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Title: The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 09, No. 54, April, 1862
Author: Various
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 09, No. 54, April, 1862" ***

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THE

ATLANTIC MONTHLY.

A MAGAZINE OF LITERATURE, ART, AND POLITICS.

VOL. IX.--APRIL, 1862.--NO. LIV.



LETTER TO A YOUNG CONTRIBUTOR.


My dear young gentleman or young lady,--for many are the Cecil Dreemes
of literature who superscribe their offered manuscripts with very
masculine names in very feminine handwriting,--it seems wrong not to
meet your accumulated and urgent epistles with one comprehensive reply,
thus condensing many private letters into a printed one. And so large a
proportion of "Atlantic" readers either might, would, could, or should
be "Atlantic" contributors also, that this epistle will be sure of
perusal, though Mrs. Stowe remain uncut and the Autocrat go for an hour
without readers.

Far from me be the wild expectation that every author will not
habitually measure the merits of a periodical by its appreciation of
his or her last manuscript. I should as soon ask a young lady not to
estimate the management of a ball by her own private luck in respect
to partners. But it is worth while at least to point out that in the
treatment of every contribution the real interests of editor and writer
are absolutely the same, and any antagonism is merely traditional, like
the supposed hostility between France and England, or between England
and Slavery. No editor can ever afford the rejection of a good thing,
and no author the publication of a bad one. The only difficulty lies in
drawing the line. Were all offered manuscripts unequivocally good or
bad, there would be no great trouble; it is the vast range of mediocrity
which perplexes: the majority are too bad for blessing and too good for
banning; so that no conceivable reason can be given for either fate,
save that upon the destiny of any single one may hang that of a hundred
others just like it. But whatever be the standard fixed, it is equally
for the interest of all concerned that it be enforced without flinching.

Nor is there the slightest foundation for the supposed editorial
prejudice against new or obscure contributors. On the contrary, every
editor is always hungering and thirsting after novelties. To take the
lead in bringing forward a new genius is as fascinating a privilege as
that of the physician who boasted to Sir Henry Halford of having been
the first man to discover the Asiatic cholera and to communicate it to
the public. It is only stern necessity which compels the magazine to
fall back so constantly on the regular old staff of contributors, whose
average product has been gauged already; just as every country-lyceum
attempts annually to arrange an entirely new list of lecturers, and ends
with no bolder experiment than to substitute Chapin and Beecher in place
of last year's Beecher and Chapin.

Of course no editor is infallible, and the best magazine contains an
occasional poor article. Do not blame the unfortunate conductor. He
knows it as well as you do,--after the deed is done. The newspapers
kindly pass it over, still preparing their accustomed opiate of sweet
praises, so much for each contributor, so much for the magazine
collectively,--like a hostess with her tea-making, a spoonful for each
person and one for the pot. But I can tell you that there is an official
person who meditates and groans, meanwhile, in the night-watches, to
think that in some atrocious moment of good-nature or sleepiness he left
the door open and let that ungainly intruder in. Do you expect him to
acknowledge the blunder, when you tax him with it? Never,--he feels it
too keenly. He rather stands up stoutly for the surpassing merits of the
misshapen thing, as a mother for her deformed child; and as the mother
is nevertheless inwardly imploring that there may never be such another
born to her, so be sure that it is not by reminding the editor of this
calamity that you can allure him into risking a repetition of it.

An editor thus shows himself to be but human; and it is well enough to
remember this fact, when you approach him. He is not a gloomy despot,
no Nemesis or Rhadamanthus, but a bland and virtuous man, exceedingly
anxious to secure plenty of good subscribers and contributors, and very
ready to perform any acts of kindness not inconsistent with this
grand design. Draw near him, therefore, with soft approaches and mild
persuasions. Do not treat him like an enemy, and insist on reading your
whole manuscript aloud to him, with appropriate gestures. His time has
some value, if yours has not; and he has therefore educated his eye till
it has become microscopic, like a naturalist's, and can classify nine
out of ten specimens by one glance at a scale or a feather. Fancy an
ambitious echinoderm claiming a private interview with Agassiz, to
demonstrate by verbal arguments that he is a mollusk! Besides, do
you expect to administer the thing orally to each of the two hundred
thousand, more or less, who turn the leaves of the "Atlantic"? You are
writing for the average eye, and must submit to its verdict. "Do not
trouble yourself about the light on your statue; it is the light of the
public square which must test its value."

Do not despise any honest propitiation, however small, in dealing with
your editor. Look to the physical aspect of your manuscript, and prepare
your page so neatly that it shall allure instead of repelling. Use good
pens, black ink, nice white paper and plenty of it. Do not emulate
"paper-sparing Pope," whose chaotic manuscript of the "Iliad," written
chiefly on the backs of old letters, still remains in the British
Museum. If your document be slovenly, the presumption is that its
literary execution is the same, Pope to the contrary notwithstanding.
An editor's eye becomes carnal, and is easily attracted by a comely
outside. If you really wish to obtain his good-will for your production,
do not first tax his time for deciphering it, any more than in visiting
a millionnaire to solicit a loan you would begin by asking him to pay
for the hire of the carriage which takes you to his door.

On the same principle, send your composition in such a shape that it
shall not need the slightest literary revision before printing. Many a
bright production dies discarded which might have been made thoroughly
presentable by a single day's labor of a competent scholar, in shaping,
smoothing, dovetailing, and retrenching. The revision seems so slight
an affair that the aspirant cannot conceive why there should be so much
fuss about it.

  "The piece, you think, is incorrect; why, take it;
  I'm all submission; what you'd have it, make it."

But to discharge that friendly office no universal genius is salaried;
and for intellect in the rough there is no market.

Rules for style, as for manners, must be chiefly negative: a positively
good style indicates certain natural powers in the individual, but an
unexceptionable style is merely a matter of culture and good models. Dr.
Channing established in New England a standard of style which really
attained almost the perfection of the pure and the colorless, and the
disciplinary value of such a literary influence, in a raw and crude
nation, has been very great; but the defect of this standard is that it
ends in utterly renouncing all the great traditions of literature, and
ignoring the magnificent mystery of words. Human language may be polite
and powerless in itself, uplifted with difficulty into expression by the
high thoughts it utters, or it may in itself become so saturated with
warm life and delicious association that every sentence shall palpitate
and thrill with the mere fascination of the syllables. The statue is
not more surely included in the block of marble than is all conceivable
splendor of utterance in "Worcester's Unabridged." And as Ruskin says of
painting that it is in the perfection and precision of the instantaneous
line that the claim to immortality is made, so it is easy to see that a
phrase may outweigh a library. Keats heads the catalogue of things real
with "sun, moon, and passages of Shakspeare"; and Keats himself has
left behind him winged wonders of expression which are not surpassed by
Shakspeare, or by any one else who ever dared touch the English tongue.
There may be phrases which shall be palaces to dwell in, treasure-houses
to explore; a single word may be a window from which one may perceive
all the kingdoms of the earth and the glory of them. Oftentimes a word
shall speak what accumulated volumes have labored in vain to utter:
there may be years of crowded passion in a word, and half a life in a
sentence.

Such being the majesty of the art you seek to practise, you can at least
take time and deliberation before dishonoring it. Disabuse yourself
especially of the belief that any grace or flow of style can come from
writing rapidly. Haste can make you slipshod, but it can never make
you graceful. With what dismay one reads of the wonderful fellows in
fashionable novels, who can easily dash off a brilliant essay in a
single night! When I think how slowly my poor thoughts come in, how
tardily they connect themselves, what a delicious prolonged perplexity
it is to cut and contrive a decent clothing of words for them, as a
little girl does for her doll,--nay, how many new outfits a single
sentence sometimes costs before it is presentable, till it seems at
last, like our army on the Potomac, as if it never could be thoroughly
clothed,--I certainly should never dare to venture into print, but for
the confirmed suspicion that the greatest writers have done even so. I
can hardly believe that there is any autograph in the world so precious
or instructive as that scrap of paper, still preserved at Ferrara, on
which Ariosto wrote in sixteen different revisions one of his most
famous stanzas. Do you know, my dear neophyte, how Balzac used to
compose? As a specimen of the labor that sometimes goes to make an
effective style, the process is worth recording. When Balzac had a new
work in view, he first spent weeks in studying from real life for it,
haunting the streets of Paris by day and night, note-book in hand. His
materials gained, he shut himself up till the book was written, perhaps
two months, absolutely excluding everybody but his publisher. He emerged
pale and thin, with the complete manuscript in his hand,--not only
written, but almost rewritten, so thoroughly was the original copy
altered, interlined, and rearranged. This strange production, almost
illegible, was sent to the unfortunate printers; with infinite
difficulty a proof-sheet was obtained, which, being sent to the author,
was presently returned in almost as hopeless a chaos of corrections as
the manuscript first submitted. Whole sentences were erased, others
transposed, everything modified. A second and a third followed, alike
torn to pieces by the ravenous pen of Balzac. The despairing printers
labored by turns, only the picked men of the office being equal to the
task, and they relieving each other at hourly intervals, as beyond
that time no one could endure the fatigue. At last, by the fourth
proof-sheet, the author too was wearied out, though not contented. "I
work ten hours out of the twenty-four," said he, "over the elaboration
of my unhappy style, and I am never satisfied, myself, when all is
done."

Do not complain that this scrupulousness is probably wasted, after all,
and that nobody knows. The public knows. People criticize higher than
they attain. When the Athenian audience hissed a public speaker for a
mispronunciation, it did not follow that any one of the malcontents
could pronounce as well as the orator. In our own lyceum-audiences there
may not be a man who does not yield to his own private eccentricities of
dialect, but see if they do not appreciate elegant English from Phillips
or Everett! Men talk of writing down to the public taste who have never
yet written up to that standard. "There never yet was a good tongue,"
said old Fuller, "that wanted ears to hear it." If one were expecting to
be judged by a few scholars only, one might hope somehow to cajole them;
but it is this vast, unimpassioned, unconscious tribunal, this average
judgment of intelligent minds, which is truly formidable,--something
more undying than senates and more omnipotent than courts, something
which rapidly cancels all transitory reputations, and at last becomes
the organ of eternal justice and infallibly awards posthumous fame.

The first demand made by the public upon every composition is, of
course, that it should be attractive. In addressing a miscellaneous
audience, whether through eye or ear, it is certain that no man living
has a right to be tedious. Every editor is therefore compelled to insist
that his contributors should make themselves agreeable, whatever else
they may do. To be agreeable, it is not necessary to be amusing; an
essay may be thoroughly delightful without a single witticism, while a
monotone of jokes soon grows tedious. Charge your style with life,
and the public will not ask for conundrums. But the profounder your
discourse, the greater must necessarily be the effort to refresh and
diversify. I have observed, in addressing audiences of children in
schools and elsewhere, that there is no fact so grave, no thought so
abstract, but you can make it very interesting to the small people, if
you will only put in plenty of detail and illustration; and I have not
observed that in this respect grown men are so very different. If,
therefore, in writing, you find it your mission to be abstruse, fight to
render your statement clear and attractive, as if your life depended on
it: your literary life does depend on it, and, if you fail, relapses
into a dead language, and becomes, like that of Coleridge, only a
_Biographia Literaria_. Labor, therefore, not in thought alone, but in
utterance; clothe and reclothe your grand conception twenty times, until
you find some phrase that with its grandeur shall be lucid also. It is
this unwearied literary patience that has enabled Emerson not merely to
introduce, but even to popularize, thoughts of such a quality as never
reached the popular mind before. And when such a writer, thus laborious
to do his utmost for his disciples, becomes after all incomprehensible,
we can try to believe that it is only that inevitable obscurity of vast
thought which Coleridge said was a compliment to the reader.

In learning to write availably, a newspaper-office is a capital
preparatory school. Nothing is so good to teach the use of materials,
and to compel to pungency of style. Being always at close quarters with
his readers, a journalist must shorten and sharpen his sentences, or he
is doomed. Yet this mental alertness is bought at a severe price; such
living from hand to mouth cheapens the whole mode of intellectual
existence, and it would seem that no successful journalist could ever
get the newspaper out of his blood, or achieve any high literary
success.

For purposes of illustration and elucidation, and even for amplitude of
vocabulary, wealth of accumulated materials is essential; and whether
this wealth be won by reading or by experience makes no great
difference. Coleridge attended Davy's chemical lectures to acquire new
metaphors, and it is of no consequence whether one comes to literature
from a library, a machine-shop, or a forecastle, provided he has learned
to work with thoroughness the soil he knows. After all is said and done,
however, books remain the chief quarries. Johnson declared, putting the
thing perhaps too mechanically, "The greater part of an author's time is
spent in reading in order to write; a man will turn over half a library
to make one book." Addison collected three folios of materials before
publishing the first number of the "Spectator." Remember, however, that
copious preparation has its perils also, in the crude display to which
it tempts. The object of high culture is not to exhibit culture, but
its results. You do not put guano on your garden that your garden may
blossom guano. Indeed, even for the proper subordination of one's own
thoughts the same self-control is needed; and there is no severer test
of literary training than in the power to prune out one's most cherished
sentence, when it grows obvious that the sacrifice will help the
symmetry or vigor of the whole.

Be noble both in the affluence and the economy of your diction; spare
no wealth that you can put in, and tolerate no superfluity that can be
struck out. Remember the Lacedemonian who was fined for saying that in
three words which might as well have been expressed in two. Do not throw
a dozen vague epithets at a thing, in the hope that some one of them
will fit; but study each phrase so carefully that the most ingenious
critic cannot alter it without spoiling the whole passage for everybody
but himself. For the same reason do not take refuge, as was the
practice a few years since, in German combinations, heart-utterances,
soul-sentiments, and hyphenized phrases generally; but roll your thought
into one good English word. There is no fault which seems so hopeless as
commonplaceness, but it is really easier to elevate the commonplace
than to reduce the turgid. How few men in all the pride of culture can
emulate the easy grace of a bright woman's letter!

Have faith enough in your own individuality to keep it resolutely down
for a year or two. A man has not much intellectual capital who cannot
treat himself to a brief interval of modesty. Premature individualism
commonly ends either in a reaction against the original whims, or in a
mannerism which perpetuates them. For mannerism no one is great enough,
because, though in the hands of a strong man it imprisons us in novel
fascination, yet we soon grow weary, and then hate our prison forever.
How sparkling was Reade's crisp brilliancy in "Peg Woffington"!--but
into what disagreeable affectations it has since degenerated! Carlyle
was a boon to the human race, amid the lameness into which English style
was declining; but who is not tired of him and his catchwords now? He
was the Jenner of our modern style, inoculating and saving us all by his
quaint frank Germanism, then dying of his own disease. Now the age has
outgrown him, and is approaching a mode of writing which unites the
smoothness of the eighteenth century with the vital vigor of the
seventeenth, so that Sir Thomas Browne and Andrew Marvell seem quite as
near to us as Pope or Addison,--a style penetrated with the best spirit
of Carlyle, without a trace of Carlylism.

Be neither too lax nor too precise in your use of language: the one
fault ends in stiffness, the other in slang. Some one told the Emperor
Tiberius that he might give citizenship to men, but not to words. To be
sure, Louis XIV. in childhood, wishing for a carriage, called for _mon
carrosse_, and made the former feminine a masculine to all future
Frenchmen. But do not undertake to exercise these prerogatives of
royalty until you are quite sure of being crowned. The only thing I
remember of our college text-book of Rhetoric is one admirable verse of
caution which it quoted:--

  "In words, as fashions, the same rule will hold,
  Alike fantastic, if too new or old;
  Be not the first by whom the new are tried,
  Nor yet the last to lay the old aside."

Especially do not indulge any fantastic preference for either Latin or
Anglo-Saxon, the two great wings on which our magnificent English soars
and sings; we can spare neither. The combination gives an affluence of
synonymes and a delicacy of discrimination such as no unmixed idiom can
show.

While you utterly shun slang, whether native-or foreign-born,--(at
present, by the way, our popular writers use far less slang than the
English,)--yet do not shrink from Americanisms, so they be good ones.
American literature is now thoroughly out of leading-strings; and the
nation which supplied the first appreciative audience for Carlyle,
Tennyson, and the Brownings, can certainly trust its own literary
instincts to create the new words it needs. To be sure, the inelegancies
with which we are chiefly reproached are not distinctively American:
Burke uses "pretty considerable"; Miss Burney says, "I trembled a
few"; the English Bible says "reckon," Locke has "guess," and Southey
"realize," in the exact senses in which one sometimes hears them used
colloquially here. Nevertheless such improprieties are of course to be
avoided; but whatever good Americanisms exist, let us hold to them by
all means. The diction of Emerson alone is a sufficient proof, by its
unequalled range and precision, that no people in the world ever had
access to a vocabulary so rich and copious as we are acquiring. To
the previous traditions and associations of the English tongue we add
resources of contemporary life such as England cannot rival. Political
freedom makes every man an individual; a vast industrial activity makes
every man an inventor, not merely of labor-saving machines, but of
labor-saving words; universal schooling popularizes all thought and
sharpens the edge of all language. We unconsciously demand of our
writers the same dash and the same accuracy which we demand in
railroading or dry-goods-jobbing. The mixture of nationalities is
constantly coining and exchanging new felicities of dialect: Ireland,
Scotland, Germany, Africa are present everywhere with their various
contributions of wit and shrewdness, thought and geniality; in New York
and elsewhere one finds whole thoroughfares of France, Italy, Spain,
Portugal; on our Western railways there are placards printed in Swedish;
even China is creeping in. The colonies of England are too far and too
provincial to have had much reflex influence on her literature, but
how our phraseology is already amplified by our relations with
Spanish-America! The life-blood of Mexico flowed into our newspapers
while the war was in progress; and the gold of California glitters in
our primer: Many foreign cities may show a greater variety of mere
national costumes, but the representative value of our immigrant tribes
is far greater from the very fact that they merge their mental costume
in ours. Thus the American writer finds himself among his phrases like
an American sea-captain amid his crew: a medley of all nations, waiting
for the strong organizing New-England mind to mould them into a unit of
force.

There are certain minor matters, subsidiary to elegance, if not
elegancies, and therefore worth attention. Do not habitually prop your
sentences on crutches, such as Italics and exclamation-points, but make
them stand without aid; if they cannot emphasize themselves, these
devices are commonly but a confession of helplessness. Do not leave
loose ends as you go on, straggling things, to be caught up and dragged
along uneasily in foot-notes, but work them all in neatly, as Biddy at
her bread-pan gradually kneads in all the outlying bits of dough, till
she has one round and comely mass.

Reduce yourself to short allowance of parentheses and dashes; if you
employ them merely from clumsiness, they will lose all their proper
power in your hands. Economize quotation-marks also, clear that dust
from your pages, assume your readers to be acquainted with the current
jokes and the stock epithets: all persons like the compliment of having
it presumed that they know something, and prefer to discover the wit or
beauty of your allusion without a guide-board.

The same principle applies to learned citations and the results of
study. Knead these thoroughly in, supplying the maximum of desired
information with a minimum of visible schoolmaster. It requires no
pedantic mention of Euclid to indicate a mathematical mind, but only the
habitual use of clear terms and close connections. To employ in argument
the forms of Whately's Logic would render it probable that you are
juvenile and certain that you are tedious; wreathe the chain with roses.
The more you have studied foreign languages, the more you will be
disposed to keep Ollendorff in the background: the proper result of such
acquirements is visible in a finer ear for words; so that Goethe said,
the man who had studied but one language could not know that one. But
spare the raw material; deal as cautiously in Latin as did General
Jackson when Jack Downing was out of the way; and avoid French as some
fashionable novelists avoid English.

Thus far, these are elementary and rather technical suggestions, fitted
for the very opening of your literary career. Supposing you fairly in
print, there are needed some further counsels.

Do not waste a minute, not a second, in trying to demonstrate to others
the merit of your own performance. If your work does not vindicate
itself, you cannot vindicate it, but you can labor steadily on to
something which needs no advocate but itself. It was said of Haydon,
the English artist, that, if he had taken half the pains to paint great
pictures that he took to persuade the public he had painted them, his
fame would have been secure. Similar was the career of poor Horne, who
wrote the farthing epic of "Orion" with one grand line in it, and a
prose work without any, on "The False Medium excluding Men of Genius
from the Public." He spent years in ineffectually trying to repeal the
exclusion in his own case, and has since manfully gone to the grazing
regions in Australia, hoping there at least to find the sheep and the
goats better discriminated. Do not emulate these tragedies. Remember how
many great writers have created the taste by which they were enjoyed,
and do not be in a hurry. Toughen yourself a little, and perform
something better. Inscribe above your desk the words of Rivarol, "Genius
is only great patience." It takes less time to build an avenue of
shingle palaces than to hide away unseen, block by block, the vast
foundation-stones of an observatory. Most by-gone literary fames have
been very short-lived in America, because they have lasted no longer
than they deserved. Happening the other day to recur to a list of
Cambridge lyceum-lecturers in my boyish days, I find with dismay that
the only name now popularly remembered is that of Emerson: death,
oblivion, or a professorship has closed over all the rest, while the
whole standard of American literature has been vastly raised meanwhile,
and no doubt partly through their labors. To this day, some of our most
gifted writers are being dwarfed by the unkind friendliness of too early
praise. It was Keats, the most precocious of all great poets, the stock
victim of critical assassination,--though the charge does him utter
injustice,--who declared that "nothing is finer for purposes of
production than a very gradual ripening of the intellectual powers."

Yet do not be made conceited by obscurity, any more than by notoriety.
Many fine geniuses have been long neglected; but what would become
of us, if all the neglected were to turn out geniuses? It is unsafe
reasoning from either extreme. You are not necessarily writing like
Holmes because your reputation for talent began in college, nor like
Hawthorne because you have been before the public ten years without an
admirer. Above all, do not seek to encourage yourself by dwelling on
the defects of your rivals: strength comes only from what is above you.
Northcote, the painter, said, that, in observing an inferior picture,
he always felt his spirits droop, with the suspicion that perhaps he
deceived himself and his own paintings were no better; but the works of
the mighty masters always gave him renewed strength, in the hope that
perhaps his own had in their smaller way something of the same divine
quality.

Do not complacently imagine, because your first literary attempt proved
good and successful, that your second will doubtless improve upon it.
The very contrary sometimes happens. A man dreams for years over
one projected composition, all his reading converges to it, all his
experience stands related to it, it is the net result of his existence
up to a certain time, it is the cistern into which he pours his
accumulated life. Emboldened by success, he mistakes the cistern for a
fountain, and instantly taps his brain again. The second production,
as compared with the first, costs but half the pains and attains but
a quarter part of the merit; a little more of fluency and facility
perhaps,--but the vigor, the wealth, the originality, the head of water,
in short, are wanting. One would think that almost any intelligent man
might write one good thing in a lifetime, by reserving himself long
enough: it is the effort after quantity which proves destructive. The
greatest man has passed his zenith, when he once begins to cheapen
his style of work and sink into a book-maker: after that, though the
newspapers may never hint at it, nor his admirers own it, the decline of
his career is begun.

Yet the author is not alone to blame for this, but also the world which
first tempts and then reproves him. Goethe says, that, if a person once
does a good thing, society forms a league to prevent his doing another.
His seclusion is gone, and therefore his unconsciousness and his
leisure; luxuries tempt him from his frugality, and soon he must toil
for luxuries; then, because he has done one thing well, he is urged
to squander himself and do a thousand things badly. In this country
especially, if one can learn languages, he must go to Congress; if he
can argue a case, he must become agent of a factory: out of this comes
a variety of training which is very valuable, but a wise man must
have strength to call in his resources before middle-life, prune off
divergent activities, and concentrate himself on the main work, be it
what it may. It is shameful to see the indeterminate lives of many of
our gifted men, unable to resist the temptations of a busy land, and so
losing themselves in an aimless and miscellaneous career.

Yet it is unjust and unworthy in Marsh to disfigure his fine work on the
English language by traducing all who now write that tongue. "None seek
the audience, fit, though few, which contented the ambition of Milton,
and all writers for the press now measure their glory by their gains,"
and so indefinitely onward,--which is simply cant. Does Sylvanus Cobb,
Jr., who honestly earns his annual five thousand dollars from the "New
York Ledger," take rank as head of American literature by virtue of his
salary? Because the profits of true literature are rising,--trivial as
they still are beside those of commerce or the professions,--its merits
do not necessarily decrease, but the contrary is more likely to happen;
for in this pursuit, as in all others, cheap work is usually poor work.
None but gentlemen of fortune can enjoy the bliss of writing for nothing
and paying their own printer. Nor does the practice of compensation by
the page work the injury that has often been ignorantly predicted. No
contributor need hope to cover two pages of a periodical with what might
be adequately said in one, unless he assumes his editor to be as foolish
as himself. The Spartans exiled Ctesiphon for bragging that he could
speak the whole day on any subject selected; and a modern magazine is of
little value, unless it has a Spartan at its head.

Strive always to remember--though it does not seem intended that we
should quite bring it home to ourselves--that "To-Day is a king in
disguise," and that this American literature of ours will be just as
classic a thing, if we do our part, as any which the past has treasured.
There is a mirage over all literary associations. Keats and Lamb seem to
our young people to be existences as remote and legendary as Homer, yet
it is not an old man's life since Keats was an awkward boy at the
door of Hazlitt's lecture-room, and Lamb was introducing Talfourd to
Wordsworth as his own only admirer. In reading Spence's "Anecdotes,"
Pope and Addison appear no farther off; and wherever I open Bacon's
"Essays," I am sure to end at last with that one magical sentence,
annihilating centuries, "When I was a child, and Queen Elizabeth was in
the flower of her years."

And this imperceptible transformation of the commonplace present into
the storied past applies equally to the pursuits of war and to the
serenest works of peace. Be not misled by the excitements of the moment
into overrating the charms of military life. In this chaos of uniforms,
we seem to be approaching times such as existed in England after
Waterloo, when the splenetic Byron declared that the only distinction
was to be a little undistinguished. No doubt, war brings out grand
and unexpected qualities, and there is a perennial fascination in the
Elizabethan Raleighs and Sidneys, alike heroes of pen and sword. But the
fact is patent, that there is scarcely any art whose rudiments are
so easy to acquire as the military; the manuals of tactics have
no difficulties comparable to those of the ordinary professional
text-books; and any one who can drill a boat's crew or a ball-club can
learn in a very few weeks to drill a company or even a regiment. Given
in addition the power to command, to organize, and to execute,--high
qualities, though not rare in this community,--and you have a man
needing but time and experience to make a general. More than this can be
acquired only by an exclusive absorption in this one art; as Napoleon
said, that, to have good soldiers, a nation must be always at war.

If, therefore, duty and opportunity call, count it a privilege to obtain
your share in the new career; throw yourself into it as resolutely and
joyously as if it were a summer-campaign in the Adirondack, but never
fancy for a moment that you have discovered any grander or manlier life
than you might be leading every day at home. It is not needful here to
decide which is intrinsically the better thing, a column of a newspaper
or a column of attack, Wordsworth's "Lines on Immortality" or
Wellington's Lines of Torres Vedras; each is noble, if nobly done,
though posterity seems to remember literature the longest. The writer
is not celebrated for having been the favorite of the conqueror, but
sometimes the conqueror only for having favored or even for having
spurned the writer. "When the great Sultan died, his power and glory
departed from him, and nothing remained but this one fact, that he knew
not the worth of Ferdousi." There is a slight delusion in this dazzling
glory. What a fantastic whim the young lieutenants thought it, when
General Wolfe, on the eve of battle, said of Gray's "Elegy," "Gentlemen,
I would rather have written that poem than have taken Quebec." Yet,
no doubt, it is by the memory of that remark that Wolfe will live the
longest,--aided by the stray line of another poet, still reminding us,
not needlessly, that "Wolfe's great name's cotemporal with our own."

Once the poets and the sages were held to be pleasing triflers, fit for
hours of relaxation in the lulls of war. Now the pursuits of peace are
recognized as the real, and war as the accidental. It interrupts
all higher avocations, as does the cry of fire: when the fire is
extinguished, the important affairs of life are resumed. Six years ago
the London "Times" was bewailing that all thought and culture in England
were suspended by the Crimean War. "We want no more books. Give us good
recruits, at least five feet seven, a good model for a floating-battery,
and a gun to take effect at five thousand yards,--and Whigs and Tories,
High and Low Church, the poets, astronomers, and critics, may settle it
among themselves." How remote seems that epoch now! and how remote will
the present soon appear! while art and science will resume their sway
serene, beneath skies eternal. Yesterday I turned from treatises on
gunnery and fortification to open Milton's Latin Poems, which I had
never read, and there, in the "Sylvarum Liber," I came upon a passage
as grand as anything in "Paradise Lost,"--his description of Plato's
archetypal man, the vast ideal of the human race, eternal, incorrupt,
coeval with the stars, dwelling either in the sidereal spaces, or among
the Lethean mansions of souls unborn, or pacing the unexplored confines
of the habitable globe. There stood the majestic image, veiled in a dead
language, yet still visible; and it was as if one of the poet's own
sylvan groves had been suddenly cut down, and opened a view of Olympus.
Then all these present fascinating trivialities of war and diplomacy
ebbed away, like Greece and Rome before them, and there seemed nothing
real in the universe but Plato's archetypal man.

Indeed, it is the same with all contemporary notorieties. In all free
governments, especially, it is the habit to overrate the _dramatis
personae_ of the hour. How empty to us are now the names of the great
politicians of the last generation, as Crawford and Lowndes!--yet it
is but a few years since these men filled in the public ear as large a
space as Clay or Calhoun afterwards, and when they died, the race of the
giants was thought ended. The path to oblivion of these later idols
is just as sure; even Webster will be to the next age but a mighty
tradition, and all that he has left will seem no more commensurate with
his fame than will his statue by Powers. If anything preserves the
statesmen of to-day, it will be only because we are coming to a contest
of more vital principles, which may better embalm the men. Of all gifts,
eloquence is the most short-lived. The most accomplished orator fades
forgotten, and his laurels pass to some hoarse, inaudible Burke,
accounted rather a bore during his lifetime, and possessed of a faculty
of scattering, not convincing, the members of the House. "After all,"
said the brilliant Choate, with melancholy foreboding, "a book is the
only immortality."

So few men in any age are born with a marked gift for literary
expression, so few of this number have access to high culture, so few
even of these have the personal nobleness to use their powers well,
and this small band is finally so decimated by disease and manifold
disaster, that it makes one shudder to observe how little of the
embodied intellect of any age is left behind. Literature is attar of
roses, one distilled drop from a million blossoms. Think how Spain and
Portugal once divided the globe between them in a treaty, when England
was a petty kingdom of illiterate tribes!--and now all Spain is
condensed for us into Cervantes, and all Portugal into the fading fame
of the unread Camoens. The long magnificence of Italian culture has
left us only _I Quattro Poeti_, the Four Poets. The difference between
Shakspeare and his contemporaries is not that he is read twice, ten
times, a hundred times as much as they: it is an absolute difference; he
is read, and they are only printed.

Yet, if our life be immortal, this temporary distinction is of little
moment, and we may learn humility, without learning despair, from
earth's evanescent glories. Who cannot bear a few disappointments, if
the vista be so wide that the mute inglorious Miltons of this sphere
may in some other sing their Paradise as Found? War or peace, fame or
forgetfulness, can bring no real injury to one who has formed the fixed
purpose to live nobly day by day. I fancy that in some other realm of
existence we may look back with some kind interest on this scene of our
earlier life, and say to one another,--"Do you remember yonder planet,
where once we went to school?" And whether our elective study here lay
chiefly in the fields of action or of thought will matter little to us
then, when other schools shall have led us through other disciplines.

       *       *       *       *       *


JOHN LAMAR.


The guard-house was, in fact, nothing but a shed in the middle of a
stubble-field. It had been built for a cider-press last summer; but
since Captain Dorr had gone into the army, his regiment had camped over
half his plantation, and the shed was boarded up, with heavy wickets at
either end, to hold whatever prisoners might fall into their hands
from Floyd's forces. It was a strong point for the Federal troops, his
farm,--a sort of wedge in the Rebel Cheat counties of Western Virginia.
Only one prisoner was in the guard-house now. The sentry, a raw
boat-hand from Illinois, gaped incessantly at him through the bars, not
sure if the "Secesh" were limbed and headed like other men; but the
November fog was so thick that he could discern nothing but a short,
squat man, in brown clothes and white hat, heavily striding to and fro.
A negro was crouching outside, his knees cuddled in his arms to keep
warm: a field-hand, you could be sure from the face, a grisly patch of
flabby black, with a dull eluding word of something, you could not tell
what, in the points of eyes,--treachery or gloom. The prisoner stopped,
cursing him about something: the only answer was a lazy rub of the
heels.

"Got any 'baccy, Mars' John?" he whined, in the middle of the hottest
oath.

The man stopped abruptly, turning his pockets inside out.

"That's all, Ben," he said, kindly enough. "Now begone, you black
devil!"

"Dem's um, Mars'! Goin' 'mediate,"--catching the tobacco, and lolling
down full length as his master turned off again.

Dave Hall, the sentry, stared reflectively, and sat down.

"Ben? Who air you next?"--nursing his musket across his knees,
baby-fashion.

Ben measured him with one eye, polished the quid in his greasy hand, and
looked at it.

"Pris'ner o' war," he mumbled, finally,--contemptuously; for Dave's
trousers were in rags like his own, and his chilblained toes stuck
through the shoe-tops. Cheap white trash, clearly.

"Yer master's some at swearin'. Heow many, neow, hes he like you, down
to Georgy?"

The boatman's bony face was gathering a woful pity. He had enlisted to
free the Uncle Toms, and carry God's vengeance to the Legrees. Here they
were, a pair of them.

Ben squinted another critical survey of the "miss'able Linkinite."

"How many wells hev _yer_ poisoned since yer set out?" he muttered.

The sentry stopped.

"How many 'longin' to de Lamars? 'Bout as many as der's dam' Yankees in
Richmond 'baccy-houses!"

Something in Dave's shrewd, whitish eye warned him off.

"Ki yi! yer white nigger, yer!" he chuckled, shuffling down the stubble.

Dave clicked his musket,--then, choking down an oath into a grim
Methodist psalm, resumed his walk, looking askance at the coarse-moulded
face of the prisoner peering through the bars, and the diamond studs in
his shirt,--bought with human blood, doubtless. The man was the black
curse of slavery itself in the flesh, in his thought somehow, and he
hated him accordingly. Our men of the Northwest have enough brawny
Covenanter muscle in their religion to make them good haters for
opinion's sake.

Lamar, the prisoner, watched him with a lazy drollery in his sluggish
black eyes. It died out into sternness, as he looked beyond the sentry.
He had seen this Cheat country before; this very plantation was his
grandfather's a year ago, when he had come up from Georgia here, and
loitered out the summer months with his Virginia cousins, hunting. That
was a pleasant summer! Something in the remembrance of it flashed into
his eyes, dewy, genial; the man's leather-covered face reddened like a
child's. Only a year ago,--and now----The plantation was Charley Dorr's
now, who had married Ruth. This very shed he and Dorr had planned last
spring, and now Charley held him a prisoner in it. The very thought of
Charley Dorr warmed his heart. Why, he could thank God there were such
men. True grit, every inch of his little body! There, last summer, how
he had avoided Ruth until the day when he (Lamar) was going away!--then
he told him he meant to try and win her. "She cared most for you
always," Lamar had said, bitterly; "why have you waited so long?" "You
loved her first, John, you know." That was like a man! He remembered
that even that day, when his pain was breathless and sharp, the words
made him know that Dorr was fit to be her husband.

Dorr was his friend. The word meant much to John Lamar. He thought less
meanly of himself, when he remembered it. Charley's prisoner! An odd
chance! Better that than to have met in battle. He thrust back the
thought, the sweat oozing out on his face,--something within him
muttering, "For Liberty! I would have killed him, so help me God!"

He had brought despatches to General Lee, that he might see Charley, and
the old place, and--Ruth again; there was a gnawing hunger in his heart
to see them. Fool! what was he to them? The man's face grew slowly
pale, as that of a savage or an animal does, when the wound is deep and
inward.

The November day was dead, sunless: since morning the sky had had only
enough life in it to sweat out a few muddy drops, that froze as they
fell: the cold numbed his mouth as he breathed it. This stubbly slope
was where he and his grandfather had headed the deer: it was covered
with hundreds of dirty, yellow tents now. Around there were hills like
uncouth monsters, swathed in ice, holding up the soggy sky; shivering
pine-forests; unmeaning, dreary flats; and the Cheat, coiled about the
frozen sinews of the hills, limp and cold, like a cord tying a dead
man's jaws. Whatever outlook of joy or worship this region had borne on
its face in time gone, it turned to him to-day nothing but stagnation,
a great death. He wondered idly, looking at it, (for the old Huguenot
brain of the man was full of morbid fancies,) if it were winter alone
that had deadened color and pulse out of these full-blooded hills, or if
they could know the colder horror crossing their threshold, and forgot
to praise God as it came.

Over that farthest ridge the house had stood. The guard (he had been
taken by a band of Snake-hunters, back in the hills) had brought him
past it. It was a heap of charred rafters. "Burned in the night," they
said, "when the old Colonel was alone." They were very willing to
show him this, as it was done by his own party, the Secession
"Bush-whackers"; took him to the wood-pile to show him where his
grandfather had been murdered, (there was a red mark,) and buried, his
old hands above the ground. "Colonel said 't was a job fur us to pay up;
so we went to the village an' hed a scrimmage,"--pointing to gaps in
the hedges where the dead Bush-whackers yet lay unburied. He looked at
them, and at the besotted faces about him, coolly.

Snake-hunters and Bush-whackers, he knew, both armies used in Virginia
as tools for rapine and murder: the sooner the Devil called home his
own, the better. And yet, it was not God's fault, surely, that there
were such tools in the North, any more than that in the South Ben
was--Ben. Something was rotten in freer States than Denmark, he thought.

One of the men went into the hedge, and brought out a child's golden
ringlet as a trophy. Lamar glanced in, and saw the small face in its
woollen hood, dimpled yet, though dead for days. He remembered it. Jessy
Birt, the ferryman's little girl. She used to come up to the house every
day for milk. He wondered for which flag _she_ died. Ruth was teaching
her to write. _Ruth!_ Some old pain hurt him just then, nearer than even
the blood of the old man or the girl crying to God from the ground. The
sergeant mistook the look. "They'll be buried," he said, gruffly. "Ye
brought it on yerselves." And so led him to the Federal camp.

The afternoon grew colder, as he stood looking out of the guard-house.
Snow began to whiten through the gray. He thrust out his arm through the
wicket, his face kindling with childish pleasure, as he looked closer at
the fairy stars and crowns on his shaggy sleeve. If Floy were here! She
never had seen snow. When the flakes had melted off, he took a case out
of his pocket to look at Floy. His sister,--a little girl who had no
mother, nor father, nor lover, but Lamar. The man among his brother
officers in Richmond was coarse, arrogant, of dogged courage, keen
palate at the table, as keen eye on the turf. Sickly little Floy, down
at home, knew the way to something below all this: just as they of the
Rommany blood see below the muddy boulders of the streets the enchanted
land of Boabdil bare beneath. Lamar polished the ivory painting with his
breath, remembering that he had drunk nothing for days. A child's face,
of about twelve, delicate,--a breath of fever or cold would shatter such
weak beauty; big, dark eyes, (her mother was pure Castilian,) out of
which her little life looked irresolute into the world, uncertain what
to do there. The painter, with an unapt fancy, had clustered about the
Southern face the Southern emblem, buds of the magnolia, unstained, as
yet, as pearl. It angered Lamar, remembering how the creamy whiteness of
the full-blown flower exhaled passion of which the crimsonest rose knew
nothing,--a content, ecstasy, in animal life. Would Floy----Well, God
help them both! they needed help. Three hundred souls was a heavy weight
for those thin little hands to hold sway over,--to lead to hell or
heaven. Up North they could have worked for her, and gained only her
money. So Lamar reasoned, like a Georgian: scribbling a letter to
"My Baby" on the wrapper of a newspaper,--drawing the shapes of the
snowflakes,--telling her he had reached their grandfather's plantation,
but "have not seen our Cousin Ruth yet, of whom you may remember I have
told you, Floy. When you grow up, I should like you to be just such a
woman; so remember, my darling, if I"----He scratched the last words
out: why should he hint to her that he could die? Holding his life loose
in his hand, though, had brought things closer to him lately,--God and
death, this war, the meaning of it all. But he would keep his brawny
body between these terrible realities and Floy, yet awhile. "I want
you," he wrote, "to leave the plantation, and go with your old maumer to
the village. It will be safer there." He was sure the letter would reach
her. He had a plan to escape to-night, and he could put it into a post
inside the lines. Ben was to get a small hand-saw that would open the
wicket; the guards were not hard to elude. Glancing up, he saw the negro
stretched by a camp-fire, listening to the gaunt boatman, who was off
duty. Preaching Abolitionism, doubtless: he could hear Ben's derisive
shouts of laughter. "And so, good bye, Baby Florence!" he scrawled. "I
wish I could send you some of this snow, to show you what the floor of
heaven is like."

While the snow fell faster--without, he stopped writing, and began idly
drawing a map of Georgia on the tan-bark with a stick. Here the Federal
troops could effect a landing: he knew the defences at that point. If
they did? He thought of these Snake-hunters who had found in the war a
peculiar road for themselves downward with no gallows to stumble over,
fancied he saw them skulking through the fields at Cedar Creek, closing
around the house, and behind them a mass of black faces and bloody
bayonets. Floy alone, and he here,--like a rat in a trap! "God keep my
little girl!" he wrote, unsteadily. "God bless you, Floy!" He gasped for
breath, as if he had been writing with his heart's blood. Folding up the
paper, he hid it inside his shirt and began his dogged walk, calculating
the chances of escape. Once out of this shed, he could baffle a
blood-hound, he knew the hills so well.

His head bent down, he did not see a man who stood looking at him over
the wicket. Captain Dorr. A puny little man, with thin yellow hair, and
womanish face: but not the less the hero of his men,--they having found
out, somehow, that muscle was not the solidest thing to travel on in
war-times. Our regiments of "roughs" were not altogether crowned with
laurel at Manassas! So the men built more on the old Greatheart soul
in the man's blue eyes: one of those souls born and bred pure, sent to
teach, that can find breath only in the free North. His hearty "Hillo!"
startled Lamar.

"How are you, old fellow?" he said, unlocking the gate and coming in.

Lamar threw off his wretched thoughts, glad to do it. What need to
borrow trouble? He liked a laugh,--had a lazy, jolly humor of his own.
Dorr had finished drill, and come up, as he did every day, to freshen
himself with an hour's talk to this warm, blundering fellow. In this
dismal war-work, (though his whole soul was in that, too,) it was
like putting your hands to a big blaze. Dorr had no near relations;
Lamar--they had played marbles together--stood to him where a younger
brother might have stood. Yet, as they talked, he could not help his
keen eye seeing him just as he was.

Poor John! he thought: the same uncouth-looking effort of humanity that
he had been at Yale. No wonder the Northern boys jeered him, with his
sloth-ways, his mouthed English, torpid eyes, and brain shut up in that
worst of mud-moulds,--belief in caste. Even now, going up and down the
tan-bark, his step was dead, sodden, like that of a man in whose life
God had not yet wakened the full live soul. It was wakening, though,
Dorr thought. Some pain or passion was bringing the man in him out of
the flesh, vigilant, alert, aspirant. A different man from Dorr.

In fact, Lamar was just beginning to think for himself, and of course
his thoughts were defiant, intolerant. He did not comprehend how his
companion could give his heresies such quiet welcome, and pronounce
sentence of death on them so coolly. Because Dorr had gone farther up
the mountain, had he the right to make him follow in the same steps?
The right,--that was it. By brute force, too? Human freedom, eh?
Consequently, their talks were stormy enough. To-day, however, they were
on trivial matters.

"I've brought the General's order for your release at last, John. It
confines you to this district, however."

Lamar shook his head.

"No parole for me! My stake outside is too heavy for me to remain a
prisoner on anything but compulsion. I mean to escape, if I can. Floy
has nobody but me, you know, Charley."

There was a moment's silence.

"I wish," said Dorr, half to himself, "the child was with her cousin
Ruth. If she could make her a woman like herself!"

"You are kind," Lamar forced out, thinking of what might have been a
year ago.

Dorr had forgotten. He had just kissed little Ruth at the door-step,
coming away: thinking, as he walked up to camp, how her clear thought,
narrow as it was, was making his own higher, more just; wondering if
the tears on her face last night, when she got up from her knees after
prayer, might not help as much in the great cause of truth as the life
he was ready to give. He was so used to his little wife now, that he
could look to no hour of his past life, nor of the future coming ages
of event and work, where she was not present,--very flesh of his flesh,
heart of his heart. A gulf lay between them and the rest of the world.
It was hardly probable he could see her as a woman towards whom another
man looked across the gulf, dumb, hopeless, defrauded of his right.

"She sent you some flowers, by the way, John,--the last in the
yard,--and bade me be sure and bring you down with me. Your own colors,
you see?--to put you in mind of home,"--pointing to the crimson asters
flaked with snow.

The man smiled faintly: the smell of the flowers choked him: he laid
them aside. God knows he was trying to wring out this bitter old
thought: he could not look in Dorr's frank eyes while it was there.
He must escape to-night: he never would come near them again, in this
world, or beyond death,--never! He thought of that like a man going to
drag through eternity with half his soul gone. Very well: there was man
enough left in him to work honestly and bravely, and to thank God for
that good pure love he yet had. He turned to Dorr with a flushed face,
and began talking of Floy in hearty earnest,--glancing at Ben coming up
the hill, thinking that escape depended on him.

"I ordered your man up," said Captain Dorr. "Some canting Abolitionist
had him open-mouthed down there."

The negro came in, and stood in the corner, listening while they talked.
A gigantic fellow, with a gladiator's muscles. Stronger than that Yankee
captain, he thought,--than either of them: better breathed,--drawing the
air into his brawny chest. "A man and a brother." Did the fool think he
didn't know that before? He had a contempt for Dave and his like. Lamar
would have told you Dave's words were true, but despised the man as a
crude, unlicked bigot. Ben did the same, with no words for the idea. The
negro instinct in him recognized gentle blood by any of its signs,--the
transparent animal life, the reticent eye, the mastered voice: he
had better men than Lamar at home to learn it from. It is a trait of
serfdom, the keen eye to measure the inherent rights of a man to be
master. A negro or a Catholic Irishman does not need "Sartor Resartus"
to help him to see through any clothes. Ben leaned, half-asleep, against
the wall, some old thoughts creeping out of their hiding-places through
the torpor, like rats to the sunshine: the boatman's slang had been hot
and true enough to rouse them in his brain.

"So, Ben," said his master, as he passed once, "your friend has been
persuading you to exchange the cotton-fields at Cedar Creek for New-York
alleys, eh?"

"Ki!" laughed Ben, "white darkey. Mind ole dad, Mars' John, as took off
in der swamp? Um asked dat Linkinite ef him saw dad up Norf. Guess him's
free now. Ki! ole dad!"

"The swamp was the place for him," said Lamar. "I remember."

"Dunno," said the negro, surlily: "him's dad, af'er all: tink him's free
now,"--and mumbled down into a monotonous drone about

  "Oh yo, bredern, is yer gwine ober Jordern?"

Half-asleep, they thought,--but with dull questionings at work in his
brain, some queer notions about freedom, of that unknown North, mostly
mixed with his remembrance of his father, a vicious old negro, that in
Pennsylvania would have worked out his salvation in the under cell of
the penitentiary, but in Georgia, whipped into heroism, had betaken
himself into the swamp, and never returned. Tradition among the Lamar
slaves said he had got off to Ohio, of which they had as clear an idea
as most of us have of heaven. At any rate, old Kite became a mystery, to
be mentioned with awe at fish-bakes and barbecues. He was this uncouth
wretch's father,--do you understand? The flabby-faced boy, flogged in
the cotton-field for whining after his dad, or hiding away part of his
flitch and molasses for months in hopes the old man would come back, was
rather a comical object, you would have thought. Very different his,
from the feeling with which you left your mother's grave,--though as yet
we have not invented names for the emotions of those people. We'll grant
that it hurt Ben a little, however. Even the young polypus, when it is
torn from the old one, bleeds a drop or two, they say. As he grew up,
the great North glimmered through his thought, a sort of big field,--a
paradise of no work, no flogging, and white bread every day, where the
old man sat and ate his fill.

The second point in Ben's history was that he fell in love. Just as
you did,--with the difference, of course: though the hot sun, or the
perpetual foot upon his breast, does not make our black Prometheus less
fierce in his agony of hope or jealousy than you, I am afraid. It was
Nan, a pale mulatto house-servant, that the field-hand took into his
dull, lonesome heart to make life of, with true-love defiance of caste.
I think Nan liked him very truly. She was lame and sickly, and if Ben
was black and a picker, and stayed in the quarters, he was strong, like
a master to her in some ways: the only thing she could call hers in the
world was the love the clumsy boy gave her. White women feel in that
way sometimes, and it makes them very tender to men not their equals.
However, old Mrs. Lamar, before she died, gave her house-servants their
free papers, and Nan was among them. So she set off, with all the finery
little Floy could give her: went up into that great, dim North. She
never came again.

The North swallowed up all Ben knew or felt outside of his hot, hated
work, his dread of a lashing on Saturday night. All the pleasure left
him was 'possum and hominy for Sunday's dinner. It did not content him.
The spasmodic religion of the field-negro does not teach endurance. So
it came, that the slow tide of discontent ebbing in everybody's heart
towards some unreached sea set in his ignorant brooding towards that
vague country which the only two who cared for him had found. If he
forgot it through the dogged, sultry days, he remembered it when the
overseer scourged the dull tiger-look into his eyes, or when, husking
corn with the others at night, the smothered negro-soul, into which
their masters dared not look, broke out in their wild, melancholy songs.
Aimless, unappealing, yet no prayer goes up to God more keen in its
pathos. You find, perhaps, in Beethoven's seventh symphony the secrets
of your heart made manifest, and suddenly think of a Somewhere to come,
where your hope waits for you with late fulfilment. Do not laugh at Ben,
then, if he dully told in his song the story of all he had lost, or gave
to his heaven a local habitation and a name.

From the place where he stood now, as his master and Dorr walked up and
down, he could see the purplish haze beyond which the sentry had told
him lay the North. The North! Just beyond the ridge. There was a pain
in his head, looking at it; his nerves grew cold and rigid, as yours do
when something wrings your heart sharply: for there are nerves in these
black carcasses, thicker, more quickly stung to madness than yours. Yet
if any savage longing, smouldering for years, was heating to madness now
in his brain, there was no sign of it in his face. Vapid, with sordid
content, the huge jaws munching tobacco slowly, only now and then the
beady eye shot a sharp glance after Dorr. The sentry had told him the
Northern army had come to set the slaves free; he watched the Federal
officer keenly.

"What ails you, Ben?" said his master. "Thinking over your friend's
sermon?"

Ben's stolid laugh was ready.

"Done forgot dat, Mars'. Wouldn't go, nohow. Since Mars' sold dat cussed
Joe, gorry good times 't home. Dam' Abolitioner say we ums all goin'
Norf,"--with a stealthy glance at Dorr.

"That's more than your philanthropy bargains for, Charley," laughed
Lamar.

The men stopped; the negro skulked nearer, his whole senses sharpened
into hearing. Dorr's clear face was clouded.

"This slave question must be kept out of the war. It puts a false face
on it."

"I thought one face was what it needed," said Lamar. "You have too many
slogans. Strong government, tariff, Sumter, a bit of bunting, eleven
dollars a month. It ought to be a vital truth that would give soul and
_vim_ to a body with the differing members of your army. You, with your
ideal theory, and Billy Wilson with his 'Blood and Baltimore!' Try human
freedom. That's high and sharp and broad."

Ben drew a step closer.

"You are shrewd, Lamar. I am to go below all constitutions or expediency
or existing rights, and tell Ben here that he is free? When once the
Government accepts that doctrine, you, as a Rebel, must be let alone."

The slave was hid back in the shade.

"Dorr," said Lamar, "you know I'm a groping, ignorant fellow, but it
seems to me that prating of constitutions and existing rights is surface
talk; there is a broad common-sense underneath, by whose laws the world
is governed, which your statesmen don't touch often. You in the North,
in your dream of what shall be, shut your eyes to what is. You want a
republic where every man's voice shall be heard in the council, and the
majority shall rule. Granting that the free population are educated to a
fitness for this,--(God forbid I should grant it with the Snake-hunters
before my eyes!)--look here!"

He turned round, and drew the slave out into the light: he crouched
down, gaping vacantly at them.

"There is Ben. What, in God's name, will you do with him? Keep him a
slave, and chatter about self-government? Pah! The country is paying in
blood for the lie, to-day. Educate him for freedom, by putting a musket
in his hands? We have this mass of heathendom drifted on our shores by
your will as well as mine. Try to bring them to a level with the whites
by a wrench, and you'll waken out of your dream to a sharp reality. Your
Northern philosophy ought to be old enough to teach you that spasms in
the body-politic shake off no atom of disease,--that reform, to be
enduring, must be patient, gradual, inflexible as the Great Reformer.
'The mills of God,' the old proverb says, 'grind surely.' But, Dorr,
they grind exceeding slow!"

Dorr watched Lamar with an amused smile. It pleased him to see his brain
waking up, eager, vehement. As for Ben, crouching there, if they talked
of him like a clod, heedless that his face deepened in stupor, that his
eyes had caught a strange, gloomy treachery,--we all do the same, you
know.

"What is your remedy, Lamar? You have no belief in the right of
Secession, I know," said Dorr.

"It's a bad instrument for a good end. Let the white Georgian come out
of his sloth, and the black will rise with him. Jefferson Davis may not
intend it, but God does. When we have our Lowell, our New York, when we
are a self-sustaining people instead of lazy land-princes, Ben here will
have climbed the second of the great steps of Humanity. Do you laugh at
us?" said Lamar, with a quiet self-reliance. "Charley, it needs only
work and ambition to cut the brute away from my face, and it will leave
traits very like your own. Ben's father was a Guinea fetich-worshipper;
when we stand where New England does, Ben's son will be ready for his
freedom."

"And while you theorize," laughed Dorr, "I hold you a prisoner, John,
and Ben knows it is his right to be free. He will not wait for the
grinding of the mill, I fancy."

Lamar did not smile. It was womanish in the man, when the life of great
nations hung in doubt before them, to go back so constantly to little
Floy sitting in the lap of her old black maumer. But he did it,--with
the quick thought that to-night he must escape, that death lay in delay.

While Dorr talked, Lamar glanced significantly at Ben. The negro was not
slow to understand,--with a broad grin, touching his pocket, from which
projected the dull end of a hand-saw. I wonder what sudden pain made the
negro rise just then, and come close to his master, touching him with a
strange affection and remorse in his tired face, as though he had done
him some deadly wrong.

"What is it, old fellow?" said Lamar, in his boyish way. "Homesick, eh?
There's a little girl in Georgia that will be glad to see you and your
master, and take precious good care of us when she gets us safe again.
That's true, Ben!" laying his hand kindly on the man's shoulder, while
his eyes went wandering off to the hills lying South.

"Yes, Mars'," said Ben, in a low voice, suddenly bringing a
blacking-brush, and beginning to polish his master's shoes,--thinking,
while he did it, of how often Mars' John had interfered with the
overseers to save him from a flogging,--(Lamar, in his lazy way,
was kind to his slaves,)--thinking of little Mist' Floy with an odd
tenderness and awe, as a gorilla might of a white dove: trying to think
thus,--the simple, kindly nature of the negro struggling madly with
something beneath, new and horrible. He understood enough of the talk of
the white men to know that there was no help for him,--none. Always a
slave. Neither you nor I can ever know what those words meant to him.
The pale purple mist where the North lay was never to be passed. His
dull eyes turned to it constantly,--with a strange look, such as the
lost women might have turned to the door, when Jesus shut it: they
forever outside. There was a way to help himself? The stubby black
fingers holding the brush grew cold and clammy,--noting withal, the poor
wretch in his slavish way, that his master's clothes were finer than the
Northern captain's, his hands whiter, and proud that it was so,--holding
Lamar's foot daintily, trying to see himself in the shoe, smoothing down
the trousers with a boorish, affectionate touch,--with the same fierce
whisper in his ear, Would the shoes ever be cleaned again? would the
foot move to-morrow?

It grew late. Lamar's supper was brought up from Captain Dorr's, and
placed on the bench. He poured out a goblet of water.

"Come, Charley, let's drink. To Liberty! It is a war-cry for Satan or
Michael."

They drank, laughing, while Ben stood watching. Dorr turned to go, but
Lamar called him back,--stood resting his hand on his shoulder: he never
thought to see him again, you know.

"Look at Ruth, yonder," said Dorr, his face lighting. "She is coming to
meet us. She thought you would be with me."

Lamar looked gravely down at the low field-house and the figure at the
gate. He thought he could see the small face and earnest eyes, though it
was far off, and night was closing.

"She is waiting for you, Charley. Go down. Good night, old chum!"

If it cost any effort to say it, Dorr saw nothing of it.

"Good night, Lamar! I'll see you in the morning."

He lingered. His old comrade looked strangely alone and desolate.

"John!"

"What is it, Dorr?"

"If I could tell the Colonel you would take the oath? For Floy's sake."

The man's rough face reddened.

"You should know me better. Good bye."

"Well, well, you are mad. Have you no message for Ruth?"

There was a moment's silence.

"Tell her I say, God bless her!"

Dorr stopped and looked keenly in his face,--then, coming back, shook
hands again, in a different way from before, speaking in a lower
voice,--

"God help us all, John! Good night!"--and went slowly down the hill.

It was nearly night, and bitter cold. Lamar stood where the snow drifted
in on him, looking out through the horizon-less gray.

"Come out o' dem cold, Mars' John," whined Ben, pulling at his coat.

As the night gathered, the negro was haunted with a terrified wish to be
kind to his master. Something told him that the time was short. Here and
there through the far night some tent-fire glowed in a cone of ruddy
haze, through which the thick-falling snow shivered like flakes of
light. Lamar watched only the square block of shadow where Dorr's house
stood. The door opened at last, and a broad, cheerful gleam shot out
red darts across the white waste without; then he saw two figures go
in together. They paused a moment; he put his head against the bars,
straining his eyes, and saw that the woman turned, shading her eyes
with her hand, and looked up to the side of the mountain where the
guard-house lay,--with a kindly look, perhaps, for the prisoner out in
the cold. A kind look: that was all. The door shut on them. Forever: so,
good night, Ruth!

He stool there for an hour or two, leaning his head against the muddy
planks, smoking. Perhaps, in his coarse fashion, he took the trouble of
his manhood back to the same God he used to pray to long ago. When he
turned at last, and spoke, it was with a quiet, strong voice, like one
who would fight through life in a manly way. There was a grating sound
at the back of the shed: it was Ben, sawing through the wicket, the
guard having lounged off to supper. Lamar watched him, noticing that the
negro was unusually silent. The plank splintered, and hung loose.

"Done gone, Mars' John, now,"--leaving it, and beginning to replenish
the fire.

"That's right, Ben. We'll start in the morning. That sentry at two
o'clock sleeps regularly."

Ben chuckled, heaping up the sticks.

"Go on down to the camp, as usual. At two, Ben, remember! We will be
free to-night, old boy!"

The black face looked up from the clogging smoke with a curious stare.

"Ki! we'll be free to-night, Mars'!"--gulping his breath.

Soon after, the sentry unlocked the gate, and he shambled off out into
the night. Lamar, left alone, went closer to the fire, and worked busily
at some papers he drew from his pocket: maps and schedules. He intended
to write until two o'clock; but the blaze dying down, he wrapped his
blanket about him, and lay down on the heaped straw, going on sleepily,
in his brain, with his calculations.

The negro, in the shadow of the shed, watched him. A vague fear beset
him,--of the vast, white cold,--the glowering mountains,--of himself;
he clung to the familiar face, like a man drifting out into an unknown
sea, clutching some relic of the shore. When Lamar fell asleep, he
wandered uncertainly towards the tents. The world had grown new,
strange; was he Ben, picking cotton in the swamp-edge?--plunging his
fingers with a shudder in the icy drifts. Down in the glowing torpor of
the Santilla flats, where the Lamar plantations lay, Ben had slept off
as maddening hunger for life and freedom as this of to-day; but here,
with the winter air stinging every nerve to life, with the perpetual
mystery of the mountains terrifying his bestial nature down, the
strength of the man stood up: groping, blind, malignant, it may be; but
whose fault was that? He was half-frozen: the physical pain sharpened
the keen doubt conquering his thought. He sat down in the crusted snow,
looking vacantly about him, a man, at last,--but wakening, like a
new-born soul, into a world of unutterable solitude. Wakened dully,
slowly; sitting there far into the night, pondering stupidly on his old
life; crushing down and out the old parasite affection for his master,
the old fears, the old weight threatening to press out his thin life;
the muddy blood heating, firing with the same heroic dream that bade
Tell and Garibaldi lift up their hands to God, and cry aloud that they
were men and free: the same,--God-given, burning in the imbruted veins
of a Guinea slave. To what end? May God be merciful to America while
she answers the question! He sat, rubbing his cracked, bleeding feet,
glancing stealthily at the southern hills. Beyond them lay all that was
past; in an hour he would follow Lamar back to--what? He lifted his
hands up to the sky, in his silly way sobbing hot tears. "Gor-a'mighty,
Mars' Lord, I'se tired," was all the prayer he made. The pale purple
mist was gone from the North; the ridge behind which love, freedom
waited, struck black across the sky, a wall of iron. He looked at it
drearily. Utterly alone: he had always been alone. He got up at last,
with a sigh.

"It's a big world,"--with a bitter chuckle,--"but der's no room in it
fur poor Ben."

He dragged himself through the snow to a light in a tent where a
voice in a wild drone, like that he had heard at negro camp-meetings,
attracted him. He did not go in: stood at the tent-door, listening. Two
or three of the guard stood around, leaning on their muskets; in the
vivid fire-light rose the gaunt figure of the Illinois boatman, swaying
to and fro as he preached. For the men were honest, God-fearing souls,
members of the same church, and Dave, in all integrity of purpose, read
aloud to them,--the cry of Jeremiah against the foul splendors of the
doomed city,--waving, as he spoke, his bony arm to the South. The shrill
voice was that of a man wrestling with his Maker. The negro's fired
brain caught the terrible meaning of the words,--found speech in it:
the wide, dark night, the solemn silence of the men, were only fitting
audience.

The man caught sight of the slave, and, laying down his book, began one
of those strange exhortations in the manner of his sect. Slow at first,
full of unutterable pity. There was room for pity. Pointing to the human
brute crouching there, made once in the image of God,--the saddest
wreck on His green foot-stool: to the great stealthy body, the
revengeful jaws, the foreboding eyes. Soul, brains,--a man, wifeless,
homeless, nationless, hawked, flung from trader to trader for a handful
of dirty shinplasters. "Lord God of hosts," cried the man, lifting up
his trembling hands, "lay not this sin to our charge!" There was a scar
on Ben's back where the lash had buried itself: it stung now in the
cold. He pulled his clothes tighter, that they should not see it; the
scar and the words burned into his heart: the childish nature of the man
was gone; the vague darkness in it took a shape and name. The boatman
had been praying for him; the low words seemed to shake the night:--

"Hear the prayer of Thy servant, and his supplications! Is not this what
Thou hast chosen: to loose the bands, to undo the heavy burdens, and let
the oppressed go free? O Lord, hear! O Lord, hearken and do! Defer not
for Thine own sake, O my God!"

"What shall I do?" said the slave, standing up.

The boatman paced slowly to and fro, his voice chording in its dull
monotone with the smothered savage muttering in the negro's brain.

"The day of the Lord cometh; it is nigh at hand. Who can abide it? What
saith the prophet Jeremiah? 'Take up a burden against the South. Cry
aloud, spare not. Woe unto Babylon, for the day of her vengeance is
come, the day of her visitation! Call together the archers against
Babylon; camp against it round about; let none thereof escape.
Recompense her: as she hath done unto my people, be it done unto her.
A sword is upon Babylon: it shall break in pieces the shepherd and his
flock, the man and the woman, the young man and the maid. I will render
unto her the evil she hath done in my sight, saith the Lord.'"

It was the voice of God: the scar burned fiercer; the slave came forward
boldly,--

"Mars'er, what shall I do?"

"Give the poor devil a musket," said one of the men. "Let him come with
us, and strike a blow for freedom."

He took a knife from his belt, and threw it to him, then sauntered off
to his tent.

"A blow for freedom?" mumbled Ben, taking it up.

"Let us sing to the praise of God," said the boatman, "the sixty-eighth
psalm," lining it out while they sang,--the scattered men joining,
partly to keep themselves awake. In old times David's harp charmed away
the demon from a human heart. It roused one now, never to be laid again.
A dull, droning chant, telling how the God of Vengeance rode upon the
wind, swift to loose the fetters of the chained, to make desert the
rebellious land; with a chorus, or refrain, in which Ben's wild,
melancholy cry sounded like the wail of an avenging spirit:--

  "That in the blood of enemies
    Thy foot imbrued may be:
  And of thy dogs dipped in the same
    The tongues thou mayest see."

The meaning of that was plain; he sang it lower and more steadily each
time, his body swaying in cadence, the glitter in his eye more steely.

Lamar, asleep in his prison, was wakened by the far-off plaintive song:
he roused himself, leaning on one elbow, listening with a half-smile. It
was Naomi they sang, he thought,--an old-fashioned Methodist air that
Floy had caught from the negroes, and used to sing to him sometimes.
Every night, down at home, she would come to his parlor-door to say
good-night: he thought he could see the little figure now in its white
nightgown, and hear the bare feet pattering on the matting. When he was
alone, she would come in, and sit on his lap awhile, and kneel down
before she went away, her head on his knee, to say her prayers, as she
called it. Only God knew how many times he had remained alone after
hearing those prayers, saved from nights of drunken debauch. He thought
he felt Floy's pure little hand on his forehead now, as if she were
saying her usual "Good night, Bud." He lay down to sleep again, with a
genial smile on his face, listening to the hymn.

"It's the same God," he said,--"Floy's and theirs."

Outside, as he slept, a dark figure watched him. The song of the men
ceased. Midnight, white and silent, covered the earth. He could hear
only the slow breathing of the sleeper. Ben's black face grew ashy pale,
but he did not tremble, as he crept, cat-like, up to the wicket, his
blubber lips apart, the white teeth clenched.

"It's for Freedom, Mars' Lord!" he gasped, looking up to the sky, as if
he expected an answer. "Gor-a'mighty, it's for Freedom!" And went in.

A belated bird swooped through the cold moonlight into the valley, and
vanished in the far mountain-cliffs with a low, fearing cry, as though
it had passed through Hades.

They had broken down the wicket: he saw them lay the heavy body on the
lumber outside, the black figures hurrying over the snow. He laughed
low, savagely, watching them. Free now! The best of them despised him;
the years past of cruelty and oppression turned back, fused in a slow,
deadly current of revenge and hate, against the race that had trodden
him down. He felt the iron muscles of his fingers, looked close at the
glittering knife he held, chuckling at the strange smell it bore. Would
the Illinois boatman blame him, if it maddened him? And if Ben took the
fancy to put it to his throat, what right has he to complain? Has not he
also been a dweller in Babylon? He hesitated a moment in the cleft of
the hill, choosing his way, exultantly. He did not watch the North now;
the quiet old dream of content was gone; his thick blood throbbed and
surged with passions of which you and I know nothing: he had a lost life
to avenge. His native air, torrid, heavy with latent impurity, drew him
back: a fitter breath than this cold snow for the animal in his body,
the demon in his soul, to triumph and wallow in. He panted, thinking of
the saffron hues of the Santilla flats, of the white, stately dwellings,
the men that went in and out from them, quiet, dominant,--feeling the
edge of his knife. It was his turn to be master now! He ploughed his way
doggedly through the snow,--panting, as he went,--a hotter glow in his
gloomy eyes. It was his turn for pleasure now: he would have his fill!
Their wine and their gardens and----He did not need to choose a wife
from his own color now. He stopped, thinking of little Floy, with her
curls and great listening eyes, watching at the door for her brother.
He had watched her climb up into his arms and kiss his cheek. She never
would do that again! He laughed aloud, shrilly. By God! she should keep
the kiss for other lips! Why should he not say it?

Up on the hill the night-air throbbed colder and holier. The guards
stood about in the snow, silent, troubled. This was not like a death in
battle: it put them in mind of home, somehow. All that the dying man
said was, "Water," now and then. He had been sleeping, when struck,
and never had thoroughly wakened from his dream. Captain Poole, of the
Snake-hunters, had wrapped him in his own blanket, finding nothing more
could be done. He went off to have the Colonel summoned now, muttering
that it was "a damned shame." They put snow to Lamar's lips constantly,
being hot and parched; a woman, Dorr's wife, was crouching on the ground
beside him, chafing his hands, keeping down her sobs for fear they would
disturb him. He opened his eyes at last, and knew Dorr, who held his
head.

"Unfasten my coat, Charley. What makes it so close here?"

Dorr could not speak.

"Shall I lift you up, Captain Lamar?" asked Dave Hall, who stood leaning
on his rifle.

He spoke in a subdued tone, Babylon being far off for the moment. Lamar
dozed again before he could answer.

"Don't try to move him,--it is too late," said Dorr, sharply.

The moonlight steeped mountain and sky in a fresh whiteness. Lamar's
face, paling every moment, hardening, looked in it like some solemn work
of an untaught sculptor. There was a breathless silence. Ruth, kneeling
beside him, felt his hand grow slowly colder than the snow. He moaned,
his voice going fast,--

"At two, Ben, old fellow! We'll be free to-night!"

Dave, stooping to wrap the blanket, felt his hand wet: he wiped it with
a shudder.

"As he hath done unto My people, be it done unto him!" he muttered, but
the words did not comfort him.

Lamar moved, half-smiling.

"That's right, Floy. What is it she says? 'Now I lay me down'----I
forget. Good night. Kiss me, Floy."

He waited,--looked up uneasily. Dorr looked at his wife: she stooped,
and kissed his lips. Charley smoothed back the hair from the damp face
with as tender a touch as a woman's. Was he dead? The white moonlight
was not more still than the calm face.

Suddenly the night-air was shattered by a wild, revengeful laugh from
the hill. The departing soul rushed back, at the sound, to life, full
consciousness. Lamar started from their hold,--sat up.

"It was Ben," he said, slowly.

In that dying flash of comprehension, it may be, the wrongs of the white
man and the black stood clearer to his eyes than ours: the two lives
trampled down. The stern face of the boatman bent over him: he was
trying to stanch the flowing blood. Lamar looked at him: Hall saw no
bitterness in the look,--a quiet, sad question rather, before which his
soul lay bare. He felt the cold hand touch his shoulder, saw the pale
lips move.

"Was this well done?" they said.

Before Lamar's eyes the rounded arch of gray receded, faded into dark;
the negro's fierce laugh filled his ear: some woful thought at the sound
wrung his soul, as it halted at the gate. It caught at the simple faith
his mother taught him.

"Yea," he said aloud, "though I walk through the valley of the shadow of
death, I will fear no evil; for Thou art with me."

Dorr gently drew down the uplifted hand. He was dead.

"It was a manly soul," said the Northern captain, his voice choking, as
he straightened the limp hair.

"He trusted in God? A strange delusion!" muttered the boatman.

Yet he did not like that they should leave him alone with Lamar, as
they did, going down for help. He paced to and fro, his rifle on his
shoulder, arming his heart with strength to accomplish the vengeance
of the Lord against Babylon. Yet he could not forget the murdered man
sitting there in the calm moonlight, the dead face turned towards the
North,--the dead face, whereon little Floy's tears should never fall.
The grave, unmoving eyes seemed to the boatman to turn to him with the
same awful question. "Was this well done?" they said. He thought in
eternity they would rise before him, sad, unanswered. The earth, he
fancied, lay whiter, colder,--the heaven farther off; the war, which had
become a daily business, stood suddenly before him in all its terrible
meaning. God, he thought, had met in judgment with His people. Yet he
uttered no cry of vengeance against the doomed city. With the dead face
before him, he bent his eyes to the ground, humble, uncertain,--speaking
out of the ignorance of his own weak, human soul.

"The day of the Lord is nigh," he said; "it is at hand; and who can
abide it?"



MOUNTAIN PICTURES.


II.

MONADNOCK FROM WACHUSET.


  I would I were a painter, for the sake
    Of a sweet picture, and of her who led,
    A fitting guide, with light, but reverent tread,
  Into that mountain mystery! First a lake
    Tinted with sunset; next the wavy lines
      Of far receding hills; and yet more far,
    Monadnock lifting from his night of pines
      His rosy forehead to the evening star.
  Beside us, purple-zoned, Wachuset laid
  His head against the West, whose warm light made
      His aureole; and o'er him, sharp and clear,
  Like a shaft of lightning in mid launching stayed,
    A single level cloud-line, shone upon
    By the fierce glances of the sunken sun,
      Menaced the darkness with its golden spear!

  So twilight deepened round us. Still and black
  The great woods climbed the mountain at our back;
  And on their skirts, where yet the lingering day
  On the shorn greenness of the clearing lay,
    The brown old farm-house like a bird's nest hung.
  With home-life sounds the desert air was stirred:
  The bleat of sheep along the hill we heard,
  The bucket plashing in the cool, sweet well,
  The pasture-bars that clattered as they fell;
  Dogs barked, fowls fluttered, cattle lowed; the gate
  Of the barn-yard creaked beneath the merry weight
    Of sun-brown children, listening, while they swung,
      The welcome sound of supper-call to hear;
      And down the shadowy lane, in tinklings clear,
    The pastoral curfew of the cow-bell rung.
  Thus soothed and pleased, our backward path we took,
    Praising the farmer's home. He only spake,
    Looking into the sunset o'er the lake,
      Like one to whom the far-off is most near:
  "Yes, most folks think it has a pleasant look;
    I love it for my good old mother's sake,
      Who lived and died here in the peace of God!"
    The lesson of his words we pondered o'er,
  As silently we turned the eastern flank
  Of the mountain, where its shadow deepest sank,
  Doubling the night along our rugged road:
  We felt that man was more than his abode,--
    The inward life than Nature's raiment more;
  And the warm sky, the sundown-tinted hill,
    The forest and the lake, seemed dwarfed and dim
  Before the saintly soul, whose human will
      Meekly in the Eternal footsteps trod,
  Making her homely toil and household ways
  An earthly echo of the song of praise
    Swelling from angel lips and harps of seraphim!



INDIVIDUALITY.


At a certain depth, as has already been intimated in our literature,
all bosoms communicate, all hearts are one. Hector and Ajax, in Homer's
great picture, stand face to face, each with advanced foot, with
levelled spear, and turgid sinew, eager to kill, while on either side
ten thousand slaughterous wishes poise themselves in hot breasts,
waiting to fly with the flying weapons; yet, though the combatants
seem to surrender themselves wholly to this action, there is in each a
profound element that is no party to these hostilities. It is the pure
nature of man. Ajax is not all Greek, nor is Hector wholly Trojan: both
are also men; and to the extent of their mutual participation in this
pure and perpetual element of Manhood, they are more than friends,
more than relatives,--they are of identical spirit. For there is an
imperishable nature of Man, ever and everywhere the same, of which each
particular man is a testimony and representation. As the solid earth
underruns the "dissociating sea"--_Oceano dissociabili_--and joins in
one all sundered lands, so does this nature dip beneath the dividing
parts of our being, and make of all men one simple and inseparable
humanity. In love, in friendship, in true conversation, in all happiness
of communion between men, it is this unchangeable substratum or
substance of man's being that is efficient and supreme: out of
divers bosoms, Same calls, and replies to Same with a great joy
of self-recognition. It is only in virtue of this nature that men
understand, appreciate, admire, trust each other,--that books of the
earliest times remain true in the latest,--that society is possible; and
he in whom the virtue of it dwells divinely is admitted to the secret
confidence of all bosoms, lives in all times, and converses with each
soul and age in its own vernacular. Socrates looked beyond the gates of
death for happy communion with Homer and all the great; but already we
interchange words with these, whenever we are so sweetly prospered as to
become, in some good degree, identical with the absolute nature of man.

Not only, moreover, is this immortal substance of man's being common and
social, but it is so great and venerable that no one can match it
with an equal report. All the epithets by which we would extol it
are disgraced by it, as the most brilliant artificial lights become
blackness when placed between the eye and the noonday sun. It is older,
it is earlier in existence than the earliest star that shone in heaven;
and it will outlive the fixed stars that now in heaven seem fixed
forever. There is nothing in the created universe of which it was not
the prophecy in its primal conception; there is nothing of which it is
not the interpretation and ultimatum in its final form. The laws which
rule the world as forces are, in it, thoughts and liberties. All the
grand imaginations of men, all the glorified shapes, the Olympian gods,
cherubic and seraphic forms, are but symbols and adumbrations of what it
contains. As the sun, having set, still leaves its golden impress on the
clouds, so does the absolute nature of man throw up and paint, as it
were, on the sky testimonies of its power, remaining itself unseen.
Only, therefore, is one a poet, as he can cause particular traits and
events, without violation of their special character, or concealment
of their peculiar interest, to bear the deep, sweet, and infinite
suggestion of this. All princeliness and imperial worth, all that is
regal, beautiful, pure in men, comes from this nature; and the words
by which we express reverence, admiration, love, borrow from it their
entire force: since reverence, admiration, love, and all other grand
sentiments, are but modes or forms of _noble unification_ between men,
and are therefore shown to spring from that spiritual unity of which
persons are exponents; while, on the other hand, all evil epithets
suggest division and separation. Of this nature all titles of honor, all
symbols that command homage and obedience on earth, are pensioners. How
could the claims of kings survive successions of Stuarts and Georges,
but for a royalty in each peasant's bosom that pleads for its poor image
on the throne?

In the high sense, no man is great save he that is a large continent of
this absolute humanity. The common nature of man it is; yet those are
ever, and in the happiest sense, uncommon men, in whom it is liberally
present.

But every man, besides the nature which constitutes him man, has, so to
speak, another nature, which constitutes him a particular individual. He
is not only like all others of his kind, but, at the same time, unlike
all others. By physical and mental feature he is distinguished,
insulated; he is endowed with a quality so purely in contrast with the
common nature of man, that in virtue of it he can be singled out from
hundreds of millions, from all the myriads of his race. So far, now, as
one is representative of absolute humanity, he is a Person; so far
as, by an element peculiar to himself, he is contrasted with absolute
humanity, he is an Individual. And having duly chanted our _Credo_
concerning man's pure and public nature, let us now inquire respecting
this dividing element of Individuality,--which, with all the force it
has, strives to cut off communication, to destroy unity, and to make of
humanity a chaos or dust of biped atoms.

Not for a moment must we make this surface nature of equal estimation
with the other. It is secondary, _very_ secondary, to the pure substance
of man. The Person first in order of importance; the Individual next,--

  "Proximus huic, longo sed proximus intervallo,"--

  "next with an exceeding wide remove."

Take from Epaminondas or Luther all that makes him man, and the
rest will not be worth selling to the Jews. Individuality is an
accompaniment, an accessory, a red line on the map, a fence about the
field, a copyright on the book. It is like the particular flavors of
fruits,--of no account but in relation to their saccharine, acid, and
other staple elements. It must therefore keep its place, or become
an impertinence. If it grow forward, officious, and begin to push in
between the pure nature and its divine ends, at once it is a meddling
Peter, for whom there is no due greeting but "Get thee behind me,
Satan." If the fruit have a special flavor of such ambitious pungency
that the sweets and acids cannot appear through it, be sure that to come
at this fruit no young Wilhelm Meister will purloin keys. If one be so
much an Individual that he wellnigh ceases to be a Man, we shall not
admire him. It is the same in mental as in physical feature. Let there,
by all means, be slight divergence from the common type; but by all
means let it be no more than a slight divergence. Too much is monstrous:
even a very slight excess is what we call _ugliness_. Gladly I perceive
in my neighbor's face, voice, gait, manner, a certain charm of
peculiarity; but if in any the peculiarity be so great as to suggest
a doubt whether he be not some other creature than man, may he not be
neighbor of mine!

A little of this surface nature suffices; yet that little cannot be
spared. Its first office is to guard frontiers. We must not lie quite
open to the inspection or invasion of others: yet, were there no medium
of unlikeness interposed between one and another, privacy would be
impossible, and one's own bosom would not be sacred to himself. But
Nature has secured us against these profanations; and as we have locks
to our doors, curtains to our windows, and, upon occasion, a passport
system on our borders, so has she cast around each spirit this veil to
guard it from intruding eyes, this barrier to keep away the feet of
strangers. Homer represents the divinities as coming invisibly to
admonish their favored heroes; but Nature was beforehand with the poet,
and every one of us is, in like manner, a celestial nature walking
concealed. Who sees _you_, when you walk the street? Who would walk the
street, did be not feel himself fortressed in a privacy that no foreign
eyes can enter? But for this, no cities would be built. Society,
therefore, would be impossible, save for this element, which seems to
hinder society. Each of us, wrapt in his opaque individuality, like
Apollo or Athene in a blue mist, remains hidden, if he will; and
therefore do men dare to come together.

But this superficial element, while securing privacy to the pure nature,
also aids it to expression. It emphasizes the outlines of Personality by
gentle contrast. It is like the shadow in the landscape, without which
all the sunbeams of heaven could not reveal with precision a single
object. Assured lovers resort to happy banter and light oppositions, to
give themselves a sweeter sense of unity of heart. The child, with a
cunning which only Nature has taught, will sometimes put a little honey
of refusal into its kisses before giving them; the maiden adds to her
virgin blooms the further attraction of virgin coyness and reserve; the
civilizing dinner-table would lose all its dignity in losing its delays;
and so everywhere, delicate denial, withholding reserve have an inverse
force, and add a charm of emphasis to gift, assent, attraction, and
sympathy. How is the word Immortality emphasized to our hearts by the
perpetual spectacle of death! The joy and suggestion of it could,
indeed, never visit us, had not this momentary loud denial been uttered
in our ears. Such, therefore, as have learned to interpret these
oppositions in Nature, hear in the jarring note of Death only a jubilant
proclamation of life eternal; while all are thus taught the longing for
immortality, though only by their fear of the contrary. And so is the
pure universal nature of man affirmed by these provocations of contrast
and insulation on the surface. We feel the personality far more, and far
more sweetly, for its being thus divided from our own. From behind this
veil the pure nature comes to us with a kind of surprise, as out of
another heaven. The joy of truth and delight of beauty are born anew for
us from each pair of chanting lips and beholding eyes; and each new soul
that comes promises another gift of the universe. Whoever, in any time
or under any sky, sees the worth and wonder of existence, sees it for
me; whatever language he speak, whatever star he inhabit, we shall
one day meet, and through the confession of his heart all my ancient
possessions will become a new gain; he shall make for me a natal day of
creation, showing the producing breath, as it goes forth from the lips
of God, and spreads into the blue purity of sky, or rounds into the
luminance of suns; the hills and their pines, the vales and their
blooms, and heroic men and beauteous women, all that I have loved or
reverenced, shall come again, appearing and trooping out of skies never
visible before. Because of these dividing lines between souls, each new
soul is to all the others a possible factor of heaven.

Such uses does individuality subserve. Yet it is capable of these
ministries only as it does indeed _minister_. All its uses are lost with
the loss of its humility and subordinance. It is the porter at the
gate, furthering the access of lawful, and forbidding the intrusion of
unlawful visitors to the mansion; who becomes worse than useless, if in
surly excess of zeal he bar the gate against all, or if in the excess of
self-importance he receive for himself what is meant for his master,
and turn visitors aside into the porter's lodge. Beautiful is virgin
reserve, and true it is that delicate half-denial reinforces attraction;
yet the maiden who carries only _No_ upon her tongue, and only refusal
in her ways, shall never wake before dawn on the day of espousal, nor
blush beneath her bridal veil, like Morning behind her clouds. This
surface element, we must remember, is not income and resource, but
an item of needful, and, so far as needful, graceful and economical
expenditure. Excess of it is wasteful, by causing Life to pay for
that which he does not need, by increase of social fiction, and by
obstruction of social flow with the fructifications which this brings,
not to be spared by any mortal. Nay, by extreme excess, it may so cut
off and sequester a man, that no word or aspect of another soul can
reach him; he shall see in mankind only himself, he shall hear in the
voices of others only his own echoes. Many and many a man is there, so
housed in his individuality, that it goes, like an impenetrable wall,
over eye and ear; and even in the tramp of the centuries he can find
hint of nothing save the sound of his own feet. It is a frequent
tragedy,--but profound as frequent.

One great task, indeed _the_ great task of good-breeding is,
accordingly, to induce in this element a delicacy, a translucency,
which, without robbing any action or sentiment of the hue it imparts,
shall still allow the pure human quality perfectly and perpetually to
shine through. The world has always been charmed with fine manners; and
why should it not? For what are fine manners but this: to carry your
soul on your lip, in your eye, in the palm of your hand, and yet to
stand not naked, but clothed upon by your individual quality,--visible,
yet inscrutable,--given to the hearts of others, yet contained in your
own bosom,--nobly and humanly open, yet duly reticent and secured from
invasion? _Polished_ manners often disappoint us; _good_ manners never.

The former may be taken on by indigent souls: the latter imply a noble
and opulent nature. And wait you not for death, according to the counsel
of Solon, to be named happy, if you are permitted fellowship with a man
of rich mind, whose individual savor you always finely perceive,
and never more than finely,--who yields you the perpetual sense of
community, and never of confusion, with your own spirit. The happiness
is all the greater, if the fellowship be accorded by a mind eminently
superior to one's own; for he, while yet more removed, comes yet nearer,
seeming to be that which our own soul may become in some future life,
and so yielding us the sense of our own being more deeply and powerfully
than it is given by the consciousness in our own bosom. And going
forward to the supreme point of this felicity, we may note that the
worshipper, in the ecstasy of his adoration, feels the Highest to be
also Nearest,--more remote than the borders of space and fringes of
heaven,--more intimate with his own being than the air he breathes or
the thought be thinks; and of this double sense is the rapture of his
adoration, and the joy indeed of every angel, born.

Divineness appertains to the absolute nature of man; piquancy and charm
to that which serves and modifies this. Infinitude and immortality are
of the one; the strictest finiteness belongs to the other. In the first
you can never be too deep and rich; in the second never too delicate and
measured. Yet you will easily find a man in whom the latter so abounds
as not only to shut him out from others, but to absorb all the vital
resource generated in his own bosom, leaving to the pure personality
nothing. The finite nature fares sumptuously every day; the other is a
heavenly Lazarus sitting at the gate.

Of such individuals there are many classes; and the majority of
eccentric men constitute one class. If a man have very peculiar ways, we
readily attribute to him a certain depth and force, and think that the
polished citizen wants character in comparison. Probably it is not so.
Singularity may be as shallow as the shallowest conformity. There are
numbers of such from whom if you deduct the eccentricity, it is like
subtracting red from vermilion or six from half a dozen. They are
grimaces of humanity,--no more. In particular, I make occasion to say,
that those oddities, whose chief characteristic it is to slink away from
the habitations of men, and claim companionship with musk-rats, are,
despite Mr. Thoreau's pleasant patronage of them, no whit more manly or
profound than the average citizen, who loves streets and parlors, and
does not endure estrangement from the Post-Office. Mice lurk in holes
and corners; could the cat speak, she would say that they have a genius
_only_ for lurking in holes. Bees and ants are, to say the least, quite
as witty as beetles, proverbially blind; yet they build insect cities,
and are as invincibly social and city-loving as Socrates himself.

Aside, however, from special eccentricity, there are men, like the Earl
of Essex, Bacon's _soi-disant_ friend, who possess a certain emphatic
and imposing individuality, which, while commonly assumed to indicate
character and force, is really but the _succedaneum_ for these. They
are like oysters, with extreme stress of shell, and only a blind, soft,
acephalous body within. These are commonly great men so long as little
men will serve; and are something less than little ever after. As an
instance of this, I should select the late chief magistrate of this
nation. His whole ability lay in putting a most imposing countenance
upon commonplaces. He made a mere _air_ seem solid as rock. Owing to
this possibility of presenting all force on the outside, and so creating
a false impression of resource, all great social emergencies are
followed by a speedy breaking down of men to whom was generally
attributed an able spirit; while others of less outward mark, and for
this reason hitherto unnoticed, come forward, and prove to be indeed the
large vessels of manhood accorded to that generation.

Our tendency to assume individual mark as the measure of personality
is flattered by many of the books we read. It is, of course, easier to
depict character, when it is accompanied by some striking individual
hue; and therefore in romances and novels this is conferred upon all the
forcible characters, merely to favor the author's hand: as microscopists
feed minute creatures with colored food to make their circulations
visible. It is only the great master who can represent a powerful
personality in the purest state, that is, with the maximum of character
and the minimum of individual distinction; while small artists, with a
feeble hold upon character, habitually resort to extreme quaintnesses
and singularities of circumstance, in order to confer upon their weak
portraitures some vigor of outline. It takes a Giotto to draw readily
a nearly perfect O; but a nearly perfect triangle any one can draw.
Shakspeare is able to delineate a Gentleman,--one, that is, who, while
nobly and profoundly a man, is so delicately individualized, that the
impression of him, however vigorous and commanding, cannot be harsh:
Shakspeare is equal to this task, but even so very able a painter as
Fielding is not. His Squire Western and Parson Adams are exquisite, his
Allworthy is vapid: deny him strong pigments of individualism, and he is
unable to portray strong character. Scott, among British novelists, is,
perhaps, in this respect most Shakspearian, though the Colonel Esmond of
Thackeray is not to be forgotten; but even Scott's Dandie Dinmonts, or
gentlemen in the rough, sparkle better than his polished diamonds.
Yet in this respect the Waverley Novels are singularly and admirably
healthful, comparing to infinite advantage with the rank and file of
novels, wherein the "characters" are but bundles of quaintnesses, and
the action is impossible.

Written history has somewhat of the same infirmity with fictitious
literature, though not always by the fault of the historian. Far too
little can it tell us respecting those of whom we desire to know much;
while, on the other hand, it is often extremely liberal of information
concerning those of whom we desire to know nothing. The greatest of men
approach a pure personality, a pure representation of man's imperishable
nature; individual peculiarity they far less abound in; and what they do
possess is held in transparent solution by their manhood, as a certain
amount of vapor is always held by the air. The higher its temperature,
the more moisture can the atmosphere thus absorb, exhibiting it not as
cloud, but only as immortal azure of sky: and so the greater intensity
there is of the pure quality of man, the more of individual peculiarity
can it master and transform into a simple heavenliness of beauty, of
which the world finds few words to say. Men, in general, have, perhaps,
no more genius than novelists in general,--though it seems a hard speech
to make,--and while profoundly _impressed_ by any manifestation of the
pure genius of man, can _observe_ and _relate_ only peculiarities and
exceptional traits. Incongruities are noted; congruities are only felt.
If a two-headed calf be born, the newspapers hasten to tell of it; but
brave boys and beautiful girls by thousands grow to fulness of stature
without mention. We know so little of Homer and Shakspeare partly
because they were Homer and Shakspeare. Smaller men might afford more
plentiful materials for biography, because their action and character
would be more clouded with individualism. The biography of a supreme
poet is the history of his kind. He transmits himself by pure vital
impression. His remembrance is committed, not to any separable faculty,
but to a memory identical with the total being of men. If you would
learn his story, listen to the sprites that ride on crimson steeds along
the arterial highways, singing of man's destiny as they go.



THE GERMAN BURNS.


The extreme southwestern corner of Germany is an irregular right-angle,
formed by the course of the Rhine. Within this angle and an
hypothenuse drawn from the Lake of Constance to Carlsruhe lies a wild
mountain-region--a lateral offshoot from the central chain which
extends through Europe from west to east--known to all readers of
robber-romances as the Black Forest. It is a cold, undulating upland,
intersected with deep valleys which descend to the plains of the Rhine
and the Danube, and covered with great tracts of fir-forest. Here and
there a peak rises high above the general level, the Feldberg attaining
a height of five thousand feet. The aspect of this region is stern and
gloomy: the fir-woods appear darker than elsewhere; the frequent little
lakes are as inky in hue as the pools of the High Alps; and the meadows
of living emerald give but a partial brightness to the scenery. Here,
however, the solitary traveller may adventure without fear. Robbers and
robber-castles have long since passed away, and the people, rough and
uncouth as they may at first seem, are as kindly-hearted as they are
honest. Among them was born--and in their incomprehensible dialect
wrote--Hebel, the German Burns.

We dislike the practice of using the name of one author as the
characteristic designation of another. It is, at best, the sign of an
imperfect fame, implying rather the imitation of a scholar than the
independent position of a master. We can, nevertheless, in no other way
indicate in advance the place which the subject of our sketch occupies
in the literature of Germany. A contemporary of Burns, and ignorant of
the English language, there is no evidence that he had ever even heard
of the former; but Burns, being the first truly great poet who succeeded
in making classic a local dialect, thereby constituted himself an
illustrious standard, by which his successors in the same path must be
measured. Thus, Bellman and Béranger have been inappropriately invested
with his mantle, from the one fact of their being song-writers of a
democratic stamp. The Gascon, Jasmin, better deserves the title; and
Longfellow, in translating his "Blind Girl of Castèl-Cuillè," says,--

  "Only the lowland tongue of Scotland might
  Rehearse this little tragedy aright":--

a conviction which we have frequently shared, in translating our German
author.

It is a matter of surprise to us, that, while Jasmin's poems have gone
far beyond the bounds of France, the name of John Peter Hebel--who
possesses more legitimate claims to the peculiar distinction which
Burns achieved--is not only unknown outside of Germany, but not
even familiarly known to the Germans themselves. The most probable
explanation is, that the Alemannic dialect, in which he wrote, is spoken
only by the inhabitants of the Black Forest and a portion of Suabia,
and cannot be understood, without a glossary, by the great body of the
North-Germans. The same cause would operate, with greater force, in
preventing a translation into foreign languages. It is, in fact, only
within the last twenty years that the Germans have become acquainted
with Burns,--chiefly through the admirable translations of the poet
Freiligrath.

To Hebel belongs the merit of having bent one of the harshest of German
dialects to the uses of poetry. We doubt whether the lyre of Apollo was
ever fashioned from a wood of rougher grain. Broad, crabbed, guttural,
and unpleasant to the ear which is not thoroughly accustomed to its
sound, the Alemannic _patois_ was, in truth, a most unpromising
material. The stranger, even though he were a good German scholar, would
never suspect the racy humor, the _naïve_, childlike fancy, and the pure
human tenderness of expression which a little culture has brought to
bloom on such a soil. The contractions, elisions, and corruptions which
German words undergo, with the multitude of terms in common use derived
from the Gothic, Greek, Latin, and Italian, give it almost the character
of a different language. It was Hebel's mother-tongue, and his poetic
faculty always returned to its use with a fresh delight which insured
success. His _German_ poems are inferior in all respects.

Let us first glance at the poet's life,--a life uneventful, perhaps, yet
interesting from the course of its development. He was born in Basle,
in May, 1760, in the house of Major Iselin, where both his father and
mother were at service. The former, a weaver by trade, afterwards became
a soldier, and accompanied the Major to Flanders, France, and Corsica.
He had picked up a good deal of stray knowledge on his campaigns, and
had a strong natural taste for poetry. The qualities of the son were
inherited from him rather than from the mother, of whom we know nothing
more than that she was a steady, industrious person. The parents lived
during the winter in the little village of Hausen, in the Black Forest,
but with the approach of spring returned to Basle for their summer
service in Major Iselin's house.

The boy was but a year old when his father died, and the discipline of
such a restless spirit as he exhibited in early childhood seems to have
been a task almost beyond the poor widow's powers. An incorrigible
spirit of mischief possessed him. He was an arrant scape-grace,
plundering cupboards, gardens, and orchards, lifting the gates of
mill-races by night, and playing a thousand other practical and not
always innocent jokes. Neither counsel nor punishment availed, and
the entire weight of his good qualities, as a counterbalance, barely
sufficed to prevent him from losing the patrons whom his bright,
eager, inquisitive mind attracted. Something of this was undoubtedly
congenital, and there are indications that the strong natural impulse,
held in check only by a powerful will and a watchful conscience, was the
torment of his life. In his later years, when he filled the posts of
Ecclesiastical Counsellor and Professor in the Gymnasium at Carlsruhe,
the phrenologist Gall, in a scientific _séance_, made an examination of
his head. "A most remarkable development of"----, said Gall, abruptly
breaking off, nor could he be induced to complete the sentence.
Hebel, however, frankly exclaimed,--"You certainly mean the thievish
propensity. I know I have it by nature, for I continually feel its
suggestions." What a picture is presented by this confession! A pure,
honest, and honorable life, won by a battle with evil desires, which,
commencing with birth, ceased their assaults only at the brink of the
grave! A daily struggle, and a daily victory!

Hebel lost his mother in his thirteenth year, but was fortunate in
possessing generous patrons, who contributed enough to the slender means
he inherited to enable him to enter the Gymnasium at Carlsruhe. Leaving
this institution with the reputation of a good classical scholar, he
entered the University of Erlangen as a student of theology. Here his
jovial, reckless temperament, finding a congenial atmosphere, so got the
upperhand that he barely succeeded in passing the necessary examination,
in 1780. At the end of two years, during which time he supported himself
as a private tutor, he was ordained, and received a meagre situation
as teacher in the Academy at Lörrach, with a salary of one hundred and
forty dollars a year! Laboring patiently in this humble position for
eight years, he was at last rewarded by being transferred to the
Gymnasium at Carlsruhe, with the rank of Sub-Deacon. Hither, the
Markgraf Frederick of Baden, attracted by the warmth, simplicity, and
genial humor of the man, came habitually to listen to his sermons. He
found himself, without seeking it, in the path of promotion, and his
life thenceforth was a series of sure and moderate successes. His
expectations, indeed, were so humble that they were always exceeded by
his rewards. When Baden became a Grand Duchy, with a constitutional form
of government, it required much persuasion to induce him to accept
the rank of Prelate, with a seat in the Upper House. His friends were
disappointed, that, with his readiness and fluent power of speech,
he took so little part in the legislative proceedings. To one who
reproached him for this timidity he naively wrote,--"Oh, you have a
right to talk: you are the son of Pastor N. in X. Before you were twelve
years old, you heard yourself called _Mr._ Gottlieb; and when you went
with your father down the street, and the judge or a notary met you,
they took off their hats, you waiting for your father to return the
greeting, before you even lifted your cap. But I, as you well know,
grew up as the son of a poor widow in Hausen; and when I accompanied my
mother to Schopfheim or Basle, and we happened to meet a notary, she
commanded, 'Peter, jerk your cap off, there's a gentleman!'--but when
the judge or the counsellor appeared, she called out to me, when they
were twenty paces off, 'Peter, stand still where you are, and off with
your cap quick, the Lord Judge is comin'!' Now you can easily
imagine how I feel, when I recall those times,--and I recall them
often,--sitting in the Chamber among Barons, Counsellors of State,
Ministers, and Generals, with Counts and Princes of the reigning House
before me." Hebel may have felt that rank is but the guinea-stamp, but
he never would have dared to speak it out with the defiant independence
of Burns. Socially, however, he was thoroughly democratic in his tastes;
and his chief objection to accepting the dignity of Prelate was the fear
that it might restrict his intercourse with humbler friends.

His ambition appears to have been mainly confined to his theological
labors, and he never could have dreamed that his after-fame was to rest
upon a few poems in a rough mountain-dialect, written to beguile his
intense longing for the wild scenery of his early home. After his
transfer to Carlsruhe, he remained several years absent from the Black
Forest; and the pictures of its dark hills, its secluded valleys, and
their rude, warm-hearted, and unsophisticated inhabitants, became more
and more fresh and lively in his memory. Distance and absence turned the
quaint dialect to music, and out of this mild home-sickness grew the
Alemannic poems. A healthy oyster never produces a pearl.

These poems, written in the years 1801 and 1802, were at first
circulated in manuscript among the author's friends. He resisted the
proposal to collect and publish them, until the prospect of pecuniary
advantage decided him to issue an anonymous edition. The success of
the experiment was so positive that in the course of five years four
editions appeared,--a great deal for those days. Not only among his
native Alemanni, and in Baden and Würtemberg, where the dialect was
more easily understood, but from all parts of Germany, from poets and
scholars, came messages of praise and appreciation. Jean Paul (Richter)
was one of Hebel's first and warmest admirers. "Our Alemannic poet," he
wrote, "has life and feeling for everything,--the open heart, the open
arms of love; and every star and every flower are human in his sight....
In other, better words,--the evening-glow of a lovely, peaceful soul
slumbers upon all the hills he bids arise; for the flowers of poetry he
substitutes the flower-goddess Poetry herself; he sets to his lips the
Swiss Alp-horn of youthful longing and joy, while pointing with the
other hand to the sunset-gleam of the lofty glaciers, and dissolved
in prayer, as the sound of the chapel-bells is flung down from the
mountains."

Contrast this somewhat confused rhapsody with the clear, precise, yet
genial words wherewith Goethe welcomed the new poet. He instantly
seized, weighed in the fine balance of his ordered mind, and valued with
nice discrimination, those qualities of Hebel's genius which had but
stirred the splendid chaos of Richter with an emotion of vague delight.
"The author of these poems," says he, in the Jena "Literaturzeitung,"
(1804,) "is about to achieve a place of his own on the German Parnassus.
His talent manifests itself in two opposite directions. On the one hand,
he observes with a fresh, cheerful glance those objects of Nature which
express their life in positive existence, in growth and in motion,
(objects which we are accustomed to call _lifeless_,) and thereby
approaches the field of descriptive poetry; yet he succeeds, by his
happy personifications, in lifting his pictures to a loftier plane of
Art. On the other hand, he inclines to the didactic and the allegorical;
but here, also, the same power of personification comes to his aid, and
as, in the one case, he finds a soul for his bodies, so, in the other,
he finds a body for his souls. As the ancient poets, and others who have
been developed through a plastic sentiment for Art, introduce
loftier spirits, related to the gods,--such as nymphs, dryads, and
hamadryads,--in the place of rocks, fountains, and trees: so the author
transforms these objects into peasants, and countrifies [_verbauert_]
the universe in the most _naïve_, quaint, and genial manner, until the
landscape, in which we nevertheless always recognize the human figure,
seems to become one with man in the cheerful enchantment exercised upon
our fancy."

This is entirely correct, as a poetic characterization. Hebel, however,
possesses the additional merit--no slight one, either--of giving
faithful expression to the thoughts, emotions, and passions of the
simple people among whom his childhood was passed. The hearty native
kindness, the tenderness, hidden under a rough exterior, the lively,
droll, unformed fancy, the timidity and the boldness of love, the
tendency to yield to temptation, and the unfeigned piety of the
inhabitants of the Black Forest, are all reproduced in his poems. To say
that they teach, more or less directly, a wholesome morality, is but
indifferent praise; for morality is the cheap veneering wherewith
would-be poets attempt to conceal the lack of the true faculty. We
prefer to let our readers judge for themselves concerning this feature
of Hebel's poetry.

The Alemannic dialect, we have said, is at first harsh to the ear.
It requires, indeed, not a little practice, to perceive its especial
beauties; since these consist in certain quaint, playful inflections and
elisions, which, like the speech of children, have a fresh, natural,
simple charm of their own. The changes of pronunciation, in German
words, are curious. _K_ becomes a light guttural _ch_, and a great
number of monosyllabic words--especially those ending in _ut_ and
_üh_--receive a peculiar twist from the introduction of _e_ or _ei_:
as _gut, früh_, which become _guet, früeih_. This seems to be a
characteristic feature of the South-German dialects, though in none is
it so pronounced as in the Alemannic. The change of _ist_ into _isch,
hast_ into _hesch, ich_ into _i, dich_ into _de_, etc., is much more
widely spread, among the peasantry, and is readily learned, even by the
foreign reader. But a good German scholar would be somewhat puzzled by
the consolidation of several abbreviated words into a single one, which
occurs in almost every Alemannic sentence: for instance, in _woni_ he
would have some difficulty in recognizing _wo ich; ságene_ does not
suggest _sage ihnen_, nor _uffeme, auf einem_.

These singularities of the dialect render the translation of Hebel's
poems into a foreign language a work of great difficulty. In the absence
of any English dialect which possesses corresponding features, the
peculiar quaintness and raciness which they confer must inevitably be
lost. Fresh, wild, and lovely as the Schwarzwald heather, they are
equally apt to die in transplanting. How much they lose by being
converted into classical German was so evident to us (fancy, "Scots who
have with Wallace bled"!) that we at first shrank from the experiment of
reproducing them in a language still farther removed from the original.
Certainly, classical English would not answer; the individual soul of
the poems could never be recognized in such a garb. The tongue of Burns
can be spoken only by a born Scot; and our Yankee, which is rather a
grotesque English than a dialect, is unfortunately so associated
with the coarse and the farcical--Lowell's little poem of "'Zekel's
Courtship" being the single exception--that it seems hardly adapted to
the simple and tender fancies of Hebel. Like the comedian whose one
serious attempt at tragic acting was greeted with roars of laughter, as
an admirable burlesque, the reader might, in such a case, persist in
seeing fun where sentiment was intended.

In this dilemma, it occurred to us that the common, rude form of the
English language, as it is spoken by the uneducated everywhere, without
reference to provincial idioms, might possibly be the best medium.
It offers, at least, the advantage of simplicity, of a directness
of expression which overlooks grammatical rules, of natural pathos,
even,--and therefore, so far as these traits go, may reproduce them
without detracting seriously from the original. Those other qualities of
the poems which spring from the character of the people of whom and
for whom they were written must depend, for their recognition, on the
sympathetic insight of the reader. We can only promise him the utmost
fidelity in the translation, having taken no other liberty than the
substitution of common idiomatic phrases, peculiar to our language,
for corresponding phrases in the other. The original metre, in every
instance, has been strictly adhered to.

The poems, only fifty-nine in number, consist principally of short songs
or pastorals, and narratives. The latter are written in hexameter, but
by no means classic in form. It is a rough, irregular metre, in which
the trochees preponderate over the dactyls: many of the lines, in fact,
would not bear a critical scansion. We have not scrupled to imitate this
irregularity, as not inconsistent with the plain, ungrammatical speech
of the characters introduced, and the homely air of even the most
imaginative passages. The opening poem is a charmingly wayward idyl,
called "The Meadow," (_Die Wiese_,) the name of a mountain-stream,
which, rising in the Feldberg, the highest peak of the Black Forest,
flows past Hausen, Hebel's early home, on its way to the Rhine. An
extract from it will illustrate what Jean Paul calls the "hazardous
boldness" of Hebel's personifications:--

  Beautiful "Meadow," daughter o' Feldberg, I
    welcome and greet you.
  Listen: I'm goin' to sing a song, and all in
    y'r honor,
  Makin' a music beside ye, follerin' wherever
    you wander.
  Born unbeknown in the rocky, hidden heart
    o' the mountain,
  Suckled o' clouds and fogs, and weaned by
    the waters o' heaven,
  There you slep' like a babblin' baby, a-kep'
    in the bed-room,
  Secret, and tenderly cared-for: and eye o'
    man never saw you,--
  Never peeked through a key-hole and saw
    my little girl sleepin'
  Sound in her chamber o' crystal, rocked in
    her cradle o' silver.
  Neither an ear o' man ever listened to hear
    her a-breathin',
  No, nor her voice all alone to herself
    a-laughin' or cryin'.
  Only the close little spirits that know every
    passage and entrance,
  In and out dodgin', they brought ye up and
    teached ye to toddle,
  Gev' you a cheerful natur', and larnt you
    how to be useful:
  Yes, and their words didn't go into one ear
    and out at the t'other.
  Stand on your slippery feet as soon as may
    be, and use 'em,
  That you do, as you slyly creep from your
    chamber o' crystal
  Out o' doors, barefoot, and squint up to
    heaven, mischievously smilin'.
  Oh, but you're pretty, my darlin', y'r eyes
    have a beautiful sparkle!
  Isn't it nice, out o' doors? you didn't guess
    't was so pleasant?
  Listen, the leaves is rustlin', and listen, the
    birdies a-singin'!
  "Yes," says you, "but I'm goin' furder, and
    can't stay to hear 'm:
  Pleasant, truly, 's my way, and more so the
    furder I travel."

  Only see how spry my little one is at her
    jumpin'!
  "Ketch me!" she shouts, in her fun,--"if
    you want me, foller and ketch me!"
  Every minute she turns and jumps in another
    direction.

  There, you'll fall from the bank! You see,
       she's done it: I said so.
  Didn't I say it? And now she wobbles
       furder and furder,
  Creepin' along on all-fours, then off on her
       legs she's a-toddlin',--
  Slips in the bushes,--"Hunt me!"--and
       there, on a sudden, she peeks out.
  Wait, I'm a-comin'! Back o' the trees I
       hear her a-callin':
  "Guess where I am!"--she's whims of her
       own, a plenty, and keeps 'em.
  But, as you go, you're growin' han'somer,
       bigger, and stronger.
  Where the breath o' y'r breathin' falls, the
       meadows is greener,
  Fresher o' color, right and left, and the
       weeds and the grasses
  Sprout up as juicy as _can_ be, and posies o'
       loveliest colors
  Blossom as brightly as wink, and bees come
       and suck 'em.
  Water-wagtails come tiltin',--and, look!
       there's the geese o' the village!
  All are a-comin' to see you, and all want to
       give you a welcome;
  Yes, and you're kind o' heart, and you
       prattle to all of 'em kindly;
  "Come, you well-behaved creeturs, eat and
       drink what I bring you,--
  I must be off and away: God bless you,
       well-behaved creeturs!"[A]

[Footnote A: As the reader of German may be curious to see a specimen
of the original, we give this last passage, which contains, in a brief
compass, many distinctive features of the Alemannic dialect:--

  "Nei so lucg me doch, wie cha mi Meiddeli springe!
  'Chunnsch mi über,' seits und lacht, 'und witt
       mi, se hol mi!'
  All' wil en andere Weg, und alliwil anderi
       Sprüngli!
  Fall mer nit sel Reiuli ab!--Do hemmer's, i sags io--
  Hani's denn nit gseit? Doch gauckelet's witers
       und witers,
  Groblet uf alle Vieren, und stellt si wieder uf
       d' Beinli,
  Schlieft in d' Hürst--iez such mer's eisl--dört
       güggelet's use,
  Wart, i chumm! Druf rüefts mer wieder hinter
       de Bäume:
  'Roth wo bin i iez!'--und het si urige Phatest.
  Aber wie de gosch, wirsch sichtli grösser und
       schöner.
  Wo di liebligen Othern weiht, so färbt si der Rase
  Grüener rechts und links, es stöhn in saftige
       Triebe
  Gras und Chrüter uf, es stöhn in frischere Gstalte
  Farbigi Blüemli do, und d' Immli chömmen und
       suge.
  'S Wasserstelzli chunnt, und lueg doch,'s Wuli
       vo Todtnau!
  Alles will di bschauen, und Alles will di bigrüsse,
  Und di fründlig Herz git alle fründligi Rede:
  'Chömmet ihr ordlige Thierli, do hender, esset
       und trinket!
  Witers goht mi Weg, Gsegott, ihr ordlige Thierli!'"
]

The poet follows the stream through her whole course, never dropping the
figure, which is adapted, with infinite adroitness, and with the play
of a fancy as wayward and unrestrained as her own waters, to all her
changing aspects. Beside the Catholic chapel of Fair-Beeches she pauses
to listen to the mass; but farther down the valley becomes an apostate,
and attends the Lutheran service in the Husemer church. Stronger and
statelier grown, she trips along with the step of a maiden conscious of
her own beauty, and the poet clothes her in the costume of an Alemannic
bride, with a green kirtle of a hundred folds, and a stomacher of Milan
gauze, "like a loose cloud on a morning sky in spring-time." Thus
equipped, she wanders at will over the broader meadows, around the feet
of vineyard-hills, visits villages and churches, or stops to gossip with
the lusty young millers. But the woman's destiny is before her; she
cannot escape it; and the time is drawing near when her wild, singing,
pastoral being shall be absorbed in that of the strong male stream, the
bright-eyed son of the Alps, who has come so far to woo and win her.

  Daughter o' Feldberg, half-and-half I've got
       a suspicion
  How as you've virtues and faults enough now
       to choose ye a husband.
  Castin' y'r eyes down, are you? Pickin' and
       plattin' y'r ribbons?
  Don't be so foolish, wench!--She thinks I
       know nothin' about it,
  How she's already engaged, and each is
       a-waitin' for t'other.
  Don't I know him, my darlin', the lusty
       young fellow, y'r sweetheart?

  Over powerful rocks, and through the hedges
       and thickets,
  Right away from the snowy Swiss mountains
       he plunges at Rheineck
  Down to the lake, and straight ahead swims
       through it to Constance,
  Sayin': "'T's no use o' talkin', I'll have
       the gal I'm engaged to!"


  But, as he reaches Stein, he goes a little more slowly,
  Leavin' the lake where he's decently washed his feet and his body.
  Diessenhofen don't please him,--no, nor the convent beside it.
  For'ard he goes to Schaffhausen, onto the rocks at the corner;
  There he says: "It's no use o' talkin', I'll git to my sweetheart:
  Body and life I'll stake, cravat and embroidered suspenders."
  Woop! but he jumps! And now he talks to hisself, goin' furder,
  Giddy, belike, in his head, but pushes for'ard to Rheinau,
  Eglisau, and Kaiserstuhl, and Zurzach, and Waldshut,--
  All are behind him, passin' one village after another
  Down to Grenzach, and out on the broad and beautiful bottoms
  Nigh unto Basle; and there he must stop and look after his license.

         *       *       *       *       *

  Look! isn't that y'r bridegroom a-comin' down yonder to meet you?--
  Yes, it's him, it's him, I hear't, for his voice is so jolly!
  Yes, it's him, it's him,--with his eyes as blue as the heavens,
  With his Swiss knee-breeches o' green, and suspenders o' velvet,
  With his shirt o' the color o' pearl, and buttons o' crystal,
  With his powerful loins, and his sturdy back and his shoulders,
  Grand in his gait, commandin', beautiful, free in his motions,
  Proud as a Basle Councilman,--yes, it's the big boy o' Gothard![B]

[Footnote B: The Rhine.]

The daring with which Hebel _countrifies_ (or, rather, _farmerizes_, to
translate Goethe's--word more literally) the spirit of natural objects,
carrying his personifications to that point where the imaginative
borders on the grotesque, is perhaps his strongest characteristic. His
poetic faculty, putting on its Alemannic costume, seems to abdicate all
ambition of moving in a higher sphere of society, but within the bounds
it has chosen allows itself the utmost range of capricious enjoyment.
In another pastoral, called "The Oatmeal Porridge," he takes the grain
which the peasant has sown, makes it a sentient creature, and carries it
through the processes of germination, growth, and bloom, without once
dropping the figure or introducing an incongruous epithet. It is not
only a child, but a child of the Black Forest, uttering its hopes, its
anxieties, and its joys in the familiar dialect. The beetle, in
his eyes, becomes a gross, hard-headed boor, carrying his sacks of
blossom-meal, and drinking his mug of XX morning-dew; the stork parades
about to show his red stockings; the spider is at once machinist and
civil engineer; and even the sun, moon, and morning-star are not secure
from the poet's familiarities. In his pastoral of "The Field-Watchmen,"
he ventures to say,--

  Mister Schoolmaster Moon, with y'r forehead wrinkled with teachin',
  With y'r face full o' larnin', a plaster stuck on y'r cheek-bone,
  Say, do y'r children mind ye, and larn their psalm and their texes?

We much fear that this over-quaintness of fancy, to which the Alemannic
dialect gives such a racy flavor, and which belongs, in a lesser
degree, to the minds of the people who speak that dialect, cannot be
successfully clothed in an English dress. Let us try, therefore, a
little poem, the sentiment whereof is of universal application:--

  THE CONTENTED FARMER.

  I guess I'll take my pouch, and fill
  My pipe just once,--yes, that I will!
  Turn out my plough and home'ards go:
  _Buck_ thinks, enough's been done, I know.

  Why, when the Emperor's council's done,
  And he can hunt, and have his fun,
  He stops, I guess, at any tree,
  And fills his pipe as well as me.

  But smokin' does him little good:
  He can't have all things as he would.
  His crown's a precious weight, at that:
  It isn't like my old straw hat.

  He gits a deal o' tin, no doubt,
  But all the more he pays it out;
  And everywheres they beg and cry
  Heaps more than he can satisfy.

  And when, to see that nothin' 's wrong,
  He plagues hisself the whole day long,
  And thinks, "I guess I've fixed it now,"
  Nobody thanks him, anyhow.

  And so, when in his bloody clo'es
  The Gineral out o' battle goes,
  He takes his pouch, too, I'll agree,
  And fills his pipe as well as me.

  But in the wild and dreadfle fight,
  His pipe don't taste ezackly right:
  He's galloped here and galloped there,
  And things a'n't pleasant, anywhere.

  And sich a cursin': "Thunder!" "Hell!"
  And "Devil!" (worse nor I can tell:)
  His grannydiers in blood lay down,
  And yonder smokes a burnin' town.

  And when, a-travellin' to the Fairs,
  The merchant goes with all his wares,
  He takes a pouch o' th' best, I guess,
  And fills and smokes his pipe, no less.

  Poor devil, 't isn't good for you!
  With all y'r gold, you've trouble, too.
  Twice two is four, if stocks'll rise:
  I see the figgers in your eyes.

  It's hurry, worry, tare and tret;
  Ye ha'n't enough, the more ye get,--
  And couldn't use it, if ye had:
  No wonder that y'r pipe tastes bad!

  But good, thank God! and wholesome's mine:
  The bottom-wheat is growin' fine,
  And God, o' mornin's, sends the dew,
  And sends his breath o' blessin', too.

  And, home, there's Nancy bustlin' round:
  The supper's ready, I'll be bound,
  And youngsters waitin'. Lord! I vow
  I dunno which is smartest, now.

  My pipe tastes good; the reason's plain:
  (I guess I'll fill it once again:)
  With cheerful heart, and jolly mood,
  And goin' home, all things is good.

Hebel's narrative poems abound with the wayward pranks of a fancy which
seems a little too restive to be entirely controlled by his artistic
sense; but they possess much dramatic truth and power. He delights in
the supernatural element, but approaches it from the gentler human side.
In "The Carbuncle," only, we find something of that weird, uncanny
atmosphere which casts its glamour around the "Tam O'Shanter" of Burns.
A more satisfactory illustration of his peculiar qualities is "The
Ghost's Visit on the Feldberg,"--a story told by a loafer of Basle to a
group of beer-drinkers in the tavern at Todtnau, a little village at
the foot of the mountain. This is, perhaps, the most popular of Hebel's
poems, and we therefore translate it entire. The superstition that a
child born on Sunday has the power of seeing spirits is universal among
the German peasantry.

  THE GHOST'S VISIT ON THE FELDBERG.

  Hark ye, fellows o' Todtnau, if ever I told
       you the Scythe-Ghost[C]
  Was a spirit of Evil, I've now got a different
       story.
  Out of the town am I,--yes, that I'll honestly
       own to,--
  Related to merchants, at seven tables free to
       take pot-luck.
  But I'm a Sunday's child; and wherever the ghosts
       at the cross-roads
  Stand in the air, in vaults, and cellars, and
       out-o'-way places,--
  Guardin' hidden money with eyes like fiery
       sauce-pans,
  Washin' with bitter tears the spot where
       somebody's murdered,
  Shovellin' the dirt, and scratchin' it over
       with nails all so bloody,--
  Clear as day I can see, when it lightens.
       Ugh! how they whimper!
  Also, whenever with beautiful blue eyes the
       heavenly angels,
  Deep in the night, in silent, sleepin'
       villages wander,
  Peekin' in at the windows, and talkin'
       together so pleasant,
  Smilin' one at the t'other, and settin'
       outside o' the house-doors,
  So that the pious folks shall take no harm
       while they're sleepin':
  Then ag'in, when in couples or threes they
       walk in the grave-yard,
  Talkin' in this like: "There a faithful
       mother is layin';
  And here's a man that was poor, but took no
       advantage o' no one:
  Take your rest, for you're tired,--we'll waken
       ye up when the time comes!"
  Clearly I see by the light o' the stars, and I
       hear them a-talkin'.
  Many I know by their names, and speak to,
       whenever I meet 'em,
  Give 'em the time o' day, and ask 'em, and
       answer their questions.
  "How do ye do?" "How's y'r watch?"
       "Praise God, it's tolerable, thank you!"
  Believe it, or not! Well, once on a time my
       cousin, he sent me
  Over to Todtnau, on business with all sorts o'
       troublesome people,
  Where you've coffee to drink, and biscuit
       they give you to soak in 't.
  "Don't you stop on the road, nor gabble
       whatever comes foremost,"
  Hooted my cousin at startin', "nor don't you
       let go o' your snuff-box,
  Leavin' it round in the tavern, as gentlemen
       do, for the next time."
  Up and away I went, and all that my cousin
       he'd ordered
  Fairly and squarely I fixed. At the sign o'
       the Eagle in Todtnau
  Set for a while; then, sure o' my way, tramped
       off ag'in, home'ards,
  Nigh by the village, I reckoned,--but found
       myself climbin' the Feldberg,
  Lured by the birdies, and down by the brooks
       the beautiful posies:
  That's a weakness o' mine,--I ran like a fool
       after such things.
  Now it was dusk, and the birdies hushed up,
       settin' still on the branches.
  Hither and yonder a starlie stuck its head
       through the darkness,
  Peekin' out, as oncertain whether the sun was
       in bed yet,--
  Whether it mightn't come, and called to the
       other ones: "Come now!"
  Then I knowed I was lost, and laid myself
       down,--I was weary:
  There, you know, there's a hut, and I found
       an armful o' straw in 't.
  "Here's a go!" I thinks to myself, "and I
       wish I was safely
  Cuddled in bed to home,--or 't was midnight,
       and some little spirit
  Somewhere popped out, as o' nights when it's
       twelve they're accustomed,
  Passin' the time with me, friendly, till winds
       that blow early o' mornin's
  Blow out the heavenly lights, and I see the
       way back to the village."
  Now, as thinkin' in this like, I felt all over my
       watch-face,--
  Dark as pitch all around,--and felt with my
       finger the hour-hand,
  Found it was nigh onto 'leven, and hauled my
       pipe from my pocket,
  Thinkin': "Maybe a bit of a smoke'll keep
       me from snoozin'":
  Thunder! all of a sudden beside me was two
       of 'em talkin',
  Like as they'd business together! You'd
       better believe that I listened.
  "Say, a'n't I late a-comin'? Because there
       was, over in Mambach,
  Dyin', a girl with pains in the bones and terrible
       fever:
  Now, but she's easy! I held to her mouth the
       drink o' departure,
  So that the sufferin' ceased, and softly lowered
       the eyelids,
  Sayin': 'Sleep, and in peace,--I'll waken
       thee up when the time comes!'
  Do me the favor, brother: fetch in the basin o'
       silver
  Water, ever so little: my scythe, as you see,
       must be whetted."
  "Whetted?" says I to myself, "and a spirit?"
       and peeked from the window.
  Lo and behold, there sat a youngster with
       wings that was golden;
  White was his mantle, white, and his girdle
       the color o' roses,
  Fair and lovely to see, and beside him two
       lights all a-burnin'.
  "All the good spirits," says I, "Mr. Angel,
       God have you in keepin'!"
  "Praise their Master, the Lord," said the angel;
       "God thank you, as I do!"
  "Take no offence, Mr. Ghost, and by y'r good
       leave and permission,
  Tell me, what have you got for to mow?"
       "Why, the scythe!" was his answer.
  "Yes," says I, "for I see it; and that is my
       question exackly,
  What you're goin' to do with the scythe."
       "Why, to mow!" was his answer.
  Then I ventur'd to say: "And that is my question
       exackly,
  What you're goin' to mow, supposin' you're
       willin' to tell me."
  "Grass! And what is your business so late up
       here in the night-time?"
  "Nothin' special," I answered; "I'm burnin'
       a little tobacco.
  Lost my way, or most likely I'd be at the
       Eagle, in Todtnau.
  But to come to the subject, supposin' it isn't
       a secret,
  Tell me, what do you make o' the grass?"
       And he answered me: "Fodder!"
  "Don't understand it," says I; "for the Lord
       has no cows up in heaven."
  "Not precisely a cow," he remarked, "but
       heifers and asses.
  Seest, up yonder, the star?" and he pointed
       one out with his finger.
  "There's the ass o' the Christmas-Child, and
       Fridolin's heifers,[D]
  Breathin' the starry air, and waitin' for grass
       that I bring 'em:
  Grass doesn't grow there,--nothin' grows but
       the heavenly raisins,
  Milk and honey a-runnin' in rivers, plenty as
       water:
  But they're particular cattle,--grass they
       must have every mornin',
  Mouthfuls o' hay, and drink from earthly
       fountains they're used to.
  So for them I'm a-whettin' my scythe, and
       soon must be mowin':
  Wouldn't it be worth while, if politely you'd
       offer to help me?"
  So the angel he talked, and this way I answered
       the angel:
  "Hark ye, this it is, just: and I'll go wi' the
       greatest o' pleasure.
  Folks from the town know nothin' about it:
       we write and we cipher,
  Reckon up money,--that we can do!--and
       measure and weigh out,
  Unload, and on-load, and eat and drink without
       any trouble.
  All that we want for the belly, in kitchen,
       pantry, and cellar,
  Comes in lots through every gate, in baskets
       and boxes,
  Runs in every street, and cries at every
       corner:
  'Buy my cherries!' and 'Buy my butter!'
       and 'Look at my salad!'
  'Buy my onions!' and 'Here's your carrots!'
       and 'Spinage and parsley!'
  'Lucifer matches! Lucifer matches!' 'Cabbage
       and turnips!'
  'Here's your umbrellas!' 'Caraway-seed and
       juniper-berries!
  Cheap for cash, and all to be traded for sugar
       and coffee!'
  Say, Mr. Angel, didst ever drink coffee?
       how do you like it?"
  "Stop with y'r nonsense!" then he said, but
       he couldn't help laughin';
  "No, we drink but the heavenly air, and eat
       nothin' but raisins,
  Four on a day o' the week, and afterwards five
       on a Sunday.
  Come, if you want to go with me, now, for
       I'm off to my mowin',
  Back o' Todtnau, there on the grassy holt by
       the highway."
  "Yes, Mr. Angel, that will I truly, seein'
       you're willin':
  Seems to me that it's cooler: give me y'r
       scythe for to carry:
  Here's a pipe and a pouch,--you're welcome
       to smoke, if you want to."
  While I was talkin', "Poohoo!" cried the
       angel. A fiery man stood,
  Quicker than lightnin', beside me. "Light us
       the way to the village!"
  Said he. And truly before us marched, a-burnin',
       the Poohoo,
  Over stock and rock, through the bushes, a
       travellin' torch-light.
  "Handy, isn't it?" laughin', the angel said.
      --"What are ye doin'?
  Why do you nick at y'r flint? You can light
       y'r pipe at the Poohoo.
  Use him whenever you like: but it seems to
       me you're a-frightened,--
  You, and a Sunday's-child, as you are: do you
       think he will bite you?"
  "No, he ha'n't bit me; but this you'll allow
       me to say, Mr. Angel,--
  Half-and-half I mistrust him: besides, my tobacco's
       a-burnin'.
  That's a weakness o' mine,--I'm afeard o'
       them fiery creeturs:
  Give me seventy angels, instead o' this big
       burnin' devil!"
  "Really, it's dreadfle," the angel says he,
       "that men is so silly,
  Fearful o' ghosts and spectres, and skeery
       without any reason.
  Two of 'em only is dangerous, two of 'em hurtful
       to mankind:
  One of 'em's known by the name o' Delusion,
       and Worry the t'other.
  Him, Delusion, 's a dweller in wine: from
       cans and decanters
  Up to the head he rises, and turns your sense
       to confusion.
  This is the ghost that leads you astray in forest
       and highway:
  Undermost, uppermost, hither and yon the
       ground is a-rollin',
  Bridges bendin', and mountains movin', and
       everything double.
  Hark ye, keep out of his way!" "Aha!"
       I says to the angel,
  "There you prick me, but not to the blood: I
       see what you're after.
  Sober am I, as a judge. To be sure, I emptied
       my tankard
  Once, at the Eagle,--_once_,--and the landlord
       'll tell you the same thing,
  S'posin' you doubt me. And now, pray, tell
       me who is the t'other?"
  "Who is the t'other? Don't know without
       askin'?" answered the angel.
  "He's a terrible ghost: the Lord forbid you
       should meet him!
  When you waken early, at four or five in the
       mornin',
  There he stands a-waitin' with burnin eyes
       at y'r bed-side,
  Gives you the time o' day with blazin switches
       and pinchers:
  Even prayin' don't help, nor helps all your
       _Ave Marias!_
  When you begin 'em, he takes your jaws and
       claps 'em together;
  Look to heaven, he comes and blinds y'r eyes
       with his ashes;
  Be you hungry, and eat, he pizons y'r soup
       with his wormwood;
  Take you a drink o' nights, he squeezes gall
       in the tankard;
  Run like a stag, he follows as close on y'r trail
       as a blood-hound;
  Creep like a shadow, be whispers: 'Good! we
       had best take it easy';
  Kneels at y'r side in the church, and sets at
       y'r side in the tavern.
  Go wherever you will, there's ghosts a-hoverin'
       round you.
  Shut your eyes in y'r bed, they mutter:
       'There 's no need o' hurry;
  By-and-by you can sleep, but listen! we've
       somethin' to tell you:
  Have you forgot how you stoled? and how
       you cheated the orphans?
  Secretly sinned?'--and this, and t'other;
       and when they have finished,
  Say it over ag'in, and you get little good o'
       your slumber."
  So the angel he talked, and, like iron under
       the hammer,
  Sparked and spirited the Poohoo. "Surely,"
       I says to the angel,
  "Born on a Sunday was I, and friendly with
       many a preacher,
  Yet the Father protect me from these!" Says
       he to me, smilin':
  "Keep y'r conscience pure; it is better than
       crossin' and blessin'.
  Here we must part, for y'r way turns off and
       down to the village.
  Take the Poohoo along, but mind! put him
       out, in the meadow,
  Lest he should run in the village, settin' fire
       to the stables.
  God be with you and keep you!" And then
       says I: "Mr. Angel,
  God, the Father, protect you! Be sure, when
       you come to the city,
  Christmas evenin', call, and I'll hold it an
       honor to see you:
  Raisins I'll have at your service, and hippocras,
       if you like it.
  Chilly 's the air, o' evenin's, especially down
       by the river."
  Day was breakin' by this, and right there was
       Todtnau before me!
  Past, and onward to Basle I wandered, i' the
       shade and the coolness.
  When into Mambach I came, they bore a dead
       girl to the grave-yard,
  After the Holy Cross, and the faded banner o'
       Heaven,
  With the funeral garlands upon her, with sobbin'
       and weepin'.
  Ah, but she 'd heard what he said! he'll
       waken her up when the time comes.
  Afterwards, Tuesday it was, I got safely back
       to my cousin;
  But it turned out as he said,--I'd somewhere
       forgotten my snuff-box!

[Footnote C: _Dengle-Geist_, literally, "Whetting-Spirit." The exact
meaning of _dengeln_ is to sharpen a scythe by hammering the edge of the
blade, which was practised before whetstones came in use.]

[Footnote D: According to an old legend, Fridolin (a favorite saint with
the Catholic population of the Black Forest) harnessed two young heifers
to a mighty fir-tree, and hauled it into the Rhine near Säckingen,
thereby damming the river and forcing it to take a new course, on the
other side of the town.]

In this poem the hero of the story unconsciously describes himself by
his manner of telling it,--a reflective action of the dramatic faculty,
which Browning, among living poets, possesses in a marked degree. The
"moral" is so skilfully inwoven into the substance of the narrative as
to conceal the appearance of design, and the reader has swallowed the
pill before its sugar-coating of fancy has dissolved in his mouth. There
are few of Hebel's poems which were not written for the purpose of
inculcating some wholesome lesson, but in none does this object
prominently appear. Even where it is not merely implied, but directly
expressed, he contrives to give it the air of having been accidentally
suggested by the theme. In the following, which is the most pointedly
didactic of all his productions, the characteristic fancy still betrays
itself:--

  THE GUIDE-POST.

  D' ye know the road to th' bar'l o' flour?
    At break o' day let down the bars,
  And plough y'r wheat-field, hour by hour,
    Till sundown,--yes, till shine o' stars.

  You peg away, the livelong day,
    Nor loaf about, nor gape around;
  And that's the road to the thrashin'-floor,
    And into the kitchen, I'll be bound!

  D' ye know the road where dollars lays?
    Follow the red cents, here and there:
  For if a man leaves them, I guess,
    He won't find dollars anywhere.

  D' ye know the road to Sunday's rest?
    Jist don't o' week-days be afeard;
  In field and workshop do y'r best,
    And Sunday comes itself, I've heerd.
  On Saturdays it's not fur off,
     And brings a basketful o' cheer,--
  A roast, and lots o' garden-stuff,
     And, like as not, a jug o' beer!

  D' ye know the road to poverty?
     Turn in at any tavern-sign:
  Turn in,--it's temptin' as can be:
     There's bran'-new cards and liquor fine.

  In the last tavern there's a sack,
     And, when the cash y'r pocket quits,
  Jist hang the wallet on y'r back,--
     You vagabond! see how it fits!

  D' ye know what road to honor leads,
     And good old age?--a lovely sight!
  By way o' temperance, honest deeds,
     And tryin' to do y'r dooty right.

  And when the road forks, ary side,
     And you're in doubt which one it is,
  Stand still, and let y'r conscience guide:
     Thank God, it can't lead much amiss!

  And now, the road to church-yard gate
     You needn't ask! Go anywhere!
  For, whether roundabout or straight,
     All roads, at last, 'll bring you there.

  Go, fearin' God, but lovin' more!--
     I've tried to be an honest guide,--
  You'll find the grave has got a door,
     And somethin' for you t'other side.

We could linger much longer over our simple, brave old poet, were we
sure of the ability of the reader approximately to distinguish his
features through the veil of translation. In turning the leaves of the
smoky book, with its coarse paper and rude type,--which suggests to us,
by-the-by, the fact that Hebel was accustomed to hang a book, which he
wished especially to enjoy, in the chimney, for a few days,--we are
tempted by "The Market-Women in Town," by "The Mother on Christmas-Eve,"
"The Morning-Star," and the charming fairy-story of "Riedliger's
Daughter," but must be content to close our specimens, for the present,
with a song of love,--"_Hans und Verene_,"--under the equivalent title
of

  JACK AND MAGGIE.

  There's only one I'm after,
     And she's the one, I vow!
  If she was here, and standin' by,
  She is a gal so neat and spry,
        So neat and spry,
     I'd be in glory now!

  It's so,--I'm hankerin' for her,
     And want to have her, too.
  Her temper's always gay, and bright,
  Her face like posies red and white,
        Both red and white,
     And eyes like posies blue.

  And when I see her comin',
     My face gits red at once;
  My heart feels chokin'-like, and weak,
  And drops o' sweat run down my cheek,
        Yes, down my cheek,--
     Confound me for a dunce!

  She spoke so kind, last Tuesday,
     When at the well we met:
  "Jack, give a lift! What ails you? Say!
  I see that somethin' 's wrong to-day:
        What's wrong to-day?"
     No, that I can't forget!

  I know I'd ought to tell her,
     And wish I'd told her then;
  And if I wasn't poor and low,
  And sayin' it didn't choke me so,
        (It chokes me so,)
     I'd find a chance again.

  Well, up and off I'm goin':
     She's in the field below:
  I'll try and let her know my mind;
  And if her answer isn't kind,
        If 't isn't kind,
     I'll jine the ranks, and go!

  I'm but a poor young fellow,
     Yes, poor enough, no doubt:
  But ha'n't, thank God, done nothin' wrong,
  And be a man as stout and strong,
        As stout and strong,
     As any roundabout.

  What's rustlin' in the bushes?
     I see a movin' stalk:
  The leaves is openin': there's a dress!
  O Lord, forbid it! but I guess--
        I guess--I guess
     Somebody's heard me talk!

  "Ha! here I am! you've got me!
     So keep me, if you can!
  I've guessed it ever since last Fall,
  And Tuesday morn I saw it all,
        _I_ saw it all!
     Speak out, then, like a man!

  "Though rich you a'n't in money,
     Nor rich in goods to sell,
  An honest heart is more than gold,
  And hands you've got for field and fold,
         For house and fold,
      And--Jack--I love you well!"

  "O Maggie, say it over!
     O Maggie, is it so?
  I couldn't longer bear the doubt:
  'Twas hell,--but now you've drawed me out,
       You've drawed me out!
    And will I? _Won't_ I, though!"

The later years of Hebel's life quietly passed away in the circle of his
friends at Carlsruhe. After the peculiar mood which called forth the
Alemannic poems had passed away, he seems to have felt no further
temptation to pursue his literary success. His labors, thenceforth, were
chiefly confined to the preparation of a Biblical History, for schools,
and the editing of the "Rhenish House-Friend," an illustrated calendar
for the people, to which he gave a character somewhat similar to that of
Franklin's "Poor Richard." His short, pithy narratives, each with its
inevitable, though unobtrusive moral, are models of style. The calendar
became so popular, under his management, that forty thousand copies were
annually printed. He finally discontinued his connection with it, in
1819, in consequence of an interference with his articles on the part of
the censor.

In society Hebel was a universal favorite. Possessing, in his personal
appearance, no less than in his intellect, a marked individuality, he
carried a fresh, vital, inspiring element into every company which he
visited. His cheerfulness was inexhaustible, his wit keen and lambent
without being acrid, his speech clear, fluent, and genial, and his fund
of anecdote commensurate with his remarkable narrative power. He was
exceedingly frank, joyous, and unconstrained in his demeanor; fond of
the pipe and the beer-glass; and as one of his maxims was, "Not to close
any door through which Fortune might enter," he not only occasionally
bought a lottery-ticket, but was sometimes to be seen, during the
season, at the roulette-tables of Baden-Baden. One of his friends
declares, however, that he never obtruded "the clergyman" at
inappropriate times!

In person he was of medium height, with a body of massive Teutonic
build, a large, broad head, inclined a little towards one shoulder, the
eyes small, brown, and mischievously sparkling, the hair short, crisp,
and brown, the nose aquiline, and the mouth compressed, with the
commencement of a smile stamped in the corners. He was careless in
his gait, and negligent in his dress. Warm-hearted and tender, and
especially attracted towards women and children, the cause of his
celibacy always remained a mystery to his friends.

The manner of his death, finally, illustrated the genuine humanity of
his nature. In September, 1826, although an invalid at the time, he made
a journey to Mannheim for the sake of procuring a mitigation of the
sentence of a condemned poacher, whose case appealed strongly to his
sympathy. His exertions on behalf of the poor man so aggravated his
disease that he was soon beyond medical aid. Only his corpse, crowned
with laurel, returned to Carlsruhe. Nine years afterwards a monument was
erected to his memory in the park attached to the Ducal palace. Nor have
the inhabitants of the Black Forest failed in worthy commemoration of
their poet's name. A prominent peak among the mountains which inclose
the valley of his favorite "Meadow" has been solemnly christened
"Hebel's Mount"; and a flower of the Forest--the _Anthericum_ of
Linnaeus--now figures in German botanies as the _Hebelia Alemannica_.



THE FORESTER.

  Then bless thy secret growth, nor catch
    At noise, but thrive unseen and dumb,
  Keep clean, bear fruit, earn life, and watch
    Till the white-winged reapers come.--Henry Vaughan


I had never thought of knowing a man so thoroughly of the country as
this friend of mine, and so purely a son of Nature. Perhaps he has
the profoundest passion for it of any one living; and had the human
sentiment been as tender from the first, and as pervading, we might have
had pastorals of which Virgil and Theocritus would have envied him the
authorship, had they chanced to be his contemporaries. As it is, he has
come nearer the antique spirit than any of our native poets, and touched
the fields and groves and streams of his native town with a classic
interest that shall not fade. Some of his verses are suffused with an
elegiac tenderness, as if the woods and fields bewailed the absence
of their forester, and murmured their griefs meanwhile to one
another,--responsive like idyls. Living in close companionship with
Nature, his Muse breathes the spirit and voice of poetry; his excellence
lying herein: for when the heart is once divorced from the senses and
all sympathy with common things, then poetry has fled, and the love that
sings.

The most welcome of companions, this plain countryman. One shall not
meet with thoughts invigorating like his often; coming so scented of
mountain and field breezes and rippling springs, so like a luxuriant
clod from under forest-leaves, moist and mossy with earth-spirits. His
presence is tonic, like ice-water in dog-days to the parched citizen
pent in chambers and under brazen ceilings. Welcome as the gurgle of
brooks, the dripping of pitchers,--then drink and be cool! He seems one
with things, of Nature's essence and core, knit of strong timbers, most
like a wood and its inhabitants. There are in him sod and shade, woods
and waters manifold, the mould and mist of earth and sky. Self-poised
and sagacious as any denizen of the elements, he has the key to every
animal's brain, every plant, every shrub; and were an Indian to flower
forth, and reveal the secrets hidden in his cranium, it would not be
more surprising than the speech of our Sylvanus. He must belong to the
Homeric age,--is older than pastures and gardens, as if he were of the
race of heroes, and one with the elements. He, of all men, seems to be
the native New-Englander, as much so as the oak, the granite ledge, our
best sample of an indigenous American, untouched by the Old Country,
unless he came down from Thor, the Northman; as yet unfathered by any,
and a nondescript in the books of natural history.

A peripatetic philosopher, and out of doors for the best parts of his
days and nights, he has manifold weather and seasons in him, and the
manners of an animal of probity and virtues unstained. Of our moralists
he seems the wholesomest; and the best republican citizen in the
world,--always at home, and minding his own affairs. Perhaps a little
over-confident sometimes, and stiffly individual, dropping society clean
out of his theories, while standing friendly in his strict sense of
friendship, there is in him an integrity and sense of justice that make
possible and actual the virtues of Sparta and the Stoics, and all the
more welcome to us in these times of shuffling and of pusillanimity.
Plutarch would have made him immortal in his pages, had he lived before
his day. Nor have we any so modern as be,--his own and ours; too purely
so to be appreciated at once. A scholar by birthright, and an author,
his fame has not yet travelled far from the banks of the rivers he has
described in his books; but I hazard only the truth in affirming of his
prose, that in substance and sense it surpasses that of any naturalist
of his time, and that he is sure of a reading in the future. There are
fairer fishes in his pages than any now swimming in our streams, and
some sleep of his on the banks of the Merrimack by moonlight that Egypt
never rivalled; a morning of which Memnon might have envied the music,
and a greyhound that was meant for Adonis; some frogs, too, better than
any of Aristophanes. Perhaps we have had no eyes like his since Pliny's
time. His senses seem double, giving him access to secrets not easily
read by other men: his sagacity resembling that of the beaver and the
bee, the dog and the deer; an instinct for seeing and judging, as by
some other or seventh sense, dealing with objects as if they were
shooting forth from his own mind mythologically, thus completing Nature
all round to his senses, and a creation of his at the moment. I am sure
he knows the animals, one by one, and everything else knowable in our
town, and has named them rightly as Adam did in Paradise, if he be
not that ancestor himself. His works are pieces of exquisite sense,
celebrations of Nature's virginity, exemplified by rare learning and
original observations. Persistently independent and manly, he criticizes
men and times largely, urging and defending his opinions with the spirit
and pertinacity befitting a descendant of him of the Hammer. A head
of mixed genealogy like his, Franco-Norman crossed by Scottish and
New-England descent, may be forgiven a few characteristic peculiarities
and trenchant traits of thinking, amidst his great common sense and
fidelity to the core of natural things. Seldom has a head circumscribed
so much of the sense of Cosmos as this footed intelligence,--nothing
less than all out-of-doors sufficing his genius and scopes, and, day by
day, through all weeks and seasons, the year round.

If one would find the wealth of wit there is in this plain man, the
information, the sagacity, the poetry, the piety, let him take a walk
with him, say of a winter's afternoon, to the Blue Water, or anywhere
about the outskirts of his village-residence. Pagan as he shall
outwardly appear, yet he soon shall be seen to be the hearty worshipper
of whatsoever is sound and wholesome in Nature,--a piece of russet
probity and sound sense that she delights to own and honor. His talk
shall be suggestive, subtile, and sincere, under as many masks and
mimicries as the shows he passes, and as significant,--Nature choosing
to speak through her chosen mouth-piece,--cynically, perhaps, sometimes,
and searching into the marrows of men and times he chances to speak of,
to his discomfort mostly, and avoidance. Nature, poetry, life,--not
politics, not strict science, not society as it is,--are his preferred
themes: the new Pantheon, probably, before he gets far, to the naming of
the gods some coming Angelo, some Pliny, is to paint and describe. The
world is holy, the things seen symbolizing the Unseen, and worthy of
worship so, the Zoroastrian rites most becoming a nature so fine as ours
in this thin newness, this worship being so sensible, so promotive of
possible pieties,--calling us out of doors and under the firmament,
where health and wholesomeness are finely insinuated into our
souls,--not as idolaters, but as idealists, the seekers of the Unseen
through images of the Invisible.

I think his religion of the most primitive type, and inclusive of all
natural creatures and things, even to "the sparrow that falls to the
ground,"--though never by shot of his,--and, for whatsoever is manly
in man, his worship may compare with that of the priests and heroes
of pagan times. Nor is he false to these traits under any
guise,--worshipping at unbloody altars, a favorite of the Unseen,
Wisest, and Best. Certainly he is better poised and more nearly
self-reliant than other men.

Perhaps he deals best with matter, properly, though very adroitly with
mind, with persons, as he knows them best, and sees them from Nature's
circle, wherein he dwells habitually. I should say he inspired the
sentiment of love, if, indeed, the sentiment he awakens did not seem to
partake of a yet purer sentiment, were that possible,--but nameless from
its excellency. Friendly he is, and holds his friends by bearings as
strict in their tenderness and consideration as are the laws of his
thinking,--as prompt and kindly equitable,--neighborly always, and as
apt for occasions as he is strenuous against meddling with others in
things not his.

I know of nothing more creditable to his greatness than the thoughtful
regard, approaching to reverence, by which he has held for many years
some of the best persons of his time, living at a distance, and wont
to make their annual pilgrimage, usually on foot, to the master,--a
devotion very rare in these times of personal indifference, if not of
confessed unbelief in persons and ideas.

He has been less of a housekeeper than most, has harvested more wind and
storm, sun and sky; abroad night and day with his leash of keen scents,
bounding any game stirring, and running it down, for certain, to be
spread on the dresser of his page, and served as a feast to the sound
intelligences, before he has done with it. We have been accustomed to
consider him the salt of things so long that they must lose their savor
without his to season them. And when he goes hence, then Pan is dead,
and Nature ailing throughout.

His friend sings him thus, with the advantages of his Walden to show him
in Nature:--

  "It is not far beyond the Village church,
  After we pass the wood that skirts the road,
  A Lake,--the blue-eyed Walden, that doth smile
  Most tenderly upon its neighbor Pines;
  And they, as if to recompense this love,
  In double beauty spread their branches forth.
  This Lake has tranquil loveliness and breadth,
  And, of late years, has added to its charms;
  For one attracted to its pleasant edge
  Has built himself a little Hermitage,
  Where with much piety he passes life.

  "More fitting place I cannot fancy now,
  For such a man to let the line run off
  The mortal reel,--such patience hath the Lake,
  Such gratitude and cheer is in the Pines.
  But more than either lake or forest's depths
  This man has in himself: a tranquil man,
  With sunny sides where well the fruit is ripe,
  Good front and resolute bearing to this life,
  And some serener virtues, which control
  This rich exterior prudence,--virtues high,
  That in the principles of Things are set,
  Great by their nature, and consigned to him,
  Who, like a faithful Merchant, does account
  To God for what he spends, and in what way.
  Thrice happy art thou, Walden, in thyself!
  Such purity is in thy limpid springs,--
  In those green shores which do reflect in thee,
  And in this man who dwells upon thy edge,
  A holy man within a Hermitage.
  May all good showers fall gently into thee,
  May thy surrounding forests long be spared,
  And may the Dweller on thy tranquil marge
  There lead a life of deep tranquillity,
  Pure as thy Waters, handsome as thy Shores,
  And with those virtues which are like the Stars!"



METHODS OF STUDY IN NATURAL HISTORY.


VII.


I come now to an obscure part of my subject, very difficult to present
in a popular form, and yet so important in the scientific investigations
of our day that I cannot omit it entirely. I allude to what are called
by naturalists Collateral Series or Parallel Types. These are by
no means difficult to trace, because they are connected by seeming
resemblances, which, though very likely to mislead and perplex the
observer, yet naturally suggest the association of such groups. Let me
introduce the subject with the statement of some facts.

There are in Australia numerous Mammalia, occupying the same relation
and answering the same purposes as the Mammalia of other countries. Some
of them are domesticated by the natives, and serve them with meat, milk,
wool, as our domesticated animals serve us. Representatives of almost
all types, Wolves, Foxes, Sloths, Bears, Weasels, Martens, Squirrels,
Rats, etc., are found there; and yet, though all these animals resemble
ours so closely that the English settlers have called many of them by
the same names, there are no genuine Wolves, Foxes, Sloths, Bears,
Weasels, Martens, Squirrels, or Rats in Australia. The Australian
Mammalia are peculiar to the region where they are found, and are all
linked together by two remarkable structural features which distinguish
them from all other Mammalia and unite them under one head as the
so-called Marsupials. They bring forth their young in an imperfect
condition, and transfer them to a pouch, where they remain attached to
the teats of the mother till their development is as far advanced as
that of other Mammalia at the time of their birth; and they are further
characterized by an absence of that combination of transverse fibres
forming the large bridge which unites the two hemispheres of the brain
in all the other members of their class. Here, then, is a series of
animals parallel with ours, separated from them by anatomical features,
but so united with them by form and external features that many among
them have been at first associated together.

This is what Cuvier has called subordination of characters,
distinguishing between characters that control the organization and
those that are not essentially connected with it. The skill of the
naturalist consists in detecting the difference between the two, so
that he may not take the more superficial features as the basis of his
classification, instead of those important ones which, though often less
easily recognized, are more deeply rooted in the organization. It is a
difference of the same nature as that between affinity and analogy, to
which I have alluded before, when speaking of the ingrafting of certain
features of one type upon animals of another type, thus producing a
superficial resemblance, not truly characteristic. In the Reptiles, for
instance, there are two groups,--those devoid of scales, with naked
skin, laying numerous eggs, but hatching their young in an imperfect
state, and the Scaly Reptiles, which lay comparatively few eggs, but
whose young, when hatched, are completely developed, and undergo no
subsequent metamorphosis. Yet, notwithstanding this difference in
essential features of structure, and in the mode of reproduction and
development, there is such an external resemblance between certain
animals belonging to the two groups that they were associated together
even by so eminent a naturalist as Linnaeus. Compare, for instance, the
Serpents among the Scaly Reptiles with the Caecilians among the Naked
Reptiles. They have the same elongated form, and are both destitute
of limbs; the head in both is on a level with the body, without any
contraction behind it, such as marks the neck in the higher Reptiles,
and moves only by the action of the back-bone; they are singularly alike
in their external features, but the young of the Serpent are hatched in
a mature condition, while the young of the type to which the Caecilians
belong undergo a succession of metamorphoses before attaining to a
resemblance to the parent. Or compare the Lizard and the Salamander, in
which the likeness is perhaps even more striking; for any inexperienced
observer would mistake one for the other. Both are superior to the
Serpents and Caecilians, for in them the head moves freely on the neck
and they creep on short imperfect legs. But the Lizard is clothed with
scales, while the body of the Salamander is naked, and the young of
the former is complete when hatched, while the Tadpole born from the
Salamander has a life of its own to live, with certain changes to pass
through before it assumes its mature condition; during the early part of
its life it is even destitute of legs, and has gills like the Fishes.
Above the Lizards and Salamanders, highest in the class of Reptiles,
stand two other collateral types,--the Turtles at the head of the Scaly
Reptiles, the Toads and Frogs at the Lead of the Naked Reptiles. The
external likeness between these two groups is perhaps less striking than
between those mentioned above, on account of the large shield of the
Turtle. But there are Turtles with a soft covering, and there are some
Toads with a hard shield over the head and neck at least, and both
groups are alike distinguished by the shortness and breadth of the body
and by the greater development of the limbs as compared with the lower
Reptiles. But here again there is the same essential difference in the
mode of development of their young as distinguishes all the rest. The
two series may thus be contrasted:--

_Naked Reptiles_. Toads and Frogs, Salamanders, Caecilians.

_Scaly Reptiles._ Turtles, Lizards, Serpents.

Such corresponding groups or parallel types, united only by external
resemblance, and distinguished from each other by essential elements of
structure, exist among all animals, though they are less striking among
Birds on account of the uniformity of that class. Yet even there we may
trace such analogies,--as between the Palmate or Aquatic Birds, for
instance, and the Birds of Prey, or between the Frigate Bird and the
Kites. Among Fishes such analogies are very common, often suggesting a
comparison even with land animals, though on account of the scales and
spines of the former the likeness may not be easily traced. But the
common names used by the fishermen often indicate these resemblances,
--as, for instance, Sea-Vulture, Sea-Eagle, Cat-Fish, Flying-Fish,
Sea-Porcupine, Sea-Cow, Sea-Horse, and the like. In the branch of
Mollusks, also, the same superficial analogies are found. In the lowest
class of this division of the Animal Kingdom there is a group so similar
to the Polyps, that, until recently, they have been associated with
them,--the Bryozoa. They are very small animals, allied to the Clams by
the plan of their structure, but they have a resemblance to the Polyps
on account of a radiating wreath of feelers around the upper part of
their body: yet, when examined closely, this wreath is found to be
incomplete; it does not, form a circle, but leaves an open space between
the two ends, where they approach each other, so that it has a horseshoe
outline, and partakes of the bilateral symmetry characteristic of its
type and on which its own structure is based. These series have not yet
been very carefully traced, and young naturalists should turn their
attention to them, and be prepared to draw the nicest distinction
between analogies and true affinities among animals.


VIII.


After this digression, let us proceed to a careful examination of the
natural groups of animals called Families by naturalists,--a subject
already briefly alluded to in a previous chapter. Families are natural
assemblages of animals of less extent than Orders, but, like Orders,
Classes, and Branches, founded upon certain categories of structure,
which are as distinct for this kind of group as for all the other
divisions in the classification of the Animal Kingdom.

That we may understand the true meaning of these divisions, we must not
be misled by the name given by naturalists to this kind of group. Here,
as in so many other instances, a word already familiar, and that had
become, as it were, identified with the special sense in which it
had been used, has been adopted by science and has received a new
signification. When naturalists speak of Families among animals, they do
not allude to the progeny of a known stock, as we designate, in common
parlance, the children or the descendants of known parents by the word
family; they understand by Families natural groups of different kinds
of animals, having no genetic relations so far as we know, but agreeing
with one another closely enough to leave the impression of a more
or less remote common parentage. The difficulty here consists in
determining the natural limits of such groups, and in tracing the
characteristic features by which they may be defined; for individual
investigators differ greatly as to the degree of resemblance existing
between the members of many Families, and there is no kind of
group which presents greater diversity of circumscription in the
classifications of animals proposed by different naturalists than these
so-called Families.

It should be remembered, however, that, unless a sound criterion be
applied to the limitation of Families, they, like all other groups
introduced into zoölogical systems, must forever remain arbitrary
divisions, as they have been hitherto. A retrospective glance at the
progress of our science during the past century, in this connection,
may perhaps help us to solve the difficulty. Linnaeus, in his System
of Nature, does not admit Families; he has only four kinds of
groups,--Classes, Orders, Genera, and Species. It was among plants that
naturalists first perceived those general traits of resemblance which
exist everywhere among the members of natural families, and added this
kind of group to the framework of their system. In France, particularly,
this method was pursued with success; and the improvements thus
introduced by the French botanists were so great, and rendered their
classification so superior to that of Linnaeus, that the botanical
systems in which Families were introduced were called natural systems,
in contradistinction especially to the botanical classification of
Linnaeus, which was founded upon the organs of reproduction, and which
received thenceforth the name of the sexual system of plants. The same
method so successfully used by botanists was soon introduced
into Zoölogy by the French naturalists of the beginning of this
century,--Lamarck, Latreille, and Cuvier. But, to this day, the
limitation of Families among animals has not yet reached the precision
which it has among plants, and I see no other reason for the difference
than the absence of a leading principle to guide us in Zoölogy.

Families, as they exist in Nature, are based upon peculiarities of form
as related to structure; but though a very large number of them have
been named and recorded, very few are characterized with anything like
scientific accuracy. It has been a very simple matter to establish such
groups according to the superficial method that has been pursued, for
the fact that they are determined by external outline renders the
recognition of them easy and in many instances almost instinctive; but
it is very difficult to characterize them, or, in other words, to trace
the connection between form and structure. Indeed, many naturalists do
not admit that Families are based upon form; and it was in trying to
account for the facility with which they detect these groups, while they
find it so difficult to characterize them, that I perceived that they
are always associated with peculiarities of form. Naturalists have
established Families simply by bringing together a number of animals
resembling each other more or less closely, and, taking usually the name
of the Genus to which the best known among them belongs, they have given
it a patronymic termination to designate the Family, and allowed the
matter to rest there, sometimes without even attempting any description
corresponding to those by which Genus and Species are commonly defined.

For instance, from _Canis_, the Dog, _Canidae_ has been formed, to
designate the whole Family of Dogs, Wolves, Foxes, etc. Nothing can be
more superficial than such a mode of classification; and if these
groups actually exist in Nature, they must be based, like all the other
divisions, upon some combination of structural characters peculiar to
them. We have seen that Branches are founded upon the general plan of
structure, Classes on the mode of executing the plan, Orders upon the
greater or less complication of a given mode of execution, and we shall
find that form, as _determined by structure_, characterizes Families. I
would call attention to this qualification of my definition; since, of
course, when speaking of form in this connection, I do not mean those
superficial resemblances in external features already alluded to in
my remarks upon Parallel or Collateral Types. I speak now of form as
controlled by structural elements; and unless we analyze Families in
this way, the mere distinguishing and naming them does not advance our
science at all. Compare, for instance, the Dogs, the Seals, and the
Bears. These are all members of one Order,--that of the Carnivorous
Mammalia. Their dentition is peculiar and alike in all, (cutting teeth,
canine teeth, and grinders,) adapted for tearing and chewing their
food; and their internal structure bears a definite relation to their
dentition. But look at these animals with reference to form. The Dog is
comparatively slender, with legs adapted for running and hunting his
prey; the Bear is heavier, with shorter limbs; while the Seal has a
continuous uniform outline adapted for swimming. They form separate
Families, and are easily recognized as such by the difference in their
external outline; but what is the anatomical difference which produces
the peculiarity of form in each, by which they have been thus
distinguished? It lies in the structure of the limbs, and especially in
that of the wrist and fingers. In the Seal the limbs are short, and the
wrists are on one continuous line with them, so that it has no power of
bending the wrist or the fingers, and the limbs, therefore, act like
flappers or oars. The Bear has a well-developed paw with a flexible
wrist, but it steps on the whole sole of the foot, from the wrist to the
tip of the toe, giving it the heavy tread so characteristic of all the
Bears. The Dogs, on the contrary, walk on tip-toe, and their step,
though firm, is light, while the greater slenderness and flexibility of
their legs add to their nimbleness and swiftness. By a more extensive
investigation of the anatomical structure of the limbs in their
connection with the whole body, it could easily be shown that the
peculiarity of form in these animals is essentially determined by, or at
least stands in the closest relation to, the peculiar structure of the
wrist and fingers.

Take the Family of Owls as distinguished from the Falcons, Kites, etc.
Here the difference of form is in the position of the eyes. In the
Owl, the sides of the head are prominent and the eye-socket is brought
forward. In the Falcons and Kites, on the contrary, the sides of the
head are flattened and the eyes are set back. The difference in the
appearance of the birds is evident to the most superficial observer; but
to call the one Strigidae and the other Falconidae tells us nothing of
the anatomical peculiarities on which this difference is founded.

These few examples, selected purposely among closely allied and
universally known animals, may be sufficient to show, that, beyond the
general complication of the structure which characterizes the Orders,
there is a more limited element in the organization of animals, bearing
chiefly upon their form, which, if it have any general application as
a principle of classification, may well be considered as essentially
characteristic of the Families. There are certainly closely allied
natural groups of animals, belonging to the same Order, but including
many Genera, which differ from each other chiefly in their form, while
that form is determined by peculiarities of structure which do not
influence the general structural complication upon which Orders are
based, or relate to the minor details of structure on which Genera are
founded. I am therefore convinced that form is the criterion by which
Families may be determined. The great facility with which animals may
be combined together in natural groups of this kind without any special
investigation of their structure, a superficial method of classification
in which zoölogists have lately indulged to a most unjustifiable degree,
convinces me that it is the similarity of form which has unconsciously
led such shallow investigators to correct results, since upon close
examination it is found that a large number of the Families so
determined, and to which no characters at all are assigned, nevertheless
bear the severest criticism founded upon anatomical investigation.

The questions proposed to themselves by all students who would
characterize Families should be these: What are, throughout the
Animal Kingdom, the peculiar patterns of form by which Families are
distinguished? and on what structural features are these patterns based?
Only the most patient investigations can give us the answer, and it will
be very long before we can write out the formulae of these patterns with
mathematical precision, as I believe we shall be able to do in a more
advanced stage of our science. But while the work is in progress, it
ought to be remembered that a mere general similarity of outline is not
yet in itself evidence of identity of form or pattern, and that, while
seemingly very different forms may be derived from the same formula, the
most similar forms may belong to entirely different systems, when their
derivation is properly traced. Our great mathematician, in a lecture
delivered at the Lowell Institute last winter, showed that in his
science, also, similarity of outline does not always indicate identity
of character. Compare the different circles,--the perfect circle, in
which every point of the periphery is at the same distance from the
centre, with an ellipse in which the variation from the true circle is
so slight as to be almost imperceptible to the eye; yet the latter, like
all ellipses, has its two _foci_ by which it differs from a circle,
and to refer it to the family of circles instead of the family of
ellipses would be overlooking its true character on account of its
external appearance; and yet ellipses may be so elongated, that, far
from resembling a circle, they make the impression of parallel lines
linked at their extremities. Or we may have an elastic curve in which
the appearance of a circle is produced by the meeting of the two ends;
nevertheless it belongs to the family of elastic curves, in which may
even be included a line actually straight, and is formed by a process
entirely different from that which produces the circle or the ellipse.

But it is sometimes exceedingly difficult to find the relation between
structure and form in Families, and I remember a case which I had taken
as a test of the accuracy of the views I entertained upon this subject,
and which perplexed and baffled me for years. It was that of our
fresh-water Mussels, the Family of Unios. There is a great variety of
outline among them,--some being oblong and very slender, others broad
with seemingly square outlines, others having a nearly triangular form,
while others again are almost circular; and I could not detect among
them all any feature of form that was connected with any essential
element of their structure. At last, however, I found this
test-character, and since that time I have had no doubt left in my mind
that form, determined by structure, is the true criterion of Families.
In the Unios it consists of the rounded outline of the anterior end of
the body reflected in a more or less open curve of the shell, bending
more abruptly along the lower side with an inflection followed by a
bulging, corresponding to the most prominent part of the gills, to which
alone, in a large number of American Species of this Family, the eggs
are transferred, giving to this part of the shell a prominence which it
has not in any of the European Species. At the posterior end of the body
this curve then bends upwards and backwards again, the outline meeting
the side occupied by the hinge and ligament, which, when very short, may
determine a triangular form of the whole shell, or, when equal to the
lower side and connected with a great height of the body, gives it a
quadrangular form, or, if the height is reduced, produces an elongated
form, or, finally, a rounded form, if the passage from one side to the
other is gradual. A comparison of the position of the internal organs of
different Species of Unios with the outlines of their shells will leave
no doubt that their form is determined by the structure of the animal.

A few other and more familiar examples may complete this discussion.
Among Climbing Birds, for instance, which are held together as a
more comprehensive group by the structure of their feet and by other
anatomical features, there are two Families so widely different in
their form that they may well serve as examples of this principle. The
Woodpeckers (_Picidae_) and the Parrots (_Psittacidae_), once considered
as two Genera only, have both been subdivided, in consequence of a more
intimate knowledge of their generic characters, into a large number of
Genera; but all the Genera of Woodpeckers and all the Genera of the
Parrots are still held together by their form as Families, corresponding
as such to the two old Genera of _Picus_ and _Psittacus_. They are now
known as the Families of Woodpeckers and Parrots; and though each group
includes a number of Genera combined upon a variety of details in the
finish of special parts of the structure, such as the number of toes,
the peculiarities of the bill, etc., it is impossible to overlook the
peculiar form which is characteristic of each. No one who is familiar
with the outline of the Parrot will fail to recognize any member of
that Family by a general form which is equally common to the diminutive
Nonpareil, the gorgeous Ara, and the high-crested Cockatoo. Neither will
any one, who has ever observed the small head, the straight bill, the
flat back, and stiff tail of the Woodpecker, hesitate to identify the
family form in any of the numerous Genera into which this group is now
divided. The family characters are even more invariable than the generic
ones; for there are Woodpeckers which, instead of the four toes, two
turning forward and two backward, which form an essential generic
character, have three toes only, while the family form is always
maintained, whatever variations there may be in the characters of the
more limited groups it includes.

The Turtles and Terrapins form another good illustration of family
characters. They constitute together a natural Order, but are
distinguished from each other as two Families very distinct in general
form and outline. Among Fishes I may mention the Family of Pickerels,
with their flat, long snout, and slender, almost cylindrical body, as
contrasted with the plump, compressed body and tapering tail of the
Trout Family. Or compare, among Insects, the Hawk-Moths with the Diurnal
Butterfly, or with the so-called Miller,--or, among Crustacea, the
common Crab with the Sea-Spider, or the Lobsters with the Shrimps,--or,
among Worms, the Leeches with the Earth-Worms,--or, among Mollusks,
the Squids with the Cuttle-Fishes, or the Snails with the Slugs, or the
Periwinkles with the Limpets and Conchs, or the Clam with the so-called
Venus, or the Oyster with the Mother-of-Pearl shell,--everywhere,
throughout the Animal Kingdom, difference of form points at difference
of Families.

There is a chapter in the Natural History of Animals that has hardly
been touched upon as yet, and that will be especially interesting with
reference to Families. The voices of animals have a family character not
to be mistaken. All the Canidae bark and howl: the Fox, the Wolf, the
Dog have the same kind of utterance, though on a somewhat different
pitch. All the Bears growl, from the White Bear of the Arctic snows to
the small Black Bear of the Andes. All the Cats _miau_, from our quiet
fireside companion to the Lions and Tigers and Panthers of the forest
and jungle. This last may seem a strange assertion; but to any one who
has listened critically to their sounds and analyzed their voices,
the roar of the Lion is but a gigantic _miau_, bearing about the same
proportion to that of a Cat as its stately and majestic form does to the
smaller, softer, more peaceful aspect of the Cat. Yet, notwithstanding
the difference in their size, who can look at the Lion, whether in his
more sleepy mood as he lies curled up in the corner of his cage, or in
his fiercer moments of hunger or of rage, without being reminded of a
Cat? And this is not merely the resemblance of one carnivorous animal to
another; for no one was ever reminded of a Dog or Wolf by a Lion. Again,
all the Horses and Donkeys neigh; for the bray of the Donkey is only a
harsher neigh, pitched on a different key, it is true, but a sound of
the same character,--as the Donkey himself is but a clumsy and dwarfish
Horse. All the Cows low, from the Buffalo roaming the prairie, the
Musk-Ox of the Arctic ice-fields, or the Jack of Asia, to the Cattle
feeding in our pastures. Among the Birds, this similarity of voice in
Families is still more marked. We need only recall the harsh and noisy
Parrots, so similar in their peculiar utterance. Or take as an example
the web-footed Family,--do not all the Geese and the innumerable host
of Ducks quack? Does not every member of the Crow Family caw, whether it
be the Jackdaw, the Jay, the Magpie, the Rook in some green rookery of
the Old World, or the Crow of our woods, with its long, melancholy caw
that seems to make the silence and solitude deeper? Compare all the
sweet warblers of the Songster Family,--the Nightingales, the Thrushes,
the Mocking-Birds, the Robins; they differ in the greater or less
perfection of their note, but the same kind of voice runs through the
whole group. These affinities of the vocal systems among animals form a
subject well worthy of the deepest study, not only as another character
by which to classify the Animal Kingdom correctly, but as bearing
indirectly also on the question of the origin of animals. Can we suppose
that characteristics like these have been communicated from one animal
to another? When we find that all the members of one zoological Family,
however widely scattered over the surface of the earth, inhabiting
different continents and even different hemispheres, speak with one
voice, must we not believe that they have originated in the places where
they now occur with all their distinctive peculiarities? Who taught the
American Thrush to sing like his European relative? He surely did not
learn it from his cousin over the waters. Those who would have us
believe that all animals have originated from common centres and single
pairs, and have been distributed from such common centres over the
world, will find it difficult to explain the tenacity of such characters
and their recurrence and repetition under circumstances that seem to
preclude the possibility of any communication, on any other supposition
than that of their creation in the different regions where they are now
found. We have much yet to learn in this kind of investigation, with
reference not only to Families among animals, but to nationalities among
men also. I trust that the nature of languages will teach us as much
about the origin of the races as the vocal systems of the animals may
one day teach us about the origin of the different groups of animals.
At all events, similarity of vocal utterance among animals is not
indicative of identity of Species; I doubt, therefore, whether
similarity of speech proves community of origin among men.

The similarity of motion in Families is another subject well worth the
consideration of the naturalist: the soaring of the Birds of Prey,--the
heavy flapping of the wings in the Gallinaceous Birds,--the floating of
the Swallows, with their short cuts and angular turns,--the hopping
of the Sparrows,--the deliberate walk of the Hens and the strut of the
Cocks,--the waddle of the Ducks and Geese,--the slow, heavy creeping
of the Land-Turtle,--the graceful flight of the Sea-Turtle under the
water,--the leaping and swimming of the Frog,--the swift run of the
Lizard, like a flash of green or red light in the sunshine,--the
lateral undulation of the Serpent,--the dart of the Pickerel,--the
leap of the Trout,--the rush of the Hawk-Moth through the air,--the
fluttering flight of the Butterfly,--the quivering poise of the
Humming-Bird,--the arrow-like shooting of the Squid through the water,
--the slow crawling of the Snail on the land,--the sideway movement
of the Sand-Crab,--the backward walk of the Crawfish,--the almost
imperceptible gliding of the Sea-Anemone over the rock,--the graceful,
rapid motion of the Pleurobrachia, with its endless change of curve and
spiral. In short, every Family of animals has its characteristic action
and its peculiar voice; and yet so little is this endless variety
of rhythm and cadence both of motion and sound in the organic world
understood, that we lack words to express one-half its richness and
beauty.


IX.


The well-known meaning of the words _generic_ and _specific_ may serve,
in the absence of a more precise definition, to express the relative
importance of those groups of animals called Genera and Species in our
scientific systems. The Genus is the more comprehensive of the two kinds
of groups, while the Species is the most precisely defined, or at least
the most easily recognized, of all the divisions of the Animal Kingdom.
But neither the term Genus nor Species has always been taken in the same
sense. Genus especially has varied in its acceptation, from the time
when Aristotle applied it indiscriminately to any kind of comprehensive
group, from the Classes down to what we commonly call Genera, till the
present day. But we have already seen, that, instead of calling all the
various kinds of more comprehensive divisions by the name of Genera,
modern science has applied special names to each of them, and we have
now Families, Orders, Classes, and Branches above Genera proper. If
the foregoing discussion upon the nature of these groups is based upon
trustworthy principles, we must admit that they are all founded upon
distinct categories of characters,--the primary divisions, or the
Branches, on plan of structure, the Classes upon the manner of its
execution, the Orders upon the greater or less complication of a given
mode of execution, the Families upon form; and it now remains to be
ascertained whether Genera also exist in Nature, and by what kind of
characteristics they may be distinguished. Taking the practice of the
ablest naturalists in discriminating Genera as a guide in our estimation
of their true nature, we must, nevertheless, remember that even now,
while their classifications of the more comprehensive groups usually
agree, they differ greatly in their limitation of Genera, so that the
Genera of some authors correspond to the Families of others, and vice
versa. This undoubtedly arises from the absence of a definite standard
for the estimation of these divisions. But the different categories of
structure which form the distinctive criteria of the more comprehensive
divisions once established, the question is narrowed down to an inquiry
into the special category upon which Genera may be determined; and if
this can be accurately defined, no difference of opinion need interfere
hereafter with their uniform limitation. Considering all these divisions
of the Animal Kingdom from this point of view, it is evident that the
more comprehensive ones must be those which are based on the broadest
characters,--Branches, as united upon plan of structure, standing of
course at the head; next to these the Classes, since the general mode
of executing the plan presents a wider category of characters than
the complication of structure on which Orders rest; after Orders come
Families, or the patterns of form in which these greater or less
complications of structure are clothed; and proceeding in the same way
from more general to more special considerations, we can have no other
category of structure as characteristic of Genera than the details of
structure by which members of the same Family may differ from each
other, and this I consider as the only true basis on which to limit
Genera, while it is at the same time in perfect accordance with the
practice of the most eminent modern zoologists. It is in this way that
Cuvier has distinguished the large number of Genera he has characterized
in his great Natural History of the Fishes, in connection with
Valenciennes. Latreille has done the same for the Crustacea and Insects;
and Milne Edwards, with the coöperation of Haime, has recently proceeded
upon the same principle in characterizing a great number of Genera among
the Corals. Many others have followed this example, but few have kept
in view the necessity of a uniform mode of proceeding, or, if they have
done their researches have covered too limited a ground, to be taken
into consideration in a discussion of principles. It is, in fact, only
when extending over a whole Class that the study of Genera acquires a
truly scientific importance, as it then shows in a connected manner, in
what way, by what features, and to what extent a large number of animals
are closely linked together in Nature. Considering the Animal Kingdom as
a single complete work of one Creative Intellect, consistent throughout,
such keen analysis and close criticism of all its parts have the same
kind of interest, in a higher degree, as that which attaches to other
studies undertaken in the spirit of careful comparative research.
These different categories of characters are, as it were, different
peculiarities of style in the author, different modes of treating the
same material, new combinations of evidence bearing on the same general
principles. The study of Genera is a department of Natural History which
thus far has received too little attention even at the hands of our best
zoologists, and has been treated in the most arbitrary manner; it
should henceforth be made a philosophical investigation into the closer
affinities which naturally bind in minor groups all the representatives
of a natural Family.

Genera, then, are groups of a more restricted character than any of
those we have examined thus far. Some of them include only one Species,
while others comprise hundreds; since certain definite combinations of
characters may be limited to a single Species, while other combinations
may be repeated in many. We have striking examples of this among Birds:
the Ostrich stands alone in its Genus, while the number of Species among
the Warblers is very great. Among Mammalia the Giraffe also stands
alone, while Mice and Squirrels include many Species. Genera are
founded, not, as we have seen, on general structural characters, but on
the finish of special parts, as, for instance, on the dentition. The
Cats have only four grinders in the upper jaw and three in the lower,
while the Hyenas have one more above and below, and the Dogs and Wolves
have two more above and two more below. In the last, some of the teeth
have also flat surfaces for crushing the food, adapted especially to
their habits, since they live on vegetable as well as animal substances.
The formation of the claws is another generic feature. There is a
curious example with reference to this in the Cheetah, which is again
a Genus containing only one Species. It belongs to the Cat Family,
but differs from ordinary Lions and Tigers in having its claws so
constructed that it cannot draw them back under the paws, though in
every other respect they are like the claws of all the Cats. But while
it has the Cat-like claw, its paws are like those of the Dog, and this
singular combination of features is in direct relation to its habits,
for it does not lie in wait and spring upon its prey like the Cat, but
hunts it like the Dog.

While Genera themselves are, like Families, easily distinguished, the
characters on which they are founded, like those of Families, are
difficult to trace. There are often features belonging to these groups
which attract the attention and suggest their association, though they
are not those which may be truly considered generic characters. It is
easy to distinguish the Genus Fox, for instance, by its bushy tail, and
yet that is no true generic character; the collar of feathers round the
neck of the Vultures leads us at once to separate them from the Eagles,
but it is not the collar that truly marks the Genus, but rather the
peculiar structure of the feathers which form it. No Bird has a more
striking plumage than the Peacock, but it is not the appearance merely
of its crest and spreading fan that constitutes a Genus, but the
peculiar structure of the feathers. Thousands of examples might be
quoted to show how easily Genera may be singled out, named, and entered
in our systems, without being duly characterized, and it is much to be
lamented that there is no possibility of checking the loose work of this
kind with which the annals of our science are daily flooded.

It would, of course, be quite inappropriate to present here any
general revision of these groups; but I may present a few instances to
illustrate the principle of their classification, and to show on what
characters they are properly based. Among Reptiles, we find, for
instance, that the Genera of our fresh-water Turtles differ from each
other in the cut of their bill, in the arrangement of their scales,
in the form of their claws, etc. Among Fishes, the different Genera
included under the Family of Perches are distinguished by the
arrangement of their teeth, by the serratures of their gill-covers, and
of the arch to which the pectoral fins are attached, by the nature and
combination of the rays of their fins, by the structure of their scales,
etc. Among Insects, the various Genera of the Butterflies differ in the
combination of the little rods which sustain their wings, in the form
and structure of their antennae, of their feet, of the minute scales
which cover their wings, etc. Among Crustacea, the Genera of Shrimps
vary in the form of the claws, in the structure of the parts of the
mouth, in the articulations of their feelers, etc. Among Worms, the
different Genera of the Leech Family are combined upon the form of the
disks by which they attach themselves, upon the number and arrangement
of their eyes, upon the structure of the hard parts with which the mouth
is armed, etc. Among Cephalopods, the Family of Squids contains several
Genera distinguished by the structure of the solid shield within the
skin of the back, by the form and connection of their fins, by the
structure of the suckers with which their arms are provided, by the
form of their beak, etc. In every Class, we find throughout the Animal
Kingdom that there is no sound basis for the discrimination of Genera
except the details of their structure; but in order to define them
accurately an extensive comparison of them is indispensable, and in
characterizing them only such features should be enumerated as are truly
generic; whereas in the present superficial method of describing them,
features are frequently introduced which belong not only to the whole
Family, but even to the whole Class which includes them.


X.


There remains but one more division of the Animal Kingdom for our
consideration, the most limited of all in its circumscription,--that
of Species. It is with the study of this kind of group that naturalists
generally begin their investigations. I believe, however, that the study
of Species as the basis of a scientific education is a great mistake.
It leads us to overrate the value of Species, and to believe that they
exist in Nature in some different sense from other groups; as if there
were something more real and tangible in Species than in Genera,
Families, Orders, Classes, or Branches. The truth is, that to study a
vast number of Species without tracing the principles that combine
them under more comprehensive groups is only to burden the mind with
disconnected facts, and more may be learned by a faithful and careful
comparison of a few Species than by a more cursory examination of a
greater number. When one considers the immense number of Species already
known, naturalists might well despair of becoming acquainted with them
all, were they not constructed on a few fundamental patterns, so that
the study of one Species teaches us a great deal for all the rest. De
Candolle, who was at the same time a great botanist and a great teacher,
told me once that he could undertake to illustrate the fundamental
principles of his science with the aid of a dozen plants judiciously
selected, and that it was his unvarying practice to induce students to
make a thorough study of a few minor groups of plants, in all their
relations to one another, rather than to attempt to gain a superficial
acquaintance with a large number of species. The powerful influence he
has had upon the progress of Botany vouches for the correctness of his
views. Indeed, every profound scholar knows that sound learning can be
attained only by this method, and the study of Nature makes no exception
to the rule. I would therefore advise every student to select a few
representatives from all the Classes, and to study these not only with
reference to their specific characters, but as members also of a Genus,
of a Family, of an Order, of a Class, and of a Branch. He will soon
convince himself that Species have no more definite and real existence
in Nature than all the other divisions of the Animal Kingdom, and that
every animal is the representative of its Branch, Class, Order, Family,
and Genus as much as of its Species, Specific characters are only
those determining size, proportion, color, habits, and relations to
surrounding circumstances and external objects. How superficial, then,
must be any one's knowledge of an animal who studies it only with
relation to its specific characters! He will know nothing of the finish
of special parts of the body,--nothing of the relations between its
form and its structure,--nothing of the relative complication of its
organization as compared with other allied animals,--nothing of the
general mode of execution,--nothing of the plan expressed in that mode
of execution. Yet, with the exception of the ordinal characters, which,
since they imply relative superiority and inferiority, require, of
course, a number of specimens for comparison, his one animal would tell
him all this as well as the specific characters.

All the more comprehensive groups, equally with Species, have a
positive, permanent, specific principle, maintained generation after
generation with all its essential characteristics. Individuals are
the transient representatives of all these organic principles, which
certainly have an independent, immaterial existence, since they outlive
the individuals that embody them, and are no less real after the
generation that has represented them for a time has passed away than
they were before.

From a comparison of a number of well-known Species belonging to a
natural Genus, it is not difficult to ascertain what are essentially
specific characters. There is hardly among Mammalia a more natural Genus
than that which includes the Rabbits and Hares, or that to which the
Rats and Mice are referred. Let us see how the different Species differ
from one another. Though we give two names in the vernacular to
the Genus Hare, both Hares and Rabbits agree in all the structural
peculiarities which constitute a Genus; but the different Species are
distinguished by their absolute size when full-grown,--by the nature and
color of their fur,--by the size and form of the ear,--by the relative
length of their legs and tail,--by the more or less slender build of
their whole body,--by their habits, some living in open grounds,
others among the bushes, others in swamps, others burrowing under the
earth,--by the number of young they bring forth,--by their different
seasons of breeding,--and by still minor differences, such as the
permanent color of the hair throughout the year in some, while in others
it turns white in winter. The Rats and Mice differ in a similar way:
there being large and small Species,--some gray, some brown, others
rust-colored,--some with soft, others with coarse hair; they differ also
in the length of the tail, and in having it more or less covered with
hair,--in the cut of the ears, and their size,--in the length of
their limbs, which are slender and long in some, short and thick in
others,--in their various ways of living,--in the different substances
on which they feed,--and also in their distribution over the surface
of the earth, whether circumscribed within certain limited areas
or scattered over a wider range. What is now the nature of these
differences by which we distinguish Species? They are totally distinct
from any of the categories on which Genera, Families, Orders, Classes,
or Branches are founded, and may readily be reduced to a few heads. They
are differences in the proportion of the parts and in the absolute size
of the whole animal, in the color and general ornamentation of the
surface of the body, and in the relations of the individuals to one
another and to the world around. A farther analysis of other Genera
would show us that among Birds, Reptiles, Fishes, and, in fact,
throughout the Animal Kingdom, Species of well-defined natural Genera
differ in the same way. We are therefore justified in saying that the
category of characters on which Species are based implies no structural
differences, but presents the same structure combined under certain
minor differences of size, proportion, and habits. All the specific
characters stand in direct reference to the generic structure, the
family form, the ordinal complication of structure, the mode of
execution of the Class, and the plan of structure of the Branch, all of
which are embodied in the frame of each individual in each Species, even
though all these individuals are constantly dying away and reproducing
others; so that the specific characters have no more permanency in the
individuals than those which characterize the Genus, the Family, the
Order, the Class, and the Branch. I believe, therefore, that naturalists
have been entirely wrong in considering the more comprehensive groups
to be theoretical and in a measure arbitrary, an attempt, that is, of
certain men to classify the Animal Kingdom according to their individual
views, while they have ascribed to Species, as contrasted with the other
divisions, a more positive existence in Nature. No further argument
is needed to show that it is not only the Species that lives in the
individual, but that every individual, though belonging to a distinct
Species, is built upon a precise and definite plan which characterizes
its Branch,--that that plan is executed in each individual in a
particular way which characterizes its Class,--that every individual
with its kindred occupies a definite position in a series of structural
complications which characterizes its Order,--that in every individual
all these structural features are combined under a definite pattern of
form which characterizes its Family,--that every individual exhibits
structural details in the finish of its parts which characterize its
Genus,--and finally that every individual presents certain peculiarities
in the proportion of its parts, in its color, in its size, in its
relations to its fellow-beings and surrounding things, which constitute
its specific characters; and all this is repeated in the same kind of
combination, generation after generation, while the individuals die.
If we accept these propositions, which seem to me self-evident, it is
impossible to avoid the conclusion that Species do not exist in Nature
in any other sense than the more comprehensive groups of the zoological
systems.

There is one question respecting Species that gives rise to very earnest
discussions in our day, not only among naturalists, but among all
thinking people. How far are they permanent, and how far mutable? With
reference to the permanence of Species, there is much to be learned from
the geological phenomena that belong to our own period, and that bear
witness to the invariability of types during hundreds of thousands of
years at least. I hope to present a part of this evidence in a future
article upon Coral Reefs, but in the mean time I cannot leave this
subject without touching upon a point of which great use has been made
in recent discussions. I refer to the variability of Species as shown in
domestication.

The domesticated animals with their numerous breeds are constantly
adduced as evidence of the changes which animals may undergo, and as
furnishing hints respecting the way in which the diversity now observed
among animals has already been produced. It is my conviction that such
inferences are in no way sustained by the facts of the case, and that,
however striking the differences may be between the breeds of our
domesticated animals, as compared with the wild Species of the same
Genus, they are of a peculiar character entirely distinct from those
that prevail among the latter, and are altogether incident to the
circumstances under which they occur. By this I do not mean the natural
action of physical conditions, but the more or less intelligent
direction of the circumstances under which they live. The inference
drawn from the varieties introduced among animals in a state of
domestication, with reference to the origin of Species, is usually this:
that what the farmer does on a small scale Nature may do on a large one.
It is true that man has been able to produce certain changes in the
animals under his care, and that these changes have resulted in a
variety of breeds. But in doing this, he has, in my estimation, in no
way altered the character of the Species, but has only developed its
pliability to the will of man, that is, to a power similar in its
nature and mode of action to that power to which animals owe their very
existence. The influence of man upon Animals is, in other words, the
action of mind upon them; and yet the ordinary mode of arguing upon
this subject is, that, because the intelligence of man has been able to
produce certain varieties in domesticated animals, therefore physical
causes have produced all the diversities among wild ones. Surely, the
sounder logic would be to infer, that, because our finite intelligence
can cause the original pattern to vary by some slight shades of
difference, therefore an infinite intelligence must have established
all the boundless diversity of which our boasted varieties are but the
faintest echo. It is the most intelligent farmer that has the greatest
success in improving his breeds; and if the animals he has so fostered
are left to themselves without that intelligent care, they return
to their normal condition. So with plants: the shrewd, observing,
thoughtful gardener will obtain many varieties from his flowers; but
those varieties will fade out, if left to themselves. There is, as it
were, a certain degree of pliability and docility in the organization
both of animals and plants, which may be developed by the fostering care
of man, and within which he can exercise a certain influence; but the
variations which he thus produces are of a peculiar kind, and do not
correspond to the differences of the wild Species. Let us take some
examples to illustrate this assertion.

Every Species of wild Bull differs from the others in its size; but
all the individuals correspond to the average standard of size
characteristic of their respective Species, and show none of those
extreme differences of size so remarkable among our domesticated
Cattle. Every Species of wild Bull has its peculiar color, and all the
individuals of one Species share in it: not so with our domesticated
Cattle, among which every individual may differ in color from every
other. All the individuals of the same Species of wild Bull agree in the
proportion of their parts, in the mode of growth of the hair, in its
quality, whether fine or soft: not so with our domesticated Cattle,
among which we find in the same Species overgrown and dwarfish
individuals, those with long and short legs, with slender and stout
build of the body, with horns or without, as well as the greatest
variety in the mode of twisting the horns,--in short, the widest
extremes of development which the degree of pliability in that Species
will allow.

A curious instance of the power of man, not only in developing the
pliability of an animal's organization, but in adapting it to suit his
own caprices, is that of the Golden Carp, so frequently seen in bowls
and tanks as the ornament of drawing-rooms and gardens. Not only an
infinite variety of spotted, striped, variegated colors has been
produced in these Fishes, but, especially among the Chinese, so famous
for their morbid love of whatever is distorted and warped from its
natural shape and appearance, all sorts of changes have been brought
about in this single Species. A book of Chinese paintings showing the
Golden Carp in its varieties represents some as short and stout,
others long and slender,--some with the ventral side swollen, others
hunch-backed,--some with the mouth greatly enlarged, while in others
the caudal fin, which in the normal condition of the Species is placed
vertically at the end of the tail and is forked like those of other
Fishes, has become crested and arched, or is double, or crooked, or has
swerved in some other way from its original pattern. But in all these
variations there is nothing which recalls the characteristic specific
differences among the representatives of the Carp Family, which in their
wild state are very monotonous in their appearance all the world over.

Were it appropriate to accumulate evidence here upon this subject, I
could bring forward many more examples quite as striking as those above
mentioned. The various breeds of our domesticated Horses present the
same kind of irregularities, and do not differ from each other in the
same way as the wild Species differ from one another. Or take the Genus
Dog: the differences between its wild Species do not correspond in the
least with the differences observed among the domesticated ones. Compare
the differences between the various kinds of Jackals and Wolves with
those that exist between the Bull-Dog and Greyhound, for instance, or
between the St. Charles and the Terrier, or between the Esquimaux and
the Newfoundland Dog. I need hardly add that what is true of the Horses,
the Cattle, the Dogs, is true also of the Donkey, the Goat, the Sheep,
the Pig, the Cat, the Rabbit, the different kinds of barn-yard fowl,--in
short, of all those animals that are in domesticity the chosen
companions of man.

In fact, all the variability among domesticated Species is due to the
fostering care, or, in its more extravagant freaks, to the fancies of
man, and it has never been observed in the wild Species, where, on
the contrary, everything shows the closest adherence to the distinct,
well-defined, and invariable limits of the Species. It surely does
not follow, that, because the Chinese can, under abnormal conditions,
produce a variety of fantastic shapes in the Golden Carp, therefore
water, or the physical conditions established in the water, can create a
Fish, any more than it follows, that, because they can dwarf a tree, or
alter its aspect by stunting its growth in one direction and forcing it
in another, therefore the earth, or the physical conditions connected
with their growth, can create a Pine, an Oak, a Birch, or a Maple.
I confess that in all the arguments derived from the phenomena of
domestication, to prove that all animals owe their origin and diversity
to the natural action of the conditions under which they live, the
conclusion does not seem to me to follow logically from the premises.
And the fact that the domesticated animals of all races of men, equally
with the white race, vary among themselves in the same way and differ
in the same way from the wild Species, makes it still more evident that
domesticated varieties do not explain the origin of Species, except, as
I have said, by showing that the intelligent will of man can produce
effects which physical causes have never been known to produce, and that
we must therefore look to some cause outside of Nature, corresponding in
kind, though so different in degree, to the intelligence of man, for
all the phenomena connected with the existence of animals in their wild
state. So far from attributing these original differences among animals
to natural influences, it would seem, that, while a certain freedom of
development is left, within the limits of which man can exercise his
intelligence and his ingenuity, not even this superficial influence is
allowed to physical conditions unaided by some guiding power, since in
their normal state the wild Species remain, so far as we have been able
to discover, entirely unchanged,--maintained, it is true, in their
integrity by the circumstances that were established for their support
by the power that created both, but never altered by them. Nature holds
inviolable the stamp that God has set upon his creatures; and if man
is able to influence their organization in some slight degree, it is
because the Creator has given to his relations with the animals he has
intended for his companions the same plasticity which he has allowed to
every other side of his life, in virtue of which he may in some sort
mould and shape it to his own ends, and be held responsible also for its
results.

The common sense of a civilized community has already pointed out the
true distinction in applying another word to the discrimination of the
different kinds of domesticated animals. They are called Breeds, and
Breeds among animals are the work of man;--Species were created by God.

       *       *       *       *       *


THE STRASBURG CLOCK.


  Many and many a year ago,--
  To say how many I scarcely dare,--
  Three of us stood in Strasburg streets,
  In the wide and open square,
  Where, quaint and old and touched with the gold
  Of a summer morn, at stroke of noon
  The tongue of the great Cathedral tolled,
  And into the church with the crowd we strolled
  To see their wonder, the famous Clock.
  Well, my love, there are clocks a many,
  As big as a house, as small as a penny;
  And clocks there be with voices as queer
  As any that torture human ear,--
  Clocks that grunt, and clocks that growl,
  That wheeze like a pump, and hoot like an owl,
  From the coffin shape with its brooding face
  That stands on the stair, (you know the place,)
  Saying, "Click, cluck," like an ancient hen,
  A-gathering the minutes home again,
  To the kitchen knave with its wooden stutter,
  Doing equal work with double splutter,
  Yelping, "Click, clack," with a vulgar jerk,
  As much as to say, "Just see me work!"

  But of all the clocks that tell Time's bead-roll,
  There are none like this in the old Cathedral;
  Never a one so bids you stand
  While it deals the minutes with even hand:
  For clocks, like men, are better and worse,
  And some you dote on, and some you curse;
  And clock and man may have such a way
  Of telling the truth that you can't say nay.

  So in we went and stood in the crowd
  To hear the old clock as it crooned aloud,
  With sound and symbol, the only tongue
  The maker taught it while yet 't was young.
  And we saw Saint Peter clasp his hands,
  And the cock crow hoarsely to all the lands,
  And the Twelve Apostles come and go,
  And the solemn Christ pass sadly and slow;
  And strange that iron-legged procession,
  And odd to us the whole impression,
  As the crowd beneath, in silence pressing,
  Bent to that cold mechanic blessing.

  But I alone thought far in my soul
  What a touch of genius was in the whole,
  And felt how graceful had been the thought
  Which for the signs of the months had sought,
  Sweetest of symbols, Christ's chosen train;
  And much I pondered, if he whose brain
  Had builded this clock with labor and pain
  Did only think, twelve months there are,
  And the Bible twelve will fit to a hair;
  Or did he say, with a heart in tune,
  Well-loved John is the sign of June,
  And changeful Peter hath April hours,
  And Paul the stately, October bowers,
  And sweet, or faithful, or bold, or strong,
  Unto each one shall a month belong.

  But beside the thought that under it lurks,
  Pray, do you think clocks are saved by their works?



ARTHUR HUGH CLOUGH.


To win such love as Arthur Hugh Clough won in life, to leave so dear a
memory as he has left, is a happiness that falls to few men. In America,
as in England, his death is mourned by friends whose affection is better
than fame, and who in losing him have met with an irreparable loss.
Outside the circle of his friends his reputation had no large extent;
but though his writings are but little known by the great public of
readers, they are prized by all those of thoughtful and poetic temper
to whose hands they have come, as among the most precious and original
productions of the time. To those who knew him personally his poems had
a special worth and charm, as the sincere expression of a character of
the purest stamp, of rare truthfulness and simplicity, not less tender
than strong, and of a genius thoroughly individual in its form, and full
of the promise of a large career. He was by Nature endowed with subtile
and profound powers of thought, with feeling at once delicate and
intense, with lively and generous sympathies, and with conscientiousness
so acute as to pervade and control his whole intellectual disposition.
Loving, seeking, and holding fast to the truth, he despised all
falseness and affectation. With his serious and earnest thinking was
joined the play of a genial humor and the brightness of poetic fancy.
Liberal in sentiment, absolutely free from dogmatism and pride of
intellect, of a questioning temper, but of reverent spirit, faithful in
the performance not only of the larger duties, but also of the lesser
charities and the familiar courtesies of life, he has left a memory of
singular consistency, purity, and dignity. He lived to conscience, not
for show, and few men carry through life so white a soul.

A notice of Mr. Clough understood to be written by one who knew him well
gives the outline of his life.

"Arthur Hugh Clough was educated at Rugby, to which school he went
very young, soon after Dr. Arnold had been elected head-master. He
distinguished himself at once by gaining the only scholarship which
existed at that time, and which was open to the whole school under the
age of fourteen. Before he was sixteen he was at the head of the fifth
form, and, as that was the earliest age at which boys were then admitted
into the sixth, had to wait for a year before coming under the personal
tuition of the headmaster. He came in the next (school) generation to
Stanley and Vaughan, and gained a reputation, if possible, even greater
than theirs. At the yearly speeches, in the last year of his residence,
when the prizes are given away in the presence of the school and the
friends who gather on such occasions, Arnold took the almost unexampled
course of addressing him, (when he and two fags went up to carry off his
load of splendidly bound books,) and congratulating him on having
gained every honor which Rugby could bestow, and having also already
distinguished himself and done the highest credit to his school at the
University. He had just gained a scholarship at Balliol, then, as now,
the blue ribbon of undergraduates.

"At school, although before all things a student, he had thoroughly
entered into the life of the place, and before he left had gained
supreme influence with the boys. He was the leading contributor to the
'Rugby Magazine'; and though a weakness in his ankles prevented him from
taking a prominent part in the games of the place, was known as the
best goal-keeper on record, a reputation which no boy could have gained
without promptness and courage. He was also one of the best swimmers in
the school, his weakness of ankle being no drawback here, and in his
last half passed the crucial test of that day, by swimming from Swift's
(the bathing-place of the sixth) to the mill on the Leicester road, and
back again, between callings over.

"He went to reside at Oxford when the whole University was in a ferment.
The struggle of Alma Mater to humble or cast out the most remarkable
of her sons was at its height. Ward had not yet been arraigned for his
opinions, and was a fellow and tutor of Balliol, and Newman was in
residence at Oriel, and incumbent of St. Mary's.

"Clough's was a mind which, under any circumstances, would have thrown
itself into the deepest speculative thought of its time. He seems soon
to have passed through the mere ecclesiastical debatings to the deep
questions which lay below them. There was one lesson--probably one
only--which he had never been able to learn from his great master,
namely, to acknowledge that there are problems which intellectually are
not to be solved by man, and before these to sit down quietly. Whether
it were from the harass of thought on such matters which interfered with
his regular work, or from one of those strange miscarriages in the most
perfect of examining machines, which every now and then deprive the best
men of the highest honors, to the surprise of every one Clough missed
his first class. But he completely retrieved this academical mishap
shortly afterwards by gaining an Oriel fellowship. In his new college,
the college of Pusey, Newman, Keble, Marriott, Wilberforce, presided
over by Dr. Hawkins, and in which the influence of Whately, Davidson,
and Arnold had scarcely yet died out, he found himself in the very
centre and eye of the battle. His own convictions were by this time
leading him far away from both sides in the Oxford contest; he, however,
accepted a tutorship at the college, and all who had the privilege of
attending them will long remember his lectures on logic and ethics.
His fault (besides a shy and reserved manner) was that he was much too
long-suffering to youthful philosophic coxcombry, and would rather
encourage it by his gentle 'Ah! you think so?' or, 'Yes, but might not
such and such be the case?'"

Clough was at Oxford in 1847,--the year of the terrible Irish famine,
and with others of the most earnest men at the University he took part
in an association which had for its object "Retrenchment for the sake
of the Irish." Such a society was little likely to be popular with the
comfortable dignitaries or the luxurious youth of the University. Many
objections, frivolous or serious as the case might be, were raised
against so subversive a notion as that of the self-sacrifice of the rich
for the sake of the poor. Disregarding all personal considerations,
Clough printed a pamphlet entitled, "A Consideration of Objections
against the Retrenchment Association," in which he met the careless or
selfish arguments of those who set themselves against the efforts of
the society. It was a characteristic performance. His heart was deeply
stirred by the harsh contrast between the miseries of the Irish poor and
the wasteful extravagance of living prevalent at Oxford. He wrote with
vehement indignation against the selfish pleas of the indifferent and
the thoughtless possessors of wealth, wasters of the goods given them as
a trust for others. His words were chiefly addressed to the young men
at the University,--and they were not without effect. Such views of the
rights and duties of property as he put forward, of the claims of labor,
and of the responsibilities of the aristocracy, had not been often heard
at Oxford. He was called a Socialist and a Radical, but it mattered
little to him by what name he was known to those whose consciences were
not touched by his appeal. "Will you say," he writes toward the end of
this pamphlet, "this is all rhetoric and declamation? There is, I dare
say, something too much in that kind. What with criticizing style and
correcting exercises, we college tutors perhaps may be likely, in the
heat of composition, to lose sight of realities, and pass into the limbo
of the factitious,--especially when the thing must be done at odd times,
in any case, and, if at all, quickly. But if I have been obliged to
write hurriedly, believe me, I have obliged myself to think not hastily.
And believe me, too, though I have desired to succeed in putting vividly
and forcibly that which vividly and forcibly I felt and saw, still the
graces and splendors of composition were thoughts far less present to my
mind than Irish poor men's miseries, English poor men's hardships, and
your unthinking indifference. Shocking enough the first and the second,
almost more shocking the third."

It was about this time that the most widely known of his works, "The
Bothie of Toper-na-Fuosich, a Long-Vacation Pastoral," was written. It
was published in 1848, and though it at once secured a circle of warm
admirers, and the edition was very soon exhausted, it "is assuredly
deserving of a far higher popularity than it has ever attained." The
poem was reprinted in America, at Cambridge, in 1849, and it may be
safely asserted that its merit was more deeply felt and more generously
acknowledged by American than by English readers. The fact that its
essential form and local coloring were purely and genuinely English, and
thus gratified the curiosity felt in this country concerning the social
habits and ways of life in the mother-land, while on the other hand its
spirit was in sympathy with the most liberal and progressive thought
of the age, may sufficiently account for its popularity here. But
the lovers of poetry found delight in it, apart from these
characteristics,--in its fresh descriptions of Nature, its healthy
manliness of tone, its scholarly construction, its lively humor, its
large thought quickened and deepened by the penetrating imagination of
the poet.

"Any one who has read it will acknowledge that a tutorship at Oriel was
not the place for the author. The intense love of freedom, the deep and
hearty sympathy with the foremost thought of the time, the humorous
dealing with old formulas and conventionalisms grown meaningless, which
breathe in every line of the 'Bothie,' show this clearly enough. He
would tell in after-life, with much enjoyment, how the dons of the
University, who, hearing that he had something in the press, and knowing
that his theological views were not wholly sound, were looking for a
publication on the Articles, were astounded by the appearance of that
fresh and frolicsome poem. Oxford (at least the Oriel common room)
and he were becoming more estranged daily. How keenly he felt the
estrangement, not from Oxford, but from old friends, about this time,
can be read only in his own words." It is in such poems as the "Qua
Cursum Ventus," or the sonnet beginning, "Well, well,--Heaven bless you
all from day to day!" that it is to be read. These, with a few other
fugitive pieces, were printed, in company with verses by a friend, as
one part of a small volume entitled, "Ambarvalia," which never attained
any general circulation, although containing some poems which will take
their place among the best of English poetry of this generation.

  "_Qua Cursum Ventus_.

  "As ships, becalmed at eve, that lay
     With canvas drooping, side by side,
  Two towers of sail at dawn of day,
     Are scarce long leagues apart descried:

  "When fell the night, upsprung the breeze,
     And all the darkling hours they plied,
  Nor dreamt but each the self-same seas
     By each was cleaving side by side:

  "E'en so----But why the tale reveal
     Of those whom, year by year unchanged,
  Brief absence joined anew to feel,
     Astounded, soul from soul estranged?

  "At dead of night their sails were filled,
     And onward each rejoicing steered:
  Ah, neither blame, for neither willed,
     Or wist, what first with dawn appeared!

  "To veer, how vain! On, onward strain,
     Brave barks! In light, in darkness too,
  Through winds and tides one compass guides:
     To that, and your own selves, be true!

  "But, O blithe breeze! and O great seas!
     Though ne'er, that earliest parting past,
  On your wide plain they join again,
     Together lead them home at last!

  "One port, methought, alike they sought,
     One purpose hold where'er they fare:
  O bounding breeze! O rushing seas!
     At last, at last, unite them there!"

"In 1848-49 the revolutionary crisis came on Europe, and Clough's
sympathies drew him with great earnestness into the struggles which were
going on. He was in Paris directly after the barricades, and in Rome
during the siege, where he gained the friendship of Saffi and other
leading Italian patriots." A part of his experiences and his thoughts
while at Rome are interwoven with the story in his "Amours de Voyage," a
poem which exhibits in extraordinary measure the subtilty and delicacy
of his powers, and the fulness of his sympathy with the intellectual
conditions of the time. It was first published in the "Atlantic Monthly"
for 1858, and was at once established in the admiration of readers
capable of appreciating its rare and refined excellence. The spirit
of the poem is thoroughly characteristic of its author, and the
speculative, analytic turn of his mind is represented in many passages
of the letters of the imaginary hero. Had he been writing in his own
name, he could not have uttered his inmost conviction more distinctly,
or have given the clue to his intellectual life more openly than in the
following verses:--

  "I will look straight out, see things, not try to
          evade them:
  Fact shall be Fact for me; and the Truth the
          Truth as ever,
  Flexible, changeable, vague, and multiform
          and doubtful."

Or, again,--

  "Ah, the key of our life, that passes all wards,
          opens all locks,
  Is not _I will_, but _I must_. I must,--I must,
         --and I do it."

And still again,--

  "But for the steady fore-sense of a freer and
          larger existence,
  Think you that man could consent to be
          circumscribed here into action?
  But for assurance within of a limitless ocean
          divine, o'er
  Whose great tranquil depths unconscious
          the wind-tost surface
  Breaks into ripples of trouble that come and
          change and endure not,--
  But that in this, of a truth, we have our
          being, and know it,
  Think you we men could submit to live and
          move as we do here?"

"To keep on doing right,--not to speculate only, but to act, not to
think only, but to live,"--was, it has been said, characteristic of the
leading men at Oxford during this period. "It was not so much a part of
their teaching as a doctrine woven into their being." And while they
thus exercised a moral not less than an intellectual influence over
their contemporaries and their pupils, they themselves, according to
their various tempers and circumstances, were led on into new paths of
inquiry or of life. Some of them fell into the common temptations of
an English University career, and lost the freshness of energy and the
honesty of conviction which first inspired them; others, holding their
places in the established order of things, were able by happy faculties
of character to retain also the vigor and simplicity of their early
purposes; while others again, among whom was Clough, finding the
restraints of the University incompatible with independence, gave up
their positions at Oxford to seek other places in which they could more
freely search for the truth and express their own convictions.

It was not long after his return from Italy that he became Professor of
English Language and Literature at University College, London. He filled
this place, which was not in all respects suited to him, until 1852.
After resigning it, he took various projects into consideration, and
at length determined to come to America with the intention of settling
here, if circumstances should prove favorable. In November, 1852,
he arrived in Boston. He at once established himself at Cambridge,
proposing to give instruction to young men preparing for college, or to
take on in more advanced studies those who had completed the collegiate
course. He speedily won the friendship of those whose friendship
was best worth having in Boston and its neighborhood. His thorough
scholarship, the result of the best English training, and his intrinsic
qualities caused his society to be sought and prized by the most
cultivated and thoughtful men. He had nothing of insular narrowness, and
none of the hereditary prejudices which too often interfere with the
capacity of English travellers or residents among us to sympathize with
and justly understand habits of life and of thought so different from
those to which they have been accustomed. His liberal sentiments and his
independence of thought harmonized with the new social conditions in
which he found himself, and with the essential spirit of American life.
The intellectual freedom and animation of this country were congenial
to his disposition. From the beginning he took a large share in the
interests of his new friends. He contributed several remarkable articles
to the pages of the "North American Review" and of "Putnam's Magazine,"
and he undertook a work which was to occupy his scanty leisure for
several years, the revision of the so-called Dryden's Translation of
Plutarch's Lives. Although the work was undertaken simply as a revision,
it turned out to involve little less labor than a complete new
translation, and it was so accomplished that henceforth it must remain
the standard version of this most popular of the ancient authors.

But all that made the presence of such a man a great gain to his new
friends made his absence felt by his old ones as a great loss. In July,
1853, he received the announcement that a place had been obtained for
him by their efforts in the Education Department of the Privy Council,
and he was so strenuously urged to return to England, that, although
unwilling to give up the prospect of a final settlement in America,
he felt that it was best to go home for a time. Some months after his
return he was married to the granddaughter of the late Mr. William
Smith, M.P. for Norwich. He established himself in a house in London,
and settled down to the hard routine-work of his office. In a private
letter written not long after his return, he said,--"As for myself, whom
you ask about, there is nothing to tell about me. I live on contentedly
enough, but feel rather unwilling to be re-Englished, after once
attaining that higher transatlantic development. However, _il faut s'y
soumettre_, I presume,--though I fear I am embarked in the foundering
ship. I hope to Heaven you'll get rid of slavery, and then I shouldn't
fear but you would really 'go ahead' in the long run. As for us and our
inveterate feudalism, it is not hopeful."

In another letter about this time, he wrote,--"I like America all the
better for the comparison with England on my return. Certainly I think
you are more right than I was willing to admit, about the position of
the poorer classes here. Such is my first reimpression. However, it
will wear off soon enough, I dare say; so you must make the most of my
admissions."

Again, a little later, he wrote,--"I do truly hope that you will get the
North erelong thoroughly united against any further encroachments. I
don't by any means feel that the slave-system is an intolerable crime,
nor do I think that our system here is so much better; but it is clear
to me that the only safe ground to go upon is that of your Northern
States. I suppose the rich-and-poor difficulties must be creeping in at
New York, but one would fain hope that European analogies will not be
quite accepted even there."

His letters were reflections of himself,--full of thought, fancy, and
pleasant humor, as well as of affectionateness and true feeling. Their
character is hardly to be given in extracts, but a few passages may
serve to illustrate some of these qualities.

"Ambrose Philips, the Roman Catholic, who set up the new St. Bernard
Monastery at Charnwood Forest, has taken to spirit-rappings. He avers,
_inter alia_, that a Buddhist spirit in misery held communication with
him through the table, and entreated his confessor, Father Lorraine, to
say three masses for him. Pray, convey this to T---- for his warning.
For, moreover, it remains uncertain whether Father Lorraine did say the
masses; so that perhaps T----'s deceased co-religionist is still in the
wrong place."

Some time after his return, he wrote,--"Really, I may say I am only
just beginning to recover my spirits after returning from the young and
hopeful and humane republic, to this cruel, unbelieving, inveterate old
monarchy. There are deeper waters of ancient knowledge and experience
about one here, and one is saved from the temptation of flying off into
space; but I think you have, beyond all question, the happiest country
going. Still, the political talk of America, as one hears it here, is
not always true to the best intentions of the country, is it?"

Writing on a July day from his office in Whitehall, he says, after
speaking of the heat of the weather,--"Time has often been compared to
a river: if the Thames at London represent the stream of traditional
wisdom, the comparison will indeed be of an ill odor; the accumulated
wisdom of the past will be proved upon analogy to be as it were the
collected sewage of the centuries; and the great problem, how to get rid
of it."

In March, 1854, he wrote,--"People talk a good deal about that book of
Whewell's on the Plurality of Worlds. I recommend Fields to pirate it.
Have you seen it? It is to show that Jupiter, Venus, Saturn, etc., are
all pretty certainly uninhabitable,--being (Jupiter, Saturn, etc., to
wit) strange washy limbos of places, where at the best only mollusks
(or, in the case of Venus, salamanders) could exist. Hence we conclude
we are the only rational creatures, which is highly satisfactory, and,
what is more, quite Scriptural. Owen, on the other hand, I believe,
and other scientific people, declare it a most presumptuous essay,--
conclusions audacious, and reasoning fallacious, though the facts are
allowed; and in that opinion I, on the ground that there are more things
in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in the inductive philosophy,
incline to concur."

Of his work he wrote,--"Well, I go on in the office, _operose nihil
agenda_, very _operose_, and very _nihil_ too. For lack of news, I send
you a specimen of my labors."--"We are here going on much as usual,
--occupied with nothing else but commerce and the money-market. I do not
think any one is thinking audibly of anything else."--"I have read with
more pleasure than anything else that I have read lately Kane's Arctic
Explorations, i.e., his second voyage, which is certainly a wonderful
story. The whole narrative is, I think, very characteristic of the
differences between the English and the American-English habits of
command and obedience."

In the autumn of 1857, after speaking of some of the features of the
Sepoy revolt, he said,--"I don't believe Christianity can spread far in
Asia, unless it will allow men more than one wife,--which isn't likely
yet out of Utah. But I believe the old Brahmin 'Touch not and taste not,
and I am holier than thou, because I don't touch and taste,' may be got
rid of. As for Mahometanism, it is a crystallized monotheism, out of
which no vegetation can come. I doubt its being good even for the
Central negro."

March, 1859. "Excuse this letter all about my own concerns. I am pretty
busy, and have time for little else: such is our fate after forty. My
figure 40 stands nearly three months behind me on the roadway, unwept,
unhonored, and unsung, an _octavum lustrum_ bound up and laid on the
shelf. 'So-and-so is dead,' said a friend to Lord Melbourne of some
author. 'Dear me, how glad I am! Now I can bind him up.'"

It was not until 1859 that the translation of Plutarch, begun six years
before, was completed and published. It had involved much wearisome
study, and gave proof of patient, exact, and elegant scholarship.
Clough's life in the Council-Office was exceedingly laborious, and
for several years his work was increased by services rendered to Miss
Nightingale, a near relative of his wife. He employed "many hours, both
before and after his professional duties were over, to aid her in those
reforms of the military administration to which she has devoted the
remaining energies of her overtasked life." For this work he was the
better fitted from having acted, during a period of relief from his
regular employment, as Secretary to a Military Commission appointed by
Government shortly after the Crimean War to examine and report upon the
military systems of some of the chief Continental nations. But at length
his health gave way under the strain of continuous overwork. He had for
a long time been delicate, and early in 1861 he was obliged to give
up work, and was ordered to travel abroad. He went to Greece and
Constantinople, and enjoyed greatly the charms of scenery and of
association which he was so well fitted to appreciate. But the release
from work had come too late. He returned to England in July, his health
but little improved. In a letter written at that time he spoke of Lord
Campbell's death, which had just occurred. "Lord Campbell's death is
rather the characteristic death of the English political man. In the
Cabinet, on the Bench, and at a dinner-party, busy, animated, and full
of effort to-day, and in the early morning a vessel has burst. It is a
wonder they last so long." But of himself he says, in words of striking
contrast,--"My nervous energy is pretty nearly spent for to-day, so I
must come to a stop. I have leave till November, and by that time I hope
I shall be strong again for another good spell of work." After a happy
three weeks in England, he went abroad again, and spent some time
with his friends the Tennysons in Auvergne and among the Pyrenees. In
September he was joined by his wife in Paris, and thence went with her
through Switzerland to Italy. He had scarcely reached Florence before
he became alarmingly ill with symptoms of a low malaria fever. His
exhausted constitution never rallied against its attack. He sank
gradually away, and died on the 13th of November. "I have leave till
November, and by that time I hope I shall be strong again for another
good spell of work." That hope is accomplished;--

  "For sure in the wide heaven there is room
  For love, and pity, and for helpful deeds."

He was buried in the little Protestant cemetery at Florence, a fit
resting-place for a poet, the Protestant Santa Croce, where the tall
cypresses rise over the graves, and the beautiful hills keep guard
around.

"Every one who knew Clough even slightly," says one of his oldest
friends, "received the strongest impression of the unusual breadth
and massiveness of his mind. Singularly simple and genial, he was
unfortunately cast upon a self-questioning age, which led him to worry
himself with constantly testing the veracity of his own emotions. He has
delineated in four lines the impression which his habitual reluctance to
converse on the deeper themes of life made upon those of his friends who
were attracted by his frank simplicity. In one of his shorter poems he
writes,--

  'I said, My heart is all too soft;
  He who would climb and soar aloft
  Must needs keep ever at his side
  The tonic of a wholesome pride.'

That expresses the man in a very remarkable manner. He had a kind of
proud simplicity about him singularly attractive, and often singularly
disappointing to those who longed to know him well. He had a fear, which
many would think morbid, of leaning much on the approbation of the
world. And there is one remarkable passage in his poems in which he
intimates that men who live on the good opinion of others might even be
benefited by a crime which would rob them of that evil stimulant:--

  'Why, so is good no longer good, but crime
  Our truest, best advantage, since it lifts us
  Out of the stifling gas of men's opinion
  Into the vital atmosphere of Truth,
  Where He again is visible, though in anger.'

"So eager was his craving for reality and perfect sincerity, so morbid
his dislike even for the unreal conventional forms of life, that a mind
quite unique in simplicity and truthfulness represents _itself_ in his
poems as

  'Seeking in vain, in all my store,
  One feeling based on truth.'

"Indeed, he wanted to reach some guaranty for simplicity deeper than
simplicity itself. We remember his principal criticism on America,
after returning from his residence in Massachusetts, was, that the
New-Englanders were much simpler than the English, and that this was
the great charm of New-England society. His own habits were of the same
kind, sometimes almost austere in their simplicity. Luxury he disliked,
and sometimes his friends thought him even ascetic.

"This almost morbid craving for a firm base on the absolute realities
of life was very wearing in a mind so self-conscious as Clough's, and
tended to paralyze the expression of a certainly great genius. He heads
some of his poems with a line from Wordsworth's great ode, which depicts
perfectly the expression often written in the deep furrows which
sometimes crossed and crowded his massive forehead:--

  'Blank misgivings of a creature moving about
       in worlds not realized.'

"Nor did Clough's great powers ever realize themselves to his
contemporaries by any outward sign at all commensurate with the profound
impression which they produced in actual life. But if his powers did
not, there was much in his character that did produce its full effect
upon all who knew him. He never looked, even in time of severe trial, to
his own interest or advancement. He never flinched from the worldly loss
which his deepest convictions brought on him. Even when clouds were
thick over his own head, and the ground beneath his feet seemed
crumbling away, he could still bear witness to an eternal light behind
the cloud, and tell others that there is solid ground to be reached in
the end by the weary feet of all who will wait to be strong. Let him
speak his own farewell:--

  'Say not the struggle nought availeth,
     The labor and the wounds are vain,
  The enemy faints not nor faileth,
     And as things have been things remain.

  'Though hopes were dupes, fears may be liars;
     It may be, in yon smoke concealed,
  Your comrades chase e'en now the fliers,
     And but for you possess the field.

  'For though the tired wave, idly breaking,
     Seems here no tedious inch to gain,
  Far back, through creek and inlet making,
     Came, silent flooding in, the main.

  'And not through eastern windows only,
     When daylight comes, comes in the light;
  In front the sun climbs slow,--how slowly!
     But westward--look! the land is bright.'"



WHAT SHALL WE DO WITH THEM?


We have many precedents upon the part of the "Guardian of Civilization,"
which may or may not guide us. Not to return to that age "whereunto the
memory of man runneth not to the contrary," "the day of King Richard our
grandfather," and to the Wars of the Roses, we will begin with the happy
occasion of the Restoration of King Charles of merry and disreputable
fame. Since he came back to his kingdoms on sufferance and as a
convenient compromise between anarchy and despotism, he could hardly
afford the luxury of wholesale proscription. What the returning
Royalists could, they did. It was obviously unsafe, as well as
ungrateful, to hang General Monk in presence of his army, many of whom
had followed the "Son of the Man" from Worcester Fight in hot pursuit,
and had hunted him from thicket to thicket of Boscobel Wood. But to dig
up the dead Cromwell and Ireton, to suspend them upon the gallows, to
mark out John Milton, old and blind, for poverty and contempt, was both
safe and pleasant. And civilization was guarded accordingly. One little
bit of comfort, however, was permitted. Scotland had been the Virginia
of his day, and Charles had the satisfaction of hearing that the Whigs,
who had betrayed and sold his father, and who had (a far worse offence)
made himself listen to three-hours' sermons, were chased like wild
beasts among the hills, after the defeat of Bothwell Brigg. But what
Charles could not do was permitted to his brother. After the rebellion
of Monmouth was put down, the West of England was turned to mourning.
From the princely bastard who sued in agony and vain humiliation, to the
clown of Devon forced into the rebel ranks,--from the peer who plotted,
to the venerable and Christian woman whose sole crime was sheltering the
houseless and starving fugitive, there was given to the vanquished no
mercy but the mercy of Jeffreys, no tenderness but the tenderness of
Kirk.

But the House of Stuart was not always to represent the side of victory.
Thirty years after the Rout of Sedgemoor, the son of James, whose name
was clouded by rumor with the same stain of spuriousness as that of his
unfortunate cousin, was proclaimed by the Earl of Mar. The Jacobites
were forced to drink to the dregs the cup of bitterness they had so
gladly administered to others. Over Temple Bar and London Bridge the
heads of the defeated rebels bore witness to the guardianship of
civilization as understood in the eighteenth century.

Another thirty years brings us to the landing of Moidart, the rising
of the clans, the fall of Edinburgh and Carlisle, the "Bull's Run" at
Prestonpans, and the panic of London. If we are anxious to guard our
civilization according to Hanoverian precedents, there is one name
commonly given to the Commander-in-chief at Culloden which Congress
should add to the titles it is preparing against McClellan's successful
advance. The "Butcher Cumberland" not only hounded on his troops with
the tempting price of thirty thousand pounds for the Pretender _dead or
alive_, but every adherent of the luckless Jefferson Davis of that day
was in peril of life and wholesale confiscation. The House of Hanover
not only broke the backbone of the Rebellion, but mangled without mercy
its remains.

We come now, in another thirty years, to the next struggle of England
with a portion of her people. It is impossible, as well as unfair,
to say what might have been done with "Mr. Washington, the Virginia
colonel," and Mr. Franklin, the Philadelphia printer, had they not been
able to determine their own destiny. We can only surmise, by referring
to two well-known localities in New York, the "Old Sugar-House" and the
"Jersey Prison-Ship," how paternally George III was disposed then to
resume his rights. And without disposition to press historic parallels,
we cannot but compare Arnold and Tryon's raid along the south shore of
Connecticut with a certain sail recently made up the Tennessee River to
the foot of the Muscle Shoals by the command of a modern Connecticut
officer.

But as we were spared the necessity of testing the royal clemency to the
submitted Provinces of North America, we had better pass on twenty years
to the era of the Act of Union between Great Britain and Ireland. In
this country the Irishman need not "fear to speak of '98," and in this
country he still treasures the memory of the whippings and pitch-caps of
Major Beresford's riding-house, and other pleasant souvenirs of the way
in which, sixty years ago, loyalty dealt with rebellion. There is no
inherent proneness to treason in the Hibernian nature, as Corcoran and
the Sixty-Ninth can bear witness; nor is Pat so fond of a riot that he
cannot with fair play be a--well, a good citizen. Yet at home he has
been so "civilized" by his British guardian as to be in a chronic state
of discontent and fretfulness.

We must, however, hasten to our latest precedent,--England in India.
The Sepoy Rebellion had some features in common with our own. It was
inaugurated by premeditated military treachery. It seized upon a large
quantity of Government munitions of war. It only asked "to be let
alone." It found the Government wholly unprepared. But it was the
uprising of a conquered people. The rebels were in circumstances, as in
complexion, much nearer akin to that portion of our Southern citizens
which has _not_ rebelled, and which has lost no opportunity of seeking
our lines "to take the oath of allegiance" or any other little favor
which could be found there. We do not defend their atrocities, although
a plea in mitigation might be put in, that these "were wisely planned to
break the spell which British domination had woven over the native mind
of India," and that they were part of that decided and desperate policy
which was designed to forever bar the way of reconstruction. But toward
the recaptured rebels there was used a course for which the only
precedent, so far as we know, was furnished by that highly civilized
guardian, the Dey of Algiers. These prisoners of war were in cold blood
tied to the muzzles of cannon and blown into fragments. The illustrated
papers of that most Christian land which is overcome with the barbarity
of sinking old hulks in a channel through which privateers were wont to
escape our blockade furnished effective engravings "by our own artist"
of the scene. Wholesale plunder and devastation of the chief city of the
revolt followed. The rebellion was put down, and put down, we may say,
without any unnecessary tenderness, any womanish weakness for the
rebels.

We have thus established what we believe is called by theologians a
_catena_ of precedents, coming down from the days of the Commonwealth to
our own time. It covers about the whole period of New England history.
And we next propose to ask the question, how far it may be desirable to
be bound by such indisputable authority.

Is it too late to reopen the question, and to retry the issue between
sovereign and rebel, less with respect to ancient and immemorial usage,
and more according to eternal principle? We answer, No. The same power
that enables us to master this rebellion will give us original and final
jurisdiction over it.

But one principle asserts itself out of the uniform coarse of history.
The restoration of the lawful authority over rebels does not restore
them to their old _status_. They are at the pleasure of the conquering
power. Rights of citizenship, having been abjured, do not return
with the same coercion which demands duties of citizenship. Thus, to
illustrate on an individual scale, every wrong-doer is _ipso facto_ a
rebel. He forfeits, according to due course of law, a measure of his
privileges, while constrained to the same responsibility of obedience.
His property is not exempt from taxes because he is in prison, but his
right of voting is gone; he cannot bear arms, but he must keep the
peace, he must labor compulsorily, and attend such worship as the State
provides. In short, he becomes a ward of the State, while not ceasing to
be a member. His inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of
happiness were inalienable only so long as he remained obedient and true
to the sovereign. Now this is equally true on the large scale as on the
small. The only difficulty is to apply it to broad masses of men and to
States.

It may not be expedient to try South Carolina collectively, but we
contend that the application of the principle gives us the right.
Corporate bodies have again and again been punished by suspension of
franchise, while held to allegiance and duties.

The simple question for us is, What will it be best to do? The South
may save us the trouble of deciding for the present a part of the many
questions that occur. We may put down the Confederate Government, and
take military occupation. We cannot compel the Southerners to hold
elections and resume their share in the Government. It can go on without
them. The same force which reopens the Mississippi can collect taxes or
exact forfeitures along its banks. If Charleston is sullen, the National
Government, having restored its flag to Moultrie and Sumter, can take
its own time in the matter of clearing out the channel and rebuilding
the light-houses. If a secluded neighborhood does not receive a
Government postmaster, but is disposed to welcome him with tarry hands
to a feathery bed, it can be left without the mails. The rebel we can
compel to return to his duties; if necessary, we can leave him to get
back his rights as he best may.

But we are the representatives of a great political discovery. The
American Union is founded on a fact unknown to the Old World. That fact
is the direct ratio of the prosperity of the parts to the prosperity of
the whole. It is the principle upon which in every community our life
is built. We cannot, therefore, afford to have any part of the land
languishing and suffering. We are fighting, not for conquest, for we
mean to abjure our power the moment we safely can,--not for vengeance,
for those with whom we fight are our brethren. We are compelled by a
necessity, partly geographical and partly social, into restoring a Union
politically which never for a day has actually ceased.

Let us advert to one fact very patent and significant. We have heard
of nearly all our successes through Rebel sources. Even where it made
against them, they could not help telling us (we do not say the _truth_,
for that is rather strong, but) the _news_. Never did two nations at war
know one-tenth part as much of each other's affairs. Like husband and
wife, the two parts of the country cannot keep secrets from one another,
let them try ever so hard. And the end of all will be that we shall know
and respect one another a great deal better for our sharp encounter.

But this necessity of union demands of the Government, imperatively
demands, that it take whatever step is necessary to its own
preservation. It is as with a ship at sea,--all must pull together, or
somebody must go overboard. There can be no such order of things as an
_agreed state of mutiny_,--forecastle seceding from cabin, and steerage
independent of both.

Not only is rebellion to be put down, therefore, but to be kept from
coming up again. It is obvious to every one, not thoroughly blinded by
party, how it did come up. The Gulf States were coaxed out, the Border
States were bullied or conjured out. A few leading men, who had made
the science of political management their own, got the control of the
popular mind. One great secret of their success was their constant
assumption that what was to be done had been done already. It is the
very art of the veteran seducer, who ever persuades his victim that
return is impossible, in order that he may actually make it so. North
Carolina, as one expressively said, "found herself out of the Union she
hardly knew how." Virginia was dragged out. Tennessee was forced out.
Missouri was declared out. Kentucky was all but out. Maryland hung in
the crisis of life and death under the guns of Fort McHenry. In South
Carolina alone can it be said that any fair expression of the popular
will was on the Secession side. The Rebellion was the work of a
governing class, all whose ideas and hopes were the aggrandizement of
their own order. Terrorism opened the way, reckless lying made the game
sure. If any one is inclined to doubt this, let him look at the sway
which Robespierre and his few associates exercised in Paris. Some
seventy executions delivered that great city from its nightmare agony of
months. A dozen resolute, united men, with arms and without scruples,
could seize almost any New England village for a time, provided they
knew just what they wanted to do. Decision and energy are master-keys to
almost most all doors not fortified by Hobbs's patent locks. A party of
tipsy Americans one night stormed a Parisian guard-house, disarmed the
sentry, and sent the guard flying in desperate fear, thinking that a
general _émente_ was in progress. Now one issue of the Rebellion must
be to put down, not only this governing class, but also the system from
which it springs. We have no such class at the North. We can have no
such class. The very collision of interests, the rivalries of trade, the
thousand-and-one social relations, all neutralize each other, are checks
and counterchecks, which, like the particles in a vessel of water,
always tend toward the level of an equilibrium. Two men meet in their
lodge as Odd-Fellows, but they are opponents on "town-meeting day." Two
partners in business are, one the most bitter of Calvinists, and the
other the most progressive of Universalists. Dr. A. and the Rev. Mr. B.
pull asunder the men whom 'Change unites. But with the Southerner of the
governing class it is not so. One sympathy, more potent than any other
can be, leagues them all. All are masters of the Helot race upon which
their success and station are built. It is a living relation, the most
powerful and vital which can bind men together, that sense of authority
borne by the few over the many.

The Norman barons after the Conquest, the Spanish conquerors in Mexico
and Peru, the Englishmen of the days of Clive and Hastings in India, are
all examples of that thorough concentration of strength which must arise
in the conflicts of races. Republics have fallen through their standing
armies. The proprietary class at the South was the most dangerous of
standing armies, for it was disciplined to the use of power night and
day. The overthrow of the Rebellion will to a great degree ruin this
class. But since it is one not founded on birth or culture, but simply
on white blood and circumstance, (for no Secessionist is so fierce as
your converted Northerner,) it cannot fall like the Norman nobility in
the Wars of the Roses, or waste by operation of climate like the
masters of Mexico and Hindostan. It renews itself whenever it touches
slave-soil. That gives it life. We contend that Government must for its
own preservation go to the root of the matter. And we cannot see that
there is any Constitutional difficulty. There are probably not ten
slave-proprietors in the South whom it has not the right to arrest, try,
and hang, for high-treason. Of course, every one can see the practical
difficulty, as well as the manifest folly, of doing this. But if it has
that right toward these individuals, it certainly may say, by Act of
Congress, if we choose, that it will not waive it except upon conditions
which shall secure it from any further trouble. It seems to us fully
within our power. And we will use an illustration that may help to show
what we mean. President Lincoln has no right to require of any citizen
of the United States that he take the temperance-pledge. But suppose a
murderer who has taken life in a fit of drunkenness applies for pardon
to the Executive. The Executive, Governor or President, as the case may
be, may surely then impose that condition before commuting the sentence
or releasing the prisoner. Now the Nation stands toward the Rebels in a
like attitude. It may be good policy to take them back as fast as they
submit, it may be Christian magnanimity to make the way as easy as
possible for their return, but they have no right to come back to
anything but a prison and hard labor for life. Many of them have trebly
forfeited their lives,--as traitors, as deserters from the naval and
military service, and as paroled prisoners who have broken their parole.
And therefore we say, since we cannot deal with all the individuals,
we must deal with the masses, and that in their corporate capacity. If
South Carolina is a sovereign State, is in the Union as a feudal chief
in his king's court, with power to carry from York to Lancaster and from
Lancaster to York his subject vassals, then South Carolina has dared the
hazard of rebellion, and her political head is forfeit.

It is next to be asked, what these conditions are to be. And that is
not to be answered in a breath. That they can have but one result,
emancipation, is a foregone conclusion; but the mode of reaching it is
not so easily determined. A cotton-loaded ship took fire at sea. It
would have been easy to pump in water enough to drown the fire. But the
captain said, "No," for that would swell the bales to such an extent
as to open every seam and start every timber. So with, the ship now
carrying King Cotton: you may indeed quench the fire, but you may
possibly turn the ship inside out into the bargain.

But something we have a right to insist on. We have it, over and above
the Constitutional right shown just now, upon the broad principle of
necessity. Slavery has proved itself a nuisance. Just as we say to the
owner of a bone-boiling establishment, "You poison the air; we cannot
live here; you must go farther off,"--and if a fever break out which can
be clearly traced to that source, we say it emphatically: so now Slavery
having proved itself pestilential, we say, "March!"

We are not disposed, _à la_ Staten Island, to burn down our
yellow-feverish neighbor's house. We will give everybody time to pack
up. We will make up a little purse for any specially hard case which the
removal may show. But stay and be plague-stricken we will no longer; nor
are we disposed to spend our whole income in burning sulphur, saltpetre,
and charcoal to keep out infection. And certainly, when by neglect to
pay ground-rent, or other illegality, the owner of our nuisance has
_forfeited_ his right to stay, no mortal can blame us for taking the
strictest and most decisive steps known to the law to remove him.



AGNES OF SORRENTO.


CHAPTER XXVII.

THE SAINT'S REST.


Agnes entered the city of Rome in a trance of enthusiastic emotion,
almost such as one might imagine in a soul entering the heavenly
Jerusalem above. To her exalted ideas she was approaching not only the
ground hallowed by the blood of apostles and martyrs, not merely the
tombs of the faithful, but the visible "general assembly and church of
the first-born which are written in heaven." Here reigned the appointed
representative of Jesus,--and she imagined a benignant image of a prince
clothed with honor and splendor, who was yet the righter of all wrongs,
the redresser of all injuries, the friend and succorer of the poor and
needy; and she was firm in a secret purpose to go to this great and
benignant father, and on her knees entreat him to forgive the sins of
her lover, and remove the excommunication that threatened at every
moment his eternal salvation. For she trembled to think of it,--a sudden
accident, a thrust of a dagger, a fall from his horse might put him
forever beyond the pale of repentance,--he might die unforgiven, and
sink to eternal pain.

If any should wonder that a Christian soul could preserve within itself
an image so ignorantly fair, in such an age, when the worldliness and
corruption in the Papal chair were obtruded by a thousand incidental
manifestations, and were alluded to in all the calculations of simple
common people, who looked at facts with a mere view to the guidance of
their daily conduct, it is necessary to remember the nature of Agnes's
religious training, and the absolute renunciation of all individual
reasoning which from infancy had been laid down before her as the first
and indispensable prerequisite of spiritual progress. To believe,--to
believe utterly and blindly,--not only without evidence, but against
evidence,--to reject the testimony even of her senses, when set against
the simple affirmation of her superiors,--had been the beginning,
middle, and end of her religious instruction. When a doubt assailed her
mind on any point, she had been taught to retire within herself and
repeat a prayer; and in this way her mental eye had formed the habit
of closing to anything that might shake her faith as quickly as the
physical eye closes at a threatened blow. Then, as she was of a poetic
and ideal nature, entirely differing from the mass of those with whom
she associated, she had formed that habit of abstraction and mental
reverie which prevented her hearing or perceiving the true sense of a
great deal that went on around her. The conversations that commonly
were carried on in her presence had for her so little interest that
she scarcely heard them. The world in which she moved was a glorified
world,--wherein, to be sure, the forms of every-day life appeared,
but appeared as different from what they were in reality as the old
mouldering daylight view of Rome is from the warm translucent glory of
its evening transfiguration.

So in her quiet, silent heart she nursed this beautiful hope of finding
in Rome the earthly image of her Saviour's home above, of finding in the
head of the Church the real image of her Redeemer,--the friend to whom
the poorest and lowliest may pour out their souls with as much freedom
as the highest and noblest. The spiritual directors who had formed the
mind of Agnes in her early days had been persons in the same manner
taught to move in an ideal world of faith. The Mother Theresa had never
seen the realities of life, and supposed the Church on earth to be all
that the fondest visions of human longing could paint it. The hard,
energetic, prose experience of old Jocunda, and the downright way with
which she sometimes spoke of things as a trooper's wife must have seen
them, were repressed and hushed, down, as the imperfect faith of a
half-reclaimed worldling,--they could not be allowed to awaken her
from the sweetness of so blissful a dream. In like manner, when Lorenzo
Sforza became Father Francesco, he strove with earnest prayer to bury
his gift of individual reason in the same grave with his family name
and worldly experience. As to all that transpired in the real world, he
wrapped himself in a mantle of imperturbable silence; the intrigues of
popes and cardinals, once well known to him, sank away as a forbidden
dream; and by some metaphysical process of imaginative devotion he
enthroned God in the place of the dominant powers, and taught himself to
receive all that came from them in uninquiring submission, as proceeding
from unerring wisdom. Though he had begun his spiritual life under the
impulse of Savonarola, yet so perfect had been his isolation from all
tidings of what transpired in the external world that the conflict which
was going on between that distinguished man and the Papal hierarchy
never reached his ear. He sought and aimed as much as possible to make
his soul like the soul of one dead, which adores and worships in ideal
space, and forgets forever the scenes and relations of earth; and he
had so long contemplated Rome under the celestial aspects of his faith,
that, though the shock of his first confession there had been painful,
still it was insufficient to shake his faith. It had been God's will, he
thought, that where he looked for aid he should meet only confusion,
and he bowed to the inscrutable will, and blindly adored the mysterious
revelation. If such could be the submission and the faith of a strong
and experienced man, who can wonder at the enthusiastic illusions of an
innocent, trustful child?

Agnes and her grandmother entered the city of Rome just as the twilight
had faded into night; and though Agnes, full of faith and enthusiasm,
was longing to begin immediately the ecstatic vision of shrines and holy
places, old Elsie commanded her not to think of anything further that
night. They proceeded, therefore, with several other pilgrims who had
entered the city, to a church specially set apart for their reception,
connected with which were large dormitories and a religious order whose
business was to receive and wait upon them, and to see that all their
wants were supplied. This religious foundation is one of the oldest in
Rome; and it is esteemed a work of especial merit and sanctity among the
citizens to associate themselves temporarily in these labors in Holy
Week. Even princes and princesses come, humble and lowly, mingling with
those of common degree, and all, calling each other brother and sister,
vie in kind attentions to these guests of the Church.

When Agnes and Elsie arrived, several of these volunteer assistants were
in waiting. Agnes was remarked among all the rest of the company for her
peculiar beauty and the rapt enthusiastic expression of her face.

Almost immediately on their entrance into the reception-hall connected
with the church, they seemed to attract the attention of a tall lady
dressed in deep mourning, and accompanied by a female servant, with whom
she was conversing on those terms of intimacy which showed confidential
relations between the two.

"See!" she said, "my Mona, what a heavenly face is there!--that sweet
child has certainly the light of grace shining through her. My heart
warms to her."

"Indeed," said the old servant, looking across, "and well it
may,--dear lamb come so far! But, Holy Virgin, how my head swims! How
strange!--that child reminds me of some one. My Lady, perhaps, may think
of some one whom she looks like."

"Mona, you say true. I have the same strange impression that I have seen
a face like hers, but who or where I cannot say."

"What would my Lady say, if I said it was our dear Prince?--God rest his
soul!"

"Mona, it _is_ so,--yes," added the lady, looking more intently,--"how
singular!--the very traits of our house in a peasant-girl! She is of
Sorrento, I judge, by her costume,--what a pretty one it is! That old
woman is her mother, perhaps. I must choose her for my care,--and, Mona,
you shall wait on her mother."

So saying, the Princess Paulina crossed the hall, and, bending affably
over Agnes, took her hand and kissed her, saying,--

"Welcome, my dear little sister, to the house of our Father!"

Agnes looked up with strange, wondering eyes into the face that was bent
to hers. It was sallow and sunken, with deep lines of ill-health and
sorrow, but the features were noble, and must once have been, beautiful;
the whole action, voice, and manner were dignified and impressive.
Instinctively she felt that the lady was of superior birth and breeding
to any with whom she had been in the habit of associating.

"Come with me," said the lady; "and this--your mother"--she added.

"She is my grandmother," said Agnes.

"Well, then, your grandmother, sweet child, shall be attended by my good
sister Mona here."

The Princess Paulina drew the hand of Agnes through her arm, and, laying
her hand affectionately on it, looked down and smiled tenderly on her.

"Are you very tired, my dear?"

"Oh, no! no!" said Agnes,--"I am so happy, so blessed to be here!"

"You have travelled a long way?"

"Yes, from Sorrento; but I am used to walking,--I did not feel it to be
long,--my heart kept me up,--I wanted to come home so much."

"Home?" said the Princess.

"Yes, to my soul's home,--the house of our dear Father the Pope."

The Princess started, and looked incredulously down for a moment; then
noticing the confiding, whole-hearted air of the child, she sighed and
was silent.

"Come with me above," she said, "and let me attend a little to your
comfort."

"How good you are, dear lady!" said Agnes.

"I am not good, my child,--I am only your unworthy sister in Christ";
and as the lady spoke, she opened the door into a room where were a
number of other female pilgrims seated around the wall, each attended by
a person whose peculiar care she seemed to be.

At the feet of each was a vessel of water, and when the seats were all
full, a cardinal in robes of office entered, and began reading prayers.
Each lady present, kneeling at the feet of her chosen pilgrim, divested
them carefully of their worn and travel-soiled shoes and stockings, and
proceeded to wash them. It was not a mere rose-water ceremony, but a
good hearty washing of feet that for the most part had great need of the
ablution. While this service was going on, the cardinal read from the
Gospel how a Greater than they all had washed the feet of His disciples,
and said, "If I, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet, ye also
ought to wash one another's feet." Then all repeated in concert the
Lord's Prayer, while each humbly kissed the feet she had washed, and
proceeded to replace the worn and travel-soiled shoes and stockings with
new and strong ones, the gift of Christian love. Each lady then led her
charge into a room where tables were spread with a plain and wholesome
repast of all such articles of food as the season of Lent allowed. Each
placed her _protégée_ at table, and carefully attended to all her wants
at the supper, and afterwards dormitories were opened for their repose.

The Princess Paulina performed all these offices for Agnes with a tender
earnestness which won upon her heart. The young girl thought herself
indeed in that blessed society of which she had dreamed, where the
high-born and the rich become through Christ's love the servants of the
poor and lowly,--and through all the services she sat in a sort of dream
of rapture. How lovely this reception into the Holy City! how sweet thus
to be taken to the arms of the great Christian family, bound together in
the charity which is the bond of perfectness!

"Please tell me, dear lady," said Agnes, after supper, "who is that holy
man that prayed with us?"

"Oh, he--he is the Cardinal Capello," said the Princess.

"I should like to have spoken with him," said Agnes.

"Why, my child?"

"I wanted to ask him when and how I could get speech with our dear
Father the Pope,--for there is somewhat on my mind that I would lay
before him."

"My poor little sister," said the Princess, much perplexed, "you do not
understand things. What you speak of is impossible. The Pope is a great
king."

"I know he is," said Agnes,--"and so is our Lord Jesus,--but every soul
may come to him."

"I cannot explain to you now," said the Princess,--"there is not time
to-night. But I shall see you again. I will send for you to come to my
house, and there talk with you about many things which you need to know.
Meanwhile, promise me, dear child, not to try to do anything of the kind
you spoke of until I have talked with you."

"Well, I will not," said Agnes, with a glance of docile affection,
kissing the hand of the Princess.

The action was so pretty,--the great, soft, dark eyes looked so
fawn-like and confiding in their innocent tenderness, that the lady
seemed much moved.

"Our dear Mother bless thee, child!" she said, laying her hand on her
head, and stooping to kiss her forehead.

She left her at the door of the dormitory.

The Princess and her attendant went out of the church-door, where her
litter stood in waiting. The two took their seats in silence, and
silently pursued their way through the streets of the old dimly-lighted
city and out of one of its principal gates to the wide Campagna beyond.
The villa of the Princess was situated on an eminence at some distance
from the city, and the night-ride to it was solemn and solitary. They
passed along the old Appian Way over pavements that had rumbled under
the chariot-wheels of the emperors and nobles of a by-gone age, while
along their way, glooming up against the clear of the sky, were vast
shadowy piles,--the tombs of the dead of other days. All mouldering and
lonely, shaggy and fringed with bushes and streaming wild vines through
which the night-wind sighed and rustled, they might seem to be pervaded
by the restless spirits of the dead; and as the lady passed them, she
shivered, and, crossing herself, repeated an inward prayer against
wandering demons that walk in desolate places.

Timid and solitary, the high-born lady shrank and cowered within herself
with a distressing feeling of loneliness. A childless widow in delicate
health, whose paternal family had been for the most part cruelly robbed,
exiled, or destroyed by the reigning Pope and his family, she felt her
own situation a most unprotected and precarious one, since the least
jealousy or misunderstanding might bring upon her, too, the ill-will
of the Borgias, which had proved so fatal to the rest of her race. No
comfort in life remained to her but her religion, to whose practice she
clung as to her all; but even in this her life was embittered by facts
to which, with the best disposition in the world, she could not shut her
eyes. Her own family had been too near the seat of power not to see all
the base intrigues by which that sacred and solemn position of Head of
the Christian Church had been traded for as a marketable commodity. The
pride, the indecency, the cruelty of those who now reigned in the name
of Christ came over her mind in contrast with the picture painted by
the artless, trusting faith of the peasant-girl with whom she had just
parted. Her mind had been too thoroughly drilled in the non-reflective
practice of her faith to dare to put forth any act of reasoning upon
facts so visible and so tremendous,--she rather trembled at herself for
seeing what she saw and for knowing what she knew, and feared somehow
that this very knowledge might endanger her salvation; and so she rode
homeward cowering and praying like a frightened child.

"Does my Lady feel ill?" said the old servant, anxiously.

"No, Mona, no,--not in body."

"And what is on my Lady's mind now?"

"Oh, Mona, it is only what is always there. To-morrow is Palm Sunday,
and how can I go to see the murderers and robbers of our house in holy
places? Oh, Mona, what can Christians do, when such men handle holy
things? It was a comfort to wash the feet of those poor simple pilgrims,
who tread in the steps of the saints of old; but how I felt when that
poor child spoke of wanting to see the Pope!"

"Yes," said Mona, "it's like sending the lamb to get spiritual counsel
of the wolf."

"See what sweet belief the poor infant has! Should not the head of the
Christian Church be such as she thinks? Ah, in the old days, when the
Church here in Rome was poor and persecuted, there were popes who were
loving fathers and not haughty princes."

"My dear Lady," said the servant, "pray, consider, the very stones have
ears. We don't know what day we may be turned out, neck and heels, to
make room for some of their creatures."

"Well, Mona," said the lady, with some spirit, "I'm sure I haven't said
any more than you have."

"Holy Mother! and so you haven't, but somehow things look more dangerous
when other people say them.--A pretty child that was, as you say; but
that old thing, her grandmother, is a sharp piece. She is a Roman,
and lived here in her early days. She says the little one was born
hereabouts; but she shuts up her mouth like a vice, when one would get
more out of her."

"Mona, I shall not go out to-morrow; but you go to the services, and
find the girl and her grandmother, and bring them out to me. I want to
counsel the child."

"You may be sure," said Mona, "that her grandmother knows the ins and
outs of Rome as well as any of us, for all she has learned to screw up
her lips so tight"

"At any rate, bring her to me, because she interests me."

"Well, well, it shall be so," said Mona.


CHAPTER XXVIII.

PALM SUNDAY.


The morning after her arrival in Rome, Agnes was awakened from sleep
by a solemn dropping of bell-tones which seemed to fill the whole air,
intermingled dimly at intervals with long-drawn plaintive sounds of
chanting. She had slept profoundly, overwearied with her pilgrimage, and
soothed by that deep lulling sense of quiet which comes over one, when,
after long and weary toils, some auspicious goal is at length reached.
She had come to Rome, and been received with open arms into the
household of the saints, and seen even those of highest degree imitating
the simplicity of the Lord in serving the poor. Surely, this was indeed
the house of God and the gate of heaven; and so the bell-tones and
chants, mingling with her dreams, seemed naturally enough angel-harpings
and distant echoes of the perpetual adoration of the blessed. She rose
and dressed herself with a tremulous joy. She felt full of hope that
somehow--in what way she could not say--this auspicious beginning
would end in a full fruition of all her wishes, an answer to all her
prayers.

"Well, child," said old Elsie, "you must have slept well; you look fresh
as a lark."

"The air of this holy place revives me," said Agnes, with enthusiasm.

"I wish I could say as much," said Elsie. "My bones ache yet with the
tramp, and I suppose nothing will do but we must go out now to all the
holy places, up and down and hither and yon, to everything that goes on.
I saw enough of it all years ago when I lived here."

"Dear grandmother, if you are tired, why should you not rest? I can go
forth alone in this holy city. No harm can possibly befall me here. I
can join any of the pilgrims who are going to the holy places where I
long to worship."

"A likely story!" said Elsie. "I know more about old Rome than you do,
and I tell you, child, that you do not stir out a step without me; so if
you must go, I must go too,--and like enough it's for my soul's health.
I suppose it is," she added, after a reflective pause.

"How beautiful it was that we were welcomed so last night!" said
Agnes,--"that dear lady was so kind to me!"

"Ay, ay, and well she might be!" said Elsie, nodding her head. "But
there's no truth in the kindness of the nobles to us, child. They don't
do it because they love us, but because they expect to buy heaven by
washing our feet and giving us what little they can clip and snip off
from their abundance."

"Oh, grandmother," said Agnes, "how can you say so? Certainly, if any
one ever spoke and looked lovingly, it was that dear lady."

"Yes, and she rolls away in her carriage, well content, and leaves you
with a pair of new shoes and stockings,--you, as worthy of a carriage
and a palace as she."

"No, grandmamma; she said she should send for me to talk more with her."

"_She_ said she should send for you?" said Elsie. "Well, well, that is
strange, to be sure!--that is wonderful!" she added, reflectively. "But
come, child, we must hasten through our breakfast and prayers, and go to
see the Pope, and all the great birds with fine feathers that fly after
him."

"Yes, indeed!" said Agnes, joyfully. "Oh, grandmamma, what a blessed
sight it will be!"

"Yes, child, and a fine sight enough he makes with his great canopy and
his plumes and his servants and his trumpeters;--there isn't a king in
Christendom that goes so proudly as he."

"No other king is worthy of it," said Agnes. "The Lord reigns in him."

"Much you know about it!" said Elsie, between her teeth, as they started
out.

The streets of Rome through which they walked were damp and cellar-like,
filthy and ill-paved; but Agnes neither saw nor felt anything of
inconvenience in this: had they been floored, like those of the New
Jerusalem, with translucent gold, her faith could not have been more
fervent.

Rome is at all times a forest of quaint costumes, a pantomime of
shifting scenic effects of religious ceremonies. Nothing there, however
singular, strikes the eye as out-of-the-way or unexpected, since no
one knows precisely to what religious order it may belong, or what
individual vow or purpose it may represent. Neither Agnes nor Elsie,
therefore, was surprised, when they passed through the door-way to the
street, at the apparition of a man covered from head to foot in a long
robe of white serge, with a high-peaked cap of the same material drawn
completely down over his head and face. Two round holes cut in this
ghostly head-gear revealed simply two black glittering eyes, which shone
with that singular elfish effect which belongs to the human eye when
removed from its appropriate and natural accessories. As they passed
out, the figure rattled a box on which was painted an image of
despairing souls raising imploring hands from very red tongues of flame,
by which it was understood at once that he sought aid for souls in
Purgatory. Agnes and her grandmother each dropped therein a small coin
and went on their way; but the figure followed them at a little distance
behind, keeping carefully within sight of them.

By means of energetic pushing and striving, Elsie contrived to secure
for herself and her grandchild stations in the piazza in front of the
church, in the very front rank, where the procession was to pass. A
motley assemblage it was, this crowd, comprising every variety of
costume of rank and station and ecclesiastical profession,--cowls
and hoods of Franciscan and Dominican,--picturesque headdresses of
peasant-women of different districts,--plumes and ruffs of more
aspiring gentility,--mixed with every quaint phase of foreign costume
belonging to the strangers from different parts of the earth;--for,
like the old Jewish Passover, this celebration of Holy Week had its
assemblage of Parthians, Medes, Elamites, dwellers in Mesopotamia,
Cretes, and Arabians, all blending in one common memorial.

Amid the strange variety of persons among whom they were crowded, Elsie
remarked the stranger in the white sack, who had followed them, and who
had stationed himself behind them,--but it did not occur to her that his
presence there was other than merely accidental.

And now came sweeping up the grand procession, brilliant with scarlet
and gold, waving with plumes, sparkling with gems,--it seemed as if
earth had been ransacked and human invention taxed to express the
ultimatum of all that could dazzle and bewilder,--and, with a rustle
like that of ripe grain before a swaying wind, all the multitude went
down on their knees as the cortege passed. Agnes knelt, too, with
clasped hands, adoring the sacred vision enshrined in her soul; and as
she knelt with upraised eyes, her cheeks flushed with enthusiasm, her
beauty attracted the attention of more than one in the procession.

"There is the model which our master has been looking for," said a young
and handsome man in a rich dress of black velvet, who, by his costume,
appeared to hold the rank of first chamberlain in the Papal suite.

The young man to whom he spoke gave a bold glance at Agnes and
answered,--

"Pretty little rogue, how well she does the saint!"

"One can see, that, with judicious arrangement, she might make a nymph
as well as a saint," said the first speaker.

"A Daphne, for example," said the other, laughing.

"And she wouldn't turn into a laurel, either," said the first. "Well,
we must keep our eye on her." And as they were passing into the
church-door, he beckoned to a servant in waiting and whispered
something, indicating Agnes with a backward movement of his hand.

The servant, after this, kept cautiously within observing distance of
her, as she with the crowd pressed into the church to assist at the
devotions.

Long and dazzling were those ceremonies, when, raised on high like an
enthroned God, Pope Alexander VI. received the homage of bended knee
from the ambassadors of every Christian nation, from heads of all
ecclesiastical orders, and from generals and chiefs and princes and
nobles, who, robed and plumed and gemmed in all the brightest and
proudest that earth could give, bowed the knee humbly and kissed his
foot in return for the palm-branch which he presented. Meanwhile, voices
of invisible singers chanted the simple event which all this splendor
was commemorating,--how of old Jesus came into Jerusalem meek and lowly,
riding on an ass,--how His disciples cast their garments in the way,
and the multitude took branches of palm-trees to come forth and meet
Him,--how He was seized, tried, condemned to a cruel death,--and
the crowd, with dazzled and wondering eyes following the gorgeous
ceremonial, reflected little how great was the satire of the contrast,
how different the coming of that meek and lowly One to suffer and to
die from this triumphant display of worldly-pomp and splendor in His
professed representative.

But to the pure all things are pure, and Agnes thought only of the
enthronement of all virtues, of all celestial charities and unworldly
purities in that splendid ceremonial, and longed within herself to
approach so near as to touch the hem of those wondrous and sacred
garments. It was to her enthusiastic imagination like the unclosing of
celestial doors, where the kings and priests of an eternal and heavenly
temple move to and fro in music, with the many-colored glories of
rainbows and sunset clouds. Her whole nature was wrought upon by the
sights and sounds of that gorgeous worship,--she seemed to burn and
brighten like an altar-coal, her figure appeared to dilate, her eyes
grew deeper and shone with a starry light, and the color of her cheeks
flushed up with a vivid glow,--nor was she aware how often eyes were
turned upon her, nor how murmurs of admiration followed all her
absorbed, unconscious movements. "_Ecco! Eccola_!" was often repeated
from mouth to mouth around her, but she heard it not.

When at last the ceremony was finished, the crowd rushed again out of
the church to see the departure of various dignitaries. There was
a perfect whirl of dazzling equipages, and glittering lackeys, and
prancing horses, crusted with gold, flaming in scarlet and purple,
retinues of cardinals and princes and nobles and ambassadors all in one
splendid confused jostle of noise and brightness.

Suddenly a servant in a gorgeous scarlet livery touched Agnes on the
shoulder, and said, in a tone of authority,--

"Young maiden, your presence is commanded."

"Who commands it?" said Elsie, laying her hand on her grandchild's
shoulder fiercely.

"Are you mad?" whispered two or three women of the lower orders to Elsie
at once; "don't you know who that is? Hush, for your life!"

"I shall go with you, Agnes," said Elsie, resolutely.

"No, you will not," said the attendant, insolently. "This maiden is
commanded, and none else."

"He belongs to the Pope's nephew," whispered a voice in Elsie's ear.
"You had better have your tongue torn out than say another word."
Whereupon, Elsie found herself actually borne backward by three or four
stout women.

Agnes looked round and smiled on her,--a smile full of innocent
trust,--and then, turning, followed the servant into the finest of the
equipages, where she was lost to view.

Elsie was almost wild with fear and impotent rage; but a low, impressive
voice now spoke in her ear. It came from the white figure which had
followed them in the morning.

"Listen," it said, "and be quiet; don't turn your head, but hear what
I tell you. Your child is followed by those who will save her. Go your
ways whence you came. Wait till the hour after the Ave Maria, then come
to the Porta San Sebastiano, and all will be well."

When Elsie turned to look she saw no one, but caught a distant glimpse
of a white figure vanishing in the crowd.

She returned to her asylum, wondering and disconsolate, and the first
person whom she saw was old Mona.

"Well, good morrow, sister!" she said. "Know that I am here on a strange
errand. The Princess has taken such a liking to you that nothing will
do but we must fetch you and your little one out to her villa. I
looked everywhere for you in church this morning. Where have you hid
yourselves?"

"We were there," said Elsie, confused, and hesitating whether to speak
of what had happened.

"Well, where is the little one? Get her ready; we have horses in
waiting. It is a good bit out of the city."

"Alack!" said Elsie, "I know not where she is."

"Holy Virgin!" said Mona, "how is this?"

Elsie, moved by the necessity which makes it a relief to open the heart
to some one, sat down on the steps of the church and poured forth the
whole story into the listening ear of Mona.

"Well, well, well!" said the old servant, "in our days, one does
not wonder at anything,--one never knows one day what may come the
next,--but this is bad enough!"

"Do you think," said Elsie, "there is any hope in that strange promise?"

"One can but try it," said Mona.

"If you could but be there then," said Elsie, "and take us to your
mistress."

"Well, I will wait, for my mistress has taken an especial fancy to your
little one, more particularly since this morning, when a holy Capuchin
came to our house and held a long conference with her, and after he was
gone I found my lady almost in a faint, and she would have it that we
should start directly to bring her out here, and I had much ado to let
her see that the child would do quite as well after services were over.
I tired myself looking about for you in the crowd."

The two women then digressed upon various gossiping particulars, as they
sat on the old mossy, grass-grown steps, looking up over house-tops
yellow with lichen, into the blue spring air, where flocks of white
pigeons were soaring and careering in the soft, warm sunshine.
Brightness and warmth and flowers seemed to be the only idea natural to
that charming weather, and Elsie, sad-hearted and foreboding as she was,
felt the benign influence. Rome, which had been so fatal a place to her
peace, yet had for her, as it has for every one, potent spells of a
lulling and soothing power. Where is the grief or anxiety that can
resist the enchantment of one of Rome's bright, soft, spring days?


CHAPTER XXIX.

THE NIGHT-RIDE.


The villa of the Princess Paulina was one of those soft, idyllic
paradises which lie like so many fairy-lands around the dreamy solitudes
of Rome. They are so fair, so wild, so still, these villas! Nature in
them seems to run in such gentle sympathy with Art that one feels as if
they had not been so much the product of human skill as some indigenous
growth of Arcadian ages. There are quaint terraces shadowed by clipped
ilex-trees whose branches make twilight even in the sultriest noon;
there are long-drawn paths, through wildernesses where cyclamens blossom
in crimson clouds among crushed fragments of sculptured marble green
with the moss of ages, and glossy-leaved myrtles put forth their pale
blue stars in constellations under the leafy shadows. Everywhere is the
voice of water, ever lulling, ever babbling, and taught by Art to run in
many a quaint caprice,--here to rush down marble steps slippery with
sedgy green, there to spout up in silvery spray, and anon to spread into
a cool, waveless lake, whose mirror reflects trees and flowers far down
in some visionary underworld. Then there are wide lawns, where the
grass in spring is a perfect rainbow of anemones, white, rose, crimson,
purple, mottled, streaked, and dappled with ever varying shade of sunset
clouds. There are soft, moist banks where purple and white violets grow
large and fair, and trees all interlaced with ivy, which runs and twines
everywhere, intermingling its dark, graceful leaves and vivid young
shoots with the bloom and leafage of all shadowy places.

In our day, these lovely places have their dark shadow ever haunting
their loveliness: the malaria, like an unseen demon, lies hid in their
sweetness. And in the time we are speaking of, a curse not less deadly
poisoned the beauties of the Princess's villa,--the malaria of fear.

The gravelled terrace in front of the villa commanded, through the
clipped arches of the ilex-trees, the Campagna with its soft, undulating
bands of many-colored green, and the distant city of Rome, whose bells
were always filling the air between with a tremulous vibration. Here,
during the long sunny afternoon while Elsie and Monica were crooning
together on the steps of the church, the Princess Paulina walked
restlessly up and down, looking forth on the way towards the city for
the travellers whom she expected.

Father Francesco had been there that morning and communicated to her
the dying message of the aged Capuchin, from which it appeared that the
child who had so much interested her was her near kinswoman. Perhaps,
had her house remained at the height of its power and splendor, she
might have rejected with scorn the idea of a kinswoman whose existence
had been owing to a _mésalliance_; but a member of an exiled and
disinherited family, deriving her only comfort from unworldly sources,
she regarded this event as an opportunity afforded her to make expiation
for one of the sins of her house. The beauty and winning graces of her
young kinswoman were not without their influence in attracting a lonely
heart deprived of the support of natural ties. The Princess longed for
something to love, and the discovery of a legitimate object of family
affection was an event in the weary monotony of her life; and therefore
it was that the hours of the afternoon seemed long while she looked
forth towards Rome, listening to the ceaseless chiming of its bells, and
wondering why no one appeared along the road.

The sun went down, and all the wide plain seemed like the sea at
twilight, lying in rosy and lilac and purple shadowy bands, out of
which rose the old city, solemn and lonely as some enchanted island of
dream-land, with a flush of radiance behind it and a tolling of weird
music filling all the air around. Now they are chanting the Ave Maria in
hundreds of churches, and the Princess worships in distant accord, and
tries to still the anxieties of her heart with many a prayer. Twilight
fades and fades, the Campagna becomes a black sea, and the distant city
looms up like a dark rock against the glimmering sky, and the Princess
goes within and walks restlessly through the wide halls, stopping first
at one open window and then at another to listen. Beneath her feet she
treads a cool mosaic pavement where laughing Cupids are dancing. Above,
from the ceiling, Aurora and the Hours look down in many-colored clouds
of brightness. The sound of the fountains without is so clear in the
intense stillness that the peculiar voice of each one can be told. That
is the swaying noise of the great jet that rises from marble shells and
falls into a wide basin, where silvery swans swim round and round in
enchanted circles; and the other slenderer sound is the smaller jet that
rains down its spray into the violet-borders deep in the shrubbery; and
that other, the shallow babble of the waters that go down the marble
steps to the lake. How dreamlike and plaintive they all sound in the
night stillness! The nightingale sings from the dark shadows of the
wilderness; and the musky odors of the cyclamen come floating ever
and anon through the casement, in that strange, cloudy way in which
flower-scents seem to come and go in the air in the night season.

At last the Princess fancies she hears the distant tramp of horses'
feet, and her heart beats so that she can scarcely listen: now she hears
it,--and now a rising wind, sweeping across the Campagna, seems to bear
it moaning away. She goes to a door and looks out into the darkness.
Yes, she hears it now, quick and regular,--the beat of many horses' feet
coming in hot haste along the road. Surely the few servants whom she has
sent cannot make all this noise! and she trembles with vague affright.
Perhaps it is a tyrannical message, bringing imprisonment and death. She
calls a maid, and bids her bring lights into the reception-hall. A
few moments more, and there is a confused stamping of horses' feet
approaching the house, and she hears the voices of her servants. She
runs into the piazza, and sees dismounting a knight who carries Agnes in
his arms pale and fainting. Old Elsie and Monica, too, dismount, with
the Princess's men-servants; but, wonderful to tell, there seems besides
them to be a train of some hundred armed horsemen.

The timid Princess was so fluttered and bewildered that she lost all
presence of mind, and stood in uncomprehending wonder, while Monica
pushed authoritatively into the house, and beckoned the knight to bring
Agnes and lay her on a sofa, when she and old Elsie busied themselves
vigorously with restoratives.

The Lady Paulina, as soon as she could collect her scattered senses,
recognized in Agostino the banished lord of the Sarelli family, a race
who had shared with her own the hatred and cruelty of the Borgia tribe;
and he in turn had recognized a daughter of the Colonnas.

He drew her aside into a small boudoir adjoining the apartment.

"Noble lady," he said, "we are companions in misfortune, and so, I
trust, you will pardon what seems a tumultuous intrusion on your
privacy. I and my men came to Rome in disguise, that we might watch over
and protect this poor innocent, who now finds asylum with you."

"My Lord," said the Princess, "I see in this event the wonderful working
of the good God. I have but just learned that this young person is my
near kinswoman; it was only this morning that the fact was certified to
me on the dying confession of a holy Capuchin, who privately united my
brother to her mother. The marriage was an indiscretion of his youth;
but afterwards he fell into more grievous sin in denying the holy
sacrament, and leaving his wife to die in misery and dishonor, and
perhaps for this fault such great judgments fell upon him. I wish to
make atonement in such sort as is yet possible by acting as a mother to
this child."

"The times are so troublous and uncertain," said Agostino, "that she
must have stronger protection than that of any woman. She is of a most
holy and religious nature, but as ignorant of sin as an angel who never
has seen anything out of heaven; and so the Borgias enticed her into
their impure den, from which, God helping, I have saved her. I tried
all I could to prevent her coming to Rome, and to convince her of the
vileness that ruled here; but the poor little one could not believe me,
and thought me a heretic only for saying what she now knows from her own
senses."

The Lady Paulina shuddered with fear.

"Is it possible that you have come into collision with the dreadful
Borgias? What will become of us?"

"I brought a hundred men into Rome in different disguises," said
Agostino, "and we gained over a servant in their household, through whom
I entered and carried her off. Their men pursued us, and we had a fight
in the streets, but for the moment we mustered more than they. Some of
them chased us a good distance. But it will not do for us to remain
here. As soon as she is revived enough, we must retreat towards one
of our fastnesses in the mountains, whence, when rested, we shall go
northward to Florence, where I have powerful friends, and she has also
an uncle, a holy man, by whose counsels she is much guided."

"You must take me with you," said the Princess, in a tremor of anxiety.

"Not for the world would I stay, if it be known you have taken refuge
here. For a long time their spies have been watching about me; they
only wait for some occasion to seize upon my villa, as they have on the
possessions of all my father's house. Let me flee with you. I have a
brother-in-law in Florence who hath often urged me to escape to him till
times mend,--for, surely, God will not allow the wicked to bear rule
forever."

"Willingly, noble lady, will we give you our escort,--the more so that
this poor child will then have a friend with her beseeming her father's
rank. Believe me, lady, she will do no discredit to her lineage. She was
trained in a convent, and her soul is a flower of marvellous beauty. I
must declare to you here that I have wooed her honorably to be my wife,
and she would willingly be so, had not some scruples of a religious
vocation taken hold on her, to dispel which I look for the aid of the
holy father, her uncle."

"It would be a most fit and proper thing," said the Princess, "thus to
ally our houses, in hope of some good time to come which shall restore
their former standing and possessions. Of course some holy man must
judge of the obstacle interposed by her vocation; but I doubt not the
Church will be an indulgent mother in a case where the issue seems so
desirable."

"If I be married to her," said Agostino, "I can take her out of all
these strifes and confusions which now agitate our Italy to the court of
France, where I have an uncle high in favor with the King, and who will
use all his influence to compose these troubles in Italy, and bring
about a better day."

While this conversation was going on, bountiful refreshments had been
provided for the whole party, and the attendants of the Princess
received orders to pack all her jewels and valuable effects for a sudden
journey.

As soon as preparations could be made, the whole party left the villa of
the Princess for a retreat in the Alban Mountains, where Agostino
and his band had one of their rendezvous. Only the immediate female
attendants of the Princess, and one or two men-servants, left with her.
The silver plate, and all objects of particular value, were buried in
the garden. This being done, the keys of the house were intrusted to a
gray-headed servant, who with his wife had grown old in the family.

It was midnight before everything was ready for starting. The moon cast
silver gleams through the ilex-avenues, and caused the jet of the great
fountain to look like a wavering pillar of cloudy brightness, when the
Princess led forth Agnes upon the wide veranda. Two gentle, yet spirited
little animals from the Princess's stables were there awaiting them, and
they were lifted into their saddles by Agostino.

"Fear nothing, Madam," he said, observing how the hands of the Princess
trembled; "a few hours will put us in perfect safety, and I shall be at
your side constantly."

Then lifting Agnes to her seat, he placed the reins in her hand.

"Are you rested?" he asked.

It was the first time since her rescue that he had spoken to Agnes. The
words were brief, but no expressions of endearment could convey more
than the manner in which they were spoken.

"Yes, my Lord," said Agnes, firmly, "I am rested."

"You think you can bear the ride?"

"I can bear anything, so I escape," she said.

The company were now all mounted, and were marshalled in regular order.
A body of armed men rode in front; then came Agnes and the Princess,
with Agostino between them, while two or three troopers rode on either
side; Elsie, Monica, and the servants of the Princess followed close
behind, and the rear was brought up in like manner by armed men.

The path wound first through the grounds of the villa, with its plats
of light and shade, its solemn groves of stone-pines rising like
palm-trees high in air above the tops of all other trees, its terraces
and statues and fountains,--all seeming so lovely in the midnight
stillness.

"Perhaps I am leaving all this forever," said the Princess.

"Let us hope for the best," said Agostino. "It cannot be that God will
suffer the seat of the Apostles to be subjected to such ignominy
and disgrace much longer. I am amazed that no Christian kings have
interfered before for the honor of Christendom. I have it from the best
authority that the King of Naples burst into tears when he heard of the
election of this wretch to be Pope. He said that it was a scandal which
threatened the very existence of Christianity. He has sent me secret
messages divers times expressive of sympathy, but he is not of himself
strong enough. Our hope must lie either in the King of France or the
Emperor of Germany: perhaps both will engage. There is now a most holy
monk in Florence who has been stirring all hearts in a wonderful way. It
is said that the very gifts of miracles and prophecy are revived in him,
as among the holy Apostles, and he has been bestirring himself to have
a General Council of the Church to look into these matters. When I left
Florence, a short time ago, the faction opposed to him broke into the
convent and took him away. I myself was there."

"What!" said Agnes, "did they break into the convent of the San Marco?
My uncle is there."

"Yes, and he and I fought side by side with the mob who were rushing
in."

"Uncle Antonio fight!" said Agnes, in astonishment.

"Even women will fight, when what they love most is attacked," said the
knight.

He turned to her, as he spoke, and saw in the moonlight a flash from her
eye, and an heroic expression on her face, such as he had never remarked
before; but she said nothing. The veil had been rudely torn from her
eyes; she had seen with horror the defilement and impurity of what she
had ignorantly adored in holy places, and the revelation seemed to have
wrought a change in her whole nature.

"Even you could fight, Agnes," said the knight, "to save your religion
from disgrace."

"No," said she; "but," she added, with gathering firmness, "I could die.
I should be glad to die with and for the holy men who would save the
honor of the true faith. I should like to go to Florence to my uncle. If
he dies for his religion, I should like to die with him."

"Ah, live to teach it to me!" said the knight, bending towards her, as
if to adjust her bridle-rein, and speaking in a voice scarcely audible.
In a moment he was turned again towards the Princess, listening to her.

"So it seems," she said, "that we shall be running into the thick of the
conflict in Florence."

"Yes, but my uncle hath promised that the King of France shall
interfere. I have hope something may even now have been done. I hope to
effect something myself."

Agostino spoke with the cheerful courage of youth. Agnes glanced timidly
up at him. How great the change in her ideas! No longer looking on him
as a wanderer from the fold, an enemy of the Church, he seemed now in
the attitude of a champion of the faith, a defender of holy men and
things against a base usurpation. What injustice had she done him, and
how patiently had he borne that injustice! Had he not sought to warn
her against the danger of venturing into that corrupt city? Those words
which so much shocked her, against which she had shut her ears, were all
true; she had found them so; she could doubt no longer. And yet he had
followed her, and saved her at the risk of his life. Could she help
loving one who had loved her so much, one so noble and heroic? Would
it be a sin to love him? She pondered the dark warnings of Father
Francesco, and then thought of the cheerful, fervent piety of her old
uncle. How warm, how tender, how life-giving had been his presence
always! how full of faith and prayer, how fruitful of heavenly words and
thoughts had been all his ministrations!--and yet it was for him and
with him and his master that Agostino Sarelli was fighting, and against
him the usurping head of the Christian Church. Then there was another
subject for pondering during this night-ride. The secret of her birth
had been told her by the Princess, who claimed her as kinswoman. It had
seemed to her at first like the revelations of a dream; but as she rode
and reflected, gradually the idea shaped itself in her mind. She was, in
birth and blood, the equal of her lover, and henceforth her life would
no more be in that lowly plane where it had always moved. She thought of
the little orange-garden at Sorrento, of the gorge with its old bridge,
the Convent, the sisters, with a sort of tender, wondering pain. Perhaps
she should see them no more. In this new situation she longed once more
to see and talk with her old uncle, and to have him tell her what were
her duties.

Their path soon began to be a wild clamber among the mountains, now lost
in the shadow of groves of gray, rustling olives, whose knotted, serpent
roots coiled round the rocks, and whose leaves silvered in the moonlight
whenever the wind swayed them. Whatever might be the roughness and
difficulties of the way, Agnes found her knight ever at her bridle-rein,
guiding and upholding, steadying her in her saddle when the horse
plunged down short and sudden descents, and wrapping her in his mantle
to protect her from the chill mountain-air. When the day was just
reddening in the sky, the whole troop made a sudden halt before a square
stone tower which seemed to be a portion of a ruined building, and here
some of the men dismounting knocked at an arched door. It was soon swung
open by a woman with a lamp in her hand, the light of which revealed
very black hair and eyes, and heavy gold earrings.

"Have my directions been attended to?" said Agostino, in a tone of
command. "Are there places made ready for these ladies to sleep?"

"There are, my Lord," said the woman, obsequiously,--"the best we could
get ready on so short a notice."

Agostino came up to the Princess. "Noble Madam," he said, "you will
value safety before all things; doubtless the best that can be done here
is but poor, but it will give you a few hours for repose where you may
be sure of being in perfect safety."

So saying, he assisted her and Agnes to dismount, and Elsie and Monica
also alighting, they followed the woman into a dark stone passage and up
some rude stone steps. She opened at last the door of a brick-floored
room, where beds appeared to have been hastily prepared. There was no
furniture of any sort except the beds. The walls were dusty and hung
with cobwebs. A smaller apartment opening into this had beds for Elsie
and Monica.

The travellers, however, were too much exhausted with their night-ride
to be critical, the services of disrobing and preparing for rest were
quickly concluded, and in less than an hour all were asleep, while
Agostino was busy concerting the means for an immediate journey to
Florence.


CHAPTER XXX.

"LET US ALSO GO, THAT WE MAY DIE WITH HIM."


Father Antonio sat alone in his cell in the San Marco in an attitude of
deep dejection. The open window looked into the garden of the convent,
from which steamed up the fragrance of violet, jasmine, and rose, and
the sunshine lay fair on all that was without. On a table beside him
were many loose and scattered sketches, and an unfinished page of
the Breviary he was executing, rich in quaint tracery of gold and
arabesques, seemed to have recently occupied his attention, for his
palette was wet and many loose brushes lay strewed around. Upon the
table stood a Venetian glass with a narrow neck and a bulb clear
and thin as a soap-bubble, containing vines and blossoms of the
passion-flower, which he had evidently been using as models in his work.

The page he was illuminating was the prophetic Psalm which describes the
ignominy and sufferings of the Redeemer. It was surrounded by a wreathed
border of thorn-branches interwoven with the blossoms and tendrils of
the passion-flower, and the initial letters of the first two words were
formed by a curious combination of the hammer, the nails, the spear, the
crown of thorns, the cross, and other instruments of the Passion; and
clear, in red letter, gleamed out those wonderful, mysterious words,
consecrated by the remembrance of a more than mortal anguish,--"My God,
my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"

The artist-monk had perhaps fled to his palette to assuage the
throbbings of his heart, as a mourning mother flies to the cradle of her
child; but even there his grief appeared to have overtaken him, for the
work lay as if pushed from him in an access of anguish such as comes
from the sudden recurrence of some overwhelming recollection. He was
leaning forward with his face buried in his hands, sobbing convulsively.

The door opened, and a man advancing stealthily behind laid a hand
kindly on his shoulder, saying softly, "So, so, brother!"

Father Antonio looked up, and, dashing his hand hastily across his
eyes, grasped that of the new-comer convulsively, and saying only, "Oh,
Baccio! Baccio!" hid his face again.

The eyes of the other filled with tears, as he answered gently,--

"Nay, but, my brother, you are killing yourself. They tell me that you
have eaten nothing for three days, and slept not for weeks; you will die
of this grief."

"Would that I might! Why could not I die with him as well as Fra
Domenico? Oh, my master! my dear master!"

"It is indeed a most heavy day to us all," said Baccio della Porta,
the amiable and pure-minded artist better known to our times by his
conventual name of Fra Bartolommeo. "Never have we had among us such a
man; and if there be any light of grace in my soul, his preaching first
awakened it, brother. I only wait to see him enter Paradise, and then
I take farewell of the world forever. I am going to Prato to take the
Dominican habit, and follow him as near as I may."

"It is well, Baccio, it is well," said Father Antonio; "but you must not
put out the light of your genius in those shadows,--you must still paint
for the glory of God."

"I have no heart for painting now," said Baccio, dejectedly. "He was my
inspiration, he taught me the holier way, and he is gone."

At this moment the conference of the two was interrupted by a knocking
at the door, and Agostino Sarelli entered, pale and disordered.

"How is this?" he said, hastily. "What devils' carnival is this which
hath broken loose in Florence? Every good thing is gone into dens and
holes, and every vile thing that can hiss and spit and sting is crawling
abroad. What do the princes of Europe mean to let such things be?"

"Only the old story," said Father Antonio,--"_Principes convenerunt in
unum adversus Dominum, adversus Christum ejus_."

So much were all three absorbed in the subject of their thoughts, that
no kind of greeting or mark of recognition passed among them, such as is
common when people meet after temporary separation. Each spoke out from
the fulness of his soul, as from an overflowing bitter fountain.

"Was there no one to speak for him,--no one to stand up for the pride of
Italy,--the man of his age?" said Agostino.

"There was one voice raised for him in the council," said Father
Antonio. "There was Agnolo Niccolini: a grave man is this Agnolo, and of
great experience in public affairs, and he spoke out his mind boldly. He
told them flatly, that, if they looked through the present time or the
past ages, they would not meet a man of such a high and noble order as
this, and that to lay at our door the blood of a man the like of whom
might not be born for centuries was too impious and execrable a thing to
be thought of. I'll warrant me, he made a rustling among them when he
said that, and the Pope's commissary--old Romalino--then whispered
and frowned; but Agnolo is a stiff old fellow when he once begins a
thing,--he never minded it, and went through with his say. It seems to
me he said that it was not for us to quench a light like this, capable
of giving lustre to the faith even when it had grown dim in other parts
of the world,--and not to the faith alone, but to all the arts and
sciences connected with it. If it were needed to put restraint on him,
he said, why not put him into some fortress, and give him commodious
apartments, with abundance of books, and pen, ink, and paper, where he
would write books to the honor of God and the exaltation of the holy
faith? He told them that this might be a good to the world, whereas
consigning him to death without use of any kind would bring on our
republic perpetual dishonor."

"Well said for him!" said Baccio, with warmth; "but I'll warrant me, he
might as well have preached to the north wind in March, his enemies are
in such a fury."

"Yes, yes," said Antonio, "it is just as it was of old: the chief
priests and Scribes and Pharisees were instant with loud voices,
requiring he should be put to death; and the easy Pilates, for fear of
the tumult, washed their hands of it."

"And now," said Agostino, "they are putting up a great gibbet in the
shape of a cross in the public square, where they will hang the three
holiest and best men of Florence!"

"I came through there this morning," said Baccio, "and there were young
men and boys shouting, and howling, and singing indecent songs, and
putting up indecent pictures, such as those he used to preach against.
It is just as you say. All things vile have crept out of their lair, and
triumph that the man who made them afraid is put down; and every house
is full of the most horrible lies about him,--things that they said he
confessed."

"Confessed!" said Father Antonio,--"was it not enough that they tore
and tortured him seven times, but they must garble and twist the very
words that he said in his agony? The process they have published is
foully falsified,--stuffed full of improbable lies; for I myself have
read the first draught of all he did say, just as Signor Ceccone took it
down as they were torturing him. I had it from Jacopo Manelli, canon of
our Duomo here, and he got it from Ceccone's wife herself. They not only
can torture and slay him, but they torture and slay his memory with
lies."

"Would I were in God's place for one day!" said Agostino, speaking
through his clenched teeth. "May I be forgiven for saying so."

"We are hot and hasty," said Father Antonio, "ever ready to call down
fire from heaven,--but, after all, 'the Lord reigneth, let the earth
rejoice.' 'Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness.' Our
dear father is sustained in spirit and full of love. Even when they
let him go from the torture, he fell on his knees, praying for his
tormentors."

"Good God! this passes me!" said Agostino, striking his hands together.
"Oh, wherefore hath a strong man arms and hands, and a sword, if he
must stand still and see such things done? If I had only my hundred
mountaineers here, I would make one charge for him to-morrow. If I could
only _do_ something!" he added, striding impetuously up and down the
cell and clenching his fists. "What! hath nobody petitioned to stay this
thing?"

"Nobody for him," said Father Antonio. "There was talk in the city
yesterday that Fra Domenico was to be pardoned; in fact, Romalino was
quite inclined to do it, but Battista Albert talked violently against
it, and so Romalino said, 'Well, a monk more or less isn't much matter,'
and then he put his name down for death with the rest. The order was
signed by both commissaries of the Pope, and one was Frà Turiano, the
general of our order, a mild man, full of charity, but unable to stand
against the Pope."

"Mild men are nuisances in such places", said Agostino, hastily; "our
times want something of another sort."

"There be many who have fallen away from him even in our house here,"
said Father Antonio,--"as it was with our blessed Lord, whose disciples
forsook him and fled. It seems to be the only thought with some how they
shall make their peace with the Pope."

"And so the thing will be hurried through to-morrow," said Agostino,
"and when it's done and over, I'll warrant me there will be found kings
and emperors to say they meant to have saved him. It's a vile, evil
world, this of ours; an honorable man longs to see the end of it. But,"
he added, coming up and speaking to Father Antonio, "I have a private
message for you."

"I am gone this moment," said Baccio, rising with ready courtesy; "but
keep up heart, brother."

So saying, the good-hearted artist left the cell, and Agostino said,--

"I bring tidings to you of your kindred. Your niece and sister are here
in Florence, and would see you. You will find them at the house of one
Gherardo Rosselli, a rich citizen of noble blood."

"Why are they there?" said the monk, lost in amazement.

You must know, then, that a most singular discovery hath been made
by your niece at Rome. The sister of her father, being a lady of the
princely blood of Colonna, hath been assured of her birth by the
confession of the priest that married him; and being driven from Rome by
fear of the Borgias, they came hither under my escort, and wait to see
you. So, if you will come with me now, I will guide you to them."

"Even so," said Father Antonio.


CHAPTER XXXI.

MARTYRDOM.


In a shadowy chamber of a room overlooking the grand square of Florence
might be seen, on the next morning, some of the principal personages of
our story. Father Antonio, Baccio della Porta, Agostino Sarelli, the
Princess Paulina, Agnes, with her grandmother, and mixed crowd of
citizens and ecclesiastics who all spoke in hushed and tremulous voices,
as men do in the chamber of mourners at a funeral. The great, mysterious
bell of the Campanile was swinging with dismal, heart-shaking toll, like
a mighty voice from the spirit-world; and it was answered by the
tolling of all the bells in the city, making such wavering clangors and
vibrating circles in the air over Florence that it might seem as if it
were full of warring spirits wrestling for mastery.

Toll! toll! toll! O great bell of the fair Campanile! for this day the
noblest of the wonderful men of Florence is to offered up. Toll! for an
era is going out,--the era of her artists, her statesmen, her poets, and
her scholars. Toll! for an era is coming in,--the era of her disgrace
and subjugation and misfortune!

The stepping of the vast crowd in the square was like the patter of a
great storm, and the hum of voices rose up like the murmur of the ocean;
but in the chamber all was so still that one could have heard the
dropping of a pin.

Under the balcony of this room were seated in pomp and state the Papal
commissioners, radiant in gold and scarlet respectability; and Pilate
and Herod, on terms of the most excellent friendship, were ready to act
over again the part they had acted fourteen hundred years by before. Now
has arrived the moment when the three followers of the Man of Calvary
are to be degraded from the fellowship of His visible Church.

Father Antonio, Agostino, and Baccio stood forth in the balcony, and,
drawing in their breath, looked down, as the three men of the hour, pale
and haggard with imprisonment and torture, were brought up amid the
hoots and obscene jests of the populace. Savonarola first was led before
the tribunal, and there, with circumstantial minuteness, endued with
all his priestly vestments, which again, with separate ceremonies of
reprobation and ignominy, were taken from him. He stood through it all
serene as stood his Master when stripped of His garments on Calvary.
There is a momentary hush of voices and drawing in of breaths in the
great crowd. The Papal legate takes him by the hand and pronounces the
words, "Jerome Savonarola, I separate thee from the Church Militant and
the Church Triumphant."

He is going to speak.

"What says he?" said Agostino, leaning over the balcony.

Solemnly and clear that impressive voice which so often had thrilled the
crowds in that very square made answer,--

"From the Church Militant you _may_ divide me; but from the Church
Triumphant, _no,--that_ is above your power!"--and a light flashed out
in his face as if a smile from Christ had shone down upon him.

"Amen!" said Father Antonio; "he hath witnessed a good confession,"--and
turning, he went in, and, burying his face in his hands, remained in
prayer.

"When like ceremonies had been passed through with the others, the three
martyrs were delivered to the secular executioner, and, amid the scoffs
and jeers of the brutal crowd, turned their faces to the gibbet.

"Brothers, let us sing the Te Deum," said Savonarola.

"Do not so infuriate the mob," said the executioner,--"for harm might be
done."

"At least let us repeat it together," said he, "lest we forget it."

And so they went forward, speaking to each other of the glorious company
of the apostles, the goodly fellowship of the prophets, the noble army
of martyrs, and giving thanks aloud in that great triumphal hymn of the
Church of all Ages.

When the lurid fires were lighted which blazed red and fearful through
that crowded square, all in that silent chamber fell on their knees, and
Father Antonio repeated prayers for departing souls.

To the last, that benignant right hand which had so often pointed the
way of life to that faithless city was stretched out over the crowd
in the attitude of blessing; and so loving, not hating, praying with
exaltation, and rendering blessing for cursing, the souls of the martyrs
ascended to the great cloud of witnesses above.


CHAPTER XXXII.

CONCLUSION.


A few days after the death of Savonarola, Father Antonio was found one
morning engaged in deep converse with Agnes.

The Princess Paulina, acting for her family, desired to give her hand to
the Prince Agostino Sarelli, and the interview related to the religious
scruples which still conflicted with the natural desires of the child.

"Tell me, my little one," said Father Antonio, "frankly and truly, dost
thou not love this man with all thy heart?"

"Yes, my father, I do," said Agnes; "but ought I not to resign this love
for the love of my Saviour?"

"I see not why," said the monk. "Marriage is a sacrament as well as holy
orders, and it is a most holy and venerable one, representing the divine
mystery by which the souls of the blessed are united to the Lord. I do
not hold with Saint Bernard, who, in his zeal for a conventual life,
seemed to see no other way of serving God but for all men and women to
become monks and nuns. The holy order is indeed blessed to those souls
whose call to it is clear and evident, like mine; but if there be a
strong and virtuous love for a worthy object, it is a vocation unto
marriage, which should not be denied."

"So, Agnes," said the knight, who had stolen into the room unperceived,
and who now boldly possessed himself of one of her hands--"Father
Antonio hath decided this matter," he added, turning to the Princess
and Elsie, who entered, "and everything having been made ready for
my journey into France, the wedding ceremony shall take place on the
morrow, and, for that we are in deep affliction, it shall be as private
as may be."

And so on the next morning the wedding ceremony took place, and the
bride and groom went on their way to France, where preparations
befitting their rank awaited them.

Old Elsie was heard to observe to Monica, that there was some sense in
making pilgrimages, since this to Rome, which she had undertaken so
unwillingly, had turned out so satisfactory.

In the reign of Julius II., the banished families who had been plundered
by the Borgias were restored to their rights and honors at Rome; and
there was a princess of the house of Sarelli then at Rome, whose
sanctity of life and manners was held to go back to the traditions of
primitive Christianity, so that she was renowned not less for goodness
than for rank and beauty.

In those days, too, Raphael, the friend of Frà Bartolommeo, placed in
one of the grandest halls of the Vatican, among the Apostles and Saints,
the image of the traduced and despised martyr whose ashes had been cast
to the winds and waters in Florence. His memory lingered long in Italy,
so that it was even claimed that miracles were wrought in his name and
by his intercession. Certain it is, that the living words he spoke were
seeds of immortal flowers which blossomed in secret dells and obscure
shadows of his beautiful Italy.

       *       *       *       *       *


EXODUS.


      Hear ye not how, from all high points of Time,--
        From peak to peak adown the mighty chain
      That links the ages,--echoing sublime
        A Voice Almighty,--leaps one grand refrain,
    Wakening the generations with a shout,
    And trumpet-call of thunder,--Come ye out!

      Out from old forms and dead idolatries;
        From fading myths and superstitious dreams;
      From Pharisaic rituals and lies,
        And all the bondage of the life that seems!
    Out,--on the pilgrim path, of heroes trod,
    Over earth's wastes, to reach forth after God!

      The Lord hath bowed His heaven, and come down!
        Now, in this latter century of time,
      Once more His tent is pitched on Sinai's crown!
        Once more in clouds must Faith to meet Him climb!
  Once more His thunder crashes on our doubt
  And fear and sin,--"My people! come ye out!

    "From false ambitions and base luxuries;
      From puny aims and indolent self-ends;
    From cant of faith, and shams of liberties,
      And mist of ill that Truth's pure daybeam bends:
  Out, from all darkness of the Egypt-land,
  Into My sun-blaze on the desert sand!

    "Leave ye your flesh-pots; turn from filthy greed
      Of gain that doth the thirsting spirit mock;
    And heaven shall drop sweet manna for your need,
      And rain clear rivers from the unhewn rock!
  Thus saith the Lord!" And Moses--meek, unshod--
  Within the cloud stands hearkening to his God!

    Show us our Aaron, with his rod in flower!
      Our Miriam, with her timbrel-soul in tune!
    And call some Joshua, in the Spirit's power,
      To poise our sun of strength at point of noon!
  God of our fathers! over sand and sea,
  Still keep our struggling footsteps close to Thee!

       *       *       *       *       *


THEN AND NOW IN THE OLD DOMINION.


The history of Virginia opens with a romance. No one will be surprised
at this, for it is a habit histories have. There is Plymouth Rock, for
example; it would be hard to find anything more purely romantic than
that. Well do we remember the sad day when a friend took us to the
perfectly flat wharf at Plymouth, and recited Mrs. Hemans's humorous
verse,--

  "The breaking waves dashed high,
  On a stern and rock-bound coast."

"Such, then," we reflected, "is History! If Plymouth Rock turns out to
be a myth, why may not Columbus or Santa Claus or Napoleon, or anything
or anybody?" Since then we have been skeptical about history even where
it seems most probable; at times doubt whether Rip Van Winkle really
slept twenty years without turning over; are annoyed with misgivings as
to whether our Western pioneers Boone, Crockett, and others, _did_ keep
bears in their stables for saddle-horses, and harness alligators as we
do oxen. So we doubted the story of John Smith and Pocahontas with which
Virginia opens. In one thing we had already caught that State making a
mythical statement: it was named by Queen Elizabeth Virginia in honor of
her own virgin state,--which, if Cobbett is to be believed, was also a
romance. Well, America was named after a pirate, and Sir Walter Raleigh,
who suggested the name of the Virgin Queen, was fond of a joke.

But notwithstanding the suspicion with which we entered upon the
investigation, we are convinced that the romance of Pocahontas is true.
As only a portion of the story of this Indian maiden, "the colonial
angel," as she was termed by the settlers, is known, and that not
generally with exactness, we will reproduce it here.

It will be remembered that Pocahontas, when about thirteen years of age,
saved the young English captain, John Smith, from the death which her
father, Powhatan, had resolved he should suffer. As the tomahawk was
about to descend on his head, the girl rushed forward and clasped that
head in her arms. The stern heart of Powhatan relented, and he consented
that the captive should live to make tomahawks for him and beads and
bells for Pocahontas. Afterward Powhatan agreed that Smith should return
to Jamestown, on condition of his sending him two guns and a grindstone.
Soon, after this Jamestown with all its stores was destroyed by fire,
and the colonists came near perishing from cold and hunger. Half of them
died; and the rest were saved only by Pocahontas, who appeared in the
midst of their distress, bringing bread, raccoons, and venison.

John Smith and his companions after this explored a large portion of the
State, and a second time came to rest at the home of Powhatan and his
beautiful daughter. The name of the place was Werowocomoco. His visit
this time fell on the eve of the coronation of Powhatan. The king,
being absent when Smith came, was sent for; meanwhile Pocahontas called
together a number of Indian maidens to get up a dramatic entertainment
and ballet for the handsome young Englishman and his companions. They
made a fire in a level field, and Smith sat on a mat before it. A
hideous noise and shrieking were suddenly heard in the adjoining woods.
The English snatched up their arms, apprehending foul play. Pocahontas
rushed forward, and asked Smith to slay her rather than suspect her of
perfidy; so their apprehensions were quieted. Then thirty young Indian
maidens issued suddenly from the wood, all naked except a cincture of
green leaves, their bodies painted. Pocahontas was a complete picture of
an Indian Diana: a quiver hung on her shoulder, and she held a bow and
arrow in her hand; she wore, also, on her head a beautiful pair of
buck's horns, an otter's skin at her girdle, and another on her arm. The
other nymphs had antlers on their heads and various savage decorations.
Bursting from the forest, they circled around the fire and John Smith,
singing and dancing for an hour. They then disappeared into the wood as
suddenly as they had come forth. When they reappeared, it was to invite
Smith to their habitations, where they danced around him again, singing,
"Love you not me? Love you not me?" They then feasted him richly, and,
lastly, with pine-knot torches lighted him to his finely decorated
apartments.

Captain John Smith was, without doubt, an imperial kind of man. His
personal appearance was fine, his sense and tact excellent, his manners
both cordial and elegant. There is no doubt, as there is no wonder, that
the Indian maiden felt some tender palpitations on his account. Once
again, when, owing to some misunderstanding, Powhatan had decreed the
death of all the whites, Pocahontas spent the whole pitch-dark night
climbing hills and toiling through pathless thickets, to save Smith and
his friends by warning them of the imminent danger. Smith offered her
many beautiful presents on this occasion, evidently not appreciating the
sentiment that was animating her. To this offer of presents she replied
with tears; and when their acceptance was urged, Smith himself relates,
that, "with the teares running downe her cheeks, she said she durst not
be seen to have any, for, if Powhatan should know it, she were but dead;
and so she ran away by herself, as she came."

There is no doubt what the Muse of History ought to do here: were she a
dame of proper sensibilities, she would have Mr. John Smith married to
Miss P. Powhatan as soon as a parson could be got from Jamestown. Were
it a romance, this would be the result. As it is, we find Smith going
off to England in two years, and living unmarried until his death; and
Pocahontas married to the Englishman John Rolfe, for reasons of state,
we fear,--a link of friendship between the Reds and the Whites being
thought desirable. She was of course Christianized and baptized, as any
one may see by Chapman's picture in the Rotunda at Washington, unless
Zouave criticism has demolished it. Immediately she went with her
husband to England. At Brentford, where she was staying,. Captain John
Smith went to visit her. Their meeting was significant and affecting.
"After a modest salutation, without uttering a word, she turned away and
hid her face as if displeased.". She remained thus motionless for two or
three hours. Who can know what struggles passed through the heart of
the Indian bride at this moment,--emotions doubly unutterable to this
untaught stranger? It seems that she had been deceived by Rolfe and his
friends into thinking that Smith was dead, under the conviction that she
could not be induced to marry him, if she thought Smith alive. After
her long, sad silence, before mentioned, she came forward to Smith and
touchingly reminded him, there in the presence of her husband and a
large company, of the kindness she had shown him in her own country,
saying, "You did promise Powhatan what was yours should be his, and he
the like to you; you called him 'Father,' being in his land a stranger,
and for the same reason so I must call you." After a pause, during which
she seemed to be under the influence of strong emotion, she said, "I
will call you Father, and you shall call me Child, and so I will be
forever and ever your countrywoman." Then she added, slowly and with
emphasis, "_They did tell us always you were dead, and I knew no other
till I came to Plimoth; yet Powhatan did command Uttamattomakin to seeke
you and know the truth, because your countrymen will lie much_." It was
not long after this interview that Pocahontas died: she never returned
to Virginia. Her death occurred in 1617. The issue of her marriage was
one child, Thomas Rolfe; so it is through him that the First Families of
Virginia are so invariably descended from the Indian Princess. Captain
Smith lived until 1631, and, as we have said, never married. He was a
noble and true man, and Pocahontas was every way worthy to be his wife;
and one feels very ill-natured at Rolfe and Company for the cruel
deception which, we must believe, was all that kept them asunder, and
gave to the story of the lovely maiden its almost tragic close.

One can scarcely imagine a finer device for Virginia to have adopted
than that of the Indian maiden protecting the white man from the
tomahawk. But, alas! with the departure of Smith the soul seems to have
left the Colony. The beautiful lands became a prey to the worn-out
English gentry, who spent their time cheating the simple-hearted red
men. These called themselves gentlemen, because they could do nothing.
In a classification of seventy-eight persons at Jamestown we are
informed that there were "four carpenters, twelve laborers, one
blacksmith, one bricklayer, one sailor, one barber, one mason, one
tailor, one drummer, one chirurgeon, and fifty-four gentlemen." To this
day there seems to be a large number in that vicinity who have no other
occupation than that of being gentlemen, and it is evidently in many
cases just as much as they can do.

When Pocahontas died, the last link was broken between the Indian and
the settler. Unprovoked wars of extermination were begun to dispossess
these children of Nature of the very breasts of their mother, which had
sustained them so long and so peacefully. For a century the Indian's
name for Virginian was "Longknife." The very missionaries robbed him
with one hand whilst baptizing him with the other. One story concerning
the missionaries strikes us as sufficiently characteristic of the wit
of the Indian and the temper of the period to be preserved. There was a
branch of the Catawbas on the Potomac, in which river are to be found
the best shad in the world. The missionaries who settled among
this tribe taught them that it would be a good investment in their
soul-assurance to catch large quantities of the shad for them, the
missionaries. The Indians earnestly set themselves to the work; their
reverend teachers taking the fish and sending them off secretly to
various settlements in Virginia and Maryland, and making thereby
large sums of money. The Indians worked on for several months without
receiving any compensation, and the missionaries were getting richer and
richer,--when by some means the red men discovered the trick, and routed
the holy men from their neighborhood. Many years afterward the Catholics
made an effort to establish a mission with this same tribe. The
priest who first addressed them took as his text, "Ho, every one that
thirsteth, come ye to the waters,"--and went on in figurative style to
describe the waters of life. When the sermon was ended, the Indians held
a council to consider what they had just heard, and finally sent three
of their number to the missionaries, who said, "White men, you speak in
fine words of the waters of life; but before we decide on what we have
heard, we wish to know _whether any shad swim in those waters_."

It is very certain that Christianity, as illustrated by the Virginians,
did not make a good impression on these savages. They were always
willing to compare their own religion with that of the whites, and
generally regarded the contrast as in their favor. One of them said to
Colonel Barnett, the commissioner to run the boundary-line of lands
ceded by the Indians, "As to religion, you go to your churches, sing
loud, pray loud, and make great noise. The red people meet once a year
at the feast of New Corn, extinguish all their fires and kindle up a
new one, the smoke of which ascends to the Great Spirit as a grateful
incense and sacrifice. Now what better is your religion than ours?" One
of the chiefs, it is said, received an Episcopal divine who wished to
indoctrinate him into the mystery of the Trinity. The Indian, who was
a "model of deportment," heard his argument; and then, when he was
through, began in turn to indoctrinate the divine in _his_ faith,
speaking of the Great Spirit, whose voice was the thunder, whose eye was
the sun. The clergyman interrupted him rather rudely, saying, "But
that is not true,--that is all heathen trash!" The chief turned to his
companions and said gravely, "This is the most impolite man I have ever
met; he has just declared that he has three gods, and now will not let
me have one!"

The valley of Virginia, its El Dorado in every sense, had a different
settlement, and by a different people. They were, for the most part,
Germans, of the same class with those that settled in the great valleys
of Pennsylvania, and who have made so large a portion of that State into
a rich ingrain-carpet of cultivation upon a floor of limestone. One day
the history of the Germans of Pennsylvania and Virginia will be written,
and it will be full of interest and value. They were the first strong
sinews strung in the industrial arm of the Colonies to which they came;
and although mingled with nearly every European race, they remain to
this day a distinct people. A partition-wall rarely broken down has
always inclosed them, and to this, perhaps, is due that slowness of
progress which marks them. The restless ambition of _Le Grand Monarque_
and the cruelties of Turenne converted the beautiful valley of the Rhine
into a smoking desert, and the wretched peasantry of the Palatinate fled
from their desolated firesides to seek a more hospitable home in the
forests of New York and Pennsylvania, and thence, somewhat later,
found their way into Virginia. The exodus of the Puritans has had more
celebrity, but was scarcely attended with more hardship and heroism. The
greater part of the German exiles landed in America stripped of their
all. They came to the forests of the Susquehanna and the Shenandoah
armed only with the woodman's axe. They were ignorant and superstitious,
and brought with them the legends of their fatherland. The spirits
of the Hartz Mountains and the genii of the Black Forest, which
Christianity had not been able entirely to exorcise, were transferred to
the wild mountains and dark caverns of the Old Dominion, and the same
unearthly visitants which haunted the old castles of the Rhine continued
their gambols in some deserted cabin on the banks of the Sherandah (as
the Shenandoah was then called). Since these men left their fatherland,
a great Literature and Philosophy have breathed like a tropic upon that
land, and the superstitions have been wrought into poetry and thought;
but that raw material of legend which in Germany has been woven into
finest tissues on the brain-looms of Wieland, Tieck, Schiller, and
Goethe, has remained raw material in the great valley that stretches
from New York to Upper Alabama. Whole communities are found which in
manners and customs are much the same with their ancestors who crossed
the ocean. The horseshoe is still nailed above the door as a protection
against the troublesome spook, and the black art is still practised.
Rough in their manners, and plain in their appearance, they yet conceal
under this exterior a warm hospitality, and the stranger will much
sooner be turned away from the door of the "chivalry" than from that of
the German farmer. Seated by his blazing fire, with plenty of apples and
hard cider, the Dutchman of the Kanawha enjoys his condition with gusto,
and is contented with the limitations of his fence. We have seen one
within two miles of the great Natural Bridge who could not direct us to
that celebrated curiosity; his wife remarking, that "a great many people
passed that way to the hills, but for what she could not see: for her
part, give her a level country."

The first German settler who came to Virginia was one Jacob Stover, who
went there from Pennsylvania, and obtained a grant of five thousand
acres of land on the Shenandoah. Stover was very shrewd, and does not at
all justify the character we have ascribed to his race: there is a story
that casts a suspicion on his proper Teutonism. The story runs, that,
on his application to the colonial governor of Virginia for a grant of
land, he was refused, unless he could give satisfactory assurance that
he would have the land settled with the required number of families
within a given time. Being unable to do this, he went over to England,
and petitioned the King himself to direct the issuing of his grant; and
in order to insure success, had given human names to every horse, cow,
hog, and dog he owned, and which he represented as heads of families,
ready to settle the land. His Majesty, ignorant that the Williams,
Georges, and Susans seeking royal consideration were some squeaking
in pig-pens, others braying in the luxuriant meadows for which they
petitioned, issued the huge grant; and to-day there is serious reason
to suppose that many of the wealthiest and oldest families around
Winchester are enjoying their lands by virtue of titles given to
ancestral flocks and herds.

The condition of Virginia for the period immediately preceding the
Revolution was one which well merits the consideration of political
philosophers. For many years the extent of the territory of the Old
Dominion was undecided, no lines being fixed between that State and Ohio
and Pennsylvania. Virginia claimed a large part of both these States
as hers; and, indeed, there seems to be in that State an hereditary
unconsciousness of the limits of her dominion. The question of
jurisdiction superseded every other for the time, and the formal
administration of the law itself ceased. There is a period lasting
through a whole generation in which society in the western part of the
State went on without courts or authorities. There was no court but of
public opinion, no administration but of the mob. Judges were ermined
and juries impanelled by the community when occasion demanded.
Kercheval, who grew from that vicinity and state of things, and whose
authority is excellent, says,--"They had no civil, military, or
ecclesiastical laws,--at least, none were enforced; yet we look in vain
for any period, before or since, when property, life, and morals were
any better protected." A statement worth pondering by those who tell
us that man is nought, government all. The tongue-lynchings and other
punishments inflicted by the community upon evil-doers were adapted to
the reformation of the culprit or his banishment from the community. The
punishment for idleness, lying, dishonesty, and ill-fame generally, was
that of "hating the offender out," as they expressed it. This was about
equivalent to the [Greek: atimia] among the Greeks. It was a public
expression, in various ways, of the general indignation against any
transgressor, and commonly resulted either in the profound repentance or
the voluntary exile of the person against whom it was directed: it was
generally the fixing of any epithet which was proclaimed by each tongue
when the sinner appeared,--_e.g.,_ Foultongue, Lawrence, Snakefang.
The name of Extra-Billy Smith is a quite recent case of this
"tongue-lynching." It was in these days of no laws, however, that the
practice of duelling was imported into Virginia. With this exception,
the State can trace no evil results to the period when society was
resolved into its simplest elements. Indeed, it was at this time
that there began to appear there signs of a sturdy and noble race of
Americanized Englishmen. The average size of the European Englishman was
surpassed. A woman was equal to an Indian. A young Virginian one day
killed a buffalo on the Alleghany Mountains, stretched its skin over
ribs of wood, and on the boat so made sailed the full length of the Ohio
and Mississippi Rivers. But this development was checked by the influx
of "English gentry," who brought laws and fashions from London. The old
books are full of the conflicts which these fastidious gentlemen and
ladies had with the rude pioneer customs and laws. The fine ladies found
that there was an old statute of the Colony which read,--"It shall be
permitted to none but the Council and Heads of Hundreds to wear gold
in their clothes, or to wear silk till they make it themselves." What,
then, could Miss Softdown do with the silks and breastpins brought from
London? "Let her wear deer-skin and arrow-head," said the natives. But
Miss Softdown soon had her way. Still more were these new families
shocked, when, on ringing for some newly purchased negro domestic, the
said negro came into the parlor nearly naked. Then began one of the most
extended controversies in the history of Virginia,--the question being,
whether out-door negroes should wear clothes, and domestics dress like
other people. The popular belief, in which it seems the negroes shared,
was, that the race would perish, if subjected to clothing the year
round. The custom of negro men going about _in puris naturalibus_
prevailed to a much more recent period than is generally supposed.

One by one, the barbarisms of Old Virginia were eradicated, and the
danger was then that effeminacy would succeed; but a better class of
families began to come from England, now that the Colony was somewhat
prepared for them. These aimed to make Virginia repeat England: it might
have repeated something worse, and in the end has. About one or two old
mansions in Maryland and Virginia the long silvery grass characteristic
of the English park is yet found: the seed was carefully brought from
England by those gentlemen who came under Raleigh's administration,
and who regarded their residence in these Colonies as patriotic
self-devotion. On one occasion, the writer, walking through one of
these fields, startled an English lark, which rose singing and soaring
skyward. It sang a theme of the olden time. Governor Spottswood brought
with him, when he came, a number of these larks, and made strenuous
efforts to domesticate them in the neighborhood of Fredericksburg,
Virginia. He did not succeed. Now and then we have heard of one's being
seen, companionless. It is a sad symbol of that nobler being who tried
to domesticate himself in Virginia, the fine old English gentleman. He
is now seen but little oftener than the silver grass and the lark which
he brought with him. But let no one think, whilst ridiculing those who
can now only hide their poor stature under the lion-skin of F-F-V-ism,
that the race of old Virginia gentlemen is a mythic race. Through
the fair slopes of Eastern Virginia we have wandered and counted the
epitaphs of as princely men and women as ever trod this continent.
Yonder is the island, floating on the crystal Rappahannock, which,
instead of, as now, masking the guns which aim at Freedom's heart,
once bore witness to the noble Spottswood's effort to realize for the
working-man a Utopia in the New World. Yonder is the house, on the same
river, frowning now with the cannon which defend the slave-shamble, (for
the Richmond railroad passes on its verge,) where Washington was reared
to love justice and honor; and over to the right its porch commands
a marble shaft on which is written, "Here lies Mary, the Mother of
Washington." A little lower is the spot where John Smith gave the right
hand to the ambassadors of King Powhatan. In that old court-house the
voice of Patrick Henry thundered for Liberty and Union. Time was when
the brave men on whose hearts rested the destinies of the New World made
this the centre of activity and rule upon the continent; they lived and
acted here as Anglo-Saxon blood should live and act, wherever it bears
its rightful sceptre; but now one walks here as through the splendid
ruins of some buried Nineveh, and emerges to find the very sunlight sad,
as it reveals those who garnish the sepulchres of their ancestors with
one hand, whilst with the other they stone and destroy the freedom and
institutions which their fathers lived to build and died to defend.

And this, alas! is the first black line in the sketch of Virginia as
it now is. The true preface to the present edition of Virginia, which,
unhappily, has been for many years stereotyped, may be found in a single
entry of Captain John Smith's journal:--

"August, 1619. A Dutch man-of-war visited Jamestown and sold the
settlers twenty negroes, the first that have ever touched the soil of
Virginia."

They have scarcely made it "sacred soil." A little entry it is, of what
seemed then, perhaps, an unimportant event,--but how pregnant with
evil!

The very year in which that Dutch ship arrived with its freight of
slaves at Jamestown, the Mayflower sailed with its freight of freemen
for Plymouth.

Let us pause a moment and consider the prospects and opportunities which
opened before the two bands of pilgrim. How hard and bleak were the
shores that received the Mayflower pilgrims! Winter seemed the only
season of the land to which they had come; when the snow disappeared, it
was only to reveal a landscape of sand and rock. To have soil they must
pulverize rock. Nature said to these exiles from a rich soil, with her
sternest voice,--"Here is no streaming breast: sand with no gold mined:
all the wealth you get must be mined from your own hearts and coined by
your own right hands!"

How different was it in Virginia! Old John Rolfe, the husband of
Pocahontas, writing to the King in 1616, said,--"Virginia is the same as
it was, I meane for the goodness of the scate, and the fertilenesse of
the land, and will, no doubt, so continue to the worlds end,--a countrey
as worthy of good report as can be declared by the pen of the best
writer; a countrey spacious and wide, capable of many hundred thousands
of inhabitants." It must be borne in mind that Rolfe's idea of an
inhabitant's needs was that he should own a county or two to begin with,
which will account for his moderate estimate of the number that could be
accommodated upon a hundred thousand square miles. He continues,--"For
the soil, most fertile to plant in; for ayre, fresh and temperate,
somewhat hotter in summer, and not altogether so cold in winter as in
England, yet so agreable is it to our constitutions that now 't is more
rare to hear of a man's death than in England; for water, most wholesome
and verie plentifull; and for fayre navigable rivers and good harbors,
no countrey in Christendom, in so small a circuite, is so well stored."
Any one who has passed through the State, or paid any attention to its
resources, may go far beyond the old settler's statement. Virginia is a
State combining, as in some divinely planned garden, every variety of
soil known on earth, resting under a sky that Italy alone can match,
with a Valley anticipating in vigor the loam of the prairies: up to that
Valley and Piedmont stretch throughout the State navigable rivers, like
fingers of the Ocean-hand, ready to bear to all marts the produce of
the soil, the superb vein of gold, and the iron which, unlocked from
mountain-barriers, could defy competition. But in her castle Virginia is
still, a sleeping beauty awaiting the hero whose kiss shall recall her
to life. Comparing what free labor has done for the granite rock called
Massachusetts, and what slave labor has done for the enchanted garden
called Virginia, one would say, that, though the Dutch ship that brought
to our shores the Norway rat was bad, and that which brought the Hessian
fly was worse, the most fatal ship that ever cast anchor in American
waters was that which brought the first twenty negroes to the settlers
of Jamestown. Like the Indian in her own aboriginal legend, on whom a
spell was cast which kept the rain from falling on him and the sun from
shining on him, Virginia received from that Dutch ship a curse which
chained back the blessings which her magnificent resources would have
rained upon her, and the sun of knowledge shining everywhere has left
her to-day more than eighty thousand white adults who cannot read or
write.

It was at an early period as manifest as now that a slave population
implied and rendered necessary a large poor-white population. And whilst
the pilgrims of Plymouth inaugurated the free-school system in their
first organic law, which now renders it impossible for one sane person
born in their land to be unable to read and write, Virginia was boasting
with Lord Douglas in "Marmion,"

  "Thanks to Saint Bothan, son of mine
  Could never pen a written line."

Sir William Berkeley, Governor of Virginia for thirty-six years,
beginning with 1641, wrote to the King as follows:--"I thank God, there
are no free schools nor printing, and I hope we shall not have these
hundred years; for learning has brought disobedience and heresy and
sects into the world, and printing has divulged them, and libels upon
the best governments. God keep us from both!" Most fearfully has the
prayer been answered. In Berkeley's track nearly all the succeeding ones
went on. Henry A. Wise boasted in Congress that no newspaper was printed
in his district, and he soon became governor.

It gives but a poor description of the "poor-white trash" to say that
they cannot read. The very slaves cannot endure to be classed on their
level. They are inconceivably wretched and degraded. For every rich
slave-owner there are some eight or ten families of these miserable
tenants. Both sexes are almost always drunk.

There is no better man than the Anglo-Saxon man who labors; there is no
worse animal than the same man when bred to habits of idleness. When
Watts wrote,

  "Satan finds some mischief still
  For idle hands to do,"

he wrote what is much truer of his own race than of any other. This
law has been the Nemesis of the young Virginian. His descent demands
excitement and activity; and unless he becomes emasculated into a
clay-eater, he obtains the excitement that his ancestors got in war, and
the New-Englander gets in work, in gaming, horse-racing, and all manner
of dissipation. His life verifies the proverb, that the idle brain is
the Devil's workshop. He is trained to despise labor, for it puts him on
a level with his father's slaves. At the University of Virginia one may
see the extent of demoralization to which eight generations of idleness
can bring English blood. There the spree, the riot, and we might almost
say the duel, are normal. About five years ago we spent some time
at Charlottesville. The evening of our arrival was the occasion of
witnessing some of the ways of the students. A hundred or more of them
with blackened or masked faces were rushing about the college yard; a
large fire was burning around a stake, upon which was the effigy of a
woman. A gentleman connected with the University, with whom we were
walking, informed us that the special occasion of this affair was, that
a near relative of Mrs. Stowe's, a sister, perhaps, had that day arrived
to visit her relative, Mrs. McGuffey. The effigy of Mrs. Stowe was
burned for her benefit. The lady and her friends were very much alarmed,
and left on the early train next morning, without completing their
visit.

"They will close up by all getting dead-drunk," said our friend, the
Professor.

"But," we asked, "why does not the faculty at once interfere in this
disgraceful procedure?"

"They have got us lately," he replied, "where we are powerless. Whenever
they wish a spree, they tackle it on to the slavery question, and know
that their parents will pardon everything to the spirit of the South
when it is burning the effigy of Mrs. Stowe or Charles Sumner, or the
last person who furnishes a chance for a spree. To arrest them ends only
in casting suspicion of unsoundness on the professor who does it."

Virginia has had, for these same causes, no religious development
whatever. The people spend four-and-a-half fifths of their time arguing
about politics and religion,--questions of the latter being chiefly as
to the best method of being baptized, or whether sudden conversions are
the safest,--but they never take a step forward in either. Archbishop
Purcell, of Cincinnati, stated to us, that, once being in Richmond,
he resolved to give a little religious exploration to the surrounding
country. About seven miles out from the city he saw a man lying
down,--the Virginian's natural posture,--and approaching, he made
various inquiries, and received lazy Yes and No replies. Presently he
inquired to what churches the people in that vicinity usually went.

"Well, not much to any."

"What are their religious views?"

"Well, not much of any."

"Well, my friend, may I inquire what are _your_ opinions on religious
subjects?"

"The man, yet reclining," said the Archbishop, "looked at me sleepily a
moment, and replied,--

"'My opinion is that them as made me will take care of me.'"

The Archbishop came off discouraged; but we assured him that the man
was far ahead of many specimens we had met. We never see an opossum in
Virginia--a fossil animal in most other places--but it seems the sign
of the moral stratification around. There are many varieties of
opossum in Virginia,--political and religious: Saturn, who devours his
offspring, has not come to Virginia yet.

Old formulas have, doubtless, to a great extent, lost their power there
also, but there is not vitality enough to create a higher form. For no
new church can ever be anywhere inaugurated in this world until the
period has come when its chief corner-stone can be Humanity. Till then
the old creeds in Virginia must wander like ghosts, haunting the old
ruins which their once exquisite churches have become. Nothing can be
more picturesque, nothing more sad, than these old churches,--every
brick in them imported from Old England, every prayer from the past
world and its past need: the high and wide pews where the rich sat
lifted some feet above the seats of the poor represent still the faith
in a God who subjects the weak to the strong. These old churches, rarely
rebuilt, are ready now to become rocks imbedding fossil creeds. In these
old aisles one walks, and the snake glides away on the pavement, and the
bat flutters in the high pulpit, whilst moss and ivy tenderly enshroud
the lonely walls; and over all is written the word DESOLATION. Symbol it
is of the desolation which caused it, even the trampled fanes and altars
of the human soul,--the temple of God, whose profanation the church has
suffered to go on unrebuked, till now both must crumble into the same
grave.

       *       *       *       *       *


AMERICAN CIVILIZATION.


A certain degree of progress from the rudest state in which man is
found,--a dweller in caves, or on trees, like an ape, a cannibal, an
eater of pounded snails, worms, and offal,--a certain degree of progress
from this extreme is called Civilization. It is a vague, complex name,
of many degrees. Nobody has attempted a definition. Mr. Guizot, writing
a book on the subject, does not. It implies the evolution of a highly
organized man, brought to supreme delicacy of sentiment, as in practical
power, religion, liberty, sense of honor, and taste. In the hesitation
to define what it is, we usually suggest it by negations. A nation that
has no clothing, no alphabet, no iron, no marriage, no arts of peace, no
abstract thought, we call barbarous. And after many arts are invented or
imported, as among the Turks and Moorish nations, it is often a little
complaisant to call them civilized.

Each nation grows after its own genius, and has a civilization of its
own. The Chinese and Japanese, though each complete in his way, is
different from the man of Madrid or the man of New York. The term
imports a mysterious progress. In the brutes is none; and in mankind,
the savage tribes do not advance. The Indians of this country have not
learned the white man's work; and in Africa, the negro of to-day is the
negro of Herodotus. But in other races the growth is not arrested; but
the like progress that is made by a boy, "when he cuts his eye-teeth,"
as we say,--childish illusions pricing daily away, and he seeing things
really and comprehensively,--is made by tribes. It is the learning the
secret of cumulative power, of advancing on one's self. It implies a
facility of association, power to compare, the ceasing from fixed ideas.
The Indian is gloomy and distressed, when urged to depart from his
habits and traditions. He is overpowered by the gaze of the white, and
his eye sinks. The occasion of one of these starts of growth is always
some novelty that astounds the mind, and provokes it to dare to change.
Thus there is a Manco Capac at the beginning of each improvement, some
superior foreigner importing new and wonderful arts, and teaching them.
Of course, he must not know too much, but must have the sympathy,
language, and gods of those he would inform. But chiefly the sea-shore
has been the point of departure to knowledge, as to commerce. The most
advanced nations are always those who navigate the most. The power which
the sea requires in the sailor makes a man of him very fast, and the
change of shores and population clears his head of much nonsense of his
wigwam.

Where shall we begin or end the list of those feats of liberty and wit,
each of which feats made an epoch of history? Thus, the effect of
a framed or stone house is immense on the tranquillity, power, and
refinement of the builder. A man in a cave, or in a camp, a nomad, will
die with no more estate than the wolf or the horse leaves. But so simple
a labor as a house being achieved, his chief enemies are kept at bay.
He is safe from the teeth of wild animals, from frost, sunstroke, and
weather; and fine faculties begin to yield their fine harvest. Invention
and art are born, manners and social beauty and delight. 'T is wonderful
how soon a piano gets into a log-hut on the frontier. You would think
they found it under a pine-stump. With it comes a Latin grammar, and one
of those towhead boys has written a hymn on Sunday. Now let colleges,
now let senates take heed! for here is one, who, opening these fine
tastes on the basis of the pioneer's iron constitution, will gather all
their laurels in his strong hands.

When the Indian trail gets widened, graded, and bridged to a good
road,--there is a benefactor, there is a missionary, a pacificator, a
wealth-bringer, a maker of markets, a vent for industry. The building
three or four hundred miles of road in the Scotch Highlands in 1726
to 1749 effectually tamed the ferocious clans, and established public
order. Another step in civility is the change from war, hunting, and
pasturage, to agriculture. Our Scandinavian forefathers have left us a
significant legend to convey their sense of the importance of this step.
"There was once a giantess who had a daughter, and the child saw a
husbandman ploughing in the field. Then she ran and picked him up with
her finger and thumb, and put him and his plough and his oxen into her
apron, and carried them to her mother, and said, 'Mother, what sort of a
beetle is this that I found wriggling in the sand?' But the mother said,
'Put it away, my child; we must begone out of this land, for these
people will dwell in it.'" Another success is the post-office, with
its educating energy, augmented by cheapness, and guarded by a certain
religious sentiment in mankind, so that the power of a wafer or a drop
of wax or gluten to guard a letter, as it flies over sea, over land, and
comes to its address as if a battalion of artillery brought it, I look
upon as a fine metre of civilization.

The division of labor, the multiplication of the arts of peace, which is
nothing but a large allowance to each man to choose his work according
to his faculty, to live by his better hand, fills the State with useful
and happy laborers,--and they, creating demand by the very temptation
of their productions, are rapidly and surely rewarded by good sale: and
what a police and ten commandments their work thus becomes! So true is
Dr. Johnson's remark, that "men are seldom more innocently employed than
when they are making money."

The skilful combinations of civil government, though they usually
follow natural leadings, as the lines of race, language, religion, and
territory, yet require wisdom and conduct in the rulers, and in their
result delight the imagination. "We see insurmountable multitudes
obeying, in opposition to their strongest passions, the restraints of
a power which they scarcely perceive, and the crimes of a single
individual marked and punished at the distance of half the earth."[A]

[Footnote A: Dr. Thomas Brown.]

Right position of woman in the State is another index. Poverty and
industry with a healthy mind read very easily the laws of humanity, and
love them: place the sexes in right relations of mutual respect, and a
severe morality gives that essential charm to woman which educates all
that is delicate, poetic, and self-sacrificing, breeds courtesy and
learning, conversation and wit, in her rough mate; so that I have
thought it a sufficient definition of civilization to say, it is the
influence of good women.

Another measure of culture is the diffusion of knowledge, overrunning
all the old barriers of caste, and, by the cheap press, bringing the
university to every poor man's door in the newsboy's basket. Scraps of
science, of thought, of poetry are in the coarsest sheet, so that in
every house we hesitate to tear a newspaper until we have looked it
through.

The ship, in its latest complete equipment, is an abridgment and compend
of a nation's arts: the ship steered by compass and chart, longitude
reckoned by lunar observation, and, when the heavens are hid, by
chronometer; driven by steam; and in wildest sea-mountains, at vast
distances from home,

  "The pulses of her iron heart
  Go beating through the storm."

No use can lessen the wonder of this control, by so weak a creature, of
forces so prodigious. I remember I watched, in crossing the sea, the
beautiful skill whereby the engine in its constant working was made to
produce two hundred gallons of fresh water out of salt water, every
hour,--thereby supplying all the ship's want.

The skill that pervades complex details; the man that maintains himself;
the chimney taught to burn its own smoke; the farm made to produce all
that is consumed on it; the very prison compelled to maintain itself
and yield a revenue, and, better than that, made a reform school, and a
manufactory of honest men out of rogues, as the steamer made fresh
water out of salt: all these are examples of that tendency to combine
antagonisms, and utilize evil, which is the index of high civilization.

Civilization is the result of highly complex organization. In the snake,
all the organs are sheathed: no hands, no feet, no fins, no wings. In
bird and beast, the organs are released, and begin to play. In man, they
are all unbound, and full of joyful action. With this unswaddling, he
receives the absolute illumination we call Reason, and thereby true
liberty.

Climate has much to do with this melioration. The highest civility has
never loved the hot zones. Wherever snow falls, there is usually civil
freedom. Where the banana grows, the animal system is indolent and
pampered at the cost of higher qualities: the man is grasping, sensual,
and cruel. But this scale is by no means invariable. For high degrees of
moral sentiment control the unfavorable influences of climate; and some
of our grandest examples of men and of races come from the equatorial
regions,--as the genius of Egypt, of India, and of Arabia.

These feats are measures or traits of civility; and temperate climate is
an important influence, though not quite indispensable, for there have
been learning, philosophy, and art in Iceland, and in the tropics. But
one condition is essential to the social education of man,--namely,
morality. There can be no high civility without a deep morality, though
it may not always call itself by that name, but sometimes the point
of honor, as in the institution of chivalry; or patriotism, as in the
Spartan and Roman republics; or the enthusiasm of some religious sect
which imputes its virtue to its dogma; or the cabalism, or _esprit du
corps_, of a masonic or other association of friends.

The evolution of a highly destined society must be moral; it must run in
the grooves of the celestial wheels. It must be catholic in aims. What
is moral? It is the respecting in action catholic or universal ends.
Hear the definition which Kant gives of moral conduct: "Act always so
that the immediate motive of thy will may become a universal rule for
all intelligent beings."

Civilization depends on morality. Everything good in man leans on what
is higher. This rule holds in small as in great. Thus, all our strength
and success in the work of our hands depend on our borrowing the aid of
the elements. You have seen a carpenter on a ladder with a broad-axe
chopping upward chips and slivers from a beam. How awkward! at what
disadvantage he works! But see him on the ground, dressing his timber
under him. Now, not his feeble muscles, but the force of gravity brings
down the axe; that is to say, the planet itself splits his stick. The
farmer had much ill-temper, laziness, and shirking to endure from his
hand-sawyers, until, one day, he bethought him to put his saw-mill on
the edge of a waterfall; and the river never tires of turning his wheel:
the river is good-natured, and never hints an objection.

We had letters to send: couriers could not go fast enough, nor far
enough; broke their wagons, foundered their horses; bad roads in spring,
snow-drifts in winter, heats in summer; could not get the horses out
of a walk. But we found out that the air and earth were full of
electricity; and it was always going our way,--just the way we wanted to
send. _Would he take a message?_ Just as lief as not; had nothing
else to do; would carry it in no time. Only one doubt occurred, one
staggering objection,--he had no carpet-bag, no visible pockets, no
hands, not so much as a mouth, to carry a letter. But, after much
thought and many experiments, we managed to meet the conditions, and to
fold up the letter in such invisible compact form as he could carry in
those invisible pockets of his, never wrought by needle and thread,--and
it went like a charm.

I admire still more than the saw-mill the skill which, on the sea-shore,
makes the tides drive the wheels and grind corn, and which thus engages
the assistance of the moon, like a hired hand, to grind, and wind, and
pump, and saw, and split stone, and roll iron.

Now that is the wisdom of a man, in every instance of his labor,
to hitch his wagon to a star, and see his chore done by the gods
themselves. That is the way we are strong, by borrowing the might of the
elements. The forces of steam, gravity, galvanism, light, magnets, wind,
fire, serve us day by day, and cost us nothing.

Our astronomy is full of examples of calling in the aid of these
magnificent helpers. Thus, on a planet so small as ours, the want of
an adequate base for astronomical measurements is early felt, as, for
example, in detecting the parallax of a star. But the astronomer, having
by an observation fixed the place of a star, by so simple an expedient
as waiting six months, and then repeating his observation, contrived
to put the diameter of the earth's orbit, say two hundred millions of
miles, between his first observation and his second, and this line
afforded him a respectable base for his triangle.

All our arts aim to win this vantage. We cannot bring the heavenly
powers to us, but, if we will only choose our jobs in directions in
which they travel, they will undertake them with the greatest pleasure.
It is a peremptory rule with them, that _they never go out of their
road_. We are dapper little busybodies, and run this way and that
way superserviceably; but they swerve never from their fore-ordained
paths,--neither the sun, nor the moon, nor a bubble of air, nor a mote
of dust.

And as our handiworks borrow the elements, so all our social and
political action leans on principles. To accomplish anything excellent,
the will must work for catholic and universal ends. A puny creature
walled in on every side, as Donne wrote,--

  ------"unless above himself he can
  Erect himself, how poor a thing is man!"

but when his will leans on a principle, when he is the vehicle of ideas,
he borrows their omnipotence. Gibraltar may be strong, but ideas are
impregnable, and bestow on the hero their invincibility. "It was a great
instruction," said a saint in Cromwell's war, "that the best courages
are but beams of the Almighty." Hitch your wagon to a star. Let us not
fag in paltry works which serve our pot and bag alone. Let us not lie
and steal. No god will help. We shall find all their teams going the
other way,--Charles's Wain, Great Bear, Orion, Leo, Hercules:--every
god will leave us. Work rather for those interests which the divinities
honor and promote,--justice, love, freedom, knowledge, utility.

If we can thus ride in Olympian chariots by putting our works in the
path of the celestial circuits, we can harness also evil agents, the
powers of darkness, and force them to serve against their will the ends
of wisdom and virtue. Thus, a wise Government puts fines and penalties
on pleasant vices. What a benefit would the American Government, now
in the hour of its extreme need, render to itself, and to every city,
village, and hamlet in the States, if it would tax whiskey and rum
almost to the point of prohibition! Was it Bonaparte who said that he
found vices very good patriots?--"he got five millions from the love of
brandy, and he should be glad to know which of the virtues would pay him
as much." Tobacco and opium have broad backs, and will cheerfully carry
the load of armies, if you choose to make them pay high for such joy as
they give and such harm as they do.

These are traits, and measures, and modes; and the true test of
civilization is, not the census, nor the size of cities, nor the
crops,--no, but the kind of man the country turns out. I see the vast
advantages of this country, spanning the breadth of the temperate zone.
I see the immense material prosperity,--towns on towns, states on
states, and wealth piled in the massive architecture of cities,
California quartz-mountains dumped down in New York to be re-piled
architecturally along-shore from Canada to Cuba, and thence westward to
California again. But it is not New-York streets built by the confluence
of workmen and wealth of all nations, though stretching out towards
Philadelphia until they touch it, and northward until they touch New
Haven, Hartford, Springfield, Worcester, and Boston,--not these that
make the real estimation. But, when I look over this constellation of
cities which animate and illustrate the land, and see how little
the Government has to do with their daily life, how self-helped and
self-directed all families are,--knots of men in purely natural
societies,--societies of trade, of kindred blood, of habitual
hospitality, house and house, man acting on man by weight of opinion, of
longer or better-directed industry, the refining influence of women,
the invitation which experience and permanent causes open to youth and
labor,--when I see how much each virtuous and gifted person whom all men
consider lives affectionately with scores of excellent people who are
not known far from home, and perhaps with great reason reckons these
people his superiors in virtue, and in the symmetry and force of their
qualities, I see what cubic values America has, and in these a better
certificate of civilization than great cities or enormous wealth.

In strictness, the vital refinements are the moral and intellectual
steps. The appearance of the Hebrew Moses, of the Indian Buddh,--in
Greece, of the Seven Wise Masters, of the acute and upright Socrates,
and of the Stoic Zeno,--in Judea, the advent of Jesus,--and in modern
Christendom, of the realists Huss, Savonarola, and Luther, are causal
facts which carry forward races to new convictions, and elevate the rule
of life. In the presence of these agencies, it is frivolous to insist
on the invention of printing or gunpowder, of steam-power or gas-light,
percussion-caps and rubber-shoes, which are toys thrown off from that
security, freedom, and exhilaration which a healthy morality creates in
society. These arts add a comfort and smoothness to house and
street life; but a purer morality, which kindles genius, civilizes
civilization, casts backward all that we held sacred into the profane,
as the flame of oil throws a shadow when shined upon by the flame of the
Bude-light. Not the less the popular measures of progress will ever be
the arts and the laws.

But if there be a country which cannot stand any one of these tests,--a
country where knowledge cannot be diffused without perils of mob-law
and statute-law,--where speech is not free,--where the post-office is
violated, mail-bags opened, and letters tampered with,--where public
debts and private debts outside of the State are repudiated,--where
liberty is attacked in the primary institution of their social
life,--where the position of the white woman is injuriously affected by
the outlawry of the black woman,--where the arts, such as they have,
are all imported, having no indigenous life,--where the laborer is not
secured in the earnings of his own hands,--where suffrage is not free
or equal,--that country is, in all these respects, not civil, but
barbarous, and no advantages of soil, climate, or coast can resist these
suicidal mischiefs.

Morality is essential, and all the incidents of morality,--as, justice
to the subject, and personal liberty. Montesquieu says,--"Countries are
well cultivated, not as they are fertile, but as they are free"; and the
remark holds not less, but more, true of the culture of men than of the
tillage of land. And the highest proof of civility is, that the whole
public action of the State is directed on securing the greatest good of
the greatest number.

Our Southern States have introduced confusion into the moral sentiments
of their people, by reversing this rule in theory and practice, and
denying a man's right to his labor. The distinction and end of a soundly
constituted man is his labor. Use is inscribed on all his faculties. Use
is the end to which he exists. As the tree exists for its fruit, so a
man for his work. A fruitless plant, an idle animal, is not found in
the universe. They are all toiling, however secretly or slowly, in the
province assigned them, and to a use in the economy of the world,--the
higher and more complex organizations to higher and more catholic
service; and man seems to play a certain part that tells on the general
face of the planet,--as if dressing the globe for happier races of
his own kind, or, as we sometimes fancy, for beings of superior
organization.

But thus use, labor of each for all, is the health and virtue of all
beings. ICH DIEN, _I serve_, is a truly royal motto. And it is the mark
of nobleness to volunteer the lowest service,--the greatest spirit only
attaining to humility. Nay, God is God because he is the servant of
all. Well, now here comes this conspiracy of slavery,--they call it an
institution, I call it a destitution,--this stealing of men and setting
them to work,--stealing their labor, and the thief sitting idle himself;
and for two or three ages it has lasted, and has yielded a certain
quantity of rice, cotton, and sugar. And standing on this doleful
experience, these people have endeavored to reverse the natural
sentiments of mankind, and to pronounce labor disgraceful, and the
well-being of a man to consist in eating the fruit of other men's labor.
Labor: a man coins himself into his labor,--turns his day, his strength,
his thought, his affection into some product which remains as the
visible sign of his power; and to protect that, to secure that to
him, to secure his past self to his future self, is the object of all
government. There is no interest in any country so imperative as that
of labor; it covers all, and constitutions and governments exist for
that,--to protect and insure it to the laborer. All honest men are daily
striving to earn their bread by their industry. And who is this who
tosses his empty head at this blessing in disguise, the constitution of
human nature, and calls labor vile, and insults the faithful workman at
his daily toil? I see for such madness no hellebore,--for such calamity
no solution but servile war, and the Africanization of the country that
permits it.

At this moment in America the aspects of political society absorb
attention. In every house, from Canada to the Gulf, the children ask
the serious father,--"What is the news of the war to-day? and when will
there be better times?" The boys have no new clothes, no gifts, no
journeys; the girls must go without new bonnets; boys and girls find
their education, this year, less liberal and complete. All the little
hopes that heretofore made the year pleasant are deferred. The state of
the country fills us with anxiety and stern duties. We have attempted to
hold together two states of civilization: a higher state, where labor
and the tenure of land and the right of suffrage are democratical; and
a lower state, in which the old military tenure of prisoners or slaves,
and of power and land in a few hands, makes an oligarchy: we have
attempted to hold these two states of society under one law. But the
rude and early state of society does not work well with the later,
nay, works badly, and has poisoned politics, public morals, and social
intercourse in the Republic, now for many years.

The times put this question,--Why cannot the best civilization be
extended over the whole country, since the disorder of the less
civilized portion menaces the existence of the country? Is this secular
progress we have described, this evolution of man to the highest powers,
only to give him sensibility, and not to bring duties with it? Is he
not to make his knowledge practical? to stand and to withstand? Is not
civilization heroic also? Is it not for action? has it not a will?
"There are periods," said Niebuhr, "when something much better than,
happiness and security of life is attainable." We live in a new and
exceptional age. America is another word for Opportunity. Our whole
history appears like a last effort of the Divine Providence in behalf of
the human race; and a literal slavish following of precedents, as by
a justice of the peace, is not for those who at this hour lead the
destinies of this people. The evil you contend with has taken alarming
proportions, and you still content yourself with parrying the blows it
aims, but, as if enchanted, abstain from striking at the cause.

If the American people hesitate, it is not for want of warning or
advices. The telegraph has been swift enough to announce our disasters.
The journals have not suppressed the extent of the calamity. Neither
was there any want of argument or of experience. If the war brought
any surprise to the North, it was not the fault of sentinels on the
watch-towers, who had furnished full details of the designs, the muster,
and the means of the enemy. Neither was anything concealed of the theory
or practice of slavery. To what purpose make more big books of these
statistics? There are already mountains of facts, if any one wants them.
But people do not want them. They bring their opinions into the world.
If they have a comatose tendency in the brain, they are pro-slavery
while they live; if of a nervous sanguineous temperament, they are
abolitionists. Then interests were never persuaded. Can you convince the
shoe interest, or the iron interest, or the cotton interest, by reading
passages from Milton or Montesquieu? You wish to satisfy people that
slavery is bad economy. Why, the "Edinburgh Review" pounded on that
string, and made out its case forty years ago. A democratic statesman
said to me, long since, that, if he owned the State of Kentucky, he
would manumit all the slaves, and be a gainer by the transaction. Is
this new? No, everybody knows it. As a general economy it is admitted.
But there is no one owner of the State, but a good many small owners.
One man owns land and slaves; another owns slaves only. Here is a woman
who has no other property,--like a lady in Charleston I knew of, who
owned fifteen chimney-sweeps and rode in her carriage. It is clearly a
vast inconvenience to each of these to make any change, and they are
fretful and talkative, and all their friends are; and those less
interested are inert, and, from want of thought, averse to innovation.
It is like free trade, certainly the interest of nations, but by no
means the interest of certain towns and districts, which tariff feeds
fat; and the eager interest of the few overpowers the apathetic general
conviction of the many. Banknotes rob the public, but are such a daily
convenience that we silence our scruples, and make believe they are
gold. So imposts are the cheap and right taxation; but by the dislike of
people to pay out a direct tax, governments are forced to render life
costly by making them pay twice as much, hidden in the price of tea and
sugar.

In this national crisis, it is not argument that we want, but that rare
courage which dares commit itself to a principle, believing that Nature
is its ally, and will create the instruments it requires, and more than
make good any petty and injurious profit which it may disturb. There
never was such a combination as this of ours, and the rules to meet it
are not set down in any history. We want men of original perception and
original action, who can open their eyes wider than to a nationality,
namely, to considerations of benefit to the human race, can act in the
interest of civilization. Government must not be a parish clerk, a
justice of the peace. It has, of necessity, in any crisis of the State,
the absolute powers of a Dictator. The existing Administration is
entitled to the utmost candor. It is to be thanked for its angelic
virtue, compared with any executive experiences with which we have been
familiar. But the times will not allow us to indulge in compliment. I
wish I saw in the people that inspiration which, if Government would not
obey the same, it would leave the Government behind, and create on the
moment the means and executors it wanted. Better the war should more
dangerously threaten us,--should threaten fracture in what is still
whole, and punish us with burned capitals and slaughtered regiments, and
so exasperate the people to energy, exasperate our nationality. There
are Scriptures written invisibly on men's hearts, whose letters do not
come out until they are enraged. They can be read by war-fires, and by
eyes in the last peril.

We cannot but remember that there have been days in American history,
when, if the Free States had done their duty, Slavery had been blocked
by an immovable barrier, and our recent calamities forever precluded.
The Free States yielded, and every compromise was surrender, and invited
new demands. Here again is a new occasion which Heaven offers to sense
and virtue. It looks as if we held the fate of the fairest possession
of mankind in our hands, to be saved by our firmness or to be lost by
hesitation.

The one power that has legs long enough and strong enough to cross the
Potomac offers itself at this hour; the one strong enough to bring all
the civility up to the height of that which is best prays now at the
door of Congress for leave to move. Emancipation is the demand of
civilization. That is a principle; everything else is an intrigue. This
is a progressive policy,--puts the whole people in healthy, productive,
amiable position,--puts every man in the South in just and natural
relations with every man in the North, laborer with laborer.

We shall not attempt to unfold the details of the project of
emancipation. It has been stated with great ability by several of its
leading advocates. I will only advert to some leading points of the
argument, at the risk of repeating the reasons of others.[B]

[Footnote B: I refer mainly to a Discourse by the Rev. M.D. Conway,
delivered before the "Emancipation League," in Boston, in January last.]

The war is welcome to the Southerner: a chivalrous sport to him, like
hunting, and suits his semi-civilized condition. On the climbing scale
of progress, he is just up to war, and has never appeared to such
advantage as in the last twelve-month. It does not suit us. We are
advanced some ages on the war-state,--to trade, art, and general
cultivation. His laborer works for him at home, so that he loses no
labor by the war. All our soldiers are laborers; so that the South, with
its inferior numbers, is almost on a footing in effective war-population
with the North. Again, as long as we fight without any affirmative step
taken by the Government, any word intimating forfeiture in the rebel
States of their old privileges under the law, they and we fight on the
same side, for Slavery. Again, if we conquer the enemy,--what then? We
shall still have to keep him under, and it will cost as much to hold him
down as it did to get him down. Then comes the summer, and the fever
will drive our soldiers home; next winter, we must begin at the
beginning, and conquer him over again. What use, then, to take a fort,
or a privateer, or get possession of an inlet, or to capture a regiment
of rebels?

But one weapon we hold which is sure. Congress can, by edict, as a part
of the military defence which it is the duty of Congress to provide,
abolish slavery, and pay for such slaves as we ought to pay for. Then
the slaves near our armies will come to us: those in the interior will
know in a week what their rights are, and will, where opportunity
offers, prepare to take them. Instantly, the armies that now confront
you must run home to protect their estates, and must stay there, and
your enemies will disappear.

There can be no safety until this step is taken. We fancy that the
endless debate, emphasized by the crime and by the cannons of this war,
has brought the Free States to some conviction that it can never go well
with us whilst this mischief of Slavery remains in our politics, and
that by concert or by might we must put an end to it. But we have too
much experience of the futility of an easy reliance on the momentary
good dispositions of the public. There does exist, perhaps, a popular
will that the Union shall not be broken,--that our trade, and therefore
our laws, must have the whole breadth of the continent, and from Canada
to the Gulf. But, since this is the rooted belief and will of the
people, so much the more are they in danger, when impatient of defeats,
or impatient of taxes, to go with a rush for some peace, and what kind
of peace shall at that moment be easiest attained: they will make
concessions for it,--will give up the slaves; and the whole torment of
the past half-century will come back to be endured anew.

Neither do I doubt, if such a composition should take place, that the
Southerners will come back quietly and politely, leaving their haughty
dictation. It will be an era of good feelings. There will be a lull
after so loud a storm; and, no doubt, there will be discreet men from
that section who will earnestly strive to inaugurate more moderate and
fair administration of the Government, and the North will for a time
have its full share and more, in place and counsel. But this will not
last,--not for want of sincere good-will in sensible Southerners, but
because Slavery will again speak through them its harsh necessity. It
cannot live but by injustice, and it will be unjust and violent to the
end of the world.

The power of Emancipation is this, that it alters the atomic social
constitution of the Southern people. Now their interest is in keeping
out white labor; then, when they must pay wages, their interest will be
to let it in, to get the best labor, and, if they fear their blacks, to
invite Irish, German, and American laborers. Thus, whilst Slavery makes
and keeps disunion, Emancipation removes the whole objection to union.
Emancipation at one stroke elevates the poor white of the South, and
identifies his interest with that of the Northern laborer.

Now, in the name of all that is simple and generous, why should not
this great right be done? Why should not America be capable of a second
stroke for the well-being of the human race, as eighty or ninety years
ago she was for the first? an affirmative step in the interests of human
civility, urged on her, too, not by any romance of sentiment, but by
her own extreme perils? It is very certain that the statesman who shall
break through the cobwebs of doubt, fear, and petty cavil that lie
in the way, will be greeted by the unanimous thanks of mankind. Men
reconcile themselves very fast to a bold and good measure, when once it
is taken, though they condemned it in advance. A week before the two
captive commissioners were surrendered to England, every one thought it
could not be done: it would divide the North. It was done, and in two
days all agreed it was the right action. And this action which costs so
little (the parties injured by it being such a handful that they can
very easily be indemnified) rids the world, at one stroke, of this
degrading nuisance, the cause of war and ruin to nations. This measure
at once puts all parties right. This is borrowing, as I said, the
omnipotence of a principle. What is so foolish as the terror lest the
blacks should be made furious by freedom and wages? It is denying these
that is the outrage, and makes the danger from the blacks. But justice
satisfies everybody,--white man, red man, yellow man, and black man. All
like wages, and the appetite grows by feeding.

But this measure, to be effectual, must come speedily. The weapon is
slipping out of our hands. "Time," say the Indian Scriptures, "drinketh
up the essence of every great and noble action which ought to be
performed, and which is delayed in the execution."

I hope it is not a fatal objection to this policy that it is simple and
beneficent thoroughly, which is the attribute of a moral action. An
unprecedented material prosperity has not tended to make us Stoics or
Christians. But the laws by which the universe is organized reappear at
every point, and will rule it. The end of all political struggle is
to establish morality as the basis of all legislation. It is not free
institutions, 't is not a republic, 't is not a democracy, that is the
end,--no, but only the means. Morality is the object of government.
We want a state of things in which crime shall not pay. This is the
consolation on which we rest in the darkness of the future and the
afflictions of to-day, that the government of the world is moral, and
does forever destroy what is not.

It is the maxim of natural philosophers, that the natural forces wear
out in time all obstacles, and take place: and 't is the maxim of
history, that victory always falls at last where it ought to fall; or,
there is perpetual march and progress to ideas. But, in either case,
no link of the chain can drop out. Nature works through her appointed
elements; and ideas must work through the brains and the arms of good
and brave men, or they are no better than dreams.

       *       *       *       *       *

Since the above pages were written, President Lincoln has proposed to
Congress that the Government shall coöperate with any State that shall
enact a gradual abolishment of Slavery. In the recent series of national
successes, this Message is the best. It marks the happiest day in the
political year. The American Executive ranges itself for the first time
on the side of freedom. If Congress has been backward, the President has
advanced. This state-paper is the more interesting that it appears to be
the President's individual act, done under a strong sense of duty. He
speaks his own thought in his own style. All thanks and honor to the
Head of the State! The Message has been received throughout the country
with praise, and, we doubt not, with more pleasure than has been spoken.
If Congress accords with the President, it is not yet too late to begin
the emancipation; but we think it will always be too late to make it
gradual. All experience agrees that it should be immediate. More and
better than the President has spoken shall, perhaps, the effect of this
Message be,--but, we are sure, not more or better than he hoped in his
heart, when, thoughtful of all the complexities of his position, he
penned these cautious words.

       *       *       *       *       *


  COMPENSATION.


  In the strength of the endeavor,
  In the temper of the giver,
  In the loving of the lover,
    Lies the hidden recompense.

  In the sowing of the sower,
  In the fleeting of the flower,
  In the fading of each hour,
    Lurks eternal recompense.



A MESSAGE OF JEFF DAVIS IN SECRET SESSION.

CONJECTURALLY REPORTED BY H. BIGLOW.


_To the Editors of the_ ATLANTIC MONTHLY.

Jaalam, 10th March, 1862.

GENTLEMEN,--My leisure has been so entirely occupied with the hitherto
fruitless endeavour to decypher the Runick inscription whose fortunate
discovery I mentioned in my last communication, that I have not found
time to discuss, as I had intended, the great problem of what we are to
do with slavery, a topick on which the publick mind in this place is at
present more than ever agitated. What my wishes and hopes are I need
not say, but for safe conclusions I do not conceive that we are yet
in possession of facts enough on which to bottom them with certainty.
Acknowledging the hand of Providence, as I do, in all events, I am
sometimes inclined to think that they are wiser than we, and am willing
to wait till we have made this continent once more a place where
freemen can live in security and honour, before assuming any further
responsibility. This is the view taken by my neighbour Habakkuk
Sloansure, Esq., the president of our bank, whose opinion in the
practical affairs of life has great weight with me, as I have generally
found it to be justified by the event, and whose counsel, had I followed
it, would have saved me from an unfortunate investment of a considerable
part of the painful economies of half a century in the Northwest-Passage
Tunnel. After a somewhat animated discussion with this gentleman, a
few days since, I expanded, on the _audi alteram partem_ principle,
something which he happened to say by way of illustration, into the
following fable.

  FESTINA LENTE.

  Once on a time there was a pool
  Fringed all about with flag-leaves cool
  And spotted with cow-lilies garish,
  Of frogs and pouts the ancient parish.
  Alders the creaking redwings sink on,
  Tussocks that house blithe Bob o' Lincoln.
  Hedged round the unassailed seclusion,
  Where muskrats piled their cells Carthusian;
  And many a moss-embroidered log,
  The watering-place of summer frog,
  Slept and decayed with patient skill,
  As watering-places sometimes will.

  Now in this Abbey of Theleme,
  Which realized the fairest dream
  That ever dozing bull-frog had,
  Sunned on a half-sunk lily-pad,
  There rose a party with a mission
  To mend the polliwogs' condition,
  Who notified the selectmen
  To call a meeting there and then.
  "Some kind of steps." they said, "are needed;
  They don't come on so fast as we did:
  Let's dock their tails; if that don't make 'em
  Frogs by brevet, the Old One take 'em!
  That boy, that came the other day
  To dig some flag-root down this way,
  His jack-knife left, and 't is a sign
  That Heaven approves of our design:
  'T were wicked not to urge the step on,
  When Providence has sent the weapon."

  Old croakers, deacons of the mire,
  That led the deep batrachiain choir,
  _Uk! Uk! Caronk!_ with bass that might
  Have left Lablache's out of sight,
  Shook knobby heads, and said, "No go!
  You'd better let 'em try to grow:
  Old Doctor Time is slow, but still
  He does know how to make a pill."

  But vain was all their hoarsest bass,
  Their old experience out of place,
  And, spite of croaking and entreating,
  The vote was carried in marsh-meeting.

  "Lord knows," protest the polliwogs,
  "We're anxious to be grown-up frogs;
  But do not undertake the work
  Of Nature till she prove a shirk;
  'T is not by jumps that she advances,
  But wins her way by circumstances:
  Pray, wait awhile, until you know
  We're so contrived as not to grow;
  Let Nature take her own direction,
  And she'll absorb our imperfection;
  _You_ mightn't like 'em to appear with,
  But we must have the things to steer with."

  "No," piped the party of reform,
  "All great results are ta'en by storm;
  Fate holds her best gifts till we show
  We've strength to make her let them go:
  No more reject the Age's chrism,
  Your cues are an anachronism;
  No more the Future's promise mock,
  But lay your tails upon the block,
  Thankful that we the means have voted
  To have you thus to frogs promoted."

  The thing was done, the tails were cropped,
  And home each philotadpole hopped,
  In faith rewarded to exult,
  And wait the beautiful result.
  Too soon it came; our pool, so long
  The theme of patriot bull-frogs' song,
  Next day was reeking, fit to smother,
  With heads and tails that missed each other,--
  Here snoutless tails, there tailless snouts:
  The only gainers were the pouts.

  MORAL.

  From lower to the higher next,
  Not to the top, is Nature's text;
  And embryo Good, to reach full stature,
  Absorbs the Evil in its nature.

I think that nothing will ever give permanent peace and security to
this continent but the extirpation of Slavery therefrom, and that the
occasion is nigh; but I would do nothing hastily or vindictively, nor
presume to jog the elbow of Providence. No desperate measures for me
till we are sure that all others are hopeless,--_flectere si nequeo
SUPEROS, Acheronta movebo_. To make Emancipation a reform instead of
a revolution is worth a little patience, that we may have the Border
States first, and then the non-slaveholders of the Cotton States with us
in principle,--a consummation that seems to me nearer than many imagine.
_Fiat justitia, ruat coelum,_ is not to be taken in a literal sense by
statesmen, whose problem is to get justice done with as little jar as
possible to existing order, which has at least so much of heaven in it
that it is not chaos. I rejoice in the President's late Message, which
at last proclaims the Government on the side of freedom, justice, and
sound policy.

As I write, comes the news of our disaster at Hampton Roads. I do not
understand the supineness which, after fair warning, leaves wood to an
unequal conflict with iron. It is not enough merely to have the right
on our side, if we stick to the old flint-lock of tradition. I have
observed in my parochial experience (_haud ignarus mali_) that the Devil
is prompt to adopt the latest inventions of destructive warfare, and may
thus take even such a three-decker as Bishop Butler at an advantage. It
is curious, that, as gunpowder made armour useless on shore, so armour
is having its revenge by baffling its old enemy at sea,--and that, while
gunpowder robbed land-warfare of nearly all its picturesqueness to give
even greater stateliness and sublimity to a sea-fight, armour bids fair
to degrade the latter into a squabble between two iron-shelled turtles.

Yours, with esteem and respect,

HOMER WILBUR, A.M.

P.S. I had wellnigh forgotten to say that the object of this letter is
to inclose a communication from the gifted pen of Mr. Biglow.

  I sent you a messige, my friens, t' other day,
  To tell you I'd nothin' pertickler to say:
  'T wuz the day our new nation gut kin' o' stillborn,
  So't wuz my pleasant dooty t' acknowledge the corn,
  An' I see clearly then, ef I didn't before,
  Thet the _augur_ in inauguration means _bore_.
  I needn't tell _you_ thet my messige wuz written
  To diffuse correc' notions in France an' Gret Britten,
  An' agin to impress on the poppylar mind
  The comfort an' wisdom o' goin' it blind,--
  To say thet I didn't abate not a hooter
  O' my faith in a happy an' glorious futur',
  Ez rich in each soshle an' p'litickle blessin'
  Ez them thet we now hed the joy o' possessin',
  With a people united, an' longin' to die
  For wut _we_ call their country, without askin' why,
  An' all the gret things we concluded to slope for
  Ez much within reach now ez ever--to hope for.
  We've all o' the ellermunts, this very hour,
  Thet make up a fus'-class, self-governin' power:
  We've a war, an' a debt, an' a flag; an' ef this
  Ain't to be inderpendunt, why, wut on airth is?
  An' nothin' now henders our takin' our station
  Ez the freest, enlightenedest, civerlized nation,
  Built up on our bran'-new politickle thesis
  Thet a Guv'ment's fust right is to tumble to pieces,--
  I say nothin' henders our takin' our place
  Ez the very fus'-best o' the whole human race,
  A-spittin' tobacker ez proud ez you please
  On Victory's bes' carpets, or loafin' at ease
  In the Tool'ries front-parlor, discussin' affairs
  With our heels on the backs o' Napoleon's new chairs,
  An' princes a-mixin' our cocktails an' slings,--
  Excep', wal, excep' jest a very few things,
  Sech ez navies an' armies an' wherewith to pay,
  An' gittin' our sogers to run t' other way,
  An' not be too over-pertickler in tryin'
  To hunt up the very las' ditches to die in.

  Ther' are critters so base thet they want it explained
  Jes' wut is the totle amount thet we've gained,
  Ez ef we could maysure stupenjious events
  By the low Yankee stan'ard o' dollars an' cents:
  They seem to forgit, thet, sence last year revolved,
  We've succeeded in gittin' seceshed an' dissolved,
  An' thet no one can't hope to git thru dissolootion
  'Thout sonic kin' o' strain on the best Constitootion.
  Who asks for a prospec' more flettrin' an' bright,
  When from here clean to Texas it's all one free fight?
  Hain't we rescued from Seward the gret leadin' featurs
  Thet makes it wuth while to be reasonin' creaturs?
  Hain't we saved Habus Coppers, improved it in fact,
  By suspending the Unionists 'stid o' the Act?
  Ain't the laws free to all? Where on airth else d' ye see
  Every freeman improvin' his own rope an' tree?

  It's ne'ssary to take a good confident tone
  With the public; but here, jest amongst us, I own
  Things looks blacker 'n thunder. Ther' 's no use denyin'
  We're clean out o' money, an' 'most out o' lyin',--
  Two things a young nation can't mennage without,
  Ef she wants to look wal at her fust comin' out;
  For the fust supplies physickle strength, while the second
  Gives a morril edvantage thet's hard to be reckoned:
  For this latter I'm willin' to du wut I can;
  For the former you'll hev to consult on a plan,--
  Though our _fust_ want (an' this pint I want your best views on)
  Is plausible paper to print I.O.U.s on.
  Some gennlemen think it would cure all our cankers
  In the way o' finance, ef we jes' hanged the bankers;
  An' I own the proposle 'ud square with my views,
  Ef their lives wuzn't all thet we'd left 'em to lose.
  Some say thet more confidence might be inspired,
  Ef we voted our cities an' towns to be fired,--
  A plan thet 'ud suttenly tax our endurance,
  Coz 't would be our own bills we should git for th' insurance;
  But cinders, no metter how sacred we think 'em,
  Mightn't strike furrin minds ez good sources of income,
  Nor the people, perhaps, wouldn't like the eclaw
  O' bein' all turned into paytriots by law.
  Some want we should buy all the cotton an' burn it,
  On a pledge, when we've gut thru the war, to return it,--
  Then to take the proceeds an' hold _them_ ez security
  For an issue o' bonds to be met at maturity
  With an issue o' notes to be paid in hard cash
  On the fus' Monday follerin' the 'tarnal Allsmash:
  This hez a safe air, an', once hold o' the gold,
  'Ud leave our vile plunderers out in the cold,
  An' _might_ temp' John Bull, ef it warn't for the dip he
  Once gut from the banks o' my own Massissippi.
  Some think we could make, by arrangin' the figgers,
  A hendy home-currency out of our niggers;
  But it wun't du to lean much on ary sech staff,
  For they're gittin' tu current a'ready, by half.
  One gennleman says, ef we lef' our loan out
  Where Floyd could git hold on 't, _he_'d take it, no doubt;
  But 't ain't jes' the takin', though 't hez a good look,
  We mus' git sunthin' out on it arter it's took,
  An' we need now more 'n ever, with sorrer I own,
  Thet some one another should let us a loan,
  Sence a soger wun't fight, on'y jes' while he draws his
  Pay down on the nail, for the best of all causes,
  'Thout askin' to know wut the quarrel's about,--
  An' once come to thet, why, our game is played out.
  It's ez true ez though I shouldn't never hev said it
  Thet a hitch hez took place in our system o' credit;
  I swear it's all right in my speeches an' messiges,
  But ther' 's idees afloat, ez ther' is about sessiges:
  Folks wun't take a bond ez a basis to trade on,
  Without nosin' round to find out wut it's made on,
  An' the thought more an' more thru the public min' crosses
  Thet our Treshry hez gut 'mos' too many dead hosses.
  Wut's called credit, you see, is some like a balloon,
  Thet looks while it's up 'most ez harnsome 'z a moon,
  But once git a leak in 't an' wut looked so grand
  Caves righ' down in a jiffy ez flat ez your hand.
  Now the world is a dreffle mean place, for our sins,
  Where ther' ollus is critters about with long pins
  A-prickin' the globes we've blowcd up with sech care,
  An' provin' ther' 's nothin' inside but bad air:
  They're all Stuart Millses, poor-white trash, an' sneaks,
  Without no more chivverlry 'n Choctaws or Creeks,
  Who think a real gennleman's promise to pay
  Is meant to be took in trade's ornery way:
  Them fellers an' I couldn' never agree;
  They're the nateral foes o' the Southun Idee;
  I'd gladly take all of our other resks on me
  To be red o' this low-lived politikle 'con'my!

  Now a dastardly notion is gittin' about
  Thet our bladder is bust an' the gas oozin' out,
  An' onless we can mennage in some way to stop it,
  Why, the thing's a gone coon, an' we might ez wal drop it.
  Brag works wal at fust, but it ain't jes' the thing
  For a stiddy inves'ment the shiners to bring,
  An' votin' we're prosp'rous a hundred times over
  Wun't change bein' starved into livin' on clover.
  Manassas done sunthin' tow'rds drawin' the wool
  O'er the green, anti-slavery eyes o' John Bull:
  Oh, _warn't_ it a godsend, jes' when sech tight fixes
  Wuz crowdin' us mourners, to throw double-sixes!
  I wuz tempted to think, an' it wuzn't no wonder,
  Ther' wuz reelly a Providence,--over or under,--
  When, all packed for Nashville, I fust ascertained
  From the papers up North wut a victory we'd gained,
  'T wuz the time for diffusin' correc' views abroad
  Of our union an' strength an' relyin' on God;
  An', fact, when I'd gut thru my fust big surprise,
  I much ez half b'lieved in my own tallest lies,
  An' conveyed the idee thet the whole Southun popperlace
  Wuz Spartans all on the keen jump for Thermopperlies,
  Thet set on the Lincolnites' bombs till they bust,
  An' fight for the priv'lege o' dyin' the fust;
  But Roanoke, Bufort, Millspring, an' the rest
  Of our recent starn-foremost successes out West,
  Hain't left us a foot for our swellin' to stand on,--

  We've showed _too_ much o' wut Buregard calls _abandon_,
  For all our Thermopperlies (an' it's a marcy
  We hain't hed no more) hev ben clean vicy-varsy,
  An' wut Spartans wuz lef' when the battle wuz done
  Wuz them thet wuz too unambitious to run.

  Oh, ef we hed on'y jes' gut Reecognition,
  Things now would ha' ben in a different position!
  You'd ha' hed all you wanted: the paper blockade
  Smashed up into toothpicks,--unlimited trade
  In the one thing thet's needfle, till niggers, I swow,
  Hed ben thicker 'n provisional shinplasters now,--
  Quinine by the ton 'ginst the shakes when they seize ye,--
  Nice paper to coin into C.S.A. specie;
  The voice of the driver'd be heerd in our land,
  An' the univarse scringe, ef we lifted our hand:
  Wouldn't _thet_ be some like a fulfillin' the prophecies,
  With all the fus' fem'lies in all the best offices?
  'T wuz a beautiful dream, an' all sorrer is idle,--
  But _ef_ Lincoln _would_ ha' hanged Mason an' Slidell!
  They ain't o' no good in European pellices,
  But think wut a help they'd ha' ben on their gallowses!
  They'd ha' felt they wuz truly fulfillin' their mission,
  An', oh, how dog-cheap we'd ha' gut Reecognition!

  But somehow another, wutever we've tried,
  Though the the'ry's fust-rate, the facs _wun't_ coincide:
  Facs are contrary 'z mules, an' ez hard in the mouth,
  An' they allus hev showed a mean spite to the South.
  Sech bein' the case, we hed best look about
  For some kin' o' way to slip _our_ necks out:
  Le''s vote our las' dollar, ef one can be found,
  (An', at any rate, votin' it hez a good sound,)--
  Le''s swear thet to arms all our people is flyin',
  (The critters can't read, an' wun't know how we're lyin',)--
  Thet Toombs is advancin' to sack Cincinnater,
  With a rovin' commission to pillage an' slarter,--
  Thet we've throwed to the winds all regard for wut's lawfle,
  An' gone in for sunthin' promiscu'sly awfle.
  Ye see, hitherto, it's our own knaves an' fools
  Thet we've used,--those for whetstones, an't' others ez tools,--
  An' now our las' chance is in puttin' to test
  The same kin' o' cattle up North an' out West.
  I----But, Gennlemen, here's a despatch jes' come in
  Which shows thet the tide's begun turnin' agin,--
  Gret Cornfedrit success! C'lumbus eevacooated!
  I mus' run down an' hev the thing properly stated,
  An' show wut a triumph it is, an' how lucky
  To fin'lly git red o' thet cussed Kentucky,--
  An' how, sence Fort Donelson, winnin' the day
  Consists in triumphantly gittin' away.



REVIEWS AND LITERARY NOTICES.


_The Sisters, Inisfail, and other Poems._ By AUBREY DE VERE. London.

Whatever Mr. De Vere writes is welcomed by a select audience. Not taking
rank among the great masters of English poetry, he yet possesses a
genuine poetic faculty which distinguishes him from "the small harpers
with their glees" who counterfeit the true gift of Nature. In refined
and delicate sensibility, in purity of feeling, in elevation of tone,
there is no English writer of verse at the present day who surpasses
him. The fine instinct of a poet is united in him with the cultivated
taste of a scholar. There is nothing forced or spasmodic in his verse;
it is the true expression of character disciplined by thought and study,
of fancy quickened by ready sympathies, of feeling deepened and calmed
by faith. As is the case with most English poets since Wordsworth, he
invests the impressions received from the various aspects of Nature with
moral associations, and with fine spiritual insight he seeks out the
inner meaning of the external life of the earth. No one describes more
truthfully than he those transient beauties of Nature which in their
briefness and their exquisite variety of change elude the coarse grasp
of the common observer, and too frequently pass half unnoticed and
unfelt even by those whose temperament is susceptive of their inspiring
influences, but whose thoughts are occupied with the cares and business
of living. But it is especially as the poet of Ireland, and of the Roman
Church, that Mr. De Vere presents himself to us in this last volume;
and while, consequently, the subject and treatment of many of the poems
contained in it give to them a special rather than a universal interest,
the patriotic spirit and the fervor of faith manifest in them appeal
powerfully to the sympathies of readers in other countries and of other
creeds. "'Inisfail' may be regarded as a sort of National Chronicle,
cast in a form partly lyrical, partly narrative.... Its aim is to record
the past alone, and that chiefly as its chances might have been sung by
those old bards, who, consciously or unconsciously, uttered the voice
which comes from a people's heart." In this attempt Mr. De Vere has had
an uncommon measure of success. The strings of the Irish harp sound with
the cadences of fitting harmonies under his hand, as he sings of the
sorrows and the joys of Ireland, of the wild storms and the rare
sunshine of her pathetic history,--as he denounces vengeance on her
oppressors, or blesses the saints and the heroes who have made the land
dear and beautiful to its children. The key-note of the series of poems
which form this poetic chronicle is struck in the fine verses with which
it begins, entitled "History," and of which our space allows us to quote
but the opening stanza:--

  "At my casement I sat by night, while the wind far off in dark valleys
  Voluminous gathered and grew, and waxing swelled to a gale;
  An hour I heard it, or more, ere yet it sobbed on my lattice:
  Far off, 't was a People's moan; hard by, but a widow's wail.
  Atoms we are, we men: of the myriad sorrow around us
  Our littleness little grasps; and the selfish in that have no part:
  Yet time with the measureless chain of a world-wide mourning hath
     wound us;
  History but counts the drops as they fall from a Nation's heart."

One of the most vigorous poems in the volume is that called "The Bard
Ethell," and which represents this bard of the thirteenth century
telling in his old age of himself and his country, of his memories, and
of the wrongs that he and his land had alike suffered:--

  "I am Ethell, the son of Conn;
    Here I live at the foot of the hill;
  I am clansman to Brian, and servant to none;
    Whom I hated, I hate; whom I loved, love still."

Here is a passage from near the end of this poem:--

  "Ah me, that man who is made of dust
    Should have pride toward God! 'T is an angel's sin!
  I have often feared lest God, the All-Just,
    Should bend from heaven and sweep earth clean,
  Should sweep us all into corners and holes,
  Like dust of the house-floor, both bodies and
    souls;
  I have often feared He would send some
    wind
  In wrath, and the nation wake up stone-blind!
  In age or youth we have all wrought ill."

But a large part of the volume before us is made up of poems that do not
belong to this Irish series, and the readers of the "Atlantic" will find
in it several pieces which they will recognize with pleasure as having
first appeared in our own pages, and which, once read, were not to be
readily forgotten. Mr. De Vere has expressed in several passages his
warm sympathy in our national affairs, and his clear appreciation of
the great cause, so little understood abroad, which we of the North are
engaged in upholding and maintaining. And although in these days of war
there is little reading of poetry, and little chance that this volume
will find the welcome it deserves and would receive in quieter times in
America, we yet trust that it will meet with worthy readers among those
who possess their souls in quietness in the midst of the noise of arms,
and to such we heartily commend it.


_A Book about Doctors_. By J. CORDY JEAFFRESON, Author of "Novels and
Novelists," "Crewe Else," etc., etc. New York: Rudd & Carleton. 12mo.

Mr. Jeaffreson is not usually either a brilliant or a sensible man with
pen in hand, albeit he dates from "Rolls Chambers, Chancery Lane." He is
apt to select slow coaches, whenever he attempts a ride. His "Novels
and Novelists" is a sad move in the "deadly lively" direction, and his
"Crewe Rise" has not risen to much distinction among the reading crew.
In those volumes of departed rubbish he sinks very low, whenever he
essays to mount; but his dulness is innoxious, for few there be who can
say, "We have read him." His "Book about Doctors" is the best literary
venture he has yet made. It is not a dull volume. The anecdotes so
industriously collected keep attention alert, and one feels inclined to
applaud Mr. Jeaffreson as the leaves of his book are turned.

Everything about Doctors is interesting. Here are a few Bible verses
which it will do no harm to quote in connection with Mr. Jeaffreson's
volume:--

  "Honor a physician with the honor due
  unto him for the uses which you have made
  of him: for the Lord hath created him."

  "For of the Most High cometh healing, and
  he shall receive honor of the king."

  "The skill of the physician shall lift up his
  head; and in the sight of great men he shall
  be in admiration."

  "The Lord hath created medicines out of
  the earth; and he that is wise will not abhor
  them."

It was no unwise thing in Mr. Jeaffreson to bring so many noble men
together, as it were into one family. What "names embalmed" one meets
with in the collection! Here are Sydenham, Goldsmith, Smollett, Sir
Thomas Browne, and a golden line of other Doctors, nearly all the
way down to our own time. (Our well-beloved M.D. [Monthly Diamond]
contributor is too young to be included.) Keats is among the worthies,
although he got no farther into the mysteries than the apothecary's
counter. Meeting with this interesting series of splendid medicine-men
leads us to muse a good deal about the Faculty, and to re-read several
good anecdotes about the great symptom-watchers of the past and the
present day.

When Sir Richard Blackmore asked the great Sydenham, "Prince of English
physicians," what he would advise him for medical reading, he is said to
have replied, "Read Don Quixote, Sir." Sensible and witty old man!

We are struck with the cheerful character of nearly all the M.D.s
mentioned in the volume, and are constantly reminded of the advice we
once read of an old Doctor to a young one:--"Moreover, let me tell you,
my young doctor friend, that a cheerful face, and step, and neckcloth,
and button-hole, and an occasional hearty and kindly joke, a power of
executing and setting a-going a good laugh, are stock in our trade not
to be despised."

"I may give an instance," says the same good-natured physician, "when
a joke was more and better than itself. A comely young wife, the
'cynosure' of her circle, was in bed, apparently dying from swelling and
inflammation of the throat, an inaccessible abscess stopping the way;
she could swallow nothing; everything had been tried. Her friends were
standing round the bed in misery and helplessness. '_Try her wi' a
compliment_,' said her husband, in a not uncomic despair. She had
genuine humor, as well as he; and an physiologists know, there is a sort
of mental tickling which is beyond and above control, being under the
reflex system, and instinctive as well as sighing. She laughed with her
whole body, and burst the abscess, and was well."

Mr. Jeaffreson's book might be better, but it might be worse. We cannot
forgive him for his "Novels and Novelists" and his "Crewe Rise," two
works which go far to prove their author a person of indefatigable
incoherency; but we thank him for the industry which brought together so
much that is very readable about Doctors.


_John Brent_. By THEODORE WINTHROP, Author of "Cecil Dreeme." Boston:
Ticknor & Fields. 16mo.

It is probable that we have not yet completely appreciated the value
of the bright and noble life which a wretched Rebel sharp-shooter
extinguished in the disastrous fight of Great Bethel. "John Brent" is
a book which gives us important aid in the attempt to form an adequate
conception of Winthrop's character. Its vivid pages shine throughout
with the author's brave and tender spirit. "Cecil Dreeme" was an
embodiment of his thoughts, observations, and imaginations; "John Brent"
shows us the inbred poetry and romance of the man in the grander form of
action. The scene is placed in the wild Western plains of America, among
men entirely free from the restraints of conventional life; and the
book has a buoyancy and brisk vitality, a dashing, daring, and jubilant
vigor, such as we are not accustomed to in ordinary romances of American
life. Sir Philip Sidney is the type of the Anglo-Saxon hero; but we
think that Winthrop was fully his match in delicacy and intrepidity, in
manly courage, and in sweet, instinctive tenderness. As to style, the
American far exceeds the Englishman. A certain conventional artifice and
dainty affectation clouded the clear and beautiful nature of Sidney,
when he wrote. The elaborate embroidery of thought, the stiff and
cumbrous Elizabethan _dress_ of language, with all its ruffles and
laces, make the "Arcadia" an imperfect exponent of Sidney's nature.
His intense thoughts, delicate emotions, and burning passions are half
concealed in the form he adopts for their expression. But Winthrop is as
fresh, natural, strong, and direct in his language as in his life.
He used words, not for ornament, but for expression. Every phrase is
stamped by a die supplied by reflection or feeling, and not a paragraph
in "John Brent" differs in spirit from the practical heroism which urged
the author to expose himself to certain death at Great Bethel. The
condensed, lucid, picturesque, and sharp-cut sentences, flooded with
will, show the nature of the man,--a man who announced no sentiments and
principles he was not willing to sacrifice himself to disseminate or
defend. A living energy of soul glows over the whole book,--swift,
fiery, brave, wholesome, sincere, impatient of all physical obstacles to
the operation of thought and affection, and eager to make stubborn facts
yield to the impatient pressure of spiritual purpose.

We cannot say much in praise of the plot of "John Brent," but it at
least enables the author to supply a good framework for his incidents,
descriptions, and characters. The plot is based rather on possibilities
than probabilities; but the men and women he depicts are thoroughly
natural. It would be difficult to point to any other American novel
which furnishes incidents that can compare in vigor and vividness
with some of the incidents in this romance. The ride to rescue Helen
Clitheroe from her kidnappers is a masterpiece, worthy to rank with the
finest passages of Cooper or Scott. The fierce, swift black stallion,
"Don Fulano," a horse superior to any which Homer has immortalized, is
almost the hero of the romance. That Winthrop, with all his sympathy
with the "advanced" ideas and sentiments of the reformers and
philanthropists of the time, was not a mere prattling and scribbling
sentimentalist, is proved by his glorious idealization of this
magnificent horse. He raises the beast into a moral and intellectual
sympathy with his human rider, and there is a poetic justice in making
him die at last in an attempt to further the escape of a fugitive slave.

The characterization of the book is original. Gerrian, Jake Shamberlain,
Armstrong, Sizzum, the Mormon preacher, are absolutely new creations.
Hugh Clitheroe may suggest Dickens's Skimpole and Hawthorne's Clifford,
but the character is developed under entirely new circumstances. As for
Wade and Brent, they are persons whom we all recognize as the old heroes
of romance, though the conditions under which they act are changed.
Helen, the heroine of the story, is a more puzzling character to the
critic; but, on the whole, we are bound to say that she is a new
development of womanhood. The author exhausts all the resources of his
genius in giving a "local habitation and a name" to this fond creation
of his imagination, and he has succeeded. Helen Clitheroe promises to be
one of those "beings of the mind" which will he permanently remembered.

Heroism, active or passive, is the lesson taught by this romance, and
we know that the author, in his life, illustrated both phases of the
quality. His novels, which, when he was alive, the booksellers refused
to publish, are now passing through their tenth and twelfth editions.
Everybody reads "Cecil Dreeme" and "John Brent," and everybody must
catch a more or less vivid glimpse of the noble nature of their author.
But these books give but an imperfect expression of the soul of Theodore
Winthrop. They have great merits, but they are still rather promises
than performances. They hint of a genius which was denied full
development. The character, however, from which they derive their
vitality and their power to please, shines steadily through all the
imperfections of plot and construction. The novelist, after all, only
suggests the power and beauty of the man; and the man, though dead, will
keep the novels alive. Through them we can commune with a rare and noble
spirit, called away from earth before all its capacities of invention
and action were developed, but still leaving brilliant traces in
literature of the powers it was denied the opportunity adequately to
unfold.

       *       *       *       *       *


FOREIGN LITERATURE.


To keep pace with the productions of foreign literature is a task beyond
the possibilities of any reader. The bibliographical journals of France,
Germany, Italy, and Spain weekly present such copious lists of new
works, that a mere mention of only the principal ones would far exceed
the limits we have proposed to ourselves. However, from the chaos of
contemporary productions it is our intention to sift, as far as lies in
our power, such works as may with justice be styled _representative_ of
the country in which they are produced. Ranging in this introductory
article through the year 1861, we shall limit ourselves to a few of the
contributions upon French literary history.

No branch of letters is richer at the present time than that in which
the writer, laying aside all thought of direct creativeness, confines
himself to the criticism of the works of the past or present, analyzing
and studying the influences that have been brought to hear upon the
poet, historian, or novelist, anatomizing literature and resolving it
into its elements, pointing out the action exercised upon thought and
expression by the age, and seeking the effects of these upon society
and politics as well as upon the general tastes and moral being of a
generation. Methods of writing are now discussed rather than put in
practice. We are in a transition age more than politically. Creative
genius seems to be resting for more marked and permanent channels to be
formed; so that, though every year gives birth to numberless works in
every branch of art, original production is rarer than the activity, the
restlessness of the time might lead us to expect.

In no country has literary criticism more life than in France. It
engages the attention of the best minds. No writer, whatever be his
speciality, thinks it derogatory to give long and elaborate notices
in the daily press of new books or new editions of old books. Thus,
Sainte-Beuve in the "Moniteur," De Sacy, Saint-Marc Girardin, Philarète
Chasles, Prévost-Paradol in the "Journal des Débats," not to mention the
numerous writers of the "Revue des Deux Mondes," the "Européenne," and
the "Nationale," vie with each other in extracting from all that appears
what is most acceptable to the general reader.

M. Sainte-Beuve may be taken as a type of the avowedly professional
critic. Whatever he may accomplish as the historian of Port-Royal, it is
to his weekly articles, informal and disconnected as they are, that he
owes his high rank among French authors. These "Causeries du Lundi" have
now reached the fourteenth volume.[A] In the last we find the same easy
admiration, facility of approbation, and suppleness that enable him to
praise the "Fanny" of Feydeau, calling it a poem, and on the next page
to do justice to the last volume of Thiers's "Consulate and Empire,"
or to the recent publication of the Correspondence of Buffon. The most
important articles in the volume are those on Vauvenargues, on the Abbé
de Marolles, and on Bonstetten.

[Footnote A: _Causeries du Lundi_. Par C.A. Sainte-Beuve, de l'Académie
Française. Tome Quatorziéme. Paris: Garnier Frères. 12mo. pp. 480.]

Of quite a different school is M. Armand de Pontmartin, who, under the
titles of "Causeries du Samedi," "Causeries Littéraires," etc., has
now issued over a dozen volumes touching on all points of contemporary
letters, often very severe in their strictures. The last, "Les Semaines
Littéraires,"[B] contains notices of late works by Cousin, About,
Quinet, Laprade, and others, and concludes with an article on Scribe.
Pontmarlin represents the Catholic sentiment in literature. He measures
everything as it agrees or disagrees with Legitimacy and Ultramontanism.
His works are a continual defence of the Bourbons and the Pope. Modern
democracy he cannot pardon. Without seeking to deny the excesses and
shortcomings of his own party, he finds an explanation for all in the
levelling tendencies of the age. He cannot be too severe on the first
French Revolution and its results. "In letters," he tells us, "it has
led to materialism and anarchy, while the Bourbons personify for France
peace, glory," etc.

[Footnote B: _Les Semaines Littéraires_. Troisième Série des Causeries
Littéraires. Par Armand de Pontmartin. Paris: Michel Lévy Frères. 12mo.
pp. 364.]

Pontmartin is an able representative of the side he has taken. He
believes in and ably defends those heroes of literature so well
characterized as "Prophets of the Past," Chateaubriand, De Bonald,
and J. de Maistre. His special objects of antipathy are writers
like Michelet and Quinet, pamphleteers like About, and critics like
Sainte-Beuve.

The last he cannot pardon for his work on Chateaubriand,[C] published in
the early part of the year 1861. The time is past for giving a fuller
account of this remarkable production of the historian of Port-Royal.
Suffice it to say, that, though it deals in very small criticism indeed,
though its author seems to have made it his task to sum up all the
weaknesses of one the prestige of whose name fills, in France at least,
the first half of this century, yet there exists no more valuable
contribution to the history of literature under the first Empire. It has
been called "a work no one would wish to have written, yet which is read
by all with exquisite pleasure." Nothing could be truer.

[Footnote C: _Chateaubriand et son Groupe Littéraire sous l'Empire_.
Cours professé à Liége en 1848-1849, par C.A. Sainte-Beuve, de
l'Académie Française. Paris: Garnier Frères. 2 vols. 8vo. pp. 410, 457.]

"Chateaubriand and his Literary Group under the Empire" is a course
of twenty-one lectures delivered by Sainte-Beuve at Liège, whither he
repaired soon after the Revolution of 1848 broke out in Paris. Fragments
of the work appeared in the "Revue des Deux Mondes," among others the
paper on Chênedollé, which forms the most interesting portion of the
second division. In this are to be found several original letters, now
published for the first time, casting much new light on the life of that
unfortunate poet.

Of more general interest, however, are the pages on Chateaubriand
himself. It was the fate of this writer to be flattered beyond measure
in his lifetime, and now come the first judgments of posterity, which
deals with him no less harshly than it has already begun to deal
with another idol of the French people, Béranger. Sainte-Beuve has
constituted himself judge, reversing even his own adulatory articles,
as they may be read in the earlier volumes of the "Causeries." It is at
best an ungrateful task to dissect a reputation in the way in which we
find it done in the present work. It must seem strange to many a reader
that the very man who in early life could utter such sweet flattery, who
long was the foremost to bear incense, should now consider it his duty
"to seek the foot of clay beneath the splendid drapery, and to replace
about the statue the aromas of the sanctuary by the perfumes of the
boudoir." In spite of this, "Chateaubriand and his Literary Group" must
be ranked among the most remarkable of literary biographies. Here the
critic gives full scope to his inclination for minute analysis; the
history of the author of "René" explains his works, and these in turn
are made to tell his life,--that life so full of love of effect, and
constant painstaking to seem rather than to be. Even in his religious
sentiments the author of the "Genius of Christianity" appears lukewarm,
not to say more.

In comprehensive works on literary history France is far from being
as rich as Germany. Beyond the native literature little has been
accomplished; and even in this, works of importance may be counted on
the fingers. The past year saw the conclusion of Nisard's work, the most
comprehensive history of French literature. The fourth volume[D] is
devoted to the eighteenth century, and concludes with a few general
chapters on the nineteenth.

[Footnote D: _Histoire de la Literature Française_. Par D. Nisard, de
l'Académie Française, Inspecteur-Général de l'Enseignement Supérieur.
Tome Quatrième, Paris: Firmin Didot Frères, Fils, et Cie. 8vo. pp. 584.]

The work of M. Gerusez, "History of French Literature from its Origin to
the Devolution,"[E] although it had the honor of being considered worthy
of the _prix Gobert_ by the French Academy, is far from satisfying the
requirements of general literary history. It may rather be considered
a systematic series of essays, beginning with the "Chansons de Geste,"
analyzing several poems of the cycle of Charlemagne, and followed by
successive independent chapters on the Middle Ages, the revival of
letters, and modern times down to the Revolution. It will be remembered
that in 1859 M. Gerusez published a "History of Literature during the
French Revolution, 1789-1800." This also obtained a prize from the
Academy,--much more deservedly, we think, than the last production, when
we consider the interest he cast over the literary efforts of a period
much more marked by action than by artistic productiveness of any kind.
The German writer Schmidt-Weiszenfels in the same year issued a work
with the pretentious title, "History of the Revolution-Literature of
France."[F] This is little more than a declamatory production, wanting
in what is most characteristic of the German mind, original research.
The "Literary History of the National Convention," [G] by E. Maron, is
devoted more to politics than to letters.

[Footnote E: Histoire de la Littérature Française, depuis ses Origines
jusqu'à la Revolution. Par Eugène Gerusez. Paris: Didier et Cie. 2 vols.
8vo. pp. 488, 507.]

[Footnote F: _Geschichte der Französischen Revolutions-Literatur_,
1789-1795. Von Schmidt-Weiszenfels. Prague: Kober und Markgraf. 8vo. pp.
395.]

[Footnote G: _Histoire Littéraire de la Convention Nationale_. Par
Eugène Maron. Paris: Poulet-Malassis et De Boise. 12mo. pp. 359.]

To return to the volumes of M. Gerusez. It is rather a sign of poverty
in general literary history, that detached sketches, with little
connection beyond their chronological order, should have been deemed
worthy of the prize and the praises awarded to them. However, though
lacking in comprehensive views such as we have a right to expect from an
author who attempts to portray the rise, growth, and full expansion of
a literature, the work of M. Gerusez may be perused with pleasure and
profit by the student. It is clear and satisfactory in the details.
Thus, the pages devoted to the writers of the "Encyclopédie," though
few, may vie with any that have been written to set in their true light
men whose influence was so great on the generation that succeeded them.
If impartiality consisted in always steering in the _juste-milieu_, M.
Gerusez would be the most impartial of historians. As it is, we have to
thank him for a good book, regretting only that he has gone no farther.

Far otherwise is it with M. Saint-Marc Girardin. The eloquent Sorbonne
professor has seen his fame increase with every new volume of his
"Course of Dramatic Literature." We have now the fourth volume.[H] "A
Course of Dramatic Literature";--it is more. It is the history of the
expression of Passion among the ancients and the moderns, by no means
confined to the drama. The present volume, as well as the third,
published several years ago, is devoted to the analysis of Love as
expressed in different ages and by different nations, under the two
divisions of _L'Amour Ingénu_ and _L'Amour Conjugal_.

[Footnote H: _Cours de Littérature Dramatique._ Par Saint-Marc Girardin,
de l'Académie Française, Professeur à la Faculté des Lettres de Paris,
Membre du Conseil Impérial de l'Instruction Publique. Tome IV. Paris:
Charpentier.]

The first he had studied in the authors of antiquity in his third
volume, beginning in this with the episode of Cupid and Psyche in
Apuleius; then following up, through the moderns, the expression
of Ingenuous Love in Corneille, La Fontaine, Sédaine, Bernardin de
Saint-Pierre, Milton, Gessner, Voss, André Chénier, and Chateaubriand.
For the last he finds more blame than praise. Indeed, this
effect-seeking writer, with all his genius, seemed less fitted than any
one to express the natural and spontaneous. His Atala, who charms us so
at the first reading, deals in studied emotions. As to René, his is the
vain sentimentality parading its own impotency for higher feelings,
a virtual boasting of want of soul,--the sickly dissatisfaction of
Werther, without his passion for an excuse. M. Saint-Marc Girardin then
follows up his subject through later authors, even in Madame George
Sand and in Madame Émile de Girardin. He is particularly severe upon
Lamartine, that poet "who for more than thirty years seemed best to
express love as our century understands it," but who in Raphael
and Graziella destroyed, by disclosing too much, the power of his
"Méditations Poétiques."

On Conjugal Love the classic models are first consulted,--Oenone,
Evadne, Medea,--these characters being followed through the delineation
of modern dramatists. We know of no more exquisite criticism than
the pages devoted to Griseldis. Analyzing the accounts of Boccaccio,
Chaucer, and Perault, our author concludes with the play of "Munck
Bellinghausen." The last chapters, on "Love and Duty," are among the
most eloquently written in the volume. For style, M. Saint-Marc Girardin
is second to no living author of France.

In this course we find an evident predilection for the models of
antiquity. When a comparison is instituted between the ancients and the
moderns, we feel pretty certain of the result before the writer has
proceeded very far. Not that we ever find a systematic idolizing of all
that is classic merely. Far from it. Modern writers are not neglected.
In this particular a genuine service is done to critical literature. It
often seems as if literary lecturers and historians were attacked by an
aesthetic presbyopy. For them the present age never produces anything
worth even a passing remark. The masterpieces they notice must be old
and time-honored. Not so in the present studies on the passions. Ponsard
finds his place side by side with older names. After an appreciative
notice of the Lucretia of Livy, we find a comment on the Lucretia which
may have been played the week before at the Théâtre Français. Nor is
it a slight service done to contemporary letters, when a master-critic
turns his thoughts to works which, if they do not hold the first rank,
yet, by the talent of their authors and the nature of their subjects,
have attracted all eyes for a time. Such are the writings of Madame
George Sand. Of these, "André," "La Mare au Diable," and "La Petite
Fadette" are reviewed with praise in the work under consideration, while
the force of criticism is expended on "Indiana," "Lelia," and "Jacques."

       *       *       *       *       *

Whatever claims the academician Victor de Laprade may have to poetic
talent, he certainly sinks below mediocrity when he attempts to
discuss the principles of the art he practises. Since it has been his
good-fortune to be numbered among the illustrious Forty he has several
times attempted literary criticism, but never so extensively as in
his last work, "Questions d'Art et de Morale."[I] This is a series of
discursive essays, a few upon art in general, the greater part, however,
restricted to letters; the whole written in a poetic prose not without a
certain charm, but wearisome for continuous reading.

[Footnote I: _Questions d'Art et de Morale._ Par Victor de Laprade, de
l'Académie Française. Paris: Didier et Cie. 8vo.]

The object of M. de Laprade is to defend what he calls "Spiritualism in
Art." He wages an unrelenting war against the modern school of Realism.
It is not the representation of visible Nature that the artist must
seek; his aim must be "the representation of the invisible." He grows
eloquent when he develops his favorite theories, and always succeeds in
interesting when he applies them successively to all the arts. As to the
author's political opinions, he takes no pains to conceal them. His work
is an outcry against equality and universal suffrage. He traces the
apathy of poetic creativeness in France to the sovereignty usurped
everywhere "by the inferior elements of intelligence in the State." He
seems to think, that, as humanity grows older, art falls from its divine
ideal. Of contemporary architecture, he says that it can produce nothing
original save railroad depots and crystal palaces. "A glass architecture
is the only one that fully belongs to our age." Music, the "vaguest and
most sensuous of all the arts," he regards as the art of the present.
The religious worship of the future appears to him "a symphony with a
thousand instruments executed under a dome of glass."

As to the purely literary essays of M. de Laprade, they may be read both
with more pleasure and more profit than those in which he attempts to
discuss the principles of aesthetics. "French Tradition in Literature,"
and "Poetry, and Industrialism," are full of suggestive thoughts, and,
coming in the latter half of the volume, make us forget the pretentious
nature of the first.

       *       *       *       *       *

M. Gustave Merlet is a more modest opponent of some of the tendencies
of the age. He presents his first book to the public under the title,
"Réalisme et Fantaisie,"[J] earnestly and loyally attacking the two
extremes of literature.

[Footnote J: _Le Réalisme et la Fantaisie dans la Littérature_. Par
Gustave Merlet. Paris: Didier et Cie. 12mo. pp. 431.]

Two styles of writing, diametrically opposed in every particular, have
of late years flourished in the lighter productions of France. Some
there are who would seek to incarnate in letters Nature as it is,
without adornings, without ideal additions. The cry of the upholders
of this doctrine is: Truth in art, war against the freaks of the
imagination that colors all in unreal tints. The writers who have
adopted such sentiments have been termed "Realists," much to their
dissatisfaction. Balzac was the greatest of them. Champfleury may be
called the most strenuous supporter of the system. There is a certain
force, a false air of truth, in this daguerreotype process of writing,
that seduces at first sight. When a man of some genius, as Gustave
Flaubert in "Madame Bovary," undertakes to paint Nature, he sets details
otherwise revolting in such relief that the very novelty and boldness of
the attempt put us off our guard, and we are in danger of admitting as
beauties what, after all, are only audacities.

The other extreme into which the literature of the day in France has
fallen is an excess of fancy. A writer like Arsène Houssaye will write
his "King Voltaire" or his "Madame de Pompadour," or Capefigue his
"Madame de la Vallière," in which the judgment seems to have been
set aside, and historical facts accumulated in some opium-dream are
strangely woven into a narrative representing reality, with about as
much truth as Oriental arabesques, or the adornings of richly wrought
tapestry. This extreme is even more dangerous than the former, for it
makes of letters a mere plaything, and recommends itself to many by its
very faults. Paradox and overdrawn scenes usurp the place of the real.
The world presented by the exclusive worshippers of fancy is
little better than that "Pompadour" style of painting in which the
carnation-tipped checks of shepherds and shepherdesses take the place of
a too healthy Rubens-like portraiture. There are dainty, well-trimmed
lambs, with pretty blue favors tied about their necks, just like
_dragées_ and _bonbons_. As we wander among those opera-swains in silk
hose and those shepherdesses in satin bodices, their perfumes tire
and nauseate, till we fairly wish for a good breeze wafted from some
farm-yard, reconciled in a measure to the extravagances of the so-called
"school of Nature."

M. Merlet's subject, it may be seen, is of interest merely to the
student of the latest French literature. A more comprehensive study
would not have been out of place in his volume. To those who may be
interested in writers like Murger, Feydeau, Houssaye, and Brifaut, the
book is full of interesting matter. To the general reader it may be of
value as characterizing with fidelity some of the tendencies of French
thought.

       *       *       *       *       *

We must not omit mentioning a work published in Germany on the
"Literature of the Second Empire since the _Coup d'État_ of the Second
of December, 1852."[K] The nature of this sketch could almost be
predicated with certainty from the state of feeling towards France in
the capital in which it was issued, and the encomiums it received from
the Prussian political press. The author, William Reymond, who has
proved himself no mean critic in some of his former essays upon the
modern productions of France, addresses himself almost exclusively to a
German public. His work, as he himself seemed to fear, is not calculated
for the taste of Paris, even if it were considered unobjectionable there
on the score of the political strictures that are introduced, whether in
the discussion of the last play or in the analysis of the last volume of
poems.

[Footnote K: _Études sur la Littérature du Second Empire Français,
depuis le Coup d'État du deux Decembre._ Par William Reymond. Berlin: A.
Charisius. 12mo. pp. 227.]

The truth is, M. Reymond, with much apparent praise, very nearly comes
to the conclusion that the second Empire has no literature, and very
little philosophy is granted to it in the chapter, "What remains of
Philosophy in France." The Novel and the Theatre fare little better at
his hands. He has literally made a police investigation of what is most
objectionable in French letters, citing now and then some great name,
but dwelling with complacency on what is deserving of censure. The
influence of France, and of Paris in particular, on the tastes of the
Continent, irritates him. He seeks to impress upon his readers the
venality of letters and the general debasement of character and of
talent that are prevalent in that capital. Such is the spirit of these
"Études." The author has, unfortunately, not to seek far for a practical
corroboration of his theory, though it is but justice to say that the
verses he quotes as characteristic are far from being so. It is to be
feared that M. Reymond has rather sought out the blemishes. He has found
many, we admit. His readers will thank him for his clever exposition of
them, satisfied in many cases to accept the results he presents, without
feeling inclined to make such a personal investigation into the lower
regions of letters.

       *       *       *       *       *

"The Political and Literary History of the Press in France,"[L] by
Eugene Hatin, is now concluded. As early as 1846, this author published
a small work, "Histoire du Journal en France." Since that time he has
devoted himself exclusively to the study of French journalism. Though
liberal in his views, he is not in favor of unlimited liberty of the
press. He believes it to be the interest of society that a curb should
be put on its excesses. "What we must hope for is a liberty that may
have full power for good, but not for evil."

[Footnote L: _Histoire Politique et Littéraire de la Presse en France._
Avec une Introduction Historique sur les Origines du Journal et la
Bibliographie Générale des Journaux, depuis leur Origine. Par Eugène
Hatin. Paris: Poulet-Malassis et De Boise. 8 vols. 12mo.]

The two volumes published in 1861 contain the history of journalism
during the latter part of the French Revolution, under the first Empire,
the Restoration, and the Government of July. The work may be said to
conclude with 1848, as less than twenty pages are devoted to the twelve
years following. In this, however, the writer has done all he could be
expected to do. This is no time for the candid historian to utter his
thoughts of the present _régime_ in France. Since the fatal decree of
the 17th of February, 1852, the press has had only so much of life as
the present sovereign has thought fit to grant it. Then it was that a
representative of the people uttered the words,--"We must overthrow the
press, as we have overthrown the barricades." Such were the sentiments
of the National Assembly,--not understanding, that, when it struck at
such an ally, it destroyed itself. And, indeed, it was but a short time
before the tribune shared the fate of journalism. Better things had been
hoped on the accession of the present Minister of the Interior, but as
yet they have not been realized.



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