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Title: The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 10, No. 62, December, 1862
Author: Various
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 10, No. 62, December, 1862" ***

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THE ATLANTIC MONTHLY.

A MAGAZINE OF LITERATURE, ART, AND POLITICS.

VOL. X.--DECEMBER, 1862.--NO. LXII.



THE PROCESSION OF THE FLOWERS.


In Cuba there is a blossoming shrub whose multitudinous crimson flowers
are so seductive to the humming-birds that they hover all day around it,
buried in its blossoms until petal and wing seem one. At first upright,
the gorgeous bells droop downward, and fall unwithered to the ground,
and are thence called by the Creoles "Cupid's Tears." Frederika Bremer
relates that daily she brought home handfuls of these blossoms to her
chamber, and nightly they all disappeared. One morning she looked toward
the wall of the apartment, and there, in a long crimson line, the
delicate flowers went ascending one by one to the ceiling, and passed
from sight. She found that each was borne laboriously onward by a little
colorless ant much smaller than itself: the bearer was invisible, but
the lovely burdens festooned the wall with beauty.

To a watcher from the sky, the march of the flowers of any zone across
the year would seem as beautiful as that West-Indian pageant. These
frail creatures, rooted where they stand, a part of the "still life" of
Nature, yet share her ceaseless motion. In the most sultry silence of
summer noons, the vital current is coursing with desperate speed through
the innumerable veins of every leaflet; and the apparent stillness, like
the sleeping of a child's top, is in truth the very ecstasy of perfected
motion.

Not in the tropics only, but even in England, whence most of our floral
associations and traditions come, the march of the flowers is in an
endless circle, and, unlike our experience, something is always in
bloom. In the Northern United States, it is said, the active growth of
most plants is condensed into ten weeks, while in the mother-country the
full activity is maintained through sixteen. But even the English winter
does not seem to be a winter, in the same sense as ours, appearing more
like a chilly and comfortless autumn. There is no month in the year
when some special plant does not bloom: the Coltsfoot there opens
its fragrant flowers from December to February; the yellow-flowered
Hellebore, and its cousin, the sacred Christmas Rose of Glastonbury,
extend from January to March; and the Snowdrop and Primrose often come
before the first of February. Something may be gained, much lost, by
that perennial succession; those links, however slight, must make the
floral period continuous to the imagination; while our year gives a
pause and an interval to its children, and after exhausted October has
effloresced into Witch-Hazel, there is an absolute reserve of blossom,
until the Alders wave again.

No symbol could so well represent Nature's first yielding in spring-time
as this blossoming of the Alder, this drooping of the tresses of these
tender things. Before the frost is gone, and while the newborn season is
yet too weak to assert itself by actually uplifting anything, it can at
least let fall these blossoms, one by one, till they wave defiance to
the winter on a thousand boughs. How patiently they have waited! Men are
perplexed with anxieties about their own immortality; but these catkins,
which hang, almost full-formed, above the ice all winter, show no such
solicitude, but when March wooes them they are ready. Once relaxing,
their pollen is so prompt to fall that it sprinkles your hand as you
gather them; then, for one day, they are the perfection of grace upon
your table, and next day they are weary and emaciated, and their little
contribution to the spring is done.

Then many eyes watch for the opening of the May-flower, day by day,
and a few for the Hepatica. So marked and fantastic are the local
preferences of all our plants, that, with miles of woods and meadows
open to their choice, each selects only some few spots for its
accustomed abodes, and some one among them all for its very earliest
blossoming. There is always some single chosen nook, which you might
almost cover with your handkerchief, where each flower seems to bloom
earliest, without variation, year by year. I know one such place for
Hepatica a mile northeast,--another for May-flower two miles southwest;
and each year the whimsical creature is in bloom on that little spot,
when not another flower can be found open through the whole country
round. Accidental as the choice may appear, it is undoubtedly based
on laws more eternal than the stars; yet why all subtile influences
conspire to bless that undistinguishable knoll no man can say. Another
and similar puzzle offers itself in the distribution of the tints
of flowers,--in these two species among the rest. There are certain
localities, near by, where the Hepatica is all but white, and others
where the May-flower is sumptuous in pink; yet it is not traceable to
wet or dry, sun or shadow, and no agricultural chemistry can disclose
the secret. Is it by some Darwinian law of selection that the white
Hepatica has utterly overpowered the blue, in our Cascade Woods, for
instance, while yet in the very midst of this pale plantation a single
clump will sometimes bloom with all heaven on its petals? Why can one
recognize the Plymouth May-flower, as soon as seen, by its wondrous
depth of color? Does it blush with triumph to see how Nature has
outwitted the Pilgrims, and even succeeded in preserving her deer like
an English duke, still maintaining the deepest woods in Massachusetts
precisely where those sturdy immigrants first began their clearings?

The Hepatica (called also Liverwort, Squirrel-Cup, or Blue Anemone) has
been found in Worcester as early as March seventeenth, and in Danvers on
March twelfth,--dates which appear almost the extreme of credibility.

Our next wild-flower in this region is the Claytonia, or Spring-Beauty,
which is common in the Middle States, but here found in only a few
localities. It is the Indian _Miskodeed_, and was said to have been
left behind when mighty Peboan, the Winter, was melted by the breath
of Spring. It is an exquisitely delicate little creature, bears its
blossoms in clusters, unlike most of the early species, and opens in
gradual succession each white and pink-veined bell. It grows in moist
places on the sunny edges of woods, and prolongs its shy career from
about the tenth of April until almost the end of May.

A week farther into April, and the Bloodroot opens,--a name of guilt,
and a type of innocence. This fresh and lovely thing appears to
concentrate all its stains within its ensanguined root, that it may
condense all purity in the peculiar whiteness of its petals. It emerges
from the ground with each shy blossom wrapt in its own pale-green leaf,
then doffs the cloak and spreads its long petals round a group of yellow
stamens. The flower falls apart so easily that when in full bloom it
will hardly bear transportation, but with a touch the stem stands naked,
a bare gold-tipped sceptre amid drifts of snow. And the contradiction
of its hues seems carried into its habits. One of the most shy of wild
plants, easily banished from its locality by any invasion, it yet takes
to the garden with unpardonable readiness, doubles its size, blossoms
earlier, repudiates its love of water, and flaunts its great leaves in
the unnatural confinement until it elbows out the exotics. Its charm is
gone, unless one find it in its native haunts, beside some cascade which
streams over rocks that are dark with moisture, green with moss, and
snowy with white bubbles. Each spray of dripping feather-moss exudes a
tiny torrent of its own, or braided with some tiny neighbor, above the
little water-fonts which sleep sunless in ever-verdant caves. Sometimes
along these emerald canals there comes a sudden rush and hurry, as if
some anxious housekeeper upon the hill above were afraid that things
were not stirring fast enough,--and then again the waving and sinuous
lines of water are quieted to a serener flow. The delicious red-thrush
and the busy little yellow-throat are not yet come to this their summer
haunt; but all day long the answering field-sparrows trill out their
sweet, shy, accelerating lay.

In the same localities with the Bloodroot, though some days later, grows
the Dog-Tooth Violet,--a name hopelessly inappropriate, but likely
never to be changed. These hardy and prolific creatures have also
many localities of their own; for, though they do not acquiesce in
cultivation, like the sycophantic Bloodroot, yet they are hard to banish
from their native haunts, but linger after the woods are cleared and the
meadow drained. The bright flowers blaze back all the yellow light of
noonday as the gay petals curl and spread themselves above their beds of
mottled leaves; but it is always a disappointment to gather them, for
indoors they miss the full ardor of the sunbeams, and are apt to go to
sleep and nod expressionless from the stalk.

And almost on the same day with this bright apparition one may greet a
multitude of concurrent visitors, arriving so accurately together that
it is almost a matter of accident which of the party shall first report
himself. Perhaps the Dandelion should have the earliest place; indeed,
I once found it in Brookline on the seventh of April. But it cannot
ordinarily be expected before the twentieth, in Eastern Massachusetts,
and rather later in the interior; while by the same date I have also
found near Boston the Cowslip or Marsh-Marigold, the Spring-Saxifrage,
the Anemones, the Violets, the Bellwort, the Houstonia, the Cinquefoil,
and the Strawberry-blossom. Varying, of course, in different spots and
years, the arrival of this coterie is yet nearly simultaneous, and they
may all be expected hereabouts before May-day at the very latest. After
all, in spite of the croakers, this festival could not have been much
better-timed, the delicate blossoms which mark the period are usually in
perfection on this day, and it is not long before they are past their
prime.

Some early plants which have now almost disappeared from Eastern
Massachusetts are still found near Worcester in the greatest
abundance,--as the larger Yellow Violet, the Red Trillium, the Dwarf
Ginseng, the Clintonia or Wild Lily-of-the-Valley, and the pretty
fringed Polygala, which Miss Cooper christened "Gay-Wings." Others again
are now rare in this vicinity, and growing rarer, though still abundant
a hundred miles farther inland. In several bits of old swampy wood one
may still find, usually close together, the Hobble-Bush and the Painted
Trillium, the Mitella, or Bishop's-Cap, and the snowy Tiarella. Others
again have entirely vanished within ten years, and that in some cases
without any adequate explanation. The dainty white Corydalis, profanely
called "Dutchman's-Breeches," and the quaint woolly Ledum, or Labrador
Tea, have disappeared within that time. The beautiful Linnaea is still
found annually, but flowers no more; as is also the case, in all but one
distant locality, with the once abundant Rhododendron. Nothing in Nature
has for me a more fascinating interest than these secret movements of
vegetation,--the sweet blind instinct with which flowers cling to old
domains until absolutely compelled to forsake them. How touching is the
fact, now well known, that salt-water plants still flower beside the
Great Lakes, yet dreaming of the time when those waters were briny as
the sea! Nothing in the demonstrations of Geology seems grander than the
light lately thrown by Professor Gray, from the analogies between the
flora of Japan and of North America, upon the successive epochs of heat
which led the wandering flowers along the Arctic lands, and of cold
which isolated them once more. Yet doubtless these humble movements
of our local plants may be laying up results as important, and may
hereafter supply evidence of earth's changes upon some smaller scale.

May expands to its prime of beauty; the summer birds come with the
fruit-blossoms, the gardens are deluged with bloom and the air with
melody, while in the woods the timid spring-flowers fold themselves away
in silence and give place to a brighter splendor. On the margin of some
quiet swamp a myriad of bare twigs seem suddenly overspread with purple
butterflies, and we know that the Rhodora is in bloom. Wordsworth never
immortalized a flower more surely than Emerson this, and it needs no
weaker words; there is nothing else in which the change from nakedness
to beauty is so sudden, and when you bring home the great mass of
blossoms they appear all ready to flutter away again from your hands and
leave you disenchanted.

At the same time the beautiful Cornel-tree is in perfection; startling
as a tree of the tropics, it flaunts its great flowers high up among the
forest-branches, intermingling its long slender twigs with theirs, and
garnishing them with alien blooms. It is very available for household
decoration, with its four great creamy petals,--flowers they are not,
but floral involucres,--each with a fantastic curl and stain at its tip,
as if the fireflies had alighted on them and scorched them; and yet I
like it best as it peers out in barbaric splendor from the delicate
green of young Maples. And beneath it grows often its more abundant
kinsman, the Dwarf Cornel, with the same four great petals enveloping
its floral cluster, but lingering low upon the ground,--an herb whose
blossoms mimic the statelier tree.

The same rich creamy hue and texture show themselves in the Wild Calla,
which grows at this season in dark, sequestered water-courses, and
sometimes well rivals, in all but size, that superb whiteness out of
a land of darkness, the Ethiopic Calla of the conservatory. At this
season, too, we seek another semi-aquatic rarity, whose homely name
cannot deprive it of a certain garden-like elegance, the Buckbean. This
is one of the shy plants which yet grow in profusion within their own
domain. I have found it of old in Cambridge, and then upon the pleasant
shallows of the Artichoke, that loveliest tributary of the Merrimack,
and I have never seen it where it occupied a patch more than a few yards
square, while yet within that space the multitudinous spikes grow always
tall and close, reminding one of hyacinths, when in perfection, but more
delicate and beautiful. The only locality I know for it in this vicinity
lies seven miles away, where a little inlet from the lower winding bays
of Lake Quinsigamond goes stealing up among a farmer's hay-fields, and
there, close beside the public road and in full of the farm-house, this
rare creature fills the water. But to reach it we commonly row down
the lake to a sheltered lagoon, separated from the main lake by a long
island which is gradually forming itself like the coral isles, growing
each year denser with alder thickets where the king-birds build;--there
leave the boat among the lily-leaves, and take a lane which winds among
the meadows and gives a fitting avenue for the pretty thing we seek.
But it is not safe to vary many days from the twentieth of May, for the
plant is not long in perfection, and is past its prime when the lower
blossoms begin to wither on the stem.

But should we miss this delicate adjustment of time, it is easy to
console ourselves with bright armfuls of Lupine, which bounteously
flowers for six weeks along our lake-side, ranging from the twenty-third
of May to the sixth of July. The Lupine is one of our most travelled
plants; for, though never seen off the American continent, it stretches
to the Pacific, and is found upon the Arctic coast. On these banks of
Lake Quinsigamond it grows in great families, and should be gathered in
masses and placed in a vase by itself; for it needs no relief from other
flowers, its own soft leaves afford background enough, and though the
white variety rarely occurs, yet the varying tints of blue upon the same
stalk are a perpetual gratification to the eye. I know not why shaded
blues should be so beautiful in flowers, and yet avoided as distasteful
in ladies' fancy-work; but it is a mystery like that which repudiates
blue-and-green from all well-regulated costumes, while Nature yet
evidently prefers it to any other combination in her wardrobe.

Another constant ornament of the end of May is the large pink
Lady's-Slipper, or Moccason-Flower, the "Cypripedium not due
till to-morrow" which Emerson attributes to the note-book of
Thoreau,--to-morrow, in these parts, meaning about the twentieth of May.
It belongs to the family of Orchids, a high-bred race, fastidious in
habits, sensitive as to abodes. Of the ten species named as rarest among
American endogenous plants by Dr. Gray, in his valuable essay on the
statistics of our Northern Flora, all but one are Orchids. And even an
abundant species, like the present, retains the family traits in its
person, and never loses its high-born air and its delicate veining.
I know a grove where it can be gathered by the hundreds within a
half-acre, and yet I never can divest myself of the feeling that each
specimen is a choice novelty. But the actual rarity occurs, at least
in this region, when one finds the smaller and more beautiful Yellow
Moccason-Flower,--_parviflorum_,--which accepts only our very choicest
botanical locality, the "Rattlesnake Ledge" on Tatessit Hill,--and may,
for aught I know, have been the very plant which Elsie Venner laid upon
her school-mistress's desk.

June is an intermediate month between the spring and summer flowers. Of
the more delicate early blossoms, the Dwarf Cornel, the Solomon's-Seal,
and the Yellow Violet still linger in the woods, but rapidly make way
for larger masses and more conspicuous hues. The meadows are gorgeous
with Clover, Buttercups, and Wild Geranium; but Nature is a little chary
for a week or two, maturing a more abundant show. Meanwhile one
may afford to take some pains to search for another rarity, almost
disappearing from this region,--the lovely Pink Azalea. It still grows
plentifully in a few sequestered places, selecting woody swamps to hide
itself; and certainly no shrub suggests, when found, more tropical
associations. Those great, nodding, airy, fragrant clusters, tossing far
above one's head their slender cups of honey, seem scarcely to belong to
our sober zone, any more than the scarlet tanager which sometimes builds
its nest beside them. They appear bright exotics, which have wandered
into our woods, and seem too happy to feel any wish for exit. And just
as they fade, their humbler sister in white begins to bloom, and carries
on through the summer the same intoxicating fragrance.

But when June is at its height, the sculptured chalices of the Mountain
Laurel begin to unfold, and thenceforward, for more than a month,
extends the reign of this our woodland queen. I know not why one should
sigh after the blossoming gorges of the Himalaya, when our forests are
all so crowded with this glowing magnificence,--rounding the tangled
swamps into smoothness, lighting up the underwoods, overtopping the
pastures, lining the rural lanes, and rearing its great pinkish masses
till they meet overhead. The color ranges from the purest white to a
perfect rose-pink, and there is an inexhaustible vegetable vigor about
the whole thing, which puts to shame those tenderer shrubs that shrink
before the progress of cultivation. There is the Rhododendron, for
instance, a plant of the same natural family with the Laurel and the
Azalea, and looking more robust and woody than either: it once grew in
many localities in this region, and still lingers in a few, without
consenting either to die or to blossom, and there is only one remote
place from which any one now brings into our streets those large
luxuriant flowers, waving white above the dark green leaves, and bearing
"just a dream of sunset on their edges, and just a breath from the green
sea in their hearts." But the Laurel, on the other hand, maintains its
ground, imperturbable and almost impassable, on every hill-side, takes
no hints, suspects no danger, and nothing but the most unmistakable
onset from spade or axe can diminish its profusion. Gathering it on the
most lavish scale seems only to serve as wholesome pruning; nor can I
conceive that the Indians, who once ruled over this whole county from
Wigwam Hill, could ever have found it more inconveniently abundant than
now. We have perhaps no single spot where it grows in such perfect
picturesqueness as at "The Laurels," on the Merrimack, just above
Newburyport,--a whole hill-side scooped out and the hollow piled
solidly with flowers, the pines curving around it above, and the river
encircling it below, on which your boat glides along, and you look up
through glimmering arcades of bloom. But for the last half of June it
monopolizes everything in the Worcester woods,--no one picks anything
else; and it fades so slowly that I have found a perfect blossom on the
last day of July.

At the same time with this royalty of the woods, the queen of the water
ascends her throne, for a reign as undisputed and far more prolonged.
The extremes of the Water-Lily in this vicinity, so far as I have known,
are the eighteenth of June and the thirteenth of October,--a longer
range than belongs to any other conspicuous wild-flower, unless we
except the Dandelion and Houstonia. It is not only the most fascinating
of all flowers to gather, but more available for decorative purposes
than almost any other, if it can only be kept fresh. The best method for
this purpose, I believe, is to cut the stalk very short before placing
in the vase; then, at night, the lily will close and the stalk curl
upward;--refresh them by changing the water, and in the morning the
stalk will be straight and the flower open.

From this time forth Summer has it all her own way. After the first of
July the yellow flowers begin to watch the yellow fireflies; Hawkweeds,
Loosestrifes, Primroses bloom, and the bushy Wild Indigo. The variety of
hues increases; delicate purple Orchises bloom in their chosen
haunts, and Wild Roses blush over hill and dale. On peat meadows the
Adder's-Tongue Arethusa (now called _Pogonia_) flowers profusely, with a
faint, delicious perfume,--and its more elegant cousin, the Calopogon,
by its side. In this vicinity we miss the blue Harebell, the identical
harebell of Ellen Douglas, which I remember waving its exquisite flowers
along the banks of the Merrimack, and again at Brattleboro', below the
cascade in the village, where it has climbed the precipitous sides
of old buildings, and nods inaccessibly from their crevices, in that
picturesque spot, looking down on the hurrying river. But with this
exception, there is nothing wanting here of the flowers of early summer.

The more closely one studies Nature, the finer her adaptations grow. For
instance, the change of seasons is analogous to a change of zones, and
summer assimilates our vegetation to that of the tropics.

In those lands, Humboldt has remarked, one misses the beauty of
wild-flowers in the grass, because the luxuriance of vegetation develops
everything into shrubs. The form and color are beautiful, "but, being
too high above the soil, they disturb that harmonious proportion which
characterizes the plants of our European meadows. Nature has, in every
zone, stamped on the landscape the peculiar type of beauty proper to
the locality." But every midsummer reveals the same tendency. In early
spring, when all is bare, and small objects are easily made prominent,
the wild-flowers are generally delicate. Later, when all verdure is
profusely expanded, these miniature strokes would be lost, and Nature
then practises landscape-gardening in large, lights up the copses with
great masses of White Alder, makes the roadsides gay with Aster and
Golden-Rod, and tops the tall coarse Meadow-Grass with nodding Lilies
and tufted Spiraea. One instinctively follows these plain hints, and
gathers bouquets sparingly in spring and exuberantly in summer.

The use of wild-flowers for decorative purposes merits a word in
passing, for it is unquestionably a branch of high art in favored hands.
It is true that we are bidden, on high authority, to love the wood-rose
and leave it on its stalk; but against this may be set the saying of
Bettine, that "all flowers which are broken become immortal in the
sacrifice"; and certainly the secret harmonies of these fair creatures
are so marked and delicate that we do not understand them till we try to
group floral decorations for ourselves. The most successful artists
will not, for instance, consent to put those together which do not grow
together; Nature understands her business, and distributes her masses
and backgrounds unerringly. Yonder soft and feathery Meadow-Sweet longs
to be combined with Wild Roses: it yearns towards them in the field,
and, after withering in the hand most readily, it revives in water as if
to be with them in the vase. In the same way the White Spiraea serves as
natural background for the Field-Lilies. These lilies, by the way, are
the brightest adornment of our meadows during the short period of their
perfection. We have two species: one slender, erect, solitary, scarlet,
looking up to heaven with all its blushes on; the other clustered,
drooping, pale-yellow. I never saw the former in such profusion as last
week, on the bare summit of Wachusett. The granite ribs have there a
thin covering of crispest moss, spangled with the white starry blossoms
of the Mountain Cinquefoil; and as I lay and watched the red lilies that
waved their innumerable urns around me, it needed but little imagination
to see a thousand altars, sending visible flames forever upward to the
answering sun.

August comes: the Thistles are out, beloved of butterflies; deeper and
deeper tints, more passionate intensities of color, prepare the way for
the year's decline. A wealth of gorgeous Golden-Rod waves over all the
hills, and enriches every bouquet one gathers; its bright colors command
the eye, and it is graceful as an elm. Fitly arranged, it gives a bright
relief to the superb beauty of the Cardinal-Flowers, the brilliant
blue-purple of the Vervain, the pearl-white of the Life-Everlasting,
the delicate lilac of the Monkey-Flower, the soft pink and white of
the Spiraeas,--for the white yet lingers,--all surrounded by trailing
wreaths of blossoming Clematis.

But the Cardinal-Flower is best seen by itself, and, indeed, needs the
surroundings of its native haunts to display its fullest beauty. Its
favorite abode is along the dank mossy stones of some black and winding
brook, shaded with overarching bushes, and running one long stream of
scarlet with these superb occupants. It seems amazing how anything so
brilliant can mature in such a darkness. When a ray of sunlight strays
in upon it, the wondrous creature seems to hover on the stalk, ready to
take flight, like some lost tropic bird. There is a spot whence I have
in ten minutes brought away as many as I could hold in both arms, some
bearing fifty blossoms on a single stalk; and I could not believe that
there was such another mass of color in the world. Nothing cultivated
is comparable to them; and, with all the talent lately lavished on
wild-flower painting, I have never seen the peculiar sheen of these
petals in the least degree delineated. It seems some new and separate
tint, equally distinct from scarlet and from crimson, a splendor for
which there is as yet no name, but only the reality.

It seems the signal of autumn, when September exhibits the first
Barrel-Gentian by the roadside; and there is a pretty insect in the
meadows--the Mourning-Cloak Moth it might be called--which gives
coincident warning. The innumerable Asters mark this period with their
varied and wide-spread beauty; the meadows are full of rose-colored
Polygala, of the white spiral spikes of the Ladies'-Tresses, and of
the fringed loveliness of the Gentian. This flower, always unique and
beautiful, opening its delicate eyelashes every morning to the sunlight,
closing them again each night, has also a thoughtful charm about it
as the last of the year's especial darlings. It lingers long, each
remaining blossom growing larger and more deep in color, as with many
other flowers; and after it there is nothing for which to look forward,
save the fantastic Witch-Hazel.

On the water, meanwhile, the last White Lilies are sinking beneath the
surface, the last gay Pickerel-Weed is gone, though the rootless plants
of the delicate Bladder-Wort, spreading over acres of shallows, still
impurple the wide, smooth surface. Harriet Prescott says that some souls
are like the Water-Lilies, fixed, yet floating. But others are like this
graceful purple blossom, floating unfixed, kept in place only by its
fellows around it, until perhaps a breeze comes, and, breaking the
accidental cohesion, sweeps them all away.

The season reluctantly yields its reign, and over the quiet autumnal
landscape everywhere, even after the glory of the trees is past, there
are tints and fascinations of minor beauty. Last October, for instance,
in walking, I found myself on a little knoll, looking northward.
Overhead was a bower of climbing Waxwork, with its yellowish pods scarce
disclosing their scarlet berries,--a wild Grape-vine, with its
fruit withered by the frost into still purple raisins,--and yellow
Beech-leaves, detaching themselves with an effort audible to the ear.
In the foreground were blue Raspberry-stems, yet bearing greenish
leaves,--pale-yellow Witch-Hazel, almost leafless,--purple
Viburnum-berries,--the silky cocoons of the Milkweed,--and, amid the
underbrush, a few lingering Asters and Golden-Rods, Ferns still green,
and Maidenhair bleached white. In the background were hazy hills,
white Birches bare and snow-like, and a Maple half-way up a sheltered
hill-side, one mass of canary-color, its fallen leaves making an
apparent reflection on the earth at its foot,--and then a real
reflection, fused into a glassy light intenser than itself, upon the
smooth, dark stream below.

The beautiful disrobing suggested the persistent and unconquerable
delicacy of Nature, who shrinks from nakedness and is always seeking
to veil her graceful boughs,--if not with leaves, then with feathery
hoar-frost, ermined snow, or transparent icy armor.

But, after all, the fascination of summer lies not in any details,
however perfect, but in the sense of total wealth which summer gives.
Wholly to enjoy this, one must give one's self passively to it, and not
expect to reproduce it in words. We strive to picture heaven, when
we are barely at the threshold of the inconceivable beauty of earth.
Perhaps the truant boy who simply bathes himself in the lake and then
basks in the sunshine, dimly conscious of the exquisite loveliness
around him, is wiser, because humbler, than is he who with presumptuous
phrases tries to utter it. There are multitudes of moments when the
atmosphere is so surcharged with luxury that every pore of the body
becomes an ample gate for sensation to flow in, and one has simply to
sit still and be filled. In after-years the memory of books seems barren
or vanishing, compared with the immortal bequest of hours like these.
Other sources of illumination seem cisterns only; these are fountains.
They may not increase the mere quantity of available thought, but they
impart to it a quality which is priceless. No man can measure what a
single hour with Nature may have contributed to the moulding of his
mind. The influence is self-renewing, and if for a long time it baffles
expression by reason of its fineness, so much the better in the end.

The soul is like a musical instrument: it is not enough that it be
framed for the very most delicate vibration, but it must vibrate long
and often before the fibres grow mellow to the finest waves of sympathy.
I perceive that in the veery's carolling, the clover's scent, the
glistening of the water, the waving wings of butterflies, the sunset
tints, the floating clouds, there are attainable infinitely more
subtile modulations of delight than I can yet reach the sensibility to
discriminate, much less describe. If, in the simple process of writing,
one could physically impart to this page the fragrance of this spray of
azalea beside me, what a wonder would it seem!--and yet one ought to be
able, by the mere use of language, to supply to every reader the total
of that white, honeyed, trailing sweetness, which summer insects haunt
and the Spirit of the Universe loves. The defect is not in language,
but in men. There is no conceivable beauty of blossom so beautiful as
words,--none so graceful, none so perfumed. It is possible to dream of
combinations of syllables so delicious that all the dawning and decay of
summer cannot rival their perfections, nor winter's stainless white
and azure match their purity and their charm. To write them, were it
possible, would be to take rank with Nature; nor is there any other
method, even by music, for human art to reach so high.

       *       *       *       *       *


ONE OF MY CLIENTS.


After a practice in the legal profession of more than twenty years, I am
persuaded that a more interesting volume could not be written than the
revelations of a lawyer's office. The plots there discovered before they
were matured,--the conspiracies there detected

  "Ere they hail reached their last fatal periods,"--

the various devices of the Prince of Darkness,--the weapons with which
he fought, and those by which he was overcome,--the curious phenomena of
intense activity and love of gain,--the arts of the detective, and those
by which he was eluded,--and the never-ending and ever-varying surprises
and startling incidents,--would present such a panorama of human affairs
as would outfly our fancy, and modify our unbelief in that much-abused
doctrine of the depravity of our nature.

To illustrate, let me introduce to you "one of my clients," whom I will
call Mr. Sidney, and with whom, perhaps, you may hereafter become better
acquainted. His counterpart in personal appearance you may find in the
thoroughfare at, any hour of the day. There is nothing about him to
attract attention. He is nearly forty-five years of age, and weighs,
perhaps, two hundred pounds. His face is florid and his hair sandy. His
eyes are small, piercing, and gray. His motions are slow, and none are
made without a purpose. Intellectually he is above the average, and his
perceptive faculties are well developed. The wrinkles in his lips are at
right angles with his mouth, and a close observer might detect in his
countenance self-reliance and tenacity of will and purpose. But with
ordinary faculties much may be accomplished: in this sketch, let us see
how much in two particulars.

His first entrance into my office was in the spring of 1853. He
handed me a package of papers, saying, if I would name an hour for a
professional consultation, he would be punctual. The time was agreed
upon and he withdrew. On examination of his papers, I found that his
letters of introduction were from several United States Senators, Judges
of Supreme Courts, Cabinet Officers, and Governors, and one was from a
Presidential candidate in the last election. Those directed specially
to me were from a Senator and a Member of Congress, both of whom were
lawyers and my personal friends, men in whose judgment I placed great
confidence. They all spoke in the highest terms of Mr. Sidney's
integrity, ability, and energy, and concluded by saying I might
implicitly rely upon his judgment and be governed by his counsels.

What man of the masses can this one be, thus heralded by the authorities
of the nation, and what his labor, so commended by the rulers? I glanced
at him mentally again. Perhaps he is laboring for the endowment of some
great literary or benevolent institution, for the building of a national
monument. No. Perhaps he has some theory that thousands of facts must
prove and illustrate; or it may be he is a voracious gatherer of
statistics. The last is the most probable; but the more I mused, the
more the fire burned within me to know more of his mission.

I awaited impatiently his coming. It was on the stroke of the hour
appointed. The object of that interview may not with propriety be
stated, nor the results described; but it may be said that that hour was
the most intensely exciting of any of my professional life, causing the
blood to chill and boil alternately. The business was so peculiar, and
connected with men so exalted in position, and conducted with such
wonderful ability and tact, that now, years after, scarcely a day passes
that my mind does not revert to those hours and do homage to those
transcendent abilities by which it was conducted, till I sometimes think
the possessor of them was an overmatch for Lucifer himself. My eyes
were for the first time opened to the marvellous in his department
of knowledge and art; and the region of impossibility was materially
circumscribed, and the domain of the prince of the powers of the air
extended _ad infinitum_. Into those regions it is not my present purpose
to delve.

After a business acquaintance of several years with Mr. Sidney, I have
learned that he was formerly a rich manufacturer, and that he was nearly
ruined in fortune by the burning of several warehouses in which he had
stored a large amount of merchandise that was uninsured. The owners of
these store-houses were men of wealth, influence, and respectability.
Alone of all the citizens, Mr. Sidney suspected that the block was
intentionally set on fire to defraud the insurance-offices. Without
any aid or knowledge of other parties, he began an investigation, and
ascertained that the buildings were insured far beyond their value.
He also ascertained that insurance had been obtained on a far greater
amount of merchandise than the stores could contain; and still further,
that the goods insured, as being deposited there, were not so deposited
at the time of the fire. He likewise procured a long array of facts
tending to fix the burning upon the "merchant princes" who held the
policies. To his mind, they were convincing. He therefore confronted
these men, accused them of the arson, and demanded payment for his own
loss. This was, of course, declined. Whereupon he gave them formal
notice, that, if his demand were not liquidated within thirty days,
never thereafter would an opportunity be afforded for a settlement. That
the notice produced peculiar excitement was evident. _Yet the thirty
days elapsed and his claim was not adjusted_.

From that hour, with a just appreciation of the enormity of the offence
which he believed to have been committed, he consecrated his vast
energies to the detection of crime. His whole soul was fired almost to
frenzy with the greatness of his work, and he pursued it with a firmness
of principle and fixedness of purpose that seemed almost madness, till
he exposed to the world the most stupendous league of robbers ever
dreamed of, extending into every State and Territory of the Union,
and numbering, to his personal knowledge, over seven hundred men of
influence and power, whose business as a copartnership was forgery,
counterfeiting, burglary, arson, and any other crimes that might afford
rich pecuniary remuneration.

I will not now stop to describe the organization of this band, which is
as perfect as that of any corporation; nor the enormous resources at its
command, being computed by millions; nor the great respectability of
its directors and State agents; nor the bloody oaths and forfeitures by
which the members are bound together; nor the places of their annual
meetings; nor a thousand other particulars, more startling than anything
in fiction or history. Nor will I enumerate the great number of
convictions of members of this gang for various offences through Mr.
Sidney's efforts. Prosecuting no other parties than these,--thwarting
them in those defences that had never before failed,--testifying in
open court against the character of their witnesses, who appeared to be
polished gentlemen, and enumerating the offences of which they had
been guilty,--and harassing them by all legal and legitimate means, he
gathered around him a storm that not one man in a thousand could have
withstood for an hour. Eleven times was food analyzed that had been
suspiciously set before him, and in each instance poison was detected in
it; while in hundreds of instances he declined to receive from unknown
hands presents about which hung similar suspicions. Numerous were the
infernal-machines sent him, the explosion of some of which he escaped as
if by miracle, and several exploded in his own dwelling. Without number
were the anonymous letters he received, threatening his life, if he did
not desist from prosecuting this band of robbers. Yet not for one moment
swerved from his purpose, he moved unharmed through ten thousand perils,
till at last he fell a victim to the enemy that had so long been hunting
his life. On no one has his mantle fallen.

His sole object in life seemed to be the breaking-up of this villanous
gang of plunderers, and he pursued it with a genius and strength, a
devotion, self-sacrifice, and true heroism, that are deserving of
immortality.

Not long before his death, while one of the directors of this band was
confined in prison at Mr. Sidney's instigation, awaiting a preliminary
examination, he sent for Mr. Sidney and offered him one hundred thousand
dollars, if he would desist from pursuing him alone. Mr. Sidney replied,
that he had many times before been offered the like sum, if he would
cease prosecuting the directors, and that the same reason which had
inclined him to reject that proposition would compel him to refuse this.
Whereupon the director offered, as an additional inducement, one-half of
the money taken from the messenger of the Newport banks, while on his
way to Providence to redeem their bills at the Merchants Bank, and also
the mint where they had coined the composition that had passed current
for years through all the banks and banking-houses of the country, and
which stood every test that could be applied, without the destruction of
the coin itself, which mint had cost its owners upwards of two hundred
thousand dollars. All of which Mr. Sidney indignantly rejected. And it
was not till the year after his death that the coin became known, when
it was also reported and believed that a million and a quarter of the
same was locked up in the vaults of the--Government.

The United States Government sought Mr. Sidney's services, as appears of
record. Those high in authority had decided on his employment, a fact
which in less than six hours thereafter was known to the directors, and
within that space of time five of them had arrived in Washington and
paid over to their attorney the sum of thirty-five hundred dollars for
some purpose,--the attorney being no less a personage than an honorable
member of a supreme court. The service desired of Mr. Sidney he was
willing to perform, on the condition that he should not be called upon
to prosecute any other parties than those to whose conviction he had
sworn to devote his life.

As a detective, Mr. Sidney was unequalled in this country. Vidocq may
have been his superior in dissimulation, but in that alone. He certainly
had not a tithe of Mr. Sidney's genius and strength of mind and moral
power to discern the truth, though never so deeply hidden, and to expose
it to the clear light of day.

  "His blood and judgment were so well commingled,"

that his conclusions seemed akin to prophecy.

But it is not as a detective that Mr. Sidney is here presented. This
slight sketch of this remarkable man is given, that the reader may more
willingly believe that he possessed, among other wonderful powers, one
that is not known ever to have been attained to such a degree by any
other individual, namely:--

_The power of discerning, in a single specimen of handwriting, the
character, the occupation, the habits, the temperament, the health,
the age, the sex, the size, the nationality, the benevolence or the
penuriousness, the boldness or the timidity, the morality or the
immorality, the affectation or the hypocrisy, and often the intention of
the writer_.

At the age of thirty-five, the genius of Mr. Sidney as a physiognomist,
expert, and detective, remained wholly undeveloped. He was not
aware, nor were his friends, of his wonderful powers of observation,
dissection, and deduction. Nor had he taken his first lesson by being
brought in contact with the rogues. How, then, did he acquire this
almost miraculous power?

After he had ascertained the names of the directors and State agents
of the band, he collected many hundred specimens of their handwriting.
These he studied with that energy which was equalled only by his
patience. In a surprisingly short time he first of all began to perceive
the differences between a moral and an immoral signature. Afterwards he
proceeded to study the occupation, age, habits, temperament, and all
the other characteristics of the writers, and in this he was equally
successful. If this be doubted by any, let him collect a number of
signatures of Frenchmen, Englishmen, Germans, and Americans, or, what
is still better, of Jews of all nations, and at least in the latter
instance, with ordinary perceptive faculties, there will be no
difficulty in determining the question of nationality; a person with
half an eye need never mistake the handwriting of a Jew. Many can detect
pride and affectation, and most persons the sex, in handwriting, how
much soever it may be disguised.

  "The bridegroom's letters stand in row above,
  Tapering, yet straight, like pine-trees in his grove;
  While free and fine the bride's appear below,
  As light and slender as her jasmines grow."

Why, then, should it be strange, if remarkable powers of observation,
analysis, and patient and energetic study should accomplish much
more? In this department the Government had afforded Mr. Sidney great
facilities, till at last he would take the letters dropped during the
night in the post-office of a great city, and as rapidly as a skilful
cashier could detect a counterfeit in counting bank-bills, and with
unerring certainty, he would throw out those suspiciously superscribed.
"In each of these nine," he would say, "there is no letter, but money
only. This parcel is from the W--Street office. These are directed to
men that are not called by these names: they are fictitious, and assumed
for iniquitous purposes. Those are from thieves to thieves, and hint at
opportunities," and so on.

Travelling over the principal railways of the country without charge,
entertained at hotels where compensation was declined, Mr. Sidney was in
some instances induced to impart to his friends some of that knowledge
which he took much pains to conceal, believing that by so doing he
should best serve the great purposes of his life. Whether he desired
this remarkable power to be kept from the rogues, or whether he thought
he should be too much annoyed by being called upon as an expert in
handwriting in civil cases, or what his purpose was, is not known, and
probably a large number of his intimate friends are not aware of his
genius in this.

On one occasion he was in a Canadian city for the first time, and
stopped at a principal hotel. When about to depart, he was surprised
that his host declined compensation. The landlord then requested Mr.
Sidney to give him the character of a man whose handwriting he produced.
Mr. Sidney consented, and, having retired to the private office, gave
the writer's age within a year, his nationality, being a native-born
Frenchman, his height and size, being very short and fleshy, his
temperament and occupation; and described him as a generous, high-toned,
public-spirited man, of strong religious convictions and remarkable
modesty: all of which the landlord pronounced to be entirely correct.

The hotel-register was then brought, and to nearly every name Mr. Sidney
gave the marked character or peculiarity of the man. One was very
nervous, another very tall and lean; this one was penurious, that one
stubborn; this was a farmer, and that a clergyman; this name was written
in a frolic; this was a genuine name, though not written by the man
himself,--and that written by the man himself, but it was not his true
name. Of the person last specified the clerk desired a full description,
and obtained it in nearly these words:--

"He, Sir, was not christened by that name. He could never have written
it before he was thirty. He has assumed it within a year. The character
is bad,--very bad. I judge he is a gambler by profession, and--something
worse. He evidently is not confined to one department of rascality. He
was born and educated in New England, is aged about thirty-nine, is
about five feet ten in height, and is broad-shouldered and stout. His
nerves are strong, and he is bold, hypocritical, and mean. He is just
the kind of man to talk like a saint and act like a devil."

The little company raised their hands in holy horror.

"As to age, size, nerve, etc.," said the landlord, "you are entirely
correct, but in his moral character you are much mistaken"; and the
clerk laughed outright.

"Not mistaken at all," replied Mr. Sidney; "the immorality of the
signature is the most perspicuous, and it is more than an even chance
that he has graduated from a State's prison. At any rate, he will show
his true character wherever he remains a year."

"But, my dear Sir, you are doing the greatest possible damage to your
reputation; he is a boarder of mine, and"----

"You had better be rid of him," chimed in Mr. Sidney.

"Why, Mr. Sidney, he is the _clergyman_ who has been preaching very
acceptably at the ---- Church these two months!"

"Just as I told you," said Mr. Sidney; "he is a hypocrite and a rascal
by profession. Will you allow me to demonstrate this?"

The landlord assented. A servant was called, and Mr. Sidney, having
written on a card, sent it to the clergyman's room, with the request
that he would come immediately to the office. It was delivered, and the
landlord waited patiently for his Reverence.

"You think he will come?" asked Mr. Sidney.

The landlord replied affirmatively.

Mr. Sidney shook his head, and said,--"You will see."

A short time after, the servant was again ordered to make a
reconnoissance, and reported that there was no response to his knocking,
and that the door was locked on the inside. Whereupon Mr. Sidney
expressed the hope that the religious society were responsible for the
board, for he would never again lead that flock like a shepherd. It was
subsequently ascertained that the parson had in a very irreverent manner
slipped down the spout to the kitchen and jumped from there to the
ground, and, what is "very remarkable," like the load of voters upset by
Sam Weller into the canal, "was never heard of after."[A]

[Footnote A: There is a curious story connected with this "clergyman,"
which may yet appear in the biography of Mr. S.]

       *       *       *       *       *

"Individual handwriting," says Lavater, "is inimitable. The more I
compare the different handwritings which fall in my way, the more am
I confirmed in the idea that they are so many expressions, so many
emanations, of the character of the writer. Every country, every nation,
every city has its peculiar handwriting." And the same might be said of
painting; for, if one hundred painters copy the same figure, an artist
will distinguish the copyist.

Some years since, a certain bank placed in my hands two promissory notes
for large amounts, purporting to be signed by a Mr. Temple and indorsed
by a Mr. Conway, and which both maker and indorser pronounced forgeries.
Both notes were written on common white paper, and were purchased by the
bank of a certain broker at a time when it was difficult to make loans
by discount in the usual manner. Before the maturity of the notes, the
broker, who was a Jew, had left for parts unknown. He left behind him
no liabilities, unless he might be holden for the payment of the notes
above specified, and several others signed and indorsed in the same
manner in the hands of other parties. Several attempts had been made by
professional experts to trace resemblances between the forgeries and the
genuine handwriting of said Temple and Conway, as well as the broker,
but all had reluctantly come to the conclusion that the signatures were
as dissimilar as well could be. The cashier was exceedingly embarrassed
by the fact that Mr. Conway was one of the directors of the bank, and
he was presumed to have been so familiar with his signature as to be
incapable of being deceived.

After a most diligent investigation and the expenditure of much time and
money, and after skilful experts and detectives had given up in despair
of ascertaining either the whereabouts of the Jew or anything further
till he could be produced, the holders of this paper had settled down
quietly in the belief that the broker was the guilty party and that all
further effort was useless. At this point of time, when all excitement
had subsided, these notes came into my possession. I immediately
telegraphed to Mr. Sidney, and it was with great joy that I received the
reply that he was on his way. At three o'clock in the morning I met him
at the railroad station. He complimented me by saying there was not
another man living for whom he would have left the city of ---- on a
similar message. I thanked him, and we walked to the office. Before
arriving there, I had merely informed him that I desired his services in
the investigation of a forgery that baffled our art. He demanded all the
papers. I produced the forged notes, several genuine checks and letters
of Mr. Temple and Mr. Conway, and several specimens of the handwriting
of the broker.

Long as I live I can never forget the almost supernatural glow that came
over his features. I could almost see the halo. No language can describe
such a marked and rapid change of countenance. His whole soul seemed
wrapt in a delightful vision. I cannot say how long this continued, as
I was lost in admiration, as he was in contemplation. I spoke, but he
seemed not to hear. At last his muscles relaxed, and he began to breathe
as if greatly fatigued. He wiped the perspiration from his brow, and
said, as if to himself,--

"Sure!"

I asked what was sure. A few minutes elapsed, and he said more loudly,--

"As sure as you are born,"--without seeming to have heard my inquiry.

I proposed to state what could be proved, and the suspicions that were
entertained of the cashier. He objected, and said,--

"I take my departure from these papers. Mr. Temple is aged thirty-eight,
a large, well-built man, full six feet high, strongly nerved, bold,
proud, and fearless. His mind is active, and in his day he has been
professor in a college. He fares well and is fashionably dressed. I
think he is not in any legitimate business. He is a German by birth,
though he has been in this country several years. He is somewhat
affected and immensely hypocritical. I think he is a gambler and dealer
in counterfeit money. He certainly is not confined to one department of
rascality. This is not the name by which he was christened, if indeed he
was ever christened at all. He could not have written it in his youth,
and must have assumed it within a year and a half." (Exact in every
known particular.)

"Mr. Conway I at first thought an attorney-at-law, but he is not. I
reckon he administers on estates, acts as guardian, and settles up the
affairs of the unfortunate in trade as their assignee, in connection
with his business of notary and note-shaver. He is aged fifty-six, was
born and educated in New England, and is probably a native of this city.
He is tall, lean, and bony. His nerves are not steady, and he is easily
excited. He probably has the dyspepsia, but he would not lose the
writing of a deed to be rid of it. The remarkable feature of his
character is stinginess. His natural abilities being good and his mind
strong, he must therefore be a man of means, and I think it matters
little to his conscience how he comes by his wealth. At the same time,
he has considerable pride and caution, which, with his interest, keep
him honest, as the world goes. If he were not an old bachelor, I should
think better of his heart, and he would be less miserly.

"The Jew's signature is the most honest of the three. Timidity is the
marked character of the man. He could not succeed in any department of
roguery. It is physically, as well as mentally and morally, impossible
for him to have had any connection with the forgery. He would be
frightened out of his wits at the very suggestion of his complicity."

"And so, Mr. Sidney," said I, "you know all about these parties and the
particulars of the forgery?"

"Nothing whatever," he replied, "save by these specimens of their
handwriting. I never heard of the forgery, nor of these men, till this
hour."

To which I replied,--

"I cannot believe that you can give such a perfectly accurate
description of them (saving their moral characters, of which I know
little) without other means of knowledge. It _must_ have been that you
knew Temple to be a German, Conway to be the most penurious old bachelor
in town, and the broker the most timid. And _how_, in the name of all
that is marvellous, _could_ you have known Conway to be afflicted with
dyspepsia?

"Then," answered Mr. Sidney, "you are not prepared to believe one other
thing, more strange and paradoxical than all the rest. Listen! These
notes are forgeries both of the maker and the indorser. And who think
you are the criminals?"

"The Jew?"

"No."

"The cashier?"

"No. But, as sure as you are born, these notes are in the handwriting of
Temple and Conway, and the signatures are not only genuine, but they are
forgeries also: for both had formed a well-matured and deliberate design
of disputing them before placing them on the paper. And, Sir, from
my notion of Conway's character and temperament, as expressed in his
handwriting, I venture the assertion that I can make him own it, and pay
the notes. He shall even faint away at my pleasure. Temple is another
kind of man, and would never own it, were it ten times proved."

A meeting of the directors of the bank was to be holden at nine o'clock
of the same morning. None of them knew Mr. Sidney, or were known by
him. It was arranged that he should meet them, Mr. Conway included,
and exhibit his skill, and if he should convince them of his power of
divination, he should discuss the genuineness of the signatures of the
supposed forgeries.

For several hours he was on trial before the board with a very large
number of specimens of handwriting of men of mark, and he astonished
them all beyond measure by giving the occupation, age, height, size,
temperament, strength of nerve, nationality, morality, and other
peculiarities of every one of the writers. His success was not partial,
it was complete. There was not simply a preponderance of evidence, it
was beyond a doubt. The directors did not question the fact; but how was
it done? Some thought mesmerism could account for it, and others thought
it miraculous.

The first experiment was this. Each director wrote on a piece of paper
the names of all the board. Eleven lists were handed him, and he
specified the writer of each by the manner in which he wrote his own
name. He then asked them to write their own or any other name, with as
much disguise as they pleased, and as many as pleased writing on the
same piece of paper; and in every instance he named the writer.

As an example of the other experiments, take this one. The
superscription of a letter was shown him. He began immediately:--

"A clergyman, without doubt, who reads his sermons, and is a little
short-sighted. He is aged sixty-one, is six feet high, weighs about one
hundred and seventy, is lean, bony, obstinate, irritable, economical,
frank, and without a particle of hypocrisy or conceit. He is naturally
miserly, and bestows charity only from a sense of duty. His mind
is methodical and strong, and he is not a genius or an interesting
preacher. If he has decided upon any doctrine or construction of
Scripture, it would be as impossible to change him as to make him over
again."

The company began to laugh, when one of them said,--

"Come, come, Mr. Sidney, you are disclosing altogether too much of my
father-in-law."

And now the supposed forged notes were handed him. He gave the
characteristics of the signatures very nearly as he had before done
in the office, but more particularly and minutely. He analyzed the
handwriting,--showed the points of resemblance, where before none could
be discerned,--showed that the writing, interpreted by itself, was
intended to be disguised,--explained the difference between the
different parts of the notes,--pointed out where the writer was firm in
his purpose, and his nerves well braced, and where his fears overcame
his resolution,--where he had paused to recover his courage, and for a
considerable time,--where he had changed his pen, and how the forgery
was continued through several days,--what parts were done by Temple, and
what by Conway,--

  "Till all the interim
  Between the acting of the dreadful thing
  And the first motion"

was brought so vividly and truthfully to mind that Mr. Conway fell to
the floor as if dead. The cashier, relieved from a pressure that had for
weary months been grinding his very soul, burst into tears. A scene of
strange excitement ensued, during which Mr. Conway muttered incoherent
sentences in condemnation of Temple and then of himself,--now with
penitence, and then with rage. Recovering his composure, he suggested
the Jew as the guilty party. Mr. Sidney then dissected the handwriting
of the Jew, and demonstrated that there was as great a difference
between his chirography and a New-Englander's as between the English and
the Chinese characters,--showed how the Jew must have been exceedingly
timid, and stated the probability that he had left the city not because
he had taken any part in the forgery, but because he had been frightened
away. Then turning to Conway, he gave him a lecture such as no mortal
before ever gave or received. The agony of Conway's mind so distorted
his body as made it painful in the extreme to all beholders. "His inmost
soul seemed stung as by the bite of a serpent." When at last Mr. Sidney
turned and took from his valise a small steel safe, which Conway
recognized as his own, "the terrors of hell got hold of him," and his
anguish was indescribably horrible. The little safe had been by some
unknown and unaccountable process taken from a larger one in Conway's
office, and was unopened. Neither Mr. Sidney nor the directors have ever
seen its contents; but in consideration that it should not be opened,
Mr. Conway confessed his crime in the very form of Mr. Sidney's
description, paid the notes before leaving the bank, and _remains a
director to this day_. As is often the case, the greater criminal goes
unwhipped of justice.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mr. Sidney, besides the faculty I have described, had acquired another,
less wonderful perhaps, but still quite remarkable, and which was of
incalculable assistance to him in the prosecution of his Herculean
labor. He was a most rare physiognomist. And by physiognomy is here
intended, not simply the art of discerning the character of the mind by
the features of the face, but also the art of discovering the qualities
of the mind by the conformation of the body,--and still further,
(although it may not be a legitimate use of the word,) the power
of distinguishing the character, mental and moral, the capacity,
occupation, and all the distinctive qualities of a person by his figure,
action, dress, deportment, and the like: for Sterne said well, that "the
wise man takes his hat from the peg very differently from a fool."

The ancient Egyptians acquired the greatest skill in this science; and
Tacitus affirms, not without reason, that their keen perception
and acute observation, essential in communicating their ideas in
hieroglyphics, contributed largely to their success. Certainly, few
better proofs of the existence of the science have been furnished than
that given by the Egyptian physiognomist at Athens in the days of Plato.
Zopyrus pronounced the face of Socrates to be that of a libertine. The
physiognomist being derided by the disciples of the great philosopher,
Socrates reproved them, saying that Zopyrus had spoken well, for in his
younger days such indeed had been the truth, and that he had overcome
the proclivities of his nature by philosophy and the severest
discipline.

Pliny affirms that Apelles could trace the likeness of men so accurately
that a physiognomist could discover the ruling passion to which they
were subject. Dante's characters, in his view of Purgatory, are drawn
with accurate reference to the principles of physiognomy; and Shakspeare
and Sterne, particularly the latter, were clever in the art; while Kempf
and Zimmermann, in their profession, are said seldom to have erred as
physiognomists. Surely it is a higher authority and more practical,
which saith, "A wicked man walketh with a froward mouth; he speaketh
with his feet; he teacheth with his fingers.--A man is known by his
look, and a wise man by the air of his countenance." And yet again, "The
wickedness of a woman changeth her face."

If it be true, as Sultzer declares, that there is not a living creature
that is not more or less skilled in physiognomy as a necessary condition
of its existence, surely _man_, with all his parts fitly joined
together, should be the most expert; and there are circumstances and
conditions, as well as qualities of mind and body, which will conduct
him more surely along the pathway of his research, and direct him onward
towards the goal of perfection. Consider, then, the characteristics of
Mr. Sidney, the circumstances by which he was surrounded, and the school
in which he was taught, in order to determine if there were in him the
elements of success.

Chiefest among the essential qualities is to be named his astonishing
strength of nerve. No danger could agitate him, however imminent or
sudden. No power could deprive him of his imperturbable coolness
and courage. Perils seemed to render his mind more clear and his
self-reliance more firm. (And yet I have heard him say, that there
was among the band of criminals before mentioned one woman of greater
strength of mind and nervous power than any person he had ever seen,
whom alone of all created beings, whether man or devil, he dreaded
to encounter.) Had not Mr. Sidney been thus potently armed, he must,
without doubt or question, have become almost a monomaniac; for,
secondly, he was for years enraged almost to madness that his entire
estate had been swept from his grasp, as he believed, by the torch of
the incendiary; and he was to the last degree exasperated, and with
a just indignation, that the merchant-princes who he supposed had
occasioned his impoverishment yet walked abroad with the confidence of
the community, and were still trusted by many a good man as the very
salt of the city. Nevertheless, Mr. Sidney, solitary and alone, had
arraigned them before a criminal tribunal. He was therefore driven to
his own resources, and there was no place in his nature, or in the
nature of things, for the first retrograde step. All his vast energies
were thenceforth consecrated to, and concentrated in, the detection of
crime. And from the time that he was refused payment for his loss, so
far as my observation extended, he seemed to have been governed by no
other purpose in life than the extermination of that great gang of
robbers which he subsequently discovered. Add to these incentives
and capacities his extraordinary perceptive faculties and power of
analytical observation, together with his wonderful patience, and it
must be granted that he was qualified to discover in any incident
connected with his pursuits more of its component parts than all other
beholders, and had greater opportunities than almost any other man by
which to be informed _how_ it is that "the heart of a man changeth his
countenance."

If I remember rightly, it was some two years after our acquaintance
commenced that I became aware of Mr. Sidney's proficiency as a
physiognomist, and it was then communicated, not so much by his choice
as by a necessity, for the accomplishment of one of his purposes.

The object of Mr. Sidney's visit to the city of P----, at that time,
was nothing less difficult than the discovery and identification of an
individual of whom no other knowledge or description had been obtained
than what could be extracted from the inspection, in another city, of a
single specimen of his handwriting in the superscription of a letter.
So much from so little. Within three days thereafter, with no other
instrumentalities than what were suggested by Mr. Sidney's expertness
in deciphering character in handwriting and his proficiency as a
physiognomist, the result was reached and the object happily attained.
In the prosecution of the enterprise, it was important, if not
essential, that I should believe that the data were sufficient by which
to arrive at a correct conclusion, and that I should confide in Mr.
Sidney's skill in order that there might be hearty coöperation.

My office was so situated, that from its windows could most
advantageously be observed, and for a considerable distance, the vast
throng that ebbed and flowed, hour after hour, through the great
thoroughfares of the city. For the greater part of three consecutive
days I sat by Mr. Sidney's side, watching the changing crowd through
the half-opened shutters, listening incredulously, at first, to the
practical application of his science to the unsuspecting individuals
below, till my derision was changed to admiration, and I was thoroughly
convinced of his power. As my friends of both sexes passed under the
ordeal, it was intensely bewitching. Hour after hour would he give, with
rapidity and correctness, the occupation and peculiarity of character
and condition of almost every individual who passed. This was not
occasional, but continuous. The marked men were not singled out, but all
were included. He was a stranger, and yet better acquainted with
the people than any of our citizens. And this was the manner of his
speaking:--

"That physician has a better opinion of himself than the people have
of him: he is superficial, and makes up in effrontery what he lacks in
qualification. The gambler yonder, with a toothpick in his mouth, has of
late succeeded in his tricks. The affairs of this kind-hearted grocer
are troubling him. Were we within a yard of that round-shouldered man
from the country, we should smell leather; for he works on his bench,
and is unmarried. Here comes an atheist who is a joker and stubborn as
a mule. There goes a man of no business at all: very probably it is the
best occupation he is fitted for, as he has no concentrativeness. The
schoolmistress crossing the street is an accomplished teacher, is
very sympathetic, and has great love of approbation. That lawyer is a
bachelor, and distrusts his own strength. This merchant should give up
the use of tobacco, and pay his notes before dinner, else he will become
a dyspeptic. Here comes a man of wealth who despises the common people
and is miserly and hypocritical; and next to him is a scamp. I think it
is Burke who says, 'When the gnawing worm is within, the impression
of the ravage it makes is visible on the outside, which appears quite
disfigured by it': and in that young man the light that was within him
has become darkness, and 'how great is that darkness!'"

Of some qualities of mind he would occasionally decline to speak until
he could see the features in play, as in conversation. Some occupations
he failed to discover, if the arms were folded, or the hands in the
pockets, or the body not in motion. It is not my purpose to specify any
of the rules by which he was governed, though they differed materially
from those of Lavater, Redfield, and others, nor the facts from which he
drew his conclusions, but simply to give results.

I selected from the crowd acquaintances of marked character and
standing, and obtained accurate descriptions of them. Of one he said,
"He is a good merchant, and has done and is doing a large business. He
carries his business home with him at night, as he should not. He has
been wealthy, and is now reduced in circumstances. His disaster weighs
heavily upon him. He has a high sense of honor, a keen conscience, and
is a meek, religious man. He has great goodness of nature, is very
modest and retiring, has more ability than he supposes, and is a man of
family and very fond of his children."

Another he accurately described thus: "He is a mechanic, of a good mind,
who has succeeded so well that I doubt if he is in active business.
Certainly he does not labor. He is very independent and radical,--can
be impudent, if occasion requires,--gives others all their rights, and
pertinaciously insists upon his own." Here the mechanic took his hands
from his pocket. "Hold! I said he was a mechanic. He is not,--he is a
house-painter."

I desired to be informed by what indications he judged him to be a
painter. He replied, that he so judged from the general appearance
and motions, and that it was difficult to specify. I insisted, and he
remarked that "the easy roll of his wrists was indicative."

After obtaining similar correct descriptions of men well known to me,
I spied one whom I did not know, and who was dressed peculiarly. I
inquired his occupation, and Mr. Sidney, without turning a glance
towards me, and still gazing through the half-opened shutters, replied,
"Yes! you never saw him before, yourself. He is a stranger in town, as
is evident from the fact of his being dressed in his best suit, and by
the manner of his taking observations. Besides, there is no opportunity
in these parts for him to follow his trade. He is a glass-blower. You
may perceive he is a little deaf, and the curvature of his motions also
indicates his occupation."

Whether this description was correct or not I failed to ascertain.

Mr. Sidney contended that any man of ordinary perceptive faculties need
never mistake a gambler, as the marks on the tribe were as distinct as
the complexion of the Ethiopian,--that, of honest callings, dealers in
cattle could be most easily discovered,--that immorality indicated its
kind invariably in the muscles of the face,--that sympathetic qualities,
love and the desire of being loved, taste and refinement,--were among
the most perspicuous in the outline of the face.

A man of very gentlemanly appearance was approaching, whom Mr. Sidney
pronounced a gambler, and also engaged in some other branch of iniquity.
His appearance was so remarkably good that I doubted. He turned the
corner, and immediately Mr. Sidney hastened to the street and soon
returned, saying he had ascertained his history: that he was in the
counterfeiting department,--that his conscience affected his nerves,
and consequently his motions,--that he was a stranger in town, and was
restless and disquieted,--that he would not remain many hours here, as
he had an enterprise on hand, and was about it. I remarked, that, as the
contrary never could be proved, he was perfectly safe in his prophecy,
when Mr. Sidney rose from his chair, and, approaching me, slowly said,
with great energy,--

"I will follow that man till it _is_ proved."

The next day but one, I received a note from Mr. Sidney, simply
saying, "I am on his track." He followed the supposed counterfeiter to
Philadelphia, where he ascertained that he had passed five-dollar bills
of the ---- bank of Connecticut. Mr. Sidney obtained the bills the
gambler had passed to compare with the genuine. Failing, however,
to find any of the same denomination, he presented the supposed
counterfeits to a broker skilled in detecting bad bills, and was
surprised to be informed that they were genuine. At Baltimore, he
repeated the inquiry at the counter of a well-known banker relative
to other similar bills, and received the same response. So again in
Washington, Pittsburg, Chicago, and several other cities whither he had
followed the suspected man, and invariably the reply of the cashier
would be, "We will exchange our bills for them, Sir." In some Western
cities he was offered a premium on the bills he had collected. At St.
Louis he obtained a known genuine bill of the bank in question, and in
company with a broker proceeded to examine the two with a microscope.
The broker pronounced the supposed counterfeits to be genuine. In the
mean time the gambler had left the city. Two days after, Mr. Sidney had
overtaken him. So great were his excitement and vexation that he could
scarcely eat or sleep. In a fit of desperation, without law and against
law, he pounced upon the suspected man and put him in irons. He beat a
parley. It was granted, and the two went to the gambler's apartments in
company. In a conversation of several hours, Mr. Sidney extracted
from him the most valuable information relating to the gang he was so
pertinaciously prosecuting, and received into his possession forty-seven
thousand dollars in counterfeits of the aforesaid bank, some of which I
now have in my possession, and which have been pronounced genuine by our
most skilful experts.

       *       *       *       *       *

It would be gratifying to all lovers of science to be informed that the
practical knowledge acquired by Mr. Sidney had been preserved, and that
at least the elementary principles of the arts in which he became so
nearly perfect had been definitely explained and recorded. I am not
aware, however, that such is the fact, but am persuaded that his uniform
policy of concealment has deprived the world of much that would have
been exceedingly entertaining and instructive. That this knowledge has
not been preserved is owing mainly to the fact that he considered it
of little importance, except as a means for the accomplishment of his
purposes, and that those purposes would be most effectually achieved by
his withholding from the common gaze the instrumentality by which they
were to be attained. That he intended at some future period to make some
communication to the public I am well assured, and some materials were
collected by him with this view; but the hot pursuit of the great idea
that he never for an hour lost sight of would not allow sufficient rest
from his labors, and he deferred the publication to those riper years
of experience and acquirement from which he could survey his whole past
career.

It may be comforting for all rogues to know that he left behind him no
note of that vast amount of statistical knowledge which he possessed,
whether appertaining to crimes or criminals in general or in particular,
or more especially to the band of robbers,--and that with him perished
all knowledge of this organization as such, and the names of all the
parties therewith connected. They also have the consolation, if there be
any, of knowing that he was sent prematurely to his grave by a subtle
poison, administered by unknown hands and in an unknown manner and
moment, and that he died in the firm faith of immortality.



THE CUMBERLAND.


  At anchor in Hampton Roads we lay,
  On board of the Cumberland sloop-of-war;
  And at times from the fortress across the bay
  The alarum of drums swept past,
  Or a bugle-blast
  From the camp on the shore.

  Then far away to the South uprose
  A little feather of snow-white smoke,
  And we knew that the iron ship of our foes
  Was steadily steering its course
  To try the force
  Of our ribs of oak.

  Down upon us heavily runs,
  Silent and sullen, the floating fort;
  Then comes a puff of smoke from her guns,
  And leaps the terrible death,
  With fiery breath,
  From each open port.

  We are not idle, but send her straight
  Defiance back in a full broadside!
  As hail rebounds from a roof of slate,
  Rebounds our heavier hail
  From each iron scale
  Of the monster's hide.

  "Strike your flag!" the rebel cries,
  In his arrogant old plantation strain.
  "Never!" our gallant Morris replies;
  "It is better to sink than to yield!"
  And the whole air pealed
  With the cheers of our men.

  Then, like a kraken huge and black,
  She crushed our ribs in her iron grasp!
  Down went the Cumberland all a wrack,
  With a sudden shudder of death,
  And the cannon's breath
  For her dying gasp.

  Next morn, as the sun rose over the bay,
  Still floated our flag at the mainmast-head.
  Lord, how beautiful was thy day!
  Every waft of the air
  Was a whisper of prayer,
  Or a dirge for the dead.

  Ho! brave hearts that went down in the seas!
  Ye are at peace in the troubled stream.
  Ho! brave land! with hearts like these,
  Thy flag, that is rent in twain,
  Shall be one again,
  And without a seam!



THE FOSSIL MAN.


The greater part must be content to be as though they had not been: to
be found in the register of God, not in the records of men. The number
of the dead long exceedeth all that shall live. The Night of Time far
surpasseth the Day, and who knoweth the Equinox?--Sir THOMAS BROWNE.

What a mysterious and subtile pleasure there is in groping back through
the early twilight of human history! The mind thirsts and longs so to
know the Beginning: who and what manner of men those were who laid
the first foundations of all that is now upon the earth: of what
intellectual power, of what degree of civilization, of what race and
country. We wonder how the fathers of mankind lived, what habitations
they dwelt in, what instruments or tools they employed, what crops they
tilled, what garments they wore. We catch eagerly at any traces that may
remain of their faiths and beliefs and superstitions; and we fancy, as
we gain a clearer insight into them, that we are approaching more nearly
to the mysterious Source of all life in the soul. The germ, to our
limited comprehension, seems nearer the Creator than the perfected
growth. Then the great problem of _Origin_ forever attracts us on,--the
multitudinous and intricate questions relating to "the ordained becoming
of beings": how the Creating Power has worked, whether through an almost
endless chain of gradual and advantageous changes, or by some sudden and
miraculous _ictus_, placing at once a completed body on the earth, as
an abode and instrument for a developed soul,--all these remote and
difficult questions lead us on. And yet the search for human origins, or
the earliest historic and scientific evidences of man on the earth, is
but a groping in the dark.

We turn to the Hebrew and the inspired records; but we soon discover,
that, though containing a picture, unequalled for simplicity and
dignity, of the earliest experiences of the present family of man, they
are by no means a monument or relic of the most remote period, but
belong to a comparatively modern date, and that the question of _Time_
is not at all directly treated in them.

We visit the region where poetry and myth and tradition have placed a
most ancient civilization,--the Black-Land, or Land of the Nile: we
search its royal sepulchres, its manifold history written in funereal
records, in kingly genealogies, in inscriptions, and in the thousand
relics preserved of domestic life, whether in picture, sculpture, or the
embalmed remains of the dead; and we find ourselves thrown back to a
date far beyond any received date of history, and still we have before
us a ripened civilization, an art which could not belong to the
childhood of a race, a language which (so far as we can judge) must have
needed centuries for its development, and the divisions of human races,
whose formation from the original pair our philosophy teaches us must
have required immense and unknown spaces of time,--all as distinct as
they are at the present day.

We traverse the regions to which both the comparison of languages and
the Biblical records assign the original birthplace of mankind,--the
country of the Euphrates and the plateau of Eastern Asia. Buried
kingdoms are revealed to us; the shadowy outlines of magnificent cities
appear which flourished and fell before recorded human history, and of
which even Herodotus never heard; Art and Science are unfolded, reaching
far back into the past; the signs of luxury and splendor are uncovered
from the ruin of ages: but, remote as is the date of these Turanian and
Semitic empires, almost equalling that of the Flood in the ordinary
system of chronology, they cannot be near the origin of things, and
a long process of development must have passed ere they reached the
maturity in which they are revealed to us.

The Chinese records give us an antiquity and an acknowledged date before
the time of Abraham, (if we follow the received chronology,) and
even then their language must have been, as it is now, distinct and
solidified, betraying to the scholar no certain affinity to any other
family of language. The Indian history, so long boasted of for its
immense antiquity, is without doubt the most modern of the ancient
records, and offers no certain date beyond 1800 B.C.

In Europe, the earliest evidences of man disclosed by our investigations
are even more vague and shadowy. Probably, without antedating in time
these historical records of Asia, they reach back to a more primitive
and barbarous era. The earliest history of Europe is not studied from
inscription or manuscript or even monument; it is not, like the Asiatic,
a conscious work of a people leaving a memorial of itself to a future
age. It is rather, like the geological history, an unconscious, gradual
deposit left by the remains of extinct and unknown races in the soil of
the fields or under the sediment of the waters. The earliest European
barbarian, as he burned his canoe from a log, or fabricated his necklace
from a bone, or worked out his knife from a flint, was in reality
writing a history of his race for distant days. We can follow him now
in his wanderings through the rivers and lakes and on the edges of the
forests; we open his simple mounds of burial, and study his barbarian
tools and ornaments; we discover that he knew nothing of metals, and
that bone and flint and amber and coal were his materials; we trace out
his remarkable defences and huts built on piles in the various lakes of
Europe, where the simple savage could escape the few gigantic "fossil"
animals which even then survived, and roved through the forests of
Prussia and France, or the still more terrible human enemies who were
continually pouring into Germany, Denmark, and Switzerland from the
Asiatic plains. We find that the early savage of Switzerland and Sweden
was not entirely ignorant of the care of animals, and that he had
fabricated some rude pottery. Of what race he was, or when he appeared
amid the forests of Northern Europe, no one can confidently say.
Collecting the various indications from the superstitions, language,
and habits of this barbarian people, and comparing them with like
peculiarities of the most ancient races now existing in Europe, we can
frame a very plausible hypothesis that these early savages belonged to
that great family of which the Finns and Laps, and possibly the Basques,
are scattered members. Their skulls, also, are analogous in form to
those of the Finnish race. This age the archaeologists have denominated
the "Stone Age" of European antiquity.

Following this is what has been called by them the "Bronze Age."
Another, more powerful, and more cultivated race or collection of
peoples inundates Scandinavia, Germany, Switzerland, and other
districts. They make war against and destroy the early barbarians; they
burn their water-huts, and force them to the mountains, or to the most
northern portions of the continent. This new race has a taste for
objects of beauty. They work copper and bronze; they make use of
beautiful vases of earthenware and ornaments of the precious metals;
but they have yet no knowledge of iron or steel. Their dead are burned
instead of being buried, as was done by the preceding races. They are
evidently more warlike and more advanced than the Finnish barbarians. Of
their race or family it is difficult to say anything trustworthy. Their
skulls belong to the "long-skulled" races, and would ally them to the
Kelts. Antiquaries have called their remains "Keltic remains."

Still another age in this ancient history is the "Iron Age," when the
tribes of Europe used iron weapons and implements, and had advanced from
the nomadic condition to that of cultivators of the ground, though still
gaining most of their livelihood from fishing and hunting. This period
no doubt approached the period of historical annals, and the iron men
may have been the earliest Teutons of the North,--our own forefathers;
but of their race or mixture of races we have no certain evidence,
and can only make approximate hypotheses,--the division of "ages" by
archaeologists, it should be remembered, being not in any way a fixed
division of races, but only indicating the probability of different
races at those different early periods. What was the date of these ages
cannot at all be determined; the earlier are long before any recorded
European annals, but there is no reason to believe that they approach in
antiquity the Asiatic records and remains.

Such, until recently, were the historic and scientific evidences with
regard to the antiquity of man. His most venerable records, his most
ancient dates of historic chronology were but of yesterday, when
compared with the age of existing species of plants and animals, or
with the opening of the present geologic era. Every new scientific
investigation seemed, from its negative evidence, to render more
improbable the existence of the "fossil man." It is true that in various
parts of the world, during the past few years, human bones have been
discovered in connection with the bones of the fossil mammalia; but they
were generally found in caves or in lime-deposits, where they might
have been dropped or swept in by currents of water, or inserted in
more modern periods, and yet covered with the same deposit as the more
ancient relics. Geologists have uniformly reasoned on the _a priori_
improbability of these being fossil bones, and have somewhat strained
the evidence--as some distinguished _savans_[A] now believe--against the
theory of a great human antiquity.

[Footnote A: Pictet.]

And yet the "negative evidence" against the existence of the fossil
man was open to many doubts. The records of geology are notoriously
imperfect. We probably read but a few leaves of a mighty library of
volumes. Moreover, the last ages preceding the present period were
witnesses of a series of changes and slowly acting agencies of
destruction, from which man may have in general escaped. We have reason
to believe that during long periods of time the land was gradually
elevated and subject to oscillations, so that the courses of rivers and
the beds of lakes were disturbed, and even the bottom of the ocean was
raised. The results were the inundation of some countries, and the
pouring of great currents of water over others, wearing down the hills
and depositing in the course of ages the regular layers of gravel, sand,
and marl, which now cover so large a part of Europe. This was still
further followed by a period in which the temperature of the earth was
lowered, and ice and glaciers had perhaps a part in forming the present
surface of the northern hemisphere. During the first period, which may
be called the "Quaternary Period,"[B] the mighty animals lived whose
bones are now found in caverns, or under the slowly deposited sediment
of the waters, or preserved in bog,--the mammoth, and rhinoceros, and
elk, and bear, and elephant, as well as many others of extinct species.

[Footnote B: We should bear in mind that the Quaternary or Diluvian
Period, however ancient in point of time, has no clearly distinguishing
line of separation from the present period. The great difference lies in
the extinction of certain species of animals, which lived then, whose
destruction may be due both to gradual changes of climate and to
man.--PICTET.]

We may suppose, that, if man did exist during these convulsions and
inundations, his superior intelligence would enable him to escape
the fate of the animals that were submerged,--or that, if his few
burial-places were invaded by the waters, his remains are now completely
covered by marine deposits under the ocean. If, however, in his
barbarian condition, he had fashioned implements of any hard material,
and especially if, as do the savages of the present family of man, he
had accidentally deposited them, or had buried them with the dead in
mighty mounds, the invading waters might well sweep them together from
their place and deposit them almost in mass, in situations where the
eddies should leave their gravel and sand.[C]

[Footnote C: Sir C. Lyell, in his remarks before the British Association
in 1859, said upon the discovery alluded to here: "I am reminded of a
large Indian mound which I saw in St. Simon's Island in Georgia,--a
mound ten acres in area, and having an average height of five feet,
chiefly composed of cast-away oyster-shells, throughout which
arrow-heads, stone axes, and Indian pottery were dispersed. If the
neighboring river, the Altamalia, or the sea which is at hand, should
invade, sweep away, and stratify the contents of this mound, it might
produce a very analogous accumulation of human implements, unmixed,
perhaps, with human bones."--_Athenaeum_, September 21, 1859.]

Such seems in reality to have been the case; though in regard to so
important a fact in the history of the world much caution must be
exercised in accepting the evidence. We will state briefly the proofs,
as they now appear, of the existence of a race of human beings on this
earth in an immense antiquity.

A French gentleman, M. Boucher de Perthes, has for thirty-four years
been devoting his time and his fortune, with rare perseverance, to the
investigation of certain antiquities in the later geological deposits
in the North of France. His first work, "Les Antiquités Celtiques and
Antédiluviennes," published in 1847, was received with much incredulity
and opposition; a second, under the same title, in 1857, met with a
scarce better reception, and it was with the greatest difficulty that he
could induce even the _savans_ of his own country to look at the mass of
evidence he had collected on this subject.

He made the extraordinary claim to have discovered a great quantity of
rough implements of flint, fashioned by art, in the undisturbed beds of
clay, gravel, and sand, known as _drift_, near Abbeville and Amiens.
These beds vary in thickness from ten to twenty feet, and cover the
chalk hills in the vicinity; in portions of them, upon the hills, often
in company with the flints, are discovered numerous bones of the extinct
mammalia, such as the mammoth, the fossil rhinoceros, tiger, bear,
hyena, stag, ox, horse, and others.

The flint implements are found in the lowest beds of gravel, just above
the chalk, while above them are sands with delicate fresh-water shells
and beds of brick-earth,--all this, be it remembered, on table-lands two
hundred feet above the level of the sea, in a country whose level and
face have remained unaltered during any historical period with which we
are acquainted. "It must have required," says Sir Charles Lyell, "a
long period for the wearing down of the chalk which supplied the broken
flints (stones) for the formation of so much gravel at various heights,
sometimes one hundred feet above the level of the Somme, for the
deposition of fine sediment, including entire shells, both terrestrial
and aquatic, and also for the denudation which the entire mass of
stratified drift has undergone, portions having been swept away, so
that what remains of it often terminates abruptly in old river-cliffs,
besides being covered by a newer unstratified drift. To explain these
changes, I should infer considerable oscillations in the level of the
land in that part of France, slow movements of upheaval and subsidence,
deranging, but not wholly displacing the course of ancient rivers."

The President of the British Association, in his opening speech at
the meeting of 1860, affirms the immense antiquity of these flint
implements, and remarks:--"At Menchecourt, in the suburbs of Abbeville,
a nearly entire skeleton of the Siberian rhinoceros is said to have been
taken out about forty years ago,--a fact affording an answer to the
question often raised, as to whether the bones of the extinct mammalia
could have been washed out of an older alluvium into a newer one, and
so redeposited and mingled with the relics of human workmanship.
Far-fetched as was this hypothesis, I am informed that it would not, if
granted, have seriously shaken the proof of the high antiquity of human
productions; for that proof is independent of organic evidence or fossil
remains, and is based on physical data. As was stated to us last year
by Sir Charles Lyell, we should still have to allow time for great
denudation of the chalk, and the removal from place to place, and the
spreading out over the length and breadth of a large valley, of heaps of
chalk-flints in beds from ten to fifteen feet in thickness, covered
by loam and sands of equal thickness, these last often tranquilly
deposited,--all of which operations would require the supposition of a
great lapse of time."

An independent proof of the age of these gravel-beds and the associated
loam, containing fossil remains, is derived by the same authority from
the large deposits of peat in the valley of the Somme, which contain not
only monuments of the Roman, but also those of an older, stone period,
the Finnic period; yet, says Lord Wrottesley, "distinguished geologists
are of opinion that the growth of all the vegetable matter, and even
the original scooping out of the hollows containing it, are events long
posterior in date to the gravel with flint-implements,--nay, posterior
even to the formation of the uppermost of the layers of loam with
fresh-water shells overlaying the gravel."

The number of the flint implements is computed at above fourteen hundred
in an area of fourteen miles in length and half a mile in breadth. They
are of the rudest nature, as if formed by a people in the most degraded
state of barbarism. Some are mere flakes of flint, apparently used for
knives or arrow-heads; some are pointed and with hollowed bases, as if
for spear-heads, varying from four to nine inches in length; some are
almond-shaped, with a cutting edge, from two to nine inches in length.
Others again are fashioned into coarse representations of animals, such
as the whale, saurian, boar, eagle, fish, and even the human profile;
others have representations of foliage upon them; others are either
drilled with holes or are cut with reference to natural holes, so as to
serve as stones for slings, or for amulets, or for ornaments. The edges
in many cases seem formed by a great number of small artificial tips
or blows, and do not at all resemble edges made by a great natural
fracture. Very few are found with polished surfaces like the modern
remains in flint; and the whole workmanship differs from that of flint
arrow-heads in other parts of Europe, as well as from the later Finnish
(or so-called Keltic) remains, discovered in such quantities in France.
The only relics that have been found resembling them are, according to
Mr. Worsaae, some flint arrow-heads and spear-points discovered at great
depths in the bogs of Denmark. A few bone knives and necklaces of bone
have been met with in these deposits, but thus far no human bones. The
people who fabricated these instruments seemed to be a hunting and
fishing people, living in some such condition as the present savages of
Australia.

These discoveries of M. de Perthes have at length aroused the attention
of English men of science, and during 1859 a number of eminent
gentlemen--among them Sir Charles Lyell, Mr. Prestwich, Dr. Falconer,
and others--visited M. Perthes's collection, and saw the flints _in
situ_. Several of them have avowed their conviction of the genuineness
and antiquity of these relics. Sir Charles Lyell has given a guarded
sanction to the belief that they present one strong proof of a remote
human antiquity.

The objections that would naturally be made to this evidence are, that
the flints are purely natural formations, and not works of man,--that
the deposit is alluvial and modern, rather than of the ancient
drift,--or that these implements had been dropped into crevices, or sunk
from above, in later periods.

The testimony of disinterested observers seems to be sufficient as to
the human contrivance manifest in these flints; and the concurrence of
various scientific men hardly leaves room for doubt that these deposits
are of great antiquity, preceding the time in which the surface of
France took its present form, and dating back to what is called the
Post-Pliocene Period. Their horizontal position, and the great depth
at which the hatchets are found, together with their number, and the
peculiar incrustation and discoloration of each one, as well as their
being in company with the bones of the extinct mammalia, make it
improbable that they could have been dropped into fissures or sunk there
in modern times.[D] In regard to the absence of human bones, it should
be remembered that no bones are easily preserved, unless they are
buried in sediment or in bog; and furthermore, that the extent of the
researches in these formations is very small indeed. Besides, the
country where above all we should expect the most of human remains
in the drift-deposits, as being probably the most ancient abode of
man,--Asia,--has been the least explored for such purposes. Still this
is without doubt the weak point in the evidence, as proving human
antiquity.

[Footnote D: An article in Blackwood, (October, 1860,) which is
understood to be from the pen of Professor H.D. Rogers, admits entirely
that the flints are of human workmanship, and that it is impossible for
them to have dropped through fissures, as, according to the writer's
observation of the deposits, it would be impossible even for a mole to
penetrate them, so close are they. Professor Rogers takes the ground
that human antiquity is not proven from these relics, for two
reasons:--First, because the indications in the deposits inclosing the
flints point clearly to a "turbulent diluvial action," and therefore it
is possible for a violent incursion of the ocean to have taken place in
the historic period, and to have mixed up the more recent works of man
with the previously buried bones or relics of a pre-historic period; and
secondly, because the different geological deposits do not necessarily
prove time, but only succession,--two schools of geology interpreting
all similar phenomena differently, as relating to the time required.

The last position would be admitted by few scientific geologists at
the present day, as the evidence for time, though inferential from the
deposits known to us, is held generally to be conclusive. On the first
point, Professor Rogers has the weight of authority against him: all the
great masters of the science, who have examined the formation and the
deposits of the surrounding country, denying that there is any evidence
of an incursion of the ocean of such a nature, during the historic
period.]

The chain of evidence in regard to this important question seems to be
filled out by a recent discovery of M. Edouard Lartet in Aurignac, in
the South of France, on the head-waters of the Garonne. As we have just
observed, the weak point in M. de Perthes's discoveries was the absence
of human bones in the deposits investigated, though this might have been
accounted for by the withdrawal of human beings from the floods of the
period. M. Lartet's investigations have fortunately been conducted in a
spot which was above the reach of the ordinary inundations of the Drift
Period, and whither human beings might have fled for refuge, or where
they might have lived securely during long spaces of time.

Some ten years since, in Aurignac, (Haute Garonne,) in the
_Arrondissement_ of St. Gaudens, near the Pyrenees, a cavern was
discovered in the nummulitic rock. It had been concealed by a heap
of fragments of rock and vegetable soil, gradually detached and
accumulated, probably by atmospheric agency. In it were found the
human remains, it was estimated, of seventeen individuals, which were
afterwards buried formally by the order of the mayor of Aurignac. Along
with the bones were discovered the teeth of mammals, both carnivora and
herbivora; also certain small perforated corals, such as were used by
many ancient peoples as beads, and similar to those gathered in the
deposits of Abbeville. The cave had apparently served as a place of
sacrifice and of burial. In 1860 M. Lartet visited the spot. In
the layer of loose earth at the bottom of the cave he found flint
implements, worked portions of a reindeer's horn, mammal bones, and
human bones in a remarkable state of preservation. In a lower layer of
charcoal and ashes, indicating the presence of man and some ancient
fireplace or hearth, the bones of the animals were scratched and
indented as though by implements employed to remove the flesh; almost
every bone was broken, as if to extract the marrow, as is done by many
modern tribes of savages. The same peculiarity is noticed in the bones
discovered among the "water-huts" of the Danish lakes.

In this deposit M. Lartet picked up many human implements, such as
bone knives, flattened circular stones supposed to have been used for
sharpening flint knives, perforated sling-stones, many arrow-heads and
spear-heads, flint knives, a bodkin made of a roebuck's horn, various
implements of reindeers' horn, and teeth beads, from the teeth of the
great fossil bear (_Ursus spelaeus_). Remains were also found of nine
different species of carnivora, such as the fossil bear, the hyena, cat,
wolf, fox, and others, and of twelve of herbivora, such as the fossil
elephant, the rhinoceros, the great stag, (_Cervus elephas_,) the
European bison, (aurochs,) horse, and others. The most common were the
aurochs, the reindeer, and the fox. How savages, armed only with flint
implements, could have captured these gigantic animals, is somewhat
mysterious; but, as M. Lartet suggests, they may have snared many of
them, or have overwhelmed single monsters with innumerable arrows and
spears, as Livingstone describes the slaying of the elephant by the
negroes at the present day.

With reference to the mode in which these remains were brought to this
place, M. Lartet remarks,--"The fragmentary condition of the bones of
certain animals, the mode in which they are broken, the marks of
the teeth of the hyena on bones, necessarily broken in their recent
condition, even the distribution of the bones and their significant
consecration, lead to the conclusion that the presence of these animals
and the deposit of all these remains are due solely to human agency.
Neither the inclination of the ground nor the surrounding hydrographical
conditions allow us to suppose that the remains could have been brought
where they are found by natural causes."

The conclusion, then, in palaeontology, which would be drawn from these
facts is, that man must have existed in Europe at the same time with the
fossil elephant and rhinoceros, the gigantic hyena, the aurochs, and the
elk, and even the cave-bear. This latter animal is thought by many to
have disappeared in the very opening of the Post-Pliocene Period; so
that this cave would--judging from the remains of that animal--have been
_prior_ to the long period of inundations in which the drift-deposits of
Abbeville and Amiens were made. The drift which fills the valleys of the
Pyrenees has not, it is evident, touched this elevated spot in Aurignac.

In chronology, all that is proved by these discoveries of M. Lartet is
that the fossil animals mentioned above and man were contemporaries on
the earth. The age of each must be determined inferentially by comparing
the age of strata in which these animals are usually found with the age
in which the most ancient traces of man are discovered,--such as the
deposits already described in the North of France.

Similar discoveries on a smaller scale are recorded by Mr. Prestwich
in Suffolk, England, and in Devonshire. We are informed also by Sir C.
Lyell of a recent important discovery near Troyes, France. In the Grotto
d'Arcès, a human jaw-bone and teeth have been found imbedded with
_Elephas primigenius_, _Ursus spelaeus_, _Hyaena spelaea_, and other
extinct animals, under layers of stalagmite. Professor Pictet, the
celebrated geologist, who also gives his adhesion to these discoveries
of M. de Perthes, states that the cave-evidence has by no means been
sufficiently valued by geologists, and that there are caverns in Belgium
where the existence of human remains cannot be satisfactorily explained
on the theory of a modern introduction of them. The President of the
British Association (Lord Wrottesley) also states that in the cave of
Brixham, Devonshire, and in another near Palermo, in Sicily, flint
implements were observed by Dr. Falconer, in such a manner as to lead
him to infer that man must have coexisted with several lost species of
quadrupeds.

Professor Owen, in his "Palaeontology," (1861,) appears to put faith in
the genuineness and antiquity of these flint relics. He also states that
similar flint weapons have been found by Mr. John Frere, F.R.S., in
Suffolk, in a bed of flint gravel, sixteen feet below the surface, of
the same geological age as that in the valley of the Somme.

The conclusion from these discoveries--the most important scientific
discoveries, relating to human history, of modern times--is, that ages
ago, in the period of the extinct mammoth and the fossil bear, perhaps
before the Channel separated England from France, a race of barbarian
human beings lived on the soil of Europe, capable of fabricating rough
implements. The evidence has been carefully weighed by impartial and
experienced men, and thus far it seems complete.

The mind is lost in astonishment, in looking back at such a vast
antiquity of human beings. A tribe of men in existence tens of thousands
of years before any of the received dates of Creation! savages who
hunted, with their flint-headed arrows, the gigantic elk of Ireland and
the buffalo of Germany, or who fled from the savage tiger of France,
or who trapped the immense clumsy mammoth of Northern Europe. Who were
they? we ask ourselves in wonder. Was there with man, as with other
forms of animal life, a long and gradual progression from the lowest
condition to a higher, till at length the world was made ready for a
more developed human being, and the Creator placed the first of the
present family of man upon the earth? Were those European barbarians of
the Drift Period a primeval race, destroyed before the creation of our
own race, and lower and more barbarian than the lowest of the present
inhabitants of the world? or, as seems more probable, were these
mysterious beings--the hunters of the mammoth and the aurochs--the
earliest progenitors of our own family, the childish fathers of the
human race?

The subject hardly yet admits of an exact and scientific answer. We can
merely here suggest the probability of a vast antiquity to human beings,
and of the existence of the FOSSIL or PRE-ADAMITIC MAN.

       *       *       *       *       *


LIFE IN THE OPEN AIR.

BY THE AUTHOR OF "CECIL DREEME" AND "JOHN BRENT."

KATAHDIN AND THE PENOBSCOT.


CHAPTER X.

RIPOGENUS.


Ripogenus is a tarn, a lovely oval tarn, within a rim of forest and
hill; and there behold, _O gioja!_ at its eastern end, stooping forward
and filling the sphere, was Katahdin, large and alone.

But we must hasten, for day wanes, and we must see and sketch this
cloudless summit from _terra firma_. A mile and half-way down the lake,
we landed at the foot of a grassy hill-side, where once had been a
lumberman's station and hay-farm. It was abandoned now, and lonely in
that deeper sense in which widowhood is lonelier than celibacy, a home
deserted lonelier than a desert. Tumble-down was the never-painted
house; ditto its three barns. But, besides a camp, there were two things
to be had here,--one certain, one possible, probable even. The view,
that was an inevitable certainty; Iglesias would bag that as his share
of the plunder of Ripogenus. For my bagging, bears, perchance, awaited.
The trappers had seen a bear near the barns. Cancut, in his previous
visit, had seen a disappearance of bear. No sooner had the birch's
bow touched lightly upon the shore than we seized our respective
weapons,--Iglesias his peaceful and creative sketch-book, I my warlike
and destructive gun,--and dashed up the hill-side.

I made for the barns to catch Bruin napping or lolling in the old hay.
I entertain a _vendetta_ toward the ursine family. I had a _duello_,
pistol against claw, with one of them in the mountains of Oregon,
and have nothing to show to point the moral and adorn the tale. My
antagonist of that hand-to-hand fight received two shots, and then
dodged into cover and was lost in the twilight. Soon or late in my life,
I hoped that I should avenge this evasion. Ripogenus would, perhaps,
give what the Nachchese Pass had taken away.

Vain hope! I was not to be an ursicide. I begin to fear that I shall
slay no other than my proper personal bearishness. I did my duty for
another result at Ripogenus. I bolted audaciously into every barn. I
made incursions into the woods around. I found the mark of the beast,
not the beast. He had not long ago decamped, and was now, perhaps,
sucking the meditative paw hard-by in an arbor of his bear-garden.

After a vain hunt, I gave up Beast and turned to Beauty. I looked about
me, seeing much.

Foremost I saw a fellow-man, my comrade, fondled by breeze and
brightness, and whispered to by all sweet sounds. I saw Iglesias below
me, on the slope, sketching. He was preserving the scene at its _bel
momento_. I repented more bitterly of my momentary falseness to Beauty
while I saw him so constant.

Furthermore, I saw a landscape of vigorous simplicity, easy to
comprehend. By mellow sunset the grass slope of the old farm seemed no
longer tanned and rusty, but ripened. The oval lake was blue and calm,
and that is already much to say; shadows of the western hills were
growing over it, but flight after flight of illumined cloud soared
above, to console the sky and the water for the coming of night.
Northward, a forest darkled, whose glades of brightness I could not see.
Eastward, the bank mounted abruptly to a bare fire-swept table-land,
whereon a few dead trees stood, parched and ghostly skeletons draped
with rags of moss.

Furthermost and topmost, I saw Katahdin twenty miles away, a giant
undwarfed by any rival. The remainder landscape was only minor and
judiciously accessory. The hills were low before it, the lake lowly,
and upright above lake and hill lifted the mountain pyramid.
Isolate greatness tells. There were no underling mounts about this
mountain-in-chief. And now on its shoulders and crest sunset shone,
glowing. Warm violet followed the glow, soothing away the harshness of
granite lines. Luminous violet dwelt upon the peak, while below the
clinging forests were purple in sheltered gorges, where they could climb
nearer the summit, loved of light, and lower down gloomed green and
sombre in the shadow.

Meanwhile, as I looked, the quivering violet rose higher and higher, and
at last floated away like a disengaged flame. A smouldering blue dwelt
upon the peak. Ashy-gray overcame the blue. As dusk thickened and stars
trembled into sight, the gray grew luminous. Katahdin's mighty presence
seemed to absorb such dreamy glimmers as float in limpid night-airs:
a faint glory, a twilight of its own, clothed it. King of the
daylit-world, it became queen of the dimmer realms of night, and like a
woman-queen it did not disdain to stoop and study its loveliness in
the polished lake, and stooping thus it overhung the earth, a shadowy
creature of gleam and gloom, an eternized cloud.

I sat staring and straying in sweet reverie, until the scene before me
was dim as metaphysics. Suddenly a flame flashed up in the void. It
grew and steadied, and dark objects became visible about it. In the
loneliness--for Iglesias had disappeared--I allowed myself a moment's
luxury of superstition. Were these the Cyclops of Katahdin? Possibly.
Were they Trolls forging diabolic enginery, or Gypsies of Yankeedom? I
will see,--and went tumbling down the hill-side.

As I entered the circle about the cooking-fire of drift-wood by the
lake, Iglesias said,--

"The beef-steak and the mutton-chops will do for breakfast; now, then,
with your bear!"

"Haw, haw!" guffawed Cancut; and the sound, taking the lake at a stride,
found echoes everywhere, till he grew silent and peered suspiciously
into the dark.

"There's more bears raound 'n yer kin shake a stick at," said one of the
muskrateers. "I wouldn't ricommend yer to stir 'em up naow, haowlin'
like that."

"I meant it for laffin'," said Cancut, humbly.

"Ef yer call that 'ere larfin', couldn't yer cry a little to kind er
slick daown the bears?" said the trapper.

Iglesias now invited us to _chocolat à la crème_, made with the boon
of the ex-bar-keeper. I suppose I may say, without flattery, that this
tipple was marvellous. What a pity Nature spoiled a cook by making the
muddler of that chocolate a painter of grandeurs! When Fine Art is in
a man's nature, it must exude, as pitch leaks from a pine-tree. Our
muskrat-hunters partook injudiciously of this unaccustomed dainty, and
were visited with indescribable Nemesis. They had never been acclimated
to chocolate, as had Iglesias and I, by sipping it under the shade of
the mimosa and the palm.

Up to a certain point, an unlucky hunter is more likely to hunt than
a lucky. Satiety follows more speedily upon success than despair upon
failure. Let us thank Heaven for that, brethren dear! I had bagged not a
bear, and must needs satisfy my assassin instincts upon something with
hoofs and horns. The younger trapper of muskrat, being young, was
ardent,--being young, was hopeful,--being young, believed in exceptions
to general rules,--and being young, believed, that, given a good fellow
with a gun, Nature would provide a victim. Therefore he proposed that we
should canoe it along the shallows in this sweetest and stillest of all
the nights. The senior shook his head incredulously; Iglesias shook his
head noddingly.

"Since you have massacred all the bears," said Iglesias, "I will go lay
me down in their lair in the barn. If you find me cheek-by-jowl with
Ursa Major when you come back, make a pun and he will go."

It was stiller than stillness upon the lake. Ripogenus, it seemed, had
never listened to such silence as this. Calm never could have been so
beyond the notion of calm. Stars in the empyrean and stars in Ripogenus
winked at each other across ninety-nine billions of leagues as
uninterruptedly as boys at a boarding-school table.

I knelt amidships in the birch with gun and rifle on either side. The
pilot gave one stroke of his paddle, and we floated out upon what seemed
the lake. Whatever we were poised and floating upon he hesitated to
shatter with another dip of his paddle, lest he should shatter the thin
basis and sink toward heaven and the stars.

Presently the silence seemed to demand gentle violence, and the
unwavering water needed slight tremors to teach it the tenderness of its
calm; then my guide used his blade, and cut into glassiness. We crept
noiselessly along by the lake-edge, within the shadows of the pines.
With never a plash we slid. Rare drops fell from the cautious paddle
and tinkled on the surface, overshot, not parted by, our imponderable
passage. Sometimes from far within the forest would come sounds of
rustling branches or crackling twigs. Somebody of life approaches with
stealthy tread. Gentlier, even gentlier, my steersman! Take up no pearly
drop from the lake, mother of pearliness, lest falling it sound too
loudly. Somewhat comes. Let it come unterrified to our ambush among the
shadows by the shore.

Somewhat, something, somebody was coming, perhaps, but some other thing
or body thwarted it and it came not. To glide over glassiness while
uneventful moments link themselves into hours is monotonous. Night and
stillness laid their soothing spell upon me. I was entranced. I lost
myself out of time and space, and seemed to be floating unimpelled and
purposeless, nowhere in Forever.

Somewhere in Now I suddenly found myself.

There he was! There was the moose trampling and snorting hard-by, in the
shallows of Ripogenus, trampling out of being the whole nadir of stars,
making the world conscious of its lost silence by the death of silence
in tumult.

I trembled with sudden eagerness. I seized my gun. In another instant
I should have lodged the fatal pellet! when a voice whispered over my
shoulder,--

"I kinder guess yer 've ben asleep an' dreamin', ha'n't yer?"

So I had.

Never a moose came down to cool his clumsy snout in the water and
swallow reflections of stars. Never a moose abandoned dry-browse in the
bitter woods for succulent lily-pads, full in their cells and veins of
water and sunlight. Till long past midnight we paddled and watched and
listened, whisperless. In vain. At last, as we rounded a point, the
level gleam of our dying camp-fire athwart the water reminded us of
passing hours and traveller duties, of rest to-night and toil to-morrow.

My companions, fearless as if there were no bears this side of Ursa
Major, were bivouacked in one of the barns. There I entered skulkingly,
as a gameless hunter may, and hid my untrophied head beneath a mound of
ancient hay, not without the mustiness of its age.

No one clawed us, no one chawed us, that night. A Ripogenus chill awaked
the whole party with early dawn. We sprang from our nests, shook the
hay-seed out of our hair, and were full-dressed without more ceremony,
ready for whatever grand sensation Nature might purvey for our aesthetic
breakfast.

Nothing is ever as we expect. When we stepped into out-of-doors, looking
for Ripogenus, a lake of Maine, we found not a single aquatic fact in
the landscape. Ripogenus, a lake, had mizzled, (as the Americans say,)
literally mizzled. Our simplified view comprised a grassy hill with
barns, and a stern positive pyramid, surely Katahdin; aloft, beyond,
above, below, thither, hither, and yon, Fog, not fog, but FOG.

Ripogenus, the water-body, had had aspirations, and a boon of brief
transfiguration into a cloud-body had been granted it by Nature, who
grants to every terrestrial essence prophetic experiences of what it one
day would be.

In short, and to repeat, Ripogenus had transmuted itself into vapor, and
filled the valley full to our feet. A faint wind had power to billow
this mist-lake, and drive cresting surges up against the eastern
hill-side, over which they sometimes broke, and, involving it totally,
rolled clear and free toward Katahdin, where he stood hiding the glows
of sunrise. Leagues higher up than the mountain rested a presence of
cirri, already white and luminous with full daylight, and from them
drooped linking wreaths of orange mist, clinging to the rosy-violet
granite of the peak.

Up clomb and sailed Ripogenus and befogged the whole; then we
condescended to breakfast.


CHAPTER XI.

TOWARD KATAHDIN.


Singularly enough, mill-dams are always found below mill-ponds.
Analogously in the Maine rivers, below the lakes, rapids are. Rapids
too often compel carries. While we breakfasted without steak of bear
or cutlet of moose, Ripogenus gradually retracted itself, and became
conscious again of what poetry there is in a lake's pause and a rapid's
flow. Fog condensed into water, and water submitting to its destiny went
cascading down through a wild defile where no birch could follow.

The Ripogenus carry is three miles long, a faint path through thickets.

"First half," said Cancut, "'s plain enough; but after that 't would
take a philosopher with his spectacles on to find it."

This was discouraging. Philosophers twain we might deem ourselves; but
what is a craftsman without tools? And never a goggle had we.

But the trappers of muskrats had become our fast friends. They insisted
upon lightening our loads over the brambly league. This was kindly.
Cancut's elongated head-piece, the birch, was his share of the burden;
and a bag of bread, a firkin of various grub, damp blankets for three,
and multitudinous traps, seemed more than two could carry at one trip
over this longest and roughest of portages.

We paddled from the camp to the lake-foot, and there, while the others
compacted the portables for portage, Iglesias and I, at cost of a
ducking with mist-drops from the thickets, scrambled up a crag for a
supreme view of the fair lake and the clear mountain. And we did
well. Katahdin, from the hill guarding the exit of the Penobscot from
Ripogenus, is eminent and emphatic, a signal and solitary pyramid,
grander than any below the realms of the unchangeable, more distinctly
mountainous than any mountain of those that stop short of the venerable
honors of eternal snow.

We trod the trail, we others, easier than Cancut. He found it hard to
thread the mazes of an overgrown path and navigate his canoe at the
same time. "Better," thought he, as he staggered and plunged and bumped
along, extricating his boat-bonnet now from a bower of raspberry-bushes,
now from the branches of a brotherly birch-tree,--"better," thought he,
"were I seated in what I bear, and bounding gayly over the billow. Peril
is better than pother."

Bushwhacking thus for a league, we circumvented the peril, and came upon
the river flowing fair and free. The trappers said adieu, and launched
us. Back then they went to consult their traps and flay their fragrant
captives, and we shot forward.

That was a day all poetry and all music. Mountain airs bent and blunted
the noonday sunbeams. There was shade of delicate birches on either
hand, whenever we loved to linger. Our feather-shallop went dancing
on, fleet as the current, and whenever a passion for speed came after
moments of luxurious sloth, we could change floating at the river's
will into leaps and chasing, with a few strokes of the paddle. All was
untouched, unvisited wilderness, and we from bend to bend the first
discoverers. So we might fancy ourselves; for civilization had been
here only to cut pines, not to plant houses. Yet these fair curves, and
liberal reaches, and bright rapids of the birchen-bowered river were
only solitary, not lonely. It is never lonely with Nature. Without
unnatural men or unnatural beasts, she is capital society by herself.
And so we found her,--a lovely being in perfect toilet, which I
describe, in an indiscriminating, masculine way, by saying that it was a
forest and a river and lakes and a mountain and doubtless sky, all made
resplendent by her judicious disposition of a most becoming light.
Iglesias and I, being old friends, were received into close intimacy.
She smiled upon us unaffectedly, and had a thousand exquisite things to
say, drawing us out also, with feminine tact, to say our best things,
and teaching us to be conscious, in her presence, of more delicate
possibilities of refinement and a tenderer poetic sense. So we voyaged
through the sunny hours, and were happy.

Yet there was no monotony in our progress. We could not always drift and
glide. Sometimes we must fight our way. Below the placid reaches were
the inevitable "rips" and rapids: some we could shoot without hitting
anything; some would hit us heavily, did we try to shoot. Whenever
the rocks in the current were only as thick as the plums in a
boarding-school pudding, we could venture to run the gantlet; whenever
they multiplied to a school-boy's ideal, we were arrested. Just at the
brink of peril we would sweep in by an eddy into a shady pool by the
shore. At such spots we found a path across the carry. Cancut at once
proceeded to bonnet himself with the trickling birch. Iglesias and I
took up the packs and hurried on with minds intent on berries. Berries
we always found,--blueberries covered with a cloudy bloom, blueberries
pulpy, saccharine, plenteous.

Often, when a portage was not quite necessary, a dangerous bit of white
water would require the birch to be lightened. Cancut must steer her
alone over the foam, while we, springing ashore, raced through the thick
of the forest, tore through the briers, and plunged through the punk of
trees older than history, now rotting where they fell, slain by Time the
Giganticide. Cancut then had us at advantage. Sometimes we had laughed
at him, when he, a good-humored malaprop, made vague clutches at the
thread of discourse. Now suppose he should take a fancy to drop down
stream and leave us. What then? Berries then, and little else, unless we
had a chance at a trout or a partridge. It is not cheery, but dreary, to
be left in pathlessness, blanketless, guideless, and with breadths of
lake and mountain and Nature, shaggy and bearish, between man and man.
With the consciousness of a latent shudder in our hearts at such a
possibility, we parted brier and bramble until the rapid was passed, we
scuffled hastily through to the river-bank, and there always, in some
quiet nook, was a beacon of red-flannel shirt among the green leaves
over the blue and shadowy water, and always the fast-sailing Cancut
awaiting us, making the woods resound to amicable hails, and ready again
to be joked and to retaliate.

Such alternations made our voyage a charming olla. We had the placid
glide, the fleet dash, the wild career, the pause, the landing,
the agreeable interlude of a portage, and the unburdened stampede
along-shore. Thus we won our way, or our way wooed us on, until, in
early afternoon, a lovely lakelet opened before us. The fringed
shores retired, and, as we shot forth upon wider calm, lo, Katahdin!
unlooked-for, at last, as a revolution. Our boat ruffled its shadow,
doing pretty violence to its dignity, that we might know the greater
grandeur of the substance. There was a gentle agency of atmosphere
softening the bold forms of this startling neighbor, and giving it
distance, lest we might fear it would topple and crush us. Clouds, level
below, hid the summit and towered aloft. Among them we might imagine the
mountain rising with thousands more of feet of heaven-piercing height:
there is one degree of sublimity in mystery, as there is another degree
in certitude.

We lay to in a shady nook, just off Katahdin's reflection in the river,
while Iglesias sketched him. Meanwhile I, analyzing my view, presently
discovered a droll image in the track of a land-avalanche down the
front. It was a comical fellow, a little giant, a colossal dwarf, six
hundred feet high, and should have been thrice as tall, had it had any
proper development,--for out of his head grew two misdirected skeleton
legs, "hanging down and dangling." The countenance was long, elfin,
sneering, solemn, as of a truculent demon, saddish for his trade, an
ashamed, but unrepentant rascal. He had two immense erect ears, and in
his boisterous position had suffered a loss of hair, wearing nothing
save an impudent scalp-lock. A very grotesque personage. Was he the
guardian imp, the legendary Eft of Katahdin, scoffing already at us as
verdant, and warning that he would make us unhappy, if we essayed to
appear in demon realms and on Brocken heights without initiation?

"A terrible pooty mountain," Cancut observed; and so it is.

Not to fail in topographical duty, I record, that near this lakelet
flows in the river Sowadehunk, and not far below, a sister streamlet,
hardly less melodiously named Ayboljockameegus. Opposite the latter we
landed and encamped, with Katahdin full in front, and broadly visible.


CHAPTER XII.

CAMP KATAHDIN.


Our camping-place was worthy of its view. On the bank, high and dry, a
noble yellow birch had been strong enough to thrust back the forest,
making a glade for its own private abode. Other travellers had already
been received in this natural pavilion. We had had predecessors, and
they had built them a hut, a half roof of hemlock bark, resting on a
frame. Time had developed the wrinkles in this covering into cracks, and
cracks only wait to be leaks. First, then, we must mend our mansion.
Material was at hand; hemlocks, with a back-load of bark, stood ready to
be disburdened. In August they have worn their garment so long that they
yield it unwillingly. Cancut's axe, however, was insinuating, not to
say peremptory. He peeled off and brought great scales of rough
purple roofing, and we disposed them, according to the laws of
forest architecture, upon our cabin. It became a good example of the
_renaissance_. Storm, if such a traveller were approaching, was shut
out at top and sides; our blankets could become curtains in front and
completely hide us from that unwelcome vagrant, should he peer about
seeking whom he might duck and what he might damage.

Our lodge, built, must be furnished. We need a luxurious carpet, couch,
and bed; and if we have these, will be content without secondary
articles. Here, too, material was ready, and only the artist wanting, to
use it. While Cancut peeled the hemlocks, Iglesias and I stripped off
armfuls of boughs and twigs from the spruces to "bough down" our camp.
"Boughing down" is shingling the floor elaborately with evergreen
foliage; and when it is done well, the result counts among the high
luxuries of the globe. As the feathers of this bed are harsh stems
covered with leafage, the process of bed-making must be systematic, the
stems thoroughly covered, and the surface smooth and elastic. I have
slept on the various beds of the world,--in a hammock, in a pew, on
German feathers, on a bear-skin, on a mat, on a hide; all, all give but
a feeble, restless, unrecreating slumber, compared to the spruce or
hemlock bed in a forest of Maine. This is fragrant, springy, soft,
well-fitting, better than any Sybarite's coach of uncrumpled
rose-leaves. It sweetly rustles when you roll, and, by a gentle
titillation with the little javelin-leaves, keeps up a pleasant
electricity over the cuticle. Rheumatism never, after nights on such a
bed; agues never; vigor, ardor, fervor, always.

We despatched our camp-building and bed-making with speed, for we had
a purpose. The Penobscot was a very beautiful river, and the
Ayboljockameegus a very pretty stream; and if there is one place in the
world where trout, at certain seasons, are likely to be found, it is in
a beautiful river at the mouth of a pretty stream. Now we wanted trout;
it was in the programme that something more delicate than salt-pork
should grace our banquets before Katahdin. Cancut sustained our _a
priori_, that trout were waiting for us over by the Aybol. By this
time the tree-shadows, so stiff at noon, began to relax and drift down
stream, cooling the surface. The trout could leave their shy lairs
down in the chilly deeps, and come up without fear of being parboiled.
Besides, as evening came, trout thought of their supper, as we did of
ours.

Hereupon I had a new sensation. We made ready our flies and our rods,
and embarked, as I supposed, to be ferried across and fish from _terra
firma_. But no. Cancut dropped anchor very quietly opposite the Aybol's
mouth. Iglesias, the man of Maine experience, seemed nought surprised.
We were to throw our lines, as it appeared, from the birch; we were to
peril our lives on the unsteady basis of a roly-poly vessel,--to keep
our places and ballast our bowl, during the excitement of hooking
pounds. Self-poise is an acrobatic feat, when a person, not loaded at
the heels, undertakes trout-fishing from a birch.

We threw our flies. Instantly at the lucky hackle something darted,
seized it, and whirled to fly, with the unwholesome bit in its mouth, up
the peaceful Ayboljockameegus. But the lucky man, and he happened to be
the novice, forgot, while giving the capturing jerk of his hook, that
his fulcrum was not solid rock. The slight shell tilted, turned--over
not quite, over enough to give everybody a start. One lesson teaches the
docile. Caution thereafter presided over our fishing. She told us to sit
low, keep cool, cast gently, strike firmly, play lightly, and pull in
steadily. So we did. As the spotted sparklers were rapidly translated
from water to a lighter element, a well-fed cheerfulness developed in
our trio. We could not speak, for fear of breaking the spell; we smiled
at each other. Twenty-three times the smile went round. Twenty-three
trout, and not a pigmy among them, lay at our feet. More fish for one
dinner and breakfast would be waste and wanton self-indulgence. We
stopped. And I must avow, not to claim too much heroism, that the fish
had also stopped. So we paddled home contented.

Then, O Walton! O Davy! O Scrope! ye fishers hard by taverns! luxury was
ours of which ye know no more than a Chinaman does of music. Under
the noble yellow birch we cooked our own fish. We used our scanty
kitchen-battery with skill. We cooked with the high art of simplicity.
Where Nature has done her best, only fools rush in to improve: on the
salmonids, fresh and salt, she has lavished her creative refinements;
cookery should only ripen and develop. From our silver gleaming pile
of pounders, we chose the larger and the smaller for appropriate
experiments. Then we tested our experiments; we tasted our examples.
Success. And success in science proves knowledge and skill. We feasted.
The delicacy of our food made each feaster a finer essence.

So we supped, reclined upon our couch of spruce-twigs. In our good cheer
we pitied the Eft of Katahdin: he might sneer, but he was supperless. We
were grateful to Nature for the grand mountain, for the fair and sylvan
woods, for the lovely river and what it had yielded us.

By the time we had finished our flaky fare and sipped our chocolate from
the Magdalena, Night announced herself,--Night, a jealous, dark lady,
eclipsed and made invisible all her rivals, that she might solely
possess us. Night's whispers lulled us. The rippling river, the rustling
leaves, the hum of insects grew more audible; and these are gentle
sounds that prove wide quietude in Nature, and tell man that the burr
and buzz in his day-laboring brain have ceased, and he had better be
breathing deep in harmony. So we disposed ourselves upon the fragrant
couch of spruce-boughs, and sank slowly and deeper into sleep, as divers
sink into the thick waters down below, into the dreamy waters far below
the plunge of sunshine.

By-and-by, as the time came for rising to the surface again, and the
mind began to be half conscious of facts without it, as the diver may
half perceive light through thinning strata of sea, there penetrated
through my last layers of slumber a pungent odor of wetted embers. It
was raining quietly. Drip was the pervading sound, as if the rain-drops
were counting aloud the leaves of the forest. Evidently a resolute and
permanent wetting impended. On rainy days one does not climb Katahdin.
Instead of rising by starlight, breakfasting by gray, and starting by
rosy dawn, it would be policy to persuade night to linger long into the
hours of a dull day. When daylight finally came, dim and sulky, there
was no rivalry among us which should light the fire. We did not leap,
but trickled slowly forth into the inhospitable morning, all forlorn.
Wet days in camp try "grit." "Clear grit" brightens more crystalline,
the more it is rained upon; sham grit dissolves into mud and water.

Yankees, who take in pulverized granite with every breath of their
native dust, are not likely to melt in a drizzle. We three certainly
did not. We reacted stoutly against the forlorn weather, unpacking our
internal stores of sunshine, as a camel in a desert draws water from his
inner tank when outer water fails. We made the best of it. A breakfast
of trout and trimmings looks nearly as well and tastes nearly as well in
a fog as in a glare: that we proved by experience at Camp Katahdin.

We could not climb the mountain dark and dim; we would not be idle: what
was to be done? Much. Much for sport and for use. We shouldered the
axe and sallied into the dripping forest. Only a faint smoke from the
smouldering logs curled up among the branches of the yellow birch over
camp. We wanted a big smoke, and chopped at the woods for fuel. Speaking
for myself, I should say that our wood-work was ill done. Iglesias
smiled at my axe-handling, and Cancut at his, as chopping we sent chips
far and wide.

The busy, keen, short strokes of the axe resounded through the forest.
When these had done their work, and the bungler paused amid his wasteful
_debris_ to watch his toil's result, first was heard a rustle of leaves,
as if a passing whirlwind had alighted there; next came the crack of
bursting sinews; then the groan of a great riving spasm, and the tree,
decapitated at its foot, crashed to earth, with a vain attempt to clutch
for support at the stiff, unpitying arms of its woodland brotherhood.

Down was the tree,--fallen, but so it should not lie. This tree we
proposed to promote from brute matter, mere lumber, downcast and
dejected, into finer essence: fuel was to be made into fire.

First, however, the fuel must be put into portable shape. We top-sawyers
went at our prostrate and vanquished non-resistant, and without mercy
mangled and dismembered him, until he was merely a bare trunk, a torso
incapable of restoration.

While we were thus busy, useful, and happy, the dripping rain, like a
clepsydra, told off the morning moments. The dinner-hour drew nigh. We
had determined on a feast, and trout were to be its daintiest dainty.
But before we cooked our trout, we must, according to sage Kitchener's
advice, catch our trout. They were, we felt confident, awaiting us in
the refrigerate larder at hand. We waited until the confusing pepper of
a shower had passed away and left the water calm. Then softly and deftly
we propelled our bark across to the Ayboljockameegus. We tossed to the
fish humbugs of wool, silk, and feathers, gauds such as captivate the
greedy or the guileless. Again the "gobemouches" trout, the fellows
on the look-out for novelty, dashed up and swallowed disappointing
juiceless morsels, and with them swallowed hooks.

We caught an apostolic boat-load of beauties fresh and blooming
as Aurora, silver as the morning star, gemmy with eye-spots as a
tiger-lily.

O feast most festal! Iglesias, of course, was the great artist who
devised and mainly executed it. As well as he could, he covered his pot
and pan from the rain, admitting only enough to season each dish with
gravy direct from the skies. As day had ripened, the banquet grew ripe.
Then as day declined, we reclined on our triclinium of hemlock and
spruce boughs, and made high festival, toasting each other in the
uninebriating flow of our beverages. Jollity reigned. Cancut fattened,
and visibly broadened. Toward the veriest end of the banquet, we seemed
to feel that there had been a slight sameness in its courses. The Bill
of Fare, however, proved the freest variety. And at the close we sat and
sipped our chocolate with uttermost content. No _garçon_, cringing, but
firm, would here intrude with the unhandsome bill. Nothing to pay is the
rarest of pleasures. This dinner we had caught ourselves, we had cooked
ourselves, and had eaten for the benefit of ourselves and no other.
There was nothing to repent of afterwards in the way of extravagance,
and certainly nothing of indigestion. Indigestion in the forest
primeval, in the shadow of Katahdin, is impossible.

While we dined, we talked of our to-morrow's climb of Katahdin. We were
hopeful. We disbelieved in obstacles. To-morrow would be fine. We would
spring early from our elastic bed and stride topwards. Iglesias nerved
himself and me with a history of his ascent some years before, up the
eastern side of the mountain. He had left the house of Mr. Hunt, the
outsider at that time of Eastern Maine, with a squad of lumbermen, and
with them tramped up the furrow of a land-avalanche to the top, spending
wet and ineffective days in the dripping woods, and vowing then to
return and study the mountain from our present camping-spot. I recalled
also the first recorded ascent of the Natardin or Catardin Mountain by
Mr. Turner in 1804, printed in the Massachusetts Historical Society's
Collections, and identified the stream up whose valley he climbed with
the Ayboljockameegus. Cancut offered valuable contributions to our
knowledge from his recent ascent with our Boston predecessors. To-morrow
we would verify our recollections and our fancies.

And so good-night, and to our spruce bed.


CHAPTER XIII.

UP KATAHDIN.


Next morning, when we awoke, just before the gray of dawn, the sky was
clear and scintillating; but there was a white cotton night-cap on
the head of Katahdin. As we inspected him, he drew his night-cap down
farther, hinting that he did not wish to see the sun that day. When
a mountain is thus in the sulks after a storm, it is as well not to
disturb him: he will not offer the prize of a view. Experience taught us
this: but then experience is only an empiric at the best.

Besides, whether Katahdin were bare-headed or cloud-capped, it would be
better to blunder upward than lounge all day in camp and eat Sybaritic
dinners. We longed for the nervy climb. We must have it. "Up!" said
tingling blood to brain. "Dash through the forest! Grasp the crag, and
leap the cleft! Sweet flash forth the streamlets from granite fissures.
To breathe the winds that smite the peaks is life."

As soon as dawn bloomed in the woods we breakfasted, and ferried the
river before sunrise. The ascent subdivides itself into five zones. 1. A
scantily wooded acclivity, where bears abound. 2. A dense, swampy forest
region. 3. Steep, mossy mountain-side, heavily wooded. 4. A belt of
dwarf spruces, nearly impenetrable. 5. Ragged rock.

Cancut was our leader to-day. There are by far too many blueberries in
the first zone. No one, of course, intends to dally, but the purple
beauties tempted, and too often we were seduced. Still such yielding
spurred us on to hastier speed, when we looked up after delay and saw
the self-denying far ahead.

To write an epic or climb a mountain is merely a dogged thing; the
result is more interesting to most than the process. Mountains, being
cloud-compellers, are rain-shedders, and the shed water will not always
flow with decorous gayety in dell or glen. Sometimes it stays bewildered
in a bog, and here the climber must plunge. In the moist places great
trees grow, die, fall, rot, and barricade the way with their corpses.
Katahdin has to endure all the ills of mountain being, and we had all
the usual difficulties to fight through doggedly. When we were clumsy,
we tumbled and rose up torn. Still we plodded on, following a path
blazed by the Bostonians, Cancut's late charge, and we grumblingly
thanked them.

Going up, we got higher and drier. The mountain-side became steeper than
it could stay, and several land-avalanches, ancient or modern, crossed
our path. It would be sad to think that all the eternal hills were
crumbling thus, outwardly, unless we knew that they bubble up inwardly
as fast. Posterity is thus cared for in regard to the picturesque.
Cascading streams also shot by us, carrying light and music. From
them we stole refreshment, and did not find the waters mineral and
astringent, as Mr. Turner, the first climber, calumniously asserts.

The trees were still large and surprisingly parallel to the mountain
wall. Deep soft moss covered whatever was beneath, and sometimes this
would yield and let the foot measure a crevice. Perilous pitfalls; but
we clambered unharmed. The moss, so rich, deep, soft, and earthily
fragrant, was a springy stair-carpet of a steep stairway. And sometimes
when the carpet slipped and the state of heels over head seemed
imminent, we held to the baluster-trees, as one after wassail clings to
the lamp-post.

Even on this minor mountain the law of diminishing vegetation can be
studied. The great trees abandoned us, and stayed indolently down in
shelter. Next the little wiry trees ceased to be the comrades of our
climb. They were no longer to be seen planted upon jutting crags, and,
bold as standard-bearers, inciting us to mount higher. Big spruces,
knobby with balls of gum, dwindled away into little ugly dwarf spruces,
hostile, as dwarfs are said to be always, to human comfort. They grew
man-high, and hedged themselves together into a dense thicket. We could
not go under, nor over, nor through. To traverse them at all, we must
recall the period when we were squirrels or cats, in some former state
of being.

Somehow we pierced, as man does ever, whether he owes it to the beast or
the man in him. From time to time, when in this struggle we came to an
open point of rock, we would remember that we were on high, and turn to
assure ourselves that nether earth was where we had left it. We always
found it _in situ_, in belts green, white, and blue, a tricolor of
woods, water, and sky. Lakes were there without number, forest without
limit. We could not analyze yet, for there was work to do. Also,
whenever we paused, there was the old temptation, blueberries. Every
out-cropping ledge offered store of tonic, ozone-fed blueberries, or
of mountain-cranberries, crimson and of concentrated flavor, or of the
white snowberry, most delicate of fruits that grow.

As we were creeping over the top of the dwarf wood, Cancut, who was in
advance, suddenly disappeared; he seemed to fall through a gap in the
spruces, and we heard his voice calling in cavernous tones. We crawled
forward and looked over. It was the upper camp of the Bostonians. They
had profited by a hole in the rocks, and chopped away the stunted scrubs
to enlarge it into a snug artificial abyss. It was snug, and so to the
eye is a cell at Sing-Sing. If they were very misshapen Bostonians, they
may have succeeded in lying there comfortably. I looked down ten feet
into the rough chasm, and I saw, _Corpo di Bacco!_ I saw a cork.

To this station our predecessors had come in an easy day's walk from the
river; here they had tossed through a night, and given a whole day to
finish the ascent, returning hither again for a second night. As we
purposed to put all this travel within one day, we could not stay and
sympathize with the late tenants. A little more squirrel-like skipping
and cat-like creeping over the spruces, and we were out among bulky
boulders and rough _débris_ on a shoulder of the mountain. Alas! the
higher, the more hopeless. Katahdin, as he had taken pains to inform us,
meant to wear the veil all day. He was drawing down the white drapery
about his throat and letting it fall over his shoulders. Sun and wind
struggled mightily with his sulky fit; sunshine rifted off bits of the
veil, and wind seized, whirled them away, and, dragging them over the
spruces below, tore them to rags. Evidently, if we wished to see the
world, we must stop here and survey, before the growing vapor covered
all. We climbed to the edge of Cloudland, and stood fronting the
semicircle of southward view.

Katahdin's self is finer than what Katahdin sees. Katahdin is distinct,
and its view is indistinct. It is a vague panorama, a mappy, unmethodic
maze of water and woods, very roomy, very vast, very simple,--and these
are capital qualities, but also quite monotonous. A lover of largeness
and scope has the proper emotions stirred, but a lover of variety very
soon finds himself counting the lakes. It is a wide view, and it is a
proud thing for a man six feet or less high, to feel that he himself,
standing on something he himself has climbed, and having Katahdin under
his feet a mere convenience, can see all Maine. It does not make Maine
less, but the spectator more, and that is a useful moral result. Maine's
face, thus exposed, has almost no features: there are no great mountains
visible, none that seem more than green hillocks in the distance.
Besides sky, Katahdin's view contains only the two primal necessities
of wood and water. Nowhere have I seen such breadth of solemn forest,
gloomy, were it not for the cheerful interruption of many fair lakes,
and bright ways of river linking them.

Far away on the southern horizon we detected the heights of Mount
Desert, our old familiar haunt. All the northern semicircle was lost to
us by the fog. We lost also the view of the mountain itself. All the
bleak, lonely, barren, ancient waste of the bare summit was shrouded
in cold fog. The impressive gray ruin and Titanic havoc of a granite
mountain top, the heaped boulders, the crumbling crags, the crater-like
depression, the long stern reaches of sierra, the dark curving slopes
channelled and polished by the storms and fine drifting mists of aeons,
the downright plunge of precipices, all the savageness of harsh rock,
unsoftened by other vegetation than rusty moss and the dull green
splashes of lichen, all this was hidden, except when the mist, white and
delicate where we stood, but thick and black above, opened whimsically
and delusively, as mountain mists will do, and gave us vistas into the
upper desolation. After such momentary rifts the mist thickened again,
and swooped forward as if to involve our station, but noon sunshine,
reverberated from the plains and valleys and lakes below, was our
ally; sunshine checked the overcoming mist, and it stayed overhead, an
unwelcome parasol, making our August a chilly November. Besides what our
eyes lost, our minds lost, unless they had imagination enough to create
it, the sentiment of triumph and valiant energy that the man of body and
soul feels upon the windy heights, the highest, whence he looks far and
wide, like a master of realms, and knows that the world is his; and they
lost the sentiment of solemn joy that the man of soul recognizes as one
of the surest intimations of immortality, stirring within him, whenever
he is in the unearthly regions, the higher world.

We stayed studying the pleasant solitude and dreamy breadth of
Katahdin's panorama for a long time, and every moment the mystery of the
mist above grew more enticing. Pride also was awakened. We turned
from sunshine and Cosmos into fog and Chaos. We made ourselves quite
miserable for nought. We clambered up into Nowhere, into a great, white,
ghostly void. We saw nothing but the rough surfaces we trod. We pressed
along crater-like edges, and all below was filled with mist, troubled
and rushing upward like the smoke of a volcano. Up we went,--nothing but
granite and gray dimness. Where we arrived we know not. It was a top,
certainly: that was proved by the fact that there was nothing within
sight. We cannot claim that it was the topmost top; Kimchinjinga might
have towered within pistol-shot; popgun-shot was our extremest range of
vision, except for one instant, when a kind-hearted sunbeam gave us
a vanishing glimpse of a white lake and breadth of forest far in the
unknown North toward Canada.

When we had thus reached the height of our folly and made nothing by it,
we addressed ourselves to the descent, no wiser for our pains. Descent
is always harder than ascent, for divine ambitions are stronger and
more prevalent than degrading passions. And when Katahdin is befogged,
descent is much more perilous than ascent. We edged along very
cautiously by remembered landmarks the way we had come, and so, after
a dreary march of a mile or so through desolation, issued into welcome
sunshine and warmth at our point of departure. When I said "we," I did
not include the grave-stone peddler. He, like a sensible fellow, had
determined to stay and eat berries rather than breathe fog. While we
wasted our time, he had made the most of his. He had cleared Katahdin's
shoulders of fruit, and now, cuddled in a sunny cleft, slept the sleep
of the well-fed. His red shirt was a cheerful beacon on our weary way.
We took in the landscape with one slow, comprehensive look, and, waking
Cancut suddenly, (who sprang to his feet amazed, and cried "Fire!") we
dashed down the mountain-side.

It was long after noon; we were some dozen of miles from camp; we must
speed. No glissade was possible, nor plunge such as travellers make down
through the ash-heaps of Vesuvius; but, having once worried through the
wretched little spruces, mean counterfeits of trees, we could fling
ourselves down from mossy step to step, measuring off the distance by
successive leaps of a second each, and alighting, sound after each, on
moss yielding as a cushion.

On we hastened, retracing our footsteps of the morning across the
avalanches of crumbled granite, through the bogs, along the brooks;
undelayed by the beauty of sunny glade or shady dell, never stopping to
botanize or to classify, we traversed zone after zone, and safely ran
the gantlet of the possible bears on the last level. We found lowland
Nature still the same; Ayboljockameegus was flowing still; so was
Penobscot; no pirate had made way with the birch; we embarked and
paddled to camp.

The first thing, when we touched _terra firma_, was to look back
regretfully toward the mountain. Regret changed to wrath, when we
perceived its summit all clear and mistless, smiling warmly to the
low summer's sun. The rascal evidently had only waited until we were
out of sight in the woods to throw away his night-cap.

One long rainy day had somewhat disgusted us with the old
hemlock-covered camp in the glade of the yellow birch, and we were
reasonably and not unreasonably morbid after our disappointment with
Katahdin. We resolved to decamp. In the last hour of sunlight, floating
pleasantly from lovely reach to reach, and view to view, we could choose
a spot of bivouac where no home-scenery would recall any sorry fact of
the past. We loved this gentle gliding by the tender light of evening
over the shadowy river, marking the rhythm of our musical progress by
touches of the paddle. We determined, too, that the balance of bodily
forces should be preserved: legs had been well stretched over the bogs
and boulders; now for the arms. Never did our sylvan sojourn look so
fair as when we quitted it, and seemed to see among the streaming
sunbeams in the shadows the Hamadryads of the spot returned, and
waving us adieux. We forgot how damp and leaks and puddles had forced
themselves upon our intimacy there; we remembered that we were gay,
though wet, and there had known the perfection of Ayboljockameegus
trout.

As we drifted along the winding river, between the shimmering birches on
either bank, Katahdin watched us well. Sometimes he would show the point
of his violet gray peak over the woods, and sometimes, at a broad bend
of the water, he revealed himself fully--and threw his great image down
beside for our nearer view. We began to forgive him, to disbelieve in
any personal spite of his, and to recall that he himself, seen thus, was
far more precious than any mappy dulness we could have seen from his
summit. One great upright pyramid like this was worth a continent of
grovelling acres.

Sunset came, and with it we landed at a point below a lake-like stretch
of the river, where the charms of a neighbor and a distant view of the
mountain combined. Cancut the Unwearied roofed with boughs an old frame
for drying moose-hides, while Iglesias sketched, and I worshipped
Katahdin. Has my reader heard enough of it,--a hillock only six thousand
feet high? We are soon to drift away, and owe it here as kindly a
farewell as it gave us in that radiant twilight by the river.

From our point of view we raked the long stern front tending westward.
Just before sunset, from beneath a belt of clouds evanescing over the
summit, an inconceivably tender, brilliant glow of rosy violet mantled
downward, filling all the valley. Then the violet purpled richer and
richer, and darkened slowly to solemn blue, that blended with the gloom
of the pines and shadowy channelled gorges down the steep. The peak
was still in sunlight, and suddenly, half way down, a band of roseate
clouds, twining and changing like a choir of Bacchantes, soared around
the western edge and hung poised above the unillumined forests at the
mountain-base; light as air they came and went and faded away, ghostly,
after their work of momentary beauty was done. One slight maple,
prematurely ripened to crimson and heralding the pomp of autumn,
repeated the bright cloud-color amid the vivid verdure of a little
island, and its image wavering in the water sent the flame floating
nearly to our feet.

Such are the transcendent moments of Nature, unseen and disbelieved by
the untaught. The poetic soul lays hold of every such tender pageant of
beauty and keeps it forever. Iglesias, having an additional method of
preservation, did not fail to pencil rapidly the wondrous scene. When
he had finished his dashing sketch of this glory, so transitory, he
peppered the whole with cabalistic cipher, which only he could interpret
into beauty.

Cancut's camp-fire now began to overpower the faint glimmers of
twilight. The single-minded Cancut, little distracted by emotions, had
heaped together logs enough to heat any mansion for a winter. The warmth
was welcome, and the great flame, with its bright looks of familiar
comradery, and its talk like the complex murmur of a throng, made a
fourth in our party by no means terrible, as some other incorporeal
visitors might have been. Fire was not only a talker, but an important
actor: Fire cooked for us our evening chocolate; Fire held the
candlestick, while we, without much ceremony of undressing, disposed
ourselves upon our spruce-twig couch; and Fire watched over our
slumbers, crouching now as if some stealthy step were approaching, now
lifting up its head and peering across the river into some recess where
the water gleamed and rustled under dark shadows, and now sending far
and wide over the stream and the clearing and into every cleft of the
forest a penetrating illumination, a blaze of light, death to all
treacherous ambush. So Fire watched while we slept, and when safety came
with the earliest gray of morning, it, too, covered itself with ashes
and slept.


CHAPTER XIV.

HOMEWARD.


Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful is dawn in the woods. Sweet the first
opalescent stir, as if the vanguard sunbeams shivered as they dashed
along the chilly reaches of night. And the growth of day, through violet
and rose and all its golden glow of promise, is tender and tenderly
strong, as the deepening passions of dawning love. Presently up comes
the sun very peremptory, and says to people, "Go about your business!
Laggards not allowed in Maine! Nothing here to repent of, while you
lie in bed and curse to-day because it cannot shake off the burden of
yesterday; all clear the past here; all serene the future; into it at
once!"

Birch was ready for us. Objects we travel on, if horses, often stampede
or are stampeded; if wagons, they break down; if shanks, they stiffen;
if feet, they chafe. No such trouble befalls Birch; leak, however, it
will, as ours did this morning. We gently beguiled it into the position
taken tearfully by unwhipped little boys, when they are about to receive
birch. Then, with a firebrand, the pitch of the seams was easily
persuaded to melt and spread a little over the leaky spot, and Birch was
sound as a drum.

Staunch and sound Birch needed to be, for presently Penobscot, always a
skittish young racer, began to grow lively after he had shaken off the
weighty shadow of Katahdin, and, kicking up his heels, went galloping
down hill, so furiously that we were at last, after sundry frantic
plunges, compelled to get off his back before worse befell us. In the
balmy morning we made our first portage through a wood of spruces.
How light our firkin was growing! its pork, its hard-tack, and its
condiments were diffused among us three, and had passed into muscle.
Lake Degetus, as pretty a pocket lake as there is, followed the carry.
Next came Lake Ambajeejus, larger, but hardly less lovely. Those who
dislike long names may use its shorter Indian title, Umdo. We climbed a
granite crag draped with moss long as the beard of a Druid,--a crag on
the south side of Ambajeejus or Umdo. Thence we saw Katahdin, noble as
ever, unclouded in the sunny morning, near, and yet enchantingly vague,
with the blue sky which surrounded it. It was still an isolate pyramid
rising with no effect from the fair blue lakes and the fair green sea
of the birch-forest,--a brilliant sea of woods, gay as the shallows of
ocean shot through with sunbeams and sunlight reflected upward from
golden sands.

We sped along all that exquisite day, best of all our poetic voyage.
Sometimes we drifted and basked in sunshine, sometimes we lingered in
the birchen shade; we paddled from river to lake, from lake to river
again; the rapids whirled us along, surging and leaping under us with
magnificent gallop; frequent carries struck in, that we might not lose
the forester in the waterman. It was a fresh world that we traversed
on our beautiful river-path,--new as if no other had ever parted its
overhanging bowers.

At noon we floated out upon Lake Pemadumcook, the largest bulge of
the Penobscot, and irregular as the verb To Be. Lumbermen name it
Bammydumcook: Iglesias insisted upon this as the proper reading; and as
he was the responsible man of the party, I accepted it. Woods, woody
hills, and woody mountains surround Bammydumcook. I have no doubt parts
of it are pretty and will be famous in good time; but we saw little. By
the time we were fairly out in the lake and away from the sheltering
shore, a black squall to windward, hiding all the West, warned us to
fly, for birches swamp in squalls. We deemed that Birch, having brought
us through handsomely, deserved a better fate: swamped it must not be.
We plied paddle valiantly, and were almost safe behind an arm of the
shore when the storm overtook us, and in a moment more, safe, with a
canoe only half-full of Bammydumcook water.

It is easy to speak in scoffing tone; but when that great roaring
blackness sprang upon us, and the waves, showing their white teeth,
snarled around, we were far from being in the mood to scoff. It is
impossible to say too much of the charm of this gentle scenery, mingled
with the charm of this adventurous sailing. And then there were no
mosquitoes, no alligators, no serpents uncomfortably hugging the trees,
no miasmas lurking near; and blueberries always. Dust there was none,
nor the things that make dust. But Iglesias and I were breathing AIR,
--Air sweet, tender, strong, and pure as an ennobling love. It was a day
very happy, for Iglesias and I were near what we both love almost best
of all the dearly-beloveds. It is such influence as this that rescues
the thought and the hand of an artist from enervating mannerism. He
cannot be satisfied with vague blotches of paint to convey impressions
so distinct and vivid as those he is forced to take direct from a Nature
like this. He must be true and powerful.

The storm rolled by and gave us a noble view of Katahdin, beyond a
broad, beautiful scope of water, and rising seemingly directly from it.
We fled before another squall, over another breadth of Bammydumcook, and
made a portage around a great dam below the lake. The world should know
that at this dam the reddest, spiciest, biggest, thickest wintergreen
berries in the world are to be found, beautiful as they are good.

Birch had hitherto conducted himself with perfect propriety. I, the
novice, had acquired such entire confidence in his stability of
character that I treated him with careless ease, and never listened
to the warnings of my comrades that he would serve me a trick. Cancut
navigated Birch through some white water below the dam, and Birch went
curveting proudly and gracefully along, evidently feeling his oats.
When Iglesias and I came to embark, I, the novice, perhaps a little
intoxicated with wintergreen berries, stepped jauntily into the
laden boat. Birch, alas, failed me. He tilted; he turned; he took in
Penobscot,--took it in by the quart, by the gallon, by the barrel; he
would have sunk without mercy, had not Iglesias and Cancut succeeded
in laying hold of a rock and restoring equilibrium. I could not have
believed it of Birch. I was disappointed, and in consternation; and if
I had not known how entirely it was Birch's fault that everybody
was ducked and everybody now had a wet blanket, I should have felt
personally foolish. I punished myself for another's fault and my own
inexperience by assuming the wet blankets as my share at the next carry.
I suppose few of my readers imagine how many pounds of water a blanket
can absorb.

After camps at Katahdin, any residence in the woods without a stupendous
mountain before the door would have been tame. It must have been this,
and not any wearying of sylvan life, that made us hasten to reach the
outermost log-house at the Millinoket carry before nightfall. The
sensation of house and in-door life would be a new one, and so
satisfying in itself that we should not demand beautiful objects to meet
our first blink of awakening eyes.

An hour before sunset, Cancut steered us toward a beach, and pointed out
a vista in the woods, evidently artificial, evidently a road trodden
by feet and hoofs, and ruled by parallel wheels. A road is one of the
kindliest gifts of brother man to man: if a path in the wilderness, it
comes forward like a friendly guide offering experience and proposing
a comrade dash deeper into the unknown world; if a highway, it is the
great, bold, sweeping character with which civilization writes its
autograph upon a continent. Leaving our plunder on the beach, beyond
the reach of plunderers, whose great domain we were about to enter, we
walked on toward the first house, compelled at parting to believe, that,
though we did not love barbarism less, we loved civilization more. In
the morning, Cancut should, with an ox-cart, bring Birch and our traps
over the three miles of the carry.


CHAPTER XV.

OUT OF THE WOODS.


What could society do without women and children? Both we found at the
first house, twenty miles from the second. The children buzzed about us;
the mother milked for us one of Maine's vanguard cows. She baked for
us bread, fresh bread,--such bread! not staff of life,--life's
vaulting-pole. She gave us blueberries with cream of cream. Ah, what a
change! We sat on chairs, at a table, and ate from plates. There was a
table-cloth, a salt-cellar made of glass, of glass never seen at
camps near Katahdin. There was a sugar-bowl, a milk-jug, and other
paraphernalia of civilization, including--O memories of Joseph
Bourgogne!--a dome of baked beans, with a crag of pork projecting from
the apex. We partook decorously, with controlled elbows, endeavoring to
appear as if we were accustomed to sit at tables and manage plates. The
men, women, and children of Millinoket were hospitable and delighted to
see strangers, and the men, like all American men in the summer before
a Presidential election, wanted to talk politics. Katahdin's last
full-bodied appearance was here; it rises beyond a breadth of black
forest, a bulkier mass, but not so symmetrical as from the southern
points of view. We slept that night on a feather-bed, and took cold for
want of air, beneath a roof.

By the time we had breakfasted, Cancut arrived with Birch on an
ox-sledge. Here our well-beloved west branch of the Penobscot, called
of yore Norimbagua, is married to the east branch, and of course by
marriage loses his identity, by-and-by, changing from the wild, free,
reckless rover of the forest to a tamish family-man style of river,
useful to float rafts and turn mills. However, during the first moments
of the honeymoon, the happy pair, Mr. Penobscot and Miss Milly Noket,
now a unit under the marital name, are gay enough, and glide along
bowery reaches and in among fair islands, with infinite endearments and
smiles, making the world very sparkling and musical there. By-and-by
they fall to romping, and, to avoid one of their turbulent frolics,
Cancut landed us, as he supposed, on the mainland, to lighten the canoe.
Just as he was sliding away down-stream, we discovered that he had left
us upon an island in the midst of frantic, impassable rapids. "Stop,
stop, John Gilpin!" and luckily he did stop, otherwise he would have
gone on to tidewater, ever thinking that we were before him, while we,
with our forest appetites, would have been glaring hungrily at each
other, or perhaps drawing lots for a cannibal doom. Once again, as we
were shooting a long rapid, a table-top rock caught us in mid-current.
We were wrecked. It was critical. The waves swayed us perilously this
way and that. Birch would be full of water, or overturned, in a moment.
Small chance for a swimmer in such maelströms! All this we saw, but had
no time to shudder at. Aided by the urgent stream, we carefully and
delicately--for a coarse movement would have been death--wormed our boat
off the rock and went fleeting through a labyrinth of new perils, onward
with a wild exhilaration, like galloping through prairie on fire. Of all
the high distinctive national pleasures of America, chasing buffalo,
stump-speaking, and the like, there is none so intense as shooting
rapids in a birch. Whenever I recall our career down the Penobscot, a
longing comes over me to repeat it.

We dropped down stream without further adventures. We passed the second
house, the first village, and other villages, very white and wide-awake,
melodiously named Nickertow, Pattagumpus, and Mattascunk. We spent the
first night at Mattawamkeag. We were again elbowed at a tavern table,
and compelled to struggle with real and not ideal pioneers for fried
beefsteak and soggy doughboys. The last river day was tame, but not
tiresome. We paddled stoutly by relays, stopping only once, at the
neatest of farm-houses, to lunch on the most airy-substantial bread and
baked apples and cream. It is surprising how confidential a traveller
always is on the subject of his gastronomic delights. He will have the
world know how he enjoyed his dinner, perhaps hoping that the world by
sympathy will enjoy its own.

Late in the afternoon of our eighth day from Greenville, Moosehead Lake,
we reached the end of birch-navigation, the great mill-dams of Indian
Oldtown, near Bangor. Acres of great pine logs, marked three crosses and
a dash, were floating here at the boom; we saw what Maine men suppose
timber was made for. According to the view acted upon at Oldtown,
Senaglecouna has been for a century or centuries training up its lordly
pines, that gang-saws, worked by Penobscot, should shriek through their
helpless cylinders, gnashing them into boards and chewing them into
sawdust.

Poor Birch! how out of its element it looked, hoisted on a freight-car
and travelling by rail to Bangor! There we said adieu to Birch and
Cancut. Peace and plenteous provender be with him! Journeys make friends
or foes; and we remember our fat guide, not as one who from time to time
just did not drown us, but as the jolly comrade of eight days crowded
with novelty and beauty, and fine, vigorous, manly life. END.

       *       *       *       *       *


A WOMAN.


  Not perfect, nay! but full of tender wants.--THE PRINCESS

I sat by my window sewing, one bright autumn day, thinking much of
twenty other things, and very little of the long seam that slipped away
from under my fingers slowly, but steadily, when I heard the front-door
open with a quick push, and directly into my open door entered Laura
Lane, with a degree of impetus that explained the previous sound in the
hall. She threw herself into a chair before me, flung her hat on the
floor, threw her shawl across the window-sill, and looked at me without
speaking: in fact, she was quite too much out of breath to speak.

I was used to Laura's impetuousness; so I only smiled and said, "Good
morning."

"Oh!" said Laura, with a long breath, "I have got something to tell you,
Sue."

"That's nice," said I; "news is worth double here in the country; tell
me slowly, to prolong the pleasure."

"You must guess first. I want to have you try your powers for once;
guess, do!"

"Mr. Lincoln defeated?"

"Oh, no,--at least not that I know of; all the returns from this State
are not in yet, of course not from the others; besides, do you think I'd
make such a fuss about politics?"

"You might," said I, thinking of all the beautiful and brilliant women
that in other countries and other times had made "fuss" more potent than
Laura's about politics.

"But I shouldn't," retorted she.

"Then there is a new novel out?"

"No!" (with great indignation).

"Or the parish have resolved to settle Mr. Hermann?"

"How stupid you are, Sue! Everybody knew that yesterday."

"But I am not everybody."

"I shall have to help you, I see," sighed Laura, half provoked.
"Somebody is going to be married."

"Mademoiselle, the great Mademoiselle!"

Laura stared at me. I ought to have remembered she was eighteen, and
not likely to have read Sévigné. I began more seriously, laying down my
seam.

"Is it anybody I know, Laura?"

"Of course, or you wouldn't care about it, and it would be no fun to
tell you."

"Is it you?"

Laura grew indignant.

"Do you think I should bounce in, in this way, to tell you _I_ was
engaged?"

"Why not? shouldn't you be happy about it?"

"Well, if I were, I should"----

Laura dropped her beautiful eyes and colored.

  "The thoughts of youth are long, long
  thoughts."

I am sure she felt as much strange, sweet shyness sealing her girlish
lips at that moment as when she came, very slowly and silently, a year
after, to tell me she was engaged to Mr. Hermann. I had to smile and
sigh both.

"Tell me, then, Laura; for I cannot guess."

"I'll tell you the gentleman's name, and perhaps you can guess the
lady's then: it is Frank Addison."

"Frank Addison!" echoed I, in surprise; for this young man was one I
knew and loved well, and I could not think who in our quiet village had
sufficient attraction for his fastidious taste.

He was certainly worth marrying, though he had some faults, being as
proud as was endurable, as shy as a child, and altogether endowed with a
full appreciation, to say the least, of his own charms and merits: but
he was sincere, and loyal, and tender; well cultivated, yet not priggish
or pedantic; brave, well-bred, and high-principled; handsome besides. I
knew him thoroughly; I had held him on my lap, fed him with sugar-plums,
soothed his child-sorrows, and scolded his naughtiness, many a time; I
had stood with him by his mother's dying bed and consoled him by my own
tears, for his mother I loved dearly; so, ever since, Frank had been
both near and dear to me, for a mutual sorrow is a tie that may
bind together even a young man and an old maid in close and kindly
friendship. I was the more surprised at his engagement because I thought
he would have been the first to tell me of it; but I reflected that
Laura was his cousin, and relationship has an etiquette of precedence
above any other social link.

"Yes,--Frank Addison! Now guess, Miss Sue! for he is not here to tell
you,--he is in New York; and here in my pocket I have got a letter for
you, but you shan't have it till you have well guessed."

I was--I am ashamed to confess it--but I was not a little comforted
at hearing of that letter. One may shake up a woman's heart with every
alloy of life, grind, break, scatter it, till scarce a throb of its
youth beats there, but to its last bit it is feminine still; and I felt
a sudden sweetness of relief to know that my boy had not forgotten me.

"I don't know whom to guess, Laura; who ever marries after other
people's fancy? If I were to guess Sally Hetheridge, I might come as
near as I shall to the truth."

Laura laughed.

"You know better," said she. "Frank Addison is the last man to marry a
dried-up old tailoress."

"I don't know that he is; according to his theories of women and
marriage, Sally would make him happy. She is true-hearted, I am
sure,--generous, kind, affectionate, sensible, and poor. Frank has
always raved about the beauty of the soul, and the degradation of
marrying money,--therefore, Laura, I believe he is going to marry a
beauty and an heiress. I guess Josephine Bowen."

"Susan!" exclaimed Laura, with a look of intense astonishment, "how
could you guess it?"

"Then it is she?"

"Yes, it is,--and I am so sorry! such a childish, giggling, silly little
creature! I can't think how Frank could fancy her; she is just like Dora
in "David Copperfield,"--a perfect gosling! I am as vexed"----

"But she is exquisitely pretty."

"Pretty! well, that is all; he might as well have bought a nice picture,
or a dolly! I am out of all patience with Frank. I haven't the heart to
congratulate him."

"Don't be unreasonable, Laura; when you get as old as I am, you will
discover how much better and greater facts are than theories. It's all
very well for men to say,--

  'Beauty is unripe childhood's cheat,'--

the soul is all they love,--the fair, sweet character, the lofty mind,
the tender woman's heart, and gentle loveliness; but when you come down
to the statistics of love and matrimony, you find Sally Hetheridge at
sixty an old maid, and Miss Bowen at nineteen adored by a dozen men and
engaged to one. No, Laura, if I had ten sisters, and a fairy godmother
for each, I should request that ancient dame to endow them all with
beauty and silliness, sure that then they would achieve a woman's best
destiny,--a home."

Laura's face burned indignantly; she hardly let me finish before she
exclaimed,--

"Susan Lee! I am ashamed of you! Here are you, an old maid, as happy as
anybody, decrying all good gifts to a woman, except beauty, because,
indeed, they stand in the way of her marriage! as if a woman was only
made to be a housekeeper!"

Laura's indignation amused me. I went on.

"Yes, I am happy enough; but I should have been much happier, had I
married. Don't waste your indignation, dear; you are pretty enough
to excuse your being sensible, and you ought to agree with my ideas,
because they excuse Frank, and yours do not."

"I don't want to excuse him; I am really angry about it. I can't bear to
have Frank throw himself away; she is pretty now, but what will she be
in ten years?"

"People in love do not usually enter into such remote calculations; love
is to-day's delirium; it has an element of divine faith in it, in not
caring for the morrow. But, Laura, we can't help this matter, and we
have neither of us any conscience involved in it. Miss Bowen may be
better than we know. At any rate, Frank is happy, and that ought to
satisfy both you and me just now."

Laura's eyes filled with tears. I could see them glisten on the dark
lashes, as she affected to tie her hat, all the time untying it as fast
as ever the knot slid. She was a sympathetic little creature, and loved
Frank very sincerely, having known him as long as she could remember.
She gave me a silent kiss, and went away, leaving the letter, yet
unopened, lying in my lap. I did not open it just then. I was thinking
of Josephine Bowen.

Every summer, for three years, Mr. and Mrs. Bowen had come to Ridgefield
for country-air, bringing with them their adopted daughter, whose
baptismal name had resigned in favor of the pet appellation "Kitten,"--a
name better adapted to her nature and aspect than the _Impératrice_
appellation that belonged to her. She was certainly as charming a little
creature as ever one saw in flesh and blood. Her sweet child's face, her
dimpled, fair cheeks, her rose-bud of a mouth, and great, wistful, blue
eyes, that laughed like flax-flowers in a south-wind, her tiny, round
chin, and low, white forehead, were all adorned by profuse rings and
coils and curls of true gold-yellow, that never would grow long, or be
braided, or stay smooth, or do anything but ripple and twine and push
their shining tendrils out of every bonnet or hat or hood the little
creature wore, like a stray parcel of sunbeams that would shine. Her
delicate, tiny figure was as round as a child's,--her funny hands as
quaint as some fat baby's, with short fingers and dimpled knuckles. She
was a creature as much made to be petted as a King-Charles spaniel,--and
petted she was, far beyond any possibility of a crumpled rose-leaf. Mrs.
Bowen was fat, loving, rather foolish, but the best of friends and the
poorest of enemies; she wanted everybody to be happy, and fat, and well
as she was, and would urge the necessity of wine, and entire idleness,
and horse-exercise, upon a poor minister, just as honestly and
energetically as if he could have afforded them: an idea to the contrary
never crossed her mind spontaneously, but, if introduced there, brought
forth direct results of bottles, bank-bills, and loans of ancient
horses, only to be checked by friendly remonstrance, or the suggestion
that a poor man might be also proud. Mr. Bowen was tall and spare, a
man of much sense and shrewd kindliness, but altogether subject and
submissive to "Kitten's" slightest wish. She never wanted anything; no
princess in a story-book had less to desire; and this entire spoiling
and indulgence seemed to her only the natural course of things. She
took it as an open rose takes sunshine, with so much simplicity,
and heartiness, and beaming content, and perfume of sweet, careless
affection, that she was not given over to any little vanities or
affectations, but was always a dear, good little child, as happy as the
day was long, and quite without a fear or apprehension. I had seen
very little of her in those three summers, for I had been away at the
sea-side, trying to fan the flickering life that alone was left to me
with pungent salt breezes and stinging baptisms of spray, but I had
liked that little pretty well. I did not think her so silly as Laura
did: she seemed to me so purely simple, that I sometimes wondered if her
honest directness and want of guile were folly or not. But I liked to
see her, as she cantered past my door on her pony, the gold tendrils
thick clustered about her throat and under the brim of her black hat,
and her bright blue eyes sparkling with the keen air, and a real
wild-rose bloom on her smiling face. She was a prettier sight even than
my profuse chrysanthemums, whose masses of garnet and yellow and white
nodded languidly to the autumn winds to-day.

I recalled myself from this dream of recollection, better satisfied with
Miss Bowen than I had been before. I could see just how her beauty had
bewitched Frank,--so bright, so tiny, so loving: one always wants to
gather a little, gay, odor-breathing rose-bud for one's own, and such
she was to him.

So then I opened his letter. It was dry and stiff: men's letters almost
always are; they cannot say what they feel; they will be fluent of
statistics, or description, or philosophy, or politics, but as to
feeling,--there they are dumb, except in real love-letters, and, of
course, Frank's was unsatisfactory accordingly. Once, toward the end,
came out a natural sentence: "Oh, Sue! if you knew her, you wouldn't
wonder!" So he had, after all, felt the apology he would not speak; he
had some little deference left for his deserted theories.

Well I knew what touched his pride, and struck that little revealing
spark from his deliberate pen: Josephine Bowen was rich, and he only a
poor lawyer in a country-town: he felt it even in this first flush of
love, and to that feeling I must answer when I wrote him,--not merely to
the announcement, and the delight, and the man's pride. So I answered
his letter at once, and he answered mine in person. I had nothing to say
to him, when I saw him; it was enough to see how perfectly happy and
contented he was,--how the proud, restless eyes, that had always looked
a challenge to all the world, were now tranquil to their depths. Nothing
had interfered with his passion. Mrs. Bowen liked him always, Mr. Bowen
liked him now; nobody had objected, it had not occurred to anybody to
object; money had not been mentioned any more than it would have been in
Arcadia. Strange to say, the good, simple woman, and the good, shrewd
man had both divined Frank's peculiar sensitiveness, and respected it.

There was no period fixed for the engagement, it was indefinite as yet,
and the winter, with all its excitements of South and North, passed by
at length, and the first of April the Bowens moved out to Ridgefield. It
was earlier than usual; but the city was crazed with excitement, and Mr.
Bowen was tried and worn; he wanted quiet. Then I saw a great deal of
Josephine, and in spite of Laura, and her still restless objections to
the child's childish, laughing, inconsequent manner, I grew into liking
her: not that there seemed any great depth to her; she was not specially
intellectual, or witty, or studious, or practical; she did not try to
be anything: perhaps that was her charm to me. I had seen so many women
laboring at themselves to be something, that one who was content to live
without thinking about it was a real phenomenon to me. Nothing bores me
(though I be stoned for the confession, I must make it!) more than a
woman who is bent on improving her mind, or forming her manners, or
moulding her character, or watching her motives, with that deadly-lively
conscientiousness that makes so many good people disagreeable. Why can't
they consider the lilies, which grow by receiving sun and air and dew
from God, and not hopping about over the lots to find the warmest corner
or the wettest hollow, to see how much bigger and brighter they can
grow? It was real rest to me to have this tiny, bright creature come
in to me every day during Frank's office-hours as unintentionally as a
yellow butterfly would come in at the window. Sometimes she strayed to
the kitchen-porch, and, resting her elbows on the window-sill and her
chin on both palms, looked at me with wondering eyes while I made bread
or cake; sometimes she came by the long parlor-window, and sat down on a
_brioche_ at my feet while I sewed, talking in her direct, unconsidered
way, so fresh, and withal so good and pure, I came to thinking the day
very dull that did not bring "Kitten" to see me.

The nineteenth of April, in the evening, my door opened again with an
impetuous bang; but this time it was Frank Addison, his eyes blazing,
his dark cheek flushed, his whole aspect fired and furious.

"Good God, Sue! do you know what they've done in Baltimore?"

"What?" said I, in vague terror, for I had been an alarmist from the
first: I had once lived at the South.

"Fired on a Massachusetts regiment, and killed--nobody knows how many
yet; but killed, and wounded."

I could not speak: it was the lighted train of a powder-magazine burning
before my eyes. Frank began to walk up and down the room.

"I must go! I must! I must!" came involuntarily from his working lips.

"Frank! Frank! remember Josephine."

It was a cowardly thing to do, but I did it. Frank turned ghastly white,
and sat down in a chair opposite me. I had, for the moment, quenched his
ardor; he looked at me with anxious eyes, and drew a long sigh, almost a
groan.

"Josephine!" he said, as if the name were new to him, so vitally did the
idea seize all his faculties.

"Well, dear!" said a sweet little voice at the door.

Frank turned, and seemed to see a ghost; for there in the door-way stood
"Kitten," her face perhaps a shade calmer than ordinary, swinging in one
hand the tasselled hood she wore of an evening, and holding her shawl
together with the other. Over her head we discerned the spare, upright
shape of Mr. Bowen looking grim and penetrative, but not unkindly.

"What is the matter?" went on the little lady.

Nobody answered, but Frank and I looked at each other. She came in now
and went toward him, Mr. Bowen following at a respectful distance, as if
he were her footman.

"I've been looking for you everywhere," said she, with the slightest
possible suggestion of reserve, or perhaps timidity, in her voice.
"Father went first for me, and when you were not at Laura's, or the
office, or the post-office, or Mrs. Sledge's, then I knew you were here;
so I came with him, because--because"--she hesitated the least bit
here--"we love Sue."

Frank still looked at her with his soul in his eyes, as if he wanted to
absorb her utterly into himself and then die. I never saw such a look
before; I hope I never may again; it haunts me to this day.

I can pause now to recall and reason about the curious, exalted
atmosphere that seemed suddenly to have surrounded us, as if bare
spirits communed there, not flesh and blood. Frank did not move; he sat
and looked at her standing near him, so near that her shawl trailed
against his chair; but presently when she wanted to grasp something, she
moved aside and took hold of another chair,--not his: it a little thing,
but it interpreted her.

"Well?" said he, in a hoarse tone.

Just then she moved, as I said, and laid one hand on the back of a
chair: it was the only symptom of emotion she showed; her voice was as
childish-clear and steady as before.

"You want to go, Frank, and I thought you would rather be married to me
first; so I came to find you and tell you I would."

Frank sprang to his feet like a shot man; I cried; Josephine stood
looking at us quite steadily, her head a little bent toward me, her eyes
calm, but very wide open; and Mr. Bowen gave an audible grunt. I suppose
the right thing for Frank to have done in any well-regulated novel would
have been to fall on his knees and call her all sorts of names; but
people never do--that is, any people that I know--just what the
gentlemen in novels do; so he walked off and looked out of the window.
To my aid came the goddess of slang. I stopped snuffling directly.

"Josephine," said I, solemnly, "you are a brick!"

"Well, I should think so!" said Mr. Bowen, slightly sarcastic.

Josey laughed very softly. Frank came back from the window, and then the
three went off together, she holding by her father's arm, Frank on his
other side. I could not but look after them as I stood in the hall-door,
and then I came back and sat down to read the paper Frank had flung on
the floor when he came in. It diverted my mind enough from myself to
enable me to sleep; for I was burning with self-disgust to think of
my cowardice. I, a grown woman, supposed to be more than ordinarily
strong-minded by some people, fairly shamed and routed by a girl Laura
Lane called "Dora"!

In the morning, Frank came directly after breakfast. He had found his
tongue now, certainly,--for words seemed noway to satisfy him, talking
of Josephine; and presently she came, too, as brave and bright as ever,
sewing busily on a long housewife for Frank; and after her, Mrs. Bowen,
making a huge pin-ball in red, white, and blue, and full of the trunk
she was packing for Frank to carry, to be filled with raspberry-jam,
hard gingerbread, old brandy, clove-cordial, guava-jelly, strong
peppermints, quinine, black cake, cod-liver oil, horehound-candy,
Brandreth's pills, damson-leather, and cherry-pectoral, packed in with
flannel and cotton bandages, lint, lancets, old linen, and cambric
handkerchiefs.

I could not help laughing, and was about to remonstrate, when Frank
shook his head at me from behind her. He said afterward he let her go
on that way, because it kept her from crying over Josephine. As for
the trunk, he should give it to Miss Dix as soon as ever he reached
Washington.

In a week, Frank had got his commission as captain of a company in a
volunteer regiment; he went into camp at Dartford, our chief town, and
set to work in earnest at tactics and drill. The Bowens also went to
Dartford, and the last week in May came back for Josey's wedding. I am
a superstitious creature,--most women are,--and it went to my heart
to have them married in May; but I did not say so, for it seemed
imperative, as the regiment were to leave for Washington in June, early.

The day but one before the wedding was one of those warm, soft days that
so rarely come in May. My windows were open, and the faint scent of
springing grass and opening blossoms came in on every southern breath of
wind. Josey had brought her work over to sit beside me. She was hemming
her wedding-veil,--a long cloud of _tulle_; and as she sat there,
pinching the frail stuff in her fingers, and handling her needle with
such deft little ways, as if they were old friends and understood each
other, there was something so youthful, so unconscious, so wistfully
sweet in her aspect, I could not believe her the same resolute, brave
creature I had seen that night in April.

"Josey," said I, "I don't know how you can be willing to let Frank go."

It was a hard thing for me to say, and I said it without thinking.

She leaned back in her chair, and pinched her hem faster than ever.

"I don't know, either," said she. "I suppose it was because I ought. I
don't think I am so willing now, Sue: it was easy at first, for I was
so angry and grieved about those Massachusetts men; but now, when I get
time to think, I do ache over it! I never let him know; for it is just
the same right now, and he thinks so. Besides, I never let myself grieve
much, even to myself, lest he might find it out. I must keep bright till
he goes. It would be so very hard on him, Susy, to think I was crying at
home."

I said no more,--I could not; and happily for me, Frank came in with
a bunch of wild-flowers, that Josey took with a smile as gay as the
columbines, and a blush that outshone the "pinkster-bloomjes," as our
old Dutch "chore-man" called the wild honeysuckle. A perfect shower of
dew fell from them all over her wedding-veil.

The day of her marriage was showery as April, but a gleam of soft,
fitful sunshine streamed into the little church windows, and fell across
the tiny figure that stood by Frank Addison's side, like a ray of
glory, till the golden curls glittered through her veil, and the fresh
lilies-of-the-valley that crowned her hair and ornamented her simple
dress seemed to send out a fresher fragrance, and glow with more pearly
whiteness. Mrs. Bowen, in a square pew, sobbed, and snuffled, and sopped
her eyes with a lace pocket-handkerchief, and spilt cologne all over
her dress, and mashed the flowers on her French hat against the dusty
pew-rail, and behaved generally like a hen that has lost her sole
chicken. Mr. Bowen sat upright in the pew-corner, uttering sonorous
hems, whenever his wife sobbed audibly; he looked as dry as a stick, and
as grim as Bunyan's giant, and chewed cardamom-seeds, as if he were a
ruminating animal.

After the wedding came lunch: it was less formal than dinner, and
nobody wanted to sit down before hot dishes and go through with the
accompanying ceremonies. For my part, I always did hate gregarious
eating: it is well enough for animals, in pasture or pen; but a thing
that has so little that is graceful or dignified about it as this taking
food, especially as the thing is done here in America, ought, in my
opinion, to be a solitary act. I never bring my quinine and iron to my
friends and invite them to share it; why should I ask them to partake
of my beef, mutton, and pork, with the accompanying mastication, the
distortion of face, and the suppings and gulpings of fluid dishes that
many respectable people indulge in? No,--let me, at least, eat alone.
But I did not do so to-day; for Josey, with the most unsentimental air
of hunger, sat down at the table and ate two sandwiches, three pickled
mushrooms, a piece of pie, and a glass of jelly, with a tumbler of ale
besides. Laura Lane sat on the other side of the table, her great
dark eyes intently fixed on Josephine, and a look in which wonder was
delicately shaded with disgust quivering about her mouth. She was a
feeling soul, and thought a girl in love ought to live on strawberries,
honey, and spring-water. I believe she really doubted Josey's affection
for Frank, when she saw her eat a real mortal meal on her wedding-day.
As for me, I am a poor, miserable, unhealthy creature, not amenable to
ordinary dietetic rules, and much given to taking any excitement, above
a certain amount in lieu of rational food; so I sustained myself on a
cup of coffee, and saw Frank also make tolerable play of knife and fork,
though he did take some blanc-mange with his cold chicken, and profusely
peppered his Charlotte-Russe!

Mrs. Bowen alternately wept and ate pie. Mr. Bowen said the jelly tasted
of turpentine, and the chickens must have gone on Noah's voyage, they
were so tough; he growled at the ale, and asked nine questions about the
coffee, all of a derogatory sort, and never once looked at Josephine,
who looked at him every time he was particularly cross, with a rosy
little smile, as if she knew why! The few other people present behaved
after the ordinary fashion; and when we had finished, Frank and
Josephine, Mr. and Mrs. Bowen, Laura Lane and I, all took the train for
Dartford. Laura was to stay two weeks, and I till the regiment left.

An odd time I had, after we were fairly settled in our quiet hotel, with
those two girls. Laura was sentimental, sensitive, rather high-flown,
very shy, and self-conscious; it was not in her to understand Josey at
all. We had a great deal of shopping to do, as our little bride had put
off buying most of her finery till this time, on account of the few
weeks between the fixing of her marriage-day and its arrival. It was
pretty enough to see the _naïve_ vanity with which she selected her
dresses and shawls and laces,--the quite inconsiderate way in which she
spent her money on whatever she wanted. One day we were in a dry-goods'
shop, looking at silks; among them lay one of Marie-Louise blue,--a
plain silk, rich from its heavy texture only, soft, thick, and perfect
in color.

"I will have that one," said Josephine, after she had eyed it a moment,
with her head on one side, like a canary-bird. "How much is it?"

"Two fifty a yard, Miss," said the spruce clerk, with an inaccessible
air.

"I shall look so nice in it!" Josey murmured. "Sue, will seventeen yards
do? it must be very full and long; I can't wear flounces."

"Yes, that's plenty," said I, scarce able to keep down a smile at
Laura's face.

She would as soon have smoked a cigar on the steps of the hotel as have
mentioned before anybody, much less a supercilious clerk, that she
should "look so nice" in anything. Josey never thought of anything
beyond the fact, which was only a fact. So, after getting another dress
of a lavender tint, still self-colored, but corded and rich, because it
went well with her complexion, and a black one, that "father liked to
see against her yellow wig, as he called it," Mrs. Josephine proceeded
to a milliner's, where, to Laura's further astonishment, she bought
bonnets for herself, as if she had been her own doll, with an utter
disregard of proper self-depreciation, trying one after another, and
discarding them for various personal reasons, till at last she fixed on
a little gray straw, trimmed with gray ribbon and white daisies, "for
camp," she said, and another of white lace, a fabric calculated to wear
twice, perhaps, if its floating sprays of clematis did not catch in any
parasol on its first appearance. She called me to see how becoming both
the bonnets were, viewed herself in various ways in the glass, and at
last announced that she looked prettiest in the straw, but the lace was
most elegant. To this succeeded purchases of lace and shawls, that still
farther opened Laura's eyes, and made her face grave. She confided to
me privately, that, after all, I must allow Josephine was silly and
extravagant. I had just come from that little lady's room, where she sat
surrounded by the opened parcels, saying, with the gravity of a child,--

"I do like pretty things, Sue! I like them more now than I used to,
because Frank likes me. I am so glad I'm pretty!"

I don't know how it was, but I could not quite coincide with Laura's
strictures. Josey was extravagant, to be sure; she was vain; but
something so tender and feminine flavored her very faults that they
charmed me. I was not an impartial judge; and I remembered, through all,
that April night, and the calm, resolute, self-poised character that
invested the lovely, girlish face with such dignity, strength, and
simplicity. No, she was not silly; I could not grant that to Laura.

Every day we drove to the camp, and brought Frank home to dinner. Now
and then he stayed with us till the next day, and even Laura could not
wonder at his "infatuation," as she had once called it, when she saw how
thoroughly Josephine forgot herself in her utter devotion to him; over
this, Laura's eyes filled with sad forebodings.

"If anything should happen to him, Sue, it will kill her," she said.
"She never can lose him and live. Poor little thing! how could Mr. Bowen
let her marry him?"

"Mr. Bowen lets her do much as she likes, Laura, and always has, I
imagine."

"Yes, she has been a spoiled child, I know, but it is such a pity!"

"_Has_ she been spoiled? I believe, as a general thing, more children
are spoiled by what the Scotch graphically call 'nagging' than by
indulgence. What do you think Josey would have been, if Mrs. Brooks had
been her mother?"

"I don't know, quite; unhappy, I am sure; for Mrs. Brooks's own children
look as if they had been fed on chopped catechism, and whipped early
every morning, ever since they were born. I never went there without
hearing one or another of them told to sit up, or sit down, or keep
still, or let their aprons alone, or read their Bibles; and Joe Brooks
confided to me in Sunday-school that he called Deacon Smith 'old
bald-head,' one day, in the street, to see if a bear wouldn't come and
eat him up, he was so tired of being a good boy!"

"That's a case in point, I think, Laura; but what a jolly little boy! he
ought to have a week to be naughty in, directly."

"He never will, while his mother owns a rod!" said she, emphatically.

I had beguiled Laura from her subject; for, to tell the truth, it was
one I did not dare to contemplate; it oppressed and distressed me too
much.

After Laura went home, we stayed in Dartford only a week, and then
followed the regiment to Washington. We had been there but a few days,
before it was ordered into service. Frank came into my room one night to
tell me.

"We must be off to-morrow, Sue,--and you must take her back to
Ridgefield at once. I can't have her here. I have told Mr. Bowen. If we
should be beaten,--and we may,--raw troops may take a panic, or may
fight like veterans,--but if we should run, they will make a bee-line
for Washington. I should go mad to have her here with a possibility of
Rebel invasion. She must go; there is no question."

He walked up and down the room, then came back and looked me straight in
the face.

"Susan, if I never come back, you will be her good friend, too?"

"Yes," said I, meeting his eye as coolly as it met mine: I had learned a
lesson of Josey. "I shall see you in the morning?"

"Yes"; and so he went back to her.

Morning came. Josephine was as bright, as calm, as natural, as the June
day itself. She insisted on fastening "her Captain's" straps on his
shoulders, purloined his cumbrous pin-ball and put it out of sight, and
kept even Mrs. Bowen's sobs in subjection by the intense serenity of
her manner. The minutes seemed to go like beats of a fever-pulse;
ten o'clock smote on a distant bell; Josephine had retreated, as if
accidentally, to a little parlor of her own, opening from our common
sitting-room. Frank shook hands with Mr. Bowen; kissed Mrs. Bowen
dutifully, and cordially too; gave me one strong clasp in his arms, and
one kiss; then went after Josephine. I closed the door softly behind
him. In five minutes by the ticking clock he came out, and strode
through the room without a glance at either of us. I had heard her say
"Good bye" in her sweet, clear tone, just as he opened the door; but
some instinct impelled me to go in to her at once: she lay in a dead
faint on the floor.

We left Washington that afternoon, and went straight back to Ridgefield.
Josey was in and out of my small house continually: but for her father
and mother, I think she would have stayed with me from choice. Rare
letters came from Frank, and were always reported to me, but, of course,
never shown. If there was any change in her manner, it was more steadily
affectionate to her father and mother than ever; the fitful, playful
ways of her girlhood were subdued, but, except to me, she showed no
symptom of pain, no show of apprehension: with me alone she sometimes
drooped and sighed. Once she laid her little head on my neck, and,
holding me to her tightly, half sobbed,--

"Oh, I wish--I wish I could see him just for once!"

I could not speak to answer her.

As rumors of a march toward Manassas increased, Mr. and Mrs. Bowen took
her to Dartford: there was no telegraph-line to Ridgefield, and but one
daily mail, and now a day's delay of news might be a vital loss. I could
not go with them; I was too ill. At last came that dreadful day of Bull
Run. Its story of shame and blood, trebly exaggerated, ran like fire
through the land. For twenty-four long hours every heart in Ridgefield
seemed to stand still; then there was the better news of fewer dead
than the first report, and we knew that the enemy had retreated, but no
particulars. Another long, long day, and the papers said Colonel ----'s
regiment was cut to pieces; the fourth mail told another story: the
regiment was safe, but Captains Addison, Black, and--Jones, I think,
were missing. The fifth day brought me a letter from Mr. Bowen. Frank
was dead, shot through the heart, before the panic began, cheering on
his men; he had fallen in the very front rank, and his gallant company,
at the risk of their lives, after losing half their number as wounded or
killed, had brought off his body, and carried it with them in retreat,
to find at last that they had ventured all this for a lifeless corpse!
He did not mention Josephine, but asked me to come to them at once, as
he was obliged to go to Washington. I could not, for I was too ill to
travel without a certainty of being quite useless at my journey's end. I
could but just sit up. Five days after, I had an incoherent sobbing sort
of letter from Mrs. Bowen, to say that they had arranged to have the
funeral at Ridgefield the next day but one,--that Josephine would come
out, with her, the night before, and directly to my house, if I was able
to receive them. I sent word by the morning's mail that I was able, and
went myself to the station to meet them.

They had come alone, and Josey preceded her mother into the little room,
as if she were impatient to have any meeting with a fresh face over. She
was pale as any pale blossom of spring, and as calm. Her curls, tucked
away under the widow's-cap she wore, and clouded by the mass of crape
that shrouded her, left only a narrow line of gold above the dead quiet
of her brow. Her eyes were like the eyes of a sleep-walker: they seemed
to see, but not to feel sight. She smiled mechanically, and put a cold
hand into mine. For any outward expression of emotion, one might have
thought Mrs. Bowen the widow: her eyes were bloodshot and swollen, her
nose was red, her lips tremulous, her whole face stained and washed with
tears, and the skin seemed wrinkled by their salt floods. She had cried
herself sick,--more over Josephine than Frank, as was natural.

It was but a short drive over to my house, but an utterly silent one.
Josephine made no sort of demonstration, except that she stooped to pat
my great dog as we went in. I gave her a room that opened out of mine,
and put Mrs. Bowen by herself. Twice in the night I stole in to look at
her: both times I found her waking, her eyes fixed on the open window,
her face set in its unnatural quiet; she smiled, but did not speak. Mrs.
Bowen told me in the morning that she had neither shed a tear nor slept
since the news came; it seemed to strike her at once into this cold
silence, and so she had remained. About ten, a carriage was sent over
from the village to take them to the funeral. This miserable custom of
ours, that demands the presence of women at such ceremonies, Mrs. Bowen
was the last person to evade; and when I suggested to Josey that she
should stay at home with me, she looked surprised, and said, quietly,
but emphatically, "Oh, no!"

After they were gone, I took my shawl and went out on the lawn. There
was a young pine dense enough to shield me from the sun, sitting under
which I could see the funeral-procession as it wound along the river's
edge up toward the burying-ground, a mile beyond the station. But there
was no sun to trouble me; cool gray clouds brooded ominously over all
the sky; a strong south-wind cried, and wailed, and swept in wild gusts
through the woods, while in its intervals a dreadful quiet brooded over
earth and heaven,--over the broad weltering river, that, swollen by
recent rain, washed the green grass shores with sullen flood,--over
the heavy masses of oak and hickory trees that hung on the farther
hill-side,--over the silent village and its gathering people. The
engine-shriek was borne on the coming wind from far down the valley.
There was an air of hushed expectation and regret in Nature itself that
seemed to fit the hour to its event.

Soon I saw the crowd about the station begin to move, and presently the
funeral-bell swung out its solemn tones of lamentation; its measured,
lingering strokes, mingled with the woful shrieking of the wind and the
sighing of the pine-tree overhead, made a dirge of inexpressible force
and melancholy. A weight of grief seemed to settle on my very breath: it
was not real sorrow; for, though I knew it well, I had not felt yet that
Frank was dead,--it was not real to me,--I could not take to my stunned
perceptions the fact that he was gone. It is the protest of Nature,
dimly conscious of her original eternity, against this interruption of
death, that it should always be such an interruption, so incredible, so
surprising, so new. No,--the anguish that oppressed me now was not the
true anguish of loss, but merely the effect of these adjuncts; the pain
of want, of separation, of reaching in vain after that which is gone, of
vivid dreams and tearful waking,--all this lay in wait for the future,
to be still renewed, still suffered and endured, till time should be no
more. Let all these pangs of recollection attest it,--these involuntary
bursts of longing for the eyes that are gone and the voice that is
still,--these recoils of baffled feeling seeking for the one perfect
sympathy forever fled,--these pleasures dimmed in their first
resplendence for want of one whose joy would have been keener and
sweeter to us than our own,--these bitter sorrows crying like children
in pain for the heart that should have soothed and shared them! No,--
there is no such dreary lie as that which prates of consoling Time! You
who are gone, if in heaven you know how we mortals fare, you know that
life took from you no love, no faith,--that bitterer tears fall for you
to-day than ever wet your new graves,--that the gayer words and the
recalled smiles are only like the flowers that grow above you, symbols
of the deeper roots we strike in your past existence,--that to the
true soul there is no such thing as forgetfulness, no such mercy as
diminishing regret!

Slowly the long procession wound up the river,--here, black with plumed
hearse and sable mourners,--there, gay with regimental band and bright
uniforms,--no stately, proper funeral, ordered by custom and marshalled
by propriety, but a straggling array of vehicles: here, the doctor's old
chaise,--there, an open wagon, a dusty buggy, a long, open omnibus,
such as the village-stable kept for pleasure-parties or for parties of
mourning who wanted to go _en masse_.

All that knew Frank, in or about Ridgefield, and all who had sons or
brothers in the army, swarmed to do him honor; and the quaint, homely
array crept slowly through the valley, to the sound of tolling bell and
moaning wind and the low rush of the swollen river,--the first taste
of war's desolation that had fallen upon us, the first dark wave of a
whelming tide!

As it passed out of sight, I heard the wheels cease, one by one, their
crunch and grind on the gravelled road up the slope of the grave-yard.
I knew they had reached that hill-side where the dead of Ridgefield
lie calmer than its living; and presently the long-drawn notes of that
hymn-tune consecrated to such occasions--old China--rose and fell in
despairing cadences on my ear. If ever any music was invented for the
express purpose of making mourners as distracted as any external thing
can make them, it is the bitter, hopeless, unrestrained wail of this
tune. There is neither peace nor resignation in it, but the very
exhaustion of raving sorrow that heeds neither God nor man, but
cries out, with the soulless agony of a wind-harp, its refusal to be
comforted.

At length it was over, and still in that same dead calm Josephine came
home to me. Mrs. Bowen was frightened, Mr. Bowen distressed. I could not
think what to do, at first; but remembering how sometimes a little thing
had utterly broken me down from a regained calmness after loss, some
homely association, some recall of the past, I begged of Mr. Bowen to
bring up from the village Frank's knapsack, which he had found in one of
his men's hands,--the poor fellow having taken care of that, while he
lost his own: "For the captain's wife," he said. As soon as it came, I
took from it Frank's coat, and his cap and sword. My heart was in my
mouth as I entered Josephine's room, and saw the fixed quiet on her face
where she sat. I walked in, however, with no delay, and laid the things
down on her bed, close to where she sat. She gave one startled look at
them and then at me; her face relaxed from all its quiet lines; she sank
on her knees by the bedside, and, burying her head in her arms, cried,
and cried, and cried, so helplessly, so utterly without restraint, that
I cried, too. It was impossible for me to help it. At last the tears
exhausted themselves; the dreadful sobs ceased to convulse her; all
drenched and tired, she lifted her face from its rest, and held out her
arms to me. I took her up, and put her to bed like a child. I hung the
coat and cap and sword where she could see them. I made her take a cup
of broth, and before long, with her eyes fixed on the things I had hung
up, she fell asleep, and slept heavily, without waking, till the next
morning.

I feared almost to enter her room when I heard her stir; I had dreaded
her waking,--that terrible hour that all know who have suffered, the dim
awakening shadow that darkens so swiftly to black reality; but I need
not have dreaded it for her. She told me afterward that in all that
sleep she never lost the knowledge of her grief; she did not come into
it as a surprise. Frank had seemed to be with her, distant, sad, yet
consoling; she felt that he was gone, but not utterly,--that there was
drear separation and loneliness, but not forever.

When I went in, she lay there awake, looking at her trophy, as she came
to call it, her eyes with all their light quenched and sodden out with
crying, her face pale and unalterably sad, but natural in its sweetness
and mobility. She drew me down to her and kissed me.

"May I get up?" she asked; and then, without waiting for an answer, went
on,--"I have been selfish, Sue; I will try to be better now; I won't
run away from my battle. Oh, how glad I am he didn't run away! It is
dreadful now, dreadful! Perhaps, if I had to choose if he should have
run away or--or this, I should have wanted him to run,--I'm afraid I
should. But I am glad now. If God wanted him, I'm glad he went from the
front ranks. Oh, those poor women whose husbands ran away, and were
killed, too!"

She seemed to be so comforted by that one thought! It was a strange
trait in the little creature; I could not quite fathom it.

After this, she came down-stairs and went about among us, busying
herself in various little ways. She never went to the grave-yard; but
whenever she was a little tired, I was sure to find her sitting in her
room with her eyes on that cap and coat and sword. Letters of condolence
poured in, but she would not read them or answer them, and they all fell
into my hands. I could not wonder; for, of all cruel conventionalities,
visits and letters of condolence seem to me the most cruel. If friends
can be useful in lifting off the little painful cares that throng in the
house of death till its presence is banished, let them go and do their
work quietly and cheerfully; but to make a call or write a note, to
measure your sorrow and express theirs, seems to me on a par with
pulling a wounded man's bandages off and probing his hurt, to hear him
cry out and hear yourself say how bad it must be!

Laura Lane was admitted, for Frank's sake, as she had been his closest
and dearest relative. The day she came, Josey had a severe headache, and
looked wretchedly. Laura was shocked, and showed it so obviously, that,
had there been any real cause for her alarm, I should have turned her
out of the room without ceremony, almost before she was fairly in it. As
soon as she left, Josey looked at me and smiled.

"Laura thinks I am going to die," said she; "but I'm not. If I could,
I wouldn't, Sue; for poor father and mother want me, and so will the
soldiers by-and-by." A weary, heart-breaking look quivered in her face
as she went on, half whispering,--"But I should--I _should_ like to see
him!"

In September she went away. I had expected it ever since she spoke of
the soldiers needing her. Mrs. Bowen went to the sea-side for her annual
asthma. Mr. Bowen went with Josephine to Washington. There, by some
talismanic influence, she got admission to the hospitals, though she
was very pretty, and under thirty. I think perhaps her pale face and
widow's-dress, and her sad, quiet manner, were her secret of success.
She worked here like a sprite; nothing daunted or disgusted her. She
followed the army to Yorktown, and nursed on the transport-ships. One
man said, I was told, that it was "jes' like havin' an apple-tree blow
raound, to see that Mis' Addison; she was so kinder cheery an' pooty,
an' knew sech a sight abaout nussin', it did a feller lots of good only
to look at her chirpin' abaout."

Now and then she wrote to me, and almost always ended by declaring she
was "quite well, and almost happy." If ever she met with one of Frank's
men,--and all who were left reënlisted for the war,--he was sure to be
nursed like a prince, and petted with all sorts of luxuries, and told
it was for his old captain's sake. Mr. and Mrs. Bowen followed her
everywhere, as near as they could get to her, and afforded unfailing
supplies of such extra hospital-stores as she wanted; they lavished on
her time and money and love enough to have satisfied three women, but
Josey found use for it all--for her work. Two months ago, they all came
back to Dartford. A hospital had been set up there, and some one was
needed to put it in operation; her experience would be doubly useful
there, and it was pleasant for her to be so near Frank's home, to be
among his friends and hers.

I went in, to do what I could, being stronger than usual, and found
her hard at work. Her face retained its rounded outline, her lips had
recovered their bloom, her curls now and then strayed from the net under
which she carefully tucked them, and made her look as girlish as ever,
but the girl's expression was gone; that tender, patient, resolute look
was born of a woman's stern experience; and though she had laid aside
her widow's-cap, because it was inconvenient, her face was so sad in its
repose, so lonely and inexpectant, she scarce needed any outward symbol
to proclaim her widowhood. Yet under all this new character lay still
some of those childish tastes that made, as it were, the "fresh perfume"
of her nature: everything that came in her way was petted; a little
white kitten followed her about the wards, and ran to meet her, whenever
she came in, with joyful demonstrations; a great dog waited for her at
home, and escorted her to and from the hospital; and three canaries hung
in her chamber;--and I confess here, what I would not to Laura, that she
retains yet a strong taste for sugar-plums, gingerbread, and the "Lady's
Book." She kept only so much of what Laura called her vanity as to be
exquisitely neat and particular in every detail of dress; and though a
black gown, and a white linen apron, collar, and cuffs do not afford
much room for display, yet these were always so speckless and spotless
that her whole aspect was refreshing.

Last week there was a severe operation performed in the hospital, and
Josephine had to be present. She held the poor fellow's hand till he
was insensible from the kindly chloroform they gave him, and, after the
surgeons were through, sat by him till night, with such a calm, cheerful
face, giving him wine and broth, and watching every indication of pulse
or skin, till he really rallied, and is now doing well.

As I came over, the next day, I met Doctor Rivers at the door of her
ward.

"Really," said he, "that little Mrs. Addison is a true heroine!"

The kitten purred about my feet, and as I smiled assent to him, I said
inwardly to myself,--

"Really, she is a true woman!"



ABOUT WARWICK.


Between bright, new Leamington, the growth of the present century,
and rusty Warwick, founded by King Cymbeline in the twilight ages, a
thousand years before the mediaeval darkness, there are two roads,
either of which may be measured by a sober-paced pedestrian in less than
half an hour.

One of these avenues flows out of the midst of the smart parades and
crescents of the former town,--along by hedges and beneath the shadow of
great elms, past stuccoed Elizabethan villas and wayside ale-houses, and
through a hamlet of modern aspect,--and runs straight into the principal
thoroughfare of Warwick. The battlemented turrets of the castle,
embowered half-way up in foliage, and the tall, slender tower of St.
Mary's Church, rising from among clustered roofs, have been visible
almost from the commencement of the walk. Near the entrance of the town
stands St. John's School-House, a picturesque old edifice of stone, with
four peaked gables in a row, alternately plain and ornamented, and wide,
projecting windows, and a spacious and venerable porch, all overgrown
with moss and ivy, and shut in from the world by a high stone fence, not
less mossy than the gabled front. There is an iron gate, through the
rusty open-work of which you see a grassy lawn, and almost expect to
meet the shy, curious eyes of the little boys of past generations,
peeping forth from their infantile antiquity into the strangeness of our
present life. I find a peculiar charm in these long-established English
schools, where the school-boy of to-day sits side by side, as it were,
with his great-grandsire, on the same old benches, and often, I believe,
thumbs a later, but unimproved edition of the same old grammar or
arithmetic. The new-fangled notions of a Yankee school-committee would
madden many a pedagogue, and shake down the roof of many a time-honored
seat of learning, in the mother-country.

At this point, however, we will turn back, in order to follow up the
other road from Leamington, which was the one that I loved best to take.
It pursues a straight and level course, bordered by wide gravel-walks
and overhung by the frequent elm, with here a cottage and there a villa,
on one side a wooded plantation, and on the other a rich field of grass
or grain, until, turning at right angles, it brings you to an arched
bridge over the Avon. Its parapet is a balustrade carved out of
freestone, into the soft substance of which a multitude of persons have
engraved their names or initials, many of them now illegible, while
others, more deeply cut, are illuminated with fresh green moss. These
tokens indicate a famous spot; and casting our eyes along the smooth
gleam and shadow of the quiet stream, through a vista of willows that
droop on either side into the water, we behold the gray magnificence of
Warwick Castle, uplifting itself among stately trees, and rearing its
turrets high above their loftiest branches. We can scarcely think the
scene real, so completely do those machicolated towers, the long line of
battlements, the massive buttresses, the high-windowed walls, shape out
our indistinct ideas of the antique time. It might rather seem as if the
sleepy river (being Shakspeare's Avon, and often, no doubt, the mirror
of his gorgeous visions) were dreaming now of a lordly residence that
stood here many centuries ago; and this fantasy is strengthened,
when you observe that the image in the tranquil water has all the
distinctness of the actual structure. Either might be the reflection of
the other. Wherever Time has gnawed one of the stones, you see the
mark of his tooth just as plainly in the sunken reflection. Each is so
perfect, that the upper vision seems a castle in the air, and the lower
one an old stronghold of feudalism, miraculously kept from decay in an
enchanted river.

A ruinous and ivy-grown bridge, that projects from the bank a little on
the hither side of the castle, has the effect of making the scene appear
more entirely apart from the every-day world, for it ends abruptly in
the middle of the stream,--so that, if a cavalcade of the knights and
ladies of romance should issue from the old walls, they could never
tread on earthly ground, any more than we, approaching from the side of
modern realism, can overleap the gulf between our domain and theirs.
Yet, if we seek to disenchant ourselves, it may readily be done.
Crossing the bridge on which we stand, and passing a little farther on,
we come to the entrance of the castle, abutting on the highway, and
hospitably open at certain hours to all curious pilgrims who choose to
disburse half a crown or so towards the support of the Earl's domestics.
The sight of that long series of historic rooms, full of such splendors
and rarities as a great English family necessarily gathers about itself,
in its hereditary abode, and in the lapse of ages, is well worth the
money, or ten times as much, if indeed the value of the spectacle could
be reckoned in money's-worth. But after the attendant has hurried you
from end to end of the edifice, repeating a guide-book by rote, and
exorcising each successive hall of its poetic glamour and witchcraft
by the mere tone in which he talks about it, you will make the doleful
discovery that Warwick Castle has ceased to be a dream. It is better,
methinks, to linger on the bridge, gazing at Caesar's Tower and Guy's
Tower in the dim English sunshine above, and in the placid Avon below,
and still keep them as thoughts in your own mind, than climb to their
summits, or touch even a stone of their actual substance. They will have
all the more reality for you, as stalwart relics of immemorial time, if
you are reverent enough to leave them in the intangible sanctity of a
poetic vision.

From the bridge over the Avon, the road passes in front of the
castle-gate, and soon enters the principal street of Warwick, a little
beyond St. John's School-House, already described. Chester itself, most
antique of English towns, can hardly show quainter architectural shapes
than many of the buildings that border this street. They are mostly of
the timber-and-plaster kind, with bowed and decrepit ridge-poles, and a
whole chronology of various patchwork in their walls; their low-browed
door-ways open upon a sunken floor; their projecting stories peep, as
it were, over one another's shoulders, and rise into a multiplicity of
peaked gables; they have curious windows, breaking out irregularly all
over the house, some even in the roof, set in their own little peaks,
opening lattice-wise, and furnished with twenty small panes of
lozenge-shaped glass. The architecture of these edifices (a visible
oaken framework, showing the whole skeleton of the house,--as if a man's
bones should be arranged on his outside, and his flesh seen through the
interstices) is often imitated by modern builders, and with sufficiently
picturesque effect. The objection is, that such houses, like all
imitations of by-gone styles, have an air of affectation; they do not
seem to be built in earnest; they are no better than playthings, or
overgrown baby-houses, in which nobody should be expected to encounter
the serious realities of either birth or death. Besides, originating
nothing, we leave no fashions for another age to copy, when we ourselves
shall have grown antique.

Old as it looks, all this portion of Warwick has overbrimmed, as it
were, from the original settlement, being outside of the ancient wall.
The street soon runs under an arched gateway, with a church or some
other venerable structure above it, and admits us into the heart of
the town. At one of my first visits, I witnessed a military display. A
regiment of Warwickshire militia, probably commanded by the Earl, was
going through its drill in the market-place; and on the collar of one of
the officers was embroidered the Bear and Ragged Staff, which has been
the cognizance of the Warwick earldom from time immemorial. The soldiers
were sturdy young men, with the simple, stolid, yet kindly, faces of
English rustics, looking exceedingly well in a body, but slouching into
a yeoman-like carriage and appearance, the moment they were dismissed
from drill. Squads of them were distributed everywhere about the
streets, and sentinels were posted at various points; and I saw a
sergeant, with a great key in his hand, (big enough to have been the key
of the castle's main entrance when the gate was thickest and heaviest,)
apparently setting a guard. Thus, centuries after feudal times are
past, we find warriors still gathering under the old castle-walls, and
commanded by a feudal lord, just as in the days of the King-Maker, who,
no doubt, often mustered his retainers in the same market-place where I
beheld this modern regiment.

The interior of the town wears a less old-fashioned aspect than the
suburbs through which we approach it; and the High Street has shops with
modern plate-glass, and buildings with stuccoed fronts, exhibiting as
few projections to hang a thought or sentiment upon as if an architect
of to-day had planned them. And, indeed, so far as their surface goes,
they are perhaps new enough to stand unabashed in an American street;
but behind these renovated faces, with their monotonous lack of
expression, there is probably the substance of the same old town that
wore a Gothic exterior in the Middle Ages. The street is an emblem of
England itself. What seems new in it is chiefly a skilful and fortunate
adaptation of what such a people as ourselves would destroy. The new
things are based and supported on sturdy old things, and derive a
massive strength from their deep and immemorial foundations, though with
such limitations and impediments as only an Englishman could endure.
But he likes to feel the weight of all the past upon his back; and,
moreover, the antiquity that overburdens him has taken root in his
being, and has grown to be rather a hump than a pack, so that there is
no getting rid of it without tearing his whole structure to pieces. In
my judgment, as he appears to be sufficiently comfortable under the
mouldy accretion, he had better stumble on with it as long as he can.
He presents a spectacle which is by no means without its charm for a
disinterested and unincumbered observer.

When the old edifice, or the antiquated custom or institution, appears
in its pristine form, without any attempt at intermarrying it with
modern fashions, an American cannot but admire the picturesque effect
produced by the sudden cropping up of an apparently dead-and-buried
state of society into the actual present, of which he is himself a part.
We need not go far in Warwick without encountering an instance of the
kind. Proceeding westward through the town, we find ourselves confronted
by a huge mass of natural rock, hewn into something like architectural
shape, and penetrated by a vaulted passage, which may well have been one
of King Cymbeline's original gateways; and on the top of the rock, over
the archway, sits a small, old church, communicating with an ancient
edifice, or assemblage of edifices, that look down from a similar
elevation on the side of the street. A range of trees half hides the
latter establishment from the sun. It presents a curious and venerable
specimen of the timber-and-plaster style of building, in which some of
the finest old houses in England are constructed; the front projects
into porticos and vestibules, and rises into many gables, some in a row,
and others crowning semi-detached portions of the structure; the windows
mostly open on hinges, but show a delightful irregularity of shape and
position; a multiplicity of chimneys break through the roof at their own
will, or, at least, without any settled purpose of the architect. The
whole affair looks very old,--so old, indeed, that the front bulges
forth, as if the timber framework were a little weary, at last, of
standing erect so long; but the state of repair is so perfect, and there
is such an indescribable aspect of continuous vitality within the system
of this aged house, that you feel confident that there may be safe
shelter yet, and perhaps for centuries to come, under its time-honored
roof. And on a bench, sluggishly enjoying the sunshine, and looking into
the street of Warwick as from a life apart, a few old men are generally
to be seen, wrapped in long cloaks, on which you may detect the
glistening of a silver badge representing the Bear and Ragged Staff.
These decorated worthies are some of the twelve brethren of Leicester's
Hospital,--a community which subsists to-day under the identical modes
that were established for it in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, and of
course retains many features of a social life that has vanished almost
everywhere else.

The edifice itself dates from a much older period than the charitable
institution of which it is now the home. It was the seat of a religious
fraternity far back in the Middle Ages, and continued so till Henry
VIII. turned all the priesthood of England out-of-doors, and put the
most unscrupulous of his favorites into their vacant abodes. In many
instances, the old monks had chosen the sites of their domiciles so
well, and built them on such a broad system of beauty and convenience,
that their lay-occupants found it easy to convert them into stately and
comfortable homes; and as such they still exist, with something of the
antique reverence lingering about them. The structure now before us
seems to have been first granted to Sir Nicholas Lestrange, who perhaps
intended, like other men, to establish his household gods in the niches
whence he had thrown down the images of saints, and to lay his hearth
where an altar had stood. But there was probably a natural reluctance
in those days (when Catholicism, so lately repudiated, must needs Lave
retained an influence over all but the most obdurate characters) to
bring one's hopes of domestic prosperity and a fortunate lineage into
direct hostility with the awful claims of the ancient religion. At all
events, there is still a superstitious idea, betwixt a fantasy and a
belief, that the possession of former Church-property has drawn a curse
along with it, not only among the posterity of those to whom it was
originally granted, but wherever it has subsequently been transferred,
even if honestly bought and paid for. There are families, now inhabiting
some of the beautiful old abbeys, who appear to indulge a species of
pride in recording the strange deaths and ugly shapes of misfortune that
have occurred among their predecessors, and may be supposed likely to
dog their own pathway down the ages of futurity. Whether Sir Nicholas
Lestrange, in the beef-eating days of Old Harry and Elizabeth, was a
nervous man, and subject to apprehensions of this kind, I cannot tell;
but it is certain that he speedily rid himself of the spoils of the
Church, and that, within twenty years afterwards, the edifice became the
property of the famous Dudley, Earl of Leicester, brother of the Earl of
Warwick. He devoted the ancient religious precinct to a charitable use,
endowing it with an ample revenue, and making it the perpetual home of
twelve poor, honest, and war-broken soldiers, mostly his own retainers,
and natives either of Warwickshire or Gloucestershire. These veterans,
or others wonderfully like them, still occupy their monkish dormitories
and haunt the time-darkened corridors and galleries of the hospital,
leading a life of old-fashioned comfort, wearing the old-fashioned
cloaks, and burnishing the identical silver badges which the Earl of
Leicester gave to the original twelve. He is said to have been a bad man
in his day; but he has succeeded in prolonging one good deed into what
was to him a distant future.

On the projecting story, over the arched entrance, there is the date,
1571, and several coats-of-arms, either the Earl's or those of his
kindred, and immediately above the door-way a stone sculpture of the
Bear and Ragged Staff.

Passing through the arch, we find ourselves in a quadrangle, or
inclosed court, such as always formed the central part of a great
family-residence in Queen Elizabeth's time, and earlier. There can
hardly be a more perfect specimen of such an establishment than
Leicester's Hospital. The quadrangle is a sort of sky-roofed hall, to
which there is convenient access from all parts of the house. The four
inner fronts, with their high, steep roofs and sharp gables, look into
it from antique windows, and through open corridors and galleries along
the sides; and there seems to be a richer display of architectural
devices and ornaments, quainter carvings in oak, and more fantastic
shapes of the timber framework, than on the side towards the street. On
the wall opposite the arched entrance are the following inscriptions,
comprising such moral rules, I presume, as were deemed most essential
for the daily observance of the community: "HONOR ALL MEN"--"FEAR
GOD"--"HONOR THE KING"--"LOVE THE BROTHERHOOD"; and again, as if this
latter injunction needed emphasis and repetition among a household of
aged people soured with the hard fortune of their previous lives,--"BE
KINDLY AFFECTIONED ONE TO ANOTHER." One sentence, over a door
communicating with the Master's side of the house, is addressed to
that dignitary,--"HE THAT RULETH OVER MEN MUST BE JUST." All these
are charactered in black-letter, and form part of the elaborate
ornamentation of the Louse. Everywhere--on the walls, over windows and
doors, and at all points where there is room to place them--appear
escutcheons of arms, cognizances, and crests, emblazoned in their proper
colors, and illuminating the ancient quadrangle with their splendor. One
of these devices is a large image of a porcupine on an heraldic wreath,
being the crest of the Lords de Lisle. But especially is the cognizance
of the Bear and Ragged Staff repeated over and over, and over again and
again, in a great variety of attitudes, at full-length and half-length,
in paint and in oaken sculpture, in bas-relief and rounded image.
The founder of the hospital was certainly disposed to reckon his own
beneficence as among the hereditary glories of his race; and had he
lived and died a half-century earlier, he would have kept up an old
Catholic custom by enjoining the twelve bedesmen to pray for the welfare
of his soul.

At my first visit, some of the brethren were seated on the bench outside
of the edifice, looking down into the street; but they did not vouchsafe
me a word, and seemed so estranged from modern life, so enveloped in
antique customs and old-fashioned cloaks, that to converse with them
would have been like shouting across the gulf between our age and
Queen Elizabeth's. So I passed into the quadrangle, and found it quite
solitary, except that a plain and neat old woman happened to be crossing
it, with an aspect of business and carefulness that bespoke her a woman
of this world, and not merely a shadow of the past. Asking her if I
could come in, she answered very readily and civilly that I might, and
said that I was free to look about me, hinting a hope, however, that I
would not open the private doors of the brotherhood, as some visitors
were in the habit of doing. Under her guidance, I went into what was
formerly the great hall of the establishment, where King James I. had
once been feasted by an Earl of Warwick, as is commemorated by an
inscription on the cobwebbed and dingy wall. It is a very spacious and
barn-like apartment, with a brick floor, and a vaulted roof, the rafters
of which are oaken beams, wonderfully carved, but hardly visible in
the duskiness that broods aloft. The hall may have made a splendid
appearance, when it was decorated with rich tapestry, and illuminated
with chandeliers, cressets, and torches glistening upon silver dishes,
while King James sat at supper among his brilliantly dressed nobles;
but it has come to base uses in these latter days,--being improved,
in Yankee phrase, as a brewery and wash-room, and as a cellar for the
brethren's separate allotments of coal.

The old lady here left me to myself, and I returned into the quadrangle.
It was very quiet, very handsome, in its own obsolete style, and must be
an exceedingly comfortable place for the old people to lounge in, when
the inclement winds render it inexpedient to walk abroad. There are
shrubs against the wall, on one side; and on another is a cloistered
walk, adorned with stags' heads and antlers, and running beneath a
covered gallery, up to which ascends a balustraded staircase. In the
portion of the edifice opposite the entrance-arch are the apartments
of the Master; and looking into the window, (as the old woman, at no
request of mine, had specially informed me that I might,) I saw a low,
but vastly comfortable parlor, very handsomely furnished, and altogether
a luxurious place. It had a fireplace with an immense arch, the antique
breadth of which extended almost from wall to wall of the room, though
now fitted up in such a way that the modern coal-grate looked very
diminutive in the midst. Gazing into this pleasant interior, it seemed
to me, that, among these venerable surroundings, availing himself of
whatever was good in former things, and eking out their imperfection
with the results of modern ingenuity, the Master might lead a not
unenviable life. On the cloistered side of the quadrangle, where the
dark oak panels made the inclosed space dusky, I beheld a curtained
window reddened by a great blaze from within, and heard the bubbling and
squeaking of something--doubtless very nice and succulent--that was
being cooked at the kitchen-fire. I think, indeed, that a whiff or
two of the savory fragrance reached my nostrils; at all events, the
impression grew upon me that Leicester's Hospital is one of the jolliest
old domiciles in England.

I was about to depart, when another old woman, very plainly dressed,
but fat, comfortable, and with a cheerful twinkle in her eyes, came in
through the arch, and looked curiously at me. This repeated apparition
of the gentle sex (though by no means under its loveliest guise) had
still an agreeable effect in modifying my ideas of an institution which
I had supposed to be of a stern and monastic character. She asked
whether I wished to see the hospital, and said that the porter, whose
office it was to attend to visitors, was dead, and would be buried that
very day, so that the whole establishment could not conveniently be
shown me. She kindly invited me, however, to visit the apartment
occupied by her husband and herself; so I followed her up the antique
staircase, along the gallery, and into a small, oak-panelled parlor,
where sat an old man in a long blue garment, who arose and saluted me
with much courtesy. He seemed a very quiet person, and yet had a look of
travel and adventure, and gray experience, such as I could have fancied
in a palmer of ancient times, who might likewise have worn a similar
costume. The little room was carpeted and neatly furnished; a portrait
of its occupant was hanging on the wall; and on a table were two swords
crossed,--one, probably, his own battle-weapon, and the other, which
I drew half out of the scabbard, had an inscription on the blade,
purporting that it had been taken from the field of Waterloo. My
kind old hostess was anxious to exhibit all the particulars of their
housekeeping, and led me into the bed-room, which was in the nicest
order, with a snow-white quilt upon the bed; and in a little intervening
room was a washing and bathing apparatus,--a convenience (judging from
the personal aspect and atmosphere of such parties) seldom to be met
with in the humbler ranks of British life.

The old soldier and his wife both seemed glad of somebody to talk with;
but the good woman availed herself of the privilege far more copiously
than the veteran himself, insomuch that he felt it expedient to give her
an occasional nudge with his elbow in her well-padded ribs. "Don't you
be so talkative!" quoth he; and, indeed, he could hardly find space for
a word, and quite as little after his admonition as before. Her nimble
tongue ran over the whole system of life in the hospital. The brethren,
she said, had a yearly stipend, (the amount of which she did not
mention,) and such decent lodgings as I saw, and some other advantages,
free; and instead of being pestered with a great many rules, and made
to dine together at a great table, they could manage their little
household-matters as they liked, buying their own dinners, and having
them cooked in the general kitchen, and eating them snugly in their own
parlors. "And," added she, rightly deeming this the crowning privilege,
"with the Master's permission, they can have their wives to take care of
them; and no harm comes of it; and what more can an old man desire?"
It was evident enough that the good dame found herself in what she
considered very rich clover, and, moreover, had plenty of small
occupations to keep her from getting rusty and dull; but the veteran
impressed me as deriving far less enjoyment from the monotonous ease,
without fear of change or hope of improvement, that had followed upon
thirty years of peril and vicissitude. I fancied, too, that, while
pleased with the novelty of a stranger's visit, he was still a little
shy of becoming a spectacle for the stranger's curiosity; for, if he
chose to be morbid about the matter, the establishment was but an
almshouse, in spite of its old-fashioned magnificence, and his fine blue
cloak only a pauper's garment, with a silver badge on it that perhaps
galled his shoulder. In truth, the badge and the peculiar garb, though
quite in accordance with the manners of the Earl of Leicester's age,
are repugnant to modern prejudices, and might fitly and humanely be
abolished.

A year or two afterwards I paid another visit to the hospital, and found
a new porter established in office, and already capable of talking like
a guide-book about the history, antiquities, and present condition of
the charity. He informed me that the twelve brethren are selected from
among old soldiers of good character, whose private resources must
not exceed an income of five pounds; thus excluding all commissioned
officers, whose half-pay would of course be more than that amount. They
receive from the hospital an annuity of eighty pounds each, besides
their apartments, a garment of fine blue cloth, an annual abundance of
ale, and a privilege at the kitchen-fire; so that, considering the class
from which they are taken, they may well reckon themselves among the
fortunate of the earth. Furthermore, they are invested with political
rights, acquiring a vote for member of Parliament in virtue either
of their income or brotherhood. On the other hand, as regards their
personal freedom and conduct, they are subject to a supervision which
the Master of the hospital might render extremely annoying, were he so
inclined; but the military restraint under which they have spent the
active portion of their lives makes it easier for them to endure the
domestic discipline here imposed upon their age. The porter bore his
testimony (whatever were its value) to their being as contented and
happy as such a set of old people could possibly be, and affirmed that
they spent much time in burnishing their silver badges, and were as
proud of them as a nobleman of his star. These badges, by-the-by, except
one that was stolen and replaced in Queen Anne's time, are the very same
that decorated the original twelve brethren.

I have seldom met with a better guide than my friend the porter.
He appeared to take a genuine interest in the peculiarities of the
establishment, and yet had an existence apart from them, so that he
could the better estimate what those peculiarities were. To be sure, his
knowledge and observation were confined to external things, but, so
far, had a sufficiently extensive scope. He led me up the staircase
and exhibited portions of the timber framework of the edifice that are
reckoned to be eight or nine hundred years old, and are still neither
worm-eaten nor decayed; and traced out what had been a great hall, in
the days of the Catholic fraternity, though its area is now filled up
with the apartments of the twelve brethren; and pointed to ornaments of
sculptured oak, done in an ancient religious style of art, but hardly
visible amid the vaulted dimness of the roof. Thence we went to the
chapel--the Gothic church which I noted several pages back--surmounting
the gateway that stretches half across the street. Here the brethren
attend daily prayer, and have each a prayer-book of the finest paper,
with a fair, large type for their old eyes. The interior of the chapel
is very plain, with a picture of no merit for an altar-piece, and
a single old pane of painted glass in the great eastern window,
representing--no saint, nor angel, as is customary in such cases--but
that grim sinner, the Earl of Leicester. Nevertheless, amid so many
tangible proofs of his human sympathy, one comes to doubt whether the
Earl could have been such a hardened reprobate, after all.

We ascended the tower of the chapel, and looked down between its
battlements into the street, a hundred feet below us; while clambering
half-way up were foxglove-flowers, weeds, small shrubs, and tufts of
grass, that had rooted themselves into the roughnesses of the stone
foundation. Far around us lay a rich and lovely English landscape, with
many a church-spire and noble country-seat, and several objects of high
historic interest. Edge Hill, where the Puritans defeated Charles I., is
in sight on the edge of the horizon, and much nearer stands the house
where Cromwell lodged on the night before the battle. Right under our
eyes, and half-enveloping the town with its high-shouldering wall, so
that all the closely compacted streets seemed but a precinct of the
estate, was the Earl of Warwick's delightful park, a wide extent of
sunny lawns, interspersed with broad contiguities of forest-shade. Some
of the cedars of Lebanon were there,--a growth of trees in which the
Warwick family take an hereditary pride. The two highest towers of the
castle heave themselves up out of a mass of foliage, and look down in a
lordly manner upon the plebeian roofs of the town, a part of which are
slate-covered, (these are the modern houses,) and a part are coated with
old red tiles, denoting the more ancient edifices. A hundred and sixty
or seventy years ago, a great fire destroyed a considerable portion
of the town, and doubtless annihilated many structures of a remote
antiquity; at least, there was a possibility of very old houses in the
long past of Warwick, which King Cymbeline is said to have founded in
the year ONE of the Christian era!

And this historic fact or poetic fiction, whichever it may be, brings to
mind a more indestructible reality than anything else that has occurred
within the present field of our vision; though this includes the scene
of Guy of Warwick's legendary exploits, and some of those of the Round
Table, to say nothing of the Battle of Edge Hill. For perhaps it was
in the landscape now under our eyes that Post-humus wandered with the
King's daughter, the sweet, chaste, faithful, and courageous Imogen, the
tenderest and womanliest woman that Shakspeare ever made immortal in
the world. The silver Avon, which we see flowing so quietly by the gray
castle, may have held their images in its bosom.

The day, though it began brightly, had long been overcast, and the
clouds now spat down a few spiteful drops upon us, besides that the
east-wind was very chill; so we descended the winding tower-stair, and
went next into the garden, one side of which is shut in by almost the
only remaining portion of the old city-wall. A part of the garden-ground
is devoted to grass and shrubbery, and permeated by gravel-walks, in the
centre of one of which is a beautiful stone vase of Egyptian sculpture,
having formerly stood on the top of a Nilometer, or graduated pillar
for measuring the rise and fall of the River Nile. On the pedestal is
a Latin inscription by Dr. Parr, who (his vicarage of Hatton being so
close at hand) was probably often the Master's guest, and smoked his
interminable pipe along these garden-walks. Of the vegetable-garden,
which lies adjacent, the lion's share is appropriated to the Master, and
twelve small, separate patches to the individual brethren, who cultivate
them at their own judgment and by their own labor; and their beans
and cauliflowers have a better flavor, I doubt not, than if they had
received them directly from the dead hand of the Earl of Leicester, like
the rest of their food. In the farther part of the garden is an arbor
for the old men's pleasure and convenience, and I should like well to
sit down among them there, and find out what is really the bitter and
the sweet of such a sort of life. As for the old gentlemen themselves,
they put me queerly in mind of the Salem Custom-House, and the venerable
personages whom I found so quietly at anchor there.

The Master's residence, forming one entire side of the quadrangle,
fronts on the garden, and wears an aspect at once stately and homely.
It can hardly have undergone any perceptible change with in three
centuries; but the garden, into which its old windows look, has probably
put off a great many eccentricities and quaintnesses, in the way of
cunningly clipped shrubbery, since the gardener of Queen Elizabeth's
reign threw down his rusty shears and took his departure. The present
Master's name is Harris; he is a descendant of the founder's family, a
gentleman of independent fortune, and a clergyman of the Established
Church, as the regulations of the hospital require him to be. I know
not what are his official emoluments; but, according to all English
precedent, an ancient charitable fund is certain to be held directly for
the behoof of those who administer it, and perhaps incidentally, in a
moderate way, for the nominal beneficiaries; and, in the case before us,
the brethren being so comfortably provided for, the Master is likely to
be at least as comfortable as all the twelve together. Yet I ought not,
even in a distant land, to fling an idle gibe against a gentleman of
whom I really know nothing, except that the people under his charge bear
all possible tokens of being tended and cared for as sedulously as if
each of them sat by a warm fireside of his own, with a daughter bustling
round the hearth to make ready his porridge and his titbits. It is
delightful to think of the good life which a suitable man, in the
Master's position, has an opportunity to lead,--linked to time-honored
customs, welded in with an ancient system, never dreaming of radical
change, and bringing all the mellowness and richness of the past down
into these railway-days, which do not compel him or his community
to move a whit quicker than of yore. Everybody can appreciate the
advantages of going ahead; it might be well, sometimes, to think whether
there is not a word or two to be said in favor of standing still, or
going to sleep.

From the garden we went into the kitchen, where the fire was burning
hospitably, and diffused a genial warmth far and wide, together with the
fragrance of some old English roast-beef, which, I think must at that
moment have been nearly to a turn. The kitchen is a lofty, spacious,
and noble room, partitioned off round the fireplace by a sort of
semicircular oaken screen, or, rather, an arrangement of heavy and
high-backed settles, with an ever open entrance between them, on either
side of which is the omnipresent image of the Bear and Ragged Staff,
three feet high, and excellently carved in oak, now black with time and
unctuous kitchen-smoke. The ponderous mantel-piece, likewise of carved
oak, towers high towards the dusky ceiling, and extends its mighty
breadth to take in a vast area of hearth, the arch of the fireplace
being positively so immense that I could compare it to nothing but the
city-gateway. Above its cavernous opening were crossed two ancient
halberds, the weapons, possibly, of soldiers who had fought under
Leicester in the Low Countries; and elsewhere on the walls were
displayed several muskets, which some of the present inmates of the
hospital may have levelled against the French. Another ornament of the
mantel-piece was a square of silken needlework or embroidery, faded
nearly white, but dimly representing that wearisome Bear and Ragged
Staff, which we should hardly look twice at, only that it was wrought by
the fair fingers of poor Amy Robsart, and beautifully framed in oak from
Kenilworth Castle at the expense of a Mr. Conner, a countryman of our
own. Certainly, no Englishman would be capable of this little bit of
enthusiasm. Finally, the kitchen-firelight glistens on a splendid
display of copper flagons, all of generous capacity, and one of them
about as big as a half-barrel; the smaller vessels contain the customary
allowance of ale, and the larger one is filled with that foaming liquor
on four festive occasions of the year, and emptied amain by the jolly
brotherhood. I should be glad to see them do it; but it would be an
exploit fitter for Queen Elizabeth's age than these degenerate times.

The kitchen is the social hall of the twelve brethren. In the day-time,
they bring their little messes to be cooked here, and eat them in their
own parlors; but after a certain hour, the great hearth is cleared and
swept, and the old men assemble round its blaze, each with his tankard
and his pipe, and hold high converse through the evening. If the Master
be a fit man for his office, methinks he will sometimes sit down
sociably among them; for there is an elbow-chair by the fireside which
it would not demean his dignity to fill, since it was occupied by King
James at the great festival of nearly three centuries ago. A sip of the
ale and a whiff of the tobacco-pipe would put him in friendly relations
with his venerable household; and then we can fancy him instructing them
by pithy apothegms and religious texts which were first uttered here by
some Catholic priest and have impregnated the atmosphere ever since. If
a joke goes round, it shall be of an elder coinage than Joe Miller's, as
old as Lord Bacon's collection, or as the jest-book that Master Slender
asked for when he lacked small-talk for sweet Anne Page. No news shall
be spoken of, later than the drifting ashore, on the northern coast,
of sonic stern-post or figure-head, a barnacled fragment of one of the
great galleons of the Spanish Armada. What a tremor would pass through
the antique group, if a damp newspaper should suddenly be spread to dry
before the fire! They would feel as if either that printed sheet or they
themselves must be an unreality. What a mysterious awe, if the shriek
of the railway-train, as it reaches the Warwick station, should ever so
faintly invade their ears! Movement of any kind seems inconsistent with
the stability of such an institution. Nevertheless, I trust that the
ages will carry it along with them; because it is such a pleasant kind
of dream for an American to find his way thither, and behold a piece of
the sixteenth century set into our prosaic times, and then to depart,
and think of its arched door-way as a spell-guarded entrance which will
never be accessible or visible to him any more.

Not far from the market-place of Warwick stands the great church of St.
Mary's: a vast edifice, indeed, and almost worthy to be a cathedral.
People who pretend to skill in such matters say that it is in a poor
style of architecture, though designed (or, at least, extensively
restored) by Sir Christopher Wren; but I thought it very striking, with
its wide, high, and elaborate windows, its tall tower, its immense
length, and (for it was long before I outgrew this Americanism, the
love of an old thing merely for the sake of its age) the tinge of gray
antiquity over the whole. Once, while I stood gazing up at the tower,
the clock struck twelve with a very deep intonation, and immediately
some chimes began to play, and kept up their resounding music for five
minutes, as measured by the hand upon the dial. It was a very delightful
harmony, as airy as the notes of birds, and seemed a not unbecoming
freak of half-sportive fancy in the huge, ancient, and solemn church;
although I have seen an old-fashioned parlor-clock that did precisely
the same thing, in its small way.

The great attraction of this edifice is the Beauchamp (or, as the
English, who delight in vulgarizing their fine old Norman names, call
it, the Beechum) Chapel, where the Earls of Warwick and their kindred
have been buried, from four hundred years back till within a recent
period. It is a stately and very elaborate chapel, with a large window
of ancient painted glass, as perfectly preserved as any that I remember
seeing in England, and remarkably vivid in its colors. Here are several
monuments with marble figures recumbent upon them, representing the
Earls in their knightly armor, and their dames in the ruffs and
court-finery of their day, looking hardly stiffer in stone than they
must needs have been in their starched linen and embroidery. The
renowned Earl of Leicester of Queen Elizabeth's time, the benefactor
of the hospital, reclines at full length on the tablet of one of these
tombs, side by side with his Countess,--not Amy Robsart, but a lady who
(unless I have confused the story with some other mouldy scandal) is
said to have avenged poor Amy's murder by poisoning the Earl himself.
Be that as it may, both figures, and especially the Earl, look like the
very types of ancient Honor and Conjugal Faith. In consideration of
his long-enduring kindness to the twelve brethren, I cannot consent to
believe him as wicked as he is usually depicted; and it seems a marvel,
now that so many well-established historical verdicts have been
reversed, why some enterprising writer does not make out Leicester to
have been the pattern nobleman of his age.

In the centre of the chapel is the magnificent memorial of its founder,
Richard Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick in the time of Henry VI. On a richly
ornamented altar-tomb of gray marble lies the bronze figure of a knight
in gilded armor, most admirably executed: for the sculptors of those
days had wonderful skill in their own style, and could make so life-like
an image of a warrior, in brass or marble, that, if a trumpet were
sounded over his tomb, you would expect him to start up and handle his
sword. The Earl whom we now speak of, however, has slept soundly in
spite of a more serious disturbance than any blast of a trumpet, unless
it were the final one. Some centuries after his death, the floor of the
chapel fell down and broke open the stone coffin in which he was buried;
and among the fragments appeared the Earl of Warwick, with the color
scarcely faded out of his checks, his eyes a little sunken, but in other
respects looking as natural as if he had died yesterday. But exposure to
the atmosphere appeared to begin and finish the long-delayed process of
decay in a moment, causing him to vanish like a bubble; so that, almost
before there had been time to wonder at him, there was nothing left of
the stalwart Earl save his hair. This sole relic the ladies of Warwick
made prize of, and braided it into rings and brooches for their own
adornment; and thus, with a chapel and a ponderous tomb built on purpose
to protect his remains, this great nobleman could not help being brought
untimely to the light of day, nor even keep his love-locks on his skull
after he had so long done with love. There seems to be a fatality that
disturbs people in their sepulchres, when they have been over-careful to
render them magnificent and impregnable,--as witness the builders of
the Pyramids, and Hadrian, Augustus, and the Scipios, and most other
personages whose mausoleums have been conspicuous enough to attract the
violator; and as for dead men's hair, I have seen a lock of King Edward
the Fourth's, of a reddish-brown color, which perhaps was once twisted
round the delicate forefinger of Mistress Shore.

The direct lineage of the renowned characters that lie buried in this
splendid chapel has long been extinct. The earldom is now held by
the Grevilles, descendants of the Lord Brooke who was slain in the
Parliamentary War; and they have recently (that is to say, within
a century) built a burial-vault on the other side of the church,
calculated (as the sexton assured me, with a nod as if be were pleased)
to afford suitable and respectful accommodation to as many as fourscore
coffins. Thank Heaven, the old man did not call them "CASKETS"!--a vile
modern phrase, which compels a person of sense and good taste to shrink
more disgustfully than ever before from the idea of being buried at
all. But as regards those eighty coffins, only sixteen have as yet
been contributed; and it may be a question with some minds, not merely
whether the Grevilles will hold the earldom of Warwick until the
full number shall be made up, but whether earldoms and all manner of
lordships will not have faded out of England long before those many
generations shall have passed from the castle to the vault. I hope not.
A titled and landed aristocracy, if anywise an evil and an incumbrance,
is so only to the nation which is doomed to bear it on its shoulders;
and an American, whose sole relation to it is to admire its picturesque
effect upon society, ought to be the last man to quarrel with what
affords him so much gratuitous enjoyment. Nevertheless, conservative
as England is, and though I scarce ever found an Englishman who seemed
really to desire change, there was continually a dull sound in my ears
as if the old foundations of things were crumbling away. Some time or
other,--by no irreverent effort of violence, but, rather, in spite of
all pious efforts to uphold a heterogeneous pile of institutions that
will have outlasted their vitality,--at some unexpected moment, there
must come a terrible crash. The sole reason why I should desire it to
happen in my day is, that I might be there to see! But the ruin of my
own country is, perhaps, all that I am destined to witness; and that
immense catastrophe (though I am strong in the faith that there is a
national lifetime of a thousand years in us yet) would serve any man
well enough as his final spectacle on earth.

If the visitor is inclined to carry away any little memorial of Warwick,
he had better go to an Old Curiosity Shop in the High Street, where
there is a vast quantity of obsolete gewgaws, great and small, and many
of them so pretty and ingenious that you wonder how they came to be
thrown aside and forgotten. As regards its minor tastes, the world
changes, but does not improve; it appears to me, indeed, that there have
been epochs of far more exquisite fancy than the present one, in matters
of personal ornament, and such delicate trifles as we put upon a
drawing-room table, a mantel-piece, or a what-not. The shop in question
is near the East Gate, but is hardly to be found without careful
search, being denoted only by the name of "REDFERN," painted not very
conspicuously in the top-light of the door. Immediately on entering, we
find ourselves among a confusion of old rubbish and valuables, ancient
armor, historic portraits, ebony cabinets inlaid with pearl, tall,
ghostly clocks, hideous old China, dim looking-glasses in frames of
tarnished magnificence,--a thousand objects of strange aspect, and
others that almost frighten you by their likeness in unlikeness to
things now in use. It is impossible to give an idea of the variety of
articles, so thickly strewn about that we can scarcely move without
overthrowing some great curiosity with a crash, or sweeping away some
small one hitched to our sleeves. Three stories of the entire house are
crowded in like manner. The collection, even as we see it exposed to
view, must have been got together at great cost; but the real treasures
of the establishment lie in secret repositories, whence they are not
likely to be drawn forth at an ordinary summons; though, if a gentleman
with a competently long purse should call for them, I doubt not that
the signet-ring of Joseph's friend Pharaoh, or the Duke of Alva's
leading-staff, or the dagger that killed the Duke of Buckingham, or
any other almost incredible thing, might make its appearance. Gold
snuff-boxes, antique gems, jewelled goblets, Venetian wine-glasses,
(which burst when poison is poured into them, and therefore must not be
used for modern wine-drinking,) jasper-handled knives, painted Sevres
teacups,--in short, there are all sorts of things that a virtuoso
ransacks the world to discover.

It would be easier to spend a hundred pounds in Mr. Redfern's shop than
to keep it in one's pocket; but, for my part, I contented myself with
buying a little old spoon of silver-gilt, and fantastically shaped, and
got it at all the more reasonable rate because there happened to be no
legend attached to it. I could supply any deficiency of that kind at
much less expense than re-gilding the spoon!

       *       *       *       *       *


LYRICS OF THE STREET.


III.

THE CHARITABLE VISITOR.


  She carries no flag of fashion, her clothes are but passing plain,
  Though she comes from a city palace all jubilant with her reign.
  She threads a bewildering alley, with ashes and dust thrown out,
  And fighting and cursing children, who mock as she moves about.

  Why walk you this way, my lady, in the snow and slippery ice?
  These are not the shrines of virtue,--here misery lives, and vice:
  Rum helps the heart of starvation to a courage bold and bad;
  And women are loud and brawling, while men sit maudlin and mad.

  I see in the corner yonder the boy with the broken arm,
  And the mother whose blind wrath did it, strange guardian from childish
    harm.
  That face will grow bright at your coming, but your steward might come
    as well,
  Or better the Sunday teacher that helped him to read and spell.

  Oh! I do not come of my willing, with froward and restless feet;
  I have pleasant tasks in my chamber, and friends well-beloved to greet.
  To follow the dear Lord Jesus I walk in the storm and snow;
  Where I find the trace of His footsteps, there lilies and roses grow.

  He said that to give was blessed, more blessed than to receive;
  But what could He take, dear angels, of all that we had to give,
  Save a little pause of attention, and a little thrill of delight,
  When the dead were waked from their slumbers, and the blind recalled to
    sight?

  Say, the King came forth with the morning, and opened His palace-doors,
  Thence flinging His gifts like sunbeams that break upon marble floors;
  But the wind with wild pinions caught them, and carried them round
    about:
  Though I looked till mine eyes were dazzled, I never could make them out.

  But He bade me go far and find them, "go seek them with zeal and pain;
  The hand is most welcome to me that brings me mine own again;
  And those who follow them farthest, with faithful searching and sight,
  Are brought with joy to my presence, and sit at my feet all night."

  So, hither and thither walking, I gather them broadly cast;
  Where yonder young face doth sicken, it may be the best and last.
  In no void or vague of duty I come to his aid to-day;
  I bring God's love to his bed-side, and carry God's gift away.



MR. AXTELL.

PART V.


"Miss Anna! Miss Anna! Doctor Percival is waiting for you," were the
opening words of the next day's life. Its bells had had no influence in
restoring me to consciousness of existence. I never have liked metallic
commanders. Now Jeffy's Ethiopian tones were inspiriting, and to their
music I began the mystic march of another day.

Doctor Percival was not out of patience, it seemed, with waiting; for,
as I went in, he was so engrossed with a morning paper that he did not
even look up, or notice me, until I made myself vocal, and then only to
say,--

"Ring for breakfast, Anna; I shall have done by the time it comes."

"It is here, father"; and he dropped the newspaper, turned his chair to
the table, leaned his arms upon it, covered his precious face with two
thin, quivering hands, and remained thus, whilst I prepared coffee, and
lingered as long as possible in the seeming occupation.

Jeffy--and I suspect that the mischievous African designed the
act--overturned the coffee in handing it to my father, who is not
endowed with the most equable temper ever consigned to mortals; but this
morning he did not give Jeffy even a severe look, for his eyes were full
of tender pity, such as I had never seen in them in all the past.

"How is your patient?" I asked.

"Better, thank God!" he replied.

"Were you with him all night?"

"Yes, all night. I must go out this morning to see some patients. I'll
send up a nurse from the hospital on my way. I don't think the delirium
will return before mid-day; can you watch him till then, Anna?"--and
he asked with a seeming doubt either of my willingness or my ability,
perhaps a mingling of both.

I did not like to recount my serious failures with Miss Axtell, but I
answered,--

"I will try."

Before he went, he took me in to the place of my watching. The gentleman
was asleep. The housekeeper was quite willing to relinquish her office.
The good physician gave me orders concerning the febrifuge to be
administered in case of increase of febrile symptoms, and saying that
"it wouldn't be long ere some one came to relieve me," he bent over the
sleeping patient for an instant, and the next was gone.

I think a half-hour must have fled in silence, when Jeffy stole in, his
eyes opening as Chloe's had done not many days agone, when the vision
of myself was painted thereon. I upheld a cautionary index, and he was
still as a mouse, but like a mouse he proceeded to investigate; he
opened a bureau-drawer the least way, and pushing his arm in where my
laces were wont to dwell, he drew out, with exultant delight, the wig
before mentioned.

"What _do_ you s'pose _he_ wants with this thing'?" whispered Jeffy; and
he pointed to the soft, fair masses of curling hair that rested against
the pillow.

Jeffy was a spoiled boy,--"my doing," everybody said, and it may
have been truly. He was Chloe's son, and had inherited her ways and
affectionate heart, and for these I forgave him much.

I said, "Hush!"--whereupon he lifted up the wig and deposited it upon
the top of his tangled circlets of hair before I could stay him.

I reached out my hand for it, not venturing on words, for fear of
disturbing the patient; but Jeffy, with unpardonable wilfulness, danced
out of my circuit, and at the same instant the sick man turned his head,
and beheld Jeffy in the possession of his property. Jeffy looked very
repentant, said in low, deprecatory tones, "I'm sorry," and, depositing
the wig in the drawer, hastened to escape, which I know he would not
have done but for the disabled condition of the invalid, who could only
look his wrath. I had so hoped that he would sleep until some one came;
but this unfortunate Jeffy had dissipated my hope, and left me in
pitiable dilemma.

In the vain endeavor to restore the scattered influence of Morpheus,
I flew to one of the aids of the mystic god, and beseeching its
assistance, I prepared to administer the draught. I could not find a
spoon on the instant. When I did, I made a mistake in dropping the
opiate, and was obliged to commence anew, and all the while that
handsome face, with large, pleading eyes in it, held me in painful
duress. When I turned towards him and held the glass to his lips, I
trembled, as I had not done, even in the church, when Abraham Axtell and
I stood before the opened entrance into earth. All the words that I that
day had heard in the tower were ringing like clarions in the air, and
they shook me with their vibrant forces.

"Am _I_ in heaven?"

It was the same voice that had said to Miss Axtell, "Will you send me
out again?" that spake these words.

Was he going into delirium again? I was desirous of keeping him upon our
planet, and I said,--

"Oh, no,--they don't need morphine in heaven."

"They need _you_ there, though. You must go _now_," he said; and he made
an effort to take the glass from my hand.

"I have never been in heaven," I said.

"Then they deceive, they deceive, and there isn't any heaven! Oh, what
if after all there shouldn't be such a place?"

He lifted up his one usable hand in agony.

"We wait until we die, before going there," I said; "I am alive, don't
you see?"

"Alive, and not dead? you! whom I killed eighteen years ago, have you
come to reproach me now? Oh, I have suffered, even to atonement, for it!
You would pardon, if you only knew what I have suffered for you."

Surely delirium had returned. I urged the poor man to take the contents
of the glass.

He promised, upon condition of my forgiveness,--forgiveness for having
killed me, who never had been killed, who was surely alive. Jeffy had
come in again, and had listened to the pleading.

"Why don't you tell him yes, Miss Anna? He doesn't know a word he's
sayin'. It'll keep him quiet like; he's like a baby," he whispered, with
a covert pull at my dress by way of impressment.

And so, guided by Chloe's boy, I said, "I forgive."

"Why don't you go, if you forgive me? I don't like to keep you here,
when you belong up there"; and he pointed his words by the aid of his
available hand.

I knew then _why_ Miss Axtell had loved this man: it was simply one of
those cruel, compulsory offerings up of self, that allure one, in open
sight of torture, on to the altar. Oh, poor woman! why hath thy Maker
so forsaken thee? And in mute wonder at this most wondrous wrong, that
crept into mortal life when the serpent went out through Eden and
left an opening in the Garden, I forgot for the while my present
responsibility, in compassionate pity for the pale, beautiful lady in
Redleaf, into whose heart this man had come,--unwillingly, I knew, when
I looked into his face, and yet, _having come, must grow into its Eden,
even unto the time that Eternity shadows;_ and I sent out the arms of my
spirit, and twined them invisibly around her, who truly had spoken when
she said, "I want you," with such hungry tones. God, the Infinite,
has given me comprehension of such women, has given me His own loving
pity,--in little human grains, it is true, but they come from "the
shining shore." "Miss Axtell does want me," I thought; "she is right,--I
am gladness to her."

"Will you go?" came from the invalid.

"A woman, loving thus, never comes alone into a friend's heart,"
something said; "you must receive her shadow"; and I looked at the
person who had said, "Will you go?"

There are various words used in the dictionary of life, descriptive
of men such as him now before me. They mostly are formed in syllables
numbering four and five, which all integrate in the one word
_irresistible_: how pitifully I abhor that word!--every letter has a
serpent-coil in it. "Love thy neighbor even as thyself." It is good that
these words came just here to wall themselves before the torrent that
might not have been stayed until I had laid the mountain of my thought
upon the sycophantic syllabication that the world loves to "lip" unto
the world,--the false world, that, blinded, blinds to blinder blindness
those that fain would behold. There is a crying out in the earth for
a place of torment; there are sins for which we want what God hath
prepared for the wicked.

"Are you going?"--and this time there was plaintive moaning in the
accents.

"You must take him in, too," my spirit whispered; and I acted the "I
will" that formed in the mental court where my soul sat enthroned,--my
own judge.

"Oh, no, I am not going away," I said; "I am come to stay with you,
until some one else comes."

A certain resignment of opposition seemed to be effected. I knew it
would be so,--it is in all such natures,--and he seemed intent upon
making atonement for his imaginary wrong, since I would stay.

"Mary, I didn't mean to kill you," he said; "I wouldn't have destroyed
your young life; oh! I wouldn't;--but I did! I did!"

"You make some strange mistake; you ought not to talk," I urged,
surprised at this second time being called Mary.

"Yes, I guess 'twas a mistake,--you're right, all a mistake,--I didn't
mean to kill you; but I did _him_, though. Oh! I wanted to destroy
him,--_he hadn't any pity, he wouldn't yield_. But it's _you_, Mary,
_you_ oughtn't to hear me say such things of _him_."

"I am not Mary, I am Miss Percival; and you may tell me."

"I beg pardon, I had no right to call you Mary; but it is there, now, on
your tomb-stone in the old church-yard,--Mary Percival,--there isn't any
Miss there. Do they call you Miss Percival in heaven?"--and he began to
sing, deep, stirring songs of rhythmic melody, that catch up individual
existences and bear them to congregated continents, where mountains sing
and seas respond, amid the _encore_ of starry spheres.

O Music! if we could but divine thee, dear divinity, thou mightst be
less divine! then let us be content to be divinized in thee!--and I was.
I let him sing, knowing that it was in delirium; and for the moment my
wonder ceased concerning Miss Axtell's love for Herbert.

This while, Jeffy stood speechless, transfused into melody. Whence came
this love of Africans for harmonious measure? Oh, I remember: the scroll
of song whereon were written the accents of the joyed morning-stars,
when they grew jubilant that earth stood create, was let fall by an
angel upon Afric's soil. No one of the children of the land was found of
wisdom sufficient to read the hieroglyphs; therefore the sacred roll was
divided among the souls in the nation: unto each was given one note from
the divine whole.

"Jeffy must have received a semi-breve as his portion," I thought, for
he was rapt in ecstasy.

"Oh, sing again!" he said, unconsciously, when, exhausted, the invalid
reached the shore of Silence,--where he did not long linger, for he
changed his song to lament that he could not reach his ship, that would
sail before he could recover; and he made an effort to rise. He fell
back, fainting.

It seemed a great blessing that at this moment the housekeeper
introduced the person Doctor Percival had sent.

That night, and for many after, it seemed, my father looked extremely
anxious. I did not see the patient again until the eventful twenty-fifth
of March was past.

Two days only was I permitted for my visit. Would Miss Axtell expect me?
or had she, it might be, forgotten that she had asked my presence?

My father had not forgotten the obligation of the ring of gold; he made
allusion to it in the moment of parting, and I felt it tightening about
me more and more as the miles of sea and land rolled back over our
separation; and a question, asked long ago and unanswered yet, was
repeated in my mental realm,--"Canst thou bind the sweet influences of
the Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion?" and I said, "I will not
try."

It was evening when I arrived at the parsonage. Sophie was full of sweet
sisterly joy on seeing me, and of surprise when I told her what had
occurred in our father's house. It was so unprecedented, this taking in
a stranger whose name and home were unknown; for I could not tell Sophie
my conviction that father had discovered who the patient was.

"Miss Axtell is almost well." Sophie gave the information before I found
time to ask. "She pleases to be quite charming to me. I hope she will be
equally gracious to you." And so I hoped.

From out the ark of the round year God sends some day-doves of summer
into the barren spring-time, to sing of coming joys and peck the buds
into opening. One of His sending brooded over Redleaf when I walked
forth in its morning-time to redeem my promise.

"Miss Percival! I'm so glad!"

Katie showed me into the room that once I had been so much afraid of.
She did not long leave me there.

"Miss Lettie would like to see you in her room."

Sophie was right. She is almost well.

"Come!" was the sole word that met my entering in; then followed two
small acts, supposed to be conventionalities. Isn't it good that all
suppositions are _not_ based upon truth? I thought it good then. I hope
I may away on to the dawning of the new life.

This was my first seeing of Miss Axtell in her self-light. She said,--

"This is the only day that I have been down in time for
breakfast,"--she, who looked as if the fair Dead-Sea fruits had been all
of sustenance that had dropped through the leaden waves for her; and
an emotion of awe swept past me, borne upon the renewal of the
consciousness that I had been made essential to her.

"I knew that you would come," she continued. "Oh! I have great
confidence in you; you must never disappoint me,--will you?"--and,
playfully, she motioned me to the footstool where she had appointed me a
place on the first night when she told me of her mother, dead.

I assured her that I should. I must begin that moment by mentioning the
time of my visit's duration.

"How long?" and there was import in the tone of her voice.

"I must be at home to-morrow morning."

"No reprieve?"

I answered, "None,"--and turned the circlet of obligation upon my
finger.

"I am glad you told me; I like limits; I wish to know the precise moment
when my rainbows will disband. It's very nice, meeting Fate half-way;
there's consolation in knowing that it will have as far to go as you on
the return voyage."

I smiled; a little inward ripple of gladness sent muscle-waves to my
lips. She noticed it, and her tone changed.

"I see, I see, my good little Anemone! You don't know how exultant it
is to stand alone, above the forest of your fellows,--to lift up your
highest bough of feeling,--to meet the Northland's fiercest courser that
thinks to lay you low. Did you ever turn to see the expression with
which the last leap of wind is met, the peculiar suavity of the bowing
of the boughs, that says as plainly as ever did speaking leaves, '_You
have left me myself_'? You don't understand these things, you small
wind-flower, that have grown sheltered from all storms!"

"One would think not, Miss Axtell, but"--and I paused until she bade me
"Go on."

"Perhaps it is vanity,--I hope not,--but it seems to me that I have a
mirror of all Nature set into the frame of my soul. It isn't a part of
myself; it is a mental telescope, that resolves the actions of all the
people around me into myriads of motives, atomies of inducement, that I
see woven and webbed around them, by the sight-power given. Besides, I
am not an anemone,--oh, no! I am something more substantial."

"I see, very"; and before I could divine her intent, she had lifted up
my face in both her hands and held my eyes in her own intensity of gaze,
as, oh, long ago! I remember my mother to have done, when she doubted my
perfect truth.

Miss Axtell was engaged in looking over old treasured letters, bits of
memory-memoranda, when I arrived. She had laid them aside to greet me,
somewhat hastily, and a rustling commotion testified their feeling at
their summary disposal. Now she sat framed in by the yellow-and-white
foam, that had settled to motionlessness,--an island in the midst of
waves of memory.

"Did you bring my treasures?" were the first words, after investigating
my truth.

"They are safely here."

I gave the package.

She made no mention of former occurrences. She trusted me implicitly,
with that far-deep of confidence that says, "Explanation would be
useless; your spirit recognizes mine." She only said, drooping her regal
head with the slightest dip into motion,--

"I want to tell you a story; it is of people who are, some in heaven and
some upon the earth;--a story with which you must have something to do
for me, because I cannot do it for myself. I did not intend telling so
soon, but my disbanded rainbow lies in the future."

Before commencing, she wandered up and down the room a little, stopped
before the dressing-bureau, brushed back the hair, with many repetitions
of stroke, from the temples wherein so much of worship had been
gathered, smoothed down the swollen arches of veinery that fretted
across either temple's dome, looked one moment into the censers of
incense that burned always with emotionary fires, flashed out a little
superabundant flame into the cold quicksilver, turned the key, fastening
our two selves in, examined the integrity of the latch leading into the
dressing-room beyond, threw up the window-sash,--the same one that Mr.
Axtell had lifted to look out into the night for her,--asked, "should I
be cold, if she left it open?" looked contentment at my negative answer,
rolled the lounge out to where her easy-chair was still vibrating in
memory of her late presence, made me its occupant, reached out for the
package over which I had been guardian, pinioned it between her two
beautiful hands, laid it down one moment to wrap a shawl around me,
then, resuming it, sat where she had when she said, "I want to tell you
a story," and perhaps she was praying. I may never know, but it was many
moments before she made answer to my slight touch, "Yes, child, I have
not forgotten," and with face hidden from me she told me her story.


MISS AXTELL'S STORY.


"Alice Axtell was my sister. Eighteen years ago last August-time she was
here.

"There has been beauty in the Axtell race; in her it was radiant. It
would have been truth to say, 'She is beautiful.'

"I said that it was August-time,--the twenty-seventh day of the month.
Alice and I had been out in the little bay outside of Redcliff beach,
with your sister. You don't remember her: she was like you. Doctor
Percival had given Mary a boat, taught her to row it, and she had that
afternoon given Alice a first lesson in the art. The day went down hot
and sultry; we lingered on the cooler beach until near evening. We
saw clouds lying dark along the western horizon, and that voiceless
lightnings played in them. Then we came home. The air was tiresome, the
walk seemed endless; still Alice and Mary lingered at the gate of your
father's house to say their last words. The mid-summer weariness was
over us both, as we reached home. We came up to this room,--our room
then. Alice said,--

"'I think I shall go to bed, I'm so tired.'

"She closed the blinds. As she did so, a crash of thunder came.

"'We're going to have a thunder-shower, after all,' she said; 'how
quickly it is coming up! Come and see.'

"I looked a moment out. Jet masses of vapor were curling up amid the
stars, blotting out, one by one, their brightness from the sky. Alice
was always timid in thunder-storms. She shuddered, as a second flash
pealed out its thunder, and crept up to me. I put my arms around her,
and rested my cheek against her head. She was trembling violently.

"'Lie down, Allie; let me close the other blinds; don't look out any
longer.'

"Our mother came in.

"'I came to see if the windows were all down,' she said; 'it will rain
in a moment'; and she hurried away, and I heard her closing, one after
another, the windows that had been all day open.

"Alice lay for a long time quietly. The storm uprose with fearful might;
it shook the house in its passing grasp, and I sat by this table,
listening to the music wrought out of the thunderous echoes.

"'Couldn't we have a window open?' Alice asked; 'I feel stifled in
here'; and she went across the room and lifted the sash before I was
aware.

"I looked around, when I heard the noise. The same instant there came a
blinding, dazzling light; then, that awful vacuous rattle in the throat
of thunder that tells it comes in the name of Death the destroyer.

"'Oh, Allie, come away!' I screamed.

"In obedience to my wish, she leaned towards me; but, oh, her face! I
caught her, ere she fell, even. I sent out the wings of my voice, but no
one heard me, no one came. I could not lift her in my arms, so I laid
her upon the floor, and ran down.

"'Go to Alice,--the lightning!' was all I could say, and it was enough.
I heard groans before I gained the street.

"My pale, silent sister was stronger than the storm which flapped its
wings around me and threatened to take me to its eyry; but it did not;
it permitted me to gain Doctor Percival's door. I was dazzled with the
lightning, only my brain was distinct with 'its skeleton of woe,' when I
found myself in your father's house.

"I could not see the faces that were there. I asked for Doctor Percival.
Some one answered, 'He is not come home. What has happened?' and Mary
ran forward in alarm.

"'It is lightning! Oh, come!' was all that I could utter; and with me
there went out into the pouring rain every soul that was there when I
went in.

"'She is dead; there is nothing to be done.'

"Three hours after the stroke, these words came. Then I looked up.
Alice, with her little white face of perfect beauty, lay upon that bed.
Thunder-storms would never more make her tremble, never awake to fear
the spirit gone. It was Doctor Percival from whom these fateful words
came. I had had so much hope! In very desperation of feeling, I strove
to look up to his face. My eyes were arrested before they reached him.

"'By what?' did you ask?"

Her long silence had incited me to question, and she turned her face to
me, and slowly said,--

"By the Lightning of Life.

"Two sisters, in one night,--one unto Death, the other unto Life. Beside
Doctor Percival was standing one. I do not know what he was like, I
cannot tell you; but, believe me, it is solemnly true, that, that
instant, this human being flashed into my heart and soul. I saw, and
felt, and have heard the rolling thunder that followed the flash to this
very hour. It was very hard, over my Alice. If I had only been she, how
much, how much happier it would have been!--and yet it must have been
wiser. She could not have endured to the end. She would have failed in
the bitterness of the trial.

"My Alice! I am devoutly thankful that you are safe in heaven!"--and for
a moment the hands were lifted up from the treasured packet; they closed
over it, and she went on.

"Alice was wrapped up in earth. In the moment when the first fold of the
clod-mantle, that trails about us all at the last, fell protectingly
over her, I was in that condition of superlative misery that cries out
for something to the very welkin that sends down such harsh hardness;
and I hurried my eyes out of the open grave, only to find them again
arrested by the same soul that had stood beside Doctor Percival and
Alice in her death. They said something to me, kinder than ever came out
of the blue vault, and yet they awoke the fever of resistance. I would
have no thought but that of Alice. What right had any other to come in
then and there?

"September came. Its days brought my sorrow to me ever anew. The early
dew baptized it; the great sun laid his hot hand upon its brow and named
it Death, in the name of the Mighty God; and the evening stars looked
down on me, rocking Alice in my soul, and singing lamentful lullabies
to her, sleeping, till such time as Lethean vapors curled through the
horizon of my mind, and hid its formless shadows of suffering.

"Mary Percival was Alice's best friend; as such, she came to comfort and
to mourn with me. One day, it was the latest of September's thirty, Mary
lured me on to the sea-shore, and into her small boat once more. Little
echoes of gladness sprang up from the sea; voices from Alice's silence
floated on the unbroken waves.

"'You look a little like yourself again; I'm so glad to see it!' Mary
said. 'There comes Mr. McKey. I wonder what brings him here.'

"I looked up, and saw, slowly walking on to the point at which Mary was
securing her boat, the possessor of the existence that had come into
mine. There was no way for me to flee, except seaward; and of two
suicides I chose the pleasanter, and I stayed.

"'Who is it, Mary?' I had time to question, and she to answer.

"'It is Bernard McKey; he has come to study medicine in papa's office;
he came the night Alice died.'

"He was too near to permit of questioning more, and so I stood upon the
seashore and saw my fate coming close.

"Mary simply said, 'Good evening,' to him, followed by the requisite
introductory words that form the basis of acquaintance.

"'I think Miss Axtell and I scarcely need an introduction,' he said;
nevertheless he looked the pleasure it had strewed into his field, and
guarded it, as a careful husbandman would choicest seed.

"He asked the style of question which monosyllables can never answer, to
which responding, one has to offer somewhat of herself; and all the
time of that sombre autumn, there grew from out the chasm of the
lightning-stroke luxuriant foliage. I gave it all the resistance of my
nature, yet I knew, as the consumptive knows, that I should be conquered
by my conqueror. It was only the old story of the captive polishing
chains to wear them away; and yet Mr. McKey was simply very civil and
intentionally kind, where he might have been courteously indifferent.
Abraham was away when Bernard McKey came to Redleaf. For more than
twelve months this terrible something had been working its power into
my soul. Yet we were not lovers,"--and Miss Axtell made the
_pronunciamiento_ as if she held the race mentioned in utmost
veneration. "Day by day brought to me new reasons why Bernard McKey must
be unto me only a medical student in Doctor Percival's office, and the
stars sealed all that the day had done; whilst no night of sky was
without a wandering comet, whereon was inscribed, in letters that
flashed every way, the sentence that came with the lightning-stroke;
even storms drowned it not; winter's cold did not freeze it. Verily,
little friend, _I know that God had put it into Creation for me, and yet
there seemed His own law written against it_"; and Miss Axtell's tones
grew very soft and tremulously low, as she said,--

"Mr. McKey had faults that could not, existing in action, make any woman
happy: do you think happiness was meant for woman?"

She waited my answer in the same way that she had done when she was
ill and asked if I liked bitters concealed. She waited as long without
reply. The pause grew oppressive, and I spanned it by an assurance of
individual possessive happiness.

"Anemones never know which way the wind blows, until it comes down close
to the ground," she said; "but souls which are on bleak mountain-summits
_must_ watch whirlwinds, poised in space, and note their airy march. So
I saw, clearly cut into the rock of the future, my own face, with all
the lines and carvings wrought into it that the life of Bernard McKey
would chisel out, and I only waited. I might have waited on forever, for
Mr. McKey had not cast one pebbly word that must send up wavy ripples
from deep spirit-waters; he only wandered, as any other might have
done, upon the shore of my life, along its quiet, dewy sands, above its
chalk-cliffs, and by the side of its green, sloping shores. He never
questioned why rose and fell the waves; he never went down where 'tide,
the moon-slave, sleeps,' to find the foundations of my heart's mainland.
I had only seen him standing at times, as one sees a person upon a
ship's deck, peering off over Earth's blue ocean-cheek, simply in mute,
solemn wonder at what may be beyond, without one wish to speed the ship
on.

"It might have been forever thus, but Abraham came home. He is my
brother, you know. If he made me suffer, he has been made to suffer
with me. Bernard McKey was Doctor Percival's favorite. He made him his
friend, and was everything to him that friend could be. I cannot tell
you my story without mention of my brother, he has been so woven into
every part of it. An unaccountable fancy for the study of medicine
developed itself in his erratic nature soon after he came home; and he
relinquished his brilliant prospects and devoted himself to the little
white office near Doctor Percival's house, with Bernard McKey for his
hourly companion. The two had scarce a thought in common: one was
impulsive, prone to throw himself on the stream of circumstance, to waft
with the wind, and blossom with the spring; the other was the great
mountain-pine, distilling the same aroma in all atmospheres, extending
fibrous roots against Nature's granite, whenceever it comes up. How
could the two harmonize? They could not, and a time of trial came. We
knew, before it came, why Doctor Percival's little white office held
Abraham so many hours in the day. It was because the Mountain-Pine found
in the moss of Redleaf the sweet Trailing-Arbutus."

She asked me if I knew the flower; and when I answered her with my words
of love of it, she said, "she had always thought it was one of Eden's
own bits of blossomry, that, missing man from the hallowed grounds,
crept out to know his fate, and, finding him so forlornly unblest, had
sacrificed its emerald leaves, left in the Garden, and, creeping into
mosses, lived, waiting for man's redemption. We used to call Mary
'The Arbutus,' and it was pleasant to see the great rough branches of
Abraham's nature drooping down, more and more, toward the pink-and-white
pale flower that looked into the sky, from a level as lofty as the
Pine's highest crown. Abraham goes out to search for the type of Mary
every spring"; and rising, she brought to me the waxen buds that were
yet unopened.

I took them in my hands, with the same feeling that I would have done a
tress of Mary's hair, or a fragment that she had handled. I think Miss
Axtell divined this feeling; for she cautiously opened the door leading
into her brother's room, and finding that he was not there, she bade me
"come and see." It was Mary's portrait that once more I looked upon;
framed in a wreath of the trailing-arbutus, it was hanging just where he
could look at it at night, as I my strange tower-key.

We went back. Miss Axtell closed the sash; she was looking weary and
pale. I was afraid she would suffer harm from the continued recital. She
said "No," to my fear,--that "it must all be spoken now, once, and that
forever,"--and I listened unto the story's end.

"One year had passed since Alice's death before Abraham's coming.
Another had almost fled before the eventful time when I began to feel
the weight of my cross. I know not how it came to Abraham's knowledge
that Bernard McKey felt in his soul my presence. I only know that
he came home one night, with a storm of rage whitening his lips and
furrowing his forehead. He came up here, where I was sitting. I had
watched his figure coming through tree-openings from Doctor Percival's
house, and mingled with the memories of the fair young girl whom I had
seen dead by lightning were fears for Mary Percival. For several days
she had been ill, and I knew that Abraham felt anxious; therefore I did
not wonder at his hasty coming in and instant seeking of me. He came
quite close. He wound his face in between me and the darkening sky; he
whispered hoarsely,--

"'Do you care for him?'

"'What is it, Abraham?' I asked, startled by his words and manner, but
with not the faintest idea of the meaning entering in with his words.

"'Bernard McKey, is he anything to you?'

"'You've no right to question me thus,' I said.

"'And you will not answer me?'

"'I will not, Abraham.'

"The next morning Abraham was gone. He had not told me of his intended
absence. He had only left a note, stating the time of his return.

"It was a week ere he came. Mary had not improved in his absence, yet no
one deemed her very ill.

"I dreaded Abraham's coming home, because he had left me in silent
anger; but how could I have replied to his question otherwise than I
did? No one, not Mr. McKey himself, had asked me; and should I give him,
my brother, my answer first?

"Lazily the village-clock swung out the hours that summer's afternoon.
The stroke of three awakened me. I had not seen Mary that day.

"'I would go and see her,' I decided.

"'She was sleeping, the dear child,' Chloe said. 'She would come and
tell me when she was awake, if I would wait.'

"I said that I would stay awhile, and I wandered out under the shade of
the great whispering trees, to wait the waking hour.

"I remember the events of that afternoon, as Mary and Martha must have
remembered the day on which Lazarus came up from the grave unto them.

"The air was still, save a humming in the very tree-tops that must have
been only echoes tangled there, breezes that once blew past. The long
grape-arbor at the end of the lawn looked viny and cool. I walked up and
down under the green archway, until Chloe's words summoned me.

"Mary was 'better,' she said; 'a few days, and she should feel quite
strong, she hoped'; but she looked weary, and I only waited a little
while, until her father and mother came in, and then I went.

"Mr. McKey was sitting in the door of the little white office. He came
out to meet me ere I had reached the street,--asked if I was on my way
home.

"I said 'Yes,' with the lazy sort of languor born of the indolence of
the hour.

"'Have you energy enough for a walk to the sea-shore?' he asked.

"It had been my wish that very day. I had not been there since Mary's
illness. I hesitated in giving an answer. Abraham would be home at
sunset.

"'Don't go, if it is only to please me,' he said.

"'I am going to please myself,' I answered; 'only I wish to be at home
on Abraham's coming.'

"That afternoon, Bernard McKey for the first time told me of himself,
and what the two years in Redleaf had done for him. One month more, and
he should leave it. He put into words the memory of that first look
across the dead. He talked to me, until the sea lost its sunlight
sheen,--until I no longer heard its beat of incoming tide,--until I
forgot the hour for Abraham's coming. It was he who reminded me of it.
Once more we paced the sands, already sown with our many footsteps,
that the advancing waters would soon overwhelm. After that we went
village-ward. The gloaming had come down when we reached home.

"'Abraham must have been an hour here,' I thought, as alone I went in.

"He met me in the hall.

"'Where have you been, Lettie?' was his greeting.

"'On the sands.'

"'Not alone?'

"'No, Abraham; Bernard McKey has been with me.'

"'By what right?' he demanded, with that mighty power of voice that is
laid up within him for especial occasions.

"'By the right that I gave him, by the right that is his to walk with
me,' I said; for I grew defiant, and felt a renewal of strength, enough
to tell Abraham the truth.

"Don't start so, Anemone," she said to me. "You think defiance
unwomanly, and so do I; but it was for once only, and I felt that my
brother had no right to question me.

"But one word came from his lips, as he confronted me there, with folded
arms; it was,--

"'When?'

"'This very afternoon, Abraham.'

"Mother came out at the moment. She saw the cloud on Abraham's brow even
in the dim light. She asked, 'What is it?' and Abraham answered us both
at the same time.

"He had been to the home of Bernard McKey. He proved to my mother's
utmost satisfaction that her daughter had no right to care for one like
Bernard McKey. He did not know the right that came on that night almost
two years before. He saw that his proofs were idle to me; but he said
'he had another, one that I would accept, for I was an Axtell.'

"'Yes, Abraham, I am an Axtell, and I shall prove my right to the name,
come what will'; and without waiting to hear more, I glided into the
darkness up-stairs.

"For a long time I heard mother and Abraham talking together; it seemed
as if they would never cease. At last, mother sent up to know if I was
not coming to take my tea. I had forgotten its absence till then. I went
down. A half-hour later, during which time a momentous mist of silence
hung over the house, I heard steps approaching. You know that it was
summer time, and the windows were all thrown open, after the heat of the
day. I had been wondering where every one was gone. I recognized both of
the comers, as their footsteps fell upon the walk, but I heard no words.
Oh, would there had been none to come! I heard Abraham go on up the
stairs, and knew that he was searching for me. I knew who had come in
with him, and I arose from my concealment in the unlighted library, and
went into the parlor. It was Mr. McKey who sat there.

"'What is it?' I asked,--for a gnome of ill was walking up and down in
my brain, as we had walked on the sands so few hours before.

"'What is it? I don't know,' he said. 'Your brother asked me to come
over for a few minutes.'

"Evidently Abraham had not shown him one coal of the fire that burned
under his cool seeming. That is the way with these mountain pine-trees:
one never knows how deep into volcanic fires their roots are plunged.

"'Something has happened,' I whispered. 'Whatever comes, bear it
bravely.'

"He laughed, a low, rippling laugh, like the breaking up of ever so many
songs all at once; and the notes had not floated down to rest, when
mother and Abraham came in. Mr. McKey arose to greet my mother. She
stood proudly erect, her regal head unbending, her eyes straight on,
into an endless future, in which he must have no part,--that I saw.
Whatever he discerned there, he, too, stood before her and my brother.
Abraham handed me a letter, saying, 'Read that, for your proof.'

"And I read. The letter bore the signature of Bernard McKey. The date
was the night of Alice's death. The words descriptive of the scene
chiselled into my brain were on that fair paper-surface; and there were
others, words which only one man may write to one woman. I read it on to
the end.

"'You are right, Abraham,' I said, 'and I thank you for my proof'; and
without one word for the pale, handsome face that stood beseechingly
between me and the great future, through which I gazed, I went forth
alone into the starry night. Anywhere, to be alone with God, leaving
that trio of souls in there; and as I fled past the windows, I heard my
mother speak terrible words to one that was, yes, even then, myself.
Some angel must have come down the starry way to guide me; for, without
seeking it, without consciousness of whither I fled, I found myself near
the old church, where, from the day of my solemn baptism within its
walls, I had gone up to the weekly worship. I crept up close to the
door. In the shadow there no one would see me; and so, upon the hard
stones, I writhed through the anguish of the fire and iceberg that made
war in my heart.

"Then came unto me the old inheritance, the gift of towering pride; and
I said unto myself, 'No one shall think I sorrow; no one shall know that
an Axtell has sipped from a poisoned cup; no one shall see a leaf of
myrtle in my garden of life'; and from off the friendly granite steps
that had received me in my hour of bitterness, I went back to my home.

"What, could have happened there, that I had not been missed? Father was
absent from Redleaf. Bernard McKey was coming down the walk. I hid in
the shrubbery, and let him pass. Oh, would that I had spoken to him,
then, there! It would have saved so much misery on the round globe!

"But I did not. I stood breathless until he entered Doctor Percival's
house; then I waited a moment to determine my own course; I wanted to
gain my room undiscovered. I saw the same figure come out; I knew it by
the light that the open door threw around it; and a moment later, in the
still air,--I knew the sound, it was the unlocking of the little white
office. Then I stole in, and fled to my refuge. No one had discovered my
absence.

"The night went by. I did not sleep. I did not weep,--oh, no! it was not
a case for tears; there are some sorrows that cannot be counted out in
drops; a flood comes, a great freshet rises in the soul, and whirls
spirit, mind, and body on, on, until the Mighty Hand comes down and
lifts the poor wreck out of the flood, and dries it in the sun of His
absorption.

"It was morning at last. Slowly up the ascent, to heights of glory,
walked the stars, waving toward earth, as they went, their wafting of
golden light, and sending messages of love to the dark, round world,
over which they had kept such solemn watch,--sending them down, borne
by rays of early morning; and still I sat beside the window, where all
through the night I had suffered. My mother and Abraham had sought to
see me, but I had answered, with calm words, that I chose to be alone;
and they had left me there, and gone to their nightly rest."

Miss Axtell hid her face a little while; then, lifting it up, she went
to the window so often mentioned, beckoned me thither, pointed to the
house where my life had commenced, to a door opening out on the eastern
side, and said,--

"I wish you to look at that door one moment; out of it came my doom that
midsummer's morning. Light had just gained ascendency over darkness,
when I saw Chloe come out. I knew instantly that something had happened
there. The poor creature crept out of the house,--I saw her go,--and
kneeling down behind that great maple-tree, she lifted up her arms to
heaven, and I heard, or thought I heard her, moaning. Then, whilst I
watched, she got up, looked over at our house, from window to window;
once more she raised her hands, as if invoking some power for help, and
went in.

"I brushed back the hair that my fingers had idly threaded in unrest,
looked one moment, in the dim twilight of morning, to see what changes
my war-fare had wrought, then, cautiously, breathlessly, for fear of
awakening some one, I went out. The night-dew lay heavy on the lawn. I
heeded it not. I knew that trouble had come to Doctor Percival's house.
I went to the door that Chloe had opened. No one seemed awake; deep
stillness brooded over and in the dwelling. Could I have been mistaken?
Whilst I stood in doubt whether to go or stay, there came a long,
sobbing moan, that peopled the dwelling with woe.

"It came from Mary's room. Thither I went. There stood Doctor and Mrs.
Percival beside Mary, and she--was dead.

"I shudder now, as I did then, though eighteen years have rolled their
wheels of misery between,--shudder, as I look in memory into that room
again, and see your father standing in the awful grief that has no
voice, see your mother lifting up her words of moaning, up where I so
late had watched the feet of stars walking into heaven. I don't know how
long it was, I had lost the noting of time, but I remember growing into
rigidness. I remember Bernard McKey's wild, wretched face in the room; I
remember hearing him ask if it was all over. I remember Abraham's coming
in; I _felt_, when through his life the east-wind went, withering it up
within him. I do not know how I went home. I asked no questions. Mary
was dead; she had gone whither Alice went. It seemed little consolation
to me to ask when or how she died.

"Father came home that day. Mother forgot me for Abraham: love of him
was her life. Father did not know, no one had told him, the events of
the night before; he thought me sorrowing for Mary, and so I was; my
grief seemed weak and small before this reality of sorrow.

"It was late in the day, and I was trying to get some sleep, when Chloe
sent a request to see me. I had not seen her since I knew why she had
hid her suffering behind the tree in the morning. I saw that she had
something to say beside telling me of Mary; for she looked cautiously
around the room, as if fearing other ears might be there to hear.

"'Oh! oh! Miss Lettie,' she said, 'I stayed with Miss Mary last night. I
must have gone to sleep when she went away; but I'm afraid, I'm afraid
it wasn't the sickness that killed her.'

"'What then? what was it, Chloe?' I asked, whilst the tears fell fast
from her eyes.

"'Doctor Percival gave her some medicine just afore he went to bed,
and she said she was "very sick"; she said so a good many times, Miss
Lettie, afore I went to sleep.'

"'You don't think it was the medicine that killed her?'--for a horrible
thought had come in to me.

"'I hope not, but I'm afraid'; and with a still lower, whispering tone,
and another frightened look about the room, Chloe took from under her
shawl a small cup. She held it up close to me, and her voice penetrated
with its meaning all the folds of my thought,--'Chloe's afraid Miss Mary
drank her death in here.'

"'Give it to me,' I said; and I snatched at the cup. Catching it from
her, I looked into it. The draught had been taken; the sediment only lay
dried upon it.

"'You think so, Chloe? How could it have been? You say Doctor Percival
gave it to her?'

"She said that 'Mr. Abraham had been in to see her a little while,--only
a few moments. Something was the matter with him. Miss Mary talked,
just a few words; what they were she did not hear,--she was in the next
room,--only, when he went away, she heard her say, "Don't do it; you may
be wrong, and then you'll be sorry as long as you live"; and then
Mr. Abraham shut the door heavy-like and was gone. Afterwards Doctor
Percival came up,--said Miss Mary must sleep, she had more fever; asked
her so many kind questions, and was just going down to go to the office
for something to give her, when he met Master McKey coming in. I heard
my master ask him to go for it. And I doesn't know anything more, Miss
Lettie. I came to tell you.'

"I asked her 'if she had told any one else? if any one had seen the
cup?'

"She said, 'No'; and I made her promise me that she would never mention
it, never speak of it to any living soul.

"She promised, and she has kept her promise faithfully to this day."

I thought, at this pause in the story, of Chloe's hiding chloroform from
me.

"I had myself seen Bernard McKey go out to the office that night. Had
he given poison to Mary Percival? And with the question the hot answer
came, 'Never!--he did not do it!'

"Chloe went, leaving the cup with me.

"I knew that I must see Bernard. How? The household were absorbed in
Abraham. His condition perilled his reason. Doctor Percival came over
every hour to see him, and I was sure that his hair whitened from time
to time. It was terrible to hear Abraham declaring that he had killed
Mary,--that he might have granted her request. And as often as his eyes
fell upon me, his words changed to, 'It was for you that I did it,--for
my sister!' And whilst all sorrowed and watched him, I sought my
opportunity. 'It would never come to me,' I thought, 'I must go to it';
and under cover of looking upon the face of Mary, I went out to seek
Bernard.

"We met before I reached the house; we should have passed in silence,
had I not spoken. It was the same hour as that in which we had come from
the sands the night before. What a horrible lifetime had intervened! I
said that 'I had some words for him.' He stood still in the air that
throbbed in waves over me. He was speechlessly calm just then.

"'I expected no words after my judgment,' at length he said,--for I knew
not how to open my terrible theme; 'will you tell me on what evidence
you judge?'

"What a trifle then seemed any merely human love in the presence of
Death! I was almost angry that he should once think of it.

"'It is something of more importance than the human affection with which
you play,' I said. 'It is a life, the life of Mary Percival, that last
night went out,--and how? Was it by this cup?'--and I handed the cup to
him.

"He looked simple amazement, as he would have done, had it been a rock
or flower; he did not offer to take it,--still I held it out.

"'Will you examine the contents,' I asked, 'and report to me the
result?'

"'Certainly I will, Miss Axtell,' he said; and with it he walked to the
office.

"I watched him through the window. I saw him coolly apply various tests.
The third one seemed satisfactory.

"He came to the door. I was very near, and went in

"'This is nothing Miss Mary had,--it is poison,' he said.

"He was innocent; I knew it in the very depth of my soul. How could I
tell him the deed his hand had done? But I must, and I did. I told him
how Chloe had brought the cup to me. When I had done, he said,--

"'You believe this of me?'

"I answered,--

"'The cup is now in your hand; judge you of its work'; and I told him
how I had seen him come out the night before,--that I was in the
shrubbery when he went to the office.

"The words of his answer came; they were iron in my heart, though spoken
not to me.

"'O my God, why hast Thou let me do this?' he cried, and went past me
out of the little white office,--out, as I had done, into the open air,
in my sorrow, the night before.

"I would not lose sight of him; I followed on; and, as I went, I thought
I heard a rustling in the leaves. A momentary horror swept past me, lest
some one had been watching,--listening, perhaps,--but I did not pause.
I must know how, where, Bernard would hide his misery. It was not quite
dark; I could not run through the night, as I had done before; I must
follow on at a respectable pace, stop to greet the village-people who
were come out in the cool of the evening, and all the while keep in view
that figure, hastening, for what I knew not, but on to the sands, whilst
those whom I met stayed me to ask how Mary Percival died. I passed the
last of the village-houses. There was nothing before me now but Nature
and this unhappy soul. I lost sight of him; I came to the sands; I saw
only long, low flats stretching far out,--beyond them the line of foam.
The moon was not yet gone; but its crescent momently lessened its light.
I went up and down the shore two or three times, going on a little
farther each time, meeting nothing,--nothing but the fear that stood on
the sands before me, whichever way I turned. It bent down from the sky
to tell me of its presence; it came surging up behind me; and one awful
word was on its face and in its voice. I remember shutting my eyes to
keep it out; I remember putting my fingers into my ears to still its
voice. I was so helpless, so alone to do, so threadless of action,
that--_I prayed_.

"People pray in this world from so many causes,--it matters not what
or how; the hour for prayer comes into every life at some time of its
earthly course, whether softly falling and refreshing as the early rain,
or by the north-wind's icy path. Mine came then, on the sands; my spirit
went out of my mortality unto God for help,--solely because that which I
wanted was not in me, not in all the earth.

"I stooped down to see if the figure I sought was outlined on the rim of
sky that brightened at the sea's edge: it was not there, not seaward.
I tried to call: the air refused the weight of my voice; it went no
farther than the lips, out of which it quivered and fell: I could not
call. I took the dark tide-mark for my guide, and began searching
landward. I went a little way, then stopped to look and listen: no
sight, no sound. The long sedge-grass gave rustling sighs of motion, as
I passed near, and disturbed the air for a moment. A night-bird uttered
its cry out of the tall reeds. The moon went down. The tide began to
come in; with it came up the wind. The memory of Alice, of Mary, walked
with and did not leave me, until I gained the little cove wherein Mary's
boat lay secure. The tide had not reached it. Mary's boat! I remember
thinking--a mere drop of thought it was, as I hurried on, but it held
all the animalcules of emotion that round out a lifetime--that Mary
never more would come to unloose the bound boat, never more in it go
forth to meet the joys that wander in from unknown shores. I saw the
boat lying dark along the water's edge. 'I would run down a moment,' I
thought, 'run down to speak a word of comfort, as if it were a living
thing.'

"Mary's boat was not alone; it had a companion. I thought it was
Bernard. I drew near and spoke his name. Doctor Percival answered me.
I do not think that he recognized my voice. He turned around with a
startled movement, for I was quite close, and asked, 'Who is it?'

"I did not answer. I turned and fled away into the darkness, across the
sands, that answer no footsteps with echoes. It was a comfort to feel
that he was out there, between me and the boundless space of sea.

"When I draw near the confines of Hereafter's shore, I think I shall
feel the same kind of comfort, if some soul that I knew has gone out
just before me; it will cape the boundary-line of 'all-aloneness.'"

Miss Axtell must have forgotten that she was talking to me, as she
retraced her steps and thoughts of that night, for, with this thought,
she seemed to "wander out into silence."

Katie brought her back by coming up to say that "Mr. Abraham was waiting
to know if she would go out a little while, it was so fine."

Miss Axtell said that "she would not go,--she would wait."

Katie went to carry the message. Miss Axtell wandered a little. Between
her words and memories I picked up the thread for her, and she went on
before me.

"I took the direction of the village-pier, when I fled from Doctor
Percival. An unusual number of boats had come in. I heard noises amid
the shipping. At any other time I should have avoided the place. Now I
drew near.

"Two men were slowly walking down the way. I heard one of them ask, 'Do
you know who it is?'

"The other replied, 'No, I never saw him before; we had better watch
him; he went on in a desperate way. I've seen it before, and it ended
in'----

"He did not finish, although I was thirsting for the words; they both
seemed arrested suddenly, then started on, and I watched whither they
went.

"There was now no light, save that of the stars. I could scarcely keep
them in sight. I went nearer,--hid myself behind one of the posts on the
pier. They had gone upon one of the boats,--that which lay farthest down
the stream. It was Bernard that they watched. I found him with my eyes
before they reached where he stood. A boy came singing from his daily
work; he passed close beside me, and, as he went, he beat upon the post
with a boat's oar. I waited until I could come from my hiding-place
without his seeing; then I went after him. I sent him for 'the gentleman
that had gone down there,' telling him to say that 'a lady wished to see
him.'

"Bernard came. I told him that I had been searching for him on the
sands,--that I wanted to talk to him; and he and I walked on again,
village-ward, as we had done on the last night. It was very hard to
begin, to open the cruel theme,--to say to this person, who walked with
folded arms, and eyes that I knew had no external sight, what I thought;
but I must. When I had said all that I would have said to any other
human soul, under like darkness, he lighted up the night of his sin with
strange fires. He poured upon his family's past the light hereditary.
Abraham had been true in his statements. Bernard McKey was not
well-born. He told me this: that his father had been a destroyer of
life; that God had been his Judge, and had now set the seal of the
father's sin into the son's heart. Oh, it was fearful, this tide of
agony with which that soul was overwhelmed! He pictured his deed.
Abraham had found out the crime of his father, had cruelly sent it home
on his own head, had said that a murderer's son could never find rest in
the family of Axtell, had sent him forth, with hatred in his heart, to
work out in shadow the very deed his father had wrought in substance, to
destroy Mary Percival, the child of his best friend, and to strike from
off the earth Abraham's arch of light. It was wonderful: a chance, a
change, had killed Mary.

"Doctor Percival had that very afternoon, while we were gone, wrought
changes in the little white office; hence the fatal mistake. Bernard had
gone in, taken up a bottle from the very place where the article wanted
had stood for two years, poured its contents into the cup, carried it
in, and no hand stayed him. He was too blinded by suffering to see for
himself. Doctor Percival's hand gave the draught, and Mary was dead.
What should be done?

"'What shall I do? What would you have me to do?' asked Bernard.

"We were come to the church on our way. I stayed my steps, and thought
of the letter that Abraham had given me; it came up for the first time
since I knew of Mary's death. But I did not allude to it. I could not
acknowledge, even to him, that I knew another had received the words
that should have been spoken only to me; and sincerely I told him that
he must go away, at once and for always,--that the deed his hand had
unknowingly done must be borne in swift, solemn current through his
life,--that he must live beside it until it reached the ocean to come:
it could do no good to reveal it; it could arouse only new misery; it
seemed better that it should be written on marble and in memory that
'God took her.'

"He took up the silence that came after my words, and filled it with an
echoing question:--

"'If I go out, and bear this deed, as you say bear it, in silence and in
suffering, will you,--you, to whom God has given a good inheritance, who
know not the rush and roar of any evil in your soul, whose spring rises
far back in ancestral natures,--will you stand between me and all this
that I must bear? Will you be my rock, set here, in this village? May I
come back at times, and tell you how I endure? If you will promise me
this, I will go.'

"Why should he come to me? why not to the other one, to whom he told of
Alice's death two years ago? He did not know that pride was the ever
vernal sin of _my_ race, that I had it to battle with. But I conquered,
and promised I would help him, since it was all I had to do. A few more
words were spoken; he was to write to me when he would come; and we
parted, there, at the old church-door,--he promising to live, to try and
make atonement for his sin,--I to hold his deed in keeping, alone of all
the world, save Chloe, and in her I had trust. I did not see him again:
he left the following day.

"You remember that I heard a rustling in the shrubbery, when Bernard
fled from the office. It was my mother, watching me. She had seen and
heard sufficient to convince her of what had been done. Mothers are
endowed with wonderful intuitive perception. Abraham had been her one
love from his childhood. Now came a strife in her nature. Bernard McKey
had wronged Abraham, had taken the light out of his life, and a great
longing for his punishment came up. How should it be effected? She
believed that open judgment would awaken resistance in me,--that I would
stand beside him then, in the face of all the world, and recompense him
for his punishment,--I, an Axtell, her daughter. So she came to me with
a compromise. She told me that she had heard what had been said,--that
she knew the deed, had seen the cup,--that Abraham, knowing the act,
would never forgive it, though done, as she acknowledged, in error;
and she, my mother, to save the family, made conditions. Her knowledge
should remain hers only, if Bernard McKey should remain such as he now
was to me,--never to be more.

"'An easy condition,' I thought, 'since the letter Abraham gave'; and I
said the two words to my mother,--

"'I promise.'

"'My daughter,' was her only answer; and she touched her child's
forehead with two burning lips, and went away to watch Abraham through
the night,--watch him tread the dark way, without Mary.

"Where now was the Mountain-Pine? higher than the Arbutus?

"Our mother had her trial. When she heard Abraham reproaching himself
with having brought on a return of fever by refusing Mary's wish, of
having been the means of her death, I know her heart ached to say, 'It
was not you, Abraham, it was Bernard McKey who killed her.' But no, she
did not; family pride towered above affection, and she was true to her
promise, true to the last. She died with the secret hers.

"Bernard McKey's absence was much wondered at, although it began only
one month earlier than the appointed time. Doctor Percival mourned his
going as if he had been his son; he spoke to me of it. Mary was buried.
I remember your little face on her burial-day; it was bright, and
unconscious of the sad scene"; and Miss Axtell now sought to look into
it, but it was not to be seen. I think she must have forgotten, at
times, that it was to Mary's sister that she was telling her story. She
waited a little, until I asked her to "tell me more."

"The face of that Autumn grew rosy, wrinkled, and died upon Winter's
snowy bed; and yet I lived, and Abraham, and Bernard McKey perhaps,--I
knew not. The year was nearly gone since Mary died, and no ray of
knowledge had come from him. Every day I re-read those words written to
some fair woman-soul, until after so many readings they began to take
root in my heart. I found it out one day, and I began vigorously to tear
them up. It was on the evening of the same day that Abraham came home:
he had been away for several weeks. He left, with intentional seeming, a
paper where I should see it; he had read with almost careless eyes what
mine fell upon, for he believed that Bernard McKey was forgotten by me;
he had kindly forborne to mention his name, since that one night wherein
all our misery grew. I found there what I believed to be his death:
the name and age were his own; the place was nothing,--_he_ might be
anywhere. My mother saw it, and a gladness, yes, a gladness came into
her face: I watched its coming up. She thought she might now tell
Abraham; but no, I held her to the promise. It had but two conditions:
mine was to be perpetual; hers must be so.

"After that I grew pitiful for the poor heart that must have been made
sorrowful by these words that never more would come into it, and so I
picked up the trembling little roots that had been cast out, put them
back into the warm soil, and let them grow: they might join hers now,
for together they could twine around immortal bowers; and, as they grew,
a great longing came up to go out and find this woman-soul who had drawn
out such words from lips sealed forever. But no chance happened: no one
came to our quiet village from the remote town in which she was when
these words, that now were become mine, were penned."



MY HUNT AFTER "THE CAPTAIN."


In the dead of the night which closed upon the bloody field of Antietam,
my household was startled from its slumbers by the loud summons of a
telegraphic messenger. The air had been heavy all day with rumors of
battle, and thousands and tens of thousands had walked the streets with
throbbing hearts, in dread anticipation of the tidings any hour might
bring.

We rose hastily, and presently the messenger was admitted. I took the
envelope from his hand, opened it, and read:--

Hagerstown 17th

To---- H----

Capt. H---- wounded shot through the neck thought not mortal at
Keedysville

WILLIAM G LEDUC

_Through_ the neck,--no bullet left in wound. Windpipe, food-pipe,
carotid, jugular, half a dozen smaller, but still formidable, vessels, a
great braid of nerves, each as big as a lamp-wick, spinal cord,--ought
to kill at once, if at all. _Thought not_ mortal, or _not thought_
mortal,--which was it? The first; that is better than the second would
be.--"Keedysville, a post-office, Washington Co., Maryland." Leduc?
Leduc? Don't remember that name.--The boy is waiting for his money. A
dollar and thirteen cents. Has nobody got thirteen cents? Don't keep
that boy waiting,--how do we know what messages he has got to carry?

The boy _had_ another message to carry. It was to the father of
Lieutenant-Colonel Wilder Dwight, informing him that his son was
grievously wounded in the same battle, and was lying at Boonsborough,
a town a few miles this side of Keedysville. This I learned the
next morning from the civil and attentive officials at the Central
Telegraph-Office.

Calling upon this gentleman, I found that he meant to leave in the
quarter past two o'clock train, taking with him Dr. George H. Gay, an
accomplished and energetic surgeon, equal to any difficult question or
pressing emergency. I agreed to accompany them, and we met in the cars.
I felt myself peculiarly fortunate in having companions whose society
would be a pleasure, whose feelings would harmonize with my own, and
whose assistance I might, in case of need, be glad to claim.

It is of the journey which we began together, and which I finished
apart, that I mean to give my "Atlantic" readers an account. They must
let me tell my story in my own way, speaking of many little matters that
interested or amused me, and which a certain leisurely class of elderly
persons, who sit at their firesides and never travel, will, I hope,
follow with a kind of interest. For, besides the main object of my
excursion, I could not help being excited by the incidental sights
and occurrences of a trip which to a commercial traveller or a
newspaper-reporter would seem quite commonplace and undeserving of
record. There are periods in which all places and people seem to be in
a conspiracy to impress us with their individuality,--in which every
ordinary locality seems to assume a special significance and to claim
a particular notice,--in which every person we meet is either an old
acquaintance or a character; days in which the strangest coincidences
are continually happening, so that they get to be the rule, and not the
exception. Some might naturally think that anxiety and the weariness of
a prolonged search after a near relative would have prevented my taking
any interest in or paying any regard to the little matters around me.
Perhaps it had just the contrary effect, and acted like a diffused
stimulus upon the attention. When all the faculties are wide-awake
in pursuit of a single object, or fixed in the spasm of an absorbing
emotion, they are often-times clairvoyant in a marvellous degree in
respect to many collateral things, as Wordsworth has so forcibly
illustrated in his sonnet on the Boy of Windermere, and as Hawthorne
has developed with such metaphysical accuracy in that chapter of his
wondrous story where Hester walks forth to meet her punishment.

Be that as it may,--though I set out with a full and heavy heart, though
many times my blood chilled with what were perhaps needless and unwise
fears, though I broke through all my habits without thinking about them,
which is almost as hard in certain circumstances as for one of our young
fellows to leave his sweet-heart and go into a Peninsular campaign,
though I did not always know when I was hungry nor discover that I was
thirsting, though I had a worrying ache and inward tremor underlying all
the outward play of the senses and the mind, yet it is the simple truth
that I did look out of the car-windows with an eye for all that passed,
that I did take cognizance of strange sights and singular people, that I
did act much as persons act from the ordinary promptings of curiosity,
and from time to time even laugh very nearly as those do who are
attacked with a convulsive sense of the ridiculous, the epilepsy of the
diaphragm.

By a mutual compact, we talked little in the cars. A communicative
friend is the greatest nuisance to have at one's side during a
railroad-journey, especially if his conversation is stimulating and in.
itself agreeable. "A fast train and a 'slow' neighbor," is my motto.
Many times, when I have got upon the cars, expecting to be magnetized
into an hour or two of blissful reverie, my thoughts shaken up by the
vibrations into all sorts of new and pleasing patterns, arranging
themselves in curves and nodal points, like the grains of sand in
Chladni's famous experiment,--fresh ideas coming up to the surface,
as the kernels do when a measure of corn is jolted in a farmer's
wagon,--all this without volition, the mechanical impulse alone keeping
the thoughts in motion, as the mere act of carrying certain watches in
the pocket keeps them wound up,--many times, I say, just as my brain was
beginning to creep and hum with this delicious locomotive intoxication,
some dear detestable friend, cordial, intelligent, social, radiant, has
come up and sat down by me and opened a conversation which has broken
my day-dream, unharnessed the flying horses that were whirling along
my fancies and hitched on the old weary omnibus-team of every-day
associations, fatigued my hearing and attention, exhausted my voice, and
milked the breasts of my thought dry during the hour when they should
have been filling themselves full of fresh juices. My friends spared me
this trial.

So, then, I sat by the window and enjoyed the slight tipsiness
produced by short, limited, rapid oscillations, which I take to be the
exhilarating stage of that condition which reaches hopeless inebriety
in what we know as sea-sickness. Where the horizon opened widely, it
pleased me to watch the curious effect of the rapid movement of near
objects contrasted with the slow motion of distant ones. Looking from
a right-hand window, for instance, the fences close by glide swiftly
backward, or to the right, while the distant hills not only do not
appear to move backward, but look by contrast with the fences near at
hand as if they were moving forward, or to the left; and thus the whole
landscape becomes a mighty wheel revolving about an imaginary axis
somewhere in the middle-distance.

My companions proposed to stay at one of the best-known and
longest-established of the New-York caravansaries, and I accompanied
them. We were particularly well lodged, and not uncivilly treated. The
traveller who supposes that he is to repeat the melancholy experience of
Shenstone, and have to sigh over the reflection that he has found "his
warmest welcome at an inn," has something to learn at the offices of
the great city-hotels. The unheralded guest who is honored by mere
indifference may think himself blest with singular good-fortune.

If the despot of the Patent Annunciator is only mildly contemptuous in
his manner, let the victim look upon it as a personal favor. The coldest
welcome that a threadbare curate ever got at the door of a bishop's
palace, the most icy reception that a country-cousin ever received
at the city-mansion of a mushroom millionnaire, is agreeably tepid,
compared to that which the Rhadamanthus who dooms you to the more or
less elevated circle of his inverted Inferno vouchsafes, as you step up
to enter your name on his dog's-eared register. I have less hesitation
in unburdening myself of this uncomfortable statement, as on this
particular trip I met with more than one exception to the rule.
Officials become brutalized, I suppose, as a matter of course. One
cannot expect an office-clerk to embrace tenderly every stranger who
comes in with a carpet-bag, or a telegraph-operator to burst into tears
over every unpleasant message he receives for transmission. Still,
humanity is not always totally extinguished in these persons. I
discovered a youth in the telegraph-office of the Continental Hotel, in
Philadelphia, who was as pleasant in conversation, and as graciously
responsive to inoffensive questions, as if I had been his childless
opulent uncle, and my will not made.

On the road again the next morning, over the ferry, into the cars with
sliding panels and fixed windows, so that in summer the whole side of
the car may be made transparent. New Jersey is, to the apprehension of a
traveller, a double-headed suburb rather than a State. Its dull red dust
looks like the dried and powdered mud of a battle-field. Peach-trees are
common, and champagne-orchards. Canal-boats, drawn by mules, swim by,
feeling their way along like blind men led by dogs. I had a mighty
passion come over me to be the captain of one,--to glide back and
forward upon a sea never roughened by storms,--to float where I could
not sink,--to navigate where there is no shipwreck,--to lie languidly
on the deck and govern the huge craft by a word or the movement of a
finger: there was something of railroad intoxication in the fancy, but
who has not often envied a cobbler in his stall?

The boys cry the "N'-York _Heddle_," instead of "Herald"; I remember
that years ago in Philadelphia; we must be getting near the farther end
of the dumb-bell suburb. A bridge has been swept away by a rise of the
waters, so we must approach Philadelphia by the river. Her physiognomy
is not distinguished; _nez camus_, as a Frenchman would say; no
illustrious steeple, no imposing tower; the water-edge of the town
looking bedraggled, like the flounce of a vulgar rich woman's dress that
trails on the sidewalk. The New Ironsides lies at one of the wharves,
elephantine in bulk and color, her sides narrowing as they rise, like
the walls of a hock-glass.

I went straight to the house in Walnut Street where the Captain would be
heard of, if anywhere in this region. His lieutenant-colonel was there,
gravely wounded; his college-friend and comrade in arms, a son of the
house, was there, injured in a similar way; another soldier, brother
of the last, was there, prostrate with fever. A fourth bed was waiting
ready for the Captain, but not one word had been heard of him, though
inquiries had been made in the towns from and through which the father
had brought his two sons and the lieutenant-colonel. And so my search
is, like a "Ledger" story, to be continued.

I rejoined my companions in time to take the noon-train for Baltimore.
Our company was gaining in number as it moved onwards. We had found upon
the train from New York a lovely, lonely lady, the wife of one of our
most spirited Massachusetts officers, the brave Colonel of the ----th
Regiment, going to seek her wounded husband at Middletown, a place lying
directly in our track. She was the light of our party while we were
together on our pilgrimage, a fair, gracious woman, gentle, but
courageous,

  --"ful plesant and amiable of port,
  --estatelich of manere,
  And to ben holden digne of reverence."

On the road from Philadelphia, I found in the same car with our party
Dr. William Hunt, of Philadelphia, who had most kindly and faithfully
attended the Captain, then the Lieutenant, after a wound received at
Ball's Bluff, which came very near being mortal. He was going upon an
errand of mercy to the wounded, and found he had in his memorandum-book
the name of our lady-companion's husband, who had been commended to his
particular attention.

Not long after leaving Philadelphia, we passed a solitary sentry keeping
guard over a short railroad-bridge. It was the first evidence that we
were approaching the perilous borders, the marches where the North and
the South mingle their angry hosts, where the extremes of our so-called
civilization meet in conflict, and the fierce slave-driver of the Lower
Mississippi stares into the stern eyes of the forest-feller from the
banks of the Aroostook. All the way along, the bridges were guarded more
or less strongly. In a vast country like ours, communications play a far
more complex part than in Europe, where the whole territory available
for strategic purposes is so comparatively limited. Belgium, for
instance, has long been the bowling-alley where kings roll cannon-balls
at each other's armies; but here we are playing the game of live
ninepins _without any alley_.

We were obliged to stay in Baltimore over-night, as we were too late for
the train to Frederick. At the Eutaw House, where we found both comfort
and courtesy, we met a number of friends, who beguiled the evening hours
for us in the most agreeable manner. We devoted some time to procuring
surgical and other articles, such as might be useful to our friends, or
to others, if our friends should not need them. In the morning, I found
myself seated at the breakfast-table next to General Wool. It did not
surprise me to find the General very far from expansive. With Fort
McHenry on his shoulders and Baltimore in his breeches-pocket, and the
weight of a military department loading down his social safety-valves, I
thought it a great deal for an officer in his trying position to select
so very obliging and affable an aid as the gentleman who relieved him of
the burden of attending to strangers.

We left the Eutaw House, to take the cars for Frederick. As we stood
waiting on the platform, a telegraphic message was handed in silence to
my companion. Sad news: the lifeless body of the son he was hastening
to see was even now on its way to him in Baltimore. It was no time for
empty words of consolation: I knew what he had lost, and that now was
not the time to intrude upon a grief borne as men bear it, felt as women
feel it.

Colonel Wilder Dwight was first made known to me as the friend of a
beloved relative of my own, who was with him during a severe illness in
Switzerland, and for whom while living, and for whose memory when dead,
he retained the warmest affection. Since that, the story of his noble
deeds of daring, of his capture and escape, and a brief visit home
before he was able to rejoin his regiment, had made his name familiar to
many among us, myself among the number. His memory has been honored by
those who had the largest opportunity of knowing his rare promise, as a
man of talents and energy of nature. His abounding vitality must have
produced its impression on all who met him; there was a still fire about
him which any one could see would blaze up to melt all difficulties and
recast obstacles into implements in the mould of an heroic will. These
elements of his character many had the chance of knowing; but I shall
always associate him with the memory of that pure and noble friendship
which made me feel that I knew him before I looked upon his face, and
added a personal tenderness to the sense of loss which I share with the
whole community.

Here, then, I parted, sorrowfully, from the companions with whom I set
out on my journey.

In one of the cars, at the same station, we met General Shriver, of
Frederick, a most loyal Unionist, whose name is synonymous with a hearty
welcome to all whom he can aid by his counsel and his hospitality. He
took great pains to give us all the information we needed, and expressed
the hope, which was afterwards fulfilled, to the great gratification
of some of us, that we should meet again, when he should return to his
home.

There was nothing worthy of special note in the trip to Frederick,
except our passing a squad of Rebel prisoners, whom I missed seeing, as
they flashed by, but who were said to be a most forlorn-looking crowd of
scarecrows. Arrived at the Monocacy River, about three miles this side
of Frederick, we came to a halt, for the railroad-bridge had been blown
up by the Rebels, and its iron pillars and arches were lying in the bed
of the river. The unfortunate wretch who fired the train was killed by
the explosion, and lay buried hard by, his hands sticking out of the
shallow grave into which he had been huddled. This was the story they
told us, but whether true or no I must leave to the correspondents of
"Notes and Queries" to settle.

There was a great confusion of carriages and wagons at the
stopping-place of the train, so that it was a long time before I could
get anything that would carry us. At last I was lucky enough to light on
a sturdy wagon, drawn by a pair of serviceable bays, and driven by
James Grayden, with whom I was destined to have a somewhat continued
acquaintance. We took up a little girl who had been in Baltimore during
the late Rebel inroad. It made me think of the time when my own mother,
at that time six years old, was hurried off from Boston, then occupied
by the British soldiers, to Newburyport, and heard the people saying
that "the red-coats were coming, killing and murdering everybody as they
went along." Frederick looked cheerful for a place that had so recently
been in an enemy's hands. Here and there a house or shop was shut up,
but the national colors were waving in all directions, and the general
aspect was peaceful and contented. I saw no bullet-marks or other sign
of the fighting which had gone on in the streets. My lady-companion was
taken in charge by a daughter of that hospitable family to which we
had been commended by its head, and I proceeded to inquire for wounded
officers at the various temporary hospitals.

At the United States Hotel, where many were lying, I heard mention of an
officer in an upper chamber, and, going there, found Lieutenant Abbott,
of the Twentieth Massachusetts Volunteers, lying ill with what looked
like typhoid fever. While there, who should come in but the ubiquitous
Lieutenant Wilkins, of the same Twentieth, often confounded with his
namesake who visited the Flying Island, and with some reason, for he
must have a pair of wings under his military upper garment, or he could
never be in so many places at once. He was going to Boston in charge of
the lamented Dr. Revere's body. From his lips I learned something of the
mishaps of the regiment. My Captain's wound he spoke of as less grave
than at first thought; but he mentioned incidentally having heard
a story recently that he was _killed_,--a fiction, doubtless,--a
mistake,--a palpable absurdity,--not to be remembered or made any
account of. Oh, no! but what dull ache is this in that obscurely
sensitive region, somewhere below the heart, where the nervous centre
called the _semilunar ganglion_ lies unconscious of itself until a great
grief or a mastering anxiety reaches it through all the non-conductors
which isolate it from ordinary impressions? I talked awhile with
Lieutenant Abbott, who lay prostrate, feeble, but soldier-like and
uncomplaining, carefully waited upon by a most excellent lady, a
captain's wife, New-England-born, loyal as the Liberty on a golden
ten-dollar piece, and of lofty bearing enough to have sat for that
goddess's portrait. She had stayed in Frederick through the Rebel
inroad, and kept the star-spangled banner where it would be safe, to
unroll it as the last Rebel hoofs clattered off from the pavement of the
town.

Near by Lieutenant Abbott was an unhappy gentleman, occupying a small
chamber, and filling it with his troubles. When he gets well and plump,
I know he will forgive me, if I confess that I could not help smiling
in the midst of my sympathy for him. He had been a well-favored man,
he said, sweeping his hand in a semicircle, which implied that his
acute-angled countenance had once filled the goodly curve he described.
He was now a perfect Don Quixote to look upon. Weakness had made him
querulous, as it does all of us, and he piped his grievances to me in a
thin voice with that finish of detail which chronic invalidism alone can
command. He was starving,--he could not get what he wanted to eat. He
was in need of stimulants, and he held up a pitiful two-ounce phial
containing three thimblefuls of brandy,--his whole stock of that
encouraging article. Him I consoled to the best of my ability, and
afterwards, in some slight measure, supplied his wants. Feed this poor
gentleman up, as these good people soon will, and I should not know him,
nor he himself. We are all egotists in sickness and debility. An animal
has been defined as "a stomach ministered to by organs"; and the
greatest man comes very near this simple formula after a month or two of
fever and starvation.

James Grayden and his team pleased me well enough, and so I made a
bargain with him to take us, the lady and myself, on our further journey
as far as Middletown. As we were about starting from the front of the
United States Hotel, two gentlemen presented themselves and expressed
a wish to be allowed to share our conveyance. I looked at them and
convinced myself that they were neither Rebels in disguise, nor
deserters, nor camp-followers, nor miscreants, but plain, honest men on
a proper errand. The first of them I will pass over briefly. He was
a young man, of mild and modest demeanor, chaplain to a Pennsylvania
regiment, which he was going to rejoin. He belonged to the Moravian
Church, of which I had the misfortune to know little more than what I
had learned from Southey's "Life of Wesley," and from the exquisite
hymns we have borrowed from its rhapsodists. The other stranger was a
New-Englander of respectable appearance, with a grave, hard, honest,
hay-bearded face, who had come to serve the sick and wounded on the
battle-field and in its immediate neighborhood. There is no reason why I
should not mention his name, but I shall content myself with calling him
the Philanthropist.

So we set forth, the sturdy wagon, the serviceable bays, with James
Grayden their driver, the gentle lady, whose serene patience bore up
through all delays and discomforts, the Chaplain, the Philanthropist,
and myself, the teller of this story.

And now, as we emerged from Frederick, we struck at once upon the trail
from the great battle-field. The road was filled with straggling and
wounded soldiers. All who could travel on foot--multitudes with slight
wounds of the upper limbs, the head or face--were told to take up their
beds--a light burden, or none at all--and walk. Just as the battle-field
sucks everything into its red vortex for the conflict, so does it drive
everything off in long, diverging rays after the fierce centripetal
forces have met and neutralized each other. For more than a week there
had been sharp fighting all along this road. Through the streets of
Frederick, through Crampton's Gap, over South Mountain, sweeping at last
the hills and the woods that skirt the windings of the Antietam, the
long battle had travelled, like one of those tornadoes which tear their
path through our fields and villages. The slain of higher condition,
"embalmed" and iron-cased, were sliding off on the railways to their
far homes; the dead of the rank-and-file were being gathered up and
committed hastily to the earth; the gravely wounded were cared for
hard by the scene of conflict, or pushed a little way along to the
neighboring villages; while those who could walk were meeting us, as I
have said, at every step in the road. It was a pitiable sight, truly
pitiable, yet so vast, so far beyond the possibility of relief, that
many single sorrows of small dimensions have wrought upon my feelings
more than the sight of this great caravan of maimed pilgrims. The
companionship of so many seemed to make a joint-stock of their
suffering; it was next to impossible to individualize it, and so bring
it home as one can do with a single broken limb or aching wound. Then
they were all of the male sex, and in the freshness or the prime of
their strength. Though they tramped so wearily along, yet there was rest
and kind nursing in store for them. These wounds they bore would be the
medals they would show their children and grandchildren by-and-by. Who
would not rather wear his decorations beneath his uniform than on it?

Yet among them were figures which arrested our attention and sympathy.
Delicate boys, with more spirit than strength, flushed with fever or
pale with exhaustion or haggard with suffering, dragged their weary
limbs along as if each step would exhaust their slender store of
strength. At the road-side sat or lay others, quite spent with their
journey. Here and there was a house at which the wayfarers would stop,
in the hope, I fear often vain, of getting refreshment; and in one place
was a clear, cool spring, where the little bands of the long procession
halted for a few moments, as the trains that traverse the desert rest by
its fountains. My companions had brought a few peaches along with them,
which the Philanthropist bestowed upon the tired and thirsty soldiers
with a satisfaction which we all shared. I had with me a small flask of
strong waters, to be used as a medicine in case of inward grief. From
this, also, he dispensed relief, without hesitation, to a poor fellow
who looked as if he needed it. I rather admired the simplicity with
which he applied my limited means of solace to the first-comer who
wanted it more than I; a genuine benevolent impulse does not stand on
ceremony, and had I perished of colic for want of a stimulus that night,
I should not have reproached my friend the Philanthropist any more than
I grudged my other ardent friend the two dollars and more which it cost
me to send the charitable message he left in my hands.

It was a lovely country through which we were riding. The hill-sides
rolled away into the distance, slanting up fair and broad to the sun,
as one sees them in the open parts of the Berkshire valley, at
Lanesborough, for instance, or in the many-hued mountain-chalice at the
bottom of which the Shaker houses of Lebanon have shaped themselves like
a sediment of cubical crystals. The wheat was all garnered, and the land
ploughed for a new crop. There was Indian-corn standing, but I saw no
pumpkins warming their yellow carapaces in the sunshine like so many
turtles; only in a single instance did I notice some wretched little
miniature specimens in form and hue not unlike those colossal oranges of
our cornfields. The rail-fences were somewhat disturbed, and the cinders
of extinguished fires showed the use to which they had been applied.
The houses along the road were not for the most part neatly kept; the
garden-fences were poorly built of laths or long slats, and very rarely
of trim aspect. The men of this region seemed to ride in the saddle very
generally, rather than drive. They looked sober and stern, less curious
and lively than Yankees, and I fancied that a type of features familiar
to us in the countenance of the late John Tyler, our accidental
President, was frequently met with. The women were still more
distinguishable from our New-England pattern. Soft, sallow, succulent,
delicately finished about the mouth and firmly shaped about the chin,
dark-eyed, full-throated, they looked as if they had been grown in a
land of olives. There was a little toss in their movement, full of
muliebrity. I fancied there was something more of the duck and less of
the chicken about them, as compared with the daughters of our leaner
soil; but these are mere impressions caught from stray glances, and if
there is any offence in them, my fair readers may consider them all
retracted.

At intervals, a dead horse lay by the road-side, or in the fields,
unburied, not grateful to gods or men, I saw no bird of prey, no
ill-omened fowl, on my way to the carnival of death, or at the place
where it was held. The vulture of story, the crow of Talavera, the "twa
corbies" of the ghastly ballad, are all from Nature, doubtless; but
no black wing was spread over these animal ruins, and no call to the
banquet pierced through the heavy-laden and sickening air.

Full in the middle of the road, caring little for whom or what they met,
came long strings of army-wagons, returning empty from the front after
supplies. James Grayden stated it as his conviction that they had a
little rather run into a fellow than not. I liked the looks of these
equipages and their drivers; they meant business. Drawn by mules mostly,
six, I think, to a wagon, powdered well with dust, wagon, beast, and
driver, they came jogging along the road, turning neither to right nor
left,--some driven by bearded, solemn white men, some by careless,
saucy-looking negroes, of a blackness like that of anthracite or
obsidian. There seemed to be nothing about them, dead or alive, that was
not serviceable. Sometimes a mule would give out on the road; then he
was left where he lay, until by-and-by he would think better of it, and
get up, when the first public wagon that came along would hitch him on,
and restore him to the sphere of duty.

It was evening when we got to Middletown. The gentle lady--who had
graced our homely conveyance with her company here left us. She found
her husband, the gallant Colonel, in very comfortable quarters, well
cared for, very weak from the effects of the fearful operation he had
been compelled to undergo, but showing the same calm courage to endure
as he had shown manly energy to act. It was a meeting full of heroism
and tenderness, of which I heard more than there is need to tell. Health
to the brave soldier, and peace to the household over which go fair a
spirit presides!

Dr. Thompson, the very active and intelligent surgical director of the
hospitals of the place, took me in charge. He carried me to the house of
a worthy and benevolent clergyman of the German Reformed Church, where I
was to take tea and pass the night. What became of the Moravian chaplain
I did not know; but my friend the Philanthropist had evidently made up
his mind to adhere to my fortunes. He followed me, therefore, to the
house of the "Dominic," as a newspaper-correspondent calls my kind host,
and partook of the fare there furnished me. He withdrew with me to the
apartment assigned for my slumbers, and slept sweetly on the same pillow
where I waked and tossed. Nay, I do affirm that he did, unconsciously,
I believe, encroach on that moiety of the couch which I had flattered
myself was to be my own through the watches of the night, and that I
was in serious doubt at one time whether I should not be gradually, but
irresistibly, expelled from the bed which I had supposed destined for
my sole possession. As Ruth clave unto Naomi, so my friend the
Philanthropist clave unto me. "Whither thou goest, I will go; and where
thou lodgest, I will lodge." A really kind, good man, full of zeal,
determined to help somebody, and absorbed in his one thought, he doubted
nobody's willingness to serve him, going, as he was, on a purely
benevolent errand. When he reads this, as I hope he will, let him be
assured of my esteem and respect; and if he gained any accommodation
from being in my company, let me tell him that I learned a lesson from
his active benevolence. I could, however, have wished to hear him laugh
once before we parted, perhaps forever. He did not, to the best of
my recollection, even smile during the whole period that we were in
company. I am afraid that a lightsome disposition and a relish for humor
are not so common in those whose benevolence takes an active turn as in
people of sentiment who are always ready with their tears and abounding
in passionate expressions of sympathy. Working philanthropy is a
practical specialty, requiring not a mere impulse, but a talent, with
its peculiar sagacity for finding its objects, a tact for selecting its
agencies, an organizing and arranging faculty, a steady set of nerves,
and a constitution such as Sallust describes in Catiline, patient of
cold, of hunger, and of watching. Philanthropists are commonly grave,
occasionally grim, and not very rarely morose. Their expansive social
force is imprisoned as a working power, to show itself only through
its legitimate pistons and cranks. The tighter the boiler, the less it
whistles and sings at its work. When Dr. Waterhouse, in 1780, travelled
with Howard, on his tour among the Dutch prisons and hospitals, he
found his temper and manners very different from what would have been
expected. My benevolent companion having already made a preliminary
exploration of the hospitals of the place, before sharing my bed with
him, as above mentioned, I joined him in a second tour through them. The
authorities of Middletown are evidently leagued with the surgeons of
that place, for such a break-neck succession of pitfalls and chasms I
have never seen in the streets of a civilized town. It was getting late
in the evening when we began our rounds. The principal collections of
the wounded were in the churches. Boards were laid over the tops of the
pews, on these some straw was spread, and on this the wounded lay, with
little or no covering other than such scanty clothes as they had on.
There were wounds of all degrees of severity, but I heard no groans
or murmurs. Most of the sufferers were hurt in the limbs, some had
undergone amputation, and all had, I presume, received such attention as
was required. Still, it was but a rough and dreary kind of comfort that
the extemporized hospitals suggested. I could not help thinking the
patients must be cold; but they were used to camp-life, and did not
complain. The men who watched were not of the soft-handed variety of the
race. One of them was smoking his pipe as he went from bed to bed. I saw
one poor fellow who had been shot through the breast; his breathing was
labored, and he was tossing, anxious and restless. The men were debating
about the opiate he was to take, and I was thankful that I happened
there at the right moment to see that he was well narcotized for the
night. Was it possible that my Captain could be lying on the straw in
one of these places? Certainly _possible_, but not probable; but as the
lantern was held over each bed, it was with a kind of thrill that I
looked upon the features it illuminated. Many times, as I went from
hospital to hospital in my wanderings, I started as some faint
resemblance--the shade of a young man's hair, the outline of his
half-turned face-recalled the presence I was in search of. The face
would turn towards me and the momentary illusion would pass away, but
still the fancy clung to me. There was no figure huddled up on its rude
couch, none stretched at the road-side, none toiling languidly along
the dusty pike, none passing in car or in ambulance, that I did not
scrutinize, as if it might be that for which I was making my pilgrimage
to the battle-field.

"There are two wounded Secesh," said my companion. I walked to the
bedside of the first, who was an officer, a lieutenant, if I remember
right, from North Carolina. He was of good family, son of a judge in
one of the higher courts of his State, educated, pleasant, gentle,
intelligent. One moment's intercourse with such an enemy, lying helpless
and wounded among strangers, takes away all personal bitterness towards
those with whom we or our children have been but a few hours before in
deadly strife. The basest lie which the murderous contrivers of this
Rebellion have told is that which tries to make out a difference of race
in the men of the North and South, It would be worth a year of battles
to abolish this delusion, though the great sponge of war that wiped it
out were moistened with the best blood of the land. My Rebel was of
slight, scholastic habit, and spoke as one accustomed to tread carefully
among the parts of speech. It made my heart ache to see him, a man
finished in the humanities and Christian culture, whom the sin of his
forefathers and the crime of his rulers had set in barbarous conflict
against others of like training with his own,--a man who, but for the
curse that it is laid on our generation to expiate, would have been
a fellow-worker with them in the beneficent task of shaping the
intelligence and lifting the moral standard of a peaceful and united
people.

On Sunday morning, the twenty-first, having engaged James Grayden
and his team, I set out with the Chaplain and the Philanthropist for
Keedysville. Our track lay through the South Mountain Gap and led us
first to the town of Boonsborough, where, it will be remembered, Colonel
Dwight had been brought after the battle. We saw the positions occupied
in the Battle of South Mountain, and many traces of the conflict. In one
situation a group of young trees was marked with shot, hardly one having
escaped. As we walked by the side of the wagon, the Philanthropist left
us for a while and climbed a hill, where along the line of a fence he
found traces of the most desperate fighting. A ride of some three hours
brought us to Boonsborough, where I roused the unfortunate army-surgeon
who had charge of the hospitals, and who was trying to get a little
sleep after his fatigues and watchings. He bore this cross very
creditably, and helped me to explore all places where my soldier might
be lying among the crowds of wounded. After the useless search, I
resumed my journey, fortified with a note of introduction to Dr.
Letterman, also with a bale of oakum which I was to carry to that
gentleman, this substance being employed as a substitute for lint.
We were obliged also to procure a pass to Keedysville from the
Provost-Marshal of Boonsborough. As we came near the place, we learned
that General McClellan's headquarters had been removed from this village
some miles farther to the front.

On entering the small settlement of Keedysville, a familiar face and
figure blocked the way, like one of Bunyan's giants. The tall form and
benevolent countenance, set off by long, flowing hair, belonged to the
excellent Mayor Frank B. Fay, of Chelsea, who, like my Philanthropist,
only still more promptly, had come to succor the wounded of the great
battle. It was wonderful to see how his single personality pervaded this
torpid little village; he seemed to be the centre of all its activities.
All my questions he answered clearly and decisively, as one who knew
everything that was going on in the place. But the one question I had
come five hundred miles to ask,--_Where is Captain H.?_--he could not
answer. There were some thousands of wounded in the place, he told
me, scattered about everywhere. It would be a long job to hunt up my
Captain; the only way would be to go to every house and ask for him.
Just then, a medical officer came up.

"Do you know anything of Captain H., of the Massachusetts Twentieth?"

"Oh, yes; he is staying in that house. I saw him there, doing very
well."

A chorus of hallelujahs arose in my soul, but I kept them to myself.
Now, then, for our twice-wounded volunteer, our young centurion whose
double-barred shoulder-straps we have never yet looked upon. Let us
observe the proprieties, however; no swelling upward of the mother,--no
_hysterica passio,_--we do not like scenes. A calm salutation,--then
swallow and bold hard. That is about the programme.

A cottage of squared logs, filled in with plaster, and white-washed. A
little yard before it, with a gate swinging. The door of the cottage
ajar,--no one visible as yet. I push open the door and enter. An old
woman, _Margaret Kitzmuller_ her name proves to be, is the first person
I see.

"Captain H. here?"

"Oh, no, Sir,--left yesterday morning for Hagerstown--in a milk-cart."

The Kitzmuller is a beady-eyed, cheery-looking ancient woman, answers
questions with a rising inflection, and gives a good account of the
Captain, who got into the vehicle without assistance, and was in
excellent spirits.--Of course he had struck for Hagerstown as the
terminus of the Cumberland Valley Railroad, and was on his way to
Philadelphia _viâ_ Chambersburg and Harrisburg, if he were not already
in the hospitable home of Walnut Street, where his friends were
expecting him.

I might follow on his track or return upon my own; the distance was die
same to Philadelphia through Harrisburg as through Baltimore. But it was
very difficult, Mr. Fay told me, to procure any kind of conveyance to
Hagerstown, and on the other hand I had James Grayden and his wagon to
carry me back to Frederick. It was not likely that I should overtake the
object of my pursuit with nearly thirty-six hours start, even if I
could procure a conveyance that day, In the mean time James was getting
impatient to be on his return, according to the direction of his
employers. So I decided to go back with him.

But there was the great battle-field only about three miles from
Keedysville, and it was impossible to go without seeing that. James
Grayden's directions were peremptory, but it was a case for the higher
law. I must make a good offer for an extra couple of hours, such as
would satisfy the owners of the wagon, and enforce it by a personal
motive. I did this handsomely, and succeeded without difficulty. To
add brilliancy to my enterprise, I invited the Chaplain and the
Philanthropist to take a free passage with me.

We followed the road through the village for a space, then turned off
to the right, and wandered somewhat vaguely, for want of precise
directions, over the hills. Inquiring as we went, we forded a wide creek
in which soldiers were washing their clothes, the name of which we did
not then know, but which must have been the Antietam. At one point we
met a party, women among them, bringing off various trophies they had
picked up on the battle-field. Still wandering along, we were at last
pointed to a hill in the distance, a part of the summit of which was
covered with Indian-corn. There, we were told, some of the fiercest
fighting of the day had been done. The fences were taken down so as to
make a passage across the fields, and the tracks worn within the last
few days looked like old roads. We passed a fresh grave under a tree
near the road. A board was nailed to the tree, bearing the name, as well
as I could make it out, of Gardiner, of a New-Hampshire regiment.

On coming near the brow of the hill, we met a party carrying picks and
spades. "How many?" "Only one." The dead were nearly all buried, then,
in this region of the field of strife. We stopped the wagon, and,
getting out, began to look around us. Hard by was a large pile of
muskets, scores, if not hundreds, which had been picked up and were
guarded for the Government. A long ridge of fresh gravel rose before us.
A board stuck up in front of it bore this inscription, the first part of
which was, I believe, not correct:--"The Rebel General Anderson and 80
Rebels are buried in this hole." Other smaller ridges were marked with
the number of dead lying under them. The whole ground was strewed
with fragments of clothing, haversacks, canteens, cap-boxes, bullets,
cartridge-boxes, cartridges, scraps of paper, portions of bread and
meat. I saw two soldiers' caps that looked as though their owners had
been shot through the head. In several places I noticed dark red patches
where a pool of blood had curdled and caked, as some poor fellow poured
his life out on the sod. I then wandered about in the cornfield. It
surprised me to notice, that, though there was every mark of hard
fighting having taken place here, the Indian-corn was not generally
trodden down. One of our cornfields is a kind of forest, and even when
fighting, men avoid the tall stalks as if they were trees. At the edge
of this cornfield lay a gray horse, said to have belonged to a Rebel
colonel, who was killed near the same place. Not far off were two dead
artillery-horses in their harness. Another had been attended to by
a burying-party, who had thrown some earth over him; but his last
bed-clothes were too short, and his legs stuck out stark and stiff
from beneath the gravel coverlet. It was a great pity that we had no
intelligent guide to explain to us the position of that portion of the
two armies which fought over this ground. There was a shallow trench
before we came to the cornfield, too narrow for a road, as I should
think, too elevated for a water-course, and which seemed to have been
used as a rifle-pit; at any rate, there had been hard fighting in and
about it. This and the cornfield may serve to identify the part of the
ground we visited, if any who fought there should ever look over this
paper. The opposing tides of battle must have blended their waves at
this point, for portions of gray uniform were mingled with the "garments
rolled in blood" torn from our own dead and wounded soldiers. I picked
up a Rebel canteen, and one of our own,--but there was something
repulsive about the trodden and stained relics of the stale
battle-field. It was like the table of some hideous orgy left uncleared,
and one turned away disgusted from its broken fragments and muddy
heel-taps. A bullet or two, a button, a brass plate from a soldier's
belt, served well enough for mementos of my visit, with a letter which
I picked up, directed to Richmond, Virginia, its seal unbroken. "N.C.
Cleaveland County. E. Wright to J. Wright." On the other side, "A few
lines from W.L. Vaughn," who has just been writing for the wife to her
husband, and continues on his own account. The postscript, "tell John
that nancy's folks are all well and has a verry good Little Crop of corn
a growing." I wonder, if, by one of those strange chances of which I
have seen so many, this number or leaf of the "Atlantic" will not sooner
or later find its way to Cleveland County, North Carolina, and E.
Wright, widow of James Wright, and Nancy's folks get from these
sentences the last glimpse of husband and friend as he threw up his arms
and fell in the bloody cornfield of Antietam? I will keep this stained
letter for them until peace comes back, if it comes in my time, and my
pleasant North-Carolina Rebel of the Middletown Hospital will, perhaps,
look these poor people up, and tell them where to send for it.

On the battle-field I parted with my two companions, the Chaplain and
the Philanthropist. They were going to the front, the one to find his
regiment, the other to look for those who needed his assistance. We
exchanged cards and farewells, I mounted the wagon, the horses' heads
were turned homewards, my two companions went their way, and I saw them
no more. On my way back, I fell into talk with James Grayden. Born in
England, Lancashire; in this country since he was four years old. Had
nothing to care for but an old mother; didn't know what he should do, if
he lost her. Though so long in this country, he had all the simplicity
and childlike light-heartedness which belong to the Old World's people.
He laughed at the smallest pleasantry, and showed his great white
English teeth; he took a joke without retorting by an impertinence; he
had a very limited curiosity about all that was going on; he had small
store of information; he lived chiefly in his horses, it seemed to me.
His quiet animal nature acted as a pleasing anodyne to my recurring fits
of anxiety, and I liked his frequent "'Deed I don' know, Sir," better
than I have sometimes relished the large discourse of professors and
other very wise men.

I have not much to say of the road which we were travelling for the
second time. Reaching Middletown, my first call was on the wounded
Colonel and his lady. She gave me a most touching account of all
the suffering he had gone through with his shattered limb before he
succeeded in finding a shelter, showing the terrible want of proper
means of transportation of the wounded after the battle. It occurred to
me, while at this house, that I was more or less famished, and for the
first time in my life I begged for a meal, which the kind family with
whom the Colonel was staying most graciously furnished me.

After tea, there came in a stout army-surgeon, a Highlander by birth,
educated in Edinburgh, with whom I had pleasant, not unstimulating
talk. He had been brought very close to that immane and nefandous
Burke-and-Hare business which made the blood of civilization run cold in
the year 1828, and told me, in a very calm way, with an occasional pinch
from the mull, to refresh his memory, some of the details of those
frightful murders, never rivalled in horror until the wretch Dumollard,
who kept a private cemetery for his victims, was dragged into the light
of day. He had a good deal to say, too, about the Royal College of
Surgeons in Edinburgh, and the famous preparations, mercurial and
the rest, which I remember well having seen there,--the "_sudabit
muitura_,--" and others,--also of our New-York Professor Carnochan's
handiwork, a specimen of which I once admired at the New York College.
But the Doctor was not in a happy frame of mind, and seemed willing to
forget the present in the past: things went wrong, somehow, and the time
was out of joint with him.

Dr. Thompson, kind, cheerful, companionable, offered me half his own
wide bed, in the house of Dr. Baer, for my second night in Middletown.
Here I lay awake again another night. Close to the house stood an
ambulance in which was a wounded Rebel officer, attended by one of their
own surgeons. He was calling out in a loud voice, all night long, as
it seemed to me, "Doctor! Doctor! Driver! Water!" in loud, complaining
tones, I have no doubt of real suffering, but in strange contrast with
the silent patience which was the almost universal rule.

The courteous Dr. Thompson will let me tell here an odd coincidence,
trivial, but having its interest as one of a series. The Doctor and
myself lay in the bed, and a lieutenant, a friend of his, slept on
the sofa. At night, I placed my match-box, a Scotch one, of the
Macpherson-plaid pattern, which I bought years ago, on the bureau, just
where I could put my hand upon it. I was the last of the three to rise
in the morning, and on looking for my pretty match-box, I found it was
gone. This was rather awkward,--not on account of the loss, but of the
unavoidable fact that one of my fellow-lodgers must have taken it. I
must try to find out what it meant.

"By the way, Doctor, have you seen anything of a little plaid-pattern
matchbox?"

The Doctor put his hand to his pocket, and, to his own huge surprise and
my great gratification, pulled out _two_ matchboxes exactly alike, both
printed with the Macpherson plaid. One was his, the other mine, which he
had seen lying round, and naturally took for his own, thrusting it into
his pocket, where it found its twin-brother from the same workshop. In
memory of which event we exchanged boxes, like two Homeric heroes.

This curious coincidence illustrates well enough some supposed cases of
_plagiarism_, of which I will mention one where my name figured. When a
little poem called "The Two Streams" was first printed, a writer in the
New York "Evening Post" virtually accused the author of it of borrowing
the thought from a baccalaureate sermon of President Hopkins, of
Williamstown, and printed a quotation from that discourse, which, as I
thought, a thief or catchpoll might well consider as establishing a
fair presumption that it was so borrowed. I was at the same time wholly
unconscious of ever having met with the discourse or the sentence which
the verses were most like, nor do I believe I ever had seen or heard
either. Some time after this, happening to meet my eloquent cousin,
Wendell Phillips, I mentioned the fact to him, and he told me that _he_
had once used the special image said to be borrowed, in a discourse
delivered at Williamstown. On relating this to my friend Mr. Buchanan
Read, he informed me that _he_, too, had used the image, perhaps
referring to his poem called "The Twins." He thought Tennyson had used
it also. The parting of the streams on the Alps is poetically elaborated
in a passage attributed to "M. Loisne," printed in the Boston "Evening
Transcript" for October 23d, 1859. Captain, afterwards Sir Francis Head,
speaks of the showers parting on the Cordilleras, one portion going to
the Atlantic, one to the Pacific. I found the image running loose in my
mind, without a halter. It suggested itself as an illustration of
the will, and I worked the poem out by the aid of Mitchell's School
Atlas.--The spores of a great many ideas are floating about in the
atmosphere. We no more know where all the growths of our mind came from
than where the lichens which eat the names off from the gravestones
borrowed the germs that gave them birth. The two match-boxes were just
alike, but neither was a plagiarism.

In the morning I took to the same wagon once more, but, instead of James
Grayden, I was to have for my driver a young man who spelt his name
"Phillip Ottenheimer," and whose features at once showed him to be an
Israelite. I found him agreeable enough, and disposed to talk. So I
asked him many questions about his religion, and got some answers that
sound strangely in Christian ears. He was from Wittenberg, and had
been educated in strict Jewish fashion. From his childhood he had read
Hebrew, but was not much of a scholar otherwise. A young person of his
race lost caste utterly by marrying a Christian. The Founder of our
religion was considered by the Israelites to have been "a right smart
man, and a great doctor," But the horror with which the reading of the
New Testament by any young person of their faith would be regarded was
as great, I judged by his language, as that of one of our straitest
sectaries would be, if he found his son or daughter perusing the "Age of
Reason."

In approaching Frederick, the singular beauty of its clustered spires
struck me very much, so that I was not surprised to find "Fair-View"
laid down about this point on a railroad-map. I wish some wandering
photographer would take a picture of the place, a stereoscopic one, if
possible, to show how gracefully, how charmingly, its group of steeples
nestles among the Maryland hills. The town had a poetical look from a
distance, as if seers and dreamers might dwell there. The first sign
I read, on entering its long street, might perhaps be considered as
confirming my remote impression. It bore these words: "Miss Ogle, Past,
Present, and Future." On arriving, I visited Lieutenant Abbott, and the
attenuated unhappy gentleman, his neighbor, sharing between them as my
parting gift what I had left of the balsam known to the Pharmacopoeia as
_Spiritus Vini Gallici_. I took advantage of General Shriver's always
open door to write a letter home, but had not time to partake of his
offered hospitality. The railroad-bridge over the Monocacy had been
rebuilt since I passed through Frederick, and we trundled along over the
track toward Baltimore.

It was a disappointment, on reaching the Eutaw House, where I had
ordered all communications to be addressed, to find no telegraphic
message from Philadelphia or Boston, stating that Captain H. had arrived
at the former place, "wound doing well in good spirits expects to leave
soon for Boston," After all, it was no great matter; the Captain was, no
doubt, snugly lodged before this in the house called Beautiful, at ----
Walnut Street, where that "grave and beautiful damsel named Discretion"
had already welcomed him, smiling, though "the water stood in her eyes,"
and had "called out Prudence, Piety, and Charity, who, after a little
more discourse with him, had him into the family."

The friends I had met at the Eutaw House had all gone but one, the lady
of an officer from Boston, who was most amiable and agreeable, and whose
benevolence, as I afterwards learned, soon reached the invalids I had
left suffering at Frederick. General Wool still walked the corridors,
inexpansive, with Fort McHenry on his shoulders, and Baltimore in his
breeches-pocket, and his courteous aid again pressed upon me his kind
offices. About the doors of the hotel the news-boys cried the papers in
plaintive, wailing tones, as different from the sharp accents of their
Boston counterparts as a sigh from the southwest is from a northeastern
breeze. To understand what they said was, of course, impossible to any
but an educated ear, and if I made out "Stoarr" and "Clipper," it was
because I knew beforehand what must be the burden of their advertising
coranach.

I set out for Philadelphia on the morrow, Tuesday the twenty-third,
there beyond question to meet my Captain, once more united to his brave
wounded companions under that roof which covers a household of as noble
hearts as ever throbbed with human sympathies. Back River, Bush River,
Gunpowder Creek,--lives there the man with soul so dead that his memory
has cerements to wrap up these senseless names in the same envelopes
with their meaningless localities? But the Susquehanna,--the broad,
the beautiful, the historical, the poetical Susquehanna,--the river of
Wyoming and of Gertrude, dividing the shores where

  "aye these sunny mountains half-way down
  Would echo flageolet from some romantic town,"--

did not my heart renew its allegiance to the poet who has made it lovely
to the imagination as well as to the eye, and so identified his fame
with the noble stream that it "rolls mingling with his fame forever"?
The prosaic traveller perhaps remembers it better from the fact that a
great sea-monster, in the shape of a steamboat, takes him, sitting
in the car, on its back, and swims across with him like Arion's
dolphin,--also that mercenary men on board offer him canvas-backs in the
season, and ducks of lower degree at other periods.

At Philadelphia again at last! Drive fast, O colored man and brother, to
the house called Beautiful, where my Captain lies sore wounded, waiting
for the sound of the chariot-wheels which bring to his bedside the face
and the voice nearer than any save one to his heart in this his hour of
pain and weakness! Up a long street with white shutters and white steps
to all the houses. Off at right angles into another long street with
white shutters and white steps to all the houses. Off again at another
right angle into still another long street with white shutters and white
steps to all the houses. The natives of this city pretend to know one
street from another by some individual differences of aspect; but the
best way for a stranger to distinguish the streets he has been in from
others is to make a cross or other mark on the white shutters.

This corner-house is the one. Ring softly,--for the Lieutenant-Colonel
lies there with a dreadfully wounded arm, and two sons of the family,
one wounded like the Colonel, one fighting with death in the fog of a
typhoid fever, will start with fresh pangs at the least sound you can
make. I entered the house, but no cheerful smile met me. The sufferers
were each of them thought to be in a critical condition. The fourth bed,
waiting its tenant day after day, was still empty. _Not a word from my
Captain._

Then, foolish, fond body that I was, my heart sank within me. Had he
been taken ill on the road, perhaps been attacked with those formidable
symptoms which sometimes come on suddenly after wounds that seemed to be
doing well enough, and was his life ebbing away in some lonely cottage,
nay, in some cold barn or shed, or at the way-side, unknown, uncared
for? Somewhere between Philadelphia and Hagerstown, if not at the latter
town, he must be, at any rate. I must sweep the hundred and eighty miles
between these places as one would sweep a chamber where a precious pearl
had been dropped. I must have a companion in my search, partly to help
me look about, and partly because I was getting nervous and felt lonely.
_Charley_ said he would go with me,--Charley, my Captain's beloved
friend, gentle, but full of spirit and liveliness, cultivated, social,
affectionate, a good talker, a most agreeable letter-writer, observing,
with large relish of life, and keen sense of humor.

He was not well enough to go, some of the timid ones said; but he
answered by packing his carpet-bag, and in an hour or two we were on the
Pennsylvania Central Railroad in full blast for Harrisburg.

I should have been a forlorn creature but for the presence of my
companion. In his delightful company I half forgot my anxieties, which,
exaggerated as they may seem now, ware not unnatural after what I had
seen of the confusion and distress that had followed the great battle,
nay, which seem almost justified by the recent statement that "high
officers" were buried after that battle whose names were never
ascertained. I noticed little matters, as usual. The road was filled in
between the rails with cracked stones, such as are used for Macadamizing
streets. They keep the dust down, I suppose, for I could not think of
any other use for them. By-and-by the glorious valley which stretches
along through Chester and Lancaster Counties opened upon us. Much as I
had heard of the fertile regions of Pennsylvania, the vast scale and the
uniform luxuriance of this region astonished me. The grazing pastures
were so green, the fields were under such perfect culture, the cattle
looked so sleek, the houses were so comfortable, the barns so ample, the
fences so well kept, that I did not wonder, when I was told that this
region was called the England of Pennsylvania. The people whom we saw
were, like the cattle, well-nourished; the young women looked round and
wholesome.

"_Grass makes girls_," I said to my companion, and left him to work out
my Orphic saying, thinking to myself, that, as guano makes grass, it
was a legitimate conclusion that Jehaboe must be a nursery of female
loveliness.

As the train stopped at the different stations, I inquired at each
if they had any wounded officers. None as yet; the red rays of the
battle-field had not streamed off so far as this. Evening found us in
the cars; they lighted candles in spring-candlesticks; odd enough I
thought it in the land of oil-wells and unmeasured floods of kerosene.
Some fellows turned up the back of a seat so as to make it horizontal,
and began gambling or pretending to gamble; it looked as if they were
trying to pluck a young countryman; but appearances are deceptive,
and no deeper stake than "drinks for the crowd" seemed at last to
be involved. But remembering that murder has tried of late years to
establish itself as an institution in the cars, I was less tolerant of
the doings of these "sportsmen" who tried to turn our public conveyance
into a travelling Frascali. They acted as if they were used to it, and
nobody seemed to pay much attention to their manoeuvres.

We arrived at Harrisburg in the course of the evening, and attempted to
find our way to the Jones House, to which we had been commended. By some
mistake, intentional on the part of somebody, as it may have been, or
purely accidental, we went to the Herr House instead. I entered my name
in the book, with that of my companion. A plain, middle-aged man stepped
up, read it to himself in low tones, and coupled to it a literary title
by which I have been sometimes known. He proved to be a graduate of
Brown University, and had heard a certain Phi Beta Kappa poem delivered
there a good many years ago. I remembered it, too; Professor Goddard,
whose sudden and singular death left such lasting regret, was the
Orator. I recollect that while I was speaking a drum went by the church,
and how I was disgusted to see all the heads near the windows thrust out
of them, as if the building were on fire. _Cedat armis toga._ The clerk
in the office, a mild, pensive, unassuming young man, was very polite in
his manners, and did all he could to make us comfortable. He was of a
literary turn, and knew one of his guests in his character of author. At
tea, a mild old gentleman, with white hair and beard, sat next us. He,
too, had come hunting after his son, a lieutenant in a Pennsylvania
regiment. Of these, father and son, more presently.

After tea we went to look up Dr. Wilson, chief medical officer of
the hospitals in the place, who was staying at the Brady House. A
magnificent old toddy-mixer, Bardolphian in hue and stern of aspect, as
all grog-dispensers must be, accustomed as they are to dive through the
features of men to the bottom of their souls and pockets to see whether
they are solvent to the amount of sixpence, answered my question by a
wave of one hand, the other being engaged in carrying a dram to his
lips. His superb indifference gratified my artistic feeling more than it
wounded my personal sensibilities. Anything really superior in its line
claims my homage, and this man was the ideal bar-tender, above all
vulgar passions, untouched by commonplace sympathies, himself a lover of
the liquid happiness he dispenses, and filled with a fine scorn of all
those lesser felicities conferred by love or fame or wealth or any
of the roundabout agencies for which his fiery elixir is the cheap,
all-powerful substitute.

Dr. Wilson was in bed, though it was early in the evening, not having
slept for I don't know how many nights.

"Take my card up to him, if you please."

"This way, Sir."

A man who has not slept for a fortnight or so is not expected to be as
affable, when attacked in his bed, as a French princess of old time
at her morning-receptions. Dr. Wilson turned toward me, as I entered,
without effusion, but without rudeness. His thick, dark moustache was
chopped off square at the lower edge of the upper lip, which implied a
decisive, if not a peremptory, style of character.

I am Doctor So-and-So. of Hub-town, looking after my wounded son. (I
gave my name and said _Boston_, of course, in reality.)

Dr. Wilson leaned on his elbow and looked up in my face, his features
growing cordial. Then he put out his hand, and good-humoredly excused
his reception of me. The day before, as he told me, he had dismissed
from the service a medical man hailing from ----, Pennsylvania, bearing
my last name, preceded by the same two initials; and he supposed, when
my card came up, it was this individual who was disturbing his slumbers.
The coincidence was so unlikely _a priori_, unless some forlorn parent
without antecedents had named a child after me, that I could not help
cross-questioning the Doctor, who assured me deliberately that the fact
was just as he had said, even to the somewhat unusual initials. Dr.
Wilson very kindly furnished me all the information in his power,
gave me directions for telegraphing to Chambersburg, and showed every
disposition to serve me.

On returning to the Herr House, we found the mild, white-haired old
gentleman in a very happy state. He had just discovered his son, in a
comfortable condition, at the United States Hotel. He thought that he
could probably give us some information which would prove interesting.
To the United States Hotel we repaired, then, in company with our
kind-hearted old friend, who evidently wanted to see me as happy as
himself. He went up-stairs to his son's chamber, and presently came down
to conduct us there.

Lieutenant P----, of the Pennsylvania ----th, was a very fresh,
bright-looking young man, lying in bed from the effects of a recent
injury received in action. A grape-shot, after passing through a post
and a board, had struck him in the hip, bruising, but not penetrating or
breaking. He had good news for me.

That very afternoon, a party of wounded officers had passed through
Harrisburg, going East. He had conversed in the bar-room of this hotel
with one of them, who was wounded about the shoulder, (it might be the
lower part of the neck,) and had his arm in a sling. He belonged to the
Twentieth Massachusetts; the Lieutenant saw that he was a Captain, by
the two bars on his shoulder-strap. His name was my family-name; he was
tall and youthful, like my Captain. At four o'clock he left in the train
for Philadelphia. Closely questioned, the Lieutenant's evidence was as
round, complete, and lucid as a Japanese sphere of rock-crystal.

TE DEUM LAUDAMUS! The Lord's name be praised! The dead pain in the
semilunar ganglion (which I must remind my reader is a kind of stupid,
unreasoning brain, beneath the pit of the stomach, common to man and
beast, which aches in the supreme moments of life, as when the dam loses
her young ones, or the wild horse is lassoed) stopped short. There was
a feeling as if I had slipped off a tight boot, or cut a strangling
garter,--only it was all over my system. What more could I ask to assure
me of the Captain's safety? As soon as the telegraph-office opens
to-morrow morning, we will send a message to our friends in Philadelphia,
and get a reply, doubtless, which will settle the whole matter.

The hopeful morrow dawned at last, and the message was sent accordingly.
In due time, the following reply was received:--

"Phil Sept 24 I think the report you have heard that W [the Captain] has
gone East must be an error we have not seen or heard of him here M L H"

DE PROFUNDIS CLAMAVI! He _could_ not have passed through Philadelphia
without visiting the house called Beautiful, where he had been so
tenderly cared for after his wound at Ball's Bluff, and where those whom
he loved were lying in grave peril of life or limb. Yet he _did_ pass
through Harrisburg, going East, going to Philadelphia, on his way
home. Ah, this is it! He must have taken the late night-train from
Philadelphia for New York, in his impatience to reach home. There is
such a train, not down in the guide-book, but we were assured of the
fact at the Harrisburg depot. By-and-by came the reply from Dr.
Wilson's telegraphic message: nothing had been heard of the Captain at
Chambersburg. Still later, another message came from our Philadelphia
friend, saying that he was seen on Friday last at the house of Mrs. K--,
a well-known Union lady, in Hagerstown. Now this could not be true, for
he did not leave Keedysville until Saturday; but the name of the lady
furnished a clue by which we could probably track him. A telegram was
at once sent to Mrs. K--, asking information. It was transmitted
immediately, but when the answer would be received was uncertain, as the
Government almost monopolized the line. I was, on the whole, so well
satisfied that the Captain had gone East, that, unless something were
heard to the contrary, I proposed following him in the late train,
leaving a little after midnight for Philadelphia.

This same morning we visited several of the temporary hospitals,
churches and school-houses, where the wounded were lying. In one of
these, after looking round as usual, I asked aloud, "Any Massachusetts
men here?" Two bright faces lifted themselves from their pillows and
welcomed me by name. The one nearest me was private John B. Noyes, of
Company B, Massachusetts Thirteenth, son of my old college class-tutor,
now the reverend and learned Professor of Hebrew, etc., in Harvard
University. His neighbor was Corporal Armstrong, of the same Company.
Both were slightly wounded, doing well. I learned then and since from
Mr. Noyes that they and their comrades were completely overwhelmed
by the attentions of the good people of Harrisburg,--that the ladies
brought them fruits and flowers, and smiles, better than either,--and
that the little boys of the place were almost fighting for the privilege
of doing their errands. I am afraid there will be a good many hearts
pierced in this war that will have no bullet-mark to show.

There were some heavy hours to get rid of, and we thought a visit to
Camp Curtin might lighten some of them. A rickety wagon carried us to
the camp, in company with a young woman from Troy, who had a basket of
good things with her for a sick brother, "Poor boy! he will be sure to
die," she said. The rustic sentries uncrossed their muskets and let
us in. The camp was on a fair plain, girdled with hills, spacious,
well-kept apparently, but did not present any peculiar attraction for
us. The visit would have been a dull one, had we not happened to get
sight of a singular-looking set of human beings in the distance. They
were clad in stuff of different hues, gray and brown being the leading
shades, but both subdued by a neutral tint, such as is wont to harmonize
the variegated apparel of travel-stained vagabonds. They looked slouchy,
listless, torpid,--an ill-conditioned crew, at first sight, made up of
such fellows as an old woman would drive away from her hen-roost with a
broomstick. Yet these were estrays from the fiery army which has given
our generals so much trouble,--"Secesh prisoners," as a by-stander told
us. A talk with them might be profitable and entertaining. But they were
tabooed to the common visitor, and it was necessary to get inside of the
line which separated us from them.

A solid, square captain was standing near by, to whom we were referred.
Look a man calmly through the very centre of his pupils and ask him for
anything with a tone implying entire conviction that he will grant it,
and he will very commonly consent to the thing asked, were it to commit
_hari-kari_. The Captain acceded to my postulate, and accepted my friend
as a corollary. As one string of my own ancestors was of Batavian
origin, I may be permitted to say that my new friend was of the Dutch
type, like the Amsterdam galiots, broad in the beam, capacious in the
hold, and calculated to carry a heavy cargo rather than to make fast
time. He must have been in politics at some time or other, for he made
orations to all the "Secesh," in which he explained to them that the
United States considered and treated them like children, and enforced
upon them the ridiculous impossibility of the Rebels' attempting to do
anything against such a power as that of the National Government.

Much as his discourse edified them and enlightened me, it interfered
somewhat with my little plans of entering into frank and friendly talk
with some of these poor fellows, for whom I could not help feeling a
kind of human sympathy, though I am as venomous a hater of the Rebellion
as one is like to find under the stars and stripes. It is fair to take
a man prisoner. It is fair to make speeches to a man. But to take a man
prisoner and then make speeches to him while in durance is _not_ fair.

I began a few pleasant conversations, which would have come to something
but for the reason assigned.

One old fellow had a long beard, a drooping eyelid, and a black clay
pipe in his mouth. He was a Scotchman from Ayr, _dour_ enough, and
little disposed to be communicative, though I tried him with the "Twa
Briggs," and, like all Scotchmen, he was a reader of "Burrns." He
professed to feel no interest in the cause for which he was fighting,
and was in the army, I judged, only from compulsion. There was a
wild-haired, unsoaped boy, with pretty, foolish features enough, who
looked as if he might be about seventeen, as he said he was. I give my
questions and his answers literally.

"What State do you come from?"

"Georgy."

"What part of Georgia?"

"_Midway_."

--[How odd that is! My father was settled for seven years as pastor
over the church at Midway, Georgia, and this youth is very probably a
grandson or great-grandson of one of his parishioners.]--

"Where did you go to church, when you were at home?"

"Never went inside 'f a church b't once in m' life."

"What did you do before you became a soldier?"

"Nothin'."

"What do you mean to do when you get back?"

"Nothin'."

Who could have any other feeling than pity for this poor human weed,
this dwarfed and etiolated soul, doomed by neglect to an existence but
one degree above that of the idiot?

With the group was a lieutenant, buttoned close in his gray coat,--one
button gone, perhaps to make a breastpin for some fair traitorous bosom.
A short, stocky man, undistinguishable from one of the "subject race" by
any obvious meanderings of the _sangre azul_ on his exposed surfaces. He
did not say much, possibly because he was convinced by the statements
and arguments of the Dutch captain. He had on strong, iron-heeled shoes,
of English make, which he said cost him seventeen dollars in Richmond.

I put the question, in a quiet, friendly way, to several of the
prisoners, what they were fighting for. One answered, "For our homes."
Two or three others said they did not know, and manifested great
indifference to the whole matter, at which another of their number, a
sturdy fellow, took offence, and muttered opinions strongly derogatory
to those who would not stand up for the cause they had been fighting
for. A feeble, attenuated old man, who wore the Rebel uniform, if such
it could be called, stood by without showing any sign of intelligence.
It was cutting very close to the bone to carve such a shred of humanity
from the body-politic to make a soldier of.

We were just leaving, when a face attracted me, and I stopped the party.
"That is the true Southern type," I said to my companion. A young
fellow, a little over twenty, rather tall, slight, with a perfectly
smooth, boyish cheek, delicate, somewhat high features, and a fine,
almost feminine mouth, stood at the opening of his tent, and as we
turned towards him fidgeted a little nervously with one hand at the
loose canvas, while he seemed at the same time not unwilling to talk. He
was from Mississippi, he said, had been, at Georgetown College, and was
so far imbued with letters that even the name of the literary humility
before him was not new to his ears. Of course I found it easy to come
into magnetic relation with him, and to ask him without incivility
what _he_ was fighting for. "Because I like the excitement of it," he
answered.--I know those fighters with women's mouths and boys' cheeks;
one such from the circle of my own friends, sixteen years old, slipped
away from his nursery and dashed in under an assumed name among the
red-legged Zouaves, in whose company he got an ornamental bullet-mark in
one of the earliest conflicts of the war.

"Did you ever see a genuine Yankee?" said my Philadelphia friend to the
young Mississippian.

"I have shot at a good many of them," he replied, modestly, his woman's
mouth stirring a little, with a pleasant, dangerous smile.

The Dutch captain here put his foot into the conversation, as his
ancestors used to put theirs into the scale, when they were buying furs
of the Indians by weight,--so much for the weight of a hand, so much for
the weight of a foot. It deranged the balance of our intercourse; there
was no use in throwing a fly where a paving-stone had just splashed into
the water, and I nodded a good-bye to the boy-fighter, thinking how
much pleasanter it was for my friend the Captain to address him with
unanswerable arguments and crushing statements in his own tent than
it would be to meet him on some remote picket and offer his fair
proportions to the quick eye of a youngster who would draw a bead on him
before he had time to say _dunder and blixum_.

We drove back to the town. No message. After dinner still no message.
Dr. Cuyler, Chief Army-Hospital Inspector, is in town, they say. Let us
hunt him up,--perhaps he can help us.

We found him at the Jones House. A gentleman of large proportions, but
of lively temperament, his frame knit in the North, I think, but
ripened in Georgia, incisive, prompt, but good-humored, wearing his
broad-brimmed, steeple-crowned felt hat with the least possible tilt on
one side,--a sure sign of exuberant vitality in a mature and dignified
person like him,--business-like in his ways, and not to be interrupted
while occupied with another, but giving himself up heartily to the
claimant who held him for the time. He was so genial, so cordial, so
encouraging, that it seemed as if the clouds, which had been thick all
the morning, broke away as we came into his presence, and the sunshine
of his large nature filled the air all around us. He took the matter in
hand at once, as if it were his own private affair. In ten minutes he
had a second telegraphic message on its way to Mrs. K--at Hagerstown,
sent through the Government channel from the State Capitol,--one so
direct and urgent that I should be sure of an answer to it, whatever
became of the one I had sent in the morning.

While this was going on, we hired a dilapidated barouche, driven by an
odd young native, neither boy nor man, "as a codling when 'tis almost an
apple," who said _wery_ for very, simple and sincere, who smiled faintly
at our pleasantries, always with a certain reserve of suspicion, and a
gleam of the shrewdness that all men get who live in the atmosphere of
horses. He drove us round by the Capitol grounds, white with tents,
which were disgraced in my eyes by unsoldierly scrawls in huge letters,
thus: THE SEVEN BLOOMSBURY BROTHERS, DEVIL'S HOLE, and similar
inscriptions. Then to the Beacon Street of Harrisburg, which looks
upon the Susquehanna instead of the Common, and shows a long front of
handsome houses with fair gardens. The river is pretty nearly a mile
across here, but very shallow now. The codling told us that a Rebel spy
had been caught trying its fords a little while ago, and was now at Camp
Curtin with a heavy ball chained to his leg,--a popular story, but a
lie, Dr. Wilson said. A little farther along we came to the barkless
stump of the tree to which Mr. Harris, the Cecrops of the city named
after him, was tied by the Indians for some unpleasant operation of
scalping or roasting, when he was rescued by friendly savages, who
paddled across the stream to save him. Our youngling pointed out a very
respectable-looking stone house as having been "built by the Indians"
about those times. Guides have queer notions occasionally.

I was at Niagara just when Dr. Rae arrived there with his companions and
dogs and things from his Arctic search after the lost navigator.

"Who are those?" I said to my conductor.

"Them?" he answered. "Them's the men that's been out West, out to
Michig'n, aft' _Sir Ben Franklin_."

Of the other sights of Harrisburg the Brant House or Hotel, or whatever
it is called, seems most worth notice. Its _façade_ is imposing, with a
row of stately columns, high above which a broad sign impends, like a
crag over the brow of a lofty precipice. The lower floor only appeared
to be open to the public. Its tessellated pavement and ample courts
suggested the idea of a temple where great multitudes might kneel
uncrowded at their devotions; but, from appearances about the place
where the altar should be, I judged, that, if one asked the officiating
priest for the cup which cheers and likewise inebriates, his prayer
would not be unanswered. The edifice recalled to me a similar phenomenon
I had once looked upon,--the famous Caffè Pedrocchi at Padua. It was the
same thing in Italy and America: a rich man builds himself a mausoleum,
and calls it a place of entertainment. The fragrance of innumerable
libations and the smoke of incense-breathing cigars and pipes shall
ascend day and night through the arches of his funeral monument. What
are the poor dips which flare and flicker on the crowns of spikes that
stand at the corners of St. Genevieve's filigree-cased sarcophagus to
this perpetual offering of sacrifice?

Ten o'clock in the evening was approaching. The telegraph-office would
presently close, and as yet there were no tidings from Hagerstown. Let
us step over and see for ourselves. A message! A message!

"_Captain H still here leaves seven to-morrow for Harrisburg Penna Is
doing well

Mrs H K_ ----."

A note from Dr. Cuyler to the same effect came soon afterwards to the
hotel.

We shall sleep well to-night; but let us sit awhile with nubiferous, or,
if we may coin a word, nepheligenous accompaniment, such as shall gently
narcotize the over-wearied brain and fold its convolutions for slumber
like the leaves of a lily at nightfall. For now the over-tense nerves
are all unstraining themselves, and a buzz, like that which comes over
one who stops after being long jolted upon an uneasy pavement, makes
the whole frame alive with a luxurious languid sense of all its inmost
fibres. Our cheerfulness ran over, and the mild, pensive clerk was
so magnetized by it that he came and sat down with us. He presently
confided to me, with infinite _naïveté_ and ingenuousness, that, judging
from my personal appearance, he should not have thought me the writer
that he in his generosity reckoned me to be. His conception, so far as
I could reach it, involved a huge, uplifted forehead, embossed with
protuberant organs of the intellectual faculties, such as all writers
are supposed to possess in abounding measure. While I fell short of his
ideal in this respect, he was pleased to say that he found me by no
means the remote and inaccessible personage he had imagined, and that I
had nothing of the dandy about me, which last compliment I had a modest
consciousness of most abundantly deserving.

Sweet slumbers brought us to the morning of Thursday. The train from
Hagerstown was due at 11.15 A.M. We took another ride behind the
codling, who showed us the sights of yesterday over again. Being in
a gracious mood of mind, I enlarged on the varying aspects of the
town-pumps and other striking objects which we had once inspected, as
seen by the different lights of evening and morning. After this, we
visited the school-house hospital. A fine young fellow, whose arm had
been shattered, was just falling into the spasms of lockjaw. The beads
of sweat stood large and round on his flushed and contracted features.
He was under the effect of opiates,--why not (if his case was desperate,
as it seemed to be considered) stop his sufferings with chloroform? It
was suggested that it might _shorten life_. "What then?" I said. "Are a
dozen additional spasms worth living for?"

The time approached for the train to arrive from Hagerstown, and we went
to the station. I was struck, while waiting there, with what seemed to
me a great want of care for the safety of the people standing round.
Just after my companion and myself had stepped off the track, I noticed
a car coming quietly along at a walk, as one may say, without engine,
without visible conductor, without any person heralding its approach, so
silently, so insidiously, that I could not help thinking how very near
it came to flattening out me and my match-box worse than the Ravel
pantomimist and his snuff-box were flattened out in the play. The train
was late,--fifteen minutes, half an hour late,--and I began to get
nervous, lest something had happened. While I was looking for it,
out started a freight-train, as if on purpose to meet the cars I was
expecting, for a grand smash-up. I shivered at the thought, and asked
an _employé_ of the road, with whom I had formed an acquaintance a few
minutes old, why there should not be a collision of the expected train
with this which was just going out. He smiled an official smile, and
answered that they arranged to prevent that, or words to that effect.

Twenty-four hours had not passed from that moment when a collision did
occur, just out of the city, where I feared it, by which at least eleven
persons were killed, and from forty to sixty more were maimed and
crippled!

To-day there was the delay spoken of, but nothing worse. The expected
train came in so quietly that I was almost startled to see it on the
track. Let us walk calmly through the cars, and look around us.

In the first car, on the fourth seat to the right, I saw my Captain;
there saw I him, even my first-born, whom I had sought through many
cities.

"How are you, Boy?"

"How are you, Dad?"

       *       *       *       *       *

Such are the proprieties of life, as they are observed among us
Anglo-Saxons of the nineteenth century, decently disguising those
natural impulses that made Joseph, the Prime-Minister of Egypt, weep
aloud so that the Egyptians and the house of Pharaoh heard,--nay, which
had once overcome his shaggy old uncle Esau so entirely that he fell
on his brother's neck and cried like a baby in the presence of all the
women. But the hidden cisterns of the soul may be filling fast with
sweet tears, while the windows through which it looks are undimmed by a
drop or a film of moisture.

These are times in which we cannot live solely for selfish joys or
griefs. I had not let fall the hand I held, when a sad, calm voice
addressed me by name. I fear that at the moment I was too much absorbed
in my own feelings; for certainly at any other time I should have
yielded myself without stint to the sympathy which this meeting might
well call forth.

"You remember my son, Cortland Saunders, whom I brought to see you once
in Boston?"

"I do remember him well."

"He was killed on Monday, at Shepherdstown. I am carrying his body back
with me on this train. He was my only child. If you could come to my
house,--I can hardly call it my home now,--it would be a pleasure to
me."

This young man, belonging in Philadelphia, was the author of a "New
System of Latin Paradigms," a work showing extraordinary scholarship and
capacity. It was this book which first made me acquainted with him, and
I kept him in my memory, for there was genius in the youth. Some time
afterwards he came to me with a modest request to be introduced to
President Felton, and one or two others, who would aid him in a course
of independent study he was proposing to himself. I was most happy to
smooth the way for him, and he came repeatedly after this to see me and
express his satisfaction in the opportunities for study he enjoyed
at Cambridge. He was a dark, still, slender person, always with a
trance-like remoteness, a mystic dreaminess of manner, such as I never
saw in any other youth. Whether he heard with difficulty, or whether his
mind reacted slowly on an alien thought, I could not say; but his answer
would often be behind time, and then a vague, sweet smile, or a few
words spoken under his breath, as if he had been trained in sick men's
chambers. For such a youth, seemingly destined for the inner life of
contemplation, to be a soldier seemed almost unnatural. Yet he spoke to
me of his intention to offer himself to his country, and his blood must
now be reckoned among the precious sacrifices which will make her soil
sacred forever. Had he lived, I doubt not that he would have redeemed
the rare promise of his earlier years. He has done better, for he has
died that unborn generations may attain the hopes held out to our nation
and to mankind.

So, then, I had been within ten miles of the place where my wounded
soldier was lying, and then calmly turned my back upon him to come once
more round by a journey of three or four hundred miles to the same
region I had left! No mysterious attraction warned me that the heart
warm with the same blood as mine was throbbing so near my own. I thought
of that lovely, tender passage where Gabriel glides unconsciously by
Evangeline upon the great river. Ah, me! if that railroad-crash had been
a few hours earlier, we two should never have met again, after coming so
close to each other!

The source of my repeated disappointments was soon made clear enough.
The Captain had gone to Hagerstown, intending to take the cars at once
for Philadelphia, as his three friends actually did do, and as I took it
for granted he certainly would. But as he walked languidly along, some
ladies saw him across the street, and seeing, were moved with pity,
and pitying, spoke such soft words that he was tempted to accept their
invitation and rest awhile beneath their hospitable roof. The mansion
was old, as the dwellings of gentlefolks should be; the ladies were some
of them young, and all were full of kindness; there were gentle cares,
and unasked luxuries, and pleasant talk, and music-sprinklings from the
piano, with a sweet voice to keep them company,--and all this after the
swamps of the Chickahominy, the mud and flies of Harrison's Landing, the
dragging marches, the desperate battles, the fretting wound, the jolting
ambulance, the log-house, and the rickety milk--cart! Thanks, uncounted
thanks to the angelic ladies whose charming attentions detained him
from Saturday to Thursday, to his great advantage and my infinite
bewilderment! As for his wound, how could it do otherwise than well
under such hands? The bullet had gone smoothly through, dodging
everything but a few nervous branches, which would come right in time
and leave him as well as ever.

At ten that evening we were in Philadelphia, the Captain at the house of
the friends so often referred to, and I the guest of Charley, my kind
companion. The Quaker element gives an irresistible attraction to these
benignant Philadelphia households. Many things reminded me that I was no
longer in the land of the Pilgrims. On the table were _Kool Slaa_ and
_Schmeer Kase_, but the good grandmother who dispensed with such quiet,
simple grace these and more familiar delicacies was literally ignorant
of _Baked Beans_, and asked if it was the Lima bean which was employed
in that marvellous dish of animalized leguminous farina!

Charley was pleased with my comparing the face of the small Ethiop known
to his household as "Tines" to a huckleberry with features. He also
approved my parallel between a certain German blonde young maiden whom,
we passed in the street and the "Morris White" peach. But he was so
good-humored at times, that, if one scratched a lucifer, he accepted it
as an illumination.

A day in Philadelphia left a very agreeable impression of the outside of
that great city, which has endeared itself so much of late to all the
country by its most noble and generous care of our soldiers. Measured by
its sovereign hotel, the Continental, it would stand at the head of our
economic civilization. It provides for the comforts and conveniences,
and many of the elegances of life, more satisfactorily than any American
city, perhaps than any other city anywhere. It is not a breeding-place
of ideas, which makes it a more agreeable residence for average people.
It is the great neutral centre of the Continent, where the fiery
enthusiasms of the South and the keen fanaticisms of the North meet at
their outer limits, and result in a compound that turns neither litmus
red nor turmeric brown. It lives largely on its traditions, of which,
leaving out Franklin and Independence Hall, the most imposing must
be considered its famous water-works. In my younger days I visited
Fairmount, and it was with a pious reverence that I renewed my
pilgrimage to that perennial fountain. Its watery ventricles were
throbbing with the same systole and diastole as when, the blood of
twenty years bounding in my own heart, I looked upon their giant
mechanism. But in the place of "Pratt's Garden" was an open park, and
the old house where Robert Morris held his court in a former generation
was changing to a public restaurant. A suspension-bridge cobwebbed
itself across the Schuylkill where that audacious arch used to leap the
river at a single bound,--an arch of greater span, as they loved to tell
us, than was ever before constructed. The Upper Ferry Bridge was to the
Schuylkill what the Colossus was to the harbor of Rhodes. It had an air
of dash about it which went far towards redeeming the dead level of
respectable average which flattens the physiognomy of the rectangular
city. Philadelphia will never be herself again until another Robert
Mills and another Lewis Wernwag have shaped her a new palladium. She
must leap the Schuylkill again, or old men will sadly shake their heads,
like the Jews at the sight of the second temple, remembering the glories
of that which it replaced.

There are times when Ethiopian minstrelsy can amuse, if it does not
charm, a weary soul,--and such a vacant hour there was on this same
Friday evening. The "opera-house" was spacious and admirably ventilated.
As I was listening to the merriment of the sooty buffoons, I happened to
cast my eyes up to the ceiling, and through an open semicircular window
a bright solitary star looked me calmly in the eyes. It was a strange
intrusion of the vast eternities beckoning from the infinite spaces.
I called the attention of one of my neighbors to it, but "Bones" was
irresistibly droll, and Areturus, or Aldebaran, or whatever the
blazing luminary may have been, with all his revolving worlds, sailed
uncared-for down the firmament.

On Saturday morning we took up our line of march for New York. Mr.
Felton, President of the Philadelphia, Wilmington, and Baltimore
Railroad, had already called upon me, with a benevolent and sagacious
look on his face which implied that he knew how to do me a service and
meant to do it. Sure enough, when we got to the depot, we found a couch
spread for the Captain, and both of us were passed on to New York with
no visits, but those of civility, from the conductor. The best thing I
saw on the route was a rustic fence, near Elizabethtown, I think, but I
am not quite sure. There was more genius in it than in any structure of
the kind I have ever seen,--each length being of a special pattern,
ramified, reticulated, contorted, as the limbs of the trees had grown. I
trust some friend will photograph or stereograph this fence for me, to
go with the view of the spires of Frederick already referred to, as
mementos of my journey.

I had come to feeling that I know most of the respectably dressed people
whom I met in the cars, and had been in contact with them at some time
or other. Three or four ladies and gentlemen were near us, forming
a group by themselves. Presently one addressed me by name, and, on
inquiry, I found him to be the gentleman who was with me in the pulpit
as Orator on the occasion of another Phi Beta Kappa poem, one delivered
at New Haven. The party were very courteous and friendly, and
contributed in various ways to our comfort.

It sometimes seems to me as if there were only about a thousand people
in the world, who keep going round and round behind the scenes and then
before them, like the "army" in a beggarly stage-show. Suppose I should
really wish, some time or other, to get away from this everlasting
circle of revolving supernumeraries, where should I buy a ticket the
like of which was not in some of their pockets, or find a seat to which
some one of them was not a neighbor?

A little less than a year before, after the Ball's-Bluff accident, the
Captain, then the Lieutenant, and myself had reposed for a night on our
homeward journey at the Fifth-Avenue Hotel, where we were lodged on the
ground-floor, and fared sumptuously. We were not so peculiarly fortunate
this time, the house being really very full. Farther from the flowers
and nearer to the stars,--to reach the neighborhood of which last the
_per ardua_ of three or four flights of stairs was formidable for any
mortal, wounded or well. The "vertical railway" settled that for us,
however. It is a giant corkscrew forever pulling a mammoth cork, which,
by some divine judgment, is no sooner drawn than it is replaced in its
position. This ascending and descending stopper is hollow, carpeted,
with cushioned seats, and is watched over by two condemned souls,
called conductors, one of whom is said to be named Ixion, and the other
Sisyphus.

I love New York, because, as in Paris, everybody that lives in it feels
that it is his property,--at least, as much as it is anybody's. My
Broadway, in particular, I love almost as I used to love my Boulevards.

I went, therefore, with peculiar interest, on the day that we rested at
our grand hotel, to visit some new pleasure-grounds the citizens had
been arranging for us, and which I had not yet seen. The Central Park
is an expanse of wild country, well crumpled so as to form ridges which
will give views and hollows that will hold water. The hips and elbows
and other bones of Nature stick out here and there in the shape of rocks
which give character to the scenery, and an unchangeable, unpurchasable
look to a landscape that without them would have been in danger of being
fattened by art and money out of all its native features. The roads were
fine, the sheets of water beautiful, the bridges handsome, the swans
elegant in their deportment, the grass green and as short as a fast
horse's winter coat. I could not learn whether it was kept so by
clipping or singeing. I was delighted with my new property,--but it
cost me four dollars to get there, so far was it beyond the Pillars of
Hercules of the fashionable quarter. What it will be by-and-by depends
on circumstances; but at present it is as much central to New York
as Brookline is central to Boston. The question is not between Mr.
Olmsted's admirably arranged, but remote pleasure-ground and our Common,
with its batrachian pool, but between his Eccentric Park and our finest
suburban scenery, between its artificial reservoirs and the broad
natural sheet of Jamaica Pond, I say this not invidiously, but in
justice to the beauties which surround our own metropolis. To compare
the situations of any dwellings in either of the great cities with those
which look upon the Common, the Public Garden, the waters of the Back
Bay, would be to take an unfair advantage of Fifth Avenue and Walnut
Street. St. Botolph's daughter dresses in plainer clothes than her
more stately sisters, but she wears an emerald on her right hand and a
diamond on her left that Cybele herself need not be ashamed of.

On Monday morning, the twenty-ninth of September, we took the cars for
_Home_. Vacant lots, with Irish and pigs; vegetable-gardens; straggling
houses; the high bridge; villages, not enchanting; then Stamford; then
NORWALK. Here, on the 6th of May, 1853, I passed close on the heels of
the great disaster. But that my lids were heavy on that morning, my
readers would probably have had no further trouble with me. Two of my
friends saw the car in which they rode break in the middle and leave
them hanging over the abyss. From Norwalk to Boston, that day's journey
of two hundred miles was a long funeral-procession.

Bridgeport, waiting for Iranistan to rise from its ashes with all its
phoenix-egg domes,--bubbles of wealth that broke, ready to be blown
again, iridescent as ever, which is pleasant, for the world likes
cheerful Mr. Barnum's success; New Haven, girt with flat marshes that
look like monstrous billiard-tables, with haycocks lying about for
balls,--romantic with West Rock and its legends,--cursed with a
detestable depot, whose niggardly arrangements crowd the track so
murderously close to the wall that the _peine forte et dure_ must be the
frequent penalty of an innocent walk on its platform,--with its neat
carriages, metropolitan hotels, precious old college-dormitories,
its vistas of elms and its dishevelled weeping-willows; Hartford,
substantial, well-bridged, many-steepled city,--every conical spire an
extinguisher of some nineteenth-century heresy; so onward, by and across
the broad, shallow Connecticut,--dull red road and dark river woven
in like warp and woof by the shuttle of the darting engine; then
Springfield, the wide-meadowed, well-feeding, horse-loving,
hot-summered, giant-treed town,--city among villages, village
among cities; Worcester, with its Diedalian labyrinth of crossing
railroad-bars, where the snorting Minotaurs, breathing fire and smoke
and hot vapors, are stabled in their dens; Framingham, fair cup-bearer,
leaf-cinctured Hebe of the deep-bosomed Queen sitting by the sea-side on
the throne of the Six Nations. And now I begin to know the road, not by
towns, but by single dwellings, not by miles, but by rods. The poles of
the great magnet that draws in all the iron tracks through the grooves
of all the mountains must be near at hand, for here are crossings, and
sudden stops, and screams of alarmed engines heard all around. The tall
granite obelisk comes into view far away on the left, its bevelled
capstone sharp against the sky; the lofty chimneys of Charlestown and
East Cambridge flaunt their smoky banners up in the thin air; and now
one fair bosom of the three-hilled city, with its dome-crowned summit,
reveals itself, as when many-breasted Ephesian Artemis appeared with
half-open _chlamys_ before her worshippers.

Fling open the window-blinds of the chamber that looks out on the waters
and towards the western sun! Let the joyous light shine in upon the
pictures that hang upon its walls and the shelves thick-set with the
names of poets and philosophers and sacred teachers, in whose pages our
boys learn that life is noble only when it is held cheap by the side of
honor and of duty. Lay him in his own bed, and let him sleep off his
aches and weariness. So comes down another night over this household,
unbroken by any messenger of evil tidings,--a night of peaceful rest and
grateful thoughts; for this our son and brother was dead and is alive
again, and was lost and is found.



WAITING.


  Drop, falling fruits and crispèd leaves!
  Ye tone a note of joy to me;
  Through the rough wind my soul sails free,
  nigh over waves that Autumn heaves.

  Such quickening is in Nature's death,
  Such life in every dying day,--
  The glowing year hath lost her sway,
  Since Freedom waits her parting breath.

  I watch the crimson maple-boughs,
  I know by heart each burning leaf,
  Yet would that like a barren reef
  Stripped to the breeze those arms uprose!

  Under the flowers my soldier lies!
  But come, thou chilling pall of snow,
  Lest he should hear who sleeps below
  The yet unended captive cries!

  Fade swiftly, then, thou lingering year!
  Test with the storms our eager powers;
  For chains are broken with the hours,
  And Freedom walks upon thy bier.



REVIEWS AND LITERARY NOTICES.


_Eyes and Ears_. By HENRY WARD BEECHER. Boston: Ticknor & Fields, pp.
419.

There is perhaps no man in America more widely known, more deeply loved,
and more heartily hated than the Reverend Henry Ward Beecher. This
little book, fragmentary and desultory as it is, gives us a key
wherewith to unlock the mystery both of the extent of his influence and
the depth of the feelings which he excites. It is but a shower of petals
flung down by a frolicsome May breeze; but the beauty and brilliancy
of their careless profusion furnish a hint of the real strength and
substance and fruitfulness of the tree from which they sprang.

Within the compass of some four hundred pages we have about one hundred
articles, most of which had previously appeared in weekly newspapers.
They embrace, of course, every variety of subject,--grave and gay,
practical and poetical. They are not such themes as come to a man
in silence and solitude, to be wrought out with deep and deliberate
conscientiousness; they are rather such as He around one in his outgoing
and his incoming, in the field and by the way-side, overlooked by the
preoccupied multitude, but abundantly patent to the few who will not
permit the memories or the hopes of life to thrust away its actualities,
and, once pointed out, full of interest and amusement even to the
absorbed and hitherto unconscious throngs. We have here no pale-browed,
far-sighted philosopher, but a ruddy-faced, high-spirited man,
cheerful-tempered, yet not _equilibrious_, susceptible to annoyance,
capable of wrathful outbursts, with eyes to see all sweet sights, ears
to hear all sweet sounds, and lips to sing their loveliness to others,
and also with eyes and ears and lips just as keen to distinguish and
just as hold to denounce the sights and sounds that are unlovely;--and
this man, with his ringing laugh and his springing step, walks cheerily
to and fro in his daily work, striking the rocks here and there by the
way-side with his bright steel hammer, eliciting a shower of sparks from
each, and then on to the next. It is not the serious business of his
life, but its casual and almost careless experiments. He does not wait
to watch effects. You may gather up the brushwood and build yourself
a fire, if you like. His part of the affair is but a touch and go,--
partly for love and partly for fun.

There are places where a severer taste, or perhaps only a more careful
revision, would have changed somewhat. At times an exuberance of spirits
carries him to the very verge of coarseness, but this is rare and
exceptional. The fabric may be slightly ravelled at the ends and
slightly rough at the selvedge, but in the main it is fine and smooth
and lustrous as well as strong. A coarse nature carefully clipped and
sheared and fashioned down to the commonplace of conventionality will
often exhibit a negative refinement, while a mind of real and subtile
delicacy, but of rugged and irrepressible individuality, will
occasionally shoot out irregular and uncouth branches. Yet between the
symmetry of the one and the spontaneity of the other the choice cannot
be doubtful. We are not defending coarseness in any guise. It is always
to be assailed, and never to be defended. It is always a detriment,
and never an ornament. No excellence can justify it. No occasion can
palliate it. But coarseness is of two kinds,--one of the surface, and
one in the grain. The latter is pervading and irremediable. It touches
nothing which it does not deface. It makes all things common and
unclean. It grows more repulsive as the roundness of youth falls away
and leaves its harsh features more sharply outlined. But the other
coarseness is only the overgrowth of excellence,--the rankness of lusty
life. It is vigor run wild. It is a fault, but it is local and temporal.
Culture corrects it. As the mind matures, as experience accumulates,
as the vision enlarges, the coarseness disappears, and the rich and
healthful juices nourish instead a playful and cheerful serenity that
illumines strength with a softened light, that disarms opposition and
delights sympathy, that shines without dazzling and attracts without
offending.

Here arises a fear lest the apologetic nature of our remarks may seem to
indicate a much greater need of apology than actually exists. We have
been led into this line of remark, not so much by a perusal of the
book under consideration, in which, indeed, there is very little, if
anything, to offend, as by the nature of the objections which we have
most frequently heard against this author's productions, both written
and spoken. We do not even confine ourselves to defence, but go farther,
and question whether the allegations of coarseness may not oftener
be the fault of the plaintiff than of the defendant. Is there not a
conventional standard of refinement which measures things by its own
arbitrary self, and finds material for displeasure in what is really
but a sincere and almost unconscious rendering of things as they exist?
There are facts which modern fastidiousness justly enough commands to he
wrapped around with graceful drapery before they shall have audience.
But do we not commit a trespass against virtue, when we demand the same
soft disguises to drape facts whose disguise is the worst immorality,
whose naked hideousness is the only decency, which must be seen
disgusting to warrant their being seen at all? So Mr. Beecher has been
censured for irreverence, when what was called his irreverence has
seemed to us but the tenderness engendered of close connection. Cannot
one live so near to God as that His greatness shall he merged in His
goodness? What would be irreverence, if it came from the head, may be
but love springing up warm from the heart.

One of the strongest characteristics of Mr. Beecher's mind, the one that
has, perhaps, the strongest influence in producing his power over men,
is his quick insight into common things, his quick sympathy with common
minds. He knows common dangers. He understands common interests. He
is sensitive to common sorrows. He appreciates common joys. Without
necessarily being practical himself, he is full of practical
suggestions. He is a leveller; but he levels up, not down. He
continually seeks to lift men from the plane of mere toil and thrift to
the loftier levels of aspiration. He would disinthrall them from what is
low, and introduce them to the freedom of the heights. He would bring
them out of the dungeons of the senses into the domains of taste and
principles. He believes in man, and he battles for men. With him,
humanity is chief: science, art, wealth are its handmaidens. Yet,
writing for ordinary people, he never falls into the sin of declaiming
against extraordinary ones. No part of his power over the poor is
obtained by inveighing against the rich, as no part of his power over
the rich is obtained by pandering to their prejudices or their passions.
He builds up no influence for himself on the ruins of another man's
influence. The elevation which he aims to produce is real, not
factitious,--absolute, not relative. It is the elevation to be obtained
by ascending the mountain, not by digging it away so that the valley
seems no longer low by contrast.

For the manner of his teaching, he is not always gentle, but he is
always sincere. He speaks soft words to persuade; but if that is not
enough, he does not scruple to knock the muck-rake out of sordid hands
with a fine, sudden stroke, if so he may make men look up from the
rubbish under their feet to the flowers that bloom around them and the
stars that glow above and the God that reigns over all.

Thinking of the multitudes of hard-working, weary-hearted people whom he
weekly met with these words of cheer: sometimes homely advice on homely
things; sometimes wise counsels in art; sometimes tender lessons from
Nature; sometimes noble words from his own earnest soul; sometimes
sympathy in sorrow; sometimes strength in weakness; sometimes only the
indirect, but real help that comes from the mere distraction wrought
by his sportiveness, and wild, winsome mirth; but all kindly, hearty,
honest, sympathetic,--indignation softening, even while it surges,
into pity and love, and itself finding or framing excuses for the very
outrage which it lashes: thinking of this, we do not marvel that he has
furrowed for himself so deep a groove in so many hearts. Nor, on the
other hand, is it difficult to see, even from so genial a book as this,
whence polemics are not so much banished as where there is no niche for
them, should they apply, why it is that he is so fiercely opposed.
When a man like Mr. Beecher encounters that which excites his moral
disapprobation, there is no possibility of mistaking him. He flings
himself against it with all the strength and might of his manly,
uncompromising nature. There is no coquetting with the proprieties, no
toning down of objurgation to meet the requirements of personal dignity,
but an audacious and aggressive repugnance of the whole man to the
meanness or malignity. And the very clearness of his vision gives
terrible power to his vituperation. With his keen, bright eye he sees
just where the vulnerable spot is, and with his firm, strong hand he
sends the arrow in. The victim writhes and reels and--does not love the
marksman. And as the victim has a large circle of relatives by birth and
marriage, he inoculates them with his own animosity; and so, at a safe
distance, Mr. Beecher is sometimes considerably torn in pieces. Yet we
have no doubt that by far the greater number of these opponents would,
if once fairly brought within the circle of his influence, acknowledge
the truth as well as the force of his principles; and certainly it is a
matter of surprise that a man with such a magnificent mastery of all the
weapons of attack and defence should be so sparing and discreet in their
use as is Mr. Beecher. In this book, compiled of articles thrown off
upon the spur of the moment, with so much to amuse, to awaken, to
suggest, and to inspire, there is hardly a sentence which can arouse
antagonism or inflict pain. You may not agree with his conclusions, but
you cannot resist his good nature.

Long may he live to do yeoman's service in the cause of the beautiful
and the true!


_History of the War in the Peninsula and in the South of France from
A.D. 1807 to A.D. 1814._ By MAJOR-GENERAL SIR W.F.P. NAPIER, K.C.B.,
etc. In Five Volumes, with Portraits and Plans. New York: W.J.
Widdleton.

A new edition of the great military history of Sir William Napier,
printed in the approved luxurious style which the good examples of the
Cambridge University Press have made a necessity with all intelligent
book-purchasers, calls at the present time for a special word of
recognition. Of the merits and character of the work itself it is
scarcely required that we should speak. An observer of, and participant
in, the deeds which he describes, cautious, deliberate, keen-sighted,
candid, and unsparing, General Napier's book has qualities seldom united
in a single production. Southey wrote an eloquent history of the War in
the Peninsula, perhaps as good a history as an author well-trained in
compositions of the kind could be expected to produce at a distance.
But that was its defect. It lacked that knowledge and judgment of a
complicated series of events which could be acquired only on the field
and by one possessed of consummate military training. On the other hand,
we can seldom look for any laborious work of authorship from a general
in active service. Men of action exhaust their energies in doing, and
are usually impatient of the slow process of unwinding the tangled skein
of events which at the moment they had been compelled to cut with the
sword. It is by no means every campaign which furnishes the Commentaries
of its Caesar. To Sir William Napier, however, we are indebted for a
work which has taken its place as a model history of modern campaigning.
The protracted struggle of the Peninsular War through six full years
of skilful operations, conducted by the greatest masters of military
science, in a country whose topographical features called out the rarest
resources of the art of war, at a time when the military system of
Napoleon was at its height, summing up the experience of a quarter of
a century in France of active military pursuits,--the story of sieges,
marches, countermarches, lines of retreat and defence, followed by the
most energetic assaults, blended with the disturbing political elements
of the day at home and the contrarieties of the battle-field amidst a
population foreign to both armies,--certainly presented a subject or
series of subjects calculated to tax the powers of a conscientious
writer to the uttermost. To furnish such a narrative was the work
undertaken by General Napier. Sixteen years of unintermitted toil were
given by him to the task. He spared no labor of research. Materials were
placed at his disposal by the generals of both armies, by Soult and
Wellington. The correspondence left behind in Spain by Joseph Bonaparte,
written in three languages and partly in cipher of which the key had
to be discovered, was patiently arranged, translated, and at length
deciphered by Lady Napier, who also greatly assisted her husband in
copying his manuscript, which, from the frequent changes made, was in
effect transcribed three times. By such labors was the immense mass
of contemporary evidence brought into order, clearly narrated, and
submitted to exact scientific criticism. For it is the distinguishing
characteristic of the book, that it is a critical history, constantly
illuminating facts by principles and deducing the most important maxims
of political and military science from the abundant material lavishly
contributed by the virtues, follies, and superabundant exertions of
three great nations in the heart of Europe, in the midst of the complex
civilization of the nineteenth century. The ever earnest, animated style
in which all this is written grows out of the subject and is supported
by it, always rising naturally with the requirements of the occasion. If
our officers in the field would learn how despatches should be written
and a record of their exploits be prepared to catch the ear of
posterity, let them give their leisure hours of the camp to the study
of Napier. The public also may learn many lessons of patience and
philosophy from these pages, when they turn from the book to the actual
warfare writing its ineffaceable characters on so many fair fields of
our own land.


_The Patience of Hope_. By the Author of "A Present Heaven." With an
Introduction by JOHN G. WHITTIER. Boston: Ticknor & Fields.

As the method by which an individual soul reaches conclusions with
regard to the Saviour and the conditions of salvation, "The Patience of
Hope" is worthy of particular attention. It does not, however, stand
alone, but belongs to a class. Its peculiarity is that it proceeds
by apposite text and inference, more than by the illumination of
feeling,--aiming to convince rather than to reveal, as is the manner of
those whose convictions have not quite become as a star in a firmament
where neither eclipse nor cloud ever comes. Evidently there was a most
searching examination of the Scriptures preparatory to the work; and yet
the ample quotation, often fresh and felicitous, appears to be made to
sustain a preconceived opinion, or, more strictly, an emotion. This
emotion is so single and absorbing that there is some gleam of it in
each varying view, and every sentiment is warm with it, however the
flame may lurk as beneath a crust of lava. Only from a richly gifted
mind, and a heart whose longings no fullness of mortal affection has
power to permanently appease, could these aspirations issue. It is the
tender complaint and patient hope of one whom the earth, and all that
is therein, cannot satisfy. Moreover, so pure and irrepressible is the
natural desire of the heart, so does it color and constitute all
the dream of Paradise, that the divinest Hope not only thrills and
palpitates with Love's ripest imaginings, but puts on nuptial robes.
Touchingly she pictures herself as "The Mystic Spouse,--her that cometh
up from the wilderness, leaning upon the arm of her Beloved,--and we
shall see that she, like her Lord, is wounded in her heart, her hands,
and her feet." Though sowing in such still remembered pain, she yet
reaps with unspeakable joy. She has now the full assurance that the
mystic and immortal embrace is for her, and in the fulness of her heart
cries, "When were Love's arms stretched so wide as upon the Cross?"

It is in keeping with such an aspiration that this and kindred natures
should perceive in Christianity the sacred mystery from which is to be
drawn, in the world to come, the full fruition of the tenderest and
most vital impulse of the human heart, and therefore to be most fitly
meditated and vividly anticipated in cloistered seclusion. Throughout
their revelations there is a yearning for Infinite Love; and ardent
receptivity is regarded as the true condition for the conception and
enjoyment of religion. It is clear that they have a passion, sublimated
and glorified indeed, but still a passion, for Christ. This is the
mightiest impulse to that exaltation of His person against which the
calm and consummate reasoner contends in vain. Truly we are fearfully
and wonderfully made! The soul is touched with the strong necessity of
loving; and its power becomes intense and inappeasable in proportion to
the capacity of the heart; and yet some of the greatest of those have
reposed so supremely in the innate and ineffable Ideal that to the
uninitiated they have seemed in their serenity as pulseless as pearls.
Through this sublime influence lovely women have become nuns, and
have lived and died saints, that they might continually indulge and
constantly cherish the blissful hope of being, in some spiritual form,
the brides of Jesus. A long line of these, coeval with the Crucifixion,
have passed on in maiden meditation, and so were fancy-free from all of
mortal mould. This ecstatic dreaming is so charming, and so insatiable
withal, that it seems to those who entertain it a divine vision. It is
an enchantment so complete that Reason cannot penetrate its circle, and
Logic has never approached it. Doubtless this fond aspiration finds
freest and fairest expression in the Roman Church,--a communion that not
only encourages, but enjoins, the adoration of the Virgin, in order that
certain enthusiasts among men may also aspire to the skies on the wings
of pure, yet passionate love.

The ready objection to this course of life is that it leads to solitude.
It wins the devotee apart, and away from the influences to that
universal brotherhood whereto Philanthropy fondly turns as the finest
manifestation of the spirit of the Redeemer. And yet they are equally
the fruits of His coming. Without the perfect Man the sublimest
endurance and most marvellous aspiration of Hope would never have found
development below. Now it has become a power that so pervades the bosoms
of sects that they accept its soaring wing as one to which the heaven
of heavens is open. This, certainly, is the greatest triumph that human
nature has achieved over those who have systematically depreciated it;
inasmuch as it is a heightening, not a change of heart. Verily, Love is
stronger than Death; and in its complete presence or utter absence,
here or hereafter, there is and will be the extreme of bliss or bale.
Therefore it is in the affections to lead those sweetly and swiftly
heavenward who singly seek the immortal way. So guided and inspired, it
cannot but be a charming path; for those who perpetually walk therein
come to look as though they were entranced with the perfume that
floats from fields of asphodel. Characters so developed are beautiful
exceedingly, and seem of a far higher strain than those who most
generously and effectively labor for the amelioration and moral
advancement of the race. They, more than any others who have riches
there, illumine the grand, yet gloomy arches of the Christian Church
with their ineffable whiteness. No preacher therein is so eloquent as
their marble silence; for they reveal in their countenances the mystery
of Redemption. Even while among the living, men looked upon them with
awe,--feeling, that, though coeval in time, infinite space rolled
between. They teach as no other order of teachers can, that the days and
duties of life may be so cast under foot as to exalt one to be only a
little lower than the angels. In fine, through them is made visible the
value of the individual soul; and thus we see, as in the central idea of
our author, that "that which moulds itself from within is free."


_Jenkins's Vest-Pocket Lexicon_. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott & Co.

Compared with "Webster's Unabridged" or "Worcester's Quarto," this
little pinch of words would make "small show." It is, however, a very
valuable pocket-companion; for, to use the author's own phrase, it
"omits what everybody knows, contains what everybody wants to know and
cannot readily find." It is really a _vade-mecum_, small, cheap, and
useful to a degree no one can fully appreciate until it has been
thoroughly tried. Mr. Jabex Jenkins may claim younger-brotherhood with
the men who have done service in the important department of education
he has chosen to enter.


_A Practical Guide to the Study of the Diseases of the Eye; their
Medical and Surgical Treatment_. By HENRY W. WILLIAMS, M.D. Boston:
Ticknor & Fields. 12mo. pp. 317.

If we readily accord our gratitude to those whose skilful hands and
well-instructed judgment render us physical service in our frequent
need, ought we not to offer additional thanks to such as by the
high tribute of their mental efforts confirm and elucidate the more
mechanical processes required in doing their beneficent work?

Do those who enjoy unimpaired vision, and who have not yet experienced
the sufferings arising from any of the varied forms of ocular disease,
appreciate the magnitude of the blessing vouchsafed to them? We venture
to answer in the negative.

Occasionally, the traveller by railway has a more or less severe hint
as to what an inflamed and painful eye may bring him to endure: those
countless flying cinders which blacken his garments and draw unsightly
lines upon his face with their slender charcoal-pencils do not always
leave him thus comparatively unharmed. Suppose one unluckily reaches the
eyeball just as the redness has faded from its sharp angles,--do we not
all know how the rest of that journey is one intolerable agony, unless
some fellow-traveller knows how to remove the offending substance? And
even then how the blistered, delicate surface yearns for a soothing
_douche_ of warm water,--perhaps not to be enjoyed for hours!

From slighter troubles, through all the more serious and dangerous
states arising from injury or produced by spontaneous or specifically
aroused inflammation, to the wonderful operations devised to give sight,
when the clear and beautiful lens has become clouded, or the delicate
muscular meshes of the iris are bound down or drawn together so as to
close the pupil and shut out the visible world, the learned and skilful
operator comes to our aid, a veritable messenger of mercy. To be
deprived of sight,--who can fully appreciate this melancholy condition,
save those who have been in danger of such a fate, or have had actual
experience of it, though only temporarily? Such a misfortune is
universally allowed to be worse, by far, than congenital blindness. And
this is not difficult to understand. The eyes that have been permitted
to drink in the varied hues of the landscape, and to gaze with such
delight upon the celestial revelations spread out nightly above and
around them, are indeed in double darkness when all this power and
privilege are swept away, it may be forever. The astronomer can truly
estimate the value of healthy eyes.

In looking over again, after a thorough perusal some time since, the
admirable work which forms the theme of this notice, we could not
resist the impulse to call attention to the infinite uses, unbounded
importance, and inestimable value of the organs of vision; and we have
no fear but our postulate in regard to the manner in which we should all
prize their conservators will be heartily acceded to.

This is hardly the place in which to enter into a minute professional
examination of this new volume. If we advert generally to its purpose,
and point out the undoubted benefits its recommendations and teaching
are destined to confer, both upon those who are sufferers,--or who will
be, unless they heed its warnings,--and upon the practitioners who
devote either an exclusive or a general attention to the diseases of the
eye, the end we have in view will be partially attained,--and fully so,
if the author's convincing instructions are brought into that universal
adoption which they not only eminently deserve, but must command. Let us
hope that the clear style, sensible advice, and valuable information,
derived from so varied an experience as that which has been enjoyed by
our author, will have a wide and growing influence in the extensive
field of professional ministrations demanded by this class of
cases,--for, let it be remembered, and reverently be it written, "THE
LIGHT OF THE BODY IS THE EYE."

The distinctive aim of the author--and which is kept constantly in
view--is the simplifying both of the classification and the treatment
of the diseases of the eye. We know of no volume which could more
appropriately and beneficially be put into the hands of the medical
student, nor any which could meet a more appreciative welcome from
the busy practitioner. The former cannot, at the tender age of his
professional life, digest the ponderous masses of ocular lore which
adorn the shelves of the maturer student's library; and the latter,
while he is glad to have these elaborate works at his command for
reference, is refreshed by a perusal of a few pages of the more
unpretending, but not less valuable _vade-mecum_.

While the professional reader will peruse this book with pleasure as
well as profit, there are many points and paragraphs of great value to
everybody. We advise every one to look over these pages, and we promise
that many valuable hints will be gained in reference to the various
ailments and casualties which are constantly befalling the eye. It is
well in this world to become members of a Mutual-Assistance Society, and
help one another out of trouble as often as we can. In order to do this,
we must know how; and, in many cases, a little aid in mishaps such as
are likely to occur to the eye may prevent a vast deal of subsequent
injury and pain.

We cannot but refer to the singular good sense of the author in
pressing upon his reader's attention the mischief so often wrought,
hitherto,--and we fear still frequently brought about,--by
_over-activity_ of treatment. Especially does this find its
exemplification in the care of traumatic injuries of the eye. Rashness
and heroic measures in these cases are as unfortunate for the patient as
are the well-meant efforts of friends, when a foreign substance has been
inserted into the ear or nose, or a needle broken off in the flesh: what
was at first an easily remedied matter becomes exceedingly difficult,
tedious, and painful, after various pokings, pushings, and squeezings.

The author's experience in cases of cataract makes his observations upon
that affection as valuable as they are clear and to the purpose. The
same is true with regard to the use and abuse of spectacles.

A short account of that interesting and most important instrument, the
Opthalmoscope, will command the attention of the general reader.

Finally, we notice with peculiar satisfaction the elegant dress in which
the volume appears. A very marked feature of this is the agreeable tint
given to the paper, so much to be preferred to the glaring snowy white
which has been so long the rule with publishers everywhere. This is
especially befitting a volume whose object is the alleviation of ocular
distress, and we venture to say will meet with the commendation of every
reader. A similar shade was adopted, some time since, by the publishers
of "The Ophthalmic Hospital Reports," London, at the suggestion, we
think, of its accomplished editor, Mr. Streatfeild.


_Country Living and Country Thinking_. By GAIL HAMILTON. Boston: Ticknor
& Fields. 12mo.

Our impression of this volume is that it contains some of the most
charming essays in American literature. The authoress, who chooses to
conceal her real name under the _alias_ of "Gail Hamilton," is not
only womanly, but a palpable individual among women. Both sex and
individuality are impressed on every page.

That the hook is written by a woman is apparent by a thousand signs.
That it proceeds from a distinct and peculiar personality, as well as
from a fertile and vigorous intellect, is no less apparent. The writer
has evidently looked at life through her own eyes, and interpreted it
through her own experience. Her independence becomes at times a kind of
humorous tartness, and she finds fault most delightfully. So cant
and pretence, however cunningly disguised by accredited maxims and
accredited sentimentality, can for a moment deceive her sharp insight
or her fresh sensibility. This primitive power and originality are not
purchased by any sacrifice of the knowledge derived at second-hand
through books, for she is evidently a thoughtful and appreciative
student of the best literature; but they proceed from a nature so strong
that it cannot be overcome and submerged by the mental forces and food
it assimilates.

Individuality implies will, and will always tends to wilfulness. The two
are harmonized in humor. Gail Hamilton is a humorist in her wilfulness,
and flashes suggestive thought and wisdom even in her most daring
caprices and eccentricities of individual whim. She is wild in
sentences, heretical in paragraphs, thoroughly orthodox in essays.
Her mind is really inclosed by the most rigid maxims of Calvinistic
theology, while, within that circle, it frisks and plays in the oddest
and wittiest freaks. A grave and religious earnestness is at the
foundation of her individuality, and she is so assured of this fact that
she can safely indulge in wilful gibes at pretension in all its most
conventionally sacred forms. This bright audacity is the perfection of
moral and intellectual health. No morbid nature, however elevated in
its sentiments, would dare to hazard such keen and free remarks as Gail
Hamilton scatters in careless profusion.

When this intellectual caprice approaches certain definite limits, it is
edifying to witness the forty-person power of ethics and eloquence she
brings readily up to the rescue of the sentiments she at first seemed
bent on destroying. As her style throughout is that of brilliant,
animated, and cordial conversation, flexible to all the moods of the
quick mind it so easily and aptly expresses, the reader is somewhat
puzzled at times to detect the natural logic which regulates her
transitions from gay to grave, from individual perceptions to general
laws; but the geniality and heartiness which flood the whole book with
life and meaning soon reconcile him to the peculiar processes of the
intellect whose startling originality and freshness give him so much
pleasure.

It would be unjust not to say that beneath all the fantastic play of her
wit and humor there is constantly discernible an earnest purpose. Sense
and sagacity are everywhere visible. The shrewdest judgments on ordinary
life and character are as abundant as the quaint fancies with which they
are often connected. But in addition to all that charms and informs, the
thoughtful reader will find much that elevates and invigorates. A noble
soul, contemptuous of everything mean and base, loving everything grand
and magnanimous, is the real life and inspiration of the book.



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