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Title: The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 12, No. 74, December, 1863
Author: Various
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 12, No. 74, December, 1863" ***

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Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1863 by TICKNOR AND
FIELDS, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of

       *       *       *       *       *


I suppose that very few casual readers of the "New York Herald" of
August 13th observed, in an obscure corner, among the "Deaths," the

    "NOLAN. DIED, on board U.S. Corvette Levant, Lat. 2° 11' S., Long.
    131° W., on the 11th of May: Philip Nolan."

I happened to observe it, because I was stranded at the old
Mission-House in Mackinac, waiting for a Lake-Superior steamer which did
not choose to come, and I was devouring, to the very stubble, all the
current literature I could get hold of, even down to the deaths and
marriages in the "Herald." My memory for names and people is good, and
the reader will see, as he goes on, that I had reason enough to remember
Philip Nolan. There are hundreds of readers who would have paused at
that announcement, if the officer of the Levant who reported it had
chosen to make it thus:--"Died, May 11th, THE MAN WITHOUT A COUNTRY."
For it was as "The Man without a Country" that poor Philip Nolan had
generally been known by the officers who had him in charge during some
fifty years, as, indeed, by all the men who sailed under them. I dare
say there is many a man who has taken wine with him once a fortnight, in
a three years' cruise, who never knew that his name was "Nolan," or
whether the poor wretch had any name at all.

There can now be no possible harm in telling this poor creature's story.
Reason enough there has been till now, ever since Madison's
Administration went out in 1817, for very strict secrecy, the secrecy of
honor itself, among the gentlemen of the navy who have had Nolan in
successive charge. And certainly it speaks well for the _esprit de
corps_ of the profession and the personal honor of its members, that to
the press this man's story has been wholly unknown,--and, I think, to
the country at large also. I have reason to think, from some
investigations I made in the Naval Archives when I was attached to the
Bureau of Construction, that every official report relating to him was
burned when Ross burned the public buildings at Washington. One of the
Tuckers, or possibly one of the Watsons, had Nolan in charge at the end
of the war; and when, on returning from his cruise, he reported at
Washington to one of the Crowninshields,--who was in the Navy Department
when he came home,--he found that the Department ignored the whole
business. Whether they really knew nothing about it, or whether it was a
"_Non mi ricordo_," determined on as a piece of policy, I do not know.
But this I do know, that since 1817, and possibly before, no naval
officer has mentioned Nolan in his report of a cruise.

But, as I say, there is no need for secrecy any longer. And now the poor
creature is dead, it seems to me worth while to tell a little of his
story, by way of showing young Americans of to-day what it is to be


Philip Nolan was as fine a young officer as there was in the "Legion of
the West," as the Western division of our army was then called. When
Aaron Burr made his first dashing expedition down to New Orleans in
1805, at Fort Massac, or somewhere above on the river, he met, as the
Devil would have it, this gay, dashing, bright young fellow, at some
dinner-party, I think. Burr marked him, talked to him, walked with him,
took him a day or two's voyage in his flat-boat, and, in short,
fascinated him. For the next year, barrack-life was very tame to poor
Nolan. He occasionally availed of the permission the great man had given
him to write to him. Long, high-worded, stilted letters the poor boy
wrote and rewrote and copied. But never a line did he have in reply from
the gay deceiver. The other boys in the garrison sneered at him, because
he sacrificed in this unrequited affection for a politician the time
which they devoted to Monongahela, sledge, and high-low-jack. Bourbon,
euchre, and poker were still unknown. But one day Nolan had his revenge.
This time Burr came down the river, not as an attorney seeking a place
for his office, but as a disguised conqueror. He had defeated I know not
how many district-attorneys; he had dined at I know not how many public
dinners; he had been heralded in I know not how many Weekly Arguses; and
it was rumored that he had an army behind him and an empire before him.
It was a great day--his arrival--to poor Nolan. Burr had not been at the
fort an hour before he sent for him. That evening he asked Nolan to take
him out in his skiff, to show him a canebrake or a cotton-wood tree, as
he said,--really to seduce him; and by the time the sail was over, Nolan
was enlisted body and soul. From that time, though he did not yet know
it, he lived as A MAN WITHOUT A COUNTRY.

What Burr meant to do I know no more than you, dear reader. It is none
of our business just now. Only, when the grand catastrophe came, and
Jefferson and the House of Virginia of that day undertook to break on
the wheel all the possible Clarences of the then House of York, by the
great treason-trial at Richmond, some of the lesser fry in that distant
Mississippi Valley, which was farther from us than Puget's Sound is
to-day, introduced the like novelty on their provincial stage, and, to
while away the monotony of the summer at Fort Adams, got up, for
_spectacles_, a string of court-martials on the officers there. One and
another of the colonels and majors were tried, and, to fill out the
list, little Nolan, against whom, Heaven knows, there was evidence
enough,--that he was sick of the service, had been willing to be false
to it, and would have obeyed any order to march any-whither with any one
who would follow him, had the order only been signed, "By command of His
Exc. A. Burr." The courts dragged on. The big flies escaped,--rightly
for all I know. Nolan was proved guilty enough, as I say; yet you and I
would never have heard of him, reader, but that, when the president of
the court asked him at the close, whether he wished to say anything to
show that he had always been faithful to the United States, he cried
out, in a fit of frenzy,--

"D----n the United States! I wish I may never hear of the United States

I suppose he did not know how the words shocked old Colonel Morgan, who
was holding the court. Half the officers who sat in it had served
through the Revolution, and their lives, not to say their necks, had
been risked for the very idea which he so cavalierly cursed in his
madness. He, on his part, had grown up in the West of those days, in the
midst of "Spanish plot," "Orleans plot," and all the rest. He had been
educated on a plantation, where the finest company was a Spanish officer
or a French merchant from Orleans. His education, such as it was, had
been perfected in commercial expeditions to Vera Cruz, and I think he
told me his father once hired an Englishman to be a private tutor for a
winter on the plantation. He had spent half his youth with an older
brother, hunting horses in Texas; and, in a word, to him "United States"
was scarcely a reality. Yet he had been fed by "United States" for all
the years since he had been in the army. He had sworn on his faith as a
Christian to be true to "United States." It was "United States" which
gave him the uniform he wore, and the sword by his side. Nay, my poor
Nolan, it was only because "United States" had picked you out first as
one of her own confidential men of honor, that "A. Burr" cared for you a
straw more than for the flat-boat men who sailed his ark for him. I do
not excuse Nolan; I only explain to the reader why he damned his
country, and wished he might never hear her name again.

He never did hear her name but once again. From that moment, September
23, 1807, till the day he died, May 11, 1863, he never heard her name
again. For that half century and more he was a man without a country.

Old Morgan, as I said, was terribly shocked. If Nolan had compared
George Washington to Benedict Arnold, or had cried, "God save King
George," Morgan would not have felt worse. He called the court into his
private room, and returned in fifteen minutes, with a face like a sheet,
to say,--

"Prisoner, hear the sentence of the Court. The Court decides, subject to
the approval of the President, that you never hear the name of the
United States again."

Nolan laughed. But nobody else laughed. Old Morgan was too solemn, and
the whole room was hushed dead as night for a minute. Even Nolan lost
his swagger in a moment. Then Morgan added,--

"Mr. Marshal, take the prisoner to Orleans in an armed boat, and deliver
him to the naval commander there."

The marshal gave his orders, and the prisoner was taken out of court.

"Mr. Marshal," continued old Morgan, "see that no one mentions the
United States to the prisoner. Mr. Marshal, make my respects to
Lieutenant Mitchell at Orleans, and request him to order that no one
shall mention the United States to the prisoner while he is on board
ship. You will receive your written orders from the officer on duty here
this evening. The court is adjourned without day."

I have always supposed that Colonel Morgan himself took the proceedings
of the court to Washington City, and explained them to Mr. Jefferson.
Certain it is that the President approved them,--certain, that is, if I
may believe the men who say they have seen his signature. Before the
Nautilus got round from New Orleans to the Northern Atlantic coast with
the prisoner on board, the sentence had been approved, and he was a man
without a country.

The plan then adopted was substantially the same which was necessarily
followed ever after. Perhaps it was suggested by the necessity of
sending him by water from Fort Adams and Orleans. The Secretary of the
Navy--it must have been the first Crowninshield, though he is a man I do
not remember--was requested to put Nolan on board a Government vessel
bound on a long cruise, and to direct that he should be only so far
confined there as to make it certain that he never saw or heard of the
country. We had few long cruises then, and the navy was very much out of
favor; and as almost all of this story is traditional, as I have
explained, I do not know certainly what his first cruise was. But the
commander to whom he was intrusted--perhaps it was Tingey or Shaw,
though I think it was one of the younger men,--we are all old enough
now--regulated the etiquette and the precautions of the affair, and
according to his scheme they were carried out, I suppose, till Nolan

When I was second officer of the Intrepid, some thirty years after, I
saw the original paper of instructions. I have been sorry ever since
that I did not copy the whole of it. It ran, however, much in this

"_Washington_," (with the date, which must have been late in 1807.)

"Sir,--You will receive from Lt. Neale the person of Philip Nolan, late
a Lieutenant in the United States Army.

"This person on his trial by court-martial expressed with an oath the
wish that he might 'never hear of the United States again.'

"The Court sentenced him to have his wish fulfilled.

"For the present, the execution of the order is intrusted by the
President to this department.

"You will take the prisoner on board your ship, and keep him there with
such precautions as shall prevent his escape.

"You will provide him with such quarters, rations, and clothing as would
be proper for an officer of his late rank, if he were a passenger on
your vessel on the business of his Government.

"The gentlemen on board will make any arrangements agreeable to
themselves regarding his society. He is to be exposed to no indignity of
any kind, nor is he ever unnecessarily to be reminded that he is a

"But under no circumstances is he ever to hear of his country or to see
any information regarding it; and you will specially caution all the
officers under your command to take care, that, in the various
indulgences which may be granted, this rule, in which his punishment is
involved, shall not be broken.

"It is the intention of the Government that he shall never again see the
country which he has disowned. Before the end of your cruise you will
receive orders which will give effect to this intention.

    "Resp'y yours,

    "W. SOUTHARD, for the
    Sec'y of the Navy."

If I had only preserved the whole of this paper, there would be no break
in the beginning of my sketch of this story. For Captain Shaw, if it was
he, handed it to his successor in the charge, and he to his, and I
suppose the commander of the Levant has it to-day as his authority for
keeping this man in this mild custody.

The rule adopted on board the ships on which I have met "the man without
a country" was, I think, transmitted from the beginning. No mess liked
to have him permanently, because his presence cut off all talk of home
or of the prospect of return, of politics or letters, of peace or of
war,--cut off more than half the talk men like to have at sea. But it
was always thought too hard that he should never meet the rest of us,
except to touch hats, and we finally sank into one system. He was not
permitted to talk with the men, unless an officer was by. With officers
he had unrestrained intercourse, as far as they and he chose. But he
grew shy, though he had favorites: I was one. Then the captain always
asked him to dinner on Monday. Every mess in succession took up the
invitation in its turn. According to the size of the ship, you had him
at your mess more or less often at dinner. His breakfast he ate in his
own state-room,--he always had a state-room,--which was where a
sentinel, or somebody on the watch, could see the door. And whatever
else he ate or drank he ate or drank alone. Sometimes, when the marines
or sailors had any special jollification, they were permitted to invite
"Plain-Buttons," as they called him. Then Nolan was sent with some
officer, and the men were forbidden to speak of home while he was there.
I believe the theory was, that the sight of his punishment did them
good. They called him "Plain-Buttons," because, while he always chose to
wear a regulation army-uniform, he was not permitted to wear the
army-button, for the reason that it bore either the initials or the
insignia of the country he had disowned.

I remember, soon after I joined the navy, I was on shore with some of
the older officers from our ship and from the Brandywine, which we had
met at Alexandria. We had leave to make a party and go up to Cairo and
the Pyramids. As we jogged along, (you went on donkeys then,) some of
the gentlemen (we boys called them "Dons," but the phrase was long since
changed) fell to talking about Nolan, and some one told the system which
was adopted from the first about his books and other reading. As he was
almost never permitted to go on shore, even though the vessel lay in
port for months, his time, at the best, hung heavy; and everybody was
permitted to lend him books, if they were not published in America and
made no allusion to it. These were common enough in the old days, when
people in the other hemisphere talked of the United States as little as
we do of Paraguay. He had almost all the foreign papers that came into
the ship, sooner or later; only somebody must go over them first, and
cut out any advertisement or stray paragraph that alluded to America.
This was a little cruel sometimes, when the back of what was cut out
might be as innocent as Hesiod. Right in the midst of one of Napoleon's
battles, or one of Canning's speeches, poor Nolan would find a great
hole, because on the back of the page of that paper there had been an
advertisement of a packet for New York, or a scrap from the President's
message. I say this was the first time I ever heard of this plan, which
afterwards I had enough, and more than enough, to do with. I remember
it, because poor Phillips, who was of the party, as soon as the allusion
to reading was made, told a story of something which happened at the
Cape of Good Hope on Nolan's first voyage; and it is the only thing I
ever knew of that voyage. They had touched at the Cape, and had done the
civil thing with the English Admiral and the fleet, and then, leaving
for a long cruise up the Indian Ocean, Phillips had borrowed a lot of
English books from an officer, which, in those days, as indeed in these,
was quite a windfall. Among them, as the Devil would order, was the "Lay
of the Last Minstrel," which they had all of them heard of, but which
most of them had never seen. I think it could not have been published
long. Well, nobody thought there could be any risk of anything national
in that, though Phillips swore old Shaw had cut out the "Tempest" from
Shakspeare before he let Nolan have it, because he, said "the Bermudas
ought to be ours, and, by Jove, should be one day." So Nolan was
permitted to join the circle one afternoon when a lot of them sat on
deck smoking and reading aloud. People do not do such things so often
now; but when I was young we got rid of a great deal of time so. Well,
so it happened that in his turn Nolan took the book and read to the
others; and he read very well, as I know. Nobody in the circle knew a
line of the poem, only it was all magic and Border chivalry, and was ten
thousand years ago. Poor Nolan read steadily through the fifth canto,
stopped a minute and drank something, and then began, without a thought
of what was coming,--

    "Breathes there the man, with soul so dead,
    Who never to himself hath said,"--

It seems impossible to us that anybody ever heard this for the first
time; but all these fellows did then, and poor Nolan himself went on,
still unconsciously or mechanically,--

    "This is my own, my native land!"

Then they all saw something was to pay; but he expected to get through,
I suppose, turned a little pale, but plunged on,--

    "Whose heart hath ne'er within him burned,
    As home his footsteps he hath turned
       From wandering on a foreign strand?--
    If such there breathe, go, mark him well."

By this time the men were all beside themselves, wishing there was any
way to make him turn over two pages; but he had not quite presence of
mind for that; he gagged a little, colored crimson, and staggered on,--

    "For him no minstrel raptures swell;
    High though his titles, proud his name,
    Boundless his wealth as wish can claim,
    Despite these titles, power, and pelf,
    The wretch, concentred all in self,"--

and here the poor fellow choked, could not go on, but started up, swung
the book into the sea, vanished into his state-room, "and by Jove," said
Phillips, "we did not see him for two months again. And I had to make up
some beggarly story to that English surgeon why I did not return his
Walter Scott to him."

That story shows about the time when Nolan's braggadocio must have
broken down. At first, they said, he took a very high tone, considered
his imprisonment a mere farce, affected to enjoy the voyage, and all
that; but Phillips said that after he came out of his state-room he
never was the same man again. He never read aloud again, unless it was
the Bible or Shakespeare, or something else he was sure of. But it was
not that merely. He never entered in with the other young men exactly as
a companion again. He was always shy afterwards, when I knew him,--very
seldom spoke, unless he was spoken to, except to a very few friends. He
lighted up occasionally,--I remember late in his life hearing him fairly
eloquent on something which had been suggested to him by one of
Fléchier's sermons,--but generally he had the nervous, tired look of a
heart-wounded man.

When Captain Shaw was coming home,--if, as I say, it was Shaw,--rather
to the surprise of everybody they made one of the Windward Islands, and
lay off and on for nearly a week. The boys said the officers were sick
of salt-junk, and meant to have turtle-soup before they came home. But
after several days the Warren came to the same rendezvous; they
exchanged signals; she sent to Phillips and these homeward-bound men
letters and papers, and told them she was outward-bound, perhaps to the
Mediterranean, and took poor Nolan and his traps on the boat back to try
his second cruise. He looked very blank when he was told to get ready to
join her. He had known enough of the signs of the sky to know that till
that moment he was going "home." But this was a distinct evidence of
something he had not thought of, perhaps,--that there was no going home
for him, even to a prison. And this was the first of some twenty such
transfers, which brought him sooner or later into half our best vessels,
but which kept him all his life at least some hundred miles from the
country he had hoped he might never hear of again.

It may have been on that second cruise,--it was once when he was up the
Mediterranean,--that Mrs. Graff, the celebrated Southern beauty of those
days, danced with him. They had been lying a long time in the Bay of
Naples, and the officers were very intimate in the English fleet, and
there had been great festivities, and our men thought they must give a
great ball on board the ship. How they ever did it on board the Warren I
am sure I do not know. Perhaps it was not the Warren, or perhaps ladies
did not take up so much room as they do now. They wanted to use Nolan's
state-room for something, and they hated to do it without asking him to
the ball; so the captain said they might ask him, if they would be
responsible that he did not talk with the wrong people, "who would give
him intelligence." So the dance went on, the finest party that had ever
been known, I dare say; for I never heard of a man-of-war ball that was
not. For ladies they had the family of the American consul, one or two
travellers who had adventured so far, and a nice bevy of English girls
and matrons, perhaps Lady Hamilton herself.

Well, different officers relieved each other in standing and talking
with Nolan in a friendly way, so as to be sure that nobody else spoke to
him. The dancing went on with spirit, and after a while even the fellows
who took this honorary guard of Nolan ceased to fear any _contre-temps_.
Only when some English lady--Lady Hamilton, as I said, perhaps--called
for a set of "American dances," an odd thing happened. Everybody then
danced contra-dances. The black band, nothing loath, conferred as to
what "American dances" were, and started off with "Virginia Reel," which
they followed with "Money-Musk," which, in its turn in those days,
should have been followed by "The Old Thirteen." But just as Dick, the
leader, tapped for his fiddles to begin, and bent forward, about to say,
in true negro state, "'The Old Thirteen,' gentlemen and ladies!" as he
had said, "'Virginny Reel,' if you please!" and "'Money-Musk,' if you
please!" the captain's boy tapped him on the shoulder, whispered to him,
and he did not announce the name of the dance; he merely bowed, began on
the air, and they all fell to,--the officers teaching the English girls
the figure, but not telling them why it had no name.

But that is not the story I started to tell.--As the dancing went on,
Nolan and our fellows all got at ease, as I said,--so much so, that it
seemed quite natural for him to bow to that splendid Mrs. Graff, and

"I hope you have not forgotten me, Miss Rutledge. Shall I have the honor
of dancing?"

He did it so quickly, that Shubrick, who was by him, could not hinder
him. She laughed, and said,--

"I am not Miss Rutledge any longer, Mr. Nolan; but I will dance all the
same," just nodded to Shubrick, as if to say he must leave Mr. Nolan to
her, and led him off to the place where the dance was forming.

Nolan thought he had got his chance. He had known her at Philadelphia,
and at other places had met her, and this was a Godsend. You could not
talk in contra-dances, as you do in cotillons, or even in the pauses of
waltzing; but there were chances for tongues and sounds, as well as for
eyes and blushes. He began with her travels, and Europe, and Vesuvius,
and the French; and then, when they had worked down, and had that long
talking-time at the bottom of the set, he said, boldly,--a little pale,
she said, as she told me the story, years after,--

"And what do you hear from home, Mrs. Graff?"

And that splendid creature looked through him. Jove! how she must have
looked through him!

"Home!! Mr. Nolan!!! I thought you were the man who never wanted to hear
of home again!"--and she walked directly up the deck to her husband, and
left poor Nolan alone, as he always was.--He did not dance again.

I cannot give any history of him in order: nobody can now: and, indeed,
I am not trying to. These are the traditions, which I sort out, as I
believe them, from the myths which have been told about this man for
forty years. The lies that have been told about him are legion. The
fellows used to say he was the "Iron Mask"; and poor George Pons went to
his grave in the belief that this was the author of "Junius," who was
being punished for his celebrated libel on Thomas Jefferson. Pons was
not very strong in the historical line. A happier story than either of
these I have told is of the War. That came along soon after. I have
heard this affair told in three or four ways,--and, indeed, it may have
happened more than once. But which ship it was on I cannot tell.
However, in one, at least, of the great frigate-duels with the English,
in which the navy was really baptized, it happened that a round shot
from the enemy entered one of our ports square, and took right down the
officer of the gun himself, and almost every man of the gun's crew. Now
you may say what you choose about courage, but that is not a nice thing
to see. But, as the men who were not killed picked themselves up, and as
they and the surgeon's people were carrying off the bodies, there
appeared Nolan, in his shirt-sleeves, with the rammer in his hand, and,
just as if he had been the officer, told them off with authority,--who
should go to the cockpit with the wounded men, who should stay with
him,--perfectly cheery, and with that way which makes men feel sure all
is right and is going to be right. And he finished loading the gun with
his own hands, aimed it, and bade the men fire. And there he stayed,
captain of that gun, keeping those fellows in spirits, till the enemy
struck,--sitting on the carriage while the gun was cooling, though he
was exposed all the time,--showing them easier ways to handle heavy
shot,--making the raw hands laugh at their own blunders,--and when the
gun cooled again, getting it loaded and fired twice as often as any
other gun on the ship. The captain walked forward, by way of encouraging
the men, and Nolan touched his hat and said,--

"I am showing them how we do this in the artillery, Sir."

And this is the part of the story where all the legends agree: that the
Commodore said,--

"I see you do, and I thank you, Sir; and I shall never forget this day,
Sir, and you never shall, Sir."

And after the whole thing was over, and he had the Englishman's sword,
in the midst of the state and ceremony of the quarter-deck, he said,--

"Where is Mr. Nolan? Ask Mr. Nolan to come here."

And when Nolan came, the captain, said,--

"Mr. Nolan, we are all very grateful to you to-day; you are one of us
to-day; you will be named in the despatches."

And then the old man took off his own sword of ceremony, and gave it to
Nolan, and made him put it on. The man told me this who saw it. Nolan
cried like a baby, and well he might. He had not worn a sword since that
infernal day at Fort Adams. But always afterwards, on occasions of
ceremony, he wore that quaint old French sword of the Commodore's.

The captain did mention him in the despatches. It was always said he
asked that he might be pardoned. He wrote a special letter to the
Secretary of War. But nothing ever came of it. As I said, that was about
the time when they began to ignore the whole transaction at Washington,
and when Nolan's imprisonment began to carry itself on because there was
nobody to stop it without any new orders from home.

I have heard it said that he was with Porter when he took possession of
the Nukahiwa Islands. Not this Porter, you know, but old Porter, his
father, Essex Porter,--that is, the old Essex Porter, not this Essex. As
an artillery officer, who had seen service in the West, Nolan knew more
about fortifications, embrasures, ravelins, stockades, and all that,
than any of them did; and he worked with a right good will in fixing
that battery all right. I have always thought it was a pity Porter did
not leave him in command there with Gamble. That would have settled all
the question about his punishment. We should have kept the islands, and
at this moment we should have one station in the Pacific Ocean. Our
French friends, too, when they wanted this little watering-place, would
have found it was preoccupied. But Madison and the Virginians, of
course, flung all that away.

All that was near fifty years ago. If Nolan was thirty then, he must
have been near eighty when he died. He looked sixty when he was forty.
But he never seemed to me to change a hair afterwards. As I imagine his
life, from what I have seen and heard of it, he must have been in every
sea, and yet almost never on land. He must have known, in a formal way,
more officers in our service than any man living knows. He told me
once, with a grave smile, that no man in the world lived so methodical a
life as he. "You know the boys say I am the Iron Mask, and you know how
busy he was." He said it did not do for any one to try to read all the
time, more than to do any thing else all the time; but that he read just
five hours a day. "Then," he said, "I keep up my note-books, writing in
them at such and such hours from what I have been reading; and I include
in these my scrap-books." These were very curious indeed. He had six or
eight, of different subjects. There was one of History, one of Natural
Science, one which he, called "Odds and Ends." But they were not merely
books of extract from newspapers. They had bits of plants and ribbons,
shells tied on, and carved scraps of bone and wood, which he had taught
the men to cut for him, and they were beautifully illustrated. He drew
admirably. He had some of the funniest drawings there, and some of the
most pathetic, that I have ever seen in my life. I wonder who will have
Nolan's scrap-books.

Well, he said his reading and his notes were his profession, and that
they took five hours and two hours respectively of each day. "Then,"
said he, "every man should have a diversion as well as a profession. My
Natural History is my diversion." That took two hours a day more. The
men used to bring him birds and fish, but on a long cruise he had to
satisfy himself with centipedes and cockroaches and such small game. He
was the only naturalist I ever met who knew anything about the habits of
the house-fly and the mosquito. All those people can tell you whether
they are _Lepidoptera_ _Steptopotera_; but as for telling how you can
get rid of them, or how they get away from you when you strike
them,--why, Linnæus knew as little of that as John Foy the idiot did.
These nine hours made Nolan's regular daily "occupation." The rest of
the time he talked or walked. Till he grew very old, he went aloft a
great deal. He always kept up with his exercise; and I never heard that
he was ill. If any other man was ill, he was the kindest nurse in the
world; and he knew more than half the surgeons do. Then if anybody was
sick or died, or if the captain wanted him to on any other occasion, he
was always ready to read prayers. I have remarked that he read

My own acquaintance with Philip Nolan began six or eight years after the
War, on my first voyage after I was appointed a midshipman. It was in
the first days after our Slave-Trade treaty, while the Reigning House,
which was still the House of Virginia, had still a sort of
sentimentalism about the suppression of the horrors of the Middle
Passage, and something was sometimes done that way. We were in the South
Atlantic on that business. From the time I joined, I believe I thought
Nolan was a sort of lay chaplain--a chaplain with a blue coat. I never
asked about him. Everything in the ship was strange to me. I knew it was
green to ask questions, and I suppose I thought there was a
"Plain-Buttons" on every ship. We had him to dine in our mess once a
week, and the caution was given that on that day nothing was to be said
about home. But if they had told us not to say anything about the planet
Mars or the Book of Deuteronomy, I should not have asked why; there
were, a great many things which seemed to me to have as little reason. I
first came to understand anything about "the man without a country" one
day when we overhauled a dirty little schooner which had slaves on
board. An officer was sent to take charge of her, and, after a few
minutes, he sent back his boat to ask that some one might be sent him
who could speak Portuguese. We were all looking over the rail when the
message came, and we all wished we could interpret, when the captain
asked who spoke Portuguese. But none of the officers did; and just as
the captain was sending forward to ask if any of the people could, Nolan
stepped out and said he should be glad to interpret, if the captain
wished, as he understood the language. The captain thanked him, fitted
out another boat with him, and in this boat it was my luck to go.

When we got there, it was such a scene as you seldom see, and never want
to. Nastiness beyond account, and chaos run loose in the midst of the
nastiness. There were not a great many of the negroes; but by way of
making what there were understand that they were free, Vaughan had had
their hand-cuffs and ankle-cuffs knocked off, and, for convenience'
sake, was putting them upon the rascals of the schooner's crew. The
negroes were, most of them, out of the hold, and swarming all round the
dirty deck, with a central throng surrounding Vaughan and addressing him
in every dialect and _patois_ of a dialect, from the Zulu click up to
the Parisian of Beledeljereed.

As we came on deck, Vaughan looked down from a hogshead, on which he had
mounted in desperation, and said,--

"For God's love, is there anybody who can make these wretches understand
something? The men gave them rum, and that did not quiet them. I knocked
that big fellow down twice, and that did not soothe him. And then I
talked Choctaw to all of them together; and I'll be hanged if they
understood that as well as they understood the English."

Nolan said he could speak Portuguese, and one or two fine-looking
Kroomen were dragged out, who, as it had been found already, had worked
for the Portuguese on the coast at Fernando Po.

"Tell them they are free," said Vaughan; "and tell them that these
rascals are to be hanged as soon as we can get rope enough."

Nolan "put that into Spanish,"[A]--that is, he explained it in such
Portuguese as the Kroomen could understand, and they in turn to such of
the negroes as could understand them. Then there was such a yell of
delight, clinching of fists, leaping and dancing, kissing of Nolan's
feet, and a general rush made to the hogshead by way of spontaneous
worship of Vaughan, as the _deus ex machina_ of the occasion.

"Tell them," said Vaughan, well pleased, "that I will take them all to
Cape Palmas."

This did not answer so well. Cape Palmas was practically as far from the
homes of most of them as New Orleans or Rio Janeiro was; that is, they
would be eternally separated from home there. And their interpreters, as
we could understand, instantly said, "_Ah, non Palmas_," and began to
propose infinite other expedients in most voluble language. Vaughan was
rather disappointed at this result of his liberality, and asked Nolan
eagerly what they said. The drops stood on poor Nolan's white forehead,
as he hushed the men down, and said,--

"He says, 'Not Palmas.' He says, 'Take us home, take us to our own
country, take us to our own house, take us to our own pickaninnies and
our own women.' He says he has an old father and mother, who will die,
if they do not see him. And this one says he left his people all sick,
and paddled down to Fernando to beg the white doctor to come and help
them, and that these devils caught him in the bay just in sight of home,
and that he has never seen anybody from home since then. And this one
says," choked out Nolan, "that he has not heard a word from his home in
six months, while he has been locked up in an infernal barracoon."

Vaughan always said he grew gray himself while Nolan struggled through
this interpretation. I, who did not understand anything of the passion
involved in it, saw that the very elements were melting with fervent
heat, and that something was to pay somewhere. Even the negroes
themselves stopped howling, as they saw Nolan's agony, and Vaughan's
almost equal agony of sympathy. As quick as he could get words, he

"Tell them yes, yes, yes; tell them they shall go to the Mountains of
the Moon, if they will. If I sail the schooner through the Great White
Desert, they shall go home!"

And after some fashion Nolan said so. And then they all fell to kissing
him again, and wanted to rub his nose with theirs.

But he could not stand it long; and getting Vaughan to say he might go
back, he beckoned me down into our boat. As we lay back in the
stern-sheets and the men gave way, he said to me,--"Youngster, let that
show you what it is to be without a family, without a home, and without
a country. And if you are ever tempted to say a word or to do a thing
that shall put a bar between you and your family, your home, and your
country, pray God in His mercy to take you that instant home to His own
heaven. Stick by your family, boy; forget you have a self, while you do
everything for them. Think of your home, boy; write and send, and talk
about it. Let it be nearer and nearer to your thought, the farther you
have to travel from it; and rush back to it, when you are free, as that
poor black slave is doing now. And for your country, boy," and the words
rattled in his throat, "and for that flag," and he pointed to the ship,
"never dream a dream but of serving her as she bids you, though the
service carry you through a thousand hells. No matter what happens to
you, no matter who flatters you or who abuses you, never look at another
flag, never let a night pass but you pray God to bless that flag.
Remember, boy, that behind all these men you have to do with, behind
officers, and government, and people even, there is the Country Herself,
your Country, and that you belong to Her as you belong to your own
mother. Stand by Her, boy, as you would stand by your mother, if those
devils there had got hold of her to-day!"

I was frightened to death by his calm, hard passion; but I blundered
out, that I would, by all that was holy, and that I had never thought of
doing anything else. He hardly seemed to hear me; but he did, almost in
a whisper, say,--"Oh, if anybody had said so to me when I was of your

I think it was this half-confidence of his, which I never abused, for I
never told this story till now, which afterward made us great friends.
He was very kind to me. Often he sat up, or even got up, at night to
walk the deck with me, when it was my watch. He explained to me a great
deal of my mathematics, and I owe to him my taste for mathematics. He
lent me books, and helped me about my reading. He never alluded so
directly to his story again; but from one and another officer I have
learned, in thirty years, what I am telling. When we parted from him in
St. Thomas harbor, at the end of our cruise, I was more sorry than I can
tell. I was very glad to meet him again in 1830; and later in life, when
I thought I had some influence in Washington, I moved heaven and earth
to have him discharged. But it was like getting a ghost out of prison.
They pretended there was no such man, and never was such a man. They
will say so at the Department now! Perhaps they do not know. It will not
be the first thing in the service of which the Department appears to
know nothing!

There is a story that Nolan met Burr once on one of our vessels, when a
party of Americans came on board in the Mediterranean. But this I
believe to be a lie; or rather, it is a myth, _ben trovato_, involving a
tremendous blowing-up with which he sunk Burr,--asking him how he liked
to be "without a country." But it is clear, from Burr's life, that
nothing of the sort could have happened; and I mention this only as an
illustration of the stories which get a-going where there is the least
mystery at bottom.

So poor Philip Nolan had his wish fulfilled. I know but one fate more
dreadful: it is the fate reserved for those men who shall have one day
to exile themselves from their country because they have attempted her
ruin, and shall have at the same time to see the prosperity and honor to
which she rises when she has rid herself of them and their iniquities.
The wish of poor Nolan, as we all learned to call him, not because his
punishment was too great, but because his repentance was so clear, was
precisely the wish of every Bragg and Beauregard who broke a soldier's
oath two years ago, and of every Maury and Barron who broke a sailor's.
I do not know how often they have repented. I do know that they have
done all that in them lay that they might have no country,--that all the
honors, associations, memories, and hopes which belong to "country"
might be broken up into little shreds and distributed to the winds. I
know, too, that their punishment, as they vegetate through what is left
of life to them in wretched Boulognes and Leicester Squares, where they
are destined to upbraid each other till they die, will have all the
agony of Nolan's, with the added pang that every one who sees them will
see them to despise and to execrate them. They will have their wish,
like him.

For him, poor fellow, he repented of his folly, and then, like a man,
submitted to the fate he had asked for. He never intentionally added to
the difficulty or delicacy of the charge of those who had him in hold.
Accidents would happen; but they never happened from his fault.
Lieutenant Truxton told me, that, when Texas was annexed, there was a
careful discussion among the officers, whether they should get hold of
Nolan's handsome set of maps, and cut Texas out of it,--from the map of
the world and the map of Mexico. The United States had been cut out when
the atlas was bought for him. But it was voted, rightly enough, that to
do this would be virtually to reveal to him what had happened, or, as
Harry Cole said, to make him think Old Burr had succeeded. So it was
from no fault of Nolan's that a great botch happened at my own table,
when, for a short time, I was in command of the George Washington
corvette, on the South-American station. We were lying in the La Plata,
and some of the officers, who had been on shore, and had just joined
again, were entertaining us with accounts of their misadventures in
riding the half-wild horses of Buenos Ayres. Nolan was at table, and was
in an unusually bright and talkative mood. Some story of a tumble
reminded him of an adventure of his own, when he was catching wild
horses in Texas with his brother Stephen, at a time when he must have
been quite a boy. He told the story with a good deal of spirit,--so much
so, that the silence which often follows a good story hung over the
table for an instant, to be broken by Nolan himself. For he asked,
perfectly unconsciously,--

"Pray, what has become of Texas? After the Mexicans got their
independence, I thought that province of Texas would come forward very
fast. It is really one of the finest regions on earth; it is the Italy
of this continent. But I have not seen or heard a word of Texas for near
twenty years."

There were two Texan officers at the table. The reason he had never
heard of Texas was that Texas and her affairs had been painfully cut out
of his newspapers since Austin began his settlements; so that, while he
read of Honduras and Tamaulipas, and, till quite lately, of California,
this virgin province, in which his brother had travelled so far, and, I
believe, had died, had ceased to be to him. Waters and Williams, the two
Texas men, looked grimly at each other, and tried not to laugh. Edward
Morris had his attention attracted by the third link in the chain of the
captain's chandelier. Watrous was seized with a convulsion of sneezing.
Nolan himself saw that something was to pay, he did not know what. And
I, as master of the feast, had to say,--

"Texas is out of the map, Mr. Nolan. Have you seen Captain Back's
curious account of Sir Thomas Hoe's Welcome?"

After that cruise I never saw Nolan again. I wrote to him at least twice
a year, for in that voyage we became even confidentially intimate; but
he never wrote to me. The other men tell me that in those fifteen years
he _aged_ very fast, as well he might indeed, but that he was still the
same gentle, uncomplaining, silent sufferer that he ever was, bearing as
best he could his self-appointed punishment,--rather less social,
perhaps, with new men whom he did not know, but more anxious,
apparently, than ever to serve and befriend and teach the boys, some of
whom fairly seemed to worship him. And now it seems the dear old fellow
is dead. He has found a home at last, and a country.

Since writing this, and while considering whether or no I would print
it, as a warning to the young Nolans and Vallandighams and Tatnalls of
to-day of what it is to throw away a country, I have received from
Danforth, who is on board the Levant, a letter which gives an account of
Nolan's last hours. It removes all my doubts about telling this story.

To understand the first words of the letter, the non-professional reader
should remember that after 1817 the position of every officer who had
Nolan in charge was one of the greatest delicacy. The Government had
failed to renew the order of 1807 regarding him. What was a man to do?
Should he let him go? What, then, if he were called to account by the
Department for violating the order of 1807? Should he keep him? What,
then, if Nolan should be liberated some day, and should bring an action
for false imprisonment or kidnapping against every man who had had him
in charge? I urged and pressed this upon Southard, and I have reason to
think that other officers did the same thing. But the Secretary always
said, as they so often do at Washington, that there were no special
orders to give, and that we must act on our own judgment. That means,
"If you succeed, you will be sustained; if you fail, you will be
disavowed." Well, as Danforth says, all that is over now, though I do
not know but I expose myself to a criminal prosecution on the evidence
of the very revelation I am making.

Here is the letter:--

"_Levant_, 2° 2' S. @ 131° W.

"DEAR FRED,--I try to find heart and life to tell you that it is all
over with dear old Nolan. I have been with him on this voyage more than
I ever was, and I can understand wholly now the way in which you used to
speak of the dear old fellow. I could see that he was not strong, but I
had no idea the end was so near. The doctor had been watching him very
carefully, and yesterday morning came to me and told me that Nolan was
not so well, and had not left his state-room,--a thing I never remember
before. He had let the doctor come and see him as he lay there,--the
first time the doctor had been in the state-room,--and he said he should
like to see me. Oh, dear! do you remember the mysteries we boys used to
invent about his room, in the old Intrepid days? Well, I went in, and
there, to be sure, the poor fellow lay in his berth, smiling pleasantly
as he gave me his hand, but looking very frail. I could not help a
glance round, which showed me what a little shrine he had made of the
box he was lying in. The stars and stripes were triced up above and
around a picture of Washington, and he had painted a majestic eagle,
with lightnings blazing from his beak and his foot just clasping the
whole globe, which his wings overshadowed. The dear old boy saw my
glance, and said, with a sad smile, 'Here, you see, I have a country!'
And then he pointed to the foot of his bed, where I had not seen before
a great map of the United Stales, as he had drawn it from memory, and
which he had there to look upon as he lay. Quaint, queer old names were
on it, in large letters: 'Indiana Territory,' 'Mississippi Territory,'
and 'Louisiana Territory,' as I suppose our fathers learned such
things: but the old fellow had patched in Texas, too; he had carried his
western boundary all the way to the Pacific, but on that shore he had
defined nothing.

"'Oh, Danforth,' he said, 'I know I am dying. I cannot get home. Surely
you will tell me something now?--Stop! stop! Do not speak till I say
what I am sure you know, that there is not in this ship, that there is
not in America,--God bless her!--a more loyal man than I. There cannot
be a man who loves the old flag as I do, or prays for it as I do, or
hopes for it as I do. There are thirty-four stars in it now, Danforth. I
thank God for that, though I do not know what their names are. There has
never been one taken away: I thank God for that. I know by that, that
there has never been any successful Burr. Oh, Danforth, Danforth,' he
sighed out, 'how like a wretched night's dream a boy's idea of personal
fame or of separate sovereignty seems, when one looks back on it after
such a life as mine! But tell me,--tell me something,--tell me
everything, Danforth, before I die!'"

"Ingham, I swear to you that I felt like a monster that I had not told
him everything before. Danger or no danger, delicacy or no delicacy, who
was I, that I should have been acting the tyrant all this time over this
dear, sainted old man, who had years ago expiated, in his whole
manhood's life, the madness of a boy's treason? 'Mr. Nolan,' said I, 'I
will tell you everything you ask about. Only, where shall I begin?'

"Oh, the blessed smile that crept over his white face! and he pressed my
hand and said, 'God bless you!' 'Tell me their names,' he said, and he
pointed to the stars on the flag. 'The last I know is Ohio. My father
lived in Kentucky. But I have guessed Michigan and Indiana and
Mississippi,--that was where Fort Adams is,--they make twenty. But where
are your other fourteen? You have not cut up any of the old ones, I

"Well, that was not a bad text, and I told him the names, in as good
order as I could, and he bade me take down his beautiful map and draw
them in as I best could with my pencil. He was wild with delight about
Texas, told me how his brother died there; he had marked a gold cross
where he supposed his brother's grave was; and he had guessed at Texas.
Then he was delighted as he saw California and Oregon;--that, he said,
he had suspected partly, because he had never been permitted to land on
that shore, though the ships were there so much. 'And the men,' said he,
laughing, 'brought off a good deal besides furs.' Then he went
back--heavens, how far!--to ask about the Chesapeake, and what was done
to Barron for surrendering her to the Leopard, and whether Burr ever
tried again,--and he ground his teeth with the only passion he showed.
But in a moment that was over, and he said, 'God forgive me, for I am
sure I forgive him.' Then he asked about the old war,--told me the true
story of his serving the gun the day we took the Java,--asked about dear
old David Porter, as he called him. Then he settled down more quietly,
and very happily, to hear me tell in an hour the history of fifty years.

"How I wished it had been somebody who knew something! But I did as well
as I could. I told him of the English war. I told him about Fulton and
the steamboat beginning. I told him about old Scott, and Jackson; told
him all I could think about the Mississippi, and New Orleans, and Texas,
and his own old Kentucky. And do you think he asked who was in command
of the "Legion of the West." I told him it was a very gallant officer,
named Grant, and that, by our last news, he was about to establish his
head-quarters at Vicksburg. Then, 'Where was Vicksburg?' I worked that
out on the map; it was about a hundred miles, more or less, above his
old Fort Adams; and I thought Fort Adams must be a ruin now. 'It must be
at old Vicks's plantation,' said he; 'well, that is a change!'

"I tell you, Ingham, it was a hard thing to condense the history of half
a century into that talk with a sick man. And I do not now know what I
told him,--of emigration, and the means of it,--of steamboats and
railroads and telegraphs,--of inventions and books and literature,--of
the colleges and West Point and the Naval School,--but with the queerest
interruptions that ever you heard. You see it was Robinson Crusoe asking
all the accumulated questions of fifty-six years:

"I remember he asked, all of a sudden, who was President now; and when I
told him, he asked if Old Abe was General Benjamin Lincoln's son. He
said he met old General Lincoln, when he was quite a boy himself, at
some Indian treaty. I said no, that Old Abe was a Kentuckian like
himself, but I could not tell him of what family; he had worked up from
the ranks. 'Good for him!' cried Nolan; 'I am glad of that. As I have
brooded and wondered, I have thought our danger was in keeping up those
regular successions in the first families.' Then I got talking about my
visit to Washington. I told him of meeting the Oregon Congressman,
Harding; I told him about the Smithsonian and the Exploring Expedition;
I told him about the Capitol,--and the statues for the pediment,--and
Crawford's Liberty,--and Greenough's Washington: Ingham, I told him
everything I could think of that would show the grandeur of his country
and its prosperity; but I could not make up my mouth to tell him a word
about this infernal Rebellion!

"And he drank it in, and enjoyed it as I cannot tell you. He grew more
and more silent, yet I never thought he was tired or faint. I gave him a
glass of water, but he just wet his lips, and told me not to go away.
Then he asked me to bring the Presbyterian 'Book of Public Prayer,'
which lay there, and said, with a smile, that it would open at the
right, place,--and so it did. There was his double red mark down the
page; and I knelt down and read, and he repeated with me,--'For
ourselves and our country, O gracious God, we thank Thee, that,
notwithstanding our manifold transgressions of Thy holy laws, Thou hast
continued to us Thy marvellous kindness,'--and so to the end of that
thanksgiving. Then he turned to the end of the same book, and I read the
words more familiar to me,--'Most heartily we beseech Thee with Thy
favor to behold and bless Thy servant, the President of the United
States, and all others in authority,'--and the rest of the Episcopal
collect. 'Danforth,' said he, 'I have repeated those prayers night and
morning, it is now fifty-five years.' And then he said he would go to
sleep. He bent me down over him and kissed me; and he said, 'Look in my
Bible, Danforth, when I am gone.' And I went away.

"But I had no thought it was the end. I thought he was tired and would
sleep. I knew he was happy, and I wanted him to be alone.

"But in an hour, when the doctor went in gently, he found Nolan had
breathed his life away with a smile. He had something pressed close to
his lips. It was his father's badge of the Order of Cincinnati.

"We looked in his Bible, and there was a slip of paper, at the place
where he had marked the text,--

"'They desire a country, even a heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed
to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.'

"On this slip of paper he had written,--

"'Bury me in the sea; it has been my home, and I love it. But will not
some one set up a stone for my memory at Fort Adams or at Orleans, that
my disgrace may not be more than I ought to bear? Say on it,--

"'_In Memory of_


"'_Lieutenant in the Army of the United States._

"'He loved his country as no other man has loved her; but no man
deserved less at her hands.'"

       *       *       *       *       *


    It was the season when through all the land
      The merle and mavis build, and building sing
    Those lovely lyrics written by His hand
      Whom Saxon Cædmon calls the Blithe-Heart King,--
    When on the boughs the purple buds expand,
      The banners of the vanguard of the Spring,
    And rivulets, rejoicing, rush and leap,
      And wave their fluttering signals from the steep.

    The robin and the bluebird, piping loud,
      Filled all the blossoming orchards with their glee;
    The sparrows chirped as if they still were proud
      Their race in Holy Writ should mentioned be;
    And hungry crows, assembled in a crowd,
      Clamored their piteous prayer incessantly,
    Knowing who hears the ravens cry, and said,
      "Give us, O Lord, this day our daily bread!"

    Across the Sound the birds of passage sailed,
      Speaking some unknown language strange and sweet
    Of tropic isle remote, and passing hailed
      The village with the cheers of all their fleet,--
    Or, quarrelling together, laughed and railed
      Like foreign sailors landed in the street
    Of seaport town, and with outlandish noise
      Of oaths and gibberish frightening girls and boys.

    Thus came the jocund Spring in Killingworth,
      In fabulous days, some hundred years ago;
    And thrifty farmers, as they tilled the earth,
      Heard with alarm the cawing of the crow,
    That mingled with the universal mirth,
      Cassandra-like, prognosticating woe:
    They shook their heads, and doomed with dreadful words
      To swift destruction the whole race of birds.

    And a town-meeting was convened straightway
      To set a price upon the guilty heads
    Of these marauders, who, in lieu of pay,
      Levied black-mail upon the garden-beds
    And cornfields, and beheld without dismay
      The awful scarecrow, with his fluttering shreds,--
    The skeleton that waited at their feast,
      Whereby their sinful pleasure was increased.

    Then from his house, a temple painted white,
      With fluted columns, and a roof of red,
    The Squire came forth,--august and splendid sight!--
      Slowly descending, with majestic tread,
    Three flights of steps, nor looking left nor right;
      Down the long street he walked, as one who said,
    "A town that boasts inhabitants like me
      Can have no lack of good society!"

    The Parson, too, appeared, a man austere,
      The instinct of whose nature was to kill;
    The wrath of God he preached from year to year,
      And read with fervor Edwards on the Will;
    His favorite pastime was to slay the deer
      In Summer on some Adirondack hill;
    E'en now, while walking down the rural lane,
      He lopped the way-side lilies with his cane.

    From the Academy, whose belfry crowned
      The hill of Science with its vane of brass,
    Came the Preceptor, gazing idly round,
      Now at the clouds, and now at the green grass,
    And all absorbed in reveries profound
      Of fair Almira in the upper class,
    Who was, as in a sonnet he had said,
      As pure as water, and as good as bread.

    And next the Deacon issued from his door,
      In his voluminous neck-cloth, white as snow;
    A suit of sable bombazine he wore;
      His form was ponderous, and his step was slow;
    There never was so wise a man before;
      He seemed the incarnate "Well, I told you so!"
    And to perpetuate his great renown,
      There was a street named after him in town.

    These came together in the new town-hall,
      With sundry farmers from the region round;
    The Squire presided, dignified and tall,
      His air impressive and his reasoning sound.
    Ill fared it with the birds, both great and small;
      Hardly a friend in all that crowd they found,
    But enemies enough, who every one
      Charged them with all the crimes beneath the sun.

    When they had ended, from his place apart,
      Rose the Preceptor, to redress the wrong,
    And, trembling like a steed before the start,
      Looked round bewildered on the expectant throng;
    Then thought of fair Almira, and took heart
      To speak out what was in him, clear and strong,
    Alike regardless of their smile or frown,
      And quite determined not to be laughed down.

    "Plato, anticipating the Reviewers,
      From his Republic banished without pity
    The Poets; in this little town of yours,
      You put to death, by means of a Committee,
    The ballad-singers and the Troubadours,
      The street-musicians of the heavenly city,
    The birds, who make sweet music for us all
      In our dark hours, as David did for Saul.

    "The thrush, that carols at the dawn of day
      From the green steeples of the piny wood;
    The oriole in the elm; the noisy jay,
      Jargoning like a foreigner at his food;
    The bluebird balanced on some topmost spray,
      Flooding with melody the neighborhood;
    Linnet and meadow-lark, and all the throng
      That dwell in nests, and have the gift of song.

    "You slay them all! and wherefore? For the gain
      Of a scant handful more or less of wheat,
    Or rye, or barley, or some other grain,
      Scratched up at random by industrious feet
    Searching for worm or weevil after rain,
      Or a few cherries, that are not so sweet
    As are the songs these uninvited guests
      Sing at their feast with comfortable breasts.

    "Do you ne'er think what wondrous beings these?
      Do you ne'er think who made them, and who taught
    The dialect they speak, where melodies
      Alone are the interpreters of thought?
    Whose household words are songs in many keys,
      Sweeter than instrument of man e'er caught!
    Whose habitations in the tree-tops even
      Are half-way houses on the road to heaven!

    "Think, every morning when the sun peeps through
      The dim, leaf-latticed windows of the grove,
    How jubilant the happy birds renew
      Their old melodious madrigals of love!
    And when you think of this, remember, too,
      'Tis always morning somewhere, and above
    The awakening continents, from shore to shore,
      Somewhere the birds are singing evermore.

    "Think of your woods and orchards without birds!
      Of empty nests that cling to boughs and beams,
    As in an idiot's brain remembered words
      Hang empty 'mid the cobwebs of his dreams!
    Will bleat of flocks or bellowing of herds
      Make up for the lost music, when your teams
    Drag home the stingy harvest, and no more
      The feathered gleaners follow to your door?

    "What! would you rather see the incessant stir
      Of insects in the windrows of the hay,
    And hear the locust and the grasshopper
      Their melancholy hurdy-gurdies play?
    Is this more pleasant to you than the whirr
      Of meadow-lark, and its sweet roundelay,
    Or twitter of little fieldfares, as you take
      Your nooning in the shade of bush and brake?

    "You call them thieves and pillagers; but know
      They are the winged wardens of your farms,
    Who from the cornfields drive the insidious foe,
      And from your harvests keep a hundred harms;
    Even the blackest of them all, the crow,
      Renders good service as your man-at-arms,
    Crushing the beetle in his coat of mail,
      And crying havoc on the slug and snail.

    "How can I teach your children gentleness,
      And mercy to the weak, and reverence
    For Life, which, in its weakness or excess,
      Is still a gleam of God's omnipotence,
    Or Death, which, seeming darkness, is no less
      The self-same light, although averted hence,
    When by your laws, your actions, and your speech,
      You contradict the very things I teach?"

    With this he closed; and through the audience went
      A murmur, like the rustle of dead leaves;
    The farmers laughed and nodded, and some bent
      Their yellow heads together like their sheaves:
    Men have no faith in fine-spun sentiment
      Who put their trust in bullocks and in beeves.
    The birds were doomed; and, as the record shows,
      A bounty offered for the heads of crows.

    There was another audience out of reach,
      Who had no voice nor vote in making laws,
    But in the papers read his little speech,
      And crowned his modest temples with applause;
    They made him conscious, each one more than each,
      He still was victor, vanquished in their cause:
    Sweetest of all the applause he won from thee,
      O fair Almira at the Academy!

    And so the dreadful massacre began;
      O'er fields and orchards, and o'er woodland crests,
    The ceaseless fusillade of terror ran.
      Dead fell the birds, with blood-stains on their breasts,
    Or wounded crept away from sight of man,
      While the young died of famine in their nests:
    A slaughter to be told in groans, not words,
      The very St. Bartholomew of Birds!

    The Summer came, and all the birds were dead;
      The days were like hot coals; the very ground
    Was burned to ashes; in the orchards fed
      Myriads of caterpillars, and around
    The cultivated fields and garden-beds
      Hosts of devouring insects crawled, and found
    No foe to check their march, till they had made
      The land a desert without leaf or shade.

    Devoured by worms, like Herod, was the town,
      Because, like Herod, it had ruthlessly
    Slaughtered the Innocents. From the trees spun down
      The canker-worms upon the passers-by,--
    Upon each woman's bonnet, shawl, and gown,
      Who shook them off with just a little cry;
    They were the terror of each favorite walk,
      The endless theme of all the village-talk.

    The farmers grew impatient, but a few
      Confessed their error, and would not complain;
    For, after all, the best thing one can do,
      When it is raining, is to let it rain.
    Then they repealed the law, although they knew
      It would not call the dead to life again;
    As school-boys, finding their mistake too late,
      Draw a wet sponge across the accusing slate.

    That year in Killingworth the Autumn came
      Without the light of his majestic look,
    The wonder of the falling tongues of flame,
      The illumined pages of his Doom's-Day Book.
    A few lost leaves blushed crimson with their shame,
      And drowned themselves despairing in the brook,
    While the wild wind went moaning everywhere,
      Lamenting the dead children of the air.

    But the next Spring a stranger sight was seen,
      A sight that never yet by bard was sung,--
    As great a wonder as it would have been,
      If some dumb animal had found a tongue:
    A wagon, overarched with evergreen,
      Upon whose boughs were wicker cages hung,
    All full of singing-birds, came down the street,
      Filling the air with music wild and sweet.

    From all the country round these birds were brought,
      By order of the town, with anxious quest,
    And, loosened from their wicker prisons, sought
      In woods and fields the places they loved best,
    Singing loud canticles, which many thought
      Were satires to the authorities addressed,
    While others, listening in green lanes, averred
      Such lovely music never had been heard.

    But blither still and louder carolled they
      Upon the morrow, for they seemed to know
    It was the fair Almira's wedding-day,
      And everywhere, around, above, below,
    When the Preceptor bore his bride away,
      Their songs burst forth in joyous overflow,
    And a new heaven bent over a new earth
      Amid the sunny farms of Killingworth.

       *       *       *       *       *



Would you know something of the way in which men live in Paris? Would
you penetrate a little beneath the brilliant, glossy epidermis of the
French capital? Would you know other shadows and other sights than those
you find in "Galignani's Messenger" under the rubric, "Stranger's
Diary"? Listen to us. We hope to be brief. We hope to succeed in
tangling your interest. We don't hope to make you merry,--oh, no, no,
no! we don't hope that! Life isn't a merry thing anywhere,--least of all
in Paris; for, look you, in modern Babylon there are so many calls for
money, (which Southey called "a huge evil" everywhere,) there are so
many temptations to expense, one has to keep a most cool head and a most
silent heart to live in Paris and to avoid debt. Few are able
successfully to achieve this charmed life. The Duke of Wellington, who
was in debt but twice in his life,--first, when he became of age, and,
like all young men, _felt_ his name by indorsing it on negotiable paper,
and placing it in a tradesman's book; secondly, when he lived in Paris,
master of all France by consent of Europe,--the Duke of Wellington
involved himself in debt in Paris to the amount of a million of dollars.
Blücher actually ruined himself in the city he conquered. The last heir
to the glorious name and princely estates of Von Kaunitz lost everything
he possessed, even his dignity, in a few years of life in Paris. Judge
of the resistless force and fury of the great maelström!

And I hope, after you have measured some degree of its force and of its
fury by these illustrious examples, that you may be softened into
something like pity and terror, when I tell you how a poor fellow, who
had no name but that he made with his pen, who commanded no money save
only that he obtained by transmuting ink and paper into gold, strove
against it with various success, and often was vanquished. You will not
judge him too harshly, will you? You will not be the first to throw a
stone at him, neither will you add your stone, to those that may be
thrown at him: hands enough are raised against him! We do not
altogether absolve him for many a shortcoming; but we crave permission
to keep our censure and our sighs for our study. Permit us to forbear
arraigning him at the public bar. He is dead,--and everybody respects
the dead, except profligate editors, prostitutes, and political
clergymen. Besides, his life was such a hard one,--so full of clouds,
with so few gleams of sunshine,--so agitated by storm,--so bereaved of
halcyon days,--'twould be most cruel to deny him the grave's dearest
privilege, peace and quiet. Amen! Amen! with all my heart to thy
benediction and prayer, O priest! as, aspersing his lifeless remains
with holy-water, thou sayest, _Requiescat!_ So mote it be! _Requiescat!
Requiescat! Requiescat in pace!_

Approach, then, reader, with softest step, and we will, in lowest
whispers, pour into your ear the story of the battle of life as 'tis
fought in Paris. We will show you the fever and the heartache, the
corroding care and the panting labor which oppress life in Paris. Then
will you say, No wonder they all die of a shattered heart or consumed
brain at Paris! No wonder De Balzac died of heart-disease! No wonder
Frederic Souliè's heart burst! No wonder Bruffault went crazy, and
Eugene Sue's heart collapsed, and Malitourne lives at the mad-house! It
is killing!

We will show you this life, not by didactic description, but by example,
by telling you the story of one who lived this life. He was born in the
lowest social station, he battled against every disadvantage, the
hospital was his sick-chamber, his funeral was at the Government's
expense, and everybody eminent in literature and art followed his
remains to the grave, over which, after a proper interval of time, a
monument was erected by public subscription to his memory. His father
was a porter at the door of one of the houses in the Rue des Trois
Frères. He added the tailor's trade to his poorly paid occupation. A
native of Savoy, he possessed the mountaineer's taciturnity and love of
home. War carried him to Paris. The rigors of conscription threw him
into the ranks of the army; and when the first Empire fell, the child of
Savoy made Paris his home, married a young seamstress, and obtained the
lodge of house No. 5 Rue des Trois Frères. This marriage gave to French
letters Henry Murger. It had no other issue.

Henry Murger was born March 24th, 1822. His earlier years seemed likely
to be his last; he was never well; his mother gave many a tear and many
a vigil to the sickly child she thought every week she must lose. To
guard his days, she placed him, to gratify a Romish superstition, under
the special protection of the Blessed Virgin, and in accordance with
custom clad him in the Madonna's livery of blue. His costume of a blue
smock, blue pantaloons, and a blue cap procured for him the name of
_Bleuet_, or, as we should perhaps say, Blueling, if indeed we may coin
for the occasion one of those familiar, affectionate diminutives, so
common in the Italian, rarer in the French, and almost unknown in our
masculine tongue. An only child, and an invalid, poor Bleuet was of
course a spoiled child, his mother's darling and pet. His wishes, his
sick-child's caprices were her law, and she gratified them at the cost
of many a secret privation. She seemed to know--maternal love hath often
the faculty of second-sight--that her poor boy, though only the child of
the humblest parentage, was destined to rise one day far above the
station in which he was born. She attired him better than children of
his class commonly dressed. She polished his manners as much as she
could,--and 'twas much, for women, even of the lowest classes, have
gentle tastes and delicacy. She could not bear to think that her darling
should one day sit cross-legged on the paternal bench, and ply needle
and scissors. She breathed her own aspirations into the boy's ears, and
filled his mind with them. O mothers, ye do make us what ye please! Your
tears and caresses are the rain and the sun that mature the seed which
time and the accidents of life sow in our tender minds! She filled him
with pride,--which is a cardinal virtue, let theologians say what they
will,--and kept him aloof from the little blackguards who toss and
tumble over the curb-stones, losing that dignity which is man's
chastity, and removing one barrier between them and crime.

He was, even in his earlier years, exquisitely sensitive. La Blache, the
famous singer, occupied a suite of rooms in the house of which his
father was porter. One day La Blache's daughter, (now Madame Thalberg,)
who was confined to her rooms by a fall which had dislocated her ankle,
sent for the sprightly lad. He was in love with her, just as boys will
adore a pretty face without counting years or differences of position
(at that happy age a statesman and a stage-driver seem equal,--if,
indeed, the latter does not appear to occupy the more enviable position
in life). He dressed himself with all the elegance he could command, and
obeyed Mademoiselle La Blache's summons, building all sorts of castles
in the air as he arranged his toilet and while he was climbing the
staircase. His affected airs were so laughable, she told him in a
mock-heroic manner what she wished of him, and probably with something
of that paternal talent which had shaken so many opera-houses with
applause:--"I have sent for you to teach me the song I hear you sing
every day." This downfall from his castles in the air, and her manner,
brought blushes to his cheek and flames to his eyes, which amused her
all the more; so she went on,--"Oh, don't be afraid! I will pay--two
ginger-cakes a lesson." So sensitive was the child's nature, this
innocent pleasantry wounded him with such pain, that he fell on the
carpet sobbing and with nerves all jangled. How the pangs poverty
attracts must have wrung him!--But let us not anticipate the course of

As he advanced in life he outgrew his disease, and became a
chubby-cheeked boy, health's own picture. He was the favorite of the
neighborhood, his mother's pride, and the source of many a heartache to
her; for, as he grew towards manhood, his father insisted every day more
strenuously that he should learn some trade. His poor mother obstinately
opposed this scheme. Many were the boisterous quarrels on this subject
the boy witnessed, sobbing between his parents; for his father was a
rough, ill-bred mountaineer, who had reached Paris through the barrack
and the battle-field, neither of which tends to smooth the asperities of
character. The woman was tenacious; for what will not a mother's heart
brave? what will it not endure? Those natures which are gentle as water
are yet deep and changeless as the ocean. Of course the wife carried her
point. Who can resist a mother struggling for her son? The boy was
placed as copying-clerk in an attorney's office. All the world over, the
law is the highway to literature. The lad, however, was uneducated; he
wrote well, and this was enough to enable him to copy the law-papers of
the office, but he was ignorant of the first elements of grammar, and
his language, although far better than that of the lads of his class in
life, was shocking to polite ears. It could not well be otherwise, as
his only school was a petty public primary school, and he was but
fourteen years old when his father ordered him to begin to earn his
daily bread. But he was not only endowed with a literary instinct, he
had, too, that obstinate perseverance which would, as one of his friends
said of him, "have enabled him to learn to read by looking at the signs
in the streets, and to cipher by glancing at the numbers on the houses."

Murger always attributed a great deal of influence upon his life to the
accident which had given his father artists for tenants. Not only La
Blache, but Garcia and his incomparable daughters, Marie Malibran and
Pauline Viardot, and, after they left, Baroilhet, the opera-singer, had
rooms in the house. The handsome boy was constantly with them, and this
early and long and intimate association with Art gave him elegance and
grace and vivacity. The seeds sown during such intercourse may for years
lie buried beneath the cares and thoughts of a laborious life, and yet
grow and bring forth fruit as soon as a more propitious atmosphere
environs them. Comrades in the office where he wrote likewise had
influence upon his career. He found among the clerks two brothers,
Pierre and Emile Bisson, gentlemen who have now attained reputation by
their admirable photographic landscapes, especially of Alpine scenery.
They were then as poor and as uneducated as Henry Murger. They lived in
a house inhabited by several painters, from whom they caught a love and
some knowledge of Art. They communicated the contagion to their new
comrade, and the moment office-hours were over all three hastened, as
fast as they could go, to the nearest public drawing-school. All three
aspired to the fame of Rubens and of Paul Veronese. Murger had no talent
for painting. One day, after he had been guilty of some pictures which
are said to be--for they are still in existence--enough to make the hair
of a connoisseur of painting stand on end, Pierre Bisson said to him,
"Throw away the pencil, Murger; you will never make a painter." Murger
accepted the decree without appeal. He felt that painting was not _in
him_.[B] He took up the pen and wrote poetry. There is nothing equal to
the foolhardiness of youth. It grapples with the most difficult
subjects, and _knows_ it can master them. As all of Murger's friends
were painters, except his father and mother, and they were illiterate,
his insane prose seemed as fine poetry as was ever written, because it
turned somersets on feet. Nobody noticed whether it was on five or six
or fifteen feet. His father, however, had heard what a dangerous disease
of the purse poetry was, and forbade his son from trying to catch
it,--vowing, that, if he heard again of its continued pursuit, he would
immediately make a tailor of him. Of course, the threat did not deter
Murger from the chase; but instead of pursuing it openly, he pursued it
by stealth. The sportsman became a poacher. Pierre and Émile Bisson
quitted the attorney's office and opened a studio: they were painters
now. Henry Murger managed to filch an hour every day from the time
allotted to the errands of the office about Paris to spend in the studio
of his friends, where he would write his poetry and hide his
manuscripts. Here he made the acquaintance of artists and literary young
men as unfledged as himself, but who possessed the advantages of a
regular scholastic education. They taught him the rules of prosody and
the exercises proper to overcome the mere mechanical difficulties of
versification. This society made Murger more than ever ambitious; a
secret instinct told him that the pen was the arm with which he would
win fame and fortune. He determined to abandon the law-office.

His father was furious enough at this resolution, and more than one
painful scene took place between them. The boy was within an ace of
bring kicked out of doors, when his troubles reached the ears of a
literary tenant of the house: this was no other than Monsieur de Jouy, a
member of the French Academy, and quite famous in his day for "L'Ermite
de la Chaussée d'Antin," and a tragedy, "Sylla," which Talma's genius
threw such beams upon as made it radiant, and for an imprisonment for
political offences, a condiment without which French reputations seem to
lack savor. Heaven knows what would have become of the poor boy but for
this intervention, as his mother was dead and he was all friendless.
Monsieur de Jouy procured him the place of private secretary to Count
Tolstoy, a Russian nobleman established by the Czar in Paris as his
political correspondent. The salary given was meagre enough, but in this
world all things have a relative as well as an intrinsic value, and
eight dollars a month seemed to the poor lad, who had never yet earned
a cent, a fragment of El Dorado or of Peru. It gave him independence.
His contemporaries have described him as gay, free, easy, and happy at
this period. He had ceased to be dependent upon anybody; he lived upon
his own earnings; he was in the full bloom of health and youth; and the
horizon before him, even though clouded, wore all the colors of the
rainbow. His father gave him a garret in the house, and continued to
allow him a seat at the table, but he made young Murger give him six of
the eight dollars earned. The rest of his salary was spent among the
boxes of books which line the parapet of the Paris quays,--a sort of
literary Morgue or dead-house, where the still-born and deceased
children of the press are exhibited, to challenge the pity of
passers-by, and so escape the corner grocer and the neighboring
trunk-maker. Here Murger purchased all the volumes of new poems he could
discover. When his friends jested him upon his wasteful extravagance in
buying verse good for nothing but to cheapen the value of the paper on
which it was printed, he replied, that a poet should keep himself
informed of the progress of Art. He has since confessed that his object
in buying this trash was simply to compare his efforts with those which
had been deemed worthy to see print. His ambition then was to be pale,
consumptive, to drink the dregs of poverty's poisoned chalice, and to
toss on a hospital-bed. He found it hard work to gratify these desires.
His plethoric person, his rubicund cheeks and high health, gave him much
more the appearance of a jovial monk of Bolton Abbey than of a Werther
or a Chatterton or a Lara. But as he was determined to look the poet of
the Byron school, for a fortnight he followed a regimen "which would
have given phthisis to Mount Atlas"; he studied in some medical treatise
the symptoms of the consumption, and, after wading through thirty miles
of the mud and mire to be found in the environs of Paris, drenched to
the skin by an autumnal rain, he went to the hospital and was admitted.
He was delighted. He instantly wrote an ode to "Hallowed Misery," dated
from the "House of Woe," sent it off to the Atlantic Monthly of Paris,
and lay in bed dreaming he should find himself famous next morning, and
receive the visits of all Paris, from Monsieur Guizot, then
Prime-Minister, to the most callous poetaster of the Latin Quarter, and
be besieged by every publisher, armed with bags full of money. He woke
the next morning to find himself in perfect health, and to hear the
physician order him to clear out of the hospital. He had no news from
the magazine nor from Monsieur Guizot.

'Tis ill playing with edge-tools! The hospital is not to be coquetted
with. There is no such thing as romping with misery. One might as well
amuse himself toying with the rattlesnake or playing with fluoric acid.
Wait a moment, and the hospital will reappear in the story of his life,
sombre, pitiless, fatal, as it is in reality. A little patience, and
misery will come, in its gaunt, wolf-like shape, to harry and to harass.
Play not with fire!

Distress soon came. The young poet fell into bad company. He came home
late one night. His father scolded: 'tis a porter's infirmity to fret at
late-comers. Another night he came home later. The scolding became a
philippic. Again he did not come home at all. His father ordered him
never more to darken his doors. Murger took him at his word, and went to
share a friend's bed in another garret. The friend was little better off
in worldly goods; he lived in a chamber for which he paid twenty dollars
a year, and which was furnished "with one of those lots of furniture
which are the terror of landlords, especially when quarter-day comes."
Murger now began to know what it was to be poor, to go to bed without
having tasted a morsel of food the whole day, to be dressed ludicrously
shabby. He had never before known these horrors of poverty; for under
his father's roof the meals, though humble, were always regularly
served, and quarter-day never came. As eight dollars,--less by a great
deal than an ordinary servant earns by sweeping rooms and washing
dishes, besides being fed and lodged,--which Count Tolstoy gave his
secretary, was not enough to enable Murger to live, he tried to add
something to his income by his pen. He wrote petty tales for children's
magazines, and exerted himself to gain admission into other and more
profitable periodicals, but for a long time without success. Many and
many a sheet must be blotted before the apprentice-writer can merit even
the lowest honors of print: can it be called an honor to see printed
lines forgotten before the book is closed? Yet even this dubious honor
cannot be won until after days and nights have been given to literary

Murger was for some time uncertain what course to adopt. His father sent
him word that the best thing he could do would be to get the place of
body-servant to some gentleman or of waiter in some _café_! He himself
half determined, in his hours of depression, when despair was his only
hope, to ship as a sailor on board some man-of-war. He would at other
times return to his first love, and vow he would be a painter; then
music would solicit him; medicine next, and then surgery would tangle
his eyes. These excursions, which commonly lasted three months each,
were not fruitless; they increased his stock of information, and
supplied him with some of his most striking images. He became joyous
about this period, and his hilarity _broke out_ all at once. One night
Count Tolstoy had ordered Murger to color several thousand strategic
maps, and, after he had postponed the labor repeatedly, he asked several
of his friends to aid him. They sat up all night. He suddenly became
very gay, and told story after story in a most vivid and humorous
manner. His friends roared with laughter, and one of them begged him to
abandon poetry and become a prose-writer, predicting for him a most
brilliant career. But poetry has its peculiar fascinations, and is not
relinquished without painful throes. Murger refused to cease versifying.

He had pernicious habits of labor. He never rose until three o'clock in
the afternoon, and never began to write until after the lamp was
lighted. He wrote until daybreak. If sleep came, if inspiration lagged,
he would resort to coffee, and drink it in enormous quantities. One may
turn night into day without great danger, upon condition of leading a
temperate and regular life; for Nature has wonderful power of adapting
herself to all circumstances, upon condition that irregularity itself he
regular in its irregularity. He fell into this habit from poverty. He
was too poor to buy fuel and comfortable clothes, so he lay in bed to
keep warm; he worked in bed,--reading, writing, correcting, buried under
the comfortable bedclothes. He would sometimes drink "as many as six
ounces of coffee." "I am literally killing myself," he said. "You must
care me of drinking coffee; I reckon upon you." His room-mate suggested
to him that they should close the windows, draw the curtains, and light
the lamp in the daytime, to deceive habit by counterfeiting night. They
made the attempt in vain. The roar of a great city penetrates through
wall and curtain. They could not work. Inspiration ceased to flow.
Murger returned to his protracted vigils, and to the stimulus of coffee,
and never more attempted to break away from them. This sort of life, his
frequent privations, his innumerable disappointments, drove him in good
earnest to the hospital. He announces it in this way to a friend:--

    "_Hospital Saint Louis, 23 May, 1842_.

    "MY DEAR FRIEND,--Here I am again at the hospital. Two days after
    I sent you my last letter I woke up feeling as if my whole body
    were on fire. I felt as if I were enveloped in flames. I was
    literally burning. I lighted my candle, and was alarmed by the
    spectacle my poor self presented. I was red from my feet to my
    head,--as red as a boiled lobster, neither more nor less. So I
    went to the hospital this morning, as early as I could go, and
    here I am,--Henry IV.'s ward, bed No. 10. The doctors were
    astonished at my case; they say it is _purpura_. I should say it
    was! The purple of the Roman emperors was not, I am very sure, as
    purple as my envelope.... My disease is now in a stage of
    reaction, and the doctors do not know what to do, I cannot walk
    thirty paces without stumbling. I have thousands of trumpets
    blowing flourishes in my ears. I have been bled, re-bled,
    mustard-plastered, all in vain. I have swallowed down my poor
    throat more arsenic than any three melodramatists of the
    Boulevards. I do not know how all this is going to end. The
    physician tells me that he will cure me, but that it will take
    time. To-day they are going to put all sorts of things on my body,
    and among them leeches to remove my giddiness.... I am greatly
    fatigued by my life here, and I pass some; very gloomy days,--and
    they are the gloomier, because there is not a single day but I see
    in the ward next to mine men die thick as flies. A hospital may be
    very poetical, but it is, too, a sad, sad place."

Many and many a time afterwards did he return to the hospital, all sad
as it was. His garret was sadder in _purpura's_ hour. Want had taken up
its abode with him. He wanted bread often. His clothes went and came
with painful regularity from his back to the pawnbroker's. His father
refused to do anything for him. "He saw me without bread to put in my
mouth, and offered me not a crumb, although he had money belonging to me
in his hands. He saw me in boots full of holes, and gave me to
understand that I was not to come to see him in such plight." Such was
the poor fellow's distress, that he was almost glad when the _purpura_,
with its intolerable pains, returned, that he might crawl to the
hospital, where he could say, that, "bad as the hospital-fare is, it is
at least certain, and is, after all, ten times better than that I am
able to earn. I can eat as many as two or three plates of soup, but then
I am obliged to change my costume to do so, for it is only by cheating
that one can get it." But all the time he was in the hospital he was
tormented by the fear that he would lose during his absence his wretched
place as Count Tolstoy's secretary, and which, wretched as it was,
nevertheless was something,--was as a plank in the great ocean to one
who, it gone, saw nothing but water around him, and he no swimmer. He
did lose the situation, because one day he stayed at home to finish a
poem, instead of appearing at his desk. The misfortune came at the worst
possible time. It came when he owed two quarters' rent, fifteen dollars,
to his landlord, and ten dollars to other people. "I am half dead of
hunger. I am at the end of the rope. I must get a place somewhere, or
blow my brains out." The mental anguish and physical privation brought
back the _purpura_. He went to the hospital,--for the fifth time in
eleven months and seven days,--all his furniture was sold for rent, and
he knew not where he was to go when he quitted the hospital. Yet he did
not give up in despair. "Notwithstanding all this, I declare to you, my
dear friend," he wrote, "that, when I feel somewhat satisfied with what
I have written, I am ready to clap my hands at life.... Everything is
against me, and yet I shall none the less remain in the arena. The wild
beasts may devour me: so be it!"

After leaving the hospital, he formed the acquaintance of Monsieur Jules
Fleury, or, as he is better known to the world of letters, Monsieur
Champfleury,--for, with that license the French take with their names,
so this rising novelist styles himself. This acquaintance was of great
advantage to Henry Murger. Monsieur Champfleury was a young man of
energy and will, who took a practical view of life, and believed that a
pen could in good hands earn bread as well as a yardstick, and command,
what the latter cannot hope, fame. He believed that independence was
the first duty of a literary man, and that true dignity consists in
diligent labor rather than in indolent railing at fate and the scoffings
of "uncomprehended" genius. Monsieur Champfleury was no poet. He
detested poetry, and his accurate perception of the world showed him
that poetry is a good deal like paper money, which depends for its
current value rather upon the credit possessed by the issuer than upon
its own intrinsic value. He pressed Murger to abandon poetry and take to
prose. He was successful, and Murger labored to acquire bread and
reputation by his prose-compositions. He practised his hand in writing
vaudevilles, dramas, tales, and novels, and abandoned poetry until
better days, when his life should have a little more silk and a little
more gold woven into its woof. But the hours of literary apprenticeship
even of prose-writers are long and arduous, especially to those whose
only patrimony is their shadow in the sun. Monsieur Champfleury has
given in one of his works an interesting picture of their life in
common. We translate the painful narration:--

    "T'other evening I was sitting in my chimney-corner looking over a
    mountain of papers, notes, unfinished articles, and fine novels
    begun, but which will never have an end. I discovered amid my
    landlords' receipts for house-rent (all of which I keep with great
    care, just to prove to myself that they are really and truly paid)
    a little copy-book, which was narrow and long, like some mediæval
    piece of sculpture. I opened this little blue-backed copy-book; it
    bore the title, ACCOUNT-BOOK. How many memories were contained in
    this little copy-book! What a happy life is literary life, seen
    after a lapse of five or six years! I could not sleep for thinking
    of that little copy-book, so I rose and sat down at my table to
    discharge on these sheets all the delightful blue-backed copy-book
    memories which haunted my head. Were any stranger to pick up this
    little copy-book in the street, he would think it belonged to some
    poor, honest family. I dare say you have forgotten the little
    copy-book, although three-fourths of its manuscript is in your
    hand-writing. I am going to recall its origin to you.

    "Nine years ago we lived together, and we possessed between us
    fourteen dollars a month. Full of confidence in the future, we
    rented two rooms in the Rue de Vaugirard for sixty dollars a year.
    Youth reckons not. You spoke to the porter's wife of such a
    sumptuous set of furniture that she let the rooms to you on your
    honest face without asking references. Poor woman, what thrills of
    horror ran through her when she saw our furniture set down before
    her door! You had six plates, three of which were of porcelain, a
    Shakspeare, the works of Victor Hugo, a chest of drawers in its
    dotage, and a Phrygian cap. By some extraordinary chance, I had
    two mattresses, a hundred and fifty volumes, an arm-chair, two
    plain chairs, a table, and a skull. The idea of making a grand
    sofa belongs to you, I confess; but it was a deplorable idea. We
    sawed off the four feet of a cot-bedstead and made it rest on the
    floor; the consequence of which was, that the cot-bedstead proved
    to be utterly worthless. The porter's wife took pity upon us, and
    lent us a second cot-bedstead, which 'furnished' your chamber,
    which was likewise adorned with several dusty souvenirs you hung
    on the wall, such as a woman's glove, a velvet mask, and various
    other objects which love had hallowed.

    "The first week passed away in the most delightful manner. We
    stayed at home, we worked hard, we smoked a great deal. I have
    found among this mountain of papers a blank sheet on which is

          A Drama in Five Acts,
          By Henry Murger,
          Played at the ---- Theatre on the ---- day of 18--.

    This sheet was torn out of an enormous blank copy-book; for you
    were guilty of the execrable habit of using all our paper to write
    nothing else but titles of dramas; you wrote 'Played' as seriously
    as could be, just to see what effect the title-page would produce.
    Our paper disappeared too fast in this way. Luckily, when all of
    it had disappeared, you discovered, Heaven knows where or how,
    some old atlas of geography whose alternate leaves were blank,--a
    discovery which enabled us to do without the stationer.

    "Hard times began to press after the first week flew away. We had
    a long discussion, in which each hurled at the other reproaches on
    the spendthrift prodigality with which we threw away our money.
    The discussion ended in our agreeing, that, the moment the next
    instalment of our income should be received, I should keep a
    severe account of our expenses, in order that no more quarrels
    should disturb the harmony of our household, each of us taking
    care every day to examine the accounts. This is the little book I
    have found. How simple, how touching, how laconic, how full of
    souvenirs it is!

    "We were wonderfully honest on the first of every month. I read at
    the date of November 1st, 1843, 'Paid Madame Bastien forty cents
    for tobacco due.' We paid, too, the grocer, the restaurant, (I
    declare there is 'restaurant' on the book!) the coal-dealer, etc.
    The first day of this month was a merry day, I see: 'Spent at the
    _café_ seven cents'; a piece of extravagance for which I am sure
    you must have scolded me that evening. The same day you bought
    (the sight still makes me tremble!) thirteen cents' worth of
    pipes. The second of November we bought twenty-two cents' worth of
    ribbon: this enormous quantity of ribbon was purchased to give the
    last touches to our famous sofa. Our sofa's history would fill
    volumes. It did us yeoman's service. My pallet on the floor,
    formed of one single mattress and sheets without counterpane, made
    a poor show in our 'drawing-room,' especially as a
    restaurant-keeper lived in our house, and you pretended, that, if
    we made him bring our meals up to our 'drawing-room,' he would be
    so dazzled by our splendor he could not refuse us credit. I
    demurred, that the odd appearance of my pallet had nothing capable
    of fascinating a tradesman's eye; whereupon we agreed that we
    would spread over it a piece of violet silk which came, Heaven
    knows where from; but, unfortunately, the silk was not large
    enough by one-third. After long reflection we thought the library
    might be turned to some account: the quarto volumes of Shakspeare,
    thrown with cunning negligence on the pallet, hid the narrowness
    of the silk, and concealed the sheets from every eye. We managed
    in this way to contrive a sofa. I may add, that the keeper of the
    restaurant dedicated to the 'Guardian Angel,' who had no customers
    except hack-drivers and bricklayers, was caught by our innocent
    intrigues. On this same second of November we paid an immense sum
    of money to the laundress,--one whole dollar. I crossed the Pont
    des Arts, proud as a member of the Institute, and entered with a
    stiff upper-lip the Café Momus. You remember this beneficent
    establishment, which we discovered, gave half a cup of coffee for
    five cents, until bread rose, when the price went up to six cents,
    a measure which so discontented many of the frequenters that they
    carried their custom elsewhere. I passed the evening at Laurent's
    room. I must have been seized with vertigo,--for I actually lost
    ten cents at _écarté_, ten cents which we had appropriated to the
    purchase of roasted chestnuts. Poor Laurent, who was such a
    democrat, who used to go 'at the head of the schools' to see
    Béranger, is dead and gone now! His poems were too revolutionary
    for this world.

    "You resolved on the third of November that we would cook our own
    victuals as long as the fourteen dollars lasted; so you bought a
    soup-pot which cost fifteen cents, some thyme and some laurel:
    being a poet, you had such a marked weakness for laurel, you used
    to poison all the soup with it. We laid in a supply of potatoes,
    and constantly bought tobacco, coffee, and sugar. There was
    gnashing of teeth and curses when the expenses of the fourth of
    November were written. Why did you let me go out with my pockets
    so full of money? And you went to Dagneaux's and spent five cents.
    What in the name of Heaven could you have gotten at Dagneaux's for
    five cents?[C] Good me! how expensive are the least pleasures!
    Upon pretext of going with a free-ticket to see a drama by an
    inhabitant of Belleville, I bought two omnibus-tickets, one to go
    and the other to return. Two omnibus-tickets! I was severely
    punished for this prodigality. Seventy-four cents ran away from
    me, making their escape through a hole in my pocket. How could I
    dare to return home and confront your wrath? Two omnibus-tickets
    alone would have brought a severe admonition on my head; but
    seventy-four cents with them--! If I had not begun to disarm you
    by telling you the Belleville drama, I should have been a doomed
    man. Nevertheless, the next day, without thinking of these
    terrible losses, we lent G---- money; he really seemed to look
    upon us as Messrs. Murger and Co., his bankers. I wonder by what
    insidious means this G---- contrived to captivate our confidence,
    and the only solution I can discover is the inexperience of giddy
    youth; for two days afterwards G---- was audacious enough to
    reappear and to ask for another loan. Nothing new appears on the
    pages of the book, except fifteen cents for wine: this must have
    been one of your ideas: I do not mean to say that you were ever a
    wine-bibber, but we were so accustomed to water, we drank so much
    water without getting tired of it, that this item, 'wine,' seems
    very extraordinary to me. We added up every page until the eighth
    of November, when the sum total reached eight dollars and twelve
    cents; here the additions ceased. We doubtless were averse to
    trembling at the sight of the total. The tenth of November, you
    purchased a thimble: some men have skill enough to mend their
    clothes at their leisure moments. A few days ago I paid a visit to
    a charming literary man, who writes articles full of life and wit
    for the newspapers. I opened the door so suddenly, he blushed as
    he threw a pair of pantaloons into the corner. He had a thimble on
    his finger. Ah! wretched cits, who refuse to give your daughters
    in marriage to literary men, you would be full of admiration for
    them, could you see them mending their clothes! Smoking-tobacco
    absorbed more than one-third of our money; we received too many
    friends, and then there was a celebrated artisan-poet who used to
    be brought to our rooms, and who used to bawl so many stanzas I
    would go to bed.

    "Monsieur Credit made his reappearance on the fourteenth of
    November. He went to the grocer, to the tobacco-shop, to the
    fuel-dealer, and was received tolerably well; he was especially
    successful with the grocer's daughter when he appeared in your
    likeness. Did Monsieur Credit die on the seventeenth of November?
    I ask, because I see on the 'credit' side of our account-book,
    'Frock-coat, sixty cents.' These sixty cents came from the
    pawnbroker's. How his clerks humiliated us! I could make a long
    and terrible history of our dealings with the pawnbroker; I shall
    make a short and simple story of it. When money failed us, you
    pointed out to me an old cashmere shawl which we used as a
    table-cover. I told you, 'They will give us nothing on that.' You
    replied, 'Oh, yes, they will, if we add pantaloons and waistcoats
    to it.' I added pantaloons and waistcoats to it, and you took the
    bundle and started for the den in Place de la Croix Rouge. You
    soon came back with the huge package, and you were sad enough as
    you said, 'They are disagreeable _yonder_; try in the Rue de
    Condé; the clerks, who are accustomed to deal with students, are
    not so hard-hearted as they are in the Place de la Croix Rouge.'
    I went to the Rue de Condé. The two pair of pantaloons, the famous
    shawl, and the waistcoats were closely examined; even their
    pockets were searched. 'We cannot lend anything on that,' said the
    pawnbroker's clerk, disdainfully pushing the things away from him.
    You had the excellent habit of never despairing. You said, 'We
    must wait until this evening; at night all clothes are new; and to
    take every precaution, I shall go to the pawnbroker's shop in the
    Rue du Fouare, where all the poor go; as they are accustomed there
    to see nothing pledged but rags and tatters, our clothes will
    glitter like barbaric pearl and gold.' Alas! the pawnbroker in the
    Rue du Fouare was as cruel as his brethren. So the next morning in
    sheer despair I went to pledge my only frock-coat, and I did this
    to lend half the sum to that incessant borrower, G----. Lastly, on
    the nineteenth of November, we sold some books. Fortune smiled on
    us; we had a chicken-soup with a superabundance of laurel. Do you
    remember an excellent shopkeeper of the Rue du Faubourg Saint
    Jacques, near the city-gate, who, we were told, not only sold
    thread, but kept a circulating library? What a circulating library
    it was! Plays, three odd volumes of Anne Radcliffe's novels,--and
    if the old lady had never made our acquaintance, the inhabitants
    of the Faubourg Saint Jacques would never have known of the
    existence of 'Letters upon Mythology' and 'De Profundis,' two
    books I was heartless enough to sell, notwithstanding all their
    titles to my respect. The authors were born in the same
    neighborhood which gave me birth: one is Desmoustiers, the other
    Alfred Mousse. Maybe Arsène Houssaye would not be pleased, were I
    to remind him of one of the _crimes_ of his youth, where one sees
    for a frontispiece skeletons--'twas the heyday of the Romantic
    School--playing tenpins with skulls for balls! The sale of 'De
    Profundis' enabled us to visit Café Tabourey that evening. You
    sold soon afterwards eighty cents' worth of books. Allow me to
    record that they came from your library; my library remained
    constantly upon the shelves; notwithstanding all your appeals, I
    never sold any books, except the lamentable history of Alfred
    Mousse. Monsieur Credit contrived to go to the tradesmen's with
    imperturbable coolness; he went everywhere until the first of
    December, when he paid every cent of debt. I have but one regret,
    and this is, that the little account-book suddenly ceases after a
    month; it contains only the month of November. This is not enough!
    Had I continued it, Its pages would have been so many mementos to
    recall my past life to me."

Monsieur Champfleury introduced Henry Murger to Monsieur Arsène
Houssaye, who was then chief editor of "L'Artiste," and it happened
oddly enough that Murger wrote nothing but poetry for this journal.
Monsieur Houssaye took a great fancy to Murger, and persuaded him, for
the sake of "effect" on the title-pages of books and on the backs of
magazines, to change Henri to Henry, and give Murger a German
physiognomy by writing it Mürger. As Frenchmen treat their names with as
much freedom as we use towards old gloves, Murger instantly adopted
Monsieur Houssaye's suggestion, and clung as long as he lived to the new
orthography of his name. He began to find it less difficult to procure
each day his daily bread, but still the gaunt wolf, Poverty, continued
to glare on him. "Our existence," he said, "is like a ballad which has
several couplets; sometimes all goes well, at other times all goes
badly, then worse, next worst, and so on; but the burden never changes;
'tis always the same,--Misery! Misery! Misery!" One day he became so
absolutely and hopelessly poor, that he was undecided whether to enlist
as a sailor or take a clerk's place in the Messrs. de Rothschilds'
banking-house. He actually did make application to Madame de Rothschild.
Here is the letter in which he records this application:--

"_15th August, 1844._

"I am delighted to be at last able to write you without being obliged to
describe wretchedness. Ill-fortune seems to begin to tire of pursuing
me, and good-fortune appears about to make advances to me. Madame
Rothschild, to whom I wrote begging her to get her husband to give me a
situation, informed her correspondent of it, and told him to send for
and talk with me. I could not obtain a place, but I was offered ten
dollars rather delicately, and I took it. As soon as I received it, I
went as fast as I could to put myself in condition to be able to go out
in broad daylight."

We scarcely know which is the saddest to see: Henry Murger accepting ten
dollars from Madame de Rothschild's generous privy purse,--for it is
alms, soften it as you may,--or to observe the happiness this paltry sum
gives him. How deeply he must have been steeped in poverty!

But now the very worst was over. In 1848 he sent a contribution to "Le
Corsaire," a petty newspaper of odds and ends, of literature and of
gossip. The contribution was published. He became attached to the paper.
In 1849 he began the publication in "Le Corsaire" of the story which was
to make him famous, "La Vie de Bohême," which was, like all his works,
something in the nature of an autobiographical sketch. Its wit, its
sprightly style, its odd images, its odd scenes, its strange mixture of
gayety and sadness, attracted attention immediately. But who pays
attention to newspaper-articles? However brilliant and profound they may
be, they are forgotten quite as soon as read. The best newspaper-writer
on his most successful day can only hope to be remembered from one
morning to another; if he commands attention for so long a period, his
utmost ambition should consider itself satisfied.

It was not until Murger had rescued his book from the columns of the
newspaper that he obtained reputation. He was indebted to Monsieur Jules
Janin, the eminent theatrical reporter of the "Journal des Débats," for
great assistance at this critical hour of his life. One morning Henry
Murger entered Monsieur Jules Janin's study, carrying under his arm an
immense bundle of old newspapers, secured by a piece of old twine. He
asked Monsieur Jules Janin to read the story contained in the old
newspapers, and to advise him if it was worth republication, and what
form of publication was best suited to it. As soon as Murger retired,
Monsieur Jules Janin took up the newspapers. Few bibliopoles in Paris
are more delicate than Monsieur Janin; it is positive pain to him to
peruse any volume, unless the margin be broad, the type excellent, the
printing executed by a famous printer, and the binding redolent of the
rich perfume of Russian leather. These newspapers were torn and
tattered, stained with wine and coffee and tobacco. They were not so
much as in consecutive order. Conceive the irritation they must have
produced on Monsieur Janin! But when he once got fairly into the story
he forgot all his delicacy, and when Henry Murger returned, two days
afterwards, he said to him,--"Sir, go home and write us a comedy with
Rodolphe and Schaunard and Nini and Musette.[D] It shall be played as
soon as you have written it; in four-and-twenty hours it will be
celebrated, and the dramatic reporters will see to the rest." The
magnificent promises to the poverty-racked man fevered him almost to
madness; he took up the packet, (which Monsieur Janin had elegantly
bound with a rose-colored ribbon,) and off he went, without even
thinking to thank Monsieur Janin for his kindness, or to close the door.
Murger carried his story to a friend, Theodore Barrière, (since famous
as a play-writer,) and in three months' time the piece was ready for the
stage, was soon brought out at the "Variétés," and the names of Murger
and Barrière were on every lip in Paris.

We have nothing like the French stage in the suddenness and
extensiveness of the popularity it gives men. We have no means by which
a gifted man can suddenly acquire universal fame,--can "go to bed
unknown and wake famous." The most brilliant speech at the bar is heard
within a narrow horizon. The most brilliant novel is slow in making its
way; and before its author is famous beyond the shadow of the
publisher's house, a later new novel pales the lustre of the rising
star. The French stage occupies the position our Congress once held,
when its halls were adorned by the great men, the Clays, Calhouns,
Websters, of our fathers' days, or the Supreme Court occupied, when
Marshall sat in the chief seat on its bench, and William Pinckney
brought to its bar his elaborate eloquence, and William Wirt his ornate
and touching oratory. The stage is to France what Parliament is to
England. It is more: it is the mirror and the fool; it glasses society's
form and pressure; it criticizes folly. Murger's success on the stage
opened every door of publicity to him. His name was current, it had a
known market-value. The success of the piece assured the success of the
book. The "Revue des Deux Mondes" begged Murger to write for its pages.
Murger's fortune seemed assured.

There was but one croak heard in all the applause. It came from Murger's
father. He could not believe his eyes and his ears, when they avouched
to him that his son's name and praises filled every paper and every
mouth. It utterly confounded him. The day of the second performance of
the piece Murger went to see his father.

"If you would like to see my piece again to-day, you may take these

His father replied,--

"Your piece? What! you don't mean to say that they are still playing

He could not conceive it possible that his "vagabond" son should
interest anybody's attention.

The very first use Murger made of his increased income was to fly Paris
and to seek the country,--that rural life which Frenchmen abhor.
Marlotte, a little village in the Forest of Fontainebleau, became his
home; there he spent eight months of every year. Too poor, at first, to
rent a cottage for himself, he lodged at the miserable village-inn,
which, with its eccentric drunken landlord, he has sketched in one of
his novels; and when fortune proved less unkind to him, he took a
cottage which lay between the highway and the forest, and there the
first happy years of his life were spent. They were few, and they were
checkered. His chief petty annoyance was his want of skill as a
sportsman. He could never bring down game with his gun, and he was
passionately fond of shooting. On taking up his abode in the country,
the first thing he had made was a full hunting-suit in the most approved
fashion, and this costume he would wear upon all occasions, even when he
came up to Paris. He never attained any nearer approximation to a
sportsman's character. One day he went out shooting with a friend. A
flock of partridges rose at their feet.

"Fire, Murger! fire!" exclaimed his friend.

"Why, great heavens, man, I can't shoot so! Wait until they _light_ on
yon fence, and then I'll take a crack at them."

He could no better shoot at stationary objects, however, than at game on
the wing. Hard by his cottage a hare had burrowed in a potato-field.
Every morning and every evening Murger fired at the hare, but with such
little effect, that the hare soon took no notice either of Murger or his
gun, and gambolled before them both as if they were simply a scarecrow.
Murger bagged but one piece of game in the whole course of his life, and
the way this was done happened in this wise. One day he was asleep at
the foot of a tree in the Forest of Fontainebleau,--his gun by his side.
He was suddenly awakened by the barking of a dog which he knew belonged
to the most adroit poacher that levied illicit tribute on the imperial
domain. The dog continued to bark and to look steadily up into the tree.
Murger followed the dog's eyes, but could discover nothing. The poacher
ran up, saying,--"Quick, Monsieur Murger! quick! Give me your gun. Don't
you see it?"

Murger replied,--"See it? See what?"

"Why, a pheasant! a splendid cock! There he is on the top limb!"

The poacher aimed and fired; the pheasant fell at Murger's feet. "Take
the bird and put it in your game-bag, Monsieur Murger, and tell
everybody you killed it."

Murger gratefully accepted the present; and this was the first and only
time that Murger ever bagged a bird.

But the cloud which darkened his sky now was the cloud which had lowered
on all his life,--poverty. He was always fevered by the care and anxiety
of procuring money. Life is expensive to a man occupying such a position
as Murger filled, and French authors are ill paid. A French publisher
thinks he has done wonders, if he sells all the copies of an edition of
three thousand volumes; and if any work reaches a sale of sixteen or
seventeen thousand volumes, the publisher is ready to cry, "Miracle!"
Further, men who lead intellectual lives are almost necessarily
extravagant of money. They know not its value. They know, indeed, that
ten mills make one cent, and that ten cents make one dime, and that ten
dimes make one dollar; but they are ignorant of the practical value of
these denominations of the great medium of exchange. They cannot "jew,"
and know not that the slight percentage they would take off the price
asked is a prize worth contending for. Again, the physical exhaustion or
reaction which almost invariably follows mental exertion requires
stimulants of some kind or other to remove the pain--it is an acute
pain--which reaction brings upon the whole system. These stimulants,
whether they be good dinners, or brilliant company, or generous wines,
or parties of pleasure, are always costly. Besides, life in Paris is
such an expensive mode of existence, the simplest pleasures there are so
very costly, and there are so many microscopic issues through which
money pours away in that undomestic life, in that career passed almost
continually in public, that one must have a considerable fortune, or
lead an extremely retired life. A fashionable author, whose books are in
every book-shop window, and whose plays are posted for performance on
every wall, cannot lead a secluded life; and all the circumstances we
have hinted at conspire to make his life expensive. In vain Murger fled
the great city. It pursued him even in the country. Admirers and
parasites sought him out even in his retreat, and forced their way to
his table. There is another reason for Murger's life-long poverty: he
worked slowly, and this natural difficulty of intellectual travail was
increased by his exquisite taste and desire of perfection. The novel was
written and re-written time and again. The plot was changed; the
characters were altered; each phrase was polished and repolished. Where
ordinary writers threw off half a dozen volumes, Murger found it hard to
fit a single volume for the press. Ordinary writers grew rich in writing
speedily forgotten novels; he continued poor in writing novels which
will live for many years. Then, Murger's vein of talent made him work
for theatres which gave more reputation than ready money. He was too
delicate a writer to construct those profitable dramas which run a
hundred or a hundred and fifty nights and place ten or twenty thousand
dollars in the writer's purse. His original poverty kept him poor. He
could not afford to wait until the seed he had sown had grown and
ripened for the sickle; so he fell into the hands of usurers, who
purchased the crop while it was yet green, and made the harvest yield
them profits of fifty or seventy-five per centum.

His distress during the last years of his life was as great as the
distress of his youth. His published letters tell a sorrowful tale.
They are filled with apprehensions of notes maturing only to be
protested, or complaints of inability to go up to Paris one day because
he has not a shirt to wear, another day because he cannot procure the
seventy-five cents which are the railway-fare from Fontainebleau to
Paris. Here is one of his letters, one of the gayest of them It is
charming, but sad:--

    "I send you my little stock. Carry it instantly to Monsieur
    Heugel, the music-publisher in the Rue Vivienne, next door to
    Michel Levy's. Go the day afterwards to Michel Levy's for the
    answer. Read it, and if it shows that Monsieur Heugel buys my
    songs, go to him with the blank receipt, herein inclosed, which
    you will fill up as he will point out, according to the usual
    conditions. It is ten dollars a song; but as there is a poor song
    among them, and money I must have, take whatever he gives you; but
    you must pretend as if you expected ten dollars for each song.
    This money must be used to take up Saccault's note, which is due
    the fifteenth. Take the address of the holder, and pay it before
    it is protested. You will be allowed till the next day to pay it.
    Be active in this matter, and let me hear how things turn out. I
    cannot, in reason, in my present situation, take a room at a rent
    of a hundred and twenty dollars a year.[E] We have cares enough
    for the present; therefore let us not sow that seed of
    embarrassment which flowers every three months in the shape of
    quarterly rent. Do not give at the outside more than eighty
    dollars for the room, even though we be embarrassed by its
    smallness. I hope we may have means before long of being more
    delicate in our selection; but at present put a leaf to your
    patience, for the horizon is black enough to make ink withal.
    However, the little dialogue (which has been quite successful) I
    have just had with the muses has given me better spirits. I have a
    fever of working which is high enough to give me a real fever. I
    have shaken the box, and see that it is not empty. But I stood in
    need of this evidence, for in my own eyes I had fallen as low as
    the Public Funds in 1848. Return here before the money Michel Levy
    gave you is exhausted, for I cannot get any more for you. I am
    working half the day and half the night. I feel that the great
    flood-tide of 'copy' is at hand. My laundress and my pantaloons
    have both deserted me. I am obliged to use grape-vine leaves for
    my pocket-handkerchief.... There is nothing new here. The dogs are
    in good health, but they do not look fat; I am afraid they have
    fasted sometimes. Our chimney is again inhabited by a family of
    swallows; they say that is a good sign: maybe it means that we
    shall have fire all the winter long."

To this letter was added a postscript which one of the dogs was supposed
to have written:--

    "My dear lady,--They say here we are going to see mighty hard
    times. My master talks of suppressing my breakfast, and he wants
    to hire me to a shepherd in order that I may earn some money for a
    living. But as I have the reputation of loving mutton-chops,
    nobody will hire me to keep sheep. If you see anywhere in Paris a
    pretty diamond collar which does not cost more than
    five-and-twenty cents, bring it to


    "_14th March, 1855_."

Hope dawned upon him in 1856. He was promised a pension of three hundred
dollars from the Government out of the literary fund of the Minister of
Public Instruction's budget. It would have been, from its regularity of
payment, a fortune to him. It would have saved him from the anxiety of
quarter-day when rent fell due. But the pension never came. The
Government gave him the decoration of the Legion of Honor, which
certainly gratified him. But money for bread would have been of more
service. When Rachel lay upon that invalid's chair which she was never
to quit except for her coffin, she gazed one morning upon the breakfast
of delicacies spread before her to tempt the return of absent appetite.
After some moments of silence, she took up a piece of bread as white as
the driven snow, and, sighing, said in that whisper which was all that
remained to her of voice,--"Ay, me! Had the world given me a little more
of _this_, and earlier in my life, I had not been here at
three-and-thirty." Those early years of want which sapped Rachel's life
undermined Murger's constitution. His rustic life repaired some of the
damage wrought, and would probably have entirely retrieved it, had his
life then been freer from care, less visited by privation. Had the money
the Government and his friends lavished on his corpse been bestowed on
him living, he had probably still been numbered among the writers
militant of France. Some obscure parasite got the pension. He continued
to work on still hounded by debt. "Five times a week," he wrote in 1858,
"I dine at twelve or one o'clock at night. One thing is certain: if I am
not forced to stop writing for three or four days, I shall fall sick."
In 1860 we find him complaining that he is "sick in soul, and _maybe in
body too_. I am, of a truth, fatigued, and a great deal more fatigued
than people think me." Death's shadow was upon him. The world thought
him in firmer health and in gayer spirits than ever. He knew better. He
felt as the traveller feels towards the close of the day and the end of
the journey. It was not strange that the world was deceived, for
Murger's gayety had always been factitious. He often turned off grief
with a smile, where other men relieve it with a tear. Sensitive natures
shrink from letting the world see their exquisite sensibility. Besides,
Murger's gayety was intellectual rather than physical. It consisted
almost entirely in bright gleams of repartee. It was quickness, 'twas
not mirth. No wonder, then, that the world was deceived; the mind
retained its old activity amid all its fatigue; and besides, the world
sees men only in their hours of full-dress, when the will lights up the
leaden eyes and wreathes the drawn countenance in smiles. Tears are for
our midnight pillow,--the hand-buried face for our solitary study.

So when the rumor flew over Paris, Murger is sick!--Murger is
dying!--Murger is dead! it raised the greatest surprise. Everybody
wondered how the stalwart man they saw yesterday could be brought low so
soon. Where was his youth, that it came not to the rescue? The reader
can answer the question. Of a truth, the last act of the drama we have
sketched in these pages moved rapidly to the catastrophe. He awoke in
the middle of one night with a violent pain in the thigh, which ached as
if a red-hot ball had passed through it. The pain momentarily increased
in violence, and became intolerable. The nearest physician was summoned.
After diagnosis, he declared the case too grave for action until after
consultation. Another medical attendant was called in. After
consultation they decided that the most eminent surgeons of Paris must
be consulted. It was a decomposition of the whole body, attended with
symptoms rarely observed. The princes of medical science in Paris met at
the bedside. They all confessed that their art was impotent to
alleviate, much less to cure this dreadful disease. Murger's hours were
numbered. The doctors insisted upon his being transported to the
hospital. To the hospital he went: 'twas not for the first,--'twas for
the last time. His agonies were distressing. They wrung from him screams
which could be heard from the fifth floor, where he lay, to the street.
Death made his approaches like some skilful engineer against some
impregnable fortress: fibre by fibre, vein by vein, atom by atom, was
mastered and destroyed.

During one of the rare intervals of freedom from torture, he turned to
the sick-nurse who kept watch by his pillow, and, after vacantly gazing
on her buxom form and ruddy cheek, he significantly asked,--"Mammy, do
you find this world a happy place, and life an easy burden?" The
well-fed woman understood not the bitterness of soul which prompted this
question. "Keep quiet, and sleep," was her reply. He fell back upon his
pillow, murmuring, "_I_ haven't! _I_ haven't!" Yet he was only
eight-and-thirty years old, and men's sorrows commonly commence later in
life. A friend came to see him. As the physicians had forbidden him all
conversation, he wrote on a card this explanation of his
situation:--"Ricord and the other doctors were of opinion that I should
come to Dubois's Hospital. I should have preferred St. Louis's Hospital.
I feel more _at home_ there. _Enfin_!..." Is there in the martyrology of
poets any passage sadder than these lines? Just think of a man so bereft
of home and family, so accustomed to the common cot of the hospital, so
familiar to hospital sights and sounds and odors, that he can associate
home with the public ward! Poor Murger!

So lived and so died the poet of youth, and of ambitious, struggling,
hopeful poverty. We describe not his funeral, nor the monument reared
over his grave. Our heart fails us at sight of these sterile honors.
They are ill-timed. What boot they, when he on whom they are bestowed is
beyond the reach of earthly voices? The ancients crowned the live animal
they selected as the sacrifice for their altars; it saw the garlands of
flowers which were laid on its head, and the stately procession which
accompanied it, and heard the music which discoursed of its happiness.

       *       *       *       *       *


There is an odd collection of houses, and a stretch of green, with half
a dozen old elms, raspberry-bushes, and pruned oaks growing on it,
opening out from this window where I work; this morning, they blended
curiously with this old story that I want to tell you, helping me to
understand it better. And the story, too, explained to me one reason why
people always choose to look at those trees rather than the houses: at
any trees before any houses. Because, you see, whatever grows out of
Nature is itself, and says so: has its own especial little soul-sap, and
leafs that out intact, borrows no trait or trick or habit from its
neighbor. The sunshine is sunshine, and the pine-burr a pine-burr,
obstinately, through and through. So Nature rests us. But whatever grows
out of a man's brain is like the brain, patched, uncertain: a perverse
streak in it somewhere, to spoil its thorough good or ill meaning.

There is a little Grecian temple yonder, back of the evergreens, with a
triangular stove-funnel revolving at its top; and next door a
Dutch-built stable, with a Turk's turban for a cupola; and just beyond
that, a _châlet_-roof, sprouting without any provocation whatever out of
an engine-house. I do not think they are caricatures of some characters.
I knew a politician once, very low down in even that scale; Quilp they
nicknamed him; the cruelest husband; quarter-dollarish in his views and
principles, and greedy for bribes even as low as that: yet I have seen
that man work with a rose-bush as long and tenderly as a mother with her
baby, and his eyes glow and grow wet at the sight of a new and delicate
plant. Near him lived a woman,--a relative of his, I believe: one of
those women who absorb so much of the world's room and air, and have a
right to do it: a nature made up of grand, good pieces, with no mean
bits mortared in: fresh and child-like, too, with heat or tears ready
for any tale of wrong, or strongly spoken, true word. But strike against
one prejudice that woman had, her religious sect-feeling, and she was
hard and cruel as Nero. It was the stove-funnel in that temple.

Human nature is full of such unaccountable warts and birth-marks and
sixth fingers; and the best reason that I know of why all practical
schemes for a perfect social system have failed is, that they are so
perfect, so compact, that they ignore all these excrescences, these
untied ends, in making up their whole. Yet it is a wonderful bit of
mosaic, this Communist system: a place for every man, and every man in
his place; "to insure to each human being the freest development of his
faculties": there is a grand fragment of absolute truth in that, a going
back to primal Nature, to a like life with that of sunshine and pines, a
Utopia more Christ-like than the heaven (which Christ never taught) of
eternal harp-playing and golden streets. But as for making it real,
every man's life should have the integrity of meaning of that of a tree.
A. statesman, B. seer, C. scavenger: pines, raspberries, oaks.
Impossible, as we know. And then, a thistle at the beginning knows it is
a thistle, and cannot be anything else, so there is the end of it; but
when Pratt, by nature _né_ knife-grinder, asserts himself poet, what
then? How many men know their vocation? Who is going about to tie on the
labels? Who would you be willing should tie on yours? Then, again, there
is your neighbor Brownson, with a yeasty brain, fermenting too fast
through every phase of creed or party to accept a healthful "settling";
so it is left to work itself out, and it will settle itself by-and-by,
in a life or two it may be. You know other brains which, if you will but
consider, prove this life to be only one stage of a many-yeared era:
they are lying fallow from birth until death; they have powers latent in
them, that next time, perhaps, will bear golden grain or fruit. Now they
are resting, they lie fallow. Communism allows no time for fermentation,
or lying fallow; God does: for brains, I mean, not souls. But what are
we going to do with this blindness of human beings as to what they are
fit for,--when they go, or are forced to go, stumbling along the wrong
path all their lives? Why, the bitterest prayers that God bears are from
men who think they have lost time in the world. The lowest matter alive,
the sponges, _fungi_, know what they have to do, and are blessed in the
doing, while we--Did you think the Socialist helped the matter? Men
needed thousand years' education to make their schemes practicable; they
ignored all this blindness, all selfishness, and overgrowth of the
passions: no wonder these facts knobbed themselves up against their
system, and so, in every instance it crumbled to pieces. The things are
facts, and here; there is no use in denying that; and it is a fact, too,
that almost every life seems a wasted failure, compared with what it
might have been. Such hard, grimy problems there are in life! They
weaken the eyes that look long at them: stories hard to understand, like
that of this old machinist, Joe Starke.

But over yonder, how cool and shady it is on that sweep of green! that
rests one so thoroughly, in eyes and brain! The quiet shadows ebb and
flow over the uncut grass; every hazy form or color is beyond art, true
and beautiful, being fresh from God; there are countless purpled vines
creeping out from the earth under that grass; the air trembles with the
pure spring healing and light; the gray-barked old elms wrestle, and
knot their roots underground, clutching down at the very thews and
sinews of the earth, and overhead unfold their shivering delicate leaves
fresh in the sunlight to catch the patter of the summer rain when it
comes. It is sure to come. Winter and summer, spring and autumn, shall
not fail. God always stays there, in the great Fatherland of Nature. One
knows now why Jesus went back there when these hard riddles of the world
made his soul sorrowful even unto death, and he needed a word from Home
to refresh him.

Do you know the meaning to-day of the beds of rock and pregnant loam, of
the woods, and water-courses, and live growths and colors on these
thousand hills near us? Is it that God has room for all things in this
Life of His? for all these problems, all Evil as it seems to us? that
nothing in any man's life is wasted? every hunger, loss, effort, held
underneath and above in some infinite Order, suffered to live out its
purpose, give up its uttermost uses? If, after all, the end of science,
of fact and fiction, of watching those raspberry-bushes growing, or of
watching the phases of these terrible years in which we live, were only
to give us glimpses of that eternal Order, so that we could lie down in
it, grow out of it, like that ground-ivy in the earth and sunshine
yonder, sure, as it is, that there is no chance nor waste in our own
lives? It would be something to know that sentence in which all the
world's words are ordered, and to find that the war, and the Devil, and
even your own life's pain, had its use, and was an accord there,--would
it not? Thinking of that, even this bit of a history of Joe Starke might
have its meaning, the more if there should be trouble and a cold wind
blowing in it; because any idiot can know what God means by happy lives,
but to find His thought behind the hunger and intolerable loss that
wring the world's heart is a harder thing to do,--a better, a great,
healthful thing. And one may be sure that the man, be he Christian or
Pagan, who does believe in this under Order and Love, and tries to see
and clear his way down to it, through every day's circumstance, will
have come very near to the real soul of good and humanity,--to the
Christ,--before the time comes for him to rest, and stand in his lot, at
the end of the days.

But to our story. It was in Philadelphia the old machinist lived; he had
been born and had grown old there; but there are only one or two days in
his life you would care to hear about: August days, in the summer of
'59, the culmination and end of all the years gone before for him. You
know what a quiet place Philadelphia is? One might fancy that the first
old Quaker, sitting down among its low, flattish hills, had left a spell
of thoughtful reticence behind him. The hills never dare to rise into
abrupt earnestness; the two broad, bright-faced rivers that hold it in
lapse with a calm consciousness into the sleepy, oyster-bedded bay; even
the accretion of human life there never has been able to utter itself in
the myriad rebellious phases of a great city, but falls gravely into the
drilled monotony of its streets. Brick and mortar will not yield
themselves there to express any whim in the mind of their owner: the
house-fronts turn the same impassive, show-hating faces on the sidewalks
from the Delaware to the Schuylkill. Give the busiest street a moment's
chance and it broods down into a solitary reverie, saying,--"You may
force me into hotels and market-places, if you will, but I know the
business of this town is to hold its tongue." Even the curiously
beautiful women wrap themselves in the uniform of gray, silent color;
the cast of thought of the people is critical, attentive,
self-controlled. When a covered, leaden day shuts the sun out, and the
meaning of the place in, hills and city and human life, one might fancy,
utter the old answer of the woman accused of witchcraft:--"While I hold
my thought, it is my own; when I speak it, it is my master." Out in the
near hills the quietude deepens, loosening and falling back out of the
rigid reserve of the city into the unconscious silence of a fresh
Nature: no solitudes near a large town are so solitary as these. There
is one little river in especial, that empties into the Schuylkill, which
comes from some water-bed under the shady hills in Montgomery
County,--some pool far underground, which never in all these ages has
heard a sound, or seen the sun, nor ever shall; therefore the water
flowing from it carries to the upper air a deeper silence than the spell
left by the old Quaker on the hills, or even the ghostly memory of the
Indian tribes, who, ages long ago, hunted and slowly faded away in these
forests on its shores.

When they came to the New World, at a time so far gone from us that no
dead nation even has left of it any record, they found the river flowing
as strangely silent and pure as now, and the name they gave it,
Wissahickon, it bears to-day. The hills are there as when they first saw
them, wrapping themselves every year in heavier mantles of hemlocks and
cedars; but a shaded road winds now gravely by the river-side, and along
it the city sends out those who are tired, worn out, and need to hear
that message of the river. No matter how dull their heads or hearts may
be, they never fail to catch something of its meaning. So quiet it is
there, so pure, it is like being born again, they say. So, all the time,
in the cool autumn-mornings, in the heavy lull of noon, or with the low
harvest-moon slanting blue and white shadows, sharp and uncanny, across
its surface, the water flows steadily from its dark birthplace, clear,
cheerful, bright. The hills crouch attentive on its edge, shaggy with
shadows; from the grim rocks ferns and mosses sleep out delicate color
unmolested, the red-bearded grass drops its seed unshaken. The
sweetbrier trails its pink fingers through the water. They know what the
bright little river means, as well as the mill-boy fishing by the bank:
how He sent it near the city, just as He brought that child into the
midst of the hackneyed, doubting old tax-gatherers and publicans long
ago, with the same message. Such a curious calm and clearness rest in
it, one is almost persuaded, that, in some day gone by, some sick,
thirsty soul has in truth gone into its dewy solitude in a gray summer
dawn, and, finding there the fabled fountain of eternal life, has left
behind a blessing from all those stronger redeemed years to come.

There is a narrow road which leaves the main one, and penetrates behind
the river-hills, only to find others, lower and more heavily wooded,
with now and then odd-shaped bits of pasture-land wedged in between
their sides, or else low brick farm-houses set in a field of corn and
potatoes, with a dripping pump-trough at the door. It is a thorough
country-road, lazy, choking itself up with mud even in summer, to keep
city-carriages out, bordering itself with slow-growing maples and banks
of lush maiden's-hair, blood-red partridge-berries, and thistles. You
can find dandelions growing in the very middle of it, there is so little
travel out there.

One August morning, in one of its quietest curves among the hills, there
was a fat old horse, standing on it, sniffing up the cool air: pure air,
it is there, so cool and rare that you can detect even the faint scent
of the wild-grape blossoms or the buttercups in it in spring. The wagon
to which the horse was fastened had no business there in the cedar-hills
or slow-going road; it belonged to town, every inch, from hub to
cover,--was square-built, shiningly clean, clear-lettered as
Philadelphia itself.

"That completes the practical whole," said Andy Fawcett, polishing a tin
measure, and putting it on the front seat of the wagon, and then
surveying the final effect.

Andy was part-owner of it: the yellow letters on the sides were, "_A.
Fawcett & Co. Milk_." It was very early,--gray, soggy clouds keeping
back the dawn,--but light enough for Andy to see that his shoes, which
he had blacked late last night, were bright, and his waistcoat, etc.,
"all taut."

"I like the sailor lingo," he said, curling his moustache, and turning
over his pink shirt-collar. "They've a loose dash about 'em. It must go
far with the girls."

Then he looked at the wagon again, and at a pinchbeck watch he carried.

"Five. No matter how neat an' easy a fellow's dress is, it's wasted this
time in the mornin'. Them street-car conductors hev a chance for it all
day, dang 'em!"

He went back to the house as softly as possible, and brought out a
lantern, which was silver-mounted and of cut glass. He hung it carefully
in the wagon.

"There's no knowin' what use I may have for it,"--shaking his head, and
rubbing it tenderly.

Andy had owned that lantern for several years, and carried it with him
always. "You cannot know, Jane," he used to say to the woman whom he
worked for, "what a comfort I find in it. It"--He always stopped there,
and she never replied, but immediately talked of something else. Their
customers (for they kept half a dozen cows on the place, and Andy took
the milk into town)--their customers, when they found out about the
lantern, used to look oddly at Andy, and one or two of them had tried in
consequence to overreach him in the bills. But no thimble-rigger had a
keener eye for the cents than Fawcett. So their milk-speculation had
prospered, until, this spring, they had added to their stock of cows. It
was the only business in which Andy was partner; after he brought the
wagon back at noon, he put on his flannel shirt, and worked as a hired
hand for the woman; the other produce she sold herself.

The house was low, built of lichen-covered stone, an old buttonwood-tree
tenting it over; in the sunny back-yard you could see fat pullets and
glossy-backed Muscovy ducks wabbling in and out through the
lilac-bushes. Comfortable and quaint the old place looked, with no bald
white paint about it, no unseemly trig new fences to jar against the
ashen and green tones of color in house and woods. The gate by which you
passed through the stone wall was made of twisted boughs; and wherever a
tree had been cut down, the stump still stood, covered with
crimson-leaved ivy. "I'd like things nattier," Andy used to say; "but
it's Jane's way."

The Quaker woman herself, as she stood in the gateway in her gray
clothes, the hair pushed back from her sallow face, her brown, muscular
arms bare, suited the quiet, earnest look of the place.

"Thee'll take neighbor Wart into town, Andrew?" she said.

"More noosances?" he growled.

"Thee'd best take her in, Andrew. It costs thee nothing," with a dry,
quizzical smile.

Andy's face grew redder than his shirt, as he climbed up on the

"H'ist me up her basket here, then. A'n't I kind to her? I drink my
coffee every noon at her stall, though 't's the worst in the market. If
'twas a man had sech a bamboozlin' phiz as hers, I'd bat him over th'
head, that 's all."

"She's a widow, and thee's afraid of thy weak point," said Jane.

"Take yer joke, Jane." The lad looked down on the woman's bony face
kindly. "They don't hurt, yer words. It's different when some folks
pokes fun at me, askin' for the lantern, an'"--

"What odds?" said the woman hurriedly, a quick change coming over her
face. "They mean well. Haven't I told thee since the night thee comed
here first for a meal's victuals, an' all the years since, how as all
the world meaned well to thee, Andrew? Not only sun an' air an' growth,
an' God behind; but folks, ef thee takes them by the palm of the hand
first, an' not raps them with the knuckles, or go about seekin' to make
summat off of each."

Andy was in no mood for moralizing.

"Ye'r' hard on old Wart in that last remark, I'm thinkin',"--glancing at
the dumpy bunch of a woman seated at their breakfast-table within, her
greedy blue eyes and snub-nose close to her plate.

The Quaker turned away, trying to hide a smile, and began tugging at
some dock-weeds. Her arms were tougher and stronger than Fawcett's. He
used to say Jane was a better worker than he, though she did it by fits
and starts, going at it sometimes as if every limb was iron and was
moved by a steam-engine, and then for days doing nothing, playing with a
neighbor's baby, sitting by the window, humming some old tune to
herself, in a way that even Andy thought idle and childish. For the
rest, he had thought little about her, except that she was a strangely
clean and silent woman, and kind, even to tenderness,--to him; but to
the very bats in the barn, or old Wart, or any other vermin, as well.

Perhaps an artist would have found more record in the brawny frame and
the tanned, chronicled face of the woman, as she bent over her work in
her gray dress in the fresh morning light. Forty years of hard, healthy
labor,--you could read that in the knotted muscles and burnt skin: and
no lack of strength in the face, with its high Indian cheek-bones and
firm-set jaws. But there was a curious flickering shadow of grace and
beauty over all this coarse hardness. The eyes were large, like the
cow's under yonder tree, slow-moving, absorbing, a soft brown in color,
and unreasoning; if pain came to this woman, she would not struggle, nor
try to understand it: bear it dumbly, that was all. The nervous lips
were not heavy, but delicately, even archly cut, with dimples waiting
the slightest moving of the mouth; you would be sure that naturally the
laughter and fun and cheery warmth of the world lay as close to her as
to a child. But something--some loss or uncertainty in her life--had
given to her smile a quick, pitiful meaning, like that of a mother
watching her baby at her breast.

Andy climbed into the wagon, and cracked his whip impatiently.

"Time!" he shouted.

Neighbor Wart scuffed down the path, wiping her mouth.

"I'm glad I dropped in to breakfast, an' for company to friend Andrew
here. Does thee frequent the prize-fighters' ring, that thee's got their
slang so pat, lad?" as she scrambled in behind him. "Don't jerk at thy
gallowses so fiercely. It's only my way. 'Sarah has a playful way with
her': my father used to say that, an' it's kept by me. I don't feel a
day older than when--Andrew!" sharply, "did thee bring thy lunch, to eat
at my stall? The coffee'll be strong as lye this morning."

The Quaker, Jane, had a small white basket in her hand, into which she
was looking.

"It's here," she said, putting it by the young man's feet. "There's ham
an' bread an' pie,--plum,--enough for two. Thee'll not want to eat
alone?" anxiously.

"I never do," he said, gruffly. "The old buster's savage on
pie,--gettin' fat on it, I tell you, Jane, though his jaws are like
nut-crackers yet."

Andy had dropped into one of the few ruts of talk in which his brain
could jog easily along; he began, as usual, to rub the knees of his
trousers smooth, and to turn the quid of tobacco in his mouth.

Jane, oddly enough, did not remind him that it was time to go, but
stood, not heeding him, leaning on the wheel, drawing a buckle in the
harness tighter.

"He! he!" giggled Andy, "if you'd seen him munch the pastry an' biscuit,
an' our biggest cuts of tenderloin, an' then plank down his pennies to
Mis' Wart here, thinkin' he'd paid for all! Innocent as a staggerin'
calf, that old chap! Says I to him last week, when we were leavin' the
market, havin' my joke, says I,--

"'Pervisions is goin' down, Mr. Starke.'

"'It hadn't occurred to me, Andrew,' he says, in his dazed way. 'But you
know, doubtless,' says he, with one of his queer bows, touchin' the
banged old felt he sticks on the back of his head.

"'Yes, I know,' says I. An' I took his hand an' pulled it through my
arm, an' we walked down to Arch. Dunno what the girls thought, seein' me
in sech ragged company. Don't care. He's a brick, old Joe.

"Says he, 'Ef I hed hed your practical knowledge, at your age, Andrew,
it might hev been better for the cause of science this day,' an'
buttons up his coat.

"'Pears as if he wasn't used to wearin' shirts, an' so hed got that
trick o' buttonin' up. But he has a appreciatin' eye, he has,--more than
th' common,--much more." And Andy crossed his legs, and looked down, and
coughed in a modest, deprecating way.

"Well," finding no one spoke, "I've found that meal, sure enough, is his
breakfast, dinner, an' supper. I calls it luncheon to him, in a easy,
gentlemanly sort of way. I believe I never mentioned to you," looking at
Jane, "how I smuggled him into the pants you made, you thinkin' him a
friend of mine? As he is."

"No," said the woman.

"As with the pants, so with coat, an' shirt; likewise boots,"--checking
off each with a rub on his trousers.

Andy's tongue was oiled, and ran glibly.

Mrs. Wart, on the back seat, shuffled her feet and hemmed in vain.

Jane pulled away at the dock and mullein, in one of her old fits of
silent musing.

"Says I, 'See my ducks an' sack, Mr. Starke? Latest cut,' says I. 'Wish
you knew my tailor. Man of enterprise, an' science, Sir. Knows
mechanics, an' acoustics, an' the rest,--at his finger-ends,--well as
his needle,' said I.

"The old chap's watery eyes began to open at that.

"'Heard of yer engine, by George!' I goes on.

"'What's he think of the chances?' he says. 'Hes _he_ influence?'

"'No,--but he's pants an' sech, which is more to the purpose,' I says.
'An' without a decent suit to yer back, how kin you carry the thing
before Congress?' says I. Put it to him strong, that way. 'How kin ye?'
I says. 'Now look here, Mr. Starke. Ye 'r' no runner in debt, I know:
not willin' to let other people fill yer stomach an' cover yer back,
because you've got genius into ye, which they haven't. All right!' says
I. 'American pluck. But ye see, facts is facts, an' yer coat, not to
mince matters, is nothin' but rags. An' yer shirt'--

"His old wizened phiz got quite red at that, an' he caught his breath a

"'Go on, Andrew,' says he, puttin' his hand on my arm, 'you mean well.
_I_ don't mind it. Indeed, no.' Smilin' kind, to let me see as he wasn't
hurt. However, I dropped the shirt.

"'It can't be otherwise,' says I, soothin', you know, 'so long's you've
to sleep in the markets, an' so forth,' meanin' Hayes's stable. 'Now
look o' here. My tailor, wishin' to help on the cause of science, as you
say, wants to advance you a suit of clothes. On the engine. Of course,
on the engine. You to pay when the thing's through. Congress or patents
or what not. What d'ye say?' An' so"--

"He wears them. You told me that," said the Quaker, in a dry, mechanical

"You don't care to hear the ins an' outs of it? Well, there's one thing
I'll mention," sulkily gathering up the reins; "to-morrow it'll be all
up with the old chap, one way or t'other: him an' his engine's goin' on
trial. Come up, Jerry!" jerking the horse's head; "ye ought to be in
Broad Street this minute. An' if it's worsted he is, it'll be a case of
manslaughter agin the judges. That old fellow's built his soul into them
wheels an' pipes. An' his skin an' bone too, for that matter. There's
little enough of 'em left, God knows! Come up, Jerry!"

But Jane was leaning on the shafts again. Perhaps the story of the
starving old machinist had touched her; even Andy guessed how big and
childish the heart was in her woman's body, and how she always choked it
down. She had taken out the basket now that held the old man's lunch,
and was rearranging the slices of bread and ham, her fingers trembling,
and lingering curiously over each. Her lips moved, but she said nothing.

"Thy bread _is_ amazin' soft-crusted," said Mrs. Wart. "Thee scalds the
raisin', don't thee, now?"

"To-morrow, thee said, Andrew?"

"Yes, that'll be the end of the engine, for good or bad. Ten years he's
been at it, he says."

"Ten years, last spring," to herself.

She had put the basket down, and was stooping over the weeds.

"Did I tell ye that? I forgot. Well, Mis' Wart, we'll be off. Don't
fret, it's not late. Jerry's blooded. He'll not let the grass grow under
his feet."

And the milk-wagon, with its yellow letters, went trundling down the
road, the sun beginning to shine pleasantly in on the cool tin vessels
within, and the crisp red curls and blue eyes of the driver,--on the
lantern, too, swinging from the roof inside, as Andy glanced back. He
chuckled; even Mrs. Wart looked tidy and clean in the morning air; his
lunch smelt savory in the basket. Then suddenly recalling the old
machinist, and the history in which he was himself part actor, he
abruptly altered his expression, drawing down his red eyebrows to a
tragic scowl, and glaring out into the pleasant light as one who insults

"Whatever is thee glowerin' thataway about?" snapped his companion.

Andy took out his handkerchief, and wiped his forehead deliberately.

"Men see passages in human life that women suspect nothing about, Mem.
Darn this wagon, how it jolts! There's lots of genius trampled underfoot
by yer purse-proud tyrants, Mem."

"Theeself, for instance. Thee'd best mind thy horse, boy."

But she patted her basket comfortably. It is so easy to think people
cruel and coarse who have more money than ourselves! Not for Andy,
however. His agrarian proclivities were shallow and transient enough. So
presently, as they bowled along the level road, he forgot Joe Starke,
and began drumming on the foot-board and humming a tune,--touching now
and then the stuffed breast-pocket of his coat with an inward chuckle of
mystery. And when little Ann Mipps, at the toll-gate, came out with her
chubby cheeks burning, and her shy eyes down, he took no notice at all.
Nice little midge of a thing; but what did she know of the thrilling
"Personals" of the "Ledger" and their mysterious meaning, beginning at
the matrimonial advertisements last May? or of these letters in his
breast-pocket from the widow of an affectionate and generous disposition
and easy income on Callowhill, or from the confiding Estelle, whose
maiden aunt dragonized her on Ridge Road above Parrish? When he saw them
once, fate would speak out. Something in him was made for better things
than this flat life: "instincts of chivalry and kindred souls,"--quoting
Estelle's last letter. Poor Ann! he wondered if they had toffy-pullings
at Mipps's now. He hadn't been there since April. Such a dog-trot sort
of love-making that used to be! And Andy stopped to give a quart of milk
to a seamstress who came out of Poole's cheap boarding-house, and who,
by the bye, had just been imbibing the fashion-book literature on which
he had been living lately. A sort of weak wine-whey, that gives to the
brains of that class a perpetual tipsiness.

Ann Mipps, meanwhile, who had been at her scrubbing since four o'clock,
so that she should be through and have on her pink calico before the
milk-cart rolled by, went in and cried herself sick: tasting the tears
now and then to see how bitter they were,--what a hard time she had in
the world; and then remembering she had not said her prayers last night,
and so comprehending this judgment on her. For the Mippses were
Calvinists, and pain was punishment and not a test. So Ann got up
comforted; said her prayers twice with a will, and went out to milk. It
might be different to-morrow. So as she had always thought how he needed
somebody to make him happy, poor Andy! And she thought _she_ understood
him. She knew how brave and noble he was! And she always thought, if he
could get the toll-gate, now that her father was so old, how snug that
would be!

"Oh, if that should happen, and--there wouldn't be a house in the world
so happy, if"--

And then her checks began to burn again, and the light came back in her
eyes, until, by the time the day had grown into the hot August noon, she
went laughing and buzzing in and out of the shady little toll-house as
contented as any bee in the clover yonder. Andy would call again
soon,--maybe to-night! While Andy, in the hot streets, was looking at
every closed shutter, wondering if Estelle was behind it.

"Poor little Ann! she"--

No! not even to himself would he say, "She likes me"; but his face grew
suddenly fiery red, and he lashed Jerry spitefully.

A damp, sharp air was blowing up from the bay that evening, when the
milk-wagon rumbled up the lane towards home. Only on the high tree-tops
the sun lingered; beneath were broad sweeps of brown shadows cooling
into night. The lindens shook out fresh perfume into the dew and quiet.
The few half-tamed goats that browse on the hills hunted some dark
corner under the pines to dampen out in the wet grass the remembrance of
the scorching day. Here and there passed some laborer going home in his
shirt-sleeves, fanning off the hot dust with his straw hat, glad of the
chance to stop at the cart-wheel and gossip with Andy.

"Ye 'r' late, Fawcett. What news from town?"

So that it was nearly dark before he came under the shadow of the great
oak by his own gate. The Quaker was walking backwards and forwards along
the lane. Andy stopped to look at her, therefore; for she was usually so
quiet and reticent in her motion.

"What kept thee all day, Andrew?" catching the shaft. "Was summat wrong?
One ill, maybe?"--her lips parched and stiff.

"What ails ye, Jane?"--holding out his hand, as was their custom when
they met. "No. No one ailin'; only near baked with th' heat. I was wi'
old Joe,"--lowering his voice. "He took me home,--to his hole, that is;
I stayed there, ye see. Well, God help us all! Come up, Jerry! D' ye
smell yer oats? Eh! the basket ye've got? No, he'd touch none of it.
It's not victual he's livin' on, this day. I wish 'n this matter was
done with."

He drove on slowly: something had sobered the Will-o'-the-wisp in Andy's
brain, and all that was manly in him looked out, solemn and pitying. The
woman was standing by the barn-door when he reached it, watching his
lips for a stray word as a dog might, but not speaking. He unhitched the
horse, put him in his stall, and pushed the wagon under cover,--then
stopped, looking at her uncertainly.

"I--I don't like to talk of this, I hardly know why. But I'm goin' to
stay with him to-morrow,--till th' trial's done with."

"Yes, Andrew."

"I wish 'n he hed a friend," he said, after a pause, breaking off bits
of the sunken wall. "Not like me, Jane," raising his voice, and trying
to speak carelessly. "Like himself. I'm so poor learned, I can't do
anything for sech as them. Like him. Jane," after another silence, "I've
seen IT."

She looked at him.

"The engine. Jane"--

"I know."

She turned sharply and walked away, the bluish light of the first
moonbeams lighting up her face and shoulders suddenly as she went off
down the wall. Was it that which brought out from the face of the
middle-aged working woman such a strange meaning of latent youth,
beauty, and passion? God only knows when the real childhood comes into a
life, how early or late; but one might fancy this woman had waited long
for hers, and it was coming to-night, the coarse hardness of look was
swept away so suddenly. The great thought and hope of her life surged up
quick, uncontrollably; her limbs shook, the big, mournful animal eyes
were wet with tears, her very horny hands worked together uncertainly
and helpless as a child's. On the face, too, especially about the mouth,
such a terror of pain, such a hungry wish to smile, to be tender, that I
think a baby would have liked to put up its lips then to be kissed, and
have hid its face on her neck.

"Summat ails her, sure," said Andy, stupidly watching her a moment or
two, and then going in to kick off his boots and eat his supper, warm on
the range.

The moonlight was cold; he shut it out, and sat meditating over his
cigar for an hour or two before the Quaker came in. When she did, he
went to light her night-lamp for her,--for he had an odd, old-fashioned
courtesy about him to women or the aged. He noticed, as he did it, that
her hair had fallen from the close, thin cap, and how singularly soft
and fine it was. She stood by the window, drawing her fingers through
the long, damp folds, in a silly, childish way.

"Good night, Andrew," as he gave it to her.

"Good night."

She looked at him gravely.

"I wish, lad--Would thee say, 'God bless thee, Jane'? It's long since as
I've heard that, an' there's no one but thee t' 'll say it."

The boy was touched.

"Often I thinks it, Jane,--often. Ye've been good to me these six years.
I was nothin' but a beggar's brat when ye took me in. I mind that,
though ye think I forget, when I'm newly rigged out sometimes. God bless
ye! yes, I'll say it: God knows I will."

She went out into the little passage. He heard her hesitate there a
minute. It was a double house: the kitchen and sitting-room at one side
of the narrow hall; at the other, Jane's chamber, and a room which she
usually kept locked. He had heard her there at night sometimes, for he
slept above it, and once or twice had seen the door open in the daytime,
and looked in. It held, he saw, better furniture than the rest of the
house: a homespun carpet of soft, grave colors, thick drab curtains, a
bedstead, one or two bookcases, filled and locked, of which Jane made as
little use, he was sure, as she could of the fowling-piece and patent
fishing-rod which he saw in one corner. There were no shams, no cheap
makeshifts in the Quaker's little house, in any part of it; but this
room was the essence of cleanness and comfort, Andy thought. He never
asked questions, however: some ingredient in his poor hodge-podge of a
brain keeping him always true to this hard test of good breeding. So
to-night, though he heard her until near eleven o'clock moving
restlessly about in this room, he hesitated until then, before he went
to speak to her.

"She's surely sick," he said, with a worried look, lighting his candle.
"Women are the Devil for nerves."

Coming to the open door, however, he found her only busy in rubbing the
furniture with a bit of chamois-skin. She looked up at him, her face
very red, and the look in her face that children have when going out for
a holiday.

"How does thee think it looks, Andy?" her voice strangely low and rapid.

He looked at her curiously.

"I'm makin' it ready, thee knows. Pull to this shutter for me, lad. A
good many years I've been makin' it ready"--

"You shiver so, ye'd better go to bed, Jane."

"Yes. Only the white valance is to put to the bed; I'm done
then,"--going on silently for a while.

"I've been so long at it,"--catching her breath. "Hard scrapin', the
first years. We'd only a lease on the place at first. It's ours now, an'
it's stocked, an'--Don't thee think the house is snug itself, Andrew?
Thee sees other houses. Is't home-like lookin'? Good for rest"--

"Yes, surely. What are you so anxious an' wild about, Jane? It's yer own

"I'm not anxious,"--trying to calm herself. "Mine, is it, lad? All mine;
nobody sharin' in it."

She laughed. In all these years he had never heard her laugh before; it
was low and full-hearted,--a live, real laugh. Somehow, all comfort,
home, and frolic in the coming years were promised in it.

"Mine?" folding up her duster. "Well, lad, thee says so. Daily savin' of
the cents got it. Maybe thee thought me a hard woman?"--with an anxious
look. "I kept all the accounts of it in that blue book I burned
to-night. Nobody must know what it cost. No. Thee'd best go to sleep,
lad. I've an hour's more work, I think. There'll be no time for it
to-morrow, bein' the last day."

He did not like to leave her so feverish and unlike herself.

"Well, good night, then."

"Good night, Andrew. Mine, eh?"--her face flushing. "Thee'll know
to-morrow. Thee thinks it looks comfortable?"--holding his hand
anxiously. "Heartsome? Mis' Hale called the place that the other day. I
was so glad to hear that! Well, good night. _I_ think it does."

And she went back to her work, while Andy made his way up-stairs,
puzzled and sleepy.

The next day was cool and grave for intemperate August. Very seldom a
stream of fresh sunshine broke through the gray, mottling the pavements
with uncertain lights. Summer was evidently tired of its own lusty life,
and had a mind to put on a cowl of hodden-gray, and call itself
November. The pale, pleasant light toned in precisely, however, to the
meaning of Arch and Walnut Streets, where the old Quaker family-life has
rooted itself into the city, and looks out on the passers-by in such a
sober, cheerful fashion. There was one house, low down in Arch, that
would have impressed you as having grown more sincerely than the others
out of the character of its owner. There was nothing bigoted or
purse-proud or bawbling in the habit of the man who built it; from the
massive blocks in the foundation, to the great horse-chestnuts in front,
and the creeping ivy over pictures and bookshelves, there was the same
constant hint of a life liberal, solid, graceful. It had its whim of
expression, too, in the man himself,--a small man, lean,
stoop-shouldered, with gray hair and whiskers, wearing a clergyman's
black suit and white cravat: his every motion was quiet, self-poised,
intelligent; a quizzical, kind smile on the mouth, listening eyes, a
grave forehead; a man who had heard other stories than any in your
life,--of different range, yet who waited, helpful, for yours, knowing
it to be something new and full of an eternal meaning. It was Dr.
Bowdler, rector of an Episcopal church, a man of more influence out of
the Church than any in it. He was in the breakfast-room now, trimming
the hanging-baskets in the window, while his niece finished her coffee:
he "usually saved his appetite for dinner, English fashion; cigars until
then,"--poohing at all preaching of hygiene, as usual, as "stuff."

There were several other gentlemen in the room,--waiting, apparently,
for something,--reading the morning papers, playing with the
Newfoundland dog that had curled himself up in the patch of sunshine by
the window, or chatting with Miss Defourchet. None of them, she saw,
were men of cultured leisure: one or two millionnaires, burly,
stubby-nosed fellows, with practised eyes and Port-hinting faces: the
class of men whose money was made thirty years back, who wear slouched
clothes, and wield the coarser power in the States. They came out to the
talk fit for a lady, on the open general field, in a lumbering, soggy
way, the bank-note smell on every thought. The others, more unused to
society, caught its habit better, she thought, belonging as they did to
a higher order: they were practical mechanicians, and their profession
called, she knew, for tolerably powerful and facile faculties of brain.
The young lady, who was waiting too, though not so patiently as the
others, amused herself in drawing them out and foiling them against each
other, with a good deal of youthful tact, and want of charity, for a
while. She grew tired at last.

"They are long coming, uncle," she said, rising from her chair.

"They are here, Mary: putting up the model in the back lobby for the
last hour. Did you think it would be brought in here?"

"I don't know. Mr. Aikens is not here,"--glancing at the timepiece

"He's always slow," said one of the machinists, patting the dog's head.
"But I will rely more on his judgment of the engine than on my own.
He'll not risk a dollar on it, either, if there's a chance of its
proving a failure."

"It cannot be a failure," she said, impatiently, her peremptory brown
eyes lighting.

"It has been tried before," said her uncle, cautiously,--"or the same
basis of experiment,--substitution of compressed air for steam,--and it
did not succeed. But it is the man you reason from, Mary, not the

"I don't understand anything about the machine," in a lower voice,
addressing the man she knew to possess most influence in the party. "But
this Starke has given his life to it, and a life worth living, too. All
the strength of soul and body that God gave him has gone into that model
out yonder. He has been dragging it from place to place for years, half
starving, to get it a chance of trial"--

"All which says nothing for the wheels and pulleys," dryly interrupted
the man, with a critical look at her flushing and paling face.

People of standfast habit were always shy of this young person, because,
having an acute brain and generous impulses, and being a New-Englander
by birth, she had believed herself called to be a reformer, and had
lectured in public last winter. Her lightest remarks had, somehow, an
oratorical twang. The man might have seen what a true, grand face hers
would be, when time had taken off the acrid, aggressive heat which the,
to her, novel wrongs in the world provoked in it.

"When you see the man," interposed her uncle, "you will understand why
Miss Defourchet espouses his cause so hotly. Nobody is proof against his
intense, fierce belief in this thing he has made. It reminds me of the
old cases of possession by a demon."

The young girl looked up quickly.

"Demon? It was the spirit of God, the Bible says, that filled Bezaleel
and that other, I forget his name, with wisdom to work in gold and
silver and fine linen. It's the spirit of God that you call
genius,--anything that reveals truth: in pictures, or actions,

Friend Turner, who was there, took her fingers in his wrinkled hand.

"Thee feels strongly, Mary."

"I wish you could see the man," in a lower voice. "Your old favorite,
Fichte," with a smile, "says that 'thorough integrity of purpose is our
nearest approach to the Divine idea.' There never was such integrity of
purpose as his, I believe. Men don't often fight through hunger and want
like death, for a pure aim. And I tell you, if fate thwarts him at this
last chance, it is unjust and cruel."

"Thee means _God_, thee knows?"

She was silent, then looked up.

"I do know."

The old Quaker put his hand kindly on her hair.

"He will find His own teachers for thee, dear," was all the reproof he

There was a noise in the hall, and a servant, opening the door, ushered
in Andy, and behind him the machinist, Starke. A younger man than Friend
Turner had expected to see,--about fifty, his hair prematurely white, in
coarse, but decent brown clothes, bearing in his emaciated limbs and
face marks of privation, it was true, but with none of the fierce
enthusiasm of expression or nervousness he had looked for. A quiet,
grave, preoccupied manner. While Dr. Bowdler and some of the others
crowded about him, he stood, speaking seldom, his hands clasped behind
him and his head bent forward, the gray hair brushed straight up from
his forehead. Miss Defourchet was disappointed a little: the best of
women like to patronize, and she had meant to meet him as an equal,
recognize him in this new atmosphere of refinement into which he was
brought, set him at his ease, as she did Andy, by a few quiet words. But
he was her equal: more master of this or any occasion than she, because
so thoroughly unconscious, standing on something higher. She suspected,
too, he had been used to a life as cultivated as this, long ago, by the
low, instructed voice, the intangible simplicity of look and word
belonging to the bred gentleman.

"They may fuss as they please about him now," chuckled Andy to himself,
"but darn a one of 'em would have smuggled him into them clothes. Spruce
they look, too; baggy about the knees, maybe. No, thank you, Miss; I've
had sufficient," putting down the wine he had barely sipped,--groaning
inwardly; but he knew what was genteel, I hope, and that comforted him

"The model is ready," said Starke to Dr. Bowdler. "We are keeping your
friends waiting."

"No. It is Aikens who is not here. You know him? If the thing satisfies
him, he'll bring it into his factories over the Delaware, and make Johns
push it through at Washington. He's a thorough-goer, Aikens. Then it
will be a success. That's Johns,--that burly fellow in the frock-coat.
You have had the model at Washington, I think you told me, Mr. Starke?"

"Three years ago. I exhibited it before a committee. On the Capitol
grounds it was."


"Oh, with success, certainly. They brought in a bill to introduce it
into the public works, but it fell through. Woods brought it in. He was
a young man: not strong, maybe. That was the reason they laughed, I
suppose. He tried it for two or three sessions, until it got to be a
sort of joke. I had no influence. That has been the cause of its
failure, always."

His eyes dropped; then he suddenly lifted his hand to his mouth, putting
it behind him again, to turn with a smile when Miss Defourchet addressed
him. Dr. Bowdler started.

"Look at the blood," he whispered to Friend Turner. "He bit his finger
to the bone."

"I know," said the old Quaker. "The man is quiet from inanition and
nervous tension. This trial means more to him than we guess. Get him out
of this crowd."

"Come, Mr. Starke," and the Doctor touched his arm, "into my library.
There are some curious plates there which"--

Andy had been gulping for courage to speak for some time.

"Don't let him go without a glass of wine," he muttered to the young
lady. "I give you my honor I haven't got food across his lips for"--

She started away from him, and made the machinist drink to the success
of "our engine," as she called it; but he only touched the glass to his
lips and smiled at her faintly: then left the room with her uncle.

The dog followed him: he had kept by Starke since the moment he came
into the breakfast-room, cuddling down across his feet when he was
called away. The man had only patted him absently, saying that all dogs
did so with him, he didn't know why. Thor followed him now. Friend
Turner beckoned the clergyman back a moment.

"Make him talk, Richard. Be rough, hurt him, if thee chooses; it will be
a safety-valve. Look in his eyes! I tell thee we have no idea of all
that has brought this poor creature into this state,--such rigid strain.
But if it is broken in on first by the failure of his pump, if it be a
pump, I will not answer for the result, Richard."

Dr. Bowdler nodded abruptly, and hurried after Starke. When he entered
the cozy south room which he called the library, he found Starke
standing before an oil-painting of a baby, one the Doctor had lost years

"Such a bright little thing!" the man said, patting the chubby bare foot
as if it were alive.

"You have children?" Dr. Bowdler asked eagerly.

"No, but I know almost all I meet in the street, or they know me. 'Uncle
Joe' they call me,"--with a boyish laugh.

It was gone in a moment.

"Are they ready?"


The Doctor hesitated. The man beside him was gray-haired as himself, a
man of power, with a high, sincere purpose looking out of the haggard
scraggy face and mild blue eyes,--how could he presume to advise him?
Yet this Starke, he saw, had narrowed his life down to a point beyond
which lay madness; and that baby had not been in life more helpless or
solitary or unable than he was now, when the trial had come. The Doctor
caught the bony hands in his own fat healthy ones.

"I wish I could help you," he said impetuously.

Starke looked in his face keenly.

"For what? How?"

"This engine--have you nothing to care for in life but that?"

"Nothing,--nothing but that and what it will gain me."

There was a pause.

"If it fails?"

The dark blood dyed the man's face and throat; he choked, waited a
moment before he spoke.

"It would not hurt me. No. I'm nearly tired out, Sir. I hardly look for

"Will you try again?"

"No, I'll not try again."

He had drawn away and stood by the window, his face hidden by the
curtain. The Doctor was baffled.

"You have yourself lost faith in your invention?"

Something of the old fierceness flashed into the man's eye, but died

"No matter," he said under his breath, shaking his head, and putting his
hand in a feeble way to his mouth.

"Inanition of soul as well as body," thought the Doctor. "I'll rouse
him, cruel or not."

"Have you anything to which to turn, if this disappoints you? Home or

He waited for an answer. When it came, he felt like an intruder, the man
was so quiet, far-off.

"I have nothing,--no friends,--unless I count that boy in the next room.
Eh? He has fragments of the old knightly spirit, if his brain be
cracked. No others."

"Well, well! You'll forgive me?" said the Doctor. "I did not mean to be
coarse. Only I--The matter will succeed, I know. You will find happiness
in that. Money and fame will come after."

The old man looked up and came towards him with a certain impressive
dignity, though the snuff-colored clothes were bagging about his limbs,
and his eyes were heavy and unsteady.

"You're not coarse. No. I'm glad you spoke to me in that way. It is as
if you stopped my life short, and made me look before and behind. But
you don't understand. I"--

He put his hand to his head, then began buttoning his coat uncertainly,
with a deprecating, weak smile.

"I don't know what the matter is. I'm not strong as I used to be."

"You need success."

How strong and breezy the Doctor's voice sounded!

"Cheer up, Mr. Starke. You're a stronger-brained man than I, and twenty
years younger. It's something to have lived for a single high purpose
like yours, if you succeed. And if not, God's life is broad, and needs
other things than air-engines. Perhaps you've been 'in training,' as the
street-talk goes, getting your muscles and nerves well grown, and your
real work and fight are yet to come."

"I don't know," said the man, dully.

Dr. Bowdler, perhaps, with well-breathed body and soul, did not quite
comprehend how vacant and well worn out both heart and lungs were under
poor Starke's bony chest.

"You don't seem to comprehend what this engine is to me.--You said the
world was broad. I had a mind, even when I was a boy, to do something in
it. My father was a small farmer over there in the Jerseys. Well, I used
to sit thinking there, after the day's work was done, until my head
ached, of how I might do something,--to help, you understand?"

"I understand."

"To make people glad I had lived. I was lazy, too. I'd have liked to
settle down and grub like the rest, but this notion kept driving me
like, a sting. I can understand why missionaries cross the seas when
their hearts stay behind. It grew with me, kept me restless, like a
devil inside of me. I'm not strong-brained, as you said. I had only one
talent,--for mechanism. They bred me a lawyer, but I was a machinist
born. Well,--it's the old story. What's the use of telling it?"

He stopped abruptly, his eyes on the floor.

"Go on. It will be good for both of us. Aikens has not come."

"There's nothing to tell. If it was God or the Devil that led me on to
this thing I don't know. I sold myself to it, soul and body. The idea of
this invention was not new, but my application was. So it got possession
of me. Whatever I made by the law went into it. I tried experiments in a
costly way then, had laboratories there, and workshops in the city. My
father left me a fortune; _that_ was swallowed up. I worked on with hard
struggle then. I was forty years old. I thought success lay just within
my reach. God! You don't know how I had fought for it, day by day, all
that long life! I was near mad, I think. And then"--

He stopped again, biting his under lip, standing motionless. The Doctor
waited until he was controlled.

"Never mind," gently. "Don't go on."

"Yes, I'll tell you all. I was married. A little Quaker girl she was,
uneducated, but the gentlest, truest woman God ever made, I think. It
rested one to look at her. There were two children. They died. Maybe, if
they had lived, it would have been different with me,--I'm so fond of
children. I was of her,--God knows I was! But after the children were
gone, and the property sunk, and the experiments all topped just short
of success, for want of means, I grew irritable and cross,--used to her.
It's the way with husbands and wives, sometimes. Well"--

He swallowed some choking in his throat, and hurried on.

"She had some money,--not much, but her own. I wanted it. Then I stopped
to think. This engine seemed like a greedy devil swallowing everything.
Another step, and she was penniless, ruined: common sense told me that.
And I loved her,--well enough to see how my work came between us every
hour, made me cruel to her, kept her wretched. If I were gone, she would
be better off. I said that to myself day after day. I used to finger the
bonds of that money, thinking how it would enable me to finish all I had
to do. She wanted me to take it. I knew some day I should do it."

"Did you?"

"No,"--his face clearing. "I was not altogether lost, I think. I left
her, settling it on herself. Then I was out of temptation. But I
deceived her: I said I was tired of married life, wished to give myself
to my work. Then I left her."

"What did she say?"

"She? Nothing that I remember. 'As thee will, Joseph,' that was all, if
anything. She had suspected it a long time. If I had stayed with her, I
should have used that money,"--his fingers working with his white
whiskers. "I've been near starving sometimes since. So I saved her from
that,"--looking steadily at the Doctor, when he had finished speaking,
but as if he did not see him.

"But your wife? Have you never seen her since?"

"Once." He spoke with difficulty now, but the clergyman suffered him to
go on. "I don't know where she is now. I saw her once in the Fulton
ferry-boat at New York; she had grown suddenly old and hard. She did not
see me. I never thought she could grow so old as that. But I did what I
could. I saved her from my life."

Dr. Bowdler looked into the man's eyes as a physician might look at a

"Since then you have not seen her, I understand you? Not wished to see

There was a moment's pause.

"I have told you the facts of my life, Sir," said the old machinist,
with a bow, his stubbly gray hair seeming to stand more erect; "the rest
is of trifling interest."

Dr. Bowdler colored.

"Don't be unjust to me, my friend," he said, kindly. "I meant well."

There had been some shuffling noises in the next room in the half-hour
just past, which the Doctor had heard uneasily, raising his voice each
time to stifle the sound. A servant came to the door now, beckoning him
out. As he went, Starke watched him from under his bushy brows, smiling,
when he turned and apologized for leaving him.

That man was a thorough man, of good steel. What an infinite patience
there was in his voice! He was glad he had told him so much; he breathed
freer himself for it. But he was not going to whine. Whatever pain had
been in his life he had left out of that account. What right had any man
to know what his wife was to him? Other men had given up home and
friends and wife for the truth's sake, and not whimpered over it.

What a long time they were waiting to examine the engine! He began his
walk up and down the room, with the habitual stoop of the shoulders, and
an occasional feeble wandering of the hand to his mouth, wondering a
little at himself, at his coolness. For this was the last throw of the
dice. After to-day, no second chance. If it succeeded--Well, he washed
his hands of the world's work then. _His_ share was finished, surely.
Then for happiness! What would she say when he came back? He had earned
his reward in life by this time; his work was done, well
done,--repeating that to himself again and again. But _would_ she care?
His long-jawed, gaunt face was all aglow now, and he rubbed his hands
softly together, his thought sliding back evidently into some accustomed
track, one that gave him fresh pleasure, though it had been the same
these many years, through days of hammering and moulding and nights of
sleeping in cheap taverns or under market-stalls. When they were first
married, he used to bring her a peculiar sort of white shawl,--quite
outside of the Quaker dress, to be sure, but he liked it. She used to
look like a bride, freshly, every time she put one on. One of those
should be the first thing he bought her. Dr. Bowdler was not wrong: he
was a young man yet; they could enjoy life strongly and heartily, both
of them. But no more work: with a dull perception of the fact that his
strength was sapped out beyond the power of recuperation. That baby
(stopping before the picture) was like Rob, about the forehead. But Rob
was fairer, and had brown eyes and a snub-nose, like his mother.
Remembering how, down in the farm-house, she used to sit on the
front-porch step nursing the baby, while he smoked or read, in the
evenings: where they could see the salt marshes. Jane liked them, for
their color: a dead flat of brown salt grass with patches of brilliant
emerald, and the black, snaky lines up which the tide crept, the
white-sailed boats looking as if they were wedged in the grass. She
liked that. Her tastes were all good.

How long _did_ they mean to wait? He went to the window and looked out.
Just then a horse neighed, and the sound oddly recalled the country-town
where they had lived after they came into this State. On market-days it
was one perpetual whinny along the streets from the colts trotting
along-side of the wagons. He and Jane used to keep open table for their
country-friends then, and on court- or fair-days. What a hard-fisted,
shrewd people they were! talking bad English (like Jane herself); but
there was more refinement and softness of feeling among them than among
city-bred men. He should relish that life again; it suited him. To die
like a grub? But he _had_ done his work. Thank God!

He opened the window to catch the damp air, as Dr. Bowdler came in and
touched him on the arm.

"Shall we stay here? Mr. Aikens has come, and they have been testing the
machine for some time, I find. Go? Certainly, but--You're a little
nervous, Mr. Starke, and--Wouldn't it be better if you were not present?
They would be freer in deciding, and--suppose you and I stay here?"

"Eh? How? At it for some time?" hurrying out. "At it?" as the Doctor
tried to keep pace with him. "Why, God bless my soul, Sir, what can
_they_ do? Nobody understands the valves but myself. A set of
ignoramuses, Sir. I saw that at a glance. But it's my last
chance,"--panting and wheezing before he reached the back lobby, and
holding his hand to his side.

Dr. Bowdler stopped outside.

"What are you waiting here for, Mary?"

"I want to hear. What chance has it? I think I'd give something off my
own life, if that man had succeeded in doing a great thing."

"Not much of a chance, Aikens says. The theory is good, but they are
afraid the expense will make it of no practical use. However, they have
not decided. It is well it is his last chance, though, as he says. I
never saw a man who had dragged himself so near to insanity in pursuit
of a hobby. Nothing but a great reaction can save him."

"Success, you mean? I think that man's life is worth a thousand aimless
ones, Sir. If it fails, where's your 'justice on earth'? I"--

She pushed her curls back hotly. The Doctor did not answer.

The trial lasted until late in the afternoon. One or two of the
gentlemen came out at odd times to luncheon, which was spread in the
adjoining room. They looked grave, and talked earnestly in low tones:
the man had infected them with his own feeling in a measure.

"I don't know when I was more concerned for the success of anything not
my own," said Mr. Aikens to Miss Defourchet, as he rose to go back to
the lobby, putting down his glass. "It is such a daring innovation; it
would be worth thousands per annum to me, if I could make it
practicable. And then that poor devil himself,--I feel as if we were
trying him for his life to-day. It's pitiful."

She went in herself once, when the door was open, and saw Starke: he was
in his shirt-sleeves, driving in a wedge that had come out; his face was
parched, looked contracted, his eyes glazed. She spoke to him, but he
made no answer, went from side to side of the engine, working with it,
glancing furtively at the men, who stood gravely talking. The girl was
nervous, and felt she should cry, if she stayed there. She called the
dog, but he would not come; he was crouched with his head on his
fore-paws, watching Starke.

"It is curious how the dog follows him," she said, after she had gone
out, to Andy, who was in the back porch, watching the rain come up.

"I've noticed animals did it to him. My Jerry knows him as well as me.
What chances has he, Miss?"

"I cannot tell."

There was a pause.

"You heard Dr. Bowdler say he was married. Do you know his wife?" she

Some strange doubts had been in Andy's brain for the last hour, but he
never told a secret.

"It was in the market I come, to know Mr. Starke," he said, confusedly.
"At the eatin'-stalls. He never said to me as he hed a wife."

The rain was heavy and constant when it came, a muddy murkiness in the
air that bade fair to last for a day or more. Evening closed in rapidly.
Andy sat still on the porch; he could shuffle his heels as he pleased
there, and take a sly bit of tobacco, watching, through a crack between
the houses, the drip, drip, of rain on the umbrellas going by, the lamps
beginning to glow here and there in the darkness, listening to the soggy
footfalls and the rumble of the streetcars.

"This is tiresome,"--putting one finger carefully under the rungs of his
chair, where he had the lantern. "I wonder ef Jane is waiting for
me,--an' for any one else."

He trotted one foot, and chewed more vehemently. On the verge of some
mystery, it seemed to him.

"Ef it is--What ef he misses, an' won't go back with me? God help the
woman! What kin _I_ do?"

After a while, taking out the lantern, and rubbing it where the damp had
dimmed it,--

"I'll need it to-night, that's sure!"

Now and then he bent his head, trying to catch a sound from the lobby,
but to no purpose. About five o'clock, however, there was a sudden
sound, shoving of chairs, treading, half-laughs, as of people departing.
The door opened, and the gentlemen came out into the lighted hall, in
groups of two or three,--some who were to dine with the Doctor passing
up the staircase, the others chatting by the door. The Doctor was not
with them, nor Starke. Andy stood up, trying to hear, holding his felt
hat over his mouth. "If he's hed a chance!" But he could catch only
broken sentences.

"A long session."

"I knew it from the first."

"I asked Starke to call on me to-morrow," etc.

And so they put on their hats, and went out, leaving the hall vacant.

"I can't stand this," said Andy, after a pause.

He wiped his wet feet, and went into the hall. The door out of which the
men came opened into a reception-room; beyond that was the lobby. It was
dimly lighted as yet, when he entered it; the engine-model, a mass of
miniature wheels and cylinders, was in the middle of the bare floor; the
Doctor and Starke at the other end of the apartment. The Doctor was
talking,--a few words now and then, earnestly spoken. Andy could not
hear them; but Starke sat, saying nothing. Miss Defourchet took a pair
of India-rubber boots from the servant in the hall, and went to him.

"You must wear them, and take an umbrella, if you will not stay," she
said, stooping down, as if she would like to have put them on his feet,
her voice a little unsteady. "It rains very heavily, and your shoes are
not strong. Indeed, you must."

"Shoes, eh?" said the old machinist, lifting one foot end then the other
on his knee, and looking vacantly at the holes through which the bare
skin showed. "Oh, yes, yes,"--rising and going past her, as if he did
not see her.

"But you'll take them?"

"Hush, Mary! Mr. Starke, I may come and see you to-morrow, you said?
We'll arrange matters,"--with a hearty tone.

Starke touched his hat with the air of an old-school gentleman.

"I shall be happy to see you, Sir,--very happy. You will allow me to
wish you good evening?"--smiling. "I am not well,"--with the same
meaningless look.

"Certainly,"--shaking hands earnestly. "I wish I could induce you to
stay and have a talk over your future prospects, eh? But to-morrow--I
will be down early to-morrow. Your young friend gave me the address. The
model--we'll have that sent down to-morrow, too."

Starke stopped.

"The model," without, however, looking at it. "Yes. It can go to-night.
I should prefer that. Andrew will bring an express-wagon for
it,"--fumbling in his pocket.

"I have the exact change," said Miss Defourchet, eagerly; "let me pay
the express."

Starke's face colored and grew pale again.

"You mistake me," he said, smiling.

"He's no beggar. You hurt him," Andy had whispered, pushing back her
hand. Some women had no sense, if they were ladies. Ann Mipps would
never have done that!

Starke drew out a tattered leather purse: there was a dime in it, which
Andy took. He lighted his lantern, and followed Starke out of the house,
noticing how the Doctor hesitated before he closed the door after them.
They stood a moment on the pavement; the rain was dark and drenching,
with sudden gusts of wind coming down the street. The machinist stood,
his old cap stuck on the back of his head, his arms fallen nerveless at
his sides, hair and coat and trousers flapping and wet: the very picture
of a man whom the world had tried, and in whom it had found no possible
savor of use but to be trodden under foot of men.

"God help him!" thought Andy, "he's far gone! He don't even button an'
unbutton his coat as allus."

But he asked no questions, excepting where should he take _it_. Some
young men came up, three abreast; Starke drew humbly out of their way
before he replied.

"I--I do not know, Andrew. But I'd rather not see it again. You"--

His voice went down into a low mumbling, and he turned and went slowly
off up the street. Andy stood puzzled a moment, then hurried after him.

"Let me go home with you."

"What use, boy?"

"To-morrow, then?"

Starke said nothing, thrust his hands into his pockets, his head falling
on his breast with an unchanged vacancy of expression. Andy looked after
him, coughing, gazing about him uncertainly.

"He's clean given up! What kin _I_ do?"

Then overtook him again, forcing the lantern into his hand,--not without
a gulp for breath.

"Here! take this! I like to. It's yours now, Mr. Starke, d' y'
understand? Yours. But you'll take care of it, won't you?"

"I do not need anything, my good boy. Let me go."

But Andy held on desperately to his coat.

"Come home. _She's_ there. Maybe I ought not to say it. It's Jane. For
God's sake, come to Jane!"

It was so dark that Andy could not see the expression of the man's face
when he heard this. Starke did not speak for some minutes; when he did,
his voice was firm and conscious, as it had not been before to-night.

"Let go my coat, Andrew; I feel choking. You know my wife, then?"

"Yes, this many a year. She's waited for you. Come home. Come!"

But Starke drew his arm away.

"Tell her I would have gone, if I had succeeded. But not now. I'm tired,
I'm going to rest."

With both hands he pushed the lank, wet hair off his face. Somehow, all
his tired life showed itself in the gesture.

"I don't think I ever did care as much for her as I do to-night. Is she
always well, Andrew?"

"Yes, well. Come!"

"No; good night. Bid her good night."

As he turned away, he stopped and looked back.

"Ask her if she ever thinks of our Rob. I do." And so was gone.

As he went down the street, turning into an alley, something black
jumped over the low gate beside Andy and followed him.

"It's the dog! Well, dumb creatures _are_ curious, beyond me. Now for
Jane"; and with his head muddled and aching, he went to find an

The examination of the model took place on Tuesday. On the Saturday
following, Dr. Bowdler was summoned to his back parlor to see a man and
woman who had called. Going in, he found Andy, clad as before in his
dress-suit of blue coat and marvellously plaid trousers, balancing
himself uneasily on the edge of his chair, and a woman in Quaker dress
beside him. Her face and presence attracted the Doctor at once,
strongly, though they were evidently those of an uneducated
working-woman. The quietude in her motions and expression, the repressed
power, the delicacy, had worked out, from within, to carve her sad face
into those fine lines he saw. No outside culture could do that. She
spoke, too, with that simple directness that belongs to people who are
sure of what they have to do in the world.

"I came to see if thee knew anything of my husband: thee was so kind to
him some days ago. I am Jane Starke."

The Doctor comprehended in a moment. He watched the deserted wife
curiously, as he answered her.

"No, my dear Madam. Is it possible he is not with you? I went to his
lodging twice with my niece, and, finding it vacant, concluded that he
had returned to you, or gone with our young friend Andrew here."

"He is not with me."

She rose, her fingers twitching nervously at her bonnet-strings.

"She was so dead sure you would know," said Andy, rising also. "We've
been on the search for four days. We thought you would know. Where will
you go now, Jane?"

The woman lost every trace of color when Dr. Bowdler answered her, but
she showed no other sign of her disappointment.

"We will find him somewhere, Andrew."

"Stop, stop," interrupted the Doctor. "Tell me what you have done. You
must not go in this way."

The woman began to answer, but Andy took the word from her.

"You keep yerself quiet, Jane. She's dreadful worn out, Sir. There's not
much to tell. Jane had come into town that night to meet him,--gone to
his lodgins--she was so sure he'd come home. She's been waitin' these
ten years,"--in a whisper. "But he didn't come. Nor the next day, nor
any day since. An' the last I saw of him was goin' down the street in
the rain, with the dog followin'. We've been lookin' every way we could,
but I don't know the town much, out of my streets for milk, an' Jane
knows nothin' of it at all, so"--

"It is as I told you!" broke in Miss Defourchet, who had entered,
unperceived, with a blaze of enthusiasm that made Jane start,
bewildered. "He is at work,--some new effort. Madam, you have reason to
thank God for making you the wife of such a man. It makes my blood
glow," turning to her uncle, "to find this dauntless heroism in the rank
and file of the people."

She was sincere in her own heroic sympathy for the rank and file: her
slender form dilated, her eyes flashed, and there was a rich color
mounting to her fine aquiline features.

"I like a man to fight fate to the death as this one,--never to give
up,--to sacrifice life to his idea."

"If thee means the engine by the idea," said Jane, dully, "we've given
up a good deal to it. He has. It don't matter for me."

Miss Defourchet glanced indignantly at the lumbering figure, the big
slow eyes, following her with a puzzled pain in them. For all mischances
or sinister fates in the world she had compassion, except for

"I knew," to Dr. Bowdler, "he would not be content with the decision the
other day. It is his destiny to help the world. And if this woman will
come between him and his work, I hope she may never find him."

Jane put a coarse hand up to her breast as if something hurt her; after
a moment, she said, with her heavy, sad face looking full down on the
young girl,--

"Thee is young yet. It may be God meant my old man to do this work: it
may be not. He knows. Myself, I do not think He keeps the world waitin'
for this air-engine. Others'll be found to do it when it's needed; what
matter if he fails? An' when a man gives up all little works for
himself, an' his child, or--his wife," with a gasp, "for some great

She stopped.

"It's more likely that the Devil is driving him than God leading," said
the Doctor, hastily.

"Come, Andrew," said Jane, gravely. "We have no time to lose."

She moved to the door,--unsteadily, however.

"_She_'s fagged out," said Andy, lingering behind her. "Since Tuesday
night I've followed her through streets an' alleys, night an' day. Jest
as prim an' sober as you see. Cryin' softly to herself at times. It's a
sore heart-break, Sir. Waitin' these ten years"--

Dr. Bowdler offered his help, earnestly, as did his niece, with a
certain reserve. The dog Thor had disappeared with Starke, and they
hoped that would afford some clue.

"But the woman is a mere clog," said Miss Defourchet, impatiently, after
they were gone. "Her eyes are as sad, unreasonable as Thor's. Nothing in
them but instinct. But it is so with most women,"--with a sigh.

"But somehow, Mary, those women never mistake their errand in the world
any more than Thor, and do it as unconsciously and completely as he,"
said the Doctor, with a quizzical smile. "If Starke had followed, his
'instincts,' he would have been a snug farmer to-day in the Jerseys."

Miss Defourchet vouchsafed no answer.

Dr. Bowdler gave his help, as he had promised, but to no purpose. A week
passed in the search without success, until at last Thor brought it. The
dog was discovered one night in the kitchen, waiting for his supper, as
he had been used to do: his affection for his new master, I suppose, not
having overcome his recollection of the flesh-pots of Egypt. They
followed him (Jane, the Doctor, and Andy) out to that maze of narrow
streets, near Fairmount, called, I think, Francisville. He stopped at a
low house, used in front as a cake-shop, the usual young girl with high
cheek-bones and oily curls waiting within.

"The dog's owner?" the trading look going out of her eyes suddenly, "Oh,
are you his friends? He's low to-night: mother's up with him since
supper; mother's kept him since last Tuesday,"--fussing out from behind
the counter. "Take chairs, Ma'am. I'll call her. Go out, you
Stevy,"--driving out two or three urchins in their bed-gowns who were
jamming up the door-way.

Miserably poor the whole place was; the woman, when she came down, a
hard skinflint--in Andy's phrase--in the face: just home from her day's
washing, her gown pinned up, her arms flabby and red.

"Good evenin', Sir! evenin', Ma'am! See the man? Of course, Ma'am; but
you'd best be keerful,"--standing between Jane and the door. "He's very

"What ails him?"

"Well, I'll say it out,--if you're his friends, as you say," stammering.
"I'd not like to accuse any one rashly, but--I think he'd a notion of
starvin' to death, an' got himself so low. Come to me las' week, an'
pawned his coat for my back room to sleep in. He eat nothin' then: I
seen that. An' he used to go out an' look at the dam for hours: but he
never throwed himself in. Since he took to bed, we keep him up with
broth and sech as we have,--Sally an' me. Sir? Afford it? Hum! We're not
as well off as we have been," dryly; "but I'm not a beast to see a man
starvin' under my roof. Oh, certingly, Ma'am; go up."

And while Jane mounted the rickety back-stairs, she turned to the door
to meet two or three women with shawls pinned about their heads.

"He's very poorly, Mis' Crawford, thank ye, Mem. No, you can't do
nothing'," in a sepulchral whisper, which continued in a lower tone,
with a nod back to the Doctor and Andy.

Starke's affair was a godsend to the neighborhood, Dr. Bowdler saw.
Untrained people enjoy a sickness with more keenness and hearty
good-feeling than you do the opera. The Doctor had providently brought a
flask of brandy in his pocket. He went on tiptoe up the creaking stairs
and gave it to Jane. She was standing, holding the handle of the door,
not turning it.

"What is it, Jane?" cheerfully. "What do you tremble for, eh?"

"Nothin'",--chewing her lips and opening the door. "It's ten years
since,"--to herself, as she went in.

Not when she was a shy girl had he been to her what these ten years of
desertion had made him.

It was half an hour before the Doctor and Andy went up softly into the
upper room and sat quietly down out of sight in the corner. Jane was
sitting on the low cot-bed, holding Starke's head on her breast. They
could not see her face in the feeble light. She had some brandy and
water in a glass, and gave him a spoonful of it now and then; and when
she had done that, smoothed the yellow face incessantly with her hard
fingers. The Doctor fancied that such dumb pain and affection as there
was in even that little action ought to bring him to life, if he were
dead. There was some color on his cheeks, and occasionally he opened his
eyes and tried to speak, but closed them wearily. They watched by him
until midnight; his pulse grew stronger by that time, and he lay
wistfully looking at his wife like one who had wakened out of a long
death, and tried to collect his thought. She did not speak nor stir,
knowing on how slight a thread his sense hung.

"Jane!" he said, at last.

They bent forward eagerly.

"Jane, I wish thee'd take me home."'

"To be sure, Joseph," cheerfully. "In the morning. It is too chilly
to-night. Is thee comfortable?" drawing his head closer to her breast.
"O God! He'll live!" silently clutching at the bed-rail until her hand
ached. "Go to sleep, dear."

Whatever sobs or tears choked her voice just then, she forced them back:
they might disturb him. He closed his eyes a moment.

"I have something to say to thee, Jane."

"No. Thee must rest."

"I'd sleep better, if I tell thee first."

There was a moment's silence. The woman's face was pale, her eyes
burning, but she only smiled softly, holding him steadily.

"It has been so long!"--passing his hand over his forehead vaguely.


She could not command a smile now.

"It was all wasted. I've been worth nothing."

How close she held him then to her breast! How tender the touches grew
on his face!

"I was not strong enough to kill myself even, the other day, when I was
so tired. So cowardly! Not worth much, Jane!"

She bent forward over him, to keep the others from hearing this.

"Thee's tired too, Jane?" looking up dully.

"A little, Joseph."

Another silence.

"To-morrow, did thee say, we would go home?"

"Yes, to-morrow."

He shut his eyes to sleep.

"Kiss him," said the Doctor to her. "It will make him more certain."

Her face grew crimson.

"He has not asked me yet," she said.

Sometime early in the summer, nearly four years after, Miss Defourchet
came down to make her uncle another visit,--a little thinned and jaded
with her winter's work, and glad of the daily ride into the fresh
country-air. One morning, the Doctor, jumping into the barouche beside
her, said,--

"We'll make a day of it, Mary,--spend it with some old friends of ours.
They are such wholesome, natural people, it refreshes me to be with them
when I am tired."

"Starke and his wife?" she asked, arranging her scarf. "I never desire
to be with him, or with any man recreant to his work."

"Recreant, eh? Starke? Well, no; he works hard, digs and ditches, and is
happy. I think he takes his work more humbly and healthily than any man
I know."

Miss Defourchet looked absently out at the gleaming river. Her interest
had always been languid in the man since he had declined either to fight
fate or drown himself. The Doctor jerked his hat down into the bottom of
the carriage and pulled open his cravat.

"Hah! do you catch that river-breeze? Don't that expand your lungs? And
the whiff of the fresh clover-blossoms? I come out here to study my
sermons, did you know? Nature is so simple and grand here, a man could
not well say a mean or unbrotherly thing while he stays. It forces you
to be 'a faithful witness' to the eternal truth. There is good fishing
hereabouts, eh, Jim?"--calling to the driver. "Do you see that black
pool under the sycamore?"

"_I_ could not call it 'faithful witnessing' to delight in taking even a
fish's life," dryly said his niece.

The Doctor winced.

"It's the old Adam in me, I suppose. You'll have to be charitable to the
different making-up of people, Mary."

However, he was silent for a while after that, with rather an
extinguished feeling, bursting out again when they reached the gate of a
little snug place by the road-side.

"Here is where my little friend Ann lives. There's a wife for you! 'And
though she rules him, never shows she rules.' They've a dairy-farm, you
know, back of the hills; but they live here because it was her father's
toll-house then, and they won't give up the old place. I like such
notions. Andy's full of them. There he is! Hillo, Fawcett!"

Andy came out from the kitchen-garden, his freckled face redder than his
hair, his eyes showing his welcome. Dr. Bowdler was an old tried friend
now of his and Ann's. "He took a heap of nonsense out of me," he used to

"No, no, we'll not stop now," said the Doctor; "we are going on to
Starke's, and Ann is not in, I see. I will stop in the evening for my
glass of buttermilk, though, and a bunch of country-grown flowers."

But they waited long enough to discuss the price of poultry, etc., in
market, before they drove on. Miss Defourchet looked wearied.

"Such things seem so paltry while the country is in the state it is,"
she said.

"Well, my dear, so it is. But it's 'the work by which Andy thrives,' you
know. And I like it, somehow."

The lady had worked nobly in the hospitals last winter, and naturally
she wanted to see every head and hand at work on some noble scheme or
task for the world's good. The hearty, comfortable quiet of the Starkes'
little farm-house tired her. It was such a sluggish life of nothings,
she thought,--even when Jane had brought her chair close to the window
where the sunshine came in broadest and clearest through the
buttonwood-leaves. Jane saw the look, and it troubled her. She was not
much of a talker, only when with her husband, so there was no use of
trying that. She put a little table beside the window and a white cloth
on it, and then brought a saucer of crimson strawberries and yellow
cream; but the lady was no eater, she was sorry to see. She stood a
moment timidly, but Miss Defourchet did not put her at her ease. It was
the hungry poor she cared for, with stifled brains and souring feeling.
This woman was at ease, stupidly at peace with God and herself.

"Perhaps thee'd be amused to look over Joseph's case of books?" handing
her the key, and then sitting down with her knitting, contented in
having finished her duty. "After a while thee'll have a pleasant
time,"--smiling consciously. "Richard'll be awake. Richard's our boy,
thee knows? I wish he was awake, but it is his mornin' nap, an' I never
disturb him in his mornin' nap."

"You lead a very quiet life, apparently," said Miss Defourchet; for she
meant to see what was in all these dull trifles.

"Yes, thee might call it so. My old man farms; he has more skill that
way than me. He bought land in Iowa, an' has been out seein' it, an'
that freshened him up this spring. But we'll never leave the old place."

"So he farms, and you"--

"Well, I oversee the house," glancing at the word into the kitchen to
see how Bessy was getting on with the state dinner in progress. "It
keeps me busy, an' Bessy, (she's an orphan we've taken to raise,) an'
the dairy, an' Richard most of all. I let nobody touch Richard but
myself. That's my work."

"You have little time for reading?"

Jane colored.

"I'm not fond of it. A book always put me to sleep quicker than a hop
pillow. But lately I read some things," hesitating,--"the first books
Richard'll have to know. I want to keep him with ourselves as long as I
can. I'd like,"--her eyes with a new outlook in them, as she raised
them, something beyond Miss Defourchet's experience,--"I'd like to make
my boy a good, healthy, honest boy before _I_'m done with him. I wish I
could teach him his Latin an' th' others. But there's no use to try for

"How goes it, Mary?" said the Doctor heartily, coming in, all in a heat,
and sun-burnt, with Starke.

Both men were past the prime of life, thin, and stooped, but Starke's
frame was tough and weather-cured. He was good for ten years longer in
the world than Dr. Bowdler.

"I've just been looking at the stock. Full and plenty, in every corner,
as I say to Joseph. It warms me up to come here, Starke. I don't know a
healthier, more cheerful farm on these hills than just this one."

Starke's face brightened.

"The ground's not overly rich, Sir. Tough work, tough work; but I like
it. I'm saving off it, too. We put by a hundred or two last year; same
next, God willing. For Richard, Dr. Bowdler. We want enough to give him
a thorough education, and then let him rough it with the others. That
will be the best way to bring out the stuff that's in him. It's good
stuff," in an under-tone.

"How old is he?" said Miss Defourchet.

"Two years last February," said Jane, eagerly.

"Two years; yes. He's my namesake, Mary, did you know? Where is the
young lion?"

"Why, yes, mother. Why isn't Richard down? Morning nap? Hoot, toot!
bring the boy down!"

Miss Defourchet, while Jane went for the boy, noticed how heavy the
scent of the syringas grew, how the bees droned down into a luxurious
delight in the hot noon. One might dream out life very pleasantly there,
she thought. The two men talked politics, but glanced constantly at the
stairs. She did not wonder that Starke's worn, yellow face should grow
so curiously bright at the sight of his boy; but her uncle did not care
for children,--unless, indeed, there was something in them. Jane came
down and put the boy on the floor.

"He has pulled all my hair down," she said, trying to look grave, to
hide the proud smile in her face.

Miss Defourchet had taken Richard up with an involuntary kiss, which he
resisted, looking her full in the face. There _was_ something in this

"He won't kiss you, unless he likes you," said Starke, chafing his hands

"What do you think of that fellow, Mary?" said the Doctor, coming over.
"He's my young lion, Richard is. Look at this square forehead. You don't
believe in Phrenology, eh? Well, I do. Feel his jaws. Look at that lady,
Sir! Do you see the big, brave eyes of him?"

"His mouth is like his mother's," said Starke, jealously.

"Oh, yes, yes! So. You think that is the best part of his face, I know.
It is; as tender as a woman's."

"It is a real hero-face," said the young lady, frankly; "not a mean line
in it."

Starke had drawn the boy between his knees, and was playing roughly with

"There never shall be one, with God's help," he thought, but said

Richard was "a hobby" of Dr. Bowdler's, his niece perceived.

"His very hair is like a mane," he said; "he's as uncouth as a young
giant that don't feel his strength. I say this, Mary: that the boy will
never be goodish and weak: he'll be greatly good or greatly bad."

The young lady noticed how intently Starke listened; she wondered if he
had forgotten entirely his own God-sent mission, and turned baby-tender

"What has become of your model, Mr. Starke?" she asked.

Dr. Bowdler looked up uneasily; it was a subject he never had dared to

"Andrew keeps it," said Starke, with a smile, "for the sake of old
times, side by side with his lantern, I believe."

"You never work with it?"

"No; why should I? The principle has since been made practical, as you
know, better than I could have done it. My idea was too crude, I can see
now. So I just grazed success, as one may say."

"Have you given up all hope of serving your fellows?" persisted the
lady. "You seemed to me to be the very man to lead a forlorn hope
against ignorance: are you quite content to settle down here and do

His color changed, but he said quietly,--

"I've learned to be humbler, maybe. It was hard learning. But," trying
to speak lightly, "when I found I was not fit to be an officer, I tried
to be as good a private as I could. Your uncle will tell you the cause
is the same."

There was a painful silence.

"I think sometimes, though," said Starke, "that God meant Jane and I
should not be useless in the world."

He put his hand almost reverently on the boy's head.

"Richard is ours, you know, to make what we will of. He will do a
different work in life from any engine. I try to think we have strength
enough saved out of our life to make him what we ought."

"You're right, Starke," said the Doctor, emphatically. "Some day, when
you and I have done with this long fight, we shall find that as many
privates as captains will have earned the cross of the Legion of Honor."

Miss Defourchet said nothing; the day did not please her. Jane, she
noticed, when evening came on, slipped up-stairs to brush her hair, and
put on a soft white shawl.

"Joseph likes to see me dress a little for the evenings," she said, with
quite a flush in her cheek.

And the young lady noticed that Starke smiled tenderly as his wife
passed him. It was so weak! in ugly, large-boned people, too.

"It does one good to go there," said the Doctor, drawing a long breath
as they drove off in the cool evening, the shadowed red of the sun
lighting up the little porch where the machinist stood with his wife and
child. "The unity among them is so healthy and beautiful."

"I did not feel it as you do," said Miss Defourchet, drawing her shawl
closer, and shivering.

Starke came down on the grass to play with the boy, throwing him down on
the heaps of hay there to see him jump and rush back undaunted. Yet in
all his rude romps the solemn quiet of the hour was creeping over him.
He sat down by Jane on the wooden steps at last, while, the boy, after
an impetuous kiss or two, curled up at their feet and went to sleep The
question about the model had stirred an old doubt in Jane's heart. She
watched her husband keenly. Was he thinking of that old dream? _Would_
he go back to it? the long dull pain of those dead years creeping
through her brain. He looked up from the boy, stroking his gray
beard,--his eyes, she saw, full of tears.

"I was thinking, Jane, how much of our lives was lost before we found
our true work."

"Yes, Joseph."

He gathered up the boy, holding him close to his bony chest.

"I'd like to think," he said. "I could atone for that waste, Jane. It
was my fault. I'd like to think I'd earn up yonder that cross of the
Legion of Honor--through him."

"God knows," she said.

After that they were silent a long while, They were thinking of Him who
had brought the little child to them.

       *       *       *       *       *


    No! is my answer from this cold, bleak ridge
      Down to your valley: you may rest you there:
    The gulf is wide, and none can build a bridge
      That your gross weight would safely hither bear.

    Pity me, if you will. I look at you
      With something that is kinder far than scorn,
    And think, "Ah, well! I might have grovelled, too;
      I might have walked there, fettered and forsworn."

    I am of nature weak as others are;
      I might have chosen comfortable ways;
    Once from these heights I shrank, beheld afar,
      In the soft lap of quiet, easy days.

    I might--(I will not hide it)--once I might
      Have lost, in the warm whirlpools of your voice,
    The sense of Evil, the stern cry of Right;
      But Truth has steered me free, and I rejoice:

    Not with the triumph that looks back to jeer
      At the poor herd that call their misery bliss;
    But as a mortal speaks when God is near,
      I drop you down my answer; it is this:--

    I am not yours, because you seek in me
      What is the lowest in my own esteem:
    Only my flowery levels can you see,
      Nor of my heaven-smit summits do you dream.

    I am not yours, because you love yourself:
      Your heart has scarcely room for me beside.
    I could not be shut in with name and pelf;
      I spurn the shelter of your narrow pride!

    Not yours,--because you are not man enough
      To grasp your country's measure of a man!
    If such as you, when Freedom's ways are rough,
      Cannot walk in them, learn that women can!

    Not yours, because, in this the nation's need,
      You stoop to bend her losses to your gain,
    And do not feel the meanness of your deed:
      I touch no palm defiled with such a stain!

    Whether man's thought can find too lofty steeps
      For woman's scaling, care not I to know;
    But when he falters by her side, or creeps,
      She must not clog her soul with him to go.

    Who weds me must at least with equal pace
      Sometimes move with me at my being's height:
    To follow him to his more glorious place,
      His purer atmosphere, were keen delight.

    You lure me to the valley: men should call
      Up to the mountains, where the air is clear.
    Win me and help me climbing, if at all!
      Beyond these peaks rich harmonies I hear,--

    The morning chant of Liberty and Law!
      The dawn pours in, to wash out Slavery's blot:
    Fairer than aught the bright sun ever saw
      Rises a nation without stain or spot.

    The men and women mated for that time
      Tread not the soothing mosses of the plain;
    Their hands are joined in sacrifice sublime;
      Their feet firm set in upward paths of pain.

    Sleep your thick sleep, and go your drowsy way!
      You cannot hear the voices in the air!
    Ignoble souls will shrivel in that day:
      The brightness of its coming can you bear?

    For me, I do not walk these hills alone:
      Heroes who poured their blood out for the Truth,
    Women whose hearts bled, martyrs all unknown,
      Here catch the sunrise of immortal youth

    On their pale cheeks and consecrated brows!
      It charms me not,--your call to rest below:
    I press their hands, my lips pronounce their vows
      Take my life's silence for your answer: No!

       *       *       *       *       *


The death of Eugene Delacroix cuts the last bond between the great
artistic epoch which commenced with the Bellini and that which had its
beginning with the nineteenth century, epochs as diverse in character as
the Venice of 1400 and the Paris of 1800. In him died the last great
painter whose art was moulded by the instincts and traditions that made
Titian and Veronese, and the greatest artist whose eyes have opened on
the, to him, uncongenial and freezing life of the nineteenth century. In
our time we have a new ideal, a new and maybe a higher development of
intellectual art, and as great a soul as Titian's might to-day reach
farther towards the reconciled perfections of graphic art: but what he
did no one can now do; the glory of that time has passed away,--its
unreasoning faith, its wanton instinct, revelling in Art like children
in the sunshine, and rejoicing in childlike perception of the pomp and
glory which overlay creation, unconscious of effort, indifferent to
science,--all gone with the fairies, the saints, the ecstatic visions
which framed their poor lives in gold. Only, still reflecting the glory,
as eastern mountains the sunken sun, came a few sympathetic souls
kindling into like glow, with faint perception of what had passed from
the whole world beside. Velasquez, Rubens, Rembrandt, Watteau, Reynolds,
Gainsborough, Turner, and Delacroix, kept the line of color, now at last
utterly extinguished. Now we reason, now we see facts; sentiment is out
of joint, and appearances are known to be liars; we have found the
greater substance; we kindle with the utilities, and worship with the
aspiring spirit of a common humanity; we banish the saints from our
souls and the gewgaws from our garments, and walk clothed and in our
right minds in what we believe to be the noonday light of reason and
science. We are humanitarian, enlightened. We begin to comprehend the
great problems of human existence and development; our science touches
the infinitely removed, and apprehends the mysteries of macrocosmic
organism: but we have lost the art of painting; for, when Eugene
Delacroix died, the last painter (visible above the man) who understood
Art as Titian understood it, and painted with such eyes as Veronese's,
passed away, leaving no pupil or successor. It is as when the last scion
of a kingly race dies in some alien land. Greater artists than he we may
have in scores; but he was of the Venetians, and, with his _nearly_
rival, Turner, lived to testify that it was not from a degeneracy of the
kind that we have no more Tintorets and Veroneses; for both these, if
they had lived in the days of those, had been their peers.

Painting, as the Venetians understood it, is a lost art, because the
mental conditions which made it possible exist no longer. The race is
getting to that mannish stature in which every childlike quality is a
shame to it; and the Venetian feeling for and cultivation of color are
essentially childlike traits. No shadows of optics, no spectra of the
prism clouded their passionate enjoyment of color as it was or as it
might be, no uplifted finger of cold decorum frightened them into gray
or sable gloom; they garbed themselves in rainbows, and painted with the
sunset. Color was to them a rapture and one of the great pursuits of
their lives; it was music visible, and they cultivated it as such,--not
by rule and measure, by scales and opposites, through theories and
canons, with petrific chill of intellect or entangling subtilty of
analysis. Their lives developed their instincts, and their instincts
their art. They loved color more than everything else; and therefore
color made herself known to them in her rarest and noblest beauty. They
went to Nature as children, and Nature met them as a loving mother
meets her child, with her happiest smile and the richest of her gifts. I
do not believe that to any Venetian painter the thought of whether a
given tint was true ever came; if only his fine instinct told him it was
lovely, he asked no question further,--and if he took a tint from
Nature, it was because it was lovely, and not because he found it in
Nature. _Our_ painter must see,--_their_ painter could feel; and in this
antithesis is told the whole difference between the times, so far as
color is concerned.

But while Delacroix worked in the same spirit and must be ranked in the
same school, there were differences produced by the action of the so
different social and intellectual influences under which he grew up. His
nature was intensely imaginative, and so was preserved from the dwarfing
effect of French rationalism and materialism: their clay could not hide
his light or close his eyes, for imagination sees at all points and
through all disguises, and so his spiritual and intellectual nature was
kept alive when all Art around him was sinking into mere shapely clay.
Classic taste and rationalistic pride had left in his contemporaries
little else than cold propriety of form and color, studied negations of
spontaneity and imaginative abandon; yet such was the force of his
imagination, that these qualities, almost more than any other,
characterize his conceptions: but the perpetual contact and presence of
elements so uncongenial to his good genius produced their effects in a
morbid sadness, in his feeling for subject, and in a gloomy tone of
coloring, sometimes only plaintive, but at other times as melancholy as
the voice of a lost soul. When healthiest, as in his Harem picture in
the Luxembourg Gallery, it is still in the minor key of that lovely
Eastern color-work, such as we see in the Persian carpets, and to me
always something weird and mysterious and touching, like the tones of an
Aeolian harp, or the greetings of certain sad-voiced children touched by
the shadow of death before their babyhood is gone. No color has ever
affected me like that of Delacroix,--his Dante pictures are the
"Commedia" set in color, and palpitating with the woe of the damned.

His intellect was of that nobler kind which cannot leave the questions
of the Realities; and conscious kindred with great souls passed away
must have given a terrible reality to the great question of the future,
the terror of which French philosophy was poorly able to dispel or lead
to anything else than this hopeless gloom. His great picture of the
_plafond_ of the Salon d'Apollon, in the Louvre, seems like a great ode
to light, in the singing of which he felt the gloom break and saw the
tones of healthy life lighten in his day for a prophetic moment; but
_dispelled_ the gloom _never_ was. What he might have been, bred in the
cheerful, unquestioning, and healthy, if unprogressive faith of Venice,
we can only conjecture, seeing how great he grew in the cold of Gallic

His health was, through his later life, bad; and for my own part, I
believe that the same morbid feeling manifested in his art affected
injuriously his physical life, aided doubtless by the excessive work
which occupied all his available hours. For many years previous to his
death he alternated between periods of almost unbroken labor, taking
time only to eat and sleep, and intervals of absolute rest for days
together. In his working fits, so deranged had his digestion become, he
could take only one meal, a late dinner, each day, and saw no visitors
except in the hour preceding his dinner.

Having gone to Paris to spend a winter in professional studies, I made
an earnest application by letter to Delacroix to be admitted as a pupil
to his _atelier_. In reply, he invited me to visit him at his rooms the
next day at four, to talk with him about my studies, proffering any
counsel in his gift, but assuring me that it was impossible for him to
receive me into his studio, as he could not work in the room with
another, and his strength and occupations did not permit him to have a
school apart, as he once had.

At the appointed time I presented myself, and was received very
pleasantly in a little drawing-room at his house in the Latin Quarter.
His appearance, to me, was prepossessing; and though I had heard French
artists speak of him as morose and bearish, I must say that his whole
manner was most kindly and sympathetic, though not demonstrative. He was
small, spare, and nervous-looking, with evident ill-health in his face
and bearing, and under slight provocation, I should think, might have
been disagreeable, but had nothing egoistic in his manner, and, unlike
most celebrated artists, didn't seem to care to talk about his own
pictures. After personal inquiries of my studies and the masters whom I
knew and had studied, and most kindly, but appreciative criticism on all
whom we spoke of, "Ah," said he, "I could not have an _atelier_ (i.e.
school-_atelier_) now, the spirit in which the young artists approach
their work now is so different from that of the time when I was in the
school. Then they were earnest, resolute men: there were Delaroche and
Vernet," and others he mentioned, whose names I cannot remember, "men
who went into their painting with their whole souls and in seriousness;
but now the students come into the _atelier_ to laugh and joke and
frolic, as if Art were a game; there is an utter want of seriousness in
the young men now which would make it impossible for me to teach them. I
should be glad to direct your studies, but the work on which I am
engaged leaves me no time to dispose of." I asked if I could not
sometime see him working; but he replied that it was quite impossible
for him to work with any one looking on.

I asked him where, to his mind, was the principal want of the modern
schools. He replied, "In execution; there is intellect enough, intention
enough, and sometimes great conception, but everywhere a want of
executive ability, which enfeebles all they do. They work too much with
the crayon, instead of studying with the brush. If they want to be
engravers, it is all well enough to work in charcoal; but the execution
of an engraver is not that of a painter. I remember an English artist,
who was in Paris when I was a young man, who had a wonderful power in
using masses of black and white, but he was never able to do anything in
painting, much to my surprise at that time; but later I came to know,
that, if a man wants to be a painter, he must learn to draw with the

I asked him for advice in my own studies; to which he replied, "You
ought to copy a great deal,--copy passages of all the great painters. I
have copied a great deal, and of the works of almost everybody"; and as
he spoke, he pointed to a line of studies of heads and parts of pictures
from various old masters which hung around the room.

I am inclined to think that he carried copying too far; for the
principal defect of his later pictures is a kind of hardness and want of
thought in the touch, a verging on the mechanical, as if his hand and
feeling did not keep perfectly together.

I regret much that I did not immediately after my interview take notes
of the conversation, as he said many things which I cannot now recall,
and which, as mainly critical of the works of other artists, would have
been of interest to the world. I only remember that he spoke in great
praise of Turner and Sir Joshua Reynolds. As his dinner-hour drew near,
I took my leave, asking for some directions to see pictures of his which
I had not seen; in reply to which, he offered to send me notes securing
me admission to all the places where were pictures of his not easily
accessible,--a promise he fulfilled a day or two after. I left him with
as pleasant a personal impression as I have ever received from any great
artist, and I have met many.

The works of Delacroix, like those of all geniuses, are very unequal;
but those who, not having studied them, attempt to estimate them by any
ordinary standard will be far from the truth in their estimate, and will
most certainly fail to be impressed by their true excellence. The
public has a mistaken habit of measuring greatness by the capacity to
give _it_ pleasure; but the public has no more ignorant habit than this.
That is no great work which the popular taste can fully appreciate, and
no thoroughly educated man can at once grasp the full calibre of a work
of great power differing from his own standard. It took Penelope's
nights to unweave the web of her days' weaving, and no sudden shears of
untaught comprehension will serve to analyze those finer fabrics of a
genius like Delacroix. Perhaps, owing to many peculiarities of his
nature, showing themselves in unsympathetic forms in his pictures, he
may always fall short of complete appreciation by the educated taste
even,--and, indeed, to me he seems, of all the great colorists, the one
least likely ever to win general favor, but not from want of greatness.

I have often heard his drawing spoken of as bad. It was not the drawing
of a _dessinateur_, but there was method in its badness. I remember
hearing a friend say, that, going into his studio one day, he found him
just in the act of finishing a hand. He said, "It looks very badly
drawn, but I have painted it three times before I could get it right
Once I had it well drawn, and then it looked very badly; and now it
suits me better than when it was well drawn." A neatly drawn figure
would have made as bad an appearance in one of his pictures as a dandy
in the heat and turmoil of a battle-field; yet, as they came, all the
parts were consistent with the whole, reminding one of what Ruskin says
of Turner's figures.

For vigor and dash in execution, and the trooping energy of some of his
competitions, he reminds me more of Rubens than of any other; but his
composition has a more purely imaginative cast than that of Rubens, a
purer melody, a far more refined spiritualism. Nothing was coarse or
gross, much less sensual. His was the true imaginative fusion from which
pictures spring complete, subject to no revision. Between him and Turner
there were many points of resemblance, of which the greatest was in a
common defect,--an impulsive, unschooled, unsubstantial method of
execution, contrasting strongly with the exact, deliberate, and yet,
beyond description, masterly touch of Titian and most of his school.
Tintoret alone shows something of the same tendency,--attributable, no
doubt, to the late time at which he came into the method of his master.
If Delacroix has none of the great serenity and cheerfulness of Titian,
or the large and manly way of seeing of Veronese, he has an imaginative
fervor and intensity we do not see in them, and of which Tintoret and
Tiepolo only among the Venetians show any trace. Generations hence,
Eugene Delacroix will loom larger above his contemporaries, now hiding
him by proximity.

       *       *       *       *       *


If "all men are liars," and everybody deceives us a little sometimes, so
that David's _dictum_ hardly needs his apology of _haste_, it is a
comfort to remember that many lies are not downright, but sympathetic;
and an understanding of their nature, if it does not palliate them, may
put us on our guard. _Sympathetic_ we think a better name than the
unfortunate title of _white_, which was given them by Mrs. Opie, because
that designation carries a meaning of innocence, if not even of virtue;
and instead of protecting our virtue, may even expose us to practise
them without remorse. Of laughing over them and making light of them,
and calling them by various ludicrous synonymes, as _fibs_, and _telling
the thing that is not_, there has been enough. We have a purpose in our
essay, than which no preaching could be more sober. Our aim is to give
for them no opiate, but to quicken the sense of their guilt, and their
exceeding mischief, too; for, if Francis Bacon be right in declaring the
lie we swallow down more dangerous than that which only passes through
our mind, how seriously the wine-bibbing of this sweet poison of kindly
misrepresentation must have weakened the constitution of mankind! Lying
for selfish gain or glory, for sensual pleasure, or for exculpation from
a criminal charge, is more gross, but it involves at once such
condemnation in society, and such inward reproach, as to be far less
insidious than lying out of amiable consideration for others, to shield
or further kinsfolk or friends, which may pass unrebuked, or stand for
an actual merit. Yet, be the motive what it may, there is a certain
invariable quantity of essential baseness in all violation of the truth;
and it may be feared our affectionate falsehoods often work more evil
than our malignant ones, by having free course and meeting with little
objection. "Will ye speak wickedly for God? and talk deceitfully for
Him?" severely asks the old prophet of those who thought to cheat for
their own set, as though it were in the cause of religion; and no godly
soul can accept as a grateful tribute the least prevarication, however
disinterested or devoted in its behalf. Indeed, no smart antithesis has
been so hurtful as the overstated distinction between _black_ lies and
_white_. They are of different species, but have no generic difference.
Charles Reade's novel, of "White Lies," in which the deceptions of love
are so glorified, charming story as it is, will sap the character of
whoever does not, with a mental protest, countermine its main idea. The
very theory of our integrity is gone, if we do not insist on this. God
has not so made the world that any perjury or cover of the facts is
necessary to serve the cause of goodness. Commend it though English or
German critics do, can we not conceive of a speech grander than the
untruth which Shakspeare has put into the dying Desdemona's mouth?

Let us, then, examine some of the forms of sympathetic lying.

One of them is that of over-liberal praise. That a person is always
ready to extol others, and was never heard to speak ill of anybody under
the sun, appears to some the very crown of excellence. But what is the
panegyric worth that has no discrimination, that finds any mortal
faultless, or bestows on the varying and contradictory behaviors of men
an equal meed? To what does universal commendation amount more than
universal indifference? What value do we put on the lavish regard which
is not _individual_, or founded on any intelligent appreciation of its
object, but scattered blindly abroad on all flesh, as once thousands
were vaguely baptized in the open air by a general sprinkling, and which
any one can appropriate only as he may own a certain indeterminate
section of an undivided township or unfenced common? To have a good
word for everybody, and take exception to nothing, is to incapacitate
one's self for the exquisite delight of real fellowship. We all know
persons who seem a sort of social favorites on account of this gracious
manner which they afford with such mechanical plenty. But what a
dilution and deterioration their external quality of half-artificial
courtesy becomes! It is handing round sweetened water, instead of
tasting the juice of the grape. It is pouring from a pail, instead of
opening a vial of sweet odors. This broadcast and easy approval lacks
that very honesty which, in the absence of fineness, is the single grace
by which it could be sanctified.

The same vice affects more public concerns. Of what sheer hypocrisy
eulogistic resolutions upon officers leaving their posts in Church or
State are too frequently composed! The men who are tired and want to get
rid of their Representative or minister are so overjoyed at losing sight
of him, that they can set no bounds to their thankful exaltation of his
name! Truly they speed the parting guest, wish well to the traveller
from their latitude, and launch with shouts the ship of his fortunes
from their _ways_! They recommend him as a paragon of genius and
learning to all communities or societies who want a service in his kind.
How happy both sides to this transaction are expected to feel, and how
willing people are sometimes to add to the soft words a solid
testimonial of gold, if only thus a dismissal can be effected! But are
not the reports of the committees and the votes of the meetings false
coin, nowhere current in the kingdom of God, circulate as they may in
this realm of earth? Nay, does not everybody, save the one that receives
the somewhat insincere and left-handed blessing, read the formal and
solemn record with a disposition to ridicule or a pitying smile?

How well it is understood that we are not to speak the truth, but only
good, of the dead! How melancholy it is, that _lying_ has come to be so
common an epithet for the gravestones we set over their dust! How few
obituaries characterize those for whom they are written, or are
distinguishable from each other in the terms of their funeral
celebrations of departed virtue! How refreshing, as rare, is any of the
veritable description which implies real lamentation! But what a
suspicion falls on the mourning in whose loquacity we cannot detect one
natural tone! As if that last messenger, who strips off all delusions
and appearances, should be pursued and affronted with the mockery of our
pretence, and we could circumvent the angel of judgment with the
sentence of our fond wishes and the affectation of our groundless
claims! As if the disembodied, in the light of truth, by which they are
surrounded and pierced, could be pleased with our make-believe, or
tolerate the folly of our factitious phrase! With what sadness their
purged eyes must follow the pens inditing their epitaphs, and the
sculptors' chisels making the commonplaces of fulsome commendation
permanent on their tombs! What vanity to their nicer ears must be the
sonorous and declamatory orator's breath! Let us not offend them so.
They will take it for the insult of perfunctory honor, not for the
sympathy it assumes to be. _Nothing but good of the dead_, do you say?
_Nothing but truth of the dead_, we answer. _Do not disturb their bones;
let them rest easy at last_, is the commentary on all keen criticism of
those who have played important parts in life, and whose influence has
perhaps been a curse. No, we reply, their bones will rest easier, and
their benedictions come to us surer, for our unaffected plain-dealing.
The trick of flattery may succeed with the living. Those still in this
world of shadows, cross-lights, and glaring reflections may be caught by
the images we flash upon them from the mirrors of admiration we swing in
our hands. But they who have laid down all the shows of things with
their own superficial countenances and mortal frames cannot be imposed
upon by the faces of adulation we make up. They who listen to that other
speech, whose tones are the literally translated truth, cannot be
patient with the gloss and varnish of our, at best, imperfect language.
Let their awful presences shame and transfigure, terrify and transport
us, into reality of communication akin to their own! "I will express
myself in music to you," said a great composer to a bereft woman, as he
took his seat at the piano. He felt that he could not manifest otherwise
the feeling in him that was so deep. By sound or by silence, let it be
only the conviction of our heart we venture to offer to spirits before
whom the meaning of all things is unveiled!

But _private conversation_ is the great sphere of sympathetic lying. Our
antipathies doubtless often tempt to falsify. We stretch the truth,
trying, in private quarrels, to make out our case, or holding up our end
in party-controversies. Anger, malice, envy, and revenge make us often
break the ninth commandment. But concession, compromise, yielding to
others' influence, and indisposition to contradict those whom we love or
the world respects, generate more deceit than comes from all the evil
passions, which, as Sterne said of lust, are too serious to be
successful in cunning play. How it would mortify most persons to have
brought back to them at night exact accounts of the divers opinions they
have expressed to different persons, with facile conformity to the mood
of each one during the course of a single day! How the members of any
pleasant evening-company might astonish or amuse each other by narrating
together the contradictory views the same voluble discourser has
unfolded to them successively during the passage of one hour! so easily
we bend and conform, and deny God and ourselves, to gratify the guest we
converse with. On account of a few variations, scholars have composed
what they call Harmonies of the Gospels; but how much harder it would be
for any one of us to harmonize his talk on any subject moving the minds
of men! Where strong self-interest acts, we can explain changes and
inconsistencies in the great organs set up to operate on public
sentiment. Such a paper as the London "Times," having nothing higher
than avaricious commerce and national pride to consult, in a conspicuous
centre of affairs has thus become the great weathercock of the world,
splendidly gilded, lifted very high in the air, but, like some other
stupid chanticleers, crowing at false signals of the dawn, and well
called the "Times," as in its columns nothing eternal was ever evinced.
Everywhere exist these agents of custom and convention, wielded by a
power behind them, and holding long no one direction, but varying in
every wind. Some breeze of general policy, however, prescribes the law
of these alterations, while only a weak and brainless sensibility,
blowing from every source, commonly occasions the continual veering of
our private word. Through what manifold phases _a good conversationist_
has dexterity to pass! Quarterings of the uncertain moon, the lights
that glance blue, silver, yellow, and green from the shifting angles of
the gems that move with their wearers, or the confused motions of some
of our inferior fellow-creatures that flutter from side to side of the
road as intimidating objects fail on the eyes planted on opposite sides
of their heads, feebly symbolize these human displays of unstable
equilibrium. We must adapt our method to circumstances; but the
apostolic rule, of "All things to all men," should not touch, as in Paul
it never did, the fundamental consistency of principle which is the
chief sign of spiritual life. The degree of elevation in the scale of
being is marked by the approximation of the sight to a focus of unity.
But, judging from the pictures they give us of their interior states, we
might think many of our rational companions as myriad-eyed as
naturalists tell us are some insects. Behold the wondrous transformation
undergone by those very looks and features that give the natural
language, as sentiments contrary to each other are successively
presented, and Republican or Democrat, Pro-Slavery man or Abolitionist,
walks up! In truth, a man at once kindly and ingenuous can hardly help
in most assemblies coming continually to grief. He knows not what to do,
to be at once frank and polite. The transverse beams of the cross on
which he is crucified are made of the sincerity and amiability which in
no company can he quite reconcile. Happy is he who has discovered
beneath all pleasant humors the unity at bottom of candor with goodness,
in an Apostle's clause, "speaking the truth in love"! No rare and
beautiful monster could stir more surprise and curiosity. It is but
shifting the scene from a domestic dwelling to a concert-hall to notice
how much sympathetic lying is in all applause. We saw a young man
vigorously clap the performance to which he had not listened, and, when
the _encore_ took effect, return immediately to his noisy and disturbing
engrossment in the young ladies' society from whose impertinent
whispering he had only rested for the moment, troubling all who sat near
him both with his talk and his sympathetic lie. A true man will not move
a finger or lisp a syllable to echo what he does not apprehend and
approve. A true man never assents anywise to what is error to him. In
the delicious letters of Mendelssohn we read of an application by a
distinguished lady made to him to write a piece of music to accompany
the somewhat famous lines known as "Napoleon's Midnight Review." The
great artist, feeling the untruth to his genius of any such attempt at
description in sound, with gentle energy declines the request. He
affirms that music is a most sober thing in his thoughts, that notes
have their veracity as well as words, and even a deeper relation to
reality than any other tongue or dialect of province or people, and that
acquiescence in her wishes would be for him an unrighteous abuse of his
function. We know a conscientious artist on the organ who would no more
perjure his instrument than his lips, but go to the stake sooner than
turn his keys into tongues to captivate a meretricious taste or
transform one breath of the air under his fingers into sympathetic
lying, though thousands should be ready to resound their delight. So was
it with the noble Christian Jew, an Israelite of harmony indeed. The
most sympathetic of vocations, whose appeal more than any other is
direct to the feelings, could not induce him to tell a sympathetic lie.
Would that the writers and speakers of plain English, and of their
mother-tongue in every vernacular, might take example from the
conscientious creator, who would not put a particle of cant into the
crooked marks and ruled bars which are such a mystery to the
uninitiated, blot with one demi-semi-quaver of falsehood his papers, or
leave aught but truth of the heavenly sphere at a single point on any
line! Then our sternest utterance with each other would be concord, our
common questions and answers more melodiously responsive than chants in
great cathedrals, and our lowest whispers like tones caught from angelic
harps. For truth and tenderness are not, after all, incompatible; but
whoever is falsely fond alone proves himself in the end harsh and rough.
The sympathetic lie is of all things most unsympathetic, smoothing and
stroking the surface to haunt and kill at the very centre and core. The
proclamation from the house-top of what is told in the ear in closets
will give more pain than if it were fairly published at first. There is
a distinction here to be noted. All truth, or rather all matter of fact,
does not, of course, belong to everybody. There are private and domestic
secrets, whose promulgation, by no law of duty required, would make the
streets of every city and village run with blood. There is a style of
speaking, miscalled sincerity, which in mere tattling and tale-bearing,
minding others' business, interfering with their relations,
impertinently meddling with cases we can neither settle nor understand,
and eating over again the forbidden fruit of that tree of knowledge of
good and evil planted in the Garden of Eden, whose seed has been
scattered through the earth, though having less to do with truth than
with the falsehood, to promulgate which artful and malicious combination
of facts is one of the Devil's most skilful means, while truth is always
no mere fact or circumstance, but a spirit. Sincerity consists in
dealing openly with every one in things that concern himself, reserving
concerns useless to him, and purely our neighbors' or our own. Husbands
and wives, parents and children, fellow-citizens and friends, or
strangers, owning but the bond of humanity, let such _discrete_
sentences--if we may use rhetorically a musical word--from your lips
afford a sweeter consonance than can vibrate and flow from all the pipes
and strings of orchestra or organ. So sympathy and verity shall be at
one: mercy and truth shall meet together, righteousness and peace shall
kiss each other.

Another form of sympathetic lying appears in a part of the social
machinery whose morality has somehow been more strangely and unhappily
overlooked,--we mean in _letters of introduction_. But the falsehood is
only by perversion. The letter of introduction is an affair of noble
design, to bring together parties really related, to give room for the
elective affinities of friendship, to furnish occasion for the
comparison of notes to the votaries of science, to extend the privilege
of all liberal arts, and promote the offices of a common brotherhood.
How much we owe to these little paper messengers for the new treasures
of love and learning they have brought! It is hard to tell whose debt to
them is greatest, that of the giver, the bearer, or the receiver, or
whether, beyond all private benefit and pleasure, their chief result has
not been the improvement and refinement of the human race. But, it must
be confessed, the letter of introduction is too much fallen and
degenerate. Convenience, depredation, the compassing of by-ends, rather
than any loving communion, is too often its intent. It savors less of
the paradise of affection than of the vulgar wilderness of the world. We
are a little afraid of it, when it comes. A worthy man told me he knew
not whether to be sorry or glad, when he found a letter addressed to him
at the post-office. How does the balance incline, when a man or woman
stands before us with a letter of introduction in hand? We eye it with a
mistrust that it may turn out to be a tool of torture, serving us only
for a sort of mental surgery. Frequently, it has been simply procured,
and is but an impudent falsehood on its very face. The writer of it
professes an admiration he does not feel for the person introduced, to
whose own reading he leaves it magnificently open before its terms of
exaggerated compliment can reach him to whom it is sent. What is the
reason of this deceit? there is a ground for it, no doubt. "This effect
defective comes by cause." The inditer has certainly some sympathy with
the bearer he so amply commissions and wordily exalts. This bearer has
some distress to be relieved, some faculty to exercise, some institution
to recommend, or some ware to dispose of. He that forwards him to us
very likely has first had him introduced to himself, has bestowed
attention and hospitable fellowship upon him, and now, growing weary of
the care and trouble and expense, is very happy to be rid of him at so
small a cost as that of passing him on to a distant acquaintance by a
letter of introduction, which the holder's business in life is to carry
round from place to place through the world! Sometimes dear companions
call on us to pay this tax; sometimes those who themselves have no claim
on us. But, be it one class or the other, how little they may consider
what they demand! Upon what a neglect or misappreciation of values the
proceed! Verily we need a new Political Economy written, deeper than
that of Malthus or Smith, to inform them. Our precious time, our cordial
regards, the diversion of our mind from our regular duties, the neglect
of already engrossing relations in our business or profession, the
surrender of body and soul, they require for the prey of idlers and
strangers! Had our correspondents drawn upon us for a sum of money, had
a highwayman bid us stand and deliver our purse, we should not have been
so much out of pocket. But we cannot help yielding; there is no excuse
or escape. We are under the operation of that most delicate and
resistless of powers no successor of Euclid ever explained the principle
of, which may be called the _social screw_. We submit patiently, because
we cannot endure to deny to the new-comer the assumed right of him who
cruelly turns it, out of reach and out of sight. We know some men, of
extraordinary strength of countenance themselves, who have been able to
defend their door-stone against an impostor's brazen face. A good
householder, when a stage-full of country-cousins came to his door, bade
the driver take them to the hotel, and he would willingly pay the bills.
But few have the courage thus to board out those who have a staff in
their hands to knock at the very gate of their hearts. There would be
satisfaction in the utmost amount of this labor and sacrifice, could we
have any truth for its condition. But the falsehood has been written
down by one whom we can nowise accuse. Alas! there is often as little
truth in the entertainer. All together in the matter are walking in a
vain show. We are at the mercy of a diviner's wand and a conjurer's
spell. We have put on a foolish look of consent and compromise. We join
with our new mate in extolling the wrong-doer who has inflicted him upon
us. We dare not analyze the base alloy of the composition he conveys,
which pretends to be pure gold. We must either act falsely ourselves, or
charge falsehood upon others. We prefer the guilt to seeming unkindness;
when, if we were perfectly good and wise, we should shake off the coil
of deception, refuse insincere favors, and, however infinite and
overflowing our benevolence, insist on doing, in any case, only willing
and authentic good,--for affection is too noble to be feigned. "If,"
said Ole Bull, "I kiss my enemy, what have I left for my friend?" We
must forgive and love our enemies and all men, and show our love by
treating them without dissimulation, but a sublime openness, according
to their needs and deserts.

The male or female adventurers, launching with their bag of letters for
all their merchandise on the social sea, understand well the potent
value, beyond bills of exchange, of the sheets they bear. They may have
taken them as an equivalent for some service they have rendered, in
discharge of some actual or apparent obligation in the great market
limited to no quarter of our towns and no description of articles, but
running through every section of human life. Our _acceptance_ of these
notes is a commercial transaction, not of the fairest sort. It belongs
to a species of trade in which we are made to pay other people's debts,
and our dear friends and intimate relations sell us for some song or
other which has been melodiously chanted into their own ears. "A new way
to pay old debts," indeed! Every part of the bargain or trick of the
game is by the main operators well known and availed of for their own
behoof. By letter, persons have been introduced into circles where they
had no footing, posts for whose responsibilities they were utterly
unfit, and trusts whose funds they showed more faculty to embezzle than
apply. Such licentious proceedings have good-natured concessions to
wrong requests multiplied to the hurt of the commonweal. Let us beware
of this kind of sympathetic lie, which ends in robbery, and swindles
thousands out of what is more important than material property, for the
support of pretenders that are worse than thieves, who are bold enough,
like drones, to break into the hive of the busy and eat the honey they
never gathered, absorbing to themselves, as far as they can, the
courtesy of the useful members of the community by the worst monopoly in
the world.

Our treatment of the subject would be partial, if we did not emphasize
the advantage of a right use, of this _introductory_ prerogative. What
more delightful to remember than that we brought together those who were
each other's counterparts? What more beautiful than to have put the
deserving in the way of the philanthropic, and illustrated the old law,
that, grateful as it is to have our wants supplied, a lofty soul always
finds it more blessed to give than to receive, and a boon infinitely
greater to exercise beneficent affection than even to be its object? It
ill becomes us who write on this theme to put down one unfair or
churlish period. We too well remember our own experience in
circumstances wherein our only merit was to be innocent recipients of
abundant tokens of good-will; and perhaps the familiar instance may have
pardon for its recital, in illustration of the mercy which the
letter-bearer may not seldom find. An epistle from a mutual acquaintance
was our opportunity of intercourse with a venerable bachelor residing in
the city of Antwerp. It was so urged upon us, that the least we could do
was to present it, expecting only a few minutes' agreeable conversation.
Shall we ever forget the instant welcome that beamed from his benignant
face, or how he honored the draft upon him by immediately calling upon
all the members of our travelling-party? how literally, against all our
expostulations, he gave himself up to us, attending us to
picture-galleries and zoological gardens, insisting on disbursing the
entrance-fee for us all, with our unavoidable allowance at the moment,
and, on our exaction of a just reckoning with him at last, declining to
name the sum, on the unanswerable plea of an old man's poor and failing
memory! "Does the old man still live?" Surely he does the better life in
heaven, if his gray locks on earth are under the sod, and it is too late
for these poor lines to reach his eyes, for our sole repayment. Without
note, but only chance introduction, a similar case of disinterested
bounty in Liverpool from one of goodness undiscriminating as the Divine,
which gives the sun and rain to all, stood in strange contrast with the
reception of a Manchester manufacturer, almost whose only manifestation
in reply to the document we tendered was a sort of growl that _we could
see mills in Lowell like those under his own control_. Perhaps, from his
shrewd old head, as he kept his seat at his desk, like a sharp-shooter
on the watch and wary for the foe, he only covered us with the surly
weapon of his tongue in the equitable way for which we have here been
contending ourselves! Certainly we were quite satisfied, if the
Englishman was.

But printed lies, as well as written, are largely sympathetic. We are
bitter against the press; and surely it needs a greater Luther for its
reformer. But its follies are ours; its corruptions belong to its
patrons. The editor of a paper edits the mind of those that take it. He
cannot help being in a sort of close communion. Perhaps he mainly
borrows the very indignation, not so very pure and independent, with
which he reproves some ingenuous satirist of what may appear indecent in
our fashions of amusement, or unbecoming in the relations of the sexes
or the habits of the young. "The voice is the voice of Jacob, but the
hands are the hands of Esau." He is two and more, as we all are, while
he is one, and must not be blamed on his own score alone. The London
"Times," already mentioned, is called the _Thunderer_; but, like the man
behind the scenes at the theatre with his machinery, it thunders as it
is told. How sympathetic are the countless brood of falsehoods
respecting our country in foreign publications is evident from the
cases, too few, of periodicals which, with the same means of
information, rise to a noble accuracy and justice. While the more
virulent, like the "Saturday Review," servile to its peculiar customers,
make a show of holding out against the ever more manifest truth, others,
among which is even the "Times" itself, learn the prudence of an altered
style. When the wind is about to change, an uncertain fluttering and
swinging to and fro may be observed in the vanes. So do many organs
prove what pure indicators they are, as they shake in the breeze of
public opinion. "Stop my paper" is a cry whose real meaning is for the
constituency which the paper represents.

It is a more shameful illustration of the same weakness, when the pens
of literary men, not dependent on local support, are subsidized by the
prejudice or sold to the pride and wealth of the society in which they
live. "I believe in testifying," once said a great man; and we have,
among the philosophic and learned, noble witnesses for the equity of our
national case. But what a spectacle of degraded functions, when poets,
historians, and religious thinkers bow the knee to an aristocracy so
vilely proud to stretch forth its hand of fellowship to a slaveholding
brotherhood beyond the sea! We need not denounce them. The ideas they
pretend to stand for hold them in scorn. The imagination whose pictures
they drew will quench all her lustre for the deserters that devote
themselves to the slavish passions of the hour. The history whose tales
of glory and ignominy they related will rear a gibbet for their own
reputation in the future time. As for us, at the present, we mention not
their names, but, like the injured ghost in the poet's picture of the
world of spirits, turn from them silently and pass on. We remember there
was a grand old republican in the realm of letters, John Milton by name,
whose shade must be terrible to their thoughts. Let them beware of
making of themselves a public shame. The great revenge of years will
turn into a mere trick of literature the prose and verse of all not
inspired by devotion to humanity, zeal for the cause of the oppressed,
and a hearty love of truth, while every covering of lies shall be torn
away. They who have despised our free institutions, and prophesied our
downfall, and gloated by anticipation over the destruction of our
country, to get the lease of a hundred years more to their own lordship
of Church and State, and have put their faith in the oppressive Rebels
trying to build an empire on the ruins of the Ten Commandments, are as
blind to discern the laws of human nature as they are awkward to raise
the horoscope of events. This Western Continent, under God, may it
please the despots, is not going to barbarism and desolation. That good
missionary of freedom as well as religion, whom New England sent to
California in the person of Thomas Starr King, writes us that Mount
Shasta is ascertained to be higher than Mont Blanc. Some other
elevations than of the surface of the globe, in this hemisphere, the
Transatlantics may yet behold.

The pulpit is but a sympathetic deceiver, when it violates the truth it
is set to defend. All its lies are echoes of the avarice and inhumanity
sitting in the pews; and when, in the rough old figure, it is a dumb dog
that will not bark at the robber or warn us of danger, the real mutes,
whom its silence but copies, are those demure men below who seem to
listen to its instructions.

We are astonished to find a liar in the lightning of heaven over the
telegraphic wires. Let us get over our surprise. The lie is human
altogether, not elemental at all. The operator has his private object to
carry, the partisan his political end to serve, the government itself
flatters the people it fears with incorrect accounts of military
movements and fortified posts and the numbers of dead and wounded on
either side. Kinglake calls the telegraph a device by which a clerk
dictates to a nation. Who but the nation, or some part of it, dictates
to the clerk? He does not control, but records, the sentiment of the
community in all his invented facts; and when we hear the click or read
the strange dots, we want some trustworthy voucher or responsible human
auditor even of these electric accounts.

But, creatures of sympathy, needy dependants on approbation, as we are,
shall we surrender to all or any of these lies? No,--there is a sympathy
of truth, to whose higher court and supreme verdict we must appeal.
Before it let us stand ourselves, perpetual witnesses of the very truth
of God in our breast. Said the lion-hearted Andrew Jackson, "When I
decide on my course, I do not ask what people will think, but look into
my own heart for guidance, believing that all brave men will agree with

"As the minister began on the subject of Slavery, I left the church,"
said a respectable citizen to a modest woman, of whose consent with him
he felt sure.

"And did the minister go on?" she gently inquired.

"Yes, he went on," the mistaken citizen replied.

So, in this land, let us go on in the way of justice and truth we have
at last begun. Let us have no more sympathetic, however once legal, lies
for oppression and wrong. We shall be as good as a thousand years old,
when we are through our struggle. For the respect of Europe let us have
no anxiety. It will come cordially or by constraint, upon the victory of
the right and the reinstating of our manhood by the divine law, to the
discouragement of all iniquity at home or abroad. Our success will be a
signal for all the tyrannies, in which the proud and strong have been
falsely banded together to crush the ignorant and lowly, to come down.
The domineering political and ecclesiastical usurpers of exclusive
privilege will no longer give and take reciprocal support against the
rising of mankind than the Roman augurs could at last keep one another
in countenance. Let us go on, through dark omens as well as bright, and
suffer ourselves to have no doubting day. Let us show that something
besides a monarchy in this world can stand. On disbelievers and
obstructers let us have companion. They cannot live contented, and it is
not quite safe for them to die. The path of our progress opens clear.
Let us not admit the idea of failure. To think of failing is to fail. As
it was with the sick before their Saviour of old, only our faith can
make us whole.

       *       *       *       *       *


Instinctively, Treason, in this vast land, aimed its first blow at the
Genius of Communication,--the benign and potent means and method of
American civilization and nationality. The great problem Watt and
Fulton, Clinton and Morse so gloriously solved, a barbaric necessity
thus reduces back to chaos; and not the least sad and significant of the
bulletins whereby the most base of civic mutinies finds current record
is that entitled, "Destruction of the Bridges"; and (melancholy
contrast!) simultaneously we hear of constructive energy in the same
direction, on the Italian peninsula,--an engineer having submitted to
Victor Emmanuel proposals for throwing a bridge across the Straits of
Messina, "binding Scylla to Charybdis, and thus clinching Italian unity
with bonds of iron." Bonds of nationality, in more than a physical
sense, indeed, are bridges: even cynical Heine found an endeared outlook
to his native Rhine on the bastion of a familiar bridge; Tennyson makes
one an essential feature of his English summer picture, wherein forever
glows the sweet image of the "Gardener's Daughter"; and Bunyan found no
better similitude for Christian's passage from Time to Eternity than the
"river where there is no bridge."

The primitive need, the possible genius, the science, and the sentiment
of a bridge endear its aspect and associations beyond those of any other
economical structure. There is, indeed, something genially picturesque
about a mill, as Constable's pencil and Tennyson's muse have aptly
demonstrated; there is an artistic miracle possible in a sculptured
gate, as those of Ghiberti so elaborately evidence; science, poetry, and
human enterprise consecrate a light-house; sacred feelings hallow a
spire; and mediæval towers stand forth in noble relief against the
sunset sky: but around none of these familiar objects cluster the same
thoroughly human associations which make a bridge attractive to the
sight and memory. In its most remote suggestion it typifies man's primal
relation to Nature, his first instinctive effort to circumvent or avail
himself of her resources; indeed, he might take his hint of a bridge
from Nature herself,--her fallen monarchs of the forest athwart a
stream, "the testimony of the rocks," the curving shores, cavern roofs,
and pendent branches, and the prismatic bow in the heavens, which a poet
well calls "a bridge to tempt the angels down."

A bridge of the simplest kind is often charmingly effective as a
landscape-accessory: there is a short plank one in a glen of the White
Mountains, which, seen through a vista of woodland, makes out the
picture so aptly that it is sketched by every artist who haunts the
region. What lines of grace are added to the night view of a great city
by the lights on the bridges! what subtile principles enter into the
building of such a bridge as the Britannia, where even the metallic
contraction of the enormous tubes is provided for by supporting them on
cannon-balls! how venerable seems the most graceful of Tuscan bridges,
when we remember it was erected in the fifteenth century,--and the
Rialto, when we think that it was designed by Michel Angelo! and how
signal an instance is it of the progressive application of a true
principle in science, that the contrivance whereby the South-Americans
bridge the gorges of their mountains, by a pendulous causeway of twisted
osiers and bamboo,--one of which, crossed by Humboldt, was a hundred and
twenty feet long,--is identical with that which sustains the magnificent
structure over the Niagara River! In a bridge the arch is triumphal,
both for practical and commemorative ends: unknown to the Greeks and
Egyptians, even the ancient Romans, it is said by modern architects, did
not appreciate its true mechanical principle, but ascribed the
marvellous strength thereof to the cement which kept intact their
semicircle. In Cæsar's "Commentaries," the bridge transit and vigilance
form no small part of military tactics,--boats and baskets serving the
same purpose in ancient and modern warfare. The Church of old originated
and consecrated bridges; religion, royalty, and art celebrate their
advent; the opening of Waterloo Bridge is the subject of one of the best
pictures of a modern English painter; and Cockney visitors to the
peerless Bridge of Telford still ask the guide where the Queen stood at
its inauguration. But it is when we turn from the historical and
scientific to the familiar and personal that we realize the spontaneous
interest attached to a bridge. It is as a feature of our native
landscape, the goal of habitual excursions, the rendezvous, the
observatory, the favorite haunt or transit, that it wins the gaze and
the heart. There the musing angler sits content; there the echoes of the
horse's hoofs rouse to expectancy the dozing traveller; there the glad
lover dreams, and the despairing wretch seeks a watery grave, and the
song of the poet finds a response in the universal heart,--

    "How often, oh, how often,
    In the days that have gone by,
    Have I stood on that bridge at midnight,
    And gazed on the wave and sky!"

One of the most primitive tokens of civilization is a bridge; and yet no
artificial object is more picturesquely associated with its ultimate
symbols: the fallen tree whereon the pioneer crosses a stream in the
wilderness is not more significant of human isolation than the
fragmentary arch in an ancient city of the vanished homo of thousands.
Thus, by its necessity and its survival, a bridge suggests the first
exigency and the last relic of civilized life. The old explorers of our
Western Continent record the savage expedients whereby water-courses
were passed,--coils of grape-vine carried between the teeth of an
aboriginal swimmer and attached to the opposite bank, a floating log,
or, in shallow streams, a series of stepping-stones; and the most
popular historian of England, when delineating to the eye of fancy the
hour of her capital's venerable decay, can find no more impressive
illustration than to make a broken arch of London Bridge the observatory
of the speculative reminiscent.

The bridge is, accordingly, of all economical inventions, that which is
most inevitable to humanity, signalizing the first steps of man amid the
solitude of Nature, and accompanying his progress through every stage of
civic life: its crude form makes the wanderer's heart beat in the lonely
forest, as a sign of the vicinity or the track of his kind; and its
massive remains excite the reverent curiosity of the archæologist, who
seeks among the ruins of Art for trophies of a by-gone race. Few
indications of Roman supremacy are more striking than the unexpected
sight of one of those bridges of solid and symmetrical masonry which the
traveller in Italy encounters, when emerging from a mountain-pass or a
squalid town upon the ancient highway. The permanent method herein
apparent suggests an energetic and pervasive race whose constructive
instinct was imperial; such an evidence of their pathway over water is
as suggestive of national power as the evanescent trail of the savage is
of his casual domain. In the bridge, as in no other structure, use
combines with beauty by an instinctive law; and the stone arch, more or
less elaborate in detail, is as essential now to the function and the
grace of a bridge as when it was first thrown, invincible and
harmonious, athwart the rivers Cæsar's legions crossed.

As I stood on the scattered planks which afford a precarious foothold
amid the rapids of St. Anthony, methought these frail bridges of hewn
timber accorded with the reminiscence of the missionary pioneer who
discovered and named the picturesque waters more than an elaborate and
ancient causeway. Even those long, inelegant structures which lead the
pedestrian over our own Charles River, or the broad inlets of the
adjacent bay, have their peculiar charm as the scene of many a gorgeous
autumnal sunset and many a patient "constitutional" walk. It is a
homely, but significant proverb, "Never find fault with the bridge that
carries you safe over." What beautiful shadows graceful bridges cast,
when the twilight deepens and the waves are calm! how mysteriously sleep
the moonbeams there! what a suggestive vocation is a toll-keeper's'
patriarchs in this calling will tell of methodical and eccentric
characters known for years.

Bridges have their legends. There is one in Lombardy whence a jilted
lover sprang with his faithless bride as she passed to church with her
new lover; it is yet called the "Bridge of the Betrothed." An old
traveller, describing New-York amusements, tells us of a favorite ride
from the city to the suburban country, and says,--"In the way there is a
bridge about three miles distant, which you always pass as you return,
called the 'Kissing Bridge,' where it is part of the etiquette to salute
the lady who has put herself under your protection."[F] A curious
lawsuit was lately instituted by the proprietor of a menagerie who lost
an elephant by a bridge giving way beneath his unaccustomed weight; the
authorities protested against damages, as they never undertook to give
safe passage to so large an animal.

The office of a bridge is prolific of metaphor, whereof an amusing
instance is Boswell's comparison of himself, when translating Paoli's
talk to Dr. Johnson, to a "narrow isthmus connecting two continents." It
has been aptly said of Dante's great poem, that, in the world of
letters, it is a mediæval bridge over that vast chasm which divides
classical from modern times. All concliating authors bridge select
severed intelligences, and even national feeling: as Irving's writings
brought more near to each other the alienated sympathies of England and
America, and Carlyle made a trysting-place for British and German
thought; as Sydney Smith's talk threw a suspension-bridge from
Conservative to Reformer, and Lord Bacon's (in the hour of bitter
alienation between Crown and Commons) "reconciling genius spanned the
dividing stream of party."

How isolated and bewildered are villagers, when, after a tempest, the
news spreads that a freshet has carried away the bridge! Every time we
shake hands, we make a human bridge of courtesy or love; and that was a
graceful fancy of one of our ingenious writers to give expression to his
thoughts in "Letters from under a Bridge." With an eye and an ear for
Nature's poetry, the gleam of lamps from a bridge, the figures that pass
and repass thereon, the rush and the lull of waters beneath, the
perspective of the arch, the weather-stains on the parapet, the sunshine
and the cloud-shadows around, are phases and sounds fraught with meaning
and mystery.

It is an acknowledged truth in the philosophy of Art, that Beauty is the
handmaid of Use; and as the grace of the swan and the horse results from
a conformation whose _rationale_ is movement, so the pillar that
supports the roof, and the arch that spans the current, by their
serviceable fitness, wed grace of form to wise utility. The laws of
architecture illustrate this principle copiously; but in no single and
familiar product of human skill is it more striking than in bridges; if
lightness, symmetry, elegance, proportion charm the ideal sense, not
less are the economy and adaptation of the structure impressive to the
eye of science. Perhaps the ideas of use and beauty, of convenience and
taste, in no instance, coalesce more obviously; and therefore, of all
human inventions, the bridge lends the most undisputed charm to the
landscape. It is one of those symbols of humanity which spring from and
are not grafted upon Nature; it proclaims her affinity with man, and
links her spontaneous benefits with his invention and his needs; it
seems to celebrate the stream over which it rises, and to wed the
wayward waters to the order and the mystery of life. There is no hint of
superfluity or impertinence in a bridge; it blends with the wildest and
the most cultivated scene with singular aptitude, and is a feature of
both rural and metropolitan landscape that strikes the mind as
essential. The most usual form has its counterpart in those rocky arches
which flood and fire have excavated or penned up in many picturesque
regions,--the segments of caverns, or the ribs of strata,--so that,
without the instinctive suggestion of the mind itself, Nature furnishes
complete models of a bridge whereon neither Art nor Science can improve.
Herein the most advanced and the most rude peoples own a common skill;
bridges, of some kind, and all adapted to their respective countries,
being the familiar invention of savage necessity and architectural
genius. The explorer finds them in Africa as well as the artist in Rome;
swung, like huge hammocks of ox-hide, over the rapid streams of South
America; spanning in fragile cane-platforms the gorges of the Andes;
crossing vast chasms of the Alleghanies with the slender iron viaduct of
the American railways; and jutting, a crumbling segment of the ancient
world, over the yellow Tiber: as familiar on the Chinese tea-caddy as on
Canaletto's canvas; as traditional a local feature of London as of
Florence; as significant of the onward march of civilization in Wales
to-day as in Liguria during the Middle Ages. Where men dwell and wander,
and water flows, these beautiful and enduring, or curious and casual
expedients are found, as memorable triumphs of architecture, crowned
with historical associations, or as primitive inventions that
unconsciously mark the first faltering steps of humanity in the course
of empire: for, on this continent, where the French missionary crossed
the narrow log supported by his Indian convert in the midst of a
wilderness, massive stone arches shadow broad streams that flow through
populous cities; and the history of civilization may be traced from the
loose stones whereon the lone settler fords the water-course, to such
grand, graceful, and permanent monuments of human prosperity as the
elaborate and ancient stone bridges of European capitals.

When we look forth upon a grand or lovely scene of Nature,--mountain,
river, meadow, and forest,--what a fine central object, what an
harmonious artificial feature of the picture, is a bridge, whether
rustic and simple, a mere rude passage-way over a brook, or a curve of
gray stone throwing broad shadows upon the bright surface of a river!
Nor less effective is the same object amid the crowded walls, spires,
streets, and chimney-stacks of a city. There the bridge is the least
conventional structure, the suggestive point, the favorite locality; it
seems to reunite the working-day world with the freedom of Nature; it is
perhaps the one spot in the dense array of edifices and thoroughfares
which "gives us pause." There, if anywhere, our gaze and our feet
linger; people have a relief against the sky, as they pass over it;
artists look patiently thither; lovers, the sad, the humorous, and the
meditative, stop there to observe and to muse; they lean over the
parapet and watch the flowing tide; they look thence around as from a
pleasant vantage-ground. The bridge, in populous old towns, is the
rendezvous, the familiar landmark, the traditional nucleus of the place,
and perhaps the only picturesque framework in all those marts and homes,
more free, open, and suggestive of a common lot than temple, square, or
palace; for there pass and repass noble and peasant, regal equipage and
humble caravan; children plead to stay, and veterans moralize there; the
privileged beggar finds a standing-place for charity to bless; a shrine
hallows or a sentry guards, history consecrates or Art glorifies, and
trade, pleasure, or battle, perchance, lends to it the spell of fame.
Let any one recall his sojourn in a foreign city, and conjure to his
mind's eye the scenes, and prominent to his fancy, distinct to his
memory, will be the bridge. He will think of Florence as intersected by
the Arno, and with the very name of that river reappears the peerless
grace of the Ponte Santa Trinità with its moss-grown escutcheons and
aërial curves; the Pont Neuf, at Paris, with its soldiers and priests,
its boot-blacks and grisettes, the gay streets on one side and the
studious quarter on the other, typifies and concentrates for him the
associations of the French capital; and what a complete symbol of
Venice--its canals, its marbles, its mysterious polity, its romance of
glory and woe--is a good photograph of the Bridge of Sighs!

The history of Rome is written on her bridges. The Ponte Rotto is Art's
favorite trophy of her decay; two-thirds of it has disappeared; and the
last Pope has ineffectively repaired it, by a platform sustained by iron
wire: yet who that has stood thereon in the sunset, and looked from the
dome of St. Peter's to the islands projected at that hour so distinctly
from the river's surface, glanced along the flushed dwellings upon its
bank, with their intervals of green terraces, or gazed, in the other
direction, upon the Cloaca of Tarquin, Vesta's dome, and the Aventine
Hill, with its palaces, convents, vineyards, and gardens, has not felt
that the Ponte Rotto was the most suggestive servatory in the Eternal
City? The Ponte Molle brings back Constantine and his vision of the
Cross; and the statues on Sant' Angelo mutely attest the vicissitudes of
ecclesiastical eras.

England boasts no monument of her modern victories so impressive as the
bridge named for the most memorable of them. The best view of Prague and
its people is from the long series of stone arches which span the
Moldau. The solitude and serenity of genius are rarely better realized
than by musing of Klopstock and Gessner, Lavator and Zimmermann, on the
Bridge of Rapperschwyl on the Lake of Zurich, where they dwelt and
wrote or died. From the Bridge of St. Martin we have the first view of
Mont Blanc. The Suspension Bridge at Niagara is an artificial wonder as
great, in its degree, as the natural miracle of the mighty cataract
which thunders forever at its side; while no triumph of inventive
economy could more aptly lead the imaginative stranger into the
picturesque beauties of Wales than the extraordinary tubular bridge
across the Menai Strait. The aqueduct-bridge at Lisbon, the long
causeway over Cayuga Lake in our own country, and the bridge over the
Loire at Orléans are memorable in every traveller's retrospect.

But the economical and the artistic interest of bridges is often
surpassed by their historical suggestions; almost every vocation and
sentiment of humanity being intimately associated therewith. The Rialto
at Venice and the Ponte Vecchio at Florence are identified with the
financial enterprise of the one city and the goldsmith's skill of the
other: one was long the Exchange of the "City of the Sea," and still
revives the image of Shylock and the rendezvous of Antonio; while the
other continues to represent mediæval trade in the quaint little shops
of jewellers and lapidaries. One of the characteristic religious orders
of that era is identified with the ancient bridge which crosses the
Rhone at Avignon, erected by the "Brethren of the Bridge," a fraternity
instituted in an age of anarchy expressly to protect travellers from the
bandits, whose favorite place of attack was at the passage of rivers.
The builder of the old London Bridge, Peter Colechurch, is believed to
have been attached to this same order; he died in 1176, and was buried
in a crypt of the little chapel on the second pier, according to the
habit of the fraternity. For many years a market was held on this
bridge; it was often the scene of war; it stayed the progress of
Canute's fleet; at one time destroyed by fire, and at another carried
away by ice; half ruined in one era by the bastard Faulconbridge, and,
at another, the watchword of civil war, when the cry resounded, "Cade
hath gotten Londonbridge," and Wat Tyler's rebels convened there;
Elizabeth and her peerless courtiers have floated, in luxurious barges
and splendid attire, by its old piers, and the heads of traitors rotted
in the sun upon its venerable battlements. Only sixty years ago a
portion of the original structure remained; it was once covered with
houses; Peter the Dutchman's famous water-wheels plashed at its side;
from the dark street and projecting gables noted tavern-signs vibrated
in the wind. The exclusive thoroughfare from the city to Kent and
Surrey, what ceremonial and scenes has it not witnessed,--royal
entrances and greetings, rites under the low brown arches of the old
chapel, revelry in the convenient hostels, traffic in the crowded mart,
chimes from the quaint belfry, the tragic triumph of vindictive law in
the gory heads upon spikes! The veritable and minute history of London
Bridge would illustrate the civic and social annals of England; and
romance could scarce invent a more effective background for the varied
scenes and personages such a chronicle would exhibit than the dim local
perspective, when, ere any bridge stood there, the ferryman's daughter
founded with the tolls a House of Sisters, subsequently transformed into
a college of priests. By a law of Nature, thus do the elements of
civilization cluster around the place of transit; thus do the courses of
the water indicate the direction and nucleus of emigration,--from the
vast lakes and mighty rivers of America, whereby an immense continent is
made available to human intercourse, and therefore to material unity, to
the point where the Thames was earliest crossed and spanned. More
special historical and social facts may be found attached to every old
bridge. In war, especially, heroic achievement and desperate valor have
often consecrated these narrow defiles and exclusive means of advance
and retreat:--

    "When the goodman mends his armor
      And trims his helmet's plume,
    When the good-wife's shuttle merrily
      Goes flashing through the loom,
    With weeping and with laughter
      Still is the story told
    How well Horatius kept the bridge
      In the good old days of old."

The bridge of Darius spanned the Bosphorus,--of Xerxes, the
Hellespont,--of Cæsar, the Rhine,--and of Trajan, the Danube; while the
victorious march of Napoleon has left few traces so unexceptionably
memorable as the massive causeways of the Simplon. Cicero arrested the
bearer of letters to Catiline on the Pons Milonis, built in the time of
Sylla on the ancient Via Flaminia; and by virtue of the blazing cross
which he saw in the sky from the Ponte Molle the Christian emperor
Constantine conquered Maxentius. The Pont du Gard near Nismes and the
St. Esprit near Lyons were originally of Roman construction. During the
war of freedom, so admirably described by our countryman, whereby rose
the Dutch Republic, the Huguenots, at the siege of Valenciennes, we are
told, "made forays upon the monasteries for the purpose of procuring
supplies, and the broken statues of the dismantled churches were used to
build a bridge across an arm of the river, which was called, in
derision, the Bridge of Idols."

But a more memorable historical bridge is admirably described in another
military episode of this favorite historian,--that which Alexander of
Parma built across the Scheldt, whereby Antwerp was finally won for
Philip of Spain. Its construction was a miracle of science and courage;
and it became the scene of one of the most terrible tragedies and the
most fantastic festivals which signalize the history of that age, and
illustrate the extraordinary and momentous struggle for religious
liberty in the Netherlands. Its piers extended five hundred feet into
the stream,--connected with the shore by boats, defended by palisades,
fortified parapets, and spiked rafts; cleft and partially destroyed by
the volcanic fireship of Gianebelli, a Mantuan chemist and engineer,
whereby a thousand of the best troops of the Spanish army were instantly
killed, and their brave chief stunned,--when the hour of victory came to
the besiegers, it was the scene of a floral procession and Arcadian
banquet, and "the whole extent of its surface from the Flemish to the
Brabant shore" was alive with "war-bronzed figures crowned with
flowers." "This magnificent undertaking has been favorably compared with
the celebrated Rhine bridge of Julius Cæsar. When it is remembered,
however, that the Roman work was performed in summer, across a river
only half as broad as the Scheldt, free from the disturbing action of
the tides, and flowing through an unresisting country, while the whole
character of the structure, intended only to serve for the single
passage of an army, was far inferior to the massive solidity of Parma's
bridge, it seems not unreasonable to assign the superiority to the
general who had surmounted all the obstacles of a northern winter,
vehement ebb and flow from the sea, and enterprising and desperate
enemies at every point."[G]

Even the fragile bridges of our own country, during the Revolution, have
an historical importance in the story of war: the "Great Bridge" across
the Elizabeth River, nine miles from Norfolk in Virginia, the floating
bridge at Ticonderoga, that which spanned Stony Brook in New Jersey, and
many others, are identified with strife or stratagem: King's Bridge was
a formidable barrier to the invasion of New York by land. Indeed, from
Trenton to Lodi, military annals have few more fierce conflicts than
those wherein the bridge of the battle-ground is disputed; to cross one
is often a declaration of war, and Rubicons abound in history.

There is probably no single problem, wherein the laws of science and
mechanical skill combine, which has so won the attention and challenged
the powers of inventive minds as the construction of bridges. The
various exigencies to be met, the possible triumphs to be achieved, the
experiments as to form, material, security, and grace, have been
prolific causes of inspiration and disappointment. In this branch of
economy, the mechanic and the mathematician fairly meet; and it requires
a rare union of ability in both vocations to arrive at original results
in this sphere. To invent a bridge, through the application of a
scientific principle by a novel method, is one of those projects which
seem to fascinate philosophical minds; in few have theory and practice
been more completely tested; and the history of bridges, scientifically
written, would exhibit as remarkable conflicts of opinion, trials of
inventive skill, decision of character, genius, folly, and fame, as any
other chapter in the annals of progress. How to unite security with the
least inconvenience, permanence with availability, strength with
beauty,--how to adapt the structure to the location, climate, use, and
risks,--are questions which often invoke all the science and skill of
the architect, and which have increased in difficulty with the advance
of other resources and requisitions of civilization. Whether a bridge is
to cross a brook, a river, a strait, an inlet, an arm of the sea, a
canal, or a valley, are so many diverse contingencies which modify the
calculations and plans of the engineer. Here liability to sudden
freshets, there to overwhelming tides, now to the enormous weight of
railway-trains, and again to the corrosive influence of the elements,
must be taken into consideration; the navigation of waters, the
exigencies of war, the needs of a population, the respective uses of
viaduct, aqueduct, and roadway, have often to be included in the
problem. These considerations influence not only the method of
construction, but the form adopted and the material, and have given
birth to bridges of wood, brick, stone, iron, wire, and chain,--to
bridges supported by piers, to floating, suspension, and tubular
structures, many of which are among the remarkable trophies of modern
science and the noblest fruits of the arts of peace. Railways have
created an entirely new species of bridge, to enable a train to
intersect a road, to cross canals in slanting directions, to turn amid
jagged precipices, and to cross arms of the sea at a sufficient
elevation not to interfere with the passage of ships,--objects not to be
accomplished by suspension-bridges because of their oscillation, nor
girder for lack of support, the desiderata being extensive span with
rigid strength, so triumphantly realized in the tubular bridge. The day
when the great Holyrood train passed over the Strait of Menai by this
grand expedient established the superiority of this principle of
construction, and became a memorable occasion in the annals of
mechanical science, and immortalized the name of Stephenson.

We find great national significance in the history of bridges in
different countries. Their costly and substantial grandeur in Britain
accords with the solid qualities of the race, and their elegance on the
Continent with the pervasive influence of Art in Europe. It is a curious
illustration of the inferior economical and high intellectual
development of Greece, that the "Athenians waded, when their temples
were the most perfect models of architecture"; and equally an evidence
of the practical energy of the old Romans, that their stone bridges
often remain to this hour intact. Our own incomplete civilization is
manifest in the marvellous number of bridges that annually break down,
from negligent or unscientific construction; while the indomitable
enterprise of the people is no less apparent in some of the longest,
loftiest, most wonderfully constructed and sustained bridges in the
world. We have only to cross the Suspension Bridge at Niagara, or gaze
up to its aërial tracery from the river, or look forth upon wooded
ravines and down precipitous and umbrageous glens from the Erie Railway,
to feel that in this, as in all other branches of mechanical enterprise,
our nation is as boldly dexterous as culpably reckless. As an instance
of ingenuity in this sphere, the bridge which crosses the Potomac
Creek, near Washington, deserves notice. The hollow iron arches which
support this bridge also serve as conduits to the aqueduct which
supplies the city with water.

Amid the mass of prosaic structures in London, what a grand exception to
the architectural monotony are her bridges! how effectually they have
promoted her suburban growth! Canova thought the Waterloo Bridge the
finest in Europe, and, by a strangely tragic coincidence, this noble and
costly structure is the favorite scene of suicidal despair, wherewith
the catastrophes of modern novels and the most pathetic of city lyrics
are indissolably associated. Westminster Bridge is as truly the Swiss
Laboyle's monument of architectural genius, fortitude, and patience, as
St. Paul's is that of Wren; and our own Remington's bridge-enthusiasm
involves a pathetic story. At Cordova, the bridge over the Guadalquivir
is a grand relic of Moorish supremacy. The oldest bridge in England is
that of Croyland in Lincolnshire; the largest crosses the Trent in
Staffordshire. Tom Paine designed a cast-iron bridge, but the
speculation failed, and the materials were subsequently used in the
beautiful bridge over the River Wear in Durham County. There is a
segment of a circle six hundred feet in diameter in Palmer's bridge
which spans our own Piscataqua. It is said that the first edifice of the
kind which the Romans built of stone was the Ponte Rotto, begun by the
Censor Fulvius and finished by Scipio Africanus and Lucius Mummius.
Popes Julius III. and Gregory XIV. repaired it; so that the fragment now
so valued as a picturesque ruin symbolizes both Imperial and
Ecclesiastical rule. In striking contrast with the reminiscences of
valor, hinted by ancient Roman bridges, are the ostentatious Papal
inscriptions which everywhere in the States of the Church, in elaborate
Latin, announce that this Pontiff built or that Pontiff repaired these

The mediæval castle moat and drawbridge have, indeed, been transferred
from the actual world to that of fiction, history, and art, except where
preserved as memorials of antiquity; but the civil importance which from
the dawn of civilization attached to the bridge is as patent to-day as
when a Roman emperor, a feudal lord, or a monastic procession went forth
to celebrate or consecrate its advent or completion; in evidence
whereof, we have the appropriate function which made permanently
memorable the late visit of Victoria's son to her American realms, in
his inauguration of the magnificent bridge bearing her name, which is
thrown across the St. Lawrence for a distance of only sixty yards less
than two English miles,--the greatest tubular bridge in the world. When
Prince Albert, amid the cheers of a multitude and the grand cadence of
the national anthem, finished the Victoria Bridge by giving three blows
with a mallet to the last rivet in the central tube, he celebrated one
of the oldest, though vastly advanced, triumphs of the arts of peace,
which ally the rights of the people and the good of human society to the
representatives of law and polity.

One may recoil with a painful sense of material incongruity, as did
Hawthorne, when contemplating the noisome suburban street where Burns
lived; but all the humane and poetical associations connected with the
long struggle sustained by him, of "the highest in man's soul against
the lowest in man's destiny," recur in sight of the Bridge of Doon, and
the two "briggs of Ayr," whose "imaginary conversations" he caught and
recorded, or that other bridge which spans a glen on the Auchinleck
estate, where the rustic bard first saw the Lass of Ballochmyle. The
tender admiration which embalms the name of Keats is also blent with the
idea of a bridge. The poem which commences his earliest published volume
was suggested, according to Milnes, as he "loitered by the gate that
leads from the battery on Hampstead Heath to the field by Camwood"; and
the young poet told his friend Clarke that the sweet passage, "Awhile
upon some bending planks," came to him as he hung "over the rail of a
foot-bridge that spanned a little brook in the last field upon entering
Edmonton." To the meditative pedestrian, indeed, such places lure to
quietude; the genial Country Parson, whose "Recreations" we have
recently shared, unconsciously illustrates this, when he speaks of the
privilege men like him enjoy, when free "to saunter forth with a
delightful sense of leisure, and know that nothing will go wrong,
although he should sit down on the mossy parapet of the little
one-arched bridge that spans the brawling mountain-stream." On that
Indian-summer day when Irving was buried, no object of the familiar
landscape, through which, without formality, and in quiet grief, so many
of the renowned and the humble followed his remains from the
village-church to the rural graveyard, wore so pensive a fitness to the
eye as the simple bridge over Sleepy-Hollow Creek, near to which Ichabod
Crane encountered the headless horseman,--not only as typical of his
genius, which thus gave a local charm to the scene, but because the
country-people, in their heartfelt wish to do him honor, had hung
wreaths of laurel upon the rude planks.

Fragments, as well as entire roadways and arches of natural bridges, are
more numerous in rocky, mountainous, and volcanic regions than is
generally supposed; the action of the water in excavating cliffs, the
segments of caverns, the, accidental shapes of geological formations,
often result in structures so adapted for the use and like the shape of
bridges as to appear of artificial origin. In the States of Alabama and
Kentucky, especially, we have notable instances of these remarkable
freaks of Nature: there is one in Walker County, of the former State,
which, as a local curiosity, is unsurpassed; and one in the romantic
County of Christian, in the latter State, makes a span of seventy feet
with an altitude of thirty; while the vicinity of the famous Alabaster
Mountain of Arkansas boasts a very curious and interesting formation of
this species. Two of these natural bridges are of such vast proportions
and symmetrical structure that they rank among the wonders of the world,
and have long been the goals of pilgrimage, the shrines of travel. Their
structure would hint the requisites, and their forms the lines of
beauty, desirable in architectural prototypes. Across Cedar Creek, in
Rockbridge County, Virginia, a beautiful and gigantic arch, thrown by
elemental forces and shaped by time, extends. It is a stratified arch,
whence you gaze down two hundred feet upon the flowing water; its sides
are rock, nearly perpendicular. Popular conjecture reasonably deems it
the fragmentary arch of an immense limestone cave; its loftiness imparts
an aspect of lightness, although at the centre it is nearly fifty feet
thick, and so massive is the whole that over it passes a public road, so
that by keeping in the middle one might cross unaware of the marvel. To
realize its height it must be viewed from beneath; from the side of the
creek it has a Gothic aspect; its immense walls, clad with forest-trees,
its dizzy elevation, buttress-like masses, and aërial symmetry make this
sublime arch one of those objects which impress the imagination with
grace and grandeur all the more impressive because the mysterious work
of Nature,--eloquent of the ages, and instinct with the latent forces of
the universe. Equally remarkable, but in a diverse style, is the Giant's
Causeway, whose innumerable black stone columns rise from two to four
hundred feet above the water's edge in the County of Antrim, on the
north coast of Ireland. These basaltic pillars are for the most part
pentagonal, whose five sides are closely united, not in one conglomerate
mass, but, articulated so aptly that to be traced the ball and socket
must be disjointed.

The effect of statuary upon bridges is memorable: the Imperial statues
which line that of Berlin form an impressive array; and whoever has seen
the figures on the Bridge of Sant' Angelo at Home, when illuminated on
a Carnival night, or the statues upon Santa Trinità at Florence, bathed
in moonlight, and their outline distinctly revealed against sky and
water, cannot but realize how harmoniously sculpture may illustrate and
heighten the architecture of the bridge. More quaint than appropriate is
pictorial embellishment; a beautiful Madonna or local saint placed
midway or at either end of a bridge, especially one of mediæval form and
fashion, seems appropriate; but elaborate painting, such as one sees at
Lucerne, strikes us as more curious than desirable. The bridge which
divides the town and crosses the Reuss is covered, yet most of the
pictures are weather-stained; as no vehicles are allowed,
foot-passengers can examine them at ease. They are in triangular frames,
ten feet apart, but few have any technical merit. One series illustrates
Swiss history; and the Kapellbrücke has the pictorial life of the Saint
of the town; while the Mile Bridge exhibits a quaint and rough copy of
the famous "Dance of Death."

In Switzerland what fearful ravines and foaming cascades do bridges
cross! sometimes so aërial, and overhanging such precipices, as to
justify to the imagination the name superstitiously bestowed on more
than one, of the Devil's Bridge; while from few is a more lovely effect
of near water seen than the "arrowy Rhone," as we gaze down upon its
"blue rushing" beneath the bridge at Geneva. Perhaps the varied
pictorial effects of bridges, at least in a city, are nowhere more
striking than at Venice, whose five hundred, with their mellow tint and
association with palatial architecture and streets of water, especially
when revealed by the soft and radiant hues of an Italian sunset, present
outlines, shapes, colors, and contrasts so harmonious and beautiful as
to warm and haunt the imagination while they charm the eye. It is
remarkable, as an artistic fact, how graciously these structures adapt
themselves to such diverse scenes,--equally, though variously,
picturesque amid the sturdy foliage and wild gorges of the Alps, the
bustle, fog, and mast-forest of the Thames, and the crystal atmosphere,
Byzantine edifices, and silent canals of Venice.

Whoever has truly felt the aërial perspective of Turner has attained a
delicate sense of the pictorial significance of the bridge; for, as we
look through his floating mists, we descry, amid Nature's most
evanescent phenomena, the span, the arch, the connecting lines or masses
whereby this familiar image seems to identify itself not less with
Nature than with Art. Among the drawings which Arctic voyagers have
brought home, many a bridge of ice, enormous and symmetrical, seems to
tempt adventurous feet and to reflect a like form of fleecy cloud-land;
daguerreotyped by the frost in miniature, the same structures may be
traced on the window-pane; printed on the fossil and the strata of rock,
in the veins of bark and the lips of shells, or floating in sunbeams, an
identical design appears; and, on a summer morning, as the eye carefully
roams over a lawn, how often do the most perfect little
suspension-bridges hang from spear to spear of herbage, their filmy span
embossed with glittering dew-drops!

       *       *       *       *       *


It is not my intention, in these articles, to discuss a general theory
of the glaciers upon physical and mechanical principles. My special
studies, always limited to Natural History, have but indifferently
fitted me for such a task, and quite recently the subject has been
admirably treated from this point of view by Dr. Tyndall, in his
charming volume entitled "Glaciers of the Alps." I have worked upon the
glaciers as an amateur, devoting my summer vacations, with friends
desirous of sharing my leisure, to excursions in the Alps, for the sake
of relaxation from the closer application of my professional studies,
and have considered them especially in their connection with geological
phenomena, with a view of obtaining, by means of a thorough acquaintance
with glaciers as they exist now, some insight into the glacial phenomena
of past times, the distribution of drift, the transportation of
boulders, etc. It was, however, impossible to treat one series of facts
without some reference to the other; but such explanations as I have
given of the mechanism of the glacier, in connection with its structure,
are presented in the language of the unprofessional observer, without
any attempt at the technicalities of the physicist. I do not wonder,
therefore, that those who have looked upon the glacier chiefly with
reference to the physical and mechanical principles involved in its
structure and movement should have found my Natural Philosophy
defective. I am satisfied with their agreement as to my correct
observation of the facts, and am the less inclined to quarrel with the
doubts thrown on my theory since I see that the most eminent physicists
of the day do not differ from me more sharply than they do from each
other. The facts will eventually test all our theories, and they form,
after all, the only impartial jury to which we can appeal. In the mean
while, I am not sorry that just at this moment, when recent
investigations and publications have aroused new interest in the
glaciers, the course of these articles brings me naturally to a
discussion of the subject in its bearing upon geological questions. I
shall, however, address myself especially, as I have done throughout
these papers, to my unprofessional readers, who, while they admire the
glaciers, may also wish to form a general idea of their structure and
mode of action, as well as to know something of the important part they
have played in the later geological history of our earth. It would,
indeed, be out of place, were I to undertake here a discussion of the
different views entertained by the various students who have
investigated the glacier itself, among whom Dr. Tyndall is especially
distinguished, or those of the more theoretical writers, among whom Mr.
Hopkins occupies a prominent position.

Removed, as I am, from all possibility of renewing my own observations,
begun in 1836 and ended in 1845, I will take this opportunity to call
the attention of those particularly interested in the matter to one
essential point with reference to which all other observers differ from
me. I mean the stratification of the glacier, which I do not believe to
be rightly understood, even at this moment. It may seem presumptuous to
dissent absolutely from the statements of one who has seen so much and
so well as Dr. Tyndall, on a question for the solution of which, from
the physicist's point of view, his special studies have been a far
better preparation than mine; and yet I feel confident that I was
correct in describing the stratification of the glacier as a fundamental
feature of its structure, and the so-called dirt-bands as the margins of
the snow-strata successively deposited, and in no way originating in the
ice-cascades. I shall endeavor to make this plain to my readers in the
course of the present article. I believe, also, that renewed
observations will satisfy dissenting observers that there really exists
a net-work of capillary fissures extending throughout the whole glacier,
constantly closing and reopening, and constituting the channels by means
of which water filtrates into its mass. This infiltration, also, has
been denied, in consequence of the failure of some experiments in which
an attempt was made to introduce colored fluids into the glacier. To
this I can only answer, that I succeeded completely, myself, in the
self-same experiments which a later investigator found impracticable,
and that I see no reason why the failure of the latter attempt should
cast a doubt upon the former. The explanation of the difference in the
result may, perhaps, be found in the fact, that, as a sponge gorged with
water can admit no more fluid than it already contains, so the glacier,
under certain circumstances, and especially at noonday in summer, may be
so soaked with water that all attempts to pour colored fluids into it
would necessarily fail. I have stated, in my work upon glaciers, that my
infiltration-experiments were chiefly made at night; and I chose that
time, because I knew the glacier would most readily admit an additional
supply of liquid from without when the water formed during the day at
its surface and rushing over it in myriad rills had ceased to flow.

While we admit a number of causes as affecting the motion of a glacier,
namely, the natural tendency of heavy bodies to slide down a sloping
surface, the pressure to which the mass is subjected forcing it onward,
the infiltration of moisture, its freezing and consequent expansion,--we
must also remember that these various causes, by which the accumulated
masses of snow and ice are brought down from higher to lower levels, are
not all acting at all times with the same intensity, nor is their action
always the same at every point of the moving mass. While the bulk of
snow and ice moves from higher to lower levels, the whole mass of the
snow, in consequence of its own downward tendency, is also under a
strong vertical pressure, arising from its own incumbent weight, and
that pressure is, of course, greater at its bottom than at its centre or
surface. It is therefore plain, that, inasmuch as the snow can be
compressed by its own weight, it will be more compact at the bottom of
such an accumulation than at its surface, this cause acting most
powerfully at the upper part of a glacier, where the snow has not yet
been transformed into a more solid icy mass. To these two agencies, the
downward tendency and the vertical pressure, must be added the pressure
from behind, which is most-effective where the mass is largest and the
amount of motion in a given time greatest. In the glacier, the mass is,
of course, largest in the centre, where the trough which holds it is
deepest, and least on the margins, where the trough slopes upward and
becomes more shallow. Consequently, the middle of a glacier always
advances more rapidly than the sides. Were the slope of the ground over
which it passes, combined with the pressure to which the mass is
subjected, the whole secret of the onward progress of a glacier, it is
evident that the rate of advance would be gradually accelerated,
reaching its maximum at its lower extremity, and losing its impetus by
degrees on the higher levels nearer the point where the descent begins.
This, however, is not the case. The glacier of the Aar, for instance, is
about ten miles in length; its rate of annual motion is greatest near
the point of junction of the two great branches by which it is formed,
diminishing farther down, and reaching a minimum at its lower extremity.
But in the upper regions, near their origin, the progress of these
branches is again gradually less. Let us see whether the next cause of
displacement, the infiltration of moisture, may not in some measure
explain this retardation, at least of the lower part of the glacier.
This agency, like that of the compression of the snow by its own weight
and the pressure from behind, is most effective where the accumulation
is largest. In the centre, where the body of the mass is greatest, it
will imbibe the most moisture. But here a modifying influence comes in,
not sufficiently considered by the investigators of glacial structure.
We have already seen that snow and ice at different degrees of
compactness are not equally permeable to moisture. Above the line at
which the annual winter snow melts, there is, of course, little
moisture; but below that point, as soon as the temperature rises in
summer sufficiently to melt the surface, the water easily penetrates the
mass, passing through it more readily where the snow is lightest and
least compact,--in short, where it has not begun its transformation into
ice. A summer's day sends countless rills of water trickling through
such a mass of snow. If the snow be loose and porous throughout, the
water will pass through its whole thickness, accumulating at the bottom,
so that the lower portion of the mass will be damper, more completely
soaked with water, than the upper part; if, on the contrary, in
consequence of the process previously described, alternate melting and
freezing combined with pressure, the mass has assumed the character of
icy snow, it does not admit moisture so readily, and still farther down,
where the snow is actually transformed into pure compact ice, the amount
of surface-water admitted into its structure will, of course, be greatly
diminished. There may, however, be conditions under which even the
looser snow is comparatively impervious to water; as, for instance, when
rain falls upon a snow-field which has been long under a low
temperature, and an ice-crust is formed upon its surface, preventing the
water from penetrating below. Admitting, as I believe we must, that the
water thus introduced into the snow and ice is one of the most powerful
agents to which its motion is due, we must suppose that it has a twofold
influence, since its action when fluid and when frozen would be
different. When fluid, it would contribute to the advance of the mass in
proportion to its quantity; but when frozen, its expansion would produce
a displacement corresponding to the greater volume of ice as compared
with water; add to this that while trickling through the mass it will
loosen and displace the particles of already consolidated ice. I have
already said that I did not intend to trespass on the ground of the
physicist, and I will not enter here upon any discussion as to the
probable action of the laws of hydrostatic pressure and dilatation in
this connection. I will only state, that, so far as my own observation
goes, the movement of the glacier is most rapid where the greatest
amount of moisture is introduced into the mass, and that I believe there
must be a direct relation between these two facts. If I am right in
this, then the motion, so far as it is connected with infiltrated
moisture or with the dilatation caused by the freezing of that moisture,
will, of course, be most rapid where the glacier is most easily
penetrated by water, namely, in the region of the _névé_ and in the
upper portion of the glacier-troughs, where the _névé_ begins to be
transformed into more or less porous ice. This cause also accounts, in
part at least, for another singular fact in the motion of the glacier:
that, in its higher levels, where its character is more porous and the
water entering at the surface sinks readily to the bottom, there the
bottom seems to move more rapidly than the superficial parts of the
mass, whereas at the lower end of the glacier, in the region of the
compact ice, where the infiltration of the water at the bottom is at its
minimum, while the disintegrating influences at the surface admit of
infiltration to a certain limited depth, there the motion is greater
near the surface than toward the bottom. But, under all circumstances,
it is plain that the various causes producing motion, gravitation,
pressure, infiltration of water, frost, will combine to propel the mass
at a greater rate along its axis than near its margins. For details
concerning the facts of the case, I would refer to my work entitled
"Système Glaciaire."

We will next consider the stratification of the glacier. I have stated
in my introductory remarks, that I consider this to be one of its
primary and fundamental features, and I confess, that, after a careful
examination of the results obtained by my successors in the field of
glacial phenomena, I still believe that the original stratification of
the mass of snow from which the glacier arises gives us the key to many
facts of its internal structure. The ultimate features resulting from
this connection are so exceedingly intricate and entangled that their
relation is not easily explained. Nevertheless, I trust my readers will
follow me in this Alpine excursion, where I shall try to smooth the
asperities of the road for them as much as possible.

Imparted to it, at the very beginning of its formation, by the manner in
which snow accumulates, and retained through all its transformations,
the stratification of a glacier, however distorted, and at times almost
obliterated, remains, notwithstanding, as distinct to one who is
acquainted with all its phases, as is the stratified character of
metamorphic rocks to the skilful geologist, even though they may be
readily mistaken for plutonic masses by the common observer. Indeed,
even those secondary features, as the dirt-bands, for instance, which we
shall see to be intimately connected with snow-strata, and which
eventually become so prominent as to be mistaken for the cause of the
lines of stratification, do nevertheless tend, when properly understood,
to make the evidence of stratification more permanent, and to point out
its primitive lines.

On the plains, in our latitude, we rarely have the accumulated layers of
several successive snow-storms preserved one above another. We can,
therefore, hardly imagine with what distinctness the sequence of such
beds is marked in the upper Alpine regions. The first cause of this
distinction between the layers is the quality of the snow when it falls,
then the immediate changes it undergoes after its deposit, then the
falling of mist or rain upon it, and lastly and most efficient of all,
the accumulation of dust upon its surface. One who has not felt the
violence of a storm in the high mountains, and seen the clouds of dust
and sand carried along with the gusts of wind passing over a
mountain-ridge and sweeping through the valley beyond, can hardly
conceive that not only the superficial aspect of a glacier, but its
internal structure also, can be materially affected by such a cause. Not
only are dust and sand thus transported in large quantities to the
higher mountain-regions, but leaves are frequently found strewn upon the
upper glacier, and even pine-cones, and maple-seeds flying upward on
their spread wings, are scattered thousands of feet above and many miles
beyond the forests where they grew.

This accumulation of sand and dust goes on all the year round, but the
amount accumulated over one and the same surface is greatest during the
summer, when the largest expanse of rocky wall is bare of snow and its
loose soil dried by the heat so as to be easily dislodged. This summer
deposit of loose inorganic materials, light enough to be transported by
the wind, forms the main line of division between the snow of one year
and the next, though only that of the last year is visible for its whole
extent. Those of the preceding years, as we shall see hereafter, exhibit
only their edges cropping out lower down one beyond another, being
brought successively to lower levels by the onward motion of the

Other observers of the glacier, Professor Forbes and Dr. Tyndall, have
noticed only the edges of these seams, and called them dirt-bands.
Looking upon them as merely superficial phenomena, they have given
explanations of their appearance which I hold to be quite untenable.
Indeed, to consider these successive lines of dirt on the glacier as
limited only to its surface, and to explain them from that point of
view, is much as if a geologist were to consider the lines presented by
the strata on a cut through a sedimentary mass of rock as representing
their whole extent, and to explain them as a superficial deposit due to
external causes.

A few more details may help to make this statement clearer to my
readers. Let us imagine that a fresh layer of snow has fallen in these
mountain-regions, and that a deposit of dirt has been scattered over its
surface, which, if any moisture arises from the melting of the snow or
from the falling of rain or mist, will become more closely compacted
with it. The next snow-storm deposits a fresh bed of snow, separated
from the one below it by the sheet of dust just described, and this bed
may, in its turn, receive a like deposit. For greater ease and
simplicity of explanation, I speak here as if each successive snow-layer
were thus indicated; of course this is not literally true, because
snow-storms in the winter may follow each other so fast that there is no
time for such a collection of foreign materials upon each newly formed
surface. But whenever such a fresh snow-bed, or accumulation of beds,
remains with its surface exposed for some time, such a deposit of dirt
will inevitably be found upon it. This process may go on till we have a
number of successive snow-layers divided from each other by thin sheets
of dust. Of course, such seams, marking the stratification of snow, are
as permanent and indelible as the seams of coarser materials alternating
with the finest mud in a sedimentary rock.

The gradual progress of a glacier, which, though more rapid in summer
than in winter, is never intermitted, must, of course, change the
relation of these beds to each other. Their lower edge is annually cut
off at a certain level, because the snow deposited every winter melts
with the coming summer, up to a certain line, determined by the local
climate of the place. But although the snow does not melt above this
line, we have seen, in the preceding article, that it is prevented from
accumulating indefinitely in the higher regions by its own tendency to
move down to the lower valleys, and crowding itself between their walls,
thus to force its way toward the outlet below. Now, as this movement is
very gradual, it is evident that there must be a perceptible difference
in the progress of the successive layers, the lower and older ones
getting the advance of the upper and more recent ones: that is, when the
snow that has covered the face of the country during one winter melts
away from the glacier up to the so-called snow-line, there will be seen
cropping out below and beyond that line the layers of the preceding
years, which are already partially transformed into ice, and have become
a part of the frozen mass of the glacier with which they are moving
onward and downward. In the autumn, when the dust of a whole season has
been accumulated upon the surface of the preceding winter's snow, the
extent of the layer which year after year will henceforth crop out lower
down, as a dirt-band, may best be appreciated.

Beside the snow-layers and the sheets of dust alternating with them,
there is still another feature of the horizontal and parallel structure
of the mass in immediate connection with those above considered. I
allude to the layers of pure compact ice occurring at different
intervals between the snow-layers. In July, when the snow of the
preceding winter melts up to the line of perpetual snow, the masses
above, which are to withstand the summer heat and become part of the
glacier forever, or at least until they melt away at the lower end,
begin to undergo the changes through which all snow passes before it
acquires the character of glacial ice. It thaws at the surface, is
rained upon, or condenses moisture, thus becoming gradually soaked, and
after assuming the granular character of _névé_-ice, it ends in being
transformed into pure compact ice. Toward the end of August, or early
in September, when the nights are already very cold in the Alps, but
prior to the first permanent autumnal snow-falls, the surface of these
masses becomes frozen to a greater or less depth, varying, of course,
according to temperature. These layers of ice become numerous and are
parallel to each other, like the layers of ice formed from slosh. Such
crusts of ice I have myself observed again and again upon the glacier.
This stratified snowy ice is now the bottom on which the first autumnal
snow-falls accumulate. These sheets of ice may be formed not only
annually before the winter snows set in, but may recur at intervals
whenever water accumulating upon an extensive snow-surface, either in
consequence of melting or of rain, is frozen under a sharp frost before
another deposit of snow takes place. Or suppose a fresh layer of light
porous snow to have accumulated above one the surface of which has
already been slightly glazed with frost; rain or dew, falling upon the
upper one, will easily penetrate it; but when it reaches the lower one,
it will be stopped by the film of ice already formed, and under a
sufficiently low temperature, it will be frozen between the two. This
result may be frequently noticed in winter, on the plains, where sudden
changes of temperature take place.

There is still a third cause, to which the same result may possibly be
due, and to which I shall refer at greater length hereafter; but as it
has not, like the preceding ones, been the subject of direct
observation, it must be considered as hypothetical. The admirable
experiments of Dr. Tyndall have shown that water may be generated in ice
by pressure, and it is therefore possible that at a lower depth in the
glacier, where the incumbent weight of the mass above is sufficient to
produce water, the water thus accumulated may be frozen into ice-layers.
But this depends so much upon the internal temperature of the glacier,
about which we know little beyond a comparatively superficial depth,
that it cannot at present afford a sound basis even for conjecture.

There are, then, in the upper snow-fields three kinds of horizontal
deposits: the beds of snow, the sheets of dust, and the layers of ice,
alternating with each other. If, now, there were no modifying
circumstances to change the outline and surface of the glacier,--if it
moved on uninterruptedly through an open valley, the lower layers,
forming the mass, getting by degrees the advance of the upper ones, our
problem would be simple enough. We should then have a longitudinal mass
of snow, inclosed between rocky walls, its surface crossed by straight
transverse lines marking the annual additions to the glacier, as in the
adjoining figure.


But that mass of snow, before it reaches the outlet of the valley, is to
be compressed, contorted, folded, rent in a thousand directions. The
beds of snow, which in the upper ranges of the mountain were spread out
over broad, open surfaces, are to be crowded into comparatively
circumscribed valleys, to force and press themselves through narrow
passes, alternately melting and freezing, till they pass from the
condition of snow into that of ice, to undergo, in short, constant
transformations, by which the primitive stratification will be
extensively modified. In the first place, the more rapid motion of the
centre of the glacier, as compared with the margins, will draw the lines
of stratification downward toward the middle faster than at the sides.
Accurate measurements have shown that the axis of a glacier may move
ten- or twenty-fold more rapidly than its margins. This is not the place
to introduce a detailed account of the experiments made to ascertain
this result; but I would refer those who are interested in the matter to
the measurements given in my "Système Glaciaire," where it will be seen
that the middle may move at a rate of two hundred feet a year, while the
margins may not advance more than ten or fifteen or twenty feet. These
observations of mine have the advantage over those of other observers,
that, while they embrace the whole extent of the glacier, transversely
as well as in its length, they cover a period of several successive
years, instead of being limited to summer campaigns and a few winter
observations. The consequence of this mode of progressing will be that
the straight lines drawn transversely across the surface of the glacier
above will be gradually changed to curved ones below. After a few years,
such a line will appear on the surface of the glacier like a crescent,
with the bow turned downward, within which, above, are other crescents,
less and less sharply arched up to the last year's line, which may be
again straight across the snow-field. (See the subjoined figure, which
represents a part of the glacier of the Lauter-Aar.)


Thus the glacier records upon its surface its annual growth and
progress, and registers also the inequality in the rate of advance
between the axis and the sides.

But these are only surface-phenomena. Let us see what will be the effect
upon the internal structure. We must not forget, in considering the
changes taking place within glaciers, the shape of the valleys which
contain them. A glacier lies in a deep trough, and the tendency of the
mass will be to sink toward its deeper part, and to fold inward and
downward, if subjected to a strong lateral pressure,--that is, to dip
toward the centre and slope upward along the sides, following the scoop
of the trough. If, now, we examine the face of a transverse cut in the
glacier, we find it traversed by a number of lines, vertical in some
places, more or less oblique in others, and frequently these lines are
joined together at the lower ends, forming loops, some of which are
close and vertical, while others are quite open. These lines are due to
the folding of the strata in consequence of the lateral pressure they
are subjected to, when crowded into the lower course of the valleys, and
the difference in their dip is due to the greater or less force of that
pressure. The wood-cut on the next page represents a transverse cut
across the Lauter-Aar and the Finster-Aar, the two principal tributaries
to the great Aar glacier, and includes also a number of small lateral
glaciers which join them. The beds on the left, which dip least, and are
only folded gently downward, forming very open loops, are those of the
Lauter-Aar, where the lateral pressure is comparatively slight. Those
which are almost vertical belong in part to the several small tributary
glaciers, which have been crowded together and very strongly compressed,
and partly to the Finster-Aar. The close uniform vertical lines in this
wood-cut represent a different feature in the structure of the glacier,
called blue bands, to which I shall refer presently. These loops or
lines dipping into the internal mass of the glacier have been the
subject of much discussion, and various theories have been recently
proposed respecting them. I believe them to be caused, as I have said,
by the snow-layers, originally deposited horizontally, but afterward
folded into a more or less vertical position, in consequence of the
lateral pressure brought to bear upon them. The sheets of dust and of
ice alternating with the snow-strata are of course subjected to the same
action, and are contorted, bent, and folded by the same lateral


Dr. Tyndall has advanced the view that the lines of apparent
stratification, and especially the dirt-bands across the surface of the
glacier, are due to ice-cascades: that is, the glacier, passing over a
sharp angle, is cracked across transversely in consequence of the
tension, and these rents, where the back of the glacier has been
successively broken, when recompacted, cause the transverse lines, the
dirt being collected in the furrow formed between the successive ridges.
Unfortunately for his theory, the lines of stratification constantly
occur in glaciers where no such ice-falls are found. His principal
observations upon this subject were made on the Glacier du Géant, where
the ice-cascade is very remarkable. The lines may perhaps be rendered
more distinct on the Glacier du Géant by the cascade, and necessarily
must be so, if the rents coincide with the limit at which the annual
snow-line is nearly straight across the glacier. In the region of the
Aar glacier, however, where my own investigations were made, all the
tributaries entering into the larger glacier are ribbed across in this
way, and most of them join the main trunk over uniform slopes, without
the slightest cascade.

It must be remembered that these surface-phenomena of the glacier are
not to be seen at all times, nor under all conditions. During the first
year of my sojourn on the glacier of the Aar, I was not aware that the
stratification of its tributaries was so universal as I afterward found
it to be; the primitive lines of the strata are often so far erased that
they are not perceptible, except under the most favorable circumstances.
But when the glacier has been washed clean by rain, and the light
strikes upon it in the right direction, these lines become perfectly
distinct, where, under different conditions, they could not be discerned
at all. After passing many summers on the same glacier, renewing my
observations year after year over the same localities, I can confidently
state that not only do the lines of stratification exist throughout the
great glacier of the Aar, but in all its tributaries also. Of course,
they are greatly modified in the lower part of the glacier by the
intimate fusion of its tributaries, and by the circumstance that their
movement, primarily independent, is merged in the movement of the main
glacier embracing them all. We have seen that not only does the centre
of a glacier move more rapidly than its sides, but that the deeper mass
of the glacier also moves at a different rate from its more superficial
portion. My own observations (for the details of which I would again
refer the reader to my "Système Glaciaire ") show that in the higher
part of the glacier, especially in the region of the _névé_, the bottom
of the mass seems to move more rapidly than the surface, while lower
down, toward the terminus of the glacier, the surface, on the contrary,
moves faster than the bottom. The annexed wood-cut exhibits a
longitudinal section of the glacier, in which this difference in the
motion of the upper and lower portions of the mass is represented, the
beds being almost horizontal in the upper snow-fields, while their lower
portion slopes move rapidly downward in the _névé_ region, and toward
the lower end the upper portion takes the lead, and advances more
rapidly than the lower.


I presented these results for the first time in two letters, dated
October 9th, 1842, which were published in a German periodical, the
Jahrbuch of Leonhard and Bronn. The last three wood-cuts introduced
above, the transverse and longitudinal sections of the glacier as well
as that representing the concentric lines of stratification on the
surface, are the identical ones contained in those communications. These
papers seem to have been overlooked by contemporary investigators, and I
may be permitted to translate here a passage from one of them, since it
sums up the results of the inequality of motion throughout the glacier
and its influence on the primitive stratification of the mass in as few
words and as correctly as I could give them to-day, twenty years
later:--"Combining these views, it appears that the glacier may be
represented as composed of concentric shells which arise from the
parallel strata of the upper region by the following process. The
primitively regular strata advance into gradually narrower and deeper
valleys, in consequence of which the margins are raised, while the
middle is bent not only downward, but, from its more rapid motion,
forward also, so that they assume a trough-like form in the interior of
the mass. Lower down, the glacier is worn by the surrounding air, and
assumes the peculiar form characteristic of its lower course." The last
clause alludes to another series of facts, which we shall examine in a
future article, when we shall see that the heat of the walls in the
lower part of its course melts the sides of the glacier, so that,
instead of following the trough-like shape of the valley, it becomes
convex, arching upward in the centre and sinking at the margins.

I have dwelt thus long, and perhaps my readers may think tediously, upon
this part of my subject, because the stratification of the glacier has
been constantly questioned by the more recent investigators of glacial
phenomena, and has indeed been set aside as an exploded theory. They
consider the lines of stratification, the dirt-bands, and the seams of
ice alternating with the more porous snow, as disconnected
surface-phenomena, while I believe them all to be intimately connected
together as primary essential features of the original mass.

       *       *       *       *       *

There is another feature of glacial structure, intimately connected, by
similarity of position and aspect, with the stratification, which has
greatly perplexed the students of glacial phenomena. I allude to the
so-called blue bands, or bands of infiltration, also designated as
veined structure, ribboned or laminated structure, marginal structure,
and longitudinal structure. The difficulty lies, I believe, in the fact
that two very distinct structures, that of the stratification and the
blue bands, are frequently blended together in certain parts of the
glacier in such a manner as to seem identical, while elsewhere the one
is prominent and the other subordinate, and _vice versâ_. According to
their various opportunities of investigation, observers have either
confounded the two, believing them to be the same, or some have
overlooked the one and insisted upon the other as the prevailing
feature, while that very feature has been absolutely denied again by
others who have seen its fellow only, and taken that to be the only
prominent and important fact in this peculiar structural character of
the ice.

We have already seen how the stratification of the glacier arises,
accompanied by layers of dust and other material foreign to the glacier,
and how blue bands of compact ice may be formed parallel to the surface
of these strata. We have also seen how the horizontality of these strata
may be modified by pressure till they assume a position within the mass
of the glacier, varying from a slightly oblique inclination to a
vertical one. Now, while the position of the strata becomes thus altered
under pressure, other changes take place in the constitution of the ice

Before attempting to explain how these changes take place, let us
consider the facts themselves. The mass of the glacial ice is traversed
by thin bands of compact blue ice, these bands being very numerous along
the margins of the glacier, where they constitute what Dr. Tyndall calls
marginal structure, and still more crowded along the line upon which two
glaciers unite, where he has called it longitudinal structure. In the
latter case, where the extreme pressure resulting from the junction of
two glaciers has rendered the strata nearly vertical, these blue bands
follow their trend so closely that it is difficult to distinguish one
from the other. It will be seen, on referring to the wood-cut on page
758, where the close, uniform, vertical lines represent the true veined
structure, that at several points of that section the lines of
stratification run so nearly parallel with them, that, were the former
not drawn more strongly, they could not be easily distinguished from the
latter. Along the margins, also, in consequence of the retarded motion,
the blue bands and the lines of stratification run nearly parallel with
each other, both following the sides of the trough in which they move.

Undoubtedly, in both these instances, we have two kinds of blue bands,
namely: those formed primitively in a horizontal position, indicating
seams of stratification, and those which have arisen subsequently in
connection with the movement of the whole mass, which I have
occasionally called bands of infiltration, as they appeared to me to be
formed by the infiltration and freezing of water. The fact that these
blue bands are most numerous where two glaciers are crowded together
into a common bed naturally suggests pressure as their cause. And since
the beautiful experiments of Dr. Tyndall have illustrated the internal
liquefaction of ice by pressure, it becomes highly probable that his
theory of the origin of these secondary blue bands is the true one. He
suggests that layers of water may be formed in the glacier at right
angles with the pressure, and pass into a state of solid ice upon the
removal of that pressure, the pressure being of course relieved in
proportion to the diminution in the body of the ice by compression. The
number of blue bands diminishes as we recede from the source of the
pressure,--few only being formed, usually at right angles with the
surfaces of stratification, in the middle of a glacier, half-way between
its sides. If they are caused by pressure, this diminution of their
number toward the middle of the glacier would be inevitable, since the
intensity of the pressure naturally fades as we recede from the motive

Dr. Tyndall also alludes to another structure of the same kind, which he
calls transverse structure, where the blue bands extend in
crescent-shaped curves, more or less arched, across the surface of the
glacier. Where these do not coincide with the stratification, they are
probably formed by vertical pressure in connection with the unequal
movement of the mass.

With these facts before us, it seems to me plain that the primitive blue
bands arise with the stratification of the snow in the very first
formation of the glacier, while the secondary blue bands are formed
subsequently, in consequence of the onward progress of the glacier and
the pressure to which it is subjected. The secondary blue bands
intersect the planes of stratification at every possible angle, and may
therefore seem identical with the stratification in some places, while
in others they cut it at right angles. It has been objected to my theory
of glacial structure, that I have considered the so-called blue bands as
a superficial feature when compared with the stratification. And in a
certain sense this is true; since, if my views are correct, the glacier
exists and is in full life and activity before the secondary blue bands
arise in it, whereas the stratification is a feature of its embryo
condition, already established in the accumulated snow before it begins
its transformation into glacier-ice. In other words, the veined
structure of the glacier is not a primary structural feature of its
whole mass, but the result of various local influences acting upon the
constitution of the ice: the marginal structure resulting from the
resistance of the sides of the valley to the onward movement of the
glacier, the longitudinal structure arising from the pressure caused by
two glaciers uniting in one common bed, the transverse structure being
produced by vertical pressure in consequence of the weight of the mass
itself and the increased rate of motion at the centre.

In the _névé_ fields, where the strata are still horizontal, the few
blue bands observed are perpendicular to the strata of snow, and
therefore also perpendicular to the blue seams of ice and the sheets of
dust alternating with them. Upon the sides of the glacier they are more
or less parallel to the slopes of the valley; along the line of junction
of two glaciers they follow the vertical trend of the axis of the mass;
while at intermediate positions they are more or less oblique. Along the
outcropping edges of the strata, on the surface of the glacier, they
follow more or less the dip of the strata themselves; that is to say,
they are more or less parallel with the dirt-bands. In conclusion, I
would recommend future investigators to examine the glaciers, with
reference to the distribution of the blue bands, after heavy rains and
during foggy days, when the surface is freed from the loose materials
and decomposed fragments of ice resulting from the prolonged action of
the sun.

       *       *       *       *       *

The most important facts, then, to be considered with reference to the
motion of the glacier are as follows. First that the rate of advance
between the axis and the margins of a glacier differs in the ratio of
about ten to one and even less; that is to say; when the centre is
advancing at a rate of two hundred and fifty feet a year, the motion
toward the sides may be gradually diminished to two hundred, one hundred
and fifty, one hundred, fifty feet, and so on, till nearest the margin
it becomes almost inappreciable. Secondly, the rate of motion is not the
same throughout the length of the glacier, the advance being greatest
about half-way down in the region of the _névé_, and diminishing in
rapidity both above and below; thus the onward motion in the higher
portion of a glacier may not exceed twenty to fifty feet a year, while
it reaches its maximum of some two hundred and fifty feet annually in
the _névé_ region, and is retarded again toward the lower extremity,
where it is reduced to about one-fourth of its maximum rate. Thirdly,
the glacier moves at different rates throughout the thickness of its
mass; toward the lower extremity of the glacier the bottom is retarded,
and the surface portion moves faster, while in the upper region the
bottom seems to advance more rapidly. I say _seems_, because upon this
latter point there are no positive measurements, and it is only
inferred from general appearances, while the former statement has been
demonstrated by accurate experiments. Remembering the form of the
troughs in which the glaciers arise, that they have their source in
expansive, open fields of snow and _névé_, and that these immense
accumulations move gradually down into ever narrowing channels, though
at times widening again to contract anew, their surface wasting so
little from external influences that they advance far below the line of
perpetual snow without any sensible diminution in size, it is evident
that an enormous pressure must have been brought to bear upon them
before they could have been packed into the lower valleys through which
they descend.

Physicists seem now to agree that pressure is the chief agency in the
motion of glaciers. No doubt, all the facts point that way; but it now
becomes a matter of philosophical interest to determine in what
direction it acts most powerfully, and upon this point glacialists are
by no means agreed. The latest conclusion seems to be, that the weight
of the advancing mass is itself the efficient cause of the motion. But
while this is probably true in the main, other elements tending to the
same result, and generally overlooked by investigators, ought to be
taken into consideration; and before leaving the subject, I would add a
few words upon infiltration in this connection.

The weight of the glacier, as a whole, is about the same all the year
round. If, therefore, pressure, resulting from that weight, be the
all-controlling agency, its progress should be uniform daring the whole
year, or even greatest in winter, which is by no means the case. By a
series of experiments, I have ascertained that the onward movement,
whatever be its annual average, is accelerated in spring and early
summer. The average annual advance of the glacier being, at a given
point, at the rate of about two hundred feet, its average summer
advance, at the same point, will be at a rate of two hundred and fifty
feet, while its average rate of movement in winter will be about one
hundred and fifty feet. This can be accounted for only by the increased
pressure due to the large accession of water trickling in spring and
early summer into the interior through the net-work of capillary
fissures pervading the whole mass. The unusually large infiltration of
water at that season is owing to the melting of the winter snow. Careful
experiments made on the glacier of the Aar, respecting the water thus
accumulating on the surface, penetrating its mass, and finally
discharged in part at its lower extremity, fully confirm this view.
Here, then, is a powerful cause of pressure and consequent motion, quite
distinct from the permanent weight of the mass itself, since it operates
only at certain seasons of the year. In midwinter, when the infiltration
is reduced to a minimum, the motion is least. The water thus introduced
into the glacier acts, as we have seen above, in various ways: by its
weight, by loosening the particles of snow through which it trickles,
and by freezing and consequent expansion, at least within the limits and
during the season at which the temperature of the glacier sinks below
32° Fahrenheit. The simple fact, that in the spring the glacier swells
on an average to about five feet more than its usual level, shows how
important this infiltration must be. I can therefore only wonder that
other glacialists have given so little weight to this fact. It is
admitted by all, that the waste of a glacier at its surface, in
consequence of evaporation and melting, amounts to about nine or ten
feet in a year. At this rate of diminution, a glacier, even one thousand
feet in thickness, could not advance during a single century without
being exhausted. The water supplied by infiltration no doubt repairs the
loss to a great degree. Indeed, the lower part of the glacier must be
chiefly maintained from this source, since the annual increase from the
fresh accumulations of snow is felt only above the snow-line, below
which the yearly snow melts away and disappears. In a complete theory
of the glaciers, the effect of so great an accession of plastic material
cannot be overlooked.

I now come to some points in the structure of the glacier, the
consideration of which is likely to have a decided influence in settling
the conflicting views respecting their motion. The experiments of
Faraday concerning regelation, and the application of the facts made
known by the great English physicist to the theory of the glaciers, as
first presented by Dr. Tyndall in his admirable work, show that
fragments of ice with most surfaces are readily reunited under pressure
into a solid mass. It follows from these experiments, that glacier-ice,
at a temperature of 32° Fahrenheit, may change its form and preserve its
continuity during its motion, in virtue of the pressure to which it is
subjected. The statement is, that, when two pieces of ice with moistened
surfaces are placed in contact, they become cemented together by the
freezing of a film of water between them, while, when the ice is below
32° Fahrenheit, and therefore _dry_, no effect of the kind can be
produced. The freezing was also found to take place under water; and the
result was the same, even when the water into which the ice was plunged
was as hot as the hand can bear.

The fact that ice becomes cemented under these circumstances is fully
established, and my own experiments have confirmed it to the fullest
extent. I question, however, the statement, that regelation takes place
_by the freezing of a film of water between the fragments_. I never have
been able to detect any indication of the presence of such a film, and
am, therefore, inclined to consider this result as akin to what takes
place when fragments of moist clay or marl are pressed together and thus
reunited. When examining beds of clay and marl, or even of compact
limestone, especially in large mountain-masses, I have frequently
observed that the rock presents a net-work of minute fissures pervading
the whole, without producing a distinct solution of continuity, though
generally determining the lines according to which it breaks under
sudden shocks. The net-work of capillary fissures pervading the glacier
may fairly be compared to these rents in hard rocks,--with this
difference, however, that in ice they are more permeable to water than
in stone.

How this net-work of capillary fissures is formed has not been
ascertained by direct observation. Following, however, the
transformation of the snow and _névé_ into compact ice, it is easily
conceived that the porous mass of snow, as it falls in the upper regions
of the Alps, and in the broad caldrons in which the glaciers properly
originate, cannot pass into solid ice, by the process described in a
former article, without retaining within itself larger or smaller
quantities of air. This air is finally surrounded from all sides by the
cementation of the granules of _névé_, through the freezing of the water
that penetrates it. So inclosed, the bubbles of air are subject to the
same compression as the ice itself, and become more flattened in
proportion as the snow has been more fully transformed into compact ice.
As long as the transformation of snow into ice is not complete, a rise
of its temperature to 32° Fahrenheit, accompanied with thawing, reduces
it at once again to the condition of loose grains of _névé_; but when
more compact, it always presents the aspect of a mass composed of
angular fragments, wedged and dove-tailed together, and separated by
capillary fissures, the flattened air-bubbles trending in the same
direction in each fragment, but varying in their trend from one fragment
to another. There is, moreover, this important point to notice,--that,
the older the _névé_, the larger are its composing granules; and where
_névé_ passes into porous ice, small angular fragments are mixed with
rounded _névé_-granules, the angular fragments appearing larger and more
numerous, and the _névé_-granules fewer, in proportion as the _névé_-ice
has undergone most completely its transformation into compact
glacier-ice. These facts show conclusively that the dimensions and form
of the _névé_-granules, the size and shape of the angular fragments, the
porosity of the ice, the arrangement of its capillary fissures, and the
distribution and compression of the air-bubbles it contains, are all
connected features, mutually dependent. Whether the transformation of
snow into ice be the result of pressure only, or, as I believe, quite as
much the result of successive thawings and freezings, these structural
features can equally be produced, and exhibit these relations to one
another. It may be, moreover, that, when the glacier is at a temperature
below 32°, its motion produces extensive fissuration throughout the

Now that water pervades this net-work of fissures in the glacier to a
depth not yet ascertained, my experiments upon the glacier of the Aar
have abundantly proved; and that the fissures themselves exist at a
depth of two hundred and fifty feet I also know, from actual
observation. All this can, of course, take place, even if the internal
temperature of the glacier never should fall below 32° Fahrenheit; and
it has actually been assumed that the temperature within the glacier
does not fall below this point, and that, therefore, no phenomena,
dependent upon a greater degree of cold, can take place beyond a very
superficial depth, to which the cold outside may be supposed to
penetrate. I have, however, observed facts which seem to me
irreconcilable with this assumption. In the first place, a
thermometrograph indicating -2° Centigrade, (about 28° Fahrenheit,) at a
depth of a little over two metres, that is, about six feet and a half,
has been recovered from the interior of the glacier of the Aar, while
all my attempts to thaw out other instruments placed in the ice at a
greater depth utterly failed, owing to the circumstance, that, after
being left for some time in the glacier, they were invariably frozen up
in newly formed water-ice, entirely different in its structure from the
surrounding glacier-ice. This freezing could not have taken place, did
the mass of the glacier never fall below 32° Fahrenheit. And this is not
the only evidence of hard frost in the interior of the glaciers. The
innumerable large walls of water-ice, which may be seen intersecting
their mass in every direction and to any depth thus far reached, show
that water freezes in their interior. It cannot be objected, that this
is merely the result of pressure; since the thin fluid seams, exhibited
under pressure in the interesting experiments of Dr. Tyndall, and
described in his work under the head of Crystallization and Internal
Liquefaction, cannot be compared to the large, irregular masses of
water-ice found in the interior of the glacier, to which I here allude.

In the absence of direct thermometric observations, from which the
lowest internal temperature of the glacier could be determined with
precision in all its parts, we are certainly justified in assuming that
every particle of water-ice found in the glacier, the formation of which
cannot be ascribed to the mere fact of pressure, is due to the influence
of a temperature inferior to 32° Fahrenheit at the time of its
consolidation. The fact that the temperature in winter has been proved
by actual experimentation to fall as low as 28° Fahrenheit, that is,
four degrees below the freezing-point at a depth of six feet below a
thick covering of snow, though not absolutely conclusive as to the
temperature at a greater depth, is certainly very significant.

Under these circumstances, it is not out of place to consider through
what channels the low temperature of the air surrounding the glacier may
penetrate into the interior. The heavy cold air may of course sink from
the surface into every large open space, such as the crevasses, large
fissures, and _moulins_ or mill like holes to be described in a future
article; it may also penetrate with the currents which ingulf themselves
under the glacier, or it may enter through its terminal vault, or
through the lateral openings between the walls of the valley and the
ice. Indeed, if all the spaces in the mass of the glacier, not occupied
by continuous ice, could be graphically represented, I believe it would
be seen that cold air surrounds the glacier-ice itself in every
direction, so that probably no masses of a greater thickness than that
already known to be permeable to cold at the surface would escape this
contact with the external temperature. If this be the case, it is
evident that water may freeze in any part of the glacier.

To substantiate this position, which, if sustained, would prove that the
dilatation of the mass of the glacier is an essential element of its
motion, I may allude to several other well-known facts. The loose snow
of the upper regions is gradually transformed into compact ice. The
experiments of Dr. Tyndall prove that this may be the result of
pressure; but in the region of the _névé_ it is evidently owing to the
transformation of the snow-flakes into ice by repeated melting and
freezing, for it takes place in the uppermost layers of the snow, where
pressure can have no such effect, as well as in its deeper beds. I take
it for granted, also, that no one, familiar with the presence of the
numerous ice-seams parallel to the layers of snow in these upper regions
of the glacier, can doubt that they, as well as the _névé_, are the
result of frost. But be this as it may, the difference between the
porous ice of the upper region of the glacier and the compact blue ice
of its lower track seems to me evidence direct that at times the whole
mass must assume the rigidity imparted to it by a temperature inferior
to the freezing-point. We know that at 32° Fahrenheit, regelation
renders the mass continuous, and that it becomes brittle only at a
temperature below this. In other words, the ice can break up into a mass
of disconnected fragments, such as the capillary fissures and the
infiltration-experiments described in my "Système Glaciaire," show to
exist, only when it is below 32° Fahrenheit. If it be contended that ice
at 32° does break, and that therefore the whole mass of the glacier may
break at that temperature, setting aside the contradiction to the facts
of regelation which such an assumption involves, I would refer to Dr.
Tyndall's experiments concerning the vacuous spots in the ice.


Those who have read his startling investigations will remember that by
sending a beam of sunlight through ice he brought to view the primitive
crystalline forms to which it owes its solidity, and that he insisted
that these star-shaped figures are always in the plane of
crystallization. Without knowing what might be their origin, I had
myself noticed these figures, and represented them in a diagram, part of
which is reproduced in the annexed wood-cut. I had considered them to be
compressed air-bubbles; and though I cannot, under my present
circumstances, repeat the experiment of Dr. Tyndall upon glacier-ice, I
conceive that the star-shaped figures represented upon Pl. VII. figs. 8
and 9, in my "Système Glaciaire," may refer to the same phenomenon as
that observed by him in pond-ice. Yet while I make this concession, I
still maintain, that besides these crystalline figures there exist
compressed air-bubbles in the angular fragments of the glacier-ice, as
shown in the above wood-cut; and that these bubbles are grouped in sets,
trending in the same direction in one and the same fragment, and
diverging under various angles in the different fragments. I have
explained this fact concerning the position of the compressed
air-bubbles, by assuming that ice, under various pressure, may take the
appearance it presents in each fragment with every compressed air-bubble
trending in the same direction, while their divergence in the different
fragments is owing to a change in the respective position of the
fragments resulting from the movement of the whole glacier. I have
further assumed, that throughout the glacier the change of the snow and
porous ice into compact ice is the result of successive freezing,
alternating with melting, or at least with the resumption of a
temperature of 32° Fahrenheit in consequence of the infiltration of
liquid water, to which the effects of pressure must be added, the
importance of which in this connection no one could have anticipated
prior to the experiments of Dr. Tyndall. Of course, if the interior
temperature of the glacier never falls below 32°, the changes here
alluded to could not take place. But if the _vacuous spaces_ observed by
Dr. Tyndall are really identical with the spaces I have described as
_extremely flattened air-bubbles_, I think the arrangement of these
spaces as above described proves that it freezes in the interior of the
glacier to the depth at which these crosswise fragments have been
observed: that is, at a depth of two hundred feet. For, since the
experiments of Dr. Tyndall show that the vacuous spaces are parallel to
the surface of crystallization, and as no crystallization of water can
take place unless the surrounding temperature fall below 32°, it follows
that these vacuous spaces could not exist in such large continuous
fragments, presenting throughout the fragments the same trend, if there
had been no frost within the mass, affecting the whole of such a
fragment while it remained in the same position.

The most striking evidence, in my opinion, that at times the whole mass
of the glacier actually freezes, is drawn from the fact, already alluded
to, that, while the surface of the glacier loses annually from nine to
ten feet of its thickness by evaporation and melting, it swells, on the
other hand, in the spring, to the amount of about five feet. Such a
dilatation can hardly be the result of pressure and the packing of the
snow and ice, since the difference in the bulk of the ice brought down,
during one year, from a point above to that under observation, would not
account for the swelling. It is more readily explained by the freezing
of the water of infiltration during spring and early summer, when the
infiltration is most copious and the winter cold has been accumulating
for the longest time. This view of the case is sustained by Élie de
Beaumont, who states his opinion upon this point as follows:--

"Pendant l'hiver, la température de la surface du glacier s'abaisse à un
grand nombre de degrés au-dessous de zéro, et cette basse température
pénètre, quoique avec un affaiblissement graduel, dans l'interieur de la
masse. Le glacier se fendille par l'effet de la contraction résultant de
ce refroidissement. Les fentes restent d'abord vides, et concourent an
refroidissement des glaciers en favorisant l'introduction de l'air froid
extérieur; mais an printemps, lorsque les rayons du soleil échaffent la
surface de la neige qui couvre le glacier, ils la remènent d'abord à
zéro, et ils produisent ensuite de l'eau à zéro qui tombe dans le
glacier refroidi et fendillé. Cette eau s'y congèle à l'instant, en
laissant dégager de la chaleur qui tend à ramener le glacier à zéro; et
la phénomène se continue jusqu'à ce que la masse entière du glacier
refroidi soit ramené à la température de zéro."[H]

But where direct observations are still so scanty, and the
interpretations of the facts so conflicting, it is the part of wisdom to
be circumspect in forming opinions. This much, however, I believe to be
already settled: that any theory which ascribes the very complicated
phenomena of the glacier to one cause must be defective and one-sided.
It seems to me most probable, that, while pressure has the larger share
in producing the onward movement of the glacier, as well as in the
transformation of the snow into ice, a careful analysis of all the facts
will show that this pressure is owing partly to the weight of the mass
itself, partly to the pushing on of the accumulated snow from behind,
partly to its sliding along the surface upon which it rests, partly to
the weight of water pervading the whole, partly to the softening of the
rigid ice by the infiltration of water, and partly, also, to the
dilatation of the mass, requiting from the freezing of this water. These
causes, of course, modify the ice itself, while they contribute to the
motion. Further investigations are required to ascertain in what
proportion these different influences contribute to the general result,
and at what time and under what circumstances they modify most directly
the motion of the glacier.

That a glacier cannot be altogether compared to a river, although there
is an unmistakable analogy between the flow of the one and the onward
movement of the other, seems to me plain,--since the river, by the
combination of its tributaries, goes on increasing in bulk in
consequence of the incompressibility of water, while a glacier gradually
thins out in consequence of the packing of its mass, however large and
numerous may be its accessions. The analogy fails also in one important
point, that of the acceleration of speed with the steepness of the
slope. The motion of the glacier bears no such direct relation to the
inclination of its bed. And though in a glacier, as in a river, the axis
of swiftest motion is thrown alternately on one or the other side of the
valley, according to its shape and slope, the very nature of ice makes
it impossible that eddies should be formed in the glacier, and the
impressive feature of whirlpools is altogether wanting in them. What
have been called glacier-cascades bear only a remote resemblance to
river-cascades, as in the former the surface only is thrown into
confusion by breaking, without affecting the primitive structure;[I] and
I reiterate my formerly expressed opinion that even the stratification
of the upper regions is still recognizable at the lower end of the
glacier of the Rhone.

The internal structure of the glacier has already led me beyond the
limits I had proposed to myself in the present article. But I trust my
readers will not be discouraged by this dry discussion of various
theories concerning it, and will meet me again on the glacier, when we
will examine together some of its more picturesque features, its
crevasses, its rivulets and cascades, its moraines, its boulders, etc.,
and endeavor also to track its ancient course and boundaries in earlier
geological times.

       *       *       *       *       *


    This is my attic-room. Sit down, my friend;
      My swallow's-nest is high and hard to gain;
    The stairs are long and steep, but at the end
              The rest repays the pain.

    For here are peace and freedom; room for speech
      Or silence, as may suit a changeful mood;--
    Society's hard by-laws do not reach
              This lofty altitude.

    You hapless dwellers in the lower rooms
      See only bricks and sand and windowed walls;
    But here, above the dust and smoky glooms,
              Heaven's light unhindered falls.

    So early in the street the shadows creep,
      Your night begins while yet my eyes behold
    The purpling hills, the wide horizon's sweep,
              Flooded with sunset gold.

    The day comes earlier here. At morn I see
      Along the roofs the eldest sunbeam peep,--
    I live in daylight, limitless and free,
              While you are lost in sleep.

    I catch the rustle of the maple-leaves,
      I see their breathing branches rise and fall,
    And hear, from their high perch along the eaves,
              The bright-necked pigeons call.

    Far from the parlors with their garrulous crowds
      I dwell alone, with little need of words;
    I have mute friendships with the stars and clouds,
              And love-trysts with the birds.

    So all who walk steep ways, in grief and night,
      Where every step is full of toil and pain,
    May see, when they have gained the sharpest height,
              It has not been in vain:

    Since they have left behind the noise and heat,--
      And, though their eyes drop tears, their sight is clear;
    The air is purer, and the breeze is sweet,
              And the blue heaven more near.

       *       *       *       *       *


The preface of "Outre-Mer," Longfellow's first book, is dated 1833. The
last poem in his last volume is published in 1863. In those thirty years
what wide renown, what literary achievement, what love of friends in
many lands, what abounding success and triumph, what profound sorrow,
mark the poet's career! The young scholar, returning from that European
tour which to the imaginative and educated American is the great
romance, sits down in Bowdoin College in Maine, where he is Professor,
and writes the "Epistle Dedicatory" to the "worthy and gentle reader."
Those two phrases tell the tale. The instinct of genius and literary
power stirring in the heart of the young man naturally takes the quaint,
dainty expression of an experience fed, thus far, only upon good old
books and his own imagination. The frolicking tone of mock humility,
deprecating the intrusion upon the time of a busy world, does not
conceal the conviction that the welcome so airily asked by the tyro will
at last be commanded by the master.

Like the "Sketch-Book" of the other most popular of our authors, Irving,
the "Outre-Mer" of Longfellow is a series of tales, reveries,
descriptions, reminiscences, and character-pieces, suggested by European
travel. But his beat lies in France, Spain, and Italy. It is the romance
of the Continent, and not that of England, which inspires him. It is the
ruddy light upon the vines and the scraps of old _chansons_ which
enliven and decorate his pilgrimage, and through all his literary life
they have not lost their fascination. While Irving sketches "Rural Life
in England," Longfellow paints "The Village of Auteuil"; Irving gives us
"The Boar's Head Tavern," and Longfellow "The Golden Lion Inn" at Rouen;
Irving draws "A Royal Poet," Longfellow discusses "The Trouvères," or
"The Devotional Poetry of Spain." It is delightful to trace the charming
resemblance between the books and the writers, widely different as they
are. There is the same geniality, the same tender pathos, the same
lambent humor, the same delicate observation of details, the same
overpowering instinct of literary art. But Geoffrey Crayon is a
humorist, while the Pilgrim beyond the Sea is a poet. The one looks at
the broad aspects of English life with the shrewd, twinkling eye of a
man of the world; the other haunts the valley of the Loire, the German
street, the Spanish inn, with the kindling fancy of the scholar and
poet. The moral and emotional elements are quite wanting in Irving; they
are characteristic of Longfellow. But the sweetness of soul, the freedom
from cynicism or stinging satire, which is most unusual in American, or
in any humorous or descriptive literature, is remarkable in both. "I
have no wife, nor children, good or bad, to provide for," begins
Geoffrey Crayon, quoting from old Burton. But neither had he an enemy
against whom to defend himself. It was true of Geoffrey Crayon, down to
the soft autumn day on which he died, leaving a people to mourn for him.
It is true of the Pilgrim of Outre-Mer, in all the thirty years since
first he launched forth "into the uncertain current of public favor."

In this earliest book of Longfellow's the notable points are not power
of invention, or vigorous creation, or profound thought, but a
mellowness of observation, instinctively selecting the picturesque and
characteristic details, a copious and rich scholarship, and that
indefinable grace of the imagination which announces genius. The work,
like the "Sketch-Book," was originally issued in parts, and it was
hardly possible for any observer thirty years ago not to see that its
peculiar character revealed a new strain in our literature. Longfellow's
poems as yet were very few, printed in literary journals, and not yet
signalizing his genius. It was the day when Percival Halleck, Sprague,
Dana, Willis, Bryant, were the undisputed lords of the American
Parnassus. But the school reading-books already contained "An April Day"
and "Woods in Winter," and all the verses of the young author had a
recognition in volumes of elegant extracts and commonplace-books. But
the universal popularity of Longfellow was not established until the
publication of "Hyperion" in 1839, followed by "The Voices of the Night"
in the next year. With these two works his name arose to the highest
popularity, both in America and England; and no living author has been
more perpetually reproduced in all forms and with every decoration.

If now we care to explain the eager and affectionate welcome which
always hails his writings, it is easy to see to what general quality
that greeting must be ascribed. As with Walter Scott, or Victor Hugo, or
Béranger, or Dickens, or Addison in the "Spectator," or Washington
Irving, it is a genial humanity. It is a quality, in all these
instances, independent of literary art and of genius, but which is made
known to others, and therefore becomes possible to be recognized, only
through literary forms. The creative imagination, the airy fancy, the
exquisite grace, harmony, and simplicity, the rhetorical brilliancy, the
incisive force, all the intellectual powers and charms of style with
which that feeling may be expressed, are informed and vitalized by the
sympathy itself. But whether a man who writes verses has
genius,--whether he be a poet according to arbitrary canons,--whether
some of his lines resemble the lines of other writers,--and whether he
be original, are questions which may be answered in every way of every
poet in history. Who is a poet but he whom the heart of man permanently
accepts as a singer of its own hopes, emotions, and thoughts? And what
is poetry but that song? If words have a uniform meaning, it is useless
to declare that Pope cannot be a poet, if Lord Byron is, or that Moore
is counterfeit, if Wordsworth be genuine. For the art of poetry is like
all other arts. The casket that Cellini worked is not less genuine and
excellent than the dome of Michel Angelo. Is nobody but Shakspeare a
poet? Is there no music but Beethoven's? Is there no mountain-peak but
Dhawalaghiri? no cataract but Niagara?

Thirty years ago almost every critic in England exploded with laughter
over the poetry of Tennyson. Yet his poetry has exactly the same
characteristics now that it had then; and Tennyson has gone up to his
place among English poets. It is not "Blackwood," nor any quarterly
review or monthly magazine, (except, of course, the "North American" and
the "Atlantic,") which can decree or deny fame. While the critics are
busily proving that an author is a plagiarist or a pretender, the world
is crowning him,--as the first ocean-steamer from England brought Dr.
Lardner's essay to prove that steamers could not cross the ocean.
Literary criticism, indeed, is a lost art, if it ever were an art. For
there are no permanent acknowledged canons of literary excellence; and
if there were any, there are none who can apply them. What critic shall
decide if the song of a new singer be poetry, or the bard himself a
poet? Consequently, modern criticism wisely contents itself with
pointing out errors of fact or of inference, or the difference between
the critic's and the author's philosophic or æsthetic view, and bitterly
assaults or foolishly praises him. When Horace Binney Wallace, one of
the most accomplished and subtile-minded of our writers, says of General
Morris that he is "a great poet," and that "he who can understand Mr.
Emerson may value Mr. Bancroft," we can feel only the more profoundly
persuaded that fame is not the judgment of individuals, but of the mass
of men, and that he whose song men love to hear is a poet.

But while the magnetism of Longfellow's touch lies in the broad humanity
of his sympathy, which leads him neither to mysticism nor cynicism, and
which commends his poetry to the universal heart, his artistic sense is
so exquisite that each of his poems is a valuable literary study. In
this he has now reached a perfection quite unrivalled among living
poets, except sometimes by Tennyson. His literary career has been
contemporary with the sensational school, but he has been entirely
untainted by it, and in the present volume, "Tales of a Wayside Inn,"
his style has a tranquil lucidity which recalls Chaucer. The literary
style of an intellectually introverted age or author will always be
somewhat obscure, however gorgeous; but Longfellow's mind takes a
simple, child-like hold of life, and his style never betrays the
inadequate effort to describe thoughts or emotions that are but vaguely
perceived, which is the characteristic of the best sensational writing.
Indeed, there is little poetry by the eminent contemporary masters which
is so ripe and racy as his. He does not make rhetoric stand for passion,
nor vagueness for profundity; nor, on the other hand, is he such a
voluntary and malicious "Bohemian" as to conceive that either in life or
letters a man is released from the plain rules of morality. Indeed, he
used to be accused of preaching in his poetry by gentle critics who held
that Elysium was to be found in an oyster-cellar, and that intemperance
was the royal prerogative of genius.

His literary scholarship, also, his delightful familiarity with the pure
literature of all languages and times, must rank Longfellow among the
learned poets. Yet he wears this various knowledge like a shining suit
of chain-mail, to adorn and strengthen his gait, like Milton, instead of
tripping and clumsily stumbling in it, as Ben Jonson sometimes did. He
whips out an exquisitely pointed allusion that flashes like a Damascus
rapier and strikes nimbly home, or he recounts some weird tradition, or
enriches his line with some gorgeous illustration from hidden stores, or
merely unrolls, as Milton loved to do, the vast perspective of romantic
association by recounting in measured order names which themselves make
music in the mind,--names not musical only, but fragrant:--

    "Sabean odors from the spicy shore
    Of Araby the blest."

In the prelude to the "Wayside Inn," with how consummate a skill the
poet graces his modern line with the shadowy charm of ancient verse, by
the mere mention of the names!

    "The chronicles of Charlemagne,
    Of Merlin and the Mort d'Arthure,
    Mingled together in his brain
    With talcs of Flores and Blanchefleur,
    Sir Launcelot, Sir Morgadour,
    Sir Guy, Sir Bevis, Sir Gawain."

A most felicitous illustration of this trait is in "The Evening Star,"
an earlier poem. Chrysaor, in the old mythology, sprang from the blood
of Medusa, armed with a golden sword, and married Callirrhoë, one of the
Oceanides. The poet, looking at evening upon the sea, muses upon the
long-drawn, quivering reflection of the evening star, and sings. How the
verses oscillate like the swaying calm of the sea, while the image
inevitably floats into the scholar's imagination:--

    "Just above yon sandy bar,
    As the day grows fainter and dimmer,
    Lonely and lovely a single star
    Lights the air with a dusky glimmer.

    "Into the ocean faint and far
    Falls the trail of its golden splendor,
    And the gleam of that single star
    Is ever refulgent, soft, and tender.

    "Chrysaor rising out of the sea
    Showed tints glorious and thus emulous,
    Leaving the arms of Callirrhoë,
    Forever tender, soft, and tremulous.

    "Thus o'er the ocean faint and far
    Trailed the gleam of his falchion brightly:
    Is it a god, or is it a star,
    That, entranced, I gaze on nightly?"

The blending of the poetical faculty and scholarly taste is seen, also,
in his translations; and would not a translation of Dante's great poem
be the crowning work of Longfellow's literary life?

But while we chat along the road, and pause to repeat these simple and
musical poems, each so elegant, so finished, as the monk finished his
ivory crucifix, or the lapidary his choicest gem, we have reached the
Wayside Inn. It is the title of Longfellow's new volume, "Tales of a
Wayside Inn." They are New-England "Canterbury Tales." Those of old
London town were told at the Tabard at Southwark; these at the Red Horse
in Sudbury town. And although it is but the form of the poem, peculiar
neither to Chaucer nor to Longfellow, which recalls the earlier work,
yet they have a further likeness in the sources of some of the tales,
and in the limpid blitheness of the style and the pure objectivity of
the poems.

The melodious, picturesque simplicity of the opening, in which the place
and the persons are introduced, is inexpressibly graceful and

    "One autumn night in Sudbury town,
    Across the meadows bare and brown,
    The windows of the wayside inn
    Gleamed red with fire-light through the leaves
    Of woodbine hanging from the eaves,
    Their crimson curtains rent and thin.
    As ancient is this hostelry
    As any in the land may be,
    Built in the old colonial day,
    When men lived in a grander way,
    With ampler hospitality:
    A kind of old Hobgoblin Hall,
    Now somewhat fallen to decay,
    With weather-stains upon the wall,
    And stairways worn, and crazy doors,
    And creaking and uneven floors,
    And chimneys huge, and tiled, and tall."

The autumn wind moans without, and dashes in gusts against the windows;
but there is a pleasant murmur from the parlor, with the music of a
violin. In this comfortable tavern-parlor, ruddy with the fire-light, a
rapt musician stands erect before the chimney and bends his ear to his

    "And seemed to listen, till he caught
    Confessions of its secret thought,"

--a figure and a picture, as he is afterward painted,--

    "Fair-haired, blue-eyed, his aspect blithe,
    His figure tall and straight and lithe,"--

which recall the Norwegian magician, Ole Bull. He plays to the listening
group of friends. Of these there is the landlord,--a youth of quiet
ways, "a student of old books and days,"--a young Sicilian,--"a Spanish
Jew from Alieant,"--

    "A theologian, from the school
    Of Cambridge on the Charles,"--

then a poet, whose portrait, exquisitely sketched and meant for quite
another, will yet be prized by the reader, as the spectator prizes, in
the Uffizi at Florence, the portraits of the painters by themselves:--

    "A poet, too, was there, whose verse
    Was tender, musical, and terse:
    The inspiration, the delight,
    The gleam, the glory, the swift flight
    Of thoughts so sudden that they seem
    The revelations of a dream,
    All these were his: but with them came
    No envy of another's fame;
    He did not find his sleep less sweet
    For music in some neighboring street,
    Nor rustling hear in every breeze
    The laurels of Miltiades.
    Honor and blessings on his head
    While living, good report when dead,
    Who, not too eager for renown,
    Accepts, but does not clutch, the crown."

The musician completes the group.

When he stops playing, they call upon the landlord for his tale, which
he, "although a bashful man," begins. It is "Paul Revere's Ride,"
already known to many readers as a ballad of the famous incident in the
Revolution which has, in American hearts, immortalized a name which this
war has but the more closely endeared to them. It is one of the most
stirring, ringing, and graphic ballads in the language,--a proper
pendant to Browning's "How they brought the good news from Ghent to

The poet, listening with eager delight, seizes the sword of the
landlord's ancestor which was drawn at Concord fight, and tells him that
his grandfather was a grander shape than any old Sir William,

    "Clinking about in foreign lands,
    With iron gauntlets on his hands,
    And on his head an iron pot."

All laughed but the landlord,--

    "For those who had been longest dead
    Were always greatest in his eyes."

Did honest and dull "Conservatism" have ever a happier description? But
lest the immortal foes of Conservatism and Progress should come to
loggerheads in the conversation, the student opens his lips and breathes
Italy upon the New-England autumn night. He tells the tale of "The
Falcon of Sir Federigo," from the "Decameron." It is an exquisite poem.
So charming is the manner, that the "Decameron," so rendered into
English, would acquire a new renown, and the public of to-day would
understand the fame of Boccaccio.

But the theologian hears with other ears, and declares that the old
Italian tales

    "Are either trifling, dull, or lewd."

The student will not argue. He says only,--

    "Nor were it grateful to forget
    That from these reservoirs and tanks
    Even imperial Shakespeare drew
    His Moor of Venice and the Jew,
    And Romeo and Juliet,
    And many a famous comedy."

After a longer pause, the Spanish Jew from Alieant begins "a story in
the Talmud old," "The Legend of Rabbi Ben Levi." This is followed after
the interlude by the Sicilian's tale, "King Robert of Sicily," a noble
legend of the Church, whose moral is humility. It is told in a broad,
stately measure, and with consummate simplicity and skill. The attention
is not distracted for a moment from the story, which monks might tell in
the still cloisters of a Sicilian convent, and every American child hear
with interest and delight.

    "And then the blue-eyed Norseman told.
    A Saga of the days of old."

It is the Saga of King Olaf, and is much the longest tale in the volume,
recounting the effort to plant Christianity in Norway by the sword of
the King. In every variety of measure, heroic, elegiac, lyrical, the
wild old Scandinavian tradition is told. Even readers who may be at
first repelled by legends almost beyond modern human sympathy cannot
escape the most musical persuasion of the poem which wafts them along
those icy seas.

    "And King Olaf heard the cry,
    Saw the red light in the sky,
    Laid his hand upon his sword,
    As he leaned upon the railing,
    And his ships went sailing, sailing
    Northward into Drontheim fiord.

           *       *       *       *       *

    "Trained for either camp or court,
    Skilful in each manly sport,
    Young and beautiful and tall;
    Art of warfare, craft of chases,
    Swimming, stating, snow-shoe races,
    Excellent alike at all."

There is no continuous thread of story in the Saga, but each fragment of
the whole is complete in itself, a separate poem. The traditions are
fierce and wild. The waves dash in them, the winds moan and shriek.
There are evanescent glimpses of green meadows, and a swift gleam of
summer; but the cold salt sea and winter close round all. The tides rise
and fall; they eddy in the sand; they float off and afar the huge
dragon-ships. But the queens pine for revenge and slaughter; the kings
drink and swear and fight, and sail away to their doom.

    "Louder the war-horses growl and snarl,
    Sharper the dragons bite and sting!
    Eric the son of Hakon Yarl
    A death-drink salt as the sea
      Pledges to thee,
    Olaf the King!"

Whoever has heard Ole Bull play, or Jenny Lind sing, the weird minor
melodies of the North, will comprehend the kind of spell which these
legends weave around the mind. Nor is their character lost in the
skilful and symmetrical rendering of Longfellow. The reader has not the
feeling, as in Sir William Jones's translations, that he is reading Sir
William, and not the Persian.

    "'What was that?' said Olaf, standing
      On the quarter-deck;
    Something heard I like the stranding
      Of a shattered wreck.'
    Einar, then, the arrow taking
      From the loosened string,
    Answered, 'That was Norway breaking
      From thy hand, O King!'"

But the battle which Thor had defied was not to end by the weapons of
war. In the fierce sea-fight,

    "There is told a wonderful tale,
    How the King stripped off his mail,
    Like leaves of the brown sea-kale,
      As he swam beneath the main;

    "But the young grew old and gray,
    And never by night or day
    In his kingdom of Norroway
      Was King Olaf seen again."

The victory must be won by other weapons. In the convent of Drontheim,
Astrid, the abbess, hears a voice in the darkness:--

    "Cross against corslet,
    Love against hatred.
    Peace-cry for war-cry!"

The voice continues in peaceful music, forecasting heavenly rest:--

    "As torrents in summer,
    Half dried in their channels,
    Suddenly rise, though the
    Sky is still cloudless,
    For rain has been falling
    Far off at their fountains;

    "So hearts that are fainting
    Grow full to o'erflowing,
    And they that behold it
    Marvel, and know not
    That God at their fountains
    Far off has been raining."

With this exquisitely beautiful strain of the abbess the Saga ends.

The theologian muses aloud upon creeds and churches, then tells a
fearful tragedy of Spain,--the story of a father who betrays his
daughter to the fires of Torquemada. It chills the heart to think that
such unspeakable ruin of a human soul was ever wrought by any system
that even professed to be Christian. Moloch was truly divine, compared
with the God of the Spanish Inquisition. But the gloom of the tragedy is
not allowed to linger. The poet scatters it by the story of the merry
"Birds of Killingworth," which appears elsewhere in the pages of this
number of the "Atlantic." The blithe beauty of the verses is
captivating, and the argument of the shy preceptor is the most poetic
plea that ever wooed a world to justice. What an airy felicity in the

    "'Tis always morning somewhere, and above
    The awakening continents from shore to shore
    Somewhere the birds are singing evermore."

And so, amid sunshine and the carolling of birds, the legendary rural
romance of the Yankee shore, we turn the page, and find, with real
sorrow, that the last tale is told in the Wayside Inn. The finale is
brief. The guests arose and said good night. The drowsy squire remains
to rake the embers of the fire. The scattered lamps gleam a moment at
the windows. The Red Horse inn seems, in the misty night, the sinking
constellation of the Bear,--and then,

    "Far off the village-clock struck one."

So ends this ripe and mellow work, leaving the reader like one who
listens still for pleasant music i' the air which sounds no more. Those
who will may compare it with the rippling strangeness of "Hiawatha," the
mournfully rolling cadence of "Evangeline," the mediæval romance of "The
Golden Legend." For ourselves, its beauty does not clash with theirs.
The simple old form of the group of guests telling stories, the thread
of so many precious rosaries, has a new charm from this poem. The Tabard
inn is gone; but who, henceforth, will ride through Sudbury town without
seeing the purple light shining around the Red Horse tavern?

The volume closes with a few poems, classed as "Birds of Passage." It is
the "second flight,"--the first being those at the end of the "Miles
Standish" volume. Some of these have a pathos and interest which all
will perceive, but the depth and tenderness of which not all can know.
"The Children's Hour" is a strain of parental love, which haunts the
memory with its melody, its sportive, affectionate, and yearning lay.

    "They almost devour me with kisses,
      Their arms about me entwine,
    Till I think of the Bishop of Bingen
      In his mouse-tower on the Rhine.

    "Do you think, O blue-eyed banditti,
      Because you have scaled the wall,
    Such an old moustache as I am
      Is not a match for you all?"

Here, too, is the grand ballad of "The Cumberland," and the delicate
fancy of "The Snow-Flakes," expressing what every sensitive observer has
so often felt,--that the dull leaden trouble of the winter sky finds the
relief in snow that the suffering human heart finds in expression. Then
there is "A Day of June," an outburst of the fulness of life and love in
the beautiful sunny weather of blossoms on the earth and soft clouds in
the sky.

    "O life and love! O happy throng
    Of thoughts, whose only speech is song!
    O heart of man! canst thou not be
    Blithe as the air is, and as free?"

To this poem the date is added, June, 1860.

And here, at length, is the last poem. We pause as we reach it, and turn
back to the first page of "Outre-Mer." "'Lystenyth, ye godely gentylmen,
and all that ben hereyn!' I am a pilgrim benighted on my way, and crave
a shelter till the storm is over, and a seat by the fireside in this
honorable company. As a stranger I claim this courtesy at your hands,
and will repay your hospitable welcome with tales of the countries I
have passed through in my pilgrimage." It is the gay confidence of
youth. It is the bright prelude of the happy traveller and scholar, to
whom the very quaint conceits and antiquated language of romance are
themselves romantic, and who makes himself a bard and troubadour. Hope
allures him; ambition spurs him; conscious power assures him. His eager
step dances along the ground. His words are an outburst of youth and
joy. Thirty years pass by. What sober step pauses at the Wayside Inn? Is
this the jocund Pilgrim of Outre-Mer? The harp is still in his strong
hand. It sounds yet with the old tenderness and grace and sweetness. But
this is the man, not the boy. This is the doubtful tyro no longer, but
the wise master, honored and beloved. To how many hearts has his song
brought peace! How like a benediction in all our homes his music falls!
Ah! not more surely, when the stretched string of the full-tuned harp
snaps in the silence, the cords of every neighboring instrument respond,
than the hearts which love the singer and his song thrill with the
heart-break of this last poem:--

    "O little feet, that such long years
    Must wander on through doubts and fears,
      Must ache and bleed beneath your load!
    I, nearer to the wayside inn
    Where toil shall cease and rest begin,
      Am weary, thinking of your road."

       *       *       *       *       *



MY DEAR ANDREW,--You can hardly have forgotten that our last
conversation on the national questions of the day had an abrupt, if not
angry, termination. I very much fear that we both lost temper, and that
our discussion degenerated into a species of political sparring. You
will certainly agree with me that the great issues now agitating the
country are too grave to be treated in the flippant style of bar-room
debate. When the stake for which we are contending with immense armies
in the field and powerful navies on the ocean is nothing less than the
existence of our Union and the life of our nation, it ill becomes
intelligent and thoughtful men to descend to personal abuse, or to be
blinded for one moment by prejudice or passion to the cardinal principle
on which the whole controversy turns.

In view of these considerations, therefore, as our previous discussions
have left some vital questions untouched, and as our past experience
seems to have proved that we cannot, with mutual profit, compare our
opinions upon these subjects orally, I have decided to embody my
sentiments on the general points of difference between us in the form of
a letter. Knowing my personal regard for you, I am sure that you will
not believe me guilty of intentional discourtesy in anything I may say,
while you certainly will not be surprised, if I occasionally express
myself with a degree of warmth which finds its full justification in the
urgent importance of the questions to be considered.

I have not the vanity to believe that anything I can say on subjects
that have so long engrossed the attention of thoughtful Americans will
have the charm of novelty. And yet, in view of the unwelcome fact, that
there exists to some extent a decided difference at the North about
questions in regard to which it is essential that there should be a
community of feeling, it certainly can do no harm to make an attempt,
however feeble, to enlist in the cause of constitutional liberty and
good government at least one man who may have been led astray by a too
zealous obedience to the dictates of his party. As the success of our
republican institutions must depend on the morality and intelligence of
the citizens composing the nation, no honest appeal to that morality and
that intelligence can be productive of serious evil.

Permit me, then, at the outset, to remind you of what, from first to
last, has formed the key-note of all your opposition to the war-policy
of the Administration. You say that you have no heart in this struggle,
because Abolitionists have caused the war,--always adding, that
Abolitionists may carry it on, if they please: at any rate, they shall
have no support, direct or indirect, from you. I have carefully
considered all the arguments which you have employed to convince me that
the solemn responsibility of involving the nation in this sanguinary
conflict rests upon Abolitionists, and these arguments seem to me to be
summed up in the following proposition: Before Abolitionists began to
disseminate their dangerous doctrines, we had no war; therefore
Abolitionists caused the war. I might, perhaps, disarm you with your own
weapons, by saying that before Slavery existed in this country we had no
Abolitionists; but I prefer to meet your argument in another manner.

Not to spend time in considering any aspect of the question about which
we do not substantially differ, let us at once ascertain how far we can
agree. I presume you will not deny that this nation is, and since the
twelfth of April, 1861, has been, in a state of civil war; that the
actively contending parties are the North and the South; and that on the
part of the South the war was commenced and is still waged in the
interest of Slavery. We should probably differ _toto coelo_ as to the
causes which led to the conflict; but, my excellent Andrew, I think
there are certain facts which after more than two years' hard fighting
may be considered fairly established. Whatever may be your own
conclusions, as you read our recent history in the light of your ancient
and I had almost said absurd prejudices, I believe that the vast
majority of thinking men at the North have made up their minds that a
deliberate conspiracy to overturn this government has existed in the
South for at least a quarter of a century; that the proofs of such a
conspiracy have been daily growing more and move palpable, until any
additional evidence has become simply cumulative; that the election of
Abraham Lincoln was not the cause, but only marked the culmination of
the treason, and furnished the shallow pretext for its first overt acts.
That you are not prepared to admit all this is, I am forced to believe,
mainly because you dislike the conclusions which must inevitably follow
from such an admission. I say this, because, passing over for the
present the undoubted fact, that this nation would have elected a
Democratic President in 1860 but for the division of the Democratic
party, and the further fact, equally indisputable, that Southern
politicians wilfully created this division, I think you will hardly
venture to deny that even after the election of Abraham Lincoln the
South controlled the Supreme Court, the Senate, and the House of
Representatives. And to come down to a still later period, you can have
no treasonable doubt that the passage of the Corwin Amendment disarmed
the South of any cause for hostilities, based on the danger of
Congressional interference with Slavery wherever existing by force of
State laws. There remains, then, only one conceivable excuse for the
aggressive policy of the South, and that is found in the alleged
apprehension that the slaves would be incited to open rebellion against
their masters. But, I ask, can any intelligent and fair-minded man
believe, to-day, that slaveholders were forced into this war by the fear
that the anti-slavery sentiment of the North would lead to a general
slave-insurrection? Nine-tenths of the able-bodied Southern population
have been in arms for more than two years, far away from their
plantations, and unable to render any assistance to the old men, women,
and children remaining at home. The President's Emancipation
Proclamation was made public nearly a year ago, and subsequent
circumstances have conspired to give it a very wide circulation through
the South. And yet there has not been a single slave-insurrection of any
magnitude, and not one that has not been speedily suppressed and
promptly punished. This fact would seem to be a tolerably conclusive
answer to all apologies for the wicked authors of this Rebellion, drawn
from their alarm for their own safety and the safety of their families.
But the persistent Peace Democrat has infinite resources at command in
defence of the conduct of his Southern allies.

    "Destroy his web of sophistry in vain,
    The creature's at his dirty work again."

We are now told that the obedient and unresisting submission of the
slaves proves that they are satisfied with their condition, and have no
desire to be free. And we are asked to admit, therefore, that Slavery is
not a curse, but an absolute blessing, to those whom it affects most
nearly! Or we are pointed to the multitude of slaves daily seeking the
protection of the United States flag, and are informed that slaveholders
are contending for the right to retain their property. As if the
Fugitive-Slave Law--of which Mr. Douglas said, in one of his latest
speeches, that not one of the Federal statutes had ever been more
implicitly obeyed--did not afford the South most ample protection, so
long as it remained in the Union!

Another grievance of which you bitterly complain, another count in the
long indictment which you have drawn up against the Administration, is
what you denominate its anti-slavery policy. You disapprove of the
Emancipation Proclamation, you denounce the employment of armed negroes;
and therefore you have no stomach for the fight.

But has not the President published to the world that the Proclamation
was a measure of military necessity? and has he not also said that its
constitutionality is to be decided and the extent and duration of its
privileges and penalties are to be defined by the Supreme Court of the
United States? If, as you are accustomed to assert, the Proclamation is
a dead letter, it certainly need not give you very serious discomfort.
If it exercises a powerful influence in crippling the energies of the
South, it surely is not among Northern men that we should look for its
opponents. As to its future efficacy and binding force, shall we not do
well to leave this question, and all similar and at present purely
speculative inquiries, till that time--which may Heaven hasten!--when
this war shall terminate in the restoration of the Union and the
acknowledged supremacy of the Constitution?

And now a word about that formidable bugbear, the enlistment of negro
soldiers. For my own part, I candidly confess that I am utterly unable
to comprehend your unmeasured abuse of this expedient. If slaves are
chattels, I can conceive of no good reason why we may not confiscate
them as Rebel property, useful to the Rebels in their armed resistance
to Federal authority, precisely as we appropriate their corn and cattle.
And when once confiscated, why should they not be employed in whatever
manner will make them most serviceable to us? But you insist that they
shall not be armed. You might with equal show of reason contend that the
mules which we have taken from the Rebels may be rightfully used in
ambulances, but must not be used in ammunition-wagons.

But if slaves are not chattels, they are human beings, with brains and
muscles,--brains at least intelligent enough to comprehend the stake
they have in this controversy, and muscles strong enough to do good
service in the cause of constitutional liberty and republican
institutions. Is it wise to reject their offered assistance. Will not
our foes have good cause to despise our folly, if we leave in their
hands this most efficient element of their power? You have friends and
relatives fighting in the Union armies. If you give the subject a
moment's reflection, you must see that all slaves labouring on the
plantations of their masters not only are feeding the traitors who are
doing their utmost to destroy our country, but by relieving thousands
upon thousands of Southern men from the necessity of remaining at home
and cultivating the soil, are, to all practical purposes, as directly
imperilling the lives of our Union soldiers as if these same slaves with
sword or musket were serving in the Rebel ranks. And again, while you
object to the enlistment of negroes, you are unwilling that any member
of your family should leave your household and expose himself to the
many hazards of war. Now is it not too plain for argument, that every
negro who is enrolled in our army prevents, by just that unit, the
necessity of sending one Northern soldier into the field?

But will the slaves consent to enlist? Let the thousands who have forced
their way to Union camps,

    "Over hill, over dale,
      Thorough bush, thorough brier,
    Over park, over pale,
     Thorough flood, thorough fire,"

tracked by blood-hounds, and by their inhuman oppressors more savage
than blood-hounds, answer the insulting inquiry. Are they brave? Will
they fight for the cause which they have dared so many dangers to
espouse? I point you to the bloody records of Vicksburg, Million's
Bend, Port Hudson, and Fort Wagner; I appeal to the testimony of every
Union officer under whom black soldiers have fought, as the most fitting
reply to such questions. Shame on the miserable sneer, that we are
spending the money and shedding the blood of white men to fight the
battles of the negro! Blush for your own unmanly and ungenerous
prejudices, and ask yourself whether future history will not pronounce
the black man, morally, not only your equal, but your superior, when it
is found recorded, that, denied the rights of citizenship, long
proscribed, persecuted, and enslaved, he was yet willing, and even
eager, to save the life of your brother on the battle-field, and to
preserve you in the peaceable enjoyment of your property at home. Is the
efficient aid of such men to be rejected? Is their noble self-sacrifice
to be slighted? Shall we, under the contemptible pretext, that this war
must be waged--if waged at all--for the benefit of the white race,
deprive negroes of an opportunity to risk their lives to maintain a
government which has never protected them, and a Constitution which has
been practically interpreted in such a manner as to recognize and
sanction their servitude? Do not, I implore you, answer these inquiries
by that easy, but infamous taunt, so constantly on the lips of
unscrupulous politicians in your party,--"Here comes the inevitable
nigger again!" It is precisely because the awful and too long unavenged
sufferings of the slave must be inevitable, while Slavery exists, that
these questions must sooner or later be asked and answered, and that
your political upholding of such a system becomes a monstrous crime
against humanity.

After all, my dear Andrew, why are you so sensitive on the subject of
Slavery? You certainly can have no personal interest in the peculiar and
patriarchal institution. You are too skilful a financier ever to have
invested a single dollar in that fugacious wealth which so often takes
to its legs and runs away. Nor does your unwillingness to listen to any
expression of anti-slavery sentiment arise from affection for or real
sympathy with Slavery, on moral grounds. Indeed, I have more than once
been exceedingly refreshed in spirit at observing the sincere and hearty
contempt with which you have treated what is blasphemously called the
Biblical argument in favor of human bondage. The pleading precedent of
Abraham has not seduced you, nor has the happy lot of the more modern
Onesimus quieted all your conscientious scruples. You have never failed,
in private conversation, to condemn the advocates of Slavery on whatever
grounds they have rested its defence, nor have you ever ceased to
deplore its existence in our country.

At the same time I must admit that you have invariably resisted all
attempts to apply any practical check or remedy to the great and growing
evil, stoutly maintaining that it was a local institution, and that we
of the North had no right to meddle with it. I am well aware that you
have stigmatized every effort to awaken public attention to its nature
and tendency, or to point out methods, more or less available, of
abolishing the system, as unconstitutional, incendiary, and quixotic. I
concede that your indignation has always been in the abstract, and your
zeal eminently conservative. Yet, as a moral man, with a New-England
training, and a general disposition to indorse those principles which
have made New England what she is, you will not deny, that, in a
harmless and inoffensive way, you have been anti-slavery in your

But, once more, my friend, have you any reason to be attached to Slavery
on political grounds? You have always been an earnest and uncompromising
Democrat. You have always professed to believe in the omnipotence of
political conventions and the sacred obligation of political platforms.
You have never failed to repudiate any effort to influence party action
by moral considerations. Indeed, I have sometimes thought that you must
have selected as your model that sturdy old Democratic deacon in New
Hampshire, who said that "politics was one thing, and religion was
another." You have never hesitated to support any candidate, or to
uphold any measure, dictated by the wisdom or the wickedness of your
party. Although you must have observed, that, with occasional and
infrequent eddies of opinion, the current of its political progress has
been steadily carrying the Northern Democracy farther and farther away
from the example and the doctrines of Jefferson, you have surrendered
yourself to the evil influence without a twinge of remorse or a sigh of
regret. You have submitted to the insolent demands of Southern
politicians with such prompt and easy acquiescence, that many of your
oldest friends have mourned over your lost manhood, and sadly abandoned
you to the worship of your ugly and obscene idol. A Northern man,
descended from the best Puritan stock, surrounded from childhood by
institutions really free, breathing the atmosphere of free thought,
enjoying the luxury of free speech, you have deliberately allied
yourself to a party which has owed its long-continued political
supremacy to the practical denial of these inestimable privileges. Yet,
on the whole, Andrew, what have you gained by it? Undoubtedly, the seed
thus sown in dishonor soon ripened into an abundant harvest of fat
offices and rapid promotions. But winter--the winter of your
discontent--has followed this harvest. Circumstances quite beyond your
control have utterly demolished the political combination which was once
your peculiar pride. You have lived to see the Dagon before which you
and your friends have for so many years cheerfully prostrated yourselves
fall to the ground, and lie a helpless, hopeless ruin on the very
threshold of the temple where it lately stood defiant and dominant.

Have you ever had the curiosity to investigate the causes of this
disaster? It is a curiosity which can be easily gratified. The
Democratic party was killed in cold blood by Southern traitors. There
never was a more causeless, malicious, or malignant murder. The fool in
the fable who gained an unenviable notoriety by killing the goose which
laid golden eggs, Balaam, who, but for angelic interposition, would have
slain his faithful ass, were praiseworthy in comparison. Well might any
one of the Northern victims of this cruel outrage have exclaimed, in the
language of Balaam's long-eared servant, "Am not I thine ass, upon which
thou hast ridden ever since I was thine unto to this day? was I ever
wont to do so unto thee?" And the modern, like the ancient Balaam, must
have answered, "Nay."

But, alas for Northern manhood, alas for human nature corrupted by long
possession of political power, after a short-lived, though, let us hope,
sincere outburst of indignation, followed by protests and remonstrances,
growing daily milder and more moderate, the Northern Democracy now begs
permission to return once more to its former servitude, and would gladly
peril the permanence of the Union, to hug again the fetters which it has
so patiently and so profitably worn.

Lay aside party prejudice, for one moment, my dear Andrew, and tell me
if the world ever saw a more humiliating spectacle. Slighted, spurned,
spit upon by their ancient allies, compelled to bear the odium of an
aggressive and offensive pro-slavery policy, tamely consenting to a
denial of the dearest human rights and the plainest principles of
natural justice, rewarded only by a share in the Federal offices, and
punished by the contempt of all who, at home or abroad, intelligently
and unselfishly studied the problem of our republican institutions, the
Northern Democracy found themselves, at the most critical period of our
national history, abandoned by the masters whom they had faithfully
served, and whom many were willing to follow to a depth of degradation
which could have no lower deep. And yet, when thus freed from their long
slavery by the voluntary act of their oppressors, we hear them to-day
clamoring for the privilege of wearing anew the accustomed yoke, and
feeling again the familiar lash! Are these white men, with Anglo-Saxon
blood in their veins, and the fair fame of this country in their
keeping? Why, if the most abject slave that ever toiled on a Southern
plantation, cast off by his master and compelled to claim the rights of
a freeman, should, of his own deliberate choice, elect to return to his
miserable vassalage, who would not pronounce him unfit to enjoy the
priceless boon of liberty? who would hesitate to say that natural
stupidity, or the acquired imbecility of long enslavement, had doomed
him to remain, to the day of his death, a hewer of wood and a drawer of

But, as if to render the humiliation of these Democratic leaders still
more fruitless and gratuitous, mark how their overtures are received by
their Southern brethren. Having sold their birthright, let us see what
prospect our Northern Esaus have of gaining their mess of pottage.
Perhaps no better illustration can be given of the state of feeling
among the chiefs of the Southern Rebellion than is found in a letter
from Colonel R.C. Hill to the Richmond "Sentinel," dated September 13th,
1863. It had been stated by a correspondent of the New York "Tribune,"
that, during a recent interview between General Custer (Union) and
Colonel Hill (Confederate), at Fredericksburg, Virginia, Colonel Hill
had assured General Custer that "there would soon be peace." After
giving an explicit and emphatic denial to this statement, Colonel Hill
(who, it would seem, commands the Forty-Eighth North-Carolina
Volunteers) closes by saying, "I am opposed to any terms short of a
submission of the Federals to such terms as we may dictate, which, in my
opinion, should be, Mason and Dixon's line a boundary; the exclusive
navigation of the Mississippi below Cairo; full indemnification for all
the negroes stolen and destroyed; and the restoration of Fortress
Monroe, Jefferson, Key West, and all other strongholds which may have
fallen into their possession during the war. If they are unwilling to
accede to these terms, I propose an indefinite continuance of the war
until the now existing fragment of the old Union breaks to pieces from
mere rottenness and want of cohesion, when we will step in, as the only
first-class power on the Western Hemisphere, and take possession of the
pieces as subjugated and conquered provinces."

To the same effect is a letter from Robert Toombs, who had been charged
with a leaning towards a reconstruction of the Union. A short extract
will suffice to show the spirit of the whole communication. "I can
conceive of no extremity to which my country can be reduced in which I
would, for a single moment, entertain any proposition for any union with
the North on any terms whatever. When all else is lost, I prefer to
unite with the thousands of our own countrymen who have found honorable
deaths, if not graves, on the battle-field." And the recently elected
Governor of Alabama puts to rest all doubts as to his desire for
Southern independence, by saying, "If I had the power, I would build up
a wall of fire between Yankeedom and the Confederate States, there to
burn for ages."

The tone and temper of these extracts--and similar quotations might be
made indefinitely--are exactly in keeping with everything that comes
from the pens or the lips of the leaders of this Rebellion. And even
those Southern statesmen who at the outset were opposed to Secession,
and have never ceased to deplore the fruitless civil war into which the
South has plunged the nation, are compelled to admit, with a
distinguished citizen of Georgia, that "the war, with all its afflictive
train of suffering, privation, and death, has served to eradicate all
idea of reconstruction, even with those who made it the basis of their
arguments in favor of disunion."

Rely upon it, this tone and temper will never be changed so long as the
Rebels have any considerable armed force in the field ready for
service. Unless we are willing to consent to a divided country, a
dissevered Union, and the recognition of a Southern Confederacy,--in a
word, unless we are prepared to acquiesce in all the demands of our
enemies, we have no alternative but a vigorous prosecution of the war.

Fernando Wood and his followers ask for an armistice. An armistice to
whom, and for what purpose? The Rebels, represented by their Government,
ask for no armistice, except upon their own terms, and what those terms
are we have already seen. It is idle to say that there are men at the
South who crave peace and a restoration of the Union. Assume the
statement to be true, and you have made no progress towards a
satisfactory result. Such men are powerless in the hands of the guiding
and governing minds of the conspiracy. The treason is of such magnitude,
its leaders so completely control the active forces of the whole
community, that the passive strength of Union sentiment cannot now be
taken into the account. It would be a farce too absurd to be gravely
considered, to treat with men who, whatever their disposition or numbers
may be, are utterly helpless, unable to make any promise which they can
fulfil, or to give any pledge which can bind any but themselves.

We must deal with an armed and powerful rebellion; and so long as it is
effectively armed, and powerful enough to hold in subjection the whole
Southern population, it is moral, if not legal, treason for a Northern
man to talk of peace. What avails it to talk of the blessings of peace
and the horrors of war? It is a fearful thing to take the life of a
human being; but we can easily conceive of circumstances when homicide
is not only justifiable, but highly commendable.

Permit me here to quote, as most pertinent to this view of the subject,
an extract from a speech of Mr. Pitt in 1797, defending his refusal to
offer terms of peace to the Directory of France. Alluding to some
remarks of Sir John Sinclair, in the House of Commons, deprecating war
as a great evil, and calling on ministers to propose an immediate peace,
Mr. Pitt says,--"He began with deploring the calamities of war, on the
general topic that all war is calamitous. Do I object to that sentiment?
No. But is it our business, at a moment when we feel that the
continuance of that war is owing to the animosity, the implacable
animosity, of our enemy, to the inveterate and insatiable ambition of
the present frantic government of France,--not of the _people_ of
France, as the honorable baronet unjustly stated,--is it our business,
at that moment, to content ourselves with merely lamenting, in
commonplace terms, the calamities of war, and forgetting that it is part
of the duty which, as representatives of the people, we owe to our
government and our country, to state that the continuance of those evils
upon ourselves, and upon France, too, is the fruit only of the conduct
of the enemy, that it is to be imputed to them and not to us?" Now does
not this correctly describe our position? We make no question about the
calamities of war; but how are these calamities to be avoided? This war
has been forced upon us, and we must wage it to the end, or submit to
the dismemberment of the Union, and acknowledge, in flat contradiction
of the letter and spirit of the Constitution, the right of Secession.
The true motto for the Government is precisely and preeminently the
motto of the State of Massachusetts, "_Ense petit placidam sub libertate
quietem_," which, freely, but faithfully, translated, means, "We must
conquer a just and abiding peace."

And now, my dear Andrew, I am curious to know what answer you will make
to the general views which I have advanced on these vital questions.
Will you say that I have misrepresented the record of the Northern
Democratic party? that I have charged them with a submission and
subserviency to the dictates of their Southern allies, which truthful
history will not confirm? You surely remember the uncontradicted
assertion of Mr. Hammond, Senator from South Carolina, made on the floor
of the Senate in 1856, at a time when fears were entertained by the
Democracy that Mr. Fremont might be elected:--"The South has now ruled
the country for sixty years." Do you believe that this rule could have
been maintained for so many years without the connivance and coöperation
of Northern Democrats? Will you venture to say that Texas could have
been annexed, the Fugitive-Slave Law passed, the Missouri Compromise
Bill repealed, without the consent and active assistance of Northern
Democrats? In fact, my friend, when, in our frequent conversations, you
have repeatedly charged Southern Democrats with ingratitude and want of
good faith, have you not intended to assert, that, having complied with
all the demands of the South, you looked upon their deliberate
destruction of the Democratic party as a wanton act of political

Do you deny that I have presented a truthful picture of the present
position of your party? Can there be any doubt about the issue now
offered to the North by Peace Democrats? I say _Peace_ Democrats,
because all War Democrats are acting heartily and zealously with the
Administration. Is not the policy which the Peace Democracy support in
their papers, platforms, and public addresses, an immediate cessation of
hostilities on the part of the North? And do they not select, as the
exponents of this policy, men who have, from the commencement of the
war, sympathized with the South, and denounced the military measures of
the Government as unjustifiable, oppressive, and iniquitous? Open any
newspaper of "Copperhead" complexion, and tell me, candidly, if you can
approve of the manner in which the all-engrossing questions of the day
are discussed.

You know, in advance, as well as I know, that you will find both open
and insidious attacks upon whatever feature of the war-policy of the
Administration chances at the moment to be uppermost in the public mind,
a liberal collection of incidents illustrating the horrors of war,
abundant abuse of army-contractors, appalling estimates of our probable
national debt, enthusiastic commendation of the skill of Southern
officers and the bravery of Southern soldiers, extravagant laudation of
some Federal commander who has disobeyed the orders of his superior and
conducted a campaign in such a manner as not to annoy or alarm the
enemy, eloquent denunciation of all attempts to fetter free speech or
limit the liberty of the press, indignant complaint that the rights of
the citizen are disregarded, an ostentatious parade of historical
parallels to prove that an earnest and united people fighting for
independence has never been subjugated, a bitter paragraph attributing
to Abolitionists all the evils of the existing controversy, the
inevitable sneer at negro soldiers in spite of the bloody baptism which
they have so heroically borne,--all this, but (mark the significant
circumstance!) not one word in condemnation of Southern treason, not a
single sentiment that can by possibility alienate old friends, or can
ever be quoted as evidence that the editor had dared to assert his
manhood. Is this loyalty to the Constitution and the Union? Is this the
allegiance which a citizen owes to his country? Away with the
mischievous sophistry, that the Government is not the country, and does
not represent the people! Can any sane man doubt that an Administration
legally chosen, and rightfully in power, and receiving the emphatic
indorsement of decisive majorities in Congress, does, during its
constitutional term of office, and while so supported, speak the mind
and embody the will of the nation? Is there any show of reason for
saying that such an Administration is an irresponsible despotism,
governing the country without the moral countenance of its citizens, and
in defiance of their declared sentiments?

But the views of Peace Democrats are not to be ascertained alone by
consulting the newspapers which are their acknowledged organs. Listen to
the speeches of their prominent leaders. I will not stop to call your
attention to their bold treason after a Union reverse, or their
non-committal platitudes after a Union victory. Let me rather ask you to
consider the prevailing tone of their public addresses. Remember,
meanwhile, that our Government is grappling with an active and resolute
enemy, whose avowed and persistent purpose is to divide the Union, and
by means unconstitutional and treasonable to erect on the ruins of our
once happy Republic an independent and necessarily hostile power. Bear
in mind that this enemy, with an intense and inflexible determination
which would be most commendable in a better cause, is summoning all its
strength to accomplish its wicked designs, and tell me if it does not
find among Peace Democrats most efficient allies and adherents.

Can you discover in the speeches of your political friends one sentence
that would give a future student of the history of this struggle a
correct idea of the principles for which we are contending? Would not
such a student, accepting these speeches as authentic, reasonably infer
that the Central Government, invested by a sad accident with supreme
power, was using its accidental authority for the sole and sinister
purpose of abridging the constitutional rights of the citizen, by
withholding the privilege of free speech, and preventing the expression
of popular sentiment at the polls? And yet, methinks, an intelligent
posterity will somewhat wonder how such speeches could be made with
impunity, and such candidates receive unchallenged votes, in the face of
such unscrupulous tyranny. In fact, was there ever so wicked a farce as
this "Copperhead" complaint about the denial of the right of free speech
and free votes, from the lips of men whose daily exemption from
punishment proves the falsity of their appeals to popular prejudice? Do
they not say what they please, and vote as they choose, without
molestation or hindrance? Why, a many-wived Mormon, surrounded by the
beauties of his harem, inveighing against the laws of the United States
which prohibit polygamy,--a Roman Catholic priest, openly and safely
carnivorous during Lent, denouncing that regulation of his church which
denies him the luxury of meat during the forty days immediately
preceding Easter,--a cannibal, with a tender morsel of young missionary
in his mouth, complaining that he cannot gratify his appetite for human
flesh,--these would be models of reason and common sense, compared with
the factious demagogues whose conduct we are considering.

In point of fact, their real unhappiness arises from their impunity.
They are gasping for a substantial grievance. Their highest ambition is
to become political martyrs. Now and then one of them, like
Vallandigham, deliberately transcends the bounds of a wise forbearance,
and receives from the Government a very mild rebuke. Straightway he is
placed on the bad eminence to which he has so long aspired. Already dead
to all feeling of patriotism, he is canonized for his crimes, with rites
and ceremonies appropriate to such a priesthood. And, unhappily, he
finds but too many followers weak enough or wicked enough to recognize
his saintship and accept his creed. To all true and loyal men, he
resembles rather the veiled prophet of Khorassan, concealing behind the
fair mask of a zealous regard for free speech and a free press the
hideous features of Secession and civil war, despising the dupes whom he
is leading to certain and swift destruction, and clinging fondly to the
hope of involving in a common ruin, not only the party which he
represents, but the country which he has dishonored.

That such political monsters are possible in the Free States, at such a
time as this, sufficiently demonstrates towards what an abyss of
degradation we were drifting when this war began. They are the
legitimate and necessary fruits of the numerous compromises by which
well-meaning men have sought to avert a crisis which could only be
postponed. The North has been diligently educated to connive at
injustice and wink at oppression for the sake of peace, until there was
good reason to fear that the public sense of right was blunted, and the
public conscience seared as with a hot iron. While the South kept always
clearly in view the single object on which it had staked everything, the
North was daily growing more and more absorbed in the accumulation of
wealth, and more and more callous to all considerations of humanity and
all claims of natural justice. The feeblest remonstrance against the
increasing insolence of Southern demands was rudely dismissed as
fanatical, and any attempt to awaken attention to the disloyal
sentiments of Southern politicians was believed to be fully met
and conclusively answered by the cry of "Abolitionist" and

It must be confessed that for a time these expedients were successful.
Like another Cassandra predicting the coming disasters of another Troy,
the statesman who foresaw and foretold the perils which threatened the
nation addressed a careless or contemptuous public. It was in vain to
say that the South was determined to rule or ruin the country, in vain
to point out the constantly recurring illustrations of the aggressive
spirit of Slavery, in vain to urge that every year of delay was but
adding to the difficulty of dealing with the gigantic evil. The merchant
feared a financial crisis, the repudiation of Southern debts and his own
consequent inability to maintain the social position which his easily
earned wealth had secured; the politician, who, at the great
auction-sales of Northern pride and principle held every four years, had
so often sought to outbid his rivals in baseness, that his party or
faction might win the Presidential prize, turned pale at the prospect of
losing Southern support; the divine could see no danger threatening his
country except from the alleged infidelity of a few leading radicals;
the timid citizen, with no fixed political opinions, was overawed by the
bluster of Southern bullies, shuddered at the sight of pistol and
dirk-knife, and only asked "to be let alone"; while the thoughtless
votary of fashion, readily accepting the lordly bearing and imperious
air of the planter as the highest evidence of genuine aristocracy,
reasoned, with the sort of logic which we should look for in such a
mind, that slaveholding was the normal condition of an American

I will not allude to the views entertained by those men whose ignorance
disqualified them from forming an intelligent opinion about our national
affairs, and whose votes were always at the service of the highest
bidders. You know perfectly well where they were sure to be found, and
they exercised no inconsiderable influence on our public policy from
year to year. Leaving this class out of the question, our peril arose
largely from the fact, that too many men, sensible on other subjects,
were fast settling into the conviction, that their wisest course was to
be conservative, and that to be conservative was to act with the party
which had longest held the reins of power. Their reasoning, practically,
but perhaps unconsciously, was this:--The object of a government is to
make a country prosperous and rich; this country has grown prosperous
and rich under the rule of the Democratic party; therefore why should we
not give it our support, and more especially as all sorts of dreadful
results are predicted, if the opposition party comes into power? Why
part with a present good, with the risk of incurring a future evil?
Above all things, let us discountenance the agitation of exciting
topics.--Profound philosophy! deserving to be compared with that of the
modern Cockney who does not want his after-dinner rest to be disturbed
by even a lively discussion. "I say, look here, why have row?
Excessively unpleasant to have row, when a fellow wants to be quiet! I
say, don't!"

In fact, this "conservatism" was only another and convenient name for a
most dangerous type of moral and political paralysis. Its immediate
effect was to discourage discussion, and to induce an alarming apathy as
to all the vital questions of the day among men whose abilities
qualified them to be of essential service to their country. Their
adhesion to the ranks of the Democratic party, while increasing the
average intelligence of that organisation, without improving its public
virtue or private morals, served simply to give it greater numerical
strength. It was still in the hands of unscrupulous leaders, who,
intoxicated with their previous triumphs, believed that the nation would
submit to any measure which they saw fit to recommend. And who shall say
that their confidence was unreasonable? Did not all their past
experience justify such confidence? When had any one of their schemes,
no matter how monstrous it might at first have appeared, ever failed of
final accomplishment? Had they not repeatedly tested the temper and
measured the _morale_ of the people? Had they not learned to anticipate
with absolute certainty the regular sequence of national emotions,--the
prompt recoil as from impending dishonor, the excited public meetings,
the indignant remonstrance embodied in eloquent resolutions, then the
sober, selfish second-thought, followed by the question, What if the
South should carry out its threats and dissolve the Union? then the
alarm of the mercantile and commercial interest, then a growing
indifference to the very features of the project which had caused the
early apprehension, and lastly the meek and cowardly acquiescence in the
enacted outrage? Would not these arch-conspirators North and South have
been wilfully blind, if they had not seen not only that the nation was
sinking in the scale of public virtue, but that it had acquired "a
strange alacrity in sinking"?

Meanwhile they had learned a lesson, the value and significance of which
they fully appreciated. He must have been an inattentive student of our
political history, who has not observed that the successful prosecution
of any political enterprise has too often dignified its author in the
eyes of the people, in spite of its intrinsic iniquity. The party
reaping the benefit of the measure has not withheld the expected reward,
and the originator and abettors of the accomplished wrong have found
that exalted official position covers a multitude of sins.

Wisely availing themselves of this national weakness, and most adroitly
using all the elements of political power with which long practice had
made them familiar, the leaders of the Democratic party had every reason
to believe that the duration of their political supremacy would be
coeval with the life of the Republic. In fact, the peril predicted more
than twenty years ago, by one of the purest and wisest men whom this
country has ever seen, with a sagacity which, in the light of subsequent
events, seems almost inspired, had wellnigh become an historical fact.
"The great danger to our institutions," said Dr. Channing, writing to a
friend in 1841, "is of a party organization so subtle and strong as to
make the Government the monopoly of a few leaders, and to insure the
transmission of the executive power from hand to hand almost as
regularly as in a monarchy."

But an overruling Providence, building better than we knew, had decreed
that the sway of this powerful party should be broken by means of the
very element of supposed strength on which it so confidently relied for
unlimited supremacy. Losing sight of those cardinal principles which the
far-reaching sagacity of Jefferson had enunciated, and faithfully
following which the Democracy had, during its early history, so
completely controlled the country, the modern leaders, intent only on
present success, had based all their political hopes on an intimate
alliance, offensive and defensive, with that institution which Jefferson
so eloquently denounced, and the existence of which awakened his most
lively fears for the future of his country. And what has been the
result of this ill-omened alliance? Precisely what might sooner or later
have been expected. Precisely what might have been predicted from the
attempt to unite the essentially incongruous ideas of Aristocracy and
Democracy. For the system of Slavery is confessedly the very essence of
an Aristocracy, while the genuine idea of a Democracy is the submission
of all to the expressed will of the majority. Take as one of the latest
illustrations of the irreconcilable difference between Aristocracy and
Democracy, the manner in which the South received the doctrine of
"Squatter Sovereignty." This doctrine, whatever its ultimate purpose
might have been, certainly embodied the idea of a democracy, pure and
simple, resting on the right of a people to enact their own laws and
adopt their own institutions. It was believed by many to be a movement
in the interest of Slavery, and on that ground met with fierce
opposition. Was it welcomed by slaveholders? Far from it. The Southern
Aristocracy, clear-sighted on every question affecting their peculiar
institution, applied their remorseless logic to the existing dilemma,
and promptly decided that to admit the correctness of the principle was
to endanger the existence of the system which was the corner-stone of
their faith. They looked beyond the result of the immediate election.
They foresaw the crisis which must ultimately arise. Indeed, they had
long appreciated the fact, that the "irrepressible conflict" in which we
are now involved was impending, and had been mustering all their forces
to meet the inevitable issue. The crisis came. But how? In an evil hour
for its own success, but a most-fortunate one for the welfare of the
Republic, Slavery, overestimating its inherent power, and underrating
the resources and virtue of the nation, committed the fatal error of
measuring its strength with a free North. From that moment it lost
forever all that it had ever gained by united action, by skilful
diplomacy, by dexterously playing upon the "fears of the wise and
follies of the brave," and by ingeniously masking its dark designs.

The new policy once inaugurated, however, the career of treason once
commenced, its authors can never recede. Their only safety lies in
complete success. They must conquer or die. They may in secret confess
to themselves that they have been guilty of a stupendous blunder, but
that they clearly comprehend and sternly accept their position is
abundantly evident. For, if anything is proved in the history of this
war, it is, that the chiefs in the Rebellion believe in no middle ground
between peace on their own terms and the utter annihilation of their
political power and military resources.

Thus, then, my dear Andrew, the insane ambition and wanton treachery of
the Southern wing of your party have delivered the North from the danger
of white slavery, and, by breaking up the Democratic party, have
delivered the nation from the despotism of an organization which had
become too powerful for its own good and for the best interests of the
country. Do you dare to complain of this deliverance? You ought rather
to go on your knees every day of your life, and devoutly thank the kind
Providence which gave you such an unexpected opportunity to escape from
so demoralizing a servitude.

Do not allow your attachment to party names and party associations to
warp your judgment or limit your patriotism. You need have no fear that
any one of the sound and beneficent ideas which the Democratic party has
ever impressed upon the mind of the nation will perish or be forgotten.
Whatever features of the organization, whatever principles which it has
labored to inculcate, are essential to the just development of our
intellectual activity or our material resources, will survive the
present struggle, perhaps to reappear in the creed and be promulgated by
the statesmen of some future party; or who shall say that the Democratic
party, freed from its corrupting associations, rejecting the leaders who
have been its worst enemies, and the political heresies which have
wrought its temporary ruin, may not again wield its former power, and
once more direct the destinies of the country?

But, returning to considerations of more immediate importance, what, I
ask, is the obvious duty of every true and loyal citizen in such a
crisis as this? You resent, as insulting, any imputation of disloyalty,
and therefore I have a right to infer that you are unwilling to be
ranked among the enemies of your country. But who are those enemies?
Clearly, those whose avowed intention or whose thinly disguised design
is, to divide the Union and to rend the Republic in twain. How are those
enemies to be overcome? Only by a hearty and earnest coöperation with
the measures devised by our legally constituted Government for the
suppression of the Rebellion. I can easily understand that you may not
be willing to give your cordial assent to all the measures and all the
appointments of the Administration. It is not the Administration which
you would have selected, or for which you voted. But, nevertheless, it
is our rightful government, and nothing else can save the nation from
absolute anarchy. Postpone, therefore, I beseech you, all merely
partisan prejudices, and remember only that the Union is in danger. You
are a Democrat. Adopt, then, during the continuance of this war, the
noble sentiments of a distinguished Western Democrat:[J]--"The whole
object of the Rebellion is to destroy the principle of Democracy. The
party which stands by the Government is the true Democracy. Every
soldier in the army is a true Democrat. Every man who lifts his head
above party trammels is a Democrat. And every man who permits old issues
to stand in the way of a vigorous prosecution of the war cannot, in my
opinion, have any claims on the party." By such men and such utterances
will the Democratic party secure the respect and admiration of mankind;
while those spurious Democrats, whose hearts are with the South while
their homes are in the North, whose voice is the voice of Jacob while
their hands are the hands of Esau, whose first slavish impulse is to
kiss the rod which smites them, and who long for nothing so much as the
triumph of their Southern masters, have earned, and will surely receive,
the contempt and detestation of all honest men, now and forever.

God forbid that I should suspect you of sympathizing with these
miscreants! But, my friend, there is still another class of Democrats
with whom I should exceedingly regret to see you associated. I mean
those who, without any love for Rebels or their cause, are yet so
fearful of being called Republicans that they refuse to support the
Government. Can you justify yourself in standing upon such a platform?
Is this a time in which to permit your old party animosities to render
you indifferent to the honor and welfare of the nation? Are you simply
in the position of a violent partisan out of office, eager to embarrass
the Administration, and keenly on the watch to discover how best to
inflame the prejudices of the populace against the Government? Is there
nothing more important just now than to devise means of reinstating your
party in power at the next Presidential election? Will it not be well
first to settle the question, whether, in the month of November, 1864,
we shall still be a free people, competent to elect the candidates of
any party? May you not be, nay, are you not sure to be, giving
substantial aid and comfort to the enemies of your country, while
seeking only to cripple the power of your political opponents? Are not
the dearest interests, and, indeed, the very life of the nation, of
necessity, so dependent upon a cordial and constant support of the
Government, that active hostility to its principal measures, or even
absolute neutrality, strengthens the hands and increases the confidence
of Rebels in arms?

Notwithstanding the notorious virulence of party feeling in this
country, it certainly would not seem to require a very large amount of
manly principle to rise superior to such a sordid sentiment in view of
our common peril. Patriotism, my friend, is an admirable and most
praiseworthy virtue. It is correctly classed among the noblest instincts
of human nature. It has in all ages been a fruitful theme of poetic
fervor; it has sustained the orator in his loftiest flights of
eloquence; it has nerved the arm of the warrior to perform deeds of
signal valor; it has transformed the timid matron and the shrinking
maiden into heroines whom history has delighted to honor. But when
patriotism is really synonymous with self-preservation, when small
sacrifices are demanded and overwhelming disasters are to be averted,
the love of country, although still highly commendable, does not,
perhaps, deserve very enthusiastic praise, while the want of it will be
sure to excite universal condemnation and scorn. I cannot believe that
you will consent to fasten upon yourself, and upon all who are dear to
you, the lasting stigma which will inevitably attach to the man who,
whether from a mean partisan jealousy or an ignoble indifference to the
honor of his country, has failed in an hour of sorest need to defend the
land which gave him birth, and the institutions which his fathers
suffered and sacrificed so much to establish.

Hoping that the vital importance of the subject which I have so
imperfectly considered will induce you to pardon the length of this
communication, I remain, as ever,

Very sincerely yours,

---- ----

       *       *       *       *       *


_The History of Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy._ By JOHN FOSTER
KIRK. Two Volumes. 8vo. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott and Co.

There is probably no period of European history which has been so
thoroughly explored and so richly illustrated as the sixteenth
century,--that century of great men, lofty ideas, and gigantic
enterprise, of intellectual activity, and of tremendous political and
religious struggles. The numerous scholars of Continental Europe who
have made this era the subject of their researches have generally been
content to dig that others might plant and reap, sending forth in
abundance the raw material of history to be woven into forms adapted to
popular appreciation. In England, also, but only within a very recent
period, much solid labor of the same kind has been performed. But the
Anglo-Saxon mind, on some sides comparatively deficient in plastic and
inventive power, as well as in that of abstract thought, seems to
possess in a peculiar degree the faculty of comprehending, representing,
and idealizing the varied phases and incessant motion of human life and
character. In science it excels less in the discovery than in the
application of laws. In what may be termed "pure art," music, sculpture,
painting, except where the representation of the Beautiful is
subservient to that of the Real, lyrical and idyllic poetry, and all
departments of literature in which fancy predominates over reason, it
must yield the palm to the genius of Italy, of Germany, of Spain. But in
the drama, in the novel, in history, and in works partaking more or less
of the character of these, its supremacy is established. Shakespeare and
Chaucer are at once the greatest and the most characteristic of English
poets; Hogarth and Wilkie, of English painters; Fielding, Scott, Miss
Austen, Thackeray, and others whose names will at once suggest
themselves, of English writers of fiction; Gibbon, Macaulay, and
Hallam, of English historians. The drama, in its highest forms, belongs
to the past, and that past which was at once too earnest in its spirit
and too narrow in its development to allow of a less vivid or a more
expansive delineation. Fiction, to judge from a multitude of recent
specimens, seems at present on the decline, with some threatenings of a
precipitate descent into the inane. History, on the other hand, is only
at the outset of its career. Its highest achievements are in all
probability reserved for a still distant future, when loftier points of
view shall have been attained, and the haze that now hangs over even the
nearest and most conspicuous objects in some measure dissipated. Its
endeavors hitherto have only shown how much is still to be
accomplished,--how little, indeed, comparatively speaking, it will ever
be possible to accomplish. Not the less, on this account, are the
laborers deserving of the honors bestowed upon them. Every fresh
contribution is a permanent gain. Even in the same field the results of
one exploration do not interfere with or supersede those of another.
Robertson has, in many respects, been surpassed, but he has not been
supplanted, by Prescott; Froude and Motley may traverse the same ground
without impairing our interest in the researches of either.

These four distinguished writers have all devoted their efforts to the
illustration of the period of which we have before spoken,--the grand
and fruitful sixteenth century. With the men and with the events of that
age we have thus become singularly familiar. We have been made
acquainted, not only with the deeds, but with the thoughts, of Charles
V., Philip II., Elizabeth Tudor, Cortés, Alva, Farnese, William the
Silent, and a host of other actors in some of the most striking scenes
of history. But we have also been tempted into forgetting that those
were not isolated scenes, that they belonged to a drama which had long
been in progress, and that the very energy they displayed, the power put
forth, the conquests won, were indicative of previous struggles and a
long accumulation of resources. Of what are called the Middle Ages the
general notion might, perhaps, be comprised in the statement that they
were ages of barbarism and ignorance, of picturesque customs and aimless
adventure. "I desire to know nothing of those who knew nothing," was the
saying, in reference to them, of the French _philosophe_. "Classical
antiquity is nearer to us than the intervening darkness," said Hazlitt.
And Hume and Robertson both consider that the interest of European
history begins with the revival of letters, the invention of printing,
the colonization of America, and the great contests between consolidated
monarchies and between antagonistic principles and creeds.

It must be admitted that the greater portion of mediæval history,
whatever its true character, is shrouded in an obscurity which it would
be difficult, if not impossible, to penetrate. But the same cannot be
said of the close of that period,--the transitional era that preceded
what we are accustomed to consider as the dawn of modern civilization.
For Continental Europe, at least, the fifteenth century is hardly less
susceptible of a thorough revelation than the sixteenth. The chroniclers
and memoir-writers are more communicative than those of the succeeding
age. The documentary evidence, if still deficient, is rapidly
accumulating. The conspicuous personages of the time are daily becoming
more palpable and familiar to us. Joan of Arc has glided from the
luminous haze of legend and romance into the clearer light of history.
Philippe de Comines has a higher fame than any eye-witness and narrator
of later events. Louis XI. discloses to posterity those features which
he would fain have concealed from his contemporaries. And confronting
Louis stands another figure, not less prominent in their own day, not
less striking when viewed from our day,--that of Charles the Bold, of

The career of this latter prince has generally been regarded as merely a
romantic episode in European history. Scott has painted it in vivid
colors in two of his most brilliant fictions,--"Quentin Durward," and
"Anne of Geierstein." But, perhaps from this very notion in regard to
its lack of historical importance, the reality has never been depicted
in fulness or with detail, except in M. de Barante's elegant
_rifacimento_ of the French chroniclers of the fifteenth century. That
the subject was, however, one of a very different character has been
apparent to the scholars in France, Belgium, Germany, and Switzerland,
who during the last twenty years have made it a special object of their
researches. A stronger light has been thrown upon every part of it, and
an entirely new light upon many portions. Charles has assumed his
rightful position, as the "Napoleon of the Middle Ages," whose ambition
and whose fall exercised, a powerful influence on the destinies of the
principal European states.

But the labors through which this has been accomplished are as yet
unknown to the general mass of readers. The results lie scattered in
quarters difficult of access, and in forms that repel rather than
attract the glance. Chronicles written in tough French and tougher
German have been published in provincial towns, and have scarcely found
their way beyond those localities. Various learned societies and
commissions have edited documents which would be nearly unintelligible
without a wide comparison and complete elucidation. Single, isolated
points have been treated and discussed by those who took for granted a
familiarity on the part of the reader with the general facts of the
case. To combine this mass of evidence, to sift and establish it, and to
weave it into a symmetrical narrative, is the aim of the work before us.
The idea was conceived while the author was engaged in assisting the
late Mr. Prescott in cognate branches of study. That great and generous
writer entered heartily into the project, and made use of the ample
facilities which he is well known to have possessed for the collection
of the necessary materials. The correspondence which he opened for this
purpose led to the belief that he had himself undertaken the task; and
great satisfaction was expressed by the eminent Belgian archivist, M.
Gachard, that a pen which had already given so much delight and
instruction to the world was about to be engaged on so attractive a
theme. But Prescott was not more ardent in the prosecution of his own
inquiries than in furthering those of others; and he displayed in this,
as in many like instances, the same noble spirit which, since his death,
has been so gracefully acknowledged by Mr. Motley.

Of the manner in which the work is executed it would be, perhaps,
premature to speak. We have no hesitation, however, in assigning to Mr.
Kirk's most fascinating narrative a place with the great achievements of
genius in the department he has chosen to fill. His advent among the
historians will be welcomed the world over. A glance at the copy placed
in our hands has enabled us to indicate its nature. The two volumes
about to appear bring the story down to the crisis of Charles's fate,
the moment when he became involved in a war with the Swiss. A third
volume, now in course of preparation, will complete the eventful tale.

We think it not unlikely that to the American reader the first half of
the history will seem, at the present time, to possess a peculiar
interest. For this part of the work contains the last great struggle
between the French crown and the feudal princes,--a struggle involving
the question whether France was to form one nation or to be divided into
a number of petty states. Such a struggle is now going on in our own
country. The question we are debating is whether the nation is to be
disintegrated or consolidated. The theory of "State sovereignty" is
nothing more than the old theory of feudal independence. "I love France
so well," said Charles of Burgundy, "that I would fain see it ruled over
by six kings instead of one." "I love the republic founded by our
fathers so well," says Jefferson Davis, "that I would fain see it split
up into several hostile confederacies." When we see that France, under
the direction of a Louis XI., came out of that struggle triumphant, we
shall not despair of our own future, trusting rather to the guidance of
that Providence which is working out its own great designs than to
instruments little cognizant of its plans and too often unconscious of
its influence.

_Good Thoughts in Bad Times, and Other Papers._ By THOMAS FULLER, D.D.
Boston: Ticknor & Fields.

There certainly never was a greater piece of publishing felicity, in its
seasonableness, than this entire reprint. The "Thoughts" are as good,
for whatever is bad or trying in our times, as they were hundreds of
years ago; so that one might almost suspect the title of the book for an
invention, and consider many a passage in it to be new matter,
only--after the fashion of some who, in essay or story, try to
reproduce the ancients--skilfully put in the manner of the old
preacher. To all who would have religious comfort in the distractions of
present events we especially recommend this incomparable divine's truly
devout and thoughtful pages. None of our authors have succeeded so well
in providing for our own wants. The sea of our political agitations
might become smooth under the well-beaten oil which he pours out. The
divisions made by the sword to-day would heal with the use of his
prescriptions. Human nature never grows old; and America, in her Civil
War, is the former England over again now.

Sticklers for a style of conventional dignity and smooth decorum may
think to despatch Fuller's claims by denominating him a quaint writer.
This would be what is vulgarly called a snap-judgment indeed. His
quaintness never runs into superficial conceit, but embodies always a
deep and comprehensive wisdom. He insinuates truth with a friendly
indirectness, and banters us out of our folly with a foreign instance.
Plutarch or Montaigne is not more happy in historical parallels, for
personal reflection and sober application to actual duty. Never was
fancy more alert in the service of piety. His imagination is as luminous
as Sir Thomas Browne's, and, if less peculiar and original in its
combinations, rises into identity with more child-like and lofty
worship. Ever ready to fall on his knees, there is in his adoration no
touch of cant, or of that _other-worldliness_ which Coleridge complains
of as interfering with the pressing affairs and obligations of the
present. No pen ever drew a firmer boundary between sentiment and
sentimentality. But never was shrewd knowledge of this world so humane,
keen observation so kind, wit so tender, and humor so sanctified, united
with resolution by all means to teach and save mankind so invariably

While so much of our religious literature is a weak appeal to shallow
feeling and a gross affront to reason, it is refreshing to meet with an
author who helps us to obey the great precept of the Master, and put
_mind_ and _strength_, as well as heart and soul, into our love of God.
Indeed, this precious treatise, or assemblage of little treatises, so
rational without form of logic, so convenient to be read for a moment or
all day long, and so harmonious in its diverse headings, should be
everywhere circulated as a larger sort of religious tract. We hear of
exhortations impressed in letters on little loaves for the soldiers to
eat. We wish every military man or civilian, intelligent enough for the
relish, could have Fuller's sentences to feed on, as, beyond all
rhetoric, bread of life.

So let a welcome go to the old worthy, our hearts' brother, as he seems
to rise out of his two-centuries' grave. At a time when Satan appears
again to have been let loose for a season, and we know the power of
evil, described in the Apocalypse, in the fearful headway made by the
rebellious conspiracy of his servants, carried to such a point of
success, that statesmen, and scholars, and preachers, even of so-called
liberal views, on the farther shore, bow to it the knee, while the
frowning cannon at every point shows how remote the Millennium still
is,--thanks for the counsels, fit to our need, of a writer still fresh,
while the main host of his contemporaries are long since obsolete, with
dead volumes for their tombs. How many precious quotations from his
leaves we might make, but that we prefer to invite a perusal of the

We add to our criticism no drawbacks, as we like to give to transcendent
merit unstinted praise, and have really no exceptions in mind, could we
presume in such a case to express any. Looking on the features of
Fuller's portrait, which makes the frontispiece of his work as here
reproduced for us, we note a weight of prudence strangely blending with
a buoyancy of prayer, well corresponding to the inseparable sagacity and
ecstasy of his words, teaching us the consistency of immortal aspiration
with an infallible good-sense,--a lesson never more important to be
learned than now. To be an executive mystic, an energetic saint, is the
very ideal of human excellence; and to go forward in the name of the
Divinity is the meaning of the book we have here passed in review.

_Speeches, Lectures, and Letters._ By WENDELL PHILLIPS. Boston: James

In vigor, in point, in command of language and felicity of phrase, in
affluence and aptness of illustration, in barbed keenness and _cling_
of sarcasm, in terror of invective, in moral weight and momentum, in
copiousness and quality of thought, in aggressive boldness of statement,
finally in equality to all audiences and readiness for all occasions,
Wendell Phillips is certainly the first orator in America,--and that we
esteem much the same as saying that he is first among those whose
vernacular is the English tongue. That no speeches are made of equal
_value_ with his, that he has an intellectual superiority to all
competitors in the forum, we do not assert; but his preeminence in pure
oratorical genius may now be considered as established and
unquestionable. Ajax has the strength, perhaps more than the strength,
of Achilles; but Achilles adds to vigor of arm incomparable swiftness of
foot. The mastiff is stout, brave, trusty, intelligent, but the hound
outruns him; and this greyhound of modern oratory, deep-chested,
light-limbed, supple, elastic, elegant, powerful, must be accredited
with his own special superiorities. Or taking a cue from the tales of
chivalry, we might say that he is the Sir Launcelot of the platform, in
all but Sir Launcelot's sin; and woe to the knight against whom in full
career he levels his lance!

And yet one is half ashamed to praise his gifts, so superbly does he
himself cast those gifts behind him. He is not trying to be eloquent: he
is trying to get a grand piece of justice done in the world. No engineer
building a bridge, no ship-master in a storm at sea, was ever more
simply intent on substantive results. It is not any "Oration for the
Crown" that he stands here pronouncing: it is service, not distinction,
at which he aims, and he will be crowned only in the gladness of a
redeemed race. The story of his life is a tale of romance; he makes real
the legends of chivalry. He might have sat at meat with Arthur and the
knights of the Round Table, and looked with equal unabashed eyes into
theirs; and a thousand years hence, some skeptic, reading the history of
these days, will smile a light disdain, and say, "Very well for fiction;
but _real_ men are selfish beings, and serve themselves always to the
sweetest and biggest loaf they can find."

We praise his gifts and his nobility, not always his opinions. He was
once the apostle of a doctrine of disunion; he fervently believes in
enforcing "total abstinence" by statute; he is the strenuous advocate of
woman-suffrage. We have stood by the Union always; we have some faith in
pure wine, notwithstanding the Maine Law; and believing that women have
a right to vote, we believe also that they have a higher right to be
excused from voting. We are unwilling to consume their delicate
fitnesses in this rude labor. It is not economical. We do not believe in
using silk for ships' top-sails, or China porcelain for wash-tubs. There
are tasks for American women--tasks, we mean, of a social and public,
not alone of a domestic nature--which only women _can_ rightly perform,
while their accomplishment was never more needed than here.

Mr. Phillips is no "faultless painter." He is given to snap-judgments.
The minor element of _considerateness_ should be more liberally present.
He forgets that fast driving is not suitable to crowded streets; and
through the densest thoroughfares the hoofs of his flying charger go
ringing over the pavements, to the alarm of many and the damage of some.
Softly, Bucephalus! A little gentle ambling through these social
complications might sometimes be well.

Again, while he has the utmost of moral stability and constancy, and
also great firmness of intellectual adhesion to main principles, there
is in him a certain minor changefulness. He pours out a powerful light,
but it flickers. Momentary partialities sway him,--to be balanced,
indeed, by subsequent partialities, for his broad nature will not be
permanently one-sided; but meantime his authority suffers. Mood,
occasion, the latest event, govern overmuch the color of his statement;
so that an unsympathetic auditor--and every partiality, by the law of
the world, must push _some one_ out of the ring of sympathy--may
honestly deem him unfair, even wilfully unfair.

Finally, he relies too much upon sarcasm and personal invective as
agents. He has a theory on this matter; and we feel _sure_ that it is
erroneous. Not that invective is to be forbidden. Not that personal
criticism is always out of place, or always useless. We are among the
"all men" whom Thoreau declared to be "enamored of the beauty of plain
speech." We ask no man in public or private life to wear a satin glove
upon his tongue. We believe, too, in the "noble wrath" of Tasso's
heroes, When the heart _must_ burn, let the words be fire. It is just
where personal invective begins to be used as matter of _theory and
system_ that it begins to be used amiss. Let the rule be to spare it, if
it _can_ be spared, and to use it only under the strictest compelling of
moral indignation. And were not Mr. Phillips among the most genial and
sunny of human beings, really incapable of any malign passion, he would
fool the reactive sting of this invective in his own bosom, and so
become fearful of indulging it.

Still it must be said that he has the genius and function of a critic.
He is the censor of our statesmanship. He is the pruner of our politics.
Let his censure be broad and deliberate, that it may be weighty; let his
pruning be with care and kindness, that it may be with benefit.

_Systems of Military Bridges in Use by the United States Army, those
adopted by the Great European Powers, and such as are employed in
British India._ With Directions for the Preservation, Destruction, and
Reestablishment of Bridges. By Brigadier-General GEORGE W. CULLUM,
Lieutenant-Colonel, Corps of Engineers, U.S. Army, Chief of Staff of the
General-in-Chief, etc., etc. New York: D. Van Nostrand.

A nation can hardly achieve military success without paying special heed
to its _material_ of war. It is the explicit duty of a nation's
constituted guardians assiduously to apply all the resources of science
and art, of theory and practice, of experience and invention, of
judgment and genius, to the systematic production of the best military
apparatus. Ordnance and ordnance stores, arms and equipments, commissary
and quartermaster supplies, the means of transportation, fortifications
and engineer-trains, navies and naval appliances,--these are the
material elements of military strength, which decide the fate of
nations. If in these we are behind the age, our delinquency must be
atoned by disaster and wasted lives. Civilization conquers barbarism
chiefly by its superior skill in the construction and use of the
material instruments of warfare. Courage and conduct are certainly
important factors in all legitimate successes; but they must work
through material means, and are emphasized or nullified by the skill or
rudeness exhibited in the device and fabrication of those means. The
great contest now in progress has taught us afresh the potency of those
material agencies through which patriotic zeal must act, and we shall
hereafter lack all good excuse for _not_ having the very best attainable
system of producing, preserving, providing, and using whatever
implements, supplies, and muniments our future may demand.

As an aid in this direction, we welcome the truly valuable book which
General Cullum has now supplied on one of the Special brandies of
military _matériel_. We owe him thanks for his treatise on military
bridges, which was nearly as much needed as though we had not already
the works of Sir Howard Douglas, Drien, Haillot, and Meurdra, and the
chapters on bridges by Laisné and Duane. General Cullum's work has more
precision and is more available for practical guidance than any other.
The absolute thoroughness with which the India-rubber pontoon system is
described by him gives a basis for appreciating the other systems
described in outline.

It is hardly too much to say that we owe to General Cullum more than to
any other person the development in our service of systematic
instruction in pontoniering. Before the Mexican War, Cullum and Halleck
had ably argued the necessity of organizing engineer troops to be
specially instructed as sappers, miners, and pontoniers. In an article
on "Army Organization," in the "Democratic Review," were cited a
striking series of instances in which bridge-trains or their lack had
decided the issue of grand operations. The history of Napoleon's
campaigns abounds in proofs of their necessity, and the testimony of the
Great Captain was most emphatic on this point. His Placentia and
Beresina crossings are specially instructive. The well-sustained
argument of the article on "Army Organization" was a most effective aid
to General Totten's efforts as Chief Engineer to secure the organization
of our first engineer company. This company proved to be the well-timed
and successful school in which our pontoon-drill grew up and became
available for use in the present war. There are now four regular
companies and several volunteer regiments of engineer troops, whose
services are too highly valued to be hereafter ignored.

In 1846, General Taylor reported, that, after the victories of Palo Alto
and Resaca de la Palma, a pontoon-train would have enabled him to cross
the Rio Grande "on the evening of the battle," take Matamoras "with all
the artillery and stores of the enemy and a great number of
prisoners,--in short, to destroy entirely the Mexican army." This
striking evidence of the necessity of bridge-equipages as part of the
material of army-trains coincided with the organization of the first
engineer company, and led to the preparation of pontoon-trains for
General Taylor and General Scott. General (then Captain) Cullum "had the
almost exclusive supervision, devising, building, and preparing for
service" of these trains, and of that used for instruction at West
Point. To him is chiefly due the formation of the system of military
bridges with India-rubber pontoons, which was most fully described and
illustrated in the original memoir from which the volume now just
published has grown. He subsequently, as Professor of Practical
Engineering at the Military Academy, aided in developing and perfecting
the pontoon-drill,--a department in which G.W. Smith, McClellan, and
Duane ably and successfully labored.

We suppose that all profound and sincere students of military operations
are agreed in accepting bridge-trains and skilled pontoniers as among
the necessities of grand armies. In proportion as the campaigns which an
army is to make are to be conducted on theatres intersected by rivers
will be the importance of its bridge-service. Our own country, abounding
in rivers of the grandest proportions, will need to be always ready for
applying the highest skill and the best bridge-equipage in facilitating
such movements as may prove necessary. We accept this as an
indispensable part of our organized system of war-_matériel_. Were other
evidences lacking, the experiences of the Chickahominy, Rappahannock,
Potomac, and Tennessee will perpetually enforce the argument. The
generation which has fought the Battle of Fredericksburg, and which has
witnessed Lee's narrow escape near Williamsport, is sufficiently
instructed not to question the saving virtues and mobilizing influences
of bridge-trains.

The chief essentials in a military bridge-system are lightness, facility
of transportation, ease of manoeuvre in bridge-formation, stability,
security, and economy. It necessarily makes heavy demands for
transportation; and on this account bridge-trains have frequently been
left behind, when their retention would have proved of the utmost
importance. Their true use is to facilitate campaign-movements; and
while they should be taken only when there is a reasonable prospect of
their being real facilites, they should not be left behind when any such
prospect exists. It was in response to the demand for easy
transportation that the system for India-rubber pontoons was elaborated.
Single supporting cylinders of rubber-coated canvas were first
experimentally used in 1836 by Captain John F. Lane, United States army,
on the Tallapoosa and Chattahoochee Rivers in Alabama. The
service-pontoon, as arranged by General Cullum, is composed of three
connected cylinders of rubber-coated canvas, each having three
compartments. On these pontoons, when inflated, the bridge-table is
built, lashed, and anchored. This bridge has remarkable portability, but
it has also serious defects. The oxidation of the sulphur in vulcanized
rubber produces sulphuric acid in sufficient amount to impair the
strength of the canvas-fibres, thus causing eventual decay, rendering it
prudent to renew the pontoons after a year's campaigning. The pontoons
are required to be air-tight, and are temporarily made partially useless
by punctures, bullet-holes, rents and chafings, although they are easily
repaired. Hence this bridge, despite its portability, is hardly equal to
all the requirements of service, though it was the main dependence in
Banks's operations in Louisiana, and was successfully used in Grant's
Mississippi campaign.

General Cullum briefly describes the various bridge-systems employed in
the different services of the world, including the galvanized iron boat
system, the Blanchard metal cylinder system, the Russian and Fowke's
systems of canvas stretched over frames, the Birigo system, the French
_bateau_ system, the various trestle systems, and many others. The
French wooden _bateau_ is the pontoon chiefly used in our service, and
it is specially commended by its thoroughly proved efficiency, and by
its utility as an independent boat. Its great weight and the consequent
difficulty of its transportation are the great drawbacks, and to this
cause may well be ascribed much of the fatal delay before the
Fredericksburg crossing.

It is a hopeless problem to devise any bridge-equipage which shall
overcome all serious objections. All that should be expected is to
reduce the faults to a practical minimum, while meeting the general
wants of the service in a satisfactory manner. The lack of mobility in
any bridge-train which can be pronounced always trustworthy may,
perhaps, compel the adoption, in addition to the _bateau_-train, of a
light equipage for use in quick movements. This will, however, create
complication, which is nearly as objectionable here as in the calibre of
guns. Thus it is that any solution may prove not exactly the best one
for the particular cases which may arise under it. All that should be
demanded is, that, by the application of sound judgment to the data
which experience and invention afford, our probable wants may be as well
met as practicable. Some system we must have; and, on the one hand, zeal
for mobility, commendable as it is, must not be permitted to invite
grand disasters through failures of the pontoons to do their allotted
work; while, on the other hand, a morbid desire to insure absolutely
trustworthy solidity of construction must be restrained from imposing
needless burdens, which may habitually make our crossings Fredericksburg
affairs. Between these extremes lies the right road. American skill has
hardly exhausted its resources on this problem. The suspension-bridge
train, a description of which General Meigs has published, is deserving
of consideration for many cases in campaigns. General Haupt's remarkable
railroad-bridges thrown over the Rappahannock River and Potomac Creek,
the latter in nine working-days, were structures of such striking and
judicious boldness as to justify most hopeful anticipations from the
designer's expected treatise on bridge-building. Our national eminence
in the art of building wooden trussed and suspension bridges is proof
enough that whatever can be done to improve on the military
bridge-trains of Europe may be expected at our hands. We shall not lack
inventiveness; let us be as careful not to lack judgment, and by all
means to be fair and honest in seeking for the best system. When the
experience of this war can be generalized, a more positive
pontoon-system will be exacted for our service. It is fortunate that
this matter is in good hands. While hoping that the close of the present
war may, for a long time, end the reign of Mars, it behooves us never
again to be caught napping when the Republic is assailed.

       *       *       *       *       *



The Natural Laws of Husbandry. By Justus von Liebig. Edited by John
Blyth, M.D., Professor of Chemistry in Queen's College, Cork. New York.
D. Appleton & Co. 12mo. pp. 388. $1.50.

The Constitutional History of England since the Accession of George
Third, 1760-1860. By Thomas Erskine May, C.B. In Two Volumes. Vol. II.
Boston. Crosby & Nichols. 12mo. pp. 596. $1.50.

The Holy Word in its own Defence: addressed to Bishop Colenso and all
other Earnest Seekers after Truth. By Rev. Abiel Silver, Author of
"Lectures on the Symbolic Character of the Sacred Scriptures." New York.
D. Appleton & Co. 12mo. pp. 305. $1.25.

"Who Breaks Pays." By the Author of "Cousin Stella," etc. Philadelphia.
F. Leypoldt. 16mo. paper, pp. 302. 50 cts.


[Footnote A: The phrase is General Taylor's. When Santa Aña brought up
his immense army at Buena Vista, he sent a flag of truce to invite
Taylor to surrender. "Tell him to go to hell," said old Rough-and-Ready.
"Bliss, put that into Spanish." "Perfect Bliss," as this accomplished
officer, too early lost, was called, interpreted liberally, replying to
the flag, in exquisite Castilian, "Say to General Santa Aña, that, if he
wants us, he must come and take us." And this is the answer which has
gone into history.]

[Footnote B: After Sheridan had made his maiden speech in the House, of
Commons, he went to the gallery where Whitbread was sitting and asked
the latter's opinion of his effort.

"It will never do, Sheridan; you had better give it up."

"Never, by G----d!" replied Sheridan; "it is in me, and it shall come

[Footnote C: Dagneaux's is the most expensive restaurant of the Latin

[Footnote D: These are characters in the novel, portraits from real
life. Murger drew himself, and told his own history, when he sketched

[Footnote E: He was urged to rent a room in Paris as his lodgings when
he came to town.]

[Footnote F: _Travels through the Middle Settlements of North America
in_ 1759-60. By Rev. Andrew Burnaby.]

[Footnote G: _History of the Netherlands_, Vol. I. p. 182.]

[Footnote H: "During the winter, the temperature at the surface of the
glacier sinks a great many degrees below 32° Fahrenheit, and this low
temperature penetrates, though at a gradually decreasing rate, into the
interior of the mass. The glacier becomes fissured in consequence of the
contraction resulting from this cooling process. The cracks remain open
at first, and contribute to lower the temperature of the glacier by
favoring the introduction of the cold air from without; but in the
spring, when the rays of the sun raise the temperature of the snow
covering the glacier, they first bring it back to 32° Fahrenheit, and
presently produce water at 32°, which falls into the chilled and
fissured mass of the glacier. There this water is instantly frozen,
releasing heat which tends to bring back the glacier to the temperature
of 32°; and this process continues till the entire mass of the cooled
glacier returns to the temperature of 32°."]

[Footnote I: For the evidence of this statement I must, however, refer
to my work on Glaciers, already so often quoted in this article, where
it may be found with all the necessary details.]

[Footnote J: Hon. H.M. Rice, Ex-Senator from Minnesota.]

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 12, No. 74, December, 1863" ***

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