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Title: The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 09, No. 53, March, 1862
Author: Various
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 09, No. 53, March, 1862" ***

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THE ATLANTIC MONTHLY.

A MAGAZINE OF LITERATURE, ART, AND POLITICS.


VOL. IX.--MARCH, 1862.--NO. LIII.



THE FRUITS OF FREE LABOR IN THE SMALLER ISLANDS OF THE BRITISH WEST
INDIES.


The emancipation of an enslaved race seems, at first thought, a most
uncertain and perilous undertaking. To do away with inherited and
constantly strengthening tendencies toward irresponsibility and
idleness,--to substitute the pleasure of activity or the distant good
from industry for the very palpable influence of compulsion,--to implant
forethought and alertness and ingenuity, where, before, labor was stolid
and sulky and unthinking,--to confer the habit of self-dependence and
the courage for unknown tasks on a people timid, childish, and
dependent,--to teach self-control in place of the custom of control by
masters, or by caprice and passion,--in a word, to make a free man out
of a born slave,--appears at first sight the most difficult task which
any legislator or reformer could ever attempt.

Leaving out of view all possible moral changes which might be induced by
time and patient labor on such a being, we should say beforehand that at
least economically--that is, regarding the production for the wants of
the world by the freed man--the experiment of emancipation would prove,
in all probability, a failure. We put it to the reader. Suppose that
you, an Anglo-American, not born a slave, had by some misfortune been
captured fifteen years since by an Algerine pirate, and during those
years, under the fear of lash and bayonet, had been vigorously adding to
the commodities of the world in the production of cotton. At length, in
some moment of Algerine sentiment for human rights, you are set free by
the government, and are enabled to possess a little farm of your own in
the African mountains. What would probably be your views as to the
economic duty of adding to that great benefaction to the human race, the
production of cotton? What would be your personal sentiments toward
cotton and all species of labor connected therewith? How, especially,
would you be apt to view the estate where you had spent so many
agreeable years, and the master for whom you had produced so
much without reward? Fancy an effort on his part to _hire_
you,--possibly even at lower wages than other laborers receive, in view
of your many obligations to him!

It is barely possible that you might prefer even the small farm,--where
you were producing nothing but "pumpkin" for the world, to increasing
the exports of Algeria on the old property, under the same master and at
half-wages. For some years at least, the world's production would not
probably be greatly assisted by you. A certain degree of idleness would
have a charm for a time, even to an Anglo-American, after such an
experience.

What shall we say, then, of an inferior race, slave-born, ignorant, and
undisciplined by moral influences, placed suddenly in such new and
strange circumstances? Could we reasonably expect that they would at
once labor under freedom as they did under slavery? Could we demand that
the properties which had been sprinkled with the sweat of their
unrequited toil for so many years, which possibly had witnessed their
sufferings under nameless wrongs, where the tone even of the now
labor-paying landlord must have something of the old ring of the
slave-master,--that these should be cultivated as eagerly as their own
little farms by freed men? Especially could we ask it, if the masters
undertook to exercise their old sway over political economy, and paid
less wages than the market-rate, and even these with irregularity?
Should we be rightfully shocked, if the products of these large estates
even entirely failed through want of labor? What else could we expect?

Suppose, still further, as years went by, the former masters, all the
wealthy and powerful classes of society, united in discouraging the
improvement and opposing the general education of this, the lowest and
poorest class. What would be the almost certain result?

If we should hear that such an emancipation was an economic failure, we
should not be in the least surprised. If we were told that the freed men
would not work on the old estates,--that the products were falling
off,--that the emancipated slaves were not willing to work at all,--that
they were idle, and were growing constantly more ignorant and corrupt in
morals, and useless to the world,--we should sigh, but say,--"It is the
natural retribution for injustice. These are the harvests of slavery."

But if--contrary to our expectation--the results of this emancipation
were entirely different: if the freed man produced more than the
slave,--if he was more industrious, more active, more laborious and
self-dependent,--if he even labored for his former master for hire,--if
the latter confessed that the hire of the free man was cheaper than the
ownership of the slave,--if tables of export and import showed that he
added far more to the wealth of the world than ever before,--if the
increasing price of land proved the efficiency of his industry,--if
independent freeholds were created in large numbers since
emancipation,--if additional churches and schools made evident the
improvement of character and the desire of advancement: we should be
obliged to say that there was but one explanation of this most happy and
unexpected improvement, namely,--that the human soul, by virtue of its
very nature and capacities, is somehow adapted to freedom, so that the
most imbruted and degraded is better and more useful, when he cares and
labors for himself, than when another utterly controls him.

_That the negro will not work, unless he is forced to_, is the
strong and almost invincible objection in the minds of multitudes of
persons to emancipation.

What, then, are the facts bearing on this important point? We propose,
under the guidance of candid observers and travellers, such as
Schomburg, Breen, Cochin, Burnley, and, best of all, Sewell, briefly to
examine a field where the experiment has been fairly tried, namely, the
smaller islands of the British West Indies. A full examination of the
larger island, Jamaica,--would of itself demand an entire article, or
even a volume.

The remark is often repeated by West Indian travellers, that no sweeping
conclusions on economical points can ever be true of the West Indies as
a whole,--that each island is distinct from the others, and to be judged
on principles which apply to itself alone. This important fact must be
borne in mind by the reader, in examining the question of the results of
emancipation in the West Indies.

In BARBADOES the governing peculiarities are the dense population to the
area, and the great numbers of the laboring class. The number to the
square mile is greater than in China, averaging eight hundred. This fact
alone placed a much greater power in the masters' hands after
emancipation, as the competition of labor must be so much more severe
than with a more sparse population.

With something of the perversity induced by slavery, the planters
maintained a species of land-tenure among their freed slaves which could
not but have a disastrous effect.

In the first years succeeding the act of emancipation, the tenant worked
for twenty per cent. below the market-rate of wages, and his service was
considered equivalent to the rent. Now he possesses a house and a
land-allotment on an estate for which he pays a stipulated rent; but,
_as a condition of renting_, he must give a certain number of days'
work at certain wages, generally from one-sixth to one-third lower than
the market-rate. The usual wages are twenty-four cents a day; by this
system of tenancy-at-will, the freed negro in Barbadoes must labor for
twenty cents.

What would be the natural results of such a system? Can we wonder at
such facts as Mr. Sewell quotes from a Tobago paper, in which the writer
"deplores the perverse selfishness of the laborers," (i.e. in buying
farms of their own,) and complains that "the laborers have large patches
of land under cultivation, and hire help at higher wages than the
estates can afford to pay," and otherwise oppress their former
benefactors? The remedy which the aggrieved correspondent suggests is
the immediate importation of Coolies.

The truth is, however, that, owing to the crowded population of
Barbadoes, the planters have had everything in their own hands, much
more than in other islands. In Trinidad or British Guiana the negroes
were not obliged by competition to submit to the obnoxious tenure; and
they soon found, where land was so cheap, that a path to independence
lay open before them in working their own little properties. The
planters became more stubborn and more rigid, and the result was in many
cases the absolute abandonment of large estates for want of labor.

The industry of the Barbadoes population is shown in the fact, that, out
of the 106,000 acres of the island, 100,000 are under cultivation,[A]
while the average price of land rises to the unprecedented height of
five hundred dollars an acre.

    [Footnote A: Schomburg.]

Notwithstanding the high price of land and the low rate of wages, the
freed slaves have increased the number of small proprietors with less
than five acres from 1100 to 3537[B] during the last fifteen years,--an
increase which alone testifies to the remarkable thrift of the
emancipated negro in Barbadoes.

    [Footnote B: Governor Hincks.]

Mr. Sewell has talked with all classes and conditions, and "none are
more ready to admit than the planters that the free laborer is a better,
more cheerful, and industrious workman than was ever the slave."

"The colored mechanics and artisans of Barbadoes," says the same author,
"are equal in general intelligence to the artisans and mechanics of any
part of the world equally remote from the great centres of civilization.
The peasantry will soon equal them, when education is more generally
diffused."

The surest evidences, however, on this question are those of figures.
Land has doubled in value on the island since emancipation.[C] Of the
increased value of estates, we quote, as an example, the case mentioned
in a published letter of Governor Hincks, January, 1858:--

    "As to the relative cost of slave and free labor in this colony,
    I can supply facts upon which the most implicit reliance can be
    placed. They have been furnished to me by the proprietor of an
    estate containing three hundred acres of land, and situated at a
    distance of about twelve miles from the shipping port. The
    estate referred to produced during slavery an annual average of
    140 hogsheads of sugar of the present weight, and required 230
    slaves. It is now worked by 90 free laborers: 60 adults, and 30
    under 16 years of age. Its average product during the last seven
    years has been 194 hogsheads. The total cost of labor has been
    £770 16s., or £3 19s. 2d. per hogshead of
    1,700 pounds. The average of pounds of sugar to each laborer
    during slavery was 1,043 pounds, and during freedom 3,660
    pounds. To estimate the cost of slave-labor, the value of 230
    slaves must be ascertained; and I place them at what would have
    been a low average,--£50 sterling each,--which would make the
    entire stock amount to £11,500. This, at six per cent. interest,
    which on such property is much too low an estimate, would give
    £690; cost of clothing, food, and medical attendance I estimate
    at £3 10s., making £805. Total cost, £1,495, or £10
    12s. per hogshead, while the cost of free labor on the
    same estate is under £4."

    [Footnote C: B.T. Young's Letter of January 12th, 1858, and
    other letters from planters, published in the _National
    Era_, August, 1858.]

In 1853, the French committee charged by the Governor of Martinique to
visit the island reported, that "in an agricultural and manufacturing
point of view the aspect of Barbadoes is dazzling."

Sugar is the most important export. The following were the amounts
exported before emancipation, according to Schomburg and Sewell:--

    Average export,        1720-1800,  23,000  hhds.
       "      "            1800-1830,  20,000   "
    Particular export,     1830,       22,769   "
    Particular export in
    year of emancipation,  1834,       27,318   "

(The weight of a hogshead of sugar, it should be noted, was only 12 cwt.
between 1826 and 1830; from 1830 to 1850, 14 cwt.; and now it is from 15
to 17 cwt.)

      Yield in             1852,    48,610  hhds.
         "                 1853,    38,316   "
         "                 1854,    44,492   "
         "                 1855,    39,692   "
         "                 1856,    43,552   "
         "                 1857,    38,858   "
         "                 1858,    50,778   "

    Average export,        1835-50,   26,000   "
       "      "            1851-58,   43,000   "

That is, an average more than double the export for ten years preceding
emancipation.

Besides sugar, other articles are exported now to the value of $100,000.
In addition, there is a large production for home-consumption, of such
articles as sweet potatoes, eddoes, yams, cassava-root, etc.

If imports are the true expression of a nation's economic
well-being,--as all sound political economists affirm,--then can
Barbadoes show most conclusively how much more profitable to a people is
freedom than chatteldom.

    Average imports,        1822-32,   £600,000
    Imports,                  1845,     682,358
      "                       1856,     840,000

The imports from America are increasing in rapid measure. Thus they were
in

    1854,   36,416   bbls.   flour.
     "       1,500    "      beef.
     "       9,438    "      pork.
     "      49,106    "      meal.

    1858,   79,766    "      flour.
     "       2,646    "      beef.
     "      12,196    "      pork.
     "      67,053    "      meal.

Under slavery, the value of American imports was not more than £60,000
per annum. Under freedom, it is from £300,000 to £400,000.

The shipping before emancipation (in 1832) numbered 689 vessels of
79,000 tons. In 1856, 966 vessels of 114,800 tons.

The population of Barbadoes is supposed to be now about 140,000, of whom
124,000 are blacks. Of these, only 22,000 are believed to be field
laborers, against 81,000, just before emancipation, of men, women, and
children, who labored in the field,--a fact which shows the aversion
slavery had implanted to laboring on the soil, as well as the indiscreet
policy of the planters. Yet, despite this decrease of the most
profitable kind of labor, so great is the advantage of freedom over
slavery, that the island has been enabled to make this prodigious
increase in production and wealth since emancipation,--more than
doubling its export of sugar, increasing its imports by $1,200,000,
quintupling its imports from America, and doubling the value of land.

The progress in education and morality has not been at all so rapid as
in wealth. The freed slave could not at once escape from the debasing
influences of years of bondage, and the planters have deliberately set
themselves against any system of popular education. Crimes against
property, Sewell says, are rife, especially thieving; petty acts of
anger and cruelty are also common, as well as offences against chastity;
while, on the other hand, crimes of violence are almost unknown. From
the last census it appears that more than half of the children born in
the island are illegitimate. This sad condition of morals Mr. Sewell
attributes principally to the imperfect education of the lowest
classes,--the schools being mostly church-schools, and somewhat
expensive. These schools, however, have increased from 27 in 1834, with
1,574 children, to 70 with 6,180 in 1857, and an infant school with
1,140; the children in Sunday-schools have increased in the same time
from 1,679 to 2,071.[D]

    [Footnote D: _Letter from the Bishop of Barbadoes_,
    February 23, 1858. It appears in the same letter that the
    church-attendants have increased from 5,000 in 1825 to 28,000 in
    1853.]

ST. VINCENT is generally considered by the passing traveller as another
example of the axiom that "the freed negro will not work," and of "the
melancholy fruits of emancipation."

The decline of the wealthier classes began before emancipation, and
continued after it. The planters were deeply in debt, and their estates
heavily mortgaged. Slavery there, as everywhere, wasted the means of the
masters, and exhausted the soil. When the day of freedom came, these
gentlemen, instead of prudently endeavoring to retain the laborers on
their estates, offered them lower wages than were paid on the
neighboring islands. The consequence was, that the negroes preferred to
buy their own little properties or to hire farms in the interior, and
let the great estates find labor as they could. Mr. Sewell states that
he inquired much in regard to the abandoned sugar-estates, and never
found one which was deserted because labor could not be procured at fair
cost; the more general reason of their abandonment was want of capital,
or debt incurred previously to emancipation. That the condition of the
island is not caused by the idleness of the negro is shown by the facts,
that since emancipation houses have been built by freed slaves for
themselves and their families, containing 8,209 persons; that from
10,000 to 12,000 acres have been brought under cultivation by the
proprietors of small properties of from one to five acres; that the
export of arrowroot (which is one of the small articles raised by the
negroes on their own grounds) has risen from 60,000 pounds before
emancipation to 1,352,250 pounds in 1857, valued at $750,000, and the
cocoa-nut export has also increased largely.

The export of sugar has declined as follows:--Under slavery, (1831-34,)
it was 204,095 cwt.; under apprenticeship, (1835-38,) 194,228; under
free labor, (1839-45,) 127,364 cwt.; in 1846, 129,870 cwt.; in 1847,
175,615 cwt.[E]

    [Footnote E: Cochin's _L'Abolition de l'Esclavage_.]

The moral condition of the island seems most favorable. In a population
of 30,000, there are _no paupers_, and 8,000 is the average
church-attendance, while the average school-attendance is 2,000. The
criminal records show a remarkable obedience to law; there being only
seven convictions in 1857 for assault, six for felony, and 162 for minor
offences. The proportion under slavery was far greater.

GRENADA presented clear evidences of decline long before emancipation.
The slave-population decreased as follows:--

    1779,      35,000  slaves.
    1827,      24,442    "
    1837,      23,641    "

this last number being that for which compensation was made. The total
value of all the exports in 1776 was about $3,000,000; in 1823, less
than $2,000,000; in 1831, a little over $1,000,000.

The sugar export declined from 24,000,000 pounds in 1776 to 19,000,000
pounds in 1831: or more exactly, under slavery, (1831-34,) it was
193,156 cwt.; during apprenticeship, 161,308 cwt.; under free labor,
(1839-45,) 87,161 cwt.; in 1846, 76,931 cwt.; in 1847, 104,952 cwt.:
showing in the last year a considerable increase.

The policy of the Grenadian planters in offering low wages--the rate
being from 5s. to 5s. 6d. a week--has driven the negroes to their own
little properties, and has caused a diminution in the production of
sugar on the large organized estates. Yet the production of other
smaller articles has greatly increased, and the general well-being of
the people is much advanced.

Before 1830 there were no small freeholders; now there are over 2,000.
Nearly 7,000 persons live in villages, built since emancipation, and
4,573 pay direct taxes.

Last year there were only 60 paupers on the island, and those were aged
and sick persons; only 18 were convicted of felony, 6 of theft, and 2 of
other offences. There is an average church-attendance of 8,000, and a
school-attendance of 1,600. In 1857, out of 80,000 acres, 43,800 were in
a state of cultivation, and 3,800 acres were added to the cultivation of
the previous year.

The sugar export of 1857 was only half that of 1831, while the aggregate
value of all the exports had risen from £153,175 to £218,352. The
imports had risen in the same time from £77,000 to £109,000.[F]

    [Footnote F: Sewell's _Ordeal of Free Labor_, etc.]

TOBAGO also showed a gradual decline before emancipation; and since that
event, the production of sugar has fallen off as follows: In 1831-34 it
was 99,579 cwt.; 1835-38, 89,332 cwt.; 1839-1845, 52,962 cwt.; 1846,
38,882 cwt.; 1847, 69,240 cwt. One great cause of this decline is the
drawing off of capital from the old, worn-out lands to the fresh, rich,
and profitable culture of Trinidad, where land is very cheap. Moreover,
the climate of Tobago is not entirely favorable to sugar.

Yet a great improvement is manifest among the people. Small proprietors
have much increased; even the field-hands now possess houses and lands
of their own. There are 2,500 freeholders, and 2,800 tax-payers. The
average church-attendance is 41 per cent, of the whole population; the
average school-attendance, 1,600. Commerce is rapidly advancing. The
imports have risen from £50,307 in 1854 to £59,994 in 1856; and the
exports from £49,754 to £79,789 in the same time.

In ST. LUCIA the planters have followed a more wise and liberal policy
towards the emancipated slaves. Better wages have been offered; liberal
inducements have been held out to the negroes to cultivate the estates;
efforts have been put forth to improve the social and moral condition of
the laboring class. Tenancy-at-will is unknown, and the _mélairie_
system (laboring on shares) has been introduced. In other words, the
rich and educated have manifested some kind of humane interest for the
laborers, and in return the latter have worked well and cheerfully.

Yet, in St. Lucia, as in so many other West India colonies, the
financial condition of the planters, at the time of emancipation, was
exceedingly embarrassed: their registered debts amounting in 1829,
according to Breen, to £1,189,965.

The export of sugar is stated in Cochin's carefully prepared tables as
follows: In the period of slavery, (1831-34,) 57,549 cwt.; during the
apprenticeship, (1835-38,) 51,427 cwt.; under free labor, (1839-45,)
57,070 cwt; in 1846, 63,566 cwt.; in 1847, 88,370 cwt.

The imports have not risen till recently, and indicate a greater
consumption of articles grown on the island. In 1833,[G] they were in
value, £108,076; in 1840, £114,537; in 1843, £70,340; in 1851,[H]
£68,881; in 1857, £90,064.

    [Footnote G: Breen.]

    [Footnote H: Sewell.]

Of the total value of exports Breen gives tables only to 1843. In that
year, they were £96,290 against £71,580 in 1833.

Since emancipation, 2,045 of the negroes have become freeholders, and
4,603 pay direct taxes.

In TRINIDAD, the question of the effects of emancipation has some
peculiar elements. The island is a very large, fertile country, with a
sparse population, where of course land is cheap and labor dear. Out of
its 1,287,000 acres,[I] only some 30,000 are cultivated. Its whole
population is but about 80,000, of whom the colored number near 50,000.
Emancipation would work upon such a country somewhat as it might on
Texas, for instance. There were 11,000 field-hands on the estates when
slavery was abolished. The planters undertook to maintain or introduce
the tenancy-at-will system, and to reduce the wages below the
market-rate. Whenever the negroes retired from the estate-work, they
were summarily ejected from their houses and lands, and their little
gardens were destroyed. The natural effect of such an injudicious policy
was, that the negro preferred squatting on the government lands about
him, or buying a small, cheap plot, or hiring a farm, to remaining under
the planters, and soon some 7,000 laborers had left the estates.

    [Footnote I: Burnley's _Trinidad_.]

Many associated the idea of servitude with labor in the fields, and,
abandoning agriculture, took to trade in the towns and villages, which
they still pursue. Some 4,000 remained on the estates, and have never
progressed, like their more independent brethren. The criminal records
show a greater proportion of crime among them than among any other
class. Of the others, five-sixths became proprietors of farms from one
to five acres each, and 4,500 hire themselves occasionally to the
estates every year.

One effect of the unfortunate contentions between capital and labor in
the island has been, that no general system of public instruction was
introduced till recently; education was entirely neglected: though now,
under the new system, the people will receive much more general
instruction, for which purpose $20,000 were appropriated in 1859.

The public morality under such circumstances is of course of a low
order. Out of 136 children born in Port-of-Spain, 100 were illegitimate.
The convictions in the island for felony were 63; for misdemeanor, 865;
for debt, 230.

The records of material progress show a much better result. The sugar
cultivation in the last twenty years has nearly doubled, and the land in
cane has risen from 15,000 to 29,000 acres. The production of cocoa has
increased, though in a less proportion; while the production and
consumption of home necessaries and luxuries have immensely advanced.
Great practical improvements are being made everywhere, such as the
substitution of steam-power for cattle and water-power. The export of
sugar,[J] especially since the introduction of Coolie labor, has
advanced rapidly. Before emancipation the highest export was 30,000
hhds., equal to 24,000 hhds. at present weight. Late export,--

    1854,  27,987  hhds.     1857,  35,523  hhds.
    1855,  31,693   "        1858,  37,000   "
    1856,  34,411   "        1859,  40,000   "

    [Footnote J: Cochin's tables give the sugar export of Trinidad
    as follows: Under slavery, (1831-34,) 316,338 cwt.; during
    apprenticeship, (1835-38,) 295,787 cwt.; under free labor,
    (1839-45,) 292,023 cwt.; in 1846, 353,293 cwt.; in 1847, 393,537
    cwt.]

The molasses trade shows a similar increase. Cocoa, which is entirely a
product of negro labor, has advanced from 3,200,000 lbs. before
emancipation to 5,200,000 lbs. in 1859.

_Leeward Islands._ ANTIGUA was almost the first of the British West
Indies to emancipate her slaves, and this she had the wisdom to do
summarily and at once, without probation or apprenticeship. The
consequences have been most happy. She has escaped the vexations and
heart-burnings of the other colonies, and has established a better
relation between employers and employed. With a small area, a soil not
very rich, and a climate not especially adapted to sugar-growing, she
has notwithstanding taken a prominent position among the West India
islands. The prosperity of the island under free labor has been most
encouraging. Of the 70,000 acres, 38,000 are owned by large proprietors,
whose estates average 320 acres each. Its only export, with the
exception of a little arrow-root, is sugar; of this, the largest crop on
record (20,000 hogsheads) has been obtained since the slaves were
emancipated. Ten years before emancipation, the average annual export,
as given by Sewell, was 12,500 hogsheads, obtained by a field-force of
18,320 hands, of whom one-third were non-effective. From 1840 to 1850,
the average was 13,000; from 1850 to 1860, 13,500, of superior weight,
with a field-force of 6,000.

The export of sugar, according to Cochin, has been as follows: 1831-34,
180,802 cwt.; 1835-38, 143,878 cwt.; 1839-45, 189,406 cwt.; 1846,
102,644 cwt.; 1847, 200,201 cwt.

Besides this crop, the small proprietors raise arrow-root and
provisions.

The imports show the advancing prosperity of the island. From 1822 to
1832, they amounted to £130,000, of which £40,000 were from the United
States; in 1856, under free labor, they reached £266,369, of which
£106,586 were from the United States,--the American imports being mostly
articles of food. This remarkable increase of importations, it should be
observed, is not due to an increase of population, as the population of
Antigua is less now than it was twenty years since.

In commerce, it appears that ten years before emancipation, 340 vessels
of 30,000 tons entered the ports of the island every year; in 1858,
there were 688 of 42,534 tons.

Labor costs less in Antigua than in the other islands, wages being 20
cts. a day; while in Barbadoes they are 24 cts., and in Trinidad 30 cts.
The production of sugar is more profitable, as respects the labor, than
in the slave-islands,--costing but 1-1/5 cts. per lb.

Though the average price of land is fifty dollars an acre, the freed
negroes seldom squat on the public lands, but buy little farms of their
own. In 1858, the emancipated slaves had built, since 1834, 5187 houses,
in which 15,644 people resided. There were that year only 299 paupers in
the whole island. Education and morality had advanced. Owing to the wise
liberality of the planters, nearly _one-third_ of the whole revenue
of the island (£10,000) was appropriated to educational, charitable, and
religious purposes. The great proportion of the youth attend school. At
the time of emancipation, the whole number of scholars in all the
schools was 1886; in 1858, there were 52 schools with 4467 scholars, and
37 Sunday-schools with 6418. The number of illegitimate births was only
53 per cent., which is a much more favorable proportion than exists in
the other islands.

The planters all agree that emancipation has been an entire success. The
only drawback is a somewhat singular one, and illustrates the dependent
habits which slavery generates. Under their masters, the slaves were
always provided with sufficient medical attendance; but when free, they
had not the means or were not prudent enough to secure this, and the
consequence has been a great mortality of children, so that the births
now scarcely exceed the deaths.

An intelligent English traveller, writing on "Antigua and the Antiguans"
in 1844, says in regard to the question, whether the freed negro will
work, that he has often observed, when a piece of land was to be
_holed_ for sugar-cane by task-work, the negroes rising by one or
two o'clock in the morning during moonlight, going to the field and
accomplishing a usual day's work (300 cane-holes) by five or six o'clock
in the forenoon; then, after resting a short time, they were prepared
for another task, which they completed; and still had some hours left
for their own provision-grounds. When the heat is considered, and the
labor of digging one cane-hole, (a trench three or four feet square and
one foot deep,) we may imagine what the work of opening 600 in a day
must be. The same author states that plantations which could not find a
purchaser before emancipation are now worth £10,000. Another writer,
quoted by Cochin, says in 1845, with reference to the efficiency of
labor of the Antiguan negroes, and their employment of machinery, "The
colony has made this year, with a field-force of less than 10,000, a
harvest almost equal to that which has employed 30,000 laborers in
Barbadoes."

Of the other Leeward Islands, Sewell says, (p. 164,) "The condition of
the free peasant rises infinitely above that of the slave. In all, the
people are more happy and contented; in all, they are more civilized; in
all, there are more provisions grown for home-consumption than ever were
raised in the most flourishing days of slavery; in all, the imports have
largely increased; in all, a very important trade has sprung up with the
United States; from all, there is an exportation of minor articles which
were not cultivated twenty years ago, and which, in estimating the
industry of a people under a free system, are often most unjustly
overlooked. These are considerations from which the planter turns with
contemptuous indifference. Sugar, and sugar alone, is his dream, his
argument, his faith." Yet the following table of exports of sugar shows
that even in that free labor has been successful.

    _Comparative Table of Sugar Exportations in Pounds from the
    Leeward Islands._[K]

        Islands.    Annual average from    Exports in
                       1820 to 1832.          1858.
        Antigua,      20,580,000 lbs.      26,174,000 lbs.
        Dominica,      6,000,000            6,263,000
        Nevis,         5,000,000            4,400,000
        Montserrat,    1,840,000            1,308,000
        St. Kitt's,   12,000,000           10,000,000
                      ----------           ----------
              Total,  45,420,000 lbs.      48,145,000 lbs.


    _Table of Imports in Value._

        Islands.  Annual average value   Value of imports
                   from 1820 to 1832.       in 1858.
        Antigua,       £130,000             £266,364
        Dominica,        62,000               84,906
        Nevis,           28,000               36,721
        Montserrat,      18,000               17,844
        St. Kitt's,      60,000              109,000
                       --------             --------
              Total,   £298,000             £514,835

    Excess of sugar exportations under free labor, 2,725,000 lbs.
    Excess of imports with free labor, £216,835

    [Footnote K: Sewell's _Ordeal of Free Labor_, etc.]

Of GUIANA, a resident writes,--"The portion of the native population
which in other countries constitutes the working class is estimated here
at 70,000 souls. They present the singular spectacle, which we can
contemplate in no other part of the world, of a people hardly escaped
from slavery, enjoying already properties in land and houses for which
they have paid nearly £100,000."

In a single county, (Berbice,) says Cochin, there had been built in
1843, since emancipation, 1184 houses, and 7,000 additional acres had
been put under cultivation. In the whole colony there were 15,906 landed
proprietors among the negroes who had become such since 1834. The
imports, according to Lord Stanley, during the last six years of
slavery, were about $13,915,000; during apprenticeship, about
$17,890,000; in the first year of liberty, over $20,000,000; in the
second year, about $17,463,670.

       *       *       *       *       *

We have given, perhaps, a rather dry account of the effects of
emancipation on a portion of the British West Indies. But it should be
remembered that this question, as it now stands before the world, is
mainly a question of figures. The great and damning argument against
emancipation is the supposed experience of the West Indies, _that the
negro will not work except under slavery_. The evidences of labor are
in part given by figures: the number of freeholds, the price of land,
the amount of the productions, the quantity consumed, and the quantity
exported. The amount of imports, too, shows the desire and the means of
the people to procure foreign commodities. By these plain and
irrefutable evidences, we have proved that free labor in the Windward
Islands, Trinidad, the Leeward Islands, and Guiana has "paid" much
better than slave labor.

As Mr. Sewell has summed it up with reference to four colonies,--British
Guiana, Barbadoes, Trinidad, and Antigua,--the total annual export of
sugar before emancipation was 187,300,000 pounds, while now it is
265,000,000 pounds; showing an advantage under free labor of
_seventy-seven million, seven hundred thousand pounds_! The total
imports of the same colonies amounted before emancipation to $8,840,000;
they are now $14,600,000; showing an excess of imports under free labor,
as compared with slave labor, of the value of _five million, seven
hundred and sixty thousand dollars_!

It is a remarkable experience of the West Indies, to be seriously
considered in the settlement of our American problem, that the islands
which abolished slavery the most summarily and entirely succeeded the
best after emancipation. Half-freedom, both there, and in Russia during
the last year, has proved a source of jealousy to the freedman and of
annoyance to the master, and ultimately, in the West Indies, interfered
with production, and the permanent welfare of the islands.

It is true, that the moral curse of slavery upon the habits of the
people is not so easily removed, and that we do not behold as favorable
a moral and educational condition of the West India Islands as could be
desired. But it should be remembered how large a share of the blame for
this falls now upon the wealthier classes, who are opposed or
indifferent to the education of the lower. Even these evils are being
gradually removed, and emancipation is establishing itself, not merely
as a grand act of justice, wisely done, but as a successful moral and
economical reform, whose fruits are to be seen in the good morals,
industry, and increasing wealth of many happy communities.

       *       *       *       *       *



A STORY OF TO-DAY.

PART VI.


It was later than Holmes thought: a gray, cold evening. The streets in
that suburb were lonely: he went down them, the new-fallen snow dulling
his step. It had covered the peaked roofs of the houses too, and they
stood in listening rows, white and still. Here and there a pale flicker
from the gas-lamps struggled with the ashy twilight. He met no one:
people had gone home early on Christmas eve. He had no home to go to:
pah! there were plenty of hotels, he remembered, smiling grimly. It was
bitter cold: he buttoned up his coat tightly, as he walked slowly along
as if waiting for some one,--wondering dully if the gray air were any
colder or stiller than the heart hardly beating under the coat. Well,
men had conquered Fate, conquered life and love, before now. It grew
darker: he was pacing now slowly in the shadow of a long low wall
surrounding the grounds of some building. When he came near the gate, he
would stop and listen: he could have heard a sparrow on the snow, it was
so still. After a while he did hear footsteps, crunching the snow
heavily; the gate clicked as they came out: it was Knowles, and the
clergyman whom Dr. Cox did not like; Vandyke was his name.

"Don't bolt the gate," said Knowles; "Miss Howth will be out presently."

They sat down on a pile of lumber near by, waiting, apparently. Holmes
went up and joined them, standing in the shadow of the lumber, talking
to Vandyke. He did not meet him, perhaps, once in six months; but he
believed in the man, thoroughly.

"I've just helped Knowles build a Christmas-tree in yonder,--the House
of Refuge, you know. He could not tell an oak from an arbor-vitæ, I
believe."

Knowles was in no mood for quizzing.

"There are other things I don't know," he said, gloomily, recurring to
some subject Holmes had interrupted. "The House is going to the Devil,
Charley, headlong."

"There's no use in saying no," said the other; "you'll call me a lying
diviner."

Knowles did not listen.

"Seems as if I was to go groping and stumbling through the world like
some forsaken Cyclops with his eye out, dragging down whatever I
touched. If there was anything to hold by, anything certain!"

Vandyke looked at him gravely, but did not answer; rose, and walked
indolently up and down to keep himself warm. A lithe, slow figure, a
clear face with delicate lips, and careless eyes that saw everything:
the face of a man quick to learn and slow to teach.

"There she comes!" said Knowles, as the lock of the gate rasped.

Holmes had heard the slow step in the snow long before. A small woman
came out and went down the silent street into the road beyond. Holmes
kept his back turned to her, lighting his cigar; the other men watched
her eagerly.

"What do you think, Vandyke?" demanded Knowles. "How will she do?"

"Do for what?"--resuming his lazy walk. "You talk as if she were a
machine. It is the way with modern reformers. Men are so many ploughs
and harrows to work on 'the classes.' Do for what?"

Knowles flushed hotly.

"The work the Lord has left for her to do. Do you mean to say there is
none to do,--you, pledged to missionary labor?"

The young man's face colored.

"I know this street needs paving terribly, Knowles; but I don't see a
boulder in your hands. Yet the great Taskmaster does not despise the
pavers. He did not give you the spirit and understanding for paving, eh,
is that it? How do you know He gave this Margaret Howth the spirit and
understanding of a reformer? There may be higher work for her to do."

"Higher!" The old man stood aghast. "I know your creed, then,--that the
true work for a man or a woman is that which develops their highest
nature?"

Vandyke laughed.

"You have a creed-mania, Knowles. You have a confession of faith
ready-made for everybody, but yourself. I only meant for you to take
care what you do. That woman looks as the Prodigal Son might have done
when he began to be in want, and would fain have fed himself with the
husks that the swine did eat."

Knowles got up moodily.

"Whose work is it, then?" he muttered, following the men down the
street; for they walked on. "The world has waited six thousand years for
help. It comes slowly,--slowly, Vandyke; even through your religion."

The young man did not answer: looked up, with quiet, rapt eyes, through
the silent city, and the clear gray beyond. They passed a little church
lighted up for evening service: as if to give a meaning to the old man's
words, they were chanting the one anthem of the world, the _Gloria in
Excelsis_. Hearing the deep organ-roll, the men stopped outside to
listen: it heaved and sobbed through the night, as if bearing up to God
the pain and wrong of countless aching hearts, then was silent, and a
single voice swept over the moors in a long, lamentable cry:--"Thou that
takest away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us!"

The men stood silent, until the hush was broken by a low murmur:--"For
Thou only art holy." Holmes had taken off his hat, unconscious that he
did it; he put it on slowly, and walked on. What was it that Knowles
had said to him once about mean and selfish taints on his divine soul?
"For Thou only art holy": if there were truth in that!

"How quiet it is!" he said, as they stopped to leave him. It was,--a
breathless quiet; the great streets of the town behind them were
shrouded in snow; the hills, the moors, the prairie swept off into the
skyless dark, a gray and motionless sea lit by a low watery moon. "The
very earth listens," he said.

"Listens for what?" said the literal old Doctor.

"I think it listens always," said Vandyke, his eye on fire. "For its
King--that shall be. Not as He came before. It has not long to wait now:
the New Year is not far off."

"I've no faith in folding your hands, waiting for it; nor have you
either, Charley," growled Knowles. "There's an infernal lot of work to
be done before it comes, I fancy. Here, let me light my cigar."

Holmes bade them good-night, laughing, and struck into the by-road
through the hills. He shook hands with Vandyke before he went,--a thing
he scarce ever did with anybody. Knowles noticed it, and, after he was
out of hearing, mumbled out some sarcasm at "a minister of the gospel
consorting with a cold, silent scoundrel like that!" Vandyke listened to
his scolding in his usual lazy way, and they went back into town.

The road Holmes took was rutted deep with wagon-wheels, not easily
travelled; he walked slowly therefore, being weak, stopping now and then
to gather strength. He had not counted the hours until this day, to be
balked now by a little loss of blood. The moon was nearly down before he
reached the Cloughton hills: he turned there into a narrow path which he
remembered well. Now and then he saw the mark of a little shoe in the
snow,--looking down at it with a hot panting in his veins and a strange
flash in his eye, as he walked on steadily.

There was a turn in the path at the top of the hill, a sunken wall, with
a broad stone from which the wind had blown the snow. This was the
place. He sat down on the stone, resting. Just there she had stood,
clutching her little fingers behind her, when he came up and threw back
her hood to look in her face: how pale and worn it was, even then! He
had not looked at her to-night: he would not, if he had been dying, with
those men standing there. He stood alone in the world with this little
Margaret. How those men had carped, and criticized her, chattered of the
duties of her soul! Why, it was his, it was his own, softer and fresher.
There was not a glance with which they followed the weak little body in
its poor dress that he had not seen, and savagely resented. They
measured her strength? counted how long the bones and blood would last
in their House of Refuge? There was not a morsel of her flesh that was
not pure and holy in his eyes. His Margaret? He chafed with an
intolerable fever to make her his, but for one instant, as she had been
once. Now, when it was too late. For he went back over every word he had
spoken that night, forcing himself to go through with it,--every cold,
poisoned word. It was a fitting penance. "There is no such thing as love
in real life": he had told her that! How he had stood, with all the
power of his "divine soul" in his will, and told her,--he,--a man,--that
he put away her love from him then, forever! He spared himself
nothing,--slurred over nothing; spurned himself, as it were, for the
meanness, the niggardly selfishness in which he had wallowed that night.
How firm he had been! how kind! how masterful!--pluming himself on his
man's strength, while he held her in his power as one might hold an
insect, played with her shrinking woman's nature, and trampled it under
his feet, coldly and quietly! She was in his way, and he had put her
aside. How the fine subtile spirit had risen up out of its agony of
shame, and scorned him! How it had flashed from the puny frame standing
there in the muddy road despised and jeered at, and calmly judged him!
He might go from her as he would, toss her off like a worn-out
plaything, but he could not blind her: let him put on what face he would
to the world, whether they called him a master among men, or a miser,
or, as Knowles did to-night after he turned away, a scoundrel, this girl
laid her little hand on his soul with an utter recognition: she alone.
"She knew him for a better man than he knew himself that night": he
remembered the words.

The night was growing murky and bitingly cold: there was no prospect on
the snow-covered hills, or the rough road at his feet with its pools of
ice-water, to bring content into his face, or the dewy light into his
eyes; but they came there, slowly, while he sat thinking. Some old
thought was stealing into his brain, perhaps, fresh and warm, like a
soft spring air,--some hope of the future, in which this child-woman
came close to him and near. It was an idle dream, only would taunt him
when it was over, but he opened his arms to it: it was an old friend; it
had made him once a purer and better man than he could ever be again. A
warm, happy dream, whatever it may have been: the rugged, sinister face
grew calm and sad, as the faces of the dead change when loving tears
fall on them.

He sighed wearily: the homely little hope was fanning into life stagnant
depths of desire and purpose, stirring his resolute ambition. Too late?
Was it too late? Living or dead she was his, though he should never see
her face, by some subtile power that had made them one, he knew not when
nor how. He did not reason now,--abandoned himself, as morbid men only
do, to this delirious hope, simple and bonny, of a home, and cheerful
warmth, and this woman's love fresh and eternal: a pleasant dream at
first, to be put away at pleasure. But it grew bolder, touched
under-deeps in his nature of longing and intense passion; all that he
knew or felt of power or will, of craving effort, of success in the
world, drifted into this dream and became one with it. He stood up, his
vigorous frame starting into a nobler manhood, with the consciousness of
right,--with a willed assurance, that, the first victory gained, the
others should follow.

It was late; he must go on; he had not meant to sit idling by the
road-side. He went through the fields, his heavy step crushing the snow,
a dry heat in his blood, his eye intent, still, until he came within
sight of the farm-house; then he went on, cool and grave, in his
ordinary port.

The house was quite dark; only a light in one of the lower windows,--the
library, he thought. The broad field he was crossing sloped down to the
house, so that, as he came nearer, he saw the little room quite plainly
in the red glow of the fire within, the curtains being undrawn. He had a
keen eye; did not fail to see the marks of poverty about the place, the
gateless fences, even the bare room with its worn and patched carpet:
noted it all with a triumphant gleam of satisfaction. There was a black
shadow passing and repassing the windows: he waited a moment looking at
it, then came more slowly towards them, intenser heats smouldering in
his face. He would not surprise her; she should be as ready as he was
for the meeting. If she ever put her pure hand in his again, it should
be freely done, and of her own good-will.

She saw him as he came up on the porch, and stopped, looking out, as if
bewildered,--then resumed her walk, mechanically. What it cost her to
see him again he could not tell: her face did not alter. It was lifeless
and schooled, the eyes looking straight forward always, indifferently.
Was this his work? If he had killed her outright, it would have been
better than this.

The windows were low: it had been his old habit to go in through them,
and he now went up to one unconsciously. As he opened it, he saw her
turn away for an instant; then she waited for him, entirely tranquil,
the clear fire shedding a still glow over the room, no cry or shiver of
pain to show how his coming broke open the old wound. She smiled even,
when he leaned against the window looking, with a careless welcome.

Holmes stopped, confounded. It did not suit him,--this. If you know a
man's nature, you comprehend why. The bitterest reproach or a proud
contempt would have been less galling than this gentle indifference. His
hold had slipped from off the woman, he believed. A moment before he had
remembered how he had held her in his arms, touched her cold lips, and
then flung her off,--he had remembered it, his every nerve shrinking
with remorse and unutterable tenderness: now--! The utter quiet of her
face told more than words could do. She did not love him; he was nothing
to her. Then love was a lie. A moment before he could have humbled
himself in her eyes as low as he lay in his own, and accepted her pardon
as a necessity of her enduring, faithful nature: now the whole strength
of the man sprang into rage and mad desire of conquest.

He came gravely across the room, holding out his hand with his old quiet
control. She might be cold and grave as he, but underneath he knew there
was a thwarted hungry spirit,--a strong fine spirit as dainty Ariel. He
would sting it to life, and tame it: it was his.

"I thought you would come, Stephen," she said, simply, motioning him to
a chair.

Could this automaton be Margaret? He leaned on the mantel-shelf, looking
down with a cynical sneer.

"Is that the welcome? Why, there are a thousand greetings for this time
of love and good words you might have chosen. Besides, I have come back
ill and poor,--a beggar perhaps. How do women receive such,--generous
women? Is there no formula? no hand-shaking? nothing more? remembering
that I was once--not indifferent to you."

He laughed. She stood still and grave as before.

"Why, Margaret, I have been down near death since that night."

He thought her lips grew gray, but she looked up clear and steady.

"I am glad you did not die. Yes, I can say that. As for hand-shaking, my
ideas may be peculiar as your own."

"She measures her words," he said, as to himself; "her very eye-light is
ruled by decorum; she is a machine, for work. She has swept her child's
heart clean of anger and revenge, even scorn for the wretch that sold
himself for money. There was nothing else to sweep out, was
there?"--bitterly,--"no friendships, such as weak women nurse and coddle
into being,--or love, that they live in, and die for sometimes, in a
silly way?"

"Unmanly!"

"No, not unmanly. Margaret, let us be serious and calm. It is no time to
trifle or wear masks. That has passed between us which leaves no room
for sham courtesies."

"There needs none,"--meeting his eye unflinchingly. "I am ready to meet
you and hear your farewell. Dr. Knowles told me your marriage was near
at hand. I knew you would come, Stephen. You did before."

He winced,--the more that her voice was so clear of pain.

"Why should I come? To show you what sort of a heart I have sold for
money? Why, you know, little Margaret. You can reckon up its deformity,
its worthlessness, on your cool fingers. You could tell the serene and
gracious lady who is chaffering for it what a bargain she has
made,--that there is not in it one spark of manly honor or true love.
Don't venture too near it in your coldness and prudence. It has tiger
passions I will not answer for. Give me your hand, and feel how it pants
like a hungry fiend. It will have food, Margaret."

She drew away the hand he grasped, and stood back in the shadow.

"What is it to me?"--in the same measured voice.

Holmes wiped the cold drops from his forehead, a sort of shudder in his
powerful frame. He stood a moment looking into the fire, his head
dropped on his arm.

"Let it be so," he said at last, quietly. "The worn old heart can gnaw
on itself a little longer. I have no mind to whimper over pain."

Something that she saw on the dark sardonic face, as the red gleams
lighted it, made her start convulsively, as if she would go to him; then
controlling herself, she stood silent. He had not seen the
movement,--or, if he saw, did not heed it. He did not care to tame her
now. The firelight flashed and darkened, the crackling wood breaking the
dead silence of the room.

"It does not matter," he said, raising his head, laying his arm over his
strong chest unconsciously, as if to shut in all complaint. "I had an
idle fancy that it would be good on this Christmas night to bare the
secrets of crime and selfishness hidden in here to you,--to suffer your
pure eyes to probe the sorest depths: I thought perhaps they would have
a blessing power. It was an idle fancy. What is my want or crime to
you?"

The answer came slowly, but it did come.

"Nothing to me."

She tried to meet the gaunt face looking down on her with a proud
sadness,--did meet it at last with her meek eyes.

"No, nothing to you. There is no need that I should stay longer, is
there? You made ready to meet me, and have gone through your part well."

"It is no part. I speak God's truth to you as I can."

"I know. There is nothing more for us to say to each other In this
world, then, except good-night. Words--polite words--are bitterer than
death, sometimes. If ever we happen to meet, that courteous smile on
your face will be enough to speak--God's truth for you. Shall we say
good-night now?"

"If you will."

She drew farther into the shadow, leaning on a chair.

He stopped, some sudden thought striking him.

"I have a whim," he said, dreamily, "that I would like to satisfy. It
would be a trifle to you: will you grant it?--for the sake of some old
happy day, long ago?"

She put her hand up to her throat; then it fell again.

"Anything you wish, Stephen," she said, gravely.

"Yes. Come nearer, then, and let me see what I have lost. A heart so
cold and strong as yours need not fear inspection. I have a fancy to
look into it, for the last time."

She stood motionless and silent.

"Come,"--softly,--"there is no hurt in your heart that fears detection?"

She came out into the full light, and stood before him, pushing back the
hair from her forehead, that he might see every wrinkle, and the faded,
lifeless eyes. It was a true woman's motion, remembering even then to
scorn deception. The light glowed brightly in her face, as the slow
minutes ebbed without a sound: she only saw his face in shadow, with the
fitful gleam of intolerable meaning in his eyes. Her own quailed and
fell.

"Does it hurt you that I should even look at you?" he said, drawing
back. "Why, even the sainted dead suffer us to come near them after they
have died to us,--to touch their hands, to kiss their lips, to find what
look they left in their faces for us. Be patient, for the sake of the
old time. My whim is not satisfied yet."

"I am patient."

"Tell me something of yourself, to take with me when I go, for the last
time. Shall I think of you as happy in these days?"

"I am contented,"--the words oozing from her white lips in the
bitterness of truth. "I asked God, that night, to show me my work; and I
think He has shown it to me. I do not complain. It is a great work."

"Is that all?" he demanded, fiercely.

"No, not all. It pleases me to feel I have a warm home, and to help keep
it cheerful. When my father kisses me at night, or my mother says, 'God
bless you, child,' I know that is enough, that I ought to be happy."

The old clock in the corner hummed and ticked through the deep silence
like the humble voice of the home she toiled to keep warm, thanking her,
comforting her.

"Once more," as the light grew stronger on her face,--"will you look
down into your heart that you have given to this great work, and tell me
what you see there? Dare you do it, Margaret?"

"I dare do it,"--but her whisper was husky.

"Go on."

He watched her more as a judge would a criminal, as she sat before him:
she struggled weakly under the power of his eye, not meeting it. He
waited relentless, seeing her face slowly whiten, her limbs shiver, her
bosom heave.

"Let me speak for you," he said at last. "I know who once filled your
heart to the exclusion of all others: it is no time for mock shame. I
know it was my hand that held the very secret of your being. Whatever I
may have been, you loved me, Margaret. Will you say that now?"

"I loved you,--once."

Whether it were truth that nerved her, or self-delusion, she was strong
now to utter it all.

"You love me no longer, then?"

"I love you no longer."

She did not look at him; she was conscious only of the hot fire wearing
her eyes, and the vexing click of the clock. After a while he bent over
her silently,--a manly, tender presence.

"When love goes once," he said, "it never returns. Did you say it was
gone, Margaret?"

One effort more, and Duty would be satisfied.

"It is gone."

In the slow darkness that came to her she covered her face, knowing and
hearing nothing. When she looked up, Holmes was standing by the window,
with his face toward the gray fields. It was a long time before he
turned and came to her.

"You have spoken honestly: it is an old fashion of yours. You believed
what you said. Let me also tell you what you call God's truth, for a
moment, Margaret. It will not do you harm."--He spoke gravely,
solemnly.--"When you loved me long ago, selfish, erring as I was, you
fulfilled the law of your nature; when you put that love out of your
heart, you make your duty a tawdry sham, and your life a lie. Listen to
me. I am calm."

Was he calm? It was calmness that made her tremble as she had not done
before.

"You have deceived yourself: when you try to fill your heart with this
work, you serve neither your God nor your fellow-man. You tell me,"
stooping close to her, "that I am nothing to you: you believe it, poor
child! There is not a line on your face that does not prove it false. I
have keen eyes, Margaret !"--He laughed,--a savage, despairing
laugh.--"You have wrung this love out of your heart? If it was easy to
do, did it need to wring with it every sparkle of pleasure and grace out
of your life? Your very hair is gathered out of your sight: you feared
to remember how my hand had touched it? Your dress is stingy and hard;
your step, your eyes, your mouth under rule. So hard it was to force
yourself into an old worn-out woman! Oh, Margaret! Margaret!"

She moaned under her breath.

"I notice trifles, child! Yonder, in that corner, used to stand the desk
where I helped you with your Latin. How you hated it! Do you remember?"

"I remember."

"It always stood there: it is gone now. Outside of the gate there was
that elm I planted, and you promised to water while I was gone. It is
cut down now by the roots."

"I had it done, Stephen."

"I know. Do you know why? Because you love me: because you do not dare
to think of me, you dare not trust yourself to look at the tree that I
had planted."

She started up with a cry, and stood there in the old way, her fingers
catching at each other.

"It is cruel,--let me go!"

"It is not cruel."--He came up closer to her.--"You think you do not
love me, and see what I have made you! Look at the torpor of this
face,--the dead, frozen eyes! It is a 'nightmare, death in life,' Good
God, to think that I have done this! To think of the countless days of
agony, the nights, the years of solitude that have brought her to
this,--little Margaret!"

He paced the floor, slowly. She sat down on a low stool, leaning her
head on her hands. The little figure, the bent head, the quivering chin
brought up her childhood to him. She used to sit so when he had
tormented her, waiting to be coaxed back to love and smiles again. The
hard man's eyes filled with tears, as he thought of it. He watched the
deep, tearless sobs that shook her breast: he had wounded her to
death,--his bonny Margaret! She was like a dead thing now: what need to
torture her longer? Let him be manly and go out to his solitary life,
taking the remembrance of what he had done with him for company. He rose
uncertainly,--then came to her: was that the way to leave her?

"I am going, Margaret," he whispered, "but let me tell you a story
before I go,--a Christmas story, say. It will not touch you,--it is too
late to hope for that,--but it is right that you should hear it."

She looked up wearily.

"As you will, Stephen."

Whatever impulse drove the man to speak words that he knew were useless
made him stand back from her, as though she were something he was unfit
to touch: the words dragged from him slowly.

"I had a curious dream to-night, Margaret,--a waking dream: only a
clear vision of what had been once. Do you remember--the old time?"

What disconnected rambling was this? Yet the girl understood it, looked
into the low fire with sad, listening eyes.

"Long ago. That was a free, strong life that opened before us then,
little one,--before you and me? Do you remember the Christmas before I
went away? I had a strong arm and a hungry brain to go out into the
world with, then. Something better, too, I had. A purer self than was
born with me came late in life, and nestled in my heart. Margaret, there
was no fresh loving thought in my brain for God or man that did not grow
from my love of you; there was nothing noble or kindly in my nature that
did not flow into that love and deepen there. I was your master, too. I
held my own soul by no diviner right than I held your love and owed you
mine. I understand it, now, when it is too late."--He wiped the cold
drops from his face.--"Now do you know whether it is remorse I feel,
when I think how I put this purer self away,--how I went out triumphant
in my inhuman, greedy soul,--how I resolved to know, to be, to trample
under foot all weak love or homely pleasures? I have been punished. Let
those years go. I think, sometimes, I came near to the nature of the
damned who dare not love: I would not. It was then I hurt you,
Margaret,--to the death: your true life lay in me, as mine in you."

He had gone on drearily, as though holding colloquy with himself, as
though great years of meaning surged up and filled the broken words. It
may have been thus with the girl, for her face deepened as she listened.
For the first time for many long days tears welled up into her eyes, and
rolled between her fingers unheeded.

"I came through the streets to-night baffled in life,--a mean man that
might have been noble,--all the years wasted that had gone
before,--disappointed,--with nothing to hope for but time to work
humbly and atone for the wrongs I had done. When I lay yonder, my soul
on the coast of eternity, I resolved to atone for every selfish deed. I
had no thought of happiness; God knows I had no hope of it. I had
wronged you most: I could not die with that wrong unforgiven."

"Unforgiven, Stephen?" she sobbed; "I forgave it long ago."

He looked at her a moment, then by some master effort choked down the
word he would have spoken, and went on with his bitter confession.

"I came through the crowded town, a homeless, solitary man, on the
Christmas eve when love comes to every man. If ever I had grown sick for
a word or touch from the one soul to whom alone mine was open, I
thirsted for it then. The better part of my nature was crushed out, and
flung away with you, Margaret. I cried for it,--I wanted help to be a
better, purer man. I need it now. And so," he said, with a smile that
hurt her more than tears, "I came to my good angel, to tell her I had
sinned and repented, that I had made humble plans for the future, and
ask her--God knows what I would have asked her then! She had forgotten
me,--she had another work to do!"

She wrung her hands with a helpless cry. Holmes went to the window: the
dull waste of snow looked to him as hopeless and vague as his own life.

"I have deserved it," he muttered to himself. "It is too late to amend."

Some light touch thrilled his arm.

"Is it too late, Stephen?" whispered a childish voice.

The strong man trembled, looking at the little dark figure standing near
him.

"We were both wrong; let us be friends again."

She went back unconsciously to the old words of their quarrels long ago.
He drew back.

"Do not mock me," he gasped. "I suffer, Margaret. Do not mock me with
more courtesy."

"I do not; let us be friends again."

She was crying like a penitent child; her face was turned away; love,
pure and deep, was in her eyes.

The red fire-light grew stronger; the clock hushed its noisy ticking to
hear the story. Holmes's pale lip worked: what was this coming to him?
He dared not hope, yet his breast heaved, a dry heat panted in his
veins, his deep eyes flashed fire.

"If my little friend comes to me," he said, in a smothered voice, "there
is but one place for her,--her soul with my soul, her heart on my
heart."--He opened his arms.--"She must rest her head here. My little
friend must be--my wife."

She looked into the strong, haggard face,--a smile crept out on her own,
arch and debonair like that of old time.

"I am tired, Stephen," she whispered, and softly laid her head down on
his breast.

The red fire-light flashed into a glory of crimson through the room,
about the two figures standing motionless there,--shimmered down into
awe-struck shadow: who heeded it? The old clock ticked away furiously,
as if rejoicing that weary days were over for the pet and darling of the
house: nothing else broke the silence. Without, the deep night paused,
gray, impenetrable. Did it hope that far angel-voices would break its
breathless hush, as once on the fields of Judea, to usher in Christmas
morn? A hush, in air, and earth, and sky, of waiting hope, of a promised
joy. Down there in the farm-window two human hearts had given the joy a
name; the hope throbbed into being; the hearts touching each other beat
in a slow, full chord of love as pure in God's eyes as the song the
angels sang, and as sure a promise of the Christ that is to come.
Forever and ever,--not even death would part them; he knew that, holding
her closer, looking down into her face.

What a pale little face it was! Through the intensest heat of his
passion the sting touched him: it was but one mark of his murderous
selfishness. Some instinct made her glance up at him, as he thought
this, with a keen insight, and she lifted her head from his breast, and
when he stooped to touch her lips, shook herself free, laughing
carelessly. Their whole life was before them to taste happiness, and she
had a mind they should taste it drop by drop. Alas, Stephen Holmes! you
will have little time for morbid questionings in those years to come:
your very pauses of silent content and love will be rare and
well-earned. No more tranced raptures for to-night,--let tomorrow bring
what it would.

"You do not seem to find your purer self altogether perfect?" she
demanded. "I think the pale skin hurts your artistic eye, or the frozen
eyes,--which is it?"

"They have thawed into brilliant fire,--something looks at me
half-yielding and half-defiant,--you know that, you vain child! But,
Margaret, nothing can atone"--

He stopped.

"That is right, Stephen. Remorse grows maudlin when it goes into words,"
laughing again at his astounded look.

He took her hand,--a dewy, healthy hand,--the very touch of it meant
action and life.

"What if I say, then," he said, earnestly, "that I do not find my angel
perfect, be the fault mine or hers? The child Margaret, with her sudden
tears and laughter and angry heats, is gone,--I killed her, I
think,--gone long ago. I will not take in place of her this worn, pale
ghost, who wears clothes as chilly as if she came from the dead, and
stands alone, as ghosts do."

She stood a little way off, her great brown eyes flashing with tears. It
was so strange a joy to find herself cared for, when she had believed
she was old and hard: the very idle jesting made her youth and happiness
real to her. Holmes saw that with his quick tact. He flung playfully a
crimson shawl that lay there about her white neck.

"My wife must suffer her life to flush out in gleams of color and light:
her cheeks must hint at a glow within, as yours do now. I will have no
hard angles, no pallor, no uncertain memory of pain in her life: it
shall be perpetual summer."

He loosened her hair, and it rolled down about the bright, tearful face,
shining in the red fire-light like a mist of tawny gold.

"I need warmth and freshness and light: my wife shall bring them to me.
She shall be no strong-willed reformer, standing alone: a sovereign lady
with kind words for the world, who gives her hand only to that man whom
she trusts, and keeps her heart and its secrets for me alone."

She paid no heed to him other than by a deepening color; the clock,
however, grew tired of the long soliloquy, and broke in with an
asthmatic warning as to the time of night.

"There is midnight," she said. "You shall go, now, Stephen
Holmes,--quick! before your sovereign lady fades, like Cinderella, into
grayness and frozen eyes!"

When he was gone, she knelt down by her window, remembering that night
long ago,--free to sob and weep out her joy,--very sure that her Master
had not forgotten to hear even a woman's prayer, and to give her her
true work,--very sure,--never to doubt again. There was a dark, sturdy
figure pacing up and down the road, that she did not see. It was there
when the night was over and morning began to dawn. Christmas morning! he
remembered,--it was something to him now! Never again a homeless,
solitary man! You would think the man weak, if I were to tell you how
this word "home" had taken possession of him,--how he had planned out
work through the long night: success to come, but with his wife nearest
his heart, and the homely farm-house and the old schoolmaster in the
centre of the picture. Such an humble castle in the air! Christmas
morning was surely something to him. Yet, as the night passed, he went
back to the years that had been wasted, with an unavailing bitterness.
He would not turn from the truth, that, with his strength of body and
brain to command happiness and growth, his life had been a failure. I
think it was first on that night that the story of the despised Nazarene
came to him with a new meaning,--One who came to gather up these broken
fragments of lives and save them with His own. But vaguely, though:
Christmas-day as yet was to him the day when love came into the world.
He knew the meaning of that. So he watched with an eagerness new to him
the day breaking. He could see Margaret's window, and a dim light in it:
she would be awake, praying for him, no doubt. He pondered on that.
Would you think Holmes weak, if he forsook the faith of Fichte,
sometime, led by a woman's hand? Think of the apostle of the positive
philosophers, and say no more. He could see a flickering light at dawn
crossing the hall: he remembered the old schoolmaster's habit
well,--calling "Happy Christmas" at every door: he meant to go down
there for breakfast, as he used to do, imagining how the old man would
wring his hands, with a "Holla! you're welcome home, Stephen, boy!" and
Mrs. Howth would bring out the jars of pine-apple preserve which her
sister sent her every year from the West Indies. And then----Never mind
what then. Stephen Holmes was very much in love, and this Christmas-day
had much to bring him. Yet it was with a solemn shadow on his face that
he watched the dawn, showing that he grasped the awful meaning of this
day that "brought love into the world." Through the clear, frosty night
he could hear a low chime of distant bells shiver the air, hurrying
faint and far to tell the glad tidings. He fancied that the dawn flushed
warm to hear the story,--that the very earth should rejoice in its
frozen depths, if it were true. If it were true!--if this passion in his
heart were but a part of an all-embracing power, in whose clear depths
the world struggled vainly!--if it were true that this Christ did come
to make that love clear to us! There would be some meaning then in the
old schoolmaster's joy, in the bells wakening the city yonder, in even
poor Lois's thorough content in this day,--for it would be, he knew, a
thrice-happy day to her. A strange story that of the Child coming into
the world,--simple! He thought of it, watching, through his cold, gray
eyes, how all the fresh morning told it,--it was in the very air;
thinking how its echo stole through the whole world,--how innumerable
children's voices told it in eager laughter,--how even the lowest slave
half-smiled, on waking, to think it was Christmas-day, the day that
Christ was born. He could hear from the church on the hill that they
were singing again the old song of the angels. Did this matter to him?
Did he care, with the new throb in his heart, who was born this day?
There is no smile on his face as he listens to the words, "Glory to God
in the highest, and on earth peace, good-will toward men"; it bends
lower,--lower only. But in the selfish eyes there are warm tears, and on
his worn face a sad and solemn joy.

       *       *       *       *       *

I am going to end my story now, There are phases more vivid in the
commonplace lives of these men and women, I do not doubt: love as
poignant as pain in its joy; crime, weak and foul and foolish, like all
crime; silent self-sacrifices: but I leave them for you to paint; you
will find colors enough in your own house and heart.

As for Christmas-day, neither you nor I need try to do justice to that
theme: how the old schoolmaster went about, bustling, his thin face
quite hot with enthusiasm, and muttering, "God bless my soul!"--hardly
recovered from the sudden delight of finding his old pupil waiting for
him when he went down in the morning; how he insisted on being led by
him, and nobody else, all day, and before half an hour had confided,
under solemn pledges of secrecy, the great project of the book about
Bertrand de Born; how even easy Mrs. Howth found her hospitable
Virginian blood in a glow at the unexpected breakfast-guest,--settling
into more confident pleasure as dinner came on, for which success was
surer; how cold it was, outside; how Joel piled on great fires, and went
off on some mysterious errand, having "other chores to do than idling
and duddering"; how the day rose into a climax of perfection at
dinner-time, to Mrs. Howth's mind,--the turkey being done to a delicious
brown, the plum-pudding quivering like luscious jelly (a Christian
dinner to-day, if we starve the rest of the year!). Even Dr. Knowles,
who brought a great bouquet out for the schoolmaster, was in an unwonted
good-humor; and Mr. Holmes, of whom she stood a little in dread, enjoyed
it all with such zest, and was so attentive to them all, but Margaret.
They hardly spoke to each other all day; it quite fretted the old lady;
indeed, she gave the girl a good scolding about it out in the pantry,
until she was ready to cry. She had looked that way all day, however.

Knowles was hurt deep enough when he saw Holmes, and suspected the
worst, under all his good-humor. It was a bitter disappointment to give
up the girl; for, beside the great work, he loved her in an uncouth
fashion, and hated Holmes. He met her alone in the morning; but when he
saw how pale she grew, expecting his outbreak, and how she glanced
timidly in at the room where Stephen was, he relented. Something in the
wet brown eye perhaps recalled a forgotten dream of his boyhood; for he
sighed sharply, and did not swear as he meant to. All he said was, that
"women will be women, and that she had a worse job on her hands than the
House of Refuge,"--which she put down to the account of his ill-temper,
and only laughed, and made him shake hands.

Lois and her father came out in the old cart in high state across the
bleak, snowy hills, quite aglow with all they had seen at the
farm-houses on the road. Margaret had arranged a settle for the sick
girl by the kitchen-fire, but they all came out to speak to her.

As for the dinner, it was the essence of all Christmas dinners: Dickens
himself, the priest of the genial day, would have been contented. The
old schoolmaster and his wife had hearts big and warm enough to do the
perpetual honors of a baronial castle; so you may know how the little
room and the faces about the homely table glowed and brightened. Even
Knowles began to think that Holmes might not be so bad, after all,
recalling the chicken in the mill, and,--

"Well, it was better to think well of all men, poor devils!"

I am sorry to say there was a short thunder-storm in the very midst of
the dinner. Knowles and Mr. Howth, in their anxiety to keep off from
ancient subjects of dispute, came, for a wonder, on modern politics, and
of course there was a terrible collision, which made Mrs. Howth quite
breathless: it was over in a minute, however, and it was hard to tell
which was the most repentant. Knowles, as you know, was a disciple of
Garrison, and the old schoolmaster was (will the "Atlantic"
bear it?) a States'-rights man, as you might expect from his
antecedents,--suspected, indeed, of being a contributor to "De Bow's
Review." I may as well come out with the whole truth, and acknowledge
that at the present writing the old gentleman is the very hottest
Secessionist I know. If it hurts the type, write it down a vice of
blood, O printers of New England!--or else, like Uncle Toby's recording
angel, drop a tear upon the word, and blot it out forever.

The dinner, perhaps, was fresher and heartier after that. Then Knowles
went back to town; and in the middle of the afternoon, as it grew dusk,
Lois started, knowing how many would come into her little shanty in the
evening to wish her Happy Christmas, although it was over. They piled up
comforts and blankets in the cart, and she lay on them quite snugly, her
scarred child's-face looking out from a great woollen hood Mrs. Howth
gave her. Old Yare held Barney, with his hat in his hand, looking as if
he deserved hanging, but very proud of the kindness they all showed his
girl. Holmes gave him some money for a Christmas gift, and he took it,
eagerly enough. For some unexpressed reason, they stood a long time in
the snow bidding Lois good-bye; and for the same reason, it may be, she
was loath to go, looking at each one earnestly as she laughed and grew
red and pale answering them, kissing Mrs. Howth's hand when she gave it
to her. When the cart did drive away, she watched them standing there
until she was out of sight, and waved her scrap of a handkerchief; and
when the road turned down the hill, lay down and softly cried to
herself.

Now that they were alone they gathered close about the fire, while the
day without grew gray and colder,--Margaret in her old place by her
father's knee. Some dim instinct had troubled the old man all day; it
did now: whenever Margaret spoke, he listened eagerly, and forgot to
answer sometimes, he was so lost in thought. At last he put his hand on
her head, and whispered, "What ails my little girl?" And then his little
girl sobbed and cried, as she had been ready to do all day, and kissed
his trembling hand, and went and hid on her mother's neck, and left
Stephen to say everything for her. And I think you and I had better come
away. Are not these things written on the fairest page of Stephen
Holmes's remembrance?

It was quite dark before they had done talking,--quite dark; the
wood-fire had charred down into a great bed of crimson; the tea stood
till it grew cold, and no one drank it. The old man got up at last, and
Holmes led him to the library, where he smoked every evening. He held
Maggie, as he called her, in his arms a long time, and wrung Holmes's
hand. "God bless you, Stephen!" he said,--"this is a very happy
Christmas-day to me." And yet, sitting alone, the tears ran over his
wrinkled face as he smoked; and when his pipe went out, he did not know
it, but sat motionless. Mrs. Howth, fairly confounded by the shock, went
upstairs, and stayed there a long time. When she came down, the old
lady's blue eyes were tenderer, if that were possible, and her face very
pale. She went into the library and asked her husband if she didn't
prophesy this two years ago, and he said she did, and after a while
asked her if she remembered the barbecue-night at Judge Clapp's thirty
years ago. She blushed at that, and then went up and kissed him. She had
heard Joel's horse clattering up to the kitchen-door, so concluded she
would go out and scold him. Under the circumstances it would be a
relief.

If Mrs. Howth's nerves had been weak, she might have supposed that
free-born serving-man seized with sudden insanity, from the sight that
met her, going into the kitchen. His dinner, set on the dresser, was
flung contemptuously on the ashes; a horrible cloud of burning grease
rushed from a dirty pint-pot on the table, and before this Joel was
capering and snorting like some red-headed Hottentot before his fetich,
occasionally sticking his fingers into the nauseous stuff, and snuffing
it up as if it were roses. He was a church-member: he could _not_
be drunk? At the sight of her, he tried to regain the austere dignity
usual to him when women were concerned, but lapsed into an occasional
giggle, which spoiled the effect.

"Where have you been," she inquired, severely, "scouring the country
like a heathen on this blessed day? And what is that you have burning?
You're disgracing the house, and strangers in it."

Joel's good-humor was proof against even this.

"I've scoured to some purpose, then. Dun't tell the mester: it'll muddle
his brains t'-night. Wait till mornin'. Squire More'll be down hisself
t' 'xplain."

He rubbed the greasy fingers into his hair, while Mrs. Howth's eyes were
fixed in dumb perplexity.

"Ye see,"--slowly, determined to make it clear to her now and
forever,--"it's water: no, t' a'n't water: it's troubled me an' Mester
Howth some time in Poke Run, atop o''t. I hed my suspicions,--so'd he;
lay low, though, frum all women-folks. So's I tuk a bottle down,
unbeknown, to Squire More, an' it's oil!"--jumping like a wild
Indian,--"thank the Lord fur His marcies, it's oil!"

"Well, Joel," she said, calmly, "very disagreeably smelling oil it is, I
must say."

"Good save the woman!" he broke out, _sotto voce_, "she's a born
natural! Did ye never hear of a shaft? or millions o' gallons a day?
It's better nor a California ranch, I tell ye. Mebbe," charitably, "ye
didn't know Poke Run's the mester's?"

"I certainly do. But I do not see what this green ditch-water is to me.
And I think, Joel,"--

"It's more to ye nor all yer States'-rights as I'm sick o' hearin' of.
It's carpets, an' bunnets, an' slithers of railroad-stock, an' some
color on Margot's cheeks,--ye'd best think o' that! That's what it is to
ye! I'm goin' to take stock myself. I'm glad that gell'll git rest frum
her mills an' her Houses o' Deviltry,--she's got gumption fur a dozen
women."

He went on muttering, as he gathered up his pint-pot and bottle,--

"I'm goin' to send my Tim to college soon's the thing's in runnin'
order. Lord! what a lawyer that boy'll make!"

Mrs. Howth's brain was still muddled.

"You are better pleased than you were at the election," she observed,
placidly.

"Politics be darned!" he broke out, forgetting the teachings of Mr.
Clinche. "Now, Mem, dun't ye muddle the mester's brain t'-night wi' 't,
I say. I'm goin' t' 'xperiment myself a bit."

Which he did, accordingly,--shutting himself up in the smoke-house, and
burning the compound in divers sconces and Wide-Awake torches, giving up
the entire night to his diabolical orgies.

Mrs. Howth did not tell the master, for one reason: it took a long time
for so stupendous an idea to penetrate the good lady's brain; and for
another: her motherly heart was touched by another story than this
Aladdin's lamp of Joel's wherein burned petroleum. She watched from her
window until she saw Holmes crossing the icy road: there was a little
bitterness, I confess, in the thought that he had taken her child from
her; but the prayer that rose for them both took her whole woman's heart
with it, and surely will be answered.

The road was rough over the hills; the wind that struck Holmes's face
bitingly keen: perhaps the life coming for him would be as cold a
struggle, having not only poverty to conquer, but himself. But he is a
strong man,--no stronger puts his foot down with cool, resolute tread;
and to-night there is a thrill on his lips that never rested there
before,--a kiss, dewy and warm. Something, too, stirs in his heart, like
a subtile atom of pure fire, that he hugs closely,--his for all time. No
poverty or death shall ever drive it away. Perhaps he entertains an
angel unaware.

After that night Lois never left her little shanty. The days that
followed were like one long Christmas; for her poor neighbors, black and
white, had some plot among themselves, and worked zealously to make them
seem so to her. It was easy to make these last days happy for the simple
little soul who had always gathered up every fragment of pleasure in her
featureless life, and made much of it, and rejoiced over it. She grew
bewildered, sometimes, lying on her wooden settle by the fire; people
had always been friendly, taken care of her, but now they were eager in
their kindness, as though the time were short. She did not understand
the reason, at first; she did not want to die: yet if it hurt her, when
it grew clear at last, no one knew it; it was not her way to speak of
pain. Only, as she grew weaker, day by day, she began to set her house
in order, as one might say, in a quaint, almost comical fashion, giving
away everything she owned, down to her treasures of colored bottles and
needlework's, mending her father's clothes, and laying them out in her
drawers; lastly, she had Barney brought in from the country, and every
day would creep to the window to see him fed and chirrup to him, whereat
the poor old beast would look up with his dim eye, and try to neigh a
feeble answer. Kitts used to come every day to see her, though he never
said much when he was there: he lugged his great copy of the Venus del
Pardo along with him one day, and left it, thinking she would like to
look at it; Knowles called it trash, when he came. The Doctor came
always in the morning; he told her he would read to her one day, and did
it always afterwards, putting on his horn spectacles, and holding her
old Bible close up to his rugged, anxious face. He used to read most
from the Gospel of St. John. She liked better to hear him than any of
the others, even than Margaret, whose voice was so low and tender:
something in the man's half-savage nature was akin to the child's.

As the day drew near when she was to go, every pleasant trifle seemed to
gather a deeper, solemn meaning. Jenny Balls came in one night, and old
Mrs. Polston.

"We thought you'd like to see her weddin'-dress, Lois," said the old
woman, taking off Jenny's cloak, "seein' as the weddin' was to hev been
to-morrow, and was put off on 'count of you."

Lois did like to see it; sat up, her face quite flushed to see how
nicely it fitted, and stroked back Jenny's soft hair under the veil. And
Jenny, being a warm-hearted little thing, broke into a sobbing fit,
saying that it spoiled it all to have Lois gone.

"Don't muss your veil, child," said Mrs. Polston.

But Jenny cried on, hiding her face in Lois's skinny hand, until Sam
Polston came in, when she grew quiet and shy. The poor deformed girl lay
watching them, as they talked. Very pretty Jenny looked, with her blue
eyes and damp pink cheeks; and it was a manly, grave love in Sam's face,
when it turned to her. A different love from any she had known: better,
she thought. It could not be helped; but it was better.

After they were gone, she lay a long time quiet, with her hand over her
eyes. Forgive her! she, too, was a woman. Ah, it may be there are more
wrongs that shall be righted yonder in the To-Morrow than are set down
in your theology!

And so it was, that, as she drew nearer to this To-Morrow, the brain of
the girl grew clearer,--struggling, one would think, to shake off
whatever weight had been put on it by blood or vice or poverty, and
become itself again. Perhaps, even in her cheerful, patient life, there
had been hours when she had known the wrongs that had been done her,
known how cruelly the world had thwarted her; her very keen insight into
whatever was beautiful or helpful may have made her see her own
mischance, the blank she had drawn in life, more bitterly. She did not
see it bitterly now. Death is honest; all things grew clear to her,
going down into the valley of the shadow; so, wakening to the
consciousness of stifled powers and ungiven happiness, she saw that the
fault was not hers, nor His who had appointed her lot; He had helped her
to bear it,--bearing worse himself. She did not say once, "I might have
been," but day by day, more surely, "I shall be." There was not a tear
in the homely faces turning from her bed, not a tint of color in the
flowers they brought her, not a shiver of light in the ashy sky, that
did not make her more sure of that which was to come. More loving she
grew, as she went away from them, the touch of her hand more pitiful,
her voice more tender, if such a thing could be,--with a look in her
eyes never seen there before. Old Yare pointed it out to Mrs. Polston
one day.

"My girl's far off frum us," he said, sobbing in the kitchen,--"my
girl's far off now."

It was the last night of the year that she died. She was so much better
that they all were quite cheerful. Kitts went away as it grew dark, and
she bade him wrap up his throat with such a motherly dogmatism that they
all laughed at her; she, too, with the rest.

"I'll make you a New-Year's call," he said, going out; and she called
out that she should be sure to expect him.

She seemed so strong that Holmes and Mrs. Polston and Margaret, who were
there, were going home; besides, old Yare said, "I'd like to take care
o' my girl alone to-night, ef yoh'd let me,"--for they had not trusted
him before. But Lois asked them not to go until the Old Year was over;
so they waited downstairs.

The old man fell asleep, and it was near midnight when he wakened with a
cold touch on his hand.

"It's come, father!"

He started up with a cry, looking at the new smile in her eyes, grown
strangely still.

"Call them all, quick, father!"

Whatever was the mystery of death that met her now, her heart clung to
the old love that had been true to her so long.

He did not move.

"Let me hev yoh to myself, Lo, 't th' last; yoh're all I hev; let me hev
yoh 't th' last."

It was a bitter disappointment, but she roused herself even then to
smile, and tell him yes, cheerfully. You call it a trifle, nothing? It
may be; yet I think the angels looking down had tears in their eyes,
when they saw the last trial of the unselfish, solitary heart, and kept
for her a different crown from his who conquers a city.

The fire-light grew warmer and redder; her eyes followed it, as if all
that had been bright and kindly in her life were coming back in it. She
put her hand on her father, trying vainly to smooth his gray hair. The
old man's heart smote him for something, for his sobs grew louder, and
he left her a moment; then she saw them all, faces very dear to her even
then. She laughed and nodded to them all in the old childish way; then
her lips moved. "It's come right!" she tried to say; but the weak voice
would never speak again on earth.

"It's the turn o' the night," said Mrs. Polston, solemnly; "lift her
head; the Old Year's goin' out."

Margaret lifted her head, and held it on her breast. She could hear
cries and sobs; the faces, white now, and wet, pressed nearer, yet
fading slowly: it was the Old Year going out, the worn-out year of her
life. Holmes opened the window: the cold night-wind rushed in, bearing
with it snatches of broken harmony: some idle musician down in the city,
playing fragments of some old, sweet air, heavy with love and regret. It
may have been chance: yet let us think it was not chance; let us believe
that He who had made the world warm and happy for her chose that this
best voice of all should bid her goodbye at the last.

So the Old Year went out. The dull eyes, loving to the end, wandered
vaguely as the sounds died away, as if losing something,--losing all,
suddenly. She sighed as the clock struck, and then a strange calm,
unknown before, stole over her face; her eyes flashed open with a living
joy. Margaret stooped to close them, kissing the cold lids; and Tiger,
who had climbed upon the bed, whined and crept down.

"It is the New Year," said Holmes, bending his head.

The cripple was dead; but _Lois_, free, loving, and beloved,
trembled from her prison to her Master's side in the To-Morrow.

I can show you her grave out there in the hills,--a short, stunted
grave, like a child's. No one goes there, although there are many
firesides where they speak of "Lois" softly, as of something holy and
dear: but they think of her always as gone home; even old Yare looks up,
when he talks of "my girl." Yet, knowing that nothing in God's just
universe is lost, or fails to meet the late fulfilment of its hope, I
like to think of her poor body lying there: I like to believe that the
great mother was glad to receive the form that want and crime of men had
thwarted,--took her uncouth child home again, that had been so cruelly
wronged,--folded it in her warm bosom with tender, palpitating love.

It pleased me in the winter months to think that the worn-out limbs, the
old scarred face of Lois rested, slept: crumbled into fresh atoms, woke
at last with a strange sentience, and, when God smiled permission
through the summer sun, flashed forth in a wild ecstasy of the true
beauty that she loved so well. In no questioning, sad pallor of sombre
leaves or gray lichens: throbbed out rather in answering crimsons, in
lilies, white, exultant in a chordant life!

Yet, more than this: I strive to grope, with dull, earthy sense, at her
freed life in that earnest land where souls forget to hunger or to hope,
and learn to be. And so thinking, the certainty of her aim and work and
love yonder comes with a new, vital reality, beside which the story of
the yet living men and women of whom I have told you grows vague and
incomplete, like an unguessed riddle. I have no key to solve it
with,--no right to solve it. Let me lay the pen abruptly down.

       *       *       *       *       *

My story is coarse, unended, a mere groping hint? It has no conduit of
God's justice running through it, awarding good and ill? It lacks
determined concord, and a certain yea and nay? I know: it is a story of
To-Day. The Old Year is on us yet. Poor faithful old Knowles will tell
you that it is a dark day: that now, as eighteen hundred years ago, the
Helper stands unwelcome in the world: that the air is filled with the
cry of the slave, and of nations going down into darkness, their message
untold, their work undone: that your own heart, as well as the great
humanity, asks, even now, an unrendered justice. Does he utter all the
problem of To-Day? I think, not all: yet let it be. Other hands are
strong to show you how, in the very instant peril of this hour, is
lifted clearer into view the eternal, hopeful prophecy; may tell you
that the slumbering heaven and the unquiet earth are instinct with it;
that the unanswered prayer of your own life should teach it to you; that
in that Book wherein God has not scorned to write the history of America
we find the quiet surety that the To-Morrow of the world is near at
hand.

For me, I have no prophetic insight, as I said before: the homely things
of every day wear their old faces. This moment, the evening air thrills
with a purple of which no painter has caught the tint, no poet the
meaning; not a face passes me in the street on which some human voice
has not the charm to call out love or power: the Helper yet waits
amongst us; surely, this Old Year you despise holds beauty, work,
content yet unmastered. Child-souls, you tell me, like that of Lois, may
find it enough to hold no past and no future, to accept the work of each
moment, and think it no wrong to drink every drop of its beauty and joy:
we who are wiser laugh at them. It may be: yet I say unto you, their
angels only do always behold the face of my Father in the New Year.

       *       *       *       *       *



MOUNTAIN PICTURES.

I.


FRANCONIA FROM THE PEMIGEWASSET.

  Once more, O Mountains of the North, unveil
    Your brows, and lay your cloudy mantles by!
  And once more, ere the eyes that seek ye fail,
    Uplift against the blue walls of the sky
  Your mighty shapes, and let the sunshine weave
    Its golden net-work in your belting woods,
    Smile down in rainbows from your falling floods,
  And on your kingly brows at morn and eve
    Set crowns of fire! So shall my soul receive
  Haply the secret of your calm and strength,
    Your unforgotten beauty interfuse
    My common life, your glorious shapes and hues
    And sun-dropped splendors at my bidding come,
    Loom vast through dreams, and stretch in billowy length
  From the sea-level of my lowland home!

  They rise before me! Last night's thunder-gust
  Roared not in vain: for, where its lightnings thrust
  Their tongues of fire, the great peaks seem so near,
  Burned clean of mist, so starkly bold and clear,
  I almost pause the wind in the pines to hear,
  The loose rock's fall, the steps of browsing deer.
  The clouds that shattered on yon slide-worn walls
    And splintered on the rocks their spears of rain
  Have set in play a thousand waterfalls,
  Making the dusk and silence of the woods
  Glad with the laughter of the chasing floods
  And luminous with blown spray and silver gleams,
  While, in the vales below, the dry-lipped streams
    Sing to the freshened meadow-lands again.
  So, let me hope, the battle-storm that beats
    The land with hail and fire may pass away
    With its spent thunders at the break of day,
  Like last night's clouds, and leave, as it retreats,
    A greener earth and fairer sky behind,
    Blown crystal-clear by Freedom's Northern wind!

       *       *       *       *       *



THE USE OF THE RIFLE.


In no branch of manufacture has human ingenuity been taxed more
vigorously, for the attainment of the highest possible point of
perfection, than in that of rifled guns for the use of the troops, on
whose capacity for the destruction of their opponents the throne of the
tyrant or the liberty of the people may be dependent. Nations,
companies, and individuals have expended years of time and millions of
money in testing every conceivable contrivance which offered a hope of
improvement in precision, force, facility of loading or firing, or any
of the minute details which contribute to render the weapon more
serviceable.

And yet, at this day, not only are the troops of different nations armed
with rifles differing in size, weight, calibre, and degree of twist,
requiring different instruction in their use, and shooting projectiles
of widely different pattern, but scarcely any two gun-makers will be
found to agree in all the details requisite to the construction of the
most serviceable weapon. The reason for this diversity lies in the fact,
that perfection in any one of its requirements can be attained only by
the sacrifice of some portion at least of its other elements, and the
point at which the balance should be fixed is a sliding scale covering
as wide a range as that of the mental and physical differences of the
men on whom the decision rests.

The objects to be attained are, precision and force at long ranges,
facility of loading and firing, and such simplicity and strength in the
general construction as to allow the least possible chance of
derangement or mistake in the management, at the moment when such error
might cost the owner his life. And in addition to these points it is
required that the weight shall not exceed the amount which a man of the
average strength needed for a soldier can manipulate and carry on the
march without over-fatigue.

It will be seen that we have awarded the first place on the list of
requisites to precision and force at long ranges; and we presume it is
unnecessary to enter into any explanation of the obvious primary
necessity for the attainment of those qualities. We find, however, that
our progress towards perfection in this direction cannot proceed beyond
a certain point, except at the cost of other qualities, which cannot be
sacrificed with impunity.

Regarding it as a settled point that any recoil of the gun is just so
much taken from the initial velocity of the ball, (and if any one doubts
it, let him try the experiment of throwing a stone, and stepping
backwards at the moment of propulsion,) it is obvious, that, for the
attainment of the longest range, such a preponderance of weight in the
gun over that of the projectile is necessary as to secure the least
possible recoil, and this point seems to have been fixed by our best
gun-makers at the ratio of five hundred to one, which would require a
gun weighing nearly sixteen pounds to carry a half-ounce ball or shot.
We use the word _ball_ from habit, meaning, merely, the projectile,
which will probably never again resume its spherical shape in actual
service. We conceive the perfection of precision and range in
rifle-practice to have been attained in the American target-ride,
carrying a slug or cone of one ounce weight,--the gun itself weighing
not less than thirty pounds,--and provided with a telescope-sight, and
Clark's patent muzzle. At three-quarters of a mile this weapon may be
said to be entirely trustworthy for an object of the size of a man, and
to have force enough at that distance to disable three men. But it is
obvious that such weight and such equipments as are required for it must
render it utterly useless for ordinary field-service. It becomes, in
fact, a species of light artillery, and as such we are firm in the
conviction that it is destined to establish for itself a reputation
which will render it henceforth a necessity in the composition of an
army.

For troops of the line the weight of the gun should not exceed ten
pounds. Now, if we reduce the rifle to that weight, and preserve the
ratio of 1-500 as that of the ball, we reduce its range; for the
momentum being, as every school-boy knows, in proportion to weight as
well as velocity, a projectile which may be perfectly sure for two or
three hundred yards flies wide of the mark at six hundred, and can
hardly be found at a thousand. Here begins the operation of the sliding
scale, in the necessity of sacrificing some degree of precision, in
order to procure a weapon fulfilling other indispensable requisites for
the soldier's use. In the English and our own service, the Enfield and
Springfield rifled muskets have been fixed upon as presenting the
nearest attainable approach to perfection in all the desirable elements
of a military rifle.

It is out of the question to look for any such nice work with these
tools as our best amateur riflemen are constantly in the habit of
performing with the heavy thick-barrelled American rifle. The short
Enfield is found to shoot better than the long, owing to the increased
"spring" of the long, thin barrel of the latter; and the English
themselves are becoming aware that they have carried the point of
reducing the weight too far, and their best gun-makers are now insisting
upon the fact which General Jacobs told them years ago,--that a "heavy
conical ball cannot be used effectively from a long, thin barrel like
that of the Enfield rifle, which is liable to great vibration."

The Enfield rifle, however, is a long step in advance of the old
smooth-bored musket, concerning which a veteran British officer has
declared his opinion that "a man might sit at his ease in an armchair
all day long while another at two hundred yards' distance was blazing
away at him with a brown Bess, on the sole condition that he should, on
his honor, aim exactly at him at every shot." _Per contra_ to this,
may be stated the fact, mentioned by Lord Raglan in his despatches, that
at Balaklava a Russian battery of two guns was silenced by the skill in
rifle-shooting of a single officer, (Lieutenant Godfrey,) who,
approaching under cover of a ravine within six hundred yards, and having
his men hand him their Enfield rifles in turn, actually picked off the
artillerymen, one after another, till there were not enough left to
serve the guns, and this in spite of the storm of shot and shell which
they poured around him in reply, he being under no necessity of exposing
a larger target than his head and shoulders for them to aim at.

A trustworthy breech-loading rifle has long been a _desideratum_
with military men; but nothing has yet been produced which offers
sufficient advantages, or seems sufficiently free from objections, to
authorize its introduction as anything more than an experiment. In fact,
the special object of a breech-loading gun--that of enabling its owner
to deliver his fire with greater rapidity--is found in actual service to
be an objection: the soldier being tempted, in the excitement of battle,
to load and fire as rapidly as possible, and thus to waste the greater
portion of his shots, whereas the primary object at such a time is to
induce the deliberation which alone can insure efficiency. It must be
obvious to any one who reflects upon the matter, that in reality the
whole question of efficiency in battle must hinge upon the one point of
precision of fire. It is well known that in actual service not more than
one shot in six hundred takes effect, and, except for the moral effect
of the roar of the musketry and the whistling of the balls, the
remaining five hundred and ninety-nine might better have been kept in
the cartridge-boxes. Upon raw troops, for the most part, this moral
effect is sufficient to decide the question, with the addition of a
comparatively small number of killed and wounded. But veteran troops are
not disturbed by it. They know that a ball which misses by a quarter of
an inch is as harmless as if it had never been shot, and they very soon
learn to disregard the whistling. When they encounter such a fire,
however, as the English met at Bunker's Hill and at New Orleans,--when
the shots which miss are the exceptions, and those which hit, the rule,
no amount of discipline or courage can avail. Disciplined soldiers are
no more willing to be shot than raw levies; but having learned by
experience that the danger in an ordinary action is very trifling in
comparison with its appearance to the imagination of a recruit, they
face it with a determination which to him is inconceivable. Make the
apparent danger real, as in the cases we have cited, and veterans become
as powerless as the merest tyros. With the stimulus of the present
demand, it is probable that Yankee ingenuity will erelong produce some
kind of rifle so far superior to anything yet known as to supersede all
others; and indeed we have little doubt that such would already have
been the case, but for the fact that comparatively few of our most
ingenious mechanics are also expert riflemen, and none but a first-rate
shot can thoroughly appreciate all the requirements of the weapon.

Since the Crimean War, the Governments of Europe seem to have become
awakened to the fact, that, however important and desirable it may be to
secure the best possible implements for the soldier's use, it is
infinitely more so that he should know how to use them. In the hands of
a marksman the rifle is an efficient weapon at half a mile's distance;
but to expect on that account that it will do any more execution in the
hands of one who is not familiar with it than a smooth-bored musket is
as idle as it would be to hope that a person unacquainted with the
violin could give us better music from a Cremona than he could from a
corn-stalk fiddle.

For years past the European powers have been training men to the use of
the rifle. Hundreds of thousands of Englishmen and Frenchmen are at this
moment as familiar with the practical application of its powers as if
their subsistence had been dependent upon its use. Government and people
have perceived that the improvements in small-arms have wrought such a
revolution in the art of war as to revive the necessity which existed in
the days of archery, of making every man a marksman, and in England the
old archery sports of prize-shooting and unremitting private practice
have been renewed, with the substitution of the rifle for the bow; and
besides the regular standing army, England is now guarded by two hundred
thousand volunteers, every one of whom is a good rifleman, and who have
all been subjected to such an amount of drilling as would enable them
speedily to accomplish themselves in the art of united action. The
inciting cause of this great national movement was the apprehension of a
French invasion. Whether there was any ground for such apprehension, or
whether the preparations which were made in consequence have served to
avert the danger, are questions which are irrelevant to our present
object, which lies nearer home.

It needs no argument at this moment to prove the possibility that we may
become engaged in a foreign war, before we have done with the one we
have on our hands at home; but without troubling ourselves with
apprehensions of possible contingencies, have we not sufficient motive
in the condition of affairs at home to render it an imperative duty to
strengthen ourselves by every available means?

We have been so long unused to anything like warlike preparations that
we find it difficult to arouse ourselves to a realization of the fact
that every able-bodied man is liable to be called upon to render active
service for his country; and when a war is raging within our borders, of
whose termination the only thing that can be predicted with certainty is
that it can be reached only through fearful suffering and destruction of
life and property, is it not incumbent on every man to prepare himself
by whatever means are within his reach to render his services efficient?
That the affirmative would be the popular answer is sufficiently proved
by a recurrence to the zeal with which we organized drill-clubs and
practised military tactics in the early stages of the war. It was not
long before the zeal died away. It soon proved a bore to people who
could not help perceiving, that, however perfect they might become in
the manual exercise, their efficiency as soldiers could hardly amount to
much, when most of them had never fired a gun in their lives. And so the
drill-room was quietly abandoned,--the conduct of the war was left to
the Government and the army, while we looked on as mere spectators,--and
the future was left to take care of itself.

We do not mourn greatly at the decay of the drill-clubs, which, in the
form they assumed, were likely to be of little practical benefit; but we
do most sincerely regret the decay of the spirit which led to their
formation, for it was founded on the universal conviction of the fact,
which exists at this moment in still stronger force, that every man
ought to make himself ready for the possible contingency of his services
being demanded in the field.

No man can foretell the chances and changes which are before us; but he
must be ignorant indeed of human nature and human history, who does not
perceive, that, even if our success in the present contest is all that
we can hope, there are issues involved in the weighty questions which
must ensue before the storm subsides, which may render the preservation
of our liberties dependent upon our ability to resist the attempts of
factions or of ambitious and unprincipled military leaders to overturn
them. We have had evidence enough, since the struggle began, (if any one
doubted it before,) that selfishness and ambition are not unrepresented
among us; and if such spirits are abroad, they are working for evil, and
we are worse than foolish to trust to virtue and patriotism to encounter
them unarmed. Do we not owe it to that fatal error, that we are in our
present condition? Were not ambition and lust of power secretly
strengthening their hands for years, in the hope to spring upon us
unawares, and bind us fast before we could prepare for resistance?--and
can we again suffer ourselves to be caught in the same trap?

The question implies its own answer, and the practical reply should be
the immediate and universal instruction of the people in the use of
arms; and to this end the readiest and most efficient means lie in the
encouragement of rifle-practice, by the organization of rifle-clubs, the
institution of shooting-matches for prizes, and the inculcation by all
available methods of a taste for the acquirement of an art which
constitutes the vital spirit of military efficiency. Wherever clubs can
be formed, a course of drilling should be entered upon in connection
with target-practice; but thousands of able-bodied men throughout the
country may be unable to unite with clubs or attend the drills, who may
yet perfect themselves in target-shooting, and the prizes at
shooting-matches should be open to all competitors and all weapons.

The volume of instructions for the Hythe School, issued from the
Horse-Guards, contains the following preliminary remarks:--"The rifle is
placed in the soldier's hands for the destruction of his enemy; his own
safety depends upon his efficient use of it: it cannot, therefore, be
too strongly inculcated, that every man who has no defect in his eyes
may be made a good shot, and that no degree of perfection he may have
attained in the other parts of his drill can upon service remedy any
want of proficiency in this; in fact, all his other instructions in
marching and manoeuvring can do no more than place him in the best
possible situation for using his weapon with effect."

To the assertion that "every man who has no defect in his eyes may be
made a good shot," we beg leave to object, or at least to accept it with
allowances. That every one may attain sufficient skill for ordinary
military service, by which we mean according to modern requirements, we
have no manner of doubt; but the experience of the great shooting-match
at Wimbledon in July last proves conclusively the existence of very wide
differences in the powers of men who had enjoyed equal opportunities of
perfecting themselves; and we are confident that our best riflemen will
sooner indorse the verdict of Frank Forester, who, after a fair
statement of the obstacles to the attainment of perfection, concludes
with the remark,--"It is impossible, therefore, for one-half at least,
if not more, of mankind to become even fair rifle-shots, with any
possible amount of practice; but to all men who have good eyes, iron
nerves, sufficient physical strength, and phlegmatic tempers, it is a
certainty beyond calculation that they can become first-rate rifle-shots
with sufficient practice."[A]

    [Footnote A: _Complete Manual for Young Sportsmen_.]

We not only recognize this difference in the powers of different
individuals, but we insist upon the importance of observing it in the
military organization of the rifle corps. The men who prove by their
work that they possess the skill which is the result of such a
combination of moral and physical characteristics as are here enumerated
should be selected for special duty, and armed with the most efficient
weapons that can be procured, which, even at four times the cost of
ordinary infantry muskets, would prove in the end the better economy, by
rendering needless the enormous waste of ammunition which seems
inseparable from the use of ordinary arms. The sharp-shooters thus
selected should be armed in part with the best rifles of ordinary
construction and weight, (and we are strongly inclined to believe, if
allowed their own choice, they would select the common American
hunting-rifle,) and a portion with the best telescope-rifles of the kind
we have heretofore described. We are well aware, that, till recently,
the introduction of these guns into the service has been scouted at by
military men, and the experiment of sending a company of men provided
with them and familiar with their use from this State was met with
ridicule, which, however, has been changed to admiration by the
triumphant manner in which they have vindicated the most sanguine hopes
of those who were instrumental in procuring their introduction.

A letter from a member of the company says of them,--"The
telescope-rifles more than equalled our expectations. They do good
service at a mile, and are certain death at half a mile." At Edwards's
Ferry, on the 22d of October, seventy men of this company repelled a
charge of fifteen hundred of the enemy and drove them from the field,
with the loss of more than one hundred killed, while not one of their
own men received a scratch. They lay upon the ground behind a fence,
resting their guns upon the lower rail, and the enemy came in sight half
a mile distant and started towards them at double-quick, loading and
firing as they ran; but before they had traversed half the distance,
they had learned that the whistle of every bullet was the death-knell of
one, and in many instances of more than one of their number, and coming
to a slight ravine, the temptation of its shelter from so fearful a
storm proved irresistible, and, turning up course, they fled in dismay,
leaving their dead upon the ground in windrows. Three standard-bearers
in succession fell before the fatal aim of the same rifle, and no man
dared repeat the suicidal act of again displaying that ensign. We have
seen a letter from an officer high in command who witnessed that action,
and, after describing it, he remarks,--"There is more chance of credit
to your State in the new gun and men than in twenty drilled regiments."

But the history of that skirmish proves the capacity of the weapon in
question for the performance of more than ought ever to be asked of it.
Had the troops who attempted the charge been thoroughly disciplined and
accustomed to the work, they could not have been checked by so small a
number, and in five minutes more the little handful of riflemen would
have been riddled with bayonets. On the other hand, nothing but the
confidence inspired by the consciousness of the power they wielded could
have enabled such a handful to hold their ground as they did in the face
of such overwhelming odds. Two companies of infantry in their rear, who
were intended as a support, fired one volley and then fled.

In a close conflict so unwieldy a weapon as the telescope-rifle is of
course useless, and its owner must depend upon his side-arms for
defence. The same is true of artillery, and, as we said before, these
riflemen are to be considered and used in service as light
artillery,--requiring a sufficient support to enable them to withdraw
from close action, but operating with deadly effect upon individual
enemies at a distance at which cannon are serviceable only against
masses, and, for the most part, require a series of trials to get the
range, which may be constantly shifting. The telescope-rifle is a
field-piece possessing such precision and range as no other weapon can
boast, and provided with an instrument which reduces the art of aiming
to a point of mathematical certainty,--and all within such a compass of
size and weight that every man of a company can manage one with nearly
the rapidity and with ten times the efficiency of an ordinary musket. We
submit the question, whether we can afford to dispense with such
advantages,--or rather, whether we are not bound to develop them to
their fullest extent, by the adoption and adaptation to field-service of
the weapon which combines them? It is obvious that a corps armed with
such a weapon would require a peculiar drill, and their sphere of
usefulness would necessarily be limited by circumstances which would not
affect ordinary infantry; but common sense would readily dictate the
positions of attack or defence in which their peculiar powers would
render the best service, and military science would suggest the most
efficient manner of directing their operations. Such a force, however,
would necessarily form but a small portion of any army; and we have
dwelt upon the subject solely from the conviction that its importance is
too great to allow it to be neglected, while it is yet too little known
to be appreciated as it deserves.

We turn now to the ordinary rifle-practice, which has come of late years
to be considered in Europe almost as the one thing needful for the
soldier, while with us it has been gradually sinking into disuse for a
quarter of a century. When called upon to send an army into the field,
we find that more than half of its members have never fired a gun, and
even of those who have, not one in a hundred has had any instruction
beyond what he has been able to pick up for himself, while popping at
robins and squirrels with a ten-dollar Birmingham shot-gun; and every
account we receive of a skirmish with the enemy elicits exclamations of
astonishment that so few are hurt on either side. It may relieve in some
degree the prevalent dread of fire-arms (which is a primary cause of
this general ignorance of their use) to discover that it requires no
small amount of skill to hurt anybody with them; and when the fact comes
to be equally appreciated, that ignorance lies at the bottom of all the
unintended mischief that is done with them, it is probable that proper
instruction in their use will be considered, as it ought, a necessary
part of a boy's education. It had been better for us, if this matter had
been sooner attended to. _Let us lose no time now_.

Reader! are you a man, having the use of your limbs and eyes, and do you
know how to put a ball into a rifle and bring it out again with a true
aim? If not, it is time you were learning. Provide yourself with a rifle
and equipments, and find some one to give you the first lessons in their
use, and then practise daily at target-shooting. Do not excuse yourself
with the plea that you have no intention to enter the service. If the
work of preparation is left only to those who mean to become soldiers,
it will not be done; but if every man proves his appreciation of its
importance by taking an active interest in its promotion, the right men
for soldiers will be forthcoming when they are needed, and the most
important element of their military education will have been acquired;
and it is not impossible that the day may come when you yourself will
feel that the power you have thus obtained is worth more to you than all
you learned in college. Are you too old and infirm for such service, or
are you a woman, and have you the means of equipping another who is
unable to do it for himself? If so, it will not be hard to find an
able-bodied young man who will gladly take charge of a rifle, on the
condition that he is to be its owner at the end of six months, if he can
then place ten successive shots in a circle of a foot in diameter at two
hundred yards.

"A word to the wise is enough." The word has been uttered in
trumpet-tones from the battle-fields of the South. Let us prove that we
are wise, by acting at once upon its suggestions.

       *       *       *       *       *



AGNES OF SORRENTO.


CHAPTER XXIII.

THE PILGRIMAGE.


The morning sun rose clear and lovely on the old red rocks of Sorrento,
and danced in a thousand golden scales and ripples on the wide
Mediterranean. The shadows of the gorge were pierced by long golden
shafts of light, here falling on some moist bed of crimson cyclamen,
there shining through a waving tuft of gladiolus, or making the abundant
yellow fringes of the broom more vivid in their brightness. The
velvet-mossy old bridge, in the far shadows at the bottom, was lit up by
a chance beam, and seemed as if it might be something belonging to
fairy-land.

There had been a bustle and stir betimes in the little dove-cot, for
to-morrow the inmates were to leave it for a long, adventurous journey.

To old Elsie, the journey back to Rome, the city of her former days of
prosperity, the place which had witnessed her ambitious hopes, her
disgrace and downfall, was full of painful ideas. There arose to her
memory, like a picture, those princely halls, with their slippery, cold
mosaic floors, their long galleries of statues and paintings, their
enchanting gardens, musical with the voice of mossy fountains, fragrant
with the breath of roses and jessamines, where the mother of Agnes had
spent the hours of her youth and beauty. She seemed to see her flitting
hither and thither down the stately ilex-avenues, like some gay
singing-bird, to whom were given gilded cages and a constant round of
caresses and sweets, or like the flowers in the parterres, which lived
and died only as the graceful accessories of the grandeur of an old
princely family.

She compared, mentally, the shaded and secluded life which Agnes had led
with the specious and fatal brilliancy which had been the lot of her
mother,--her simple peasant garb with those remembered visions of
jewelry and silk and embroideries with which the partial patronage of
the Duchess or the ephemeral passion of her son had decked out the poor
Isella; and then came swelling at her heart a tumultuous thought, one
which she had repressed and kept down for years with all the force of
pride and hatred. Agnes, peasant-girl though she seemed, had yet the
blood of that proud old family in her veins; the marriage had been a
true one; she herself had witnessed it.

"Yes, indeed," she said to herself, "were justice done, she would now be
a princess,--a fit mate for the nobles of the land; and here I ask no
more than to mate her to an honest smith,--I that have seen a prince
kneel to kiss her mother's hand,--yes, he did,--entreat her on his knees
to be his wife,--I saw it. But then, what came of it? Was there ever one
of these nobles that kept oath or promise to us of the people, or that
cared for us longer than the few moments we could serve his pleasure?
Old Elsie, you have done wisely! keep your dove out of the eagle's nest:
it is foul with the blood of poor innocents whom he has torn to pieces
in his cruel pride!"

These thoughts swelled in silence in the mind of Elsie, while she was
busy sorting and arranging her household stores, and making those
thousand-and-one preparations known to every householder, whether of
much or little, who meditates a long journey.

To Agnes she seemed more than ever severe and hard; yet probably there
never was a time when every pulse of her heart was beating more warmly
for the child, and every thought of the future was more entirely
regulated with reference to her welfare. It is no sinecure to have the
entire devotion of a strong, enterprising, self-willed friend, as Agnes
had all her life found. One cannot gather grapes of thorns or figs of
thistles, and the affection of thorny and thistly natures has often as
sharp an acid and as long prickers as wild gooseberries,--yet it is
their best, and must be so accepted.

Agnes tried several times to offer her help to her grandmother, but was
refused so roughly that she dared not offer again, and therefore went to
her favorite station by the parapet in the garden, whence she could look
up and down the gorge, and through the arches of the old mossy Roman
bridge that spanned it far down by the city-wall. All these things had
become dear to her by years of familiar silent converse. The little
garden, with its old sculptured basin, and the ever-lulling dash of
falling water,--the tremulous draperies of maiden's-hair, always beaded
with shining drops,--the old shrine, with its picture, its lamp, and
flower-vase,--the tall, dusky orange-trees, so full of blossoms and
fruit, so smooth and shining in their healthy bark,--all seemed to her
as so many dear old friends whom she was about to leave, perhaps
forever.

What this pilgrimage would be like, she scarcely knew: days and weeks of
wandering,--over mountain-passes,--in deep, solitary valleys,--as years
ago, when her grandmother brought her, a little child, from Rome.

In the last few weeks, Agnes seemed to herself to have become wholly
another being. Silently, insensibly, her feet had crossed the enchanted
river that divides childhood from womanhood, and all the sweet ignorant
joys of that first early paradise lay behind her. Up to this time her
life had seemed to her a charming dream, full of blessed visions and
images: legends of saints, and hymns, and prayers had blended with
flower-gatherings in the gorge, and light daily toils.

Now, a new, strange life had been born within her,--a life full of
passions, contradictions, and conflicts. A love had sprung up in her
heart, strange and wonderful, for one who till within these few weeks
had been entirely unknown to her, who had never toiled for, or housed,
or clothed, or cared for her as her grandmother had, and yet whom a few
short interviews, a few looks, a few words, had made to seem nearer and
dearer than the old, tried friends of her childhood. In vain she
confessed it as a sin,--in vain she strove against it; it came back to
her in every hymn, in every prayer. Then she would press the sharp cross
to her breast, till a thousand stings of pain would send the blood in
momentary rushes to her pale cheek, and cause her delicate lips to
contract with an expression of stern endurance, and pray that by any
penance and anguish she might secure his salvation.

To save one such glorious soul, she said to herself, was work enough for
one little life. She was willing to spend it all in endurance, unseen by
him, unknown to him, so that at last he should be received into that
Paradise which her ardent imagination conceived so vividly. Surely,
there she should meet him, radiant as the angel of her dream; and then
she would tell him that it was all for his sake that she had refused to
listen to him here. And these sinful longings to see him once more,
these involuntary reachings of her soul after an earthly companionship,
she should find strength to overcome in this pilgrimage. She should go
to Rome,--the very city where the blessed Paul poured out his blood for
the Lord Jesus,--where Peter fed the flock, till his time, too, came to
follow his Lord in the way of the cross. She should even come near to
her blessed Redeemer; she should go up, on her knees, those very steps
to Pilate's hall where He stood bleeding, crowned with thorns,--His
blood, perhaps, dropping on the very stones. Ah, could any mortal love
distract her there? Should she not there find her soul made free of
every earthly thrall to love her Lord alone,--as she had loved Him in
the artless and ignorant days of her childhood,--but better, a thousand
times?

"Good morning to you, pretty dove!" said a voice from without the
garden-wall; and Agnes, roused from her reverie, saw old Jocunda.

"I came down to help you off," she said, as she came into the little
garden. "Why, my dear little saint! you are looking white as a sheet,
and with those tears! What's it all for, baby?"

"Ah, Jocunda! grandmamma is angry with me all the time now. I wish I
could go once more to the Convent and see my dear Mother Theresa. She is
angry, if I but name it; and yet she will not let me do anything here to
help her, and so I don't know _what_ to do."

"Well, at any rate, don't cry, pretty one! Your grandmamma is worked
with hard thoughts. We old folks are twisted and crabbed and full of
knots with disappointment and trouble, like the mulberry-trees that they
keep for vines to run on. But I'll speak to her; I know her ways; she
shall let you go; I'll bring her round."

"So-ho, sister!" said the old soul, hobbling to the door, and looking in
at Elsie, who was sitting flat on the stone floor of her cottage,
sorting a quantity of flax that lay around her. The severe Roman profile
was thrown out by the deep shadows of the interior,--and the piercing
black eyes, the silver-white hair, and the strong, compressed lines of
the mouth, as she worked, and struggled with the ghosts of her former
life, made her look like no unapt personification of one of the Fates
reviewing her flax before she commenced the spinning of some new web of
destiny.

"Good morning to you, sister!" said Jocunda. "I heard you were off
tomorrow, and I came to see what I could do to help you."

"There's nothing to be done for me, but to kill me," said Elsie. "I am
weary of living."

"Oh, never say that! Shake the dice again, my old man used to say,--God
rest his soul! Please Saint Agnes, you'll have a brave pilgrimage."

"Saint Agnes be hanged!" said Elsie, gruffly. "I'm out with her. It was
she put all these notions into my girl's head. Because she didn't get
married herself, she don't want any one else to. She has no
consideration. I've done with her: I told her so this morning. The
candles I've burned and the prayers I've gone through with, that she
might prosper me in this one thing! and it's all gone against me. She's
a baggage, and shall never see another penny of mine,--that's flat!"

Such vituperation of saints and sacred images may be heard to this day
in Italy, and is a common feature of idol-worship in all lands; for,
however the invocation of the saints could be vitalized in the hearts of
the few spiritual, there is no doubt that in the mass of the common
people it had all the well-defined symptoms of the grossest idolatry,
among which fits of passionate irreverence are one. That feeling, which
tempts the enlightened Christian in sore disappointment and vexation to
rise in rebellion against a wise Providence, in the childish twilight of
uncultured natures finds its full expression unawed by reverence or
fear.

"Oh, hush, now!" said Jocunda. "What is the use of making her angry just
as you are going to Rome, where she has the most power? All sorts of ill
luck will befall you. Make up with her before you start, or you may get
the fever in the marshes and die, and then who will take care of poor
Agnes?"

"Let Saint Agnes look after her; the girl loves her better than she does
me or anybody else," said Elsie. "If she cared anything about me, she'd
marry and settle down, as I want her to."

"Oh, there you are wrong," said Jocunda. "Marrying is like your dinner:
one is not always in stomach for it, and one's meat is another's poison.
Now who knows but this pilgrimage may be the very thing to bring the
girl round? I've seen people cured of too much religion by going to
Rome. You know things a'n't there as our little saint fancies. Why,
between you and me, the priests themselves have their jokes on those who
come so far to so little purpose. More shame for 'em, say I, too; but we
common people mustn't look into such things too closely. Now take it
cheerfully, and you'll see the girl will come back tired of tramping and
able to settle down in a good home with a likely husband. I have a
brother in Naples who is turning a pretty penny in the fisheries; I will
give you directions to find him; his wife is a wholesome Christian
woman; and if the little one be tired by the time you get there, you
might do worse than stop two or three days with them. It's a brave city;
seems made to have a good time in. Come, you let her just run up to the
Convent to bid goodbye to the Mother Theresa and the sisters."

"I don't care where she goes," said Elsie, ungraciously.

"There, now!" said Jocunda, coming out,--"Agnes, your grandmother bids
you go to the Convent to say good-bye to the sisters; so run along,
there's a little dear. The Mother Theresa talks of nothing else but you
since she heard that you meditated this; and she has broken in two her
own piece of the True Cross which she's carried in the gold and pearl
reliquary that the Queen sent her, and means to give it to you. One
doesn't halve such gifts, without one's whole heart goes with them."

"Dear mother!" said Agnes, her eyes filling with tears. "I will take her
some flowers and oranges for the last time. Do you know, Jocunda, I feel
that I never shall come back here to this dear little home where I have
been so happy?--everything sounds so mournful and looks so mournful!--I
love everything here so much!"

"Oh, dear child, never give in to such fancies, but pluck up heart. You
will be sure to have luck, wherever you go,--especially since the mother
will give you that holy relic. I myself had a piece of Saint John
Baptist's thumb-nail sewed up in a leather bag, which I wore day and
night all the years I was tramping up and down with my old man; but when
he died, I had it buried with him to ease his soul. For you see, dear,
he was a trooper, and led such a rackety, up-and-down life, that I doubt
but his confessions were but slipshod, and he needed all the help be
could get, poor old soul! It's a comfort to think he has it."

"Ah, Jocunda, seems to me it were better to trust to the free love of
our dear Lord who died for us, and pray to Him, without ceasing, for his
soul."

"Like enough, dearie; but then, one can't he too sure, you know. And
there isn't the least doubt in my mind that that was a true relic, for I
got it in the sack of the city of Volterra, out of the private cabinet
of a noble lady, with a lot of jewels and other matters that made quite
a little purse for us. Ah, that was a time, when that city was sacked!
It was hell upon earth for three days, and all our men acted like devils
incarnate; but then they always will in such cases. But go your ways
now, dearie, and I'll stay with your grandmamma; for, please God, you
must be up and away with the sun tomorrow."

Agnes hastily arranged a little basket of fruit and flowers, and took
her way down through the gorge, under the Roman bridge, through an
orange-orchard, and finally came out upon the sea-shore, and so along
the sands below the cliffs on which the old town of Sorrento is
situated.

So cheating and inconsistent is the human heart, especially in the
feminine subject, that she had more than once occasion to chide herself
for the thrill with which she remembered passing the Cavalier once in
this orange-garden, and the sort of vague hope which she detected that
somewhere along this road he might appear again.

"How perfectly wicked and depraved I must be," she said to herself, "to
find any pleasure in such a thought of one I should pray never to meet
again!"

And so the little soul went on condemning herself in those exaggerated
terms which the religious vocabulary of conventual life furnished
ready-made for the use of penitents of every degree, till by the time
she arrived at the Convent she could scarcely have been more oppressed
with a sense of sin, if she had murdered her grandmother and eloped with
the Cavalier.

On her arrival in the Convent court, the peaceful and dreamy stillness
contrasted strangely with the gorgeous brightness of the day outside.
The splendid sunshine, the sparkling sea, the songs of the boatmen, the
brisk passage of gliding sails, the bright hues of the flowers that
garlanded the rocks, all seemed as if the earth had been arrayed for
some gala-day; but the moment she had passed the portal, the silent,
mossy court, with its pale marble nymph, its lull of falling water, its
turf snow-dropt with daisies and fragrant with blue and white violets,
and the surrounding cloistered walks, with their pictured figures of
pious history, all came with a sad and soothing influence on her nerves.

The nuns, who had heard the news of the projected pilgrimage, and
regarded it as the commencement of that saintly career which they had
always predicted for her, crowded around her, kissing her hands and her
robe, and entreating her prayers at different shrines of especial
sanctity that she might visit.

The Mother Theresa took her to her cell, and there hung round her neck,
by a golden chain, the relic which she designed for her, and of whose
genuineness she appeared to possess no manner of doubt.

"But how pale you are, my sweet child!" she said. "What has happened to
alter you so much? Your cheeks look so thin, and there are deep, dark
circles round your eyes."

"Ah, my mother, it is because of my sins."

"Your sins, dear little one! What sins can you be guilty of?"

"Ah, my dear mother, I have been false to my Lord, and let the love of
an earthly creature into my heart."

"What can you mean?" said the mother.

"Alas, dear mother, the cavalier who sent that ring!" said Agnes,
covering her face with her hands.

Now the Mother Theresa had never left the walls of that convent since
she was ten years old,--had seen no men except her father and uncle, who
once or twice made her a short call, and an old hunch-back who took care
of their garden, safe in his armor of deformity. Her ideas on the
subject of masculine attractions were, therefore, as vague as might be
the conceptions of the eyeless fishes in the Mammoth Cave of Kentucky
with regard to the fruits and flowers above-ground. All that portion of
her womanly nature which might have throbbed lay in a dead calm. Still
there was a faint flutter of curiosity, as she pressed Agnes to tell her
story, which she did with many pauses and sobs and blushes.

"And is he so very handsome, my little heart?" she said, after
listening. "What makes you love him so much in so little time?"

"Yes,--he is beautiful as an angel."

"I never saw a young man, really," said the Mother Theresa. "Uncle
Angelo was lame, and had gray hair; and papa was very fat, and had a red
face. Perhaps he looks like our picture of Saint Sebastian;--I have
often thought that I might be in danger of loving a young man that
looked like him."

"Oh, he is more beautiful than that picture or any picture!" said Agnes,
fervently; "and, mother, though he is excommunicated, I can't help
feeling that he is as good as he is beautiful. My uncle had strong hopes
that he should restore him to the True Church; and to pray for his soul
I am going on this pilgrimage. Father Francesco says, if I will tear
away and overcome this love, I shall gain so much merit that my prayers
will have power to save his soul. Promise me, dear mother, that you and
all the sisters will help me with your prayers;--help me to work out
this great salvation, and then I shall be so glad to come back here and
spend all my life in prayer!"


CHAPTER XXIV.

THE MOUNTAIN FORTRESS.


And so on a bright spring morning our pilgrims started. Whoever has
traversed the road from Sorrento to Naples, that wonderful path along
the high, rocky shores of the Mediterranean, must remember it only as a
wild dream of enchantment. On one side lies the sea, shimmering in bands
of blue, purple, and green to the swaying of gentle winds, exhibiting
those magical shiftings and changes of color peculiar to these waves.
Near the land its waters are of pale, transparent emerald, while farther
out they deepen into blue and thence into a violet-purple, which again,
towards the horizon-line, fades into misty pearl-color. The shores rise
above the sea in wild, bold precipices, grottoed into fantastic caverns
by the action of the waves, and presenting every moment some new variety
of outline. As the path of the traveller winds round promontories whose
mountain-heights are capped by white villages and silvery with
olive-groves, he catches the enchanting sea-view, now at this point, and
now at another, with Naples glimmering through the mists in the
distance, and the purple sides of Vesuvius ever changing with streaks
and veins of cloud-shadows, while silver vapors crown the summit. Above
the road the steep hills seem piled up to the sky,--every spot
terraced, and cultivated with some form of vegetable wealth, and the
wild, untamable rocks garlanded over with golden broom, crimson
gillyflowers, and a thousand other bright adornments. The road lies
through villages whose gardens and orange-orchards fill the air with,
sweet scents, and whose rose-hedges sometimes pour a perfect cascade of
bloom and fragrance over the walls.

Our travellers started in the dewy freshness of one of those gorgeous
days which seem to cast an illuminating charm over everything. Even old
Elsie's stern features relaxed somewhat under the balmy influences of
sun and sky, and Agnes's young, pale face was lit up with a brighter
color than for many a day before. Their pilgrimage through this
beautiful country had few incidents. They walked in the earlier and
latter parts of the day, reposing a few hours at noon near some fountain
or shrine by the wayside,--often experiencing the kindly veneration of
the simple peasantry, who cheerfully offered them refreshments, and
begged their prayers at the holy places whither they were going.

In a few days they reached Naples, where they made a little stop with
the hospitable family to whom Jocunda had recommended them. From Naples
their path lay through the Pontine Marshes; and though the malaria makes
this region a word of fear, yet it is no less one of strange, soft,
enchanting beauty. A wide, sea-like expanse, clothed with an abundance
of soft, rich grass, painted with golden bands and streaks of bright
yellow flowers, stretches away to a purple curtain of mountains, whose
romantic outline rises constantly in a thousand new forms of beauty. The
upland at the foot of these mountains is beautifully diversified with
tufts of trees, and the contrast of the purple softness of the distant
hills with the dazzling gold and emerald of the wide meadow-tracts they
inclose is a striking feature in the landscape. Droves of silver-haired
oxen, with their great, dreamy, dark eyes and polished black horns, were
tranquilly feeding knee-deep in the lush, juicy grass, and herds of
buffaloes, uncouth, but harmless, might be seen pasturing or reposing in
the distance. On either side of the way were waving tracts of yellow
fleur-de-lis, and beds of arum, with its arrowy leaves and white
blossoms. It was a wild luxuriance of growth, a dreamy stillness of
solitude, so lovely that one could scarce remember that it was deadly.

Elsie was so impressed with the fear of the malaria, that she trafficked
with an honest peasant, who had been hired to take back to Rome the
horses which had been used to convey part of the suite of a nobleman
travelling to Naples, to give them a quicker passage across than they
could have made on foot. It is true that this was quite contrary to the
wishes of Agnes, who felt that the journey ought to be performed in the
most toilsome and self-renouncing way, and that they should trust solely
to prayer and spiritual protection to ward off the pestilential
exhalations.

In vain she quoted the Psalm, "Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror
by night, nor for the arrow that flieth by day, nor for the pestilence
that walketh in darkness, nor for the destruction that wasteth at
noon-day," and adduced cases of saints who had walked unhurt through all
sorts of dangers.

"There's no use talking, child," said Elsie. "I'm older than you, and
have seen more of real men and women; and whatever they did in old
times, I know that nowadays the saints don't help those that don't take
care of themselves; and the long and the short of it is, we must ride
across those marshes, and get out of them as quick as possible, or we
shall get into Paradise quicker than we want to."

In common with many other professing Christians, Elsie felt that going
to Paradise was the very dismallest of alternatives,--a thing to be
staved off as long as possible.

After many days of journeying, the travellers, somewhat weary and
foot-sore, found themselves in a sombre and lonely dell of the
mountains, about an hour before the going down of the sun. The slanting
yellow beams turned to silvery brightness the ashy foliage of the
gnarled old olives, which gaunt and weird clung with their great,
knotty, straggling roots to the rocky mountain-sides. Before them, the
path, stony, steep, and winding, was rising upward and still upward, and
no shelter for the night appeared, except in a distant mountaintown,
which, perched airily as an eagle's nest on its hazy height, reflected
from the dome of its church and its half-ruined old feudal tower, the
golden light of sunset. A drowsy-toned bell was ringing out the Ave
Maria over the wide purple solitude of mountains, whose varying outlines
were rising around.

"You are tired, my little heart," said old Elsie to Agnes, who had
drooped during a longer walk than usual.

"No, grandmamma," said Agnes, sinking on her knees to repeat her evening
prayer, which she did, covering her face with her hands.

Old Elsie kneeled too; but, as she was praying,--being a thrifty old
body in the use of her time,--she cast an eye up the steep mountain-path
and calculated the distance of the little airy village. Just at that
moment she saw two or three horsemen, who appeared to be stealthily
observing them from behind the shadow of some large rocks.

When their devotions were finished, she hurried on her grandchild,
saying,--

"Come, dearie! it must be we shall find a shelter soon."

The horsemen now rode up behind them.

"Good evening, mother!" said one of them, speaking from under the shadow
of a deeply slouched hat.

Elsie made no reply, but hurried forward.

"Good evening, pretty maid!" he said again, riding still nearer.

"Go your ways in the name of God," said Elsie. "We are pilgrims, going
for our souls to Rome; and whoever hinders us will have the saints to
deal with."

"Who talks of hindering you, mother?" responded the other. "On the
contrary, we come for the express purpose of helping you along."

"We want none of your help," said Elsie, gruffly.

"See, now, how foolish you are!" said the horseman. "Don't you see that
that town is a good seven miles off, and not a bit of bed or supper to
be had till you get there, and the sun will be down soon? So mount up
behind me, and here is a horse for the little one."

In fact, the horsemen at this moment opening disclosed to view a palfrey
with a lady's saddle, richly caparisoned, as if for a person of
condition. With a sudden movement, two of the men dismounted, confronted
the travellers, and the one who had acted as spokesman, approaching
Agnes, said, in a tone somewhat imperative,--

"Come, young lady, it is our master's will that your poor little feet
should have some rest."

And before Agnes could remonstrate, he raised her into the saddle as
easily as if she had been a puff of thistle-down, and then turning to
Elsie, he said,--

"For you, good mother, if you wish to keep up, you must e'en be content
with a seat behind me."

"Who are you? and how dare you?" said Elsie, indignantly.

"Good mother," said the man, "you see God's will is that you should
submit, because we are four to you two, and there are fifty more within
call. So get up without more words, and I swear by the Holy Virgin no
harm shall be done you."

Elsie looked and saw Agnes already some distance before her, the bridle
of her palfrey being held by one of the horsemen, who rode by her side
and seemed to look after her carefully; and so, without more ado, she
accepted the services of the man, and, placing her foot on the toe of
his riding-boot, mounted to the crupper behind him.

"That is right," said he. "Now hold on to me lustily, and be not
afraid."

So saying, the whole troop began winding as rapidly as possible up the
steep, rocky path to the mountain-town.

Notwithstanding the surprise and alarm of this most unexpected
adventure, Agnes, who had been at the very point of exhaustion from
fatigue, could not but feel the sensation of relief and repose which the
seat in an easy saddle gave her. The mountain air, as they arose,
breathed fresh and cold on her brow, and a prospect of such wondrous
beauty unrolled beneath her feet that her alarm soon became lost in
admiration. The mountains that rose everywhere around them seemed to
float in a transparent sea of luminous vapor, with olive-orchards and
well-tilled fields lying in far, dreamy distances below, while out
towards the horizon silver gleams of the Mediterranean gradually widened
to the view. Soothed by the hour, refreshed by the air, and filled with
admiration for the beauty of all she saw, she surrendered herself to her
situation with a feeling of solemn religious calm, as to some unfolding
of the Divine Will, which might unroll like the landscape beneath her.
They pursued their way in silence, rising higher and higher out of the
shadows of the deep valleys below, the man who conducted them observing
a strict reserve, but seeming to have a care for their welfare.

The twilight yet burned red in the sky, and painted with solemn lights
the mossy walls of the little old town, as they plunged under a sombre
antique gateway, and entered on a street as damp and dark as a cellar,
which went up almost perpendicularly between tall, black stone walls
that seemed to have neither windows nor doors. Agnes could only remember
clambering upward, turning short corners, clattering down steep stone
steps, under low archways, along narrow, ill-smelling passages, where
the light that seemed so clear without the town was almost extinguished
in utter night.

At last they entered the damp court of a huge, irregular pile of stone
buildings. Here the men suddenly drew up, and Agnes's conductor,
dismounting, came and took her silently from her saddle, saying briefly,
"Come this way."

Elsie sprang from her seat in a moment, and placed herself at the side
of her child.

"No, good mother," said the man with whom she had ridden, seizing her
powerfully by the shoulders, and turning her round.

"What do you mean?" said Elsie, fiercely. "Are you going to keep me from
my own child?"

"Patience!" replied the man. "You can't help yourself, so recommend
yourself to God, and no harm shall come to you."

Agnes looked back at her grandmother.

"Fear not, dear grandmamma," she said, "the blessed angels will watch
over us."

As she spoke, she followed her conductor through long, damp, mouldering
passages and up flights of stone steps, and again through other long
passages smelling of mould and damp, till at last he opened the door of
an apartment from which streamed a light so dazzling to the eyes of
Agnes that at first she could form no distinct conception as to where
she was.

As soon as her eyesight cleared, she found herself in an apartment which
to her simplicity seemed furnished with an unheard-of luxury. The walls
were richly frescoed and gilded, and from a chandelier of Venetian glass
the light fell upon a foot-cloth of brilliant tapestry which covered the
marble floor. Gilded chairs and couches, covered with the softest
Genoese velvet, invited to repose; while tables inlaid with choice
mosaics stood here and there, sustaining rare vases, musical
instruments, and many of the light, fanciful ornaments with which, in
those days, the halls of women of condition were graced. At one end of
the apartment was an alcove, where the rich velvet curtains were looped
away with heavy cords and tassels of gold, displaying a smaller room,
where was a bed with hangings of crimson satin embroidered with gold.

Agnes stood petrified with amazement, and put her hand to her head, as
if to assure herself by the sense of touch that she was not dreaming,
and then, with an impulse of curious wonder, began examining the
apartment. The rich furniture and the many adornments, though only such
as were common in the daily life of the great at that period, had for
her simple eyes all the marvellousness of the most incredible illusion.
She touched the velvet couches almost with fear, and passed from object
to object in a sort of maze. When she arrived at the alcove, she thought
she heard a slight rustling within, and then a smothered laugh. Her
heart beat quick as she stopped to listen. There was a tittering sound,
and a movement as if some one were shaking the curtain, and at last
Giulietta stood in the doorway.

For a moment Agnes stood looking at her in utter bewilderment. Yes,
surely it was Giulietta, dressed out in all the bravery of splendid
apparel, her black hair shining and lustrous, great solid ear-rings of
gold shaking in her ears, and a row of gold coins displayed around her
neck.

She broke into a loud laugh at the sight of Agnes's astonished face.

"So, here you are!" she said, "Well, now, didn't I tell you so? You see
he was in love with you, just as I said; and if you wouldn't come to him
of your own accord, he must fly off with you."

"Oh, Giulietta!" said Agnes, springing towards her and catching her
hands, "what does all this mean? and where have they carried poor
grandmamma?"

"Oh, never worry about her! Do you know you are in high favor here, and
any one who belongs to you gets good quarters? Your grandmother just now
is at supper, I doubt not, with my mother; and a jolly time they will
have of it, gossiping together."

"Your mother here, too?"

"Yes, simple, to be sure! I found it so much easier living here than in
the old town that I sent for her, that she might have peace in her old
age.--But how do you like your room? Were you not astonished to see it
so brave? Know, then, pretty one, that it is all on account of the good
courage of our band. For, you see, the people there in Rome (we won't
say who) had given away all our captain's lands and palaces and villas
to this one and that, as pleased them; and one pretty little villa in
the mountains not far from here went to a stout old cardinal. What does
a band of our men do, one night, but pounce on old red-hat and tie him
up, while they helped themselves to what they liked through the house?
True, they couldn't bring house and all; but they brought stores of rich
furnishing, and left him thanking the saints that he was yet alive. So
we arranged your rooms right nobly, thinking to please our captain when
he comes. If you are not pleased, you will be ungrateful, that's all."

"Giulietta," said Agnes, who had scarcely seemed to listen to this
prattle, so anxious was she to speak of what lay nearest her heart, "I
want to see grandmamma. Can't you bring her to me?"

"No, my little princess, I can't. Do you know you are my mistress now?
Well, you are; but there's one that's master of us both, and he says
none must speak with you till he has seen you."

"And is he here?"

"No, he has been some time gone Northward, and has not returned,--
though we expect him to-night. So compose yourself, and ask for anything
in the world, but to see your grandmother, and I will show that I am
your humble servant to command."

So saying, Giulietta curtsied archly and laughed, showing her white,
shiny teeth, which looked as bright as pearls.

Agnes sat down on one of the velvet couches and leaned her head on her
hand.

"Come, now, let me bring you some supper," said Giulietta. "What say you
to a nice roast fowl and a bottle of wine?"

"How can you speak of such things in the holy time of Lent?" said Agnes.

"Oh, never you fear about that! Our holy Father Stefano sets such
matters right for any of us in a twinkling, and especially would he do
it for you."

"Oh, but, Giulietta, I don't want anything. I couldn't eat, if I were to
try."

"Ta, ta, ta!" said Giulietta, going out. "Wait till you smell it. I
shall be back in a little while."

And she left the room, locking the door after her.

In a few moments she returned, bearing a rich silver tray, on which was
a covered dish that steamed a refreshing odor, together with a roll of
white bread, and a small glass _flacon_ containing a little choice
wine.

By much entreaty and coaxing, Agnes was induced to partake of the bread,
enough to revive her somewhat after the toils of the day; and then, a
little reassured by the familiar presence of Giulietta, she began to
undress, her former companion officiously assisting her.

"There, now, you are tired, my lady princess," she said. "I'll unlace
your bodice. One of these days your gowns will be all of silk, and stiff
with gold and pearls."

"Oh, Giulietta," said Agnes, "don't!--let me,--I don't need help."

"Ta, ta, ta!--you must learn to be waited on," said Giulietta,
persisting. "But, Holy Virgin! what is the matter here? Oh, Agnes, what
are you doing to yourself?"

"It's a penance, Giulietta," said Agnes, her face flushing.

"Well, I should think it was! Father Francesco ought to be ashamed of
himself; he is a real butcher!"

"He does it to save my soul, Giulietta. The cross of our Lord without
will heal a deadly wound within."

In her heart, Giulietta had somewhat of secret reverence for such
austerities, which the whole instruction of her time and country taught
her to regard as especially saintly. People who live in the senses more
than in the world of reflection feel the force of such outward appeals.
Giulietta made the sign of the cross, and looked grave for several
minutes.

"Poor little dove!" she said at last, "if your sins must needs be
expiated so, what will become of me? It must be that you will lay up
stores of merit with God; for surely your sins do not need _all_
this. Agnes, you will be a saint some day, like your namesake at the
Convent, I truly do believe."

"Oh, no, no, Giulietta! don't talk so! God knows I wrestle with
forbidden thoughts all the while. I am no saint, but the chief of
sinners."

"That's what the saints all say," said Giulietta. "But, my dear
princess, when _he_ comes, he will forbid this; he is lordly, and
will not suffer his little wife"--

"Giulietta, don't speak so,--I cannot hear it,--I must not be his
wife,--I am vowed to be the spouse of the Lord."

"And yet you love our handsome prince," said Giulietta; "and there is
the great sin you are breaking your little heart about. Well, now, it's
all of that dry, sour old Father Francesco. I never could abide him,--he
made such dismal pother about sin; old Father Girolamo was worth a dozen
of him. If you would just see our good Father Stefano, now, he would set
your mind at ease about your vows in a twinkling; and you must needs get
them loosed, for our captain is born to command, and when princes stoop
to us peasant-girls it isn't for us to say nay. It's being good as Saint
Michael himself for him to think of you only in the holy way of
marriage. I'll warrant me, there's many a lord cardinal at Rome that
isn't so good; and as to princes, he is one of a thousand, a most holy
and religious knight, or he would do as others do when they have the
power."

Agnes, confused and agitated, turned away, and, as if seeking refuge,
laid her down in the bed, looking timidly up at the unwonted
splendor,--and then, hiding her face in the pillow, began repeating a
prayer.

Giulietta sat by her a moment, till she felt, from the relaxing of the
little hand, that the reaction of fatigue and intense excitement was
beginning to take place. Nature would assert her rights, and the heavy
curtain of sleep fell on the weary little head. Quietly extinguishing
the lights, Giulietta left the room, locking the door.


CHAPTER XXV.

THE CRISIS.


Agnes was so entirely exhausted with bodily fatigue and mental agitation
that she slept soundly till awakened by the beams of the morning sun.
Her first glance up at the gold-embroidered curtains of her bed
occasioned a bewildered surprise;--she raised herself and looked around,
slowly recovering her consciousness and the memory of the strange event
which had placed her where she was. She rose hastily and went to the
window to look out. This window was in a kind of circular tower
projecting from the side of the building, such as one often sees in old
Norman architecture;--it overhung not only a wall of dizzy height, but
a precipice with a sheer descent of some thousand feet; and far below,
spread out like a map in the distance, lay a prospect of enchanting
richness. The eye might wander over orchards of silvery olives,
plantations with their rows of mulberry-trees supporting the vines, now
in the first tender spring green, scarlet fields of clover, and patches
where the young corn was just showing its waving blades above the brown
soil. Here and there rose tufts of stone-pines with their dark
umbrella-tops towering above all other foliage, while far off in the
blue distance a silvery belt of glittering spangles showed where the sea
closed in the horizon-line. So high was the perch, so distant and dreamy
the prospect, that Agues felt a sensation of giddiness, as if she were
suspended over it in the air,--and turned away from the window, to look
again at what seemed to her the surprising and unheard-of splendors of
the apartment. There lay her simple peasant garb, on the rich velvet
couch,--a strange sight in the midst of so much luxury. Having dressed
herself, she sat down, and, covering her face with her hands, tried to
reflect calmly on the position in which she was placed.

With the education she had received, she could look on this strange
interruption of her pilgrimage only as a special assault upon her faith,
instigated by those evil spirits that are ever setting themselves in
conflict with the just. Such trials had befallen saints of whom she had
read. They had been assailed by visions of worldly ease and luxury
suddenly presented before them, for which they were tempted to deny
their faith and sell their souls. Was it not, perhaps, as a punishment
for having admitted the love of an excommunicated heretic into her
heart, that this sore trial had been permitted to come upon her? And if
she should fail? She shuddered, when she recalled the severe and
terrible manner in which Father Francesco had warned her against
yielding to the solicitations of an earthly love. To her it seemed as if
that holy man must have been inspired with a prophetic foresight of her
present position, and warned her against it. Those awful words came
burning into her mind as when they seemed to issue like the voice of a
spirit from the depths of the confessional:--"_If ever you should
yield to his love, and turn back from this heavenly marriage to follow
him, you will accomplish his damnation and your own_."

Agnes trembled in an agony of real belief, and with a vivid terror of
the world to come such as belonged to the almost physical certainty with
which the religious teaching of her time presented it to the popular
mind. Was she, indeed, the cause of such awful danger to his soul? Might
a false step now, a faltering human weakness, indeed plunge that soul,
so dear, into a fiery abyss without bottom or shore? Should she forever
hear his shrieks of torture and despair, his curses on the hour he had
first known her? Her very blood curdled, her nerves froze, as she
thought of it, and she threw herself on her knees and prayed with an
anguish that brought the sweat in beaded drops to her forehead,--strange
dew for so frail a lily!--and her prayer rose above all intercession of
saints, above the seat even of the Virgin Mother herself, to the heart
of her Redeemer, to Him who some divine instinct told her was alone
mighty to save. We of the present day may look on her distress as
unreal, as the result of a misguided sense of religious obligation; but
the great Hearer of Prayer regards each heart in its own scope of
vision, and helps not less the mistaken than the enlightened distress.
And for that matter, who is enlightened? who carries to God's throne a
trouble or a temptation in which there is _not_ somewhere a
misconception or a mistake?

And so it came to pass. Agnes rose from prayer with an experience which
has been common to the members of the True Invisible Church, whether
Catholic, Greek, or Protestant. "In the day when I cried Thou answeredst
me, and strengthenedst me with strength in my soul." She had that vivid
sense of the sustaining presence and sympathy of an Almighty Saviour
which is the substance of which all religious forms and appliances are
the shadows; her soul was stayed on God, and was at peace, as truly as
if she had been the veriest Puritan maiden that ever worshipped in a
New-England meeting-house. She felt a calm superiority to all things
earthly,--a profound reliance on that invisible aid which comes from God
alone.

She was standing at her window, deep in thought, when Giulietta
entered,--fresh and blooming,--bearing the breakfast-tray.

"Come, my little princess, here I am," she said, "with your breakfast!
How do you find yourself, this morning?"

Agnes came towards her.

"Bless us, how grave we are!" said Giulietta. "What has come over us?"

"Giulietta, have you seen poor grandmamma this morning?"

"Poor grandmamma!" said Giulietta, mimicking the sad tone in which Agnes
spoke,--"to be sure I have. I left her making a hearty breakfast. So
fall to, and do the same,--for you don't know who may come to see you
this morning."

"Giulietta, is he here?"

"He!" said Giulietta, laughing. "Do hear the little bird! It begins to
chirp already! No, he is not here yet; but Pietro says he will come
soon, and Pietro knows all his movements."

"Pietro is your husband?" said Agnes, inquiringly.

"Yes, to be sure,--and a pretty good one, too, as men go," said
Giulietta. "They are sorry bargains, the best of them. But you'll get a
prize, if you play your cards well. Do you know that the King of Naples
and the King of France have both sent messages to our captain? Our men
hold all the passes between Rome and Naples, and so every one sees the
sense of gaining our captain's favor. But eat your breakfast, little
one, while I go and see to Pietro and the men."

So saying, she bustled out of the room, locking the door behind her.

Agnes took a little bread and water,--resolved to fast and pray, as the
only defence against the danger in which she stood.

After breakfasting, she retired into the inner room, and, opening the
window, sat down and looked out on the prospect, and then, in a low
voice, began singing a hymn of Savonarola's, which had been taught her
by her uncle. It was entitled "Christ's Call to the Soul." The words
were conceived in that tender spirit of mystical devotion which
characterizes all this class of productions.

  "Fair soul, created in the primal hour,
    Once pure and grand,
  And for whose sake I left my throne and power
    At God's right hand,
  By this sad heart pierced through because I loved thee,
  Let love and mercy to contrition move thee!

  "Cast off the sins thy holy beauty veiling,
    Spirit divine!
  Vain against thee the hosts of hell assailing:
    My strength is thine!
  Drink from my side the cup of life immortal,
  And love will lead thee back to heaven's portal!

  "I, for thy sake, was pierced with many sorrows,
    And bore the cross,
  Yet heeded not the galling of the arrows,
    The shame and loss.
  So faint not thou, whate'er the burden be:
  But bear it bravely, even to Calvary!"

While Agnes was singing, the door of the outer room was slowly opened,
and Agostino Sarelli entered. He had just returned from Florence, having
ridden day and night to meet her whom he expected to find within the
walls of his fastness.

He entered so softly that Agnes did not hear his approach, and he stood
listening to her singing. He had come back with his mind burning with
indignation against the Pope and the whole hierarchy then ruling in
Rome; but conversation with Father Antonio and the scenes he had
witnessed at San Marco had converted the blind sense of personal wrong
into a fixed principle of moral indignation and opposition. He no longer
found himself checked by the pleading of his early religious
recollections; for now he had a leader who realized in his own person
all his conceptions of those primitive apostles and holy bishops who
first fed the flock of the Lord in Italy. He had heard from his lips the
fearless declaration, "If Rome is against me, know that it is not
contrary to me, but to Christ, and its controversy is with God: doubt
not that God will conquer"; and he embraced the cause with all the
enthusiasm of patriotism and knighthood. In his view, the most holy
place of his religion had been taken by a robber, who reigned in the
name of Christ only to disgrace it; and he felt called to pledge his
sword, his life, his knightly honor to do battle against him. He had
urged his uncle in Milan to make interest for the cause of Savonarola
with the King of France; and his uncle, with that crafty diplomacy which
in those days formed the staple of what was called statesmanship, had
seemed to listen favorably to his views,--intending, however, no more by
his apparent assent than to withdraw his nephew from the dangers in
which he stood in Italy, and bring him under his own influence and
guardianship in the court of France. But the wily diplomate had sent
Agostino Sarelli from his presence with the highest possible
expectations of his influence both with the King of France and the
Emperor of Germany in the present religious crisis in Italy.

And now the time was come, Agostino thought, to break the spell under
which Agnes was held,--to show her the true character of the men whom
she was beholding through a mist of veneration arising entirely from the
dewy freshness of ignorant innocence. All the way home from Florence he
had urged his horse onward, burning to meet her, to tell her all that he
knew and felt, to claim her as his own, and to take her into the sphere
of light and liberty in which he himself moved. He did not doubt his
power, when she should once be where he could speak with her freely,
without fear of interruption. Hers was a soul too good and pure, he
said, to be kept in chains of slavish ignorance any longer. When she
ceased singing, he spoke from the outer apartment,--"Agnes!"

The name was uttered in the softest tone, but it sent the blood to her
heart, as if it were the summons of doom. Everything seemed to swim
before her, and grow dark for a moment; but by a strong effort she
lifted her heart in prayer, and, rising, came towards him.

Agostino had figured her to himself in all that soft and sacred
innocence and freshness of bloom in which he had left her, a fair angel
child, looking through sad, innocent eyes on a life whose sins and
sorrows, and deeper loves and hates, she scarcely comprehended,--one
that he might fold in his arms with protecting tenderness, while he
gently reasoned with her fears and prejudices; but the figure that stood
there in the curtained arch, with its solemn, calm, transparent paleness
of face, its large, intense dark eyes, now vivid with some mysterious
and concentrated resolve, struck a strange chill over him. Was it Agnes
or a disembodied spirit that stood before him? For a few moments there
fell such a pause between them as the intensity of some unexpressed
feeling often brings with it, and which seems like a spell.

"Agnes! Agnes! is it you?" at last said the knight, in a low, hesitating
tone. "Oh, my love, what has changed you so? Speak!--do speak! Are you
angry with me? Are you angry that I brought you here?"

"My Lord, I am not angry," said Agnes, speaking in a cold, sad tone;
"but you have committed a great sin in turning aside those vowed to a
holy pilgrimage, and you tempt me to sin by this conversation, which
ought not to be between us."

"Why not?" said Agostino. "You would not see me at Sorrento. I sought to
warn you of the dangers of this pilgrimage,--to tell you that Rome is
not what you think it is,--that it is not the seat of Christ, but a foul
cage of unclean birds, a den of wickedness,--that he they call Pope is a
vile impostor"--

"My Lord," said Agnes, speaking with a touch of something even
commanding in her tone, "you have me at advantage, it is true, but you
ought not to use it in trying to ruin my soul by blaspheming holy
things." And then she added, in a tone of indescribable sadness, "Alas,
that so noble and beautiful a soul should be in rebellion against the
only True Church! Have you forgotten that good mother you spoke of? What
must she feel to know that her son is an infidel!"

"I am not an infidel, Agnes; I am a true knight of our Lord and Saviour
Jesus Christ, and a believer in the One True, Holy Church."

"How can that be?" said Agnes. "Ah, seek not to deceive me! My Lord,
such a poor little girl as I am is not worth the pains."

"By the Holy Mother, Agnes, by the Holy Cross, I do not seek to deceive
you! I speak on my honor as a knight and gentleman. I love you truly and
honorably, and seek you among all women as my spotless wife, and would I
lie to _you_?"

"My Lord, you have spoken words which it is a sin for me to hear, a
peril to your soul to say; and if you had not, you must not seek me as a
wife. Holy vows are upon me. I must be the wife of no man here; it is a
sin even to think of it."

"Impossible, Agnes!" said Agostino, with a start. "You have not taken
the veil already? If you had"--

"No, my Lord, I have not. I have only promised and vowed in my heart to
do so when the Lord shall open the way."

"But such vows, dear Agnes, are often dispensed; they may be loosed by
the priest. Now hear me,--only hear me. I believe as your uncle
believes,--your good, pious uncle, whom you love so much. I have taken
the sacrament from his hand; he has blessed me as a son. I believe as
Jerome Savonarola believes. He it is, that holy prophet, who has
proclaimed this Pope and his crew to be vile usurpers, reigning in the
name of Christ."

"My Lord! my Lord! I must not hear more! I must not,--I cannot,--I will
not!" said Agnes, becoming violently agitated, as she found herself
listening with interest to the pleadings of her lover.

"Oh, Agnes, what has turned your heart against me? I thought you
promised to love me a little?"

"Oh, hush! hush! don't plead with me!" she said, with a wild, affrighted
look.

He sought to come towards her, and she sprang forward and threw herself
at his feet.

"Oh, my Lord, for mercy's sake let me go! Let us go on our way! We will
pray for you always,--yes, always!" And she looked up at him in an agony
of earnestness.

"Am I so hateful to you, then, Agnes?"

"Hateful? Oh, no, no! God knows you are--I--I--yes, I love you too well,
and you have too much power over me; but, oh, do not use it! If I hear
you talk, I shall yield,--I surely shall, and we shall be lost, both of
us! Oh, my God! I shall be the means of your damnation!"

"Agnes!"

"It is true! it is true! Oh, do not talk to me, but promise me, promise
me, or I shall die! Have pity on me! have pity on yourself!"

In the agony of her feelings her voice became almost a shriek, and her
wild, affrighted face had a deadly pallor; she looked like one in a
death-agony. Agostino was alarmed, and hastened to soothe her, by
promising whatever she required.

"Agnes, dear Agnes, I submit; only be calm. I promise
anything,--anything in the wide world you can ask."

"Will you let me go?"

"Yes."

"And will you let my poor grandmamma go with me?"

"Yes."

"And you will not talk with me any more?"

"Not if you do not wish it. And now," he said, "that I have submitted to
all these hard conditions, will you suffer me to raise you?"

He took her hands and lifted her up; they were cold, and she was
trembling and shivering. He held them a moment; she tried to withdraw
them, and he let them go.

"Farewell, Agnes!" he said. "I am going."

She raised both her hands and pressed the sharp cross to her bosom, but
made no answer.

"I yield to your will," he continued. "Immediately when I leave you,
your grandmother will come to you, and the attendants who brought you
here will conduct you to the high-road. For me, since it is your will, I
part here. Farewell, Agnes!"

He held out his hand, but she stood as before, pale and silent, with her
hands clasped on her breast.

"Do your vows forbid even a farewell to a poor, humble friend?" said the
knight, in a low tone.

"I cannot," said Agnes, speaking at broken intervals, in a suffocating
voice,--"for _your_ sake I cannot! I bear this pain for you,--for
_you_! Oh, repent, and meet me in heaven!"

She gave him her hand; he kneeled and kissed it, pressed it to his
forehead, then rose and left the room.

For a moment after the departure of the Cavalier, Agnes felt a bitter
pang,--the pain which one feels on first realizing that a dear friend
is lost forever; and then, rousing herself with a start and a sigh, she
hurried into the inner room and threw herself on her knees, giving
thanks that the dreadful trial was past and that she had not been left
to fail.

In a few moments she heard the voice of her grandmother in the outer
apartment, and the old wrinkled creature clasped her grandchild in her
arms, and wept with a passionate abandonment of fondness, calling her by
every tender and endearing name which mothers give to their infants.

"After all," said Elsie, "these are not such bad people, and I have been
right well entertained among them. They are of ourselves,--they do not
prey on the poor, but only on our enemies, the princes and nobles, who
look on us as sheep to be shorn and slaughtered for their wearing and
eating. These men are none such, but pitiful to poor peasants and old
widows, whom they feed and clothe out of the spoils of the rich. As to
their captain,--would you believe it?--he is the same handsome gentleman
who once gave you a ring,--you may have forgotten him, as you never
think of such things, but I knew him in a moment,--and such a religious
man, that no sooner did he find that we were pilgrims on a holy errand
than he gave orders to have us set free with all honor, and a band of
the best of them to escort us through the mountains; and the people of
the town are all moved to do us reverence, and coming with garlands and
flowers to wish us well and ask our prayers. So let us set forth
immediately."

Agnes followed her grandmother through the long passages and down the
dark, mouldy stair-way to the court-yard, where two horses were standing
caparisoned for them. A troop of men in high peaked hats, cloaked and
plumed, were preparing also to mount, while a throng of women and
children stood pressing around. When Agnes appeared, enthusiastic cries
were heard: "_Viva Jesù!_" "_Viva Maria!_" "_Viva! viva
Jesù! nostro Rè!_" and showers of myrtle-branches and garlands fell
around. "Pray for us!" "Pray for us, holy pilgrims!" was uttered eagerly
by one and another. Mothers held up their children; and beggars and
cripples, aged and sick,--never absent in an Italian town,--joined with
loud cries in the general enthusiasm. Agnes stood amid it all, pale and
serene, with that elevated expression of heavenly calm on her features
which is often the clear shining of the soul after the wrench and
torture of some great interior conflict. She felt that the last earthly
chain was broken, and that now she belonged to Heaven alone. She
scarcely saw or heard what was around her, wrapt in the calm of inward
prayer.

"Look at her! she is beautiful as the Madonna!" said one and another,
"She is divine as Santa Catarina!" said others. "She might have been the
wife of our chief, who is a nobleman of the oldest blood, but she chose
to be the bride of the Lord," said others: for Giulietta, with a woman's
love of romancing, had not failed to make the most among her companions
of the love-adventures of Agnes.

Agnes meanwhile was seated on her palfrey, and the whole train passed
out of the court-yard into the dim, narrow street,--men, women, and
children following. On reaching the public square, they halted a moment
by the side of the antique fountain to water their horses. The groups
that surrounded it at this time were such as a painter would have
delighted to copy. The women and girls of this obscure mountain-town had
all that peculiar beauty of form and attitude which appears in the
studies of the antique; and as they poised on their heads their copper
water-jars of the old Etruscan pattern, they seemed as if they might be
statues of golden bronze, had not the warm tints of their complexion,
the brilliancy of their large eyes, and the bright, picturesque colors
of their attire given the richness of painting to their classic
outlines. Then, too, the men, with their finely-moulded limbs, their
figures so straight and strong and elastic, their graceful attitudes,
and their well-fitting, showy costumes, formed a no less imposing
feature in the scene. Among them all sat Agnes waiting on her palfrey,
seeming scarcely conscious of the enthusiasm which surrounded her. Some
admiring friend had placed in her hand a large bough of blossoming
hawthorn,--which she held unconsciously, as, with a sort of childlike
simplicity, she turned from right to left, to make reply to the request
for prayers, or to return thanks for the offered benediction of some one
in the crowd.

When all the preparations were at last finished, the procession of
mounted horsemen, with a confused gathering of the population, passed
down the streets to the gates of the city, and as they passed they sang
the words of the Crusaders' Hymn, which had fluttered back into the
traditionary memory of Europe from the knights going to redeem the Holy
Sepulchre.

    "Fairest Lord Jesus,
    Ruler of all Nature,
  O Thou of God and man the Son!
    Thee will I honor,
    Thee will I cherish,
  Thou, my soul's glory, joy, and crown!

    "Fair are the meadows,
    Fairer still the woodlands,
  Robed in the pleasing garb of spring:
    Jesus shines fairer,
    Jesus is purer
  Who makes the woful heart to sing!

    "Fair is the sunshine,
    Fairer still the moonlight,
  And all the twinkling starry host;
    Jesus shines fairer,
    Jesus is purer,
  Than all the angels heaven can boast!"

They were singing the second verse, as, emerging from the dark old
gate-way of the town, all the distant landscape of silvery
olive-orchards, crimson clover-fields, blossoming almond-trees,
fig-trees, and grape-vines, just in the tender green of spring, burst
upon their view. Agnes felt a kind of inspiration. From the high
mountain elevation she could discern the far-off brightness of the sea--
all between one vision of beauty,--and the religious enthusiasm which
possessed all around her had in her eye all the value of the most solid
and reasonable faith. With us, who may look on it from a colder and more
distant point of view, doubts may be suggested whether this _naïve_
impressibility to religious influences, this simple, whole-hearted
abandonment to their expression, had any real practical value. The fact
that any or all of the actors might before night rob or stab or lie
quite as freely as if it has not occurred may well give reason for such
a question. Be this as it may, the phenomenon is not confined to Italy
or the religion of the Middle Ages, but exhibits itself in many a
prayer-meeting and camp-meeting of modern days. For our own part, we
hold it better to have even transient upliftings of the nobler and more
devout element of man's nature than never to have any at all, and that
he who goes on in worldly and sordid courses, without ever a spark of
religious enthusiasm or a throb of aspiration, is less of a man than he
who sometimes soars heavenward, though his wings be weak and he fall
again.

In all this scene Agostino Sarelli took no part. He had simply given
orders for the safe-conduct of Agnes, and then retired to his own room.
From a window, however, he watched the procession as it passed through
the gates of the city, and his resolution was immediately taken to
proceed at once by a secret path to the place where the pilgrims should
emerge upon the high-road.

He had been induced to allow the departure of Agnes, from seeing the
utter hopelessness by any argument or persuasion of removing a barrier
that was so vitally interwoven with the most sensitive religious nerves
of her being. He saw in her terrified looks, in the deadly paleness of
her face, how real and unaffected was the anguish which his words gave
her; he saw that the very consciousness of her own love to him produced
a sense of weakness which made her shrink in utter terror from his
arguments.

"There is no remedy," he said, "but to let her go to Rome and see with
her own eyes how utterly false and vain is the vision which she draws
from the purity of her own believing soul. What Christian would not wish
that these fair dreams had any earthly reality? But this gentle dove
must not be left unprotected to fly into that foul, unclean cage of
vultures and harpies. Deadly as the peril may be to me to breathe the
air of Rome, I will be around her invisibly to watch over her."


CHAPTER XXVI.

ROME.


A vision rises upon us from the land of shadows. We see a wide plain,
miles and miles in extent, rolling in soft billows of green, and girded
on all sides by blue mountains, whose silver crests gleaming in the
setting sunlight tell that the winter yet lingers on their tops, though
spring has decked all the plain. So silent, so lonely, so fair is this
waving expanse with its guardian mountains, it might be some wild
solitude, an American prairie or Asiatic steppe, but that in the midst
thereof, on some billows of rolling land, we discern a city, sombre,
quaint, and old,--a city of dreams and mysteries,--a city of the living
and the dead. And this is Rome,--weird, wonderful, ancient, mighty
Rome,--mighty once by physical force and grandeur, mightier now in
physical decadence and weakness by the spell of a potent moral
enchantment.

As the sun is moving westward, the whole air around becomes flooded with
a luminousness which seems to transfuse itself with pervading presence
through every part of the city, and make all its ruinous and mossy age
bright and living. The air shivers with the silver vibrations of
hundreds of bells, and the evening glory goes up and down, soft-footed
and angelic, transfiguring all things. The broken columns of the Forum
seem to swim in golden mist, and luminous floods fill the Coliseum as it
stands with its thousand arches looking out into the city like so many
sightless eye-holes in the skull of the past. The tender light pours up
streets dank and ill-paved,--into noisome and cavernous dens called
houses, where the peasantry of to-day vegetate in contented
subservience. It illuminates many a dingy court-yard, where the moss is
green on the walls, and gurgling fountains fall into quaint old
sculptured basins. It lights up the gorgeous palaces of Rome's modern
princes, built with stones wrenched from ancient ruins. It streams
through a wilderness of churches, each with its tolling prayer-bell, and
steals through painted windows into the dazzling confusion of pictured
and gilded glories that glitter and gleam from roof and wall within. And
it goes, too, across the Tiber, up the filthy and noisome Ghetto, where,
hemmed in by ghostly superstition, the sons of Israel are growing up
without vital day, like wan white plants in cellars; and the black
mournful obelisks of the cypresses in the villas around, it touches with
a solemn glory. The castle of St. Angelo looks like a great translucent,
luminous orb, and the statues of saints and apostles on the top of St.
John Lateran glow as if made of living fire, and seem to stretch out
glorified hands of welcome to the pilgrims that are approaching the Holy
City across the soft, palpitating sea of green that lies stretched like
a misty veil around it.

Then, as now, Rome was an enchantress of mighty and wonderful power,
with her damp, and mud, and mould, her ill-fed, ill-housed populace, her
ruins of old glory rising dim and ghostly amid her palaces of to-day.
With all her awful secrets of rapine, cruelty, ambition,
injustice,--with her foul orgies of unnatural crime,--with the very
corruption of the old buried Roman Empire steaming up as from a
charnel-house, and permeating all modern life with its effluvium of
deadly uncleanness,--still Rome had that strange, bewildering charm of
melancholy grandeur and glory which made all hearts cleave to her, and
eyes and feet turn longingly towards her from the ends of the earth.
Great souls and pious yearned for her as for a mother, and could not be
quieted till they had kissed the dust of her streets. There they fondly
thought was rest to be found,--that rest which through all weary life
ever recedes like the mirage of the desert; there sins were to be
shriven which no common priest might forgive, and heavy burdens unbound
from the conscience by an infallible wisdom; there was to be revealed to
the praying soul the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of
things not seen. Even the mighty spirit of Luther yearned for the breast
of this great unknown mother, and came humbly thither to seek the repose
which he found afterwards in Jesus.

At this golden twilight-hour along the Appian Way come the pilgrims of
our story with prayers and tears of thankfulness. Agnes looks forward
and sees the saintly forms on St. John Lateran standing in a cloud of
golden light and stretching out protecting hands to bless her.

"See, see, grandmother!" she exclaimed,--"yonder is our Father's house,
and all the saints beckon us home! Glory be to God who hath brought us
hither!"

Within the church the evening-service is going on, and the soft glory
streaming in reveals that dizzying confusion of riches and brightness
with which the sensuous and color-loving Italian delights to encircle
the shrine of the Heavenly Majesty. Pictured angels in cloudy wreaths
smile down from the gold-fretted roofs and over the round, graceful
arches; and the floor seems like a translucent sea of precious marbles
and gems fused into solid brightness, and reflecting in long gleams and
streaks dim intimations of the sculptured and gilded glories above.
Altar and shrine are now veiled in that rich violet hue which the Church
has chosen for its mourning color; and violet vestments, taking the
place of the gorgeous robes of the ecclesiastics, tell the approach of
that holy week of sadness when all Christendom falls in penitence at the
feet of that Almighty Love once sorrowful and slain for her.

The long-drawn aisles are now full to overflowing with that weird
chanting which one hears nowhere but in Rome at this solemn season.
Those voices, neither of men nor women, have a wild, morbid energy which
seems to search every fibre of the nervous system, and, instead of
soothing or calming, to awaken strange yearning agonies of pain, ghostly
unquiet longings, and endless feverish, unrestful cravings. The sounds
now swell and flood the church as with a rushing torrent of wailing and
clamorous supplication,--now recede and moan themselves away to silence
in far-distant aisles, like the last faint sigh of discouragement and
despair. Anon they burst out from the roof, they drop from arches and
pictures, they rise like steam from the glassy pavement, and, meeting,
mingle in wavering clamors of lamentation and shrieks of anguish. One
might fancy lost souls from out the infinite and dreary abysses of utter
separation from God might thus wearily and aimlessly moan and wail,
breaking into agonized tumults of desire, and trembling back into
exhaustions of despair. Such music brings only throbbings and yearnings,
but no peace; and yonder, on the glassy floor, at the foot of a
crucifix, a poor mortal lies sobbing and quivering under its pitiless
power, as if it had wrenched every tenderest nerve of memory, and torn
open every half-healed wound of the soul.

When the chanting ceases, he rises slow and tottering, and we see in the
wan face turning towards the dim light the well-remembered features of
Father Francesco. Driven to despair by the wild, ungovernable force of
his unfortunate love, weary of striving, overborne with a hopeless and
continually accumulating load of guilt, he had come to Rome to lay down
at the feet of heavenly wisdom the burden which he can no longer bear
alone; and rising now, he totters to a confessional where sits a holy
cardinal to whom has been deputed the office to hear and judge those
sins which no subordinate power in the Church is competent to absolve.

Father Francesco kneels down with a despairing, confiding movement, such
as one makes, when, after a long struggle of anguish, one has found a
refuge; and the churchman within inclining his ear to the grating, the
confession begins.

Could we only be clairvoyant, it would be worth our while to note the
difference between the two faces, separated only by the thin grating of
the confessional, but belonging to souls whom an abyss wide as eternity
must forever divide from any common ground of understanding.

On the one side, with ear close to the grate, is a round, smoothly
developed Italian head, with that rather tumid outline of features which
one often sees in a Roman in middle life, when easy living and habits of
sensual indulgence begin to reveal their signs in the countenance, and
to broaden and confuse the clear-cut, statuesque lines of early youth.
Evidently, that is the head of an easy-going, pleasure-loving man, who
has waxed warm with good living, and performs the duties of his office
with an unctuous grace as something becoming and decorous to be gone
through with. Evidently, he is puzzled and half-contemptuous at the
revelations which come through the grating in hoarse whispers from those
thin, trembling lips. That other man, who speaks with the sweat of
anguish beaded on his brow, with a mortal pallor on his thin, worn
cheeks, is putting questions to the celestial guide within which seem to
that guide the ravings of a crazed lunatic; and yet there is a deadly,
despairing earnestness in the appeal that makes an indistinct knocking
at the door of his heart, for the man is born of woman, and can feel
that somehow or other these are the words of a mighty agony.

He addresses him some words of commonplace ghostly comfort, and gives a
plenary absolution. The Capuchin monk rises up and stands meekly wiping
the sweat from his brow, the churchman leaves his box, and they meet
face to face, when each starts, seeing in the other the apparition of a
once well-known countenance.

"What! Lorenzo Sforza!" said the churchman. "Who would have thought it?
Don't you remember me?"

"Not Lorenzo Sforza," said the other, a hectic brilliancy flushing his
pale cheek; "that name is buried in the tomb of his fathers; he you
speak to knows it no more. The unworthy Brother Francesco, deserving
nothing of God or man, is before you."

"Oh, come, come!" said the other, grasping his hand in spite of his
resistance; "that is all proper enough in its place; but between
friends, you know, what's the use? It's lucky we have you here now; we
want one of your family to send on a mission to Florence, and talk a
little reason into the citizens and the Signoria. Come right away with
me to the Pope."

"Brother, in God's name let me go! I have no mission to the great of
this world; and I cannot remember or be called by the name of other
days, or salute kinsman or acquaintance after the flesh, without a
breach of vows."

"Poh, poh! you are nervous, dyspeptic; you don't understand things.
Don't you see you are where vows can be bound and loosed? Come along,
and let us wake you out of this nightmare. Such a pother about a pretty
peasant-girl! One of your rank and taste, too! I warrant me the little
sinner practised on you at the confessional. I know their ways, the
whole of them; but you mourn over it in a way that is perfectly
incomprehensible. If you had tripped a little,--paid a compliment, or
taken a liberty or two,--it would have been only natural; but this
desperation, when you have resisted like Saint Anthony himself, shows
your nerves are out of order and you need change."

"For God's sake, brother, tempt me not!" said Father Francesco,
wrenching himself away, with such a haggard and insane vehemence as
quite to discompose the churchman; and drawing his cowl over his face,
he glided swiftly down a side-aisle and out the door.

The churchman was too easy-going to risk the fatigue of a scuffle with a
man whom he considered as a monomaniac; but he stepped smoothly and
stealthily after him and watched him go out.

"Look you," he said to a servant in violet livery who was waiting by the
door, "follow yonder Capuchin and bring me word where he abides.--He may
be cracked," he said to himself; "but, after all, one of his blood may
be worth mending, and do us good service either in Florence or Milan. We
must have him transferred to some convent here, where we can lay hands
on him readily, if we want him."

Meanwhile Father Francesco wends his way through many a dark and dingy
street to an ancient Capuchin convent, where he finds brotherly
admission. Weary and despairing is he beyond all earthly despair, for
the very altar of his God seems to have failed him. He asked for bread,
and has got a stone,--he asked a fish, and has got a scorpion. Again and
again the worldly, almost scoffing, tone of the superior to whom he has
been confessing sounds like the hiss of a serpent in his ear.

But he is sent for in haste to visit the bedside of the Prior, who has
long been sick and failing, and who gladly embraces this opportunity to
make his last confession to a man of such reputed sanctity in his order
as Father Francesco. For the acute Father Johannes, casting about for
various means to empty the Superior's chair at Sorrento, for his own
benefit, and despairing of any occasion of slanderous accusation, had
taken the other tack of writing to Rome extravagant laudations of such
feats of penance and saintship in his Superior as in the view of all the
brothers required that such a light should no more be hidden in an
obscure province, but be set on a Roman candlestick, where it might give
light to the faithful in all parts of the world. Thus two currents of
worldly intrigue were uniting to push an unworldly man to a higher
dignity than he either sought or desired.

When a man has a sensitive or sore spot in his heart, from the pain of
which he would gladly flee to the ends of the earth, it is marvellous
what coincidences of events will be found to press upon it wherever he
may go. Singularly enough, one of the first items in the confession of
the Capuchin Superior related to Agnes, and his story was in substance
as follows. In his youth he had been induced by the persuasions of the
young son of a great and powerful family to unite him in the holy
sacrament of marriage with a _protégée_ of his mother's; but the
marriage being detected, it was disavowed by the young nobleman, and the
girl and her mother chased out ignominiously, so that she died in great
misery. For his complicity in this sin the conscience of the monk had
often troubled him, and he had kept track of the child she left,
thinking perhaps some day to make reparation by declaring the true
marriage of her mother, which now he certified upon the holy cross, and
charged Father Francesco to make known to one of that kin whom he named.
He further informed him, that this family, having fallen under the
displeasure of the Pope and his son, Cæsar Borgia, had been banished
from the city, and their property confiscated, so that there was none of
them to be found thereabouts except an aged widowed sister, who, having
married into a family in favor with the Pope, was allowed to retain her
possessions, and now resided in a villa near Rome, where she lived
retired, devoting her whole life to works of piety. The old man
therefore conjured Father Francesco to lose no time in making this
religious lady understand the existence of so near a kinswoman, and take
her under her protection.--Thus strangely did Father Francesco find
himself again obliged to take up that enchanted thread which had led him
into labyrinths so fatal to his peace.

       *       *       *       *       *



METHODS OF STUDY IN NATURAL HISTORY.

V.


It is in the search after the true boundaries and characteristics of
orders that we may expect the greatest advance by the naturalists of the
present day; and yet there is now much discrepancy among them, some
mistaking orders for classes, others raising families to the dignity of
orders. This want of agreement in their results is not strange, however;
for the recognition of orders is indeed exceedingly difficult. If they
are, as I have defined them, groups in Nature founded upon a greater or
less complication of structure, they must of course form a regular
gradation within the limits of their class, since comparative perfection
implies comparative rank, and a correct estimate of these degrees of
complication requires an intimate and extensive knowledge of structure
throughout the class. There would seem to be an arbitrary element
here,--that of our individual appreciation of structural character. If
one man holds a certain kind of structural characters superior to
another, he will establish the rank of the order upon that feature,
while some other naturalist, appreciating a different point of the
structure more highly, will make that the test character of the group.
Let us see whether we can eliminate this arbitrary element in our
estimate of these groups, and find any mode of determining orders that
shall be unquestionable, and give us results as positive as a chemical
analysis according to quantitative elements. I believe that there are
such absolute tests of structural relations. It is my conviction, that
orders, like all the other groups of the Animal Kingdom, have a positive
existence in Nature with definite limits, that no arbitrary element
should enter into any part of our classifications, and that we have
already the key by which to solve this question about orders.

To illustrate this statement, I must return to the class of Insects. We
have seen that they are divided into three orders: the long cylindrical
Centipedes, with the body divided throughout in uniform rings, like the
Worms; the Spiders, with the body divided into two regions; and the
Winged Insects, with head, chest, and hind body distinct from each
other, forming three separate regions. In the first group, the
Centipedes, the nervous system is scattered through the whole body, as
in the Worms; in the Spiders it is concentrated in two nervous
swellings, as in the Crustacea, the front one being the largest; and in
the Insects there are three nervous centres, the largest in the head, a
smaller one in the chest, and the smallest in the hind body. Now
according to this greater or less individualization of parts, with the
corresponding localization of the nervous centres, naturalists have
established the relative rank of these three groups, placing Centipedes
lowest, Spiders next, and Winged Insects highest. But naturalists may,
and indeed they actually do, differ as to this estimation of the
anatomical structure. Have we, then, any means of testing its truth to
Nature? Let us look at the development of these animals, taking the
highest order as an illustration, that we may have the whole succession
of changes. All know the story of the Butterfly with its three lives, as
Caterpillar, Chrysalis, and Winged Insect. I speak of its three lives,
but we must not forget that they make after all but one life, and that
the Caterpillar is as truly the same being with the future Butterfly as
the child is the same being with the future man. The old significance of
the word _metamorphosis_--the fabled transformation of one
individual into another, in which so much of the imagination and
poetical culture of the ancients found expression--still clings to us;
and where the different phases of the same life assume such different
external forms, we are apt to overlook the fact that it is one single
continuous life. To a naturalist, metamorphosis is simply growth; and in
that sense the different stages of development in animals that undergo
their successive changes within the egg are as much metamorphoses as the
successive phases of life in those animals that complete their
development after they are hatched.

But to return to our Butterfly. In its most imperfect, earliest
condition, it is Worm-like, the body consisting of thirteen uniform
rings; but when it has completed this stage of its existence, it passes
into the Chrysalis state, during which the body has two regions, the
front rings being soldered together to form the head and chest, while
the hind joints remain distinct; and it is only when it bursts from its
Chrysalis envelope, as a complete Winged Insect, that it has three
distinct regions of the body. Do not the different periods of growth in
this highest order explain the relation of all the orders to each other?
The earliest condition of an animal cannot be its highest condition,--it
does not pass from a more perfect to a less perfect state of existence.
The history of its growth is, on the contrary, the history of its
progress in development; and therefore, when we find that the first
stage of growth in the Winged Insect transiently represents a structural
character that is permanent in the lowest order of its class, that its
second stage of growth transiently represents a structural character
that is permanent in the second order of its class, and that only in the
last stage of its existence does the Winged Insect attain its complete
and perfect condition, we may fairly infer that this division of the
class of Insects into a gradation of orders placing Centipedes lowest,
Spiders next, and Winged Insects highest, is true to Nature.

This is not the only instance in which the embryological evidence
confirms perfectly the anatomical evidence on which orders have been
distinguished, and I believe that Embryology will give us the true
standard by which to test the accuracy of our ordinal groups. In the
class of Crustacea, for instance, the Crabs have been placed above the
Lobsters by some naturalists, in consequence of certain anatomical
features; but there may easily be a difference of individual opinion as
to the relative value of these features. When we find, however, that the
Crab, while undergoing its changes in the egg, passes through a stage in
which it resembles the Lobster much more than it does its own adult
condition, we cannot doubt that its earlier state is its lower one, and
that the organization of the Lobster is not as high in the class of
Crustacea as that of the Crab. While using illustrations of this kind,
however, I must guard against misinterpretation. These embryological
changes are never the passing of one kind of animal into another kind of
animal: the Crab is none the less a Crab during that period of its
development in which it resembles a Lobster; it simply passes, in the
natural course of its growth, through a phase of existence which is
permanent in the Lobster, but transient in the Crab. Such facts should
stimulate all our young students to embryological investigation as a
most important branch of study in the present state of our science.

But while there is this structural gradation among orders, establishing
a relative rank between them, are classes and branches also linked
together as a connected chain? That such a chain exists throughout the
Animal Kingdom has long been a favorite idea, not only among
naturalists, but also in the popular mind. Lamarck was one of the
greatest teachers of this doctrine. He held not only that branches and
classes were connected in a direct gradation, but that within each class
there was a regular series of orders, families, genera, and species,
forming a continuous chain from the lowest animals to the highest, and
that the whole had been a gradual development of higher out of lower
forms. I have already alluded to his division of the Animal Kingdom into
the Apathetic, Sensitive, and Intelligent animals. The Apathetic were
those devoid of all sensitiveness except when aroused by the influence
of some external agent. Under this head he placed five classes,
including the Infusoria, Polyps, Star-Fishes, Sea-Urchins, Tunicata, and
Worms,--thus bringing together indiscriminately Radiates, Mollusks, and
Articulates. Under the head of Sensitive he had also a heterogeneous
assemblage, including Winged Insects, Spiders, Crustacea, Annelids, and
Barnacles, all of which are Articulates, and with these he placed in two
classes the Mollusks, Conchifera, Gasteropoda, and Cephalopoda. Under
the head of Intelligent he brought together a natural division, for he
here united all the Vertebrates. He succeeded in this way in making out
a series which seemed plausible enough, but when we examine it, we find
at once that it is perfectly arbitrary; for he has brought together
animals built on entirely different structural plans, when he could find
characters among them that seemed to justify his favorite idea of a
gradation of qualities. Blainville attempted to establish the same idea
in another way. He founded his series on gradations of form, placing
together, in one division, all animals that he considered vague and
indefinite in form, and in another all those that he considered
symmetrical. Under a third head he brought together the Radiates; but
his symmetrical division united Articulates, Mollusks, and Vertebrates
in the most indiscriminate manner. He sustained his theory by assuming
intermediate groups,--as, for instance, the Barnacles between the
Mollusks and Articulates, whereas they are as truly Articulates as
Insects or Crabs. Thus, by misplacing certain animals, he arrived at a
series which, like that of Lamarck, made a strong impression on the
scientific world, till a more careful investigation of facts exposed its
fallacy.

Oken, the great German naturalist, also attempted to establish a
connected chain throughout the Animal Kingdom, but on an entirely
different principle; and I cannot allude to this most original
investigator, so condemned by some, so praised by others, so powerful in
his influence on science in Germany, without attempting to give some
analysis of his peculiar philosophy. For twenty years his classification
was accepted by his countrymen without question; and though I believe it
to be wrong, yet, by the ingenuity with which he maintained it, he has
shed a flood of light upon science, and has stimulated other naturalists
to most important and interesting investigations. This famous
classification was founded upon the idea that the system of man, the
most perfect created being, is the measure for the whole Animal Kingdom,
and that in analyzing his organization we have the clue to all organized
beings. The structure of man includes two systems of organs: those which
maintain the body in its integrity, and which he shares in some sort
with the lower animals,--the organs of digestion, circulation,
respiration, and reproduction; and that higher system of organs, the
brain, spinal marrow, and nerves, with the organs of sense, on which all
the manifestations of the intelligent faculties depend, and by which his
relations to the external world are established and controlled: the
whole being surrounded by flesh, muscles, and skin. On account of this
fleshy envelope of the hard parts in all the higher animals, Oken
divided the Animal Kingdom into two groups, the Vertebrates and
Invertebrates, or, as he called them, the "_Eingeweide und Fleisch
Thiere_"--which we may translate as the _Intestinal Animals_, or
those that represent the intestinal systems of organs, and the _Flesh
Animals_, or those that combine all the systems of organs under one
envelope of flesh. Let us examine a little more closely this singular
theory, by which each branch of the Invertebrates becomes, as it were,
the exponent of a special system of organs, while the Vertebrates, with
man at their head, include all these systems.

According to Oken, the Radiates, the lowest type of the Animal Kingdom,
embody digestion. They all represent a stomach, whether it is the simple
sac of the Polyps, or the cavity of the Acalephs, with its radiating
tubes traversing the gelatinous mass of the body, or the cavity and
tubes of the Echinoderms, inclosed within walls of their own.

The Mollusks represent circulation; and his division of this type into
classes, according to what he considers the higher or lower organization
of the heart, agrees with the ordinary division into Acephala,
Gasteropoda, and Cephalopoda.

The Articulates are the respiratory animals in this classification: they
represent respiration. The Worms, breathing, as he asserts, through the
whole surface of the skin, without special breathing organs, are the
lowest; the Crustacea, with gills, or aquatic breathing organs, come
next; and he places the Insects highest, with their branching tracheæ,
admitting air to all parts of the body. The Vertebrates, or Flesh
Animals, with their four classes, represent the Bones, the Muscles, the
Nerves, and the Organs of Sense.

This theory, according to which there are as many great divisions as
there are structural systems or combinations of systems in the Animal
Kingdom, seemed natural and significant, and there was something
attractive in the idea that man represents, as it were, the synthetic
combination of all these different systems. Oken also, in his exposition
of his mode of classification, showed an insight into the structure and
relations of animals that commended it to the interest of all students
of Nature, and entitles him to their everlasting gratitude.
Nevertheless, his theory fails, when it is compared with facts. For
instance, there are many Worms that have no respiration through the
skin, while his appreciation of the whole class is founded on that
feature; and in his type representing circulation, the Mollusks, there
are those that have no heart at all. It would carry me too far into
scientific details, were I to explain all the points at which this
celebrated classification fails. Suffice it to say that there is no
better proof of the discrepancy between the system and the facts than
the constant changes in the different editions of Oken's own works and
in the publications of his followers founded upon his views, showing
that they were themselves conscious of the shifting and unstable
character of their scientific ground.


VI.


What, then, is the relation of these larger groups to each other, if
they do not stand in a connected series from the lowest to the highest?
How far are each of the branches and each of the classes superior or
inferior one to another? All agree, that, while Vertebrates stand at the
head of the Animal Kingdom, Radiates are lowest. There can be no doubt
upon this point; for, while the Vertebrate plan, founded upon a double
symmetry, includes the highest possibilities of animal organization,
there is a certain monotony of structure in the Radiate plan, in which
the body is divided into a number of identical parts, bearing definite
relations to a central vertical axis. But while all admit that
Vertebrates are highest and Radiates lowest, how do the Articulates and
Mollusks stand to these and to each other? To me it seems, that, while
both are decidedly superior to the Radiates and inferior to the
Vertebrates, we cannot predicate absolute superiority or inferiority of
organization of either of these groups as compared with each other; they
stand on one structural level, though with different tendencies,--the
body in Mollusks having always a soft, massive, concentrated character,
with great power of contraction and dilatation, while the body in
Articulates has nothing of this compactness and concentration, but on
the contrary is usually marked by a conspicuous external display of
limbs and other appendages, and by a remarkable elongation of the
body,--that feature characterized by Baer when he called them the
Longitudinal type. There is in the Articulates an extraordinary tendency
toward outward expression, singularly in contrast to the soft,
contractile bodies of the Mollusks. We need only remember the numerous
Insects with small bodies and enormously long wings, or the Spiders with
little bodies and long legs, or the number and length of the claws in
the Lobsters and Crabs, as illustrations of this statement for the
Articulates, while the soft compact body of the Oyster or of the Snail
is equally characteristic of the Mollusks; and though it may seem that
this assertion cannot apply to the highest class of Mollusks, the
Cephalopoda, including the Cuttle-Fishes with their long arms or
feelers, yet even these conspicuous appendages have considerable power
of contraction and dilatation, and in the Nautili may even be drawn
completely within the shell. If this view be correct, these two types
occupy an intermediate position between the highest and the lowest
divisions of the Animal Kingdom, but are on equal ground when compared
with each other.

But is there a transition from Radiates to Mollusks, or from Articulates
to Vertebrates, or from any one of these divisions into any other? Let
us first consider the classes as they stand within their divisions. We
have seen that there are three classes of Radiates,--Polyps, Acalephs,
and Echinoderms; three classes of Mollusks,--Acephala, Gasteropoda, and
Cephalopoda; three classes of Articulates,--Worms, Crustacea, and
Insects; and, according to the usually accepted classification, four
classes of Vertebrates,--Fishes, Reptiles, Birds, and Mammalia. If there
is indeed a transition between all these classes, it must become clear
to us, when we have accurately interpreted their relative standing.
Taking first the lowest branch, how do the classes stand within the
limits of the type of Radiates? I think I have said enough of these
different classes to show that Polyps as a whole are inferior to
Acalephs as a whole, and that Acalephs as a whole are inferior to
Echinoderms as a whole. But if they are linked together as a connected
series, then the lowest Acaleph should stand next in structure above the
highest Polyp, and the lowest Echinoderm next above the highest Acaleph.
So far from this being the case, there are, on the contrary, many
Acalephs which, in their specialization, are unquestionably lower in the
scale of life than some Polyps, while there are some Echinoderms lower
in the same sense than many Acalephs. This remark applies equally to the
classes within the other types; they stand, as an average, relatively to
each other, lower and higher, but considered in their diversified
specification, there are some members of the higher classes that are
inferior in organization to some members of the lower classes. The same
is true of the great divisions as compared with each other. Instead of
the highest Radiates being always lower in organization than the lowest
Mollusks, there are many Star-Fishes and Sea-Urchins higher in
organization than some Mollusks; and so when we pass from this branch to
the Articulates, if we assume for the moment, as some naturalists
believe, that the Mollusks are the inferior type, the Cuttle-Fishes are
certainly very superior animals to most of the Worms; and passing from
Articulates to Vertebrates, not only are there Insects of a more complex
organization than the lowest Fishes, but we bring together two kinds of
animals so remote from each other in structure that the wildest
imagination can scarcely fancy a transition between them. A comparison
may make my meaning clearer as to the relative standing of these groups.
The Epic Poem is a higher order of composition than the Song,--yet we
may have an Epic Poem which, from its inferior mode of execution, stands
lower than a Song that is perfect of its kind. So the plan of certain
branches is more comprehensive and includes higher possibilities than
that of others, while at the same time there may be species in which the
higher plan is executed in so simple a manner that it places their
organization below some more highly developed being built on a lower
plan. It is a poor comparison, because everything that God has made is
perfect of its kind and in its place, though relatively lower or higher;
yet it is only by comparison of what is after all akin,--of mind with
mind,--even though so far apart as the works of the divine and the human
reason, that we may arrive at some idea, however dim, of the mental
operations of the Creative Intellect.

It is, then, in their whole bulk that any one of these groups is above
any other. We may represent the relative positions of the classes by a
diagram in which each successive class in every type starts at a lower
point than that at which the preceding class closes. Taking the Polyps
as the lowest class of Radiates, for instance, its highest animals rise
above the lowest members of the Acalephs, but then the higher members of
the class of Acalephs reach a point far above any of the Polyps,--and so
on.

    RADIATES.         MOLLUSKS.         ARTICULATES.     VERTEBRATES.
         |                 |                  |                 |
         |                 |                  |               | |
       | |               | |                | |               | Mammalia.
       | |               | |                | |             | |
     | | Echinoderms.  | | Cephalopoda.   | | Insects.    | | Birds.
     | |               | |                | |             | |
     | Acalephs.       | Gasteropoda.     | Crustacea.    | Reptiles.
     |                 |                  |               |
     Polyps.           Acephala.          Worms           Fishes.

If this view be correct, it sets aside the possibility of any
uninterrupted series based on absolute superiority or inferiority of
structure, on which so much ingenuity and intellectual power have been
wasted.

But it is not merely upon the structural relations established between
these groups by anatomical features in the adult that we must decide
this question. We must examine it also from the embryological point of
view. Every animal in its growth undergoes a succession of changes: is
there anything in these changes implying a transition of one type into
another? Baer has given us the answer to this question. He has shown
that there are four distinct modes of development, as well as four plans
of structure; and though we have seen that higher animals of one class
pass through phases of growth in which they transiently resemble lower
animals of the same class, yet each one of these four modes of
development is confined within the limits of the type, and a Vertebrate
never resembles, at any stage of its growth, anything but a Vertebrate,
or an Articulate anything but an Articulate, or a Mollusk anything but a
Mollusk, or a Radiate anything but a Radiate.

Yet, although there is no embryological transition of one type into
another, the gradations of growth within the limits of the same type and
the same class, already alluded to, are very striking throughout the
Animal Kingdom. There are periods in the development of the germs of the
higher members of all the types, when they transiently resemble in their
general outline the lower representatives of the same type, just as we
have seen that the higher orders of one class pass through stages of
development in which they transiently resemble lower orders of the same
class. This gradation of growth corresponds to the gradation of rank in
adult animals, as established upon comparative complication of
structure. For instance, according to their structural character, all
naturalists have placed Fishes lowest in the scale of Vertebrates. Now
all the higher Vertebrates have a Fish-like character at first, and pass
successively through phases in which they vaguely resemble other lower
forms of the same type before they assume their own characteristic form;
and this is equally true of the other great divisions, so that the
history of the individual is, in some sort, the history of its type.

There is still another aspect of this question,--that of time. If
neither the gradation of structural rank among adult animals, nor the
gradation of growth in their embryological development gives us any
evidence of a transition between types, does not the sequence of animals
in their successive introduction upon the globe afford any proof of such
a connection? In this relation, I must briefly allude to the succession
of geological formations that compose the crust of our globe. The limits
of this article will not allow me to enter at any length into the
geological details connected with this question; but I will, in the most
cursory manner, give a sketch of the great geological periods, as
generally accepted now by geologists. The first of these periods has
been called the Azoic or lifeless period, because it is the only one
that contains no remains of organic life, and it is therefore supposed
that at that early stage of the world's history the necessary conditions
for the maintenance of animals and plants were not yet established.
After this, every great geological period that follows has been found to
be characterized by a special set of animals and plants, differing from
all that follow and all that precede it, till we arrive at our own
period, when Man, with the animals and plants that accompany him on
earth, was introduced.

There is, then, an order of succession in time among animals; and if
there has been any transition between types and classes, any growth of
higher out of lower forms, it is here that we should look for the
evidence of it. According to this view, we should expect to find in the
first period in which organic remains are found at all only the lowest
type, and of that type only the lowest class, and, indeed, if we push
the theory to its logical consequences, only the lowest forms of the
lowest class. What are now the facts? This continent affords admirable
opportunities for the investigation of this succession, because, in
consequence of its mode of formation, we have, in the State of New York,
a direct, unbroken sequence of all the earliest geological deposits.

The ridge of low hills, called the Laurentian Hills, along the line of
division between Canada and the States was the first American land
lifted above the ocean. That land belongs to the Azoic period, and
contains no trace of life. Along the base of that range of hills lie the
deposits of the next great geological period, the Silurian; and the
State of New York, geologically speaking, belongs almost entirely to
this Silurian period, with its lowest Taconic division, and the Devonian
period, the third in succession of these great epochs. I need hardly
remind those of my readers who have travelled through New York, and have
visited Niagara or Trenton, or, indeed, any of the localities where the
broken edges of the strata expose the buried life within them, how
numerous this early population of the earth must have been. No one who
has held in his hand one of the crowded slabs of sand--or lime-stone,
full of Crustacea, Shells, and Corals, from any of the old Silurian or
Devonian beaches which follow each other from north to south across the
State of New York, can suppose that the manifestation of life was less
multitudinous then than now. Now, what does this fossil creation tell
us? It says this: that, in the Silurian period, the first in which
organic life is found at all, there were the three classes of Radiates,
the three classes of Mollusks, two of the classes of Articulates, and
one class of Vertebrates. In other words, at the dawn of life on earth,
the plan of the animal creation with its four fundamental ideas was laid
out,--Radiates, Mollusks, Articulates, and Vertebrates were present at
that first representation of life upon our globe. If, then, all the
primary types appeared simultaneously, one cannot have grown out of
another,--they could not be at once contemporaries and descendants of
each other.

The diagram on the opposite page represents the geological periods in
their regular succession, and the approximate time at which all the
types and all the classes of the Animal Kingdom were introduced; for
there is still some doubt as to the exact period of the introduction of
several of the classes, though all geologists are agreed respecting
them, within certain limits, not very remote from each other, according
to geological estimates of time.

                                RADIATES.
                      Polyps.  Acalephs.  Echinoderms.
    T | Present,.........|.........|...........|......
    E |                  |         |           |
    R | Pliocene,........|.........|...........|......
    T |                  |         |           |
    I | Miocene,.........|.........|...........|......
    A |                  |         |           |
    R | Eocene,..........|.........|...........|......
    Y |                  |         |           |
                         |         |           |
    S | Cretaceous,......|.........|...........|......
    E |                  |         |           |
    C | Jurassic,........|.........|...........|......
    O |                  |         |           |
    N | Triassic,........|.........|...........|......
    D |                  |         |           |
    A | Permian,.........|.........|...........|......
    R |                  |         |           |
    Y | Carboniferous,...|.........|...........|......
                         |         |           |
    P |                  |         |           |
    R | Devonian,........|.........|...........|......
    I |                  |         |           |
    M | Silurian,.....Polyps. Acalephs. Echinoderms...
    A |
    R | Azoic.
    Y |


                                MOLLUSKS.
                      Acephala. Gasteropoda. Cephalopoda.
    T | Present,.........|.........|...........|......
    E |                  |         |           |
    R | Pliocene,........|.........|...........|......
    T |                  |         |           |
    I | Miocene,.........|.........|...........|......
    A |                  |         |           |
    R | Eocene,..........|.........|...........|......
    Y |                  |         |           |
                         |         |           |
    S | Cretaceous,......|.........|...........|......
    E |                  |         |           |
    C | Jurassic,........|.........|...........|......
    O |                  |         |           |
    N | Triassic,........|.........|...........|......
    D |                  |         |           |
    A | Permian,.........|.........|...........|......
    R |                  |         |           |
    Y | Carboniferous,...|.........|...........|......
                         |         |           |
    P |                  |         |           |
    R | Devonian,........|.........|...........|......
    I |                  |         |           |
    M | Silurian,.....Acephala. Gasteropoda. Cephalopoda.
    A |
    R | Azoic.
    Y |


                                ARTICULATES.
                        Worms.  Crustacea.   Insects.
    T | Present,.........|.........|...........|......
    E |                  |         |           |
    R | Pliocene,........|.........|...........|......
    T |                  |         |           |
    I | Miocene,.........|.........|...........|......
    A |                  |         |           |
    R | Eocene,..........|.........|...........|......
    Y |                  |         |           |
                         |         |           |
    S | Cretaceous,......|.........|...........|......
    E |                  |         |           |
    C | Jurassic,........|.........|...........|......
    O |                  |         |           |
    N | Triassic,........|.........|...........|......
    D |                  |         |           |
    A | Permian,.........|.........|...........|......
    R |                  |         |           |
    Y | Carboniferous,...|.........|.........Insects..
                         |         |
    P |                  |         |
    R | Devonian,........|.........|..................
    I |                  |         |
    M | Silurian,.....Worms.  Crustacea...............
    A |
    R | Azoic.
    Y |


                                VERTEBRATES.
                        Fishes.  Reptiles.  Birds.   Mammalia.
    T | Present,.........|.........|.........|........|.......
    E |                  |         |         |        |
    R | Pliocene,........|.........|.........|........|.......
    T |                  |         |         |        |
    I | Miocene,.........|.........|.........|........|.......
    A |                  |         |         |        |
    R | Eocene,..........|.........|.........|..True Mammalia.
    Y |                  |         |         |        |
                         |         |         |        |
    S | Cretaceous,......|.........|.........|........|.......
    E |                  |         |         |        |
    C | Jurassic,........|.........|.........|....Marsupials..
    O |                  |         |         |
    N | Triassic,........|.........|.......Birds..............
    D |                  |         |
    A | Permian,.........|.........|..........................
    R |                  |         |
    Y | Carboniferous,...|......Reptiles......................
                         |
    P |                  |
    R | Devonian,........|....................................
    I |                  |
    M | Silurian,.......Fishes................................
    A |
    R | Azoic.
    Y |

If such discussions were not inappropriate here from their technical
character, I think I could show upon combined geological and zoological
evidence that the classes which are not present with the others at the
beginning, such as Insects among Articulates, or Reptiles, Birds, and
Mammalia among Vertebrates, are always introduced at the time when the
conditions essential to their existence are established,--as, for
instance, Reptiles, at the period when the earth was not fully redeemed
from the waste of waters, and extensive marshes afforded means for the
half-aquatic, half-terrestrial life even now characteristic of all our
larger Reptiles, while Insects, so dependent on vegetable growth, make
their appearance with the first forests; so that we need not infer,
because these and other classes come in after the earlier ones, that
they are therefore a growth out of them, since it is altogether probable
that they would not be created till the conditions necessary for their
maintenance on earth were established. From a merely speculative point
of view it seems to me natural to suppose that the physical and the
organic world have progressed together, and that there is a direct
relation between the successive creations and the condition of the earth
at the time of those creations. We know that all the beings of the
Silurian and Devonian periods were marine; the land, so far as it
existed in their time, was a great beach, and along those shores,
wherever any part of the continents was lifted above the level of the
waters, the Silurian and Devonian animals lived. Later, in the marshes
and the fern-forests of the Carboniferous period, Reptiles and Insects
found their place; and only when the earth was more extensive, when
marshes had become dry land, when islands had united to form continents,
when mountain-chains had been thrown up to make the inequalities of the
surface, were the larger quadrupeds introduced, to whose mode of
existence all these circumstances are important accessories.

But while all the types and most of the classes were introduced upon the
earth simultaneously at the beginning, these types and classes have
nevertheless been represented in every great geological period by
different sets or species of animals. In this sense, then, there has
been a gradation in time among animals, and every successive epoch of
the world's physical history has had its characteristic population. We
have found that there is a correspondence between the gradation of
structural complication among adult animals as known to us to-day, which
we may call the Series of Rank, and the gradation of embryological
changes in the same animals, which we may call the Series of Growth; and
there is also a correspondence between these two series and the order of
succession in time, that establishes a certain gradation in the
introduction of animals upon earth, and which we may call the Series of
Time. Take as an illustration the class of Echinoderms. The first
representatives of this class were a sort of Star-Fishes on stems; then
were introduced animals of the same order without stems; in later
periods come in the true Star-Fishes and Sea-Urchins; and the highest
order of the class, the Holothurians, are introduced only in the present
geological epoch. Compare now with this the ordinal division of the
class as it exists today. The present representative of those earliest
Echinoderms on stems is an animal that upon structural evidence stands
lowest in the class; next above it are the Comatulæ, corresponding to
the early Echinoderms without stems; next in our classification are the
Star-Fishes and Sea-Urchins; and the Holothurians stand highest, on
account of certain structural features that place them at the head of
their class. The Series of Time and the Series of Rank, then, accord
perfectly, and investigations of the embryological development of these
animals have shown that the higher Echinoderms pass through changes in
the egg that indicate the same kind of gradation, for the young in some
of them have a stem which is gradually dropped, and their successive
phases of development recall the adult forms of the lower orders. Take
as another illustration the class of Polyps. First in time we find a
kind of Polyp Coral, one among the early Reef-Builders, who built their
myriad lives into the solid crust of our globe then as their successors
do now. These old Corals have their representatives among the present
Polyps, and from their structure they are placed lowest in their class,
while the embryological development of the higher ones recalls in the
younger condition of the germ the same peculiar character. I might
multiply examples, and draw equally striking illustrations from the
other classes; and though these correspondences cannot be fully
established while our knowledge of the embryological growth of animals
is so scanty, and information about their geological succession, yet
wherever we have been able to trace the connected history of any group
of animals in time, and to compare it with the history of their
embryological development and their structural relations as they exist
to-day, the correspondence is found to be so complete that we are
justified in believing that it will not fail in other instances. I may
add that a gradation of exactly the same character controls the
geographical distribution of animals over the surface of the globe. Here
again I must beg my readers to take much of the evidence, which, if
expanded, would fill a volume, for granted, since it would be entirely
inappropriate here. But I may briefly state that animals are not
scattered over the surface of our globe at random, but that they are
associated together in what are called _faunæ_, and that these
faunæ have their homes within certain districts--called by naturalists
_zoölogical provinces_. The limits of these provinces are
absolutely fixed, in the ocean as well as on the land, by certain
physical conditions connected with climate, with altitude, with the
pressure of the atmosphere, the weight of the water, etc.; and this is
true even for animals of migratory habits, for all such migrations are
periodical, and have boundaries as definite and impassable as those that
limit the permanent homes of animals. There is a certain series
established by the relations between different kinds of animals, as thus
distributed over the globe, which agrees with the gradation in their
rank, their growth, and their succession in time;--the law which
distributes animals in successive faunæ, and in accordance both with
their relative superiority or inferiority, and with the physical
conditions essential to their existence, being the same as that which
controls their structural relations, their embryological development,
and their succession in time.

What, then, does this correspondence between the Series of Rank, the
Series of Growth, the Series of Time, and the Series of Geographical
Distribution in the life of animals teach us? Surely not that the
connection between animals is a material one; for the same kind of
relation exists between lower and higher animals of one type or one
class to-day, in their structural features, in their embryological
growth, and in their geographical distribution, as we trace in their
order of succession in time; and therefore, if this kind of evidence
proves that the later animals are the descendants of the earlier in any
genealogical sense, it should also prove that the animals living in one
part of the earth at present grow out of animals living in another part,
and that the higher animals of one class as it exists now are developed
out of the lower ones. The first of these propositions needs no
refutation; and with regard to the second, all our investigations go to
show that every being born into the world to-day adheres to its
individual law of life, and though it passes through transient phases of
growth that resemble other beings of its own kind, never pauses at a
lower stage of development, or passes on to a higher condition than the
one it is bound to fill. If, then, this connection is not a material
one, what is it?--for that such a connection does exist throughout the
Animal Kingdom, as intimate, as continuous, as complex as any series
which the development theorists have ever contended for, is not to be
denied. What can it be but an intellectual one? These correspondences
are correspondences of thought,--of a thought that is always the same,
whether it is expressed in the history of the type through all time, or
in the life of the individuals that represent the type at the present
moment, or in the growth of the germ of every being born into that type
to-day. In other words, the same thought that spans the whole succession
of geological ages controls the structural relations of all living
beings as well as their distribution over the surface of the earth, and
is repeated within the narrow compass of the smallest egg in which any
being undergoes its growth.

       *       *       *       *       *



THE SOUTHERN CROSS.

  Deem not the ravished glory thine;
    Nor think the flag shall scathless wave
  Whereon thou bidd'st its presage shine,--
    Land of the traitor and the slave!

  God never set that holy sign
    In deathless light among His stars
  To make its blazonry divine
    A scutcheon for thine impious wars!

  And surely as the Wrong must fail
    Before the everlasting Right,
  So surely thy device shall pale
    And shrivel in the Northern Light!

  Look, where its coming splendors stream!
    The red and white athwart the blue,--
  While far above, the unconquered gleam
    Of Freedom's stars is blazing through!

  Hark to the rustle and the sweep,
    Like sound of mighty wings unfurled,
  And bearing down the sapphire steep
    Heaven's hosts to help the imperilled world!

  Light in the North! Each bristling lance
    Of steely sheen a promise bears;
  And all the midnight where they glance
    A rosy flush of morning wears!

  Yon symbol of your Southern sky
    Shall surely mean but grief and loss;
  Then tremble, as ye raise on high,
    In sacrilege, the Southern Cross!

  O brothers! we entreat in pain,
    Take ye the unblessed emblem down!
  Or purge your standard of its stain,
    And join it with the Northern Crown!

       *       *       *       *       *



CONCERNING THE SORROWS OF CHILDHOOD.


Once upon a time, Mr. Smith, who was seven feet in height, went out for
a walk with Mr. Brown, whose stature was three feet and a half. It was
in a distant age, in which people were different from what they are now,
and in which events occurred such as do not usually occur in these days.
Smith and Brown, having traversed various paths, and having passed
several griffins, serpents, and mail-clad knights, came at length to a
certain river. It was needful that they should cross it; and the idea
was suggested that they should cross it by wading. They proceeded,
accordingly, to wade across; and both arrived safely at the farther
side. The water was exactly four feet deep,--not an inch more or less.
On reaching the other bank of the river, Mr. Brown said,--

"This is awful work; it is no joke crossing a river like _that_. I
was nearly drowned."

"Nonsense!" replied Mr. Smith; "why make a fuss about crossing a shallow
stream like this? Why, the water is only four feet deep: _that_ is
nothing at all!"

"Nothing to you, perhaps," was the response of Mr. Brown, "but a serious
matter for me. You observe," he went on, "that water four feet deep is
just six inches over my head. The river may be shallow to you, but it is
deep to me."

Mr. Smith, like many other individuals of great physical bulk and
strength, had an intellect not much adapted for comprehending subtile
and difficult thoughts. He took up the ground that things are what they
are in themselves, and was incapable of grasping the idea that greatness
and littleness, depth and shallowness, are relative things. An
altercation ensued, which resulted in threats on the part of Smith that
he would throw Brown into the river; and a coolness was occasioned
between the friends which subsisted for several days.

The acute mind of the reader of this page will perceive that Mr. Smith
was in error; and that the principle asserted by Mr. Brown was a sound
and true one. It is unquestionable that a thing which is little to one
man may be great to another man. And it is just as really and certainly
great in this latter case as anything ever can be. And yet, many people
do a thing exactly analogous to what was done by Smith. They insist that
the water which is shallow to them shall be held to be absolutely
shallow; and that, if smaller men declare that it is deep to themselves,
these smaller men shall be regarded as weak, fanciful, and mistaken.
Many people, as they look back upon the sorrows of their own childhood,
or as they look round upon the sorrows of existing childhood, think that
these sorrows are or were very light and insignificant, and their causes
very small. These people do this, because to them, as they are now,
_big people_, (to use the expressive phrase of childhood,) these
sorrows would be light, if they should befall. But though these sorrows
may seem light to us now, and their causes small, it is only as water
four feet in depth was shallow to the tall Mr. Smith. The same water was
very deep to the man whose stature was three feet and a half; and the
peril was as great to him as could have been caused by eight feet depth
of water to the man seven feet high. The little cause of trouble was
great to the little child. The little heart was as full of grief and
fear and bewilderment as it could hold.

Yes, I stand up against the common belief that childhood is our happiest
time. And whenever I hear grown-up people say that it is so, I think of
Mr. Smith, and the water four feet deep. I have always, in my heart,
rebelled against that common delusion. I recall, as if it were
yesterday, a day which I have left behind me more than twenty years. I
see a large hall, the hall of a certain educational institution, which
helped to make the present writer what he is. It is the day of the
distribution of the prizes. The hall is crowded with little boys, and
with the relations and friends of the little boys. And the chief
magistrate of that ancient town, in all the pomp of civic majesty, has
distributed the prizes. It is neither here nor there what honors were
borne off by me; though I remember well that _that_ day was the
proudest that ever had come in my short life. But I see the face and
hear the voice of the kind-hearted old dignitary, who has now been for
many years in his grave. And I recall especially one sentence he said,
as he made a few eloquent remarks at the close of the day's proceedings.

"Ah, boys," said he, "I can tell you this is the happiest time of all
your life!"

"Little you know about the matter," was my inward reply.

I knew that our worries, fears, and sorrows were just as great as those
of any one else.

The sorrows of childhood and boyhood are not sorrows of that complicated
and perplexing nature which sit heavy on the heart in after-years; but
in relation to the little hearts that have to bear them, they are very
overwhelming for the time. As has been said, great and little are quite
relative terms. A weight which is not absolutely heavy is heavy to a
weak person. We think an industrious flea draws a vast weight, if it
draw the eighth part of an ounce. And I believe that the sorrows of
childhood task the endurance of childhood as severely as those of
manhood do the endurance of the man. Yes, we look back now, and we smile
at them, and at the anguish they occasioned, because they would be no
great matter to us now. Yet in all this we err just as Mr. Smith the
tall man erred, in that discussion with the little man, Mr. Brown. Those
early sorrows were great things then. Very bitter grief may be in a very
little heart. "The sports of childhood," we know from Goldsmith,
"satisfy the child." The sorrows of childhood overwhelm the poor little
thing. I think a sympathetic reader would hardly read without a tear, as
well as a smile, an incident in the early life of Patrick Fraser Tytler,
recorded in his biography. When five years old, he got hold of the gun
of an elder brother and broke the spring of its lock. What anguish the
little boy must have endured, what a crushing sense of having caused an
irremediable evil, before he sat down and printed in great letters the
following epistle to his brother, the owner of the gun:--"Oh, Jamie,
think no more of guns, for the main-spring of that is broken, and _my
heart is broken!_" Doubtless the poor little fellow fancied that for
all the remainder of his life he never could feel as he had felt before
he touched the unlucky weapon. And looking back over many years, most of
us can remember a child crushed and overwhelmed by some trouble which it
thought could never be got over; and we can feel for our early self as
though sympathizing with another being.

What I wish in this essay is, that we should look away along the path we
have come in life; and that we should see, that, though many cares and
troubles may now press upon us, still we may well be content. I speak to
ordinary people, whose lot has been an ordinary lot. I know there are
exceptional cases; but I firmly believe, that, as for most of us, we
never have seen better days than these. No doubt, in the retrospect of
early youth, we seem to see a time when the summer was brighter, the
flowers sweeter, the snowy days of winter more cheerful, than we ever
find them now. But, in sober sense, we know that it is all an illusion.
It is only as the man travelling over the burning desert sees sparkling
water and shady trees where he knows there is nothing but arid sand.

I dare say you know that one of the acutest of living men has maintained
that it is foolish to grieve over past suffering. He says, truly enough
in one sense, that the suffering which is past is as truly non-existent
as the suffering which has never been at all; that, in fact, past
suffering is now nothing, and is entitled to no more consideration than
that to which nothing is entitled. No doubt, when bodily pain has
ceased, it is all over: we do not feel it any more. And you have
probably observed that the impression left by bodily pain passes very
quickly away. The sleepless night, or the night of torment from
toothache, which seemed such a distressing reality while it was dragging
over, looks a very shadowy thing the next forenoon. But it may be
doubted whether you will ever so far succeed in overcoming the fancies
and weaknesses of humanity as to get people to cease to feel that past
sufferings and sorrows are a great part of their present life. The
remembrance of our past life is a great part of our present life. And,
indeed, the greater part of human suffering consists in its anticipation
and in its recollection. It is so by the inevitable law of our being. It
is because we are rational creatures that it is so. We cannot help
looking forward to that which is coming, and looking back on that which
is past; nor can we suppress, as we do so, an emotion corresponding to
the perception. There is not the least use in telling a little boy who
knows that he is to have a tooth pulled out to-morrow, that it is absurd
in him to make himself unhappy to-night through the anticipation of it.
You may show with irrefragable force of reason, that the pain will last
only for the two or three seconds during which the tooth is being
wrenched from its place, and that it will be time enough to vex himself
about the pain when he has actually to feel it. But the little fellow
will pass but an unhappy night in the dismal prospect; and by the time
the cold iron lays hold of the tooth, he will have endured by
anticipation a vast deal more suffering than the suffering of the actual
operation. It is so with bigger people, looking forward to greater
trials. And it serves no end whatever to prove that all this ought not
to be. The question as to the emotions turned off in the workings of the
human mind is one of fact. It is not how the machine ought to work, but
how the machine does work. And as with the anticipation of suffering, so
with its retrospect. The great grief which is past, even though its
consequences no longer directly press upon us, casts its shadow over
after-years. There are, indeed, some hardships and trials upon which it
is possible that we may look back with satisfaction. The contrast with
them enhances the enjoyment of better days. But these trials, it seems
to me, must be such as come through the direct intervention of
Providence; and they must be clear of the elements of human cruelty or
injustice. I do not believe that a man who was a weakly and timid boy
can ever look back with pleasure upon the ill-usage of the brutal bully
of his school-days, or upon the injustice of his teacher in cheating him
out of some well-earned prize. There are kinds of great suffering which
can never be thought of without present suffering, so long as human
nature continues what it is. And I believe that past sorrows are a great
reality in our present life, and exert a great influence over our
present life, whether for good or ill. As you may see in the trembling
knees of some poor horse, in its drooping head, and spiritless paces,
that it was overwrought when young: so, if the human soul were a thing
that could be seen, you might discern the scars where the iron entered
into it long ago,--you might trace not merely the enduring remembrance,
but the enduring results, of the incapacity and dishonesty of teachers,
the heartlessness of companions, and the idiotic folly and cruelty of
parents. No, it will not do to tell us that past sufferings have ceased
to exist, while their remembrance continues so vivid, and their results
so great. You are not done with the bitter frosts of last winter, though
it be summer now, if your blighted evergreens remain as their result and
memorial. And the man who was brought up in an unhappy home in childhood
will never feel that that unhappy home has ceased to be a present
reality, if he knows that its whole discipline fostered in him a spirit
of distrust in his kind which is not yet entirely got over, and made him
set himself to the work of life with a heart somewhat soured and
prematurely old. The past is a great reality. We are here the living
embodiment of all we have seen and felt through all our life,--fashioned
into our present form by millions of little touches, and by none with a
more real result than the hours of sorrow we have known.

One great cause of the suffering of boyhood is the bullying of bigger
boys at school. I know nothing practically of the English system of
_fagging_ at public schools, but I am not prepared to join out and
out in the cry against it. I see many evils inherent in the system; but
I see that various advantages may result from it, too. To organize a
recognized subordination of lesser boys to bigger ones must
unquestionably tend to cut the ground from under the feet of the
unrecognized, unauthorized, private bully. But I know that at large
schools, where there is no fagging, bullying on the part of youthful
tyrants prevails to a great degree. Human nature is beyond doubt fallen.
The systematic cruelty of a school-bully to a little boy is proof enough
of _that_, and presents one of the very hatefullest phases of human
character. It is worthy of notice, that, as a general rule, the higher
you ascend in the social scale among boys, the less of bullying there is
to be found. Something of the chivalrous and the magnanimous comes out
in the case of the sons of gentlemen: it is only among such that you
will ever find a boy, not personally interested in the matter, standing
up against the bully in the interest of right and justice. I have
watched a big boy thrashing a little one, in the presence of half a
dozen other big boys, not one of whom interfered on behalf of the
oppressed little fellow. You may be sure I did not watch the transaction
longer than was necessary to ascertain whether there was a grain of
generosity in the hulking boors; and you may be sure, too, that that
thrashing of the little boy was, to the big bully, one of the most
unfortunate transactions in which he had engaged in his bestial and
blackguard, though brief, life. _I_ took care of _that_, you
may rely on it. And I favored the bully's companions with my sentiments
as to their conduct, with an energy of statement that made them sneak
off, looking very like whipped spaniels. My friendly reader, let us
never fail to stop a bully, when we can. And we very often can. Among
the writer's possessions might be found by the curious inspector several
black kid gloves, no longer fit for use, though apparently not very much
worn. Surveying these integuments minutely, you would find the thumb of
the right hand rent away, beyond the possibility of mending. Whence the
phenomenon? It comes of the writer's determined habit of stopping the
bully. Walking along the street, or the country-road, I occasionally see
a big blackguard fellow thrashing a boy much less than himself. I am
well aware that some prudent individuals would pass by on the other
side, possibly addressing an admonition to the big blackguard. But I
approve Thomson's statement, that "prudence to baseness verges still";
and I follow a different course. Suddenly approaching the blackguard, by
a rapid movement, generally quite unforeseen by him, I take him by the
arm, and occasionally (let me confess) by the neck, and shake him till
his teeth rattle. This, being done with a new glove on the right hand,
will generally unfit that glove for further use. For the bully must be
taken with a grip so firm and sudden as shall serve to paralyze his
nervous system for the time. And never once have I found the bully fail
to prove a whimpering coward. The punishment is well deserved, of
course; and it is a terribly severe one in ordinary cases. It is a
serious thing, in the estimation both of the bully and his companions,
that he should have so behaved as to have drawn on himself the notice of
a passer-by, and especially of a parson. The bully is instantly cowed;
and by a few words to any of his school-associates who may be near, you
can render him unenviably conspicuous among them for a week or two. I
never permit bullying to pass unchecked; and so long as my strength and
life remain, I never will. I trust you never will. If you could stand
coolly by, and see the cruelty you could check, or the wrong you could
right, and move no finger to do it, you are not the reader I want, nor
the human being I choose to know. I hold the cautious and sagacious man,
who can look on at an act of bullying without stopping it and punishing
it, as a worse and more despicable animal than the bully himself.

Of course, you must interfere with judgment; and you must follow up your
interference with firmness. Don't intermeddle, like Don Quixote, in such
a manner as to make things worse. It is only in the case of continued
and systematic cruelty that it is worth while to work temporary
aggravation, to the end of ultimate and entire relief. And sometimes
that is unavoidable. You remember how, when Moses made his application
to Pharaoh for release to the Hebrews, the first result was the
aggravation of their burdens. The supply of straw was cut off, and the
tale of bricks was to remain the same as before. It could not be helped.
And though things came right at last, the immediate consequence was that
the Hebrews turned in bitterness on their intending deliverer, and
charged their aggravated sufferings upon him. Now, my friend, if you set
yourself to the discomfiture of a bully, see you do it effectually. If
needful, follow up your first shaking. Find out his master, find out his
parents; let the fellow see distinctly that your interference is no
passing fancy. Make him understand that you are thoroughly determined
that his bullying shall cease. And carry out your determination
unflinchingly.

I frequently see the boys of a certain large public school, which is
attended by boys of the better class; and judging from their cheerful
and happy aspect, I judge that bullying among boys of that condition is
becoming rare. Still, I doubt not, there yet are poor little nervous
fellows whose school-life is embittered by it. I don't think any one
could read the poet Cowper's account of how he was bullied at school,
without feeling his blood a good deal stirred, if not entirely boiling.
If I knew of such a case within a good many miles, I should stop it,
though I never wore a glove again that was not split across the right
palm.

But, doubtless, the greatest cause of the sorrows of childhood is the
mismanagement and cruelty of parents. You will find many parents who
make favorites of some of their children to the neglect of others: an
error and a sin which is bitterly felt by the children who are held
down, and which can never by possibility result in good to any party
concerned. And there are parents who deliberately lay themselves out to
torment their children. There are two classes of parents who are the
most inexorably cruel and malignant: it is hard to say which class
excels, but it is certain that both classes exceed all ordinary mortals.
One is the utterly blackguard: the parents about whom there is no good
nor pretence of good. The other is the wrong-headedly conscientious and
religious: probably, after all, there is greater rancor and malice about
these last than about any other. These act upon a system of unnatural
repression, and systematized weeding out of all enjoyment from life.
These are the people whose very crowning act of hatred and malice
towards any one is to pray for him, or to threaten to pray for him.
These are the people who, if their children complain of their bare and
joyless life, say that such complaints indicate a wicked heart, or
Satanic possession; and have recourse to further persecution to bring
about a happier frame of mind. Yes: the wrong-headed and wrong-hearted
religionist is probably the very worst type of man or woman on whom the
sun looks down. And, oh! how sad to think of the fashion in which
stupid, conceited, malicious blockheads set up their own worst passions
as the fruits of the working of the Blessed Spirit, and caricature, to
the lasting injury of many a young heart, the pure and kindly religion
of the Blessed Redeemer! These are the folk who inflict systematic and
ingenious torment on their children: and, unhappily, a very contemptible
parent can inflict much suffering on a sensitive child. But of this
there is more to be said hereafter; and before going on to it, let us
think of another evil influence which darkens and embitters the early
years of many.

It is the cruelty, injustice, and incompetence of many schoolmasters. I
know a young man of twenty-eight, who told me, that, when at school in a
certain large city in Peru, (let us say,) he never went into his class
any day without feeling quite sick with nervous terror. The entire class
of boys lived in that state of cowed submission to a vulgar, stupid,
bullying, flogging barbarian. If it prevents the manners from becoming
brutal diligently to study the ingenuous arts, it appears certain that
diligently to teach them sometimes leads to a directly contrary result.
The bullying schoolmaster has now become an almost extinct animal; but
it is not very long since the spirit of Mr. Squeers was to be found, in
its worst manifestations, far beyond the precincts of Dotheboys Hall.
You would find fellows who showed a grim delight in walking down a class
with a cane in their hand, enjoying the evident fear they occasioned as
they swung it about, occasionally coming down with a savage whack on
some poor fellow who was doing nothing whatsoever. These brutal teachers
would flog, and that till compelled to cease by pure exhaustion, not
merely for moral offences, which possibly deserve it, (though I do not
believe any one was ever made better by flogging,) but for making a
mistake in saying a lesson, which the poor boy had done his best to
prepare, and which was driven out of his head by the fearful aspect of
the truculent blackguard with his cane and his hoarse voice. And how
indignant, in after-years, many a boy of the last generation must have
been, to find that this tyrant of his childhood was in truth a humbug, a
liar, a fool, and a sneak! Yet how that miserable piece of humanity was
feared! How they watched his eye, and laughed at the old idiot's
wretched jokes! I have several friends who have told me such stories of
their school-days, that I used to wonder that they did not, after they
became men, return to the schoolboy spot that they might heartily shake
their preceptor of other years, or even kick him!

If there be a thing to be wondered at, it is that the human race is not
much worse than it is. It has not a fair chance. I am not thinking now
of an original defect in the material provided: I am thinking only of
the kind of handling it gets. I am thinking of the amount of judgment
which may be found in most parents and in most teachers, and of the
degree of honesty which may be found in many. I suppose there is no
doubt that the accursed system of the cheap Yorkshire schools was by no
means caricatured by Mr. Dickens in "Nicholas Nickleby." I believe that
starvation and brutality were the rule at these institutions. And I do
not think it says much for the manliness of Yorkshire men and of
Yorkshire clergymen, that these foul dens of misery and wickedness were
suffered to exist so long without a voice raised to let the world know
of them. I venture to think, that, if Dr. Guthrie of Edinburgh had lived
anywhere near Greta Bridge, Mr. Squeers and his compeers would have
attained a notoriety that would have stopped their trade. I cannot
imagine how any one, with the spirit of a man in him, could sleep and
wake within sight of one of these schools without lifting a hand or a
voice to stop what was going on there. But without supposing these
extreme cases, I can remember what I have myself seen of the
incompetence and injustice of teachers. I burn with indignation yet, as
I think of a malignant blockhead who once taught me for a few months. I
have been at various schools; and I spent six years at one venerable
university (where my instructors were wise and worthy); and I am now so
old, that I may say, without any great exhibition of vanity, that I have
always kept well up among my school- and college-companions: but that
blockhead kept me steadily at the bottom of my class, and kept a
frightful dunce at the top of it, by his peculiar system. I have
observed (let me say) that masters and professors who are stupid
themselves have a great preference for stupid fellows, and like to keep
down clever ones. A professor who was himself a dunce at college, and
who has been jobbed into his chair, being quite unfit for it, has a
fellow-feeling for other dunces. He is at home with them, you see, and
is not afraid that they see through him and despise him. The injustice
of the malignant blockhead who was my early instructor, and who
succeeded in making several months of my boyhood unhappy enough, was
taken up and imitated by several lesser blockheads among the boys. I
remember particularly one sneaking wretch who was occasionally set to
mark down on a slate the names of such boys as talked in school; such
boys being punished by being turned to the bottom of their class. I
remember how that sneaking wretch used always to mark my name down,
though I kept perfectly silent: and how he put my name last on the list,
that I might have to begin the lesson the very lowest in my form. The
sneaking wretch was bigger than I, so I could not thrash him; and any
representation I made to the malignant blockhead of a schoolmaster was
entirely disregarded. I cannot think but with considerable ferocity,
that probably there are many schools to-day in Britain containing a
master who has taken an unreasonable dislike to some poor boy, and who
lays himself out to make that poor boy unhappy. And I know that such may
be the case where the boy is neither bad nor stupid. And if the school
be one attended by a good many boys of the lower grade, there are sure
to be several sneaky boys among them who will devote themselves to
tormenting the one whom the master hates and torments.

It cannot be denied that there is a generous and magnanimous tone about
the boys of a school attended exclusively by the children of the better
classes, which is unknown among the children of uncultivated boors. I
have observed, that, if you offer a prize to the cleverest and most
industrious boy of a certain form in a school of the upper class, and
propose to let the prize be decided by the votes of the boys themselves,
you will almost invariably find it fairly given: that is, given to the
boy who deserves it best. If you explain, in a frank, manly way, to the
little fellows, that, in asking each for whom he votes, you are asking
each to say upon his honor whom he thinks the cleverest and most
diligent boy in the form, nineteen boys out of twenty will answer
honestly. But I have witnessed the signal failure of such an appeal to
the honor of the bumpkins of a country school. I was once present at the
examination of such a school, and remarked carefully how the boys
acquitted themselves. After the examination was over, the master
proposed, very absurdly, to let the boys of each class vote the prize
for that particular class. The voting began. A class of about twenty was
called up: I explained to the boys what they were to do. I told them
they were not to vote for the boy they liked best, but were to tell me
faithfully who had done best in the class-lessons. I then asked the
first boy in the line for whom he gave his vote. To my mortification,
instead of voting for a little fellow who had done incomparably best at
the examination, he gave his vote for a big sullen-looking blockhead who
had done conspicuously ill. I asked the next boy, and received the same
answer. So all round the class: all voted for the big sullen-looking
blockhead. One or two did not give their votes quite promptly; and I
could discern a threatening glance cast at them by the big
sullen-looking blockhead, and an ominous clenching of the blockhead's
right fist. I went round the class without remark; and the blockhead
made sure of the prize. Of course this would not do. The blockhead could
not be suffered to get the prize; and it was expedient that he should be
made to remember the occasion on which he had sought to tamper with
justice and right. Addressing the blockhead, amid the dead silence of
the school, I said: "You shall not get the prize, because I can judge
for myself that you don't deserve it. I can see that you are the
stupidest boy in the class; and I have seen reason, during this voting,
to believe that you are the worst. You have tried to bully these boys
into voting for you. Their votes go for nothing; for their voting for
you proves either that they are so stupid as to think you deserve the
prize, or so dishonest as to say they think so when they don't think
so." Then I inducted the blockhead into a seat where I could see him
well, and proceeded to take the votes over again. I explained to the
boys once more what they had to do; and explained that any boy would be
telling a lie who voted the prize unfairly. I also told them that I knew
who deserved the prize, and that they knew it too, and that they had
better vote fairly. Then, instead of saying to each boy, "For whom do
you vote?" I said to each, "Tell me who did best in the class during
these months past." Each boy in reply named the boy who really deserved
the prize: and the little fellow got it. I need not record the means I
adopted to prevent the sullen-looking blockhead from carrying out his
purpose of thrashing the little fellow. It may suffice to say that the
means were thoroughly effectual; and that the blockhead was very meek
and tractable for about six weeks after that memorable day.

But, after all, the great cause of the sorrows of childhood is
unquestionably the mismanagement of parents. You hear a great deal about
parents who spoil their children by excessive kindness; but I venture to
think that a greater number of children are spoiled by stupidity and
cruelty on the part of their parents. You may find parents who, having
started from a humble origin, have attained to wealth, and who, instead
of being glad to think that their children are better off than they
themselves were, exhibit a diabolical jealousy of their children. You
will find such wretched beings insisting that their children shall go
through needless trials and mortifications, because they themselves went
through the like. Why, I do not hesitate to say that one of the thoughts
which would most powerfully lead a worthy man to value material
prosperity would be the thought that his boys would have a fairer and
happier start in life than he had, and would be saved the many
difficulties on which he still looks back with pain. You will find
parents, especially parents of the pharisaical and wrong-headedly
religious class, who seem to hold it a sacred duty to make the little
things unhappy; who systematically endeavor to render life as bare,
ugly, and wretched a thing as possible; who never praise their children
when they do right, but punish them with great severity when they do
wrong; who seem to hate to see their children lively or cheerful in
their presence; who thoroughly repel all sympathy or confidence on the
part of their children, and then mention as a proof that their children
are possessed by the Devil, that their children always like to get away
from them; who rejoice to cut off any little enjoyment,--rigidly
carrying out into practice the fundamental principle of their creed,
which undoubtedly is, that "nobody should ever please himself, neither
should anybody ever please anybody else, because in either case he is
sure to displease God." No doubt, Mr. Buckle, in his second volume,
caricatured and misrepresented the religion of Scotland as a country;
but he did not in the least degree caricature or misrepresent the
religion of some people in Scotland. The great doctrine underlying all
other doctrines, in the creed of a few unfortunate beings, is, that God
is spitefully angry to see his creatures happy; and of course the
practical lesson follows, that they are following the best example, when
they are spitefully angry to see their children happy.

Then a great trouble, always pressing heavily on many a little mind, is
that it is overtasked with lessons. You still see here and there idiotic
parents striving to make infant phenomena of their children, and
recording with much pride how their children could read and write at an
unnaturally early age. Such parents are fools: not necessarily malicious
fools, but fools beyond question. The great use to which the first six
or seven years of life should be given is the laying the foundation of a
healthful constitution in body and mind; and the instilling of those
first principles of duty and religion which do not need to be taught out
of any books. Even if you do not permanently injure the young brain and
mind by prematurely overtasking them,--even if you do not permanently
blight the bodily health and break the mind's cheerful spring, you gain
nothing. Your child at fourteen years old is not a bit farther advanced
in his education than a child who began his years after him; and the
entire result of your stupid driving has been to overcloud some days
which should have been among the happiest of his life. It is a woful
sight to me to see the little forehead corrugated with mental effort,
though the effort be to do no more than master the multiplication table:
it was a sad story I lately heard of a little boy repeating his Latin
lesson over and over again in the delirium of the fever of which he
died, and saying piteously that indeed he could not do it better. I
don't like to see a little face looking unnaturally anxious and earnest
about a horrible task of spelling; and even when children pass that
stage, and grow up into school-boys who can read Thucydides and write
Greek iambics, it is not wise in parents to stimulate a clever boy's
anxiety to hold the first place in his class. That anxiety is strong
enough already; it needs rather to be repressed. It is bad enough even
at college to work on late into the night; but at school it ought not to
be suffered for one moment. If a lad takes his place in his class every
day in a state of nervous tremor, he may be in the way to get his gold
medal, indeed; but he is in the way to shatter his constitution for
life.

We all know, of course, that children are subjected to worse things
than these. I think of little things early set to hard work, to add a
little to their parents' scanty store. Yet, if it be only work, they
bear it cheerfully. This afternoon, I was walking through a certain
quiet street, when I saw a little child standing with a basket at a
door. The little man looked at various passers-by; and I am happy to
say, that, when he saw me, he asked me to ring the door-bell for him:
for, though he had been sent with that basket, which was not a light
one, he could not reach up to the bell. I asked him how old he was.
"Five years past," said the child, quite cheerfully and independently.
"God help you, poor little man!" I thought; "the doom of toil has fallen
early upon you!" If you visit much among the poor, few things will touch
you more than the unnatural sagacity and trustworthiness of children who
are little more than babies. You will find these little things left in a
bare room by themselves,--the eldest six years old,--while the poor
mother is out at her work. And the eldest will reply to your questions
in a way that will astonish you, till you get accustomed to such things.
I think that almost as heart-rending a sight as you will readily see is
the misery of a little thing who has spilt in the street the milk she
was sent to fetch, or broken a jug, and who is sitting in despair beside
the spilt milk or the broken fragments. Good Samaritan, never pass by
such a sight; bring out your two-pence; set things completely right: a
small matter and a kind word will cheer and comfort an overwhelmed
heart. That child has a truculent step-mother, or (alas!) mother, at
home, who would punish that mishap as nothing should be punished but the
gravest moral delinquency. And lower down the scale than this, it is
awful to see want, cold, hunger, rags, in a little child. I have seen
the wee thing shuffling along the pavement in great men's shoes, holding
up its sorry tatters with its hands, and casting on the passengers a
look so eager, yet so hopeless, as went to one's heart. Let us thank God
that there is one large city in the empire where you need never see such
a sight, and where, if you do, you know how to relieve it effectually;
and let us bless the name and the labors and the genius of Thomas
Guthrie! It is a sad thing to see the toys of such little children as I
can think of. What curious things they are able to seek amusement in! I
have known a brass button at the end of a string a much prized
possession. I have seen a grave little boy standing by a broken chair in
a bare garret, solemnly arranging and rearranging two pins upon the
broken chair. A machine much employed by poor children in country places
is a slate tied to a bit of string: this, being drawn along the road,
constitutes a cart; and you may find it attended by the admiration of
the entire young population of three or four cottages standing in the
moorland miles from any neighbor.

       *       *       *       *       *

You will not unfrequently find parents who, if they cannot keep back
their children from some little treat, will try to infuse a sting into
it, so as to prevent the children from enjoying it. They will impress on
their children that they must be very wicked to care so much about going
out to some children's party; or they will insist that their children
should return home at some preposterously early hour, so as to lose the
best part of the fun, and so as to appear ridiculous in the eyes of
their young companions. You will find this amiable tendency in people
intrusted with the care of older children. I have heard of a man whose
nephew lived with him, and lived a very cheerless life. When the season
came round at which the lad hoped to be allowed to go and visit his
parents, he ventured, after much hesitation, to hint this to his uncle.
Of course the uncle felt that it was quite right the lad should go, but
he grudged him the chance of the little enjoyment, and the happy thought
struck him that he might let the lad go, and at the same time make the
poor fellow uncomfortable in going. Accordingly he conveyed his
permission to the lad to go by roaring out in a savage manner,
"_Begone!_" This made the poor lad feel as if it were his duty to
stay, and as if it were very wicked in him to wish to go; and though he
ultimately went, he enjoyed his visit with only half a heart. There are
parents and guardians who take great pains to make their children think
themselves very bad,--to make the little things grow up in the endurance
of the pangs of a bad conscience. For conscience, in children, is a
quite artificial thing: you may dictate to it what it is to say. And
parents, often injudicious, sometimes malignant, not seldom apply hard
names to their children, which sink down into the little heart and
memory far more deeply than they think. If a child cannot eat fat, you
may instil into him that it is because he is so wicked; and he will
believe you for a while. A favorite weapon in the hands of some parents,
who have devoted themselves diligently to making their children
miserable, is to frequently predict to the children the remorse which
they (the children) will feel after they (the parents) are dead. In such
cases, it would be difficult to specify the precise things which the
children are to feel remorseful about. It must just be, generally,
because they were so wicked, and because they did not sufficiently
believe the infallibility and impeccability of their ancestors. I am
reminded of the woman mentioned by Sam Weller, whose husband
disappeared. The woman had been a fearful termagant; the husband, a very
inoffensive man. After his disappearance, the woman issued an
advertisement, assuring him, that, if he returned, he would be fully
forgiven; which, as Mr. Weller justly remarked, was very generous,
seeing he had never done anything at all.

Yes, the conscience of children is an artificial and a sensitive thing.
The other day, a friend of mine, who is one of the kindest of parents
and the most amiable of men, told me what happened in his house on a
certain _Fast-day_. A Scotch Fast-day, you may remember, is the
institution which so completely puzzled Mr. Buckle. That historian
fancied that _to fast_ means in Scotland to abstain from food. Had
Mr. Buckle known anything whatever about Scotland, he would have known
that a Scotch Fast-day means a week-day on which people go to church,
but on which (especially in the dwellings of the clergy) there is a
better dinner than usual. I never knew man or woman in all my life who
on a Fast-day refrained from eating. And quite right, too. The growth of
common sense has gradually abolished literal fasting. In a Oriental
climate, abstinence from food may give the mind the preeminence over the
body, and so leave the mind better fitted for religious duties. In our
country, literal fasting would have just the contrary effect: it would
give the body the mastery over the soul; it would make a man so
physically uncomfortable that he could not attend with profit to his
religious duties at all. I am aware, Anglican reader, of the defects of
my countrymen; but commend me to the average Scotchman for sound
practical sense. But to return. These Fast-days are by many people
observed as rigorously as the Scotch Sunday. On the forenoon of such a
day, my friend's little child, three years old, came to him in much
distress. She said, as one who had a fearful sin to confess, "I have
been playing with my toys this morning"; and then began to cry as if her
little heart would break. I know some stupid parents who would have
strongly encouraged this needless sensitiveness; and who would thus have
made their child unhappy at the time, and prepared the way for an
indignant bursting of these artificial trammels when the child had grown
up to maturity. But my friend was not of that stamp. He comforted the
little thing, and told her, that, though it might be as well not to play
with her toys on a Fast-day, what she had done was nothing to cry about.
I think, my reader, that, even if you were a Scotch minister, you would
appear with considerable confidence before your Judge, if you had never
done worse than failed to observe a Scotch Fast-day with the Covenanting
austerity.

       *       *       *       *       *

But when one looks back and looks round, and tries to reckon up the
sorrows of childhood arising from parental folly, one feels that the
task is endless. There are parents who will not suffer their children to
go to the little feasts which children occasionally have, either on that
wicked principle that all enjoyment is sinful, or because the children
have recently committed some small offence, which is to be thus
punished. There are parents who take pleasure in informing strangers, in
their children's presence, about their children's faults, to the extreme
bitterness of the children's hearts. There are parents who will not
allow their children to be taught dancing, regarding dancing as sinful.
The result is, that the children are awkward and unlike other children;
and when they are suffered to spend an evening among a number of
companions who have all learned dancing, they suffer a keen
mortification which older people ought to be able to understand. Then
you will find parents, possessing ample means, who will not dress their
children like others, but send them out in very shabby garments. Few
things cause a more painful sense of humiliation to a child. It is a sad
sight to see a little fellow hiding round the corner when some one
passes who is likely to recognize him, afraid to go through the decent
streets, and creeping out of sight by back-ways. We have all seen
_that_. We have all sympathized heartily with the reduced widow who
has it not in her power to dress her boy better; and we have all felt
lively indignation at the parents who had the power to attire their
children becomingly, but whose heartless parsimony made the little
things go about under a constant sense of painful degradation.

An extremely wicked way of punishing children is by shutting them up in
a dark place. Darkness is naturally fearful to human beings, and the
stupid ghost-stories of many nurses make it especially fearful to a
child. It is a stupid and wicked thing to send a child on an errand in a
dark night. I do not remember passing through a greater trial in my
youth than once walking three miles alone (it was not going on an
errand) in the dark, along a road thickly shaded with trees. I was a
little fellow; but I got over the distance in half an hour. Part of the
way was along the wall of a church-yard, one of those ghastly, weedy,
neglected, accursed-looking spots where stupidity has done what it can
to add circumstances of disgust and horror to the Christian's long
sleep. Nobody ever supposed that this walk was a trial to a boy of
twelve years old: so little are the thoughts of children understood. And
children are reticent: I am telling now about that dismal walk for the
very first time. And in the illnesses of childhood, children sometimes
get very close and real views of death. I remember, when I was nine
years old, how every evening, when I lay down to sleep, I used for about
a year to picture myself lying dead, till I felt as though the coffin
were closing round me. I used to read at that period, with a curious
feeling of fascination, Blair's poem, "The Grave." But I never dreamed
of telling anybody about these thoughts. I believe that thoughtful
children keep most of their thoughts to themselves, and in respect of
the things of which they think most are as profoundly alone as the
Ancient Mariner in the Pacific. I have heard of a parent, an important
member of a very strait sect of the Pharisees, whose child, when dying,
begged to be buried not in a certain foul old hideous church-yard, but
in a certain cheerful cemetery. This request the poor little creature
made with all the energy of terror and despair. But the strait Pharisee
refused the dying request, and pointed out with polemical bitterness to
the child that he must be very wicked indeed to care at such a time
where he was to be buried, or what might be done with his body after
death. How I should enjoy the spectacle of that unnatural, heartless,
stupid wretch tarred and feathered! The dying child was caring for a
thing about which Shakspeare cared; and it was not in mere human
weakness, but "by faith," that "Joseph, when he was a-dying, gave
commandment concerning his bones."

I believe that real depression of spirits, usually the sad heritage of
after-years, is often felt in very early youth. It sometimes comes of
the child's belief that he must be very bad, because he is so frequently
told that he is so. It sometimes comes of the child's fears, early felt,
as to what is to become of him. His parents, possibly, with the good
sense and kind feeling which distinguish various parents, have taken
pains to drive it into the child, that, if his father should die, he
will certainly starve, and may very probably have to become a wandering
beggar. And these sayings have sunk deep into the little heart. I
remember how a friend told me that his constant wonder, when he was
twelve or thirteen years old, was _this_: If life was such a burden
already, and so miserable to look back upon, how could he ever bear it
when be had grown older?

       *     *     *     *     *

But now, my reader, I am going to stop. I have a great deal more marked
down to say; but the subject is growing so thoroughly distressing to me,
as I go on, that I shall go on no farther. It would make me sour and
wretched for the next week, if I were to state and illustrate the varied
sorrows of childhood of which I intended yet to speak: and if I were to
talk out my heart to you about the people who cause these, I fear my
character for good-nature would be gone with you forever. "This genial
writer," as the newspapers call me, would show but little geniality: I
am aware, indeed, that I have already been writing in a style which, to
say the least, is snappish. So I shall say nothing of the first death
that comes in the family in our childish days,--its hurry, its
confusion, its awe-struck mystery, its wonderfully vivid recalling of
the words and looks of the dead; nor of the terrible trial to a little
child of being sent away from home to school,--the heart-sickness, and
the weary counting of the weeks and days before the time of returning
home again. But let me say to every reader who has it in his power
directly or indirectly to do so, Oh, do what you can to make children
happy! oh, seek to give that great enduring blessing of a happy youth!
Whatever after-life may prove, let there be something bright to look
back upon in the horizon of their early time! You may sour the human
spirit forever, by cruelty and injustice in youth. There is a past
suffering which exalts and purifies; but _this_ leaves only an evil
result: it darkens all the world, and all our views of it. Let us try to
make every little child happy. The most selfish parent might try to
please a little child, if it were only to see the fresh expression of
unblunted feeling, and a liveliness of pleasurable emotion which in
after-years we shall never know, I do not believe a great English
barrister is so happy when he has the Great Seal committed to him as two
little and rather ragged urchins whom I saw this very afternoon. I was
walking along a country-road, and overtook them. They were about five
years old. I walked slower, and talked to them for a few minutes, and
found that they were good boys, and went to school every day. Then I
produced two coins of the copper coinage of Britain: one a large penny
of ancient days, another a small penny of the present age. "There is a
penny for each of you," I said, with some solemnity: "one is large, you
see, and the other small; but they are each worth exactly the same. Go
and get something good." I wish you had seen them go off! It is a cheap
and easy thing to make a little heart happy. May this hand never write
another essay, if it ever wilfully miss the chance of doing so! It is
all quite right in after-years to be careworn and sad. We understand
these matters ourselves. Let others bear the burden which we ourselves
bear, and which is doubtless good for us. But the poor little things! I
can enter into the feeling of a kind-hearted man who told me that he
never could look at a number of little children but the tears came into
his eyes. How much these young creatures have to bear yet! I think you
can, as you look at them, in some degree understand and sympathize with
the Redeemer, who, when he "saw a great multitude, was moved with
compassion toward them"! Ah, you smooth little face, (you may think,) I
know what years will make of you, if they find you in this world! And
you, light little heart, will know your weight of care!

And I remember, as I write these concluding lines, who they were that
the Best and Kindest this world ever saw liked to have near him; and
what the reason was he gave why he felt most in his element when they
were by his side. He wished to have little children round him, and would
not have them chidden away; and this because there was something about
them that reminded him of the Place from which he came. He liked the
little faces and the little voices,--he to whom the wisest are in
understanding as children. And oftentimes, I believe, these little ones
still do his work. Oftentimes, I believe, when the worn man is led to
him in childlike confidence, it is by the hand of a little child.

       *       *       *       *       *



THE REHABILITATION OF SPAIN.


Three hundred and fifty years ago, a Spanish gentleman sailed on a
cruise that may be considered remarkable even in the history of the
wonderful adventures of the age of Columbus and Da Gama. Juan Ponce de
Leon, having lost the government of Porto Rico, resolved to discover a
world for himself, and so become as renowned as "The Admiral." With the
strong fanaticism of his time and his race, he believed that there was a
third world to be found, and that it "had been saved up" for him, a
gentleman of Leon, and a loyal subject of their Catholic Majesties, who
had done good service for his sovereigns and the faith in Granada, and
later in the Indies. While he was thinking of the course in which he
should sail, he was told that to the North there lay a land which not
only contained unlimited gold, and many other material good things, but
also a fountain of such marvellous nature that to bathe in it was to
secure the return of youth. This revival of an old classic story[A]
fired the imagination of the adventurous cavalier, and he sailed
forthwith (March 3, 1512) in search of a land so rich in things that all
men, from philosophers to politicians, desire to have,--perfect health
and boundless wealth. We need not say that Ponce de Leon failed as
completely as if he had sailed in search of the Northwest Passage, for
he died in less than ten years, a worn-out old man, aged beyond his
years, leaving little gold behind him, and presenting at his parting
hour anything but the appearance of youth. He was a type of the
Spaniards of those days, who believed everything, and whose valor was as
great as their credulity; and his cruise in search of the _Fontaine de
Jouvence_ was quite worthy of a native of a country which seems to be
allowed the privilege of an occasional "dip" into that fountain, though
at long intervals, but is denied the power of constantly bathing in it.

    [Footnote A: The belief in the existence of the Fountain of
    Youth belongs to many countries and to all times. Not to mention
    other instances, Herodotus, in his third book, (23,) tells of a
    fountain of the kind which was possessed by "the long-lived
    Ethiopians," and which caused the bather's flesh to become sleek
    and glossy, and sent forth an odor like that of violets. Peter
    Martyr, to whom we owe so many lively pictures of the effect on
    the European mind of the discovery of America and its
    consequences, wrote to Leo X. of the marvellous fountain which
    was sought by Ponce de Leon, and in terms that leave no doubt
    that he was well inclined to place considerable faith in the
    truth of the common story. The clever Pope probably believed as
    much of it as he did of the New Testament. Peter Martyr does
    not, we think, mention the Ethiopian fountain, of which, as he
    was a good scholar, and that was the age of the revival of
    classic learning, he must have read.]

Spain, unlike most other countries, rises and falls, and apparently is
never so near to degradation as when she is most strong, and never so
near to power as when she is at the weakest point to which a nation can
sink and still remain a nation. All states have had both good and evil
fortune, but no other great European kingdom has known the extreme and
extraordinary changes that have been experienced by Spain. France has
met with heavy reverses, but she has been a great and powerful country
ever since the days of Philip Augustus, whose body was turned up the
other day, after a repose of more than six centuries. Even the victories
of the English Plantagenets could but temporarily check her growth; and
notwithstanding the successes of Eugène and Marlborough, Louis XIV. left
France a greater country than he found it. England's lowest point was
reached during the reigns of her first four Stuart monarchs, but her
weakness was exhibited only on the side of foreign politics: it being
absurd to suppose that the country which could produce Hampden and
Cromwell, Strafford and Falkland, and the men who formed the Cavalier
and Roundhead armies, was then in a state of decay. At the worst, she
was but depressed, and the removal of such dead weights from her as
Charles I. and James II. was all that was necessary to enable her to
vindicate her claim to a first-rate place in the European family. In
1783, at the close of the American War, men said that all was over with
England; but so mistaken were they, that at that very time were growing
up the men who were to lead her fleets and armies with success in
contests compared with which the combats of Gates and Burgoyne, of
Cornwallis and Washington, were but as skirmishes. No other nation,
perhaps, ever had so sudden and so great a fall as that which France met
with in 1814-15. It was the most perfect specimen of the "grand smash"
order of things that history mentions, if we consider both what was
lost, and how quickly it was lost. But it was humiliating merely, and
was attended with no loss of true strength. There was taken from France
that which she had no right to hold, any more than England has at this
moment to hold Gibraltar and Aden and India. France remained much as she
had been under the old monarchy, and there were some millions more of
Frenchmen than had ever lived under a Bourbon of former days, and they
were of a better breed than the political slaves, and in some instances
the personal serfs, who had existed under kings that misruled at
Versailles and Marly. How rapidly France rose above the effects of her
fall we have seen, as her recovery belongs to contemporary history. Her
various mind was never more vigorous than it has been since 1815. As to
her political and military greatness, millions of men who were living on
Waterloo's day, and who read of that "dishonest victory" as "news,"
lived to read the details of Solferino, and of the redemption of Italy.

Not so has it been with Spain. Unlike all other nations in all other
respects, she could not allow herself to resemble them even in the
matter of making sacrifices to Mutability. Had Juan Ponce de Leon been
so unlucky as to find the Fountain of Youth, and had he been so unwise
as to reserve its waters for his own private washing and drinking, and
so have lived from the age of American discovery to the age of American
secession, he would, as a Spaniard, have been forced to undergo many
mortifications in the course of the dozen generations that he would then
have survived beyond his originally appointed time. Spain has been a
greater country than any other in Europe, but she has experienced
greater changes than any other European country. She has never known
such a catastrophe as that which befell France in the early part of our
century, but her losses have been far beyond those which France has ever
met with. It was the lot of France to fall at once, to pass from the
highest place in the world to the lowest at one step, to abdicate her
hegemony with something of that rapidity which is common in dreams, but
which is of rare occurrence in real life. It has been the lot of Spain
to perish by the dry rot, and to lose imperial positions through the
operation of internal causes. So situated as to be almost beyond the
reach of effective foreign attack, Spain has had to contend against the
processes of domestic decay more than any other leading nation of modern
times. To these she has often had to succumb, but she has never failed
in due time to redeem herself, and, after having been a by-word for
imbecility, to rise again to a commanding place. Three times in less
than three centuries have the Spaniards fallen so low as to become of
less account in the European system than the feeblest of the Northern
peoples; and on each occasion has the native, inherent vigor of the race
enabled it to astonish mankind by entering again upon the career of
greatness, not always, it must be allowed, after the wisest fashion, but
so as to testify to the continued existence of those high qualities
which made the Castilian the Roman of the sixteenth century.

Spain was of considerable importance in Europe from a very early period
of modern history; but the want of union among her communities, and the
presence of Mussulman power in the Peninsula, prevented her from
exercising more influence in the Old World than would fall to our share
in the New, should the principles of the Secession party prevail. It was
not until a union had been effected through the marriage of Ferdinand
and Isabella, that the power of Christian Spain was brought to bear upon
the remnant of the Mussulmans of that country, and rounded and completed
the work of redeeming it from the dominion of the followers of the
Prophet, who had, on the whole, ruled their possessions better than the
Christian states had been ruled. The fall of Granada, in 1492, was
hailed throughout Christendom as a great triumph for the Cross, as in
one sense it was; but there was not a Christian country which would not
have been the gainer, if the Mussulmans of Spain had risen victorious
from the last game which they played with the adversaries of their
religion in a duel that had endured for more than seven hundred years.
Many a Pagan country, too, which had never heard either of Jesus or of
Mahomet, was interested in the event of the War of Granada. Montezuma
and Atahuallpa, who never had so much as dreamed of Europe, had their
fate determined by the decision of the long struggle between the rival
religions and peoples of the Peninsula; and Boabdil was not the only
monarch, by many, who then and there had his lot decided. Much of
America, and not a little of Europe, were conquered on the Plains of
Granada; and "the Last Sigh of the Moor" may have been given, not so
much to his own sad fate, as over the evil that was to come, and which
was to affect popes and princes and peoples alike. There was not a
country in the world but might have served itself well, if it had sent
aid to the struggling Moors. Instead of rejoicing over the victory of
the Spanish Christians, the world might have sent forth a wail in
consequence of it, as best expressing the sense that should have existed
of the woes which that victory was to be the means of bringing upon
mankind. The issue of that Peninsular contest was in every way bad, and
no good has ever come from it, but evil in abundance. The fountain that
was then unsealed was one of bitter waters only. The sympathies of men
should be with the Moors, who were the more enlightened, the more
liberal, and the wiser of the two races that then grappled for a final
encounter. Being the weaker party, they fell, but they were destined to
have grand funeral games.

Freed from the presence of any Mussulman states, Spain was enabled to
begin a grand European career in the latter years of the fifteenth
century, the conquest of Granada and the discovery of America having
given her a degree of power that gained for her the world's profoundest
respect. Partly by success in war, and partly through a series of
fortunate marriages, she became the first member of the European
commonwealth in a quarter of a century after the overthrow of the Moors.
The first of her Austro-Burgundian kings was made Emperor of Germany,
and by birth he was lord of the Netherlands. In a few years, and after
the conquest of Mexico, he had a French king among his captives, and the
Pope was shut up by one of his armies in the Castle of St. Angelo. Yet a
few years more, and Peru was added to the dominions of Spain. The
position and principles of the Emperor-King made him the champion of the
old order of things in Europe as against the Reformation, which added
immensely to his power. Spain was then, as she is now, and as probably
she ever will be, intensely Catholic, and as Papal as any country
valuing its independence well could be. How she regarded Protestantism,
and all other forms of "heresy," we know from the fiery energy--it was
literally of a fiery character--with which she disposed of all the
Reformers, of every degree, upon whom her iron hand could be laid. Had
Charles V. been inclined to favor the Reformation, from his position as
Emperor of Germany, he would soon have been diverted from any such
thought by considerations drawn from his position as King of the Spains.
A Mussulman, or a Hebrew, or an avowed atheist would have had a better
chance of being a powerful and popular sovereign at Valladolid than a
pious man who should have been inclined to look with favor upon Dr.
Luther. It may be doubted if even a king could have been safe from the
inquiries of the Inquisition. Thus Spain was not only at the head of
Europe because of her military superiority and the extent of her home
territory and foreign dominion, but, as the champion of the Church, she
had a moral power such as no other country has ever possessed, her
championship of the Pope being something very different from Napoleon
III.'s championship of the Pope of to-day. The German aristocracy might
be after the loaves and fishes of the Church, when they professed
readiness to aid in warfare against the Reformers; but no one could
doubt the zeal of the Spanish patricians, when _they_ dedicated
their swords and lances to the work of extirpating all enemies of the
faith. An Englishman of 1857 could not have been more hostile to a Sepoy
than a Spaniard of 1557 was to a Protestant. Religious power, political
power, military power, and long-continued success in the cabinet and in
the field, all combined to place Spain in a position such as no other
nation had ever known, such as no other nation ever will know. Even the
failures of Charles V.--his flight before Maurice of Saxony, and his
defeat at Metz--did not sensibly abate the power of Spain, for they
concerned Germany more than they did the Peninsular subjects of the
disappointed monarch.

When Philip II. succeeded to most of his father's abdicated thrones,
there was no diminution of Spanish pretensions, and he became the
mightiest sovereign that Europe had known since Charlemagne. Philip's
failure to obtain the Imperial throne was a personal disappointment to
both father and son, but it was no loss of real power to the elder
branch of the House of Austria. The death of Mary of England, though it
prevented Philip from availing himself of the men and money of his
wife's kingdom, was rather beneficial to him, as chief of the Spanish
dominion, than otherwise. What could he have done with the haughty,
arrogant, self-sufficient islanders, who were as proud as the Castilians
themselves, without any of the imperial pretensions of the Castilians to
justify their pride, had Mary lived and reigned, while he alone should
have ruled? There would have been civil war in England but for Mary's
death, which occurred at a happy time both for her and for her subjects.
Philip also lost a portion of his Northern hereditary dominions, because
he would have a tyranny established in the Netherlands. But all that he
lost in Germany, in the Netherlands, and in Britain was compensated by
his easy conquest of Portugal after the extinction of the House of Avis.
The Portugal of those times was a very different country from the
Portugal of these times. It was not only Portugal and the Algarves that
Philip added to the dominions of Spain,--and that alone would have been
a great thing, for it would have perfected the Spanish rule of the
Peninsula, always a most desirable event in the eyes of Castilians,--but
the enormous and wide-spread possessions of Portugal in Africa, in
America, and in Asia became subject to the conqueror. Portugal alone was
of far more value to Spain than England could have been; but Portugal
and her colonies together made a greater prize than England, Holland,
and Germany could have made, recollecting how full of "heretics" those
countries were, and that the more heretical subjects Philip should have
had, the less powerful he would have been. Portugal was as "Faithful" as
Spain was "Catholic," and both titles now belonged to Philip. At that
time, Philip's power, to outward seeming, was at its height. It was not
certain that he would lose Holland, and it was certain that he had
gained Portugal and all her dependencies. He was absolute master of the
Spanish Peninsula, and his will was law over nearly all the Italian
Peninsula except that portion of it which was ruled by Venice. He alone
of European sovereigns had vast possessions in both Indies, the East and
the West. He was monarch of no insignificant part of Africa, and in
America he was the Great King, his dominion there being almost as little
disputed as was that of Selkirk in his island. He was still master of
the best part of the Low Countries, and the Hollanders were regarded as
nothing more than his rebellious subjects. He was the sole Western
potentate who had lieutenants in the East, who ruled over Indian
territories that never had been reached even by the Macedonian
Alexander. From his cabinet in Madrid, he fixed the fate of many
millions of the first peoples in the world, members of the races most
advanced in all the arts of war and of peace. His least whisper could
affect the every-day life of men in the principal cities of both
hemispheres. He who was sovereign at Madrid and Lisbon, at Naples and
Milan, at Brussels and Antwerp, was sovereign also at Mexico and Lima,
at Goa and Ormuz.

Philip's power was by no means to be measured solely by the extent and
various character of his dominions. His position, as a great monarch,
and as the chief champion of the Catholic cause, made him, at times,
master of many European countries over which he could exercise no direct
rule. England trembled before him even after the "Armada's pride" had
been rebuked, and Elizabeth came much nearer being vanquished by him
than is generally supposed. Nothing but the blockade of Parma's forces
by the Dutch, and the occurrence of storms, saved England from
experiencing that sad fate which she has ever been so ready, with cause
and without cause, to visit upon other countries. In Ireland the Spanish
monarch was more respected than Elizabeth, its nominal ruler, and he was
regarded by the Irish not only with reverence as the first of Catholic
princes, but also with that affection which men ever feel for the
enemies of their enemies. Whoso hates England is sure of Irish
affection, and as it is today so was it three hundred years ago, and so
will it ever be, unless the very human heart itself shall undergo a
complete change. Scotland furnished a Spanish party that might have
become formidable to England, had events taken a slightly different
turn; and the old Caledonian hatred of Southrons had not been
extinguished by the success of the Reform party in both countries. The
Scotch Catholics called Philip "the pillar of the Christian
commonwealth," (_Totius reipublicæ Christianæ columen_,) and sought
his assistance to restore the old religion to their country. France was
for several years more at the command of Philip than at that of any of
its own sovereigns, the weak dregs of the line of Valois. The League
would willingly have transferred the French crown to any person whom he
might have named to wear it; and perhaps nothing but the sensible
decision of Henry IV., that Paris was worth a mass, prevented that crown
from passing to some member of the Spanish branch of the House of
Austria. In Germany Philip had an influence corresponding to his power,
which was all the greater because he was the head of a Germanic house
that under him seemed destined to develop an old idea that it should
become ruler of the world. If anything marred his strength in that
quarter, it was the fact that the junior branch of the Austrian family
was at that time inclined to liberalism in politics,--an offence against
the purposes and traditions of the whole family of which few members of
it have ever been guilty, before or since.

But this mighty Spanish power came to an end with the monarch in whom it
was represented. The sources of Spanish strength had been drying up for
a century, but the personal character of the successive monarchs, and
vast foreign acquisitions, had disguised the fact from the world. Philip
died in 1598, and in reality left his empire but a skeleton to his son,
a youth of feeble mind, but under whose rule a change of policy was
effected, not, as has been sometimes supposed, from any deep views on
the part of the Count-Duke Lerma, but because it was impossible for
Spain to maintain the place she had held under Philip II. Even had
Philip III. been as able a man as his father, or his grandfather, he
could not have preserved the ascendency of Spain,--that country having
changed much, and Europe more. Every European nation, with the exception
of Turkey,--and the Turks were only encamped in Europe,--had advanced
during the sixteenth century, except Spain, which had declined. Thus had
she become weak, positively and relatively. Rest was necessary to her,
and under the rule of Lerma she obtained it. He supported the peace
policy of that old aristocratical party of which Ruy Gomez had been the
chief, but which had been hardly heard of in the last twenty years of
Philip II.'s reign. That monarch, on his death-bed, regretted that "to
his grace in bestowing on him so great a realm, God had not been pleased
to add the grace of granting him a successor capable of continuing to
rule it"; but had his son been all that the most unreasonable parent
could have desired, he could not have pursued his father's policy. Lerma
did but act as he was forced to act. The circumstance that the Catholic
Reaction had triumphed was alone sufficient to make a change necessary.
Spanish greatness was no longer the leading political interest of the
Church, and Rome was at liberty to have some regard to the new powers
that were growing up in Europe. Pacific ideas prevailed. Spain ceased to
make war in every direction, and husbanded her resources, and began to
renew her native strength. The skeleton bequeathed by Philip II. became
clothed with flesh, and sinewy. Could this policy have been continued
for a generation, Spanish history might have been made to read
differently from the melancholy text it now presents. But the process of
rehabilitation was not allowed to go on. There had always been a strong
party opposed to Lerma, and that statesman's friendliness to the English
and the Dutch made him liable to the charge of favoring heresy,--a
charge that was the heaviest that could be brought against any one in
the estimation of Philip III., who was as bigoted as his father. The
Catholic and warlike policy of Idiaquez, Granvella, and Moura was
revived. The two branches of the Austrian family were again brought into
the closest alliance, and at a time when the German branch had become
even more Catholic than the elder branch. Spain stepped once more into
the European arena, and her generals and armies by their abilities and
exploits revived recollections of what had been done by Parma and his
hosts. Spinola, who was scarcely inferior to Farnese, conquered the
Palatinate, and so began the Thirty Years' War favorably to the Catholic
cause. The great victory of Nordlingen, won by the Catholics in 1635,
was due to the valor of the Spanish troops in the Imperial army. Spain
appeared to be as powerful as at any former period, and the revival of
her ascendency might have been expected by those who judged only from
external indications of strength. Yet a few years, however, and it was
clear to all politicians at least that Spain was far gone into a
decline, and that the course of Olivarez had been fatal to her
greatness; and the mass of mankind, who judge only from glaring actions,
could not fail to appreciate the nature of such events as the defeat of
Rocroi and the loss of Portugal, the latter including the loss of all
the dependencies of the Portuguese in Africa, America, and India. No
historical transaction of the seventeenth century testifies so strongly
to the weakness of a first-class power as the Revolution of Portugal.
Though Portugal lay at the very door of Spain, that country slipped from
her feeble hands, and she never could recover it. Having resumed her
encroaching, domineering course before she had fairly recovered her
strength, she broke down in less than a quarter of a century, though
even then the full extent of her weakness was not generally understood.
It is an amusement to read works that were written in the reigns of
Philip IV. and Charles II., in which Spain is spoken of as a great
power, and to compare the words of their writers with the actual facts
of the case. If we were to fix upon any one date as indicating the final
breaking down of Austrian Spain, it would be the year 1659, when the
treaty of the Pyrenees was made, and when the old rival of France became
virtually her vassal. From that time we must date the beginning of that
strange interference in Spanish affairs which has formed so much of the
public business of France, whereby one of the proudest of peoples have
become, as it were, provincials to one of the vainest of peoples. It is
true that there were more wars between Austrian Spain and France, but
they served only to show that the former had lost the power to contend
with her rival, who might look forward to the day when the empire of
Philip II. should fall to pieces, and furnish spoil to those strong
nations that watch over the beds of sick men in purple.

The state of decay in which the first Bourbon king of Spain found his
inheritance, in 1701, is well known. The War of the Succession soon
followed, and Spain was shorn of some of her most magnificent foreign
possessions. All that she had held in Flanders was lost,--and so were
Naples, and Sicily, and Sardinia, and the Milanese, and other lands that
had been ruled, and wellnigh ruined, by the Austro-Burgundian kings. The
English had Gibraltar, and were holding Minorca also. Bourbon Spain was
not to be Austrian Spain,--that was clear. But this trimming and pruning
of the Peninsular monarchy were very useful to it; and Spain, having
been ploughed up by the sword for twelve successive years, was in
condition to yield something beyond what it had produced since the death
of Philip II. Accordingly, under the ascendency of the Italian Alberoni,
Spain became rapidly powerful; and could that remarkable statesman have
confined his labors to affairs purely Spanish in their character and
purpose, that country might have taken, and have continued to hold, the
first place in Europe. He, however, with all his talents, was
intellectually deficient in some important respects, and so all his
schemes came to nought, and he fell. He tried to effect too much, and
though fully sensible of the necessity of peace to Spain, he plunged
into war. He did, in fact, what the rulers of Spain are doing to-day: he
sought to restore the old Castilian influence by engaging the country in
wars that would have been foolish, even if they had not been unjust,
when he should have continued to direct all his attention to its
internal affairs. Had he been at the head of any other than a Spanish
ministry, Alberoni would probably have borne himself rationally; but
there is something in the politics of Spain that affects even the wisest
of heads, often turning them, as it were, and rendering their owners the
strangest of caricatures. It is sometimes said that the most Irish of
the people of Ireland are those who have come latest into the green
island, there being something in its air and soil that soon converts the
stranger into a true Hibernian in all moral respects; but the remark is
more applicable to Spain than to Ireland, as in the former country
foreign statesmen have more than once made Spanish policy ridiculous by
taking that one step which separates that quality from the sublime. What
in the person of a Castilian is at the worst but Quixotic becomes in the
foreigner, or man of foreign descent, the merest burlesque upon
statesmanship.

Alberoni's fall did not imply the fall of Spain. The renewal of vigor
that she had gained under his direction was sufficiently great to carry
her well through more than seventy years, during which she stood on an
equal footing with France, the Empire, and Great Britain, and for most
of the time was the superior of Russia and Prussia, whose European
greatness did not begin until the second half of the eighteenth century
had become somewhat advanced. It is difficult for the men of to-day to
understand that Spain was really a great power under the Bourbon kings,
down to the first years of the French Revolution. We have seen her,
until very recently, a country of little more European account than
Portugal; and that she should, but eighty years since, have treated with
England as equal with equal, after having assisted at the work of
England's humiliation, it is hard to comprehend. But such was the fact.
Several of the Spanish statesmen of the last Century were very superior
men, the kingdom itself was strong, and the Indies did not experience
any disturbances calculated seriously to embarrass the mother-country.
Then the close union that was brought about between France and Spain, in
the early days of Charles III. and the last days of Louis XV., had no
unimportant effect on the fortunes of Spain. The _Pacte de Famille_
was one of the greatest political transactions of those days. It was
effected just a hundred years ago, and but for the occurrence of the
French Revolution it would have proved most fruitful of remarkable
events. Had it never been made, it may well be doubted if the American
Revolution could have been a successful movement. That Revolution France
was bound to support, both by interest and by sentiment; and the
Family-Compact enabled her to take Spain on to the side of America,
where it is evident that her interests scarcely could have taken her;
and Spain's aid, which was liberally afforded, was necessary to the
success of our ancestors. That it was possible thus to place Spain was
owing to one of those displays of English insolence that have made the
islanders abhorred by the rulers and the ruled of almost every land.
"Charles III. of Spain," says Macaulay, "had early conceived a deadly
hatred of England. Twenty years before, when he was King of the Two
Sicilies, he had been eager to join the coalition against Maria Theresa.
But an English fleet had suddenly appeared in the Bay of Naples. An
English captain had landed, had proceeded to the palace, had laid a
watch on the table, and had told his Majesty that within an hour a
treaty of neutrality must be signed, or a bombardment would commence.
The treaty was signed; the squadron sailed out of the bay twenty-four
hours after it had sailed in; and from that day the ruling passion of
the humbled prince was aversion to the English name. He was at length in
a situation in which he might hope to gratify that passion. He had
recently become King of Spain and the Indies. He saw, with envy and
apprehension, the triumphs of our navy, and the rapid extension of our
colonial empire. He was a Bourbon, and sympathized with the distress of
the house from which he sprang. He was a Spaniard; and no Spaniard could
bear to see Gibraltar and Minorca in the possession of a foreign power.
Impelled by such feelings, Charles concluded a secret treaty with
France. By this treaty, known as the Family-Compact, the two powers
bound themselves, not in express words, but by the clearest implication,
to make war on England in common." Such was the origin of an alliance
that changed the fate of America, and which might have done as much for
Europe but for the fall of the French Bourbons. The statesmen of
England, with that short-sightedness which is the badge of all their
tribe, were nursing the power of Russia, at an enormous expense, in
order that, at a still greater expense, their grandsons might attempt
the bridling of that power, in which they succeeded about as well as did
Doria in bridling the horses of St. Mark. The partition of Poland showed
what Europe had most to fear, and French statesmen were preparing for
the Northern blast, while those of England, according to one of their
own number, who was a Secretary of State, spoke of it as something
indeed inconsistent with national equity and public honor, and therefore
engaging their master's disapprobation, but as not so immediately
interesting as to deserve his interposition. Time, however, would have
brought England right, from regard to her own safety, and she would have
united herself with France, Spain, and Naples to resist Russian
encroachments; and Austria, it may be assumed, would have gone with the
West and the South against the North, for her statesmen had the sagacity
to see that the partition of Poland was adverse to their country's
interests, and the part they had in that most iniquitous of modern
transactions was taken rather from fear than from ambition. They could
not prevent a robbery, and so they aided in it, and shared in the spoil.
But the revolutionary storm came, and broke up the old European system.
Passional politics took the place of diplomacy, and party-spirit usurped
that of patriotism. It was the age of the Reformation repeated, and men
could hail the defeats of their own country with joy, because their
country and their party were on opposite sides in the grand struggle
which opinions were making for supremacy.

In that storm Spain broke down, but not until she had exhibited
considerable power in war, first with France, and then as the ally of
France. Her navy was honorably distinguished, though unfortunate, at St.
Vincent and Trafalgar, and elsewhere, showing that Spanish valor was not
extinct. Napoleon I., unequal to bearing well the good-fortune that had
been made complete at Tilsit, and maddened by the success of England in
her piratical attack on Denmark, resolved to add Spain to his empire,
virtually, if not in terms. He was not content with having her as one of
his most useful and submissive dependencies, whose resources were at his
command as thoroughly as were those of Belgium and Lombardy, but must
needs insist upon having her throne at his disposal. Human folly never
perpetrated a grosser blunder than this, and he established that
"Spanish ulcer" which undermined the strength of the most magnificent
empire that the world had seen for ten centuries; for, if his empire was
in some respects inferior to that of Philip II., in others it was
superior to the Castilian dominion. Out of his action in the Peninsula
grew the Peninsular War, which was to the Spain of our age what the
Succession War had been to the Spain of a century earlier. That country
was prepared by it for another revival, which came at last, but which
also came slowly. Had Ferdinand VII. been a wise and truthful man, or
had there been Spanish statesmen capable of governing both monarch and
monarchy, the days of Alberoni would have been repeated before 1820. But
there was neither an honest monarch nor a great statesman in the
kingdom, and Spain daily became weaker and more contemptible. Her
colonial empire disappeared, with a few exceptions, such as Cuba and the
Philippines. The sun ceased to shine constantly on that empire which had
been warmed by his beams through three centuries, and transferred that
honor to England. Spanish politics became the world's scorn; and a
French army, acting as the police of the Holy Alliance, crossed the
Pyrenees, and made Ferdinand VII. once more an absolute king. After his
death, a civil war raged for a long time between the Christinos and the
Carlists, parties which took their names from the Queen-Mother and from
Don Carlos, who claimed to be the legitimate King of the Spains. At
length that war was brought to an end, and the throne of Isabella II.
appears to be as well established as was that of Isabella I.

During all those unhappy years, Spain had, to use the common phrase,
been making progress. Foreign war and civil war, and political
convulsions of every kind, had been eminently useful to her. The Arachne
webs and dust of ages had been blown away by the cannon of France and
England. Old ideas were exploded. Young Spain had displaced Old Spain. A
generation had grown up who had no sympathy with the antique world. In
spite of repeated invasions, and almost unbroken bad government, and
colonial losses such as no other country ever had experienced, the
material power of Spain had vastly advanced between 1808 and 1850. Since
1850 the Spaniards have been prosperous people, and every year has seen
their power increased; and they are now demanding for their country
admission into the list of the Great Powers of Europe. They have formed
a numerous army, and a navy that is more than respectable. They are
constructing railways, and encouraging business in all its forms. The
public revenue is equal to about ninety millions of our money, which
would liberally provide for every expenditure that the Government ought
to make, but which cannot meet the wants of that Government, because the
Spanish statesmen of 1862 are as unwise as were any of their
predecessors, most of whom treated the dollar as if it contained twelve
dimes. "To spend half a crown out of sixpence a day" requires the
possession of as much ingenuity as would, if rationally employed, serve
to convert the sixpence into a crown; but Spain rarely permits common
sense to govern her action, and prefers debt to prosperity, when she can
fairly make her choice between the two. As to her public morality, a
very little observation proves that she is not an iota more merciful or
consistent now than she was when she banished the Moriscos. At the very
time when she is engaged in making war on Mexico because of alleged
wrongs received at the hands of that country, she refuses to pay her own
debts, thus placing herself on the level of Mississippi, which can raise
money to aid in warring against the Union, and yet will not liquidate
its bonds, which are held by the English allies of American rebels. This
does not promise much for the future of Spain, and she may find her
armies brought to a stand in Mexico from the want of money; and thus
will be repeated the blunder of the sixteenth century, when the
victories of the Spaniards in the Low Countries were made fruitless
because their sovereign was unable to pay his soldiers, and so they
became mutineers at the very time when it was most requisite that their
loyalty should be perfect, in order that the Castilian ascendency might
be entirely restored. Spain walks in a circle, and she repeats the
follies of her past with a pertinacity that would seem to indicate,
that, while she has forgotten everything, she has learned nothing.

This third revival of Spain has been attended with a liberal exhibition
of the same follies which we know it was her custom to display after
preceding revivals. Instead of attending to her internal affairs, which
demanded all her attention and the use of all her means, she has plunged
into the great sea of foreign politics, with the view, it should seem,
of being admitted formally into the list of leading European Powers.
That she should desire a first place is by no means discreditable to
her; but her manner of seeking it is to the last degree childish, and
unworthy of a country that has had so much experience. That place which
she seeks can never long be denied to any European nation which is
really strong, and modern strength does not consist merely in great
fleets and armies, to be employed in attacking the weak, and in
promoting a system of intervention in the affairs of foreign countries.
Such, however, is not the opinion of Spanish statesmen, if they are to
be judged by their actions. No sooner did Spain begin to feel her
strength, than she determined to make other countries feel it, in a very
disagreeable fashion. She directed her attention to Italy, and nothing
but a salutary dread of Napoleon III prevented her from becoming the
champion of all the tyrants and abuses of that country. It was at one
time supposed that she meant to revive her pretensions to territorial
rule in the Italian Peninsula, and to contend for the restoration of the
state of things which there ended with the ending of the
Austro-Burgundian rule of the Spanish Empire in 1700; and though it
would have been preposterous to have thought such pretensions possible
in the case of any other country,--as preposterous as it would be to
suppose England capable of thinking of the restoration of her power over
the United States,--yet it was perfectly reasonable to believe that
Spain would revive claims that were barred by the lapse of one hundred
and fifty years. No statute of limitations is known to her, and what she
has held once she thinks herself entitled to reclaim on any day through
all time. Weakness may prevent her from enforcing her title, but that
title never becomes weak. What is ridiculous in the eyes of the
statesmen of Paris and London is eminently commonplace in those of the
statesmen of Madrid, who are the most industrious of builders,
_Châteaux en Espagne_ employing their energies. Although it is more
than two centuries since Portugal threw off the Spanish yoke, they have
never yet given up the hope in Spain of adding that spirited little
kingdom to the Peninsular monarchy. They would absorb it, as so many
other kingdoms have been absorbed by the power that has issued its
decrees from Madrid and Valladolid. The attack made by Spain on Morocco
was a silly affair, and was resolved upon only to convince the world
that Spain could make war abroad, a point in which the world felt but
small interest, as at that time it was not thought that the Spaniards
would seriously endeavor to regain their old American possessions. That
what had been lost through one class of errors would be sought through
resort to another class of errors, it entered not the minds of men to
conceive. They would as soon have thought of Spain making a demand on
Holland, with the view of restoring in that country the rule that was
lost there in the days of Alva and Parma, as of her entering upon a war
for a second conquest of Mexico. Nor would they have been astonished by
the breaking out of such a war, had it not been for the breaking down of
the American Republic. America's calamity was Spain's opportunity. She
had been successful in her crusade against the modern Moors, because bad
government had unfitted those Mussulmans to make effectual resistance to
her well-led and well-appointed armies, which were supported by
well-equipped ships. Then, flushed with victory, and beholding America
in convulsions, she resolved to direct her energies against Mexico,
where, unfortunately, bad government had done its work even more
perfectly than it had been done in Morocco. The Spaniards are a brave
and a spirited people, but their conduct in St. Domingo and their attack
on Mexico cannot be cited as evidence of their bravery and spirit. They
never would have dared to move against the Mexicans, if our condition
had remained what it was but eighteen months ago; and yet they had just
as good cause to assail them in the summer of 1860 as they now have in
the winter of 1862. All the grounds of complaint that they have against
Mexico were in existence then,--but we heard of no modern Spanish Armada
at that time, and might then as rationally have expected to see a French
fleet in the St. Lawrence as a Spanish fleet in the Mexican Gulf. The
American sword was then sharp, and the American shield broad, and so
Spain stayed her chivalrous hand. Her conduct is as bad as was our own,
when we "picked a quarrel" with Mexico, and bestowed upon her weak back
the blows we should have visited on the stout shoulders of England. Our
Mexican contest was the effect of our fear of a stronger adversary. We
had brought the Oregon question to such a point that it was difficult to
avoid war with Great Britain. The West had been cheated by the cry for
"the whole of Oregon," and the men who had got up that cry were afraid
to face the people whom they had deceived by the light of common day;
and so we had the Mexican War improvised, to distract public attention
from the lame and impotent manner in which we had settled the Oregon
question. Having kissed the Briton's boot, it became necessary to soothe
our exasperated feelings by applying our own boot to the person of the
Aztec. The man having been too much for us, we were bound to give the
boy a sound beating, and that beating he received. True, we had cause of
quarrel with Mexico, which we had long overlooked, and which had seldom
moved us to anger, and never to the point of falling foul, until we had
become excessively angry both with the English and ourselves; and
equally true is it that Spain has some reason to make Mexico feel the
weight of her arm, now that it has become strong again,--but, imitating
our prudence, she has chosen her own time for calling Mexico to account.
All chivalrous nations are partial to this form of shabbiness; and
though we are told that honor is the distinction of a monarchy, we see
that under the Spanish monarchy its requirements can be dispensed with
when a gain can be secured by walking in the path of dishonor.

But though the policy of Spain is base toward Mexico, it has the merit
of being perfectly intelligible, which is generally the case with things
of the kind. Much fault has been found with Spain by our Unionists
because she has exhibited some partiality for the Secessionists, and
apparently is ready to go as far as England means to go in helping them
to the full enjoyment of independence and national life. It has been
pointed out, that it was the South, not the North, which favored the
"acquisition" of Cuba by force, fraud, or falsehood, according to
circumstances; that the men who met at Ostend, and proclaimed that Cuba
must be ours, were Democrats, not Republicans; and that the buccaneers
who used to fit out expeditions for the redemption of the "faithful"
island from Spanish rule were Southrons, while other Southrons refused
to convict those buccaneers who were tried at New Orleans, and elsewhere
in Secessia, of being guilty of crimes against the laws of America and
of nations. And it is asked, with looks of wonder, "How can Spain be so
blind to her interests, and so regardless of insults that ordinarily
disturb even the mildest of nations, as to sympathize with and aid her
enemies, men who, if successful in their present purpose, would be sure
to attack Cuba, to help themselves to Mexico, and to become masters of
all the Spanish-American countries on this continent?" Pertinent to the
matter as this question is, Spain has an answer to give that would be
very much to the point. "True," she might say, "it was the South that
sent land pirates to Cuba, and it was a Federal Government that was
dominated by Southrons that used to insult us semiannually by insisting
that we should part with Cuba, though we should as soon have thought of
selling Cadiz. But it was the American Government, which spoke in the
name of the whole American nation, that made the demand for Cuba, and
which protected the pirates. Had you made war on us to obtain possession
of Cuba, as you would have done but for the occurrence of your civil
troubles, that war would have been waged by the United States, and not
by the South and by the Democratic party. It would have been the work of
you all, of Republicans as well as Democrats, of Yankees as well as
Southrons, of Abolitionists as well as Slaveholders. There would have
come soldiers from your Southern States, to tear from the Spanish
monarchy its most valuable foreign possession; but whence would have
come the men who would have manned your fleets, that would have acted
with your armies, protecting their landing, and thus alone making Cuba's
conquest possible? They would have been Northern men, New-Englanders and
New-Yorkers, perhaps descendants of some of the very men who helped to
conquer a portion of the island a century ago. It was _American_
strength that we feared, not the strength of the _North_ or that of
the _South_, for neither of which do we care. Who would have
furnished the capital to pay the expenses of the war? Who but the rich
men of the North? Money is the sinew of all war, foreign and civil, and
not a little of that Northern capital which we have seen so lavishly
poured out in aid of the Union would have been subscribed in aid of a
project to bring the curse of disunion upon our country. You know this
to be the fact, and we challenge you as truthful men to deny it, that
for many years it has been a favorite idea with some of your statesmen,
and not of leaders of the Democratic party only, to stave off the
troubles that were rapidly growing out of the slavery question, by
having recourse to a 'distraction' based on the acquisition of Cuba. You
know, or ought to know, that the very man who is now at the head of the
Southern Confederacy was advised, at the North, in 1853, to pursue such
a course with regard to Cuba, he being then the most influential member
of the Pierce administration, as should 'distract' American attention
from slavery as a local matter; and that he thought this Northern advice
good, and would have given the administration's support to the project
it involved, and probably with success, and to our great loss and
disgrace, when a new turn was given to your strange politics by the
movement in behalf of the repeal of the Missouri compromise, a movement
that has brought safety to us, and loss and disgrace upon yourselves. We
admit that your cause is the cause of law, of order, and of
constitutional freedom; but why should we desire the triumph of the
cause of law, of order, and of constitutional freedom in the United
States, when that triumph would be but preliminary to a triumph over our
own country? Had your internal peace been continued for ten years
longer, your free population would have reached to forty millions, and
your wealth would have grown at a greater rate than your population. You
would have been able to give law to America, and you would, under one
plausible pretext or another, have taken possession of all the European
colonies of the Occident. Nothing short of a European alliance could
have prevented your becoming supreme from the region of eternal snows to
the regions of eternal bloom; and such an alliance it would have been
difficult to form, as there are nations in Europe that would have been
as ready to back you in your day of strength as they are now both ready
and anxious to back your enemy in this your hour of weakness. In plain
words, it is for our interest that you should fall; and as your fall can
be best promoted through the success of the Secessionists, therefore do
we give them our moral support, and sympathize with them in their
struggle to establish their national freedom on the basis of everlasting
slavery. Why should we not sympathize with them, and even aid, at an
early day, in raising the blockade of their ports? Are they not doing
our work? As to their seizure of Spanish-American countries, it would be
long before they could attempt an extension of their dominion; and by
reëstablishing our rule over Mexico we shall be in condition to bridle
them for fifty years to come, even if they should remain united. But it
is not at all probable that they would continue united. What Mexico has
been, that the Southern Confederacy would be. The revolutions, the
_pronunciamientos_, the murders, and the robberies which it is our
intention to banish from Mexico, would take up their abode in the
Southern Confederacy, in which Secession would do its perfect work. Such
things are the natural fruits of the Secession tree, which is as
poisonous as the upas and as productive as the palm. _You_ we shall
have no occasion to fear, as, once cut down, Europe would never again
permit you to endanger the integrity of the possessions of any of her
countries in the West."

Such might be the language of Spain in reply to the remonstrances of our
Unionists, and although it embodies nothing but the intensest
selfishness, it would not be the worse diplomatic expression on that
account. When was diplomacy otherwise than sordid in its nature? When
was it the custom with nations to "spare the humble and subdue the
proud"? Never. The Romans said that such was their practice, but every
page of their bloody history gives the lie to the poetical boast. It is
the humble who are subdued, and the proud who are spared. Good
Samaritans are rare characters among men, but who ever heard of a Good
Samaritan among nations? The custom of nations is far worse than was the
conduct of those persons who would not relieve the man who had fallen
among thieves. They simply abstained from doing good, while nations
unite their powers to annoy and annihilate the distressed. There is, it
is probable, an understanding existing between France, England, and
Spain to aid the Southern Confederacy at an early day, and when we shall
have become sufficiently reduced to admit of their giving such aid
without hazard to themselves, they being little inclined to engage in
hazardous wars.

In one respect the reconquest of Mexico by Spain would prove beneficial
to us. If the Southern Confederacy should be established through the
action of foreign powers, it would be for our interest that Mexico
should have a strong government ruling over a united people. If the
anarchical condition of Mexico should be continued, that country would
afford a fine field for the energy and enterprise of all the lawless
spirits of the South, who could be precipitated upon it to the great
gain of their countrymen; and England, in pursuance of her great
Christian principle of creating markets for cotton and cottons, would
encourage the Confederates to enter Mexico. But if Mexico should be
converted into an orderly country, and have an army capable of treating
buccaneers as the Spanish army treated Lopez and his followers, it would
be no place for the discharged soldiers of Davis and Stephens. They
would have to stay at home, and they would make of that home a hell. The
welfare of the North would be promoted by the misery of the Southrons,
who ought to be made to pay the full penalty of their extraordinary
crime. Without provocation, and making of that want of provocation an
absolute boast, they have brought war upon their country, and are
endeavoring to spread its flames over the world. The misery they have
wrought is incalculable, and no narrative of it, let it be as minute and
as detailed as it could be made, will ever furnish a full picture of it.
It would be but the merest justice, that men who make war in the spirit
of wantonness be compelled to drink off the red cup they have filled, to
the very lees. Such would probably be their doom, should they prevail.
The least successful thing to them would be success.

It is not certain, however, that the revival of Spanish power is to be
lasting in its nature; and if Spain should fall as suddenly as she has
risen, the way to Mexico would be open to the Southrons, who might then
and there add so tremendously to the dominions of King Cotton as to make
him even more powerful than ever he has been in the imagination of his
votaries,--and they have ranked him only one step below the Devil.
Spanish revivals are so much like certain other revivals, that they are
apt to be followed by reaction, leaving the unduly excited subject in a
worse condition than ever. European affairs, too, may demand Spain's
attention, and require her to leave Mexico to take care of herself.
Europe is full of causes of war, occasion for waging which must soon
arise. The American war has tended to the promotion of peace in Europe,
but that cannot be much longer maintained. Let war break out in Europe,
and Spain would probably feel herself called upon to assume a principal
part in it, and then the Southern Confederacy would be at liberty to
spread slavery over the finest cotton country on earth, under the
patronage of England, which hates slavery, but worships its results. The
future of Mexico it lies in the power of the American Union to decide,
and our armies are contending as much for Mexican freedom as they are
for American nationality.

       *       *       *       *       *



A RAFT THAT NO MAN MADE.


I am a soldier: but my tale, this time, is not of war.

The man of whom the Muse talked to the blind bard of old had grown wise
in wayfaring. He had seen such men and cities as the sun shines on, and
the great wonders of land and sea; and he had visited the farther
countries, whose indwellers, having been once at home in the green
fields and under the sky and roofs of the cheery earth, were now gone
forth and forward into a dim and shadowed land, from which they found no
backward path to these old haunts, and their old loves:--

    [Greek: Êéri kaì nephélê kekalumménoi oudé pot' autoùs
            Êélios phaéuôn katadérketai aktinessin.]
                                        _Od._ XI.

At the Charter-House I learned the story of the King of Ithaca, and read
it for something better than a task; and since, though I have never seen
so many cities as the much-wandering man, nor grown so wise, yet have
heard and seen and remembered, for myself, words and things from crowded
streets and fairs and shows and wave-washed quays and murmurous
market-places, in many lands; and for his [Greek: Kimmeríon undrôn
dêmos],--his people wrapt in cloud and vapor, whom "no glad sun finds
with his beams,"--have been borne along a perilous path through thick
mists, among the crashing ice of the Upper Atlantic, as well as
sweltered upon a Southern sea, and have learned something of men and
something of God.

I was in Newfoundland, a lieutenant of Royal Engineers, in Major Gore's
time, and went about a good deal among the people, in surveying for
Government. One of my old friends there was Skipper Benjie Westham, of
Brigus, a shortish, stout, bald man, with a cheerful, honest face and a
kind voice; and he, mending a caplin-seine one day, told me this story,
which I will try to tell after him.

We were upon the high ground, beyond where the church stands now, and
Prudence, the fisherman's daughter, and Ralph Barrows, her husband, were
with Skipper Benjie when he began; and I had an hour by the watch to
spend. The neighborhood, all about, was still; the only men who were in
sight were so far off that we heard nothing from them; no wind was
stirring near us, and a slow sail could be seen outside. Everything was
right for listening and telling.

"I can tell 'ee what I sid[A] myself, Sir," said Skipper Benjie. "It
isn' like a story that's put down in books: it's on'y like what we
planters[B] tells of a winter's night or sech: but it's _feelun_,
mubbe, an' 'ee won't expect much off a man as couldn' never read,--not
so much as Bible or Prayer-Book, even."

    [Footnote A: Saw.]
    [Footnote B: Fishermen.]

Skipper Benjie looked just like what he was thought: a true-hearted,
healthy man, a good fisherman, and a good seaman. There was no need of
any one's saying it. So I only waited till he went on speaking.

"'T was one time I goed to th' Ice, Sir. I never goed but once, an' 't was
a'most the first v'yage ever was, ef 't wasn' the _very_ first; an'
't was the last for me, an' worse agen for the rest-part o' that crew,
that never goed no more! 'T was tarrible sad douns wi' they!"

This preface was accompanied by some preliminary handling of the
caplin-seine, also, to find out the broken places and get them about
him. Ralph and Prudence deftly helped him. Then, making his story wait,
after this opening, he took one hole to begin at in mending, chose his
seat, and drew the seine up to his knee. At the same time I got nearer
to the fellowship of the family by persuading the planter (who yielded
with a pleasant smile) to let me try my hand at the netting. Prudence
quietly took to herself a share of the work, and Ralph alone was
unbusied.

"They calls th' Ice a wicked place,--Sundays an' weekin days all alike;
an' to my seemun it's a cruel, bloody place, jes' so well,--but not all
thinks alike, surely.--Rafe, lad, mubbe 'ee'd ruther go down cove-ways,
an' overhaul the punt a bit."

Ralph, who perhaps had stood waiting for the very dismissal that he now
got, assented and left us three. Prudence, to be sure, looked after him
as if she would a good deal rather go with him than stay; but she
stayed, nevertheless, and worked at the seine. I interpreted to myself
Skipper Benjie's sending away of one of his hearers by supposing that
his son-in-law had often heard his tales; but the planter explained
himself:--

"'Ee sees, Sir, I knocked off goun to th' Ice becase 't was sech a
tarrible cruel place, to my seemun. They swiles[C] be so knowun
like,--as knowun as a dog, in a manner, an' lovun to their own, like
Christens, a'most, more than bastes; an' they'm got red blood, for all
they lives most-partly in water; an' then I found 'em so friendly, when
I was wantun friends badly. But I s'pose the swile-fishery's needful;
an' I knows, in course, that even Christens' blood's got to be taken
sometimes, when it's bad blood, an' I wouldn' be childish about they
things: on'y,--ef it's me,--when I can live by fishun, I don' want to go
an' club an' shoot an' cut an' slash among poor harmless things that
'ould never harm man or 'oman, an' 'ould cry great tears down for
pity-sake, an' got a sound like a Christen: I 'ouldn' like to go
a-swilun for gain,--not after beun among 'em, way I was, anyways."

    [Footnote C: Seals.]

This apology made it plain that Skipper Benjie was large-hearted enough,
or indulgent enough, not to seek to strain others, even his own family,
up to his own way in everything; and it might easily be thought that the
young fisherman had different feelings about sealing from those that the
planter's story was meant to bring out. All being ready, he began his
tale again:--

"I shipped wi' Skipper Isra'l Gooden, from Carbonear: the schooner was
the Baccaloue, wi' forty men, all told. 'T was of a Sunday morn'n 'e
'ould sail, twel'th day o' March, wi' another schooner in company,--the
Sparrow. There was a many of us wasn' too good, but we thowt wrong of
'e's takun the Lord's Day to 'e'sself.--Wull, Sir, afore I comed 'ome, I
was in a great desert country, an' floated on sea wi' a monstrous great
raft that no man never made, creakun an' crashun an' groanun an' tumblun
an' wastun an' goun to pieces, an' no man on her but me, an' full o'
livun things,--dreadful!

"About a five hours out, 't was, we first sid the blink,[D] an' comed up
wi' th' Ice about off Cape Bonavis'. We fell in wi' it south, an' worked
up nothe along: but we didn' see swiles for two or three days yet; on'y
we was workun along; pokun the cakes of ice away, an' haulun through wi'
main strength sometimes, holdun on wi' bights o' ropes out o' the bow;
an' more times, agen, in clear water: sometimes mist all round us, 'ee
couldn' see the ship's len'th, sca'ce; an' more times snow, jes' so
thick; an' then a gale o' wind, mubbe, would a'most blow all the spars
out of her, seemunly.

    [Footnote D: A dull glare on the horizon, from the immense
    masses of ice.]

"We kep' sight o' th' other schooner, most-partly; an' when we didn'
keep it, we'd get it agen. So one night 't was a beautiful moonlight
night: I think I never sid a moon so bright as that moon was; an' such
lovely sights a body 'ouldn' think could be! Little islands, an' bigger,
agen, there was, on every hand, shinun so bright, wi' great,
awful-lookun shadows! an' then the sea all black, between! They did look
so beautiful as ef a body could go an' bide on 'em, in a manner; an' the
sky was jes' so blue, an' the stars all shinun out, an' the moon all so
bright! I never looked upon the like. An' so I stood in the bows; an' I
don' know ef I thowt o' God first, but I was thinkun o' my girl that I
was troth-plight wi' then, an' a many things, when all of a sudden we
comed upon the hardest ice we'd a-had; an' into it; an' then, wi' pokun
an' haulun, workun along. An' there was a cry goed up,--like the cry of
a babby, 't was, an' I thowt mubbe 't was a somethun had got upon one o'
they islands; but I said, agen, 'How could it?' an' one John Harris said
'e thowt 't was a bird. Then another man (Moffis 'e's name was) started
off wi' what they calls a gaff, ('t is somethun like a short boat-hook,)
over the bows, an' run; an' we sid un strike, an' strike, an' we hard it
go wump! wump! an' the cry goun up so tarrible feelun, seemed as ef 'e
was murderun some poor wild Inden child 'e'd a-found, (on'y mubbe 'e
wouldn' do so bad as that: but there've a-been tarrible bloody, cruel
work wi' Indens in my time,) an' then 'e comed back wi' a white-coat[E]
over 'e's shoulder; an' the poor thing wasn' dead, but cried an' soughed
like any poor little babby."

    [Footnote E: A young seal.]

The young wife was very restless at this point, and, though she did not
look up, I saw her tears. The stout fisherman smoothed out the net a
little upon his knee, and drew it in closer, and heaved a great sigh: he
did not look at his hearers.

"When 'e throwed it down, it walloped, an' cried, an' soughed,--an' its
poor eyes blinded wi' blood! ('Ee sees, Sir," said the planter, by way
of excusing his tenderness, "they swiles were friends to I, after.)
Dear, oh, dear! I couldn' stand it; for 'e _might_ ha' killed un',
an' so 'e goes for a quart o' rum, for fetchun first swile, an' I went
an' put the poor thing out o' pain. I didn' want to look at they
beautiful islands no more, somehow. Bumby it comed on thick, an' then
snow.

"Nex' day swiles bawlun[F] every way, poor things! (I knowed their
voice, now,) but 't was blowun a gale o' wind, an' we under bare poles,
an' snow comun agen, so fast as ever it could come: but out the men
'ould go, all mad like, an' my watch goed, an' so I mus' go. (I didn'
think what I was goun to!) The skipper never said no; but to keep near
the schooner, an' fetch in first we could, close by; an' keep near the
schooner.

    [Footnote F: Technical word for the crying of the seals.]

"So we got abroad, an' the men that was wi' me jes' began to knock right
an' left: 't was heartless to see an' hear it. They laved two old uns
an' a young whelp to me, as they runned by. The mother did cry like a
Christen, in a manner, an' the big tears 'ould run down, an' they 'ould
both be so brave for the poor whelp that 'ould cuddle up an' cry; an the
mother looked this way an' that way, wi' big, pooty, black eyes, to see
what was the manun of it, when they'd never doned any harm in God's
world that 'E made, an' would n', even ef you killed 'em: on'y the poor
mother baste ketched my gaff, that I was goun to strike wi', betwixt her
teeth, an' I could n' get it away. 'T was n' like fishun! (I was
weak-hearted like: I s'pose 't was wi' what was comun that I did n'
know.) Then comed a hail, all of a sudden, from the schooner; (we had n'
been gone more 'n a five minutes, ef't was so much,--no, not more 'n a
three;) but I was glad to hear it come then, however: an' so every man
ran, one afore t' other. There the schooner was, tearun through all, an'
we runnun for dear life. I failed among the slob,[G] and got out agen.
'T was another man pushun agen me doned it. I could n' 'elp myself from
goun in, an' when I got out I was astarn of all, an' there was the
schooner carryun on, right through to clear water! So, hold of a bight
o' line, or anything! an' they swung up in over bows an' sides! an'
swash! she struck the water, an' was out o' sight in a minute, an' the
snow drivun as ef't would bury her, an' a man laved behind on a pan of
ice, an' the great black say two fathom ahead, an' the storm-wind blowun
'im into it!"

    [Footnote G: Broken ice, between large cakes, or against the
    shore.]

The planter stopped speaking. We had all gone along so with the story,
that the stout seafarer, as he wrought the whole scene up about us,
seemed instinctively to lean back and brace his feet against the ground,
and clutch his net. The young woman looked up, this time; and the cold
snow-blast seemed to howl through that still summer's noon, and the
terrific ice-fields and hills to be crashing against the solid earth
that we sat upon, and all things round changed to the far-off stormy
ocean and boundless frozen wastes.

The planter began to speak again:--

"So I failed right down upon th' ice, sayun, 'Lard, help me! Lard, help
me!' an' crawlun away, wi' the snow in my face, (I was afeard, a'most,
to stand,) 'Lard, help me! Lard, help me!'

"'T was n' all hard ice, but many places lolly;[H] an once I goed right
down wi' my hand-wristès an' my armes in cold water, part-ways to the
bottom o' th' ocean; and a'most head-first into un, as I'd a-been in wi'
my legs afore: but, thanks be to God! 'E helped me out of un, but colder
an' wetter agen.

    [Footnote H: Snow in water, not yet frozen, but looking like
    the white ice.]

"In course I wanted to folly the schooner; so I runned up along, a
little ways from the edge, an' then I runned down along: but 't was all
great black ocean outside, an' she gone miles an' miles away; an' by two
hours' time, even ef she'd come to, itself, an' all clear weather, I
could n' never see her; an' ef she could come back, she could n' never
find me, more'n I could find any one o' they flakes o' snow. The
schooner was gone, an' I was laved out o' the world!

"Bumby, when I got on the big field agen, I stood up on my feet, an' I
sid that was my ship! She had n' e'er a sail, an' she had n' e'er a
spar, an' she had n' e'er a compass, an' she had n' e'er a helm, an' she
had n' no hold, an' she had n' no cabin. I could n' sail her, nor I
could n' steer her, nor I could n' anchor her, nor bring her to, but she
would go, wind or calm, an' she'd never come to port, but out in th'
ocean she'd go to pieces! I sid 't was so, an' I must take it, an' do my
best wi' it. 'T was jest a great, white, frozen raft, driftun bodily
away, wi' storm blowun over, an' current runnun under, an' snow comun
down so thick, an' a poor Christen laved all alone wi' it. 'T would
drift as long as anything was of it, an' 't was n' likely there'd be any
life in the poor man by time th' ice goed to nawthun; an' the swiles
'ould swim back agen up to the Nothe!

"I was th' only one, seemunly, to be cast out alive, an' wi' the dearest
maid in the world (so I thought) waitun for me. I s'pose 'ee might ha'
knowed somethun better, Sir; but I was n' larned, an' I ran so fast as
ever I could up the way I thowt home was, an' I groaned, an' groaned,
an' shook my handès, an' then I thowt, 'Mubbe I may be goun wrong way.'
So I groaned to the Lard to stop the snow. Then I on'y ran this way an'
that way, an' groaned for snow to knock off.[I] I knowed we was driftun
mubbe a twenty leagues a day, and anyways I wanted to be doun what I
could, keepun up over th' Ice so well as I could, Noofundland-ways, an'
I might come to somethun,--to a schooner or somethun; anyways I'd get up
so near as I could. So I looked for a lee. I s'pose 'ee'd ha' knowed
better what to do, Sir," said the planter, here again appealing to me,
and showing by his question that he understood me, in spite of my
pea-jacket.

    [Footnote I: To stop.]

I had been so carried along with his story that I had felt as if I were
the man on the Ice, myself, and assured him, that, though I could get
along pretty well on land, _and could even do something at
netting_, I should have been very awkward in his place.

"Wull, Sir, I looked for a lee. ('T wouldn' ha' been so cold, to say
cold, ef it hadn' a-blowed so tarrible hard.) First step, I stumbled
upon somethun in the snow, seemed soft, like a body! Then I comed all
together, hopun an' fearun an' all together. Down I goed upon my knees
to un, an' I smoothed away the snow, all tremblun, an' there was a moan,
as ef 't was a-livun.

"'O Lard!' I said, 'who's this? Be this one of our men?'

"But how could it? So I scraped the snow away, but 't was easy to see 't
was smaller than a man. There wasn' no man on that dreadful place but
me! Wull, Sir, 't was a poor swile, wi' blood runnun all under; an' I
got my cuffs[J] an' sleeves all red wi' it. It looked like a
fellow-creatur's blood, a'most, an' I was a lost man, left to die away
out there in th' Ice, an' I said, 'Poor thing! poor thing!' an' I didn'
mind about the wind, or th' ice, or the schooner goun away from me afore
a gale, (I _wouldn'_ mind about 'em,) an' a poor lost Christen may
show a good turn to a hurt thing, ef 't was on'y a baste. So I smoothed
away the snow wi' my cuffs, an' I sid 't was a poor thing wi' her whelp
close by her, an' her tongue out, as ef she'd a-died fondlun an' lickun
it; an' a great puddle o' blood,--it looked tarrible heartless, when I
was so nigh to death, an' wasn' hungry. An' then I feeled a stick, an' I
thowt, 'It may be a help to me,' an' so I pulled un, an' it wouldn'
come, an' I found she was lyun on it; so I hauled agen, an', when it
comed, 't was my gaff the poor baste had got away from me, an' got it
under her, an' she was a-lyun on it. Some o' the men, when they was
runnun for dear life, must ha' struck 'em, out o' madness like, an'
laved 'em to die where they was. 'T was the whelp wasn' quite dead.
'Ee'll think 't was foolish, Sir, but it seemed as though they was
somethun to me, an' I'd a-lost the last friendly thing there was.

    [Footnote J: Mittens.]

"I found a big hummock an' sheltered under it, standun on my feet, wi
nawthun to do but think, an' think, an' pray to God; an' so I doned. I
couldn' help feelun to God then, surely. Nawthun to do, an' no place to
go, tull snow cleared away; but jes' drift wi' the great Ice down from
the Nothe, away down over the say, a sixty mile a day, mubbe. I wasn' a
good Christen, an' I couldn' help a-thinkun o' home an' she I was
troth-plight wi', an' I doubled over myself an' groaned,--I couldn' help
it: but bumby it comed into me to say my prayers, an' it seemed as thof
she was askun  me to pray, (an' she _was_ good, Sir, al'ays,) an' I
seemed all opened, somehow, an' I knowed how to pray."

While the words were coming tenderly from the weather-beaten fisherman,
I could not help being moved, and glanced over toward the daughter's
seat; but she was gone, and, turning round, I saw her going quietly,
almost stealthily, and very quickly, _toward the cove_.

The father gave no heed to her leaving, but went on with his tale:--

"Then the wind began to fall down, an' the snow knocked off altogether,
an' the sun comed out; an' I sid th' Ice, field-ice an' icebargs, an'
every one of 'em flashun up as ef they'd kendled up a bonfire, but no
sign of a schooner! no sign of a schooner! nor no sign o' man's douns,
but on'y ice, every way, high an' low, an' some places black water,
in-among; an' on'y the poor swiles bawlun all over, an' I standun
amongst 'em.

"While I was lookun out, I sid a great icebarg (they calls 'em) a
quarter of a mile away, or thereabouts, standun up,--one end a twenty
fathom out o' water, an' about a forty fathom across, wi' hills like,
an' houses,--an' then, jest as ef 'e was alive an' had tooked a notion
in 'e'sself, seemunly, all of a sudden 'e rared up, an' turned over an'
over, wi' a tarrible thunderun noise, an' comed right on, breakun
everything an' throwun up great seas: 't was frightsome for a lone body
away out among 'em! I stood an' looked at un, but then agen I thowt I
may jes' so well be goun to thick ice an' over Noofundland-ways a piece,
so well as I could. So I said my bit of a prayer, an' told Un I could n'
help myself; an' I made my confession how bad I'd been, an' I was sorry,
an' ef 'E'd be so pitiful an' forgive me; an' ef I mus' loss my life, ef
'E'd be so good as make me a good Christen first,--an' make _they_
happy, in course.

"So then I started; an' first I goed to where my gaff was, by the
mother-swile an' her whelp. There was swiles every two or three yards
a'most, old uns an' young uns, all round, everywhere; an' I feeled
shamed in a manner: but I got my gaff, an' cleaned un, an' then, in
God's name, I took the big swile, that was dead by its dead whelp, an'
hauled it away, where the t' other poor things could n' si' me, an' I
sculped[K] it, an' took the pelt;--for I thowt I'd wear un, now the poor
dead thing did n' want to make oose of un no more,--an' partly becase't
was sech a lovun thing. An' so I set out, walkun this way, for a spurt,
an' then t' other way, keepun up mostly a Nor-norwest, so well as I
could: sometimes away round th' open, an' more times round a lump of
ice, an' more times, agen, off from one an' on to another, every minute.
I did n' feel hungry, for I drinked fresh water off th' ice. No
schooner! no schooner!

    [Footnote K: Skinned.]

"Bumby the sun was goun down:'t was slow work feelun my way along, an' I
did n' want to look about: but then agen I thowt God 'ad made it to be
sid; an' so I come to, an' turned all round, an' looked; an' surely it
seemed like another world, someway,'t was so beautiful,--yellow, an'
different sorts o' red, like the sky itself in a manner, an' flashun
like glass. So then it comed night: an' I thowt I should n' go to bed,
an' I may forget my prayers, an' so I'd, mubbe, best say 'em right away;
an' so I doned: 'Lighten our darkness,' and others we was oosed to say:
an' it comed into my mind the Lard said to Saint Peter, 'Why did n' 'ee
have faith?' when there was nawthun on the water for un to go on; an' I
had ice under foot,--'t was but frozen water, but't was frozen,--an' I
thanked Un.

"I could n' help thinkun o' Brigus an' them I'd laved in it, an' then I
prayed for 'em; an' I could n' help cryun, a'most: but then I give over
agen, an' would n' think, ef I could help it; on'y tryun to say an odd
psalm, all through singun-psalms an' other, for I knowed a many of 'em
by singun wi' Patience, on'y now I cared more about 'em: I said that
one,--

  'Sech as in ships an' brickle barks
    Into the seas descend,
  Their merchantun, through fearful floods,
    To compass an' to end:
  They men are force-put to behold
    The Lard's works, what they be;
  An' in the dreadful deep the same
    Most marvellous they see.'

An' I said a many more, (I can't be accountable how many I said,) an'
same uns many times over: for I would keep on; an' 'ould sometimes sing
'em very loud in my poor way.

"A poor baste (a silver fox 'e was) comed an' looked at me; an' when I
turned round, he walked away a piece, an' then 'e comed back, an'
looked.

"So I found a high piece, wi' a wall of ice atop for shelter, ef it
comed on to blow; an' so I stood, an' said, an' sung, I knowed well I
was on'y driftun away.

"It was tarrible lonely in the night, when night comed: it's no use! 'T
was tarrible lonely: but I 'ouldn' think, ef I could help it; an' I
prayed a bit, an' kep' up my psalms, an' varses out o' the Bible, I'd
a-larned. I had n' a-prayed for sleep, but for wakun all night, an'
there I was, standun.

"The moon was out agen, so bright; an' all the hills of ice shinun up to
her; an' stars twinklun, so busy, all over; an' No'ther' Lights goun up
wi' a faint blaze, seemunly, from th' ice, an' meetun up aloft; an'
sometimes a great groanun, an' more times tarrible loud shriekun! There
was great white fields, an' great white hills, like countries, comun
down to be destroyed; an' some great bargs a-goun faster, an' tearun
through, breakun others to pieces; an' the groanun an' screechun,--ef
all the dead that ever was, wi' their white clothès---But no!" said the
stout fisherman, recalling himself from gazing, as he seemed to be, on
the far-off ghastly scene, in memory.

"No!--an' thank 'E's marcy, I'm sittun by my own room. 'E tooked me off:
but 't was a dreadful sight,--it's no use,--ef a body'd let 'e'sself
think! I sid a great black bear, an' hard un growl; an' 't was feelun,
like, to hear un so bold an' so stout, among all they dreadful things,
an' bumby the time 'ould come when 'e couldn' save 'e'sself, do what 'e
woul'.

"An' more times 't was all still: on'y swiles bawlun, all over. Ef it
hadn' a-been for they poor swiles, how could I stan' it? Many's the one
I'd a-ketched, day-time, an' talked to un, an' patted un on the head, as
ef they'd a-been dogs by the door, like; an' they'd oose to shut their
eyes, an' draw their poor foolish faces together. It seemed
neighbor-like to have some live thing.

"So I kep' awake, sayun an' singun, an' it wasn' very cold; an'
so--first thing I knowed, I started, an' there I was lyun in a heap; an'
I must have been asleep, an' didn' know how 't was, nor how long I'd
a-been so: an' some sort o' baste started away, an' 'e must have waked
me up; I couldn' rightly see what 't was, wi' sleepiness: an' then I
hard a sound, sounded like breakers; an' that waked me fairly. 'T was
like a lee-shore; an' 't was a comfort to think o' land, ef 't was on'y
to be wrecked on itself: but I didn' go, an' I stood an' listened to un;
an' now an' agen I'd walk a piece, back an' forth, an' back an' forth;
an' so I passed a many, many longsome hours, seemunly, tull night goed
down tarrible slowly, an' it comed up day o' t' other side: an' there
wasn' no land; nawthun but great mountains meltun an' breakun up, an'
fields wastun away. I sid 't was a rollun barg made the noise like
breakers, throwun up great seas o' both sides of un; no sight nor sign
o' shore, nor ship, but dazun white,--enough to blind a body,--an' I
knowed 't was all floatun away, over the say. Then I said my prayers,
an' tooked a drink o' water, an' set out agen for Nor-norwest: 't was
all I could do. Sometimes snow, an' more times fair agen; but no sign o'
man's things, an' no sign o' land, on'y white ice an' black water; an'
ef a schooner wasn' into un a'ready, 't wasn' likely they woul', for we
was gettun furder an' furder away. Tired I was wi' goun, though I hadn'
walked more 'n a twenty or thirty mile, mubbe, an' it all comun down so
fast as I could go up, an' faster, an' never stoppun! 'T was a tarrible
long journey up over the driftun ice, at sea! So, then I went on a high
bit to wait tull all was done: I thowt 't would be last to melt, an'
mubbe, I thowt, 'e may capsize wi' me, when I didn' know (for I don' say
I was stout-hearted): an' I prayed Un to take care o' them I loved; an'
the tears comed. Then I felt somethun tryun to turn me round like, an'
it seemed as ef _she_ was doun it, somehow, an' she seemed to be
very nigh, somehow, an' I didn' look.

"After a bit, I got up to look out where most swiles was, for company,
while I was livun: an' the first look struck me a'most like a bullet!
There I sid a sail! _'T was_ a sail, an' 't was like heaven openun,
an' God settun her down there. About three mile away she was, to
nothe'ard, in th' Ice.

"I could ha' sid, at first look, what schooner't was; but I did n' want
to look hard at her. I kep' my peace, a spurt, an' then I runned an'
bawled out, 'Glory be to God!' an' then I stopped, an' made proper
thanks to Un. An' there she was, same as ef I'd a-walked off from her an
hour ago! It felt so long as ef I'd been livun years, an' they would n'
know me, sca'ce. Somehow I did n' think I could come up wi' her.

"I started, in the name o' God, wi' all my might, an' went, an'
went,--'t was a five mile, wi' goun round,--an' got her, thank God! 'T
was n' the Baccaloue, (I sid that long before,) 't was t' other
schooner, the Sparrow, repairun damages they 'd got day before. So that
kep' 'em there, an' I'd a-been took from one an' brought to t' other.

"I could n' do a hand's turn tull we got into the Bay agen,--I was so
clear beat out. The Sparrow kep' her men, an' fotch home about
thirty-eight hundred swiles, an' a poor man off th' Ice: but they, poor
fellows, that I went out wi', never comed no more; an' I never went
agen.

"I kep' the skin o' the poor baste, Sir: that's 'e on my cap."

When the planter had fairly finished his tale, it was a little while
before I could teach my eyes to see the things about me in their places.
The slow-going sail, outside, I at first saw as the schooner that
brought away the lost man from the Ice; the green of the earth would
not, at first, show itself through the white with which the fancy
covered it; and at first I could not quite feel that the ground was fast
under my feet. I even mistook one of my own men (the sight of whom was
to warn me that I was wanted elsewhere) for one of the crew of the
schooner Sparrow of a generation ago.

I got the tale and its scene gathered away, presently, inside my mind,
and shook myself into a present association with surrounding things, and
took my leave. I went away the more gratified that I had a chance of
lifting my cap to a matron, dark-haired and comely, (who, I was sure, at
a glance, had once been the maiden of Benjie Westham's "troth-plight,")
and receiving a handsome curtsy in return.

        *       *       *       *       *



FREMONT'S HUNDRED DAYS IN MISSOURI.


III.

THE FORCED MARCH TO SPRINGFIELD.


_Bolivar, October 26th_. Zagonyi's success has roused the
enthusiasm of the army. The old stagers took it coolly, but the green
hands revealed their excitement by preparing for instant battle. Pistols
were oiled and reloaded, and swords sharpened. We did all this a month
ago, before leaving St. Louis. We then expected a battle, and went forth
with the shadow and the sunshine of that expectation upon our hearts;
but up to this time we have not seen a shot fired in earnest. Now the
blast of war blows in our ears, and we instinctively "stiffen the sinews
and summon up the blood."

Captain H., the young chevalier of the staff, whom we have named _Le
Beau Capitaine_, went this morning to St. Louis with intelligence of
the victory. He has ninety miles to ride before midnight, to catch
to-morrow's train.

Under the influence of the excitement which prevailed, we were on
horseback this morning long before it was necessary, when the General
sent us word that the staff might go forward, and he would overtake us.
The gay and brilliant cavalcade which marched out of Jefferson City is
destroyed,--the maimed and bleeding Guard is reposing a few miles south
of Bolivar,--the detachment which was left at head-quarters has gone on
to join the main body,--and the staff, broken into small parties,
straggles along the road. A more beautiful day never delighted the
earth. The atmosphere is warm, the sky cloudless, and the distance is
filled with a soft dreamy haze, which veils, but does not conceal, the
purple hills and golden forests.

A few miles south of our last night's camp we came out upon a large
prairie, called the Twenty-Five Mile Prairie. It is an undulating plain,
seven miles wide and twenty-five long. It was the intention to
concentrate the army here. A more favorable position for reviewing and
manoeuvring a large force cannot be found. But the plan has been
changed. We must hasten to Springfield, lest the Rebels seize the
place, capture White and our wounded, and throw a cloud over Zagonyi's
brilliant victory.

Passing from the prairie, we entered a broad belt of timber, and soon
reached a fine stream. We drew rein at a farmhouse on the top of the
river-bank, where we found a pleasant Union family. The farmer came out,
and, thinking Colonel Eaton was the General, offered him two superb
apples, large enough for foot-balls. He was disappointed to find his
mistake, and to be compelled to withdraw the proffered gift. Sigel
encamped here last night;, and the _débris_ of his camp-fires
checker the hill-side and the flats along the margin of the creek. After
waiting an hour, the General not coming up, Colonel Eaton and myself set
out alone over a road which was crowded with Sigel's wagons. Everything
bears witness to the extraordinary energy and efficiency of that
officer. This morning he started before day, and he will be in
Springfield by noon to-morrow. His train is made up of materials which
would drive most generals to despair. There are mule-teams, and
ox-teams, and in some cases horses, mules, and oxen hitched together.
There are army-wagons, box-wagons, lumber-wagons, hay-racks, buggies,
carriages,--in fact, every kind of animal and every description of
vehicle which could be found in the country. Most of our
division-commanders would have refused to leave camp with such a train;
but Sigel has made it answer his purpose, and here he is, fifty miles in
advance of any other officer, tearing after Price.

We were jogging painfully over the incumbered road, and through clouds
of dust, when an officer rode up in great haste, and asked for Dr. C.,
who was needed at the camp of the Guards. By reason of the broken order
in which the staff rode to-day, he could not be found. For two mortal
hours unlucky aides-de-camp dashed to the front and the rear, and
scoured the country for five miles upon the flanks, visiting the
farm-houses in search of the missing surgeon. At last he was found, and
hurried on to the relief of the Guard. At this moment the General came
up, and, to our astonishment, Zagonyi was riding beside him, bearing
upon his trim person no mark of yesterday's fatigue and danger. The
Major fell behind, and rode into Bolivar with me. On the way we met
Lieutenant Maythenyi of the Guard.

Our camp is on the farm of a member of the State legislature who is now
serving under Price. His white cottage and well-ordered farm-buildings
are surrounded by rich meadows, bearing frequent groups of noble trees;
the fences are in good condition, and the whole place wears an air of
thrift and prosperity which must be foreign to Missouri even in her best
estate.

_Springfield, October 28th_. Few of those who endured the labor of
yesterday will forget the march into Springfield. At midnight of
Saturday, the Sharp-shooters were sent on in wagons, and at two in the
morning the Benton Cadets started, with orders to march that day to
Springfield, thirty miles. Their departure broke the repose of the camp.
To add to the confusion, a report was spread that the General intended
to start at daybreak, and that we must have breakfast at four o'clock
and be ready for the saddle at six. This programme was carried out. Long
before day our servants called us; fires were lighted, and breakfast
eaten by starlight. Before dawn the wagons were packed and horses
saddled. But the General had no intention of going so early; the report
had its origin in the uneasy brain of some officer who probably thought
the General ought to leave at daybreak. Some of the old heads paid no
attention to the report, or did not hear it, and they were deep in the
pleasures of the morning nap while we poor fellows were shivering over
our breakfast.

Colonel Wyman reported himself at Bolivar, having marched from Rolla and
beaten the Rebels in three engagements. The General set out at nine
o'clock for our thirty-mile ride. The black horse fell into his usual
scrambling gait, and we pounded along uneasily after him. As we passed
through Bolivar, the inhabitants came into the streets and greeted us
with cheers and the waving of handkerchiefs,--a degree of interest which
is not often exhibited. Fording a small stream, we came into Wyman's
camp, and thence upon a long, rolling prairie. An hour's ride brought us
to the place where the Guard encamped the night before. The troops had
left, but the wounded officers were still in a neighboring house,
waiting for our ambulances. Those who were able to walk came out to see
the General. He received them with marked kindness. At times like this,
he has a simple grace and poetry of expression and a tenderness of
manner which are very winning. He spoke a few words to each of the brave
fellows, which brought smiles to their faces and tears into their eyes.
Next came our turn, and we were soon listening to the incidents of the
fearful fray. None of them are severely wounded, except Kennedy, and he
will probably lose an arm. We saw them all placed in the ambulances, and
then fell in behind the black pacer.

A short distance farther on, a very amusing scene occurred. The road in
front was nearly filled by a middle-aged woman, fat enough to have been
the original of some of the pictures which are displayed over the booths
at a county fair.

"Are you Gin'ral Freemount?" she shouted, her loud voice husky with
rage.

"Yes," replied the General in a low tone, somewhat abashed at the
formidable obstruction in his path, and occupied in restraining the
black pacer, who was as much frightened at the huge woman as he could
have been at a park of artillery.

"Waal, you're the man I want to see. I'm a widder. I wus born in Old
Kentuck, and am a Union, and allers wus a Union, and will be a Union to
the eend, clear grit."

She said this with startling earnestness and velocity of utterance, and
paused, the veins in her face swollen almost to bursting. The black
pacer bounded from one side of the road to the other, throwing the whole
party into confusion.

The General raised his cap and asked,--

"What is the matter, my good woman?"

"Matter, Gin'ral! Ther's enough the matter. I've allers gi'n the sogers
all they wanted. I gi'n 'em turkeys and chickens and eggs and butter and
bread. And I never charged 'em anything for it. They tuk all my corn,
and I never said nuthing. I allers treated 'em well, for I'm Union, and
so wus my man, who died more nor six yeah ago."

She again paused, evidently for no reason except to escape a stroke of
apoplexy.

"But tell me what you want now. I will see to it that you have justice,"
interrupted the General.

"You see, Gin'ral, last night some sogers come and tuk my
ox-chains,--two on 'em,--all I've got,--and I can't buy no more in these
war-times. I can't do any work without them chains; they'd 'a' better uv
tuk my teams with 'em, too."

"How much were your ox-chains worth," said the General, laughing.

"Waal now," answered the fat one, moderating her tone, "they're wuth a
good deal jes' now. The war has made such things dreffle deah. The big
one wus the best I ever see; bought it last yeah, up at Hinman's store
in Bolivar; that chain was wuth--waal now--Ho, Jim! ho, Dick! come
y'ere! Gin'ral Freemount wants to know how much them ox-chains wus
wath."

A lazy negro and a lazier white man, the latter whittling a piece of
cedar, walked slowly from the house to the road, and, leaning against
the fence, began in drawling tones to discuss the value of the
ox-chains, how much they cost, how much it would take to buy new ones in
these times. One thought "may-be four dollars wud do," but the other was
sure they could not be bought for less than five. There was no promise
of a decision, and the black pacer was floundering about in a perfect
agony of fear. At last the General drew out a gold eagle and gave it to
the woman, asking,--

"Is that enough?"

She took the money with a ludicrous expression of joy and astonishment
at the rare sight, but exclaimed,--

"Lor' bless me! it's too much, Gin'ral! I don't want more nor my rights.
It's too much."

But the General spurred by her, and we followed, leaving the "Union"
shouting after us, "It's too much! It's more nor I expected!" She must
have received an impression of the simplicity and promptitude of the
quartermaster's department which the experience of those who have had
more to do with it will hardly sustain.

Our road was filled with teams belonging to Sigel's train, and the dust
was very oppressive. At length it became so distressing to our animals
that the General permitted us to separate from him and break up into
small parties. I made the rest of the journey in company with Colonel
Eaton. Our road lay through the most picturesque region we had seen. The
Ozark Mountains filled the southern horizon, and ranges of hills swept
along our flanks. The broad prairies, covered with tall grass waving and
rustling in the light breeze, were succeeded by patches of woods,
through which the road passed, winding among picturesque hills covered
with golden forests and inlaid with the silver of swift-running crystal
streams.

As we came near the town, we saw many evidences of the rapid march Sigel
had made. We passed large numbers of stragglers. Some were limping
along, weary and foot-sore, others were lying by the road-side, and
every farmhouse was filled with exhausted men. A mile or two from
Springfield we overtook the Cadets. They had marched thirty miles since
morning, and had halted beside a brook to wash themselves. As we
approached, Colonel Marshall dressed the ranks, the colors were flung
out, the music struck up, and the Cadets marched into Springfield in as
good order as if they had just left camp.

It was a gala-day in Springfield. The Stars and Stripes were flying from
windows and house-tops, and ladies and children, with little flags in
their hands, stood on the door-steps to welcome us. This is the
prettiest town I have found in Missouri, and we can see the remains of
former thrift and comfort worthy a village in the Valley of the
Merrimack or Genesee. It has suffered severely from the war. From its
position it is the key to Southern Missouri, and all decisive battles
for the possession of that region must be fought near Springfield. This
is the third Union army which has been here, and the Confederate armies
have already occupied the place twice. When the Federals came, the
leading Secessionists fled; and when the Rebels came, the most prominent
Union men ran away. Thus by the working of events the town has lost its
chief citizens, and their residences are either deserted or have been
sacked. War's dreary record is written upon the dismantled houses, the
wasted gardens, the empty storehouses, and the deserted taverns. The
market, which stood in the centre of the _Plaza_, was last night
fired by a crazy old man, well known here, and previously thought to be
harmless: it now stands a black ruin, a type of the desolation which
broods over the once happy and prosperous town.

Near the market is a substantial brick edifice, newly built,--the county
courthouse. It is used as a hospital, and we were told that the dead
Guardsmen were lying in the basement. Colonel Eaton and myself
dismounted, and entered a long, narrow room in which lay sixteen ghastly
figures in open coffins of unpainted pine, ranged along the walls. All
were shot to death except one. They seemed to have died easily, and many
wore smiles upon their faces. Death had come so suddenly that the color
still lingered in their boyish cheeks, giving them the appearance of
wax-figures. Near the door was the manly form of the sergeant of the
first company, who, while on the march, rode immediately in front of the
General. We all knew him well. He was a model soldier: his dress always
neat, his horse well groomed, the trappings clean, and his
sabre-scabbard bright. He lay as calm and placid as if asleep; and a
small blue mark between his nose and left eye told the story of his
death. Opposite him was a terrible spectacle,--the bruised, mangled, and
distorted shape of a bright-eyed lad belonging to the Kentucky company.
I had often remarked his arch, mirthful, Irish-like face; and the
evening the Guard left camp he brought me a letter to send to his
mother, and talked of the fun he was going to have at Springfield. His
body was found seven miles from the battle-field, stripped naked. There
was neither bullet--nor sabre-wound upon him, but his skull had been
beaten in by a score of blows. The cowards had taken him prisoner,
carried him with them in their flight, and then robbed and murdered him.

After leaving the hospital we met Major White, whom we supposed to be a
prisoner. He is quite ill from the effects of exposure and anxiety. With
his little band of twenty-four men he held the town, protecting and
caring for the wounded, until Sigel came in yesterday noon.

Head-quarters were established at the residence of Colonel Phelps, the
member of Congress from this district, and our tents are now grouped in
front and at the sides of the house. The wagons did not come up until
midnight, and we were compelled to forage for our supper and lodging. A
widow lady who lives near gave some half-dozen officers an excellent
meal, and Major White and myself slept on the floor of her sitting-room.

This afternoon the Guardsmen were buried with solemn ceremony. We placed
the sixteen in one huge grave. Upon a grassy hill-side, and beneath the
shade of tall trees, the brave boys sleep in the soil they have hallowed
by their valor.

We are so far in advance that there is some solicitude lest we may be
attacked before the other divisions come up. Sigel has no more than five
thousand men, and the addition of our little column makes the whole
force here less than six thousand. Asboth is two days' march behind.
McKinstry is on the Pomme-de-Terre, seventy miles north, and Pope is
about the same distance. Hunter--we do not know precisely where he is,
but we suppose him to be south of the Osage, and that he will come by
the Buffalo road: he has not reported for some time. Price is at Neosho,
fifty-four miles to the southwest. Should he advance rapidly, it will
need energetic marching to bring up our reinforcements. Price and
McCulloch have joined, and there are rumors that Hardee has reached
their camp with ten thousand men. The best information we can get places
the enemy's force at thirty thousand men and thirty-two pieces of
artillery. Deserters are numerous. I have interrogated a number of them
to-day, and they all say they came away because Price was retreating,
and they did not wish to be taken so far from their homes. They also say
that the time for which his men are enlisted expires in the middle of
November, and if he does not fight, his army will dissolve.


SLAVERY.


_Springfield, October 30th_. Asboth brought in his division this
morning, and soon after Lane came at the head of his brigade. It was a
motley procession, made up of the desperate fighters of the Kansas
borders and about two hundred negroes. The contrabands were mounted and
armed, and rode through the streets rolling about in their saddles with
their shiny faces on a broad grin.

The disposition to be made of fugitive slaves is a subject which every
day presents itself. The camps and even head-quarters are filled with
runaways. Several negroes came from St. Louis as servants of
staff-officers, and these men have become a sort of Vigilance Committee
to secure the freedom of the slaves in our neighborhood. The new-comers
are employed to do the work about camp, and we find them very
useful,--and they serve us with a zeal which is born of their
long-baffled love of liberty. The officers of the regular army here have
little sympathy with this practical Abolitionism; but it is very
different with the volunteers and the rank and file of the army at
large. The men do not talk much about it; it is not likely that they
think very profoundly upon the social and legal questions involved; they
are Abolitionists by the inexorable logic of their situation. However
ignorant or thoughtless they may be, they know that they are here at the
peril of their lives, facing a stern, vigilant, and relentless foe. To
subdue this foe, to cripple and destroy him, is not only their duty, but
the purpose to which the instinct of self-preservation concentrates all
their energies. Is it to be supposed that men who, like the soldiers of
the Guard, last week pursued Rebellion into the very valley and shadow
of death, will be solicitous to protect the system which incited their
enemies to that fearful struggle, and hurried their comrades to early
graves? What laws or proclamations can control men stimulated by such
memories? The stern decrees of fact prescribe the conditions upon which
this war must be waged. An attempt to give back the negroes who ask our
protection would demoralize the army; an order to assist in such
rendition would be resented as an insult. Fortunately, no such attempt
will be made. So long as General Fremont is in command of this
department, no person, white or black, will be taken out of our lines
into slavery. The flag we follow will be in truth what the nation has
proudly called it, a symbol of freedom to all.

The other day a farmer of the neighborhood came into our quarters,
seeking a runaway slave. It happened that the fugitive had been employed
as a servant by Colonel Owen Lovejoy. Some one told the man to apply to
the Colonel, and he entered the tent of that officer and said,--

"Colonel, I am told you have got my boy Ben, who has run away from me."

"Your boy?" exclaimed the Colonel; "I do not know that I have any boy of
yours."

"Yes, there he is," insisted the master, pointing to a negro who was
approaching. "I want you to deliver him to me: you have no right to him;
he is my slave."

"Your slave?" shouted Colonel Lovejoy, springing to his feet. "That man
is my servant. By his own consent he is in my service, and I pay him for
his labor, which it is his right to sell and mine to buy. Do you dare
come here and claim the person of my servant? He is entitled to my
protection, and shall have it. I advise you to leave this camp
forthwith."

The farmer was astounded at the cool way in which the Colonel turned the
tables upon him, and set his claim to the negro, by reason of having
hired him, above the one which he had as the negro's master. He left
hastily, and we afterwards learned that his brother and two sons were in
the Rebel army.

As an instance of the peculiar manner in which some of the fugitive
slaves address our sympathies, I may mention the case of Lanzy, one of
my servants. He came to my tent the morning after I arrived here,
ragged, hungry, foot-sore, and weary. Upon inquiry, I have found his
story to be true. He is nearly white, and is the son of his master,
whose residence is a few miles west of here, but who is now a captain
under Price,--a fact which does not predispose me to the rendition of
Lanzy, should he be pursued. He is married, after the fashion in which
slaves are usually married, and has two children. But his wife and of
course her children belong to a widow lady, whose estate adjoins his
master's farm, and several months ago, by reason of the unsettled
condition of the country, Lanzy's wife and little children were sold and
taken down to the Red River. Fearing the approach of the Federal forces,
last week the Rebel captain sent instructions to have Lanzy and his
other slaves removed into Arkansas. This purpose was discovered, and
Lanzy and a very old negro, whom he calls uncle, fled at night. For
several days they wandered through the forests, and at last succeeded in
reaching Springfield. How can a man establish a stronger claim to the
sympathy and protection of a stranger than that which tyranny,
misfortune, and misery have given to this poor negro upon me? Bereft of
wife and children, whose love was the sunshine of his dark and dreary
life, threatened with instant exile from which there was no hope of
escape,--what was there of which imagination can conceive that could
increase the load of evil which pressed upon this unhappy man? Is it
strange that he fled from his hard fate, as the hare flies from the
hounds?

His case is by no means extraordinary. Go to any one of the dusky
figures loitering around yonder fire, and you will hear a moving story
of oppression and sorrow. Every slave who runs breathless into our lines
and claims the soldier's protection, not only appeals to him as a
soldier struggling with a deadly foe, but addresses every generous
instinct of his manhood. Mighty forces born of man's sympathy for man
are at work in this war, and will continue their work, whether we oppose
or yield to them.

Yesterday fifty-three Delaware Indians came from Kansas to serve under
the General. Years ago he made friends of the Delawares, when travelling
through their country upon his first journey of exploration; and hearing
that he was on the war-path, the tribe have sent their best young
warriors to join him. They are descendants of the famous tribe which
once dwelt on the Delaware River, and belonged to the confederacy of the
Six Nations, for more than two centuries the most powerful Indian
community in America. Their ancient prowess remains. The Delawares are
feared all over the Plains, and their war-parties have often penetrated
beyond the Rocky Mountains, carrying terror through all the Indian
tribes. These men are fine specimens of their race,--tall, lightly
formed, and agile. They ride little shaggy ponies, rough enough to look
at, but very hardy and active; and they are armed with the old American
rifle, the traditional weapon which Cooper places in the hands of his
red heroes. They are led by the chief of their tribe, Fall-Leaf, a
dignified personage, past the noon of life, but showing in his erect
form and dark eye that the fires of manhood burn with undiminished vigor.


THE SITUATION.


_Springfield, November 1st._ It is certain that Price left Neosho
on Monday and is moving towards us. He probably heard how small the
force was with which the General arrived here, and thinks that he can
overwhelm us before the other divisions come up. We have had some fear
of this ourselves, and all the dispositions have been made for a
stubborn defence in case we are attacked. The last two nights we have
slept on our arms, with our horses saddled and baggage packed. Now all
danger is past: a part of Pope's division came in this morning, and
McKinstry is close at hand. He has marched nearly seventy miles in three
days. The evidence that Price is advancing is conclusive. Our scouts
have reported that he was moving, and numerous deserters have confirmed
these reports; but we have other evidence of the most undoubted
reliability. During the last two days, hundreds of men, women, and
children have come into our lines,--Union people who fled at the
approach of the Rebels. I have talked with a number of these fugitives
who reside southwest from here, and they all represent the roads to be
filled with vast numbers of men and teams going towards Wilson's Creek.
They give the most exaggerated estimates of the number of the enemy,
placing them at from fifty thousand to one hundred and twenty-five
thousand men; but the scouts and deserters say that the whole force does
not exceed thirty-two thousand, and of these a large number are poorly
armed and quite undisciplined. Hunter has not come up, nor has he been
heard from directly, but there is a report that yesterday he had not
left the Osage: if this be true, he will not be here in time for the
battle.

The Rebel generals must now make their choice between permitting
themselves to be cut off from their base of operations and sources of
supply and reinforcement, and attempting to reach Forsyth, in which case
they will have to give us battle. The movement from Neosho leaves no
doubt that they intend to fight. It is said by the deserters that Price
would be willing to avoid an engagement, but he is forced to offer
battle by the necessities of his position, the discontent of his
followers, the approaching expiration of their term of enlistment, and
the importunities of McCulloch, who declares he will not make another
retreat.

We are now perfectly prepared. Hunter's delay leaves us with only
twenty-two thousand men, seventy pieces of artillery, and about four
thousand cavalry. In view of our superiority as respects armament,
discipline, and ordnance, we are more than a match for our opponent. We
sleep to-night in constant expectation of an attack: two guns will be
fired as a signal that the enemy are at hand.


THE REMOVAL.


_Springfield, November 2d_. The catastrophe has come which we have
long dreaded, but for which we were in no degree prepared. This morning,
at about ten o'clock, while I was standing in front of my tent, chatting
with some friends, an officer in the uniform of a captain of the general
staff rode up, and asked the orderly to show him to the General. He went
into the house, and in a few moments came out and rode off. I soon
learned that he had brought an order from General Scott informing
General Fremont that he was temporarily relieved of his command, and
directing him to transfer it to Major-General Hunter and report himself
to the head-quarters of the army by letter. The order was originally
dated October 7th, but the date had been altered to October 24th, on
which day it left St. Louis,--the day the Guards started upon their
expedition, to Springfield.

This order, which, on the very eve of consummation, has defeated the
carefully matured plans upon which the General's fortunes and in so
large a measure the fortunes of the country depended,--which has
destroyed the results of three months of patient labor, transferring to
another the splendid army he has called together, organized, and
equipped, and giving to another the laurel wreath of victory which now
hangs ready to fall at the touch,--this order, which has disappointed so
many long-cherished hopes, was received by our magnanimous General
without a word of complaint. In his noble mind there was no doubt or
hesitation. He obeyed it promptly and implicitly. He at once directed
Colonel Eaton to issue the proper order transferring the command to
General Hunter, and having prepared a brief address to the soldiers,
full of pathos and patriotic devotion, he rode out accompanied by the
Delawares to examine the positions south of the village.

Hunter has not yet been heard from: three couriers have been sent after
him. General Pope is now in command here. It is understood, that, until
the Commanding General arrives, the army will stand upon the defensive,
and that no engagement will take place, unless it is attacked. General
Fremont and his staff will leave to-morrow for St. Louis.

This evening I rode through Sigel's and McKinstry's camps. The general
order and the farewell address had been read to the regiments, and the
camp-fires were surrounded by groups of excited soldiers, and cheers for
Fremont were heard on every side.

_November 3d, 8 P.M._ This morning it became apparent that the
departure of the General before the arrival of Hunter would endanger the
discipline of the army. Great numbers of officers have offered their
resignations, and it has required the constant and earnest efforts of
General Fremont to induce them to retain their positions. The slightest
encouragement upon his part of the discontent which prevails will
disorganize the divisions of Sigel and Asboth.

The attitude of the enemy is threatening, and it does not seem possible
to avoid a battle more than a few hours. Great numbers of people, flying
before Price, have come in to-day. A reconnaissance in the direction of
Springfield has been made, and the following report rendered by General
Asboth.

    "HEAD-QUARTERS FOURTH DIVISION WESTERN DEPARTMENT.

    "_Springfield, November 3d, 1861._

    "To MAJOR-GENERAL J.C. FREMONT, _Commanding Western
    Department._

    "GENERAL:--The captain commanding the company of Major Wright's
    battalion, which was sent out on a scouting party to Wilson's
    Creek, has just sent in his report by a runner. He says, last
    night the enemy's advanced guard, some two thousand strong,
    camped at Wilson's Creek. Price's forces are at Terrill's Creek
    on the Marionsville road, nine miles behind Wilson's Creek, and
    McCulloch's forces are at Dug Springs.

    "Both these forces were expected to concentrate at Wilson's
    Creek to-night, and offer battle there.

    "The scout depicts every road and path covered with moving
    troops, estimating them at forty thousand men.

    "Very respectfully,

    "Your obedient serv't,

    "ASBOTH,

    "Act. Maj.-Gen'l Com'd'g 4th Div."

According to this report, the whole of Price's army is within twenty
miles of us, and probably nearer. Hunter has not been heard from,
and it is impossible to discover his whereabouts. This afternoon
General McKinstry designed to make a reconnaissance in force with
his whole division towards Wilson's Creek; but yielding to the
solicitations of the chief officers, and in view of the imminence of
battle, to-day General Fremont resumed the command, and ordered
McKinstry not to make his reconnoissance,--not wishing to bring on a
general engagement during the absence of Hunter.

All day long officers have visited General Fremont and urged him to
give battle, representing, that, if this opportunity were permitted
to pass, Price, after ascertaining our force, would retire, and it
would be impossible to catch him again. This evening one hundred and
ten officers called upon him in a body. They ranged themselves in
semicircular array in front of the house, and one of their number
presented an address to the General full of sympathy and respect,
and earnestly requesting him to lead them against the enemy. At the
close of the interview, the General said, that, under all the
circumstances, he felt it to be his duty not to decline the battle
which our foe offers us,--and that, if General Hunter did not arrive
before midnight, he would lead the army forward to-morrow morning at
daybreak; and that they might so inform their several commands. This
announcement was received with loud cheers. The staff-officers were
at once despatched with directions to the division and brigade
commanders to repair forthwith to head-quarters and receive their
orders. The Generals assembled at eight o'clock, and the following
order of battle was then published.

    "HEAD-QUARTERS WESTERN DEPARTMENT.

    "_Springfield, November 3,1861_.

    "The different divisions of the army shall be put in the
    following order of battle.

        "Act'g Maj.-Gen. Asboth,    right wing.
           "      "      McKinstry, centre.
           "      "      Sigel,     left.
           "      "      Pope,      reserve.

    "General McKinstry's column to leave camp at six o'clock, and
    proceed by the Fayetteville road to the upper end of the upper
    cornfield on the left, where General Lyon made his first attack.

    "General Sigel to start at six o'clock by Joakum's Mill, and
    follow his old trail, except that he is to turn to the right
    some two miles sooner, and proceed to the old stable on the
    lower end of the lower cornfield.

    "General Asboth to start at six and one-half o'clock, by the
    Mount Vernon road, then by a prairie road to the right of the
    ravine opposite the lower field.

    "General Pope to start at seven o'clock by the Fayetteville
    road, following General McKinstry's column.

    "General Lane to join General Sigel's division. General Wyman to
    join General Asboth's division.

    "One regiment and two pieces of artillery of General Pope's
    division to remain as a reserve in Springfield.

    "The different divisions to come into their positions at the
    same time, about eleven o'clock, at which hour a simultaneous
    attack will be made.

    "The baggage-trains to be packed and held in readiness at
    Springfield. Each regiment to carry three two-horse wagons to
    transport the wounded.

    "J.C. FREMONT,

    "Maj.-Gen'l Com'd'g."

The General and staff, with the Body-Guard, Benton Cadets,
Sharp-shooters, and Delawares, will accompany McKinstry's column.

The news has spread like wildfire. As I galloped up the road this
evening, returning from McKinstry's quarters, every camp was astir. The
enthusiasm was unbounded. On every side the eager soldiers are preparing
for the conflict. They are packing wagons, sharpening sabres, grooming
horses, and cleaning muskets. The spirit of our men promises a brilliant
victory.

_Midnight_. At eleven o'clock General Hunter entered the Council of
Generals at head-quarters. General Fremont explained to him the
situation of affairs, the attitude of the enemy, and the dispositions
which had been made for the following day, and then gracefully resigned
the command into his hands. And thus our hopes are finally defeated, and
in the morning we turn our faces to the north. General Hunter will not
advance to-morrow, and the opportunity of catching Price will probably
be lost, for it is not likely the Rebel General will remain at Wilson's
Creek after he has learned that the whole Federal army is concentrated.

The news of the change has not yet reached the camps. As I sit here,
wearied with the excitement and labors of the day, the midnight
stillness is broken by the din of preparation, the shouting of
teamsters, the clang of the cavalry anvils, and the distant cheers of
the soldiers, still excited with the hope of to-morrow's victory.

The Body-Guard and Sharp-shooters return with us; and all the officers
of General Fremont's staff have received orders to accompany him.


HOMEWARD BOUND.


_In camp, twenty-five miles north of Springfield, November 4th._ At
nine o'clock this morning we were in the saddle, and our little column
was in marching order. The Delawares led, then came our band, the
General and his staff followed, the Body-Guard came next, and the
Sharp-shooters in wagons brought up the rear. In this order we proceeded
through the village. The Benton Cadets were drawn up in line in front of
their camp, and saluted us as we passed, but none of the other regiments
were paraded. The band had been directed to play lively airs, and we
marched out to merry music. The troops did not seem to know that the
General was to leave; but when they heard the band, they ran out of
their camps and flocked into the streets: there was no order in their
coming; they came without arms, many of them without their coats and
bareheaded, and filled the road. The crowd was so dense that with
difficulty the General rode through the throng. The farewell was most
touching. There was little cheering, but an expression of sorrow on
every face. Some pressed forward to take his hand; others cried, "God
bless you, General!" "Your enemies are not in the camp!" "Come back and
lead us to battle; we will fight for you!" The General rode on perfectly
calm, a pleasant smile on his face, telling the men he was doing his
duty, and they must do theirs.

We travelled with great rapidity and circumspection; for there was some
reason to suppose that parties of the enemy had been thrown to the north
of Springfield, in which case we might have been interfered with.

_Sedalia, November 7th._ We are waiting for the train which is to
take us to St. Louis. Our journey here has been made very quickly.
Monday we marched twenty-five miles. Tuesday we started at dawn, and
made thirty miles, encamping twenty-five miles south of the Osage.
Wednesday we were in the saddle at six o'clock, crossed the Osage in the
afternoon, and halted ten miles north of that river, the day's journey
being thirty-five miles. We pitched our tents upon a high, flat prairie,
covered with long dry grass.

In the evening the Delawares signified, that, if the General would
consent to it, they would perform a war-dance. Permission was easily
obtained, and, after the Indian braves had finished their toilet, they
approached in formal procession, arrayed in all the glory and terror of
war-paint. A huge fire had been built. The inhabitants of our little
camp quickly gathered, officers, soldiers of the Guard, and
Sharp-shooters, negroes and teamsters. The Indians ranged themselves on
one side of the fire, and the rest of us completed the circle. The
dancing was done by some half-dozen young Indians, to the monotonous
beating of two small drums and a guttural accompaniment which the
dancers sang, the other Indians joining in the chorus. The performance
was divided into parts, and the whole was intended to express the
passions which war excites in the Indian nature,--the joy which they
feel at the prospect of a fight,--their contempt for their
enemies,--their frenzy at sight of the foe,--the conflict,--the
operations of tomahawking and scalping their opponents,--and, finally,
the triumph of victory. The performances occupied over two hours.
Fall-Leaf presided with an air of becoming gravity, smoking an enormous
stone pipe with a long reed stem.

After rendering thanks in proper form, Fall-Leaf was told, that, by way
of return for their civility, and in special honor of the Delawares, the
negroes would dance one of their national dances. Two agile darkies came
forward, and went through with a regular break-down, to the evident
entertainment of the red men. Afterwards an Irishman leaped into the
ring, and began an Irish hornpipe. He was the best dancer of all, and
his complicated steps and astonishing _tours-de-force_ completely
upset the gravity of the Indians, and they burst into loud laughter. It
was midnight before the camp was composed to its last night's sleep.
This morning we started an hour before day, and marched to this place,
twenty miles, by noon.

Thus ended the expedition of General Fremont to Springfield.

       *       *       *       *       *

In bringing these papers to a close, the writer cannot refrain from
expressing his regret that circumstances have prevented him from making
that exposition of affairs in the Western Department which the country
has long expected. While he was in the field, General Fremont permitted
the attacks of his enemies to pass unheeded, because he held them
unworthy to be intruded upon more important occupations, and he would
not be diverted from the great objects he was pursuing; since his
recall, considerations affecting the public service, and the desire not
at this time to embarrass the Government with personal matters, have
sealed his lips. I will not now disregard his wishes by entering into
any detailed discussion of the charges which have been made against
him,--but I cannot lay down my pen without bearing voluntary testimony
to the fidelity, energy, and skill which he brought to his high office.
It will be hard for any one who was not a constant witness of his career
to appreciate the labor which he assumed and successfully performed.
From the first to the last hour of the day, there was no idle moment. No
time was given to pleasure,--none even to needed relaxation. Often, long
after the strength of his body was spent, the force of his will bound
him to exhausting toil. No religious zealot ever gave himself to his
devotions with more absorbing abandonment than General Fremont to his
hard, and, as it has proved, most thankless task. Time will verify the
statement, that, whether as respects thoroughness or economy, his
administration of affairs at the West will compare favorably with the
transactions of any other department of the Government, military or
civil, during the last nine months. Let it be contrasted with the most
conspicuous instance of the management of military affairs at the East.

The period between the President's Proclamation and the Battle of
Manassas was about equal in duration to the career of Fremont in the
West. The Federal Government had at command all the resources, in men,
material, and money, of powerful, wealthy, and populous communities.
Nothing was asked which was not promptly and lavishly given. After three
months of earnest effort, assisted by the best military and civil talent
of the country, by the whole army organization, by scientific soldiers
and an accomplished and experienced staff, a column of thirty thousand
men, with thirty-four pieces of artillery and but four hundred cavalry,
was moved a distance of twenty-two miles. Though it had been in camp
several weeks, up to a few days before its departure it was without
brigade or division organization, and ignorant of any evolutions except
those of the battalion. It was sent forward without equipage, without a
sufficient commissariat or an adequate medical establishment. This armed
mob was led against an intrenched foe, and driven back in wild and
disgraceful defeat,--a defeat which has prolonged the war for a year,
called for a vast expenditure of men and treasure, and now to our
present burdens seems likely to add those of a foreign war. The authors
of this great disaster remain unpunished, and, except in the opinions of
the public, unblamed; while nearly all the officers who led the
ill-planned, ill-timed, and badly executed enterprise have received
distinguished promotions, such as the soldier never expects to obtain,
except as the reward of heroic and successful effort.

When General Fremont reached St. Louis, the Federal militia were
returning to their homes, and a confident foe pressed upon every salient
point of an extended and difficult defensive position. Drawing his
troops from a few sparsely settled and impoverished States, denied
expected and needed assistance in money and material from the General
Government, he overcame every obstacle, and at the end of eight weeks
led forth an army of thirty thousand men, with five thousand cavalry and
eighty-six pieces of artillery. Officers of high rank declared that this
force could not leave its encampments by reason of the lack of supplies
and transportation; but he conveyed them one hundred and ninety miles by
rail, marched them one hundred and thirty-five miles, crossing a broad
and rapid river in five days, and in three months from his assumption of
the command, and in one month after leaving St. Louis, placed them in
presence of the enemy,--not an incoherent mass, but a well-ordered and
compact army, upon whose valor, steadfastness, and discipline the fate
of the nation might safely have been pledged.

If General Fremont was not tried by the crowning test of the
soldier--the battle-field--it was not through fault of his. On the very
eve of battle he was removed. His army was arrested in its triumphal
progress, and compelled to a shameful retreat, abandoning the beautiful
region it had wrested from the foe, and deserting the loyal people who
trusted to its protection, and who, exiles from their homes, followed
its retreating files,--a mournful procession of broken-hearted men,
weeping women, and suffering children. With an unscrupulousness which
passes belief, the authors of this terrible disaster have denied the
presence of the enemy at Springfield. The miserable wretches, once
prosperous farmers upon the slopes of the Ozark Hills, who now wander
mendicants through the streets of St, Louis, or crouch around the
campfires of Holla and Sedalia, can tell whether Price was near
Springfield or not.

Forty-eight hours more must have given to General Fremont an engagement.
What the result would have been no one who was there doubted. A victory
such as the country has long desired and sorely needs,--a decisive,
complete, and overwhelming victory,--was as certain as it is possible
for the skill and valor of man to make certain any future event Now,
twenty thousand men are required to hold our long line of defence in
Missouri; then, five thousand at Springfield would have secured the
State of Missouri, and a column pushed into Arkansas would have turned
the enemy's position upon the Mississippi. In the same time and with the
same labor that the march to the rear was made, two States might have
been won, and the fate of the Rebellion in the Southwest decided.

While I am writing these concluding pages, the telegraph brings
information that another expedition has started for Springfield. Strong
columns are marching from Bolla, Sedalia, and Versailles, to do the work
which General Fremont stood ready to do last November. After three
months of experience and reflection, the enterprise which was denounced
as aimless, extravagant, and ill-judged, which was derided as a wild
hunt after an unreal foe, an exploration into desert regions, is now
repeated in face of the obstacles of difficult roads and an inclement
season, and when many of the objects of the expedition no longer
exist,--for, unhappily, the loyal inhabitants of those fertile uplands,
the fruitful farms and pleasant homes, are no longer there to receive
the protection of our armies. General Fremont's military conduct could
not have received more signal approval. The malignant criticisms of his
enemies could in no other manner have been so completely refuted.
Unmoved by the storm of calumny and detraction which raged around him,
he has calmly and silently awaited the unerring judgment, the triumphant
verdict, which he knew time and the ebb of the bad passions his success
excited would surely bring.

        *       *       *       *       *



BIRDOFREDUM SAWIN, ESQ., TO MR. HOSEA BIGLOW.

_With the following Letter from the_ REVEREND HOMER WILBUR, A.M.

_To the Editors of the_ ATLANTIC MONTHLY.

Jaalam, 7th Feb., 1862.

Respected Friends,--If I know myself, and surely a man can hardly be
supposed to have overpassed the limit of fourscore years without
attaining to some proficiency in that most useful branch of learning,
(_e cælo descendit_, says the pagan poet,) I have no great smack
of that weakness which would press upon the publick attention any matter
pertaining to my private affairs. But since the following letter of Mr.
Sawin contains not only a direct allusion to myself, but that in
connection with a topick of interest to all those engaged in the publick
ministrations of the sanctuary, I may be pardoned for touching briefly
thereupon. Mr. Sawin was never a stated attendant upon my
preaching,--never, as I believe, even an occasional one, since the
erection of the new house (where we now worship) in 1845. He did,
indeed, for a time supply a not unacceptable bass in the choir, but,
whether on some umbrage (_omnibus hoc vitium est cantoribus_) taken
against the bass-viol, then, and till his decease in 1850, (_æt. 77_,)
under the charge of Mr. Asaph Perley, or, as was reported by
others, on account of an imminent subscription for a new bell, he
thenceforth, absented himself from all outward and visible communion.
Yet he seems to have preserved, (_altâ mente repostum_,) as it
were, in the pickle of a mind soured by prejudice, a lasting
_scunner_, as he would call it, against our staid and decent form
of worship: for I would rather in that wise interpret his fling, than
suppose that any chance tares sown by my pulpit discourses should
survive so long, while good seed too often fails to root itself. I
humbly trust that I have no personal feeling in the matter; though I
know, that, if we sound any man deep enough, our lead shall bring up the
mud of human nature at last. The Bretons believe in an evil spirit which
they call _ar c'houskesik_, whose office it is to make the
congregation drowsy; and though I have never had reason to think that he
was specially busy among my flock, yet have I seen enough to make me
sometimes regret the hinged seats of the ancient meeting-house, whose
lively clatter, not unwillingly intensified by boys beyond eyeshot of
the tithing-man, served at intervals as a wholesome _réveil_. It is
true, I have numbered among my parishioners some whose gift of
somnolence rivalled that of the Cretan Rip van Winkle, Epimenides, and
who, nevertheless, complained not so much of the substance as of the
length of my (by them unheard) discourses. Happy Saint Anthony of Padua,
whose finny acolytes, however they might profit, could never murmur!
_Quare fremuerunt gentes?_ Who is he that can twice a week be
inspired, or has eloquence (_ut ita dicam_) always on tap? A good
man, and, next to David, a sacred poet, (himself, haply, not inexpert of
evil in this particular,) has said,--

  "The worst speak something good: if all want sense,
  God takes a text and preacheth patience."

There are one or two other points in Mr. Sawin's letter which I would
also briefly animadvert upon. And first concerning the claim he sets up
to a certain superiority of blood and lineage in the people of our
Southern States, now unhappily in rebellion against lawful authority and
their own better interests. There is a sort of opinions, anachronisms
and anachorisms, foreign both to the age and the country, that maintain
a feeble and buzzing existence, scarce to be called life, like winter
flies, which in mild weather crawl out from obscure nooks and crannies
to expatiate in the sun, and sometimes acquire vigour enough to disturb
with their enforced familiarity the studious hours of the scholar. One
of the most stupid and pertinacious of these is the theory that the
Southern States were settled by a class of emigrants from the Old World
socially superiour to those who founded the institutions of New England.
The Virginians especially lay claim to this generosity of lineage, which
were of no possible account, were it not for the fact that such
superstitions are sometimes not without their effect on the course of
human affairs. The early adventurers to Massachusetts at least paid
their passages; no felons were ever shipped thither; and though it be
true that many deboshed younger brothers of what are called good
families may have sought refuge in Virginia, it is equally certain that
a great part of the early deportations thither were the sweepings of the
London streets and the leavings of the London stews. On what the heralds
call the spindle side, some, at least, of the oldest Virginian families
are descended from matrons who were exported and sold for so many
hogsheads of tobacco the head. So notorious was this, that it became one
of the jokes of contemporary playwrights, not only that men bankrupt in
purse and character were "food for the Plantations," (and this before
the settlement of New England,) but also that any drab would suffice to
wive such pitiful adventurers. "Never choose a wife as if you were going
to Virginia," says Middleton in one of his comedies. The mule is apt to
forget all but the equine side of his pedigree. How early the
counterfeit nobility of the Old Dominion became a topick of ridicule in
the Mother Country may be learned from a play of Mrs. Behn's, founded on
the Rebellion of Bacon: for even these kennels of literature may yield a
fact or two to pay the raking. Mrs. Flirt, the keeper of a Virginia
ordinary, calls herself the daughter of a baronet "undone in the late
rebellion,"--her father having in truth been a tailor,--and three of the
Council, assuming to themselves an equal splendour of origin, are shown
to have been, one "a broken exciseman who came over a poor servant,"
another a tinker transported for theft, and the third "a common
pickpocket often flogged at the cart's-tail." The ancestry of South
Carolina will as little pass muster at the Herald's Visitation, though I
hold them to have been more reputable, inasmuch as many of them were
honest tradesmen and artisans, in some measure exiles for conscience'
sake, who would have smiled at the high-flying nonsense of their
descendants. Some of the more respectable were Jews. The absurdity of
supposing a population of eight millions all sprung from gentle loins in
the course of a century and a half is too manifest for confutation. The
aristocracy of the South, such as it is, has the shallowest of all
foundations, for it is only skin-deep,--the most odious of all, for,
while affecting to despise trade, it traces its origin to a successful
traffick in men, women, and children, and still draws its chief revenues
thence. And though, as Doctor Chamberlayne says in his _Present State
of England_, "to become a Merchant of Foreign Commerce, without
serving any Apprentisage, hath been allowed no disparagement to a
Gentleman born, especially to a younger Brother," yet I conceive that he
would hardly have made a like exception in favour of the particular
trade in question. Nor do I believe that such aristocracy as exists at
the South (for I hold, with Marius, _fortissimum quemque
generosissimum_) will be found an element of anything like persistent
strength in war,--thinking the saying of Lord Bacon (whom one quaintly
called _inductionis dominus et Verulamii_) as true as it is pithy,
that, "the more gentlemen, ever the lower books of subsidies." It is odd
enough as an historical precedent, that, while the fathers of New
England were laying deep in religion, education, and freedom the basis
of a polity which has substantially outlasted any then existing, the
first work of the founders of Virginia, as may be seen in Wingfield's
_Memorial_, was conspiracy and rebellion,--odder yet, as showing
the changes which are wrought by circumstance, that the first
insurrection in South Carolina was against the aristocratical scheme of
the Proprietary Government. I do not find that the cuticular aristocracy
of the South has added anything to the refinements of civilization
except the carrying of bowie-knives and the chewing of tobacco,--a
high-toned Southern gentleman being commonly not only _quadrumanous_,
but _quidruminant_.

I confess that the present letter of Mr. Sawin increases my doubts as to
the sincerity of the convictions which he professes, and I am inclined
to think that the triumph of the legitimate Government, sure sooner or
later to take place, will find him and a large majority of his
newly-adopted fellow-citizens (who hold with Dædalus, the primal
sitter-on-the-fence, that _medium tenere tutissimum_) original
Union men. The criticisms toward the close of his letter on certain of
our failings are worthy to be seriously perpended, for he is not, as I
think, without a spice of vulgar shrewdness. As to the good-nature in us
which he seems to gird at, while I would not consecrate a chapel, as
they have not scrupled to do in France, to _Nótre Dame de la
Haine_, Our Lady of Hate, yet I cannot forget that the corruption of
good-nature is the generation of laxity of principle. Good-nature is our
national characteristick; and though it be, perhaps, nothing more than a
culpable weakness or cowardice, when it leads us to put up tamely with
manifold impositions and breaches of implied contracts, (as too
frequently in our publick conveyances,) it becomes a positive crime,
when it leads us to look unresentfully on peculation, and to regard
treason to the best Government that ever existed as something with which
a gentleman may shake hands without soiling his fingers. I do not think
the gallows-tree the most profitable member of our _Sylva_; but,
since it continues to be planted, I would fain see a Northern limb
ingrafted on it, that it may bear some other fruit than loyal
Tennesseeans.

A relick has recently been discovered on the east bank of Bushy Brook in
North Jaalam, which I conceive to be an inscription in Runic characters
relating to the early expedition of the Northmen to this continent. I
shall make fuller investigations, and communicate the result in due
season.

Respectfully,
Your obedient servant,
HOMER WILBUR, A.M.

P.S. I inclose a year's subscription from Deacon Tinkham.


  I hed it on my min' las' time, when I to write ye started,
  To tech the leadin' featurs o' my gittin' me convarted;
  But, ez my letters hez to go clearn roun' by way o' Cuby,
  'T wun't seem no staler now than then, by th' time it gits where you be.
  You know up North, though sees an' things air plenty ez you please,
  Ther' warn't nut one on 'em thet come jes' square with my idees:
  I dessay they suit workin'-folks thet ain't noways pertic'lar,
  But nut your Southun gen'leman thet keeps his perpendic'lar;
  I don't blame nary man thet casts his lot along o' his folks,
  But ef you cal'late to save _me_, 't must be with folks thet _is_ folks;
  Cov'nants o' works go 'ginst my grain, but down here I've found out
  The true fus'-fem'ly A 1 plan,--here's how it come about.
  When I fus' sot up with Miss S., sez she to me, sez she,--
  "Without you git religion, Sir, the thing can't never be;
  Nut but wut I respeck," sez she, "your intellectle part,
  But you wun't noways du for me athout a change o' heart:
  Nothun religion works wal North, but it's ez soft ez spruce,
  Compared to ourn, for keepin' sound," sez she, "upon the goose;
  A day's experunce'd prove to ye, ez easy 'z pull a trigger,
  It takes the Southun pint o' view to raise ten bales a nigger;
  You'll fin' thet human natur, South, ain't wholesome more 'n skin-deep,
  An' once't a darkie's took with it, he wun't be wuth his keep."
  "How _shell_ I git it, Ma'am?" sez I. "Attend the nex' camp-meetin',"
  Sez she, "an' it'll come to ye ez cheap ez onbleached sheetin'."

  Wal, so I went along an' hearn most an impressive sarmon
  About besprinklin' Afriky with fourth-proof dew o' Harmon:
  He did n' put no weaknin' in, but gin it tu us hot,
  'Z ef he an' Satan'd ben two bulls in one five-acre lot:
  I don't purtend to foller him, but give ye jes' the heads;
  For pulpit ellerkence, you know, 'most ollers kin' o' spreads.
  Ham's seed wuz gin to us in chairge, an' shouldn't we be li'ble
  In Kingdom Come, ef we kep' back their priv'lege in the Bible?
  The cusses an' the promerses make one gret chain, an' ef
  You snake one link out here, one there, how much on't ud be lef'?
  All things wuz gin to man for's use, his sarvice, an' delight;
  An' don't the Greek an' Hebrew words thet mean a Man mean White?
  Ain't it belittlin' the Good Book in all its proudes' featurs
  To think 't wuz wrote for black an' brown an' 'lasses-colored creaturs,
  Thet could n' read it, ef they would, nor ain't by lor allowed to,
  But ough' to take wut we think suits their naturs, an' be proud to?
  Warn't it more prof'table to bring your raw materil thru
  Where you can work it inta grace an' inta cotton, tu,
  Than sendin' missionaries out where fevers might defeat 'em,
  An' ef the butcher did n' call, their p'rishioners might eat 'em?
  An' then, agin, wut airthly use? Nor 't warn't our fault, in so fur
  Ez Yankee skippers would keep on a-totin' on 'em over.
  'T improved the whites by savin' 'em from ary need o' workin',
  An' kep' the blacks from bein' lost thru idleness an' shirkin';
  We took to 'em ez nat'ral ez a barn-owl doos to mice,
  An' hed our hull time on our hands to keep us out o' vice;
  It made us feel ez pop'lar ez a hen doos with one chicken,
  An' fill our place in Natur's scale by givin' 'em a lickin':
  For why should Cæsar git his dues more 'n Juno, Pomp, an' Cuffy?
  It's justifyin' Ham to spare a nigger when he's stuffy.
  Where'd their soles go tu, like to know, ef we should let 'em ketch
  Freeknowledgism an' Fourierism an' Speritoolism an' sech?
  When Satan sets himself to work to raise his very bes' muss,
  He scatters roun' onscriptur'l views relatin' to Ones'mus.

  You'd ough' to seen, though, how his face an' argymunce an' figgers
  Drawed tears o' real conviction from a lot o' pen'tent niggers!
  It warn't like Wilbur's meetin', where you're shet up in a pew,
  Your dickeys sorrin' off your ears, an' bilin' to be thru;
  Ther' wuz a tent clost by thet hed a kag o' sunthin' in it,
  Where you could go, ef you wuz dry, an' damp ye in a minute;
  Au' ef you did dror off a spell, ther' wuzn't no occasion
  To lose the thread, because, ye see, he bellered like all Bashan.
  It's dry work follerin' argymunce, an' so, 'twix' this an' thet,
  I felt conviction weighin' down somehow inside my hat;
  It growed an' growed like Jonah's gourd, a kin' o' whirlin' ketched me,
  Ontil I fin'lly clean giv out an' owned up thet he'd fetched me;
  An' when nine-tenths the perrish took to tumblin' roun' an' hollerin',
  I did n' fin' no gret in th' way o' turnin' tu an' follerin'.
  Soon ez Miss S. see thet, sez she, "_Thet_ 's wut I call wuth seein'!
  _Thet_ 's actin' like a reas'nable an' intellectle bein'!"
  An' so we fin'lly made it up, concluded to hitch hosses,
  An' here I be 'n my ellermunt among creation's bosses;
  Arter I'd drawed sech heaps o' blanks, Fortin at last hez sent a prize,
  An' chose me for a shinin' light o' missionary enterprise.

  This leads me to another pint on which I've changed my plan
  O' thinkin' so 's 't I might become a straight-out Southun man.
  Miss S. (her maiden name wuz Higgs, o' the fus' fem'ly here)
  On her Ma's side 's all Juggernot, on Pa's all Cavileer,
  An' sence I've merried into her an' stept into her shoes,
  It ain't more 'n nateral thet I should modderfy my views:
  I've ben a-readin' in Debow ontil I've fairly gut
  So 'nlightened thet I'd full ez lives ha' ben a Dook ez nut;
  An' when we've laid ye all out stiff, an' Jeff hez gut his crown,
  An' comes to pick his nobles out, _wun't_ this child be in town!
  We'll hev an Age o' Chivverlry surpassin' Mister Burke's,
  Where every fem'ly is fus'-best an' nary white man works:
  Our system's sech, the thing'll root ez easy ez a tater;
  For while your lords in furrin parts ain't noways marked by natur',
  Nor sot apart from ornery folks in featurs nor in figgers,
  Ef ourn'll keep their faces washed, you'll know 'em from their niggers.
  Ain't _sech_ things wuth secedin' for, an' gittin' red o' you
  Thet waller in your low idees, an' will till all is blue?
  Fact is, we _air_ a diff'rent race, an' I, for one, don't see,
  Sech havin' ollers ben the case, how w' ever _did_ agree.
  It's sunthin' thet you lab'rin'-folks up North hed ough' to think on,
  Thet Higgses can't bemean themselves to rulin' by a Lincoln,--
  Thet men, (an' guv'nors, tu,) thet hez sech Normal names ez Pickens,
  Accustomed to no kin' o' work, 'thout 't is to givin' lickins,
  Can't masure votes with folks thet git their livins from their farms
  An' prob'ly think thet Law 's ez good ez hevin' coats o' arms.
  Sence I've ben here, I've hired a chap to look about for me
  To git me a transplantable an' thrifty fem'ly-tree,
  An' he tells _me_ the Sawins is ez much o' Normal blood
  Ez Pickens an' the rest on 'em, an' older 'n Noah's flood.
  Your Normal schools wun't turn ye into Normals, for it's clear,
  Ef eddykatin' done the thing, they'd be some skurcer here.
  Pickenses, Boggses, Pettuses, Magoffins, Letchers, Polks,--
  Where can you scare up names like them among your mudsill folks?
  Ther' 's nothin' to compare with 'em, you'd fin', ef you should glance,
  Among the tip-top femerlies in Englan', nor in France:
  I've hearn from 'sponsible men whose word wuz full ez good's their note,
  Men thet can run their face for drinks, an' keep a Sunday coat,
  Thet they wuz all on 'em come down, an' come down pooty fur,
  From folks thet, 'thout their crowns wuz on, ou'doors would n' never
      stir,
  Nor thet ther' warn't a Southun man but wut wuz _primy fashy_
  O' the bes' blood in Europe, yis, an' Afriky an' Ashy:
  Sech bein' the case, is 't likely we should bend like cotton-wickin',
  Or set down under anythin' so low-lived ez a lickin'?
  More 'n this,--hain't we the literatoor an' science, tu, by gorry?
  Hain't we them intellectle twins, them giants, Simms an' Maury,
  Each with full twice the ushle brains, like nothin' thet I know,
  'Thout 't wuz a double-headed calf I see once to a show?

  For all thet, I warn't jest at fast in favor o' seeedin';
  I wuz for layin' low a spell to find out where't wuz leadin',
  For hevin' South-Carliny try her hand at seprit-nationin',
  She takin' resks an' findin' funds, an' we cooperationin',--
  I mean a kin' o' hangin' roun' an' settin' on the fence,
  Till Prov'dunce pinted how to jump an' save the most expense;
  I reccollected thet 'ere mine o' lead to Shiraz Centre
  Thet bust up Jabez Pettibone, an' didn't want to ventur'
  'Fore I wuz sartin wut come out ud pay for wut went in,
  For swappin' silver off for lead ain't the sure way to win;
  (An', fact, it _doos_ look now ez though--but folks must live an' larn--
  We should git lead, an' more 'n we want, out o' the Old Consarn;)
  But when I see a man so wise an' honest ez Buchanan
  A-lettin' us hev all the forts an' all the arms an' cannon,
  Admittin' we wuz nat'lly right an' you wuz nat'lly wrong,
  Coz you wuz lab'rin'-folks an' we wuz wut they call _bong-tong_,
  An' coz there warn't no fight in ye more 'n in a mashed potater,
  While two o' _us_ can't skurcely meet but wut we fight by natur',
  An' th' ain't a bar-room here would pay for openin' on 't a night,
  Without it giv the priverlege o' bein' shot at sight,
  Which proves we're Natur's noblemen, with whom it don't surprise
  The British aristoxy should feel boun' to sympathize,--
  Seein' all this, an' seein', tu, the thing wuz strikin' roots
  While Uncle Sam sot still in hopes thet some one 'd bring his boots,
  I thought th' ole Union's hoops wuz off, an' let myself be sucked in
  To rise a peg an' jine the crowd thet went for reconstructin',--
  Thet is, to hev the pardnership under th' ole name continner
  Jest ez it wuz, we drorrin' pay, you findin' bone an' sinner,--
  On'y to put it in the bond, an' enter 't in the journals,
  Thet you're the nat'ral rank an' file an' we the nat'ral kurnels.

  Now this I thought a fees'ble plan, thet 'ud work smooth ez grease,
  Suitin' the Nineteenth Century an' Upper Ten idees,
  An' there I meant to stick, an' so did most o' th' leaders, tu,
  Coz we all thought the chance wuz good o' puttin' on it thru;
  But Jeff he hit upon a way o' helpin' on us forrard
  By bein' unannermous,--a trick you ain't quite up to, Norrard.
  A baldin hain't no more 'f a chance with them new apple-corers
  Than folks's oppersition views aginst the Ringtail Roarers;
  They'll take 'em out on him 'bout east,--one canter on a rail
  Makes a man feel unannermous ez Jonah in the whale;
  Or ef he's a slow-moulded cuss thet can't seem quite t' agree,
  He gits the noose by tellergraph upon the nighes' tree:
  Their mission-work with Afrikins hez put 'em up, thet's sartin,
  To all the mos' across-lot ways o' preachin' an' convartin';
  I'll bet my hat th' ain't nary priest, nor all on 'em together,
  Thet cairs conviction to the min' like Reveren' Taranfeather;
  Why, he sot up with me one night, an' labored to sech purpose,
  Thet (ez an owl by daylight 'mongst a flock o' teazin' chirpers
  Sees clearer 'n mud the wickedness o' eatin' little birds)
  I see my error an' agreed to shen it arterwurds;
  An' I should say, (to jedge our folks by facs in my possession,)
  Thet three's Unannermous where one's a 'Riginal Secession;
  So it's a thing you fellers North may safely bet your chink on,
  Thet we're all water-proofed agin th' usurpin' reign o' Lincoln.

  Jeff's _some_. He's gut another plan thet hez pertic'lar merits,
  In givin' things a cherfle look an' stiffnin' loose-hung sperits;
  For while your million papers, wut with lyin' an' discussin',
  Keep folks's tempers all on eend a-fumin' an' a-fussin',
  A-wondrin' this an' guessin' thet, an' dreadin', every night,
  The breechin' o' the Univarse'll break afore it's light,
  Our papers don't purtend to print on'y wut Guv'ment choose,
  An' thet insures us all to git the very best o' noose:
  Jeff hez it of all sorts an' kines, an' sarves it out ez wanted,
  So's't every man gits wut he likes an' nobody ain't scanted;
  Sometimes it's vict'ries, (they're 'bout all ther' is thet's cheap
      down here,)
  Sometimes it's France an' England on the jump to interfere.
  Fact is, the less the people know o' wut ther' is a-doin',
  The hendier 't is for Guv'ment, sence it henders trouble brewin';
  An' noose is like a shinplaster,--it's good, ef you believe it,
  Or, wut's all same, the other man thet's goin' to receive it:
  Ef you've a son in th' army, wy, it's comfortin' to hear
  He'll hev no gretter resk to run than seein' th' in'my's rear,
  Coz, ef an F.F. looks at 'em, they ollers break an' run,
  Or wilt right down ez debtors will thet stumble on a dun
  (An' this, ef an'thin', proves the wuth o' proper fem'ly pride,
  Fer sech mean shucks ez creditors are all on Lincoln's side);
  Ef I hev scrip thet wun't go off no more 'n a Belgin rifle,
  An' read thet it's at par on 'Change, it makes me feel deli'fle;
  It's cheerin', tu, where every man mus' fortify his bed,
  To hear thet Freedom's the one thing our darkies mos'ly dread,
  An' thet experunce, time 'n' agin, to Dixie's Land hez shown
  Ther' 's nothin' like a powder-cask f'r a stiddy corner-stone;
  Ain't it ez good ez nuts, when salt is sellin' by the ounce
  For its own weight in Treash'ry-bons, (ef bought in small amounts,)
  When even whiskey's gittin' skurce, an' sugar can't be found,
  To know thet all the ellerments o' luxury abound?
  An' don't it glorify sal'-pork, to come to understand
  It's wut the Richmon' editors call fatness o' the land?
  Nex' thing to knowin' you're well off is _nut_ to know when y' ain't;
  An' ef Jeff says all's goin' wal, who'll ventur' t' say it ain't?

  This cairn the Constitooshun roun' ez Jeff doos in his hat
  Is hendier a dreffle sight, an' comes more kin' o' pat.
  I tell ye wut, my jedgment is you're pooty sure to fail,
  Ez long 'z the head keeps turnin' back for counsel to the tail:
  Th' advantiges of our consarn for bein' prompt air gret,
  While, 'long o' Congress, you can't strike, 'f you git an iron het;
  They bother roun' with argooin', an' var'ous sorts o' foolin',
  To make sure ef it's leg'lly het, an' all the while it's coolin',
  So 's 't when you come to strike, it ain't no gret to wish ye j'y on,
  An' hurts the hammer 'z much or more ez wut it doos the iron.
  Jeff don't allow no jawin'-sprees for three months at a stretch,
  Knowin' the ears long speeches suits air mostly made to metch;
  He jes' ropes in your tonguey chaps an' reg'lar ten-inch bores
  An' lets 'em play at Congress, ef they'll du it with closed doors;
  So they ain't no more bothersome than ef we'd took an' sunk 'em,
  An' yit enj'y th' exclusive right to one another's Buncombe
  'Thout doin' nobody no hurt, an' 'thout its costin' nothin',
  Their pay bein' jes' Confedrit funds, they findin' keep an' clothin';
  They taste the sweets o' public life, an' plan their little jobs,
  An' suck the Treash'ry, (no gret harm, for it's ez dry ez cobs,)
  An' go thru all the motions jest ez safe ez in a prison,
  An' hev their business to themselves, while Buregard hez hisn:
  Ez long 'z he gives the Hessians fits, committees can't make bother
  'Bout whether 't's done the legle way or whether 't's done the t'other.
  An' _I_ tell _you_ you've gut to larn thet War ain't one long teeter
  Betwixt _I wan' to_ an' _'T wun't du_, debatin' like a skeetur
  Afore he lights,--all is, to give the other side a millin',
  An' arter thet's done, th' ain't no resk but wut the lor'll be willin';
  No metter wut the guv'ment is, ez nigh ez I can hit it,
  A lickin's constitooshunal, pervidin' _We_ don't git it.
  Jeff don't stan' dilly-dallyin', afore he takes a fort,
  (With no one in,) to git the leave o' the nex' Soopreme Court,
  Nor don't want forty-'leven 'weeks o' jawin' an' expoundin'
  To prove a nigger hez a right to save him, ef he's drowndin';
  Whereas ole Abram'd sink afore he'd let a darkie boost him,
  Ef Taney shouldn't come along an' hedn't interdooced him.
  It ain't your twenty millions thet'll ever block Jeff's game,
  But one Man thet wun't let 'em jog jest ez he's takin' aim:
  Your numbers they may strengthen ye or weaken ye, ez 't heppens
  They're willin' to be helpin.' hands or wuss'n-nothin' cap'ns.

  I've chose my side, an' 't ain't no odds ef I wuz drawed with magnets,
  Or ef I thought it prudenter to jine the nighes' bagnets;
  I've made my ch'ice, an' ciphered out, from all I see an' heard,
  Th' ole Constitooshun never'd git her decks for action cleared,
  Long 'z you elect for Congressmen poor shotes thet want to go
  Coz they can't seem to git their grub no otherways than so,
  An' let your bes' men stay to home coz they wun't show ez talkers,
  Nor can't be hired to fool ye an' sof'-soap ye at a caucus,--
  Long 'z ye set by Rotashun more 'n ye do by folks's merits,
  Ez though experance thriv by change o' sile, like corn an' kerrits,--
  Long 'z you allow a critter's "claims" coz, spite o' shoves an' tippins,
  He's kep' his private pan jest where't would ketch mos' public
      drippins,--
  Long 'z A.'ll turn tu an' grin' B.'s exe, ef B.'ll help him grin' hisn,
  (An' thet's the main idee by which your leadin' men hev risen,)--
  Long 'z you let ary exe be groun'; 'less 'L is to cut the weasan'
  O' sneaks thet dunno till they're told wut is an' wut ain't Treason,-
  Long 'z ye give out commissions to a lot o' peddlin' drones
  Thet trade in whiskey with their men an' skin 'em to their bones,--
  Long 'z ye sift out "safe" canderdates thet no one ain't afeared on
  Coz they're so thund'rin' eminent for bein' never heard on,
  An' hain't no record, ez it's called, for folks to pick a hole in,
  Ez ef it hurt a man to hev a body with a soul in,
  An' it wuz ostenstashun to be showm' on't about,
  When half his feller-citizens contrive to do without,--
  Long 'z you suppose your votes can turn biled kebbage into brain,
  An' ary man thet's pop'lar's fit to drive a lightnin'-train,--
  Long 'z you believe democracy means _I'm ez good ez you be,_
  An' thet a feller from the ranks can't be a knave or booby,--
  Long 'z Congress seems purvided, like yer street-cars an' yer 'busses,
  With oilers room for jes' one more o' your spiled-in-bakin' cusses,
  Dough'thout the emptins of a soul, an' yit with means about 'em
  (Like essence-peddlers[A]) thet 'll make folks long to be without 'em,
  Jest heavy 'nough to turn a scale thet's doubtfle the wrong way,
  An' make their nat'ral arsenal o' bein' nasty pay,--
  Long 'z them things last, (an' I don't see no gret signs of improvin',)
  I sha'n't up stakes, not hardly yit, nor't wouldn't pay for movin';
  For, 'fore you lick us, it 'll be the long'st day ever you see.
  Yourn, (ez I 'xpec' to be nex' spring,)

                                          B., MARKISS O' BIG BOOSY.

    [Footnote A: A rustic euphemism for the American variety of the
    _Mephitis_.--H.W.]

        *       *       *       *       *



TAXATION.


Milton, in his superb sonnet to Sir Henry Vane the Younger, declares
that Rome, in the most prosperous age of the Republic, never possessed a
better senator,--

  "Whether to settle peace, or to unfold
  The hollow drift of States, hard to be spelled;
  Then to advise how war may, best upheld,
  Move by _her two main nerves, iron and gold,_
  In all her equipage."

The list of his writings appended by Mr. Upham to his instructive
biography of our _quondam_ fellow-citizen and governor[A] does not
enable us to judge to which of his twenty-five works Milton particularly
refers, in this magnificent commendation of Sir Henry Vane's financial
skill. It might be inferred, however, from the significant union of iron
and gold, as the "main nerves" of war, that he understood the importance
of a specie currency, which in fact, in those days, was the only
currency known.

    [Footnote A: Sir Henry Vane the Younger, being then twenty-three
    years of age, arrived in Boston in 1635, was chosen governor of
    the Colony in 1636, and returned to England the next year. His
    house stood, within the recollection of the writer, on what is
    now Tremont Street, on a spot opposite the Museum.]

Our business, however, at present, is not with currency, but with taxes,
which as long ago as Cicero's time were pronounced "the nerves of the
State," and which, whether paid in gold or in what can in the present
condition of the country be best substituted, must be allowed to be the
great sympathetic nerve of the body-politic. Introduce a wise and
efficient system of taxation, and life and energy will pervade the
country. Without such a system it will soon sink into a general and
fatal paralysis.

The country is engaged at this moment in a struggle of unexampled
magnitude. The great wars of the last generation in Europe gathered no
army equal in magnitude to that which the Government of the United
States has, within little more than six months, called into being. Its
naval operations, so far as concerns the extent of sea-coast effectively
blockaded, and considering the condition of that branch of the service
at the breaking out of the war, will not suffer in comparison with those
of England in the wars of the French Revolution. England is now
threatening to take part against us in this war, waged by the first
State (according to Mr. Vice-president Stephens) ever avowedly founded
on Slavery as its corner-stone, on the ground that our blockade of the
Southern ports is not effectual,--forgetting, apparently, that our last
war with her was in part to resist her pretended right to seal up with a
paper blockade every port in the French Empire.

The great practical question which presses most heavily upon the mind,
not only of every person responsible for the conduct of affairs, but of
every intelligent and thoughtful citizen, is, in what way the vast
expenditure is to be met, which is necessary to bring this gigantic
struggle to a prompt and successful issue. It has been customary, from
the first, to estimate this expenditure at a million and a half of
dollars _per diem_, and it will not be lessened while the war
lasts. How is this frightful expenditure to be met?

The answer is simple, and is contained in the one little word
"Taxation." Without this, all else will be of no avail. Our civil rulers
may have the wisdom of Solomon; our generals and admirals may equal in
skill and courage the greatest captains of ancient or modern times; we
may place in the field the bravest and best-disciplined armies that ever
battled in a righteous cause,--but without an amount of taxation
adequate to sustain the credit of the Government, all this show of
counsel and strength will pass away, and that at no distant period, like
a morning cloud and the early dew.

"Adequate to sustain the credit of the Government,"--for that is all
that is required. It is by no means necessary, as it is by no means
just, that the whole of this vast expenditure should fall upon the
shoulders of the present generation. Engaged in a contest of which the
result, for good or for evil, is, if possible, more important to
posterity than to ourselves,--a struggle in which the great cause of
civil liberty, as embodied and regulated by the Constitution and laws,
is more deeply involved, not only for this, but for all future
generations, than in any other war ever waged,--it is not right that the
burden should fall exclusively on ourselves. Nor is it necessary. There
is, perhaps, no feature in our modern civilization in which its beauty,
flexibility, and strength, as compared with that of antiquity, is more
signally displayed, than the well-organized credit-system of a
prosperous State: the system which makes men not only willing, but
desirous, to forego the actual possession of that darling property which
has been the great object of desire through life,--which they have
sought by all honest and, unhappily too often, dishonest means, to gain
and accumulate,--provided only they can receive a fair equivalent for
its use. By the wise application of this almost mysterious principle,
the members of modern civilized States are not only, for the time being,
much more effectually consociated in the joint life and action of the
country than would have been possible without it, but even distant
generations--men separated from each other by years, not to say
ages--are brought into a noble partnership of effort in great and
generous undertakings and sacrifices.

Dr. Johnson somewhat cynically says, that

  "Mortgaged States, in everlasting debt,
  From age to age their grandsires' wreaths regret."

This may be true of debts incurred in wars of ambition and conquest; but
what citizen of the United States, at the present day, would not, with a
willing mind, if it were still necessary, bear his part of the pecuniary
burdens of the American Revolution?

It is a well-established law of public credit, that it can be carried to
any length to which it is sustained by an efficient system of taxation.
So long as provision is made to secure in this way the regular payment
of the interest on the sums borrowed, the Government holds the
purse-strings of the capitalist, and has nothing to do but to call for
whatever amount is needed for the public service. This, however, is the
essential condition, and nothing else will, for any length of time,
produce the desired result. In the first fervor of a great popular
movement, and in confident reliance that effective provision to sustain
it will eventually be made, a large loan may be obtained from the banks,
from capitalists, or the mass of the people; but this will be a
temporary, probably a solitary, effort. No Government can permanently
sustain its credit, but by providing the means (independent of credit)
to pay the interest on its public debt. To borrow more money in order to
pay the interest on that already borrowed is bankruptcy in disguise.

With these general principles established and clearly borne in mind, we
perceive the absurdity of the language which has been so freely used
abroad and is even sometimes heard at home, since the suspension of
specie-payments, that the United States are on the verge of bankruptcy.
Let the expenses of the war in which we are now engaged against the
"disappointed aspirants" of the South be estimated as high as six
hundred millions of dollars. A loan to this amount implies, at the usual
rate, the payment of an interest of thirty-six millions, certainly a
large amount in addition to the ordinary expenditure of the Government,
but not more than a fifth part of the annual interest on the public debt
of England,--by no means a formidable percentage, allowing for a short
war, on the annual surplus income of the country.

In fact, when we cast our eyes over the continent and contemplate the
vast extent of fertile land already brought or capable of being readily
brought into cultivation,--the productive agricultural, manufacturing,
and commercial investments,--our internal and foreign trade,--our
fisheries, and our mining operations,--the rapid increase of labor (the
great creative source of wealth) by the growth of our own native
population and the steady flow of immigration from abroad,--when we
contemplate these things, the draughts which must be made upon the
resources of the country in the successful prosecution of the war, great
as they are, are really insignificant Let us take a single item, but one
which may serve as a fair index of the resources of the loyal States. In
the American Circular of Messrs. Hallett & Co. of New York, for the 6th
of November last, the value of the tonnage of all kinds annually moved
upon the public works (railroads and canals) of the Northern and Middle
States is estimated in even figures at $4,620,000,000. This enormous
sum, of course, represents only that part of the internal and foreign
trade of the country which is moved upon the canals and railroads. All
that portion of trade which is not transacted in this way,--all that
moves exclusively on the lakes, rivers, and coastwise, without coming in
contact with artificial communications,--the retail business of every
kind in the large cities, and all that is transported in moderate
parcels by animal power in the neighborhood of the places of production,
is in addition to this vast amount.

The Secretary of the Treasury, in his patriotic appeal to the country
last summer, calculates "the real and personal values, in the States now
loyal to the Union, at eleven thousand millions of dollars," while he
remarks that "the yearly surplus earnings of the loyal people are
estimated at more than four hundred millions of dollars." A tax of nine
per cent, on this surplus would pay an interest of six per cent, on a
loan of six hundred millions. Now in this country, where we are so
little accustomed to taxation, such a tax may seem to be a very serious
affair; but the man who in times like these, and for objects like those
for which we are struggling, is not willing to pay nine per cent--of his
_surplus earnings_, does not deserve to enjoy the blessings of a
free government.

It is therefore a gross exaggeration to say that the country is
bankrupt, or on the verge of bankruptcy. Nothing more is true than that
the Government of the country--the legislative power--has not as yet
shown the sagacity and vigor to apply a moderate portion of its abundant
resources to the preservation of all we hold dear. The wealth is
here,--not merely what is locked up in the vaults of the banks, (for
this, though ample for all the purposes of these institutions, is but a
very small portion of the wealth of the country, not much over one-half
of the annual surplus earnings,) but the entire accumulations of town
and country, the whole vast aggregate of the property having a
marketable value or capable of being applied in kind or by exchange for
its equivalent to the public service. All this fund belongs to the
people, to be levied upon and appropriated to the service of the country
by the people's representatives and servants. It belongs only _sub
modo_ to those who are commonly deemed its owners. They are the
stewards to whom Providence has confided it, subject to the condition,
in time of need, of being employed, under equitable and equal laws, to
defend the life of the country. And when we consider how small a portion
of it is required to answer the demands of the public service, we cannot
but be amazed at the language of despondency which is sometimes uttered
at the state of the public finances. We call the individual man of
wealth a miser, who hoards his income, instead of spending a portion of
it in deeds of charity and public spirit, or even on his own comforts
and those of his family. This expressive use of that word, says Bishop
South, is peculiar to the English language. Although the word is Latin,
we have improved on the Romans, in the bitter sarcasm of this
application. But a Government deserves the same stigma or worse, which,
with the exuberant wealth of a loyal people at its command, wants the
moral courage to apply a moderate portion of it to obtain ample means
for feeding, clothing, and arming the brave men who, on the land and the
water, are risking their lives in the public service.

We speak of "the moral courage" to establish an efficient system of
taxation, more in deference to the traditionary unpopularity of the
tax-gatherer than because, in the present state of affairs, there is any
just cause to doubt the willingness of the people to make the necessary
sacrifices for the support of the Government and the defence of the
country. In peaceful times and in an ordinary state of affairs, it may
be admitted that the tax-gatherer is an unwelcome visitant. Mr.
Jefferson relied upon him in 1799 to bring about a change of parties and
administrations. But the country was then poor, the parties equally
divided, and the political issues matters of temper and theory, on which
men delight to differ and to argue, rather than those stern realities in
which, at the present time, the very being of the State is wrapt up.
Accordingly, it is a most remarkable fact at the present day, and one
certainly without example in this country, perhaps in any country, that
the unanimous desire of the people is for taxation, adequate, efficient
taxation. Although the emergencies of the service, and the large amounts
which it requires, are daily commented on by the public journals, and
are perfectly well understood, not a voice has been uttered on the
subject which does not call for taxation. The Secretary of the Treasury
is censured, the Committee of Ways and Means rebuked, the patriotism of
Congress called in question, because the absolute necessity for heavy
taxation is not urged with sufficient warmth by the Executive, and the
requisite laws for laying the tax are delayed in their introduction and
passage. And reason good; for, while the legislation required to impose
a tax lingers, the whole mass of the country's property is incurring the
fearful peril of a prostration of the public credit.

But though the loyal people of the country are more than willing--are
ardently desirous--to be taxed for the public service, they are not
willing to be taxed for the benefit of fraudulent contractors, or to
enrich the miscreants who, not content with plundering the Treasury by
exorbitant prices, put the health and lives of our brave men in peril,
and the success of the war at hazard, by furnishing arms that have been
condemned as unserviceable, clothes and shoes that drop to pieces in a
fortnight's wear, water poisoned by filthy casks, horses too feeble to
be ridden, and vessels known by their vendors to be of a draught too
great for the intended service. It is not unlikely that there may be
exaggeration in the accounts of this kind that find their way into the
public journals; but if any reliance can be placed on the reports of our
legislative committees, frauds like those alluded to have been carried
to a stupendous length. If we mistake not, a bill has been introduced
into Congress for the condign punishment of the wretches guilty of these
abominable crimes. The offences which have filled Forts Lafayette and
Warren with their inmates are venial, compared with the guilt of the man
who is willing to fatten on the sufferings of the country and the health
and lives of its patriotic defenders. But the evil, enormous as it is,
admits of an easy remedy. If, on the one hand, one or two cases of gross
fraud, highly prejudicial to the public service, were summarily dealt
with by a court-martial, while, on the other hand, fifty per cent, of
the contract-price were habitually retained for three or four months,
till the value of the article furnished was ascertained by trial, the
evil would soon be brought within manageable limits. A little of the
wholesome severity with which Bonaparte, in 1797, carried on what he
called "_la guerre aux voleurs_"[B] would not only save millions to
the Treasury of the United States, but protect the country from
consequences still more disastrous.

    [Footnote B: Thiers, Tome II., p. 337.]

In fact, it will be one of the incidental benefits of an efficient
system of taxation, that it will induce greater care in the expenditure
of the public money. Fraudulent contracts are not the only, nor even the
chief cause of our financial embarrassments. It may be hoped that what
is extracted from it by downright swindling, however considerable in
amount, does not cause the great drain upon the Treasury. But if money
can be obtained by the simple issue of evidences of debt, and without
any provision to sustain the credit of the Government by taxation, the
process of supply is too facile. The funds so easily procured are in
danger of being too profusely spent. Individual responsibility in
money-matters, aided by direct self-interest, is usually more efficient
in imposing limits to improvidence than a general sense of duty on the
part of official personages. But if funds could be obtained _ad
libitum_ by the speculator, without the necessity of giving security
for the payment of principal or interest, bankruptcy would soon become
the rule and solvency the exception. Still more urgently, in the
administration of the National Treasury, is the wholesome corrective of
taxation required, to make economy a necessity as well as a virtue.

Much must be pardoned to the urgency of the public service, in a crisis
like that of last summer, when the Government was compelled to improvise
the forces, military and naval, required for the suppression of a
gigantic rebellion, long concocted and matured in treacherous secrecy.
With the capital of the country beleaguered by open foes without,
swarming with hardly concealed traitors within, who privately thwarted
and paralyzed when they could not openly defeat the measures of the
Government, and conveyed information of them to the enemy with the
regularity of official returns, some degree of improvident hurry in
every branch of the service was inevitable, and must not be too severely
scanned. You cannot stand chaffering at a bargain as to the cheapest
mode of extinguishing a fire kindled by a red-hot cannon-ball at the
door of the magazine. But the crisis and the necessity for precipitate
action are past. The rebellion, dragged to the light of day, has assumed
definite proportions. The means for its suppression are ample, and
nothing is requisite but the firmness and sagacity to apply them. In
other words, the one thing needful for the successful prosecution of the
war is a judicious system of taxation.

With such a system, as we have already intimated, there is no limit to
the credit of the Government With an efficient system of taxation to
sustain its loans, the entire property of the country--that is, all that
is needed of it--may be consecrated to the public service. We must not
be terrified by the ghost of the paper-money with which the country was
Hooded daring the Revolutionary War. It became worthless because there
was no limit to its issue and no provision for its redemption or the
payment of Interest. The Congress of the Confederation possessed no
power to lay a tax, and the States which had the power were destitute of
resources, without mutual concert, and often moved by influences at
variance with each other. In this state of things taxation was out of
the question, and the paper-money, which had been manufactured by
wholesale rather than issued on any system of finance, steadily and at
length rapidly sank to its intrinsic worthlessness. Its memory has left
behind a wholesome dread of paper-money, but ought not to create a
prejudice against a well-organized system of credit, sustained by
efficient taxation.

No one will be better pleased than the writer of this article, if,
before it sees the light, the vigorous action of Congress shall render
its suggestions superfluous and unseasonable.

       *       *       *       *       *



VOYAGE OF THE GOOD SHIP UNION.

  'T is midnight: through my troubled dream
    Loud wails the tempest's cry;
  Before the gale, with tattered sail,
    A ship goes plunging by.
  What name? Where bound?--The rocks around
    Repeat the loud halloo.
  --The good ship Union, Southward bound:
    God help her and her crew!

  And is the old flag flying still
    That o'er your fathers flew,
  With bands of white and rosy light,
    And field of starry blue?
  --Ay! look aloft! its folds full oft
    Have braved the roaring blast,
  And still shall fly when from the sky
    This black typhoon has past!

  Speak, pilot of the storm-tost bark!
    May I thy peril share?
  --O landsman, these are fearful seas
    The brave alone may dare!
  --Nay, ruler of the rebel deep,
    What matters wind or wave?
  The rocks that wreck your reeling deck
    Will leave me nought to save!

  O landsman, art thou false or true?
    What sign hast thou to show?
  --The crimson stains from loyal veins
    That hold my heart-blood's flow!
  --Enough! what more shall honor claim?
    I know the sacred sign;
  Above thy head our flag shall spread,
    Our ocean path be thine!

  The bark sails on; the Pilgrim's Cape
    Lies low along her lee,
  Whose headland crooks its anchor-flukes
    To lock the shore and sea.
  No treason here! it cost too dear
    To win this barren realm!
  And true and free the hands must be
    That hold the whaler's helm!

  Still on! Manhattan's narrowing bay
    No Rebel cruiser scars;
  Her waters feel no pirate's keel
    That flaunts the fallen stars!
  --But watch the light on yonder height,--
    Ay, pilot, have a care!
  Some lingering cloud in mist may shroud
    The capes of Delaware!

  Say, pilot, what this fort may be,
    Whose sentinels look down
  From moated walls that show the sea
    Their deep embrasures' frown?
  The Rebel host claims all the coast,
    But these are friends, we know,
  Whose footprints spoil the "sacred soil,"
    And this is?--Fort Monroe!

  The breakers roar,--how bears the shore?
    --The traitorous wreckers' hands
  Have quenched the blaze that poured its rays
    Along the Hatteras sands.
  --Ha! say not so! I see its glow!
    Again the shoals display
  The beacon light that shines by night,
    The Union Stars by day!

  The good ship flies to milder skies,
    The wave more gently flows,
  The softening breeze wafts o'er the seas
    The breath of Beaufort's rose.
  "What fold is this the sweet winds kiss,
    Fair-striped and many-starred,
  Whose shadow palls these orphaned walls,
    The twins of Beauregard?

  "What! heard you not Port Royal's doom?
    How the black war-ships came
  And turned the Beaufort roses' bloom
    To redder wreaths of flame?
  How from Rebellion's broken reed
    We saw his emblem fall,
  As soon his cursèd poison-weed
    Shall drop from Sumter's wall?

  On! on! Pulaski's iron hail
    Falls harmless on Tybee!
  Her topsails feel the freshening gale,
    She strikes the open sea;
  She rounds the point, she threads the keys
    That guard the Land of Flowers,
  And rides at last where firm and fast
    Her own Gibraltar towers!

  The good ship Union's voyage is o'er,
    At anchor safe she swings,
  And loud and clear with cheer on cheer
    Her joyous welcome rings:
  Hurrah! Hurrah! it shakes the wave,
    It thunders on the shore,--
  One flag, one land, one heart, one hand,
    One Nation, evermore!

       *       *       *       *       *



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