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Title: The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 11, No. 63, January, 1863
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 11, No. 63, January, 1863" ***

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THE

ATLANTIC MONTHLY.

A MAGAZINE OF

LITERATURE, ART, AND POLITICS.



VOL. XI.--JANUARY, 1863.--NO. LXIII.



HAPPIEST DAYS.


Long ago, when you were a little boy or a little girl,--perhaps not so
very long ago, either,--were you never interrupted in your play by being
called in to have your face washed, your hair combed, and your soiled
apron exchanged for a clean one, preparatory to an introduction to Mrs.
Smith, or Dr. Jones, or Aunt Judkins, your mother's early friend? And
after being ushered in to that august presence, and made to face a
battery of questions which were either above or below your capacity, and
which you consequently despised as trash or resented as insult, did you
not, as you were gleefully vanishing, hear a soft sigh breathed out upon
the air,--"Dear child, he is seeing his happiest days"? In the concrete,
it was Mrs. Smith or Dr. Jones speaking of you. But going back to
general principles, it was Commonplacedom expressing its opinion of
childhood.

There never was a greater piece of absurdity in the world. I thought so
when I was a child, and now I know it; and I desire here to brand it as
at once a platitude and a falsehood. How ever the idea gained currency
that childhood is the happiest period of life, I cannot conceive. How
ever, once started, it kept afloat is equally incomprehensible. I should
have supposed that the experience of every sane person would have given
the lie to it. I should have supposed that every soul, as it burst into
flower, would have hurled off the vile imputation. I can only account
for it by recurring to Lady Mary Wortley Montague's statistics, and
concluding that the fools _are_ three out of four in every person's
acquaintance.

I for one lift up my voice emphatically against the assertion, and do
affirm that I think childhood is the most mean and miserable portion of
human life, and I am thankful to be well out of it. I look upon it as
no better than a mitigated form of slavery. There is not a child in
the land that can call his soul, or his body, or his jacket his own. A
little soft lump of clay he comes into the world, and is moulded into a
vessel of honor or a vessel of dishonor long before he can put in a word
about the matter. He has no voice as to his education or his training,
what he shall eat, what he shall drink, or wherewithal he shall be
clothed. He has to wait upon the wisdom, the whims, and often the
wickedness of other people. Imagine, my six-foot friend, how you would
feel to be obliged to wear your woollen mittens when you desire to bloom
out in straw-colored kids, or to be buttoned into your black waistcoat
when your taste leads you to select your white, or to be forced under
your Kossuth hat when you had set your heart on your black beaver: yet
this is what children are perpetually called on to undergo. Their wills
are just as strong as ours and their tastes are stronger, yet they have
to bend the one and sacrifice the other; and they do it under pressure
of necessity. Their reason is not convinced; they are forced to yield to
superior power; and of all disagreeable things in the world, the most
disagreeable is not to have your own way. When you are grown up, you
wear a print frock because you cannot afford a silk, or because a silk
would be out of place,--you wear India-rubber overshoes because your
polished patent-leather would be ruined by the mud; and your self-denial
is amply compensated by the reflection of superior fitness or economy.
But a child has no such reflection to console him. He puts on his
battered, gray old shoes because you make him; he hangs up his new
trousers and goes back into his detestable girl's-frock because he will
be punished if he does not, and it is intolerable.

It is of no use to say that this is their discipline and is all
necessary to their welfare. I maintain that that is a horrible condition
of life in which such degrading _surveillance_ is necessary. You may
affirm that an absolute despotism is the only government fit for
Dahomey, and I may not disallow it; but when you go on and say that
Dahomey is the happiest country in the world, why, I refer you to
Dogberry. Now the parents of a child are, from the nature of the case,
absolute despots. They may be wise, and gentle, and doting despots, and
the chain may be satin-smooth and golden-strong; but if it be of rusty
iron, parting every now and then and letting the poor prisoner violently
loose, and again suddenly caught hold of, bringing him up with a jerk,
galling his tender limbs and irretrievably ruining his temper,--it is
all the same; there is no help for it. And really, to look around
the world and see the people that are its fathers and mothers is
appalling,--the narrow-minded, prejudiced, ignorant, ill-tempered,
fretful, peevish, passionate, careworn, harassed men and women. Even we
grown people, independent of them and capable of self-defence, have as
much as we can do to keep the peace. Where is there a city, or a town,
or a village, in which are no bickerings, no jealousies, no angers, no
petty or swollen spites? Then fancy yourself, instead of the neighbor
and occasional visitor of these poor human beings, their children,
subject to their absolute control, with no power of protest against
their folly, no refuge from their injustice, but living on through thick
and thin right under their guns.

"Oh!" but you say, "this is a very one-sided view. You leave out
entirely the natural tenderness that comes in to temper the matter.
Without that, a child's situation would of course be intolerable; but
the love that is born with him makes all things smooth."

No, it does not make all things smooth. It does wonders, to be sure, but
it does not make cross people pleasant, nor violent people calm, nor
fretful people easy, nor obstinate people reasonable, nor foolish people
wise,--that is, it may do so spasmodically, but it does not hold them to
it and keep them at it. A great deal of beautiful moonshine is written
about the sanctities of home and the sacraments of marriage and birth. I
do not mean to say that there is no sanctity and no sacrament. Moonshine
is not nothing. It is light,--real, honest light,--just as truly as
the sunshine. It is sunshine at second-hand. It illuminates, but
indistinctly. It beautifies, but it does not vivify or fructify. It
comes indeed from the sun, but in too roundabout a way to do the sun's
work. So, if a woman is pretty nearly sanctified before she is married,
wifehood and motherhood may finish the business; but there is not one
man in ten thousand of the writers aforesaid who would marry a vixen,
trusting to the sanctifying influences of marriage to tone her down to
sweetness. A thoughtful, gentle, pure, and elevated woman, who has been
accustomed to stand face to face with the eternities, will see in her
child a soul. If the circumstances of her life leave her leisure and
adequate repose, that soul will be to her a solemn trust, a sacred
charge, for which she will give her own soul's life in pledge. But, dear
me! how many such women do you suppose there are in your village? Heaven
forbid that I should even appear to be depreciating woman! Do I not know
too well their strength, and their virtue which is their strength? But
stepping out of idyls and novels, and stepping into American kitchens,
is it not true that the larger part of the mothers see in their babies,
or act as if they saw, only babies? And if there are three or four or
half a dozen of them, as there generally are, so much the more do they
see babies whose bodies monopolize the mother's time to the disadvantage
of their souls. She loves them, and she works for them day and night;
but when they are ranting and ramping and quarrelling, and torturing
her over-tense nerves, she forgets the infinite, and applies herself
energetically to the finite, by sending Harry with a round scolding into
one corner and Susy into another, with no light thrown upon the point
in dispute, no principle settled as a guide in future difficulties, and
little discrimination as to the relative guilt of the offenders. But
there is no court of appeal before which Harry and Susy can lay their
case in these charming "happiest days."

Then there are parents who love their children like wild beasts. It is
a passionate, blind, instinctive, unreasoning love. They have no more
intelligent discernment, when an outside difficulty arises with respect
to their children, than a she-bear. They wax furious over the most
richly deserved punishment, if inflicted by a teacher's hand; they take
the part of their child against legal authority; but, observe, this does
not prevent them from laying their own hands heavily on their children.
The same obstinate ignorance and narrowness that are exhibited without
exist within also. Folly is folly, abroad or at home. A man does not
play the fool out-doors and act the sage in the house. When the poor
child becomes obnoxious, the same unreasoning rage falls upon him. The
object of a ferocious love is the object of an equally ferocious anger.
It is only he who loves wisely that loves well.

The manner in which children's tastes are disregarded, their feelings
ignored, and their instincts violated is enough to disaffect one with
childhood. They are expected to kiss all flesh that asks them to do so.
They are jerked up into the laps of people whom they abhor. They say,
"Yes, Ma'am," under pain of bread and water for a week, when their
unerring nature prompts them to hurl out, "I won't, you hideous old
fright!" They are sent out of the room whenever a fascinating bit of
scandal is to be rehearsed, packed off to bed just as everybody is
settled down for a charming evening, bothered about their lessons when
their play is but fairly under way, and hedged and hampered on every
side. It is true that all this may be for their good, but, my dear dolt,
what of that? So everything is for the good of grownup people; but does
that make us contented? It is doubtless for our good in the long run
that we lose our pocketbooks, and break our arms, and catch a fever, and
have our brothers defraud a bank, and our houses burn down, and people
steal our umbrellas, and borrow our books and never return them. In
fact, we know that upon certain conditions all things work together for
our good, but, notwithstanding, we find some things a great bore; and we
may talk to our children of discipline and health by the hour together,
and it will never be anything but an intolerable nuisance to them to be
swooped off to bed by a dingy old nurse just as the people are beginning
to come, and shining silk, and floating lace, and odorous, faint flowers
are taking their ecstatic young souls back into the golden days of the
good Haroun al Raschid.

Even in this very point lies one of the miseries of childhood, that
no philosophy comes to temper their sorrow. We do not know why we are
troubled, but we know that there _is_ some good, grand reason for it.
The poor little children do not know even that. They find trouble
utterly inconsequent and unreasonable. The problem of evil is to them
absolutely incapable of solution. We know that beyond our horizon
stretches the infinite universe. We grasp only one link of a chain
whose beginning and end is eternity. So we readily adjust ourselves to
mystery, and are content. We apply to everything inexplicable the test
of partial view, and maintain our tranquillity. We fall into the ranks,
and march on, acquiescent, if not jubilant. We hear the roar of cannon
and the rattle of musketry. Stalwart forms fall by our side, and brawny
arms are stricken. Our own hopes bite the dust, our own hearts bury
their dead; but we know that law is inexorable. Effect must follow
cause, and there is no happening without causation. So, knowing
ourselves to be only one small brigade of the army of the Lord, we
defile through the passes of this narrow world, bearing aloft on our
banner, and writing ever on our hearts, the divine consolation, "What
thou knowest not now thou shalt know hereafter." This is an unspeakable
tranquillizer and comforter, of which, woe is me! the little ones know
nothing. They have no underlying generalities on which to stand. Law and
logic and eternity are nothing to them. They only know that it rains,
and they will have to wait another week before they go a-fishing; and
why couldn't it have rained Friday just as well as Saturday? and it
always does rain or something when I want to go anywhere,--so, there!
And the frantic flood of tears comes up from outraged justice as well as
from disappointed hope. It is the flimsiest of all possible arguments to
say that their sorrows are trifling, to talk about their little cares
and trials. These little things are great to little men and women. A
pine bucket full is just as full as a hogshead. The ant has to tug just
as hard to carry a grain of corn as the Irishman does to carry a hod of
bricks. You can see the bran running out of Fanny's doll's arm, or
the cat putting her foot through Tom's new kite, without losing your
equanimity; but their hearts feel the pang of hopeless sorrow, or foiled
ambition, or bitter disappointment,--and the emotion is the thing in
question, not the event that caused it.

It is an additional disadvantage to children in their troubles that they
can never estimate the relations of things. They have no perspective.
All things are at equal distances from the point of sight. Life presents
to them neither foreground nor background, principal figure nor
subordinates, but only a plain spread of canvas on which one thing
stands out just as big and just as black as another. You classify your
_désagréments_. This is a mere temporary annoyance, and receives but a
passing thought. This is a life-long sorrow, but it is superficial; it
will drop off from you at the grave, be folded away with your cerements,
and leave no scar on your spirit. This thrusts its lancet into the
secret place where your soul abideth, but you know that it tortures only
to heal; it is recuperative, not destructive, and you will rise from it
to newness of life. But when little ones see a ripple in the current of
their joy, they do not know, they cannot tell, that it is only a pebble
breaking softly in upon the summer flow to toss a cool spray up into
the white bosom of the lilies, or to bathe the bending violets upon the
green and grateful bank. It seems to them as if the whole strong tide
is thrust fiercely and violently back, and hurled into a new channel,
chasmed in the rough, rent granite. It is impossible to calculate the
waste of grief and pathos which this incapacity causes. Fanny's doll
aforesaid is left too near the fire, and waxy tears roll down her ruddy
cheeks, to the utter ruin of her pretty face and her gay frock; and
anon poor Fanny breaks her little heart in moans and sobs and sore
lamentation. It is Rachel weeping for her children. I went on a tramp
one May morning to buy a tissue-paper wreath of flowers for a little
girl to wear to a May-party, where all the other little girls were
expected to appear similarly crowned. After a long and weary search, I
was forced to return without it. Scarcely had I pulled the bell, when I
heard the quick pattering of little feet in the entry. Never in all my
life shall I lose the memory of those wistful eyes that did not so much
as look up to my face, but levelled themselves to my hand, and filmed
with bitter disappointment to find it empty. _I_ could see that the
wreath was a very insignificant matter. I knew that every little beggar
in the street had garlanded herself with sixpenny roses, and I should
have preferred that my darling should be content with her own silky
brown hair; but my taste availed her nothing, and the iron entered into
her soul. Once a little boy, who could just stretch himself up as high
as his papa's knee, climbed surreptitiously into the store-closet and
upset the milk-pitcher. Terrified, he crept behind the flour-barrel, and
there Nemesis found him, and he looked so charming and so guilty that
two or three others were called to come and enjoy the sight. But he,
unhappy midget, did not know that he looked charming; he did not know
that his guilty consciousness only made him the more interesting; he did
not know that he seemed an epitome of humanity, a Liliputian miniature
of the great world; and his large, blue, solemn eyes were filled with
remorse. As he stood there, silent, with his grave, utterly mournful
face, he had robbed a bank, he had forged a note, he had committed a
murder, he was guilty of treason. All the horror of conscience, all the
shame of discovery, all the unavailing regret of a detected, atrocious,
but not utterly hardened pirate tore his poor little innocent heart. Yet
children are seeing their happiest days!

These people--the aforesaid three-fourths of our acquaintance--lay great
stress on the fact that children are free from care, as if freedom from
care were one of the beatitudes of Paradise; but I should like to know
if freedom from care is any blessing to beings who don't know what care
is. You who are careful and troubled about many things may dwell on it
with great satisfaction, but children don't find it delightful by any
means. On the contrary, they are never so happy as when they can get a
little care, or cheat themselves into the belief that they have it.
You can make them proud for a day by sending them on some responsible
errand. If you will not place care upon them, they will make it for
themselves. You shall see a whole family of dolls stricken down
simultaneously with malignant measles, or a restive horse evoked from a
passive parlor-chair. They are a great deal more eager to assume care
than you are to throw it off. To be sure, they may be quite as eager to
be rid of it after a while; but while this does not prove that care is
delightful, it certainly does prove that freedom from care is not.

Now I should like, Herr Narr, to have you look at the other side for a
moment: for there is a positive and a negative pole. Children not only
have their full share of misery, but they do not have their full share
of happiness; at least, they miss many sources of happiness to which we
have access. They have no consciousness. They have sensations, but no
perceptions. We look longingly upon them, because they are so graceful,
and simple, and natural, and frank, and artless; but though this may
make us happy, it does not make them happy, because they don't know
anything about it. It never occurs to them that they are graceful. No
child is ever artless to himself. The only difference he sees between
you and himself is that you are grown-up and he is little. Sometimes I
think he does have a dim perception that when he is sick it is because
he has eaten too much, and he must take medicine, and feed on heartless
dry toast, while, when you are sick, you have the dyspepsia, and go to
Europe. But the beauty and sweetness of children are entirely wasted on
themselves, and their frankness is a source of infinite annoyance to
each other. A man enjoys _himself_. If he is handsome, or wise, or
witty, he generally knows it, and takes great satisfaction in it; but
a child does not. He loses half his happiness because he does not know
that he is happy. If he ever has any consciousness, it is an isolated,
momentary thing, with no relation to anything antecedent or subsequent.
It lays hold on nothing. Not only have they no perception of themselves,
but they have no perception of anything. They never recognize an
exigency. They do not salute greatness. Has not the Autocrat told us of
some lady who remembered a certain momentous event in our Revolutionary
War, and remembered it only by and because of the regret she experienced
at leaving her doll behind, when her family was forced to fly from home?
What humiliation is this! What an utter failure to appreciate the issues
of life! For her there was no revolution, no upheaval of world-old
theories, no struggle for freedom, no great combat of the heroisms.
All the passion and pain, the mortal throes of error, the glory of
sacrifice, the victory of an idea, the triumph of right, the dawn of a
new era,--all, all were hidden from her behind a lump of wax. And what
was true of her is true of all her class. Having eyes, they see not;
with their ears they do not hear. The din of arms, the waving of
banners, the gleam of swords, fearful sights and great signs in the
heavens, or the still, small voice that thrills when wind and fire and
earthquake have swept by, may proclaim the coming of the Lord, and they
stumble along, munching bread-and-butter. Out in the solitudes Nature
speaks with her many-toned voices, and they are deaf. They have a blind
sensational enjoyment, such as a squirrel or a chicken may have, but
they can in no wise interpret the Mighty Mother, nor even hear her
words. The ocean moans his secret to unheeding ears. The agony of the
underworld finds no speech in the mountain-peaks, bare and grand. The
old oaks stretch out their arms in vain. Grove whispers to grove, and
the robin stops to listen, but the child plays on. He bruises the happy
buttercups, he crushes the quivering anemone, and his cruel fingers are
stained with the harebell's purple blood. Rippling waterfall and rolling
river, the majesty of sombre woods, the wild waste of wilderness, the
fairy spirits of sunshine, the sparkling wine of June, and the golden
languor of October, the child passes by, and a dipper of blackberries,
or a pocketful of chestnuts, fills and satisfies his horrible little
soul. And in face of all this people say--there are people who _dare_ to
say--that childhood's are the "happiest days."

I may have been peculiarly unfortunate in my surroundings, but the
children of poetry and novels were very infrequent in my day. The
innocent cherubs never studied in my school-house, nor played
puss-in-the-corner in our back-yard. Childhood, when I was young, had
rosy cheeks and bright eyes, as I remember, but it was also extremely
given to quarrelling. It used frequently to "get mad." It made nothing
of twitching away books and balls. It often pouted. Sometimes it would
bite. If it wore a fine frock, it would strut. It told lies,--"whoppers"
at that. It took the biggest half of the apple. It was not, as a general
thing, magnanimous, but "aggravating." It may have been fun to you who
looked on, but it was death to us who were in the midst.

This whole way of viewing childhood, this regretful retrospect of
its vanished joys, this infatuated apotheosis of doughiness and rank
unfinish, this fearful looking-for of dread old age, is low, gross,
material, utterly unworthy of a sublime manhood, utterly false to
Christian truth. Childhood is preëminently the animal stage of
existence. The baby is a beast,--a very soft, tender, caressive
beast,--a beast full of promise,--a beast with the germ of an
angel,--but a beast still. A week-old baby gives no more sign of
intelligence, of love, or ambition, or hope, or fear, or passion, or
purpose, than a week-old monkey, and is not half so frisky and funny.
In fact, it is a puling, scowling, wretched, dismal, desperate-looking
animal. It is only as it grows old that the beast gives way and the
angel-wings bud, and all along through infancy and childhood the beast
gives way and gives way and the angel-wings bud and bud; and yet we
entertain our angel so unawares that we look back regretfully to the
time when the angel was in abeyance and the beast raved regnant.

The only advantage which childhood has over manhood is the absence of
foreboding, and this indeed is much. A large part of our suffering is
anticipatory, much of which children are spared. The present happiness
is clouded for them by no shadowy possibility; but for this small
indemnity shall we offset the glory of our manly years? Because their
narrowness cannot take in the contingencies that threaten peace, are
they blessed above all others? Does not the same narrowness cut them
off from the bright certainty that underlies all doubts and fears? If
ignorance is bliss, man stands at the summit of mortal misery, and
the scale of happiness is a descending one. We must go down into the
ocean-depths, where, for the scintillant soul, a dim, twilight instinct
lights up gelatinous lives. If childhood is indeed the happiest period,
then the mysterious God-breathed breath was no boon and the Deity is
cruel. Immortality were well exchanged for the blank of annihilation.

There is infinite talk of the dissipated illusions of youth, the paling
of bright, young dreams. Life, it is said, turns out to be different
from what was pictured. The rosy-hued morning fades away into the gray
and livid evening, the black and ghastly night. In especial cases it may
be so, but I do not believe it is the general experience. It surely need
not be. It should not be. I have found things a great deal better than I
expected. I am but one; but with all my oneness, with all that there is
of me, I protest against such shallow generalities. I think they are
slanderous of Him who ordained life, its processes and its vicissitudes.
He never made our dreams to outstrip our realizations. Every conception,
brain-born, has its execution, hand-wrought. Life is not a paltry
tin cup which the child drains dry, leaving the man to go weary and
hopeless, quaffing at it in vain with black, parched lips. It is a
fountain ever springing. It is a great deep, which the wisest has never
bounded, the grandest never fathomed.

It is not only idle, but stupid, to lament the departure of childhood's
joys. It is as if something precious and valued had been forcibly torn
from us, and we go sorrowing for lost treasure. But these things fall
off from us naturally; we do not give them up. We are never called upon
to give them up. There is no pang, no sorrow, no wrenching away of
a part of our lives. The baby lies in his cradle and plays with his
fingers and toes. There comes an hour when his fingers and toes no
longer afford him amusement. He has attained to the dignity of a rattle,
a whip, a ball. Has he suffered a loss? Has he not rather made a great
gain? When he passed from his toes to his toys, did he do it mournfully?
Does he look at his little feet and hands with a sigh for the joys that
once loitered there, but are now forever gone? Does he not rather feel a
little ashamed, when you remind him of those days? Does he not feel that
it trenches somewhat on his dignity? Yet the regret of maturity for its
past joys amounts to nothing less than this. Such regret is regret that
we cannot lie in the sunshine and play with our toes,--that we are no
longer but one remove, or but few removes, from the idiot. Away with
such folly! Every season of life has its distinctive and appropriate
enjoyments, which bud and blossom and ripen and fall off as the season
glides on to its close, to be succeeded by others better and brighter.
There is no consciousness of loss, for there is no loss. There is only a
growing up, and out of, and beyond.

Life does turn out differently from what was anticipated. It is an
infinitely higher and holier and nobler thing than our childhood
fancied. The world that lay before us then was but a tinsel toy to the
world which our firm feet tread. We have entered into the undiscovered
land. We have explored its ways of pleasantness, its depths of dole, its
mountains of difficulty, its valleys of delight, and, behold! it is very
good. Storms have swept fiercely, but they swept to purify. We have
heard in its thunders the Voice that woke once the echoes of the Garden.
Its lightnings have riven a path for the Angel of Peace.

Manhood discovers what childhood can never divine,--that the sorrows of
life are superficial, and the happinesses of life structural; and this
knowledge alone is enough to give a peace which passeth understanding.

Yes, the dreams of youth were dreams, but the waking was more glorious
than they. They were only dreams,--fitful, flitting, fragmentary visions
of the coming day. The shallow joys, the capricious pleasures, the
wavering sunshine of infancy have deepened into virtues, graces,
heroisms. We have the bold outlook of calm, self-confident courage, the
strong fortitude of endurance, the imperial magnificence of self-denial.
Our hearts expand with benevolence, our lives broaden with beneficence.
We cease our perpetual skirmishing at the outposts, and go inward to the
citadel. Down into the secret places of life we descend. Down among
the beautiful ones in the cool and quiet shadows, on the sunny summer
levels, we walk securely, and the hidden fountains are unsealed.

For those people who do nothing, for those to whom Christianity brings
no revelation, for those who see no eternity in time, no infinity in
life, for those to whom opportunity is but the handmaid of selfishness,
to whom smallness is informed by no greatness, for whom the lowly
is never lifted up by indwelling love to the heights of divine
performance,--for them, indeed, each hurrying year may well be a King of
Terrors. To pass out from the flooding light of the morning, to feel all
the dewiness drunk up by the thirsty, insatiate sun, to see the shadows
slowly and swiftly gathering, and no starlight to break the gloom,
and no home beyond the gloom for the unhoused, startled, shivering
soul,--ah! this indeed is terrible. The "confusions of a wasted youth"
strew thick confusions of a dreary age. Where youth garners up only such
power as beauty or strength may bestow, where youth is but the revel of
physical or frivolous delight, where youth aspires only with paltry and
ignoble ambitions, where youth presses the wine of life into the cup of
variety, there indeed Age comes, a thrice unwelcome guest. Put him off.
Thrust him back. Weep for the early days: you have found no happiness to
replace their joys. Mourn for the trifles that were innocent, since the
trifles of your manhood are heavy with guilt. Fight to the last. Retreat
inch by inch. With every step you lose. Every day robs you of treasure.
Every hour passes you over to insignificance; and at the end stands
Death. The bare and desolate decline drops suddenly into the hopeless,
dreadful grave, the black and yawning grave, the foul and loathsome
grave.

But why those who are Christians and not Pagans, who believe that death
is not an eternal sleep, who wrest from life its uses and gather from
life its beauty,--why they should dally along the road, and cling
frantically to the old landmarks, and shrink fearfully from the
approaching future, I cannot tell. You are getting into years. True.
But you are getting out again. The bowed frame, the tottering step, the
unsteady hand, the failing eye, the heavy ear, the tremulous voice, they
will all be yours. The grasshopper will become a burden, and desire
shall fail. The fire shall be smothered in your heart, and for passion
you shall have only peace. This is not pleasant. It is never pleasant to
feel the inevitable passing away of priceless possessions. If this were
to be the culmination of your fate, you might indeed take up the wail
for your lost youth. But this is only for a moment. The infirmities of
age come gradually. Gently we are led down into the valley. Slowly, and
not without a soft loveliness, the shadows lengthen. At the worst these
weaknesses are but the stepping-stones in the river, passing over which
you shall come to immortal vigor, immortal fire, immortal beauty. All
along the western sky flames and glows the auroral light of another
life. The banner of victory waves right over your dungeon of defeat. By
the golden gateway of the sunsetting,

  "Through the dear might of Him who walked
  the waves,"

you shall pass into the "cloud-land, gorgeous land," whose splendor is
unveiled only to the eyes of the Immortals. Would you loiter to your
inheritance?

You are "getting into years." Yes, but the years are getting into
you,--the ripe, rich years, the genial, mellow years, the lusty,
luscious years. One by one the crudities of your youth are falling off
from you,--the vanity, the egotism, the isolation, the bewilderment, the
uncertainty. Nearer and nearer you are approaching yourself. You are
consolidating your forces. You are becoming master of the situation.
Every wrong road into which you have wandered has brought you, by the
knowledge of that mistake, so much closer to the truth. You no longer
draw your bow at a venture, but shoot straight at the mark. Your
possibilities concentrate, and your path is cleared. On the ruins of
shattered plans you find your vantage-ground. Your broken hopes, your
thwarted purposes, your defeated aspirations become a staff of strength
with which you mount to sublimer heights. With self-possession and
self-command return the possession and the command of all things. The
title-deed of creation, forfeited, is reclaimed. The king has come to
his own again. Earth and sea and sky pour out their largess of love.
All the past crowds down to lay its treasures at your feet. Patriotism
stands once more in the breach at Thermopylae,--bears down the serried
hosts of Bannockburn,--lays its calm hand in the fire, still, as if it
felt the pressure of a mother's lips,--gathers to its heart the points
of opposing spears, to make a way for the avenging feet behind. All that
the ages have of greatness and glory your hand may pluck, and every year
adds to the purple vintage. Every year comes laden with the riches of
the lives that were lavished on it. Every year brings to you softness
and sweetness and strength. Every year evokes order from confusion, till
all things find scope and adjustment. Every year sweeps a broader circle
for your horizon, grooves a deeper channel for your experience. Through
sun and shade and shower you ripen to a large and liberal life.

Yours is the deep joy, the unspoken fervor, the sacred fury of the
fight. Yours is the power to redress wrong, to defend the weak, to
succor the needy, to relieve the suffering, to confound the oppressor.
While vigor leaps in great tidal pulses along your veins, you stand in
the thickest of the fray, and broadsword and battle-axe come crashing
down through helmet and visor. When force has spent itself, you withdraw
from the field, your weapons pass into younger hands, you rest under
your laurels, and your works do follow you. Your badges are the scars
of your honorable wounds. Your life finds its vindication in the deeds
which you have wrought.

The possible to-morrow has become the secure yesterday. Above the tumult
and the turbulence, above the struggle and the doubt, you sit in the
serene evening, awaiting your promotion.

Come, then, O dreaded years! Your brows are awful, but not with frowns.
I hear your resonant tramp far off, but it is sweet as the May-maidens'
song. In your grave prophetic eyes I read a golden promise. I know that
you bear in your bosom the fulness of my life. Veiled monarchs of
the future, shining dim and beautiful, you shall become my vassals,
swift-footed to bear my messages, swift-handed to work my will.
Nourished by the nectar which you will pour in passing from your crystal
cups, Death shall have no dominion over me, but I shall go on from
strength to strength and from glory to glory.

       *       *       *       *       *


THE PROMISE OF THE DAWN.

A CHRISTMAS STORY.


A winter's evening. Do you know how that comes here among the edges of
the mountains that fence in the great Mississippi valley? The sea-breath
in the New-England States thins the air and bleaches the sky, sucks
the vitality out of Nature, I fancy, to put it into the brains of the
people: but here, the earth every day in the year pulses out through
hill or prairie or creek a full, untamed animal life,--shakes off the
snow too early in spring, in order to put forth untimed and useless
blossoms, wasteful of her infinite strength. So when this winter's
evening came to a lazy town bedded in the hills that skirt Western
Virginia close by the Ohio, it found that the December air, fiercely
as it blew the snow-clouds about the hill-tops, was instinct with a
vigorous, frosty life, and that the sky above the clouds was not wan and
washed-out, as farther North, but massive, holding yet a sensuous yellow
languor, the glow of unforgotten autumn days.

The very sun, quite certain of where he would soonest meet with
gratitude, gave his kindliest good-night smile to the great valley of
the West, asleep under the snow: very kind to-night, just as calm and
loving, though he knew the most plentiful harvest which the States had
yielded that year was one of murdered dead, as he gave to the young,
untainted world, that morning, long ago, when God blessed it, and saw
that it was good. Because, you see, this was the eve of a more helpful,
God-sent day than that, in spite of all the dead: Christmas eve.
To-morrow Christ was coming,--whatever he may be to you,--Christ. The
sun knew that, and glowed as cheerily, steadily, on blood as water. Why,
God had the world! Let them fret, and cut each other's throats, if they
would. God had them: and Christ was coming. But one fancied that the
earth, not quite so secure in the infinite Love that held her, had
learned to doubt, in her six thousand years of hunger, and heard the
tidings with a thrill of relief. Was the Helper coming? Was it the true
Helper? The very hope, even, gave meaning to the tender rose-blush on
the peaks of snow, to the childish sparkle on the grim rivers. They
heard and understood. The whole world answered.

One man, at least, fancied so: Adam Craig, hobbling down the frozen
streets of this old-fashioned town. He thought, rubbing his bony hands
together, that even the wind knew that Christmas was coming, the day
that Christ was born: it went shouting boisterously through the great
mountain-gorges, its very uncouth soul shaken with gladness. The city
itself, he fancied, had caught a new and curious beauty: this winter
its mills were stopped, and it had time to clothe the steep streets in
spotless snow and icicles; its windows glittered red and cheery out into
the early night: it looked just as if the old burgh had done its work,
and sat down, like one of its own mill-men, to enjoy the evening, with
not the cleanest face in the world, to be sure, but with an honest,
jolly old heart under all, beating rough and glad and full. That was
Adam Craig's fancy: but his head was full of queer fancies under the
rusty old brown wig: queer, maybe, yet as pure and childlike as the
prophet John's: coming, you know, from the same kinship. Adam had kept
his fancies to himself these forty years. A lame old chap, cobbling
shoes day by day, fighting the wolf desperately from the door for the
sake of orphan brothers and sisters, has not much time to put the
meanings God and Nature have for his ignorant soul into words, has he?
But the fancies had found utterance for themselves, somehow: in his
hatchet-shaped face, even, with its scraggy gray whiskers; in the quick,
shrewd smile; in the eyes, keen eyes, but childlike, too. In the very
shop out there on the creek-bank you could trace them. Adam had cobbled
there these twenty years, chewing tobacco and taking snuff, (his
mother's habit, that,) but the little shop was pure: people with brains
behind their eyes would know that a clean and delicate soul lived there;
they might have known it in other ways too, if they chose: in his gruff,
sharp talk, even, full of slang and oaths; for Adam, invoke the Devil
often as he might, never took the name of Christ or a woman in vain. So
his foolish fancies, as he called them, cropped out. It must be so, you
know: put on what creed you may, call yourself chevalier or Sambo, the
speech your soul has held with God and the Devil will tell itself in
every turn of your head, and jangle of your laugh: you cannot help that.

But it was Christmas eve. Adam took that in with keener enjoyment, in
every frosty breath he drew. Different from any Christmas eve before:
pulling off his scuffed cap to feel the full strength of the "nor'rer."
Whew! how it blew! straight from the ice-fields of the Pole, he thought.
So few people there were up there to be glad Christ was coming! But
those filthy little dwarfs up there needed Him all the same: every man
of them had a fiend tugging at his soul, like us, was lonely, wanted
a God to help him, and--a wife to love him. Adam stopped short here a
minute, something choking in his throat. "Jinny!" he said, under
his breath, turning to some new hope in his heart, with as tender,
awe-struck a touch as one lays upon a new-born infant. "Jinny!" praying
silently with blurred eyes. I think Christ that moment came very near
to the woman who was so greatly loved, and took her in His arms, and
blessed her. Adam jogged on, trying to begin a whistle, but it ended in
a miserable grunt: his heart was throbbing under his smoke-dried skin,
silly as a woman's, so light it was, and full.

"Get along, Old Dot, and carry one!" shouted the boys, sledding down the
icy sidewalk.

"Yip! you young devils, you!" stopping to give them a helping shove and
a cheer; loving little children always, but never as to-day.

Surely there never was such a Christmas eve before! The frozen air
glistened grayly up into heaven itself, he thought; the snow-covered
streets were alive, noisy,--glad into their very cellars and shanties;
the sun was sorry to go away. No wonder. His heartiest ruby-gleam
lingered about the white Virginia heights behind the town, and across
the river quite glorified the pale stretch of the Ohio hills. Free and
slave. (Adam was an Abolitionist.) Well, let that be. God's hand of
power, like His sunlight, held the master and the slave in loving
company. To-morrow was the sign.

The cobbler stopped on the little swinging foot-bridge that crosses the
creek in the centre of the city. The faint saffron sunset swept from the
west over the distant wooded hills, the river, the stone bridge below
him, whose broad gray piers painted perpetual arches on the sluggish,
sea-colored water. The smoke from one or two far-off foundries hung just
above it, motionless in the gray, in tattered drifts, dyed by the sun,
clear drab and violet. A still picture. A bit of Venice, poor Adam
thought, who never had been fifty miles out of Wheeling. The quaint
American town was his world: he brought the world into it. There were
relics of old Indian forts and mounds, the old times and the new. The
people, too, though the cobbler only dimly saw that, were as much the
deposit and accretion of all dead ages as was the coal that lay bedded
in the fencing hills. Irish, Dutch, whites, blacks, Moors, old John
Bull himself: you can find the dregs of every day of the world in any
mill-town of the States. Adam had a dull perception of this. Christmas
eve came to all the world, coming here.

Leaning on the iron wires, while the unsteady little bridge shook under
him, he watched the stunned beams of the sun urging themselves through
the smoke-clouds. He thought they were like "the voice of one crying
in the wilderness, 'Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make His paths
straight.'" It wakened something in the man's hackneyed heart deeper
even than the thought of the woman he had prayed for. A sudden vision
that a great Peace held the world as did that glow of upper light: he
rested in its calm. Up the street a few steps rose the walls of the old
theatre, used as a prison now for captured Confederates: it was full
now; he could see them looking out from behind the bars, grimy and
tattered. Far to the north, on Mount Woods, the white grave-stones stood
out clear in the darkening evening. His enemies, the busy streets, the
very war itself, the bones and souls of the dead yonder,--the great
Peace held them all. We might call them evil, but they were sent from
God, and went back to God. All things were in Him.

I tell you, that when this one complete Truth got into this poor
cobbler's brain,--in among its vulgar facts of North and South, and
patched shoes, and to-morrow's turkey,--a great poet-insight looked out
of his eyes for the minute. Saint John looked thus as he wrote that
primitive natal word, "God is love." Cobblers, as well as Saint John,
or the dying Herder, need great thoughts, and water from God to refresh
them, believe me.

Trotting on, hardly needing his hickory stick, Adam could see the little
brown shop yonder on the creek-bank. All dark: but did you ever see
anything brighter than the way the light shone in the sitting-room,
behind the Turkey-red curtains? Such a taste that little woman had! Two
years ago the cobbler finished his life-work, he thought: he had been
mother and father both to the orphans left with him, faithful to them,
choking down the hungry gnawing within for something nearer than brother
or sister. Two years ago they had left him, struck out into the world
for themselves.

"Then, you see," Adam used to say, "I was settlin' down into an old man;
dryin' up, d' ye see? thinkin' the Lord had forgotten me, when He said
to other men, 'Come, it's _your_ turn now for home and lovin'.' Them
young ones was dear enough, but a man has a cravin' for somethin' that's
his own. But it was too late, I thought. Bitter; despisin' the Lord's
eyesight; thinkin' He didn't see or care what would keep me from hell. I
believed in God, like most poor men do, thinkin' Him cold-blooded, not
hearin' when we cry out for work, or a wife, or child. _I_ didn't cry.
_I_ never prayed. But look there. Do you see--_her_? Jinny?" It was
to the young Baptist preacher Adam said this, when he came to make a
pastoral visit to Adam's wife. "That's what He did. I'm not ashamed to
pray now. I ask Him every hour to give me a tight grip on her so that
I kin follow her up, and to larn me some more of His ways. That's my
religious 'xperience, Sir."

The young man coughed weakly, and began questioning old Craig as to
his faith in immersion. The cobbler stumped about the kitchen a minute
before answering, holding himself down. His face was blood-red when he
did speak, quite savage, the young speaker said afterward.

"I don't go to church, Sir. My wife does. I don't say _now_, 'Damn the
churches!' or that you, an' the likes of you, an' yer Master, are all
shams an' humbugs. I know Him now. He's 'live to me. So now, when I
see you belie Him, an' keep men from Him with yer hundreds o' wranglin'
creeds, an' that there's as much honest love of truth outside the Church
as in it, I don't put yer bigotry an' foulness on Him. I on'y think
there's an awful mistake: just this: that the Church thinks it is
Christ's body an' us uns is outsiders, an' we think so too, an' despise
Him through you with yer stingy souls an' fights an' squabblins; not
seein' that the Church is jes' an hospital, where some of the sickest of
God's patients is tryin' to get cured."

The preacher never went back; spoke in a church-meeting soon after of
the prevalence of Tom Paine's opinions among the lower classes. Half
of our sham preachers take the vague name of "Paine" to cover all of
Christ's opponents,--not ranking themselves there, of course.

Adam thought he had won a victory. "Ef you'd heard me flabbergast the
parson!" he used to say, with a jealous anxiety to keep Christ out of
the visible Church, to shut his eyes to the true purity in it, to the
fact that the Physician was in His hospital. To-night some more infinite
gospel had touched him. "Good evenin', Mr. Pitts," he said, meeting
the Baptist preacher. "Happy Christmas, Sir!" catching a glance of
his broken boots. "Danged ef I don't send that feller a pair of shoes
unbeknownst, to-morrow! He's workin' hard, an' it's not for money."

The great Peace held even its erring Church, as Adam dully saw. The
streets were darkening, but full even yet of children crowding in and
out of the shops. Not a child among them was more busy or important, or
keener for a laugh than Adam, with his basket on his arm and his hand in
his pocket clutching the money he had to lay out. The way he had worked
for that! Over-jobs, you know, done at night when Jinny and the baby
were asleep. It was carrying him through splendidly, though: the basket
was quite piled up with bundles: as for the turkey, hadn't he been
keeping that in the back-yard for weeks, stuffing it until it hardly
could walk? That turkey, do you know, was the first thing Baby ever took
any notice of, except the candle? Jinny was quite opposed to killing it,
for that reason, and proposed they should have ducks instead; but as old
Jim Farley and Granny Simpson were invited for dinner, and had been told
about the turkey, matters must stay as they were.

"Poor souls, they'll not taste turkey agin this many a day, I'm
thinkin', Janet. When we give an entertainment, it's allus them-like
we'll ask. That's the Master's biddin', ye know."

But the pudding was yet to buy. He had a dirty scrap of paper on which
Jinny had written down the amount. "The hand that woman writes!" He
inspected it anxiously at every street-lamp. Did you ever see anything
finer than that tongue, full of its rich brown juices and golden fat? or
the white, crumbly suet? Jinny said veal: such a saving little body she
was! but we know what a pudding ought to be. Now for the pippins for it,
yellow they are, holding summer yet; and a few drops of that brandy in
the window, every drop shining and warm: that'll put a soul into it,
and--He stopped before the confectioner's: just a moment, to collect
himself; for this was the crowning point, this. There they were, in the
great, gleaming window below: the rich Malaga raisins, bedded in their
cases, cold to the lips, but within all glowing sweetness and passion;
and the cool, tart little currants. If Jinny could see that window! and
Baby. To be sure, Baby mightn't appreciate it, but--White frosted cakes,
built up like fairy palaces, and mountains of golden oranges, and the
light trembling through delicate candies, purple and rose-color. "Let's
have a look, boys!"--and Adam crowded into the swarm outside.

Over the shops there was a high brick building, a concert-hall. You
could hear the soft, dreamy air floating down from it, made vocal into
a wordless love and pathos. Adam forgot the splendors of the window,
listening; his heart throbbed full under his thin coat; it ached with an
infinite tenderness. The poor old cobbler's eyes filled with tears: he
could have taken Jesus and the great world all into his arms then. How
loving and pure it was, the world! Christ's footsteps were heard. The
eternal stars waited above; there was not a face in the crowd about him
that was not clear and joyous. These delicate, pure women flitting past
him up into the lighted hall,--it made his nerves thrill into pleasure
to look at them. Jesus' world! His creatures.

He put his hand into the basket, and shyly took out a bunch of flowers
he had bought,--real flowers, tender, sweet-smelling little things.
Wouldn't Jinny wonder to find them on her bureau in the morning? Their
fragrance, so loving and innocent, filled the frosty air, like a breath
of the purity of this Day coming. Just as he was going to put them back
carefully, a hand out of the crowd caught hold of them, a dirty hand,
with sores on it, and a woman thrust her face from under her blowzy
bonnet into his: a young face, deadly pale, on which some awful passion
had cut the lines; lips dyed scarlet with rank blood, lips, you would
think, that in hell itself would utter a coarse jest.

"Give 'em to me, old cub!" she said, pulling at them. "I want 'em for a
better nor you."

"Go it, Lot!" shouted the boys.

He struck her. A woman? Yes; if it had been a slimy eel standing
upright, it would have been less foul a thing than this.

"Damn you!" she muttered, chafing the hurt arm. Whatever words this girl
spoke came from her teeth out,--seemed to have no meaning to her.

"Let's see, Lot."

She held out her arm, and the boy, a black one, plastered it with grime
from the gutter. The others yelled with delight. Adam hurried off. A
pure air? God help us! He threw the flowers into the gutter with a
bitter loathing. _Her_ fingers would be polluted, if they touched them
now. He would not tell her of this: he would cut off his hand rather
than talk to her of this,--let her know such things were in the world.
So pure and saintly she was, his little wife! a homely little body, but
with the cleanest, most loving heart, doing her Master's will humbly.
The cobbler's own veins were full of Scotch blood, as pure indignant as
any knight's of the Holy Greal. He wiped his hand, as though a leper had
tainted it.

Passing down Church Street, the old bell rang out the hour. All day he
had fancied its tone had gathered a lighter, more delicate sweetness
with every chime. The Christ-child was coming; the world held up its
hands adoring; all that was needed of men was to love Him, and rejoice.
Its tone was different now: there was a brutal cry of pain in the
ponderous voice that shook the air,--a voice saying something to God,
unintelligible to him. He thrust out the thought of that woman with a
curse: he had so wanted to have a good day, to feel how great and glad
the world was, and to come up close to Christ with Jinny and the baby!
He did soon forget the vileness there behind, going down the streets;
they were so cozy and friendly-hearted, the parlor-windows opening out
red and cheerfully, as is the custom in Southern and Western towns; they
said "Happy Christmas" to every passer-by. The owners, going into the
houses, had a hearty word for Adam. "Well, Craig, how goes it?" or,
"Fine, frosty weather, Sir." It quite heartened the cobbler. He made
shoes for most of these people, and whether men are free and equal or
not, any cobbler will have a reverence for the man he has shod.

So Adam trotted on, his face a little redder, and his stooped chest,
especially next the basket, in quite a glow. There she was, clear out in
the snow, waiting for him by the curb-stone. How she took hold of the
basket, and Adam made believe she was carrying the whole weight of it!
How the fire-light struck out furiously through the Turkey-red curtains,
so as to show her to him quicker!--to show him the snug coffee-colored
dress, and the bits of cherry ribbon at her throat,--to show him how the
fair curly hair was tucked back to leave the rosy ears bare he thought
so dainty,--to show him how young she was, how faded and worn and
tired-out she was, how hard the years had been,--to show him how his
great love for her was thickening the thin blood with life, making a
child out of the thwarted woman,--to show him--this more than all, this
that his soul watched for, breathless, day and night--that she loved
him, that she knew nothing better than the ignorant, loving heart, the
horny hands that had taken her hungry fate to hold, and made of it a
color and a fragrance. "Christmas is coming, little woman!" Of course it
was. If it had not taken the whole world into its embrace yet, there it
was compacted into a very glow of love and warmth and coziness in
that snuggest of rooms, and in that very Jinny and Baby,--Christmas
itself,--especially when he kissed her, and she blushed and laughed,
the tears in her eyes, and went fussing for that queer roll of white
flannel.

Adam took off his coat: he always went at the job of nursing the baby
in his shirt-sleeves. The anxious sweat used to break on his forehead
before he was through. He got its feet to the fire. "I'm dead sure that
much is right," he used to say. Jinny put away the bundles, wishing to
herself Mrs. Perkins would happen in to see them: one didn't like to be
telling what they had for dinner, but if it was known accidentally--You
poets, whose brains have quite snubbed and sent to Coventry your
stomachs, never could perceive how the pudding was a poem to the cobbler
and his wife,--how a very actual sense of the live goodness of Jesus was
in it,--how its spicy steam contained all the cordial cheer and jollity
they had missed in meaningless days of the year. Then she brought her
sewing-chair, and sat down, quite idle.

"No work for to-night! I'll teach you how to keep Christmas, Janet,
woman!"

It was her first, one might say. Orphan girls that go about from house
to house sewing, as Jinny had done, don't learn Christmas by heart year
by year. It was a new experience: she was taking it in, one would think,
to look at her, with all her might, with the earnest blue eyes, the
shut-up brain behind the narrow forehead, the loving heart: a contracted
tenement, that heart, by-the-by, adapted for single lodgers. She wasn't
quite sure that Christmas was not, after all, a relic of Papistry,--for
Jinny was a thorough Protestant: a Christian, as far as she understood
Him, with a keen interest in the Indian missions. "Let us begin in our
own country," she said, and always prayed for the Sioux just after Adam
and Baby. In fact, if we are all parts of God's temple, Jinny was a
very essential, cohesive bit of mortar. Adam had a wider door for his
charity: it took all the world in, he thought,--though the preachers did
enter with a shove, as we know. However, this was Christmas: the word
took up all common things, the fierce wind without, the clean hearth,
the modest color on her cheek, the very baby, and made of them one
grand, sweet poem, that sang to the man the same story the angels told
eighteen centuries ago: "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth
peace, good-will toward men."

Sitting there in the evenings, Adam was the talker: such a fund of
anecdote he had! Jinny never could hear the same story too often.
To-night there was a bit of a sigh in them: his heart was tender: about
the Christmases at home, when he and Nelly were little chubs together,
and hung up their stockings regularly every Christmas eve.

"Twins, Nelly an' me was, oldest of all. When I was bound to old Lowe,
it went hard, ef I couldn't scratch together enough for a bit of
ribbon-bow or a ring for Nell, come Christmas. She used to sell the old
flour-barrels an' rags, an' have her gift all ready by my plate that
mornin': never missed. I never hed a sweetheart then."

Jinny laid her hand on his knee.

"Ye 'r' glad o' that, little woman? Well, well! I didn't care for women,
only Ellen. She was the only livin' thing as come near me. I gripped on
to her like death, havin' only her. But she--hed more nor me."

Jinny knew the story well.

"She went away with him?" softly.

"Yes, she did. I don't blame her. She was young, unlarned. No man cared
for our souls. So, when she loved him well, she thort God spoke to her.
So she was tuk from me. She went away."

He patted the baby, his skinny hand all shaking. Jinny took it in hers,
and, leaning over, stroked his hair.

"You've hed hard trouble, to turn it gray like this."

"No trouble like that, woman, when he left her."

"Left her! An' then she was tired of God, an' of livin', or dyin'. So
as she loved him! You know, my husband. As I love you. An' he left her!
What wonder _what_ she did? All alone! So as she loved him still! God
shut His eyes to what she did."

The yellow, shaggy face was suddenly turned from her. The voice choked.

"Did He, little woman? _You_ know."

"So, when she was a-tryin' to forget, the only way she knew, God sent an
angel to bring her up, an' have her soul washed clean."

Adam laughed bitterly.

"That's not the way men told the story, child. I got there six months
after: to New York, you know. I found in an old paper jes' these words:
'The woman, Ellen Myers, found dead yesterday on one of the docks, was
identified. Died of starvation and whiskey.' That was Nelly, as used to
hang up her stockin' with me. Christian people read that. But nobody
cried but me."

"They're tryin' to help them now at the Five Points there."

"God help them as helps others this Christmas night! But it's not for
such as you to talk of the Five Points, Janet," rousing himself. "What
frabbit me to talk of Nelly the night? Someways she's been beside me all
day, as if she was grippin' me by the sleeve, beggin', dumb-like."

The moody frown deepened.

"The baby! See, Adam, it'll waken! Quick, man!"

And Adam, with a start, began hushing it after the fashion of a
chimpanzee. The old bell rang out another hour: how genial and loving it
was!

"Nine o'clock! Let me up, boys!"--and Lot Tyndal hustled them aside from
the steps of the concert-hall. They made way for her: her thin, white
arms could deal furious blows, they knew from experience. Besides, they
had seen her, when provoked, fall in some cellar-door in a livid dead
spasm. They were afraid of her. Her filthy, wet skirt flapped against
her feet, as she went up; she pulled her flaunting bonnet closer over
her head. There was a small room at the top of the stairs, a sort of
greenroom for the performers. Lot shoved the door open and went in.
Madame ---- was there, the prima-donna, if you chose to call her so:
the rankest bloom of fifty summers, in white satin and pearls: a faded
dahlia. Women hinted that the fragrance of the dahlia had not been
healthful in the world; but they crowded to hear her: such a wonderful
contralto! The manager, a thin old man, with a hook-nose, and kindly,
uncertain smile, stood by the stove, with a group of gentlemen about
him. The wretch from the street went up to him, unsteadily.

"Lot's drunk," one door-keeper whispered to another.

"No; the Devil's in her, though, like a tiger, to-night."

Yet there was a certain grace and beauty in her face, as she looked at
the manager, and spoke low and sudden.

"I'm not a beggar. I want money,--honest money. It's Christmas eve. They
say you want a voice for the chorus, in the carols. Put me where I'll be
hid, and I'll sing for you."

The manager's hand fell from his watch-chain. Storrs, a young lawyer of
the place, touched his shoulder.

"Don't look so aghast, Pumphrey. Let her sing a ballad to show you. Her
voice is a real curiosity."

Madame ---- looked dubiously across the room: her black maid had
whispered to her. Lot belonged to an order she had never met face to
face before: one that lives in the suburbs of hell.

"Let her sing, Pumphrey."

"If"----looking anxiously to the lady.

"Certainly," drawled that type of purity. "If it is so curious, her
voice."

"Sing, then," nodding to the girl.

There was a strange fierceness under her dead, gray eye.

"Do you mean to employ me to-night?"

Her tones were low, soft, from her teeth out, as I told you. Her soul
was chained, below: a young girl's soul, hardly older than your little
daughter's there, who sings Sunday-school hymns for you in the evenings.
Yet one fancied, if this girl's soul were let loose, it would utter a
madder cry than any fiend in hell.

"Do you mean to employ me?" biting her finger-ends until they bled.

"Don't be foolish, Charlotte," whispered Storrs. "You may be thankful
you're not sent to jail instead. But sing for him. He'll give you
something, may-be."

She did not damn him, as he expected, stood quiet a moment, her eyelids
fallen, relaxed with an inexpressible weariness. A black porter came to
throw coals into the stove: he knew "dat debbil, Lot," well: had helped
drag her drunk to the lock-up a day or two before. Now, before the white
folks, he drew his coat aside, loathing to touch her. She followed him
with a glazed look.

"Do you see what I am?" she said to the manager.

Nothing pitiful in her voice. It was too late for that.

"He wouldn't touch me: I'm not fit. I want help. Give me some honest
work."

She stopped and put her hand on his coat-sleeve. The child she might
have been, and never was, looked from her face that moment.

"God made me, I think," she said, humbly.

The manager's thin face reddened.

"God bless my soul! what shall I do, Mr. Storrs?"

The young man's thick lip and thicker eyelid drooped. He laughed, and
whispered a word or two.

"Yes," gruffly, being reassured. "There's a policeman outside. Joe, take
her out, give her in charge to him."

The negro motioned her before him with a billet of wood he held. She
laughed. Her laugh had gained her the name of "Devil Lot."

"Why,"--fires that God never lighted blazing in her eyes,--"I thought
you wanted me to sing! I'll sing. We'll have a hymn. It's Christmas, you
know."

She staggered. Liquor, or some subtler poison, was in her veins. Then,
catching by the lintel, she broke into that most deep of all adoring
cries,--

"I know that my Redeemer liveth."

A strange voice. The men about her were musical critics: they listened
intently. Low, uncultured, yet full, with childish grace and sparkle;
but now and then a wailing breath of an unutterable pathos.

"Git out wid you," muttered the negro, who had his own religious
notions, "pollutin' de name ob de Lord in _yer_ lips!"

Lot laughed.

"Just for a joke, Joe. _My_ Redeemer!"

He drove her down the stairs.

"Do you want to go to jail, Lot?" he said, more kindly. "It's orful cold
out to-night."

"No. Let me go."

She went through the crowd out into the vacant street, down to the
wharf, humming some street-song,--from habit, it seemed; sat down on a
pile of lumber, picking the clay out of the holes in her shoes. It
was dark: she did not see that a man had followed her, until his
white-gloved hand touched her. The manager, his uncertain face growing
red.

"Young woman"--

Lot got up, pushed off her bonnet. He looked at her.

"My God! No older than Susy," he said.

By a gas-lamp she saw his face, the trouble in it.

"Well?" biting her finger-ends again.

"I'm sorry for you, I"--

"Why?" sharply. "There's more like me. Fifteen thousand in the city of
New York. I came from there."

"Not like you, child."

"Yes, like me," with a gulping noise in her throat. "I'm no better than
the rest."

She sat down and began digging in the snow, holding the sullen look
desperately on her face. The kind word had reached the tortured soul
beneath, and it struggled madly to be free.

"Can I help you?"

No answer.

"There's something in your face makes me heart-sick. I've a little girl
of your age."

She looked up quickly.

"Who are you, girl?"

She stood up again, her child's face white, the dark river rolling close
by her feet.

"I'm Lot. I always was what you see. My mother drank herself to death in
the Bowery dens. I learned my trade there, slow and sure."

She stretched out her hands into the night, with a wild cry,--

"My God! I had to live!"

What was to be done? Whose place was it to help her? he thought. He
loathed to touch her. But her soul might be as pure and groping as
little Susy's.

"I wish I could help you, girl," he said. "But I'm a moral man. I have
to be careful of my reputation. Besides, I couldn't bring you under the
same roof with my child."

She was quiet now.

"I know. There's not one of those Christian women up in the town yonder
'ud take Lot into their kitchens to give her a chance to save herself
from hell. Do you think I care? It's not for myself I'm sorry. It's too
late."

Yet as this child, hardly a woman, gave her soul over forever, she could
not keep her lips from turning white.

"There's thousands more of us. Who cares? Do preachers and them as sits
in the grand churches come into our dens to teach us better?"

Pumphrey grew uneasy.

"Who taught you to sing?" he said.

The girl started. She did not answer for a minute.

"What did you say?" she said.

"Who taught you?"

Her face flushed warm and dewy; her eyes wandered away, moistened and
dreamy; she curled her hair-softly on her finger.

"I'd--I'd rather not speak of that," she said, low. "He's dead now. _He_
called me--Lottie," looking up with a sudden, childish smile. "I was
only fifteen then."

"How old are you now?"

"Four years more. But I tell you I've seen the world in that time."

It was Devil Lot looked over at the dark river now.

He turned away to go up the wharf. No help for so foul a thing as this.
He dared not give it, if there were. She had sunk down with her old,
sullen glare, but she rose and crept after him. Why, this was her only
chance of help from all the creatures God had made!

"Let me tell you," she said, holding by a fire-plug. "It's not for
myself I care. It's for Benny. That's my little brother. I've raised
him. He loves me; _he don't know_. I've kept him alone allays. I don't
pray, you know; but when Ben puts his white little arms about me 't
nights and kisses me, somethin' says to me, 'God loves you, Lot.' So
help me God, that boy shall never know what his sister was! He's gettin'
older now. I want work, before he can know. Now, will you help me?"

"How can I?"

The whole world of society spoke in the poor manager.

"I'll give you money."

Her face hardened.

"Lot, I'll be honest. There's no place for such as you. Those that have
made you what you are hold good stations among us; but when a woman's
once down, there's no raising her up."

"_Never_?"

"Never."

She stood, her fair hair pushed back from her face, her eye deadening
every moment, quite quiet.

"Good bye, Lot."

The figure touched him somehow, standing alone in the night there.

"It wasn't my fault at the first," she wandered. "Nobody teached me
better."

"I'm not a church-member, thank God!" said Pumphrey to himself, and so
washed his hands in innocency.

"Well, good bye, girl," kindly. "Try and lead a better life. I wish I
could have given you work."

"It was only for Benny that I cared, Sir."

"You're sick? Or"--

"It'll not last long, now. I only keep myself alive eating opium now and
then. D' ye know? I fell by your hall to-day; had a fit, they said. It
wasn't a fit; it was death, Sir."

He smiled.

"Why didn't you die, then?"

"I wouldn't. Benny would have known then, I said,--'I will not. I must
take care o' him first.' Good bye. You'd best not be seen here."

And so she left him.

One moment she stood uncertain, being alone, looking down into the
seething black water covered with ice.

"There's one chance yet," she muttered. "It's hard; but I'll try,"--with
a shivering sigh; and went dragging herself along the wharf, muttering
still something about Benny.

As she went through the lighted streets, her step grew lighter. She
lifted her head. Why, she was only a child yet, in some ways, you know;
and this was Christmas-time; and it wasn't easy to believe, that, with
the whole world strong and glad, and the True Love coming into it, there
was no chance for her. Was it? She hurried on, keeping in the shadow
of the houses to escape notice, until she came to the more open
streets,--the old "commons." She stopped at the entrance of an alley,
going to a pump, washing her face and hands, then combing her fair,
silky hair.

"I'll try it," she said again.

Some sudden hope had brought a pink flush to her cheek and a moist
brilliance to her eye. You could not help thinking, had society not made
her what she was, how fresh and fair and debonair a little maiden she
would have been.

"He's my mother's brother. He'd a kind face, though he struck me. I'll
kill him, if he strikes me agin," the dark trade-mark coming into her
eyes. "But mebbe," patting her hair, "he'll not. Just call me Charley,
as Ben does: help me to be like his wife: I'll hev a chance for heaven
at last."

She turned to a big brick building and ran lightly up the stairs on the
outside. It had been a cotton-factory, but was rented in tenement-rooms
now. On the highest porch was one of Lot's rooms: she had two. The
muslin curtain was undrawn, a red fire-light shone out. She looked in
through the window, smiling. A clean, pure room: the walls she had
whitewashed herself; a white cot-bed in one corner; a glowing fire,
before which a little child sat on a low cricket, building a house out
of blocks. A brave, honest-faced little fellow, with clear, reserved
eyes, and curling golden hair. The girl, Lot, might have looked like
that at his age.

"Benny!" she called, tapping on the pane.

"Yes, Charley!" instantly, coming quickly to the door.

She caught him up in her arms.

"Is my baby tired waiting for sister? I'm finding Christmas for him, you
know."

He put his arms about her neck, kissing her again and again, and laying
his head down on her shoulder.

"I'm so glad you've come, Charley! so glad! so glad!"

"Has my boy his stocking up? Such a big boy to have his stocking up!"

He put his chubby hands over her eyes quickly, laughing.

"Don't look, Charley! don't! Benny's played you a trick now, I tell
you!" pulling her towards the fire. "Now look! Not Benny's stocking:
Charley's, _I_ guess."

The girl sat down on the cricket, holding him on her lap, playing with
the blocks, as much of a child as he.

"Why, Bud! Such an awful lot of candies that stocking'll hold!" laughing
with him. "It'll take all Kriss Kringle's sack."

"_Kriss Kringle_! Oh, Charley! I'm too big; I'm five years now. You
can't cheat me."

The girl's very lips went white. She got up at his childish words, and
put him down.

"No, I'll not cheat you, Benny,--never, any more."

"Where are you going, Charley?"

"Just out a bit," wrapping a plain shawl about her. "To find Christmas,
you know. For you--and me."

He pattered after her to the door.

"You'll come put me to bed, Charley dear? I'm so lonesome!"

"Yes, Bud. Kiss me. One,--two,--three times,--for God's good-luck."

He kissed her. And Lot went out into the wide, dark world,--into
Christmas night, to find a friend.

She came a few minutes later to a low frame-building, painted brown:
Adam Craig's house and shop. The little sitting-room had a light in it:
his wife would be there with the baby. Lot knew them well, though they
never had seen her. She had watched them through the window for hours in
winter nights. Some damned soul might have thus looked wistfully into
heaven: pitying herself, feeling more like God than the blessed within,
because she knew the pain in her heart, the struggle to do right, and
pitied it. She had a reason for the hungry pain in her blood when the
kind-faced old cobbler passed her. She was Nelly's child. She had come
West to find him.

"Never, that he should know _me_! never that! but for Benny's sake."

If Benny could have brought her to him, saying, "See, this is Charley,
my Charley!" But Adam knew her by another name,--Devil Lot.

While she stood there, looking in at the window, the snow drifting on
her head in the night, two passers-by halted an instant.

"Oh, father, look!" It was a young girl spoke. "Let me speak to that
woman."

"What does thee mean, Maria?"

She tried to draw her hand from his arm.

"Let me go,--she's dying, I think. Such a young, fair face! She thinks
God has forgotten her. Look!"

The old Quaker hesitated.

"Not thee, Maria. Thy mother shall find her to-morrow. Thee must never
speak to her. Accursed! 'Her house is the way to hell, going down to the
chambers of death.'"

They passed on. Lot heard it all. God had offered the pure young girl a
chance to save a soul from death; but she threw it aside. Lot did not
laugh: looked after them with tearless eyes, until they were out of
sight. She went to the door then. "It's for Benny," she whispered,
swallowing down the choking that made her dumb. She knocked and went in.

Jinny was alone: sitting by the fire, rocking the baby to sleep, singing
some child's hymn: a simple little thing, beginning,--

  "Come, let us sing of Jesus,
    Who wept our path along:
  Come, let us sing of Jesus,
    The tempted, and the strong."

Such a warm, happy flush lightened in Charley's heart at that! She did
not know why; but her fear was gone. The baby, too, a white, pure
little thing, was lying in the cradle, cooing softly to itself. The
mother--instinct is nearest the surface in a loving woman; the girl went
up quickly to it, and touched its cheek, with a smile: she could not
help it.

"It's so pretty!" she said.

Jinny's eyes glowed.

"_I_ think so," she said, simply. "It's my baby. Did you want me?"

Lot remembered then. She drew back, her face livid and grave.

"Yes. Do you know me? I'm Lot Tyndal. Don't jerk your baby back! Don't!
I'll not touch it. I want to get some honest work. I've a little
brother."

There was a dead silence. Jinny's brain, I told you, was narrow, her
natural heart not generous or large in its impulse; the kind of religion
she learned did not provide for anomalies of work like this. (So near at
hand, you know. Lot was neither a Sioux nor a Rebel.)

"I'm Lot,"--desperately. "You know what I am. I want you to take us in,
stop the boys from hooting at me on the streets, make a decent Christian
woman out of me. There's plain words. Will you do it? I'll work for you.
I'll nurse the baby, the dear little baby."

Jinny held her child tighter to her breast, looking at the vile clothes
of the wretch, the black marks which years of crime had left on her
face. Don't blame Jinny. Her baby was God's gift to her: she thought of
that, you know. She did not know those plain, coarse words were the last
cry for help from a drowning soul, going down into depths whereof no
voice has come back to tell the tale. Only Jesus. Do you know what
message He carried to those "spirits in prison"?

"I daren't do it. What would they say of me?" she faltered.

Lot did not speak. After a while she motioned to the shop. Adam was
there. His wife went for him, taking the baby with her. Charley saw
that, though everything looked dim to her; when Adam came in, she knew,
too, that his face was angry and dark.

"It's Christmas eve," she said.

She tried to say more, but could not.

"You must go from here!" speaking sharp, hissing. "I've no faith in the
whinin' cant of such as you. Go out, Janet. This is no place for you or
the child."

He opened the street-door for Lot to go out. He had no faith in her. No
shrewd, common-sense man would have had. Besides, this was his Christmas
night: the beginning of his new life, when he was coming near to Christ
in his happy home and great love. Was this foul worm of the gutter to
crawl in and tarnish it all?

She stopped one instant on the threshold. Within was a home, a chance
for heaven; out yonder in the night--what?

"You will put me out?" she said.

"I know your like. There's no help for such as you"; and he closed the
door.

She sat down on the curb-stone. It was snowing hard. For about an hour
she was there, perfectly quiet. The snow lay in warm, fleecy drifts
about her: when it fell on her arm, she shook it off: it was so pure and
clean, and _she_----She could have torn her flesh from the bones, it
seemed so foul to her that night. Poor Charley! If she had only known
how God loved something within her, purer than the snow, which no
foulness of flesh or circumstance could defile! Would you have told her,
if you had been there? She only muttered, "Never," to herself now and
then, "Never."

A little boy came along presently, carrying a loaf of bread under
his arm,--a manly, gentle little fellow. She let Benny play with him
sometimes.

"Why, Lot!" he said. "I'll walk part of the way home with you. I'm
afraid."

She got up and took him by the hand. She could hardly speak. Tired,
worn-out in body and soul; her feet had been passing for years through
water colder than the river of death: but it was nearly over now.

"It's better for Benny it should end this way," she said.

She knew how it would end.

"Rob," she said, when the boy turned to go to his own home, "you
know Adam Craig? I want you to bring him to my room early to-morrow
morning,--by dawn. Tell him he'll find his sister Nelly's child there:
and never to tell that child that his 'Charley' was Lot Tyndal. You'll
remember, Rob?"

"I will. Happy Christmas, Charley!"

She waited a minute, her foot on the steps leading to her room.

"Rob!" she called, weakly, "when you play with Ben, I wish you'd call me
Charley to him, and never--that other name."

"I'll mind," the child said, looking wistfully at her.

She was alone now. How long and steep the stairs were! She crawled up
slowly. At the top she took a lump of something brown from her pocket,
looked at it long and steadily. Then she glanced upward.

"It's the only way to keep Benny from knowing," she said. She ate it,
nearly all, then looked around, below her, with a strange intentness, as
one who says good-bye. The bell tolled the hour. Unutterable pain was in
its voice,--may-be dumb spirits like Lot's crying aloud to God.

"One hour nearer Christmas," said Adam Craig, uneasily. "Christ's coming
would have more meaning, Janet, if this were a better world. If it
wasn't for these social necessities that"----

He stopped. Jinny did not answer.

Lot went into her room, roused Ben with a kiss. "His last remembrance
of me shall be good and pleasant," she said. She took him on her lap,
untying his shoes.

"My baby has been hunting eggs to-day in Rob's stable," shaking the hay
from his stockings.

"Why, Charley! how could you know?" with wide eyes.

"So many things I know! Oh, Charley's wise! To-morrow, Bud will go see
new friends,--such kind friends! Charley knows. A baby, Ben. My boy will
like that: he's a big giant beside that baby. _Ben_ can hold it, and
touch it, and kiss it."

She looked at his pure hands with hungry eyes.

"Go on. What else but the baby?"

"Kind friends for Ben, better and kinder than Charley."

"That's not true. Where are you going, Charley? I hate the kind friends.
I'll stay with you,"--beginning to cry.

Her eyes sparkled, and she laughed childishly.

"Only a little way, Bud, I'm going. You watch for me,--all the time you
watch for me. Some day you and I'll go out to the country, and be good
children together."

What dawning of a new hope was this? She did not feel as if she lied.
Some day,--it might be true. Yet the vague gleam died out of her heart,
and when Ben, in his white night-gown, knelt down to say the prayer his
mother had taught him, it was "Devil Lot's" dead, crime-marked face that
bent over him.

"God bless Charley!" he said.

She heard that. She put him into the bed, then quietly bathed herself,
filled his stocking with the candies she had bought, and lay down beside
him,--her limbs growing weaker, but her brain more lifeful, vivid,
intent.

"Not long now," she thought. "Love me, Benny. Kiss me good-night."

The child put his arms about her neck, and kissed her forehead.

"Charley's cold," he said. "When we are good children together, let's
live in a tent. Will you, Sis? Let's make a tent now."

"Yes, dear."

She struggled up, and pinned the sheet over him to the head-board; it
was a favorite fancy of Ben's.

"That's a good Charley," sleepily. "Good night. I'll watch for you all
the time, all the time."

He was asleep,--did not waken even when she strained him to her heart,
passionately, with a wild cry.

"Good bye, Benny." Then she lay quiet. "We might have been good children
together, if only----I don't know whose fault it is," throwing her
thin arms out desperately. "I wish--oh, I do wish somebody had been kind
to me!"

Then the arms fell powerless, and Charley never moved again. But her
soul was clear. In the slow tides of that night, it lived back, hour by
hour, the life gone before. There was a skylight above her; she looked
up into the great silent darkness between earth and heaven,--Devil Lot,
whose soul must go out into that darkness alone. She said that. The
world that had held her under its foul heel did not loathe her as she
loathed herself that night. _Lot_.

The dark hours passed, one by one. Christmas was nearer, nearer,--the
bell tolled. It had no meaning for her: only woke a weak fear that she
should not be dead before morning, that any living eye should be vexed
by her again. Past midnight. The great darkness slowly grayed and
softened. What did she wait for? The vile worm Lot,--who cared in
earth or heaven when she died? _Then the Lord turned, and looked upon
Charley_. Never yet was the soul so loathsome, the wrong so deep, that
the loving Christ has not touched it once with His hands, and said,
"Will you come to me?" Do you know how He came to her? how, while the
unquiet earth needed Him, and the inner deeps of heaven were freshening
their fairest morning light to usher in the birthday of our God, He came
to find poor Charley, and, having died to save her, laid His healing
hands upon her? It was in her weak, ignorant way she saw Him. While she,
Lot, lay there corrupt, rotten in soul and body, it came to her how,
long ago, Magdalene, more vile than Lot, had stood closest to Jesus.
Magdalene loved much, and was forgiven.

So, after a while, Charley, the child that might have been, came to His
feet humbly, with bitter sobs. "Lord, I'm so tired!" she said. "I'd like
to try again, and be a different girl." That was all. She clung close to
His hand as she went through the deep waters.

Benny, stirring in his sleep, leaned over, and kissed her lips. "So
cold!" he whispered, drowsily. "God--bless--Charley!" She smiled, but
her eyes were closed.

The darkness was gone: the gray vault trembled with a coming radiance;
from the East, where the Son of Man was born, a faint flush touched the
earth: it was the promise of the Dawn. Lot's foul body lay dead there
with the Night: but Jesus took the child Charley in His arms, and
blessed her.

Christmas evening. How still and quiet it was! The Helper had come. Not
to the snow-covered old earth, falling asleep in the crimson sunset
mist: it did not need Him. Not an atom of its living body, from the
granite mountain to the dust on the red sea-fern, had failed to perform
its work: taking time, too, to break forth in a wild luxuriance of
beauty as a psalm of thanksgiving. The Holy Spirit you talk of in the
churches had been in the old world since the beginning, since the day it
brooded over the waters, showing itself as the spirit of Life in granite
rock or red sea-fern,--as the spirit of Truth in every heroic deed, in
every true word of poet or prophet,--as the spirit of Love as----Let
your own hungry heart tell how. To-day it came to man as the Helper. We
all saw that dimly, and showed that we were glad, in some weak way. God,
looking down, saw a smile upon the faces of His people.

The fire glowed redder and cheerier in Adam's little cottage; the lamp
was lighted; Jinny had set out a wonderful table, too. Benny had walked
around and around it, rubbing his hands slowly in dumb ecstasy. Such
oranges! and frosted cakes covered with crushed candy! Such a tree in
the middle, hung with soft-burning tapers, and hidden in the branches
the white figure of the loving Christ-child. That was Adam's fancy.
Benny sat in Jinny's lap now, his head upon her breast. She was rocking
him to sleep, singing some cheery song for him, although that baby of
hers lay broad awake in the cradle, aghast and open-mouthed at his
neglect. It had been just "Benny" all day,--Benny that she had followed
about, uneasy lest the wind should blow through the open door on him, or
the fire be too hot, or that every moment should not be full to the brim
with fun and pleasure, touching his head or hand now and then with a
woful tenderness, her throat choked, and her blue eyes wet, crying in
her heart incessantly, "Lord, forgive me!"

"Tell me more of Charley," she said, as they sat there in the evening.

He was awake a long time after that, telling her, ending with,--

"She said, 'You watch for me, Bud, all the time.' That's what she said.
So she'll come. She always does, when she says. Then we're going to the
country to be good children together. I'll watch for her."

So he fell asleep, and Jinny kissed him,--looking at him an instant, her
cheek growing paler.

"That is for you, Benny," she whispered to herself,--"and this,"
stooping to touch his lips again, "this is for Charley. Last night," she
muttered, bitterly, "it would have saved her."

Old Adam sat on the side of the bed where the dead girl lay.

"Nelly's child!" he said, stroking the hand, smoothing the fair hair.
All day he had said only that,--"Nelly's child!"

Very like her she was,--the little Nell who used to save her cents to
buy a Christmas-gift for him, and bring it with flushed cheeks, shyly,
and slip it on his plate. This child's cheeks would have flushed like
hers--at a kind word; the dimpled, innocent smile lay in them,--only a
kind word would have brought it to life. She was dead now, and he--he
had struck her yesterday. She lay dead there with her great loving
heart, her tender, childish beauty,--a harlot,--Devil Lot. No more.

The old man pushed his hair back, with shaking hands, looking up to
the sky. "Lord, lay not this sin to my charge!" he said. His lips were
bloodless. There was not a street in any city where a woman like this
did not stand with foul hand and gnawing heart. They came from God, and
would go back to Him. To-day the Helper came; but who showed Him to
them, to Nelly's child?

Old Adam took the little cold hand in his: he said something under his
breath: I think it was, "Here am I, Lord, and the wife that Thou hast
given," as one who had found his life's work, and took it humbly. A
sworn knight in Christ's order.

Christmas-day had come,--the promise of the Dawn, sometime to broaden
into the full and perfect day. At its close now, a still golden glow,
like a great Peace, filled the earth and heaven, touching the dead Lot
there, and the old man kneeling beside her. He fancied that it broke
from behind the dark bars of cloud in the West, thinking of the old
appeal, "Lift up your heads, O ye gates, and the King of Glory shall
come in." Was He going in, yonder? A weary man, pale, thorn-crowned,
bearing the pain and hunger of men and women vile as Lot, to lay them at
His Father's feet? Was he to go with loving heart, and do likewise? Was
that the meaning of Christmas-day? The quiet glow grew deeper, more
restful; the bell tolled: its sound faded, solemn and low, into the
quiet, as one that says in his heart, Amen.

That night, Benny, sleeping in the still twilight, stirred and smiled
suddenly, as though some one had given him a happy kiss, and, half
waking, cried, "Oh, Charley! Charley!"



IN THE HALF-WAY HOUSE.


  I.

  At twenty we fancied the blest Middle Ages
    A spirited cross of romantic and grand,
  All templars and minstrels and ladies and pages,
    And love and adventure in Outre-Mer land;
  But, ah, where the youth dreamed of building a minster,
    The man takes a pew and sits reckoning his pelf,
  And the Graces wear fronts, the Muse thins to a spinster,
  When Middle-Age stares from one's glass at himself!

  II.

  Do you twit me with days when I had an Ideal,
    And saw the sear future through spectacles green?
  Then find me some charm, while I look round and see all
    These fat friends of forty, shall keep me nineteen;
  Should we go on pining for chaplets of laurel
    Who've paid a perruquier for mending our thatch,
  Or, our feet swathed in baize, with our fate pick a quarrel,
    If, instead of cheap bay-leaves, she sent a dear scratch?

  III.

  We called it our Eden, that small patent-baker,
    When life was half moonshine and half Mary Jane;
  But the butcher, the baker, the candlestick-maker!--
    Bid Adam have duns and slip down a back-lane?
  Nay, after the Fall did the modiste keep coming
    With last styles of fig-leaf to Madam Eve's bower?
  Did Jubal, or whoever taught the girls thrumming,
    Make the Patriarchs deaf at a dollar the hour?

  IV.

  As I think what I was, I sigh, _Desunt nonnulla_!
    Years are creditors Sheridan's self could not bilk;
  But then, as my boy says, "What right has a fullah
    To ask for the cream, when himself spilled the milk?"
  Perhaps when you're older, my lad, you'll discover
    The secret with which Auld Lang Syne there is gilt,--
  Superstition of old man, maid, poet, and lover,--
    That cream rises thickest on milk that was spilt!

  V.

  We sailed for the moon, but, in sad disillusion,
    Snug under Point Comfort are glad to make fast,
  And strive (sans our glasses) to make a confusion
    'Twixt our rind of green cheese and the moon of the past;
  Ah, Might-have-been, Could-have-been, Would-have-been! rascals,
    He's a genius or fool whom ye cheat at two-score,
  And the man whose boy-promise was likened to Pascal's
    Is thankful at forty they don't call him bore!

  VI.

  With what fumes of fame was each confident pate full!
    How rates of insurance should rise on the Charles!
  And which of us now would not feel wisely grateful,
    If his rhymes sold as fast as the Emblems of Quarles?
  E'en if won, what's the good of Life's medals and prizes?
    The rapture's in what never was or is gone;
  That we missed them makes Helens of plain Ann Elizys,
  For the goose of To-day still is Memory's swan.

  VII.

  And yet who would change the old dream for new treasure?
    Make not youth's sourest grapes the best wine of our life?
  Need he reckon his date by the Almanac's measure
    Who is twenty life-long in the eyes of his wife?
  Ah, Fate, should I live to be nonagenarian,
    Let me still take Hope's frail I.O.U.s upon trust,
  Still talk of a trip to the Islands Macarian,
    And still climb the dream-tree for--ashes and dust!

       *       *       *       *       *


MR. BUCKLE AS A THINKER.


The recent death of Henry Thomas Buckle calls a new attention to his
published works. Pathetic it will seem to all that he should be cut off
in the midst of labors so large, so assiduous and adventurous; and there
are few who will not feel inclined to make up, as it were, to his memory
for this untimely interruption of his pursuits, by assigning the highest
possible value to his actual performance. Additional strength will
be given to these dispositions by the impressions of his personal
character. This was, indeed, such as to conciliate the utmost good-will.
If we except occasional touches of self-complacency, which betray,
perhaps, a trifling foible, it may be said that everything is pleasing
which is known concerning him. His devotion, wellnigh heroic, to
scholarly aims; his quiet studiousness; his filial virtue; his genial
sociability, graced by, and gracing, the self-supporting habit of his
soul; his intrepidity of intellect, matched by a beautiful boldness
and openness in speech; the absence, too, from works so incisive, of a
single trace of truculence: all this will now be remembered; and those
are unamiable persons, in whom the remembrance does not breed a desire
to believe him as great in thought as he was brave, as prosperous in
labor as he was persevering.

But however it may be with others, certainly he who has undertaken the
duties of a scholar must not yield too readily to these amiable wishes.
He, as a sworn soldier of Truth, stands sacredly bound to be as free
from favor as from fear, and to follow steadily wherever the standards
of his imperial mistress lead him on. And so performing his lawful
service, he may bear in mind that at last the interests of Truth are
those of every soul, be it of them that we number with the dead, or that
are still reckoned among these that we greet as living. Let us not be
petty in our kindness. Over the fresh grave of a scholar let us rise to
that high and large friendliness which respects more the scope of every
man's nature than the limited measure of any man's performance, and
sides bravely with the soul of the departed, even though it be against
his fame. Who would not choose this for himself? Who would not whisper
from his grave, "My personal weaknesses let those spare who can; my work
do not praise, but judge; and never think in behalf of my mortal fame to
lower those stars that my spirit would look up to yet and forever"?

As a man and scholar, Mr. Buckle needs no forbearance; and men must
commend him, were it only in justice to themselves. Such intellectual
courage, such personal purity, such devotion to ideal aims, such a clean
separation of boldness from bitterness,--in thought, no blade more
trenchant, in feeling, no heart more human;--when these miss their honor
and their praise, then will men have forgotten how to estimate fine
qualities.

Meanwhile, as a thinker, he must be judged according to the laws of
thought. Here we are to forget whether he be living or dead, and whether
his personal traits were delightful or disagreeable. Here there is but
one question, and that is the question of truth.

And as a thinker, I can say nothing less than that Mr. Buckle signally
failed. His fundamental conceptions, upon which reposes the whole
edifice of his labor, are sciolistic assumptions caught up in his youth
from Auguste Comte and other one-eyed seers of modern France; his
generalization, multitudinous and imposing, is often of the card-castle
description, and tumbles at the touch of an inquisitive finger; and
his cobweb logic, spun chiefly out of his wishes rather than his
understanding, is indeed facile and ingenious, but of a strength to hold
only flies. Such, at any rate, is the judgment passed upon him in the
present paper; and if it is stated roundly, the critic can be held all
the better to its justification, and the more freely condemned, should
these charges not be sustained.

But while in the grand topography of thought and in the larger processes
of reasoning the failure of Mr. Buckle, according to the judgment here
given, is complete, it is freely admitted that as a writer and man of
letters he has claims not only to respect, but even to admiration. His
mental fertility is remarkable, his memory marvellous, his reading
immense, his mind discursive and agile, his style pellucid as water and
often vigorous, while his _subordinate_ conceptions are always ingenious
and frequently valuable. Besides this, he is a genuine enthusiast,
and sees before him that El Dorado of the understanding where golden
knowledge shall lie yellow on all the hills and yellow under every
footfall,--where the very peasant shall have princely wealth, and no
man shall need say to another, "Give me of thy wisdom." It is this same
element of romantic expectation which stretches a broad and shining
margin about the spacious page of Bacon; it is this which wreathes a new
fascination around the royal brow of Raleigh; it is this, in part, which
makes light the bulky and antiquated tomes of Hakluyt; and the grace
of it is that which we often miss in coming from ancient to modern
literature. Better it is, too, than much erudition and many
"proprieties" of thought; and one may note it as curious, that Mr.
Buckle, seeking to disparage imagination, should have written a book
whose most winning and enduring charm is the appeal to imagination it
makes. Moreover, he is an enthusiast in behalf of just that which is
distinctively modern: he is a white flame of precisely those heats which
smoulder now in the duller breast of the world in general; he worships
at all the pet shrines; he expresses the peculiar loves and hatreds of
the time. Who is so devout a believer in free speech and free trade and
the let-alone policy in government, and the coming of the Millennium by
steam? Who prostrates himself with such unfeigned adoration before the
great god, "State-of-Society," or so mutters, for a mystic _O'm_, the
word "Law"? Then how delightful it is, when he traces the whole ill of
the world to just those things which we now all agree to detest,--to
theological persecution, bigotry, superstition, and infidelity to Isaac
Newton! In fine, the recent lessons of that great schoolboy, the
world, or those over which the said youth now is poring or idling or
blubbering, Mr. Buckle has not only got by heart, not only recites them
capitally, but believes with assurance that they are the sole lessons
worth learning in any time; and all the inevitable partialities of the
text-book, all the errors and _ad captandum_ statements with which its
truth is associated, he takes with such implicit faith, and believes in
so confidently as part and parcel of our superiority to all other times,
that the effect upon most of us cannot be otherwise than delectable.

Unhappily, the text-book in which he studied these fine lessons chanced
to be the French edition, and, above all, the particular compilation of
Auguste Comte,--Comte, the one-eyed Polyphemus of modern literature,
enormous in stature and strength, but a devourer of the finer races in
thought, feeding his maw upon the beautiful offspring of the highest
intelligence, whom the Olympians love. Therefore it befell that our
eager and credulous scholar unlearned quite as much as he learned,
acquiring the wisdoms of our time in the crudest and most liberal
commixture with its unwisdoms. And thus, though his house is laboriously
put together, yet it is built upon the sand; and though his bark has
much good timber, and is well modelled for speed, yet its keel is wholly
rotten, so that whosoever puts to sea therein will sail far more swiftly
to bottom than to port.

And precisely this, in lieu of all else, it is my present purpose to
show: that the keel of his craft is unsound,--that his fundamental
notions are fundamental falsities, such as no thinker can fall into
without discredit to his powers of thought. Fortunately, he has begun by
stating and arguing these; so that there can be no question either what
they are, or by what considerations he is able to support them.

The foundation-timber of Mr. Buckle's work consists of three pieces, or
propositions, two of which take the form of denial. First, he denies
that there is in man anything of the nature of Free-Will, and attributes
the belief in it to vulgar and childish ignorance. Secondly, and in
support of the primary negation, he denies that there is any oracle in
man's bosom,--that his spirit had any knowledge of itself or of the
relationships it sustains: in other words, denies the validity of
Consciousness. Thirdly and lastly, he attempts to show that all actions
of individuals originate not in themselves, but result from a law
working in the general and indistinguishable _lump_ of society,--from
laws of like nature with that which preserves the balance of the sexes;
so that no man has more to do with his own deed than the mother in
determining whether her child shall be male or female. By the two
former statements man is stripped of all the grander prerogatives and
characteristics of personality; by the last he is placed as freight,
whether dead or alive it were hard to say, in the hold of the
self-steering ship, "Society." These propositions and the reasons, or
unreasons, by which they are supported, we will examine in order.

1. _Free-Will_. The question of free-will has at sundry times and
seasons, and by champions many and furious, been disputed, till the
ground about it is all beaten into blinding dust, wherein no reasonable
man can now desire to cloud his eyes and clog his lungs. It is, indeed,
one of the cheerful signs of our times, that there is a growing relish
for clear air and open skies, a growing indisposition to mingle in old
and profitless controversies. It commonly happens in such controversies,
as it undoubtedly has happened in the dispute about free-will, that both
parties have been trying to pull up Life or Spirit by the roots, and
make a show, _à la_ Barnum, of all its secrets. The enterprise was
zealously prosecuted, but would not prosper. In truth, there are strict
and jealous limits to the degree in which man's mind can become an
object to itself. By silent consciousness, by an action of reason and
imagination sympathetic with pure inward life, man may _feel_ far down
into the sweet, awful depths and mysteries of his being; and the results
of this inward intimation are given in the great poems, the great art
and divine philosophy of all time, and in the commanding beliefs of
mankind; but so soon as one begins to come to his own existence as an
outsider and stranger, and attempts to bear away its secret, so soon he
begins to be balked.

Mr. Buckle, however, has assumed in a summary and authoritative way to
settle this question of free-will; and, without entering into the dust
and suffocation of the old interminable dispute, we may follow him far
enough to see whether he has thrown any light upon the matter, or has
only thrown light upon his own powers as a thinker.

His direct polemic against the doctrine of Free-Will consists simply
of an attempt to identify it with the notion of Chance in physics. The
notion of Chance, he says, is the same with that of Free-Will; the
doctrine of Necessary Connection with the dogma of Predestination. This
statement has certainly an imposing air. But consider it. To assert the
identity of chance and free-will is but another way of saying that pure
freedom is one and the same with absolute lawlessness,--that where
freedom exists, law, order, reason do not. If this be a misconception,
as it surely is a total and fatal misconception, of the nature of
freedom, then does the statement of our author, with all that rests upon
it, fall instantly and utterly to the ground.

It is a misconception. Freedom and lawlessness are not the same. To make
this finally clear, let us at once give the argument the widest possible
scope; since the largest way of looking at the matter, as indeed it
often happens, will prove also the nearest and simplest. In the universe
as a whole Will does certainly originate, since there is, undoubtedly,
origination somewhere. Freely, too, it must arise, for there is nothing
behind it to bring it under constraint: indeed, all origination is by
its nature free. But our philosopher tells us that wherever there is
a pure and free origination of will, there is lawlessness, caprice,
chance. The universe, therefore, should be a scene, not of absolute
order, but of absolute disorder; and since it is not such, we have
nothing for it but to say that either the logic of the universe, or that
of Mr. Buckle, is very much awry.

In the universe, Will freely originates, but forever in unison with
divine Reason; and the result is at once pure necessity and pure
freedom: for these, if both be, as we say, absolutely _pure_, are one
and the same. A coercing necessity is impure, for it is at war with that
to which it applies; only a necessity in sweetest affinity with that
which it governs is of the purest degree; and this is, of course,
identical with the highest and divinest freedom.

And here we approach the solution of our problem, so far as it can be
solved. Freedom and free-will exist only in virtue of reason, only
in connection with the rational soul. In a rough account of man, and
leaving out of sight all that is not strictly relevant to the present
point, we discriminate in him two natures. One of these comprises the
whole body of organic desires and energies, with all that _kind_ of
intellect by which one perceives the relation of things to his selfish
wishes. By this nature, man is a selfish and intellectual animal; a
polyp with arms that go round the world; a sponge with eyes and energies
and delights; a cunning _ego_, to whom all outside of himself is but for
a prey. But aloft over this, and constituting the second nature, into
whose kingdom one should be born as by a second birth, is the sovereign
eye and soul of Reason, discerning Justice and Beauty and the Best,
creating in man's bosom an ideal, redeeming him out of his littleness,
bringing him into fellowship with Eternal Truth, and making him
universal. Now between these two natures there is, for there must be, a
mediating term, a power by which man _enacts_ reason, and causes doing
to accord with seeing. This is will, and it must, from its very nature,
be free; for to say that it is a mere representative of the major force
in desire is simply to say that it does not exist. A mediation without
freedom in the mediator is something worse than the mediation of Holland
between England and the United States in the dispute concerning the
North-East Boundary.

So far, now, as the sovereign law and benefaction of the higher nature,
through a perfect mediation of the will, descends upon the lower, so
far man enters into free alliance with that which is sovereign in the
universe, and is himself established in perfected freedom. The right
action of free-will is, then, freedom in the making. But by this
entrance into the great harmonies of the world, by this loyalty to the
universal reason which alone makes one free, it must be evident that the
order of the world is graced and supported rather than assailed.

But how if free-will fail of its highest function? Must not the order of
the world then suffer? Not a whit. Universal Reason prevails, but in two
diverse ways: she may either be felt as a mere Force or Fate, or she
may be recognized and loved and obeyed as an Authority. Wherever the
rational soul, her oracle, is given, there she proffers the privilege of
knowing her only as a divine authority,--of free loyalty, of honorable
citizenship in her domains. But to those who refuse this privilege she
appears as fate; and though their honor is lost, hers is not; for the
order of the world continues to be vindicated. The just and faithful
citizen, who of his own election obeys the laws, illustrates in one way
the order of society and the supremacy of moral law. The villain in the
penitentiary illustrates the order of society and the supremacy of moral
law in quite another way. But order and law are illustrated by both,
though in ways so very different. So one may refuse to make reason a
free necessity in his own bosom; but then the constable of the universe
speedily taps him upon the shoulder, and law is honored, though he is
disgraced.

Now Mr. Buckle supposed that order in the world and in history could be
obtained only by sacrificing the freedom of the individual; and that he
so supposed determines his own rank as a thinker. There is no second
question to be asked concerning a candidate for the degree of master in
philosophy who begins by making this mistake.

But does some one, unwilling so soon to quit the point, require of me
to explain _how_ will can originate in man? My only answer is, I do not
know. Does the questioner know _how_ motion originates in the universe?
It does or did originate; science is clear in assigning a progress, and
therefore a beginning, to the solar system: can you find its origin in
aught but the self-activity of Spirit, whose _modus operandi_ no man can
explain? _All_ origination is inscrutable; the plummet of understanding
cannot sound it; but wherefore may not one sleep as sweetly, knowing
that the wondrous fact is near at hand, in the bosoms of his
contemporaries and in his own being, as if it were pushed well out of
sight into the depths of primeval time? To my mind, there is something
thoroughly weak and ridiculous in the way that Comte and his company run
away from the Absolute and Inexplicable, fearing only its nearness; like
a child who is quite willing there should he bears at the North Pole,
but would lie awake of nights, if he thought there were one in the
nearest wood. And it is the more ridiculous because Mystery is no bear;
nor can I, for one, conceive why it should not be to every man a joy to
know that all the marvel which ever was in Nature is in her now, and
that the divine inscrutable processes are going on under our eyes and in
them and in our hearts.

Doubtless, however, many will adhere to the logic that has satisfied
them so long and so well,--that it is impossible the will should move
otherwise than in obedience to motives, and that, obeying a motive, it
is not free. Why should we not, then, amuse ourselves a little with
these complacent motive-mongers? They profess a perfect explanation of
mental action, and make it the stigma of a deeper philosophy, that
it must leave somewhat in all action of the mind, and therefore in
a doctrine of the will, unexplained. Let, now, these good gentlemen
explain to us how a motive ever gets to be a motive. For there is
precisely the same difficulty in initiating motion here as elsewhere.
You look on a peach; you desire it; and you are moved by the desire to
pluck or purchase it. Now it is plain that you could not desire this
peach until you had perceived that it was a desirable fruit. But
you could not perceive that the fruit was desirable until you had
experienced desire of it. And here we are at the old, inexplicable
seesaw. It must appear desirable in order to be desired; it must be
desired in order to appear desirable: the perception must precede the
desire, and the desire must precede the perception. These are foolish
subtilties, but all the fitter for their purpose. Our motive-mongering
friends should understand that they can explain no farther than their
neighbors,--that by enslaving the will they only shift the difficulty,
not solve it.

Anything but this shallow sciolism! More philosophical a thousand times
than the knowing and facile metaphysic which makes man a thing of
springs and pivots and cogs, are the notions of old religionists, which
attributed human action in large part to preventing, suggesting, and
efficient "grace," or those of older poets, who gave Pallas Athene for
a counsellor to Odysseus, and Krishna for a teacher to the young Aryan
warrior,--which represent human action, that is, as issuing in part out
of the Infinite. A thousand times more _philosophical_, as well as
ten thousand times more inspiring, I say, are the metaphysics of
Imagination,--of scriptures and great poems and the _live_ human
heart,--than the cut-and-dried sciolisms which explain you a man in five
minutes, and make everything in him as obvious as the movements of a
jumping-jack.

To deny, then, the existence of free-will is, in my judgment, a grave
error; but to deny it on the ground of its identity with chance is more
than an ordinary error, however grave; it is a poison in the blood of
one's thought, conveying its vice to every part and function of the
system. And herewith we pass to the next head.

2. _Consciousness_. It has been the persuasion of wise men in various
ages, and is the persuasion of many, as wise, doubtless, as their
neighbors, now, that the soul has a native sense of its quality and
perpetual relations. By Plato this sense, in some of its aspects, was
named Reminiscence; by modern speakers of English it is denoted as
Consciousness. This, according to its grades and applications, is
qualified as personal, moral, intellectual, or, including all its higher
functions, as intuitive or spiritual. Of this high spiritual sense, this
self-recognition of soul, all the master-words of the language--God,
Immortality, Life, Love, Duty--are either wholly, or in all their
grander suggestions, the product. Nothing, indeed, is there which
confers dignity upon human life and labor, that is not primarily due to
the same source. In union with popular and unconscious imagination, it
generates mythology; in union with imagination and reason, it gives
birth to theology and cosmogony; in union with imagination, reason, and
experience, it is the source of philosophy; in union with the same,
together with the artistic sense and high degrees of imaginative
sympathy, it creates epic poetry and art. Its total outcome, however,
may be included under the term Belief. And it results from an assumed
validity of consciousness, that universal belief is always an indication
of universal truth. At the same time, since this master-power finds
expression through faculties various in kind and still more various in
grade of development, its outcome assumes many shapes and hues,--just
as crystallized alumina becomes here ruby and there sapphire, by minute
admixtures of different coloring substances.

We assume the validity of this prime source of belief. Why not? Here is
a great natural product, human belief; we treat it precisely as we do
other natural products; we judge, that, like these, it has its law and
justification. We assume that it is to be studied as Lyell studies the
earth's crust, or Agassiz its life, or Müller its languages. As our
author shuns metaphysical, so do we shun metapsychical inquiries. We do
not presume to go behind universal fact, and inquire whether it has any
business to be fact; we simply endeavor to see it in its largest and
most interior aspect, and then accept it without question.

But M. Comte made the discovery that this great product of man's
spiritual nature is nothing but the spawn of his self-conceit: that it
is purely gratuitous, groundless, superfluous, and therefore in the
deepest possible sense lawless, Mr. Buckle follows his master, for such
Comte really is. Proclaiming Law everywhere else, and, from his extreme
partiality to the word, often lugging it in, as it were, by the ears, he
no sooner arrives at these provinces than he instantly faces the other
way, and denies all that he has before advocated. Of a quadruped he will
question not a hair, of a fish not a scale; everywhere else he will
accept facts and seek to coördinate them; but when he arrives at the
great natural outcome and manifestation of man's spirit, then it is in
an opposite way that he will not question; he simply lifts his eyebrows.
The fact has no business to be there! It signifies nothing!

Why this reversal of position? First, because, if consciousness be
allowed, free-will must be admitted; since the universal consciousness
is that of freedom to choose. But there is a larger reason. In
accordance with his general notions, personality must be degraded,
denuded, impoverished,--that so the individual may lie passive in the
arms of that society whose laws he is ambitious to expound. Having
robbed the soul of choice, he now deprives it of sight; having denied
that it is an originating source of will, he now makes the complementary
denial, that it is a like source of knowledge; having first made it
helpless, he now proceeds to make it senseless. And, indeed, the two
denials belong together. If it be true that the soul is helpless, pray
let us have some kind drug to make it senseless also. Nature has dealt
thus equally with the stone; and surely she must design a like equality
in her dealings with man. Power and perceiving she will either give
together, or together withhold.

But how does our author support this denial? By pointing to the great
varieties in the outcome of consciousness. There is no unity, he says,
in its determinations: one believes this, another that, a third somewhat
different from both; and the faith that one is ready to die for, another
is ready to kill him for. And true it is that the diversities of human
belief are many and great; let not the fact be denied nor diminished.

But does such diversity disprove a fundamental unity? All modern science
answers, No. How much of outward resemblance is there between a fish
and a philosopher? Is not the difference here as wide as the widest
unlikenesses in human belief? Yet Comparative Anatomy, with none to deny
its right, includes philosopher and fish in one category: they both
belong to the vertebrate sub-kingdom. See what vast dissimilarities are
included in the unity of this vertebrate structure: creatures that swim,
creep, walk, fly; creatures with two feet, with four feet, with no feet,
with feet and hands, with hands only, with neither feet nor hands;
creatures that live in air only, or in water only, or that die at once
in water or air; creatures, in fine, more various and diverse than
imagination, before the fact, could conceive. Yet, throughout this
astonishing, inconceivable variety, science walks in steady perception
of a unity extending far toward details of structure. The boor
laughs, when told that the forefoot of his horse and his own hand are
essentially the same member. A "Positive Philosopher" laughs, when
told that through Fetichism and Lutheranism there runs a thread of
unity,--that human belief has its law, and may be studied in the spirit
of science. But it is more than questionable whether the laugh is on
their side.[A]

[Footnote A: Comte did, indeed, profess to furnish a central law of
belief. It is due, he said, to the tendency of man to flatter his own
personality by foisting its image upon the universe. This, however, is
but one way of saying that it is wholly gratuitous,--that it has no root
in the truth of the world. But universal truth and universal law are the
same; and therefore that which arises without having any root in eternal
verity is lawless in the deepest possible sense,--lawless not merely as
being irregular in its action, but in the deeper and more terrible sense
of being in the universe without belonging there. To believe, however,
that any product of universal dimensions can be generated, not by the
truth of the universe, but by somewhat else, is to believe in a Devil
more thoroughly than the creed of any Calvinist allows. But this is
quite in character. Comte was perhaps the most superstitious man of
his time; superstition runs in the blood of his "philosophy"; and Mr.
Buckle, in my opinion, escapes and denounces the black superstitions of
ignorance only to fall into the whited superstitions of sciolism.]

But our author does not quit this subject without attempting to adduce
a specific instance wherein consciousness proves fallacious. Success,
however, could hardly be worse; he fails to establish his point, but
succeeds in discrediting either his candor or his discrimination. "Are
we not," he says, "in certain circumstances, conscious of the existence
of spectres and phantoms; and yet is it not generally admitted that such
beings have no existence at all?" Now I should be ashamed to charge a
scholar, like Mr. Buckle, with being unaware that consciousness does not
apply to any matter which comes properly under the cognizance of the
senses, and that the word can be honestly used in such applications only
by the last extreme of ignorant or inadvertent latitude. _Conscious_ of
the existence of spectres! One might as lawfully say he is "conscious"
that there is a man in the moon, or that the color of his neighbor's
hair is due to a dye. Mr. Buckle is undoubtedly honest. How, then, could
he, in strict philosophical discussion, employ the cardinal word in
a sense flagrantly and even ludicrously false, in order to carry his
point? It is partly to be attributed to his controversial ardor, which
is not only a heat, but a blaze, and frequently dazzles the eye of his
understanding; but partly it is attributable also to an infirmity in
the understanding itself. He shows, indeed, a singular combination of
intellectual qualities. He has great external precision, and great
inward looseness and slipperiness of mind: so that, if you follow his
words, no man's thought can be clearer, no man's logic more firm and
rapid in its march; but if you follow strictly the _conceptions_, the
clearness vanishes, and the logic limps, nay, sprawls. It is not merely
that he writes better than he thinks, though this is true of him; but
the more characteristic fact is that he is a master in the forms of
thought and an apprentice in the substance. Read his pages, and you will
find much to admire; read under his pages, and you will find much not to
admire.

It appears from the foregoing what Mr. Buckle aims to accomplish at the
outset. His purpose is to effect a thorough degradation of Personality.
Till this is done, he finds no clear field for the action of social
law. To discrown and degrade Personality by taking away its two grand
prerogatives,--this is his preliminary labor, this is his way of
procuring a site for that edifice of scientific history which he
proposes to build.

But what an enormous price to pay for the purchase! If there is no
kingdom for social law, if there is no place for a science of history,
till man is made unroyal, till the glory is taken from his brow, the
sceptre from his right hand, and the regal hopes from his heart, till
he is made a mere serf and an appanage of that ground and territory
of circumstance whereon he lives and labors,--why, then a science of
history means much the same with an extinction of history, an extinction
of all that in history which makes it inspiring. The history of rats and
mice is interesting, but not to themselves,--interesting only to man,
and this because he is man; but if men are nothing but rats and mice,
pray let them look for cheese, and look out for the cat, and let
goose-quills and history alone.

But the truth is that Person and Society are mutually supporting facts,
each weakened by any impoverishment of its reciprocal term. Whenever a
_real_ history of human civilization is written, they will thus appear.
And Mr. Buckle, in seeking to empty one term in order to obtain room
for the other, was yielding concessions, not to the pure necessities of
truth, but to his own infirmity as a thinker.

Having, however, taken the crown and kingdom from Personality, our
philosophical Warwick proceeds to the coronation of his favorite
autocrat, Society. His final proposition, which indeed is made
obscurely, and as far as possible by implication, is this:--

3. _That Society is the Real Source of Individual Action_. A proposition
made obscurely, but argued strenuously, and altogether necessary for
the completion of his foundation. He attempts proof by reference to the
following facts:--that in a given kingdom there occur, year after year,
nearly the same number of murders, suicides, and letters mailed without
direction, and that marriages are more frequent when food is low and
wages high, and so conversely. This is the sum total of the argument on
which he relies here and throughout his work: if this proves his point,
it is proven; if otherwise, otherwise.

To begin with, I admit the facts alleged. They are overstated; there
_is_ considerable departure from an exact average: but let this pass. I
will go farther, and admit, what no one has attempted to show, that an
average in these common and outward matters proves the like regularity
in all that men do and think and feel. This to concentrate attention
upon the main question.

And the main question is, What do these regular averages signify? Do
they denote the dominancy of a social fate? "Yea, yea," cry loudly the
French fatalists; and "Yea, yea," respond with firm assurance Buckle &
Co. in England; and "Yea," there are many to say in our own land. Even
Mr. Emerson must summon his courage to confront "the terrible statistics
of the French statisticians." But I live in the persuasion that these
statistics are extremely innocent, and threaten no man's liberty. Let us
see.

Take first the instance of forgetfulness. In the United Kingdom some
millions of letters are annually mailed; and of these, one in a certain
number of thousands, "making allowance," as our author innocently says,
"for variation of circumstances," is found to be mailed without a
superscription. Now provision for a forgetting is made in every man's
individual constitution. Partly for permanent and final forgetting; in
this way we get rid of vast quantities of trash, which would suffocate
us, if we could not obtain riddance. Partly also for temporary
forgetting; by means of which we become oblivious to everything but the
matter in hand, and, by a sole concentration upon that, act intensely
and efficaciously. Then, as all particular constitutions have their
debilities, this provision for temporary obliviousness may become an
infirmity, and in some is an habitual and chronic infirmity.

Let us now assume an individual man, and suppose ourselves able
to analyze perfectly his mental condition. From his temperament,
constitution, and habit, we shall then be able also to infer with
precision the measure of his _liability_ to lapse of memory. Place
him, now, in a world by himself; give him a life of several centuries'
duration; and secure him through life from essential change of
constitution. Divide, then, his life into centuries; count the instances
of forgetfulness in each century; and in each century they will be found
nearly the same. The Law of Probability determines this, and enables us
to speak with entire confidence of a case so supposed. Here, then, is
the continuous average; but it surely indicates no subjection of the
individual soul to a law of society; for there is no society to impose
such law,--there is only the constitution of the individual.

Now, instead of one individual, let us suppose a hundred; and let each
of these be placed on a separate planet. Obtain in respect to each one
the measure of his liability to infirm lapse of memory, and add these
together. And now it will appear that the average outward result which
one man gave in one hundred years one hundred men will give in one year.
The law of probability again comes in, and, matching the irregularities
of one by those of another, gives in this case, as in the former,
an average result. Here, then, is Mr. Buckle's average without the
existence of a society, and therefore without any action of social law.
Does another syllable need to be said?

Perhaps, however, it will be objected that I redeem the individual from
a fate working in the general whole of society, only to subject him to
an equal fate working in his own constitution. There is undoubtedly
a certain _degree_ of fate expressed in each man's temperament and
particular organization. But mark the difference. Mr. Buckle's social
fate subjects each man totally, and in effect robs him of personality;
the fate which works in his own constitution subjects him _only in that
proportion which his abnormal liability bears to the total force of his
mind_. One letter in ten thousand, say, is mailed without direction. Our
historian of civilization infers hence that each individual is _totally_
subject to a social fate. My inference is, that, on the average, each
individual is _one ten-thousandth part_ subject to a fate in his private
constitution. There is the difference, and it does not seem to me
insignificant. Our way to the cases of crime is now somewhat more clear;
for it is already established beyond cavil that the mere fact of an
average, to which, without any discriminations, our philosopher appeals
with such confidence, proves nothing for his purpose.

The case of murders, however, differs from the foregoing in one
important particular. The persons who are detected in the commission of
this crime are commonly, by their punishment, withdrawn from the number
of active criminals; and consequently the average is kept up, not by the
same persons, but in part by different ones. Here is, therefore, more
appearance of the mediation of compulsory social law; and indeed the
action of social forces in the case I am far more disposed to assert
than to question. What we are to inquire, however, is not whether social
forces contribute to this result, but whether they are _such_ forces as
supersede and annihilate individual will. Let us see.

All men are liable to collisions of passion and interest with their
neighbors and contemporaries. All desire to remove the obstructions thus
opposed. All would labor for this end with brute directness, that is,
by lawless violence and cunning, were it not for the rational and moral
elements in their nature, which suggest noble pieces of abstinence and
self-restraint, thus securing a certain freedom, a certain superiority
to the brute pressure of interest and impulse. These rational and moral
elements are in variable counterpoise with the ruder desires,--sometimes
commanding them with imperial ease, sometimes overcoming them by
struggle, sometimes striving with them feebly and vainly, or even
ceasing to strive.

Suppose, now, a nation of thirty millions. Of these, twenty-nine
millions, let us say, are never consciously tempted to commit a felony.
Why? For want of opportunity? Not at all; good men, whom the police do
not watch, have more opportunities for crime than those whose character
causes them to be suspected. Is it because wrathful passion, the love of
money, and other incentives to aggression are unknown to them? To none
are they wholly unknown. Why, then, this immunity from temptation?
Simply because their choices, or characters,--for character is but
structural choice,--run in favor of just and prudent courses with a tide
so steady and strong as to fill all the river-beds of action, and leave
no room for worse currents. In other words, the elements that make men
free hold, in this respect, easy sovereignty In their souls. Below
these millions, suppose nine hundred thousand who might be open to
such temptation, but for the influence of good customs, which are the
legacies left by good men dead, and kept in force by the influence of
just men who are living. In these, the freedom-making elements still
keep the throne, and preserve regal sway; but they are like sovereigns
who might be dethroned, but for the countenance of more powerful
neighbors. Below these, the liability to actual commission of violence
begins to open; but there are, we will suppose, ninety thousand in
whom it is practically suppressed by the dangers which, in civilized
communities, attend upon crime. These men have that in them which
_might_ make them felons, but for penal laws, prisons, and the
executioner. But below these are ten thousand who have a liability _in
excess_ of all restraining influences whatsoever; and the result of this
liability, in accordance with the law of probability already mentioned,
is two hundred murders in a year.[B] Now here the action of fate does
not _begin_ until you reach the lowest ten thousand. Even here, freedom
is not extinguished; the rational and moral elements that confer it
are weak, but they are not necessarily dead or inoperative; for, in
conjunction with lower restraints, they actually make the number of
crimes not ten thousand, but two hundred. True it is, that these are
partially enslaved, partially subject to fate; but they are enslaved not
by any inscrutable law of society, comparable with "that which preserves
the balance of the sexes"; they are "taken captive by their own lusts,"
as one of our philosopher's "ignorant men" said many years ago. But
above these the enslaving liability begins to disappear, and freedom
soon becomes, so far as this test applies, supreme.

[Footnote B: It may be said that this is a mere arguing by supposition.
But the supposition here has respect only to the _numbers_.]

Thus for one year we apply a measure of the liability to crime, and
obtain a result which is inexpressibly far from sustaining Mr. Buckle's
inference; since it shows that the fatal force is to all freeing forces
as two hundred to thirty millions,--and shows, moreover, that this fate,
instead of inclosing in its toils every man in the nation, and utterly
depriving all of freedom, actually touches at all but a small number,
and only diminishes, not destroys, the freedom of these. Next year we
apply the same measure to nearly the same persons, in the presence of
nearly the same restraints; and find, of course, the result to be nearly
the same. But this result no more proves universal enslavement in the
second year than it did in the first. And so of the third, fourth, or
fortieth application of the measure.

But a portion of these murderers are yearly withdrawn: ought not the
number of crimes to diminish? It would do so, but for that law of social
propagation which is ever and everywhere active. But this law, which
connects men and generations, and tends to make history a unit, is not a
part of fate alone; it carries just so much fate and so much freedom as
there are to be carried. It changes nothing; it is simply a vehicle, and
transports freight,--precious stones or ballast stones, as the case may
be. Therefore, in unveiling a single year, and seeing precisely what
this fact of two hundred murders means, we find its meaning for any
possible succession of years. It shows certain measures of fate working
in the bosoms of certain numbers of men; but that there is a fate
inhabiting society as such, and holding every man and woman in its
unfeeling hand, must be proven, if at all, by other facts than these.

Mr. Buckle generalizes with marvellous facility, but often with an
infatuation, or even fatuity, equally marvellous. Specious and audacious
generalization is, however, a vice of thinking more attractive to most
than any virtue,--above all, if it flatter their wishes and opinions.
There are few to appreciate an exquisite temperance, an exquisite virgin
modesty, continence, and reserve, whether in thought or art. The great
masters disappoint, the great showmen dazzle, at first sight; the
multitudes crave sensations and sudden effects. Even among thoughtful
men, there are, in this galloping age, too many who prefer to frequent a
philosophical slop-shop, where they can be fitted to a full suit in five
minutes; and they willingly forgive some bagging and wrinkling, some
ripping of seams and dropping-off of buttons, in consideration of
promptitude in the supply. Nor is this unnatural. Ordinary travel goes
by steam; does it not seem a little hard that thought should have to
journey still in the ancient fashion? And so far as the mass of
readers is concerned, this appetite for fast thinking and reckless
generalization is a cheerful token: it is a gainful substitute for that
hiding away from the blaze of intellect, that terror of large results in
thought, which has harbored in the Vatican since the days of Galileo,
and even in Protestant lands may sometimes be found, like the graveyard,
in the neighborhood of churches. A relish for premature and extravagant
generalization may be pardoned in the mass of readers; but in the
writer? "It must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by
whom the offence cometh!"

Mr. Buckle finds some general book-facts, and, never trying to think
down to their roots, he seizes upon their specious aspect, and thence
rushes out into a generalization, which, rightly understood, sweeps
Personality off the earth. Not such is the spirit of science; not such
the manner of its masters. Look at Newton investigating colors. What
effort for nearness, nearness, nearness to his facts! What solicitation
for entrance to their households and sanctuaries! See Agassiz or Tyndale
investigating the flow of glaciers. Here is no catching at book-aspects
of the matter, and launching instantly into generalization. No, these
men must get within eyeshot, within hand-reach, of the facts, and know
first precisely and intimately what these are. Yet the generalizations
for which they were seeking a basis were trivial in comparison with
those which our author hurtles out after a glance at M. Quetelet. "A
continuous average of so many murders a year; then so many _must_
happen; then somebody _must_ commit them; then free-will is a figment,
and society is the source of all action which we call individual."

Intemperate and infatuated generalization, if supported by a certain
ability, is an attractive vice. Yet he who indulges in this will be
sure to leave upon his brilliant and exciting pages statements that are
simply ludicrous. Our philosopher furnishes an instance of this in his
treatment of the matter of marriage. If wages be low and food high,
marriages are less frequent; if the converse be the case, they are more
frequent. What conclusion would common sense base upon this fact? Why,
of course, that the number of marriages is definitely _influenced_ by
the ease with which sustenance is obtained. But this is a commonplace
result; there is nothing in it bold, brilliant, striking; besides, it
does not make man the slave of outward influences. Accordingly, Mr.
Buckle generalizes from it as follows:--"Marriages, instead of having
_any connection_ with personal feelings, are completely controlled
by the price of food and the rate of wages." He does not distinguish
between a definite modifying influence and a controlling cause. His
facts prove the former; he asserts the latter. Let us see how this
procedure would work elsewhere. There is "a definite relation," in our
author's words, between the force and direction of the winds and the
rise or fall of the sea upon our coast: therefore tidal rise and fall,
"instead of having any connection" with the influence of the moon, are
"completely controlled" by the direction and force of the wind! There is
"a definite relation" between the straightness or want of straightness in
a railroad and the speed of the train: _ergo_, the speed of the train,
"instead of having any connection" with the locomotive and the force of
steam, is "completely controlled" by the line of the road! It is by no
means difficult to philosophize after this fashion; but if we are
to have many professors of such philosophy, let the mediaeval
cap-and-bells, by all means, be reproduced.

Again, having stated the fact of an approximation to a continuous
average of suicides, and having assumed for this a cause operating in
the indivisible whole of society, he goes on to say, "And the power of
this larger law is so irresistible, that neither the love of life nor
the fear of another world can avail anything toward even checking its
operation." How, pray, does Mr. Buckle know? What shadow of a fact has
he to justify this vaunting of his "larger law"? Has he ever known
the love of life and the awe of another world to be suspended? Has he
afterwards seen their action restored, and ascertained that in their
presence and in their absence the ratio of suicides remained the
same? These questions answer themselves. But when a writer who loudly
professes and fully believes himself to proceed purely upon facts
adventures statement so groundless, so gratuitous and reckless as
this, who can pass to the next paragraph in full confidence of his
intellectual rectitude? If you retain, as in this case I do retain,
assurance of his moral rectitude,--of his intention to be fair,--to what
conclusion can you come more charitable than this, that his partiality
to his own notions is so vigorous as not only to overslaugh his sense
of logical truth, but to supersede the necessity of other grounds for
believing these notions and for urging them?

Only our author's first chapter has been dealt with; firstly, because in
this are enunciated those radical conceptions which he afterwards argues
not _to_, but _from_; and secondly, because it has been the writer's
desire, avoiding all vagrant and indecisive criticism, to have a fair
grapple, and come to some clear result,--like that of a wrestler, who
frankly proffers himself to throw or be thrown. It only remains to
indicate, so far as may be, a comprehensive estimate of Mr. Buckle as a
thinker.

And at last it must be said in plain words that he is to be regarded as
an adventurer in the kingdoms of thought,--though the word must be freed
from all customary flavors of charlatanry and wickedness. One of the
boldest and cleverest of his class; a man, too, of probity, of dignity
and character, amiable, estimable; but _intellectually_ an adventurer
nevertheless. The grand masters in thought are those to whom the
subtilest and most purely universal principles are nearest and most
habitual, coming to the elucidation of all minutest matters no less than
to that of the greatest,--as those forces which hold the solar system
together apply themselves, as on the same level, to a mote wandering
in the air; and because to these masters first principles, through all
their changes of seeming, through all their ranging by analogy up and
down, are never disguised, but are always near and clear and sure, they
can admit the action of all modifying principles without imperilling the
great stabilities of truth; so that in their thought, as in Nature, the
dust-particle shall float and fly with the wind, and yet gravitation
shall hold particle and world in firm, soft, imperial possession.
And next to these are the inventors, guided by a fine felicity of
intelligence to special discoveries and admirable combinations, often
surpassing in this way the masters themselves. And then come the wise
and great scholars, who learn quickly what has been discovered, and
follow the masters not by sight only, as a greyhound, but by long
inferences; and these also do noble work. And after these follow the
broader company of useful, able, eloquent men, applying, explaining,
illustrating, and preparing the way for schools and commerce and the
newspaper. Finally comes a man with a genius for boldness more than for
anything else, so that he has a pleasant feeling of himself only when
he gives himself the sense of being startling, novel, venturesome,
and therefore goes off in his thought as in a balloon: and of such
man,--being daring, ingenious, agile, and not being profound,--this
will be the unfailing characteristic, that he substitutes and asserts
secondary principles, which are obvious, outward, and within his reach,
for primary principles, which are deep, subtile, inward, and beyond his
reach; he will swing loose from the principles which are indeed prime
and imperial in Nature, and will boldly assert secondary principles as
fundamental: this man is the intellectual adventurer.

And this is Mr. Buckle. The first fact with regard to man is his
possession of a rational soul, and consequently of that liberation of
will without which, despite the existence of reason, he could not be in
act a reasonable being. But the secondary fact in this connection
is that man's freedom is modified by pedigree, by temperament, by
influences almost numberless, and that he is included in laws, so that,
if he falls away from reason, he falls into the hands of fate. And
this secondary or modifying congeries of facts our author announces as
primary.

The first fact with regard to the soul is that it is intelligent and
vocal,--that it is not merely a subject, but also an organ, of THAT
WHICH KNOWS in the universe. The modifying fact is that its voice is
commonly obscure, and the language it shall use and the logic of
its utterance prescribed by the accident of time, place, and other
circumstances; so that it has the semblance of voices many and
contradictory. And this modifying fact Mr. Buckle announces, with much
assurance and complacency, as primary.

The first fact in the world of man is Personality. The secondary fact is
Society,--secondary, but reciprocal, and full of import. And Mr. Buckle
begins with making Personality acephalous, and ends-with appending its
corpse to Society, to be galvanized into seemings of life. And if
you follow him through his book, you find this inversion constantly
maintained,--and find, moreover, that it is chiefly this revolutionary
audacity which makes his propositions so startling and his pages to many
so fascinating.

Therefore an adventurer. This is concerning _him_ the primary fact. But
the modifying fact is that he has the manners of a gentleman, the heart
of a humanitarian, the learning of a scholar, the pen of a ready writer,
the outside or _shell_ of a philosophical genius, excellent admixtures
of sense, and an attractive hatred of ecclesiastical and political
barbarisms.

He has great surface-reach, but no inward breadth. He invariably takes
the liberal side with regard to practical and popular questions;
he invariably takes the illiberal side in respect to questions of
philosophy. In politics and in social feeling he is cosmopolitan; in
questions of pure thought he is cockney. Here he is a tyrant; he puts
out the soul's eyes, and casts fetters about its feet; here he is hard,
narrow, materialistic, mechanical,--or, in a word, English. For--we may
turn aside to say--in philosophy no nation is so straitened, illiberal,
and hard of hearing as England, except, perhaps, China. Its tympanum
is sadly thickened at once with materialism and conceit; and the
consequence is that a thinker there is either ignored into silence, like
Wilkinson, or driven to bellow, like Carlyle, or to put rapiers and
poignards into his speech, like Ruskin. Carlyle began speaking sweetly
and humanly, and was heard only on this side the ocean; then he came to
his bull-of-Bashan tones, and was attended to on his own side the water.
It is observable, too, that, if a thinker in America goes beyond the
respectable dinner-table depth, your true Englishman takes it for a
personal affront, and hastens to make an ass of himself in the "Saturday
Review."

Apply to Mr. Buckle any test that determines the question of pure
intellectual power, and he fails to sustain it. Let us proceed to apply
one.

No man is an able thinker who is without power to comprehend that law
of reciprocal opposites, on which the world is built. For an example of
this: the universe is indeed a _uni_-verse, a pure unit, emanating, as
we think, from a spirit that is, in the words of old Hooker, "not only
one, but very oneness," simple, indivisible, and therefore total in all
action; and yet this universe is various, multifarious, full of special
character, full even of fierce antagonisms and blazing contradictions.
Infinite and Finite, Same and Diverse, Eternal and Temporary, Universal
and Special,--here they are, purest opposites, yet mutual, reciprocal,
necessary to each other; and he is a narrow man who cannot stand in open
relations with both terms, reconciling in the depths of his life, though
he can never explain, the mystery of their friendship. He who will
adhere only to the universal, and makes a blur of the special, is a
rhapsodist; he who can apprehend only the special, being blind and
callous to the universal, is a chatterer and magpie. From these
opposites we never escape; Destiny and Freedom, Rest and Motion,
Individual and Society, Origination and Memory, Intuition and
Observation, Soul and Body,--you meet them everywhere; and everywhere
they are, without losing their character of opposites, nay, in very
virtue of their opposition, playing into and supporting each other.

But, from the fact that they _are_ opposites, it is always easy to catch
up one, and become its partisan as against the other. It is easy in
such advocacy to be plausible, forcible, affluent in words and apparent
reasons; also to be bold, striking, astonishing. And yet such an
advocate will never speak a word of pure truth. "He who knows half,"
says Goethe, "speaks much, and says nothing to the purpose; he who knows
all inclines to act, and speaks seldom or late." With such partisanship
and advocacy the world has been liberally, and more than liberally,
supplied. Such a number of Eurekas have been shouted! So often it has
been discovered that the world is no such riddle, after all,--that half
of it is really the whole! No doubt all this was good boy's-play once;
afterwards it did to laugh at for a while; then it ceased to be even
a joke, and grew a weariness and an affliction; and at length we all
rejoiced when the mighty world-pedagogue of Chelsea seized his ferule,
and roared, over land and sea, "Silence, babblers!"

If only Mr. Buckle had profited by the command! For, follow this writer
where you will, you find him the partisan of a particular term as
against its fraternal opposite. It is Fate _against_ Free-Will; Society
_against_ the prerogatives of Personality; Man _against_ Outward Nature
(for he considers them only as antagonistic, one "triumphing" over
the other); Intellect _against_ the Moral Sense; Induction _against_
Deduction and Intuition; Knowledge _against_ Reverence; and so on and
on to the utter weariness of one reader, if of no more. For what can be
more wearying and saddening than to follow the pages of a writer who
is fertile, ingenious, eloquent, rich in right feeling, in reading and
courage, and yet who, in chapter after chapter of effective paragraphs,
and tome after tome of powerful chapters, is merely persuading you that
half is the whole? And if your duty as a scholar require you to peruse
the book fully, instead of casting it aside, your mind at length fairly
_aches_ for the sense of poise and soundness, were it only for a single
page. But no; it is always the same succession of perspicuous and
vigorous sentences, all carrying flavors of important truth, and none
utterly true. For the half _is_ really half; but it simply is _not_ the
whole, be as eloquent about it as one may.

Such, then, is the estimate here given of Mr. Buckle's laborious and
powerful work. Meantime, with every secondary merit which such a work
_could_ possess this is replete; while its faults are only such as were
inseparable from the conjunction of such ambitions with such powers. He
may whet and wield his blade; but he puts no poison on its edge. He may
disparage reverence; but he is not himself irreverent. He may impugn the
convictions that most men love; but, while withholding no syllable of
dissent and reprehension, he utters not a syllable that can insult or
sting. And all the while his pages teem with observations full of point,
and half full of admirable sense and suggestion.

After all, we owe him thanks,--thanks, it may be, even for his errors.
The popular notions of moral liberty are probably not profound, and
require deepening. The grand fact that we name Personality _is_ grand
and of an unsounded depth only because in it Destiny and Freedom meet
and become one. But the play into this of Destiny and Eternal Necessity
is, in general, dimly discerned. The will is popularly pronounced free,
but is thought to originate, as it were, "between one's hat and his
boots"; and so man loses all largeness of relation, and personality all
grandeur. Now blisters, though ill for health, may be wholesome for
disease; and doctrines of Fate, that empty every man of his soul, may
be good as against notions of moral liberty that make one's soul of a
pin's-head dimension. It may be well, also, that the doctrine of Social
Fate should be preached until all are made to see that Society is a
fact,--that it is generative,--that personal development cannot go on
but by its mediation,--that the chain of spiritual interdependence
cannot be broken, and that in proportion as it is weakened every bosom
becomes barren. In this case also Mr. Buckle may be medicinal. We
owe him thanks also for refreshing our expectation of a science of
civilization,--for affirming the venerableness of intellect, which
recent teachers have undervalued,--for vindicating the uses of
doubt,--and, finally, for a specimen of intellectual intrepidity of
which one could wish there were less need. And withal how royally he
presumes upon a welcome for candid confession of his thought! Such a
presumption could be created in his soul only by a great magnanimity;
and the evidence of this on his pages sheds a beauty about all his
words.

But he is not an Oedipus. He has guessed; and the riddle awaits another
comer. A science of history he has not established; the direction in
which it lies he has not pointed out; and if Hegel and his precursors
have failed to indicate such a science, the first clear step toward it
remains yet to be taken. And should some majestic genius--for no other
will be sufficient for the task--at length arise to lay hold upon the
facts of man's history, and exercise over them a Newtonian sway, he will
be the last man on the planet to take his initial hint from Auguste
Comte and the "Positive Philosophy." This mud-mountain is indeed
considerably heaped up, but it is a very poor Pisgah nevertheless; for
it is a mountain in a pit, whose top does not rise to an equality with
the broad common levels, far less with the high table-lands and skyward
peaks and summits of intelligence.



RECOLLECTIONS OF A GIFTED WOMAN.


From Leamington to Stratford-on-Avon the distance is eight or nine
miles, over a road that seemed to me most beautiful. Not that I can
recall any memorable peculiarities; for the country, most of the way, is
a succession of the gentlest swells and subsidences, affording wide and
far glimpses of champaign-scenery here and there, and sinking almost to
a dead level as we draw near Stratford. Any landscape in New England,
even the tamest, has a more striking outline, and besides would have its
blue eyes open in those lakelets that we encounter almost from mile to
mile at home, but of which the Old Country is utterly destitute; or it
would smile in our faces through the medium of those way-side brooks
that vanish under a low stone arch on one side of the road, and sparkle
out again on the other. Neither of these pretty features is often to be
found in an English scene. The charm of the latter consists in the rich
verdure of the fields, in the stately way-side trees and carefully
kept plantations of wood, and in the old and high cultivation that has
humanized the very sods by mingling so much of man's toil and care among
them. To an American there is a kind of sanctity even in an English
turnip-field, when he thinks how long that small square of ground has
been known and recognized as a possession, transmitted from father to
son, trodden often by memorable feet, and utterly redeemed from savagery
by old acquaintanceship with civilized eyes. The wildest things in
England are more than half tame. The trees, for instance, whether in
hedgerow, park, or what they call forest, have nothing wild about them.
They are never ragged; there is a certain decorous restraint in the
freest outspread of their branches, though they spread wider than any
self-nurturing tree; they are tall, vigorous, bulky, with a look of
age-long life, and a promise of more years to come, all of which will
bring them into closer kindred with the race of man. Somebody or other
has known them from the sapling upward; and if they endure long enough,
they grow to be traditionally observed and honored, and connected with
the fortunes of old families, till, like Tennyson's Talking Oak, they
babble with a thousand leafy tongues to ears that can understand them.

An American tree, however, if it could grow in fair competition with an
English one of similar species, would probably be the more picturesque
object of the two. The Warwickshire elm has not so beautiful a shape
as those that overhang our village-street; and as for the redoubtable
English oak, there is a certain John-Bullism in its figure, a compact
rotundity of foliage, a lack of irregular and various outline, that make
it look wonderfully like a gigantic cauliflower. Its leaf, too, is much
smaller than that of most varieties of American oak; nor do I mean
to doubt that the latter, with free leave to grow, reverent care and
cultivation, and immunity from the axe, would live out its centuries
as sturdily as its English brother, and prove far the nobler and more
majestic specimen of a tree at the end of them. Still, however one's
Yankee patriotism may struggle against the admission, it must be owned
that the trees and other objects of an English landscape take hold of
the observer by numberless minute tendrils, as it were, which, look as
closely as we choose, we never find in an American scene. The parasitic
growth is so luxuriant, that the trunk of the tree, so gray and dry in
our climate, is better worth observing than the boughs and foliage; a
verdant mossiness coats it all over, so that it looks almost as green as
the leaves; and often, moreover, the stately stem is clustered about,
high upward, with creeping and twining shrubs, the ivy, and sometimes
the mistletoe, close-clinging friends, nurtured by the moisture and
never too fervid sunshine, and supporting themselves by the old tree's
abundant strength. We call it a parasitical vegetation; but, if the
phrase imply any reproach, it is unkind to bestow it on this beautiful
affection and relationship which exist in England between one order of
plants and another: the strong tree being always ready to give support
to the trailing shrub, lift it to the sun, and feed it out of its own
heart, if it crave such food; and the shrub, on its part, repaying its
foster-father with an ample luxuriance of beauty, and adding Corinthian
grace to the tree's lofty strength. No bitter winter nips these tender
little sympathies, no hot sun burns the life out of them; and therefore
they outlast the longevity of the oak, and, if the woodman permitted,
would bury it in a green grave, when all is over.

Should there be nothing else along the road to look at, an English hedge
might well suffice to occupy the eyes, and, to a depth beyond what he
would suppose, the heart of an American. We often set out hedges in our
own soil, but might as well set out figs or pineapples and expect to
gather fruit of them. Something grows, to be sure, which we choose to
call a hedge; but it lacks the dense, luxuriant variety of vegetation
that is accumulated into the English original, in which a botanist would
find a thousand shrubs and gracious herbs that the hedge-maker never
thought of planting there. Among them, growing wild, are many of the
kindred blossoms of the very flowers which our pilgrim fathers brought
from England, for the sake of their simple beauty and home-like
associations, and which we have ever since been cultivating in gardens.
There is not a softer trait to be found in the character of those stern
men than that they should have been sensible of these flower-roots
clinging among the fibres of their rugged hearts, and have felt the
necessity of bringing them over sea and making them hereditary in the
new land, instead of trusting to what rarer beauty the wilderness might
have in store for them.

Or, if the road-side has no hedge, the ugliest stone fence (such as, in
America, would keep itself bare and unsympathizing till the end of time)
is sure to be covered with the small handiwork of Nature; that careful
mother lets nothing go naked there, and, if she cannot provide clothing,
gives at least embroidery. No sooner is the fence built than she adopts
and adorns it as a part of her original plan, treating the hard,
uncomely construction as if it had all along been a favorite idea of her
own. A little sprig of ivy may be seen creeping up the side of the low
wall and clinging fast with its many feet to the rough surface; a tuft
of grass roots itself between two of the stones, where a pinch or two of
way-side dust has been moistened into nutritious soil for it; a small
bunch of fern grows in another crevice; a deep, soft, verdant moss
spreads itself along the top and over all the available inequalities of
the fence; and where nothing else will grow, lichens stick tenaciously
to the bare stones and variegate the monotonous gray with hues of yellow
and red. Finally, a great deal of shrubbery clusters along the base of
the stone wall, and takes away the hardness of its outline; and in due
time, as the upshot of these apparently aimless or sportive touches, we
recognize that the beneficent Creator of all things, working through His
handmaiden whom we call Nature, has deigned to mingle a charm of divine
gracefulness even with so earthly an institution as a boundary-fence.
The clown who wrought at it little dreamed what fellow-laborer he had.

The English should send us photographs of portions of the trunks of
trees, the tangled and various products of a hedge, and a square foot of
an old wall.

They can hardly send anything else so characteristic. Their artists,
especially of the later school, sometimes toil to depict such subjects,
but are apt to stiffen the lithe tendrils in the process. The poets
succeed better, with Tennyson at their head, and often produce ravishing
effects by dint of a tender minuteness of touch, to which the genius of
the soil and climate artfully impels them: for, as regards grandeur,
there are loftier scenes in many countries than the best that England
can show; but, for the picturesqueness of the smallest object that
lies under its gentle gloom and sunshine, there is no scenery like it
anywhere.

In the foregoing paragraphs I have strayed away to a long distance from
the road to Stratford-on-Avon; for I remember no such stone fences as I
have been speaking of in Warwickshire, nor elsewhere in England, except
among the Lakes, or in Yorkshire, and the rough and hilly countries to
the north of it. Hedges there were along my road, however, and broad,
level fields, rustic hamlets, and cottages of ancient date,--from the
roof of one of which the occupant was tearing away the thatch, and
showing what an accumulation of dust, dirt, mouldiness, roots of weeds,
families of mice, swallows' nests, and hordes of insects, had been
deposited there since that old straw was new. Estimating its antiquity
from these tokens, Shakspeare himself, in one of his morning rambles out
of his native town, might have seen the thatch laid on; at all events,
the cottage-walls were old enough to have known him as a guest. A few
modern villas were also to be seen, and perhaps there were mansions of
old gentility at no great distance, but hidden among trees; for it is a
point of English pride that such houses seldom allow themselves to be
visible from the high-road. In short, I recollect nothing specially
remarkable along the way, nor in the immediate approach to Stratford;
and yet the picture of that June morning has a glory in my memory, owing
chiefly, I believe, to the charm of the English summer-weather, the
really good days of which are the most delightful that mortal man can
ever hope to be favored with. Such a genial warmth! A little too warm,
it might be, yet only to such a degree as to assure an American (a
certainty to which he seldom attains till attempered to the customary
austerity of an English summer-day) that he was quite warm enough. And
after all, there was an unconquerable freshness in the atmosphere, which
every little movement of a breeze shook over me like a dash of the
ocean-spray. Such days need bring us no other happiness than their
own light and temperature. No doubt, I could not have enjoyed it so
exquisitely, except that there must be still latent in us Western
wanderers (even after an absence of two centuries and more) an
adaptation to the English climate which makes us sensible of a motherly
kindness in its scantiest sunshine, and overflows us with delight at its
more lavish smiles.

The spire of Shakspeare's church--the Church of the Holy Trinity--begins
to show itself among the trees at a little distance from Stratford. Next
we see the shabby old dwellings, intermixed with mean-looking houses
of modern date, and the streets being quite level, you are struck and
surprised by nothing so much as the tameness of the general scene; as
if Shakspeare's genius were vivid enough to have wrought pictorial
splendors in the town where he was born. Here and there, however, a
queer edifice meets your eye, endowed with the individuality that
belongs only to the domestic architecture of times gone by; the house
seems to have grown out of some odd quality in its inhabitant, as a
sea-shell is moulded from within by the character of its inmate; and
having been built in a strange fashion, generations ago, it has ever
since been growing stranger and quainter, as old humorists are apt to
do. Here, too, (as so often impressed me in decayed English towns,)
there appeared to be a greater abundance of aged people wearing
small-clothes and leaning on sticks than you could assemble on our side
of the water by sounding a trumpet and proclaiming a reward for the most
venerable. I tried to account for this phenomenon by several theories:
as, for example, that our new towns are unwholesome for age and kill it
off unseasonably; or that our old men have a subtile sense of fitness,
and die of their own accord rather than live in an unseemly contrast
with youth and novelty: but the secret may be, after all, that
hair-dyes, false teeth, modern arts of dress, and other contrivances of
a skin-deep youthfulness, have not crept into these antiquated English
towns, and so people grow old without the weary necessity of seeming
younger than they are.

After wandering through two or three streets, I found my way to
Shakspeare's birthplace, which is almost a smaller and humbler house
than any description can prepare the visitor to expect; so inevitably
does an august inhabitant make his abode palatial to our imaginations,
receiving his guests, indeed, in a castle in the air, until we unwisely
insist on meeting him among the sordid lanes and alleys of lower earth.
The portion of the edifice with which Shakspeare had anything to do is
hardly large enough, in the basement, to contain the butcher's stall
that one of his descendants kept, and that still remains there,
windowless, with the cleaver-cuts in its hacked counter, which projects
into the street under a little penthouse-roof, as if waiting for a new
occupant. The upper half of the door was open, and, on my rapping at it,
a young person in black made her appearance and admitted me: she was not
a menial, but remarkably genteel (an American characteristic) for an
English girl, and was probably the daughter of the old gentlewoman who
takes care of the house. This lower room has a pavement of gray slabs of
stone, which may have been rudely squared when the house was new, but
are now all cracked, broken, and disarranged in a most unaccountable
way. One does not see how any ordinary usage, for whatever length
of time, should have so smashed these heavy stones; it is as if an
earthquake had burst up through the floor, which afterwards had been
imperfectly trodden down again. The room is whitewashed and very clean,
but wofully shabby and dingy, coarsely built, and such as the most
poetical imagination would find it difficult to idealize. In the rear of
this apartment is the kitchen, a still smaller room, of a similar rude
aspect; it has a great, rough fireplace, with space for a large family
under the blackened opening of the chimney, and an immense passage-way
for the smoke, through which Shakspeare may have seen the blue sky by
day and the stars glimmering down at him by night. It is now a dreary
spot where the long-extinguished embers used to be. A glowing fire, even
if it covered only a quarter part of the hearth, might still do much
towards making the old kitchen cheerful; but we get a depressing idea
of the stifled, poor, sombre kind of life that could have been lived in
such a dwelling, where this room seems to have been the gathering-place
of the family, with no breadth or scope, no good retirement, but old
and young huddling together cheek by jowl. What a hardy plant was
Shakspeare's genius, how fatal its development, since it could not be
blighted in such an atmosphere! It only brought human nature the closer
to him, and put more unctuous earth about his roots.

Thence I was ushered up-stairs to the room in which Shakspeare is
supposed to have been born; though, if you peep too curiously into the
matter, you may find the shadow of an ugly doubt on this, as well as
most other points of his mysterious life. It is the chamber over the
butcher's shop, and is lighted by one broad window containing a great
many small, irregular panes of glass. The floor is made of planks, very
rudely hewn, and fitting together with little neatness; the naked beams
and rafters, at the sides of the room and overhead, bear the original
marks of the builder's broad-axe, with no evidence of an attempt
to smooth off the job. Again we have to reconcile ourselves to the
smallness of the space inclosed by these illustrious walls,--a
circumstance more difficult to accept, as regards places that we
have heard, read, thought, and dreamed much about, than any other
disenchanting particular of a mistaken ideal. A few paces--perhaps seven
or eight--take us from end to end of it. So low it is, that I
could easily touch the ceiling, and might have done so without a
tiptoe-stretch, had it been a good deal higher; and this humility of
the chamber has tempted a vast multitude of people to write their
names overhead in pencil. Every inch of the side-walls, even into the
obscurest nooks and corners, is covered with a similar record; all the
window-panes, moreover, are scrawled with diamond-signatures, among
which is said to be that of Walter Scott; but so many persons have
sought to immortalize themselves in close vicinity to his name that I
really could not trace him out. Methinks it is strange that people
do not strive to forget their forlorn little identities, in such
situations, instead of thrusting them forward into the dazzle of a great
renown, where, if noticed, they cannot but be deemed impertinent.

This room, and the entire house, so far as I saw it, are whitewashed and
exceedingly clean; nor is there the aged, musty smell with which old
Chester first made me acquainted, and which goes far to cure an American
of his excessive predilection for antique residences. An old lady,
who took charge of me up-stairs, had the manners and aspect of a
gentlewoman, and talked with somewhat formidable knowledge and
appreciative intelligence about Shakspeare. Arranged on a table and in
chairs were various prints, views of houses and scenes connected with
Shakspeare's memory, together with editions of his works and local
publications about his home and haunts, from the sale of which this
respectable lady perhaps realizes a handsome profit. At any rate, I
bought a good many of them, conceiving that it might be the civillest
way of requiting her for her instructive conversation and the trouble
she took in showing me the house. It cost me a pang (not a curmudgeonly,
but a gentlemanly one) to offer a downright fee to the lady-like girl
who had admitted me; but I swallowed my delicate scruples with some
little difficulty, and she digested hers, so far as I could observe,
with no difficulty at all. In fact, nobody need fear to hold out half
a crown to any person with whom he has occasion to speak a word in
England.

I should consider it unfair to quit Shakspeare's house without the frank
acknowledgment that I was conscious of not the slightest emotion while
viewing it, nor any quickening of the imagination. This has often
happened to me in my visits to memorable places. Whatever pretty and
apposite reflections I may have made upon the subject had either
occurred to me before I ever saw Stratford, or have been elaborated
since. It is pleasant, nevertheless, to think that I have seen the
place; and I believe that I can form a more sensible and vivid idea of
Shakspeare as a flesh-and-blood individual now that I have stood on the
kitchen-hearth and in the birth-chamber; but I am not quite certain that
this power of realization is altogether desirable in reference to a
great poet. The Shakspeare whom I met there took various guises, but had
not his laurel on. He was successively the roguish boy,--the youthful
deer-stealer,--the comrade of players,--the too familiar friend of
Davenant's mother,--the careful, thrifty, thriven man of property, who
came back from London to lend money on bond, and occupy the best house
in Stratford,--the mellow, red-nosed, autumnal boon-companion of John a'
Combe, who (or else the Stratford gossips belied him) met his death by
tumbling into a ditch on his way home from a drinking-bout, and left his
second-best bed to his poor wife. I feel, as sensibly as the reader can,
what horrible impiety it is to remember these things, be they true or
false. In either case, they ought to vanish out of sight on the distant
ocean-line of the past, leaving a pure, white memory, even as a sail,
though perhaps darkened with many stains, looks snowy white on the far
horizon. But I draw a moral from these unworthy reminiscences and this
embodiment of the poet, as suggested by some of the grimy actualities of
his life. It is for the high interests of the world not to insist upon
finding out that its greatest men are, in a certain lower sense, very
much the same kind of men as the rest of us, and often a little worse;
because a common mind cannot properly digest such a discovery, nor ever
know the true proportion of the great man's good and evil, nor how small
a part of him it was that touched our muddy or dusty earth. Thence comes
moral bewilderment, and even intellectual loss, in regard to what is
best of him. When Shakspeare invoked a curse on the man who should stir
his bones, he perhaps meant the larger share of it for him or them who
should pry into his perishing earthliness, the defects or even the
merits of the character that he wore in Stratford, when he had left
mankind so much to muse upon that was imperishable and divine. Heaven
keep me from incurring any part of the anathema in requital for the
irreverent sentences above written!

From Shakspeare's house, the nest step, of course, is to visit his
burial-place. The appearance of the church is most venerable and
beautiful, standing amid a great green shadow of lime-trees, above which
rises the spire, while the Gothic battlements and buttresses and vast
arched windows are obscurely seen through the boughs. The Avon loiters
past the church-yard, an exceedingly sluggish river, which might seem
to have been considering which way it should flow ever since Shakspeare
left off paddling in it and gathering the large forget-me-nots that grow
among its flags and water-weeds.

An old man in small-clothes was waiting at the gate; and inquiring
whether I wished to go in, he preceded me to the church-porch, and
rapped. I could have done it quite as effectually for myself; but, it
seems, the old people of the neighborhood haunt about the church-yard,
in spite of the frowns and remonstrances of the sexton, who grudges them
the half-eleemosynary sixpence which they sometimes get from visitors.
I was admitted into the church by a respectable-looking and intelligent
man in black, the parish-clerk, I suppose, and probably holding a richer
incumbency than his vicar, if all the fees which he handles remain in
his own pocket. He was already exhibiting the Shakspeare monuments to
two or three visitors, and several other parties came in while I was
there.

The poet and his family are in possession of what may be considered the
very best burial-places that the church affords. They lie in a row,
right across the breadth of the chancel, the foot of each gravestone
being close to the elevated floor on which the altar stands. Nearest
to the side-wall, beneath Shakspeare's bust, is a slab bearing a Latin
inscription addressed to his wife, and covering her remains; then his
own slab, with the old anathematizing stanza upon it; then that of
Thomas Nash, who married his grand-daughter; then that of Dr. Hall,
the husband of his daughter Susannah; and, lastly, Susannah's own.
Shakspeare's is the commonest-looking slab of all, being just such a
flag-stone as Essex Street in Salem used to be paved with, when I was
a boy. Moreover, unless my eyes or recollection deceive me, there is a
crack across it, as if it had already undergone some such violence as
the inscription deprecates. Unlike the other monuments of the family,
it bears no name, nor am I acquainted with the grounds or authority on
which it is absolutely determined to be Shakspeare's; although, being
in a range with those of his wife and children, it might naturally be
attributed to him. But, then, why does his wife, who died afterwards,
take precedence of him and occupy the place next his bust? And where are
the graves of another daughter and a son, who have a better right in the
family-row than Thomas Nash, his grandson-in-law? Might not one or both
of them have been laid under the nameless stone? But it is dangerous
trifling with Shakspeare's dust; so I forbear to meddle further with
the grave, (though the prohibition makes it tempting,) and shall let
whatever bones be in it rest in peace. Yet I must needs add that the
inscription on the bust seems to imply that Shakspeare's grave was
directly underneath it.

The poet's bust is affixed to the northern wall of the church, the base
of it being about a man's height, or rather more, above the floor of the
chancel. The features of this piece of sculpture are entirely unlike any
portrait of Shakspeare that I have ever seen, and compel me to take down
the beautiful, lofty-browed, and noble picture of him which has hitherto
hung in my mental portrait-gallery. The bust cannot be said to represent
a beautiful face or an eminently noble head; but it clutches firmly hold
of one's sense of reality and insists upon your accepting it, if not as
Shakspeare the poet, yet as the wealthy burgher of Stratford, the friend
of John a' Combe, who lies yonder in the corner. I know not what the
phrenologists say to the bust. The forehead is but moderately developed,
and retreats somewhat, the upper part of the skull rising pyramidally;
the eyes are prominent almost beyond the penthouse of the brow; the
upper lip is so long that it must have been almost a deformity, unless
the sculptor artistically exaggerated its length, in consideration,
that, on the pedestal, it must be foreshortened by being looked at from
below. On the whole, Shakspeare must have had a singular rather than a
prepossessing face; and it is wonderful how, with this bust before its
eyes, the world has persisted in maintaining an erroneous notion of his
appearance, allowing painters and sculptors to foist their idealized
nonsense on us all, instead of the genuine man. For my part, the
Shakspeare of my mind's eye is henceforth to be a personage of a ruddy
English complexion, with a reasonably capacious brow, intelligent and
quickly observant eyes, a nose curved slightly outward, a long, queer
upper-lip, with the mouth a little unclosed beneath it, and cheeks
considerably developed in the lower part and beneath the chin. But when
Shakspeare was himself, (for nine-tenths of the time, according to all
appearances, he was but the burgher of Stratford,) he doubtless shone
through this dull mask and transfigured it into the face of an angel.

Fifteen or twenty feet behind the row of Shakspeare gravestones is the
great east-window of the church, now brilliant with stained glass of
recent manufacture. On one side of this window, under a sculptured arch
of marble, lies a full-length marble figure of John a' Combe, clad in
what I take to be a robe of municipal dignity, and holding its hands
devoutly clasped. It is a sturdy English figure, with coarse features,
a type of ordinary man whom we smile to see immortalized in the
sculpturesque material of poets and heroes; but the prayerful attitude
encourages us to believe that the old usurer may not, after all, have
had that grim reception in the other world which Shakspeare's squib
foreboded for him. By-the-by, till I grew somewhat familiar with
Warwickshire pronunciation, I never understood that the point of those
ill-natured lines was a pun. "'Oho!' quoth the Devil, ''tis my John a'
Combe!'"--that is, "my John has come!"

Close to the poet's bust is a nameless, oblong, cubic tomb, supposed to
be that of a clerical dignitary of the fourteenth century. The church
has other mural monuments and altar-tombs, one or two of the latter
upholding the recumbent figures of knights in armor and their dames,
very eminent and worshipful personages in their day, no doubt, but
doomed to appear forever intrusive and impertinent within the precincts
which Shakspeare has made his own. His renown is tyrannous, and suffers
nothing else to be recognized within the scope of its material presence,
unless illuminated by some side-ray from himself. The clerk informed me
that interments no longer take place in any part of the church. And it
is better so; for methinks a person of delicate individuality, curious
about his burial-place, and desirous of six feet of earth for himself
alone, could never endure to lie buried near Shakspeare, but would rise
up at midnight and grope his way out of the church-door, rather than
sleep in the shadow of so stupendous a memory.

I should hardly have dared to add another to the innumerable
descriptions of Stratford-on-Avon, if it had not seemed to me that
this would form a fitting framework to some reminiscences of a very
remarkable woman. Her labor, while she lived, was of a nature and
purpose outwardly irreverent to the name of Shakspeare, yet, by its
actual tendency, entitling her to the distinction of being that one of
all his worshippers who sought, though she knew it not, to place the
richest and stateliest diadem upon his brow. We Americans, at least, in
the scanty annals of our literature, cannot afford to forget her high
and conscientious exercise of noble faculties, which, indeed, if you
look at the matter in one way, evolved only a miserable error, but, more
fairly considered, produced a result worth almost what it cost her. Her
faith in her own ideas was so genuine, that, erroneous as they were,
it transmuted them to gold, or, at all events, interfused a large
proportion of that precious and indestructible substance among the waste
material from which it can readily be sifted.

The only time I ever saw Miss Bacon was in London, where she had
lodgings in Spring Street, Sussex Gardens, at the house of a grocer, a
portly, middle-aged, civil, and friendly man, who, as well as his wife,
appeared to feel a personal kindness towards their lodger. I was ushered
up two (and I rather believe three) pair of stairs into a parlor
somewhat humbly furnished, and told that Miss Bacon would come soon.
There were a number of books on the table, and, looking into them, I
found that every one had some reference, more or less immediate, to her
Shakspearian theory,--a volume of Raleigh's "History of the World,"
a volume of Montaigne, a volume of Lord Bacon's letters, a volume of
Shakspeare's plays; and on another table lay a large roll of manuscript,
which I presume to have been a portion of her work. To be sure, there
was a pocket-Bible among the books, but everything else referred to the
one despotic idea that had got possession of her mind; and as it had
engrossed her whole soul as well as her intellect, I have no doubt
that she had established subtile connections between it and the Bible
likewise. As is apt to be the case with solitary students, Miss Bacon
probably read late and rose late; for I took up Montaigne (it was
Hazlitt's translation) and had been reading his journey to Italy a good
while before she appeared.

I had expected (the more shame for me, having no other ground of such
expectation than that she was a literary woman) to see a very homely,
uncouth, elderly personage, and was quite agreeably disappointed by
her aspect. She was rather uncommonly tall, and had a striking and
expressive face, dark hair, dark eyes, which shone with an inward light
as soon as she began to speak, and by-and-by a color came into her
cheeks and made her look almost young. Not that she really was so; she
must have been beyond middle-age: and there was no unkindness in coming
to that conclusion, because, making allowance for years and ill-health,
I could suppose her to have been handsome and exceedingly attractive
once. Though wholly estranged from society, there was little or no
restraint or embarrassment in her manner: lonely people are generally
glad to give utterance to their pent-up ideas, and often bubble over
with them as freely as children with their new-found syllables. I cannot
tell how it came about, but we immediately found ourselves taking a
friendly and familiar tone together, and began to talk as if we had
known one another a very long while. A little preliminary correspondence
had indeed smoothed the way, and we had a definite topic in the
contemplated publication of her book.

She was very communicative about her theory, and would have been much
more so, had I desired it; but, being conscious within myself of a
sturdy unbelief, I deemed it fair and honest rather to repress than draw
her out upon the subject. Unquestionably, she was a monomaniac; these
overmastering ideas about the authorship of Shakspeare's plays, and the
deep political philosophy concealed beneath the surface of them, had
completely thrown her off her balance; but at the same time they had
wonderfully developed her intellect, and made her what she could not
otherwise have become. It was a very singular phenomenon: a system
of philosophy growing up in this woman's mind without her
volition,--contrary, in fact, to the determined resistance of her
volition,--and substituting itself in the place of everything that
originally grew there. To have based such a system on fancy, and
unconsciously elaborated it for herself, was almost as wonderful as
really to have found it in the plays. But, in a certain sense, she did
actually find it there. Shakspeare has surface beneath surface, to an
immeasurable depth, adapted to the plummet-line of every reader; his
works present many faces of truth, each with scope enough to fill a
contemplative mind. Whatever you seek in him you will surely
discover, provided you seek truth. There is no exhausting the various
interpretation of his symbols; and a thousand years hence, a world of
new readers will possess a whole library of new books, as we ourselves
do, in these volumes old already. I had half a mind to suggest to Miss
Bacon this explanation of her theory, but forbore, because (as I could
readily perceive) she had as princely a spirit as Queen Elizabeth
herself, and would at once have motioned me from the room.

I had heard, long ago, that she believed that the material evidences
of her dogma as to the authorship, together with the key of the new
philosophy, would be found buried in Shakspeare's grave. Recently, as
I understood her, this notion had been somewhat modified, and was now
accurately defined and fully developed in her mind, with a result of
perfect certainty. In Lord Bacon's letters, on which she laid her finger
as she spoke, she had discovered the key and clue to the whole mystery.
There were definite and minute instructions how to find a will and other
documents relating to the conclave of Elizabethan philosophers, which
were concealed (when and by whom she did not inform me) in a hollow
space in the under surface of Shakspeare's gravestone. Thus the terrible
prohibition to remove the stone was accounted for. The directions, she
intimated, went completely and precisely to the point, obviating all
difficulties in the way of coming at the treasure, and even, if I
remember right, were so contrived as to ward off any troublesome
consequences likely to ensue from the interference of the
parish-officers. All that Miss Bacon now remained in England
for--indeed, the object for which she had come hither, and which had
kept her here for three years past--was to obtain possession of these
material and unquestionable proofs of the authenticity of her theory.

She communicated all this strange matter in a low, quiet tone; while, on
my part, I listened as quietly, and without any expression of dissent.
Controversy against a faith so settled would have shut her up at
once, and that, too, without in the least weakening her belief in the
existence of those treasures of the tomb; and had it been possible to
convince her of their intangible nature, I apprehend that there would
have been nothing left for the poor enthusiast save to collapse and die.
She frankly confessed that she could no longer bear the society of those
who did not at least lend a certain sympathy to her views, if not fully
share in them; and meeting little sympathy or none, she had now entirely
secluded herself from the world. In all these years, she had seen Mrs.
F. a few times, but had long ago given her up,--Carlyle once or twice,
but not of late, although he had received her kindly; Mr. Buchanan,
while minister in England, had once called on her, and General Campbell,
our consul in London, had met her two or three times on business.
With these exceptions, which she marked so scrupulously that it was
perceptible what epochs they were in the monotonous passage of her days,
she had lived in the profoundest solitude. She never walked out;
she suffered much from ill-health; and yet, she assured me, she was
perfectly happy.

I could well conceive it; for Miss Bacon imagined herself to have
received (what is certainly the greatest boon ever assigned to
mortals) a high mission in the world, with adequate powers for its
accomplishment; and lest even these should prove insufficient, she had
faith that special interpositions of Providence were forwarding her
human efforts. This idea was continually coming to the surface,
during our interview. She believed, for example, that she had been
providentially led to her lodging-house and put in relations with the
good-natured grocer and his family; and, to say the truth, considering
what a savage and stealthy tribe the London lodging-house keepers
actually are, the honest kindness of this man and his household appeared
to have been little less than miraculous. Evidently, too, she thought
that Providence had brought me forward----a man somewhat connected with
literature--at the critical juncture when she needed a negotiator with
the booksellers; and, on my part, though little accustomed to regard
myself as a divine minister, and though I might even have preferred that
Providence should select some other instrument, I had no scruple in
undertaking to do what I could for her. Her book, as I could see by
turning it over, was a very remarkable one, and worthy of being offered
to the public, which, if wise enough to appreciate it, would be thankful
for what was good in it and merciful to its faults. It was founded on a
prodigious error, but was built up from that foundation with a good many
prodigious truths. And, at all events, whether I could aid her literary
views or no, it would have been both rash and impertinent in me to
attempt drawing poor Miss Bacon out of her delusions, which were the
condition on which she lived in comfort and joy, and in the exercise of
great intellectual power. So I left her to dream as she pleased about
the treasures of Shakspeare's tombstone, and to form whatever designs
might seem good to herself for obtaining possession of them. I was
sensible of a lady-like feeling of propriety in Miss Bacon, and
a New-England orderliness in her character, and, in spite of her
bewilderment, a sturdy common-sense, which I trusted would begin to
operate at the right time, and keep her from any actual extravagance.
And as regarded this matter of the tombstone, so it proved.

The interview lasted above an hour, during which she flowed out freely,
as to the sole auditor, capable of any degree of intelligent sympathy,
whom she had met with in a very long while. Her conversation was
remarkably suggestive, alluring forth one's own ideas and fantasies from
the shy places where they usually haunt. She was indeed an admirable
talker, considering how long she had held her tongue for lack of a
listener,--pleasant, sunny and shadowy, often piquant, and giving
glimpses of all a woman's various and readily changeable moods and
humors; and beneath them all there ran a deep and powerful under-current
of earnestness, which did not fail to produce in the listener's mind
something like a temporary faith in what she herself believed so
fervently. But the streets of London are not favorable to enthusiasms
of this kind, nor, in fact, are they likely to flourish anywhere in the
English atmosphere; so that, long before reaching Paternoster Row, I
felt that it would be a difficult and doubtful matter to advocate the
publication of Miss Bacon's book. Nevertheless, it did finally get
published.

Months before that happened, however, Miss Bacon had taken up her
residence at Stratford-on-Avon, drawn thither by the magnetism of those
rich secrets which she supposed to have been hidden by Raleigh, or
Bacon, or I know not whom, in Shakspeare's grave, and protected there
by a curse, as pirates used to bury their gold in the guardianship of a
fiend. She took a humble lodging and began to haunt the church like a
ghost. But she did not condescend to any stratagem or underhand attempt
to violate the grave, which, had she been capable of admitting such
an idea, might possibly have been accomplished by the aid of a
resurrection-man. As her first step, she made acquaintance with the
clerk, and began to sound him as to the feasibility of her enterprise
and his own willingness to engage in it. The clerk apparently listened
with not unfavorable ears; but, as his situation (which the fees of
pilgrims, more numerous than at any Catholic shrine, render lucrative)
would have been forfeited by any malfeasance in office, he stipulated
for liberty to consult the vicar. Miss Bacon requested to tell her own
story to the reverend gentleman, and seems to have been received by him
with the utmost kindness, and even to have succeeded in making a certain
impression on his mind as to the desirability of the search. As their
interview had been under the seal of secrecy, he asked permission to
consult a friend, who, as Miss Bacon either found out or surmised, was
a practitioner of the law. What the legal friend advised she did not
learn; but the negotiation continued, and certainly was never broken
off by an absolute refusal on the vicar's part. He, perhaps, was kindly
temporizing with our poor countrywoman, whom an Englishman of ordinary
mould would have sent to a lunatic-asylum at once. I cannot help
fancying, however, that her familiarity with the events of Shakspeare's
life, and of his death and burial, (of which she would speak as if
she had been present at the edge of the grave,) and all the history,
literature, and personalities of the Elizabethan age, together with the
prevailing power of her own belief, and the eloquence with which she
knew how to enforce it, had really gone some little way towards making
a convert of the good clergyman. If so, I honor him above all the
hierarchy of England.

The affair certainly looked very hopeful. However erroneously, Miss
Bacon had understood from the vicar that no obstacles would be
interposed to the investigation, and that he himself would sanction
it with his presence. It was to take place after nightfall; and all
preliminary arrangements being made, the vicar and clerk professed to
wait only her word in order to set about lifting the awful stone
from the sepulchre. So, at least, Miss Bacon believed; and as her
bewilderment was entirely in her own thoughts, and never disturbed her
perception or accurate remembrance of external things, I see no reason
to doubt it, except it be the tinge of absurdity in the fact. But, in
this apparently prosperous state of things, her own convictions began to
falter. A doubt stole into her mind whether she might not have mistaken
the depository and mode of concealment of those historic treasures; and
after once admitting the doubt, she was afraid to hazard the shock of
uplifting the stone and finding nothing. She examined the surface of the
gravestone, and endeavored, without stirring it, to estimate whether it
were of such thickness as to be capable of containing the archives of
the Elizabethan club. She went over anew the proofs, the clues, the
enigmas, the pregnant sentences, which she had discovered in Bacon's
letters and elsewhere, and now was frightened to perceive that they
did not point so definitely to Shakspeare's tomb as she had heretofore
supposed. There was an unmistakably distinct reference to a tomb, but it
might be Bacon's, or Raleigh's, or Spenser's; and instead of the "Old
Player," as she profanely called him, it might be either of those
three illustrious dead, poet, warrior, or statesman, whose ashes, in
Westminster Abbey, or the Tower burial-ground, or wherever they sleep,
it was her mission to disturb.

But she continued to hover around the church, and seems to have had full
freedom of entrance in the daytime, and special license, on one
occasion at least, at a late hour of the night. She went thither with
a dark-lantern, which could but twinkle like a glow-worm through the
volume of obscurity that filled the great dusky edifice. Groping her way
up the aisle and towards the chancel, she sat down on the elevated part
of the pavement above Shakspeare's grave. If the divine poet really
wrote the inscription there, and cared as much about the quiet of his
bones as its deprecatory earnestness would imply, it was time for those
crumbling relics to bestir themselves under her sacrilegious feet. But
they were safe. She made no attempt to disturb them; though, I believe,
she looked narrowly into the crevices between Shakspeare's and the two
adjacent stones, and in some way satisfied herself that her single
strength would suffice to lift the former, in case of need. She threw
the feeble ray of her lantern up towards the bust, but could not make it
visible beneath the darkness of the vaulted roof. Had she been subject
to superstitious terrors, it is impossible to conceive of a situation
that could better entitle her to feel them, for, if Shakspeare's ghost
would rise at any provocation, it must have shown itself then; but it is
my sincere belief, that, if his figure had appeared within the scope of
her dark-lantern, in his slashed doublet and gown, and with his eyes
bent on her beneath the high, bald forehead, just as we see him in the
bust, she would have met him fearlessly, and controverted his claims to
the authorship of the plays, to his very face. She had taught herself to
contemn "Lord Leicester's groom" (it was one of her disdainful epithets
for the world's incomparable poet) so thoroughly, that even his
disembodied spirit would hardly have found civil treatment at Miss
Bacon's hands.

Her vigil, though it appears to have had no definite object, continued
far into the night. Several times she heard a low movement in the
aisles: a stealthy, dubious foot-fall prowling about in the darkness,
now here, now there, among the pillars and ancient tombs, as if some
restless inhabitant of the latter had crept forth to peep at the
intruder. By-and-by the clerk made his appearance, and confessed that he
had been watching her ever since she entered the church.

About this time it was that a strange sort of weariness seems to have
fallen upon her: her toil was all but done, her great purpose, as she
believed, on the very point of accomplishment, when she began to regret
that so stupendous a mission had been imposed on the fragility of a
woman. Her faith in the new philosophy was as mighty as ever, and so was
her confidence in her own adequate development of it, now about to be
given to the world; yet she wished, or fancied so, that it might never
have been her duty to achieve this unparalleled task, and to stagger
feebly forward under her immense burden of responsibility and renown. So
far as her personal concern in the matter went, she would gladly have
forfeited the reward of her patient study and labor for so many years,
her exile from her country and estrangement from her family and friends,
her sacrifice of health and all other interests to this one pursuit, if
she could only find herself free to dwell in Stratford and be forgotten.
She liked the old slumberous town, and awarded the only praise that ever
I knew her to bestow on Shakspeare, the individual man, by acknowledging
that his taste in a residence was good, and that he knew how to choose a
suitable retirement for a person of shy, but genial temperament. And at
this point, I cease to possess the means of tracing her vicissitudes of
feeling any farther. In consequence of some advice which I fancied it
my duty to tender, as being the only confidant whom she now had in the
world, I fell under Miss Bacon's most severe and passionate displeasure,
and was cast off by her in the twinkling of an eye. It was a misfortune
to which her friends were always particularly liable; but I think that
none of them ever loved, or even respected, her most ingenuous and
noble, but likewise most sensitive and tumultuous character, the less
for it.

At that time her book was passing through the press. Without prejudice
to her literary ability, it must be allowed that Miss Bacon was wholly
unfit to prepare her own work for publication, because, among many other
reasons, she was too thoroughly in earnest to know what to leave out.
Every leaf and line was sacred, for all had been written under so deep
a conviction of truth as to assume, in her eyes, the aspect of
inspiration. A practised book-maker, with entire control of her
materials, would have shaped out a duodecimo volume full of eloquent
and ingenious dissertation,--criticisms which quite take the
color and pungency out of other people's critical remarks on
Shakspeare,--philosophic truths which she imagined herself to have
found at the roots of his conceptions, and which certainly come from no
inconsiderable depth somewhere. There was a great amount of rubbish,
which any competent editor would have shovelled out of the way. But Miss
Bacon thrust the whole bulk of inspiration and nonsense into the press
in a lump, and there tumbled out a ponderous octavo volume, which fell
with a dead thump at the feet of the public, and has never been picked
up. A few persons turned over one or two of the leaves, as it lay there,
and essayed to kick the volume deeper into the mud; for they were the
hack critics of the minor periodical press in London, than whom, I
suppose, though excellent fellows in their way, there are no gentlemen
in the world less sensible of any sanctity in a book, or less likely
to recognize an author's heart in it, or more utterly careless about
bruising, if they do recognize it. It is their trade. They could not
do otherwise. I never thought of blaming them. From the scholars and
critics of her own country, indeed, Miss Bacon might have looked for
a worthier appreciation, because many of the best of them have higher
cultivation and finer and deeper literary sensibilities than all but
the very profoundest and brightest of Englishmen. But they are not a
courageous body of men; they dare not think a truth that has an odor of
absurdity, lest they should feel themselves bound to speak it out. If
any American ever wrote a word in her behalf, Miss Bacon never knew it,
nor did I. Our journalists at once republished some of the most brutal
vituperations of the English press, thus pelting their poor countrywoman
with stolen mud, without even waiting to know whether the ignominy was
deserved. And they never have known it, to this day, nor ever will.

The next intelligence that I had of Miss Bacon was by a letter from the
mayor of Stratford-on-Avon. He was a medical man, and wrote both in his
official and professional character, telling me that an American lady,
who had recently published what the mayor called a "Shakspeare book,"
was afflicted with insanity. In a lucid interval she had referred to me,
as a person who had some knowledge of her family and affairs. What she
may have suffered before her intellect gave way, we had better not try
to imagine. No author had ever hoped so confidently as she; none ever
failed more utterly. A superstitious fancy might suggest that the
anathema on Shakspeare's tombstone had fallen heavily on her head in
requital of even the unaccomplished purpose of disturbing the dust
beneath, and that the "Old Player" had kept so quietly in his grave,
on the night of her vigil, because he foresaw how soon and terribly he
would be avenged. But if that benign spirit takes any care or cognizance
of such things now, he has surely requited the injustice that she sought
to do him--the high justice that she really did--by a tenderness of love
and pity of which only he could be capable. What matters it, though she
called him by some other name? He had wrought a greater miracle on her
than on all the world besides. This bewildered enthusiast had recognized
a depth in the man whom she decried, which scholars, critics, and
learned societies, devoted to the elucidation of his unrivalled scenes,
had never imagined to exist there. She had paid him the loftiest honor
that all these ages of renown have been able to accumulate upon his
memory. And when, not many months after the outward failure of her
life-long object, she passed into the better world, I know not why we
should hesitate to believe that the immortal poet may have met her
on the threshold and led her in, reassuring her with friendly and
comfortable words, and thanking her (yet with a smile of gentle humor
in his eyes at the thought of certain mistaken speculations) for having
interpreted him to mankind so well.

I believe that it has been the fate of this remarkable book never to
have had more than a single reader. I myself am acquainted with it only
in insulated chapters and scattered pages and paragraphs. But, since my
return to America, a young man of genius and enthusiasm has assured
me that he has positively read the book from beginning to end, and is
completely a convert to its doctrines. It belongs to him, therefore, and
not to me,--whom, in almost the last letter that I received from her,
she declared unworthy to meddle with her work,--it belongs surely to
this one individual, who has done her so much justice as to know what
she wrote, to place Miss Bacon in her due position before the public and
posterity.

This has been too sad a story. To lighten the recollection of it, I will
think of my stroll homeward past Charlecote Park, where I beheld the
most stately elms, singly, in clumps, and in groves, scattered all about
in the sunniest, shadiest, sleepiest fashion; so that I could not but
believe in a lengthened, loitering, drowsy enjoyment which these trees
must have in their existence. Diffused over slow-paced centuries,
it need not be keen nor bubble into thrills and ecstasies, like the
momentary delights of short-lived human beings. They were civilized
trees, known to man and befriended by him for ages past. There is an
indescribable difference--as I believe I have heretofore endeavored to
express--between the tamed, but by no means effete (on the contrary,
the richer and more luxuriant) Nature of England, and the rude, shaggy,
barbarous Nature which offers us its racier companionship in America. No
less a change has been wrought among the wildest creatures that inhabit
what the English call their forests. By-and-by, among those refined and
venerable trees, I saw a large herd of deer, mostly reclining, but
some standing in picturesque groups, while the stags threw their large
antlers aloft, as if they had been taught to make themselves tributary
to the scenic effect. Some were running fleetly about, vanishing from
light into shadow and glancing forth again, with here and there a little
fawn careering at its mother's heels. These deer are almost in the same
relation to the wild, natural state of their kind that the trees of an
English park hold to the rugged growth of an American forest. They have
held a certain intercourse with man for immemorial years; and, most
probably, the stag that Shakspeare killed was one of the progenitors
of this very herd, and may himself have been a partly civilized and
humanized deer, though in a less degree than these remote posterity.
They are a little wilder than sheep, but they do not snuff the air at
the approach of human beings, nor evince much alarm at their pretty
close proximity; although, if you continue to advance, they toss their
heads and take to their heels in a kind of mimic terror, or something
akin to feminine skittishness, with a dim remembrance or tradition, as
it were, of their having come of a wild stock. They have so long been
fed and protected by man, that they must have lost many of their native
instincts, and, I suppose, could not live comfortably through even an
English winter without human help. One is sensible of a gentle scorn
at them for such dependency, but feels none the less kindly disposed
towards the half-domesticated race; and it may have been his observation
of these tamer characteristics in the Charlecote herd that suggested to
Shakspeare the tender and pitiful description of a wounded stag, in "As
You Like It."

At a distance of some hundreds of yards from Charlecote Hall, and almost
hidden by the trees between it and the road-side, is an old brick
archway and porter's lodge. In connection with this entrance there
appears to have been a wall and an ancient moat, the latter of which is
still visible, a shallow, grassy scoop along the base of an embankment
of the lawn. About fifty yards within the gate-way stands the house,
forming three sides of a square, with three gables in a row on the front
and on each of the two wings; and there are several towers and turrets
at the angles, together with projecting windows, antique balconies, and
other quaint ornaments suitable to the half-Gothic taste in which
the edifice was built. Over the gate-way is the Lucy coat-of-arms,
emblazoned in its proper colors. The mansion dates from the early
days of Elizabeth, and probably looked very much the same as now when
Shakspeare was brought before Sir Thomas Lucy for outrages among his
deer. The impression is not that of gray antiquity, but of stable and
time-honored gentility, still as vital as ever.

It is a most delightful place. All about the house and domain there is a
perfection of comfort and domestic taste, an amplitude of convenience,
which could have been brought about only by the slow ingenuity and
labor of many successive generations, intent upon adding all possible
improvement to the home where years gone by and years to come give a
sort of permanence to the intangible present. An American is sometimes
tempted to fancy that only by this long process can real homes be
produced. One man's lifetime is not enough for the accomplishment of
such a work of Art and Nature, almost the greatest merely temporary one
that is confided to him; too little, at any rate,--yet perhaps too long,
when he is discouraged by the idea that he must make his house warm and
delightful for a miscellaneous race of successors, of whom the one thing
certain is, that his own grandchildren will not be among them. Such
repinings as are here suggested, however, come only from the fact, that,
bred in English habits of thought, as most of us are, we have not yet
modified our instincts to the necessities of our new forms of life. A
lodging in a wigwam or under a tent has really as many advantages, when
we come to know them, as a home beneath the roof-tree of Charlecote
Hall. But, alas! our philosophers have not yet taught us to see what is
best, nor have our poets sung us what is beautifullest, in the kind of
life that we must lead; and therefore we still read the old English
wisdom, and harp upon the ancient strings. And thence it happens, that,
when we look at a time-honored hall, it seems more possible for men who
inherit such a home, than for ourselves, to lead noble and graceful
lives, quietly doing good and lovely things as their daily work, and
achieving deeds of simple greatness when circumstances require them. I
sometimes apprehend that our institutions may perish before we shall
have discovered the most precious of the possibilities which they
involve.

       *       *       *       *       *


MR. AXTELL.

PART VI.


"The leaves of the second autumn were half-shrivelled in drawing near to
the winter of their age.

"I had been to see your mother. She was ill. Mary's death was slowly,
surely bringing her own near. We had had a long talk that afternoon. Her
visions of life were rare and beautiful. She was like Mrs. Wilton, the
embodiment of all that is purely woman. She had wrought a solemn spell
over me,--made Eternity seem near. I had been changed since that prayer
on the sea-shore, fourteen months before, but now I felt a longing to
go away. Earth seemed so drear,--mother was sick,--Abraham unhappy,--my
father deep in the perplexing cares of his profession, mostly from
home,--Mrs. Percival was dying,--the year was passing away,--and I, too,
would be going; and as I went out of the house to go home, I remembered
the day wherein I had waited in the viny arbor for Mary to awaken from
sleep, how I had gone down to the sea to waken myself to a light that
burned before it blessed. Since then I had avoided the place, barred
with so many prison-wires. Now I felt a longing to go into it. The
leaves were frost-bitten. I sympathized with them. Autumn winds went
sighing over their misfortunes; spirit-winds blew past me, on their way
to and from the land that is and the land that is not to us. The arbor
was dear with a newborn love. I went out to greet it, as one might greet
a ship sailing the same great ocean, though bound to a different port.
There was a something in that old vine-clad arbor that was in me. I felt
its shadows coming out to meet me. They chilled a little, but I went in.
I looked at the little white office, across the yard, in the corner. I
thought of the face that came out that day to see me,--the face that
drank up my heart in one long draught, begun across Alice dead, finished
when I read that letter. The cup of my heart was empty,--_so empty_ now!
I looked down into it; it was fringed with stalactites, crystallized
from the poison of the glass. Oh! what did I see there? A dead, dead
crater, aching for the very fire that made it what it was, crying out of
its fierce void for fiery fusion. Why did our God make us so,--us, who
love, knowing we should not? I knew from the beginning that Bernard
McKey ought not to be cared for by me; but could I help it? Now the veil
of death, I believed, hung between, and the cup of my heart might be
embalmed: the last change, I thought, had come to it, and left it as I
that day found.

"Chloe came around the corner, throwing her apron over her head. She
looked up and down the way, as if in search of some one, went down the
walk to the gate, looked as I had once seen her do at our house, taking
it window by window, and finding no one, (the day seemed deserted,) she
was walking back. I called to her from the arbor.

"'I was just looking for you, Miss Lettie. I've got a letter here.
Mistress is too sick to read it for me, and Master's away. Would you?'

"It was addressed to Chloe. I broke the seal and opened it. It seemed a
long letter. I gave a sigh at the task before me, and looked over to
the end. I saw the signature: it was Bernard H. McKey. After that I saw
Chloe's troubled black face written on my vision, and felt dripping
drops about my head.

"'There, Miss Lettie, it's all over, now. I's so glad you're come to! I
won't bother you with reading anymore letters. It would have to be much
good in it that 'ud pay me for seeing you so.'

"I was sitting in the arbor a little later, alone, reading the letter.
Through the rending of the cup dew stole in; the mist was stifling.
Still't was better than the death that reigned before. The contents of
my life were _not_ poured out beyond the earth. The thought gave me
comfort. It is so sad to feel the great gate shut down across the flame
of your heart! to have the stilled waters set back, never more to join
those that have escaped, gone on, to turn the wheel of Eternity! In that
hour it was joy enough for me to know that he lived, even if the life
was for another. I, too, had my bright portion in it.

"Chloe came back. She had forgotten the letter, when she went in to Mrs.
Percival. She said 'faintin' must be good for me; she hadn't seen me
look so fine in a many days.'

"I told Chloe that the letter had been written to me, that it was not
meant for her. At first she did not comprehend; after that I felt sure
that a perception of the truth dawned in her mind, she watched me so
closely.

"I carried my letter home. That night I compared the two,--the one
Abraham had found (where I knew not, I never questioned him) with this.
They bore no resemblance: but I remembered that two years make changes
in all things; they might have effected this. The signatures were
unlike; the latter contained the initial H. What if they were not
written by the same person? The question was too mighty for me. I was
compelled to await the answer.

"Bernard would be in Redleaf in November. He named the day,--appointed
the place of meeting. It was the old tower in the church-yard. I had a
fancy, as you have, for the dreary dimness there. As children, we made
it our temple for all the worships childhood knows. The door had long
been gone; it was open to every one who chose to enter in. Before the
coming of the day, I was in continual fear lest the new joy that had
come into my life should trace itself visibly on my outward seeming. I
took it in as the hungry do food, and tried to hide the sustenance it
gave. I saw that my mother's eyes were often upon me,--that she was
trying to follow my joy to its source. One day,--it was the very one
before his coming,--she came suddenly upon me when I was wrapt in my
mantle of exquisite consciousness. I had gone down to the river: you
know it runs at the foot of the place. Tired of stirring up dry, dead
leaves, I leaned against a tree,--one arm was around it,--and with my
eyes traversing the blue of the sky, on and on, in quick, constant,
flashing journeys, like fixed heat-lightning, I suddenly became
conscious of a blue upon the earth, orbed in my mother's cool eyes. I
don't know how I came out of the sky. She said only, 'Your thoughts
harmonize with the season'; but I knew she meant much more. It was long
since she had wandered so far from the house; but of late she had had
my joy to trace,--my mother, to whom I could not intrust it, in all of
whose nature it had no place, whose spirit mine was not formed to call
out echoes from. The result of her walk to the river was a subsequent
day of prostration and a nervous headache. All the morning of that
November day I sat beside her in the darkened room. I bathed her head,
until she said there was _too_ much life in my hands, and sent for
Abraham. Thus my time of release came."

A quick, involuntary smile crossed Miss Axtell's face at the memory of
her first sight of Mr. McKey. I watched her now. She changed the style
of her narration, taking it on quickly, in nervous periods, with
electric pauses, which she did not fill as formerly.

"We met in the tower, happily without discovery. I told him of my
mother's knowledge, showed him the notice of his (as I had thought)
death.

"'It is my cousin,' he said carelessly,--adding, with a sigh, 'poor
fellow! he was to have married soon.'

"I gave him the letter, the key of all my agony.

"'I remember when he wrote this,' he went on, as carelessly as if his
words had all been known to me. 'You did not see him, perhaps; he
was with me the first time I came to Redleaf,--was here the night he
describes.'

"It was so strange that he did not ask where I obtained the letter! but
he did not. He gave me an epitome of his cousin's life and death. The
two were named after an uncle; each had received the baptismal sign ere
it was known that the other received the name; in after-time the Herbert
was added to one.

"We sat in the window of the tower all through the short November
afternoon. We saw Chloe come into the church-yard; she came to take up
some roses that had blossomed in summer beside Mary's grave. We heard
her knife moving about in the pebbly soil, and watched her going home.
She was the only comer. In November, people never visit such places,
save from necessity.

"Mr. McKey and I had discovered the passage leading from church to
tower. Mary was with us then. There was a romance in keeping the secret,
poetry in the knowledge that we three were sole proprietors; one was
gone,--now it became only ours.

"How came _you_ to know of it?" she suddenly asked.

Questioned thus, I twined my story in with hers, she listening in a rapt
way, peculiarly her own. I told her of my prisonment on the day of her
visit. I confessed entirely, up to the point she had narrated. When I
ended, she said,--

"You have kept this secret twenty-five days; mine has been mine
eighteen years. Mr. McKey has wandered in the time over the world of
civilization, coming here at every return, making only day-visits,
wandering up and down familiar places, meeting people whom he knew, but
who never saw him through his disguises. He met my mother twice; even
her quick eyes had no ray of suspicion in them.

"Four years ago we went to Europe: father's health demanded it. There,
by accident, I met Mr. McKey. Fourteen years had so changed him from
the medical student in Doctor Percival's office, that, although without
disguise, neither mother nor Abraham recognized him. It was in England
that father died,--there that we met Mr. McKey. It was he who, coming as
a stranger, proved our best friend, whom mother and Abraham called Mr.
Herbert. It was his hand lifted up for the last time my father's head
just before he died. It was he who went to and fro making all needful
arrangements for father's burial. At last we prepared to leave. He came
to the steamer to say parting words. Mother and Abraham, with tearful
eyes, thanking him for his past kindness, begged, should he ever come to
America, a visit from him. When their farewells were ended, he looked
around for me. I was standing apart from them; the place where my feet
then were is to-day fathoms deep under iceberg-soil: it was upon the
Pacific's deck. I wonder if just there where I then stood it is as cold
as elsewhere,--if Ocean's self hath power to congeal the vitality of
spirit."

Miss Axtell paused one moment, as if answering the question to herself.
In that interval I remembered the face that only three weeks agone I
had looked upon, over which Dead-Sea waves had beat in vain. After the
pause, she went on:--

"I gave Mr. McKey the farewell, silent of all words. A few moments
later, and we were on our homeward way, leaving a friend and a grave in
England.

"After our coming home, an intense longing came to speak of Herbert,--to
tell my proud mother to whom she was indebted for so many acts of kindly
friendship; but often as I said, 'I will,' I yet did not. To-day I would
wait for the morrow; on the morrow indecision came; and at last, when
the intent was stronger than ever, when I had laid me down to sleep
after an interview with Mr. McKey, solemnly promising Heaven that with
the morning light I would confess all and leave the consequences with
my God, in that night-time He sent forth His angel to gather in her
spirit."

Miss Axtell covered her face with the hands so long rigidly clasped
about her precious package, and the very air that was in the room caught
the thrill and quiver of her heart, strong to suffer, strong to love.
When she again spoke, it was in low, murmurous tones.

"I wanted my mother to know what God had permitted me to be to this man,
his great anchor of clinging in all storms,--how, in loving him, I had
been permitted to save him. Do you think it is good," she asked,--"my
story? It isn't a story of what the world calls 'happy love'; I don't
think I should find it happy even now. I have come to a solemn bridge in
the journey of Time. I know it must be crossed,--only how? It is high;
my head is dizzied by the very thought. It has none of the ordinary
protective railings; I must walk out alone, and--I cannot see the other
end; it is too far, too misty. My mother's face fills up all the way; it
comes out to meet me, and I do not rightly hear what she says, for my
ears are filled with the roar of the life-current that frets over rocks
below. I try to stay it while I listen; it only floods the way. There
is time given me; there is no immediate cause for action: for this I am
thankful. Mr. McKey left me at the tower on the day you heard us there.
He is a surgeon in the naval service. His ship sailed last week on a
three years' voyage. I shall have time to think, to decide what I ought
to do; perhaps the roar will cease, and I shall hear what my mother
tries to say.

"I have one great thought of torment. Abraham, what if he should die,
too,--die without knowing? that I could not bear"; and the face, still
looking toward Zoar, lifted up itself from the little City of Refuge,
and looked into the face of Anna Percival. "Poor Abraham!" she said, "he
has suffered, perhaps even more than I. He will hear _you_. Will you
tell him this for me? Tell him all; and when you tell how Mary came to
die, give him this,"--and she handed to me the very package I had twice
journeyed with,--"it will prove to him the truth of what I say."

I hesitated to take that which she proffered.

"You must not disappoint me," she said. "I have spent happy hours since
you went away, in the belief that Providence sent you here to me in the
greatness of my need. I cannot tell Abraham; I could not bear the
joy that will, that must come, when he lays down the burden of his
crime,--for, oh! it will be at the feet of Bernard McKey. You will not
refuse me this?" she pleaded.

Anna Percival, in the silence of that upper room where so much of life
had come to her, sat at Miss Axtell's side, and thought of the dream
that came one Sunday morning to her, sleeping, and out of the memory of
it came tolling down to her heart the words then spoken, and, taught by
them, she answered Miss Axtell's pleading by an "I will."

"Good little comfort-giver!" Miss Lettie said; and she left the package,
containing the precious jewel, in my hands.

Bewildered by the story, filled with sorrow for sufferers passed away
from the great, suffering earth, aching for those that still were in the
void of misery, I arose to go. "It was near to mid-day; Aaron and Sophie
would wait dinner for me," I said to Miss Lottie's pleading for another
hour. Ere I went, the conventionalities that signalled our meeting were
repeated, and, wrapped in the web and woof Miss Axtell had woven, I went
down the staircase and through the wide hall and out of the solemn
old house, wondering if ever again Anna Percival would cross its
entrance-porch. Kino heard the noise of the closing of the door, and
came around the corner to see who it might be. I stayed a moment to say
a few comforting words to the dog. Kino saw me safely outside of the
gate by way of gratitude. I walked on toward the parsonage.

Redleaf seemed very silent, almost deserted. I met none of the villagers
in my homeward walk. "It will be ten minutes yet ere Sophie and Aaron
will, waiting, say, 'I wonder why Anna does not come,'" I thought, as I
drew near, and my fingers held the tower-key. I had not been there since
the Sunday morning memorable to me through all coming time. I lifted the
fastening to the church-yard, and went in. My sister Mary lay in this
church-yard now. I had until this day known only sister Sophie, and
in my heart I thanked Miss Axtell for her story. I went in to look
at Mary's grave. A sweet perfume filled the inclosure; it came to me
through the branching evergreens; it was from Mary's grave, covered
with the pale pink flowers of the trailing-arbutus. I knew that Abraham
Axtell had brought them hither. I gathered one, the least of the
precious fragments. I knew that Mary, out of heaven seeing me, would
call it no sacrilege, and with it went to my tower.

Spring fingers had gathered up the leaves of snow, winter's growth, from
in among the crevices of stone. I noticed this as I went in. The great
stone was over the passage-opening, just where Mr. Axtell had dropped
it, lest Aaron should see. Something said to me that my love for the
tower was gone, that never more would I care to come to it; and I think
the voice was speaking truly, everything did seem so changed. The time
moss was only common moss to me, the old rocks might be a part of _any_
mountain now. I had caught up all the romance, all the poetry, which is
mystery, of the tower, and henceforth I might leave it to stand guard
over the shore of the Sea of Death, white with marble foam. I went up to
the very window whence I had taken the brown plaid bit of woman's wear.
I looked out from where I had seen the dying day go down. I heard the
sound, from the open door of the parsonage, of Sophie's voice,
humming of contentment; I saw the little lady come and look down the
village--street for me; I saw her part those bands of softly purplish
hair, with fingers idly waiting the while she stood looking for me. I
looked up at the window, down at the floor, down through the winding way
of stair, where once I had trembling gone, and, with a farewell softly
spoken, I left my churchyard tower with open door and key in the lock.
Henceforth it was not mine. I left it with the hope that some other
loving soul would take up my devotion, and wait and watch as I had done.

Aaron chanced at dinner-time to let fall his eyes on the door, swinging
in the wind. Turning, he looked at me. I, divining the questioning
intent of his eyes, answered,--

"It is I, Aaron. I've left the key in the door. I resign ownership of
the tower."

The grave minister looked pleased. Sophie said,--

"Oh, I am so glad, you _are_ growing rational, Anna!"--and Anna Percival
did not tell these two that she had emptied the tower of all its
mystery, and thrown the cup afloat on the future.

Aaron and Sophie were doomed to wonder why I came to Redleaf. Sophie
begged my longer stay; Aaron thought, with his direct, practical way of
looking at all things, save Sophie, that I "had better not have come at
all, if only to stay during the day-journey of the sun."

The stars were there to see, when I bade good--bye to Chloe at the
parsonage, and went forth burdened with many messages for Jeffy. Aaron
and Sophie went with me to the place of landing. It was past Miss
Axtell's house. Only one light was visible; that shone from Miss
Lettie's room. Aaron said,--

"I saw Mr. Axtell this morning. He was going across the country, he
said."

No one asked him "Where?" and he said no more.

We were late at the steamboat. I had just time to bid a hasty farewell,
and hear a plank-man say, "Better hurry, Miss, if you're going on," and
in another minute I was at sea.

I had so much to think of, I knew it would be impossible for sleep to
come to me; and so I went on deck to watch the twinkling lights of
Redleaf and the stars up above, whilst my busy brain should plan a way
to keep my promise to Miss Axtell. I could not break up her fancied
security; I could not deprive her of the "time to think" before crossing
the great bridge, by telling her of the stranger sick in Doctor
Percival's house, and so I let her dream on. It might be many weeks,
nay, months, ere Mr. McKey would recover, hence there was no need that
she should know; by that time she would be quite strong again.

Once on deck, and well wrapped from the March sea-breeze, blowing its
latest breath over the sea, I took a seat near a large party who seemed
lovers of the ocean, they sat so quietly and so long.

My face was turned away from all on deck. I heard footsteps going,
coming, to and fro, until these steps came into my reverie. I wished to
turn and see the owner, but, fearing that the charm would vanish, I kept
my eyes steadily seaward. I scarcely know the time, it may have been an
hour, that thus I had sat, when once again the footsteps drew near. The
owner paused an instant in passing me. I fancied some zephyr of emotion
made his footsteps falter a little. Nothing more came. He walked, as
before, and once, when I was certain that all the deck lay between my
eyes and him who so often had drawn near, I turned to look. I saw only
a gentleman far down the boat, wrapped in an ordinary travelling-shawl.
Neither form nor walk was, I thought, familiar, and I lost my interest.

I began to dream of other things,--of the going home, and should I find
Mr. McKey improved during my absence? The party near me began to talk;
it was pleasant to hear soft home words spoken by them,--it gave me,
alone as I was, a sense of protection.

When the owner of the footsteps again came near, I scarcely noticed it.
I had reason to do so a moment later. Instead of going straight on, as
before, the gentleman stopped an instant,--then, with a strong gesture
of excitement, stepped quite near to me, and saying hurriedly, as one
does in sudden emergencies, "I beg your pardon, Madam," he bent to look
at the railing of the guard, just beside me. It so happened that a
boat-light illumined a little space just there, and that within it lay
a hand whose glove I had a few moments before removed, to put back some
stray hairs the sea-breeze had brought from their proper place. No
sooner did I divine his intent than I took my hand from off the railing.
The gentleman looked up suddenly; he was quite near then, and no more
light than that the stars gave was needful for me. I saw Mr. Axtell, and
Mr. Axtell must have seen Miss Percival, for he said,--

"This is a great surprise. I did not hear of your being in Redleaf, Miss
Anna."

"Why should you, when I have only been there one day?"

"Did you see my sister?" he asked.

"I was with her during the morning," I said.

"And she was as usual?"

"Better, I thought."

"I trust so, for I have not been home since morning. I received a
letter, as I came through the village, from your father, desiring to
see me, and I had time only to send a message to Lettie. I hope Doctor
Percival is well?"

"Oh, yes,--else I should not be here."

I had gloved my hand again during these words of recognition. Mr. Axtell
noticed it, and asked to see a ring that had attracted his attention.

"Excuse me," I said,--"it is one of my father's gifts to me,--I cannot
take it off,--it is a simple ring, Mr. Axtell"; and I held it out for
him to see.

"I knew it!" he exclaimed; "there could not be two alike; years have not
changed its lustre. Mary wore it first on the day we were engaged."

"Was it your gift to her, Mr. Axtell?"

He answered, "Yes"; and I, drawing it off, handed it to him, saying, "It
should have been returned to you long ago."

"No, no," he said, quite solemnly, "it is in better keeping"; and he
took the tiny circlet of gold, and looked a moment at it, with its
shining cluster of brilliants, then gave it back to me.

"Have you no claim upon this?" I asked.

"On the ring? Oh, no,--none."

I put back with gladness the gift my father gave.

My time had come. The opportunity was most mysteriously given me to
redeem the promise made in the morning to Miss Lettie. I began, quite
timidly at first, to say that I had a message for Mr. Axtell, one from
his sister,--that I was to tell him of events whose occurrence he never
knew. He listened quietly, and I went on, commencing at the afternoon of
my imprisonment in the tower. I told every word that I had heard from
Miss Axtell,--no more. I trembled, it is true, when I came to the death
of Alice, and the new life that came to his elder sister. I came at last
to Mary. I told it all, the night when he came home, the very words he
had spoken to his sister I repeated in his ears, and he was quiet,
with a quietness Axtells know, I took out the package and opened it,
saying,--

"Your sister bade me give this to you."

The careful folds were unwrapped, and within a box lay only a silver
cup. Mr. Axtell took it into his hands, turned it to the light, and read
on it the name of my sister. I said to him,--

"Look on the inside."

He did. It was the fatal cup from which Mary Percival drank the
death-drops. Poisonous crystals lay in its depth. I told him so. I told
him how Bernard McKey, driven to despair, had made the fatal mistake.

I thought to have seen the sunlight of joy go up his face. I looked for
the glance whose coming his sister so dreaded; but it came not. My story
gave no joy to this strange man. He asked a few questions only, tending
to illumine points that my statement had left in uncertainty, and then,
when my last words were said, he rose up, and, standing before me, very
lowly pronounced these words:--

"Until to-night, Abraham Axtell never knew the weight of his guilt. He
must work out his punishment."

"How can you, Mr. Axtell? Heaven hath appointed forgiveness for the
repentant."

"And freedom from punishment, Miss Percival, is that, too, promised?"

"Strength to bear is freely offered in forgiveness."

"May it come to me! In all God's earth to-night there dwells not one
more needy of Heaven's mercy."

"Mary forgives you," I said.

"Bernard McKey, whom I have made most miserable, Lettie's life-long
suffering, is there any atonement that I can offer to them?"

"Yes, Mr. Axtell"; and I, too, arose, for the party had gone whilst I
was telling my story.

"Will you name it?"

"Give unto the two a brother's love. Good night, Mr. Axtell."

"I will," said a deep, solemn voice close beside me. I turned, and
Mr. Axtell was gone. I heard footsteps all that night upon deck. They
sounded like those that came and stood beside me hours before.

Day was scarcely breaking when we came to land in New York. I waited for
the carriage to come from home. Mr. Axtell, was it he who came, with
whitened hair, to ask for Miss Percival, to know if he could offer her
any service? What a night of agony he must have lived through! He saw my
look of astonishment, and said,--

"It is but the beginning of my punishment."

Ere I had answered Mr. Axtell's question, my father appeared. He had
come for me so early on this March morning,--or was it to meet Mr.
Axtell? He said more, in words, to him than to his child. It was several
years since my father had met Mr. Axtell, therefore he did not note the
change last night had wrought. As I looked at him, during our homeward
drive, I repented not having said words of comfort, not telling him that
I believed Bernard McKey was at that hour in my father's house; but I
had not exceeded my instructions, by one word I had not gone beyond Miss
Lettie's story. Until Mr. McKey chose to reveal himself, he must exist
as a stranger.

Jeffy reported the "hospital man" as "behaving just like other people."
Jeffy evidently regretted, with all the intensity of his Ethiopian
nature, the subsiding of the delirium.

Not long after our arrival home, father went, with Mr. Axtell, into his
own room, where, with closed doors, the two remained through half the
morning. What could my father have to say to the "incomprehensible
man," his daughter Anna asked herself; but no answer breathed through
mahogany, as several times she passed near. All was silent in there to
other ears than those inside.

At last I heard the door open, and footsteps along the hall. "Surely," I
thought, "they are going the way to Mr. McKey's room." I was right. They
went in. What transpired in there I may never know, but this much was
revealed to me: there came thence two faces whereon was written the
loveliness of the mercy extended to erring man. My father looked, like
all who feel intensely, older than he did in the morning, and yet withal
happier. Mr. Axtell went away without seeing me. Father made apology
for him by saying that it was important that he should return home
immediately, and asked "could I make ready to receive some visitors the
following day?"

"Who, papa?" I asked.

"Mr. Axtell and his sister."

Mr. McKey was able that evening to cross the room, and sit beside the
fire. I went in to inquire concerning his comfort. Papa was away. Mr.
Axtell must have told him something of me, for I had not been long
there, when he, turning his large, luminous eyes from the coals, into
which he had been peering, said,--

"Do you know the sweetness of reconciliation, young lady? If not, get
angry with some one immediately."

"I never had an enemy in my life, Mr. McKey," I replied.

He started a little at the name, and only a little, and he questioned,--

"Where did you learn the name you give to me?"

"From Miss Axtell, yesterday."

Question and answer succeeded, until I had told him half the story that
I knew. I might have said more, but father's coming in interrupted me.

"I expect our visitors by the day-boat," papa said to me the day
following. The carriage went for them. I watched its coming from afar
down the street. I knew the expression of honest Yest's hat out of all
the street-throng. The carriage came laden. I saw faces other than the
Axtells', even Aaron's and Sophie's.

What glad visitors they were, Aaron and Sophie! and what a surprise
to them to see Miss Axtell there! I took off her wrappings, drew
an easy-chair, made her sit in it, and she actually looked quite
comfortable, outside of the solemn old house. "She had endured the
journey well," she said. Abraham was so anxious that she should come
that she would not refuse his request. "Abraham has forgiven me," she
whispered, as I bent over her to adjust some stray folds,--"forgiven me
for all my years of silent deceit."

I shook my head a little at the word; speak I could not, for the
minister's wife was not deaf.

Aaron called her away a moment later.

"It was deceit, Miss Percival," Miss Axtell said, so soon as she found
our two selves alone. "I could not well avoid it; if I were tried again,
I might repeat the sin; but, thank Heaven, two such trials never come
into a single life. I sometimes wish Bernard were not at sea, that he
were here to know my release and his forgiveness; it will be so sweet to
feel that no longer I have the sin to bear of concealing his wrong."

I knew from this that Miss Axtell did not know of Mr. McKey's presence
in the house; but she ought to know. What if a sound from his voice
should chance to come down the passage-way, as I often had heard it?
I watched the doors painfully, to see that not one was left open a
hair's-breadth, until the time Miss Axtell went up to her own room.
Talking rapidly, giving her no time to speak, I went on with her. Safely
ignorant, I had her at last where ears of mortals could not intrude.
Then I said,--

"We all of us are become wonderful story-tellers. Now it comes to pass
that I have a little story to tell; my time is come at last"; and,
watching every muscle of her face, and all the little veins of feeling
that I had learned so well, I began.

Carefully I let in the light, until, without a shock, Miss Axtell
learned that the room below contained Bernard McKey.

"They did not understand me," she said, "or they would not have brought
me here thus."

After a long, long lull, Miss Axtell thanked me for telling her alone,
where no one else could see how the knowledge played around her heart.
Dear Miss Axtell, sitting there, in my father's house, only last March,
with a holy joy stealing up, in spite of her endeavor to hide it from my
eyes even, and suffusing her white face with warm, rosy tints, dear Miss
Axtell, I hoped your day-dawn drawing near.

Miss Axtell said "she hated to have other people see her feel"; she
asked "would I manage it for her, that no one should be nigh when she
met Mr. McKey?"

It was that very evening that papa, calling Sophie and me into his room,
told us a little of the former history of the people in his house.

"I want you to help me, children," he said; "ladies manage such things
better than we men know how to."

I said, close to papa's astonished hearing, "I know all about it; just
let me take care of this mission"; and he appointed me diplomate on the
occasion.

Sophie was strangely disconcerted; she had such fearsome awe of the
Axtells, "she couldn't think of interfering," she said, "unless to make
gruel or some condiment."

I coaxed Miss Lettie to have her tea in her own room: she certainly did
not look like going down. Under pretext of having the care of her, I
seated sister Sophie at my station, and thus I had the house, outside of
the tea-room, under my control.

"Come down now; don't lose time," I said to Miss Axtell, running up to
her, half breathless from my haste.

"What for? What is it?" she said.

"Papa is anticipating some grand effort in the managerial line from me,
regarding two people in his house, and I don't choose to manage at all.
Mr. McKey is waiting to see you. I knocked to see, as I came up, and all
the family are at tea."

I went down with her. There was no trembling, only a stately calm in her
manner, as she drew near.

I knocked. Mr. McKey answered, "Come in," in his low, musical, variant
tones. I turned the knob; the door opened. A moment later, I stood alone
within the hall. I walked up and down, a true sentinel on true duty,
that no enemy might draw near to hear the treaty of true peace which I
knew was being written out by the Recording Angel for these two souls.
They must have had a pleasant family-talk in the tea-room, they stayed
so long.

At last I heard footsteps coming. I told Miss Lettie, thinking that she
would leave; but no, she said "she would stay awhile"; and so, later on,
the two were sitting there in quietness of joy, when my father came up
to see his patient. Mr. Axtell was with him. They went in; indifferent
words were spoken,--until, was it Abraham Axtell that I saw as I kept up
my walking in the hall? What mysterious change had come to transfigure
his face so that I scarcely believed the evidence of my own eyes? He
came to the door and said, "Will you come in, Miss Percival?" I obeyed
his request. He closed the door, and turned the key.

"In the presence of those against whom he had sinned he would confess
his fault," were his first words; and he went on, he of whom _they_ had
asked a pardon, and drew a fiery picture of all that he had done, of the
murder that he had doubly committed, for he had made another soul to
bear his sin.

It was terrible to hear him accuse himself. It was touching to see
this proud Axtell begging forgiveness. He offered the fatal cup to my
father,--

"Therein lies the evidence of my murder. It was I who killed your
daughter, Doctor Percival. Although no court on earth condemns me, the
Judge of all the Earth holds me responsible for her death."

Doctor Percival tried to reason with him, said words of comfort, but he
heeded them not: they might as well have fallen on the vacant air.

"Blessings be upon you two! if, out of suffering, God will send joy, it
will be yours," Mr. Axtell said; and he offered his hand to Mr. McKey
and his sister, as one does when taking farewell.

He went from them to my father, and offered his hand doubtingly, as if
afraid it might be refused.

Papa took it in both his own. An instant later Mr. Axtell came to me.
Surely he had no forgiveness to ask of Anna Percival. No; he only said,
and I am certain that no one heard, save me, "I thank God that He has
not let me shadow _your_ life. Farewell!"

He left the room. We all looked, one at another, in that dim
astonishment which is never expressed in words. Papa broke the spell by
putting on fresh coals.

Miss Lettie said, "Poor Abraham!" and yet she looked so happy, so as I
had never seen her yet!

A few moments later Jeffy came rushing in, his eyes dilate with
amazement.

"The gentleman is gone," he said, "gone entirely."

It was even so. Mr. Axtell had gone, no one knew whither. It was late at
night, when a letter came for Doctor Percival by a special messenger.

I never saw it. I only know that in it Mr. Axtell explained his
intention of absence, and wrote, for his sister's sake, to make
arrangements for her future. She was to return to Redleaf, at such time
as she chose to go hence, with Mr. McKey; and to Aaron's and Sophie's
care Mr. Axtell committed her.

Papa gave the letter to Miss Lettie. She read it in silence, and her
face was immovable. I could divine nothing from it.

Last March! how long the time seems! Scarce six months have gone since I
gave the record, and now the summer is dying.

I thought Miss Axtell would have ventured out on the bridge, far and
high, ere now; but no, she says "the time is not yet,--that she will
wait until Abraham comes home"; and Bernard McKey is content.

The solemn old house is closed. No longer Katie opens the door and Kino
looks around the corner. Kino died, perhaps of grief: such deaths have
been.

Miss Axtell has put off the old Dead-Sea-wave face. She has just put a
calm, beautiful, happy one in at my door, to ask Anna Percival "why she
sits and writes, when the last days of summer are drawing nigh?" Miss
Axtell stays with me, and a great contentment sings to those who have
ears to hear through all her life. If only Mr. Axtell would come home!
Why does he stay away so long, and take such a dreary line of travel,
where old earth is seamed _in memoriam_ of man's rebellion? I'll send to
him the althea-bud, when next his sister writes.

The leaves are fallen now. Winter is almost come. There is no need that
I should send out the althea-fragment. Mr. Axtell wrote to me. Last
night I received these words only,--and yet what need I more?

"God hath given me peace. I am coming home."



THE LEGEND OF RABBI BEN LEVI.


  Rabbi Ben Levi, on the Sabbath, read
  A volume of the Law, in which it said,
  "No man shall look upon my face and live."
  And as he read, he prayed that God would give
  His faithful servant grace with mortal eye
  To look upon His face and yet not die.

  Then fell a sudden shadow on the page,
  And lifting up his eyes, grown dim with age,
  He saw the Angel of Death before him stand,
  Holding a naked sword in his right hand.
  Rabbi Ben Levi was a righteous man,
  Yet through his veins a chill of terror ran,
  With trembling voice he said, "What wilt thou here?"
  The Angel answered, "Lo! the time draws near
  When thou must die; yet first, by God's decree,
  Whate'er thou askest shall be granted thee."
  Replied the Rabbi, "Let these living eyes
  First look upon my place in Paradise."

  Then said the Angel, "Come with me and look."
  Rabbi Ben Levi closed the sacred book,
  And rising, and uplifting his gray head,
  "Give me thy sword," he to the Angel said,
  "Lest thou shouldst fall upon me by the way."
  The Angel smiled and hastened to obey,
  Then led him forth to the Celestial Town,
  And set him on the wall, whence gazing down,
  Rabbi Ben Levi, with his living eyes,
  Might look upon his place in Paradise.

  Then straight into the city of the Lord
  The Rabbi leaped with the Death Angel's sword,
  And through the streets there swept a sudden breath
  Of something there unknown, which men call death.
  Meanwhile the Angel stayed without, and cried,
  "Come back!" To which the Rabbi's voice replied,
  "No! in the name of God, whom I adore,
  I swear that hence I will depart no more!"

  Then all the Angels cried, "O Holy One,
  See what the son of Levi here has done!
  The kingdom of Heaven he takes by violence,
  And in Thy name refuses to go hence!"
  The Lord replied, "My Angels, be not wroth;
  Did e'er the son of Levi break his oath?
  Let him remain; for he with mortal eye
  Shall look upon my face and yet not die."

  Beyond the outer wall the Angel of Death
  Heard the great voice, and said, with panting breath,
  "Give back the sword, and let me go my way."
  Whereat the Rabbi paused and answered, "Nay!
  Anguish enough already has it caused
  Among the sons of men!" And while he paused,
  He heard the awful mandate of the Lord
  Resounding through the air, "Give back the sword!"

  The Rabbi bowed his head in silent prayer;
  Then said he to the dreadful Angel, "Swear,
  No human eye shall look on it again;
  But when thou takest away the souls of men,
  Thyself unseen and with an unseen sword
  Thou wilt perform the bidding of the Lord."

  The Angel took the sword again, and swore,
  And walks on earth unseen forevermore.

       *       *       *       *       *


MY FRIEND THE WATCH.


For two years I have had a most faithful, intimate, and useful friend,
whom I have constantly worn next my heart. I do not know him for a
Spiritualist, but by some mysterious sympathy he hears the incessant,
ghostly foot-falls of Time, and repeats them accurately to my ear.
While I wake he tells me how Time is passing. While I sleep he is still
marking his steps, so that sometimes I have a feeling of awe, as if my
mysterious friend were counting my own life away. Then again I am sure
that in the faint, persistent monotone of his voice I hear the singing
of the old mower's inevitable scythe. The Imagination contemplates this
friend of mine with wonder. But Science sees him holding the hand of a
captain in his ship at sea, or of a conductor in a train on shore, and
honors in him the friend of civilization.

His native place is Waltham, in Massachusetts, and he invited me but a
few days since to accompany him in a little visit thither. I cheerfully
assented, and we took the cars in Boston, at the Worcester Depot, and
after passing a range of unsavory back-yards and ill-favored houses, and
winding beneath streets and by the side of kennels, we emerged upon the
broad meadows and marshes from which rise in the distance the Roxbury
and Brookline hills. The whole region is covered with bright, wooden
houses. The villages have a pert, thrifty, contented air, which no
suburbs in the world surpass. If the houses are very white and a village
looks like a camp, it is because the instinct of the inhabitants assures
them that they may strike their tents to-morrow and move Westward or
elsewhere to a greater prosperity. In older countries the stained and
ancient stone houses are symbols of the inflexible state of society to
which they belong. The dwellers are anchored to that condition. There is
no "Westward ho" for them. Like father, like son. The hod-carrier's son
carries hods. Even the headsman's office is hereditary.

"Yes, yes," hummed my friend, in his patient, persistent monotone,
"the American citizen is an aërial plant. He has no roots. There is no
wrenching, when he changes place. If there were, how could he overrun
the continent in time? He must carry lighter weight than Caesar's
soldiers. What has he to do with old houses? His very inventions would
make his house intolerable to him in twenty or thirty years."

"But we are going at this very moment to see your ancestral halls, are
we not?" I modestly inquired.

"Yes," he replied; "but they are not ten years old, and every year
changes them."

By this time we were gliding through the gardens of Brookline and
Brighton, which have been afflicted of late years with the Mansard
epidemic. It has swept the whole region. Scarcely a house has escaped.
Even the newest are touched,--sometimes only upon the extremities or
outbuildings, but more frequently they are covered all over with the
Mansard.

"That affection of the house-top," whispered I to my friend, "was
originally derived from the dome of the Invalides, and has raged now for
a century and a half."

"Yes," replied my companion, gravely, "we are not very fastidious in our
importations."

He went on murmuring to himself as usual. Then he resumed more
audibly,--

"I suppose that most people, upon looking at me, would take me for a
foreigner. But you know how peculiarly native American I am. I am indeed
only a watch, and," added my modest friend, glancing at the gold chain
which hung from my waistcoat button-hole to the pocket, "if you will
pardon my melancholy joke, I am for putting Americans only upon guard."

This military expression suddenly sent my thoughts elsewhere; and for
some time the rattling of the cars sounded in my ears like another
rattling, and the gentle Charles River was to my eyes the historic
Rapidan or Rappahannock.

"Don't you think," unobtrusively ticked my watch, "that the exhortation
to encourage home-industry has a peculiar force just now? I mean nothing
personal; and I hope you will not think me too forward or fast."

"I have never had reason to think so," I answered; "and I am so used
to look upon your candid face to know exactly what the hour is, that I
shall be very much obliged, if you will tell me the time of day in this
matter also; unless, indeed, you should find the jar of the cars too
much for you, and prefer to stop before you talk."

"If I stopped, I certainly could not talk," my watch answered; "and did
you ever know me to stop on account of any jar?"

I hastened to exculpate myself from any intention of unkind insinuation,
and my watch ticked steadily on.

"If your mill turns only by a stream that flows to you through your
neighbor's grounds, your neighbor has your flour at his mercy. You can
grind your grist when he chooses, not when you will."

I nodded. My watch ticked on,--

"When you live on a marsh where the tide may suddenly rise house-high
without warning, if you are a wise man, you will keep a boat always
moored at the door."

"I certainly will," responded I, with energy.

"Very well. Every nation lives on that marsh which is called War.
While war is possible,--that is to say, in any year this side of the
Millennium,--there is but one sure means of safety, and that is actual
independence. At this moment England is the most striking illustration
of this truth. She is the most instructive warning to us, because she is
the least independent and the most hated nation in the world. England
and France and the United States are the three great maritime powers. We
all know how much love is lost just now between England and ourselves.
How is it with her ancient enemy across the Channel? The answer is
contained in the reported remark of Louis Napoleon: 'Why do the English
try to provoke a war with me? They know, if I should declare war against
England, that there is not an old woman in France who would not sell her
last shift to furnish me with means to carry it on.' Great Britain is at
this moment under the most enormous bonds to keep the peace. They are
the bonds of vital dependence upon the rest of the world.--Shall I
stop?" asked my watch.

"No, no; lose no time; go regularly on," answered I.

"Very well; while England sneers and rages at us, let us be warned by
her. She lives by her looms; but her looms and her laborers are fed from
abroad. Therefore she lies at the mercy of her enemies, and she takes
care never to make friends. She snarls and shows her teeth at us. She
sees us desperately fighting, and yet she can neither spring nor bite.
It is the moment most favorable for her to strike, but she cannot
improve it. She hopes and prays for the ruin of our government, seeing,
that, if it falls from internal disease, and not from a foreign blow,
her most threatening political and commercial rival is overthrown. And
she does not shrink from those hopes and prayers, although she knows
that the result she so ardently desires will be the establishment by
military power of a huge slave-empire, a counter-civilization to that
of Christianity. Fear of her life makes England false and timid. Her
dependence upon other nations has compelled her to abdicate her position
as the head of Saxon civilization, which is the gradual enlarging of
liberty as the only permanent security of universal international
prosperity and peace. Indeed, it is not denied that the tone of British
opinion in regard to human slavery is radically changed. That change is
the measure of the timidity and sophistication, the moral deterioration
inevitably produced in any people by the consciousness of its dependence
for the means of labor and life upon other nations. The crack of the
plantation-whip scares Washington no longer, but it pierces the heart of
Westminster with terror.

"See how utterly mean and mortifying is her attitude toward us. John
Bull looks across the highway of the world into his neighbor's house.
'D' ye see,' he mutters, 'that man chastising his son in his house
yonder? Let's play that they are not related, and ask him what he means
by assaulting an innocent passenger.' Then he turns to the rest of the
people in the street, who know exactly how virtuous and mild John Bull
is in his own family-relations, who have watched his tender forbearance
with his eldest son Erin, and his long-suffering suavity with his
youngest son India, and says to them,--'To a moral citizen of the world
it is very shocking to see such an insolent attack upon a peaceable
person. That man is an intolerable bully. If he were smaller, I'd step
over and kick him.'--Do you feel drowsy?" asked my watch.

"I was never more awake," I answered; "but you seem to me,--although,
when I look at you and think of Waltham, it is the most natural thing in
the world,--yet you do seem hard upon Old England, Mother England, spite
of all."

"Ah!" ticked my American watch, "not even I would for a moment seem to
be unjust to all that is manly and noble and friendly in England and
among Englishmen. There are two nations there, as Disraeli had already
said in one sense, when Gasparin said it in another. There is the sound
old stock from which flowers the finest modern civilization. From that
come the sweetness, the candor, the perception and sympathy of men like
Mill and Cairnes and Bright. From that springs all the nobler thought
of England. It is to that thought, to that spirit of lofty humanity
and pure justice, that Garibaldi appeals in his address to the English
people from his prison,--an appeal which seems utterly ludicrous, if
you think of it as addressed to the historic John Bull, but which is
perfectly intelligible and appropriate, if you remember that Sir Philip
Sidney was an Englishman as well as George IV., and that John Stuart
Mill is no less English than Lord Palmerston or Russell. It is with that
spirit that American civilization is truly harmonious. But there is the
other, merely trading, short-sighted, selfish spirit, which is typified
by the coarse John Bull of the pictures, and which has touched almost to
a frenzy of despair Carlyle in the "Latter-Day Pamphlets" and Tennyson
in "Maud." That is the dominant England of the hour. That is the England
which lives at the mercy of rivals. And that is the England which,
consequently, with feverish haste, proclaims equal belligerence between
the leaders of an insurrection for the extension and fortification of
slavery and the nation which defends its existence against them. That
is the England whose prime-minister alleges that a friendly power has
authorized an insult, while at the very moment in which he speaks he
carries in his pocket the express disclaimer of that power. That is
the England which incessantly taunts and reviles and belies a kindred
people, whose sole fault is that they were too slow to believe their
brothers parricides, and who were credulous enough to suppose that
England loved not only the profit, but the principle, of Liberty under
Law."

"It is very sad; but it certainly seems so," said I.

"Seems, my dear friend? nay, it is," ticked my watch, persistently. "It
is the inevitable penalty of national deterioration which any people
must pay that in its haste to be rich forgets to secure its actual
independence. Thus Richard Cobden, the most sagacious of English
statesmen, is the most unflinching apostle of peace, because he knows
that England has put it out of her power to go to war. I saw you reading
his late argument against a blockade. Did you reflect that it was really
an argument against war? 'How absurd,' he cries, 'that a commercial
nation, which lives by imports and exports, paying for the one by the
other, should, by shutting up ports in which it wishes to buy and sell,
cut its own hands and feet off, and so bleed to death!' 'In a commercial
nation,' says the orator, 'the system of blockade is mere suicide.'

"But a blockade may be clearly as effective a means of warfare as a
cannonade. If you can cut off your enemy from all that he gives and all
that he gets from without, you have taken the first great step in war.
Unless he can supply himself, he must presently surrender or perish. For
war is brute force. It is a process of terrible compulsion. 'Do this,'
says War, 'or you shall burn, and starve, and hunger, and be shot, and
die.'

"The point to be settled between the two combatants is, which can stand
starving and shooting longest. If one of them depends for his food upon
the sale to others of what he makes, and depends for what he makes upon
what he can get from others, it is easy enough to see, that, if the
other is self-supporting, his victory is sure, if he have only the means
to cut off supplies. England is at the mercy of a skilful and effective
blockade. No wonder her shrewdest statesman implores her to see it.

"'My dear John Bull,' says Cobden, 'an honorable member of your
Parliament, a miller and grain-merchant, estimates that the food
imported into England between September of last year and June of this
year was equal to the sustenance of between three and four millions of
people for a twelve-month; and his remark to me was, that, if that food
had not been brought from America, all the money in Lombard Street could
not have purchased it elsewhere, because elsewhere it did not exist.'

"That is the position of a nation with the hand of another upon its
throat.--Do I tire you?" ticked my watch.

"Not at all. I am listening intently, and trying to see what you are
coming to," I answered.

"We are coming, and very rapidly, to West Newton and the Waltham
Watch-Factory," ticked my companion.

"I hope so. It was where I understood you to invite me to go," said I.

"Courage, my friend! Before we get to the factory, let us understand the
reason of it. Let me finish showing you why I have a national pride in
my ancestral halls, and why I think that the American flag floats over
that building as appropriately as over Fort Adams or Monroe."

"I have always trusted you implicitly," I answered.

"Well, then, England is a nation whose mill grinds at the will of a
neighbor. Is it wonderful that so sagacious a statesman as Cobden says
that the blockade is a terrible thing for a commercial people? Take the
estimate of his authority, and imagine the supply of food from this
country into England stopped, and the bumptious little island necklaced
with Monitors to cut off the Continental supply. Do we not hold one of
her hands with our grain, and the other with our cotton? The grain she
gets, but the cotton is substantially stopped; what is the consequence?
Listen to Mr. Cobden. The case, he says, 'is so grave, so alarming,
and presents itself to those who reflect upon what may be the state of
things six months hence in such a hideous aspect, that it is apt to
beget thoughts of some violent remedy.' He computes that by Christmas
the Government must come to the aid of the pauper operatives, of whom
there are now seven hundred and fifty thousand, a number which will then
have increased to nearly a million.

"Of all nations, then, the industrial example of England is to be
avoided by every sensible people. She has been willing to wear chains,
because they were gold. But the pre-Millennial nations must be able to
stand alone; and we at this moment know more than ever that we must work
out our own national salvation, not only without aid, which we had no
reason to ask, but without sympathy, which we had every honorable right
to expect. But, to be a truly independent people, we must practically
prove our self-sufficiency; and at this moment patriotism shows itself
not only in defending the nation against the Rebellion, but in the
heartiest encouragement of every art and manufacture for which our
opportunities and capacities fit us."

My watch here ticked so loudly and defiantly that I feared some
neighboring passenger might have a Frodsham or Jurgensen in his pocket
and feel insulted.

"A nation like ours," steadily ticked my watch, "seated upon a continent
from sea to sea, with so propitious a variety of climate and with such
imperial resources of every kind, if it brought all its powers to bear
upon its productions and opportunities, would be absolutely invincible,
because entirely independent. It need not, therefore, sit a cynic
recluse on the Western sea. It need not, therefore, deny nor delay the
dawn of the Millennial day, which the poet beheld, when

  'The war-drum throbbed no longer, and the
         battle-flags were furled,
  In the Parliament of man, the Federation
         of the world.'

"Tick, tick, tick," urged my watch. But I made no reply.

"Why, then," it continued, "do we consent to look longer to Europe for
any of the essential conveniences of life? Why are our clothes not made
of American cloth or of American silk? Why are our railroads not laid
with American iron? Yes, and why,--pardon me, but we are very near
Waltham,--why is our time not told by American watches? Tea and coffee,
doubtless, we cannot grow, nor do lemons and bananas ripen in our sun.
But has not the time come when every hearty American will say, 'All that
I can get here which is good enough and cheap enough for the purpose,
I will not look for elsewhere; and all that I can do to develop every
resource and possibility, I will do with all my heart'?"

"I do not wish to dampen your enthusiasm," answered I, "but I remember
a story of that friend of Southern liberty and author of the
Fugitive-Slave Bill, Mason of Virginia. He appeared in the Senate during
the Secession winter, in a suit of Southern-made clothes. The wool was
grown and spun and woven in Virginia, and Mason wore it to show that
Virginia unassisted could clothe her children. But a shrewder man than
Mason quietly turned up the buttons on the Secession coat and showed
upon them the stamp of a Connecticut factory."

"Have you ever found me unreasonable?" ticked my friend. "Have you ever
seen even my hand tremble, as it pointed out to you so many hours in
which you have been earnestly interested? I am not excited even by my
own existence, and I claim nothing extravagant. There will always be
some things that we may not be able to make advantageously. Absolute
independence of the rest of the world is no more possible than
desirable. But everything which tends to increase instead of diminishing
a vital dependence is nationally dangerous. I think, if you will
consider me attentively, you will agree that I ought to know that trade
is everywhere controlled by positive laws; nor will any wise watch
expect them to be long or willingly disregarded by the most enthusiastic
patriotism. Knowing that, we do not need to go far to discover why so
many important conveniences are still made for us by foreign hands. The
immense and compact population of Europe compels a marvellous division
of labor, whereby the detail of work is more perfected, and it also
forces a low rate of wages, with which in a new country sparely peopled
like ours the manufacture of the same wares can scarcely compete. This
is the great practical difficulty; but it can be obviated in two ways.
If a people assume that the fostering of its own manufactures is a
cardinal necessity, it can secure that result either by the coarse
process of compulsory duties upon all foreign importations, or by
developing the ingenuity and skill which will so cheapen the manufacture
itself as to make up the difference of outlay in wages.

"Then, if the work is as well done and as cheaply furnished"----ticked
my watch, a little proudly and triumphantly.

"Then it needs only to be known, to be universally and heartily
welcomed," said I. "Patriotism and the laws of trade will coincide, and
there will be no excuse for depending longer upon the foreign supply."

"But the fact must be made known," ticked my watch, thoughtfully.

"It certainly must," I answered.

"Well, it _is_ a fact that a man can get a better watch more cheaply, if
he buys an American instead of a foreign one."

Friendship and gratitude inspired my reply.

"I will put my mouth to the 'Atlantic Trumpet,'--I mean 'Monthly,'--and
blow a blast."

"That is not necessary; but as we are very near the station at West
Newton where we leave the railroad, and as I have endeavored to show
you the national importance of doing everything for ourselves that we
reasonably can, you will probably interest your hearers more, if you
give them a little description of your visit to my birthplace. Excuse
me, but I have watched you pretty constantly for two years, and, if you
will be governed by me, as you have generally been during that time, you
will not undertake any very elaborate mechanical description, but say a
few words merely of what you are going to see."

This sensible advice was but another proof of the accuracy of my watch.

While it was yet ticking, the train stopped at West Newton, and we
stepped out upon the platform. The station nearest to the Watch-Factory
is that at Waltham upon the Fitchburg Railroad; but by taking the
Worcester cars to West Newton, you secure a pleasant drive of a mile or
two across the country. If you can also secure, as my watch took care to
do for me, the company of the resident manager of the factory, the drive
is entirely pleasant and the talk full of value.

We import about five millions of dollars' worth of watches every year,
mainly from England and Switzerland through France, and then pay about
as much more to get them to go. Of course inquisitive Yankee ingenuity
long ago asked the question, Why should we do it? If anything is to be
made, why should not we make it better than anybody in the world? The
answer was very evident,--because we could not compete with the skilled
and poorly paid labor of Europe. But during the last war with England
the question became as emphatic as it is now, and a practical answer was
given in the excellent watches made at Worcester in Massachusetts, and
at Hartford in Connecticut.

But these were merely prophetic protests. The best watches in use were
Swiss. Four-fifths of the work in making them was done by hand in
separate workshops, subject of course to the skill, temper, and
conscience of the workmen. The various parts of each were then sent in
to the finisher. Every watch was thus a separate and individual work.
There could be no absolute precision in the parts of different watches
even of the same general model; and only the best works of the best
finishers were the best watches. The purchase of a watch became almost
as uncertain as that of a horse, and many of the dealers might be called
watch-jockeys as justly as horse-dealers horse-jockeys.

A.L. Dennison, of Maine, seems to have been the first who conceived
American watch-making as a manufacture that could hold its own against
European competition. It was clear enough that to put raw and well-paid
American labor into the field against European skill and low wages, with
no other protection than four per cent., which was then the tariff, was
folly. But why not apply the same principle to making watches that Eli
Whitney applied to making fire-arms, and put machinery to do the work of
men, thereby saving wages and securing uniform excellence of work? There
was no reason whatever, provided you could make the machinery. Mr.
Dennison supplied the idea; who would supply the means of working it
out? He was an enthusiast, of course,--visionary, probably; for in all
inventors the imagination must be so powerful that it will sometimes
disturb the conditions essential to the practical experiment; but he
interested others until the necessary tools began to appear, and enough
capital being willing to try the chances, the experiment of making
American watches by machinery began in Roxbury in the year 1850. After
various fortunes, the manufacture passed from the original hands into
those of the present company, which is incorporated by the State of
Massachusetts.

"Do you think," whispered I to my watch, as I listened to these facts,
"that the experiment is still doubtful?"

My companion ticked so indignantly that my friend the manager evidently
suspected what question I had asked, and he answered at once,--

"The experiment is already perfectly successful. We have had our
critical moments, but"----

"But now," proudly ticked my watch, "now we have weathered the Cape Horn
of adversity and doubt, and ride secure upon the deep Pacific sea of
prosperity and certainty. You had better blow a note like that through
your Atlantic Bugle. Set your tune high, and play it up loud and
lively."

"It seems to me," answered I, "that the tune plays itself. There is no
need of puffing at the instrument."

While my watch was thus pleasantly jesting, we had passed through a low
pine wood and come out upon the banks of the Charles River. Just before
us, upon the very edge of a river-basin, was a low two-story building
full of windows, and beyond, over the trees, were spires. They were the
steeples of Waltham, and the many-windowed building was the factory of
the American Watch Company. It stands upon a private road opened by
the Company in a domain of about seventy acres belonging to them. The
building thus secures quiet and freedom from dust, which are essential
conditions of so delicate and exquisite a manufacture.

The counting-room, which you enter first, is cheerful and elegant. A new
building, which the Company is adding to the factory, will give them
part of the ampler room the manufacture now demands; and within the last
few months the Company has absorbed the machinery and labor of a rival
company at Nashua, which was formed of some of the graduate workmen of
Waltham, but which was not successful. Every room in the factory is full
of light. The benches of polished cherry, the length of all of them
together being about three-quarters of a mile, are ranged along the
sides of the rooms, from the windows in which the prospect is rural and
peaceful. There is a low hum, but no loud roar or jar in the building.
There is no unpleasant smell, and all the processes are so neat and
exquisite that an air of elegance pervades the whole.

The first impression, upon hearing that a watch is made by machinery,
is, that it must be rather coarse and clumsy. No machine so cunning as
the human hand, we are fond of saying. But, if you will look at this
gauge, for instance, and then at any of these dainty and delicate
machines upon the benches, miniature lathes of steel, and contrivances
which combine the skill of innumerable exquisite fingers upon single
points, you will feel at once, that, when the machinery itself is
so almost poetic and sensitive, the result of its work must be
correspondingly perfect.

My friend--not the watch, but the watchmaker--said quietly, "By your
leave," and, pulling a single hair from my head, touched it to a fine
gauge, which indicated exactly the thickness of the hair. It was a test
of the twenty-five hundredth part of an inch. But there are also gauges
graduated to the ten-thousandth part of an inch. Here is a workman
making screws. Can you just see them? That hardly visible point exuding
from the almost imperceptible hole is one of them. A hundred and fifty
thousand of them make a pound. The wire costs a dollar; the screws are
worth nine hundred and fifty dollars. The magic touch of the machine
makes that wire nine hundred and fifty times more valuable. The operator
sets them in regular rows upon a thin plate. When the plate is full, it
is passed to another machine, which cuts the little groove upon the top
of each,--and of course exactly in the same spot. Every one of those
hundred and fifty thousand screws in every pound is accurately the same
as every other, and any and all of them, in this pound or any pound, any
one of the millions or ten millions of this size, will fit precisely
every hole made for this sized screw in every plate of every watch made
in the factory. They are kept in little glass phials, like those in
which the homoeopathic doctors keep their pellets.

The fineness and variety of the machinery are so amazing, so
beautiful,--there is such an exquisite combination of form and
movement,--such sensitive teeth and fingers and wheels and points of
steel,--such fairy knives of sapphire, with which King Oberon the first
might have been beheaded, had he insisted upon levying dew-taxes upon
primroses without the authority of his elves,--such smooth cylinders,
and flying points so rapidly revolving that they seem perfectly
still.--such dainty oscillations of parts with the air of intelligent
consciousness of movement,--that a machinery so extensive in details, so
complex, so harmonious, at length entirely magnetizes you with wonder
and delight, and you are firmly persuaded that you behold the magnified
parts of a huge brain in the very act of thinking out watches.

In various rooms, by various machines, the work of perfecting the parts
from the first blank form cut out of Connecticut brass goes on. Shades
of size are adjusted by the friction of whirring cylinders coated with
diamond dust. A flying steel point touched with diamond paste pierces
the heart of the "jewels." Wheels rimmed with brass wisps hum steadily,
as they frost the plates with sparkling gold. Shaving of metal peel off,
as other edges turn, so impalpably fine that five thousand must be laid
side by side to make an inch. But there is no dust, no unseemly noise.
All is cheerful and airy, the faces of the workers most of all. You pass
on from point to point, from room to room. Every machine is a day's
study and a life's admiration, if you could only tarry. No wonder the
director says to me, as we move on, that his whole consciousness is
possessed by the elaborate works he superintends.

He opens a door, while we speak, and you would not be in the least
surprised, in the exalted condition to which the wonderful spectacle has
brought you, to hear him say, "In this room we keep the Equator." In
fact, as the door opens, and the gush of hot air breathes out upon your
excited brain, it seems to you as if it undoubtedly were the back-door
to--the Tropics. It is the dial-room, in which the enamel is set. The
porcelain is made in London. It is reduced to a paste in this room, and
fused upon thin copperplates at white heat. When cooled, it is ground
off smoothly, then baked to acquire a smooth glaze. It is then ready for
painting with the figures.

When all the pieces of the watch-movement are thus prepared, they are
gathered in sets, and carried to the putting-up room, where each part
is thoroughly tested and regulated. The pieces move in processions of
boxes, each part by itself; and each watch, when put together, is as
good as every other. In an old English lever-watch there are between
eight and nine hundred pieces. In the American there are but about a
hundred and twenty parts. My friend the director says, that, if you put
a single American against a single European watch, the foreign may vary
a second less in a certain time; but if you will put fifty or a hundred
native against the same number of foreign watches, the native group will
be uniformly more accurate. In the case of two watches of exactly the
same excellence, the regulator of one may be adjusted to the precise
point, while that of the other may imperceptibly vary from that point.
But that is a chance. The true test is in a number.

"If now we add," ticked the faithful friend in my pocket, "that
watch-movements of a similar grade without the cases are produced here
at half the cost of the foreign, doesn't it seem to you that we have
Lancashire and Warwickshire in England and Locle and La Chaux de Fond in
Switzerland upon the hip?"

"It certainly does," I answered,--for what else could I say?

Five different sizes of watches are made at Waltham. The latest is the
Lady's Watch, for which no parent or lover need longer go to Geneva. And
the affectionate pride with which the manager took up one of the finest
specimens of the work and turned it round for me to see was that of a
parent showing a precious child.

While we strolled through every room, the workers were not less
interesting to see than the work. There are now about three hundred and
fifty of them, of whom nearly a third are women. Scarcely twenty are
foreigners, and they are not employed upon the finest work. Of course,
as the machinery is peculiar to this factory, the workers must be
specially instructed. The foremen are not only overseers, but teachers;
and I do not often feel myself to be in a more intelligent and valuable
society than that which surrounded me, a wondering, staring, smiling,
inquiring, utterly unskilful body in the ancestral halls of my tried
friend and trusty counsellor, The American Watch.

       *       *       *       *       *


BENJAMIN BANNEKER, THE NEGRO ASTRONOMER.


In these days, when strong interests, embodied in fierce parties, are
clashing, one recalls the French proverb of those who make so much noise
that you cannot hear God thunder. It does not take much noise to drown
the notes of a violin; but go to the hill a fourth of a mile off, and
the noises shall die away at its base, whilst the music shall be heard.
Those who can remove themselves away from and above the plane of
party-din can hear God's modulated thunder in the midst of it, uttering
ever a "certain tune and measured music." And such can hear now the
great voice at the sepulchre's door of a race, saying, Come forth! This
war is utterly inexplicable except as the historic method of delivering
the African race in America from slavery, and this nation from the crime
and curse inevitably linked therewith in the counsels of God, which are
the laws of Nature. If the friends of freedom in the Government do
not understand this, it is plain enough that the myrmidons of slavery
throughout the land understand it. And hence it is that we are
witnessing their unremitting efforts to exasperate the prejudices of the
vulgar against the negro, and to prove degradation, and slavery to be
his normal condition. They point to his figure as sculptured on ancient
monuments, bearing chains, and claim that his enslavement is lawful as
immemorial custom; but as well point to the brass collars on our Saxon
forefathers' necks to prove _their_ enslavement lawful. The fact that
slavery belonged to a patriarchal age is the very reason why it is
impracticable in a republican age,--as its special guardians in this
country seem to have discovered. But this question is now scarcely
actual. The South, by its first blow against the Union and the
Constitution, whose neutrality toward it was its last and only
protection from the spirit of the age, did, like the simple fisherman,
unseal the casket in which the Afreet had been so long dwarfed. He is
now escaping. Thus far, indeed, he is so much escaped force; for he
might be bearing our burdens for us, if we only rubbed up the lamp which
the genie obeys. But whether we shall do this or not, it is very certain
that he is now emerging from the sea and the casket, and into it will
descend no more. Henceforth the negro is to take his place in the family
of races; and no studies can be more suitable to our times than those
which recognize his special capacity.

The questions raised by military exigencies have brought before the
public the many interesting facts drawn from the history of Hayti and
from our own Revolution, showing the heroism of the negro, though we
doubt whether they can surpass the stories of Tatnall, Small, and
others, which have led a high European authority to observe that in this
war no individual heroism among the whites has equalled that of the
blacks. But the forthcoming social questions concerning the negro will
be even more exciting than the military. What are we to expect from the
unsealed Afreet,--good or evil? It was whilst studying in this direction
that I came upon the few facts which relate to Benjamin Banneker,--facts
which, though not difficult of access, are scarcely known beyond the
district in Maryland where, on the spot where he was born, his unadorned
grave receives now and then a visit from some pilgrim of his own race
who has found out the nobleness which Jefferson recognized and Condorcet
admired.

Benjamin Banneker was born in Baltimore County, near the village of
Ellicott's Mills, in the year 1732. There was not a drop of the white
man's blood in his veins. His father was born in Africa, and his
mother's parents were both natives of Africa. What genius he had, then,
must be credited to that race. Benjamin's mother was a remarkable woman,
and of a remarkable family. Her name was Morton, before marriage, and a
nephew of hers, Greenbury Morton, was gifted with a lively and impetuous
eloquence which made its mark in his neighborhood. Of him it is related
that he once came to a certain election-precinct in Baltimore County
to deposit his vote; for, prior to the year 1809, negroes with certain
property-qualifications voted in Maryland. It was in this year, in which
the law restricting the right of voting to free whites was passed, that
Morton, who had not heard of its passage, came to the polls. When his
vote was refused, Morton in a state of excitement took his stand on
a door-step, and was immediately surrounded by the crowd, whom he
addressed in a strain of passionate and prophetic eloquence which bore
all hearts and minds with him. He warned them that the new law was a
step backward from the standard which their fathers had raised in
the Declaration, and which they had hoped would soon be realized in
universal freedom; that that step, unless retraced, would end in bitter
and remorseless revolutions. The crowd was held in breathless attention,
and none were found to favor the new law.

This man, we have said, was the nephew of Benjamin's mother. She was a
woman of remarkable energy, and after she was seventy years of age was
accustomed to run down the chickens she wished to catch. Her husband was
a slave when she married him, but it was a very small part of her life's
task to purchase his freedom. Together they soon bought a farm of one
hundred acres, which we find conveyed by Richard Gist to Robert Bannaky,
(as the name was then spelt,) and Benjamin Bannaky, his son, (then five
years old,) on the tenth of March, 1737, for the consideration of seven
thousand pounds of tobacco. The region in which Benjamin was born was
almost a wilderness; for in 1732 Elkridge Landing was of more importance
than Baltimore; and even in 1754 this city consisted only of some twenty
poor houses straggling on the hills to the right of Jones's Falls. The
residence of the Bannekers was ten miles into the wilderness from these.

It was under these unpromising circumstances that little Benjamin grew
up, his destiny being apparently nothing more than to work on the little
farm beside his poor and ignorant parents. When he was approaching
manhood, he went, in the intervals of toil, to an obscure and remote
country-school; for, until the cotton-gin made negroes too valuable on
the animal side for the human side to be allowed anything so perilous as
education, there were to be found here and there in the South fountains
whereat even negroes might slake their thirst for learning. At this
school Benjamin acquired a knowledge of reading and writing, and
advanced in arithmetic as far as "Double Position." Beyond these
rudiments he was entirely his own teacher. After leaving school he had
to labor constantly for his own support; but he lost nothing of what he
had acquired. It is a frequent remark that up to a certain point the
negroes learn even more rapidly than white children under the same
teaching, but that afterward, in the higher branches, they are slow,
and, some maintain, incapable. Young Banneker had no books at all, but
in the midst of his labor he so improved upon and evolved what he had
gained in arithmetic that his intelligence became a matter of general
observation. He was such an acute observer of the natural world, and had
so diligently observed the signs of the times in society, that it
is very doubtful whether at forty years of age this African had his
superior in Maryland.

Perhaps the first wonder amongst his comparatively illiterate neighbors
was excited, when, about the thirtieth year of his age, Benjamin made
a clock. It is probable that this was the first clock of which every
portion was made in America; it is certain that it was as purely his own
invention as if none had ever been made before. He had seen a watch, but
never a clock, such an article not being within fifty miles of him. The
watch was his model. He was a long time at work on the clock,--his chief
difficulty, as he used often to relate, being to make the hour, minute,
and second hands correspond in their motion. But at last the work was
completed, and raised the admiration for Banneker to quite a high pitch
among his few neighbors.

The making of the clock proved to be of great importance in assisting
the young man to fulfil his destiny. It attracted the attention of the
Ellicott family, who had just begun a settlement at Ellicott's Mills.
They were well-educated men, with much mechanical knowledge, and some of
them Quakers. They sought out the ingenious negro, and he could not have
fallen into better hands. It was in 1787 that Benjamin received from
Mr. George Ellicott Mayer's "Tables," Ferguson's "Astronomy," and
Leadbetter's "Lunar Tables." Along with these, some astronomical
instruments, also, were given him. Mr. Ellicott, prevented from telling
Benjamin anything concerning the use of the instruments for some time
after they were given, went over to repair this omission one day, but
found that the negro had discovered all about them and was already quite
independent of instruction. From this time astronomy became the great
object of Banneker's life, and in its study he almost disappeared from
the sight of his neighbors. He was unmarried, and lived alone in the
cabin and on the farm which he had inherited from his parents. He had
still to labor for his living; but he so simplified his wants as to
be enabled to devote the greater portion of his time to astronomical
studies. He slept much during the day, that he might the more devotedly
observe at night the heavenly bodies whose laws he was slowly, but
surely, mastering.

And now he began to have a taste of that persecution to which every
genius under similar circumstances is subject. He was no longer seen in
the field, where formerly his constancy had gained him a reputation for
industry, and some who called at his cabin during the day-time found him
asleep; so he began to be spoken of as a lazy fellow, who would come to
no good, and whose age would disappoint the promise of his youth. There
was a time when this so excited his neighbors against him that he had
serious fears of disturbance. A memorandum in his hand-writing, dated
December 18, 1790, states:--

"------ ------informed me that ------ stole my horse and great-coat,
and that the said ------ intended to murder me when opportunity
presented. ------ ------ gave me a caution to let no one come into my
house after dark."

The names were originally written in full; but they were afterward
carefully cancelled, as though Banneker had reflected that it was wrong
to leave on record an unauthenticated assertion against an individual,
which, if untrue, might prejudice him by the mere fact that it had been
made.

Very soon after the possession of the books already mentioned, Banneker
determined to compile an almanac, that being the most familiar use that
occurred to him of the information he had acquired. To make an almanac
was a very different thing then from what it would be now, when there is
an abundance of accurate tables and rules. Banneker had no aid whatever
from men or tables; and Mr. George Ellicott, who procured some tables
and took them to him, states that he had advanced far in the preparation
of the logarithms necessary for his purpose. A memorandum in his
calculations at this time thus corrects an error in Ferguson's
Astronomy:--

"It appears to me that the wisest men may at times be in error: for
instance, Dr. Ferguson informs us, that, when the sun is within 12° of
either node at the time of full, the moon will be eclipsed; but I find,
that, according to his method of projecting a lunar eclipse, there will
be none by the above elements, and yet the sun is within 11° 46' 11" of
the moon's ascending node. But the moon being in her apogee prevents the
appearance of this eclipse."

Another memorandum makes the following corrections:--

"Errors that ought to be corrected in my Astronomical Tables are
these:--2d vol. Leadbetter, p. 201, when [symbol] anomaly is 4^s 30°,
the equation 3° 30' 41" ought to have been 3° 28' 41". In [symbol]
equation, p. 155, the logarithm of his distance from [symbol] ought to
have been 6 in the second place from the index, instead of 7, that is,
from the time that his anomaly is 3^s 24° until it is 4^s O°."

Both Ferguson and Leadbetter would have been amazed, had they been
informed that their elaborate works had been reviewed and corrected by a
negro in the then unheard-of valley of the Patapsco.

The first almanac prepared by Banneker for publication was for the year
1792. By this time his acquirements had become generally known, and
amongst those who were attracted by them was James McHenry, Esq. Mr.
McHenry wrote to Goddard and Angell, then the almanac-publishers of
Baltimore, and procured the publication of this work, which contained,
from the pen of Mr. McHenry, a brief notice of Banneker. In their
editorial notice Goddard and Angell say, "They feel gratified in the
opportunity of presenting to the public through their press what must
be considered as an extraordinary effort of genius,--a complete and
accurate Ephemeris for the year 1792, calculated by a sable son of
Africa," etc. And they further say that "they flatter themselves that a
philanthropic public, in this enlightened era, will be induced to give
their patronage and support to this work, not only on account of its
intrinsic merits, (it having met the approbation of several of the most
distinguished astronomers of America, particularly the celebrated Mr.
Rittenhouse,) but from similar motives to those which induced the
editors to give this calculation the preference, the ardent desire
of drawing modest merit from obscurity, and controverting the
long-established illiberal prejudice against the blacks."

Banneker was himself entirely conscious of the bearings of his case
upon the position of his people; and though remarkable for an habitual
modesty, he solemnly claimed that his works had earned respect for
the African race. In this spirit he wrote to Thomas Jefferson, then
Secretary of State under Washington, transmitting a manuscript copy of
his almanac. The letter is a fervent appeal for the down-trodden negro,
and a protest against the injustice and inconsistency of the United
States toward that color. Mr. Jefferson's reply is as follows:--

"_Philadelphia, Pa._, August 30, 1791.

"Sir,--I thank you sincerely for your letter of the 19th instant, and
for the almanac it contained. Nobody wishes more than I do to see such
proofs as you exhibit, that Nature has given to our black brethren
talents equal to those of the other colors of men, and that the
appearance of a want of them is owing only to the degraded condition of
their existence both in Africa and America. I can add with truth that no
one wishes more ardently to see a good system commenced for raising the
condition both of their body and mind to what it ought to be, as fast as
the imbecility of their present existence, and other circumstances which
cannot be neglected, will admit. I have taken the liberty of sending
your almanac to Monsieur de Condorcet, Secretary of the Academy of
Sciences at Paris, and Member of the Philanthropic Society, because I
considered it a document to which your whole color had a right for their
justification against the doubts which have been entertained of them.

"I am, with great esteem, Sir,

"Your most obedient serv't,

"THO. JEFFERSON."

When his first almanac was published, Banneker was fifty-nine years of
age, and had received tokens of respect from all the scientific men
of the country. The commissioners appointed after the adoption of the
Constitution in 1789 to run the lines of the District of Columbia
invited the presence and assistance of Banneker, and treated him as an
equal. They invited him to take a seat at their table; but he declined,
and requested a separate table.

Banneker continued to calculate and publish almanacs until the year
1802. Besides numerous valuable astronomical and mathematical notes
found amongst his papers are observations of passing events, showing
that he had the mind of a philosopher. For instance:--

"_27th Aug. 1797._ Standing at my door, I heard the discharge of a gun,
and in four or five seconds of time the small shot came rattling about
me, one or two of which struck the house; which plainly demonstrates
that the velocity of sound is greater than that of a cannon-bullet."

"_23d Dec. 1790._ About 3 o'clock A.M., I heard a sound and felt a shock
like unto heavy thunder. I went out, but could not observe any cloud.
I therefore conclude it must be a great earthquake in some part of the
globe."

In April, 1800, he writes:--

"The first great locust year that I can remember was 1749. I was then
about seventeen years of age, when thousands of them came creeping up
the trees. I imagined they came to destroy the fruit of the earth, and
would occasion a famine in the land. I therefore began to destroy
them, but soon saw that my labor was in vain. Again, in the year 1766,
seventeen years after their first appearance, they made a second. I
then, being about thirty-four years of age, had more sense than to
endeavor to destroy them, knowing they were not so pernicious to the
fruit as I had imagined. Again, in the year 1783, which was seventeen
years later, they made their third appearance to me; and they may be
expected again in 1800. The female has a sting in her tail as sharp and
hard as a thorn, with which she perforates the branches of trees, and in
the holes lays eggs. The branch soon dies and falls. Then the egg, by
some occult cause, immerges a great depth into the earth, and there
continues for the space of seventeen years, as aforesaid."

The following is worthy of Pliny:--

"In the month of January, 1797, on a pleasant day for the season, I
observed my honey-bees to be out of their hives, and they seemed to be
very busy, excepting one hive. Upon examination, I found all the bees
had evacuated this hive, and left not a drop behind them. On the 9th of
February ensuing, I killed the neighboring hives of bees, and found a
great quantity of honey, considering the season,--which I imagine the
stronger had taken from the weaker, and the weaker had pursued them
to their home, resolved to be benefited by their labor, or die in the
contest."

Mr. Benjamin H. Ellicott, who was a true friend of Banneker, and
collected from various sources all the facts concerning him, wrote in a
letter as follows:--

"During the whole of his long life he lived respectably and much
esteemed by all who became acquainted with him, but more especially
by those who could fully appreciate his genius and the extent of his
acquirements. Although his mode of life was regular and extremely
retired,--living alone, having never married, cooking his own victuals
and washing his own clothes, and scarcely ever being absent from
home,--yet there was nothing misanthropic in his character; for a
gentleman who knew him thus speaks of him: 'I recollect him well. He
was a brave-looking, pleasant man, with something very noble in his
appearance. His mind was evidently much engrossed in his calculations;
but he was glad to receive the visits which we often paid him.' Another
writes: 'When I was a boy I became very much interested in him, as his
manners were those of a perfect gentleman: kind, generous, hospitable,
humane, dignified, and pleasing, abounding in information on all the
various subjects and incidents of the day, very modest and unassuming,
and delighting in society at his own house. I have seen him frequently.
His head was covered with a thick suit of white hair, which gave him
a very dignified and venerable appearance. His dress was uniformly of
superfine drab broadcloth, made in the old style of a plain coat, with
straight collar and long waistcoat, and a broad-brimmed hat. His color
was not jet-black, but decidedly negro. In size and personal appearance,
the statue of Franklin at the library in Philadelphia, as seen from the
street, is a perfect likeness of him. Go to his house when you would,
either by day or night, there was constantly standing in the middle of
the floor a large table covered with books and papers. As he was an
eminent mathematician, he was constantly in correspondence with other
mathematicians in this country, with whom there was an interchange of
questions of difficult solution.'"

Banneker died in the year 1804, beloved and respected by all who knew
him. Though no monument marks the spot where he was born and lived a
true and high life and was buried, yet history must record that the most
original scientific intellect which the South has yet produced was that
of the pure African, Benjamin Banneker.

       *       *       *       *       *


THE SLEEPING SENTINEL.


  When the great Theban, in his midnight tramp,
    A sleeping guard beside the postern saw,
  He slew him on the instant, that the camp
    Might read in blood a soldier's swerveless law.

  "Blame not your General!"--pointing to the slain,--
    The wise, severe Epaminondas said,--
  "I was not cruel, comrades, for 't is plain
    I only left him, as I found him, dead!"



IRON-CLAD SHIPS AND HEAVY ORDNANCE.


The new system of naval warfare which characterizes the age was proposed
by John Stevens of Hoboken during the War of 1812, recommended by
Paixhans in 1821, made the subject of official and private experiment
here and in Europe during the last ten years especially, subjected to
practical test at Kinburn in 1855, recognized then by France and England
in the commencement of iron-clad fleets, first practised by the United
States Government in the capture of Fort Henry, and at last established
and inaugurated not only in fact, but in the principle and direction of
progress, by the memorable action of the ninth of March, 1862, in the
destruction of the wooden sailing-frigates Cumberland and Congress by
the steam-ram Merrimack, and the final discomfiture of that powerful and
heavily armed victor by the turreted, iron, two-gun Monitor.

The consideration of iron-clad vessels involves that of armor, ordnance,
projectiles, and naval architecture.


ARMOR.

_Material_. In 1861, the British iron-plate committee fired with
68-pounders at many varieties of iron, cast-steel and puddled-steel
plates, and combinations of hard and soft metals. The steel was too
brittle, and crumbled, and the targets were injured in proportion to
their hardness. An obvious conclusion from all subsequent firing at
thick iron plates was, that, to avoid cracking on the one hand, and
punching on the other, wrought-iron armor should resemble copper more
than steel, except that it should be elastic, although not necessarily
of the highest tensile strength. Copper, however, proved much too soft.
The experiments of Mr. E.A. Stevens of Hoboken, with thick plates,
confirm this conclusion. But for laminated armor, (several thicknesses
of thin plates,) harder and stronger iron offers greater resistance to
shot, and steel crumbles less than when it is thicker. The value of hard
surfaces on inclined armor will be alluded to.

_Solid and Laminated Armor compared. Backing_. European experimenters
set out upon the principle that the resistance of plates is nearly as
the square of their thickness,--for example, that two 2-inch plates are
but half as strong as one 4-inch plate; and the English, at least, have
never subjected it to more than one valuable test. During the last year,
a 6-inch target, composed of 5/8-inch boiler-plates, with a 1-1/2-inch
plate in front, and held together by alternate rivets and screws 8
inches apart, was completely punched; and a 10-inch target, similarly
constructed, was greatly bulged and broken at the back by the 68-pounder
(8 inch) smooth-bore especially, and the 100-pounder rifle at 200
yards,--guns that do not greatly injure the best solid 4-1/2-inch plates
at the same range. On the contrary, a 124-pounder (10 inch) round-shot,
having about the same penetrating power, as calculated by the ordinary
rule, fired by Mr. Stevens in 1854, but slightly indented, and did not
break at the back, a 6-5/8-inch target similarly composed. All the
experiments of Mr. Stevens go to show the superiority of laminated
armor. Within a few months, official American experiments have confirmed
this theory, although the practice in the construction of ships is
divided. The Roanoke's plates are solid; those of the Monitor class are
laminated. Solid plates, generally 4-1/2 inches thick and backed by 18
inches of teak, are exclusively used in Europe. Now the resistance of
plates to punching _in a machine_ is directly as the sheared area, that
is to say, as the depth and the diameter of the hole. But, the argument
is, in this case, and in the case of laminated armor, the hole
is cylindrical, while in the case of a thick armor-plate it is
conical,--about the size of the shot, in front, and very much larger in
the rear,--so that the sheared or fractured area is much greater. Again,
forged plates, although made with innumerable welds from scrap which
cannot be homogeneous, are, as compared with rolled plates made with
few welds from equally good material, notoriously stronger, because the
laminae composing the latter are not thoroughly welded to each other,
and they are therefore a series of thin plates. On the whole, the facts
are not complete enough to warrant a conclusion. It is probable that the
heavy English machinery produces better-worked thick plates than have
been tested in America, and that American iron, which is well worked in
the _thin_ plate used for laminated armor, is better than English iron;
while the comparatively high velocities of shot used in England are more
trying to thin plates, and the comparatively heavy shot in America prove
most destructive to solid plates. So that there is as yet no common
ground of comparison. The cost of laminated armor is less than half that
of solid plates. Thin plates, breaking joints, and bolted to or through
the backing, form a continuous girder and add vastly to the strength of
a vessel, while solid blocks add no such strength, but are a source of
strain and weakness. In the experiments mentioned, there was no wooden
backing behind the armor. It is hardly possible,--in fact, it is nowhere
urged,--that elastic wooden backing prevents injury to the _armor_ in
any considerable degree. Indeed, the English experiments of 1861 prove
that a rigid backing of masonry--in other words, more armor--increases
the endurance of the plates struck. Elastic backing, however, deadens
the blow upon the structure behind it, and catches the iron splinters;
it is, therefore, indispensable in ships.

_Vertical and Inclined Armor_. In England, in 1860, a target composed of
4-1/2-inch plates backed with wood and set at 38° from the horizon was
injured about one-half as much by round 68-pounder shot as vertical
plates of the same thickness would have been. In 1861, a 3-1/4 plate at
45° was more injured by elongated 100-pounder shot than a 4-1/2 vertical
plate, both plates having the same backing and the weights of iron being
equal for the same vertical height. When set at practicable angles,
inclined armor does not glance flat-fronted projectiles. Its greater
cost, and especially the waste of room it occasions in a ship, are
practically considered in England to be fatal objections. The result of
Mr. Stevens's experiments is, substantially, that a given thickness of
iron, measured on the line of fire, offers about equal resistance to
shot, whether it is vertical or inclined. Flat-fronted or punch shot
will be glanced by armor set at about 12° from the horizon. A hard
surface on the armor increases this effect; and to this end, experiments
with Franklinite are in progress. The inconvenience of inclined armor,
especially in sea-going vessels, although its weight is better situated
than that of vertical armor, is likely to limit its use generally.

_Fastening Armor_. A series of thin plates not only strengthen the whole
vessel, but fasten each other. All methods of giving continuity to thick
plates, such as tonguing and grooving, besides being very costly,
have proved too weak to stand shot, and are generally abandoned. The
_fastenings_ must therefore be stronger, as each plate depends solely on
its own; and the resistance of plates must be decreased, either by more
or larger bolt-holes. The working of the thick plates of the European
vessels Warrior and La Gloire, in a sea-way, is an acknowledged defect.
There are various practicable plans of fastening bolts to the backs of
plates, and of holding plates between angle-irons, to avoid boring
them through. It is believed that plates will ultimately be welded.
Boiler-joints have been welded rapidly and uniformly by means of light
furnaces moving along the joint, blowing a jet of flame upon it, and
closely followed by hammers to close it up. The surfaces do not oxidize
when enveloped in flame, and the weld is likely to be as strong as the
solid plate. Large plates prove stronger than small plates of equally
good material. English 4-1/2-inch armor-plates are generally 3-1/2 feet
wide and to 24 feet long. American 4-1/2-inch plates are from 2 to 3
feet wide and rarely exceed 12 feet in length. Armor composed of light
bars, like that of the Galena, is very defective, as each bar, deriving
little strength from adjacent, offers only the resistance of its own
small section. The cheapness of such armor, however, and the facility
with which it can be attached, may compensate for the greater amount
required, when weight is not objectionable. The 14-inch and 10-inch
targets, constructed, without backing, on this principle, and tested in
England in 1859 and 1860, were little damaged by 68-and 100-pounders.

The necessary thickness of armor is simply a question of powder, and
will be further referred to under the heads of Ordnance and Naval
Architecture.


ORDNANCE AND PROJECTILES.

_Condition of Greatest Effect_. It is a well-settled rule, that the
penetration projectiles is proportionate directly to their weight
and diameter, and to the square of their velocity. For example, the
10-1/2-inch Armstrong 150-pound shot, thrown by 50 pounds of powder at
1,770 feet per second, has nearly twice the destructive effect upon
striking, and four times as much upon passing its whole diameter through
armor, as the 15-inch 425-pound shot driven by the same powder at 800
feet. The American theory is, that very heavy shot, at necessarily low
velocities, with a given strain on the gun, will do more damage, by
racking and straining the whole structure than lighter and faster shot
which merely penetrate. This is not yet sufficiently tested. The late
remarkable experiments in England--firing 130-and 150-pound Whitworth
steel shells, holding 3 to 5 pounds of powder, from a 7-inch Armstrong
gun, with 23 to 27 pounds of powder, through the Warrior target, and
bursting them in and beyond the backing--certainly show that large
calibres are not indispensable in fighting iron-clads. A destructive
blow requires a _heavy charge of powder_; which brings us to

_The Strain and Structure of Guns, and Cartridges_. The problem is, 1st,
to construct a gun which will stand the heaviest charge; 2d, to reduce
the strain on the gun without reducing the velocity of the shot. It
is probable that powder-gas, from the excessive suddenness of its
generation, exerts a percussive as well as a statical pressure, thus
requiring great elasticity and a certain degree of hardness in the
gun-metal, as well as high tensile strength. Cast-iron and bronze are
obviously inadequate. Solid wrought-iron forgings are not all that could
be desired in respect of elasticity and hardness, but their chief defect
is want of homogeneity, due to the crude process of puddling, and to
their numerous and indispensable welds. Low cast-steel, besides being
elastic, hard, tenacious, and homogeneous, has the crowning advantage of
being produced in large masses without flaw or weld. Krupp, of Prussia,
casts ingots of above 20 tons' weight, and has forged a cast-steel
cannon of 9 inches bore. One of these ingots, in the Great Exhibition,
measured 44 inches in diameter, and was uniform and fine-grained
throughout. His great success is chiefly due to the use of manganesian
iron, (which, however, is inferior to the Franklinite of New Jersey,
because it contains no zinc,) and to skill in heating the metal, and to
the use of heavy hammers. His heaviest hammer weighs 40 tons, falls 12
feet, and strikes a blow which does not draw the surface like a light
hammer, but compresses the whole mass to the core. Krupp is now
introducing the Bessemer process for producing ingots of any size at
about the cost of wrought-iron. These and other makes of low-steel
have endured extraordinary tests in the form of small guns and other
structures subject to concussion and strain; and both the theory and all
the evidence that we have promise its superiority for gun-metal. But
another element of resistance is required in guns with thick walls. The
explosion of the powder is so instantaneous that the exterior parts of
the metal do not have time to act before the inner parts are strained
beyond endurance. In order to bring all parts of a great mass of metal
into simultaneous tension, Blakely and others have hooped an inner tube
with rings having a successively higher initial tension. The inner tube
is therefore under compression, and the outer ring under a considerable
tension, when the gun is at rest, but all parts are strained
simultaneously and alike when the gun is under pressure. The Parrott and
Whitworth cannon are constructed on this principle, and there has been
some practice in winding tubes with square steel wire to secure the most
uniform gradation of tension at the least cost. There is some difficulty
as yet in fastening the wire and giving the gun proper longitudinal
strength. Mr. Wiard, of New York, makes an ingenious argument to show
that large cannon burst from the expansion of the inner part of the gun
by the heat of frequent successive explosions. In this he is sustained
to some extent by Mr. Mallet, of Dublin. The greater the enlargement of
the inner layer of metal, the less valuable is the above principle of
initial tension. In fact, placing the inner part of the gun in initial
tension and the outer part in compression would better resist the
effect of internal heat. But Mr. Wiard believes that the _longitudinal_
expansion of the inner stratum of the gun is the principal source of
strain. A gun made of annular tubes meets this part of the difficulty;
for, if the inner tube is excessively heated, it can elongate and slip
a little within those surrounding it, without disturbing them. In fact,
the inner tube of the Armstrong gun is sometimes turned within the
others by the inertia of the rifled projectile. On the whole, then,
hooping an inner steel tube with successively tighter steel rings, or,
what is better, tubes, is the probable direction of improvement in heavy
ordnance. An inner tube of iron, cast hollow on Rodman's plan, so as to
avoid an inherent rupturing strain, and hooped with low-steel without
welds, would be cheaper and very strong. An obvious conclusion is,
that perfect elasticity in the metal would successfully meet all the
foregoing causes of rupture.

In America, where guns made entirely of cast-iron, and undoubtedly the
best in the world for horizontal shell-firing, are persisted in, though
hardly adequate to the heavy charges demanded by iron-clad warfare, the
necessity of decreasing the strain on the gun without greatly reducing
the velocity of the shot has become imperative. It would be impossible
even to recapitulate the conflicting arguments of the experts on this
subject, within the limits of this paper. It does appear from recent
experiments, however, that this result can be accomplished by
compressing the powder, so that, we will suppose, it burns slowly and
overcomes the inertia of the shot before the whole mass is ignited; and
also by leaving an airspace around the cartridge, into which the gases
probably expand while the inertia of the shot is being overcome, thus
avoiding the excessive blow upon the walls of the gun during the first
instant of the explosion. Whatever the cause may be, the result is of
the highest importance, not only as to cast-iron guns, but as to all
ordnance, and warrants the most earnest and thorough investigation. The
principles of the Armstrong gun differ in some degree from all those
mentioned, and will be better referred to under the head of _Heavy
Ordnance Described_. The Armstrong gun is thus fabricated. A long bar of
iron, say 3 by 4 inches in section, is wound into a close coil about 2
feet long and of the required diameter,--say 18 inches. This is set upon
end at a welding heat under a steam-hammer and "upset" into a tube which
is then recessed in a lathe on the ends so as to fit into other tubes.
Two tubes set end to end are heated to welding, squeezed together by
a heavy screw passing through them, and then hammered lightly on the
outside without a mandrel. Other short tubes are similarly added. Five
tubes of different lengths and diameters are turned and bored and shrunk
over one another, without successively increasing tension, however, to
form a gun. The breech-end of the second tube from the bore is forged
solid so that its grain will run parallel with the bore and give the
gun longitudinal strength. Both the wedge and the screw breech-loading
apparatus are employed on guns of 7 inches bore (110-pounders) and
under. It will thus be seen that the defects of large solid forgings are
avoided; that the iron may be well worked before it is formed into a
gun; and that its greatest strength is in the direction of the greatest
strain; and on the other hand, that the gun is weak longitudinally and
excessively costly, (the 7-inch gun costs $4,000, and tin 10-1/2-inch,
$9,000,) and that the material, although strong and pretty trustworthy
in the shape of bars, has insufficient elasticity and hardness. Still,
it is a formidable gun, especially when relieved of the weak and complex
breech-loading apparatus, and used with a better system of rifling and
projectiles than Armstrong's. The 110-pounder Armstrong rifle has 99-1/2
inches length and 7 inches diameter of bore, 27 inches maximum diameter,
and weighs 4-1/3 tons. The "300-pounder" smooth-bore has 11 feet length
and 10-1/2 inches diameter of bore, 38 inches maximum diameter, and
weighs 10-1/2 tons. The Mersey Iron-Works guns are of wrought-iron, and
are forged solid like steamboat-shafts, or hollow by laying up staves
into the form of a barrel and welding layers of curved plates upon
them until the whole mass is united. But few of these guns have
been fabricated. The most remarkable of them are, 1st, the Horsfall
smooth-bore, of 13 inches bore, 44 inches maximum diameter, and 24
tons weight,--price, $12,500; 2d, the "Alfred" rifle, in the recent
Exhibition, of 10 inches bore,--price, $5,000; 3d, the 12-inch
smooth-bore in the Brooklyn Navy-Yard, which, though very light, has
fired a double 224-pound shot with 45 pounds of powder: if properly
hooped, it would make the most formidable gun in America. Blakely has
constructed for Russia two 13-inch smooth-bore guns, 15 feet long and 47
inches maximum diameter, of cast-iron hooped with steel: price, $10,000
each. He has also fabricated many others of large calibre, on the
principles before mentioned. The 15-inch Rodman smooth-bore cast-iron
gun is of 48 inches maximum diameter, 15 feet 10 inches long, and weighs
25 tons. The cost of such guns is about $6,000. The Dahlgren 15-inch
guns on the Monitors are about four feet shorter.

_Results of Heavy Ordnance_. The 10-1/2-inch Armstrong gun sent a round
150-pound shot, with 50 pounds of powder, through a 5-1/2-inch solid
plate and its 9-inch teak backing and 5/8-inch iron lining, at 200
yards, and one out of four shots with the same charge through the
Warrior target, namely, a 4-1/2-inch solid plate, 18-inch backing, and
5/8-inch lining. The Horsfall 13-inch gun sent a round 270-pound shot,
with 74 pounds of powder, entirely through the Warrior target at 200
yards, making an irregular hole about 2 feet in diameter. The same
charge at 800 yards did not make a clean breach. The Whitworth
shell burst in the backing of the same target has been referred to.
Experiments on the effect of the 15-inch gun are now in progress. Its
hollow 375-pound shot (3-inch walls) was broken without doing serious
damage to 10-1/2-inch laminated armor backed with 18 inches of oak.
The comparative test of solid and laminated armor has already been
mentioned. The best 4-1/2-inch solid plates, well backed, are
practically proof against the guns of English iron-clads, namely,
68-pounder smooth-bores and Armstrong 110-pounder rifles, the service
charge of each being 16 pounds.

_Rifling and Projectiles_. The spherical shot, presenting a larger area
to the action of the powder, for a given weight, than the elongated
rifle-shot, has a higher initial velocity with a given charge; and all
the power applied to it is converted into velocity, while a part of the
power applied to the rifle-shot is employed in spinning it on its axis.
But, as compared with the rifle-shot, at long ranges, it quickly loses,
1st, velocity, because it presents a larger area to the resisting air;
2d, penetration, because it has to force a larger hole through the
armor; and 3d, accuracy, because the spinning of the rifle-shot
constantly shifts from side to side any inaccuracy of weight it may
have on either side of its centre, so that it has no time to deviate in
either direction. Practically, however, iron-clad warfare must be
at close quarters, because it is almost impossible to _aim_ any gun
situated on a movable ship's deck so that it will hit a rapidly moving
object at a distance. It is believed by some authorities that elongated
shot can be sufficiently well balanced to be projected accurately
from smooth-bores; still, it is stated by Whitworth and others that a
spinning motion is necessary to keep an elongated shot on end while
passing through armor. On the whole, so far as penetrating armor is
concerned, the theory and practice favor the spherical shot. But a more
destructive effect than mere penetration has been alluded to,--the
bursting of a shell within the backing of an iron-clad vessel. This
can be accomplished only by an elongated missile with a solid head for
making the hole and a hollow rear for holding the bursting charge. The
rifle-shot used in America, and the Armstrong and some other European
shot, are covered with soft metal, which in muzzle-loaders is expanded
by the explosion so as to fill the grooves of the gun, and in
breech-loaders is planed by the lands of the gun to fit the
rifling,--all of which is wasteful of power. Whitworth employs a solid
iron or steel projectile dressed by machinery beforehand to fit the
rifling. But as the bore of his gun is hexagonal, the greater part of
the power employed to spin the shot tends directly to burst the gun.
Captain Scott, R.N., employs a solid projectile dressed to fit by
machinery; but the surfaces of the lands upon which the shot presses are
radial to the bore, so that the rotation of the shot tends, not to split
the gun, but simply to rotate it in the opposite direction.

_Mounting Heavy Ordnance_, so that it may be rapidly manoeuvred on
shipboard and protected from the enemy's shot, has been the subject of
so much ingenious experiment and invention, that in a brief paper it can
only be alluded to in connection with the following subject:--


THE STRUCTURE OF WAR-VESSELS.

_Size_. To attain high speed and carry heavy armor and armament,
war-vessels must be of large dimensions. By doubling all the lineal
dimensions of a vessel of given form, her capacity is increased eight
fold, that is to say, she can carry eight times as much weight of
engines, boilers, armor, and guns. Meanwhile her resistance is only
quadrupled; so that to propel each ton of her weight requires but half
the power necessary to propel each ton of the weight of a vessel of
half the dimensions. High speed is probably quite as important as
invulnerability. Light armor is a complete protection against the most
destructive shells, and the old wooden frigates could stand a
long battle with solid shot. But without superior speed, the most
invulnerable and heavily armed vessel could neither keep within
effective range of her enemy, nor run her down as a ram, nor retreat
when overpowered. And a very fast vessel can almost certainly run past
forts, as they are ordinarily situated, at some distance from the
channel, without being hit. Indeed, the difficulty of hitting a moving
object with heavy cannon is so great that slow wooden ships do not
hesitate to encounter forts and to reduce them, for a moving ship can be
so manoeuvred as to hit a stationary fort.

The disadvantages of large ships are, first, great draught. Although
draught need not be increased in the same degree as length, a stable
and seaworthy model cannot be very shallow or flat-bottomed. Hence the
harbors in which very large vessels can manoeuvre are few, and there
must be a light-draught class of vessels to encounter enemies of light
draught, although they cannot be expected to cope very successfully with
fast and heavy vessels. Second, a given sum expended exclusively in
large vessels concentrates coast-defences upon a few points, while, if
it is devoted to a greater number, consisting partly of small vessels,
the line of defences is made more continuous and complete.

_System of Protection_. But the effectiveness of war-vessels need not
depend solely upon their size. First, twice or thrice the power may
be obtained, with the same weight of boilers and machinery, and with
considerable economy, by carrying very much higher steam, employing
simple surface-condensers, and maintaining a high rate of combustion and
vaporization, in accordance with the best commercial-marine practice.
Second, _the battery may be reduced in extent_, and the armor thus
increased rather than diminished in thickness, with a given buoyancy. At
the same time, _the fewer guns may be made available in all directions
and more rapidly worked_, so that, on the whole, a small ship thus
improved will be a match in every respect for a large ship as ordinarily
constructed. Working the guns in small revolving turrets, as by
Ericsson's or by Coles's plan, and loading and cooling them by
steam-power, and taking up their recoil by springs in a short space,
as by Stevens's plan, are improvements in this direction. The plan of
elevating a gun above a shot-proof deck at the moment of aiming and
firing, and dropping it for loading or protection by means of hydraulic
cylinders, and the plan of placing a gun upon the top of the armor-clad
portion of the ship, covering it with a shot-proof hood, and loading it
from below, and the plan of a rotating battery, in which one gun is in a
position to fire while the others attached to the same revolving frame
are loading,--all these obviously feasible plans have the advantages of
avoiding port-holes in the inhabited and vital parts of the vessel, of
rendering the possible bursting of a gun comparatively harmless to the
crew and ship, and of rapid manoeuvring, as compared with the turret
system, besides all the advantages of the turret as compared with the
casemate or old-fashioned broadside system. The necessity of fighting
at close quarters has been remarked. At close quarters, musket-balls,
grape, and shells can be accurately thrown into ordinary port-holes,
which removes the necessity of smashing any other holes in the armor.

Protection at, and extending several feet below the water-line, is
obviously indispensable around the battery of a vessel. It is valuable
at other points, but not indispensable, provided the vessel has numerous
horizontal and vertical bulkheads to prevent too great a loss of
buoyancy when the vessel is seriously damaged between wind and water.
Harbor-craft may be very low on the water, so that only a little height
of protection is required. But it is generally supposed that sea-going
vessels must be high out of water. Mr. Ericsson's practice, however, is
to the contrary; and it may turn out that a low vessel, over which the
sea makes a clean breach, can be made sufficiently buoyant on his plan,
If high sides are necessary, the plan of Mr. Lungley, of London, may be
adopted,--a streak of protection at the water-line, and another
forming at the top of the battery at the top of the structure, with an
intermediate unprotected space. A shot-proof deck at the water-line, and
the necessary shot-proof passages leading from the parts below water to
the battery, would of course be necessary.

Considering the many expedients for vastly increasing the thickness of
armor, the idea, somewhat widely expressed, especially in England,
that, in view of the exploits of Armstrong, Clay, and Whitworth,
iron-protection must be abandoned, is at least premature. The manner in
which the various principles of construction have thus far been carried
out will be noticed in a brief.

_Description of Prominent Iron-Clad Vessels_. CLASS I. Classified with
reference to the protection, the dimensions of the English Warrior
and Black Prince are, length 380 feet, beam 58 feet, depth 33 feet,
measurement 6,038 tons. Their armor (previously described) extends from
the upper deck down to 5 feet below water, throughout 200 feet of the
length amidships. Vertical shot-proof bulkheads joining the side armor
form a box or casemate in the middle of the vessel, in which the 26
casemate-guns, mostly 68-pounder smooth-bores, are situated and fired
through port-holes in the ordinary manner. Their speed on trial is about
14 knots,--at sea, about 12. The Defence and Resistance, of 275 feet
length and 3,668 tons, and carrying 14 casemate-guns, are similarly
constructed, though their speed is slow. All these vessels are built
entirely of iron.

CLASS II. This differs from the first mentioned in having protection all
around at the water-line. The New Ironsides, (American,) of 3,250 tons,
240 feet length, 58-1/2 feet beam, 28-1/2 feet depth, and 15 feet
draught, and built of wood, has 4-1/2-inch solid armor with 2 feet
backing, extending from the upper deck down to 4 feet below water, with
vertical bulkheads like the Warrior, making a casemate 170 feet long, in
which there are sixteen 11-inch smooth-bores and two 200-pounder Parrott
rifles. A streak of armor, 4 feet below water and 3 feet above, runs
from this forward and aft entirely around the vessel. Her speed is 8
knots. The Stevens Battery, (American,) 6,000 tons, constructed of iron
and nearly completed, is 420 feet long, 53 feet wide, and 28 feet deep
from the top of the casemate, and is iron-clad from end to end along the
water-line. As proposed to the last Congress, the central casemate was
to be about 120 feet long on the top, its sides being inclined 27-1/2
degrees from the horizon, and composed of 6-3/4 inches of iron, 14
inches of locust backing, and a half-inch iron lining. Upon the top of
it, and to be loaded and manoeuvred from within it, were to be five
15-inch smooth-bores and two 10-inch rifled guns clad with armor. The
actual horse-power of this ship being above 8,000, her speed would be
much higher than that of any other war-vessel. Congress, declining to
make an appropriation to complete this vessel, made it over to Mr.
Stevens, who had already borne a considerable portion of its cost, and
who intends to finish it at his own expense, and is now experimenting to
still further perfect his designs. The Achilles (English) now building
of iron, about the size of the Warrior, and of 6,039 tons, with a
casemate 200 feet long holding 26 guns, belongs to this class. The
Enterprise, 180 feet length, 990 tons, 4 casemate-guns, and the
Favorite, 220 feet length, 2,168 tons, 8 casemate-guns, are building in
England on the same plan. The Solferino and Magenta, (French,) built
of wood, and a little longer than the Royal Oak, (see Class III.,) are
iron-clad all round up to the main deck, and have two 13-gun casemates
above it.

CLASS III. The Minotaur, Agincourt, and Northumberland, 6,621 tons, and
390 feet length, resembling, but somewhat larger than the Warrior, in
all their proportions, and now on the stocks in England; are built of
iron, and are to have 5-1/2-inch armor and 9-inch backing extending
through their whole length from the upper deck to 5 feet below water,
forming a casemate from stem to stern, to hold 40 broadside-guns. Five
vessels of the Royal-Oak class, 4,055 tons, building in England, 277
feet long and 58-1/2 feet wide, are of wood, being partially constructed
frigates adapted to the new service, and are iron-clad throughout their
length and height to 5 feet below water. They are to carry thirty-two
68-pounders. The Hector and Valiant, 4,063 tons, and 275 feet long, are
English iron vessels not yet finished. They are completely protected,
and carry 30 casemate-guns. All the above vessels are to carry two or
more Armstrong swivel-guns fore and aft. Four vessels of La Gloire
class, (French,) 255 feet long and built of wood, resembling the Royal
Oak, carry 34 guns, and are completely clad in 4-1/2-inch solid armor.
Ten French vessels, of a little larger dimensions, are similarly
constructed. The Galena (American) is of this class as to extent of
protection. The quality of her armor has been referred to.

CLASS IV. _Ships with Revolving Turrets_. The Roanoke, (American,) a
razeed wooden frigate of 4,500 tons, is 265 feet long, 521/2 feet wide,
and 32 feet deep, and will draw about 21 feet, and have a speed of 8 to
9 knots. This and all the vessels to be referred to in this class are
iron-clad from end to end, and from the upper deck to 4 or 5 feet below
the water-line. The Roanoke's plates (solid) are 4-1/2 inches thick,
except at the ends, where they are 3-1/2, and are backed with 30 inches
of oak. She has three turrets upon her main-deck, each 21 feet in
diameter inside, 9 feet high, and composed of 11 thicknesses of 1-inch
plates. Her armament is six 15-inch guns, two in each turret. Of the
Monitors, which are all constructed of iron, two now building are to
be seagoing and very fast, and are to act as rams, like several of the
other vessels described. One of these, the Puritan, is 340 feet long,
52 feet wide, and 22 feet deep, and will draw 20 feet. The armor of her
hull, 10-1/2 inches thick, composed mostly of 1-inch plates and 3
feet of oak backing, projects beyond her sides by the amount of its
thickness, and overhangs, forming a solid ram 16 feet long at the bow.
The whole upper structure also overhangs the stern, and protects the
screw and rudder. This vessel will carry two turrets, 28 feet in
diameter inside, 9 feet high, and 2 feet thick, composed of 1-inch
plates. Each turret contains two 15-inch guns. The other vessel, the
Dictator, is similarly constructed, except that it has one turret, two
guns, and 320 feet length. The upper (shot-proof) deck of these vessels
is 2 feet out of water. The 18 smaller Ericsson vessels, several of
which are ready for service, are 18 inches out of water, of light
draught, and about 200 by 45 feet. Their side-armor, laminated, is 5
inches thick, upon 3 feet of oak. They have one turret, like those of
the Roanoke, and carry one 15-inch gun and one 11-inch smooth-bore, or
a 200-pounder rifle. The original Monitor is 174 by 44-1/2 feet, with
5-inch side-armor, and a turret 8 inches thick, 20 feet in diameter
inside, and armed with two 11-inch guns. These vessels of Ericsson's
design are each in fact two vessels: a lower iron hull containing
boilers and machinery, and an upper scow overhanging the ends and
sides, forming the platform for the turret, and carrying the armor. The
Onondaga, now constructing, is an iron vessel of 222 feet length, 48
feet beam, and 13 feet depth, with 4-1/2-inch solid armor having no
backing, and without the overhanging top-works of the Monitors. She has
two turrets, like those of the Roanoke, and four 15-inch guns. Nearly
all the vessels of Class IV. are without spars, and have a pilothouse
about 6 feet in diameter and 6 feet high on the top of one of the
turrets.

The English Royal Sovereign, 3,765 tons and 330 feet length, and the
Prince Albert, 2,529 tons and the same length, are razeed wooden
vessels. The former carries 5, and the latter 6 of Captain Coles's
turrets with inclined sides, each turret designed for two 110-pounder
breech-loading Armstrong guns. The class of iron vessels constructing to
carry two of Coles's turrets are 175 feet long, having 42 feet beam,
24 feet depth, 17 feet draught, and 990 tons displacement. All these
English vessels are much higher out of water than Ericsson's.

Besides these classes, there is the variety of iron-clad vessels called
turtles, from their shape,--among them, the Keokuk (Whitney Battery)
159-1/2 feet long, with two stationary 11-inch gun turrets,--and a class
of Western river vessels of very light draught and some peculiarities of
construction. The latter resemble the Stevens Battery in the shape and
position of their armor, but carry their guns within their casemates.

The Stevens Battery, the Onondaga, and the Keokuk have independent
screw-propellers, which will enable them to turn on their own centres
and to manoeuvre much more rapidly and effectively in action than
vessels which, having but one propeller, cannot change their direction
without changing their position, and are obliged to make a long circuit
to change it at all. This subject is beginning to receive in Europe the
attention which it merits.


CONCLUSIONS.

The direction of immediate improvement In ordnance for iron-clad warfare
appears to be the abandonment of cast-iron, except as a barrel to be
strengthened by steel; binding an inner tube with low-steel hoops having
a successively increasing initial tension; and the use of spherical shot
at excessive velocities by means of high charges of powder in bores of
moderate diameters. The rifling of some guns is important, not so much
to secure range or accuracy, as to fire elongated shells through armor.

The direction of improvement in ironclad vessels appears to be the
concentration of armor at a few points and the protection of the
remainder of the vessel from the entrance of _water_ by a streak of
armor at the water-line and numerous bulkheads, etc., in distinction
from necessarily thin and inefficient plating over all; high speed
without great increase of weight of the driving parts, by means of
improved engines and boilers and high pressure; the production of
tenacious iron in large, thick, homogeneous masses; and the rapid
manoeuvring of heavy ordnance by machinery.

In justice to himself, the writer deems it proper to state, that within
the limits of a magazine-article it has been impossible to enter into
the details, or even to give an outline, of all the facts which have led
him to the foregoing conclusions. In a more extended work about to be
published by Van Nostrand, of New York, he has endeavored, by presenting
a detailed account of English and American experiments, a description
and numerous illustrations, derived mostly from personal observation,
of all classes of ordnance and armor and their fabrication, and of
iron-clad vessels and their machinery, and a _résumé_ of the best
professional opinions, to add something at least usefully suggestive to
the general knowledge on this subject.



ANDREW RYKMAN'S PRAYER.


  Andrew Rykman's dead and gone:
    You can see his leaning slate
  In the graveyard, and thereon
    Read his name and date.

  "_Trust is truer than our fears_,"
    Runs the legend through the moss,
  "_Cain is not in added years,
    Nor in death is loss_."

  Still the feet that thither trod,
    All the friendly eyes are dim;
  Only Nature, now, and God
    Have a care for him.

  There the dews of quiet fall,
    Singing birds and soft winds stray:
  Shall the tender Heart of All
    Be less kind than they?

  What he was and what he is
    They who ask may haply find,
  If they read this prayer of his
    Which he left behind.

         *       *       *       *       *

  Pardon, Lord, the lips that dare
  Shape in words a mortal's prayer!
  Prayer, that, when my day is done,
  And I see its setting sun,
  Shorn and beamless, cold and dim,
  Sink beneath the horizon's rim,--
  When this ball of rock and clay
  Crumbles from my feet away,
  And the solid shores of sense
  Melt into the vague immense,
  Father! I may come to Thee
  Even with the beggar's plea,
  As the poorest of Thy poor,
  With my needs, and nothing more.

  Not as one who seeks his home
  With a step assured I come;
  Still behind the tread I hear
  Of my life-companion, Fear;
  Still a shadow deep and vast
  From my westering feet is cast,
  Wavering, doubtful, undefined,
  Never shapen nor outlined.

  From myself the fear has grown,
  And the shadow is my own.
  Well I know that all things move
  To the spheral rhythm of love,--
  That to Thee, O Lord of all!
  Nothing can of chance befall:
  Child and seraph, mote and star,
  Well Thou knowest what we are;
  Through Thy vast creative plan
  Looking, from the worm to man,
  There is pity in Thine eyes,
  But no hatred nor surprise.
  Not in blind caprice of will,
  Not in cunning sleight of skill,
  Not for show of power, was wrought
  Nature's marvel in Thy thought.
  Never careless hand and vain
  Smites these chords of joy and pain;
  No immortal selfishness
  Plays the game of curse and bless:
  Heaven and earth are witnesses
  That Thy glory goodness is.
  Not for sport of mind and force
  Hast Thou made Thy universe,
  But as atmosphere and zone
  Of Thy loving heart alone.
  Man, who walketh in a show,
  Sees before him, to and fro,
  Shadow and illusion go;
  All things flow and fluctuate,
  Now contract and now dilate.
  In the welter of this sea,
  Nothing stable is but Thee;
  In this whirl of swooning trance,
  Thou alone art permanence;
  All without Thee only seems,
  All beside is choice of dreams.
  Never yet in darkest mood
  Doubted I that Thou wast good,
  Nor mistook my will for fate,
  Pain of sin for heavenly hate,--
  Never dreamed the gates of pearl
  Rise from out the burning marl,
  Or that good can only live
  Of the bad conservative,
  And through counterpoise of hell
  Heaven alone be possible.

  For myself alone I doubt;
  All is well, I know, without;
  I alone the beauty mar,
  I alone the music jar.

  Yet, with hands by evil stained,
  And an ear by discord pained,
  I am groping for the keys
  Of the heavenly harmonies;
  Still within my heart I bear
  Love for all things good and fair.
  Hand of want or soul in pain
  Has not sought my door in vain
  I have kept my fealty good
  To the human brotherhood;
  Scarcely have I asked in prayer
  That which others might not share.
  I, who hear with secret shame
  Praise that paineth more than blame,
  Rich alone in favors lent,
  Virtuous by accident,
  Doubtful where I fain would rest,
  Frailest where I seem the best,
  Only strong for lack of test,--.
  What am I, that I should press
  Special pleas of selfishness,
  Coolly mounting into heaven
  On my neighbor unforgiven?
  Ne'er to me, howe'er disguised,
  Comes a saint unrecognized;
  Never fails my heart to greet
  Noble deed with warmer beat;
  Halt and maimed, I own not less
  All the grace of holiness;
  Nor, through shame or self-distrust,
  Less I love the pure and just.
  Thou, O Elder Brother! who
  In Thy flesh our trial knew,
  Thou, who hast been touched by these
  Our most sad infirmities,
  Thou alone the gulf canst span,
  In the dual heart of man,
  And between the soul and sense
  Reconcile all difference,
  Change the dream of me and mine
  For the truth of Thee and Thine,
  And, through chaos, doubt, and strife,
  Interfuse Thy calm of life.
  Haply, thus by Thee renewed,
  In Thy borrowed goodness good,
  Some sweet morning yet in God's
  Dim, aeonian periods,
  Joyful I shall wake to see
  Those I love who rest in Thee,
  And to them in Thee allied
  Shall my soul be satisfied.

  Scarcely Hope hath shaped for me
  What the future life may be.
  Other lips may well be bold;
  Like the publican of old,
  I can only urge the plea,
  "Lord, be merciful to me!"
  Nothing of desert I claim,
  Unto me belongeth shame.
  Not for me the crowns of gold,
  Palms, and harpings manifold;
  Not for erring eye and feet
  Jasper wall and golden street.
  What Thou wilt, O Father, give!
  All is gain that I receive.
  If my voice I may not raise
  In the elders' song of praise,
  If I may not, sin-defiled,
  Claim my birthright as a child,
  Suffer it that I to Thee
  As an hired servant be;
  Let the lowliest task be mine,
  Grateful, so the work be Thine;
  Let me find the humblest place
  In the shadow of Thy grace:
  Blest to me were any spot
  Where temptation whispers not.
  If there be some weaker one,
  Give me strength to help him on;
  If a blinder soul there be,
  Grant that I his guide may be.
  Make my mortal dreams come true
  With the work I fain would do;
  Clothe with life the weak intent,
  Let me be the thing I meant;
  Let me find in Thy employ
  Peace that dearer is than joy;
  Out of self to love be led
  And to heaven acclimated,
  Until all things sweet and good
  Seem my natural habitude.

         *       *       *       *       *

  So we read the prayer of him
    Who, with John of Labadie,
  Trod, of old, the oozy rim
    Of the Zuyder Zee.

  Thus did Andrew Rykman pray.
    Are we wiser, better grown,
  That we may not, in our day,
    Make his prayer our own?



THE STRATHSAYS.


Mrs. Strathsay sat in her broad bower-window, looking down the harbor. A
brave great window it was, and I mind me how many a dark summer's night,
we two leaned over its edge and watched the soft flow of the River
of the Cross, where its shadowy tide came up and lapped the stone
foundations of that old house by the water-side,--I and Angus. Under us
the rowers slipped the wherries and the yawls; in the channel the rafts
floated down a slow freight from the sweet and savage pine-forests,
and the fire they carried on their breasts, and the flames of their
pitch-knots, threw out strange shadows of the steering raftsmen, and
a wild bandrol of smoke flaring and streaming on the night behind
them;--and yet away far up on the yonder side, beneath the hanging
alders and the cedar-trees, the gundalows dropped down, great laden
barges; and perhaps a lantern, hung high in the stern of some huge
East-Indiaman at the wharves of the other town quite across the stream,
showed us all its tracery and spires, dim webs of shadow stretched and
woven against the solemn ground of the starlit sky, and taught us the
limit of the shores. Ah, all things were sweet to us then! we were
little but children,--Angus and I. And it's not children we are now,
small's the pity! The joys of childhood are good, I trow; but who would
exchange for them the proud, glad pulse of full womanhood?--not I. I
mind me, too, that in those days the great world of which I used to hear
them speak always seemed to me lying across the river, and over the
fields and the hills, and away down and out by the skirts of the
mystical sea; and on the morning when I set sail for Edinboro', I
felt to be forever drawing nigher its skurry and bustle, its sins and
pleasures and commotions.

We had no father,--Margray, or Effie, or Mary Strathsay, or I. He had
brought his wife out from their home in Scotland to St. Anne's in the
Provinces, and had died or ever I was born,--and I was the last of the
weans. A high, keen spirit was his wife; she did not bend or break; a
stroke that would have beggared another took no crumb from her cloth;
she let the right in warehouses and wharves lie by, and lie by, and each
year it paid her sterling income. None ever saw tear in those proud eyes
of hers, when they brought in her husband dead, or when they carried him
out; but every day at noon she went up into her own room, and whether
she slept or whether she waked the two hours in that darkened place,
there was not so much as a fly that sang in the pane to tell.

She was a fair, stately woman, taller than any of her girls, and with
half the mind to hate them all because they were none of them a son.
More or less the three were like her, lofty brows and shining hair and
skin like morning light, the lave of them,--but as for me, I was
my father's child. There's a portrait of him now, hangs on the
chimney-pier: a slight man, and not tall,--the dark hair waves away on
either side the low, clear brow,--the eyes deep-set, and large and
dark and starry,--a carmine just flushing beneath the olive of the
cheek,--the fine firm mouth just breaking into smiles; and I remember
that that morning when I set sail for Edinboro', as I turned away from
gazing on that face, and saw myself glinting like a painted ghost in the
long dim mirror beside me, I said it indeed, and proudly, that I was my
father's own child.

So she kissed us, Effie and me. Perhaps mine lingered the longer, for
the color in my cheek was deeper tinct than Scotch, it was the wild bit
of Southern blood that had run in her love's veins; when she looked
at me, I gave her back hot phases of her passionate youth again,--so
perhaps mine was the kiss that left the deeper dint.

Margray, and Mary Strathsay, had been back three years from school, and
the one was just married,--and if she left her heart out of the bargain,
what was that to me?--and the other was to reign at home awhile ere the
fated Prince should come, and Effie and myself were to go over seas and
take their old desks in the famous school at Edinboro'. The mother knew
that she must marry her girls well, and we two younglings were sadly in
Queen Mary Strathsay's way. Yes, Mrs. Strathsay lived for nought but the
making of great matches for her girls; the grandees of the Provinces
to-day sat down at her board and to-morrow were to pay her tribute, scot
and lot; four great weddings she meant should one by one light up her
hearth and leave it lonely with the ashes there. But of them all she
counted on the last, the best, the noblest for Alice,--that was I.

Old Johnny Graeme was the partner in what had been my father's house,
and for fifteen years it had gone prospering as never house did yet,
and making Mrs. Strathsay bitterer; and Johnny Graeme, a little wizened
warlock, had never once stopped work long enough to play at play and
reckon his untold gold.

Just for that summer, too, some ships of the royal fleet anchored there
off Campobello, and the Honorable Charles Seavern, third son of an Earl,
and professional at his cups, swung them at his will, and made holiday
meanwhile among the gay and willing folk of all the little towns around.

There was another yet, a youth growing up to fine estates away off
beyond Halifax. His father sat in the Queen's own Parliament for the
Colonies, had bent to the knightly accolade, and a change of ministry or
of residence might any day create Sir Brenton peer; his mother had been
Mrs. Strathsay's dearest friend:--this child who off and on for half his
life had made her house his home and Alice his companion, while in the
hearts of both children Mrs. Strathsay had cautiously planted and nursed
the seed,--a winning boy, a noble lad, a lordly man.

If Margray had not married old Johnny Graeme, it would have broken Mrs.
Strathsay's will; the will was strong; she did, she married him. If
Mary, with her white moonsheen of beauty, did not bewitch the senses of
Captain Seavern, it would break Mrs. Strathsay's pride; and few things
were stronger than Mrs. Strathsay's pride,--unless 't were Mary's own.
If Effie----but that's nothing to the purpose. If Alice did not become
the bride of Angus Ingestre, it would break Mrs. Strathsay's heart.
God forgive me! but I bethought me once that her heart was the weakest
member in all her body.

So she kissed us, as I say, and we slid down the ten miles of river, and
went sailing past the busy islands and over the broad deeps and out of
the day and into the night, and then two little orphans cried themselves
to sleep with their arms about each other's necks. After all, it was not
much like my picture of the great world, this lonely sea, this plunging
up from billow on to billow, this burrowing down in the heart of
green-gloomed hollows, this rocking and creaking and straining, this
buoyant bounding over the crests,--yet the freedom, the monotony, the
wild career of the winds fired me; it set my blood a-tingle; I liked it.
And then I thought of Angus, rocked to sleep each night, as he was now,
in his ocean-cradle. But once at school, and the world was round me; it
hummed up from the streets, it boomed down from the spires. I became a
part of it, and so forgot it. To Effie there were ever stealing rumors
of yet a world beyond, of courts and coronets, of satin shimmer and
glitter of gems, but they glanced off from me,--and other than thus I
have never yet found that great world that used to lie over the river.

We had been at school a happy while, and but for constant letters,
and for the brief visit of Mrs. Strathsay, who had journeyed over the
Atlantic for one last look at sweet home-things, and to see how all went
with us, and then had flitted back again,--but for that, home would have
seemed the veriest dream that ever buzzed in an idle brain: would so
have seemed to other maidens, not to us, for the fibres of the Strathsay
heart were threads that never wore thin or parted. Two twelvemonths
more, and we should cross the sea ourselves at last; and wearying now
of school a bit, all our visions centred in St. Anne's, and the merry
doings, the goings and comings, that we heard of there; and it seemed to
me as if home were to be the beginning of life, as erst it had seemed
that in school we should find the world.

It was the vacation of the long summer term; there was packing and
padlocking to go each on her way, and the long dormitories rang with
shrill clamor. They all had a nest to seek. Effie was already gone away
with her chief crony, whose lady-mother, a distant kinswoman of our own,
fancied the girl's fair countenance. I was to join them in a week or
two,--not yet, because I had wished to send home the screens painted on
white velvet, and they wanted yet a sennight's work, and I knew Mrs.
Strathsay would be proud of them before the crackle of the autumn fires.
The maids ran hither and yon, and the bells pealed, and the knocker
clashed, and the coaches rolled away over the stone pave of the
court-yard, and there was embracing and jesting and crying, when
suddenly all the pleasant hubbub stood still, for Miss Dunreddin was
in the hall, and her page behind her, and she beckoned me from my post
aloft on a foot-board, summoning the deserters before me and awarding
them future expiations, amidst all manner of jeering and jinking and
laughter.

A gentleman from the Provinces to see me in the little parlor: he had
brought us letters from home, and after Miss Dunreddin had broken the
seals she judged we might have them, and I was at liberty for an hour,
and meantime Angus Ingestre awaited me. Angus! I sprang down the stairs,
my cheeks aglow, my heart on my lips, and only paused, finger on lock,
wondering and hesitating and fearing, till the door was flung open, and
I drawn in with two hands shut fast on my own, and two eyes--great blue
Ingestre eyes--looking down on me from the face so far above: for he
towered like a Philistine.

"And is it Angus?" I cried. For how was I to know the boy I had left in
a midshipman's jacket, in this mainmast of a man, undress-uniform and
all?

"I've no need to ask, Is it Alice?" he answered. "The same little peach
of a chin!"

"Nay, but, Angus,--'t will never do,--and I all but grown up!"

"Not my little maid any longer, then?"

But so trembling and glad was I to see him, that I dared no more words,
for I saw the tears glistening in my eyelashes and blinding me with
their dazzling flashes.

So he took me to a seat, and sat beside me, and waited a minute; and
after that waiting it was harder to speak than it had been before, and
every thought went clean out of my head, and every word, and I stared
at my hands till I seemed to see clear through them the pattern of
my dress, and at the last I looked up, and there he had been bending
forward and scanning me all the while; and then Angus laughed, and
caught up my hand and pretended to search it narrowly.

"Ah, yes, indeed," said he, "she is reading the future in her palm,
reading it backward, and finding out what this Angus Ingestre has to do
with her fate!"

"Nay, but,"----said I, and then held fast again.

"Here's a young woman that's keen to hear of her home, of her sisters,
of Queen Mary Strathsay, and of Margray's little Graeme!"

"What do _I_ care for Johnny Graeme? the little old man!"

"What, indeed? And you'll not be home a day and night before you'll be
tossing and hushing him, and the moon'll not be too good for him to
have, should he cry for it!"

"Johnny Graeme?"

"No. Angus Graeme!"

"Oh!--Margray has a son? Why didn't you tell me before?"

"When you were so eager to know!"

"It's all in my letters, I suppose. But Margray has a son, and she's
named it for you, and her husband let her?"

"'Deed, he wasn't asked."

"Why not?"

"Come, child, read your letters."

"Nay, I've but a half-hour more with you; that was the second quarter
struck; I'll read them when you're gone.--_Why not_?"

"Johnny Graeme is dead."

That sobered me a thought.

"And Margray?" I asked.

"Poor Margray,--she feels very badly."

"You don't mean to say"----

"That she cared for him? But I do."

"Now, Angus Ingestre, I _heard_ Margray tell her mother she'd liefer
work on the roads with a chain and ball than marry him! It's all you men
know of women. Love Johnny Graeme! Oh, poor man, rest his soul! I'm sore
sorry for him. He's gone where there's no gold to make, unless they
smelt it there; and I'm not sure but they do,--sinsyne one can see all
the evil it's the root of, and all the woe it works,--and he bought
Margray, you know he did, Angus!"

"It's little Alice talking so of her dead brother!"

"He's no brother of mine; I never took him, if Margray did. Brother
indeed! there's none such,--unless it's you, Angus!" And there all the
blood flew into my cheeks, and they burned like two fires, and I was
fain to clap my palms upon them.

"No," said Angus. "I'm not your brother, Ailie darling, and never wish
to be,--but"----

"And Margray?" I questioned, quickly,--the good Lord alone knew why.
"Poor Margray! tell me of her. Perhaps she misses him; he was not, after
all, so curst as Willy Scott. Belike he spoke her kindly."

"Always," said Angus, gnawing in his lip a moment ere the word. "And
the child changed him, Mary Strathsay says. But perhaps you're right;
Margray makes little moan."

"She was aye a quiet lass. Poor Johnny!--I'm getting curst myself. Well,
it's all in my letters. But you, Angus dear, how came you here?"

"I? My father came to London; and being off on leave from my three
years' cruise, I please myself in passing my holiday, and spend the last
month of it in Edinboro', before rejoining the ship."

All my moors and heather passed like a glamour. The green-wood shaws
would be there another year,--Angus was here to-day. I cast about me,
and knew that Miss Dunreddin would speed away to take her pleasure, and
there'd be none left but the governess and the painting-mistress, with
a boarder or two like myself,--and as for the twain, I could wind them
round my thumb.

"Oh, Angus," I said, breathlessly, "there's Arthur's Seat, and the
palaces, and the galleries and gardens,--it'll be quite as good as the
moors; there'll be no Miss Dunreddin, and you can stay here all the
leelang simmer's day!"

He smiled, as he answered,--

"And I suppose those scarlet signals at the fore signify"----

"Nothing!"

"Fast colors, I see."

"It's my father's own color, and I'm proud of it,--barring the telltale
trouble."

"You're proud," said he, absently, standing up to go, "that you are the
only one of them all that heirs him?"

"Not quite. It's the olive in my father's cheek that darkened his wife's
yellow curls into Mary Strathsay's chestnut ones. And she's like me in
more than that, gin she doesn't sell hersel' for siller and gowd."

"I'll tell you what. Mrs. Strathsay is over-particular in speech. She'll
have none of the broad Highland tongue about her. It's a daily struggle
that she has, not to strike Nurse Nannie dumb, since she has infected
you all with her dialect. A word in time. Now I must go. To-morrow night
I'll come and take you to the play, Miss Dunreddin or no Miss Dunreddin.
But sing to me first. It's a weary while since I used to hear that voice
crooning itself to sleep across the hall with little songs."

So I sang the song he chose, "My love, she's but a lassie yet"; and he
took the bunch of bluebells from my braids, and was gone.

The next night Angus was as good as his word. Miss Dunreddin was already
off on her pleasuring, he took the gray little governess for duenna,
and a blither three never sat out a tragedy, or laughed over wine
and oysters in the midst of a garden with its flowers and fountains
afterwards. 'T was a long day since the poor little woman had known such
merrymaking; and as for me, this playhouse, this mimicry of life, was a
new sphere. We went again and again,--sometimes the painting-mistress,
too; then she and the governess fell behind, and Angus and I walked at
our will. Other times we wandered through the gay streets, or we went
up on the hill and sat out the sunsets, and we strolled through the two
towns, high and low. The days sped, the long shine of the summer days,
and, oh, my soul was growing in them like a weed in the sun!

It never entered my happy little thoughts all this time that what was
my delight might yet be Angus's dole; for, surely, a school-girl is so
interesting to no one else as herself, while she continually comes upon
all the fresh problems in her nature. So, when a day passed that I heard
no step in the hall, no cheery voice rousing the sleepy echoes with my
name, I was restless enough. Monday, Tuesday,--no Angus. I ought to have
thought whether or no he had found some of his fine friends, and if they
had no right to a fragment of his time; yet I was but a child. The third
day dawned and passed, and at length, sitting there among the evening
shadows in the long class-room, a little glumly, the doors clanged as
of old, a loud, laughing sentence was tossed up to the little gray
governess at the stair-head, then, three steps at a time, he had
mounted, and was within,--and what with my heart in my throat and its
bewildered beating, I could not utter a word. I but sprang to the window
and made as if I had been amusing myself there: I would have no Angus
Ingestre be thinking that he was all the world to me, and I nought to
him.

"A little ruffled," said he, at the saucy shake of my head. "Well, I
sha'n't tell you where I've been. I've the right to go into the country
for a day, have I not? What is it to Alice Strathsay how often I go to
Loch Rea? There's something Effie begged me to get you!" And he set down
a big box on the table.

So, then, he had been to see Effie. It was fair enough, and yet I
couldn't help the jealous pang. I wouldn't turn my head, though I did
wonder what was in the big box, but, holding out my hand backward, I
said,--

"Well, it's no odds where you've been, so long's you're here now. Come
and lean out of the window by me,--it's old times,--and see the grand
ladies roll by in their coaches, some to the opera, some to the balls."

"Why should I watch the grand ladies roll by, when there's one so very
much grander beside me," he said, laughing, but coming. And so we stood
together there and gazed down on the pretty sight, the beautiful women
borne along below in the light of the lamps, with their velvets, their
plumes, and their jewels, and we made little histories for them all, as
they passed.

"They are only the ugly sisters," said Angus, at length. "But here is
the true Cinderella waiting for her godmother. Throw your cape over your
hair, Ailie dear; the dew falls, and you'll be taking cold. There, it's
the godmother herself, and you'll confess it, on seeing what miracles
can be worked with this little magic-lantern of yours. Come!" and he
proceeded to open the box.

But I waited a minute still; it was seldom the sumptuous coaches
rolled through this by-way which they had taken to-night in their gay
procession, since the pavers had left the broad street beyond blocked up
for the nonce, and I liked to glimpse this little opening into a life
just beyond my sphere.

"You are shivering in your thin frock at the window, Miss Strathsay,"
said the little gray governess.

"Come here, Ailie, and hold the candle," said Angus. "Effie has great
schemes of terror with this in the dormitories, o' nights. There!" and
he whirled the lighted match out of the window.

Just then I turned, the little flame fell on my muslin sleeve,--a cloud
of smoke, a flash, a flare, the cape round my face soared in blaze, it
seemed that I was wrapt in fire!

Angus caught me on the instant, crushed the burning things with his
fingers, had his coat round me, had all drenched in the water that the
governess had raced after, and then I knew no more.

So the women put me to bed, while Angus brought the surgeon; then they
forbade him the room, and attended to my wants; but all night long he
paced the halls and heard my moans, and by daybreak I was stupefied. He
waited a week, but they would not suffer him to see me, and then his
leave of absence had expired.

One night I woke; I felt that the room was darkly rich with the
star-lighted gloom, but I could see nothing, for all the soft, cool
linen folds; and lying there half-conscious for a time, I seemed to feel
some presence in the door-way there.

"Angus, is that you?" I asked.

"Oh, Ailie darling!" he cried, and came forward and fell on his knees by
my side, and covered my hands with his tears.

"Poor Angus!" I said, in my muffled way, and I tried half to rise, and I
was drawing away a hand that I might dash the tears off his face.

Then of a sudden it came over me in one great torrid flush, and I fell
back without a word.

But at the moment, the little gray governess came in again from her
errand, and he went. 'T was no use his waiting, though he lingered still
a day or two in hopes to see me; but my head was still on my pillow.
His time was more than up, he must to the ship, so he left me store of
messages and flowers and glass-bred grapes, and was off.

Time wore away, I got about again, and all was as before, long ere the
girls came back, or Miss Dunreddin. I went near no moors, I looked no
more out of my window, I only sat on the stool by my bedside and kept my
face hid in the valances; and the little gray governess would sit beside
me and cheer me, and tell me it was not so bad when all was said, and
beauty was but little worth, and years would efface much, that my hair
was still as dark and soft, my eyes as shining, my----But all to what
use? Where had flown the old Strathsay red from my cheek, where that
smooth polish of brow, where----I, who had aye been the flower of the
race, the pride of the name, could not now bide to brook my own glance
in the glass.

But the worst of it all would be, I thought,--not recking the worse to
come,--when the girls flocked back. How I dreaded it, how I sought to
escape their mock and go home, poor fool! but the little gray governess
saw them all first, I must believe, for there was not a quip or a look
askance, and they treated me as bairns treat a lamb that has tint its
mother. And so seeing I had lost my fair skin, I put myself to gain
other things in its place, and worked hard at my stents, at my music, my
books. I grew accustomed to things, and would forget there had been a
change, and, being young, failed to miss the being bonny; and if I did
not miss it, who should? and they all were so kind, that the last year
of school was the happiest of the whole. Thus the time drew near my
eighteenth summer, and Miss Dunreddin had heard of a ship bound our
way from Glasgow, and we were to leave the town with all its rare old
histories, and speed through nights and days of seafaring to St. Anne's
by the water-side, to the old stone house with its windows overhanging
the River of the Cross.

So the old brig slid lazily up the river, beneath the high and beauteous
banks, and as between the puffs of wind we lay there in the mid-channel,
the mate,--a dark, hawk-eyed man, at whom Effie liked well to toss a
merry mock, and with whom, sometimes stealing up, she would pace the
deck in hours of fair weather,--a man whose face was like a rock that
once was smitten with sunshine, never since,--a sad man, with a wrathful
lip even when he spoke us fair,--the mate handed me his glass and bade
me look, while he went to the side and bent over there with Effie,
gazing down into the sun-brown, idle current. And I pointed it,--and
surely that was the old stone gable in its woodbines,--and surely, as
we crept nearer, the broad bower-window opened before me,--and surely a
lady sat there, a haughty woman with the clustered curls on her temple,
her needle poised above the lace-work in the frame, and she gazing
dreamily out, out at the water, the woods, the one ship wafting slowly
up,--shrouds that had been filled with the airs of half a hemisphere,
hull that had ere now been soaked in spicy suns and summers,--and all
the glad tears gushed over my eyes and darkened me from seeing. So, as
I said, Mrs. Strathsay sat in her broad bower-window looking down the
harbor, and a ship was coming up, and Effie and I stood on its deck, our
hearts full of yearning. Mine was, at least, I know. And I could but
snatch the glass up, every breathing, as we went, and look, and drop it,
for it seemed as if I must fly to what it brought so near, must fly to
fling my arms about the fair neck bending there, to feel the caressing
finger, to have that kiss imprint my cheek once more,--so seldom her
lips touched us!

They lowered us down in boats at last, the captain going ashore with us,
the porters following with our luggage. The great hall-door below stood
open, and the familiar servants were there to give us greeting, and
we stayed but for a hand's-shake, except that my old nurse, where she
caught it, wet my shawl with her sudden weeping, so that Effie had run
up the stairs before me, and was in the drawing-room and was folded in
the tender grasp, and had first received the welcome. A moment after,
and I was among them. Mrs. Strathsay stood there under the chandelier
in the sunshine, with all its showering rainbow-drops,--so straight and
stately she, so superb and splendid,--her arms held out,--and I ran
forward, and paused, for my veil had blown over my face, to throw it
back and away,--and, with the breath, her shining blue eyes opened and
filled with fire, her proud lips twisted themselves in pain, she struck
her two hands together, crying out, "My God! how horrible!" and fainted.

Mrs. Strathsay was my mother. I might have fallen, too,--I might have
died, it seems to me, with the sudden snap my heart gave,--but all in a
word I felt Mary Strathsay's soft curls brushing about my face, and
she drew it upon her white bosom, and covered the poor thing with, her
kisses. Margray was bending over my mother, with the hartshorn in her
hands, and I think--the Lord forgive her!--she allowed her the whole
benefit of its battery, for in a minute or two Mrs. Strathsay rose, a
little feeble, wavered an instant, then warned us all away and walked
slowly and heavily from the place, up the stairs, and the door of her
own room banged behind her and hasped like the bolt of a dungeon.

I drank the glass of wine Mary brought me, and tried hard not to sadden
them, and to be a woman.

"Poor thing!" said Margray, when she'd taken off my bonnet and looked at
the fashion of my frock, "but you're sorely altered. Never fret,--it's
worth no tear; she counted much on your likely looks, though,--you never
told us the accident took them."

"I thought you'd know, Margray."

"Oh, for sure, there's many escapes.--And this is grenadine? I'd rather
have the old mohair.--Well, well, give a man luck and throw him into the
sea; happen you'll do better than us all. If my mother cannot marry you
as she'd choose, you'll come to less grief, I doubt." And Margray heaved
a little sigh, and ran to tumble up her two-year-old from his rose-lined
basket.

I went home with Margray that night; I couldn't bear to sleep in the
little white bed that was mine when a happy child, and with every star
that rose I felt a year the older; and on the morrow, when I came home,
my mother was still in the same taking, so I went back again and whiled
the day off as I could; and it was not so hard, for Mary Strathsay came
over, and Effie, and there was so much to tell, and so much to ask, and
Effie had all along been so full of some grand company she had met that
last year in Edinboro', that the dinner-bells rang ere we thought of
lunch; but still a weight lay on me like a crime on conscience. But by
the next dawning I judged 't was best that I should gather courage and
settle things as they were to be. Margray's grounds joined our own, and
I snatched up the babe, a great white Scotch bairn, and went along with
him in my arms under the dripping orchard-boughs, where still the soft
glooms lingered in the early morn. And just ere I reached the wicket, a
heavy step on the garden-walk beyond made my heart plunge, and I came
face to face with my mother. My tongue clove to the roof of my mouth, I
did not dare glance up, yet I felt her eyes upon me as if she searched
some spot fit for her fine lips, and presently her hand was on my head,
and the kiss had fallen on my hair, and then she gathered me into her
arms, and her tears rained down and anointed my face like chrism. And I
just let the wondering wean slip to the grass, and I threw my arms about
her and cried, "Oh, mother, mother, forgive me, and love me just a
little!" It was but a breathing; then I remembered the child at my feet,
and raised him, and smiled back on Mrs. Strathsay, and went on with a
lighter heart to set my chests and drawers straight.

The days slipped into weeks, and they were busy, one and all, ordering
Effie's wardrobe; for, however much I took the lead, she was the elder
and was to be brought out. My mother never meant to bring _me_ out, I
think,--she could not endure the making of parade, and the hearing
the Thomsons and Lindsays laugh at it all, when 't was but for such a
flecked face,--she meant I should slip into life as I could. We had had
the seamstresses, and when they were gone sometimes Mrs. Strathsay came
and sat among us with her work;--she never pricked finger with fell
or hem, but the heaviest task she took was the weaving of the white
leaf-wreaths in and out the lace-web before her there,--and as we
stitched, we talked, and she lent a word how best an old breadth could
be turned, another gown refitted,--for we had to consider such things,
with all our outside show of establishment.

Margray came running through the garden that afternoon, and up where we
sat, and over her arm was fluttering no end of gay skirts and ribbons.

"I saved this pink muslin--it's real Indian, lascar lawn, fine as
cobweb--for you, Alice," she said. "It's not right to leave it to the
moths,--but you'll never need it now. It shall be Effie's, and she'll
look like a rose-bud in it,--with her yellow locks floating."

"Yes," said I.

"You'll not be wanting such bright things now, child; you'll best wear
grays, and white, and black."

"Indeed, then, I sha'n't," I said. "If I'm no longer lovely myself, I'll
be decked out in braw clothes, that I may please the eye one way or
another."

"No use, child," sighed my mother 'twixt her teeth, and not meaning for
me to hear.

"So would I, Ailie," said Mary Strathsay, quickly. "There's much in fine
fibres and soft shades that gives one the womanly idea. You're the best
shape among us all, my light lissomeness, and your gowns shall fit it
rarely. Nay, Margray, let Alice have the pink."

"Be still, Mary Strathsay!" said my mother. "Alice will wear white this
summer; 'tis most suitable. She has white slips and to spare."

"But in the winter?" urged the other. "'Twill be sad for the child, and
we all so bright. There's my pearl silk,--I'm fairly tired of it,--and
with a cherry waist-piece"----

"You lose breath," said my mother, coldly and half vexed.

So Mary Strathsay bit her lip and kept the peace.

"Whisht now, child, your turn will come," said Margray, unfolding a
little bodice of purple velvet, with its droop of snowy Mechlin. "One
must cut the coat according to the cloth. That's for Effie,--gayly my
heart's beat under you," laying it down and patting it on one side,
lovingly. "There, if white's the order of the day, white let it be,--and
let Mrs. Strathsay say her most, she cannot make other color of this,
and she shall not say me nay. That's for Alice." And she flung all the
silvery silk and blonde lace about me.

"Child, you'll sparkle!" whispered Mary Strathsay in my ear, hastening
to get the glittering apparel aside, lest my mother should gainsay us.

But Mrs. Strathsay did not throw us a glance.

"You're ill-pleased, Effie," said Margray; for our little beauty,
finding herself so suddenly the pet, had learned to toss her head in
pretty saucy ways.

"Not a speck!" Effie answered up. "'Twas high time,--I was thinking."

Margray laughed, and took her chin 'twixt thumb and finger, and tried
to look under the wilful lids that drooped above the blue light in her
eyes.

"You're aye a faithful pet, and I like you clannish. Stand by them that
stands by you, my poor man used to say. You shall put on as fine a gown,
and finer, of my providing, the day you're wedded."

  "I'll gie ye veil o' siller lace,
    And troth ye wi' a ring;
  Sae bid the blushes to your face,
    My ain wee thing!"

sang Mary.

"I want none of your silver lace," said Effie, laughing lightly, and we
little dreamed of the girl's thought. "I'll have that web my mother has
wrought with myrtle-leaf and blossom."

"And 'twas begun for me," said Mary, arching her brows, and before she
thought.

"You,--graceless girl!" said my mother. "It's no bridal veil will ever
cross your curls!"

"Surely, mother, we've said too much,--you'll overlook old scores."

"'T is hard forgetting, when a perverse child puts the hand to her own
hurt."

"No hurt to me. You would not have had me take a man at his word when he
recked not what he said."

"Tsh! Tsh! Charles Seavern would have married you. And with the two
brothers gone, he's an earl now,--and you flung him off. Tsh!"

"I never saw the time, mother, solemnly as I've told you, when his right
hand knew what his left hand did,--what with his champagne-suppers, your
Burgundy, and Johnny Graeme's Jamaica. He'd have been sorely shocked
to wake up sober in his earldom some fine morning and find a countess
beside him ready-made to his hand."

"You spared him!" said my mother. And in a minute she added, softwise,
"Ay, were that all!"

"Ah," said Mary, "but I'll take the next one that asks me, if it's only
to save myself the taunts at home! You thought you were winning to a
soft nest, children, where there were nought but larks and thrushes and
maybe nightingales,--and we're all cuckoos.

  "'Cuckoo! cuckoo! sweet voice of Spring,
    Without you sad the year had been,
  The vocal heavens your welcome ring,
    The hedge-rows ope and take you in,
      Cuckoo! cuckoo!

  "'Cuckoo! cuckoo! O viewless sprite,
    Your song enchants the sighing South,
  It wooes the wild-flower to the light,
    And curls the smile round my love's mouth,
      Cuckoo! cuckoo!'"

"Have done your claver, Mary!" cried Margray. "One cannot hear herself
think, for the din of your twittering!--I'll cut the sleeve over
crosswise, I think,"--and, heedless, she herself commenced humming, in
an undertone, '"Cuckoo! cuckoo!'--There! you've driven mother out!"

Mary laughed.

"When I'm married, Ailie," she whispered, "I'll sing from morn till
night, and you shall sit and hear me, without Margray's glowering at us,
or my mother so much as saying, 'Why do you so?'"

For all the time the song had been purling from her smiling lips, Mrs.
Strathsay's eyes were laid, a weight like lead, on me, and then she had
risen as if it hurt her, and walked to the door.

"Or when you've a house of your own," added Mary, "we will sing together
there."

"Oh, Mary!" said I, like the child I was, forgetting the rest, "when I'm
married, you will come and live with me?"

"You!" said my mother, stepping through the door and throwing the words
over her shoulder as she went, not exactly for my ears, but as if the
bubbling in her heart must have some vent. "And who is it would take
such a fright?"

"My mother's fair daft," said Margray, looking after her with a
perplexed gaze, and dropping her scissors. "Surely, Mary, you shouldn't
tease her as you do. She's worn more in these four weeks than in as many
years. You're a fickle changeling!"

But Mary rose and sped after my mother, with her tripping foot; and in a
minute she came back laughing and breathless.

"You put my heart in my mouth, Mistress Graeme," she said. "And all for
nothing. My mother's just ordering the cream to be whipped. Well, little
one, what now?"

"It's just this dress of Margray's,--mother's right,--'t will never do
for me; I'll wear shadows. But 't will not need the altering of a hair
for you, Mary, and you shall take it."

"I think I see myself," said Mary Strathsay, "wearing the dress Margray
married Graeme in!" For Margray had gone out to my mother in her turn.

"Then it's yours, Effie. I'll none of it!"

"I'm finely fitted out, then, with the robe here and the veil there!
bridal or burial, toss up a copper and which shall it be?" said Effie,
looking upward, and playing with her spools like a juggler's oranges.
And here Margray came back.

She sat in silence a minute or two, turning her work this way and that,
and then burst forth,--

"I'd not stand in your shoes for much, Alice Strathsay!" she cried,
"that's certain. My mother's in a rare passion, and here's Sir Angus
home!"

"Sir Who?" said Effie puzzled; "it was just Mr. Ingestre two years ago."

"Well, it's been Sir Angus a twelvemonth now and more,--ever since old
Sir Brenton went, and he went with a stroke."

"Yes," said Mary, "it was when Angus arrived in London from Edinboro',
the day before joining his ship."

"And why didn't we ever hear of it?"

"I don't just remember, Effie dear," replied Margray, meditatively,
"unless 't were--it must have been--that those were the letters lost
when the Atlantis went down."

"Poor gentleman!" said Mary. "It was one night when there was a division
in the House, and it divided his soul from his body,--for they found him
sitting mute as marble, and looking at their follies and strifes with
eyes whose vision reached over and saw God."

"For shame, Mary Strathsay, to speak lightly of what gave Angus such
grief!"

"Is that lightly?" she said, smoothing my hair with her pretty pink
palms till it caught in the ring she wore. "Never mind what _I_ say,
girlie; it's as like to be one word as the other. But I grieved for him.
He's deep and quiet; a sorrow sinks and underlies all that's over, in
the lad."

"Hear her!" said Margray; "one would fancy the six feet of the Ingestre
stature were but a pocket-piece! The lad! Well, he'll put no pieces in
our pockets, I doubt," (Margray had ever an eye to the main chance,)
"and it's that angers my mother."

"Hush, Margray!" I heard Mary say, for I had risen and stolen forth.
"Thou'lt make the child hate us all. Were we savages, we had said less.
You know, girl, that our mother loved our father's face in her, and
counted the days ere seeing it once more; and having lost it, she
is like one bewildered. 'T will all come right. Let the poor body
alone,--and do not hurt the child's heart so. We're right careless."

I had hung on tiptoe, accounting it no meanness, and I saw Margray
stare.

"Well," she murmured, "something may be done yet. 'T will go hard, if by
hook or crook Mrs. Strathsay do not have that title stick among us"; and
then, to make an end of words, she began chattering anent biases
and gores, the lace on Mary Campbell's frill, the feather on Mary
Dalhousie's bonnet,--and I left them.

I ran over to Margray's, and finding the boy awake, I dismissed his
nurses the place, and stayed and played with him and took the charge
till long past the dinner-hour, and Margray came home at length, and
then, when I had sung the child asleep again, for the night, and Margray
had shown me all the contents of her presses, the bells were ringing
nine from across the river, and I ran back as I came, and up and into my
little bed, and my heart was fit to break, and I cried till the sound of
the sobs checked me into silence. Suddenly I felt a hand fumbling down
the coverlid, and 't was Nannie, my old nurse, and her arm was laid
heavily across me.

"Dinna greet," she whispered, "dinna greet and dull your een that are
brighter noo than a' the jauds can show,--the bonny blink o' them! They
sha' na flout and fleer, the feckless queans, the hissies wha'll threep
to stan' i' your auld shoon ae day! Dinna greet, lass, dinna!"

But I rose on my arm, and stared about me in all the white moonlight of
the vacant place, and hearkened to the voices and laughter rippling up
the great staircase,--for there were gallants in belike,--and made as if
I had been crying out in my sleep.

"Oh, Nurse Nannie, is it you?" I said.

"Ay, me, Miss Ailie darling!"

"Sure I dream so deeply. I'm all as oppressed with nightmare."

But with that she brushed my hair, and tenderly bathed my face in the
bay-water, and fastened on my cap, and, sighing, tucked the coverlid
round my shoulder, and away down without a word.

The next day was my mother's dinner-party. She was in a quandary about
me, I saw, and to save words I offered to go over again and stay with
the little Graeme. So it came to pass, one time being precedent of
another, that in all the merrymakings I had small share, and spent the
greater part of those bright days in Margray's nursery with, the boy, or
out-doors in the lone hay-fields or among the shrubberies; for he
waxed large and glad, and clung to me as my own. And to all kind Mary
Strathsay's pleas and words I but begged off as favors done to me, and I
was liker to grow sullen than smiling with all the stour.

"Why, I wonder, do the servants of a house know so much better than the
house itself the nearest concerns of shadowy futures? One night the
nurse paused above my bed and guarded the light with her hand.

"Let your heart lap," she said. "Sir Angus rides this way the morrow."

Ah, what was that to me? I just doubled the pillow over eyes and ears to
shut out sight and hearing. And so on the morrow I kept well out of the
way, till all at once Mrs. Strathsay stumbled over me and bade me, as
there would be dancing in the evening, to don my ruffled frock and be
ready to play the measures. I mind me how, when I stood before the glass
and secured the knot in my sash, and saw by the faint light my loosened
hair falling in a shadow round me and the quillings of the jaconet, that
I thought to myself how it was like a white moss-rose, till of a sudden
Nannie held the candle higher and let my face on me,--and I bade her
bind up my hair again in the close plaits best befitting me. And I crept
down and sat in the shade of the window-curtains, whiles looking out at
the soft moony night, whiles in at the flowery lighted room. I'd heard
Angus's coming, early in the afternoon, and had heard him, too, or e'er
half the cordial compliments were said, demand little Alice; and
they told him I was over and away at Margray's, and in a thought the
hall-doors clashed behind him and his heels were ringing up the street,
and directly he hastened home again, through the gardens this time, and
saw no sign of me;--but now my heart beat so thickly, when I thought of
him passing me in the dance, that, could I sit there still, I feared
'twould of itself betray me, and that warned me to question if the hour
were not ready for the dances, and I rose and stole to the piano and
sat awaiting my mother's word. But scarcely was I there when one came
quietly behind me, and a head bent and almost swept my shoulder; then he
stood with folded arms.

"And how long shall I wait for your greeting? Have you no welcome for
me, Ailie?"

"Yes, indeed, Sir Angus," I replied; but I did not turn my head, for as
yet he saw only the back of me, fair and graceful perchance, as when he
liked it.

He checked himself in some word.

"Well, then," he said, "give it me, tell it me, look it me!"

I rose from my seat and shifted the piece of music before me,--turned
and gazed into his eyes one long breathing-space, then I let the lids
fall,--waited a minute so,--and turned back ere my lip should be all in
a quiver,--but not till his head bent once more, and a kiss had fallen
on those lids and lain there cool and soft as a pearl,--a pearl that
seemed to sink and penetrate and melt inwardly and dissolve and fill my
brain with a white blinding light of joy. 'Twas but a brief bit of the
great eternities;--and then I found my fingers playing I knew not how,
and heard the dancers' feet falling to the tune of I knew not what.

While I played there, Margray sat beside me, for the merriment was
without now, on the polished oak-floor of the hall, and they being few
but familiars who had the freedom of the house, (and among whom I had
had no need but to slip with a nod and smile ere gaining my seat,) she
took out her needle and set a stitch or two, more, perhaps, to cover
her being there at all than for any need of industry; for Margray loved
company, and her year of widowhood being not yet doubled, and my mother
unwilling that she should entertain or go out, she made the most of that
at our house; for Mrs. Strathsay had due regard of decency,--forbye she
deemed it but a bad lookout for her girls, if the one of them danced on
her good-man's grave.

"I doubt will Sir Angus bide here," said Margray at length; for though
all his boyhood she had called him by every diminutive his name could
bear, the title was a sweet morsel in her unaccustomed mouth, and she
kept rolling it now under her tongue. "Mrs. Strathsay besought him,
but his traps and his man were at the inn. Sir Angus is not the lad he
was,--a young man wants his freedom, my mother should remember."

And as her murmur continued, my thoughts came about me. They were like
birds in the hall; and all their voices and laughter rising above the
jingle of the keys, I doubted was he so sorry for me, after all. Then
the dancing broke, I found, though I still played on, and it was some
frolicsome game of forfeits, and Angus was chasing Effie, and with
her light step and her flying laugh it was like the wind following a
rose-flake. Anon he ceased, and stood silent and statelier than Mrs.
Strathsay's self, looking on.

"See Sir Angus now," said Margray, bending forward at the pictures
shifting through the door-way. "He'd do for the Colossus at
what-you-may-call-it; and there's our Effie, she minds me of a
yellow-bird, hanging on his arm and talking: I wonder if that's what my
mother means,--I wonder will my mother compass it. See Mary Strathsay
there! She's white and fine, I'll warrant; see her move like a swan on
the waters! Ay, she's a lovesome lass,--and Helmar thought so, too."

"What are you saying of Mary Strathsay? Who _don't_ think she's a
lovesome lass?"

"Helmar don't _now_,--I'll dare be sworn."

"Helmar?"

"Hush, now! don't get that maggot agait again. My mother'd ban us both,
should her ears side this way."

"What is it you mean, Margray dear?"

"Sure you've heard of Helmar, child?"

Yes, indeed, had I. The descendant of a bold Spanish buccaneer who came
northwardly with his godless spoil, when all his raids upon West-Indian
seas were done, and whose name had perhaps suffered a corruption at our
Provincial lips. A man--this Helmar of to-day--about whom more strange
tales were told than of the bloody buccaneer himself. That the walls of
his house were ceiled with jewels, shedding their accumulated lustre of
years so that never candle need shine in the place, was well known. That
the spellbound souls of all those on his red-handed ancestor's roll were
fain to keep watch and ward over their once treasures, by night and
noon, white-sheeted and faint in the glare of the sun, wan in the moon,
blacker shadows in the starless dark, found belief. And there were those
who had seen his seraglio;--but few, indeed, had seen him,--a lonely
man, in fact, who lived aloof and apart, shunned and shunning, tainted
by the curse of his birth.

"Oh, yes," I said, "of Helmar away down the bay; but the mate of our
brig was named Helmar, too."

Margray's ivory stiletto punched a red eyelet in her finger.

"Oh, belike it was the same!" she cried, so loud that I had half to
drown it in the pedal. "He's taken to following the sea, they say."

"What had Helmar to do with our Mary, Margray?"

"What had he to do with her?" answered Margray in under-voice. "He fell
in love with her!"

"That's not so strange."

"Then I'll tell you what's stranger, and open your eyes a wee. She fell
in love with him."

"Our Mary? Then why didn't she marry him?"

"Marry Helmar?"

"Yes. If my mother wants gold, there it is for her."

"He's the child of pirates; there's blood on his gold; he poured it
out before my mother, and she told him so. He's the making of a pirate
himself. Oh, you've never heard, I see. Well, since I'm in for it,--but
you'll never breathe it?--and it's not worth while darkening Effie
with it, let alone she's so giddy my mother'd know I'd been giving it
mouth,--perhaps I oughtn't,--but there!--poor Mary! He used to hang
about the place, having seen her once when she came round from Windsor
in a schooner, and it was a storm,--may-happen he saved her life in it.
And Mary after, Mary'd meet him at church, and in the garden, and on the
river; 't was by pure chance on her part, and he was forever in the way.
Then my mother, innocent of it all, went to Edinboro', as you know, and
I was married and out of the reach, and Mary kept the house those two
months with Mrs. March of the Hill for dowager,--her husband was in
the States that summer,--and Mrs. March is no more nor less than
cracked,--and no wonder he should make bold to visit the house. My
mother'd been home but a day and night, 's you may say, when in walks my
gentleman,--who but he?--fine as a noble of the Court, and Mary presents
him to Mrs. Strathsay as Mr. Helmar of the Bay. Oh, but Mrs. Strathsay
was in a stound. And he began by requesting her daughter's hand. And
that brake the bonds,--and she dashed out sconners of wrath. Helmar's
eyes flashed only once, then he kept them on the ground, and he heard
her through. 'T was the second summer Seavern's fleet was at
the harbor's mouth there, and a ship of war lay anchored a mile
downriver,--many's the dance we had on it's deck!--and Captain Seavern
of late was in the house night and morn,--for when he found Mary offish,
he fairly lay siege to her, and my mother behind him,--and there was
Helmar sleeping out the nights in his dew-drenched boat at the garden's
foot, or lying wakeful and rising and falling with the tide under her
window, and my mother forever hearing the boat-chains clank and stir.
She's had the staple wrenched out of the wall now,--'t was just below
the big bower-window, you remember. And when Mary utterly refused
Seavern, Seavern swore he'd wheel his ship round and raze the house to
its foundations: he was--drunk--you see. And Mary laughed in his face.
And my mother beset her,--I think she went on her knees to her,--she led
her a dreadful life," said Margray, shivering; "and the end of it all
was, that Mary promised to give up Helmar, would my mother drop the suit
of Seavern. And at that, Helmar burst in: he was like one wild, and he
conjured Mary,--but she sat there stone-still, looking through him with
the eyes in her white, deadly face, as though she'd never seen him, and
answering no word, as if she were deaf to sound of his voice henceforth;
and he rose and glared down on my mother, who stood there with her white
throat up, proud and defiant as a stag at bay,--and he vowed he'd darken
her day, for she had taken the light out of his life. And Angus was by:
he'd sided with Helmar till then; but at the threat, he took the other
by the shoulder and led him to the door, with a blue blaze in those
Ingestre eyes, and Helmar never resisted, but fell down on his face on
the stones and shuddered with sobs, and we heard them into the night,
but with morning he was gone."

"Oh! And Mary?"

"'Deed, I don't think she cares. She's never mentioned his name. D'you
mind that ring of rubies she wears, like drops of blood all round the
hoop? 'Twas his. She shifted it to the left hand, I saw. It was broken
once,--and what do you think she did? She put a blow-pipe at the
candle-flame, and, holding it up in tiny pincers, soldered the two ends
together without taking it off her finger,--and it burning into the
bone! Strathsay grit. It's on her white wedding-finger. The scar's
there, too.--St! Where's your music? You've not played a note these five
minutes. Whisht! here comes my mother!"

How was Helmar to darken my mother's day, I couldn't but think, as I
began to toss off the tune again. And poor Mary,--there were more scars
than I carried, in the house. But while I turned the thoughts over,
Angus came for me to dance, and Margray, he said, should play, and my
mother signed consent, and so I went.

But 'twas a heavy heart I carried to and fro, as I remembered what I'd
heard, and perhaps it colored everything else with gloom. Why was Angus
holding my hand as we glided? why was I by his side as we stood? and as
he spoke, why was I so dazzled with delight at the sound that I could
not gather the sense? Oh, why, but that I loved him, and that his noble
compassion would make him the same to me at first as ever,--slowly,
slowly, slowly lowering, while he turned to Effie or some other
fair-faced lass? Ah, it seemed to me then in a rebellious heart that my
lot was bitter. And fearful that my sorrow would abroad, I broke into a
desperation of gayety till my mother's hand was on my arm. But all the
while, Angus had been by, perplexed shadows creeping over his brow;--and
in fresh terror lest my hidden woe should rise and look him in the
face, all my mother's pride itself shivered through me, and I turned my
shoulder on him with a haughty, pettish chill.

So after that first evening the days and nights went by, went by on
leaden wings; for I wanted the thing over, it seemed I couldn't wait,
I desired my destiny to be accomplished and done with. Angus was ever
there when occasion granted,--for there were drives and sails and
rambles to lead him off; and though he'd urge, I would not join them,
not even at my mother's bidding,--she had taught me to have a strange
shrinking from all careless eyes;--and then, moreover, there were
dinners and balls, and them he must needs attend, seeing they were given
for him,--and I fancy here that my mother half repented her decree
concerning the time when I should enter society, or, rather, should
_not_,--yet she never knew how to take step in recedure.

But what made it hardest of all was a word of Margray's one day as I sat
over at her house hushing the little Graeme, who was sore vexed with
the rash, and his mother was busy plaiting ribbons and muslins for
Effie,--Effie, who seemed all at once to be blossoming out of her slight
girlhood into the perfect rose of the woman that Mary Strathsay was
already, and about her nothing lingering rathe or raw, but everywhere a
sweet and ripe maturity. And Margray said,--

"Now, Alice, tell me, why are you so curt with Angus? Did he start when
he saw you first?"

"Nay, I scarcely think so, Margray; he knew about it, you know. '_Sleep,
baby, sleep, in slumber deep, and smite across thy dreaming_'"----

"'Deed, he didn't! He told me so himself. He said he'd been ever
fancying you fresh and fair as the day he left you,--and his heart
cracked when you turned upon him."

"Poor Angus, then,--he never showed it. '_Hush, baby, hush_'"----

"He said he'd have died first!"

"Then perhaps he never meant for you to tell me, Margray."

"Oh, what odds? He said,--I'll tell you what else he said,--you're a
kind, patient heart, and there's no need for you to fret,--he said, as
he'd done you such injury, were there even no other consideration, he
should deem it his duty to repair it, so far as possible, both by the
offer of his hand, and, should it be accepted, by tender faithfulness
for life."

"Oh, Margray! did Angus say that? Oh, how chanced he to? Oh, how dared
he?"

"They're not his very words, belike; but that's the way I sensed them.
How came he? Why,--you see,--I'm not content with my mother's slow way
of things,--that's just the truth!--it's like the season's adding grain
on grain of sunshine or of rain in ripening her fruit,--it's oftenest
the quick blow strikes home; and so I just went picking out what I
wanted to know for myself."

"Oh, Margray,--I suppose,--what _did_ he think?"

"Think? He didn't stop to think; he was mighty glad to meet somebody
to speak to. You may just thank your stars that you have such a lover,
child!"

"I've got no lover!" I wailed, breaking out in crying above the babe.
"Oh, why was I born? I'm like to die! I wish I were under the sods this
day!"

"Oh, goodness me!" exclaimed Margray, in a terror. "What's possessed the
girl? And I thinking to please her so! Whisht now, Ailie girl,--there,
dear, be still,--there, now, wipe away the tears; you're weak and
nervous, I believe,--you'd best take a blue-pill to-night. There's the
boy awake, and none but you can hush him off. It's odd, though, what a
liking he's taken to his Aunt Ailie!"

And so she kept on, diverting me, for Margray had some vague idea that
my crying would bring my mother; and she'd not have her know of her talk
with Angus, for the world;--marriage after marriage would not lighten
the rod of iron that Mrs. Strathsay held over her girls' lives, I ween.

And now, having no need to be gay, I indulged my fancy and was sad; and
the more Angus made as if he would draw near, the more I turned him off,
as scale-armor turns a glancing blade. Yet there had been times when,
seeming as if he would let things go my own gate, he had come and sat
beside me in the house, or joined his horse's bridle to mine in the
woods, and syllables slipped into sentences, and the hours flew winged
as we talked; and warmed into forgetfulness, all the sweet side of
me--if such there be--came out and sunned itself. And then I would
remember me and needs must wear the ice again, as some dancing,
glancing, limpid brook should sheathe itself in impenetrable crystals.
And all those hours--for seldom were the moments when, against my will I
was compelled to gladness--I became more and more alone; for Effie being
the soul of the festivities,--since Mary Strathsay oftenest stood cold
and proudly by, wax-white and like a statue on the wall,--and all
the world looking on at what they deemed to be no less than Angus's
courtship, I saw little of her except I rose on my arm to watch her
smiling sleep deep in the night. And she was heartsome as the lark's
song up the blue lift, and of late was never to be found in those two
hours when my mother kept her room at mid-day, and was over-fond of long
afternoon strolls down the river-bank or away in the woods by herself.
Once I fancied to see another walking with her there out in the
hay-fields beyond, walking with her in the sunshine, bending above her,
perhaps an arm about her, but the leafy shadows trembled between us and
darkened them out of sight. And something possessed me to think that the
dear girl cared for my Angus. Had I been ever so ready to believe my own
heart's desire, how could I but stifle it at that? It seemed as if the
iron spikes of trouble were thrust from solid bars of fate woven this
way and that across me, till with the last and newest complication I
grew to knowing no more where to turn than the toad beneath the harrow.

So the weeks went by. Angus had gone home on his affairs,--for he had
long left the navy,--but was presently to return to us. It was the sweet
September weather: mild the mellow sunshine,--but dour the days to me!

There was company in the house that evening, and I went down another
way; for the sound of their lilting and laughing was but din in my ears.
I passed Mary Strathsay, as I left my room; she had escaped a moment
from below, had set the casement wide in the upper hall, and was walking
feverishly to and fro, her arms folded, her dress blowing about her:
she'll often do the same in her white wrapper now, at dead of dark in
any stormy night: she could not find sufficient air to breathe, and
something set her heart on fire, some influence oppressed her with
unrest and longing, some instinct, some unconscious prescience, made her
all astir. I passed her and went down, and I hid myself in the arbor,
quite overgrown with wild, rank vines of late summer, and listened to a
little night-bird pouring out his complaining heart.

While I sat, I heard the muffled sound of horses' feet prancing in
the flagged court-yard,--for the house fronted on the street, one end
overhanging the river, the back and the north side lost in the gardens
that stretched up to Margray's grounds one way and down to the water's
brink the other, so the stroke of their impatient hoofs reached me but
faintly; yet I knew 'twas Angus and Mr. March of the Hill, whom Angus
had written us he was to visit. And then the voices within shook into a
chorus of happy welcome, the strain of one who sang came fuller on the
breeze, the lights seemed to burn clearer, the very flowers of the
garden blew a sweeter breath about me.

'Twas nought but my own perversity that hindered me from joining the
glee, that severed me from all the happiness; but I chose rather to be
miserable in my solitude, and I turned my back upon it, and went along
and climbed the steps and sat on the broad garden-wall, and looked down
into the clear, dark water ever slipping by, and took the fragrance of
the night, and heard the chime of the chordant sailors as they heaved
the anchor of some ship a furlong down the stream,--voices breathing out
of the dusky distance, rich and deep. And looking at the little boat
tethered there beneath, I mind that I bethought me then how likely
'twould be for one in too great haste to unlock the water-gate of the
garden, climbing these very steps, and letting herself down by the
branch of this old dipping willow here, how likely 'twould be for one,
should the boat but slip from under, how likely 'twould be for one to
sink in the two fathom of tide,--dress or scarf but tangling in
the roots of the great tree reaching out hungrily through the dark,
transparent depth below,--how likely to drown or e'er a hand could raise
her! And I mind, when thinking of the cool, embracing flow, the drawing,
desiring, tender current, the swift, soft, rushing death, I placed my
own hand on the willow-branch, and drew back, stung as if by conscience
that I trifled thus with a gift so sacred as life.

Then I went stealing up the alleys again, beginning to be half afraid,
for they seemed to me full of something strange, unusual sound, rustling
motion,--whether it were a waving bough, a dropping o'er-ripe pear, a
footstep on adjacent walks. Nay, indeed, I saw now! I leaned against
the beach-bole there, all wrapt in shade, and looked at them where they
inadvertently stood in the full gleam of the lighted windows: 'twas
Angus, and 'twas Effie. He spoke,--a low, earnest pleading,--I could
not hear a word, or I had fled,--then he stooped, and his lips had
touched her brow. Oh, had he but struck me! less had been the blow,
less the smart!--the blow, though all along I had awaited it. Ah, I
remembered another kiss, one that had sunk into my brain as a pearl
would sink in the sea, that when my heart had been saddest I had but
just to shut my eyes and feel again falling soft and warm on my lids,
lingering, loving, interpenetrating my soul with its glow;--and this,
oh, 't was like a blade cleaving that same brain with swift, sharp
flash! I flew into the house, but Effie was almost there before me,--and
on my way, falling, gliffered in the gloom, against something, I
snatched me back with a dim feeling that 't was Angus, and yet Angus had
followed Effie in. I slipped among the folk and sat down somewhere at
length like as if stunned.

It was question of passing the time, that went round; for, though all
their words fell dead on my ear at the moment, it was in charactery that
afterward I could recall, reïllume, and read; and one was for games, and
one for charades, and one for another thing;--and I sat silent and dazed
through it all. Finally they fell to travestying scenes from history,
each assuming a name and supporting it by his own wits, but it all
passed before my dulled senses like the phantasmagoria of a troubled
dream; and that tiring, there was a kind of dissolving views managed by
artful ebb and flow of light, pictures at whose ending the Rose of May
was lost in Francesca, who, waxing and waning in her turn, faded into
Astarte, and went out In a shudder of darkness,--and the three were
Effie. But ere the views were done, ere those three visions, when Effie
ran away to dress her part, I after her and up into our room, vaguely,
but as if needs must.

"I've good news for you," said she, without looking, and twisting her
long, bright hair. "I was with Angus but now in the garden. He can bear
it no longer, and he touched my brow with his lips that I promised to
urge his cause; for he loves you, he loves you, Alice! Am I not kind to
think of it now? Ah, if you knew all!"

She had already donned the gown of silvery silk and blonde, and was
winding round her head the long web of lace loosened from my mother's
broidery-frame. She turned and took me by the two shoulders, and looked
into my face with eyes of azure flame.

"I am wild with gladness!" she said. "Kiss me, girl, quick! there's no
time to spare. Kiss me on the cheek,--not the lip, not the lip,--_he_
kissed me there! Kiss me the cheek,--one, and the other! So, brow,
cheeks, mouth, and your kisses all have signed me with the sign of the
cross. Oh, girl, I am wild with joy!"

She spoke swift and high, held me by the two shoulders with a clasp like
steel, suddenly shook me loose, and was down and away.

I followed her again, as by habit,--but more slowly: I was trying to
distil her words. I stood then in the door of a little ante-room opening
into the drawing-room and looking on the courtyard, and gazed thence at
those three pictures, as if it were all a delirament, till out of them
Effie stepped in person, and danced, trilling to herself, through the
groups, flashing, sparkling, flickering, and disappeared. Oh, but Mrs.
Strathsay's eyes gleamed in a proud pleasure after her!

Hoofs were clattering again below in the yard, for Angus was to ride
back with Mr. March. Some one came my way,--I shrank through the
door-way, shivering from top to toe,--it was Angus searching for his
cap; and it was so long since I had suffered him to exchange a word with
me! I know not what change was wrought in my bewildered lineaments, what
light was in my glance; but, seeing me, all that sedate sadness that
weighed upon his manner fell aside, he hastily strode toward me, took my
hands as he was wont, and drew me in, gazing the while down my dazzled,
happy eyes till they fell.

"Ay, lass," said he then, laughing gleefully as any boy, and catching
both of my hands again that I had drawn away. "I've a puzzle of my own
to show thee,--a charade of two syllables,--a tiny thing, and yet it
holds my world! See, the first!"

He had led me to the mirror and stationed me there alone. I liked not to
look, but I did.

"Why, Angus," I said, "it's I."

"Well done! and go to the head. It's you indeed. But what else, Ailie
darling? Nay, I'll tell you, then. The first syllable--just to suit my
fancy--shall be bride, shall it not?"

"Bride," I murmured.

"And there behold the last syllable!" taking a step aside to the window,
and throwing wide the blind.

I looked down the dark, but there was nought except the servant in the
light of the hanging lamp, holding the curbs of the two horses that
leaped and reared with nervous limbs and fiery eyes behind him.

"Is it horses?--steeds?--oh, bridles!"

"But thou'rt a very dunce! The last syllable is groom."

"Oh!"

"Now you shall see the embodiment of the whole word"; and with the step
he was before the glass again. "Look!" he said; "look from under my
arm,--you are just as high as my heart!"

"Why, that's you, Angus,"--and a gleam was dawning on me.

"Of course it is, little stupid! No less. And it's bridegroom too, and
never bridegroom but with this bride!" And he had turned upon me and was
taking me into his arms.

"Oh, Angus!" I cried,--"can you love me with no place on my face to
kiss?"

But he found a place.

"Can I help loving you?" he said,--"Oh, Ailie, I do! I do--when all
my years you have been my dream, my hope, my delight, when my life is
yours, when you are my very self!"

And I clung to him for answer, hiding all my troubled joy in his breast.

Then, while he still held me so, silent and tender,
close-folding,--there rose a great murmur through the rooms, and all the
people surged up to one end, and Margray burst in upon us, calling him.
He drew me forth among them all, his arm around my waist, and they
opened a lane for us to the window giving into the garden, and every
eye was bent there on a ghastly forehead, a grim white face, a terrible
face, pressed against the glass, and glaring in with awful eyes!

"By Heaven, it is Helmar!" cried Angus, fire leaping up his brow;--but
Mary Strathsay touched him to stone with a fling of her white finger,
and went like a ghost herself and opened the casement, as the other
signed for her to do. He never gave her glance or word, but stepped past
her straight to my mother, and laid the white, shining, dripping bundle
that he bore--the trilling hushed, the sparkle quenched, so flaccid, so
limp, so awfully still--at her feet.

"I never loved the girl," he said, hoarsely. "Yet to-night she would
have fled with me. It was my revenge, Mrs. Strathsay! She found her own
death from a careless foot, the eager haste of an arm, the breaking
branch of your willow-tree. Woman! woman!" he cried, shaking his long
white hand before her face, "you took the light out of my life, and I
swore to darken your days!"

Mrs. Strathsay fell forward on the body with a long, low moan. He faced
about and slid through us all, ere Angus could lay hand on him,--his
eye on Mary Strathsay. There was no love on her face, no expectancy, no
passion, but she flung herself between the two,--between Angus following
and Helmar going, for he distained to fly,--then shut and clasped the
window, guarded it beneath one hand, and held Angus with her eye, white,
silent, deathly, no joy, no woe, only a kind of bitter triumph in
achieving that escape. And it was as if Satan had stalked among us
there.

'Twas no use pursuit;--the ship that I had heard weighing anchor was
reached ere then and winging down the river. And from that hour to this
we have never set eyes on Helmar.

Well, at midsummer of the next year Angus married me. We were very
quiet, and I wore the white slip in which he showed me myself in the
glass as a a bride,--for we would not cast aside our crapes so soon, and
Mary wears hers to this day. From morn till night my poor mother used
only to sit and moan, and all her yellow hair was white as driving snow.
I could not leave her, so Angus rented his estates and came and lived
with us. 'Tis different now;--Mrs. Strathsay goes about as of old, and
sees there be no speck on the buttery-shelves, that the sirup of her
lucent plums be clear as the light strained through carbuncles, her
honeycombs unbroken, her bread like manna, and no followers about her
maids. And Mrs. Strathsay has her wish at length;--there's a son in the
house, a son of her own choosing, (for she had ever small regard for
the poor little Graeme,)--none knew how she had wished it, save by the
warmth with which she hailed it,--and she is bringing him up in the
way he should go. She's aye softer than she was, she does not lay her
moulding finger on him too heavily;--if she did, I doubt but we should
have to win away to our home. Dear body! all her sunshine has come out!
He has my father's name, and when sleep's white finger has veiled his
bonnie eyes, and she sits by him, grand and stately still, but humming
low ditties that I never heard her sing before, I verily believe that
she fancies him to be my father's child.

And still in the nights of clear dark we lean from the broad
bower-window and watch the river flowing by, the rafts swimming down
with breath of wood-scents and wild life, the small boats rocking on the
tide, revivifying our childhood with the strength of our richer years,
heart so locked in heart that we have no need of words,--Angus and I.
And often, as we lean so, over the beautiful silence of lapping ripple
and dipping oar there floats a voice rising and falling in slow throbs
of tune;--it is Mary Strathsay singing some old sanctified chant, and
her soul seems to soar with her voice, and both would be lost in heaven
but for the tender human sympathies that draw her back to our side
again. For we have grown to be a glad and peaceful family at length;
'tis only on rare seasons that the old wound rankles. We none of us
speak of Effie, lest it involve the mention of Helmar; we none of us
speak of Helmar, lest, with the word, a shining, desolate, woful phantom
flit like the wraith of Effie before us. But I think that Mary Strathsay
lives now in the dream of hereafter, in the dream that some day,
perchance when all her white beauty is gone and her hair folded in
silver, a dark, sad man will come off the seas, worn with the weather
and with weight of sorrow and pain, and lay himself down at her feet to
die. And shrived by sorrow and pain, and by prayer, he shall be lifted
in her arms, shall rest on her bosom, and her soul shall forth with his
into the great unknown.



LYRICS OF THE STREET.


IV.

THE FINE LADY.

  Her heart is set on folly,
    An amber gathering straws;
  She courts each poor occurrence,
    Heeds not the heavenly laws.
         Pity her!

  She has a little beauty,
    And she flaunts it in the day,
  While the selfish wrinkles, spreading,
    Steal all its charm away.
         Pity her!

  She has a little money,
    And she flings it everywhere;
  'T is a gewgaw on her bosom,
    'T is a tinsel in her hair.
         Pity her!

  She has a little feeling,
    She spreads a foolish net
  That snares her own weak footsteps,
    Not his for whom 't is set.
         Pity her!

  Ye harmless household drudges,
  Y  our draggled daily wear
  And horny palms of labor
    A softer heart may bear.
         Pity her!

  Ye steadfast ones, whose burthens
    Weigh valorous shoulders down,
  With hands that cannot idle,
    And brows that will not frown,
         Pity her!

  Ye saints, whose thoughts are folded
    As graciously to rest
  As a dove's stainless pinions
    Upon her guileless breast,
         Pity her!

  But most, ye helpful angels
    That send distress and work,
  Hot task and sweating forehead,
    To heal man's idle irk,
         Pity her!



A REPLY

TO "THE AFFECTIONATE AND CHRISTIAN ADDRESS OF MANY THOUSANDS OF WOMEN
OF GREAT BRITAIN AND IRELAND TO THEIR SISTERS THE WOMEN OF THE UNITED
STATES OF AMERICA."

_Signed by_

ANNA MARIA BEDFORD (_Duchess of Bedford_).

OLIVIA CECILIA COWLEY (_Countess Cowley_).

CONSTANCE GROSVENOR (_Countess Grosvenor_).

HARRIET SUTHERLAND (_Duchess of Sutherland_).

ELIZABETH ARGYLL (_Duchess of Argyll_).

ELIZABETH FORTESCUE (_Countess Fortescue_).

EMILY SHAFTESBURY (_Countess of Shaftesbury_).

MARY RUTHVEN (_Baroness Ruthven_).

M.A. MILMAN (_Wife of Dean of St. Paul's_).

R. BUXTON (_Daughter of Sir Thomas Powell Buxton_).

CAROLINE AMELIA OWEN (_Wife of Professor Owen_).

MRS. CHARLES WINDHAM.

C.A. HATHERTON (_Baroness Hatherton_).

ELIZABETH DUCIE (_Countess Dowager of Ducie_).

CECILIA PARKE (_Wife of Baron Parke_).

MARY ANN CHALLIS (_Wife of the Lord Mayor of London_).

E. GORDON (_Duchess Dowager of Gordon_).

ANNA M.L. MELVILLE (_Daughter of Earl of Leven and Melville_).

GEORGIANA EBRINGTON (_Lady Ebrington_).

A. HILL (_Viscountess Hill_).

MRS. GOBAT (_Wife of Bishop Gobat of Jerusalem_).

E. PALMERSTON (_Viscountess Palmerston_).

_and others_.

Sisters,--More than eight years ago you sent to us in America a document
with the above heading. It is as follows:--

"A common origin, a common faith, and, we sincerely believe, a common
cause, urge us, at the present moment, to address you on the subject of
that system of negro slavery which still prevails so extensively, and,
even under kindly disposed masters, with such frightful results, in many
of the vast regions of the Western world.

"We will not dwell on the ordinary topics,--on the progress of
civilization, on the advance of freedom everywhere, on the rights and
requirements of the nineteenth century; but we appeal to you very
seriously to reflect and to ask counsel of God how far such a state of
things is in accordance with His Holy Word, the inalienable rights
of immortal souls, and the pure and merciful spirit of the Christian
religion. We do not shut our eyes to the difficulties, nay, the dangers,
that might beset the immediate abolition of that long-established
system. We see and admit the necessity of preparation for so great an
event; but, in speaking of indispensable preliminaries, we cannot be
silent on those laws of your country which, in direct contravention of
God's own law, 'instituted in the time of man's innocency,' deny in
effect to the slave the sanctity of marriage, with all its joys, rights,
and obligations; which separate, at the will of the master, the wife
from the husband and the children from the parents. Nor can we be silent
on that awful system which either by statute or by custom interdicts
to any race of man or any portion of the human family education in
the truths of the gospel and the ordinances of Christianity. A remedy
applied to these two evils alone would commence the amelioration of
their sad condition. We appeal to you, then, as sisters, as wives,
and as mothers, to raise your voices to your fellow-citizens and your
prayers to God for the removal of this affliction and disgrace from the
Christian world.

"We do not say these things in a spirit of self-complacency, as though
our nation were free from the guilt it perceives in others.

"We acknowledge with grief and shame our heavy share in this great sin.
We acknowledge that our forefathers introduced, nay, compelled the
adoption of slavery in those mighty colonies. We humbly confess it
before Almighty God; and it is because we so deeply feel and so
unfeignedly avow our own complicity, that we now venture to implore your
aid to wipe away our common crime and our common dishonor."

This address, splendidly illuminated on vellum, was sent to our shores
at the head of twenty-six folio volumes, containing considerably more
than half a million of signatures of British women. It was forwarded
to me with a letter from a British nobleman now occupying one of the
highest official positions in England, with a request on behalf of these
ladies that it should be in any possible way presented to the attention
of my countrywomen.

This memorial, as it now stands in its solid oaken case, with its heavy
folios, each bearing on its back the imprint of the American eagle,
forms a most unique library, a singular monument of an international
expression of a moral idea.

No right-thinking person can find aught to be objected against the
substance or the form of this memorial. It is temperate, just, and
kindly, and on the high ground of Christian equality, where it places
itself, may be regarded as a perfectly proper expression of sentiment,
as between blood-relations and equals in two different nations.

The signatures to this appeal are not the least remarkable part of it;
for, beginning at the very steps of the throne, they go down to the
names of women in the very humblest conditions in life, and represent
all that Great Britain possesses, not only of highest and wisest, but
of plain, homely common sense and good feeling. Names of wives of
cabinet-ministers appear on the same page with the names of wives
of humble laborers,--names of duchesses and countesses, of wives of
generals, ambassadors, savans, and men of letters, mingled with names
traced in trembling characters by hands evidently unused to hold the pen
and stiffened by lowly toil. Nay, so deep and expansive was the feeling,
that British subjects in foreign lands had their representation. Among
the signatures are those of foreign residents from Paris to Jerusalem.
Autographs so diverse, and collected from sources so various, have
seldom been found in juxtaposition. They remain at this day a silent
witness of a most singular tide of feeling which at that time swept over
the British community, and _made_ for itself an expression, even at the
risk of offending the sensibilities of an equal and powerful nation.

No reply to that address, in any such tangible and monumental form, has
ever been possible. It was impossible to canvass our vast territories
with the zealous and indefatigable industry with which England was
canvassed for signatures. In America, those possessed of the spirit
which led to this efficient action had no leisure for it. All their time
and energies were already absorbed in direct efforts to remove the great
evil concerning which the minds of their English sisters had been newly
aroused, and their only answer was the silent continuance of these
efforts.

From the Slaveholding States, however, as was to be expected, came a
flood of indignant recrimination and rebuke. No one act, perhaps, ever
produced more frantic irritation or called out more unsparing abuse.
It came with the whole united weight of the British aristocracy and
commonalty on the most diseased and sensitive part of our national life;
and it stimulated that fierce excitement which was working before and
has worked since till it has broken out into open war.

The time has come, however, when such an astonishing page has been
turned in the anti-slavery history of America, that the women of our
country, feeling that the great anti-slavery work to which their English
sisters exhorted them is almost done, may properly and naturally feel
moved to reply to their appeal, and lay before them the history of what
has occurred since the receipt of their affectionate and Christian
address.

Your address reached us just as a great moral conflict was coming to its
intensest point.

The agitation kept up by the anti-slavery portion of America, by
England, and by the general sentiment of humanity in Europe, had made
the situation of the slaveholding aristocracy intolerable. As one of
them at the time expressed it, they felt themselves under the ban of the
civilized world. Two courses only were open to them: to abandon slave
institutions, the sources of their wealth and political power, or to
assert them with such an overwhelming national force as to compel the
respect and assent of mankind. They chose the latter.

To this end they determined to seize on and control all the resources
of the Federal Government, and to spread their institutions through new
States and Territories until the balance of power should fall into their
hands and they should be able to force slavery into all the Free States.

A leading Southern senator boasted that he would yet call the roll of
his slaves on Bunker Hill; and, for a while, the political successes of
the Slave Power were such as to suggest to New England that this was no
impossible event.

They repealed the Missouri Compromise, which had hitherto stood,
like the Chinese wall, between our Northwestern Territories and the
irruptions of slaveholding barbarians.

Then came the struggle between Freedom and Slavery in the new
Territory,--the battle for Kansas and Nebraska, fought with fire and
sword and blood, where a race of men, of whom John Brown was the
immortal type, acted over again the courage, the perseverance, and the
military religious ardor of the old Covenanters of Scotland, and, like
them, redeemed the Ark of Liberty at the price of their own blood and
blood dearer than their own.

The time of the Presidential canvass which elected Mr. Lincoln was the
crisis of this great battle. The conflict had become narrowed down to
the one point of the extension of slave-territory. If the slaveholders
could get States enough, they could control and rule; if they were
outnumbered by Free States, their institutions, by the very law of
their nature, would die of suffocation. Therefore, Fugitive-Slave Law,
District of Columbia, Inter-State Slave-Trade, and what not, were all
thrown out of sight for a grand rally on this vital point. A President
was elected pledged to opposition to this one thing alone,--a man known
to be in favor of the Fugitive-Slave Law and other so-called compromises
of the Constitution, but honest and faithful in his determination on
this one subject. That this was indeed the vital point was shown by the
result. The moment Lincoln's election was ascertained, the slaveholders
resolved to destroy the Union they could no longer control.

They met and organized a Confederacy which they openly declared to be
the first republic founded on the right and determination of the white
man to enslave the black man, and, spreading their banners, declared
themselves to the Christian world of the nineteenth century as a nation
organized with the full purpose and intent of perpetuating slavery.

But in the course of the struggle that followed, it became important for
the new Confederation to secure the assistance of foreign powers, and
infinite pains were then taken to blind and bewilder the mind of England
as to the real issues of the conflict in America.

It has been often and earnestly asserted that slavery had nothing to do
with this conflict; that it was a mere struggle for power; that the only
object was to restore the Union as it was, with all its abuses. It is
to be admitted that expressions have proceeded from the National
Administration which naturally gave rise to misapprehension, and
therefore we beg to speak to you on this subject more fully.

And, first, the declaration of the Confederate States themselves is
proof enough, that, whatever may be declared on the other side, the
maintenance of slavery is regarded by them as the vital object of their
movement.

We ask your attention under this head to the declaration of their
Vice-President, Stephens, in that remarkable speech delivered on the
21st of March, 1861, at Savannah, Georgia, wherein he declares the
object and purposes of the new Confederacy. It is one of the most
extraordinary papers which our century has produced. I quote from the
_verbatim_ report in the Savannah "Republican" of the address as it was
delivered in the Athenaeum of that city, on which occasion, says the
newspaper from which I copy, "Mr. Stephens took his seat amid a burst of
enthusiasm and applause, such as the Athenaeum has never had displayed
within its walls, within 'the recollection of the oldest inhabitant.'"

"Last, not least, the new Constitution has put at rest _forever_ all
the agitating questions relating to our peculiar institution,--African
Slavery as it exists among us, the proper _status_ of the negro in our
form of civilization. _This was the immediate cause of the late rupture
and present revolution_. Jefferson, in his forecast, had anticipated
this, as the 'rock upon which the old Union would split.' He was right.
What was conjecture with him is now a realized fact. But whether he
fully comprehended the great truth upon which that rock _stood_ and
_stands_ may be doubted. _The prevailing ideas entertained by him and
most of the leading statesmen at the time of the formation of the old
Constitution were that the enslavement of the African was in violation
of the laws of Nature, that it was wrong in principle, socially,
morally, and politically_. It was an evil they knew not well how to deal
with; but the general opinion of the men of that day was, that,
somehow or other, in the order of Providence, the institution would be
evanescent, and pass away. This idea, though not incorporated in the
Constitution, was the prevailing idea at the time. The Constitution, it
is true, secured every essential guaranty to the institution, while
it should last; and hence no argument can be justly used against the
Constitutional guaranties thus secured, because of the common sentiment
of the day. _Those ideas, however, were fundamentally wrong. They rested
upon the assumption of the equality of races. This was an error_. It was
a sandy foundation; and the idea of a government built upon it--when
'the storm came and the wind blew, it fell.'

"_Our new government is founded upon on exactly the opposite ideas: its
foundations are laid, its corner-stone rests, upon the great truth that
the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to
the superior race, is his natural and moral condition. (Applause.) This
our new government is the first, in the history of the world, based upon
this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth_.

"This truth has been slow in the process of its development, like all
other truths in the various departments of science. It is so even
amongst us. Many who hear me, perhaps, can recollect well that this
truth was not generally admitted, even within their day. The errors of
the past generation still clung to many as late as twenty years ago.
Those at the North who still cling to these errors with a zeal above
knowledge we justly denominate fanatics. All fanaticism springs from an
aberration of the mind, from a defect in reasoning. It is a species of
insanity. One of the most striking characteristics of insanity, in many
instances, is forming correct conclusions from fancied or erroneous
premises. So with the _anti-slavery_ fanatics: their conclusions are
right, if their premises are. They assume that the negro is equal, and
hence conclude that he is entitled to equal privileges and rights with
the white man. If their premises were correct, their conclusions would
be logical and just; but their premises being wrong, their whole
argument fails.

       *       *       *       *       *

"In the conflict thus far, success has been on our side complete,
throughout the length and breadth of the Confederate States. It is upon
this, as I have stated, our social fabric is firmly planted; and I
cannot permit myself to doubt the ultimate success of a full recognition
of this principle throughout the civilized and enlightened world.

"As I have stated, the truth of this principle may be slow in
development, as all truths are, and ever have been, in the various
branches of science. It was so with the principles announced by Galileo;
it was so with Adam Smith and his principles of political economy; It
was so with Harvey in his theory of the circulation of the blood. It is
said that not a single one of the medical profession, at the time of
the announcement of the truths made by him, admitted them; now they are
universally acknowledged. May we not, therefore, look with confidence
to the ultimate universal acknowledgment of the truths upon which our
system rests? It is the first government ever instituted upon principles
in strict conformity to Nature and the ordination of Providence in
furnishing the material of human society. Many governments have been
founded upon the principles of certain classes; but the classes thus
enslaved were of the same race and in violation of the laws of Nature.
Our system commits no such violation of Nature's laws. The negro, by
Nature, or by the curse against Canaan, is fitted for that condition
which he occupies in our system. The architect, in the construction of
buildings, lays the foundation with the proper material,--the granite;
then comes the brick or marble. The substratum of our society is made of
the material fitted by Nature for it; and by experience we know that it
is best not only for the superior, but the inferior race, that it should
be so. It is indeed in conformity with the Creator. It is not safe for
us to inquire into the wisdom of His ordinances, or to question them.
For His own purposes He has made one race to differ from another, as one
star differeth from another in glory. The great objects of humanity are
best attained, when conformed to His laws and decrees in the formation
of government as well as in all things else. Our Confederacy is founded
on a strict conformity with those laws. _This stone, which was rejected
by the first builders, has become the chief stone of the corner in our
new edifice!_"

Thus far the declarations of the slave-holding Confederacy.

On the other hand, the declarations of the President and the Republican
party, as to their intention to restore "the Union as it was," require
an explanation. It is the doctrine of the Republican party, that Freedom
is national and Slavery sectional; that the Constitution of the United
States was designed for the promotion of liberty, and not of slavery;
that its framers contemplated the gradual abolition of slavery; and
that in the hands of an anti-slavery majority it could be so wielded as
peaceably to extinguish this great evil.

They reasoned thus. Slavery ruins land, and requires fresh territory
for profitable working. Slavery increases a dangerous population, and
requires an expansion of this population for safety. Slavery, then,
being hemmed in by impassable limits, emancipation in each State becomes
a necessity.

_By restoring the Union as it was_ the Republican party meant the Union
in the sense contemplated by the original framers of it, who, as
has been admitted by Stephens, in his speech just quoted, were from
principle opposed to slavery. It was, then, restoring a _status_
in which, by the inevitable operation of natural laws, peaceful
emancipation would become a certainty.

In the mean while, during the past year, the Republican Administration,
with all the unwonted care of organizing an army and navy, and
conducting military operations on an immense scale, have proceeded
to demonstrate the feasibility of overthrowing slavery by purely
Constitutional measures. To this end they have instituted a series
of movements which have made this year more fruitful in anti-slavery
triumphs than any other since the emancipation of the British West
Indies.

The District of Columbia, as belonging strictly to the National
Government, and to no separate State, has furnished a fruitful subject
of remonstrance from British Christians with America. We have abolished
slavery there, and thus wiped out the only blot of territorial
responsibility on our escutcheon.

By another act, equally grand principle, and far more important in its
results, slavery is forever excluded from the Territories of the United
States.

By another act, America has consummated the long-delayed treaty with
Great Britain for the suppression of the slave-trade. In ports whence
slave-vessels formerly sailed with the connivance of the port-officers,
the Administration has placed men who stand up to their duty, and for
the first time in our history the slave-trader, is convicted and hung as
a pirate. This abominable secret traffic has been wholly demolished by
the energy of the Federal Government.

Lastly, and more significant still, the United States Government has in
its highest official capacity taken distinct anti-slavery ground, and
presented to the country a plan of peaceable emancipation with suitable
compensation. This noble-spirited and generous offer has been urged on
the Slaveholding States by the Chief Executive with an earnestness and
sincerity of which history in after-times will make honorable account in
recording the events of Mr. Lincoln's administration.

Now, when a President and Administration who have done all these things
declare their intention of restoring "_the Union as it was_," ought not
the world fairly to interpret their words by their actions and their
avowed principles? Is it not _necessary_ to infer that they mean by it
the Union as it was in the intent of its anti-slavery framers, under
which, by the exercise of normal Constitutional powers, slavery should
be peaceably abolished?

We are aware that this theory of the Constitution has been disputed
by certain Abolitionists; but it is conceded, you have seen, by the
Secessionists. Whether it be a just theory or not is, however, nothing
to our purpose at present. We only assert that such is the professed
belief of the present Administration of the United States, and such are
the acts by which they have illustrated their belief.

But this is but half the story of the anti-slavery triumphs of this
year. We have shown you what has been done for freedom by the simple use
of the ordinary Constitutional forces of the Union. We are now to show
you what has been done to the same end by the Constitutional war-power
of the nation.

By this power it has been this year decreed that every slave of a Rebel
who reaches the lines of our army becomes a free man; that all slaves
found deserted by their masters become free men; that every slave
employed in any service for the United States thereby obtains his
liberty; and that every slave employed against the United States in any
capacity obtains his liberty: and lest the army should contain officers
disposed to remand slaves to their masters, the power of judging and
delivering up slaves is denied to army-officers, and all such acts are
made penal.

By this act, the Fugitive-Slave Law is for all present purposes
practically repealed. With this understanding and provision, wherever
our armies march, they carry liberty with them. For be it remembered
that our army is almost entirely a volunteer one, and that the most
zealous and ardent volunteers are those who have been for years fighting
with tongue and pen the Abolition battle. So marked is the character of
our soldiers in this respect, that they are now familiarly designated
in the official military despatches of the Confederate States as "The
Abolitionists." Conceive the results, when an army, so empowered by
national law, marches through a slave-territory. One regiment alone has
to our certain knowledge liberated two thousand slaves during the past
year, and this regiment it but one out of hundreds. We beg to lay before
you some details given by an eye-witness of what has recently been done
in this respect in the Department of the South.

"_On Board Steamer from Fortress Monroe to Baltimore_, Nov. 14, 1862.

"Events of no ordinary interest have just occurred in the Department of
the South. The negro troops have been tested, and, to their great joy,
though not contrary to their own expectations, they have triumphed, not
only over enemies armed with muskets and swords, but over what the black
man dreads most, sharp and cruel prejudices.

"General Saxton, on the 28th of October, sent the captured steamer
Darlington, Captain Crandell, down the coast of Georgia, and to
Fernandina, Florida, to obtain recruits for the First Regiment
South-Carolina Volunteers. Lieutenant-Colonel O.T. Beard, of the
Forty-Eighth New-York Volunteers, was given the command of the
expedition. In addition to obtaining recruits, the condition and wants
of the recent refugees from slavery along the coast were to be looked
into, and, if occasion should offer, it was permitted to 'feel the
enemy.' At St. Simond's, Georgia, Captain Trowbridge, with thirty-five
men of the 'Hunter Regiment of First South-Carolina Volunteers,' who had
been stationed there for three months, together with twenty-seven more
men, were received on board. With this company of sixty-two men the
Darlington proceeded to Fernandina.

"On arriving, a meeting of the colored men was called to obtain
enlistments. The large church was crowded. After addresses had been made
by the writer and Colonel Beard, one hundred men volunteered at once,
and the number soon reached about one hundred and twenty-five. Such,
however, were the demands of Fort Clinch and the Quartermaster's
Department for laborers, that Colonel Rich, commanding the
fort, consented to only twenty-five men leaving. This was a sad
disappointment, and one which some determined not to bear. The
twenty-five men were carefully selected from among those not employed
either on the fort or in the Quartermaster's Department, and put on
board. Amid the farewells and benedictions of hundreds of their friends
on shore they took their departure, to prove the truth or falsity of
the charge, 'The black man can never fight.' On calling the roll, a
few miles from port, it was found our twenty-five men had increased
to fifty-four. Determined not to be foiled in their purpose of being
soldiers, it was found that thirty men had quietly found their way on
board just at break of day, and had concealed themselves in the hold of
the ship. When asked why they did so, their reply was,--

"'Oh, we want to fight for our liberty, and for de liberty of our wives
and children.'

"'But would you dare to face your old masters?'

"'Oh, yes, yes! why, we would fight to de death to get our families,'
was the quick response.

"No one doubted their sincerity. Muskets were soon in their hands, and
no time was lost in drilling them. Our steamer, a very frail one, had
been barricaded around the bow and stern, and also provided with two
twelve-pounder Parrott guns. These guns had to be worked by black men,
under the direction of the captain of the steamer. Our fighting men
numbered only about one hundred and ten, and fifty of them were raw
recruits. The expedition was not a very formidable one, still all seemed
to have an unusual degree of confidence as to its success.

       *       *       *       *       *

"_November_ 6. The women and children (about fifty) taken from St.
Simond's on the day previous were now landed for safety in St.
Catharine's, as a more hazardous work was to be undertaken. Much of the
night was spent in getting wood for the steamer, killing beeves, and
cooking meats, rice, and corn, for our women and children on shore, and
for the troops. The men needed no 'driver's lash' to incite them to
labor. Sleep and rest were almost unwelcome, for they were preparing to
go up Sapelo River, along whose banks, on the beautiful plantations,
were their fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, wives, and children.
Weeks and months before, some of the men had left those loved ones, with
a promise to return, 'if de good Lord jis open de way.'

"At five o'clock on Friday morning, November 7, we were under way.
Captain Budd, of the gun-boat Potomska, had kindly promised the evening
before to accompany us past the most dangerous places. On reaching his
station in Sapelo Sound, we found him in readiness. Our little fleet,
led by the Potomska, and followed by the Darlington, sailed proudly
up the winding Sapelo, now through marshes, and then past large and
beautiful plantations. It was very affecting to see our soldiers
watching intensely the colored forms on land, one saying, in the agony
of deepest anxiety, 'Oh, Mas'r, my wife and chillen lib dere,' and
another singing out, 'Dere, dere my brodder,' or 'my sister.' The
earnest longings of their poor, anguish-riven hearts for landings, and
then the sad, inexpressible regrets as the steamer passed, must be
imagined,--they cannot be described.

"The first landing was made at a picket-station on Charles Hopkins's
plantation. The enemy was driven back; a few guns and a sword only
captured. The Potomska came to anchorage, for lack of sufficient water,
a few miles above, at Reuben King's plantation. Here we witnessed a
rich scene. Some fifty negroes appeared on the banks, about thirty
rods distant from their master's house, and some distance from the
Darlington. They gazed upon us with intense feelings, alternately
turning their eyes toward their master, who was watching them from
his piazza, and toward our steamer, which, as yet, had given them no
assurances of landing. The moment she headed to the shore, their doubts
were dispersed, and they gave us such a welcome as angels would be
satisfied with. Some few women were so filled with joy, that they ran,
leaped, clapped their hands, and cried, 'Glory to God! Glory to God!'

       *       *       *       *       *

"After relieving the old planter of twenty thousand dollars' worth of
humanity, that is, fifty-two slaves, and the leather of his tannery, we
reëmbarked. Our boats were sent once and again, however, to the shore
for men, who, having heard the steam-whistle, came in greatest haste
from distant plantations.

"As the Potomska could go no farther, Captain Budd kindly offered to
accompany us with one gun's crew. We were glad to have his company and
the services of the crew, as we had only one gun's crew of colored men.
Above us was a bend in the river, and a high bluff covered with thick
woods. There we apprehended danger, for the Rebels had had ample time to
collect their forces. The men were carefully posted, fully instructed as
to their duties and dangers by Colonel Beard. Our Parrotts were manned,
and everything was in readiness. No sooner were we within rifle-shot
than the enemy opened upon us a heavy fire from behind the bank and
trees, and also from the tops of the trees. Our speed being slow and the
river's bend quite large, we were within range of the enemy's guns for
some time. How well our troops bore themselves will be seen by Captain
Budd's testimony.

"Our next landing was made at Daniel McDonald's plantation. His
extensive and valuable salt-works were demolished, and he himself taken
prisoner. By documents captured, it was ascertained that he was a Rebel
of the worst kind. We took only a few of his slaves, as he drove back
into the woods about ninety of them just before our arrival. One
fine-looking man came hobbling down on a crutch. McDonald had shot off
one of his legs some eighteen months before. The next plantation had
some five hundred slaves on it; several of our troops had come from
it, and also had relatives there, but the lateness of the hour and the
dangerous points to be passed on our return admonished us to retreat.

"Our next attack was expected at the bluff. The enemy had improved the
time since we parted from them in gathering reinforcements. Colonel
Beard prepared the men for a warm fire. While everything was in
readiness, and the steamer dropping down hard upon the enemy, the writer
passed around among the men, who were waiting coolly for the moment of
attack, and asked them if they found their courage failing. 'Oh, no,
Mas'r, our trust be in de Lord. We only want fair chance at 'em,' was
the unanimous cry.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Most people have doubted the courage of negroes, and their ability to
stand a warm fire of the enemy. The engagements of this day were not an
open-field fight, to be sure, but the circumstances were peculiar. They
were taken by surprise, the enemy concealed, his force not known, and
some of the troops had been enlisted only two days. Captain Budd, a
brave and experienced officer, and eye-witness of both engagements, has
kindly given his opinion, which we are sure will vindicate the policy,
as well as justness, of arming the colored man for his own freedom at
least.

"'United States Steamer Potomska,

"'Sapelo River, Ga., Nov. 7, 1862.

"'Sir,--It gives me pleasure to testify to the admirable conduct of
the negro troops (First S.C. Volunteers) under the command of
Lieutenant-Colonel Beard, Forty-Eighth New-York Volunteers, during this
day's operations. They behaved splendidly under the warm and galling
fire we were exposed to in the two skirmishes with the enemy. I did not
see a man flinch, contrary to my expectations.

"'One of them, particularly, came under my notice, who, although, badly
wounded in the face, continued to load and fire, in the coolest manner
imaginable.

"'Every one of them acted like veterans.

"'Very respectfully,

"'WILLIAM BUDD,

"'Acting-Lieutenant Commanding Potomska.

"'_To the Rev. M. French, Chaplain, U.S.A._'

"On reaching his ship, Captain Budd led our retreat. It had been agreed,
after full consultation on the subject, that, in our descent down the
river, it was best to burn the buildings of Captain Hopkins and
Colonel Brailsford. Both of these places were strong picket-stations,
particularly the latter. Brailsford had been down with a small force
a few days before our arrival at St. Catharine's, and shot one of our
contrabands, wounded mortally, as was supposed, another, and carried
off four women and three men. He had also whipped to death, three weeks
before, a slave for attempting to make his escape. We had on board Sam
Miller, a former slave, who had received over three hundred lashes for
refusing to inform on a few of his fellows who had escaped.

       *       *       *       *       *

"On passing among the men, as we were leaving the scenes of action,
I inquired if they had grown any to-day. Many simultaneously
exclaimed,--"'Oh, yes, Massa, we have grown three inches!' Sam said,--'I
feel a heap more of a man!'

"With the lurid flames still lighting up all the region behind, and the
bright rays of the smiling moon before them, they formed a circle on the
lower deck, and around the hatchway leading to the hold, where were the
women and children captured during the day, and on bended knees they
offered up sincere and heartfelt thanksgivings to Almighty God for the
mercies of the day. Such fervent prayers for the President, for the
hearing of his Proclamation by all in bonds, and for the ending of the
war and slavery, were seldom, if ever, heard before. About one hour was
spent in singing and prayer. Those waters surely never echoed with such
sounds before.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Our steamer left Beaufort without a soldier, and returned, after an
absence of twelve days, with one hundred and fifty-six fighting colored
men, some of whom dropped the hoe, took a musket, and were at once
soldiers, ready to fight for the freedom of others."

It is conceded on all sides, that, wherever our armies have had
occupancy, there slavery has been practically abolished. The fact was
recognized by President Lincoln in his last appeal to the loyal Slave
States to consummate emancipation.

Another noticeable act of our Government in behalf of Liberty is the
official provision it makes for the wants of the thousands of helpless
human beings thus thrown upon our care. Taxed with the burden of an
immense war, with the care of thousands of sick and wounded, the United
States Government has cheerfully voted rations for helpless slaves, no
less than wages to the helpful ones. The United States Government pays
teachers to instruct them, and overseers to guide their industrial
efforts. A free-labor experiment is already in successful operation
among the beautiful sea-islands in the neighborhood of Beaufort, which,
even under most disadvantageous circumstances, is fast demonstrating how
much more efficiently men will work from hope and liberty than from fear
and constraint. Thus, even amid the roar of cannon and the confusion
of war, cotton-planting, as a free-labor institution, is beginning its
infant life, to grow hereafter to a glorious manhood.

Lastly, the great, decisive measure of the war has appeared,--_The
President's Proclamation of Emancipation_.

This also has been much misunderstood and misrepresented in England. It
has been said to mean virtually this:--Be loyal, and you shall keep your
slaves; rebel, and they shall be free.

But let us remember what we have just seen of the purpose and meaning of
the Union to which the rebellious States are invited back. It is to
a Union which has abolished slavery in the District of Columbia, and
interdicted slavery in the Territories,--which vigorously represses
the slave-trade, and hangs the convicted slaver as a pirate,--which
necessitates emancipation by denying expansion to slavery, and
facilitates it by the offer of compensation. Any Slaveholding States
which should return to such a Union might fairly be supposed to return
with the purpose of peaceable emancipation. The President's Proclamation
simply means this:--Come in, and emancipate peaceably with compensation;
stay out, and I emancipate, nor will I protect you from the
consequences.

That continuance in the Union is thus understood is already made
manifest by the votes of Missouri and Delaware in the recent elections.
Both of these States have given strong majorities for emancipation,
Missouri, long tending towards emancipation, has already planted herself
firmly on the great rock of Freedom, and thrown out her bold and
eloquent appeal to the Free States of the North for aid in overcoming
the difficulties of her position. Other States will soon follow; nor is
it too much to hope that before a new year has gone far in its course
the sacred fire of freedom will have flashed along the whole line of the
Border States responsive to the generous proposition of the President
and Congress, and that universal emancipation will have become a fixed
fact in the American Union.

Will our sisters in England feel no heart-beat at that event? Is it not
one of the predicted voices of the latter day, saying under the whole
heavens, "It is done: the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms
of our Lord, and of His Christ"?

And now, Sisters of England, in this solemn, expectant hour, let
us speak to you of one thing which fills our hearts with pain and
solicitude.

It is an unaccountable fact, and one which we entreat you seriously to
ponder, that the party which has brought the cause of Freedom thus
far on its way, during the past eventful year, has found little or no
support in England. Sadder than this, the party which makes Slavery
the chief corner-stone of its edifice finds in England its strongest
defenders.

The voices that have spoken for us who contend for Liberty have been few
and scattering. God forbid that we should forget those few noble voices,
so sadly exceptional in the general outcry against us! They are, alas,
too few to be easily forgotten. False statements have blinded the minds
of your community, and turned the most generous sentiments of the
British heart against us. The North are fighting for supremacy and the
South for independence, has been the voice. Independence? for what?
to do what? To prove the doctrine that all men are _not_ equal. To
establish the doctrine that the white may enslave the negro.

It is natural to sympathize with people who are fighting for their
rights; but if these prove to be the right of selling children by the
pound and trading in husbands and wives as merchantable articles, should
not Englishmen think twice before giving their sympathy? A pirate-ship
on the high seas is fighting for _independence_! Let us be consistent.

It has been said that we have been over-sensitive, thin-skinned. It is
one inconvenient attendant of love and respect, that they do induce
sensitiveness. A brother or father turning against one in the hour of
trouble, a friend sleeping in the Gethsemane of our mortal anguish, does
not always find us armed with divine patience. We loved England; we
respected, revered her; we were bound to her by ties of blood and race.
Alas! must all these declarations be written in the past tense?

But that we may not be thought to have over-estimated the popular tide
against us, we shall express our sense of it in the words of an English
writer, one of the noble few who have spoken the truth on our side.
Referring to England's position on this question, he says:--

"What is the meaning of this? Why does the English nation, which has
made itself memorable to all time as the destroyer of negro slavery,
which has shrunk from no sacrifices to free its own character from that
odious stain, and to close all the countries of the world against the
slave-merchant,--why is it that the nation which is at the head of
Abolitionism, not only feels no sympathy with those who are fighting
against the slaveholding conspiracy, but actually desires its success?
Why is the general voice of our press, the general sentiment of our
people bitterly reproachful to the North, while for the South, the
aggressors in the war, we have either mild apologies or direct
and downright encouragement,--and this not only from the Tory and
anti-Democratic camp, but from Liberals, or _soi-disant_ such?

"This strange perversion of feeling prevails nowhere else. The public of
France, and of the Continent generally, at all events the Liberal part
of it, saw at once on which side were justice and moral principle, and
gave its sympathies consistently and steadily to the North. Why is
England an exception?"

In the beginning of our struggle, the voices that reached us across the
water said, "If we were only sure you were fighting for the abolition of
slavery, we should not dare to say whither our sympathies for your cause
might not carry us."

Such, as we heard, were the words of the honored and religious nobleman
who draughted this very letter which you signed and sent us, and to
which we are now replying.

When these words reached us, we said, "We can wait; our friends in
England will soon see whither this conflict is tending." A year and a
half have passed; step after step has been taken for Liberty; chain
after chain has fallen, till the march of our enemies is choked and
clogged by the glad flocking of emancipated slaves; the day of final
emancipation is set; the Border States begin to move in voluntary
consent; universal freedom for all dawns like the sun in the distant
horizon: and still no voice from England. No voice? Yes, we have heard
on the high seas the voice of a war-steamer, built for a man-stealing
Confederacy with English gold in an English dockyard, going out of an
English harbor, manned by English sailors, with the full knowledge of
English Government-officers, in defiance of the Queen's proclamation of
neutrality. So far has English sympathy overflowed. We have heard of
other steamers, iron-clad, designed to furnish to a Slavery-defending
Confederacy their only lack,--a navy for the high seas. We have heard
that the British Evangelical Alliance refuses to express sympathy with
the liberating party, when requested to do so by the French Evangelical
Alliance. We find in English religious newspapers all those sad
degrees in the downward sliding scale of defending and apologizing for
slaveholders and slaveholding with which we have so many years contended
in our own country. We find the President's Proclamation of Emancipation
spoken of in those papers only as an incitement to servile insurrection.
Nay, more,--we find in your papers, from thoughtful men, the admission
of the rapid decline of anti-slavery sentiments in England. Witness the
following:--

"The Rev. Mr. Maurice, Principal of the Working-Men's College, Great
Ormond Street, delivered the first general lecture of the term on
Saturday evening, and took for his subject the state of English feeling
on the Slavery question. He said, a few days ago, in a conversation on
the American war, that some gentlemen connected with the College had
confessed to a change in their sympathies in the matter. On the outbreak
of the war, they had been strong sympathizers with the Government and
the Northern States, but gradually they had drifted until they found
themselves desiring the success of the seceded States, and all but free
from their anti-slavery feelings and tendencies. These confessions
elicited strong expressions of indignation from a gentleman present, who
had lectured in the College on the war in Kansas. He (Mr. Maurice) felt
inclined to share in the indignation expressed; but since, he could not
help feeling that this change was very general in England."

Alas, then, England! is it so? In this day of great deeds and great
heroisms, this solemn hour when the Mighty Redeemer is coming to break
every yoke, do we hear such voices from England?

This very day the writer of this has been present at a solemn religious
festival in the national capital, given at the home of a portion of
those fugitive slaves who have fled to our lines for protection,--who,
under the shadow of our flag, find sympathy and succor. The national day
of thanksgiving was there kept by over a thousand redeemed slaves, and
for whom Christian charity had spread an ample repast. Our Sisters, we
wish _you_ could have witnessed the scene. We wish you could have heard
the prayer of a blind old negro, called among his fellows John
the Baptist, when in touching broken English he poured forth his
thanksgivings. We wish you could have heard the sound of that strange
rhythmical chant which is now forbidden to be sung on Southern
plantations,--the psalm of this modern exodus,--which combines the
barbaric fire of the Marseillaise with the religious fervor of the old
Hebrew prophet.

  "Oh, go down, Moses,
  'Way down into Egypt's land!
  Tell King Pharaoh
  To let my people go!
     Stand away dere,
     Stand away dere,
     And let my people go!

  "Oh, Pharaoh said he would go 'cross!
    Let my people go!
  Oh, Pharaoh and his hosts were lost!
    Let my people go!
        You may hinder me here,
        But ye can't up dere!
        Let my people go!

  "Oh, Moses, stretch your hand across!
    Let my people go!
  And don't get lost in de wilderness!
    Let my people go!
        He sits in de heavens
        And answers prayers.
        Let my people go!"

As we were leaving, an aged woman came and lifted up her hands in
blessing. "Bressed be de Lord dat brought me to see dis first happy day
of my life! Bressed be de Lord!" In all England is there no Amen?

We have been shocked and saddened by the question asked in an
association of Congregational ministers in England, the very
blood-relations of the liberty-loving Puritans,--"Why does not the North
let the South go?"

What! give up the point of emancipation for these four million slaves?
Turn our backs on them, and leave them to their fate? What! leave our
white brothers to run a career of oppression and robbery, that, as sure
as there is a God that ruleth in the armies of heaven, will bring down a
day of wrath and doom?

Is it any advantage to people to be educated in man-stealing as a
principle, to be taught systematically to rob the laborer of his wages,
and to tread on the necks of weaker races? Who among you would wish your
sons to become slave-planters, slave-merchants, slave-dealers? And shall
we leave our brethren to this fate? Better a generation should die
on the battle-field, that their children may grow up in liberty and
justice. Yes, our sons must die, their sons must die. We give ours
freely; they die to redeem the very brothers that slay them; they give
their blood in expiation of this great sin, begun by you in England,
perpetuated by us in America, and for which God in this great day of
judgment is making inquisition in blood.

In a recent battle fell a Secession colonel, the last remaining son of
his mother, and she a widow. That mother had sold eleven children of
an old slave-mother, her servant. That servant went to her and
said,--"Missis, we even now. You sold all my children. God took all
yourn. Not one to bury either of us. _Now_, I forgive you."

In another battle fell the only son of another widow. Young, beautiful,
heroic, brought up by his mother in the sacred doctrines of human
liberty, he gave his life an offering as to a holy cause. He died. No
slave-woman came to tell _his_ mother of God's justice, for many slaves
have reason to call her blessed.

Now we ask you, Would you change places with that Southern mother? Would
you not think it a great misfortune for a son or daughter to be brought
into such a system?--a worse one to become so perverted as to defend it?
Remember, then, that wishing success to this slavery-establishing effort
is only wishing to the sons and daughters of the South all the curses
that God has written against oppression. _Mark our words!_ If we
succeed, the children of these very men who are now fighting us will
rise up to call us blessed. Just as surely as there is a God who governs
in the world, so surely all the laws of national prosperity follow in
the train of equity; and if we succeed, we shall have delivered the
children's children of our misguided brethren from the wages of sin,
which is always and everywhere death.

And now, Sisters of England, think it not strange, if we bring back the
words of your letter, not in bitterness, but in deepest sadness, and lay
them down at your door. We say to you,--Sisters, you have spoken well;
we have heard you; we have heeded; we have striven in the cause, even
unto death. We have sealed our devotion by desolate hearth and darkened
homestead,--by the blood of sons, husbands, and brothers. In many of our
dwellings the very light of our lives has gone out; and yet we accept
the life-long darkness as our own part in this great and awful
expiation, by which the bonds of wickedness shall be loosed, and abiding
peace established on the foundation of righteousness. Sisters, what have
_you_ done, and what do you mean to do?

In view of the decline of the noble anti-slavery fire in England, in
view of all the facts and admissions recited from your own papers, we
beg leave in solemn sadness to return to you your own words:--

"A common origin, a common faith, and, we sincerely believe, a common
cause, urge us, at the present moment, to address you on the subject"
of that fearful encouragement and support which is being afforded by
England to a slave-holding Confederacy.

"We will not dwell on the ordinary topics,--on the progress of
civilization, on the advance of freedom everywhere, on the rights and
requirements of the nineteenth century; but we appeal to you very
seriously to reflect and to ask counsel of God how far such a state of
things is in accordance with His Holy Word, the inalienable rights
of immortal souls, and the pure and merciful spirit of the Christian
religion.

"We appeal to you, as sisters, as wives, and as mothers, to raise your
voices to your fellow-citizens, and your prayers to God for the removal
of this affliction and disgrace from the Christian world."

In behalf of many thousands of American women,

HARRIET BEECHER STOWE.

WASHINGTON, _November_ 27, 1862.



THE SOLDIERS' RALLY.


  Oh, rally round the banner, boys, now Freedom's chosen sign!
  See where amid the clouds of war its new-born glories shine!
  The despot's doom, the slave's dear hope, we bear it on the foe!
  God's voice rings down the brightening path! Say, brothers, will ye go?

  "My father fought at Donelson; he hailed at dawn of day
  That flag full-blown upon the walls, and proudly passed away."
  "My brother fell on Newbern's shore; he bared his radiant head,
  And shouted, 'Oh! the day is won!' leaped forward, and was dead."
  "My chosen friend of all the world hears not the bugle-call;
  A bullet pierced his loyal heart by Richmond's fatal wall."
  But seize the hallowed swords they dropped, with blood yet moist and red!
  Fill up the thinned, immortal ranks, and follow where they led!
  For right is might, and truth is God, and He upholds our cause,
  The grand old cause our fathers loved,--Freedom and Equal Laws!

  "My mother's hair is thin and white; she looked me in the face,
  She clasped me to her heart, and said, 'Go, take thy brother's place!'"
  "My sister kissed her sweet farewell; her maiden cheeks were wet;
  Around my neck her arms she threw; I feel the pressure yet."
  "My wife sits by the cradle's side and keeps our little home,
  Or asks the baby on her knee, 'When will thy father come?'"
  Oh, woman's faith and man's stout arm shall right the ancient wrong!
  So farewell, mother, sister, wife! God keep you brave and strong!
  The whizzing shell may burst in fire, the shrieking bullet fly,
  The heavens and earth may mingle grief, the gallant soldier die;
  But while a haughty Rebel stands, no peace! for peace is war.
  The land that is not worth our death is not worth living for!

  Then rally round the banner, boys! Its triumph draweth nigh!
  See where above the clouds of war its seamless glories fly!
  Peace, hovering o'er the bristling van, waves palm and laurel fair,
  And Victory binds the rescued stars in Freedom's golden hair!

       *       *       *       *       *


OVERTURES FROM RICHMOND.

A NEW LILLIBURLERO.


        "Well, Uncle Sam," says Jefferson D.,
            Lilliburlero, old Uncle Sam,
        "You'll have to join my Confed'racy,"
            Lilliburlero, old Uncle Sam.
  "Lero, lero, that don't appear O, that don't appear," says old Uncle Sam,
  "Lero, lero, filibustero, that don't appear," says old Uncle Sam.

        "So, Uncle Sam, just lay down your arms,"
            Lilliburlero, etc.,
        "Then you shall hear my reas'nable terms,"
            Lilliburlero, etc.
  "Lero, lero, I'd like to hear O, I'd like to hear," says old Uncle Sam,
  "Lero, lero, filibustero, I'd like to hear," says old Uncle Sam.

        "First, you must own I've beat you in fight,"
            Lilliburlero, etc.,
        "Then, that I always have been in the right,"
            Lilliburlero, etc.
  "Lero, lero, rather severe O, rather severe," says old Uncle Sam,
  "Lero, lero, filibustero, rather severe," says old Uncle Sam.

        "Then, you must pay my national debts,"
            Lilliburlero, etc.,
        "No questions asked about my assets,"
            Lilliburlero, etc.
  "Lero, lero, that's very dear O, that's very dear," says old Uncle Sam,
  "Lero, lero, filibustero, that's very dear," says old Uncle Sam.

        "Also, some few I.O.U.s and bets,"
            Lilliburlero, etc.,
        "Mine, and Bob Toombs', and Slidell's, and Rhett's,"
            Lilliburlero, etc.
  "Lero, lero, that leaves me zero, that leaves me zero," says Uncle Sam,
  "Lero, lero, filibustero, that leaves me zero," says Uncle Sam.

        "And, by the way, one little thing more,"
            Lilliburlero, etc.,
        "You're to refund the costs of the war,"
            Lilliburlero, etc.
  "Lero, lero, just what I fear O, just what I fear," says old Uncle Sam,
  "Lero, lero, filibustero, just what I fear," says old Uncle Sam.

        "Next, you must own our Cavalier blood!"
            Lilliburlero, etc.,
        "And that your Puritans sprang from the mud!"
            Lilliburlero, etc.
  "Lero, lero, that mud is clear O, that mud is clear," says old Uncle Sam,
  "Lero, lero, filibustero, that mud is clear," says old Uncle Sam.

        "Slavery's, of course, the chief corner-stone,"
            Lilliburlero, etc.,
        "Of our NEW CIV-IL-I-ZA-TI-ON!"
            Lilliburlero, etc.
  "Lero, lero, that's quite sincere O, that's quite sincere," says old
      Uncle Sam,
  "Lero, lero, filibustero, that's quite sincere," says old Uncle Sam.

        "You'll understand, my recreant tool,"
            Lilliburlero, etc.,
        "You're to submit, and we are to rule,"

            Lilliburlero, etc.
  "Lero, lore, aren't you a hero! aren't you a hero!" says Uncle Sam,
  "Lero, lero, filibustero, aren't you a hero!" says Uncle Sam.

        "If to these terms you fully consent,"
            Lilliburlero, etc.,
        "I'll be Perpetual King-President,"
            Lilliburlero, etc.
  "Lero, lero, take your sombrero, off to your swamps!" says old Uncle Sam,
  "Lero, lero, filibustero, cut, double-quick!" says old Uncle Sam.

       *       *       *       *       *



REVIEWS AND LITERARY NOTICES.


_Titan: A Romance_. From the German of Jean Paul Friedrich Richter.
Translated by CHARLES T. BROOKS. In Two Volumes. Boston: Ticknor and
Fields.

Jean Paul first became one of the notabilities of German literature
after he had published "Hesperus," a novel which contains the originals
of the characters that reappear under different names in "Titan." His
previous popularity did not penetrate far within the circle of scholars
and thinkers, and never knocked at the charmed threshold of the Weimar
set, whose taste was controlled by Goethe and Schiller. But "Hesperus"
made a great noise, and these warders of the German Valhalla were
obliged to open the door just a crack, in order to reconnoitre the
pretentious arrival. Goethe first called the attention of Schiller to
the book, sending him a copy while he was at Jena, in 1795. Schiller
recognized at once its power and geniality, but was disposed to regard
it as a literary oddity, whose grotesque build and want of finish rather
depreciated the rich cargo,--at least, did not bring it handsomely into
port. The first book of "Wilhelm Meister" had appeared the year before,
and that was more acceptable to Schiller, who had cooled off after
writing his "Robbers," and was looking out for the true theory of poetry
and art. He and Goethe concluded that "Hesperus" was worth liking,
though it was a great pity the author had not better taste; he ought to
come up and live with them, in an aesthetic atmosphere, where he could
find and admire his superiors, and have his great crude gems ground
down to brilliant facets. Schiller said it was the book of a lonely and
isolated man. It was, indeed.

But it was a book which represented, far more profoundly and healthily
than Schiller's "Robbers," that revolt of men of genius against every
species of finical prescription, in literature and society, which
ushered in the new age of Germany. And it expresses with uncalculating
sincerity all the natural emotions which a century of pedantry and
Gallic affectation had been crowding out of books and men. It was a
charge at the point of the pen upon the dapper flunkeys who were keeping
the door of the German future; the brawny breast, breathing deep with
the struggle, and pouring out great volumes of feeling, burst through
the restraints of the time. He cleared a place, and called all men to
stand close to his beating heart, and almost furiously pressed them
there, that they might feel what a thing friendship was and the ideal
life of the soul. And as he held them, his face grew broad and deep with
humor; men looked into it and saw themselves, all the real good and the
absurdly conventional which they had, and there was a great jubilation
at the genial sight. And it was as if a lot of porters followed him,
overloaded with quaint and curious knowledge gathered from books of
travel, of medicine, of history, metaphysics, and biography, which they
dumped without much concert, but just as it happened, in the very middle
of a fine emotion, and all through his jovial speech. What an irruption
it was!--as if by a tilt of the planet the climate had changed suddenly,
and palm-trees, oranges, the sugarcane, the grotesque dragon-tree, and
all the woods of rich and curious grain, stood in the temperate and
meagre soil.

Schiller met Jean Paul in the spring of 1796. In writing to Goethe about
their interviews, he says,--"I have told you nothing yet about Hesperus.
I found him on the whole such as I expected, just as odd as if he had
fallen from the moon, full of good-will, and very eager to see things
that are outside of him, but he lacks the organ by which one sees";
and in a letter of a later date he doubts whether Richter will ever
sympathize with their way of handling the great subjects of Man and
Nature.

The reader can find the first interviews which Richter had with Goethe
and Schiller in Lewes's "Life of Goethe," Vol. II. p. 269. Of Goethe,
Richter said, "By heaven! we shall love each other!" and of Schiller,
"He is full of acumen, but without love." The German public, which loves
Richter, has reversed his first impression. And indeed Richter himself,
though he could not get along with Schiller, learned that Goethe's
loving capacity, which he thought he saw break out with fire while
Goethe read a poem to him, was only the passion of an artistic nature
which impregnates its own products.

Richter's love was very different. It was a sympathy with men and women
of all conditions, fed secretly the while that his shaggy genius was
struggling with poverty and apparently unfavorable circumstances. He was
always a child, yearning to feel the arms of some affection around him,
very susceptible to the moods of other people, yet testing them by a
humorous sincerity. All the books which he devoured in his desultory
rage for knowledge turned into nourishment for an imagination that
was destined chiefly to interpret a very lofty moral sense and a very
democratic feeling. And whenever his humor caught an edge in the
easterly moments of his mind, it was never sharpened against humanity,
and made nothing tender bleed. Now and then we know he has a caustic
thing or two to say about women; but it is lunar-caustic for a wart.

Goethe did not like this indiscriminate and democratic temper. The
sly remarks of Richter upon the Transparencies and Well-born
and Excellencies of his time, with their faded taste and dreary
mandarin-life varied by loose morals and contempt for the invisible,
could not have suited the man whose best friend was a real Duke, as it
happened, one of Nature's noblemen, one whose wife, the Duchess Sophia,
afterwards held Bonaparte so tranquilly at bay upon her palace-steps.
Goethe had, too, a bureaucratic vein in him; he spoke well of dignities,
and carefully stepped through the cumbrous minuet of court-life without
impinging upon a single Serene or Well-born bunyon. Mirabeau himself
would have elbowed his way through furbelows and court-rapiers more
forbearingly than Richter. It was not possible to make this genius
plastic, in the aesthetic sense which legislated at Weimar. Besides,
Goethe could not look at Nature as Richter did. To such a grand observer
Richter must have appeared like a sunset-smitten girl.

An American ought to value Richter's books for the causes which made
them repulsive to all social and literary cliques. The exquisite art,
and the wise, clear mind of Goethe need not come into contrast, to
disable us from giving Richter the reception which alone he would value
or command. Nor is it necessary to deny that the frequent intercalations
and suspensions of his narrative, racy and suggestive as they are, and
overflowing with feeling, will fret a modern reader who is always "on
time," like an express-man, and is quite as regardless of what may be
expressed.

"Titan" is not a novel in the way that Charles Reade's, or Eugene Sue's,
or Victor Hugo's books are novels. The nearest English model, in the
matter of style and quaint presuming on the reader's patience, is
Sterne. But if one wishes to see how Richter is _not_ sentimental, in
spite of his incessant and un-American emotion, let him read Sterne, and
hasten then to be embraced by Richter's unsophisticated feeling, which
is none the less refreshing because it is so exuberant and has such a
habit of pursuing all his characters. And where else, in any language,
is Nature so worshipped, and so rapturously chased with glowing words,
as some young Daphne by some fiery boy?

Neither are there any characters in this novel, in the sense of marked
idiosyncrasies, or of the subtile development of an individual.
Sometimes Richter's men and women are only the lay-figures upon which
he piles and adjusts his gorgeous cloth-of-gold and figured damask. But
Siebenkäs and his wife, in "Flower-, Fruit-, and Thorn-Pieces," are
characters, quite as much as any of Balzac's nice _genre_ men and
women, and on a higher plane. Richter uses his persons of both sexes
principally to express the conditions of his feeling; they are cockles,
alternately dry and sparkling, underneath his mighty ebb and flow.

On one point we doubt if the American mind will understand Richter. He
believed in a love that one man might have for another man, which as
little corresponds to the average idea of friendship as the anti-slavery
sentiment of the "People's party" corresponds to Mr. Garrison's. In this
respect Richter creates an ideal and interfuses it with all his natural
ardor, which a German can understand better than the men of any other
nation, for in him is the tendency that Richter seeks to set forth by
his passionate imagination. Orestes and Pylades, David and Jonathan, and
the other famous loves of men, are suspected by the calculating breeds
of people. Brother Jonathan seldom finds his David, and he doubtless
thinks the Canon ought to have transferred that Scriptural friendship
into the Apocrypha. We shall sniff at the highly colored intercourse
of Richter's men, for it is often more than we can do to really love a
woman. We shall pronounce the relation affected, and the expression of
it turgid, even nauseous. But there is a genuine noble pulse in the
German heart, which beats to the rhythm of two men's heroic attachment,
and can expand till all the blood that flows through Richter's style
is welcomed and propelled by it. Still, we think that the unexpressed
friendship may also stand justified before the ideal.

The reader must be content to meet this stout and fervent man as he is,
not expecting that his genius will consult our tastes or prejudices,
or that his head will stoop at all for the sake of our company. Then
beneath his dense paragraphs and through his rambling pages his humility
will greet us, and fraternal regards draw us irresistibly to him. He is
a man for a people's reading, notwithstanding all the involutions of
style and thought which might suggest a different judgment. He certainly
does not write like Cobbett or Franklin, nor has he the thin, clear
polish of the popular historian. Yet his shrewdness and tenderness will
touch all simple-minded men; and twenty Cobbetts, or people's writers,
sharply rubbed together, could never light the flame of his imperial
imagination, for it is a kind of sunshine, sometimes hot enough, but
broad, impartial, and quickening, wherever there is something that waits
to grow.

And scarcely one man in a century appears so highly gifted with that
wonderful quality for which we have no better name than Humor. His humor
is the conciliation that takes place between love and knowledge. The two
tendencies create the bold and graceful orbit on which his well-balanced
books revolve. With one alone, his impetuosity would hasten to quench
itself in the molten centre; and with the other alone, he would fly
cynically beyond the reach of heat. This reconciling humor sometimes
shakes his book with Olympic laughter; as if the postprandial nectar
circulated in pools of cups, into which all incompatibilities fall and
are drowned. You drink this recasting of the planet's joys and sorrows,
contempt and contradictions, while it is yet fluent and bubbling to the
lip. There are all the selfish men, and petulant, intriguing women in
it, all their weaknesses, and the ill-humor of their times. But the
draught lights up the brain with an anticipation of some future solution
of these discords, or perhaps we may say, intoxicates us with the serene
tolerance which the Creative Mind must have for all His little ones. Is
not humor a finite mood of that Impartiality whose sun rises upon the
evil and the good, whose smile becomes the laughter of these denser
skies?

It is plain from what we have said that the task of translating this
novel must be full of difficulties. There are strange words, allusions
drawn from foreign books that are now a hundred years old or more and
never seen in libraries; the figurative style makes half the sentences
in a page seem strange at first, they invite consideration, and do not
feebly surrender to a smooth consecutive English. Just as you think you
are at the bottom of a paragraph and are on the point of stepping on the
floor, he stops you with another stair, or lets you through: in other
words, you are never safe from a whimsical allusion or a twist in the
thought. The narrative extends no thread which you may take in one hand
as you poke along: it frequently disappears altogether, and it seems as
if you had another book with its vocabulary and style.

It is not too high praise to say that Mr. Brooks has overcome all
these difficulties without the sacrifice of a single characteristic
of Richter's genius. We have the sense and passion unmutilated. The
translation is accurate, and also bold. By the comparison of a few
test-passages with the original, Mr. Brooks's adroit and patient labor
appears clearly. We desire to pay him the meed of our respect and
gratitude. Few readers of "Titan" will appreciate the toil which has
secured them this new sensation of becoming intimate with "Jean Paul the
Only." It is new, because, notwithstanding several books of Jean
Paul have been already translated, "Titan" is the most vigorous and
exhaustive book he wrote. He poured his whole fiery and romantic soul
into it. It may be said that all the fine and humane elements of the
revolutionary period in which he lived appear in this book,--the
religious feeling, the horror of sensuality, the hatred of every kind of
cant, the struggle for definite knowledge out of a confusing whirl of
man's generous sentiments all broken loose, the tendency to worship duty
and justice, and the Titanic extravagance of a "lustihood," both
of youth and emotion, which threatens, in Alexander's temper, to
appropriate the world. All this is admirably expressed in the Promethean
title of the book. We do not think that it can be profitably read, or
with an intelligent respect for its great author, unless we recall the
period, the state of politics, religion, domestic life, the new German
age of thought which was rising, with ferment, amid uncouth gambolling
shapes of jovial horn-blowing fellows, from the waves. He is the
divinity who owns a whole herd of them. As we sit to read, let the same
light fall on the page in which it was composed, and there will appear
upon it the genius which is confined to no age or clime, and addresses
every heart.


_The Works of Rufus Choate, with a Memoir of his Life_. By SAMUEL GILMAN
BROWN, Professor in Dartmouth College. In Two Volumes. Boston: Little,
Brown, & Co.

In estimating the claims of any biographical work we must bear in mind
the difficulties of the subject, the advantages which the writer enjoys,
and the disadvantages under which he labors. The life, genius, and
character of Mr. Choate present a stimulating, but not an easy task to
him who essays to delineate them. We have read of a man who had taught
his dog to bite out of a piece of bread a profile likeness of Voltaire;
it was not more difficult to draw a caricature of Mr. Choate, but to
paint him as he was requires a nice pencil and a discriminating touch.
The salient traits were easily recognized by all. The general public
saw in him a man who flung himself into his cases with the fervor
and passion of a mountain-torrent, whose eloquence was exuberant and
sometimes extravagant, who said quaint and brilliant things with a very
grave countenance, and whose handwriting was picturesquely illegible. We
verily believe that Mr. Choate's peculiar handwriting was as well known
to his townsmen and neighbors, was as frequent a topic of observation
and comment, as any of the traits of his mind and character. We need
hardly add that this popular image which was called Mr. Choate resembled
the real man about as much as a sign-post daub of General Washington
resembles the head by Stuart. The skill of the true artist is shown in
catching and transferring to the canvas the delicate distinctions which
make a difference between faces which have a general similarity. No man
had more need of this fine discrimination in order to have justice done
him than Mr. Choate; for there was no man who would have been more
imperfectly known, had he been known only by those prominent and obvious
characteristics which all the world could see. He was a great and
successful lawyer, but his original taste was for literature rather
than law. Few men were more before the public than he, and yet he loved
privacy more than publicity. He had acquaintances numberless, and facile
and gracious manners, but his heart was open to very few. His eloquence
was luxuriant and efflorescent, but he was also a close and compact
reasoner. He had a vein of playful exaggeration in his common speech,
but his temperament was earnest, impassioned, almost melancholy. The
more nearly one knew Mr. Choate, the more cause had he to correct
superficial impressions.

Professor Brown has many qualifications for the task which was devolved
upon him. He knew, loved, and admired Mr. Choate. A graduate and
professor of Dartmouth College, the son of a former president, he caught
a larger portion of the light thrown, back upon the college by the
genius and fame of her brilliant son. A good scholar himself, he is
competent to appreciate the ripe scholarship of Mr. Choate, and his love
of letters. His style is clear, simple, and manly. He has, too, the
moral qualities needed in a man who undertakes to write the biography
of an eminent man recently deceased, who has left children, relatives,
friends, acquaintances, and rivals,--the tact, the instinct, the
judgment which teaches what to say and what to leave unsaid, and refuses
to admit the public into those inner chambers of the mind and heart
where the public has no right to go. But he has one disqualification:
he is not a lawyer, and no one but a lawyer can take the full gauge and
dimensions of what Mr. Choate was and did. For Mr. Choate, various as
were his intellectual tastes, wide as was the range of his intellectual
curiosity, made all things else secondary and subservient to legal
studies and professional aspirations. To the law he gave his mind
and life, and all that he did outside of the law was done in those
breathing-spaces and intermissions of professional labor in which most
lawyers in large practice are content to do nothing.

But Professor Brown's biography is satisfactory in all respects, even in
the delineations of the professional character of Mr. Choate, where, if
anywhere, we should have looked for imperfect comprehension. The members
of the bar may rest assured that justice has been done to the legal
claims and merits of one of whom they were so justly proud; and the
public may be assured that the traits of Mr. Choate's character, the
qualities of his mind,--his great and conspicuous powers, as well as his
lighter graces and finer gifts,--have been set down with taste, feeling,
judgment, and discrimination. This seems but measured language, and yet
we mean it for generous praise; bearing always in mind the difficulties
of the subject, and, as Professor Brown has happily said in his preface,
that "the traits of Mr. Choate's character were so peculiar, its lights
and shades so delicate, various, and evanescent." We confess that we sat
down to read the biography not without a little uneasiness, not without
a flutter of apprehension. But all feeling of this kind was soon
dissipated as we went on, and there came in its place a grateful sense
of the grace, skill, and taste which Professor Brown had shown in his
delineation, and the faithful portrait he had produced. And one secret
of this success is to be found in the fact that he had no other object
or purpose than to do justice to his subject. He is entirely free from
self-reference. There is not in the remotest corner of his mind a wish
to magnify his office and draw attention from the theme of the biography
to the biographer himself. He permits himself no digressions, he
obtrudes no needless reflections, enters into no profitless discussions:
he is content to unfold the panorama of Mr. Choate's life, and do little
more than point out the scenes and passages as they pass before the
spectator's eye.

It was not an eventful life; it was, indeed, the reverse. It was a life
passed in the constant and assiduous practice of the law. We do not
forget his brief term of service in the House of Representatives, and
his longer period in the Senate; but these were but episodes. They were
trusts reluctantly assumed and gladly laid aside; for he was one of
those exceptional Americans who have no love of political distinction
or public office. A lawyer's life leaves little to be recorded; the
triumphs of the bar are proverbially ephemeral, and lawyers themselves
are willing to forget the cases they have tried and the verdicts they
have won. Had Mr. Choate been merely and exclusively a lawyer, the story
of his life could have been told in half a dozen pages; but though
he was a great lawyer and advocate, he was something more: he was an
orator, a scholar, and a patriot. He had no taste for public life, as
we have just said; but he had the deepest interest in public subjects,
loved his country with a fervid love, had read much and thought much
upon questions of politics and government Busy as he always was in
his profession, his mind, discursive, sleepless, always thirsting for
knowledge, was never content to walk along the beaten highway of the
law, but was ever wandering into the flowery fields of poetry and
philosophy on the right hand and the left. These volumes show how
untiring was his industry, how various were his attainments, how
accurate was his knowledge, how healthy and catholic were his
intellectual tastes. The only thing for which he had no taste was
repose; the only thing which he could not do was to rest. When we see
what his manner of life was, how for so many years the nightly vigil
succeeded the daily toil, how the bow was always strung, how much he
studied and wrote outside of his profession, even while bearing the
burden and anxiety of an immense practice, we can only wonder that he
lived so long.

The whole of the second volume and a full half of the first are occupied
with Mr. Choate's own productions, mainly speeches and lectures. Many of
these have been published before, but some of them appear in print for
the first time. Mr. Choate's peculiar characteristics of style and
manner--his exuberance of language, his full flow of thought, his
redundancy of epithet, his long-drawn sentences, stretching on through
clause after clause before the orbit of his thought had begun to turn
and enter upon itself--are well known. We cannot say that the contents
of these volumes will add to the high reputation which Mr. Choate
already enjoys as a brilliant writer, an eloquent speaker, a patriotic
statesman; but we can and do say that the glimpses we herein get of his
purely human qualities--of that inner life which belongs to every man
simply as man--all add to the interest which already clings to his name,
by showing him in a light and in relations of which the public who hung
with delight upon his lips knew little or nothing. He had long been one
of the celebrities of the city; his face and form were familiar to his
towns-people, and all strangers were anxious to see and hear him: but,
though he moved and acted in public, he dwelt apart. His orbit embraced
the three points of the court-room, his office, and his home,--and
no more. He had no need of society, of amusement, of sympathy, of
companionship. We are free to say that we think it was a defect in his
nature, at least a mistake in his life, that he did not cultivate his
friendships more. Few men of his eminence have ever lived so long and
written so few letters. But his diaries and journals, now for the first
time given to the light, show us the inner man and the inner life. Here
he communed with himself. Here he intrusted his thoughts, his hopes,
his dreams, his aspirations to the safe confidence of his note-book.
No portions of the two volumes are to us of more interest than these
diaries and journals. They bear the stamp of perfect sincerity. They
show us how high his standard was, how little he was satisfied with
anything he had done, how deep and strong were his love of knowledge and
his love of beauty, how every step of progress was made a starting-point
for a new advance. And from these, and other indications which these
volumes contain, we can learn how modest he was, how gentle and
courteous, how full of playfulness and graceful wit, how unprejudiced,
how imbued with reverence for things high and sacred, how penetrated
with delicate tact and sensitive propriety. He nursed no displeasures;
he cultivated no antipathies; he was free from dark suspicions, sullen
resentments, and smouldering hates; he put no venom upon his blade.

The life and labors of a man like Mr. Choate present many points on
which it would be easy to dwell with more or less of fulness, but we
can only touch upon one or two. We have always thought him especially
remarkable for the felicity with which the elements in him were so
mingled that the bright gift was not accompanied by the usually
attendant shadow. All would admit, for instance, that his temperament
was the temperament of genius. The strings of an Aeolian harp are not
more responsive to the caressing wind than were the fibres of his frame
sensitive to the influence of beauty. His organization was delicate,
nervous, and impassioned. The grandeur and loveliness of Nature, fine
poetry, stirring eloquence, music under certain forms and conditions,
affected him to an extent to which men are rarely susceptible. And yet
with all these "robes and singing garlands" of genius about him, he was
entirely free from the irritability which usually accompanies genius.
His temper was as sweet as his organization was sensitive. The life of a
lawyer in great practice is very trying to the spirit, but no one ever
saw Mr. Choate discomposed or ruffled, and the sharp contentions of the
most protracted and hotly contested trial never extorted from him a
testy remark, a peevish exclamation, a wounding reflection. He never
wasted any of his nervous energy in scolding, fretting, or worrying.
Such invincible and inevitable sweetness of temper would have made the
most commonplace man attractive: we need not say what a charm it gave to
such powers and accomplishments as those of Mr. Choate.

So, too, there is the old, traditionary commonplace about genius
being one thing and application another, and their being in necessary
antagonism to each other. But Mr. Choate was a man of genius, at least
in its popular and generally received sense. The glance of his mind was
as rapid as the lightning; he learned almost by intuition; his fancy was
brilliant, discursive, and untiring; his perceptions were both quick
and correct: if there ever were a man who could have dispensed with the
painful acquisitions of labor, and been content with the spontaneous
growth of an uncultivated soil, that man was Mr. Choate. And yet who
ever worked harder than he? what plodding chronicler, what prosaic
Dryasdust ever went through a greater amount of drudgery than he? His
very industry had the intense and impassioned character which belonged
to his whole temperament and organization. He toiled with a fiery
earnestness and a concentration of purpose which burned into the very
heart of the subject he was investigating. The audience that hung with
delight upon one of his addresses to the jury, at the close of a long
and exciting trial, in which the wit and eloquence and poetry seemed to
be the inspiration of the moment,--electric sparks which the mind's own
rapid motion generated,--thought as little of the patient industry
with which all had been elaborated as they who admire an exquisite
ball-dress, that seems a part of the lovely form which it adorns, think
of the pale weaver's loom and the poor seamstress's needle. We have
known brilliant men; we have known laborious men; but we have never
known any man in whom the two elements were met in such combination as
Mr. Choate.

But we must pause. We are insensibly going beyond our limits. We are
forgetting the biography and recalling Mr. Choate himself, a theme too
fruitful for a literary notice. We conclude, then, with an expression of
thanks to Professor Brown for the entirely satisfactory manner in which
he has performed a task of no common difficulty. The friends of Mr.
Choate will find in these volumes not only ample, but new matter, to
justify the admiration which he awakened; and to those who did not know
him they will show how just was his title to their admiration.


_The Story of the Guard, a Chronicle of the War._ By JESSIE BENTON
FRÉMONT. 16mo. Boston: Ticknor and Fields.

The subject, the authorship, and the style of this book combine to
secure for it the immediate attention of American readers. In our own
case, this attention has deepened into hearty interest and sympathy; and
we are so confident that such will be the result in every mind, that we
the more cheerfully resign ourselves to the necessity which renders a
full and fair review of this little book an impossible thing for us. Let
us briefly call to notice some of its peculiar excellences, and indicate
the line of thought which we think its sympathetic critic will follow.

Certainly no worthier subject could be chosen than the deeds of that
brave young Guard, which was at first the target for so many slanders,
and at last the centre of heartiest love and pride to all the North. Its
short and brilliant career lacks nothing which chivalry find romance
could lend, to render it the brightest passage in the history of the
war. It is but a few days since Frémont's Virginia Body-Guard--now that
of General Sigel--made a bold dash into Fredericksburg, rivalling
the glory of their predecessors; but, though every one of Frémont's
campaigns should boast a Body-Guard, and every Guard immortalize a new
Springfield, the crown of crowns will always rest on the gallant little
major and his dauntless few whose high enthusiasm broke the spell of
universal disaster, sounding the bugle-notes of victory through the
dreary silence of national despair.

General Frémont's practice in the West was invariably to educate his raw
troops in the presence of an enemy. Whether this was of choice or of
necessity we do not pretend to say; but the fact remains, that the tide
of war was turned back upon our enemies by an army composed of men who
had but just taken up their weapons. We once had the pleasure of hearing
General Frémont explain the system which he pursued with this army; and
we remember being struck with the fact that he laid great stress on
_constant skirmishing_, as the means of acquiring a habit of victory.
We cannot enlarge here upon this interesting topic. We design only to
adduce the circumstance, that the charge at Springfield concluded a
series of five fights within a single week, every one of which resulted
in triumph to our arms with the exception of that at Fredericktown. They
were slight affairs; but, as Frémont so well says, "Little victories
form a habit of victory."

The charge of the Guard we shall not eulogize. It is beyond the praise
of words. It is wonderful that Major Zagonyi should have been able in so
few days to bring into such splendid discipline a body of new recruits.
The Prairie Scouts (who seem to have been a band of brave men under a
dashing young leader) had not the perfect training which carried the
Guard through a murderous fire, to form and charge in the very camp
of the enemy. They plunged into the woods, and commenced a straggling
bush-fight, as they were skilled to do. Worthy of praise in themselves,
(and they have earned it often and received it freely,) the Scouts on
this occasion serve to heighten the effect of that grand combination of
impulse and obedience which makes the perfect soldier.

We cannot but add a word or two (leaving many points of interest
untouched) upon the manner in which Mrs. Frémont has treated her
subject. It is novel, but not ineffective. Zagonyi tells much of the
story in his own words; and we are sure that it loses nothing of
vividness from his terse and vigorous, though not always strictly
grammatical language. "Zagonyi's English," says some one who has heard
it, "is like wood-carving."

The letters of the General himself form one of the most interesting
features of the book. We would only remark, in this connection, the
wide difference between the General's style and that of his wife. Mrs.
Frémont is a true woman, and has written a true woman's book. The
General is a true man, and his words are manly words. Her style is full,
free, vivid, with plenty of dashes and postscripts,--the vehicle of much
genius and many noble thoughts; but in itself no style, or a careless
and imperfect one. The Pathfinder writes as good English prose as any
man living. We cannot be mistaken. The hand that penned the "Story of
the Guard" could not hold the pen of the Proclamation or the
Farewell Address, or the narrative of the Rocky-Mountain Expedition.
Nevertheless, it has done well. Let its work lie on our tables and dwell
in our hearts with the "Idyls of the King,"--the Aeolian memories of a
chivalry departed blending with the voices of the nobler knighthood of
our time.


_Seven Little People and their Friends_. New York: A.F. Randolph.

This is a charming book for the holidays. Not that it requires such
a temporary occasion to give it interest, elevated as it is by its
inherent excellence above that class of books which may be said almost
entirely to depend upon such factitious accidents for whatever of
success they may reasonably hope to obtain. It is, irrespective of time
or occasion, a genuine story-book, adapted particularly to children
between the ages of six and sixteen years, yet not, as is usually the
case in books for children, confined to these narrow limits in either
direction; since there is somewhat for any child that can be supposed to
have an interest in narrative, and a great deal for every man who
has genius, according to Coleridge's well-known definition of
genius,--namely, that it is the power of childhood carried forward into
the developments of manhood. This is saying, indeed, quite as much as
could be said for the general features of the book, and more than could
be said for any other child's book, excepting alone Hans Andersen's
inimitable stories.

Speaking of the book as compared with the works of Hans Andersen, it is
more consciously a work of art, in an intellectual sense; it is more
complicated in incident, or rather, we should say, in the working-up
of the incident, whether that be an advantage for it or not. In almost
every instance, Hans Andersen's stories could be told apart from the
book,--indeed, it is true that many of them were thus told to children,
whom the Danish storyteller casually met, before they were committed to
writing; and they were written, we imagine, very much as they were told.
The seven stories of which this book is made up, on the other hand,
could none of them be told naturally, and yet preserve every artistic
feature which belongs to them, as they are written. As there is more of
intellectual consciousness in their development, giving them more finish
and greater multiformity as products of art, so also there is more depth
of idea in their design. The writer is evidently not satisfied with
simple narrative; the _movement_ of his stories is more important in his
eye than _incident_, and to the former there must have been considerable
sacrifice of the latter,--that is, much of the incident which might have
been given in a simple narrative has been left out, because it would mar
the formal design.

From what has been said it will be evident that the book is not one
of those designed to affect the reader mainly through a scrupulous
conscience, or indeed distinctively through conscience at all. It
appeals to the imagination preëminently, and through that to the will.
It is the greatest merit of the book, that it is designed for the
culture and development of the imagination in children,--a faculty
almost entirely neglected, or, what is worse, oftentimes despotically
crushed and thwarted in children.

In "The Three Wishes" is developed for the child the mystery of work
and of worship; but it is all accomplished through incidents
appealing wholly to imagination, and with beautiful art. "The Little
Castaways"--really a deliberate farce, "taking off," the stories of
similar incident written for older folk--is yet, in itself, for the
child much more than that which is thus "taken off" ever could be for
the older and more romantic reader. "The Rock-Elephant" is full of humor
and imaginative pathos. "A Faëry Surprise-Party" is as delicate as are
Jack Frost's pencillings, through which all the events of the story
curiously move. "New-Year's Day in the Garden" has equal delicacy, and
even greater beauty.

In all the stories there is a humanizing of all elements introduced,
even the most material. We are assured that the author's efforts will
meet with success. Children, certainly, and all those especially
interested in children, will hail the book with delight. It is finely
illustrated by F.A. Chapman, who, it is evident, has spared no pains to
render it attractive. The engravings, be it said in their favor, are
not too directly suggestive, as is generally the case, but, from their
delicate insinuations, particularly beautiful.





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