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Title: The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 13, No. 76, February, 1864
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 13, No. 76, February, 1864" ***

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[Transcriber's note: Footnotes moved to end of document.]





Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1864, by Ticknor and
Fields, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of

       *       *       *       *       *


When Paul Morphy plays seven games of chess at once and blindfold, when
young Colburn gives _impromptu_ solution to a mathematical problem
involving fifty-six figures, we are struck with hopeless wonder: such
power is separated by the very extent of it from our mental operations.
But when we further observe that these feats are attended by little or
no fatigue,--that this is the play, not the tension of faculty, we
recognize a new kind, not merely a new degree, of intelligence. These
men seem to leap, not labor step by step, to their results. Colburn sees
the complication of values, Morphy that of moves, as we see the relation
of two and two. What is multiform and puzzling to us is simple to them,
as the universe lies rounded and is one thought in the Original Mind. We
seek in vain for the secret of this mastery. It is private,--as deeply
hidden from those who have as from those who have it not. They cannot
think otherwise than so, and to this exercise have been provoked by
every influence in life. The boy who is an organized arithmetic and
geometry will count all the hills of potatoes and reckon the kernels of
corn in a bushel, and his triangles soon begin to cover the barn-door.
He sees nothing but number and dimension; he feeds on these, another
fellow on apples and nuts. But his brother loves application of force,
builds wheels and mills; his head is full of cogs and levers and
eccentrics; and after he has gone out to his engineering in the great
machine-shop of a modern world, the old corn-chamber at home is lumbered
with his mysterious contrivances, studies for a self-impelling or
gravitating machine and perpetual motion. Another boy is fired with the
mystery of form. He will draw the cat and dog; his chalk and charcoal
are on all our elbows; he carves a ram's head on his bat, an eagle on a
walking-stick, perches a cock on top of the barn, puts an eye and a nose
to every triangle of the geometer, and paints faces on the wheels of his
mechanical brother. In all these boys there is something more than
ability; there is propensity, an attraction irresistible. Their minds
run, we say, in that direction, and they creep or lie still, if turned
in another. The young shepherd will toss eggs, spin platters, and
balance knives, year after year, in solitude, with a patient energy and
endurance able to command any fortune.

What philter is in these faculties? The boy who will be great is always
discontented with his work, ready to rub out and begin again. He follows
a bee, and never quite touches that which drew him on. Plainly, the mere
ability to do is a dry straw, but through it our seeker tastes an
intoxicating, seductive liquor, from which he cannot take away his lips.

It is the liquor of our life. In measure, or form, or tone, he applies
himself to the very breasts of Nature, and draws through these exteriors
a motherly milk which was her blood and hastens to be his own. If the
young cub holds fast to the teat, be sure the stream flows and his veins
swell. Matter is the dry rind of this succulent, nutritious universe:
prick it on any side, and you draw the same juice. Varieties of
endowment are only so many pitchers dipped in one stream. Poet, painter,
musician, mathematician, the gift is an accident of organization, the
result is admission to that by which all things are, and by partaking
which we become what we must be.

Of this experience there can be no adequate report. It is as though one
should attempt to go up in a balloon above the atmosphere and bring down
the ether in his hands. There is a spring on every door in Nature to
close it behind the returning footsteps of her lover, so that he can
lead no man freely into the chamber where she gave him love; it is only
by the confidence, fervency, and reverence of the initiate that we learn
in what presence he has been. Genius is great, but no product of genius
is more than a shadow which points to this sun behind the sun as its
substance, and the power of our inspired men has been merely manifested,
not rightly employed. Genius has availed only to authenticate itself as
the normal activity of man, not yet to do the work of the world.

Sense is a tangle of contradiction. The boy throws wood on water and it
floats; then he throws in his new knife and it sinks. How was he to know
that the same force will lift a stick and swallow a knife? He throws a
feather after his knife, and away it swims on the wind. That is another
brook, then, in which the feather is a stick and the stick a stone. Not
only are results of a single law opposed, but the laws pull one this
way, one that, as gravitation contends with currents of water and air.
If we could be shut in sense and surface, Nature would seem a game of
cross-purposes, every creature devouring another. The beast eats plant
and beast; he dies, and the plant eats him again; fire, water, and
frost, in their old quarrel, destroy whatever they build; the night eats
the day, summer the snow, and winter the green. Change is a revolving
wheel, in which so many spokes rise, so many fall, a motion returning
into itself. Nature is a circle, but man a spiral. No wonder he is
dissatisfied, with his longing to get on. Eating and hunger, labor and
rest, gathering and spending, there is no gain. Life is consumed in
getting a living. After laborious years our money is ready in bank, but
the man who was to enjoy it is gone from enjoyment, shrivelled with
care, every appetite dried up. So learning devastates the scholar, is
another plague of wealth, and our goodness turns out to be a hasty
mistake. Is order disorder, then? Are we fools of fate? Is there only
power enough to prop up this rickety old system, to keep it running and
hold our noses to the grindstone? No man believes it: the madness of
Time has method only half concealed.

See what eagerness is in the eyes of men, curious, hopeful, dimly aware
of beneficence under all these knocks and denials. There are whispers of
a great destiny for man,--that he is dear to the Cause. We suspect
integrity in Nature. Can this canebrake, in which we are tangled with
care, fear, and sin, be after all single and sincere, a piece of
intelligent kindness? Genius is the opening of this suspicion to
certainty. We are like children who recognize the love which gives them
sugar-plums, but not that which shuts the bag and forbids. Insight goes
deep enough to prize all severity and detect the good of evil.

Trade seems contemptible to Wilhelm Meister, but, in its larger aspect,
sublime to Werner, who sees it as an exploration and possession of
Nature with friendly interchange between man and man. Trade is
democracy. Authority is hateful to democrats; but Carlyle can justify
loyalty, and show how obedience to the hero may be fidelity to myself.
Every experience needs its interpreter, one who can show its derivation
from an absolute centre. The mob of the French Revolution is a crowd of
devils till their poet arrives and restores these maniacs to manhood.
They are misguided brothers, doing what we should do in their place.
Genius in every situation takes hold on reality, a tap-root going down
to the source. Equilibrium appears in a staggering as well as a standing
figure, and is perfectly restored in every fall. The landscape seen in
detail is broken and ragged,--here a raw sand-bank, there a crooked
butternut-tree, yonder a stiff black cedar: but look with a larger eye;
the straight is complement to the crooked tree, color balances color,
form corrects form, and the entire effect of every scene is
completeness. The artist restores this harmony broken by our microscopic
view. Music is a shattering and suspension of chords till we ache for
their resolution; and the music of life is desire, a diminished seventh
that melts the past and ruins the present to prepare a future in another

Genius sees that many an exception is fruit of some larger law, is not
imperfection, but uncomprehended perfection. Is there, then, no
imperfection? We are haunted by such a thought. We see first a mixed
beauty in faces, partly life and partly organization; the body is never
symmetrical, deformity is the rule. But beauty will not be measured by
form; the body cannot long occupy good eyes; we begin to look through
that, and encounter some courage, generosity, or tenderness, a dawning
or dominant light in every countenance. This is our morning, and the
physical form only a low shore over which it breaks. Beauty is the rule,
exceptions melt away. There is no face in which Raphael cannot see more
than I see in any face; the dullest landscape is to Turner a fairer
vision than I can find in the world; Byron in his blackguards shows a
kind of magnanimity which refreshes the victims of respectability and
routine. The individuality of men is deformity, a departure from the
human type; yet this fault makes each necessary to each, founds society,
love, and friendship. So wherever a break appears in the plan, we
anticipate a larger purpose, and sound down through the water, certain
to find under that also a continuation of land. Genius first named our
system a universe to mark its consistency, and goes on reconciling,
showing how creatures and men are made of one stuff and that not so bad.
Let the thing be what it may, press on it a little with the mind, and
order begins to ooze. There is nothing on which we cannot feed with good
enough teeth and digestion, for the elements of meat are given also in
brick and bark. Natural objects are explored to their roots in man, and
through him in the Cause: each is what it is in kindness to him, has its
soul in his breast, grows out of him as truly as his hair, and the
out-world is only a larger body shaped by his needs. Each thing is a
passive man, and personification does no more than justice to the
joint-stool and the fence or whatever creature talks and suffers in

What is the meaning of my day and relations? I suspect an advantage
designed for me, but not yet extracted, in marriage and the family-life,
in books, in politics, in business, in the garden, in music. How much of
each, as I know them, is chaff? how much is life coming in from the deep
by these low doors? What is society? An eating and drinking together? a
bit of gossip? a volley of jokes? Do men meet in these exercises, or in
hope and humanity? We are all superior to amusement. The cowardly host
will entertain with fiddlers and cream; then every guest leaves his
high desire with his hat, leaves himself behind, and descends to
fiddlers and cream. But men rise to associate; in sinking they separate;
and the good host must call us up, not drag us down to his feast. Goethe
knows how to spread the table with portfolios, architecture, music,
drawing, tableaux; but a great love, with its inevitable thought, makes
even these solvents superfluous. Goethe studies the cemetery, the
chapel, the school, the gallery, the burial-service, the
estate,--whatever is nearest. He finds astonishing values in labor,
trade, production, art, science, war. In his boyhood he built an altar
with his playthings and burned incense to Deity on a pile of shells and
stones. That act of worship foreshadowed his whole career; he took every
creature and thing from God's hand with reverent expectation, and never
rested till he had opened to some intent of the Maker therein. Things,
therefore, in his view are no longer empty and hollow like old cast-off
shoes, but pieces of sublime design. A beetle is sustained by earth,
air, fire, and water, needs the sun and the sea, winter and summer,
earth's orbit and parallax, needs whatever has been made, to set him on
his legs. He carries the world in little, and is a creeping black body
of the best.

Much more man is microcosmic and macrocosmic. Natural and supernatural
meet concealedly in the out-world, but openly in him, and his early
desires grow into a future surpassing all desire. The poet sees his
destiny in our wishes,--sees right and wrong, kindness and greediness,
deepening into incalculable grandeurs of heaven and hell. He sees the
man never yet arrived, but now arriving, to inhabit each breast. "Far
off his coming" shines. We have many little gleams of generosity; we
have conviction, and can strike for the right. Nature is a fixed
quantity, a solid; but life is reinforced by life. Truth begets truth,
love kindles love, every end is a new beginning.

Therefore the perception of genius is prophetic,--an anticipation of
manhood for this boy, who is the King's son, child of Eternity, and only
changeling of Time. Wherever any magnanimity is revealed, I lay claim to
it. The courage of heroes, the purity of angels, the generosity of God,
is no more than I need. Only show virtue unmixed at the heart of this
system, and you open my destiny in that. If there be but the least spark
of pure benignity, it is a fire will spread through all and fill the
breast; for Good makes good, and what it is I must become. Man is heir
not to any possession or commodity, though it were a homestead in all
heavens, but to the moral power which we ache to exercise. To-day I am a
poor starveling of Nature, sucking many a dry straw, but so sure as God
I shall stream like the sun. The meanest creature is a promise of such
power, for in each is some radiation as well as suction. Man grows,
indeed, faster than he can be filled, and so is forever empty; but if
power is never a _plenum_, it is never drawn dry, and at least the
mantling foam of it fills the cup. Our expectation is that bead on the
draught of being, and boils over the brim.

Imagination is the spiritual sight, working upward from the fact,
downward from the law. In low experience it divines the tendency of
order, and descends on the other arc of this rainbow to construct the
world, and the man that must be. Imagination is the projection of each
beyond himself. A man shall not lift his meat to his lips without
prophecy and a consulting of this oracle: he shall first extend him to
think the savor and satisfaction of the meat. Shut into the horizon and
the moment, we have this only organ of communication with all that is
beyond; yet having here in rudiments and beginnings all that is beyond,
we laugh at the old limits, and explore the universe through every
dimension, through spaces beyond Space and times beyond Time.

If this old ball on which we are carried be no apple of Sodom, but sound
and sweet to the core, insight must be confidence and satisfaction. In
the beginning of thought we enjoy mere glimpses and guesses, our hopes
are rather wishes than hopes; we mount into flame when they come, we
sink into ashes when they burn out and desert us. The first glimmerings
only beget a noble discontent. Children are tired of matter before they
know where to seek their own power; they seem to be cheated of
themselves, their worthiness is unrecognized and unfed. Companions,
tasks, prospects are insufficient, they are bored and isolated, they
sigh and mope; yet they are proud of this lukewarm longing, which does
not quite avail, and keep diaries to record with protest the dulness of
every day. Sentimentality is initial genius. Its complaint seems to
contradict the cheerfulness of wisdom, yet it enjoys complaining; though
life be not worth having on these conditions, it bottles every tear. A
weak sadness fills great space in literature, stocks the circulating
library, and counts its Werthers by the thousand in every age. Now we
expect this malady, as we look for mumps and measles in the growing
child. It is feminine,--unwilling to be weak, yet not able to stand and
go. The strong quickly leave it behind.

In his first novel Goethe burned out for himself this girlish
green-sickness, and by a more vigorous demand began to take what he
wanted from the world. To the young, life seems splendid but
inaccessible. Its remoteness is the theme of every complaint; but when
these windy wishes grow stern, inexorable, when a man will no longer
beg, but gets on his feet to try a tussle with the world, he throws
resolute arms around the Greatest, and finds in his bosom all that was
so vast and so far.

Then we open paths, renew our society, enlarge our work, make elbow-room
and head-room enough in the world. Criticism is the shadow of the mind.
Insight is not sadness, but invigoration,--is no sob or spasm, but
clearness in the eye and calmness in the breast. We misjudge it from
partial examples: the light of day is confidence, yet sudden bursts of
light distress and blind. The poet is rapt, and follows thought; he
leaves his meat, and by some transubstantiation feeds on the wind; he no
longer sees the pillars of Hercules on a sixpence; he is mad for the
hour, if a majority shall say what is madness. Meanwhile his field is
unploughed; and if he falls from this ecstasy, look to see an harassed,
embittered man. The birds sing as they pick up the corn, but wisdom is
not so quickly convertible into meal, and if he cannot feed always on
it, let him never seek the Muse. Our poor half-genius vibrates miserably
between truth and the dinner-pot, comes back from his apocalypse, and
cries for admiration, gold-lace, hair-powder, and wine. That is no
apocalypse from which a man returns to whine and beg. Burns complains of
Scotland and poverty, Byron of England and respectability, and they are
both so far paupers unfed at home. Wordsworth finds London a wilderness,
and goes more than content to good company in lonely Cumberland, to eat
a crust and drink water with the gods. Socrates is barefooted. He has
one want so pressing that he can have no other want, and has set his
lips to a cup which hides his bare feet from his eyes: with a single
garment for winter and summer, he draws the universe around him a
garment for the mind.

If the first flashes of perception dazzle, they are rays of daylight to
one emerging from the cave of sense. The eye becomes wonted to truth,
and that is now the least of his convictions which yesterday struck Paul
from his horse, and rebuked him as fire from the sky. Truth is breath,
and only for the first uncertain moment of life we use it to cry and
complain. Inspiration is morning, not a flash to deepen the dark.

Popular literature is some description of a state which men think they
might enjoy: it is no record of joy. But the fool's paradise would be
dreary even for the fool; he is his own paradise, and will be. Our
early fancy is no transcript of the divine method, and is sternly
rejected by all who suspect a perfection hidden in the day. A few works
are great which celebrate the charm of actual effort, and the
furtherance of Nature for the brave. Homer, Shakspeare, Goethe, need
never exaggerate or leave the earth behind: in their experience it
carries well the sky. Every vital thought is some pleasure in running,
waking, loving, contending, helping,--is valor dealing gayly with the
homely old forces and needs. The marrow is sweet for him who can crack
it, in the roughest or the smoothest bone. One is born with a key to the
gladness of Nature, and glows with the day's work, the touch of hands,
the prospect of to-morrow,--love's production and husbandry, the old
worn grass and sunshine, the winter wind, the games and squabbles of
children and of men. Why is life for John weariness, for James every
moment fresh fire out of the sky? He who finds what he wants, or makes
what he wants, is a god. I know well the hope of saints and sages, how
they connect this life with endless stages beyond, how they look for the
same dignity in all action, the same motive in every companion; I see
what they have signified by heaven, a state wherein the best loved is
the best: but we must not be scornful, or miss to-day the common delight
of living, the moderate hopes of the healthy multitude. For no
exceptional joy is so wonderful as the universality of joy, the love of
life under every burden and stroke. The beginning of all beatitude and
ground of all is good digestion, good sleep, good-nature, and the cheer
undeniable of an average human day.

But genius hurries on to expand our hope and dread to incalculable
dimensions. Hell is its first sudden down-look from uncertain flight, is
earth and animalty seen from the sky. The bad neither so see nor fear.
Few men ever reach a height from which they can sound such depth, and
the popular talk is repetition without corresponding experience. Hope
and fear rise alike to sublimity before the boundless scope of our
future. Give the hour to folly, and you set back the dial-hand of
destiny, you are so much behind your privilege in every following hour.
Eternity is displaced by the stumbling present as the earth by a falling
pebble, and the act of this low morning is a stone cast in the sea of
universal Being, which shakes and shoulders every drop of the deep. The
immensity of the universe does not dwarf, but magnifies our activity:
man is multiplied into the sum of all. This deed, this breath dilates to
the proportions of Spirit, and upheaves the low roof of Time, which is
no sky for the soul. Life becomes awful by its reaches: its span from
zenith to nadir, by moral parallax. From gods we sound down to beasts
and devils, from sky and fire to ice and mud. Here are the true and
final spaces: in their startling contrast appears the grandeur of the
moral law, like Chimborazo carrying all zones. It offers hell and
heaven, advancing inevitable, and leaves us never a dodge from choice.
Our dodge is a choice. Man overtaken by inexorable need must do or go
under in the tread-mill of Fate. Not a fault, not a lack, but is so far
damnation, with consequences not to be set forth in any prospect of
fire. When you begin to look down, the fear of centuries seems not
exaggerated. The remedy is in looking so vigorously and far as to see,
beyond depth, again the sky and stars. Look through; for toward that
centre which is everywhere, we look. Hell was situated under the earth;
our first voyage teaches that there is no under-the-earth. The widening
of every path gives boundless dimension to sin, till we learn that the
evil impulse alone does not extend. It is soon exhausted both in
attraction and effect,--is no power, but some suspense of life.

The first moral perception is always a shudder. Carlyle sees the lifted
judgment of a lie; his eye is filled, and he sees nothing beyond; but
Nemesis is surgeon with probe and knife. Our poisons are medicines and
homoeopathic, the fumes of fear a remedy of sulphur for cutaneous sin.
The thought in which our terrors arrive is always at last a gospel, is
glad tidings. Dante, Paul, Swedenborg, Edwards have seen the pit. It
opens only in the holiness of such men,--is a thunder out of clear sky,
before which generations of the impure, like brute beasts, tremble and
cower. An equal moral genius will see that the ascension of an immortal
Love has left behind this vacuum, mitigated, not deepened, by the
furniture of devils and their flame. Men strive in vain to be afflicted
by a revelation of the best and worst. The mind is naturally a form of
gladness, and every window in us takes the sun. Our genuine trouble is
not extreme dread, but a perpetual restlessness and discontent.

The delight of contemplation has been in history a height without
sustaining breadth, a needle, not a cube. Genius has been tremulous,
recluse,--has been cherished in solitude with Nature,--has been a
feminine partiality among men, holding for gods its favorites, for dogs
the refuse of mankind. It still counts the practical life an
interruption. It is therefore only melancholy cheer, a forlorn ark with
nine souls on the brine, a refuge from the world, not a delight of the
world. It lives not from God who is, but from a God who should be. The
true creative power is a calm of battle, a trust not for the closet, but
the chariot, a torch that can be carried through the gusty market, a
Ramadhan in the street. It is no miracle to be calm in calm, to be quiet
in bed,--but to rule and lead without anxiety, to tame the beasts and
elements, to build and unbuild cities with a song. The great thought
returns on society, floods out the heaped rubbish of custom, pours the
old grandeurs of Nature through dry channels of Trade, Religion,
Courtesy, and Art. He is great who plays the game of life with decision,
yet is always retired, and holds the life of life in reserve. Such a man
is demiurgic, for he puts down a hand on action through the sky.

From a happy or sufficient genius came the golden maxim, "Think of
living." Strong men love life. The system, so cheery and severe, seems
to them worthy to be continued yonder and without end. This day leading
a better, itself good not leading alone,--this presentiment,--this solid
increment of hard-won power,--of what other stuff should our eternity be
woven? In wisdom first appears the present tense, an hour which is not
mere transition, but something for itself. There are men who live--to
live. He who finds our destiny given beforehand in the nature of things
has the leisure of God: he has not only all the time that is, but spaces
beyond, so that he will not be hurried by the falling-off of Time.
Leisure is a regard fixed not on the nearest trees and fences as we
whirl through this changing scene, but on remoter and larger objects, on
the slow-revolving circle of the far hills, on the quiet stars. Why
should I hasten with my foolish plan? Prosperity is over all, not in my
foolish plan. What is a fortune, a reputation,--what even genuine
influence, if you consider the future of one or of the race? Only little
aims bring care. Why run after success? That is success which follows:
success should be cosmic, a new creation, not any trick or feat. To be
man is the only success. For this we lie back grandly with total
application to the cause. Why run after knowledge? A large mind circles
all the primal facts from its own stand-point, and needs never tread the
curious round of science, history, and art. Where it is, is Nature:
therefore it is calm and free. The wise men of my knowledge were
farmers, drovers, traders, learned beyond the book. You cannot feed but
you put me in communication with all forests, fields, streams, seas.
Give me one companion, and between us two is quickly repeated the
history of the race. In a plant, an animal, a day or year, in elements,
their feuds and fruitful marriages, in a private or public history, the
thinker is admitted to the end of thought. A scholar can add nothing to
my perfect wonder, though he bring Egypt, Assyria, and Greece. I find
myself where I was, in Egypt, Assyria, and Greece: I find the old
earth, the old sky, the old astonishment of man. Cæsar and the
grasshopper, both are alike within my knowledge and beyond. There is
some vague report of a remote divine, at which he will smile who finds
no least escape from the divine. Two points are given in every regard,
man and the world, subject, we say, and object, a creature seen and a
creature seeing, marvelling, knowing, ignorant. Either of these openings
will lead quickly to light too pure for our organs, and launch us on the
sea beyond every shore. The artist studies a fair face; there is no
supplement to his delight. In temples, statues, pictures, poems,
symphonies, and actions, only the same eternal splendor shines. It is
the sun which lights all lands,--"that planet," as Dante sings,

  "Which leads men straight on every road."

He is delivered there at home to Beauty, which makes and is the world.

Genius is royal knowledge. In the nearest need it studies all ages and
all worlds. Let me understand my neighbors and my meat; you may have the
libraries and schools. I read here living languages,--the eye, the
attitude and temperament, the wish and will: Hebrew and Greek must wait.
He who knows how to value "Hamlet" will never subscribe for your picture
of "Shakspeare's Study." Great intelligence runs quickly through our
primers, our cities, constitutions, galleries, traditions, cathedrals,
creeds. The long invention of the race is a tortuous, obscure way. Must
I creep all my fresh years in that labyrinth, and postpone youth to the
end of age? What need of so much experience and contrivance, if without
contrivance, if by simplicity, the children surely and beautifully live?

Healthy thought is organic, grows by assimilation, vitalizes all it
takes, and so like a plant puts forth knowledge from the old and from
within. The apple of to-morrow is earth, not apple, till it hangs on the
tree. Our knowing seems rather rejection than acceptance, so much is
husk in bulk. From eight thousand miles of geology the tree takes a few
drops of water and distils from these its own again. Vigor of mind is
judgment, which divides the meat from the shell, that which cumbers from
that which thrills. The act is simple, inevitable; let it be energetic
and final. We say, "This is valuable, it quickens me; the rest is
nonsense." A feeble mind needs now chiefly to be rid of rubbish, of
cheap admirations, an awe before the hair-pins and shoe-ties of society,
before the true church, the scholastic learning, dead languages, the
Fathers and the fashion. To set the savage of civilization free from his
superstition, these idols must be insulted before his face.

A little energy of demand displaces them from regard. The scholars are
busy with punctuation, chronology, and the lives of the little great, so
that their visit is a vastation, and I must turn them out of doors.
Genius will continue unable to spell, to read the German, to count the
Egyptian kings. There is royal ignorance, the preoccupation of gods. For
the wise, if no object is trifling, yet part of every object is foreign
to its best intent. Every nut is inwardly a man and a miracle, but
outwardly a shell. If it be a book, the thought is a shell, though God
be in the thought. The book is another thing, another world of power and
form, and the power will consume the form as a sword eats its sheath,
the soul the body, or fire the pan. The letter drops, for the spirit
must expand and be set free. The positive and negative poles of Nature
reappear in every creature, and the positive element must prevail. When
we have learned to live, we shall--or shall not--learn to spell.

The last refreshment is intercourse with a kingly mind, which has no
need to shift its centre, but lies abroad hemispheric, and sleeps like
sunshine, bathing silently the earth and sky. Such a mind is at home,
not in position, but in a vital relation to Nature, which leaves no
spaces dark and cold for wandering, and knows no change that is worth
the name of change. It is rest to be with one who is at rest, who
cannot go to or go from his happiness, for whom the meaning of Deity is
here and now. What stillness and depth of manner are communicated to all
who sound the deeps of life! what a refuge is their society from wit,
zeal, and gossip, from petty estimates and demands! To these, now first
encountered, we have been always known; in them we meet no private
motive, no accomplishment, reputation, ability, immediate haunting
purpose, but a Sabbath from personal fortunes. We meet the great above
all that can be mine or thine, above gifts and accidents in common
manhood and prosperity. Swedenborg reports no encounter on higher
ground. The seven heavens open to me in a mind which gives rank to its
own facts, and wherever it is housed still finds the universe only a
larger body around the soul.

Genius declares the total or representative value of its own facts
against the neglect or contempt of mankind. Intelligence is centre of
centres, and all things diminish as they recede from the eye. Every
natural law is some hint to us of our commanding position. The good
thought is never a toilsome going abroad, but some settling at home to
new intimacy with the fortune which waits on all. It is no putting out
legs, but a putting down roots to take possession of the earth and the
nether heavens, while we fill the upper sky with climbing shoots.
Intelligence is at one with the system, able to entertain it as a unit,
to refer every particle, dark as a particle, to its shining place in the
transparent whole. How can I afford to drop my errand, to go wonder
after the fore-world, after Plato, Washington, or Paul? These are men
who never dropped their errands to go wonder after the Maker himself.
They found God in the thing lying nearest to be done. As right action in
the remotest corner is a world-victory, so right thought applied to the
lowest circumstance is cosmic thought. In the fortune of the hour we
have a home beyond the fortune of the hour. The least circle of order
now organized and established in our lives is not a poor house frozen to
the ground, but a ship able to outride the currents of time, a charmed
circle of security which will serve us still in every following world.
Our future is to be found, not in multiplication of examples, but in
deeper sympathy with all we have superficially known.

We shall never rightly celebrate the stillness and sweetness of truth in
an open mind. Clear perception is refreshing as sleep. It is a sleep
from blunder, care, and sin. In every thought we are lifted to sit with
the serene rulers, and see how lightly, yet firmly, in their orbits the
worlds are borne. With insight we work freely, for every result is
secure; we rest, for every stream will bear us to the sea. Peace is joy
beyond the perturbation of joy, is entertainment of Omnipotence in the

A filial relation to the universe is well expressed, not in speech, but
in the attitudes of her children, in their balance, tranquillity,
directness, their firm and quiet grasp, look, step, tone. Confidence and
joy are the only moral agents. Worship is immortal cheer. The Greeks
rebuke us with their sacred festivals and games: why should we not hunt
every evil as we follow gayly the buffalo and bear? Virtue cannot be
wrinkled and sad; Virtue is a joy of the Right added to our earliest
joy,--is refreshment and health, not fever. The Etruscan are right
religious sculptures: the body will be more, not less, when the soul is
most; for the body is created and perfected, not devoured by the soul.
In another Eden the curves of grace and power will reappear; every
wrinkle will be counted sin; goodness will be sap and blood, a growth of
grapes and roses, a sacrament of energy and content.

If there be great wrongs, we cannot distrust the Maker, and postpone the
security of the soul. Impatience is a wrong as great as any. Love and
trust are remedies for wrong. Music is our cure for insanity, and I
remember that incantation of fair reasons which Plato prescribed. What
gain is in scolding and knitting the brows? The blue sky, the bright
cloud, the star of night, the star of day, every creature is in its
smiling place a protest of the universe against our hasty method of
counter-working wrong with wrong. Let loose the Right. Go forward with
martial music; never await or seek, but carry victory and win every
battle in the organization of your band. Hear Beethoven:--"Nor do I fear
for my works. No evil can befall them, and whosoever shall understand
them shall be free from all such misery as burdens mankind."

From this security in the lap of Nature, this nest in the grass, we rise
easily to every height. Gladness becomes uncontainable, a pain of
fulness, for which, after all effort, there is no complete relief; for
language breaks under it in delivery, and Art falls to the ground. The
psalm of David, the statue of Angelo, the chorus of Handel, are
inarticulate cries. These men have not justified to us their confidence.
It will be shared, not justified. They have divined what they cannot
orderly publish, and their meaning will be by the same greatness divined
again. The work of such men remains a haunting, commanding enigma to
following ages. They do but repeat the promise and obscurity of Nature,
for she herself has the same largeness, is such another _raptus_,
proceeding to no end, but to a circle or complexity of ends. Men are
again and again divided over the images of Paul, of Plato, of Dante,
unable to escape from their authority, more unable to give them final
interpretation. They leave Nature, to puzzle over the inexhaustible
book. What does it mean? What does it not mean? The poet will never wait
till he can demonstrate and explain. He must hasten to convey a blessing
greater than explanation, to publish, if it were only by broken hints,
by signs and dumb pointing, his sense of a presence not to be
comprehended or named.

For, if the seer is sustained, he is also commanded by what he sees.
Genius is not religious, but religion, an opening to the conscience of
the universe no less than to the joy. From this original the moral,
intellectual, and æsthetic sense will each derive a conscience, and rule
with equal sovereignty the man. Through an ant or an angel the first
influx of reality is entertained in an attitude of worship, and the
poet, in his vision, cries with Virgil to Dante:--

  "Down, down, bend low
  Thy knees! behold God's angel! fold thy hands!
  Henceforward shalt thou see true ministers!"

Revelation is not more a new light than a new heart and will; revelation
to me is the conquest and renewal of me. What is lovely will not be
encountered without love, the Creator holds the key to the creature,
Order and Right may freely enter to be man. He who can open any object
to its source is touched therein by the finger of God, and insight is
inevitable consecration. Give the coward a suspicion of our human
destiny, and he is no longer coward; he would gladly be cut in pieces
and burned in any flame to shed abroad that light. Life has such an
irresistible tendency to extend, that it makes of the man a mere
vehicle, takes him for hands and feet, wheels and wings: he is glad only
when the truth runs and prevails. Enthusiasm, devotion, earnestness are
names for this possession of the deep thinker by his thought. He lives
in that, and has in it his prosperity, no longer in the flesh. The
inspired man becomes great by absorption in a great design; he is
preoccupied, and trifles, for which other men are bought and sold, shine
before him as beads of glass with which savages are wheedled. We drop
our playthings, our banks and coaches, crowns, swords, colleges, and
sugar-plums in a heap together, when any moment opens to us the scope of
our activity, and carries far forward the curve through which we have
already run.

The divine authority of Genius is given in this descent and superiority
to will. That which in me I must obey, that also above me all men must
obey. Will is the centre of the practical man, of all force, not moral,
but brute or natural, and is identified in the common thought with
myself, as I am a natural cause. Will is the sum of physical forces
necessary for self-preservation, is reagency against the formidable
rivalry of every other organization. In this animal centre the laws are
carried up, as reins are gathered to be put into the hands of a driver,
and being tied in a knot just where the physical touches the celestial
sphere, they seem to be moral, and Will much more than the body is in
popular thought inseparable from man. It is an organ into which he has
thrown himself in reckless neglect of his privilege, a grasping hand
which rules the world as we see it ruled, masters and takes to itself
for extension all laws below its own level, wields Nature as an
instrument, breaks down a weaker will, and carries away the material
mind until some God from above shall deliver it. Will is that living
Fate of which exterior necessity is but the form. From it we are
instantly delivered in conviction, and find it ever after the servant,
not the synonyme of man.

The boy does not choose, neither does the belly choose for him, what
object shall be supremely beautiful in his eyes. He has not resolved to
see only this splendor of color, and neglect sound,--or to give himself
to sound alone, and shut his eyes to sight. If the divine order reaches
any mind, those creatures in which it appears will haunt that mind, will
take lordly their own place, and hang as constellations high overhead in
thought. So long as he can turn the eye hither and thither, or lightly
determine what he will see, the man is conversant with form alone, and
bigots who are on that plane of experience identify him with choice,
hold thought to be altogether voluntary, and burn the thinker, as though
his view were a fruit, not a root, of him. But truth is that which does
not wait for our making, but makes us,--does not lie like water at the
bottom of our wells, but comes like sunshine flooding the air, and
compelling recognition. "To believe your own thought," says a master,
"that is genius"; but is not genius primarily the arrival of a thought
able to authenticate itself, to compel trust, and make its own value
known against the sneers or anger of the world? From my own thought once
reached there is but one appeal,--to my own thought: from Philip sober
to Philip more sober.

The good spirit appears as a spark in our embers, and draws out these
careful hands to ward itself from every gust,--sets our tasks and crowns
them. We know that from first desire to last performance wisdom is
altogether a grace. Wisdom is this wish for wisdom, already given in the
readiness to receive. We have not cared for it, but it has cared for us.

Grown stronger, it is a guide, and needs none. Turner sees what he must
love; there is no rule for such seeing: what he does not love is hid
from him; there is no rule for such omission. It is in the eye, not more
a happy opening than a happy closing. A private ordinance, dividing man
into men, makes the same creature a wall to one, an open door to his
neighbor. The value of man appears to Scott in feudalism, to Wordsworth
in contemplation, to Byron in impatience, to Kant in certainty, to
Calvin in authority, to Calame in landscape, to Newton in measure, to
Carlyle in retribution, to Shakspeare in society, to Dante in the
contrast of right and wrong.

One man by grandeur sees mountains in the coals of his grate; another by
gentleness only sunshine and grasses on Monadnock. You will not say that
he chooses, but that he is chosen so to see. Light opens the eye without
our intention, and we are at no trouble to paint on the retina what must
there appear. Success is fidelity to that which must appear. Weak men
discuss forever the laws of Art, and contrive how to paint, questioning
whether this or that element should have emphasis or be shown. If there
is any question, there will be no Art. The man must feel to do, and
what he does from overmastering feeling will convince and be forever
right. The work is organic which grows so above composition or plan.
After you are engaged by the symphony, there is no escape, no pause;
each note springs out of each as branch from branch of a tree. It could
be no otherwise; it cannot be otherwise conceived. Why could not I have
found this sequence inevitable, as well as another? Plainly, the
symphony was discovered, not made,--was written before man, like
astronomy in the sky.

Only the mastery of one who is mastered by Nature will control and
renovate mankind. It is easy to recognize the habit of conviction,
freedom from within, and personal motive, the man bending himself as for
life or death to show exactly what he sees. The inspired man we know who
appeals to a divine necessity, and says, "I can do no otherwise; God be
my help! amen!"--for whom praise and property and comfortable
continuance on this planet are trifles, so great an object has opened to
him in the inviolable moral law.

Every perception takes hold at last on duty as well as desire, claims
and carries away the man entire, though it were to danger or death. The
system, grown friendly, has grown sacred also; departure from it is
shame and guilt, as well as loss. An artist, therefore, like the Greek,
is busy with portraits of the gods, and every celebration of Beauty is
another Missa Solemnis, Te Deum, and Gloria.

Whatever object becomes transparent to a man will be his medium of
communication with the Maker and with mankind. He hurries to show
therein what he has seen, as children run for their companions and point
their discoveries. These are his unsolicited angels, higher above his
reach than above that of the crowd; for every good thought is more a
surprise to the thinker than to any other. The seer points always from
himself as a telescope to the sky; he is no creator, but a bit of broken
glass in the sun. What is any man in the presence of haunting
Perfection, never to be shown without mutilation and dishonor? Is it
ours? In Him we live and move.

While the Ego is pronounced and fills consciousness, man seems to be and
do somewhat of himself; but when the universal Soul is manifest above
will, his eyes turn away from that old battery; he is absorbed in what
he sees,--forgets himself, his deeds, wants, gains. He is rapt; stands
like Socrates a day and a night in contemplation; sits like Newton for
twelve hours half dressed on the edge of his bed, arrested in rising. He
is that madman to the world who neglects his meat, postpones his private
enterprise, regards honor and comfort as so much interruption to this
commerce with reality. We are all tired of property which is exclusion,
of goods which must be taken from another to serve me. Good should grow
with sharing,--more for me when all is given. In the spirit there are no
fences, boxes, or bags.

Presenting truth, I declare it as freely yours as mine. Every act of
genius proclaims that the highest gift is no monopoly or singularity, no
privilege of one, but the birthright of the race. Shakspeare knows well
that we shall easily see what he sees; he considers it no secret. We are
always feeling beforehand for every right word now about to be spoken in
the world; many men give tokens of the general habit of thought before
he is born who clearly knows what all were dreaming. Wisdom has only
gone before us on our own path, and we overtake our guide in every
perception. Yet we are lifted quite off our feet by any new possibility
revealed in life: every circle drawn round our own astonishes, though it
be drawn from our centre. The poet in his certainty appears a child of
the heavens, and we strike another foolish line through the crowd, as
though every man were not his own poet as truly as he is his own priest
and governor, as though each were not entitled to see whatever is to be
seen. The masters of thought may teach us better. They address their
loftiest power in us, and never sing to oxen or dogs. The painting,
poem, statue, oratorio, calls to me by name; the morning is an eye that
solicits mine. Shall I take only the husks, and leave to another,
contented, always, the life of life?

He is supreme poet who can make me a poet, able to reach the same
supplies after he is gone. We are bits of iron charged by this magnet,
and lose our quality when it is removed; we are not quite made magnets
as we should be by this magnetic planet and the revolutions of the sun;
yet the great polarity of our globe is a sum of little polarities, and
every scrap of metal has its own. We are made musical by the passing
band; we go on humming and marching to the air; but he who wrote it was
made musical by silence and sunshine. Soon our own vibrations will be
more easily induced, as old instruments sound with a touch or breath. We
shall throb with inarticulate rhythms, and understand the bard who

  "Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard are sweeter."

The poet is one who has detected this latency of power in every breast.
His delight is a feeling that all doors are open to all, that he is no
favorite, but the rest are late sleepers, and he only earlier awake.
Depth of genius is measured by depth of this conviction. Egotism is
incurable greenness. An artist is one who has more, not less, respect
for the common eye. The seer points always from his own to a public
privilege,--says never, "I, Jesus, have so received," but, "The Son of
Man must so receive"; and Shakspeare cuts himself into fragments till
there is no Shakspeare left behind, as if expressly to testify that this
wonderful wisdom is not his, but ours, is not that of the thinker and
penman in his study, but of priests and kings, ladies and courtiers,
lovers and warriors, knaves and fools. Paul sees that Moses read his law
from tables of the heart. Every wise word is an echo of the wisdom
inarticulate in our neighbors which sends them confident about their
work and play. The faith of healthy men and women is amazing when we
learn how incapable they are of showing grounds for it. In speculation
they hold horrible theories, blackening the day; yet they trust the good
which their lips unwittingly deny.

In discourse we are moved, not by what a man says, but by what he takes
for granted. The undertow of power is something unstated to which all
his facts and laws refer. But our resource seems to be rather a
reversion, is not quite available; we have blood and a beat at the
heart, yet it does not circulate freely, and Nature to every man is a
double of himself, so that the universe seems also cold in extremities,
as though there were too little original life to fill her veins. The
poet is not fire on the hearth to thaw this numbness by foreign heat. He
rubs and rouses us to activity, drags us to the open air, puts us on a
glowing chase, provokes us to race and climb with him till we also are
thoroughly alive. No other gift of his is worth much beside this hope of
reaching his side. The great know well that all men are approaching
their view even in departing from it, as travellers going from one port
turn their backs on each other here and their faces together toward the
antipodal point: they can leave their discoveries and fame to the race.
There is one object of sight. Every piece of wisdom is no less my
thought because another has found it in my mind. It is more mine than
any perception I called my own, for really with that I have
unconsciously been living in deeps below thought. The rest I have known,
that in all these years I am.

No man seriously doubts that he is born to entertain the meaning of the
world. Already we are inclined to reckon genius a mere faculty of
saying, not of knowing, since it opens a common experience in every
example. Minority and obligation to other eyes will cease. We have
outgrown many a Magnus Apollo of childhood; his beauty is no longer
beautiful, his gold is tinsel, we can dig better for ourselves.
Therefore we can draw no line that will stand between poets and
pretenders. That is fire which fires me to-day; to-morrow the same
influence is frost. The standard is my temperature, a sliding scale. My
neighbors are raised to ecstasy by what seems a rattle of pots and pans;
but I remember when heaven opened to me also in Scheffer, Byron,
Bellini. The judge places himself in his judgment,--declares only what
is now above him, what below. If I find Milton prosaic beside
Swedenborg, perhaps I do Milton no wrong; perhaps no man in the company
so admires his impetuous grandeur; but now the impersonality of the
Swede may meet my need more nearly, with his mysteries of
correspondence, spiritual law, enduring Nature, and supremacy of Love.
Discrimination is worth so much, because there are no great gaps between
man and man, between mind and mind: there is no virtuous, no vicious, no
poet, no unpoet, and only dulness lumps one with angels, another with
dogs. There are infinite kinds and infinite degrees of intelligence;
there is genius in every sort and every stage of adulteration, overlaid
by this, by that, by the other grave mistake; and we cannot afford to be
inhospitable to the feeblest protest against our condition and

We pass all but the few great masters, and they are only before us on
the road. Culture is the opening of spontaneous or liberal activity, and
hangs all on the pivotal perception that everything, experience, effort,
element, history, tradition, art, science, is another opening to the
same centre, and that our life. When the pupil is roused, enchanted,
fired, his redemption from sense is begun; he is delivered to the great
God, if it were only in a crystal or a caterpillar; he will never again
be the clod he was. The years are cruel and cold, want and appetite
devour many a day, but the man can never forget what was promised to the
boy. He believes in thought; believes against thought in the mad world,
in foolish man; believes in himself, and wonders what he could do, if he
had yet only half a chance. All that is streams toward the mind, will
stream through it and be known.

God would not be God, if He could fill less than the universe, could
leave cold and empty corners, could remain beyond thought, could be
order around and not also within the brain. Deity is Revelation. Deity
means for each the germ of knowledge and the sum of knowledge. Man is
the guest of wisdom; he will drop for shame his arrogance, and seek
never again to entertain or patronize this architect and master of the
house. The triumph of inspiration is an unsealing of my own and of every
mind, a delivery of the pupil to private inspiration. When the work of a
master is masterly done, he abdicates therein, retires, and becomes
unregarded as a flight of stairs behind. The statue is a failure, unless
it makes me forget the statue,--the book, unless it makes me forget the
book. All the rhyming, painting, singing of sentimental boys and girls
springs from an intuition hardly yet more than instinct: that Nature has
special scripts for each, to be by him, by her, alone, divined and
published. They reach nothing sincere or unique, yet they feel the
individuality and remoteness of experience. They cannot put forth their
conscious power; but who among the gods of fame can put forth his power?
Emerson says Jove cannot get his own thunder; much less can any mortal
get his own thunder, however he may apply to Minerva for the key.

By the cheer of awakening intuition, a dawn which stirs before daylight,
all men are secretly sustained. The common life is a borrowing, not a
creation and giving: imitation is going on all-fours, and man is uneasy
in that animal attitude. The horse comes only as horse: I am here not
merely as man, but as John; I blush and ache till John is something
pronounced and maintained against the mob of centuries, till men must
feel his singularity and solidity, as the ocean is displaced and
readjusted by every drop of rain. More or less, I must at least purely
avail. Erectness is delivery to the private law, and something in each
remains erect, and lifts him above the brute and the crowd. He is, and
feels himself to be: he will advance and give the law of his life.

The brain is itself a nut from the tree Ygdrasil; it carries the world,
and in the first glances we anticipate all knowledge. The joy of life
does not wait for any theory of life, for we have only slept since the
thought in us was embodied in this system; we took part in the making;
we are drowsily at home with ourselves therein; we forget, yet do not
forget, the roundness of design. As in a common experience we are often
close upon some name which we seek to recall,--we feel, but cannot touch
it,--so the secret of Nature lies close to the mind, and sustains us as
if by magnetic communication, while we have yet no faculty to explore
our own being or this apparition of it, the whirl of worlds.

We have rightly held genius to be miracle; but our great hope is
postponed for lack of perception that all life is miracle, that man in
every endowment is a form of the same plastic, incalculable power. Yet
as we are brought to seek goodness, being sinners, so we shall be
brought to seek the last perception, being dolts. The masters have not
been quite masters, and their theory has never respected the natural as
opening to a supernatural mind. We eat and drink and wait to be
arrested, not by sunshine, but lightning. It comes at last, revealing
from heaven the height and depth of our human prospect. The vision is
appalling; the seer is stricken to the ground; he has no organ able to
bear this light; he is blinded; he runs trembling for counsel to Paul,
who was beaten from his horse, to Samuel, who was called in sleep, to
Jesus, who taught the new birth, to John, who saw the white throne. But
after a little we learn that the new experience is native to us as
breath. No degeneracy of any period, no immersion in war, trade,
production, tradition, can quite hide the cardinal fact that this
strength of antiquity, of eternity, waits to descend, and does from time
to time descend, into the private breast. He who prays has made the
discovery, and is put by his own act in lonely communication with all

We find the sacred history legible only in the same light by which it
was written: we are referred by it, therefore, to sources of
interpretation above itself. God was hidden in the sky; the book in
another sky; who shall reveal God hidden in the book? After so many
ages, it has become a riddle as difficult of solution as any for which
it offers solution: the last and best puzzle of the exulting old Sphinx,
who will never be cheated of her jest. Our Christianity misses the
highest value of the book, as it indicates the resource of universal
man. We use the cover as some charm against danger, but the secret of
devotion is not reached. At last it is plain that secular, nigh
impenetrable Nature is a door as easily opened as this of the book. We
must read upon our knees, we wait for grace to open the text, God must
descend to light the page. The Quaker names our interpreter an inner
light, the Church a Holy Ghost to purge the heart and eye. A deity who
comes directly, and is no longer to seek when we are ready to read, must
abolish the book. Of all gods offered in our Pantheon, of all persons in
our Trinity, this must be the first.

I cannot fasten on the revelation which needs another to make it
revelation to me; but when the divine aid is given, we seek no farther,
for in this communion we have already all that was sought. The private
illumination converts to gospel every creature on which its ray may
fall; it makes a Bible of the world, a Bible of the heart. The doctors
with dandling have now kept the child from his feet till there is doubt
whether he have any feet. In this cradle of the record he shall spend
his snug and comfortable life. "Here is safety!" Of course, he is

But the weakness of man is no impediment to God. Remember who creates,
who renews, who goes abroad in perpetual miracle of building,
inhabiting, becoming. It is not a question of human power, but of

Spiritual presence, apocalypse of every apocalypse, becomes our primal
fact. It is the root of Protestantism, Democracy, Individualism. The
sanctity of conscience is a rest of man upon undeniable Deity. There is
no room for intervention of Peter or Paul.

The mind is immanence of Being, an original relation to all we have
named reality and worshipped as divine. There are truths which we must
reckon with Swedenborg among the Fundamentals of Humanity. To hold them
is to be Man,--to be admitted to the hopeful council of our kind.
Freedom is such a fundamental of the moral sense. From the thought of
property in man we erect ourselves in God's name with indignant
protestation, wiping it and its apologists together as dirt from our
feet. By an equal necessity we count out from every discourse of reason
those who find in them no organ of ultimate communication, who refer
from common consciousness to saint and sage, as though God could be shut
from presence and supremacy in thought. They are intellectual
non-combatants who so refer. We take them at their own valuation; their
certainty of uncertainty, their confession of remoteness from the centre
we accept; but we must turn from the very angels, if they be not
permitted for themselves to know. There is no outside to the universe
except this embryotic condition, wherein a man may think that there is
no result of thought.

I suppose no individual thinker will ever again have the importance
which attaches to a few names in history. No man will found a religion
with Mahomet, or overlie philosophers like Calvin, or shoulder out the
poets like Shakspeare; still less will any man again be worshipped as a
personal god. Let the newcomer be never so great, there is now a
greatness in public thought to dwarf his proportions. He antedated all
discoveries who first uttered the sacred name. That ray on darkness
tells. Now we have nations of philosophers, thought flies like
thistle-down, and the sublime speculations of the fore-world are
cradle-songs and first spelling-lessons to excite the guesses of every
barefooted boy. In early ages men met face to face with Nature, and
spent their strength directly in questioning her. Now the work of God is
overlaid. Every blunder is a rock in our field, and at last the field is
a stone-heap of blunders, and our giants have work enough to reach any
ground in the unsophisticated facts of life. We set no limit to the
revolutionary power of truth; in happy hour it may sweep away doctrine
and usage, supplant systems by songs, and governments by Love. Yet the
first men were able to cleave the world to its centre, and predict the
last results. We only enlarge their openings. Schools follow schools,
Eclecticism comes with its band into the field to gather every ear; but
Plato stands smiling behind, and holds in his hands that simple divided
line, the image of all we know.

Who can wonder at the authority of the ancients, unbowed by an antiquity
behind? Freedom from authority gave their directness, their simplicity,
their superiority to misgiving and second thought, their confident "Thus
saith the Lord."

We boast our enlightenment, but now the best minds are in question
whether we have not lost as much by the ancients as we have gained.
Plainly, they have not yet done their own work, have not given us to
ourselves and to God. They should have been less or greater; they did
not quite liberate, but became oppressors of the mind. To this
misfortune we begin to find a single exception. Jesus, with his primal
doctrine of a divine humanity, will now at last avail to be understood,
will deliver us from every teacher to a Father in the heavens, and put
us in direct communication with Him through the moral sense. After so
many blind centuries, his truth breaks out, draws us to him from the
misunderstanding of his followers, and refers from himself to the
sources of his incomparable life.

Two men of our time are the primitive Christians,--not known for such,
because their springs open, with those of the Master, not in any
character, but in the Cause. They share his reliance, and accept in
simplicity those brotherly words in which he extends his privilege to
every child.

He will open to us Nature, for his habit is the only natural. He has no
anxiety for immediate results, is never guarded in expression, does
never explain; he makes no record of thought, calls no scholar to be
scribe; he knows no labors, no studies; he walks on the hills, and
frankly interprets the waving grain, the seed in the furrow, the lily,
and the weed. Here is power which takes no thought for the morrow, an
attitude which works endless revolutions without means or care or cost.

We must not dwell on this supreme example, lest we leave the hope of
every reader far behind. Let us rather keep the level of common
experience, and disclose the incursions of spirit which light a humble
life. Love and Providence will appear in every breast; nothing more than
Love and Providence appears to us above.

A supreme genius will fail, rather by under- than over-statement, to
balance the popular exaggeration and repetition of fine phrases for
which we have no corresponding fact. Why should any man be zealous or
impatient? Why press a moral, dissecting it skeleton-like from throbbing
textures of Freedom and Beauty? Why preach, threaten, and drive us with
these bones, when a lover may draw us with kisses on living lips? Nature
offers Duty as a manlier pleasure, leads the will so softly as to set us
free in following, and her last thrill of delight is the steady
heart-beat of heroism, facing danger with level eyes and fatal
determination. Fear may arrest, but never restore. It is an arrest of
fever by freezing, of disease by disease. Let it be understood, once for
all, that this universe is moral, and say no more about that. Every man
loves goodness, and the saint never exhorts to this love, but reinforces
by addressing himself to it as matter of course. All power is a like
repose on the basis of common desires and perceptions in the race. The
didactic method is an insult alike to the pupil and the universe.
Socrates is master and gentleman with his questions, suggestions,
seeking in me and acting as midwife to my thought; but all _illuminati_
and professors, all who talk down or cut our meat into morsels, will
quickly be counted aunties by the vigorous boys at school. Chairs and
pulpits totter to-day with a scholastic dry rot, which is inability to
recognize the equality of unsophisticated man to man. There will soon be
no more chair or desk; the only eminence will be that of one who can
stand with feet on the common level, and still utter over our heads a
regenerating word. We shall learn to address ourselves in an audience,
to utter before millions, as if in joyful soliloquy, the sincerest,
tenderest thought. Speak as if to angels, and you shall speak to angels;
take unhesitating inmost counsel with mankind. The response to every
pure desire is instant and wonderful. Thousands listen to-day for a word
which waits in the air and has never been spoken, a word of courage to
carry forward the purpose of their lives.

Thought points to unity, and the thinker is impatient of squinting and
side-glances while all eyes should be turned together to the same.
Thought is growing agreement, and that in which the race cannot meet me
is some whim or notion, a personal crotchet, not a cosmic and eternal
truth. Genius is freedom from all oddity, is Catholicity,--and departure
from it so much departure in me from Nature and myself. We say a man is
original, if he lives at first, and not at second hand,--if he requires
a new tombstone,--if he takes law, not from the many or the few, but
from the sky,--if he is no subordinate, but an authority,--if he does
not borrow judgment, but is judgment. Such a man is singular in his
attitude only because we have so fallen from purity. He, not the
fashion, is _comme il faut_. By every word and act he declares that as
he is so all men must shortly be.

Plato and Swedenborg are trying to speak the same word, but each can
avail only to turn some syllable. They regret this partiality as a
provincial burr, as greenness and narrowness. Genius sees the white
light and regrets its own impurity, though that be piquancy to the
multitude, and marketable as a splendid blue or gold. Manner, in
thought, speech, behavior, is popularity and falsehood; is the limping
of a king deformity, though it set the fashion of limping. The grandest
thoughts are colorless as water; they savor not of Milton, Socrates, or
Menu; seem not drawn from any private cistern, but rain-drops out of the
pure sky. Whim and conceit are tare and tret. It matters little whether
a man whine with Coleridge, or boast with Ben Jonson, or sneer with
Byron, or grumble with Carlyle, if every thought is one-sided and
warped. The oddity relieves our commonplace, and pricks the dull palate;
but we soon tire of exaggeration, and detest the trick. It is egotism,
self-sickness, jaundice, adulteration of the light. We name it the
subjective habit, personality; while the right illumination is a
transparency, a putting-off of shoes, garments, body, and constitution,
lest these should intercept or stain the ray. Genius is an eye single
and serene. Good speech carries the sound of no man's, of no angel's
voice. Good writing betrays no man's hand, but is as if traced by the
finger of God.

Original will signify, therefore, not peculiar, but universal. The
original is one who lives from the Maker, not from man. He has found and
asserts himself as a piece of primal design: he is somewhat, and his
life therefore significant. He first represents man in purity, man in
God, and is a revelation. No matter what he repeats as approved, he will
not be a repetition, but will give new value to each thing by his
approval. The wisest man in separate propositions repeats only what has
many times been spoken. In my reading of this past week I find
anticipated every item of modern thought. Hooker says of the Bible,--"By
looking in it for that which it is impossible that any book can have, we
lose the benefits which we might reap from its being the best of books."
Milton says,--

  "He who reads and to his reading brings not
  A spirit and judgment equal or superior,
  (And what he brings what needs he elsewhere seek?)
  Uncertain and unsettled still remains."

Coleridge gives perfect confidence to paradox as sure of solution above
the term of it; in his "Table-Talk" he antedates Carlyle's doctrine of
dynamics,--puts Faith above belief, as in another region of the
mind,--declares that the conceivable is not to be revered, and says,
before Emerson, that existence is the Fall of Man. But the failure of
Coleridge teaches that no single perceptions, however subtile or deep,
will solve the broad problem of Nature. These separate thoughts the
great hold in new emphasis and relation. Of such sparks they make a
flame, of such timbers a house or ship. The parts may be old, the whole
is not; and Goethe falls into a modest fallacy, when, in acknowledging
his obligation to others, he disclaims originality for himself. All is
new in his use of it: you may say he has taken nothing, for what was
iron or silver where he found it is gold in his transmuting grasp.

When a man authentic speaks, our interest goes through every statement
to himself. The root of that word is not in the market or the street,
but in humanity, and through that in the deep. We study Goethe, not any
opinion of Goethe: he represents for us in his measure the nature, need,
and resource of the race, because what he publishes he knows, lives, and
is. We open the mind largely to take the sense of such a gospel: it will
not appear in details of perception. Plato and Goethe see the same sun,
and seem to the vulgar to follow each other; they have more in common
than any man can have in privacy; yet if you enter to the entire habit
of each, you will justify the making of these two. They are like and
unlike, as apples on one and another tree. The great in any time hold in
common the growing truth of their time, and refer to it in intercourse
as understood, an atmosphere which he must breathe who now lives and
thinks; yet no two will be identically related to the same. We are
radiated as spokes from a centre; we enter to it and work for it from
every side.

There is no danger of repetition, if the thought be deep. Superior
insight will always sufficiently astonish, will always be novel in its
place. The more simple the method, the more wonderful every result. Men
are shut, as if by a wall of adamant, from all that is yet beyond their
sympathy. My neighbor is immersed in planting, building, and the new
road. Beside him, companion only in air and sunshine, walks one who has
no ocular adjustment for these atoms; his thought overleaps them in
starting, and is wholly beyond. The end of vision for a practical eye is
beginning of clairvoyance. To the road-maker, man is a maker of roads;
he cracks his nuts and his jokes unconscious, while the ground opens and
the world heaves with revolutions of thought. Ask him in vain what
Webster means by "Concord, Lexington, and Bunker Hill"; what Channing
sees in the Dignity of Man, or Edwards in the Sweetness of Divine Love;
ask him in vain what is the "Fate" of Aeschylus, the "Compensation" of
Emerson, Carlyle's "Conflux of Eternities," the "Conjunction" of
Swedenborg, the "Newness" of Fox, the "Morning Red" of Behmen, the
"Renunciation" of Goethe, the "Comforter" of Jesus, the "Justification"
of Paul.

For the dull, this mystery of existence is not even a mystery; they are
shut below the firmament of wonder. When the vulgar come with their
definite gain and good, their circle of immediate ends, we feel the
house contract, the sky descend,--we shrivel, our pores close, the skull
hardens on the brain. The positive, who exactly knows, is a skeleton at
the feast; that exactness is numbness, and chills every expansive guest.
Dogma is a stoppage quite short of the nearest beginning; the liberal
habit a beginning of all that has no end. Sense is a wall very near the
eye, and when that is penetrated all lies open beyond; we see only
paths, seas, and vistas. Wisdom explores and never concludes. The
explanations of centuries are idle tales: my explanations are not so to
be forestalled. We forget the shallow answers to shallow questions, when
now we have deeper genuine questions to ask. The great are happy babes
of Beauty and Good. Truth returns in a fresh suspicion, and all are
welcome who wear on the brows that soft commingled light and shadow of
an advancing, sweet, inexplicable Fate. Our hope is no house, but a
wing; no roof can be endured but the blue one. What method have we yet
to serve the spontaneous or spiritual being? what culture, art, society,
worship, in which his need and power are so much as recognized? There is
indefinable certainty of Nature beyond Nature, man beyond man. Genius
opens all doors, the earth-doors, the sky-doors,--throws down the
horizon and the heaven, to come into open air. All paths lead out to the
sea, where a day's voyage may teach that the receding circle bounds our
sight alone, and not the deep. We look out not on chaos and darkness,
but on order too large for the brain, and light, for which as owls we
have yet no capacious eye. We leave every perception neglected to wait
on the future; but every future has its future devouring the past. What
is left but bending of the knee and boundless confidence?

       *       *       *       *       *


  From the door where I stand I can see his fair land
    Sloping up to a broad sunny height,
  The meadows new-shorn, and the green wavy corn,
    The buckwheat all blossoming white:
  There a gay garden blooms, there are cedars like plumes,
  And a rill from the mountain leaps up in a fountain,
    And shakes its glad locks in the light.

  He dwells in the hall where the long shadows fall
    On the checkered and cool esplanade;
  I live in a cottage secluded and small,
    By a gnarly old apple-tree's shade:
  Side by side in the glen, I and my brother Ben,--
  Just the river between us, with borders as green as
    The banks where in childhood we played.

  But now nevermore upon river or shore
     He runs or he rows by my side;
  For I am still poor, like our father before,
    And he, full of riches and pride,
  Leads a life of such show, there is no room, you know,
  In the very fine carriage he gained by his marriage
    For an old-fashioned brother to ride.

  His wife, with her gold, gives him friends, I am told,
    With whom she is rather too gay,--
  The senator's son, who is ready to run
    For her gloves and her fan, night or day,
  And to gallop beside, when she wishes to ride:
  Oh, no doubt 'tis an honor to see smile upon her
    Such world-famous fellows as they!

  Ah, brother of mine, while you sport, while you dine,
    While you drink of your wine like a lord,
  You might curse, one would say, and grow jaundiced and gray,
    With such guests every day at your board!
  But you sleek down your rage like a pard in its cage,
  And blink in meek fashion through the bars of your passion,
    As husbands like you can afford.

  For still you must think, as you eat, as you drink,
    As you hunt with your dogs and your guns,
  How your pleasures are bought with the wealth that she brought,
    And you were once hunted by duns.
  Oh, I envy you not your more fortunate lot:
  I've a wife all my own in my own little cot,
  And with happiness, which is the only true riches,
    The cup of our love overruns.

  We have bright, rosy girls, fair as ever an earl's,
    And the wealth of their curls is our gold;
  Oh, their lisp and their laugh, they are sweeter by half
    Than the wine that you quaff red and old!
  We have love-lighted looks, we have work, we have books,
    Our boys have grown manly and bold,
  And they never shall blush, when their proud cousins brush
  From the walls of their college such cobwebs of knowledge
    As careless young fingers may hold.

  Keep your pride and your cheer, for we need them not here,
    And for me far too dear they would prove,
  For gold is but gloss, and possessions are dross,
    And gain is all loss, without love.
  Yon severing tide is not fordless or wide,--
  The soul's blue abysses our homesteads divide:
  Down through the still river they deepen forever,
    Like the skies it reflects from above.

  Still my brother thou art, though our lives lie apart,
    Path from path, heart from heart, more and more.
  Oh, I have not forgot,--oh, remember you not
    Our room in the cot by the shore?
  And a night soon will come, when the murmur and hum
    Of our days shall be dumb evermore,
  And again we shall lie side by side, you and I,
  Beneath the green cover you helped to lay over
    Our honest old father of yore.

       *       *       *       *       *


  "On garde longtemps son premier amant, quand on n'en prend point de

  _Maximes Morales du Duc de la Rochefoucauld._.

It is not suffering alone that wears out our lives. We sometimes are in
a state when a sharp pang would be hailed almost as a blessing,--when,
rather than bear any longer this living death of calm stagnation, we
would gladly rush into action, into suffering, to feel again the warmth
of life restored to our blood, to feel it at least coursing through our
veins with something like a living swiftness.

This death-in-life comes sometimes to the most earnest men, to those
whose life is fullest of energy and excitement It is the reaction, the
weariness which they name Ennui,--foul fiend that eats fastest into the
heart's core, that shakes with surest hand the sands of life, that makes
the deepest wrinkles on the cheeks and deadens most surely the lustre of
the eyes.

But what are the occasional visits of this life-consumer, this vampire
that sucks out the blood, to his constant, never-failing presence? There
are those who feel within themselves the power of living fullest lives,
of sounding every chord of the full diapason of passion and feeling, yet
who have been so hemmed around, so shut in by adverse and narrowing
circumstances, that never, no, not once in their half-century of years
which stretch from childhood to old age, have they been free to breathe
out, to speak aloud the heart that was in them. Ever the same wasting
indifference to the things that are, the same ill-repressed longing for
the things that might be. Long days of wearisome repetition of duties in
which there is no life, followed by restless nights, when Imagination
seizes the reins in her own hands, and paints the out-blossoming of
those germs of happiness and fulness of being of whose existence within
us we carry about always the aching consciousness.

And such things I have known from the moment when I first stepped from
babyhood into childhood, from the time when life ceased to be a play and
came to have its duties and its sufferings. Always the haunting sense of
a happiness which I was capable of feeling, faint glimpses of a paradise
of which I was a born denizen,--and always, too, the stern knowledge of
the restraints which held me prisoner, the idle longings of an exile.
But would no strong effort of will, no energy of heart or mind, break
the bonds that held me down,--no steady perseverance of purpose win me a
way out of darkness into light? No, for I was a woman, an ugly woman,
whose girlhood had gone by without affection, and whose womanhood was
passing without love,--a woman, poor and dependent on others for daily
bread, and yet so bound by conventional duties to those around her that
to break from them into independence would be to outrage all the
prejudices of those who made her world.

I could plan such escape from my daily and yearly narrowing life, could
dream of myself walking steadfast and unshaken through labor to
independence, could picture a life where, if the heart were not fed, at
least the tastes might be satisfied, could strengthen myself through all
the imaginary details of my going-forth from the narrow surroundings
which made my prison-walls; but when the time came to take the first
step, my courage failed. I could not go out into that world which looked
to me so wide and lonely; the necessity for love was too strong for me,
I must dwell among mine own people. There, at least, was the bond of
custom, there was the affection which grows out of habit; but in the
world what hope had I to win love from strangers, with my repellent
looks, awkward movements, and want of personal attractions?

Few persons know that within one hundred and fifty miles of the Queen
City of the West, bounded on both sides by highly cultivated tracts of
country, looking out westwardly on the very garden of Kentucky, almost
in the range of railroad and telegraph, in the very geographical centre
of our most populous regions, there lie some thousand square miles of
superb woodland, rolling, hill above hill, in the beautiful undulations
which characterize the country bordering on the Ohio, watered by fair
streams which need only the clearing away of the few obstructions
incident to a new country to make them navigable, and yet a country
where the mail passes only once a week, where all communication is by
horse-paths or by the slow course of the flat-boat, where schools are
not known and churches are never seen, where the Methodist itinerant
preacher gives all the religious instruction, and a stray newspaper
furnishes all the political information. Does any one doubt my
statement? Then let him ask a passage up-stream in one of the flat-boats
that supply the primitive necessities of the small farmers who dwell on
the banks of the Big Sandy, in that debatable border-land which lies
between Kentucky and Virginia; or let him, if he have a taste for
adventure, hire his horse at Catlettsburg, at the mouth of the river,
and lose his way among the blind bridle-paths that lead to Louisa and to
Prestonburg. If he stops to ask a night's lodging at one of the
farm-houses that are to be found at the junction of the creeks with the
rivers, log-houses with their primitive out-buildings, their
half-constructed rafts of lumber ready to float down-stream with the
next rise, their 'dug-outs' for the necessities of river-intercourse,
and their rough oxcarts for hauling to and from the mill, he will see
before him such a home as that in which I passed the first twenty years
of my life.

I had little claim on the farmer with whom I lived. I was the child by a
former marriage of his wife, who had brought me with her into this
wilderness, a puny, ailing creature of four years, and into the three
years that followed was compressed all the happiness I could remember.
The free life in the open air, the nourishing influence of the rich
natural scenery by which I was surrounded, the grand, silent trees with
their luxuriant foliage, the fresh, strong growth of the vegetation, all
seemed to breathe health into my frame, and with health came the
capacity for enjoyment. I was happy in the mere gift of existence, happy
in the fulness of content, with no playmate but the kindly and lovely
mother Earth from whose bosom I drew fulness of life.

But in my seventh year my mother died, worn out by the endless,
unvarying round of labors which break down the constitutions of our
small farmers' wives. She grew sallow and thin under repeated attacks of
chills and fever, brought into the world, one after another, three puny
infants, only to lay them away from her breast, side by side, under the
sycamore that overshadowed our cornfield, and visibly wasted away,
growing more and more feeble, until, one winter morning, we laid her,
too, at rest by her babies. Before the year was out, my father (so I
called him) was married again.

My step-mother was a good woman, and meant to do her duty by me. Nay,
she was more than that: she was, as far as her poor light went, a
Christian. She had experienced religion in the great revival of 18--,
which was felt all through Western Kentucky, under the preaching of the
Reverend Peleg Dawson, and when she married my father and went to bury
herself in the wilds of "Up Sandy" was a shining light in the Methodist
church, a class-leader who had had and had told experiences.

But all that glory was over now; it had flashed its little day: for
there is a glow in the excitement of our religious revivals as potent in
its effect on the imaginations of women and young men as ever were the
fastings and penances which brought the dreams and reveries, the holy
visions and the glorious revealings, of the Catholic votaries. In this
short, triumphant time of spiritual pride lay the whole romance of my
step-mother's life. Perhaps it was well for her soul that she was taken
from the scene of her triumphs and brought again to the hard realities
of life. The self-exaltation, the ungodly pride passed away; but there
was left the earnest, prayerful desire to do her duty in her way and
calling, and the first path of duty which opened to her zeal was that
which led to the care of a motherless child, the saving of an immortal
soul. And in all sincerity and uprightness did she strive to walk in it.
But what woman of five-and-thirty, who has outlived her youth and
womanly tenderness in the loneliness and hardening influences of a
single life, and who marries at last for a shelter in old age, knows the
wants of a little child? Indeed, what but a mother's love has the
long-enduring patience to support the never ceasing calls for
forbearance and perseverance which a child makes upon a grown person?
Those little ones need the nourishment of love and praise, but such milk
for babes can come only from a mother's breast. I got none of it. On the
contrary, my dearly loved independence, my wild-wood life, where Nature
had become to me my nursing-mother, was exchanged for one of never
ceasing supervision. "Little girls must learn to be useful," was the
phrase that greeted my unwilling ears fifty times a day, which pursued
me through my daily round of dish-washings, floor-sweepings, bed-making
and potato-peeling, to overtake me at last in the very moment when I
hoped to reap the reward of my diligence in a free afternoon by the
river-side in the crotch of the water-maple that hung over the stream,
clutching me and fastening me down to the hated square of patchwork,
which bore, in the spots of red that defaced its white purity in
following the line of my stitches, the marks of the wounds that my
awkward hands inflicted on themselves with their tiny weapon.

And so the years went on. It was a pity that no babies came to soften
our hearts, my step-mother's and mine, and to draw us nearer together as
only the presence of children can. A household without children is
always hard and angular, even when surrounded by all the softening
influences of refinement and education. What was ours with its poverty
and roughness, its every-day cares and its endless discomforts? One day
was like all the rest, and in their wearying succession they rise up in
my memory like ghosts of the past coming to lay their cold, death-like
hands on the feebly kindling hopes of the present. I see myself now, as
I look back, a tall, awkward girl of fifteen, with my long, straggling,
sunburnt hair, my sallow, yet pimply complexion, my small, weak-looking
blue eyes, that every exposure to the sun and wind would redden, and my
long, lean hands and arms, that offended my sense of beauty constantly,
as I dwelt on their hopelessly angular turns. I had one beauty; so my
little paper-framed glass, that rested on the rough rafter that edged
the sloping roof of my garret, told me, whenever I took it down to gaze
in it, which, but for that beauty, would have been but seldom. It was a
finely cut and firmly set mouth and chin. There was, and I felt it,
beauty and character in the curves of the lips, in the rounding of the
chin; there was even a healthy ruddiness in the lips, and something of
delicacy in the even, well-set teeth that showed themselves when they

The gazing at these beauties gave me great pleasure, not for any effect
they might ever produce in others,--what did I know of that?--but
because I had in myself a strong love of the beautiful, a passion for
grace of form and brilliancy of color which made doubly distasteful to
me our bare, uncouth walls, with their ugly, straight-backed chairs, and
their frightfully painted yellow or red tables and chests-of-drawers.

My step-mother's appearance, too, was a constant offence to my
beauty-loving eye,--with her lank, tall figure, round which clung those
narrow skirts of "bit" calico, dingy red or dreary brown,--her feet shod
in the heavy store-shoes which were brought us from Catlettsburg by the
returning flat-boat men,--her sharp-featured face, the forehead and
cheeks covered with brown, mouldy-looking spots, the eyes deep-set, with
a livid, dyspeptic ring around them, and the lips thin and pinched,--the
whole face shaded by the eternal sun-bonnet, which never left her head
from early sunrise till late bedtime (no Sandy woman is ever seen
without her sun-bonnet). All these were perpetual annoyances to me; they
made me discontented without knowing why; they filled me with disgust, a
disgust which my respect for her good qualities could not overcome.

And then our life, how dreary! The rising in the cold, gray dawn to
prepare the breakfast of corn-dodgers and bacon for my father and his
men,--the spreading the table-cloth, stained with the soil-spots of
yesterday's meal,--the putting upon it the ugly, unmatched
crockery,--the straggling-in of the unwashed, uncombed men in their
coarse working-clothes, redolent of the week's unwholesome toil,--their
washings, combings, and low talk close by my side,--the varied uses to
which our household utensils were put,--the dipping of dirty knives into
the salt and of dirty fingers into the meat-dish,--all filled me then,
and fill me now, with loathing.

There was a relief when the men left the house; but then came the dreary
"slicking-up," almost more disgusting, in its false, superficial show of
cleanliness, than had been the open carelessness of the workmen.

But there was no time for rest; my step-mother's sharp, high-pitched
voice was heard calling, "Janet!" and I followed her to the garden to
dig the potatoes from the hills or to the cornfield to pull and husk the
three dozen ears of corn which made our chief dish at dinner. Then came
the week's washing, the apple-peeling, the pork-salting, work varied
only with the varying season, until the blowing of the horn at twelve
brought back the men to dinner, after which came again the clearing up,
again the day's task, and again the supper.

I often thought that the men around us were always more cheerful and
merry than the women. They worked as hard, they endured as many
hardships, but they had, certainly, more pleasures. There was the
evening lounge by the fire in winter, the sitting on the fence or at the
door-step in summer, when, pipe or cigar in mouth, knife and
whittling-stick in hand, jest and gibe would pass round among them, and
the boisterous laugh would go up, reaching me, as I lay, tired out, on
my little cot, or leaned disconsolate at my garret-window, looking with
longing eyes far out into the darkness of the woods. No such
gatherings-together of the women did I ever see. If one of our neighbors
dragged her weary steps to our kitchen, and sat herself down, baby, in
lap, on the upturned tub or flag-bottomed chair that I dusted off with
my apron, it was to commence the querulous complaint of the last week's
chill or the heavy washing of the day before, the ailing baby or the
troublesome child, all told in the same whining voice. Even the choice
bit of gossip which roused us at rare intervals always had its dark
side, on which these poor women dwelt with a perverse pleasure.

In short, life was too hard for them; it brought its constant cares
without any alleviating pleasures. Their homes were only places of
monotonous labor,--their husbands so many hard taskmasters, who exacted
from them more than their strength could give,--their children, who
should have been the delight of their mothers' hearts, so many
additional burdens, the bearing and nursing of which broke down their
poor remaining health; the glorious and lavish Nature in which they
lived only brought to them added labor, and shut them out from the few
social enjoyments that they knew of.

I was old enough to feel all this,--not to reason on it as I can now,
but to rebel against it with all the violence of a vehement nature which
feels its strength only in the injuries it inflicts upon itself in its
useless struggles for freedom. Bitter tears did I shed sometimes, as I
lay with my head on my arms, leaning on that narrow window-sill,--tears
of passionate regret that I was not a boy, a man, that I might, by the
very force of my right arm, hew my way out of that encircling forest
into the world of which I dreamed,--tears, too, that, being as I was,
only an ugly, ignorant girl, I could not be allowed to care only for
myself, and dream away my life in this same forest, which charmed me
while it hemmed me in. My rude, chaotic nature had something of force in
it, strength which I knew would stand me in good stead, could I ever
find an outlet for it; it had also a power of enjoyment, keen, vivid,
could I ever get leave to enjoy.

At length came the opening, the glimpse of sunlight. I remember, as if
it were but yesterday, that afternoon which first showed to my physical
sight something of that full life of which my imagination had framed a
rude, faint sketch. I was standing at the end of the meadow, just where
the rails had been thrown down for the cows, when, looking up the path
that led through the wood by the river, I saw, almost at my side, a man
on horseback. He stopped, and, half raising his hat, a motion I had
never seen before, said,--

"Is this Squire Boarders's place?"

I pushed back my sun-bonnet, and looked up at him. I see him now as I
saw him then; for my quick, startled glance took in the whole face and
figure, which daguerreotyped themselves upon my memory. A frank, open
face, with well-cut and well-defined features and large hazel eyes, set
off by curling brown hair, was smiling down upon me, and, throwing
himself from his horse, a young man of about five-and-twenty stood
beside me. He had to repeat his question before I gained presence of
mind enough to answer him.

"Is this Squire Boarders's house, and do you think I could get a night's
lodging here?"

It was no unusual thing for us to give a night's lodging to the boatmen
from the river, or to the farmers from the back-country, as they passed
to or from Catlettsburg; but what accommodation had we for such a guest
as here presented? I walked before him up the path to the house, and,
shyly pointing to my step-mother, who stood on the porch, said,--

"That's Miss Boarders; you can ask her."

And then, before he had time to answer, I fled in an agony of
bashfulness to my refuge under the water-maple behind the house. I
lingered there as long as I dared,--longer, indeed, than I had any right
to linger, for I heard my mother's voice crying, "Janet!" and I well
knew that there was nobody but myself to mix the corn-cake, spread the
table, or run the dozen errands that would be needed. I slipped in by
the back-door, and, escaping my step-mother's peevish complaints, passed
into the little closet which served us for pantry, and, scooping up the
meal, began diligently to mix it.

The window by which I stood opened on the porch. My father and his men
had come in, and, tipping their chairs against the wall, or mounted on
the porch-railing, were smoking their cigars, laughing, joking,
talking,--and there in the midst of them sat the stranger, smoking too,
and joining in their talk with an easy earnestness that seemed to win
them at once. Our country-people do not spare their questions. My father
took the lead, the men throwing in a remark now and then.

"I calculate you have never been in these parts before?"

"No, never. You have a beautiful country here."

"The country's well enough, if we could clear off some of them trees
that stop a man every way he turns. Did you come up from Lowiza to-day?"

"No; I have only ridden from the mouth of Blackberry, I believe you call
it. I have left a boat and crew there, who will be up in the morning."

"What truck have you got on your boat?"

"Lumber and so forth, and plenty of tools of one sort or other."

"Damn me if I don't believe you're the man who is coming up here to open
the coal mines on Burgess's land!" And the whole crowd gathered round

He laughed good-naturedly.

"Yes, I am coming to live among you. I hope you'll give me a welcome."

There was a cheery sound of welcome from the men, but my father shook
his head.

"We don't like no new-fangled notions, noways, up here, and I'll not say
that I'm glad you're bringing them in; but, at any rate, you're welcome
here to-night."

The young man held out his hand.

"We are to be close neighbors, Squire Boarders, and I hope we shall be
good friends; but I ought to tell you all about myself. Mr. Burgess's
land has been bought by a company, who intend to open the coal mines, as
you know, and I am sent up here as their agent, to make ready for the
miners and the workmen. We shall clear away a little, and put up some
rough shanties, to make our men comfortable before we go to work. We
shall bring a new set of people among you, those Scotch and Welsh
miners; but I believe they are a peaceable set, and we'll try to be
friendly with each other."

The frank speech and the free, open face seemed to mollify my father.

"And how do you call yourself, stranger, when you are at home?"

"My name is George Hammond."

"Well, as I was telling you, you're welcome here to-night, and I don't
know as I've anything against your settling over the river on Burgess's
land. The people round here have been telling me your coming will be a
good thing for us farmers, because you'll bring us a market for our corn
and potatoes; but I don't see no use of raising more corn than we want
for ourselves. We have enough selling to do with our lumber, and you'll
be thinning out the trees.--But there's my old woman's got her supper

I listened as I waited on the table. The talk varied from farming to
mining and the state of the river, merging at last into the politics of
the country, and through the whole of it I watched the stranger: noticed
how different was his language from anything I had ever heard before;
marked the clear tones of his voice and the distinctness of his
utterance, contrasting with the heavy, thick gutturals, the running of
words into each other, the slovenly drawl of my father and his men;
watched his manner of eating, his neat disposition of his food on his
plate; saw him move his chair back with a slight expression of
annoyance, unmarked by any one else, as Will Foushee spit on the floor
beside him. All this I observed, in a mood half envious, half sullen,--a
mood which pursued me that night into my little attic, as I peevishly
questioned with myself wherein lay the difference between us.

"Why is this man any better than Will Foushee or Ned Burgess? He is no
stronger nor better able to do a day's work. Why am I afraid of him,
when I don't care an acorn for the others? Why do my father and the men
listen to him and crowd round him? What makes him stand among them as if
he did not belong to them, even when he talks of what they know better
than he? There is not a man round Sandy that could make me feel as
ashamed as that gentleman did when he spoke to me this afternoon. Is it
because he is a gentleman?" And sullenly I resolved that I would be put
down by no airs. I was as good as he, and would show him to-morrow
morning that I felt so. Then came the bitter acknowledgment, "I am not
as good as he is. I am a stupid, ugly girl, who knows nothing but
hateful housework and a little of the fields and trees; and he,--I
suppose he has been to school, and read plenty of books, and lived among
quality." And I cried myself to sleep before I had made up my mind fully
to acknowledge his superiority.

It was one of my greatest pleasures to get up early. Our people were not
early risers, except when work pressed upon them, and I often secured my
only leisure hour for the day by stealing down the staircase, out into
the woods, by early sunrise, when, wrapped in an old shawl, and
sheltered from the dew by climbing into the lower branches of my pet
maple, I would watch the fog reaching up the opposite hills, putting
forth as it were an arm, by which, stretched far out over the trees, it
seemed to lift itself from the valley,--or perhaps carrying with me one
of the few books which made my library, I would spell out the sentences
and attempt to extract their meaning.

They were a strange medley, my books: some belonging to my step-mother,
and others borrowed or begged from the neighbors, or brought to me by
the men, with whom I was a favorite, and who knew my passion for
reading. My mother's books were mostly religious: a life of Brainerd,
the missionary, whose adventures roused within me a gleam of religious
enthusiasm; some sermons of the leading Methodist clergy, which, to her
horror, I pronounced stupid; and a torn copy of the "Imitation of
Christ," a book which she threatened to take from me, because she
believed it had something to do with the Papists, but to which, for that
very reason, I clung with a tenacity and read with an earnestness which
brought at last its own beautiful fruits. Then, there was the "Scottish
Chiefs," a treasure-house of delight to me,--two or three trashy novels,
given me by Tom Salyers, of which my mother knew nothing,--and (the only
poetry I had ever seen) a song-book, which had, scattered among its
vulgarisms and puerilities, some gems of Burns and Moore. These my
natural, unvitiated taste had singled out, and I would croon them over
to myself, set them to a tune of my own composing, and half sing, half
chant them, when at work out-of-doors, till my mother declared I was
going crazy.

This morning I did not read. I sat looking down into the water from my
perch, carrying on the inward discussion of the night before, and
wishing that breakfast-time were come, that I might try my strength and
show that I was not to be put down by any assumption of superiority,
when suddenly a voice near me made me start so that I almost lost my
balance. Mr. Hammond was standing beneath. He laughed, and held out his
hand to help me down; but I sprang past him and was on my way to the
house, when suddenly my brave resolutions came back to my mind, and I
stood still with a feeling of defiance. I wondered what he would dare to
say. Would he tell me how stupid he thought us all, how like the very
pigs we lived? or would he describe his own grand house and the great
places he had seen? I scowled up sullenly.

"Will you tell me where to find a towel, that I may wash my face here by
the river-side?"

I laughed aloud, and with that laugh fled my sullenness. He looked a
little puzzled, but went on,--

"I went to bed so early that I cannot sleep any longer; and if I could
only find some way of getting across the river, I could get things under
way a little before my men come up."

There were ways, then, in which I could help him,--he was not so
immeasurably above me,--and down went my defiant spirit. The towel, a
crash roller, luckily clean, was brought at once, and, gathering courage
as I stood by and saw him finish his washing, I said,--

"I can scull you over the river in a few minutes, if you will go in our

"You? can you manage that shell of a thing? will your father let you
take it, Miss Boarders?"

"My name is Janet Rainsford, and Squire Boarders is not my father," said
I, some of my sullenness returning.

"If you will take me, Janet," said he, with the frank, open-hearted tone
which had won my step-father the night before,--a tone before which my
sullenness melted.

I jumped in, and, letting him pass me before I threw off the rope,
sculled the little dug-out into the middle of the river. No boatman on
the Sandy was more skilful than I in the management of the little
vessel, for in it most of my leisure time had been passed for the last
year or two. My step-mother had scolded, my father grumbled, and the
farmers' wives and daughters had shaken their heads and "allowed that
Janet Rainsford would come to no good, if she was let fool about here
and there, like a boy." But on that point I was incorrigible; the boat
was my one escape from my daily drudgery, and late at night and early in
the morning I went up and down among the shoals and bars, under the
trees and over the ripples, till every turn of the current was familiar
to me. I knew all the boatmen, too, up and down the river, would pull
along-side their rafts or pushing-boats, and get from them a slice of
their corn-bread or a cup of coffee, or at least a pleasant word or
jest. And none but pleasant words did I ever receive from the rough, but
honorable men whom I met. They respected, as the roughest men will
always do, my lonely girlhood, and felt a sort of pride in the daring,
adventurous spirit that I showed.

My knowledge of the river stood Mr. Hammond in good stead that morning,
as soon as I understood that he was looking for a place where his men
could land easily. It was only to sweep round a small bluff that jutted
into the river, and carry the skiff into the mouth of Nat's Creek,
where the bank sloped gradually down to the water from a level bit of
meadow-land that extended back some rods before the hills began to rise.
Mr. Hammond leaped out.

"The very place,--and here, on this point, shall be my saw-mill. I'll
run the road through here and up the creek to the mining-ground, and
build my store under the ledge there, and my shanties on each side the

I caught his enthusiasm, and, my shyness all gone, I found myself
listening and suggesting; more than that, I found my suggestions
attended to. I knew the river well; I knew what points of land would be
overflowed in the June rise; I knew how far the backwater would reach up
the creek; I knew the least obstructed paths through the woods; I could
even tell where the most available timber was to be found. I felt, too,
that my knowledge was appreciated. George Hammond had that one best gift
that belongs to all successful leaders, whether of armies, colonies, or
bands of miners: he recognized merit when he saw it. From that morning a
feeling of self-respect dawned upon me, I was not so altogether ignorant
as I had thought myself, I had some available knowledge; and with that
feeling came the determination to raise myself out of that slough of
despond into which I had fallen the night before.

From that time a sort of friendship sprang up between George Hammond and
myself. Every morning I rowed him across the river, and, in the early
morning light, before the workmen were out of bed, he talked over,
partly to himself and partly to me, his plans for the day and his
vexations of the day before, until I began to offer advice and make
suggestions, which made him laughingly call me his little counsellor.

Then in the evenings (he slept at my father's) he would pick up my books
and amuse himself with talking to me about them, laugh at my crude
enthusiasms, clear up some difficult passage, prune away remorselessly
the trash that had crept into my little collection, until, one day,
returning from Cincinnati, where business had called him, he brought
with him a store of books inexhaustible to my inexperienced eyes, and
declared himself my teacher for the winter.

"Never mind Janet's knitting and mending, Mrs. Boarders," said he, in
reply to my mother's complaints; "she is a smart girl, and may be a
school-mistress yet, and earn more money than any woman on Sandy."

"But I am afraid," my step-mother answered, "that the books she reads
are not godly, and have no grace in them. They look to me like players'
trash. I've tried to do my duty to Janet," she continued, plaintively;
"but I hope the Lord won't hold me accountable for her headstrong ways."

Meantime, as I read in one of my books, and repeated to myself over and
over again in my fulness of content,--

  "How happily the days
  Of Thalaba went by!"

How rapidly fled that winter, and how soon came the spring, that would
bring me, I thought, new hopes, new interests, new companions!

How changed a scene did I look upon, that bright April morning, when I
went over the river to see that all was in readiness for the boats from
below which were to bring Esther Hammond to her new home! She was to
keep her brother's house; and furniture, books, and pictures, such as I
had never dreamed of, had been sent up by the last-returning boatmen,
all of which I had helped Mr. Hammond to arrange in the little two-story
cottage which stood on the first rise of the hill behind the store.

A little plat of ground was hedged in with young Osage-orange shrubs,
and within it one of the miners, who had formerly been an under-gardener
in a great house in Scotland, had already prepared some flower-beds and
sodded carefully the little lawn, laying down the walks with
bright-colored tan, which contrasted pleasantly with the lively green
of the grass. From the gate one might look up and down the road,
bordered on one side by the trees that hung over the river, and on the
other by the miners' houses, one-story cottages, each with its small
inclosure, and showing every degree of cultivation, from the neat
vegetable-patch and whitewashed porch of the Scotch families to the
neglected waste ground and slovenly potato-patch of the Irishmen. There
were some Sandians among the hands, but they never could be made to take
one of the houses prepared for the miners. They lived back on the
creeks, generally on their own lands, raised their corn and tobacco, cut
their lumber, and hunted or rode the country, taking jobs only when they
felt so inclined, but showing themselves fully able to compete with the
best hands both in skill and in endurance, when they were willing to

On the side of the hill across the creek could be seen the entrance to
the mines, and down that hill were passing constantly the cars, loaded
with earth and stone taken from the tunnel, which fell with a thundering
sound into the valley beneath. Below me was the store, gay with its
multifarious goods, which supplied all the needs of the miners and their
wives, from the garden-tools and seeds for the afternoon-work to the
gay-colored dresses for the Sunday leisure,--where, too, on Saturday
night, whiskey was to be had in exchange for the scrip in which their
wages were paid, and where, sometimes, the noise waxed fast and furious,
till Mr. Hammond would cut off the supply of liquor, as the readiest
means of stilling the tumult.

On this side the river all was changed. But as I looked that morning
across the stream towards my step-father's farm, my own home, everything
there lay as wild and unimproved as I had known it since the first day
my mother brought me there, comfortless and disorderly as it was when,
child as I was, I could remember the tears of fatigue and discouragement
which she dropped upon my face as she put me for the first time into my
little crib; but there, too, were still (and my heart exulted as I saw
them) the glorious water-maples, the giant sycamores, and the
bright-colored chestnut-trees, which I had known and loved so long.
Would Miss Hammond see how beautiful they were? would she praise them as
her brother had done? would she listen as kindly to my rhapsodies about
them? and would she say, as he had said, that I was a poet by nature,
with a poet's quick appreciation of beauty and the poet's gift of
enthusiastic expression? I could not tell whether Esther Hammond would
be to me the friend her brother had been, with the added blessing, that,
being a woman, I could go freely to her with my deficiencies in sure
dependence upon her aid and sympathy,--or if she would come to stand
between me and him, to take away from me my friend and teacher. Time
alone would show; and meanwhile I must be busy with my preparations, for
the boats were expected at noon, and Mr. Hammond, who had ridden down to
Louisa to meet them, had said that he depended upon me to have things
cheerful and in order when they arrived.

Two hours' hard work saw everything in its place, the furniture arranged
to the best of my ability, but wanting, as I sorely felt, the touch of a
mistress's hand to give it a home-like look. I had done my best, but
what did I know of the arrangement of a lady's house? I hardly knew the
use of half the things I touched. But I _would_ not let my old spirit of
discontent creep over me now; so, betaking myself to the woods, which
were full of the loveliest spring flowers, I brought back such a
profusion of violets, spring-beauties, and white bloodroot-blossoms,
that the whole room was brightened with their beauty, while their faint,
delicate perfume filled the air.

"Surely these must please her," I said to myself, as I put the last
saucerful on the table, and stepped back to see the result of my work.

"They certainly will, Janet," said George Hammond, who had entered
behind me. "How well you have worked, and how pleasant everything
looks! Esther will be so much obliged to you. She is just below, in the
boat. Will you not come with me and help her up the bank?"

But I hung back, bashful and frightened, while he called some of the men
to his assistance, and, hurrying down to the river, landed the boat, and
was presently seen walking toward the house with a lady leaning upon his
arm. I saw her from the window. A tall, dignified woman, with a
face--yes, beautiful, certainly, for there were the regular features,
the dark eyes, with their straight brows, the heavy, dark hair, parted
over the fair, smooth forehead, but so quiet, so cold, so almost
haughty, that my heart stood still with an undefined alarm.

She came in and sat down in one of the chairs without taking the least
notice of me. Mr. Hammond spoke,--

"This is Janet Rainsford, my little friend that I told you of, Esther. I
hope you will be as good friends as we have been. She will show you
every beautiful place around the country, and make you acquainted with
the people, too."

Miss Hammond looked at me with a steadiness of gaze under which my eyes

"I shall not trouble the young person much, since I shall only walk when
you can go with me; and as for the people, it is not necessary for me to
know them, I suppose."

George Hammond bit his lip.

"Janet has taken great pains to put everything in order for us here. I
should hardly know the room, it is so improved since I left it this

"She is very kind," said his sister, languidly; "but, George, how
horribly this furniture is arranged,--the sofa across the window, the
centre-table in the corner!"

"Oh, you will have plenty of time to arrange it, Esther. Come, let me
show you your own room; you will want to rest while your Dutch
girl--what's her name? Catrine?--gets us something to eat."

Miss Hammond followed her brother to her room, while, mortified and
angry with her, with myself, I escaped from the house, jumped into my
skiff, and hardly stopped to breathe till I had reached my own little
garret. I flung myself on my bed, and burst into bitter tears of
resentment and despair. So, after all my pains, after my endeavors to
improve myself, after all I had done, I was not worth the notice of a
real lady. I supposed I was an uncouth, awkward girl, disagreeable
enough to her; she would not want to see me near her. All I had done was
miserable; it would have been better to let things alone. I never would
go near her again,--that was certain,--she should not be troubled by
me;--and my tears fell hot and fast upon my pillow. Then came my old
sullenness. Why was she any better than I? Her brother thought me worth
talking to; could she not find me worthy of at least a kind look?
Perhaps she knew more than I did of books; but what of that? She had not
half the useful knowledge wherewith to make her way here in the woods.
And what right had she to bring her haughty looks and proud ways here
among our people? My sullenness gave way before my bitter disappointment
and my offended pride. I was only a child of sixteen, sensitive and
distrustful of myself, and her cold looks and colder words had keenly
wounded me.

A week passed, in which I gave myself most earnestly to the household
tasks, going through them with dogged pertinacity, and accomplishing an
amount of work which made my step-mother declare that Janet was coming
back to her senses after all. It was only my effort to forget my

On the Saturday evening when I sat tired out with my exertions, Mr.
Hammond came up the path. How my heart leaped at seeing him! How good he
was to come! His sister had not taught him to despise me. But when he
asked me to come over, the next day, and see what he had done to his
house and garden, the demon of sullen pride took possession of me again.
I would not go. I had too much to do; my mother would want me to get
the dinner. In short, I could not go. He bore it good-naturedly, though
I think he understood it, and, leaving with me a package of books which
he had promised me, said he must go, as Esther would be waiting tea for

Many another endeavor did George Hammond make to bring his sister and
myself together, but the first impression had been too strong for me,
and Miss Hammond made no effort to remove it. I do not believe it ever
crossed her mind to try to do so. Little was it to her whether or no she
made herself pleasant to a stupid, ugly girl. She had her books, her
light household cares, her letter-writing, her gardening, her walks and
drives with her brother, and she felt and showed little interest in
anything else. Very unpopular she was among the people around her, who
contrasted her cold reserve with her brother's frank cordiality; but she
troubled herself not at all about her unpopularity. For me, I kept shyly
out of her way, and fell back into my old habits.

I had not lost my friend, Mr. Hammond. He did not read with me regularly
as before, but he kept me supplied with books, and the very infrequency
of his lessons stimulated me to redoubled effort, that I might surprise
him by my progress when we met again. Then there was scarcely a day that
some business did not take him past our house, or that I did not meet
him by the river-bank or at the store. Sometimes he would ask me to row
him down the stream on some errand, sometimes he would take me with him
in his rides. I was a fearless horsewoman, and Miss Hammond did not
ride. In all those meetings he was frank and kind as ever; he told me of
his plans, his annoyances, his projects. No, I had not lost my friend,
as I had feared, and when assured of this, I could do without Miss

And so the weeks glided into months, and the months into years, and I
was nineteen years old. Four years had passed since the morning when
George Hammond first awakened my self-esteem, first gave me the impulse
to raise myself out of my awkwardness and ignorance, to make of myself
something better than one of the worn, depressed, dispirited women I saw
around me. Had I done anything for myself? I asked. I was not educated,
I had no acquirements, so-called; but I had read, and read well, some
good and famous books, and I knew that I had made their contents my own.
I was richer for their beauties and excellences. With my self-respect
had come, too, a desire to improve my surroundings, and, as far as they
lay under my control, they had been improved. Our household was more
orderly; some little attempt at neatness and decoration was to be seen
around and in the house, and my own room, where I had full sway, was
beautiful in its rustic adornment.

My glass, too, the poor little three-cornered, paper-framed companion of
my girlhood, showed me some change. The complexion had cleared, the hair
had taken a decided brown, and the angular figure had rounded and
filled. It was hardly a week since, standing in Miss Hammond's kitchen
counting over with her servant-girl the basketful of fresh eggs which
were sent from our house every week, I had overheard Mr. Hammond say to
his sister,--

"Really, Janet Rainsford has improved so much that she is almost pretty.
Her brown hair tones so well with her quiet eyes; and as to her mouth,
it is really lovely, so finely cut, and with so much character in it."

What was it to me that Miss Hammond's cold voice answered,--

"I think you make a fool of yourself, George, and of that girl too,
going on as you do about her. She will be entirely unfitted for her
state of life, and for the people she must live with."

Her words had hardly time to chill my heart when it bounded again, as I
turned hurriedly away and passed under the window on my way out, at
hearing her brother's answer:--

"There is too much in her to be spoiled. I like her. She has talent and
character, and I cannot understand, Esther, why you are so prejudiced
against her."

There were others besides Mr. Hammond who thought me improved and who
liked me. Tom Salyers never let an evening pass without dropping into
our house on his way home from the store, where he was a sort of
overseer or salesman,--never failed to bring in its season the earliest
wild-flower or the freshest fruit,--had thoroughly searched Catlettsburg
for books to please me,--nay, had once sent an indefinite order to a
Cincinnati bookseller to put up twenty dollars' worth of the best books
for a lady, which order was filled by a collection of the Annuals of six
years back and a few unsalable modern novels. I read them all most
conscientiously and gratefully, and would not listen for a moment to Mr.
Hammond's jests about them; but, a few weeks afterwards, I almost
repented of my complaisance, when Tom Salyers took me at an advantage
while rowing me down to Louisa one afternoon, and, seeing a long stretch
of river before him without shoal or sand-bar, leisurely laid up his
oars, and, letting the boat float with the stream, asked me, abruptly,
to marry him, and go with him up into the country to a new place which
he meant to clear and farm.

I laughed at him at first, but he persisted till I was forced to believe
him in earnest; and then I told him how foolish he was to fancy an ugly,
sallow-looking girl like me, who had no father nor mother, when he might
take one of John Mills's rosy daughters, or go down to Catlettsburg and
get somebody whose father would give him a farm already cleared.

"You are laughing at me, Janet," he said. "I know I am not smart enough
for you, nor hardly fit to keep company with you, now that Hammond has
taught you so many things that are proper for a lady to know; but I love
you true, and if you can only fancy me, I'll work so hard that you'll be
able to keep a hired girl and have all your time for reading and going
about the woods as you like to do. And you'll be in your own house,
instead of under Squire Boarders and his sharp-spoken wife. Couldn't you
fancy me after a while? I'd do anything you said to make myself
agreeable and fit company for you."

"You are very fit company for me now, Tom," I said, "and you are of a
great deal more use in the world than I am; you know more that is worth
knowing than I do. Only let us be good friends, as we have always been,
and do not talk about anything else."

"I will not talk any more of it now," said he, "if so be it don't please
you, and if you'll promise never to say any more to me about the Mills
gals, or any of them critters down in Catlettsburg,--I can't abide the
sight of them,--and if you'll let me come and see you all the same, and
row you about and take you to the mill when you want flour."

I held out my hand to Tom with the earnest assurance that I always liked
to see him and talk to him, and that there was nobody whom I would
sooner ask to do me a kindness.

The poor fellow choked a little as he thanked me, and then, recovering
himself, rowed a few strokes in silence, when, looking round as if to
assure himself that there was nothing near us but the quiet trees, he
said suddenly,--

"I'll tell you what, Janet, I've a great mind to tell you something,
seeing how you're not a woman that can't hold her tongue, and then you
think so much of Hammond."

I started with a quick sense of alarm, but Tom went doggedly on.

"You know what a hard winter we've had, with this low water and no
January rise, and all that ice in the Ohio. They say they're starving
for coal down in Cincinnati, and here we've no end of it stacked up.
Well, Hammond, he's had hard work enough to keep the men along through
the winter. Many another man would have turned them off, but he wouldn't
do it; so he's shinned here and shinned there to get money to pay them
their wages, and they've had scrip, and we've fairly brought goods up to
the store overland, on horseback and every kind of way, just for their
convenience; and now the damned Irish rascals, with some of the Sandy
boys for leaders, have made up their minds to strike for higher wages
the minute we have a rise, just when we'll need all hands to get the
coal off, and all those boats laying at the mouth, too. I heard it day
before yesterday, by chance like, when Jim Foushee and the two O'Learys
were sitting smoking on the fence behind the store. The O'Learys were
tight with the Redeye they had aboard, and let it out in their stupid
'colloguing,' as they call it; but Jim Foushee saw me standing at the
window, and right away called in two or three of the Sandy men and
threatened my life if I told Hammond. They have watched me like a cat
ever since, and never left me and Hammond alone together. They are with
Hammond now, launching a coal-boat, or I'd never have got off with you."

I sat breathless. I knew it was ruin to let the expected rise pass
without getting the coal-boats down; but what could be done?

"Don't look so pale, Janet. You can tell Hammond, you know, and he'll
find a way to circumvent them. And it was to tell you all this that I
brought you out here this afternoon, only my unlucky tongue would talk
of what I see it's too soon to talk of yet. But here's Louisa, right
ahead. Make haste and get your traps, while I settle my business, and
we'll be back, perhaps, in time for you to manage some way to see
Hammond to-night. Nobody knows you went with me, and you'll never be

Not Tom Salyers's most rapid and vigorous rowing could make our little
skiff keep pace with my impatience; but, thanks to his efforts, the sun
was still high when he landed me in the little cove behind our house,
where I could run up through the woods to our back-door, while he pulled
boldly up to the store-landing and called some of the men to help him
carry his purchases up the bank. I did not stop for a word with my
step-mother, but, passing rapidly through the house, threw my parcels on
the bed in the sitting-room, and, running down the walk to the
maple-tree under which my dug-out was always tied, jumped into it and
sculled out into the river. The coal-boat had just been launched, and
George Hammond was standing on the bank superintending the calking of
the seams which the water made visible. I pushed up to the bank, and
called to him as I neared,--

"Can you not come, Mr. Hammond, a little way up-stream with me? I have
found those young tulip-trees that you want for your garden; they are
just round the bend above Nat's Creek. Jim Foushee will see to that
work, and I have just time to show them to you before supper."

I was a favorite with Jim Foushee. He laughed a joking welcome to me, as
he said,--

"I'll see to this, Sir, if you want to go with Janet Rainsford. She's
the gal that knows the woods. A splendid Sandy wife you'll make some
young fellow, Janet, if you don't get too book-learned."

In five minutes we were off and had rounded the point out of sight and
hearing. In a few hurried words I told my story, but at first Mr.
Hammond would not believe it.

"Those men that I've done so much for and worked so hard for this

At last, convinced, his face set with the determined look that I had
seen on it once or twice before.

"I'll not raise the wages of a single man, and, what's more, I'd turn
them all off the place, if only I could find others. But those boats at
Catlettsburg, they are the most important. The Company would send me up
men from Cincinnati, if only I could get word to them; but these rascals
will stop any letter I send. Those Sandians are capable of it,--or
rather they are capable of putting the Irishmen up to doing their dirty
work for them."

"A letter would be safe, if it once reached Catlettsburg?" I asked.

"Certainly. But how to get it there?"

"I can take it. Nobody will suspect me. Give me the letter to-night, and
I will go to-morrow."

"You, Janet? you are crazy!"

"No, indeed. I often ride to Louisa; what is to hinder me from having
errands to Catlettsburg. I could go down there in one day, and take two
days back, if my father thinks it is too much for old Bill to take it
through in one."

"Oh, you could borrow Swiftfoot. I have often lent him to you, and he
would carry you safely and surely. I don't believe any harm would come
to you, and so much depends upon it."

I turned the skiff decidedly.

"You have only to get your letter ready and give it to me when I come
over in the morning to borrow Swiftfoot. I will take care of all the

And, sculling rapidly, we were at the wharf again before he had time to
raise objections. I knew that I could persuade my mother into letting me
go to Louisa again the next day, for we needed all our spring
purchases,--and once there, it was easy to find it necessary to go to
the mouth. I had never been alone, but often with my father or some of
our hands; besides, I was too well able to take care of myself, too
accustomed to have my own way, to anticipate any anxiety about my not

And so it proved. The next morning saw me mounted on Swiftfoot, the
letter safe in my bosom, and a long list of articles wanted in my
pocket. What a lovely ride that was, with the gentle, spirited horse of
which I was so fond for a companion and my own beautiful forests in all
their loveliest spring green around me, with just enough of mystery and
danger in the expedition to add an exhilarating excitement and with the
happy consciousness that I was doing something for Mr. Hammond, who had
done so much for me, to urge me on! I cantered merrily past Jim
Foushee's cornfield, and, nodding to him, as be stood in the door of his
log-house, I enjoyed telling him that I was going to Louisa on a
shopping expedition. "Should I get anything for him? He could see that
Mr. Hammond had lent me Swiftfoot, so that I should soon be back, if I
could buy all I wanted in Louisa; if not, I did believe I should go on
to Catlettsburg: the ride would be so glorious!"

And glorious it was. I was happy in myself, happy in my thoughts of my
friend, happy in the physical enjoyment of the air, the woods, the sun,
the shade. Let me dwell on that ride. I have not had many happy days,
but that was one which had its fulness of content. And I succeeded in
putting Mr. Hammond's letter into the Catlettsburg post-office, made my
little purchases, and turned my horse's head homeward, reaching the end
of my journey before my father or step-mother had time to be anxious for
me, and having a chance to whisper, "All right," to Tom Salyers, as he
took my horse from me at the door of the store.

The long-expected rise came, and the strike came,--Jim Foushee heading
it, and standing sullen and determined in the midst of his party. Mr.
Hammond was prepared for them. The malcontents came to him in the store,
where he was filling Tom's place; for he had sent Tom to Catlettsburg,
avowedly to prepare the boats there to meet the rise, really to have him
out of the way. Their first word was met coolly enough.

"You will not work another stroke, unless I give you higher wages, I
understand, Foushee? And these men say the same thing? You are their
spokesman? Very well, I am satisfied; you can quit work to-morrow. I
have other hands at the mouth for the boats there, and there is no hurry
about the coal that lies here."

Foushee burst out with an oath,--

"That damned Salyers is the traitor! mean, cowardly rascal!"

But Mr. Hammond would not tell me more of what passed; perhaps he was
afraid of frightening me. This only he told me that night, when thanking
me with glance, voice, and pressure of the hand for all I had done for
him. The blood rushed quick and hot through my veins, I was delirious
with an undreamed-of happiness, which took away from me all power of
answering, of even raising my eyes to his face, and the same delirium
followed me to my pillow. He had called me his friend, his little Janet,
who was so quick and ready, so fertile in invention, so brave in
execution: what should he have done without me? I repeated his words to
myself till they lost all their meaning; they were only replete with
blissful content, and filled me with their music till I dropped asleep
for very weariness in saying them over.

The next morning, before I waked, George Hammond had gone. He had left
for Catlettsburg to direct the new hands. The works lay idle, the men
(those who had been dismissed) lounged around gloomy and sullen, and so
passed the week. Then came the news that Mr. Hammond and Tom Salyers had
gone to Cincinnati, and would not return for the present, and that such
men as were satisfied with the former wages were to be put to work
again. Readily did the miners come back to their duty, all but a few of
the Sandy men, who returned to their own homes, and all fell into the
usual train.

And I? There was first the calm sense of happy security, then the
impatience to test again its reality, then the longing homesickness of
the heart. As weeks passed on and I saw nothing of him, as I heard of
his protracted stay, as I saw Miss Hammond make her preparations to join
him, as I watched the boat which carried her away, my sense of
loneliness became too heavy for me, and the same pillow on which I had
known those happy slumbers was wet with tears of bitter despondency.

And yet I understood neither the happiness nor the tears. I did not know
(how should I?) what were the new feelings which made my heart beat at
George Hammond's name. I did not know why I yearned towards his sister
with a warmth of love that would fain show itself in kindly word or
deed. I did not know why the news that he was coming again, which
greeted me after long weeks of weariness, brightened with joyful
radiance everything that I saw, and glorified the aspect of my little
garret, as I had seen a brilliant bunch of flowers glorify and refine
with a light of beauty the every-day ugliness of our sitting-room.

I sang my merriest songs that night, and my feet kept time to their
music in almost dancing measures. The next day, yes, by noon, he would
be at home. I could see his boat land from my little window, and then,
giving Miss Hammond time to be safely housed, I would row myself over to
the store and meet him there. How much I should have to tell him, how
much to hear!

The morning came, and with it came a nervous bashfulness. I should never
dare to go over to see him. No, I would wait quietly until night, when
he would surely come himself to see me. Still I could watch his boat.
And nervously did I stand, my face pressed against the window-pane,
through the long morning hours, my sewing dropped neglected in my lap at
the risk of a scolding from my mother, watching the slow-passing river,
and the leaves hanging motionless over it in the stillness of the summer
noon. At last there was a stir on the opposite shore. Yes, the boat must
be in sight; I could even hear the shouts of the boatmen; and there,
rounding the bluff, she was; there, too, was Mr. Hammond in the stern,
with the rudder in his hand; there sat Miss Hammond, book in hand, with
her usual look of listless disdain. But whose was that girlish face
raised towards Mr. Hammond, while he pointed out so eagerly the
surrounding objects? whose that slight, girlish figure crowned with the
light garden-hat, with its wealth of golden hair escaping from under it?

A sharp pang shot through me. Some one was coming to disturb my happy
hours with my teacher and friend; and the chill of disappointment was on
me already. I saw the boat land, saw George Hammond assist carefully
every step of the strange girl, saw an elderly gentleman step also upon
the bank and give his hand to Miss Hammond, and in two minutes the trees
of the landing hid them from my sight.

And how slowly went the hours of that afternoon! how nervously I
listened to every tread, to every click of the gate! nay, my sharpened
hearing took note of every sway of the branches. But the day passed, the
night, and no one came. The next morning brought with it an impatience
which mastered me. I _must_ go, I must see him, and in five minutes I
was pushing my boat from its cove under the water-maple.

But I needed not to have left my room; my visit would be useless; for,
lifting my eyes, as my boat came out from under the leaves, there, on
the path by the river-side opposite, I saw the strange lady mounted on
Swiftfoot, her light figure set off by a cloth riding-habit such as I
had never seen before, the graceful folds of which struck me even then
with a sense of beauty and fitness. I could even distinguish the golden
curls again, which fell close on George Hammond's face, as he stood by
her side arranging her stirrup, his own horse's bridle over his arm. A
backward motion of the oar sent my boat under the branches again, and I
sat motionless, watching them as they rode away.

Two hours afterward they stopped at our gate, and I heard George
Hammond's voice calling me. The blood rushed to my forehead. Had I been
alone, I would not have heard; but my mother was in the room, and I had
no excuse for not going forward. He leaned from his horse and shook
hands cordially, while, at the same time, he said,--

"I have brought Miss Worthington to see you, Janet. She has heard so
much of your kindness to me, and of your courage last spring, that she
was anxious to know you.

"This is Janet Rainsford, Amy," he continued, turning to her.

The lovely, bright young face was bent towards me, the tiny hand
stretched out to mine, and I heard a gentle voice say,--

"Mr. Hammond has told me so much of you, Janet, (I may call you Janet,
may I not?) that I was determined to come and see you. I hope we shall
know each other."

A great fear seized me then,--a fear which seemed to clutch my heart and
stop its beatings, leaving me without any power of reply. I only
stammered a few words, and Mr. Hammond, pitying what he thought my
bashfulness, rode on with a nod of farewell and some words, I could not
take in their sense, which seemed to be requests that I would teach Miss
Worthington all that I knew of the woods and the country.

I sat down with a stunned feeling, dizzied with the knowledge that
seemed to blaze upon me with that horrid fear. Yes, I knew now what it
all meant,--the happiness, the loneliness of the past weeks, the
shrinking bashfulness of yesterday morning, and the chill that fell upon
me when I first saw the stranger in the boat.

I loved George Hammond,--I, the country-girl, without one beauty, one
accomplishment, so ignorant, so beneath him. I had been fool enough to
fling away my heart,--and now, now that it was gone from me, there came
this terrible fear. What was this young girl to him? Were my intuitions
right? Did he love her? Would she take him away from me? take away even
that poor friendship which was all I asked?

That night,--I cannot tell of it,--the rapid, wearying walk from side to
side of my little garret, the despairing flinging myself on the bed, the
restlessness that would bring me to my feet again, the pressing my hot
face against the cool window-pane, the convulsive sobs with which the
struggle ended, the heavy, unrefreshing sleep that came at last, and the
dull wakening in the morning, when nothing seemed left about my heart
but a dead weight of insensibility. But with the brightening hours came
again the restlessness. I would at least know the worst; let me face all
my wretchedness; it could not be but strength would come to me when the
worst was over.

And so I went doggedly through my morning tasks, and the early afternoon
saw me at the store. I would not go to Miss Hammond's house, but I was
sure to hear something of the new-comers among the gossiping miners and
workmen,--or, if not there, I had only to drop into some of the
cottages, to learn from their wives all that they knew or imagined. How
little I learned,--how little compared to what my fierce, craving heart

"Miss Worthington was here with her father; they had come to see the
mines, so they said; but who knows the truth? More like it was to be a
wedding between the young folks, and the father wanted to see the Sandy
country before he let his daughter come into it. She was a sweet-spoken
young thing,--not like Miss Hammond, with her proud, quality airs."

But all this was only conjecture, and I must have certainty. The
certainty came that evening. Mr. Hammond passed the store as I was
standing by the counter, and insisted that I should go home to tea with
him. I had often done so before, and had no excuse, even when he said,--

"I want so much to make Miss Worthington like our Sandy people, Janet. I
want her father to see that there are people worth knowing even here.
You will tell her of all the pleasures we have,--our walks, our rides.
You cannot be afraid of her, dear Janet,--she is so gentle, so lovely."

A strange feeling seized me, one mingled of gentleness and bitterness.
Yes, for his sake, I would help him. I would do all I could to welcome
to his home her who was to be its blessing, and (here my good angel left
me and some evil one whispered) I would show her, too, that I was not so
altogether to be contemned; she should see that I was not merely the
poor country-girl she thought me. And all I had of thought or feeling,
all that George Hammond had called my inborn poetry, came out that
evening. I talked, I talked well, for I was talking of what I
understood,--of my own forests and streams, of the flowers whose haunts
I knew so well, of the changing seasons in their varying beauty,--nay,
as I gained courage, as I saw that I commanded attention, the books that
I had read so well, the thoughts of those great writers that I had made
my own, came to my aid, and quotation and allusion pressed readily to my

I saw Esther Hammond's cold look fixed upon my face, but I dared it back
again, and my color rose and my eye sparkled from the excitement. I felt
my triumph when I saw the surprise on Mr. Hammond's face, when I heard
the patronizing tone of Mr. Worthington's voice changed to one of
equality, as he said,--

"You are a worthy champion of Sandy life, Miss Janet. I believe Amy will
be tempted to try it."

There was a quick blush on Amy's face as I turned to look at it, and a
glance of proud affection towards her from George Hammond, which took
away my false strength as I stood, leaving me, weak and trembling, to
seek my home in the evening twilight.

That evening's short-lived triumph cost me dear. It betrayed my scarcely
self-acknowledged secret to another. Miss Hammond's woman's-eye had read
the poor fool who laid her heart open before her. I was made to feel my
weakness before her the next morning, when, walking into our kitchen,
she asked, with her hard, yet dignified calmness, that I should gather
for her some of the Summer Sweetings that hung so thick on the tree
behind our house.

She followed me to the orchard. I gathered the apples diligently and
spoke no word, but not for that did I escape. She stood calmly looking
on till I had finished, then began with that terrible opening from which
we all shrink.

"I should like to speak to you a few moments, Janet."

I quailed before her, for I had somehow a perception of what she was
going to say, though I scarcely dreamed of the hardness with which it
would by said. The blow came, however.

"My brother has been in the habit of taking notice of you ever since he
has been on the Sandy, and he has been of great advantage to you; but
you must be aware that such notice as he gave you when you were a mere
child cannot be continued now that you are a woman."

I bowed my head, and my lips formed something like a "Yes."

She went on.

"I say this to you because I was surprised to find by your behavior last
night that you had allowed yourself to presume upon that notice, and I
do not suppose you know how unbecoming this is, from a person in your
position, especially before Miss Worthington."

I was stung into a reply.

"What is Miss Worthington to me?" came out sullenly from my lips.

"Nothing to you, certainly, nor can she ever be; but as the future wife
of my brother, she is something to me."

It was true, then; but so fully had I felt the truth before that this
certainty gave me no added pang. From its very depths of despair I drew
strength, and, my courage rising, I had power even to look full at Miss
Hammond, and say,--

"You may be sure I shall never intrude myself on Mr. Hammond's wife or
sister, nor upon him, unless he desires it, except, indeed, to wish him

My unexpected calmness roused her worst feelings, her pride, her
jealousy, and, with a woman's keen aim, she sent the next dart home. So
calmly she spoke, too, with such command of herself,--with a lady-like
self-control that I, alas! knew not how to reach.

"I am happy to hear you say so, for there have been times when your
singular manner has made me fear that you nourished some very false and
idle dreams,--follies that I have sometimes thought it my duty as a
woman to warn you against"; and with one keen look at my burning face,
she took up the basket and walked away.

I think at that moment I could have killed her, so bitter was the hatred
which I felt towards her; but the next brought its crushing shame,
taking away from me all but the desire to hide myself from every eye.
Where should I go? Somewhere where nobody could find me, where I could
be insured perfect solitude. It was not difficult to bury myself in the
forest that pressed around me on every side, and a few minutes saw me
struggling with the embarrassments of the tangled vines which obstructed
the path up our steepest hill. There was in the very difficulties to be
overcome something that seemed to bring me relief; they forced my mind
from myself. On, on I went, as if my life depended upon my struggles,
till, breathless and utterly exhausted, I had reached the top of the
hill, the highest point for miles around.

I sank down on the cool grass, the fresh wind blowing on my face, and,
too wearied to think, shut my eyes against the beautiful Nature around
me, alive only to my own overpowering misery. How long I lay there I
never knew. I was safe and alone. I could be wretched as I pleased, away
from Miss Hammond's mocking eye, away from the sight of George Hammond's
happiness. But, strangely enough, out of the very freedom to be
miserable came at last a sense of relief. I looked my wretchedness full
in the face. Could I not bear it? And there rose within me a strength I
had not known before. I was young, I had a long life before me; it could
not be but that this great sorrow would pass away. At least, I would not
nourish it. I would do what I could to help myself. Help _myself_! For
the first time in my life I put up an earnest prayer for help out of
myself. The words, coming as such words come but few times in life, out
from the very depths of the heart, brought with them their softening
influence. The tears sprung forth, those tears which I thought I should
never shed again, and I burst into a passionate fit of crying, the
passionate crying of a child. It shook me from head to foot with its
hysterical convulsions, but it left me at last calmer, soothed into
stillness, with only now and then those choking after-sobs which I,
child like, sent forth there on the bosom of the only mother I had ever
known,--our kindly mother Earth.

The sun was going down when I rose up, soothed and comforted, and
strengthened, too, for a time. I would do what I could. I would live
down this grief: how I knew not, but the way would come to me. And
gathering up my hair, which had fallen around me, I stopped, on my way
home, by a running stream, and bathed my eyes and forehead until I was
fit to appear before my step-mother. She did not question me; she was
too used to my unexplained absences since I had grown out of her
control. Sufficient for her that my tasks were always performed;
sufficient for her, that, that very evening, I threw myself with an
apparently untiring energy into the household work,--that I never rested
a moment till she herself closed the house and insisted that I should go
to bed. I slept that night,--after such fatigue, it was impossible but
that I should,--and woke in the morning with a renewed determination to
struggle against my sorrow.

Alas! alas! I thought I had only to resolve. I thought the struggle
would be but once. How little I knew of the daily, almost hourly,
changes of feeling,--of the despondency, the despair, that would come, I
knew not why, directly upon my most earnest resolves, my hardest
struggles,--of the weakness that would make me at times give up all
struggling as useless,--of the mad hope that would sometimes arise that
something, some outward change, I did not dare to say what, would bring
me some relief!

I had at least the courage to keep away from the sight of all that was
so miserable to me. I did not see George Hammond for weeks, and he--ah!
there was the bitterness--he did not miss me.

And so the weary days went on. It is wonderful what endurance there is
in a young heart,--for how long a time it can beat off suffering all day
by unceasing labor, and lie awake all night with that same suffering for
a bedfellow, and still make no sign that a careless eye can see I look
at that time now with wonder. How did I bear that constant occupation by
day, alternated only with those sleepless nights, without breaking down
entirely? The crisis came at last,--a sort of stupor, a cessation of
suffering indeed, but a cessation, too, of all feeling. I was frightened
at myself. Alas! I had no one to be frightened for me. Could it be that
I was going to lose my senses? But no, I passed through that too, and
then came a more natural state of mind than any I had known since the
blow fell.

My suffering self seemed like something apart from me, which I could
pity and help, could counsel and act for, and this one thing became
clear to me. Some change of scene was necessary to me. I could never go
on so; it was idle to attempt it. I could not live any longer face to
face with my grief. There was the whole world before me. Was it not
possible to go out into it? I had health, strength, ability, I was sure
of it. How often before had I dreamed over the seeking my fortune in
that world which looked to me then so full of excitement! Nothing had
held me back then but the clinging to home-pleasures, to
home-enjoyments, to home-comforts, poor as they were,--nothing but the
sense of safety, of protection. What were these to me now? I cared
nothing for them. I only asked to be away from all that reminded me of
my suffering, to be so forced to struggle with external difficulties as
to have no thought for myself. I did not want to love anybody; I would
rather have nobody care for me. I would go. The only question was how.

A few days and nights of thought solved the problem for me, and, once
roused to action, I took my steps rapidly and well. The first thing
necessary was money, money enough to take me away, and to support me
until I could find employment; and the means of attaining it were
within my reach. I owned a watch that had been my mother's, a pretty
trinket, though somewhat old-fashioned, and which had often excited the
envy of the young wife of one of the head miners. I knew that her
husband was flush of money just then, for he had drawn his wages only
the week before,--and I knew, too, that he would give me a good price
for my watch, were it only to gratify the bride to whom he had as yet
denied nothing.

The sale was made at once. I do not know if I got anything like the
value of the watch, but the next day saw me with fifty dollars in my
pocket, a small bundle, made up from the most available part of my
wardrobe, under my arm, prepared to walk to Louisa, avowedly to buy
supplies, but with the secret determination to meet there the coal-boats
which were bound for the mouth, ask a passage on them as far as
Catlettsburg, and there take the first steamer that passed, and let it
carry me whither it would.

There was no pause of regret, no delay for parting looks or words; from
the moment that I had made up my mind to go, I felt nothing but a
desperate eagerness to be away, to be in action. The few words necessary
to prepare my step-mother for my ostensible errand were soon said, the
good-morning calmly spoken, and I passed into the forest-path leading to
the town. A pang smote me as I remembered her conscientious discharge of
duty toward me for so many years; but it was duty, not love, that had
urged her, and while I said that to myself, I said, too, that time would
bring to me the opportunity of repaying her.

Toward the settlement on the opposite shore I turned no look. I would
not trust myself; I knew my own weakness too well; this desperate energy
which was carrying me on now would fail, if I allowed my heart one
moment's indulgence. Steadily I walked on through the woods, my own
woods, which, perhaps, I should never see again, till, wearied out by
the exertion, which had precluded thought, I saw the houses of Louisa
rise before me.

The boats lay at the fork above the town. I had informed myself of their
movements, and knew they were to start at noon. A few inquiries for
groceries and so forth, where I know they could not be gotten, gave me
an excuse for the proposition to the captain of the boats to give me a
passage to Catlettsburg. It was readily granted, and the crew, most of
them Sandy men, put up a rough awning, and, spreading under it some
blankets, did their kind uttermost to make me comfortable.

I remember now, as one looks back into a dream, the afternoon and night
that passed before we reached Catlettsburg. I lay perfectly quiet,
watching the shadowy trees as we glided past them, noting their varied
reflections in the water, marking every peculiarity of shore and stream,
hearing the jests and laughter, the words of command and the oaths, that
went round among the boatmen; but all passed as something with which I
had nothing to do. To me there was the burning desire to put a great
distance between myself and my home,--but with it, too, the
consciousness, that, as I could do nothing to expedite our slow
progress, so neither could I afford to waste upon it in impatient
restlessness the strength which would be so much needed afterwards. The
men brought me a cup of coffee from their supper, which gave me strength
for the night. The biscuit I could not taste.

But how long was that night! how tedious the summer dawn! and how slowly
went the hours till we brought up our boats at the landing at

I had formed my plans; so, telling the captain that I might perhaps want
to go back with him, I hurried into the town. A steamboat lay by the
wharf-boat. "The Bostona, for Cincinnati," said the board displayed over
her upper railing. She was to leave at eight o'clock. I walked about the
town till half-past seven; then, returning to the coal-boats, gave to
the man left in charge a letter I had prepared, in which I told my
step-mother, in as few words as possible, that I wanted to see something
of the world, and had determined to go for a time either to Cincinnati
or to Pittsburg,--that I begged her not to be uneasy about me, I had
sold my watch, and had money enough for the present; she should hear
from me in due time. The man took the letter, with some remark on my not
returning with them, and, with a quiet good-day, I left him and walked
rapidly toward the steamer. The plank was laid from the wharf-boat, and,
without daring to hesitate, I walked over it.

It was done. I was fairly separated from everything I had ever known
before; everything now was new to me; I was ignorant of all around me;
each step might be a mistake. I felt this, when a porter, stepping
forward and taking my bundle, asked me if I would have a state-room.
What was a state-room? I did not know, but saying, "Yes," with a
desperate feeling that it might as well be "yes" as "no," I was led back
to the ladies' cabin, a key was turned in one of an infinite number of
little doors, and I was ushered into what looked to me like a closet,
with shelves made to take the place of beds. Here at least I was alone,
and here I could be alone till dinner-time; till then there was no call
for action on my part.

And how precious seemed to me every hour of rest! Singularly enough, my
great sorrow did not come back to me in those pauses of action. I seemed
then to be entirely absorbed in gathering strength for the next
occasion; my grief was put away for the future, when there would come to
me the time to indulge it.

So I lay quiet during that morning, looking sometimes through my little
window at the passing shore, listening sometimes to the loud talking in
the cabin, sometimes to the noises on the boat, wondering if all those
strange creakings and shakings could be right, but finding a sense of
security in my very ignorance. Dinner came, and in the course of it I
found courage to ask the captain, at whose right hand I was placed, what
time we should reach Cincinnati. "Not till after breakfast," was his
welcome answer; for I had been haunted by a dread of being set adrift in
a great city in the middle of the night, when I might perhaps fall into
some den of thieves. I had read of such things in my books. This gave me
still the afternoon before it would be necessary to think, some hours
more in which to rest mind and body.

The night came at last, and I must decide what step to take next, that,
my mind made up, I might perhaps get some sleep. I turned restlessly in
my narrow bed, got up, and stood at the window, tried first the upper
shelf, and then the lower, but no possible plan presented itself. I
still saw before me that terrible city where I should be ten times
lonelier than in the midst of our forests, where I should make mistakes
at every turn, where I should not know one face out of the many
thousands that crowded upon my nervous fancy. I seemed to be afraid of
nothing but human beings, and, at the thought of encountering them, my
woman's heart gave way. In vain I reasoned with myself, "I shall not see
all Cincinnati at once,--not more at one time, perhaps, than I saw
to-day at dinner." Still came up those endless streets, all filled with
strange faces; still I saw myself pushed, jostled, by a succession of
men and women who cared nothing for me. Suddenly came the thought, "Tom
Salyers is in Cincinnati. There is one person there that I know. If I
could only find him, he would take care of me till I knew how to take
care of myself."

There came no remembrance of our last conversation to check my eager
joy. Indeed, it had never made much impression upon me, followed as it
had been by so much of nearer interest. I set myself to reflect on the
means of finding him. He had gone down in the employ of the coal
company. The captain could tell me where to look for him, and, satisfied
with that, I laid my weary head on my pillow.

The next morning at breakfast I gained the needed information. "Did I
want to find one of the men in Mr. Hammond's employment? I must go to
the coal-yard"; and the direction was written out for me.

And now we neared the city. I stood on the guards and looked wondering
at the steamboats that lined the river-bank, at the long rows of houses
that stretched before me, the tall chimneys vomiting smoke which
obscured the surrounding hills, at the crowd of men and drays on the
landing through which I was to make my way; but my courage rose with the
occasion, and, stepping resolutely from the plank, I walked up the hill
and stood among the warehouses. I had been told to "turn to the right
and take the first street, I could not miss my way"; but somehow I did
miss my way again and again, and wandered weary and bewildered, not
daring at first to ask for directions, till, gathering strength from my
very weariness, I at last saw before me the welcome sign. It was
something like home to see it; the familiar names cheered me while they
moved me. I entered the office trembling with a wild dread lest I should
meet Mr. Hammond there, but the sight of a stranger's face at the desk
gave me courage to ask for Tom Salyers.

"He is in the yard now. Here, Jim, tell Salyers there's a person"--he
hesitated--"a lady wants to see him."

I sat down in a chair which was luckily near me, for my knees trembled
so that I could not stand, and as the door opened and Tom's familiar
face was before me, my whole composure gave way and I burst into a
violent fit of crying.

"Janet! is it you? For Heaven's sake, what is the matter?"

But I could only sob in answer.

"Has anything happened up Sandy? Did you come for me?"

The poor fellow leaned over me, his face pale with surprise and

"Take me out of here," was all I could muster composure enough to say.

He opened the door, and I escaped into the open air. We walked side by
side through the streets, he silently respecting my agitation with a
delicacy for which I had not given him credit, and I struggling to grow
calm. At last he opened a little side-gate.

"Come in here, Janet; we shall be quiet here."

And I entered a sort of garden: the grounds belonging to the city
waterworks I have since known them to be. We sat down on a bench that
overlooked the Kentucky hills. I love the seat now. I think the sight of
the familiar fields and trees calmed me, and I was able at last to
answer Tom's anxious questions.

"It is nothing; indeed, it is nothing. I am a foolish coward, and I was
frightened walking through the city, and then the sight of a home-face
upset me."

"But, Janet, why are you here? Is anything wrong about the works, the
men? Did Mr. Hammond send you down?"

"No, indeed, no! it was only a fancy of mine to see the world. I am
tired of that lonely life, and you know I am not needed there. My mother
can get along without me, and I am only a burden to my father."

"Not needed? Why, Janet, what will the Sandy country be without you?"

My eyes filled up with tears again.

"Don't ask me any more questions, dear Tom; only help me for a little
while, till I can help myself. I want to earn my living somehow, but I
have money enough to live upon till I can find something to do. Only
find me a place to stay quietly in while I am looking for work. You are
the only person I know in this great city; and who will help me, if you
do not?"

"You know I will help you with my whole heart and soul, Janet," he said,
his voice faltering.

I looked up, and in one moment rushed back upon me the remembrance of
his words that day in the boat, and I stood aghast at the new trouble
that seemed to rise before me. My voice must have changed as I said,--

"I only want you to find me a place to live in; I can take care of
myself"; for his countenance fell, and he sat silent for some moments.

At last he spoke:--

"I know I cannot do much, Janet, but what I can I will. And, first, I
will take you to the house of a widow-woman who has a room to let; one
of our men wanted me to take it, but it was too far from my work. I went
to see the place, though, and it is quiet and respectable; the woman
looks kind, too. Would you walk slowly down the street, while I go to
the office and get my coat?"--he was in his working-dress,--"and then
I'll join you."

I got up, feeling that I had chilled him in some way, and reproaching
myself for it. When he rejoined me, we walked silently on, till, after
many a turning, we found ourselves in a narrow, quiet street, before a
small house, with a tiny yard in front. I do not know how the matter was
arranged; he did it all for me. There was the introducing me to a
motherly-looking person, as a friend of his from the country; the going
up a narrow staircase to look at a small room of which all that could be
said was that it was neat and clean; the bargaining for my board, in
which I was obliged to answer "Yes" and "No" as I could best follow his
lead; and then Tom left me with a shake of the hand, and the advice that
I should lie down and rest after my tedious journey; he would see me
again in the evening.

The quiet dinner with my landlady, the afternoon rest, the fresh toilet,
the sort of home-feeling that my room already gave me, all did their
part towards bringing back my usual composure before Tom came in the
evening; and then, sitting by the window in the little parlor, I could
talk rationally of my plans for the future.

I had money enough for twelve weeks' board, even if I reserved ten
dollars for other expenses. Surely, in that time I could find something
to do. And as to what I should do, I had thought that all over before I
left home. I might find some sewing, or tend in a store, or,
perhaps,--did he think I could?--I might keep school.

Tom would not hear of my sewing. He knew poor girls that worked their
lives out at that. I might tend in a store, if I pleased, but still he
did not believe I would like to be tied to one place for twelve hours in
the day. Why shouldn't I keep school? he was sure I knew enough, I was
so smart, and had read so many books.

I shook my head. I did not believe the books I had read were the kind
that school-mistresses studied. Still, I could learn, and certainly I
might begin by teaching little children. But where was I to begin?

"If only we knew some gentleman, Janet, some city-man, who knew what to
do about such things."

Suddenly a thought struck me.

"Tom, do you remember those gentlemen who came up to look at the coal
mines when they were first opened? One of them stayed at our house two
nights, and saw my books, and talked to me about them. Mr. Kendall was
his name."

"That's the very man; and a kind-hearted gentleman he seemed, not stuck
up or proud. I'll find him out for you, Janet, to-morrow; but there's no
need of your hurrying yourself about going to work. You must see the
city and the sights."

And Tom grew enthusiastic in describing to me all that was to be seen in
this wonderful place.

Tom had altered, had improved in appearance and manners, since he had
known something of city-life. I could not tell wherein the change lay,
but I felt it. He told me of himself,--of his rising to be head-man, a
sort of overseer, in the coal-yard,--of his good wages,--of some
investments that he had made which had brought him in good returns.

"So you see, Janet, that, even if you were not so rich yourself, I have
plenty of money at your service."

I thanked him most heartily, and roused myself to show some interest in
all that concerned him.

So passed the rest of the week,--quiet days with my landlady, or in my
room, where I busied myself in putting my wardrobe into better shape
under the direction of Mrs. Barnum, and quiet walks and talks in the
evening with Tom Salyers. It was evident that he was not satisfied with
my alleged motives for leaving home, but I so steadily avoided all
conversation on this point that he learned to respect my silence. On
Sunday he told me he had found out who Mr. Kendall was.

"One of the stockholders of the Company, and a good man, they say. I'll
go to him to-morrow, if you say so, Janet, and ask him anything you want
to know."

"No, Tom, I shall go myself. It is my business, and I must not let you
do so much for me. If you will go with me, though,"--I added.

And so the next morning saw us at Mr. Kendall's counting-room. It was
before business-hours: we had cared for that. We found Mr. Kendall
sitting leisurely over his papers, his feet up and his spectacles pushed
back. I had been nervous enough during the walk, but a glance at his
face reassured me. It was a good, a fatherly face, full of _bonhommie_,
but showing, withal, a spice of business-shrewdness. I left Tom standing
at the counting-room door, and, taking my fate in my own hands, walked
forward and made myself known.

"Oh, yes! the little girl that Hammond thought so much of, that he talks
about so often when he is down here. He thinks a school or two would
bring the Sandy people out, and holds you up as an example; but, for my
part, I think you are an exception. There are not many of them that one
could do much with."

I turned quickly.

"This is Tom Salyers, Sir, head-workman, overseer, at your coal-yard,
and he is a Sandy man."

Mr. Kendall laughed.

"I see I must not say anything against the Sandy country; nor need I
just now. Walk in, Mr. Salyers. So, Miss Janet, you have come down to
seek your fortune, earn your living, you say. I suppose Hammond sent you
to me. Did you bring me a letter from him?"

I hesitated.

"No, Sir. Mr. Hammond was so much occupied when I came away that I had
not seen him for a day or two. He has friends staying with him."

"True enough. Mr. Worthington has gone up there with his pretty daughter
to see whether he can allow her to bury herself in the country. You saw
Miss Worthington? Will she be popular among your people when she is Mrs.

I caught a glimpse of Tom's face, and felt myself turning pale as I
answered, with a composure that did not seem to come from my own

"Miss Worthington is a very pleasant-spoken young lady. The people will
like her, because she seems to care for them, just as Mr. Hammond does.
But do you think, Sir, that you could put me in the way of teaching
school? Could I learn how to do it?"

"Well, I am just the right person to come to, Miss Janet, for the people
have put me on the School Board, and--yes, we shall want some teachers
next month in two of the primary departments. Could you wait a month?
You might be studying up for your examination; it's not much, but it'll
not hurt you to go over their arithmetics and grammars. And I must write
to Hammond to-day about some business of the Company. I'll ask him about
your qualifications, and what he thinks of it, and we'll see what can be
done. I should not wonder if I could get you a place."

Mr. Kendall shook hands with us both; and, bidding him good-morning,
with many thanks for his kindness, we went out. We walked a square
silently. Suddenly Tom turned to me:--

"You did not tell me, Janet, of this young lady."


"And is Mr. Hammond going to marry her?"

The blood rushed to my face, till it was crimson to the very hair, while
I stammered,--

"I do not know,--you heard Mr. Kendall."

Tom's voice was as gentle as a mother's in answer, but his words had
little to do with the subject, they were almost as incoherent as
mine,--something about his hoping I would like living in Cincinnati,
that teaching would not be too tiresome for me. But from that moment
George Hammond's name was never mentioned between us.

I wrote that day to my step-mother, telling her of my plans and
prospects, and that evening Tom brought me the needed school-books. He
had found them by asking some of the men at the yard whose children went
to the public schools, and to the study of them I sat down with a
determination that no slight difficulty could subdue. The next week
brought a long, kind letter from Mr. Hammond, scolding me for going as I
did, and declaring that he missed me every day.

"But more than all shall I miss you, Janet, when I bring Miss
Worthington back as my wife; I had depended so upon you as a companion
for her. But still it is a good thing for you to see something of the
world, and you are bright enough to do anything you set out to do. I
have written to Mr. Kendall to do all he can for you, and with Tom to
take care of you I am sure you will get along. I begin to suspect that
your going away was a thing contrived between Tom and yourself. Who
knows how soon he may bring you back among us to show the Sandy farmers'
wives how to live more comfortably than some of them do? Tom has a very
pretty place below the mouth of Blackberry, if you would only show him
how to take care of it."

There was comfort in this letter, in spite of the tears it caused me. My
secret was safe. Miss Hammond had not been so cruel, so traitorous to
her sex, as to betray it. If she had not told it now, she never would
tell it, and Tom, if he suspected it, was too good, too noble, to
whisper it even to himself. So I laid away my letter, and with a lighter
heart turned again to my tasks.

And now three months have passed, for two of which I have been teaching.
There are difficulties, yes, and there is hard work; but I can manage
the children. I have the tact, the character, the gift, that nameless
something which gives one person control over others; and for the
studies, they are as yet a pleasure to me. I see how they will lead me
on to other knowledge, how I may bring into form and make available my
desultory reading, and there is a great pleasure in the very study
itself. And for the rest, if my great grief is never out of my mind, if
it is always present to me, at least I can put it back, behind my daily
occupations and interests. I begin, too, to see dimly that there are
other things in life for a woman to whom the light of life is denied. My
heart will always be lonely; but how much there is to live for in my
mind, my tastes, my love for the beautiful! My little room has taken
another aspect. I have so few wants that I can readily devote part of my
earnings to gratifying myself with books, pictures. Such lovely prints
as I find in the print-shops! and the flowers--Tom Salyers, who is as
kind as a brother, brings me them from the market. And then everything
is so new to me; there is so much in life to see, to know. No, I will
not be unhappy; happy I suppose I can never be, but I have strength and
courage, and a will to rise above this sorrow which once crushed me to
the ground. When I wrote the bitter words with which this record begins,
I wronged the kind hearts that are around me, I lacked faith in that
world wherein I have found help and comfort.

       *       *       *       *       *




The notion that Painting and Sculpture are concerned only with the
"imitation of Nature,"--that is, with copying the forms and colors of
existing things,--though so often expelled, as it were, with a
pitchfork, persistently recurs, not only in popular talk, but in
deliberate criticism, and in the practice of artists. There are periods
when this notion gets the upperhand, as at the end of the fifteenth
century, and again at the end of the eighteenth, when Rousseau
prescribed a return to Nature as the panacea for all defect, in Art as
elsewhere. Then Winckelmann and his successors triumphed over it for a
while,--showed at least the crudity of that statement. This is the
purpose of much of Sir Joshua Reynolds's lectures. Now it seems to be
coming up again,--thanks partly to Mr. Ruskin, though he might be quoted
on both sides,--and this time with some prospect of demonstrating, by
the aid of photography, what it does in fact amount to.

It is a very general opinion that photography has made painting
superfluous,--or, at least, that it will do so as soon as further
improvements in the process shall enable it to render color as well as
light and shade. And our artists seem to give in to this view, in the
deference they show to the subject, as if it mattered not so much what
it was, or how, as that it is _there_,--a pious tenderness towards barns
and rail-fences and stone walls and the confused monotony of the forest,
not as having any special fitness, not as beautiful, but because they
exist,--a scrupulous anxiety to give the every-day look of the objects
they portray, as any passer-by would see them, free from any distorting
personality. To do them justice, however, this submissiveness to the
matter-of-fact, with the more gifted at least, is a virtue that is
praised and starves. They do it lip-service, and suppose themselves
loyal; but when they come to paint, they are under a spell that does not
allow them to see in things only material qualities, but, without any
violence to Nature, raises it to a higher plane, where other values and
other connections prevail. Art, where it exists to any serious purpose,
follows Nature, but not the natural,--according to Raphael's maxim, that
"the artist's aim is to make things not as Nature makes them, but as she
intends them."

But these audacities, though they make their own excuse in the work
itself, do not pass in a statement without cavil at the arrogance that
would exalt the work of men's hands above the work of God. Shall we
strive with our pigments to outshine the sun, or teach the secrets of
form to the cunning Artificer by whom the world was made? What room for
Art, except as the feeble reflex of the splendors of the actual world?

But if that be all, how to account for the existence of Art as distinct
from upholstery? Why pile our mole-hills by the side of the mountains?
We can see the landscape itself any day;--whence this extraordinary
interest in seeing a bit of it painted,--except, indeed, as furniture
for the drawing-room, to be ordered with the frame at so much the yard
from the picture-dealer?

The root of the difficulty lies in this slippery phrase, Nature. We talk
of the facts of Nature, meaning the existence now and here of the hills,
sky, trees, etc., as if these were fixed quantities,--as if a house or a
tree must be the same at all times and to everybody. But in a child's
drawing we see that these things are not the same to us and to him. He
is careful to give the doors and windows, the chimneys with their smoke,
the lines of the fence, and the walk in front; he insists on the
divisions of the bricks and the window-panes: but for what is
characteristic and essential he has no eye. He gives what the house is
to him, merely _a house_ in general, any house; it would not help it,
but only make the defect more prominent, to straighten and complete the
lines. An artist, with fewer and more careless lines, would give more of
what we see in it; and if he be a man of high power, he may teach us in
turn the limitation of our seeing, by showing that the vague,
half-defined sentiment that attaches to it has also a visible
expression, if we knew where to look for it.

We hear people say they know nothing of Art, but that they can judge as
well as anybody whether a picture is like Nature or not. No doubt
Giotto's contemporaries thought so, too, and they were grown men, with
senses as good as ours; but we smile when Boccaccio says, "There was
nothing in Nature that Giotto could not depict, whether with the pencil,
the pen, or the brush, so like that it seemed not merely like, but the
thing itself." We smile superior, but Giotto had as keen an eye and as
ready a hand as any man since. The lesson is, that we, too, have not
come to the end of even the most familiar objects, but that to another
age our view of them may seem as queer as his seems to us. For the facts
in Nature are not fixed, but transcendental quantities, and their value
depends on the use that is made of them. It is in this direction that
the artist's genius avails; his skill in execution is secondary and
incidental. The measure of his ability is the depth to which he has
penetrated the world of matter, not the number or the accuracy of his
facts. Every landscape wears many faces, as many as there are men and
different moods of the same man. To one the forest is so many cords of
wood; to another, an arboretum; to another, a workshop or a museum; to
another, a poem. What each sees is there; the forest exists for beauty
and for firewood, and lends itself indifferently to either use.

Nature wears this air of impartiality, because her figures are only
zeros, deriving all their significance from their position. We do not
require a like impartiality in the artist, because what he is to give is
not Nature, but what Nature inspires. His endeavor to be impartial would
result only in giving us his opinions or the opinions of others, instead
of the utterance of the oracle. For Nature hides her secret, not by
silence, but in a Babel of sweet voices, heard by each according to the
fineness of his sense: by one as mere noise, by another as a jangle of
pleasing sounds, by the artist as harmony. They are all of them Nature's
voices;--he adds nothing and omits nothing, but hears with a preoccupied
attention, the justification being that his hearing is thus most
complete, as one who understands a language seizes the sense of words
rapidly spoken better than he who from less acquaintance with it strives
to follow all the sounds.

The test of "truth," therefore, in the sense of fact, is insufficient.
The question is, Truth for whom? Not for a child or a savage. If we were
to show a fine landscape to a Hottentot, it would be a mistake to say he
saw it, though the image might be demonstrable on the retina of his eye.
He would not see what we mean when we speak of it, any more than we
should see the footstep on the ground or hear the stirring in the grass
that is plain enough to him, and hits our organs, too, though we are not
trained to perceive it. If the test of merit be the production of a
likeness to something we see, then the artist should know no more of
Nature than we do. But then, though it may surprise us into momentary
admiration to recognize familiar things in this translation,--just as
common talk sounds finer in a foreign tongue,--yet it is but for a time,
and then the inevitable limitations of the counterfeit come in,--its
narrowness and fixity,--crude paint for sunbeams, cold and colorless
stone for the living form. The only test of a work of Art is, how far it
will carry us,--not any comparison by the yardstick. We demand to be
raised above our habitual point of view, and be made aware of a deeper
interest than we knew of. It is in hope of this alone that we pardon the
necessary shortcoming of the means.

This deeper interest has its root in nothing arbitrary, or personal to
the artist. It is not inventing something finer than Nature, but seeing
more truly what Nature shows, that makes the artistic faculty. This is
the lesson taught by the history of Art. Take it up where you will, this
history is nothing but the successive unfolding of a truer conception of
Nature, only speaking here the language of form and color, instead of
words. It is this that lies at the bottom of all its revolutions, and
appears in its downfall as well as in its prosperity.

Where the human form is the theme, the aim must of course be to give its
typical perfection. No naturalist describes the defects of his
specimens, though it may happen that all are imperfect. Comparatively
few persons ever saw our robin in the plumage in which it is always
described. Only in early spring, not very commonly then, is the black of
the head and tail seen pure. But no one hesitates to call this the true
color. The sculptor does not reproduce the peculiarities of his model,
but aims to give ideal form as the most natural form of man.

But in Painting, and especially in Landscape, it seems less easy to fix
upon any ideal, not only from the multifariousness of the details, but,
above all, from the elusiveness of the standard. We might agree upon an
ideal of human beauty, but hardly upon the ideal of anything else. The
sophist in the Hippias Major was prepared to define the beauty of a
maiden, or of a mare; but he was confounded when it was required that
the beauty of a pipkin should be deducible from the same principle, and
yet worse when it was shown to involve that a wooden spoon was more
beautiful than a gold one.

What you see in the woods and mountains depends on what you go for and
what you carry with you. We may go to them as to a quarry or a
wood-pile, or for pleasantness,--the cool spring and the plane-tree
shade, as the ancients did,--or to see fine trees, waterfalls,
mountains. To many persons the beauty of any scene is measured by its
abundance in such _specimens_ of streams, mountains, waterfalls, etc. Of
course the connection is demonstrable enough: one collocation of
features is more readily suggestive of beauty than another. We expect to
find the scenery of a hill-country more attractive than a sand-desert.
But comparing a landscape with a statue, or even Painting generally with
Sculpture, the connection between a happy effect and any definite
arrangement of lines is much looser, and depends on the combination
rather than the ingredients. It is in every one's experience that an
accidental light, or even an accidental susceptibility, will impart to
the meagrest landscape--a bare marsh, a scraggy hill-pasture--a charm of
which the separate features, or the whole, at another time, give no
hint. Often mere bareness, openness, absence of objects, will arouse a
deeper feeling than the most famous scenes. We learn from such
experiences that the difference between one patch of earth and another
is wholly superficial, and indicates not so much anything in it as a
greater or less dulness in us. The celebrated panoramas and points of
view are not the favorite haunts of great painters. They do not need to
travel far for their subjects. Mr. Ruskin tells us that Turner did not
paint the high Alps, nor the _cumulus_, the grandest form of cloud.
Calame gives us the nooks and lanes, the rocks and hills, of
Switzerland, rather than the high peaks; Lambinet, an apple-orchard, a
row of pollard-elms, or a weedy pond,--not cataracts or forests. This is
not affectation or timidity, but an instinct that the famous scenes are
no breaks in the order of Nature,--that what is seen in them is visible
elsewhere as well, only not so obvious, and that the office of Art is
not to parrot what is already distinct, but to reveal it where it is
obscure. This makes the inspiration of the artist; this is the source of
all his power, and alone distinguishes him from the topographer and

This transcendentalism is more evident in Painting, as the later and
more developed form; but it is common to all Art, and may be read also
in the Greek sculptures. The experience of every one who with some
practice of eye comes for the first time to see the best antiques is not
that he falls at once to admiring the perfection of their anatomy, and
wondering at the symmetry and complete development of the men and women
of those days, but rather that he is carried away from all comparison
and criticism into a solitude from which returning he discovers that his
previous acquaintance with Sculpture was with masks only, and that the
meaning of plastic art as a capital interest of the human mind is now
for the first time made known to him. He sees that it was no whim of the
Greeks, but an instinct of the infinity it typifies, that made them take
the human form as alone possessing beauty enough to stand by itself. Not
the images of their deities alone, but all their statues were gods. The
charm of the Lizard-Slayer of Praxiteles, or of those immortal riders
that swept along the friezes of the Parthenon, is something quite
distinct from the beauty of a naked boy playing with an arrow, or a
troop of Athenian citizens on horseback. These are the deathless forms
of the happy Olympians, high above the cares and turmoil of the finite,
self-centred and independent. It is the Paradise age of the world,
before the knowledge of good and evil, before sin and death came; the
worship of the Visible, when God saw everything that he had made, and,
behold, it was very good. Hence the air of repose, of eternal duration,
that marks these figures. They have nothing to regret or to hope, no
past or future, but only a timeless existence.

It is from this essential self-sufficingness, not from fancied rules,
that Sculpture is limited with respect to dramatic expression, that is,
expression of passing feeling, accidental action, not identified with
the form. In the best period the first requisite was that the interest
should be thoroughly identified with the shape in which it is
manifested, and not imparted, as by history, association, etc. The
decline began when this lofty isolation was felt as negative, needing to
have interest and expression added to it. But whatever was added only
emphasized without curing the defect. Even the "awful diagonal" of the
Laocoön and the godlike triumph of the Belvedere Apollo show a lower
age. Why triumph, if he was supreme before? These are casual incidents
only, examples of what might happen as well to anybody, not the adequate
conclusive embodiment of an idea. The more elaborately the meaning is
wrought into the form, the more evident that they are not originally

In Modern Sculpture this deification of the human form is either
expressly banished from the artist's aim, or at least he is not quite in
earnest with it. For instance, in Mr. Palmer's White Captive,--exhibited
not long since in Boston,--the sculptor's account of his work is, that
it portrays an American girl captured by Indians and bound to a tree. We
have to take with us the history and the circumstances: a Christian
woman of the nineteenth century, dragged from her civilized home and
helpless in the hands of savages. This is not at all incidental to the
work, but the work is incidental to it. It is a story which the figure
helps to tell. This is no universal type of womanhood, nor even American
womanhood. American women do not stand naked in the streets, but go
about clothed and active on their errands of duty and pleasure; if we
must needs represent one naked, we must invent some such accident, some
extraordinary dislocation of all usual relations and circumstances. In
place of the antique harmony of character and situation, we have here a
painful incongruity that no study or skill can obviate.

Nor has Modern Sculpture any better success, when, instead of the
pretence of history, it adopts the pretence of personification. Its
highest result in this direction is, perhaps, Thorwaldsen's bas-relief
of Night,--a pretty parlor-ornament. There is a fatal sense of unreality
about works of this kind that even Thorwaldsen's genius was unable to
remove. They are toys, and it seems rather flat to have toys so cumbrous
and so costly.

The reason of this insipidity is, that the ideality aimed at is all on
the outside. There is no soul in these bodies, but only an abstraction;
and so the body remains an abstraction, too. In each case the radical
defect is the same, namely, that the interest is external to the form:
they do not coalesce, but are only arbitrarily connected. We cannot have
these ideal forms, because we do not believe in them. We do not believe
in gods and goddesses, but in men and women; that is, we do not at last
really identify the character with its manifestation. Such was the
fascination of beauty to the Greek mind, that it banished all other
considerations. What mattered it to Praxiteles whether his Satyr was a
useful member of society or not, or whether the young Apollo stood thus
idle and listless for an instant or for a millennium, as long as he was
so beautiful? And the charm so penetrated their works that something of
it reaches down even to us, and holds us as long as we look upon them.
But as soon as we quit the magic circle, the illusion vanishes,--Apollo
is a handsome vagabond whom we incline to send about his business. He
ought to be slaying Pythons and drying up swamps, instead of loitering

We do not believe in gods, nor quite as the ancients did in heroes,--but
in representative men, that is, in ideas, and in men as representing
them. Washington is not to us what Achilles or Agamemnon was to the
Greeks. The form of Achilles would do as well for a god; the antiquaries
do not know whether the Ludovisi Mars was not an Achilles,--perhaps
nobody ever knew. But in all our veneration of Washington, it is not his
person we revere, but his virtues,--precisely the impersonal part of
him, or his person only from association. There is nothing incongruous
in this association as it exists in the mind, any more than there would
have been in his presence, because of the overpowering sense of his
character and history, to which all the outward show of the man is
constantly subordinate. But if we isolate this by making a statue of
him, we have only an apotheosis of cocked-hat and small-clothes, in
which we see what it really was to us. This awkward prominence of the
costume does not come from the accident of modern dress, but from our
unconscious repugnance to petrifying the man in one of his aspects. It
is a touch of grave humor in the genius of Art, thus to give us just
what we ask for, though not what we want.

The Greeks could have portrait-statues, because all they looked for in
the man they saw in his form, and, seeing it, could portray it. If the
modern sculptor truly saw in the figure of Washington all that the name
means to him, he could make a statue worthy to be placed by the side of
the Sophocles and the Phocion. These were true portraits, no doubt; thus
it was that these men appeared to their fellow-citizens; but it does not
follow that they would have appeared so to us. What they saw is there;
it is a reality both for them and for us; but the literal identification
of it with the form belongs to them, not to us, and our mimicry of it
can result only in these abstraction's. For us it is elsewhere, beyond
these finite shapes, on which, by an illusion, it seemed to rest. The
Greek statues are tropes, which we gladly allow in their original use,
but, repeated, they become flat and pedantic. Hence the air of
caricature in modern portrait-statues; for caricature does not
necessarily imply falsification, but only that what is given is
insisted on at the expense of more important truth.

To the view of the early Christian ages, too, the body is old clothes,
ready to be cast off at any moment, good only as means to something
higher. It might seem that Christianity should give a higher value to
the body, since it was believed to have been inhabited by God himself.
But the Passion was a fact of equal importance with the Incarnation.
This honor could be allowed to matter only for an instant, and on the
condition of immediate resumption. That the Highest should suffer death
as a man might well seem to the Greeks foolishness. To the understanding
it is the utmost conceivable contradiction. Yet it is only a more
complete statement of what is involved in the Greek worship of beauty.
_The complete incarnation of Spirit_, which is the definition of beauty,
demands equally that there be no point it does not inhabit, and none in
which it abides. The transience of things is no defect in them, but only
the affirmation of their reality through the incessant casting-off of
its inadequate manifestations. It is not from the excellence, but from
the impotence of its nature, that the stone endures and does not pass
away as the plant and the animal. The higher the organization, the more
rapid and thorough the circulation.

The same truth holds in Art, also, and drives it to forsake these
beautiful petrifactions and seek an expression less bound to the
material. Ideal form is good so far as it brings together in one compact
image what in Nature is scattered and partial; but it is an ideality of
the surface only, not of the substance. It shuts out the defect of this
or that form, but not of Form itself. The Greek ideal is after all _a
thing_, and its impassive perfection a stony death.

The justification is, that the sculptor did not say quite what he meant.
He said flesh, but he meant spirit, and this is what the Greek statues
mean to us. The modern sculptor does not mean spirit, and knows that he
does not; and so, with all his efforts, he gives us only the outside. Is
it asked, Whence this divorce of flesh and spirit? why not give both at
once as Nature does? Then we must do as Nature does, and make our forms
as fluid as hers. But this the sculptor contravenes at the outset. To
follow Nature, he should make his statue of snow. To make it of stone is
to pretend that the form is something of itself. This the Greeks never
meant, for then it would follow that all parts of it were alike
significant. Haydon was delighted to find reproduced in the Elgin
marbles certain obscure and seeming insignificant details of the anatomy
that later schools had overlooked, such as a fold of skin under the
armpit of the Neptune, etc. But any beginner at a life-school could have
pointed out in the same statue endless deficiencies in anatomical
detail. The fold was put in, not because it was there, but because to
the mind of the Greek artist it meant something. Sculptors of the
present day comfort themselves with the belief that their works are more
complete and more accurate in the anatomy than the antique. Very likely,
for the ancients did not dissect. But this accuracy, if it is founded on
no interest beyond accuracy, is after all an impertinence.

The Greek ideal is founded on the exclusion of accident. It is a
declaration that the casual shape is not the true form; it is only a
step farther to the perception that all shape is casual,--the reality
seen, not in it, but through it. The ideal is then no longer perfect
shape, but transparency to the sentiment; the image is not sought to be
placed before the beholder's eyes, but painted as it were in his mind.
Henceforth, suggestion only is aimed at, not representation; the
coöperation of the spectator is relied upon as the indispensable
complement of the design. The Zeus of Phidias seemed to the Greeks,
Plotinus says, Zeus himself, as he would be, if he chose to appear to
human eyes. But a Crucifixion is of itself not at all what the artist
meant. It is not the agony of the flesh, but the triumph of the spirit,
that is intended to be portrayed. If the end be attained, the slighter
and more unpromising the means the better. Thus a new scale of values is
established; nothing is worthy or unworthy of itself; nothing is
excluded, but also in nothing is the interest identified with the thing,
but imparted.

Christian Art, after mere tradition had died out,--for instance, in the
Byzantine and early Italian pictures from the eighth to the middle of
the thirteenth century,--presents the strongest contrast to all that had
gone before. The morose and lifeless monotony or barbarous rudeness of
these figures seems like contempt not only of beauty, but of all natural
expression. They are meaningless of themselves, and quite indifferent to
the character they represent, which is appended to them by
inscriptions,--their relative importance, even, indicated only by size,
more or less splendor of costume, etc., but the faces all alike, and no
attempt made to adapt the action to the occasion. It is another world
they belong to; the present they pointedly renounce and disdain,
condescending to communicate with it only indirectly and by signs.

The main peculiarities were common to Painting and Sculpture, though
most noticeable in Painting. An interest in the actual world seems never
so far lost sight of, and earlier revived, in Sculpture. Even down to
the spring-tide of Modern Art in the thirteenth century, the "pleasant
days" when Guido of Siena was painting his Madonna, the improvement in
Painting was rather a stirring within the cerements of conventional
types, a flush on the cheek of the still rigid form,--while in the
bas-reliefs of the Pisan sculptors we meet already a realism as much in
excess of the antique as the Byzantine fell short of it.

It is commonly said that Nicola Pisano revived Art through study of the
antique; his models, even, are pointed out, particularly a sarcophagus,
said to have been brought to Pisa in the eleventh century from Greece.
But this sarcophagus, wherever it came from, is not Greek, but late
Roman work; and we find in Nicola no mark of direct Greek influence, but
only of the late Roman and early Christian sarcophagus-sculptures. In
the reliefs upon his celebrated pulpit at Pisa we have the same
short-legged, large-headed, indigenous Italian or Roman figures, and the
same arrangement of hair, draperies, etc., as on those sarcophagi. Taken
by themselves, his works would, no doubt, indicate a new direction. But
by the side of his son Giovanni, or the sculptors of the Northern
cathedrals, he seems to belong to the third century rather than to the

In Giovanni Pisano the new era was distinctly announced. The Inferno,
usually ascribed to him, among the reliefs on the front of Orvieto
Cathedral,[1] and in his noble pulpit at Pistoia, shows the traces of
the antique only in unimportant details, ornamentation, etc. The antique
served him, no doubt, as a hint to independent study, but the whole
intent is different,--all the beauties and all the defects arrived at by
a different road. In place of the impassive Minos of the Shades, we have
a fiend, serpent-girt,[2] his judicial impartiality enforced apparently
against his will by manacles and anklets of knotted snakes; and
throughout, instead of the calm impersonality of the Greek, dealing out
the typical forms of things like a law of Nature, we have the restless,
intense, partisan, modern man, not wanting in tenderness, but full of a
noble scorn at the unworthiness of the world, and grasping at a reality
beyond it. He is intent, first of all and at all risks, upon vivid
expression, upon telling the story, and speedily outruns the
possibilities of his material. He must make his creatures alive to the
last superficies; and as he cannot give them motion, he puts an emphasis
upon all their bones, sinews, veins, and wrinkles,--every feather is
carved, and even the fishes under the water show their scales. That
mere literalness is not the aim is shown by the open disregard of it
elsewhere; for instance, the size of each figure is determined, not by
natural rules, but by their relative importance, so that in the
Nativity, Mary is twice as large as Joseph and three times as large as
the attendants. And the detail is not everywhere equally minute, but
follows the intensity of the theme, reaching its height in the lower
compartment, where the damned are in suffering, and especially in the
figures of the fiends. This is no aim at literalness, but a struggle for
an emphasis beyond the reach of Sculpture,--taking these means in
despair of others, and, in its thirst for expression, careless alike of
natural probability, typical perfection of form, and pleasing effect.
Different as it seems, the same spirit is at work here and in Painting.
In both it is the repudiation of the classic ideal,--in Sculpture by a
_reductio ad absurdum_, putting its implicit claims to the test of
realization,--in Painting by mere negation, as was natural at the outset
of a new career, before the means of any positive expression were

Ideal form was to the Greeks the highest result, the success of the
universe. The end of Art was conceived as Nature's end as well, whether
actually attained or not. Nor was this preference of certain forms
arbitrary, but it followed the plain indications written on every
particle of matter. What we call brute matter is whatever is means only,
not showing any individuality, or end within itself. A handful of earth
is definable only by its chemical or physical properties, which do not
distinguish it, but confound it with other things. By itself it is only
so much phosphate or silicate, and can come to be something only in a
foreign organism, a plant or an animal. In form is seen the dawning of
individuality, and just as the thing rises in the scale the principle of
form becomes dominant. The handful of earth is sufficiently described by
the chemist's formula,--these ingredients make this substance. But an
organic body cannot be so described. The chemist's account of sugar, for
instance, is C^{6} H^{10} O^{5}. But if we ask what starch is, we have,
again, C^{6} H^{10} O^{5},--and the cellular tissue of plants, also, is
the same. These things, then, as far as he knows, are identical.
Evidently, he is beyond his depth, and the higher we go in the scale the
less he has to say to the purpose,--the separate importance of the
material ingredients constantly decreasing, and the importance of their
definite connection increasing, as the reference to an individual centre
predominates over helpless gravitation. First, aggregation about a
centre, as in the crystal,--then, arrangement of the parts, as upper,
under, and lateral, as in the plant,--then, organization of these into
members. Form is the self-assertion of the thing as no longer means
only; this makes its attractiveness to the artist. The root of his
delight in ideal form is that it promises some finality amid the endless
maze of matter. But this higher completeness, which is beauty, whether
it happen to exist or not, is never the immediate aim of Nature. It is
everywhere implied, but nowhere expressed; for Nature is unwearied in
producing, but negligent of the product. As soon as the end seems
anywhere about to be attained, it is straightway made means again to
something else, and so on forever. The earth and the air hasten to
convert themselves into a plant, the flower into fruit, the fruit into
flesh, and the animal at last to die and give back again to the air and
the earth what they have transmitted to him. Whatever beauty a thing has
is by the way, not as the end for which it exists, and so it is left to
be baffled and soiled by accident. This is the "jealousy of the gods,"
that could not endure that anything should exist without some flaw of
imperfection to confess its mortal birth.

The world is full of beauty, but as it were hinted,--as in the tendency
to make the most conspicuous things the most beautiful, as flowers,
fruits, birds, the insects of the sunshine, the fishes of the surface,
the upper side of the leaf; and perhaps more distinctly (in accordance
with Lord Bacon's suggestion that "Nature is rather busy not to err,
than in labor to produce excellency") in the tendency to hide those that
are ugly, as toads, owls, bats, worms, insects that flee the light, the
fishes of the bottom, the intestines of animals. But these are hints
only, and Nature, as Mr. Ruskin confesses, will sometimes introduce "not
ugliness only, but ugliness in the wrong place." Were beauty the aim, it
should be most evident in her chief products; whereas it is in things
transient, minute, subordinate,--flowers, snow-flakes, the microscopic
details of structure,--that it meets us most invariably, rather than in
the higher animals or in man. Nor in man does it keep pace with his
civilization, but obeys laws that belong to the lower regions of his

This ambiguity of every fact in Nature comes from the difficulty of
detecting its true connection. There is reality _there_, even in blight
and corruption; something is forwarded, only perhaps not the thing
before us,--as the virtue of the compost-heap appears not in it, but in
the rose-bed. The artist cannot forego a jot of reality, but the obvious
facts are not this, any more than the canvas and the pigment are the
picture. The prose of every-day life is reality in fragments,--the Alps
split into paving-stones,--Achilles with a cold in the head. Seen in due
connection, they make up the reality; but their prominence as they occur
is casual and shifting, and the result dependent on the spectator's
power of discerning, amid the endless series in which they are involved,
more or less of their vital relations.

Art is not to be blamed for idealizing, for this is only completing what
Nature begins. But the completion of the design is also its limitation.
It is final to the artist as well as to the theme, and cannot yield to
further expansion. In Nature there is no such pretence of finality, and
so her work, though never complete, is never convicted of defect. Her
circuits are never closed; she does not aim to cure the defect in the
thing, but in something else. Each in turn she abandons, and appeals to
a future success, which never is, but always about to be. The reason is,
that the scope of each is wider than immediately appears. It is not
simple completeness that is aimed at, but ascent to higher levels, so
that the consummation it demands, if granted, would cut it off from more
vital connections elsewhere. The ideal of the crystal seems to be
clearness and regularity, but better things are in store for it. It must
become opaque and shapeless in order to be fitted for higher
transformations. The leaf must be cramped to make the flower. Homer's
heroes must hoe potatoes and keep shop before the higher civilization of
the race can be reached.

The Greek ideal is an endeavor to ignore the imperfections of natural
existence. The ideal life is to be rich, strong, powerful, eloquent,
high-born, famous. It was a glorification of the earthly, not by
transcending, but by keeping its limitations out of sight. But this is
only making the limitation essential and irrevocable, so that it infects
the ideal also, which in this very avoidance submits to recognize it.
The statue is not _less_, but more, a thing than the natural body. Life
is not mere exclusion of decay, but organization of it, so that the fury
of corruption passes into fresh vital power. It is a cycle of changes,
the type and show of which are the circulation, constantly removing
effete particles and building up new, and therein giving its hue to the
flesh. But sculpture supposes the current checked, and one aspect fit to
stand for all the rest. The statue is not only a particle, but an
isolated particle, and must first of all divert attention from its
fragmentariness. Mr. Garbett has remarked that plants should not be
copied in sculpture, because the plant is not seen entire, but is partly
hidden in the ground. But the point is not the being seen or not, but
the suggestion of incompleteness. The same remark applies to animals,
and even to man, unless his relations to the world, as an individual
among individuals, can be kept out of sight.

But the finite thus isolated is not honored, but degraded. This stagnant
perfection is atrophy,--as some poisons are said to kill by arresting
the transformation of the tissues, and so to preserve them at the
expense of their life. The new era is marked by the perception that
these shortcomings are not accidental, but inherent and intended. The
chasm is not to be bridged or avoided,--or, as Plato says, the human to
become godlike by taking away here and adding there,--but remains a
radical incongruity of Nature, never to be escaped from. It brings death
and dissolution to the fair shapes of the earlier world,--for the
worship of form is justified only so long as the mind thinks forms and
not ideas.

The statue may embody an infinite meaning, but to the artist form and
meaning are one. It is not a sentiment that he puts into this shape, but
it is the shape itself that inspires him. The symbolism of Greek Art was
the discovery of a later age. We know what is meant by Circe and Athene,
but Homer did not. It was thus only that the Greek mind could grasp
ideas,--this is the thoroughly _artistic_ character of that people.
Their philosophers were always outlaws. What excited the rage of the
Athenians against Socrates was his endeavor to detach religion from the
images of the gods. When it comes to comparisons between meaning and
expression, as adequate or inadequate, it is evident their unity is
gone;--the meaning is first, and the expression only adjunct or
illustration. It did not impair the sacredness of the Greek deities that
they were the work of the poets and sculptors. But the second Nicene
Council forbade as impious any images of Christ as God, and allowed only
his human nature to be represented,--a strange decree, if the Church had
realized its own doctrine, that the humanity of Christ is as real as his
divinity. But the meaning is, that the finite is not there to stand for
the infinite, but only to indicate it negatively and indirectly,--that
its glory is not to persist in its finiteness, not to hold on to its
form, but to be transformed. The figure of Thersites would be very
unsuitable for Achilles, but is suitable enough for a saint; it was a
pardonable exaggeration to make it even more suitable.

The hero is now the saint; the ideal life a life of poverty, humility,
weakness, labor,--to be long-suffering, to despise and forsake the
world. The present life, the heaven of Achilles, is now Hades, the
forced abode of phantoms having no reality but what is given to them by
religion, and the Hades of the Greek the only true and substantial
world. The new church fled the light of the sun, and sought impatiently
to bury itself in the tomb. The Roman catacombs were not the mere refuge
of a persecuted sect,--their use as places of worship continued long
after such need had ceased. But "among the graves" they found the point
nearest to the happy land beyond, and the silence and the darkness made
it easier to ignore for the few miserable moments that yet remained the
vain tumult of the surface. In such a mood the beauty of the outward
could awaken no delight, but only suspicion and aversion. Not the earth
and its glories, but the fading of these before the unseen and eternal,
was the only possible inspiration of Art. The extreme of this direction
we see in the Iconoclasm of the eighth century, but it has never
completely died out. Gibbon tells us of a Greek priest who refused to
receive some pictures that Titian had painted for him, because they were
too real:--"Your scandalous figures," said he, "stand quite out from the
canvas; they are as bad as a group of statues." It is a tenderness
towards the idea, lest it should be dishonored by actuality. Matter is
gross, obscure, evil, an obstacle to spirit,--and material existence
tolerable only as momentary, vanishing, and, as it were, under constant
protest, and with the suspicion that the Devil has a hand in it. It
belongs especially to the Oriental mind, and its logical result is the
Buddhist heaven of annihilation.

The defect of this view is not that it is too ideal, but that it is not
ideal enough. It is an incomplete idealism that through weakness of
faith does not hold fast its own point of view, and so does not dispose
of matter, but leaves it outside, as negation, obstacle. The body is
allowed to exist, but remains in disgrace and reduced to the barest
indication. But it is honoring matter far too much to allow that it can
be an obstacle. It is no obstacle, for it is _nothing_ of itself.
Rightly understood, this contempt of the body is directed only against
the false emphasis placed upon single aspects or manifestations. It is a
feeling that the true ideal is not thus shut up in a forced exception,
as if it were the subtilized product of a distillation whereby the
earthly is to be purged of its dross; but that it is the all-pervading
reality, which the finite can neither hinder nor help, but only obey,
which death and corruption praise, which establishes itself through
imperfection and transience.

Gibbon, speaking of the Iconoclasts, says,--"The Olympian Jove, created
by the muse of Homer and the chisel of Phidias, might inspire a
philosophic mind with momentary devotion; but these Catholic images were
faintly and flatly delineated by monkish artists in the last degeneracy
of taste and genius." Such comparisons mistake the point. These are not
parallel attempts, but opposed from the outset. The "Catholic image" was
a declaration that the problem cannot be solved in that way. An early
legend relates, that a painter, undertaking to copy his Christ from a
statue of Jove, had his hand suddenly withered. The attempt is accused
because of the pretence it makes to coordinate body and spirit, Nature
and God,--as if one configuration of matter were more godlike than
another. The figure of the god claims to complete what Nature has
_partly_ done. But now the world is seen to be not merely the product of
Mind working upon Matter, but the Creation of God out of nothing,--thus
altogether His, in one part as much as in another. The only conceivable
separateness, antagonism, is that of the sinful Will, setting itself up
in its vanity; this it must be that arrogates to itself the ability to
_represent_ its Creator.

The Christian image is without form or comeliness,--rejects all outward
graces, seemingly glories in abasement and deformity, fearing only to
attribute to Matter some value of its own.

Henceforth the connection is no longer at arm's-length, as of the
workman and the material. Resistance to limitation is changed into
joyful acceptance; for it is not in the limitation, but in the
resistance, that the misery of earth consists. The quarrel with
imperfection is over. The finite shall neither fortify itself in its
finiteness, nor seek to abolish it, but only make it the willing
instrument of universal ends. Thus the true self first exists, and no
longer needs to be extenuated or apologised for.

The key-note of all this is contained in those verses of the "Dies

  "Quærens _me_ sedisti lassus,
  Redemisti crucem passus;
  Tantus labor non sit cassus."

Here we have in its compactest expression the difference between this
age and the classic: that I, the vilest of sinners, am the object of
God's highest care,--not the failure and mistake I seem, not the slag
and refuse of Nature's working, but the object of this most stupendous
mystery of the Divine economy. It is no purification or idealizing that
is needed,--any such attempt must be abomination,--but a new birth of
the self, by devotion of it to the purpose for which it was made.

The astounding discovery is slowly realized, and the statement of it
difficult, from the need to distinguish between the true self and the
false, and to declare that this importance belongs to the individual in
virtue of his spiritual nature alone. The sainthood of the saint is not
to be confounded with his personality. What have his virtues to do with
his gown and shoes? what, indeed, with his natural disposition, as
courageous, irascible, avaricious? The difficulty is pervading, not to
be avoided; every aspect of him reveals only what is external, dies from
him daily, and, if isolated, has already lost its meaning. It is only in
his work, in his connection with the world, that we see him truly.
Accordingly, the statue becomes the group, and the group a member of a
series, a cycle in which each is incomplete without the rest. The
classic ideal is shivered into fragments, all to be taken together to
make up the meaning. Of the hundreds of statues and reliefs that
surround the great Northern cathedrals, (Didron counts eighteen hundred
upon the outside of Chartres,--nine thousand in all, carved or painted,
inside and outside,) each has its appointed place in the sacred _epos_
in stone that unfolds about the building from left to right of the
beholder the history of the world from the Creation to the Judgment, and
subordinated in parallel symbolism the daily life of the community,
whatever occupied and interested men,--their virtues and vices, trades
and recreations, the seasons and the elements, jokes, even, and sharp
hits at the great and at the clergy, scenes from popular romances, and
the radicalism of Reynard the Fox,--in short, all that touched the mind
of the age, an impartial reflex of the great drama of life, wherein all
exists alike to the glory of God.

It is not the glory of earth that is here celebrated. M. Didron says the
statues which the mob pulled down from the churches, at the first French
Revolution, as the images of their kings, were the kings and heroes of
the Old Testament. Had they known this, it might not have saved the
statues, but it shows how wide a gulf separated these men from their
fathers, that their hands were not held by some instinct that here was
the first hint of the fundamental idea of Democracy,--the sovereign
importance of man, not as powerful, wise, beautiful, not in virtue of
any chance advantage of birth, but in virtue of his religious nature, of
the infinite possibilities he infolds.

The need to indicate that the source of value is not the accident of
Nature, but Nature redeemed, regenerated by spirit, that all values are
moral values, led to a certain abstractness of treatment,--on one side
qualities to be embodied, on the other figures to receive them, so that
the character seems adventitious, detachable, not thoroughly at one with
the form. For instance, the fiends in the Orvieto Inferno are not terror
embodied, as the Jove of Phidias embodied dignity and command; but the
terrific is accumulated on the outside of them, as tusks, claws, etc.
One can easily believe that the ancient sculptors, had it been lawful,
could have put more horror into the calm features of a Medusa than is
contained in all this apparatus and grimace. The concreteness of the
antique, the form and meaning existing only for each other, is gone; the
union is _occasional_ only, and needs to be certified and kept up afresh
on every new occasion. The form must assert itself, must show itself
alive and quick, not the dead sign of a meaning that has fled. It would
have been a poor compliment to a Greek sculptor to say that his work was
life-like; he might answer with the classically disposed visitor of the
Elgin marbles in Haydon's anecdote,--"Like life! Well, what of that?" He
meant it for something much better. But during the Middle Ages this is
constantly the highest encomium. Amid the utmost rudeness of conception
and of execution, we see the first trace of awakening Art in the
unmistakable effort to indicate that the figures are alive; and in the
cathedral-sculpture of the best time this is still a leading
characteristic. Even the single statues have for their outlines curves
of contrary flexure, expressing motion; they seem to wave in the air,
and their faces to glow with passing emotion. The animals are often
uncouth, but the more life-like; a turn of the head or of the eye, a
restless, unbalanced attitude, brings us nearer to the actual living
creature than the magnificent repose of the antique lions and
eagles,--as if they did not trust to our recognizing their character,
but were prepared to demonstrate it with beak and claws. Even in the
plants, though strictly conventionalized, it is the freedom and spring
of their lines that more than anything else characterizes them and
defies copying.

The world of matter, being no longer endowed with independent reality,
is no longer felt as a contamination incurred by the idea in its descent
into existence. The discrepancy is not final, so that the supremacy of
the spirit is not shown by resistance, but by taking it to heart,
carrying it out, and thereby overcoming it. In a Crucifixion of the
twelfth century, Life is figured on one side crowned and victorious, and
on the other Death overcome and slain. The finiteness of the finite is
not the barrier, but the liberation, of the infinite.

But the statue remains stone; this unmeaning emphasis of weight and
bulk, though diminished, is not to be got rid of. The life that
sculpture can give is superficial and abstract, does not penetrate and
possess the work; it is still the petrifaction of an instant, that does
not instantly pass away, but remains as a contradiction to the next. It
is the struggle against this fixity that gives to the sculpture of the
Renaissance its aspect of unrest, of disdain of the present, of endless
unsatisfied search. Hence the air of conflict that we see in Giovanni
Pisano, and still more in later times,--the sculptor going to the edge
of what the stone will allow, and beyond it, and, still unsatisfied,
seeking through all means to indicate a yet unexecuted possibility. It
is this that seethes in those strange, intense, unearthly figures of
Donatello's, wasted as by internal fire,--the rage for an expression
that shall at the same time declare its own insufficiency.

All that is done only makes the failure more evident. The fixity
continues, and is only deepened into contortion and grimace. What we see
is the effort alone. Hence in modern statues the uneasy,
self-distrustful appeal to the spectator, in place of the lofty
indifference of the antique. In Michel Angelo the same striving to
indicate something in reserve, not expended, led to the exaggerated
emphasis of certain parts, (as the length of the neck, depth of the
eye-sockets, etc.,) and of general muscularity,--a show of _force_, that
gave to the Moses the build of a Titan, and to the Christ of the Last
Judgment the air of a gladiator. Michel Angelo often seems immersed in
mere anatomy and academic _tours de force_, especially in his later
works. He seems to see in the subject only a fresh problem in attitude,
foreshortening, muscular display,--and this not only where he invents,
but also where he borrows,--sometimes most strangely overlooking the
sentiment; as in the figure of Christ, which he borrows from Orcagna and
the older painters, even to the position of the arms, but with the
touching gesture of reproof perverted into a savage menace; or in the
Expulsion, taken almost line for line from Masaccio, but with the
infinite grief expressed in Adam's figure turned into melodrama by
showing his face.

It was not for the delight of the eye, nor from over-reverence of the
matter-of-fact. He despised the copying of models, as the makeshift of
ignorance. His profound study of anatomy was not for greater accuracy of
imitation, but for greater license of invention. Of grace and
pleasingness he became more and more careless, until he who at twenty
had carved the lovely angel of S. Domenico, came at last to make all his
men prize-fighters and his women viragos. It is clear that we nowhere
get his final meaning,--that he does not fairly get to his theme at all,
but is stopped at the outset, and loses himself in the search for a
mode of expression more adequate to that "immense beauty" ever present
to his mind,--so that the matter in hand occupies him only in its
superficial aspects. What he sought on all hands, in his endless
questioning of the human frame, his impatience of drapery, the furious
haste to reach the live surface, and the tender modulation of it when it
is reached, was to make the flesh itself speak and reveal the soul
present at all points alike and at once. Nothing could have satisfied
him but to impart to the marble itself that omnipresence of spirit of
which animal life furnishes the hint. In this Titanic attempt the means
were in open and direct contradiction to the end. It was a violation of
the wise moderation of Sculpture, whose rigid and colorless material
pointedly declines a rivalry it could not sustain. Else why not color
the stone? The hue of flesh is the most direct assertion of life, but at
the same time a direct negative to that totality and emphasis of the
particular shape on which Sculpture relies. The color of the flesh comes
from its transparency to the circulation,--the eternal flux of matter
coming to the surface in this its highest form. It is the display in
matter itself of what its true nature is,--not to resist, but to embody
change,--to reduce itself to mere appearance, and be taken up without
residuum in the momentary manifestation, and then at once give place to
fresh manifestations.

That the earlier practice of coloring statues was given up just when the
need would seem to be the greatest shows its incompatibility with the
fundamental conditions of the art. In the twelfth and thirteenth
centuries statues were still painted and gilded. Afterwards, color is
restricted to parts not directly affected by the circulation, the hair
and the eyes; and at last, when Sculpture is given over to pictorial
effect and is about to yield entirely to Painting, it is wholly
relinquished. Evidently it was felt that to color a statue in imitation
of flesh would only enforce the fact that it is stone.

What Art was now aiming at was not the mere appearance of life, but a
unity like that which life gives, in place of the abstractness and
partiality inherent in Sculpture. This makes the interest of the fact of
life,--that it is the presence of the soul,--the unity established amid
the sundered particularity of matter. In free motion a new centre is
declared, whereby the inertia of the body, its gravitation to a centre
outside of it, is set aside. In sensibility this new centre declares
itself supreme, superseding the passive indifference of extension. The
whole pervades each part, each testifies to the whole and may stand for
it. But the statue, having no such internal unity, is less able to
dispense with outward completeness. All the sides must be given, so that
the whole cannot be seen at one view, but only successively, as an

In the earlier Greek statues the head remains lifeless, abstract, whilst
the limbs are full of expression. In a contrary spirit, more akin to
modern ideas, the Norse myth relates that Skadi, having her choice of a
husband from among all the gods, but having to choose by the feet alone,
meaning to take Baldur, got by mistake Niordr, an inferior deity. This
does not seem so strange to us; but a Greek would have wondered that the
daughter of a wise Titan should not know the feet of Apollo from those
of Nereus. It was said of Taglioni that she put mind into her legs. But
to the modern way of thinking this is clearly exceptional. It is in the
face, and especially in the eye, that we look to see the soul present
and at work, and not merely in its effects as character. As types of
character, the lineaments of the face were explored by the later Greek
Art as profoundly as the rest of the body. But the statue is
sightless,--its eyes do not meet ours, but seem forever brooding over a
world into which the present and its interests do not enter. To the
Greek this was no defect; but to us the omission seems to affect the
most vital point of all, since our conception of the soul involves its
eternity, that is, that it lives always in the present, is not too fine
to exist, secure that it is bound neither by past nor future, but
capable of revolutionizing the character at all moments. Here is the
ground of the remarkable difference that meets us already in the reliefs
of the later classic times. In the reliefs of the best age the figures
are always in profile and in action. Complete personification being out
of the question, it is expressly avoided,--each figure waives attention
to itself, merges itself in the plot. Later, when the profounder idea of
a personality that does not isolate or degrade has begun to make itself
felt, this constraint is given up,--the figures face the spectator, and
enter as it were into relation with the actual world.

The Church very early expressed this feeling of the higher significance
of the head, by allowing it to be sufficient if the head alone were
buried in holy ground. In Art it is naïvely indicated by exaggerated
size of the head and of the eyes,--a very common trait of the earlier
times, and not quite obsolete at the time of the Pisani. This clumsy
expedient is relinquished, but the need it indicated continued, without
the possibility of finding any complete satisfaction in Sculpture,
instead of the intensity and directness that Art now insists upon,
Sculpture can give only extension and indirect hints; instead of mind
present, only its effects and products, with the working cause expressly

This is the ground of the seeming injustice to Sculpture at the time of
the Revival. Its relative excellence was undervalued, because what it
could do was not quite to the point. While the painters went on
producing their antediluvian forms, the sculptors saw things much more
as we do,--yet the paintings seemed the most life-like. It is
astonishing, when we remember that Nicola was older than Cimabue,
Giovanni than Giotto, Ghiberti than Frà Angelico, that the painters did
not learn from the sculptors more of the actual appearance of things. It
is still more astonishing that it is the painters that get all the
praise for accuracy. Vasari is endless in his praises of Giotto,
Spinello, Stefano, (called Scimia, or the Ape of Nature,) and a host of
others, for accurate imitation. Giovanni Villani boasts that "it is our
fellow-citizen Giotto who has portrayed most naturally every form and
action." Ghiberti finishes an admiring account of some paintings of
Ambrogio Lorenzotto's with the exclamation that it is truly marvellous
to think that all this is only a picture. Few persons, probably, would
see in the specimens of Ambrogio's work that still remain anything
wonderful for resemblance to Nature,--whilst in Ghiberti's everybody
acknowledges the astonishing truth of the detail. He tells us that he
sought "to imitate Nature as far as was possible to him,"--but he seems
not to be aware how much better he succeeded than the people he praises.
Paolo Uccello, who was twenty years younger than Ghiberti, got his
nickname from his skill in painting birds. But one would rather
undertake to paint birds as well as Paolo than to carve them as well as

We may learn here how little the demand to "imitate Nature" expresses
what is intended. No accuracy, however demonstrable, will satisfy it. To
interest me in a picture, it is not enough that _something_ is as
visible there as it is elsewhere; it must be something that I was
already striving to see. It was not a greater circumstantiality of
statement than was demanded, but greater directness,--that it should be
relieved of what was unessential to its purpose, tending only to obscure
it. A painting, however rude, has at least this negative merit, that, by
the express substitution of the appearance for the actual image,
needless entanglement in the material is avoided. Weight and bulk are
not indeed annihilated, but they are no longer of primary importance,
and thus less obstructive. The work gains precisely in what it gives
up. By the flat omission of depth infinite depth is acquired,--by the
ignoring of size the expression of size becomes possible; a mountain,
for instance, which would be an absurdity in Sculpture is representable
in Painting. Thus, instead of being more abstract than Sculpture,
Painting is in truth less so, since what it omits is only negative to
the purpose of Art.

It seems to us easier to paint than to carve, and we might expect to
find Painting the older art. But the difficulty lies less in the
execution than in the conception. Painting is not a tinting of surfaces,
but the power to see a complex subject in unity. We may think we have no
difficulty in seeing the landscape, but most persons, if called upon to
state what they saw, pictorially, would show that they could not see the
wood for the trees. Beginners suppose it is some knack of the hand that
they are to acquire, when they learn to draw; but that is a small part
of the matter; the great difficulty is in the seeing. Ordinary vision is
piecemeal: we see the parts; but not the picture, or only vaguely. Even
the degree of facility that is implied in any enjoyment of scenery is
not so much a matter of course as it seems. Cæsar occupied himself,
while crossing the Alps, with composing a grammatical treatise. There is
no evidence that there was anything odd in this. Perhaps Petrarch was
the first man that ever climbed a hill to enjoy the view. We are not
aware how much of what we see in Nature is due to pictures. Hardly any
man is so unsophisticated, but that, if he should try to sketch a
landscape, he would betray, in what he did or in what he omitted, that
he saw it more or less at second-hand, through the interpretations of
Art. A portfolio of Calame's or Harding's or Turner's drawings will give
us new eyes for the most familiar scenes.

But we are aided still more by our habit of looking at things
theoretically, apart from their immediate practical bearing. A savage
can comprehend a carved image, but not so readily a picture. An Indian
whom Catlin painted with half his face in shadow became the
laughingstock of the tribe, as "the man with half a face." It is not
necessary to suspect Mr. Catlin's chiaroscuro; what puzzled them was,
doubtless, the bringing together in one view what they had seen only
separate. They were accustomed to see the man in light and in shadow;
but what they cared for, and therefore what they saw, was only the
effect in making it more or less easy to recognize him and to ascertain
his state of mind, intentions, etc. His face was either visible or
obscured; if they could see enough for their purpose, they regarded only
that. For it to be both at once was possible only from a point of view
which they had not reached. A child takes the shading of the portrait
for dirt,--that being the form in which darkening of the face is
familiar to him. A carved image is easier comprehended, because it can
be handled, turned about, and looked at on different sides, and a
material connection thereby assured between the various aspects. To
transfer this connection to the mind--to see varying distances in one
vertical plane, so that mere gradations of light and shade shall suggest
all these aspects arranged and harmonized in one view--is a farther
step, and the difficulty increases with the variety embraced. Cicero was
struck with this superiority in the artists of his time. "How much," he
says, "do painters see in shadow and relief that we do not see!" Yet
their perception seems strangely limited to us. The ancients had little
notion of perspective. Their eyes were too sure and too well-practised
to overlook the effect of position in foreshortening objects, and they
were much experienced in the corrections required, and the effect of
converging lines in increasing apparent distance was taken advantage of
in their theatre-scenes. But they had not learned that the difference
between the actual and the apparent form is thorough-going, so that the
picture no longer stands in the attitude of passive indifference towards
the beholder, but imposes upon him its own point of view. It was
thought remarkable in the Minerva of Fabullus, that it had the
appearance of always looking at the spectator, from whatever point it
was viewed. This would be miraculous in a statue, and must seem so in
the picture so long as it is looked upon only as one side of a statue.
The wall-paintings of Pompeii, doubtless copies or reminiscences of
Greek originals,--with masterly skill in the parts, and with some
success in the landscape as far as it was easily reducible to one
plane,--are only collections of fragments, and show utter incapacity to
see the whole at once as a picture. For instance, in one of the many
pictures of Narcissus beholding himself in the well, the head, which is
inclined sideways, instead of being simply inverted in the reflection,
is reversed,--so that the chin, which is on the spectator's left in the
figure, is on the right in the reflected image: as if the artist,
knowing no other way, had placed himself head downwards, and in that
position had repeated the face as already painted. Such a blunder could
not originate with a copyist, for it would have been much easier to copy
correctly. It is clear from the general excellence of the figure that it
is not the work of an inferior artist. Nor can it have come from mere
carelessness; it is too elaborate for that,--and, moreover, here is the
main point of the picture, that which tells the story. Doubtless the
painter had noticed the pleasingness of such reflections, as repeating
the human form, the supreme object of interest; but the interest stopped
there. He saw the face above and the face below, as he would see the
different sides of a statue; but so incapable was he of perceiving the
connection and interdependence of them, that, even when Nature had made
the picture for him, he could not see it. This is no isolated, casual
mistake, but only a good chance to see what is really universal, though
not often so obvious.

In this and other pictures the water is like a bit of looking-glass
stuck up in front,--without perspective, without connection with the
ground,--the mere assertion of a reflection. The conception embraced
only the main figure; the rest was added like a label, for explanation
only. These men did not see the landscape as we see it, because the
interest was wanting that combines it into a picture for our eyes. Our
"love of Nature" would have been incomprehensible and disgusting to a
Greek; he would have called our artists "dirt-painters." And from his
point of view he would be right. Dirt it is, if we abide by the mere
facts. The interest of Art lies not in the facts, but in the
truth,--that is, in the facts organized, shown in their place. It is not
that we care more about stocks and stones than they did, but that we
hold the key to an arrangement that gives these things a significance
they have not of themselves.

       *       *       *       *       *


  Lo, what wonders the day hath brought,
    Born of the soft and slumberous snow!
  Gradual, silent, slowly wrought,--
  Even as an artist, thought by thought,
    Writes expression on lip and brow.

  Hanging garlands the eaves o'erbrim,--
    Deep drifts smother the paths below;
  The elms are shrouded, trunk and limb,
  And all the air is dizzy and dim
    With a whirl of dancing, dazzling snow.

  Dimly out of the baffled sight
    Houses and church-spires stretch away;
  The trees, all spectral and still and white,
  Stand up like ghosts in the failing light,
    And fade and faint with the blinded day.

  Down from the roofs in gusts are hurled
    The eddying drifts to the waste below;
  And still is the banner of storm unfurled,
  Till all the drowned and desolate world
    Lies dumb and white in a trance of snow.

  Slowly the shadows gather and fall,--
    Still the whispering snow-flakes beat;
  Night and darkness are over all:
  Rest, pale city, beneath their pall!
    Sleep, white world, in thy winding-sheet!

  Clouds may thicken, and storm-winds breathe;
    On my wall is a glimpse of Rome,--
  Land of my longing!--and underneath
  Swings and trembles my olive-wreath;
    Peace and I are at home, at home!

       *       *       *       *       *




I am a frank, open-hearted man, as, perhaps, you have by this time
perceived, and you will not, therefore, be surprised to know that I read
my last article on the carpet to my wife and the girls before I sent it
to the "Atlantic," and we had a hearty laugh over it together. My wife
and the girls, in fact, felt that they could afford to laugh, for they
had carried their point, their reproach among women was taken away, they
had become like other folks. Like other folks they had a parlor, an
undeniable best parlor, shut up and darkened, with all proper carpets,
curtains, lounges, and marble-topped tables, too good for human nature's
daily food; and being sustained by this consciousness, they cheerfully
went on receiving their friends in the study, and having good times in
the old free-and-easy way; for did not everybody know that this room was
not their best? and if the furniture was old-fashioned and a little the
worse for antiquity, was it not certain that they had better, which they
could use, if they would?

"And supposing we wanted to give a party," said Jane, "how nicely our
parlor would light up! Not that we ever do give parties, but if we
should,--and for a wedding-reception, you know."

I felt the force of the necessity; it was evident that the four or five
hundred extra which we had expended was no more than such solemn
possibilities required.

"Now, papa thinks we have been foolish," said Marianne, "and he has his
own way of making a good story of it; but, after all, I desire to know
if people are never to get a new carpet. Must we keep the old one till
it actually wears to tatters?" This is a specimen of the _reductio ad
absurdum_ which our fair antagonists of the other sex are fond of
employing. They strip what we say of all delicate shadings and illusory
phrases, and reduce it to some bare question of fact, with which they
make a home-thrust at us.

"Yes, that's it; are people _never_ to get a new carpet?" echoed Jane.

"My dears," I replied, "it is a fact that to introduce anything new into
an apartment hallowed by many home-associations, where all things have
grown old together, requires as much care and adroitness as for an
architect to restore an arch or niche in a fine old ruin. The fault of
our carpet was that it was in another style from everything in our room,
and made everything in it look dilapidated. Its colors, material, and
air belonged to another manner of life, and were a constant plea for
alterations; and you see it actually drove out and expelled the whole
furniture of the room, and I am not sure yet that it may not entail on
us the necessity of refurnishing the whole house."

"My dear!" said my wife, in a tone of remonstrance; but Jane and
Marianne laughed and colored.

"Confess, now," said I, looking at them, "have you not had secret
designs on the hall- and stair-carpet?"

"Now, papa, how could you know it? I only said to Marianne that to have
Brussels in the parlor and that old mean-looking ingrain carpet in the
hall did not seem exactly the thing; and, in fact, you know, mamma,
Messrs. Ketchem & Co. showed us such a lovely pattern, designed to
harmonize with our parlor-carpet."

"I know it, girls," said my wife; "but you know I said at once that such
an expense was not to be thought of."

"Now, girls," said I, "let me tell you a story I heard once of a very
sensible old New-England minister, who lived, as our country-ministers
generally do, rather near to the bone, but still quite contentedly. It
was in the days when knee-breeches and long stockings were worn, and
this good man was offered a present of a very nice pair of black silk
hose. He declined, saying, he 'could not afford to wear them.'

"'Not afford it?' said the friend; 'why, I _give_ them to you.'

"'Exactly; but it will cost me not less than two hundred dollars to take
them, and I cannot do it.'

"'How is that?'

"'Why, in the first place, I shall no sooner put them on than my wife
will say, "My dear, you must have a new pair of knee-breeches," and I
shall get them. Then my wife will say, "My dear, how shabby your coat
is! You must have a new one," and I shall get a new coat. Then she will
say, "Now, my dear, that hat will never do," and then I shall have a new
hat; and then I shall say, "My dear, it will never do for me to be so
fine and you to wear your old gown," and so my wife will get a new gown;
and then the new gown will require a new shawl and a new bonnet; all of
which we shall not feel the need of, if I don't take this pair of silk
stockings, for, as long as we don't see them, our old things seem very
well suited to each other.'"

The girls laughed at this story, and I then added, in my most determined

"But I must warn you, girls, that I have compromised to the utmost
extent of my power, and that I intend to plant myself on the old
stair-carpet in determined resistance. I have no mind to be forbidden
the use of the front-stairs, or condemned to get up into my bedroom by a
private ladder, as I should be immediately, if there were a new carpet

"Why, papa!"

"Would it not be so? Can the sun shine in the parlor now for fear of
fading the carpet? Can we keep a fire there for fear of making dust, or
use the lounges and sofas for fear of wearing them out? If you got a new
entry- and stair-carpet, as I said, I should have to be at the expense
of another staircase to get up to our bedroom."

"Oh, no, papa," said Jane, innocently; "there are very pretty druggets,
now, for covering stair-carpets, so that they can be used without
hurting them."

"Put one over the old carpet, then," said I, "and our acquaintance will
never know but it is a new one."

All the female senate laughed at this proposal, and said it sounded just
like a man.

"Well," said I, standing up resolutely for my sex, "a man's ideas on
woman's matters may be worth some attention. I flatter myself that an
intelligent, educated man doesn't think upon and observe with interest
any particular subject for years of his life without gaining some ideas
respecting it that are good for something; at all events, I have written
another article for the 'Atlantic,' which I will read to you."

"Well, wait one minute, papa, till we get our work," said the girls,
who, to say the truth, always exhibit a flattering interest in anything
their papa writes, and who have the good taste never to interrupt his
readings with any conversations in an undertone on cross-stitch and
floss-silks, as the manner of some is. Hence the little feminine bustle
of arranging all these matters beforehand. Jane, or Jennie, as I call
her in my good-natured moods, put on a fresh clear stick of hickory, of
that species denominated shag-bark, which is full of most charming
slivers, burning with such a clear flame, and emitting such a delicious
perfume in burning, that I would not change it with the millionnaire who
kept up his fire with cinnamon.

You must know, my dear Mr. Atlantic, and you, my confidential friends of
the reading public, that there is a certain magic or spiritualism which
I have the knack of in regard to these mine articles, in virtue of which
my wife and daughters never hear or see the little personalities
respecting _them_ which form parts of my papers. By a particular
arrangement which I have made with the elves of the inkstand and the
familiar spirits of the quill, a sort of glamour falls on their eyes
and ears when I am reading, or when they read the parts personal to
themselves; otherwise their sense of feminine propriety would be shocked
at the free way in which they and their most internal affairs are
confidentially spoken of between me and you, O loving readers.

Thus, in an undertone, I tell you that my little Jennie, as she is
zealously and systematically arranging the fire, and trimly whisking
every untidy particle of ashes from the hearth, shows in every movement
of her little hands, in the cock of her head, in the knowing, observing
glance of her eye, and in all her energetic movements, that her small
person is endued and made up of the very expressed essence of
housewifeliness,--she is the very attar, not of roses, but of
housekeeping. Care-taking and thrift and neatness are a nature to her;
she is as dainty and delicate in her person as a white cat, as
everlastingly busy as a bee; and all the most needful faculties of time,
weight, measure, and proportion out to be fully developed in her skull,
if there is any truth in phrenology. Besides all this, she has a sort of
hard-grained little vein of common sense, against which my fanciful
conceptions and poetical notions are apt to hit with just a little sharp
grating, if they are not well put. In fact, this kind of woman needs
carefully to be idealized in the process of education, or she will
stiffen and dry, as she grows old, into a veritable household Pharisee,
a sort of domestic tyrant. She needs to be trained in artistic values
and artistic weights and measures, to study all the arts and sciences of
the beautiful, and then she is charming. Most useful, most needful,
these little women: they have the centripetal force which keeps all the
domestic planets from gyrating and frisking in unseemly orbits,--and
properly trained, they fill a house with the beauty of order, the
harmony and consistency of proportion, the melody of things moving in
time and tune, without violating the graceful appearance of ease which
Art requires.

So I had an eye to Jennie's education in my article which I unfolded and
read, and which was entitled,


There are many women who know how to keep a house, but there are but few
that know how to keep a _home_. To keep a house may seem a complicated
affair, but it is a thing that may be learned; it lies in the region of
the material, in the region of weight, measure, color, and the positive
forces of life. To keep a home lies not merely in the sphere of all
these, but it takes in the intellectual, the social, the spiritual, the

Here the hickory-stick broke in two, and the two brands fell
controversially out and apart on the hearth, scattering the ashes and
coals, and calling for Jennie and the hearth-brush. Your wood-fire had
this foible, that it needs something to be done to it every five
minutes; but, after all, these little interruptions of our bright-faced
genius are like the piquant sallies of a clever friend,--they do not
strike us as unreasonable.

When Jennie had laid down her brush, she said,--

"Seems to me, papa, you are beginning to soar into metaphysics."

"Everything in creation is metaphysical in its abstract terms," said I,
with a look calculated to reduce her to a respectful condition.
"Everything has a subjective and an objective mode of presentation."

"There papa goes with subjective and objective!" said Marianne. "For my
part, I never can remember which is which."

"I remember," said Jennie; "it's what our old nurse used to call
internal and _out_-ternal,--I always remember by that."

"Come, my dears," said my wife, "let your father read"; so I went on as

I remember in my bachelor days going with my boon companion, Bill
Carberry to look at the house to which he was in a few weeks to
introduce his bride. Bill was a gallant, free-hearted, open-handed
fellow, the life of our whole set, and we felt that natural aversion to
losing him that bachelor friends would. How could we tell under what
strange aspects he might look forth upon us, when once he had passed
into "that undiscovered country" of matrimony? But Bill laughed to scorn
our apprehensions.

"I'll tell you what, Chris," he said, as he sprang cheerily up the steps
and unlocked the door of his future dwelling, "do you know what I chose
this house for? Because it's a social-looking house. Look there, now,"
he said, as he ushered me into a pair of parlors,--"look at those long
south windows, the sun lies there nearly all day long; see what a
capital corner there is for a lounging-chair; fancy us, Chris, with our
books or our paper, spread out loose and easy, and Sophie gliding in and
out like a sunbeam. I'm getting poetical, you see. Then, did you ever
see a better, wider, airier dining-room? What capital suppers and things
we'll have there! the nicest times,--everything free and easy, you
know,--just what I've always wanted a house for. I tell you, Chris, you
and Tom Innis shall have latch-keys just like mine, and there is a
capital chamber there at the head of the stairs, so that you can be free
to come and go. And here now's the library,--fancy this full of books
and engravings from the ceiling to the floor; here you shall come just
as you please and ask no questions,--all the same as if it were your
own, you know."

"And Sophie, what will she say to all this?"

"Why, you know Sophie is a prime friend to both of you, and a capital
girl to keep things going. Oh, Sophie'll make a house of this, you may

A day or two after, Bill dragged me stumbling over boxes
and through straw and wrappings to show me the glories of the
parlor-furniture,--with which he teemed pleased as a child with a new

"Look here," he said; "see these chairs, garnet-colored satin, with a
pattern on each; well, the sofa's just like them, and the curtains to
match, and the carpets made for the floor with centrepieces and borders.
I never saw anything more magnificent in my life. Sophie's governor
furnishes the house, and everything is to be A No. 1, and all that, you
see. Messrs. Curtain and Collamore are coming to make the rooms up, and
her mother is busy as a bee getting us in order."

"Why, Bill," said I, "you are going to be lodged like a prince. I hope
you'll be able to keep it up; but law-business comes in rather slowly at
first, old fellow."

"Well, you know it isn't the way I should furnish, if my capital was the
one to cash the bills; but then, you see, Sophie's people do it, and let
them,--a girl doesn't want to come down out of the style she has always
lived in."

I said nothing, but had an oppressive presentiment that social freedom
would expire in that house, crushed under a weight of upholstery.

But there came in due time the wedding and the wedding-reception, and we
all went to see Bill in his new house splendidly lighted up and complete
from top to toe, and everybody said what a lucky fellow he was; but that
was about the end of it, so far as our visiting was concerned. The
running in, and dropping in, and keeping latch-keys, and making informal
calls, that had been forespoken, seemed about as likely as if Bill had
lodged in the Tuileries.

Sophie, who had always been one of your snapping, sparkling, busy sort
of girls, began at once to develop her womanhood, and show her
principles, and was as different from her former self as your careworn,
mousing old cat is from your rollicking, frisky kitten. Not but that
Sophie was a good girl. She had a capital heart, a good, true womanly
one, and was loving and obliging; but still she was one of the
desperately painstaking, conscientious sort of women whose very blood,
as they grow older, is devoured with anxiety, and she came of a race of
women in whom house-keeping was more than an art or a science,--it was,
so to speak, a religion. Sophie's mother, aunts, and grandmothers for
nameless generations back, were known and celebrated housekeepers. They
might have been genuine descendants of the inhabitants of that Hollandic
town of Broeck, celebrated by Washington Irving, where the cows' tails
are kept tied up with unsullied blue ribbons, and the ends of the
firewood are painted white. He relates how a celebrated preacher,
visiting this town, found it impossible to draw these housewives from
their earthly views and employments, until he took to preaching on the
_neatness_ of the celestial city, the unsullied crystal of its walls and
the polish of its golden pavement, when the faces of all the housewives
were set Zionward at once.

Now this solemn and earnest view of housekeeping is onerous enough when
a poor girl first enters on the care of a moderately furnished house,
where the articles are not too expensive to be reasonably renewed as
time and use wear them; but it is infinitely worse when a cataract of
splendid furniture is heaped upon her care,--when splendid crystals cut
into her conscience, and mirrors reflect her duties, and moth and rust
stand ever ready to devour and sully in every room and passage-way.

Sophie was solemnly warned and instructed by all the mothers and
aunts,--she was warned of moths, warned of cockroaches, warned of flies,
warned of dust; all the articles of furniture had their covers, made of
cold Holland linen, in which they looked like bodies laid out,--even the
curtain-tassels had each its little shroud--and bundles of receipts and
of rites and ceremonies necessary for the preservation and purification
and care of all these articles were stuffed into the poor girl's head,
before guiltless of cares as the feathers that floated above it.

Poor Bill found very soon that his house and furniture were to be kept
at such an ideal point of perfection that he needed another house to
live in,--for, poor fellow, he found the difference between having a
house and a home. It was only a year or two after that my wife and I
started our _menage_ on very different principles, and Bill would often
drop in upon us, wistfully lingering in the cozy arm-chair between my
writing-table and my wife's sofa, and saying with a sigh how
confoundedly pleasant things looked there,--so pleasant to have a
bright, open fire, and geraniums and roses and birds, and all that sort
of thing, and to dare to stretch out one's legs and move without
thinking what one was going to hit. "Sophie is a good girl," he would
say, "and wants to have everything right, but you see they won't let
her. They've loaded her with so many things that have to be kept in
lavender, that the poor girl is actually getting thin and losing her
health; and then, you see, there's Aunt Zeruah, she mounts guard at our
house, and keeps up such strict police-regulations that a fellow can't
do a thing. The parlors are splendid, but so lonesome and dismal!--not a
ray of sunshine, in fact not a ray of light, except when a visitor is
calling, and then they open a crack. They're afraid of flies, and yet,
dear knows, they keep every looking-glass and picture-frame muffled to
its throat from March to December. I'd like for curiosity to see what a
fly would do in our parlors!"

"Well," said I, "can't you have some little family sitting-room, where
you can make yourselves cozy?"

"Not a bit of it. Sophie and Aunt Zeruah have fixed their throne up in
our bedroom, and there they sit all day long, except at calling-hours,
and then Sophie dresses herself and comes down. Aunt Zeruah insists upon
it that the way is to put the whole house in order, and shut all the
blinds, and sit in your bedroom, and then, she says, nothing gets out of
place; and she tells poor Sophie the most hocus-pocus stories about her
grandmothers and aunts, who always kept everything in their houses so
that they could go and lay their hands on it in the darkest night. I'll
bet they could in our house. From end to end it is kept looking as if we
had shut it up and gone to Europe,--not a book, not a paper, not a
glove, or any trace of a human being, in sight. The piano shut tight,
the bookcases shut and locked, the engravings locked up, all the drawers
and closets locked. Why, if I want to take a fellow into the library, in
the first place it smells like a vault, and I have to unbarricade
windows, and unlock and rummage for half an hour before I can get at
anything; and I know Aunt Zeruah is standing tiptoe at the door, ready
to whip everything back and lock up again. A fellow can't be social, or
take any comfort in showing his books and pictures that way. Then
there's our great, light dining-room, with its sunny south
windows,--Aunt Zeruah got us out of that early in April, because she
said the flies would speck the frescos and get into the china-closet,
and we have been eating in a little dingy den, with a window looking out
on a back-alley, ever since; and Aunt Zeruah says that now the
dining-room is always in perfect order, and that it is such a care off
Sophy's mind that I ought to be willing to eat down-cellar to the end of
the chapter. Now, you see, Chris, my position is a delicate one, because
Sophie's folks all agree, that, if there is anything in creation that is
ignorant and dreadful and mustn't be allowed his way anywhere, it's 'a
man'. Why, you'd think, to hear Aunt Zeruah talk, that we were all like
bulls in a china-shop, ready to toss and tear and rend, if we are not
kept down-cellar and chained; and she worries Sophie, and Sophie's
mother comes in and worries, and if I try to get anything done
differently, Sophie cries, and says she don't know what to do, and so I
give it up. Now, if I want to ask a few of our set in sociably to
dinner, I can't have them where we eat down-cellar,--oh, that would
never do! Aunt Zeruah and Sophie's mother and the whole family would
think the family-honor was forever ruined and undone. We mustn't ask
them, unless we open the dining-room, and have out all the best china,
and get the silver home from the bank; and if we do that, Aunt Zeruah
doesn't sleep for a week beforehand, getting ready for it, and for a
week after, getting things put away; and then she tells me, that, in
Sophie's delicate state, it really is abominable for me to increase her
cares, and so I invite fellows to dine with me at Delmonico's, and then
Sophie cries, and Sophie's mother says it doesn't look respectable for a
family-man to be dining at public places; but, hang it, a fellow wants a
home somewhere!"

My wife soothed the chafed spirit, and spake comfortably unto him, and
told him that he knew there was the old lounging-chair always ready for
him at our fireside. "And you know," she said, "our things are all so
plain that we are never tempted to mount any guard over them; our
carpets are nothing, and therefore we let the sun fade them, and live on
the sunshine and the flowers."

"That's it," said Bill, bitterly, "Carpets fading!--that's Aunt Zeruah's
monomania. These women think that the great object of houses is to keep
out sunshine. What a fool I was, when I gloated over the prospect of our
sunny south windows! Why, man, there are three distinct sets of
fortifications against the sunshine in those windows: first, outside
blinds; then, solid, folding, inside shutters; and, lastly, heavy,
thick, lined damask curtains, which loop quite down to the floor. What's
the use of my pictures, I desire to know? They are hung in that room,
and it's a regular campaign to get light enough to see what they are."

"But, at all events, you can light them up with gas in the evening."

"In the evening! Why, do you know my wife never wants to sit there in
the evening? She says she has so much sewing to do that she and Aunt
Zeruah must sit up in the bedroom, because it wouldn't do to bring work
into the parlor. Didn't you know that? Don't you know there mustn't be
such a thing as a bit of real work ever seen in a parlor? What if some
threads should drop on the carpet? Aunt Zeruah would have to open all
the fortifications next day, and search Jerusalem with candles to find
them. No; in the evening the gas is lighted at half-cock, you know; and
if I turn it up, and bring in my newspapers and spread about me, and
pull down some books to read, I can feel the nervousness through the
chamber-door. Aunt Zeruah looks in at eight, and at a quarter past, and
at half-past, and at nine, and at ten, to see if I am done, so that she
may fold up the papers and put a book on them, and lock up the books in
their cases. Nobody ever comes in to spend an evening. They used to try
it when we were first married, but I believe the uninhabited appearance
of our parlors discouraged them. Everybody has stopped coming now, and
Aunt Zeruah says 'it is such a comfort, for now the rooms are always in
order. How poor Mrs. Crowfield lives, with her house such a
thoroughfare, she is sure she can't see. Sophie never would have
strength for it; but then, to be sure, some folks a'n't as particular as
others. Sophie was brought up in a family of _very_ particular

My wife smiled, with that calm, easy, amused smile that has brightened
up her sofa for so many years.

Bill added, bitterly,--

"Of course, I couldn't say that I wished the whole set and system of
housekeeping women at the--what-'s-his-name? because Sophie would have
cried for a week, and been utterly forlorn and disconsolate. I know it's
not the poor girl's fault; I try sometimes to reason with her, but you
can't reason with the whole of your wife's family, to the third and
fourth generation backwards; but I'm sure it's hurting her
health,--wearing her out. Why, you know Sophie used to be the life of
our set; and now she really seems eaten up with care from morning to
night, there are so many things in the house that something dreadful is
happening to all the while, and the servants we get are so clumsy. Why,
when I sit with Sophie and Aunt Zeruah, it's nothing but a constant
string of complaints about the girls in the kitchen. We keep changing
our servants all the time, and they break and destroy so that now we are
turned out of the use of all our things. We not only eat in the
basement, but all our pretty table-things are put away, and we have all
the cracked plates and cracked tumblers and cracked teacups and old
buck-handled knives that can be raised out of chaos. I could use these
things and be merry, if I didn't know we had better ones; and I can't
help wondering whether there isn't some way that our table could be set
to look like a gentleman's table; but Aunt Zeruah says that 'it would
cost thousands, and what difference does it make as long as nobody sees
it but us?' You see, there's no medium in her mind between china and
crystal and cracked earthen-ware. Well, I'm wondering how all these laws
of the Medes and Persians are going to work when the children come
along. I'm in hopes the children will soften off the old folks, and make
the, house more habitable."

Well, children did come, a good many of them, in time. There was Tom, a
broad-shouldered, chubby-cheeked, active, hilarious son of mischief,
born in the very image of his father; and there was Charlie, and Jim,
and Louisa, and Sophie the second, and Frank,--and a better, brighter,
more joy-giving household, as far as temperament and nature were
concerned, never existed.

But their whole childhood was a long battle, children _versus_
furniture, and furniture always carried the day. The first step of the
housekeeping powers was to choose the least agreeable and least
available room in the house for the children's nursery, and to fit it up
with all the old, cracked, rickety furniture a neighboring auction-shop
could afford, and then to keep them in it. Now everybody knows that to
bring up children to be upright, true, generous, and religious, needs so
much discipline, so much restraint and correction, and so many rules and
regulations, that it is all that the parents can carry out, and all the
children can bear. There is only a certain amount of the vital force for
parents or children to use in this business of education, and one must
choose what It shall be used for. The Aunt-Zeruah faction chose to use
it for keeping the house and furniture, and the children's education
proceeded accordingly. The rules of right and wrong of which they heard
most frequently were all of this sort: Naughty children were those who
went up the front-stairs, or sat on the best sofa, or fingered any of
the books in the library, or got out one of the best teacups, or drank
out of the cut-glass goblets.

Why did they ever want to do it? If there ever is a forbidden fruit in
an Eden, will not our young Adams and Eves risk soul and body to find
out how it tastes? Little Tom, the oldest boy, had the courage and
enterprise and perseverance of a Captain Parry or Dr. Kane, and he used
them all in voyages of discovery to forbidden grounds. He stole Aunt
Zeruah's keys, unlocked her cupboards and closets, saw, handled, and
tasted everything for himself, and gloried in his sins.

"Don't you know, Tom," said the nurse to him once, "if you are so noisy
and rude, you'll disturb your dear mamma? She's sick, and she may die,
if you're not careful."

"Will she die?" said Tom, gravely.

"Why, she _may_."

"Then," says Tom, turning on his heel,--"then I'll go up the

As soon as ever the little rebel was old enough, he was sent away to
boarding-school, and then there was never found a time when it was
convenient to have him come home again. He could not come in the spring,
for then they were house-cleaning, nor in the autumn, because _then_
they were house-cleaning; and so he spent his vacations at school,
unless, by good luck, a companion who was so fortunate as to have a home
invited him there. His associations, associates, habits, principles,
were as little known to his mother as if she had sent him to China. Aunt
Zeruah used to congratulate herself on the rest there was at home, now
he was gone, and say she was only living in hopes of the time when
Charlie and Jim would be big enough to send away too; and meanwhile
Charlie and Jim, turned out of the charmed circle which should hold
growing boys to the father's and mother's side, detesting the dingy,
lonely play-room, used to run the city-streets, and hang round the
railroad-depots or docks. Parents may depend upon it, that, if they do
not make an attractive resort for their boys, Satan will. There are
places enough, kept warm and light and bright and merry, where boys can
go whose mothers' parlors are too fine for them to sit in. There are
enough to be found to clap them on the back, and tell them stories that
their mothers must not hear, and laugh when they compass with their
little piping voices the dreadful litanies of sin and shame. In middle
life, our poor Sophie, who as a girl was so gay and frolicsome, so full
of spirits, had dried and sharpened into a hard-visaged, angular
woman,--careful and troubled about many things, and forgetful that one
thing is needful. One of the boys had run away to sea; I believe he has
never been heard of. As to Tom, the oldest, he ran a career wild and
hard enough for a time, first at school and then in college, and there
came a time when he came home, in the full might of six feet two, and
almost broke his mother's heart with his assertions of his home rights
and privileges. Mothers who throw away the key of their children's
hearts in childhood sometimes have a sad retribution. As the children
never were considered when they were little and helpless, so they do not
consider when they are strong and powerful. Tom spread wide desolation
among the household gods, lounging on the sofas, spitting tobacco-juice
on the carpets, scattering books and engravings hither and thither, and
throwing all the family-traditions into wild disorder, as he would never
have done, had not all his childish remembrances of them been embittered
by the association of restraint and privation. He actually seemed to
hate any appearance of luxury or taste or order,--he was a perfect

As for my friend Bill, from being the pleasantest and most genial of
fellows, he became a morose, misanthropic man. Dr. Franklin has a
significant proverb,--"Silks and satins put out the kitchen-fire." Silks
and satins--meaning by them the luxuries of housekeeping--often put out
not only the parlor-fire, but that more sacred flame, the fire of
domestic love. It is the greatest possible misery to a man and to his
children to be _homeless_; and many a man has a splendid house, but no

"Papa," said Jennie, "you ought to write and tell what are your ideas of
keeping a _home_."

"Girls, you have only to think how your mother has brought you up."

Nevertheless, I think, being so fortunate a husband, I might reduce my
wife's system to an analysis, and my next paper shall be,--

_What is a home, and how to keep it?_

       *       *       *       *       *


Of all the mental epidemics that have visited Europe, beyond question
the most remarkable, and in some of its features the most inexplicable,
is that which prevailed in Paris some hundred and thirty years ago,
among what were called _the Convulsionists of St. Médard_.

The celebrated Jansenius, Bishop of Ypres, during his life the opponent
and enemy of the Jesuits, whom he caused to be excluded from the
theological schools of Louvain, left behind him, at his death, a
treatise, posthumously published in 1640, entitled, "Augustinus," in
which he professed to set forth the true opinions of St. Augustine on
those century-long disputed questions of Grace, Free-Will, and
Predestination. Taking ground against the Molinists, he contended for
the doctrine of Predestination antecedent and absolute, a gift purely
gratuitous, of God's free grace, independent of any virtue or merit in
the recipient soul. This doctrine, set forth in five propositions, was
condemned, in the middle of the seventeenth century, by Popes Innocent
X. and Alexander VII.; and against it, when revived by Father Quesnel in
the beginning of the eighteenth century, there was fulminated, in 1713,
by Pope Clement XI., the famous Bull _Unigenitus_.

From this Bull, accepted in France after long opposition, the Jansenist
party appealed to a future Papal Council, thence deriving their name of
_Appellants_. Among these, one of the most noted and zealous was the
Diacre Pâris, who refused a curacy, to avoid signing his adhesion to
what he regarded as heresy, consumed his fortune in works of charity,
and his health in austerities of a character so excessive that they
abridged his life. Dying, as his partisans have it, in the odor of
sanctity, and protesting with his last breath against the doctrines of
the obnoxious Bull, his remains were deposited, on the second of May,
1727, in the small church-yard of St. Médard, situated in the twelfth
_arrondissement_ of Paris, on the Rue Mouffetard, not far from the
Jardin des Plantes.

To the tomb of one whom they regarded as a martyr to their cause the
Jansenist Appellants habitually resorted, in all the fervor of religious
zeal, heated to enthusiasm by the persecution of the dominant party. And
there, after a time, phenomena presented themselves, which caused for
years, throughout the French capital and among the theologians of that
age, a fever of excitement; and which, though they have been noticed by
medical and other writers of our own century, have not yet, in my
judgment, attracted, either from the medical profession or from the
pneumatological inquirer, the attention they deserve.

Of these phenomena a portion were physical, and a portion were mental or
psychological. The former, first appearing in the early part of the year
1731, consisted (as alleged) partly of extraordinary cures, the apparent
result of violent convulsive movements which overtook the patients soon
after their bodies touched the marble of the tomb, sometimes even
without approaching it, by swallowing, in wine or water, a small portion
of the earth gathered from around it, the effect being heightened by
strict fasting and prayer,--partly of what were called the "_Grands
Secours_," literally "Great Succors," consisting of the most desperate,
one might say _murderous_, remedies, applied, at their urgent request,
to relieve the sufferings of the Convulsionists. These measures, called
of relief, and carried to an incredible excess, were of such a
character, that, during any normal state of the human system, they would
have destroyed, not one, but a hundred lives, if the patient, or victim,
had been endowed with so many. Those who regarded this marvellous
immunity from what seemed certain immolation as a miraculous
interposition of God were called _Succorists_; their opponents,
ascribing such effects to the interference of the Devil in protection of
his own, or (a somewhat rare opinion in those days) to natural
agency, went by the name of _Anti-Succorists_. (_Secouristes_ and

Some of these alleged cures, but more especially some of these so-called
_succors_, were of a nature so far passing belief, that one would be
tempted to cast them aside as sheer impostures, were not the main facts
vouched for by evidence, not from the Jansenists alone, but from their
bitterest opponents, so direct, so overwhelmingly multiplied, so
minutely circumstantial, that to reject it would amount to a virtual
declaration, that, in proof of the extraordinary and the improbable, we
will accept no testimony whatever, let its weight or character be what
it may. Accordingly, we find dispassionate modern writers, medical and
others, while reminding us, as well they may, that enlightened observers
of these strange phenomena were lacking,[3] and while properly
suggesting that we ought to make allowance for exaggeration in some of
the details, yet admitting as incontestable realities the substantial
facts related by the historians of St. Médard.

Among these historians the chief is Carré de Montgéron, a magistrate of
rank and high character, Counsellor of the Parliament of Paris. An
enthusiast, and a weak logician, as hot enthusiasts generally are,
Montgéron's honesty is admitted to be beyond question. Converted to
Jansenism on the seventh of September, 1731, in the church-yard of St.
Médard, by the strange scenes there passing, he expended his fortune,
sacrificed his liberty, and devoted years of his life, in the
preparation and publication of one of the most extraordinary works that
ever issued from the press.[4] It consists of three quarto volumes, of
some nine hundred closely printed pages each. Crowded with repetitions,
and teeming with false reasoning, these volumes nevertheless contain,
backed by certificates without number, such an elaborate aggregation of
concurrent testimony as I think human industry never before brought
together to prove any contested class of phenomena.

Not less zealous, if less voluminous, were the writers opposed to what
was called "the work of the convulsions." Of these one of the chief was
Dom La Taste, Bishop of Bethléem, author of the "Lettres Théologiques,"
and of the "Mémoire Théologique," in both of which the extravagances of
the Convulsionists are severely handled; a second was the Abbé d'Asfeld,
who, in 1738, published his "Vains Efforts des Discernans," in the same
strain; and another, M. Poncet, who put forth an elaborate reply to the
Succorists, entitled "Réponse des Anti-Secouristes à la Réclamation."

The convulsions, commencing in the year 1731, almost immediately assumed
an epidemical character, spreading so rapidly that in a few months the
affected reached the number of eight hundred. These were to be found not
only on the tomb and in the cemetery itself, but in the streets, lanes,
and houses adjoining. Many, after returning from the exciting scenes of
St. Médard, were seized with convulsions in their own dwellings.

The numbers and the excitement went on increasing, and conversions to
Jansenism were counted by thousands; the scenes became daily more
extravagant, and the phenomena more extraordinary, until the King, moved
either by the representations of physicians or by the remonstrances of
Jesuit theologians, caused the cemetery to be closed on the twenty-ninth
of January, 1732.[5]

Not for such interdiction, however, did the phenomena, once in progress,
intermit. For fifteen years, or longer,[6] the symptoms continued, with
more or less violence. Indeed, the number of Convulsionists greatly
increased after the cemetery was closed, extending to those who had no
ailment or bodily infirmity.[7]

The symptoms, though varying in different individuals, were of one
general character, partaking, especially as to the muscular phenomena,
of the nature of hysteria, or hystero-catalepsy. The patient, soon after
being placed on the revered tomb, or on the ground near it, was commonly
attacked by a tumultuous movement of all his members. Contractions
exhibited themselves in the neck, shoulders, and principal muscles all
over the body. The nervous system became dreadfully excited. The heart
beat violently, and the patient, sometimes retaining partial
consciousness and suffering extreme pain, could not restrain violent
cries. He usually experienced, also, a tingling or pricking sensation in
any diseased member. Those who from birth had been afflicted with
paralysis, or partial paralysis, of a limb, or one side of the body,
felt the convulsions chiefly in that limb or side. The convulsions were
often so violent that numerous assistants could scarcely restrain the
patient from seriously injuring himself by dashing his body or limbs
against the marble.[8]

The Demoiselle Fourcroy, alleged to have been suddenly cured, on the
fourteenth of April, 1732, by means of these convulsions, of a confirmed
anchylosis, which had deformed her left foot, and which the physicians
had pronounced incurable,[9] thus describes, in her deposition, her
sensations:--"They caused me to take wine in which was some earth from
the tomb of M. de Pâris, and I immediately engaged in prayer, as the
commencement of a _neuvaine_" (that is, a nine-days' act of devotion).
"Almost at the same moment I was seized with a great shuddering, and
soon after with a violent agitation of the members, which caused my
whole body to jerk into the air, and gave me a force I had never before
possessed,--so that the united strength of several persons present could
scarcely restrain me. After a time, in the course of these violent
convulsive movements, I lost all consciousness. As soon as they passed
off, I recovered my senses, and felt a sensation of tranquillity and
internal peace, such as I had never experienced before."[10]

It was usually at the moment of recovery from these convulsions, as
Montgéron alleges and the certificates published by him declare, that
the cures deemed by him miraculous were effected. Sometimes, however,
these cures were gradual only, extending through several days or weeks.

In Montgéron's work fourteen distinct cures are minutely reported, all
of persons declared by the attendant physicians to be incurable. Each of
these cures, with the documentary evidence in support of it, occupies
from fifty to one hundred pages of his book. The greater number are
cases of paralysis, usually of one entire side of the body, in some
instances complicated with general dropsy, in others with cancer, in
others again with attacks of apoplexy. There are four cases where the
eyesight was restored,--one of them of a lachrymal fistula; one of a
young Spanish nobleman, who suddenly recovered the use of his right eye,
the left, however, remaining uncured; and there is a case in which a
young woman, deaf and dumb from birth, is reported to have been suddenly
and completely cured on the tomb of M. de Pâris, at the moment the
convulsions ceased, immediately repeating, though not understanding, any
word that was spoken to her by the bystanders.

My limits do not permit me to follow Montgéron through the details and
the documentary proof of these cures. That the patient, in each case,
previously examined by some physician of reputation, was pronounced
incurable, does not prove that he was so. Yet, unless Montgéron lie,
some of the cures are inexplicable, upon any received principles of
medical science. One man, (Philippe Sergent,) whose right knee had
shrunk to such a degree that the right leg was, and had been for more
than a year, three finger-breadths shorter than the left, was, according
to the certificates, cured on the spot, threw away his crutches, and
walked home, unaided, followed by a wondering crowd. Another patient,
(Marguerite Thibault,) affected by general dropsy, and whose feet and
legs were swollen to three times their natural size, is reported to have
been cured so suddenly that before she left the tomb her servant could
put on her feet the same slippers she had worn previously to her malady.
This woman had also been afflicted, for three years, with paralysis of
the left side, so complete as to deprive it of all power of motion. Yet
she is stated to have raised herself, unaided, on the tomb, to have
walked from the spot, and even to have ascended the stairs of her house
on her return. The symptom immediately preceding her cure is said to
have been "a beneficent heat, which diffused itself over the entire left
side, so long deadly cold." This was followed by a consciousness of
power to move it; and her first effort was to stretch out her paralytic

But these cures, wonderful as they appear, are far less marvellous than
another class of phenomena already referred to.

The convulsions were often accompanied by an urgent instinctive desire
for certain extreme remedies, sometimes of a frightful character,--as
stretching the limbs with a violence similar to that of the
rack,--administering on the breast, stomach, or other parts of the body,
hundreds of terrible blows with heavy weapons of wood, iron, or
stone,--pressing with main force against various parts of the body with
sharp-pointed swords,--pressure under enormous weights,--exposure to
excessive heat, etc. Montgéron, viewing the whole as miraculous,
says,--"God frequently causes the convulsionists the most acute pains,
and at the same time intimates to them, by a supernatural instinct, that
the formidable succors which He desires that they should demand will
cause all their sufferings to cease; and these sufferings usually have a
sort of relation to the succors which are to prove a remedy for them.
For instance, an oppression on the breast indicates the necessity for
blows of extreme violence on that part; an excessive cold, or a
devouring heat, when it suddenly seizes a convulsionist, requires that
he should be pushed into the midst of flames; a sharp pang, similar to
that caused by an iron point piercing the flesh, demands a thrust of a
rapier,[12] given in the spot where the pain is felt, be it In the
throat, in the mouth, or in the eyes, of which there are numerous
examples; and let the rapier be pushed as it may, the point, no matter
how sharp, cannot pierce the most tender flesh, not even the eye of the
patient: of this, in my third proposition, I shall adduce proof the most

To _some_ extent, it would seem, the symptoms themselves, attending the
convulsions, appeared, to the observant physician, to warrant the
propriety of the remedy desired. Montgéron copies a report of a case
made to him, and attested by a gentleman of his acquaintance, a
Jansenist, who had persuaded his cousin, Dr. M----, at that time a
distinguished physician of Paris, and much prejudiced against the
Jansenist movement, to accompany him to a house where there was a young
girl subject to the reigning epidemic. They found her in a room with
twenty or thirty persons, and at the moment in convulsions. The
assistants agreed to place the case in the hands of the physician, and
he carefully noted the movements of the patient.

"After a time," proceeds the reporter, "he was greatly astonished to
observe a sudden convulsive retraction of all the members. Examining the
patient closely, touching her breast and limbs, he became aware of a
contraction of the nerves, which gradually reached such a degree of
violence that the whole body was disfigured in a frightful manner. His
surprise was extreme, and it was soon changed to alarm, which induced
him to forget his prejudices, and to resort to the very means he had
previously condemned as useless or dangerous. He caused us to place
ourselves, one at the head and one at each hand and foot, and bade us
pull moderately. We did so.

"'Not enough,' he said, with his hand on the patient's breast;

"We obeyed.

"'Stronger yet!' he exclaimed.

"We told him we were exerting our entire strength.

"'Two, then, to each limb,' he said.

"It was done, (by the aid of long and very strong pieces of
cloth-listing,) but proved insufficient.

"'Three to each!' he cried; 'the child will die; pull with all your
force! Stronger still!'"

"'We cannot.'"

"'Then four to each!'"

"He was obeyed."

"'Ah, that relieves,' he said; 'the nerves resume their tone; the
symptoms improve. But do not relax the tension.'"

"Then again, after a pause,--"

"'Strong! stronger! The contractions increase. Put all your strength to

Ultimately five persons were assigned to each band; and the nearest
aided themselves by bracing their feet against the bed. They continued
their efforts during half an hour, sometimes pulling with all their
strength, sometimes less strongly, as the physician observed the
contraction of the nerves to increase or relax. Finally he ordered the
tension to be gradually diminished, in proportion as the convulsion
passed off.

After a time this convulsion was succeeded by another, causing a sudden
and alarming swelling of the chest. "The girl stood leaning against a
wall, and in that position he caused us, as had been our wont, to press
with force on her chest. This we did, interposing a small cushion
composed of listing. At first, I alone assisted." Then Dr. M---- ordered
three, four, five, ultimately even a greater number of persons, to aid
them. "The convulsion ceased gradually, and in the same proportion he
caused us to diminish the pressure."

"Afterwards the physician, having retired to another room, said to us,
before going away, 'You would be homicides, gentlemen, if you did not
render these succors; for the symptoms require them; and the girl would
die, if you refused them. There is nothing but what is natural in the
relation between her state and these succors.'"[14]

Another example, occurring in 1740, and still more striking, because the
case was that of a girl only three years of age, is given by Montgéron
on the authority (among other witnesses) of Count de Novion, a near
relative of the Duke de Gesvres, Governor of Paris. The Count, having
been present throughout this case, testifies from personal observation.

The child's limbs, as in the previous example, were drawn up by violent
convulsive movements, and the muscles became as it were knotted, causing
extreme pain. The little creature urgently begged that they would draw
her legs and arms. Moderate tension caused no diminution of the pain;
violent tension, administered with fear and trembling, relieved her
immediately. She complained also of acute pain in the breast, which
swelled to an alarming extent. To remove this, nothing proved effectual
but excessive pressure with the knee on the part affected.

After a time, however, some of the Anti-Succorist theologians persuaded
the mother that the succors ought not to be administered,--and even
raised doubts in her mind and in that of the Count, as to whether the
Devil had not some agency in the affair. "Who knows," said the latter,
"if the Arch-Enemy has no part in this?" So they intermitted the succors
for some weeks. During this time the infant gradually sank from day to
day, would scarcely eat or drink, seldom slept, and death seemed

The physician, being called in, declared that the only hope was in
resuming the succors, terrible as they appeared, and that, too,
promptly. To the father he said, "If you delay, it will be too late.
While you are trying all your fine experiments with her, your child will
die." They resumed the same violent remedies as before; and the child
was gradually restored to perfect health.[15]

But these examples, whatever we may think of them, are but some of the
most moderate, which Montgéron himself admits to be explicable on
natural principles. He says: "During the first months that the succors
commenced, the power of resistance offered by the convulsionists did not
appear so surprising, and seemed, indeed, to be the effect of an
excessive swelling which was observed in the muscles upon which the
convulsionists requested the blows to be given, and of the violent
agitation of the animal spirits; so that the succors demanded by the
sufferers appeared, in a measure, the natural remedy for the state in
which God had placed them. But when, every day, the violence of the
blows increased, it became evident that the natural force of the muscles
could not equal that of the tremendous strokes which the convulsionists
demanded, in obedience, as they said, to the will of God. And here was
manifested the miracle."[16]

I proceed to give, as an example of one of the more violent succors here
spoken of as miraculous, a narrative, not only vouched for by Montgéron
himself as a witness present, but put forth, in the first instance, by
one of the most violent Anti-Succorists, the Abbé d'Asfeld, in his work
already referred to,--and put forth by him in order to be condemned as a
wicked tempting of Providence,[17] or, worse, an accepting of aid from
the Prince of Darkness himself. It occurred in 1734.

"Here," says the Abbé, "is an example, all the more worthy of attention,
inasmuch as persons of every station and condition, ecclesiastics,
magistrates, ladies of rank, were among the spectators. Jeanne Moler, a
young girl of twenty-two or twenty-three years of age, standing up with
her back resting against a stone wall, an extremely robust man took an
andiron,[18] weighing, as was said, from twenty-five to thirty pounds,
and therewith gave her, with his whole force, numerous blows on the
stomach. They counted upwards of a hundred at a time. One day a certain
friar, after having given her sixty such blows, tried the same weapon
against a wall; and it is said that at the twenty-fifth blow he broke an
opening through it."[19]

Dom La Taste, the great opponent of Jansenism, alluding to the same
circumstance, says, "I do not dispute the fact, that the andiron sunk so
deeply that it appeared to penetrate to the very backbone."[20]

Montgéron, after quoting the above, adds his own testimony, as to this
same occurrence, in these words:--

"As I am not ashamed to confess that I am one of those who have followed
up most closely the work of the convulsions, I freely admit that I am
the person to whom the author alludes, when he speaks of a certain friar
who tried against a wall the effect of blows similar to those he had
given the convulsionist. As this is an occurrence personal to myself, I
trust the reader will perceive the propriety of my presenting to him the
narrative in a more exact and detailed form than that in which it is
given by the author of the 'Vains Efforts.'

"I had begun, as I usually do, by giving the convulsionist very moderate
blows. But after a time, excited by her constant complaints, which left
me no room to doubt that the oppression in the pit of the stomach of
which she complained could be relieved only by violent blows, I
gradually increased the force of mine, employing at last my whole
strength; but in vain. The convulsionist continued to complain that the
blows I gave her were so feeble that they procured her no relief; and
she caused me to put the andiron into the hands of a large and stout man
who happened to be one of the spectators. He kept within no bounds.
Instructed by the trial he had seen me make that nothing could be too
severe, he discharged such terrible blows, always on the pit of the
stomach, as to shake the wall against which the convulsionist was

"She caused him to give her one hundred such blows, not reckoning as
anything the sixty I had just administered. She warmly thanked the man
who had procured her such relief, and reproached me for my weakness and
my lack of faith.

"When the hundred blows were completed, I took the andiron, desirous of
trying against the wall itself whether my blows, which she thought so
feeble and complained of so bitterly, really did produce no effect. At
the twenty-fifth stroke the stone against which I struck, and which had
been shaken by the previous blows, was shattered, and the pieces fell
out on the opposite side, leaving an opening of more than six inches

"Now let us observe what were the portions of the body of the
convulsionist on which these fearful blows were dealt. It is true that
they first came in contact with the skin, but they sank immediately to
the back of the patient; their force was not arrested at the surface.

"I insist unnecessarily, perhaps, upon this fact, since all, even our
greatest enemies, admit its truth. But, however incontestable it is, I
conceive that I cannot too strongly prove it to those who have not
themselves witnessed what happened; inasmuch as the principal objection
made by the author of the 'Mémoire Théologique' consists in supposing
that the violence of the most tremendous blows given to convulsionists
is suspended by the Devil, who thus nullifies the effect they would
naturally produce."[21]

Montgéron further says, that "the greatest enemies of these miraculous
succors admitted the fact that such terrible blows, far from producing
the slightest wound, or causing the convulsionist the least suffering,
actually cured the pains of which she complained."[22]

The convulsionist sometimes demanded enormous pressure instead of
violent blows. To this also, the Abbé d'Asfeld testifies. I translate
from his "Vains Efforts."

"Next came the exercise of the platform. It consisted in placing on the
convulsionist, who was stretched on the ground, a board of sufficient
size to cover her entirely; and as many men as could stand upon it
mounted on the board. The convulsionist sustained them all."[23]

Montgéron adds,--"This relation is tolerably exact, and it only remains
for me to observe, that, as they gave each other the hand, for
reciprocal support, most of those who were on the board rested the whole
weight of the body on a single foot. Thus, twenty men at a time often
stood upon the board, and were supported on the body of a young
convulsionist. Now, as most men weigh a hundred and fifty pounds, and
many weigh more, the body of the girl must have sustained a weight of
three thousand pounds, if not sometimes nearly four thousand,--a load
sufficient to crush an ox. Yet, not only was the convulsionist not
oppressed by it, but she often found the pressure insufficient to
correct the swelling which distended her muscles. With what force must
not God have endowed the body of this girl! Since the days of Samson,
was ever seen such a prodigy?"[24]

If these incidents, attested as they are by friend and foe, seem to us
incredible, what shall we say of another, not less strongly attested?

Let us first, as before, take the statement of an adversary. I translate
from the "Mémoire Théologique."

"A convulsionist laid herself on the floor, flat on her back; and a man,
kneeling beside her, and raising a flint stone, weighing upwards of
twenty pounds, as high as he could, after several preliminary trials,
dashed it, with all his force, against the breast of the convulsionist,
giving her one hundred such blows in succession."[25]

To this Montgéron subjoins,--"But the author ought to have added, that,
at each blow, the whole room shook, the floor trembled, and the
spectators could not repress a shudder at the frightful noise which was
heard, as each blow fell on the convulsionist's breast." We need not be
surprised that he adds,--"Not only ought such strokes naturally to
rupture the minute vessels, the delicate glands, the veins and the
arteries of which the breast is composed,--not only ought they, in the
course of Nature, to have crushed and reduced the whole to a bloody
mass,--but they ought to have shattered to pieces the bones and
cartilages by which the breast is inclosed."[26]

This was the view of the case taken by a celebrated physician of the
day. Montgéron tells us:--"This philosopher maintained that the facts
alleged could not be true, because they were physically impossible. He
raised, among other objections, this,--that the flexible, delicate
nature of the skin, of the flesh, and of the viscera, is incompatible
with a force and a consistency so extraordinary as the alleged facts
presuppose; and, consequently, that it was impossible, without ceasing
to be what they are,--without a radical change in their qualities,--that
they should acquire a force superior to that of the hardest and most
solid bodies. They let him quietly complete his anatomical argument, and
set forth all his proofs, and merely answered, 'Come and see; test the
truth of the facts for yourself.' He went. At first sight, he is seized
with astonishment; he doubts the evidence of his eyes; he asks to be
allowed himself to administer the succors. They immediately place in his
hands iron bars of a crushing weight. He does not spare his blows; he
exerts his utmost strength. The weapon sinks into the flesh, seems to
penetrate to the entrails. But the convulsionist only laughs at his idle
efforts. His blows but procure her relief, without leaving the least
impression, the slightest trace, even on the epidermis."[27]

Space fails me to furnish more than a very few additional specimens of
the endless incidents of which the details are scattered by Montgéron
over hundreds of pages,--incidents occurring in various parts of Paris,
daily, for many years. Three or four more of these may suffice for my
present purpose.

A certain Marie Sonnet had made herself so remarkable by the incredible
succors she demanded, that a physician of Paris, Dr. A----, published,
in regard to her case, a satirical letter addressed to M. de Montgéron,
in which, after attacking the girl's moral character, be assumed this
strange position: "It is a sentiment universally established, that it is
in the power of the Devil, when God permits, to communicate to man
forces above those of Nature. Nor must it be said that God never permits
this; the case of the girl Sonnet is unanswerable proof to the

Among the incidents which appear to have led to this opinion one is thus
stated by him:--"They let fall upon her stomach, from the height of the
ceiling, a stone weighing fifty pounds, while her body, bent back like a
bow, was supported on the point of a sharpened stake, placed just under
the spine; yet, far from being crushed by the stone, or pierced by the
stake, it was a relief to her."[29]

Montgéron supplies further particulars of this case. He says:--"It was
not once, it was a hundred times in succession, and that daily repeated,
that this flint stone was raised by main force, by the aid of a pulley,
to the ceiling of the room, and thence suddenly let fall on the stomach
of the patient. This stone weighed, it is true, fifty pounds only; but,
descending from a great height, its effect was immensely increased by
the momentum it acquired in falling, as soon as the cord was detached by
which it was suspended in the air.' And, in truth, the ribs of the
convulsionist bent under the terrible shock, sinking under the weight
till her stomach and bowels were so completely flattened that the stone
seemed wholly to displace them. Yet she received no injury whatever, but
was relieved, as Dr. A---- himself admits. He confesses, also, that the
body of the convulsionist was bent back so that the head and feet
touched the floor, and was supported only on the sharp point of a stake
right under her reins, and placed perpendicularly beneath the spot where
the stone was to fall. The weight of the stone in falling was,
therefore, arrested only by the point of this stake, the body of the
convulsionist being between them, so that the entire force of the blow
was concentrated opposite that point.... The stake appeared to penetrate
to a certain depth into the body, yet neither the skin nor the flesh
received the slightest injury, nor did the convulsionist experience any
pain whatever."[30]

This same Marie Sonnet exposed herself to terrible tests by fire. A
certificate in regard to this matter, signed by eleven persons, of whom
one was an English lord, one a Doctor of Theology in the Sorbonne, and
another the brother of Voltaire, Armand Arouet, Treasurer of the Chamber
of Accounts, is given by Montgéron, and I here translate it:--

"We, the undersigned, certify, that this day, between eight and ten
o'clock, P.M., Marie Sonnet, being in convulsion, was placed, her head
resting on one stool and her feet on another, these stools being
entirely within a large chimney and under the opening of the same, so
that her body was suspended in the air above the fire, which was of
extreme violence, and that she remained in that position for the space
of thirty-six minutes, at four different times; yet the cloth [_drap_]
in which she was wrapped (she having no other dress) was not burned,
though the flames sometimes passed above it: all which appears to us
entirely supernatural. In testimony whereof, we have signed our names,
this twelfth of May, 1736."

To this certificate, which was afterwards legally recorded, a postscript
is appended, stating, that, while they were writing out the certificate,
Marie placed herself a fifth time over the fire, as before, remaining
there nine minutes; that she appeared to sleep, though the fire was
excessively hot; fifteen logs of wood, besides fagots, having been
consumed in the two hours and a quarter during which the witnesses

Montgéron adds, that this exhibition has been witnessed at least a
hundred times, and by a multitude of persons. And he expressly states,
that the stools, which consisted of iron frames, with a board upon each,
were placed entirely within the fireplace, and one on each side of the
fire; so that, as Marie Sonnet rested her head on one stool and her feet
on the other, her body remained suspended immediately above the fire;
and further, that, "no matter how intense the heat, not only did she
suffer no inconvenience, but the cloth in which she was wrapped was
never injured, nor even singed, though it was sometimes actually in the

He declares, also, that Marie, on other occasions, remained over the
fire much longer than is above certified. The author of the "Vains
Efforts" admits that "she remained exposed to the fire long enough to
roast a piece of mutton or veal."

Montgéron informs us, in addition, that Marie Sonnet sometimes varied
the form of this experiment, with a somewhat varying result. He
says,--"I have seen her five or six times, and in the presence of a
multitude of persons, thrust both her feet, with shoes and stockings on,
into the midst of a burning brazier; but in this case the fire did not
respect the shoes, as, in the other, it had respected the cloth that
enwrapped her. The shoes caught fire, and the soles were reduced to
ashes, but without the convulsionist experiencing pain in her feet,
which she continued to keep for a considerable time in the fire. Once I
had the curiosity to examine the soles of her stockings, in order to
ascertain if they, too, were burnt. As soon as I touched them they
crumbled to powder, so that the sole of the foot remained bare."[32]

Dr. A----, in the letter already alluded to, which he published against
this girl, admits, that, "while in the midst of flames, or stretched
over a burning brazier, she received no injury whatever."[33]

M. Poncet, whom I have elsewhere mentioned as one of the chief writers
against the Succorists, admits the following:--

"This convulsionist [Gabrielle Moler] placed herself on her knees before
a large fire full of burning coals all in flame. Then, a person being
seated behind her, and holding her by a band, she plunged her head into
the flames, which closed over it; then, being drawn back, she repeated
the same, continuing it with a regular alternate movement. She has been
seen thus to throw herself on the fire six hundred times in succession.
Usually she wore a bonnet, but sometimes not; and when she did wear one,
the top of the bonnet was occasionally burned."[34] Montgéron adds, "but
her hair never."[35]

Gabrielle was the first who (in 1736) demanded what was called the
_succor of the swords_. Montgéron says,--"She was prompted by the
supernatural instinct which guided her to select the strongest and
sharpest sword she could find among those worn by the spectators. Then
setting herself with her back against a wall, she placed the point of
the sword just above her stomach, and called upon him who seemed the
strongest man to push it with all his force; and though the sword bent
into the form of a bow from the violence with which it was pushed, so
that they had to press against the middle of the blade to keep it
straight, still the convulsionist cried out, 'Stronger! stronger!' After
a time she applied the point of the sword to her throat, and required it
to be pushed with the same violence as before. The point caused the skin
to sink into the throat to the depth of four finger-breadths, but it
never pierced the flesh, let them push as violently as they would.
Nevertheless, the point of the sword seemed to attach itself to the
skin; for, when drawn back, it drew the skin with it, and left a
trifling redness, such as would be caused by the prick of a pin. For the
rest, the convulsionist suffered no pain whatever."[36]

Similar is the testimony of an Advocate of the Parliament of Paris,
extracts from whose certificate in regard to the succors rendered to the
Sister Madeleine are given by Montgéron. Here is one of these:--

"One day, extended on the ground, she caused a spit to be placed
upright, with the point on her bare throat. Then a stout man mounted on
a chair, and suspended his whole body from the head of the spit,
pressing with all his force, as if to transfix the throat and pierce the
floor beneath. But the flesh merely sank in with the point of the spit,
without being in the least injured.

"Another day, she placed the point of a very sharp sword against the
hollow of the throat, just below the epiglottis, and, standing with her
back against the wall, called on them to push the sword. A vigorous man
did so, till the blade bent, though not so much as to form a complete
arc. The point sank into the flesh about an inch. I was curious to
measure the exact depth, and found that the flesh rose so far around the
sword-point that I could sink a finger in beyond the first joint. She
received this succor twice. The sword was one of the sharpest I have
ever seen. We tried it against a portfolio containing the paper intended
for the minutes which on such occasions I always make out. It perforated
the pasteboard and a considerable part of the papers within."[37]

The Sister Madeleine carried her temerity in this matter still farther.
Here is a portion of the certificate of an ecclesiastic, for whose
uprightness and truthfulness Montgéron vouches in strong terms, and who
relates what he alleges he saw on the thirty-first of May, 1744.

"Madeleine caused them to hold two swords in the air horizontally. She
herself placed the point of one in the inner corner of the right eye,
and of the other in the inner corner of the left, and then called out to
those who held the swords, 'In the name of the Father, push!' They did
so with all their force; and I confess that I shuddered from head to
foot.... A second time Madeleine caused them to set two swords against
the pupils of her eyes, and to press them strongly, as before. This time
I took especial notice of the part of the sword that was on a level with
the surface of the eye when the pressure was the strongest, and I
perceived that the point had penetrated a good inch into the pupil."[38]

The Chaplain in Ordinary of the King, under date of the fourth of
October, 1744, testifies to confirmatory facts. He says,--"I have seen
them push sword-points against the eyes of Sisters Madeleine and
Félicité, sometimes on the pupil, sometimes in the corner of the eye,
sometimes on the eyelid,--with such force as to cause the eyeball to
project, till the spectators shuddered."[39]

Another officer of the royal household gives a certificate of succors
administered to this same Madeleine, of a character scarcely less
wonderful, with pointed spits, of which two were broken against her

This officer certifies, also, that, on one occasion, when pushing a
sharp sword against Madeleine, not being able to push strongly enough
to satisfy her, he placed a book bound in parchment on his own breast,
placed the hilt of his sword against it, and pressed with so much force
that the cover of the book was quite spoiled by the deep indentation
made by the sword-hilt. He adds,--"The instinct of her convulsion caused
her sometimes to demand as many as twenty-two swords at a time. These
were placed, some in front, some against her back, some against her
sides, in every direction. I myself never saw quite so many employed;
but I was present, and was myself assisting, when eighteen swords were
pushed at once against various parts of her body. Although the force
with which this prodigious succor was administered caused deep
indentations in the flesh, she never received the slightest wound. It
often happened that her convulsions caused the flesh to react under the
pressure of the sword-points, so as forcibly to push back the

The Advocate of the Parliament of Paris, already mentioned, certifies to
the same phenomenon. His words are,--"One can feel, under the
sword-point, a movement of the flesh, which, from time to time, thrusts
back the sword. This occurs the most strongly when the succor is nearly
at an end. The convulsionist calls out, 'Enough!' as soon as the pains
are relieved."[41]

The same Advocate states, that sometimes the convulsionist threw the
weight of her body on the swords, the hilts resting on the floor, and
being secured from slipping. He speaks of one case in which, "while she
was balancing herself on the points of several swords upon which she had
thrown herself with all her weight, [_où elle se jettoit à corps
perdû_,] one of them broke."[42]

The officer of the king's household already spoken of testifies to a
similar fact. A certain Sister Dina, he says, caused six swords thus to
break against her body. He adds, that he himself broke the blade of a
sword while thrusting against her; and that he saw two others broken in
the same way.[43]

In regard to what Montgéron considers the exacting instinct, the same
officer says,--"I had the curiosity to ask Sister Madeleine, in her
natural state, what was the sort of suffering which caused her to have
recourse to such astonishing succors. She replied, that the pain she
suffered was the same as if swords were actually piercing her; that she
felt relieved of this pain as soon as the sword-points penetrated to her
skin, and quite cured when the assistants put their whole force to it.
She laughed when the swords pierced her dress, saying, 'I feel the
points on my skin. That relieves. That does me good.'"[44]

Both the Advocate of Parliament and the ecclesiastic from whose
certificates I have quoted testify that the convulsionists were
repeatedly undressed and examined by a committee of their own sex,
consisting in part of incredulous ladies of fashion, to ascertain that
they had nothing concealed under their clothes to resist the
sword-points. But in every case it was ascertained that they wore but
the ordinary articles of under-clothing. The Sister Dina was examined in
this way; and it was ascertained that she had nothing under her gown
except a chemise and a simple linen stomacher. Her clothing was found
pierced in many places, but the flesh wholly uninjured.[45]

Although throughout the writings of the Anti-Succorists there are
constant denunciations of these succors as flagrant and wicked temptings
of Providence, yet I do not find therein any allegation that serious
injury was ever sustained by any of the patients. Montgéron himself,
however, admits, that, on one occasion, a wound was received. He tells
us that a certain convulsionist long resisted the instinct which bade
her demand the succor of a triangular-bladed sword against the left
breast, fearing the result. At last, however, the pain became so intense
that she was fain to consent. For the first seven or eight minutes the
sword-point only indented the flesh, as usual. But then, says Montgéron,
"her faith suddenly failing her, she cried out, 'Ah! you will kill me!'
No sooner had she pronounced the words than the sword pierced the flesh,
making a wound two inches in depth." He alleges, further, that the
instinct of the convulsionist informed her that the wound would have no
bad consequences, and could be cured by severe blows of a club on the
same spot; which, he declares, happened accordingly.[46]

Besides the incidents above related, and a hundred others of similar
character, which, if time and the reader's patience permitted, I might
cull from Montgéron's pages, the restless enthusiasm of the
convulsionists ultimately betrayed them into extravagances, in which it
is often hard to decide whether the grotesque or the horrible more
predominated. One convulsionist descended the long stairs of an
infirmary head-foremost, lying on her back; another caused herself to be
attached, by a rope round her neck, to a hook in the wall. A third
repeated her prayers while turning somersets. A fourth, suspended by the
feet, with the head hanging down, remained in that position
three-quarters of an hour. A fifth, lying down on a tomb, caused herself
to be covered to the neck with baked earth mixed with sand and saturated
with vinegar. A sixth made her bed, in winter, on billets of wood; a
seventh on bars of iron. The Sister Félicité was in the habit of causing
herself to be nailed to the cross, and of remaining there half an hour
at a time, gayly conversing with the pious who surrounded her.[47]
Another sister, named Scholastique, after long hesitation between
different modes of mortification, having one day remarked the manner in
which they constructed the pavement of the streets, had her dress
tightly fastened below the knee, and then ordered one of the assistants
to take her by the legs, and, with her head downward, to dash it
repeatedly against the tiled floor, after the fashion of paviors, when
using a rammer.

"If," says Calmeil, "the idea had chanced to suggest itself to one of
these theomaniacs, that disembowelling alive would be a sacrifice
pleasing to the Supreme Being, she would undoubtedly have insisted upon
being subjected to such a martyrdom."[48]

The mental and physiological phenomena connected with this epidemic
remain to be noticed, together with the theories and suggestions put
forth by medical and other contemporary writers, in explanation of what
has here been sketched, the substance of which is usually admitted by
these commentators, however incredible, when related at this distance of
time, it may appear. Next month the subject will be continued.

       *       *       *       *       *


  The wild, sweet water, as it flows,--
    The winds, that kiss me as they pass,--
  The starry shadow of the rose,
    Sitting beside her on the grass,--

  The daffodilly, trying to bless
    With better light the beauteous air,--
  The lily, wearing the white dress
    Of sanctuary, to be more fair,--

  The lithe-armed, dainty-fingered brier,
    That in the woods, so dim and drear,
  Lights up betimes her tender fire
    To soothe the homesick pioneer,--

  The moth, his brown sails balancing
    Along the stubble crisp and dry,--
  The ground-flower, with a blood-red ring
    On either hand,--the pewet's cry,--

  The friendly robin's gracious note,--
    The hills, with curious weeds o'errun,--
  The althea, with her crimson coat
    Tricked out to please the wearied sun,--

  The dandelion, whose golden share
    Is set before the rustic's plough,--
  The hum of insects in the air,--
    The blooming bush,--the withered bough,--

  The coming on of eve,--the springs
    Of daybreak, soft and silver-bright,--
  The frost, that with rough, rugged wings
    Blows down the cankered buds,--the white,

  Long drifts of winter snow,--the heat
    Of August, falling still and wide,--
  Broad cornfields,--one chance stalk of wheat,
    Standing with bright head hung aside,--

  All things, my darling, all things seem
    In some strange way to speak of thee;
  Nothing is half so much a dream,
    Nothing so much reality.

  My soul to thine is dutiful,
    In all its pleasure, all its care;
  O most beloved! most beautiful!
    I miss, and find thee everywhere!

       *       *       *       *       *


In the early part of the summer of 1840, I started from Switzerland for
England with the express object of finding traces of glaciers in Great
Britain. This glacier-hunt was at that time a somewhat perilous
undertaking for the reputation of a young naturalist like myself, since
some of the greatest names in science were arrayed against the novel
glacial theory. And it was not strange that it should be at first
discredited by the scientific world, for hitherto all the investigations
of geologists had gone to show that a degree of heat far greater than
any now prevailing characterized the earlier periods of the world's
history. Even Charpentier, my precursor and master in glacial research,
who first showed the greater extent of Swiss glaciers in former times,
had not thought of any more general application of his result, or
connected their former boundaries with any great change in the climatic
conditions of the whole continent. His explanation of the phenomena
rested upon the assumption that the Alps formerly rose far beyond their
present height; their greater altitude, he thought, would account for
the existence of immense glaciers extending from the Alps across the
plain of Switzerland to the Jura. Inexperienced as I then was, and
ignorant of the modes by which new views, if founded on truth, commend
themselves gradually to general acceptation, I was often deeply
depressed by the skepticism of men whose scientific position gave them a
right to condemn the views of younger and less experienced students. I
can smile now at the difficulties which then beset my path, but at the
time they seemed serious enough. It is but lately, that, in turning over
the leaves of a journal, published some twelve or fifteen years ago, to
look for a forgotten date, I was amused to find a formal announcement,
under the signature of the greatest geologist of Europe, of the demise
of the glacial theory. Since then it has risen, phoenix-like, from its
own funeral pile.

Even when I arrived in England, many of my friends would fain have
dissuaded me from my expedition, urging me to devote myself to special
zoölogical studies, and not to meddle with general geological problems
of so speculative a character. "Punch" himself did not disdain to give
me a gentle hint as to the folly of my undertaking, terming my journey
into Scotland in search of moraines a sporting-expedition after
"moor-hens." Only one of my older scientific friends in England, a man
who in earlier years had weathered a similar storm himself, shared my
confidence in the investigations looked upon by others as so visionary,
and offered to accompany me in my excursion to the North of England,
Scotland, and Wales. I cannot recur to that delightful journey without a
few words of grateful and affectionate tribute to the friend who
sustained me by his sympathy and guided me by his knowledge and

For many years I had enjoyed the privilege of personal acquaintance with
Dr. Buckland, and in 1834, when engaged in the investigation of fossil
fishes, I had travelled with him through parts of England and Scotland,
and had derived invaluable assistance from his friendly advice and
direction. To him I was indebted for an introduction to all the
geologists and palæontologists of Great Britain, with none of whom,
except Lyell, had I any previous personal acquaintance; and through him
I obtained not only leave to examine all the fossil fishes in public and
private collections throughout England, but the unprecedented privilege
of bringing them together for closer comparison in the rooms of the
Geological Society of London. A few years later he visited Switzerland,
when I had the pleasure of showing him, in my turn, the glacial
phenomena of my native country, to the study of which I was then
devoting all my spare time. After a thorough survey of the facts I had
collected, he became satisfied that my interpretation of them was likely
to prove correct, and even then he recalled phenomena of his own
country, which, under the new light thrown upon them by the glacial
phenomena of Switzerland, gave a promise of success to my extraordinary
venture. We then resolved to pursue the inquiry together on the occasion
of my next visit to England; and after the meeting in Glasgow of the
British Association for Advancement of Science, we started together for
the mountains of Scotland in search of traces of the glaciers, which, if
there was any truth in the generalizations to which my study of the
Swiss glaciers had led me, must have come down from the Grampian range,
and reached the level of the sea, as they do now in Greenland.

On the fourth of November of that year I read a paper before the
Geological Society of London, containing a summary of the scientific
results of that excursion, which I had extended with the same success to
Ireland and parts of England. This paper was followed by one from Dr.
Buckland himself, containing an account of his own observations, and
another from Lyell on the same subject. From that time, the
investigation of glaciers in regions where they no longer occur has been
carried to almost every part of the globe. Before giving a more special
account of this expedition, I will say a word of the mass of facts which
I had brought from my Alpine researches, on which my own convictions
were founded, and which seemed to Buckland worthy of careful
consideration. To explain these more fully to my readers, I must leave
the Scotch hills for a while, and beg them to return with me to
Switzerland once more.

Thus far I have spoken chiefly of the advance of glaciers, and very
justly, since they are in constant onward motion, being kept within
their limits only by a waste at their lower extremity proportionate to
their advance. But in considering the past history of glaciers, we must
think of their changes as retrograde, not progressive movements; since,
if the glacial theory be true, a great mass of ice, of which the present
glaciers are but the remnants, formerly spread over the whole Northern
hemisphere, and has gradually disappeared, until now no traces of it are
to be found, except in the Arctic regions and in lofty mountain-ranges.
Every terminal moraine, such as I described in the last article, is the
retreating footprint of some glacier, as it slowly yielded its
possession of the plain, and betook itself to the mountains; wherever we
find one of these ancient semicircular walls of unusual size, there we
may be sure the glacier resolutely set its icy foot, disputing the
ground inch by inch, while heat and cold strove for the mastery. There
may have been a succession of cold summers, or, if now and then a warmer
summer intervened, a colder one followed, so that the glacier regained
the next year the ground it had lost during the preceding one, thus
continuing to oscillate for a number of years along the same line, and
adding constantly to the _débris_ collected at its extremity. Wherever
such oscillations and pauses in the retreat of the glacier occurred, all
the materials annually brought down to its terminus were collected; and
when it finally disappeared from that point, it left a wall to mark its
temporary resting-place.

By these semicircular concentric walls we can trace the retreat of the
ice as it withdrew from the plain of Switzerland to the fastnesses of
the Alps. It paused at Berne, and laid the foundation of the present
city, which is built on an ancient moraine; it made a stand again at the
Lake of Thun, and barred its northern outlet by a wall which holds its
waters back to this day. Other moraines, though less distinct, are
visible nearer the base of the Bernese Alps, and, above Meyringen, the
valley is spanned by one of very large dimensions. Again, on the other
side of the first chain of high peaks, the glacier of the Rhone,
descending the valley toward the Lake of Geneva, has everywhere left
traces of its ancient extension. We find the valley crossed at various
distances by concentric moraines, until we reach the lake. There are no
less than thirteen concentric moraines immediately below the present
termination of the glacier of the Rhone, the one nearest to the ice, and
the last formed, marking its present boundary. Others are visible half a
mile, a mile, and two or three miles beyond, near the villages of
Obergestelen and Münster. One of the largest and finest of these ancient
moraines of the glacier of the Rhone stands at Viesch, and extends
across the whole valley, while the Rhone, already swollen by many
mountain-torrents, has cut its way through it. Lower down, we meet with
traces of other ancient glaciers, reaching laterally the main glacier,
which occupied the centre of the valley: such was the glacier of Viesch,
when it extended as far down as the village;[49] such was the glacier of
Aletsch, when it added its burden of ice to that coming from the upper
valley; such was the glacier of the Simplon, whose moraines, of less
antiquity, may now be seen by the road-side leading over the Alps to
Italy; such were the two gigantic twin glaciers that drained the
northern slopes of the mountain-colosses around Monte Rosa and
Matterhorn, united at Stalden, and thence, losing their independence,
became simply lateral tributaries of the great glacier of the Rhone;
such were, farther on, the glaciers coming down from all the
side-valleys opening into the Rhone basin; such were the glaciers of the
St. Bernard, and even those of Chamouni, which in those early days
crossed the Tête Noire to unite below Martigny with those that filled
the valley of the Rhone. Thus the outlines of this glacier may be
followed from its present remnant at the summit of the Valais, where the
Rhone now springs forth from the ice, to the very shores of the Lake of
Geneva, where, near the mouth of the river, on both banks of the valley,
the ancient moraines may be traced to this day, thousands of feet above
the level of the water, marking the course the glacier once followed.

It is evident that here the remains of the glacier mark a process of
retrogression; for had these successive walls of loose materials been
deposited in consequence of the advance of the glacier, they would have
been pushed together in one heap at its lower end. That such would have
been the case is not mere inference, but has been determined by direct
observation in other localities. We know, for instance, by historical
record, (see Gruner's "Natural History of the Glaciers of Switzerland,")
that in the seventeenth century a number of successive moraines existed
at Grindelwald, which have since been driven together by the advance of
the glacier, and now form but one. Indeed, we have ample traditional
evidence of the oscillations of glacier-boundaries in recent times. When
I was engaged in the investigation of this subject, I sought out all the
chronicles kept in old convents or libraries which might throw any light
upon it. Among other records, I chanced upon the following, which may
have some interest for the historian as well as the geologist.

During the religious wars of the sixteenth century, when the Catholics
gained the ascendancy in the Canton of Valais, the inhabitants of the
upper valleys adhered to the Protestant faith. Shut out from ordinary
communication with the Protestant churches by the Bernese Oberland, the
account states that these peasants braved every obstacle to the exercise
of their religion, and used to carry their children over a certain road
by the valley of Viesch, across the Alps, to be baptized at Grindelwald,
on the farther side of the glaciers of Aletsch and Viesch. I could not
understand this statement, for no such road exists, or could be
conceived possible at present; nor was there any knowledge of it among
the guides, intimate as they are with every feature of the region.
Impressed, however, with the idea that there must be some foundation for
the statement, I carefully examined the ground, and, penetrating under
the glacier of Aletsch, I actually found, a number of feet below the
present level of the ice, the paved road along which these hardy people
travelled to church with their children, and some traces of which are
still visible. It has been almost completely buried, although here and
there it reappears; but at this day it is completely impassable for
ordinary travel.

Evidence of a like character is found in a number of facts cited by
Venetz in his celebrated paper upon the variations of temperature in the
Swiss Alps, drawn from the parish and commune registers of the Canton of
Valais. Among these are acts concerning the right to roads which are now
either entirely hidden by ice, or rendered nearly useless by the advance
of the glacier, a lawsuit respecting the use of a forest which no longer
exists, but the site of which is covered by a glacier, and other records
of a similar character. The only document, so far as I know, previous to
this century, which furnishes the means of delineating with any accuracy
the former boundary of a glacier, is a topographical plan of the
environs of the Grimsel, including the extremity of the Aar, making a
part of Altmann's work upon the Alps.

In 1740, Kapeler, a physician of Lucerne, undertook a journey to the
mountains of the Aar, to visit certain crystal grottos, now well known,
but then recently discovered. He prepared a map of these grottos and
their vicinity, in which they are represented as being situated at some
distance from the extremity of the glacier, the lower end of which is
now considerably beyond them.[50]

But to return to the glacier of the Rhone. We can detect the sequence
and relative age of its ancient moraines, not only by their position
with reference to each other and to the present glacier, but also by
their vegetation. The older ones have a mature vegetation; indeed, some
of the largest trees of the valley stand upon the lower moraines, while
those higher up, nearer the glacier, have only comparatively small
trees, and the more recent ones are almost bare of vegetation. Moreover,
we do not lose the track of the great glacier of the Rhone even when we
have followed its ancient boundaries to the shores of the Lake of
Geneva; for along its northern and southern shores we can follow the
lateral moraines marking the limits of the glacier which once occupied
that crescent-shaped depression now filled by the blue waters of the

M. de Charpentier was the first geologist who attempted to draw the
outlines of the glacier of the Rhone during its greatest extension, when
it not only filled the basin of the Lake of Geneva, but stretched across
the hilly plain to the north, reached the foot of the Jura, and even
rose to a considerable height along the southern slope of that chain of
mountains. At that time the colossal glacier spread at its extremity
like a fan, extending westward in the direction of Geneva and eastward
towards Soleure.[51] The very minute and extensive investigations of
Professor A. Guyot upon the erratic boulders of Switzerland have not
only confirmed the statements of M. de Charpentier, but even shown that
the northeastern boundary of the ancient glacier of the Rhone was more
extensive than was at first supposed. Other researches upon the ancient
moraines along the shores of the Lake of Geneva, and in other parts of
Switzerland, in which most geologists of the day took an active part,
have made us as fully conversant with the successive outlines and
varying extent of the principal glaciers ranging from the Alpine summits
to the surrounding lowlands as we are with the glaciers in their present
circumscription. But no one has done as much as Professor Guyot to add
precision to these investigations. The number of localities, the level
of which he has determined barometrically, with the view of fixing the
ancient levels of all these vanished glaciers, is almost incredible. The
result of all these surveys has been a distinct recognition of not less
than seven gigantic glaciers descending from the northern and western
slopes of the Alps to the adjoining hilly plains of Switzerland and
France. It is most interesting to trace their outlines upon a recent map
of those countries, but it requires that kind of intellectual effort of
the imagination without which the most brilliant results of modern
science remain an unmeaning record to us. Let us, nevertheless, try to

The glacier of the Rhone, occupying the whole space between the Bernese
and Valesian Alps, filled to overflowing the valley of the Rhone; at
Martigny it was met by a large tributary from Mont Blanc, by the side of
which it advanced into the plain beyond, filling the whole Lake of
Geneva, and covering the beautiful Canton de Vaud and parts of Fribourg,
Neuchâtel, Berne, and Soleure, rising to the crest of the Jura, and in
many points penetrating even beyond its outer range.

To the east of this, the largest of all the ancient glaciers of
Switzerland, we find the ancient glacier of the Aar, descending from the
northern slope of the whole range of the Bernese Oberland. The glaciers
that once filled the valley of Hasli, from the Grimsel to Meyringen, and
those that came down from the Wetterhörner, the Schreckhörner, the
Finster-Aarhorn, and the Jungfrau, through the valleys of Grindelwald
and Lauterbrunnen, united in a common bed, the bottom of which was the
present basin of the Lakes of Brientz and Thun. These were joined by the
glaciers emptying their burden through the valley of the Kander. To
these combined glaciers the formation of the terminal moraine of Thun
must be ascribed. But before this had been formed, the glacier of the
Aar, in its amplest extension, had also reached the foot of the Jura,
without, however, spreading so widely as the glacier of the Rhone.
Farther to the east Professor Guyot has traced the boundaries of three
other colossal glaciers, one of which derived its chief supplies from
the Alps of Uri, bringing with it all the tributaries which the main
glacier coming down from the St. Gothard received right and left, in its
course through the valley of the Reuss and the basins of the Lakes of
Lucerne and Zug. The second, born in the Canton of Glaris, followed
mainly the present course of the Linth and the basin of the Lake of
Zurich. Professor Escher von der Linth has shown that the lovely city of
Zurich is built upon a moraine, like Berne. The imagination shrinks from
the thought that all the beautiful scenery of those countries should
once have been hidden under masses of ice, like those now covering
Greenland. The easternmost ancient glacier of Switzerland is that of the
Rhine, arising from all the valleys from which now descend the many
tributaries of that stream, spreading over the northeastern Cantons,
filling the Lake of Constance, and terminating at the foot of the
Suabian Alp. Next to the glacier of the Rhone, this was once the largest
of those descending from the range of the Alps.

West of Mont Blanc Professor Guyot has traced the boundaries of two
other distinct ancient glaciers; one of which, the glacier of the Arve,
followed chiefly the course of the Arve, and, though discharging the icy
accumulations from the western slope of Mont Blanc, was, as it were,
only a lateral affluent of the great glacier of the Rhone. The other,
the glacier of the Isère, occupied, to the south and west of the
preceding, the large triangular space intervening between the Alps and
the Jura, in that part of Savoy where the two mountain-chains converge
and become united.

It would lead me too far, were I to describe also the course of the
great ancient glaciers which descended from the southern slopes of the
Alps into the plain of Northern Italy. Moreover, these boundaries are
not yet ascertained with the same degree of accuracy as those of the
northern and western slopes; though very accurate descriptions of some
of them have been published, with illustrations on a large scale, by MM.
Martins and Gastaldi, and of others by Professor Ramsey. I have myself
examined only the upper part of that of the valley of Aosta.

The evidence concerning the ancient glaciers of the Alps, especially
within the limits of Switzerland, is already so full that it affords
ample means for a comprehensive general view of the subject. It is
frequently the case, that, when a stretch of time or space lies between
us and a matter we have once studied more closely, it presents itself to
us as a whole more vividly than when our nearness to it forced all its
details upon our observation. In my present position, now that the lapse
of many years separates me from my personal investigations of the
ancient and modern glaciers, and I look back upon them from another
continent, it seems to me that I have, as it were, a bird's-eye view of
their whole extent; and I confess that this distant retrospect of the
subject has been to me almost as fascinating as were the researches of
my earlier years in the same direction. I wish that I could present it
to the minds of my readers with something of the attraction it possesses
for me. I trust, however, that I have made it plain to them that the
great mountain-chain of the Alps has been a central axis from which
immense glaciers at one time descended in every direction, not only to
its base, beyond which the lowlands extend in flat undulations, but to a
greater or less distance over the adjoining plains; while at present
they are confined to the higher valleys. So far, then, notwithstanding
the extraordinary difference in their dimensions, at the time they
reached the Jura and the plain of Northern Italy, when compared with
what they are now, they seem directly connected with the Alps, and the
mountains appear as their birthplace; so much so that the first attempts
at a generalization concerning their origin started from the assumption
that they must have been formed between the high ridges from which they
seem to flow down. These facts, then the only ones known concerning a
greater extension of the glaciers, naturally led to the views advocated
by M. de Charpentier. My own theory was also at first, that the upheaval
of the Alps must, in some way or other, have been connected with these
phenomena. But it soon became evident to me that these views were
inadequate to account for the former presence of extensive glaciers in
other parts of Europe; and even within the range of the Alps there were
insuperable objections to their final admission. If the ancient glaciers
had been first formed among the highest mountains, and extended
downwards into the plains, the largest and highest moraines ought to be
the most distant, and to be formed of the most rounded masses; whereas
the actual condition of the detrital accumulations is the reverse, the
distant materials being widely spread, and true moraines being found
only in valleys connected with great chains of lofty mountains.

Again, all these moraines are within one another,--the most distant from
the glacier to which they owe their origin encircling all those which
are nearer and nearer to it within the same glacial basin. And as no
glacier could reach to its farthest moraine without pushing forward all
the intervening loose materials, it is self-evident that the outer
moraines were first formed, and those nearer the glacier subsequently,
in the order in which they follow one another from the lower valleys to
the higher levels at which alone glaciers exist at present. Translating
these facts into words, we see that the glaciers to which these ancient
moraines owe their origin must have been retreating gradually while the
moraines were accumulating. But a glacier while uniformly retreating
forms no high walls of loose materials around its edges and at its lower
extremity; as it melts away, it only drops the burden of angular rocky
fragments which it carries upon its back over the loose fragments above
which it moves, and which it grinds to powder, or to sand, or to rounded
pebbles, in its progress. It is only where the glacier remains
stationary for a longer or shorter period that large terminal moraines
can accumulate; and they are generally found in such places in the
valleys of the Alps as would naturally determine the lower limit of a
glacier for the time being. There is no possibility of escaping the
conclusion that the ancient glaciers must have begun that series of
oscillations to which the accumulation of the moraines is to be
ascribed, at a time when ice-fields already occupied the whole area
which they have covered during their greatest extension. After we shall
have seen how many centres of dispersion of erratic boulders existed in
the northern hemisphere, similar to that of the Alps, we may perhaps be
able to form some idea of the manner in which these ice-fields
originated and gradually vanished.

Some investigators have been inclined to explain the presence of
boulders, moraines, drift, and the like phenomena, by the action of
water. But even if we could believe that rivers had brought along with
them such masses of rock, and deposited them where they are now found,
the regularity in the distribution of the materials disproves any such
theory. In the lateral moraines of the Lake of Geneva we have a striking
illustration of this apparently systematic division of the loose
materials; for the northeastern moraines of that glacial basin contain
rocks belonging exclusively to the northern side of the valley of the
Rhone, while the moraines on the southern shore of the lake consist of
rocks belonging to its southern side. Indeed, rivers, so far from
building up moraines, have often partially destroyed them. We find
various instances of moraines through which a river runs, having worn
for itself a passage, on either side of which the form of the moraine
remains unbroken. In the valley of the Rhone there are villages built on
such moraines, as, for instance, Viesch, with the river running through
their centre.

But if we need further confirmation of the fact that these accumulations
on either side of this and other Swiss lakes are ancient lateral
moraines, we have it in their connection with walls of a like nature at
their lower end, where we find again transverse moraines barring their
outlet, and also in the continuity of long trains of fragments of
similar rocks extending side by side across wide plains for great
distances without mixture. From the beginning of my investigations upon
the glaciers, I have urged these two points as most directly proving
their greater extension in former times, and more recent researches
constantly recur to this kind of evidence. All our lakes would be filled
with loose materials, had their basins not been sheltered by ice against
the encroachments of river-deposits during the transportation of the
erratic boulders to the farthest limits of their respective areas; and
all the continuous trails of rocks derived from the same locality would
have been scattered over wide areas, had they not been carried along, in
unyielding tracks, like moraines. On a small scale the waters of the
Rhone and of the Arve recall to this day such a picture. There are few
travellers in Switzerland who have not seen these two rivers, where they
flow side by side, meeting, but not mingling, at the southern extremity
of the lake, the different color of their water marking the two parallel
currents. In old times, when the glaciers filled all the valleys at the
base of Mont Blanc, and to the east of it, uniting in the valley through
which now runs the River Rhone, the glacier of the Arve came down to
meet the ice from the valley of the Rhone, in the same manner as the
River Arve now comes to meet the waters of the Rhone where they rush out
from the southern end of the lake.

This would be the proper place to consider the formation of the lakes of
Switzerland, as well as their preservation by the agency of glaciers.
But this subject is so intricate, and has already given rise to so many
controversies which could not be overlooked in this connection, that I
prefer to pass it over altogether in silence. Suffice it to say that not
only are most of the lakes of Switzerland hemmed in by transverse
moraines at their lower extremity, but the lakes of Upper Italy, at the
foot of the Alps, are barred in the same way, as are also the lakes of
Norway and Sweden, and some of our own ponds and lakes. Strange as it
may seem to the traveller who sails under an Italian sky over the lovely
waters of Como, Maggiore, and Lugano, it is, nevertheless, true, that
these depressions were once filled by solid masses of ice, and that the
walls built by the old glaciers still block their southern outlets.
Indeed, were it not for these moraines, there would be comparatively few
lakes either in Northern Italy or in Switzerland. The greater part of
them have such a wall built across one end; and but for this masonry of
the glacier, there would have been nothing to prevent their waters from
flowing out into the plain at the breaking up of the ice-period. We
should then have had open valleys in place of all these sheets of water
which give such diversity and beauty to the scenery of Northern Italy
and Switzerland, or, at least, the lakes would be much fewer and occupy
only the deeper depressions in the hard rocks.

Such being the evidences of the former extent of the glaciers in the
plains, what do the mountain-summits tell us of their height and depth?
for here, also, they have left their handwriting on the wall. Every
mountain-side in the Alps is inscribed with these ancient characters,
recording the level of the ice in past times. Here and there a ledge or
terrace on the wall of the valley has afforded support for the lateral
moraines, and wherever such an accumulation is left, it marks the limit
of the ice at some former period. These indications are, however,
uncertain and fragmentary, depending upon projections of the rocky
walls. But thousands of feet above the present level of the glacier, far
up toward their summits, we find the sides of the mountains furrowed,
scratched, and polished in exactly the same manner as the surfaces over
which the glaciers pass at present. These marks are as legible and clear
to one who is familiar with glacial traces as are hieroglyphics to the
Egyptian scholar; indeed, more so,--for he not only recognizes their
presence, but reads their meaning at a glance. Above the line at which
these indications cease, the edges of the rocks are sharp and angular,
the surface of the mountain rough, unpolished, and absolutely devoid of
all those marks resulting from glacial action. On the Alps these traces
are visible to a height of nine thousand feet, and across the whole
plain of Switzerland, as I have stated, one may trace the glaciers by
their moraines, by the masses of rock they have let fall here and there,
by the drift they have deposited, to the very foot of the opposite
chain, where they have dropped their boulders along the base of the
Jura. Ascending that chain, one finds the grooved, polished, and
scratched surfaces to its summit, on the very crest of which boulders
entirely foreign to the locality are perched. Follow the range down upon
the other side and you find the same indications extending into the
plains of Burgundy and France beyond.

With a chain of evidence so complete, it seems to me impossible to deny
that the whole space between the opposite chains of the Alps and the
Jura was once filled with ice; that this mass of ice completely covered
the Jura, with the exception of a few high crests, perhaps, rising
island-like above it, and mounted to a height of some nine thousand feet
upon the Alps, while it extended on the one side into the northern plain
of Italy, filling all its depressions, and on the other down to the
plains of Central Europe. The only natural inference from these facts
is, that the climatic conditions leading to their existence could not
have been local; they must have been cosmic. When Switzerland was
bridged across from range to range by a mass of ice stretching southward
into Lombardy and Tuscany, northward into France and Burgundy, the rest
of Europe could not have remained unaffected by the causes which induced
this state of things.

It was this conviction which led me to seek for the traces of glaciers
in Great Britain. I had never been in the regions I intended to visit,
but I knew the forms of the valleys in the lake-country of England, in
the Highlands of Scotland, and in the mountains of Wales and Ireland,
and I was as confident that I should find them crossed by terminal
moraines and bordered by lateral ones, as if I had already seen them.

The reader must not suppose, when I describe these walls, formed of the
_débris_ of the glacier, as consisting of boulders, stones, pebbles,
sand, and gravel, a rough accumulation of loose materials
indiscriminately thrown together, that we find the ancient moraines
presenting any such appearance. Time, which mellows and softens all the
wrecks of the past, has clothed them with turf, grassed them over,
planted them with trees, sown his seed and gathered in his harvests upon
them, until at last they make a part of the undulating surface of the
country. Were it not for anticipating my story, I could point out many a
green billow, rising out of the fields and meadows immediately about us,
that had its origin in the old ice-time. Thus disguised, they are not so
evident to the casual observer; but, nevertheless, when once familiar
with the peculiar form, character, and position of these rounded ridges
scattered over the face of the country, they are easily recognized.

Of course, the ancient glaciers of Great Britain were far more difficult
to trace than those of Switzerland, where the present glaciers are
guides to the old ones. But, nevertheless, my expectations were more
than answered. The first valley I entered in the glacial regions of
Scotland was barred by a terminal moraine; and throughout the North of
England, as well as in Scotland and Ireland, I found the hill-sides
covered with traces of glacial action, as distinct and unmistakable as
those I had left in my native land. And not only was the surface of the
country polished, grooved, and scratched, as in the region of existing
glaciers, and presenting an appearance corresponding exactly to that
described elsewhere, but we could track the path of the boulders where
they had come down from the hills above and been carried from the mouth
of each valley far down into the plains below. In Scotland and Ireland
the phenomena were especially interesting. I had intended to give in
this article some account of the "parallel roads" of Glenroy, marking
the ancient levels of glacier-lakes, so much discussed in this
connection. But the reminiscences of old friends, and the many
associations revived in my mind by recurring to a subject which I have
long looked upon as a closed chapter, so far as my own researches are
concerned, have constantly led me beyond the limits I had prescribed to
myself in these papers upon glaciers; and as the story of Glenroy and
the phenomena connected with it is a long one, I shall reserve it for a
subsequent number.

       *       *       *       *       *


The literary life of Bryant begins with the publication of "Thanatopsis"
in the "North American Review," in 1816; for we need take no account of
those earlier blossoms, plucked untimely from the tree, as they had been
prematurely expanded by the heat of party politics. The strain of that
song was of a higher mood. In those days, when American literature spoke
with faint and feeble voice, like the chirp of half-awakened birds in
the morning twilight, we need not say what cordial welcome was extended
to a poem which embodied in blank verse worthy of anybody since Milton
thoughts of the highest reach and noblest power, or what wonder was
mingled with the praise when it was announced that this grand and
majestic moral teaching and this rich and sustained music were the work
of a boy of eighteen. Not that Bryant was no more than eighteen when
"Thanatopsis" was printed, for he must pay one of the tributes of
eminence in having all the world know that he was born in 1794; but he
was no more than eighteen when it was written, and surely never was
there riper fruit plucked from so young a tree. And now we have before
us, with the imprint of 1864, his latest volume, entitled "Thirty
Poems." Between this date and that of the publication of "Thanatopsis"
there sweeps an arch of forty-eight years. With Bryant these have been
years of manly toil, of resolute sacrifice, of faithful discharge of all
the duties of life. The cultivation of the poetical faculty is not
always favorable to the growth of the character, but Bryant is no less
estimable as a man than admirable as a poet. It has been his lot to earn
his bread by the exercise of the prose part of his mind,--by those
qualities which he has in common with other men,--and his poetry has
been written in the intervals and breathing-spaces of a life of regular
industry. This necessity for ungenial toil may have added something to
the shyness and gravity of the poet's manners; but it has doubtless
given earnestness, concentration, depth, and a strong flavor of life to
his verse. Had he been a man of leisure, he might have written more, but
he could hardly have written better. And nothing tends more to prolong
to old age the freshness of feeling and the sensibility to impressions
which are characteristic of the poetical temperament than the dedication
of a portion of every day to some kind of task-work. The sweetest
flowers are those which grow upon the rocks of renunciation. Byron at
thirty-seven was a burnt-out volcano: Bryant at threescore and ten is as
sensitive to the touch of beauty as at twenty.

The poetry of Bryant is not great in amount, but it represents a great
deal of work, as few men are more finished artists than he, or more
patient in shaping and polishing their productions. No piece of verse
ever leaves his hands till it has received the last touch demanded by
the most correct judgment and the most fastidious taste. Thus the style
of his poetry is always admirable. Nowhere can one find in what he has
written a careless or slovenly expression, an awkward phrase, or an
ill-chosen word. He never puts in an epithet to fill out a line, and
never uses one which could be improved by substituting another. The
range within which he moves is not wide. He has not written narrative or
dramatic poems: he has not painted poetical portraits: he has not
aspired to the honors of satire, of wit, or of humor: he has made no
contributions to the poetry of passion. His poems may be divided into
two great classes,--those which express the moral aspects of humanity,
and those which interpret the language of Nature; though it may be added
that in not a few of his productions these two elements are combined.
Those of the former class are not so remarkable for originality of
treatment as for the beauty and truth with which they express the
reflections of the general mind and the emotions of the general heart.
In these poems we see our own experience returned to us, touched with
the lights and colored with the hues of the most exquisite poetry. Their
tone is grave and high, but not gloomy or morbid: the edges of the cloud
of life are turned to gold by faith and hope. Of the poems of this
class, "Thanatopsis," of which we have already spoken, is one of the
best known. Others are the "Hymn to Death," "The Old Man's Funeral," "A
Forest Hymn," "The Lapse of Time," "An Evening Reverie," "The Old Man's
Counsel," and "The Past." This last is one of the noblest of his
productions, full of solemn beauty and melancholy music, and we cannot
deny ourselves the pleasure of quoting a few of its stanzas.

       "Thou unrelenting Past!
  Strong are the barriers round thy dark domain,
        And fetters, sure and fast,
  Hold all that enter thy unbreathing reign.

       "Far in thy realm withdrawn,
  Old empires sit in sullenness and gloom,
        And glorious ages gone
  Lie deep within the shadow of thy womb.

       "Childhood, with all its mirth,
  Youth, Manhood, Age, that draws us to the ground,
        And last, Man's Life on earth,
  Glide to thy dim dominions, and are bound.

         *       *       *       *       *

       "In thy abysses hide
  Beauty and excellence unknown,--to thee
        Earth's wonder and her pride
  Are gathered, as the waters to the sea;

       "Labors of good to man,
  Unpublished charity, unbroken faith,--
        Love, that 'midst grief began,
  And grew with years, and faltered not in death.

       "Full many a mighty name
  Lurks in thy depths, unuttered, unrevered;
        With thee are silent fame.
  Forgotten arts, and wisdom disappeared.

       "Thine for a space are they,--
  Yet shalt thou yield thy treasures up at last;
        Thy gates shall yet give way,
  Thy bolts shall fall, inexorable Past!

       "All that of good and fair
  Has gone into thy womb from earliest time
        Shall then come forth to wear
  The glory and the beauty of its prime."

Here is nothing new. It is the old, sad strain, of coeval birth with
poetry itself. It may be read in the Hebrew of the Book of Job and in
the Greek of Homer: but with what dignity of sentiment, what majestic
music, what beauty of language, the oft-repeated lesson of humanity is
enforced! Every word is chosen with unerring judgment, and no needless
dilution of language weakens the force of the conceptions and pictures.
Bryant is one of the few poets who will bear the test of the well-nigh
obsolete art of verbal criticism: observe the expressions, "_silent_
fame," "_forgotten_ arts," "wisdom _disappeared_": how exactly these
epithets satisfy the ear and the mind! how impossible to change any one
of them for the better!

In Bryant's descriptive poems there is the same finished execution and
the same beauty of style as in his reflective and didactic poems, with
more originality of treatment. It was his fortune to be born and reared
in the western part of Massachusetts, and to become familiar with some
of the most beautiful inland scenery of New England in youth and early
manhood, when the mind takes impressions which the attrition of life
never wears out. In his study of Nature he combines the faculty and the
vision, the eye of the naturalist and the imagination of the poet. No
man observes the outward shows of earth and sky more accurately; no man
feels them more vividly; no man describes them more beautifully. He was
the first of our poets who, deserting the conventional paths in which
imitators move, studied and delineated Nature as it exists in New
England, modified by the elements of a comparatively low latitude, a
brilliant sky, uncertain springs, short and hot summers, richly colored
autumns, and winters of pure and crystal cold. The merit and the
popularity of Bryant's descriptive poetry prove how intimate is the
relation between imagination and truth, and how the poet who is faithful
to the highest requisitions of his art must obey laws as rigid as those
of science itself. Here, at the risk of making our readers read again
what they may have read before, we transcribe a passage from a
memorandum of Mr. Morritt's, containing an account of Scott's
proceedings while studying the localities of "Rokeby":--

"I observed him noting down even the peculiar little wild flowers and
herbs that accidentally grew round and on the side of a bold crag near
his intended Cave of Grey Denzil, and could not help saying, that, as he
was not to be upon oath in his work, daisies, violets, and primroses
would be as poetical as any of the humble plants he was examining. I
laughed, in short, at his scrupulousness; but I understood him when he
replied, 'that in Nature no two scenes were exactly alike, and that
whoever copied truly what was before his eyes would possess the same
variety in his descriptions, and exhibit apparently an imagination as
boundless as the range of Nature in the scenes he recorded; whereas,
whoever trusted to his imagination would soon find his own mind
circumscribed and contracted to a few images, and the repetition of
these would sooner or later produce that very monotony and barrenness
which had always haunted descriptive poetry in the hands of any but the
patient worshippers of truth.'"

This is excellent good sense, and the descriptive poetry of Bryant shows
how carefully he has observed the rules which Scott has laid down. He
never has a conventional image, and never resorts to the second-hand
frippery of a poetical commonplace-book to tag his verses with. Every
season of our American year has been delineated by him, and the drawing
and coloring of his pictures are always correct. Our American springs,
for instance, are not at all the ideal or poetical springs, and Bryant
does not pretend that they are; and yet he can find a poetical side to
them, as witness his poem entitled "March":--

  "The stormy March is come at last,
    With wind, and cloud, and changing skies:
  I hear the rushing of the blast
    That through the snowy valley flies.

  "Ah, passing few are they who speak,
    Wild, stormy month! in praise of thee;
  Yet, though thy winds are loud and bleak,
    Thou art a welcome month to me.

  "For thou to northern lands again
    The glad and glorious sun dost bring;
  And them hast joined the gentle train,
    And wear'st the gentle name of Spring.

  "And in thy reign of blast and storm
    Smiles many a long, bright, sunny day,
  When the changed winds are soft and warm,
    And heaven puts on the blue of May."

This is all as strictly true as if it were drawn up for an affidavit.
March, as we all know, is the eldest daughter of Winter, and bitterly
like her grim sire. The snow which has melted from the uplands lingers
in the valleys; the storms, and the cloudy skies, and the rushing blasts
mark the sullen retreat of winter; but the days are growing longer, the
sun mounts higher, and sometimes a soft and vernal air flows from the
blue sky, like Burns's daisy "glinting forth" amid the storm.

March and April come and go, and May succeeds. Hers is not quite the
"blue, voluptuous eye" she wears in the portraits which poets paint of
her, and those who court her smiles are sometimes chilled by decidedly
wintry glances. Bryant gives us her best aspect:--

  "The sun of May was bright in middle heaven,
  And steeped the sprouting forests, the green hills,
  And emerald wheat-fields, in his yellow light.
  Upon the apple-tree, where rosy buds
  Stood clustered, ready to burst forth in bloom,
  The robin warbled forth his full clear note
  For hours, and wearied not. Within the woods,
  Where young and half-transparent leaves scarce cast
  A shade, gay circles of anemones
  Danced on their stalks; the shad-bush, white with flowers,
  Brightened the glens; the new-leaved butternut
  And quivering poplar to the roving breeze
  Gave a balsamic fragrance."

How admirable this is! And with what truth, we had almost said courage,
the poet makes his report. The emerald wheat-fields, the rosy buds of
the apple-tree, the half-transparent leaves of the trees, the anemones
on their restless stalks, the shad-bush (_Amelanchier Botryapium_), the
quivering poplars, and the peculiar balsamic odor which one perceives in
the woods at that season are so exactly what we find in our New-England
May! How much better these distinct statements are than a tissue of
generalities about flowery wreaths, and fragrant zephyrs, and genial
rays, and fresh verdure, and vernal airs, and ambrosial dews!

But the year goes on. Our fitful and capricious spring passes by, and
summer takes its place. But our New-England summer is not like the
summer of Thomson and Cowper, and images drawn from English poetry and
transplanted here would be out of place; and our faithful interpreter of
American Nature takes nothing at second-hand. How correctly he
delineates the characteristic features of our glorious month of June!

  "There, through the long, long summer hours,
          The golden light should lie,
  And thick young herbs and groups of flowers
          Stand in their beauty by.
  The oriole should build and tell
  His love-tale close beside my cell;
          The idle butterfly
  Should rest him here, and there be heard
  The housewife-bee and humming-bird."

The _housewife_-bee is an expressive epithet. Does it involve a double
meaning, and insinuate that as a bee carries a sting, so women who are
stirring, notable, and good housekeepers have something sharp in their

Next comes midsummer with its fervid and overpowering heats, which find
in our poet also an accurate delineator.

  "It is a sultry day: the sun has drunk
  The dew that lay upon the morning grass;
  There is no rustling in the lofty elm
  That canopies my dwelling, and its shade
  Scarce cools me. All is silent, save the faint
  And interrupted murmur of the bee,
  Settling on the sick flowers, and then again
  Instantly on the wing. The plants around
  Feel the too potent fervors: the tall maize
  Rolls up its long green leaves; the clover droops
  Its tender foliage, and declines its blooms.
  But far in the fierce sunshine tower the hills
  With all their growth of woods, silent and stern,
  As if the scorching heat and dazzling light
  Were but an element they loved."

But our radiant and many-colored autumn is Bryant's favorite season, and
some of his most beautiful and characteristic passages are those which
paint its hues of crimson and purple, and the vaporous gold of its
atmosphere. Such is the number of these passages that it is difficult to
make a selection of one or two for quotation. Here is one from "Autumn

  "Let in through all the trees,
      Come the strange rays; the forest-depths are bright;
  Their sunny-colored foliage, in the breeze,
      Twinkles like beams of light.

  "The rivulet, late unseen,
      Where bickering through the shrubs its waters run,
  Shines with the image of its golden screen
      And glimmerings of the sun.

  "But, 'neath yon crimson tree,
      Lover to listening maid might breathe his flame,
  Nor mark, within its roseate canopy,
      Her blush of maiden shame."

Here is nothing imitative or borrowed, and here are no unmeaning
generalities. Everything is exact and local,--drawn from an American
autumn, and no other. And how lovely an image is that in the third
stanza, and what an added charm it gives to an object in itself most

But our renders must indulge us with one more quotation under this head,
although we take it from one of the most popular--perhaps the most
popular--of his poems, "The Death of the Flowers."

  "The wind-flower and the violet, they perished long ago,
  And the brier-rose and the orchis died amid the summer glow;
  But on the hill the golden-rod, and the aster in the wood,
  And the yellow sunflower by the brook in autumn beauty stood,
  Till fell the frost from the clear, cold heaven, as falls the plague on men,
  And the brightness of their smile was gone, from upland, glade, and glen.
  And now, when comes the calm mid-day, as still such days will come,
  To call the squirrel and the bee from out their winter home,
  _When the sound of dropping nuts is heard, though all the trees are still,
  And twinkle in the smoky light the waters of the rill_,
  The south-wind searches for the flowers whose fragrance late he bore,
  And sighs to find them in the wood and by the stream no more."

Of the poetry of these exquisite lines, the melancholy sweetness of the
sentiment, the delicate beauty of the versification, we need not say one
word, but we claim a moment's attention to their fidelity to truth, and
the accuracy of observation which they evince. The golden-rod and the
aster are the characteristic autumn flowers in that zone of our
continent in which New England is embraced, and the sunflower is a very
common flower at that season. That lovely child of the declining year,
the fringed gentian, would doubtless have been brought in with her fair
sisters, had it not been for her somewhat unmanageable name. Bryant has
written some beautiful stanzas to this flower, but in them he only calls
it a "blossom." And how fine a landscape is condensed into the two
delicious hues which we have Italicized! and yet no one ever walked into
a New-England wood on a late day in autumn without hearing the nuts drop
upon the withered leaves, and seeing the streams flash through the
smoke-like haze which hangs over the landscape.

But winter, especially our clear and sparkling New-England winter, has
its scenes of splendor and aspects of beauty; and the poet would not be
true to his calling, if he failed to recognize them.

    "Come when the rains
  Have glazed the snow, and clothed the trees with ice,
  While the slant sun of February pours
  Into the bowers a flood of light. Approach!
  The incrusted surface shall upbear thy steps,
  And the broad arching portals of the grove
  Welcome thy entering. Look! the massy
  Trunks are cased in the pure crystal; each light spray,
  Nodding and tinkling in the breath of heaven,
  Is studded with its trembling water-drops
  That glimmer with an amethystine light;
  But round the parent stem the long, low boughs
  Bend, in a glittering ring, and arbors hide
  The glassy floor."

There are many more lines equally good, but we have not space for them.
This is a description of winter as we have it here, compounded of the
elements of extreme cold, a transparent atmosphere, and brilliant
sunshine. No English poet can see such a scene, at least in his own
country: Ambrose Phillips did see something like it in Sweden, and
described it in a poetical epistle to the Earl of Dorset, which is much
the best thing he ever wrote, and has a pulse of truth and life in it,
from the simple fact that he saw something new, and told his noble
correspondent what he saw.

But Bryant's claims to the honors of a truly national poet do not rest
solely upon the fidelity with which he has described the peculiar
scenery of his native land, for no poet has expressed with more
earnestness of conviction and more beauty of language the great ideas
which have moulded our political institutions and our social life.
Before the breaking out of the Civil War he was a member of that great
political party of which Jefferson was the head, and he is still a
Democrat in the primitive sense of the word; that is to say, he believes
in man's capacity for self-government, and in his right to govern
himself. He has full trust in human progress; age has not lessened the
faith with which he looks forward to the future; his sympathies are
with the many, and not with the few. Though he has travelled much in
Europe, his imagination has been but little affected by the forms of
beauty and grandeur which past ages have bequeathed to the present. He
has not found inspiration in the palace, the cathedral, the ruined
castle, the ivy-covered church, the rose-embowered cottage. Indeed, it
is only by incidental and occasional touches that one would learn from
his poetry that he had ever been out of his own country at all: his
inspiration and his themes are alike drawn from the scenery, the
institutions, the history of his native land. His imagination, as was
the case with Milton, rests upon a basis of gravity deepening into
sternness; and we have little doubt that not a few of the things in
Europe, which move to pleasure the lightly stirred fancy of many
American travellers, aroused in him a different feeling, as either
memorials of an age or expressions of a system in which the many were
sacrificed to the few. In his mental frame there is a pulse of
indignation which is easily stirred against any form of injustice or
oppression. His later poems, as might naturally be expected, are those
in which the sentiments and aspirations of a patriotic and hopeful
American are most distinctly expressed; among them are "The
Battle-Field," "The Winds," "The Antiquity of Freedom," and that which
is called, from its first line, "O Mother of a Mighty Race." It would be
well to read these poems in connection with the seventeenth chapter of
the second volume of De Tocqueville's "Democracy in America," which
treats of the sources of poetry among democratic nations; and the
comparison will furnish fresh cause for admiring the prophetic sagacity
of that great philosophical thinker, who, at the time he wrote,
predicted all our future, because he comprehended all our past.

And here we pray the indulgence of our readers to a rather liberal
citation from one of these later poems, because it enables us to
illustrate from his own lips what we have just been saying. It is also
one of those passages, not uncommon in modern poetry, in which the poet
admits us to his confidence, and lets us see the working of the
machinery as well as its product. It is from "The Painted Cup," a poem
so called from a scarlet flower of that name found upon the Western

  "Now, if thou art a poet, tell me not
  That these bright chalices were tinted thus
  To hold the dew for fairies, when they meet
  On moonlight evenings in the hazel-bowers,
  And dance till they are thirsty. Call not up,
  Amid this fresh and virgin solitude,
  The faded fancies of an elder world;
  But leave these scarlet cups to spotted moths
  Of June, and glistening flies, and hummingbirds,
  To drink from, when on all these boundless lawns
  The morning sun looks hot. Or let the wind
  O'erturn in sport their ruddy brims, and pour
  A sudden shower upon the strawberry-plant,
  To swell the reddening fruit that even now
  Breathes a slight fragrance from the sunny slope.

  "But thou art of a gayer fancy. Well,
  Let, then, the gentle Manitou of flowers,
  Lingering amid the bloomy waste he loves,
  Though all his swarthy worshippers are gone,
  Slender and small, his rounded cheek all brown
  And ruddy with the sunshine,--let him come
  On summer mornings, when the blossoms wake,
  And part with little hands the spiky grass,
  And, touching with his cherry lips the edge
  Of these bright beakers, drain the gathered dew."

What a lovely picture is this of the Manitou of flowers, and what a
subject for an artist to embody in forms and colors! The whole passage
is very beautiful, and its beauty is in part derived from its truth. It
meets the requisitions of the philosophical understanding, as well as of
the shaping and aggregating fancy. The poetry is manly, masculine, and
simple. The ornaments are of pure gold, such as will bear the test of
open daylight.

It is the function of the critic to discriminate and divide, and we have
attempted to deal thus with the poems of Bryant; but some of the best of
his productions cannot be classified and arranged under any particular
head. They breathe the spirit of universal humanity, and speak a
language intelligible to every human heart. Among these are "The Evening
Wind," "The Conqueror's Grave," and "The Future Life." All of these are
exquisite alike in conception and execution. We suppose that most
persons have in regard to poetry certain fancies, whims, preferences,
founded on reasons too delicate to be revealed or too airy to be
expressed. As Mrs. Battles in a moment of confidence confessed to "Elia"
that hearts was her favorite suit, so we breathe in the ear of the
public an acknowledgment, that, of all Bryant's poems, "The Future Life"
is that which we read the most frequently, and with the deepest feeling.
We say read, but we have known it by heart for years. We will not affirm
that it is the best of his poems, but it is that which moves us most,
and which we feel most grateful to him for having written. The grace and
charm of this poem come from regions beyond the range of literary
criticism, and the heart shrinks from making a revelation of the
emotions which it awakens.

We have left ourselves but little room to speak of the new volume,
called "Thirty Poems," which lies before us. While nothing in it was
needed for the poet's well-established and enduring fame, it will be
welcomed by all his admirers as an accession to that stock of finished
poetry which the world will not let die. Here we find the same dignity
of sentiment, the same fine observation, the same grace of expression,
as in the productions of his youth and manhood. The tone of thought is
grave, earnest, sometimes pensive, but never querulous or desponding.
Declining years have not abated in him a jot of heart or hope. His is
the Indian-summer of the mind, made genial by soft airs and golden
sunshine, by green meadows and lingering flowers; and still far distant
is the time,--to borrow a noble image from this very volume,--

  "When, upon the hill-side, all hardened into iron,
  Howling, like a wolf, flies the famished northern blast."

All honor to the strong-hearted singer who, in the late autumn of life,
retains his love of Nature, his hatred of injustice and oppression, his
sympathy with humanity, his intellectual activity, his faith in
progress, his trust in God!

       *       *       *       *       *


The picturesque region of Matlock, with its cliffs and streams, its deep
woods and romantic walks, is full of attraction. There we not only see
the outward graces of Nature, but catch glimpses of her subtler
elements. Springs, dripping from hidden sources, transform the fruit, or
the bird's-nest with its fragile eggs, into stone with a Medusa touch;
while in deep caverns are found beautiful spars, exquisitely tinted, as
if prepared by the genii of the rock for the palace of their king.

Varied and wonderful are the workings of earth, air, fire, and water in
the Derbyshire valley, where a sensitive nature recognizes more things
in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in the philosophy of many a
passing traveller. To this region of beauty and mystery Byron often came
in his youth. These cliffs and streams and woods were familiar to the
young poet, and his retentive memory must have received here many of
Nature's deep and marvellous lessons. Perhaps among these scenes there
came to him those

            "noble aspirations in his youth
  To make his mind the mind of other men,
  The enlightener of nations, and to rise
  He know not whither, it might be to fall,
  But fall, even as the mountain-cataract,
  Which, having leapt from its more dazzling height,
  Lies low, but mighty still."

In Byron's day, Matlock was a fashionable watering-place; and the
drawing-room of the "Old Bath," with cut-glass chandeliers, old
engravings, and cushioned window-seats, looks much the same as when it
witnessed many a gay assembly. In this room the wayward and sensitive
youth, secretly writhing with mortification at being prevented by
lameness from leading Mary Chaworth to the dance, watched, her more
fortunate partners with moody envy. The young Lady of Annesley little
imagined that the lame boy, with his handsome face and troublesome
temper, would link her name to deathless song.

On a fair, sunny morning, towards the close of October, we left Matlock
for Annesley Hall and Newstead Abbey. The day was in harmony with the
poetical associations of our excursion: a gentle mist hung like a veil
over hills and groves, giving a dreamy aspect to Nature, and rendering
the places we intended to visit creations of fancy rather than actual
facts. Very unromantic personages, however, answered our inquiries for
Annesley, which reassured us of its reality. Byron's "Dream" had
rendered the scenery familiar to our memory.

                 "The hill
  Green and of mild declivity, the last,
  As 't were the cape, of a long ridge of such,
  Save that there was no sea to lave its base,
  But a most living landscape."

Our approach led us beside those gentle slopes, and we seemed to see the
maiden and the youth standing on the mild declivity, with its crowning
circlet of trees.

  "And both were young, but not alike in youth:
  As the sweet moon on the horizon's verge,
  The maid was on the eve of womanhood;
  The boy had fewer summers.

             "... She was his life,
  The ocean to the river of his thoughts.
  Her sighs were not for him; to her he was
  Even as a brother, but no more; 'twas much,
  For brotherless she was, save in the name
  Her infant friendship had bestowed on him,
  Herself the solitary scion left
  Of a time-honored race.

              "Even now she loved another,
  And on the summit of that hill she stood
  Looking afar, if yet her lover's steed
  Kept pace with her expectancy and flew."

That lover, soon after, became the husband of Mary Chaworth. It is not
for us to speculate wherefore Destiny entangled the threads in that web
of existence which originally seemed to have woven the fates of Byron
and Mary Chaworth together. We are ignorant of spiritual laws, and know
little of the origin whence come those strange attractions, mind to
mind, heart to heart, which make or mar the life-experiences of us all.

Had events been ordered otherwise, Byron might have been a better and
happier man, but the world would never have received the gift of "Childe
Harold." Alas, that the soul must be ploughed and harrowed, and the
precious seed trodden in, before it can give forth its fairest-flowers
or its immortal fruit!

When we had last heard of Annesley Hall, it was ruinous and desolate,
and we knew not in what condition it might now be found. Passing through
an avenue of ancient oaks, the road winds down to an old picturesque
gate-house, and, leaving the carriage, we walked onward. Looking through
the arch of entrance, we saw as in a picture, nay, as in the poet's
dream, "the venerable mansion," sitting quietly in autumn sunshine on
its old terrace. To gray walls and peaks clung a climbing plant, its
leaves red with touch of frost, contrasting deliciously with green ivy,
and putting a bit of color into darker hues of stone-work. As we passed
beyond the gate, we saw that the mansion had been, restored and repaired
by careful hands guided by tasteful eyes and loving hearts. Above the
hall-door was a bay-window, which instinct told us belonged to the
"antique oratory," but we walked onward to the terrace, with its stone
balustrade, inclosing a bright flower-garden. On the other side of the
house stretches the lawn and park, with deer feeding quietly in the
distance. No human form appeared; all was silent and peaceful. We walked
thoughtfully on the old terrace, recalling the images of the poet and
the Lady of Annesley; but looking up at the ancient sun-dial on one of
the gables, we perceived that its shadow fell deeper and deeper with the
declining day, telling us, as it had told many before, how time waited
not, and reminding us that we, also were travellers. Passing again round
the mansion, and casting a wistful look within, we saw a woman sitting
at a low window, sorting fruit. We approached, and asked if strangers
were permitted to see the Hall. She replied gently, that it was not "a
show-house." We pleaded our cause successfully, however, when we told
her how the thought of Mary Chaworth had led us here from a distant
land. If the owners of Annesley knew that once an exception was made to
a general rule, we trust they also believed that the visitors were not
actuated by an idle curiosity.

Our request being granted, our guide laid aside her plums, and with a
kind hand admitted us into the entrance-hall. It was low and venerable,
with family-portraits on the walls, among them that of the Mr. Chaworth
whom the "wicked Lord Byron" of other days shot in a duel. From the hall
we entered the modern part of the house, harmoniously blended with the
older portion of the building. In the drawing-room, two noble portraits
by Sir Joshua Reynolds arrested our attention. The lady (as Miss Burney
tells us in her journal) was a beauty and a belle of Sir Joshua's time,
and the painter has done justice to his subject, who is drawn at full
length, feeding an eagle,--a spirited, splendid woman, who looks down
from the canvas with bright, triumphant eyes. In the next apartment we
were shown a portrait which touched deeper chords in our heart. It was a
likeness of Mary Chaworth in miniature, representing a mature and
beautiful woman.

  "Upon her face there was a tint of grief,
  The settled shadow of an inward strife,
  And an unquiet drooping of the eye,
  As if its lids were charged with unshed tears."

The truth of this description startled us, and revealed instantly how
deeply impressed upon the mind of her youthful lover must have been that
face which was the starlight of his boyhood. Tears had passed since they
parted, and chasms of time and gulfs yet deeper and wider than time ever
knows had separated Byron from Annesley and England, and yet, when he
wrote those lines, her face rose before him so clearly, wearing on its
loveliness the impress of care and sorrow which he knew must be there,
that no words but his can truly describe the expression of her features.
Turning to our conductress, we asked if she had ever seen the Lady of
Annesley. "Yes, I knew and loved her well, for I was her maid many
years"; and, with a faltering tone, she added, "she died in my arms."
Genius has immortalized Mary Chaworth; yet the tender and heartfelt
tribute of one who had been the humble, but daily witness of the beauty
of her life, was worth a thousand homilies.

We were conducted through the library, which had been in other days the
drawing-room, out of which opens a small apartment, known to the readers
of the "Dream" as the "antique oratory." Leading from the old
entrance-hall is the favorite sitting-room of Mary Chaworth in her happy
childhood and youth; and here, in his boyish days, Byron often sat
beside her while she played for him his favorite airs on the
piano-forte. Beneath the window is a little garden, where she cultivated
the flowers she loved best, and which are still cherished for her
memory. Our guide gathered a few of these, and gave them to our young
companion: they now lie before us, carefully preserved, with some of
their gay tints yet unfaded,--memorials, not only of Mary Chaworth, who
lived and loved and suffered through all the varied experience of
woman's life, but also of her to whom the blossoms were given, the fair,
young girl, "who lived long enough on earth to learn its better lessons,
but passed from it upwards and onwards without a knowledge of sin except
the shadow it casts on the world."

Taking leave of our kind guide, to whom we were indebted for a visit of
deep interest, we paused a moment on the terrace ere we "passed the
massy gate of that old hall," to receive once more into our memory

     "the old mansion and the accustomed hall
  And the remembered chambers, and the place,
  The day, the hour, the sunshine, and the shade."

A holy stillness pervaded the venerable house and its surrounding
scenery, a peace which breathed of a purer sphere, where what is best on
earth finds its correspondence.

We wondered not, that, when the deep waters of the poet's soul, too
often ruffled by passion, polluted by vice, or made turbid by
selfishness, were calm and pure enough to mirror heaven, they ever
reflected the bright and morning star of Annesley.

The transition from Annesley Hall to Newstead Abbey is inevitable in
thought and rapid in fact,--the road, over which the young poet so often
passed, between the two estates, being only three miles in length. We
had lingered so long at Annesley that the day was nearly spent before we
reached the Abbey. How did the venerable pile, with its mysterious
memories, fateful histories, and poetical associations, flash out into
light and darken into shadow as the October sun sank behind the distant

The Abbey church is now only a ruin, but the airy span of its rich
Gothic window remains, as evidence of its original beauty. Through the
now vacant space, once the wide door of entrance, we saw the floor of
green grass, and in the centre the monument to Byron's favorite dog,
Bowswain. All was silent about the ruin, except the cawing of a thousand
rooks, who were settling themselves for the night with a vast amount of
noise and bustle on the high branches of the old trees which sweep down
on one side of the Abbey.

The residence which adjoins the church, once a monastery, was inherited
by Lord Byron, with the title: to part with it was a dire necessity.
Colonel Wildman, the school-fellow of Byron at Harrow, purchased the
estate from the unhappy poet in the most liberal and generous manner,
and blessed it into a home. On entering the house, we were shown through
long corridors and vaulted passages, in which the monastic character of
the building was preserved. When Byron came to Newstead from college,
the Abbey was in a most dilapidated condition, and he had only means
enough to make a few rooms habitable for himself and his mother. A
gloomy and desolate abode it must have been. The furniture of Byron's
bedroom remains as it stood when removed from Cambridge. On the walls
are prints of his school at Harrow, and Trinity College, with various
relics and boyish treasures. The window commands a view of the sheet of
water which stretches before the Abbey, with its wooded banks,--a scene
which he loves and remembers even when "Lake Leman wooes him with her
crystal face," for he writes to his sister,--

  "It doth remind me of our own dear lake
   By the old hall, which shall be mine no more."

Adjoining Byron's room is a suite of apartments, ruinous and roofless in
his day, but which Colonel Wildman has restored, and furnished most
appropriately with old tapestry and antique tables and chairs. These
rooms wear a ghostly aspect, and we were not surprised to learn that
one, at least, had the reputation of being haunted. The great
drawing-room, once the dormitory of the monks, is now a splendid
apartment richly decorated; above the chimney is a fine portrait of
Lord Byron, and in an ancient cabinet was shown the cup made from a
skull found in one of the stone coffins near the Abbey church. It is
mounted in silver, and the well-known lines, written by Byron, are
engraved on the rim. "Having it made" was, as he said himself, "one of
his foolish freaks, of which he was ashamed." The cup, however, bears
little resemblance to a skull. Colonel Wildman preserved the furniture
of Byron's dining-room, and other apartments, (very simple it is,)
without alteration, in the hope that he might return from Greece and
revisit the halls of his fathers. Had Fate so willed, he would have
found how kindly and faithfully his early friend had associated him with
Newstead, and preserved every memorial of past history connected with
the place. Yet thoughts of bitterness would even then have mingled with
these familiar scenes, for it was not the heir of the Byrons who had
restored Newstead Abbey to beauty and order.

Quitting the Abbey, and passing into the gardens, we followed the
gardener through the deepening gloom to the wood, where, in former days,
an ancestor of the Byrons set up leaden statues of satyrs, which the
country-people called "the old lord's devils"; and very much like demons
they looked. The tree was pointed out upon which Byron cut the names of
"Augusta" and "Byron," with the date, during a last walk the brother and
sister took together at Newstead. It is a double tree, springing from
one root, which he chose as emblematical of themselves. The dim light
barely enabled us to discern letters deeply carved, but growing less
visible with the expanding bark. One of the trees has withered under
that spell which seems to have blasted all connected with the name, and
is cut off just above the inscription. The oak planted by Byron in his
youth in a different part of the grounds was also shown to us. It is yet
strong and vigorous. We picked up a yellow leaf, which the wind bore to
our feet, as a fitting memorial of the place and the hour.

Passing again through the old Abbey church, the chill of the evening met
us, cold and damp,--fit atmosphere for the place. The rooks were all
asleep in their high nests; silence, darkness, and mist were fast
casting their mantle over old Newstead; and the only cheerful sign came
from the distant window of the Colonel's library, whence shot out a
generous gleam of household fire,--emblem of that warm heart which had
shed light upon the once desolate abode of its early friend.

Since our visit to Newstead, (seven years ago,) the Abbey has passed
into other hands, and even a royal owner is now reported to possess the
poet's ancestral home. We shall ever deem ourselves fortunate that our
destiny led us to make this pilgrimage during the lifetime of Colonel
Wildman and while the place was under his enlightened and generous

A few miles from Newstead Abbey is Hucknall, a poor, desolate-looking
village, at the end of whose street stands an old church, beneath which
is the burial-place of the Byrons. The building is ancient and gray, but
dreary rather than venerable. Standing in its comfortless interior, we
remembered that Byron once asked to be buried under the green, grassy
floor of the roofless church at Newstead Abbey, with his faithful dog at
his feet. The poet, whose rapid glance seized every glory and beauty of
Nature, whose memory, wax to receive, and marble to retain, transferred
the vision through the medium of his rare command of language, should
have had a grave over which winds sweep, birds sing, and stars watch.
Not so. A white marble tablet let into the wall above the family-vault
was erected to Byron's memory by his sister. Perhaps the simplicity of
the monument was suggested by these lines, written at the early age of
nineteen years:--

  "When to his airy hall my father's voice
  Shall call my spirit, happy in the choice,
  When poised upon the gale my form shall ride,
  Or dark in mist descend the mountain-side,
  Oh, may my shade behold no sculptured urns
  To mark the spot where dust to dust returns,
  No lengthened scroll, no praise-encumbered stone!
  My epitaph shall be my name alone.
  If that with honor fail to crown my clay,
  Oh, may no other fame my deeds repay!
  That, only that, shall single out the spot
  By that remembered, or by that forgot."

The inscription upon the tablet, after his name and title, designates
him as the Author of "Childe Harold's Pilgrimage," who died while aiding
the cause of Liberty in Greece: thus striking the noblest notes in a
powerful, eccentric, blotted score, as the fundamental chord of Byron's

       *       *       *       *       *


  Now, men of the North! will you join in the strife
  For country, for freedom, for honor, for life?
  The giant grows blind in his fury and spite,--
  One blow on his forehead will settle the fight!

  Flash full in his eyes the blue lightning of steel,
  And stun him with cannon-bolts, peal upon peal!
  Mount, troopers, and follow your game to its lair,
  As the hound tracks the wolf and the beagle the hare!

  Blow, trumpets, your summons, till sluggards awake!
  Beat, drums, till the roofs of the faint-hearted shake!
  Yet, yet, ere the signet is stamped on the scroll,
  Their names may be traced on the blood-sprinkled roll!

  Trust not the false herald that painted your shield:
  True honor _to-day_ must be sought on the field!
  Her scutcheon shows white with a blazon of red,--
  The life-drops of crimson for liberty shed!

  The hour is at hand, and the moment draws nigh!
  The dog-star of treason grows dim in the sky!
  Shine forth from the battle-cloud, light of the morn,
  Call back the bright hour when the Nation was born!

  The rivers of peace through our valleys shall run,
  As the glaciers of tyranny melt in the sun;
  Smite, smite the proud parricide down from his throne,--
  His sceptre once broken, the world is our own!

       *       *       *       *       *


Northern Invasions, when successful, advance the civilization of the

It would not be difficult to present from all history a mass of
illustrations of this thesis wellnigh sufficient in themselves to
establish it. And there is no doubt that the principles of human nature,
which appear in those illustrations, can be set in such order as to
prove the thesis beyond a question. The softness of Southern climates
produces, in the long run, gentleness, effeminacy, and indolence, or
passionate rather than persevering effort. It produces, again, the
palliatives or disguises of these traits which are found in formal
religions, and in institutions of caste or slavery. The rigor of
Northern climates produces, on the other hand, in the long run, hardy
physical constitutions among men, with determined individuality of
character. It produces, therefore, freedom even to democracy in
politics, protestantism even to rationalism in religion, and grim
perseverance even to the bitter end in war. A certain stern morality,
often amounting to asceticism, is imposed on Northern constitutions. So
superficial is it, so much a creature of circumstance, that Norman,
Scandinavian, Goth, or Icelander, deserves no sort of credit for it. All
history shows that it vanishes before the temptations of any Vinland
which the frozen barbarians stumble upon. None the less does it give
them vigor of muscle, and power to endure hardship, which, in the end,
tells, over the accomplishments of the most warlike Romans, Greeks,
Persians, or other Southrons. "Fight us, if you like," said Ariovistus
to Cæsar; "but remember that none of us have slept under a roof for
fourteen years." That sort of people are apt to succeed in the long run.

When they succeed, as we have said, they advance civilization. To begin
with the farthest East, all such strength as the Chinese Empire has
to-day is due to the Tartar cross in its blood; that is, it results from
the conquest of imbecile China by Northern Tartar tribes. One or two
more such invasions, followed by colonization of Northern emigrants,
would have made China a much stronger power this day than she is, and a
nation of higher grade. The history of Indian civilization, again, is a
history of Northern conquests. They tell us, indeed, that the Indian
castes may be resolved into so many beach-marks of the waves of
successive invasions from the North, the highest caste representing the
last innovation. When Abraham crossed from Ur of the Chaldees into
Canaan, when Cambyses broke open the secrets of Egyptian civilization,
when Alexander first opened to the world Egyptian science, these were
illustrations of the same thing,--Canaan, Egypt, and the world were all
improved by those processes. Greece died out, and has never yet
reëstablished herself, because she never had a complete infusion of
Gothic blood in her worn-out system. Italy, on the other hand, had a new
birth, and at this moment has a magnificent future, because Goths and
Lombards did sweep in upon her with their up-country virtues and
wilderness moralities. What the Ostrogoths did for Spain, what the
Franks did for Gaul, what the Northmen did for England, are so many more
illustrations. What Gustavus Adolphus would have done for Germany, if he
had succeeded, would have been another.

What we are to do in the South, when we succeed, will be another. It
makes the subject of this paper.

       *       *       *       *       *

Nobody pretends, of course, that War itself does anything final in the
advance of civilization. War itself is, what the poets call it, a
terrible piece of ploughing. With us, just now, it is subsoil-ploughing,
very deep at that. Stumps and stones have to be heaved out, which had
on them the moss and lichens and superficial soil of centuries, and
which had fancied, in that heavy semi-consciousness which belongs to
stumps and stones, that they were fixed forever. As the teams and the
ploughshares pass over the ground which has lain fallow so long, they
leave, God knows, and millions of bleeding hearts know, a very desolate
prospect in the upheaved furrows behind them. It is very black, very
rough, very desert to the eye, and in spots it is very bloody. This is
what war does. So desolate the prospect, that we of the Northern States
have certainly a right to thank God that it was not we who called out
the ploughmen.

War, in itself, does nothing but plough,--but immediately on the end of
the war, in any locality, he who succeeds begins on the harrowing and
the planting. And because God is, and directs all such affairs, it is
wonderful to see how short is the June which in His world covers all
such furrows as His ploughmen make with new beauty. It is to the methods
of that new harvest that the President has boldly led our attention in
his admirable Proclamation of Amnesty. It is to the details of it that
each loyal man has to look already. It is but a few weeks since we heard
a sentimental grumbler, at a public meeting, lamenting over the
discomforts of the freed slaves in the Southwest, as he compared them
with their lost paradise. Men of his type, to whom the present is always
worse than the past, succeed in persuading themselves that the
incidental hardships of transition are to be taken as the type of a
whole future. And so this apostle of discontent really believed that the
condition of the fifty thousand freed slaves of the Mississippi, in the
hands of such men as Grant, and Eliot, and Yeatman, and Wheelock, and
Forman, and Fiske, and Howard, was really going to be worse than it was
under the lashes of Legree, or at the auction-block of New Orleans. The
more manly, as the more philosophical way of looking at the transition,
is to discover the shortest path leading to that future, which, without
such a transition, cannot come.

The President, with courage which does him infinite honor, leads the way
to this future. His Proclamation is really a rallying-cry to all true
men and women, whether they are living at the North or at the South, to
take hold and work for its accomplishment. With an army posted in each
of the revolted States, with more than one of them completely under
National control, he considers that the time for planting has come. He
is no such idealist or sentimentalist as to leave these new-made
furrows, so terribly torn up in three years of war, to renew their own
verdure by any mere spontaneous vegetation.

Practical as the President always is, he is sublimely practical in the
Proclamation. "Let us make good out of this evil as quickly as we can,"
he says; "let peace bring in plenty as quickly as she can." To bring
this about, he promises the strong arm of the nation to protect anything
which shall show itself worth protecting, in the way of social
institutions of republican liberty. He does not ask, like a conqueror,
for the keys of a capital. He does not ask, like a Girondist, for the
vote of a majority. He knows, it is true, as all the world knows, that,
if the vote of all the men of the South could ever be obtained, the
majority would utterly overshadow the handful of gentry who have been
lording it over white trash and black slaves together. But the President
has no wish to prolong martial law to that indefinite future when this
handful of gentlemen shall let the majority of their own people
pronounce upon their claims to rule them. Waiving the requisitions of
the theorists, and at the same time relieving himself from the necessity
of employing military power a moment longer than is necessary, he
announces, in advance, what will be his policy in extending protection
to loyal governments formed in Rebel States. If there can be found in
any State enough righteous men willing to take the oath of allegiance
and to sustain the nation in its determination for emancipation,--if
there can be found only enough to be counted up as the tenth part of
those who voted in the election of 1860, though their State should have
sinned like Gomorrah, even though its name should be South Carolina,
they shall be permitted to reconstruct its government, and that
government shall be recognized by the government of the nation.

It is true that this gift is vastly more than any of the Rebel States
has any right to claim. When the King of Oude rebels against England, he
does not find, at the end of the war, that, because he is utterly
defeated, things are to go on upon their old agreeable footing.
Rebellion is not, in its nature, one of those pretty plays of little
children, which can stop when either party is tired, because he asks for
it to stop, so gently that both parties shall walk on hand in hand till
either has got breath enough to begin the game again. If the nation were
contending against real and permanent enemies, in reducing to order the
States of the Confederacy, or if the national feeling towards the people
of those States were the bitter feeling which their leaders profess
towards our people, the nation would, of course, offer no such easy
terms. The nation would say, "When you threw off the Constitution, you
did it for better for worse. It guarantied to you your State
governments. You spurned the guaranty. Let it be so. Let the guaranty be
withdrawn. You cannot sustain them. Let them go, then. You have
destroyed them. And the nation governs you by proconsuls." But the
nation has no such desire to deal harshly with these people. The nation
knows that more than half of them were never regarded as people at
home,--that they had no more to do with the Rebellion than had the oxen
with which they labored. The nation knows that of the rest of the
Southern people literally only a handful professed power in the State.
The nation knows, therefore, that what pretended to be a union of
republics was, really, to take Gouverneur Morris's phrase, a union of
republics with oligarchies,--seventeen republics united to fourteen
oligarchies, when this thing began. The nation knows that the fourteen
will be happier, stronger, more prosperous than ever, when their people
have the rights of which they are partly conscious,--when they also
become republics. The nation means to carry out the constitutional
guaranty, and give them the republican government which under the
Constitution belongs to every State in the Union. The nation looks
forward to prosperous centuries, in which these States, with these
people and the descendants of these people, shall be united in one
nation with the republics which have been true to the nation. For all
these reasons the nation has no thought of insisting on its rights as
against Rebel States. It has no thunders of vengeance except for those
who have led in these iniquities. For the people who have been misled it
has pardon, protection, encouragement, and hope. It can afford to be
generous. And at the President's hands it makes the offer which will be

       *       *       *       *       *

We say this offer will be received. We know very well the difficulty
with which an opinion long branded with ignominy makes head in countries
where there is no press, where there is no free speech, where there are
no large cities. Excepting Louisiana, the Southern States have none of
these. And the "peculiar institutions" throw the control of what is
called opinion more completely into the hands of a very small class of
men, we might almost say a very small knot of men, than in any other
oligarchy which we remember in modern history. It is in considering this
very difficulty that we recognize the wisdom of the President's
Proclamation. He is conscious of the difficulty, and has placed his
minimum of loyal inhabitants at a very low point, that, even in the
hardest cases, there may be a possibility of meeting his requisition.

It is not true, on the other hand, that he has placed his minimum so
low as to involve the government in any difficulty in sustaining the
State governments which will be framed at his call. It must be
remembered that this "tenth part" of righteous men will have very strong
allies in every Southern State. It is confessed, on all hands, that they
will be supported by all the negroes in every State. Just in proportion
to what was the strength of the planting interest is its weakness in the
new order of things. Given such physical force, given the moral and
physical strength which comes with national protection, and given the
immense power which belongs to the wish for peace, and the "tenth part"
will soon find its fraction becoming larger and more respectable by
accretions at home and by emigration from other States. We shall soon
learn that there is next to nobody who really favored this thing in the
beginning. They will tell us that they all stood for their old State
flag, and that they will be glad to stand for it in its new hands.

It will be only the first step that will cost. Everybody sees this. The
President sees it. Mr. Davis sees it. He hopes nobody will take it. We
hope a good many people will. The merit of the President's plan is that
this step can be promptly taken. And so many are the openings by which
national feeling now addresses the people of the States in revolt, and
national men can call on them to express their real opinions and to act
in their real interest, that we hope to see it taken in many places at
the same time.

When Constantine made Christianity the religion of the Roman Empire, he
supposed that one-thirteenth part of his people were Christians. He was
statesman enough to know that a minority of one-thirteenth, united
together because they had one cause, would be omnipotent over a majority
of twelve-thirteenths, without a cause and disunited. So, if any one
asks for an example in our history,--the Territory of Kansas was thrown
open to emigration with every facility given to the Southern emigrant,
and every discouragement offered to the Northerner. But forty men,
organized together by a cause, settled Lawrence, and it was rumored that
there was to be some organization of the other Northern settlers, and at
that word the Northern hive emptied itself into Kansas, and the
Atchisons and Bufords and Stringfellows abandoned their new territory,
badly stung. These are illustrations, one of them on the largest scale,
and the other belonging wholly to our own time and country, of the worth
even of a very small minority, in such an initiative as is demanded now.
What was done in Kansas can be done again in Florida, in Texas, if Texas
do not take care for herself, in either Carolina, in any Southern State
where the "righteous men" do not themselves appear to take this first
step on which the President relies.

Take, for instance, this magnificent Florida, our own Italy,--if one can
conceive of an Italy where till now men have been content to live a
half-civilized life, only because the oranges grew to their hands, and
there was no necessity for toil. The vote of Florida in 1860 was 14,347.
So soon as in Florida one-tenth part of this number, or 1,435 men, take
the oath of allegiance to the National Government, so soon, if they have
the qualifications of electors under Florida law, shall we have a loyal
State in Florida. It will be a Free State, offering the privileges of a
Free State to the eager eyes of the North and of Europe. That valley of
the St. John's, with its wealth of lumber,--the even climate of the
western shore,--the navy-yard to be reëstablished at Pensacola,--the
commerce to be resumed at Jacksonville,--the Nice which we will build up
for our invalids at St. Augustine,--the orange-groves which are wasting
their sweetness at this moment, on the plantations and the
islands,--will all be so many temptations to the emigrant, as soon as
work is honorable in Florida. If the people who gave 5,437 votes for
Bell and 367 for Douglas cannot furnish 1,435 men to establish this new
State government, we here know who can.

"Armies composed of freemen conquer for themselves, not for their
leaders." This is the happy phrase of Robertson, as he describes the
reëstablishment of society in Europe after the great Northern invasions,
which gave new life to Roman effeminacy, and new strength to Roman
corruption. The phrase is perfectly true. It is as true of the armies of
freemen who have been called to the South now to keep the peace as it
was of the armies of freemen who were called South then by the
imbecility of Roman emperors or their mutual contentions. The lumbermen
from Maine and New Hampshire who have seen the virgin riches of the St.
John's, like the Massachusetts volunteers who have picked out their
farms in the valley of the Shenandoah or established in prospect their
forges on the falls of the Potomac, or like the Illinois regiments who
have been introduced to the valleys of Tennessee or of Arkansas, will
furnish men enough, well skilled in political systems, to start the new
republics, in regions which have never known what a true republic was
till now.

To carry out the President's plan, and to give us once more working
State governments in the States which have rebelled,--to give them,
indeed, the first true republican governments they have ever
known,--would require for Virginia about 12,000 voters. They can be
counted, we suppose, at this moment, in the counties under our military
control. Indeed, the loyal State government of Virginia is at this
moment organized. In North Carolina it would require 9,500 voters. The
loyal North Carolina regiments are an evidence that that number of
home-grown men will readily appear. In South Carolina, to give a
generous estimate, we need 5,000 voters. It is the only State which we
never heard my man wish to emigrate to. It is the hardest region,
therefore, of any to redeem. At the worst, till the 5,000 appear, the
new Georgia will be glad to govern all the country south of the Santee,
and the new North Carolina what is north thereof. Georgia will need
10,000 loyal voters. There are more than that number now encamped upon
her soil, willing to stay there. Of Florida we have spoken. Alabama
requires 9,000. They have been hiding away from conscription; they have
been fleeing into Kentucky and Ohio: they will not be unwilling to
reappear when the inevitable "first step" is taken. For Mississippi we
want 7,000. Mr. Reverdy Johnson has told us where they are. For
Louisiana, one tenth is 5,000. More than that number voted in the
elections which returned the sitting members to Congress. For Texas, the
proportion is 6,200; for Arkansas, 5,400. Those States are already
giving account of themselves. In Tennessee the fraction required is
14,500. And as the people of Knoxville said, "They could do that in the
mountains alone."

We have no suspicion of a want of latent Southern loyalty. But we have
brought together these figures to show how inevitable is a
reconstruction on the President's plan, even if Southern loyalty were as
abject and timid as some men try to persuade us. These figures show us,
that, if, of the million Northern men who have "prospected" the Southern
country, in the march of victorious armies, only seventy-three thousand
determine to take up their future lot there, and to establish there free
institutions, they would be enough, without the help of one native, to
establish these republican institutions in all the Rebel States. The
deserted plantations, the farms offered for sale, almost for nothing,
all the attractions of a softer climate, and all the just pride which
makes the American fond of founding empires, are so many incentives to
the undertaking of the great initiative proposed. In the cases of
Virginia and Tennessee, and, as we suppose, of Louisiana, Arkansas, and
Texas, the beginning has already been made at home. In Florida a recent
meeting at Fernandina gave promise for a like beginning. If it do not
begin there, the Emigrant Aid Company must act at once to give the
beginning.[52] There will remain the Carolinas and three of the Gulf
States. The ploughing is not over there, and it is not time therefore to
speak of the harvest. For the rest, we hope we have said enough to
indicate to the ready and active men of the nation where their great
present duty lies.

       *       *       *       *       *


_Principles of Political Economy, with Some of their Applications to
Social Philosophy._ By JOHN STUART MILL. New York: D. Appleton & Co.

If works upon Political Economy, representing the orthodox European
doctrine, are to be written, John Stuart Mill is certainly the man to
write them. Able, candid, judicial, indefatigable, powerfully
poised,--characterized by remarkable mental amplitude, by a rare
steadiness of brain, by an admirable sense of logical relation, by a
singular ease of command over his intellectual forces, by a clear and
discriminating eye that does not wink when a hand is shaken before
it,--of a humane and widely related nature, whose heats lie deep, so
deep that many may think him cold,--of an understanding as dry as John
Locke's, wanting imagination in all its degrees, from rhetorical
imagination, which is the lowest, to epic imagination, which is the
highest, and therefore destitute of the sovereign insights which go only
with this faculty in its higher degrees, while, on the other hand, freed
from the enticements and attractions that are inseparable from it,--Mr.
Mill has qualifications unsurpassed, perhaps, by those of any man living
for considerate and serviceable thinking upon matters of immediate
practical interest and of a somewhat tangible nature. His mental
structure exhibits combinations which are by no means frequent. Seldom
is seen a conjunction of such cold purity of thinking with such
generosity of nature; seldom such considerateness, such industry,
patience, and carefulness of deliberation, with a boldness so entire;
seldom such ducal self-possession and self-sufficingness, with equal
openness to social and sympathetic impression; nor less rare, perhaps,
is the union of a reflective power so large and dominating with an
observation so active.

These mental qualities fit him in a peculiar degree for service in the
field of Political Economy as now commonly defined,--a branch of
literature which, more, perhaps, than any other, represents at once the
genius and the limitation of our time.

Political Economy is a half-science, not total or integral; and if it
pretend to spherical completeness, as it often does, it becomes open to
grave accusation. The charges against it, considered as a strict and
complete science, are two.

Of these the first has been cogently urged by Mr. Ruskin, while virtual
admissions to a like effect were made by Mr. Buckle in his spirited
account of Adam Smith. It is this: as a science, Political Economy must
assume the perfect selfishness of every human being. Every science
requires necessary, and therefore invariable, conditions, which, when
expounded, are named laws. Such in Astronomy is gravitation, with the
law of its diminution by distance; such in Chemistry is chemical
attraction, with the law of definite proportions. The natural and
perpetual condition assumed by Political Economy is the absolute
supremacy in man of pecuniary interest. Absolute: it can admit no
modification of this; it can make no room within its province for
generosity, or for any action of man's soul, without forfeiting, so far,
its claim to the character of a science. Put a dollar, with all honor,
liberal justice, and humane attraction, on the one hand; put a dollar
and one cent, with mere legal right and consequent safety, on the other
hand; and Political Economy must assume that every man will gravitate to
the latter by the same necessity which makes the balance incline toward
the heavier weight. Or, conceding the contrary, it yields also its claim
to the character of a perfect science, and takes rank among those
half-sciences which partly expound necessary laws and partly contingent

Now this assumed sovereignty of pecuniary interest seems to us _not_ a
final account of human beings. There is honor among thieves; is there
none among merchants? Does not every man put some generous consideration
for others into his business-transactions? Has an honorable publisher
_no_ aim but to print that which will sell best? Has he _no_ regard to
the character of his house? Has he _no_ desire to furnish a nourishing
pabulum and a healthful inspiration to the mind of his country? In the
employment of labor and the giving of wages do men generally quite
forget the work_man_, and think only of the work and its profit? This
does not happen to accord with our observation of human nature. We think
there is a large element of honorable human feeling incessantly playing
into the economies of the world; and we think it might be yet larger
without any injurious perturbation of these economies.

Again, as a science, Political Economy considers wealth only as related
to wealth, to itself, not to man. It assumes wealth, as absolute, and
regards man as an instrument for its production and distribution. But
this attitude must be reversed. Wealth cannot be treated of in a wholly
healthful way until it is considered simply as instrumental toward the
higher riches which are contained in man himself.

And here we reach the peculiar virtue of Mr. Mill's book.

In the first place, he accepts the science as such, accepts it cordially
and almost with enthusiasm,--in fact, has a degree of faith in its
completeness and of confidence in its uses, greater, perhaps, than our
own final thought will justify; for the reader will already have
perceived that we incline in some measure to the opposition, with
Carlyle, Ruskin, and others. Proceeding upon this basis, Mr. Mill
expounds the orthodox theories with that definiteness of thought, with
that precision of statement, and that calmness and breadth of survey,
which never fail to characterize his literary labor. Any one who
assumes, and wishes to study the science, will find in this writer a
guide through its intricacies, whom it were hardly an exaggeration to
name as perfect. Always sound-hearted, always clear, candid, and
logical, always maintaining a certain judicial superiority, he is a
thinker in whose company one likes to go on his mental travels, and
whose thought one will be inclined to trust rather too much than too
little. In the second place, Mr. Mill discerns the limitations of the
science more clearly, and acknowledges them more frankly, than, to the
extent of our somewhat narrow conversance with such writers, has ever
been done before by any one who regarded it with equal affection and
reposed in its theories a like faith. This, too, is thoroughly
characteristic of him. He is one of the sanest and sincerest of men.

Thirdly, his inspiring and generative purpose is to lift the science
into serviceable relation to the broad interests of man. Here we come to
the real soul of the book. He accepts its customary limits chiefly that
he may transcend them. He treats of wealth with a philosophical and
cordial perception of its uses; but beyond and above this he is thinking
of man, always of man,--and of man not merely as an eater and drinker,
but as an intelligence and a candidate for moral or personal upbuilding.
A reader would regard the work with a dull eye, who should miss this
commanding feature. Sometimes by special discussions, as in his defence
of peasant-properties in land,--sometimes only by an aroma pervading his
pages, or bypassing expressions,--and always by the general ordering and
culminating tendency of his thought,--one reads this perpetual question,
the true and final question of all politics and economies:--How shall we
secure the greatest number of intelligent and worthy men and women?

But while Mr. Mill's sympathy is with the people, the many, the whole of
humanity, and while his desire for men is that they may attain the
mental elevation which shall make them really _human_ beings, yet a
marked feature of his book is the mild Malthusian element which pervades
it. Let no stigma be therefore fixed upon him. Let honor be rendered to
the courage which steadily inquires, not what representation of the
facts will win applause, but simply what the facts _are_. And
undoubtedly it is true that all considerate men in England have been
compelled to contemplate the _possibility_ of over-population, of an
insupportable pauperism, of a burden of helpless numbers which shall
sink the whole nation into abysses of starvation with all its horrible
accompaniments. It is but a few years since Ireland escaped unexampled
death by famine only by an unexampled exodus. The New World opened its
arms to the misery of the Old, and fed its famine to fatness,--and has
got few thanks. But this rescue cannot be repeated without limit. And
therefore forelooking men in England find the problem of their future
one not too easy to solve. Mr. Carlyle, among others, has grappled with
it. His brow has long been beaded with the sweat of this great
wrestling; and if he seem to some of us a little abrupt and peculiar in
his movements, we must at least do him the justice to remember that he,
after the manner of ancient Jacob, is struggling with the angel of
England's destiny. Mr. Mill, too, with an earnestness less passionate
indeed, but perhaps not less real, is toiling at the same work.

And, by the way, an instructive comparison might be drawn between these
two writers. Mr. Mill, not highly vitalized by belief, not nourished by
any grand spiritual imaginations, hampered by a hard and poor
philosophy, and with limited access to absolute truth, nevertheless, not
only belongs fully to the opening modern epoch, but through a certain
entireness of moral health and sanity is leading the time steadily
forward into its great believing and builded future; though it may
follow from his limitations that into this future he cannot accompany it
_very_ far. Mr. Carlyle, with a poetic profundity of nature and a force
of insight which entitle him not merely to a high place among the men of
our time, but to a name among the men of all time, standing face to face
with the divine reality and wonder of existence, conversing with the
heights and depths of being, and appreciating the significance of
personality, as Mr. Mill never can, will accompany our epoch into its
future farther than one can foresee, but to its present must render a
mixed and imperfect service; for a sickness runs in his veins, and he is
trying to force the age into a half-way house, which is built equally by
his hope and his despair.

Were this not merely a general characterization, but a review, of Mr.
Mill's powerful work, we should venture to take issue on some matters
both general and special,--as an example of the latter, on the possible
utility of protective duties. The reasoning by which he, in common with
his class, proves these to be necessarily futile for good, is indeed
faultless so far as it goes, but, in our clear judgment, fails to cover
the whole case; so that the question, whether as one of general polity
or of industrial economy, is still open to consideration. Especially it
may be urged, that the infancy of human industries, like the infancy of
human beings, may require protection, even though their adult vigor
could be safely left to take care of itself. Suppose it conceded that
this protection is at first costly. So are the cradle and the nursery.
Yet it may be that they "pay" in the end. Nay, as the cradle may enrich
the household through the new incentives to labor and frugality which it
supplies, so protections of industry may evoke new industrial powers,
and thus at once begin to enrich the _nation_, though the capital which
supports these fresh industries could not at first hold its own, as
against other capital, without the motherly cares it receives.

But enough. Here is a book on a matter of large and immediate
importance, put forth by one of the amplest and soundest minds of our
time,--a man so long-headed and clear-hearted, so able and intrepid to
think, to speak, and to hear correction, so intent upon high ends and so
calmly patient upon the way, that the public can neglect his thought
only by a criminal neglect of its own interests.

_A Critical History of the Doctrine of a Future Life. With a Complete
Bibliography of the Subject._ By WILLIAM ROUNSEVILLE ALGER.
Philadelphia: Geo. W. Childs.

Few "signs of the times" are more significant than the disposition shown
on all sides to scrutinize and interpret the spiritual history of
mankind. Lessing, Schlegel, Herder, Hegel, Guizot, Buckle, and others,
endeavor, with various degrees of ambition and success, to estimate
history considered as a progress; Carlyle in his "Heroes" and Emerson in
the "Representative Men" regard it rather as a permanence, and seek to
present its value in typical forms; meanwhile the Bibles and mythologies
of the old world are collected, translated, subjected to interpretative
study; and the critical scholarship of our time is almost wholly engaged
in an endeavor either to arrive at the exact text or at the precise
value of all the ancient literatures.

All men have at length discovered that the history of mankind _means_
something, and are naturally intent on learning _what_ it means. No one
now regards it as a mere Devil's phantasmagoria, significant of nothing
but Adam's sin in the Garden. However differing on other points, we all
now perceive that the history of the mind of man is a more interior
history of the universe,--that it must be studied, in the most earnest
and reverential spirit of science,--that what Astronomy seeks to do in
the heavens and Geology on the earth must be done in the realms of the
mind itself,--and that, till we have found our Copernicus and our Newton
of the human soul, modern science lingers in the porch, and does not
find access to the temple. We all see that this history, not indeed as
to the succession of its outward events, but as to its interior reality,
must be grounded in the eternal truth and necessity of the universe.
What wonder, that, having been so fully penetrated by the scientific
spirit, modern minds should look with great longing toward these earths
and skies of human history, coveting some knowledge of the law by which
the thoughts and faiths of man perform their courses?

Nor any longer can "negative criticism" enlist the utmost interest. It
is construction that is now desired; and he who studies history only
that he may vanquish belief in the interest of knowledge cannot command
the attention of those whose attention is best worth having. That fable
is fable and mythus mythus no one need now plume himself on informing
us, provided he has nothing further to say. Of course, we raise no
childish and sentimental objection to what is called "negative
criticism." It may not be the best possible policy to build the new
house in the form of certain stories superimposed upon the old one,
which, perhaps, is even now hardly strong enough to sustain its own
weight. Let there be due clearing away; let us find foundations.

But the essence of the new point of view in the contemplation of history
consists in this, that we no longer seek these foundations in the mere
outward and literal history of man; we look, on the contrary, to his
inward history, to perennial hopes and imaginations, to the evidence of
his spiritual impulses and attractions, and just here find not only his
_real_ history, but also the basis for theoretical construction.

We see, indeed, as clearly as any Niebuhr or Strauss of them all, that
the imagination so pours itself into history as to supersede, or to
disguise by transfiguration, the literal facts. The incessant domination
of man's inward over his outward history is apparent enough. What then?
Does that make history worthless? Nay, it infinitely enhances the value
of history. Who are more deserving of pity than the distracted critics
that discriminate the imaginative element in the story of man's
existence only to cast it away? "Facts" do they desire? These _are_ the
facts. What is the use of always mousing about for coprolites? Give us
in the present form the product of man's spirit, and this to us shall
constitute his history. Let us know what pictures he painted on the
skies over his head, and he who desires shall be welcome to the relics
which he left in the dust under his feet.

In our own country some worthy efforts have been made to set forth
certain grand provinces in the spiritual history of the human race. Such
was Mrs. Child's most readable book,--does she ever write anything which
is not readable?--"The Progress of Religious Ideas." We have seen also
some fine lectures on "Eastern Religions,"[53] which ought to go into
print. And now Mr. Alger comes forward with his large and laborious
work, seeking to contribute his portion to these new and precious

Mr. Alger's book is a real _work_. It is the result of no light nor
trivial labor, of no timid nor indolent essay of thought. His aim has
been to pass in _judicial_ review the thoughts and imaginations of
mankind concerning the destiny of the human soul. It is an instruction
to the jury from the bench, summing up and passing continuous judgment
upon the evidence on this subject contributed by the consciousness of
the human race.

Mr. Alger is a brave man. He does not hesitate to grapple with the
greatest thinkers, nor to measure the subtlest imaginations of all time.
In the opening chapter, for example, which is appropriately devoted to a
consideration of theories of the soul's origin, he lays hold of the
boldest speculative imaginations to which the world has given birth,
with no hesitating nor trembling hand. Occasionally the reader may,
perhaps, be more inclined to tremble for him than he for himself. One
remembers Goldsmith's line,--

  "The dog it was that died";

but our author comes forth from the trial in ruddy health, and does not
seem at all out of breath. And all through the book he delivers his
sentence like a man who has earned the right to speak.

And has he not earned it? For some years Mr. Alger has been known to
scholars and others as a most indefatigable and heroic worker. This book
justifies that reputation. The amount of reading that has gone to it is
almost portentous. To us, who can hardly manage twelve books, big and
little, in as many months, this mountainous reading furnishes matter for

Neither has this reading been chiefly a work of memorizing, nor has it
been expended chiefly upon works of history commonly so called. A
product of man's spiritual consciousness being under consideration, it
is works of thought and imagination, rather than works of narration,
which claim our author's critical attention; and his reading has been
reflective and deliberative, involving a judgment upon speculative more
than upon historical data. And it may fairly be said, though it be much
to say, that he has shrunk from nothing which a perfect performance of
his task required. Whether we consider the formation or the expression
of his judgments, it may still be affirmed that he has met his great
theme fairly, and given to its exposition the utmost exercise of his
powers and the unstinted devotion of his labor.

We can accordingly pass upon his work this rare commendation, that it is
thoroughly _honest_. This may, indeed, seem to many no very high
approval. But it is one of the very highest. For we mean by it not
merely that he has refrained from conscious misrepresentation of
fact,--that he has not lied, as Kingsley did about Hypatia in the novel
wherein he borrowed, only to befoul, the name of that spotless woman,
knowing all the while that his representation was contrary to the
recorded facts of history. To say so much only of this book would be not
to attribute to it a positive merit, but only to acquit it of damning
demerit. But what we affirm is that Mr. Alger has fairly looked his
facts in the face, and come to some understanding with himself about
them. When he speaks, therefore, it is about facts, about realities, not
merely about words; and what he offers is the result of genuine
processes of production which have gone on in his own mind. If he speak
of life, it is not life in the dictionary, but in the universe. If he
profess to offer thoughts, he really gives the results of his thinking.
He does not cant; he does not merely recite verbal formulas; he does not
play the part of attorney, first determining what to advocate, and then
seeking plausible reasons: everywhere one perceives that he has really
brought his _mind_ to bear upon _facts_, and so has come to real mental
fruit. And it is this verity, this reality and genuineness, to which we
give the name of _intellectual_ honesty. It is a rare quality; and
always the rarer in proportion to the depth of the matters treated of,
on the one hand, and to their expression in customs and institutions, on
the other. Institutions are masks. The thinker must have both
earnestness and penetration, if he is to get behind them. And just in
proportion as any element of man's spiritual consciousness has come to
institutional expression, it is the easier to talk about it and the
harder to think upon it,--to talk _about_ it without talking _of_ it.
But our author has made the distinction, and to the extent of his power
looks facts in the face.

Having come to an understanding with himself, he honestly tries, again,
to come to an understanding with the reader. He honestly imparts his
mind. We find the book in this respect worthy of especial admiration.

Mr. Alger always writes well when he is not overmuch _trying_ to write
well. If he forbear to covet striking effect, his style has perspicuity,
directness, and vigor,--the essentials of all excellent writing,--and to
these adds verbal affluence and occasional felicity. But if he be
tempted of the Devil to become eloquent, and the father of all
rhetorical evil strives hard to bring the soul of his style to
perdition, then he begins to write badly. Let him, since he is capable
of heroic things, imitate Luther, and fling his ink-pot. Even though it
light upon the page, let him not be inconsolable, but remember that no
blots are so bad as those made by ambitious inflation. We have not that
horror of "fine writing" which leads The Saturday Review and Company to
such obstreperous exclamation, and can endure the worst that Americans
are guilty of in this matter quite as well as that affectation of
off-hand ease and _nonchalance_ which enhances the native clumsiness of
many among the later English writers, and, to our mind, mars extremely
the poetry of Browning. But if a writer has some propensity to
rhetorical Babel-building, it were well for _him_ to make an effort in
the opposite direction, and try to build his sentences underground, like
the houses of the Esquimaux.

Mr. Alger's book has minor faults and major excellences. But let him be
content. He has faithfully performed a great labor, and we give him
cordial approval. To a great theme he has brought great industry, a just
appreciation, a fine spirit, and much of intellectual courage and

Add that he is a man whose soul is in sympathy with the best thought,
hope, and heart of the time. Brave, just, and humane, he is always on
the right side, and always as direct and unflinching in the utterance of
his faith as he is intrepid and right-natured in its adoption. Opinions
are expressed in his work which do not accord with those of
ecclesiastical majorities; nevertheless we think that those will thank
him who least agree with him. It were, indeed, a shame that the people
which sets the highest price upon political liberty should be the last
to welcome the higher freedoms of thought; but it is a shame, we trust,
which will not befall our country. We ourselves have, it is true, as
little affection as most men for that sort of "free thinking" which
consists in pouring out upon the public the mere wash and cerebral
excretion of unclean spirits; but when any man has brought to a
consideration of the greatest facts a pure and reverent spirit, he is
entitled to present the results of his meditations with manly
directness and vigor, as Mr. Alger has done in the work before us.

The "Complete Bibliography of the Subject" is an admirable piece of
work. We present our respects to Mr. Ezra Abbot, Jr., and wish that many
an earnest literary laborer had such a "friend."

_Dream Children._ By the Author of "Seven Little People and their
Friends." Cambridge: Seaver & Francis.

The children seem to have found their Dickens at last. But, of course,
it was to be expected that the child's Dickens would be different, in
some important respects, from the Dickens of grown-up men and women. And
so he is. Children do with the world in their thoughts pretty much as
they will; and the genuine artist, working for children, must recognize
this, or he will utterly fail. The author of "Dream Children," who made
his introduction to the reading public as the author of "Seven Little
People and their Friends," has the rare faculty of realizing for himself
the exact position and attitude of the child. This position he takes so
earnestly that he has nowhere the air of assumption or arbitrary
fiction. The child lives so much in pictures! But the pictures must not
betray one single feature of unreality, or the whole effect is spoiled;
a moral may be pointed or a tale adorned, but the child has lost his
natural food. We need such works as that under present notice to keep
children from starving,--works that are not mechanically adapted to
children, but which come to them as their own fresh, pure thoughts come,
bringing them pictures like those which their own untrammelled fancy
paints for them.

We have no space to enter into any details here. The children must do
that for themselves; but not the children alone. For, as now and then we
come upon a piece of Art, a painting or a statue, which from its subject
would seem to belong peculiarly to the child's world, but which, because
it is genuine Art, as to its manner and execution, rises out of this
confinement to a single class, becoming universal, so it is with books
of a similar character. This is true of the present work more
emphatically than of the former work by the same author. The more
external features of the work--its exquisite getting-up, in paper,
binding, and especially in illustration--are only fitting to the
inherent gracefulness of the writer's thought.

The subject is inviting, but we can only add that these short stories
exhibit the rarest freshness and purity of imagination, the richest
humor, and the most striking suggestion of an exhaustless fertility of
invention which we remember ever to have seen in any child's book
before. There is nowhere a careless execution; and the reason of this is
probably that the characters have had a leisurely growth in the author's
own mind. Generally it is supposed, that, to suit a subject to children,
it is only necessary to go through some outward manifestations and to
give the thing an air of novelty; but in this treatment there is no
freshness, and no very great or very permanent moral expression. The
writer of "Dream Children" will have a select audience, but he will have
it pretty much to himself, and, as the best of all rewards which he
could have, he will educate the thoughts of his juvenile readers
imperceptibly into a greater love and reverence for the very heart of
truth and beauty.

_Remains in Verse and Prose of Arthur Henry Hallam; with a Preface and
Memoir._ Boston. Ticknor & Fields.

A permanent, though modest, place in the literature of the English
language will be accorded to this little volume. Judged upon their
intrinsic merits as compositions, the "Remains in Verse and Prose of
Arthur Henry Hallam" would, nevertheless, hold no abiding position among
the many pleasing poems, clever dissertations, and brilliant essays
annually given to the press in Great Britain and America. Were they
brought to us as the writings of a young man dying at thirty-two,
instead of ten years earlier, we might hastily say, that, sacred as they
must be to the personal friends of the author, there was in them no
excellency sufficiently marked or marketable to warrant republication.
But there gather other interests about them when we are told that these
compositions came from the son of a very eminent man, and were written
at an age at which we congratulate ourselves, if our college-boys are
not oppressively foolish. For the rare instances of hereditary
transmission of distinguished mental power are well worth attention, and
the maturity of thought and the subtile trains of reflection in this
youth now afford that large promise of genius which may not be
confounded with those specious precocities of talent the world never
lacks. Yet it is not probable that even these attractions could give to
the literary remains of young Hallam that permanent place in letters
which we have made bold to promise them. Only the inspirations of a
great poet could wake the noblest sympathies of noblest hearts in
perennial tribute to this friend so early called from life.

The student of Shakspeare's sonnets--poems having much in common with
those written in memory of Arthur Hallam--is never tired of conjecturing
the person to whom they were addressed. Who was the "only begetter" of
these passionate offerings of the poet's love? Might he be recognized as
he walked, a man among men? or was he the splendid idealization of
genius and friendship? There are but faint answers to these questions.
After the claims of Mr. Hart, Mr. Hughes, and the Earls of Southampton
and Pembroke have been duly examined, there comes the conclusion that we
may not know who and what he was towards whom the august soul of
Shakspeare yearned with such exceeding love. Future readers of the "In
Memoriam" of Tennyson will be more favored in their knowledge of the
young man there given to fame. It will be known that he was worthy of
the deep sorrow breathed into exquisite verse,--worthy also of those
noble half-lights flashing above the sombre atmosphere, to show the
instruction, the blessedness, the beauty, which grow from human grief.
We are compelled to confess that those keen poetic glimpses into the
high regions of philosophy and science, with which the memories of his
friend inspired Tennyson, seem just dues to the brilliant auguries of a
future which this world was not permitted to see.

An outline of Arthur's life has already been given to the American
public. Little can be added to it from his father's touching preface to
the unpublished edition of these writings in 1834, which is now
reprinted. The childhood of young Hallam exhibits facility in the
acquisition of knowledge, sweetness of temper, and scrupulous adherence
to a sense of duty. At the age of nine he reads Latin and Greek with
tolerable facility, and achieves dramatic compositions which excite the
admiration of the father,--a thoroughly competent, unless partial,
critic. This luxuriance of fancy is judiciously received; no display is
made of it, and Arthur is sent to school at Putney, where he remains for
two years. The common routine of English education is more than once
broken by tours upon the Continent. When the boy leaves Eton in 1827,
his father pronounces him "a good, though not, perhaps, first-rate
scholar in the Latin and Greek languages." As certain Latin verses
referred to are, for some inscrutable reason, omitted in this American
edition, the reader has no means of deciding whether it is the modest
reserve of the parent which pronounces them "good, without being
excellent," or the fond partiality of the father which discovers them to
be "good" at all. In any case, we must consider Arthur's "comparative
deficiency in classical learning," for which the eminent historian seems
almost to apologize, as one of his especial felicities. The liberalizing
effect of travel, and a varied contact with men and things, prevented
his powers from contracting themselves to a merely academical
reputation. When at Cambridge, he renounces all competition in the
niceties of classical learning, and does not attempt Latin or Greek
composition during his stay at Trinity. Thus he escapes the fate of many
quick minds, which, running easily upon college grooves, that end in the
indorsement of a corporation, never make out to accept their own
individuality for better and for worse. Arthur enters upon legal studies
with acuteness, and not without interest. A few anonymous writings
occupy his leisure. He is now just rising upon the world,--a brilliant
orb, as yet seen only by a few watchers, who congratulate each other
upon the light to be. A fatal tour to Germany, and all ends in darkness
and mystery.

Judging from the writings before us, we should say that this young man
was destined to a greater eminence in philosophy than in poetry. His
father's opinion, in reverse of this, was perhaps based upon average
tendencies of character, instead of selected specimens of production.
The best prose papers here printed, the "Essay on the Philosophical
Writings of Cicero," and the "Review of Professor Rossetti," are far
more remarkable for the ease with which accurate information is
subjected to original, and even profound thought, than are the poems for
brilliancy of imagination or mastery over the capacities of language.
Still, it must be confessed, that the sonnets are full of melody and
refinement,--indeed, we can recall no poet who has written much better
at the same age. In all Arthur's compositions we recognize an exquisite
delicacy of feeling, without any of the daintiness of mind commonly
found in intellectual youths. He seems to have acquired much of his
father's command of reading, and to have inherited those rarer faculties
of selection and generalization which give to learning its coherence and
significance. In contrast to the precise and somewhat hard literary
style of the elder Hallam, the diction of the son glows with the
sensitiveness of a highly artistic nature. Arthur's attainments in the
modern languages appear to have been considerable. He is said to have
spoken French readily, and to have ranged its literature as familiarly
as that of England. His Italian sonnets are pronounced by competent
authority to be very remarkable for a foreigner. They are certainly
marvellous for a boy of seventeen after an eight months' visit to Italy.
In fine, upon the testimony presented in this volume, we think that no
considerate reader will hesitate to credit Arthur Hallam with a rich and
generous character, a wide sweep of thought rising from the groundwork
of solid knowledge, and the delicate aërial perceptions of high
imaginative genius.

Surely the life whose untimely end called forth "In Memoriam" was not
lost to the world. Perhaps it was by dying that the moral and
intellectual gifts of this youth could most effectively reach the hearts
of men. He was not unworthy his noble monument. As we turn to the
familiar lyrics, they swell and deepen with a new harmony. Again, the
genius of Tennyson bears us onward through tenderest allegory and
subtlest analogy, until, breaking from cares and questionings so
melodiously uttered, his soul soars upward through thin philosophies of
the schools, and at length, in grandest spiritual repose, rests beside
the friend "who lives with God." It is good to know that the "A.H.H."
forever encircled by the halo of that matchless verse does not live only
as the idealization of the poet.

_History of West Point, and its Military Importance during the American
Revolution, and the Origin and Progress of the United States Military
Academy._ By Captain EDWARD C. BOYNTON, A.M., Adjutant of the Military
Academy. New York: D. Van Nostrand.

In every country there must be localities the names of which are
particularly associated with the national history. But in the United
States there are few such places that are not portions of some one of
the States; and if they have been the scene of incidents sufficient in
number and importance to furnish material for an historical monograph,
or so-called _local_ history, it will probably derive its special
interest and coloring mainly from events of the Colonial period and the
development of the material prosperity of the particular State or
section. The associations of West Point, the seat of the United States
Military Academy, are in this respect remarkable, that they derive their
interest exclusively from circumstances incidental to the birth and
progress of the nation. The history of the place is an important part of
the nation's history. Compared with more comprehensive annals, wherein
minute description of places and persons is impossible from the breadth
of view, local histories leave on the reader more vivid impressions by
affording a more microscopic and personal inspection. Where the minor
history, as we may call it, is thus connected with the greater story of
the body politic, it always enables the mind to combine, in the sequence
of cause and effect, a certain series of events in the course of the
nation's life, leaving a more distinct apprehension of the reality of
that life in the past, by giving a rapid glance, under strong light,
over a part, than usually remains after the perusal of larger works
which attempt the survey of the whole.

From the beginning of the history of the United States, the
administrative power of the National Government has been continuously
exercised at West Point, to the exclusion of all other authority. It was
occupied by the Continental forces at the commencement of the
Revolutionary contest, as a place of the greatest strategic importance.
It was the objective point in that drama of Arnold's treason, which, by
involving the fate of André, is remembered as one of the most romantic
incidents in the story of the war. In Captain Boynton's new "History of
West Point," the aspect of the place, in connection with the events of
that time, is given by that method of description which always leaves
the sense of historic verity. The maps, plans, reports, letters, and
accounts, with the spelling and types, though by no means with the
printing or the paper of past days, are reproduced; and the actors on
the scene, not only those of high position, whose names are household
words, but those also whose part was humbler and whose memory is
obscure, are allowed to present themselves to us as they appeared before
the public of their own day. The first part of the volume gives the
history of the place as it has been occupied for strategic purposes. The
second part is devoted to its history as the seat of the Military
Academy, a history which succeeds immediately to the former, and is
intimately connected with the history of our internal government from
its first organization under the Constitution to the present hour; so
that the history of the locality presents itself as a brilliantly
colored thread running through the warp of the national history. In the
composition of this portion, as of the other, the author has presented
his subject, not so much in his own narrative, as by a judicious
combination of extracts from documents and papers of original authority;
although his own observations, by way of connection and explanation, are
given in good taste, and indicate a candid judgment, founded upon a
manifestly loving, but still essentially impartial, observation. It
should be no wonder, if the graduates of the Academy, who continue their
connection with the army in mature years, should always regard the place
through a vista of memory and affection, shedding over it a brilliancy
to which others might be insensible. To most of them it has been as a
home,--to many, probably, the only home of their youth; and, in the
unsettled life of the soldier, we can conceive that to no other spot
would their recollections recur with like feeling. We believe, that, in
the society which gathers more or less permanently around the Academy,
the feeling of a home-circle towards its absent members follows the
graduates during their military service; and that they, on the other
hand, are always conscious of a peculiar observation exercised from the
place over their conduct; so that each one, during an honorable career,
may look forward to revisiting it, from time to time, as a place
associated by family-ties. This influence upon the individual graduate
must be a very powerful incentive. It must, in the nature of the case,
be unperceived by the public, but its value to the public will be
enhanced by the observation which they may extend to the Academy; and it
is eminently proper that such observation should be courted by the
Government, and by those who represent it on the spot; the opportunity
should be given to all, irrespectively of civil or military place, to
become acquainted with its general management, the principles on which
it is established, and the terms which the cadet makes with the country
on entering, and to see, from time to time, a general _résumé_ of its
working and success. A book which tells this, in its natural association
with the narrative of all that gives the locality its name in our
history, promotes a national interest and supplies a public want.
Captain Boynton's book should command the interest of those who know
most of West Point, and of those who know nothing about it. To some it
will be a grateful source of reminiscence, and to others of
entertainment combined with information which has acquired an increased
interest for the citizen.

Not the least inviting portion of the book is that which relates to the
topography and scenery of the Point. It is one of the singularities of
our frame of government, that the nation is the lord of so little soil
in the inhabited portion of its own dominion: though it is well to
remember that territorial sovereignty is not, as many persons imagine,
the only kind of sovereignty, nor, indeed, the most important kind; for
there is sovereignty over persons, which may be held without eminent
domain over the soil. Allegiance is personal. It is not based on the
feudal doctrine of tenures. The notion of many persons respecting the
right of the people of a State to carry themselves out of the nation is
connected with false conceptions on this subject. It is pleasant to
think that one of the places in which the nation is the land-owner and
exclusive sovereign is celebrated for historic events, and also
preëminently distinguished for beauty of situation. This circumstance
undoubtedly contributes to the hold which the place has on the minds of
those who have passed a portion of their youth on the spot, and it has
evidently been a source of inspiration to the author, and, we may say,
to the publisher, too, who have combined in making this a book of luxury
as well as of useful reference, a parlor-book. The pictorial
illustrations they have given add greatly to its value; and in this
matter they might safely have gone even farther. This book is intended
to make the spot familiar to the minds of many in various parts of the
national domain. Most persons of any leisure, in this section of the
country, have either themselves visited the banks of the Hudson or are
familiar with scenery somewhat similar in some part of the Eastern or
Middle States. But there are multitudes in the South and West of our
conlinental empire who have hardly ever seen a rock bigger than a man's
body, and who can, except by the aid of pictures, have no idea of a
river hemmed in by mountains. The view given in this book of the
localities in 1780, after a drawing made at the time by a French
officer, is more valuable in this respect, we think, than for the
historical purpose; and we should have preferred a similar view of the
place as it now appears.

In common with all institutions which are the means of power and
influence, the Academy has been regarded with jealousy. It has
occasionally been assailed by an hostility which must always exist, and
which its friends should always be prepared to meet. Captain Boynton has
fairly stated and answered the objections commonly advanced. Among those
recently put forth is the complaint that no great military genius has
been produced from the Academy. The question might be asked, Does ever
any school produce the genius? It is contrary to the definition of
genius to be produced by such instrumentality. If no such military
phenomenon has been seen, the only inference is, that the genius was not
in the country, or that the circumstances of the country gave no
opportunity for its development; and the question is, Should we, in the
absence of genius, have done better without such an academy to educate
the available talent of the country to military service? Goethe has
said, that, to figure as a great genius in the world's history, one must
have some great heritage in the consequences of antecedent events,--that
Napoleon inherited the French Revolution. Though Napoleon developed
military art beyond his predecessors, there is no reason to suppose that
a soldier with natural endowments equal to his could now become the
inspirer of a similar degree of progress. The ordinary method of
appointment of cadets is described and vindicated by the author. While
it does not appear, _a priori_, to be the best possible, it must be said
that it is hard to devise any better one. It is always to be borne in
mind that appointment does not by any means involve graduation. Enough
have graduated to supply the wants of the army in ordinary times, and
these have been selected from about three times the number of
appointees. It is often said that equally competent persons would offer
themselves from civil life. To maintain this, it must be held, either
that the education given by the Academy is not of important benefit, or
that the same benefit may be attained without it. But no one pretends to
say that the education is not of the utmost importance; and, as Captain
Boynton shows conclusively, we think, it is impossible for any one to
attain it by unassisted study, either before or after entering the army,
while it is utterly out of the power of any private institution to give
a similar training.

Among the treasons incident to the Rebellion, none struck loyal minds
more painfully than the desertion of the national right by Southern
cadets and graduates of West Point. Some supposed that the diligent
inculcation of State-Sovereignty doctrine by every organ of Southern
opinion could not alone have caused this breach of plighted faith, and
it was charged against the education given at the Academy, that it was
based on "principles which permitted no discrimination between acts
morally wrong in themselves, and acts which, destitute of immorality,
are, nevertheless, criminal, because prohibited by the regulations of
the institution." The charge indicated a gross misconception of the
subject. The conduct-roll, which is to determine the standing of the
cadet according to a total of demerit-marks, must include in one list
delinquencies against all rules, whatever may be their source. But
besides this scale for classification, the military law, to which
cadets, as part of the army, are amenable, refers all immoralities and
criminalities to a military tribunal. It would be well, if our
collegians would try to estimate the effect, moral, intellectual, and
physical, of the training of the Academy, as contrasted with that which
they are receiving, and, in comparing a collegiate with a West-Point
graduation, to remember that the cadet has been on service, and would
have been discharged by his paymaster, if he had not done his duty,
while in the colleges the professors serve for the pay, and would lose
their bread and butter, if there were no degrees given.

_Roundabout Papers_. By W.M. THACKERAY. New York: Harper & Brothers.

We had scarcely finished reading this admirable volume of essays when
news of the author's death was transmitted across the sea. And now we
are to look no longer at our shelf which holds "Vanity Fair,"
"Fendennis," "The Newcomes," and "Henry Esmond," and think of the
writer's busy brain as still actively engaged over new and delightful
books destined some day to claim their places beside the
companion-volumes we have so many times taken down for pure enjoyment
during the last twenty years. Do you remember, who read this brief
notice of the man so recently passed away, a passage in one of these
same "Roundabout Papers," where this sentence holds the eye half-way
down the page,--"I like Hood's life even better than his books, and I
wish with all my heart, _Monsieur et cher confrère_, the same could be
said for both of us when the ink-stream of our life hath ceased to run"?
Only they who knew Thackeray out of his books can believe that this
desire came earnestly from his heart to his readers. He was a man to be
misunderstood continually; but his record will be found a noble one,
when the true story of his career is told. His greatness as an author,
his striking merit as an artist in the delineation of character, can
never fail to be rightly estimated; but few will ever know the
thousandth part of the good his generous deeds have accomplished in the
world,--deeds done in secret, and forever hidden from the eye of
public-charity hunters. His life had struggles, many and crushing; but
with a noble fortitude he pursued his calling when sorrow held down his
heart and wellnigh had the power to palsy his hand. This is no place for
his eulogy; but we could not notice the publication of his latest volume
without thus briefly recording our tribute to the author's memory. Since
the death of Macaulay, England has sustained no greater loss in the
ranks of her literary men.

       *       *       *       *       *



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[1] See Mr. Norton's "Travel and Study in Italy," p. 132.

[2] "Giudica e manda, secondo che avvinghia."

     _Inf._ v. 5

[3] "Les observateurs éclairés manquaient en 1737 pour suivre la
transformation des phénomènes morbides."--Calmeil, _De la Folie_, Tom.
II. p. 317.

[4] _La Vérité des Miracles opérés par l'Intercession de M. de Pâris et
autres Appellans démontrée; avec des Observations sur le Phénomène des
Convulsions_, par Carré de Montgéron, Conseiller au Parlement de Paris.
3 vols. 4to. 2d ed. _Cologne_, 1745.

The first edition, consisting, however, of a single volume only,
appeared in 1737, and was presented to the King in person at Versailles,
by M. de Montgéron, on the twenty-ninth of July of that year. The work
was translated into German and Flemish; and besides several editions
which appeared in France, one was published in Germany and two in
Holland. It is illustrated with costly engraving.

Though the King (Louis XV.) received M. de Montgéron in an apparently
gracious manner, yet, the very night after his reception, as he had
himself foreseen, he was arrested and cast into the Bastille. Thence he
was transferred from one place of confinement to another; and at the
time he was preparing the second edition of his work, he was still (in
1744) a prisoner in the citadel of Valence. (See Advertisement to that
edition, note to page vii.) He died in exile at Valence, in 1754.

[5] Voltaire, with his usual wit and irreverence, proposed that the
notice, proclaiming the royal command, to be affixed to the gate of the
church-yard should read as follows:--

  "De part le Roi, défense à Dieu
   De faire miracle en ce lieu."

[6] Hecker alleges that "the insanity of the _Convusionnaires_ lasted,
without interruption, until the year 1790," that is, for fifty-nine
years, and was only interrupted by the excitement of the French
Revolution; also, that, in the year 1762, the "Grands Secours" were
forbidden by act of the Parliament of Paris.--_Epidemics of the Middle
Ages_, from the German of I.F.C. Hecker, M.D., translated by B.G.
Babington, M.D., F.R.S., London, 1846, p. 149.

There were published by Renault, parish, priest at Vaux near Ancerre,
two pamphlets against the Succorists,--one entitled "Le Secourisme
détruit dans ses Fondemens," in 1759, and the other, "Le Mystère
d'Iniquité," as late as 1788,--an evidence that the controversy was kept
up for at least half a century.

[7] "A peine l'entrée du tombeau eût elle été fermée, qu'on vit le
nombre des Convulsionnaires s'accroître extraordinairement. Les
convulsions commencèrent à s'étendre jusqu'à, des personnes qui
n'avaient ni maladie ni infirmité corporelle."--_Oeuvres de Colbert_,
Tom. II. p. 203. (This is Colbert, Bishop of Montpelier, and nephew of
Louis XIV.'s minister.)

[8] Montgéron, work cited, Tom. II. p. 36. Calmeil, _De la Folie_, Tom.
II, pp. 315, 317.

[9] For particulars and certificates in this case, see Montgéron, Tom.
II. _Troisième Démonstration_, pp. 1-58.

[10] Montgéron, work cited, Tom. II. _Pièces Justificatives de la
Troisième Démonstration_, p. 4.

[11] Montgéron, Tom. I. _Seconde Démonstration_, p. 6.

[12] "_Un coup d'épée_" is the expression employed by Montgéron; but the
facts elsewhere reported by himself do not seem to bear out, in most
cases, its accuracy. It was not usually a _thrust_ of a sword's point,
but only a _pressure_ with the point of a sharp sword, often so strong,
however, that the weapon was bent by its force.

[13] Montgéron, Tom. III. p. 10.

[14] See, for the entire relation, from which I have here given extracts
only, Montgéron's work, Tom. III. pp. 24-26. Montgéron, though he
vouches for the narrator as a gentleman worthy of all credit, does not
give his name, nor that, of the physician, except as Dr. M----. The
occurrence took place in 1732.

[15] Montgéron, Tom. III. pp. 107-111.

[16] _Ibid._ p. 688.

[17] "As murderous blows must either wound or kill, but for a miracle,
there ought to be a promise or a revelation to warrant their infliction.
But God has given no such promise, no such revelation, to justify the
demanding or the granting of the succors. It is, therefore, a tempting
of God to do so."--_Vains Efforts des Discernans_, p. 133.

[18] _Chenet_ is the French expression, an andiron, or dog-iron, as it
is sometimes called. Montgéron thus describes it: "The andiron in
question was a thick, roughly shaped bar of iron, bent at both ends, but
the front end divided in two, to serve for feet, and furnished with a
thick, short knob. This andiron weighed between twenty-nine and thirty
pounds."--Montgéron, Tom. III. p. 693.

[19] _Vains Efforts des Discernans_, p. 134.

[20] _Mémoire Théologique_, p. 41. This is admitted also by the Abbé,
see _Vains Efforts_, p. 127, and by M. Poncet, _Réponse_, etc., p. 15.

[21] Montgéron, Tom. III. pp. 693, 694. The author takes great pains to
disprove a theory which few persons, in our day, will think worth
refuting. In this connection, he quotes from a memoir drawn up by a
gentleman who had spent much time in examining these phenomena, as
follows:--"The force of the action and movement of the instruments
employed is not broken or arrested or turned aside. Experience
conclusively proves this. One sees the bodies of the convulsionists bend
and sink beneath the blows. One can perceive that the parts assailed are
twisted, and receive all the movements which such weapons as those
employed are calculated to communicate. And the violence of the blows is
often such that not only are they heard from the lowest story of a house
to the highest, but they actually communicate to the floor and to the
walls of the apartment a shock, which is sensibly felt, and which causes
the spectators to start."--p. 686.

Montgéron adds his own personal experience. He says,--"That has happened
frequently to myself. I have often been so much impressed with the
strong motion communicated to the floor by the terrible blows dealt with
stones or billets of wood with which they were striking convulsionists,
that I could not restrain a shudder. For the rest, this is an occurrence
to the truth of which there are as many to testify as there have been
persons, whether friends or foes, who have seen the 'great succors.' One
may say, that it is a fact attested by witnesses
innumerable."--Montgéron, Tom. III. p 686.

Independently of the theory of Satanic intervention which the above
details are adduced to disprove, they are very interesting in
themselves, for the insight they give into the exact character of these
terrible probations.

[22] Montgéron, Tom. III. p. 694.

[23] Quoted by Montgéron, Tom. III. p. 697.

[24] Montgéron, Tom. III. p. 697.

[25] _Mémoire Théologique_, p. 96.

[26] Montgéron, Tom. III. p. 697.

[27] _Ibid._ p. 698.

[28] _Lettre du Dr. A---- à M. de Montgéron_, p. 8.

[29] _Ibid._ p. 7.

[30] Montgéron, Tom. II. _Idée de l'État des Convulsionnaires_, pp. 45,
46. Montgéron does not allege, however, that any other part of the body
than that where the warning pains were felt became insensible or
invulnerable. He cites (Tom. III. p. 629) the case of a convulsionist
who, "at the moment when they were striking her on the breast with all
possible force with a stone weighing twenty-five pounds, bade them
suspend the succors for a moment, till she adjusted, in another part of
her dress, a pin that was pricking her."

[31] Montgéron, Tom. II. _Idée de l'État des Convulsionnaires_, pp. 31,

[32] Montgéron, Tom. II. _Idée de l'État des Convulionnaires_, p. 33.

[33] _Lettre du Dr. A---- à M. de Montgéron_, p. 7.

[34] _Réponse des Anti-Secouristes à la Réclamation_, par M. Poncet,
p. 4.

[35] Montgéron, Tom. III. p. 706.

[36] Montgéron, Tom. III. p. 707.

[37] Montgéron, Tom. III. p. 720.

[38] _Ibid._ pp. 713, 714.

[39] _Ibid._ p. 719.

[40] Montgéron, Tom. III. p. 716.

[41] _Ibid._ p. 721.

[42] _Ibid._ p. 709.

[43] Montgéron, Tom. III. p. 708.

[44] _Ibid._ p. 718.

[45] _Ibid._ p. 709.

[46] Montgéron, Tom. III. pp. 722, 723.

[47] The details are given by M. Morand, a surgeon of Paris of high
reputation, member of the Academy of Sciences, who had been employed by
the Lieutenant of Police to make to him a report on the subject, and who
reproduces the result of his observations in his "Opuscules de
Chirurgie." He found four girls, the centres of whose hands and feet
were indurated by the frequent perforations of the nails. He witnessed
the operation of crucifying one of them, the Sister Félicité. A certain
M. La Barre was the operator. The nails were of the sort called
_demi-picaron_, very sharp, flat, four-sided, and with a large head.
They were driven, at a single blow of a hammer, nearly through the
centre of the palm, between the third and fourth fingers; and in like
manner through each foot a little above the toes and between the third
and fourth; the same stroke causing the nail to enter also the wood of
the cross. Félicité gave no signs of sensibility during the operation.
When attached to the cross, she was gay, and converged with whoever
addressed her, remaining crucified nearly half an hour. Morand remarked,
that her wounds were not at all bloody, and that very little blood
flowed, even when the nails were withdrawn. See his "Opuscules de
Chirurgie," Partie II. chap. 6.

[48] _De la Folie_, Tom. II.; the page I omitted to note.

[49] It Is desirable that the reader should look up these localities
upon a map of Switzerland, that he may be impressed with the growing
grandeur of these ancient glaciers, even while they were retreating into
the heart of the Alps; for in proportion as they left the plain, the
landscape must have gained in imposing effect in consequence of the
isolation of these immense masses of ice, which in their united
extension may have recalled rather the immensity of the ocean, than the
grandeur of Alpine scenery.

[50] This map, with all its details and measurements, is reproduced (Pl.
V. fig. 1) in my "Système Glaciaire." It was accompanied by an
explanatory paper in the form of a letter to Altmann, then Professor at

[51] M. de Charpentier has published a map of this ancient glacier in
his "Essay upon the Glaciers and Erratics of the Valley of the Rhone."

[52] In the last report of the New-England Emigrant Aid Company we find
the following significant passage:--

"There is, undoubtedly, a general desire among the inhabitants of the
Northern and Middle States to remove into the States south of them,
which will soon welcome the introduction of free labor. This desire
manifests itself strongly among soldiers who have seen the beauty and
fertility of those States, in their duty of occupation and protection;
and it has communicated itself to their friends with whom they have
corresponded. Society in those States is, however, still so disturbed,
and in such angry temper, that no Northern settler will be welcome or
comfortable, as yet, who goes alone. To be saved the animosities and the
hardships of lonely settlement, it is desirable that parties of
settlers, furnishing to each other their own society, and thus far
independent of dissatisfied neighbors, should go out together. The
conditions on which only land can be obtained point to the same
organization. Lands already under cultivation are not offered for sale
in all the Border States, at very low rates. If parties of settlers
could buy in the large quantities which are offered, it would prove that
they could remove and establish themselves, in some instances, upon
these lands, almost as cheaply as they have hitherto been able to make
the expensive Western journey and take up the cheap wild lands of the

"But such purchases in the Border States are only possible when large
tracts of land are sold. To enable the settler of small means to take a
farm of a hundred acres, there needs the intervention of the organizers
of emigration. Such a company as ours, for instance, can bring together,
upon one old plantation, twenty, thirty, or forty families, if
necessary: it can arrange for them terms of payment as favorable as
those heretofore granted by the Government or the great railroad
companies of the West."

Such suggestions apply more strongly to the case of Florida, which has
come within our power since this report was published. Florida is,
indeed, more easily protected from an enemy's raids than any of the
so-called Border States.

[53] Written--if the author will permit us to tell--by Rev. Samuel
Johnson, one of the truest and ablest of our scholars.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 13, No. 76, February, 1864" ***

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