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Title: The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 09, No. 52, February, 1862
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 09, No. 52, February, 1862" ***

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. IX. FEBRUARY, 1862.--NO. LII

       *       *       *       *       *


BATTLE HYMN OF THE REPUBLIC.


  Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord:
  He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;
  He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword:
    His truth is marching on.

  I have seen Him in the watch-fires of a hundred circling camps;
  They have builded Him an altar in the evening dews and damps;
  I can read His righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps:
    His day is marching on.

  I have read a fiery gospel writ in burnished rows of steel:
  "As ye deal with my contemners, so with you my grace shall deal;
  Let this Hero, born of woman, crush the serpent with his heel,
    Since God is marching on."

  He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat;
  He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment-seat:
  Oh, be swift, my soul, to answer Him! be jubilant, my feet!
    Our God is marching on.

  In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
  With a glory in his bosom that transfigures you and me:
  As he died to make men holy, let us die to make men free,
    While God is marching on.



AGNES OF SORRENTO


CHAPTER XX

FLORENCE AND HER PROPHET


It was drawing towards evening, as two travellers, approaching Florence
from the south, checked their course on the summit of one of the circle
of hills which command a view of the city, and seemed to look down upon
it with admiration. One of these was our old friend Father Antonio, and
the other the Cavalier. The former was mounted on an ambling mule, whose
easy pace suited well with his meditative habits; while the other reined
in a high-mettled steed, who, though now somewhat jaded under the
fatigue of a long journey, showed by a series of little lively motions
of his ears and tail, and by pawing the ground impatiently, that he had
the inexhaustible stock of spirits which goes with good blood.

"There she lies, my Florence," said the monk, stretching his hands out
with enthusiasm. "Is she not indeed a sheltered lily growing fair among
the hollows of the mountains? Little she may be, Sir, compared to old
Rome; but every inch of her is a gem,--every inch!"

And, in truth, the scene was worthy of the artist's enthusiasm. All
the overhanging hills that encircle the city with their silvery
olive-gardens and their pearl-white villas were now lighted up with
evening glory. The old gray walls of the convents of San Miniato and the
Monte Oliveto were touched with yellow; and even the black obelisks of
the cypresses in their cemeteries had here and there streaks and dots
of gold, fluttering like bright birds among their gloomy branches. The
distant snow-peaks of the Apennines, which even in spring long wear
their icy mantles, were shimmering and changing like an opal ring
with tints of violet, green, blue, and rose, blended in inexpressible
softness by that dreamy haze which forms the peculiar feature of Italian
skies.

In this loving embrace of mountains lay the city, divided by the Arno as
by a line of rosy crystal barred by the graceful arches of its bridges.
Amid the crowd of palaces and spires and towers rose central and
conspicuous the great Duomo, just crowned with that magnificent dome
which was then considered a novelty and a marvel in architecture, and
which Michel Angelo looked longingly back upon when he was going to Rome
to build that more wondrous orb of Saint Peter's. White and stately by
its side shot up the airy shaft of the Campanile; and the violet vapor
swathing the whole city in a tender indistinctness, these two striking
objects, rising by their magnitude far above it, seemed to stand alone
in a sort of airy grandeur.

And now the bells of the churches were sounding the Ave Maria, filling
the air with sweet and solemn vibrations, as if angels were passing to
and fro overhead, harping as they went; and ever and anon the great bell
of the Campanile came pulsing in with a throb of sound of a quality so
different that one hushed one's breath to hear. It might be fancied to
be the voice of one of those kingly archangels that one sees drawn by
the old Florentine religious artists,--a voice grave and unearthly, and
with a plaintive undertone of divine mystery.

The monk and the cavalier bent low in their saddles, and seemed to join
devoutly in the worship of the hour.

One need not wonder at the enthusiasm of the returning pilgrim of those
days for the city of his love, who feels the charm that lingers around
that beautiful place even in modern times. Never was there a spot
to which the heart could insensibly grow with a more home-like
affection,--never one more thoroughly consecrated in every stone by the
sacred touch of genius.

A republic, in the midst of contending elements, the history of
Florence, in the Middle Ages, was a history of what shoots and blossoms
the Italian nature might send forth, when rooted in the rich soil
of liberty. It was a city of poets and artists. Its statesmen, its
merchants, its common artisans, and the very monks in its convents, were
all pervaded by one spirit. The men of Florence in its best days were
men of a large, grave, earnest mould. What the Puritans of New England
wrought out with severest earnestness in their reasonings and their
lives these early Puritans of Italy embodied in poetry, sculpture, and
painting. They built their Cathedral and their Campanile, as the Jews
of old built their Temple, with awe and religious fear, that they might
thus express by costly and imperishable monuments their sense of God's
majesty and beauty. The modern traveller who visits the churches and
convents of Florence, or the museums where are preserved the fading
remains of its early religious Art, if he be a person of any
sensibility, cannot fail to be affected with the intense gravity and
earnestness which pervade them. They seem less to be paintings for the
embellishment of life than eloquent picture-writing by which burning
religious souls sought to preach the truths of the invisible world to
the eye of the multitude. Through all the deficiencies of perspective,
coloring, and outline incident to the childhood and early youth of Art,
one feels the passionate purpose of some lofty soul to express ideas of
patience, self-sacrifice, adoration, and aspiration far transcending the
limits of mortal capability.

The angels and celestial beings of these grave old painters are as
different from the fat little pink Cupids or lovely laughing children of
Titian and Correggio as are the sermons of President Edwards from the
love-songs of Tom Moore. These old seers of the pencil give you grave,
radiant beings, strong as man, fine as woman, sweeping downward in lines
of floating undulation, and seeming by the ease with which they remain
poised in the air to feel none of that earthly attraction which draws
material bodies earthward. Whether they wear the morning star on their
forehead or bear the lily or the sword in their hand, there is still
that suggestion of mystery and power about them, that air of dignity and
repose, that speak the children of a nobler race than ours. One could
well believe such a being might pass in his serene poised majesty of
motion through the walls of a gross material dwelling without deranging
one graceful fold of his swaying robe or unclasping the hands folded
quietly on his bosom. Well has a modern master of art and style said of
these old artists, "Many pictures are ostentatious exhibitions of the
artist's power of speech, the clear and vigorous elocution of useless
and senseless words; while the earlier efforts of Giotto and Ciniabue
are the burning messages of prophecy delivered by the stammering lips of
infants."

But at the time we write, Florence had passed through her ages of
primitive religions and republican simplicity, and was fast hastening to
her downfall. The genius, energy, and prophetic enthusiasm of Savonarola
had made, it is true, a desperate rally on the verge of the precipice;
but no one man has ever power to turn back the downward slide of a whole
generation.

When Father Antonio left Sorrento in company with the cavalier, it
was the intention of the latter to go with him only so far as their
respective routes should lie together. The band under the command of
Agostino was posted in a ruined fortress in one of those airily perched
old mountain-towns which form so picturesque and characteristic a
feature of the Italian landscape. But before they reached this spot, the
simple, poetic, guileless monk, with his fresh artistic nature, had so
won upon his travelling companion that a most enthusiastic friendship
had sprung up between them, and Agostino could not find it in his heart
at once to separate from him. Tempest-tossed and homeless, burning with
a sense of wrong, alienated from the faith of his fathers through his
intellect and moral sense, yet clinging to it with his memory and
imagination, he found in the tender devotional fervor of the artist monk
a reconciling and healing power. He shared, too, in no small degree, the
feelings which now possessed the breast of his companion for the
great reformer whose purpose seemed to meditate nothing less than
the restoration of the Church of Italy to the primitive apostolic
simplicity. He longed to see him,--to listen to the eloquence of which
he had heard so much. Then, too, he had thoughts that but vaguely shaped
themselves in his mind. This noble man, so brave and courageous, menaced
by the forces of a cruel tyranny, might he not need the protection of a
good sword? He recollected, too, that he had an uncle high in the favor
of the King of France, to whom he had written a full account of his own
situation. Might he not be of use in urging this uncle to induce the
French King to throw before Savonarola the shield of his protection? At
all events, he entered Florence this evening with the burning zeal of a
young neophyte who hopes to effect something himself for a glorious and
sacred cause embodied in a leader who commands his deepest veneration.

"My son," said Father Antonio, as they raised their heads after the
evening prayer, "I am at this time like a man who, having long been,
away from his home, fears, on returning, that he shall hear some evil
tidings of those he hath left. I long, yet dread, to go to my dear
Father Girolamo and the beloved brothers in our house. There is a
presage that lies heavy on my heart, so that I cannot shake it off. Look
at our glorious old Duomo;--doth she not sit there among the houses and
palaces as a queen-mother among nations,--worthy, in her greatness and
beauty, to represent the Church of the New Jerusalem, the Bride of the
Lord? Ah, I have seen it thronged and pressed with the multitude who
came to crave the bread of life from our master!"

"Courage, my friend!" said Agostino; "it cannot be that Florence will
suffer her pride and glory to be trodden down. Let us hasten on, for the
shades of evening are coming fast, and there is a keen wind sweeping
down from your snowy mountains."

And the two soon found themselves plunging into the shadows of the
streets, threading their devious way to the convent.

At length they drew up before a dark wall, where the Father Antonio rang
a bell.

A door was immediately opened, a cowled head appeared, and a cautious
voice asked,--

"Who is there?"

"Ah, is that you, good Brother Angelo?" said Father Antonio, cheerily.

"And is it you, dear Brother Antonio? Come in! come in!" was the cordial
response, as the two passed into the court; "truly, it will make all our
hearts leap to see you."

"And, Brother Angelo, how is our dear father? I have been so anxious
about him!"

"Oh, fear not!--he sustains himself in God, and is full of sweetness to
us all."

"But do the people stand by him, Angelo, and the Signoria?"

"He has strong friends as yet, but his enemies are like ravening wolves.
The Pope hath set on the Franciscans, and they hunt him as dogs do a
good stag.--But whom have you here with you?" added the monk, raising
his torch and regarding the knight.

"Fear him not; he is a brave knight and good Christian, who comes to
offer his sword to our father and seek his counsels."

"He shall be welcome," said the porter, cheerfully. "We will have you
into the refectory forthwith, for you must be hungry."

The young cavalier, following the flickering torch of his conductor, had
only a dim notion of long cloistered corridors, out of which now and
then, as the light flared by, came a golden gleam from some quaint old
painting, where the pure angel forms of Angelico stood in the gravity
of an immortal youth, or the Madonna, like a bending lily, awaited the
message of Heaven; but when they entered the refectory, a cheerful voice
addressed them, and Father Antonio was clasped in the embrace of the
father so much beloved.

"Welcome, welcome, my dear son!" said that rich voice which had thrilled
so many thousand Italian hearts with its music. "So you are come back to
the fold again. How goes the good work of the Lord?"

"Well, everywhere," said Father Antonio; and then, recollecting his
young friend, he suddenly turned and said,--

"Let me present to you one son who comes to seek your instructions,--the
young Signor Agostino, of the noble house of Sarelli."

The Superior turned to Agostino with a movement full of a generous
frankness, and warmly extended his hand, at the same time fixing upon
him the mesmeric glance of a pair of large, deep blue eyes, which might,
on slight observation, have been mistaken for black, so great was their
depth and brilliancy.

Agostino surveyed his new acquaintance with that mingling of ingenuous
respect and curiosity with which an ardent young man would regard the
most distinguished leader of his age, and felt drawn to him by a
certain atmosphere of vital cordiality such as one can feel better than
describe.

"You have ridden far to-day, my son,--you must be weary," said the
Superior, affably,--"but here you must feel yourself at home; command
us in anything we can do for you. The brothers will attend to those
refreshments which are needed after so long a journey; and when you have
rested and supped, we shall hope to see you a little more quietly."

So saying, he signed to one or two brothers who stood by, and,
commending the travellers to their care, left the apartment.

In a few moments a table was spread with a plain and wholesome repast,
to which the two travellers sat down with appetites sharpened by their
long journey.

During the supper, the brothers of the convent, among whom Father
Antonio had always been a favorite, crowded around him in a state of
eager excitement.

"You should have been here the last week," said one; "such a turmoil as
we have been in!"

"Yes," said another,--"the Pope hath set on the Franciscans, who, you
know, are always ready enough to take up with anything against our
order, and they have been pursuing our father like so many hounds."

"There hath been a whirlwind of preaching here and there," said a
third,--"in the Duomo, and Santa Croce, and San Lorenzo; and they have
battled to and fro, and all the city is full of it."

"Tell him about yesterday, about the ordeal," shouted an eager voice.

Two or three voices took up the story at once, and began to tell
it,--all the others correcting, contradicting, or adding incidents. From
the confused fragments here and there Agostino gathered that there had
been on the day before a popular spectacle in the grand piazza, in
which, according to an old superstition of the Middle Ages, Frà Girolamo
Savonarola and his opponents were expected to prove the truth of their
words by passing unhurt through the fire; that two immense piles of
combustibles had been constructed with a narrow passage between, and the
whole magistracy of the city convened, with a throng of the populace,
eager for the excitement of the spectacle; that the day had been spent
in discussions, and scruples, and preliminaries; and that, finally,
in the afternoon, a violent storm of rain arising had dispersed the
multitude and put a stop to the whole exhibition.

"But the people are not satisfied," said Father Angelo; "and there are
enough mischief-makers among them to throw all the blame on our father."

"Yes," said one, "they say he wanted to burn the Holy Sacrament, because
he was going to take it with him into the fire."

"As if it could burn!" said another voice.

"It would to all human appearance, I suppose," said a third.

"Any way," said a fourth, "there is some mischief brewing; for here is
our friend Prospero Rondinelli just come in, who says, when he came past
the Duomo, he saw people gathering, and heard them threatening us: there
were as many as two hundred, he thought."

"We ought to tell Father Girolamo," exclaimed several voices.

"Oh, he will not be disturbed!" said Father Angelo. "Since these
affairs, he hath been in prayer in the chapter-room before the blessed
Angelico's picture of the Cross. When we would talk with him of these
things, he waves us away, and says only, 'I am weary; go and tell
Jesus.'"

"He bade me come to him after supper," said Father Antonio. "I will talk
with him."

"Do so,--that is right," said two or three eager voices, as the monk and
Agostino, having finished their repast, arose to be conducted to the
presence of the father.


CHAPTER XXI.

THE ATTACK ON SAN MARCO.


They found him in a large and dimly lighted apartment, sitting absorbed
in pensive contemplation before a picture of the Crucifixion by Frà
Angelico, which, whatever might be its _naïve_ faults of drawing and
perspective, had an intense earnestness of feeling, and, though faded
and dimmed by the lapse of centuries, still stirs in some faint wise
even the practised _dilettanti_ of our day.

The face upon the cross, with its majestic patience, seemed to shed a
blessing down on the company of saints of all ages who were grouped by
their representative men at the foot. Saint Dominic, Saint Ambrose,
Saint Augustin, Saint Jerome, Saint Francis, and Saint Benedict were
depicted as standing before the Great Sacrifice in company with the
Twelve Apostles, the two Maries, and the fainting mother of Jesus,--thus
expressing the unity of the Church Universal in that great victory of
sorrow and glory. The painting was inclosed above by a semicircular
bordering composed of medallion heads of the Prophets, and below was a
similar medallion border of the principal saints and worthies of the
Dominican order. In our day such pictures are visited by tourists with
red guide-books in their hands, who survey them in the intervals of
careless conversation; but they were painted by the simple artist on
his knees, weeping and praying as he worked, and the sight of them was
accepted by like simple-hearted Christians as a perpetual sacrament of
the eye, by which they received Christ into their souls.

So absorbed was the father in the contemplation of this picture, that he
did not hear the approaching footsteps of the knight and monk. When at
last they came so near as almost to touch him, he suddenly looked up,
and it became apparent that his eyes were full of tears.

He rose, and, pointing with a mute gesture toward the painting, said,--

"There is more in that than in all Michel Angelo Buonarotti hath done
yet, though he be a God-fearing youth,--more than in all the heathen
marbles in Lorenzo's gardens. But sit down with me here. I have to come
here often, where I can refresh my courage."

The monk and knight seated themselves, the latter with his attention
riveted on the remarkable man before him. The head and face of
Savonarola are familiar to us by many paintings and medallions, which,
however, fail to impart what must have been that effect of his personal
presence which so drew all hearts to him in his day. The knight saw a
man of middle age, of elastic, well-knit figure, and a flexibility
and grace of motion which seemed to make every nerve, even to his
finger-ends, vital with the expression of his soul. The close-shaven
crown and the plain white Dominican robe gave a severe and statuesque
simplicity to the lines of his figure. His head and face, like those
of most of the men of genius whom modern Italy has produced, were so
strongly cast in the antique mould as to leave no doubt of the identity
of modern Italian blood with that of the great men of ancient Italy. His
low, broad forehead, prominent Roman nose, well-cut, yet fully outlined
lips, and strong, finely moulded jaw and chin, all spoke the old Roman
vigor and energy, while the flexible delicacy of all the muscles of his
face and figure gave an inexpressible fascination to his appearance.
Every emotion and changing thought seemed to flutter and tremble over
his countenance as the shadow of leaves over sunny water. His eye had
a wonderful dilating power, and when he was excited seemed to shower
sparks; and his voice possessed a surprising scale of delicate and
melodious inflections, which could take him in a moment through the
whole range of human feeling, whether playful and tender or denunciatory
and terrible. Yet, when in repose among his friends, there was an almost
childlike simplicity and artlessness of manner, which drew the heart by
an irresistible attraction. At this moment it was easy to see by his
pale cheek and the furrowed lines of his face that he had been passing
through severe struggles; but his mind seemed stayed on some invisible
centre, in a solemn and mournful calm.

"Come, tell me something of the good works of the Lord in our Italy,
brother," he said, with a smile which was almost playful in its
brightness. "You have been through all the lowly places of the land,
carrying our Lord's bread to the poor, and repairing and beautifying
shrines and altars by the noble gift that is in you."

"Yes, father," said the monk; "and I have found that there are many
sheep of the Lord that feed quietly among the mountains of Italy, and
love nothing so much as to hear of the dear Shepherd who laid down His
life for them."

"Even so, even so," said the Superior, with animation; "and it is the
thought of these sweet hearts that comforts me when my soul is among
lions. The foundation standeth sure,--the Lord knoweth them that are
His."

"And it is good and encouraging," said Father Antonio, "to see the zeal
of the poor, who will give their last penny for the altar of the Lord,
and who flock so to hear the word and take the sacraments. I have
had precious seasons of preaching and confessing, and have worked in
blessedness many days restoring and beautifying the holy pictures and
statues whereby these little ones have been comforted. What with the
wranglings of princes and the factions and disturbances in our poor
Italy, there be many who suffer in want and loss of all things, so that
no refuge remains to them but the altars of our Jesus, and none cares
for them but He."

"Brother," said the Superior, "there be thousands of flowers fairer than
man ever saw that grow up in waste places and in deep dells and shades
of mountains; but God bears each one in His heart, and delighteth
Himself in silence with them: and so doth He with these poor, simple,
unknown souls. The True Church is not a flaunting queen who goes boldly
forth among men displaying her beauties, but a veiled bride, a dove that
is in the cleft of the rocks, whose voice is known only to the Beloved.
Ah! when shall the great marriage-feast come, when all shall behold her
glorified? I had hoped to see the day here in Italy: but now"----

The father stopped, and seemed to lapse into unconscious musing,--his
large eye growing fixed and mysterious in its expression.

"The brothers have been telling me somewhat of the tribulations you have
been through," said Father Antonio, who thought he saw a good opening to
introduce the subject nearest his heart.

"No more of that!--no more!" said the Superior, turning away his head
with an expression of pain and weariness; "rather let us look up. What
think you, brother, are all _these_ doing now?" he said, pointing to the
saints in the picture. "They are all alive and well, and see clearly
through our darkness." Then, rising up, he added, solemnly, "Whatever
man may say or do, it is enough for me to feel that my dearest Lord and
His blessed Mother and all the holy archangels, the martyrs and prophets
and apostles, are with me. The end is coming."

"But, dearest father," said Antonio, "think you the Lord will suffer the
wicked to prevail?"

"It may be for a time," said Savonarola. "As for me, I am in His hands
only as an instrument. He is master of the forge and handles the hammer,
and when He has done using it He casts it from Him. Thus He did with
Jeremiah, whom He permitted to be stoned to death when his preaching
mission was accomplished; and thus He may do with _this_ hammer when He
has done using it."

At this moment a monk rushed into the room with a face expressive of the
utmost terror, and called out,--

"Father, what shall we do? The mob are surrounding the convent! Hark!
hear them at the doors!"

In truth, a wild, confused roar of mingled shrieks, cries, and blows
came in through the open door of the apartment; and the pattering sound
of approaching footsteps was heard like showering raindrops along the
cloisters.

"Here come Messer Nicolo de' Lapi, and Francesco Valori!" called out a
voice.

The room was soon filled with a confused crowd, consisting of
distinguished Florentine citizens, who had gained admittance through a
secret passage, and the excited novices and monks.

"The streets outside the convent are packed close with men," cried one
of the citizens; "they have stationed guards everywhere to cut off our
friends who might come to help us."

"I saw them seize a young man who was quietly walking, singing psalms,
and slay him on the steps of the Church of the Innocents," said another;
"they cried and hooted, 'No more psalm-singing!'"

"And there's Arnolfo Battista," said a third;--"he went out to try
to speak to them, and they have killed him,--cut him down with their
sabres."

"Hurry! hurry! barricade the door! arm yourselves!" was the cry from
other voices.

"Shall we fight, father? shall we defend ourselves?" cried others, as
the monks pressed around their Superior.

When the crowd first burst into the room, the face of the Superior
flushed, and there was a slight movement of surprise; then he seemed to
recollect himself, and murmuring, "I expected this, but not so soon,"
appeared lost in mental prayer. To the agitated inquiries of his flock,
he answered,--"No, brothers; the weapons of monks must be spiritual, not
carnal." Then lifting on high a crucifix, he said,--"Come with me, and
let us walk in solemn procession to the altar, singing the praises of
our God."

The monks, with the instinctive habit of obedience, fell into procession
behind their leader, whose voice, clear and strong, was heard raising
the Psalm, _"Quare fremunt gentes"_:--

"Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?

"The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel
together, against the Lord, and against his Anointed, saying,

"'Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.'

"He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh.: the Lord shall have them
in derision."

As one voice after another took up the chant, the solemn enthusiasm rose
and deepened, and all present, whether ecclesiastics or laymen, fell
into the procession and joined in the anthem. Amid the wild uproar, the
din and clatter of axes, the thunders of heavy battering-implements on
the stone walls and portals, came this long-drawn solemn wave of sound,
rising and falling,--now drowned in the savage clamors of the mob, and
now bursting out clear and full like the voices of God's chosen amid the
confusion and struggles of all the generations of this mortal life.

White-robed and grand the procession moved on, while the pictured saints
and angels on the walls seemed to smile calmly down upon them from a
golden twilight. They passed thus into the sacristy, where with all
solemnity and composure they arrayed their Father and Superior for the
last time in his sacramental robes, and then, still chanting, followed
him to the high altar,--where all bowed in prayer. And still, whenever
there was a pause in the stormy uproar and fiendish clamor, might be
heard the clear, plaintive uprising of that strange singing,--"O Lord,
save thy people, and bless thine heritage!"

It needs not to tell in detail what history has told of that tragic
night: how the doors at last were forced, and the mob rushed in; how
citizens and friends, and many of the monks themselves, their instinct
of combativeness overcoming their spiritual beliefs, fought valiantly,
and used torches and crucifixes for purposes little contemplated when
they were made.

Fiercest among the combatants was Agostino, who three times drove back
the crowd as they were approaching the choir, where Savonarola and his
immediate friends were still praying. Father Antonio, too, seized
a sword from the hand of a fallen man and laid about him with an
impetuosity which would be inexplicable to any who do not know what
force there is in gentle natures when the objects of their affections
are assailed. The artist monk fought for his master with the blind
desperation with which a woman fights over the cradle of her child.

All in vain! Past midnight, and the news comes that artillery is planted
to blow down the walls of the convent, and the magistracy, who up to
this time have lifted not a finger to repress the tumult, send word to
Savonarola to surrender himself to them, together with the two most
active of his companions, Frà Domenico da Pescia and Frà Silvestro
Maruffi, as the only means of averting the destruction of the whole
order. They offer him assurances of protection and safe return, which he
does not in the least believe: nevertheless, he feels that his hour is
come, and gives himself up.

His preparations were all made with a solemn method which showed that
he felt he was approaching the last act in the drama of life. He called
together his flock, scattered and forlorn, and gave them his last
words of fatherly advice, encouragement, and comfort,--ending with the
remarkable declaration, "A Christian's life consists in doing good and
suffering evil." "I go with joy to this marriage-supper," he said, as he
left the church for the last sad preparations. He and his doomed friends
then confessed and received the sacrament, and after that he surrendered
himself into the hands of the men who he felt in his prophetic soul had
come to take him to torture and to death.

As he gave himself into their hands, he said, "I commend to your care
this flock of mine, and these good citizens of Florence who have been
with us"; and then once more turning to his brethren, said,--"Doubt not,
my brethren. God will not fail to perfect His work. Whether I live or
die, He will aid and console you."

At this moment there was a struggle with the attendants in the outer
circle of the crowd, and the voice of Father Antonio was heard crying
out earnestly,--"Do not hold me! I will go with him! I must go with
him!"--"Son," said Savonarola, "I charge you on your obedience not to
come. It is I and Frà Domenico who are to die for the love of Christ."
And thus, at the ninth hour of the night, he passed the threshold of San
Marco.

As he was leaving, a plaintive voice of distress was heard from a young
novice who had been peculiarly dear to him, who stretched his hands
after him, crying,--"Father! father! why do you leave us desolate?"
Whereupon he turned back a moment, and said,--"God will be your help.
If we do not see each other again in this world, we surely shall in
heaven."

When the party had gone forth, the monks and citizens stood looking into
each other's faces, listening with dismay to the howl of wild ferocity
that was rising around the departing prisoner.

"What shall we do?" was the outcry from many voices.

"I know what I shall do," said Agostino. "If any man here will find me a
fleet horse, I will start for Milan this very hour; for my uncle is now
there on a visit, and he is a counsellor of weight with the King of
France: we must get the King to interfere."

"Good! good! good!" rose from a hundred voices.

"I will go with you," said Father Antonio. "I shall have no rest till I
do something."

"And I," quoth Jacopo Niccolini, "will saddle for you, without delay,
two horses of part Arabian blood, swift of foot, and easy, and which
will travel day and night without sinking."


CHAPTER XXII.

THE CATHEDRAL.


The rays of the setting sun were imparting even more than their wonted
cheerfulness to the airy and bustling streets of Milan. There was the
usual rush and roar of busy life which mark the great city, and the
display of gay costumes and brilliant trappings proper to a ducal
capital which at that time gave the law to Europe in all matters of
taste and elegance, even as Paris does now. It was, in fact, from the
reputation of this city in matters of external show that our English
term Milliner was probably derived; and one might well have believed
this, who saw the sweep of the ducal cortege at this moment returning
in pomp from the afternoon airing. Such glittering of gold-embroidered
mantles, such bewildering confusion of colors, such flashing of jewelry
from cap and dagger-hilt and finger-ring, and even from bridle and
stirrup, testified that the male sex at this period in Italy were no
whit behind the daughters of Eve in that passion for personal adornment
which our age is wont to consider exclusively feminine. Indeed, all that
was visible to the vulgar eye of this pageant was wholly masculine;
though no one doubted that behind the gold-embroidered curtains of the
litters which contained the female notabilities of the court still more
dazzling wonders might be concealed. Occasionally a white jewelled hand
would draw aside one of these screens, and a pair of eyes brighter than
any gems would peer forth; and then there would be tokens of a visible
commotion among the plumed and gemmed cavaliers around, and one young
head would nod to another with jests and quips, and there would be
bowing and curveting and all the antics and caracolings supposable among
gay young people on whom the sun shone brightly, and who felt the world
going well around them, and deemed themselves the observed of all
observers.

Meanwhile, the mute, subservient common people looked on all this as
a part of their daily amusement. Meek dwellers in those dank, noisome
caverns, without any opening but a street-door, which are called
dwelling-places in Italy, they lived in uninquiring good-nature,
contentedly bringing up children on coarse bread, dirty cabbage-stumps,
and other garbage, while all that they could earn was sucked upward by
capillary attraction to nourish the extravagance of those upper classes
on which they stared with such blind and ignorant admiration.

This was the lot they believed themselves born for, and which every
exhortation of their priests taught them to regard as the appointed
ordinance of God. The women, to be sure, as women always will be, were
true to the instinct of their sex, and crawled out of the damp and
vile-smelling recesses of their homes with solid gold ear-rings shaking
in their ears, and their blue-black lustrous hair ornamented with a
glittering circle of steel pins or other quaint coiffure. There was
sense in all this: for had not even Dukes of Milan been found so
condescending and affable as to admire the charms of the fair in the
lower orders, whence had come sons and daughters who took rank among
princes and princesses? What father, or what husband, could be
insensible to prospects of such honor? What priest would not readily
absolve such sin? Therefore one might have observed more than one comely
dark-eyed woman, brilliant as some tropical bird in the colors of her
peasant dress, who cast coquettish glances toward high places, not
unacknowledged by patronizing nods in return, while mothers and fathers
looked on in triumph. These were the days for the upper classes: the
Church bore them all in her bosom as a tender nursing-mother, and
provided for all their little peccadilloes with even grandmotherly
indulgence, and in return the world was immensely deferential towards
the Church; and it was only now and then some rugged John Baptist,
in raiment of camel's hair, like Savonarola, who dared to speak an
indecorous word of God's truth in the ear of power, and Herod and
Herodias had ever at hand the good old recipe for quieting such
disturbances. John Baptist was beheaded in prison, and then all the
world and all the Scribes and Pharisees applauded; and only a few poor
disciples were found to take up the body and go and tell Jesus.

The whole piazza around the great Cathedral is at this moment full of
the dashing cavalcade of the ducal court, looking as brilliant in the
evening light as a field of poppy, corn-flower, and scarlet clover
at Sorrento; and there, amid the flutter and rush, the amours and
intrigues, the court scandal, the laughing, the gibing, the glitter,
and dazzle, stands that wonderful Cathedral, that silent witness, that
strange, pure, immaculate mountain of airy, unearthly loveliness,--the
most striking emblem of God's mingled vastness and sweetness that ever
it was given to human heart to devise or hands to execute. If there be
among the many mansions of our Father above, among the houses not made
with hands, aught purer and fairer, it must be the work of those grand
spirits who inspired and presided over the erection of this celestial
miracle of beauty. In the great, vain, wicked city, all alive with the
lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life, it seemed
to stand as much apart and alone as if it were in the solemn desolation
of the Campagna, or in one of the wide deserts of Africa,--so little
part or lot did it appear to have in anything earthly, so little to
belong to the struggling, bustling crowd who beneath its white dazzling
pinnacles seemed dwarfed into crawling insects. They who could look up
from the dizzy, frivolous life below saw far, far above them, in the
blue Italian air, thousands of glorified saints standing on a thousand
airy points of brilliant whiteness, ever solemnly adoring. The marble
which below was somewhat touched and soiled with the dust of the street
seemed gradually to refine and brighten as it rose into the pure regions
of the air, till at last in those thousand distant pinnacles it had the
ethereal translucence of wintry frost-work, and now began to glow with
the violet and rose hues of evening, in solemn splendor.

The ducal cortege sweeps by; but we have mounted the dizzy, dark
staircase that leads to the roof, where, amid the bustling life of the
city, there is a promenade of still and wondrous solitude. One seems to
have ascended in those few moments far beyond the tumult and dust of
earthly things, to the silence, the clearness, the tranquillity of
ethereal regions. The noise of the rushing tides of life below rises
only in a soft and distant murmur; while around, in the wide, clear
distance, is spread a prospect which has not on earth its like or its
equal. The beautiful plains of Lombardy lie beneath like a map, and the
northern horizon-line is glittering with the entire sweep of the Alps,
like a solemn senate of archangels with diamond mail and glittering
crowns. Mont Blanc, Monte Rosa with his countenance of light, the
Jungfrau and all the weird brothers of the Oberland, rise one after
another to the delighted gaze, and the range of the Tyrol melts far off
into the blue of the sky. On another side, the Apennines, with their
picturesque outlines and cloud-spotted sides, complete the inclosure.
All around, wherever the eye turns, is the unbroken phalanx of
mountains; and this temple, with its thousand saintly statues standing
in attitudes of ecstasy and prayer, seems like a worthy altar and shrine
for the beautiful plain which the mountains inclose: it seems to give
all Northern Italy to God.

The effect of the statues in this high, pure air, in this solemn,
glorious scenery, is peculiar. They seem a meet companionship for these
exalted regions. They seem to stand exultant on their spires, poised
lightly as ethereal creatures, the fit inhabitants of the pure blue sky.
One feels that they have done with earth; one can fancy them a band of
white-robed kings and priests forever ministering in that great temple
of which the Alps and the Apennines are the walls and the Cathedral the
heart and centre. Never were Art and Nature so majestically married by
Religion in so worthy a temple.

One form could be discerned standing in rapt attention, gazing from a
platform on the roof upon the far-distant scene. He was enveloped in
the white coarse woollen gown of the Dominican monks, and seemed wholly
absorbed in meditating on the scene before him, which appeared to move
him deeply; for, raising his hands, he repeated aloud from the Latin
Vulgate the words of an Apostle:--

"Accessistis ad Sion montem et civitatem Dei viventis, Ierusalem
caelestem, et multorum millinm angelorum frequentiam, ecclesiam
primitivorum, qui inscripti sunt in caelis."[A]

[Footnote A: "Ye are come unto Mount Sion, and unto the city of the
living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of
angels, to the general assembly and church of the first-born, which are
written in heaven."]

At this moment the evening worship commenced within the Cathedral, and
the whole building seemed to vibrate with the rising swell of the great
organ, while the grave, long-drawn tones of the Ambrosian Liturgy rose
surging in waves and dying away in distant murmurs, like the rolling
of the tide on some ocean-shore. The monk turned and drew near to the
central part of the roof to listen, and as he turned he disclosed the
well-known features of Father Antonio.

Haggard, weary, and travel-worn, his first impulse, on entering the
city, was to fly to this holy solitude, as the wandering sparrow of
sacred song sought her nest amid the altars of God's temple. Artist no
less than monk, he found in this wondrous shrine of beauty a repose
both for his artistic and his religious nature; and while waiting for
Agostino Sarelli to find his uncle's residence, he had determined to
pass the interval in this holy solitude. Many hours had he paced alone
up and down the long promenades of white marble which run everywhere
between forests of dazzling pinnacles and flying-buttresses of airy
lightness. Now he rested in fixed attention against the wall above the
choir, which he could feel pulsating with throbs of sacred sound, as if
a great warm heart were beating within the fair marble miracle, warming
it into mysterious life and sympathy.

"I would now that boy were here to worship with me," he said. "No wonder
the child's faith fainteth: it takes such monuments as these of the
Church's former days to strengthen one's hopes. Ah, woe unto those by
whom such offence cometh!"

At this moment the form of Agostino was seen ascending the marble
staircase.

The eye of the monk brightened as he came towards him. He put out
one hand eagerly to take his, and raised the other with a gesture of
silence.

"Look," he said, "and listen! Is it not the sound of many waters and
mighty thunderings?"

Agostino stood subdued for the moment by the magnificent sights and
sounds; for, as the sun went down, the distant mountains grew every
moment more unearthly in their brilliancy,--and as they lay in a long
line, jewelled brightness mingling with the cloud-wreaths of the far
horizon, one might have imagined that he in truth beheld the foundations
of that celestial city of jasper, pearl, and translucent gold which the
Apostle saw, and that the risings and fallings of choral sound which
seemed to thrill and pulsate through the marble battlements were indeed
that song like many waters sung by the Church Triumphant above.

For a few moments the monk and the young man stood in silence, till at
length the monk spoke.

"You have told me, my son, that your heart often troubles you in being
more Roman than Christian; that you sometimes doubt whether the Church
on earth be other than a fiction or a fable. But look around us. Who
are these, this great multitude who praise and pray continually in this
temple of the upper air? These are they who have come out of great
tribulation, having washed their robes and made them white in the blood
of the Lamb. These are not the men that have sacked cities, and made
deserts, and written their triumphs in blood and carnage. These be men
that have sheltered the poor, and built houses for orphans, and sold
themselves into slavery to redeem their brothers in Christ. These be
pure women who have lodged saints, brought up children, lived holy and
prayerful lives. These be martyrs who have laid down their lives for the
testimony of Jesus. There were no such churches in old Rome,--no such
saints."

"Well," said Agostino, "one thing is certain. If such be the True
Church, the Pope and the Cardinals of our day have no part in it; for
they are the men who sack cities and make desolations, who devour
widows' houses and for a pretence make long prayers. Let us see one of
_them_ selling himself into slavery for the love of anybody, while they
seek to keep all the world in slavery to themselves!"

"That is the grievous declension our master weeps over," said the monk.
"Ah, if the Bishops of the Church now were like brave old Saint
Ambrose, strong alone by faith and prayer, showing no more favor to an
unrepentant Emperor than to the meanest slave, then would the Church be
a reality and a glory! Such is my master. Never is he afraid of the face
of king or lord, when he has God's truth to speak. You should have heard
how plainly he dealt with our Lorenzo de' Medici on his death-bed,--how
he refused him absolution, unless he would make restitution to the poor
and restore the liberties of Florence."

"I should have thought," said the young man, sarcastically, "that
Lorenzo the Magnificent might have got absolution cheaper than that.
Where were all the bishops in his dominion, that he must needs send for
Jerome Savonarola?"

"Son, it is ever so," replied the monk. "If there be a man that cares
neither for Duke nor Emperor, but for God alone, then Dukes and Emperors
would give more for his good word than for a whole dozen of common
priests."

"I suppose it is something like a rare manuscript or a singular gem:
these _virtuosi_ have no rest till they have clutched it. The thing they
cannot get is always the thing they want."

"Lorenzo was always seeking our master," said the monk. "Often would he
come walking in our gardens, expecting surely he would hasten down to
meet him; and the brothers would run all out of breath to his cell to
say, 'Father, Lorenzo is in the garden.' 'He is welcome,' would he
answer, with his pleasant smile. 'But, father, will you not descend
to meet him?' 'Hath he asked for me?' 'No.' 'Well, then, let us not
interrupt his meditations,' he would answer, and remain still at his
reading, so jealous was he lest he should seek the favor of princes and
forget God, as does all the world in our day."

"And because he does not seek the favor of the men of this world he will
be trampled down and slain. Will the God in whom he trusts defend him?"

The monk pointed expressively upward to the statues that stood glorified
above them, still wearing a rosy radiance, though the shadows of
twilight had fallen on all the city below.

"My son," he said, "the victories of the True Church are not in time,
but in eternity. How many around us were conquered on earth that they
might triumph in heaven! What saith the Apostle? 'They were
tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better
resurrection.'"

"But, alas!" said Agostino, "are we never to see the right triumph here?
I fear that this noble name is written in blood, like so many of whom
the world is not worthy. Can one do nothing to help it?"

"How is that? What have you heard?" said the monk, eagerly. "Have you
seen your uncle?"

"Not yet; he is gone into the country for a day,--so say his servants. I
saw, when the Duke's court passed, my cousin, who is in his train, and
got a moment's speech with him; and he promised, that, if I would wait
for him here, he would come to me as soon as he could be let off from
his attendance. When he comes, it were best that we confer alone."

"I will retire to the southern side," said the monk, "and await the end
of your conference": and with that he crossed the platform on which they
were standing, and, going down a flight of white marble steps, was soon
lost to view amid the wilderness of frost-like carved work.

He had scarcely vanished, before footsteps were heard ascending the
marble staircase on the other side, and the sound of a voice humming a
popular air of the court.

The stranger was a young man of about five-and-twenty, habited with all
that richness and brilliancy of coloring which the fashion of the day
permitted to a young exquisite. His mantle of purple velvet falling
jauntily off from one shoulder disclosed a doublet of amber satin richly
embroidered with gold and seed-pearl. The long white plume which drooped
from his cap was held in its place by a large diamond which sparkled
like a star in the evening twilight. His finely moulded hands were
loaded with rings, and ruffles of the richest Venetian lace encircled
his wrists. He had worn over all a dark cloak with a peaked hood, the
usual evening disguise in Italy; but as he gained the top-stair of the
platform, he threw it carelessly down and gayly offered his hand.

"Good even to you, cousin mine! So you see I am as true to my
appointment as if your name were Leonora or Camilla instead of Agostino.
How goes it with you? I wanted to talk with you below, but I saw we must
have a place without listeners. Our friends the saints are too high in
heavenly things to make mischief by eavesdropping."

"Thank you, Cousin Carlos, for your promptness. And now to the point.
Did your father, my uncle, get the letter I wrote him about a month
since?"

"He did; and he bade me treat with you about it. It's an abominable
snarl this they have got you into. My father says, your best way is to
come straight to him in France, and abide till things take a better
turn: he is high in favor with the King and can find you a very pretty
place at court, and he takes it upon him in time to reconcile the Pope.
Between you and me, the old Pope has no special spite in the world
against _you_: he merely wants your lands for his son, and as long
as you prowl round and lay claim to them, why, you must stay
excommunicated; but just clear the coast and leave them peaceably and
he will put you back into the True Church, and my father will charge
himself with your success. Popes don't last forever, or there may come
another falling out with the King of France, and either way there will
be a chance of your being one day put back into your rights; meanwhile,
a young fellow might do worse than have a good place in our court."

During this long monologue, which the young speaker uttered with all the
flippant self-sufficiency of worldly people with whom the world is going
well, the face of the young nobleman who listened presented a picture of
many strong contending emotions.

"You speak," he said, "as if man had nothing to do in this world but
seek his own ease and pleasure. What lies nearest my heart is not that
I am plundered of my estates, and my house uprooted, but it is that my
beautiful Rome, the city of my fathers, is a prisoner under the heel of
the tyrant. It is that the glorious religion of Christ, the holy faith
in which my mother died, the faith made venerable by all these saints
around us, is made the tool and instrument of such vileness and cruelty
that one is tempted to doubt whether it were not better to have been
born of heathen in the good old times of the Roman Republic,--God
forgive me for saying so! Does the Most Christian King of France know
that the man who pretends to rule in the name of Christ is not a
believer in the Christian religion,--that he does not believe even in a
God,--that he obtained the holy seat by simony,--that he uses all its
power to enrich a brood of children whose lives are so indecent that it
is a shame to modest lips even to _say_ what they do?"

"Why, of course," said the other, "the King of France is pretty well
informed about all these things. You know old King Charles, when he
marched through Italy, had more than half a mind, they say, to pull the
old Pope out of his place; and he might have done it easily. My father
was in his train at that time, and he says the Pope was frightened
enough. Somehow they made it all up among them, and settled about their
territories, which is the main thing, after all; and now our new King, I
fancy, does not like to meddle with him: between you and me, he has his
eye in another direction here. This gay city would suit him admirably,
and he fancies he can govern it as well as it is governed now. My father
does not visit here with his eyes shut, _I_ can tell you. But as to the
Pope----Well, you see such things are delicate to handle. After all,
my dear Agostino, we are not priests,--our business is with this world;
and, no matter how they came by them, these fellows have the keys of the
kingdom of heaven, and one cannot afford to quarrel with them,--we must
have the ordinances, you know, or what becomes of our souls? Do you
suppose, now, that I should live as gay and easy a life as I do, if I
thought there were any doubt of my salvation? It's a mercy to us sinners
that the ordinances are not vitiated by the sins of the priests; it
would go hard with us, if they were: as it is, if they will live
scandalous lives, it is their affair, not ours."

"And is it nothing," replied the other, "to a true man who has taken the
holy vows of knighthood on him, whether his Lord's religion be defamed
and dishonored and made a scandal and a scoffing? Did not all Europe go
out to save Christ's holy sepulchre from being dishonored by the feet of
the Infidel? and shall we let infidels have the very house of the Lord,
and reign supreme in His holy dwelling-place? There has risen a holy
prophet in Italy, the greatest since the time of Saint Francis, and his
preaching hath stirred all hearts to live more conformably with our
holy faith; and now for his pure life and good works he is under
excommunication of the Pope, and they have seized and imprisoned him,
and threaten his life."

"Oh, you mean Savonarola," said the other. "Yes, we have heard of
him,--a most imprudent, impracticable fellow, who will not take advice
nor be guided. My father, I believe, thought well of him once, and
deemed that in the distracted state of Italy he might prove serviceable
in forwarding some of his plans: but he is wholly wrapt up in his own
notions; he heeds no will but his own."

"Have you heard anything," said Agostino, "of a letter which he wrote to
the King of France lately, stirring him up to call a General Council of
the Christian Church to consider what is to be done about the scandals
at Rome?"

"Then he has written one, has he?" replied the young man; "then the
story that I have heard whispered about here must be true. A man who
certainly is in a condition to know told me day before yesterday that
the Duke had arrested a courier with some such letter, and sent it on to
the Pope: it is likely, for the Duke hates Savonarola. If that be true,
it will go hard with him yet; for the Pope has a long arm for an enemy."

"And so," said Agostino, with an expression of deep concern, "that
letter, from which the good man hoped so much, and which was so
powerful, will only go to increase his danger!"

"The more fool he!--he might have known that it was of no use. Who was
going to take his part against the Pope?"

"The city of Florence has stood by him until lately," said
Agostino,--"and would again, with a little help."

"Oh, no! never think it, my dear Agostino! Depend upon it, it will end
as such things always do, and the man is only a madman that undertakes
it. Hark ye, cousin, what have _you_ to do with this man? Why do you
attach yourself to the side that is _sure_ to lose? I cannot conceive
what you would be at. This is no way to mend your fortunes. Come
to-night to my father's palace: the Duke has appointed us princely
lodgings, and treats us with great hospitality, and my father has plans
for your advantage. Between us, there is a fair young ward of his, of
large estates and noble blood, whom he designs for you. So you see, if
you turn your attention in this channel, there may come a reinforcement
of the family property, which will enable you to hold out until the Pope
dies, or some prince or other gets into a quarrel with him, which is
always happening, and then a move may be made for you. My father, I'll
promise you, is shrewd enough, and always keeps his eye open to see
where there is a joint in the harness, and have a trusty dagger-blade
all whetted to stick under. Of course, he means to see you righted; he
has the family interest at heart, and feels as indignant as you could at
the rascality which has been perpetrated; but I am quite sure he will
tell you that the way is not to come out openly against the Pope and
join this fanatical party."

Agostino stood silent, with the melancholy air of a man who has much to
say, and is deeply moved by considerations which he perceives it would
be utterly idle and useless to attempt to explain. If the easy theology
of his friend were indeed true,--if the treasures of the heavenly
kingdom, glory, honor, and immortality, could indeed be placed in unholy
hands to be bought and sold and traded in,--if holiness of heart
and life, and all those nobler modes of living and being which were
witnessed in the histories of the thousand saints around him, were
indeed but a secondary thing in the strife for worldly place and
territory,--what, then, remained for the man of ideas, of aspirations?
In such a state of society, his track must be like that of the dove in
sacred history who found no rest for the sole of her foot.

Agostino folded his arms and sighed deeply, and then made answer
mechanically, as one whose thoughts are afar off.

"Present my duty," he said, "to my uncle, your father, and say to him
that I will wait on him to-night."

"Even so," said the young man, picking up his cloak and folding it about
him. "And now, you know, I must go. Don't be discouraged; keep up a good
heart; you shall see what it is to have powerful friends to stand by
you; all will be right yet. Come, will you go with me now?"

"Thank you," said Agostino, "I think I would be alone a little while. My
head is confused, and I would fain think over matters a little quietly."

"Well, _au revoir_, then. I must leave you to the company of the saints.
But be sure and come early."

So saying, he threw his cloak over his shoulder and sauntered carelessly
down the marble steps, humming again the gay air with which he had
ascended.

Left alone, Agostino once more cast a glance on the strangely solemn
and impressive scene around him. He was standing on a platform of the
central tower which overlooked the whole building. The round, full moon
had now risen in the horizon, displacing by her solemn brightness
the glow of twilight; and her beams were reflected by the delicate
frost-work of the myriad pinnacles which rose in a bewildering maze
at his feet. It might seem to be some strange enchanted garden of
fairy-land, where a luxuriant and freakish growth of Nature had been
suddenly arrested and frozen into eternal stillness. Around in the
shadows at the foot of the Cathedral the lights of the great gay city
twinkled and danced and veered and fluttered like fire-flies in the
damp, dewy shadows of some moist meadow in summer. The sound of
clattering hoofs and rumbling wheels, of tinkling guitars and gay
roundelays, rose out of that obscure distance, seeming far off and
plaintive like the dream of a life that is past. The great church seemed
a vast world; the long aisles of statued pinnacles with their pure
floorings of white marble appeared as if they might be the corridors of
heaven; and it seemed as if the crowned and sceptred saints in their
white marriage-garments might come down and walk there, without ever a
spot of earth on their unsullied whiteness.

In a few moments Father Antonio had glided back to the side of the young
man, whom he found so lost in reverie that not till he laid his hand
upon his arm did he awaken from his meditations.

"Ah!" he said, with a start, "my father, is it you?"

"Yes, my son. What of your conference? Have you learned anything?"

"Father, I have learned far more than I wished to know."

"What is it, my son? Speak it at once."

"Well, then, I fear that the letter of our holy father to the King of
France has been intercepted here in Milan, and sent to the Pope."

"What makes you think so?" said the monk, with an eagerness that showed
how much he felt the intelligence.

"My cousin tells me that a person of consideration in the Duke's
household, who is supposed to be in a position to know, told him that it
was so."

Agostino felt the light grasp which the monk had laid upon his arm
gradually closing with a convulsive pressure, and that he was trembling
with intense feeling.

"Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight!" he said, after a
few moments of silence.

"It is discouraging," said Agostino, "to see how little these princes
care for the true interests of religion and the service of God,--how
little real fealty there is to our Lord Jesus."

"Yes," said the monk, "all seek their own, and not the things that are
Christ's. It is well written, 'Put not your trust in princes.'"

"And what prospect, what hope do you see for him?" said Agostino. "Will
Florence stand firm?"

"I could have thought so once," said the monk,--"in those days when I
have seen counsellors and nobles and women of the highest degree all
humbly craving to hear the word of God from his lips, and seeming to
seek nothing so much as to purify their houses, their hands, and their
hearts, that they might be worthy citizens of that commonwealth which
has chosen the Lord Jesus for its gonfalonier. I have seen the very
children thronging to kiss the hem of his robe, as he walked through the
streets; but, oh, my friend, did not Jerusalem bring palms and spread
its garments in the way of Christ only four days before he was
crucified?"

The monk's voice here faltered. He turned away and seemed to wrestle
with a tempest of suppressed sobbing. A moment more, he looked
heavenward and pointed up with a smile.

"Son," he said, "you ask _what hope there is_. I answer, There is hope
of such crowns as these wear who came out of great tribulation and now
reign with Christ in glory."



OUR ARTISTS IN ITALY.


LANDSCAPE ART.


A representation of Nature, in order to be a true landscape, must be
organic. It must not present itself as an aggregation, but as a growth.
It must manifest obedience to laws which are peculiarly its own, and
through the operation of which it has developed from the moment of
inception to that of maturity. And, moreover, that inception must have
been near a human heart, that development must have been nourished by
vitality derived from human life, and that maturity must be that of the
divine unity to which tend all the mysterious operations of organizing
energies.

We hold this to be the first essential condition of Landscape Art, the
condition without which no rendering of Nature can be Art. Other
points of excellence may be unattained. Let this be evident, that the
production is an offspring of humanity, and it shall be perceived also
that it partakes of whatever immortality the human heart inherits.
Herein is concealed the whole secret of the value of pre-Raphaelite Art,
and not, as we have been assured, in the faithfulness of its followers
to the exact representation of the individual details of Nature. Each
wrought from the love of Nature, consciously giving what truth he
possessed, unconsciously giving of his own interior life. Each picture
was the child of the painter. Yet, however much the ancient artist may
have failed in rendering the specific truths of the external world,
we can never attribute his failure to any disregard for the true.
His picture never gives the impression of falsehood; and in the most
erroneous record of the external there is ever the promise of more
truth, and this promise is not that of the man, but of the principle
governing the character of his picture.

We think that all works of Art may be divided into two distinct classes:
those which are the result of a man's whole nature, involving the
affectional, religious, and intellectual, and those which are the
productions of the intellect, and from the will. The first class
comprises those results of Art which are vital,--which come to
us through processes of growth, and impress us with a sense
of organization. The second includes those works which are
constructed,--which present an accumulation of objects mechanically
combined, parts skilfully joined through scientific means.

Earnestness and the definite purpose which is its sign, love which drew
the soul into sweetest communion with our mother Nature, giving to him
who thus came revelations of the harmonies possible between her and her
children, and devotion to his art mightier than ever inspired the Hindoo
devotee in self-sacrifice, characterized those who have given all that
pure Art which has been alluded to as the true: and such were the
majority of those artists who preceded Raphael.

True, all of those who were devoted to Landscape Art, or who made it a
part of their practice to introduce this element into their pictures,
often failed in attaining truth; but, by some strange power with
which they have invested their landscapes, an impulse is given to the
perception, and the essential truth, feebly hinted at, perhaps, is
recognized. But as the record comes down through the years, each
new picture approximates more nearly to the character of the scene
attempted, with, occasionally, (as in the works of Masaccio,) touches of
truth absolutely perfect, until at last appeared that man altogether at
one with Nature, who reproduced Nature in all its glory, pomp, freedom,
and life, as might an archangel. Titian brought to perfection the first
great class of Landscape Art, and, of course, in doing so, perfected
that department which was the only one as yet developed, and which
remains a distinct branch, subject to its own peculiar laws. We refer to
the rendering of natural scenery, beginning in the merely and completely
subordinate accessory, and ending, with Titian, in the perfectly
dignified and noble companionship of the visible universe with man.

We speak of this Art perfected far back, because we feel assured that
landscape, as accessory to the historical, has an ideal altogether
distinct from that of pure landscape.

It would not be just, perhaps, to regard the law which necessitates this
ideal as a law of subordination, although that condition prevails up to
the time of Titian. Nature, to the true man, never presents itself as
subordinate, but as correspondently ever equal with man, ever ready with
possibilities to match his own. So true is this, that a man's universe,
that of which his vision takes possession, is a part of himself, subject
to his sorrows and joys, his hope and his despair: to him, the violets,
the mountains, and the far-away worlds, throbbing in unison with his own
heart-beat, are in some wise the signs or the manifestations of his own
soul's possibilities. And he is right. That of the flower which is its
beauty, that of the mountains which is their magnificent grandeur, that
of the stars which is their ineffable glory and sublimity, is his, is
within him, is a part of his soul's life, waxing or waning so in unison
with its richness or poverty that wise men mark the soul's stature by
the part of it which is akin to the violets, the hills, or the infinite
sky.

"The world is as large as a man's head." In that there is a fine hint
of a great truth, but beyond that is _the_ truth. It is not the mere
knowledge of Alcyone that necessitates the sublime. After that comes the
wonder. The world is as large as is a man, and its relation to him
is marked by a sympathy which acts and reacts with the certainty and
precision of law.

The ideal of Landscape Art, used in alliance with representations of
the human figure, must, then, be founded upon this immutable sympathy
between the landscape world and the human. Thus, in the painting alluded
to in the article on Mr. Page, "The Entombment" of the Louvre, the
landscape is charged with the solemnity of the hour. No blade of grass
or shadow of leaf but seems conscious of the great event, and the sky
reveals, by its heavenly tenderness, that there all is known.

How different in expression, yet how similar in strength, is the
landscape of that seeming miracle, "The Presentation in the Temple"!
It is clear, confident day,--so pure and perfect a day abroad over the
happy earth, that all things lure forth into an atmosphere so unsullied
that to breathe it is life and joy,--over an earth youthful with spring,
fresh with morning; and hither have come the people to see confirmed the
future mother of Christ, now the child Mary. As the maiden ascends the
steps of the Temple, a halo surrounds her,--not her head alone, but all
the form,--and far away a fainter halo rests upon the hills. Her youth,
its purity and half-recognized promise, seem sweetly imaged in the
morning freshness and spring-life of the landscape.

We can remember no landscape by Titian which is not in full sympathy
with the motives which actuate his groups. It is the unison of scene and
act that gives his pictures a unity and completeness never or rarely
found elsewhere.

After Titian came painters--among them, mighty ones--who, like
Tintoretto, wrought from the external. The elements of the landscape
were treated with knowledge and power, but not often with feeling, and
very seldom with a recognition of its central significance. One example
is so marvellous, however, that we cannot forbear referring to it. Its
truthfulness is the more remarkable from the fact that the painter's
conceptions rarely were such that any true landscape could be found
capable of harmony with their character. In this picture, "The
Temptation of Saint Anthony," one of the Pitti Palace Gallery, Salvator
has wrought marvellously like a demon. The horizon and the sky near it
are charged with a sense of demoniacal conflict for human souls, and
forebodings of defeat and woe.

Yet within this, mantling the remotest depths, there is a sheen of
light, a gleam of hope and faith.

In our own times there is little to refer to illustrative of excellence
in this branch of Art. Overbeck makes frequent use of natural scenery,
and his delicate yet firm outlines repeat, hill and valley and clouds,
the sentiment of peace and purity which pervades his noble productions.

Not that there are not produced frequently, and especially in France,
works remarkable for truth and power. But, too often, the truths are
redundant, and the power vanquishes the sentiments of the group.

One artist in France, Rosa Bonheur, has, however, embodied conceptions
so noble, so in unison with the finest Nature, that its most glorious
and most significant scenery, rendered with a handling akin to the old
mastership, is alone adequate to sympathize with and sustain them. I
need but refer to the wonderful view of the Pyrenees in the picture of
"The Muleteers," the tender morning spirit of that heathery scene in the
Highlands, and that miracle of representation, the near ground, crisp
and frosty, of Mr. Belmont's "Hunters in Early Morning."

American Art, as represented in Italy, has few examples of excellence in
this branch of painting. Its followers have wrought more persistently
in other directions, toward the expression of a class of ideals rarely
involving the one which we have attempted to analyze. Yet, occasionally,
an artist has appeared, making Rome or Florence his home long enough to
win a place, which, when he has departed, is not quickly filled, who has
ideas of history and events calling for the record of the palette;
or there has been wrought in the studio of some resident painter a
composition in which landscape has been employed as accessory.

In many instances there have been produced works which reflect the
highest honor upon our country. As it is foreign to the purpose of
the present paper to deal with other than the different phases of
landscape-painting, we forbear to speak as their merits suggest of the
figure portions of the works of Mr. Rothermel, the result of his brief
sojourn in Italy. In any passage of scenery, and particularly in sky
forms and tones, the expression and character are always such as
support vigorously the action of his group. We say vigorously; for Mr.
Rothermel, in his Italian pictures, revealed an artistic nature related
to humanity in its most agitated moods, as in the "Lear," and in the
"Saint Agnese,"--this beautiful picture being, however, a higher
conception, inasmuch as in it the spirit might find some rest in the
stillness of the maiden Agnese, already saint and about to be martyr,
and in the deep blue sky, on whose field linger white clouds, like lambs
"shepherded by the slow unwilling winds."

Brief mention was made, in our allusion to Mr. Page's picture of the
"Flight into Egypt," to its landscape. This work was executed in Rome,
and its peculiar tone excited much interest among the friends of Mr.
Field, its fortunate possessor. A beautiful, yet not altogether original
idea, finds expression in the foreground group, where Mary, poised upon
the back of the ass, folds the child in her arms, the animal snatches at
a wayside weed, Joseph, drawing tightly the long rope by which he
leads, bends away into the desert with weird energy. In all other
representations of this subject the accessory landscape has usually been
living with full-foliaged trees, abundant herbage, and copious streams.
To indicate the Egyptian phase of its character, palms have been
introduced, as in the beautiful picture by Claude in the Doria Gallery,
and almost invariably the scene has been one of luxury and peace.
But with the event itself all this conflicts. In it were sorrow and
apprehension and death. The fugitives saw not then the safety, nor
anticipated the victory. In this picture, beyond and before the hurrying
group, stretches the immeasurable, hungry sand. A sad golden-brown
haze--such as sometimes comes in our Indian summer, when the hectic
autumn rests silent, mournful and hopeless, in the arms of Nature--
pervades the plain; while on the horizon far away,--an infinite distance
it seems, so strangely spectral are they,--rise the Pyramids, just those
awful ghosts against the ominous sky!

As different as are the subjects he chooses are the bits of scenery
Hamilton Wild introduces in his pictures of life as it now is. His are
more truly historical paintings, although aspiring to no record of the
greatly bad and sorrowful transactions of our age. They represent the
joy and hope of youth, the cheerfulness and vivacity of the lowly, their
pleasantest pursuits, their most primitive customs, their characteristic
and often superb costumes; and wherever a passage of scenery occurs, it
is always that which has aided in developing the human life with which
it is associated.

There is never a discrepancy, nor is unison of sentiment ever achieved
by any bending of the truth. His keen sense of harmony never fails to
perceive, in the infinite range of tones and expressions of Nature, just
that which better than all others supports the character and action of
his group. With motives so healthful, it may be less difficult to find
that sympathy which Nature cheerfully gives; yet there is a tendency
with artists to be enticed away from Nature's joyousness, and especially
from her simplicity.

To this temptation Mr. Wild can never have been subjected. The freedom
which he manifests is not that which has been won, but into which he
must have been born, and with that grew the ability which transfigures
labor into play. Unto such a Nature the out-world presents unasked her
phases of joy and brightness, her light and life.

Does he seek Nature? No. Nature goes with him; and whether he tarry
among the Lagoons, where all seems Art or Death, or in the shadow and
desolation of the Campagna, in the unclean villages of the Alban Hills,
or where the shadows of deserted palaces fall black, broken, and jagged
on the red earth of Granada, there she companions him. She shows him,
that, after all, Venice is hers, and gives him the white marble enriched
with subtilest films of gold, alabaster which the processes of her
incessant years have changed to Oriental amber, a city made opalescent
by the magic of her sunsets. At Rome she opens vistas away from the
sepulchral, out into the wine-colored light of the Campagna, into
the peace gladdened by larks and the bleating of lambs; above are
pines,--Italian pines,--and across the path falls the still shadow of
blooming oleanders. She leads away from squalid towns, and gathers a
group of her children,--peasants, costumed in scarlet and gold, under
the grape-laden festoons of vines, while the now distant village glows
like cliffs of Carrara. How lavish she must have been of her old ideal
Spain, the while he dwelt in Granada!--the dance of the gypsies;
pomegranates heavy with ripeness hanging among the quivering glossy
leaves; olives gleaming with soft ashy whiteness, as the south-wind
wanders across their grove up to where the towers of the Alhambra lift
golden and pale lilac against the clear sky.

We have dwelt thus lengthily upon this primitive and apparently less
important branch of Landscape Art for several reasons: from a conviction
that its importance is, and is only apparently less; from the fact that
from it have been derived all other classes of landscape; and because a
comprehension of its scope and purpose aids more than any other agency
in understanding those of the pure and simple Landscape Art.

We have seen Nature ever ready with moods so related to the soul that
no ideal worthy of Art might be conceived beyond the range of her
sympathies. Even to that event involving all the intensity of human
thought and feeling, the last refinement of all spiritual emotion, and
a sense of mysteries more sublime than the creation of worlds,--even to
the Crucifixion,--Nature gathered herself, as the only possible
sign, the only expression for men, then and forever, of the awful
significance. The joyfulness of festivals, the pomp of processions,
the sublimity of great martyrdoms, the sorrow of defeats, the peace of
holiness, the innocence and sweetness of childhood, the hope of manhood,
and the retrospection of old age, when represented upon the canvas, find
in her forms and colors endless refrain of response.

This truth, that Nature is capable of such cooperation with the human,
that she confines herself to no country or continent, and that her
expressions are not relative, depending upon the suggestiveness of the
human action to which they correspond, but are positive and under the
rule of the immutable, enables the artist to evolve the first great
class of simple landscape-painting.

Had Art always been real and artists ever true, this consideration must
have called forth this class. It being true that natural scenery readily
allies itself with representations of the human figure in order to
express more perfectly than otherwise possible the ideal, it must be
through affinity with that which evolves the ideal, and only by indirect
relation to its sign or visible manifestation in form-language. Then why
not found a school of landscape by discarding the human figure as an
element of expression? A man comes who is born to the easel, yet who
feels no impulse to represent the practical effect upon human faces and
limbs of the various emotions, passions, and sentiments which demand
utterance. His thought is to hold himself to his kindred by more subtile
and far more delicate bonds. He knows that any one can look upon the
"Huguenot Lovers," by Millais, and feel responsive; for it occupies a
great plane, a part of which may be mistaken for passion. But he feels
that the love of Thekla and Max Piccolomini will permit no effigy but
that sacred bank beyond the cliffs of Libussa's Castle, whither come no
footsteps nor jarring of wheels, but only the sound of the deep Moldau
and of remote bells. It is the essence of the ideal which compels his
imagination, not the limited and restless circumstance which chanced
to occur as its revelator. Then the day uprises as if conscious of his
inner life and purpose. Then she gives him breadth after breadth of
color, within which is traced her no longer mystic alphabet. How
significant are the forms she gives him for the foreground, sweet
monosyllables! There are pansies, and rue, and violets, and rosemary.
Among these and their companions children walk and learn, and to the
child-man, the artist to be, she proffers these emblems. Should he
accept her gifts, then all this wonderful world of Art-Nature is open to
him. He inherits, possesses beyond all deeds, above all statutes,--as
does Mr. Gay, who painted that great, though unassuming, picture of "The
Marshes of Cohasset."

Because Art was not held to the highest, few men have known the
elevation of this department of landscape-painting. Too deep or too
devoted a life seems to have been required, too constant communion with
Nature, or too broad a study of her phenomena. Unfortunately, we have
few representatives of this class, in Italy,--Mr. Wild producing
only rarely works which to the principles hinted at are precious
illustrations. After the remarks we have made, we fear that allusion to
the existing facts of painting may be deemed disparaging. Not so; we
deprecate such a conclusion. One great and living picture marks the man.
To be true to himself and Nature is the first duty, even should he be
compelled to stand lifelong with his face towards the west, in order to
possess his soul in Art.

One of the pleasantest styles of landscape painting is that where the
artist, in a mood of deep peace, sits down in the midst of scenes
endeared by long and sweet association, and records in all tenderness
their spirit and beauty. Such scenery Italy affords, and the Alban
Hills seem to be the centre whence radiate all phases of the lovely and
beautiful in Nature. There her forms have conspired with all the highest
and rarest phenomena of light to render her state unapproachably
glorious.

There has also been given such an artist,--a woman altogether truthful,
strong, and nobly delicate; and although several years have passed since
she left Italy, her representations of scenery peculiarly Italian are
too remarkable to be passed unnoticed. Indeed, this lady, Miss Sarah
Jane Clark, is the only artist whose works are illustrative of a
style of simple Landscape Art which unites in itself the love and
conscientiousness of early Art and the precision and science of the
modern. Her picture of Albano is wonderful,--not from the rendering of
unusual or brilliant effects, but from a sense of genuineness. We feel
that it grew. The flower and leaf forms which enrich the near ground are
such as spring up on days like the one she has chosen. Another month,
and new combinations would have given another key to her work and
rendered the present impossible. In that real landscape had wrought
the secret vitality clothing the earth in leafage and bloom. In its
representation we see that a still more refined, a diviner vitality, has
evolved leaf, flower, and golden grain. Another fact associated with
this painting, as well as with some of its companions, is its character
of restraint.

Temperance in Landscape Art is very difficult in the vicinity of
Rome. In this picture the scene sweeps downward, with most gentle
and undulating inclination, over vast groves of olive and luxuriant
vineyards, to the Campagna with its convex waves of green and gold, on
which float the wrecks of cities, out to the sea itself, not so far away
as to conceal the flashing of waves upon the beach. Daily, over this
groundwork, so deftly wrought for their reception, are cast fields and
mighty bands of violet and rose, of amber and pale topaz, of blue,
orange, and garnet, upon the sea. It is as if an aurora had fallen from
Arctic skies, living, changeful, evanescent, athwart sea, plain, and
mountain. Here is sore temptation for the colorist; more, perhaps,
than by the wealth and combination of tints, he is affected by their
celestial quality. All is prismatic, or like those hues produced by the
interference of rays of light as seen in the colors of stars. Gorgeous
as are these phenomena, they are also as transitory; and although the
scene is repeated, it is with such subtile and such great changes as to
remove it from the grasp of the painter who wishes to study his work
wholly from Nature. The eye must be quick and the brush obedient, to
catch the fleeting glories of those Alban sunsets. Even the imperial
hand of Turner could give us only reminiscences.

The allurements to adopt a style of coloring involving these effects
must have been great to one whose love of color amounted to a passion.
Only a still greater love could have drawn her of whom we speak to the
more subdued, but higher plane upon which she stands,--and that must
have been a love of truth, and of that which has appealed to her nature
through repetition's sweet influences. This is the scene lying in deep
repose in open, permanent day. Trees, hills, plain, and sea forget the
flying hours. Yesterday they did not remember, serene and changeless as
ivy on the wall. So gradual has been the transition, so slowly has the
surface of the grain lifted from the rippling blade to the billowy
stalk, so continually have the scarlet poppies bloomed since May came,
that, to her, this is ever the same beneficent and dear spot, sacred to
her soul, as well as fitting type and sign of her pure Art.

The class of landscape-painting which deals with morning and evening
phenomena, and is based upon the fleeting and transitory, is the only
one that finds representation at present in Italy. Mr. Brown has
developed new and peculiar strength since his return to America, and
must require place from his new stand-point. Abel Nichols, whose copies
of Claude were so truthful, and whose original pictures ever strove to
be so, who through surpassing sacrifice became great, who lived, if ever
man has, the wonderful Christ-life, now sleeps the sleep of peace, the
last peace, under the sod of the landscape of his nativity.

There remains to be considered a series of undeniably remarkable
pictures, executed in Rome by John Rollin Tilton.

This artist's landscapes are remarkable for the conflicting effects
which they have produced on the public. They have excited, as they have
been exhibited in his studio in Rome, great enthusiasm, and admiration
which would listen to no criticism. Until perhaps the present year,
which is one of prostration in Rome, his works could not be purchased,
each one being the fulfilment of a commission given long before. These
commissions were given not by men merely wealthy, but by men widely
known for cultivation, discrimination, and for refinement of that taste
which requires the influences of Art. On the other hand, men equally as
remarkable for their accomplishments in matters of taste have expressed
their condemnation of all the paintings of Mr. Tilton, or rather for
those executed prior to 1859, and there were those who heaped them with
ridicule. In admiration and condemnation we have often shared;--in the
sentiment of ridicule never; for in all attempts there have been the
hintings of worthy purpose and a desire to excel.

Those who most despise Mr. Tilton's style and productions are men whose
tendencies are to the theories of English pre-Raphaelism. Viewed in
relation to those principles, his pictures have little value. The
purchasers of them are the men who regard with enthusiastic admiration
the evanescent splendors of Nature.

Mr. Tilton's early ambition was to be the painter to fulfil the demands
of this latter class. He not only sympathized with it in its greater
admiration for "effects" in Nature, but he found associated therewith an
enthusiasm which inspired him with unbounded hope and energy.

When he came to Rome, the Campagnian sunsets were found to be
representative of the peculiar class of effects which he regarded as the
manifestation of his feeling; and so he forthwith took possession of
that part of the day which was passing while the sun performed the last
twelve degrees of his daily journey. Other portions of the twenty-four
hours did not appear to excite even ordinary interest; and whenever
conversation involved consideration of scenery under other than the
favorite character, he was prone to silence, or to attempts to change
the subject. Yet he has been known to speak in terms of commendation
of certain sunrises, and once was actually caught by a friend making a
sketch of Pilatus at sunrise across the Lake of Lucerne.

The objects in the immediate foreground shared in the neglect which
attached to certain seasons. They were ignored as organized members of
what should be a living foreground, and their places were concealed by
unintelligible pigment. As to life there, he wanted none: light,--light
that gleams, and color to reflect it, were his aim. As an inevitable
attending result of these principles, or practices, the structure of the
whole landscape was ambiguous. The essential line and point were evaded,
and one perceived that the artist had _watched_ far more attentively
than he had studied Nature.

At the same time the pictures produced in this studio were marked by
qualities of great beauty. The peculiarly ethereal character of the vast
bands of thin vapors made visible by the slant rays of the sun, and
illuminated with tints which are exquisitely pure and prismatic, was
rendered with surprising success. On examination, the tints which were
used to represent the prismatic character of those of Nature were found
to present surfaces of such excessive delicacy, that the evanescence of
the natural phenomena was suggested, and apprehensions were indulged as
to the permanency of the effects. That noble north light of a cloudless
Roman sky did not extend far, hardly to Civita Vecchia, certainly not
to England, Old or New; and with a less friendly hand than his own to
expose his work, under sight still less kind, there might be presented a
picture bereft of all but its faults. Such has been the case.

We here dismiss willingly further recollection of the works to which we
have called attention. They are marked by error in theory, inasmuch as
they show neglect of the specific and essential, and by feebleness of
system, inasmuch as under no other light than that in which they were
painted could their finer qualities be perceived. Yet it is but just
to add that these were produced during a state of transition from one
method of applying pigments to another of totally different character.

This period of the painter's experience was brought to a close by the
better one of a summer residence at Pieve di Cadore, a village among the
Friulian Alps. Thither he might have gone merely to make a pilgrimage
to the birthplace of Titian; for other reason than _that_ he stayed in
Cadore. He stayed for life, truth, and correction, and he found all. No
other place on the continent could have afforded Mr. Tilton the benefit
that this mountain village did. Here was no ambiguity, no optical
illusion, but frank; ingenuous Nature. The peaks which guarded the
valley were clear and immutable. They suffered no conflicting opinions;
accident had done little to disguise, their true character, but Nature
held them as specimens of the essential in mountain structure. That the
lesson of these peaks might not be forgotten, the student finds them
copied accurately in nearly every landscape painted by Titian. The
magnificent one in "The Presentation in the Temple" was his favorite.
The sketches of this period show that the artist's attention was divided
between the study of these hill forms and of the luxuriant vegetation
of the sloping fields and pastures so characteristic of Swiss scenery.
Cadore is most richly endowed in this respect. The hill-sides are
burdened with flowers, many of which are large and of tropical splendor.
The green of the broad fields is modified by the burden of blossoms. We
have seen against the background of one of these steepest fields what
seemed to be a column of delicate blue smoke wreathing up the hill-side.
In reality it was a bed of wild forget-me-nots, which marked the course
of a minute rill. Under such influences as these, a man born to be a
painter, to whom Art is all, whose hand never fails to execute, and
whose mind has risen above any erroneous combination of principles which
may have checked his progress toward the greatly excellent, must
find himself with new strength, a chastened imagination, and broader
conceptions of his art.

The results of Mr. Tilton's labors since the summer in the Alps prove
that such was the effect upon him. His pictures have of late occupied
nearly every class of Landscape Art. The works now wrought in his Roman
studio are indicative of great changes in feeling, and are marked by
surprising improvements in execution. Yet the individuality of the
artist is impressed upon every canvas. The changes to which we refer are
these,--foregrounds suggested by or painted from living forms. In one
view of Nemi we saw a superb black, gold, and crimson butterfly resting
on a flower. Yet these foregrounds require more strength, more "body,"
more of that which artists achieve who achieve nothing else. We notice
far more individualism in tree forms. The ideal tree, that is, the tree
as it should be, and the conventional one coming against the sky on one
side of the composition, the one bequeathed by Claude, have given place
to Nature's homelier types. The question as to the meaning of passages
no longer arises. The lines are drawn with a decision, with a sense of
certainty, raising them above all doubt. In the rendering of distant
mountains, Mr. Dillon evinces new knowledge of what such forms
necessarily imply,--their tendency to monotone and to flatness, yet
preserving all their essential surface markings, and their inevitable
cutting outline against the sky,--which sharpness Mr. Tilton as yet has
only hinted at, not represented. Positive edges are the true.--But we
have no further space to devote to these particulars of landscape form.
In these Mr. Tilton has many rivals and not a few superiors.

There is left us the pleasant privilege of alluding to an ability which
we believe he shares with none, and which enables him to give his
present pictures their great value. This is the power to discriminate
accurately between the several classes of color,--the local, the
reflected, and the prismatic. It will be found on reference to most
landscapes, especially those of the English schools, that it is the
understanding, already informed on the subject, which accepts as
reflected the continual attempts to render this kind of color: they are
regarded as indicative. But the eye, which should have been satisfied
first, recognizes nothing more than local coloring. Near objects, under
broad, open daylight, yield us their local coloring,--as the surfaces
of stones, the trunks of trees, and the many tints of soil and
vegetation,--yet even here all is modified by reflections. We remember
a cliff at L'Ariccia, which, gray in morning light, became, as evening
approached, a marvellous beryl green, upon which some large poppies cast
wafts of purest scarlet. Farther away, both local and reflected color
lose their power. The rays no longer convey information of surfaces as
separate existences. Nature gathers up into masses, and these masses
tide back to the foreground colors far removed in character from the
near. Vast combinations of rays and atmospheric influences have wrought
this change. As we have said, noon gives us the earth clean and itself;
but, as the sun declines, flushes of color pass along the ground. Their
character we have already described. The particles which fill the
atmosphere just above the surface of the earth become illuminated and
visible in radiant masses. Farther away there is floated over the
mountains a miraculous bloom, a bloom like that upon virgin fruit; and
still more remote, upon the far sea, there is a dream of amber mantling
the sleeping blue. To render these effects, to give us the illuminated
air, the soft green which the mossy sod casts upon the shaded cliff, the
precious bloom upon the hills, and the tints diffused along the sea,--to
achieve this so completely that there never shall be any doubt, to give
us upon the canvas what shall be all this to the beholder, is great, and
this Mr. Tilton has performed.



THE EXPERIENCES OF THE A. C.


"Bridgeport! Change cars for the Naugatuck Railroad!" shouted the
conductor of the New York and Boston Express Train, on the evening of
May 27th, 1858. Indeed, he does it every night, (Sundays excepted,)
for that matter; but as this story refers especially to Mr. J. Edward
Johnson, who was a passenger on that train, on the aforesaid evening,
I make special mention of the fact. Mr. Johnson, carpet-bag in hand,
jumped upon the platform, entered the office, purchased a ticket for
Waterbury, and was soon whirling in the Naugatuck train towards his
destination.

On reaching Waterbury, in the soft spring twilight, Mr. Johnson walked
up and down in front of the station, curiously scanning the faces of the
assembled crowd. Presently he noticed a gentleman who was performing
the same operation upon the faces of the alighting passengers. Throwing
himself directly in the way of the latter, the two exchanged a steady
gaze.

"Is your name Billings?" "Is your name Johnson?" were simultaneous
questions, followed by the simultaneous exclamations,--"Ned!" "Enos!"

Then there was a crushing grasp of hands, repeated after a pause,
in testimony of ancient friendship, and Mr. Billings, returning to
practical life, asked,--

"Is that all your baggage? Come, I have a buggy here: Eunice has heard
the whistle, and she'll be impatient to welcome you."

The impatience of Eunice (Mrs. Billings, of course) was not of long
duration; for in five minutes thereafter she stood at the door of her
husband's chocolate-colored villa, receiving his friend.

While these three persons are comfortably seated at the tea-table,
enjoying their waffles, cold tongue, and canned peaches, and asking
and answering questions helter-skelter in the delightful confusion of
reunion after long separation, let us briefly inform the reader who and
what they are.

Mr. Enos Billings, then, was part owner of a manufactory of metal
buttons, forty years old, of middling height, ordinarily quiet and
rather shy, but with a large share of latent warmth and enthusiasm in
his nature. His hair was brown, slightly streaked with gray, his eyes a
soft, dark hazel, forehead square, eye-brows straight, nose of no very
marked character, and mouth moderately full, with a tendency to twitch
a little at the corners. His voice was undertoned, but mellow and
agreeable.

Mrs. Eunice Billings, of nearly equal age, was a good specimen of the
wide-awake New-England woman. Her face had a piquant smartness of
expression, which might have been refined into a sharp edge, but for her
natural hearty good-humor. Her head was smoothly formed, her face a full
oval, her hair and eyes blond and blue in a strong light, but brown and
steel-gray at other times, and her complexion of that ripe fairness into
which a ruddier color will sometimes fade. Her form, neither plump nor
spare, had yet a firm, elastic compactness, and her slightest movement
conveyed a certain impression of decision and self-reliance.

As for J. Edward Johnson, it is enough to say that he was a tall,
thin gentleman of forty-five, with an aquiline nose, narrow face, and
military whiskers, which swooped upwards and met under his nose in a
glossy black moustache. His complexion was dark, from the bronzing of
fifteen summers in New Orleans. He was a member of a wholesale hardware
firm in that city, and had now revisited his native North for the first
time since his departure. A year before, some letters relating to
invoices of metal buttons, signed "Foster, Kirkup, & Co., per Enos
Billings," had accidentally revealed to him the whereabouts of the old
friend of his youth, with whom we now find him domiciled. The first
thing he did, after attending to some necessary business matters in New
York, was to take the train for Waterbury.

"Enos," said he, as he stretched out his hand for the third cup of tea,
(which he had taken only for the purpose of prolonging the pleasant
table-chat,) "I wonder which of us is most changed."

"You, of course," said Mr. Billings, "with your brown face and big
moustache. Your own brother wouldn't have known you, if he had seen you
last, as I did, with smooth cheeks and hair of unmerciful length. Why,
not even your voice is the same!"

"That is easily accounted for," replied Mr. Johnson. "But in your case,
Enos, I am puzzled to find where the difference lies. Your features seem
to be but little changed, now that I can examine them at leisure; yet it
is not the same face. But, really, I never looked at you for so long
a time, in those days. I beg pardon: you used to be so--so remarkably
shy."

Mr. Billings blushed slightly, and seemed at a loss what to answer. His
wife, however, burst into a merry laugh, exclaiming,--

"Oh, that was before the days of the A.C.!"

He, catching the infection, laughed also: in fact, Mr. Johnson laughed,
but without knowing why.

"The 'A.C.'!" said Mr. Billings. "Bless me, Eunice! how long it is since
we have talked of that summer! I had almost forgotten that there ever
was an A.C."

"Enos, _could_ you ever forget Abel Mallory and the beer?--or that scene
between Hollins and Shelldrake?--or" (here _she_ blushed the least bit)
"your own fit of candor?" And she laughed again, more heartily than
ever.

"What a precious lot of fools, to be sure!" exclaimed her husband.

Mr. Johnson, meanwhile, though enjoying the cheerful humor of his hosts,
was not a little puzzled with regard to its cause.

"What is the A.C.?" he ventured to ask.

Mr. and Mrs. Billings looked at each other, and smiled, without
replying.

"Really, Ned," said the former, finally, "the answer to your question
involves the whole story."

"Then why not tell him the whole story, Enos?" remarked his wife.

"You know I've never told it yet, and it's rather a hard thing to do,
seeing that I'm one of the heroes of the farce,--for it wasn't even
genteel comedy, Ned," said Mr. Billings. "However," he continued,
"absurd as the story may seem, it's the only key to the change in my
life, and I must run the risk of being laughed at."

"I'll help you through, Enos," said his wife, encouragingly; "and
besides, my _rôle_ in the farce was no better than yours. Let us
resuscitate, for to-night only, the constitution of the A.C."

"Upon my word, a capital idea! But we shall have to initiate Ned."

Mr. Johnson merrily agreeing, he was blindfolded and conducted into
another room. A heavy arm-chair, rolling on casters, struck his legs in
the rear, and he sank into it with lamb-like resignation.

"Open your mouth!" was the command, given with mock solemnity.

He obeyed.

"Now shut it!"

And his lips closed upon a cigar, while at the same time the
handkerchief was whisked away from his eyes. He found himself in Mr.
Billings's library.

"Your nose betrays your taste, Mr. Johnson," said the lady, "and I am
not hard-hearted enough to deprive you of the indulgence. Here are
matches."

"Well," said he, acting upon the hint, "if the remainder of the
ceremonies are equally agreeable, I should like to be a permanent member
of your order."

By this time Mr. and Mrs. Billings, having between them lighted the
lamp, stirred up the coal in the grate, closed the doors, and taken
possession of comfortable chairs, the latter proclaimed,--

"The Chapter (isn't that what you call it?) will now be held!"

"Was it in '43 when you left home, Ned?" asked Mr. B.

"Yes."

"Well, the A.C. culminated in '45. You remember something of the society
of Norridgeport, the last winter you were there? Abel Mallory, for
instance?"

"Let me think a moment," said Mr. Johnson, reflectively. "Really, it
seems like looking back a hundred years. Mallory,--wasn't that the
sentimental young man, with wispy hair, a tallowy skin, and big, sweaty
hands, who used to be spouting Carlyle on the 'reading evenings' at
Shelldrake's? Yes, to be sure; and there was Hollins, with his clerical
face and infidel talk,--and Pauline Ringtop, who used to say, 'The
Beautiful is the Good.' I can still hear her shrill voice singing,
'Would that _I_ were beautiful, would that _I_ were fair!'"

There was a hearty chorus of laughter at poor Miss Ringtop's expense.
It harmed no one, however; for the tar-weed was already thick over her
Californian grave.

"Oh, I see," said Mr. Billings, "you still remember the absurdities of
those days. In fact, I think you partially saw through them then. But I
was younger, and far from being so clear-headed, and I looked upon those
evenings at Shelldrake's as being equal, at least, to the _symposia_ of
Plato. Something in Mallory always repelled me. I detested the sight of
his thick nose, with the flaring nostrils, and his coarse, half-formed
lips, of the bluish color of raw corned-beef. But I looked upon these
feelings as unreasonable prejudices, and strove to conquer them, seeing
the admiration which he received from others. He was an oracle on the
subject of 'Nature.' Having eaten nothing for two years, except
Graham bread, vegetables without salt, and fruits, fresh or dried,
he considered himself to have attained an antediluvian purity of
health,--or that he would attain it, so soon as two pimples on his left
temple should have healed. These pimples he looked upon as the last
feeble stand made by the pernicious juices left from the meat he had
formerly eaten and the coffee he had drunk. His theory was, that through
a body so purged and purified none but true and natural impulses could
find access to the soul. Such, indeed, was the theory we all held. A
Return to Nature was the near Millennium, the dawn of which we already
beheld in the sky. To be sure, there was a difference in our individual
views as to how this should be achieved, but we were all agreed as to
what the result should be.

"I can laugh over those days now, Ned; but they were really happy while
they lasted. We were the salt of the earth; we were lifted above those
grovelling instincts which we saw manifested in the lives of others.
Each contributed his share of gas to inflate the painted balloon to
which we all clung, in the expectation that it would presently soar
with us to the stars. But it only went up over the out-houses, dodged
backwards and forwards two or three times, and finally flopped down with
us into a swamp."

"And that balloon was the A. C.?" suggested Mr. Johnson.

"As President of this Chapter, I prohibit questions," said Eunice. "And,
Enos, don't send up your balloon until the proper time. Don't anticipate
the programme, or the performance will be spoiled."

"I had almost forgotten that Ned is so much in the dark," her obedient
husband answered. "You can have but a slight notion," he continued,
turning to his friend, "of the extent to which this sentimental, or
transcendental, element in the little circle at Shelldrake's increased
after you left Norridgeport. We read the 'Dial,' and Emerson; we
believed in Alcott as the 'purple Plato' of modern times; we took
psychological works out of the library, and would listen for hours to
Hollins while he read Schelling or Fichte, and then go home with a
misty impression of having imbibed infinite wisdom. It was, perhaps,
a natural, though very eccentric rebound from the hard, practical,
unimaginative New-England mind which surrounded us; yet I look back upon
it with a kind of wonder. I was then, as you know, unformed mentally,
and might have been so still, but for the experiences of the A. C."

Mr. Johnson shifted his position, a little impatiently. Eunice looked at
him with laughing eyes, and shook her finger with a mock threat.

"Shelldrake," continued Mr. Billings, without noticing this by-play,
"was a man of more pretence than real cultivation, as I afterwards
discovered. He was in good circumstances, and always glad to receive us
at his house, as this made him, virtually, the chief of our tribe,
and the outlay for refreshments involved only the apples from his
own orchard and water from his well. There was an entire absence of
conventionality at our meetings, and this, compared with the somewhat
stiff society of the village, was really an attraction. There was a
mystic bond of union in our ideas: we discussed life, love, religion,
and the future state, not only with the utmost candor, but with a warmth
of feeling which, in many of us, was genuine. Even I (and you know how
painfully shy and bashful I was) felt myself more at home there than in
my father's house; and if I didn't talk much, I had a pleasant feeling
of being in harmony with those who did.

"Well, 'twas in the early part of '45,--I think in April,--when we were
all gathered together, discussing, as usual, the possibility of leading
a life in accordance with Nature. Abel Mallory was there, and Hollins,
and Miss Ringtop, and Faith Levis, with her knitting,--and also Eunice
Hazleton, a lady whom you have never seen, but you may take my wife as
her representative"----

"Stick to the programme, Enos," interrupted Mrs. Billings.

"Eunice Hazleton, then. I wish I could recollect some of the speeches
made on that occasion. Abel had but one pimple on his temple, (there was
a purple spot where the other had been,) and was estimating that in two
or three months more he would be a true, unspoiled man. His complexion,
nevertheless, was more clammy and whey-like than ever.

"'Yes,' said he, 'I also am an Arcadian! This false dual existence which
I have been leading will soon be merged in the unity of Nature. Our
lives must conform to her sacred law. Why can't we strip off these
hollow Shams,' (he made great use of that word,) 'and be our true
selves, pure, perfect, and divine?'

"Miss Ringtop heaved a sigh, and repeated a stanza from her favorite
poet:--

  "'Ah, when wrecked are my desires
    On the everlasting Never,
  And my heart with all its fires
    Out forever,
  In the cradle of Creation
  Finds the soul resuscitation!'

"Shelldrake, however, turning to his wife, said,--

"'Elviry, how many up-stairs rooms is there in that house down on the
Sound?'

"'Four,--besides three small ones under the roof. Why, what made you
think of that, Jesse?' said she.

"'I've got an idea, while Abel's been talking,' he answered. 'We've
taken a house for the summer, down the other side of Bridgeport, right
on the water, where there's good fishing and a fine view of the Sound.
Now, there's room enough for all of us,--at least, all that can make it
suit to go. Abel, you and Enos, and Pauline and Eunice might fix matters
so that we could all take the place in partnership, and pass the summer
together, living a true and beautiful life in the bosom of Nature. There
we shall be perfectly free and untrammelled by the chains which still
hang around us in Norridgeport. You know how often we have wanted to be
set on some island in the Pacific Ocean, where we could build up a
true society, right from the start. Now, here's a chance to try the
experiment for a few months, anyhow.'

"Eunice clapped her hands (yes, you did!) and cried out,--

"'Splendid! Arcadian! I'll give up my school for the summer.'

"Miss Ringtop gave her opinion in another quotation:--

  "'The rainbow hues of the Ideal
  Condense to gems, and form the Real!'

"Abel Mallory, of course, did not need to have the proposal repeated. He
was ready for anything which promised indolence, and the indulgence of
his sentimental tastes. I will do the fellow the justice to say that
he was not a hypocrite. He firmly believed both in himself and his
ideas,--especially the former. He pushed both hands through the long
wisps of his drab-colored hair, and threw his head back until his wide
nostrils resembled a double door to his brain.

"'O Nature!' he said, 'you have found your lost children! We shall obey
your neglected laws! we shall hearken to your divine whispers! we shall
bring you back from your ignominious exile, and place you on your
ancestral throne!'

"'Let us do it!' was the general cry.

"A sudden enthusiasm fired us, and we grasped each other's hands in the
hearty impulse of the moment. My own private intention to make a summer
trip to the White Mountains had been relinquished the moment I heard
Eunice give in her adhesion. I may as well confess, at once, that I was
desperately in love, and afraid to speak to her.

"By the time Mrs. Shelldrake brought in the apples and water we were
discussing the plan as a settled thing. Hollins had an engagement to
deliver Temperance lectures in Ohio during the summer, but decided to
postpone his departure until August, so that he might, at least, spend
two months with us. Faith Levis couldn't go,--at which, I think, we were
all secretly glad. Some three or four others were in the same case, and
the company was finally arranged to consist of the Shelldrakes, Hollins,
Mallory, Eunice, Miss Ringtop, and myself. We did not give much thought,
either to the preparations in advance, or to our mode of life when
settled there. We were to live near to Nature: that was the main thing.

"'What shall we call the place?' asked Eunice.

"'Arcadia!' said Abel Mallory, rolling up his large green eyes.

"'Then,' said Hollins, 'let us constitute ourselves the Arcadian Club!'"

----"Aha!" interrupted Mr. Johnson, "I see! The A.C.!"

"Yes, you see the A.C. now," said Mrs. Billings; "but to understand it
fully, you should have had a share in those Arcadian experiences."

"I am all the more interested in hearing them described. Go on, Enos."

"The proposition was adopted. We called ourselves The Arcadian Club; but
in order to avoid gossip, and the usual ridicule, to which we were all
more or less sensitive, in case our plan should become generally known,
it was agreed that the initials only should be used. Besides, there was
an agreeable air of mystery about it: we thought of Delphi, and Eleusis,
and Samothrace: we should discover that Truth which the dim eyes of
worldly men and women were unable to see, and the day of disclosure
would be the day of Triumph. In one sense we were truly Arcadians: no
suspicion of impropriety, I verily believe, entered any of our minds. In
our aspirations after what we called a truer life there was no material
taint. We were fools, if you choose, but as far as possible from being
sinners. Besides, the characters of Mr. and Mrs. Shelldrake, who
naturally became the heads of our proposed community, were sufficient
to preserve us from slander or suspicion, if even our designs had been
publicly announced.

"I won't bore you with an account of our preparations. In fact, there
was very little to be done. Mr. Shelldrake succeeded in hiring the
house, with most of its furniture, so that but a few articles had to be
supplied. My trunk contained more books than boots, more blank paper
than linen.

"'Two shirts will be enough,' said Abel: 'you can wash one of them any
day, and dry it in the sun.'

"The supplies consisted mostly of flour, potatoes, and sugar. There was
a vegetable-garden in good condition, Mr. Shelldrake said, which would
be our principal dependence.

"'Besides, the clams!' I exclaimed, unthinkingly.

"'Oh, yes!' said Eunice, 'we can have chowder-parties: that will be
delightful!'

"'Clams! chowder! oh, worse than flesh!' groaned Abel. 'Will you
reverence Nature by outraging her first laws?'

"I had made a great mistake, and felt very foolish. Eunice and I looked
at each other, for the first time."

"Speak for yourself only, Enos," gently interpolated his wife.

"It was a lovely afternoon in the beginning of June when we first
approached Arcadia. We had taken two double teams at Bridgeport, and
drove slowly forward to our destination, followed by a cart containing
our trunks and a few household articles. It was a sweet, bright, balmy
day: the wheat-fields were rich and green, the clover showed faint
streaks of ruby mist along slopes leaning southward, and the meadows
were yellow with buttercups. Now and then we caught glimpses of the
Sound, and, far beyond it, the dim Long-Island shore. Every old
white farm-house, with its gray-walled garden, its clumps of lilacs,
viburnums, and early roses, offered us a picture of pastoral simplicity
and repose. We passed them, one by one, in the happiest mood, enjoying
the earth around us, the sky above, and ourselves most of all.

"The scenery, however, gradually became more rough and broken. Knobs
of gray gneiss, crowned by mournful cedars, intrenched upon the arable
land, and the dark-blue gleam of water appeared through the trees. Our
road, which had been approaching the Sound, now skirted the head of a
deep, irregular inlet, beyond which extended a beautiful promontory,
thickly studded with cedars, and with scattering groups of elm, oak, and
maple trees. Towards the end of the promontory stood a house, with white
walls shining against the blue line of the Sound.

"'There is Arcadia, at last!' exclaimed Mr. Shelldrake.

"A general outcry of delight greeted the announcement. And, indeed, the
loveliness of the picture surpassed our most poetic anticipations. The
low sun was throwing exquisite lights across the point, painting the
slopes of grass a golden green, and giving a pearly softness to the gray
rocks. In the background was drawn the far-off water-line, over which a
few specks of sail glimmered against the sky. Miss Ringtop, who, with
Eunice, Mallory, and myself, occupied one carriage, expressed her
'gushing' feelings in the usual manner:--

  "'Where the turf is softest, greenest,
  Doth an angel thrust me on,--
  Where the landscape lies serenest,
  In the journey of the sun!'

"'Don't, Pauline!' said Eunice; 'I never like to hear poetry flourished
in the face of Nature. This landscape surpasses any poem in the world.
Let us enjoy the best thing we have, rather than the next best.'

"'Ah, yes!' sighed Miss Ringtop, 'tis true!

  "They sing to the ear; this sings to the eye."'

"Thenceforward, to the house, all was childish joy and jubilee. All
minor personal repugnances were smoothed over in the general exultation.
Even Abel Mallory became agreeable; and Hollins, sitting beside Mrs.
Shelldrake on the back seat of the foremost carriage, shouted to us, in
boyish lightness of heart.

"Passing the head of the inlet, we left the country-road, and entered,
through a gate in the tottering stone wall, on our summer domain. A
track, open to the field on one side, led us past a clump of deciduous
trees, between pastures broken by cedared knolls of rock, down
the centre of the peninsula, to the house. It was quite an old
frame-building, two stories high, with a gambrel roof and tall chimneys.
Two slim Lombardy poplars and a broad-leaved catalpa shaded the southern
side, and a kitchen-garden, divided in the centre by a double row of
untrimmed currant-bushes, flanked it on the east. For flowers, there
were masses of blue flags and coarse tawny-red lilies, besides a huge
trumpet-vine which swung its pendent arms from one of the gables. In
front of the house a natural lawn of mingled turf and rock sloped
steeply down to the water, which was not more than two hundred yards
distant. To the west was another and broader inlet of the Sound, out of
which our Arcadian promontory rose bluff and bold, crowned with a thick
fringe of pines. It was really a lovely spot which Shelldrake had
chosen,--so secluded, while almost surrounded, by the winged and moving
life of the Sound, so simple, so pastoral and home-like. No one doubted
the success of our experiment, for that evening, at least.

"Perkins Brown, Shelldrake's boy-of-all-work, awaited us at the door.
He had been sent on two or three days in advance, to take charge of the
house, and seemed to have had enough of hermit-life, for he hailed
us with a wild whoop, throwing his straw hat half-way up one of the
poplars. Perkins was a boy of fifteen, the child of poor parents,
who were satisfied to get him off their hands, regardless as to what
humanitarian theories might be tested upon him. As the Arcadian Club
recognized no such thing as caste, he was always admitted to our
meetings, and understood just enough of our conversation to excite a
silly ambition in his slow mind. His animal nature was predominant, and
this led him to be deceitful. At that time, however, we all looked upon
him as a proper young Arcadian, and hoped that he would develop into a
second Abel Mallory.

"After our effects had been deposited on the stoop, and the carriages
had driven away, we proceeded to apportion the rooms, and take
possession. On the first floor there were three rooms, two of which
would serve us as dining-and drawing-rooms, leaving the third for the
Shelldrakes. As neither Eunice and Miss Ringtop, nor Hollins and Abel
showed any disposition to room together, I quietly gave up to them the
four rooms in the second story, and installed myself in one of the attic
chambers. Here I could hear the music of the rain close above my head,
and through the little gable window, as I lay in bed, watch the colors
of the morning gradually steal over the distant shores. The end was, we
were all satisfied.

"'Now for our first meal in Arcadia!' was the next cry. Mrs. Shelldrake,
like a prudent housekeeper, marched off to the kitchen, where Perkins
had already kindled a fire. We looked in at the door, but thought it
best to allow her undisputed sway in such a narrow realm. Eunice was
unpacking some loaves of bread and paper bags of crackers; and Miss
Ringtop, smiling through her ropy curls, as much as to say, 'You see,
_I_ also can perform the coarser tasks of life!' occupied herself with
plates and cups. We men, therefore, walked out to the garden, which we
found in a promising condition. The usual vegetables had been planted
and were growing finely, for the season was yet scarcely warm enough
for the weeds to make much headway. Radishes, young onions, and lettuce
formed our contribution to the table. The Shelldrakes, I should explain,
had not yet advanced to the antediluvian point, in diet: nor, indeed,
had either Eunice or myself. We acknowledged the fascination of tea, we
saw a very mitigated evil in milk and butter, and we were conscious of
stifled longings after the abomination of meat. Only Mallory, Rollins,
and Miss Ringtop had reached that loftiest round on the ladder of
progress where the material nature loosens the last fetter of the
spiritual. They looked down upon us, and we meekly admitted their right
to do so.

"Our board, that evening, was really tempting. The absence of meat was
compensated to us by the crisp and racy onions, and I craved only a
little salt, which had been interdicted, as a most pernicious substance.
I sat at one corner of the table, beside Perkins Brown, who took an
opportunity, while the others were engaged in conversation, to jog my
elbow gently. As I turned towards him, he said nothing, but dropped his
eyes significantly. The little rascal had the lid of a blacking-box,
filled with salt, upon his knee, and was privately seasoning his onions
and radishes. I blushed at the thought of my hypocrisy, but the onions
were so much better that I couldn't help dipping into the lid with him.

"'Oh,' said Eunice, 'we must send for some oil and vinegar! This lettuce
is very nice."

"'Oil and vinegar?' exclaimed Abel.

"'Why, yes,' said she, innocently: 'they are both vegetable substances.'

"Abel at first looked rather foolish, but quickly recovering himself,
said,--

"'All vegetable substances are not proper for food: you would not taste
the poison-oak, or sit under the upas-tree of Java.'

"'Well, Abel,' Eunice rejoined, 'how are we to distinguish what is best
for us? How are we to know _what_ vegetables to choose, or what animal
and mineral substances to avoid?'

"'I will tell you,' he answered, with a lofty air. 'See here!' pointing
to his temple, where the second pimple--either from the change of air,
or because, in the excitement of the last few days, he had forgotten
it--was actually healed. 'My blood is at last pure. The struggle between
the natural and the unnatural is over, and I am beyond the depraved,
influences of my former taste. My instincts are now, therefore, entirely
pure also. What is good for man to eat, that I shall have a natural
desire to eat: what is bad will be naturally repelled. How does the cow
distinguish between the wholesome and the poisonous herbs of the meadow?
And is man less than a cow, that he cannot cultivate his instincts to
an equal point? Let me walk through, the woods and I can tell you every
berry and root which God designed for food, though I know not its name,
and have never seen it before. I shall make use of my time, during our
sojourn here, to test, by my purified instinct, every substance, animal,
mineral, and vegetable, upon which the human race subsists, and to
create a catalogue of the True Food of Man!'

"Abel was eloquent on this theme, and he silenced not only Eunice, but
the rest of us. Indeed, as we were all half-infected with the same
delusions, it was not easy to answer his sophistries.

"After supper was over, the prospect of cleaning the dishes and putting
things in order was not so agreeable; but Mrs. Shelldrake and Perkins
undertook the work, and we did not think it necessary to interfere with
them. Half an hour afterwards, when the full moon had risen, we took
our chairs upon the stoop, to enjoy the calm, silver night, the soft
sea-air, and our summer's residence in anticipatory talk.

"'My friends,' said Hollins, (and _his_ hobby, as you may remember, Ned,
was the organization of Society, rather than those reforms which apply
directly to the Individual,)--'my friends, I think we are sufficiently
advanced in progressive ideas to establish our little Arcadian community
upon what I consider the true basis: not Law, nor Custom, but the
uncorrupted impulses of our nature. What Abel said in regard to dietetic
reform is true; but that alone will not regenerate the race. We must
rise superior to those conventional ideas of Duty whereby Life is warped
and crippled. Life must not be a prison, where each one must come and
go, work, eat, and sleep, as the jailer commands. Labor must not be
a necessity, but a spontaneous joy. 'T is true, but little labor is
required of us here: let us, therefore, have no set tasks, no fixed
rules, but each one work, rest, eat, sleep, talk or be silent, as his
own nature prompts.'

"Perkins, sitting on the steps, gave a suppressed chuckle, which I think
no one heard but myself. I was vexed with his levity, but, nevertheless,
gave him a warning nudge with my toe, in payment for the surreptitious
salt.

"'That's just the notion I had, when I first talked of our coming here,'
said Shelldrake. 'Here we're alone and unhindered; and if the plan
shouldn't happen to work well, (I don't see why it shouldn't, though,)
no harm will be done. I've had a deal of hard work in my life, and I've
been badgered and bullied so much by your strait-laced professors,
that I'm glad to get away from the world for a spell, and talk and do
rationally, without being laughed at.'

"'Yes,' answered Hollins, 'and if we succeed, as I feel we shall, for I
think I know the hearts of all of us here, this may be the commencement
of a new _ee_poch for the world. We may become the turning-point between
two dispensations: behind us everything false and unnatural,--before us
everything true, beautiful, and good.'

"'Ah,' sighed Miss Ringtop, 'it reminds me of Gamaliel J. Gawthrop's
beautiful lines:--

  "Unrobed man is lying hoary
   In the distance, gray and dead;
  There no wreaths of godless glory
   To his mist-like tresses wed,
  And the foot-fall of the Ages
   Reigns supreme, with noiseless tread."'

"'I am willing to try the experiment,' said I, on being appealed to by
Hollins; 'but don't you think we had better observe some kind of order,
even in yielding everything to impulse? Shouldn't there be, at least, a
platform, as the politicians call it,--an agreement by which we shall
all be bound, and which we can afterwards exhibit as the basis of our
success?'

"He meditated a few moments, and then answered,--

"'I think not. It resembles too much the thing we are trying to
overthrow. Can you bind a man's belief by making him sign certain
articles of Faith? No: his thought will be free, in spite of it; and I
would have Action--Life--as free as Thought. Our platform--to adopt your
image--has but one plank: Truth. Let each only be true to himself: _be_
himself, _act_ himself, or herself, with the uttermost candor. We can
all agree upon that.'

"The agreement was accordingly made. And certainly no happier or more
hopeful human beings went to bed in all New England that night.

"I arose with the sun, went into the garden, and commenced weeding,
intending to do my quota of work before breakfast, and then devote the
day to reading and conversation. I was presently joined by Shelldrake
and Mallory, and between us we finished the onions and radishes, stuck
the peas, and cleaned the alleys. Perkins, after milking the cow and
turning her out to pasture, assisted Mrs. Shelldrake in the kitchen. At
breakfast we were joined by Hollins, who made no excuse for his easy
morning habits; nor was one expected. I may as well tell you now,
though, that his natural instincts never led him to work. After a week,
when a second crop of weeds was coming on, Mallory fell off also, and
thenceforth Shelldrake and myself had the entire charge of the garden.
Perkins did the rougher work, and was always on hand when he was wanted.
Very soon, however, I noticed that he was in the habit of disappearing
for two or three hours in the afternoon.

"Our meals preserved the same Spartan simplicity. Eunice, however,
carried her point in regard to the salad; for Abel, after tasting and
finding it very palatable, decided that oil and vinegar might be classed
in the catalogue of True Food. Indeed, his long abstinence from piquant
flavors gave him such an appetite for it, that our supply of lettuce was
soon exhausted. An embarrassing accident also favored us with the use of
salt. Perkins happening to move his knee at the moment I was dipping an
onion into the blacking-box lid, our supply was knocked upon the floor.
He picked it up, and we both hoped the accident might pass unnoticed.
But Abel, stretching his long neck across the corner of the table,
caught a glimpse of what was going on.

"'What's that?' he asked.

"'Oh, it's--it's only,' said I, seeking for a synonyme, 'only _chloride
of sodium_!'

"'Chloride of sodium! what do you do with it?'

"'Eat it with onions,' said I, boldly: 'it's a chemical substance, but I
believe it is found in some plants.'

"Eunice, who knew something of chemistry, (she taught a class, though
you wouldn't think it,) grew red with suppressed fun, but the others
were as ignorant as Abel Mallory himself.

"'Let me taste it,' said he, stretching out an onion.

"I handed him the box-lid, which still contained a portion of its
contents. He dipped the onion, bit off a piece, and chewed it gravely.

"'Why,' said he, turning to me, 'it's very much like salt.'

"Perkins burst into a spluttering yell, which discharged an onion-top he
had just put between his teeth across the table; Eunice and I gave way
at the same moment; and the others, catching the joke, joined us. But
while we were laughing, Abel was finishing his onion, and the result was
that Salt was added to the True Food, and thereafter appeared regularly
on the table.

"The forenoons we usually spent in reading and writing, each in his or
her chamber. (Oh, the journals, Ned!--but you shall not see mine.)
After a mid-day meal,--I cannot call it dinner,--we sat upon the stoop,
listening while one of us read aloud, or strolled down the shores on
either side, or, when the sun was not too warm, got into a boat, and
rowed or floated lazily around the promontory.

"One afternoon, as I was sauntering off, past the garden, towards the
eastern inlet, I noticed Perkins slipping along behind the cedar knobs,
towards the little woodland at the end of our domain. Curious to find
out the cause of his mysterious disappearances, I followed cautiously.
From the edge of the wood I saw him enter a little gap between the
rocks, which led down to the water. Presently a thread of blue smoke
stole up. Quietly creeping along, I got upon the nearer bluff and looked
down. There was a sort of hearth built up at the base of the rock, with
a brisk little lire burning upon it, but Perkins had disappeared. I
stretched myself out upon the moss, in the shade, and waited. In about
half an hour up came Perkins, with a large fish in one hand and a
lump of clay in the other. I now understood the mystery. He carefully
imbedded the fish in a thin layer of clay, placed it on the coals, and
then went down to the shore to wash his hands. On his return he found me
watching the fire.

"'Ho, ho, Mr. Enos!' said he, 'you've found me out! But _you_ won't say
nothin'. Gosh! _you_ like it as well I do. Look 'ee there!'--breaking
open the clay, from which arose 'a steam of rich-distilled
perfumes,'--'and, I say, I've got the box-lid with that 'ere stuff in
it,--ho! ho!' and the scamp roared again.

"Out of a hole in the rock he brought salt and the end of a loaf, and
between us we finished the fish. Before long, I got into a habit of
disappearing in the afternoon.

"Now and then, we took walks, alone or collectively, to the nearest
village, or even to Bridgeport, for the papers or a late book. The few
purchases we required were made at such times, and sent down in a cart,
or, if not too heavy, carried by Perkins in a basket. I noticed that
Abel, whenever we had occasion to visit a grocery, would go sniffing
around, alternately attracted or repelled by the various articles: now
turning away with a shudder from a ham,--now inhaling, with a fearful
delight and uncertainty, the odor of smoked herrings. 'I think herrings
must feed on sea-weed,' said he, 'there is such a vegetable attraction
about them.' After his violent vegetarian harangues, however, he
hesitated about adding them to his catalogue.

"But, one day, as we were passing through the village, he was reminded
by the sign of 'WARTER CRACKERS' in the window of an obscure grocery,
that he required a supply of those articles, and we therefore entered.
There was a splendid Rhode-Island cheese on the counter, from which the
shop-mistress was just cutting a slice for a customer. Abel leaned over
it, inhaling the rich, pungent fragrance.

"'Enos,' said he to me, between his sniffs, 'this impresses me like
flowers,--like marigolds. It must be,--really,--yes, the vegetable
element is predominant. My instinct towards it is so strong that I
cannot be mistaken. May I taste it, Ma'am?'

"The woman sliced off a thin corner, and presented it to him on the
knife.

"'Delicious!' he exclaimed; 'I am right,--this is the True Food. Give me
two pounds,--and the crackers, Ma'am.'

"I turned away, quite as much disgusted as amused with
this charlatanism. And yet I verily believe the fellow was
sincere,--self-deluded only. I had by this time lost my faith in him,
though not in the great Arcadian principles. On reaching home, after
an hour's walk, I found our household in unusual commotion. Abel was
writhing in intense pain: he had eaten the whole two pounds of cheese,
on his way home! His stomach, so weakened by years of unhealthy
abstinence from true nourishment, was now terribly tortured by this
sudden stimulus. Mrs. Shelldrake, fortunately, had some mustard among
her stores, and could therefore administer a timely emetic. His life was
saved, but he was very ill for two or three days. Hollins did not fail
to take advantage of this circumstance to overthrow the authority which
Abel had gradually acquired on the subject of food. He was so arrogant
in his nature that he could not tolerate the same quality in another,
even where their views coincided.

"By this time several weeks had passed away. It was the beginning of
July, and the long summer heats had come. I was driven out of my attic
during the middle hours of the day, and the others found it pleasanter
on the doubly shaded stoop than in their chambers. We were thus thrown
more together than usual,--a circumstance which made our life more
monotonous to the others, as I could see; but to myself, who could at
last talk to Eunice, and who was happy at the very sight of her, this
'heated term' seemed borrowed from Elysium. I read aloud, and the sound
of my own voice gave me confidence; many passages suggested discussions,
in which I took a part; and you may judge, Ned, how fast I got on, from
the fact that I ventured to tell Eunice of my fish-bakes with Perkins,
and invite her to join them. After that, she, also, often disappeared
from sight for an hour or two in the afternoon."

----"Oh, Mr. Johnson," interrupted Mrs. Billings, "it wasn't for the
fish!"

"Of course not," said her husband; "it was for my sake."

"No, you need not think it was for you. Enos," she added, perceiving the
feminine dilemma into which she had been led, "all this is not necessary
to the story."

"Stop!" he answered. "The A.C. has been revived for this night only.
Do you remember our platform, or rather no-platform? I must follow my
impulses, and say whatever comes uppermost."

"Right, Enos," said Mr. Johnson; "I, as temporary Arcadian, take the
same ground. My instinct tells me that you, Mrs. Billings, must permit
the confession."

She submitted with a good grace, and her husband continued.

"I said that our lazy life during the hot weather had become a little
monotonous. The Arcadian plan had worked tolerably well, on the whole,
for there was very little for any one to do,--Mrs. Shelldrake and
Perkins Brown excepted. Our conversation, however, lacked spirit and
variety. We were, perhaps unconsciously, a little tired of hearing and
assenting to the same sentiments. But, one evening, about this time,
Hollins struck upon a variation, the consequences of which he little
foresaw. We had been reading one of Bulwer's works, (the weather was too
hot for Psychology,) and came upon this paragraph, or something like
it:--

"'Ah, Behind the Veil! We see the summer smile of the Earth,--enamelled
meadow and limpid stream,--but what hides she in her sunless heart?
Caverns of serpents, or grottoes of priceless gems? Youth, whose soul
sits on thy countenance, thyself wearing no mask, strive not to lift the
masks of others! Be content with what thou seest; and wait until Time
and Experience shall teach thee to find jealousy behind the sweet smile,
and hatred under the honeyed word!'

"This seemed to us a dark and bitter reflection; but one or another of
us recalled some illustration of human hypocrisy, and the evidences,
by the simple fact of repetition, gradually led to a division of
opinion,--Hollins, Shelldrake, and Miss Ringtop on the dark side, and
the rest of us on the bright. The last, however, contented herself with
quoting from her favorite poet, Gamaliel J. Gawthrop:--

  "'I look beyond thy brow's concealment!
  I see thy spirit's dark revealment!
  Thy inner self betrayed I see:
  Thy coward, craven, shivering ME!'

"'We think we know one another,' exclaimed Hollins; 'but do we? We see
the faults of others, their weaknesses, their disagreeable qualities,
and we keep silent. How much we should gain, were candor as universal
as concealment! Then each one, seeing himself as others see him, would
truly know himself. How much misunderstanding might be avoided, how
much hidden shame be removed, hopeless because unspoken love made
glad, honest admiration cheer its object, uttered sympathy mitigate
misfortune,--in short, how much brighter and happier the world would
become, if each one expressed, everywhere and at all times, his true and
entire feeling! Why, even Evil would lose half its power!'

"There seemed to be so much practical wisdom in these views that we were
all dazzled and half-convinced at the start. So, when Hollins, turning
towards me, as he continued, exclaimed,--'Come, why should not this
candor be adopted in our Arcadia? Will any one--will you, Enos--commence
at once by telling me now--to my face--my principal faults?' I answered,
after a moment's reflection,--'You have a great deal of intellectual
arrogance, and you are, physically, very indolent.'

"He did not flinch from the self-invited test, though he looked a little
surprised.

"'Well put,' said he, 'though I do not say that you are entirely
correct. Now, what are my merits?'

"'You are clear-sighted,' I answered, 'an earnest seeker after truth,
and courageous in the avowal of your thoughts.'

"This restored the balance, and we soon began to confess our own private
faults and weaknesses. Though the confessions did not go very deep,--no
one betraying anything we did not all know already,--yet they were
sufficient to strengthen Hollins in his new idea, and it was unanimously
resolved that Candor should thenceforth be the main charm of our
Arcadian life. It was the very thing _I_ wanted, in order to make a
certain communication to Eunice; but I should probably never have
reached the point, had not the same candor been exercised towards me,
from a quarter where I least expected it.

"The next day, Abel, who had resumed his researches after the True Food,
came home to supper with a healthier color than I had before seen on his
face.

"'Do you know,' said he, looking shyly at Hollins, 'that I begin to
think Beer must be a natural beverage? There was an auction in the
village to-day, as I passed through, and I stopped at a cake-stand to
get a glass of water, as it was very hot. There was no water,--only
beer: so I thought I would try a glass, simply as an experiment. Really,
the flavor was very agreeable. And it occurred to me, on the way
home, that all the elements contained in beer are vegetable. Besides,
fermentation is a natural process. I think the question has never been
properly tested before.'

"'But the alcohol!' exclaimed Hollins.

"'I could not distinguish any, either by taste or smell. I know that
chemical analysis is said to show it; but may not the alcohol be
created, somehow, during the analysis?'

"'Abel,' said Hollins, in a fresh burst of candor, 'you will never be
a Reformer, until you possess some of the commonest elements of
knowledge.'

"The rest of us were much diverted: it was a pleasant relief to our
monotonous amiability.

"Abel, however, had a stubborn streak in his character. The next day he
sent Perkins Brown to Bridgeport for a dozen bottles of 'Beer.' Perkins,
either intentionally or by mistake, (I always suspected the former,)
brought pint-bottles of Scotch ale, which he placed in the coolest part
of the cellar. The evening happened to be exceedingly hot and sultry,
and, as we were all fanning ourselves and talking languidly, Abel
bethought him of his beer. In his thirst, he drank the contents of the
first bottle, almost at a single draught.

"'The effect of beer,' said he, 'depends, I think, on the commixture of
the nourishing principle of the grain with the cooling properties of the
water. Perhaps, hereafter, a liquid food of the same character may be
invented, which shall save us from mastication and all the diseases of
the teeth.'

"Hollins and Shelldrake, at his invitation, divided a bottle between
them, and he took a second. The potent beverage was not long in acting
on a brain so unaccustomed to its influence. He grew unusually talkative
and sentimental, in a few minutes.

"'Oh, sing, somebody!' he sighed in hoarse rapture: 'the night was made
for Song.'

"Miss Ringtop, nothing loath, immediately commenced, 'When stars are in
the quiet skies'; but scarcely had she finished the first verse before
Abel interrupted her.

"'Candor's the order of the day, isn't it?' he asked.

"'Yes!' 'Yes!' two or three answered.

"'Well, then,' said he, 'candidly, Pauline, you've got the darn'dest
squeaky voice'----

"Miss Ringtop gave a faint little scream of horror.

"'Oh, never mind!' he continued. 'We act according to impulse, don't we?
And I've the impulse to swear; and it's right. Let Nature have her
way. Listen! Damn, damn, damn, damn! I never knew it was so easy. Why,
there's a pleasure in it! Try it, Pauline! try it on me!'

"'Oh-ooh!' was all Miss Ringtop could utter.

"'Abel! Abel!' exclaimed Hollins, 'the beer has got into your head.'

"'No, it isn't Beer,--it's Candor!' said Abel. 'It's your own proposal,
Hollins. Suppose it's evil to swear: isn't it better I should express
it, and be done with it, than keep it bottled up, to ferment in my mind?
Oh, you're a precious, consistent old humbug, _you_ are!'

"And therewith he jumped off the stoop, and went dancing awkwardly down
towards the water, singing in a most unmelodious voice, ''T is home
where'er the heart is.'

"'Oh, he may fall into the water!' exclaimed Eunice, in alarm.

"'He's not fool enough to do that,' said Shelldrake. 'His head is a
little light, that's all. The air will cool him down presently.'

"But she arose and followed him, not satisfied with this assurance. Miss
Ringtop sat rigidly still. She would have received with composure the
news of his drowning.

"As Eunice's white dress disappeared among the cedars crowning the
shore, I sprang up and ran after her. I knew that Abel was not
intoxicated, but simply excited, and I had no fear on his account: I
obeyed an involuntary impulse. On approaching the water, I heard their
voices,--hers in friendly persuasion, his in sentimental entreaty,--then
the sound of oars in the rowlocks. Looking out from the last clump of
cedars, I saw them seated in the boat, Eunice at the stern, while Abel,
facing her, just dipped an oar now and then to keep from drifting with
the tide. She had found him already in the boat, which was loosely
chained to a stone. Stepping on one of the forward thwarts, in her
eagerness to persuade him to return, he sprang past her, jerked away the
chain, and pushed off before she could escape. She would have fallen,
but he caught her and placed her in, the stern, and then seated himself
at the oars. She must have been somewhat alarmed, but there was only
indignation in her voice. All this had transpired before my arrival, and
the first words I heard bound me to the spot and kept me silent.

"'Abel, what does this mean?' she asked.

"'It means Fate,--Destiny!' he exclaimed, rather wildly. 'Ah, Eunice,
ask the night, and the moon,--ask the impulse which told you to follow
me! Let us be candid, like the old Arcadians we imitate. Eunice, we know
that we love each other: why should we conceal it any longer? The Angel
of Love comes down from the stars on his azure wings, and whispers to
our hearts. Let us confess to each other! The female heart should not be
timid, in this pure and beautiful atmosphere of Love which we breathe.
Come, Eunice! we are alone: let your heart speak to me!'

"Ned, if you've ever been in love, (we'll talk of that, after a while,)
you will easily understand what tortures I endured, in thus hearing him
speak. That _he_ should love Eunice! It was a profanation to her, an
outrage to me. Yet the assurance with which he spoke! _Could_ she love
this conceited, ridiculous, repulsive fellow, after all? I almost gasped
for breath, as I clinched the prickly boughs of the cedars in my hands,
and set my teeth, waiting to hear her answer.

"'I will not hear such language! Take me back to the shore!' she said,
in very short, decided tones.

"'Oh, Eunice,' he groaned, (and now, I think, he was perfectly sober,)
'don't you love me, indeed? _I_ love _you_,--from my heart I do: yes, I
love you. Tell me how you feel towards me.'

"'Abel,' said she, earnestly, 'I feel towards you only as a friend; and
if you wish me to retain a friendly interest in you, you must never
again talk in this manner. I do not love you, and I never shall. Let me
go back to the house.

"His head dropped upon his breast, but he rowed back to the shore, drew
the bow upon the rocks, and assisted her to land. Then, sitting down, he
groaned forth,--

"'Oh, Eunice, you have broken my heart!' and putting his big hands to
his face, began to cry.

"She turned, placed one hand on his shoulder, and said, in a calm, but
kind tone,--

"'I am very sorry, Abel, but I cannot help it.'

"I slipped aside, that she might not see me, and we returned by separate
paths.

"I slept very little that night. The conviction, which I had chased away
from my mind as often as it returned, that our Arcadian experiment was
taking a ridiculous and at the same time impracticable development,
became clearer and stronger. I felt sure that our little community could
not hold together much longer without an explosion. I had a presentiment
that Eunice shared my impressions. My feelings towards her had reached
that crisis where a declaration was imperative: but how to make it? It
was a terrible struggle between my shyness and my affection. There was
another circumstance, in connection with this subject, which troubled me
not a little. Miss Ringtop evidently sought my company, and made me, as
much as possible, the recipient of her sentimental outpourings. I was
not bold enough to repel her,--indeed, I had none of that tact which
is so useful in such emergencies,--and she seemed to misinterpret my
submission. Not only was her conversation pointedly directed to me, but
she looked at me, when singing, (especially, 'Thou, thou, reign'st in
this bosom!') in a way that made me feel very uncomfortable. What if
Eunice should suspect an attachment towards her, on my part? What
if--oh, horror!--I had unconsciously said or done something to impress
Miss Ringtop herself with the same conviction? I shuddered as the
thought crossed my mind. One thing was very certain: this suspense was
not to be endured much longer.

"We had an unusually silent breakfast the next morning. Abel scarcely
spoke, which the others attributed to a natural feeling of shame, after
his display of the previous evening. Hollins and Shelldrake discussed
Temperance, with a special view to his edification, and Miss Ringtop
favored us with several quotations about 'the maddening bowl,'--but he
paid no attention to them. Eunice was pale and thoughtful. I had no
doubt, in my mind, that she was already contemplating a removal from
Arcadia. Perkins, whose perceptive faculties were by no means dull,
whispered to me, 'Sha'n't I bring up some porgies for supper?' but I
shook my head. I was busy with other thoughts, and did not join him in
the wood, that day.

"The forenoon was overcast, with frequent showers. Each one occupied his
or her room until dinner-time, when we met again with something of the
old geniality. There was an evident effort to restore our former flow of
good feeling. Abel's experience with the beer was freely discussed. He
insisted strongly that he had not been laboring under its effects, and
proposed a mutual test. He, Shelldrake, and Hollins were to drink it
in equal measures, and compare observations as to their physical
sensations. The others agreed,--quite willingly, I thought,--but I
refused. I had determined to make a desperate attempt at candor, and
Abel's fate was fresh before my eyes.

"My nervous agitation increased during the day, and, after sunset,
fearing lest I should betray my excitement in some way, I walked down
to the end of the promontory, and took a seat on the rocks. The sky
had cleared, and the air was deliciously cool and sweet. The Sound was
spread out before me like a sea, for the Long-Island shore was veiled in
a silvery mist. My mind was soothed and calmed by the influences of the
scene, until the moon arose. Moonlight, you know, disturbs,--at least,
when one is in love. (Ah, Ned, I see you understand it!) I felt
blissfully miserable, ready to cry with joy at the knowledge that I
loved, and with fear and vexation at my cowardice, at the same time.

"Suddenly I heard a rustling beside me. Every nerve in my body tingled,
and I turned my head, with a beating and expectant heart. Pshaw! It was
Miss Ringtop, who spread her blue dress on the rock beside me, and shook
back her long curls, and sighed, as she gazed at the silver path of the
moon on the water.

"'Oh, how delicious!' she cried. 'How it seems to set the spirit free,
and we wander off on the wings of Fancy to other spheres!'

"'Yes,' said I, 'it is very beautiful, but sad, when one is alone.'

"I was thinking of Eunice.

"'How inadequate,' she continued, 'is language to express the emotions
which Such a scene calls up in the bosom! Poetry alone is the voice of
the spiritual world, and we, who are not poets, must borrow the language
of the gifted sons of Song. Oh, Enos, I _wish_ you were a poet! But you
_feel_ poetry, I know you do. I have seen it in your eyes, when I quoted
the burning lines of Adeliza Kelley, or the soul-breathings of Gamaliel
J. Gawthrop. In _him_, particularly, I find the voice of my own nature.
Do you know his "Night-Whispers"? How it embodies the feelings of such a
scene as this!

  "Star-drooping bowers bending down the
    spaces,
   And moonlit glories sweep star-footed on;
   And pale, sweet rivers, in their shining
    races,
   Are ever gliding through the moonlit places,
   With silver ripples on their trancèd faces,
  And forests clasp their dusky hands, with low
    and sullen moan!"

"'Ah!' she continued, as I made no reply, 'this is an hour for the soul
to unveil its most secret chambers! Do you not think, Enos, that love
rises superior to all conventionalities? that those whose souls are in
unison should be allowed to reveal themselves to each other, regardless
of the world's opinions?'

"'Yes!' said I, earnestly.

"'Enos, do you understand me?' she asked, in a tender voice,--almost a
whisper.

"'Yes,' said I, with a blushing confidence of my own passion.

"'Then,' she whispered, 'our hearts are wholly in unison. I know you are
true, Enos. I know your noble nature, and I will never doubt you. This
is indeed happiness!'

"And therewith she laid her head on my shoulder, and sighed,--

  "'Life remits his tortures cruel,
  Love illumes his fairest fuel,
  When the hearts that once were dual
  Meet as one, in sweet renewal!'

"'Miss Ringtop!' I cried, starting away from her, in alarm, 'you don't
mean that--that'----

"I could not finish the sentence.

"'Yes, Enos, _dear_ Enos! henceforth we belong to each other.'

"The painful embarrassment I felt, as her true meaning shot through my
mind, surpassed anything I had imagined, or experienced in anticipation,
when planning how I should declare myself to Eunice. Miss Ringtop was at
least ten years older than I, far from handsome, (but you remember her
face,) and so affectedly sentimental, that I, sentimental as I was then,
was sick of hearing her talk. Her hallucination was so monstrous, and
gave me such a shock of desperate alarm, that I spoke, on the impulse of
the moment, with great energy, without regarding how her feelings might
be wounded.

"'You mistake!' I exclaimed. 'I didn't mean that,--I didn't understand
you. Don't talk to me that way,--don't look at me in that way, Miss
Ringtop! We were never meant for each other,--I wasn't----You're so
much older,--I mean different. It can't be,--no, it can never be! Let
us go back to the house: the night is cold.'

"I rose hastily to my feet. She murmured something,--what, I did not
stay to hear,--but, plunging through the cedars, was hurrying with all
speed to the house, when, half-way up the lawn, beside one of the rocky
knobs, I met Eunice, who was apparently on her way to join us. In
my excited mood, after the ordeal through which I had just passed,
everything seemed easy. My usual timidity was blown to the four winds. I
went directly to her, took her hand, and said,--

"'Eunice, the others are driving me mad with their candor; will you let
me be candid, too?'

"'I think you are always candid, Enos,' she answered.

"Even then, if I had hesitated, I should have been lost. But I went on,
without pausing,--

"'Eunice, I love you,--I have loved you since we first met. I came here
that I might be near you; but I must leave you forever, and to-night,
unless you can trust your life in my keeping. God help me, since we have
been together I have lost my faith in almost everything but you. Pardon
me, if I am impetuous,--different from what I have seemed. I have
struggled so hard to speak! I have been a coward, Eunice, because of my
love. But now I have spoken, from my heart of hearts. Look at me: I can
bear it now. Read the truth in my eyes, before you answer.'

"I felt her hand tremble while I spoke. As she turned towards me her
face, which had been averted, the moon shone full upon it, and I saw
that tears were upon her cheeks. What was said--whether anything was
said--I cannot tell. I felt the blessed fact, and that was enough. That
was the dawning of the true Arcadia."

----Mrs. Billings, who had been silent during this recital, took her
husband's hand and smiled. Mr. Johnson felt a dull pang about the region
of his heart. If he had a secret, however, I do not feel justified in
betraying it.

"It was late," Mr. Billings continued, "before we returned to the house.
I had a special dread of again encountering Miss Ringtop, but she was
wandering up and down the bluff, under the pines, singing, 'The dream
is past.' There was a sound of loud voices, as we approached the stoop.
Hollins, Shelldrake and his wife, and Abel Mallory were sitting together
near the door. Perkins Brown, as usual, was crouched on the lowest step,
with one leg over the other, and rubbing the top of his boot with a
vigor which betrayed to me some secret mirth. He looked up at me from
under his straw hat with the grin of a malicious Puck, glanced towards
the group, and made a curious gesture with his thumb. There were several
empty pint-bottles on the stoop.

"'Now, are you sure you can bear the test?' we heard Hollins ask, as we
approached.

"'Bear it? Why, to be sure!' replied Shelldrake; 'if I couldn't bear it,
or if _you_ couldn't, your theory's done for. Try! I can stand it as
long as you can.'

"'Well, then,' said Hollins, 'I think you are a very ordinary man. I
derive no intellectual benefit from my intercourse with you, but
your house is convenient to me. I'm under no obligations for your
hospitality, however, because my company is an advantage to you. Indeed,
if I were treated according to my deserts, you couldn't do enough for
me.'

"Mrs. Shelldrake was up in arms.

"'Indeed,' she exclaimed, 'I think you get as good as you deserve, and
more too.'

"'Elvira,' said he, with a benevolent condescension, 'I have no doubt
you think so, for your mind belongs to the lowest and most material
sphere. You have your place in Nature, and you fill it; but it is not
for you to judge of intelligences which move only on the upper planes.'

"'Hollins,' said Shelldrake, 'Elviry's a good wife and a sensible woman,
and I won't allow you to turn up your nose at her.'

"'I am not surprised,' he answered, 'that you should fail to stand the
test. I didn't expect it.'

"'Let me try it on _you_!' cried Shelldrake. 'You, now, have some
intellect,--I don't deny that,--but not so much, by a long shot, as you
think you have. Besides that, you're awfully selfish, in your opinions.
You won't admit that anybody can be right who differs from you. You've
sponged on me for a long time; but I suppose I've learned something from
you, so we'll call it even. I think, however, that what you call acting
according to impulse is simply an excuse to cover your own laziness.'

"'Gosh! that's it!' interrupted Perkins, jumping up; then, recollecting
himself, he sank down on the steps again, and shook with a suppressed
'Ho! ho! ho!'

"Hollins, however, drew himself up with an exasperated air.

"'Shelldrake,' said he, 'I pity you. I always knew your ignorance, but
I thought you honest in your human character. I never suspected you
of envy and malice. However, the true Reformer must expect to be
misunderstood and misrepresented by meaner minds. That love which I bear
to all creatures teaches me to forgive you. Without such love, all plans
of progress must fail. Is it not so, Abel?'

"Shelldrake could only ejaculate the words, 'Pity!' 'Forgive!' in his
most contemptuous tone; while Mrs. Shelldrake, rocking violently in her
chair, gave utterance to that peculiar clucking '_ts, ts, ts, ts_,'
whereby certain women express emotions too deep for words.

"Abel, roused by Hollins's question, answered, with a sudden energy,--

"'Love! there is no love in the world. Where will you find it? Tell me,
and I'll go there. Love! I'd like to see it! If all human hearts were
like mine, we might have an Arcadia; but most men have no hearts. The
world is a miserable, hollow, deceitful shell of vanity and hypocrisy.
No: let us give up. We were born before our time: this age is not worthy
of us.'

"Hollins stared at the speaker in utter amazement. Shelldrake gave a
long whistle, and finally gasped out,--

"'Well, what next?'

"None of us were prepared for such a sudden and complete wreck of our
Arcadian scheme. The foundations had been sapped before, it is true; but
we had not perceived it; and now, in two short days, the whole edifice
tumbled about our ears. Though it was inevitable, we felt a shock of
sorrow, and a silence fell upon us. Only that scamp of a Perkins Brown,
chuckling and rubbing his boot, really rejoiced. I could have kicked
him.

"We all went to bed, feeling that the charm of our Arcadian life was
over. I was so full of the new happiness of love that I was scarcely
conscious of regret. I seemed to have leaped at once into responsible
manhood, and a glad rush of courage filled me at the knowledge that my
own heart was a better oracle than those--now so shamefully overthrown--
on whom I had so long implicitly relied. In the first revulsion of
feeling, I was perhaps unjust to my associates. I see now, more clearly,
the causes of those vagaries, which originated in a genuine aspiration,
and failed from an ignorance of the true nature of Man, quite as much
as from the egotism of the individuals. Other attempts at reorganizing
Society were made about the same time by men of culture and experience,
but in the A.C. we had neither. Our leaders had caught a few
half-truths, which, in their minds, were speedily warped into errors.
I can laugh over the absurdities I helped to perpetrate, but I must
confess that the experiences of those few weeks went far towards making
a man of me."

"Did the A.C. break up at once?" asked Mr. Johnson.

"Not precisely; though Eunice and I left the house within two days, as
we had agreed. We were not married immediately, however. Three long
years--years of hope and mutual encouragement--passed away before that
happy consummation. Before our departure, Hollins had fallen into his
old manner, convinced, apparently, that Candor must be postponed to a
better age of the world. But the quarrel rankled in Shelldrake's mind,
and especially in that of his wife. I could see by her looks and little
fidgety ways that his further stay would be very uncomfortable. Abel
Mallory, finding himself gaining in weight and improving in color, had
no thought of returning. The day previous, as I afterwards learned, he
had discovered Perkins Brown's secret kitchen in the woods.

"'Golly!' said that youth, in describing the circumstance to me, 'I had
to ketch _two_ porgies that day.'

"Miss Ringtop, who must have suspected the new relation between Eunice
and myself, was for the most part rigidly silent. If she quoted, it was
from the darkest and dreariest utterances of her favorite Gamaliel.

"What happened after our departure I learned from Perkins, on the return
of the Shelldrakes to Norridgeport, in September. Mrs. Shelldrake
stoutly persisted in refusing to make Hollins's bed, or to wash his
shirts. Her brain was dull, to be sure; but she was therefore all the
more stubborn in her resentment. He bore this state of things for about
a week, when his engagements to lecture in Ohio suddenly called him
away. Abel and Miss Ringtop were left to wander about the promontory in
company, and to exchange lamentations on the hollowness of human hopes
or the pleasures of despair. Whether it was owing to that attraction of
sex which would make any man and any woman, thrown together on a desert
island, finally become mates, or whether she skilfully ministered to
Abel's sentimental vanity, I will not undertake to decide: but the fact
is, they were actually betrothed, on leaving Arcadia. I think he would
willingly have retreated, after his return to the world; but that was
not so easy. Miss Ringtop held him with an inexorable clutch. They were
not married, however, until just before his departure for California,
whither she afterwards followed him. She died in less than a year, and
left him free."

"And what became of the other Arcadians?" asked Mr. Johnson.

"The Shelldrakes are still living in Norridgeport. They have become
Spiritualists, I understand, and cultivate Mediums. Hollins, when I
last heard of him, was a Deputy Surveyor in the New York Custom-House.
Perkins Brown is our butcher, here in Waterbury, and he often asks
me,--'Do you take chloride of soda on your beefsteaks? 'He is as fat as
a prize ox, and the father of five children."

"Enos!" exclaimed Mrs. Billings, looking at the clock, "it's nearly
midnight! Mr. Johnson must be very tired, after such a long story. The
Chapter of the A.C. is hereby closed!"

       *       *       *       *       *


SNOW.


All through the long hours of yesterday the low clouds hung close above
our heads, to pour with more unswerving aim their constant storm of
sleet and snow,--sometimes working in soft silence, sometimes with
impatient gusty breaths, but always busily at work. Darkness brought no
rest to these laborious warriors of the air, but only fiercer strife:
the wild winds rose; noisy recruits, they howled beneath the eaves,
or swept around the walls, like hungry wolves, now here, now there,
howling; at opposite doors. Thus, through the anxious and wakeful night,
the storm went on. The household lay vexed by broken dreams, with
changing fancies of lost children on solitary moors, of sleighs
hopelessly overturned in drifted and pathless gorges, or of icy cordage
upon disabled vessels in Arctic seas; until a softer warmth, as of
sheltering snow-wreaths, lulled all into deeper rest till morning.

And what a morning! The sun, a young conqueror, sends in his glorious
rays, like heralds, to rouse us for the inspection of his trophies. The
baffled foe, retiring, has left far and near the high-heaped spoils
behind. The glittering plains own the new victor. Over all these level
and wide-swept meadows, over all these drifted, spotless slopes, he is
proclaimed undisputed monarch. On the wooded hill-sides the startled
shadows are in motion; they flee like young fawns, bounding upward and
downward over rock and dell, as through the long gleaming arches the
king comes marching to his throne. But shade yet lingers undisturbed in
the valleys, mingled with timid smoke from household chimneys; blue as
the smoke, a gauzy haze is twined around the brow of every distant hill;
and the same soft azure confuses the outlines of the nearer trees, to
whose branches snowy wreaths are clinging, far up among the boughs, like
strange new flowers. Everywhere the unstained surface glistens in the
sunbeams. In the curves and wreaths and turrets of the drifts a blue
tinge nestles. The fresh pure sky answers to it; every cloud has
vanished, save one or two which linger near the horizon, pardoned
offenders, seeming far too innocent for mischief, although their dark
and sullen brothers, banished ignominiously below the horizon's verge,
may be plotting nameless treachery there. The brook still flows visibly
through the valley, and the myriad rocks that check its course are all
rounded with fleecy surfaces, till they seem like flocks of tranquil
sheep that drink the shallow flood.

The day is one of moderate cold, but clear and bracing; the air sparkles
like the snow; everything seems dry and resonant, like the wood of a
violin. All sounds are musical,--the voices of children, the cooing
of doves, the crowing of cocks, the chopping of wood, the creaking of
country sleds, the sweet jangle of sleighbells. The snow has fallen
under a cold temperature, and the flakes are perfectly crystallized;
every shrub we pass bears wreaths which glitter as gorgeously as the
nebula in the constellation Perseus; but in another hour of sunshine
every one of those fragile outlines will disappear, and the white
surface glitter no longer with stars, but with star-dust. On such a
day, the universe seems to held but three pure tints,--blue, white,
and green. The loveliness of the universe seems simplified to its last
extreme of refined delicacy. That sensation we poor mortals often
have, of being just on the edge of infinite beauty, yet with always a
lingering film between, never presses down more closely than on days
like this. Everything seems perfectly prepared to satiate the soul with
inexpressible felicity if we could only, by one infinitesimal step
farther, reach the mood to dwell in it.

Leaving behind us the sleighs and snow-shovels of the street, we turn
noiselessly toward the radiant margin of the sunlit woods. The yellow
willows on the causeway burn like flame against the darker background,
and will burn on until they burst into April. Yonder pines and hemlocks
stand motionless and dark against the sky. The statelier trees have
already shaken all the snow from their summits, but it still clothes the
lower ones with a white covering that looks solid as marble. Yet see how
lightly it escapes!--a slight gust shakes a single tree, there is a
_Staub-bach_ for a moment, and the branches stand free as in summer, a
pyramid of green amid the whiteness of the yet imprisoned forest. Each
branch raises itself when emancipated, thus changing the whole outline
of the growth; and the snow beneath is punctured with a thousand little
depressions, where the petty avalanches have just buried themselves and
disappeared.

In crossing this white level, we have been tracking our way across an
invisible pond, which was alive last week with five hundred skaters.
Now there is a foot of snow upon it, through which there is a boyish
excitement in making the first path. Looking back upon our track, it
proves to be like all other human paths, straight in intention, but
slightly devious in deed. We have gay companions on our way; for a
breeze overtakes us, and a hundred little simooms of drift whirl along
beside us, and whelm in miniature burial whole caravans of dry leaves.
Here, too, our track intersects with that of some previous passer; he
has but just gone on, judging by the freshness of the trail, and we can
study his character and purposes. The large boots betoken a wood-man or
ice-man: yet such a one would hardly have stepped so irresolutely where
a little film of water has spread between the ice and snow and given a
look of insecurity; and here again he has stopped to observe the wreaths
on this pendent bough, and this snow-filled bird's-nest. And there the
footsteps of the lover of beauty turn abruptly to the road again, and he
vanishes from us forever.

As we wander on through the wood, all the labyrinths of summer are
buried beneath one white inviting pathway, and the pledge of perfect
loneliness is given by the unbroken surface of the all-revealing snow.
There appears nothing living except a downy woodpecker, whirling round
and round upon a young beech-stem, and a few sparrows, plump with
grass-seed and hurrying with jerking flight down the sunny glade. But
the trees furnish society enough. What a congress of ermined kings is
this circle of hemlocks, which stand, white in their soft raiment,
around the daïs of this woodland pond! Are they held here, like the
sovereigns in the palace of the Sleeping Beauty, till some mortal breaks
their spell? What sage counsels must be theirs, as they nod their weary
heads and whisper ghostly memories and old men's tales to each other,
while the red leaves dance on the snowy sward below, or a fox or
squirrel steals hurriedly through the wild and wintry night! Here and
there is some discrowned Lear, who has thrown off his regal mantle, and
stands in faded russet, misplaced among the monarchs.

What a simple and stately hospitality is that of Nature in winter! The
season which the residents of cities think an obstruction is in the
country an extension of intercourse: it opens every forest from here
to Labrador, free of entrance; the most tangled thicket, the most
treacherous marsh becomes passable; and the lumberer or moose-hunter,
mounted on his snow-shoes, has the world before him. He says "good
snow-shoeing," as we say "good sleighing"; and it gives a sensation like
a first visit to the sea-side and the shipping, when one first sees
exhibited, in the streets of Bangor or Montreal, these delicate Indian
conveyances. It seems as if a new element were suddenly opened for
travel, and all due facilities provided. One expects to go a little
farther, and see in the shop-windows, "Wings for sale,--gentlemen's and
ladies' sizes." The snow-shoe and the birch-canoe,--what other dying
race ever left behind it two memorials so perfect and so graceful?

The shadows thrown by the trees upon the snow are blue and soft, sharply
defined, and so contrasted with the gleaming white as to appear narrower
than the boughs which cast them. There is something subtle and fantastic
about these shadows. Here is a leafless larch-sapling, eight feet high.
The image of the lower boughs is traced upon the snow, distinct and firm
as cordage, while the higher ones grow dimmer by fine gradations, until
the slender topmost twig is blurred and almost effaced. But the denser
upper spire of the young spruce by its side throws almost as distinct a
shadow as its base, and the whole figure looks of a more solid texture,
as if you could feel it with your hand. More beautiful than either is
the fine image of this baby hemlock: each delicate leaf droops above as
delicate a copy, and here and there the shadow and the substance kiss
and frolic with each other in the downy snow.

The larger larches have a different plaything: on the bare branches,
thickly studded with buds, cling airily the small, light cones of last
year's growth, each crowned, with a little ball of soft snow, four times
taller than itself,--save where some have drooped sideways, so that
each carries, poor weary Atlas, a sphere upon its back. Thus the coy
creatures play cup and ball, and one has lost its plaything yonder, as
the branch slightly stirs, and the whole vanishes in a whirl of snow.
Meanwhile a fragment of low arbor-vitae hedge, poor outpost of a
neighboring plantation, is so covered and packed with solid drift,
inside and out, that it seems as if no power of sunshine could ever
steal in among its twigs and disentangle it.

In winter each separate object interests us; in summer, the mass.
Natural beauty in winter is a poor man's luxury, infinitely enhanced in
quality by the diminution in quantity. Winter, with fewer and simpler
methods, yet seems to give all her works a finish even more delicate
than that of summer, working, as Emerson says of English agriculture,
with a pencil, instead of a plough. Or rather, the ploughshare is but
concealed; since a pithy old English preacher has said that, "the frost
is God's plough, which He drives through every inch of ground in the
world, opening each clod, and pulverizing the whole."

Coming out upon a high hill-side, more exposed to the direct fury of the
sleet, we find Nature wearing a wilder look. Every white-birch clump
around us is bent divergingly to the ground, each white form prostrated
in mute despair upon the whiter bank. The bare, writhing branches of
yonder sombre oak-grove are steeped in snow, and in the misty air they
look so remote and foreign that there is not a wild creature of the
Norse mythology who might not stalk from beneath their haunted branches.
Buried races, Teutons and Cimbri, might tramp solemnly forth from those
weird arcades. The soft pines on this nearer knoll seem separated from
them by ages and generations. On the farther hills spread woods of
smaller growth, like forests of spun glass, jewelry by the acre provided
for this coronation of winter.

We descend a steep bank, little pellets of snow rolling hastily beside
us, and leaving enamelled furrows behind. Entering the sheltered and
sunny glade, we are assailed by a sudden warmth whose languor is almost
oppressive. Wherever the sun strikes upon the pines and hemlocks,
there is a household gleam which gives a more vivid sensation than
the diffused brilliancy of summer. The sunbeams maintain a thousand
secondary fires in the reflection of light from every tree and stalk,
for the preservation of animal life and the ultimate melting of these
accumulated drifts. Around each trunk or stone the snow has melted and
fallen back. It is a singular fact, established beyond doubt by science,
that the snow is absolutely less influenced by the direct rays of the
sun than by these reflections. "If a blackened card is placed upon the
snow or ice in the sunshine, the frozen mass underneath it will be
gradually thawed, while that by which it is surrounded, though exposed
to the full power of solar heat, is but little disturbed. If, however,
we reflect the sun's rays from a metal surface, an exactly contrary
result takes place: the uncovered parts are the first to melt, and the
blackened card stands high above the surrounding portion." Look round
upon this buried meadow, and you will see emerging through the white
surface a thousand stalks of grass, sedge, osmunda, golden-rod, mullein,
Saint-John's-wort, plaintain, and eupatorium,--an allied army of the
sun, keeping up a perpetual volley of innumerable rays upon the yielding
snow.

It is their last dying service. We misplace our tenderness in winter,
and look with pity upon the leafless trees. But there is no tragedy
in the trees: each is not dead, but sleepeth; and each bears a future
summer of buds safe nestled on its bosom, as a mother reposes with her
baby at her breast. The same security of life pervades every woody
shrub: the alder and the birch have their catkins all ready for the
first day of spring, and the sweet-fern has even now filled with
fragrance its folded blossom. Winter is no such solid bar between season
and season as we fancy, but only a slight check and interruption: one
may at any time produce these March blossoms by bringing the buds into
the warm house; and the petals of the May-flower sometimes show their
pink and white edges in autumn. But every grass-blade and flower-stalk
is a mausoleum of vanished summer, itself crumbling to dust, never to
rise again. Each child of June, scarce distinguishable in November
against the background of moss and rocks and bushes, is brought into
final prominence in December by the white snow which imbeds it. The
delicate flakes collapse and fall back around it, but they retain their
inexorable hold. Thus delicate is the action of Nature,--a finger of
air, and a grasp of iron.

We pass the old red foundry, banked in with snow and its low eaves
draped with icicles, and come to the brook which turns its resounding
wheel. The musical motion of the water seems almost unnatural amidst
the general stillness: brooks, like men, must keep themselves warm by
exercise. The overhanging rushes and alder-sprays, weary of winter's
sameness, have made for themselves playthings,--each dangling a crystal
knob of ice, which sways gently in the water and gleams ruddy in the
sunlight. As we approach the foaming cascade, the toys become larger and
more glittering, movable stalactites, which the water tosses merrily
upon their flexible stems. The torrent pours down beneath an enamelled
mask of ice, wreathed and convoluted like a brain, and sparkling
with gorgeous glow. Tremulous motions and glimmerings go through the
translucent veil, as if it throbbed with the throbbing wave beneath.
It holds in its mazes stray bits of color,--scarlet berries, evergreen
sprigs, blue raspberry-stems, and sprays of yellow willow; glittering
necklaces and wreaths and tiaras of brilliant ice-work cling and trail
around its edges, and no regal palace shines with such carcanets of
jewels as this winter ball-room of the dancing drops.

Above, the brook becomes a smooth black canal between two steep white
banks; and the glassy water seems momentarily stiffening into the
solider blackness of ice. Here and there thin films are already formed
over it, and are being constantly broken apart by the treacherous
current; a flake a foot square is jerked away and goes sliding beneath
the slight transparent surface till it reappears below. The same thing,
on a larger scale, helps to form the mighty ice-pack of the Northern
seas. Nothing except ice is capable of combining, on the largest scale,
bulk with mobility, and this imparts a dignity to its motions even on
the smallest scale. I do not believe that anything in Behring's Straits
could impress me with a grander sense of desolation or of power than
when in boyhood I watched the ice break up in the winding channel of
Charles River.

Amidst so much that seems like death, let us turn and study the life.
There is much more to be seen in winter than most of us have ever
noticed. Far in the North the "moose-yards" are crowded and trampled, at
this season, and the wolf and the deer run noiselessly a deadly race,
as I have heard the hunters describe, upon the white surface of the
gleaming lake. But the pond beneath our feet keeps its stores of life
chiefly below its level platform, as the bright fishes in the basket of
yon heavy-booted fisherman can tell. Yet the scattered tracks of mink
and musk-rat beside the banks, of meadow-mice around the hay-stacks, of
squirrels under the trees, of rabbits and partridges in the wood, show
the warm life that is beating unseen, beneath fur or feathers, close
beside us. The chicadees are chattering merrily in the upland grove, the
blue-jays scream in the hemlock glade, the snow-bird mates the snow with
its whiteness, and the robin contrasts with it his still ruddy breast.
The weird and impenetrable crows, most talkative of birds and most
uncommunicative, their very food at this season a mystery, are almost as
numerous now as in summer. They always seem like some race of banished
goblins, doing penance for some primeval and inscrutable transgression,
and if any bird have a history, it is they. In the Spanish version of
the tradition of King Arthur it is said that he fled from the weeping
queens and the island valley of Avilion in the form of a crow; and hence
it is said in "Don Quixote" that no Englishman will ever kill one.

The traces of the insects in the winter are prophetic,--from the
delicate cocoon of some infinitesimal feathery thing which hangs upon
the dry, starry calyx of the aster, to the large brown-paper parcel
which hides in peasant garb the costly beauty of some gorgeous moth. But
the hints of birds are retrospective. In each tree of this pasture, the
very pasture where last spring we looked for nests and found them not
among the deceitful foliage, the fragile domiciles now stand revealed.
But where are the birds that filled them? Could the airy creatures
nurtured in those nests have left permanently traced upon the air behind
them their own bright summer flight, the whole atmosphere would be
filled with interlacing lines and curves of gorgeous coloring, the
centre of all being this forsaken bird's-nest filled with snow.

Among the many birds which winter here, and the many insects which are
called forth by a few days of thaw, not a few must die of cold or of
fatigue amid the storms. Yet how few traces one sees of this mortality!
Provision is made for it. Yonder a dead wasp has fallen on the snow, and
the warmth of its body, or its power of reflecting a few small rays
of light, is melting its little grave beneath it. With what a cleanly
purity does Nature strive to withdraw all unsightly objects into her
cemetery! Their own weight and lingering warmth take them through air
or water, snow or ice, to the level of the earth, and there with spring
comes an army of burying-insects, _Necrophagi_, in a livery of red and
black, to dig a grave beneath every one, and not a sparrow falleth to
the ground without knowledge. The tiny remains thus disappear from the
surface, and the dry leaves are soon spread above these Children in the
Wood.

Thus varied and benignant are the aspects of winter on these sunny days.
But it is impossible to claim this weather as the only type of our
winter climate. There occasionally come days which, though perfectly
still and serene, suggest more terror than any tempest,--terrible,
clear, glaring days of pitiless cold,--when the sun seems powerless
or only a brighter moon, when the windows remain ground-glass at high
noontide, and when, on going out of doors, one is dazzled by the
brightness and fancies for a moment that it cannot be so cold as has
been reported, but presently discovers that the severity is only more
deadly for being so still. Exercise on such days seems to produce no
warmth; one's limbs appear ready to break on any sudden motion, like
icy boughs. Stage-drivers and dray-men are transformed to mere human
buffaloes by their fur coats; the patient oxen are frost-covered; the
horse that goes racing by waves a wreath of steam from his tossing head.
On such days life becomes a battle to all householders, the ordinary
apparatus for defence is insufficient, and the price of caloric is
continual vigilance. In innumerable armies the frost besieges the
portal, creeps in beneath it and above it, and on every latch and
key-handle lodges an advanced guard of white rime. Leave the door ajar
never so slightly and a chill creeps in cat-like; we are conscious by
the warmest fireside of the near vicinity of cold, its fingers are
feeling after us, and even if they do not clutch us, we know that they
are there. The sensations of such days almost make us associate their
clearness and whiteness with something malignant and evil. Charles Lamb
asserts of snow, "It glares too much for an innocent color, methinks."
Why does popular mythology associate the infernal regions with a high
temperature instead of a low one? El Aishi, the Arab writer, says of the
bleak wind of the Desert, (so writes Richardson, the African traveller,)
"The north wind blows with an intensity equalling _the cold of hell_;
language fails me to describe its rigorous temperature." Some have
thought that there is a similar allusion in the phrase, "weeping and
gnashing of teeth,"--the teeth chattering from frost. Milton also
enumerates cold as one of the torments of the lost:--

  "O'er many a frozen, many a fiery Alp";

and one may sup full of horrors on the exceedingly cold collation
provided for the next world by the Norse Edda.

But, after all, there are few such terrific periods in our Massachusetts
winters, and the appointed exit from their frigidity is usually through
a snow-storm. After a day of this severe sunshine there comes commonly
a darker day of cloud, still hard and forbidding, though milder in
promise, with a sky of lead, deepening near the horizon into darker
films of iron. Then, while all the nerves of the universe seem rigid and
tense, the first reluctant flake steals slowly down, like a tear. In a
few hours the whole atmosphere begins to relax once more, and in
our astonishing climate very possibly the snow changes to rain in
twenty-four hours, and a thaw sets in. It is not strange, therefore,
that snow, which to Southern races is typical of cold and terror, brings
associations of warmth and shelter to the children of the North.

Snow, indeed, actually nourishes animal life. It holds in its bosom
numerous animalcules: you may have a glass of water, perfectly free from
_infusoria_, which yet, after your dissolving in it a handful of snow,
will show itself full of microscopic creatures, shrimp-like and swift;
and the famous red snow of the Arctic regions is only an exhibition of
the same property. It has sometimes been fancied that persons buried
under the snow have received sustenance through the pores of the skin,
like reptiles imbedded in rock. Elizabeth Woodcock lived eight days
beneath a snow-drift, in 1799, without eating a morsel; and a Swiss
family were buried beneath an avalanche, in a manger, for five months,
in 1755, with no food but a trifling store of chestnuts and a small
daily supply of milk from a goat which was buried with them. In neither
case was there extreme suffering from cold, and it is unquestionable
that the interior of a drift is far warmer than the surface. On the 23d
of December, 1860, at 9 P.M., I was surprised to observe drops falling
from the under side of a heavy bank of snow at the eaves, at a distance
from any chimney, while the mercury on the same side was only fifteen
degrees above zero, not having indeed risen above the point of freezing
during the whole day.

Dr. Kane pays ample tribute to these kindly properties. "Few of us at
home can recognize the protecting value of this warm coverlet of snow.
No eider-down in the cradle of an infant is tucked in more kindly than
the sleeping-dress of winter about this feeble flower-life. The first
warm snows of August and September, falling on a thickly pleached carpet
of grasses, heaths, and willows, enshrine the flowery growths which
nestle round them in a non-conducting air-chamber; and as each
successive snow increases the thickness of the cover, we have, before
the intense cold of winter sets in, a light cellular bed covered by
drift, six, eight, or ten feet deep, in which the plant retains its
vitality. ... I have found in midwinter, in this high latitude of 78°
50', the surface so nearly moist as to be friable to the touch; and upon
the ice-floes, commencing with a surface-temperature of-30°, I found
at two feet deep a temperature of-8°, at four feet + 2°, and at eight
feet + 26°. ... The glacier which we became so familiar with afterwards
at Etah yields an uninterrupted stream throughout the year." And he
afterwards shows that even the varying texture and quality of the snow
deposited during the earlier and later portions of the Arctic winter
have their special adaptations to the welfare of the vegetation they
protect.

The process of crystallization seems a microcosm of the universe.
Radiata, mollusca, feathers, flowers, ferns, mosses, palms, pines,
grain-fields, leaves of cedar, chestnut, elm, acanthus: these and
multitudes of other objects are figured on your frosty window; on
sixteen different panes I have counted sixteen patterns strikingly
distinct, and it appeared like a show-case for the globe. What can seem
remoter relatives than the star, the starfish, the star-flower, and the
starry snow-flake which clings this moment to your sleeve?--yet some
philosophers hold that one day their law of existence will be found
precisely the same. The connection with the primeval star, especially,
seems far and fanciful enough, but there are yet unexplored affinities
between light and crystallization: some crystals have a tendency to grow
toward the light, and others develop electricity and give out flashes of
light during their formation. Slight foundations for scientific fancies,
indeed, but slight is all our knowledge.

More than a hundred different figures of snow-flakes, all regular and
kaleidoscopic, have been drawn by Scoresby, Lowe, and Glaisher, and may
be found pictured in the encyclopaedias and elsewhere, ranging from the
simplest stellar shapes to the most complicated ramifications. Professor
Tyndall, in his delightful book on "The Glaciers of the Alps," gives
drawings of a few of these snow-blossoms, which he watched falling for
hours, the whole air being filled with them, and drifts of several
inches being accumulated while he watched. "Let us imagine the eye
gifted with microscopic power sufficient to enable it to see the
molecules which composed these starry crystals; to observe the solid
nucleus formed and floating in the air; to see it drawing towards it its
allied atoms, and these arranging themselves as if they moved to music,
and ended with rendering that music concrete." Thus do the Alpine winds,
like Orpheus, build their walls by harmony.

In some of these frost-flowers the rare and delicate blossom of our wild
_Mitella diphylla_ is beautifully figured. Snow-flakes have been also
found in the form of regular hexagons and other plane figures, as well
as in cylinders and spheres. As a general rule, the intenser the cold
the more perfect the formation, and the most perfect specimens are
Arctic or Alpine in their locality. In this climate the snow seldom
falls when the mercury is much below zero; but the slightest atmospheric
changes may alter the whole condition of the deposit, and decide whether
it shall sparkle like Italian marble, or be dead-white like the statuary
marble of Vermont,--whether it shall be a fine powder which can sift
through wherever dust can, or descend in large woolly masses, tossed
like mouthfuls to the hungry South.

The most remarkable display of crystallization which I have ever seen
was on the 13th of January, 1859. There had been three days of unusual
cold, but during the night the weather had moderated, and the mercury in
the morning stood at + 14°. About two inches of snow had fallen, and the
trees appeared densely coated with it. It proved, on examination, that
every twig had on the leeward side a dense row of miniature fronds or
fern-leaves executed in snow, with a sharply defined central nerve, or
midrib, and perfect ramification, tapering to a point, and varying in
length from half an inch to three inches. On every post, every rail, and
the corners of every building, the same spectacle was seen; and where
the snow had accumulated in deep drifts, it was still made up of the
ruins of these fairy structures. The white, enamelled landscape was
beautiful, but a close view of the details was far more so. The
crystallizations were somewhat uniform in structure, yet suggested a
variety of natural objects, as feather-mosses, birds' feathers, and the
most delicate lace-corals, but the predominant analogy was with ferns.
Yet they seemed to assume a sort of fantastic kindred with the objects
to which they adhered: thus, on the leaves of spruce-trees and on
delicate lichens they seemed like reduplications of the original growth,
and they made the broad, fiat leaves of the arbor-vitae fully twice as
wide as before. But this fringe was always on one side only, except
when gathered upon dangling fragments of spider's web, or bits of stray
thread: these they entirely encircled, probably because these objects
had twirled in the light wind while the crystals were forming. Singular
disguises were produced: a bit of ragged rope appeared a piece of
twisted lace-work; a knot-hole in a board was adorned with a deep
antechamber of snowy wreaths; and the frozen body of a hairy caterpillar
became its own well-plumed hearse. The most peculiar circumstance was
the fact that single flakes never showed any regular crystallization:
the magic was in the combination; the under sides of rails and boards
exhibited it as unequivocally as the upper sides, indicating that the
phenomenon was created in the lower atmosphere, and was more akin to
frost than snow; and yet the largest snow-banks were composed of nothing
else, and seemed like heaps of blanched iron-filings.

Interesting observations have been made on the relations between ice and
snow. The difference seems to lie only in the more or less compacted
arrangement of the frozen particles. Water and air, each being
transparent when separate, become opaque when intimately mingled; the
reason being that the inequalities of refraction break up and scatter
every ray of light. Thus, clouds cast a shadow; so does steam; so does
foam: and the same elements take a still denser texture when combined
as snow. Every snow-flake is permeated with minute airy chambers, among
which the light is bewildered and lost; while from perfectly hard and
transparent ice every trace of air disappears, and the transmission
of light is unbroken. Yet that same ice becomes white and opaque when
pulverized, its fragments being then intermingled with air again,--just
as colorless glass may be crushed into white powder. On the other
hand, Professor Tyndall has converted slabs of snow to ice by regular
pressure, and has shown that every Alpine glacier begins as a snow-drift
at its summit, and ends in a transparent ice-cavern below. "The blue
blocks which span the sources of the Arveiron were once powdery snow
upon the slopes of the Col du Géant."

The varied and wonderful shapes assumed by snow and ice have been best
portrayed, perhaps, by Dr. Kane in his two works; but their resources of
color have been so explored by no one as by this same favored Professor
Tyndall, among his Alps. It appears that the tints which in temperate
regions are seen feebly and occasionally, in hollows or angles of fresh
drifts, become brilliant and constant above the line of perpetual snow,
and the higher the altitude the more lustrous the display. When a staff
was struck into the new-fallen drift, the hollow seemed instantly to
fill with a soft blue liquid, while the snow adhering to the staff took
a complementary color of pinkish yellow, and on moving it up and down
it was hard to resist the impression that a pink flame was rising and
sinking in the hole. The little natural furrows in the drifts appeared
faintly blue, the ridges were gray, while the parts most exposed to
view seemed least illuminated, and as if a light brown dust had been
sprinkled over them. The fresher the snow, the more marked the colors,
and it made no difference whether the sky were cloudless or foggy. Thus
was every white peak decked upon its brow with this tiara of ineffable
beauty.

The impression is very general that the average quantity of snow has
greatly diminished in America; but it must be remembered that very
severe storms occur only at considerable intervals, and the Puritans did
not always, as boys fancy, step out of the upper windows upon the snow.
In 1717, the ground was covered from ten to twenty feet, indeed; but
during January, 1861, the snow was six feet on a level in many parts of
Maine and New Hampshire, and was probably drifted three times that depth
in particular spots. The greatest storm recorded in England, I believe,
is that of 1814, in which for forty-eight hours the snow fell so
furiously that drifts of sixteen, twenty, and even twenty-four feet were
recorded in various places. An inch an hour is thought to be the average
rate of deposit, though four inches are said to have fallen during the
severe storm of January 3d, 1859. When thus intensified, the "beautiful
meteor of the snow" begins to give a sensation of something formidable;
and when the mercury suddenly falls meanwhile, and the wind rises, there
are sometimes suggestions of such terror in a snowstorm as no summer
thunders can rival. The brief and singular tempest of February 7th,
1861, was a thing to be forever remembered by those who saw it, as I
did, over a wide plain. The sky suddenly appeared to open and let down
whole solid snow-banks at once, which were caught and torn to pieces by
the ravenous winds, and the traveller was instantaneously enveloped in
a whirling mass far denser than any fog; it was a tornado with snow
stirred into it. Standing in the middle of the road, with houses close
on every side, one could see absolutely nothing in any direction, one
could hear no sound but the storm. Every landmark vanished, and it was
no more possible to guess the points of the compass than in mid-ocean.
It was easy to conceive of being bewildered and overwhelmed within a rod
of one's own door. The tempest lasted only an hour; but if it had lasted
a week, we should have had such a storm as occurred on the steppes of
Kirgheez in Siberia, in 1827, destroying two hundred and eighty thousand
five hundred horses, thirty thousand four hundred cattle, a million
sheep, and ten thousand camels,--or as "the thirteen drifty days,"
in 1620, which killed nine-tenths of all the sheep in the South of
Scotland. On Eskdale Moor, out of twenty thousand only forty-five were
left alive, and the shepherds everywhere built up huge semicircular
walls of the dead creatures, to afford shelter to the living, till the
gale should end. But the most remarkable narrative of a snowstorm which
I have ever seen was that written by James Hogg, the Ettrick Shepherd,
in record of one which took place January 24th, 1790.

James Hogg at this time belonged to a sort of literary society of young
shepherds, and had set out, the day previous, to walk twenty miles over
the hills to the place of meeting; but so formidable was the look of the
sky that he felt anxious for his sheep, and finally turned back again.
There was at that time only a slight fall of snow, in thin flakes which
seemed uncertain whether to go up or down; the hills were covered with
deep folds of frost-fog, and in the valleys the same fog seemed dark,
dense, and as it were crushed together. An old shepherd, predicting a
storm, bade him watch for a sudden opening through this fog, and expect
a wind from that quarter; yet when he saw such an opening suddenly form
at midnight, (having then reached his own home,) he thought it all a
delusion, as the weather had grown milder and a thaw seemed setting in.
He therefore went to bed, and felt no more anxiety for his sheep; yet
he lay awake in spite of himself, and at two o'clock he heard the
storm begin. It smote the house suddenly, like a great peal of
thunder,--something utterly unlike any storm he had ever before heard.
On his rising and thrusting his bare arm through a hole in the roof, it
seemed precisely as if he had thrust it into a snow-bank, so densely was
the air filled with falling and driving particles. He lay still for an
hour, while the house rocked with the tempest, hoping it might prove
only a hurricane; but as there was no abatement, he wakened his
companion-shepherd, telling him "it was come on such a night or morning
as never blew from the heavens." The other at once arose, and, opening
the door of the shed where they slept, found a drift as high as the
farm-house already heaped between them and its walls, a distance of only
fourteen yards. He floundered through, Hogg soon following, and, finding
all the family up, they agreed that they must reach the sheep as soon as
possible, especially eight hundred ewes that were in one lot together,
at the farthest end of the farm. So, after family-prayers and breakfast,
four of them stuffed their pockets with bread and cheese, sewed their
plaids about them, tied down their hats, and, taking each his staff, set
out on their tremendous undertaking, two hours before day.

Day dawned before they got three hundred yards from the house.
They could not see each other, and kept together with the greatest
difficulty. They had to make paths with their staves, rolled themselves
over drifts otherwise impassable, and every three or four minutes had to
hold their heads down between their knees to recover breath. They went
in single file, taking the lead by turns. The master soon gave out and
was speechless and semi-conscious for more than an hour, though he
afterwards recovered and held out with the rest. Two of them lost their
head-gear, and Hogg himself fell over a high precipice, but they reached
the flock at half-past ten. They found the ewes huddled together in a
dense body, under ten feet of snow,--packed so closely, that, to the
amazement of the shepherds, when they had extricated the first, the
whole flock walked out one after another, in a body, through the hole.

How they got them home it is almost impossible, to tell. It was now
noon, and they sometimes could see through the storm for twenty yards,
but they had only one momentary glimpse of the hills through all that
terrible day. Yet Hogg persisted in going by himself afterwards to
rescue some flocks of his own, barely escaping with life from the
expedition; his eyes were sealed up with the storm, and he crossed a
formidable torrent, without knowing it, on a wreath of snow. Two of the
others lost themselves in a deep valley, and would have perished but
for being accidentally heard by a neighboring shepherd, who guided them
home, where the female portion of the family had abandoned all hope of
ever seeing them again.

The next day was clear, with a cold wind, and they set forth again at
daybreak to seek the remainder of the flock. The face of the country
was perfectly transformed: not a hill was the same, not a brook or lake
could be recognized. Deep glens were filled in with snow, covering the
very tops of the trees; and over a hundred acres of ground, under an
average depth of six or eight feet, they were to look for four or five
hundred sheep. The attempt would have been hopeless but for a dog that
accompanied them: seeing their perplexity, he began snuffing about, and
presently scratching in the snow at a certain point, and then looking
round at his master: digging at this spot, they found a sheep beneath.
And so the dog led them all day, bounding eagerly from one place to
another, much faster than they could dig the creatures out, so that he
sometimes had twenty or thirty holes marked beforehand. In this way,
within a week, they got out every sheep on the farm except four, these
last being buried under a mountain of snow fifty feet deep, on the top
of which the dog had marked their places again and again. In every case
the sheep proved to be alive and warm, though half-suffocated; on being
taken out, they usually bounded away swiftly, and then fell helplessly
in a few moments, overcome by the change of atmosphere; some then died
almost instantly, and others were carried home and with difficulty
preserved, only about sixty being lost in all. Marvellous to tell, the
country-people unanimously agreed afterwards to refer the whole terrific
storm to some secret incantations of poor Hogg's literary society
aforesaid; it was generally maintained that a club of young dare-devils
had raised the Fiend himself among them in the likeness of a black dog,
the night preceding the storm, and the young students actually did not
dare to show themselves at fairs or at markets for a year afterwards.

Snow-scenes less exciting, but more wild and dreary, may be found in
Alexander Henry's Travels with the Indians, in the last century. In the
winter of 1776, for instance, they wandered for many hundred miles over
the farthest northwestern prairies, where scarcely a white man had
before trodden. The snow lay from four to six feet deep. They went on
snow-shoes, drawing their stores on sleds. The mercury was sometimes
-32°; no fire could keep them warm at night, and often they had no fire,
being scarcely able to find wood enough to melt the snow for drink. They
lay beneath buffalo-skins and the stripped bark of trees: a foot of snow
sometimes fell on them before morning. The sun rose at half past nine
and set at half past two. "The country was one uninterrupted plain, in
many parts of which no wood nor even the smallest shrub was to be seen:
a frozen, sea, of which the little coppices were the islands. That
behind which we had encamped the night before soon sank in the horizon,
and the eye had nothing left save only the sky and snow." Fancy them
encamped by night, seeking shelter in a scanty grove from a wild tempest
of snow; then suddenly charged upon by a herd of buffaloes, thronging in
from all sides of the wood to take shelter likewise,--the dogs barking,
the Indians firing, and still the bewildered beasts rushing madly
in, blinded by the storm, fearing the guns within less than the fury
without, crashing through the trees, trampling over the tents, and
falling about in the deep and dreary snow! No other writer has ever
given us the full desolation of Indian winter-life. Whole families,
Henry said, frequently perished together in such storms. No wonder that
the Aboriginal legends are full of "mighty Peboan, the Winter," and of
Kabibonokka a his lodge of snow-drifts.

The interest inspired by these simple narratives suggests the
reflection, that literature, which has thus far portrayed so few aspects
of external Nature, has described almost nothing of winter beauty.
In English books, especially, this season is simply forlorn and
disagreeable, dark and dismal.

      "And foul and fierce
  All winter drives along the darkened air."

  "When dark December shrouds the transient
     day,
   And stormy winds are howling in their
     ire,
  Why com'st not thou?. ... Oh, haste to pay
   The cordial visit sullen hours require!"

  "Winter will oft at eve resume the breeze,
   Chill the pale morn, and bid his driving
     blasts
   Deform the day delightless."

  "Now that the fields are dank and ways are
     mire,
   With whom you might converse, and by the
     fire
   Help waste the sullen day."

But our prevalent association with winter, in the Northern United
States, is with something white and dazzling and brilliant; and it is
time to paint our own pictures, and cease to borrow these gloomy alien
tints. One must turn eagerly every season to the few glimpses of
American winter aspects: to Emerson's "Snow-Storm," every word a
sculpture,--to the admirable storm in "Margaret,"--to Thoreau's "Winter
Walk," in the "Dial,"--and to Lowell's "First Snow-Flake." These are
fresh and real pictures, which carry us back to the Greek Anthology,
where the herds come wandering down from the wooded mountains, covered
with snow, and to Homer's aged Ulysses, his wise words falling like the
snows of winter.

Let me add to this scanty gallery of snow-pictures the quaint lore
contained in one of the multitudinous sermons of Increase Mather,
printed in 1704, entitled "A Brief Discourse concerning the Prayse
due to God for His Mercy in giving Snow like Wool." One can fancy
the delight of the oppressed Puritan boys, in the days of the
nineteenthlies, driven to the place of worship by the tithing-men,
and cooped up on the pulpit-and gallery-stairs under charge of
the constables, at hearing for once a discourse which they could
understand,--snow-balling spiritualized. This was not one of Emerson's
terrible examples,--"the storm real, and the preacher only phenomenal";
but this setting of snow-drifts, which in our winters lends such grace
to every stern rock and rugged tree, throws a charm even around the grim
theology of the Mathers. Three main propositions, seven subdivisions,
four applications, and four uses, but the wreaths and the gracefulness
are cast about them all,--while the wonderful commonplace-books of those
days, which held everything, had accumulated scraps of winter learning
which cannot be spared from these less abstruse pages.

Beginning first at the foundation, the preacher must prove, "Prop. I.
_That the Snow is fitly resembled to Wool_. Snow like Wool, sayes the
Psalmist. And not only the Sacred Writers, but others make use of this
Comparison. The Grecians of old were wont to call the Snow, ERIODES
HUDOR _Wooly Water_, or wet Wool. The Latin word _Floccus_ signifies
both a Lock of Wool and a Flake of Snow, in that they resemble one
another. The aptness of the similitude appears in three things." "1. In
respect of the Whiteness thereof." "2. In respect of Softness." "3. In
respect of that Warming Vertue that does attend the Snow." [Here the
reasoning must not be omitted.] "Wool is warm. We say, _As warm as
Wool_. Woolen-cloth has a greater warmth than other Cloathing has. The
wool on Sheep keeps them warm in the Winter season. So when the back of
the Ground is covered with Snow, it keeps it warm. Some mention it as
one of the wonders of the Snow, that tho' it is itself cold, yet it
makes the Earth warm. But Naturalists observe that there is a saline
spirit in it, which is hot, by means whereof Plants under the Snow are
kept from freezing. Ice under the Snow is sooner melted and broken than
other Ice. In some Northern Climates, the wild barbarous People use to
cover themselves over with it to keep them warm. When the sharp Air has
begun to freeze a man's Limbs, Snow will bring heat into them again. If
persons Eat much Snow, or drink immoderately of Snow-water, it will burn
their Bowels and make them black. So that it has a warming vertue in it,
and is therefore fitly compared to Wool."

Snow has many merits. "In _Lapland_, where there is little or no light
of the sun in the depth of Winter, there are great Snows continually on
the ground, and by the Light of that they are able to Travel from one
place to another... At this day in some hot Countreys, they have their
Snow-cellars, where it is kept in Summer, and if moderately used, is
known to be both refreshing and healthful. There are also Medicinal
Vertues in the snow. A late Learned Physician has found that a Salt
extracted out of snow is a sovereign Remedy against both putrid and
pestilential Feavors. Therefore Men should Praise God, who giveth Snow
like Wool." But there is an account against the snow, also. "Not only
the disease called _Bulimia_, but others more fatal have come out of the
Snow. _Geographers_ give us to understand that in some Countries Vapours
from the Snow have killed multitudes in less than a Quarter of an Hour.
Sometimes both Men and Beasts have been destroyed thereby. Writers speak
of no less than Forty Thousand men killed by a great Snow in one Day."

It gives a touching sense of human sympathy, to find that we may look at
Orion and the Pleiades through the grave eyes of a Puritan divine. "The
_Seven Stars_ are the Summer Constellation: they bring on the spring
and summer; and _Orion_ is a Winter Constellation, which is attended
with snow and cold, as at this Day.... Moreover, Late _Philosophers_ by
the help of the _Microscope_ have observed the wonderful Wisdom of God
in the Figure of the Snow; each flake is usually of a _Stellate_ Form,
and of six Angles of exact equal length from the Center. It is _like a
little Star_. A great man speaks of it with admiration, that in a Body
so familiar as the Snow is, no Philosopher should for many Ages take
notice of a thing so obvious as the Figure of it. The learned _Kepler_,
who lived in this last Age, is acknowledged to be the first that
acquainted the world with the Sexangular Figure of the Snow."

Then come the devout applications. "There is not a Flake of Snow that
falls on the Ground without the hand of God, Mat. 10. 29. 30. Not a
Sparrow falls to the Ground, without the Will of your Heavenly Father,
all the Hairs of your head are numbred. So the Great God has numbred all
the Flakes of Snow that covers the Earth. Altho' no man can number them,
that God that tells the number of the Stars has numbred them all.... We
often see it, when the Ground is bare, if God speaks the word, the Earth
is covered with snow in a few Minutes' time. Here is the power of the
Great God. If all the Princes and Great Ones of the Earth should send
their Commands to the Clouds, not a Flake of snow would come from
thence."

Then follow the "uses," at last,--the little boys in the congregation
having grown uneasy long since, at hearing so much theorizing about
snow-drifts, with so little opportunity of personal practice. "Use I. If
we should Praise God for His giving Snow, surely then we ought to Praise
Him for Spiritual Blessings much more." "Use II. We should Humble our
selves under the Hand of God, when Snow in the season of it is
witheld from us." "Use III. Hence all Atheists will be left Eternally
Inexcusable." "Use IV. We should hence Learn to make a Spiritual
Improvement of the Snow." And then with a closing volley of every text
winch figures under the head of "Snow" in the Concordance, the discourse
comes to an end; and every liberated urchin goes home with his head full
of devout fancies of building a snow-fort, after sunset, from which to
propel consecrated missiles against imaginary or traditional Pequots.

And the patient reader, too long snow-bound, must be liberated also.
After the winters of deepest drifts the spring often comes most
suddenly; there is little frost in the ground, and the liberated waters,
free without the expected freshet, are filtered into the earth, or climb
on ladders of sunbeams to the sky. The beautiful crystals all melt away,
and the places where they lay are silently made ready to be submerged
in new drifts of summer verdure. These also will be transmuted in their
turn, and so the eternal cycle of the seasons glides along.

Near my house there is a garden, beneath whose stately sycamores a
fountain plays. Three sculptured girls lift forever upward a chalice
which distils unceasingly a fine and plashing rain; in summer the spray
holds the maidens in a glittering veil, but winter takes the radiant
drops and slowly builds them up into a shroud of ice which creeps
gradually about the three slight figures: the feet vanish, the waist is
encircled, the head is covered, the piteous uplifted arms disappear, as
if each were a Vestal Virgin entombed alive for her transgression. They
vanishing entirely, the fountain yet plays on unseen; all winter the
pile of ice grows larger, glittering organ-pipes of congelation add
themselves outside, and by February a great glacier is formed, at whose
buried centre stand immovably the patient girls. Spring comes at
last, the fated prince, to free with glittering spear these enchanted
beauties; the waning glacier, slowly receding, lies conquered before
their liberated feet; and still the fountain plays. Who can despair
before the iciest human life, when its unconscious symbols are so
beautiful?



A STORY OF TO-DAY.


PART V.


There was a dull smell of camphor; a further sense of coolness and
prickling wet on Holmes's hot, cracking face and hands; then silence and
sleep again. Sometime--when, he never knew--a gray light stinging his
eyes like pain, and again a slow sinking into warm, unsounded darkness
and unconsciousness. It might be years, it might be ages. Even in
after-life, looking back, he never broke that time into weeks or days:
people might so divide it for him, but he was uncertain, always: it was
a vague vacuum in his memory: he had drifted out of coarse, measured
life into some out-coast of eternity, and slept in its calm. When, by
long degrees, the shock of outer life jarred and woke him, it was feebly
done: he came back reluctant, weak: the quiet clinging to him, as if he
had been drowned in Lethe, and had brought its calming mist with him,
out of the shades.

The low chatter of voices, the occasional lifting of his head on the
pillow, the very soothing draught, came to him, unreal at first: parts
only of the dull, lifeless pleasure. There was a sharper memory pierced
it sometimes, making him moan and try to sleep,--a remembrance of great,
cleaving pain, of falling giddily, of owing life to some one, and being
angry that he owed it, in the pain. Was it he that had borne it? He did
not know,--nor care: it made him tired to think. Even when he heard the
name Stephen Holmes, it had but a far-off meaning: he never woke enough
to know if it were his or not. He learned, long after, to watch the red
light curling among the shavings in the grate when they made a fire in
the evenings, to listen to the voices of the women by the bed, to know
that the pleasantest belonged to the one with the low, shapeless figure,
and to call her Lois when he wanted a drink, long before he knew
himself.

They were very long, pleasant days in early December. The sunshine
was pale, but it suited his hurt eyes better: it crept slowly in the
mornings over the snuff-colored carpet on the floor, up the brown
foot-board of the bed, and, when the wind shook the window-curtains,
made little crimson pools of mottled light over the ceiling,--curdling
pools, that he liked to watch: going off, from the clean gray walls and
rustling curtain and transparent crimson, into sleeps that lasted all
day.

He was not conscious how he knew he was in a hospital: but he did know
it, vaguely; thought sometimes of the long halls outside of the door
with ranges of rooms opening into them, like this, and of very barns of
rooms on the other side of the building with rows of white cots where
the poor patients lay: a stretch of travel from which his brain came
back to his snug fireplace, quite tired, and to Lois sitting knitting by
it. He called the little Welsh-woman, "Sister," too, who used to come in
a stuff dress, and white bands about her face, to give his medicine and
gossip with Lois in the evening: she had a comical voice, like a cricket
chirping. There was another with a real Scotch brogue, who came and
listened sometimes, bringing a basket of undarned stockings: the doctor
told him one day how fearless and skilful she was, every summer going to
New Orleans when the yellow fever came. She died there the next June:
but Holmes never, somehow, could realize a martyr in the cheery,
freckled-faced woman whom he always remembered darning stockings in the
quiet fire-light. It was very quiet; the voices about him were pleasant
and low. If he had drifted from any shock of pain into a sleep like
death, some of the stillness hung about him yet; but the outer life was
homely and fresh and natural.

The doctor used to talk to him a little; and sometimes one or two of
the patients from the eye-ward would grow tired of sitting about in the
garden-alleys, and would loiter in, if Lois would give them leave; but
their talk wearied him, jarred him as strangely as if one had begun on
politics and price-currents to the silent souls in Hades. It was enough
thought for him to listen to the whispered stories of the sisters in the
long evenings, and, half-heard, try and make an end to them; to look
drowsily down into the garden, where the afternoon sunshine was still so
summer-like that a few hollyhocks persisted in showing their honest red
faces along the walls, and the very leaves that filled the paths would
not wither, but kept up a wholesome ruddy brown. One of the sisters had
a poultry-yard in it, which he could see: the wall around it was of
stone covered with a brown feathery lichen, which every rooster in that
yard was determined to stand on, or perish in the attempt; and Holmes
would watch, through the quiet, bright mornings, the frantic ambition
and the uproarious exultation of the successful aspirant with an amused
smile.

"One'd thenk," said Lois, sagely, "a chicken never stood on a wall
before, to hear 'em, or a hen laid an egg."

Nor did Holmes smile once because the chicken burlesqued man: his
thought was too single for that yet. It was long before he thought of
the people who came in quietly to see him as anything but shadows, or
wished for them to come again. Lois, perhaps, was the most real thing in
life then to him: growing conscious, day by day, as he watched her, of
his old life over the gulf. Very slowly conscious: with a weak groping
to comprehend the sudden, awful change that had come on him, and then
forgetting his old life, and the change, and the pity he felt for
himself, in the vague content of the fire-lit room, and his nurse with
her interminable knitting through the long afternoons, while the sky
without would thicken and gray and a few still flakes of snow would come
drifting down to whiten the brown fields,--with no chilly thought of
winter, but only to make the quiet autumn more quiet. Whatever honest,
commonplace affection was in the man came out in a simple way to this
Lois, who ruled his sick whims and crotchets in such a quiet, sturdy
way. Not because she had risked her life to save his; even when he
understood that, he recalled it with an uneasy, heavy gratitude; but the
drinks she made him, and the plot they laid to smuggle in some oysters
in defiance of all rules, and the cheerful pock-marked face he never
forgot.

Doctor Knowles came sometimes, but seldom: never talked, when he did
come: late in the evening generally: and then would punch his skin, and
look at his tongue, and shake the bottles on the mantel-shelf with a
grunt that terrified Lois into the belief that the other doctor was a
quack, and her patient was totally undone. He would sit, grim enough,
with his feet higher than his head, chewing an unlighted cigar, and
leave them both thankful when he saw proper to go.

The truth is, Knowles was thoroughly out of place in these little
mending-shops called sick-chambers, where bodies are taken to pieces,
and souls set right. He had no faith in your slow, impalpable cures:
all reforms were to be accomplished by a wrench, from the abolition of
slavery to the pulling of a tooth.

He had no especial sympathy with Holmes, either: the men were started
in life from opposite poles: and with all the real tenderness under
his surly, rugged habit, it would have been hard to touch him with the
sudden doom fallen on this man, thrown crippled and penniless upon the
world, helpless, it might be, for life. He would have been apt to tell
you, savagely, that "he wrought for it."

Besides, it made him out of temper to meet the sisters. Knowles could
have sketched for you with a fine decision of touch the _rôle_ played
by the Papal power in the progress of humanity,--how jar it served as a
stepping-stone, and the exact period when it became a wearisome clog.
The world was done with it now, utterly. Its breath was only poisoned,
with coming death. So the homely live charity of these women, their
work, which, no other hands were ready to take, jarred against his
abstract theory, and irritated him, as an obstinate fact always does run
into the hand of a man who is determined to clutch the very heart of a
matter. Truth will not underlie all facts, in this muddle of a world, in
spite of the positive philosophers, you know.

Don't sneer at Knowles. Your own clear, tolerant brain, that reflects
all men and creeds alike, like colorless water, drawing the truth from
all, is very different, doubtless, from this narrow, solitary soul, who
thought the world waited for him to fight down his one evil before it
went on its slow way. An intolerant fanatic, of course. But the truth he
did know was so terribly real to him, he had suffered from the evil, and
there was such sick, throbbing pity in his heart for men who suffered as
he had done! And then, fanatics must make history for conservative men
to learn from, I suppose.

If Knowles shunned the hospital, there was another place he shunned
more,--the place where his communist buildings were to have stood. He
went out there once, as one might go alone to bury his dead out of his
sight, the day after the mill was burnt,--looking first at the smoking
mass of hot bricks and charred shingles, so as clearly to understand how
utterly dead his life-long scheme was. He stalked gravely around it,
his hands in his pockets; the hodmen who were raking out their winter's
firewood from the ashes remarking, that "old Knowles didn't seem a bit
cut up about it." Then he went out to the farm he had meant to buy, as I
told you, and looked at it in the same stolid way. It was a dull day in
October. The Wabash crawled moodily past his feet, the dingy prairie
stretched drearily away on the other side, while the heavy-browed
Indiana hills stood solemnly looking down the plateau where the
buildings were to have risen.

Well, most men have some plan for life, into which all the strength and
the keen, fine feeling of their nature enter; but generally they try to
make it real in early youth, and, balked then, laugh ever afterwards at
their own folly. This poor old Knowles had begun to block out his dream
when he was a gaunt, gray-haired man of sixty. I have known men so build
their heart's blood and brains into their work, that, when it tumbled
down, their lives went with it. His fell that dull day in October; but
if it hurt him, no man knew it. He sat there, looking at the broad
plateau, whistling softly to himself, a long time. He had meant that
a great many hearts should be made better and happier there; he had
dreamed----God knows what he had dreamed, of which this reality was the
foundation,--of how much freedom, or beauty, or kindly life this was the
heart or seed. It was all over now. All the afternoon the muddy sky hung
low over the hills and dull prairie, while he sat there looking at the
dingy gloom: just as you and I have done, perhaps, some time, thwarted
in some true hope,--sore and bitter against God, because He did not see
how much His universe needed our pet reform.

He got up at last, and without a sigh went slowly away, leaving the
courage and self-reliance of his life behind him, buried with that one
beautiful, fair dream of life. He never came back again. People said
Knowles was quieter since his loss; but I think only God saw the depth
of the difference. When he was leaving the plateau, that day, he looked
back at it, as if to say good-bye,--not to the dingy fields and river,
but to the Something he had nursed so long in his rugged heart, and
given up now forever. As he looked, the warm, red sun came out, lighting
up with a heartsome warmth the whole gray day. Some blessing power
seemed to look at him from the gloomy hills, the prairie, and the river,
which he was to see again. His hope accomplished could not have looked
at him with surer content and fulfilment. He turned away, ungrateful and
moody. Long afterwards he remembered the calm and brightness which his
hand had not been raised to make, and understood the meaning of its
promise.

He went to work now in earnest: he had to work for his bread-and-butter,
you understand? Restless, impatient at first; but we will forgive him
that: you yourself were not altogether submissive, perhaps, when the
slow-built hope of life was destroyed by some chance, as you called it,
no more controllable than this paltry burning of a mill. Yet, now that
the great hope was gone on which his brain had worked with rigid, fierce
intentness, now that his hands were powerless to redeem a perishing
class, he had time to fall into careless, kindly habit: he thought it
wasted time, remorsefully, of course. He was seized with a curiosity to
know what plan in living these people had who crossed his way on the
streets; if they were disappointed, like him. He went sometimes to read
the papers to old Tim Poole, who was bed-ridden, and did not pish or
pshaw once at his maundering about secession or the misery in his back.
Went to church sometimes: the sermons were bigotry, always, to his
notion, sitting on a back seat, squirting tobacco-juice about him; but
the simple, old-fashioned hymns brought the tears to his eyes:--"They
sounded to him like his mother's voice, singing in paradise: he hoped
she could not see how things had gone on here,--how all that was honest
and strong in his life had fallen in that infernal mill." Once or twice
he went down Crane Alley, and lumbered up three pair of stairs to the
garret where Kitts had his studio,--got him orders, in fact, for two
portraits; and when that pale-eyed young man, in a fit of confidence,
one night, with a very red face drew back the curtain from his grand
"Fall of Chapultepec," and watched him with a lean and hungry look,
Knowles, who knew no more about painting than a gorilla, walked about,
looking through his fist at it, saying, "how fine the _chiaroscuro_ was,
and that it was a devilish good thing altogether." "Well, well," he
soothed his conscience, going down-stairs, "maybe that bit of canvas is
as much to that poor chap as the phalanstery was once to another fool."
And so went on through the gas-lit streets into his parishes in cellars
and alleys, with a sorer heart, but cheerfuller words, now that he had
nothing but words to give.

The only place where he hardened his heart was in the hospital with
Holmes. After he had wakened to full consciousness, Knowles thought the
man a beast to sit there uncomplaining day after day, cold and grave,
as if the lifeful warmth of the late autumn were enough for him. Did
he understand the iron fate laid on him? Where was the strength of the
self-existent soul now? Did he know that it was a balked, defeated
life, that waited for him, vacant of the triumphs he had planned? "The
self-existent soul! stopped in its growth by chance, this omnipotent
deity,--the chance burning of a mill!" Knowles muttered to himself,
looking at Holmes. With a dim flash of doubt, as he said it, whether
there might not, after all, be a Something,--some deep of calm, of
eternal order, where these coarse chances, these wrestling souls, these
creeds, Catholic or Humanitarian, even that namby-pamby Kitts and his
picture, might be unconsciously working out their part. Looking out
of the hospital-window, he saw the deep of the stainless blue,
impenetrable, with the stars unconscious in their silence of the maddest
raging of the petty world. There was such calm! such infinite love and
justice! it was around, above him; it held him, it held the world,--all
Wrong, all Right! For an instant the turbid heart of the man cowered,
awe-struck, as yours or mine has done when some swift touch of music or
human love gave us a cleaving glimpse of the great I AM. The next, he
opened the newspaper in his hand. What part in the eternal order could
_that_ hold? or slavery, or secession, or civil war? No harmony could
be infinite enough to hold such discords, he thought, pushing the whole
matter from him in despair. Why, the experiment of self-government, the
problem of the ages, was crumbling in ruin! So he despaired just as Tige
did the night the mill fell about his ears, in full confidence that the
world had come to an end now, without hope of salvation,--crawling out
of his cellar in dumb amazement, when the sun rose as usual the next
morning.

Knowles sat, peering at Holmes over his paper, watching the languid
breath that showed how deep the hurt had been, the maimed body, the face
outwardly cool, watchful, reticent as before. He fancied the slough of
disappointment into which God had crushed the soul of this man: would
he struggle out? Would he take Miss Herne as the first step in his
stairway, or be content to be flung down in vigorous manhood to the
depth of impotent poverty? He could not tell if the quiet on Holmes's
face were stolid defiance or submission: the dumb kings might have
looked thus beneath the feet of Pharaoh. When he walked over the floor,
too, weak as he was, it was with the old iron tread. He asked Knowles
presently what business he had gone into.

"My old hobby in an humble way,--the House of Refuge."

They both laughed.

"Yes, it is true. The janitor points me out to visitors as
'under-superintendent, a philanthropist in decayed circumstances.'
Perhaps it is my life-work,"--growing sad and earnest.

"If you can inoculate these infant beggars and thieves with your theory,
it will be practice when you are dead."

"I think that," said Knowles, gravely, his eye kindling,--"I think
that."

"As thankless a task as that of Moses," said the other, watching him
curiously. "For _you_ will not see the pleasant land,--_you_ will not go
over."

The old man's flabby face darkened.

"I know," he said.

He glanced involuntarily out at the blue, and the clear-shining, eternal
stars. If he could but believe in the To-Morrow!

"I suppose," he said, after a while, cheerfully, "I must content myself
with Lois's creed, here,--'It'll come right some time.'"

Lois looked up from the saucepan she was stirring, her face growing
quite red, nodding emphatically some half-dozen times.

"Do you find your fallow field easily worked?"

Knowles fidgeted uneasily.

"No. Fact is, I'm beginning to think there's a good deal of an obstacle
in blood. I find difficulty, much difficulty, Sir, in giving the
youngest child true ideas of absolute freedom and unselfish heroism."

"You teach them by reason alone?" said Holmes, gravely.

"Well,--of course,--that is the true theory; but I--I find it necessary
to have them whipped, Mr. Holmes."

Holmes stooped suddenly to pat Tiger, hiding a furtive smile. The old
man went on, anxiously,--

"Old Mr. Howth says that is the end of all self-governments: from
anarchy to despotism, he says. Old people are apt to be set in their
ways, you know. Honestly, we do not find unlimited freedom answer in the
House. I hope much from a woman's assistance: I have destined her for
this work always: she has great latent power of sympathy and endurance,
such as can bring the Christian teaching home to these wretches."

"The Christian?" said Holmes.

"Well, yes. I am not a believer myself, you know; but I find that it
takes hold of these people more vitally than more abstract faiths: I
suppose because of the humanity of Jesus. In Utopia, of course, we shall
live from scientific principles; but they do not answer in the House."

"Who is the woman?" asked Holmes, carelessly.

The other watched him keenly.

"She is coming for five years. Margaret Howth."

He patted the dog with the same hard, unmoved touch.

"It is a religious duty with her. Besides, she must do something. They
have been almost starving since the mill was burnt."

Holmes's face was bent; he could not see it. When he looked up, Knowles
thought it more rigid, immovable than before.

When Knowles was going away, Holmes said to him,--

"When does Margaret Howth go into that devils' den?"

"The House? On New-Year's." The scorn in him was too savage to be
silent. "You will have fulfilled your design by that time,--of
marriage?"

Holmes was leaning on the mantel-shelf; his very lips were pale.

"Yes, I shall, I shall,"--in his low, hard tone.

Some sudden dream of warmth and beauty flashed before his gray eyes,
lighting them as Knowles never had seen before.

"Miss Herne is beautiful,--let me congratulate you in Western fashion."

The old man did not hide his sneer.

Holmes bowed.

"I thank you, for her."

Lois held the candle to light the Doctor out of the long passages.

"Yoh hevn't seen Barney out 't Mr. Howth's, Doctor? He's ther' now."

"No. When shall you have done waiting on this--man, Lois? God help you,
child!"

Lois's quick instinct answered,--

"He's very kind. He's like a woman fur kindness to such as me. When I
come to die, I'd like eyes such as his to look at, tender, pitiful."

"Women are fools alike," grumbled the Doctor. "Never mind. 'When you
come to die?' What put that into your head? Look up."

The child sheltered the flaring candle with her hand.

"I've no tho't o' dyin'," she said, laughing.

There was a gray shadow about her eyes, a peaked look to the face, he
never saw before, looking at her now with a physician's eyes.

"Does anything hurt you here?" touching her chest.

"It's better now. It was that night o' th' fire. Th' breath o' th' mill,
I thenk,--but it's nothin'."

"Burning copperas? Of course it's better. Oh, that's nothing!" he said,
cheerfully.

When they reached the door, he held out his hand, the first time he ever
had done it to her, and then waited, patting her on the head.

"I think it'll come right, Lois," he said, dreamily, looking out into
the night. "You're a good girl. I think it'll all come right. For you
and me. Some time. Good night, child."

After he was a long way down the street, he turned to nod good-night
again to the comical little figure in the doorway.

If Knowles hated anybody that night, he hated the man he had left
standing there with pale, heavy jaws, and heart of iron; he could have
cursed him, standing there. He did not see how, after he was left alone,
the man lay with his face to the wall, holding his bony hand to his
forehead, with a look in his eyes that if you had seen, you would have
thought his soul had entered on that path whose steps take hold on hell.

There was no struggle in his face; whatever was the resolve he had
reached in the solitary hours when he had stood so close upon the
borders of death, it was unshaken now; but the heart, crushed and
stifled before, was taking its dire revenge. If ever it had hungered,
through the cold, selfish days, for God's help, or a woman's love, it
hungered now with a craving like death. If ever he had thought how bare
and vacant the years would be, going down to the grave with lips that
never had known a true kiss of real affection, he remembered it now,
when it was too late, with bitterness such as wrings a man's heart but
once in a lifetime. If ever he had denied to his own soul this Margaret,
called her alien or foreign, he called her now, when it was too late, to
her rightful place; there was not a thought nor a hope in the darkest
depths of his nature that did not cry out for her help that night,--for
her, a part of himself,--now, when it was too late. He went over all the
years gone, and pictured the years to come; he remembered the money
that was to help his divine soul upward; he thought of it with a curse,
pacing the floor of the narrow room, slowly and quietly. Looking out
into the still starlight and the quaint garden, he tried to fancy this
woman as he knew her, after the restless power of her soul should have
been chilled and starved into a narrow, lifeless duty. He fancied her
old, and stern, and sick of life, she that might have been----what
might they not have been, together? And he had driven her to this for
money,--money!

It was of no use to repent of it now. He had frozen the love out of her
heart, long ago. He remembered (all that he did remember of the blank
night after he was hurt) that he had seen her white, worn-out face
looking down at him; that she did not touch him; and that, when, one of
the sisters told her she might take her place, and sponge his forehead,
she said, bitterly, she had no right to do it, that he was no friend
of hers. He saw and heard that, unconscious to all else; he would have
known it, if he had been dead, lying there. It was too late now: why
need he think of what might have been? Yet he did think of it through
the long winter's night,--each moment his thought of the life to come,
or of her, growing more tender and more bitter. Do you wonder at the
remorse of this man? Wait, then, until you lie alone, as he had done,
through days as slow, revealing as ages, face to face with God and
death. Wait until you go down so close to eternity that the life you
have lived stands out before you in the dreadful bareness in which God
sees it,--as you shall see it some day from heaven or hell: money, and
hate, and love will stand in their true light then. Yet, coming back to
life again, he held whatever resolve he had reached down there with his
old iron will: all the pain he bore in looking back to the false life
before, or the ceaseless remembrance that it was too late now to atone
for that false life, made him the stronger to abide by that resolve, to
go on the path self-chosen, let the end be what it might. Whatever the
resolve was, it did not still the gnawing hunger in his heart that
night, which every trifle made more fresh and strong.

There was a wicker-basket that Lois had left by the fire, piled up with
bits of cloth and leather out of which she was manufacturing Christmas
gifts; a pair of great woollen socks, which one of the sisters had told
him privately Lois meant for him, lying on top. As with all of her
people, Christmas was the great day of the year to her. Holmes could not
but smile, looking at them. Poor Lois!--Christmas would be here soon,
then? And sitting by the covered fire, he went back to Christmases gone,
the thought of all others that brought her nearest and warmest to him:
since he was a boy they had been together on that day. With his hand
over his eyes he sat quiet by the fire until morning. He heard some boy
going by in the gray dawn call to another that they would have holiday
on Christmas. It was coming, he thought, rousing himself,--but never
as it had been: that could never be again. Yet it was strange how this
thought of Christmas took hold of him,--famished his heart. As it
approached in the slow-coming winter, the days growing shorter, and
the nights longer and more solitary, so Margaret became more real to
him,--not rejected and lost, but as the wife she might have been,
with the simple passionate love she gave him once. The thought grew
intolerable to him; yet there was not a homely pleasure of those years
gone, when the old school-master kept high holiday on Christmas, that he
did not recall and linger over with a boyish yearning, now that these
things were over forever. He chafed under his weakness. If the day would
but come when he could go out and conquer his fate, as a man ought to
do! On Christmas eve he would put an end to these torturing taunts, his
soul should not be balked longer of its rightful food. For I fear that
even now Stephen Holmes thought of his own need and his own hunger.

He watched Lois knitting and patching her poor little gifts, with a
vague feeling that every stitch made the time a moment shorter until he
should be free, with his life in his hand again. She left him at last,
sorrowfully enough, but he made her go: he fancied the close air of the
hospital was hurting her, seeing at night the strange shadow growing on
her face. I do not think he ever said to her that he knew all she had
done for him; but no dog or woman that Stephen Holmes loved could look
into his eyes and doubt that love. Sad, masterful eyes, such as are seen
but once or twice in a lifetime: no woman but would wish, like Lois, for
such eyes to be near her when she came to die, for her to remember the
world's love in. She came hobbling back every day to see him after she
had gone, and would stay to make his soup, telling him, child-like, how
many days it was until Christmas. He knew that, as well as she, waiting
through the cold, slow hours, in his solitary room. He thought sometimes
she had some eager petition to offer him, when she stood watching him
wistfully, twisting her hands together; but she always smothered it
with a sigh, and, tying her little woollen cap, went away, walking more
slowly, he thought, every day.

Do you remember how Christmas came last year? how there was a waiting
pause, when the great States stood still, and from the peoples came the
first awful murmurs of the storm that was to shake the earth? how men's
hearts failed them for fear, how women turned pale and held their
children closer to their breasts, while they heard a far cry of
lamentation for their country that had fallen? Do you remember how,
through the fury of men's anger, the storehouses of God were opened for
that land? how the very sunshine gathered new splendors, the rains more
fruitful moisture, until the earth poured forth an unknown fulness
of life and beauty? Was there no promise there, no prophecy? Do you
remember, while the very life of the people hung in doubt before them,
while the angel of death came again to pass over the land, and there was
no blood on any door-post to keep him from that house, how slowly
the old earth folded in her harvest, dead, till it should waken to a
stronger life? how quietly, as the time came near for the birth of
Christ, this old earth made ready for his coming, heedless of the clamor
of men? how the air grew fresher, day by day, and the gray deep silently
opened for the snow to go down and screen and whiten and make holy that
fouled earth? I think the slow-falling snow did not fail in its quiet
warning; for I remember that men, too, in a feeble way tried to make
ready for the birth of Christ. There was a healthier glow than terror
stirred in their hearts; because of the vague, great dread without, it
may be, they drew closer together round household fires, were kindlier
in the good old-fashioned way; old friendships were wakened, old times
talked over, fathers and mothers and children planned homely ways to
show the love in their hearts and to welcome in Christmas. Who knew but
it might be the last? Let us be thankful for that happy Christmas-day.
What if it were the last? What if, when another comes, and another,
some voice, the kindest and cheerfullest then, shall never say
"Happy Christmas" to us again? Let us be thankful for that day the
more,--accept it the more as a sign of that which will surely come.

Holmes, even, in his dreary room and drearier thought, felt the warmth
and expectant stir creeping through the land as the day drew near. Even
in the hospital, the sisters were in a busy flutter, decking their
little chapel with flowers, and preparing a Christmas _fête_ for their
patients. The doctor, as he bandaged his broken arm, hinted at faint
rumors in the city of masquerades and concerts. Even Knowles, who had
not visited the hospital for weeks, relented and came back, moody and
grim. He brought Kitts with him, and started him on talking of how
they kept Christmas in Ohio on his mother's farm; and the poor soul,
encouraged by the silence of two of his auditors, and the intense
interest of Lois in the background, mazed on about Santa-Claus trees
and Virginia reels until the clock struck twelve and Knowles began to
snore.

Christmas was coming. As he stood, day after day, looking out of
the gray window, he could see the signs of its coming even in the
shop-windows glittering with miraculous toys, in the market-carts
with their red-faced drivers and heaps of ducks and turkeys, in every
stage-coach or omnibus that went by crowded with boys home for the
holidays, hallooing for Bell or Lincoln, forgetful that the election was
over and Carolina out.

Pike came to see him one day, his arms full of a bundle, which turned
out to be an accordion for Sophy.

"Christmas, you know," he said, taking off the brown paper, while he was
cursing the Cotton States the hardest, and gravely kneading at the keys,
and stretching it until he made as much discord as five Congressmen. "I
think Sophy will like that," he said, tying it up carefully.

"I am sure she will," said Holmes,--and did not think the man a fool for
one moment.

Always going back, this Holmes, when he was alone, to the certainty that
homecomings or children's kisses or Christmas feasts were not for such
as he,--never could be, though he sought for the old time in bitterness
of heart; and so, dully remembering his resolve, and waiting for
Christmas eve, when, he might end it all. Not one of the myriads of
happy children listened more intently to the clock clanging off hour
after hour than the silent, stern man who had no hope in that day that
was coming.

He learned to watch even for poor Lois coming up the corridor every
day,--being the only tie that bound the solitary man to the inner world
of love and warmth. The deformed little body was quite alive with
Christmas now, and brought its glow with her, in her weak way. Different
from the others, he saw with a curious interest. The day was more real
to her than to them. Not because, only, the care she had of everybody
and everybody had of her seemed to reach its culmination of kindly
thought for the Christmas time; not because, as she sat talking slowly,
stopping for breath, her great fear seemed to be that she would not have
gifts enough to go round; but deeper than that,--the day was real to
her. As if it were actually true that the Master in whom she believed
was freshly born into the world once a year, to waken all that was
genial and noble and pure in the turbid, worn-out hearts; as if new
honor and pride and love did come with the breaking of Christmas morn.
It was a beautiful faith; he almost wished it were his. (Perhaps in that
day when the under-currents of life shall be bared, this man with his
self-reliant soul will know the subtile instincts that drew him to true
manhood and feeling by the homely practice of poor Lois. He did not see
them now.) A beautiful faith! it gave a meaning to the old custom of
gifts and kind words. _Love_ coming into the world!--the idea pleased
his artistic taste, being simple and sublime. Lois used to tell him,
while she feebly tried to set his room in order, of all her plans,--of
how Sam Polston was to be married on New-Year's,--but most of all of the
Christmas coming out at the old schoolmaster's: how the old house had
been scrubbed from top to bottom, was fairly glowing with shining paint
and hot fires,--how Margaret and her mother worked, in terror lest the
old man should find out how poor and bare it was,--how he and Joel had
some secret enterprise on foot at the far end of the plantation out in
the swamp, and were gone nearly all day.

She ceased coming at last. One of the sisters went out to see her, and
told him she was too weak to walk, but meant to be better soon,--quite
well by the holidays. He wished the poor thing had told him what she
wanted of him,--wished it anxiously, with a dull presentiment of evil.

The days went by, cold and slow. He watched grimly the preparations
the hospital physician was silently making in his case, for fever,
inflammation.

"I must be strong enough to go out cured on Christmas eve," he said to
him one day, coolly.

The old doctor glanced up shrewdly. He was an old Alsatian, very
plain-spoken.

"You say so?" he mumbled. "Chut! Then you will go. There are
some--bull-dog men. They do what they please,--they never die unless
they choose, begar! We know them in our practice, Herr Holmes!"

Holmes laughed. Some acumen there, he thought, in medicine or mind: as
for himself, it was true enough; whatever success he had gained in life
had been by no flush of enthusiasm or hope; a dogged persistence of
"holding on," rather.

Christmas eve came at last; bright, still, frosty. "Whatever he had to
do, let it be done quickly "; but not till the set hour came. So he laid
his watch on the table beside him, waiting until it should mark the time
he had chosen: the ruling passion of self-control as strong in this turn
of life's tide as it would be in its ebb, at the last. The old doctor
found him alone in the dreary room, coming in with the frosty breath of
the eager street about him. A grim, chilling sight enough, as solitary
and impenetrable as the Sphinx. He did not like such faces in this
genial and gracious time, so hurried over his examination. The eye was
cool, the pulse steady, the man's body, battered though it was, strong
in its steely composure. "_Ja wohl!--ja wohl_!" he went on chuffily,
summing up: latent fever,--the very lips were blue, dry as husks; "he
would go,--_oui_?--then go!"--with a chuckle. "All right, _glück zu_!"
And so shuffled out latent fever? Doubtless, yet hardly from broken
bones, the doctor thought,--with no suspicion of the subtile,
intolerable passion smouldering in every drop of this man's phlegmatic
blood.

Evening came at last. He stopped until the cracked bell of the chapel
had done striking the Angelus, and then put on his overcoat, and went
out. The air was cold and pungent. The crowded city seemed wakening to
some keen enjoyment; even his own weak, deliberate step rang on the
icy pavement as if it wished to rejoice with the rest. I said it was a
trading city: so it was, but the very trade to-day had a jolly Christmas
face on; the surly old banks and pawnbrokers' shops had grown ashamed
of their doings, and shut their doors, and covered their windows with
frosty trees, and cathedrals, and castles; the shops opened their
hearts; some child's angel had touched them, and they flushed out into
a magic splendor of Christmas trees, and lights, and toys; Santa Claus
might have made his head-quarters in any one of them. As for children,
you stumbled over them at every step, quite weighed down with the
heaviness of their joy, and the money burning their pockets; the acrid
old brokers and pettifoggers, that you met with a chill on other days,
had turned into jolly fathers of families, and lounged laughing along
with half a dozen little hands pulling them into candy-stores or
toy-shops: all the churches whose rules permitted them to show their
deep rejoicing in a simple way had covered their cold stone walls with
evergreens and wreaths of glowing fire-berries: the child's angel had
touched them too, perhaps,--not unwisely.

He passed crowds of thin-clad women looking in through open doors, with
red cheeks and hungry eyes, at red-hot stoves within, and a placard,
"Christmas dinners for the poor, gratis"; out of every window on the
streets came a ruddy light, and a spicy smell; the very sunset sky had
caught the reflection of the countless Christmas fires, and flamed up to
the zenith, blood-red as cinnabar.

Holmes turned down one of the back streets: he was going to see Lois,
first of all. I hardly know why: the child's angel may have touched him,
too; or his heart, full of a yearning pity for the poor cripple, who,
he believed now, had given her own life for his, may have plead for
indulgence, as men remember their childish prayers, before going into
battle. He came at last, in the quiet lane where she lived, to her
little brown frame-shanty, to which you mounted by a flight of wooden
steps: there were two narrow windows at the top, hung with red curtains;
he could hear her feeble voice singing within. As he turned to go up
the steps, he caught sight of something crouched underneath them in the
dark, hiding from him: whether a man--or a dog he could not see. He
touched it.

"What d' ye want, Mas'r?" said a stifled voice.

He touched it again with his stick.

The man stood upright, back in the shadow: it was old Yare.

"Had ye any word wi' me, Mas'r?"

He saw the negro's face grow gray with fear.

"Come out, Yare," he said, quietly. "Any word? What word is arson, eh?"

The man did not move. Holmes touched him with the stick.

"Come out," he said.

He came out, looking gaunt, as with famine.

"I'll not flurr myself," he said, crunching his ragged hat in his
hands,--"I'll not."

He drove the hat down upon his head, and looked up with a sullen
fierceness.

"Yoh've got me, an' I'm glad of 't. I'm tired, fearin'. I was born for
hangin', they say," with a laugh. "But I'll see my girl. I've waited
hyur, runnin' the resk,--not darin' to see her, on 'count o' yoh. I
thort I was safe on Christmas-day,--but what's Christmas to yoh or me?"

Holmes's quiet motion drove him up the steps before him. He stopped at
the top, his cowardly nature getting the better of him, and sat down
whining on the upper step.

"Be marciful, Mas'r! I wanted to see my girl,--that's all. She's all I
hev."

Holmes passed him and went in. Was Christmas nothing to him? How did
this foul wretch know that they stood alone, apart from the world?

It was a low, cheerful little room that he came into, stooping his tall
head: a tea-kettle humming and singing on the wood-fire, that lighted up
the coarse carpet and the gray walls, but spent its warmest heat on
the low settee where Lois lay sewing, and singing to herself. She was
wrapped up in a shawl, but the hands, he saw, were worn to skin and
bone; the gray shadow was heavier on her face, and the brooding brown
eyes were like a tired child's. She tried to jump up when she saw him,
and not being able, leaned on one elbow, half-crying as she laughed.

"It's the best Christmas gift of all I I can hardly b'lieve
it!"--touching the strong hand humbly that was held out to her.

Holmes had a gentle touch, I told you, for dogs and children and women:
so, sitting quietly by her, he listened with untiring patience to her
long story; looked at the heap of worthless trifles she had patched up
for gifts, wondering secretly at the delicate sense of color and grace
betrayed in the bits of flannel and leather; and took, with a grave look
of wonder, his own package, out of which a bit of woollen thread peeped
forth.

"Don't look till to-morrow mornin'," she said, anxiously, as she lay
back trembling and exhausted.

The breath of the mill! The fires of want and crime had finished their
work on her life,--so! She caught the meaning of his face quickly.

"It's nothin'," she said, eagerly. "I'll be strong by New-Year's; it's
only a day or two rest I need. I've no tho't o' givin' up."

And to show how strong she was, she got up and hobbled about to make the
tea. He had not the heart to stop her; she did not want to die,--why
should she? the world was a great, warm, beautiful nest for the little
cripple,--why need he show her the cold without? He saw her at last go
near the door where old Yare sat outside, then heard her breathless cry,
and a sob. A moment after the old man came into the room, carrying her,
and, laying her down on the settee, chafed her hands and misshapen head.

"What ails her?" he said, looking up, bewildered, to Holmes. "We've
killed her among us."

She laughed, though the great eyes were growing dim, and drew his coarse
gray hair into her hand.

"Yoh wur long comin'," she said, weakly. "I hunted fur yoh every
day,--every day."

The old man had pushed her hair back, and was reading the sunken face
with a wild fear.

"What ails her?" he cried. "Ther' 's somethin' gone wi' my girl. Was it
my fault? Lo, was it my fault?"

"Be quiet!" said Holmes, sternly.

"Is it _that_?" he gasped, shrilly. "My God! not that! I can't bear it!"

Lois soothed him, patting his face childishly.

"Am I dyin'?" she asked, with a frightened look at Holmes.

He told her no, cheerfully.

"I've no tho't o' dyin'. I dunnot thenk o' dyin'. Don't mind, dear!
Yoh'll stay with me, fur good?"

The man's paroxysm of fear for her over, his spite and cowardice came
uppermost.

"It's him," he yelped, looking fiercely at Holmes. "He's got my life in
his hands. He kin take it. What does he keer fur me or my girl? I'll not
stay wi' yoh no longer, Lo. Mornin' he'll send me t' th' lock-up, an'
after"----

"I care for _you_, child," said Holmes, stooping suddenly close to the
girl's livid face.

"To-morrow?" she muttered. "My Christmas-day?"

He wet her face while he looked over at the wretch whose life he held
in his hands. It was the iron rule of Holmes's nature to be just; but
to-night dim perceptions of a deeper justice than law opened before
him,--problems he had no time to solve: the sternest fortress is liable
to be taken by assault,--and the dew of the coming morn was on his
heart.

"So as I've hunted fur him!" she whispered, weakly. "I didn't think it
wud come to this. So as I loved him! Oh, Mr. Holmes, he's hed a pore
chance in livin',--forgive him this! Him that'll come to-morrow'd say to
forgive him this."

She caught the old man's head in her arms with an agony of tears, and
held it tight.

"I hev hed a pore chance," he said, looking up,--"that's God's truth,
Lo! I dunnot keer fur that: it's too late goin' back.--Mas'r," he
mumbled, servilely, "it's on'y a little time t' th' end: let me stay
with Lo. She loves me,--Lo does."

A look of disgust crept over Holmes's face.

"Stay, then," he muttered,--"I wash my hands of you, you old scoundrel!"

He bent over Lois with his rare, pitiful smile.

"Have I his life in my hands? I put it into yours,--so, child! Now put
it all out of your head, and look up here to wish me good-bye."

She looked up cheerfully, hardly conscious how deep the danger had been;
but the flush had gone from her face, leaving it sad and still.

"I must go to keep Christmas, Lois," he said, playfully.

"Yoh're keepin' it here, Sir." She held her weak gripe on his hand
still, with the vague outlook in her eyes that came there sometimes.
"Was it fur me yoh done it?"

"Yes, for you."

She turned her eyes slowly around, bewildered. The clear evening light
fell on Holmes, as he stood there looking down at the dying little
lamiter: a powerful figure, with a face supreme, masterful, but tender:
you will find no higher type of manhood. Did God make him of the same
blood as the vicious, cringing wretch crouching to hide his black face
at the other side of the bed? Some such thought came into Lois's brain,
and vexed her, bringing the tears to her eyes: he was her father, you
know.

"It's all wrong," she muttered,--"oh, it's far wrong! Ther' 's One could
make them 'like. Not me."

She stroked her father's head once, and then let it go. Holmes glanced
out, and saw the sun was down.

"Lois," he said, "I want you to wish me a happy Christmas, as people
do."

Holmes had a curious vein of superstition: he knew no lips so pure as
this girl's, and he wanted them to wish him good-luck that night. She
did it, laughing and growing red: riddles of life did not trouble her
childish fancy long. And so he left her, with a dull feeling, as I said
before, that it was good to say a prayer before the battle came on. For
men who believed in prayers: for him, it was the same thing to make one
day for Lois happier.



METHODS OF STUDY IN NATURAL HISTORY.


IV.


In presenting Classification as the subject of a series of papers in
the "Atlantic Monthly," I am aware that I am drawing largely upon the
patience of its readers; since the technical nature of the topic renders
many details necessary which cannot be otherwise than dry to any but
professional naturalists. Yet believing, as I do, that classification,
rightly understood, means simply the creative plan of God as expressed
in organic forms, I feel the importance of attempting at least to
present it in a popular guise, divested, as far as possible, of
technicalities, while I would ask the indulgence of my readers for such
scientific terms and details as cannot well be dispensed with, begging
them to remember that a long and tedious road may bring us suddenly upon
a glorious prospect, and that a clearer mental atmosphere and a new
intellectual sensation may well reward us for a little weariness in the
outset. Besides, the time has come when scientific truth must cease to
be the property of the few, when it must be woven into the common life
of the world; for we have reached the point where the results of science
touch the very problem of existence, and all men listen for the solving
of that mystery. When it will come, and how, none can say; but this much
at least is certain, that all our researches are leading up to that
question, and mankind will never rest till it is answered. If, then, the
results of science are of such general interest for the human race, if
they are gradually interpreting the purposes of the Deity in creation,
and the relation of man to all the past, then it is well that all
should share in its teachings, and that it should not be kept, like the
learning of the Egyptians, for an exclusive priesthood who may expound
the oracle according to their own theories, but should make a part of
all our intellectual culture and of our common educational systems. With
this view, I will endeavor to simplify as far as may be my illustrations
of the different groups of the Animal Kingdom, beginning with a more
careful analysis of those structural features on which classes are
founded.

I have said that the Radiates are the lowest type among animals,
embodying, under an infinite variety of forms, that plan in which all
parts bear definite relations to a vertical central axis. The three
classes of Radiates are distinguished from each other by three distinct
ways of executing that plan. I dwell upon this point; for we shall never
arrive at a clear understanding of the different significance and value
of the various divisions of the Animal Kingdom, till we appreciate the
distinction between the structural conception and the material means by
which it is expressed. A comparison will, perhaps, better explain my
meaning. There are certain architectonic types, including edifices of
different materials, with an infinite variety of architectural details
and external ornaments; but the flat roof and the colonnade are typical
of all Grecian temples, whether built of marble or granite or wood,
whether Doric or Ionic or Corinthian, whether simple and massive or
light and ornamented; and, in like manner, the steep roof and pointed
arch are the typical characters of all Gothic cathedrals, whatever be
the material or the details. The architectural conception remains
the same in all its essential elements, however the more superficial
features vary. Such relations as these edifices bear to the
architectural idea that includes them all, do classes bear to the
primary divisions or branches of the Animal Kingdom.

The three classes of Radiates, beginning with the lowest, and naming
them in their relative order, are Polyps, Acalephs or Jelly-Fishes, and
Echinoderms or Star-Fishes and Sea-Urchins. In the Polyps the plan is
executed in the simplest manner by a sac, the sides of which are folded
inward, at regular intervals from top to bottom, so as to divide it by
vertical radiating partitions, converging from the periphery toward the
centre. These folds or partitions do not meet in the centre, but leave
an open space, which is the main cavity of the body. This open space,
however, occupies only the lower part of the body; for in the upper
there is a second sac hanging to a certain distance within the first.
This inner sac has an aperture in the bottom, through which whatever
enters it passes into the main cavity of the body. A central opening
in the top forms a kind of mouth, around which are radiating tentacles
connecting with the open chambers formed by the partitions within.
Cutting such an animal across in a transverse section, we shall see
the radiation of the partitions from the centre to the circumference,
showing still more distinctly the typical structure of the division to
which it belongs.

[Illustration: Vertical section of a Sea-Anemone of Actinia: _o_, mouth;
_t_, tentacles; _s_, inner sac or stomach; _b_, main cavity; _ff_,
reproductive organs; _g_, radiating partition; _eee_, radiating
chambers; _cc_, circular openings in the partitions; _aa_, lower floor.]

[Illustration: Transverse section of a Sea-Anemone or Actinia.]

[Illustration: Staurophera seen in profile.]

[Illustration: Hippocrene seen in profile.]

[Illustration: Melicertum seen from above, with the tentacles spreading:
_oo_, radiating tubes with ovaries; _m_, mouth; _tttt_, tentacles.]

The second class is that of Jelly-Fishes or Acalephs; and here the same
plan is carried out in the form of a hemispherical gelatinous disk, the
digestive cavity being hollowed, or, as it were, scooped, out of the
substance of the body, which is traversed by tubes that radiate from
the centre to the periphery. Cutting it across transversely, or looking
through its transparent mass, the same radiation of the internal
structure is seen again; only that in this instance the radiating lines
are not produced by vertical partition-walls, with open spaces between,
as in the Polyps, but by radiating tubes passing through the gelatinous
mass of the body. At the periphery is a circular tube connecting them
all, and the tentacles, which hang down when the animal is in its
natural position, connect at their base with the radiating tubes, while
numerous smaller tentacles may form a kind of fringe all round the
margin.

The third and highest class includes the Star-Fishes, Sea-Urchins, and
Holothurians or Beches-de-Mer. The radiation is equally distinct in each
of these; but here again the mode of execution differs from that of the
two other classes. The internal cavity and the radiating tubes, instead
of being connected with the outer wall of the body as in Polyps, or
hollowed out of the substance of the body as in Jelly-Fishes, are here
inclosed within independent walls of their own, quite distinct from the
wall of the body. But notwithstanding this difference, a transverse
section shows in these animals, as distinctly as in all the rest, the
radiating structure typical of the whole branch. In these three classes
we have no difference of plan, nor even any modification of the same
plan,--for either one of them expresses it as clearly as any other,--but
simply three different ways of executing one structural idea.

[Illustration: Common Sea-Urchin, Echinus, seen from above]

[Illustration: Echinarachnius, opened by a transverse or horizontal
section, and showing the internal arrangement: c, mouth; eeeee,
ambulacra, with their ramifications cmcmcm; wwww, interambulacra.]

I have mentioned only three classes of Radiates. Cuvier had five in his
classification; for he placed among them the Intestinal Worms and the
Infusoria or Animalcules. The Intestinal Worms are much better known
now than they were in his day. Their anatomy and embryology have been
traced, and it has been shown that the essential features of these
parasites are the same as those of all Articulates, their whole body
being divided into successive, movable joints or rings. Cuvier was
misled by the circular arrangement of certain parts around the mouth,
and by the presence of a wreath of feelers around the head of some
of these Worms, resembling the tentacles of many Radiates. This is,
however, no indication of radiate structure, but a superficial feature
in no way related to the internal organization.

We must carefully distinguish between affinity and analogy among
animals. The former is founded on identity of plan; the latter only upon
external resemblance, produced by similar features, which, when they are
intimately connected with the whole internal organization, as in some
groups, may be considered as typical characters, but when only grafted,
as it were, in a superficial manner on animals of another type, have
no relation to the essential elements of structure, and become at
once subordinate and unimportant. Such is the difference between the
tentacles in a Radiate and the wreath of feelers in a Worm;--the
external effect may be much the same; but in the former every tentacle
opens into one of the chambers as in a Polyp, or connects with one of
the radiating tubes as in Acalephs, or with the locomotive suckers as
in Star-Fishes, and is therefore closely linked with the whole internal
organization; whereas the feelers in the latter are only external
appendages, in no way connected with the essential structural elements.
We have a striking illustration of this superficial resemblance in the
wings of Birds and Insects. In Birds, wings are a typical feature,
corresponding to the front limbs in all Vertebrates, which are
constructed in the same way, whether they are arms as in Man, or
forelegs as in Quadrupeds, or pectoral fins as in Fishes, or wings as in
Birds. The wing in an Insect, on the contrary, is a flattened, dried-up
gill, having no structural relation whatever to the wing of a Bird. They
are analogous only because they resemble each other in function, being
in the same way subservient to flight; but as organs they are entirely
different.

In adding Infusoria to the Radiates, Cuvier was false to his own
principle of founding all classification on plan. He was influenced by
their seeming simplicity of structure, and placed them in the lowest
division of the Animal Kingdom on that account. But even this simplicity
was only apparent in many of them. At certain seasons of the year
myriads of these little Animalcules may be seen in every brook and
road-side pool. They are like transparent little globules, without any
special organization, apparently; and were it not that they are in
constant rotation, exhibiting thus a motion of their own, one would
hardly suspect that they were endowed with life. To the superficial
observer they all look alike, and it is not strange, that, before they
had been more carefully investigated, they should have been associated
together as the lowest division of the Animal Kingdom, representing, as
it were, a border-land between animal and vegetable life. But since the
modern improvements in the microscope, Ehrenberg, the great master in
microscopic investigation, has shown that many of these little
globules have an extraordinary complication of structure. Subsequent
investigations have proved that they include a great variety of beings:
some of them belonging to the type of Mollusks; others to the type of
Articulates, being in fact little Shrimps; while many others are
the locomotive germs of plants, and so far from forming a class by
themselves, as a distinct group in the Animal Kingdom, they seem to
comprise representatives of all types except Vertebrates, and to belong
in part to the Vegetable Kingdom, Siebold, Leuckart, and other modern
zoölogists, have considered them as a primary type, and called them
Protozoa; but this is as great a mistake as the other. The rotatory
motion in them all is produced by an apparatus that exists not only
in all animals, but in plants also, and is a most important agent in
sustaining the freshness and vitality of their circulating fluids and of
the surrounding medium in which they live. It consists of soft fringes,
called Vibratile Cilia. Such fringes cover the whole surface of these
little living beings, and by their unceasing play they maintain the
rotating motion that carries them along in the water.

The Mollusks, the next great division of the Animal Kingdom, also
include three classes. With them is introduced that character
of bilateral symmetry, or division of parts on either side of a
longitudinal axis, that prevails throughout the Animal Kingdom, with the
exception of the Radiates. The lowest class of Mollusks has been named
Acephala, to signify the absence of any distinct head; for though their
whole organization is based upon the principle of bilateral symmetry, it
is nevertheless very difficult to determine which is the right side and
which the left in these animals, because there is so little prominence
in the two ends of the body that the anterior and posterior extremities
are hardly to be distinguished. Take the Oyster as an example. It has,
like most Acephala, a shell with two valves united by a hinge on the
back, one of these valves being thick and swollen, while the other is
nearly flat. If we lift the shell, we find beneath a soft lining-skin
covering the whole animal and called by naturalists the mantle, from the
inner surface of which arise a double row of gills, forming two pendent
folds on the sides of the body; but at one end of the body these folds
do not meet, but leave an open space, where is the aperture we call the
mouth. This is the only indication of an anterior extremity; but it is
enough to establish a difference between the front and hind ends of
the body, and to serve as a guide in distinguishing the right and
left sides. If now we lift the mantle and gills, we find beneath the
principal organs: the stomach, with a winding alimentary canal; the
heart and liver; the blood-vessels, branching from either side of the
heart to join the gills; and a fleshy muscle passing from one valve
of the shell to the other, enabling the animal by its dilatation or
contraction to open and close its shell at will. A cut across an animal
of this class will show us better the bilateral arrangement of the
parts. In such a section we see the edge of the two shells on either
side; within these the edge of the mantle; then the double rows of
gills; and in the middle the alimentary canal, the heart, and the
blood-vessels branching right and left. Some of these animals have
eye-specks on the edge of the mantle; but this is not a constant
feature. This class of Acephala includes all the Oysters, Clams,
Mussels, and the like. When named with reference to their double shells,
they are called Bivalves; and with them are associated a host of less
conspicuous animals, known as Ascidians, Brachiopods, and Bryozoa.

[Illustration: Common Mussel, Unio, cut transversely: _a_, foot; _bb_,
gills; _c_, mantle; _d_, shell; _e_, heart; _f_, main cavity, with
intestines.]

The second class in this type is that of Gasteropoda, so named from the
fleshy muscular expansion on which they move, and which is therefore
called a foot: a very inappropriate name; since it has no relation or
resemblance to a foot, though it is used as a locomotive organ. This
class includes all the Snails, Slugs, Cockles, Conchs, Periwinkles,
Whelks, Limpets, and the like. Some of them have no solid covering; but
the greater part are protected by a single shell, and on this account
they are called Univalves, in contradistinction to the Acephala or
Bivalves. These shells, though always single, differ from each other by
an endless variety of form and color,--from the flat simple shell of
the Limpet to the elaborate spiral and brilliant hues of the Cones and
Cowries. Different as is their external covering, however, if we examine
the internal structure of a Gasteropod, we find the same general
arrangement of parts that prevails in the Acephala, showing that both
belong to the same great division of the Animal Kingdom. The mantle
envelops the animal, and lines its single shell as it lined the double
shell of the Oyster; the gills are placed on either side of it; the
stomach, with the winding alimentary canal, is in the centre of the
body; the heart and liver are placed in the same relation to it as in
the Acephala; and though the so-called foot would seem to be a new
feature, it is but a muscular expansion of the ventral side of the body.
There is an evident superiority in this class over the preceding one, in
the greater prominence of the anterior extremity, where there are two or
more feelers, with which eyes more or less developed are connected; and
though there is nothing that can be properly called a head, yet there
can be no hesitation as to the distinction between the front and hind
ends of the body.

[Illustration: Limpet, Patella, cut transversely: _a_, foot; _b_, gills;
_c_, mantle; _d_, shell; _e_, heart; _f_, main cavity, with intestines.]

The third and highest class of Mollusks has been called Cephalopoda, in
reference again to a special feature of their structure. They have long
arms or feelers around the head, serving as organs of locomotion, by
which they propel themselves through the water with a velocity that is
quite extraordinary, when compared with the sluggishness of the other
Mollusks. In these animals the head is distinctly marked,--being
separated, by a contraction or depression behind it, from the rest of
the body. The feelers, so prominent on the anterior extremity of
the Gasteropoda, are suppressed in Cephalopoda, and the eyes are
consequently brought immediately on the side of the head, and are very
large in proportion to the size of the animal. A skin corresponding
to the mantle envelops the body, and the gills are on either side of
it;--the stomach with its winding canal, the liver, and heart occupy the
centre of the body, as in the two other classes. This class includes all
the Cuttle-Fishes, Squids, and Nautili, and has a vast number of fossil
representatives. Many of these animals are destitute of any shell; and
where they have a shell, it is not coiled from right to left or from
left to right as in the spiral of the Gasteropoda, but from behind
forwards as in the Nautilus. These shells are usually divided into a
number of chambers,--the animal, as it grows, building a wall behind
it at regular intervals, and always occupying the external chamber,
retaining, however, a connection with his past home by a siphon that
runs through the whole succession of chambers. The readers of the
"Atlantic Monthly" cannot fail to remember the exquisite poem suggested
to the Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table by this singular feature in the
structure of the so-called Chambered Shells.

[Illustration: Common Squid, Loligo, cut transversely: _a_, foot or
siphon; _b_, gills; _c_, mantle; _d_, shell; _e_, heart; _f_, main
cavity, with intestines.]

Cuvier divided the Mollusks also into a larger number of classes than
are now admitted. He placed the Barnacles with them on account of their
shells; and it is only since an investigation of the germs born from
these animals has shown them to be Articulates that their true position
is understood. They give birth to little Shrimps that afterwards become
attached to the rocks and assume the shelly covering that has misled
naturalists about them. Brachiopods formed another of his classes;
but these differ from the other Bivalves only in having a net-work of
blood-vessels in the place of the free gills, and this is merely a
complication of structure, not a difference in the general mode
of execution, for their position and relation to the rest of the
organization are exactly the same in both. Pteropods constituted another
class in his division of the type of Mollusks; but these animals, again,
form only an order in the class of Gasteropoda, as Brachiopods form an
order in the class of Acephala.

In the third division of the Animal Kingdom, the Articulates, we have
again three classes: Worms, Crustacea, and Insects. The lowest of these
three classes, the Worms, presents the typical structure of that branch
in the most uniform manner, with little individualization of parts. The
body is a long cylinder divided through its whole length by movable
joints, while the head is indicated only by a difference in the
front-joint. There is here no concentration of vitality in special parts
of the structure, as in the higher animals, but the nervous force is
scattered through the whole body,--every ring having, on its lower side,
either two nervous swellings, one on the right, the other on the left
side, connected by nervous threads with those that precede and those
that follow them, or these swellings being united in the median line.
It is this equal distribution of nervous force through the whole system
that gives to these animals such an extraordinary power of repairing
any injured part, so that, if cut in two, the front part may even
reconstruct a tail for itself, while the hind part produces a new
head, and both continue to live as distinct animals. This facility of
self-repair, after a separation of the parts, which is even a normal
mode of multiplication in some of them, does not indicate, as may at
first appear, a greater intensity of vital energy, but, on the contrary,
arises from an absence of any one nervous centre such as exists in
all the higher animals, and is the key to their whole organization. A
serious injury to the brain of a Vertebrate destroys vitality at once,
for it holds the very essence of its life; whereas in many of the lower
animals any part of the body may be destroyed without injury to the
rest. The digestive cavity in the Worms runs the whole length of the
body; and the respiratory organs, wherever they are specialized, appear
as little vesicles or gill-like appendages either along the back or
below the sides, connected with the locomotive appendages.

This class includes animals of various degrees of complication of
structure, from those with highly developed organizations to the lowest
Worms that float like long threads in the water and hardly seem to be
animals. Yet even these creatures, so low in the scale of life, are
not devoid of some instincts, however dim, of feeling and affection. I
remember a case in point that excited my own wonder at the time, and may
not be uninteresting to my readers. A gentleman from Detroit had had
the kindness to send me one of those long thread-like Worms (_Gordius_)
found often in brooks and called Horse-Hairs by the common people. When
I first received it, it was coiled up in a close roll at the bottom of
the bottle, filled with fresh water, that contained it, and looked more
like a little tangle of black sewing-silk than anything else. Wishing
to unwind it, that I might examine its entire length, I placed it in
a large china basin filled with water, and proceeded very gently to
disentangle its coils, when I perceived that the animal had twisted
itself around a bundle of its eggs, holding them fast in a close
embrace. In the process of unwinding, the eggs dropped away and floated
to a little distance. Having finally stretched it out to its full
length, perhaps half a yard, I sat watching to see if this singular
being that looked like a long black thread in the water would give any
signs of life. Almost immediately it moved towards the bundle of eggs,
and, having reached it, began to sew itself through and through the
little white mass, passing one end of its body through it, and then
returning to make another stitch, as it were, till the eggs were at last
completely entangled again in an intricate net-work of coils. It seemed
to me almost impossible that this care of copying could be the result of
any instinct of affection in a creature of so low an organization, and I
again separated it from the eggs, and placed them at a greater distance,
when the same action was repeated. On trying the experiment a third
time, the bundle of eggs had become loosened, and a few of them dropped
off singly into the water. The efforts which the animal then made to
recover the missing ones, winding itself round and round them, but
failing to bring them into the fold with the rest, because they were too
small, and evaded all efforts to secure them, when once parted from
the first little compact mass, convinced me that there was a definite
purpose in its attempts, and that even a being so low in the scale
of animal existence has some dim consciousness of a relation to its
offspring. I afterwards unwound also the mass of eggs, which, when
coiled up as I first saw it, made a roll of white substance about the
size of a coffee-bean, and found that it consisted of a string of eggs,
measuring more than twelve feet in length, the eggs being held together
by some gelatinous substance that cemented them and prevented them from
falling apart. Cutting this string across, and placing a small section
under the microscope, I counted on one surface of such a cut from
seventy to seventy-five eggs; and estimating the entire number of eggs
according to the number contained on such a surface, I found that there
were not less than eight millions of eggs in the whole string. The
fertility of these lower animals is truly amazing, and is no doubt a
provision of Nature against the many chances of destruction to which
these germs, so delicate and often microscopically small, must be
exposed. The higher we rise in the Animal Kingdom, the more limited do
we find the number of progeny, and the care bestowed upon them by the
parents is in proportion to this diminution.

The next class in the type of Articulates is that of Crustacea,
including Lobsters, Crabs, and Shrimps. It may seem at first that
nothing can be more unlike a Worm than a Lobster; but a comparison of
the class-characters shows that the same general plan controls the
organization in both. The body of the Lobster is divided into a
succession of joints or rings, like that of the Worm; and the fact that
the front rings in the Lobster are soldered together, so as to make a
stiff front region of the body, inclosing the head and chest, while only
the hind rings remain movable, thus forming a flexible tail, does not
alter in the least the general structure, which consists in both of
a body built of articulated rings. The nervous swellings, which were
evenly distributed through the whole body in the Worm, are more
concentrated here, in accordance with the prevalent combination of the
rings in two distinct regions of the body, the larger ones corresponding
to the more important organs; but their relation to the rest of the
organization, and their connection by nervous threads with each other,
remain the same. The respiratory organs, which in most of the Worms were
mere vesicles on the lower part of the sides of the body, are here more
highly organized gills; but their general character and relation to
other parts of the structure are unchanged, and in this respect
the connection of the gills of Crustacea with their legs is quite
significant. The alimentary canal consists of a single digestive cavity
passing through the whole body, as in Worms, the anterior part of which
is surrounded by a large liver. What is true of the Lobsters is true
also, so far as class-characters are concerned, of all the Crustacea.

Highest in this type are the Insects, and among these I include Spiders
and Centipedes as well as Winged Insects. It is true that the Centipedes
have a long uniform body like Worms, and the Spiders have the body
divided into two regions like the Crustacea, while the body in true
Insects has three distinct regions, head, chest, and hind body; but
notwithstanding this difference, both the former share in the peculiar
class-character that places them with the Winged Insects in a separate
group, distinct from all the other Articulates. We have seen that in the
Worms the respiratory organs are mere vesicles, while in the Crustacea
they are more highly organized gills; but in Centipedes, Spiders,
and Winged Insects, the breathing-apparatus is aerial, consisting of
air-holes on the sides of the body, connected with a system of tubes and
vessels extending into the body and admitting air to all parts of it. In
the Winged Insects this system is very elaborate, filling the body with
air to such a degree as to render it exceedingly light and adapted to
easy and rapid flight. The general arrangement of parts is the same in
this class as in the two others, the typical character being alike in
all.

We come now to the highest branch of the Animal Kingdom, that to which
we ourselves belong,--the Vertebrates. This type is usually divided into
four classes, Fishes, Reptiles, Birds, and Mammalia; and though many
naturalists believe that it includes more, and I am myself of that
opinion, I shall allude here only to the four generally admitted
classes, as they are sufficient for my present purpose, and will serve
to show the characters upon which classes are based. In a former paper I
have explained in general terms the plan of structure of this type,--a
backbone, with a bony arch above and a bony arch below, forming two
cavities that contain all the systems of organs, the whole being
surrounded by the flesh and skin. Now whether a body so constructed lie
prone in the water, like a Fish,--or be lifted on imperfect legs, like
a Reptile,--or be balanced on two legs, while the front limbs become
wings, as in Birds,--or be raised upon four strong limbs terminating in
paws or feet, as in Quadrupeds,--or stand upright with head erect, while
the limbs consist of a pair of arms and a pair of legs, as in Man,--does
not in the least affect that structural conception under which they are
all included. Every Vertebrate has a backbone; every Vertebrate has a
bony arch above that backbone and a bony arch below it, forming two
cavities,--no matter whether these arches be of hard bone, or of
cartilage, or even of a softer substance; every Vertebrate has the
brain, the spinal marrow or spinal cord, and the organs of the senses in
the upper cavity, and the organs of digestion, respiration, circulation,
and reproduction in the lower one; every Vertebrate has four locomotive
appendages built of the same bones and bearing the same relation to the
rest of the organization, whether they be called pectoral and ventral
fins, or legs, or wings and legs, or arms and legs. Notwithstanding
the rudimentary condition of these limbs in some Vertebrates and their
difference of external appearance in the different groups, they are all
built of the same structural elements. These are the typical characters
of the whole branch, and exist in all its representatives.

What now are the different modes of expressing this structural plan that
lead us to associate certain Vertebrates together in distinct classes?
Beginning with the lowest class,--the Fishes are cold-blooded, they
breathe through gills, and they are egg-laying; in other words, though
they have the same general structure as the other Vertebrates, they
have a special mode of circulation, respiration, and reproduction. The
Reptiles are also cold-blooded, though their system of circulation is
somewhat more complicated than that of the Fishes; they breathe through
lungs, though part of them retain their gills through life; and they lay
eggs, but larger and fewer ones than the Fishes, diminishing in number
in proportion to their own higher or lower position in their class. They
also bestow greater care upon their offspring than most of the
Fishes. The Birds are warm-blooded and air-breathing, having a double
circulation; they are egg-laying like the two other classes, but their
eggs are comparatively few in number, and the young are hatched by the
mother and fed by the parent birds till they can provide for themselves.

The Mammalia are also warm-blooded and breathe through lungs; but
they differ from all other Vertebrates in their mode of reproduction,
bringing forth living young which they nurse with milk. Even in the
lowest members of this highest group of the Vertebrates, at the head
of which stands Man himself, looking heavenward it is true, but
nevertheless rooted deeply in the Animal Kingdom, we have the dawning
of those family relations, those intimate ties between parents and
children, on which the whole social organization of the human race is
based. Man is the crowning work of God on earth; but though so nobly
endowed, we must not forget that we are the lofty children of a race
whose lowest forms lie prostrate within the water, having no higher
aspiration than the desire for food; and we cannot understand the
possible degradation and moral wretchedness of Man, without knowing that
his physical nature is rooted in all the material characteristics that
belong to his type and link him even with the Fish. The moral and
intellectual gifts that distinguish him from them are his to use or to
abuse; he may, if he will, abjure his better nature and be _Vertebrate_
more than Man. He may sink as low as the lowest of his type, or he may
rise to a spiritual height that will make that which distinguishes him
from the rest far more the controlling element of his being than that
which unites him with them.



LOVE AND SKATES.

IN TWO PARTS.


PART II.


CHAPTER VII.

WADE DOWN!


The hugging of Wade by the happy pair had to be done metaphorically,
since it was done in the sight of all Dunderbunk.

He had divined a happy result, when he missed Bill Tarbox from the
arena, and saw him a furlong away, hand in hand with his reconciled
sweetheart.

"I envy you, Bill," said he, "almost too much to put proper fervor into
my congratulations."

"Your time will come," the foreman rejoined.

And says Belle, "I am sure there is a lady skating somewhere, and only
waiting for you to follow her."

"I don't see her," Wade replied, looking with a mock-grave face up
and down and athwart the river. "When you've all gone to dinner, I'll
prospect ten miles up and down and try to find a good matrimonial claim
that's not taken."

"You will not come up to dinner?" Belle asked.

"I can hardly afford to make two bites of a holiday," said Wade. "I've
sent Perry up for a luncheon. Here he comes with it. So I cede my
quarter of your pie, Miss Belle, to a better fellow."

"Oh!" cries Perry, coming up and bowing elaborately. "Mr. and Mrs.
Tarbox, I believe. Ah, yes! Well, I will mention it up at Albany. I am
going to take my Guards up to call on the Governor."

Perry dashed off, followed by a score of Dunderbunk boys, organized by
him as the Purtett Guards, and taught to salute him as Generalissimo
with military honors.

So many hundreds of turkeys, done to a turn, now began to have an effect
upon the atmosphere. Few odors are more subtile and pervading than this,
and few more appetizing. Indeed, there is said to be an odd fellow, a
strictly American gourmand, in New York, who sits, from noon to dusk
on Christmas-Day, up in a tall steeple, merely to catch the aroma of
roast-turkey floating over the city,--and much good, it is said, it does
him.

Hard skating is nearly as effective to whet hunger as this gentleman's
expedient. When the spicy breezes began to blow soft as those of
Ceylon's isle over the river and every whiff talked Turkey, the
population of Dunderbunk listened to the wooing and began to follow its
several noses--snubs, beaks, blunts, sharps, piquants, dominants, fines,
bulgies, and bifids--on the way to the several households which those
noses adorned or defaced. Prosperous Dunderbunk had a Dinner, yes, a
DINNER, that day, and Richard Wade was gratefully remembered by many
over-fed foundry-men and their over-fed families.

Wade had not had half skating enough.

"I'll time myself down to Skerrett's Point," he thought, "and take my
luncheon there among the hemlocks."

The Point was on the property of Peter Skerrett, Wade's friend and
college comrade of ten years gone. Peter had been an absentee in Europe,
and smokes from his chimneys this morning had confirmed to Wade's eyes
the rumor of his return.

Skerrett's Point was a mile below the Foundry. Our hero did his mile
under three minutes. How many seconds under, I will not say. I do not
wish to make other fellows unhappy.

The Point was a favorite spot of Wade's. Many a twilight of last summer,
tired with his fagging at the Works to make good the evil of Whiffler's
rule, he had lain there on the rocks under the hemlocks, breathing the
spicy methyl they poured into the air. After his day's hard fight, in
the dust and heat of the Foundry, with anarchy and unthrift, he used to
take the quiet restoratives of Nature, until the murmur and fragrance of
the woods, the cool wind, and the soothing loiter of the shining stream
had purged him from the fevers of his task.

To this old haunt he skated, and kindling a little fire, as an old
campaigner loves to do, he sat down and lunched heartily on Mrs.
Purtett's cold leg,--cannibal thought!--on the cold leg of Mrs.
Purtett's yesterday's turkey. Then lighting his weed,--dear ally of the
lonely,--the Superintendent began to think of his foreman's bliss, and
to long for something similar on his own plane.

"I hope the wish is father to its fulfilment," he said. "But I must not
stop here and be spooney. Such a halcyon day I may not have again in all
my life, and I ought to make the best of it, with my New Skates."

So he dashed off, and filled the little cove above the Point with a
labyrinth of curves and flourishes.

When that bit of crystal tablet was well covered, the podographer sighed
for a new sheet to inscribe his intricate rubricas upon. Why not write
more stanzas of the poetry of motion on the ice below the Point? Why
not?

Braced by his lunch on the brown fibre of good Mrs. Purtett's cold
drumstick and thigh, Wade was now in fine trim. The air was more
glittering and electric than ever. It was triumph and victory and paean
in action to go flashing along over this footing, smoother than polished
marble and sheenier than first-water gems.

Wade felt the high exhilaration of pure blood galloping through a body
alive from top to toe. The rhythm of his movement was like music to him.

The Point ended in a sharp promontory. Just before he came abreast of
it, Wade under mighty headway flung into his favorite corkscrew spiral
on one foot, and went whirling dizzily along, round and round, in a
straight line.

At the dizziest moment, he was suddenly aware of a figure, also turning
the Point at full speed, and rushing to a collision.

He jerked aside to avoid it. He could not look to his footing. His skate
struck a broken oar, imbedded in the ice. He fell violently, and lay
like a dead man.

His New Skates, Testimonial of Merit, seem to have served him a shabby
trick.


CHAPTER VIII.

TÊTE-À-TÊTE.


Seeing Wade lie there motionless, the lady----

Took off her spectacles, blew her great red nose, and stiffly drew near.

Spectacles! Nose! No,--the latter feature of hers had never become
acquainted with the former; and there was as little stiffness as nasal
redness about her.

A fresh start, then,--and this time accuracy!

Appalled by the loud thump of the stranger's skull upon the chief river
of the State of New York, the lady--it was a young lady whom Wade had
tumbled to avoid--turned, saw a human being lying motionless, and swept
gracefully toward him, like a Good Samaritan, on the outer edge. It was
not her fault, but her destiny, that she had to be graceful even under
these tragic circumstances.

"Dead!" she thought. "Is he dead?"

The appalling thump had cracked the ice, and she could not know how well
the skull was cushioned inside with brains to resist a blow.

She shuddered, as she swooped about toward this possible corpse. It
might be that he was killed, and half the fault hers. No wonder her
fine color, shining in the right parts of an admirably drawn face, all
disappeared instantly.

But she evidently was not frightened.

She halted, kneeled, looked curiously at the stranger, and then
proceeded, in a perfectly cool and self-possessed way, to pick him up.

A solid fellow, heavy to lift in his present lumpish condition of
dead-weight! She had to tug mightily to get him up into a sitting
position. When he was raised, all the backbone seemed gone from his
spine, and it took the whole force of her vigorous arms to sustain him.

The effort was enough to account for the return of her color. It came
rushing back splendidly. Cheeks, forehead, everything but nose, blushed.
The hard work of lifting so much avoirdupois, and possibly, also, the
novelty of supporting so much handsome fellow, intensified all her hues.
Her eyes--blue, or that shade even more faithful than blue--deepened;
and her pale golden hair grew several carats--not carrots--brighter.

She was repaid for her active sympathy at once by discovering that this
big, awkward thing was not a dead, but only a stunned, body. It had an
ugly bump and a bleeding cut on its manly skull, but otherwise was quite
an agreeable object to contemplate, and plainly on its "unembarrassed
brow Nature had written 'Gentleman.'"

As this young lady had never had a fair, steady stare at a stunned hero
before, she seized her advantage. She had hitherto been distant with
the other sex. She had no brother. Not one of her male cousins had ever
ventured near enough to get those cousinly privileges that timid cousins
sigh for and plucky cousins take, if they are worth taking.

Wade's impressive face, though for the moment blind as a statue's, also
seized its advantage and stared at her intently, with a pained and
pleading look, new to those resolute features.

Wade was entirely unconscious of the great hit he had made by his
tumble; plump into the arms of this heroine! There were fellows extant
who would have suffered any imaginable amputation, any conceivable
mauling, any fling from the apex of anything into the lowest deeps of
anywhere, for the honor he was now enjoying.

But all he knew was that his skull was a beehive in an uproar, and that
one lobe of his brain was struggling to swarm off. His legs and arms
felt as if they belonged to another man, and a very limp one at that. A
ton of cast-iron seemed to be pressing his eyelids down, and a trickle
of red-hot metal flowed from his cut forehead.

"I shall have to scream," thought the lady, after an instant of anxious
waiting, "if he does not revive. I cannot leave him to go for help."

Not a prude, you see. A prude would have had cheap scruples about
compromising herself by taking a man in her arms. Not a vulgar person,
who would have required the stranger to be properly recommended by
somebody who came over in the Mayflower, before she helped him. Not a
feeble-minded damsel, who, if she had not fainted, would have fled away,
gasping and in tears. No timidity or prudery or underbred doubts about
this thorough creature. She knew she was in her right womanly place, and
she meant to stay there.

But she began to need help, possibly a lancet, possibly a pocket-pistol,
possibly hot blankets, possibly somebody to knead these lifeless lungs
and pommel this flaccid body, until circulation was restored.

Just as she was making up her mind to scream, Wade stirred. He began to
tingle as if a familiar of the Inquisition were slapping him all over
with fine-toothed curry-combs. He became half-conscious of a woman
supporting him. In a stammering and intoxicated voice he murmured,--

    "Who ran to catch me when I fell,
    And kissed the place to make it well?
                             My"------

He opened his eyes. It was not his mother; for she was long since
deceased. Nor was this non-mother kissing the place.

In fact, abashed at the blind eyes suddenly unclosing so near her, she
was on the point of letting her burden drop. When dead men come to life
in such a position, and begin to talk about "kissing the place," young
ladies, however independent of conventions, may well grow uneasy.

But the stranger, though alive, was evidently in a molluscous,
invertebrate condition. He could not sustain himself. She still held him
up, a little more at arm's-length, and all at once the reaction from
extreme anxiety brought a gush of tears to her eyes.

"Don't cry," says Wade, vaguely, and still only half-conscious. "I
promise never to do so again."

At this, said with a childlike earnestness, the lady smiled.

"Don't scalp me," Wade continued, in the same tone. "Squaws never
scalp."

He raised his hand to his bleeding forehead.

She laughed outright at his queer plaintive tone and the new class he
had placed her in.

Her laugh and his own movement brought Wade fully to himself. She
perceived that his look was transferring her from the order of scalping
squaws to her proper place as a beautiful young woman of the highest
civilization, not smeared with vermilion, but blushing celestial rosy.

"Thank you," said Wade. "I can sit up now without assistance." And he
regretted profoundly that good breeding obliged him to say so.

She withdrew her arms. He rested on the ice,--posture of the Dying
Gladiator. She made an effort to be cool and distant as usual; but it
would not do. This weak mighty man still interested her. It was still
her business to be strength to him.

He made a feeble attempt to wipe away the drops of blood from his
forehead with his handkerchief.

"Let me be your surgeon!" said she.

She produced her own folded handkerchief,--M. D. were the initials in
the corner,--and neatly and tenderly turbaned him.

Wade submitted with delight to this treatment. A tumble with such
trimmings was luxury indeed.

"Who would not break his head," he thought, "to have these delicate
fingers plying about him, and this pure, noble face so close to his?
What a queenly indifferent manner she has! What a calm brow! What honest
eyes! What a firm nose! What equable cheeks! What a grand indignant
mouth! Not a bit afraid of me! She feels that I am a gentleman and will
not presume."

"There!" said she, drawing back. "Is that comfortable?"

"Luxury!" he ejaculated with fervor.

"I am afraid I am to blame for your terrible fall."

"No,--my own clumsiness and that oar-blade are in fault."

"If you feel well enough to be left alone, I will skate off and call my
friends."

"Please do not leave me quite yet!" says Wade, entirely satisfied with
the _tête-à-tête_.

"Ah! here comes Mr. Skerrett round the Point!" she said,--and sprang up,
looking a little guilty.


CHAPTER IX.

LOVE IN THE FIRST DEGREE.


Peter Skerrett came sailing round the purple rocks of his Point, skating
like a man who has been in the South of Europe for two winters.

He was decidedly Anglicized in his whiskers, coat, and shoes. Otherwise
he in all respects repeated his well-known ancestor, Skerrett of the
Revolution; whose two portraits--1. A ruddy hero in regimentals, in
Gilbert Stuart's early brandy-and-water manner; 2. A rosy sage in
senatorials, in Stuart's later claret-and-water manner--hang in his
descendant's dining-room.

Peter's first look was a provokingly significant one at the confused and
blushing young lady. Secondly he inspected the Dying Gladiator on the
ice.

"Have you been tilting at this gentleman, Mary?" he asked, in the voice
of a cheerful, friendly fellow. "Why! Hullo. Hooray! It's Wade, Richard
Wade, Dick Wade! Don't look, Miss Mary, while I give him the grips of
all the secret societies we belonged to in College."

Mary, however, did look on, pleased and amused, while Peter plumped down
on the ice, shook his friend's hand, and examined him as if he were fine
crockery, spilt and perhaps shattered.

"It's not a case of trepanning, Dick, my boy?" said he.

"No," said the other. "I tumbled in trying to dodge this lady. The ice
thought my face ought to be scratched, because I had been scratching its
face without mercy. My wits were knocked out of me; but they are tired
of secession, and pleading to be let in again."

"Keep some of them out for our sake! We must have you at our commonplace
level. Well, Miss Mary, I suppose this is the first time you have had
the sensation of breaking a man's head. You generally hit lower." Peter
tapped his heart.

"I'm all right now, thanks to my surgeon," says Wade. "Give me a lift,
Peter." He pulled up and clung to his friend.

"You're the vine and I'm the lamppost," Skerrett said. "Mary, do you
know what a pocket-pistol is?"

"I have seen such weapons concealed about the persons of modern
warriors."

"There's one in my overcoat-pocket, with a cup at the butt and a cork at
the muzzle. Skate off now, like an angel, and get it. Bring Fanny, too.
She is restorative."

"Are you alive enough to admire that, Dick?" he continued, as she
skimmed away.

"It would pat a soul under the ribs of Death."

"I venerate that young woman," says Peter. "You see what a beauty she
is, and just as unspoiled as this ice. Unspoiled beauties are rarer than
rocs' eggs.

"She has a singularly true face," Wade replied, "and that is the main
thing,--the most excellent thing in man or woman."

"Yes, truth makes that nuisance, beauty, tolerable."

"You did not do me the honor to present me."

"I saw you had gone a great way beyond that, my boy. Have you not her
initials in cambric on your brow? Not M. T., which wouldn't apply; but
M. D."

"Mary----?"

"Damer."

"I like the name," says Wade, repeating it. "It sounds simple and
thoroughbred."

"Just what she is. One of the nine simple-hearted and thorough-bred
girls on this continent."

"Nine?"

"Is that too many? Three, then. That's one in ten millions. The exact
proportion of Poets, Painters, Oratory, Statesmen, and all other Great
Artists. Well,--three or nine,--Mary Damer is one of them. She never saw
fear or jealousy, or knowingly allowed an ignoble thought or an ungentle
word or an ungraceful act in herself. Her atmosphere does not tolerate
flirtation. You must find out for yourself how much genius she has and
has not. But I will say this,--that I think of puns two a minute faster
when I'm with her. Therefore she must be magnetic, and that is the first
charm in a woman."

Wade laughed.

"You have not lost your powers of analysis, Peter. But talking of this
heroine, you have not told me anything about yourself, except _apropos_
of punning."

"Come up and dine, and we'll fire away personal histories, broadside
for broadside! I've been looking in vain for a worthy hero to set
_vis-à-vis_ to my fair kinswoman. But stop! perhaps you have a Christmas
turkey at home, with a wife opposite, and a brace of boys waiting for
drumsticks."

"No,--my boys, like cherubs, await their own drumsticks. They're not
born, and I'm not married."

"I thought you looked incomplete and abnormal. Well, I will show you a
model wife,--and here she comes!"

Here they came, the two ladies, gliding round the Point, with draperies
floating as artlessly artful as the robes of Raphael's Hours, or a
Pompeian Bacchante. For want of classic vase or _patera_, Miss Damer
brandished Peter Skerrett's pocket-pistol.

Fanny Skerrett gave her hand cordially to Wade, and looked a little
anxiously at his pale face.

"Now, M.D.," says Peter, "you have been surgeon, you shall be doctor and
dose our patient. Now, then,--

       "'Hebe, pour free!
  Quicken his eyes with mountain-dew,
  That Styx, the detested,
  No more he may view.'"

     "Thanks, Hebe!"

Wade said, continuing the quotation,--

       "I quaff it!
  Io Paean, I cry!
  The whiskey of the Immortals
  Forbids me to die."

"We effeminate women of the nineteenth century are afraid of broken
heads," said Fanny. "But Mary Damer seems quite to enjoy your accident,
Mr. Wade, as an adventure."

Miss Damer certainly did seem gay and exhilarated.

"I enjoy it," said Wade. "I perceive that I fell on my feet, when I fell
on my crown. I tumbled among old friends, and I hope among new ones."

"I have been waiting to claim my place among your old friends," Mrs.
Skerrett said, "ever since Peter told me you were one of his models."

She delivered this little speech with a caressing manner which totally
fascinated Wade.

Nothing was ever so absolutely pretty as Mrs. Peter Skerrett. Her
complete prettiness left nothing to be desired.

"Never," thought Wade, "did I see such a compact little casket of
perfections. Every feature is thoroughly well done and none intrusively
superior. Her little nose is a combination of all the amiabilities. Her
black eyes sparkle with fun and mischief and wit, all playing over deep
tenderness below. Her hair ripples itself full of gleams and shadows.
The same coquetry of Nature that rippled her hair has dinted her cheeks
with shifting dimples. Every time she smiles--and she smiles as if sixty
an hour were not half allowance--a dimple slides into view and vanishes
like a dot in a flow of sunny water. And, O Peter Skerrett! if you were
not the best fellow in the world, I should envy you that latent kiss of
a mouth."

"You need not say it, Wade,--your broken head exempts you from the
business of compliments," said Peter; "but I see you think my wife
perfection. You'll think so the more, the more you know her."

"Stop, Peter," said she, "or I shall have to hide behind the superior
charms of Mary Damer."

Miss Damer certainly was a woman of a grander order. You might pull at
the bells or knock at the knockers and be introduced into the boudoirs
of all the houses, villas, seats, chateaus, and palaces in Christendom
without seeing such another. She belonged distinctly to the Northern
races,--the "brave and true and tender" women. There was, indeed, a
trace of hauteur and imperiousness in her look and manner; but it
did not ill become her distinguished figure and face. Wade, however,
remembered her sweet earnestness when she was playing leech to his
wound, and chose to take that mood as her dominant one.

"She must have been desperately annoyed with bores and boobies," he
thought. "I do not wonder she protects herself by distance. I am afraid
I shall never get within her lines again,--not even if I should try
slow and regular approaches, and bombard her with bouquets for a
twelvemonth."

"But, Wade," says Peter, "all this time you have not told us what good
luck sends you here to be wrecked on the hospitable shores of my Point."

"I live here. I am chief cook and confectioner where you see the smoking
top of that tall chimney up-stream."

"Why, of course! What a dolt I was, not to think of you, when Churm told
us an Athlete, a Brave, a Sage, and a Gentleman was the Superintendent
of Dunderbunk; but said we must find his name out for ourselves. You
remember, Mary. Miss Damer is Mr. Churm's ward."

She acknowledged with a cool bow that she did remember her guardian's
character of Wade.

"You do not say, Peter," says Mrs. Skerrett, with a bright little look
at the other lady, "why Mr. Churm was so mysterious about Mr. Wade."

"Miss Damer shall tell us," Peter rejoined, repeating his wife's look of
merry significance.

She looked somewhat teased. Wade could divine easily the meaning of
this little mischievous talk. His friend Churm had no doubt puffed him
furiously.

"All this time," said Miss Darner, evading a reply, "we are neglecting
our skating privileges."

"Peter and I have a few grains of humanity in our souls," Fanny said.
"We should blush to sail away from Mr. Wade, while he carries the
quarantine flag at his pale cheeks."

"I am almost ruddy again," says Wade. "Your potion, Miss Damer,
has completed the work of your surgery. I can afford to dismiss my
lamp-post."

"Whereupon the post changes to a tee-totum," Peter said, and spun off in
an eccentric, ending in a tumble.

"I must have a share in your restoration, Mr. Wade," Fanny claimed. "I
see you need a second dose of medicine. Hand me the flask, Mary. What
shall I pour from this magic bottle? juice of Rhine, blood of Burgundy,
fire of Spain, bubble of Rheims, beeswing of Oporto, honey of Cyprus,
nectar, or whiskey? Whiskey is vulgar, but the proper thing, on the
whole, for these occasions. I prescribe it." And she gave him another
little draught to imbibe.

He took it kindly, for her sake,--and not alone for that, but for its
own respectable sake. His recovery was complete. His head, to be sure,
sang a little still, and ached not a little. Some fellows would have
gone on the sick list with such a wound. Perhaps he would, if he had had
a trouble to dodge. But here instead was a pleasure to follow. So he
began to move about slowly, watching the ladies.

Fanny was a novice in the Art, and this was her first day this winter.
She skated timidly, holding Peter very tightly. She went into the
dearest little panics for fear of tumbles, and uttered the most musical
screams and laughs. And if she succeeded in taking a few brave strokes
and finished with a neat slide, she pleaded for a verdict of "Well
done!" with such an appealing smile and such a fine show of dimples that
every one was fascinated and applauded heartily.

Miss Damer skated as became her free and vigorous character. She had
passed her Little Go as a scholar, and was now steadily winning her way
through the list of achievements, before given, toward the Great Go.
To-day she was at work at small circles backward. Presently she wound
off a series of perfectly neat ones, and, looking up, pleased with her
prowess, caught Wade's admiring eye. At this she smiled and gave an
arch little womanly nod of self-approval, which also demanded masculine
sympathy before it was quite a perfect emotion.

With this charming gesture, the alert feather in her Amazonian hat
nodded, too, as if it admired its lovely mistress.

Wade was thrilled. "Brava!" he cried, in answer to the part of her look
which asked sympathy; and then, in reply to the implied challenge, he
forgot his hurt and his shock, and struck into the same figure.

He tried not to surpass his fair exemplar too cruelly. But he did his
peripheries well enough to get a repetition of the captivating nod and a
Bravo! from the lady.

"Bravo!" said she. "But do not tax your strength too soon."

She began to feel that she was expressing too much interest in the
stranger. It was a new sensation for her to care whether men fell or got
up. A new sensation. She rather liked it. She was a trifle ashamed of
it. In either case, she did not wish to show that it was in her heart.
The consciousness of concealment flushed her damask check.

It was a damask cheek. All her hues were cool and pearly; while Wade,
Saxon too, had hot golden tints in his hair and moustache, and his
color, now returning, was good strong red with plenty of bronze in it.

"Thank you," he replied. "My force has all come back. You have
electrified me."

A civil nothing; but meaning managed to get into his tone and look,
whether he would or not.

Which he perceiving, on his part began to feel guilty.

Of what crime?

Of the very same crime as hers,--the most ancient and most pardonable
crime of youth and maiden,--that sweet and guiltless crime of love in
the first degree.

So, without troubling themselves to analyze their feelings, they found
a piquant pleasure in skating together,--she in admiring his _tours de
force_, and he in instructing her.

"Look, Peter!" said Mrs. Skerrett, pointing to the other pair skating,
he on the backward roll, she on the forward, with hands crossed and
locked;--such contacts are permitted in skating, as in dancing. "Your
hero and my heroine have dropped into an intimacy."

"None but the Plucky deserve the Pretty," says Peter.

"But he seems to be such a fine fellow,--suppose she shouldn't"----

The pretty face looked anxious.

"Suppose _he_ shouldn't," Peter on the masculine behalf returned.

"He cannot help it: Mary is so noble,--and so charming, when she does
not disdain to be."

"I do not believe _she_ can help it. She cannot disdain Wade. He carries
too many guns for that. He is just as fine as she is. He was a hero when
I first knew him. His face does not show an atom of change; and you know
what Mr. Churm told us of his chivalric deeds elsewhere, and how he
tamed and reformed Dunderbunk. He is crystal grit, as crystalline and
gritty as he can be."

"Grit seems to be your symbol of the highest qualities. It certainly is
a better thing in man than in ice-cream. But, Peter, suppose this should
be a true love and should not run smooth?"

"What consequence is the smooth running, so long as there is strong
running and a final getting in neck and neck at the winning-post?"

"But," still pleaded the anxious soul,--having no anxieties of her
own, she was always suffering for others,--"he seems to be such a fine
fellow! and she is so hard to win!"

"Am I a fine fellow?"

"No,--horrid!"

"The truth,--or I let you tumble."

"Well, upon compulsion, I admit that you are."

"Then being a fine fellow does not diminish the said fellow's chances of
being blessed with a wife quite superfine."

"If I thought you were personal, Peter, I should object to the
mercantile adjective. 'Superfine,' indeed!"

"I am personal. I withdraw the obnoxious phrase, and substitute
transcendent. No, Fanny dear, I read Wade's experience in my own. I do
not feel very much concerned about him. He is big enough to take care of
himself. A man who is sincere, self-possessed, and steady does not get
into miseries with beautiful Amazons like our friend. He knows too much
to try to make his love run up hill; but let it once get started, rough
running gives it _vim_. Wade will love like a deluge, when he sees that
he may, and I'd advise obstacles to stand off."

"It was pretty, Peter, to see cold Mary Damer so gentle and almost
tender."

"I always have loved to see the first beginnings of what looks like
love, since I saw ours."

"Ours," she said,--"it seems like yesterday."

And then together they recalled that fair picture against its dark
ground of sorrow, and so went on refreshing the emotions of that time
until Fanny smiling said,--

"There must be something magical in skates, for here we are talking
sentimentally like a pair of young lovers."

"Health and love are cause and effect," says Peter, sententiously.

Meanwhile Wade had been fast skating into the good graces of his
companion. Perhaps the rap on his head had deranged him. He certainly
tossed himself about in a reckless and insane way. Still he justified
his conduct by never tumbling again, and by inventing new devices with
bewildering rapidity.

This pair were not at all sentimental. Indeed, their talk was quite
technical: all about rings and edges, and heel and toe,--what skates are
best, and who best use them. There is an immense amount of sympathy to
be exchanged on such topics, and it was somewhat significant that they
avoided other themes where they might not sympathize so thoroughly. The
negative part of a conversation is often as important as its positive.

So the four entertained themselves finely, sometimes as a quartette,
sometimes as two duos with proper changes of partners, until the clear
west began to grow golden and the clear east pink with sunset.

"It is a pity to go," said Peter Skerrett. "Everything here is
perfection and Fine Art; but we must not be unfaithful to dinner. Dinner
would have a right to punish us, if we did not encourage its efforts to
be Fine Art also."

"Now, Mr. Wade," Fanny commanded, "your most heroic series of exploits,
to close this heroic day."

He nimbly dashed through his list. The ice was traced with a labyrinth
of involuted convolutions.

Wade's last turn brought him to the very spot of his tumble.

"Ah!" said he. "Here is the oar that tripped me, with 'Wade, his
mark,' gashed into it. If I had not this"--he touched Miss Damer's
handkerchief--"for a souvenir, I think I would dig up the oar and carry
it home."

"Let it melt out and float away in the spring," Mary said. "It may be a
perch for a sea-gull or a buoy for a drowning man."

Here, if this were a long story instead of a short one, might be given a
description of Peter Skerrett's house and the _menu_ of Mrs. Skerrett's
dinner. Peter and his wife had both been to great pillory dinners, _ad
nauseam_, and learnt what to avoid. How not to be bored is the object of
all civilization, and the Skerretts had discovered the methods. I must
dismiss the dinner and the evening, stamped with the general epithet,
Perfection.

"You will join us again to-morrow on the river," said Mrs. Skerrett, as
Wade rose to go.

"To-morrow I go to town to report to my Directors."

"Then next day."

"Next day, with pleasure."

Wade departed and marked this halcyon day with white chalk, as the
whitest, brightest, sweetest of his life.


CHAPTER X.

FOREBODINGS.


Jubilation! Jubilation now, instead of Consternation, in the office of
Mr. Benjamin Brummage in Wall Street.

President Brummage had convoked his Directors to hear the First
Semi-Annual Report of the new Superintendent and Dictator of Dunderbunk.

And there they sat around the green table, no longer forlorn and
dreading a, failure, but all chuckling with satisfaction over their
prosperity.

They were a happy and hilarious family now,--so hilarious that
the President was obliged to be always rapping to Order with his
paper-knife.

Every one of these gentlemen was proud of himself as a Director of so
successful a Company. The Dunderbunk advertisement might now consider
itself as permanent in the newspapers, and the Treasurer had very
unnecessarily inserted the notice of a dividend, which everybody knew of
already.

When Mr. Churm was not by, they all claimed the honor of having
discovered Wade, or at least of having been the first to appreciate him.

They all invited him to dinner,--the others at their houses, Sam Gwelp
at his club.

They had not yet begun to wax fat and kick. They still remembered
the panic of last summer. They passed a unanimous vote of the most
complimentary confidence in Wade, approved of his system, forced upon
him an increase of salary, and began to talk of "launching out" and
doubling their capital. In short, they behaved as Directors do when all
is serene.

Churm and Wade had a hearty laugh over the absurdities of the Board and
all their vague propositions.

"Dunderbunk," said Churm, "was a company started on a sentimental basis,
as many others are."

"Mr. Brummage fell in love with pig-iron?"

"Precisely. He had been a dry-goods jobber, risen from a retailer
somewhere in the country. He felt a certain lack of dignity in his work.
He wanted to deal in something more masculine than lace and ribbons. He
read a sentimental article on Iron in the 'Journal of Commerce': how
Iron held the world together; how it was nerve and sinew; how it was
ductile and malleable and other things that sounded big; how without
Iron civilization would stop, and New Zealanders hunt rats among the
ruins of London; how anybody who would make two tons of Iron grow
where one grew before was a benefactor to the human race greater than
Alexander, Caesar, or Napoleon; and so on,--you know the eloquent style.
Brummage's soul was fired. He determined to be greater than the three
heroes named. He was oozing with unoccupied capital. He went about among
the other rich jobbers, with the newspaper article in his hand, and
fired their souls. They determined to be great Iron-Kings,--magnificent
thought! They wanted to read in the newspapers, 'If all the iron rails
made at the Dunderbunk Works in the last six months were put together in
a straight line, they would reach twice round our terraqueous globe and
seventy-three miles two rails over.' So on that poetic foundation they
started the concern."

Wade laughed. "But how did you happen to be with them?"

"Oh! my friend Damer sold them the land for the shop and took stock in
payment. I came into the Board as his executor. Did I never tell you so
before?"

"No."

"Well, then, be informed that it was in Miss Damer's behalf that you
knocked down Friend Tarbox, and so got your skates for saving her
property. It's quite a romance already, Richard, my boy! and I suppose
you feel immensely bored that you had to come down and meet us old
chaps, instead of tumbling at her feet on the ice again to-day."

"A tumble in this wet day would be a cold bath to romance."

The Gulf Stream had sent up a warm spoil-sport rain that morning. It did
not stop, but poured furiously the whole day.

From Cohoes to Spuyten Duyvil, on both sides of the river, all the
skaters swore at the weather, as profane persons no doubt did when the
windows of heaven were opened in Noah's time. The skateresses did not
swear, but savagely said, "It is too bad,"--and so it was.

Wade, loaded with the blessings of his Directors, took the train next
morning for Dunderbunk.

The weather was still mild and drizzly, but promised to clear. As the
train rattled along by the river, Wade could see that the thin ice
was breaking up everywhere. In mid-stream a procession of blocks was
steadily drifting along. Unless Zero came sliding down again pretty soon
from Boreal regions, the sheets that filled the coves and clung to the
shores would also sail away southward, and the whole Hudson be left
clear as in midsummer.

At Yonkers a down train ranged by the side of Wade's train, and, looking
out, he saw Mr. and Mrs. Skerrett alighting.

He jumped down, rather surprised, to speak to them.

"We have just been telegraphed here," said Peter, gravely. "The son of a
widow, a friend of ours, was drowned this morning in the soft ice of the
river. He was a pet of mine, poor fellow! and the mother depends upon me
for advice. We have come down to say a kind word. Why won't you report
us to the ladies at my house, and say we shall not be at home until the
evening train? They do not know the cause of our journey, except that it
is a sad one."

"Perhaps Mr. Wade will carve their turkey for them at dinner, Peter,"
Fanny suggested.

"Do, Wade! and keep their spirits up. Dinner's at six."

Here the engine whistled. Wade promised to "shine substitute" at his
friend's board, and took his place again. The train galloped away.

Peter and his wife exchanged a bright look over the fortunate incident
of this meeting, and went on their kind way to carry sympathy and such
consolation as might be to the widow.

The train galloped northward. Until now, the beat of its wheels, like
the click of an enormous metronome, had kept time to jubilant measures
singing in Wade's brain. He was hurrying back, exhilarated with success,
to the presence of a woman whose smile was finer exhilaration than any
number of votes of confidence, passed unanimously by any number of
conclaves of overjoyed Directors, and signed by Brummage after Brummage,
with the signature of a capitalist in a flurry of delight at a ten per
cent dividend.

But into this joyous mood of Wade's the thought of death suddenly
intruded. He could not keep a picture of death and drowning out of his
mind. As the train sprang along and opened gloomy breadth after breadth
of the leaden river, clogged with slow-drifting files of ice-blocks, he
found himself staring across the dreary waste and forever fancying some
one sinking there, helpless and alone.

He seemed to see a brave, bright-eyed, ruddy boy, venturing out
carelessly along the edges of the weakened ice. Suddenly the ice gives
way, the little figure sinks, rises, clutches desperately at a fragment,
struggles a moment, is borne along in the relentless flow of the chilly
water, stares in vain shoreward, and so sinks again with a look of
agony, and is gone.

But whenever this inevitable picture grew before Wade's eyes, as the
drowning figure of his fancy vanished, it suddenly changed features, and
presented the face of Mary Damer, perishing beyond succor.

Of course he knew that this was but a morbid vision. Yet that it came at
all, and that it so agonized him, proved the force of his new feeling.

He had not analyzed it before. This thought of death became its
touchstone.

Men like Wade, strong, healthy, earnest, concentrated, straightforward,
isolated, judge men and women as friends or foes at once and once for
all. He had recognized in Mary Damer from the first a heart as true,
whole, noble, and healthy as his own. A fine instinct had told him that
she was waiting for her hero, as he was for his heroine.

So he suddenly loved her. And yet not suddenly; for all his life, and
all his lesser forgotten or discarded passions, had been training him
for this master one.

He suddenly and strongly loved her; and yet it had only been a beautiful
bewilderment of uncomprehended delight, until this haunting vision of
her fair face sinking amid the hungry ice beset him. Then he perceived
what would be lost to him, if she were lost.

The thought of Death placed itself between him and Love. If the love
had been merely a pretty remembrance of a charming woman, he might have
dismissed his fancied drowning scene with a little emotion of regret.
Now, the fancy was an agony.

He had too much power over himself to entertain it long. But the grisly
thought came uninvited, returned undesired, and no resolute Avaunt, even
backed by that magic wand, a cigar, availed to banish it wholly.

The sky cleared cold at eleven o'clock. A sharp wind drew through the
Highlands. As the train rattled round the curve below the tunnel through
Skerrett's Point, Wade could see his skating course of Christmas-Day
with the ladies. Firm ice, glazed smooth by the sudden chill after the
rain, filled the Cove and stretched beyond the Point into the river.

It was treacherous stuff, beautiful to the eyes of a skater, but sure
to be weak, and likely to break up any moment and join the deliberate
headlong drift of the masses in mid-current.

Wade almost dreaded lest his vision should suddenly realize itself,
and he should see his enthusiastic companion of the other day sailing
gracefully along to certain death.

Nothing living, however, was in sight, except here and there a crow,
skipping about in the floating ice.

The lover was greatly relieved. He could now forewarn the lady against
the peril he had imagined. The train in a moment dropped him at
Dunderbunk. He hurried to the Foundry and wrote a note to Mrs. Damer.

"Mr. Wade presents his compliments to Mrs. Damer, and has the honor to
inform her that Mr. Skerrett has nominated him carver to the ladies
to-day in their host's place.

"Mr. Wade hopes that Miss Damer will excuse him from his engagement to
skate with her this afternoon. The ice is dangerous, and Miss Damer
should on no account venture upon it."

Perry Purtett was the bearer of this billet. He swaggered into Peter
Skerrett's hall, and dreadfully alarmed the fresh-imported Englishman
who answered the bell, by ordering him in a severe tone,--

"Hurry up now, White Cravat, with that answer! I'm wanted down to the
Works. Steam don't bile when I'm off; and the fly-wheel will never buzz
another turn, unless I'm there to motion it to move on."

Mrs. Damer's gracious reply informed Wade "that she should be charmed to
see him at dinner, etc., and would not fail to transmit his kind warning
to Miss Damer, when she returned from her drive to make calls."

But when Miss Damer returned in the afternoon, her mother was taking a
gentle nap over the violet, indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange, red
stripes of a gorgeous Afghan she was knitting. The daughter heard
nothing of the billet. The house was lonely without Fanny Skerrett. Mr.
Wade did not come at the appointed hour. Mary was not--willing to say to
herself how much she regretted his absence.

Had he forgotten the appointment?

No,--that was a thought not to be tolerated.

"A gentleman does not forget," she thought. And she had a thorough
confidence, besides, that this gentleman was very willing to remember.

She read a little, fitfully, sang fitfully, moved about the house
uneasily; and at last, when it grew late, and she was bored and Wade did
not arrive, she pronounced to herself that he had been detained in town.

This point settled, she took her skates, put on her pretty Amazonian hat
with its alert feather, and went down to waste her beauty and grace on
the ice, unattended and alone.


CHAPTER XI.

CAP'S AMBUSTER'S SKIFF.


It was a busy afternoon at the Dunderbunk Foundry.

The Superintendent had come back with his pocket full of orders.
Everybody, from the Czar of Russia to the President of the Guano
Republic, was in the market for machinery. Crisis was gone by.
Prosperity was come. The world was all ready to move, and only waited
for a fresh supply of wheels, cranks, side-levers, walking-beams, and
other such muscular creatures of iron, to push and tug and swing and
revolve and set Progress a-going.

Dunderbunk was to have its full share in supplying the demand. It was
well understood by this time that the iron Wade made was as stanch
as the man who made it. Dunderbunk, therefore, Head and Hands, must
despatch.

So it was a busy afternoon at the industrious Foundry. The men bestirred
themselves. The furnaces rumbled. The engine thumped. The drums in the
finishing-shop hummed merrily their lively song of labor. The four
trip-hammers--two bull-headed, two calf-headed--champed, like
carnivorous maws, upon red bars of iron, and over their banquet they
roared the big-toned music of the trip-hammer chorus,--

                "Now, then! hit hard!
  Strike while Iron's hot. Life's short. Art's long."

By this massive refrain, ringing in at intervals above the ceaseless
buzz, murmur, and clang throughout the buildings, every man's work was
mightily nerved and inspired. Everybody liked to hear the sturdy song of
these grim vocalists; and whenever they struck in, each solo or duo or
quatuor of men, playing Anvil Chorus, quickened time, and all the action
and rumor of the busy opera went on more cheerily and lustily. So work
kept astir like play.

An hour before sunset, Bill Tarbox stepped into Wade's office. Even oily
and begrimed, Bill could be recognized as a favored lover. He looked
more a man than ever before.

"I forgot to mention," says the foreman, "that Cap'n Ambuster was in,
this morning, to see you. He says, that, if the river's clear enough for
him to get away from our dock, he'll go down to the City to-morrow, and
offers to take freight cheap. We might put that new walking-beam, we've
just rough-finished for the 'Union,' aboard of him."

"Yes,--if he is sure to go to-morrow. It will not do to delay. The
owners complained to me yesterday that the 'Union' was in a bad way for
want of its new machinery. Tell your brother-in-law to come here, Bill."

Tarbox looked sheepishly pleased, and summoned Perry Purtett.

"Run down, Perry," said Wade, "to the 'Ambuster,' and ask Captain Isaac
to step up here a moment. Tell him I have some freight to send by him."

Perry moved through the Foundry with his usual jaunty step, left his
dignity at the door, and ran off to the dock.

The weather had grown fitful. Heavy clouds whirled over, trailing
snow-flurries. Rarely the sun found a cleft in the black canopy to shoot
a ray through and remind the world that he was still in his place and
ready to shine when he was wanted.

Master Perry had a furlong to go before he reached the dock. He crossed
the stream, kept unfrozen by the warm influences of the Foundry. He ran
through a little dell hedged on each side by dull green cedars. It was
severely cold now, and our young friend condescended to prance and jump
over the ice-skimmed puddles to keep his blood in motion.

The little rusty, pudgy steamboat lay at the down-stream side of the
Foundry wharf. Her name was so long and her paddle-box so short, that
the painter, beginning with ambitious large letters, had been compelled
to abbreviate the last syllable. Her title read thus:--

I. AMBUSTER.

Certainly a formidable inscription for a steamboat!

When she hove in sight, Perry halted, resumed his stately demeanor, and
em-barked as if he were a Doge entering a Bucentaur to wed a Sea.

There was nobody on deck to witness the arrival and salute the
_magnifico_.

Perry looked in at the Cap'n's office. He beheld a three-legged stool,
a hacked desk, an inky steel-pen, an inkless inkstand; but no Cap'n
Ambuster.

Perry inspected the Cap'n's state-room. There was a cracked
looking-glass, into which he looked; a hair-brush suspended by the
glass, which he used; a lair of blankets in a berth, which he had no
present use for; and a smell of musty boots, which nobody with a nose
could help smelling. Still no Captain Ambuster, nor any of his crew.

Search in the unsavory kitchen revealed no cook, coiled up in a corner,
suffering nightmares for the last greasy dinner he had brewed in his
frying-pan. There were no deck hands bundled into their bunks. Perry
rapped on the chain-box and inquired if anybody was within, and nobody
answering, he had to ventriloquize a negative.

The engine-room, too, was vacant, and quite as unsavory as the other
dens on board. Perry patronized the engine by a pull or two at the
valves, and continued his tour of inspection.

The Ambuster's skiff, lying on her forward deck, seemed to entertain him
vastly.

"Jolly!" says Perry. And so it was a jolly boat in the literal, not the
technical sense.

"The three wise men of Gotham went to sea in a bowl; and here's the
identical craft," says Perry.

He gave the chubby little machine a push with his foot. It rolled and
wallowed about grotesquely. When it was still again, it looked so comic,
lying contentedly on its fat side like a pudgy baby, that Perry had a
roar of laughter, which, like other laughter to one's self, did not
sound very merry, particularly as the north-wind was howling ominously,
and the broken ice on its downward way was whispering and moaning and
talking on in a most mysterious and inarticulate manner.

"Those sheets of ice would crunch up this skiff, as pigs do a punkin,"
thinks Perry.

And with this thought in his head he looked out on the river, and
fancied the foolish little vessel cast loose and buffeting helplessly
about in the ice.

He had been so busy until now, in prying about the steamboat and making
up his mind that Captain and men had all gone off for a comfortable
supper on shore, that his eyes had not wandered toward the stream.

Now his glance began to follow the course of the icy current. He
wondered where all this supply of cakes came from, and how many of them
would escape the stems of ferry-boats below and get safe to sea.

All at once, as he looked lazily along the lazy files of ice, his eyes
caught a black object drifting on a fragment in a wide way of open water
opposite Skerrett's Point, a mile distant.

Perry's heart stopped beating. He uttered a little gasping cry. He
sprang ashore, not at all like a Doge quitting a Bucentaur. He tore back
to the Foundry, dashing through the puddles, and, never stopping to pick
up his cap, burst in upon Wade and Bill Tarbos in the office.

The boy was splashed from head to foot with red mud. His light hair,
blown wildly about, made his ashy face seem paler. He stood panting.

His dumb terror brought back to Wade's mind all the bad omens of the
morning.

"Speak!" said he, seizing Perry fiercely by the shoulder.

The uproar of the Works seemed to hush for an instant, while the lad
stammered faintly,--

"There's somebody carried off in the ice by Skerrett's Point. It looks
like a woman. And there's nobody to help."


CHAPTER XII.

IN THE ICE.


"Help! help!" shouted the four triphammers, bursting in like a magnified
echo of the boy's last word.

"Help! help!" all the humming wheels and drums repeated more
plaintively.

Wade made for the river.

This was the moment all his manhood had been training and saving for.
For this he had kept sound and brave from his youth up.

As he ran, he felt that the only chance of instant help was in that
queer little bowl-shaped skiff of the "Ambuster."

He had never been conscious that he had observed it; but the image
had lain latent in his mind, biding its time. It might be ten, twenty
precious moments before another boat could be found. This one was on the
spot to do its duty at once.

"Somebody carried off,--perhaps a woman," Wade thought. "Not--No, she
would not neglect my warning! Whoever it is, we must save her from this
dreadful death!"

He sprang on board the little steamboat. She was swaying uneasily at her
moorings, as the ice crowded along and hammered against her stem. Wade
stared from her deck down the river, with all his life at his eyes.

More than a mile away, below the hemlock-crested point, was the dark
object Perry had seen, still stirring along the edges of the floating
ice. A broad avenue of leaden-green water wrinkled by the cold wind
separated the field where this figure was moving from the shore. Dark
object and its footing of gray ice were drifting deliberately farther
and farther away.

For one instant Wade thought that the terrible dread in his heart would
paralyze him. But in that one moment, while his blood stopped flowing
and his nerves failed, Bill Tarbos overtook him and was there by his
side.

"I brought your cap," says Bill, "and our two coats."

Wade put on his cap mechanically. This little action calmed him.

"Bill," said he, "I'm afraid it is a woman,--a dear friend of mine,--a
very dear friend."

Bill, a lover, understood the tone.

"We'll take care of her between us," he said.

The two turned at once to the little tub of a boat.

Oars? Yes,--slung under the thwarts,--a pair of short sculls, worn and
split, but with work in them still. There they hung ready,--and a rusty
boat-hook, besides.

"Find the thole-pins, Bill, while I cut a plug for her bottom out of
this broomstick," Wade said.

This was done in a moment. Bill threw in the coats.

"Now, together!"

They lifted the skiff to the gangway. Wade jumped down on the ice and
received her carefully. They ran her along, as far as they could go, and
launched her in the sludge.

"Take the sculls, Bill. I'll work the boat-hook in the bow."

Nothing more was said. They thrust out with their crazy little craft
into the thick of the ice-flood. Bill, amidships, dug with his sculls
in among the huddled cakes. It was clumsy pulling. Now this oar and now
that would be thrown out. He could never get a full stroke.

Wade in the bow could do better. He jammed the blocks aside with his
boat-hook. He dragged the skiff forward. He steered through the little
open ways of water.

Sometimes they came to a broad sheet of solid ice. Then it was "Out with
her, Bill!" and they were both out and sliding their bowl so quick
over, that they had not time to go through the rotten surface. This was
drowning business; but neither could be spared to drown yet.

In the leads of clear water, the oarsman got brave pulls and sent the
boat on mightily. Then again in the thick porridge of brash ice they
lost headway, or were baffled and stopped among the cakes. Slow work,
slow and painful; and for many minutes they seemed to gain nothing upon
the steady flow of the merciless current.

A frail craft for such a voyage, this queer little half-pumpkin! A frail
and leaky shell. She bent and cracked from stem to stern among the
nipping masses. Water oozed in through her dry seams. Any moment a
rougher touch or a sharper edge might cut her through. But that was a
risk they had accepted. They did not take time to think of it, nor to
listen to the crunching and crackling of the hungry ice around. They
urged straight on, steadily, eagerly, coolly, spending and saving
strength.

Not one moment to lose! The shattering of broad sheets of ice around
them was a warning of what might happen to the frail support of their
chase. One thrust of the boat-hook sometimes cleft a cake that to the
eye seemed stout enough to bear a heavier weight than a woman's.

Not one moment to spare! The dark figure, now drifted far below the
hemlocks of the Point, no longer stirred. It seemed to have sunk upon
the ice and to be resting there weary and helpless, on one side a wide
way of lurid water, on the other half a mile of moving desolation.

Far to go, and no time to waste!

"Give way, Bill! Give way!"

"Ay, ay!"

Both spoke in low tones, hardly louder than the whisper of the ice
around them.

By this time hundreds from the Foundry and the village were swarming
upon the wharf and the steamboat.

"A hunderd tar-barrels wouldn't git up my steam in time to do any good,"
says Cap'n Ambuster. "If them two in my skiff don't overhaul the man,
he's gone."

"You're sure it's a man?" says Smith Wheelwright.

"Take a squint through my glass. I'm dreffully afeard it's a gal; but
suthin's got into my eye, so I can't see."

Suthin' had got into the old fellow's eye,--suthin' saline and
acrid,--namely, a tear.

"It's a woman," says Wheelwright,--and suthin' of the same kind blinded
him also.

Almost sunset now. But the air was suddenly filled with perplexing
snow-dust from a heavy squall. A white curtain dropped between the
anxious watchers on the wharf and the boatmen.

The same white curtain hid the dark floating object from its pursuers.
There was nothing in sight to steer by, now.

Wade steered by his last glimpse,--by the current,--by the rush of the
roaring wind,--by instinct.

How merciful that in such a moment a man is spared the agony of thought!
His agony goes into action, intense as life.

It was bitterly cold. A swash of ice-water filled the bottom of the
skiff. She was low enough down without that. They could not stop to
bail, and the miniature icebergs they passed began to look significantly
over the gunwale. Which would come to the point of foundering first, the
boat or the little floe it aimed for?

Bitterly cold! The snow hardly melted upon Tarbox's bare hands. His
fingers stiffened to the oars; but there was life in them still, and
still he did his work, and never turned to see how the steersman was
doing his.

A flight of crows came sailing with the snow-squall. They alighted all
about on the hummocks, and curiously watched the two men battling to
save life. One black impish bird, more malignant or more sympathetic
than his fellows, ventured to poise on the skiff's stern!

Bill hissed off this third passenger. The crow rose on its toes, let
the boat slide away from under him, and followed croaking dismal good
wishes.

The last sunbeams were now cutting in everywhere. The thick snow-flurry
was like a luminous cloud. Suddenly it drew aside.

The industrious skiff had steered so well and made such headway, that
there, a hundred yards away, safe still, not gone, thank God! was the
woman they sought.

A dusky mass flung together on a waning rood of ice,--Wade could see
nothing more.

Weary or benumbed, or sick with pure forlornness and despair, she had
drooped down and showed no sign of life.

The great wind shook the river. Her waning rood of ice narrowed, foot
by foot, like an unthrifty man's heritage. Inch by inch its edges wore
away, until the little space that half-sustained the dark heap was no
bigger than a coffin-lid.

Help, now!--now, men, if you are to save! Thrust, Richard Wade, with
your boat-hook! Pull, Bill, till your oars snap! Out with your last
frenzies of vigor! For the little raft of ice, even that has crumbled
beneath its burden, and she sinks,--sinks, with succor close at hand!

Sinks! No,--she rises and floats again.

She clasps something that holds her head just above water. But the
unmannerly ice has buffeted her hat off. The fragments toss it
about,--that pretty Amazonian hat, with its alert feather, all drooping
and draggled. Her fair hair and pure forehead are uncovered for an
astonished sunbeam to alight upon.

"It is my love, my life, Bill! Give way, once more!"

"Way enough! Steady! Sit where you are, Bill, and trim boat, while I
lift her out. We cannot risk capsizing."

He raised her carefully, tenderly, with his strong arms.

A bit of wood had buoyed her up for that last moment. It was a broken
oar with a deep fresh gash in it.

Wade knew his mark,--the cut of his own skate-iron. This busy oar was
still resolved to play its part in the drama.

The round little skiff just bore the third person without sinking.

Wade laid Mary Damer against the thwart. She would not let go her buoy.
He unclasped her stiffened hands. This friendly touch found its way to
her heart. She opened her eyes and knew him.

"The ice shall not carry off her hat to frighten some mother, down
stream," says Bill Tarbox, catching it.

All these proceedings Cap'n Ambuster's spy-glass announced to
Dunderbunk.

"They're h'istin' her up. They've slumped her into the skiff. They're
puttin' for shore. Hooray!"

Pity a spy-glass cannot shoot cheers a mile and a half!

Perry Purtett instantly led a stampede of half Dunderbunk along the
railroad-track to learn who it was and all about it.

All about it was, that Miss Damer was safe and not dangerously
frozen,--and that Wade and Tarbox had carried her up the hill to her
mother at Peter Skerrett's.

Missing the heroes in chief, Dunderbunk made a hero of Cap'n Ambuster's
skiff. It was transported back on the shoulders of the crowd in
triumphal procession. Perry Purtett carried round the hat for a
contribution to new paint it, new rib it, new gunwale it, give it new
sculls and a new boat-hook,--indeed, to make a new vessel of the brave
little bowl.

"I'm afeard," says Cap'n Ambuster, "that, when I git a harnsome new
skiff, I shall want a harnsome new steamboat, and then the boat will go
to cruisin' round for a harnsome new Cap'n."

And now for the end of this story.

Healthy love-stories always end in happy marriages.

So ends this story, begun as to its love portion by the little romance
of a tumble, and continued by the bigger romance of a rescue.

Of course there were incidents enough to fill a volume, obstacles enough
to fill a volume, and development of character enough to fill a tome
thick as "Webster's Unabridged," before the happy end of the beginning
of the Wade-Damer joint history.

But we can safely take for granted that the lover being true and manly,
and the lady true and womanly, and both possessed of the high moral
qualities necessary to artistic skating, they will go on understanding
each other better, until they are as one as two can be.

Masculine reader, attend to the moral of this tale:--

Skate well, be a hero, bravely deserve the fair, prove your deserts by
your deeds, find your "perfect woman nobly planned to warm, to comfort,
and command," catch her when found, and you are Blest.

Reader of the gentler sex, likewise attend:--

All the essential blessings of life accompany a true heart and a good
complexion. Skate vigorously; then your heart will beat true, your
cheeks will bloom, your appointed lover will see your beautiful soul
shining through your beautiful face, he will tell you so, and after
sufficient circumlocution he will Pop, you will accept, and your lives
will glide sweetly as skating on virgin ice to silver music.

       *       *       *       *       *


MIDWINTER.


  The speckled sky is dim with snow,
  The light flakes falter and fall slow;
  Athwart the hill-top, rapt and pale,
  Silently drops a silvery veil;
  The far-off mountain's misty form
  Is entering now a tent of storm;
  And all the valley is shut in
  By flickering curtains gray and thin.

  But cheerily the chickadee
  Singeth to me on fence and tree;
  The snow sails round him, as he sings,
  White as the down of angels' wings.

  I watch the slow flakes, as they fall
  On bank and brier and broken wall;
  Over the orchard, waste and brown,
  All noiselessly they settle down,
  Tipping the apple-boughs, and each
  Light quivering twig of plum and peach.

  On turf and curb and bower-roof
  The snow-storm spreads its ivory woof;
  It paves with pearl the garden-walk;
  And lovingly round tattered stalk
  And shivering stem its magic weaves
  A mantle fair as lily-leaves.

  The hooded beehive, small and low,
  Stands like a maiden in the snow;
  And the old door-slab is half hid
  Under an alabaster lid.

  All day it snows: the sheeted post
  Gleams in the dimness like a ghost;
  All day the blasted oak has stood
  A muffled wizard of the wood;
  Garland and airy cap adorn
  The sumach and the way-side thorn,
  And clustering spangles lodge and shine
  In the dark tresses of the pine.

  The ragged bramble, dwarfed and old,
  Shrinks like a beggar in the cold;
  In surplice white the cedar stands,
  And blesses him with priestly hands.

  Still cheerily the chickadee
  Singeth to me on fence and tree:
  But in my inmost ear is heard
  The music of a holier bird;
  And heavenly thoughts, as soft and white
  As snow-flakes, on my soul alight,
  Clothing with love my lonely heart,
  Healing with peace each bruisèd part,
  Till all my being seems to be
  Transfigured by their purity.

       *       *       *       *       *


EASE IN WORK.


To thoughts and expressions of peculiar force and beauty we give the
epithets "happy" and "felicitous," as if we esteemed them a product
rather of the writer's fortune than of his toil. Thus, Dryden says of
Shakspeare, "All the images of Nature were still present to him, and he
drew from them, not laboriously, but luckily." And, indeed, when one
contemplates a noble creation in art or literature, one seems to receive
from the work itself a certain testimony that it was never wrought out
with wrestling struggle, but was genially and joyfully produced, as the
sun sends forth his beams and the earth her herbage. This appearance
of play and ease is sometimes so notable as to cause a curious
misapprehension. For example, De Quincey permits himself, if my memory
serve me, to say that Plato probably wrote his works not in any
seriousness of spirit, but only as a pastime! A pastime for the
immortals that were.

The reason of this ease may be that perfect performance is ever more the
effluence of a man's nature than the conscious labor of his hands. That
the hands are faithfully busy therein, that every faculty contributes
its purest industry, no one could for a moment doubt; since there could
not be a total action of one's nature without this loyalty of his
special powers. Nevertheless, there are times when the presiding
intelligence descends into expression by a law and necessity of its own,
as clouds descend into rain; and perhaps it is only then that consummate
work is done. He who by his particular powers and gifts serves as a
conduit for this flowing significance may indeed toil as no drudge ever
did or can, yet with such geniality and success, that he shall feel of
his toil only the joy, and that we shall see of it only the prosperity.
A swan labors in swimming, a pigeon in his flight; yet as no part
of this industry is defeated, as it issues momentarily in perfect
achievement, it makes upon us the impression, not of the limitation of
labor, but of the freedom and liberation of an animal genius.

"Long deliberations," says Goethe, "commonly indicate that we have not
the point to be determined clearly in view." So an extreme sense
of striving effort, or, in other words, an extreme sense of inward
hindrance, in the performance of a high task, usually denotes the
presence in us of an element irrelevant to our work, and perhaps
unfriendly to it. If a stream flow roughly, you infer obstructions in
the channel. Often the explanation may be that one is attempting to-day
a task proper to some future time,--to another year, or another
century. It is the green fruit that clings tenaciously to the bough; the
ripe falls of itself.

But as blighted and worm-eaten apples likewise fall of themselves, so in
this ease of execution the falsest work may agree with the best. That
the similarity is purely specious needs not be urged; yet in practically
distinguishing between the two there are not a few that fail. The most
precious work is performed with a noble, though not idle ease, because
it is the sincere, seasonable, and, as it were, inevitable flowering
into expression of one's inward life; and work utterly, glibly insincere
and imitative is often done with ease, because it is so successfully
separated from the inward life as not even to recognize its claim.
Accordingly, pure art and pure artifice, sincere creation and sheer
fabrication, flow; from the mixture of these, or from any mixture of
natural and necessary with factitious expression, comes embarrassment.
In the mastery of life, or of death, there is peace; the intermediate
state, that of sickness, is full of pain and struggle. In Homer and
in Tupper, in Cicero and the leaders of the London "Times," in Jeremy
Taylor and the latest Reverend Mr. Orotund, you find a liberal and
privileged utterance; but honest John Foster, made of powerful, but
ill-composed elements, and replete with an intelligence now gleaming and
now murky, could wring statements from his mind only as testimony in
cruel ages was obtained from unwilling witnesses, namely, by putting
himself to the torture.

But it is of prime importance to observe that the aforementioned mature
fruit, which so falls at the tenderest touch into the hand, is no
sudden, no idle product. It comes, on the contrary, of a depth of
operation more profound, and testifies to a genius and sincerity in
Nature more subtile and religious, than we can understand or imagine.
This apple that in fancy we now pluck, and hardly need to pluck, from
the burdened bough,--think what a pedigree it has, what aeons of
world-making and world-maturing must elapse, all the genius of God
divinely assiduous, ere this could hang in ruddy and golden ripeness
here! Think, too, what a concurrence and consent of elements, of sun and
soil, of ocean-vapors and laden winds, of misty heats in the torrid zone
and condensing blasts from the North, were required before a single
apple could grow, before a single blossom could put forth its promise,
tender and beautiful amidst the gladness of spring!--and besides these
consenting ministries of Nature, how the special genius of the tree must
have wrought, making sacrifice of woody growth, and, by marvellous and
ineffable alchemies, co-working with the earth beneath, and the heaven
above! Ah, not from any indifference, not from any haste or indolence,
in Nature, come the fruits of her seasons and her centuries!

Now he who has any faculty of thinking must see that thoughts are before
things in the order of existence. True it is, that here as elsewhere, as
everywhere, last is first and first is last. That which is innermost,
and consequently primary, is last to appear on the surface; and
accordingly thoughts _per se_ follow things in the order of
manifestation. But how could the thing exist, but for a thought that
preceded and begot it? And now that the thought has passed _through_
the material symbol, has passed forward to a new and more consummate
expression, first in the soul, and afterwards by the voice, we should
be unwise indeed to deny or forget its antiquity. Thoughts are no
_parvenus_ or _novi homines_ in Nature, but came in with that Duke
William who first struck across the unnamed seas into this island of
time and material existence which we inhabit. Accordingly, it is using
extreme understatement, to say that every pure original thought has a
genesis equally ancient, earnest, vital with any product in Nature,--has
present relationships no less broad and cosmical, and an evolution
implying the like industries, veritable and precious beyond all scope of
affirmation. Even if we quite overlook its pre-personal ancestry, still
the roots it has in its immediate author will be of unmeasured depth,
and it will still proceed toward its consummate form by energies and
assiduities that beggar the estimation of all ordinary toil. With the
birth of the man himself was it first born, and to the time of its
perfect growth and birth into speech the burden of it was borne by every
ruddy drop of his heart's blood, by every vigor of his body,--nerve
and artery, eye and ear, and all the admirable servitors of the soul,
steadily bringing to that invisible matrix where it houses their
costly nutriments, their sacred offices; while every part and act of
experience, every gush of jubilance, every stifle of woe, all sweet
pangs of love and pity, all high breathings of faith and resolve,
contribute to the form and bloom it finally wears. Yet the more profound
and necessary product of one's spirit it is, the more likely at last
to fall softly from him,--so softly, perhaps, that he himself shall be
half-unaware when the separation occurs.

And such only are men of genius as accomplish this divine utterance.
The voice itself may be strong or tiny,--that of a seraph, or that of a
song-sparrow; the range and power of combination may be Beethoven's, or
only such as are found in the hum of bees; but in this genuineness, this
depth of ancestry and purity of growth, this unmistakable issue under
the patronage of Nature, there is a test of genius that cannot vary. He
is not inimitable who imitates. He that speaks only what he has learned
speaks what the world will not long or greatly desire to learn from him.
"Shakspeare," said Dryden, not having the fear of Locke before his eyes,
"was naturally learned"; but whoever is quite destitute of natural
learning will never achieve winged words by dint and travail of other
erudition. If his soul have not been to school before coming to his
body, it is late in life for him to qualify himself for a teacher of
mankind. Words that are cups to contain the last essences of a sincere
life bear elixirs of life for as many lips as shall touch their brim;
they refresh all generations, nor by any quaffing of generations are
they to be drained.

To this ease it may be owing that poets and artists are often so ill
judges of their own success. Their happiest performance is too nearly of
the same color with their permanent consciousness to be seen in relief:
work less sincere--that is, more related and bound to some partial state
or particular mood--would stand out more to the eye of the doer. To this
error he will be less exposed who learns--as most assuredly every artist
should--to estimate his work, not as it seems to him _striking_, but as
it echoes to his ear the earliest murmurs of his childhood, and reclaims
for the heart its wandered memories. Perhaps it is common for one's
happiest thoughts, in the moment of their apparition in words, to affect
him with a gentle surprise and sense of newness; but soon afterwards
they may probably come to touch him, on the contrary, with a vague
sense of reminiscence, as if his mother had sung them by his cradle, or
somewhere under the rosy east of life he had heard them from others.
A statement of our own which seems to us _very_ new and striking is
probably partial, is in some degree foreign to our hearts; that which
one, being the soul he is, could not do otherwise than say is probably
what he was created for the purpose of saying, and will be found his
most significant and living word. Yet just in proportion as one's speech
is a pure and simple efflux of his spirit, just in proportion as its
utterance lies in the order and inevitable procedure of his life, he
will be _liable_ to undervalue it. Who feels that the universe is
greatly enriched by his heart-beats?--that it is much that he breathes,
sleeps, walks? But the breaths of supreme genius are thoughts, and the
imaginations that people its day-world are more familiar to it than the
common dreams of sleepers to them, and the travel of its meditations is
daily and customary; insomuch that the very thought of all others which
one was born to utter he may _forget_ to mention, as presuming it to be
no news. Indeed, if a man of fertile soul be misled into the luckless
search after peculiar and surprising thoughts, there are many chances
that be will be betrayed into this oversight of his proper errand. As
Sir Martin Frobisher, according to Fuller, brought home from America a
cargo of precious stones which after examination were thrown out to mend
roads with, so he leaves untouched his divine knowledges, and comes
sailing into port full-freighted with conceits.

May not the above considerations go far to explain that indifference,
otherwise so astonishing, with which Shakspeare cast his work from him?
It was his heart that wrote; but does the heart look with wonder and
admiration on the crimson of its own currents?

       *       *       *       *       *


AT PORT ROYAL. 1861.


  The tent-lights glimmer on the land,
    The ship-lights on the sea;
  The night-wind smooths with drifting sand
    Our track on lone Tybee.

  At last our grating keels outslide,
    Our good boats forward swing;
  And while we ride the land-locked tide,
    Our negroes row and sing.

  For dear the bondman holds his gifts
    Of music and of song:
  The gold that kindly Nature sifts
    Among his sands of wrong;

  The power to make his toiling days
    And poor home-comforts please;
  The quaint relief of mirth that plays
    With sorrow's minor keys.

  Another glow than sunset's fire
    Has filled the West with light,
  Where field and garner, barn and byre
    Are blazing through the night.

  The land is wild with fear and hate,
    The rout runs mad and fast;
  From hand to hand, from gate to gate,
    The flaming brand is passed.

  The lurid glow falls strong across
    Dark faces broad with smiles:
  Not theirs the terror, hate, and loss
    That fire yon blazing piles.

  With oar-strokes timing to their song,
    They weave in simple lays
  The pathos of remembered wrong,
    The hope of better days,--

  The triumph-note that Miriam sung,
    The joy of uncaged birds:
  Softening with Afric's mellow tongue
    Their broken Saxon words.



SONG OF THE NEGRO BOATMEN.


  Oh, praise an' tanks! De Lord he come
    To set de people free;
  An' massa tink it day ob doom,
    An' we ob jubilee.
  De Lord dat heap de Red Sea waves
    He jus' as 'trong as den;
  He say de word: we las' night slaves;
    To-day, de Lord's freemen.
      De yam will grow, de cotton blow,
        We'll hab de rice an' corn:
      Oh, nebber you fear, if nebber you hear
        De driver blow his horn!

  Ole massa on he trabbels gone;
    He leab de land behind:
  De Lord's breff blow him furder on,
    Like corn-shuck in de wind.
  We own de hoe, we own de plough,
    We own de hands dat hold;
  We sell de pig, we sell de cow,
    But nebber chile be sold.
      De yam will grow, de cotton blow,
        We'll hab de rice an' corn:
      Oh, nebber you fear, if nebber you hear
        De driver blow his horn!

  We pray de Lord: he gib us signs
    Dat some day we be free;

  De Norf-wind tell it to de pines,
    De wild-duck to de sea;
  We tink it when de church-bell ring,
    We dream it in de dream;
  De rice-bird mean it when he sing,
    De eagle when he scream.
      De yam will grow, de cotton blow,
        We'll hab de rice an' corn:
      Oh, nebber you fear, if nebber you hear
        De driver blow his horn!

  We know de promise nebber fail,
    An' nebber lie de word;
  So, like de 'postles in de jail,
    We waited for de Lord:
  An' now he open ebery door,
    An' trow away de key;
  He tink we lub him so before,
    We lub him better free.
      De yam will grow, de cotton blow,
        He'll gib de rice an' corn:
      So nebber you fear, if nebber you hear
        De driver blow his horn!

  So sing our dusky gondoliers;
    And with a secret pain,
  And smiles that seem akin to tears,
    We hear the wild refrain.

  We dare not share the negro's trust,
    Nor yet his hope deny;
  We only know that God is just,
    And every wrong shall die.

  Rude seems the song; each swarthy face,
    Flame-lighted, ruder still;
  We start to think that hapless race
    Must shape our good or ill;

  That laws of changeless justice bind
    Oppressor with oppressed;
  And, close as sin and suffering joined,
    We march to Fate abreast.

  Sing on, poor hearts! your chant shall be
    Our sign of blight or bloom,--
  The Vala-song of Liberty,
    Or death-rune of our doom!



FREMONT'S HUNDRED DAYS IN MISSOURI.


II.


_Camp Haskell, October 24th._ We have marched twelve miles to-day, and
are encamped near the house of a friendly German farmer. Our cortege has
been greatly diminished in number. Some of the staff have returned to
St. Louis; to others have been assigned duties which remove them from
head-quarters; and General Asboth's division being now in the rear, that
soldierly-looking officer no longer rides beside the General, and the
gentlemen of his staff no longer swell our ranks.

As we approach the enemy there is a marked change in the General's
demeanor. Usually reserved, and even retiring,--now that his plans
begin to work out results, that the Osage is behind us, that the
difficulties of deficient transportation have been conquered, there is
an unwonted eagerness in his face, his voice is louder, and there is
more self-assertion in his attitude. He has hitherto proceeded on a
walk, but now he presses on at a trot. His horsemanship is perfect.
Asboth is a daring rider, loving to drive his animal at the top of his
speed. Zagonyi rides with surpassing grace, and selects fiery chargers
which no one else cares to mount. Colonel E. has an easy, business-like
gait. But in lightness and security in the saddle the General excels
them all. He never worries his beast, is sure to get from him all
the work of which he is capable, is himself quite incapable of being
fatigued in this way.

Just after sundown the camp was startled by heavy infantry firing. Going
around the spur of the forest which screens head-quarters from the
prairie, we found the Guard dismounted, drawn up in line, firing their
carbines and revolvers. The circumstance excites curiosity, and we learn
that Zagonyi has been ordered to make a descent upon Springfield, and
capture or disperse the Rebel garrison, three or four hundred strong,
which is said to be there. Major White has already gone forward with his
squadron of "Prairie Scouts" to make a reconnoissance in the direction
of Springfield. Zagonyi will overtake White, assume command of the
whole force, which will number about three hundred men, and turn the
reconnoissance into an attack. The Guard set out at eight o'clock
this evening. A few are left behind to do duty around head-quarters.
Lieutenant Kennedy, of the Kentucky company, was ordered to remain in
command of our Home-Guard. He was greatly grieved, and went to the Major
and with tears in his eyes besought him to permit him to go. Zagonyi
could not refuse the gallant fellow, and all the officers of the Guard
have gone. There is a feeling of sadness in camp to-night. We wonder
which of our gay and generous comrades will come back to us again.

_October 25th_. We moved only seven miles to-day. It is understood that
the General will gather the whole army upon a large prairie a few miles
north of Bolivar, and devote a few days to reviewing the troops, and to
field-manoeuvres. This will have an excellent effect. The men will be
encouraged when they see how large the column is, for the army has never
been concentrated.

This morning we received news of the brilliant affair at Fredericktown.

Just before the General left camp to-day, I received orders to report
myself to General Asboth, for duty as Judge-Advocate of a Court-Martial
to be held in his division. General Asboth was several miles behind us,
and I set out to ride back and join him. After a gallop of half an hour
across the prairie, I discovered that I had lost my way. I vainly tried
to find some landmark of yesterday's march, but was at last compelled to
trust to the sagacity of my horse,--the redoubtable Spitfire, so named
by reason of his utter contempt for gunpowder, whether sputtered out of
muskets or belched forth by cannon. I gave him his head. He snuffed the
air for a moment, deliberately swept the horizon with his eyes, and then
turned short around and carried me back to the farm-house from which I
had started. I arrived just in time for dinner. Two officers of Lane's
brigade, which had marched from Kansas, came in while we were at the
table. They seasoned our food with spicy incidents of Kansas life.

After dinner I started with Captain R., of Springfield, to find Asboth.
As we left the house, we were joined by the most extraordinary character
I have seen. He was a man of medium height. His chest was enormous in
length and breadth; his arms long, muscular, and very large; his legs
short. He had the body of a giant upon the legs of a dwarf. This curious
figure was surmounted by a huge head, covered with coarse brown hair,
which grew very nearly down to his eyes, while his beard grew almost up
to his eyes. It seemed as if the hair and beard had had a struggle for
the possession of his face, and were kept apart by the deep chasm
in which his small gray eyes were set. He was armed with a huge
bowie-knife, which he carried slung like a sword. It was at least two
feet long, heavy as a butcher's cleaver, and was thrust into a sheath
of undressed hide. He called this pleasant instrument an Arkansas
toothpick. He bestrode, as well as his diminutive legs would let him, an
Indian pony as shaggy as himself. This person proved to be a bearer of
despatches, and offered to guide us to the main road, along which Asboth
was marching.

The pony started off at a brisk trot, and in an hour we were upon the
road, which we found crowded with troops and wagons. Pressing through
the underbrush along-side the road, we kept on at a rapid pace. We soon
heard shouts and cheers ahead of us, and in a few moments came in sight
of a farm-house, in front of which was an excited crowd. Men were
swarming in at every door and window. The yard was filled with furniture
which the troops were angrily breaking, and a considerable party was
busy tearing up the roof. I could not learn the cause of the uproar,
except that a Secessionist lived there who had killed some one. I passed
on, and in a little while arrived at Asboth's quarters.

He had established himself in an unpretending, but comfortable
farm-house, formerly owned by a German, named Brown. This house has
lately been the scene of one of those bloody outrages, instigated by
neighborhood hatred, which have been so frequent in Missouri. Old Brown
had lived here more than thirty years. He was industrious, thrifty,
and withal a skilful workman. Under his intelligent husbandry his farm
became the marvel of all that region. He had long outlived his strength,
and when the war broke out he could give to the Union nothing but
his voice and influence: these he gave freely and at all times. The
plain-spoken patriot excited the enmity of the Secessionists, and the
special hatred of one man, his nearest neighbor. All through the summer,
his barns were plundered, his cattle driven away, his fences torn down;
but no one offered violence to the white-headed old man, or to the three
women who composed his family. The approach of our army compelled the
Rebels of the neighborhood to fly, and among the fugitives was the foe I
have mentioned. He was not willing to depart and leave the old German
to welcome the Union troops. Just one week ago, at a late hour in the
evening, he rode up to Brown's door and knocked loudly. The old man
cautiously asked who it was. The wretch replied, "A friend who wants
lodging." As a matter of course,--for in this region every house is a
tavern,--the farmer opened the door, and at the instant was pierced
through the heart by a bullet from the pistol of his cowardly foe. The
blood-stains are upon the threshold still. It was the murderer's house
the soldiers sacked to-day. A German artillery company heard the
story, and began to plunder the premises under the influence of a not
unjustifiable desire for revenge. General Asboth, however, compelled the
men to desist, and to replace the furniture they had taken out.

I found General Sturgis, and Captain Parrot, his Adjutant, at General
Asboth's, on their way to report to General Fremont. Sturgis has brought
his command one hundred and fifty miles in ten days. He says that large
numbers of deserters have come into his lines. Price's followers are
becoming discouraged by his continued retreat.

The business which detained me in the rear was finished at an early
hour, but I waited in order to accompany General Asboth, who, with some
of his staff, was intending to go to head-quarters, five miles farther
south. We set out at nine o'clock. General Asboth likes to ride at the
top of his horse's speed, and at once put his gray into a trot so rapid
that we were compelled to gallop in order to keep up. We dashed over
a rough road, down a steep decline, and suddenly found ourselves
floundering through a stream nearly up to our saddle-girths. My horse
had had a hard day's work. He began to be unsteady on his pins. So I
drew up, preferring the hazards of a night-ride across the prairie to
a fall upon the stony road. The impetuous old soldier, followed by his
companions, rushed into the darkness, and the clatter of their hoofs and
the rattling of their sabres faded from my hearing.

I was once more alone on the prairie. The sky was cloudless, but the
starlight struggling through a thin haze suggested rather than revealed
surrounding objects. I bent over my horse's shoulder to trace the course
of the road; but I could see nothing. There were no trees, no fences.
I listened for the rustling of the wind over the prairie-grass; but as
soon as Spitfire stopped, I found that not a breath of air was stirring:
his motion had created the breeze. I turned a little to the left, and at
once felt the Mexican stirrup strike against the long, rank grass. Quite
exultant with the thought that I had found a certain test that I was in
the road, I turned back and regained the beaten track. But now a new
difficulty arose. At once the thought suggested itself,--"Perhaps I
turned the wrong way when I came back into the road, and am now going
away from my destination." I drew up and looked around me. There was
nothing to be seen except the veiled stars above, and upon either hand
a vast dark expanse, which might be a lake, the sea, or a desert, for
anything I could discern. I listened: there was no sound except the
deep breathing of my faithful horse, who stood with ears erect, eagerly
snuffing the night-air. I had heard that horses can see better than men.
"Let me try the experiment." I gave Spitfire his head. He moved across
the road, went out upon the prairie a little distance, waded into a
brook which I had not seen, and began to drink. When he had finished, he
returned to the road without the least hesitation.

"The horse can certainly see better than I. Perhaps I am the only one
of this company who is in trouble, and the good beast is all this while
perfectly composed and at ease, and knows quite well where to go."

I loosened the reins. Spitfire went forward slowly, apparently quite
confident, and yet cautious about the stones in his path.

I now began to speculate upon the distance I had come. I thought,--"It
is some time since we started. Head-quarters were only five miles off. I
rode fast at first. It is strange there are no campfires in sight."

Time is measured by sensation, and with me minutes were drawn out into
hours. "Surely, it is midnight. I have been here three hours at the
least. The road must have forked, and I have gone the wrong way. The
most sagacious of horses could not be expected to know which of two
roads to take. There is nothing to be done. I am in for the night, and
had better stay here than go farther in the wrong direction."

I dismount, fill my pipe, and strike a light. I laugh at my
thoughtlessness, and another match is lighted to look at my watch, which
tells me I have been on the road precisely twenty minutes. I mount.
Spitfire seems quite composed, perhaps a little astonished at the
unusual conduct of his rider, but he walks on composedly, carefully
avoiding the rolling stones.

It is not a pleasant situation,--on a prairie alone and at night, not
knowing where you are going or where you ought to go. Zimmermann himself
never imagined a solitude more complete, albeit such a situation is not
so favorable to philosophic meditation as the rapt Zimmermann might
suppose. I employ my thoughts as well as I am able, and pin my faith to
the sagacity of Spitfire. Presently a light gleams in front of me. It
is only a flickering, uncertain ray; perhaps some belated teamster
is urging his reluctant mules to camp and has lighted his lantern.
No,--there are sparks; it is a camp-fire. I hearken for the challenge,
not without solicitude; for it is about as dangerous to approach a
nervous sentinel as to charge a battery. I do not hear the stern
inquiry, "Who comes there?" At last I am abreast of the fire, and myself
call out,--

"Who is there?"

"We are travellers," is the reply.

What this meant I did not know. What travellers are there through this
distracted, war-worn region? Are they fugitives from Price, or traitors
flying before us? I am not in sufficient force to capture half a dozen
men, and if they are foes, it is not worth while to be too inquisitive;
so I continue on my way, and they and their fire are soon enveloped by
the night. Presently I see another light in the far distance. This must
be a picket, for there are soldiers. I look around for the sentry,
not quite sure whether I am to be challenged or shot; but again I am
permitted to approach unquestioned. I call out,--

"Who is there?"

"Men of Colonel Carr's regiment."

"What are you doing here?"

"We are guarding some of our wagons which were left here. Our regiment
has gone forward at a half-hour's notice to reinforce Zagonyi," said a
sergeant, rising and saluting me.

"But is there no sentry here?" I asked.

"There was one, but he has been withdrawn," replied the sergeant.

"Where are head-quarters?"

"At the first house on your right, about a hundred yards farther up the
road," he said, pointing in the direction I was going.

It was strange that I could ride up to within pistol-shot of
head-quarters without being challenged, I soon reached the house. A
sentry stood at the gate. I tied my horse to the fence, and walked into
the Adjutant's tent. I had passed by night from one division of the army
to another, along the public road, and entered head-quarters without
being questioned. Twenty-five bold men might have carried off the
General. I at once reported these facts to Colonel E.; inquiry was made,
and it was found that some one had blundered.

There is no report from Springfield. Zagonyi sent back for
reinforcements before he reached the town, and Carr's cavalry, with two
light field-pieces, have been sent forward. Captain R., my companion
this afternoon, has also gone to learn what he may. While I am writing
up my journal, a group of officers is around the fire in front of the
tent. They are talking about Zagonyi and the Guard. We are all feverish
with anxiety.

_October 26th_. This morning I was awakened by loud cheers from the camp
of the Benton Cadets. My servant came at my call.

"What are those cheers for, Dan?"

"The Body-Guard has won a great victory, Sir! They have beaten the
Rebels, driven them out of Springfield, and killed over a hundred of
them. The news came late last night, and the General has issued an order
which has just been read to the Cadets."

The joyful words had hardly reached my eager ears when shouts were heard
from the sharp-shooters. They have got the news. In an instant the camp
is astir. Half-dressed, the officers rush from their tents,--servants
leave their work, cooks forget breakfast,--they gather together, and
breathless drink in the delicious story. We hear how the brave Guard,
finding the foe three times as strong as had been reported, resolved
to go on, in spite of odds, for their own honor and the honor of our
General,--how Zagonyi led the onset,--how with cheers and shouts of
"Union and Fremont," the noble fellows rushed upon the foe as gayly as
boys at play,--what deeds of daring were done,--that Zagonyi, Foley,
Maythenyi, Newhall, Treikel, Goff, and Kennedy shone heroes in the
fray,--how gallantly the Guards had fought, and how gloriously they had
died. These things we heard, feasting upon every word, and interrupting
the fervid recital with involuntary exclamations of sympathy and joy.

It did not fall to the fortune of the writer to take part with the
Body-Guard in their memorable attack, but, as the Judge-Advocate of
a Court of Inquiry into that affair, which was held at Springfield
immediately after our arrival there, I became familiar with the field
and the incidents of the battle. I trust it will not be regarded as
an inexcusable digression, if I recite the facts connected with the
engagement, which, as respects the odds encountered, the heroism
displayed, and the importance of its results, is still the most
remarkable encounter of the war.


THE BODY-GUARD AT SPRINGFIELD.


It may not be out of place to say a few words as to the character and
organization of the Guard.

Among the foreign officers whom the fame of General Fremont drew around
him was Charles Zagonyi,--an Hungarian refugee, but long a resident of
this country. In his boyhood, Zagonyi had plunged into the passionate,
but unavailing, struggle which Hungary made for her liberty. He at once
attracted the attention of General Bem, and was by him placed in command
of a picked company of cavalry. In one of the desperate engagements of
the war, Zagonyi led a charge upon a large artillery force. More than
half of his men were slain. He was wounded and taken prisoner. Two years
passed before he could exchange an Austrian dungeon for American exile.

General Fremont welcomed Zagonyi cordially, and authorized him to
recruit a company of horse, to act as his bodyguard. Zagonyi was most
scrupulous in his selection; but so ardent was the desire to serve under
the eye and near the person of the General, that in five days after the
lists were opened two full companies were enlisted. Soon after a whole
company, composed of the very flower of the youth of Kentucky, tendered
its services, and requested to be added to the Guard. Zagonyi was still
overwhelmed with applications, and he obtained permission to recruit a
fourth company. The fourth company, however, did not go with us into the
field. The men were clad in blue jackets, trousers, and caps. They were
armed with light German sabres, the best that at that time could be
procured, and revolvers; besides which, the first company carried
carbines. They were mounted upon bay horses, carefully chosen from
the Government stables. Zagonyi had but little time to instruct his
recruits, but in less than a month from the commencement of the
enlistments the Body-Guard was a well-disciplined and most efficient
corps of cavalry. The officers were all Americans except three,--one
Hollander, and two Hungarians, Zagonyi and Lieutenant Maythenyi, who
came to the United States during his boyhood.

Zagonyi left our camp at eight o'clock on the evening of the
twenty-fourth, with about a hundred and sixty men, the remainder of the
Guard being left at headquarters under the command of a non-commissioned
officer.

Major White was already on his way to Springfield with his squadron.
This young officer, hardly twenty-one years old, had won great
reputation for energy and zeal while a captain of infantry in a
New-York regiment stationed at Fort Monroe. He there saw much hazardous
scouting-service, and had been in a number of small engagements. In the
West he held a position upon General Fremont's staff, with the rank of
Major. While at Jefferson City, by permission of the General, he had
organized a battalion to act as scouts and rangers, composed of two
companies of the Third Illinois Cavalry, under Captains Fairbanks and
Kehoe, and a company of Irish dragoons, Captain Naughton, which had been
recruited for Mulligan's brigade, but had not joined Mulligan in time to
be at Lexington.

Major White went to Georgetown in advance of the whole army, from there
marched sixty-five miles in one night to Lexington, surprised the
garrison, liberated a number of Federal officers who were there wounded
and prisoners, and captured the steamers which Price had taken from
Mulligan. From Lexington White came by way of Warrensburg to Warsaw.
During this long and hazardous expedition, the Prairie Scouts had been
without tents, and dependent for food upon the supplies they could take
from the enemy.

Major White did not remain at Warsaw to recruit his health, seriously
impaired by hardship and exposure. He asked for further service, and was
directed to report himself to General Sigel, by whom he was ordered to
make a reconnoissance in the direction of Springfield.

After a rapid night-march, Zagonyi overtook White, and assumed command
of the whole force. White was quite ill, and, unable to stay in the
saddle, was obliged to follow in a carriage. In the morning, yielding to
the request of Zagonyi, he remained at a farm-house where the troop had
halted for refreshment,--it being arranged that he should rest an
hour or two, come on in his carriage with a small escort, and overtake
Zagonyi before he reached Springfield. The Prairie Scouts numbered one
hundred and thirty, so that the troop was nearly three hundred strong.

The day was fine, the road good, and the little column pushed on
merrily, hoping to surprise the enemy. When within two hours' march of
the town, they met a Union farmer of the neighborhood, who told Zagonyi
that a large body of Rebels had arrived at Springfield the day before,
on their way to reinforce Price, and that the enemy were now two
thousand strong. Zagonyi would have been justified, if he had turned
back. But the Guard had been made the subject of much malicious remark,
and had brought ridicule upon the General. Should they retire now, a
storm of abuse would burst upon them. Zagonyi therefore took no counsel
of prudence. He could not hope to defeat and capture the foe, but he
might surprise them, dash into their camp, destroy their train, and, as
he expressed it, "disturb their sleep,"--obtaining a victory which, for
its moral effects, would be worth the sacrifices it cost. His daring
resolve found unanimous and ardent assent with his zealous followers.

The Union farmer offered to guide Zagonyi by a circuitous route to the
rear of the Rebel position, and under his guidance he left the main road
about five miles from Springfield.

After an hour of repose, White set out in pursuit of his men, driving
his horses at a gallop. He knew nothing of the change in Zagonyi's
plans, and supposed the attack was to be made upon the front of the
town. He therefore continued upon the main road, expecting every minute
to overtake the column. As he drew near the village, and heard and saw
nothing of Zagonyi, he supposed the enemy had left the place and the
Federals had taken it without opposition. The approach to Springfield
from the north is through a forest, and the village cannot be seen until
its outskirts are reached. A sudden turn in the road brought White into
the very midst of a strong Rebel guard. They surrounded him, seized his
horses, and in an instant he and his companions were prisoners. When
they learned his rank, they danced around him like a pack of savages,
shouting and holding their cocked pieces at his heart. The leader of the
party had a few days before lost a brother in a skirmish with Wyman's
force, and with loud oaths he swore that the Federal Major should die
in expiation of his brother's death. He was about to carry his inhuman
threat into execution, Major White boldly facing him and saying, "If my
men were here, I'd give you all the revenge you want." At this
moment a young officer, Captain Wroton by name,--of whom more
hereafter,--pressed through the throng, and, placing himself in front of
White, declared that he would protect the prisoner with his own life.
The firm bearing of Wroton saved the Major's life, but his captors
robbed him and hurried him to their camp, where he remained during the
fight, exposed to the hottest of the fire, an excited, but helpless
spectator of the stirring events which followed. He promised his
generous protector that he would not attempt to escape, unless his men
should try to rescue him; but Captain Wroton remained by his side,
guarding him.

Making a _détour_ of twelve miles, Zagonyi approached the position of
the enemy. They were encamped half a mile west of Springfield, upon a
hill which sloped to the east. Along the northern side of their camp was
a broad and well-travelled road; along the southern side a narrow lane
ran down to a brook at the foot of the hill: the space between, about
three hundred yards broad, was the field of battle. Along the west side
of the field, separating it from the county fair-ground, was another
lane, connecting the main road and the first-mentioned lane. The side
of the hill was clear, but its summit, which was broad and flat, was
covered with a rank growth of small timber, so dense as to be impervious
to horse.

The following diagram, drawn from memory, will illustrate sufficiently
well the shape of the ground, and the position of the respective forces.

[Illustration: A, Road leading into the village. B, Lane down which
Zagonyi came. C, Lane where Fairbanks led his men. D, Dense woods
covering the summit of the hill. E, Crest of the hill and clear land. F,
Hill-side up which the Guard charged. G, Brook at the foot of the hill.
H, Place where the Guard entered. I, Small patch of woods in front of
which the enemy's horse were stationed. J, Gate through which the Rebels
fled, Zagonyi pursuing. K, Fair-ground into which some of the enemy
fled. L, Place where Foley took down the fence.]

The foe were advised of the intended attack. When Major White was
brought into their camp, they were preparing to defend their position.
As appears from the confessions of prisoners, they had twenty-two
hundred men, of whom four hundred were cavalry, the rest being infantry,
armed with shot-guns, American rifles, and revolvers. Twelve hundred of
their foot were posted along the edge of the wood upon the crest of the
hill. The cavalry was stationed upon the extreme left, on top of a spur
of the hill and in front of a patch of timber. Sharp-shooters were
concealed behind the trees close to the fence along-side the lane, and
a small number in some underbrush near the foot of the hill. Another
detachment guarded their train, holding possession of the county
fair-ground, which was surrounded by a high board-fence.

This position was unassailable by cavalry from the road, the only point
of attack being down the lane on the right; and the enemy were so
disposed as to command this approach perfectly. The lane was a blind
one, being closed, after passing the brook, by fences and ploughed land:
it was in fact a _cul-de-sac_. If the infantry should stand, nothing
could save the rash assailants. There are horsemen sufficient to sweep
the little band before them, as helplessly as the withered forest-leaves
in the grasp of the autumn winds; there are deadly marksmen lying behind
the trees upon the heights and lurking in the long grass upon the
lowlands; while a long line of foot stand upon the summit of the slope,
who, only stepping a few paces back into the forest, may defy the
boldest riders. Yet, down this narrow lane, leading into the very jaws
of death, came the three hundred.

On the prairie, at the edge of the woodland in which he knew his wily
foe lay hidden, Zagonyi halted his command. He spurred along the line.
With eager glance he scanned each horse and rider. To his officers he
gave the simple order, "Follow me! do as I do!" and then, drawing up in
front of his men, with a voice tremulous and shrill with emotion, he
spoke:--

"Fellow-soldiers, comrades, brothers! This is your first battle. For our
three hundred, the enemy are two thousand. If any of you are sick, or
tired by the long march, or if any think the number is too great, now is
the time to turn back." He paused; no one was sick or tired. "We must
not retreat. Our honor, the honor of our General and our country, tell
us to go on. I will lead you. We have been called holiday soldiers for
the pavements of St. Louis; to-day we will show that we are soldiers for
the battle. Your watchword shall be, '_The Union and Fremont_!' Draw
sabre! By the right flank,--quick trot,--march!"

Bright swords flashed in the sunshine, a passionate shout burst from
every lip, and with one accord, the trot passing into a gallop, the
compact column swept on to its deadly purpose. Most of them were boys. A
few weeks before they had left their homes. Those who were cool enough
to note it say that ruddy cheeks grew pale, and fiery eyes were dimmed
with tears. Who shall tell what thoughts,--what visions of peaceful
cottages nestling among the groves of Kentucky or shining upon the
banks of the Ohio and the Illinois,--what sad recollections of tearful
farewells, of tender, loving faces, filled their minds during those
fearful moments of suspense? No word was spoken. With lips compressed,
firmly clenching their sword-hilts, with quick tramp of hoofs and clang
of steel, honor leading and glory awaiting them, the young soldiers flew
forward, each brave rider and each straining steed members of one huge
creature, enormous, terrible, irresistible.

  "'T were worth ten years of peaceful life,
  One glance at their array."

They pass the fair-ground. They are at the corner of the lane where the
wood begins. It runs close to the fence on their left for a hundred
yards, and beyond it they see white tents gleaming. They are half-way
past the forest, when, sharp and loud, a volley of musketry bursts upon
the head of the column; horses stagger, riders reel and fall, but the
troop presses forward undismayed. The farther corner of the wood
is reached, and Zagonyi beholds the terrible array. Amazed, he
involuntarily cheeks his horse. The Rebels are not surprised. There to
his left they stand crowning the height, foot and horse ready to ingulf
him, if he shall be rash enough to go on. The road he is following
declines rapidly. There is but one thing to do,--run the gantlet, gain
the cover of the hill, and charge up the steep. These thoughts pass
quicker than they can be told. He waves his sabre over his head, and
shouting, "Forward! follow me! quick trot! gallop!" he dashes headlong
down the stony road. The first company and most of the second follow.
From the left a thousand muzzles belch forth a hissing flood of bullets;
the poor fellows clutch wildly at the air and fall from their saddles,
and maddened horses throw themselves against the fences. Their speed is
not for an instant checked; farther down the hill they fly, like wasps
driven by the leaden storm. Sharp volleys pour out of the underbrush at
the left, clearing wide gaps through their ranks. They leap the brook,
take down the fence, and draw up under the shelter of the hill. Zagonyi
looks around him, and to his horror sees that only a fourth of his
men are with him. He cries, "They do not come,--we are lost!" and
frantically waves his sabre.

He has not long to wait. The delay of the rest of the Guard was not from
hesitation. When Captain Foley reached the lower corner of the wood and
saw the enemy's line, he thought a flank attack might be advantageously
made. He ordered some of his men to dismount and take down the fence.
This was done under a severe fire. Several men fell, and he found the
wood so dense that it could not be penetrated. Looking down the hill, he
saw the flash of Zagonyi's sabre, and at once gave the order, "Forward!"
At the same time, Lieutenant Kennedy, a stalwart Kentuckian, shouted,
"Come on, boys! remember Old Kentucky!" and the third company of the
Guard, fire on every side of them,--from behind trees, from under the
fences,--with thundering strides and loud cheers, poured down the slope
and rushed to the side of Zagonyi. They have lost seventy dead and
wounded men, and the carcasses of horses are strewn along the lane.
Kennedy is wounded in the arm and lies upon the stones, his faithful
charger standing motionless beside him. Lieutenant Goff received a wound
in the thigh; he kept his seat, and cried out, "The devils have hit me,
but I will give it to them yet!"

The remnant of the Guard are now in the field under the hill, and
from the shape of the ground the Rebel fire sweeps with the roar of a
whirlwind over their heads. Here we will leave them for a moment, and
trace the fortunes of the Prairie Scouts.

When Foley brought his troop to a halt, Captain Fairbanks, at the head
of the first company of Scouts, was at the point where the first volley
of musketry had been received. The narrow lane was crowded by a dense
mass of struggling horses, and filled with the tumult of battle. Captain
Fairbanks says, and he is corroborated by several of his men who were
near, that at this moment an officer of the Guard rode up to him and
said, "They are flying; take your men down that lane and cut off their
retreat,"--pointing to the lane at the left. Captain Fairbanks was not
able to identify the person who gave this order. It certainly did not
come from Zagonyi, who was several hundred yards farther on. Captain
Fairbanks executed the order, followed by the second company of Prairie
Scouts, under Captain Kehoe. When this movement was made, Captain
Naughton, with the Third Irish Dragoons, had not reached the corner of
the lane. He came up at a gallop, and was about to follow Fairbanks,
when he saw a Guardsman who pointed in the direction in which Zagonyi
had gone. He took this for an order, and obeyed it. When he reached the
gap in the fence, made by Foley, not seeing anything of the Guard, he
supposed they had passed through at that place, and gallantly attempted
to follow. Thirteen men fell in a few minutes. He was shot in the arm
and dismounted. Lieutenant Connolly spurred into the underbrush and
received two balls through the lungs and one in the left shoulder. The
Dragoons, at the outset not more than fifty strong, were broken, and,
dispirited by the loss of their officers, retired. A sergeant rallied
a few and brought them up to the gap again, and they were again driven
back. Five of the boldest passed down the hill, joined Zagonyi, and were
conspicuous by their valor during the rest of the day.--Fairbanks and
Kehoe, having gained the rear and left of the enemy's position, made two
or three assaults upon detached parties of the foe, but did not join in
the main attack.

I now return to the Guard. It is forming under the shelter of the hill.
In front with a gentle inclination rises a grassy slope broken by
occasional tree-stumps. A line of fire upon the summit marks the
position of the Rebel infantry, and nearer and on the top of a lower
eminence to the right stand their horse. Up to this time no Guardsman
has struck a blow, but blue coats and bay horses lie thick along the
bloody lane. Their time has come. Lieutenant Maythenyi with thirty men
is ordered to attack the cavalry. With sabres flashing over their heads,
the little band of heroes spring towards their tremendous foe. Right
upon the centre they charge. The dense mass opens, the blue coats force
their way in, and the whole Rebel squadron scatter in disgraceful flight
through the cornfields in the rear. The bays follow them, sabring the
fugitives. Days after, the enemy's horses lay thick among the uncut
corn.

Zagonyi holds his main body until Maythenyi disappears in the cloud
of Rebel cavalry; then his voice rises through the air,--"In open
order,--charge!" The line opens out to give play to their sword-arm.
Steeds respond to the ardor of their riders, and quick as thought, with
thrilling cheers, the noble hearts rush into the leaden torrent which
pours down the incline. With unabated fire the gallant fellows press
through. Their fierce onset is not even checked. The foe do not wait for
them,--they waver, break, and fly. The Guardsmen spur into the midst of
the rout, and their fast-falling swords work a terrible revenge. Some
of the boldest of the Southrons retreat into the woods, and continue a
murderous fire from behind trees and thickets. Seven Guard horses fall
upon a space not more that twenty feet square. As his steed sinks under
him, one of the officers is caught around the shoulders by a grape-vine,
and hangs dangling in the air until he is cut down by his friends.

The Rebel foot are flying in furious haste from the field. Some take
refuge in the fair-ground, some hurry into the cornfield, but the
greater part run along the edge of the wood, swarm over the fence into
the road, and hasten to the village. The Guardsmen follow. Zagonyi leads
them. Over the loudest roar of battle rings his clarion voice,--"Come
on, Old Kentuck! I'm with you!" And the flash of his sword-blade tells
his men where to go. As he approaches a barn, a man steps from behind
the door and lowers his rifle; but before it has reached the level,
Zagonyi's sabre-point descends upon his head, and his life-blood leaps
to the very top of the huge barn-door.

The conflict now rages through the village,--in the public square, and
along the streets. Up and down the Guards ride in squads of three or
four, and wherever they see a group of the enemy charge upon and scatter
them. It is hand to hand. No one but has a share in the fray.

There was at least one soldier in the Southern ranks. A young officer,
superbly mounted, charges alone upon a large body of the Guard. He
passes through the line unscathed, killing one man. He wheels, charges
back, and again breaks through, killing another man. A third time he
rushes upon the Federal line, a score of sabre-points confront him,
a cloud of bullets fly around him, but he pushes on until he reaches
Zagonyi,--he presses his pistol so close to the Major's side that he
feels it and draws convulsively back, the bullet passes through the
front of Zagonyi's coat, who at the instant runs the daring Rebel
through the body, he falls, and the men, thinking their commander hurt,
kill him with half a dozen wounds.

"He was a brave man," said Zagonyi afterwards, "and I did wish to make
him prisoner."

Meanwhile it has grown dark. The foe have left the village and the
battle has ceased. The assembly is sounded, and the Guard gathers in the
_Plaza_. Not more than eighty mounted men appear: the rest are killed,
wounded, or unhorsed. At this time one of the most characteristic
incidents of the affair took place.

Just before the charge, Zagonyi directed one of his buglers, a
Frenchman, to sound a signal. The bugler did not seem to pay any
attention to the order, but darted off with Lieutenant Maythenyi. A
few moments afterwards he was observed in another part of the field
vigorously pursuing the flying infantry. His active form was always seen
in the thickest of the fight. When the line was formed in the _Plaza_,
Zagonyi noticed the bugler, and approaching him said, "In the midst of
the battle you disobeyed my order. You are unworthy to be a member of
the Guard. I dismiss you." The bugler showed his bugle to his indignant
commander;--the mouth-piece of the instrument was shot away. He said,
"The mouth was shoot off. I could not bugle viz mon bugle, and so I
bugle viz mon pistol and sabre." It is unnecessary to add, the brave
Frenchman was not dismissed.

I must not forget to mention Sergeant Hunter, of the Kentucky company.
His soldierly figure never failed to attract the eye in the ranks of
the Guard. He had served in the regular cavalry, and the Body-Guard had
profited greatly from his skill as a drill-master. He lost three horses
in the fight. As soon as one was killed, he caught another from the
Rebels: the third horse taken by him in this way he rode into St. Louis.

The Sergeant slew five men. "I won't speak of those I shot," said
he,--"another may have hit them; but those I touched with my sabre I am
sure of, because I _felt_ them."

At the beginning of the charge, he came to the extreme right and took
position next to Zagonyi, whom he followed closely through the battle.
The Major, seeing him, said,--

"Why are you here, Sergeant Hunter? Your place is with your company on
the left."

"I kind o' wanted to be in the front," was the answer.

"What could I say to such a man?" exclaimed Zagonyi, speaking of the
matter afterwards.

There was hardly a horse or rider among the survivors that did not bring
away some mark of the fray. I saw one animal with no less than seven
wounds,--none of them serious. Scabbards were bent, clothes and caps
pierced, pistols injured. I saw one pistol from which the sight had been
cut as neatly as it could have been done by machinery. A piece of board
a few inches long was cut from a fence on the field, in which there were
thirty-one shot-holes.

It was now nine o'clock. The wounded had been carried to the hospital.
The dismounted troopers were placed in charge of them,--in the double
capacity of nurses and guards. Zagonyi expected the foe to return every
minute. It seemed like madness to try and hold the town with his small
force, exhausted by the long march and desperate fight. He therefore
left Springfield, and retired before morning twenty-five miles on the
Bolivar road.

Captain Fairbanks did not see his commander after leaving the column in
the lane, at the commencement of the engagement. About dusk he repaired
to the prairie, and remained there within a mile of the village until
midnight, when he followed Zagonyi, rejoining him in the morning.

I will now return to Major White. During the conflict upon the hill, he
was in the forest near the front of the Rebel line. Here his horse was
shot under him. Captain Wroton kept careful watch over him. When the
flight began he hurried White away, and, accompanied by a squad of
eleven men, took him ten miles into the country. They stopped at a
farm-house for the night. White discovered that their host was a Union
man. His parole having expired, he took advantage of the momentary
absence of his captor to speak to the farmer, telling him who he was,
and asking him to send for assistance. The countryman mounted his son
upon his swiftest horse, and sent him for succor. The party lay down by
the fire, White being placed in the midst. The Rebels were soon asleep,
but there was no sleep for the Major. He listened anxiously for the
footsteps of his rescuers. After long, weary hours, he heard the tramp
of horses. He arose, and walking on tiptoe, cautiously stepping over his
sleeping guards, he reached the door and silently unfastened it. The
Union men rushed into the room and took the astonished Wroton and his
followers prisoners. At daybreak White rode into Springfield at the head
of his captives and a motley band of Home-Guards. He found the Federals
still in possession of the place. As the officer of highest rank, be
took command. His garrison consisted of twenty-four men. He stationed
twenty-two of them as pickets in the outskirts of the village, and held
the other two as a reserve. At noon the enemy sent in a flag of truce,
and asked permission to bury their dead. Major White received the flag
with proper ceremony, but said that General Sigel was in command and the
request would have to be referred to him. Sigel was then forty miles
away. In a short time a written communication purporting to come from
General Sigel, saying that the Rebels might send a party under certain
restrictions to bury their dead, White drew in some of his pickets,
stationed them about the field, and under their surveillance the
Southern dead were buried.

The loss of the enemy, as reported by some of their working party, was
one hundred and sixteen killed. The number of wounded could not be
ascertained. After the conflict had drifted away from the hill-side,
some of the foe had returned to the field, taken away their wounded,
and robbed our dead. The loss of the Guard was fifty-three out of one
hundred and forty-eight actually engaged, twelve men having been left by
Zagonyi in charge of his train. The Prairie Scouts reported a loss of
thirty-one out of one hundred and thirty: half of these belonged to the
Irish Dragoons. In a neighboring field an Irishman was found stark and
stiff, still clinging to the hilt of his sword, which was thrust through
the body of a Rebel who lay beside him. Within a few feet a second Rebel
lay, shot through the head.

I have given a statement of this affair drawn from the testimony taken
before a Court of Inquiry, from conversations with men who were engaged
upon both sides, and from a careful examination of the locality. It was
the first essay of raw troops, and yet there are few more brilliant
achievements in history.

It is humiliating to be obliged to tell what followed. The heroism of
the Guard was rewarded by such treatment as we blush to record. Upon
their return to St. Louis, rations and forage were denied them, the men
were compelled to wear the clothing soiled and torn in battle, they were
promptly disbanded, and the officers retired from service. The swords
which pricked the clouds and let the joyful sunshine of victory into the
darkness of constant defeat are now idle. But the fame of the Guard is
secure. Out from that fiery baptism they came children of the nation,
and American song and story will carry their heroic triumph down to the
latest generation.



MASON AND SLIDELL: A YANKEE IDYLL.


_To the Editors of the_ ATLANTIC MONTHLY.

Jaalam, 6th Jan., 1862.

GENTLEMEN,--I was highly gratified by the insertion of a portion of my
letter in the last number of your valuable and entertaining Miscellany,
though in a type which rendered its substance inaccessible even to the
beautiful new spectacles presented to me by a Committee of the Parish on
New-Year's Day. I trust that I was able to bear your very considerable
abridgment of my lucubrations with a spirit becoming a Christian. My
third grand-daughter, Rebekah, aged fourteen years, and whom I have
trained to read slowly and with proper emphasis, (a practice too much
neglected in our modern systems of education,) read aloud to me the
excellent essay upon "Old Age," the authour of which I cannot help
suspecting to be a young man who has never yet known what it was to have
snow (_canities morosa_) upon his own roof. _Dissolve frigus, large
super foco ligna reponens_, is a rule for the young, whose wood-pile is
yet abundant for such cheerful lenitives. A good life behind him is the
best thing to keep an old man's shoulders from shivering at every breath
of sorrow or ill-fortune. But methinks it were easier for an old man to
feel the disadvantages of youth than the advantages of age. Of these
latter I reckon one of the chiefest to be this: that we attach a less
inordinate value to our own productions, and, distrusting daily more
and more our own wisdom, (with the conceit whereof at twenty we wrap
ourselves away from knowledge as with a garment,) do reconcile ourselves
with the wisdom of God. I could have wished, indeed, that room might
have been made for the residue of the anecdote relating to Deacon
Tinkham, which would not only have gratified a natural curiosity on the
part of the publick, (as I have reason to know from several letters of
inquiry already received,) but would also, as I think, have largely
increased the circulation of your Magazine in this town. _Nihil humani
alienum_, there is a curiosity about the affairs of our neighbours which
is not only pardonable, but even commendable. But I shall abide a more
fitting season.

As touching the following literary effort of Esquire Biglow, much might
be profitably said on the topick of Idyllick and Pastoral Poetry,
and concerning the proper distinctions to be made between them, from
Theocritus, the inventor of the former, to Collins, the latest authour I
know of who has emulated the classicks in the latter style. But in the
time of a civil war worthy a Milton to defend and a Lucan to sing, it
may be reasonably doubted whether the publick, never too studious of
serious instruction, might not consider other objects more deserving of
present attention. Concerning the title of Idyll, which Mr. Biglow has
adopted at my suggestion, it may not be improper to animadvert, that the
name properly signifies a poem somewhat rustick in phrase, (for, though
the learned are not agreed as to the particular dialect employed by
Theocritus, they are universanimous both as to its rusticity and its
capacity of rising now and then to the level of more elevated sentiments
and expressions,) while it is also descriptive of real scenery and
manners. Yet it must be admitted that the production now in question
(which here and there bears perhaps too plainly the marks of my
correcting hand) does partake of the nature of a Pastoral, inasmuch as
the interlocutors therein are purely imaginary beings, and the whole
is little better than [Greek: skias onar.] The plot was, as I believe,
suggested by the "Twa Briggs" of Robert Burns, a Scottish poet of the
last century, as that found its prototype in the "Mutual Complaint of
Plainstanes and Causey" by Fergusson, though the metre of this latter
be different by a foot in each verse. I reminded my talented young
parishioner and friend that Concord Bridge had long since yielded to the
edacious tooth of Time. But he answered me to this effect: that there
was no greater mistake of an authour than to suppose the reader had
no fancy of his own; that, if once that faculty was to be called into
activity, it were _better_ to be in for the whole sheep than the
shoulder; and that he knew Concord like a book,--an expression
questionable in propriety, since there are few things with which he
is not more familiar than with the printed page. In proof of what he
affirmed, he showed me some verses which with others he had stricken out
as too much delaying the action, but which I communicate in this place
because they rightly define "punkin-seed," (which Mr. Bartlett would
have a kind of perch,--a creature to which I have found a rod or pole
not to be so easily equivalent in our inland waters as in the books of
arithmetic,) and because it conveys an eulogium on the worthy son of an
excellent father, with whose acquaintance (_eheu, fugaces anni!_) I was
formerly honoured.

  "But nowadays the Bridge ain't wut they show,
  So much ez Em'son, Hawthorne, an' Thoreau.
  I know the village, though: was sent there once
  A-schoolin', coz to home I played the dunce;
  An' I've ben sence a-visitin' the Jedge,
  Whose garding whispers with the river's edge,
  Where I've sot mornin's, lazy as the bream,
  Whose only business is to head up-stream,
  (We call 'em punkin-seed,) or else in chat
  Along'th the Jedge, who covers with his hat
  More wit an' gumption an' shrewd Yankee sense
  Than there is mosses on an ole stone fence."

Concerning the subject-matter of the verses I have not the leisure at
present to write so fully as I could wish, my time being occupied
with the preparation of a discourse for the forthcoming bi-centenary
celebration of the first settlement of Jaalam East Parish. It may
gratify the publick interest to mention the circumstance, that my
investigations to this end have enabled me to verify the fact (of much
historick importance, and hitherto hotly debated) that Shearjashub
Tarbox was the first child of white parentage born in this town, being
named in his father's will under date August 7th, or 9th, 1662. It is
well known that those who advocate the claims of Mehetable Goings are
unable to find any trace of her existence prior to October of that year.
As respects the settlement of the Mason and Slidell question, Mr. Biglow
has not incorrectly stated the popular sentiment, so far as I can judge
by its expression in this locality. For myself, I feel more sorrow than
resentment; for I am old enough to have heard those talk of England who
still, even after the unhappy estrangement, could not unschool their
lips from calling her the Mother-Country. But England has insisted on
ripping up old wounds, and has undone the healing work of fifty years;
for nations do not reason, they only feel, and the _spretae injuria
formae_ rankles in their minds as bitterly as in that of a woman. And
because this is so, I feel the more satisfaction that our Government has
acted (as all Governments should, standing as they do between the people
and their passions) as if it had arrived at years of discretion. There
are three short and simple words, the hardest of all to pronounce in any
language, (and I suspect they were no easier before the confusion of
tongues,) but which no man or nation that cannot utter can claim to have
arrived at manhood. Those words are, _I was wrong_; and I am proud,
that, while England played the boy, our rulers had strength enough from
below and wisdom enough from above to quit themselves like men. Let us
strengthen the hands of those in authority over us, and curb out own
tongues,[A] remembering that General Wait commonly proves in the end
more than a match for General Headlong, and that the Good Book ascribes
safety to a multitude, indeed, but not to a mob, of counsellours. Let us
remember and perpend the words of Paulus Emilius to the people of Rome:
that, "if they judged they could manage the war to more advantage by any
other, he would willingly yield up his charge; but if they confided in
him, _they were not to make themselves his colleagues in his office, or
raise reports, or criticize, his actions, but, without talking, supply
him with means and assistance necessary to the carrying on of the war;
for, if they proposed to command their own commander, they would render
this expedition more ridiculous than the former." (Vide Plutarchum in
vitâ P.E.)_ Let us also not forget what the same excellent authour
says concerning Perseus's fear of spending money, and not permit the
covetousness of Brother Jonathan to be the good-fortune of Jefferson
Davis. For my own part, till I am ready to admit the Commander-in-Chief
to my pulpit, I shall abstain from planning his battles. Patience is the
armour of a nation; and in our desire for peace, let us never be willing
to surrender the Constitution bequeathed us by fathers at least as wise
as ourselves, (even with Jefferson Davis to help us,) and, with those
degenerate Romans, _tuta et presentia quam vetera et periculosa malle._

With respect,
Your ob't humble serv't,
HOMER WILBUR, A.M.

[Footnote A: And not only our own tongues, but the pens of others, which
are swift to convey useful intelligence to the enemy. This is no new
inconvenience; for, under date 3rd June, 1745, General Pepperell wrote
thus to Governour Shirley from Louisbourg:--"What your Excellency
observes of the _army's being made acquainted with any plans proposed,
until really to be put in execution_, has always been disagreeable
to me, and I have given many cautions relating to it. But when your
Excellency considers that _our Council of War consists of more than
twenty members_, am persuaded you will think it _impossible for me to
hinder it_, if any of them will persist in communicating to inferiour
officers and soldiers what ought to be kept secret. I am informed that
the Boston newspapers are filled with paragraphs from private letters
relating to the expedition. Will your Excellency permit me to say I
think it may be of ill consequence? Would it not be convenient, if your
Excellency should forbid the Printers' inserting such news?" Verily, if
_tempora mutantur,_ we may question the _et nos mutamur in illis;_ and
if tongues be leaky, it will need all hands at the pumps to save the
Ship of State. Our history dates and repeats itself. If Sassycus (rather
than Alcibiades) find a parallel in Beauregard, so Weakwash, as he is
called by the brave Lieutenant Lion Gardiner, need not seek far among
our own Sachems for his antitype.]

  I love to start out arter night's begun,
  An' all the chores about the farm are done,
  The critters milked an' foddered, gates shet fast,
  Tools cleaned aginst to-morrer, supper past,
  An' Nancy darnin' by her ker'sene lamp,--
  I love, I say, to start upon a tramp,
  To shake the kinkles out o' back an' legs,
  An' kind o' rack my life off from the dregs
  Thet's apt to settle in the buttery-hutch
  Of folks thet foller in one rut too much:
  Hard work is good an' wholesome, past all doubt;
  But 't ain't so, ef the mind gits tuckered out.

  Now, bein' born in Middlesex, you know,
  There's certin spots where I like best to go:
  The Concord road, for instance, (I, for one,
  Most gin'lly ollers call it _John Bull's Run._)--
  The field o' Lexin'ton, where England tried
  The fastest colors thet she ever dyed,--
  An' Concord Bridge, thet Davis, when he came,
  Found was the bee-line track to heaven an' fame,--
  Ez all roads be by natur', ef your soul
  Don't sneak thru shun-pikes so's to save the toll.

  They're 'most too fur away, take too much time
  To visit often, ef it ain't in rhyme;
  But there's a walk thet's hendier, a sight,
  An' suits me fust-rate of a winter's night,--
  I mean the round whale's-back o' Prospect Hill.
  I love to loiter there while night grows still,
  An' in the twinklin' villages about,
  Fust here, then there, the well-saved lights goes out,
  An' nary sound but watch-dogs' false alarms,
  Or muffled cock-crows from the drowsy farms,
  Where some wise rooster (men act jest thet way)
  Stands to't thet moon-rise is the break o' day:
  So Mister Seward sticks a three-months pin
  Where the war'd oughto end, then tries agin;--
  My gran'ther's rule was safer'n 't is to crow:
  _Don't never prophesy--onless ye know._

  I love to muse there till it kind o' seems
  Ez ef the world went eddyin' off in dreams.
  The Northwest wind thet twitches at my baird
  Blows out o' sturdier days not easy scared,
  An' the same moon thet this December shines
  Starts out the tents an' booths o' Putnam's lines;
  The rail-fence posts, acrost the hill thet runs,
  Turn ghosts o' sogers should'rin' ghosts o' guns;
  Ez wheels the sentry, glints a flash o' light
  Along the firelock won at Concord Fight,
  An' 'twixt the silences, now fur, now nigh,
  Rings the sharp chellenge, hums the low reply.
  Ez I was settin' so, it warn't long sence,
  Mixin' the perfect with the present tense,
  I heerd two voices som'ers in the air,
  Though, ef I was to die, I can't tell where:
  Voices I call 'em: 't was a kind o' sough
  Like pine-trees thet the wind is geth'rin' through;
  An', fact, I thought it _was_ the wind a spell,--
  Then some misdoubted,--couldn't fairly tell,--
  Fust sure, then not, jest as you hold an eel,--
  I knowed, an' didn't,--fin'lly seemed to feel
  'T was Concord Bridge a-talkin' off to kill
  With the Stone Spike thet's druv thru Bunker Hill:
  Whether't was so, or ef I only dreamed,
  I couldn't say; I tell it ez it seemed.

  THE BRIDGE.

  Wal, neighbor, tell us, wut's turned up thet's new?
  You're younger'n I be,--nigher Boston, tu;
  An' down to Boston, ef you take their showin',
  Wut they don't know ain't hardly wuth the knowin'.
  There's _sunthin'_ goin' on, I know: las' night
  The British sogers killed in our gret fight
  (Nigh fifty year they hedn't stirred nor spoke)
  Made sech a coil you'd thought a dam hed broke:
  Why, one he up an' beat a revellee
  With his own crossbones on a holler tree,
  Till all the graveyards swarmed out like a hive
  With faces I hain't seen sence Seventy-five.
  Wut _is_ the news? 'T ain't good, or they'd be cheerin'.
  Speak slow an' clear, for I'm some hard o' hearin'.

  THE MONIMENT.

  I don't know hardly ef it's good or bad,--

  THE BRIDGE.

  At wust, it can't be wus than wut we've had.

  THE MONIMENT.

  You know them envys thet the Rebbles sent,
  An' Cap'n Wilkes he borried o' the Trent?

  THE BRIDGE.

  Wut! hev they hanged 'em? Then their wits is gone!
  Thet's a sure way to make a goose a swan!

  THE MONIMENT.

  No: England she _would_ hev 'em, _Fee, Faw, Fum!_
  (Ez though she hedn't fools enough to home,)
  So they've returned 'em--

  THE BRIDGE.

  _Hev_ they? Wal, by heaven,
  Thet's the wust news I've heerd sence Seventy-seven!
  _By George_, I meant to say, though I declare
  It's 'most enough to make a deacon, swear.

  THE MONIMENT.

  Now don't go off half-cock: folks never gains
  By usin' pepper-sarse instid o' brains.
  Come, neighbor, you don't understand--

  THE BRIDGE.

                                  How? Hey?
  Not understand? Why, wut's to hender, pray?
  Must I go huntin' round to find a chap
  To tell me when my face hez hed a slap?

  THE MONIMENT.

  See here: the British they found out a flaw
  In Cap'n Wilkes's readin' o' the law:
  (They _make_ all laws, you know, an' so, o' course,
  It's nateral they should understand their force:)
  He'd oughto took the vessel into port,
  An' hed her sot on by a reg'lar court;
  She was a mail-ship, an' a steamer, tu,
  An' thet, they say, hez changed the pint o' view,
  Coz the old practice, bein' meant for sails,
  Ef tried upon a steamer, kind o' falls;
  You _may_ take out despatches, but you mus'n't
  Take nary man--

  THE BRIDGE.

                   You mean to say, you dus'n't!
  Changed pint o' view! No, no,--it's overboard
  With law an' gospel, when their ox is gored!
  I tell ye, England's law, on sea an' land,
  Hez ollers ben, "_I've gut the heaviest hand_."
  Take nary man? Fine preachin' from _her_ lips!
  Why, she hez taken hunderds from our ships,
  An' would agin, an' swear she hed a right to,
  Ef we warn't strong enough to be perlite to.
  Of all the sarse thet I can call to mind,
  England _doos_ make the most onpleasant kind:
  It's you're the sinner ollers, she's the saint;
  Wut's good's all English, all thet isn't ain't;
  Wut profits her is ollers right an' just,
  An' ef you don't read Scriptur so, you must;
  She's praised herself ontil she fairly thinks
  There ain't no light in Natur when she winks;
  Hain't she the Ten Comman'ments in her pus?
  Could the world stir 'thout she went, tu, ez nus?
  She ain't like other mortals, thet's a fact:
  _She_ never stopped the habus-corpus act,
  Nor specie payments, nor she never yet
  Cut down the int'rest on her public debt;
  _She_ don't put down rebellions, lets 'em breed,
  An' 's ollers willin' Ireland should secede;
  She's all thet's honest, honnable, an' fair,
  An' when the vartoos died they made her heir.

  THE MONIMENT.

  Wal, wal, two wrongs don't never make a right;
  Ef we're mistaken, own it, an' don't fight:
  For gracious' sake, hain't we enough to du
  'Thout gittin' up a fight with England, tu?
  She thinks we're rabble-rid------

  THE BRIDGE

                     An' so we can't
  Distinguish 'twixt _You oughtn't_ an' _You shan't!_
  She jedges by herself; she's no idear
  How 't stiddies folks to give 'em their fair sheer:
  The odds 'twixt her an' us is plain's a steeple,--
  Her People's turned to Mob, our Mob's turned People.

  THE MONIMENT.

  She's riled jes' now------

  THE BRIDGE

              Plain proof her cause ain't strong,--
  The one thet fust gits mad's most ollers wrong.

  THE MONIMENT.

  You're ollers quick to set your back aridge,--
  Though't suits a tom-cat more 'n a sober bridge:
  Don't you git het: they thought the thing was planned;
  They'll cool off when they come to understand.

  THE BRIDGE

  Ef _thet's_ wilt you expect, you'll _hev_ to wait:
  Folks never understand the folks they hate:
  She'll fin' some other grievance jest ez good,
  'Fore the month's out, to git misunderstood.
  England cool off! She'll do it, ef she sees
  She's run her head into a swarm o' bees.
  I ain't so prejudiced ez wut you spose:
  I hev thought England was the best thet goes;
  Remember, (no, you can't,) when _I_ was reared,
  _God save the King_ was all the tune you heerd:
  But it's enough to turn Wachuset roun',
  This stumpin' fellers when you think they're down.

  THE MONIMENT.

  But, neighbor, ef they prove their claim at law,
  The best way is to settle, an' not jaw.
  An' don't le' 's mutter 'bout the awfle bricks
  We'll give 'em, ef we ketch 'em in a fix:
  That 'ere's most frequently the kin' o' talk
  Of critters can't be kicked to toe the chalk;
  Your "You'll see _nex'_ time!" an' "Look out bimeby!"
  Most ollers ends in eatin' umble-pie.
  'T wun't pay to scringe to England: will it pay
  To fear thet meaner bully, old "They'll say"?
  Suppose they _du_ say: words are dreffle bores,
  But they ain't quite so bad ez seventy-fours.
  Wut England wants is jest a wedge to fit
  Where it'll help to widen out our split:
  She's found her wedge, an' 't ain't for us to come
  An' lend the beetle thet's to drive it home.
  For growed-up folks like us 't would be a scandle,
  When we git sarsed, to fly right off the handle.
  England ain't _all_ bad, coz she thinks us blind:
  Ef she can't change her skin, she can her mind;
  An' you will see her change it double-quick,
  Soon ez we've proved thet we're a-goin' to lick.
  She an' Columby's gut to be fas' friends;
  For the world prospers by their privit ends:
  'T would put the clock back all o' fifty years,
  Ef they should fall together by the ears.

  THE BRIDGE.

  You may be right; but hearken in your ear,--
  I'm older 'n you,--Peace wun't keep house with Fear:
  Ef you want peace, the thing you've gut to du
  Is jest to show you're up to fightin', tu.
  _I_ recollect how sailors' rights was won
  Yard locked in yard, hot gun-lip kissin' gun:
  Why, afore thet, John Bull sot up thet he
  Hed gut a kind o' mortgage on the sea;
  You'd thought he held by Gran'ther Adam's will,
  An' ef you knuckle down, _he_'ll think so still.
  Better thet all our ships an' all their crews
  Should sink to rot in ocean's dreamless ooze,
  Each torn flag wavin' chellenge ez it went,
  An' each dumb gun a brave man's moniment,
  Than seek sech peace ez only cowards crave:
  Give me the peace of dead men or of brave!

  THE MONIMENT.

  I say, ole boy, it ain't the Glorious Fourth:
  You'd oughto learned 'fore this wut talk wuz worth.
  It ain't _our_ nose thet gits put out o' jint;
  It's England thet gives up her dearest pint.
  We've gut, I tell ye now, enough to du
  In our own fem'ly fight, afore we're thru.
  I hoped, las' spring, jest arter Sumter's shame,
  When every flag-staff flapped its tethered flame,
  An' all the people, startled from their doubt,
  Come must'rin' to the flag with sech a shout,--

  I hoped to see things settled 'fore this fall,
  The Rebbles licked, Jeff Davis hanged, an' all;
  Then come Bull Run, an' _sence_ then I've ben waitin'
  Like boys in Jennooary thaw for skatin',
  Nothin' to du but watch my shadder's trace
  Swing, like a ship at anchor, roun' my base,
  With daylight's flood an' ebb: it's gittin' slow,
  An' I 'most think we'd better let 'em go.
  I tell ye wut, this war's a-goin' to cost--

  THE BRIDGE.

  An' I tell _you_ it wun't be money lost;
  Taxes milks dry, but, neighbor, you'll allow
  Thet havin' things onsettled kills the cow:
  We've gut to fix this thing for good an' all;
  It's no use buildin' wut's a-goin' to fall.
  I'm older 'n you, an' I've seen things an' men,
  An' here's wut my experience hez ben:
  Folks thet worked thorough was the ones thet thriv,
  But bad work follers ye ez long's ye live;
  You can't git red on 't; jest ez sure ez sin,
  It's ollers askin' to be done agin:
  Ef we should part, it wouldn't be a week
  'Fore your soft-soddered peace would spring aleak.
  We've turned our cuffs up, but, to put her thru,
  We must git mad an' off with jackets, tu;
  'T wun't du to think thet killin' ain't perlite,--
  You've gut to be in airnest, ef you fight;
  Why, two-thirds o' the Rebbles 'ould cut dirt,
  Ef they once thought thet Guv'ment meant to hurt;
  An' I _du_ wish our Gin'rals hed in mind
  The folks in front more than the folks behind;
  You wun't do much ontil you think it's God,
  An' not constitoounts, thet holds the rod;
  We want some more o' Gideon's sword, I jedge,
  For proclamations hain't no gret of edge;
  There's nothin' for a cancer but the knife,
  Onless you set by 't more than by your life.
  _I_'ve seen hard times; I see a war begun
  Thet folks thet love their bellies never'd won,--
  Pharo's lean kine hung on for seven long year,--
  But when't was done, we didn't count it dear.
  Why, law an' order, honor, civil right,
  Ef they _ain't_ wuth it, wut _is_ wuth a fight?
  I'm older 'n you: the plough, the axe, the mill,
  All kinds o' labor an' all kinds o' skill,
  Would be a rabbit in a wile-cat's claw,
  Ef't warn't for thet slow critter, 'stablished law;
  Onsettle _thet_, an' all the world goes whiz,
  A screw is loose in everythin' there is:
  Good buttresses once settled, don't you fret
  An' stir 'em: take a bridge's word for thet!
  Young folks are smart, but all ain't good thet's new;
  I guess the gran'thers they knowed sunthin', tu.

  THE MONIMENT.

  Amen to thet! build sure in the beginning',
  An' then don't never tech the underpinnin':
  Th' older a Guv'ment is, the better 't suits;
  New ones hunt folks's corns out like new boots:
  Change jest for change is like those big hotels
  Where they shift plates, an' let ye live on smells.

  THE BRIDGE

  Wal, don't give up afore the ship goes down:
  It's a stiff gale, but Providence wun't drown;
  An' God wun't leave us yet to sink or swim,
  Ef we don't fail to du wut 's right by Him.
  This land o' ourn, I tell ye, 's gut to be
  A better country than man ever see.
  I feel my sperit swellin' with a cry
  Thet seems to say, "Break forth an' prophesy!"
  O strange New World, thet yet wast never young,
  Whose youth from thee by gripin' need was wrung,--
  Brown foundlin' o' the woods, whose baby-bed
  Was prowled round by the Injun's cracklin' tread,
  An' who grew'st strong thru shifts an' wants an' pains,
  Nussed by stern men with empires in their brains,
  Who saw in vision their young Ishmel strain
  With each hard hand a vassal ocean's mane,--
  Thou, skilled by Freedom an' by gret events
  To pitch new States ez Old-World men pitch tents,--
  Thou, taught by Fate to know Jehovah's plan
  Thet only manhood ever makes a man,
  An' whose free latch-string never was drawed in
  Aginst the poorest child o' Adam's kin,--
  The grave's not dug where traitor hands shall lay
  In fearful haste thy murdered corse away!
  I see----

      Jest here some dogs began to bark,
  So thet I lost old Concord's last remark:
  I listened long, but all I seemed to hear
  Was dead leaves goss'pin' on some birch-trees near;
  But ez they hedn't no gret things to say,
  An' said 'em often, I come right away,
  An', walkin' home'ards, jest to pass the time,
  I put some thoughts thet bothered me in rhyme:
  I hain't hed time to fairly try 'em on,
  But here they be,--it's


JONATHAN TO JOHN.

  It don't seem hardly right, John,
   When both my hands was full,
  To stump me to a fight, John,--
   Your cousin, tu, John Bull!
      Ole Uncle S. sez he, "I guess
      We know it now," sez he,
      "The lion's paw is all the law,
      Accordin' to J.B.,
      Thet's fit for you an' me!"

  Blood ain't so cool as ink, John:
   It's likely you'd ha' wrote,
  An' stopped a spell to think, John,
   _Arter_ they'd cut your throat?
      Ole Uncle S. sez he, "I guess
      He'd skurce ha' stopped," sez he,
      "To mind his p-s an' q-s, ef thet weasan'
      Hed b'longed to ole J.B.,
      Instid o' you an' me!"

  Ef _I_ turned mad dogs loose, John,
   On _your_ front-parlor stairs,
  Would it jest meet your views, John,
   To wait an' sue their heirs?
      Ole Uncle S. sez he, "I guess,
      I on'y guess," sez he,
      "Thet, ef Vattel on _his_ toes fell,
      'T would kind o' rile J.B.,
      Ez wal ez you an' me!"

  Who made the law thet hurts, John,
   _Heads I win,--ditto, tails?_
  "_J.B._" was on his shirts, John,
   Onless my memory fails.
      Ole Uncle S. sez he, "I guess,
      (I'm good at thet,)" sez he,
      "Thet sauce for goose ain't _jest_ the juice
      For ganders with J.B.,
      No more than you or me!"

  When your rights was our wrongs, John,
   You didn't stop for fuss,--
  Britanny's trident-prongs, John,
   Was good 'nough law for us.
      Ole Uncle S. sez he, "I guess,
      Though physic's good," sez he,
      "It doesn't foller thet he can swaller
      Prescriptions signed 'J.B.,'
      Put up by you an' me!"

  We own the ocean, tu, John:
   You mus'n't take it hard,
  Ef we can't think with you, John,
   It's jest your own back-yard.
      Ole Uncle S. sez he, "I guess,
      Ef _thet's_ his claim," sez he,
      "The fencin'-stuff 'll cost enough
      To bust up friend J.B.,
      Ez wal ez you an' me!"

  Why talk so dreffle big, John,
   Of honor, when it meant
  You didn't care a fig, John,
   But jest for _ten per cent_.?
      Ole Uncle S. sez he, "I guess,
      He's like the rest," sez he:
      "When all is done, it's number one
      Thet's nearest to J.B.,
      Ez wal ez you an' me!"

  We give the critters back, John,
   Coz Abram thought 't was right;
  It warn't your bullyin' clack, John,
   Provokin' us to fight.
      Ole Uncle S. sez he, "I guess
      We've a hard row," sez he,
      "To hoe jest now; but thet, somehow,
      May heppen to J.B.,
      Ez wal ez you an' me!"

  We ain't so weak an' poor, John,
   With twenty million people,
  An' close to every door, John,
   A school-house an' a steeple.
      Ole Uncle S. sez he, "I guess
      It is a fact," sez he,
      "The surest plan to make a Man
      Is, Think him so, J.B.,
      Ez much ez you or me!"

  Our folks believe in Law, John;
   An' it's for her sake, now,
  They've left the axe an' saw, John,
   The anvil an' the plough.
      Ole Uncle S. sez he, "I guess,
      Ef't warn't for law," sez he,
      "There'd be one shindy from here to Indy;
      An' thet don't suit J.B.
      (When't ain't 'twixt you an' me!)"

  We know we've gut a cause, John,
   Thet's honest, just, an' true;
  We thought't would win applause, John,
   Ef nowheres else, from you.
      Ole Uncle S. sez he, "I guess
      His love of right," sez he,
          "Hangs by a rotten fibre o' cotton:
          There's natur' in J.B.,
          Ez wal ez you an' me!"

  The South says, "_Poor folks down!_" John,
    An' "_All men up!_" say we,--
  "White, yaller, black, an' brown, John:
    Now which is your idee?"
          Ole Uncle S. sez he, "I guess,
          John preaches wal," sez he;
          "But, sermon thru, an' come to _du_,
          Why, there's the old J.B.
          A-crowdin' you an' me!"

  Shall it be love or hate, John?
    It's you thet's to decide;
  Ain't _your_ bonds held by Fate, John,
  Like all the world's beside?
          Ole Uncle S. sez he, "I guess
          Wise men forgive," sez he,
          "But not forget; an' some time yet
          Thet truth may strike J.B.,
          Ez wal ez you an' me!"

  God means to make this land, John,
    Clear thru, from sea to sea,
  Believe an' understand, John,
    The _wuth_ o' bein' free.
          Ole Uncle S. sez he, "I guess,
          God's price is high," sez he;
          "But nothin' else than wut He sells
          Wears long, an' thet J.B.
          May learn like you an' me!"

       *       *       *       *       *


REVIEWS AND LITERARY NOTICES.


_The Cloister and the Hearth; or, Maid, Wife, and Widow_. A
Matter-of-Fact Romance. By CHARLES READE, Author of "Never too Late to
Mend," etc., etc. New York: Rudd & Carleton. 8vo.

The novels of Charles Reade are generally marked not only by
individuality of genius, but by individualisms of egotism and caprice.
The latter provoke the reader almost as much as the former gives him
delight. It disturbs the least critical mind to find the keenest insight
in company with the loudest bravado, and the statement of a wise or
beautiful thought followed up by a dogmatic assertion of infallibility
as harsh as a slap on the face. The indisposition to recognize such a
genius comes from the fact that he irritates as well as stimulates the
minds he addresses. Everybody reads him, but the fooling he inspires is
made up of admiration and exasperation. The public is both delighted and
insulted. He not only does not attempt to conceal his contemptuous sense
of superiority to common men, but he absolutely screeches and bawls it
out. Fearful that the dull Anglo-Saxon mind cannot appreciate his finest
strokes, he emphasizes his inspirations not merely by Italics, but by
capitals, thus conveying his brightest wit and deepest contrivances by
a kind of typographic yell. Were there not a solid foundation of
observation, learning, genius, and conscience to his work, his egotistic
eccentricities would awake a tempest of hisses. Being, in reality,
superficial and not central, they are readily pardoned by discerning
critics. Even these, however, must object to his disposition to cluck or
crow, in a manner altogether unseemly, whenever he hits upon a thought
of more than ordinary delicacy or depth.

It is but just to say, in palliation of this fault, that Mr. Reade's
insolent tone is not peculiar to him. It characterizes almost every
prominent person who has attempted to mould the opinions of the age. We
find it in Macaulay, Carlyle, Ruskin, and Kingsley, as well as in Reade.
Modesty is not the characteristic of the genius of the nineteenth
century; and the last thing we look for in any powerful work of the
present day is toleration for other minds and opposing opinions.
Each capable person who puts in his thumb and pulls out a plum draws
instantly the same inference which occurred to the first explorer of
the Christmas-pie. Charles Reade has no reservation at all, and boldly
echoes Master Horner's sage conclusion.

"The Cloister and the Hearth," in spite of its faults, is really a great
book. It is a positive contribution to history as well as to romance. It
would be vain to point to any other volume which could convey to common
minds so clear and accurate a conception of European life in the
fifteenth century as this. The author has deeply studied the annals,
memoirs, and histories which record the peculiarities of that life, and
he has carried into the study a knowledge of those powers and passions
of human nature which are the same in every age. The result is a
"romance of history" which contains more essential truth than the most
labored histories; for the writer is a man who has both the heart to
feel and the imagination to conceive the realities of the time about
which he writes.

The characterization of the book is original, various, and powerful.
It ranges from the lowest hind to the most exquisite representative
of female tenderness and purity. The scenes of passion show a clear
conception of and a strong hold upon the emotional elements of
character, and a capacity to exhibit their most terrible workings
in language which seems identical with the feelings it so burningly
expresses. In vigor and vividness of description and narration the novel
excels any of Reade's previous books. The plot is about the same as that
of "The Good Fight," though the _dénouement_ is different. "The Cloister
and the Hearth," indeed, incorporates "The Good Fight" in its pages, but
the latter forms not more than a fourth of the extended work. Altogether
the romance must be classed among the best which have appeared during
the last twenty years.


_Lessons in Life_. A Series of Familiar Essays. By TIMOTHY TITCOMB. New
York: Charles Scribner, 16 mo.

Who is more popular than honest Timothy? Opening this, his latest
volume, we read on, a fly-leaf fronting the title-page that twenty-six
editions of the "Letters to Young People," fifteen editions each of
"Bitter-Sweet" and "Gold Foil," and thirteen editions of "Miss Gilbert's
Career" have gone the way of all good books. The author says, in his
modest preface to the "Lessons," that he can hardly pretend to have done
more than to organize and put into form the average thinking of those
who read his books, and be only claims for his essays that they possess
the quality of common sense. He herein pays a very high compliment to
the crowd which demands over the bookseller's counter so many thousands
of his volumes. Wisdom, admirably put, is not a commodity glutting the
market every day. We find in the pages of this new venture so many
healthy maxims and so much excellent advice, that we hope the volume
will spread itself farther and wider than any of its predecessors. This
wish fulfilled will give it no mean circulation. "The Ways of Charity,"
one of the papers in this volume, ought to be printed in tract form, and
scattered broadcast everywhere. And there are other articles in the book
quite as good as this.


_English Sacred Poetry of the Sixteenth, Seventeenth, Eighteenth, and
Nineteenth Centuries._ Selected and edited by ROBERT ARIS WILLMOTT, M.A.
Illustrated by Holman Hunt, John Gilbert, and others. London: Routledge
& Co. 4to.

Mr. Willmott has considerable reputation for judgment and taste as a
compiler. He knows a good poem afar off, and his chief pleasure seems
to lie in reproducing from old books the excellent things that time has
spared to us. His last contribution to the stock of elegant volumes is
this very handsome book of English Sacred Poetry. The illustrations are
by no means equally good, but the majority of them are satisfactory.
Delicious bits of English landscape scenery peep out along the pages, as
one turns the leaves of this beautiful collection. An old village church
rising among the graves of centuries, a bird's-nest snug and warm in the
boughs of a mossy tree, a group of old-time worshippers gathered on the
grass, a brook making its way through flower-enamelled banks, a shepherd
with his flock couched on the hill-side, and other similar scenes of
quiet and rest, abound in this volume. The printer and the binder have
produced as luxurious a specimen of their respective arts as we have
seen from the British holiday press.

       *       *       *       *       *


RECENT AMERICAN PUBLICATIONS

RECEIVED BY THE EDITORS OF THE ATLANTIC MONTHLY.


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Volumes. New York. Mason Brothers. 12mo. pp. viii., 376; 404. $2.00.

The Last Political Writings of General Nathaniel Lyon, U.S.A. With a
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Poems. By John G. Saxe. Complete in One Volume. Blue and Gold. Boston.
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Elijah, a Sacred Drama, and other Poems. By Rev. Robert Davidson, D.D.
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Works of Charles Dickens. Household Edition. Illustrated from Drawings
by F.O.C. Darley and John Gilbert. The Old Curiosity-Shop. In Three
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National Hymns: How they are Written, and how they are not Written. A
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A Manual of Elementary Geometrical Drawing, involving Three Dimensions.
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For Better, for Worse. A Love Story. From "Temple Bar." Philadelphia.
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Commentary on the Epistles to the Seven Churches in Asia. Revelation,
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York. C. Scribner. 12mo. pp. 3l2. $1.00.

Songs in Many Keys. By Oliver Wendell Holmes. Boston. Ticknor & Fields.
16mo. pp. x., 308. $1.25.

Lessons in Life. A Series of Familiar Essays. By Timothy Titcomb, Author
of "Letters to the Young," "Gold Foil," etc. New York. C. Scribner.
12mo. pp. 344. $1.00.

Wolfert's Roost, and other Papers. Now first collected. By Washington
Irving. Author's Revised Edition. New York. G.P. Putnam. 12mo. pp. 383,
46. $1.50.





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