ease; and though I never entirely lost the feeling
that I had a living chapter of history before me, I soon learned to look
upon him as a father.

As I was rising to go, a lady entered the room, and, without waiting for
an introduction, held out her hand so cordially that I knew it must be
one of his daughters. It was Madame de Lasteyrie, who, like her mother
and sister, had shared his dungeon at Olmütz. Her English, though
perfectly intelligible, was not as fluent as her father's, but she had
no difficulty in saying some pleasant things about family friendship
which made me very happy. She lived in the same street, though not in
the same house with the General, and that morning my good-fortune had
brought the whole family together at No. 6.

The occasion was a singular one. One of those heartless speculators to
whom our Government has too often given free scope among the Indian
tribes of our borders had brought to France a party of Osages, on
an embassy, as he gave them to understand, but in reality with the
intention of exhibiting them, very much as Van Amburgh exhibits his wild
beasts. General Lafayette was determined, if possible, to counteract
this abominable scheme; but as, unfortunately, there was no one who
could interpret for him but the speculator himself, he found it
difficult to make the poor Indians understand their real position. He
had already seen and talked with them, and was feeling very badly at not
being able to do more. This morning he was to receive them at his house,
and his own family, with one or two personal friends, had been invited
to witness the interview.

Madame de Lasteyrie was soon followed by her daughters, and in a few
moments I found myself shaking some very pretty hands, and smiled upon
by some very pretty faces. It was something of a trial for one who had
never been in a full drawing-room in his life, and whom Nature had
predestined to _mauvaise honte_ to the end of his days. Still I made the
best of it, and as there is nothing so dreadful, after all, in a bright
eye and rosy lip, and the General's invitation to look upon his house as
my home was so evidently to be taken in its literal interpretation, I
soon began to feel at my ease.

The rooms gradually filled. Madame de Maubourg came in soon after her
sister, and, as I was talking to one of the young ladies, a gentleman
with a countenance not altogether unlike the General's, though nearly
bald, and with what was left of his hair perfectly gray, came up and
introduced himself to me as George Lafayette. It was the last link in
the chain. The last letter that my grandfather ever wrote to General
Lafayette had been about a project which they had formed at the close
of the war, to bring up their sons--"the two George Washingtons"
--together; and as soon after General Greene's death as the necessary
arrangement could be made, my poor uncle was sent to France and placed
under the General's care. It was of him that General Washington had
written to Colonel Wadsworth, "But should it turn out differently, and
Mrs. Greene, yourself, and Mr. Rutledge" (General Greene's executors)
"should think proper to intrust my namesake, G.W. Greene, to my care,
I will give him as good an education as this country (I mean North
America) will afford, and will bring him up to either of the genteel
professions that his friends may choose or his own inclination shall
lead him to pursue, at my own cost and charge." "He is a lively boy,"
wrote General Knox to Washington, on returning from putting him on board
the French packet, "and, with a good education, will probably be an
honor to the name of his father and the pride of his friends."

I may be pardoned for dwelling a moment on the scanty memorials of one
whose name is often mentioned in the letters of Washington, and whose
early promise awakened the fondest expectations. He was a beautiful boy,
if the exquisite little miniature before me may be trusted, blending
sweetly the more characteristic traits of his father and mother in his
face, in a way that must have made him very dear to both. With the
officers and soldiers he was a great favorite, and it cost his father a
hard effort to deny himself the gratification of having him always with
him at camp during the winter. But the sense of paternal duty prevailed,
and as soon as he was thought old enough to profit by it, he was put
under the charge of Dr. Witherspoon at Princeton. "I cannot omit
informing you," writes General Washington, in 1783, "that I let no
opportunity slip to inquire after your son George at Princeton, and
that it is with pleasure I hear he enjoys good health, and is a fine,
promising boy." He remained in France till 1792, when his mother's
anxiety for his safety overcame her desire for the completion of his
studies, and she wrote to Gouverneur Morris, who was then in France, to
send him home. "Mr. Jefferson," reads the autograph before me, "presents
his most respectful compliments to Mrs. Greene, and will with great
pleasure write to Mr. Morris on the subject of her son's return,
forwarding her letter at the same time. He thinks Mrs. Greene concluded
that he should return by the way of London. If he is mistaken, she will
be so good as to correct him, as his letter to Mr. Morris will otherwise
be on that supposition." He returned a large, vigorous, athletic man,
full of the scenes he had witnessed, and ready to engage in active life
with the ardor of his age and the high hopes which his name authorized;
for it was in the days of Washington and Hamilton and Knox, men who
extended to the son the love they had borne to the father. But his first
winter was to be given to his home, to his mother and sisters; and
there, while pursuing too eagerly his favorite sport of duck-shooting
from a canoe on the Savannah, his boat was overset, and, though his
companion escaped by clinging to the canoe, he was borne down by the
weight of his accoutrements and drowned. The next day the body was
recovered, and the vault which but six years before had prematurely
opened its doors to receive the remains of the father was opened again
for the son. Not long after, his family removed to Cumberland Island and
ceased to look upon Savannah as their burial-place; and when, for the
first time, after the lapse of more than thirty years, and at the
approach of Lafayette on his last memorable visit to the United States,
a people awoke from their lethargy and asked where the bones of the hero
of the South had been laid, there was no one to point out their
resting-place. Happy, if what the poet tells us be true, and "still in our
ashes live their wonted fires," that they have long since mingled
irrevocably with the soil of the land that he saved, and can never become
associated with a movement that has been disgraced by the vile flag of
Secession!

But to return to the Rue d'Anjou. A loud noise in the street announced
the approach of the Indians, whose appearance in an open carriage had
drawn together a dense crowd of sight-loving Parisians; and in a few
moments they entered, decked out in characteristic finery, but without
any of that natural grace and dignity which I had been taught to look
for in the natives of the forest. The General received them with the
dignified affability which was the distinctive characteristic of his
manner under all circumstances; and although there was nothing in the
occasion to justify it, I could not help recalling Madame de Staël's
comment upon his appearance at Versailles, on the fearful fifth of
October:--"M. de la Fayette was perfectly calm; nobody ever saw him
otherwise." Withdrawing with them into an inner room, he did his best,
as he afterwards told me, to prevail upon them to return home, though
not without serious doubts of the honesty of their interpreter. It was
while this private conference was going on that I got my first sight of
Cooper,--completing my morning's experience by exchanging a few words
with the man, of all others among my countrymen, whom I had most wished
to know. Meanwhile the table in the dining-room was spread with cakes
and preserves, and before the company withdrew, they had a good
opportunity of convincing themselves, that, if the American Indian had
made but little progress in the other arts of civilization, he had
attained to a full appreciation of the virtues of sweetmeats and pastry.

I cannot close this portion of my story without relating my second
interview with my aboriginal countrymen, not quite so satisfactory as
the first, but at least with its amusing, or rather its laughable side.
I was living in Siena, a quiet old Tuscan town, with barely fifteen
thousand inhabitants to occupy a circuit of wall that had once held
fifty,--but with all the remains of its former greatness about it, noble
palaces, a cathedral second in beauty to that of Milan alone, churches
filled with fine pictures, an excellent public library, (God's blessing
be upon it, for it was in one of its dreamy alcoves that I first read
Dante,) a good opera in the summer, and good society all the year round.
Month was gliding after month in happy succession. I had dropped readily
into the tranquil round of the daily life, had formed many acquaintances
and two or three intimate ones, and, though reminded from time to time
of the General by a paternal letter, had altogether forgotten the
specimens of the children of the forest whom I had seen under his roof.
One evening--I do not remember the month, though I think it was late in
the autumn--I had made up my mind to stay at home and study, and was
just sitting down to my books, when a friend came in with the air of a
man who had something very interesting to say.

"Quick, quick! shut your book, and come with me to the theatre."

"Impossible! I'm tired, and, moreover, have something to do which I must
do to-night."

"To-morrow night will do just as well for that, but not for the
theatre."

"Why?"

"Because there are some of your countrymen here who are going to be
exhibited on the stage, and the Countess P---- and all your friends want
you to come and interpret for them."

"Infinitely obliged. And pray, what do you mean by saying that some of
my countrymen are to be exhibited on the stage? Do you take Americans
for mountebanks?"

"No, I don't mean that; but it is just as I tell you. Some Americans
will appear on the stage to-night and make a speech in American, and you
must come and explain it to us."

I must confess, that, at first, my dignity was a little hurt at the idea
of an exhibition of Americans; but a moment's reflection convinced me
that I had no grounds for offence, and all of a sudden it occurred to
me that the "Americans" might be my friends of the Rue d'Anjou, whose
"guide and interpreter," though hardly their "friend," had got them
down as far as Siena on the general embassy. I was resolved to see, and
accordingly exchanging my dressing-gown and slippers for a dress-box
costume, I accompanied my friend to the theatre. My appearance at the
pit-door was the signal for nods and beckonings from a dozen boxes; but
as no one could dispute the superior claims of the Countess P----, I soon
found myself seated in the front of her Ladyship's box, and the chief
object of attention till the curtain rose.

"And now, my dear G----, tell us all about these strange countrymen
of yours,--how they live,--whether it is true that they eat one
another,--what kind of houses they have,--how they treat their
women,--and everything else that we ought to know."

Two or three years later, when Cooper began to be translated, they would
have known better; but now nothing could convince them that I was not
perfectly qualified to answer all their questions and stand interpreter
between my countrymen and the audience. Fortunately, I had read Irving's
beautiful paper in the "Sketch-Book," and knew "The Last of the
Mohicans" by heart; and putting together, as well as I could, the ideas
of Indian life I had gained from these sources, I accomplished my task
to the entire satisfaction of my interrogators. At last the curtain
rose, and, though reduced in number, and evidently much the worse for
their protracted stay in the land of civilization and brandy, there
they were, the very Osages I had seen at the good old General's. The
interpreter came forward and told his story, making them chiefs of rank
on a tour of pleasure. And a burly-looking fellow, walking up and down
the stage with an air that gave the lie to every assertion of the
interpreter, made a speech in deep gutturals to the great delight of
the listeners. Fortunately for me, the Italian love of sound kept my
companions still till the speech was ended, and then, just as they were
turning to me for a translation, the interpreter announced his intention
of translating it for them himself. Nothing else, I verily believe,
could have saved my reputation, and enabled me to retain my place as a
native-born American. When the exhibition was over,--and even with the
ludicrousness of my part of it, to me it was a sad one,--I went behind
the scenes to take a nearer view of these poor victims of avarice. They
were sitting round a warming-pan, looking jaded and worn, brutalized
beyond even what I had first imagined. It was my last sight of them, and
I was glad of it; how far they went, and how many of them found their
way back to their native land, I never was able to learn.

Before I left the Rue d'Anjou, it was arranged, that, as soon as I had
seen a little more of Paris, I should go to La Grange. "One of the young
ladies will teach you French," said the General, "and you can make your
plans for the winter at your leisure."


LA GRANGE.


It was on a bright autumn morning that I started for the little village
of Rosay,--some two leagues from Paris, and the nearest point by
_diligence_ to La Grange. A railroad passes almost equally near to
it now, and the French _diligence_, like its English and American
counterpart, the stage-coach, has long since been shorn of its honors.
Yet it was a pleasant mode of travelling, taking you from place to place
in a way to give you a good general idea of the country you were
passing through, and bringing you into much closer relations with your
fellow-travellers than you can form in a rail-car. There was the crowd
at the door of the post-house where you stopped to change horses, and
the little troop of wooden-shoed children that followed you up the
hill, drawling out in unison, "_Un peu de charité, s'il vous plaît_,"
gradually quickening their pace as the horses began to trot, and
breaking all off together and tumbling in a heap as they scrambled for
the _sous_ that were thrown out to them.

For a light, airy people, the French have a wonderful facility in making
clumsy-looking vehicles. To look at a _diligence_, you would say that it
was impossible to guide it through a narrow street, or turn it into a
gate. The only thing an American would think of likening it to would be
three carriages of different shapes fastened together. First came the
_Coupé_, in shape like an old-fashioned chariot, with a seat for three
persons, and glass windows in front and at the sides that gave you a
full view of everything on the road. This was the post of honor, higher
in price, and, on long journeys, always secured a day or two beforehand.
Not the least of its advantages was the amusement it afforded you in
watching the postilion and his horses,--a never-failing source of
merriment; and what to those who know how important it is, in a set of
hungry travellers, to secure a good seat at table, the important
fact that the _coupé_-door was the first door opened, and the
_coupé_-passengers received as the most distinguished personages of the
party. The _Intérieur_ came next: somewhat larger than our common coach,
with seats for six, face to face, two good windows at the sides, and
netting above for parcels of every kind and size: a comfortable place,
less exposed to jolts than the _coupé_ even, and much to be desired, if
you could but make sure of a back-corner and an accommodating companion
opposite to you. Last of all was the _Rotonde_, with its entrance from
the rear, its seats length-wise, room for six, and compensating in part
for its comparative inferiority in other respects by leaving you free
to get in and out as you chose, without consulting the conductor. This,
however, was but the first story, or the rooms of state of this castle
on wheels. On a covered dicky, directly above the _coupé_, and thus on
the very top of the whole machine, was another row of passengers, with
the conductor in front, looking down through the dust upon the world
beneath them, not very comfortable when the sun was hot, still less
comfortable of a rainy day, but just in the place which of all others
a real traveller would wish to be in at morning or evening or of a
moonlight night. The remainder of the top was reserved for the baggage,
carefully packed and covered up securely from dust and rain.

I had taken the precaution to engage a seat in the _coupé_ the day
before I set out. Of my companions, I am sorry to say, I have not the
slightest recollection. But the road was good,--bordered, as so many
French roads are, with trees, and filled with a thousand objects full of
interest to a young traveller. There was the _roulage_: an immense cart
filled with goods of all descriptions, and drawn by four or five horses,
ranged one before another, each decked with a merry string of bells, and
generally rising in graduated proportions from the full-sized leader
to the enormous thill horse, who bore the heat and burden of the day.
Sometimes half a dozen of them would pass in a row, the drivers walking
together and whiling away the time with stories and songs. Now and then
a post-chaise would whirl by with a clattering of wheels and cracking of
whip that were generally redoubled as it came nearer to the _diligence_,
and sank again, when it was passed, into comparative moderation both of
noise and speed. There were foot travellers, too, in abundance; and as
I saw them walking along under the shade of the long line of trees
that bordered the road, I could not help thinking that this thoughtful
provision for the protection of the traveller was the most pleasing
indication I had yet seen of a country long settled.

While I was thus looking and wondering, and drawing perhaps the hasty
comparisons of a novice, I saw a gentleman coming towards us with a
firm, quick step, his blue surtout buttoned tight over his breast, a
light walking-stick in his hand, and with the abstracted air of a man
who saw something beyond the reach of the bodily eye. It was Cooper,
just returning from a visit to the General, and dreaming perhaps of
his forest-paths or the ocean. His carriage with his family was coming
slowly on behind. A day earlier and I should have found them all at La
Grange.

It was evident that the good people of Rosay were accustomed to the
sight of travellers on their way to La Grange with a very small stock of
French; for I had hardly named the place, when a brisk little fellow,
announcing himself as the guide of all the _Messieurs Américains_,
swung my portmanteau upon his back and set out before me at the regular
jog-trot of a well-trained porter. The distance was but a mile, the
country level, and we soon came in sight of the castle. Castle, indeed,
it was, with its pointed Norman towers, its massive walls, and broad
moat,--memorials of other days,--and already gray with age before the
first roof-tree was laid in the land which its owner had helped to build
up to a great nation. On a hill-side its appearance would have been
grand. As it was, it was impressive, and particularly as first seen
from the road. The portcullis was gone, but the arched gateway still
remained, flanked by towers that looked sombre and stern, even amidst
the deep green of the ivy which covered the left tower almost to the
battlements. I was afterwards told that the ivy itself had a special
significance,--having been planted by Charles Fox, during a visit to La
Grange not long before his death. And Fox, it will be remembered, had
exerted all his eloquence to induce the English Government to demand the
liberation of Lafayette from Olmütz,--an act which called down upon him
at the time the bitterest invectives of party rhetoric, but which the
historian of England now records as a bright page in the life of one of
her greatest men. Ah, how different would our record be, if we could
always follow our instinct of immortality, and in all our actions look
thoughtfully forward to the judgment of the future!

Passing under the massive arch, I found myself in the castle court.
Three sides of the edifice were still standing, darkened, indeed, and
distained by the winds and rains of centuries, but with an air of modern
comfort and neatness about the doors and windows that seemed more in
keeping than the moat and towers with the habits of the present day.
The other curtain had been thrown down years before,--how or why nobody
could tell me, but not improbably in some of the domestic wars which
fill and defile the annals of mediaeval Europe. In those days the loss
of it must have been a serious one; but for the modern occupant it was a
real gain,--letting in the air and sunlight, and opening a pleasant view
of green plantations from every window of the court.

A servant met me at the main entrance, a broad stairway directly
opposite the gate, and, taking my card, led me up to a spacious hall,
where he asked me to wait while he went to announce my arrival to
the General. The hall was a large oblong room, plainly, but neatly
furnished, with a piano at one end, its tessellated oaken floor highly
polished, and communicating by folding-doors with an inner room, in
which I caught a glimpse of a bright wood-fire, and a portrait of Bailly
over the mantel. On the wall, to the left of the folding-doors, was
suspended an American flag with its blue field of stars and its red and
white stripes looking down upon me in a way that made my American veins
tingle.

But I had barely time to look around me before I heard a heavy step on
the stairs, and the next moment the General entered. This time he gave
me a French greeting, pressing me in his arms and kissing me on both
cheeks. "We were expecting you," said he, "and you are in good season
for dinner. Let me show you your room."

If I had had my choice of all the rooms in the castle, I should have
chosen the very one that had been assigned me. It was on the first--not
the ground--floor, at the end of a long vaulted gallery and in a tower.
There was a deep alcove from the bed,--a window looking down upon the
calm waters of the moat, and giving glimpses, through the trees, of
fields and woods beyond,--a fireplace with a cheerful fire, which had
evidently been kindled the moment my arrival was known,--the tessellated
floor with its waxen gloss,--and the usual furniture of a French
bed-room, a good table and comfortable chairs. A sugar-bowl filled
with sparkling beet sugar, and a decanter of fresh water, on the
mantel-piece, would have shown me, if there had been nothing else to
show it, that I was in France. The General looked round the room to make
sure that all was comfortably arranged for me, and then renewing his
welcome, and telling me that the castle-bell would ring for dinner in
about half an hour, left me to take possession of my quarters and change
my dress.

If I had not been afraid of getting belated, I should have sat down
awhile to collect my thoughts and endeavor to realize where I was. But
as it was, I could do little more than unpack my trunk, arrange my books
and writing-materials on the table, and change my dusty clothes, before
the bell rang. Oh, how that bell sounded through the long corridor from
its watch-tower over the gateway! And how I shrank back when I found
myself on the threshold of the hall and saw the inner room full! The
General must have divined my feelings; for, the moment he saw me, he
came forward to meet me, and, taking me by the arm, presented me to all
the elders of the party in turn. He apparently supposed, that, with
the start I had had in the Rue d'Anjou, I should make my way among the
younger ones myself.

It was a family circle covering three generations: the General, his son
and daughter-in-law and two daughters, and ten grandchildren,--among
whom I was glad to see some of both sexes sufficiently near my own age
to open a very pleasant prospect for me whenever I should have learnt
French enough to feel at home among them. Nor was the domestic character
of the group broken by the presence of a son of Casimir Périer, who was
soon to marry George Lafayette's eldest daughter, the Count de Ségur,
the General's uncle, though but a month or two his elder, and the Count
de Tracy, father of Madame George de Lafayette, and founder of the
French school of Ideology, companions, both of them, of the General's
youth, and, at this serene close of a life of strange vicissitudes and
bitter trials, still his friends. Levasseur, his secretary, who had
accompanied him in his visit to the United States, with his German wife,
a young gentleman whose name I have forgotten, but who was the private
tutor of young Jules de Lasteyrie, and Major Frye, an English half-pay
officer, of whom I shall have a good deal more to say by-and-by,
completed the circle. We formed a long procession to the dining-room,
and I shall never forget how awkward I felt on finding myself walking,
with the General's arm in mine, at the head of it. There was a certain
air of high breeding, of respect for others founded on self-respect, and
a perfect familiarity with all the forms of society, which relieved
me from much of my embarrassment by making me feel instinctively that
nobody would take unpleasant notice of it. Still, that first dinner was
a trial to my nerves, though I do not remember that the trial interfered
with my appetite. It was served, of course, in courses, beginning with
soup and ending with fruit. Most of the dishes, as I afterwards learned,
were the produce of the farm, and they certainly bore good witness to
the farmer's judgment and skill. The General was a hearty eater, as most
Frenchmen are; but he loved to season his food with conversation, and,
much as he relished his meals, he seemed to relish the pleasant
talk between the courses still more. As I was unable to follow the
conversation of the table, I came in for a large share of the General's
attention, who would turn to me every now and then with something
pleasant to say. He had had the consideration, too, to place one of the
young ladies next to me, directly on my right, as I was on his; and her
English, though not perfectly fluent, was fluent enough to enable us to
keep up a lively interlude.

On returning to the drawing-room, the General led me up to a portrait of
my grandfather, and indulged himself for a while in endeavoring to trace
a resemblance between us. I say indulged; for he often, down to the last
time that I ever saw him, came back to this subject, and seemed to
take a peculiar pleasure in it. He had been warmly attached to General
Greene, and the attachment which both of them bore to Washington served
to strengthen their attachment to each other. This portrait, a copy
from Peale, had been one of the fruits of his last visit to the United
States, and hung, with those of some other personal friends,--great men
all of them,--on the drawing-room wall. His Washington was a bronze from
Houdon's bust, and stood opposite the mantel-piece on a marble pedestal.
Conversation and music filled up the rest of the evening, and before
I withdrew for the night it had been arranged that I should begin my
French the next morning, with one of the young ladies for teacher. And
thus ended my first day at La Grange.


EVERY-DAY LIFE AT LA GRANGE.


The daily life at La Grange was necessarily systematic. The General's
position compelled him to see a great deal of company and exposed him to
constant interruptions. He kept a kind of open table, at which part
of the faces seemed to be changing every day. Then there were his own
children, with claims upon his attention which he was not disposed to
deny, and a large family of grandchildren to educate, upon all of whose
minds he wished to leave personal impressions of their intercourse with
him which should make them feel how much he loved and cherished them
all. Fortunately, the size of the castle made it easy to keep the family
rooms distant from the rooms of the guests; and a judicious division
of time enabled him to preserve a degree of freedom in the midst of
constraint, which, though the rule in Europe, American hosts in town or
country have very little conception of.

Every one rose at his own hour, and was master of his time till eleven.
If he wanted an early breakfast, he could have a cup of coffee
or chocolate or milk in his room for the asking. But the family
breakfast-hour was at eleven, a true French breakfast, and attended with
all the forms of dinner except in dress. The castle-bell was rung; the
household collected in the parlor; and all descended in one order to the
dining-room. It was pleasant to see this morning gathering. The General
was almost always among the first to come in and take his stand by
the fireplace, with a cordial greeting for each guest in turn. As his
grandchildren entered, they went up to offer their morning salutations
to him first of all, and there was the paternal kiss on the forehead and
a pleasant word for each. His son and daughters generally saw him in his
own room before they came down.

Breakfast was a cheerful meal, served in courses like dinner, and
seasoned with conversation, in which every one was free to take a part
or listen, as he felt disposed. There was no hurry, no confusion about
it; all sat down and rose at the same time; and as every one that worked
at all had evidently done part of his day's work before he came to
table, all came with good appetites. Then came the family walk, all
starting out in a group, but always sure to break up into smaller groups
as they went on: the natural law of affinities never failing to make
itself felt, and they who found most pleasure in each other's society
generally ending their walk together. Sometimes the General would come a
little way with us, but soon turned off to the farm, or dropped behind
and went back to his books and letters. An hour in the grounds passed
quickly,--too quickly, I often used to think; and then, unless, as
occasionally happened, there was an excursion on foot which all were
to take part in, the members of the family withdrew to their own
apartments, and the guests were left free to fill up the time till
dinner as they chose. With books, papers, and visits from room to room,
or strolls about the grounds, the hours never lagged; and much as one
day seemed like another, there was always something of its own to
remember it by. Of course, this regularity was not the result of
chance. Behind the visible curtain was the invisible spirit guiding
and directing all. It was no easy task to provide abundantly, and yet
judiciously, for a family always large, but which might at any moment
be almost doubled without an hour's notice. The farm, as I have already
said, furnished a full proportion of the daily supplies, and the General
was the farmer. But the daily task of distribution and arrangement fell
to the young ladies, each of whom took her week of housekeeping in turn.
The very first morning I was admitted behind the scenes. "If you want
anything before breakfast," said one of the young ladies, as the evening
circle was breaking up, "come down into the butler's room and get it."
And to the butler's room I went; and there, in a calico fitted as neatly
as the rich silk of the evening before, with no papers in her hair, with
nothing but a richer glow to distinguish the morning from the evening
face, with laughing eyes and busy hands, issuing orders and inspecting
dishes, stood the very girl with whom I was to begin at nine my
initiation into the mysteries of French. There must have been something
peculiar in the grass which the cows fed on at La Grange; for I used to
go regularly every morning for my cup of milk, and it never disagreed
with me.


MY FRENCH.


Oh, that lesson of French! Two seats at the snug little writing-table,
and only one witness of my blunders; for nobody ever thought of coming
into the drawing-room before the breakfast-bell. Unfortunately for me,
Ollendorff had not yet published his thefts from Manesca; and instead of
that brisk little war of question and answer, which loosens the tongue
so readily to strange sounds and forms the memory so promptly to the
combinations of a new idiom, I had to struggle on through the scanty
rules and multitudinous exceptions of grammar, and pick my way with the
help of a dictionary through the harmonious sentences of "Télémaque."
And never had sentences seemed so harmonious to my ears before; and
never, I fear, before had my young friend's patience been so sorely
tried, or her love of fun put under so unnatural a restraint. "_Calypso
ne pouvait se consoler_," over and over and over again, her rosy lips
moving slowly in order to give distinctness to every articulation, and
her blue eyes fairly dancing with repressed laughter at my awkward
imitation. If my teacher's patience could have given me a good
pronunciation, mine would have been perfect. Day after day she came back
to her task, and ever as the clock told nine would meet me at the door
with the same genial smile.

Nearly twenty years afterwards I found myself once more in Paris, and at
a large party at the house of the American Minister, the late Mr. King.
As I was wandering through the rooms, looking at group after group of
unknown faces, my eye fell upon one that I should have recognized at
once as that of my first teacher of French, if it had not seemed to me
impossible that twenty years could have passed over it so lightly.

"Who is that lady?" I asked of a gentleman near me, whom it was
impossible not to set down at once for an American.

"Why, that is Madame de ----, a grand-daughter of General Lafayette."

I can hardly account, at this quiet moment, for the sudden impulse that
seized me; but resist it I could not; and walking directly up to her, I
made my lowest bow, and, without giving her time to look me well in
the face, repeated, with all the gravity I could command, "_Calypso ne
pouvait se consoler du départ d'Ulysse_."

"O! Monsieur Greene," said she, holding out both her hands, "it must be
you!"


THE GENERAL.


General Lafayette had just entered his seventy-first year. In his
childhood he had been troubled by a weakness of the chest which gave his
friends some anxiety. But his constitution was naturally good, and air,
exercise, and exposure gradually wore away every trace of his original
debility. In person he was tall and strongly built, with broad
shoulders, large limbs, and a general air of strength, which was rather
increased than diminished by an evident tending towards corpulency.
While still a young man, his right leg--the same, I believe, that had
been wounded in rallying our broken troops at the Brandywine--was
fractured by a fall on the ice, leaving him lame for the rest of his
days. This did not prevent him, however, from walking about his farm,
though it cut him off from the use of the saddle, and gave a halt to his
gait, which but for his dignity of carriage would have approached to
awkwardness. Indeed, he had more dignity of bearing than any man I ever
saw. And it was not merely the dignity of self-possession, which early
familiarity with society and early habits of command may give even to
an ordinary man, but that elevation of manner which springs from an
habitual elevation of thought, bearing witness to the purity of its
source, as a clear eye and ruddy cheek bear witness to the purity of the
air you daily breathe. In some respects he was the mercurial Frenchman
to the last day of his life; yet his general bearing, that in which
he comes oftenest to my memory, was of calm earnestness, tempered and
mellowed by quick sympathies.

His method of life was very regular,--the regularity of thirty years
of comparative retirement, following close upon fifteen years of active
public life, begun at twenty in the army of Washington, and ending in a
Prussian and Austrian dungeon at thirty-five.

His private apartments consisted of two rooms on the second floor. The
first was his bed-room, a cheerful, though not a large room, nearly
square, with a comfortable fireplace, and a window looking out upon the
lawn and woods behind the castle. Just outside of the bed-room, and the
first object that struck your eye on approaching it from the gallery,
was a picture by one of his daughters, representing the burly turnkey
of Olmütz in the act of unlocking his dungeon-door. "It is a good
likeness," said the General to me, the first time that he took me to his
rooms,--"a very good likeness. I remember the features well." From the
bed-room a door opened into a large turret-room, well lighted and airy,
and which, taking its shape from the tower in which it stood, was
almost a perfect circle. This was the General's library. The books were
arranged in open cases, filling the walls from floor to ceiling, and
with a neatness and order which revealed an artistic appreciation of
their effect. It was lighted by two windows, one opening on the lawn,
the other on the farm-yards, and both, from the thickness of the
walls, looking like deep recesses. In the window that looked upon the
farm-yards was the General's writing-table and seat. A spy-glass lay
within reach, enabling him to overlook the yard-work without rising from
his chair; and on the table were his farm-books, with the record of
crops and improvements entered in regular order with his own hand.
Charles Sumner, who visited La Grange last summer, tells me that they
lie there still.

The library was miscellaneous, many of the books being
presentation-copies, and most of them neatly bound. Its predominant
character, as nearly as I can recollect, was historical; the history in
which he had borne so important a part naturally coming in for a full
share. Though not a scholar from choice, General Lafayette loved books,
and was well read. His Latin had stood him in stead at Olmütz for his
brief communication with his surgeon; and I have a distinct impression,
though I cannot vouch for the correctness of it, that he never dropped
it altogether. His associations were too much among men of thought as
well as men of action, and the responsibilities that weighed upon him
were too grave, to permit so conscientious a man to neglect the aid of
books. Of the historians of our Revolution, he preferred Ramsay, who
had, as he said, put everything into his two volumes, and abridged as
well as Eutropius. It was, perhaps, the presence of something of the
same quality that led him to give the preference, among the numerous
histories of the French Revolution, to Mignet, though, in putting
him into my hands, he cautioned me against that dangerous spirit
of fatalism, which, making man the unconscious instrument of an
irresistible necessity, leaves him no real responsibility for evil or
for good.

It was in this room that he passed the greater part of the time that was
not given to his farm or his guests. I never entered it without finding
him at his desk, with his pen or a book in hand. His correspondence was
so extensive that he was always obliged to keep a secretary, though a
large portion of his letters were written with his own hand. He wrote
rapidly in fact, though not rapidly to the eye; and you were surprised,
in seeing his hand move over the paper, to find how soon it reached the
bottom of the sheet, and how closely it filled it up. His handwriting
was clear and distinct, neither decidedly French nor decidedly
English,--like all his habits and opinions, formed early and never
changed. I have letters of his to my grandfather, written during the
Revolution, and letters of his to myself, written fifty years after it,
in which it is almost impossible to trace the difference between the old
man and the young one. English he seemed to write as readily as French,
although a strong Gallicism would every now and then slip from his pen,
as it slipped from his tongue. "I had to learn in a hurry," said he,
giving me one day the history of his English studies. "I began on my
passage out, as soon as I got over my sea-sickness, and picked up the
rest in camp. I was compelled to write and talk, and so I learned to
write and talk. The officers were very kind and never laughed at me.
After the peace, Colonel Tarleton came over to Paris, and was presented
to the King one day when I happened to be at Court. The King asked him
how I spoke English. 'I cannot say how he speaks it, Sire,' said the
Colonel, 'but I occasionally had the good-luck to pick up some of his
letters that were going the wrong way, and I can assure your Majesty
that they were very well written.'"

His valet was an old soldier, who had served through the Peninsular War,
and who moved about with the orderly gait and quiet air of a man who had
passed his heyday under the forming influences of camp discipline.
He was a most respectable-looking man, as well as a most respectful
servant; and it was impossible to see him busying himself about the
General at his morning toilet, and watch his delicate handling of the
lather-brush and razor, without feeling, that, however true the old
proverb may have been in other cases, Bastien's master was a hero to
him.

The General's dress was always simple, though studiously neat. His
republicanism was of the school of Washington, and would have shrunk
from a public display of a bare neck and shirt-sleeves. Blue was his
usual winter color; a frock-coat in the morning, and a dress-coat for
dinner, and both near enough to the prevailing fashion to escape remark.
He had begun serious life too early to have ever been anything of a
dandy, even if Nature had seen fit to contradict herself so far as to
have intended him for one.

Jewelry I never saw him wear; but there was one little compartment in
his library filled with what in a certain sense might be called jewelry,
and of a kind that he had good reason to be proud of. In one of the
drawers was a sword made out of a key of the Bastile, and presented to
him by the city of Paris. The other key he sent to Washington. When he
was a young man the Bastile was a reality, and those keys still plied
their dismal work at the bidding of a power as insensible to the
suffering it caused as the steel of which they were made. Of the
hundreds who with sinking hearts had heard them turn in their massive
wards, how few had ever come back to tell the tale of their misery!
Lafayette himself, but for the quick wit of a servant-maid, might have
passed there some of the youthful days that he passed at the side of
Washington, and gazed dimly, as at a dream, in the Bastile, at what he
could look back upon as a proud reality in Olmütz. Another of his relics
was a civic crown, oak-leaf wrought in gold, the gift of the city of
Lyons; but this belonged to a later period, his last visit to Auvergne,
the summer before the Revolution of July, and which called forth as
enthusiastic a display of popular affection as that which had greeted
his last visit to America. But the one which he seemed to prize most was
a very plain pair of eye-glasses, in a simple horn case, if my memory
does not deceive me, but which, in his estimation, neither gold nor
jewels could have replaced, for they had once belonged to Washington.
"He gave them to me," said the General, "on my last visit to Mount
Vernon."

He was an early riser, and his work began the moment he left his pillow.
First came his letters, always a heavy drain upon his time; for he had
been so long a public man that everybody felt free to consult him, and
everybody that consulted him was sure of a polite answer. Then his
personal friends had their claims, some of them running back to youth,
some the gradual accession of later years, and all of them cherished
with that genial and confiding expansiveness which was the great charm
of his private life, and the chief source, when he did err, of his
errors as a public man. Like all the men of Washington's school, he
was systematically industrious; and by dint of system and industry his
immense correspondence was seldom allowed to get the start of him.
Important letters were answered as they came, and minutes or copies of
the answers kept for reference. He seemed to love his pen, and to write
without effort,--never aiming, it is true, at the higher graces of
style, somewhat diffuse, too, both in French and in English, but
easy, natural, idiomatic, and lucid, with the distinctness of clear
conceptions rather than the precision of vigorous conceptions, and a
warmth which in his public letters sometimes rose to eloquence, and in
his private letters often made you feel as if you were listening instead
of reading.

He was fond of anecdote, and told his stories with the fluency of a man
accustomed to public speaking, and the animation and point of a man
accustomed to the society of men of wit as well as of men of action.
His recollections were wonderfully distinct, and it always gave me a
peculiar thrill to hear him talk about the great men he had lived and
acted with in both hemispheres, as familiarly as if he had parted from
them only an hour before. It was bringing history very close to me, and
peopling it with living beings,--beings of flesh and blood, who ate and
drank and slept and wore clothes as we do; for here was one of them, the
friend and companion of the greatest among them all, whom I had known
through books, as I knew them long before I knew him in actual life,
and every one of whose words and gestures seemed to give me a clearer
conception of what they, too, must have been.

Still he never appeared to live in the recollections of his youth, as
most old men do. His life was too active a one for this, and the
great principles he had consecrated it to were too far-reaching and
comprehensive, too full of living, actual interest, too fresh and
vigorous in their vitality, to allow a man of his sanguine and active
temperament to forget himself in the past when there was so much to do
in the present. This gave a peculiar charm to his conversation; for,
no matter what the subject might be, he always talked like a man who
believed what he said, and whose faith, a living principle of thought
and action, was constantly kept in a genial glow by the quickness
and depth of his sympathies. His smile told this; for it was full of
sweetness and gentleness, though with a dash of earnestness about it, an
under-current of serious thought, that made you feel as if you wanted to
look behind it, and reminded you, at times, of a landscape at sunset,
when there is just light enough to show you how many things there are
in it that you would gladly dwell upon, if the day were only a little
longer.

His intercourse with his children was affectionate and confiding,--that
with his daughters touchingly so. They had shared with him two years of
his captivity at Olmütz, and he seemed never to look at them without
remembering it. They had been his companions when he most needed
companionship, and had learnt to enter into his feelings and study his
happiness at an age when most girls are absorbed in themselves. The
effect of this early discipline was never lost. They had found happiness
where few seek it, in self-denial and self-control, a religious
cultivation of domestic affections, and a thoughtful development
of their minds as sources of strength and enjoyment. They were
happy,--happy in what they had done and in what they were
doing,--entering cheerfully upon the serene evening of lives consecrated
to duty, with children around them to love them as they had loved their
father and mother, and that father still with them to tell them that
they had never deceived him.



A FIELD NIGHT IN THE HOUSE OF COMMONS.


To an intelligent American visiting London for the first time, few
places of interest will present stronger attractions than the House of
Commons during an animated debate. Commencing its existence with the
first crude ideas of popular liberty in England, steadily advancing in
influence and importance with the increasing wealth and intelligence of
the middling class, until it came to hold the purse and successfully
defend the rights of the people, illustrated for many generations by the
eloquence and the statesmanship of the kingdom, and to-day wielding the
power and directing the destinies of the foremost nation in the world,
it is not strange that an American, speaking the same language, and
proud of the same ancestry, should visit with the deepest interest the
scene of so many and so important transactions. Especially will this be
the case, if by experience or observation he has become familiar with
the course of proceedings in our own legislative assemblies. For,
although the English House of Commons is the parent of all similar
deliberative bodies in the civilized world, yet its rules and
regulations are in many respects essentially unique.

Assuming that many of my readers have never enjoyed the opportunity of
"sitting out a debate" in Parliament, I have ventured to hope that a
description of some of the distinctive features which are peculiar to
the House of Commons, and a sketch of some of its prominent members,
might not be unwelcome.

In 1840 the corner-stone of the New Palace of Westminster was laid, and
at the commencement of the session of 1852 the first official occupation
of the House of Commons took place. The House of Peers was first used in
1847. It is not consistent with the object of this article to speak of
the dimensions and general appearance of this magnificent structure. It
is sufficient to say, that in its architectural design, in its interior
decorations, and in its perfect adaptation to the purposes for which it
was erected, it is alike creditable to the public spirit of the nation,
and to the improved condition of the fine and useful arts in the present
century.

The entrance to the House of Commons is through Westminster Hall. What
wealth of historical recollections is suggested by this name! As,
however, we are dealing with the present, we dare not even touch upon so
fruitful a theme, but must hasten through the grand old hall, remarking
only in passing that it is supposed to have been originally built
in 1097, and was rebuilt by Richard II. in 1398. With a single
exception,--the Hall of Justice in Padua,--it is the largest apartment
unsupported by pillars in the world. Reluctantly leaving this historical
ground, we enter St. Stephen's Hall. This room, rich in architectural
ornaments and most graceful in its proportions, is still further adorned
with statues of "men who rose to eminence by the eloquence and abilities
they displayed in the House of Commons." Who will dispute their claims
to this distinction? The names selected for such honorable immortality
are Selden, Hampden, Falkland, Lord Clarendon, Lord Somers, Sir Robert
Walpole, Lord Chatham, Lord Mansfield, Burke, Fox, Pitt, and Grattan.

We have now reached the Great Central Hall, out of which open two
corridors, one of which leads to the lobby of the House of Lords.
Passing through the other, we find ourselves in the lobby of the House
of Commons. Here we must pause and look about us. We are in a large
apartment brilliantly lighted and richly decorated. As we stand with our
backs to the Great Central Hall, the passage-way to the right conducts
to the library and refreshment rooms, that on the left is the private
entrance of the members through the old cloisters, of Stephen's, that in
front is the main entrance to the floor of the House. In the corner on
our right is a small table, garnished with all the materials for a
cold lunch for the use of those members who have no time for a more
substantial meal in the dining-room. Stimulants of various kinds are
not wanting; but the habits of Englishmen and the presence of vigilant
policemen prevent any abuse of this privilege. The refreshments thus
provided are open to all, and in this qualified sense I may say that I
have lunched with Disraeli, Lord John Russell, and Lord Palmerston.

But the hour has nearly come for opening the debate; members are rapidly
arriving and taking their seats, and we shall do well to decide upon the
best mode of gaining admission to the House. There are a few benches
on the floor reserved, as of right, for peers and their sons, and,
by courtesy, for gentlemen introduced by them. I may be pardoned for
presuming that this high privilege is beyond our reach. Our only
alternative, then, is the galleries. These are, the Speaker's Gallery,
on the south side of the House, and directly opposite the Speaker's
chair, affording room for between twenty and thirty, and the Strangers'
Gallery, behind this, with seats for about sixty. Visitors have only
these limited accommodations. The arrangement deprives members of all
temptation to "speak to the galleries," and is consistent with the
English theory, that all debates in the House should be strictly of a
business character. And as to anything like applause on the part of the
spectators, what punishment known to any criminal code among civilized
nations would be too severe for such an offence?

The American Minister (and of course every representative of a foreign
power) has the right to give two cards of admission, entitling the
bearer of each to a seat in the Speaker's Gallery. But these cards admit
only on a specified evening, and if not used then, are worthless. If
you have called on our distinguished representative at the Court of St.
James, you have probably discovered that his list is full for the next
fortnight at least, and, although the Secretary of Legation politely
asks your name, and promises you the earliest opportunity, you retire
with a natural feeling of disappointment. Many Americans, having only a
few days to spend in London, leave the city without making any further
effort to visit the House of Commons. It would certainly have been well
to forward, in advance of your arrival in London, a written application
to the Minister; but as this has not been done, what remains? Ask your
banker for a note of introduction to some member of the House, and,
armed with this epistle, make your appearance in the lobby. Give the
note, with your card, to that grave, clerical-looking man in a little
box on the left of the main entrance, and patiently await the approach
of the "honorable gentleman." If the Speaker's Gallery is not full, he
will have no difficulty in procuring for you the desired admission; and
if at leisure, he will undoubtedly spend a few moments in pointing out
the distinguished men who may chance to be in attendance. Be sure and
carry an opera-glass. Without this precaution, you will not be able to
study to your satisfaction the faces of the members, for the House is by
no means brilliantly illuminated. If for any reason this last expedient
does not succeed, must we despair for this evening? We are on the
ground, and our engagements may not leave another so good opportunity. I
have alluded to the presence of policemen in the lobby. Do I dream, or
has it been whispered to me, that half a crown, opportunely and adroitly
invested, may be of substantial advantage to the waiting stranger? But
by all means insist on the Speaker's Gallery. The Strangers' Gallery is
less desirable for many reasons, and, being open to everybody who has a
member's order, is almost invariably crowded. At all events, it should
be reserved as a dernier resort. As an illustration of the kindly
feeling towards Americans, I may mention, parenthetically, that I have
known gentlemen admitted to the Speaker's Gallery on their simple
statement to the door-keeper that they were from the United States. On
one of these occasions, the official, a civil personage, but usually
grave to the verge of solemnity,--the very last man you would have
selected as capable of waggery,--assumed a comical counterfeit of
terror, and said,--"Bless me! we must be obliging to Americans, or who
knows what may come of it?"

It should be observed, however, that on a "field night" not one of
the modes of admission which I have described will be of any service.
Nothing will avail you then but a place on the Speaker's list, and even
in that case you must be promptly at your post, for "First come first
served" is the rule.

But we have lingered long enough in the Lobby. Let us take our places
in the Speaker's Gallery,--for the essayist has hardly less power than,
according to Sydney Smith, has the novelist, and a few strokes of the
pen shall show you what many have in vain longed to see.

Once there, our attention is instantly attracted by observing that
almost every member, who is not speaking, wears his hat. This, although
customary, is not compulsory. Parliamentary etiquette only insists
that a member while speaking, or moving from place to place, shall be
uncovered. The gallery opposite the one in which we are seated is for
the use of the reporters. That ornamental brass trellis in the rear
of the reporters, half concealing a party of ladies, is a curious
compromise between what is due to traditional Parliamentary regulations
and the courtesy to which the fair sex is entitled. This relaxation of
the old rules dates only from the erection of the new building.

The perfect order which prevails among members is another marked feature
during the debates. The bewigged and berobed Speaker, seated in his
imposing high-backed chair, seems rather to be retained in his place out
of due deference to time-honored custom than because a presiding officer
is necessary to preserve proper decorum. To be sure, demonstrations
of applause at a good bit, or of discontent with a prosy speaker, are
common, but anything approaching disorder is of rare occurrence.

The adherence to forms and precedents is not a little amusing. Take, for
example, a "division," which corresponds to a call for the Ayes and Noes
with us. To select an instance at random,--there happens this evening to
be a good deal of excitement about some documents which it is alleged
the Ministry dare not produce; so the minority, who oppose the bill
under debate, make a great show of demanding the papers, and, not being
gratified, move to adjourn the debate, with the design of postponing the
passage of the obnoxious measure.

"I move that the debate be adjourned."

"Who seconds?"

"I do."

"Those in the affirmative," etc., etc.

Feeble "Aye."

Most emphatic "No."

"The noes have it."

"No!" "No!"

"Aye!" "Aye!"

"Divide!" "Divide!" in a perfect Babel of orderly confusion.

(Speaker, very solemnly and decidedly,)--

"Strangers must withdraw!"

Is the gallery immediately cleared? Not a bit of it. Every man retains
his place. Some even seem, to my fancy, to look a sort of grim defiance
at the Speaker, as a bold Briton should. It is simply a form, which
many years ago had some meaning, and, having once been used, cannot be
discontinued without putting the Constitution in jeopardy. Five times
this evening, the minority, intent on postponing the debate, call for
a division,--and as many times are strangers gravely admonished to
withdraw.

There are two modes of adjourning the House,--by vote of the members,
and by want of a quorum. The method of procedure in the latter case is
somewhat peculiar, and has, of course, the sanction of many generations.
Suppose that a dull debate on an unimportant measure, numerous
dinner-parties, a fashionable opera, and other causes, have combined to
reduce the number of members in attendance to a dozen. It certainly
is not difficult to decide at a glance that a quorum (forty) is not
present, and I presume you are every instant expecting, in your
innocence, to hear, "Mr. Speaker, I move," etc. Pause a moment, my
impatient friend, too long accustomed to the reckless haste of our
Republican assemblies. Do not, even in thought, tamper with the
Constitution. "The wisdom of our ancestors" has bequeathed another and
undoubtedly a better mode of arriving at the same result. Some member
quietly intimates to the Speaker that forty members are not present.
That dignified official then rises, and, using his cocked hat as an
index or pointer, deliberately counts the members. Discovering, as the
apparent result of careful examination, that there really is no
quorum, he declares the House adjourned and sits down; whereupon the
Sergeant-at-Arms seizes the mace, shoulders it, and marches out,
followed by the Speaker. Then, and not until then, is the ceremony
complete and the House duly adjourned.

This respect for traditional usage admits of almost endless
illustration. One more example must suffice. When the Speaker discovers
symptoms of disorder in the House, he rises in his place and says with
all suitable solemnity, "Unless Honorable Members preserve order, I
shall name names!" and quiet is instantly restored. What mysterious and
appalling consequences would result from persistent disobedience, nobody
in or out of the House has ever known, or probably ever will know,--at
any rate, no Speaker in Parliamentary annals has been compelled to adopt
the dreaded alternative. Shall I be thought wanting in patriotism, if
I venture to doubt whether so simple an expedient would reduce to
submission an insubordinate House of Representatives at Washington?

Like everything else thoroughly English, speaking in the House of
Commons is eminently practical. "The bias of the nation," says Mr.
Emerson, "is a passion for utility." Conceive of a company of gentlemen
agreeing to devote, gratuitously, a certain portion of each year to the
consideration of any questions which may concern the public welfare, and
you have the theory and the practice of the House of Commons. Of course
there are exceptions to this general statement. There are not wanting
constituencies represented by unfit men; but such members are not
allowed to consume the time which belongs of right to men of capacity
and tried ability. The test is sternly, almost despotically applied. A
fair trial is given to a new member. If he is "up to his work," his
name goes on the list of men whom the House will hear. If, however,
his maiden speech is a failure, "farewell, a long farewell" to all his
political aspirations. Few men have risen from such a fall. Now and
then, as in the well-known instances of Sheridan, Disraeli, and some
less prominent names, real genius, aided by dogged determination, has
forced its way upward in spite of early ill-success; but such cases are
very rare. The rule may work occasional injustice, but is it after all
so very unreasonable? "Talking," they contend, "must be done by those
who have something to say."

Everything one sees in the House partakes of this practical tendency.
There are no conveniences for writing. A member who should attempt to
read a manuscript speech would never get beyond the first sentence. Nor
does anybody ever dream of writing out his address and committing it
to memory. In fact, nothing can be more informal than their manner in
debate. You see a member rising with his hat in one hand, and his gloves
and cane in the other. It is as if he had just said to his neighbor, "I
have taken a good deal of interest in the subject under discussion, and
have been at some pains to understand it. I am inclined to tell the
House what I think of it." So you find him on the floor, or "on his
legs," in parliamentary phrase, carrying this intention into effect in
a simple, business-like, straightforward way. But if our friend is very
long, or threatens to be tedious, I fear that unequivocal and increasing
indications of discontent will oblige him to resume his seat in
undignified haste.

Perhaps no feature of the debates in the House of Commons deserves more
honorable mention than the high-toned courtesy which regulates the
intercourse of members.

Englishmen have never been charged with a want of spirit; on the
contrary, they are proverbially "plucky," and yet the House is never
disgraced by those shameful brawls which have given to our legislative
assemblies, state and national, so unenviable a reputation throughout
the civilized world. How does this happen? To Englishmen it does not
seem a very difficult matter to manage. If one member charges another
with ungentlemanly or criminal conduct, he must follow up his charge
and prove it,--in which case the culprit is no longer recognized as a
gentleman; or if he fails to make good his accusation, and neglects
to atone for his offence by ample and satisfactory apologies, he is
promptly "sent to Coventry" as a convicted calumniator. No matter how
high his social position may have been, whether nobleman or commoner,
he shall not escape the disgrace he has deserved. And to forfeit one's
standing among English gentlemen is a punishment hardly less severe
than to lose caste in India. In such a community, what need of duels to
vindicate wounded honor or establish a reputation for courage?

The members of the present House of Commons were elected in the spring
of 1859. Among their number are several men who, in point of capacity,
eloquence, and political experience, will compare not unfavorably with
the ablest statesmen whom England has known for generations. I
have thought that some description of their appearance and mental
characteristics might not be unacceptable to American readers. As the
best mode of accomplishing this object, I shall select an occasion,
which, from the importance of the question under discussion, the deep
interest which it awakened, and the ability with which it was treated,
certainly presented as favorable an opportunity as could ever occur to
form a correct opinion of the best speaking talent in the kingdom. The
debate to which I allude took place early in the month of July, 1860.

My name being fortunately on the first list for the Speaker's Gallery,
I had no difficulty in taking my place the moment the door was open. It
will be readily believed that every seat was soon filled. In front of
the Speaker's Gallery is a single row of seats designed for foreign
ambassadors and peers. The first man to enter it was Mr. Dallas, and he
was presently followed by other members of the diplomatic corps, and
several distinguished noblemen.

It was very interesting to an American that almost the first business of
the evening concerned his own country. Some member of the House asked
Lord John Russell, then Secretary for Foreign Affairs, if he had
received any recent despatches from the United States relating to the
San Juan difficulty. It will be remembered, or would be, but for the
rapid march of more momentous events, that only a short time before,
news had reached England that General Harney, violating the explicit
instructions of General Scott, so wisely and opportunely issued, had
claimed for the United States exclusive jurisdiction over the island
of San Juan. Lord John replied by stating what had been the highly
honorable and judicious policy of General Scott, and the unwarrantable
steps subsequently taken by General Harney,--that Lord Lyons had
communicated information of the conduct of General Harney to President
Buchanan, who had recalled that officer, and had forwarded instructions
to his successor to continue in the course marked out by General Scott.
This gratifying announcement was greeted in the House with hearty
cheers,--a spontaneous demonstration of delight, which proved not only
that the position of affairs on this question was thought to be serious,
but also the genuine desire of Englishmen to remain in amicable
relations with the United States.

To this brief business succeeded the great debate of the session. Let me
endeavor, at the risk of being tedious, to explain the exact question
before the House. Mr. Gladstone, in his speech on the Budget, had
pledged the Ministry to a considerable reduction of the taxes for the
coming year. In fulfilment of this pledge, it had been decided to remit
the duty on paper, thereby abandoning about £1,500,000 of revenue. A
bill to carry this plan into effect passed to its second reading by a
majority of fifty-three. To defeat the measure the Opposition devoted
all its energies, and with such success that the bill passed to its
third reading by the greatly reduced majority of nine. Emboldened by
this almost victory, the Conservatives determined to give the measure
its _coup de grâce_ in the House of Lords. The Opposition leaders, Lord
Derby, Lord Lyndhurst, Lord Ellenborough, and others, attacked the bill,
and the Chancellor of the Exchequer, its acknowledged author, with as
much bitterness and severity as are ever considered compatible with the
dignified decorum of that aristocratic body; all the Conservative forces
were rallied, and, what with the votes actually given and the proxies,
the Opposition majority was immense.

Now all this was very easily and very quickly done. The Conservatives
were exultant, and even seemed sanguine enough to believe that the
Ministry had received a fatal blow. But they forgot, in the first flush
of victory, that they were treading on dangerous ground,--that they were
meddling with what had been regarded for centuries as the exclusive
privilege of the House of Commons. English Parliamentary history teaches
no clearer lesson than that the right to pass "Money Bills," without
interference from the House of Lords, has been claimed and exercised by
the House of Commons for several generations. The public was not slow to
take the alarm. To be sure, several causes conspired to lessen somewhat
the popular indignation. Among these were the inevitable expenses of
the Chinese War, the certainty of an increased income tax, if the bill
became a law, and the very small majority which the measure finally
received in the House of Commons.

Nevertheless, the public mind was deeply moved. The perils of such
a precedent were evident enough to any thinking man. Although the
unwearied exertions of Bright, Roebuck, and other leading Radicals,
could not arouse the people to that state of unreasoning excitement in
which these demagogues delight, yet the tone of the press and the spirit
of the public meetings gave proof that the importance of the crisis
was not wholly underrated. These meetings were frequent and largely
attended; inflammatory speeches were made, strong resolutions passed,
and many petitions numerously signed, protesting against the recent
conduct of the Lords, were presented to the popular branch of
Parliament.

In the House of Commons the action was prompt and decided. A committee
was immediately appointed to search for precedents, and ascertain if
such a proceeding was justified by Parliamentary history. The result of
this investigation was anxiously awaited both by the Commons and the
nation. To the disappointment of everybody, the committee, after patient
and protracted research, submitted a report, giving no opinion whatever
on the question, but merely reciting all the precedents that bore on the
subject.

It must be confessed that the condition of affairs was not a little
critical. Both the strength of the Ministry and the dignity of the House
of Commons were involved in the final decision. But, unfortunately, the
Ministerial party was far from being a unit on the question. Bright and
the "Manchester School" demanded an uncompromising and defiant attitude
towards the Lords. Lord Palmerston was for asserting the rights and
privileges of the Commons, but for avoiding a collision. Where Mr.
Gladstone would be found could not be precisely predicted; but he was
understood to be deeply chagrined at the defeat of his favorite measure,
and to look upon the action of the Peers as almost a personal insult.
Lord John Russell was supposed to occupy a position somewhere between
the Premier and the Chancellor of the Exchequer. If the leaders were
thus divided in opinion, there was no less diversity of views among
their followers. Some did not at all appreciate the nature or magnitude
of the question, a few sympathized with the Conservatives, and very many
were satisfied that a mistake had been made in sacrificing so large a
source of revenue at a time when the immediate prospect of war with
China and the condition of the national defences rendered it important
to increase, rather than diminish the available funds in the treasury.
The Opposition, of course, were ready to take advantage of any weak
points in the position of their adversaries, and were even hoping that
the Ministerial dissensions might lead to a Ministerial defeat.

It was under these circumstances that Lord Palmerston rose to define
the position of the Ministry, to vindicate the honor and dignity of the
Commons, to avert a collision with the House of Lords, and, in general,
to extricate the councils of the nation from an embarrassing and
dangerous dilemma.

A word about the _personnel_ of the Premier, and a glance at some of his
political antecedents. His Lordship has been for so many years in
public life, and a marked man among English statesmen, that, either by
engraving, photograph, or personal observation, his face is familiar to
many Americans. And, certainly, there is nothing in his features or in
the expression of his countenance to indicate genius or even ability.
He is simply a burly Englishman, of middling height, with an air of
constant good-humor and a very pleasant understanding with himself.
Perhaps the first thing about him which impresses an American,
accustomed at home to dyspeptic politicians and statesmen prematurely
old, is his physical activity. Fancy a man of seventy-six, who has been
in most incessant political life for more than fifty years, sitting out
a debate of ten hours without flinching, and then walking to his house
in Piccadilly, not less than two miles. And his body is not more active
than his mind. He does something more than sit out a debate. Not a word
escapes him when a prominent man is on his legs. Do not be deceived by
his lazy attitude, or his sleepy expression. Not a man in the House
has his wits more thoroughly about him. Ever ready to extricate
his colleagues from an awkward difficulty, to evade a dangerous
question,--making, with an air of transparent candor, a reply in
which nothing is answered,--to disarm an angry opponent with a few
conciliatory or complimentary words, or to demolish him with a little
good-humored raillery which sets the House in a roar; equally skilful
in attack and retreat: such, in a word, is the bearing of this gay and
gallant veteran, from the beginning to the end of each debate, during
the entire session of Parliament. He seems absolutely insensible to
fatigue. "I happened," said a member of the House, writing to a friend,
last summer, "to follow Lord Palmerston, as he left the cloak-room, the
other morning, after a late sitting, and, as I was going his way, I
thought I might as well see how he got over the ground. At first he
seemed a little stiff in the legs; but when he warmed to his work he
began to pull out, and before he got a third of the way he bowled along
splendidly, so that he put me to it to keep him in view. Perhaps in a
few hours after that long sitting and that walk home, and the brief
sleep that followed, the Premier might have been seen standing bolt
upright at one end of a great table in Cambridge House, receiving a
deputation from the country, listening with patient and courteous
attention to some tedious spokesman, or astonishing his hearers by
his knowledge of their affairs and his intimacy with their trade or
business." On a previous night, I had seen Lord Palmerston in his seat
in the House from 4 P.M. until about 2 A.M., during a dull debate, and
was considerably amused when he rose at that late or early hour, and
"begged to suggest to honorable gentlemen," that, although he was
perfectly willing to sit there until daylight, yet he thought something
was due to the Speaker, (a hale, hearty man, sixteen years his junior,)
and as there was to be a session at noon of that day, he hoped the
debate would be adjourned. The same suggestion had been fruitlessly made
half a dozen times before; but the Premier's manner was irresistible,
and amid great laughter the motion prevailed. The Speaker, with a
grateful smile to the member for Tiverton, immediately and gladly
retired, but the indefatigable leader remained at his post an hour
longer, while the House was sitting in Committee on Supplies.

But his Parliamentary duties by no means fill up the measure of his
public labors. Deputations representing all sorts of interests wait
on him almost daily, his presence is indispensable at all Cabinet
consultations, and as Prime Minister he gives tone and direction to
the domestic and foreign policy of the English government. How much is
implied in these duties and responsibilities must be apparent to all who
speak the English language.

Now what is the secret of this vigorous old age, after a life spent in
such arduous avocations? Simply this, that a constitution robust by
nature has been preserved in its strength by regular habits and out-door
exercise. If I were to repeat the stories I have heard, and seen
stated in English newspapers, of the feats, pedestrian and equestrian,
performed by Lord Palmerston from early manhood down to the present
writing, I fear I should be suspected by some of my readers of offering
an insult to their understanding. I must therefore content myself with
saying that very few young men of our day and country could follow him
in the field or keep up with him on the road.

A word about Lord Palmerston's political antecedents. Beginning as
Junior Lord of the Admiralty in the Duke of Portland's Ministry,
in 1808, he has since been once Secretary of War, five times Prime
Minister, and once Secretary of State. From 1811 to 1831 he represented
Cambridge University. Since 1835 he has represented Tiverton. It may be
safely asserted that no man now living in England has been so long or
so prominently in public office, and probably no man presents a more
correct type of the Liberal, although not Radical, sentiment of England.

It may be well to state that on this evening there was an unusually
large attendance of members. Not only were all the benches on the floor
of the House filled, but the rare spectacle was presented of members
occupying seats in the east and west galleries. These unfortunates
belonged to that class who are seldom seen in their places, but who are
sometimes whipped in by zealous partisans, when important questions are
under consideration, and a close vote may be expected. Their listless
faces and sprawling attitudes proved clearly enough that they were
reluctant and bored spectators of the scene. It deserves to be
mentioned, also, that, although there are six hundred and fifty-six
actual members of the House, the final vote on the question showed,
that, even on that eventful night, only four hundred and sixty-two were
present. The average attendance is about three hundred.

At half-past four, the Premier rose to address the House. He had already
given due notice that he should introduce three resolutions, which,
considering the importance of the subject, I make no apology for giving
in full.

"1. That the right of granting aids and supplies to the Crown is in
the Commons alone as an essential part of their Constitution, and the
limitation of all such grants, as to the matter, manner, measure, and
time, is only in them.

"2. That, although the Lords have exercised the power of rejecting bills
of several descriptions relating to taxation by negativing the whole,
yet the exercise of that power by them has not been frequent, and is
justly regarded by this House with peculiar jealousy, as affecting the
right of the Commons to grant the supplies and to provide the ways and
means for the service of the year.

"3. That, to guard for the future against an undue exercise of that
power by the Lords, and to secure to the Commons their rightful control
over taxation and supply, this House has in its own hands the power so
to impose and remit taxes, and to frame Bills of Supply, that the right
of the Commons as to the matter, manner, measure, and time may be
maintained inviolate."

The burden of the speech by which the Premier supported these
resolutions was this. The assent of both Houses is necessary to a bill,
and each branch possesses the power of rejection. But in regard to
certain bills, to wit, Money Bills, the House claims, as its peculiar
and exclusive privilege, the right of originating, altering, or amending
them. As the Lords have, however, the right and power of assenting, they
have also the right and power of rejecting. He admitted that they had
frequently exercised this right of rejection. Yet it must be observed,
that, when they had done so, it had been in the case of bills involving
taxes of small amount, or connected with questions of commercial
protection. No case had ever occurred precisely like this, where a bill
providing for the repeal of a tax of large amount, and on the face of it
unmixed with any other question, had been rejected by the Lords.

"But, in point of fact," he continued, "was there not another question
involved? Was it not clear, that, the bill having passed by a majority
greatly reduced since its second reading, the Lords may have thought
that it would be well to give the Commons further time to reflect?
Indeed, was there not abundant reason to believe that the Lords were not
really initiating a new and dangerous policy, that of claiming to be
partners with the House in originating and disposing of Money Bills?
Therefore, would it not be sufficient for the House firmly to assert its
rights, and to intimate the jealous care with which it intended to guard
against their infringement?"

Of course, this brief and imperfect abstract of an hour's speech can
do no sort of justice to its merits. It is much easier to describe its
effect upon the House. From the moment when the Premier uttered his
opening sentence, "I rise upon an occasion which will undoubtedly rank
as one of the first in importance among those which have occurred in
regard to our Parliamentary proceedings," he commanded the closest
attention of the House. And yet he was neither eloquent, impressive, nor
even earnest. There was not the slightest attempt at declamation. His
voice rarely rose above a conversational tone, and his gestures were not
so numerous or so decided as are usual in animated dialogue. His air and
manner were rather those of a plain, well-informed man of business, not
unaccustomed to public speaking, who had some views on the subject under
discussion which he desired to present, and asked the ear of the House
for a short hour while he defined his position.

No one who did not appreciate the man and the occasion would have
dreamed that he was confronting a crisis which might lead to a change
in the Ministry, and might array the two Houses of Parliament in angry
hostility against each other. But here lay the consummate skill of the
Premier. He was playing a most difficult role, and he played it to
perfection. He could not rely on the support of the Radicals. He must
therefore make amends for their possible defection by drawing largely
on the Conservative strength. The great danger was, that, while
conciliating the Conservatives by a show of concession, he should
alienate his own party by seeming to concede too much. Now, that the
effect which he aimed to produce excluded all declamation, all attempt
at eloquence, anything like flights of oratory or striking figures of
rhetoric, nobody understood better than Lord Palmerston.

In view of all these circumstances, the adroitness, the ability, the
sagacity, and the success of his speech were most wonderful. Gladstone
was more philosophical, statesmanlike, and eloquent; Whiteside more
impassioned and vehement; Disraeli more witty, sarcastic, and telling;
but Lord Palmerston displayed more of those qualities without which no
one can be a successful leader of the House of Commons. The result was,
that two of the resolutions passed without a division, and the third was
carried by an immense majority. The Prime Minister had understood the
temper of the House, and had shaped his course accordingly. As we have
seen, he succeeded to a marvel. But was it such a triumph as a great and
far-reaching statesman would have desired? And this brings us to the
other side of the picture.

Dexterous, facile, adroit, politic, versatile,--as Lord Palmerston
certainly is,--fertile in resources, prompt to seize and use to the
utmost every advantage, endowed with unusual popular gifts, and blessed
with imperturbable good-humor, it cannot be denied that in many of the
best and noblest attributes of a statesman he is sadly deficient. His
fondness for political power and his anxiety to achieve immediate
success inevitably lead him to resort to temporary and often unworthy
expedients. A manly reliance on general principles, and a firm faith in
the ultimate triumph of right and justice, constitute no part of his
character. He lives only in the present. That he is making history seems
never to occur to him. He does not aspire to direct, but only aims to
follow, or at best to keep pace with public opinion. What course he will
pursue on a given question can never be safely predicted, until you
ascertain, as correctly as he can, what is the prevailing temper of the
House or the nation. That he will try to "make things pleasant," to
conciliate the Opposition without weakening the strength of his own
party, you may be sure; but for, any further clue to his policy you must
consult the press, study the spirit of Parliament, and hear the voice of
the people. I know no better illustration to prove the justice of this
view of the Premier's political failing than his bearing in the debate
which I am attempting to describe. Here was a grave constitutional
question. The issue was a simple and clear one. Had the Lords the
right to reject a Money Bill which had passed the House? If historical
precedents settled the question clearly, then there was no difficulty
in determining the matter at once, and almost without discussion. If,
however, there were no precedents bearing precisely on this case, then
it was all the more important that this should be made the occasion of a
settlement of the question so unequivocal and positive as effectually
to guard against future complication and embarrassment. Now how did the
Premier deal with this issue? He disregarded the homely wisdom contained
in the pithy bull of Sir Boyle Roche, that "the best way to avoid a
dilemma is to meet it plump." He dodged the dilemma. His resolutions,
worded with ingenious obscurity, skilfully evaded the important aspect
of the controversy, and two of them, the second and third, gave equal
consolation to the Liberals and the Conservatives. So that, in fact, it
is reserved for some future Parliament, in which it cannot be doubted
that the Radical element will be more numerous and more powerful, to
determine what should have been decided on this very evening. It was
cleverly done, certainly, and extorted from all parties and members of
every shade of political opinion that admiration which the successful
performance of a difficult and critical task must always elicit. But was
it statesmanlike, or in any high sense patriotic or manly?

The Premier was followed by R.P. Collier, representing Plymouth. He had
been on the committee to search for precedents, and he devoted an hour
to showing that there was not, in all Parliamentary history, a single
precedent justifying the action of the Lords. His argument was clear and
convincing, and the result of it was, that no bill simply imposing or
remitting a tax had ever in a single instance been rejected by the Upper
House. In all the thirty-six cases relied on by the Opposition there
was always some other principle involved, which furnished plausible
justification for the course adopted by the Lords.

To this speech I observed that Mr. Gladstone paid strict attention,
occasionally indicating his assent by an approving nod, or by an
encouraging "Hear! Hear!" It is rare, indeed, that any speaker in the
House secures the marked attention or catches the eye of the Chancellor
of the Exchequer.

To Collier succeeded Coningham, member for Brighton. Now as this
honorable member was prosy and commonplace, not to say stupid, I
should not detain my readers with any allusion to his speech, but as
illustrating a prominent and very creditable feature of the debates
in the House. That time is of some value, and that no remarks can be
tolerated, unless they are intelligent and pertinent, are cardinal
doctrines of debate, and are quite rigidly enforced. At the same time
mere dulness is often overlooked, as soon as it appears that the speaker
has something to say which deserves to be heard. But there is one
species of oratory which is never tolerated for a moment, and that
is the sort of declamation which is designed merely or mainly for
home-consumption,--speaking for Buncombe, as we call it. The instant,
therefore, that it was evident that Mr. Coningham was addressing,
not the House of Commons, but his constituents at Brighton, he was
interrupted by derisive cheers and contemptuous groans. Again and again
did the indignant orator attempt to make his voice heard above the
confusion, but in vain; and when, losing all presence of mind, he made
the fatal admission,--"I can tell Honorable Gentlemen that I have just
returned from visiting my constituents, and I can assure the House that
more intelligent"--the tumult became so great, that the remainder of the
sentence was entirely lost. Seeing his mistake, Mr. Coningham changed
his ground. "I appeal to the courtesy of Honorable Members; I do not
often trespass upon the House; I implore them to give me a patient
and candid hearing." This appeal to the love of "fair play," so
characteristic of Englishmen, produced immediately the desired effect,
and the member concluded without further interruption.

Mr. Edwin James was the next prominent speaker. He has won a wide
reputation as a barrister, chiefly in the management of desperate
criminal cases, culminating in his defence of Dr. Barnard, charged with
being accessory to the attempted assassination of Louis Napoleon. The
idol of the populace, he was elected by a large majority in May, 1859,
as an extreme Liberal or Radical, to represent Marylebone in the present
Parliament. His warmest admirers will hardly contend that since his
election he has done anything to distinguish himself, or even to sustain
the reputation which his success as an advocate had earned for him.
The expensive vices to which he has long been addicted have left him
bankrupt in character and fortune. His large professional income has
been for some years received by trustees, who have made him a liberal
allowance for his personal expenses, and have applied the remainder
toward the payment of his debts. His recent disgraceful flight from
England, and the prompt action of his legal brethren in view of his
conduct, render it highly improbable that he will ever return to the
scene of his former triumphs and excesses. Besides its brevity, which
was commendable, his speech this evening presented no point worthy of
comment.

Since the opening remarks of Lord Palmerston, five Radicals had
addressed the House. Without exception they had denounced the action of
the Lords, and more than one had savagely attacked the Opposition for
supporting the proceedings of the Upper House. They had contended that
the Commons were becoming contemptible in the eyes of the nation by
their failure to take a manly position in defence of their rights. To
a man, they had assailed the resolutions of the Premier as falling far
short of the dignity of the occasion and the importance of the crisis,
or, at best, as intentionally ambiguous. Thus far then the Radicals.
The Opposition had listened to them in unbroken and often contemptuous
silence, enjoying the difference of opinion in the Ministerial party,
but reserving themselves for some foeman worthy of their steel. Nor
was there, beyond a vague rumor, any clue to the real position of the
Cabinet on the whole question. Only one member had spoken for the
Government, and it was more than suspected that he did not quite
correctly represent the views of the Ministry.

If any one of my readers had been in the Speaker's Gallery on that
evening, his attention would have been arrested by a member on the
Ministerial benches, a little to the right of Lord Palmerston. His face
is the most striking in the House,--grave, thoughtful, almost stern,
but lighting up with wonderful beauty when he smiles. Usually, his air
is rather abstracted,--not, indeed, the manner of one whose thoughts
are wandering from the business under debate, but rather of one who is
thinking deeply upon what is passing around him. His attitude is not
graceful: lolling at full length, his head resting on the back of the
seat, and his legs stretched out before him. He is always neatly, but
never carefully dressed, and his bearing is unmistakably that of a
scholar. Once or twice since we have been watching him, he has scratched
a few hasty memoranda on the back of an envelope, and now, amid the
silence of general expectation, the full, clear tones of his voice are
heard. He has not spoken five minutes before members who have taken
advantage of the dulness of recent debaters to dine, or to fortify
themselves in a less formal way for the night's work before them, begin
to flock to their seats. Not an eye wanders from the speaker, and the
attention which he commands is of the kind paid in the House only to
merit and ability of the highest order. And, certainly, the orator is
not unworthy of this silent, but most respectful tribute to his talents.
His manner is earnest and animated, his enunciation is beautifully
clear and distinct, the tones of his voice are singularly pleasing and
persuasive, stealing their way into the hearts of men, and charming them
into assent to his propositions. One can easily understand why he is
called the "golden-tongued."

This is Mr. Gladstone, Chancellor of the Exchequer, by right of
eloquence, statesmanship, and scholarly attainments, the foremost man in
England. I cannot hope to give a satisfactory description of his speech,
nor of its effect upon the House. His eloquence is of that quality to
which no sketch, however accurate, can do justice. Read any one of
his speeches, as reported with astonishing correctness in the London
"Times," and you will appreciate the clear, philosophical statement of
political truth,--the dignified, elevated, statesmanlike tone,--the rare
felicity of expression,--the rhetorical beauty of style, never usurping
the place of argument, though often concealing the sharp angles of his
relentless logic,--the marvellous ease with which he makes the
dry details of finance not only instructive, but positively
fascinating,--his adroitness in retrieving a mistake, or his sagacity
in abandoning, in season, an indefensible position,--the lofty and
indignant scorn with which he sometimes condescends to annihilate an
insolent adversary, or the royal courtesy of his occasional compliments.
But who shall be able to describe those attributes of his eloquence
which address themselves only to the ear and eye: that clear, resonant
voice, never sinking into an inaudible whisper, and never rising into an
ear-piercing scream, its tones always exactly adapted to the spirit of
the words,--that spare form, wasted by the severe study of many years,
which but a moment before was stretched in languid ease on the Treasury
benches, now dilated with emotion,--that careworn countenance inspired
with great thoughts: what pen or pencil can do justice to these?

If any one of that waiting audience has been impatiently expectant of
some words equal to this crisis, some fearless and manly statement
of the real question at issue, his wish shall be soon and most fully
gratified. Listen to his opening sentence, which contains the key-note
to his whole speech:--"It appears to be the determination of one moiety
of this House that there shall be no debate upon the constitutional
principles which are involved in this question; and I must say, that,
considering that gentlemen opposite are upon this occasion the partisans
of a gigantic innovation,--the most gigantic and the most dangerous that
has been attempted in modern times,--I may compliment them upon the
prudence they show in resolving to be its silent partisans." After this
emphatic exordium, which electrified the House, and was followed by
such a tempest of applause as for some time to drown the voice of the
speaker, he proceeded at once to demonstrate the utter folly and error
of contending that the action of the Lords was supported or justified
by any precedent. Of course, as a member of the Cabinet, he gave his
adhesion to the resolutions before the House, and indorsed the speech
of the Premier. But, from first to last, he treated the question as its
importance demanded, as critical and emergent, not to be passed by in
silence, nor yet to be encountered with plausible and conciliatory
expedients. He reserved to himself "entire freedom to adopt any mode
which might have the slightest hope of success, for vindicating by
action the rights of the House."

In fact, he alone of all the speakers of the evening rose to "the height
of the great argument." He alone seemed to feel that the temporary
success of this or that party or faction was as nothing compared with
the duty of settling definitely and for all posterity this conflict of
rights between the two Houses. Surveying the question from this high
vantage-ground, what wonder that in dignity and grandeur he towered
above his fellows? Here was a great mind grappling with a great
subject,--a mind above temporary expedients for present success,
superior to the fear of possible defeat. To denounce the Conservatives
for not attacking the Ministerial resolutions may have been indiscreet.
He may have been guilty of an apparent breach of Parliamentary
etiquette, when he practically condemned the passive policy of the
Cabinet, of which he was himself a leading member. But may we not pardon
the natural irritation produced by the defeat of his favorite measure,
in view of the noble and patriotic sentiments of his closing sentences?

"I regard the whole rights of the House of Commons, as they have been
handed down to us, as constituting a sacred inheritance, upon which I,
for my part, will never voluntarily permit any intrusion or plunder to
be made. I think that the very first of our duties, anterior to the duty
of dealing with any legislative measure, and higher and more sacred than
any such duties, high and sacred though they may be, is to maintain
intact that precious deposit."

The effect of this speech was indescribable. The applause with which he
was frequently interrupted, and which greeted him as he took his seat,
was such as I have never heard in a deliberative assembly. And not the
least striking feature of this display of enthusiasm was that it mainly
proceeded from the extreme Liberal wing of the Ministerial party, with
which Mr. Gladstone, representing that most conservative of all English
constituencies, Oxford University, had hitherto been by no means
popular. For several days the rumor was rife that the Chancellor of the
Exchequer would resign his place in the Cabinet, and be the leader
of the Radicals! But Mr. Gladstone had other views of his duty, and
probably he was never more firmly intrenched in the confidence of the
nation, and more influential in the councils of the Government, than he
is at this moment.

Mr. Gladstone had hardly taken his seat, when the long and significant
silence of the Opposition was broken by Mr. Whiteside. This gentleman
represents Dublin University, has been Attorney-General and
Solicitor-General for Ireland, and was one of the most able and eloquent
defenders of O'Connell and his friends in 1842. He is said to be the
only Irishman in public life who holds the traditions of the great Irish
orators,--the Grattans, the Currans, and the Sheridans. I will not
detain my readers with even a brief sketch of his speech. It was very
severe upon Mr. Gladstone, very funny at the expense of the Radicals,
and very complimentary to Lord Palmerston. As a whole, it was an
admirable specimen of Irish oratory. In the _élan_ with which the
speaker leaped to his feet and dashed at once into his subject, full of
spirit and eager for the fray, in his fierce and vehement invective and
the occasional ferocity of his attacks, in the fluency and fitness of
his language and the rapidity of his utterance, in the unstudied grace
and sustained energy of his manner, it was easy to recognize the
elements of that irresistible eloquence by which so many of his gifted
countrymen have achieved such brilliant triumphs at the forum and in the
halls of the debate.

It might perhaps heighten the effect of the picture, if I were to
describe the appearance of Mr. Gladstone during the delivery of this
fierce Philippic,--the contracted brow, the compressed lip, the uneasy
motion from side to side, and all the other customary manifestations of
anger, mortification, and conscious defeat. But if my sketch be dull,
it shall at least have the homely merit of being truthful. In point of
fact, the whole harangue was lost upon Mr. Gladstone; for he left the
House immediately after making his own speech, and did not return until
some time after Mr. Whiteside had finished. In all probability he did
not know how unmercifully he had been handled until he read his "Times"
the next morning.

Six more speeches on the Liberal side, loud in praise of the Chancellor
of the Exchequer, bitter in denunciation of the Conservatives, and by
no means sparing the policy of the Prime Minister, followed in quick
succession. They were all brief, pertinent, and spirited; with which
comprehensive criticism I must dismiss them. Their delivery occupied
about two hours, and many members availed themselves of this opportunity
to leave the House for a while. Some sauntered on the broad stone
terrace which lines the Thames. Not a few regaled themselves with the
popular Parliamentary beverage,--sherry and soda-water; and others,
who had resolutely kept their seats since the opening of the debate,
rewarded their devotion to the interests of the public by a more
elaborate repast. Now and then a member in full evening dress would
lounge into the House, with that air of perfect self-satisfaction
which tells of a good dinner by no means conducted on total-abstinence
principles.

It was midnight when Mr. Disraeli rose to address the House. For years
the pencil of "Punch" has seemed to take particular delight in sketching
for the public amusement the features of this well-known novelist,
orator, and statesman. After making due allowance for the conceded
license of caricature, we must admit that the likeness is in the main
correct, and any one familiar with the pages of "Punch" would recognize
him at a glance. The impression which he leaves on one who studies his
features and watches his bearing is not agreeable. Tall, thin, and quite
erect, always dressed with scrupulous care, distant and reserved in
manner, his eye dull, his lips wearing habitually a half-scornful,
half-contemptuous expression, one can readily believe him to be a man
addicted to bitter enmities, but incapable of warm friendships.

He had been sitting, as his manner is, very quietly during the evening,
never moving a muscle of his face, save when he smiled coldly once
or twice at the sharp sallies of Whiteside, or spoke, as he did very
rarely, to some member near him. A stranger to his manner would have
supposed him utterly indifferent to what was going on about him. Yet it
is probable that no member of the House was more thoroughly absorbed in
the debate or watched its progress with deeper interest. Excepting his
political ambition, Mr. Disraeli is actuated by no stronger passion than
hatred of Mr. Gladstone. To have been a warm admirer and _protégé_ of
Sir Robert Peel would have laid a sufficient foundation for intense
personal dislike. But Mr. Disraeli has other and greater grievances to
complain of. This is not the place to enter at large into the history of
the political rivalry between these eminent men. Enough to say, that
in the spring of 1852 Mr. Disraeli realized the dream of his lifelong
ambition by being appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer, in the Ministry
of Lord Derby. Late in the same year he brought forward his Budget,
which he defended at great length and with all his ability. This Budget,
and the arguments by which it was supported, Mr. Gladstone--who had
already refused to take the place in the Derby Cabinet--attacked in a
speech of extraordinary power, demolishing one by one the positions
of his opponent, rebuking with dignified severity the license of
his language, and calling upon the House to condemn the man and his
measures. Such was the effect of this speech that the Government was
defeated by a decided majority. Thus dethroned, Mr. Disraeli had the
additional mortification of seeing his victorious opponent seated in his
vacant chair. For, in the Ministry of Lord Aberdeen, which immediately
succeeded, Mr. Gladstone accepted the appointment of Chancellor of
the Exchequer. The Budget brought forward by the new Minister took by
surprise even those who had already formed the highest estimate of his
capacity; and the speech in which he defended and enforced it received
the approval of Lord John Russell, in the well-known and well-merited
compliment, that "it contained the ablest expositions of the true
principles of finance ever delivered by an English statesman." Since
that memorable defeat, Disraeli has lost no opportunity of attacking the
member for Oxford University. To weaken his wonderful ascendency over
the House has seemed to be the wish nearest his heart, and the signal
failure which has thus far attended all his efforts only gives a keener
edge to his sarcasm and increases the bitterness of his spirit. That
persistent and inflexible determination which, from a fashionable
novelist, has raised him to the dignity of leader of the Conservative
party in the House of Commons, that unsparing and cold-blooded malignity
which poisoned the last days of Sir Robert Peel, and those powers of wit
and ridicule which make him so formidable an adversary, have all been
impressed into this service.

His speech this evening was only a further illustration of his
controlling desire to enjoy an ample and adequate revenge for past
defeats; and, undoubtedly, Mr. Disraeli displayed a great deal of a
certain kind of power. He was witty, pungent, caustic, full of telling
hits which repeatedly convulsed the House with laughter, and he showed
singular dexterity in discovering and assailing the weak points in his
adversary's argument. Still, it was a painful exhibition, bad in temper,
tone, and manner. It was too plainly the attempt of an unscrupulous
partisan to damage a personal enemy, rather than the effort of a
statesman to enlighten and convince the House and the nation. It was
unfair, uncandid, and logically weak. Its only possible effect was to
irritate the Liberals, without materially strengthening the position of
the Conservatives. When "Dizzy" had finished, the floor was claimed
by Lord John Russell and Mr. Bright. It was sufficiently evident that
members, without distinction of party, desired to hear the last-named
gentleman, for cries of "Bright," "Bright," came from all parts of the
House. The member for Birmingham is stout, bluff, and hearty, looking
very much like a prosperous, well-dressed English yeoman. He is
acknowledged to be the best declaimer in the House. Piquant, racy, and
entertaining, he is always listened to with interest and pleasure; but
somehow he labors under the prevalent suspicion of being insincere, and
beyond a small circle of devoted admirers has no influence whatever in
Parliament.

To the manifest discontent of the House, the Speaker decided that the
Honorable Secretary for Foreign Affairs was entitled to the floor. Lord
John Russell deserves a more extended historical and personal notice
than the legitimate limits of this article will allow. But, as his
recent elevation to the peerage has led the English press to give a
review of his political antecedents, and as these articles have been
copied quite generally into our own leading newspapers, it may be
fairly presumed that most of my readers are familiar with the prominent
incidents in his long and honorable public career. As a speaker he is
decidedly prosy, with a hesitating utterance, a monotonous voice, and an
uninteresting manner. Yet he is always heard with respectful attention
by the House, in consideration of his valuable public services, his
intrinsic good sense, and his unselfish patriotism. On the question at
issue, he took ground midway between Lord Palmerston and Mr. Gladstone.

It was now about two, A.M. Since the commencement of the debate eighteen
members had addressed the House. At this point a motion prevailed to
adjourn until noon of the same day.

On the reopening of the debate at that hour, Mr. Bright and a few other
members gave their views upon the resolutions of the Premier, and the
final vote was then taken with the result already indicated.



A LEGEND OF THE LAKE.


  Should you go to Centre-Harbor,
    As haply you some time may,
  Sailing up the Winnipisauke,
    From the hills of Alton Bay,--

  Into the heart of the highlands,
    Into the north-wind free,
  Through the rising and vanishing islands,
    Over the mountain sea,--

  To the little hamlet lying
    White in its mountain-fold,
  Asleep by the lake, and dreaming
    A dream that is never told,--

  And in the Red Hill's shadow
    Your pilgrim home you make,
  Where the chambers open to sunrise,
    The mountains and the lake,--

  If the pleasant picture wearies,
    As the fairest sometimes will,
  And the weight of the hills lies on you,
    And the water is all too still,--

  If in vain the peaks of Gunstock
    Redden with sunrise fire,
  And the sky and the purple mountains
    And the sunset islands tire,--

  If you turn from the in-door thrumming
    And clatter of bowls without,
  And the folly that goes on its travels
    Bearing the city about,--

  And the cares you left behind you
    Come hunting along your track,
  As Blue-Cap in German fable
    Rode on the traveller's pack,--

  Let me tell you a tender story
    Of one who is now no more,
  A tale to haunt like a spirit
    The Winnipisauke shore,--

  Of one who was brave and gentle,
    And strong for manly strife,
  Riding with cheering and music
    Into the tourney of life.

  Faltering and falling midway
    In the Tempter's subtle snare,
  The chains of an evil habit
    He bowed himself to bear.

  Over his fresh, young manhood
    The bestial veil was flung,--
  The curse of the wine of Circe,
    The spell her weavers sung.

  Yearly did hill- and lake-side
    Their summer idyls frame;
  Alone in his darkened dwelling,
    He hid his face for shame.

  The music of life's great marches
    Sounded for him in vain;
  The voices of human duty
    Smote on his ear like pain.

  In vain over island and water
    The curtains of sunset swung;
  In vain on the beautiful mountains
    The pictures of God were hung.

  The wretched years crept onward,
    Each sadder than the last;
  All the bloom of life fell from him,
    All the freshness and greenness passed.

  But deep in his heart forever
    And unprofaned he kept
  The love of his saintly Mother,
    Who in the grave-yard slept.

  His house had no pleasant pictures;
    Its comfortless walls were bare;
  But the riches of earth and ocean
    Could not purchase his Mother's Chair,--

  The old chair, quaintly carven,
    With oaken arms outspread,
  Whereby, in the long gone twilights,
    His childish prayers were said.

  For thence, in his lone night-watches,
    By moon or starlight dim,
  A face full of love and pity
    And tenderness looked on him.
  And oft, as the grieving presence
    Sat in his mother's chair,
  The groan of his self-upbraiding
    Grew into wordless prayer.

  At last, in the moonless midnight,
    The summoning angel came,
  Severe in his pity, touching
    The house with fingers of flame.

  The red light flashed from its windows
    And flared from its sinking roof;
  And baffled and awed before it,
    The villagers stood aloof.

  They shrank from the falling rafters,
    They turned from the furnace-glare;
  But its tenant cried, "God help me!
    I must save my mother's chair."

  Under the blazing portal,
    Over the floor of fire,
  He seemed, in the terrible splendor,
    A martyr on his pyre!

  In his face the mad flames smote him
    And stung him on either side;
  But he clung to the sacred relic,--
    By his mother's chair he died!

  O mother, with human yearnings!
    O saint, by the altar-stairs!
  Shall not the dear God give thee
    The child of thy many prayers?

  O Christ! by whom the loving,
    Though erring, are forgiven,
  Hast Thou for him no refuge,
    No quiet place in heaven?

  Give palms to Thy strong martyrs,
    And crown Thy saints with gold,
  But let the mother welcome
    Her lost one to Thy fold!



AGNES OF SORRENTO.


CHAPTER XVI.

ELSIE PUSHES HER SCHEME.


The good Father Antonio returned from his conference with the cavalier
with many subjects for grave pondering. This man, as he conjectured, so
far from being an enemy either of Church or State, was in fact in many
respects in the same position with his revered master,--as nearly so as
the position of a layman was likely to resemble that of an ecclesiastic.
His denial of the Visible Church, as represented by the Pope and
Cardinals, sprang not from an irreverent, but from a reverent spirit. To
accept _them_ as exponents of Christ and Christianity was to blaspheme
and traduce both, and therefore he only could be counted in the highest
degree Christian who stood most completely opposed to them in spirit and
practice.

His kind and fatherly heart was interested in the brave young nobleman.
He sympathized fully with the situation in which he stood, and he even
wished success to his love; but then how was he to help him with Agnes,
and above all with her old grandmother, without entering on the awful
task of condemning and exposing that sacred authority which all the
Church had so many years been taught to regard as infallibly inspired?
Long had all the truly spiritual members of the Church who gave ear to
the teachings of Savonarola felt that the nearer they followed Christ
the more open was their growing antagonism to the Pope and the
Cardinals; but still they hung back from the responsibility of inviting
the people to an open revolt.

Father Antonio felt his soul deeply stirred with the news of the
excommunication of his saintly master; and he marvelled, as he tossed
on his restless bed through the night, how he was to meet the storm. He
might have known, had he been able to look into a crowded assembly in
Florence about this time, when the unterrified monk thus met the news of
his excommunication:--

"There have come decrees from Rome, have there? They call me a son of
perdition. Well, thus may you answer:--He to whom you give this name
hath neither favorites nor concubines, but gives himself solely to
preaching Christ. His spiritual sons and daughters, those who listen
to his doctrine, do not pass their time in infamous practices. They
confess, they receive the communion, they live honestly. This man gives
himself up to exalt the Church of Christ: you to destroy it. The time
approaches for opening the secret chamber: we will give but one turn of
the key, and there will come out thence such an infection, such a
stench of this city of Rome, that the odor shall spread through all
Christendom, and all the world shall be sickened."

But Father Antonio was of himself wholly unable to come to such a
courageous result, though capable of following to the death the master
who should do it for him. His was the true artist nature, as unfit to
deal with rough human forces as a bird that flies through the air is
unfitted to a hand-to-hand grapple with the armed forces of the lower
world. There is strength in these artist natures. Curious computations
have been made of the immense muscular power that is brought into
exercise when a swallow skims so smoothly through the blue sky; but the
strength is of a kind unadapted to mundane uses, and needs the ether for
its display. Father Antonio could create the beautiful; he could warm,
could elevate, could comfort; and when a stronger nature went before
him, he could follow with an unquestioning tenderness of devotion: but
he wanted the sharp, downright power of mind that could cut and cleave
its way through the rubbish of the past, when its institutions, instead
of a commodious dwelling, had come to be a loathsome prison. Besides,
the true artist has ever an enchanted island of his own; and when this
world perplexes and wearies him, he can sail far away and lay his soul
down to rest, as Cytherea bore the sleeping Ascanius far from the din of
battle, to sleep on flowers and breathe the odor of a hundred undying
altars to Beauty.

Therefore, after a restless night, the good monk arose in the first
purple of the dawn, and instinctively betook him to a review of his
drawings for the shrine, as a refuge from troubled thought. He took his
sketch of the Madonna and Child into the morning twilight and began
meditating thereon, while the clouds that lined the horizon were glowing
rosy purple and violet with the approaching day.

"See there!" he said to himself, "yonder clouds have exactly the rosy
purple of the cyclamen which my little Agnes loves so much;--yes, I am
resolved that this cloud on which our Mother standeth shall be of a
cyclamen color. And there is that star, like as it looked yesterday
evening, when I mused upon it. Methought I could see our Lady's clear
brow, and the radiance of her face, and I prayed that some little power
might be given to show forth that which transports me."

And as the monk plied his pencil, touching here and there, and
elaborating the outlines of his drawing, he sang,--

  "Ave, Maris Stella,
  Dei mater alma,
  Atque semper virgo,
  Felix coeli porta!

  "Virgo singularis,
  Inter omnes mitis,
  Nos culpis solutos
  Mites fac et castos!

  "Vitam praesta puram,
  Iter para tutum,
  Ut videntes Jesum
  Semper collaetemur!"[A]

[Footnote A:

  Hail, thou Star of Ocean,
  Thou forever virgin
  Mother of the Lord!
  Blessed gate of Heaven,
  Take our heart's devotion!

  Virgin one and only,
  Meekest 'mid them all,
  From our sins set free,
  Make us pure like thee,
  Freed from passion's thrall!

  Grant that in pure living,
  Through safe paths below,
  Forever seeing Jesus,
  Rejoicing we may go!
]

As the monk sang, Agnes soon appeared at the door.

"Ah, my little bird, you are there!" he said, looking up.

"Yes," said Agnes, coming forward, and looking over his shoulder at his
work.

"Did you find that young sculptor?" she asked.

"That I did,--a brave boy, too, who will row down the coast and dig us
marble from an old heathen temple, which we will baptize into the name
of Christ and his Mother."

"Pietro was always a good boy," said Agnes.

"Stay," said the monk, stepping into his little sleeping-room; "he sent
you this lily; see, I have kept it in water all night."

"Poor Pietro, that was good of him!" said Agnes. "I would thank him, if
I could. But, uncle," she added, in a hesitating voice, "did you see
anything of that--other one?"

"That I did, child,--and talked long with him."

"Ah, uncle, is there any hope for him?"

"Yes, there is hope,--great hope. In fact, he has promised to receive me
again, and I have hopes of leading him to the sacrament of confession,
and after that"----

"And then the Pope will forgive him!" said Agnes, joyfully.

The face of the monk suddenly fell; he was silent, and went on
retouching his drawing.

"Do you not think he will?" said Agnes, earnestly. "You said the Church
was ever ready to receive the repentant."

"The True Church will receive him," said the monk, evasively; "yes, my
little one, there is no doubt of it."

"And it is not true that he is captain of a band of robbers in the
mountains?" said Agnes. "May I tell Father Francesco that it is not so?"

"Child, this young man hath suffered a grievous wrong and injustice; for
he is lord of an ancient and noble estate, out of which he hath been
driven by the cruel injustice of a most wicked and abominable man, the
Duke di Valentinos,[B] who hath caused the death of his brothers and
sisters, and ravaged the country around with fire and sword, so that he
hath been driven with his retainers to a fortress in the mountains."

[Footnote B: Caesar Borgia was created Duc de Valentinois by Louis XII.
of France.]

"But," said Agnes, with flushed cheeks, "why does not our blessed Father
excommunicate this wicked duke? Surely this knight hath erred; instead
of taking refuge in the mountains, he ought to have fled with his
followers to Rome, where the dear Father of the Church hath a house for
all the oppressed. It must be so lovely to be the father of all men, and
to take in and comfort all those who are distressed and sorrowful, and
to right the wrongs of all that are oppressed, as our dear Father at
Rome doth!"

The monk looked up at Agnes's clear glowing face with a sort of
wondering pity.

"Dear little child," he said, "there is a Jerusalem above which is
mother of us all, and these things are done there.

  'Coelestis urbs Jerusalem,
  Beata pacis visio,
  Quae celsa de viventibus
  Saxis ad astra tolleris,
  Sponsaeque ritu cingeris
  Mille angelorum millibus!'"

The face of the monk glowed as he repeated this ancient hymn of the
Church,[C] as if the remembrance of that general assembly and church of
the first-born gave him comfort in his depression.

[Footnote C: This very ancient hymn is the fountainhead from which
through various languages have trickled the various hymns of the
Celestial City, such as--

"Jerusalem, my happy home!"

and Quarles's--

"O mother dear, Jerusalem!"]

Agnes felt perplexed, and looked earnestly at her uncle as he stooped
over his drawing, and saw that there were deep lines of anxiety on his
usually clear, placid face,--a look as of one who struggles mentally
with some untold trouble.

"Uncle," she said, hesitatingly, "may I tell Father Francesco what you
have been telling me of this young man?"

"No, my little one,--it were not best. In fact, dear child, there be
many things in his case impossible to explain, even to you;--but he is
not so altogether hopeless as you thought; in truth, I have great hopes
of him. I have admonished him to come here no more, but I shall see him
again this evening."

Agnes wondered at the heaviness of her own little heart, as her kind
old uncle spoke of his coming there no more. Awhile ago she dreaded his
visits as a most fearful temptation, and thought perhaps he might come
at any hour; now she was sure he would not, and it was astonishing what
a weight fell upon her.

"Why am I not thankful?" she asked herself. "Why am I not joyful? Why
should I wish to see him again, when I should only be tempted to sinful
thoughts, and when my dear uncle, who can do so much for him, has his
soul in charge? And what is this which is so strange in his case? There
is some mystery, after all,--something, perhaps, which I ought not to
wish to know. Ah, how little can we know of this great wicked world, and
of the reasons which our superiors give for their conduct! It is ours
humbly to obey, without a question or a doubt. Holy Mother, may I not
sin through a vain curiosity or self-will! May I ever say, as thou
didst, 'Behold the handmaid of the Lord! be it unto me according to His
word!'"

And Agnes went about her morning devotions with fervent zeal, and did
not see the monk as he dropped the pencil, and, covering his face with
his robe, seemed to wrestle in some agony of prayer.

"Shepherd of Israel," he said, "why hast Thou forgotten this vine of Thy
planting? The boar out of the wood doth waste it, the wild beast of the
field doth devour it. Dogs have encompassed Thy beloved; the assembly of
the violent have surrounded him. How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost
Thou not judge and avenge?"

"Now, really, brother," said Elsie, coming towards him, and interrupting
his meditations in her bustling, business way, yet speaking in a low
tone that Agnes should not hear,--"I want you to help me with this child
in a good common-sense fashion: none of your high-flying notions about
saints and angels, but a little good common talk for every-day people
that have their bread and salt to look after. The fact is, brother, this
girl must be married. I went last night to talk with Antonio's mother,
and the way is all open as well as any living girl could desire. Antonio
is a trifle slow, and the high-flying hussies call him stupid; but his
mother says a better son never breathed, and he is as obedient to all
her orders now as when he was three years old. And she has laid up
plenty of household stuff for him, and good hard gold pieces to boot:
she let me count them myself, and I showed her that which I had scraped
together, and she counted it, and we agreed that the children that come
of such a marriage would come into the world with something to stand on.
Now Agnes is fond of you, brother, and perhaps it would be well for you
to broach the subject. The fact is, when I begin to talk, she gets her
arms round my old neck and falls to weeping and kissing me at such a
rate as makes a fool of me. If the child would only be rebellious, one
could do something; but this love takes all the stiffness out of one's
joints; and she tells me she never wants a husband, and she will be
content to live with me all her life. The saints know it isn't for my
happiness to put her out of my old arms; but I can't last forever,--my
old back grows weaker every year; and Antonio has strong arms to defend
her from all these roystering fellows who fear neither God nor man, and
swoop up young maids as kites do chickens. And then he is as gentle and
manageable as a this-year ox; Agnes can lead him by the horn,--she will
be a perfect queen over him; for he has been brought up to mind the
women."

"Well, sister," said the monk, "hath our little maid any acquaintance
with this man? Have they ever spoken together?"

"Not much. I have never brought them to a very close acquaintance; and
that is what is to be done. Antonio is not much of a talker; to tell the
truth, he does not know as much to say as our Agnes: but the man's place
is not to say fine things, but to do the hard work that shall support
the household."

"Then Agnes hath not even seen him?"

"Yes, at different times I have bid her regard him, and said to her,
'There goes a proper man and a good Christian,--a man who minds his work
and is obedient to his old mother: such a man will make a right good
husband for some girl some day.'"

"And did you ever see that her eye followed him with pleasure?"

"No, neither him nor any other man, for my little Agnes hath no thought
of that kind; but, once married, she will like him fast enough. All
I want is to have you begin the subject, and get it into her head a
little."

Father Antonio was puzzled how to meet this direct urgency of his
sister. He could not explain to her his own private reasons for
believing that any such attempt would be utterly vain, and only bring
needless distress on his little favorite. He therefore answered,--

"My good sister, all such thoughts lie so far out of the sphere of us
monks, that you could not choose a worse person for such an errand. I
have never had any communings with the child than touching the beautiful
things of my art, and concerning hymns and prayers and the lovely
world of saints and angels, where they neither marry nor are given in
marriage; and so I should only spoil your enterprise, if I should put my
unskilful hand to it."

"At any rate," said Elsie, "don't you approve of my plan?"

"I should approve of anything that would make our dear little one safe
and happy, but I would not force the matter against her inclinations.
You will always regret it, if you make so good a child shed one needless
tear. After all, sister, what need of haste? 'Tis a young bird yet. Why
push it out of the nest? When once it is gone, you will never get it
back. Let the pretty one have her little day to play and sing and be
happy. Does she not make this garden a sort of Paradise with her little
ways and her sweet words? Now, my sister, these all belong to you; but,
once she is given to another, there is no saying what may come. One
thing only may you count on with certainty: that these dear days, when
she is all day by your side and sleeps in your bosom all night, are
over,--she will belong to you no more, but to a strange man who hath
neither toiled nor wrought for her, and all her pretty ways and dutiful
thoughts must be for him."

"I know it, I know it," said Elsie, with a sudden wrench of that jealous
love which is ever natural to strong, passionate natures. "I'm sure it
isn't for my own sake I urge this. I grudge him the girl. After all,
he is but a stupid head. What has he ever done, that such good-fortune
should befall him? He ought to fall down and kiss the dust of my shoes
for such a gift, and I doubt me much if he will ever think to do it.
These men think nothing too good for them. I believe, if one of the
crowned saints in heaven were offered them to wife, they would think it
all quite natural, and not a whit less than their requirings."

"Well, then, sister," said the monk, soothingly, "why press this matter?
why hurry? The poor little child is young; let her frisk like a lamb,
and dance like a butterfly, and sing her hymns every day like a bright
bird. Surely the Apostle saith, 'He that giveth his maid in marriage
doeth well, but he that giveth her not doeth better.'"

"But I have opened the subject already to old Meta," said Elsie; "and
if I don't pursue it, she will take it into her head that her son is
lightly regarded, and then her back will be up, and one may lose the
chance; and on the whole, considering the money and the fellow, I don't
know a safer way to settle the girl."

"Well, sister, as I have remarked," said the monk, "I could not order
my speech to propose anything of this kind to a young maid; I should so
bungle that I might spoil all. You must even propose it yourself."

"I would not have undertaken it," said Elsie, "had I not been frightened
by that hook-nosed old kite of a cavalier that has been sailing and
perching round. We are two lone women here, and the times are unsettled,
and one never knows, that hath so fair a prize, but she may be carried
off, and then no redress from any quarter."

"You might lodge her in the convent," said the monk.

"Yes, and then, the first thing I should know, they would have got her
away from me entirely. I have been well pleased to have her much with
the sisters hitherto, because it kept her from hearing the foolish talk
of girls and gallants,--and such a flower would have had every wasp and
bee buzzing round it. But now the time is coming to marry her, I much
doubt these nuns. There's old Jocunda is a sensible woman, who knew
something of the world before she went there,--but the Mother Theresa
knows no more than a baby; and they would take her in, and make her as
white and as thin as that moon yonder now the sun has risen; and little
good should I have of her, for I have no vocation for the convent,--it
would kill me in a week. No,--she has seen enough of the convent for the
present. I will even take the risk of watching her myself. Little has
this gallant seen of her, though he has tried hard enough! But to-day I
may venture to take her down with me."

Father Antonio felt a little conscience-smitten in listening to these
triumphant assertions of old Elsie; for he knew that she would pour all
her vials of wrath on his head, did she know, that, owing to his absence
from his little charge, the dreaded invader had managed to have two
interviews with her grandchild, on the very spot that Elsie deemed the
fortress of security; but he wisely kept his own counsel, believing in
the eternal value of silence. In truth, the gentle monk lived so much
in the unreal and celestial world of Beauty, that he was by no means
a skilful guide for the passes of common life. Love, other than that
ethereal kind which aspires towards Paradise, was a stranger to his
thoughts, and he constantly erred in attributing to other people natures
and purposes as unworldly and spiritual as his own. Thus had he fallen,
in his utter simplicity, into the attitude of a go-between protecting
the advances of a young lover with the shadow of his monk's gown, and
he became awkwardly conscious, that, if Elsie should find out the whole
truth, there would be no possibility of convincing her that what had
been done in such sacred simplicity on all sides was not the basest
manoeuvring.

Elsie took Agnes down with her to the old stand in the gateway of the
town. On their way, as had probably been arranged, Antonio met them.
We may have introduced him to the reader before, who likely enough has
forgotten by this time our portraiture; so we shall say again, that the
man was past thirty, tall, straight, well-made, even to the tapering of
his well-formed limbs, as are the generality of the peasantry of that
favored region. His teeth were white as sea-pearl; his cheek, though
swarthy, had a deep, healthy flash; and his great velvet black eyes
looked straight out from under their long silky lashes, just as do the
eyes of the beautiful oxen of his country, with a languid, changeless
tranquillity, betokening a good digestion, and a well-fed, kindly animal
nature. He was evidently a creature that had been nourished on sweet
juices and developed in fair pastures, under genial influences of sun
and weather,--one that would draw patiently in harness, if required,
without troubling his handsome head how he came there, and, his labor
being done, would stretch his healthy body to rumination, and rest with
serene, even unreflecting quietude.

He had been duly lectured by his mother, this morning, on the propriety
of commencing his wooing, and was coming towards them with a bouquet in
his hand.

"See there," said Elsie,--"there is our young neighbor Antonio coming
towards us. There is a youth whom I am willing you should speak
to,--none of your ruffling gallants, but steady as an ox at his work,
and as kind at the crib. Happy will the girl be that gets him for a
husband!"

Agnes was somewhat troubled and saddened this morning, and absorbed in
cares quite new to her life before; but her nature was ever kindly
and social, and it had been laid under so many restrictions by her
grandmother's close method of bringing up, that it was always ready to
rebound in favor of anybody to whom she allowed her to show kindness.
So, when the young man stopped and shyly reached forth to her a knot
of scarlet poppies intermingled with bright vetches and wild blue
larkspurs, she took it graciously, and, frankly beaming a smile into his
face, said,--

"Thank you, my good Antonio!" Then fastening them in the front of her
bodice,--"There, they are beautiful!" she said, looking up with the
simple satisfaction of a child.

"They are not half so beautiful as you are," said the young peasant;
"everybody likes you."

"You are very kind, I am sure," said Agnes. "I like everybody, as far as
grandmamma thinks it best."

"I am glad of that," said Antonio, "because then I hope you will like
me."

"Oh, yes, certainly, I do; grandmamma says you are very good, and I like
all good people."

"Well, then, pretty Agnes," said the young man, "let me carry your
basket."

"Oh, you don't need to; it does not tire me."

"But I should like to do something for you," insisted the young man,
blushing deeply.

"Well, you may, then," said Agnes, who began to wonder at the length
of time her grandmother allowed this conversation to go on without
interrupting it, as she generally had done when a young man was in the
case. Quite to her astonishment, her venerable relative, instead of
sticking as close to her as her shadow, was walking forward very fast
without looking behind.

"Now, Holy Mother," said that excellent matron, "do help this young man
to bring this affair out straight, and give an old woman, who has had a
world of troubles, a little peace in her old age!"

Agnes found herself, therefore, quite unusually situated, alone in the
company of a handsome young man, and apparently with the consent of her
grandmother. Some girls might have felt emotions of embarrassment,
or even alarm, at this new situation; but the sacred loneliness and
seclusion in which Agnes had been educated had given her a confiding
fearlessness, such as voyagers have found in the birds of bright foreign
islands which have never been invaded by man. She looked up at Antonio
with a pleased, admiring smile,--much such as she would have given, if
a great handsome stag, or other sylvan companion, had stepped from the
forest and looked a friendship at her through his large liquid eyes. She
seemed, in an innocent, frank way, to like to have him walking by her,
and thought him very good to carry her basket,--though, as she told him,
he need not do it, it did not tire her in the least.

"Nor does it tire me, pretty Agnes," said he, with an embarrassed laugh.
"See what a great fellow I am,--how strong! Look,--I can bend an iron
bar in my hands! I am as strong as an ox,--and I should like always to
use my strength for you."

"Should you? How very kind of you! It is very Christian to use one's
strength for others, like the good Saint Christopher."

"But I would use my strength for you because--I love you, gentle Agnes!"

"That is right, too," replied Agnes. "We must all love one another, my
good Antonio."

"You must know what I mean," said the young man. "I mean that I want to
marry you."

"I am sorry for that, Antonio," replied Agnes, gravely; "because I do
not want to marry you. I am never going to marry anybody."

"Ah, girls always talk so, my mother told me; but nobody ever heard of
a girl that did not want a husband; that is impossible," said Antonio,
with simplicity.

"I believe girls generally do, Antonio; but I do not: my desire is to go
to the convent."

"To the convent, pretty Agnes? Of all things, what should you want to
go to the convent for? You never had any trouble. You are young, and
handsome, and healthy, and almost any of the fellows would think himself
fortunate to get you."

"I would go there to live for God and pray for souls," said Agnes.

"But your grandmother will never let you; she means you shall marry me.
I heard her and my mother talking about it last night; and my mother
bade me come on, for she said it was all settled."

"I never heard anything of it," said Agnes, now for the first time
feeling troubled. "But, my good Antonio, if you really do like me and
wish me well, you will not want to distress me?"

"Certainly not."

"Well, it _will_ distress me very, very much, if you persist in wanting
to marry me, and if you say any more on the subject."

"Is that really so?" said Antonio, fixing his great velvet eyes with an
honest stare on Agnes.

"Yes, it is so, Antonio; you may rely upon it."

"But look here, Agnes, are you quite sure? Mother says girls do not
always know their mind."

"But I know mine, Antonio. Now you really will distress and trouble me
very much, if you say anything more of this sort."

"I declare, I am sorry for it," said the young man. "Look ye, Agnes,--I
did not care half as much about it this morning as I do now. Mother
has been saying this great while that I must have a wife, that she was
getting old; and this morning she told me to speak to you. I thought you
would be all ready,--indeed I did."

"My good Antonio, there are a great many very handsome girls who would
be glad, I suppose, to marry you. I believe other girls do not feel as I
do. Giulietta used to laugh and tell me so."

"That Giulietta was a splendid girl," said Antonio. "She used to make
great eyes at me, and try to make me play the fool; but my mother would
not hear of her. Now she has gone off with a fellow to the mountains."

"Giulietta gone?"

"Yes, haven't you heard of it? She's gone with one of the fellows of
that dashing young robber-captain that has been round our town so much
lately. All the girls are wild after these mountain fellows. A good,
honest boy like me, that hammers away at his trade, they think nothing
of; whereas one of these fellows with a feather in his cap has only to
twinkle his finger at them, and they are off like a bird."

The blood rose in Agnes's cheeks at this very unconscious remark; but
she walked along for some time with a countenance of grave reflection.

They had now gained the street of the city, where old Elsie stood at a
little distance waiting for them.

"Well, Agnes," said Antonio, "so you really are in earnest?"

"Certainly I am."

"Well, then, let us be good friends, at any rate," said the young man.

"Oh, to be sure, I will," said Agnes, smiling with all the brightness
her lovely face was capable of. "You are a kind, good man, and I like
you very much. I will always remember you kindly."

"Well, good-bye, then," said Antonio, offering his hand.

"Good-bye," said Agnes, cheerfully giving hers.

Elsie, beholding the cordiality of this parting, comforted herself that
all was right, and ruffled all her feathers with the satisfied pride of
a matron whose family plans are succeeding.

"After all," she said to herself, "brother was right,--best let young
folks settle these matters themselves. Now see the advantage of such an
education as I have given Agnes! Instead of being betrothed to a good,
honest, forehanded fellow, she might have been losing her poor silly
heart to some of these lords or gallants who throw away a girl as one
does an orange when they have sucked it. Who knows what mischief this
cavalier might have done, if I had not been so watchful? Now let him
come prying and spying about, she will have a husband to defend her. A
smith's hammer is better than an old woman's spindle, any day."

Agnes took her seat with her usual air of thoughtful gravity, her
mind seeming to be intensely preoccupied, and her grandmother, though
secretly exulting in the supposed cause, resolved not to open the
subject with her till they were at home or alone at night.

"I have my defence to make to Father Francesco, too," she said to
herself, "for hurrying on this betrothal against his advice; but one
must manage a little with these priests,--the saints forgive me! I
really think sometimes, because they can't marry themselves, they would
rather see every pretty girl in a convent than with a husband. It's
natural enough, too. Father Francesco will be like the rest of the
world: when he can't help a thing, he will see the will of the Lord in
it."

Thus prosperously the world seemed to go with old Elsie. Meantime, when
her back was turned, as she was kneeling over her basket, sorting out
lemons, Agnes happened to look up, and there, just under the arch of the
gateway, where she had seen him the first time, sat the cavalier on a
splendid horse, with a white feather streaming backward from his black
riding-hat and dark curls.

He bowed low and kissed his hand to her, and before she knew it her eyes
met his, which seemed to flash light and sunshine all through her; and
then he turned his horse and was gone through the gate, while she,
filled with self-reproach, was taking her little heart to task for the
instantaneous throb of happiness which had passed through her whole
being at that sight. She had not turned away her head, nor said a
prayer, as Father Francesco told her to do, because the whole thing had
been sudden as a flash; but now it was gone, she prayed, "My God, help
me not to love him!--let me love Thee alone!" But many times in the
course of the day, as she twisted her flax, she found herself wondering
whither he could be going. Had he really gone to that enchanted
cloud-land, in the old purple Apennines, whither he wanted to carry
her,--gone, perhaps, never to return? That was best. But was he
reconciled with the Church? Was that great, splendid soul that looked
out of those eyes to be forever lost, or would the pious exhortations of
her uncle avail? And then she thought he had said to her, that, if she
would go with him, he would confess and take the sacrament, and be
reconciled with the Church, and so his soul be saved.

She resolved to tell this to Father Francesco. Perhaps he
would----No,--she shivered as she remembered the severe, withering look
with which the holy father had spoken of him, and the awfulness of his
manner,--he would never consent. And then her grandmother----No, there
was no possibility.

Meanwhile Agnes's good old uncle sat in the orange-shaded garden, busily
perfecting his sketches; but his mind was distracted, and his thoughts
wandered,--and often he rose, and, leaving his drawings, would pace up
and down the little place, absorbed in earnest prayer. The thought of
his master's position was hourly growing upon him. The real world with
its hungry and angry tide was each hour washing higher and higher up on
the airy shore of the ideal, and bearing the pearls and enchanted shells
of fancy out into its salt and muddy waters.

"Oh, my master, my father!" he said, "is the martyr's crown of fire
indeed waiting thee? Will God desert His own? But was not Christ
crucified?--and the disciple is not above his master, nor the servant
above his lord. But surely Florence will not consent. The whole city
will make a stand for him;--they are ready, if need be, to pluck out
their eyes and give them to him. Florence will certainly be a refuge
for him. But why do I put confidence in man? In the Lord alone have I
righteousness and strength."

And the old monk raised the psalm, "_Quare fremunt gentes_," and his
voice rose and fell through the flowery recesses and dripping grottoes
of the old gorge, sad and earnest like the protest of the few and feeble
of Christ's own against the rushing legions of the world. Yet, as
he sang, courage and holy hope came into his soul from the sacred
words,--just such courage as they afterwards brought to Luther, and to
the Puritans in later times.


CHAPTER XVII.

THE MONK'S DEPARTURE.


The three inhabitants of the little dovecot were sitting in their garden
after supper, enjoying the cool freshness. The place was perfumed with
the smell of orange-blossoms, brought out by gentle showers that had
fallen during the latter part of the afternoon, and all three felt the
tranquillizing effects of the sweet evening air. The monk sat bending
over his drawings, resting the frame on which they lay on the mossy
garden-wall, so as to get the latest advantage of the rich golden
twilight which now twinkled through the sky. Agnes sat by him on the
same wall,--now glancing over his shoulder at his work, and now leaning
thoughtfully on her elbow, gazing pensively down into the deep shadows
of the gorge, or out where the golden light of evening streamed under
the arches of the old Roman bridge, to the wide, bright sea beyond.

Old Elsie bustled about with unusual content in the lines of her keen
wrinkled face. Already her thoughts were running on household furnishing
and bridal finery. She unlocked an old chest which from its heavy quaint
carvings of dark wood must have been some relic of the fortunes of her
better days, and, taking out of a little till of the same a string of
fine silvery pearls, held them up admiringly to the evening light.
A splendid pair of pearl ear-rings also was produced from the same
receptacle.

She sighed at first, as she looked at these things, and then smiled with
rather an air of triumph, and, coming to where Agnes reclined on the
wall, held them up playfully before her.

"See here, little one!" she said.

"Oh, what pretty things!--where did they come from?" said Agnes,
innocently.

"Where did they? Sure enough! Little did you or any one else know old
Elsie had things like these! But she meant her little Agnes should hold
up her head with the best. No girl in Sorrento will have such wedding
finery as this?"

"Wedding finery, grandmamma," said Agnes, faintly,--"what does that
mean?"

"What does that mean, sly-boots? Ah, you know well enough! What were you
and Antonio talking about all the time this morning? Did he not ask you
to marry him?"

"Yes, grandmamma; but I told him I was not going to marry. You promised
me, dear grandmother, right here, the other night, that I should not
marry till I was willing; and I told Antonio I was not willing."

"The girl says but true, sister," said the monk; "you remember you gave
her your word that she should not be married till she gave her consent
willingly."

"But, Agnes, my pretty one, what can be the objection?" said old Elsie,
coaxingly. "Where will you find a better-made man, or more honest, or
more kind?--and he is handsome;--and you will have a home that all the
girls will envy."

"Grandmamma, remember, you promised me,--you _promised_ me," said Agnes,
looking distressed, and speaking earnestly.

"Well, well, child! but can't I ask a civil question, if I did? What is
your objection to Antonio?"

"Only that I don't want to be married."

"Now you know, child," said Elsie, "I never will consent to your going
to a convent. You might as well put a knife through my old heart as talk
to me of that. And if you don't go, you must marry somebody; and who
could be better than Antonio?"

"Oh, grandmamma, am I not a good girl? What have I done, that you are
so anxious to get me away from you?" said Agnes. "I like Antonio well
enough, but I like you ten thousand times better. Why cannot we live
together just as we do now? I am strong. I can work a great deal harder
than I do. You ought to let me work more, so that you need not work so
hard and tire yourself,--let me carry the heavy basket, and dig round
the trees."

"Pooh! a pretty story!" said Elsie. "We are two lone women, and the
times are unsettled; there are robbers and loose fellows about, and we
want a protector."

"And is not the good Lord our protector?--has He not always kept us,
grandmother?" said Agnes.

"Oh, that's well enough to say, but folks can't always get along
so;--it's far better trusting the Lord with a good strong man
about,--like Antonio, for instance. I should like to see the man that
would dare be uncivil to _his_ wife. But go your ways,--it's no use
toiling away one's life for children, who, after all, won't turn their
little finger for you."

"Now, dear grandmother," said Agnes, "have I not said I would do
everything for you, and work hard for you? Ask me to do anything else
in the world, grandmamma; I will do anything to make you happy, except
marry this man,--that I cannot."

"And that is the only thing I want you to do. Well, I suppose I may as
well lock up these things; I see my gifts are not cared for."

And the old soul turned and went in quite testily, leaving Agnes with a
grieved heart, sitting still by her uncle.

"Never weep, little one," said the kind old monk, when he saw the silent
tears falling one after another; "your grandmother loves you, after all,
and will come out of this, if we are quiet."

"This is such a beautiful world," said Agnes, "who would think it would
be such a hard one to live in?--such battles and conflicts as people
have here!"

"You say well, little heart; but great is the glory to be revealed; so
let us have courage."

"Dear uncle, have you heard any ill-tidings of late?" asked Agnes. "I
noticed this morning you were cast down, and to-night you look so tired
and sad."

"Yes, dear child,--heavy tidings have indeed come. My dear master at
Florence is hard beset by wicked men, and in great danger,--in danger,
perhaps, of falling a martyr to his holy zeal for the blessed Jesus and
his Church."

"But cannot our holy father, the Pope, protect him? You should go to
Rome directly and lay the case before him."

"It is not always possible to be protected by the Pope," said Father
Antonio, evasively. "But I grieve much, dear child, that I can be with
you no longer. I must gird up my loins and set out for Florence, to see
with my own eyes how the battle is going for my holy master."

"Ah, must I lose you, too, my dear, best friend?" said Agnes. "What
shall I do?"

"Thou hast the same Lord Jesus, and the same dear Mother, when I am
gone. Have faith in God, and cease not to pray for His Church,--and for
me, too."

"That I will, dear uncle! I will pray for you more than ever,--for
prayer now will be all my comfort. But," she added, with hesitation,
"oh, uncle, you promised to visit _him_!"

"Never fear, little Agnes,--I will do that. I go to him this very
night,--now, even,--for the daylight waxes too scant for me to work
longer."

"But you will come back and stay with us to-night, uncle?"

"Yes, I will,--but to-morrow morning I must be up and away with the
birds; and I have labored hard all day to finish the drawings for the
lad who shall carve the shrine, that he may busy himself thereon in my
absence."

"Then you will come back?"

"Certainly, dear heart, I will come back; of that be assured. Pray God
it be before long, too."

So saying, the good monk drew his cowl over his head, and, putting his
portfolio of drawings under his arm, began to wend his way towards the
old town.

Agnes watched him departing, her heart in a strange flutter of eagerness
and solicitude. What were these dreadful troubles which were coming upon
her good uncle?--who those enemies of the Church that beset that saintly
teacher he so much looked up to? And why was lawless violence allowed
to run such riot in Italy, as it had in the case of the unfortunate
cavalier? As she thought things over, she was burning with a repressed
desire to _do_ something herself to abate these troubles.

"I am not a knight," she said to herself, "and I cannot fight for the
good cause. I am not a priest, and I cannot argue for it. I cannot
preach and convert sinners. What, then, can I do? I can pray. Suppose I
should make a pilgrimage? Yes,--that would be a good work, and I will.
I will walk to Rome, praying at every shrine and holy place; and then,
when I come to the Holy City, whose very dust is made precious with
the blood of the martyrs and saints, I will seek the house of our dear
father, the Pope, and entreat his forgiveness for this poor soul. He
will not scorn me, for he is in the place of the blessed Jesus, and the
richest princess and the poorest maiden are equal in his sight. Ah, that
will be beautiful! Holy Mother," she said, falling on her knees before
the shrine, "here I vow and promise that I will go praying to the Holy
City. Smile on me and help me!"

And by the twinkle of the flickering lamp which threw its light upon the
picture, Agnes thought surely the placid face brightened to a tender
maternal smile, and her enthusiastic imagination saw in this an omen of
success.

Old Elsie was moody and silent this evening,--vexed at the thwarting
of her schemes. It was the first time that the idea had ever gained a
foothold in her mind, that her docile and tractable grandchild could
really have for any serious length of time a will opposed to her own,
and she found it even now difficult to believe it. Hitherto she had
shaped her life as easily as she could mould a biscuit, and it was all
plain sailing before her. The force and decision of this young will rose
as suddenly upon her as the one rock in the middle of the ocean which a
voyager unexpectedly discovered by striking on it.

But Elsie by no means regarded the game as lost. She mentally went over
the field, considering here and there what was yet to be done.

The subject had fairly been broached. Agnes had listened to it, and
parted in friendship from Antonio. Now his old mother must be soothed
and pacified; and Antonio must be made to persevere.

"What is a girl worth that can be won at the first asking?" quoth Elsie.
"Depend upon it, she will fall to thinking of him, and the next time she
sees him she will give him a good look. The girl never knew what it was
to have a lover. No wonder she doesn't take to it at first; there's
where her bringing up comes in, so different from other girls'. Courage,
Elsie! Nature will speak in its own time."

Thus soliloquizing, she prepared to go a few steps from their dwelling,
to the cottage of Meta and Antonio, which was situated at no great
distance.

"Nobody will think of coming here this time o' night," she said, "and
the girl is in for a good hour at least with her prayers, and so I think
I may venture. I don't really like to leave her, but it's not a great
way, and I shall be back in a few moments. I want just to put a word
into old Meta's ear, that she may teach Antonio how to demean himself."

And so the old soul took her spinning and away she went, leaving Agnes
absorbed in her devotions.

The solemn starry night looked down steadfastly on the little garden.
The evening wind creeping with gentle stir among the orange-leaves, and
the falling waters of the fountain dripping their distant, solitary way
down from rock to rock through the lonely gorge, were the only sounds
that broke the stillness.

The monk was the first of the two to return; for those accustomed to
the habits of elderly cronies on a gossiping expedition of any domestic
importance will not be surprised that Elsie's few moments of projected
talk lengthened imperceptibly into hours.

Agnes came forward anxiously to meet her uncle. He seemed wan and
haggard, and trembling with some recent emotion.

"What is the matter with you, dear uncle?" she asked. "Has anything
happened?"

"Nothing, child, nothing. I have only been talking on painful subjects,
deep perplexities, out of which I can scarcely see my way. Would to God
this night of life were past, and I could see morning on the mountains!"

"My uncle, have you not, then, succeeded in bringing this young man to
the bosom of the True Church?"

"Child, the way is hedged up, and made almost impassable by difficulties
you little wot of. They cannot be told to you; they are enough to
destroy the faith of the very elect."

Agnes's heart sank within her; and the monk, sitting down on the wall
of the garden, clasped his hands over one knee and gazed fixedly before
him.

The sight of her uncle,--generally so cheerful, so elastic, so full of
bright thoughts and beautiful words,--so utterly cast down, was both a
mystery and a terror to Agnes.

"Oh, my uncle," she said, "it is hard that I must not know, and that I
can do nothing, when I feel ready to die for this cause! What is one
little life? Ah, if I had a thousand to give, I could melt them all into
it, like little drops of rain in the sea! Be not utterly cast down, good
uncle! Does not our dear Lord and Saviour reign in the heavens yet?"

"Sweet little nightingale!" said the monk, stretching his hand towards
her. "Well did my master say that he gained strength to his soul always
by talking with Christ's little children!"

"And all the dear saints and angels, they are not dead or idle either,"
said Agnes, her face kindling; "they are busy all around us. I know not
what this trouble is you speak of; but let us think what legions of
bright angels and holy men and women are caring for us."

"Well said, well said, dear child! There is, thank God, a Church
Triumphant,--a crowned queen, a glorious bride; and the poor,
struggling Church Militant shall rise to join her! What matter, then,
though our way lie through dungeon and chains, through fire and sword,
if we may attain to that glory at last?"

"Uncle, are there such dreadful things really before you?"

"There may be, child. I say of my master, as did the holy Apostles: 'Let
us also go, that we may die with him.' I feel a heavy presage. But I
must not trouble you, child. Early in the morning I will be up and away.
I go with this youth, whose pathway lies a certain distance along mine,
and whose company I seek for his good as well as my pleasure."

"You go with _him_?" said Agnes, with a start of surprise.

"Yes; his refuge in the mountains lies between here and Rome, and he
hath kindly offered to bring me on my way faster than I can go on
foot; and I would fain see our beautiful Florence as soon as may be. O
Florence, Florence, Lily of Italy! wilt thou let thy prophet perish?"

"But, uncle, if he die for the faith, he will be a blessed martyr. That
crown is worth dying for," said Agnes.

"You say well, little one,--you say well! '_Ex oribus parvulorum._'
But one shrinks from that in the person of a friend which one could
cheerfully welcome for one's self. Oh, the blessed cross! never is it
welcome to the flesh, and yet how joyfully the spirit may walk under
it!"

"Dear uncle, I have made a solemn vow before our Holy Mother this
night," said Agnes, "to go on a pilgrimage to Rome, and at every shrine
and holy place to pray that these great afflictions which beset all of
you may have a happy issue."

"My sweet heart, what have you done? Have you considered the unsettled
roads, the wild, unruly men that are abroad, the robbers with which the
mountains are filled?"

"These are all Christ's children and my brothers," said Agnes; "for them
was the most holy blood shed, as well as for me. They cannot harm one
who prays for them."

"But, dear heart of mine, these ungodly brawlers think little of prayer;
and this beautiful, innocent little face will but move the vilest and
most brutal thoughts and deeds."

"Saint Agnes still lives, dear uncle,--and He who kept her in worse
trial. I shall walk through them all pure as snow,--I am assured I
shall. The star which led the wise men and stood over the young child
and his mother will lead me, too."

"But your grandmother?"

"The Lord will incline her heart to go with me. Dear uncle, it does
not beseem a child to reflect on its elders, yet I cannot but see that
grandmamma loves this world and me too well for her soul's good. This
journey will be for her eternal repose."

"Well, well, dear one, I cannot now advise. Take advice of your
confessor, and the blessed Lord and his holy Mother be with you! But
come now, I would soothe myself to sleep; for I have need of good rest
to-night. Let us sing together our dear master's hymn of the Cross."

And the monk and the maiden sang together:--

  "Iesù, sommo conforto,
  Tu sei tutto il mio amore
  E 'l mio beato porto,
  E santo Redentore.
    O gran bontà,
    Dolce pietà,
    Felice quel che teco unito sta!

  "Deh, quante volte offeso
  T' ha l' alma e 'l cor meschino,
  E tu sei in croce steso
  Per salvar me, tapino!

  "Iesù, fuss' io confitto
  Sopra quel duro ligno,
  Dove ti vedo afflitto,
  Iesù, Signor benigno!

  "O croce, fammi loco,
  E le mie membra prendi,
  Che del tuo dolce foco
  Il cor e l' alma accendi!

  "Infiamma il mio cor tanto
  Dell' amor tuo divino,
  Ch' io arda tutto quanto,
  Che paia un serafino!

  "La croce e 'l Crocifisso
  Sia nel mio cor scolpito,
  Ed io sia sempre affisso
  In gloria ov' egli è ito!"[D]

[Footnote D:

  Jesus, best comfort of my soul,
    Be thou my only love,
  My sacred saviour from my sins,
    My door to heaven above!
      O lofty goodness, love divine,
      Blest is the soul made one with thine!

  Alas, how oft this sordid heart
    Hath wounded thy pure eye!
  Yet for this heart upon the cross
    Thou gav'st thyself to die!

  Ah, would I were extended there,
    Upon that cold, hard tree,
  Where I have seen thee, gracious Lord,
    Breathe out thy life for me!

  Cross of my Lord, give room! give room!
    To thee my flesh be given!
  Cleansed in thy fires of love and pain,
    My soul rise pure to heaven!

  Burn in my heart, celestial flame,
    With memories of him,
  Till, from earth's dross refined, I rise
    To join the seraphim!

  Ah, vanish each unworthy trace
    Of earthly care or pride,
  Leave only, graven on my heart,
    The Cross, the Crucified!
]

As the monk sang, his soul seemed to fuse itself into the sentiment with
that natural grace peculiar to his nation. He walked up and down the
little garden, apparently forgetful of Agnes or of any earthly presence,
and in the last verses stretched his hands towards heaven with streaming
tears and a fervor of utterance indescribable.

The soft and passionate tenderness of the Italian words must exhale in
an English translation, but enough may remain to show that the hymns
with which Savonarola at this time sowed the mind of Italy often
mingled the Moravian quaintness and energy with the Wesleyan purity and
tenderness. One of the great means of popular reform which he proposed
was the supplanting of the obscene and licentious songs, which at that
time so generally defiled the minds of the young, by religious words and
melodies. The children and young people brought up under his influence
were sedulously stored with treasures of sacred melody, as the safest
companions of leisure hours, and the surest guard against temptation.

"Come now, my little one," said the monk, after they had ceased singing,
as he laid his hand on Agnes's head. "I am strong now; I know where I
stand. And you, my little one, you are one of my master's 'Children of
the Cross.' You must sing the hymns of our dear master, that I have
taught you, when I am far away. A hymn is a singing angel, and goes
walking through the earth, scattering the devils before it. Therefore he
who creates hymns imitates the most excellent and lovely works of our
Lord God, who made the angels. These hymns watch our chamber-door, they
sit upon our pillow, they sing to us when we awake; and therefore our
master was resolved to sow the minds of his young people with them, as
our lovely Italy is sown with the seeds of all colored flowers. How
lovely has it often been to me, as I sat at my work in Florence, to hear
the little children go by, chanting of Jesus and Mary,--and young men
singing to young maidens, not vain flatteries of their beauty, but the
praises of the One only Beautiful, whose smile sows heaven with stars
like flowers! Ah, in my day I have seen blessed times in Florence! Truly
was she worthy to be called the Lily City!--for all her care seemed to
be to make white her garments to receive her Lord and Bridegroom. Yes,
though she had sinned like the Magdalen, yet she loved much, like her.
She washed His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her
head. Oh, my beautiful Florence, be true to thy vows, be true to thy
Lord and Governor, Jesus Christ, and all shall be well!"

"Amen, dear uncle!" said Agnes. "I will not fail to pray day and night,
that thus it may be. And now, if you must travel so far, you must go
to rest. Grandmamma has gone long ago. I saw her steal by as we were
singing."

"And is there any message from my little Agnes to this young man?" asked
the monk.

"Yes. Say to him that Agnes prays daily that he may be a worthy son and
soldier of the Lord Jesus."

"Amen, sweet heart! Jesu and His sweet Mother bless thee!"

       *       *       *       *       *


A NEW COUNTERBLAST


"He that taketh tobacco saith he cannot leave it, it doth bewitch
him."--KING JAMES'S COUNTERBLAST TO TOBACCO.

America is especially responsible to the whole world for tobacco, since
the two are twin-sisters, born to the globe in a day. The sailors first
sent on shore by Columbus came back with news of a new continent and
a new condiment. There was solid land, and there was a novel perfume,
which rolled in clouds from the lips of the natives. The fame of the two
great discoveries instantly began to overspread the world; but the smoke
travelled fastest, as is its nature. There are many races which have not
yet heard of America: there are very few which have not yet tasted of
tobacco. A plant which was originally the amusement of a few savage
tribes has become in a few centuries the fancied necessary of life to
the most enlightened nations of the earth, and it is probable that there
is nothing cultivated by man which is now so universally employed.

And the plant owes this width of celebrity to a combination of natural
qualities so remarkable as to yield great diversities of good and evil
fame. It was first heralded as a medical panacea, "the most sovereign
and precious weed that ever the earth tendered to the use of man," and
was seldom mentioned, in the sixteenth century, without some reverential
epithet. It was a plant divine, a canonized vegetable. Each nation
had its own pious name to bestow upon it. The French called it
_herbe sainte, herbe sacrée, herbe propre à tous maux, panacée
antarctique_,--the Italians, _herba santa croce_,--the Germans, _heilig
wundkraut_. Botanists soberly classified it as _herba panacea_ and
_herba sancta_, and Gerard in his "Herbal" fixed its name finally
as _sana sancta Indorum_, by which title it commonly appears in the
professional recipes of the time. Spenser, in his "Faërie Queene,"
bids the lovely Belphoebe gather it as "divine tobacco," and Lilly the
Euphuist calls it "our holy herb Nicotian," ranking it between violets
and honey. It was cultivated in France for medicinal purposes solely,
for half a century before any one there used it for pleasure, and till
within the last hundred years it was familiarly prescribed, all over
Europe, for asthma, gout, catarrh, consumption, headache; and, in short,
was credited with curing more diseases than even the eighty-seven which
Dr. Shew now charges it with producing.

So vast were the results of all this sanitary enthusiasm, that the use
of tobacco in Europe probably reached its climax in a century or two,
and has since rather diminished than increased, in proportion to the
population. It probably appeared in England in 1586, being first used in
the Indian fashion, by handing one pipe from man to man throughout the
company; the medium of communication being a silver tube for the higher
classes, and a straw and walnut-shell for the baser sort. Paul Hentzner,
who travelled in England in 1598, and Monsieur Misson, who wrote
precisely a century later, note almost in the same words "a perpetual
use of tobacco"; and the latter suspects that this is what makes "the
generality of Englishmen so taciturn, so thoughtful, and so melancholy."
In Queen Elizabeth's time, the ladies of the court "would not scruple
to blow a pipe together very socially." In 1614 it was asserted that
tobacco was sold openly in more than seven thousand places in London,
some of these being already attended by that patient Indian who still
stands seductive at tobacconists' doors. It was also estimated that the
annual receipts of these establishments amounted to more than three
hundred thousand pounds. Elegant ladies had their pictures painted, at
least one in 1650 did, with pipe and box in hand. Rochefort, a rather
apocryphal French traveller in 1672, reported it to be the general
custom in English homes to set pipes on the table in the evening for
the females as well as males of the family, and to provide children's
luncheon-baskets with a well-filled pipe, to be smoked at school, under
the directing eye of the master. In 1703, Lawrence Spooner wrote that
"the sin of the kingdom in the intemperate use of tobacco swelleth and
increaseth so daily that I can compare it to nothing but the waters of
Noah, that swelled fifteen cubits above the highest mountains." The
deluge reached its height in England--so thinks the amusing and
indefatigable Mr. Fairholt, author of "Tobacco and its Associations"--in
the reign of Queen Anne. Steele, in the "Spectator," (1711,) describes
the snuff-box as a rival to the fan among ladies; and Goldsmith pictures
the belles at Bath as entering the water in full bathing costume, each
provided with a small floating basket, to hold a snuff-box, a kerchief,
and a nosegay. And finally, in 1797, Dr. Clarke complains of the handing
about of the snuff-box in churches during worship, "to the great scandal
of religious people,"--adding, that kneeling in prayer was prevented by
the large quantity of saliva ejected in all directions. In view of such
formidable statements as these, it is hardly possible to believe
that the present generation surpasses or even equals the past in the
consumption of tobacco.

And all this sudden popularity was in spite of a vast persecution which
sought to unite all Europe against this indulgence, in the seventeenth
century. In Russia, its use was punishable with amputation of the
nose; in Berne, it ranked next to adultery among offences; Sandys, the
traveller, saw a Turk led through the streets of Constantinople mounted
backward on an ass with a tobacco-pipe thrust through his nose. Pope
Urban VIII., in 1624, excommunicated those who should use it in
churches, and Innocent XII., in 1690, echoed the same anathema. Yet
within a few years afterwards travellers reported that same free use
of snuff in Romish worship which still astonishes spectators. To see
a priest, during the momentous ceremonial of High Mass, enliven the
occasion by a voluptuous pinch, is a sight even more astonishing, though
perhaps less disagreeable, than the well-used spittoon which decorates
so many Protestant pulpits.

But the Protestant pulpits did their full share in fighting the habit,
for a time at least. Among the Puritans, no man could use tobacco
publicly, on penalty of a fine of two and sixpence, or in a private
dwelling, if strangers were present; and no two could use it together.
That iron pipe of Miles Standish, still preserved at Plymouth, must have
been smoked in solitude or not at all. This strictness was gradually
relaxed, however, as the clergy took up the habit of smoking; and I
have seen an old painting, on the panels of an ancient parsonage in
Newburyport, representing a jovial circle of portly divines sitting pipe
in hand around a table, with the Latin motto, "In essentials unity, in
non-essentials liberty, in all things charity." Apparently the tobacco
was one of the essentials, since there was unity respecting that.
Furthermore, Captain Underhill, hero of the Pequot War, boasted to the
saints of having received his assurance of salvation "while enjoying a
pipe of that good creature, tobacco," "since when he had never doubted
it, though he should fall into sin." But it is melancholy to relate
that this fall did presently take place, in a very flagrant manner, and
brought discredit upon tobacco conversions, as being liable to end in
smoke.

Indeed, some of the most royal wills that ever lived in the world have
measured themselves against the tobacco-plant and been defeated. Charles
I. attempted to banish it, and in return the soldiers of Cromwell puffed
their smoke contemptuously in his face, as he sat a prisoner in the
guard-chamber. Cromwell himself undertook it, and Evelyn says that the
troopers smoked in triumph at his funeral. Wellington tried it, and
the artists caricatured him on a pipe's head with a soldier behind him
defying with a whiff that imperial nose. Louis Napoleon is said to
be now attempting it, and probably finds his subjects more ready to
surrender the freedom of the press than of the pipe.

The more recent efforts against tobacco, like most arguments in which
morals and physiology are mingled, have lost much of their effect
through exaggeration. On both sides there has been enlisted much loose
statement, with some bad logic. It is, for instance, unreasonable to
hold up the tobacco-plant to general indignation because Linnaeus
classed it with the natural order _Luridae_,--since he attributed the
luridness only to the color of those plants, not to their character. It
is absurd to denounce it as belonging to the poisonous nightshade tribe,
when the potato and the tomato also appertain to that perilous domestic
circle. It is hardly fair even to complain of it for yielding a
poisonous oil, when these two virtuous plants--to say nothing of the
peach and the almond--will under sufficient chemical provocation do the
same thing. Two drops of nicotine will, indeed, kill a rabbit; but so,
it is said, will two drops of solanine. Great are the resources of
chemistry, and a well-regulated scientific mind can detect something
deadly almost anywhere.

Nor is it safe to assume, as many do, that tobacco predisposes very
powerfully to more dangerous dissipations. The non-smoking Saxons were
probably far more intemperate in drinking than the modern English; and
Lane, the best authority, points out that wine is now far less used by
the Orientals than at the time of the "Arabian Nights," when tobacco
had not been introduced. And in respect to yet more perilous sensual
excesses, tobacco is now admitted, both by friends and foes, to be quite
as much a sedative as a stimulant.

The point of objection on the ground of inordinate expense is doubtless
better taken, and can be met only by substantial proof that the enormous
outlay is a wise one. Tobacco may be "the anodyne of poverty," as
somebody has said, but it certainly promotes poverty. This narcotic
lulls to sleep all pecuniary economy. Every pipe may not, indeed, cost
so much as that jewelled one seen by Dibdin in Vienna, which was valued
at a thousand pounds; or even as the German meerschaum which was passed
from mouth to mouth through a whole regiment of soldiers till it was
colored to perfection, having never been allowed to cool,--a bill of one
hundred pounds being ultimately rendered for the tobacco consumed. But
how heedlessly men squander money on this pet luxury! By the report of
the English University Commissioners, some ten years ago, a student's
annual tobacco-bill often amounts to forty pounds. Dr. Solly puts thirty
pounds as the lowest annual expenditure of an English smoker, and knows
many who spend one hundred and twenty pounds, and one three hundred
pounds a year, on tobacco alone. In this country the facts are hard to
obtain, but many a man smokes twelve four-cent cigars a day, and many
a man four twelve-cent cigars,--spending in either case about half
a dollar a day and not far from two hundred dollars per annum. An
industrious mechanic earns his two dollars and fifty cents a day or
a clerk his eight hundred dollars a year, spends a quarter of it on
tobacco, and the rest on his wife, children, and miscellaneous expenses.

But the impotency which marks some of the stock arguments against
tobacco extends to most of those in favor of it. My friend assures me
that every one needs some narcotic, that the American brain is too
active, and that the influence of tobacco is quieting,--great is the
enjoyment of a comfortable pipe after dinner. I grant, on observing him
at that period, that it appears so. But I also observe, that, when the
placid hour has passed away, his nervous system is more susceptible, his
hand more tremulous, his temper more irritable on slight occasions, than
during the days when the comfortable pipe chances to be omitted. The
only effect of the narcotic appears, therefore, to be a demand for
another narcotic; and there seems no decided advantage over the life
of the birds and bees, who appear to keep their nervous systems in
tolerably healthy condition with no narcotic at all.

The argument drawn from a comparison of races is no better. Germans are
vigorous and Turks are long-lived, and they are all great smokers. But
certainly the Germans do not appear so vivacious, nor the Turks so
energetic, as to afford triumphant demonstrations in behalf of the
sacred weed. Moreover, the Eastern tobacco is as much milder than ours
as are the Continental wines than even those semi-alcoholic mixtures
which prevail at scrupulous communion-tables. And as for German health,
Dr. Schneider declares, in the London "Lancet," that it is because of
smoke that all his educated countrymen wear spectacles, that an immense
amount of consumption is produced in Germany by tobacco, and that
English insurance companies are proverbially cautious in insuring German
lives. Dr. Carlyon gives much the same as his observation in Holland.
These facts may be overstated, but they are at least as good as those
which they answer.

Not much better is the excuse alleged in the social and genial
influences of tobacco. It certainly seems a singular way of opening
the lips for conversation by closing them on a pipe-stem, and it would
rather appear as if Fate designed to gag the smokers and let the
non-smokers talk. But supposing it otherwise, does it not mark a
condition of extreme juvenility in our social development, if no
resources of intellect can enable a half-dozen intelligent men to be
agreeable to each other, without applying the forcing process, by
turning the room into an imperfectly organized chimney? Brilliant women
can be brilliant without either wine or tobacco, and Napoleon always
maintained that without an admixture of feminine wit conversation grew
tame. Are all male beings so much stupider by nature than the other
sex, that men require stimulants and narcotics to make them mutually
endurable?

And as the conversational superiorities of woman disprove the supposed
social inspirations of tobacco, so do her more refined perceptions yet
more emphatically pronounce its doom. Though belles of the less mature
description, eulogistic of sophomores, may stoutly profess that they
dote on the Virginian perfume, yet cultivated womanhood barely tolerates
the choicest tobacco-smoke, even in its freshness, and utterly recoils
from the stale suggestions of yesterday. By whatever enthusiasm misled,
she finds something abhorrent in the very nature of the thing. In vain
did loyal Frenchmen baptize the weed as the queen's own favorite, _Herba
Catherinae Medicae_; it is easier to admit that Catherine de' Medici was
not feminine than that tobacco is. Man also recognizes the antagonism;
there is scarcely a husband in America who would not be converted from
smoking, if his wife resolutely demanded her right of moiety in the
cigar-box. No Lady Mary, no loveliest Marquise, could make snuff-taking
beauty otherwise than repugnant to this generation. Rustic females
who habitually chew even pitch or spruce-gum are rendered thereby so
repulsive that the fancy refuses to pursue the horror farther and
imagine it tobacco; and all the charms of the veil and the fan can
scarcely reconcile the most fumacious American to the _cigarrito_ of
the Spanish fair. How strange seems Parton's picture of General Jackson
puffing his long clay pipe on one side of the fireplace and Mrs. Jackson
puffing hers on the other! No doubt, to the heart of the chivalrous
backwoodsman those smoke-dried lips were yet the altar of early
passion,--as that rather ungrammatical tongue was still the music of
the spheres; but the unattractiveness of that conjugal counterblast is
Nature's own protest against smoking.

The use of tobacco must, therefore, be held to mark a rather coarse and
childish epoch in our civilization, if nothing worse. Its most ardent
admirer hardly paints it into his picture of the Golden Age. It is
difficult to associate it with one's fancies of the noblest manhood,
and Miss Muloch reasonably defies the human imagination to portray
Shakspeare or Dante with pipe in mouth. Goethe detested it; so did
Napoleon, save in the form of snuff, which he apparently used on
Talleyrand's principle, that diplomacy was impossible without it. Bacon
said, "Tobacco-smoking is a secret delight serving only to steal away
men's brains." Newton abstained from it: the contrary is often claimed,
but thus says his biographer, Brewster,--saying that "he would make no
necessities to himself." Franklin says he never used it, and never met
with one of its votaries who advised him to follow the example.
John Quincy Adams used it in early youth, and after thirty years of
abstinence said, that, if every one would try abstinence for three
months, it would annihilate the practice, and add five years to the
average length of human life.

In attempting to go beyond these general charges of waste and
foolishness, and to examine the physiological results of the use of
tobacco, one is met by the contradictions and perplexities which haunt
all such inquiries. Doctors, of course, disagree, and the special cases
cited triumphantly by either side are ruled out as exceptional by the
other. It is like the question of the precise degree of injury done by
alcoholic drinks. To-day's newspaper writes the eulogy of A.B., who
recently died at the age of ninety-nine, without ever tasting ardent
spirits; to-morrow's will add the epitaph of C.D., aged one hundred, who
has imbibed a quart of rum a day since reaching the age of indiscretion;
and yet, after all, both editors have to admit that the drinking usages
of society are growing decidedly more decent. It is the same with the
tobacco argument. Individual cases prove nothing either way; there is
such a range of vital vigor in different individuals, that one may
withstand a life of error, and another perish in spite of prudence. The
question is of the general tendency. It is not enough to know that Dr.
Parr smoked twenty pipes in an evening, and lived to be seventy-eight;
that Thomas Hobbes smoked thirteen, and survived to ninety-two; that
Brissiac of Trieste died at one hundred and sixteen, with a pipe in his
mouth; and that Henry Hartz of Schleswig used tobacco steadily from the
age of sixteen to one hundred and forty-two; nor would any accumulation
of such healthy old sinners prove anything satisfactory. It seems
rather overwhelming, to be sure, when Mr. Fairholt assures us that his
respected father "died at the age of seventy-two: he had been twelve
hours a day in a tobacco-manufactory for nearly fifty years; and he both
smoked and chewed while busy in the labors of the workshop, sometimes in
a dense cloud of steam from drying the damp tobacco over the stoves; and
his health and appetite were perfect to the day of his death: he was a
model of muscular and stomachic energy; in which his son, who neither
smokes, snuffs, nor chews, by no means rivals him." But until we know
precisely what capital of health the venerable tobacconist inherited
from his fathers, and in what condition he transmitted it to his sons,
the statement certainly has two edges.

For there are facts equally notorious on the other side. It is not
denied that it is found necessary to exclude tobacco, as a general
rule, from insane asylums, or that it produces, in extreme cases, among
perfectly sober persons, effects akin to delirium tremens. Nor is it
denied that terrible local diseases follow it,--as, for instance,
cancer of the mouth, which has become, according to the eminent surgeon,
Brouisson, the disease most dreaded in the French hospitals. He has
performed sixty-eight operations for this, within fourteen years, in the
Hospital St. Eloi, and traces it entirely to the use of tobacco. Such
facts are chiefly valuable as showing the tendency of the thing. Where
the evils of excess are so glaring, the advantages of even moderate use
are questionable. Where weak persons are made insane, there is room for
suspicion that the strong may suffer unconsciously. You may say that
the victims must have been constitutionally nervous; but where is the
native-born American who is not?

In France and England the recent inquiries into the effects of tobacco
seem to have been a little more systematic than our own. In the former
country, the newspapers state, the attention of the Emperor was called
to the fact that those pupils of the Polytechnic School who used this
indulgence were decidedly inferior in average attainments to the rest.
This is stated to have led to its prohibition in the school, and to the
forming of an anti-tobacco organization, which is said to be making
great progress in France. I cannot, however, obtain from any of our
medical libraries any satisfactory information as to the French
agitation, and am led by private advices to believe that even these
general statements are hardly trustworthy. The recent English
discussions are, however, more easy of access.

"The Great Tobacco Question," as the controversy in England was called,
originated in a Clinical Lecture on Paralysis, by Mr. Solly, Surgeon of
St. Thomas's Hospital, which was published in the "Lancet," December 13,
1856. He incidentally spoke of tobacco as an important source of this
disease, and went on to say,--"I know of no single vice which does so
much harm as smoking. It is a snare and a delusion. It soothes the
excited nervous system at the time, to render it more irritable and
feeble ultimately. It is like opium in this respect; and if you want to
know all the wretchedness which this drug can produce, you should
read the 'Confessions of an English Opium-Eater.'" This statement was
presently echoed by J. Ranald Martin, an eminent surgeon, "whose Eastern
experience rendered his opinion of immense value," and who used language
almost identical with that of Mr. Solly:--"I can state of my own
observation, that the miseries, mental and bodily, which I have
witnessed from the abuse of cigar-smoking, far exceed anything detailed
in the 'Confessions of an Opium-Eater.'"

This led off a controversy which continued for several months in the
columns of the "Lancet,"--a controversy conducted in a wonderfully
good-natured spirit, considering that more than fifty physicians took
part in it, and that these were almost equally divided. The debate took
a wide range, and some interesting facts were elicited: as that Lord
Raglan, General Markham, and Admirals Dundas and Napier always abandoned
tobacco from the moment when they were ordered on actual service; that
nine-tenths of the first-class men at the Universities were non-smokers;
that two Indian chiefs told Power, the actor, that "those Indians who
smoked gave out soonest in the chase"; and so on. There were also
American examples, rather loosely gathered: thus, a remark of the
venerable Dr. Waterhouse, made many years ago, was cited as the
contemporary opinion of "the Medical Professor in Harvard University";
also it was mentioned, as an acknowledged fact, that the American
_physique_ was rapidly deteriorating because of tobacco, and that
coroners' verdicts were constantly being thus pronounced on American
youths: "Died of excessive smoking." On the other hand, that eminent
citizen of our Union, General Thomas Thumb, was about that time
professionally examined in London, and his verdict on tobacco was quoted
to be, that it was "one of his chief comforts"; also mention was made of
a hapless quack who announced himself as coming from Boston, and who,
to keep up the Yankee reputation, issued a combined advertisement of
"medical advice gratis" and "prime cigars."

But these stray American instances were of course quite outnumbered
by the English, and there is scarcely an ill which was not in this
controversy charged upon tobacco by its enemies, nor a physical or moral
benefit which was not claimed for it by its friends. According to these,
it prevents dissension and dyspnoea, inflammation and insanity, saves
the waste of tissue and of time, blunts the edge of grief and lightens
pain. "No man was ever in a passion with a pipe in his mouth." There are
more female lunatics chiefly because the fumigatory education of the
fair sex has been neglected. Yet it is important to notice that these
same advocates almost outdo its opponents in admitting its liability
to misuse, and the perilous consequences. "The injurious effects
of excessive smoking,"--"there is no more pitiable object than
the inveterate smoker,"--"sedentary life is incompatible with
smoking,"--highly pernicious,--general debility,--secretions all
wrong,--cerebral softening,--partial paralysis,--trembling of
the hand,--enervation and depression,--great irritability,--neuralgia,
--narcotism of the heart: this Chamber of Horrors forms a part of the
very Temple of Tobacco, as builded, not by foes, but by worshippers.
"All men of observation and experience," they admit, "must be able to
point to instances of disease and derangement from the abuse of this
luxury." Yet they advocate it, as the same men advocate intoxicating
drinks; not meeting the question, in either case, whether it be wise,
or even generous, for the strong to continue an indulgence which is
thus confessedly ruinous to the weak.

The controversy had its course, and ended, like most controversies,
without establishing anything. The editor of the "Lancet," to be sure,
summed up the evidence very fairly, and it is worth while to quote
him:--"It is almost unnecessary to make a separate inquiry into the
pathological conditions which follow upon excessive smoking. Abundant
evidence has been adduced of the gigantic evils which attend the abuse
of tobacco. Let it be granted at once that there is such a thing as
moderate smoking, and let it be admitted that we cannot accuse tobacco
of being guilty of the whole of Cullen's 'Nosology'; it still remains
that there is a long catalogue of frightful penalties attached to its
abuse." He then proceeds to consider what is to be called abuse: as, for
instance, smoking more than one or two cigars or pipes daily,--smoking
too early in the day or too early in life,--and in general, the use of
tobacco by those with whom it does not agree,--which rather reminds one
of the early temperance pledges, which bound a man to drink no more rum
than he found to be good for him. But the Chief Justice of the Medical
Court finally instructs his jury of readers that young men should
give up a dubious pleasure for a certain good, and abandon
tobacco altogether:--"Shun the habit of smoking as you would shun
self-destruction. As you value your physical and moral well-being, avoid
a habit which for you can offer no advantage to compare with the dangers
you incur."

Yet, after all, neither he nor his witnesses seem fairly to have hit
upon what seem to this present writer the two incontrovertible arguments
against tobacco; one being drawn from theory, and the other from
practice.

First, as to the theory of the thing. The laws of Nature warn every man
who uses tobacco for the first time, that he is dealing with a poison.
Nobody denies this attribute of the plant; it is "a narcotic poison of
the most active class." It is not merely that a poison can by chemical
process be extracted from it, but it is a poison in its simplest form.
Its mere application to the skin has often produced uncontrollable
nausea and prostration. Children have in several cases been killed by
the mere application of tobacco ointment to the head. Soldiers have
simulated sickness by placing it beneath the armpits,--though in most
cases our regiments would probably consider this a mistaken application
of the treasure. Tobacco, then, is simply and absolutely a poison.

Now to say that a substance is a poison is not to say that it inevitably
kills; it may be apparently innocuous, if not incidentally beneficial.
King Mithridates, it is said, learned habitually to consume these
dangerous commodities; and the scarcely less mythical Du Chaillu, after
the fatigues of his gorilla warfare, found decided benefit from two
ounces of arsenic. But to say that a substance is a poison is to say
at least that it is a noxious drug,--that it is a medicine, not an
aliment,--that its effects are pathological, not physiological,--and
that its use should therefore be exceptional, not habitual. Not tending
to the preservation of a normal state, but at best to the correction of
some abnormal one, its whole value, if it have any, lies in the rarity
of its application. To apply a powerful drug at a certain hour every day
is like a schoolmaster's whipping his pupil at a certain hour every day:
the victim may become inured, but undoubtedly the specific value of the
remedy must vanish with the repetition.

Thus much would be true, were it proved that tobacco is in some cases
apparently beneficial. No drug is beneficial, when constantly employed.
But, furthermore, if not beneficial, it then is injurious. As Dr. Holmes
has so forcibly expounded, every medicine is in itself hurtful. All
noxious agents, according to him, cost a patient, on an average, five
per cent. of his vital power; that is, twenty times as much would kill
him. It is believed that they are sometimes indirectly useful; it is
known that they are always directly hurtful. That is, I have a neighbor
on one side who takes tobacco to cure his dyspepsia, and a neighbor on
the other side who takes blue pill for his infirmities generally. The
profit of the operation may be sure or doubtful; the outlay is certain,
and to be deducted in any event. I have no doubt, my dear Madam, that
your interesting son has learned to smoke, as he states, in order to
check that very distressing toothache which so hindered his studies; but
I sincerely think it would be better to have the affliction removed by
a dentist at a cost of fifty cents than by a drug at an expense of five
per cent. of vital power.

Fortunately, when it comes to the practical test, the whole position is
conceded to our hands, and the very devotees of tobacco are false to
their idol. It is not merely that the most fumigatory parent dissuades
his sons from the practice; but there is a more remarkable instance.
If any two classes can be singled out in the community as the largest
habitual consumers of tobacco, it must be the college students and the
city "roughs" or "rowdies," or whatever the latest slang name is,--for
these roysterers, like oysters, incline to names with an _r_ in. Now the
"rough," when brought to a physical climax, becomes the prize-fighter;
and the college student is seen in his highest condition as the
prize-oarsman; and both these representative men, under such
circumstances of ambition, straightway abandon tobacco. Such a
concession, from such a quarter, is worth all the denunciations of good
Mr. Trask. Appeal, O anxious mother! from Philip smoking to Philip
training. What your progeny will not do for any considerations of ethics
or economy, to save his sisters' olfactories or the atmosphere of
the family altar,--that he does unflinchingly at one word from the
stroke-oar or the commodore. In so doing, he surrenders every inch
of the ground, and owns unequivocally that he is in better condition
without tobacco. The old traditions of training are in some other
respects being softened: strawberries are no longer contraband, and the
last agonies of thirst are no longer a part of the prescription; but
training and tobacco are still incompatible. There is not a regatta or a
prize-fight in which the betting would not be seriously affected by the
discovery that either party used the beguiling weed.

The argument is irresistible,--or rather, it is not so much an argument
as a plea of guilty under the indictment. The prime devotees of tobacco
voluntarily abstain from it, like Lord Raglan and Admiral Napier, when
they wish to be in their best condition. But are we ever, any of us, in
too good condition? Have all the sanitary conventions yet succeeded in
detecting one man, in our high-pressure America, who finds himself too
well? If a man goes into training for the mimic contest, why not for the
actual one? If he needs steady nerves and a cool head for the play of
life,--and even prize-fighting is called "sporting,"--why not for its
earnest? Here we are all croaking that we are not in the health in which
our twentieth birthday found us, and yet we will not condescend to the
wise abstinence which even twenty practises. Moderate training is simply
a rational and healthful life.

So palpable is this, that there is strong reason to believe that the
increased attention to physical training is operating against tobacco.
If we may trust literature, as has been shown, its use is not now so
great as formerly, in spite of the vague guesses of alarmists. "It is
estimated," says Mr. Coles, "that the consumption of tobacco in this
country is eight times as great as in France and three times as great as
in England, in proportion to the population"; but there is nothing
in the world more uncertain than "It is estimated." It is frequently
estimated, for instance, that nine out of ten of our college students
use tobacco; and yet by the statistics of the last graduating class
at Cambridge it appears that it is used by only thirty-one out of
seventy-six. I am satisfied that the extent of the practice is often
exaggerated. In a gymnastic club of young men, for instance, where I
have had opportunity to take the statistics, it is found that less
than one-quarter use it, though there has never been any agitation or
discussion of the matter. These things indicate that it can no longer
be claimed, as Molière asserted two centuries ago, that he who lives
without tobacco is not worthy to live.

And as there has been some exaggeration in describing the extent to
which Tobacco is King, so there has doubtless been some overstatement
as to the cruelty of his despotism. Enough, however, remains to condemn
him. The present writer, at least, has the firmest conviction, from
personal observation and experience, that the imagined benefits of
tobacco-using (which have never, perhaps, been better stated than in an
essay which appeared in this magazine, in August, 1860) are ordinarily
an illusion, and its evils a far more solid reality,--that it stimulates
only to enervate, soothes only to depress,--that it neither permanently
calms the nerves nor softens the temper nor enlightens the brain, but
that in the end its tendencies are precisely the opposites of
these, beside the undoubted incidental objections of costliness and
uncleanness. When men can find any other instance of a poisonous drug
which is suitable for daily consumption, they will be more consistent
in using this. When it is admitted to be innocuous to those who are in
training for athletic feats, it may be possible to suppose it beneficial
to those who are out of training. Meanwhile there seems no ground for
its supporters except that to which the famous Robert Hall was reduced,
as he says, by "the Society of Doctors of Divinity." He sent a message
to Dr. Clarke, in return for a pamphlet against tobacco, that he could
not possibly refute his arguments and could not possibly give up
smoking.

       *       *       *       *       *


THE WOLVES.


  Ye who listen to stories told,
  When hearths are cheery and nights are cold,

  Of the lone wood-side, and the hungry pack
  That howls on the fainting traveller's track,--

  Flame-red eyeballs that waylay,
  By the wintry moon, the belated sleigh,--

  The lost child sought in the dismal wood,
  The little shoes and the stains of blood

  On the trampled snow,--O ye that hear,
  With thrills of pity or chills of fear,

  Wishing some angel had been sent
  To shield the hapless and innocent,--

  Know ye the fiend that is crueller far
  Than the gaunt gray herds of the forest are?

  Swiftly vanish the wild fleet tracks
  Before the rifle and woodman's axe:

  But hark to the coming of unseen feet,
  Pattering by night through the city street!

  Each wolf that dies in the woodland brown
  Lives a spectre and haunts the town.

  By square and market they slink and prowl,
  In lane and alley they leap and howl.

  All night they snuff and snarl before
  The poor patched window and broken door.

  They paw the clapboards and claw the latch,
  At every crevice they whine and scratch.

  Their tongues are subtle and long and thin,
  And they lap the living blood within.

  Icy keen are the teeth that tear,
  Red as ruin the eyes that glare.

  Children crouched in corners cold
  Shiver in tattered garments old,

  And start from sleep with bitter pangs
  At the touch of the phantoms' viewless fangs.

  Weary the mother and worn with strife,
  Still she watches and fights for life.

  But her hand is feeble, and weapon small:
  One little needle against them all!

  In evil hour the daughter fled
  From her poor shelter and wretched bed.

  Through the city's pitiless solitude
  To the door of sin the wolves pursued.

  Fierce the father and grim with want,
  His heart is gnawed by the spectres gaunt.

  Frenzied stealing forth by night,
  With whetted knife, to the desperate fight,

  He thought to strike the spectres dead,
  But he smites his brother man instead.

  O you that listen to stories told,
  When hearths are cheery and nights are cold,

  Weep no more at the tales you hear,
  The danger is close and the wolves are near.

  Shudder not at the murderer's name,
  Marvel not at the maiden's shame.

  Pass not by with averted eye
  The door where the stricken children cry.

  But when the beat of the unseen feet
  Sounds by night through the stormy street,

  Follow thou where the spectres glide;
  Stand like Hope by the mother's side;

  And be thyself the angel sent
  To shield the hapless and innocent.

  He gives but little who gives his tears,
  He gives his best who aids and cheers.

  He does well in the forest wild
  Who slays the monster and saves the child;

  But he does better, and merits more,
  Who drives the wolf from the poor man's door.

       *       *       *       *       *


A STORY OF TO-DAY.


PART III.


Now that I have come to the love part of my story, I am suddenly
conscious of dingy common colors on the palette with which I have been
painting. I wish I had some brilliant dyes. I wish, with all my heart, I
could take you back to that "Once upon a time" in which the souls of our
grandmothers delighted,--the time which Dr. Johnson sat up all night to
read about in "Evelina,"--the time when all the celestial virtues, all
the earthly graces were revealed in a condensed state to man through the
blue eyes and sumptuous linens of some Belinda Portman or Lord Mortimer.
None of your good-hearted, sorely-tempted villains then! It made your
hair stand on end only to read of them,--dyed at their birth clear
through with Pluto's blackest poison, going about perpetually seeking
innocent maidens and unsophisticated old men to devour. That was the
time for holding up virtue and vice; no trouble then in seeing which
were sheep and which were goats! A person could write a story with a
moral to it, then, I should hope! People that were born in those days
had no fancy for going through the world with half-and-half characters,
such as we put up with; so Nature turned out complete specimens of each
class, with all the appendages of dress, fortune, _et cetera_, chording
decently. At least, so those veracious histories say. The heroine, for
instance, glides into life full-charged with rank, virtues, a name
three-syllabled, and a white dress that never needs washing, ready to
sail through dangers dire into a triumphant haven of matrimony;--all
the aristocrats have high foreheads and cold blue eyes; all the
peasants are old women, miraculously grateful, in neat check aprons, or
sullen-browed insurgents planning revolts in caves.

Of course, I do not mean that these times are gone: they are alive (in
a modern fashion) in many places in the world; some of my friends have
described them in prose and verse. I only mean to say that I never was
there; I was born unlucky. I am willing to do my best, but I live in
the commonplace. Once or twice I have rashly tried my hand at dark
conspiracies, and women rare and radiant in Italian bowers; but I have a
friend who is sure to say, "Try and tell us about the butcher next door,
my dear." If I look up from my paper now, I shall be just as apt to see
our dog and his kennel as the white sky stained with blood and Tyrian
purple. I never saw a full-blooded saint or sinner in my life. The
coldest villain I ever knew was the only son of his mother, and she a
widow,--and a kinder son never lived. I have known people capable of a
love terrible in its strength; but I never knew such a case that some
one did not consider its expediency as "a match" in the light of dollars
and cents. As for heroines, of course I know beautiful women, and good
as fair. The most beautiful is delicate and pure enough for a type of
the Madonna, and has a heart almost as warm and holy as hers who was
blessed among women. (Very pure blood is in her veins, too, if you care
about blood.) But at home they call her Tode for a nickname; all we can
do, she will sing, and sing through her nose; and on washing-days she
often cooks the dinner, and scolds wholesomely, if the tea-napkins are
not in order. Now, what is anybody to do with a heroine like that? I
have known old maids in abundance, with pathos and sunshine in their
lives; but the old maid of novels I never have met, who abandoned
her soul to gossip,--nor yet the other type, a lifelong martyr of
unselfishness. They are mixed generally, and are not unlike their
married sisters, so far as I can see. Then as to men, certainly I know
heroes. One man, I knew, as high a chevalier in heart as any Bayard of
them all; one of those souls simple and gentle as a woman, tender in
knightly honor. He was an old man, with a rusty brown coat and rustier
wig, who spent his life in a dingy village office. You poets would have
laughed at him. Well, well, his history never will be written. The kind,
sad, blue eyes are shut now. There is a little farm-graveyard overgrown
with privet and wild grape-vines, and a flattened grave where he was
laid to rest; and only a few who knew him when they were children care
to go there, and think of what he was to them. But it was not in the far
days of Chivalry alone, I think, that true and tender souls have stood
in the world unwelcome, and, hurt to the quick, have turned away and
dumbly died. Let it be. Their lives are not lost, thank God!

I meant only to ask you, How can I help it, if the people in my story
seem coarse to you,--if the hero, unlike all other heroes, stopped to
count the cost before he fell in love,--if it made his fingers thrill
with pleasure to touch a full pocket-book as well as his mistress's
hand,--not being withal, this Stephen Holmes, a man to be despised? A
hero, rather, of a peculiar type,--a man, more than other men: the very
mould of man, doubt it who will, that women love longest and most madly.
Of course, if I could, I would have blotted out every meanness or
flaw before I showed him to you; I would have given you Margaret an
impetuous, whole-souled woman, glad to throw her life down for her
father without one bitter thought of the wife and mother she might have
been; I would have painted her mother tender as she was, forgetting how
pettish she grew on busy days: but what can I do? I must show you men
and women as they are in that especial State of the Union where I live.
In all the others, of course, it is very different. Now, being prepared
for disappointment, will you see my hero?

He had sauntered out from the city for a morning walk,--not through
the hills, as Margaret went, going home, but on the other side, to
the river, over which you could see the Prairie. We are in Indiana,
remember. The sunlight was pure that morning, powerful, tintless, the
true wine of life for body or spirit. Stephen Holmes knew that, being a
man of delicate animal instincts, and so used it, just as he had used
the dumb-bells in the morning. All things were made for man, weren't
they? He was leaning against the door of the school-house,--a red,
flaunting house, the daub on the landscape: but, having his back to
it, he could not see it, so through his half-shut eyes he suffered the
beauty of the scene to act on him. Suffered: in a man, according to his
creed, the will being dominant, and all influences, such as beauty,
pain, religion, permitted to act under orders. Of course.

It was a peculiar landscape,--like the man who looked at it, of a
thoroughly American type. A range of sharp, dark hills, with a sombre
depth of green shadow in the clefts, and on the sides massed forests of
scarlet and flame and crimson. Above, the sharp peaks of stone rose into
the wan blue, wan and pale themselves, and wearing a certain air of
fixed calm, the type of an eternal quiet. At the base of the hills lay
the city, a dirty mass of bricks and smoke and dust, and at its far edge
flowed the Wabash,--deep here, tinted with green, writhing and gurgling
and curdling on the banks over shelving ledges of lichen and mud-covered
rock. Beyond it yawned the opening to the great West,--the Prairies.
Not the dreary deadness here, as farther west. A plain dark russet in
hue,--for the grass was sun-scorched,--stretching away into the vague
distance, intolerable, silent, broken by hillocks and puny streams that
only made the vastness and silence more wide and heavy. Its limitless
torpor weighed on the brain; the eyes ached, stretching to find some
break before the dull russet faded into the amber of the horizon and was
lost. An American landscape: of few features, simple, grand in outline
as a face of one of the early gods. It lay utterly motionless before
him, not a fleck of cloud in the pure blue above, even where the mist
rose from the river; it only had glorified the clear blue into clearer
violet.

Holmes stood quietly looking; he could have created a picture like
this, if he never had seen one; therefore he was able to recognize it,
accepted it into his soul, and let it do what it would there.

Suddenly a low wind from the far Pacific coast struck from the amber
line where the sun went down. A faint tremble passed over the great
hills, the broad sweeps of color darkened from base to summit, then
flashed again,--while below, the prairie rose and fell like a dun sea,
and rolled in long, slow, solemn waves.

The wind struck so broad and fiercely in Holmes's face that he caught
his breath. It was a savage freedom, he thought, in the West there,
whose breath blew on him,--the freedom of the primitive man, the untamed
animal man, self-reliant and self-assertant, having conquered Nature.
Well, this fierce masterful freedom was good for the soul, sometimes,
doubtless. It was old Knowles's vital air. He wondered if the old man
would succeed in his hobby, if he could make the slavish beggars and
thieves in the alleys yonder comprehend this fierce freedom. They craved
leave to live on sufferance now, not knowing their possible divinity.
It was a desperate remedy, this sense of unchecked liberty; but their
disease was desperate. As for himself, he did not need it; that element
was not lacking. In a mere bodily sense, to be sure. He felt his arm.
Yes, the cold rigor of this new life had already worn off much of the
clogging weight of flesh, strengthened the muscles. Six months more in
the West would toughen the fibres to iron. He raised an iron weight that
lay on the steps, carelessly testing them. For the rest, he was going
back here; something of the cold, loose freshness got into his brain,
he believed. In the two years of absence his power of concentration had
been stronger, his perceptions more free from prejudice, gaining every
day delicate point, acuteness of analysis. He drew a long breath of
the icy air, coarse with the wild perfume of the prairie. No, his
temperament needed a subtiler atmosphere than this, rarer essence than
mere brutal freedom. The East, the Old World, was his proper sphere for
self-development. He would go as soon as he could command the means,
leaving all clogs behind. _All_? His idle thought balked here, suddenly;
the sallow forehead contracted sharply, and his gray eyes grew in an
instant shallow, careless, formal, as a man who holds back his thought.
There was a fierce warring in his brain for a moment. Then he brushed
his Kossuth hat with his arm, and put it on, looking out at the
landscape again. Somehow its meaning was dulled to him. Just then a
muddy terrier came up, and rubbed itself against his knee. "Why, Tige,
old boy!" he said, stooping to pat it kindly. The hard, shallow look
faded out, and he half smiled, looking in the dog's eyes. A curious
smile, unspeakably tender and sad. It was the idiosyncrasy of the man's
face, rarely seen there. He might have looked with it at a criminal,
condemning him to death. But he would have condemned him, and, if no
hangman could be found, would have put the rope on with his own hands,
and then most probably would have sat down pale and trembling, and
analyzed his sensations on paper,--being sincere in all.

He sat down on the school-house step, which the boys had hacked and
whittled rough, and waited; for he was there by appointment, to meet Dr.
Knowles.

Knowles had gone out early in the morning to look at the ground he was
going to buy for his Phalanstery, or whatever he chose to call it. He
was to bring the deed of sale of the mill out with him for Holmes. The
next day it was to be signed. Holmes saw him at last lumbering across
the prairie, wiping the perspiration from his forehead. Summer or
winter, he contrived to be always hot. There was a cart drawn by an old
donkey coming along beside him. Knowles was talking to the driver.
The old man clapped his hands as stage-coachmen do, and drew in long
draughts of air, as if there were keen life and promise in every breath.
They came up at last, the cart empty, and drying for the day's work
after its morning's scrubbing, Lois's pock-marked face all in a glow
with trying to keep Barney awake. She grew quite red with pleasure
at seeing Holmes, but went on quickly as the men began to talk. Tige
followed her, of course; but when she had gone a little way across
the prairie, they saw her stop, and presently the dog came back with
something in his mouth, which he laid down beside his master, and bolted
off. It was only a rough wicker-basket which she had filled with damp
plushy moss, and half-buried in it clusters of plumy fern, delicate
brown and ashen lichens, masses of forest-leaves all shaded green with a
few crimson tints. It had a clear woody smell, like far-off myrrh. The
Doctor laughed as Holmes took it up.

"An artist's gift, if it is from a mulatto," he said. "A born colorist."

The men were not at ease, for some reason; they seized on every trifle
to keep off the subject which had brought them together.

"That girl's artist-sense is pure, and her religion, down under the
perversion and ignorance of her brain. Curious, eh?"

"Look at the top of her head, when you see her," said Holmes. "It is
necessity for such brains to worship. They let the fire lick their
blood, if they happen to be born Parsees. This girl, if she had been a
Jew when Christ was born, would have known him as Simeon did."

Knowles said nothing,--only glanced at the massive head of the speaker,
with its overhanging brow, square development at the sides, and lowered
crown, and smiled significantly.

"Exactly," laughed Holmes, putting his hand on his head. "Crippled there
by my Yorkshire blood,--my mother. Never mind; outside of this life,
blood or circumstance matters nothing."

They walked on slowly towards town. Surely there was nothing in the
bill-of-sale which the old man had in his pocket but a mere matter of
business; yet they were strangely silent about it, as if it brought
shame to some one. There was an embarrassed pause. The Doctor went back
to Lois for relief.

"I think it is the pain and want of such as she that makes them
susceptible to religion. The self in them is so starved and humbled that
it cannot obscure their eyes; they see God clearly."

"Say rather," said Holmes, "that the soul is so starved and blind that
it cannot recognize itself as God."

The Doctor's intolerant eye kindled.

"Humph! So that's your creed! Not Pantheism. _Ego sum_. Of course you go
on with the conjugation: _I have been, I shall be_. I,--that covers the
whole ground, creation, redemption, and commands the hereafter?"

"It does so," said Holmes, coolly.

"And this wretched huckster carries her deity about her,--her
self-existent soul? How, in God's name, is her life to set it free?"

Holmes said nothing. The coarse sneer could not be answered. Men with
pale faces and heavy jaws like his do not carry their religion on
their tongue's end; their creeds leave them only in the slow oozing
life-blood, false as the creeds may be.

Knowles went on hotly, half to himself, seizing on the new idea
fiercely, as men and women do who are yet groping for the truth of life.

"What is it your Novalis says? 'The true Shechinah is man.' You know no
higher God? Pooh! the idea is old enough; it began with Eve. It works
slowly, Holmes. In six thousand years, taking humanity as one, this
self-existent soul should have clothed itself with a freer, royaller
garment than poor Lois's body,--or mine," he added, bitterly.

"It works slowly," said the other, quietly. "Faster soon, in America.
There are yet many ills of life for the divinity within to conquer."

"And Lois and the swarming mass yonder in those dens? It is late for
them to begin the fight?"

"Endurance is enough for them here. Their religions teach them that they
could not bear the truth. One does not put a weapon into the hands of a
man dying of the fetor and hunger of the siege."

"But what will this life, or the lives to come, give to you champions
who know the truth?"

"Nothing but victory," he said, in a low tone, looking away.

Knowles looked at the pale strength of the iron face.

"God help you, Stephen!" he broke out, his shallow jeering falling off.
"For there _is_ a God higher than we. The ills of life you mean to
conquer will teach it to you, Holmes. You'll find the Something above
yourself, if it's only to curse Him and die."

Holmes did not smile at the old man's heat,--walked gravely, steadily.

There was a short silence. The old man put his hand gently on the
other's arm.

"Stephen," he hesitated, "you're a stronger man than I. I know what you
are; I've watched you from a boy. But you're wrong here. I'm an old man.
There's not much I know in life,--enough to madden me. But I do know
there's something stronger,--some God outside of the mean devil they
call 'Me.' You'll learn it, boy. There's an old story of a man like you
and the rest of your sect, and of the vile, mean, crawling things that
God sent to bring him down. There are such things yet. Mean passions in
your divine soul, low, selfish things, that will get the better of you,
show you what you are. You'll do all that man can do. But they are
coming, Stephen Holmes! they're coming!"

He stopped, startled. For Holmes had turned abruptly, glancing over at
the city with a strange wistfulness. It was over in a moment. He resumed
the slow, controlling walk beside him. They went on in silence into
town, and when they did speak, it was on indifferent subjects, not
referring to the last. The Doctor's heat, as it usually did, boiled out
in spasms on trifles. Once he stumped his toe, and, I am sorry to say,
swore roundly about it, just as he would have done in the new Arcadia,
if one of the jail-birds comprising that colony had been ungrateful for
his advantages. Philanthropists, for some curious reason, are not the
most amiable members of small families.

He gave Holmes the roll of parchment he had in his pocket, looking
keenly at him, as he did so, but only saying, that, if he meant to sign
it, it would be done to-morrow. As Holmes took it, they stopped at the
great door of the factory. He went in alone, Knowles going down the
street. One trifle, strange in its way, he remembered afterwards.
Holding the roll of paper in his hand that would make the mill his, he
went, in his slow, grave way, down the long passage to the loom-rooms.
There was a crowd of porters and firemen there, as usual, and he thought
one of them hastily passed him in the dark passage, hiding behind an
engine. As the shadow fell on him, his teeth chattered with a chilly
shudder. He smiled, thinking how superstitious people would say that
some one trod on his grave just then, or that Death looked at him, and
went on. Afterwards he thought of it. Going through the office, the fat
old book-keeper, Huff, stopped him with a story he had been keeping for
him all day. He liked to tell a story to Holmes; he could see into a
joke; it did a man good to hear a fellow laugh like that. Holmes did
laugh, for the story was a good one, and stood a moment, then went in,
leaving the old fellow chuckling over his desk. Huff did not know how,
lately, after every laugh, this man felt a vague scorn of himself, as if
jokes and laughter belonged to a self that ought to have been dead long
ago. Perhaps, if the fat old book-keeper had known it, he would have
said that the man was better than he knew. But then,--poor Huff! He
passed slowly through the long alleys between the great looms. Overhead
the ceiling looked like a heavy maze of iron cylinders and black
swinging bars and wheels, all in swift, ponderous motion. It was enough
to make a brain dizzy with the clanging thunder of the engines, the
whizzing spindles of red and yellow, and the hot daylight glaring over
all. The looms were watched by women, most of them bold, tawdry girls
of fifteen or sixteen, or lean-jawed women from the hills, wives of the
coal-diggers. There was a breathless odor of copperas. As he went from
one room to another up through the ascending stories, he had a vague
sensation of being followed. Some shadow lurked at times behind the
engines, or stole after him in the dark entries. Were there ghosts,
then, in mills in broad daylight? None but the ghosts of Want and Hunger
and Crime, he might have known, that do not wait for night to walk our
streets: the ghosts that poor old Knowles hoped to lay forever.

Holmes had a room fitted up in the mill, where he slept. He went up
to it slowly, holding the paper tightly in one hand, glancing at the
operatives, the work, through his furtive half-shut eye. Nothing escaped
him. Passing the windows, he did not once look out at the prophetic
dream of beauty he had left without. In the mill he was of the mill.
Yet he went slowly, as if he shrank from the task waiting for him.
Why should he? It was a simple matter of business, this transfer of
Knowles's share in the mill to himself; to-day he was to decide whether
he would conclude the bargain. If any dark history of wrong lay
underneath, if this simple decision of his was to be the struggle for
life and death with him, his cold, firm face told nothing of it. Let us
be just to him, stand by him, if we can, in the midst of his desolate
home and desolate life, and look through his cold, sorrowful eyes at
the deed he was going to do. Dreary enough he looked, going through the
great mill, despite the power in his quiet face. A man who had strength
to be alone; yet, I think, with all his strength and power, his mother
could not have borne to look back from the dead that day, to see her boy
so utterly alone. The day was the crisis of his life, looked forward to
for years; he held in his hand a sure passport to fortune. Yet he thrust
the hour off, perversely, trifling with idle fancies, pushing from him
the one question which all the years past and to come had left for this
day to decide.

Some such idle fancy it may have been that made the man turn from the
usual way down a narrow passage into which opened doors from small
offices. Margaret Howth, he had learned to-day, was in the first one. He
hesitated before he did it, his sallow face turning a trifle paler; then
he went on in his hard, grave way, wondering dimly if she remembered his
step, if she cared to see him now. She used to know it,--she was the
only one in the world who ever had cared to know it,--silly child!
Doubtless she was wiser now. He remembered he used to think, that, when
this woman loved, it would be as he himself would love, with a simple
trust which the wrong of years could not touch. And once he had
thought--Well, well, he was mistaken. Poor Margaret! Better as it was.
They were nothing to each other. She had put him from her, and he had
suffered himself to be put away. Why, he would have given up every
prospect of life, if he had done otherwise! Yet he wondered bitterly if
she had thought him selfish,--if she thought it was money he cared for,
as the others did. It mattered nothing what they thought, but it wounded
him intolerably that she should wrong him. Yet, with all this, whenever
he looked forward to death, it was with the certainty that he should
find her there beyond. There would be no secrets then; she would know
then how he had loved her always. Loved her? Yes; he need not hide it
from himself, surely.

He was now by the door of the office;--she was within. Little Margaret,
poor little Margaret! struggling there day after day for the old father
and mother. What a pale, cold little child she used to be! such a child!
yet kindling at his look or touch, as if her veins were filled with
subtile flame. Her soul was like his own, he thought. He knew what it
was,--he only. Even now he glowed with a man's triumph to know he held
the secret life of this woman bare in his hand. No other human power
could ever come near her; he was secure in possession. She had put him
from her;--it was better for both, perhaps. Their paths were separate
here; for she had some unreal notions of duty, and he had too much to do
in the world to clog himself with cares, or to idle an hour in the rare
ecstasy of even love like this.

He passed the office, not pausing in his slow step. Some sudden impulse
made him put his hand on the door as he brushed against it: just a
quick, light touch; but it had all the fierce passion of a caress. He
drew it back as quickly, and went on, wiping a clammy sweat from his
face.

The room he had fitted up for himself was whitewashed and barely
furnished; it made one's bones ache to look at the iron bedstead and
chairs. Holmes's natural taste was more glowing, however smothered, than
that of any saffron-robed Sybarite. It needed correction, he knew, and
this was the discipline. Besides, he had set apart the coming three or
four years of his life to make money in, enough for the time to come. He
would devote his whole strength to that work, and so be sooner done with
it. Money, or place, or even power, was nothing but means to him: other
men valued them because of their influence on others. As his work in the
world was only the development of himself, it was different, of course.
What would it matter to his soul the day after death, if millions called
his name aloud in blame or praise? Would he hear or answer then? What
would it matter to him then, if he had starved with them or ruled over
them? People talked of benevolence. What would it matter to him then,
the misery or happiness of those yet working in this paltry life of
ours? In so far as the exercise of kindly emotions or self-denial
developed the higher part of his nature, it was to be commended; as
for its effect on others, that he had nothing to do with. He practised
self-denial constantly to strengthen the benevolent instincts. That
very morning he had given his last dollar to Joe Byers, a half-starved
cripple. "Chucked it at me," Joe said, "like as he'd give a bone to a
dog, and be damned to him! Who thanks him?" To tell the truth, you will
find no fairer exponent than this Stephen Holmes of the great idea of
American sociology,--that the object of life is _to grow_. Circumstances
had forced it on him, partly. Sitting now in his room, where he was
counting the cost of becoming a merchant prince, he could look back to
the time of a boyhood passed in the depths of ignorance and vice. He
knew what this Self within him was; he knew how it had forced him to
grope his way up, to give this hungry, insatiate soul air and freedom
and knowledge. All men around him were doing the same,--thrusting and
jostling and struggling, up, up. It was the American motto, Go ahead;
mothers taught it to their children; the whole system was a scale of
glittering prizes. He at least saw the higher meaning of the truth; he
had no low ambitions. To lift this self up into a higher range of
being when it had done with the uses of this,--that was his work.
Self-salvation, self-elevation,--the ideas that give birth to, and
destroy half of our Christianity, half of our philanthropy! Sometimes
sleeping instincts in the man struggled up to assert a divinity more
terrible than this growing self-existent soul that he purified and
analyzed day by day: a depth of tender pity for outer pain; a fierce
longing for rest, on something, in something, he cared not what. He
stifled such rebellious promptings,--called them morbid. He called it
morbid, too, the passion now that chilled his strong blood, and wrung
out these clammy drops on his forehead, at the mere thought of this girl
below.

He shut the door of his room tightly: he had no time to-day for lounging
visitors.

For Holmes, quiet and steady, was sought for, if not popular, even in
the free-and-easy West; one of those men who are unwillingly masters
among men. Just and mild, always; with a peculiar gift that made men
talk their best thoughts to him, knowing they would be understood; if
any core of eternal flint lay under the simple, truthful manner of the
man, nobody saw it.

He laid the bill of sale on the table; it was an altogether practical
matter on which he sat in judgment, but he was going to do nothing
rashly. A plain business document: he took Dr. Knowles's share in the
factory; the payments made with short intervals; John Herne was to be
his indorser: it needed only the names to make it valid. Plain enough;
no hint there of the tacit understanding that the purchase-money was a
wedding dowry; even between Herne and himself it never was openly put
into words. If he did not marry Miss Herne, the mill was her father's;
that of course must be spoken of, arranged to-morrow. If he took it,
then? if he married her? Holmes had been poor, was miserably poor yet,
with the position and habits of a man of refinement. God knows it was
not to gratify those tastes that he clutched at this money. All the slow
years of work trailed up before him, that were gone,--of hard, wearing
work for daily bread, when his brain had been starving for knowledge,
and his soul dulled, debased with sordid trading. Was this to be always?
Were these few golden moments of life to be traded for the bread and
meat he ate? To eat and drink,--was that what he was here for?

As he paced the floor mechanically, some vague recollection crossed his
brain of a childish story of the man standing where the two great roads
of life parted. They were open before him now. Money, money,--he took
the word into his heart as a miser might do. With it, he was free from
these carking cares that were making his mind foul and muddy. If he had
money! Slow, cool visions of triumphs rose before him outlined on the
years to come, practical, if Utopian. Slow and sure successes of science
and art, where his brain could work, helpful and growing. Far off, yet
surely to come,--surely for him,--a day to come when a pure social
system should be universal, should have thrust out its fibres of light
knitting into one the nations of the earth, when the lowest slave should
find its true place and rightful work, and stand up, knowing itself
divine. "To insure to every man the freest development of his
faculties": he said over the hackneyed dogma again and again, while the
heavy, hateful years of poverty rose before him that had trampled him
down. "To insure to him the freest development," he did not need to wait
for St. Simon, or the golden year, he thought with a dreary gibe; money
was enough, and--Miss Herne.

It was curious, that, when this woman, whom he saw every day, came up in
his mind, it was always in one posture, one costume. You have noticed
that peculiarity in your remembrance of some persons? Perhaps you would
find, if you looked closely, that in that look or indelible gesture
which your memory has caught there lies some subtile hint of the tie
between your soul and theirs. Now, when Holmes had resolved coolly
to weigh this woman, brain, heart, and flesh, to know how much of a
hindrance she would be, he could only see her, with his artist's sense,
as delicate a bloom of coloring as eye could crave, in one immovable
posture,--as he had seen her once in some masquerade or _tableau
vivant_. June, I think it was, she chose to represent that evening,--and
with her usual success; for no woman ever knew more thoroughly her
material of shape or color, or how to work it up. Not an ill-chosen
fancy, either, that of the moist, warm month. Some tranced summer's day
might have drowsed down into such a human form by a dank pool, or on the
thick grass-crusted meadows. There was the full contour of the limbs hid
under warm green folds, the white flesh that glowed when you touched it
as if some smothered heat lay beneath, the sleeping face, the amber hair
uncoiled in a languid quiet, while yellow jasmines deepened its hue into
molten sunshine, and a great tiger-lily laid its sultry head on her
breast. June? Could June become incarnate with higher poetic meaning
than that which this woman gave it? Mr. Kitts, the artist I told you
of, thought not, and fell in love with June and her on the spot, which
passion became quite unbearable after she had graciously permitted him
to sketch her,--for the benefit of Art. Three medical students and one
attorney Miss Herne numbered as having been driven into a state
of dogged despair on that triumphal occasion. Mr. Holmes may have
quarrelled with the rendering, doubting to himself if her lip were not
too thick, her eye too brassy and pale a blue for the queen of months;
though I do not believe he thought at all about it. Yet the picture
clung to his memory.

As he slowly paced the room to-day, thinking of this woman as his
wife, light blue eyes and yellow hair and the unclean sweetness of
jasmine-flowers mixed with the hot sunshine and smells of the mill. He
could think of her in no other light. He might have done so; for the
poor girl had her other sides for view. She had one of those sharp,
tawdry intellects whose possessors are always reckoned "brilliant women,
fine talkers." She was (aside from the necessary sarcasm to keep up this
reputation) a good-humored soul enough,--when no one stood in her way.
But if her shallow virtues or vices were palpable at all to him to-day,
they became one with the torpid beauty of the oppressive summer day,
and weighed on him alike with a vague disgust. The woman luxuriated in
perfume; some heavy odor always hung about her. Holmes, thinking of her
now, fancied he felt it stifling the air, and opened the window for
breath. Patchouli or copperas,--what was the difference? The mill and
his future wife came to him together; it was scarcely his fault, if he
thought of them as one, or muttered, "Damnable clog!" as he sat down to
write, his cold eye growing colder. But he did not argue the question
any longer; decision had come keenly in one moment, fixed, unalterable.

If, through the long day, the starved heart of the man called feebly for
its natural food, he called it a paltry weakness; or if the old thought
of the quiet, pure little girl in the office below came back to him,
he--he wished her well, he hoped she might succeed in her work, he
would always be ready to lend her a helping hand. So many years (he was
ashamed to think how many) he had built the thought of this girl as his
wife into the future, put his soul's strength into the hope, as if love
and the homely duties of husband and father were what life was given
for! A boyish fancy, he thought. He had not learned then that all dreams
must yield to self-reverence and self-growth. As for taking up this life
of poverty and soul-starvation for the sake of a little love, it would
be an ignoble martyrdom, the sacrifice of a grand unmeasured life to a
shallow pleasure. He was no longer a young man now; he had no time to
waste. Poor Margaret! he wondered if it hurt her now.

He left the writing in the slow, quiet way natural to him, and after
a while stooped to pat the dog softly, who was trying to lick his
hand,--with the hard fingers shaking a little, and a smothered
fierceness in the half-closed eye, like a man who is tortured and alone.

There is a miserable drama acted in other homes than the Tuileries, when
men have found a woman's heart in their way to success, and trampled
it down under an iron heel. Men like Napoleon must live out the law of
their natures, I suppose,--on a throne or in a mill.

So many trifles that day roused the under-current of old thoughts and
old hopes that taunted him,--trifles, too, that he would not have heeded
at another time. Pike came in on business, a bunch of bills in his hand.
A wily, keen eye he had, looking over them,--a lean face, emphasized
only by cunning. No wonder Dr. Knowles cursed him for a "slippery
customer," and was cheated by him the next hour. While he and Holmes
were counting out the bills, a little white-headed girl crept shyly
in at the door, and came up to the table,--oddly dressed, in an
old-fashioned frock fastened with great horn buttons, and with an
old-fashioned anxious pair of eyes, the color of blue Delft. Holmes
smoothed her hair, as she stood beside them; for he never could help
caressing children or dogs. Pike looked up sharply,--then half smiled,
as he went on counting.

"Ninety, ninety-five, _and_ one hundred, all right,"--tying a bit of
tape about the papers. "My Sophy, Mr. Holmes. Good girl, Sophy is. Bring
her up to the mill sometimes," he said, apologetically, "on 'count of
not leaving her alone. She gets lonesome at th' house."

Holmes glanced at Pike's felt hat lying on the table: there was a rusty
strip of crape on it.

"Yes," said Pike, in a lower tone, "I'm father and mother, both, to
Sophy now."

"I had not heard," said Holmes, kindly. "How about the boys, now?"

"Pete and John's both gone West," the man said, his eyes kindling
eagerly. "'S fine boys as ever turned out of Indiana. Good eddications I
give 'em both. I've felt the want of that all my life. Good eddications.
Says I, 'Now, boys, you've got your fortunes, nothing to hinder your
bein' President. Let's see what stuff's in ye,' says I. So they're doin'
well. Wrote fur me to come out in the fall. But I'd rather scratch on,
and gather up a little for Sophy here, before I stop work."

He patted Sophy's tanned little hand on the table, as if beating some
soft tune. Holmes folded up the bills. Even this man could spare time
out of his hard, stingy life to love, and be loved, and to be generous!
But then he had no higher aim, knew nothing better.

"Well," said Pike, rising, "in case you take th' mill, Mr. Holmes,
I hope we'll be agreeable. I'll strive to do my best,"--in the old
fawning manner, to which Holmes nodded a curt reply.

The man stopped for Sophy to gather up her bits of broken China with
which she was making a tea-party on the table, and went down-stairs.

Towards evening Holmes went out,--not going through the narrow passage
that led to the offices, but avoiding it by a circuitous route. If it
cost him any pain to think why he did it, he showed none in his calm,
observant face. Buttoning up his coat as he went: the October sunset
looked as if it ought to be warm, but he was deathly cold. On the street
the young doctor beset him again, with bows and news: Cox was his name,
I believe; the one, you remember, who had such a Talleyrand nose for
ferreting out successful men. He had to bear with him but for a few
moments, however. They met a crowd of workmen at the corner, one of
whom, an old man freshly washed, with honest eyes looking out of
horn spectacles, waited for them by a fire-plug. It was Polston, the
coal-digger,--an acquaintance, a far-off kinsman of Holmes, in fact.

"Curious person making signs to you, yonder," said Cox; "hand, I
presume."

"My cousin Polston. If you do not know him, you'll excuse me?"

Cox sniffed the air down the street, and twirled his rattan, as he went.
The coal-digger was abrupt and distant in his greeting, going straight
to business.

"I will keep yoh only a minute, Mr. Holmes"----

"Stephen," corrected Holmes.

The old man's face warmed.

"Stephen, then," holding out his hand, "sence old times dawn't shame
yoh, Stephen. That's hearty, now. It's only a wured I want, but it's
immediate. Concernin' Joe Yare,--Lois's father, yoh know? He's back."

"Back? I saw him to-day, following me in the mill. His hair is gray? I
think it was he."

"No doubt. Yes, he's aged fast, down in the lock-up; goin' fast to the
end. Feeble, pore-like. It's a bad life, Joe Yare's; I wish 'n' 't would
be better to the end"----

He stopped with a wistful look at Holmes, who stood outwardly attentive,
but with little thought to waste on Joe Yare. The old coal-digger
drummed on the fire-plug uneasily.

"Myself, 't was for Lois's sake I thowt on it. To speak plain,--yoh'll
mind that Stokes affair, th' note Yare brought? Yes? Ther's none knows
o' that but yoh an' me. He's safe, Yare is, only fur yoh an' me. Yoh
speak the wured an' back he goes to the lock-up. Fur life. D' yoh see?"

"I see."

"He's tryin' to do right, Yare is."

The old man went on, trying not to be eager, and watching Holmes's face.

"He's tryin'. Sendin' him back--yoh know how _that_ 'll end. Seems like
as we'd his soul in our hands. S'pose,--what d' yoh think, if we give
him a chance? It's yoh he fears. I see him a-watchin' yoh; what d' yoh
think, if we give him a chance?" catching Holmes's sleeve. "He's old,
an' he's tryin'. Heh?"

Holmes smiled.

"We didn't make the law he broke. Justice before mercy. Haven't I heard
you talk to Sam in that way, long ago?"

The old man loosened his hold of Holmes's arm, looked up and down the
street, uncertain, disappointed.

"The law. Yes. That's right! Yoh're a just man, Stephen Holmes."

"And yet?"----

"Yes. I dun'no'. Law's right, but Yare's had a bad chance, an' he's
tryin'. An' we're sendin' him to hell. Somethin's wrong. But I think
yoh're a just man," looking keenly in Holmes's face.

"A hard one, people say," said Holmes, after a pause, as they walked on.

He had spoken half to himself, and received no answer. Some blacker
shadow troubled him than old Yare's fate.

"My mother was a hard woman,--you knew her?" he said, abruptly.

"She was just, like yoh. She was one o' th' elect, she said. Mercy's fur
them,--an' outside, justice. It's a narrer showin', I'm thinkin'."

"My father was outside," said Holmes, some old bitterness rising up in
his tone, his gray eye lighting with some unrevenged wrong.

Polston did not speak for a moment.

"Dunnot bear malice agin her. They're dead, now. It wasn't left fur her
to judge him out yonder. Yoh've yer father's eyes, Stephen, 'times.
Hungry, pitiful, like women's. His got desper't' 't th' last. Drunk
hard,--died of't, yoh know. But _she_ killed him,--th' sin was writ down
fur her. Never was a boy I loved like him, when we was boys."

There was a short silence.

"Yoh're like yer mother," said Polston, striving for a lighter tone.
"Here,"--motioning to the heavy iron jaws. "She never--let go. Somehow,
too, she'd the law on her side in outward showin', an' th' right. But I
hated religion, knowin' her. Well, ther's a day of makin' things clear,
comin'."

They had reached the corner now, and Polston turned down the lane.

"Yoh'll think o' Yare's case?" he said.

"Yes. But how can I help it," Holmes said, lightly, "if I am like my
mother here?"--putting his hand to his mouth.

"God help us, how can yoh? It's harrd to think father and mother leave
their souls fightin' in their childern, cos th' love was wantin' to make
them one here."

Something glittered along the street as he spoke: the silver mountings
of a low-hung phaëton drawn by a pair of Mexican ponies. One or two
gentlemen on horseback were alongside, attendant on a lady within. She
turned her fair face, and pale, greedy eyes, as she passed, and lifted
her hand languidly in recognition of Holmes. Polston's face colored.

"I've heered," he said, holding out his grimy hand. "I wish yoh well,
Stephen, boy. So'll the old 'oman. Yoh'll come an' see us, soon? Ye 'r'
lookin' fagged, an' yer eyes is gettin' more like yer father's. I'm glad
things is takin' a good turn with yoh; an' yoh'll never be like him,
starvin' fur th' kind wured, an' havin' to die without it. I'm glad
yoh've got true love. She'd a fair face, I think. I wish yoh well,
Stephen."

Holmes shook the grimy hand, and then stood a moment looking back to
the mill, from which the hands were just coming, and then down at the
phaëton moving idly down the road. How cold it was growing! People
passing by had a sickly look, as if they were struck by the plague. He
pushed the damp hair back, wiping his forehead, with another glance at
the mill-women coming out of the gate, and then followed the phaëton
down the hill.

       *       *       *       *       *


HEALTH IN THE HOSPITAL.


In preparing to do the duty of society towards the wounded or sick
soldier, the first consideration is, What is a Military Hospital? No two
nations seem to have answered this question in the same way; yet it is a
point of the first importance to them all.

When England went to war last time, after a peace of forty years, the
only idea in the minds of her military surgeons was of Regimental
Hospitals. There was to be a place provided as an infirmary for a
certain number of soldiers; a certain number of orderlies were to be
appointed as nurses; and the regimental doctor and hospital-sergeant
were to have the charge of the inmates. In each of these Regimental
Hospitals there might be patients ill of a great variety of disorders,
from the gravest to the lightest, all to be treated by the same doctor
or doctors. These doctors had to make out statements of all the diets,
as well as all the medicines required by their patients, and send in
their requisitions; and it might be said that arrangements had to be
separately made for every individual patient in the whole army. The
doctors went to work each in his own way, even in the case of epidemics.
There was no knowing, except by guess, what diseases were the most to be
apprehended in particular places or circumstances; nor what remarkable
phenomena of disease were showing themselves on any extended scale; nor
what improvements could be suggested in the treatment. There was no
possibility of such systematic cleanliness and such absolute regularity
of management as can be secured by organization on a large scale. Yet
the medical officers preferred the plan to any other. One plea was, that
the medical officers and the patients were acquainted with and attached
to each other: and this was very true. Another consideration was, that
each surgeon liked to have his field of duty to himself, and found it an
advantage to have a large variety of ailments to treat, to the constant
improvement of his experience. They said that doctors and patients and
nurses all liked the Regimental Hospital best, and this was clear proof
that it was the best. They could at that time say also, that every
soldier and every doctor had a horror of General Hospitals, where the
mortality was so excessive during the Peninsular War that being carried
to the General Hospital was considered the same thing as being sentenced
to death.

Such being the state of opinion and feeling in the profession, it
naturally happened that British army-surgeons stuck to their Regimental
Hospitals as long as they could, and, when compelled to cooperate in a
General Hospital, made the institution as like as possible to a group
of Regimental Hospitals,--resisting all effective organization, and
baffling all the aims of the larger institution.

In busy times, no two Regimental Hospitals were alike in their
management, because the scheme was not capable of expansion. The surgeon
and his hospital-sergeant managed everything. The surgeon saw and
treated the cases, and made out his lists of articles wanted. It was his
proper business to keep the books,--to record the admissions, and make
the returns, and keep the accounts, and post up all the documents: but
professional men do not like this sort of work, when they want to be
treating disease; and the books were too often turned over to the
hospital-sergeant. His indispensable business was to superintend the
wards, and the attendance on the patients, the giving them their
medicines, etc., which most of us would think enough for one man: but he
had besides to keep up the military discipline in the establishment,--to
prepare the materials for the surgeon's duty at the desk,--to take
charge of all the orders for the diet of all the patients, and see them
fulfilled,--to keep the record of all the provisions ordered and used
in every department,--and to take charge of the washing, the hospital
stores, the furniture, the surgery, and the dispensary. In short, the
hospital-sergeant had to be at once ward-master, steward, dispenser,
sergeant, clerk, and purveyor; and, as no man can be a six-sided
official, more or fewer of his duties were deputed to the orderly, or to
anybody within call.

Nobody could dispute the superior economy and comfort of having a
concentration of patients arranged in the wards according to their
ailments, with a general kitchen, a general laundry, a dispensary and
surgery, and a staff of officials, each with his own distinct business,
instead of as many jacks-of-all-trades, each doing a little of
everything. Yet the obstinacy of the fight made by the surgeons for the
system of Regimental Hospitals was almost insuperable. There was no
desire on any hand to abolish their hospitals, which must always be
needed for slight, and also for immediately pressing cases. What was
asked of them was to give way when epidemics, or a sudden influx of
wounded, or protracted cases put a greater strain upon the system than
it would bear.

The French, meantime, had three sorts of hospitals,--the Divisional ones
coming between the Regimental and the General. Only the very slightest
cases ever enter their Regimental Hospital; those which may last weeks
are referred to the Divisional; and those which may last months, with
prospect of recovery, to the General Hospital. The Sardinian plan was
nearly the same. The Russians had Divisional Hospitals at various
stations; and all cases were carried to them.

The Regimental Hospitals are wherever the regiments are. The advantage
is, that aid can be immediately rendered,--not only in case of wounds,
but of cholera, in which it is desirable to lay a patient down in the
nearest bed to which he can be conveyed. The disadvantages are the
hap-hazard quality of the site, the absence of quiet and seclusion, and
the liability of being near the scene of conflict. These things cause
the French to prefer the Divisional Hospital, which, while still within
reach, is set farther back from the force, in a picked situation, and
managed on a large scale and with nicer exactitude.

The General Hospital is understood to be at the base of operations: and
this supposes, as a part of its organization, a system of transport, not
only good of its kind, but adequate to any demands consequent on a
great battle, or the spread of an epidemic in the camp. The nearer the
hospital is to the active force, the better, of course; but there are
conditions to be fulfilled first. It must be safe from the enemy. It
must be placed in a permanent station. It must be on a good road, and
within immediate reach of markets. It ought also to be on the way home,
for the sake of the incurable or the incapacitated who must be sent
home.

In the Regimental Hospital, the surgeon may be seen going from the man
who has lost a finger to a fever patient,--and then to one who has
ophthalmia,--passing on to a fellow raving in delirium tremens,--next to
whom is a sufferer under bronchitis, who will not be allowed to go out
of doors for weeks to come; and if half a dozen are brought in with
cholera in the course of the day, the officials do not know which way to
turn. It is possible that the surgeon may be found making starch over
the kitchen fire, because there is nobody at hand who understands how to
make starched bandages; or he may be at the desk, casting up columns of
figures, or writing returns, when he is urgently wanted at the bedside.
Such things can hardly happen now; but they have happened within ten
years. The Russians, meantime, would be carrying all manner of patients
to one of their hospital-stations,--each sufferer to the hospital of his
own division. The French would leave the men with scratches and slight
diarrhea and delirium tremens in the Regimental Hospital,--would send
the fever and bronchitis and scorbutic patients to the Divisional,--and
any gravely wounded, or rheumatic, or other very long cases to the
General Hospital at the base of operations.

Such arrangements, however, are of no use, if the last be not so
organized as to render it fit to supply what the others cannot give, and
to answer purposes which the others cannot even propose.

When doctors and soldiers alike shuddered at the mention of the General
Hospital as a necessary institution at or near the seat of war, they
were thinking of what they had seen or heard of during the Peninsular
Campaigns. There were such infirmaries wherever there was a line of
march in Spain; and they seemed to be all alike. Hospital gangrene set
in among the wounded, and fever among the sick, so that the soldiers
said, "To send a poor fellow to the hospital is to send him to death."
Yet there was nothing else to be done; for it was impossible to treat
the seriously sick and wounded at the spot where they fell. During that
war, nearly twice the number which composed the army passed through the
hospitals every year; and of these there were known deaths to the amount
of thirteen thousand five hundred; and thousands more were never the
same men again. When the case was better understood,--as during the last
year in the Crimea,--the mortality in the hospitals barely exceeded that
of the Guards in their barracks at home! Recovery had become the rule,
and death a remarkable event. General Hospitals had come to surpass all
other means of curing patients, while fulfilling their own peculiar
service to society through new generations.

What are the functions of General Hospitals, besides curing the sick and
wounded? some readers may ask, who have never particularly attended to
the subject.

The first business of such institutions is undoubtedly to restore as
many as possible of the sufferers brought into them: and this includes
the duty of bringing in the patients in the most favorable way,
receiving them in an orderly and quiet manner, doctoring, nursing,
feeding, clothing, and cleaning them, keeping their minds composed and
cheerful, and their manners creditable, promoting their convalescence,
and dismissing them in a state of comfort as to equipment. This is the
first duty, in its many subdivisions. The next is to obviate, as far as
possible, future disease in any army. The third grows out of this. It is
to improve the science of the existing generation by a full use of the
peculiar opportunities of observation afforded by the crop of sickness
and wounds yielded by an army in action. To take these in their reverse
order.

There must be much to learn from any great assemblage of sickness, under
circumstances which can be fully ascertained, even at home,--and much
more in a foreign climate. The medical body of every nation has very
imperfect knowledge of classes and modifications of diseases; so that
one of the strongest desires of the most learned physicians is for
an improved classification and constantly improving nomenclature of
diseases; and hospital-records afford the most direct way to this
knowledge. Thus, while the phenomena are frittered away among
Regimental or unorganized General Hospitals, a well-kept record in each
well-organized hospital will do more than all other means to promote the
scientific understanding of disease.

The statistics of disease in armies, the ascertainment of the numbers
who sicken and who die of particular diseases, would save more lives
in future generations than can be now appreciated; but what can the
regimental surgeon do towards furnishing any trustworthy materials to
such an inquiry? A dozen doctors, with each his smattering of patients,
can learn and teach but little while they work apart: whereas a regular
system of inquiry and record, in action where the sick are brought in in
battalions, is the best possible agency. Not only are these objects lost
when surgeons are allowed to make the great hospital a mere receptacle
for a cluster of small and desultory hospitals, but the advantages of a
broad study of diseases and their treatment are lost. Inestimable facts
of treatment are learned by watching, at the same time and in the same
place, a ward full of patients ill of the same disease. People of all
countries know this by the special learning which their physicians
obtain in large civil hospitals: and the same thing happens in military
hospitals, with the additional advantage that the information and
improved art tend to the special safety of the future soldiery, in
whatever climate they may be called on to serve.

There has long been some general notion of the duty of army-surgeons
to record what they saw in foreign campaigns; but no benefit has been
reaped till of late. The works of French field-surgeons have long been
justly celebrated; but I do not know that in the statistics and the
nomenclature of disease they have done much more than others. The
English surgeons carried or sent home in 1810 a mass of papers about the
Walcheren fever, and afterwards of the diseases of the Peninsular force:
but the Director General of the Medical Department considered such a
bulk of records troublesome, and ordered them to be burnt! Such an
act will never be perpetrated again; but directors will have a more
manageable mass of documents to deal with henceforth. With a regular
system of record, at a central station of observation, much more may be
done with much less fatigue to all parties.

But how is it to be done? may well be asked. In the hurry and confusion
of a war, and amidst the pressure of hundreds of new cases in a day,
what can the surgeons of the hospital be expected to do for science, or
even for the improvement of medical and surgical practice?--The answer
is seen in the new arrangements in England, where a statistical branch
has been established in the Army Medical Department. Of course, no one
but the practising surgeon or physician can furnish the pathological
facts in each individual case; but this is what every active and earnest
practitioner does always and everywhere, when he sees reason for it.
His note-book or hospital-journal provides that raw material which the
statistical department is to arrange and utilize. The result will be
that a flood of light will be cast on matters affecting the health and
life of soldiers and other men, in regard to which we might have gone on
groping for centuries among the confusion of regimental records, without
getting what we wanted. As to the method of proceeding, I may have
something to say farther on. Meantime, we must turn to the primary
object of the institution of the Military Hospital,--the cure of the
wounded and sick of the army.

In the case of active war, foreign or civil, the General Hospital is
usually an extemporized establishment, the building a makeshift, and
the arrangements such as the building will admit. In Spain, the British
obtained any houses they could get; and the soldiers were sometimes
crowded into half a dozen of them in one town. In the last war, the
great buildings at Scutari were engaged three months before they were
wanted for extensive use; so that there was plenty of time for making
them clean, airy, warm, and commodious, and for storing them with all
conveniences. This was not done; and the failure and its consequences
afford a lesson by which every people engaged in war should profit. A
mere outline of what was not done at Scutari may be an indication of
what should be done with all convenient speed elsewhere.

There was a catgut manufactory close at hand, which filled the
neighborhood with stench. Half a dozen dead dogs festered under the
windows in the sun; and a dead horse lay in the aqueduct for six weeks.
The drain-pipes within the building were obstructed and had burst,
spreading their contents over the floors and walls. The sloping boarded
divans in the wards, used for sleeping-places, were found, after the
building became crowded, to be a cover for a vast accumulation of dead
rats, old rags, and the dust of years. Like all large stone buildings in
the East, it was intolerably cold in winter, with its stagnant air,
its filthy damps, and its vaultings and chill floors. This wonderful
building was very grandly reported of to England, for its size and
capacity, its imposing character, and so forth; and the English
congratulated themselves on the luck of the wounded in having such a
hospital. Yet, in the next January, fourteen hundred and eighty were
carried out dead.

It appears that nobody knew how to go to work. Everybody writes to
somebody else to advise them to "observe"; and there are so many
assurances that everybody means to "observe," that there seems to have
been no leisure to effect anything. One thinks that this, that, or the
other should be attended to; and another states that the matter is
under consideration. It was some weeks before anybody got so far in
definiteness as to propose whitewash. Somebody understood that somebody
else was intending to have the corridors scoured; and representations
were to be made to the Turkish authorities about getting the drain-pipes
mended. The Turkish authorities wished to employ their own workmen in
putting in the stoves; and on the 18th of December the responsible
British officer hoped the stoves would be put up immediately, but could
not be certain, as Turkish workmen were in question. This was a month
after large companies of wounded and sick had been sent in from the seat
of war. Even then, nothing had been done for ventilation, or, on any
sufficient scale, for putting the poor sufferers comfortably to bed.

These things confirm the necessity of a regulated cooperation between
the sanitary, the medical, and the military officers of an army. The
sanitary officer should be secure of the services of engineers enough to
render the hospital, as well as the camp, safely habitable. As soon as
any building is taken possession of for a hospital, men and their tools
should be at command for exploring the drains and making new ones,--for
covering or filling up ditches,--for clearing and purifying the
water-courses, and leading in more water, if needed,--for removing all
nuisances for a sufficient distance round,--and for improving to the
utmost the means of access to the house. There must be ventilating
spaces in the roof, and in the upper part of all the wards and passages.
Every vaulted space, or other receptacle of stagnant air, should have a
current established through it. All decaying wood in the building should
be removed, and any portion ingrained with dirt should be planed clean.
A due water-supply should be carried up to every story, and provided
for the bathrooms, the wash-houses, and the kitchen. Every edifice in
America is likely to be already furnished with means of warmth; and
the soldiers are probably in no danger of shivering over the uncertain
promise of stoves on the 18th of December.

Next comes the consideration of store-place, which can be going forward
while busy hands are cleaning every inch of ceiling, walls, floors,
and windows within. There must be sheds and stables for the transport
service; and a surgery and dispensary planned with a view to the utmost
saving of time and trouble, so that medicines and utensils may be
within reach and view, and the freest access allowed to applicants. The
kitchens must have the best stoves and boilers, dressers and scales, and
apparatus of every kind that is known to the time; for more lives depend
on perfect food being administered with absolute punctuality than
upon any medical treatment. There must be large and abundant and airy
store-places for the provisions, and also for such stocks of linen and
bedding as perhaps nobody ever dreamed of before the Crimean War.

The fatal notions of Regimental Hospital management caused infinite
misery at Scutari. In entering the Regimental Hospital, the soldier
carries his kit, or can step into his quarters for it: and the
regulations, therefore, suppose him to be supplied with shirts and
stockings, towel and soap, brushes and comb. This supposition was
obstinately persevered in, at Scutari, till private charity had shamed
the authorities into providing for the men's wants. When the wounded
were brought from the Alma, embarked on crowded transports straight from
the battle-field, how could they bring their kits? Miss Nightingale,
and benevolent visitors from England, bought up at Constantinople,
and obtained from home, vast supplies of body- and bed-linen, towels,
basins, and water-cans; and till they did so, the poor patients lay on
a single blanket or coarse canvas sheet, in their one shirt, perhaps
soaked in blood and dirt. There were some stores in the hospital, though
not enough; and endless difficulty was made about granting them, lest
any man should have brought his kit, and thus have a double supply.
Amidst the emergencies of active war, it seems to be an obvious
provision that every General Hospital should have in store, with ample
bedding, body-linen enough for as many patients as can occupy the
beds,--the consideration being kept in view, that, where the sick and
wounded are congregated, more frequent changes of linen are necessary
than under any other circumstances.

The excellent and devoted managers of the hospitals of the Union army
need no teaching as to the daily administration of the affairs of
the wards. They will never have to do and dare the things that Miss
Nightingale had to decide upon, because they have happily had the
privilege of arranging their hospitals on their own principles. They
will not know the exasperation of seeing sufferers crowded together on a
wooden divan (with an under-stratum of dead rats and rotting rags) while
there is an out-house full of bedsteads laid up in store under lock and
key. Not being disposed to acquiesce in such a state of things, and
failing in all attempts to get at the authority which had charge of the
locked door, Miss Nightingale called to an orderly or two, and commanded
them to break open the door. They stared; but she said she assumed the
responsibility; and presently there were as many men in bed as there
were bedsteads. Her doctrine and practice have always been,--instant
and silent obedience to medical and disciplinary orders, without any
qualification whatever; and by her example and teaching in this respect
she at length overcame the jealousy and prejudices of authorities,
medical and military: but in such a case as the actual presence of
necessaries for the sick, sent out by Government or by private charity
for their use, she claimed the benefit, and helped her patients to it,
when there was no other obstruction in the way than forms and rules
never meant to apply to the case.

What the jealousy was appeared through very small incidents. A leading
medical officer declared, in giving evidence, that the reason why the
patients' meals were sometimes served late and cold, or half-cooked,
was, that Miss Nightingale and her nurses were forever in the way in the
general kitchen, keeping the cooks from the fire: whereas the fact was,
that neither Miss Nightingale nor any nurse had ever entered the general
kitchen, on any occasion whatever. Their way was to have a kitchen of
their own. The very idea of that kitchen was savory in the wards; for
out of it came, always at the right moment, arrowroot, hot and of the
pleasantest consistence,--rice puddings, neither hard on the one hand
nor clammy on the other,--cool lemonade for the feverish, cans full of
hot tea for the weary, and good coffee for the faint. When the sinking
sufferer was lying with closed eyes, too feeble to make moan or sign,
the hospital spoon was put between his lips, with the mouthful of strong
broth or hot wine which rallied him till the watchful nurse came round
again. The meat from that kitchen was tenderer than any other; the
beef-tea was more savory. One thing that came out of it was a lesson on
the saving of good cookery. The mere circumstance of the boiling water
being really boiling there made a difference of two ounces of rice in
every four puddings, and of more than half the arrowroot used. The same
quantity of arrowroot which made a pint, thin and poor, in the general
kitchen, made two pints, thick and good, in Miss Nightingale's.

Then there was the difference in readiness and punctuality. Owing
to cumbrous forms and awkward rules, the orderlies charged with the
business were running round almost all day about the food for their
wards; and the patients were disgusted with it at last. There were
endless orders and details, whenever the monotonous regular diet was
departed from; whereas the establishment of several regular diets,
according to the classifications in the wards, would have simplified
matters exceedingly. When everything for dysentery patients, or for
fever patients, or for certain classes of wounded was called "extra
diet," there were special forms to be gone through, and orders and
contradictions given, which threw everything into confusion, under
the name of discipline. The authority of the ward would allow some
extra,--butter, for instance; and then a higher authority, seeing the
butter, and not knowing how it came there, would throw it out of the
window, as "spoiling the men." Between getting the orders, and getting
the meat and extras, and the mutual crowding of the messengers, some
of the dinners were not put on the fire till an hour or two after the
fainting patient should have had his meal: and then, of course, he could
not take it. The cold mutton-chop with its opaque fat, the beef with its
caked gravy, the arrowroot stiff and glazed, all untouched, might be
seen by the bedsides in the afternoons, while the patients were lying
back, sinking for want of support. Probably the dinners had been brought
up on a tray, cooling all the way up-stairs and along the corridors; and
when brought in, there was the cutting up, in full view of the intended
eaters,--sometimes on the orderly's own bed, when the tables were
occupied. Under such a system, what must it have been to see the quick
and quiet nurses enter, as the clock struck, with their hot-water tins,
hot morsels ready-cut, hot plates, bright knife and fork and spoon,--and
all ready for instant eating! This was a strong lesson to those who
would learn; and in a short time there was a great change for the
better. The patients who were able to sit at table were encouraged to
rise, and dress, and dine in cheerful company, and at the proper hour.
It was discovered, that, if an alternation was provided of soups,
puddings, fish, poultry, and vegetables, with the regular beef dinner,
the great mass of trouble about extras was swept away at once; for these
varieties met every case in hospital except the small number which
required slops and cordials, or something very unusual. By this
clearance, time was saved to such an extent that punctuality became
possible, and the refusal of food almost ceased.

All these details point to the essential badness of the system of
requisitions. In the old days, when war was altogether a mass of
formalities,--and in peace times, when soldiers and their guardians had
not enough to do, and it was made an object and employment to save the
national property by hedging round all expenditure of that property with
difficulties, the system of requisitions might suit the period and the
parties. Amidst the rapid action and sharp emergencies of war it is
out of place. It was found intolerable that nothing whatever could be
had,--not a dose of medicine, nor a candle, nor a sheet, nor a spoon or
dish, nor a bit of soap,--without a series of permits, and applications,
and orders, and vouchers, which frittered away the precious hours,
depressed the sick, worried their nurses, and wasted more of money's
worth in official time, paper, and expensive cross-purposes than could
possibly have been saved by all the ostentatious vigilance of the
method. The deck-loads of vegetables at Balaklava, thrown overboard
because they were rotten before they were drawn, were not the only
stores wasted for want of being asked for. When the Scutari hospitals
had become healthy and comfortable, there was a thorough opening-out of
all the stores which had before been made inaccessible by forms. No
more bedsteads, no more lime-juice, no more rice, no more beer, no
more precious medicines were then locked away, out of the reach or the
knowledge of those who were dying, or seeing others die, for want of
them.

One miserable consequence of the cumbrous method was, that there was no
certainty at any hour of some essential commodity not falling short. It
would have been a dismal day for the most suffering of the patients when
there was not fuel enough to cook "extras," if Miss Nightingale had not
providently bought four boat-loads of wood to meet such a contingency.
It was a dreadful night in the hospital, when, as cholera patients were
brought in by the score, the surgeons found there were no candles to be
had. In that disease, of all maladies, they had to tend their patients
in the dark all night; and a more shocking scene can scarcely be
conceived.

Every great influx of patients was terrible, whether from an epidemic
or after a battle; but experience and devotedness made even this
comparatively easy before the troops turned homewards. The arrival of
a transport was, perhaps, the first intimation of the earlier battles.
Then all was hurry-skurry in the hospitals; everybody was willing to
help, but the effectual organization was not yet ready.

Of every hundred on board the transport, an average of ten had died
since leaving the Crimea. The names and causes of death of these men
ought to be recorded; but the surgeons of the transport are wholly
occupied in despatching their living charge to the hospital; and the
surgeons there have enough to do in receiving them. Attempts are made to
obtain the number and names and injuries of the new patients: there may
or may not be a list furnished from the ship; and the hospital surgeons
inquire from bed to bed: but in such a scene mistakes are sure to arise;
and it was found, in fact, that there was always more or less variation
between the numbers recorded as received or dead and the proper number.
No one could wonder at this who had for a moment looked upon the scene.
The poor fellows just arrived had perhaps not had their clothes off
since they were wounded or were seized with cholera, and they were
steeped in blood and filth, and swarming with vermin. To obtain shirts
and towels was hard work, because it had to be proved that they brought
none with them. They were laid on the floor in the corridors, as close
as they could be packed, thus breathing and contaminating the air which
was to have refreshed the wards within. If laid upon so-called sheets,
they entreated that the sheets might be taken away; for they were of
coarse canvas, intolerable to the skin. Before the miserable company
could be fed, made clean, and treated by the surgeons, many were dead;
and a too large proportion were never to leave the place more, though
struggling for a time with death. It was amidst such a scene that
Florence Nightingale refused to despair of five men so desperately
wounded as to be set aside by the surgeons. The surgeons were right. As
they said, their time was but too little for the cases which were not
hopeless. And Florence Nightingale was right in finding time, if she
could, to see whether there was really no chance. She ascertained that
these five were absolutely given over; and she and her assistants
managed to attend to them through the night. She cleaned and comforted
them, and had spoonfuls of nourishment ready whenever they could be
swallowed. By the morning round of the surgeons, these men were ready to
be operated upon; and they were all saved.

It would have been easier work at a later period. Before many months
were over, the place was ready for any number to be received in peace
and quietness. Instead of being carried from one place to another,
because too many had been sent to one hospital and too few to another,
the poor fellows were borne in the shortest and easiest way from the
boat to their beds. They were found eager for cleanliness; and presently
they were clean accordingly, and lying on a good bed, between clean,
soft sheets. They did not come in scorbutic, like their predecessors;
and they had no reason to dread hospital gangrene or fever. Every floor
and every pane in the windows was clean; and the air came in pure from
the wide, empty corridors. There was a change of linen whenever it was
desired; and the shirts came back from the wash perfectly sweet and
fresh. The cleaning of the wards was done in the mornings, punctually,
quickly, quietly, and thoroughly. The doctors came round, attended by
a nurse who received the orders, and was afterwards steady in the
fulfilment of them. The tables of the medicines of the day were hung up
in the ward; and the nurse went round to administer them with her own
hand. Where she was, there was order and quietness all day, and the
orderlies were worth twice as much as before the women came. Their
manners were better; and they gave their minds more to their business.
The nurse found time to suit each patient who wished it with a book or a
newspaper, when gifts of that sort arrived from England. Kind visitors
sat by the beds to write letters for the patients, undertaking to see
the epistles forwarded to England. When the invalids became able to rise
for dinner, it was a turning-point in their case; and they were soon
getting into the apartment where there were games and books and meetings
of old comrades. As I have said before, those who died at these
hospitals were finally scarcely more than those who died in--not the
hospitals--but the barracks of the Guards at home.

What were the changes in organization needed to produce such a
regeneration as this?

They were such as must appear to Americans very simple and easy. The
wonder will be rather that they were necessary at last than that they
should have been effected with any difficulty. But Americans have never
known what it is to have a standing army as a long-established and
prominent national institution; and they can therefore hardly conceive
of the strength of the class-spirit which grows up in the various
departments of the military organization. This jealousy, egotism, and
stiffness of prejudice were much aggravated by the long peace, in which
a great rusting of the apparatus of the system took place, without at
all impairing the complacency of those who formed a part of it. The old
medical officers were incapable, pedantic, and jealous; and no proper
relation had ever been established between them and the military
authorities. The imbecility of the system cost the lives of others than
the soldiers who died in hospital. Brave men arose, as in all such
crises, to bear the consequences of other men's mistakes, and the burden
of exposing them; and several physicians and surgeons died, far from
home, in the effort to ameliorate a system which they found unworkable.
The greatest benefactor in exhibiting evils and suggesting remedies, Dr.
Alexander, lived to return home, and instigate reforms, and receive the
honors which were his due; but he soon sank under the consequences of
his labors. So did Lord Herbert, the Secretary of War, to whom, in
conjunction with Miss Nightingale, the British army, at home, in India,
and everywhere, owes its redemption from special sickness and undue
mortality. In America the advantages may be enjoyed without tax or
drawback. The citizens are accustomed to organize themselves for action
of all sorts; and no stiff-necked classes stand in the way of good
management. The difficulty in America must rather be to understand how
anything so perverse as the management of British military hospitals ten
years ago can have existed to so late a date.

It was supposed, ten years since, that there must be nine separate
departments in every Military General Hospital, and the officials
bore titles accordingly; but there was such an odd confusion in their
functions that every one of the nine was often seen doing the business
of some other. The medical officers were drawing corks and tasting wines
and inspecting provisions, when they should have been by the bedside.
The purveyor was counting the soldiers' money, and noting its amount,
when he should have been marketing, or ordering the giving out of the
provisions for the day. The paymaster could scarcely find time to
discharge the bills, so much was his day filled up with doing eternal
sums about the stoppages in the pay of the patients. There were thirteen
kinds of stoppages in the army, three of which were for the sick in
hospital: the paymaster could never be quite certain that he had
reckoned rightly with every man to the last penny; the men were never
satisfied; and the confusion was endless. The commissariat, the
purveyor, and the paymaster were all kept waiting to get their books
made up, while soldiers were working the sums,--being called from their
proper business to help about the daily task of the stoppages. Why there
should not be one uniform stoppage out of the pay of men in hospital no
person of modern ideas could see; and the paymaster's toils would
have been lessened by more than one-half, if he had had to reckon the
deduction from the patients' pay at threepence or fourpence each, all
round, instead of having to deal with thousands per day individually,
under three kinds of charge upon the pay.

The commandant's post was the hardest,--he being supposed to control
every province, and have every official under his orders, and yet being
powerless in regard to two or three departments, the business of which
he did not understand. The officers of those departments went each his
own way; and all unity of action in the establishment was lost. This is
enough to say of the old methods.

In the place of them, a far simpler system was proposed at the end of
the war. The eternal dispute as to whether the commandant should be
military or medical, a soldier or a civilian, was set aside by the
decision that he should be simply the ablest administrator that could
be found, and be called the Governor, to avoid the military title. Why
there should be any military management of men who are sick as men, and
not as soldiers, it is difficult to see; and when the patients are about
to leave the hospital, a stated supervision from the adjutant-general's
department is all that can be required. Thus is all the jealousy between
military and medical authority got rid of. The Governor's authority must
be supreme, like that of the commandant of a fortress, or the commander
of a ship. He will not want to meddle in the doctors' professional
business; and in all else he is to be paramount,--being himself
responsible to the War-Office. The office, as thus declared, is
equivalent to three of the nine old ones, namely, the Commandant, the
Adjutant-General, and the Quartermaster-General.

Next to the Governor, the Chief Medical Officer must be the most
important man in the establishment. He is to be concerned with
professional business only, and to see that all under him are to be
devoted in the same way. For this purpose there must be an end to the
system of requisitions. There must be a Steward, taking his orders from
the Governor alone, and administering a simple and liberal system
of diets and appliances of all sorts. It is his business to provide
everything for the consumption of the establishment, and to keep the
contractors up to their duty. The Treasurer's function speaks for
itself. All the accounts and payments under the Governor's warrant are
in his charge.

There is one more office, rendered necessary by the various and active
service always going on,--the superintendent of that service, or Captain
of the Wards. He is to have the oversight of the orderlies, cooks,
washers, and storekeepers; he is to keep order throughout the house; and
he is to be referred to in regard to everything that is wanted in the
wards, except what belongs to the department of the medical officers or
the steward.

As for the medical department, there is now a training provided for such
soldiers as wish to qualify themselves for hospital duty. Formerly, the
hospital was served by such men as the military officers thought fit to
spare for the purpose; and they naturally did not send the best. These
men knew nothing of either cleaning wards or nursing patients. Their
awkwardness in sweeping and scouring and making beds was extreme; and
they were helpless in case of anything being wanted to a blister or a
sore. One was found, one day, earnestly endeavoring to persuade his
patient to eat his poultice. It is otherwise now. The women, where
there are any, ought to have the entire charge of the sweeping and
cleaning,--the housemaid's work of the wards; and as to the rest, the
men of the medical-staff corps have the means of learning how to dress
a blister, and poultice a sore, and apply plasters, lint, and bandages,
and administer medicine, and how to aid the sick in their ablutions, in
getting their meals with the least fatigue, and so on.

Of female nurses it is not necessary to say much in America, any more
than in England or France. They are not admissible into Regimental
Hospitals, in a general way; but in great military and civil hospitals
they are a priceless treasure.

The questions in regard to them are two. Shall their office be confined
to the care of the linen and stores, and the supplying of extra diets
and comforts? If admitted to officiate in the wards, how far shall that
function extend?

In England, there seems to be a strong persuasion that some time must
elapse, and perhaps a generation of doctors must pass away, before the
ministration of female nurses in military hospitals can become a custom,
or even an unquestioned good. No rational person can doubt what a
blessing it would be to the patients to have such nurses administer
nourishment, when the rough orderlies would not have discernment or
patience to give the frequent spoonful when the very life may hang upon
it. Nobody doubts that wounds would be cleansed which otherwise go
uncleansed,--that much irritation and suffering would be relieved which
there are otherwise no hands to undertake. Nobody doubts that many lives
would be saved in every great hospital from the time that fevered frames
and the flickerings of struggling vitality were put under the charge of
the nurses whom Nature made. But the difficulties and risks are great.
On the whole, it seems to be concluded by those who know best, that
only a few female nurses should be admitted into military and naval
hospitals: that they should be women of mature age and ascertained good
sense, thoroughly trained to their business: that they should be
the women who have been, or who would be, the head nurses in other
hospitals, and that they should be paid on that scale: that they should
have no responsibility,--being wholly subject to the surgeons in
ward affairs, and to their own superintendent in all others: that no
enthusiasts or religious devotees should be admitted,--because that very
qualification shows that they do not understand the business of nursing:
that everything that can be as well done by men should be done by
trained orderlies: that convalescents should, generally speaking, be
attended on by men,--and if not, that each female nurse of convalescents
should have a hundred or so in her charge, whereas of the graver cases
forty or fifty are as many as one nurse can manage, with any amount
of help from orderlies. These proposals give some idea of what is
contemplated with regard to the ordinary nurses in a General Military
Hospital. The superintendent of the nurses in each institution must be a
woman of high quality and large experience. And she will show her good
sense, in the first place, by insisting on a precise definition of her
province, that there maybe no avoidable ill-will on the part of the
medical officers, and no cause of contention with the captain of
service, or whatever the administrator of the interior may be called.
She must have a decisive voice in the choice of her nurses; and she
will choose them for their qualifications as nurses only, after being
satisfied as to their character, health, and temper.

No good nurse can endure any fuss about her work and her merits.
Enthusiasts and devotees find immediately that they are altogether out
of place in a hospital,--or, as we may now say, they would find this, if
they were ever to enter a hospital: for, in fact, they never now arrive
there. The preparation brings them to a knowledge of themselves; and the
two sorts of women who really and permanently become nurses are those
who desire to make a living by a useful and valued and well-paid
occupation, and those who benevolently desire to save life and mitigate
suffering, with such a temper of sobriety and moderation as causes them
to endure hardship and ill-usage with firmness, and to dislike praise
and celebrity at least as much as hostility and evil construction.
The best nurses are foremost in perceiving the absurdity and
disagreeableness of such heroines of romance as flourished in the press
seven years ago,--young ladies disappointed in love, who went out to
the East, found their lovers in hospital, and went off with them, to
be happy ever after, without any anxiety or shame at deserting their
patients in the wards without leave or notice. Not of this order was
Florence Nightingale, whose practical hard work, personal reserve, and
singular administrative power have placed her as high above impeachment
for feminine weaknesses as above the ridicule which commonly attends the
striking out of a new course by man or woman. Those who most honor her,
and most desire to follow her example, are those who most steadily bring
their understandings and their hearts to bear upon the work which
she began. Her ill-health has withdrawn her from active nursing and
administration; but she has probably done more towards the saving of
life by working in connection with the War-Office in private than by her
best-known deeds in her days of health. Through her, mainly, it is that
every nation has already studied with some success the all-important
subject of Health in the Camp and in the Hospital. It now lies in the
way of American women to take up the office, and, we may trust, to
"better the instruction."

       *       *       *       *       *


A STORY OF THANKSGIVING-TIME.


Old Jacob Newell sat despondent beside his sitting-room fire.
Gray-haired and venerable, with a hundred hard lines, telling of the
work of time and struggle and misfortune, furrowing his pale face, he
looked the incarnation of silent sorrow and hopelessness, waiting in
quiet meekness for the advent of the King of Terrors: waiting, but not
hoping, for his coming; without desire to die, but with no dread of
death.

At a short distance from him, in an ancient straight-backed
rocking-chair, dark with age, and clumsy in its antique carvings, sat
his wife. Stiffly upright, and with an almost painful primness in dress
and figure, she sat knitting rapidly and with closed eyes. Her face was
rigid as a mask; the motion in her fingers, as she plied her needles,
was spasmodic and machine-like; the figure, though quiet, wore an air of
iron repose that was most uneasy and unnatural. Still, through the mask
and from the figure there stole the aspect and air of one who had within
her deep wells of sweetness and love which only strong training or power
of education had thus covered up and obscured. She looked of that stern
Puritanical stock whose iron will conquered the severity of New England
winters and overcame the stubbornness of its granite hills, and whose
idea of a perfect life consisted in the rigorous discharge of all
Christian duties, and the banishment, forever and at all times, of the
levity of pleasure and the folly of amusement. She could have walked,
if need were, with composure to the stake; but she could neither have
joined in a game at cards, nor have entered into a romp with little
children. All this was plainly to be seen in the stern repose of her
countenance and the stiff harshness of her figure.

Upon the stained deal table, standing a little in the rear and partially
between the two, reposed an open Bible. Between its leaves lay a pair of
large, old-fashioned, silver-bowed spectacles, which the husband had but
recently laid there, after reading the usual daily chapter of Holy Writ.
He had ceased but a moment before, and had laid them down with a heavy
sigh, for his heart to-day was sorely oppressed; and no wonder; for,
following his gaze around the room, we find upon the otherwise bare
walls five sad mementos of those who had "gone before,"--five coarse and
unartistic, but loving tributes to the dead.

There they hang, framed in black, each with its white tomb and
overhanging willow, and severally inscribed to the memories of Mark,
John, James, Martha, and Mary Newell. All their flock. None left to
honor and obey, none to cheer, none to lighten the labor or soothe the
cares. All gone, and these two left behind to travel hand in hand, but
desolate, though together, to the end of their earthly pilgrimage.

There had, indeed, been one other, but for him there hung no loving
memorial. He was the youngest of all, and such a noble, strong, and
lusty infant, that the father, in the pride of his heart, and with his
fondness for Scriptural names, had christened him Samson. He, too, had
gone; but in the dread gallery that hung about the room there was no
framed funereal picture "To the Memory of Samson Newell." If in the tomb
of his father's or mother's heart he lay buried, no outward token gave
note thereof.

So the old couple sat alone before the sitting-room fire. It was not
often used, this room,--scarcely ever now, except upon Sunday, or on
those two grave holidays that the Newells kept,--Thanksgiving- and
Fast-Day. This was Thanksgiving-Day. The snow without was falling thick
and fast. It came in great eddies and white whirls, obscuring the
prospect from the windows and scudding madly around the corners. It lay
in great drifts against the fences, and one large pile before the middle
front-window had gathered volume till it reached half up the second row
of panes; for it had snowed all night and half the day before. The roads
were so blocked by it that they would have been rendered impassable but
for the sturdy efforts of the farmers' boys, who drove teams of four and
five yokes of oxen through the drifts with heavily laden sleds, breaking
out the ways. The sidewalks in the little village were shovelled and
swept clean as fast as the snow fell; for, though all business was
suspended, according to the suggestion in the Governor's proclamation,
and in conformity to old usage, still they liked to keep the paths open
on Thanksgiving-Day,--the paths and the roads; for nearly half the
families in the place expected sons and daughters from far away to
arrive on the train which should have been at the railroad-station on
the previous evening, but had been kept back by the snow.

But Jacob and Ruth Newell had neither son nor daughter, grandchild,
cousin, relation of any nearness or remoteness, to expect; for the white
snow covered with a cold mantle scores of mounds in many graveyards
where lay their dead. And they sat this day and thought of all their
kindred who had perished untimely,--all save one.

Whether he lived, or whether he had died,--where he lay buried, if
buried he were,--or where he rioted, if still in the land of the living,
they had no notion. And why should they care?

He had been a strong-willed and wild lad. He had disobeyed the
injunctions of his parents while yet a boy. He had not loved the stiff,
sad Sabbaths, nor the gloomy Saturday nights. He had rebelled against
the austerities of Fast- and Thanksgiving-Days. He had learned to play
at cards and to roll tenpins with the village boys. He had smoked in the
tavern bar-room of evenings. In vain had his father tried to coerce him
into better ways; in vain had his mother used all the persuasions of
a maternal pride and fondness that showed themselves only, of all her
children, to this brave, handsome, and reckless boy. He had gone from
worse to worse, after the first outbreaking from the strict home rules,
until he had become at length a by-word in the village, and anxious
mothers warned their sons against companionship with wicked Samson
Newell,--and this when he was only seventeen years of age.

Perhaps mildness might have worked well with the self-willed boy, but
his father knew nothing but stern command and prompt obedience in family
management; and so the son daily fell away, until came the inevitable
day when his wrong-doing reached a climax and he left his father's roof
forever.

It was on a Thanksgiving-Day, fifteen years ago, that the boy Samson,
then seventeen years old, was brought home drunk and bleeding. He had
passed the previous night at a ball at the tavern, against the express
command of his father, who would have gone to fetch him away, but that
he could not bear to enter upon a scene he thought so wicked, and
especially upon such an errand. When the dance was over, the boy had
lingered at the bar, drinking glass after glass, until he got into a
fight with the bully of the village, whom he thrashed within an inch
of his life, and then he had sat down in a small side-room with a few
choice spirits, with the avowed purpose of getting drunk over his
victory. He had got drunk, "gloriously drunk" his friends at the tavern
styled it, and had been carried in that state home.

Oh, the bitterness of the misery of that Thanksgiving-Day to Jacob
Newell! He may live a hundred years and never know such another.

The next day Samson awoke from a wretched stupor to find himself weak,
nervous, and suffering from a blinding headache. In this condition his
father forced him to the barn, and there, with a heavy raw-hide, flogged
him without mercy. That night Samson Newell disappeared, and was
thenceforward seen no more in the village.

The same night one of the village stores was entered, the door of an
ancient safe wrenched open, and something over a hundred dollars in
specie taken therefrom. So that on Samson Newell's head rested the crime
of filial disobedience, and the suspicion, amounting, with nearly all,
to a certainty, that he had added burglary to his other wrong-doing.

His name was published in the papers throughout the county, together
with a personal description and the offer of a reward for his arrest and
return. But as he was never brought back nor heard of more, the matter
gradually died away and was forgotten by most in the village; the more
so as, from respect and pity for Jacob Newell, it was scarce ever
mentioned, except privately.

Eight years elapsed from the time of his flight and supposed crime, when
the fellow he had thrashed at the tavern was arrested, tried,
convicted, and sentenced to death for a murder committed in a midnight
tavern-brawl. In a confession that he made he exonerated Samson Newell
from any participation in or knowledge of the burglary for which his
reputation had so long suffered, stating in what manner he had himself
committed the deed. So the memory of the erring son of Jacob Newell was
relieved from the great shadow that had darkened it. Still he was never
mentioned by father or mother; and seven years more rolled wearily on,
till they sit, to-day, alone and childless, by the flickering November
fire.

Sore trouble had fallen on them since their youngest son had
disappeared. One by one, the elder children had passed away, each
winter's snow for five years covered a fresh grave, till the new
afflictions that were in store for them scarcely seemed to affect them
otherwise than by cutting yet deeper into the sunken cheeks the deep
lines of sorrow and regret.

Jacob Newell had been known for years as a "forehanded man" in the rural
neighborhood. His lands were extensive, and he had pursued a liberal
system of cultivation, putting into the soil in rich manures more in
strength than he took from it, until his farm became the model one of
the county, and his profits were large and ever increasing. Particularly
in orchards of choice fruit did he excel his neighbors, and his apples,
pears, and quinces always commanded the best price in the market. So he
amassed wealth, and prospered.

But, unfortunately, after death had taken away his children, and the
work in the fields was all done by hired hands, the old man became
impatient of the dulness of life, and a spirit of speculation seized
him. Just at that time, railroad-stock was in high favor throughout the
country. Steam-drawn carriages were to do away with all other modes of
public travel, (as, indeed, they generally have done,) and the fortunate
owners of railroad-stock were to grow rich without trouble in a short
time. In particular, a certain line of railroad, to run through the
village where he lived, was to make Jacob Newell and all his neighbors
rich. It would bring a market to their doors, and greatly increase the
value of all they produced; but above all, those who took stock in it
would be insured a large permanent income. Better the twenty and thirty
per cent. that must accrue from this source than to loan spare cash at
six per cent., or invest their surplus in farm improvements. So said
a very fluent and agreeable gentleman from Boston, who addressed the
people on the subject at a "Railroad Meeting" held in the town-hall;
and incautious Jacob Newell (hitherto most prudent throughout his life)
believed.

Only twenty per cent. was to be paid down; no more, said the circular
issued by the directors, might be required for years; perhaps there
would never be any further call: but that would depend very materially
on how generously the farmers through whose lands the road would pass
should give up claims for land-damages. Jacob Newell needed excitement
of some sort, and it took the form of speculation. He believed in the
railroad, and subscribed for two hundred shares of the stock, for which
he paid four thousand dollars down. He also gave the company the right
of way where the track crossed his farm.

In six months he was called upon for two thousand dollars more; three
months afterwards another two thousand was wanted; and so it ran till he
was obliged to mortgage his farm, and finally to sell the greater part
of it, to meet his subscription. In vain he begged for mercy, and
pleaded the statement that only twenty per cent. would be needed. A new
set of directors laughed him, and others like him, to scorn. He would
have sold his stock, but he found it quoted at only twenty-five cents on
the dollar, and that price he could not prevail upon himself to take.

So he sat on this drear Thanksgiving-Day despondent beside his hearth.
With a hundred hard lines furrowing his pale face, telling of the work
of time and struggle and misfortune, he looked the incarnation of silent
sorrow and hopelessness, waiting in quiet meekness for the coming of
Death,--without desire, but without dread.

It was not strange that on this day there should come into the hearts of
both Jacob and Ruth, his wife, sad and dismal memories. Still his gaze
wandered silently about the room, and she plied unceasingly her stiff,
bright knitting-needles. One would have thought her a figure of stone,
sitting so pale and bolt upright, but for the activity of the patiently
industrious fingers.

Presently Jacob spoke.

"Ruth," he said, "it is a bitter time for us, and we are sore oppressed;
but what does the Psalmist say to such poor, worn-out creatures as we
are? 'The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and he delighteth
in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the
Lord upholdeth him with his hand. I have been young, and now am old; yet
have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.'
Wife, we are not forsaken of the Lord, although all earthly things seem
to go wrong with us."

She made no verbal reply; but there was a nervous flutter in the poor,
wan fingers, as she still plied the needles, and two large tears rolled
silently down her checks and fell upon the white kerchief she wore over
her shoulders.

"We have still a house over our heads," continued Jacob, "and
wherewithal to keep ourselves fed and clothed and warmed; we have but a
few years more to live; let us thank God for what blessings He has yet
vouchsafed us."

She arose without a word, stiff, angular, ungainly, and they knelt
together on the floor.

Meanwhile the snow fell thicker and faster without, and blew in fierce
clouds against the windows. The wind was rising and gaining power, and
it whistled wrathfully about the house, howling as in bitter mockery at
the scene within. Sometimes it swelled into wild laughter, and again
dropped into low and plaintive wailings. It was very dismal out in the
cold, and hardly more cheerful in the warm sitting-room, where those two
jaded souls knelt in earnest prayer.

       *       *       *       *       *

A railway-train was fast in a snow-bank. There it had stuck, unable
to move either backward or forward, since nine o'clock on Wednesday
evening; it was now Thursday morning, the snow was still falling, and
still seemed likely to fall, blocking up more and more the passage
of the unfortunate train. There were two locomotives, with a huge
snow-plough on the forward one, a baggage and express-car, and four cars
filled with passengers. Two hundred people, all anxious, most of them
grumbling, were detained there prisoners, snow-bound and helpless. It
was a hard case, for they were more than two miles distant--with three
feet depth of snow between--from the nearest house. The nearest village
was five miles away at least.

It was Thanksgiving-Day, too, and they had almost all of them "lotted"
upon a New-England Thanksgiving-dinner with old friends, brothers,
fathers, mothers, and grandparents. And there they were, without so much
as a ration of crackers and cheese.

It was noticeable that the women on the train--and there were quite
a number, and most of them with children in their arms or by their
sides--made, as a general rule, less disturbance and confusion than the
men. The children, however, were getting very hungry and noisy by this
Thanksgiving-morning.

In one of the cars were clustered as fine a family-group as the eye
would desire to rest upon. It consisted of a somewhat large and florid,
but firmly and compactly built man of thirty years or thereabout,
a woman, evidently his wife and apparently some two or three years
younger, and three beautiful children.

The man was large in frame, without being coarse, with a chest broad and
ample as a gymnast's, and with arms whose muscular power was evident at
every movement. His hair and beard (which latter he wore full, as was
just beginning to be the custom) were dark brown in color, and thick and
strong almost to coarseness in texture; his eye was a clear hazel, full,
quick, and commanding, sometimes almost fierce; while an aquiline nose,
full, round forehead, and a complexion bronzed by long exposure to all
sorts of weather, gave him an aspect to be noted in any throng he might
be thrown into. There was a constant air of pride and determination
about the man, which softened, however, whenever his glance fell upon
wife or children. At such times his face lighted up with a smile of
peculiar beauty and sweetness.

The woman was of middle size, with fair hair, inclining towards auburn,
blue eyes, and a clear red and white complexion. Her expression was
one of habitual sweetness and good-humor, while a continual half-smile
played about her rosy mouth. She was plump, good-natured, and
cozy,--altogether a most lovable and delicious woman.

This pair, with their bright-looking children, occupied two seats
near the stove, and were in constant pleasant converse, save when an
occasional anxious and impatient shadow flitted across the face of
the husband and father. On the rack over their heads reposed a small
travelling-bag, which the day before had been filled with luncheon for
the children. Upon its bottom was painted in small white letters the
name, "Samson Newell."

It was, indeed, the long-lost son, returning on this day to answer, so
much as in him lay, the prayers repeated for fifteen years by his father
and mother,--returning to see his former home once more, and here,
nearly on the threshold, stopped by a snow-storm almost unprecedented at
that season. There was occasional bitterness in his impatience at the
wearying detention, but he controlled it as well as he was able.

During the night the passengers had been quiet and uncomplaining. Wood
taken from the tenders of the two locomotives in small quantities, and,
when the engineers stopped the supplies in that quarter, rails torn from
neighboring fences and broken up for firewood, kept them warm; but
after the day had dawned, when the little treasures of luncheon were
exhausted, and all began to feel the real pangs of hunger, things
assumed a more serious aspect. Children in all the cars were crying for
breakfast, and even the older passengers began to feel cross and jaded.

One pleasant fellow, with an apparently inexhaustible flask of whiskey
in his pocket, and good-humor oozing from every pore of his jolly
countenance, passed from car to car, retailing a hundred jokes to every
fresh batch of listeners. But presently the passengers began to tire of
his witticisms, and one after another "poohed" and "pshawed" at him as
he approached. Then with infinite good-nature and philosophy he retired
to one of the saloons and peacefully fell asleep.

Almost equally amusing was a wizened, bent, and thin old man, draped
from head to foot in coarse butternut-colored homespun, and called "Old
Woollen" by the funny fellow, who walked from car to car bewailing his
hard lot.

"I've left the old woman to home," he whined, "with all the things on
her hands, an' more 'n fifty of our folks comin' to eat dinner with
us to-day; an' I've got a note of a hundred an' fifty dollars to
pay,--to-morrow's the last day of grace,--an' I've been sixty-five mile
to get the money to pay it. Now look here!" suddenly and sharply to the
Funny Man, "what do _you_ think o' _that_?"

"Old Woollen," said the Funny Man, with a tremulous voice and tears in
his eyes, "it's a hard case!"

"So't is! That's a fact! Call an' see us, when you come round our way!"

And the old gentleman, greatly mollified by the sympathy of his new
friend, moved on to find fresh auditors for his tale of woe.

It came to be nine o'clock on the morning of Thanksgiving-Day, and still
the snow fell with unabated violence, and still drifts piled higher and
higher about the captive train. The conductor and one of the firemen had
started off on foot at early dawn in search of food for the passengers,
and now there arrived, ploughing nearly breast-high through the snow, a
convoy from one of the nearest farm-houses carefully guarding a valuable
treasure of bread, cheese, bacon, eggs, and pumpkin-pies; but so many
were the mouths to fill that it scarcely gave a bite apiece to the men,
after the women and children had been cared for.

Then the passengers began to grow clamorous. Even the Funny Man had his
woes, for some rogue entered the saloon where he slept and stole the
whiskey-flask from his pocket. When he awoke and discovered his loss, he
remarked that he knew where there was more of the same sort, and turned
over to sleep again. But all were not so philosophical as he. Some
cursed the railroad company, some cursed the fate that had placed them
there, some cursed their folly in leaving comfortable quarters in order
to fast in the snow on Thanksgiving-Day.

Presently the impatiently-pulled-out watches showed ten o'clock, and
still it snowed. Then a rumor ran through the train that there were
a couple of barrels of chickens, ready-dressed for market, in the
express-car, and a general rush in that direction followed. One of the
first to hear of it, and one of the first to be on the spot, was Samson
Newell.

"Stand back, gentlemen," he cried to the foremost of the throng that
poured eagerly into the car,--"stand back a moment. This poultry is in
charge of the express messenger, and we have no right to take it without
his license."

As he spoke, he placed himself beside the messenger. There was a
determination in his eye and manner that held the crowd back for a short
time.

"The chickens are mine," the messenger said; "I bought them on
speculation; they will spoil before I can get anywhere with them, and
they are now too late for Thanksgiving. You may have them for what I
gave."

"I will give five dollars towards paying for them"; and Samson Newell
drew out his pocket-book.

"Here's a dollar!" "I'll give a half!" "Count me in for two dollars!"
cried the crowd, favorably struck with the notion of paying for their
provender.

But one hulking fellow, with a large mock diamond in his shirt-front,
and clumsy rings on his coarse and dirty fingers, stepped forward and
said that he was a hungry man, that he had lost money by the----
company already, waiting a day and a night in that blamed snow-bank,
and that he was going to have a chicken,--or two chickens, if he wanted
them,--and he was decidedly of the opinion that there was no express
messenger on the train who would see the color of _his_ money in the
transaction.

Samson Newell was evidently a man of few words in a case of emergency.
He paused for only an instant to assure himself that the man was in
earnest, then he slid open one of the side-doors of the express-car, and
stretched forth a hand whose clutch was like the closing of a claw of
steel. He seized the bejewelled stranger by the coat-collar, shook him
for an instant, and dropped him,--dropped him into a soft snow-drift
whose top was level with the car-floor. Whether the unfortunate worked
a subterranean passage to one of the passenger-cars and there buried
himself in the privacy of a saloon is not known; he certainly was not
seen again till after relief came to the imprisoned train.

There was neither noise nor confusion in the matter of paying for and
dividing the poultry. Samson Newell had already made himself prominent
among the captive travellers. He had eaten nothing himself, that he
might the better provide, so far as his limited provision went, for his
wife and children; he had even gone through the cars with his scanty
luncheon of cakes and apples, and economically fed other people's little
ones, besides administering to the wants of an invalid lady upon the
train, who was journeying alone. He was, therefore, a favorite with all
on board. His action, enforcing payment for the provision that would
very likely, but for him, have been taken by force, caused the
passengers to defer to him as a leader whose strength and courage fitted
him for the post, and so he presided at the distribution of the chickens
without dispute.

The fuel in the stoves was replenished, and quite a large space was
cleared to the leeward of the locomotive, where a fire was built from
the neighboring fences, so that in an hour's time from the finding of
the poultry the entire body of passengers were busy picking the bones of
roasted and broiled fowls. It was not so bad a dinner! To be sure, it
was rather chilly, now and then, when the opening of a car-door, to
let in a half-frozen gentleman with a half-cooked chicken in his hand,
admitted with him a snow-laden blast from without; and then the viands
were not served _à la Soyer_, but there was an appetite for sauce and a
certain gypsy-like feeling of being at a picnic that served as a relish.
And so, in the year of our Lord 18--, two hundred strangers sat down
together at a most extraordinary Thanksgiving-dinner, of which no
account has hitherto been published, if I except a vote of thanks,
"together with an exceedingly chaste and richly chased silver goblet,"
(so the newspaper description read,) which were presented to the
conductor by "the surviving passengers," after he had procured help and
rescued them from their perplexing predicament.

But dinners end. Twelve o'clock came, and still the snow was falling
thick and fast, and still the white plain about them mounted slowly and
surely towards the skies. Then the passengers became yet more weary and
unhappy. Old Woollen, the unfortunate, detailed his woes to more and
more appreciative audiences. Even the Funny Man--with a fresh flask of
whiskey--sighed almost dismally between frequent uneasy "cat-naps." And
Samson Newell, first seeing his wife comfortably settled, and his little
ones safely disposed about her, strode up and down, from car to car,
with a gloom of disappointment on his face that was almost ferocious.
"Too bad!" he muttered, "too bad! too bad! too bad!"

One o'clock came, and the snow held up! At first the passengers noticed
that the flakes fell less thickly. Then, gradually and ever slowly
decreasing, they finally ceased falling altogether. The clouds drifted
from before the face of the heavens, and the sun came out. It shone over
a broad surface of glistening snow, with here and there a fence-post
obtruding into notice, but otherwhere a cold, blank expanse of
whiteness. One or two remote farm-houses, with blue smoke rising in
thin, straight columns from their chimneys, a wide stretch of woodland
to the right, distant hills bounding all the prospect,--and everywhere
snow. No fences, no roads, no paths,--but only snow!

The passengers gazed out of the windows or stood upon the
platforms,--drawn thither by the warmth of the sun,--with feelings
almost akin to despair. Presently it was proposed to make for the
farm-houses, and fifteen of the more adventurous started. A few struggled
through and arrived in something over an hour at the nearest house,
wet to the skin with melted snow, and too much fatigued to think of
returning,--but most of them gave out at the end of the first half-mile,
and came back to the train.

So the prisoners sat down and whiled away the time as best they might,
in the relation of anecdotes, telling stories, and grumbling. A few
slept, and a large number tried to do so, without success.

The slow hand of Time, moving more slowly for them than they remembered
it to have ever moved before, crept on to three o'clock, and still there
was no prospect of relief and no incident of note save the arrival
through the snow of a dozen men sent by the conductor. They brought word
that help was approaching from the nearest station where a sufficiently
powerful locomotive could be obtained, and that they would probably be
started on their way during the next forenoon. These messengers also
brought a small supply of provisions and a number of packs of cards,
with the latter of which many of the passengers were soon busy. They now
resigned themselves to another night in the drift.

But at half after three occurred an incident that restored hope of a
more speedy deliverance to a few of the captives.

Through the low pine-lands to the right ran a road which was very
thoroughly protected from drifting snow by the overhanging trees, and
along this road there now appeared two pair of oxen. In front of the
oxen were five men armed with wooden snow-shovels, with which they beat
down and scattered the snow. Behind all was a small, square box on
runners. It was very small and contained only one board seat. Three
persons could sit and three stand in it: no more.

Upon the appearance of this squad of road-breakers with their team,
three hearty cheers went up from the train. They were immediately
answered by the approach of the apparent leader of the expedition. He
was a small, active, spare old fellow, so incrusted with frozen snow,
which hung all over him in tiny white pellets, as to resemble more an
active, but rather diminutive white bear, than anything else known to
Natural History. He scrambled and puffed through the snow till he found
a mounting-place upon an unseen fence, when he arose two or three feet
above the surrounding surface, and spoke,--

"There's five on us, an' two yoke."

A pause.

"Two yoke yender, an' five on us."

"Well! supposing there is?" from the train.

"Five mile to town," continued the White Bear, "an' been sence nine this
mornin' gittin' here. Five times five is twenty-five, but, seein' it's
you, I'll call it twelve 'n' 'arf."

"Call _what_ 'twelve 'n' 'arf,' Sheep-Shanks?" from the train.

"_That_ man don't ride, nohow! I've marked _him_! I don't cal'late to
take no sarse _this_ trip! Take any six or eight for twelve dollars an'
fifty cents right straight to the tahvern! Who bids?"

"I'll give you fifteen dollars, my friend, to take myself, my wife, and
three children to the village."

It was Samson Newell who spoke.

"'M offered fifteen," cried the White Bear, pricking up his ears; "goin'
to the tahvern at fifteen; who says fifteen 'n' arf?"

"I do!" from a pursy passenger with a double chin and a heavy fob-chain.

He glanced round a little savagely, having made his bid, as who should
say, "And I should like to see the man who will raise it!"

"'N' 'arf! 'n' 'arf! 'n' 'arf! 'n' 'arf!" cried the White Bear, growing
much excited,--"an' who says sixteen?"

Samson Newell nodded.

"Sixteen dollars! sixteen! sixteen! We can't tarry, gentlemen!"

The White Bear proved the truth of this latter assertion by suddenly
disappearing beneath the snow. He reappeared in an instant and resumed
his outcry.

"I see the gentleman's sixteen," quoth the man who had called the White
Bear "Sheep-Shanks," "and go fifty cents better!"

"I see _you_," replied the auctioneer, "an' don't take your bid! Who
says sixteen 'n' 'arf?"

"I do!" quoth the Double Chin; and he glowered upon his
fellow-passengers wrathfully.

At this instant appeared Old Woollen on the scene. In one hand he bore
his pocket-book; in the other, a paper covered with calculations. The
latter he studied intently for a moment, then,--

"I'll give you sixteen dollars an' sixty-two 'n' a half cents; an' if
you ever come round our way"--

The jubilant auctioneer, fairly dancing upon the fence in the energy of
his delight, broke in here,--

"Can't take no bids, gentlemen, short of a half-dollar rise, each time!"

Old Woollen retired, discomfited, and was seen no more.

From this point the bidding ran up rapidly till it reached twenty-five
dollars, where it stopped, Samson Newell being the successful bidder.

It was a study to watch the man, now that his chance for reaching home
that day brightened. Instead of being elate, his spirits seemed to fall
as he made his arrival at the village certain.

"Ah!" he thought, "are my father and mother yet living? How will my
brothers and sisters welcome me home?"

How, indeed?

       *       *       *       *       *

In the village where dwelt Jacob Newell and his wife, an old man, lame
and totally blind, had been for over thirty years employed by the town
to ring the meetinghouse-bell at noon, and at nine o'clock in the
evening. For this service, the salary fixed generations before was five
dollars, and summer and winter, rain or shine, he was always at his post
at the instant.

When the old man rang the evening-bell on the Thanksgiving-Day whereof I
write, he aroused Jacob and his wife from deep reverie.

"Oh, Jacob!" said the latter, "such a waking dream as I have had! I
thought they all stood before me,--all,--every one,--none missing! And
they were little children again, and had come to say their prayers
before going to bed! They were all there, and I could not drive it from
my heart that I loved Samson best!"

His name had hardly been mentioned between them for fifteen years.

Jacob Newell, with a strange look, as though he were gazing at some
dimly defined object afar off, slowly spoke,--

"I have thought sometimes that I should like to know where he lies, if
he is dead,--or how he lives, if he be living. Shall we meet him? Shall
we meet him? Five goodly spirits await us in heaven; will _he_ be there,
also? Oh, no! he was a bad, bad, bad son, and he broke his father's
heart!"

"He was a bad son, Jacob, giddy and light-headed, but not wholly bad.
Oh, he was so strong, so handsome, so bright and brave! If he is living,
I pray God that he may come back to see us for a little, before we
follow our other lost ones!"

"If he should come back," said Jacob, turning very white, but speaking
clearly and distinctly, "I would drive him from my door, and tell him
to be gone forever! A wine-bibber, dissolute, passionate, headstrong,
having no reverence for God or man, no love for his mother, no sense
of duty towards his father; I have disowned him, once and forever, and
utterly cast him out! Let him beware and not come back to tempt me to
curse him!"

Still from the distance, overpowering and drowning the headlong rush of
passion, came the soft booming of the evening-bell.

"I hear the church-bell, Jacob: we have not long to hear it. Let us not
die cursing our son in our hearts. God gave him to us; and if Satan led
him astray, we know not how strong the temptation may have been, nor how
he may have fought against it."

Jacob Newell had nought to say in answer to this, but, from the passion
in his heart, and from that egotism that many good men have whose
religious education has taught them to make their personal godliness a
matter to vaunt over, he spoke, foolishly and little to the point,--

"Ruth, did Satan ever lead _me_ astray?"

"God knows!" she replied.

There came a rap at the door.

The melody of the church-bell was fast dying away. The last cadences of
sound, the last quiver in the air, when the ringer had ceased to ring
and the hammer struck the bell no more, lingered still, as a timid and
uncertain tapping fell upon the door.

"Come in!" said Jacob Newell.

The door was slowly opened.

Then there stood within it a tall, muscular man, a stranger in those
parts, with a ruddy face, and a full, brown beard. He stood grasping
the door with all his might, and leaning against it as for support.
Meanwhile his gaze wandered about the room with a strange anxiety, as
though it sought in vain for what should assuredly have been found
there.

"Good evening, Sir," said Jacob Newell.

The stranger made no reply, but still stood clinging to the door, with a
strange and horrible expression of mingled wonder and awe in his face.

"'Tis a lunatic!" whispered Ruth to her husband.

"Sir," said Jacob, "what do you want here to-night?"

The stranger found voice at length, but it was weak and timorous as that
of a frightened child.

"We were on the train, my wife and I, with our three little ones,--on
the train snowed in five miles back,--and we ask, if you will give it,
a night's lodging, it being necessary that we should reach home without
paying for our keeping at the hotel. My wife and children are outside
the door, and nearly frozen, I assure you."

Then Ruth's warm heart showed itself.

"Come in," she said. "Keep you?--of course we can. Come in and warm
yourselves."

A sweet woman, with one child in her arms, and two shivering beside her,
glided by the man into the room. They were immediately the recipients of
the good old lady's hospitality; she dragged them at once, one and all,
to the warmest spot beside the hearth.

Still the man stood, aimless and uncertain, clutching the door and
swaying to and fro.

"Why do you stand there at the door? Why not come in?" said Jacob
Newell. "You must be cold and hungry. Ruth--that's my wife, Sir--will
get you and your family some supper."

Then the man came in and walked with an unsteady step to a chair placed
for him near the fire. After he had seated himself he shook like one in
an ague-fit.

"I fear you are cold," said Ruth.

"Oh, no!" he said.

His voice struggled to his lips with difficulty and came forth
painfully.

The old lady went to a corner cupboard, and, after a moment's search,
brought forth a black bottle, from which she poured something into a
glass. It smelt like Jamaica rum. With this she advanced towards the
stranger, but she was bluntly stopped by Jacob,--

"I am afraid the gentleman has had too much of that already!"

For an instant, like a red flash of lightning, a flush of anger passed
across his features before the stranger meekly made answer that he had
tasted no liquor that day. Ruth handed him the glass and he drained it
at a gulp. In a moment more he sat quietly upright and proceeded gravely
to divest himself of his heavy shawl and overcoat, after which he
assisted in warming and comforting the children, who were growing sleepy
and cross.

Ruth bustled about with her preparations for giving the strangers a
comfortable supper, and Jacob and his unexpected guest entered into
conversation.

"I used to be acquainted hereabout," the stranger began, "and I feel
almost like getting among friends, whenever I visit the place. I rode
over with old Gus Parker to-day, from where the train lies bedded near
the five-mile cut, but I was too busy keeping the children warm to ask
him any questions. I came here because your son Mark Newell and I were
old cronies at school together. I--I don't see him here to-night,"--the
stranger's voice trembled now,--"where is he?"

"Where we must all follow him, sooner or later,--in the grave!"

"But he had brothers,--I've heard him say," the stranger
continued,--with an anxiety in his tone that he could by no means
conceal; "I believe he had--let me see--three brothers and two sisters.
Where are _they_?"

"All gone!" cried Jacob Newell, rising and pacing the room. Then
suddenly facing his singular guest, he continued, speaking rapidly and
bitterly, "You have three children,--I had six! Yours are alive and
hearty; but so were mine; and when I was a young man, like you, I
foolishly thought that I should raise them all, have them clustering
around me in my old age, die before any of them, and so know no
bereavements! To-day I stand here a solitary old man, sinking rapidly
into the grave, and without a relation of any kind, that I know of, on
the face of the earth! Think that such a fate may yet be yours! But the
bitterness of life you will not fully know, unless one of your boys--as
one of mine did--turns out profligate and drunken, leaves your fireside
to associate with the dissolute, and finally deserts his home and all,
forever!"

"If that son of yours be yet alive, and were ever to return,--suddenly
and without warning, as I have broken in upon you to-night,--if he
should come to you and say, 'Father, I have sinned against Heaven, and
before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy son!' what should
you say to him?"

"I should say, 'For fifteen years you have deserted me without giving
mark or token that you were in the body; now you have come to see me
die, and you may stay to bury me!' I should say that, I think, though
I swore to Ruth but now that I would curse him, if ever he
returned,--curse him and drive him from my door!"

"But if he came back penitent indeed for past follies and offences, and
only anxious to do well in the future,--if your son should come in that
way, convincing you with tears of his sincerity, you surely would be
more gentle to him than that! You would put away wrath, would you not? I
ask you," the stranger continued, with emotion, "because I find myself
in the position we suppose your son to be placed in. I am going home
after an absence of years, during all which time I have held no
communication with my family. I have sojourned in foreign lands, and now
I come to make my father and my mother happy, if it be not too late for
that! I come half hoping and half fearing; tell me what I am to expect?
Place yourself in my father's position and read me my fate!"

While he spoke, his wife, sitting silent by the fire, bent low over the
child she held, and a few quiet tears fell upon the little one's frock.

Ruth Newell, moving back and forth, in the preparation of the stranger's
supper, wore an unquiet and troubled aspect, while the old farmer
himself was agitated in a manner painful to see. It was some seconds
before he broke the silence. When he spoke, his voice was thick and
husky.

"If I had a son like you,--if those little children were my
grandchildren,--if the sweet lady there was my son's wife,--ah,
then!----But it is too late! Why do you come here to put turbulent,
raging regrets into my heart, that but for you would be beating calmly
as it did yesterday, and the day before, and has for years? Ah! if my
son were indeed here! If Samson were indeed here!"

The stranger half arose, as though to spring forward, then sank back
into his seat again.

But the little child sitting in her mother's lap by the fire clapped her
hands and laughed a childish, happy laugh.

"What pleases my little girl?" asked the mother.

"Why, '_Samson_'" the child said,--"_that's what you call papa!_"

Then Ruth, who stood by the table with a pitcher of water in her
hand, staggered backwards like one stricken a violent and sudden
blow!--staggered backwards, dropping the pitcher with a heavy crash as
she retreated, and crossing her hands upon her bosom with quick, short
catchings of the breath! Then crying, "My son! my son!" she threw
herself, with one long, long sob, upon the stranger's neck!

       *       *       *       *       *

The story is told. What lay in his power was done by the returned
prodigal, who did not come back empty-handed to the paternal roof. His
wife and children fostered and petted the old people, till, after the
passage of two or three more Thanksgiving-Days, they became as cheerful
as of old, and they are now considered one of the happiest couples in
the county. Do not, on that account, O too easily influenced youth,
think that happiness for one's self and others is usually secured by
dissolute habits in early life, or by running away from home. Half the
occupants of our jails and alms-houses can tell you to the contrary.

       *       *       *       *       *


SONG IN A DREAM.


  Winter rose-leaves, silver-white,
    Drifting o'er our darling's bed,--
  He's asleep, withdrawn from sight,--
    All his little prayers are said,
  And he droops his shining head.

  Winter rose-leaves, falling still,
    Go and waken his sad eyes,
  Touch his pillowed rest, until
    He shall start with glad surprise,
  And from slumber sweet arise!

       *       *       *       *       *


ENGLAND AND EMANCIPATION.


In the British House of Commons, some eighty years ago, two newly chosen
members took their places, each of whom afterwards became distinguished
in the history of that body. They had become acquainted at the
University of Cambridge, were strongly united by friendship, and had
each, on attaining to manhood, formed the deliberate purpose of entering
public life. Of these two, one was William Pitt, the other was William
Wilberforce.

Neither of these members of Parliament had at this time passed the age
of twenty-one, and the latter was of extremely youthful appearance.
Small of stature and slight in frame, his delicate aspect was redeemed
from effeminacy by a head of classic contour, a penetrating and
melodious voice, an address which always won attention. His superior
social endowments were fully recognized by the companions of his
leisure; nor was his influence lessened by the fact, that by the death
of his father and uncle he had become the only male representative of
his family and the master of a goodly inheritance. He paid from the
first close attention to the business of the House, and, though by
no means anxious to be heard, showed, that, when called out by any
occasion, he was fully competent to meet it. Representing his native
city of Hull, his first public speech was on a topic immediately
connected with her interests.

The brilliant career of Mr. Pitt commenced, as the reader knows, in
early life. Passing by the mental exploits of his boyhood, we meet him
at his entrance upon the public service. He had no sooner become a
member of the House of Commons than it began to be remarked that in him
appeared to be reproduced those same qualities of statesmanship which
had marked his illustrious father, Lord Chatham. Such powers, evinced
by one who was but just stepping upon the stage of public life, first
excited surprise, which was quickly followed by admiration. That
strength of thought and keenness of analysis, which, seizing upon a
subject, bring out at once its real elements of importance, and present
them in their practical bearings, deducing the course dictated by a wise
policy, had hitherto been regarded, by those who found themselves the
willing auditors of a youth, as the ripened fruits of experience alone.

England was at this time at war not only with her American colonies, but
with France, Spain, and Holland. Weakened by these prolonged conflicts,
her finances drained, her huge debt increasing every day, her condition
called loudly for a change of policy. The cause of American Independence
was not without its advocates in the House, and among these Mr. Pitt
was soon found, uttering his sentiments without reserve. Probably no
individual of that body exerted a stronger influence than he in securing
for this country the full recognition of her rights. Of the manner in
which he was accustomed to treat of the American War, here is a single
specimen. After speaking of it as "conceived in injustice, brought forth
and nurtured in folly," and continually draining the country of its
vital resources of men and treasure, he proceeds:--

"And what had the British nation gained in return? Nothing but a series
of ineffective victories and severe defeats,--victories celebrated only
by a temporary triumph over our brethren, whom we were endeavoring to
trample down and destroy,--which filled the land with mourning for
dear and valuable relatives slain in the vain attempt to enforce
unconditional submission, or with narratives of the glorious exertions
of men struggling under every difficulty and disadvantage in the sacred
cause of liberty. Where was the Englishman, who, on reading the accounts
of these sanguinary and well-fought battles, could refrain from
lamenting the loss of so much British blood spilled in such a contest,
or from weeping, whichever side victory might be declared?"

It was not unusual for Mr. Pitt, when he addressed the House on a topic
of sufficient magnitude to call forth his powers, to be followed
by plaudits so loud and long-continued that the next speaker found
difficulty in securing quiet in order to be heard. While in the youth
was recognized the sagacity of the late Lord Chatham, it was declared
that the eloquence of the father was exceeded by that of the son. Signal
services to the country were augured, even by his opponents, from one of
such extraordinary abilities and manifest integrity of purpose. He began
to be looked upon as capable of holding the highest trusts, fitted for
the gravest responsibilities. Hardly can history furnish a parallel to
the case of so young a person solicited by his sovereign to take the
lead of his administration, and declining the honor. Yet such, in this
instance, was the fact.

A change in the Ministry having become necessary, it was proposed that
Mr. Pitt should be appointed First Lord of the Treasury in the place of
Lord Shelburne. That this appointment should be made was known to be
expressly desired by the King. The friends of the young statesman were
delighted. They advised by all means that the offer should at once be
accepted. But, undazzled by his own unprecedented success, he weighed
the matter coolly and deliberately.

That Mr. Pitt had a due sense of his own powers is evident. Early in his
political life he had expressed his unwillingness to hold office under
circumstances where he must execute measures which had originated in
other minds rather than his own. As this was declining beforehand all
subordinate office, an excessive modesty could hardly have been the
cause of his backwardness at this juncture. It must be sought elsewhere.
It is found in the opinion which he entertained that the Ministry now
about to be formed could never be an efficient one. The union which had
recently taken place between parties whose political enmity had
been extreme indicated to him an equally extreme opposition to the
Government. The coalition between Lord North and Mr. Fox would, he
anticipated, be the occasion of such a tide of hostility in the House of
Commons as he was too wary to be willing to stem.

It was argued that he was needed; that an exigency had arisen which no
one but himself could adequately meet; the country, in her adverse hour,
must have his services; the King desired them, solicited them. With a
remarkable degree of reticence he declined all these overtures, and in
a letter addressed to his sovereign gave a most respectful, but decided
negative.

Yet fame still followed him, and honor and office still claimed him
as their rightful recipient. With the lapse of time came changes, and
public affairs presented themselves in new and unexpected aspects. The
vast empire of the East loomed up before the vision of statesmen and
legislators in hitherto unimagined splendors, and with claims
upon attention which could not be set aside. At the India House
considerations of momentous interest had arisen. Mr. Pitt entered deeply
into these affairs, connected as they were with the onward progress of
British rule in Hindostan. A crisis occurred at this time, in which,
having the power, he could serve his country with manifest advantage to
her interests. At this juncture the offer of the King was renewed. It
came now just at the right time, and the young statesman was found as
ready to accept as he had before been prompt to decline. Mr. Pitt became
the Prime-Minister of George III., and henceforth his history is blended
with the movements of the Government.

Mr. Wilberforce had also at this time taken a strong hold upon public
life. His energies were enlisted in favor of the Governmental party,
of which Mr. Pitt had become the leader. Returning from a journey into
France, which they had made together, these two friends entered
upon their respective duties. With regard to the question at issue,
Yorkshire, the largest county in England, had not yet defined her
position with a sufficient degree of distinctness. Here Mr. Wilberforce
possessed landed estates, and here he was prepared to uphold the
consistency and integrity of the Administration. That peculiar
persuasive power, that silver-toned eloquence, which in after years won
for him so much influence in the House of Commons, here perhaps for the
first time found full play and triumphant success. His power over the
minds of men certainly was brought to a rigorous test.

It was on a chilly day, amid falling hail, that he addressed a crowd of
people in the castle-yard at York. They had listened already to several
speakers, were weary, and about to separate, when Mr. Wilberforce
appeared on the stand and began to speak. Silence was at once secured,
and so perfectly were they swayed by his words that all signs
of opposition or impatience disappeared. For more than an hour,
notwithstanding unfavorable circumstances, he held their attention,
winning them to harmony with his own political views. This was not all.
Before the assembly dispersed, it was whispered from one to another, "We
must have this man for our county member." The election of a member for
Yorkshire was nigh at hand, and when its results were made known, he
found himself in the influential position of "a representative of the
tenth part of England."

To this same member for Yorkshire, in conjunction with the
Prime-Minister of England, we are indebted for the first Parliamentary
agitation of a topic which has since been fruitful enough in discussion,
--AFRICAN SLAVERY.

The introduction of this subject into Parliament, during the
administration of Pitt, was by no means the fruit of a sudden impulse,
but was rather the matured expression of a series of preliminary
efforts. In private circles, the Slave-Trade had been already denounced
and protested against, as unworthy of a civilized, not to say a
Christian people. In certain quarters, too, the press had become the
exponent of these sentiments. Possibly, in their beginnings, no person
did more in the exertion of those means which have wrought into the
heart of the English people such undying hatred to Negro Slavery than
the amiable recluse whose writings can never die so long as lovers of
poetry continue to live. Who has not at times turned away from the
best-loved of the living poets, to regale himself with the compact,
polished, sweetly ringing numbers of Cowper? On the subject of Slavery
he had already given expression to his thoughts in language which at the
present day, in certain portions of the United States, must subject his
works to a strict expurgatorial process. He had exposed to the world the
injustice of the system, and had thrown around his words the magic of
song.

It would not, of course, be possible to proceed in these reminiscences
without coming at once upon the names of Granville Sharp and Thomas
Clarkson. The clerk who became a law-student, that he might be qualified
to substantiate the truth that a slave could not exist on British
soil, the Cambridge graduate, awakened by the preparation of his own
prize-essay to a sympathy with the slave, which never, during a long
life, flagged for an hour, need not be eulogized to-day. The latter of
these gentlemen repeatedly visited Mr. Wilberforce and conferred with
him upon this subject, imparting to him the fruit of his own careful and
minute investigations. These consisted of certain well-authenticated
items of information and documentary evidence concerning the trade and
the cruelties growing out of it. The public efforts which followed,
though hardly originated by these conferences, were probably hastened
by them. Nor should it be forgotten that a small knot of individuals,
mostly Quakers, had associated themselves under the name of "The London
Committee." This, if not an anti-slavery society, was the nucleus of
what afterwards became one. These hitherto unrecognized efforts were
about to receive fresh encouragement and acquire new efficiency. The
influences which had worked in silence and among a few were about to be
brought out to the light.

It was on the 5th of May, 1788, that a motion was introduced into the
House of Commons having for its object the abolition of the Slave-Trade.
It was brought forward by Mr. Pitt. He intended to secure its discussion
early in the next session. Mr. Wilberforce, he hoped, would then be
present, whose seat was now vacant by reason of severe illness. He had
been, indeed, at one time, given over by his physicians, but had been
assured by Mr. Pitt, that, even in case of a fatal result of his
disease, the cause of African freedom should not die.

The idea of possible legislation on this subject was no sooner broached
than it was at once taken up and found able advocates. Here Pitt and Fox
were of one mind, and were supported by the veteran advocate for justice
and right, Edmund Burke. The latter had some years before attempted to
call attention to this very subject. Certain Bristol merchants,
his wealthy constituents, had thus been grievously offended at the
aberrations of the representative of their city. As early as 1780 he had
drawn up an elaborate "Negro Code," of which it may be said, that, had
some of its regulations been heeded, at least one leaf in the world's
history would have presented a different reading from that which it now
bears. Mr. Burke was at this time in the decline of life, and was well
pleased that other and younger advocates were enlisted in the same great
cause.

A bill was brought forward at this session, by one of the friends of the
cause, Sir W. Dolben, for lessening immediately the cruelties of the
trade. It will be remembered that up to this time slave-ships had sailed
up the Thames all unmolested, were accustomed to fit out for their
voyages, and, having disposed of their cargoes, to return. A vessel of
this description had arrived at the port of London. The subject of the
traffic having become invested with interest, a portion of the members
of the House paid a visit to the ill-starred craft. The deplorably
narrow quarters where hundreds of human beings were to be stowed away
during the weeks that might be necessary to make their passage produced
upon the minds of these gentlemen a most unfavorable impression. The
various insignia of the trade did not tend to lessen this, but rather
changed disgust into horror. Something must be done for the reformation
of these abuses, and that immediately. The bill for regulating the trade
passed both Houses, notwithstanding a vigorous opposition, and became
a law. By the provisions of this bill the trade was so restricted that
owners and officers of vessels were forbidden by law to receive such
excessive cargoes as they had hitherto done. The number of slaves should
henceforth be limited and regulated by the tonnage of the ship. This was
something gained. But the anti-slavery party, though in its infancy, had
already begun to show the features of its maturer days. Its strenuous
and uncompromising nature began to manifest itself. The law for
regulating the trade displeased the members who sought its abolition.
They were, however, pacified by the assurance that this was by no means
regarded as a remedy for the evil, but simply as a check upon its
outrages.

In the spring of the following year, in pursuance of Mr. Pitt's motion,
the subject was again brought forward. Mr. Wilberforce was now ready for
the occasion, and on the 12th of May, 1789, in a speech of three hours
and a half, he held the attention of the House, while he unfolded the
African Slave-Trade in its several points of view,--its nature, being
founded in injustice, its cruelties, the terrible mortality of the
slave-ship, the demoralizing influence of the trade upon British
sailors, and the astonishing waste of life among them, as well as among
the captive negroes.

The speech was declared to be one of the ablest ever delivered before
the House. The speaker was also well sustained by Pitt and Fox. Mr.
Burke said of this performance,--"The House, the nation, and Europe are
under great and serious obligations to the honorable gentleman, for
having brought forward the subject in a manner the most masterly,
impressive, and eloquent." "It was," said Bishop Porteus, who was
present, "a glorious night for this country."

The subject was now fairly afloat. The anti-slavery agitation had sprung
to a vigorous life. The "irrepressible conflict" was begun. Nor can it
be denied that its beginning was highly respectable. If there be any
good in elevated social rank joined to distinguished ability, if there
be any advantage in the favor of honorable and right-minded men, any
dignity in British halls of legislation, the advocate of anti-slavery
doctrines may claim alliance with them all.

One inevitable effect of the interest thus awakened was to render those
enlisted in favor of the trade aware of their position, and alert to
prevent any interference on the part of the Government. The alarm
spread. The merchants of Liverpool and Bristol must maintain their
ground. In various quarters were set forth the advantages of the trade.
It was no injustice to the negro, but rather a benefit. The trader was
no robber or oppressor; he was a benefactor, in that by his means the
native African was taken from a heathen land and brought to live among
Christians. At home, he was the victim of savage warfare; by the
slave-ship his life was prolonged and his salvation rendered possible.

Witnesses on both sides were now summoned for examination before
Parliamentary committees. The premises from which conclusions had been
drawn must be thoroughly sifted. The evidence collected was manifold;
to dispose of it required time, and with time the opponents of the
Abolition Bill gathered strength. The next year and the following
its advocates still maintained its claims. The third year of its
presentation opened with high hopes of its success. Its friends had
increased in number, and so marked was the inferiority of their
opponents in talents and influence, at this time, that the contest was
known as "The War of the Pigmies against the Giants." But the pigmies,
being numerous, gained the vote, and it only remained for the giants to
return with renewed vigor to the contest in the following year.

In 1792 the debate began with spirit. During this discussion Mr. Pitt
was most prominent. The great subject of the Resources of Africa had
recently engaged his attention. This subject, then an almost untried
theme, seems not unlikely in our day to take precedence of all others
in connection with the fate of the negro. It has been argued, and that
wisely, that only by strengthening the African at home can he ever be
respected abroad. In the productions of his native soil lie materials
for trade vastly better than the buying and selling of men, women, and
children. The fomenting of wars, whereby captives may be secured,
may well be superseded by the culture of the coffee-tree and the
cotton-plant.

Mr. Clarkson, who left no effort untried which might in any manner
promote the interests of the cause, regarded as one important means
to this end the diffusion of knowledge concerning that unknown and
mysterious region. He had therefore procured from Africa specimens of
some of the actual products of the country, to which he called the
attention of the Premier. The specimens of ivory and gold, of ebony and
mahogany, of valuable gums and cotton cloth, awoke a new vein of thought
in the mind of the statesman. The resources of such a country should be
brought into use for her own benefit and for the promotion of commerce.
When his turn came to address the House, he presented this view,
pursuing it at some length, and attacking on this ground the trade in
slaves. That exuberant imagination which he was accustomed to rein in,
yet which well knew how to sport itself in its own airy realm, was
here suffered to take wing. He pictured to his enraptured audience the
civilization and glory of Africa, when, in coming years, delivered
from the curse of the Slave-Trade, she should take her place among the
nations.

Wilberforce, in writing to one of his friends concerning this speech,
after mentioning the admiration expressed by one who was no friend to
Pitt, adds,--"For the last twenty minutes he seemed really inspired."

A bill was introduced at this time for putting an end to the whole
business in a certain number of years. The year 1800 was named as the
extreme limit of the continuance of the traffic, that department of it
by which British vessels supplied foreign nations being abandoned at
once.

The bill for gradual abolition displeased those who were most deeply
interested in the matter. The clear-headed sagacity of Pitt, the
patriotism of Fox, and the moral sense of Wilberforce led them to the
expression of the same view. There could be no compromise between right
and wrong; that which required redress some years hence required it now.
It was, moreover, they were certain, in some minds only a pretext for
delay, as the event proved.

If the advocates of the discontinuance of the Slave-Trade had in the
beginning anticipated an easy victory, they had before this become
convinced of their mistake. The prospect, which had looked bright
and hopeful, pointing to a happy consummation, after a period of
encouragement again grew dark and doubtful. Instead of a speedy
adjustment, they found themselves involved in a long contest. Opponents
increased in strength and activity. Wars and convulsions, rending the
nations of Europe, engrossed the thoughts of public men. As years passed
on, the Abolition Bill became a sort of fixture. It grew into a saying,
that "only the eloquence of Pitt and Wilberforce" made the House willing
to endure its mention at all. The amount of documentary evidence became
formidable in quantity and tedious in detail. For collecting this
evidence Mr. Clarkson had now the most ample means, in the persons of
those who, whether as sailors, soldiers, or scientific men, had become
acquainted with Western Africa. In the work of reducing these masses of
facts to a system, making them available for purposes of public debate,
a most efficient aid was found in Mr. Zachary Macaulay. The father of
the celebrated historian was most unrelaxing in his zeal for Abolition,
and, possessing a memory of singular tenacity, he came to be
regarded, in this peculiar department of knowledge, as a very perfect
encyclopedia. Nor, in mentioning the advocates of the suppression of the
monster evil, should we ever forget one who to an overflowing goodness
of heart added an inimitable richness and delicacy of humor,--James
Stephen. His influence in Parliament was always given in favor of
Abolition, and he was also the author of several able pamphlets on the
subject. He had been at one period of his life a resident in the West
India Colonies, and the hatred of the slave-system which he there
imbibed remained unchanged through life.

While, as has been seen, these labors were becoming complicated and
arduous, the opposition was growing not only strong, but violent.
Anti-slavery petitions, intended for presentation in Parliament, must be
sent in strong boxes, addressed, not to the leaders of the cause, but
to private persons, lest they should be opened and their contents
destroyed. Mr. Wilberforce is requested, when writing to a friend
in Liverpool, not to frank his own letter, lest it should never be
received. Correspondence on this subject must be carried on anonymously,
and addressed to persons not known to be interested. This was not the
worst. To random words of defiant opposition were added threats
of personal violence. For a space of two years the friends of Mr.
Wilberforce were annoyed by a desperate man who had declared that he
would take the life of the Yorkshire member. But, to do justice to the
advocates of the trade, there was one form of violence which they appear
never to have contemplated:--secession. The injured slave-merchants of
that time never thought of conspiring against the government under which
they lived. That was reserved for a later day.

Yet, while appearances were so dark, the cause was actually gaining
ground. The moral sense of the nation was becoming aroused. The
scattered sympathies of the religious classes were concentrating.
Already public sentiment in certain quarters was outgrowing the
movements of Parliament, and the impatient friends of the negro declared
that the leaders of the cause had given up!

In rebutting this charge, Mr. Wilberforce took high ground. He declared
that for himself his aim in this thing was the service of God, and, that
having committed himself to this enterprise, he was not at liberty to go
back. Believing that these efforts on behalf of an injured people were
in accordance with the will of the Almighty, he expressed himself
confident that the divine attributes were enlisted in the work and sure
of the ultimate success of the cause. Of his sincerity and honesty in
this matter we need not speak. By common consent he takes place among
those who in this world have been permitted to illustrate on an extended
scale the power and beauty of the Christian life. As a reformer of the
abuses of society he is often cited as a model, uniting to a singular
purity and sweetness of spirit an immovable firmness of will. To these
blended and diverse qualities was owing, in a great measure, the final
success of the long-contested Abolition Bill. Seldom, indeed, has the
patience of an advocate been put to a severer test than during the
protracted period that the bill for the suppression of the Slave-Trade
was before the House. To push it forward when there was an opening,
and to withdraw when effort was useless or worse than useless, was the
course pursued for a series of years. The subject, meanwhile, was never
lost sight of; when nothing more could be done, the House were reminded
that it was still in reserve.

Early in the present century a favorable conjuncture of events led to
vigorous efforts for the attainment of the long desired object. The
antagonistic policy was now rather to hinder the progress of the
Abolition Bill than to oppose the ultimate extinction of the trade. Of
the supporters of this policy it was remarked by Mr. Pitt, that "they
who wished to protract the season of conflict, whatever might be their
professions, really wished to uphold the system."

Notwithstanding certain covert efforts on the part of the opposition,
the prospect gradually brightened. Several new and influential members
were added to the London Society,--among them Henry Brougham. The Irish
members, who, in consequence of the completed union with England, took
their seats in Parliament, were almost to a man in favor of Abolition.
In 1805 success seemed about to be obtained. But before the final
passage of the Abolition Bill came sorrow of heart to its friends. Mr.
Pitt, having run a political career whose unexampled brilliancy and
usefulness had well fulfilled his early promise, died in the very prime
of life. A year had hardly passed, when his great political rival, Mr.
Fox, was no more. Both of these distinguished men had been, as we have
seen, from the beginning of the contest, the friends of Abolition.
Said Mr. Fox, on his death-bed,--"Two things I wish earnestly to see
accomplished: peace with Europe, and the abolition of the Slave-Trade;
but of the two I wish the latter."

Notwithstanding the death of its friends, the Abolition Bill was
steadily making its way. The "vexed question" of near twenty years was
about to be set at rest. Opposition had grown feeble, and in May, 1807,
the bill which made the Slave-Trade a crime wherever the British rule
extended passed both Houses and became a law.

It was a day of triumphant joy. This was felt by the friends of
Abolition at large, and especially by its advocates. These received
everywhere the warmest congratulations. Mr. Wilberforce, on entering the
House of Commons just before the passage of the bill, was greeted with
rounds of applause.

That Slavery had received its death-blow was fully believed at this
time. Africa being delivered from the traffic, the institution itself,
its supplies being cut off, must necessarily wither and die. This was
the common view of the matter; and the more effectually to secure this
result, negotiations were entered into with other European governments
for the suppression of the trade in their dominions. In America, the
Congress of the United States passed a law prohibiting the African
Slave-Trade after the year 1808, the period indicated in the
Constitution,--the law taking effect a few years later. Napoleon,
restored from his first banishment, and once more wielding the sceptre
of power, caused a law to be passed forbidding the trade in the French
Colonies. The friends of the negro were everywhere high in hope that the
days of Slavery were numbered. Starved out, the monster must inevitably
die. So sure were they of this result, that in England their efforts had
all along been directed against the trade. The institution itself had
been comparatively untouched.

A few years passed, and it began to be evident to those who had been
active in the great conflict that the law against the Slave-Trade was
less effectual than had been anticipated. The ocean was wide, the
African coast a thousand miles long, and desperate men were not wanting
who were disposed to elude the statute for the sake of large gains.
Nor need they fail to secure suitable markets for the sale of their
ill-gotten cargoes. But into this part of our subject it may not be well
to pry too closely.

If the friends of the African cause had supposed their work
accomplished, when their first success was attained, their error was
soon corrected. It was pleasant to repose upon the laurels so dearly
won; but another battle must be fought, and this necessity soon became
apparent. But a few years elapsed and the negro was again made the
subject of legislative consideration. Mr. Wilberforce was still a member
of the House, though most of those with whom he had been associated at
the beginning of his public life were dead. Forty years had passed since
he first took his seat, but he was ready once more to take up the cause
of the defenceless. The abuses perpetrated against the West Indian negro
called loudly for Governmental interference.

Since 1807 little had been done save the passage of the Registry Bill,
which had been secured by Mr. Wilberforce in 1816. This was of the
nature of an investigation into the actual state of the West India
Colonies with respect to the illicit commerce in slaves. Mild as this
measure appeared, it proved the opening wedge of much that followed. It
was in fact the first of a series of movements which issued in momentous
events, even the emancipation of all the slaves in the British Colonies.
The passage of this bill was followed by an increased expression of
interest in the matter of Negro Slavery; this was evinced in a number of
valuable publications issued at this time,--able pamphlets from the pens
of Mr. Wilberforce, Mr. Stephen, and others. The labors of the London
Society have already been noticed; and after the passage of the law of
1807 we find in existence the "African Institution," under which name
the friends of the negro were associated for the purpose of watching
over his interests, more particularly with regard to the operation
of the law. But during the period of repose which followed the first
anti-slavery triumph, a portion of this body, losing its original
activity, had become comparatively supine.

In 1818, Thomas Fowell Buxton, whose Quaker mother had instilled into
him a hatred of African Slavery, became a member of Parliament. Having
soon after joined himself to the African Institution, he became somewhat
mortified at the apathy of the friends of the slave, as here embodied.
He was frank and outspoken, and gave expression to his indignant feeling
without reserve. The next day the young member for Weymouth found
himself addressed by Wilberforce, for whom he entertained a high
veneration, and warmly thanked for the earnest utterance of his
sentiments the evening before.

After this Mr. Wilberforce conferred freely with Mr. Buxton upon the
subject of Slavery in its manifold details. In a letter written not far
from this time he unfolded the matter concerning the negroes of the West
Indian plantations, the cruelties to which they were subjected, and the
abuses which grew out of the system. Something must be done. Measures
must be taken of a protective character at least, and the work must be
prosecuted with vigor. Such was the view presented by Mr. Wilberforce.
Warned by age and infirmity that the period of his retirement from
public life could not be far distant, he wished that the cause which
had been with him a paramount one might be passed to able and faithful
hands.

How Mr. Buxton responded to this call the subsequent history of the
anti-slavery cause unfolds. He had already shown, that, as a member of
the House, he was to make no light impression, whatever might be the
objects which should enlist his efforts.

At this juncture there was formed in London a new anti-slavery society.
Its object was explicitly stated to be "the mitigation and gradual
abolition of Slavery throughout the British dominions." In looking over
the names of its officers and leading members, we find not those of the
early Abolitionists alone: by the side of Zachary Macaulay we find the
name of his more distinguished son, and that of Wilberforce is similarly
followed.

In behalf of the African there existed a somewhat widely spread public
sympathy, the fruit of the previous long-continued presentation of
the subject, and at this time it seemed about to be aroused. Several
petitions, having reference to Slavery, were sent into the House of
Commons. The first of these came from the Quakers, and Mr. Wilberforce,
on presenting it, took occasion to make an address to the House. In
place of Mr. Pitt now stood Mr. Canning, who inquired of Mr. Wilberforce
if he intended to found upon his remarks any motion. He replied,--"No;
but that such was the intention of an esteemed friend of his." Mr.
Buxton then announced his intention of submitting to the House a
motion that the state of Slavery in the British Colonies be taken into
consideration.

On the 15th of May, 1823, the expected debate took place. Mr. Buxton
began by moving a resolution, "That the state of Slavery is repugnant
to the principles of the British Constitution and of the Christian
Religion, and that it ought to be gradually abolished throughout the
British Colonies, with as much expedition as may be found consistent
with a due regard to the well-being of the parties concerned."

A lively debate followed, and certain resolutions drawn up by Mr.
Canning were finally carried. These articles, as well as Mr. Buxton's
motion, had in view a gradual improvement in the condition and character
of the slaves. In pursuance of the object to be attained, circular
letters were addressed to the Colonial authorities, recommending, with
regard to the negroes, certain enlargements of privileges. These
letters were extremely moderate in their tone. The reforms were simply
recommended, not authoritatively enjoined; in the language of Mr.
Canning, the movement was such a one "as should be compatible with the
well-being of the slaves themselves, with the safety of the Colonies,
and with a fair and equitable consideration of the rights of private
property."

Moderate as were the measures first set on foot for the improvement
of the social state of the slaves, the authors were not by that means
secured from opposition. This was accompanied, on the part of the West
India planters, by such an extreme violence as was hardly expected, at
least by the Premier, who had so favorably met the introduction of the
subject, if he had not actually committed himself to the work. The
leaders of the movement, who had but just now been borne onward by the
wave of public approval, found themselves fiercely denounced. Here is a
brief paragraph which appeared at that time in a Jamaica newspaper:--

"We pray the imperial Parliament to amend their origin, which is
bribery; to cleanse their consciences, which are corrupt; to throw
off their disguise, which is hypocrisy; to break off with their false
allies, who are the saints; and finally, to banish from among them the
purchased rogues, who are three-fourths of their number."

Among the reforms recommended to the Colonists, by the circular letters
of the Government, was one which had reference to the indecent flogging
of the female slaves, and also a suggestive restraint upon corporal
punishment in general. This called forth in a Colonial paper
the following, which certainly has the merit of being entirely
unambiguous:--

"We did and do declare the whip to be essential to West India
discipline, ay, as essential, my Lord Calthorpe, as the freedom of the
press and the trial by jury to the liberty of the subject in Britain,
and to be justified on equally legitimate ground. The comfort, welfare,
and happiness of our laboring classes cannot subsist without it."

These specimens of the fierceness of abuse with which the Government
was assailed may perhaps prepare the reader for that last resort of
indignant discontent on the part of the governed,--the threat of
secession! Yes; Jamaica will break away from the tyranny of which she is
the much abused object, she will free herself from the oppression of the
mother country, and then,--what next?--she will seek for friendship and
protection from the United States! How soon this threat, if persisted in
and carried out into action, would have been silenced by the thunder of
British cannon, we need not stay to consider.

To this clamor of the opposition the more timid of the Anti-Slavery
party were disposed to yield, at least for a season. The Government
showed little disposition to press the improvements which it had
recommended. Mr. Canning seemed apprehensive that he had committed
himself too far, and was inclined to postpone, to wait for a season, to
give the West Indians time for reflection, before legislating further.
The chief advocate of the slave began to realize, that, of those who
had encouraged and coöperated with him, but few, in a moment of real
difficulty, could be relied upon. But he was not to be baffled. "Good,
honest Buxton" had made up his mind that the world should be somewhat
the better for his having lived in it, and he had chosen as the object
of his beneficent labors the very lowest of his fellow-subjects,--the
negro slave of the West Indies. He was, moreover, a vigorous thinker
and an invincible debater, and, once embarked in this cause, he had no
thought of drawing back. So exclusive was his zeal, that at one time Mr.
O'Connell, vexed that the claims of his constituents were set aside,
electrified the House by exclaiming, "Oh! I wish we were blacks!" The
Irish orator had all along supported the Abolition cause, and spoken
words of good cheer to Mr. Buxton; but now his impatient patriotism
finds vent in exclaiming,--"If the Irish people were but black, we
should have the honorable member from Weymouth coming down as large as
life, supported by all the 'friends of humanity' in the back rows, to
advocate their cause."

There was truth here, as well as wit, showing not only Mr. Buxton's
absorption in the cause which he had espoused, but his inspiring
influence on other minds. His indomitable energy was always sure to grow
stronger after defeat, and the strength of his own belief in the justice
of his cause of itself increased the faith of its friends.

In the onward course of events the violence of the West Indians assumed
different phases, and one of the most memorable of these had respect to
the religious teachers of the slaves. They had been sent out by various
bodies of Christians in England, commencing nearly a hundred years
before these anti-slavery efforts. The object of the missionary was a
definite one, to christianize the negroes. He knew well, before engaging
in his work, that those who might come under his instruction were
slaves, and because they were slaves the call was all the louder upon
his compassion. Yet his path of duty lay wide enough from any attempt
to render the objects of his Christian efforts other than they were in
their civil relations. Such were the instructions which the missionaries
were accustomed to receive, on leaving England for a residence among the
Colonists. Nor was there ever, from the beginning to the ending of this
stirring chapter in the history of Slavery, reason to believe that these
instructions had been disobeyed. Their labors had in some instances been
encouraged by the planters, and their influence acknowledged to be a
valuable aid in the management of the negroes. But in these days
of excitement and insubordination the missionaries were accused of
encouraging disobedience in the slaves. When outbreaks occurred, the
guilt was laid to the charge of the Christian teachers. Upon a mere
suspicion, without a shadow of evidence, they were seized and thrown
into prison. One of the most melancholy instances of this was that of
the Rev. J. Smith, who was sentenced to be hanged, but died in prison,
through hardships endured, before the day of execution arrived. He was
only one of several who suffered at the hands of the West Indians the
grossest injustice. The case of Mr. Shrewsbury was at one time brought
before the House. Mr. Canning made reference to him as "a gentleman in
whose conduct there did not appear to be the slightest ground of blame
or suspicion." He was a Wesleyan missionary at Barbadoes, and, having
fallen under suspicion, was also condemned to die. Among other charges,
he was accused of having corresponded with Mr. Buxton. Said the latter,
in an address to the House,--"I never wrote to him a single letter,
nor did I know that such a man existed, till I happened to take up a
newspaper, and there read, with some astonishment, that _he was going to
be hanged for corresponding with me!_"

If Englishmen and Christian ministers were condemned to death on such
allegations, adduced at mock trials, it is not strange that negroes
sometimes lost their lives on similar grounds. After a rising among
these people, several having been executed, the evidence of the guilt of
a certain portion was reviewed in the House of Commons. The witness was
asked whether he had found guns among the insurgents. He replied, "No;
but he was shown a place where guns had been"! Had he found bayonets?
"No; but he was shown a basket where bayonets had been"! Unfortunately,
the victims of this species of evidence were already hung when the
review of the trial took place.

This last incident brings us to another feature of those times, the
actual insurrections which took place among the slaves. Passing by the
lesser excitements of Barbadoes and Demerara, we come to the great
rising in Jamaica in 1832. A servile war is generally represented as
displaying at every point its banners of flame, plashing its feet
meanwhile in the blood of women and children. But the great insurrection
of 1832, which, as it spread, included fifty thousand negroes in its
train, was in the beginning simply a refusal to work.

Fiercely discussed by the masters, emancipation began to be spoken of
among the slaves. Necessarily they must know something about it; but, in
their distorted and erroneous impressions, they believed that "the
Great King of England" had set them free, and the masters were wilfully
withholding the boon.

There was one, a negro slave, whose dark glittering eye fascinated
his fellows, and whose wondrous powers of speech drew them, despite
themselves, into the conspiracy. But he planned no murders, designed no
house-burnings; to those who, under solemn pledge of secrecy, joined
him, he propounded a single idea. It was this. If we, the negroes, who
are as five to one, compared to the white men, refuse to work any more
until freedom is given, we shall have it. There will be some resistance,
and a few of us will be killed; but that we must expect. This, in
substance, was the ground taken by Sharpe, who, as a slave, had
always been a favorite both with his master and others. This was the
commencement of the great insurrection. Its leader had not counted upon
the excitable spirit of the slaves when once aroused. Holding as sacred
the property of his master, he believed his followers would do the same,
until the light of burning barns and out-houses revealed the mischief
which had begun to work. Yet, in the sanguinary struggle which followed,
it is to be remembered that the excesses which were committed, the
wanton waste of life, were on the part of the white residents, who meted
out vengeance with an unsparing hand,--not on the part of the negroes.

One effect of this uprising of the slaves was, in England, to deepen the
impression of the evils of the system under which they were held. If the
mere discussion of Slavery were fraught with such terrible consequences,
how could safety ever consist with the thing itself? By discussion they
had but exercised their own rights as Englishmen. Of what use to them
was Magna Charta, if they must seal their lips in silence when a public
abuse required to be corrected, a gigantic wrong to be righted? Must
they give up the ocean and the land to the dominion of the slave-owner
and slave-trader, hushing the word of remonstrance, lest it should lead
to war and bloodshed? No; they would not do this. The thing itself which
had caused these commotions must perish.

Here was a decided gain for the friends of the slave in Parliament.
Mr. Buxton, in alluding to the fearful aspect of the times, asks the
pertinent question, "How is the Government prepared to act in case of a
general insurrection among the slaves?" We give the closing paragraphs
of his speech at this crisis.

"I will refer the House to the sentiments of Mr. Jefferson, the
President of the United States. Mr. Jefferson was himself a slave-owner,
and full of the prejudices of slave-owners; yet he left this memorable
memorial to his country: 'I do, indeed, tremble for my country when I
remember that God is just, and that His justice may not sleep forever. A
revolution is among possible events; the Almighty has no attribute which
would side with us in such a struggle.'

"This is the point which weighs most heavily with me. The Almighty has
no attribute that will side with us in such a struggle. A war with an
overwhelming physical force, a war with a climate fatal to the European
constitution, a war in which the heart of the people of England would
lean toward the enemy: it is hazarding all these terrible evils; but all
are light and trivial, compared with the conviction I feel that in such
a warfare it is not possible to ask nor can we expect the countenance of
Heaven."

While events tended to bring the whole system of Slavery into odium, the
leaders of the Abolition party were themselves changing their ground.
They had begun with the hope of mitigating the hardships of the slave's
lot,--to place him upon the line of progression, and so ultimately to
fit him for freedom. But they had found themselves occupying a false
position. Slowly they came to the conclusion that for the slave little
could be accomplished in the way of improvement, so long as he remained
a slave. The complete extinction of the system was now the object aimed
at. At a crowded Anti-Slavery meeting held in May, 1830, Mr. Wilberforce
presided. The first resolution, moved by Mr. Buxton, was this,--"That no
proper or practicable means be left unattempted for effecting, at the
earliest period, the entire abolition of Slavery throughout the British
dominions." At a meeting held in Edinburgh similar language was used by
Lord Jeffrey. Said Dr. Andrew Thomson, one of the most influential of
the Scottish clergy,--"We ought to tell the legislature, plainly and
strongly, that no man has a right to property in man,--that there
are eight hundred thousand individuals sighing in bondage, under the
intolerable evils of West Indian Slavery, who have as good a right to be
free as we ourselves have,--that they ought to be free, and that they
_must_ be made free!"

Another element at this time wrought in favor of the Abolitionists. Of
the missionaries who had suffered persecution in the Colonies, numbers
had returned to England. These religious teachers, while plying their
vocation in the West Indies, had acted in obedience to the instructions
received from the societies which employed them. Necessarily, while in a
slave country, they had been silent upon the subject of Slavery. But in
truth they liked the institution as little as Mr. Buxton himself. Once
in England, the seal of silence melted from their lips. Everywhere
in public and in private they made known the evils and cruelties of
Slavery. Some of these persons had been examined by Parliamentary
committees, and being acquitted of every suspicion of mis-statement,
their testimony received this additional sanction. The tale of wrong
which they revealed was not told in vain. Each returned missionary
exerted an influence upon the religious body which he represented. The
aggregate of this influence was great.

If, in the latter stages of the Emancipation effort, the backwardness of
the Administration was an evil omen, making final success a difficult
achievement, this was balanced by reform in Parliament. At the recent
elections, anti-slavery sentiments in the candidate were in some
quarters requisite to success. A story is told of a gentleman who had
spent some time canvassing and found abundant evidence of this. At an
obscure village he had been hailed with the question, whether he was
trying to get into the Lords or Commons. "But," added the simple
questioners, "whichever you do get into, you must vote for the poor
slaves."

To the aid of the Emancipation leaders there came now a new element, a
power so strong that it required no small share of skill to hold it in,
that it might work no evil in contributing to the desired end.

Since the commencement of efforts for the slave a considerable period
had passed. These efforts extended, in fact, over nearly half a century.
During that time, pamphlet after pamphlet and volume after volume had
set forth the evils and abominations of Slavery, forcing the subject
upon the public attention. The leaven had worked slowly, and for a
portion of the time in comparative silence; but the work was done. The
British people were aroused. The great heart of the nation was beating
in response to the appeals for justice and right which were made in
their ears. The world can scarce furnish a parallel to this spectacle of
moral sublimity. It was the voice of a people, calling, in tones that
must be heard, for justice and freedom,--and that not for themselves,
but for a distant, a defenceless race.

The publication of a circular inviting Anti-Slavery delegates to London,
a movement made by the leaders of the cause, in its results took the
most enthusiastic by surprise. More than three hundred appeared in
answer to the call. Mr. Buxton met them in Exeter Hall. With a rampant
freedom of opinion, there was little prospect of harmony of action being
attained, however desirable it might be. Through the influence of Mr.
Buxton and his coadjutors, these men of conflicting theories were
brought into such a degree of harmonious action that an address was
drawn up embodying their sentiments and laid before Lord Althorp, at
that time the head of the Administration. The strong outside pressure of
the nation at large upon the Government was evident. The strength of the
Emancipationists in Parliament, also, had been carefully estimated, and
success could no longer be doubted.

The fourteenth of May, 1833, witnessed an animated debate in the House.
While the advocates of Emancipation desired for the negro unconditional
freedom, they found the measure fettered by the proposal of Mr. Stanley,
the Colonial Secretary, that he be placed for a number of years in a
state of apprenticeship. Twelve years of this restricted freedom was,
by the influence of Mr. Buxton, reduced to seven, and the sum of twenty
millions of pounds sterling being granted to the slave-owners, the bill
for the abolition of Negro Slavery passed the House of Commons. With
some delay it went through the Upper House, and on the 28th of August,
receiving the royal assent, it became a law. The apprenticeship system
was but short-lived, its evil-working leading to its abolition in its
fourth year.

       *       *       *       *       *

It has been often said, with how much of truth it is not our purpose
here to inquire, that in this country the mention of the evils of
Slavery is and must be fraught with most evil consequences. Yet the
agitation of this subject, whether for good or evil, in the United
States, is intimately connected with the whole movement in England. In
the earlier stages of the measures directed against the trade, a hearty
response was awakened here; nor could the subsequent act of emancipation
fail to produce an impression everywhere, and most of all among
ourselves. United to the English nation by strong affinities, one with
them in language and literature, yet cleaving still to the institution
which England had so energetically striven to destroy, could it be
otherwise than that such a movement on her part should awaken an eager
interest among us? Could such an event as the release from slavery
of eight hundred thousand negroes in the British Colonies pass by
unnoticed? To suppose this is preposterous. It is not too much to say,
that the effect of British emancipation was, at the time it took place,
to give in certain portions of the United States an increased degree of
life to the anti-slavery sentiment. No words could have been uttered,
which, reaching the shores of America, would have been half so emphatic
as this one act of the British nation. Among the causes which have
nourished and strengthened the anti-slavery sentiment among us this, has
its place. Verily, if England gave us the poison, she has not been slow
to proffer to us the antidote.

       *       *       *       *       *

Concerning the actual fruits of Emancipation, it may be asked, What have
they been? The world looked on inquiringly as to how the enfranchised
negroes would demean themselves. One fact has never been disputed. This
momentous change in the social state of near a million of people took
place without a single act of violence on the part of the liberated
slaves. Neither did the measure carry violence in its train. So far the
act was successful. But that all which the friends of Emancipation hoped
for has been attained, no one will assert. When, however, we hear of the
financial ruin of the Islands, as a consequence of that measure, it may
be well to inquire into their condition previous to its taking place.
That the West India Colonies were trembling on the brink of ruin at the
close of the last century is evident from their repeated petitions
to the mother country to take some measures to save them from utter
bankruptcy. This can hardly be laid to the extinction of Slavery, for
both Slavery and the Slave-Trade were at that time in the height of
successful operation.

Again, if the West Indian negro is not to-day all that might be wished,
or even all that, under the influence of freedom, he had been expected
to become, there may possibly be a complication of causes which has
prevented his elevation. He has been allowed instruction, indeed, to
some extent; the continued labors of those who contended for his freedom
have secured to him the schoolmaster and the missionary. But this is not
enough. Has he been taught the use of improved methods of agriculture,
the application of machinery to the production of required results? Has
he been encouraged to works of skill, to manufacturing arts even of the
ruder kind? Has he not rather been subjected to the same policy which,
before the Revolution, discountenanced manufactures among ourselves,
and has caused the fabrics of the East Indies to be disused, and the
factories of Ireland to stand still?

These questions need not be pursued. Yet, amid the conflicting voices of
the evil days upon which we are fallen, now and then we hear lifted up a
plea for Emancipation, an entreaty for the removal of the accursed thing
which has plunged the happiest nation upon earth into the direst of
calamities.

Of the causes which have affected the success of Emancipation in the
case before us, it may be remarked, that, so far as their action has
been pernicious, they would operate among ourselves less than in any
colony of Great Britain, abundantly less than in the West Indies. The
greater variety of employments with which the Maryland or Kentucky negro
is familiar, his more frequent proficiency in mechanical pursuits,
combined with other circumstances, render him decidedly a more eligible
subject for freedom than the negro of Jamaica.

The changes which may issue in this country from the present commotions
it were vain to predict. It may not, however, be unwise, in considering,
as we have done, an achievement nobly conceived and generously
accomplished, to examine carefully into the causes which may have
rendered it otherwise than completely successful in its results.

       *       *       *       *       *


UNION AND LIBERTY.


  Flag of the heroes who left us their glory,
    Borne through their battle-fields' thunder and flame,
  Blazoned in song and illumined in story,
    Wave o'er us all who inherit their fame!
            Up with our banner bright,
            Sprinkled with starry light,
      Spread its fair emblems from mountain to shore,
            While through the sounding sky
            Loud rings the Nation's cry,--
      UNION AND LIBERTY! ONE EVERMORE!

  Light of our firmament, guide of our Nation,
    Pride of her children, and honored afar,
  Let the wide beams of thy full constellation
    Scatter each cloud that would darken a star!
            Up with our banner bright, etc.

  Empire unsceptred! what foe shall assail thee,
    Bearing the standard of Liberty's van?
  Think not the God of thy fathers shall fail thee,
    Striving with men for the birthright of man!
            Up with our banner bright, etc.
  Yet if, by madness and treachery blighted,
    Dawns the dark hour when the sword thou must draw,
  Then, with the arms of thy millions united,
    Smite the bold traitors to Freedom and Law!
        Up with our banner bright, etc.

  Lord of the Universe! shield us and guide us,
    Trusting Thee always, through shadow and sun!
  Thou, hast united us: who shall divide us?
    Keep us, O, keep us, the MANY IN ONE!
        Up with our banner bright,
        Sprinkled with starry light,
     Spread its fair emblems from mountain to shore,
        While through the sounding sky
        Loud rings the Nation's cry,--
     UNION AND LIBERTY! ONE EVERMORE!

       *       *       *       *       *



HOW TO ROUGH IT.


"Life has few things better than this," said Dr. Johnson, on feeling
himself settled in a coach, and rolling along the road. We cannot agree
with the great man. Times have changed since the Doctor and Mr. Boswell
travelled for pleasure; and we much prefer an expedition to Moosehead,
or a tramp in the Adirondack, to being boxed up in a four-wheeled ark
and made "comfortable," according to the Doctor's idea of felicity.

Francis Galton, Explorer, and Secretary to the Royal Geographical
Society, we thank you sincerely for teaching us how to travel! Few
persons know the important secrets of how to walk, how to run, how to
ride, how to cook, how to defend, how to ford rivers, how to make rafts,
how to fish, how to hunt, in short, how to do the essential things that
every traveller, soldier, sportsman, emigrant, and missionary should
be conversant with. The world is full of deserts, prairies, bushes,
jungles, swamps, rivers, and oceans. How to "get round" the dangers of
the land and the sea in the best possible way, how to shift and contrive
so as to come out all right, are secrets well worth knowing, and Mr.
Galton has found the key. In this brief article we shall frequently
avail ourselves of the information he imparts, confident that in these
war-days his wise directions are better than fine gold to a man who is
obliged to rough it over the world, no matter where his feet may wander,
his horse may travel, or his boat may sail.

Wherewithal shall a man be clothed? We begin at the beginning with
flannel always. Experience has taught us that flannel next the skin is
indispensable for health to a traveller, and the sick- and dead-lists
always include largely the names of those who neglect this material.
Cotton stands Number Two on the list, and linen nowhere. Only last
summer jolly Tom Bowers got his _quietus_ for the season by getting hot
and wet and cold in one of his splendid Paris linen shirts, and now he
wears calico ones whenever he wishes to "appear proper" at Nahant or
Newport.

"The hotter the ground the thicker your socks," was the advice of an old
traveller who once went a thirty-days' tramp at our side through the
Alp country in summer. We have seen many a city bumpkin start for a
White-Mountain walk in the thinnest of cotton foot-coverings, but we
never knew one to try them a second time.

Stout shoes are preferable to boots always, and a wise traveller never
omits to grease well his leather before and during his journey. Don't
forget to put a pair of old slippers into your knapsack. After a hard
day's toil, they are like magic, under foot. Let us remind the traveller
whose feet are tender at starting that a capital remedy for blistered
feet is to rub them at night with spirits mixed with tallow dropped
from a candle. An old friend of ours thought it a good plan to soap the
inside of the stocking before setting out, and we have seen him break a
raw egg into his shoes before putting them on, saying it softened the
leather and made him "all right" for the day.

Touching coat, waistcoat, and trousers, there can be but one choice.
Coarse tweed does the best business on a small capital. Cheap and
strong, we have always found it the most "paying" article in our
travelling-wardrobe. Avoid that tailor-hem so common at the bottom
of your pantaloons which retains water and does no good to anybody.
Waistcoats would be counted as superfluous, were it not for the
convenience of the pockets they carry. Take along an old dressing-gown,
if you want solid comfort in camp or elsewhere after sunset.

Gordon Cumming recommends a wide-awake hat, and he is good authority on
that head. A man "_clothed_ in his right mind" is a noble object; but
six persons out of every ten who start on a journey wear the wrong
apparel. The writer of these pages has seen four individuals at once
standing up to their middles in a trout-stream, all adorned with black
silk tiles, newly imported from the Rue St. Honoré. It was a sight to
make Daniel Boone and Izaak Walton smile in their celestial abodes.

A light water-proof outside-coat and a thick pea-jacket are a proper
span for a roving trip. Don't forget that a couple of good blankets also
go a long way toward a traveller's paradise.

We will not presume that an immortal being at this stage of the
nineteenth century would make the mistake, when he had occasion to tuck
up his shirt-sleeves, of turning them outwards, so that every five
minutes they would be tumbling down with a crash of anathemas from the
wearer. The supposition that any sane son of Adam would tuck up his
sleeves inside out involves a suspicion, to say the least, that his wits
had been overrated by doting relatives.

"Grease and dirt are the savage's wearing-apparel," says the Swedish
proverb. No comment is necessary in speaking with a Christian on this
point, for cold water is one of civilization's closest allies. Avoid the
bath, and the genius of disease and crime stalks in. "Cleanliness is
next to godliness," remember.

In packing your knapsack, keep in mind that sixteen or twenty pounds are
weight enough, till, by practice, you can get pluck and energy into your
back to increase that amount.

_Roughing it_ has various meanings, and the phrase is oftentimes
ludicrously mistaken by many individuals. A friend with whom we once
travelled thought he was roughing it daily for the space of three
weeks, because he was obliged to lunch on _cold_ chicken and _un-iced_
Champagne, and when it rained he was forced to seek shelter inside very
inelegant hotels on the road. To rough it, in the best sense of that
term, is to lie down every night with the ground for a mattress, a
bundle of fagots for a pillow, and the stars for a coverlet. To sleep in
a tent is semi-luxury, and tainted with too much effeminacy to suit the
ardor of a first-rate "Rough." Parkyns, Taylor, Gumming, Fremont, and
Kane have told us how much superior are two trunks of trees, rolled
together for a bed, under the open sky, to that soft heating apparatus
called a bed in the best chamber. Every man to his taste,--of course,
but there come occasions in life when a man must look about him and
arrange for himself, _somehow_. The traveller who has never slept in the
woods has missed an enjoyable sensation. A clump of trees makes a
fine leafy post-bedstead, and to awake in the morning amid a grove of
sheltering nodding oaks is lung-inspiring. It was the good thought of a
wanderer to say, "The forest is the poor man's jacket." Napoleon had a
high opinion of the bivouac style of life, and on the score of health
gave it the preference over tent-sleeping. Free circulation is a great
blessing, albeit we think its eulogy rather strongly expressed by the
Walden-Pondist, when he says, "I would rather sit on a pumpkin and have
it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion. I would rather
ride on earth in an ox-cart with a free circulation, than go to heaven
in the fancy car of an excursion-train, and breathe a _malaria_ all the
way." The only objection to out-door slumber is dampness; but it is easy
to protect one's self in wet weather from the unhealthy ground by boughs
or India-rubber blankets.

One of the great precautions requisite for a tramp is to provide against
thirst. Want of water overtakes the traveller sometimes in the most
annoying manner, and it is well to know how to fight off the dry fiend.
Sir James Alexander cautions all who rough it to drink well before
starting in the morning, and drink nothing all day till the halt,--and
to keep the lips shut as much as possible. Another good authority
recommends a pebble or leaf to be held in the mouth. Habit, however,
does much in this case as in every other, and we have known a man, who
had been accustomed at home to drink at every meal four tumblers of
water, by force of will bring his necessity down to a pint of liquid per
day, during a long tramp through the forest. One of the many excellent
things which Plutarch tells of Socrates is this noteworthy incident of
his power of abstinence. He says, whenever Socrates returned from any
exercise, though he might be extremely dry, he refrained nevertheless
from drinking till he had thrown away the first bucket of water he had
drawn, that he might exercise himself to patience, and accustom his
appetite to wait the leisure of reason.

From water to fire is a natural transition. How to get a blaze just when
you want it puzzles the will sometimes hugely. Every traveller should
provide himself with a good handy steel, proper flint, and unfailing
tinder, because lucifers are liable to many accidents. Pliny recommended
the wood of mulberry, bay-laurel, and ivy, as good material to be rubbed
together in order to procure a fire; but Pliny is behind the times, and
must not be trusted to make rules for General McLellan's boys. Of course
no one would omit to take lucifers on a tramp; but steel, flint, and
tinder are three warm friends that in an emergency will always come up
to the strike. To find firewood is a knack, and it ought to be well
cultivated. Don't despise bits of dry moss, fine grass, and slips of
bark, if you come across them. Twenty fires are failures in the open air
for one that succeeds, unless the operator knows his business. A novice
will use matches, wood, wind, time, and violent language enough to burn
down a city, and never get any satisfaction out of all the expenditure;
while a knowing hand will, out of the stump of an old, half-rotten tree,
bring you such magnificent, permanent heat, that your heart and your
tea-kettle will sing together for joy over it. In making a fire, depend
upon it, there is something more than _luck_,--there is always talent
in it. We once saw Charles Lever (Harry Lorrequer's father) build up a
towering blaze in a woody nook out of just nothing but what he scraped
up from the ground, and his rare ability. You remember Mr. Opie the
painter's answer to a student who asked him what he mixed his colors
with. "Brains, Sir," was the artist's prompt, gruff, and right reply. It
takes brains to make a fire in a rainy night out in the woods; but it
can be done,--if you only know how to begin. We have seen a hearth made
of logs on a deep snow sending out a cheerful glow, while the rain
dripped and froze all about the merry party assembled.

A traveller ought to be a good swimmer. There are plenty of watery
crossings to be got over, and often there are no means at hand but what
Nature has provided in legs and arms. But one of the easiest things in
the world to make is a raft. Inflatable India-rubber boats also are now
used in every climate, and a full-sized one weighs only forty pounds.
General Fremont and Dr. Livingstone have tested their excellent
qualities, and commend them as capable of standing a wonderful amount
of wear and tear. But a boat can be made out of almost anything, if one
have the skill to put it together. A party of sailors whose boat had
been stolen put out to sea and were eighteen hours afloat in a crazy
craft made out of a large basket woven with boughs such as they could
pick up, and covered with their canvas tent, the inside being plastered
with clay to keep out as much of the water as possible.

In fording streams, it is well, if the water be deep and swift, to carry
heavy stones in the hands, in order to resist being borne away by the
current. Fords should not be deeper than three feet for men, or four
feet for horses.

Among the small conveniences, a good strong pocket-knife, a small "hard
chisel," and a file should not be forgotten. A great deal of real work
can be done with very few tools. One of Colt's rifles is a companion
which should be specially cared for, and a water-proof cover should
always be taken to protect the lock during showers. There is one rule
among hunters which ought always to be remembered, namely,--"Look at
the gun, but never let the gun look at you, or at your companions."
Travellers are always more or less exposed to the careless handling of
fire-arms, and numerous accidents occur by carrying the piece with the
cock down on the nipple. Three-fourths of all the gun accidents are
owing to this cause; for a blow on the back of the cock is almost sure
to explode the cap, while a gun at half-cock is comparatively safe.

Don't carry too many eatables on your expeditions. Dr. Kane says his
party learned to modify and reduce their travelling-gear, and found that
in direct proportion to its simplicity and to their apparent privation
of articles of supposed necessity were their actual comfort and
practical efficiency. Step by step, as long as their Arctic service
continued, they went on reducing their sledging-outfit, until they at
last came to the Esquimaux ultimatum of simplicity,--_raw meat and a fur
bag_. Salt and pepper are needful condiments. Nearly all the rest are
out of place on a roughing expedition. Among the most portable kinds of
solid food are pemmican, jerked meat, wheat flour, barley, peas, cheese,
and biscuit. Salt meat is a disappointing dish, and apt to be sadly
uncertain. Somebody once said that water had tasted of sinners ever
since the flood, and salted meat sometimes has a taint full as vivid.
Twenty-eight ounces of real nutriment _per diem_ for a man in rough
work as a traveller will be all that he requires; if he perform severe
tramping, thirty ounces.

The French say, _C'est la soupe qui fait le soldat_, and we have always
found on a tramping expedition nothing so life-restoring after fatigue
and hunger as the portable soup now so easily obtained at places where
prepared food is put up for travellers' uses. Spirituous liquors are no
help in roughing it. On the contrary, they invite sunstroke, and various
other unpleasant visitors incident to the life of a traveller. Habitual
brandy-drinkers give out sooner than cold-water men, and we have seen
fainting red noses by the score succumb to the weather, when boys
addicted to water would crow like chanticleer through a long storm of
sleet and snow on the freezing Alps.

It is not well to lose your way; but in case this unpleasant luck befall
you, set _systematically_ to work to find it. Throw terror to the idiots
who always flutter and flounder, and so go wrong inevitably. Galton the
Plucky says,--and he has as much cool wisdom to impart as a traveller
needs,--when you make the unlively discovery that you are lost, ask
yourself the three following questions:--

1. What is the least distance that I can with certainty specify, within
which the path, the river, the sea-shore, etc., that I wish to regain,
lies?

2. What is the direction, in a vague, general way, in which the path or
river runs, or the sea-coast tends?

3. When I last left the path, etc., did I turn to the left or to the
right?

As regards the first, calculate deliberately how long you have been
riding or walking, and at what pace, since you left your party; subtract
for stoppages and well-recollected zigzags; allow a mile and a half per
hour as the pace when you have been loitering on foot, and three and a
half when you have been walking fast. Occasional running makes an almost
inappreciable difference. A man is always much nearer the lost path than
he is inclined to fear.

As regards the second, if you recollect the third, and also know the
course of the path within eight points of the compass, (or one-fourth
of the whole horizon,) it is a great gain; or even if you know your
direction within twelve points, or one-third of the whole horizon, that
knowledge is worth something. Don't hurry, if you get bewildered. Stop
and think. Then arrange matters, and you are safe. When Napoleon was
once caught in a fog, while riding with his staff across a shallow arm
of the Gulf of Suez, he _thought_, as usual. His way was utterly lost,
and going forward he found himself in deeper water. So he ordered his
staff to ride from him in radiating lines in all directions, and such
of them as should find shallow water to shout out. If Napoleon had been
alone on that occasion, he would have set his five wits to the task of
finding the right way, and he would have found it.

Finally, cheerfulness in large doses is the best medicine one can take
along in his out-door tramps. We once had the good-luck to hear old
Christopher North try his lungs in the open air in Scotland. Such
laughter and such hill-shaking merry-heartedness we may never listen to
again among the Lochs, but the lesson of the hour (how it rained that
black night!) is stamped for life upon our remembrance. "Clap your back
against the cliff," he shouted, "and never mind the deluge!" Rest,
glorious Christopher, under the turf you trod with such a gallant
bearing! Few mortals knew how to rough it like you!

       *       *       *       *       *


SELF-POSSESSION vs. PREPOSSESSION.


Timoleon, a man prosperous in all his undertakings, was wont to ascribe
his successes to good-luck; but that he did not mean to give credit to
any blind Goddess of Fortune is evident from his having built an altar
to a certain divine something which he called Automatia, signifying
Spontaneousness, or a happy promptitude in following the dictates of his
own genius. The Liberator of Sicily, to be sure, did not live in an age
of newspapers, and was not liable at every turn to have his elbow jogged
by Public Opinion; but it is plain that his notion of a man fit to lead
was, that he should be one who never waited to seize Opportunity from
behind, and who knew that events become the masters of him who is slow
to make them his servants.

Thus far nothing has been more remarkable in the history of our civil
war than that its signal opportunities have failed to produce on either
side any leader who has proved himself to be gifted with this happy
faculty. Even our statesmen seem not to have felt the kindling
inspiration of a great occasion. The country is going through a
trial more crucial, if possible, than that of the Revolution; but no
state-paper has thus far appeared, comparable in anything but quantity
to the documents of our heroic period. Even Mr. Seward seems to have
laid aside his splendid art of generalization, or to have found out the
danger of those specious boomerangs of eloquence, which, launched from
the platform with the most graceful curves of rhetoric, come back not
seldom to deal an untimely blow to him who sets them flying. The people
begin to show signs of impatience that the curtain should be so slow to
rise and show them the great actor in our national tragedy. They are so
used to having a gigantic bubble of notoriety blown for them in a week
by the newspapers, though it burst in a day or two, leaving but a drop
of muddy suds behind it, that they have almost learned to think the
making of a great character as simple a matter as that of a great
reputation. Bewildered as they have been with a mob of statesmen,
generals, orators, poets, and what not, all of them the foremost of this
or any other age, they seem to expect a truly great man on equally easy
terms with these cheap miracles of the press,--grown as rapidly, to be
forgotten as soon, as the prize cauliflower of a county show. We have
improvised an army; we have conjured a navy out of nothing so rapidly
that pines the jay screamed in last summer may be even now listening for
the hum of the hostile shot from Sumter; why not give another rub at our
Aladdin's lamp and improvise a genius and a hero?

This is, perhaps, very natural, but it is nevertheless unreasonable.
Heroes and geniuses are never to be had ready-made, nor was a tolerable
specimen of either ever produced at six months' notice. Dearly do
nations pay for such secular births; still more dearly for their
training. They are commonly rather the slow result than the conscious
cause of revolutions in thought or polity. It is no imputation on
democratic forms of government, it is the unexampled prosperity of
nearly half a century that is in fault, if a sudden and unforewarned
danger finds us without a leader, whether civil or military, whom the
people are willing to trust implicitly, and who can in some sense
control events by the prestige of a great name. Carlyle and others have
for years been laying to the charge of representative and parliamentary
government the same evils whose germ certain British critics, as
ignorant of our national character as of our geography, are so kindly
ready to find in our democracy. Mr. Stuart Mill, in his essay on
"Liberty," has convinced us that even the tyranny of Public Opinion is
not, as we had hastily supposed, a peculiarly American institution, but
is to the full as stringent and as fertile of commonplace in intellect
and character under a limited as under a universal system of suffrage.

The truth is, that it is not in our institutions, but in our history,
that we are to look for the causes of much that is superficially
distasteful and sometimes unpleasantly disappointing in our national
habits,--we would not too hastily say in our national character. Our
most incorrigible blackguards, and the class of voters who are at the
mercy of venal politicians, have had their training, such as it is,
under forms of government and amid a social order very unlike ours.
Disgust at the general dirtiness and corruption of our politics, we are
told, keeps all our leading men out of public life. This appears to us,
we confess, a rather shallow misconception. Our politics are no dirtier
or more corrupt than those of our neighbors. The famous _Quam parvâ
sapientiâ regitur mundus_ was not said in scorn by the minister of a
republic, but in sober sadness by one whose dealings had been lifelong
with the courts and statesmen of princes. The real disgust lies in the
selfish passions that are called into play by the strife of party and
the small ambitions of public men, and not in any mere coarseness in the
expression of them. We are not an elegant people: rather less so, on the
whole, even in the aristocratic South than in the democratic North. In
this past year of our Lord eighteen hundred sixty-one, we have no doubt,
and we shudder to think of it, that by far the larger proportion of
our fellow-citizens shovelled their green-peas into their mouths with
uncanonical knife-blades, just as Sir Philip Sidney did in a darker age,
when yet the "Times" and the silver fork were not. Nay, let us make a
clean breast of all these horrors at once, it is probably true that
myriads of fair salmon were contaminated with the brutal touch of
steel in scenes of unhallowed family-festival. The only mitigating
circumstance is that such luxuries are within the reach of ten Americans
where one European sees them any nearer than through the windows of the
victualler. No, we must yield the point. We are not an elegant people,
least of all in our politics; but we do not believe it is this which
keeps our first-rate men out of political life, or that it is the result
of our democratic system.

It has been our good-fortune hitherto that our annals have been of that
happy kind which write themselves on the face of a continent and in the
general well-being of a people, rather than in those more striking and
commonly more disastrous events which attract the historian. We have
been busy, thriving, and consequently, except to some few thoughtful
people like De Tocqueville, profoundly uninteresting. We have been
housekeeping; and why does the novelist always make his bow to the hero
and heroine at the church-door, unless because he knows, that, if they
are well off, nothing more is to be made of them? Prosperity is the
forcing-house of mediocrity; and if we have ceased to produce great men,
it is because we have not, since we became a nation, been forced to pay
the terrible price at which alone they can be bought. Great men are
excellent things for a nation to have had; but a normal condition that
should give a constant succession of them would be the most wretched
possible for the mass of mankind. We have had and still have honest and
capable men in public life, brave and able officers in our army and
navy; but there has been nothing either in our civil or military history
for many years to develop any latent qualities of greatness that may
have been in them. It is only first-rate events that call for and mould
first-rate characters. If there has been less stimulus for the more
showy and striking kinds of ambition, if the rewards of a public career
have been less brilliant than in other countries, yet we have shown,
(and this is a legitimate result of democracy,) perhaps beyond the
measure of other nations, that plebeian genius for the useful which has
been chiefly demanded by our circumstances, and which does more than war
or state-craft to increase the well-being and therefore the true glory
of nations. Few great soldiers or great ministers have done so much for
their country as Whitney's cotton-gin and McCormick's reaper have done
for ours. We do not believe that our country has degenerated under
democracy, but our position as a people has been such as to turn our
energy, capacity, and accomplishment into prosaic channels. Physicians
call certain remedies, to be administered only in desperate cases,
_heroic_, and Providence reserves heroes for similar crises in the body
politic. They are not sent but in times of agony and peril. If we have
lacked the thing, it is because we have lacked the occasion for it.
And even where truly splendid qualities have been displayed, as by our
sailors in the War of 1812, and by our soldiers in Mexico, they have
been either on so small a scale as to means, or on a scene so remote
from European interests, that they have failed of anything like
cosmopolitan appreciation. Our great actors have been confined to what,
so far as Europe is concerned, has been a provincial theatre; and an
obscure stage is often as fatal to fame as the want of a poet.

But meanwhile has not this been very much the case with our critics
themselves? Leading British statesmen may be more accomplished scholars
than ours, Parliament may be more elegantly bored than Congress; but we
have a rooted conviction that commonplace thought and shallow principles
do not change their nature, even though disguised in the English of
Addison himself. Mr. Gladstone knows vastly more Greek than Mr. Chase,
but we may be allowed to doubt if he have shown himself an abler
finance-minister. Since the beginning of the present century it is safe
to say that England has produced no statesmen whom her own historians
will pronounce to be more than second- or third-rate men. The Crimean
War found her, if her own journalists were to be believed, without a
single great captain whether on land or sea, with incompetence in every
department, civil and military, and driven to every shift, even to
foreign enlistment and subsidy, to put on foot an army of a hundred
thousand men. What an opportunity for sermonizing on the failure of
representative government! In that war England lost much of her old
prestige in the eyes of the world, and felt that she had lost it. But
nothing would have been more unphilosophical than to have assumed that
England was degenerate or decrepit. It was only that her training had
been for so long exclusively mechanical and peaceful. The terrible, but
glorious, experience of the Indian Rebellion showed that Englishmen
still possessed in as full measure as ever those noble characteristics
on which they justly pride themselves, and of which a nation of kindred
blood would be the last to deny them the praise. When the heroic
qualities found their occasion, they were not wanting.

We do not say this as unduly sensitive to the unfriendly, often
insulting and always unwise, criticisms of a large proportion of the
press and the public men of England. In ordinary times we could afford
to receive them with a good-natured smile. The zeal of certain new
converts to Adam Smith in behalf of the free-trade principles whose
cross they have assumed, their hatred and contempt for all heretics to
what is their doxy and therefore according to Dean Swift orthodoxy, and
the _naïve_ unconsciousness with which they measure and weigh the
moral qualities of other nations by the yards of cotton or tons of
manufactured iron which they consume for the benefit of Manchester and
Sheffield, are certainly as comic as anything in Aristophanes. The
madness of the philosopher who deemed himself personally answerable for
the obliquity of the ecliptic has more than its match in the sense of
responsibility shown by British journalists for the good conduct of the
rest of mankind. All other kingdoms, potentates, and powers would seem
to be minors or lunatics, and they the divinely appointed guardians
under bonds to see that their unhappy wards do no harm to themselves or
others. We confess, that, in reading the "Times," we have been sometimes
unable to suppress a feeling of humorous pity for the young man who
_does_ the leading articles, and who finds himself, fresh from Oxford
or Cambridge and the writing of Latin verses, called suddenly to the
autocracy of the Universe. We must pardon a little to the _imperii
novitas_, to the necessity of having universal misinformation always on
tap in his inkstand. He summons emperors, kings, ministers, even whole
nations, to the inexorable blackboard. His is the great normal school of
philosophy, statesmanship, political economy, taste, and deportment. He
must help Cavour to a knowledge of Italy, teach Napoleon to appreciate
the peculiarities of French character, interpret the American
Constitution for Mr. Lincoln. He holds himself directly accountable to
heaven and earth, alike for the right solution of the Papal Question
and for the costume of his countrymen in foreign parts. Theology or
trousers, he is infallible in both. Gregory the Seventh's wildest
dream of a universal popedom is more than fulfilled in him. He is the
unapproachable model of quack advertisers. He pats Italy on the head and
cries, "Study constitutional government as exemplified in England, and
try Mechi's razor-strops." For France he prescribes a reduction of army
and navy, and an increased demand for Manchester prints. America he
warns against military despotism, advises a tonic of English iron, and a
compress of British cotton, as sovereign against internal rupture. What
a weight for the shoulders of our poor Johannes Factotum! He is the
_commissionnaire_ of mankind, their guide, philosopher, and friend,
ready with a disinterested opinion in matters of art or _virtù_, and
eager to furnish anything, from a counterfeit Buddhist idol to a
poisoned pickle, for a commission, varying according to circumstances.

But whatever one may think of the wisdom or the disinterestedness of the
organs of English commercial sentiment, it cannot be denied that it is
of great importance to us that the public opinion of England should be
enlightened in regard to our affairs. It would be idle to complain that
her policy is selfish; for the policy of nations is always so. It would
be foolish to forget that the sympathy of the British people has always
declared itself, sooner or later, in favor of free institutions, and of
a manly and upright policy toward other nations, or that this sympathy
has been on the whole more outspoken and enduring among Englishmen
than in any other nation of the Old World. We may justly complain that
England should see no difference between a rebel confederacy and a
nation to which she was bound by treaties and with which she had so long
been on terms of amity gradually ripening to friendship. But do not
let us be so childish as to wish for the suppression of the "Times
Correspondent," a shrewd, practised, and, for a foreigner, singularly
accurate observer, to whom we are indebted for the only authentic
intelligence from Secessia since the outbreak of the Rebellion, and
whose strictures, (however we may smile at his speculations,) if rightly
taken, may do us infinite service. Did he tell us anything about the
shameful rout of Bull Run which could not have been predicted beforehand
of raw troops, or which, indeed, General Scott himself had not
foreboded? That was not an especially American disgrace. Every
nationality under heaven was represented there, and an alarm among the
workmen on the Plains of Shinar that the foundations of the Tower
of Babel were settling could not have set in motion a more polyglot
_stampede_. The way to blot out Bull Run is as our brave Massachusetts
and Pennsylvania men did at Ball's Bluff, with their own blood, poured
only too lavishly. To our minds, the finest and most characteristic
piece of English literature, more inspiring even than Henry's speech
to his soldiers on the eve of Agincourt, is Nelson's signal, "England
expects every man to do his duty." When we have risen to that level and
are content to stand there, with no thought of self, but only of our
country and what we owe her, we need wince at no hostile sneer nor dread
any foreign combination. Granted that we have been a little boyish and
braggart, as was perhaps not unnatural in a nation hardly out of its
teens, our present trial is likely to make men of us, and to leave us,
like our British cousins, content with the pleasing consciousness
that we are the supreme of creation and under no necessity of forever
proclaiming it. Our present experience, also, of the unsoundness of
English judgment and the narrowness of English views concerning our
policy and character may have the good result of making our independence
in matters of thought and criticism as complete as our political
emancipation.

Those who have watched the tendencies of opinion among educated
Englishmen during the last ten or fifteen years could hardly be
surprised, that, when the question was presented to them as being
between aristocratic and democratic ideas, between a race of gentlemen
and a mob of shopkeepers and snobs, they should have been inclined to
sympathize with the South. There have been unmistakable symptoms of
a reaction in England, since 1848 especially, against liberalism in
politics and in favor of things as they are. We are not to wonder that
Englishmen did not stop to examine too closely the escutcheon and
pedigree of this self-patented nobility. With one or two not very
striking exceptions, like Lord Fairfax and Washington, (who was of kin
to one of the few British peers that have enjoyed the distinction of
being hanged,) the entire population of America is descended from the
middle and lower classes in the old countries. The difference has been,
that the man at the South who raised cotton and sold it has gradually
grown to consider himself a superior being by comparison with his own
negroes, while the man at the North who raised potatoes and sold them
has been content with the old Saxon notion that he was as good as his
neighbors. The descendant of the Huguenot tradesman or artisan, if in
Boston, builds Faneuil Hall or founds Bowdoin College; if in Charleston,
he deals in negroes and persuades himself that he is sprung from the
loins of Baldwin, King of Jerusalem. The mass of the population at the
South is more intensely democratic, so far as white men are concerned,
than the same class at the North.

There is a little inconsistency in the English oracles in this respect;
for, while they cannot conceal a kind of sympathy with the Southern
Rebels in what is supposed to be their war upon democratic institutions,
they tell us that they would heartily espouse our cause, if we would but
proclaim a crusade against Slavery. Suppose the Squires of England had
got up a rebellion because societies had been formed for the abolition
of the Corn-Laws; which would the "Times" have gone for putting down
first, the rebellion or the laws? England professes not to be able to
understand the principles of this wicked, this unholy war, as she calls
it. Yet she was not so slow to understand the necessity of putting down
the Irish Insurrection of 1848, or the Indian Rebellion ten years later.
She thinks it impossible for the Government of the United States to
subdue and hold provinces so vast as the Cotton States of America; yet
she neither foreboded nor as yet has found any impracticability in
renewing and retaining her hold on the vaster provinces of British
India,--provinces inhabited, all of them, by races alien in blood,
religion, and manners, and many by a population greatly exceeding that
of our Southern States, brave, warlike, and, to some extent, trained in
European tactics. To have abandoned India would have been to surrender
the greatness of England. English writers and speakers, in discussing
our affairs, overlook wholly the fact that a rebellion may be crushed by
anything except force of arms. Among a people of the same lineage and
the same language, but yesterday contented under the same Constitution,
and in an age when a victory in the stock-market is of more consequence
than successes in the field, political and economical necessities may be
safely reckoned on as slow, but effective, allies of the old order of
things. The people of this country are too much used to sudden and
seemingly unaccountable political revolutions not to be able to forfeit
their consistency without any loss of self-respect; and the rapidity
with which the Southern Rebellion was forced up to its present
formidable proportions, mainly by party management, is not unlikely to
find its parallel in suddenness of collapse. But whether this prove to
be the fact or not, nay, even if the reëstablishment of the Union had
been hopeless from the first, a government which should have abandoned
its capital, which should have flinched from the first and plainest duty
of self-preservation, which should have admitted by a cowardly surrender
that force was law, that treason was constitutional, and fraud
honorable, would have deserved and received the contempt of all
civilized nations, of England among the first.

There is no such profound and universal alienation, still less such an
antagonism in political theory, between the people of the Northern and
Southern parts of the Union, as some English journals would infer from
the foolish talk of a few conceited persons in South Carolina and
Virginia. There is no question between landholders on the one side and
manufacturers and merchants on the other. The bulk of the population,
North and South, are holders of land, while the average size of the
holdings of land under cultivation is probably greater in the Free than
in the Slave States. The largest single estate in the country is, we
believe, in Illinois. Generalizations are commonly unsafe in proportion
as they are tempting; and this, together with its pretty twin-brother
about Cavaliers and Roundheads, would seem to have been hatched from the
same egg and in the same mare's-nest. If we should take the statements
of Dr. Cullen and Mr. Smith O'Brien for our premises, instead of the
manifest facts of the case, our conclusion in regard to Ireland would
be an anachronism which no Englishman would allow to be within half
a century of the actual condition of things. And yet could the Irish
revolutionists of thirteen years ago have had the advantage of a
ministry like that of Mr. Buchanan,--had every Irish officer and soldier
been false to his honor and his allegiance,--had Ireland been supplied
and England stripped of arms and munitions of war by the connivance
of the Government,--the riot of 1848 might have become a rebellion as
formidable as our own in everything but territorial proportions. Equally
untrue is the theory that our Tariff is the moving cause of Southern
discontent. Louisiana certainly would hardly urge this as the reason of
her secession; and if the Rebel States could succeed in establishing
their independence, they would find more difficulty in raising a
national revenue by direct taxes than the North, and would be driven
probably to a tariff more stringent than that of the present United
States. If we are to generalize at all, it must be on broader and
safer grounds. Prejudices and class-interests may occasion temporary
disturbances in the current of human affairs, but they do not
permanently change the course of the channel. That is governed by
natural and lasting causes, and commerce, in spite of Southern
Commercial Conventions, will no more flow up-hill than water. It is
possible, we will not say probable, that our present difficulties may
result to the advantage both of England and America: to England, by
giving her a real hold upon India as the source of her cotton-supply,
and to America by making the North the best customer for the staple of
the South.

We believe the immediate cause of the Southern Rebellion to be something
far deeper than any social prejudice or political theory on the part of
slaveholders, or any general apprehension of danger to their peculiar
property. That cause is a moral one, and is to be found in the
recklessness, the conceit, the sophistry, the selfishness, which are
necessarily engendered by Slavery itself. A generation of men educated
to justify a crime against the Law of Nature because it is profitable,
will hardly be restrained long by any merely political obligation, when
they have been persuaded to see their advantage in the breach of it. Why
not, then, at once lay the axe to the root of the mischief? Why did not
England attack Irish Catholicism in 1848? Why does not Louis Napoleon
settle the Papal Question with a stroke of his pen? Because the action
of a constitutional government is limited by constitutional obligations.
Because every government, even if despotic, must be guided by policy
rather than abstract right or reason. Because, in our own case, so much
pains have been taken to persuade the people of some peculiar sanctity
in human property, and to teach them the duty of yielding their moral
instincts to their duty as citizens, that even the Free States are by no
means ripe for a crusade. The single and simple duty of the Government
is to put down resistance to its legitimate authority; it meddles,
and can meddle, with no claim of right except the monstrous one of
rebellion. An absolute ruler in advance of his people has been more
than once obliged to abandon his reforms to save his throne; a popular
government which should put itself in the same position might endanger
not only its own hold upon power, (a minor consideration,) but, in such
a crisis as ours, the very frame of society itself. We must admit
that the administration of Mr. Lincoln has sometimes seemed to us
over-cautious; that, while it has not scrupled, and wisely has not
scrupled, to go behind the letter of the law to its spirit, in dealing
with open abettors of treason in the Free States, because they were
perverting private right to public wrong, it has been as scrupulous of
meddling with a rebel's legal right in man, though that man were being
used for a weapon or a tool against itself, as if to touch it were
anathema. The divinity, which is only a hedge about a king, becomes a
wall of triple brass about a slaveholder.

But while we should prefer a more daring, or at least a more definite
policy on the part of the Government, we do not think the time has come
for turning the war into a crusade. The example of saints, martyrs,
and heroes, who could disregard consequences because the consequences
concerned only themselves and their own life, is for the private man,
and not for the statesman who is responsible for the complex life of the
commonwealth. To carry on a war we must have money, to get money we must
have the confidence of the money-holders, who would not advance a dollar
on a pledge of the finest sentiments in the world. There is something
instructive in the fate of that mob of enthusiasts who followed the
banner of Walter the Penniless, a name of evil omen. It saves trouble to
say that we must fight the Devil with fire; though, when the Devil is
incarnate in human beings, that policy has never been very successful
at Smithfield or elsewhere. But in trying the fiery cure of a servile
insurrection, we should run the risk of converting the whole white
population of the South into devils of the most desperate sort, with
whom any kind of reconciliation, even truce, would be impossible.

We hope and believe that the end of this war will see the snake of
Slavery scotched, if not killed. Events move,--slowly, to be sure, but
they move,--and the thought of the people moves with them unconsciously
to fulfil the purposes of God. Government can do little, perhaps, in
controlling them; but it has no right to the power it holds, if it has
not the insight and the courage to make use of them at the right moment.
If the supreme question should arise of submitting to rebellion or of
crushing it in a common ruin with the wrong that engendered it, we
believe neither the Government nor the people would falter. The time for
answering that question may be nearer than we dream; but meanwhile
we would not hasten what would at best be a terrible necessity, and
justifiable only as such. We believe this war is to prepare the way for
the extinction of Slavery by the action of economical causes, and we
should prefer that solution to one of fire and blood. Already the system
has received a death-blow in Maryland and Missouri. In Western Virginia
it is practically extinct. If the war is carried on with vigor, it
may become so before long in East Tennessee. Texas should be taken
possession of and held at any cost, and a territory capable of supplying
the world with cotton to any conceivable amount thrown open to free
labor.

However regarded, this war into which we have been driven is, in fact, a
war against Slavery. But emancipation is not and could not be the object
of the war. It will be time enough to consider the question as one of
military necessity when our armies advance. To proclaim freedom from the
banks of the Potomac to an unarmed, subject, and dispirited race, when
the whole white population is in arms, would be as futile as impolitic.
Till we can equip our own army, it is idle to talk of arming the slaves;
and to incite them to insurrection without arms, and without the
certainty of support at first and protection afterward, would be merely
sacrificing them to no good end. It is true, the war may lack the ardent
stimulus that would for a time be imparted to it by a direct and obvious
moral purpose. But we doubt whether the impulse thus gained would hold
out long against the immense practical obstacles with which it would be
confronted and the chill of disappointment which is sure to follow an
attempt to realize ideal good by material means. Nor would our gain in
this respect more than compensate for the strength which would be added
to the rebels by despair. It is a question we have hardly the heart to
discuss, where our wishes, our hopes, almost our faith in God, are on
one side, our understanding and experience on the other.

Nor are we among those who would censure the Government for undue
leniency. If democracy has made us a good-natured people, it is a strong
argument in its favor, and we need have no fear that the evil passions
of men will ever be buried beyond hope of resurrection. We would not
have this war end without signal and bitter retribution, and especially
for all who have been guilty of deliberate treachery; for that is a kind
of baseness that should be extirpated at any cost. If, in moments of
impatience, we have wished for something like the rough kingship
of Jackson, cooler judgment has convinced us that the strength of
democratic institutions will be more triumphantly vindicated by success
under an honest Chief Magistrate of average capacity than under a man
exceptional, whether by force of character or contempt of precedent.

Is this, then, to be a commonplace war, a prosaic and peddling quarrel
about Cotton? Shall there be nothing to enlist enthusiasm or kindle
fanaticism? Are we to have no Cause like that for which our English
republican ancestors died so gladly on the field, with such dignity
on the scaffold?--no Cause that shall give us a hero, who knows but a
Cromwell? To our minds, though it may be obscure to Englishmen who look
on Lancashire as the centre of the universe, no army was ever enlisted
for a nobler service than ours. Not only is it national life and a
foremost place among nations that is at stake, but the vital principle
of Law itself, the august foundation on which the very possibility of
government, above all of self-government, rests as in the hollow of
God's own hand. If democracy shall prove itself capable of having
raised twenty millions of people to a level of thought where they can
appreciate this cardinal truth, and can believe no sacrifice too great
for its defence and establishment, then democracy will have vindicated
itself beyond all chance of future cavil. Here, we think, is a Cause the
experience of whose vicissitudes and the grandeur of whose triumph
will be able to give us heroes and statesmen. The Slave-Power must be
humbled, must be punished,--so humbled and so punished as to be a
warning forever; but Slavery is an evil transient in its cause and its
consequences, compared with those which would result from unsettling the
faith of a nation in its own manhood, and setting a whole generation of
men hopelessly adrift in the formless void of anarchy.



REVIEWS AND LITERARY NOTICES.


_The Armies of Europe: Comprising Descriptions in Detail of the Military
Systems of England, France, Russia, Prussia, Austria, and Sardinia,
adapting their Advantages to all Arms of the United States Service; and
embodying the Report of Observations in Europe during the Crimean War,
as Military Commissioner from the United Stales Government in 1855-56_.
By GEORGE B. McCLELLAN, Major-General U.S. Army. Originally published
under the Direction of the War Department, by Order of Congress.
Illustrated with a Fine Steel Portrait and Several Hundred Engravings.
Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott & Co. 8vo.

It is an interesting study to examine into the causes or motives which
have produced military books of the higher order; for we are thus
vouchsafed an insight into the writer's genius, and an intelligence of
the circumstances amidst which he wrote, and of which he was often an
important controller. The Archduke Charles wrote his "Grundsätze der
Strategie," etc., as a vindication of his splendid movements in 1796,
against the French armies of the Rhine and the Sambre-et-Meuse; and
it has remained at once a monument to his achievements and a standard
text-book in military science. Marmont, the Marshal Duke of Ragusa,
collecting the principles of the art of war from "long and frequent
conversations with Napoleon, twenty campaigns, and more than half a
century of experience," has given us, in his "Esprit des Institutions
Militaires," a condensed view of his own military life, as complete, if
not as pleasantly diffuse, as his large volumes of "Mémoires." Jomini,
from an extended experience, and a study of the genius of Napoleon,
which his Russian position could never induce him to undervalue,
has produced those standard works which must always remain the
treasure-houses of military knowledge. We admire veracity, but let no
soldier confess that he has not read the "Vie Politique et Militaire,"
and the "Précis de l'Art de la Guerre." But, in all these cases, the
_litera scripta_ has been but the closing act,--the signing of the name
to History's bead-roll of passing greatness,--the _testamentum_ of the
old soldier whose _personalty_ is worth bequeathing to the world.

The work before us, although of great value and present importance, is
of a very different character; as a glance at the circumstances
which produced it will show. It has, however, we would fondly hope,
anticipated for its youthful author a greater success.

In 1855, Mr. Jefferson Davis, then Secretary of War, sent a military
commission to Europe, composed of Major Delafield of the Engineers,
Major Mordecai of the Ordnance, and Captain McClellan, just promoted
from a Lieutenancy of Engineers to a Captaincy in the Cavalry. Major
Delafield was charged with the special subject of Engineering; Major
Mordecai with Ordnance and Gunnery; and to Captain McClellan was
assigned the duty of a general report upon the Organization of Armies,
with a special hearing upon the formation of Infantry and Cavalry. Each
of these gentlemen has written a book, and that of McClellan, originally
published as a Report to the Secretary of War,--in unmanageable quarto,
and at a more unmanageable price,--is now issued, in the volume before
us, with the very appropriate title, "The Armies of Europe," and in a
convenient form for the eye and the purse.

Whatever of technical value the other reports may have,--and they
are, we doubt not, excellent,--McClellan's is the only one of popular
interest, the only one of rounded proportions and general importance;
and if it also contain much addressed to the professional soldier, it
must be remembered that the country is now being educated up to the
intelligent perusal of such books.

Travelling in all the principal countries of Europe,--Montesquieu's
assertion is now verified, that "only great nations can have large
armies,"--the commission met everywhere proper facilities for
observation. McClellan made full notes upon the spot, procured all the
books of Tactics, Regulations, Military Laws, etc., and provided himself
with such models of arms, equipments, saddles, bridles, tents, etc.,
as were easily transported. Operations of a difficult and laborious
character, such as carrying horses on shipboard, are fully demonstrated
with diagrams. Marches, manoeuvres, detachments, battles, are fully
disclosed. Such investigations, when the French, Italian, or German
language was the medium, were comparatively easy; but in order to give a
proper comparative view, he was obliged also to study Russian, which he
did successfully; by this means he has given us a masterly summary
of the Russian system, with its immense battalions, its thousands of
military schools, and its Cossack skirmishers, of wonderful endurance
and formidable fierceness.

The volume is a complete description in detail of the principal armies,
and of wider scope than would be expected; for, while the author has
been very full upon the special topics assigned him, which did not
include the duties of Engineers and Engineer Troops, it is easy to see
everywhere that these latter would intrude themselves with the siren
charms of a first love, and nothing but the record could dissolve the
spell. Indeed, he urgently recommends to the Government the organization
of Engineer troops, specifying their equipments, points of instruction,
and duties. In this department, his description of Military Bridges is
of great value. Incident to the faithful descriptions contained in the
Report, and by far the most valuable feature of the work, we would
specify his comments upon all that he saw. They are manly and bold, but
_raisonnés_ and just. They give token of that originality of thought
which we call genius. The opening chapter on the Crimean War is the only
fair critique of that gallant, but mismanaged campaign we remember to
have seen. The author's object is to exhibit the movements of both
Allies and Russians

  "As truth will paint them, and as bards will
      not."

When MeClellan's work first appeared, the "Athenaeum" took up spear
and shield; but, _selon conseil_, McClellan declined to reply, and the
champion fought the air, without injuring the record.

A prime interest attaches to this work, because, unconsciously, the
author has given us, in advance, his repertory of instruments and
principles. From the written word we may anticipate the brilliant
achievement, while in every case the action may be tested by a reference
to the recorded principle.

The retirement of Scott places McClellan in a position where he will
have neither partner nor censor in his plans and movements. The graceful
and appropriate manner in which the old veteran leaves the field, which
age and infirmity will no longer allow him to command, is but a fitting
prelude to the military rule of one upon whose brow the dew of youth
still rests, and who brings to his responsible task the highest
qualities, combined with a veneration for the noble virtues and an
emulation of the magnanimous career of his predecessor, at once
honorable and inspiring.


_Spare Hours_. By JOHN BROWN, M.D., Author of "Rab and his Friends."
Boston: Ticknor & Fields. 16mo.

It has not yet been satisfactorily explained why doctors are such shrewd
and genial men, and, when they appear in the literary field, such
charming writers. This is one of the curious problems of the day, and
undoubtedly holds its own answer in solution, but has not yet seen fit
to make an observable precipitate. Perhaps this is because the times are
stirring, and the facts cannot settle. A delightful exhibition is made
of something extremely good to take, which we swallow unscrupulously:
in other words, we can only guess how many scruples, and of what, this
blessed medicine for the mind contains. As it is eminently fit for every
American to have an hypothesis upon every subject, we might now, with
proper recklessness, rush into print with a few unhesitating suggestions
upon this singular phenomenon of doctors gifted and graceful with the
pen.

We observe, at any rate, that it is something independent of climate and
locality, and not at all endemic. Otherwise it might be true that the
restless and inquisitive climate of the Atlantic coast, which wears the
ordinary Yankee to leanness, and "establishes a raw" upon the nervous
system, does soften to acuteness, mobility, and racy corrugation in the
breast of its natural ally, the Doctor. For autocratic tempers are bland
towards each other, and murderous characteristics can mutually impart
something homologous to the refining interchange of beautiful souls.
Therefore we do not yet know how much our climate is indebted to our
doctors. It may be suspected that they understand each other, as the
quack and the fool do, whose interests are identical.

But this will not account for the literary talent of the doctors. For
they write books in England and Scotland, in France and temperate
Germany, in every latitude and _with_ a good deal; they are, however,
defective in longitude, which is remarkable, when we consider how they
will protract their cases. With their pens they are prompt, clean,
humane in the matter of ink, their first intention almost always
successful, their thought expelled by natural cerebral contraction
without stimulus, (we speak of ergot, but of "old rye" we know nothing,)
their passion running to its crisis in the minimum of time, and their
affections altogether pleasanter than anything of the kind they accuse
us of having, as well as less lingering. But with their pills--well, we
all know how our ills are nursed by medicine. Is it a relief that their
precept is less tedious than their practice? It is good policy for us,
perhaps, if our minds are to be under treatment from their books,--and
it grows plainer every day that no person of mind can well escape from
them,--that our bodies should continue subject to their boluses. Thus
we may die daily, but our incorporeal part is better acclimated in the
invisible world of truths and realities.

No,--the doctors owe nothing to climate or race. The intelligent ones
are everywhere broad, acute, tender, and religious. They uniformly see
what is natural and what is morbid, what is fact and what is fancy, what
is cutaneous and what is vital, in men and women. They stand on unreal,
conventional terms with nothing. They know healthy from inflamed
tissues, and run down, grab, and give one dexterous fatal shake to a
tissue of lies. One of Dr. Brown's terriers is not more swift, exact,
and uncompromising after vermin. This excellent sense for unvarnished
realities has been attributed by some to their habit of visiting so many
interiors--of men and of their houses--whose swell-fronts are pervious
to the sincerity of pain. We never see a doctor's chaise anchored at a
door but we imagine the doctor taking in freight up-stairs. In these
days he is beginning to receive more than he gives. Let no sarcastic
person allude to doctors' fees. We mean that the physician, whose
humanity and intelligence are broad diplomas, on presenting which the
doors of hearts and houses open with a welcome, enters into the choicest
field of his education and research, where his tender observation walks
the wards of thought, feeling, and motive, to amass the facts of health
and suffering, to be refined at the true drama of pathos, to be ennobled
by the spectacle of fair and lofty spiritual traits, to be advised of
the weaknesses which he learns to touch lightly with his caustic, while
his knowing and friendly look deprecates all excess of pain. It is a
school of shrewdness, gentleness, and faith.

But a rich subject is here, altogether too wide for a book-notice, and
worthy of deliberate, but enthusiastic treatment. Dr. John Brown of
Edinburgh has consulted his own interior, and frequented those of
his diocese, to some purpose. The pieces in this volume, which the
publishers have selected from the two volumes of "Horae Subsecivae,"
omitting the more professional papers, are full of humor, tenderness,
and common sense. They betray only occasionally, in a technical way,
that the author is a disciple, as well as admirer, of Sydenham, and his
own countryman, Cullen. But they overflow with the best specifics of the
healing art, shrewdness, independence, nice observation; they have a
woman's kindness and a man's sturdiness. They honor human nature not the
less because the writer knows how to manage it, to raise a smile at its
absurdities, to rally, pique, and guide it into health and good-humor.
He is very clever with the edge-tools in his surgeon's-case; he whips
you out an excrescence before you are quite aware that he meditated
an operation, and you find that he had chloroformed you with a shrewd
writer's best anaesthetic, a humorous and genial temper.

There is a great deal of nice writing here. Happy words come at a call
and occupy their inevitable places. Now and then a Scotch word, with a
real terrier phiz and the best qualities of "black and tan," gives the
page a local flavor which we should not like to miss. But the writing
is not provincial. There is Scotch character everywhere: the keenness,
intensity, reverence, shaggy humor, sly fun, and just a touch of the
intolerance. The somewhat literal regard for Scripture, the awe, and the
unquestioning, childlike way of being religious, with the independence
of Kirk and Sessions and National Establishments, all belong to the best
intelligence of Edinburgh. But the literary felicity, the scholarship,
the various reading, the cultivated appreciation of books, men, and
systems, while they make us admire--as a good many bright volumes
printed in Edinburgh have done before--the mental power and refinement
which that most picturesque of Northern cities nourishes, do still
belong to the great commonwealth of letters, remind us not of wynds and
closes, and run away from the littleness of time and place.

If the reader would understand the difference between the sentimental
and the pathetic treatment of a subject, let him see in "Rab and his
Friends" how the pen of Dr. Brown follows the essential lines of that
most pure and tender of all stories. In doing so he has given us a new
creation in Ailie Noble. Not a line can be effectively added to that
ideal narrative of a true history, not a word can be pushed from its
place. The whole treatment is at once delicate, incisive, tender,
reserved, and dramatic. And after reading it,--with or without tears,
according to your capacity for dogged resistance to a distended
lachrymal duct,--you will be conscious of bearing away a sweet and
subduing impression, like that which a rare friend can sometimes give,
which lingers many days.

Let nobody omit to read the "Letter to John Cairns, D.D.," because he
does not care for J.C. or know who he is. It contains some reminiscences
by Dr. Brown of his father, a noted clergyman, of whose life and
character Dr. Cairns had prepared a memoir. In this, and in the Essay
upon Dr. Chalmers, Dr. Brown shows his capacity to observe and
portray human moods and characteristics. There are his usual literary
excellences, brought to the service of a keen and faithfully reporting
eye, and his fine humane qualities, his tenderness, reverence, and
humor.

This volume is one of the best ventures of the literary year.


_Cecil Dreeme_. By THEODORE WINTHROP. Boston: Ticknor & Fields. 16mo.

In the death of Major Winthrop, at the promising commencement of his
military career, the nation lost one of its purest, noblest, and most
capable spirits. His industry, sagacity, and intrepidity all rested on a
firm basis of fixed principle and deep enthusiasm; and had he lived, we
have little doubt that both his moral and practical power would have
been felt among the palpable forces of the country. In the articles he
contributed to this magazine, describing his brief military experience,
every reader must have recognized the singular brightness of his mind
and the singular joyousness of his courage. Powers which, in meditation,
worked at the bidding of pensive or melancholy sentiments, seemed to
be braced by action into unwonted healthiness and hilarity; and had he
survived the experience of the present war, there can be little doubt
that his intellect and imagination would, by contact with events, have
been developed to their full capacity, and found expression in literary
works of remarkable power.

"Cecil Dreeme" is one of several novels he wrote before the war broke
out, and it conveys a striking impression of his genius and disposition.
The utmost sensitiveness and delicacy of moral sense were combined in
him with a rough delight in all the manifestations of manly strength;
and these two tendencies of his nature are fitly embodied and
exquisitely harmonized in the characters of Cecil Dreeme and Robert
Byng. They are opposites which by their very nature are necessarily
attracted to each other. The obstacle to their mental and moral union
is found in a third person, Densdeth, in whom manly strength and genius
have been corrupted by selfishness and sensuality into the worst form
of spiritual evil. This person is simply abhorred by Cecil, while Byng
finds in him something which tempts appetite, piques curiosity, develops
sensuous feeling, and provokes pride, as well as something which excites
moral disgust and loathing. Byng's distrustful love for Emma Denman
admirably represents this stage of his moral experience.

Densdeth is undoubtedly the central character of the book. It proves
its creator to be a true spiritual as well as physical descendant of
President Edwards; and not even his ancestor has shown more vividly the
"exceeding sinfulness of sin." Densdeth is one of those evil natures
in whom delight in evil pleasures has subsided into a delight in evil
itself, and a desire to communicate it to others. He has the diabolical
power of calling out the latent evil in all natures with whom his own
comes in contact, and he corrupts, not so much by example, as by a
direct communication of the corrupt spiritual life of his individual
being. He is an accomplished devil, wearing the guise of a New-York man
of fashion and fortune,--a devil such as tempts every person thrown into
the vortex of our daily commonplace life. Every pure sentiment, noble
aspiration, and manly instinct, every natural affection, gentle feeling,
and religious principle, is tainted by his contaminating companionship.
He infuses a subtle skepticism of the reality of goodness by the mere
magnetism of his evil presence. Persons who have been guarded against
the usual contrivances by which the conventional Devil works his wonders
find themselves impotent before the fascinations of Densdeth. They
follow while they detest him, and are at once his victims and his
accomplices. In those whose goodness, like that of Cecil Dreeme, is
founded on purity of sentiment and strength of principle, he excites
unmitigated abhorrence and strenuous opposition; but on all those whose
excellence is "respectable" rather than vital, who are good by the
felicity of their circumstances rather than the force of their
conscience, he exercises a fascination almost irresistible. To
everybody, indeed, who has in him any latent evil not overbalanced by
the habitual performance of positive duties, Densdeth's companionship
is morally blighting. The character, fearful in its way as the
Mephistopheles of Goethe, is represented with considerable artistic
skill.

Though the most really prominent person in the drama, he is, in the
representation, kept in the background,--a cynical, sneering, brilliant
demi-devil, who appears only when some plot against innocence is
beginning its wiles or approaching its consummation.

The incidents of the novel occur in some of the best-known localities
of New York. Nobody can mistake Chuzzlewit Hotel and Chrysalis College.
Every traveller has put up at the first and visited some literary
or artistic friend at the second. Indeed, Winthrop seems to have
deliberately chosen the localities of his story with the special
purpose of showing that passions almost as terrible as those which are
celebrated in the tragedies of Aeschylus and Sophocles may rage in the
ordinary lodging-houses of New York. He has succeeded in throwing an
atmosphere of mystery over places which are essentially commonplace;
and he has done it by the intensity with which he has conceived and
represented the internal thoughts, struggles, and emotions of the men
and women by whom these edifices of brick and stone are inhabited.

Though a clear narrator, when the story required clear narration,
Winthrop perfectly understood the art of narrating by implication and
allusion. He paints distinctly and minutely, not omitting a single
detail, when the occasion demands such faithful representation of real
facts and localities; but he has also the power of flashing his meaning
by suggestive hints which the most labored description and explication
could not make more effective. He makes the mind of the reader work
sympathetically with his own in building up the idea he seeks to convey.
Crimes which are nameless are mutually understood by this refined
communion between author and reader. The mystery of the plot is not
directly explained, but each party seems to bring, as in private
conversation, his individual sagacity to bear upon the right
interpretation.

The style of the book is admirable. It is brief almost to abruptness.
The words are few, and are crammed with all the meaning they can hold.
There is not a page which does not show that the writer is an economist
of expression, and desirous of conveying his matter with the slightest
possible expenditure of ink. Charles Reade himself does not condense
with a more fretful impatience of all circumlocution and a profounder
reliance on the absolute import of single words.

We might easily refer to particular scenes from this book, illustrative
of the author's descriptive and representative powers. Among many which
might be noticed, we will allude to only two,--that in which Cecil is
revived from his "sleep of death," and that in the opera-house, where
Byng is apprised of the guilt of Emma Denman. Nobody can read either
without feeling that in the disastrous fight of Great Bethel we lost a
great novelist as well as a chivalrous soldier and a noble man.

       *       *       *       *       *


RECENT AMERICAN PUBLICATIONS

RECEIVED BY THE EDITORS OF THE ATLANTIC MONTHLY.


The Gypsy's Prophecy. A Tale of Real Life. By Mrs. Emma D.E.N.
Southworth. Philadelphia. T.B. Peterson & Brothers. 12mo. pp. 455.
$1.25.

The Works of Charles Dickens. Household Edition. Illustrated from
Drawings by F.O.C. Darley and John Gilbert. Great Expectations. 2 vols.
New York. James G. Gregory. 16mo. pp. 336, 334. $1.50.

The Silver Cord. A Novel. By Shirley Brooks. With Illustrations by John
Tenniel. New York. Harper & Brothers. 8vo. pp. 268. $1.00.

Astoria; or, Anecdotes of an Enterprise beyond the Rocky Mountains. By
Washington Irving. Author's Revised Edition. New York. G.P. Putnam. 8vo.
pp. viii., 519. $1.50.

Revised Regulations for the Army of the United States, 1861. With a Full
Index. By Authority of the War Department. Philadelphia. J.B. Lippincott
& Co. 8vo. pp. 559. $2.00.

Manual of Internal Rules and Regulations for Men-of-War. By Captain U.P.
Levy, U.S.N., late Flag-Officer commanding United States Naval Forces in
the Mediterranean; Originator of the Abolition of Corporal Punishment in
the United States Navy. New York. D. Van Nostrand. 18mo. pp. 70. 30 cts.

The Rejected Stone: or, Insurrection _vs._ Resurrection in America. By a
Native of Virginia. Boston. Walker, Wise, & Co. 16mo. pp. 132. 50 cts.

Sermons preached in the Chapel of Harvard College. By James Walker, D.D.
Boston. Ticknor & Fields. 12mo. pp. vi., 397. $1.50.

Lady Maud, the Wonder of Kingswood Chase; or, Earl Gower; or, The
Secret Marriage. By Pierce Egan. Only Complete and Unabridged Edition.
Philadelphia. T.B. Peterson & Brothers. 8vo. pp. 365. $1.25.

The Works of Francis Bacon, Baron of Verulam, Viscount St. Albans, and
Lord High Chancellor of England. Collected and edited by James Spedding,
M.A., of Trinity College, Cambridge; Robert Leslie Ellis, M.A.,
late Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge; and Douglas Denon Heath,
Barrister-at-Law, late Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge. Vol. II.
Boston. Brown & Taggard. 12mo. pp. 503. $1.50.

Cecil Dreeme. By Theodore Winthrop. With a Biographical Introduction by
George William Curtis. Boston. Ticknor & Fields. 16mo. pp. 360. $1.00.

Chronicle of the Conquest of Granada. From the Manuscripts of Fray
Antonio Agapida. By Washington Irving. Author's Revised Edition. New
York. G.P. Putnam. 12mo. pp. 548. $1.50.

Woman's Rights under the Law. In Three Lectures, delivered in Boston,
January, 1861. By Caroline H. Dall, Author of "Woman's Right to Labor,"
"Historical Pictures Retouched," etc., etc. Boston. Walker, Wise, & Co.
16mo. pp. xx., 165. 50 cts.

Eugénie Grandet; or, The Miser's Daughter. From the French of Honoré de
Balzac. Translated by O.W. Wight and F.B. Goodrich. New York. Rudd &
Carleton. 12mo. pp. 309. $1.00.

Record of an Obscure Man. Boston. Ticknor & Fields. 16mo. pp. 216. 75
cts.

Essays. By the late George Brimley, M.A., Librarian of Trinity College,
Cambridge. With an Introduction by R.H. Stoddard. New York. Rudd &
Carleton. 12mo. pp. 409. $1.25.

The Cloister and the Hearth; or, Maid, Wife, and Widow. A Matter-of-Fact
Romance. By Charles Reade. New York. Rudd & Carleton. 8vo. pp. 256.
$1.00.

The Last Travels of Ida Pfeiffer: Inclusive of a Visit to Madagascar.
With an Autobiographical Introduction. Translated by H.W. Dulcken. New
York. Harper & Brothers. 12mo. pp. 281. $1.25.

Patriotic and Heroic Eloquence: A Book for the Patriot, Statesman, and
Student. New York. J.G. Gregory. 12mo. pp. 264. 75 cts.

Great Expectations. By Charles Dickens. Philadelphia. T.B. Peterson &
Brothers. 8vo. paper, pp. 108. 25 cts.

Deep-Sea Soundings and Explorations of the Bottom: or, The Ultimate
Analysis of Human Knowledge. By A.B. Johnson. Printed for Private
Distribution. 16mo. pp. 78.

The Armies of Europe: Comprising Descriptions in Detail of the Military
Systems of England, France, Russia, Prussia, Austria, and Sardinia,
adapting their Advantages to all Arms of the United States Service; and
embodying the Report of Observations in Europe during the Crimean War,
as Military Commissioner from the United States Government in 1835-56.
By George B. McClellan, Major-General United States Army. Originally
published under the Direction of the War Department, by Order of
Congress. Illustrated with Several Hundred Engravings. Philadelphia,
J.B. Lippincott & Co. 8vo. pp. 499. $3.00.

Tales of a Grandfather. History of Scotland. By Sir Walter Scott, Bart.
With Notes. In Six Volumes. Boston. Ticknor & Fields. 16mo. Vols. I. and
II. pp. xii., 301; vi., 301. per vol. 75 cts.

The Okavango River. A Narrative of Travel, Exploration, and Adventure.
By Charles John Andersson. With Maps and Illustrations. New York. Harper
& Brothers. 8vo. pp. 414. $2.00.





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 08, No. 50, December, 1861" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



Home