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Title: The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 13, No. 77, March, 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. 77, March, 1864" ***

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[Transcriber's Note: Minor typos corrected, and footnotes have been
moved to the end of the text.]

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 Massachusetts.


I can see the excitement which this title arouses as it is flashed
across the sierras, down the valleys, and into the various reading-rooms
and parlors of the Golden City of the Golden State. As the San Francisco
"Bulletin" announces some day, that in the "Atlantic Monthly," issued in
Boston the day before, one of the articles is on "The Queen of
California," what contest, in every favored circle of the most favored
of lands, who the Queen may be! Is it the blond maiden who took a string
of hearts with her in a leash, when she left us one sad morning? is it
the hardy, brown adventuress, who, in her bark-roofed lodge, serves us
out our boiled dog daily, as we come home from our water-gullies, and
sews on for us weekly the few buttons which we still find indispensable
in that toil? is it some Jessie of the lion-heart, heroine of a hundred
days or of a thousand? is it that witch with gray eyes, cunningly
hidden,--were they puzzled last night, or were they all wisdom
crowded?--as she welcomed me, and as she bade me good-bye? Good Heavens!
how many Queens of California are regnant this day! and of any one of
them this article might be written.

No, _Señores!_ No, _Caballeros!_ Throng down to the wharves to see the
Golden Era or the Cornelius's Coffin, or whatever other mail-steamer may
bring these words to your longing eyes. Open to the right and left as
Adams's express-messenger carries the earliest copy of the "Atlantic
Monthly," sealed with the reddest wax, tied with the reddest tape, from
the Corner Store direct to him who was once the life and light of the
Corner Store, who now studies eschscholtzias through a telescope
thirty-eight miles away on Monte Diablo! Rush upon the newsboy who then
brings forth the bale of this Journal for the Multitude, to find that
the Queen of California of whom we write is no modern queen, but that
she reigned some five hundred and fifty-five years ago. Her precise
contemporaries were Amadis of Gaul, the Emperor Esplandian, and the
Sultan Radiaro. And she _flourished_, as the books say, at the time when
this Sultan made his unsuccessful attack on the city of
Constantinople,--all of which she saw, part of which she was.

She was not _petite_, nor blond, nor golden-haired. She was large and
black as the ace of clubs. But the prejudice of color did not then exist
even among the most brazen-faced or the most copper-headed. For, as you
shall learn, she was reputed the most beautiful of women; and it was
she, O Californians, who wedded the gallant prince Talanque,--your
first-known king. The supporters of the arms of the beautiful shield of
the State of California should be, on the right, a knight armed
_cap-à-pie_, and, on the left, an Amazon sable, clothed in skins, as you
shall now see.

Mr. E. E. Hale, of Boston, sent to the Antiquarian Society last year a
paper which shows that the name of California was known to literature
before it was given to our peninsula by Cortés. Cortés discovered the
peninsula in 1535, and seems to have called it California then. But Mr.
Hale shows that twenty-five years before that time, in a romance called
the "Deeds of Esplandian," the name of California was given to an island
"on the right hand of the Indies." This romance was a sequel, or fifth
book, to the celebrated romance of "Amadis of Gaul." Such books made the
principal reading of the young blades of that day who could read at all.
It seems clear enough, that Cortés and his friends, coming to the point
farthest to the west then known,--which all of them, from Columbus down,
supposed to be in the East Indies,--gave to their discovery the name,
familiar to romantic adventurers, of _California_, to indicate their
belief that it was on the "right hand of the Indies." Just so Columbus
called his discoveries "the Indies,"--just so was the name "El Dorado"
given to regions which it was hoped would prove to be golden. The
romance had said, that in the whole of the romance-island of California
there was no metal but gold. Cortés, who did not find a pennyweight of
dust in the real California, still had no objection to giving so golden
a name to his discovery.

Mr. Hale, with that brevity which becomes antiquarians, does not go into
any of the details of the life and adventures of the Queen of California
as the romance describes them. We propose, in this paper, to supply from
it this reticency of his essay.

The reader must understand, then, that, in this romance, printed in
1510, sixty years or less after Constantinople really fell into the
hands of the Turks, the author describes a pretended assault made upon
it by the Infidel powers, and the rallying for its rescue of Amadis and
Perion and Lisuarte, and all the princes of chivalry with whom the novel
of "Amadis of Gaul" has dealt. They succeed in driving away the Pagans,
"as you shall hear." In the midst of this great crusade, every word of
which, of course, is the most fictitious of fiction, appear the episodes
which describe California and its Queen.

First, of California itself here is the description:--

"Now you are to hear the most extraordinary thing that ever was heard of
in any chronicles or in the memory of man, by which the city would have
been lost on the next day, but that where the danger came, there the
safety came also. Know, then, that, on the right hand of the Indies,
there is an island called California, very close to the side of the
Terrestrial Paradise,[1] and it was peopled by black women, without any
man among them, for they lived in the fashion of Amazons. They were of
strong and hardy bodies, of ardent courage and great force. Their island
was the strongest in all the world, with its steep cliffs and rocky
shores. Their arms were all of gold, and so was the harness of the wild
beasts which they tamed and rode. For, in the whole island, there was no
metal but gold. They lived in caves wrought out of the rock with much
labor. They had many ships with which they sailed out to other countries
to obtain booty.

"In this island, called California, there were many griffins, on account
of the great ruggedness of the country, and its infinite host of wild
beasts, such as never were seen in any other part of the world. And when
these griffins were yet small, the women went out with traps to take
them. They covered themselves over with very thick hides, and when they
had caught the little griffins, they took them to their caves, and
brought them up there. And being themselves quite a match for the
griffins, they fed them with the men whom they took prisoners, and with
the boys to whom they gave birth, and brought them up with such arts
that they got much good from them, and no harm. Every man who landed on
the island was immediately devoured by these griffins; and although they
had had enough, none the less would they seize them and carry them high
up in the air, in their flight, and when they were tired of carrying
them, would let them fall anywhere as soon as they died."

These griffins are the Monitors of the story, or, if the reader pleases,
the Merrimacs. After this description, the author goes on to introduce
us to our Queen. Observe, O reader, that, although very black, and very
large, she is very beautiful. Why did not Powers carve his statue of
California out of the blackest of Egyptian marbles? Try once more, Mr.
Powers! We have found her now. [Greek: Ehyrhêkamen]!

"Now at the time when those great men of the Pagans sailed with their
great fleets, as the history has told you, there reigned in this island
of California a Queen, very large in person, the most beautiful of all
of them, of blooming years, and in her thoughts desirous of achieving
great things, strong of limb and of great courage, more than any of
those who had filled her throne before her. She heard tell that all the
greater part of the world was moving in this onslaught against the
Christians. She did not know what Christians were, for she had no
knowledge of any parts of the world excepting those which were close to
her. But she desired to see the world and its various people; and
thinking, that, with the great strength of herself and of her women, she
should have the greater part of their plunder, either from her rank or
from her prowess, she began to talk with all of those who were most
skilled in war, and told them that it would be well, if, sailing in
their great fleets, they also entered on this expedition, in which all
these great princes and lords were embarking. She animated and excited
them, showing them the great profits and honors which they would gain in
this enterprise,--above all, the great fame which would be theirs in all
the world; while, if they stayed in their island, doing nothing but what
their grandmothers did, they were really buried alive,--they were dead
while they lived, passing their days without fame and without glory, as
did the very brutes."

Now the people of California were as willing then to embark in distant
expeditions of honor as they are now. And the first battalion that ever
sailed from the ports of that country was thus provided:--

"So much did this mighty Queen, Calafia, say to her people, that she not
only moved them to consent to this enterprise, but they were so eager to
extend their fame through other lands that they begged her to hasten to
sea, so that they might earn all these honors, in alliance with such
great men. The Queen, seeing the readiness of her subjects, without any
delay gave order that her great fleet should be provided with food, and
with arms all of gold,--more of everything than was needed. Then she
commanded that her largest vessel should be prepared with gratings of
the stoutest timber; and she bade place in it as many as five hundred of
these griffins, of which I tell you, that, from the time they were born,
they were trained to feed on men. And she ordered that the beasts on
which she and her people rode should be embarked, and all the
best-armed women and those most skilled in war whom she had in her
island. And then, leaving such force in the island that it should be
secure, with the others she went to sea. And they made such haste that
they arrived at the fleets of the Pagans the night after the battle of
which I have told you; so that they were received with great joy, and
the fleet was visited at once by many great lords, and they were
welcomed with great acceptance. She wished to know at once in what
condition affairs were, asking many questions, which they answered
fully. Then she said,--

"'You have fought this city with your great forces, and you cannot take
it; now, if you are willing, I wish to try what my forces are worth
to-morrow, if you will give orders accordingly.'

"All these great lords said that they would give such commands as she
should bid them.

"'Then send word to all your other captains that they shall to-morrow on
no account leave their camps, they nor their people, until I command
them; and you shall see a combat more remarkable than you have ever seen
or heard of.'

"Word was sent at once to the great Sultan of Liquia, and the Sultan of
Halapa, who had command of all the men who were there; and they gave
these orders to all their people, wondering much what was the thought of
this Queen."

Up to this moment, it may be remarked, these Monitors, as we have called
the griffins, had never been fairly tried in any attack on fortified
towns. The Dupont of the fleet, whatever her name may have been, may
well have looked with some curiosity on the issue. The experiment was
not wholly successful, as will be seen.

"When the night had passed and the morning came, the Queen Calafia
sallied on shore, she and her women, armed with that armor of gold, all
adorned with the most precious stones,--which are to be found in the
island of California like stones of the field for their abundance. And
they mounted on their fierce beasts, caparisoned as I have told you; and
then she ordered that a door should be opened in the vessel where the
griffins were. They, when they saw the field, rushed forward with great
haste, showing great pleasure in flying through the air, and at once
caught sight of the host of men who were close at hand. As they were
famished, and knew no fear, each griffin pounced upon his man, seized
him in his claws, carried him high into the air, and began to devour
him. They shot many arrows at them, and gave them many great blows with
lances and with swords. But their feathers were so tight joined and so
stout, that no one could strike through to their flesh." (This is
Armstrong _versus_ Monitor.) "For their own party, this was the most
lovely chase and the most agreeable that they had ever seen till then;
and as the Turks saw them flying on high with their enemies, they gave
such loud and clear shouts of joy as pierced the heavens. And it was the
most sad and bitter thing for those in the city, when the father saw the
son lifted in the air, and the son his father, and the brother his
brother; so that they all wept and raved, as was sad indeed to see.

"When the griffins had flown through the air for a while, and had
dropped their prizes, some on the earth and some on the sea, they
turned, as at first, and, without any fear, seized up as many more; at
which their masters had so much the more joy, and the Christians so much
the more misery. What shall I tell you? The terror was so great among
them all, that, while some hid themselves away under the vaults of the
towers for safety, all the others disappeared from the ramparts, so that
there were none left for the defence. Queen Calafia saw this, and, with
a loud voice, she bade the two Sultans, who commanded the troops, send
for the ladders, for the city was taken. At once they all rushed
forward, placed the ladders, and mounted upon the wall. But the
griffins, who had already dropped those whom they had seized before, as
soon as they saw the Turks, having no knowledge of them, seized upon
them just as they had seized upon the Christians, and, flying through
the air, carried them up also, when, letting them fall, no one of them
escaped death. Thus were exchanged the pleasure and the pain. For those
on the outside now were those who mourned in great sorrow for those who
were so handled; and those who were within, who, seeing their enemies
advance on every side, had thought they were beaten, now took great
comfort. So, at this moment, as those on the ramparts stopped,
panic-struck, fearing that they should die as their comrades did, the
Christians leaped forth from the vaults where they were hiding, and
quickly slew many of the Turks who were gathered on the walls, and
compelled the rest to leap down, and then sprang back to their
hiding-places, as they saw the griffins return.

"When Queen Calafia saw this, she was very sad, and she said, 'O ye
idols in whom I believe and whom I worship, what is this which has
happened as favorably to my enemies as to my friends? I believed that
with your aid and with my strong forces and great munition I should be
able to destroy them. But it has not so proved.' And she gave orders to
her women that they should mount the ladders and struggle to gain the
towers and put to the sword all those who took refuge in them to be
secure from the griffins. They obeyed their Queen's commands, dismounted
at once, placing before their breasts such breastplates as no weapon
could pierce, and, as I told you, with the armor all of gold which
covered their legs and their arms. Quickly they crossed the plain, and
mounted the ladders lightly, and possessed themselves of the whole
circuit of the walls, and began to fight fiercely with those who had
taken refuge in the vaults of the towers. But they defended themselves
bravely, being indeed in quarters well protected, with but narrow doors.
And those of the city, who were in the streets below, shot at the women
with arrows and darts, which pierced them through the sides, so that
they received many wounds, because their golden armor was so weak."
(This is Keokuk _versus_ Armstrong.) "And the griffins returned, flying
above them, and would not leave them.

"When Queen Calafia saw this, she cried to the Sultans, 'Make your
troops mount, that they may defend mine against these fowls of mine who
have dared attack them.' At once the Sultans commanded their people to
ascend the ladders and gain the circle and the towers, in order that by
night the whole host might join them, and they might gain the city. The
soldiers rushed from their camps, and mounted on the wall where the
women were fighting,--but when the griffins saw them, at once they
seized on them as ravenously as if all that day they had not caught
anybody. And when the women threatened them with their knives, they were
only the more enraged, so that, although they took shelter for
themselves, the griffins dragged them out by main strength, lifted them
up into the air, and then let them fall,--so that they all died. The
fear and panic of the Pagans were so great, that, much more quickly than
they had mounted, did they descend and take refuge in their camp. The
Queen, seeing this rout without remedy, sent at once to command those
who held watch and guard on the griffins, that they should recall them
and shut them up in the vessel. They, then, hearing the Queen's command,
mounted on top of the mast, and called them with loud voices in their
language; and they, as if they had been human beings, all obeyed, and
obediently returned into their cages."

The first day's attack of these flying Monitors on the beleaguered city
was not, therefore, a distinguished success. The author derives a lesson
from it, which we do not translate, but recommend to the students of
present history. It fills a whole chapter, of which the title is,
"Exhortation addressed by the author to the Christians, setting before
their eyes the great obedience which these griffins, brute animals,
rendered to those who had instructed them."

The Sultans may have well doubted whether their new ally was quite what
she had claimed to be. She felt this herself, and said to them,--

"'Since my coming has caused you so much injury, I wish that it may
cause you equal pleasure. Command your people that they shall sally out,
and we will go to the city against those knights who dare to appear
before us, and we will let them press on the most severe combat that
they can, and I, with my people, will take the front of the battle.'

"The Sultans gave command at once to all of their soldiers who had
armor, that they should rush forth immediately, and should join in
mounting upon the rampart, now that these birds were encaged again. And
they, with the horsemen, followed close upon Queen Calafia, and
immediately the army rushed forth and pressed upon the wall; but not so
prosperously as they had expected, because the people of the town were
already there in their harness, and as the Pagans mounted upon their
ladders, the Christians threw them back, whence very many of them were
killed and wounded. Others pressed forward with their iron picks and
other tools, and dug fiercely in the circuit of the wall. These were
very much distressed and put in danger by the oil and other things which
were thrown upon them, but not so much but that they succeeded in making
many breaches and openings. But when this came to the ears of the
Emperor, who always kept command of ten thousand horsemen, he commanded
all of them to defend these places as well as they could. So that, to
the grief of the Pagans, the people repaired the breaches with many
timbers and stones and piles of earth.

"When the Queen saw this repulse, she rushed with her own attendants
with great speed to the gate Aquileña, which was guarded by Norandel.[2]
She herself went in advance of the others, wholly covered with one of
those shields which we have told you they wore, and with her lance held
strongly in her hand. Norandel, when he saw her coming, went forth to
meet her, and they met so vehemently that their lances were broken in
pieces, and yet neither of them fell. Norandel at once put hand upon his
sword, and the Queen upon her great knife, of which the blade was more
than a palm broad, and they gave each other great blows. At once they
all joined in a _mêlée_, one against another, all so confused and with
such terrible blows that it was a great marvel to see it, and if some of
the women fell upon the ground, so did some of the cavaliers. And if
this history does not tell in extent which of them fell, and by what
blow of each, showing the great force and courage of the combatants, it
is because their number was so great, and they fell so thick, one upon
another, that that great master, Helisabat, who saw and described the
scene, could not determine what in particular passed in these exploits,
except in a few very rare affairs, like this of the Queen and Norandel,
who both joined fight as you have heard."

It is to the great master Helisabat that a grateful posterity owes all
these narratives and the uncounted host of romances which grew from
them. For, in the first place, he was the skilful leech who cured all
the wounds of all the parties of distinction who were not intended to
die; and in the second place, his notes furnish the _mémoires pour
servir_, of which all the writers say they availed themselves. The
originals, alas! are lost.

"The tumult was so great, that at once the battle between these two was
ended, those on each side coming to the aid of their chief. Then, I tell
you, that the things that this Queen did in arms, like slaying knights,
or throwing them wounded from their horses, as she pressed audaciously
forward among her enemies, were such, that it cannot be told nor
believed that any woman has ever shown such prowess.

"And as she dealt with so many noble knights, and no one of them left
her without giving her many and heavy blows, yet she received them all
upon her very strong and hard shield.

"When Talanque and Maneli[3] saw what this woman was doing, and the
great loss which those of their own party were receiving from her, they
rushed out upon her, and struck her with such blows as if they
considered her possessed. And her sister, who was named Liota, who saw
this, rushed in, like a mad lioness, to her succor, and pressed the
knights so mortally, that, to the loss of their honor, she drew Calafia
from their power, and placed her among her own troops again. And at this
time you would have said that the people of the fleets had the
advantage, so that, if it had not been for the mercy of God and the
great force of the Count Frandalo and his companions, the city would
have been wholly lost. Many fell dead on both sides, but many more of
the Pagans, because they had the weaker armor.

"Thus," continues the romance, "as you have heard, went on this attack
and cruel battle till nearly night. At this time there was no one of the
gates open, excepting that which Norandel guarded. As to the others, the
knights, having been withdrawn from them, ought, of course, to have
bolted them; yet it was very different, as I will tell you. For, as the
two Sultans greatly desired to see these women fight, they had bidden
their own people not to enter into the lists. But when they saw how the
day was going, they pressed upon the Christians so fiercely that
gradually they might all enter into the city, and, as it was, more than
a hundred men and women did enter. And God, who guided the Emperor,
having directed him to keep the other gates shut, knowing in what way
the battle fared, he pressed them so hardly with his knights, that,
killing some, he drove the others out. Then the Pagans lost many of
their people, as they slew them from the towers,--more than two hundred
of the women being slain. And those within also were not without great
loss, since ten of the _cruzados_ were killed, which gave great grief to
their companions. These were Ledaderin de Fajarque, Trion and Imosil de
Borgona, and the two sons of Isanjo. All the people of the city having
returned, as I tell you, the Pagans also retired to their camps, and the
Queen Calafia to her fleet, since she had not yet taken quarters on
shore. And the other people entered into their ships; so that there was
no more fighting that day."

I have translated this passage at length, because it gives the reader an
idea of the romantic literature of that day,--literally its only
literature, excepting books of theology or of devotion. Over acres of
such reading, served out in large folios,--the yellow-covered novels of
their time,--did the Pizarros and Balboas and Cortéses and other young
blades while away the weary hours of their camp-life. Glad enough was
Cortés out of such a tale to get the noble name of his great discovery.

The romance now proceeds to bring the different princes of chivalry from
the West, as it has brought Calafia from the East. As soon as Amadis
arrives at Constantinople, he sends for his son Esplandian, who was
already in alliance with the Emperor of Greece. The Pagan Sultan of
Liquia, and the Queen Calafia, hearing of their arrival, send them the
following challenge:--

"Radiaro, Sultan of Liquia, shield and rampart of the Pagan Law,
destroyer of Christians, cruel enemy of the enemies of the Gods, and the
very Mighty Queen Calafia, Lady of the great island of California,
famous for its great abundance of gold and precious stones: we have to
announce to you, Amadis of Gaul, King of Great Britain, and you his son,
Knight of the Great Serpent, that we are come into these parts with the
intention of destroying this city of Constantinople, on account of the
injury and loss which the much honored King Amato of Persia, our cousin
and friend, has received from this bad Emperor, giving him favor and
aid, because a part of his territory has been taken away from him by
fraud. And as our desire in this thing is also to gain glory and fame in
it, so also has fortune treated us favorably in that regard, for we know
the great news, which has gone through all the world, of your great
chivalry. We have agreed, therefore, if it is agreeable to you, or if
your might is sufficient for it, to attempt a battle of our persons
against yours in presence of this great company of the nations, the
conquered to submit to the will of the conquerors, or to go to any place
where they may order. And if you refuse this, we shall be able, with
much cause, to join all your past glories to our own, counting them as
being gained by us, whence it will clearly be seen in the future how the
victory will be on our side."

This challenge was taken to the Christian camp by a black and beautiful
damsel, richly attired, and was discussed there in council. Amadis put
an end to the discussion by saying,--

"'My good lords, as the affairs of men, like those of nations, are in
the hands and will of God, whence no one can escape but as He wills, if
we should in any way withdraw from this demand, it would give great
courage to our enemies, and, more than this, great injury to our honor;
especially so in this country, where we are strangers, and no one has
seen what our power is, which in our own land is notorious, so that,
while there we may be esteemed for courage, here we should be judged the
greatest of cowards. Thus, placing confidence in the mercy of the Lord,
I determine that the battle shall take place without delay.'

"'If this is your wish,' said King Lisuarte and King Perion, 'so may it
be, and may God help you with His grace!'

"Then the King Amadis said to the damsel,--

"'Friend, tell your lord and the Queen Calafia that we desire the battle
with those arms that are most agreeable to them; that the field shall be
this field, divided in the middle,--I giving my word that for nothing
which may happen will we be succored by our own. And let them give the
same order to their own; and if they wish the battle now, now it shall

"The damsel departed with this reply, which she repeated to those two
princes. And the Queen Calafia asked her how the Christians appeared.

"'Very nobly,' replied she, 'for they are all handsome and well armed.
Yet I tell you, Queen, that, among them, this Knight of the Serpent
[Esplandian, son of Amadis] is such as neither the past nor the present,
nor, I believe, any who are to come, have ever seen one so handsome and
so elegant, nor will see in the days which are to be. O Queen, what
shall I say to you, but that, if he were of our faith, we might believe
that our Gods had made him with their own hands, with all their power
and wisdom, so that he lacks in nothing?'

"The Queen, who heard her, said,--

"'Damsel, my friend, your words are too great.'

"'It is not so,' said she; 'for, excepting the sight of him, there is
nothing else which can give account of his great excellence.'

"'Then I say to you,' said the Queen, 'that I will not fight with such a
man until I have first seen and talked with him; and I make this request
to the Sultan, that he will gratify me in this thing, and arrange that I
may see him.'

"The Sultan said,--

"'I will do everything, O Queen, agreeably to your wish.'

"'Then,' said the damsel, 'I will go and obtain that which you ask for,
according to your desire.'

"And turning her horse, she approached the camp again, so that all
thought that she brought the agreement for the battle. But as she
approached, she called the Kings to the door of the tent, and said,--

"'King Amadis, the Queen Calafia demands of you that you give order for
her safe conduct, that she may come to-morrow morning and see your son.'

"Amadis began to laugh, and said to the Kings,--

"'How does this demand seem to you?'

"'I say, let her come,' said King Lisuarte; 'it is a very good thing to
see the most distinguished woman in the world.'

"'Take this for your reply,' said Amadis to the damsel; 'and say that
she shall be treated with all truth and honor.'

"The damsel, having received this message, returned with great pleasure
to the Queen, and told her what it was. The Queen said to the Sultan,--

"'Wait and prosper, then, till I have seen him; and charge your people
that in the mean time there may be no outbreak.'

"'Of that,' he said, 'you may be secure.'

"At once she returned to her ships; and she spent the whole night
thinking whether she would go with arms or without them. But at last she
determined that it would be more dignified to go in the dress of a
woman. And when the morning came, she rose and directed them to bring
one of her dresses, all of gold, with many precious stones, and a turban
wrought with great art. It had a volume of many folds, in the manner of
a _toca_, and she placed it upon her head as if it had been a hood
[_capellina_]; it was all of gold, embroidered with stones of great
value. They brought out an animal which she rode, the strangest that
ever was seen. It had ears as large as two shields; a broad forehead
which had but one eye, like a mirror; the openings of its nostrils were
very large, but its nose was short and blunt. From its mouth turned up
two tusks, each of them two palms long. Its color was yellow, and it had
many violet spots upon its skin, like an ounce. It was larger than a
dromedary, had its feet cleft like those of an ox, and ran as swiftly as
the wind, and skipped over the rocks as lightly, and held itself erect
on any part of them, as do the mountain-goats. Its food was dates and
figs and peas, and nothing else. Its flank and haunches and breast were
very beautiful. On this animal, of which you have thus heard, mounted
this beautiful Queen, and there rode behind her two thousand women of
her train, dressed in the very richest clothes. There brought up the
rear twenty damsels clothed in uniform, the trains of whose dresses
extended so far, that, falling from each beast, they dragged four
fathoms on the ground.

"With this equipment and ornament the Queen proceeded to the Emperor's
camp, where she saw all the Kings, who had come out upon the plain. They
had seated themselves on very rich chairs, upon cloth of gold, and they
themselves were armed, because they had not much confidence in the
promises of the Pagans. So they sallied out to receive her at the door
of the tent, where she was dismounted into the arms of Don
Quadragante;[4] and the two Kings, Lisuarte and Perion, took her by the
hands, and placed her between them in a chair. When she was seated,
looking from one side to the other, she saw Esplandian next to King
Lisuarte, who held him by the hand; and from the superiority of his
beauty to that of all the others, she knew at once who he was, and said
to herself, 'Oh, my Gods! what is this? I declare to you, I have never
seen any one who can be compared to him, nor shall I ever see any one.'
And he turning his beautiful eyes upon her beautiful face, she perceived
that the rays which leaped out from his resplendent beauty, entering in
at her eyes, penetrated to her heart in such a way, that, if she were
not conquered yet by the great force of arms, or by the great attacks of
her enemies, she was softened and broken by that sight and by her
amorous passion, as if she had passed between mallets of iron. And as
she saw this, she reflected, that, if she stayed longer, the great fame
which she had acquired as a manly cavalier, by so many dangers and
labors, would be greatly hazarded. She saw that by any delay she should
expose herself to the risk of dishonor, by being turned to that native
softness which women of nature consider to be an ornament; and therefore
resisting, with great pain, the feelings which she had subjected to her
will, she rose from her seat and said,--

"'Knight of the Great Serpent, for two excellences which distinguish you
above all mortals I have made inquiry. The first, that of your great
beauty, which, if one has not seen, no relation is enough to tell the
greatness of; the other, the valor and force of your brave heart. The
one of these I have seen, which is such as I have never seen nor could
hope to see, though many years of searching should be granted me. The
other shall be made manifest on the field, against this valiant Radiaro,
Sultan of Liquia. Mine shall be shown against this mighty king your
father; and if fortune grant that we come alive from this battle, as we
hope to come from other battles, then I will talk with you, before I
return to my home, of some things of my own affairs.'

"Then, turning towards the Kings, she said to them,--

"'Kings, rest in good health. I go hence to that place where you shall
see me with very different dress from this which I now wear, hoping that
in that field the King Amadis, who trusts in fickle fortune that he may
never be conquered by any knight, however valiant, nor by any beast,
however terrible, may there be conquered by a woman.'

"Then taking the two older Kings by the hand, she permitted them to help
her mount upon her strange steed."

At this point the novel assumes a tone of high virtue (_virtus_,
mannishness, prejudice of the more brutal sex) on the subject of woman's
rights, in especial of woman's right to fight in the field with gold
armor, lance in rest, and casque closed. We will show the reader, as she
follows us, how careful she must be, if, in any island of the sea which
has been slipped by unknown by the last five centuries, she ever happen
to meet a cavalier of the true school of chivalry.

Esplandian himself would not in any way salute the Queen Calafia, as she
left him. Nor was this a copperhead prejudice of color; for that
prejudice was not yet known.

"He made no reply to her, both because he looked at her as something
strange, however beautiful she appeared to him, and because he saw her
come thus in arms, so different from the style in which a woman should
have come. For he considered it as very dishonorable that she should
attempt anything so different from what the word of God commanded her,
that the woman should be in subjection to the man, but rather should
prefer to be the ruler of all men, not by her courtesy, but by force of
arms, and, above all, because he hated to place himself in relations
with her, because she was one of the infidels, whom he mortally despised
and had taken a vow to destroy."

The romance then goes into an account of the preparations for the
contest on both sides.

After all the preliminaries were arranged, "they separated for a little
and rode together furiously in full career. The Sultan struck Esplandian
in the shield with so hard a blow that a part of the lance passed
through it for as much as an ell, so that all who saw it thought that it
had passed through the body. But it was not so, but the lance passed
under the arm next the body, and went out on the other side without
touching him. But Esplandian, who knew that his much-loved lady was
looking on, [Leonorina, the daughter of the Emperor of Constantinople,]
so struck the Sultan's shield, that the iron passed through it and
struck him on some of the strongest plates of his armor, upon which the
spear turned. But, with the force of the encounter, it shook him so
roughly from the saddle that it rolled him upon the ground, and so
shook the helmet as to tear it off from his head, and thus Esplandian
passed by him very handsomely, without receiving any stroke himself. The
Queen rushed upon Amadis, and he upon her, and, before they met, each
pointed lance at the other, and they received the blows upon their
shields in such guise, that her spear flew in pieces, while that of
Amadis slipped off and was thrown on one side. Then they both met,
shield to shield, with such force that the Queen was thrown upon the
ground, and the horse of Amadis was so wounded that he fell with his
head cut in two, and held Amadis with one leg under him. When Esplandian
saw this, he leaped from his horse and saved him from that peril.
Meanwhile, the Queen, being put to her defence, put hand to her sword,
and joined herself to the Sultan, who had raised himself with great
difficulty, because his fall was very heavy, and stood there with his
sword and helmet in his hand. They came on to fight very bravely, but
Esplandian, standing, as I told you, in presence of the Infanta, whom he
prized so much, gave the Sultan such hard pressure with such heavy
blows, that, although he was one of the bravest knights of the Pagans,
and by his own prowess had won many dangerous battles, and was very
dexterous in that art, yet all this served him for nothing; he could
neither give nor parry blows, and constantly lost ground. The Queen, who
had joined fight with Amadis, began giving him many fierce blows, some
of which he received upon his shield, while he let others be lost; yet
he would not put his hand upon his sword, but, instead of that, took a
fragment of the lance which she had driven through his shield, and
struck her on the top of the helmet with it, so that in a little while
he had knocked the crest away."

We warned those of our fair readers who may have occasion to defend
their rights at the point of the lance, that the days of chivalry or the
cavaliers of chivalry will be very unhandsome in applying to them the
rules of the tourney. Amadis, it will be observed here, does not
condescend to use his sword against a woman. And this is not from
tenderness, but from contempt. For when the Queen saw that he only took
the broken truncheon of his lance to her, she fairly asked him why.

"'How is this, Amadis?' she said; 'do you consider my force so slight
that you think to conquer me with sticks?'

"And he said to her,--

"'Queen, I have always been in the habit of serving women and aiding
them; and as you are a woman, if I should use any weapon against you, I
should deserve to lose all the honors I have ever gained.'

"'What, then!' said the Queen, 'do you rank me among them? You shall

"And taking her sword in both her hands, she struck him with great rage.
Amadis raised his shield and received the blow upon it, which was so
brave and strong that the shield was cut in two. Then, seeing her joined
to him so closely, he passed the stick into his left hand, seized her by
the rim of her shield, and pulled her so forcibly, that, breaking the
great thongs by which she held upon it, he took it from her, lifting it
up in one hand, and forced her to kneel with one knee on the ground; and
when she lightly sprang up, Amadis threw away his own shield, and,
seizing the other, took the stick and sprang to her, saying,--

"'Queen, yield yourself my prisoner, now that your Sultan is conquered.'

"She turned her head, and saw that Esplandian had the Sultan already
surrendered as his prize. But she said, 'Let me try fortune yet one more
turn'; and then, raising her sword with both her hands, she struck upon
the crest of his helmet, thinking she could cut it and his head in two.
But Amadis warded the blow very lightly and turned it off, and struck
her so heavy a stroke with that fragment of the lance upon the crest of
her helmet, that he stunned her and made her sword fall from her hands.
Amadis seized the sword, and, when she was thus disarmed, caught at her
helmet so strongly that he dragged it from her head, and said,--

"'Now are you my prisoner?'

"'Yes,' replied she; 'for there is nothing left for me to do.'

"At this moment Esplandian came to them with the Sultan, who had
surrendered himself, and, in sight of all the army, they repaired to the
royal encampment, where they were received with great pleasure, not only
on account of the great victory in battle, which, after the great deeds
in arms which they had wrought before, as this history has shown, they
did not regard as very remarkable, but because they took this success as
a good omen for the future. The King Amadis asked the Count Gandalin to
lead their prisoners to the Infanta Leonorina, in his behalf and that of
his son Esplandian, and to say to her that he begged her to do honor to
the Sultan, because he was so great a prince and so strong a knight,
and, withal, very noble; and to do honor to the Queen, _because she was
a woman_; and to say that he trusted in God that thus they should send
to her all those whom they took captive alive in the battles which
awaited them.

"The Count took them in charge, and, as the city was very near, they
soon arrived at the palace. Then, coming into the presence of the
Infanta, he delivered to her the prisoners, and gave the message with
which he was intrusted. The Infanta replied to him,--

"'Tell King Amadis that I thank him greatly for this present which he
sends me,--that I am sure that the good fortune and great courage which
appear in this adventure will appear in those which await us,--and that
we are very desirous to see him here, that, when we discharge our
obligation to his son, we may have him as a judge between us.'

"The Count kissed her hand, and returned to the royal camp. Then the
Infanta sent to the Empress, her mother, for a rich robe and head-dress,
and, having disarmed the Queen, made her array herself in them; and she
did the same for the Sultan, having sent for other robes from the
Emperor, her father, and having dressed their wounds with certain
preparations made by Master Helisabat. Then the Queen, though of so
great fortune, was much astonished to see the great beauty of Leonorina,
and said,--

"'I tell you, Infanta, that in the same measure in which I was
astonished to see the beauty of your cavalier, Esplandian, am I now
overwhelmed, beholding yours. If your deeds correspond to your
appearance, I hold it no dishonor to be your prisoner.'

"'Queen,' said the Infanta, 'I hope the God in whom I trust will so
direct events that I shall be able to fulfil every obligation which
conquerors acknowledge toward those who submit to them.'"

With this chivalrous little conversation the Queen of California
disappears from the romance, and consequently from all written history,
till the very _dénouement_ of the whole story, where, when the rest is
"wound up," she is wound up also, to be set a-going again in her own
land of California. And if the chroniclers of California find no records
of her in any of the griffin caves of the Black Cañon, it is not our
fault, but theirs. Or, possibly, did she and her party suffer shipwreck
on the return passage from Constantinople to the Golden Gate? Their
probable route must have been through the Ægean, over Lebanon and
Anti-Lebanon to the Euphrates, ("I will sail a fleet over the Alps,"
said Cromwell,) down Chesney's route to the Persian Gulf, and so home.

After the Sultan and the Queen are taken prisoners, there are reams of
terrific fighting, in which King Lisuarte and King Perion and a great
many other people are killed; but finally the "Pagans" are all routed,
and the Emperor of Greece retires into a monastery, having united
Esplandian with his daughter Leonorina, and abdicated the throne in
their favor. Among the first acts of their new administration is the
disposal of Calafia.

"As soon as the Queen Calafia saw these nuptials, having no more hope of
him whom she so much loved, [Esplandian,] for a moment her courage left
her; and coming before the new Emperor and these great lords, she thus
spoke to them:--

"'I am a queen of a great kingdom, in which there is the greatest
abundance of all that is most valued in the world, such as gold and
precious stones. My lineage is very old,--for it comes from royal blood
so far back that there is no memory of the beginnings of it,--and my
honor is as perfect as it was at my birth. My fortune has brought me
into these countries, whence I hoped to bring away many captives, but
where I am myself a captive. I do not say of this captivity in which you
see me, that, after all the great experiences of my life, favorable and
adverse, I had believed that I was strong enough to parry the thrusts of
fortune; but I have found that my heart was tried and afflicted in my
imprisonment, because the great beauty of this new Emperor overwhelmed
me in the moment that my eyes looked upon him. I trusted in my
greatness, and that immense wealth which excites and unites so many,
that, if I would turn to your religion, I might gain him for a husband;
but when I came into the presence of this lovely Empress, I regarded it
as certain that they belonged to each other by their equal rank; and
that argument, which showed the vanity of my thoughts, brought me to the
determination in which I now stand. And since Eternal Fortune has taken
the direction of my passion, I, throwing all my own strength into
oblivion, as the wise do in those affairs which have no remedy, seek, if
it please you, to take for my husband some other man, who may be the son
of a king, to be of such power as a good knight ought to have; and I
will become a Christian. For, as I have seen the ordered order of your
religion, and the great disorder of all others, I have seen that it is
clear that the law which you follow must be the truth, while that which
we follow is lying and falsehood.'

"When the Emperor had heard all this, embracing her with a smile, he
said, 'Queen Calafia, my good friend, till now you have had from me
neither word nor argument; for my condition is such that I cannot permit
my eyes to look, without terrible hatred, upon any but those who are in
the holy law of truth, nor wish well to such as are out of it. But now
that the Omnipotent Lord has had such mercy on you as to give you such
knowledge that you become His servant, you excite in me at once the same
love as if the King, my father, had begotten us both. And as for this
you ask, I will give you, by my troth, a knight who is even more
complete in valor and in lineage than you have demanded.'

"Then, taking by the hand Talanque, his cousin, the son of the King of
Sobradisa,--very large he was of person, and very handsome withal,--he

"'Queen, here you see one of my cousins, son of the King whom you here
see,--the brother of the King my father,--take him to yourself, that I
may secure to you the good fortune which you will bring to him.'

"The Queen looked at him, and finding his appearance good, said,--

"'I am content with his presence, and well satisfied with his lineage
and person, since you assure me of them. Be pleased to summon for me
Liota, my sister, who is with my fleet in the harbor, that I may send
orders to her that there shall be no movement among my people.'

"The Emperor sent the Admiral Tartarie for her immediately, and he,
having found her, brought her with him, and placed her before the
Emperor. The Queen Calafia told her all her wish, commanding her and
entreating her to confirm it. Her sister, Liota, kneeling upon the
ground, kissed her hands, and said that there was no reason why she
should make any explanation of her will to those who were in her
service. The Queen raised her and embraced her, with the tears in her
eyes, and led her by the hand to Talanque, saying,--

"'Thou shalt be my lord, and the lord of my land, which is a very great
kingdom; and, for thy sake, this island shall change the custom which
for a very long time it has preserved, so that the natural generations
of men and women shall succeed henceforth, in place of the order in
which the men have been separated so long. And if you have here any
friend whom you greatly love, who is of the same rank with you, let him
be betrothed to my sister here, and no long time shall pass, before,
with thy help, she shall be queen of a great land.'

"Talanque greatly loved Maneli the Prudent, both because they were
brothers by birth and because they held the same faith. He led him
forth, and said to her,--

"'My Queen, since the Emperor, my lord, loves this knight as much as he
loves me, and as much as I love thee, take him, and do with him as you
would do by me.'

"'Then, I ask,' said she, 'that we, accepting your religion, may become
your wives.'

"Then the Emperor Esplandian and the several Kings, seeing their wishes
thus confirmed, took the Queen and her sister to the chapel, turned them
into Christians, and espoused them to those two so famous knights,--and
thus they converted all who were in the fleet. And immediately they gave
order, so that Talanque, taking the fleet of Don Galaor, his father, and
Maneli that of King Cildadan, with all their people, garnished and
furnished with all things necessary, set sail with their wives,
plighting their faith to the Emperor, that, if he should need any help
from them, they would give it as to their own brother.

"What happened to them afterwards, I must be excused from telling; for
they passed through many very strange achievements of the greatest
valor, they fought many battles, and gained many kingdoms, of which if
we should give the story, there would be danger that we should never
have done."

With this tantalizing statement, California and the Queen of California
pass from romance and from history. But, some twenty-five years after
these words were written and published by Garcia Ordoñez de Montalvo,
Cortés and his braves happened upon the peninsula, which they thought an
island, which stretches down between the Gulf of California and the sea.
This romance of Esplandian was the yellow-covered novel of their day;
Talanque and Maneli were their Aramis and Athos. "Come," said some one,
"let us name the new island California: perhaps some one will find gold
here yet, and precious stones." And so, from the romance, the peninsula,
and the gulf, and afterwards the State, got their name. And they have
rewarded the romance by giving to it in these later days the fame of
being godmother of a great republic.

The antiquarians of California have universally, we believe, recognized
this as the origin of her name, since Mr. Hale called attention to this
rare romance. As, even now, there are not perhaps half a dozen copies of
it in America, we have transferred to our pages every word which belongs
to that primeval history of California and her Queen.


    Piero Luca, known of all the town
    As the gray porter by the Pitti wall
    Where the noon shadows of the gardens fall,
    Sick and in dolor, waited to lay down
    His last sad burden, and beside his mat
    The barefoot monk of La Certosa sat.

    Unseen, in square and blossoming garden drifted,
    Soft sunset lights through green Val d'Arno sifted;
    Unheard, below the living shuttles shifted
    Backward and forth, and wove, in love or strife,
    In mirth or pain, the mottled web of life:
    But when at last came upward from the street
    Tinkle of bell and tread of measured feet,
    The sick man started, strove to rise in vain,
    Sinking back heavily with a moan of pain.
    And the monk said, "'T is but the Brotherhood
    Of Mercy going on some errand good:
    Their black masks by the palace-wall I see."--
    Piero answered faintly, "Woe is me!
    This day for the first time in forty years
    In vain the bell hath sounded in my ears,
    Calling me with my brethren of the mask,
    Beggar and prince alike, to some new task
    Of love or pity,--haply from the street
    To bear a wretch plague-stricken, or, with feet
    Hushed to the quickened ear and feverish brain,
    To tread the crowded lazaretto's floors,
    Down the long twilight of the corridors,
    'Midst tossing arms and faces full of pain.
    I loved the work: it was its own reward.
    I never counted on it to offset
    My sins, which are many, or make less my debt
    To the free grace and mercy of our Lord;
    But somehow, father, it has come to be
    In these long years so much a part of me,
    I should not know myself, if lacking it,
    But with the work the worker too would die,
    And in my place some other self would sit
    Joyful or sad,--what matters, if not I?
    And now all's over. Woe is me!"--"My son,"
    The monk said soothingly, "thy work is done;
    And no more as a servant, but the guest
    Of God thou enterest thy eternal rest.
    No toil, no tears, no sorrow for the lost
    Shall mar thy perfect bliss. Thou shalt sit down
    Clad in white robes, and wear a golden crown
    Forever and forever."--Piero tossed
    On his sick pillow: "Miserable me!
    I am too poor for such grand company;
    The crown would be too heavy for this gray
    Old head; and God forgive me, if I say
    It would be hard to sit there night and day,
    Like an image in the Tribune, doing nought
    With these hard hands, that all my life have wrought,
    Not for bread only, but for pity's sake.
    I'm dull at prayers: I could not keep awake,
    Counting my beads. Mine's but a crazy head,
    Scarce worth the saving, if all else be dead.
    And if one goes to heaven without a heart,
    God knows he leaves behind his better part.
    I love my fellow-men; the worst I know
    I would do good to. Will death change me so
    That I shall sit among the lazy saints,
    Turning a deaf ear to the sore complaints
    Of souls that suffer? Why, I never yet
    Left a poor dog in the _strada_ hard beset,
    Or ass o'erladen! Must I rate man less
    Than dog or ass, in holy selfishness?
    Methinks (Lord, pardon, if the thought be sin!)
    The world of pain were better, if therein
    One's heart might still be human, and desires
    Of natural pity drop upon its fires
    Some cooling tears."
                         Thereat the pale monk crossed
    His brow, and muttering, "Madman! thou art lost!"
    Took up his pyx and fled; and, left alone,
    The sick man closed his eyes with a great groan
    That sank into a prayer, "Thy will be done!"

    Then was he made aware, by soul or ear,
    Of somewhat pure and holy bending o'er him,
    And of a voice like that of her who bore him,
    Tender and most compassionate: "Be of cheer!
    For heaven is love, as God himself is love;
    Thy work below shall be thy work above."
    And when he looked, lo! in the stern monk's place
    He saw the shining of an angel's face!


Mr. Deane walked into church on Easter Sunday, followed by a trophy.
This trophy had once been a chattel, but was now, as Mr. Deane assured
him, a man. Scarcely a shade darker than Mr. Deane himself as to
complexion, in figure quite as prepossessing, in bearing not less erect,
he passed up the north aisle of St. Peter's to the square pew of the
most influential of the wardens, who was also the first man of the
Church Musical Committee.

The old church was beautiful with its floral decorations on this
festival. The altar shone with sacramental silver, and rare was the
music that quickened the hearts of the great congregation to harmonious
tunefulness. The boys in their choral, Miss Ives in her solos, above
all, the organist, in voluntary, prelude, and accompaniment, how
glorious! If a soul in the church escaped thankfulness in presence of
those flowers, in hearing of that music, I know not by what force it
could have been conducted that bright morning to the feet of Love. It
was "a day of days."

To the trophy of Deane this scene must have been strangely new. No
doubt, he had before now sat in a church, a decorated church, a church
where music had much to do with the service. But never under such
circumstances had he stood, sat, knelt, taking part in the worship, a
man among men. Of this Mr. Deane was thinking; and his brain, not very
imaginative, was taxed to conceive the conception of freedom a man must
obtain under precisely these circumstances.

But the man in question was thinking thoughts as widely diverse from
these attributed to him as one could easily imagine. Of himself, and his
position, scarcely at all. And when he thought, he smiled; but the
gravity, the abstraction into which he repeatedly lapsed, seemed to say
for him that freedom was to him more than he knew what to do with. No
volubility of joy, no laughter, no manifested exultation in deliverance
from bondage: 't was a rare case; must one believe his eyes?

Probably the constraint of habit was upon the fugitive, the contraband.
Homesickness in spite of him, it might be. Oh, surely freedom was not
bare to him as a winter-rifled tree? Not a bud of promise swelling along
the dreary waste of tortuous branches? Possibly some ties had been
ruptured in making his escape, which must be knit again before he could
enter into the joy he had so fairly won. For you and me it would hardly
be perfect happiness to feast at great men's tables, while the faces we
love best, the dear, the sacred faces, grow gaunt from starvation.

Mr. Deane took to himself some glory in consequence of his late
achievements. He was a practical man, and his theories were now being
put to a test that gave him some proud satisfaction. The attitude he
assumed not many hours ago in reference to the organist has added to his
consciousness of weight, and to-day he has taken as little pleasure as
became him in the choir's performance. Now and then a strain besieged
him, but none could carry that stout heart, or overthrow that nature,
the wonder of pachydermata. Generally through the choral service he
retained his seat; a significant glance now and then, that involved the
man beside him, was the only evidence he gave that the music much
impressed him; but this evidence, to one who should understand, was

Meanwhile the object of these glances sat apparently lost in vacuity, or
patiently waiting the end of the services,--when all at once, during the
hymn, he sprang to his feet; at the same moment two or three beside him
felt as if they had experienced an electric shock. What was it? A voice
joined the soprano singer in one single strain, brief as the best joy,
but also as decisive. Ninety-nine hundredths of the congregation never
heard it, and the majority of those that did could hardly have felt
assured of the hearing; there were, in fact, but three persons among
them all who were absolutely certain of their ears. One was this
contraband; another an artist who stood at the foot of one of the
aisles, leaning against a great stone pillar; the third was, of course,
Sybella Ives.

She, the soprano, sang from that moment in a seeming rapture. The artist
listened in a sort of maze,--interpreting aright what he had heard,
disappointed at its brevity, but waiting on in a kind of wonder through
canticle, hymn, and gloria, in a deep abasement that had struck the
singer dumb, could she above there have known what was going on here

When the singing was over he went away as he had purposed, but it was
only to the steps of the church. There he sat until he heard a stir
within announcing that the services were ended, when he walked away. But
the first person who had heard and understood that voice heard nothing
after. He was continually waiting for it, but he had no further sign.
Once his attention was for a moment turned towards the preacher, who was
dwelling on St. Paul's allusion to himself as an ambassador in bonds; he
looked at that instant towards Mr. Deane, who, it happened, was at the
same moment gazing uneasily at him. After that his eyes did not wander
any more, and from his impassive face it was impossible to discover what
his thoughts might be.

To go back now a day or two.


A pleasant sound of young voices, that became subdued as the children
passed from street to church-yard, rose from the shadowy elm-walk and
floated up through the branches towards the window of the organist, who
seemed to have been waiting some such summons, for she now threw aside
the manuscript music she had been studying, arrayed herself in her
shawl, threw a scarf around her head, and looked at the clock. Straight
she gazed at it, a moment full, before she seemed instructed in the fact
represented on the dial-plate, thinking still, most likely, of the score
she had been revising. Some thought at least as profound, as
unfathomable, and as immeasurable as was thereon represented, possessed
her, as she now, with a glance around the room, retired from it.

With herself in the apartment it was another sort of place from what it
looked when she had left it.

There were three pictures on the wall,--three, and no more. One was a
copy of the lovely portraiture of Milton's musical inspired youth; the
wonderful eyes, the "breezy hair," the impassioned purity of the
countenance, looked down on the place where the musician might be found
three-fourths of her waking hours, at her piano. In other parts of the
room, opposite each other, were pictures of the Virgin ever-blessed!
conquering, crowned.

In the first she stood with foot upon the Serpent, that lay coiled on
the apex of the globe. She had crushed the Destroyer; the world was free
of its monster. Beneath her shone the crescent moon, whose horns were
sharp as swords. Rays of blessing, streaming from her hands, revealed
the Mother of grace and of all benefaction.

Opposite, her apotheosis. A chariot of clouds was bearing her to her
throne in heaven; the loving head was shining with a light that paled
the stars above her; far down were the crags of earth, the fearful
precipices that lead the weary and adventurous toiler to at last but
narrow prospects. Far away now the conquered Devil, and the conquered
world,--the foot was withdrawn from destructions,--the writhing of the
Enemy was felt now no more.

The organist had bought these pictures for her wall when she had paid
her first month's board in this her present abiding-place.

Towards the centre of the room stood her piano, an instrument of finest
tone, whose incasing you would not be likely to admire or observe.

White matting covered the floor. Heaps of music were upon the table and
the piano. There were few books to indicate the taste or studies of the
owner beside these sheets and volumes of music, and they were
everywhere. All that ever was written for organ or piano seemed to have
found its way in at the door of that chamber.

On a pedestal in the window stood an orange-tree, whose blossoms filled
the room with their bright, soft sweetness; a Parian vase held a bouquet
of flowers, gathered, none could question whether for the woman whose
room they decorated.

One window of this room looked out on a busy street, another into the
church-yard, a third upon the sea: not so remote the sea but one could
hear the breaking of its waves, and watch its changing glory.

Thus she had for "influences" the loneliness of the grave,--for the
church-yard was filled with monuments of a past generation,--the
solitude of the ocean, and the busy street. Was she so involved in
duties, or in cares, as to be unmindful of all these diverse tongues
that told their various story in that lofty and lonely apartment of the
old stone house?

Into the church, equally old and gray, covered with ivy, shadowed even
to the roof by the vast branching and venerable trees, she now
went,--and was not too early. The boys were growing restless, though it
needed but the sound of her coming to reduce them all to silence: when
they saw her enter the church-door, they all went down quietly to their
places, opened their books, and no one could mistake their aspect for
constraint. Here was the bright, beautiful, enthusiasm and blissful
confidence of youth.

A few words, and all were in working order. The organist touched the
keys. Then a solemn softness, beautiful to see, overspread the young
faces. It had never been otherwise since she began to teach them. If she
controlled, it was not by exhibition of authority.


At that word, with one consent, the voices struck the first notes of the

    "Let the merry church-bells ring,
      Hence with tears and sighing;
    Frost and cold have fled from spring,
      Life hath conquered dying;
    Flowers are smiling, fields are gay,
      Sunny is the weather;
    With our rising Lord to-day
      All things rise together."

From strain to strain they bore it along till the old church was glad.
How must the birds in the nests of the great elm-branches have rejoiced!
And the ivy-vines, did they not cling more closely to the gray stone
walls, as if they, too, had something at stake in the music? for they
were the children of the church who sang those strains. Among the
wonder-working little company within there was no loitering, no
laughing, no twitching of coat-sleeves on the sly, no malicious
interruptions: all were alert, earnest, conscientious. They sang with a
zeal that brought smiles to the face of the organist.

Two or three songs, carols, anthems, and the lesson was over. Now for
the reward. It came promptly, and was worth more than the gifts of

"You have all done excellently well. I knew you would. If I had found
myself mistaken, it would have been a great disappointment. 'T is a
great thing to be able to sing such verses as if you were eye-witnesses
of what you repeat. That is precisely what you do. Now you may go. Go

She looked at them all as she spoke; it was a broad, comprehensive
glance, but they all felt individualized by it. Then they came, the six
lads, with their bright, handsome faces, pride of a mother's heart every
one, and took her hand, and carried away, each one, her kiss upon his
forehead. Not one of them but had been blest beyond expression in the
few half-hours they had been gathered under the instruction of the
organist. So they went off, carrying her precious praise with them.

They had scarcely gone, and the organist was yet searching for a sheet
of music, when a step was in the aisle, noiseless, rapid, and a young
girl came into the singers' seat.

"Am I too early?" she asked,--for her welcome was not immediate, and her
courtesy was not just now of the quality that overlooked a seeming lack
of it in others. Miss Ives was slightly out of tune.

"Not at all," was the answer. Still it was spoken in a very preoccupied
way that might have been provoking,--that would depend on the mood of
the person addressed; and that mood, as we know, was not sun-clear or
marble-smooth. The organist had now found the music she was looking for,
and proceeded to play it from the first page to the last, without
vouchsafing an instant's recognition of the singer's presence.

When she had finished, she sat a moment silent; then she turned straight
toward Miss Ives, and smiled, and it was a smile that could atone for
any amount of seeming incivility.

But not even David, by mere sweep of harp-string, soothed
self-beleaguered Saul.

Teacher and pupil did not seem to understand each other as it was best
such women should. For, let the swaying, surging hosts throughout the
valley deliver themselves as they can from the confusion of tongues, the
wanderers among the mountains _ought_ to understand the signals _they_
see flaring from crag and gorge and pinnacle.

Too many shadowy folds were in the mystery that hung about each of these
women to satisfy the other: reticence too cold, independence too
extreme, self-possession too entire. Why was neither summoned, in a
frank, impulsive way, to take up the burden of the other? Was nothing
ever to penetrate the seven-walled solitude in which the organist chose
to intrench herself? Was nobody ever to bid roses bloom on the colorless
face of the singer, and bring smiles, the veritable smiles of youth, and
of happiness, into those large, steady, joyless eyes?

But now, while the organist played, and Sybella sat down, supposing she
was not wanted yet, she found herself not withdrawn into the
indifference she supposed. Presently far more was given than she either
looked for or desired.

The music that was being played was indeed wonderful. This was not for
the delight of children: no happy sprite with dancing feet could
maintain this measure. It was music for the most advanced, enlightened
intelligence,--for the soul that music had quickened to far depths,--for
the heart that had suffered, triumphed, and gained the kingdom of
calm,--for a wisdom riper even than Sybella's.

An audience of a hundred souls would infallibly have gabbled their way
through the silence that would _naturally_ gather round those tones. Put
Sybella in the midst of such an audience, and you would understand her
better than I hope now to make her understood; for the torture of the
moment would have been of the quality that has demonstration.

As it was, she now sat silently, as silently as the organist sat in her
place; but when all was over, she turned to look at the magician.
Sybella had passed through fearful agitation in the beginning and
throughout the greater part of the performance, but now she quietly

"That is the one sole composition of its author."

"Why do you say so?" asked the organist, whom people in general called
Miss Edgar.

"Because, of course, everything is in it,--I mean the best of everything
that could be in one soul. If the composer wrote more, it was
fragmentary and repetitious. If you played it, Miss Edgar, to put me in
a better voice for singing than I had when I came in, I think you have
succeeded. I can almost imagine how Jenny Lind felt, when her voice came
back to her."

"We shall soon see that. I don't know that the music has ever been
played on an organ before. But you see it is a rare production,--little
known,--a book of the Law not read out of the sacred place. Let us try
that prayer again. You will sing it differently to-day,--I see it in
your face."

_"Thou that takest away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us!"_

Something _had_ happened to the voice that sang. Never had the organist
heard such tones from it before; there was volume, depth, purity, such
as had been unheard by those who thought they knew the quality and
compass of Sybella's voice.

The organist could not forbear turning and looking at her as she sang.
Great, evidently, was her emotion. This nature that had been in bonds
manifestly had eschewed the bondage. Was the organist glad thereat?
Whose praise would be on everybody's lips on Sunday, if Sybella sang
like this? Are women and men generally pleased to hear the praises of a
rival? You have had full hearing, generous, more than patient; do you
feel a thrill of the old rapture, a kindling of the old enthusiasm, when
you hear the praises of the young new-comer, who has reached you with a
stride, and will pass you at a bound? Since this may be in human nature,
say "Yes" to the catechist. For the organist returned to her duties with
a brightened face, she touched the keys with new power. Then, again,--

_"Thou that sittest at the right hand of God the Father!"_

Had this girl the vision--"Not far from any one of us"?

"I thought so," said the organist. "You come forth at last. This is what
I expected, when I overheard you instructing the children in the
Sunday-school. Now all that is justified, but you have been a long while
about it,--or I have. It seems the right chord wasn't struck. I made
these adaptations on purpose for the voice I expected of you."

"Is not the arrangement a new one, Mrs. Edgar?" asked a voice from one
of the aisles. "It is perfect."

"It is a new adaptation, Mr. Muir, and I think Miss Ives will hardly
improve on her first rendering. It is getting late also. It is time to
look at the hymn."

Mr. Muir, who was the rector of the church, now passed along the aisle
until he was beyond the voices of the ladies in the choir, and then he
stood, during the rehearsal of the Easter hymn,--

    "Christ the Lord is risen to-day."

One repetition of these verses, and the rehearsal was at an end. Never
was such before in that place. Never before in reality had organist of
St. Peter's attempted so much. When the choir came together for an
hour's practice, this would be understood. Miss Ives already understood

"Now indulge _me_," she said, "if I have been so fortunate as to
satisfy--satisfy you."

In consequence of this request the organist kept her place till night
had actually descended. Out of all oratorios, and from many an opera,
she brought the immortal graces, and all conceivable renderings of
passions, fears, and aspirations of men. At last, and as it seemed quite
suddenly, she broke off, closed the organ-doors and locked them, then
rose from her place.

A dark figure at the same moment passed up the aisle from the church to
the vestry-room in the rear, and organist and singer left the church.


"I believe," said Sybella, as they went, venturing now, while aglow with
the music, on what heretofore had been forbidden ground to her,--"I
believe, if you would sing, I should be struck dumb, just as now, when
you play, I feel as if I could do anything in song. Why do you never
show me how a thing should be done by singing it? I've had teachers with
voices hoarse as crows', who did it; and I profited, for I understood
better what they meant. It seems to me to be the natural impulse, and I
don't know how you control it; for of course you do control it."

That was a venture, felt in all its venturesomeness, answered not with

"It is all nonsense," said Miss Edgar.

"I expected you to say so; but 't is a scant covering for the truth. For
_have_ I never heard you sing? When I was a little girl, my brothers and
I were sent to some springs in the mountains. While we were there, one
day a party of people came on horseback. They were very gay, and one of
them sang. It has come back to me so often, that day! So still, bright,
and cool! Did you ever hear singing in the Highland solitudes? When I
sing my best, I always seem to hear that voice again. Do you think I
never shall?"

"Do _you_ think it possible that such an effect as you describe should
be repeated? Evidently the outcome of some high-wrought, rapt state of
your own, rather than the result of any singer's skill. It may happen
you will never hear a voice like that again. But you may make far better
melody yourself. If you like my organ-music, don't ask me for better. A
little instrumental performance is all I have to give."

"But," said Sybella, holding to the point with a persistence that showed
she would not be lightly baffled, "her face haunted me, too. And I have
seen it since then,--engraved, I am sure. Sometimes, when I look at you
suddenly, I seem to take hold upon my childhood again."

They had passed from the yard, and walked, neither of them knew exactly
whither; but now said the organist abruptly,--

"Why have you never shown me where you live?"

A light that had warmth in it flashed over the pale face of Sybella.

"I will show you now," she said.

And so they walked on together, with a distinct aim,--Sybella the guide.
She seemed tranquilly happy at this moment, and fain would she lay her
heart in the hand of the organist; for a great trust had composed the
heart that long since withdrew its riches from the world, and hid them
for the coming of one who should take usury. How long he was in coming!
how strangely long! rare worldliness! almost it seemed that now she
would wait no longer, for the gold must be given away.

"Why do you sing, Sybella?" asked Miss Edgar, as they went.

"Why did I stop singing?" asked the young lady in turn; this stiff, shy,
proud creature, what flame might one soon see flaring out of those blue

"I knew there had been a break,--that there must have been."

"For two years I did nothing but wait in silence."

"What,--for the voice to come back? overwork? paying a penalty?"

"No,--not the penalty of overwork, at least. I lost everything in a
moment. That was penalty, perhaps, for having risked everything. I have
only recently been getting back a little: no, getting _back_
nothing,--but some new life, out of a new world, I think. A different
world from what I ever thought to inhabit. New to me as the earth was to
Noah after the Flood. He couldn't turn a spade but he laid open graves,
nor pull a flower but it broke his heart. I should never have been in
the church-choir but for you. Of that I am satisfied. When you came and
asked me, you saw, perhaps, that I was excited more than so slight a
matter warranted. It was, indeed, a simple enough request. Not
surprising that you should discover, one way or another, I could sing.
And there was need enough of a singer with such an organist. But you
never could guess what I went through after I had promised, till the
Sunday came. You remember how astonished you were when I came into the
choir. I was afraid you were going to excuse me from my part. But you at
least understood something of it; you did not even ask if I were not
ill. It seems a long time since then."

A little to the organist's surprise, it was into a broad and handsome
street that Sybella now led the way, and before the door of a very
handsome house she stopped.

"Will you not come in and discover where I live, and how? It will be too
late in a moment for you to go back alone. I shall find somebody to
attend you."

"In the ten months I have played the organ of St. Peter's Church I have
not entered another person's dwelling than my own. I set aside a purpose
that must still be rigidly held, for you. Possibly you may incur some
danger in receiving me."

"Come in," said Sybella; and she led the way into the house. For one
instant she had looked her surprise at Miss Edgar's last words, but not
for half an instant did she look the hesitation such words might have

The house into which they passed did not, in truth, look like one to
suffer in. Walls lined with pictures, ceilings hung with costly
chandeliers, floors covered with softest, finest carpets of most
brilliant patterns, this seemed like a place for enjoyment, designed by
happy hearts. It was: all this wealth, and elaboration of its
evidences,--this covering of what might have looked like display by the
careful veil of taste. But the house was the home of orphaned
children,--of this girl, and three brothers, who were united in their
love for Sybella, but on few other points. And curious was the
revelation their love had. For they were worldly men, absorbed in
various ways by the world, and Sybella lived alone here, as she said,
though the house was the home of all; for one was now abroad, and one
was in the army, and one was--who knew where?

In the drawing-room it was about the piano that the evidences of real
life and actual enjoyment were gathered. Flowers filled a dozen vases
grouped on tables, ornamenting brackets, flower-stands, and pedestals of
various kinds. The grand piano seemed the base of a glowing and fragrant
pyramid; and there, it was easy to see, musical studies by day and by
night went on.

Straight toward the piano both ladies went.

"Now, for once," said the organist.

Sybella stood a moment doubting, then she turned to a book-rack and
began to look over some loose sheets of music. Presently desisting, she
came back. One steady purpose had been in her mind all the while. She
now sat down and produced from the piano what the organist had
astonished her by executing in the church. But it seemed a variation.

The work of a moment? an effort of memory? a wonderful recall of what
she had just now heard? The organist did not imagine such a thing. There
was, there could be, only one solution to anything so mysterious. She
came nearer to Sybella; invisible arms of succor seemed flung about the
girl, who played as she had never played before,--as weeping mortals
smile, when they are safe in heaven.

When she had finished, many minutes passed before either spoke a word.
At last Sybella said,--

"He told me there was no written copy of this thing he could secure for
me, but that I must have it; so he wrote it from memory, and I
elaborated the idea I had from his description, making some mistakes, I
find. I am speaking," she added, with a resolution so determined that it
had almost the sound of defiance,--"I am speaking of Adam von Gelhorn."

"When was this?"

"In our last days."

"He is dead, then?"


"How long?"

"Three years."

Whether the organist remained here after this, or if other words were
added to these by the hostess or the guest, there is no report. But I
can imagine that in such an hour, even between these two, little could
be said. Yesterday I saw on a monument a little bird perched, quite
content, and still, so far as song went, as the dead beneath him and
around me. He was throbbing from far flight; silence and rest were all
he could now endure. But by-and-by he shook his wings and was off again,
and nobody that saw him could tell where in the sea of air the voyager
found his last island of refreshment.


On Miss Edgar's return to her room, as she opened the door, a flood of
fragrance rolled upon her. She put up her hand in hasty gesture, as if
to rebuke or resist it, while a shade of displeasure crossed her face.
On the piano lay a bouquet of flowers, richest in hue and fragrance that
garden or hot-house knows. All the season's splendor seemed concentrated
within those narrow bounds.

The gas was already burning from a single jet, which she approached
without observing the unusual fact, for the organist was accustomed in
this room herself to control light and darkness.

One glance only was needed to convince her through what avenue this
flowery gift had come.

Such gifts were offerings of more than common significance. Their
renewal at this day seemed to disturb the organist as she turned the
bouquet slowly in her hand and perceived how the old arrangement had
been adhered to, from passion-flower to camellia, whitest white lily,
and most delicate of roses; moss and vine-tendril, jessamine,
heliotrope, violet, ivy: it was a work of Art consummating that of
Nature, and complete.

With the bouquet in her hand, she went and sat down at the window. It
was easy to see, by the changes of countenance, that she was fast
assuming the reins of a resolution. Would the door of the organist of
St. Peter's never open but to guests ethereal as these? The question was
somehow asked, and she could not choose but hear it.

If he who sent the gift had pondered it, no less did she. And for
result, at an early hour the next morning, the lady who had lived her
life in sovereign independence and an almost absolute solitude, week
after week these many months here in H----, was on her way to the studio
of Adam von Gelhorn.

As to the lady, what image has the reader conjured up to fancy? Any
vision? She was the shadow of a woman. Rachel, in her last days, not
_more_ ethereal. Two pale-faced, blue-eyed women could not be more
dissimilar than the organist and her soprano. For the organist plainly
was herself, with merely an abatement, that might have risen from
anxiety, work, or study; whatever her disturbance, she made no
exhibition of it; it was always a tranquil face, and no storms or wrecks
were discoverable in those deep blue eyes. What those few faint lines on
her countenance might mean she does not choose you shall interpret;
therefore attempt it not. But when you look at Sybella, it is sorrow you
see; and she says as plainly as if you heard her voice,--

"I have come to the great state where I expect nothing and am content."

Yet _content_! _Is_ it content you read in her face, in her smile? Is it
satisfaction that can gaze out thus upon the world?

It is sorrow rather,--and sorrow, with a questioning thereat, that seems
prophetic of an answer that shall yet overthrow all the grim deductions,
and restore the early imaginings, pure hopes, desires, and loving aims.

You will choose to gaze rather after this shadowy vision of the fair,
golden hair that lies tranquilly on the high and beautiful forehead; the
face, pale as pallor itself, which seems to have no color, except in
eyes and lips: the eyes so large and blue; the lips with their story of
firm courage and true genius, so grand in calm. A figure, however, not
likely to attract the many, but whom it held for once it held forever.

So the organist came to the room of Adam von Gelhorn.

She knew his working hours and habits, it seemed; at least, she did not
fail to find him, and at work.

As she stepped forward into the apartment, before whose door she had
paused a moment, no trace of embarrassment or of irresolution was to be
seen in face, eye, or movement.

But the artist, who arose from his work, _was_ taken by surprise.

The armor of the world did not suffice to protect him at this moment. He
was at the mercy of the woman who was here.

"Mrs. Edgar!"



"To thank you for the flowers, and to warn you that setting them in
deserts is neither safe nor providential."

And now her eyes ran round the room,--a flash in which was sheathed a
smile of satisfaction and of friendly pride. She had come here full of
reproaches, but surely there was some enchantment against her.

"You will order a picture, perhaps?" said the artist, restored to at
least an appearance of ease.

But his eyes did not follow hers. They stopped with her: with some
misgiving, some doubt, some perplexity, for he knew not perfectly the
ground on which he stood.

"You have been twice to see me, and both times have missed me," she
said. "I was sorry for that. I did not know until then that you were
living here."

"But what does it mean, that nobody in H---- has heard the voice yet? It
has distracted me to think, perhaps, some harm has come to it."

"Let that fear rest. The voice has had its day. I left it behind me at
Havre. Any repetition of what we used to imagine were triumphs in the
wonderful Düsseldorf days would now seem absurd, to the painter of these
pictures, as to me."

"They were triumphs! Besides, have you forgotten? Was it not in New
York, in '58, that you imported the voice from Havre, left behind by
mistake? What more could be asked than to inspire a town with
enthusiasm, so that the dullest should feel the contagion? They were
triumphs such as women have seldom achieved. If _you_ disdain them,
recollect that human nature is still the same, and all that I have done
is under the inspiration of a voice that broke on me in Düsseldorf, and
opened heaven. And people find some pleasure in my pictures."

"Well may they! You, also. You have kept that power separate from
sinners, unless I mistake. If it be my music, or the face yonder, that
has helped you, or something else, unconfessed, perhaps unknown, you
can, I perceive, at least love Art worthily, and be constant. As for St.
Peter's, and myself, I find the fine organ there quite enough, with the
boys to train and Miss Sybella Ives to instruct. It isn't much I can do
for her, though; she is already a great and wonderful artist."

"Is it possible you think so!"

Was it really wonder at the judgment she heard in that exclamation? The
voice sounded void of all except wonder,--yet wonder, perhaps, least of
all was paramount in the pavilion of his secret thoughts.

"Decidedly. But I only engaged there as organist. I find sufficient
pleasure instructing the young lady, without feeling ambitious to appear
there as her rival."

"But you know she is not a professional singer": these words escaped the
artist in spite of him. "She is an heiress of one of the wealthiest old
families of this old town."

"Nevertheless, she is growing so rarely in these days I would not for
the world check that growth, as I see I might. Besides, I am selfish;
it's best for _me_ to keep to my engagement, and not volunteer

"And so we who have memories must rest content with them. I am glad you
tell me, if it must be so. I have not haunted you, and I feel as if I
almost deserved your thanks on that account. I've haunted the church,
though, but"----


"Miss Ives sings better than she did,--too well for such a girl in such
a place."


"Because, as I said before, neither Art nor fortune justifies her, and
what she gets will spoil her."

He ended in confusion; some thought unexpressed overthrew him just here,
and he could not instantly gather himself up again.

"Do not fear," was the calm answer. "She is sacredly safe from that,--as
safe as I am. For so young a person, she is rich in safeguards, though
she seems to be alone; and she is brave enough to use them. If you come
to the church to-morrow, you will be converted from the error of some of
your worst thoughts."

"I told you in secret once, Heaven knows under what insane infatuation,
what I could tell you now with husband or child for audience,--there is,
there has ever been, but one voice for me."

For answer the organist lifted the lid of the artist's piano, touched a
few notes, and sang.

Was that the voice that once brought out the applause of the people,
rushing and roaring like the waves of the sea?

The same, etherealized, strengthened,--meeting the desire of the trained
and cultured man, as once it had the impassioned aspiration of youth.

He stood there, as of old, completely subject to her will; and of old
she had worked for good, as one of God's accredited angels. Every evil
passion in those days had stood rebuked before the charmed circle of her
influences: a voice to long for as the hart longs for the water-brooks;
a spirit to trust for work, or for love, or for truth,--"truest truth,"
and stanchest loyalty, as one might trust those who are delivered
forever from the power of temptation.

When she had ended the song, she had indeed ended. Not one note more.
Closing the piano, she walked about the room, looking at his pictures
one after another, pausing long before some, but the silence in which
she made the circuit was unbroken.

At last she came to the last-painted picture, where a soldier lay dying,
with glory on his face, victory in his eyes. Beside this she remained.

"There's many a realization of that dream," she said.

The words seemed to sting the artist as though she had said instead,
"Here's one who is in no danger of realizing it."

"I thought," said he, "I might one day prove for myself the emotions
attributed to that soldier."

She hesitated before answering. A vision rose before her,--a vision of
fields covered with the slain, unburied dead. Here the paths of honor
were cut short by the grave. She looked at Adam von Gelhorn. Here was no
warrior except for courage, no knight but for chivalry. Yet how proudly
his eyes met hers! What was this glance that seemed suddenly to fall
upon her from some unbroken, awful height? It was a great thing to say,
with the knowledge that came with that glance,--

"Do you no longer think so? Patriotism has its tests. This war will be
long enough to sift enthusiasms."

Humbly he answered,--

"I wait my time."

Then, urged on by two motives, distinct, yet confluent, and so

"Strange army, Adam, if all the soldiers waited for it."

He answered her as mildly as before, but with quite as deep assurance,--

"Not a man of them but has heard his name called. The time of a man is
his own. The trumpet sounds, and though he were dead, yet shall he

"And do you wait that sound? Then verily you may remain here safely, and
paint fine pictures of wounded men on awful battle-fields."

The artist looked at the woman. Did she speak to test his patience, or
his courage, or his loyalty? Gravely he answered, true to himself,
though baffled in his endeavor to read what she chose to conceal,--

"Once I took everything you said as if you were inspired, for I believed
you were. For years I have been accustomed to think of your approval,
and wait for it, and long for it; for I always knew you would finally
stand here in the midst of my work as the one thing that should prove to
me it was good. If you could only know what sort of value I have set on
the praise of critics while waiting for yours, you would deem me
ungrateful. But I knew you would come. You are here, then,--and I
perceive, though you do not say so, that I have not wasted time; often,
while I was painting that hero yonder, I said to myself, 'Better die
than hold on to life or self a moment after the voice calls!' Julia, it
has called!"

This was spoken quietly enough, but with the deep feeling that seeks
neither outlet nor consolation in sound. Having spoken, he went up to
his easel, cut away the canvas with long, even knife-strokes, set aside
the frame. He was ready. And now he waited further orders,--looking at
the woman who had accomplished so much.

She did not, by gesture or word, interrupt him; but when he stood
absolutely motionless and silent, as if more were to be said, and by
her, she evidently faltered.

"Give me the canvas," she said.

"Your trophy."

He gave it her with a smile.

"No; but if a trophy, worth more than could be told.
There's nobler work for you to do than painting pictures.

"Where? when? how?"

He put these questions with a distinctness that required answer.

"Your heart will tell you."

He _had_ his answer.

"And the portrait yonder, that will tell you. It is not hers, you will
say. But it is not mine, nor a vision, except as you have glorified her.
In spite of yourself, you are true. And in spite of herself, Sybella
believes in you."

"Such a collection of incoherent fragments from the lips of an artist
accustomed to treat of unities,--it is incomprehensible."

So the painter began; but he ended,--

"When I come back from battle, I will think of what you say. I do
believe in my own integrity as firmly as I trust my loyalty."

There was a rare gentleness in the man's voice that seemed to say that
mists were rising to envelop the summits of the mountains, and he looked
forth, not to the bald heights, but along the purple heather-reaches,
where any human feet might walk, finding pleasant paths, fair flowers,
cool shades, and blessed reflections of heaven.


The rector of St. Peter's sat in the vestry-room, which he used for his
study, when there came an interruption to the even tenor of his orthodox

Whoever sought him did so with a determination that carried the various
doors between him and the study, and at last came the knock, of which he
sat in momentary dread. It expressed the outsider so imperatively, that
the minister at once laid aside his pen, and opened the door. And, alas!
it was Saturday, P. M.,--Easter at hand!

He should have been glad, of course, of the cordial hand-grasp with
which his stanch supporter, Gerald Deane, saluted him; but he had been
interrupted in necessary work, and his face betrayed him. It told
unqualified surprise, that, at such an hour, he had the honor of a visit
from the warden.

The warden, however, was absorbed in his own business to an extent that
prevented him from seeing what the minister's mood might be. He began to
speak the moment he had thrown himself into the arm-chair opposite Mr.

"Do you know," said he, "what sort of person we've got here in our

Indignant was the speaker's voice, and indignant were his eyes; he spoke
quick, breathed hard, showed all the signs of violent emotion.

The minister's bland face had a puzzled expression, as he answered,--

"A first-rate musician, Deane,--and a lady. That's about the extent of
my information."

"A Rebel! and the wife of a Rebel!" was Deane's wrathful answer.

Hitherto, what had he not said or done in the way of supporting the

"A Rebel?" exclaimed the minister, thrown suddenly off his guard.

He might have heard calumny uttered against one under his tender care by
the way that single word burst from him.

"The wife of a Rebel general, and a spy!"

Deane's voice made one think of the Inquisition, and of inevitable
forfeitures, unfailing executions of unrelenting judgments.

"For a spy, she makes poor use of her advantages," said the minister.
"She's never anywhere, that I can learn, except in the church and her
own room."

"I dare say anybody will believe that whom she chooses to _have_ believe
it. How do you or I know what she is? or where? or what she does? We're
not the kind of men for her to take into confidence. She is evidently
shrewd enough to see that it wouldn't be safe to tamper with _us_! But
we must get rid of her, or we shall have the organ demolished and the
church about our ears. Let the mob once suspect that we employ a spy
here to do our music for us, and see what our chance would be! There's
no use asking for proof. There's a young man in my storehouse, a
contraband, who recognized her somewhere in the street this morning, and
_he_ says she is the wife of the Rebel General Edgar; and if it's true,
and there's no question about that, _I_ say she ought to be arrested."

"Pooh! pooh!"--the minister was thrown off his guard, and failed to
estimate aright the kind of patriotism he bluffed off with so little
ceremony;--"the negro"----

"Negro! face as white as mine, Sir! Well, yes, negro, I suppose,--slave,
any way,--do you want him summoned in here? Do you want to see him? He
gives his testimony intelligently enough. Or shall we send for Mrs.
Edgar? For it's high time _she_ were thrown on her own resources,
instead of being maintained at our expense for the benefit of the

Precisely as he finished speaking sounded a peal from the great organ,
and Mr. Deane just half understood the look on the minister's face as he
turned from him to listen.

A better understanding would have kept him silent longer; but, unable to
control himself, he said,--

"We're buying that at too high a price. Better go back to drunken
Mallard,--a great sight better. McClellan would tell us so; so would
Jeff Davis."

"What can be done?" asked the minister.

Never had that good man looked and felt so helpless as at this moment.
His words, and still more his look, vexed and surprised the ever-ready

"Exactly what would be done, if the woman played fifty times worse, and
looked like a beggar. A medium performer with an ugly visage would not
find us stumbling against duty. No respect should be shown to persons,
when such a charge is brought up. The facts must be tested, and Miss
Edgar--What's the reason she never owned she was a Mrs.?"

"Why, Deane, did you ever hear me address her or speak of her in any
other way? I knew she was a married woman."

"Did you know she had a husband living, too?"


Mr. Muir spoke as if it were beneath him to suppose that use was to be
made, to the damage of the woman, of such acknowledgment.

"It don't look well that people in general are ignorant of the fact. I
tell you it's suspicious. It strikes me I never heard _anybody_ call
her anything but Miss Edgar. Excuse me; of course you knew better."

"Yes, and some beside myself. She told me she was a married woman. But
really, Deane, we couldn't expect, especially of a woman who has been
living for months, as it seems to me, in absolute retirement, that she
should go about making explanations in regard to her private affairs. I
have inferred, I confess, that she had in some unfortunate manner
terminated her union with her husband; and I have always hoped that her
coming here might prove a providential, happy thing,--that somehow she
might find her way out of trouble, and resume, what has evidently been
broken off, a peaceful and happy life. She is familiar with happiness."

"Well, Sir!" Deane exploded on the preacher's mildness, of which he had
grown in the last few seconds terribly impatient, "I don't know how far
Christian charity may go,--a great way farther, it seems, than it need
to, if it will submit to the impertinence of a traitor's coming among us
and accepting our support, at the same time that she takes advantage of
her sex and position to betray us. For _that_ business stands just where
it did before. There isn't the slightest doubt that she will find
abettors enough who are as false and daring and impudent as herself.
Whether we shall suffer them is a question, it seems. Excuse my plain
speaking, but I am surprised all round."

"No more than I am, Mr. Deane. It is, as you say, our duty immediately
to examine into this business; but we cannot, look at it as you will, we
cannot do so with too much caution. It is a disagreeable errand for a
man to undertake. Let us at least defer judgment for the present. I will
speak to Mrs. Edgar about it myself, and communicate the result
immediately to you. Do you prefer to remain here till I return?"

He arose as he spoke, but Deane rose also. It had at last penetrated the
brain of this most shrewd, but also very dull man, that the business
might be conducted with courtesy, and that a little skill might manage
it as effectually as a good deal of courage.

"No, no," he said; "he could trust the business to the minister. Liked
to do so, of course. If there was any shame or remorse in the woman, Mr.
Muir was the proper person to deal with it."

And so Deane retired.

But when he was gone, the minister stood listening to his departing
steps as long as they could be heard; then he sat down in his
study-chair, and seemed in no haste to go about the business with which
he stood commissioned.

Still the organ-music wandered through the church. Prayer of Moses,
Miserere, De Profundis, the Voice of One crying in the Wilderness, a
Song in the Night, the darkness of desolation rifted only by the cry for
deliverance, tragic human experience, exhausted human hope, and dying
faith,--he seemed to interpret the sounds as they swept from the
organ-loft and wandered darkly down the nave among the great stone
pillars, till they stood, a dismal congregation, at the low door of the
vestry-room, pleading with him for her who sent them thither, and
astounding him by the hot calumniation that preceded them.

At last, for he was a man to _do_ his duty, in spite of whatsoever
shrinking,--and if this accusation were true, it would be indeed hard to
forgive, impossible to overlook the offence,--the minister walked out
from the vestry into the church.

The organist must have heard him coming, for she broke off suddenly, and
dismissed the boy who worked the bellows, at the same moment herself
rising to depart.

Just then the minister ascended the steps that led into the choir.

She had no purpose to remain a moment, and merely paused for civil
speech, choosing, however, that he should see she was detained.

He did not accept the signs, and, with his usual grave deference to the
will of others in things trivial, allow her to pass. He said,

"Mrs. Edgar, I wish you might give me a moment, though I do not see how
what I have undertaken can be said in that length of time. I choose that
you should hear from one who wishes you nothing but good the strange
story that troubles me."

"I remain, Mr. Muir," was the answer; and she sat down.

The subject was too disagreeable for him to dally with it. If the charge
were a true one, no consideration was due; if untrue, the sooner that
was made apparent, the better.

"It is said that the organist of St. Peter's is not as loyal a citizen
of the United States as might be hoped by those who admire and trust her
most; and not only so, but that she is the wife of a Rebel leader, and
in communication with Rebels. It sounds harsh, but I speak as a friend.
I do not credit these things; but they're said, and I repeat them to
relieve others of what they might deem a duty."

Swiftly on his words came her answer.

"You have not believed it, Sir?"

Looking at her, it was the easiest thing for the minister to feel and
say,--and, oh, how he wished for Deane!--

"Not one word of it, Madam."

"That is sufficient,--sufficient, at least, for me. But do they, does
any one, desire that I should take the oath of fealty to the
Constitution and to the Government? I am ready to do either, or both. I
hardly reverence the Constitution more than I do the man who is at the
head of our affairs. To me he is the hero of this age."

The minister smiled,--a cordial smile, right trustful, cordial, glad.

"It may be well," said he. "These are strange days to live in, and we
all abhor suspicion of our loyalty. Besides, it may be necessary; for
suspicion of this character is an ungovernable passion now. For myself,
I should never have asked these questions; but it is merely right that
you should know the whole truth. A person who reports of himself that he
has escaped from Charleston avers that he has recognized in the organist
of St. Peter's the wife of General Edgar. I don't know the man's name.
But his statement has reached me directly. I give you information I
might have withheld, because I perfectly trust both the citizen and the
lady who has rendered us such noble service here."

"And such trust, I may say, is my right. I shall not forfeit it," said
the organist, rising. "I am ready, at any time, to take the oath, and to
bear my own responsibilities, Mr. Muir. I have neither fellowship nor
communication with Rebels, and I deem it a strange insult to be called a
spy. 'T is a great pity one should stay here to vex himself with puerile

She pointed to the stained windows emblazoned with sacred symbols,
glorious now with sunlight, bowed, and was gone.


There came, on Easter night, to the door of the organist's apartment,
the "contraband" who at present was sojourning under the protection of
Mr. Gerald Deane.

The hour was not early. Evening service was over, and Julius had waited
a reasonable length of time, that his errand might be delivered when she
should be at leisure. He might safely have gone at once; for guests
never came at night, and rarely by day,--the organist's wish being
perfectly understood among the very few with whom she came in contact,
and she being consequently "let alone" with what some might have deemed
"a vengeance." But it satisfied her, and no other dealing would.

Either this man--Julius Hopkins was his name--had not so recently come
to H---- as to be a stranger in any quarter of the town, or he had made
use of his time here; for he seemed familiar with the streets and alleys
as an old resident.

To find the organist was not difficult, when one had come within sight
of the lofty spire of the church, for it was under its shadow she
lived; but if he had been accustomed to carry messages to her door for
years, he could not now have presented himself with fuller confidence as
to what he should find.

When Mrs. Edgar opened the door, not a word was needed, as if these were
strangers who stood face to face. In her countenance, indeed, was
emotion,--unmeasured surprise; in her manner, momentary indecision. But
the surprise passed into a lofty kindliness of manner, and the
indecision gave place to the most entire freedom from embarrassment. She
cut short the words he began to speak with an authoritative, though most

"Julius, come in."

It was not as one addresses the servant of a friend, but spoken with an
authority which the man instantly acknowledged by obedience. He came
into the room, closed the door, and waited till she should speak. She

"Why are you here?"

He answered as if unaware that any great change had taken place in their

"My master sent me. At last I have found my mistress. It took me a great

"Is your master still in arms?"

The man bowed.

"Against the Government?"

"_He_ says, _for_ the Government."

"Of Rebels?"

He bowed again.

"Then, there is no answer,--can be none. Did he not foresee it?"

The slave did not answer. What words that he came commissioned to speak
could respond to the anguish her voice betrayed? She spoke again; she
had recovered from the surprise of her distress, and, looking now at
Julius, said,--

"You are excused from replying; but--you do not, in any event, propose
to return home?"

"Yes, Madam, yes,--immediately, immediately."

It was the first time he had discovered this purpose, and he did so with
a vehemence expressive of desire to vindicate himself where he should be
understood. She answered slowly, but she did not seem amazed, as Deane
would infallibly have been, as you and I had been,--such doubting
worshippers, after all, of the great heroic.

"Do you not hear, Julius, everywhere, that you are a freeman? Is it
possible no one has told you so? Do you not know it for yourself? It is

"It don't signify. I tended him through one course,--he got a bad cut,
Master did,--and I'll take care of him again. I a'n't through till he

"Is he well?"

"Thanks to me, and the Lord, he _is_ well of the wound again, and gone
to work."

At the pause that now ensued, as if he had only been waiting for this,
the slave approached nearer to his mistress; but he did not lift his
eyes,--he desired but to serve. She was so proud, he thought,--always
was; if he could only get _himself_ out of the way, and let this ugly,
cruel business right itself without a witness! Master knew how to plead
better than any one could for him. He produced a tiny case of

"Master sent you this," he said; and it seemed as if he would have given
it into her very hands; but they were folded; so he laid it on the edge
of the piano, and stepped back a pace. He knew there was no need for him
to explain.

Well she understood. Her husband had done his utmost to secure a
reconciliation. Love had its rights, its sacrifices; with these she had
to do, and not with his official conduct and public acts.

She knew well what that trifle of a chamois case contained. It was the
miniature of their child, the little one of earth no more, but
heaven-born: the winged child, with the flame above its head,--symbols
with which, of old, they loved to represent Genius. This miniature was
set in diamonds; it was the mother's gift to the father of the child:
this woman's gift to the man whom loyal men to-day call traitor, rebel,
alien, enemy.

And thus he appealed to her. Oh, tender was the voice! This love that
called had in its utterances proof that it held by its immortality. The
love that pleaded with her appealed to recollections the most sacred,
the most dear, the perpetual,--knowing what was in her heart, knowing
how _it_ would respond.

But there, where Julius left the miniature, it lay; a letter beside it
now, and a purse of gold,--pure gold,--not a Confederate note among it.

Poor Julia Edgar! she need not open the case that shone with such starry
splendor. Never could be hidden from her eyes the face of the child. How
should she not see again, in all its beauty, the garden where her
darling had played, little hands filled full of blooms, little face
whose smiling was as that of angels, butterflies sporting around her as
the wonderful one of old flitted about St. Rose,--alas! with as sure a
prophecy as that black and golden one? How clearly she saw again,
through heavy clouds of tears that never broke, the garden's glory, all
its peace, its happiness, its pride, and love!

No argument, no word, could have pleaded for the father of the child
like this. But it was love pleading against love,--Earth's beseeching
and need, against Heaven's warning and sufficience.

At last she spoke again.

"What is your reward, Julius, for all this danger you've incurred for
him, and for me?"

"He said it should be my liberty."

How he spoke those words! LIBERTY! it was the golden dream of
the man's life, yet he named it with a self-control that commanded her
admiration and reverence.

"I give it to you at this moment, here!" she said.

For an instant the slave seemed to hesitate; but the hesitation was of
utterance merely, not of will.

"My errand isn't half done, Madam. I never broke my word yet. I'll go

"Tell him, then, that I gave you your freedom, and you would not accept
it. And--_go_ back! 't is a noble resolve, worthy of you. Take the
purse. I do not need it. Say that I have no need of it. And you will,

No other message for him? Not one word from herself to him! For she knew
where safety lay.

The slave looked at her, helpless, hopeless, with indecision. The woman
was incomprehensible. He had set out on his errand, had persevered
through difficulties, and had withstood temptations too many to be
written here, with not a doubt as to the success that would attend him.
He remembered the wife of General Edgar in her home; to that home of
happy love and noble hospitality, and of all social dignities, he had no
doubt he should restore her. But now, humbled by defeat, he said,--

"I've looked a great while for you, Madam. I would never 'a' give up,
though, if I'd gone to Maine or Labrador, and round by the Rocky
Mountains, hunting for you. I heard you singing in the church this
morning, and I knew your voice. Though it didn't sound natural
right,--but I knew it was nobody else's voice,--as if the North mostly
hadn't agreed with it. And I heard it yesterday somewhere,--that's what
'sured me. I was going along the street, when I heard it; but it was not
this house you were in."

"And it was you, then, Julius, who betrayed me to the person who
supposes himself to be your protector,--and this because you thought
surely I must be glad to return, when I had lost my friends here through
ill report! Is that the way your war is carried on?"

"My war, Madam?"

But Julius did not look at his mistress; he looked away, and shrugged
his shoulders. The device of which he was convicted had seemed to him so
good, so sure, nevertheless had failed.

She had scarcely finished speaking, when a note was brought to the door.
It was from Adam von Gelhorn.

     "I am making my preparations to go at nine to-morrow," said the
     note. "Will you come to the church before? I would like to
     remember having seen you there last, at the organ. There's a
     bit of news just reached me, said to be a secret. General
     Edgar's command aims at preventing the junction of our forces
     before Y----. He is strong enough, numerically, to overthrow
     either division in separate conflict, and this is his
     Napoleonic strategy. But he will be outwitted. There's no doubt
     of it. Do not despair of our cause, whatever you hear during
     the coming fortnight. I shall report myself immediately to
     McClellan, and he may make a drummer-boy of me, if he will.
     Henceforth I am at his service till the war ends.

    "VON G----."

Thrice she read this note; when her eyes lifted at last, Julius was
still standing where she had left him. She started, seeing him, as if
his presence there at the moment took a new significance; her heart
fainted within her.

Had _he_ heard this secret of which Von Gelhorn spoke? It was her
husband's _life_ that was in jeopardy!

"When are you going, Julius?" she asked.

"To-morrow. Oh, Madam, give me some word for him!"

Red horror of death, how it rises before her sight! She shuddered,
cowered, sank before the blackness of darkness that followed fast on
that terrific spectacle of carnage, before which a whirlwind seemed to
have planted her. She heard the cries and yells, the groans and curses
of bleeding, dying men; saw banners in the dust, horsemen and horses
crushed under the great guns, mortality in fragments, heaps upon heaps
of ruin on the field Aceldama.

Where was he? Who would search among the slain for him? Who from among
the dying would rescue him? Who will stanch his bleeding wounds? Who
will moisten his parched lips? Whose voice sound in the ears that have
heard the roar of guns amid the crash of battle? What hand shall bathe
and fan that brow? What eyes shall watch till those eyelids unlock, and
catch the whisper of those lips? Nay, who will save his life from the
needless sacrifice? tell him that his plans are known, warn him back,
warn _him_ of spies and of treachery? Has Julius betrayed him?

She looked at the slave. But before she looked, her heart reproached her
for having doubted him.

"You will need this gold," she said. "Take it. Restore the miniature to
your master. And go,--go at once. If success be in store for _him_, I
share not the shame of it. If defeat, adversity, sickness,--your master
knows his wife fears but one thing, has fled but from one thing. Her
heart is with him, but she abhors the cause to which he has given
himself. She will not share his crime."

Difficult as these words were to speak, she spoke them without
faltering, and they admitted no discussion.

The slave lingered yet longer, but there was no more that she would say.
Assured at last of that, he said,--

"I obey you," and was gone.

He was gone,--gone! and she had betrayed nothing,--had given no
warning,--had uttered not a word by which the life that was of all lives
most precious to her might have been saved!


By eight o'clock next morning Mrs. Edgar was in the church. Von Gelhorn
preceded her by five minutes; he was walking up the aisle when she
entered, impatient for her appearing, eager to be gone,--wondering,
boy-like, that she came not.

He has performed a prodigious amount of labor since they last met. His
pictures were all removed to the Odeon, he said. His studio, haunt of
dreams, beloved of fame so long, stripped and barren, looked like any
other four-walled room,--and he, a freeman, stood equipped for service.

Yes, an hour would see him speeding to the capital. In less time than it
had taken him to perfect his arrangements he should be at the
head-quarters of the commander-in-chief,--to be made a drummer-boy of,
as he said before, or serve wherever there should be room for him.

He stood there so bright, so ready, eager, daring, was capable of so
much! What had _she_ done to usurp the functions of conscience, and
assume the voice of duty? She had done what she could not revoke, and
yet could not contemplate without a sort of terror,--as if to atone, to
make amends for disloyalty, which, coming even as from herself, a crime
in which she had chief concernment, was not to be atoned for by
repentance merely, nor by any sacrifices less than the costliest. She
had sought her husband's peer,--deemed that she had found
him,--therefore would despatch him to the battle-field, by valor to meet
the valiant. But now the light by which she had hurried forward to that
deed was gone, and she stood as a prophetess may, who, deserted of the
divinity, doubts the testimony of her hour of exaltation.

While they talked,--both apparently standing at an elevation of serene
courage above the level of even warring men and heroic women, but one
causing such misgiving in her heart as to fix her in that mood, and
forbid an extrication,--Fate led a lady down the street, who, passing by
the church and seeing the door ajar, went in. She should find in the
choir some written music, used in yesterday's services, which she had
forgotten to bring away. Out of the pure, bright sunshine she stepped
into the dark, cold shadows, and had come to the choir before she heard
the voices speaking there. Shrined saints that hold your throne-like
niches in the old stone walls! gilded cherubim that hover round the
organ's burnished pipes! what sight do you look down upon? She walked up
quietly,--it was her way, a noiseless, gliding way,--there stood the
organist and Adam von Gelhorn! As if hell had made a revelation, she
stood looking at those two. And both saw her, and neither of the three
uttered one word, or essayed a motion, till she, quietly, it seemed,
though it was with utmost violence, turned to go again.

Then--soft the voice sounded, but to her who spoke there was thunder in
it--the organist called after her, "Sybella!"

She, however, did not turn to answer, neither did she falter in going.
Departure was the one thing of which she was capable,--and what could
have hindered her going? What checks Vesuvius, when the flood says, "Lo,
I come!"? Or shall the little bird that perches and sings on a post in
the Dismal Swamp prevent the message that sweeps along the wire for a
thousand miles?

Von Gelhorn, disturbed by her coming and departure, in that so slight
vibration of air caused by her advance and her retreat, swayed as a reed
in the wind, stood for a moment seeking equipoise. Vain endeavor!

Not with inquiry, neither for direction, his eyes fell on Julia Edgar.

"Go," she said.

She said it aloud; no utterance could have been more distinct. He strode
after Sybella.

She heard him come, but did not pause, or turn, or falter. He came
faster, gained upon, and overtook her. It was just there by the
church-door. And then he spoke. But not like a warrior. It was a hoarse
whisper she heard, and her name in it. At _that_ call she turned. When
she saw his face, she stood.

Why avert her face, indeed, or why go on?

"I am going away,--in search of death, perhaps. I don't know. But to
battle. Will you not come back and listen one moment?"

She stood as if she could stand. Why did he plead but for one moment?
Battle! before that word she laid down her weapons. Under that glare of
awful fire the walls of ice melted, as never iceberg under tropic sun.

Battle! One out of the world who had been so long out of _her_ world!
Out of her world? So is beauty dead and past all resurrection of a
surety, when the dismal winds of March howl over land and sea!

"Yesterday," he said, "I came to church. Not to hear you, but I heard
you. You conquered me. I was giving a word for you to your friend and
mine, when God led you in here. Do not try to thwart Him. We have tried
it long enough. If you should go into my studio,--no, there's no such
place now, but if you went into the Odeon, you would see some faces
there that would tell you who has haunted my dreams and my heart these
years. Forgive me now that I'm going away. Let me hear you speak the
very word, Sybella."

How long must sinner call on God before he sees the smile of Love making
bright the heavens, glad the earth, possible all holiness, probable all
blessing? For He has built no walls, fastened no bars and bolts, blasted
no present, cursed no future. If Love be large, rich, free, strong
enough, it brings itself with one swift bound into the Heavenly Kingdom
where the Powers of Darkness have almost prevailed.

When Mrs. Edgar saw these two coming up the aisle together, she
understood, and, turning full towards them, sang a song such as was
never heard before within those old gray walls.


Mr. Muir was but a man. Powerful indeed in his way, but it was behind
his pulpit-desk, with a sermon in his hands, his congregation before
him,--or in carrying out any charitable project, or in managing the
business specially devolving on him. He was nobody when he emerged from
his own distinct path,--at least, such was his opinion; and being so, he
would not be likely to attempt the enforcement of another view of his
power on other men. He was afraid of himself now,--afraid that his own
preferences had made him obtuse where loyalty would have given him a
clearer vision.

Pity him, therefore, when Mr. Deane learned that the son of bondage in
whose deliverance he took such proud delight, as surely became a good
man who greatly valued freedom, aye, valued it as the pearl beyond all
price,--when he learned that the slave had been seen going to the
organist's room, and returning from it, and had not since been seen in

Mr. Muir reflected on these tidings with perplexity, constrained, in
spite of him, to believe that the slave had actually come on a secret
errand, which he had fulfilled, and that not without enlightenment he
had returned to his master.

The indignation a man feels, a man of the Deane order especially, when
he finds that he has been imposed upon, though the deception has been in
this instance of his own furtherance and establishment,--this kind and
degree of indignation brought Mr. Deane like a firebrand into the next
vestry-meeting. An end must be made of this matter at once. It was no
longer a question whether anything had best be done. Something _must_ be
done; the public demanded, and he, as a good citizen, demanded, that the
church should free herself of suspicion.

Mr. Muir felt, from the moment his eyes fell on Deane, that _he_ played
a losing game. Vain to help a woman who had fallen under that man's
suspicion, useless to defend her! What should he do, then? Let her go?
let her fall? Allow that she was a spy? Permit her disgrace, dismissal,
arrest possibly? When War takes hold of women, the touch is not tender.
Mr. Muir, it was obvious, was not a man of war. And he had to
acknowledge to the Musical Committee, that, as to the result of his
conversation with Mrs. Edgar, he had learned merely what was sufficient,
indeed, to satisfy _him_ of her loyalty, and that she would scorn to do
a spy's work; but he had no proof to offer that might satisfy minds less
"prejudiced" in her favor.

It was impossible not to perceive the dissatisfaction with which this
testimony was received.

The Committee, however favorably disposed toward the organist, had their
own suspicions to quiet, and a growing rumor among the people to quell.
Positive proof must be adduced that the organist was not the wife of a
Rebel general, or she must be removed from her place.

At a time when riot was rife, and street-tumult so common that the
citizens, loyal or disloyal, had no real security, it was venturesome,
dangerous, foolhardy, to allow a suspicion to fix, even by implication,
on the church. If the organist, already sufficiently noted and popular
in the town to attract within the church-walls scores of people who came
merely for the music,--if she were suspected of collision with Southern
traitors, she must pay the price. It was the proper tax on loyalty. The
church must be free of blame.

So Mr. Muir, a second time on such business, went to Mrs. Edgar.

Various intimations as to what brave men might do in precisely his
situation distracted him as he went. The fascinations of her power were
strongly upon him. If he was a hero, here, surely, was a heroine. And in
distress! Had Christian chivalry no demand to make, no claim on him?

All the way, as he went, he was counting the cost of his opposition to
the vestry's will. If he only stood alone! If neither wife nor child had
rights to be considered in advance of other mortals, and which, for the
necessities of others, must surely not be waived! If Nature had not
planted in him prudence, if he had only not that vexatious habit of
surveying duties in their wholeness, and balancing consequences, he
might, at the moment, enter into Don Quixote's joy. But,--and here he
was at the head of the flight of stairs that led to her chamber, face to
face with her.

Advance now, Christian minister! He comes slowly, weighed down by his
burden of consequences, and, as at one glance, the organist perceives
the "situation." He has come with her dismissal from the church. She
sees it in the dejected face, the troubled eyes, the weariness with
which he throws himself into the nearest chair. The duty he has in hand
he feels in all its irksomeness, and makes no concealment
thereof,--indeed, some display perhaps.

From a little desultory talk about church-music, through which words ran
at random, Mrs. Edgar broke at last, somewhat impatiently.

"What is it, Mr. Muir? Must your organist take the oath?"

The question caught him by surprise; it was uppermost in his thoughts,
this hateful theme; but then how should she know it? He lost the
self-possession he had been trying to maintain, the dignity of his
judicial character broke down completely; he was now merely a
kind-hearted man, a husband and father it is true, but for the moment
those domestic ties were not like a fetter on him.

"I require no such evidence of your loyalty, Mrs. Edgar," he said,--"no
evidence whatever."

"But--does not the church?"

This question was asked with a little faltering, asked for his sake; for
evidently some knowledge he had, and had to communicate, that
embarrassed him almost to the making of speech impossible.

"The church! No,--it is too late for that!"

And now he had thrown down the hateful truth. There it lay at the feet
of the woman who at this moment assumed to the preacher's imagination a
more than saint's virtue, a more than angel's beauty.

"What then?" she said. "What next, Mr. Muir? Do they want my


Mr. Muir said this with a humbled, deprecating gesture of the hand. At
the same time bowed his head.

"I commission you to carry it," she said.

"I will not," he answered, almost ferociously.

"Mr. Muir!"

"I consider it an outrage."

"No,--a misunderstanding."

That mild magnanimity of speech completed the overthrow of his

"A misunderstanding, then, that shall be rectified to your honor," he
exclaimed, "in the very place where it has gained ground to your
dishonor. If you resign, Mrs. Edgar, it must be to come at once to my
house as a guest. If the people are infatuated, the minister need not be
of necessity. My wife will welcome you there; if the law of the gospel
cannot protect you from suspicion, it can at least from harm."

So all in a moment the man got the better of Mr. Muir. What a
deliverance was there! This was the man who had preached and prayed for
the Government till more than once he had been invited to march out with
the soldiers as their chaplain to battle, opening his doors to one whom
the loyal church rejected,--opening them merely because she was a woman
on whom suspicion he believed to be unjust had fallen.

Her face lighted, her eyes flashed, she smiled. These were precious
words to hear from any good man's lips. They broke on the air like balm
on a wound.

"Not for all the world would I allow it," she answered. "This is no time
to complicate affairs. I thank you, and I confess you have surprised me.
I did not expect this even of you. It is needless for me to say that I
feel this disgrace as you would feel it; but I understand the position
of the church, and cannot complain. If I were guilty, this treatment
would be only too lenient. And it is almost guilt to have incurred

"I will never be the bearer of your resignation, then,--never, Mrs.
Edgar! I wash my hands of this business!"

She smiled again. The man in his wrath seemed to have seized on a
child's weapon. He interpreted her smile, and said,--

"My position will be well understood, if another is the bearer. And I
wish it to be. I wish men to know that I have no hand in this business.
The church is a persecutor. I, her son, am ashamed of her."

"It has given me my opportunity to make a defence. And I can make none,
Mr. Muir. My great mistake was in remaining here. Ruin, however, is not
so rare a thing in these days that I should be surprised by it, even if
it overtake me."

"Ruin! Aye. What curses thicken for their heads who have brought this
upon us! Unborn millions will repeat them, and God Almighty sanction and
enforce them."

Mr. Muir paused. What arrested him? Merely the countenance of the woman
before him. If all those curses had gathered into legions of devils,
crowding, swarming, furious, armed with lash and brand, about the form
of one who represented love, joy, beauty, all preciousness to her, the
terror and the anguish looking from her face could not have been
intensified. But she said no word.

How should she speak?

As if in spite of him, and of all he had been wont to hold most sacred
and potential, in spite of church and congregation, Constitution and
country, the minister had spoken simply for humanity under oppression;
had he not earned her confidence? Did he not deserve to know at least
what real ground there was for the suspicions roused against her?

Nay, nay! When did ever Love seek deliverance at the cost of the
beloved? What woman ever betrayed to secret friend the sin of him she
loves? Let all creation read the patent facts, behind them still remains
the inviolate, sacred _arcanum_, and before it stands sentinel Silence,
and around it are walls of fire.

Not from this woman's lips should mortal ever learn she was a Rebel's

For Mr. Muir, in his present mood, it was only torture to prolong this
interview. He felt himself unfit for counsel or argument,--unfit even
for confidence, had it been vouchsafed. But he held, with a tenacity
that could not but have its influence on his future acts and life, to
the purpose that had broken from him so suddenly, and not less to his
own surprise than to the organist's. From this day she was at liberty to
seek protection under his roof from threatened mobs and hot-headed
church-wardens. Mr. Deane was one man, he himself was another; and if a
day was ever coming to the world when Christian magnanimity must rise in
its majesty and its strength, that day had surely dawned; if the
Christian ministry was ever to know a period when the greatness of its
prerogatives was to be made manifest, that period had certainly begun.


From this interview Mrs. Edgar went to make her preparations for the
flitting she had already determined upon. She resolved to lose no time,
and consoled Mr. Muir by making known her resolution, and seeking his
assistance, when he was in a condition adapted to the bestowal.

But scarcely were her rooms bared, her trunks packed, and the day and
mode of her departure determined upon, when an order came to H---- from
a high official source, so authoritative as to allow no hesitation or

"Arrest the organist of St. Peter's Church, Mrs. Julia Edgar."

And, behold, she was a prisoner in the house where she had lodged!

Opposition was out of the question, protest hardly thought of. One
glance was broad enough to cover this business from end to end, and of
resistance there was no demonstration. Her work now was to restore the
room, denuded and desolate, to its late aspect of refinement and cheer.

Well, but is it the same thing to urge others on to sacrifice, and
yourself to bring an offering? to gird another for warfare, and yourself
endure hardness? to incite another to active service, and yourself serve
by passive obedience? to place a sword in the right hand of the valiant,
and bare your heart to the smiting of a sword in the same cause of

To have urged out of beautiful and studious retirement the painter of
precious pictures, that he may lift the soldier's burden and gird
himself for fasting through long, toilsome marches over mountains,
through wilderness, swamp, and desert, and for encountering Death at
every pass in one of his manifold disguises,--that he may lie on a field
of blood, perchance, at last, the fragment of himself, for what? that he
may say, finally, if speech be left him, he has fought under the flag,
that at Memphis its buried glory may have resurrection, that at Sumter
it may float again from the battlements, that at Richmond it may be
unfurled above Rebellion's grave,--is it the same thing to have
accomplished this by way of atonement, and in your own body to atone, by
your humiliation, by suspicion endured? She deemed it a small thing that
she was called to suffer,--that, when honor was won, she must bear
disgrace instead. What, indeed, was a year's or a lifetime's
imprisonment, looked on in the light of privation or sacrifice? Yet _so_
to atone, since thus it was written, for the sin of one who was in arms
against the nation's government! Oh, if anywhere, of any loyal citizen,
it might be looked upon, accepted, _as_ atonement!

In one thing she was happy, and of right. Music never failed her. Art
keeps her great rewards for such as serve her for her sacred self.
Therefore let her arise day after day to the same prospect of sky, and
sea, and busy street, and silent, shadowy church-yard. I bless the birds
that built their nests in the elm and willow branches for her sake. The
little creatures flitting here and there, in all their home-ways and
domestic management, were dear as their song to her.

But in this life, though there might be growth, it was the growth that
comes through pain endured with patience, through self-control
maintained in the suspense and the anguish of death.

For what, then, did she long in his behalf whose fate was shrouded in
thick darkness from her? For victory? or for defeat? A prison?
mutilation? disablement? burial on the battle-field? or a disgraceful
safety? Constantly this question urged itself upon her, and the heroic
love, that in its great disclosures could not fail, shrank shuddering
back in silence.

Thanks to God, she need not choose. The Omniscient is alone the


Three months after this order of arrest came another of release,--as
brief and as peremptory.

Deane's patriotism, that really had endangered the church with a mob and
the organ with demolishment, was the cause of the first despatch.
Colonel Von Gelhorn, who had routed General Edgar and driven him and his
forces at the point of the bayonet from an "impregnable position," was
in the secret of the second.

Close following this order of release, so closely that one must believe
he but waited for it before he again presented himself to his mistress,
came Julius, the bearer of a message in whose persuasive power he
himself had little hope. Defeated, wounded, dying, her husband called
this second time to her.

The slave, this day a freeman by all writs and rights, ascended again to
her apartment when the order of release had been received.

Surprise awaited him. Alas, what it says for us! our heroes, who have
surely the right of unlimited expectations, are as likely to be
surprised by heroic demonstrations as the dullest soul that never strove
for aught except its paltry starving self. But the hero surprised is not
surprised into uncomprehending wonder, but rather into smiles, or tears,
or heartrending, out of which comes thankfulness.

Yet a bitter word escaped him; he could deem even Liberty guilty of an
injustice, when she was involved in the judgment that awaits the guilty.
As if never before under the government of God it was known that the
overthrow of evil involved sorrow, aye, and temporal ruin, aye, and
sometimes death, to God's very angels! But to that word she answered,--

"Hush! I have been among friends,--even though some believed I was their
enemy in disguise. I have nothing to complain of. Duties must be done.
But, Julius, you have come to tell me of your master. Tell me, then."

"Such news, Madam, as you will not like to hear, though I have travelled
with it night and day. Colonel Von Gelhorn sent me. He said I would be
in time. I didn't wait to hear him say that twice."

"_He_ sent you? Where, then, is my husband?"

"He is a prisoner, Madam."

"A prisoner! Whose?"

"Colonel Von Gelhorn's."

Was it satisfaction that filled the silence following this question?

"But safe? but well, Julius?"

"No, Madam, not safe nor well."

"Wounded? Julius, speak! Why must I ask these dreadful questions? Tell
what you came to tell."

"He is wounded, Madam. He has never been taken away from the church
where I carried him first after he fell. He had three horses shot under
him. Oh, Madam, if it hadn't been for him, his whole army would have
been lost! He wants you now."

"Let us go, then. Guide me. The shortest way. You're a free man, Julius.
Act like one, freely. Wounded,--Von Gelhorn's prisoner. Then at last
he's mine again!"

       *       *       *       *       *

Hers again! In the church she found him. In her arms he died.

And he said,--nor let us think it was with coward weakness blenching
before the presence of Death, shaming the day he died by a late

"I have been deceived. But I deceived others. Who will forgive that? It
is so hard for me to forgive! You have fought your fight like a hero,
loyal to the core, but I"----

Nevertheless, her kiss was on his dying lips. _She_ forgave him. Must
he, then, go out from her presence into everlasting darkness?




It is a pelting November rain. No leaves are left upon the branches but
a few yellow flutterers on the tips of the willows and poplars, and the
bleached company that will be clinging to the beeches and the white oaks
for a month to come. All others are whipped away by the night-winds into
the angles of old walls, or are packed under low-limbed shrubberies,
there to swelter and keep warm the rootlets of the newly planted
weigelias and spruces, until the snows and February suns and April mists
and May heats shall have transmuted them into fat and unctuous mould. A
close, pelting, unceasing rain, trying all the leaks of the mossy roof,
testing all the newly laid drains, pressing the fountain at my door to
an exuberant gush,--a rain that makes outside work an impossibility; and
as I sit turning over the leaves of an old book of engravings, wondering
what drift my rainy-day's task shall take, I come upon a pleasant view
of Dovedale in Derbyshire, a little exaggerated, perhaps, in the
luxuriance of its trees and the depth of its shadows, but recalling
vividly the cloudy April morning on which, fifteen years agone, I left
the inn of the "Green Man and Black Head," in the pretty town of
Ashbourne, and strolled away by the same road on which Mr. Charles
Cotton opens his discourse of fishing with Master "Viator," and plunged
down the steep valley-side near to Thorpe, and wandered for three miles
and more, under towering crags, and on soft, spongy bits of meadow,
beside the blithe river where Walton had cast, in other days, a gray
palmer-fly, past the hospitable hall of the worshipful Mr. Cotton, and
the wreck of the old fishing-house, over whose lintel was graven in the
stone the interlaced initials of "Piscator, Junior," and his great
master of the rod. As the rain began to patter on the sedges and the
pools, I climbed out of the valley, on the northward or Derbyshire side,
and striding away through the heather, which belongs to the rolling
heights of this region, I presently found myself upon the great London
and Manchester highway. A broad and stately thoroughfare it had been in
the old days of coaching, but now a close, fine turf invested it all,
save one narrow strip of Macadam in the middle. The mile-stones, which
had been showy, painted affairs of iron, were now deeply bitten and
blotched with rust. Two of them I had passed, without sight of house, or
of other traveller, save one belated drover, who was hurrying to the
fair at Ashbourne; as I neared the third, a great hulk of building
appeared upon my left, with a crowd of aspiring chimneys, from which
only one timid little pennant of smoke coiled into the harsh sky.

The gray, inhospitable-looking pile proved to be one of the old
coach-inns, which, with its score of vacant chambers and huge
stable-court, was left stranded upon the deserted highway of travel. It
stood a little space back from the road, so that a coach and four, or,
indeed, a half-dozen together, might have come up to the door-way in
dashing style. But it must have been many years since such a demand had
been made upon the resources of bustling landlord and of attendant
grooms and waiters. The doors were tightly closed; even the sign-board
creaked uneasily in the wind, and a rampant growth of ivy that clambered
over the porch so covered it with leaves and berries that I could not at
all make out its burden. I gave a sharp ring to the bell, and heard the
echo repeated from the deserted stable-court; there was the yelp of a
hound somewhere within, and presently a slatternly-dressed woman
received me, and, conducting me down a bare hall, showed me into a great
dingy parlor, where a murky fire was struggling in the grate. A score of
roistering travellers might have made the stately parlor gay; and I dare
say they did, in years gone; but now I had only for company their heavy
old arm-chairs, a few prints of "fast coaches" upon the wall, and a
superannuated greyhound, who seemed to scent the little meal I had
ordered, and presently stalked in and laid his thin nose, with an
appealing look, in my hands. His days of coursing--if he ever had
them--were fairly over; and I took a charitable pride in bestowing upon
him certain tough morsels of the rump-steak, garnished with
horse-radish, with which I was favored for dinner.

I had intended to push on to Buxton the same afternoon; but the
deliberate sprinkling of the morning by two o'clock had quickened into a
swift, pelting rain, the very counterpart of that which is beating on my
windows to-day. There was nothing to be done but to make my home of the
old coach-inn for the night; and for my amusement--besides the
slumberous hound, who, after dinner, had taken up position upon the
faded rug lying before the grate--there was a "Bell's Messenger" of the
month past, and, as good luck would have it, a much-bethumbed copy of a
work on horticulture and kindred subjects, first printed somewhere about
the beginning of the eighteenth century, and entitled "The Clergyman's
Recreation, showing the Pleasure and Profit of the Art of Gardening," by
the Reverend John Laurence.

It was a queer book to be found in this pretentious old coach-inn, with
its silken bell-pulls and stately parlors; and I thought how the
roisterers who came thundering over the road years ago, and chucked the
bar-maids under the chin, must have turned up their noses, after their
pint of crusted Port, at the "Clergyman's Recreation." Yet, for all
that, the book had a rare interest for me, detailing, as it did, the
methods of fruit-culture in England a hundred and forty years ago, and
showing with nice particularity how the espaliers could be best trained,
and how a strong infusion of walnut-leaf tea will destroy all noxious

And now, when, upon this other wet day, and in the quietude of my own
library, I come to measure the claims of this ancient horticulturist to
consideration, I find that he was the author of some six or seven
distinct works on kindred subjects, showing good knowledge of the best
current practice; and although he incurred the sneers of Mr. Tull, who
hoped "he preached better than he ploughed," there is abundant evidence
that his books were held in esteem.

Contemporary with the Rev. Mr. Laurence were London and Wise, the famous
horticulturists of Brompton, (whose nursery, says Evelyn, "was the
greatest work of the kind ever seen or heard of, either in books or
travels,") also Switzer, a pupil of the latter, and Professor Richard

Mr. London was the director of the royal gardens under William and Mary,
and at one time had in his charge some three or four hundred of the most
considerable landed estates in England. He was in the habit of riding
some fifty miles a day to confer with his subordinate gardeners, and at
least two or three times in a season traversed the whole length and
breadth of England,--and this at a period, it must be remembered, when
travelling was no holiday-affair, as is evident from the mishaps which
befell those well-known contemporaneous travellers of Fielding, Joseph
Andrews and Parson Adams. Traces of the work of Mr. London are to be
seen even now in the older parts of the grounds of Blenheim and of
Castle Howard in Yorkshire.

Stephen Switzer was an accomplished gardener, well known by a great many
horticultural and agricultural works, which in his day were "on sale at
his seed-shop in Westminster Hall." Chiefest among these was the
"Ichnographia Rustica," which gave general directions for the
management of country-estates, while it indulged in some prefatory
magniloquence upon the dignity and antiquity of the art of gardening. It
is the first of all arts, he claims; for "tho' Chirurgery may plead
high, inasmuch as in the second chapter of Genesis that _operation_ is
recorded of taking the rib from Adam, wherewith woman was made, yet the
very current of the Scriptures determines in favor of Gardening." It
surprises us to find that so radical an investigator should entertain
the belief, as he clearly did, that certain plants were produced without
seed by the vegetative power of the sun acting upon the earth. He is
particularly severe upon those Scotch gardeners, "Northern lads," who,
with "a little learning and a great deal of impudence, know, or pretend
to know, more in one twelvemonth than a laborious, honest South-country
man does in seven years."

His agricultural observations are of no special value, nor do they
indicate any advance from the practice of Worlidge. He deprecates paring
and burning as exhaustive of the vegetable juices, advises winter
fallowing and marling, and affirms that "there is no superficies of
earth, how poor soever it may be, but has in its own bowels something or
other for its own improvement."

In gardening, he expresses great contempt for the clipped trees and
other excesses of the Dutch school, yet advises the construction of
terraces, lays out his ponds by geometric formulæ, and is so far devoted
to out-of-door sculpture as to urge the establishment of a royal
institution for the instruction of ingenious young men, who, on being
taken into the service of noblemen and gentlemen, would straightway
people their grounds with statues. And this notwithstanding Addison had
published his famous papers on the "Pleasures of the Imagination" three
years before.[5]

Richard Bradley was the Dr. Lardner of his day,--a man of general
scientific acquirement, an indefatigable worker, venturing hazardous
predictions, writing some fifteen or twenty volumes upon subjects
connected with agriculture, foisting himself into the chair of Botany at
Cambridge by noisy reclamation, selling his name to the booksellers for
attachment to other men's wares,[6] and, finally, only escaping the
indignity of a removal from his professor's chair by sudden death, in
1732. Yet this gentleman's botanical dictionary ("Historia Plantarum,"
etc.) was quoted respectfully by Linnæus, and his account of British
cattle, their races, proper treatment, etc., was, by all odds, the best
which had appeared up to his time. The same gentleman, in his "New
Improvements of Planting and Gardening," lays great stress upon a novel
"invention for the more speedy designing of garden-plats," which is
nothing more than an adaptation of the principle of the kaleidoscope.
The latter book is the sole representative of this author's voluminous
agricultural works in the Astor collection; and, strange to say, there
are only two in the library of the British Museum.

I take, on this dreary November day, (with my Catawbas blighted,) a
rather ill-natured pleasure in reading how the Duke of Rutland, in the
beginning of the last century, was compelled to "keep up fires from
Lady-day to Michaelmas behind his sloped walls," in order to insure the
ripening of his grapes; yet winter grapes he had, and it was a great
boast in that time. The quiet country squires--such as Sir Roger de
Coverley--had to content themselves with those old-fashioned fruits
which would struggle successfully with out-of-door fogs. Fielding tells
us that the garden of Mr. Wilson, where Parson Adams and the divine
Fanny were guests, showed nothing more rare than an alley bordered with

In London and its neighborhood the gourmands fared better. Cucumbers,
which in Charles's time never came in till the close of May, were ready
in the shops of Westminster (in the time of George I.) in early March.
Melons were on sale, for those who could pay roundly, at the end of
April; and the season of cauliflowers, which used to be limited to a
single month, now reached over a term of six months.

Mr. Pope, writing to Dr. Swift, somewhere about 1730, says,--"I have
more fruit-trees and kitchen-garden than you have any thought of; nay, I
have good melons and pine-apples of my own growth." Nor was this a small
boast; for Lady Wortley Montague, describing her entertainment at the
table of the Elector of Hanover, in 1716, speaks of "pines" as a fruit
she had never seen before.

Ornamental gardening, too, was now changing its complexion. Dutch
William was dead and buried. Addison had written in praise of the
natural disposition of the gardens of Fontainebleau, and, at his place
near Rugby, was carrying out, so far as a citizen might, the suggestions
of those papers to which I have already alluded. Milton was in better
odor than he had been, and people had begun to realize that an
arch-Puritan might have exquisite taste. Possibly, too, cultivated
landholders had seen that charming garden-picture where the luxurious
Tasso makes the pretty sorceress Armida spread her nets.

Pope affected a respect for the views of Addison; but his Twickenham
garden was a very stiff affair. Bridgman was the first practical
landscape-gardener who ventured to ignore old rules; and he was followed
closely by William Kent, a broken-down and unsuccessful
landscape-painter, who came into such vogue as a man of taste, that he
was employed to fashion the furniture of scores of country-villas; and
Walpole[8] tells us that he was even beset by certain fine ladies to
design Birthday gowns for them:--"The one he dressed in a petticoat
decorated with columns of the five orders; the other, like a bronze, in
a copper-colored satin, with ornaments of gold."

Clermont, the charming home of the exiled Orléans family, shows vestiges
of the taste of Kent, who always accredited very much of his love for
the picturesque to the reading of Spenser. It is not often that the poet
of the "Faerie Queene" is mentioned as an educator.

And now let us leave gardens for a while, to discuss Mr. Jethro Tull,
the great English cultivator of the early half of the eighteenth
century. I suspect that most of the gentry of his time, and cultivated
people, ignored Mr. Tull, he was so rash and so headstrong and so noisy.
It is certain, too, that the educated farmers, or, more strictly, the
writing farmers, opened battle upon him, and used all their art to ward
off his radical tilts upon their old methods of culture. And he fought
back bravely; I really do not think that an editor of a partisan paper
to-day could improve upon him,--in vigor, in personality, or in

Unfortunately, the biographers and encyclopædists who followed upon his
period have treated his name with a neglect that leaves but scanty
gleanings for his personal history. His father owned landed property in
Oxfordshire, and Jethro was a University-man; he studied for the law,
(which will account for his address in a wordy quarrel,) made the tour
of Europe, returned to Oxfordshire, married, took the paternal
homestead, and proceeded to carry out the new notions which he had
gained in his Southern travels. Ill health drove him to France a second
time, from which he returned once more, to occupy the famous "Prosperous
Farm" in Berkshire; and here he opened his batteries afresh upon the
existing methods of farming. The gist of his proposed reform is
expressed in the title of his book, "The Horse-hoeing Husbandry." He
believed in the thorough tillage, at frequent intervals, of all
field-crops, from wheat to turnips. To make this feasible, drilling was,
of course, essential; and to make it economical, horse labor was
requisite: the drill and the horse-hoe were only subsidiary to the main

Sir Hugh Platt, as we have seen, had before suggested dibbling, and
Worlidge had contrived a drill; but Tull gave force and point and
practical efficacy to their suggestions. He gives no credit, indeed, to
these old gentlemen; and it is quite possible that his theory may have
been worked out from his own observations. He certainly gives a clear
account of the growth of his belief, and sustains it by a great many
droll notions about the physiology of plants, which would hardly be
admissible in the botanies of to-day.

Shall I give a sample?

"Leaves," he says, "are the parts, or bowels of a plant, which perform
the same office to sap as the lungs of an animal do to blood; that is,
they purify or cleanse it of the recrements, or fuliginous steams,
received in the circulation, being the unfit parts of the food, and
perhaps some decayed particles which fly off the vessels through which
blood and sap do pass respectively."

It does not appear that the success of Tull upon "Prosperous Farm" was
such as to give a large warrant for its name. His enemies, indeed,
alleged that he came near to sinking two estates on his system; this,
however, he stoutly denies, and says, "I propose no more than to keep
out of debt, and leave my estate behind me better than I found it. Yet,
owned it must be, that, had I, when I first began to make trials, known
as much of the system as I do now, the practice of it would have been
more profitable to me." Farmers in other parts of England, with lands
better adapted to the new husbandry, certainly availed themselves of it,
very much to their advantage. Tull, like a great many earnest reformers,
was almost always in difficulty with those immediately dependent on him;
over and over he insists upon the "inconveniency and slavery attending
the exorbitant power of husbandry servants and laborers over their
masters." He quarrels with their wages, and with the short period of
their labor. Pray, what would Mr. Tull have thought, if he had dealt
with the Drogheda gentlemen in black satin waistcoats, who are to be
conciliated by the farmers of to-day?

I think I can fancy such an encounter for the querulous old reformer.
"Mike! blast you, you booby, you've broken my drill!" And Mike, (putting
his thumb deliberately in the armlet of his waistcoat,) "Meester Tull,
it's not the loikes o' me'll be leestening to insoolting worrds. I'll
take me money, if ye plase." And with what a fury "Meester" Tull would
have slashed away, after this, at "Equivocus," and all his

I wish I could believe that Tull always told the exact truth; but he
gives some accounts of the perfection to which he had brought his drill
to which I can lend only a most meagre trust; and it is unquestionable
that his theory so fevered his brain at last as to make him utterly
contemptuous of all old-fashioned methods of procedure. In this respect
he was not alone among reformers. He stoutly affirmed that tillage would
supply the lack of manure, and his neighbors currently reported that he
was in the habit of dumping his manure carts in the river. This charge
Mr. Tull firmly denied, and I dare say justly. But I can readily believe
that the rumors were current; country-neighborhoods offer good
starting-points for such lively scandal. The writer of this paper has
heard, on the best possible authority, that he is in the habit of
planting shrubs with their roots in the air.

In his loose, disputative way, and to magnify the importance of his own
special doctrine, Tull affirms that the ancients, and Virgil
particularly, urged tillage for the simple purpose of destroying
weeds.[9] In this it seems to me that he does great injustice to our old
friend Maro. Will the reader excuse a moment's dalliance with the
Georgics again?

    "Multum adeo, rastris glebas qui frangit _inertes_,
    Vimineasque trahit crates, juvat arva;...
    Et qui proscisso quæ suscitat æquore terga
    Rursus in obliquum verso perrumpit aratro,
    Exercetque frequens tellurem, atque imperat arvis."

That "_imperat_" looks like something more than weed-killing; it looks
like subjugation; it looks like pulverization at the hands of an
imperious master.

But behind all of Tull's exaggerated pretension, and unaffected by the
noisy exacerbation of his speech, there lay a sterling good sense, and a
clear comprehension of the existing shortcomings in agriculture, which
gave to his teachings prodigious force, and an influence measured only
by half a century of years. There were few, indeed, who adopted
literally and fully his plans, or who had the hardihood to acknowledge
the irate Jethro as a teacher; yet his hints and his example gave a
stimulus to root-culture, and an attention to the benefits arising from
thorough and repeated tillage, that added vastly to the annual harvests
of England. Bating the exaggerations I have alluded to, his views are
still reckoned sound; and though a hoed crop of wheat is somewhat
exceptional, the drill is now almost universal in the best cultivated
districts; and a large share of the forage-crops owe their extraordinary
burden to horse-hoeing husbandry.

Even the exaggerated claims of Tull have had their advocates in these
last days; and the energetic farmer of Lois-Weedon, in Northamptonshire,
is reported to be growing heavy crops of wheat for a succession of
years, without any supply of outside fertilizers, and relying wholly
upon repeated and perfect pulverization of the soil.[10] And Mr. Way,
the distinguished chemist of the Royal Society, in a paper on "The Power
of Soils to absorb Manure,"[11] propounds the question as follows:--"Is
it likely, on theoretical considerations, that the air and the soil
together can by any means be made to yield, without the application of
manure, and year after year continuously, a crop of wheat of from thirty
to thirty-five bushels per acre?" And his reply is this:--"I confess I
do not see why they should not do so." A practical farmer, however, (who
spends only his wet days in-doors,) would be very apt to suggest here,
that the validity of this _dictum_ must depend very much on the original
constituents of the soil.

Under the lee of the Coombe Hills, on the extreme southern edge of
Berkshire, and not far removed from the great highway leading from Bath
to London, lies the farmery where this restless, petulant, suffering,
earnest, clear-sighted Tull put down the burden of life, a hundred and
twenty years ago. The house is unfortunately largely modernized, but
many of the out-buildings remain unchanged; and not a man thereabout, or
in any other quarter, could tell me where the former occupant, who
fought so bravely his fierce battle of the drill, lies buried.

About the middle of the last century, there lived in the south of
Leicestershire, in the parish of Church-Langton, an eccentric and
benevolent clergyman by the name of William Hanbury, who conceived the
idea of establishing a great charity which was to be supported by a vast
plantation of trees. To this end, he imported a great variety of seeds
and plants from the Continent and America, established a nursery of
fifty acres in extent, and published "An Essay on Planting, and a Scheme
to make it Conducive to the Glory of God and the Advantage of Society."

But the Reverend Hanbury was beset by aggressive and cold-hearted
neighbors, among them two strange old "gentlewomen," Mistress Pickering
and Mistress Byrd, who malevolently ordered their cattle to be turned
loose into his first plantation of twenty thousand young and thrifty
trees. And not content with this, they served twenty-seven different
copies of writs upon him in one day, for trespass. Of all this he gives
detailed account in his curious history of the "Charitable Foundations
at Church-Langton." He tells us that the "venomous rage" of these old
ladies (who died shortly after, worth a million of dollars) did not even
spare his dogs; but that his pet spaniel and greyhound were cruelly
killed by a table-fork thrust into their entrails. Nay, their
game-keeper even buried two dogs alive, which belonged to his neighbor,
Mr. Wade, a substantial grazier. His story of it is very Defoe-like and
pitiful:--"I myself heard them," he says, "_ten days_ after they had
been buried, and, seeing some people at a distance, inquired what dogs
they were. '_They are some dogs that are lost, Sir_,' said they; '_they
have been lost some time_.' I concluded only some poachers had been
there early in the morning, and by a precipitate flight had left their
dogs behind them. In short, the howling and barking of these dogs was
heard for near three weeks, when it ceased. Mr. Wade's dogs were
missing, but he could not suspect those dogs to be his; and the noise
ceasing, the thoughts, wonder, and talking about them soon also ceased.
Some time after, a person, being amongst the bushes where the howling
was heard, discovered some disturbed earth, and the print of men's heels
ramming it down again very close, and, seeing Mr. Wade's servant, told
him he thought something had been buried there. '_Then_,' said the man,
'_it is our dogs, and they have been buried alive. I will go and fetch a
spade, and will find them, if I dig all Caudle over_.' He soon brought a
spade, and, upon removing the top earth, came to the blackthorns, and
then to the dogs, the biggest of which had eat the loins, and greatest
share of the hind parts, of the little one."

The strange ladies who were guilty of this slaughter of innocents showed
"a dying blaze of goodness" by bequeathing twelve thousand pounds to
charitable societies; and "thus ended," says Hanbury, "these two poor,
unhappy, uncharitable, charitable old gentlewomen."

The good old man describes the beauty of plants and trees with the same
delightful particularity which he spent on his neighbors and the buried

I cannot anywhere learn whether or not the charity-plantation of
Church-Langton is still thriving.

About this very time, Lancelot Brown, who was for a long period the
kitchen-gardener at Stowe, came into sudden notoriety by his disposition
of the waters in Blenheim Park, where, in the short period of one week,
he created perhaps the finest artificial lake in the world. Its
indentations of shore, its bordering declivities of wood, and the
graceful swells of land dipping to its margin, remain now in very nearly
the same condition in which Brown left them more than a hundred years
ago. All over England the new man was sent for; all over England he
rooted out the mossy avenues, and the sharp rectangularities, and laid
down his flowing lines of walks, and of trees. He (wisely) never
contracted to execute his own designs, and--from lack of facility,
perhaps--he always employed assistants to draw his plans. But the quick
eye which at first sight recognized the "capabilities" of a place, and
which leaped to the recognition of its matured graces, was all his own.
He was accused of sameness; but the man who at one time held a thousand
lovely landscapes unfolding in his thought could hardly give a series of
contrasts without startling affectations.

I mention the name of Lancelot Brown, however, not to discuss his
merits, but as the principal and largest illustrator of that taste in
landscape-gardening which just now grew up in England, out of a new
reading of Milton, out of the admirable essays of Addison, out of the
hints of Pope, out of the designs of Kent, and which was stimulated by
Gilpin, by Horace Walpole, and, still more, by the delightful little
landscapes of Gainsborough.

Enough will be found of Mr. Brown, and of his style, in the professional
treatises, upon whose province I do not now infringe. I choose rather,
for the entertainment of my readers, if they will kindly find it, to
speak of that sad, exceptional man, William Shenstone, who, by the
beauties which he made to appear on his paternal farm of Leasowes,
fairly rivalled the best of the landscape-gardeners,--and who, by the
graces and the tenderness which he lavished on his verse, made no mean
rank for himself at a time when people were reading the "Elegy" of Gray,
the Homer of Pope, and the "Cato" of Addison.

I think there can hardly be any doubt, however, that poor Shenstone was
a wretched farmer; yet the Leasowes was a capital grazing farm, when he
took it in charge, within fair marketable distance of both Worcester and
Birmingham. I suspect that he never put his fine hands to the
plough-tail; and his plaintive elegy, that dates from an April day of
1743, tells, I am sure, only the unmitigated truth:--

    "Again the laboring hind inverts the soil;
       Again the merchant ploughs the tumid wave;
    Another spring renews the soldier's toil,
       _And finds me vacant in the rural cave_."

Shenstone, like many another of the lesser poets, was unfortunate in
having Dr. Johnson for his biographer. It is hard to conceive of a man
who would show less of tenderness for an elaborate parterre of flowers,
or for a poet who affectedly parted his gray locks on one side of his
head, wore a crimson waistcoat, and warbled in anapæstics about kids and
shepherds' crooks. Only fancy the great, snuffy, wheezing Doctor, with
his hair-powder whitening half his shoulders, led up before some
charming little extravaganza of Boucher, wherein all the nymphs are
simpering marchionesses, with rosettes on their high-heeled slippers
that out-color the sky! With what a "Faugh!" the great gerund-grinder
would thump his cane upon the floor, and go lumbering away! And
Shenstone, or rather his memory, caught the besom of just such a sneer.

But other critics were more kindly and appreciative; among them, Dodsley
the bookselling author, who wrote "The Economy of Human Life," (the
"Proverbial Philosophy" of its day,) and Whately, who gave to the public
the most elegant and tasteful discussion of artificial scenery that was
perhaps ever written.

Shenstone studied, as much as so indolent a man ever could, at Pembroke
College, Oxford. His parents died when he was young, leaving to him a
very considerable estate, which fortunately some relative administered
for him, until, owing to this supervisor's death, it lapsed into the
poet's improvident hands. Even then a sensible tenant of his own name,
and a distant relative, managed very snugly the farm of Leasowes; but
when Shenstone came to live with him, neither house nor grounds were
large enough for the joint occupancy of the poet, who was trailing his
walks through the middle of the mowing, and of the tenant, who had his
beeves to fatten and his rental to pay.

So Shenstone became a farmer on his own account; and, according to all
reports, a very sorry account he made of it. The good soul had none of
Mr. Tull's petulance and audacity with his servants; if the ploughman
broke his gear, I suspect the kind ballad-master allowed him a holiday
for the mending. The herdsman stared in astonishment to find the
"beasts" ordered away from their accustomed grazing-fields. A new
thicket had been planted, which must not be disturbed; the orchard was
uprooted to give place to some parterre; a fine bit of meadow was flowed
with a miniature lake; hedges were shorn away without mercy; arbors,
grottos, rustic seats, Arcadian temples, sprang up in all outlying
nooks; so that the annual product of the land came presently to be
limited, almost entirely, to the beauty of its disposition.

I think that the poet, unlike most, was never very thoroughly satisfied
with his poems, and that, therefore, the vanity possessed him to vest
the sense of beauty which he felt tingling in his blood in something
more palpable than language. Hence came the charming walks and woods and
waters of Leasowes. With this ambition holding him and mastering him,
what mattered a mouldy grain-crop, or a debt? If he had only an ardent
admirer of his walks, his wilderness, his grottos,--this was his
customer. He longed for such, in troops,--as a poet longs for readers,
and as a farmer longs for sun and rain.

And he had them. I fancy there was hardly a cultivated person in
England, but, before the death of Shenstone, had heard of the rare
beauty of his home of Leasowes. Lord Lyttleton, who lived near by, at
the elegant seat of Hagley, brought over his guests to see what miracles
the hare-brained, sensitive poet had wrought upon his farm. And I can
fancy the proud, shy creature watching from his lattice the company of
distinguished guests,--maddened, if they look at his alcove from the
wrong direction,--wondering if that shout that comes booming to his
sensitive ear means admiration, or only an unappreciative
surprise,--dwelling on the memory of the visit, as a poet dwells on the
first public mention of his poem. In his "Egotisms," (well named,) he
writes,--"Why repine? I have seen mansions on the verge of Wales that
convert my farm-house into a Hampton Court, and where they speak of a
glazed window as a great piece of magnificence. All things figure by

And this reflection, with its flavor of philosophy, was, I dare say, a
sweet morsel to him. He saw very little of the world in his later years,
save that part of it which at odd intervals found its way to the
delights of Leasowes; indeed, he was not of a temper to meet the world
upon fair terms. "The generality of mankind," he cynically says, "are
seldom in good humor but whilst they are imposing upon you in some shape
or other."[12]

Our farmer of Leasowes published a pastoral that was no way equal to the
pastoral he wrote with trees, walks, and water upon his land; yet there
are few cultivated readers who have not some day met with it, and been
beguiled by its mellifluous seesaw. How its jingling resonance comes
back to me to-day from the "Reader" book of the High School!

    "I have found out a gift for my fair;
      I have found where the wood-pigeons breed:
    But let me that plunder forbear;
      She will say 'twas a barbarous deed.
    For he ne'er could be true, she averred,
      Who could rob a poor bird of its young:
    And I loved her the more, when I heard
      Such tenderness fall from her tongue."

And what a killing look over at the girl in the corner, in check
gingham, with blue bows in her hair, as I read (always on the old

    "I have heard her with sweetness unfold
      How that pity was due to--a dove:
    That it ever attended the bold;
      And she called it _the sister of love_.
    But her words such a pleasure convey,
      So much I her accents adore,
    Let her speak, and whatever she say,
      Methinks I should love her the more."

There is a rhythmic prettiness in this; but it is the prettiness of a
lover in his teens, and not the kind we look for from a man who stood
five feet eleven in his stockings, and wore his own gray hair. Strangely
enough, Shenstone had the _physique_ of a ploughman or a prize-fighter,
and with it the fine, sensitive brain of a woman; a Greek in his
refinements, and a Greek in indolence. I hope he gets on better in the
other world than he ever did in this.




The repulsive ugliness of the early Christian paintings was not the
consequence of any break in the tradition. There was no reason why the
graceful drawing of the human figure should not have been transmitted,
as well as the technical procedures and the pigments. Nor was effort
wanting: these pictures were often very elaborate and splendid in
execution. But it is clear that grace and resemblance to anything
existing, so far from being aimed at, were intentionally avoided. Even
as late as the thirteenth century we find figures with blue legs and red
bodies,--the horses in a procession blue, red, and yellow. Any whim of
association, or fanciful color-pattern, was preferred to beauty or
correctness. Likeness to actual things seemed to be regarded, indeed, as
an unavoidable evil, to be restricted as far as possible. The problem
was, to show God's omnipresence in the world, especially His appearance
on the earth as man, and His abiding presence in holy men and women as
an inspiration obliterating their humanity. But so long as the divine
and the human are looked upon as essentially opposed, their union can be
by miracle only, and the first thought must be to keep prominent this
miraculousness, and guard against confusion of this angelic existence
with every-day reality. The result is this realm of ghosts, at home
neither in heaven nor on earth, neither presuming to be spirit nor
condescending to be body, but hovering intermediate. But the more
strongly the antithesis is felt, the nearer the thought to end this
remaining tenderness for the gross and unspiritual,--to drop this
ballast of earth, and rise into the region of heavenly realities. Upon a
window of Canterbury Cathedral, beneath a representation of the miracle
of Cana, is the legend,--_"Lympha dat historiam, vinum notat
allegoriam."_ But if the earthly is there only for the sake of this
heavenly transmutation,--if the miracle, and the miracle alone, shows
God's purpose accomplished,--then all things must be miraculous, for all
else may be safely ignored. Henceforth, nothing is of itself profane,
for the profane is only that wherein the higher and truer sense has not
yet been recognized. What is demanded is not an exceptional
transmutation, but a translation,--that all Nature should be interpreted
of the spirit.

The result is, on the one hand, a greater license in dealing with actual
forms, since Art sees all things on one level of dignity,--respects one
no more than another, but only its own purpose,--is careless of material
qualities, and of moral qualities, too, as far as they are bound to
particular shapes. Why dwell tediously upon one particle, when the value
of it consists not in its particularity, but in its harmony with the
rest of the universe? Giotto seems to make short work with the human
form divine by wrapping all his figures from head to foot in flowing
draperies. But these figures have more humanity in them, stand closer to
us, because the meaning is no longer petrified in the shape, but speaks
to us freely and directly, in a look, a gesture, a sweep of the garment.
The Greek said,--"With these superhuman lineaments you are to conceive
the presence of Jove; these are the appropriate forms of the immortals."
Giotto said,--"See what divine meanings in every-day faces and actions;
with these eyes you are to look upon the people in the street." The one
is a remote and incredible perfection,--the other, the intimate reality
of the actual and present. It is, in truth, therefore, a closer approach
to Nature than was before possible. The artist no longer shuns full
actuality for his conception, for he fears no confusion with the actual.
For instance, from the earliest times the celestial nature of angels had
been naïvely intimated by appending wings to them. There was no attempt
to carry out the suggestion, or to show the mechanical possibility of
it, for that would be only to make winged men. The painters of the
sixteenth century, on the other hand, from a nervous dread lest wings
should prove insufficient, establish a sure basis of clouds for their
angels, with more and more emphasis of buoyancy and extent, until at
last, no longer trusting their own statement, they settle the question
by showing them from below, already risen, and so choke off the doubt
whether they can rise. But Orcagna's angels float without assistance or
effort, by their own inherent lightness, as naturally as we walk. They
are not out of their element, but bring their element with them. These
are not men caught up into the skies, and do not need to be sustained
there. The world they inhabit is not earth in heaven, but heaven on
earth,--the earth seen in accordance with the purpose of its existence.

Giotto's fellow-citizens were struck with the new interest which the
language of attitude and gesture and all the familiar details of life
acquired in his representation of them. Looking around them, they saw
what they had been taught to see, and concluded it was only an
unexampled closeness of copying. No doubt Giotto thought so, too,--but
had that been all, we should not have heard of it. It is this new
interest that has to be accounted for. The charm did not lie in the
fact, nor in the reproduction of it in the picture, but in a sudden
sense of its value as expression, resting on a still obscurer feeling
that herein lay its whole value,--that the actual _is_ not what it
seems, still less a pure delusion, but that it is pure _seeming_, so
that its phenomenal character is no reproach, but the bond that connects
it with reality. Just because it is only "the outward show," and does
not pretend to be anything more, what it shows is not "the things that
only seem," but the things that are. The attractiveness of beauty is due
to the sense of higher affinities in the object; it is finality felt,
but not comprehended, so that the form shines with the splendor of a
purpose that belongs not to it, but to the whole whereof it is a part.
Aristotle makes wonder the forerunner of science. So our admiration of
beauty is a tribute paid in advance to the fresh insight it promises.
Whether it be called miracle or inspiration, the artist must see his
theme as something excellent and singular. This is perhaps that
"strangeness" which Lord Bacon requires in all "excellent beauty," the
new significance coming direct, and not through reflection, and
therefore ineffable and incomparable. That Giotto and his successors
went on for two hundred years painting saints and miracles was not
because the Church so ordained, nor from any extraordinary devoutness of
the artists, but because they still needed an outward assurance that
what they did was not the petty triviality it seemed. There must always
remain the sense of an ulterior, undeveloped meaning; when that is laid
bare, Art has become superfluous, and makes haste to withdraw into
obscure regions. For it is only as language that the picture or the
statue avails anything, and this circumstantiality of expression is
tolerable only so long as it is the only expression. Beauty is an honor
to matter; but spirit, the source of beauty, is impatient of such
measure of it as Art can give. As, in the legend, Eurydice, the dawn,
sinks back into night at the look of the arisen sun, so this lovely
flush of the dawning intelligence wanes before the eye of the intellect.
The picture is a help so long as it transcends previous conception; but
when the mind comes up with these sallies, and the picture is compared
with the idea, it sinks back into a thing. Thenceforth it takes rank
with Nature, and falls victim to the natural laws. It is only an aspect
and an instant,--not eternal, but a petty persistence,--not God, but an
idol,--not the saint, but his flesh and integuments.

Shall we say, then, that beauty is an illusion? Certainly it is no
falsity; we may call it provisional truth,--truth at a certain stage, as
appearance, not yet as idea. It is _appearance_ seen as final, as the
highest the mind has reached. Hence its miraculousness. It is in advance
of consciousness; we cannot account for it any more than the savage
could account for his fetich,--why this bunch of rags and feathers
should be more venerable to him than other rags and feathers. But to
deny that the impressiveness it adds to matter comes from a deeper sense
of the truth would be as unwise as for him to deny his fetich. The
fetich is false, not as compared with other rags and feathers, but as
compared with a higher conception of God. The falsity is not that he
sees God in this rubbish, but that he does not see Him elsewhere.
Coleridge said that a picture is something between a thought and a
thing. It must keep the mean; either extreme is fatal. Plato makes Eros
intermediate between wisdom and ignorance, born of unequal parentage,
neither mortal nor immortal, forever needy, forever seeking the Psyche
whom he can never meet face to face.

The history of Art has a certain analogy to the growth of the corals.
Like them, it seeks the light which it cannot endure. A certain depth
beneath the surface is most favorable to it,--a dim, midway region of
twilight and calm, remote alike from the stagnant obscurity of mere
sensation and from the agitated surface of day, the dry light of the
intellect. When it is laid bare, it dies,--its substance, indeed,
enduring as the basis of new continents, but the life gone, and only the
traces of its action left in the stony relics of the past. Greek Art
perished when its secret was translated into clearer language by Plato
and Aristotle; and Duccio and Cimabue and Giotto must go the same way as
soon as St. Francis of Assisi or Luther or Calvin puts into words what
they meant. It is its own success that is fatal to Art; for just in
proportion as the expressiveness it insists upon is shown to be
pervading, universal, and not the property of this or that shape, the
particular manifestation is degraded. Color and form are due to partial
opacity; the light must penetrate to a certain depth, but not

The name of Giotto has come to stand for Devotional Art, for an
earnestness that subordinates all display to the sacredness of the
theme. But his fellow-citizens knew him for a man of quick worldly wit,
who despised asceticism, and was ready with the most audacious jokes,
even at sacred things. Ghiberti and Cennini do not praise him for piety,
but for having "brought Art back to Nature" and "translated it from
Greek into Latin,"--that is, from the language of clerks into the
vernacular. It is not anything special in the intention that gives
Giotto his fame, but the freedom, directness, and variety of the
language with which it is expressed. The effort to escape from
traditional formulas and conventional shapes often makes itself felt at
the expense even of beauty. Instead of the statuesque forms of the
earlier time, it is the dramatic interest that is now prominent,--the
composition, the convergent action of numerous figures, separately,
perhaps, insignificant, but pervaded by a common emotion that
subordinates all distinctions and leaves itself alone visible. Even in
the traditional groups, as, for instance, the Holy Families, etc., the
aim is more complete realization, in draperies, gestures, postures,
rather than beauty of form. We miss in Giotto much that had been
attained before him. What Madonna of his can rank with Giovanni
Pisano's? The Northern cathedral-sculptures, even some of the Byzantine
carvings, have a dignity that is at least uncommon in his pictures.
Especially the faces are generally wooden,--destitute alike of
individuality and of the loveliness of Duccio's and even of some of
Cimabue's. On the other hand, in the picture wherein the school
attained, perhaps, its highest success as to beauty of the faces,
Orcagna's "Paradise" at Santa Maria Novella, the blessed are ranged in
row above row, with mostly no relation to each other but juxtaposition.
We see here two directions,--one in continuation of the antique, seeking
beauty as the property of certain privileged forms, the other as the
hidden possibility that pervades all things. One or the other must abate
something: either the image must become less sacred, or the meaning
narrower; for the language of painting is not figurative, like the
language of poetry, but figure, and unless the form bear on its face
that it is not all that is meant, its inherent limitations are
transferred to the thought itself. When Dante tells us that Brunetto
Latini and his companions looked at him,--

    "Come vecchio sartor fa nella cruna,"

it is the intensity of the gaze that is present with us, not the old
tailor and his needle. But in Painting the image is usurping and

Of these divergent tendencies it is easy to see which must conquer. The
gifts of the spirit are more truly honored as the birthright of humanity
than as the property of this or that saint. The worship of the Madonna
is better than the worship of Athene just so far as the homage is paid
to a sentiment and not to a person. Now the Madonna, too, must come down
from her throne. The painters grew tired of painting saints and angels.
Giotto already had diverged from the traditional heads and draperies,
and begun to put his figures into the Florentine dress. Masaccio and
Filippino Lippi brought their fellow-citizens into their pictures. Soon
the Holy Family is only a Florentine matron with her baby. The sacred
histories are no longer the end, but only the excuse; everything else is
insisted on rather than the pretended theme. The second Nicene Council
had declared that "the designing of the holy images was not to be left
to the invention of artists, but to the approved legislation and
tradition of the Catholic Church." But now the Church had to take a
great deal that it had not bargained for. Perspective, chiaroscuro,
picturesque contrast and variety, and all that belongs to the show of
things, without regard to what they are,--this is now the religion of

These things may seem to us rather superficial, and Art to have declined
from its ancient dignity. But see how they took hold of men, and what
men they took hold of. In the midst of that bloody and shameless
fifteenth century, when only force seems sacred, men hunted these
shadows as if they were wealth and power. Paolo Uccello could not be got
away from his drawing to his meals or his rest, and only replied to his
wife's remonstrances, "Ah, this perspective is so delightful!" With what
ardor Mantegna and Luca Signorelli seized upon a new trait or action!
Leonardo da Vinci, "the first name of the fifteenth century," a man to
whom any career was open, and who seemed almost equally fit for any,
never walked the streets without a sketch-book in his hand, and was all
his life long immersed in the study of Appearance, with a persistent
scrutiny that is revealed by his endless caricatures and studies, but
perhaps by nothing more clearly than by his incidental discovery of the
principle of the stereoscope, which he describes in his treatise on
Painting. This was no learned curiosity, nor the whim of seeing the
universe under drill, but only a clearer instinct of what the purpose of
Art is, namely, to see the reality of the actual world in and as the
appearance, instead of groping for some ulterior reality hidden behind
it. Leonardo has been called the precursor of Bacon. Certainly the
conviction that underlies this passion for the outside of things is the
same in both,--the firm belief that the truth is not to be sought in
some remote seventh heaven, but in a truer view of the universe about

Donatello told Paolo Uccello that he was leaving the substance for the
show. But the painter doubtless felt that the show was more real than
any such "substance." For it is the finite taken as what it truly is,
nothing in itself, but only the show of the infinite. If it seem shadowy
and abstract, it is to be considered with what it is compared. What an
abstraction is depends on what is taken away and what left behind. For
instance, the Slavery question in our politics is sometimes termed an
abstraction. Yes, surely, if the dollar _is_ almighty, is the final
reality,--if peace and comfort are alone worth living for,--then the
Slavery question and several other things are abstractions. So in the
world of matter, if the chemical results are the reality of it, the
appearance may well be considered as an abstraction. But this is not the
view of Art; Art has never magnified the materiality of the finite; on
the contrary, its history is only the record of successive attempts to
dispose of matter, the failure always lying in the hasty effort to
abolish it altogether in favor of an immaterial principle outside of it,
something behind the phenomena, like Kant's _noumenon_,--too fine to
exist, yet unable to dispense with existence, and so, after all, not
spirit, but only a superfine kind of matter; or as in a picture in the
Campo Santo at Pisa, where the world is figured as a series of
concentric circles, held up like a shield by God standing behind it.

It may be asked, Was not the appearance, and this alone, from all time,
the object of Art? But so long as the figment of a separate reality of
the finite is kept up, an antagonism subsists between this and truth,
and the appearance cannot be frankly made the end, but has only an
indirect, derivative value. In the classic it was the human form in
superhuman perfection; in the early Christian Art, God condescending to
inhabit human shape; in each case, what is given is felt to be negative
to the reality,--a fiction, not the truth.

But now the antagonism falls away, and the truth of Art is felt to be a
higher power of the truth of Nature. Perspective puts the mind in the
place of gravitation as the centre, thus naïvely declaring mind and not
matter to be the substance of the universe. It will see only this,
feeling well that there is no other reality. It may be said that
Perspective is as much an outward material fact as any other. So it is,
as soon as the point of sight is fixed. The mind alters nothing, but
gives to the objects that coherency that makes them into a world. The
universe has no existence for the idiot, not because it is not _there_,
but because he makes no image of it, or, as we say, does not _mind_ it.
The point of sight is the mark of a foregone action of the mind; what is
embraced in it is seen together, because it belongs to one conception.
The effect can be simulated to a certain extent by mechanical
contrivance; but before the rules of perspective were systematized, the
perspective of a picture betrays its history, tells how much of it was
seen together, and what was added. Even late in the fifteenth century
pictures are still more or less mosaics,--their piecemeal origin
confessed by slight indications in the midst even of very advanced
technical skill. Thus, in Antonio Pollaiuolo's "Three Archangels," in
the Florence Academy,--three admirably drawn figures, abreast, and about
equally distant from the frame, the line of the right wing touches the
head at the same point in each, with no allowance for their different
relations to the centre of the picture.

But there is a deeper kind of perspective, not so easily manufactured,
though the manufacture of this, too, is often attempted, namely,
Composition. The true ground of perspective in a picture is not a
mechanical arrangement of lines, but a definite vision,--an affection of
the painter by the subject, the net result of it in his mind,
instantaneous and complete. It is a mistake to suppose that Composition
is anything arbitrary,--that in the landscape out-of-doors we see the
world as God made it, but in the picture as the painter makes it.
Composition is nothing but the logic of vision; an uncomposed view is
no more possible than an unlogical sentence. The eyes convey in each
case what the mind is able to grasp,--no less, no more. As to any
particular work, it is always a question of fact what it amounts to; the
composition may be shallow, it may be bad,--the work of the
understanding, not of the imagination,--put together, instead of seen
together. But a picture _without_ composition would be the mathematical
point. Mr. Ruskin thinks any sensible person would exchange his
pictures, however good, for windows through which he could see the
scenes themselves. This does not quite meet the point, for it may be
only a preference of quantity to quality. The window gives an infinitude
of pictures; the painter, whatever his merit, but one. A fair comparison
would be to place by the side of the Turner drawing a photograph of the
scene, which we will suppose taken at the most favorable moment, and
complete in color as well as light and shade. Whoever should then prefer
the photograph must be either more of a naturalist than an artist, or
else a better artist than Turner. The photograph, supposing it to be
perfect in its way, gives what is seen at a first glance, only with the
optical part of the process expanded over the whole field, instead of
being confined to one point, as the eye is. The picture in it is the
first glance of the operator, as he selected it; whatever delicacy of
detail told in the impression on his mind tells in the impression on the
plate; whatever is more than that does not go to increase the richness
of the result, _as picture_, but belongs to another sphere. The
landscape-photographs that we have lately had in such admirable
perfection, however they may overpower our judgment at first sight,
will, I believe, be found not to _wear_ well; they have really less in
them than even second-rate drawings, and therefore are sooner exhausted.
The most satisfactory results of the photograph are where the subject is
professedly a fragment, as in near foliage, tree-trunks, stone-texture;
or where the mind's work is already done, and needs only to be
reflected, as in buildings, sculpture, and, to a certain extent,
portrait,--as far as the character has wrought itself into the clothes,
habitual attitude, etc. Is not the popularity of the small full-length
portrait-photographs owing to the predominance they give to this passive
imprint of the mind's past action upon externals over its momentary and
elusive presence? It is to the fillip received from the startling
likeness of trivial details, exciting us to supply what is deficient in
more important points, that is to be ascribed the leniency to the
photograph on the part of near relatives and friends, who are usually
hard to please with a painted likeness.

But all comparisons between the photograph and the hand-drawn picture
are apt to be vitiated by the confusion of various extraneous interests
with a purely artistic satisfaction resting in the thing itself. It is
the old fallacy, involved in all the comparisons of Art with Nature. Of
course, at bottom the interest is always that of the indwelling idea.
But the question is, whether we stop at the outside, the material
texture, or pass at once to the other extreme, the thought conveyed, or
whether the two sides remain undistinguished. In the latter case only is
our enjoyment strictly æsthetic, that is, attached to the bare
perception of this particular thing; in the others, it is not this thing
that prevails, but the physical or moral qualities, the class to which
it belongs. It is true all these qualities play in and influence or even
constitute the impression that particular works of Art make upon us. One
man admires a picture for its _handling_, its surface, the way in which
the paint is laid on; another, for its illustration of the laws of
physiognomy; another, because it reminds him of the spring he spent in
Rome, the pleasant people he met there, etc. We do not always care to
distinguish the sources of the pleasure we feel; but for any _criticism_
we must quit these accidents and personalities, and attend solely to
that in the work which is unique, peculiar to it, that in which it
suggests nothing, and associates itself with nothing, but refuses to be
classed or distributed. This may not be the most important aspect of the
thing represented, nor the deepest interest that a picture can have; but
here, strictly speaking, lies all the _beauty_ of it. The photograph has
or may have a certain value of this kind, but a little time is needful
before we discriminate what is general and what is special. Its
extraneous interest, as specimen, as _instance_ only, tends at once to
abate from the first view, as the mind classifies and disposes of it.
What remains, not thus to be disposed of, is its value as picture. Under
this test, the photograph, compared with works of Art of a high order,
will prove wanting in substance, thin and spotty, faulty in both ways,
too full and too empty. For the result in each case must be
proportionate to the impression that it echoes; but this, in the work of
the artist, is reinforced by all his previous study and experience, as
well as by the force and delicacy which his perception has over that of
other men. It is thus really more concrete, has more in it, than the
actual scene.

But when Composition is decried as _artificial_, what is meant is that
it is _artifice_. It must be artificial, in the sense that all is there
for the sake of the picture. But it is not to be the _contrivance_ of
the painter; the purpose must be in the work, not in his head. Diotima,
in Plato's "Banquet," tells Socrates that Eros desires not the
beautiful, but to bring forth in the beautiful; the creative impulse
itself must be the motive, not anything ulterior. We require of the
artist that he shall build better than he knows,--that his work shall
not be the statement of his opinions, however correct or respectable,
but an infinity, inexhaustible like Nature. He is to paint, as Turner
said, only his impressions, and this precisely because they are not
_his_, but stand outside of his will. To further this, to get the direct
action of the artist's instinct, clear of the meddling and patching of
forethought and afterthought, is no doubt the aim of the seemingly
careless, formless handling now in vogue,--the dash which Harding says
makes all the difference between what is good and what is intolerable in
water-colors,--and the palette-knife-and-finger procedure of the French

The sin of premeditated composition is that it is premeditated; the why
and wherefore is of less consequence. If the motive be extraneous to the
work, a theory, not an instinct, it does not matter much how _high_ it
is. It is fatal to beauty to see in the thing only its uses,--in the
tree only the planks, in Niagara only the water-power; but a reverence
for the facts themselves, or even for the moral meaning of them, so far
as it is consciously present in the artist's mind, is just so far from
the true intent of Art. This is the bane of the modern German school,
both in landscape and history. They are laborious, learned, accurate,
elevated in sentiment; Kaulbach's pictures, for instance, are complete
treatises upon the theme, both as to the conception and the drawing,
grouping, etc.; but it is mostly as treatises that they have interest.
So the allegories in Albert Dürer's "Melancholia" are obstructive to it
as a work of Art, and just in proportion to their value as thoughts.

The moral meaning in a picture, and its fidelity to fact, may each serve
as measure of its merit _after it is done_. They must each be there, for
its aim is to express after its own fashion the reality that lurks in
every particle of matter. But it is for the spectator to see them, not
the artist, and it is talking at cross-purposes to make either the
motive,--to preach morality to Art, or to require from the artist an
inventory of the landscape. That five or ten million pines grow in a
Swiss valley is no reason why every one of them should be drawn. No
doubt every one of them has its reason for being there, and it is
conceivable that an exhaustive final statement might require them all
to be shown. But there are no final statements in this world, least of
all in Art. There are many things besides pines in the valley, and more
important, and they can be drawn meanwhile. Besides, if all the pines,
why not every pebble and blade of grass?

The earnestness that attracts us in mediæval Art, the devout fervor of
the earlier time and the veracity of the later, the deference of the
painter to his theme, is profoundly interesting as _history_, but it was
conditioned also by the limitations of that age. The mediæval mind was
oppressed by a sense of the foreignness and profaneness of Nature. The
world is God's work, and ruled by Him; but it is not His dwelling-place,
but only His foot-stool. The Divine spirit penetrates into the world of
matter at certain points and to a certain depth, does not possess and
inhabit it now and here, but only elsewhere and at a future time, in
heaven, and at the final Judgment; and meantime the Church and the State
are to maintain His jurisdiction over this outlying province as well as
they can. The actual presence of God in the world would seem to drag Him
down into questionable limitations, not to be assumed without express
warrant, as exception, miracle, and in things consecrated and set apart.
Hence the patchwork composition of the early painters; we see in it an
extreme diversity of value ascribed to the things about them. It is a
world partly divine and partly rubbish; not a universe, but a collection
of fragments from various worlds. The figures in their landscapes do not
tread the earth as if they belonged there, but like actors upon a stage,
tricked up for the occasion. The earth is a desert upon which stones
have been laid and herbs stuck into the crevices. The trees are put
together out of separate leaves and twigs, and the rocks and mountains
inserted like posts. In the earliest specimens the figures themselves
have the same piecemeal look: their members are not born together, but
put together. We see just how far the soul extends into them,--sometimes
only to the eyes, then to the rest of the features, afterwards to the
limbs and extremities. Evidently the artist's conception left much
outside of it, to be added by way of label or explanation. In the trees,
the care is to give the well-known fruit, the acorn or the apple, not
the character of the tree; for what is wanted is only an indication what
tree is meant. The only tie between man and the material world is the
_use_ he makes of it, elaborating and turning it into something it was
not. Hence the trim _orderliness_ of the mediæval landscape. Dante shows
no love of the woods or the mountains, but only dread and dislike, and
draws his tropes from engineering, from shipyards, moats, embankments.

The mediæval conception is higher than the antique; it recognizes a
reality beyond the immediate, but not yet that it is the reality of the
immediate and present also. But Art must dislodge this phantom of a
lower, profane reality, and accept its own visions as authentic and
sufficient. The modern mind is in this sense less religious than the
mediæval, that the antithesis of phenomenal and real is less present to
it. But the pungency of this antithesis comes from an imperfect
realization of its meaning. Just so far as the subjection of the finite
remains no longer a postulate or an aspiration, but is carried into
effect,--its finiteness no longer resisted or deplored, but
accepted,--just so far it ceases to be opaque and inert. The present
seems trivial and squalid, because it is clutched and held fast,--the
fugitive image petrified into an idol or a clod. But taken as it is, it
becomes transparent, and reveals the fair lines of the ideal.

The complaints of want of earnestness, devoutness, in modern Art, are as
short-sighted as Schiller's lament over the prosaic present, as a world
bereft of the gods. It is a loss to which we can well resign ourselves,
that we no longer see God throned on Olympus, or anywhere else outside
of the world. It is no misfortune that the mind has recognized under
these alien forms a spirit akin to itself, and therefore no longer
gives bribes to Fate by setting up images to it. The deity it worships
is thenceforth no longer powerless to exist, nor is there any existence
out of him; it needs not, then, to provide a limbo for him in some
sphere of abstraction. What has fled is not the divinity, but its false
isolation, its delegation to a corner of the universe. Instead of the
god with his whims, we have law universal, the rule of mind, to which
matter is not hostile, but allied and affirmative. That the sun is no
longer the chariot of Helios, but a gravitating fireball, is only the
other side of the perception that it is mind embodied, not some
unrelated entity for which a charioteer must be deputed.

We no longer worship groves and fountains, nor Madonnas and saints, and
our Art accordingly can no longer have the fervency, since its objects
have not the concreteness, that belonged to former times. But it is to
be noticed that Art can be devout only in proportion as Religion is
artistic,--that is, as matter, and not spirit, is the immediate object
of worship. Art and Religion spring from the same root, but coincide
only at the outset, as in fetichism, the worship of the Black Stone of
the Caaba, or the wonder-working Madonnas of Italy. The fetich is at
once image and god; the interest in the appearance is not distinct from
the interest in the meaning. It needs neither to be beautiful nor to be
understood. But as the sense springs up of a related _mind_ in the idol,
the two sides are separated. It is no longer _this thing_ merely, but,
on the one hand, spirit, above and beyond matter, and, on the other, the
appearance, equally self-sufficing and supreme among earthly things,
just because its reality is not here, but elsewhere,--appearance,
therefore, as transcendent, or Beauty.

To every age the religion of the foregoing seems artificial, incumbered
with forms, and its Art superstitious, over-scrupulous, biased by
considerations that have nothing to do with Art. Hence religious
reformers are mystics, enthusiasts: this is the look of Luther, even of
the hard-headed Calvin, as seen from the Roman-Catholic side. Hence,
also, every epoch of revolution in Art seems to the preceding like an
irruption of frivolity and profanity. Christian Art would have seemed so
to the ancients; the Realism of the fourteenth century must have seemed
so to the Giotteschi and the Renaissance, to both. The term
Pre-Raphaelitism, though it seems an odd collocation to bring together
such men as Frà Angelico, Filippo Lippi, and Luca Signorelli, has so far
an intelligible basis, that all this period, from Giotto to Raphael,
amidst all diversities, is characterized throughout by a deference of
Art to something extraneous. It is not beauty that Frà Angelico looks
for, but holiness, or beauty as expressing this; it is not beauty that
draws Filippo Lippi, but homely actuality. It is from this point of view
that the Renaissance has been attacked as wanting in faith, earnestness,
humility. The Renaissance had swallowed all formulas. Nothing was in
itself sacred, but all other considerations were sacrificed to the
appeal to the eye. But this, so far from proving any "faithlessness,"
shows, on the contrary, an entire faith in their Art, that it was able
to accomplish what was required of it, and needed not to be bolstered up
by anything external. Mr. Ruskin wants language to express his contempt
for Claude, because, in a picture entitled "Moses at the Burning Bush,"
he paints only a graceful landscape, in which the Bush is rather
inconspicuous. But Claude might well reply, that what he intended was
not a history, nor a homily, but a picture; that the name was added for
convenience' sake, as he might name his son, John, without meaning any
comparisons with the Evangelist. It is no defect, but a merit, that it
requires nothing else than itself to explain it.

Claude depicts "an unutilized earth," whence all traces of care, labor,
sorrow, rapine, and want,--all that can suggest the perils and trials of
life,--is removed. The buildings are palaces or picturesque ruins; the
personages promenade at leisure, or only pretend to be doing something.
All action and story, all individuality of persons, objects, and events,
is merged in a pervading atmosphere of tranquil, sunny repose,--as of a
holiday-afternoon. It may seem to us an idle lubberland, a paradise of
do-nothings;--Mr. Ruskin sees in it only a "dim, stupid, serene,
leguminous enjoyment." But whoever knows Rome will at least recognize in
Claude's pictures some reflex of that enchantment that still hangs over
the wondrous city, and draws to it generation after generation of
pilgrims. In what does the mysterious charm consist? Is it not that the
place seems set apart from the working-day world of selfish and warring
interests? that here all manner of men, for once, lay aside their sordid
occupations and their vulgar standards, to come together on the ground
of a common humanity? It is easy to sneer at the Renaissance, but to
understand it we must take it in its connection. The matters that
interested that age seem now superfluous, the recreations of a holiday
rather than the business of life. But coming from the dust and din of
the fifteenth century, it looks differently. It was, in whatever dim or
fantastic shape, a recognition of universal brotherhood,--of a common
ground whereon all mankind could meet in peace and even sympathy, were
it only for a picnic. In this _villeggiatura_ of the human race the
immediate aim is no very lofty one,--not truth, not duty, but to please
or be pleased. But who is it that is to be pleased? Not the great of the
earth, not the consecrated of the Church, not the men merely of this
guild or this nation, but Man. It is the festival of the new saint,
Humanus,--a joyful announcement that the ancient antagonism is not
fundamental, but destined to be overcome.

This dreamy, half-sad, but friendly and soothing influence, that
breathes from Claude's landscapes, is not the highest that Nature can
inspire, but it is far better than to see in the earth only food,
lodging, and a place to fight in, or even mere background and

The builders of the Rhine-castles looked down the reaches of the river
only to spy out their prey or their enemy; the monks in their quiet
valleys looked out for their trout-stream and kitchen-garden, but any
interest beyond that would have been heathenish and dangerous. Whilst to
the ancients the earth had value only as enjoyable, inhabitable, the
earlier Christian ages valued it only as uninhabitable, as a wilderness
repelling society. In the earliest mediæval landscapes, the effort to
represent a wilderness that is there only for the sake of the hermits
leads to the curious contradiction of a populous hermitage, every part
of it occupied by figures resolutely bent on being alone, and sedulously
ignoring the others. Humboldt quotes from the early Fathers some glowing
descriptions of natural scenery, but they turn always upon the seclusion
from mankind, and upon the contrast between the grandeur of God's works
and the littleness of ours. But in Claude we have the hint, however
crude, of a relation as unsordid as this, but positive and direct,--the
soul of the landscape speaking at once to the soul of man,--showing
itself cognate, already friendly, and needing only to throw off the husk
of opposition. The defect is not that he defers too much to the purely
pictorial, that he postpones the facts or the story to beauty, but that
he does not defer enough, that he does not sufficiently trust his own
eyes, but by way of further assurance drags in architecture, ships,
mythological or Scripture stories, not caring for them himself, but
supposing the spectator cares, so that they remain unassimilated, a scum
floating on the surface and obscuring the work. Here is the "want of
faith" with which, if any, he is justly chargeable,--that beauty is not
enough for him, but he must make it pleasing. Pleasingness implies a
languid acceptance, in which the mind is spared the shock of fresh
suggestion or incitement. We call the Venus de' Medici, for instance, a
pleasing statue, but the Venus of Milo beautiful; because in the one we
find in fuller measure only what was already accepted and agreeable,
whilst in the other we feel the presence of an unexplored and formidable
personality, provoking the endeavor to follow it out and guess at its
range and extent.

This deference to the spectator marks the decline of Art from the
supremacy of its position as the interpreter of religion to mankind. The
work is no longer a revelation devoutly received by the artist and
piously transmitted to a believing world; but he is a cultivated man,
who gives what is agreeable to a cultivated society, where the Bible is
treated with decorum, but all enthusiasm is reserved for Plato and
Cicero. The earlier and greater men brought much of what they were from
the fifteenth century, but even Raphael is too academic. It is not a
Chinese deference to tradition, nor conformity to a fixed national
taste, such as ruled Greek Art as by an organic necessity. One knows not
whether to wonder most at the fancied need to attach to the work the
stamp of classic authority, or at the levity with which the venerable
forms of antiquity are treated. Nothing can be more superficial than
this varnish of classicality. The names of Cicero, Brutus, Augustus were
in all mouths; but the real character of these men, or of any others, or
of the times they lived in, was very slightly realized. The classic
architecture, with its cogent adaptation and sequence of parts, is cut
up into theatre-scenery: its "members" are members no longer, but scraps
to be stuck about at will. The gods and heroes of the ancient world have
become the pageant of a holiday; even the sacred legends of the Church
receive only an outward respect, and at last not even that. Claude wants
a foreground-figure and puts in Æneas, Diana, or Moses, he cares little
which, and he would hear, unmoved, Mr. Ruskin's eloquent denunciation of
their utter unfitness for the assumed character, and the absurdity of
the whole action of the piece.

But the Renaissance had its religion, too,--namely, Culture. The one
"virtue," acknowledged on all hands, alike by busy merchants, soldiers,
despots, women, the acquaintance with Greek and Roman literature and
art, was not quite the idle dilettanteism it seems. Lorenzo de' Medici
said, that, without the knowledge of the Platonic philosophy, it was
hard to be a good citizen and Christian. Leo X. thought, "Nothing more
excellent or more useful has been given by the Creator to mankind, if we
except only the knowledge and true worship of Himself, than these
studies, which not only lead to the ornament and guidance of human life,
but are applicable and useful to every particular situation." That this
culture was superficial, that it regarded only show and outside, is no
reproach, but means only that it was not a mere galvanizing of dead
bones, that a new spirit was masquerading in these garments. Had it been
in earnest in its revival of the past, it would have been insignificant;
its disregard of the substance, and care for the form alone, showed that
the form was used only as a protest against the old forms. A provincial
narrowness, even a slight air of vulgarity, was felt to attach to the
teachings of the Church. Gentility had come to imply not only
heathendom, ("_gentilis est qui in Christum non credit_,") but liberal
breeding. The attraction of the classic culture, "the humanities," as it
was well called, was just this cosmopolitan largeness, that it had no
prejudices and prescribed no test, but was open to all kinds of merit
and every manner of man. Goethe, who belongs in good part to the
Renaissance, frequently exemplifies this feeling, perhaps nowhere more
strikingly than in the account of his pilgrimage to the temple of
Minerva at Assisi, which he lovingly describes, remarking, at the same
time, that he passed with only aversion the Church of St. Francis, with
its frescos by Cimabue, Giotto, and their followers, which no traveller
of our day willingly misses or soon forgets, though the temple may
probably occupy but a small space in his memory. "I made no doubt,"
says Goethe, "that all the heads there bore the same stamp as my
Captain's,"--an Italian officer, more orthodox than enlightened, with
whom he had been travelling.

In truth, however diverse in its first appearance, the Italian
Renaissance was the counterpart of the German Reformation, and, like
that, a declaration that God is not shut up in a corner of the universe,
nor His revelation restricted in regard of time, place, or persons. The
day was long past when the Church was synonymous with civilization. The
Church-ideal of holiness had long since been laid aside; a new world had
grown up, in which other aims and another spirit prevailed. Macchiavelli
thought the Church had nothing to do with worldly affairs, could do
nothing for the State or for freedom. And the Church thought so, too. If
it was left out of the new order of things, it was because it had left
itself out. "The world" was godless, _pompa Diaboli_; devotion to God
implied devotion (of the world) to the Devil. But the world, thus cut
adrift, found itself yet alive and vigorous, and began thenceforth to
live its own life, leaving the "other world" to take care of itself.
Salvation, whether for the State or the individual, it was felt must
come from individual effort, and not be conferred as a stamp or _visa_
from the Pope and the College of Cardinals. It was not Religion that was
dead, but only the Church. The Church being petrified into a negation,
Culture, the religion of the world, was necessarily negative to that,
and for a time absorbed in the mere getting rid of obstructions.
Sainthood had never been proposed even as an ideal for all mankind, but
only as _fuga sæculi_, the avoidance of all connection with human
affairs. Logically, it must lead to the completest isolation, and find
its best exponent in Simeon Stylites. The new ideal of Culture must
involve first of all the getting rid of isolation, natural and
artificial. Its representatives are such men as Leonardo da Vinci and
Leon-Battista Alberti, masters of all arts and sciences, travelled,
well-bred, at home in the universe,--thoroughly accomplished men of the
world, with senses and faculties in complete harmonious development. It
is an age full of splendid figures; whatever growth there was in any
country came now to its flowering-time.

The drawback is want of purpose. This splendor looks only to show; there
is no universal aim, no motive except whim,--the whims of men of talent,
or the whim of the crowd. For the approbation of the Church is
substituted the applause of cultivated society, a wider convention, but
conventional still. This is the frivolous side of the Renaissance, not
its holding light the old traditions, but that for the traditions it
rejected it had nothing but tradition to substitute. But if this
declaration of independence was at first only a claim for license, not
for liberty, this is only what was natural, and may be said of
Protestantism as well. Protestantism, too, had its orthodoxy, and has
not even yet quite realized that the _private judgment_ whose rights it
vindicated does not mean personal whim, and therefore is not fortified
by the assent of any man or body of men, nor weakened by their dissent,
but belongs alone to thought, which is necessarily individual, and at
the same time of universal validity; whereas, personality is partial,
belongs to the crowd, and to that part of the man which confounds him
with the crowd. Were the private judgment indeed private, it would have
no rights. Of what consequence the private judgments of a tribe of apes,
or of Bushmen? This reference to the bystanders means only an appeal
from the Church; it is at bottom a declaration that the truth is not a
miraculous exception, a falsehood which for this particular occasion is
called truth, but the substance of the universe, apparent everywhere,
and to all that seek it. The perception must be its own evidence, it
must be true for us, now and here. We have no right to blame the
Renaissance painters for their love of show, for Art exists for show,
and the due fulfilment of its purpose, bringing to the surface what was
dimly indicated, must engage it the more thoroughly in the superficial
aspect, and make all reference to a hidden ulterior meaning more and
more a mere pretence. What was once Thought has now become form, color,
surface; to make a mystery of it would be thoughtlessness or hypocrisy.

The shortcoming is not in the artists, but in Art. Painting shares the
same fate as Sculpture: not only is the soul not a thing, it is not
wholly an appearance, but combines with its appearing a constant protest
against the finality of it. Not only is the body an inadequate
manifestation, but what it manifests is itself progressive, and any
conception of it restrictive and partial. Henceforth any representation
of the human form must either pretend a mystery that is not felt, or, if
inspired by a genuine interest, it must be of a lower kind, and must
avoid of set purpose any undue exaltation of one part over another, as
of the face over the limbs, and dwell rather upon harmony of lines and
colors, wherein nothing shall be prominent at the expense of the rest,
seeking to make up what is wanting in intensity, in inward meaning, by
allusion, by an interest reflected from without, instead of the
immediate and intuitive. We often feel, even in Raphael's pictures, that
the aim is lower than, for instance, Frà Angelico's. But it is at least
genuine, and what that saves us from we may see in some of Perugino's
and Pinturicchio's altar-pieces, where spirituality means kicking heels,
hollow cheeks, and a deadly-sweet smile. That Raphael, among all his
Holy Families, painted only one Madonna di San Sisto, and that hastily,
on trifling occasion, shows that it was a chance-hit rather than the
normal fruit of his genius. The beauty that shines like celestial flame
from the face of the divine child, and the transfigured humanity of the
mother, are no denizens of earth, but fugitive radiances that tinge it
for a moment and are gone. For once, the impossible is achieved; the
figures hover, dreamlike, disconnected from all around, as if the canvas
opened and showed, not what is upon it, but beyond it. But it is a
casual success, not to be sought or expected. A wise instinct made the
painter in general shun such direct, explicit statement, and rather
treat the subject somewhat cavalierly than allow it to confront and
confound him. The greater he is, and the more complete his development,
the more he must dread whatever makes his Art secondary or superfluous.
Whatever force we give to the reproach of want of elevation, etc., the
only impossible theme is the unartistic.

But before we give heed to any such reproach we must beware of
confounding the personality of the artist or the fashion of the time
with the moving spirit in both. He works always--as Michel Angelo
complained that he was painting the ceiling of the Sistine--over his own
head, and blinded by his own paint. The _purpose_ that we speak of is
not his petty doings and intentions, but what he unintentionally
accomplishes. It is the spiritual alone that interests; and if later Art
seem, by comparison, wanting in spirituality, this is partly the effect
of its juster appreciation, that rendered direct expression hopeless,
but at the same time superfluous, by discovering the same import more
accessible elsewhere, as the higher indirect meaning of all material
things. Critics tell us that the charm of landscape is incomplete
without the presence of man,--that there must always be some hint, at
least, of human habitation or influence. Certainly it is always a human
interest, it is not the timber and the water, that moves us, but the
echo of a kindred mind. But in the "landscape and figures" it is hardly
a human interest that we take in the figures. The "dull victims of pipe
and mug" serve our turn perhaps better than the noblest mountaineers. It
is not to them that we look for the spirit of the landscape,--rather
anywhere else. It is the security of the perception that allows it to
dispense with pointed demonstration, and to delight rather in obscurer
intimations of its meaning.

The modern ideal is the Picturesque,--a beauty not detachable, belonging
to the picture, to the composition, not to the component parts. It has
no favorites; it is violated alike by the systematic glorification and
the systematic depreciation of particular forms. The Apollo Belvedere
would make as poor a figure in the foreground of a modern landscape as a
fisherman in jack-boots and red nightcap on a pedestal in the Vatican.
Claude's or Turner's figures may be absurd, when taken by themselves;
but the absurdity consists in taking them by themselves. Turner, it is
said, could draw figures well; Claude probably could not; (he is more
likely to have tried;) but each must have felt that anything that should
call attention to the figures would be worse than any bad drawing.
Nicolas Poussin was well called "the learned"; for it is his learning,
his study of the antique, of Raphael, of drapery and anatomy, that most
appears in his landscapes and gives his figures their plastic emphasis.
But this is no praise for a painter.

Of course the boundary-lines cannot be very exactly drawn; the genius of
a Delaroche or a Millais will give interest to a figure-piece at
whatever epoch. But such pictures as Etty's, or Page's Venus, where the
beauty of the human body is the point of attraction, are flat
anachronisms, and for this reason, not from any prudishness of the
public, can never excite a hearty enthusiasm. From the sixteenth century
downwards all pictures become more and more _tableaux de genre_,--the
piece is not described by the nominal subject, but only the class to
which it belongs, leaving its special character wholly undetermined. And
in proportion as the action and the detail are dwelt upon, the more
evident is it that the theme is only a pretence. Martyrdoms, when there
was any fervency of faith in the martyrs, were very abstract. A hint of
sword or wheel sufficed. The saints and the angels, as long as men
believed in them, carried their witness in their faces, with only some
conventional indication of their history. As soon as direct
representation is aimed at and the event portrayed as an historical
fact, it is proof enough that all direct interest is gone and nothing
left but the technical problem. The martyrdoms are vulgar
execution-scenes,--the angels, men sprawling upon clouds. Michel Angelo
was a noble, devout man, but it is clear that the God he prayed to was
not the God he painted.

This essential disparity between idea and representation is the weak
side of Art, plastic and pictorial; but because it is essential it is
not felt by the artist as defect. His genius urges him to all advance
that is possible within the limits of his Art, but not to transcend it.
It will be in vain to exhort him to unite the ancient piety to the
modern knowledge. If he listen to the exhortation, he may be a good
critic, but he is no painter. He must be absorbed in what he sees to the
exclusion of everything else; impartiality is a virtue to all the world
except him. There will always be a onesidedness; either the conception
or the embodying of it halts, is only partially realized; some
incompleteness, some mystery, some apparent want of coincidence between
form and meaning is a necessity to the artist, and if he does not find
it, he will invent it. Hence the embarrassment of some of the English
Pre-Raphaelitists, particularly in dealing with the human form. They
have no hesitation in pursuing into still further minuteness the literal
delineation of inanimate objects, draperies, etc.; but they shrink from
giving full life to their figures, not from a slavish adherence to their
exemplars, but from a dread lest it should seem that what is shown is
all that is meant. The early painters were thus _naïve_ and distinct
because of their limitations; they knew very well what they meant,--as,
that the event took place out-of-doors, with the sun shining, the grass
under-foot, an oak-tree here, a strawberry-vine there,--mere adjunct and
by-play, not to be questioned as to the import of the piece: _that_ the
Church took care of. But who can say what a modern landscape means? The
significance that in the older picture was as it were outside of it,
presupposed, assured elsewhere, has now to be incorporated, verily
present in every atom of soil and film of vapor. The realism of the
modern picture must be infinitely more extended, for the meaning of it
is that _nothing_ is superfluous or insignificant. But with the reality
that it lends to every particle of matter, it must introduce, at the
same time, the protest that spirit makes against matter,--most distinct,
indeed, in the human form and countenance, but nowhere absent. In its
utmost explication there must be felt that there is yet more behind; its
utmost distinctness must be everywhere indefinable, evanescent,--must
proclaim that this parade of surface-appearance is not there for its own
sake. This is what Mr. Ruskin calls "the pathetic fallacy": but there is
nothing fallacious in it; it is solid truth, only under the guise of
mystery. Turner said that Mr. Ruskin had put all sorts of meanings into
his pictures that he knew nothing about. Of course, else they would
never have got into the pictures. But this does not affect their
validity, but means only that it is the imagination, not the intellect,
that must apprehend them.

It is not an outward, arbitrary incompleteness that is demanded, but a
visible dependence of each part, by its partiality declaring the
completeness of the whole. It is often said that the picture must "leave
room for the imagination." Yes, and for nothing else; but this does not
imply that it should be unfinished, but that, when the painter has set
down what the imagination grasped in one view, he shall stop, no matter
where, and not attempt to eke out the deficiency by formula or by knack
of fingers. Wherever the inspiration leaves him, there is an end of the
picture. Beyond that we get only his personalities; no skill, no
earnestness of intention, etc., can avail him; he is only mystifying
himself or us. At these points we sooner or later come up with him, are
as good as he, and the work forthwith begins to tire. What is tiresome
is to have thrust upon us the dead surface of matter: this is the prose
of the world, which we come to Art to escape. It is prosaic, because it
is seen as the understanding sees it, as an aggregate only, apart from
its vital connection; it matters little whose the understanding is. The
artist must be alive only to the totality of the impression, blind and
deaf to all outside of that. He must believe that the idyl he sees in
the landscape is there because he sees it, and will appear in the
picture without the help of demonstration. The danger is, that from
weakness of faith he will fancy or pretend that he sees something else,
which may be there, but formed no part of the impression. It is simply a
question of natural attraction, magnetism, how much he can take up and
carry; all beyond that is hindrance, and any conscious endeavor of his
cannot help, but can only thwart.

The picturesque has its root in the mind's craving for totality. It is
Nature seen as a whole; all the characteristics and prerequisites of it
come back to this,--such as roughness, wildness, ruin, obscurity, the
gloom of night or of storm; whatever the outward discrepancy, wherever
the effect is produced, it is because in some way there is a gain in
completeness. On this condition everything is welcome,--without it,
nothing. Thus, a broken, weedy bank is more picturesque than the velvet
slope,--the decayed oak than the symmetry of the sapling,--the squalid
shanty by the railroad, with its base of dirt, its windows stuffed with
old hats, and the red shirts dependent from its eaves, than the neatest
brick cottage. They strike a richer accord, while the others drone on a
single note. Moonlight is always picturesque, because it substitutes
mass and breadth for the obtrusiveness of petty particulars. It is not
the pettiness, but the particularity, that makes them unpicturesque. No
impressiveness in the object can atone for exclusiveness. Niagara cannot
be painted, not because it is too difficult, but because it is no
landscape, but like a vast illuminated capital letter filling the whole
page, or the sublime monotony of the mosque-inscriptions, declaring in
thousandfold repetition that God is great. The soaring sublimity of the
Moslem monotheism comes partly from its narrowness and abstractness. Is
it because we are a little hard of hearing that it takes such
reiteration to move us?

The wholeness which the imagination demands is not quantitative, but
qualitative; it has nothing to do with size or with number, except so
far as, by confusing the sense, they obscurely intimate infinity, with
which all quantities are incommensurable. Mr. Ruskin's encyclopedic
anatomizing of the landscape, to the end of showing the closeness of
Turner's perception, has great interest, but not the interest merely of
a longer list, for it is to be remembered that the longest list would be
no nearer to an exhaustive analysis than the shortest. It is not a
specious completeness, but a sense of infinity that can never be
completed,--greater intensity, not greater extension,--that
distinguishes modern landscape-art. Hence there is no incongruity in the
seeming license that it takes with the firm order of Nature. It is in no
spirit of levity or profanity that the substantial distinctions of
things are thus disregarded,--that all absolute rank is denied, and the
value of each made contingent and floating. It is only that the mind is
somewhat nearer apprehending the sense, and dwells less on the

If Art suffers in its relative rank among human interests by this
democratic levelling, it is to the gain of what Art intends. It is true,
no picture can henceforth move us as men were once moved by pictures. No
Borgo Allegro will ever turn out again in triumph for a Madonna of
Cimabue or of any one else; whatever feeling Turner or another may
excite comes far short of that. But the splendor that clothed the poor,
pale, formal image belonged very little to it, but expressed rather the
previous need of utterance, and could reach that pitch only when the age
had not yet learned to think and to write, but must put up with these
hieroglyphics. Art has no more grown un-religious than Religion has, but
only less idolatrous. As fast as religion passes into life,--as the
spiritual nature of man begins to be recognized as the ground of
legislation and society, and not merely in the miracle of
sainthood,--the apparatus and imagery of the Church, its dogmas and
ceremonies, grow superfluous, as what they stand for is itself present.
It is the dawn that makes these stars grow pale. So in Art, as fast as
the dream of the imagination becomes the common sense of mankind, and
only so fast, the awe that surrounded the earlier glimpses is lost. Its
influence is not lessened, but diffused and domesticated as Culture.

Art is the truly popular philosophy. Our picture-gazing and view-hunting
only express the feeling that our science is too abstract, that it does
not attach us, but isolates us in the universe. What we are thus
inwardly drawn to explore is not the chaff and _exuviæ_ of things, not
their differences only, but their central connection, in spite of
apparent diversity. This, stated, is the Ideal, the abrupt contradiction
of the actual, and the creation of a world extraordinary, in which all
defect is removed. But the defect cannot be cured by correction, for
that admits its right to exist; it is not by exclusion that limitation
is overcome,--this is only to establish a new limitation,--but by
inclusion, by reaching the point where the superficial antagonism
vanishes. Then the ideal is seen no longer in opposition, but everywhere
and alone existent. As this point is approached, the impulse to
reconstruct the actual--as if the triumph of truth were staked on that
venture--dies out. The elaborate contradiction loses interest, earliest
where it is most elaborate and circumstantial, and latest where the
image has least materiality and fixity, where it is only a reminder of
what the actual is securely felt to be, in spite of its stubborn

The modern mind is therefore less demonstrative; our civilization seeks
less to declare and typify itself outwardly in works of Art, manners,
dress, etc. Hence it is, perhaps, that the beauty of the race has not
kept pace with its culture. It is less beautiful, because it cares less
for beauty, since this is no longer the only reconcilement of the actual
with the inward demands. The vice of the imagination is its inevitable
exaggeration. It is our own weakness and dulness that we try to hide
from ourselves by this partiality. Therefore it was said that the images
were the Bible of the laity. Bishop Durandus already in the thirteenth
century declared that it is only where the truth is not yet revealed
that this "Judaizing" is permissible.

The highest of all arts is the art of life. In this the superficial
antagonisms of use and beauty, of fact and reality, disappear. A little
gain here, or the hint of it, richly repays all the lost magnificence.
We need not concern ourselves lest these latter ages should be left
bankrupt of the sense of beauty, for that is but a phase of a force that
is never absent; nothing can supersede it but itself in a higher power.
What we lament as decay only shows its demands fulfilled, and the arts
it has left behind are but the landmarks of its accomplished purpose.


F. W. C.

    Fast as the rolling seasons bring
      The hour of fate to those we love,
    Each pearl that leaves the broken string
      Is set in Friendship's crown above.
    As narrower grows the earthly chain,
      The circle widens in the sky;
    These are our treasures that remain,
      But those are stars that beam on high.

    We miss--oh, how we miss!--_his_ face,--
      With trembling accents speak his name.
    Earth cannot fill his shadowed place
      From all her rolls of pride and fame.
    Our song has lost the silvery thread
      That carolled through his jocund lips;
    Our laugh is mute, our smile is fled,
      And all our sunshine in eclipse.

    And what and whence the wondrous charm
      That kept his manhood boy-like still,--
    That life's hard censors could disarm
      And lead them captive at his will?
    His heart was shaped of rosier clay,--
      His veins were filled with ruddier fire,--
    Time could not chill him, fortune sway,
      Nor toil with all its burdens tire.

    His speech burst throbbing from its fount
      And set our colder thoughts aglow,
    As the hot leaping geysers mount
      And falling melt the Iceland snow.
    Some word, perchance, we counted rash,--
      Some phrase our calmness might disclaim;
    Yet 't was the sunset lightning's flash,
      No angry bolt, but harmless flame.

    Man judges all, God knoweth each;
      We read the rule, He sees the law;
    How oft His laughing children teach
      The truths His prophets never saw!
    O friend, whose wisdom flowered in mirth!
      Our hearts are sad, our eyes are dim;
    He gave thy smiles to brighten earth,--
      We trust thy joyous soul to Him!

    Alas!--our weakness Heaven forgive!
      We murmur, even while we trust,
    "How long earth's breathing burdens live,
      Whose hearts, before they die, are dust!"
    But thou!--through grief's untimely tears
      We ask with half-reproachful sigh,
    "Couldst thou not watch a few brief years
      Till Friendship faltered, 'Thou mayst die'?"

    Who loved our boyish years so well?
      Who knew so well their pleasant tales,
    And all those livelier freaks could tell
      Whose oft-told story never fails?
    In vain we turn our aching eyes,--
      In vain we stretch our eager hands,--
    Cold in his wintry shroud he lies
      Beneath the dreary drifting sands!

    Ah, speak not thus! _He_ lies not there!
      We see him, hear him as of old!
    He comes! he claims his wonted chair;
      His beaming face we still behold!
    His voice rings clear in all our songs,
      And loud his mirthful accents rise;
    To us our brother's life belongs,--
      Dear boys, a classmate never dies!


It was some ten years ago that we first met John Greenleaf Whittier, the
poet of the moral sentiment and of the heart and faith of the people of
America. It chanced that we had then been making notes, with much
interest, upon the genius of the Semitic nations. That peculiar
simplicity, centrality, and intensity which caused them to originate
Monotheism from two independent centres, the only systems of pure
Monotheism which have had power in history,--while the same
characteristics made their poetry always lyrical, never epic or
dramatic, and their most vigorous thought a perpetual sacrifice on the
altars of the will,--this had strongly impressed us; and we seemed to
find in it a striking contrast to the characteristic genius of the Aryan
or Indo-Germanic nations, with their imaginative interpretations of the
religious sentiment, with their epic and dramatic expansions, and their
taste for breadth and variety. Somewhat warm with these notions, we came
to a meeting with our poet, and the first thought, on seeing him, was,
"The head of a Hebrew prophet!" It is not Hebrew,--Saracen rather; the
Jewish type is heavier, more material; but it corresponded strikingly to
the conceptions we had formed of the Southern Semitic crania, and the
whole make of the man was of the same character. The high cranium, so
lofty especially in the dome,--the slight and symmetrical backward slope
of the _whole_ head,--the powerful level brows, and beneath these the
dark, deep eyes, so full of shadowed fire,--the Arabian complexion,--the
sharp-cut, intense lines of the face,--the light, tall, erect
stature,--the quick axial poise of the movement,--all these answered
with singular accuracy to the picture of those preacher-races which had
been shaping itself in our imagination. Indeed, the impression was so
strong as to induce some little feeling of embarrassment. It seemed
slightly awkward and insipid to be meeting a prophet here in a parlor
and in a spruce masquerade of modern costume, shaking hands, and saying,
"Happy to meet you," after the fashion of our feeble civilities.

All this came vividly to remembrance, on taking up, the other day,
Whittier's last book of poems, "In War-Time,"--a volume that has been
welcomed all over the land with enthusiastic delight. Had it been no
more, however, than a mere private reminiscence, it should, at present,
have remained private. But have we not here a key to Whittier's genius?
Is not this Semitic centrality and simplicity, this prophetic depth,
reality, and vigor, without great lateral and intellectual range, its
especial characteristic? He has not the liberated, light-winged Greek
imagination,--imagination not involved and included in the religious
sentiment, but playing in epic freedom and with various interpretation
between religion and intellect; he has not the flowing, Protean,
imaginative sympathy, the power of instant self-identification with all
forms of character and life, which culminated in Shakspeare; but that
imaginative vitality which lurks in faith and conscience, producing what
we may call _ideal force of heart_, this he has eminently; and it is
this central, invisible, Semitic heat which makes him a poet.

Imagination exists in him, not as a separable faculty, but as a pure
vital suffusion. Hence he is an _inevitable_ poet. There is no drop of
his blood, there is no fibre of his brain, which does not crave poetic
expression. Mr. Carlyle desires to postpone poetry; but as Providence
did not postpone Whittier, his wishes can hardly be gratified. Ours is,
indeed, one of the plainest of poets. He is intelligible and acceptable
to those who have little either of poetic culture or of fancy and
imagination. Whoever has common sense and a sound heart has the powers
by which he may be appreciated. And yet he is not only a real poet, but
he is _all_ poet. The Muses have not merely sprinkled his brow; he was
baptized by immersion. His notes are not many; but in them Nature
herself sings. He is a sparrow that half sings, half chirps, on a bush,
not a lark that floods with orient hilarity the skies of morning; but
the bush burns, like that which Moses saw, and the sparrow herself is
part of the divine flame.

This, then, is the general statement about Whittier. His genius is
Hebrew, Biblical,--more so than that of any other poet now using the
English language. In other words, he is organically a poem of the Will.
He is a flower of the moral sentiment,--and of the moral sentiment, not
in its flexible, feminine, vine-like dependence and play, but in its
masculine rigor, climbing in direct, vertical affirmation, like a
forest-pine. In this respect he affiliates with Wordsworth, and, going
farther back, with Milton, whose tap-root was Hebrew, though in the vast
epic flowering of his genius he passed beyond the imaginative range of
Semitic mind.

In thus identifying our bard, spiritually, with a broad form of the
genius of mankind, we already say with emphasis that his is indeed a
Life. Yes, once more, a real Life. He is a nature. He was _born_, not
manufactured. Here, once again, the old, mysterious, miraculous
processes of spiritual assimilation. Here, a genuine root-clutch upon
the elements of man's experience, and an inevitable, indomitable
working-up of them into human shape. To look at him without discerning
this vital depth and reality were as good as no looking at all.

Moreover, the man and the poet are one and the same. His verse is no
literary Beau-Brummelism, but a _re_-presentation of that which is
presented in his consciousness. First, there is inward vital conversion
of the elements of his experience, then verse, or version,--first the
soul, then the body. His voice, as such, has little range, nor is it any
marvel of organic perfection; on the contrary, there is many a voice
with nothing at all in it which far surpasses his in mere vocal
excellence; only in this you can hear the deep refrain of Nature, and of
Nature chanting her moral ideal.

We shall consider Whittier's poetry in this light,--as a vital
effluence, as a product of his being; and citations will be made, not by
way of culling "beauties,"--a mode of criticism to which there are grave
objections,--but of illustrating total growth, quality, and power. Our
endeavor will be to get at, so far as possible, the processes of vital
action, of spiritual assimilation, which go on in the poet, and then to
trace these in his poetry.

God gave Whittier a deep, hot, simple, strenuous, and yet ripe and
spherical, nature, whose twin necessities were, first, that it _must_
lay an intense grasp upon the elements of its experience, and, secondly,
that it _must_ work these up into some form of melodious completeness.
History and the world gave him Quakerism, America, and Rural Solitude;
and through this solitude went winding the sweet, old Merrimac stream,
the river that we would not wish to forget, even by the waters of the
river of life! And it is into these elements that his genius, with its
peculiar vital simplicity and intensity, strikes root. Historic reality,
the great _facts_ of his time, are the soil in which he grows, as they
are with all natures of depth and energy. "We did not wish," said
Goethe, "to learn, but to live."

Quakerism and America--America ideally true to herself--quickly became,
in his mind, one and the same. Quakerism means _divine democracy_.
George Fox was the first forerunner, the John Baptist, of the new
time,--leather-aproned in the British wilderness. Seeing the whole world
dissolving into individualism, he did not try to tie it together, after
the fashion of great old Hooker, with new cords of ecclesiasticism; but
he did this,--he affirmed a Mount Sinai in the heart of the individual,
and gave to the word _person_ an INFINITE depth. To sound that
word thus was his function in history. No wonder that England trembled
with terror, and then blazed with rage. No wonder that many an ardent
James Naylor was crazed with the new wine.

Puritanism meant the same thing at bottom; but, accepting the more legal
and learned interpretations of Calvin, it was, to a great degree,
involved in the past, and also turned its eye more to political
mechanisms. For this very reason it kept up more of fellowship with the
broad world, and had the benefit of this in a larger measure of social
fructification. Whatever is separated dies. Quakerism uttered a word so
profound that the utterance made it insular; and, left to itself, it
began to be lost in itself. Nevertheless, Quakerism and Puritanism are
the two richest historic soils of modern time.

Our young poet got at the heart of the matter. He learned to utter the
word _Man_ so believingly that it sounded down into depths of the divine
and infinite. He learned to say, with Novalis, "He touches heaven who
touches a human body." And when he uttered this word, "Man," in full,
_social_ breadth, lo! it changed, and became AMERICA.

There begins the genesis of the conscious poet. All the depths of his
heart rang with the resonance of these imaginations,--Man, America;
meaning divine depth of manhood, divine spontaneity and rectitude of
social relationship.

But what! what is this? Just as he would raise his voice to chant the
new destinies of man, a harsh, heartless, human bark, and therewith a
low, despairing stifle of sobbing, came to his ear! It is the bark of
the auctioneer, "Going! going!"--it is the sobbing of the slave on the
auction-block! And _this_, too, O Poet, this, too, is America! So you
are not secure of your grand believing imaginations yet, but must fight
for them. The faith of your heart would perish, if it did not put on

Whittier's poetic life has three principal epochs. The first opens and
closes with the "Voices of Freedom." We may use Darwin's phrase, and
call it the period of Struggle for Life. His ideal itself is endangered;
the atmosphere he would inhale is filled with poison; a desolating moral
prosaicism springs up to justify a great social ugliness, and spreads in
the air where his young hopes would try their wings; and in the
imperfect strength of youth he has so much of dependence upon actual
surroundings, that he must either war with their evil or succumb to it.
Of surrender his daring and unselfish soul never for a moment thought.
Never did a trained falcon stoop upon her quarry with more fearlessness,
or a spirit of less question, than that which bore our young hero to the
moral fray; yet the choice was such as we have indicated.

The faith for which he fought is uttered with spirit in a stanza from
"The Branded Hand."

    "In thy lone and long night-watches, sky above and wave below,
    Thou didst learn a higher wisdom than the babbling schoolmen know:
    God's stars and silence taught thee, as His angels only can,
    That the one, sole sacred thing beneath the cope of heaven is Man."

Our poet, too, conversing with God's stars and silence, has come to an
understanding with himself, and made up his mind. That Man's being has
an ideal or infinite value, and that all consecrated institutions are
shams, and their formal consecration a blasphemous mockery, save as they
look to that fact,--this in his Merrimac solitudes has come forth
clearly to his soul, and, like old Hebrew David, he has said, "My heart
is fixed." Make other selections who will, he has concluded to face life
and death on this basis.

Did he not choose as a poet MUST? Between a low moral
prosaicism and a generous moral ideal was it possible for him to
hesitate? Are there those whose real thought is, that man, beyond his
estimation as an animal, represents only a civil value,--that he is but
the tailor's "dummy" and clothes-horse of institutions? Do they tell our
poet that his notion of man as a divine revelation, as a pure spiritual
or absolute value, is a mere dream, discountenanced by the truth of the
universe? He might answer, "Let the universe look to it, then! In that
case, I stand upon my dream as the only worthy reality." What were a
mere pot-and-pudding universe to him? Does Mr. Holyoke complain that
these hot idealisms make the culinary kettles of the world boil over?
Kitchen-prudences are good for kitchens; but the sun kindles his great
heart without special regard to them.

These "Voices of Freedom" are no bad reading at the present day. They
are of that strenuous quality, that the light of battle brings to view a
finer print, which lay unseen between the lines. They are themselves
battles, and stir the blood like the blast of a trumpet. What a beat in
them of fiery pulses! What a heat, as of molten metal, or coal-mines
burning underground! What anger! What desire! And yet we have in vain
searched these poems to find one trace of base wrath, or of any
degenerate and selfish passion. He is angry, and sins not. The sun goes
down and again rises upon his wrath; and neither sets nor rises upon
aught freer from meanness and egoism. All the fires of his heart burn
for justice and mercy, for God and humanity; and they who are most
scathed by them _owe_ him no hatred in return, whether they _pay_ him
any or not.

Not a few of these verses seem written for the present day. Take the
following from the poem entitled, "Texas"; they might be deemed a call
for volunteers.

    "Up the hill-side, down the glen,
    Rouse the sleeping citizen,
    Summon forth the might of men!

     *   *   *   *   *

    "Oh! for God and duty stand,
    Heart to heart and hand to hand,
    Round the old graves of the land.

    "Whoso shrinks or falters now,
    Whoso to the yoke would bow,--
    Brand the craven on his brow!

    "Perish party, perish clan!
    Strike together, while ye can,
    Like the arm of one strong man."

The Administration might have gone to these poems for a policy: he had
fought the battle before them.

    "Have they wronged us? Let us, then,
      Render back nor threats nor prayers;
    Have they chained our freeborn men?

Or look at these concluding stanzas of "The Crisis," which is the last
of the "Voices." Has not our prophet written them for this very day?

    "The crisis presses on us; face to face with us it stands,
    With solemn lips of question, like the Sphinx in Egypt's sands!
    This day we fashion Destiny, our web of Fate we spin;
    This day for all hereafter choose we holiness or sin;
    Even now from starry Gerizim, or Ebal's cloudy crown,
    We call the dews of blessing or the bolts of cursing down.

    "By all for which the Martyrs bore their agony and shame,
    By all the warning words of truth with which the Prophets came,
    By the Future which awaits us, by all the hopes which cast
    Their faint and trembling beams across the darkness of the Past,
    And by the blessed thought of Him who for Earth's freedom died,
    O my people! O my brothers! let us choose the righteous side.

    "So shall the Northern pioneer go joyful on his way,
    To wed Penobscot's waters to San Francisco's bay,
    To make the rugged places smooth, and sow the vales with grain,
    And bear, with Liberty and Law, the Bible in his train;
    The mighty West shall bless the East, and sea shall answer sea,
    And mountain unto mountain call, 'PRAISE GOD, FOR WE ARE FREE!'"

These are less to be named poems than pieces of rhythmic
oratory,--oratory crystallized into poetic form, and carrying that
deeper significance and force which from all vitalized form are
inseparable. A poem, every work of Art, must rest in itself; oratory is
a means toward a specific effect. The man who writes poems may have aims
which underlie and suffuse his work; but they must not be partial, they
must be coextensive with the whole spirit of man, and must enter his
work as the air enters his nostrils. The moment a definite, partial
effect is sought, the attitude of poetry begins to be lost. These
battle-pieces are therefore a warfare for the possession of the poet's
ideal, not the joyous life-breath of that ideal already victorious in
him. And the other poems of this first great epoch in his poetical life,
though always powerful, often beautiful, yet never, we think, show a
_perfect_ resting upon his own poetic heart.

In the year 1850 appeared the "Songs of Labor, and other Poems"; and in
these we reach the transition to his second epoch. Here he has already
recognized the pure ground of the poem,--

    "Art's perfect forms no moral need,
      And beauty is its own excuse,"--

but his modesty declines attempting that perfection, and assigns him a
lower place. He must still seek definite uses, though this use be to
lend imagination or poetic depth to daily labor:--

      "But for the dull and flowerless weed
       Some healing virtue still must plead,
    And the rough ore must find its honors in its use.

      "So haply these my simple lays
         Of homely toil may serve to show
       The orchard-bloom and tasselled maize
       That skirt and gladden duty's ways,
    The unsung beauty hid life's common things below."

Not pure gold as yet, but genuine silver. The aim at a definite use is
still apparent, as he himself perceives; but there is nevertheless a
constant native play into them of ideal feeling. It is no longer a
struggle for room to draw poetic breath in, but only the absence of a
perfectly free and unconscious poetic respiration. Yet they are sterling
poems, with the stamp of the mint upon them. And some of the strains are
such as no living man but Whittier has proven his power to produce.
"Ichabod," for example, is the purest and profoundest _moral_ lament, to
the best of our knowledge, in modern literature, whether American or
European. It is the grief of angels in arms over a traitor brother slain
on the battle-fields of heaven.

Two years later comes the "Chapel of the Hermits," and with it the
second epoch in Whittier's poetic career. The epoch of Culture we name
it. The poet has now passed the period of outward warfare. All the
arrows in the quiver of his noble wrath are spent. Now on the wrong and
shame of the land he looks down with deep, calm, superior eyes,
sorrowful, indeed, and reproving, but no longer perturbed. His hot,
eloquent, prophetic spirit now breathes freely, lurk in the winds of the
moment what poison may; for he has attained to those finer airs of
eternity which hide ever, like the luminiferous ether, in this
atmosphere of time; so that, like the scholar-hero of Schiller, he is
indeed "in the time, but not of it." Still his chant of high
encouragement shall fly forth on wings of music to foster the nobilities
of the land; still over the graves of the faithful dead he shall murmur
a requiem, whose chastened depth and truth relate it to other and better
worlds than this; still his lips utter brave rebuke, but it is a rebuke
that falls, like the song of an unseen bird, out of the sky, so purely
moral, so remote from earthly and egoistic passion, so sure and
reposeful, that verse is its natural embodiment. The home-elements of
his intellectual and moral life he has fairly assimilated; and his verse
in its mellowness and rhythmical excellence reflects this achievement of
his spirit.

But now, after the warfare, begins questioning. For modern culture has
come to him, as it comes to all, with its criticism, its science, its
wide conversation through books, its intellectual unrest; it has
looked him in the eye, and said, "_Are you sure?_ The dear old
traditions,--they are indeed _traditions_. The sweet customs which have
housed our spiritual and social life,--these are _customs_. Of what are
you SURE?" Matthew Arnold has recently said well (we cannot
quote the words) that the opening of the modern epoch consists in the
discovery that institutions and habitudes of the earlier centuries, in
which we have grown, are not absolute, and do not adjust themselves
perfectly to our mental wants. Thus are we thrown back upon our own
souls. We have to ask the first questions, and get such answer as we
may. The meaning of the modern world is this,--an epoch which, in the
midst of established institutions, of old consecrated habitudes of
thought and feeling, of populous nations which cannot cast loose from
ancient anchorage without peril of horrible wreck and disaster, has got
to take up man's life again from the beginning. Of modern life this is
the immediate key.

Our poet's is one of those deep and clinging natures which hold hard by
the heart of bygone times; but also he is of a nature so deep and
sensitive that the spiritual endeavor of the period must needs utter
itself in him. "ART THOU SURE?"--the voice went sounding
keenly, terribly, through the profound of his soul. And to this his
spirit, not without struggle and agony, but at length clearly, made
the faithful Hebrew response, "I TRUST." Bravely said, O
deep-hearted poet! Rest there! Rest there and thus on your own believing
filial heart, and on the Eternal, who in it accomplishes the miracle of
that confiding!

Not eminently endowed with discursive intellect,--not gifted with that
power, Homeric in kind and more than Homeric in degree, which might meet
the old mythic imaginations on, or rather above, their own level, and
out of them, together with the material which modern time supplies,
build in the skies new architectures, wherein not only the feeling, but
the _imagination_ also, of future ages might house,--our poet comes with
Semitic directness to the heart of the matter: he takes the divine
_Yea_, though it be but a simple _Yea_, and no syllable more, in his own
soul, and holds childlike by that. And he who has asked the questions of
the time and reached this conclusion,--he who has stood alone with his
unclothed soul, and out of that nakedness before the Eternities said,
"_I trust_,"--he is victorious; he has entered the modern epoch, and has
not lost the spiritual crown from his brows.

The central poem of this epoch is "Questions of Life."

    "I am: how little more I know!
    Whence came I? Whither do I go?
    A centred self, which feels and is;
    _A cry between the silences;_
    A shadow-birth of clouds at strife
    With sunshine on the hills of life;
    A shaft from Nature's quiver cast
    Into the Future from the Past;
    Between the cradle and the shroud
    A meteor's flight from cloud to cloud."

Then to outward Nature, to mythic tradition, to the thought, faith,
sanctity of old time he goes in quest of certitude, but returns to God
in the heart, and to the simple heroic act by which he that believes

    "To Him, from wanderings long and wild,
    I come, an over-wearied child,
    In cool and shade His peace to find,
    Like dew-fall settling on the mind.
    Assured that all I know is best,
    And humbly trusting for the rest,
    I turn....
    From Nature and her mockery, Art,
    And book and speech of men apart,
    To the still witness in my heart;
    With reverence waiting to behold
    His Avatar of love unfold,
    The Eternal Beauty new and old!"

"The Panorama and other Poems," together with "Later Poems,"[13] having
the dates of 1856 and 1857, constitute the transition to his third and
consummate epoch. Much in them deserves notice, but we must hasten. And
yet, instead of hastening, we will pause, and take this opportunity to
pick a small critical quarrel with Mr. Whittier. We charge him, in the
first place, with sundry felonious assaults upon the good letter _r_. In
the "Panorama," for example, we find _law_ rhyming with _for_! You, Mr.
Poet, you, who indulge fastidious objections to the whipping of women,
to outrage that innocent preposition thus! And to select the word _law_
itself, with which to force it into this lawless connection! Secondly,
_romance_ and _allies_ are constantly written by him with the accent on
the first syllable. These be heinous offences! A poet, of all men,
should cherish the liquid consonants, and should resist the tendency of
the populace to make trochees of all dissyllables. In a graver tone we
might complain that he sometimes--rarely--writes, not by vocation of the
ancient Muses, who were daughters of Memory and immortal Zeus, but of
those Muses in drab and scoop-bonnets who are daughters of Memory and
George Fox. Some lines of the "Brown of Ossawatomie" we are thinking of
now. We can regard them only as a reminiscence of his special Quaker

With the "Home Ballads," published in 1863, dawns fully his final
period,--long may it last! This is the epoch of Poetic Realism. Not that
he abandons or falls away from his moral ideal. The fact is quite
contrary. He has so entirely established himself in that ideal that he
no longer needs strivingly to assert it,--any more than Nature needs to
pin upon oak-trees an affirmation that the idea of an oak dwells in her
formative thought. Nature affirms the oak-idea by oaks; the consummate
poet exhibits the same realism. He embodies. He lends a soul to forms.
The real and ideal in Art are indeed often opposed to each other as
contraries, but it is a false opposition. Let the artist represent
reality, and all that is in him, though it were the faith of seraphs,
will go into the representation. The sole condition is that he shall
_select his subject from native, spontaneous choice_,--that is, leave
his genius to make its own elections. Let one, whose genius so invites
him, paint but a thistle, and paint it as faithfully as Nature grows it;
yet, if the Ten Commandments are meantime uttering themselves in his
thought, he will make the thistle-top a Sinai.

It is this poetic realism that Whittier has now, in a high
degree, attained. Calm and sure, lofty in humility, strong in
childlikeness,--renewing the play-instinct of the true poet in his
heart,--younger now than when he sat on his mother's knee,--chastened,
not darkened, by trial, and toil, and time,--illumined, poet-like, even
by sorrow,--he lives and loves, and chants the deep, homely beauty of
his lays. He is as genuine, as wholesome and real as sweet-flag and
clover. Even when he utters pure sentiment, as in that perfect lyric,
"My Psalm," or in the intrepid, exquisite humility--healthful and sound
as the odor of new-mown hay or balsam-firs--of "Andrew Rykman's Prayer,"
he maintains the same attitude of realism. He states God and inward
experience as he would state sunshine and the growth of grass. This,
with the devout depth of his nature, makes the rare beauty of his hymns
and poems of piety and trust. He does not try to _make_ the facts by
stating them; he does not try to embellish them; he only seeks to utter,
to state them; and even in his most perfect verse they are not half so
melodious as they were in his soul.

All perfect poetry is simple statement of facts,--facts of history or of
imagination. Whoever thinks to create poetry by words, and inclose in
the verse a beauty which did not exist in his consciousness, has got
hopelessly astray.

This attitude of simple divine abiding in the present is beautifully
expressed in the opening stanzas of "My Psalm."

    "I mourn no more my vanished years:
       Beneath a tender rain,
    An April rain of smiles and tears,
       My heart is young again.

    "The west winds blow, and, singing low,
       I hear the glad streams run;
    The windows of my soul I throw
       Wide open to the sun.

    "No longer forward nor behind
       I look in hope and fear;
    But, grateful, take the good I find,
       The best of now and here.

    "I plough no more a desert land,
       To harvest weed and tare;
    The manna dropping from God's hand
       Rebukes my painful care.

    "I break my pilgrim-staff, I lay
      Aside the toiling oar;
    The angel sought so far away
      I welcome at the door."

It is, however, in his ballads that Whittier exhibits, not, perhaps, a
higher, yet a rarer, power than elsewhere,--a power, in truth, which is
very rare indeed. Already in the "Panorama" volume he had brought forth
three of these,--all good, and the tender pathos of that fine ballad of
sentiment, "Maud Muller," went to the heart of the nation. In how many
an imagination does the innocent maiden, with her delicate brown ankles,

    "Rake the meadow sweet with hay,"


    "The judge ride slowly down the lane"!

But though sentiment so simple and unconscious is rare, our poet has yet
better in store for us. He has developed of late years the precious
power of creating _homely beauty_,[14]--one of the rarest powers shown
in modern literature. Homely life-scenes, homely old sanctities and
heroisms, he takes up, delineates them with intrepid fidelity to their
homeliness, and, lo! there they are, beautiful as Indian corn, or as
ploughed land under an October sun! He has thus opened an inexhaustible
mine right here under our New-England feet. What will come of it no one

These poems of his are natural growths; they have their own circulation
of vital juices, their own peculiar properties; they smack of the soil,
are racy and strong and aromatic, like ground-juniper, sweet-fern, and
the _arbor vitæ_. Set them out in the earth, and would they not sprout
and grow?--nor would need vine-shields to shelter them from the weather!
They are living and local, and lean toward the west from the pressure of
east winds that blow on our coast. "Skipper Ireson's Ride,"--can any one
tell what makes that poetry? This uncertainty is the highest praise.
This power of telling a plain matter in a plain way, and leaving it
there a symbol and harmony forever,--it is the power of Nature herself.
And again we repeat, that almost anything may be found in literature
more frequently than this pure creative simplicity. As a special
instance of it, take three lines which occur in an exquisite picture of
natural scenery,--and which we quote the more readily as it affords
opportunity for saying that Whittier's landscape-pictures alone make his
books worthy of study,--not so much those which he sets himself
deliberately to draw as those that are incidental to some other purpose
or effect.

    "I see far southward, this quiet day,
    The hills of Newbury rolling away,
    With the many tints of the season gay,
    Dreamily blending in autumn mist
    Crimson and gold and amethyst.
    Long and low, with dwarf trees crowned,
    Plum Island lies, like a whale aground,
    A stone's toss over the narrow sound.
    Inland, as far as the eye can go,
    The hills curve round, like a bended bow;
    A silver arrow from out them sprung,
    I see the shine of the Quasycung;
    _And, round and round, over valley and hill,
    Old roads winding, as old roads will,
    Here to a ferry, and there to a mill._"

Can any one tell what magic it is that is in these concluding lines, so
that they even eclipse the rhetorical brilliancy of those immediately

Our deep-hearted poet has fairly arrived at his poetic youth. Never was
he so strong, so ruddy and rich as to-day. Time has treated him as,
according to Swedenborg, she does the angels,--chastened indeed, but
vivified. Let him hold steadily to his true vocation as a poet, and
never fear to be thought idle, or untrue to his land. To give
imaginative and ideal depth to the life of the people,--what truer
service than that? And as for war-time,--does he know that "Barbara
Frietche" is the true sequel to the Battle of Gettysburg, is that other
victory which the nation _asked_ of Meade the soldier and obtained from
Whittier the poet?



Having, in a previous number, furnished a brief sketch of the phenomena,
purely physical, which characterized the epidemic of St. Médard, it
remains to notice those of a mental and psychological character.

One of the most common incidents connected with the convulsions of that
period was the appearance of a mental condition, called, in the language
of the day, a state of _ecstasy_, bearing unmistakable analogy to the
artificial somnambulism produced by magnetic influence, and to the
_trance_ of modern spiritualism.

During this condition, there was a sudden exaltation of the mental
faculties, often a wonderful command of language, sometimes the power of
thought-reading, at other times, as was alleged, the gift of prophecy.
While it lasted, the insensibility of the patients was occasionally so
complete, that, as Montgéron says, "they have been pierced in an inhuman
manner, without evincing the slightest sensation";[15] and when it
passed off, they frequently did not recollect anything they had said or
done during its continuance.

At times, like somnambulism, it seemed to assume something of a
cataleptic character, though I cannot find any record of that most
characteristic symptom of catalepsy, the rigid persistence of a limb in
any position in which it may be placed. What was called the "state of
death," is thus described by Montgéron:--

"The state of death is a species of ecstasy, in which the convulsionist,
whose soul seems entirely absorbed by some vision, loses the use of his
senses, wholly or in part. Some convulsionists have remained in this
state two or even three days at a time, the eyes open, without any
movement, the face very pale, the whole body insensible, immovable, and
stiff as a corpse. During all this time, they give little sign of life,
other than a feeble, scarcely perceptible respiration. Most of the
convulsionists, however, have not these ecstasies so strongly marked.
Some, though remaining immovable an entire day or longer, do not
continue during all that time deprived of sight and hearing, nor are
they totally devoid of sensibility; though their members, at certain
intervals, become so stiff that they lose almost entirely the use of

The "state of death," however, was much more rare than other forms of
this abnormal condition. The Abbé d'Asfeld, in his work against the
convulsionists, alluding to the state of ecstasy, defines it as a state
"in which the soul, carried away by a superior force, and, as it were,
out of itself, becomes unconscious of surrounding objects, and occupies
itself with those which imagination presents"; and he adds,--"It is
marked by alienation of the senses, proceeding, however, from some cause
other than sleep. This alienation of the senses is sometimes complete,
sometimes incomplete."[17]

Montgéron, commenting on the above, says,--"This last phase, during
which the alienation of the senses is imperfect, is precisely the
condition of most of the convulsionists, when in the state of ecstasy.
They usually see the persons present; they speak to them; sometimes they
hear what is said to them; but as to the rest, their souls seem absorbed
in the contemplation of objects which a superior power discloses to
their vision."[18]

And a little farther on he adds,--"In these ecstasies the convulsionists
are struck all of a sudden with the unexpected aspect of some object,
the sight of which enchants them with joy. Their eyes beam; their heads
are raised toward heaven; they appear as if they would fly thither. To
see them afterwards absorbed in profound contemplation, with an air of
inexpressible satisfaction, one would say that they are admiring the
divine beauty. Their countenances are animated with a lively and
brilliant fire; and their eyes, which cannot be made to close during the
entire duration of the ecstasy, remain completely motionless, open, and
fixed, as on the object which seems to interest them. They are in some
sort transfigured; they appear quite changed. Even those who, out of
this state, have in their physiognomy something mean or repulsive, alter
so that they can scarcely be recognized.... It is during these ecstasies
that many of the convulsionists deliver their finest discourses and
their chief predictions,--that they speak in unknown tongues,--that they
read the secret thoughts of others,--and even sometimes that they give
their representations."[19]

A provincial ecclesiastic, quoted by Montgéron, and who, it should be
remarked, found fault with many of the doings of the convulsionists,
admits the exalted character of these declamations. He says,--"Their
discourses on religion are spirited, touching, profound,--delivered with
an eloquence and a dignity which our greatest masters cannot approach,
and with a grace and appropriateness of gesture rivalling that of our
best actors.... One of the girls who pronounced such discourses was but
thirteen years and a half old; and most of them were utterly
incompetent, in their natural state, thus to treat subjects far beyond
their capacity."[20]

Colbert, already quoted, bears testimony to the same effect. Writing to
Madame de Coetquen, he says,--"I have read extracts from these
discourses, and have been greatly struck with them. The expressions are
noble, the views grand, the theology exact. It is impossible that the
imagination, and especially the imagination of a child, should originate
such beautiful things. Sublimity full of eloquence reigns throughout
these productions."[21]

To judge fairly of this phenomenon, we must consider the previous
condition and acquirements of those who pronounced such discourses.
Montgéron, while declaring that among the convulsionists there were
occasionally to be found persons of respectable standing, adds,--"But it
must be confessed that in general God has chosen the convulsionists
among the common people; that they were chiefly young children,
especially girls; that almost all of them had lived till then in
ignorance and obscurity; that several of them were deformed, and some,
in their natural state, even exhibited imbecility. Of such, for the most
part, it was that God made choice, to show forth to us His power."[22]

The staple of these discourses--wild and fantastic enough--may be
gathered from the following:--

"The Almighty thus raised up all of a sudden a number of persons, the
greater part without any instruction; He opened the mouths of a number
of young girls, some of whom could not read; and He caused them to
announce, in terms the most magnificent, that the times had now
arrived,--that in a few years the Prophet Elias would appear,--that he
would be despised and treated with outrage by the Catholics,--that he
would even be put to death, together with several of those who had
expected his coming and had become his disciples and followers,--that
God would employ this Prophet to convert all the Jews,--that they, when
thus converted, would immediately carry the light unto all
nations,--that they would reëstablish Christianity throughout the
world,--and that they would preach the morality of the gospel in all its
purity, and cause it to spread over the whole earth."[23]

Montgéron, commenting (as he expresses it) upon "the manner in which the
convulsionists are supernaturally enlightened, and in which they deliver
their discourses and their predictions," says,--

"Ordinarily, the words are not dictated to them; it is only the ideas
that are presented to their minds by a supernatural instinct, and they
are left to express these thoughts in terms of their own selection.
Hence it happens that occasionally their most beautiful discourses are
marred by ill-chosen and incorrect expressions, and by phrases obscure
and badly turned; so that the beauty of some of these consists rather in
the depth of thought, the grandeur of the subjects treated, and the
magnificence of the images presented, than in the language in which the
whole is rendered.

"It is evident, that, when they are thus left to clothe in their own
language the ideas given them, they are also at liberty to add to them,
if they will. And, in fact, most of them declare that they perceive
within themselves the power to mix in their own ideas with those
supernaturally communicated, which suddenly seize their minds; and they
are obliged to be extremely careful not to confound their own thoughts
with those which they receive from a superior intelligence. This is
sometimes the more difficult, inasmuch as the ideas thus coming to them
do not always come with equal clearness.

"Sometimes, however, the terms are dictated to them internally, but
without their being forced to pronounce them, nor hindered from adding
to them, if they choose to do so.

"Finally, in regard to certain subjects,--for example, the lights which
illumine their minds, and oblige them to announce the second coming of
the Prophet Elias, and all that has reference to that great
event,--their lips pronounce a succession of words wholly independently
of their will; so that they themselves listen like the auditors, having
no knowledge of what they say, except only as, word for word, it is

Montgéron appears, however, to admit that the exaltation of intelligence
which is apparent during the state of ecstasy may, to some extent, be
accounted for on natural principles. Starting from the fact, that,
during the convulsions, external objects produce much less effect upon
the senses than in the natural state, he argues that "the more the soul
is disembarrassed of external impressions, the greater is its activity,
the greater its power to frame thoughts, and the greater its
lucidity."[25] He admits, further,--"Although most of the convulsionists
have, when in convulsion, much more intelligence than in their ordinary
state, that intelligence is not always supernatural, but may be the mere
effect of the mental activity which results when soul is disengaged from
sense. Nay, there are examples of convulsionists availing themselves of
the superior intelligence which they have in convulsion to make out
dissertations on mere temporal affairs. This intelligence, also, may at
times fail to subjugate their passions; and I am convinced that they may
occasionally make a bad use of it."[26]

In another place, Montgéron says plainly, that "persons accustomed to
receive revelations, but not raised to the state of the Prophets, may
readily imagine things to be revealed to them which are but the
promptings of their own minds,"[27]--and that this has happened, not
only to the convulsionists, but (by the confession of many of the
ancient fathers[28]) also to the greatest saints. But he protests
against the conclusion, as illogical, that the convulsionists never
speak by the spirit of God, because they do not always do so.

He admits, however,[29] that it is extremely difficult to distinguish
between what ought to be received as divinely revealed and what ought to
be rejected as originating in the convulsionist's own mind; nor does he
give any rule by which this may be done. The knowledge necessary to the
"discerning of spirits" he thinks can be obtained only by humble

The power of prophecy is one of the gifts claimed by Montgéron as having
been bestowed on various convulsionists during their ecstatic state. Yet
he gives no detailed proofs of prophecies touching temporal matters
having been literally fulfilled, unless it be prophecies by
convulsionist-patients in regard to the future crises of their diseases.
And he admits that false predictions were not infrequent, and that false
interpretations of visions touching the future were of common
occurrence. He says,--

"It is sometimes revealed to a convulsionist, for example, that there is
to happen to some person not named a certain accident, every detail of
which is minutely given; and the convulsionist is ordered to declare
what has been communicated to him, that the hand of God may be
recognized in its fulfilment.... But, at the same time, the
convulsionist receiving this vision believes it to apply to a certain
person, whom he designates by name. The prediction, however, is not
verified in the case of the person named, so that those who heard it
delivered conclude that it is false; but it _is_ verified in the case of
another person, to whom the accident happens, attended by all the
minutely detailed particulars."[31]

If this be correctly given, it is what animal magnetizers would call a
case of imperfect lucidity.

The case as to the gift of tongues is still less satisfactorily made
out. A few, Montgéron says, translate, after the ecstasy, what they have
declaimed, during its continuance, in an unknown tongue; but for this,
of course, we have their word only. The greater part know nothing of
what they have said, when the ecstasy has passed. As to these, he

"The only proof we have that they understand the words at the time they
pronounce them is that they often express, in the most lively manner,
the various sentiments contained in their discourse, not only by their
gestures, but also by the attitudes the body assumes, and by the
expression of the countenance, on which the different sentiments are
painted, by turns, in a manner the most expressive, so that one is able,
up to a certain point, to detect the feelings by which they are moved;
and it has been easy for the attentive observer to perceive that most of
these discourses were detailed predictions as to the coming of the
Prophet Elias," etc.[32]

If it be presumptuous, considering the marvels which modern observations
disclose, to pronounce that the alleged unknown languages were unmeaning
sounds only, it is evident, at least, that the above is inconclusive as
to their true character.

Much more trustworthy appears to be the evidence touching the phenomenon
of thought-reading.

The fact that many of the convulsionists were able "to discover the
secrets of the heart" is admitted by their principal opponents. The Abbé
d'Asfeld himself adduces examples of it.[33] M. Poncet admits its
reality.[34] The provincial ecclesiastic whom I have already quoted says
that he "found examples without number of convulsionists who discovered
the secrets of the heart in the most minute detail: for example, to
disclose to a person that at such a period of his life he did such or
such a thing; to another, that he had done so and so before coming
hither," etc.[35] The author of the "Recherche de la Vérité," a pamphlet
on the phenomena of the convulsions, which seems very candidly written,
acknowledges as one of these "the manifestation of the thoughts and the
discovery of secret things."[36]

Montgéron testifies to the fact, from repeated personal observation,
that they revealed to him things known to himself alone; and after
adducing the admissions above alluded to, and some others, he
adds,--"But it would be superfluous further to multiply testimony in
proof of a fact admitted by all the world, even by the avowed
adversaries of the convulsions, who have found no other method of
explaining it than by doing Satan the honor to proclaim him the author
of these revelations."[37]

Besides these gifts, real or alleged, there was occasionally observed,
during ecstasy, an extraordinary development of the musical faculty.
Montgéron tells us,--"Mademoiselle Dancogné, who, as was well known, had
no voice whatever in her natural state, sings in the most perfect manner
canticles in an unknown tongue, and that to the admiration of all those
who hear her."[38]

As to the general character of these psychological phenomena, the
theologians of that day were, with few exceptions, agreed that they were
of a supernatural character,--the usual question mooted between them
being, whether they were due to a Divine or to a Satanic influence. The
medical opponents of the movement sometimes took the ground that the
state of ecstasy was allied to delirium or insanity,--and that it was a
degraded condition, inasmuch as the patient abandoned the exercise of
his free will: an argument similar to that which has been made in our
day against somewhat analogous phenomena, by a Bostonian.[39]

In concluding a sketch, in which, though it be necessarily a brief one,
I have taken pains to set forth with strict accuracy all the essential
features which mark the character of this extraordinary epidemic, it is
proper I should state that the opponents of Jansenism concur in bringing
against the convulsionists the charge that many of them were not only
ignorant and illiterate girls, but persons of bad character,
occasionally of notoriously immoral habits; nay, that some of them
justified the vicious courses in which they indulged by declaring these
to be a representation of a religious tendency, emblematic of that
degradation through which the Church must pass, before, recalled by the
voice of Elias, it regained its pristine purity.

Montgéron, while admitting that such charges may justly be brought
against some of the convulsionists, denies the general truth of the
allegation, yet after such a fashion that one sees plainly he considers
it necessary, in establishing the character and divine source of the
discourses and predictions delivered in the state of ecstasy, to do so
without reference to the moral standing of the ecstatics. When one of
his opponents (the physician who addressed to him the satirical letter
already referred to) ascribes to him the position, that one must decide
the divine or diabolical state of a person alleged to be inspired by
reference to that person's morals and conduct, he replies,--"God forbid
that I should advance so false a proposition!" And he proceeds to argue
that the Deity often avails Himself, as a medium for expressing His
will, of unworthy subjects. He says,--

"Who does not know that the Holy Spirit, whose divine rays are never
stained, let them shine where they will, 'bloweth where it listeth,' and
distributes its gifts to whom best it seems, without always causing
these to be accompanied by internal virtues? Does not Scripture inform
us that God caused miracles to be wrought and great prophecies to be
delivered by very vicious persons, as Judas, Caiaphas, Balaam, and
others? Jesus Christ himself teaches us that there will be workers of
iniquity among the number of those who prophesy and of those who will
work miracles in his name, declaring that on the Day of Judgment many
will say unto him, 'Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name, and in thy
name done many wonderful works?' and that he will reply to them, 'Depart
from me, ye that work iniquity.'"

And he proceeds thus:--"If, therefore, all that our enemies allege
against the character of the convulsionists were true, it does not
follow that God would not employ such persons as the ministers of His
miracles and His prophecies, provided, always, that these miracles and
these prophecies have a worthy object, and tend to a knowledge of the
truth, to the spread of charity, and to the reformation of the morals of

These accusations of immorality are, probably, greatly exaggerated by
the enemies of the Jansenists; yet one may gather, even from the tenor
of Montgéron's defence, that there was more or less truth in the charges
brought against the conduct of some of the convulsionists, and that the
state of ecstasy, whatever its true nature, was by no means confined to
persons of good moral character.

Such are the alleged facts, physical and mental, connected with this
extraordinary episode in the history of mental epidemics.

       *       *       *       *       *

On the perusal of such a narrative as the above, the questions which
naturally suggest themselves are,--To what extent can we rationally
attach credit to it? And, if true, what is the explanation of phenomena
apparently so incredible?

As to the first, the admission of a distinguished contemporary
historian, noted for his skeptical tendencies, in regard to the evidence
for these alleged miracles, is noteworthy. It is in these words:--"Many
of them were immediately proved on the spot before judges of
unquestioned integrity, attested by witnesses of credit and distinction,
in a learned age, and on the most eminent theatre that is now in the
world; nor were the Jesuits, though a learned body, supported by the
civil magistrate, and determined enemies to those opinions in whose
favor the miracles were supposed to have been wrought, ever able
distinctly to refute or detect them."[41]

Similar is the admission of another celebrated author, at least as
skeptical as Hume, and writing at the very time, and on the very spot
where these marvellous events were occurring. Diderot, speaking of the
St.-Médard manifestations, says,--"We have of these pretended miracles a
vast collection, which may brave the most determined incredulity. Its
author, Carré de Montgéron, is a magistrate, a man of gravity, who up to
that time had been a professed materialist,--on insufficient grounds,
it is true, but yet a man who certainly had no expectation of making his
fortune by becoming a Jansenist. An eye-witness of the facts he relates,
and of which he had an opportunity of judging dispassionately and
disinterestedly, his testimony is indorsed by that of a thousand others.
All relate what they have seen; and their depositions have every
possible mark of authenticity; the originals being recorded and
preserved in the public archives."[42]

Even in the very denunciations of opponents we find corroboratory
evidence of the main facts in question. Witness the terms in which the
Bishop of Bethléem declaims against the scenes of St. Médard:--"What! we
find ecclesiastics, priests, in the midst of numerous assemblies
composed of persons of every rank and of both sexes, doffing their
cassocks, habiting themselves in shirt and trousers, the better to be
able to act the part of executioners, casting on the ground young girls,
dragging them face-downward along the earth, and then discharging on
their bodies innumerable blows, till they themselves, the dealers of
these blows, are reduced to such a state of exhaustion that they are
obliged to have water poured on their heads! What! we find men
pretending to sentiments of religion and humanity dealing, with the full
swing of their arms, thirty or forty thousand blows with heavy clubs on
the arms, on the legs, on the heads of young girls, and making other
desperate efforts capable of crushing the skulls of the sufferers! What!
we find cultivated ladies, pious and of high rank, doctors of law, civil
and canonical, laymen of character, even curates, daily witnessing this
spectacle of fanaticism and horror in silence, instead of opposing it
with all their force; nay, they applaud it by their presence, even by
their countenance and their conversation! Was ever, throughout all
history, such another example of excesses thus scandalous, thus

De Lan, another opponent, thus sketches the same scenes:--"Young girls,
bareheaded, dashed their heads against a wall or against a marble slab;
they caused their limbs to be drawn by strong men, even to the extent of
dislocation;[44] they caused blows to be given them that would kill the
most robust, and in such numbers that one is terrified. I know one
person who counted four thousand at a single sitting; they were given
sometimes with the palm of the hand, sometimes with the fist; sometimes
on the back, sometimes on the stomach. Occasionally, heavy cudgels or
clubs were employed instead[45].... Some convulsionists ran pins into
their heads, without suffering any pain; others would have thrown
themselves from the windows, had they not been prevented. Others, again,
carried their zeal so far as to cause themselves to be hanged up by a
hook," etc.[46]

Modern medical writers of reputation usually admit the main facts, and
seek a natural explanation of them. In the article, "Convulsions," in
the great "Dictionnaire des Sciences Médicales," (published in 1812-22,)
which article is from the pen of an able physiologist, Dr. Montègre, we
find the following, in regard to the St.-Médard phenomena:--"Carré de
Montgéron surrounded these prodigies with depositions so numerous and so
authentic, that, after having examined them, no doubt can remain....
However great my reluctance to admit such facts, it is impossible for me
to refuse to receive them." As to the _succors_, so-called, he frankly
confesses that they seem to him as fully proved as the rest. He
says,--"There are the same witnesses, and the incidents themselves are
still more clear and precise. It is not so much of cures that there is
question in this case, as of apparent and external facts, in regard to
which there can be no misconception."

Dr. Calmeil, in his well-known work on Insanity, while regarding this
epidemic as one of the most striking examples of religious mania,
accepts the relation of Montgéron as in the main true. "From various
motives," says he, "these theomaniacs sought out the most frightful
bodily tortures. Would it be credible, if it were not that the entire
population of Paris concurred in testifying to the fact, that more than
five hundred women pushed the rage of fanaticism or the perversion of
sensibility to such a point, that they exposed themselves to burning
fires, that they had their heads compressed between boards, that they
caused to be administered on the abdomen, on the breast, on the stomach,
on every part of the body, blows of clubs, stampings of the feet, blows
with weapons of stone, with bars of iron? Yet the theomaniacs of St.
Médard braved all these tests, sometimes as proofs that God had rendered
them invulnerable, sometimes to demonstrate that God could cure them by
means calculated to kill them, had they not been the objects of His
special protection, sometimes to show that blows usually painful only
caused to them pleasant relief. The picture of the punishments to which
the convulsionists submitted, as if by inspiration, so that no one might
doubt, as Montgéron has it, that it was easy for the Almighty to render
invulnerable and insensible bodies the most frail and delicate, would
induce us to believe, if the contrary were not so conclusively
established, that a rage for homicide and suicide had taken possession
of the greater part of the sect of the Appellants."[47]

Though I am acquainted with no class of phenomena occurring elsewhere
that will match the "Great Succors" of St. Médard, yet we find
occasional glimpses of instincts somewhat analogous to those claimed for
the convulsionists, in other examples.

In Hecker's "Epidemics of the Middle Ages" there is a chapter devoted to
what he calls the "Dancing Mania," the account of which he thus
introduces:--"So early as the year 1374, assemblages of men and women
were seen at Aix-la-Chapelle, who had come out of Germany, and who,
united by one common delusion, exhibited to the public, both in the
streets and in the churches, the following strange spectacle. They
formed circles hand in hand, and, appearing to have lost all control
over their senses, continued dancing, regardless of the bystanders, for
hours together, in wild delirium, until at length they fell to the
ground in a state of exhaustion. They then complained of extreme
oppression, and groaned as if in the agonies of death, until they were
swathed in cloths bound tightly round their waists; upon which they
recovered, and remained free from complaint until the next attack. This
practice of swathing was resorted to on account of the tympany[48] which
followed these spasmodic ravings; but the bystanders frequently relieved
patients in a less artificial manner, _by thumping and trampling upon
the parts affected_. While dancing they neither saw nor heard, being
insensible to external impressions through the senses, but were haunted
by visions." And again,--"In Liege, Utrecht, Tongres, and many other
towns of Belgium, the dancers appeared with garlands in their hair, and
their waists girt with cloths, that they might, as soon as the paroxysm
was over, receive immediate relief from the attack of tympany. This
bandage, by the insertion of a stick, was easily twisted tight; _many,
however, obtained more relief from kicks and blows_, which they found
numbers of persons ready to administer."[49]

Physicians of our own day, while magnetizing, have occasionally
encountered not dissimilar phenomena. Dr. Bertrand tells us that the
first patient he ever magnetized, being attacked by a disease of an
hysterical character, became subject to convulsions of so long duration
and so violent in character, that he had never, in all his practice,
seen the like; and that she suffered horribly. He adds,--"Here is what
happened during her first convulsion-fits. This unhappy girl, whose
instinct was perverted by intensity of pain, earnestly entreated the
persons present to press upon her with such force as at any other time
would have produced the most serious injury. I had the greatest
difficulty to prevent those around her from acceding to her urgent
requests that they would kneel upon her with all their weight, that they
would exert with their hands the utmost pressure on the pit of her
stomach, even on her throat, with the view of driving off the imaginary
hysterical _ball_ of which she complained. Though at any other time such
treatment would have produced severe pain, she declared that it relieved
her; and when the fit passed off, she did not seem to suffer the least
inconvenience from it."[50]

The above, connecting as it does the phenomena exhibited during the
St.-Médard epidemic with those observed by animal magnetizers, brings us
to the second query, namely, as to the cause of these phenomena.

And here we find physicians, not mesmerists, comparing these phenomena,
and others of the same class, with the effects observed by animal
magnetizers. Dr. Montègre, already quoted, says,--"The phenomena of
magnetism, and those presented by cases of possession and of
fascination, connect themselves with those observed among the
convulsionists, not only by the most complete resemblance, but also by
the cause which determines them. There is not a single phenomenon
observed in the one case that has not its counterpart in the

Calmeil, while admitting that the "nervous effects produced by animal
magnetizers bear a close resemblance to those which have been observed
at Loudun, at Louviers, and during other convulsive epidemics," offers
the following, in explanation of the physical phenomena connected with
the "Great Succors":--

"The energetic resistance, which, in the case of the convulsionists, the
skin, the cellular tissue, and the surface of the body and limbs offered
to the shock of blows, is certainly calculated to excite surprise. But
many of these fanatics greatly deceived themselves, when they imagined
that they were invulnerable; for it has been repeatedly proved that
several of them, as a consequent of the cruel trials they solicited,
suffered from large ecchymoses on the integuments, and numerous
contusions on those portions of the surface which were exposed to the
rudest attacks. For the rest, the blows were never administered except
during the torments of convulsion; and at that time the tympany
(_météorisme_) of the abdomen, the state of spasm of the uterus in women
and of the alimentary canal in both sexes, the state of contraction, of
orgasm, of turgescence in the fleshy envelopes, in the muscular layers
which protect and inclose the abdomen, the thorax, the principal
vascular trunks, and the bony surfaces, must essentially contribute to
weaken, to deaden, to nullify, the effect of the blows. Is it not by
means of an analogous state of orgasm, which an over-excited will
produces, that boxers and athletes find themselves in a condition to
brave, to a certain point, the dangers of their profession? In fine, it
is to be remarked, that, when dealing blows on the bodies of the
convulsionists, the assistants employed weapons of considerable volume,
having flat or rounded surfaces, cylindrical or blunted. But the action
of such physical agents is not to be compared, as regards its danger,
with that of thongs, switches, or other supple and flexible instruments
with distinct edges. Finally, the contact and the repeated impression of
the blows produced on the convulsionists the effect of a sort of
salutary pounding, and rendered less poignant and less sensible the
tortures of hysteria. It would have been preferable, doubtless, to make
use of less murderous succors; the rage for distinction as the possessor
of a miraculous gift, even more perhaps than the instinctive need of
immediate relief, prompting these convulsionary theomaniacs to make
choice of means calculated to act on the imagination of a populace,
whose interest could be kept awake only by a constant repetition of

Calmeil, of all the medical authors I have consulted, appears to have
the most closely studied the various phases of the St.-Médard
epidemic.[53] Yet the explanations above given seem to me quite
incommensurate with the phenomena admitted.

Some of the patients, he says, suffered from ecchymosis and contusions.
In plain, unprofessional language, they were beaten black and blue. That
is such a result as usually follows a few blows from a boxer's fist or
from an ordinary walking-stick. But when the weapon employed is a rough
iron bar weighing upwards of twenty-nine pounds, when the number of
blows dealt in succession on the pit of the stomach of a young girl
exceeds a hundred and fifty, and when these are delivered with the
utmost force of an athletic man, is it bruises and contusions we look
for as the only consequence? Or does it explain the immunity with which
this frightful infliction was received, to call it a salutary pounding?
The argument drawn from the turgescence of the viscera and other organs,
from the spasmodic contraction of the muscles and the general state of
orgasm of the system, has doubtless great weight; but does it reach far
enough to explain to us the fact, (if it be a fact, and as such Calmeil
accepts it,) that a girl, bent back so that her head and feet touched
the floor, the centre of the vertebral column being supported on a
sharp-pointed stake, received, day after day, with impunity, directly on
her stomach and bowels, one hundred times in succession, a flint stone
weighing fifty pounds, dropped suddenly from a height of twelve or
fifteen feet? Boxers, it is true, in the excited state in which they
enter the ring, receive, unmoved, from their opponents blows which would
prostrate a man not prepared, by hard training, for the trial. But even
such blows, in the end, sometimes prove mortal; and what should we say
of substituting for the human fist a sharp-pointed rapier, and expecting
that the tension of the nervous system would render impenetrable the
skin of the combatant? Finally, it is to be admitted, that flexible
weapons, especially if loaded, as the cat-o'-nine-tails, still used in
some countries as an instrument of military punishment, occasionally is,
with hard, angular substances, are among the most severe that can be
employed to inflict punishment or destroy life. But what would even the
poor condemned soldier, shrinking from that terrible instrument of
torture which modern civilization has not yet been shamed into
discarding, think of the proposal to substitute for it the andiron with
which Montgéron, at the twenty-fifth blow, broke an opening through a
stone wall,--the executioner-drummer being commanded to deal, with his
utmost strength, one hundred and sixty blows in succession, with that
ponderous bar, (a bar with rough edges, no cylindrical rod,) not on the
back of the culprit, but on his unprotected breast?

No wonder that De Gasparin, with all his aversion for the supernatural,
and all his disinclination to admit anything which he cannot explain,
after quoting from Calmeil the above explanation, feels its
insufficiency, and seeks another. These are his words:--

"How does it happen, that, after being struck with the justice of these
observations, one still retains a sort of intellectual uneasiness, a
certain suspicion of the disproportion between the explanation and the
phenomena it seeks to explain? How does it happen, that, under the
influence of such an impression, many suffer themselves to be seduced
into an admission of diabolical or miraculous agency? It happens,
because Dr. Calmeil, faithful to the countersign of all learned bodies
in England and France, refuses to admit fluidic action, or to make a
single step in advance of the ordinary theory of nervous excitement. Now
it is in vain to talk of contractions, of spasms, of turgescence; all
this evidently fails to reach the case of the St.-Médard _succors_. To
reach it we need the intervention of a peculiar force,--of a fluid which
is disengaged, sometimes by the effect of certain crises, sometimes by
the power of magnetism itself. Those who systematically keep up this
hiatus in the study of human physiology are the best allies of the
superstitions they profess to combat.... Suppose that study seriously
undertaken, with what precision should we resolve the problem of which
now we can but indicate the solution! Habituated to the wonders of the
nervous fluid, knowing that it can raise, at a distance, inert objects,
that it can biologize, that it can communicate suppleness or rigidity,
the highest development of the senses or absolute insensibility, we
should not be greatly surprised to discover that it communicates also,
in certain cases, elasticity and that degree of impenetrability which
characterizes gum-elastic."[54]

De Gasparin further explains his theory in the following passage:--"The
great difficulty is not to explain the perversion of sensibility
exhibited by the convulsionists. Aside from that question, does it not
remain incomprehensible that feeble women should have received, without
being a hundred times crushed to pieces, the frightful blows of which we
have spoken? How can we explain such a power of resistance? A very small
change, operated by the nervous fluid, would suffice to render the
matter very simple. Let us suppose the skin and fibres of the
convulsionists to acquire, in virtue of their peculiar state of
excitement, a consistency analogous to that of gum-elastic; then all the
facts that astonish us would become as natural as possible. With
convulsionists of gum-elastic,[55] or, rather, whose bony framework was
covered with muscles and tissues of gum-elastic, what would happen?"

He then proceeds to admit that "a vigorous thrust with a rapier, or
stroke with a sabre, as such thrusts and strokes are usually dealt,
would doubtless penetrate such an envelope"; but, he alleges, the
St.-Médard convulsionists never, in a single instance, permitted such
thrusts or strokes, with rapier or sabre, to be given; prudently
restricting themselves to pressure only, exerted after the sword-point
had been placed against the body. He reminds us, further, that neither
razors nor pistol-balls, both of which would penetrate gum-elastic, were
ever tried on the convulsionists; and he adds,--"Neither flint stones
nor andirons nor clubs nor swords and spits, pressed against it, would
have broken the surface of the gum-elastic envelope. They would have
produced no visible injury. At the most, they might have caused a
certain degree of internal friction, more or less serious, according to
the thickness of the gum-elastic cuirass which covered the bones and the
various organs."[56]

I am fain to confess, that this imagining of men and women of
gum-elastic, all but the skeleton, does not seem to me so simple a
matter as it appears to have been regarded by M. de Gasparin. Let us
take it for granted that his theory of a nervous fluid, which is the
agent in table-moving,[57] is the true one. How is the mere disengaging
of such a fluid to work a sudden transmutation of muscular and tendinous
fibre and cellular tissue into a substance possessing the essential
properties of a vegetable gum? And what becomes of the skin, ordinarily
so delicate, so easily abraded or pierced, so readily injured? Is that
transmuted also? Let us concede it. But the concession does not suffice.
There remain the bones and cartilages, naturally so brittle, so liable
to fracture. Let us even suppose the breast and stomach of a
convulsionist protected by an artificial coating of actual gum-elastic,
would it be a safe experiment to drop upon it, from a height of twelve
feet, a flint stone weighing fifty pounds? We are expressly told that
the ribs bent under the terrible shock, and sank, flattened, even to the
backbone. Is it not certain, that human ribs and cartilages, in their
normal state, would have snapped off, in spite of the interposed
protection? Must we not, then, imagine osseous and cartilaginous fibre,
too, transmuted? Indeed, while we are about it, I do not see why we
should stop short of the skeleton. Since we understand nothing of the
manner of transmutation, it is as easy to imagine bone turned to
gum-elastic, as skin and muscle and tendon.

In truth, if we look at it narrowly, this theory of De Gasparin is
little more than a virtual admission, that, during convulsion, by some
sudden change, the bodies of the patients did, as they themselves
declared, become, to a marvellous extent, invulnerable,--with the
suggestion added, that the nervous fluid may, after some unexplained
fashion, have been the agent of that change.

For the rest, though the alleged analogy between the properties of
gum-elastic and those which, in this abnormal state, the human body
seems to acquire, is, to a certain extent, sustained by many of the
observations above recorded,--for example, when a sharp-pointed rapier,
violently pushed against Gabrielle Moler's throat, sank to the depth of
four finger-breadths, and, when drawn back, seeming to attach itself to
the skin, drew it back also, causing a trifling injury,--yet others seem
to prove that there is little strictness in that analogy. The King's
Chaplain and the Advocate of Parliament, whose testimony I have cited,
both certify that the flesh occasionally reacted under the sword,
swelling up, so as to thrust back the weapons, and even push back the
assistants. There is no corresponding property in gum-elastic. And
Montgéron expressly tells us, that, at the close of a terrible succor
called for by Gabrielle Moler, when she caused four sharpened shovels,
placed, one above, one below, and one on each side, of one of her
breasts, to be pushed by the main force of four assistants, a committee
of ladies present "had the curiosity to examine her breast immediately
after this operation, and unanimously certified that they found it as
hard as a stone."[58] If this observation can be depended on, the
gum-elastic theory, even as an analogically approximating explanation of
this entire class of phenomena, is untenable.

It is further to be remarked, that one of the positions assumed by M. de
Gasparin, as the basis of his hypothesis, does not tally with some of
the facts detailed by Montgéron. It was _pushes_ with swords, the former
alleges, never _thrusts_, to which the convulsionists were exposed. I
have already stated that this was _usually_ the fact; but there seem to
have been striking exceptions. On the authority of a priest and of an
officer of the royal household, Montgéron gives us the details of a
symbolical combat of the most desperate character, with rapiers, between
Sisters Madeleine and Félicité, occurring in May, 1744, in the presence
of thirty persons. One of the witnesses says,--"I know not if I ever saw
enemies attack each other with more fury or less circumspection. They
fell upon one another without the slightest precaution, thrusting
against each other with the points of their rapiers at hap-hazard,
wherever the thrust happened to take effect. And this they did again and
again, and with all the force of which, in convulsion, they were
capable,--which, as all the world knows, is a force far greater than the
same persons possess in their ordinary state."

And the officer thus further certifies:--"After the combat, Madeleine
took two short swords, resembling daggers, and, holding one in each
hand, dealt seven or eight blows, pushed home with all her strength, on
the breast of Félicité, raising her hands and then stabbing with the
utmost eagerness, just as an assassin who wished to murder some one
would plunge two daggers repeatedly into his breast. Félicité received
the strokes with perfect tranquillity, and without evincing the
slightest emotion. Then, taking two similar daggers, she did the very
same to Madeleine, who, with her arms crossed, received the thrusts as
tranquilly as the other had done. Immediately afterwards, these two
convulsionists attacked one another with daggers, as with the fury of
two maniacs, who, having resolved on mutual destruction, were solely
bent each on poniarding the other."[59]

It is added, that "neither the one nor the other received the least
appearance of a wound, nor did either seem at all fatigued by so long
and furious an exercise."

It is not stated, in this particular instance, as it is in others, that
these girls were examined by a committee of their sex, before or after
the combat, to ascertain that they had under their dresses no concealed
means of protection; so that the possibility of trickery must be
admitted. If, as the officer who certifies appears convinced, all was
fair, then M. de Gasparin's admission that a vigorous sword-thrust would
penetrate the gum-elastic envelope is fatal to the theory he propounds.

Yet, withal, we may reasonably assent to the probability that M. de
Gasparin, in seeking an explanation of these marvellous phenomena, may
have proceeded in the right direction. Modern physicians admit, that, at
times, during somnambulism, complete insensibility, resembling hysteric
coma, prevails.[60] But if, as is commonly believed, this insensibility
is caused by some modification or abnormal condition of the nervous
fluid, then to some other modification or changed condition of the same
fluid comparative invulnerability may be due. For there is connection,
to a certain extent, between insensibility and invulnerability. A
patient rendered unconscious of pain, by chloroform or otherwise,
throughout the duration of a severe and prolonged surgical operation,
escapes a perilous shock to the nervous system, and may survive an
ordeal which, if he had felt the agony usually induced, would have
proved fatal. Pain is not only a warning monitor, it becomes also,
sometimes, the agent of punishment, if the warning be disregarded.

But, on the other hand, we must not forget that insensibility and
invulnerability, though to a certain extent allied, are two distinct
things. Injury the most serious may occur without the premonitory
warning, even without immediate subsequent suffering. A person in a
perfect state of insensibility might doubtless receive, without
experiencing any pain whatever, a blow that would shatter the bones of a
limb, and render it powerless for life. Indeed, there is on record a
well-attested case of a poor pedestrian, who, having laid himself down
on the platform of a lime-kiln, and dropping asleep, and the fire having
increased and burnt off one foot to the ankle, rose in the morning to
depart, and knew nothing of his misfortune, until, putting his burnt
limb to the ground, to support his body in rising, the extremity of his
leg-bone, calcined into lime, crumbled to fragments beneath him.[61]

Contemporary medical authorities, even when they have the rare courage
to deny to the convulsions either a divine or a diabolical character,
furnish no explanation of them more satisfactory than the citing of
similar cases, more or less strongly attested, in the past.[62] This may
confirm our faith in the reality of the phenomena, but does not resolve
our difficulties as to the causes of them.

It does not fall within my purpose to hazard any opinion as to these
causes, nor, if it did, am I prepared to offer any. Some considerations
might be adduced, calculated to lessen our wonder as to an occasional
phenomenon on this marvellous record. Physiologists, for example, are
agreed that the common opinion as to the sensibility of the interior of
the eye is an incorrect one;[63] and that consideration might be put
forth, when we read that Sisters Madeleine and Félicité suffered with
impunity swords to be pressed against that delicate organ, until the
point sank an inch beneath its surface. But all such isolated
considerations are partial, inconclusive, and, as regards any general
satisfactory explanation, far short of the requirements of the case.

More weight may justly be given to another consideration: to the
exaggerations inseparable from enthusiasm, and the inaccuracies into
which inexperienced observers must ever fall. As to the necessity of
making large allowance for these, I entirely agree with Calmeil and De
Gasparin. But let the allowance made for such errors be more or less, it
cannot extend to an absolute denial of the chief phenomena, unless we
are prepared to follow Hume in his assertion that what is contrary to
our experience can be proved by no evidence of testimony whatever,--and
that, though we have here nothing, save the marvellous character of the
events, to oppose to the cloud of witnesses who attest them, that alone,
in the eyes of reasonable people, should be regarded as a sufficient

The mental and psychological phenomena, only less marvellous than the
physical because we have seen more of their like, will, on that account,
be more readily received.




It is among the sibylline secrets which lie mysteriously between you and
me, O reader, that these papers, besides their public aspect, have a
private one proper to the bosom of mine own particular family.

They are not merely an _ex post facto_ protest in regard to that carpet
and parlor of celebrated memory, but they are forth-looking towards
other homes that may yet arise near us.

For, among my other confidences, you may recollect I stated to you that
our Marianne was busy in those interesting cares and details which
relate to the preparing and ordering of another dwelling.

Now, when any such matter is going on in a family, I have observed that
every feminine instinct is in a state of fluttering vitality,--every
woman, old or young, is alive with womanliness to the tips of her
fingers; and it becomes us of the other sex, however consciously
respected, to walk softly, and put forth our sentiments discreetly and
with due reverence for the mysterious powers that reign in the feminine

I had been too well advised to offer one word of direct counsel on a
subject where there were such charming voices, so able to convict me of
absurdity at every turn. I had merely so arranged my affairs as to put
into the hands of my bankers, subject to my wife's order, the very
modest marriage-portion which I could place at my girl's disposal; and
Marianne and Jennie, unused to the handling of money, were incessant in
their discussions with ever-patient mamma as to what was to be done with
it. I say Marianne and Jennie, for, though the case undoubtedly is
Marianne's, yet, like everything else in our domestic proceedings, it
seems to fall, somehow or other, into Jennie's hands, through the
intensity and liveliness of her domesticity of nature. Little Jennie is
so bright and wide-awake, and with so many active plans and fancies
touching anything in the housekeeping world, that, though the youngest
sister, and second party in this affair, a stranger, hearkening to the
daily discussions, might listen a half-hour at a time without finding
out that it was not Jennie's future establishment that was in question.
Marianne is a soft, thoughtful, quiet girl, not given to many words; and
though, when you come fairly at it, you will find, that, like most quiet
girls, she has a will five times as inflexible as one who talks more,
yet, in all family-counsels, it is Jennie and mamma that do the
discussion, and her own little well-considered "Yes," or "No," that
finally settles each case.

I must add to this family-_tableau_ the portrait of the excellent Bob
Stephens, who figured as future proprietor and householder in these
consultations. So far as the question of financial possibilities is
concerned, it is important to remark that Bob belongs to the class of
young Edmunds celebrated by the poet:--

    "Wisdom and worth were all he had."

He is, in fact, an excellent-hearted and clever fellow, with a world of
agreeable talents, a good tenor in a parlor-duet, a good actor at a
charade, a lively, off-hand conversationist, well up in all the current
literature of the day, and what is more, in my eyes, a well-read lawyer,
just admitted to the bar, and with as fair business-prospects as usually
fall to the lot of young aspirants in that profession.

Of course, he and my girl are duly and truly in love, in all the proper
moods and tenses; but as to this work they have in hand of being
householders, managing fuel, rent, provision, taxes, gas- and
water-rates, they seem to my older eyes about as sagacious as a pair of
this year's robins. Nevertheless, as the robins of each year do somehow
learn to build nests as well as their ancestors, there is reason to hope
as much for each new pair of human creatures. But it is one of the
fatalities of our ill-jointed life that houses are usually furnished for
future homes by young people in just this state of blissful ignorance of
what they are really wanted for, or what is likely to be done with the
things in them.

Now, to people of large incomes, with ready wealth for the rectification
of mistakes, it doesn't much matter how the _menage_ is arranged at
first; they will, if they have good sense, soon rid themselves of the
little infelicities and absurdities of their first arrangements, and
bring their establishment to meet their more instructed tastes.

But to that greater class who have only a modest investment for this
first start in domestic life mistakes are far more serious. I have known
people go on for years groaning under the weight of domestic possessions
they did not want, and pining in vain for others which they did, simply
from the fact that all their first purchases were made in this time of
blissful ignorance.

I had been a quiet auditor to many animated discussions among the young
people as to what they wanted, and were to get, in which the subject of
prudence and economy was discussed, with quotations of advice thereon
given in serious good-faith by various friends and relations who lived
easily on incomes four or five times larger than our own. Who can show
the ways of elegant economy more perfectly than people thus at ease in
their possessions? From what serene heights do they instruct the
inexperienced beginners! Ten thousand a year gives one leisure for
reflection, and elegant leisure enables one to view household economies
dispassionately; hence the unction with which these gifted daughters of
upper-air delight to exhort young neophytes.

"Depend upon it, my dear," Aunt Sophia Easygo had said, "it's always the
best economy to get the best things. They cost more in the beginning,
but see how they last! These velvet carpets on my floor have been in
constant wear for ten years, and look how they wear! I never have an
ingrain carpet in my house,--not even on the chambers. Velvet and
Brussels cost more to begin with, but then they last. Then I cannot
recommend the fashion that is creeping in, of having plate instead of
solid silver. Plate wears off, and has to be renewed, which comes to
about the same thing in the end as if you bought all solid at first. If
I were beginning as Marianne is, I should just set aside a thousand
dollars for my silver, and be content with a few plain articles. She
should buy all her furniture at Messrs. David and Saul's. People call
them dear, but their work will prove cheapest in the end, and there is
an air and style about their things that can be told anywhere. Of
course, you won't go to any extravagant lengths,--simplicity is a grace
of itself."

The waters of the family-council were troubled, when Jennie, flaming
with enthusiasm, brought home the report of this conversation. When my
wife proceeded, with her well-trained business-knowledge, to compare the
prices of the simplest elegancies recommended by Aunt Easygo with the
sum-total to be drawn on, faces lengthened perceptibly.

"How _are_ people to go to housekeeping," said Jennie, "if everything
costs so much?"

My wife quietly remarked, that we had had great comfort in our own
home,--had entertained unnumbered friends, and had only ingrain carpets
on our chambers and a three-ply on our parlor, and she doubted if any
guest had ever thought of it,--if the rooms had been a shade less
pleasant; and as to durability, Aunt Easygo had renewed her carpets
oftener than we. Such as ours were, they had worn longer than hers.

"But, mamma, you know everything has gone on since your day. Everybody
must at least approach a certain style nowadays. One can't furnish so
far behind other people."

My wife answered in her quiet way, setting forth her doctrine of a plain
average to go through the whole establishment, placing parlors,
chambers, kitchen, pantries, and the unseen depths of linen-closets in
harmonious relations of just proportion, and showed by calm estimates
how far the sum given could go towards this result. _There_ the limits
were inexorable. There is nothing so damping to the ardor of youthful
economies as the hard, positive logic of figures. It is so delightful to
think in some airy way that the things we _like_ best are the cheapest,
and that a sort of rigorous duty compels us to get them at any
sacrifice. There is no remedy for this illusion but to show by the
multiplication and addition tables what things are and are not possible.
My wife's figures met Aunt Easygo's assertions, and there was a lull
among the high contracting parties for a season; nevertheless, I could
see Jennie was secretly uneasy. I began to hear of journeys made to far
places, here and there, where expensive articles of luxury were selling
at reduced prices. Now a gilded mirror was discussed, and now a velvet
carpet which chance had brought down temptingly near the sphere of
financial possibility. I thought of our parlor, and prayed the good
fairies to avert the advent of ill-assorted articles.

"Pray keep common sense uppermost in the girls' heads, if you can," said
I to Mrs. Crowfield, "and don't let the poor little puss spend her money
for what she won't care a button about by-and-by."

"I shall try," she said; "but you know Marianne is inexperienced, and
Jennie is so ardent and active, and so confident, too. Then they both, I
think, have the impression that we are a little behind the age. To say
the truth, my dear, I think your papers afford a good opportunity of
dropping a thought now and then in their minds. Jennie was asking last
night when you were going to write your next paper. The girl has a
bright, active mind, and thinks of what she hears."

So flattered, by the best of flatterers, I sat down to write on my
theme; and that evening, at fire-light time, I read to my little senate
as follows:--


I have shown that a dwelling, rented or owned by a man, in which his own
wife keeps house, is not always, or of course, a home. What is it, then,
that makes a home? All men and women have the indefinite knowledge of
what they want and long for when that word is spoken. "Home!" sighs the
disconsolate bachelor, tired of boarding-house fare and buttonless
shirts. "Home!" says the wanderer in foreign lands, and thinks of
mother's love, of wife and sister and child. Nay, the word has in it a
higher meaning, hallowed by religion; and when the Christian would
express the highest of his hopes for a better life, he speaks of his
_home_ beyond the grave. The word home has in it the elements of love,
rest, permanency, and liberty; but besides these it has in it the idea
of an education by which all that is purest within us is developed into
nobler forms, fit for a higher life. The little child by the
home-fireside was taken on the Master's knee when he would explain to
his disciples the mysteries of the kingdom.

Of so great dignity and worth is this holy and sacred thing, that the
power to create a HOME ought to be ranked above all creative
faculties. The sculptor who brings out the breathing statue from cold
marble, the painter who warms the canvas into a deathless glow of
beauty, the architect who built cathedrals and hung the world-like dome
of St. Peter's in mid-air, is not to be compared, in sanctity and
worthiness, to the humblest artist, who, out of the poor materials
afforded by this shifting, changing, selfish world, creates the secure
Eden of a _home_.

A true home should be called the noblest work of art possible to human
creatures, inasmuch as it is the very image chosen to represent the last
and highest rest of the soul, the consummation of man's blessedness.

Not without reason does the oldest Christian church require of those
entering on marriage the most solemn review of all the past life, the
confession and repentance of every sin of thought, word, and deed, and
the reception of the holy sacrament; for thus the man and woman who
approach the august duty of creating a home are reminded of the sanctity
and beauty of what they undertake.

In this art of home-making I have set down in my mind certain first
principles, like the axioms of Euclid, and the first is,--

_No home is possible without love._

All business-marriages and marriages of convenience, all mere culinary
marriages and marriages of mere animal passion, make the creation of a
true home impossible in the outset. Love is the jewelled foundation of
this New Jerusalem descending from God out of heaven, and takes as many
bright forms as the amethyst, topaz, and sapphire of that mysterious
vision. In this range of creative art all things are possible to him
that loveth, but without love nothing is possible.

We hear of most convenient marriages in foreign lands, which may better
be described as commercial partnerships. The money on each side is
counted; there is enough between the parties to carry on the firm, each
having the appropriate sum allotted to each. No love is pretended, but
there is great politeness. All is so legally and thoroughly arranged,
that there seems to be nothing left for future quarrels to fasten on.
Monsieur and Madame have each their apartments, their carriages, their
servants, their income, their friends, their pursuits,--understand the
solemn vows of marriage to mean simply that they are to treat each other
with urbanity in those few situations where the path of life must
necessarily bring them together.

We are sorry that such an idea of marriage should be gaining foothold in
America. It has its root in an ignoble view of life,--an utter and pagan
darkness as to all that man and woman are called to do in that highest
relation where they act as one. It is a mean and low contrivance on both
sides, by which all the grand work of home-building, all the noble pains
and heroic toils of home-education,--that education where the parents
learn more than they teach,--shall be (let us use the expressive Yankee
idiom) _shirked_.

It is a curious fact that in those countries where this system of
marriages is the general rule there is no word corresponding to our
English word _home_. In many polite languages of Europe it would be
impossible neatly to translate the sentiment with which we began this
essay, that a man's _house_ is not always his _home_.

Let any one try to render the song, "Sweet Home," into French, and one
finds how Anglo-Saxon is the very genius of the word. The structure of
life, in all its relations, in countries where marriages are matter of
arrangement, and not of love, excludes the idea of home.

How does life run in such countries? The girl is recalled from her
convent or boarding-school, and told that her father has found a husband
for her. No objection on her part is contemplated or provided for; none
generally occurs, for the child is only too happy to obtain the fine
clothes and the liberty which she has been taught come only with
marriage. Be the man handsome or homely, interesting or stupid, still he
brings these.

How intolerable such a marriage! we say, with the close intimacies of
Anglo-Saxon life in our minds. They are not intolerable, because they
are provided for by arrangements which make it possible for each to go
his or her several way, seeing very little of the other. The son or
daughter, which in due time makes its appearance in this _menage_, is
sent out to nurse in infancy, sent to boarding-school in youth, and in
maturity portioned and married, to repeat the same process for another
generation. Meanwhile, father and mother keep a quiet establishment, and
pursue their several pleasures. Such is the system.

Houses built for this kind of life become mere sets of reception-rooms,
such as are the greater proportion of apartments to let in Paris, where
a hearty English or American family, with their children about them,
could scarcely find room to establish themselves. Individual character,
it is true, does something to modify this programme. There are charming
homes in France and Italy, where warm and noble natures, thrown
together, perhaps, by accident, or mated by wise paternal choice, infuse
warmth into the coldness of the system under which they live. There are
in all states of society some of such domesticity of nature that they
will create a home around themselves under any circumstances, however
barren. Besides, so kindly is human nature, that Love, uninvited before
marriage, often becomes a guest after, and with Love always comes a

My next axiom is,--

_There can be no true home without liberty._

The very idea of home is of a retreat where we shall be free to act out
personal and individual tastes and peculiarities, as we cannot do before
the wide world. We are to have our meals at what hour we will, served in
what style suits us. Our hours of going and coming are to be as we
please. Our favorite haunts are to be here or there, our pictures and
books so disposed as seems to us good, and our whole arrangements the
expression, so far as our means can compass it, of our own personal
ideas of what is pleasant and desirable in life. This element of
liberty, if we think of it, is the chief charm of home. "Here I can do
as I please," is the thought with which the tempest-tossed earth-pilgrim
blesses himself or herself, turning inward from the crowded ways of the
world. This thought blesses the man of business, as he turns from his
day's care, and crosses the sacred threshold. It is as restful to him as
the slippers and gown and easy-chair by the fireside. Everybody
understands him here. Everybody is well content that he should take his
ease in his own way. Such is the case in the _ideal_ home. That such is
not always the case in the real home comes often from the mistakes in
the house-furnishing. Much house-furnishing is _too fine_ for liberty.

In America there is no such thing as rank and station which impose a
sort of prescriptive style on people of certain income. The consequence
is that all sorts of furniture and belongings, which in the Old World
have a recognized relation to certain possibilities of income, and which
require certain other accessories to make them in good keeping, are
thrown in the way of all sorts of people.

Young people who cannot expect by any reasonable possibility to keep
more than two or three servants, if they happen to have the means in the
outset, furnish a house with just such articles as in England would suit
an establishment of sixteen. We have seen houses in England having two
or three housemaids, and tables served by a butler and two waiters,
where the furniture, carpets, china, crystal, and silver were in one and
the same style with some establishments in America where the family was
hard pressed to keep three Irish servants.

This want of servants is the one thing that must modify everything in
American life; it is, and will long continue to be, a leading feature in
the life of a country so rich in openings for man and woman that
domestic service can be only the stepping-stone to something higher.
Nevertheless, we Americans are great travellers; we are sensitive,
appreciative, fond of novelty, apt to receive and incorporate into our
own life what seems fair and graceful in that of other people. Our
women's wardrobes are made elaborate with the thousand elegancies of
French toilet,--our houses filled with a thousand knick-knacks of which
our plain ancestors never dreamed. Cleopatra did not set sail on the
Nile in more state and beauty than that in which our young American
bride is often ushered into her new home. Her wardrobe all gossamer lace
and quaint frill and crimp and embroidery, her house a museum of elegant
and costly gewgaws; and amid the whole collection of elegancies and
fragilities, she, perhaps, the frailest.

Then comes the tug of war. The young wife becomes a mother, and while
she is retired to her chamber, blundering Biddy rusts the elegant
knives, or takes off the ivory handles by soaking in hot water,--the
silver is washed in greasy soap-suds, and refreshed now and then with a
thump, which cocks the nose of the teapot awry, or makes the handle
assume an air of drunken defiance. The fragile China is chipped here and
there around its edges with those minute gaps so vexatious to a woman's
soul; the handles fly hither and thither in the wild confusion of
Biddy's washing-day hurry, when cook wants her to help hang out the
clothes. Meanwhile, Bridget sweeps the parlor with a hard broom, and
shakes out showers of ashes from the grate, forgetting to cover the
damask lounges, and they directly look as rusty and time-worn as if they
had come from an auction-store; and all together unite in making such
havoc of the delicate ruffles and laces of the bridal outfit and
baby-_layette_, that, when the poor young wife comes out of her chamber
after her nurse has left her, and, weakened and embarrassed with the
demands of the new-comer, begins to look once more into the affairs of
her little world, she is ready to sink with vexation and discouragement.
Poor little princess! Her clothes are made as princesses wear them, her
baby's clothes like a young duke's, her house furnished like a lord's,
and only Bridget and Biddy and Polly to do the work of cook,
scullery-maid, butler, footman, laundress, nursery-maid, house-maid, and
lady's maid. Such is the array that in the Old Country would be deemed
necessary to take care of an establishment got up like hers. Everything
in it is _too fine_,--not too fine to be pretty, not in bad taste in
itself, but too fine for the situation, too fine for comfort or liberty.

What ensues in a house so furnished? Too often, ceaseless fretting of
the nerves, in the wife's despairing, conscientious efforts to keep
things as they should be. There is no freedom in a house where things
are too expensive and choice to be freely handled and easily replaced.
Life becomes a series of petty embarrassments and restrictions,
something is always going wrong, and the man finds his fireside
oppressive,--the various articles of his parlor and table seem like so
many temper-traps and spring-guns, menacing explosion and disaster.

There may be, indeed, the most perfect home-feeling, the utmost coziness
and restfulness, in apartments crusted with gilding, carpeted with
velvet, and upholstered with satin. I have seen such, where the
home-like look and air of free use was as genuine as in a Western
log-cabin; but this was in a range of princely income that made all
these things as easy to be obtained or replaced as the most ordinary of
our domestic furniture. But so long as articles must be shrouded from
use, or used with fear and trembling, because their cost is above the
general level of our means, we had better be without them, even though
the most lucky of accidents may put their possession in our power.

But it is not merely by the effort to maintain too much elegance that
the sense of home-liberty is banished from a house. It is sometimes
expelled in another way, with all painstaking and conscientious
strictness, by the worthiest and best of human beings, the blessed
followers of Saint Martha. Have we not known them, the dear, worthy
creatures, up before daylight, causing most scrupulous lustrations of
every pane of glass and inch of paint in our parlors, in consequence
whereof every shutter and blind must be kept closed for days to come,
lest the flies should speck the freshly washed windows and wainscoting?
Dear shade of Aunt Mehitabel, forgive our boldness! Have we not been
driven for days, in our youth, to read our newspaper in the front
veranda, in the kitchen, out in the barn,--anywhere, in fact, where
sunshine could be found, because there was not a room in the house that
was not cleaned, shut up, and darkened? Have we not shivered with cold,
all the glowering, gloomy month of May, because, the august front-parlor
having undergone the spring cleaning, the andirons were snugly tied up
in tissue-paper, and an elegant frill of the same material was trembling
before the mouth of the once glowing fireplace? Even so, dear soul, full
of loving-kindness and hospitality as thou wast, yet ever making our
house seem like a tomb! And with what patience wouldst thou sit sewing
by a crack in the shutters, an inch wide, rejoicing in thy immaculate
paint and clear glass! But was there ever a thing of thy spotless and
unsullied belongings which a boy might use? How I trembled to touch thy
scoured tins, that hung in appalling brightness! with what awe I asked
for a basket to pick strawberries! and where in the house could I find a
place to eat a piece of gingerbread? How like a ruffian, a Tartar, a
pirate, I always felt, when I entered thy domains! and how, from day to
day, I wondered at the immeasurable depths of depravity which were
always leading me to upset something, or break or tear or derange
something, in thy exquisitely kept premises! Somehow, the impression was
burned with overpowering force into my mind, that houses and furniture,
scrubbed floors, white curtains, bright tins and brasses were the great,
awful, permanent facts of existence,--and that men and women, and
particularly children, were the meddlesome intruders upon this divine
order, every trace of whose intermeddling must be scrubbed out and
obliterated in the quickest way possible. It seemed evident to me that
houses would be far more perfect, if nobody lived in them at all; but
that, as men had really and absurdly taken to living in them, they must
live as little as possible. My only idea of a house was a place full of
traps and pitfalls for boys, a deadly temptation to sins which beset one
every moment; and when I read about a sailor's free life on the ocean, I
felt an untold longing to go forth and be free in like manner.

But a truce to these fancies, and back again to our essay.

If liberty in a house is a comfort to a husband, it is a necessity to
children. When we say liberty, we do not mean license. We do not mean
that Master Johnny be allowed to handle elegant volumes with
bread-and-butter fingers, or that little Miss be suffered to drum on the
piano, or practise line-drawing with a pin on varnished furniture. Still
it is essential that the family-parlors be not too fine for the family
to sit in,--too fine for the ordinary accidents, haps and mishaps, of
reasonably well-trained children. The elegance of the parlor where papa
and mamma sit and receive their friends should wear an inviting, not a
hostile and bristling, aspect to little people. Its beauty and its order
gradually form in the little mind a love of beauty and order, and the
insensible carefulness of regard.

Nothing is worse for a child than to shut him up in a room which he
understands is his, _because_ he is disorderly,--where he is expected,
of course, to maintain and keep disorder. We have sometimes pitied the
poor little victims who show their faces longingly at the doors of
elegant parlors, and are forthwith collared by the domestic police and
consigned to some attic-apartment, called a play-room, where chaos
continually reigns. It is a mistake to suppose, because children derange
a well-furnished apartment, that they like confusion. Order and beauty
are always pleasant to them as to grown people, and disorder and
defacement are painful; but they know neither how to create the one nor
to prevent the other,--their little lives are a series of experiments,
often making disorder by aiming at some new form of order. Yet, for all
this, I am not one of those who feel that in a family everything should
bend to the sway of these little people. They are the worst of tyrants
in such houses,--still, where children are, though the fact must not
appear to them, _nothing must be done without a wise thought of them_.

Here, as in all high art, the old motto is in force, "_Ars est celare
artem_." Children who are taught too plainly by every anxious look and
word of their parents, by every family-arrangement, by the impressment
of every chance guest into the service, that their parents consider
their education as the one important matter in creation, are apt to grow
up fantastical, artificial, and hopelessly self-conscious. The stars
cannot stop in their courses, even for our personal improvement, and the
sooner children learn this, the better. The great art is to organize a
home which shall move on with a strong, wide, generous movement, where
the little people shall act themselves out as freely and impulsively as
can consist with the comfort of the whole, and where the anxious
watching and planning for them shall be kept as secret from them as

It is well that one of the sunniest and airiest rooms in the house be
the children's nursery. It is good philosophy, too, to furnish it
attractively, even if the sum expended lower the standard of
parlor-luxuries. It is well that the children's chamber, which is to act
constantly on their impressible natures for years, should command a
better prospect, a sunnier aspect, than one which serves for a day's
occupancy of the transient guest. It is well that journeys should be
made or put off in view of the interests of the children,--that guests
should be invited with a view to their improvement,--that some
intimacies should be chosen and some rejected on their account. But it
is _not_ well that all this should, from infancy, be daily talked out
before the child, and he grow up in egotism from moving in a sphere
where everything from first to last is calculated and arranged with
reference to himself. A little appearance of wholesome neglect combined
with real care and never-ceasing watchfulness has often seemed to do
wonders in this work of setting human beings on their own feet for the

Education is the highest object of home, but education in the widest
sense,--education of the parents no less than of the children. In a true
home the man and the woman receive, through their cares, their
watchings, their hospitality, their charity, the last and highest finish
that earth can put upon them. From that they must pass upward, for earth
can teach them no more.

The home-education is incomplete, unless it include the idea of
hospitality and charity. Hospitality is a biblical and apostolic virtue,
and not so often recommended in Holy Writ without reason. Hospitality is
much neglected in America for the very reasons touched upon above. We
have received our ideas of propriety and elegance of living from old
countries, where labor is cheap, where domestic service is a
well-understood, permanent occupation, adopted cheerfully for life, and
where of course there is such a subdivision of labor as insures great
thoroughness in all its branches. We are ashamed or afraid to conform
honestly and hardily to a state of things purely American. We have not
yet accomplished what our friend the Doctor calls "our weaning," and
learned that dinners with circuitous courses and divers other
Continental and English refinements, well enough in their way, cannot be
accomplished in families with two or three untrained servants, without
an expense of care and anxiety which makes them heart-withering to the
delicate wife, and too severe a trial to occur often. America is the
land of subdivided fortunes, of a general average of wealth and comfort,
and there ought to be, therefore, an understanding in the social basis
far more simple than in the Old World.

Many families of small fortunes know this,--they are quietly living
so,--but they have not the steadiness to share their daily average
living with a friend, a traveller, or guest, just as the Arab shares his
tent and the Indian his bowl of succotash. They cannot have company,
they say. Why? Because it is such a fuss to get out the best things, and
then to put them back again. But why get out the best things? Why not
give your friend, what he would like a thousand times better, a bit of
your average home-life, a seat at any time at your board, a seat at your
fire? If he sees that there is a handle off your tea-cup, and that there
is a crack across one of your plates, he only thinks, with a sigh of
relief, "Well, mine a'n't the only things that meet with accidents," and
he feels nearer to you ever after; he will let you come to his table and
see the cracks in his tea-cups, and you will condole with each other on
the transient nature of earthly possessions. If it become apparent in
these entirely undressed rehearsals that your children are sometimes
disorderly, and that your cook sometimes overdoes the meat, and that
your second girl sometimes is awkward in waiting, or has forgotten a
table-propriety, your friend only feels, "Ah, well, other people have
trials as well as I," and he thinks, if you come to see him, he shall
feel easy with you.

"_Having company_" is an expense that may always be felt; but easy daily
hospitality, the plate always on your table for a friend, is an expense
that appears on no account-book, and a pleasure that is daily and

Under this head of hospitality, let us suppose a case. A traveller comes
from England; he comes in good faith and good feeling to see how
Americans live. He merely wants to penetrate into the interior of
domestic life, to see what there is genuinely and peculiarly American
about it. Now here is Smilax, who is living, in a small, neat way, on
his salary from the daily press. He remembers hospitalities received
from our traveller in England, and wants to return them. He remembers,
too, with dismay, a well-kept establishment, the well-served table, the
punctilious, orderly servants. Smilax keeps two, a cook and chambermaid,
who divide the functions of his establishment between them. What shall
he do? Let him say, in a fair, manly way, "My dear fellow, I'm delighted
to see you. I live in a small way, but I'll do my best for you, and Mrs.
Smilax will be delighted. Come and dine with us, so and so, and we'll
bring in one or two friends." So the man comes, and Mrs. Smilax serves
up such a dinner as lies within the limits of her knowledge and the
capacities of her servants. All plain, good of its kind, unpretending,
without an attempt to do anything English or French,--to do anything
more than if she were furnishing a gala-dinner for her father or
returned brother. Show him your house freely, just as it is, talk to him
freely of it, just as he in England showed you his finer things. If the
man is a true man, he will thank you for such unpretending, sincere
welcome; if he is a man of straw, then he is not worth wasting Mrs.
Smilax's health and spirits for, in unavailing efforts to get up a
foreign dinner-party.

A man who has any heart in him values a genuine little bit of home more
than anything else you can give him. He can get French cooking at a
restaurant; he can buy expensive wines at first-class hotels, if he
wants them; but the traveller, though ever so rich and ever so
well-served at home, is, after all, nothing but a man as you are, and he
is craving something that doesn't seem like a hotel,--some bit of real,
genuine heart-life. Perhaps he would like better than anything to show
you the last photograph of his wife, or to read to you the great,
round-hand letter of his ten-year-old which he has got to-day. He is
ready to cry when he thinks of it. In this mood he goes to see you,
hoping for something like home, and you first receive him in a parlor
opened only on state occasions, and that has been circumstantially and
exactly furnished, as the upholsterer assures you, as every other parlor
of the kind in the city is furnished. You treat him to a dinner got up
for the occasion, with hired waiters,--a dinner which it has taken Mrs.
Smilax a week to prepare for, and will take her a week to recover
from,--for which the baby has been snubbed and turned off, to his loud
indignation, and your young four-year-old sent to his aunts. Your
traveller eats your dinner, and finds it inferior, as a work of art, to
other dinners,--a poor imitation. He goes away and criticizes; you hear
of it, and resolve never to invite a foreigner again. But if you had
given him a little of your heart, a little home-warmth and feeling,--if
you had shown him your baby, and let him romp with your four-year-old,
and eat a genuine dinner with you,--would he have been false to that?
Not so likely. He wanted something real and human,--you gave him a bad
dress-rehearsal, and dress-rehearsals always provoke criticism.

Besides hospitality, there is, in a true home, a mission of charity. It
is a just law which regulates the possession of great or beautiful works
of art in the Old World, that they shall in some sense be considered the
property of all who can appreciate. Fine grounds have hours when the
public may be admitted,--pictures and statues may be shown to visitors;
and this is a noble charity. In the same manner the fortunate
individuals who have achieved the greatest of all human works of art
should employ it as a sacred charity. How many, morally wearied,
wandering, disabled, are healed and comforted by the warmth of a true
home! When a mother has sent her son to the temptations of a distant
city, what news is so glad to her heart as that he has found some quiet
family where he visits often and is made to feel AT HOME? How
many young men have good women saved from temptation and shipwreck by
drawing them often to the sheltered corner by the fireside! The poor
artist,--the wandering genius who has lost his way in this world, and
stumbles like a child among hard realities,--the many men and women who,
while they have houses, have no homes,--see from afar, in their distant,
bleak life-journey, the light of a true home-fire, and, if made welcome
there, warm their stiffened limbs, and go forth stronger to their
pilgrimage. Let those who have accomplished this beautiful and perfect
work of divine art be liberal of its influence. Let them not seek to
bolt the doors and draw the curtains; for they know not, and will never
know till the future life, of the good they may do by the ministration
of this great charity of home.

We have heard much lately of the restricted sphere of woman. We have
been told how many spirits among women are of a wider, stronger, more
heroic mould than befits the mere routine of housekeeping. It may be
true that there are many women far too great, too wise, too high, for
mere housekeeping. But where is the woman in any way too great, or too
high, or too wise, to spend herself in creating a home? What can any
woman make diviner, higher, better? From such homes go forth all
heroisms, all inspirations, all great deeds. Such mothers and such homes
have made the heroes and martyrs, faithful unto death, who have given
their precious lives to us during these three years of our agony!

Homes are the work of art peculiar to the genius of woman. Man _helps_
in this work, but woman leads; the hive is always in confusion without
the _queen_-bee. But what a woman must she be who does this work
perfectly! She comprehends all, she balances and arranges all; all
different tastes and temperaments find in her their rest, and she can
unite at one hearthstone the most discordant elements. In her is order,
yet an order ever veiled and concealed by indulgence. None are checked,
reproved, abridged of privileges by her love of system; for she knows
that order was made for the family, and not the family for order.
Quietly she takes on herself what all others refuse or overlook. What
the unwary disarrange she silently rectifies. Everybody in her sphere
breathes easy, feels free; and the driest twig begins in her sunshine to
put out buds and blossoms. So quiet are her operations and movements,
that none sees that it is she who holds all things in harmony; only,
alas, when she is gone, how many things suddenly appear disordered,
inharmonious, neglected! All these threads have been smilingly held in
her weak hand. Alas, if that is no longer there!

Can any woman be such a housekeeper without inspiration? No. In the
words of the old church-service, "Her soul must ever have affiance in
God." The New Jerusalem of a perfect home cometh down from God out of
heaven. But to make such a home is ambition high and worthy enough for
_any_ woman, be she what she may.

One thing more. Right on the threshold of all perfection lies _the
cross_ to be taken up. No one can go over or around that cross in
science or in art. Without labor and self-denial neither Raphael nor
Michel Angelo nor Newton was made perfect. Nor can man or woman create a
true home who is not willing in the outset to embrace life heroically,
to encounter labor and sacrifice. Only to such shall this divinest power
be given to create on earth that which is the nearest image of heaven.


    We have been lovers now, my dear,
      It matters nothing to say how long,
    But still at the coming round o' th' year
      I make for my pleasure a little song;
    And thus of my love I sing, my dear,--
    So much the more by a year, by a year.

    And still as I see the day depart,
      And hear the bat at my window flit,
    I sing the little song to my heart,
      With just a change at the close of it;
    And thus of my love I sing alway,--
    So much the more by a day, by a day.

    When in the morning I see the skies
      Breaking into a gracious glow,
    I say you are not my sweetheart's eyes,
      Your brightness cannot mislead me so;
    And I sing of my love in the rising light,--
    So much the more by a night, by a night.

    Both at the year's sweet dawn and close,
      When the moon is filling, or fading away,
    Every day, as it comes and goes,
      And every hour of every day,
    My little song I repeat and repeat,--
    So much the more by an hour, my sweet!


We entered gayly on our great contest. At the first sound from Sumter,
enthusiasm blazed high and bright. Bells rang out, flags waved, the
people rose as one man to cheer on our troops, and the practical
American nation, surveying itself with astonishment, pronounced
itself--finger on pulse--enthusiastic; and though, in the light of the
present steadily burning determination, it has been the fashion gently
to smile at that quick upspringing blaze, and at the times when it was
gravely noted how the privates of our army took daily baths and wore
Colt's revolvers, and pet regiments succumbed under showers of
Havelocks, in contrast with the grim official reports of to-day, I
cannot but think that enthusiasm healthful, and in itself a lesson, if
only that it proves beyond question that our patriotism was not simply a
dweller on the American tongue, but a thing of the American heart, so
vitalizing us, so woven every day into the most minute ramifications of
our living, so inner and recognized a part of our thinking, that there
have been found some to doubt its existence, just as we half forget the
gracious air, because no labored gasps, in place of our sure and even
breathing, ever by any chance announce to us that somewhere there have
been error and confusion in its vast workings.

Bitterer texts were ready all too soon. When we heard how one had
fallen, bayoneted at the guns, and another was struck, charging on the
foe, and a third had died after long lingering in hospital,--when we saw
our brave boys, whom we had sent out with huzzas, coming back to us with
the blood and grime of battle upon them, maimed, ghastly, dying,
dead,--we knew that we, whom God had hitherto so blessed that we were
compelled to look into the annals of other nations for misery and
strife, had now commenced a record of our own. Henceforth there was for
us a new literature, new grooves of thought, new interests. By all the
love of father, brother, husband, and children, we must learn more of
this tragic and tender lore; and our soldiers have been a thought not
far from the heart and lips of any one of us, and what is done, or
doing, or possible for them, held worthiest of our thought and time.

Respecting these, we have had all to learn. True, with us, satisfaction
has at all times followed close upon the announcement of a need; but
wisdom in planning and administering is not a marketable commodity, and
so we are educating ourselves up to the emergency,--the whole mighty
nation at school, and learning, we are bound to say, with Yankee
quickness. Love has been for us, also, a marvellous brain-prompter. Some
of our grandest charities--I mean charities in the broadest and sweetest
sense, for it is we who owe, not our soldiers--have been the inspiration
of a moment's need,--thoughts of the people, who, in crises and at
instance of the heart, think well and swiftly. Take this one example.

When New England's sons seized their arms, the first to answer the
trumpet-call that rang out over the land, and went in the spirit of
their fathers to the battle,--when these men passed through
Philadelphia, hungry and weary, the great heart of the city went out to
meet them. Citizens brought them into their houses, the neighboring
shops gave gladly what they could, women came running with food snatched
from their own tables, and even little squalid children toddled out of
by-lanes and alleys with loaves and half-loaves, all that they had to
give, so did the whole people yearn over their defenders; and then it
was seen how other regiments would come to them, ready for the fray, but
dusty and way-worn, and how the ambulances would bring them back parched
and fainting, and--it was hardly known how, only that, as in the old
times, "the people were of one mind and one accord," and brought of such
things as they had; but on that sad, yet proud day, that brought back to
them those who fell in Baltimore on the memorable nineteenth of
April,--the heroes in whom all claim a share, and the right to say, not
only Massachusetts's dead and wounded, but ours--there was ready for
them a shelter in the unpretending building famous since as the Cooper
Shop. There the people crowded about them, weeping, blessing, consoling;
and from that day there has no regiment from New England, New York, or
any other State, been suffered to pass through Philadelphia unrefreshed.
Water was supplied them, and tables ready spread, by the Volunteer Corps
always in attendance, within five minutes after the firing of the gun
that announced their arrival. There was shortly added, also, a volunteer
hospital for the more dangerously wounded when first brought from the
battle-field, and of it is told a story that Americans will like to

It is of a Wisconsin soldier, who, taken prisoner, effected his escape
from Richmond. Hiding by day, he forced his way at night through morass
and forest, snatched such sleep as he dared on the damp and sodden
earth, went without food whole days, reached our lines bruised, torn,
shivering, starving, and his wounds, which had never been properly cared
for, opened afresh. Let him tell the rest, straight from his heart.

"When I had my rubber blanket to wrap about me, I was comfortable, and,
snug and warm in the cars, I thought myself happy; and when I heard them
talk of the 'Cooper Shop,' I said to myself, 'A cooper's shop! that will
be the very place of all the earth, for there I shall have a roof over
me, and the shavings will be so warm and dry to lie upon!' but when they
carried me in, and I opened my eyes and saw what was the Cooper Shop,
and the long tables all loaded for the poor soldiers, and when they took
me to the hospital up-stairs, and placed me in a bed, and real ladies
and gentlemen, with tears in their eyes, came and waited on me, my
manliness left me."

A want of manliness, O honest heart, for which there need be no shame!
Precious tribute to our country's great love for her sons! For this is
no sectional charity, only one example culled from thousands; for the
land must, of a necessity, be overshadowed by the tree that has a root
under almost every Northern hearth-stone; and then see how we are all
bound together by the heart-strings!

Forty thousand men-at-arms are looking gravely at the height towering
above the valley in which they stand. "Impregnable" military science
pronounced it; but the men scaling it know nothing of this word
"impregnable." They have heard nothing of an order for retreat,--they
are filled with a divine wrath of battle, and each man is as mad as his
neighbor, and the officers are powerless to hold them back, and catch
the infection and are swept on with them, and climbing, jumping,
slipping, toiling on hands and knees, swinging from tree and bush, any
way, any how, but always onward, never backward, they surge up over the
mountain-top, deadly volleys crashing right in among them, and set on
the Rebels with a wild hurrah! and the hearts below beat faster, and
rough lips curse the blinding smoke and fog that veil all the crest, and
on a sudden a shout,--such a one as the children of Israel gave, when
the high-piled walls of water bent and swayed and came waving and
thundering down on Pharaoh's hopeless hosts,--for there, high up in
heaven, streaming out through parting smoke, is the flag, torn,
blood-stained, ball-riddled, but the dear old red, white, and blue,
waving over the enemy's works; and then the telegraph flashed out the
brave news over the exulting country, and the press took up the story,
and women said, with kindling faces, "My son, or my brother, or my
husband may be dead, but, oh, our boys have done glorious things at
Lookout Mountain!"--and History will tell how a grander charge was never
made, and calmly note the loss in dead and wounded,--so many
thousands,--and pass on.

But we are not History, and our dead,--well, we will give them graves
that shall be ever green with laurels, and their swords shall be our
most precious legacy to our children, and their memories shall be a part
of our household; but our wounded, for whom there is yet hope, who may
yet live,--the cry goes up from Wisconsin, and Maine, and Iowa, and New
York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Massachusetts, Where are they, and how cared
for? We are all, as I said, bound by the heartstrings in a common
interest. The Boston woman with her boy in the Army of the Cumberland,
and the Maine mother with one in New Orleans or Texas, and the Kansas
father with a son in the Army of the Potomac, all clamor, "Is mine among
the wounded, and do care and science for him all that care and science

The Field Relief Corps of the Sanitary Commission are prompt on the
battle-field, reaching the groaning sufferers even before their own
surgeons. Said one man, lying there badly wounded,--

"And what do they pay yez for this? What do you get?"

"Pay! We ask nothing, only the soldier's 'God bless you.'"

"And is that all? Then sure here's plenty of the coin, fresh minted! God
bless you! God bless you! and the good Lord be good to you, and remember
yez as you have remembered us, and love yez and your children after you;
and sure, if that is all, it's plenty of that sort of pay the poor
soldier has for you!"

God bless such men! we echo; but after that, what then? Our beloved are
taken to the hospitals, and we know, in a general way, that hospitals
are buildings containing long rows of beds, and that science is doing
its utmost in their behalf; but when our friends write us from across
seas, they tell us, not only how they are, but where,--jotting down
little pen-and-ink pictures to show us how stands the writing-table, and
how hangs the picture, and where is the _fauteuil_, that we may see them
as they are daily; so we crave something more, we feel shut out, we want
to get at their daily living, to know something of hospital-life.

Hospitals have sprung up as if sown broadcast, and these, too, of no
mean order. True, in our first haste and inexperience, viciously planned
hospitals were erected; but these and the Crimean blunders have served
us as beacons, and the anxious care of the Government has been untiring,
the outlay of money and things more precious unbounded; and those who
have had this weighty matter in charge have no reason to fear an account
of their stewardship. The Boston Free Hospital in excellence of plan and
beauty of design can be excelled by none. Philadelphia boasts the two
largest military hospitals in the world. Of the twenty-three in and
about Washington many are worthy of all praise. The general hospital at
Fort Schuyler is admirable in plan and _locale_, and this latter
condition is found to be of vast importance. A Rebel battery, with an
incurable habit of using the hospital as a target, would scarcely be so
dangerous as a low, water-sogged, clayey soil, with its inevitable
results of fever, rheumatism, and bowel-complaints.

Spotless cleanliness is another indispensable characteristic,--not only
urged, but enforced; for there is no such notable housewife as the
Government. The vast "Mower" Hospital at Chestnut Hill, the largest in
the world, is as well kept as a lady's boudoir should be. It is built
around a square of seven acres, in which stand the surgeon's
lecture-room, the chapel, the platform for the band, etc. A long
corridor goes about this square, rounded at the corners, and lighted on
one side by numerous large windows, which, if removed in summer, must
leave it almost wholly open. From the opposite side radiate the
sick-wards, fifty in number, one story in height, one hundred and
seventy-five feet in length, and twenty feet farther apart at the
extremity than at the corridor, thus completely isolating them from each
other. A railway runs the length of the corridor, on which small cars
convey meals to the mess-rooms attached to each of the wards for those
who are unable to leave them, stores, and even the sick themselves; and
the corridor, closed in winter and warmed by stoves, forms a huge and
airy exercise-hall for the convalescent patients. As for the
cooking-facilities, they are something prodigious, at least in the sight
of ordinary kitchens, leaving nothing to be desired, unless it were that
discriminating kettle of the Erse king, that could cook for any given
number of men and apportion the share of each to his rank and needs.
Such a kettle might make the "extra-diet" kitchen unnecessary;
otherwise, I can hardly tell where improvement would be possible.

But though, with the exception of the West Philadelphia, none can
compare in hugeness with this Skrymir of hospitals, the
hospital-buildings, as a rule, have everywhere a strong family-likeness.
The pavilion-system, which isolates each of the sick-wards, allowing it
free circulation of air about three of its sides, is conceded to be the
only one worthy of attention, and is introduced in all such buildings of
modern date. Ridge-ventilation, obtained by means of openings on either
side of the ridge, is also very generally used, and advocated even in
permanent hospitals of stone and brick. Science and Common Sense at last
have fraternized, and work together hand in hand. The good old-fashioned
plan of slowly stewing the patient to death, or at least to a fever, in
confined air and stale odors, equal parts, is almost abandoned; and to
speak after the manner of Charles Reade, "Nature gets now a pat on the
back, instead of a kick under the bed." Proper ventilation begins, ends,
and forms the gist of almost every chapter in our hospital-manuals; and
I think they should be excellent summer-reading, for a pleasant breeze
seems to rustle every page, so earnestly is, first, pure air, second,
pure air, and third, pure air, impressed upon the student, "line upon
line and precept upon precept."

The Mower Hospital, which employs ten hundred and fifty gas-burners,
uses daily one hundred and fifty thousand gallons of water, and can
receive between five and six thousand patients, is free even from a
suspicion of the "hospital-smell." The Campbell and Harewood, at
Washington, are models in this respect, and can rank with many a
handsome drawing-room. The last-named institution is also delightfully
situated on grounds once belonging to the Rebel Corcoran, comprising
some two hundred acres, laid out with shaded walks, and adorned with
rustic bridges and summer-houses,--a fashion of deriving aid and comfort
from the enemy which doesn't come under the head of treason.

On hygienic grounds, all possible traps are set to catch sunbeams. One
hospital has a theatre in the mess-room, of which the scenery is painted
by a convalescent, and the stage, foot-lights, etc., are the work of the
soldiers. The performers are amateurs, taken from among the patients;
and the poor fellows who can be moved, but are unable to walk, are
carried down in the dumb-waiter to share in the entertainment. Another
has a library, reading-room, and a printing-press, which strikes off a
weekly newspaper, in which are a serial story, poetry, and many profound
and moral reflections. The men play cards and backgammon, read, write,
smoke, and tell marvellous stories, commencing, "It wasn't fairly day,
and we were hardly wide enough awake to tell a tree-stump from a gray
coat,"--or, "When we saw them coming, we first formed in square, corner
towards them you know, and waited till they were close on us, and then,
Sir, we opened and gave them our cannon, grape-shot, right slap into
them,"--or good-humoredly rally each other, as in the case of that
unlucky regiment perfectly cut up in its first battle, and known as
"six-weeks' soldiers and six-months' hospital-men."

But these are mere surface-facts. Hospital-life is woven in a different
pattern from our own, the shades deeper, the gold brighter, and we find
in it very much of heroism in plain colors, and self-sacrifice of rough

One poor fellow, yet dim-eyed and faint from long battling for his
ebbing life, will motion away the offered delicacy, pointing to some
other bed:--"Give it to him; he needs it more than I"; or sometimes, if
money is offered, "I have just been paid off; let that man have it; he
has nothing." Then some of the convalescents furnish our best and
tenderest nurses. A soldier was brought from Richmond badly wounded in
the leg. While in the prison his wounds had received no attention, and
he was in such enfeebled condition, that, when amputation became
inevitable, it was feared he would die of the operation. Hardly
breathing, made over apparently unto death, one of these soldier-nurses
took him in charge, for five days and nights kept close by his bed,
scarcely leaving him an instant, watching his faltering, flickering
breath, as his mother might have done, wresting him by force of
vigilance and tenderest care from the very clutch of the Destroyer,
rejoicing over his recovery as for that of a dear and only brother.
Another, likewise brought from Richmond, won the pity of a lady, a
chance visitor. She came to him every day, a distance of five miles,
washed his wounds, dressed them, nursed him back into the confines of
life, obtained for him a furlough, took him to her own house to complete
the cure, and sent him back to his regiment--well.

Over a third, a ruddy-faced New-England boy hardly yet into manhood,
hung the shadow of death, and quivering lips and swimming eyes--for they
come, there, to love our poor boys most tenderly--had spoken his
death-warrant. He was silent a moment. Even a brave soul stops and
catches breath, at the unexpected nearness of the Great Revelation; then
he asked to be baptized,--"because his mother was a Christian, and he
had promised her, if he died, and not on battle-field, to have this rite
performed, that she might know that he shared this Holy Faith with her,
and was not forgetful of her wishes"; and so he was baptized, and died.

There are cheerier phases. Side by side lay a New-Yorker, a
Pennsylvanian, and a Scotch boy, all terribly wounded. By the by, it is
a curious fact that there are few sabre-wounds, and almost literally
none from the bayonet; the work of destruction being, in almost all
cases, that of the rending Minié ball. The fathers of the New-Yorker and
Pennsylvanian had just visited them, and they were chatting cheerily of
their homes. The Scotch boy, who had lost a leg, looked up, brightly
smiling also.

"My mother will be here on Wednesday, from Scotland. When she knew that
I had enlisted, she sent me word that I had done well to take up arms
for a country that had been so good to me; and when she heard that I was
wounded, she wrote that she should take the next steamer for the United

And, as might have been expected from such a woman, on Wednesday she
_was_ by his bedside, redeeming her word to the very day.

Sometimes the men grumble a little. One poor fellow, with a bullet
through his lungs, took high and strong ground against the meat:--"Oh!
God love ye! how could a body eat it, swimming in fat? but the eggs,
they was beautiful; and the toast is good; ye'll send me some of that
for me supper?" But as a rule they are cheery and contented, grow
strongly attached to their nurses and the visitors, and, when back in
camp, write letters of fond remembrance to their hospital-homes.

No one has ever suspected ledgers of a latent angelic principle,--and
yet, if unpaid benevolence, consolation poured on wounded hearts, hope
given to despair, and help to poverty and misery, have in them anything
heavenly, then have our soldiers a guardian angel in the Hospital
Directory. There has been a battle, and three or four days of maddening
suspense, and then the cold, hopeless newspaper-list; and your son,
mother, who played about your knee only a little time ago, and went out
in his youthful pride to battle, is there, wounded,--or your lover,
girl, who has taught you the deeper meaning of a woman's life,--or your
husband, sad woman, whose children stand at your knee scared by your

"The regiment stood like a rock against the enemy's furious onset, and
its blood-stained colors are forever glorious"; but it went out nine
hundred strong, and it comes back with two hundred, and what do you care
now for laurel-wreaths? He is not with them. There are railroads,--you
can near the battle-field, but you cannot reach it; you can inquire, but
the officers must care for the living,--"let the dead bury their dead";
and while you are frantically asking and searching, he is dying,
suffering, calling for you; and then you find that the Hospital
Directory has trace of him, and the kindly, patient members of the
Sanitary Commission are ready with time, and money, if needed, to put
you on it; and if ever you have had that horror of uncertainty strong
upon you, you will not think that I have strained the language, when I
call this most pitiful and Christian charity a guardian angel. Hear the
inquiries:--"By the love you bear your own mother, tell me where my boy
is! only give me some tidings!" "I pray you, tell me of these two
nephews for whom I am seeking: I have had fourteen nephews in the
service, and these two are the only ones left." Words like these put
soul and meaning into the following statistics, given by Mr. Brown,
Superintendent of the Hospital Directory at Washington.

"The Washington Bureau of the Hospital Directory of the United States
Sanitary Commission was opened to the public on the twenty-seventh of
November, 1862. In the month of December following I was ordered to
Louisville, Ky., to organize a Directory Bureau for the Western
Department of the Sanitary Commission, and in January ended my labor in
that department. Returning to Washington, and thence proceeding to
Philadelphia and New York upon the same duty performed at the West, I
completed the entire organization of the four bureaus by the fifth of
March, 1863. Since the first of June, at these several bureaus, the
returns from every United States General Hospital of the army, 233 in
number, have been regularly received.

"The total number of names on record is 513,437. The total number of
inquiries for information has been 12,884, and the number of successful
answers rendered 9,203, being seventy-two per cent. on the number
received. The remaining twenty-eight per cent., of whom no information
could be obtained, are of those who perished in the Peninsula campaign,
before Fredericksburg, Gettysburg, etc."

In the Sanitary Commission, mentioned here, our soldiers have yet
another friend, for whom even our copious Anglo-Saxon can find no word
of description at once strong, wise, tender, and far-reaching; but
perhaps a simple story, taken from the Sanitary Commission Bulletin,
will speak more clearly, and better to the heart, than pages of dry

"Away up in the fourth story of Hospital No. 3, and in a far corner of
the ward, was seen, one day, an old lady sitting by the side of a mere
lad, who was reduced to the verge of death by chronic diarrhoea. She
was a plain, honest-hearted farmer's wife, her face all aglow with
motherly love, and who, to judge from appearances, had likely never
before travelled beyond the limits of her neighborhood, but now had come
many a long mile to do what might be done for her boy. In the course of
a conversation she informed her questioner, that, 'if she could only get
something that tasted like home,--some good tea, for instance, which she
could make herself, and which would be better than that of the
hospital,--she thought it might save her son's life.' Of course it was
sent to her, and on a subsequent visit she expressed her thanks in a
simple, hearty way, quite in keeping with her appearance. Still she
seemed sad; something was on her mind that evidently troubled her, and,
like Banquo's ghost, 'would not down.' At length it came out in a
confiding, innocent way,--more, evidently, because it was uppermost in
her thoughts than for the purpose of receiving sympathy,--that her
means were about exhausted. 'I didn't think that it would take so much
money; it is so much farther away from home than I had thought, and
board here is so very high, that I have hardly enough left to take me
back; and by another week I will have to leave him. I have been around
to the stores to buy some little things that he would eat,--for he can't
eat this strong food,--but the prices are so high that I can't buy them,
and I am afraid, that, if I go away, and if he doesn't get something
different to eat, that maybe,' and the tears trickled down her cheeks,
'he won't--be so well.'

"Her listener thought that difficulty might be overcome, and, if she
would put on her bonnet, they would go to a store where articles were
cheap. Accordingly they arrived in front of the large three-story
building which Government has assigned to the Commission, and the old
lady was soon running her eyes over the long rows of boxes, bales, and
barrels that stretched for a hundred feet down the room, but was most
fascinated by the bottles and cans on the shelves. He ordered a supply
of sugar, tea, soft crackers, and canned fruit, then chicken and
oysters, then jelly and wine, brandy, milk, and under-clothing, till the
basket was full. As the earlier articles nestled under its lids, her
face was glowing with satisfaction; but as the later lots arrived, she
would draw him aside to whisper that 'it was too much,'--'really she
hadn't enough money'; and when the more expensive items came from the
shelves, the shadow of earnestness which gloomed her countenance grew
into one of perplexity, her soul vibrating between motherly yearning for
the lad on his bed and the scant purse in her pocket, till, slowly, and
with great reluctance, she began to return the costliest.

"'Hadn't you better ask the price?' said her guide.

"'How much is it?'

"'Nothing,' replied the store-keeper.

"'Sir!' queried she, in the utmost amazement, '_nothing_ for all this?'

"'My good woman,' asked the guide, 'have you a Soldiers' Aid Society in
your neighborhood?'

"Yes, they had; she belonged to it herself.

"'Well, what do you suppose becomes of the garments you make, and the
fruit have you put up?'

"She hadn't thought,--she supposed they went to the army,--but was
evidently bothered to know what connection there could be between their
Aid Society and that basket.

"'These garments that you see came from your society, or other societies
just like yours; so did these boxes and barrels; that milk came from New
York; those fruits from Boston; that wine was likely purchased with gold
from California; and it is all for sick soldiers, your son as much as
for any one else. This is the United States Sanitary Commission
storehouse; you must come here whenever you wish, and call for
everything you want; and you must stay with your son until he is able to
go home: never mind the money's giving out; you shall have more, which,
when you get back, you can refund for the use of other mothers and sons;
when you are ready to go, I will put him in a berth where he can lie
down, and you shall save his life yet.'

"She did,--God bless her innocent, motherly heart!--when nothing but
motherly care could have achieved it; and when last seen, on a dismal,
drizzly morning, was, with her face beaming out the radiance of hope,
making a cup of tea on the stove of a caboose-car for the convalescent,
who was snugly tucked away in the caboose-berth, waiting the final
whistle of the locomotive that would speed them both homeward."

But for many of our soldiers there is yet another phase in store,--that
sad time when the clangor and fierce joy and wild, exulting hurrah of
the battle are over forever; and so, too, is over tender
hospital-nursing, and they are sent out by hundreds, cured of their
wounds, but maimed, the sources of life half drained, vigor gone, hope
all spent, to limp through the blind alleys and by-ways of life,
dropped out of the remembrance of a country that has used and forgotten
them. They have given for her, not life, but all that makes life
pleasant, hopeful, or even possible. It seems to me, that, in common
decency, if she has no laurels to spare, she should at least give them
in return--a daily dinner. Already, however, has the idea been set
forth, after a better fashion than I can hope to do,--in wood and stone,
and by the aid of a charter.

In Philadelphia stands the first chartered "Home" for disabled soldiers,
a cheery old house, dating back to the occupation of the city by the
British army in 1777-8, founded and supported by private citizens, open
to all, of whatever State, and fully looking its title, a "Home"; and as
the want is more widely felt, and presses closer upon us, I cannot but
think that everywhere we shall find such "Homes," and as we grow graver,
sadder, and wiser, under the hard teaching of our war, and more awake to
the thought that we have done with our splendid unclouded youth, and
must now take upon us the sterner responsibilities of our manhood, that
a new spirit will spring up among us,--the spirit of that woman who,
with a bedridden mother, an ailing sister, and a shop to tend, as their
only means of support, yet finds time to visit our sick soldiers, and
carry to them the little that she can spare, and that which she has
begged of her wealthier neighbors,--the spirit of that poor seamstress
who snatches an hour daily from her exhausting toil to sew for the
soldiers,--the spirit of that mechanic, who, having nothing to give,
makes boxes in his evening leisure, and sells them for the
soldiers,--the spirit of the brooks, that never hesitate between up-hill
and down, because "all the rivers run into the sea, yet the sea is never
full,"--the spirit of all who do with love and zeal whatever their hands
find to do, and sigh, not because it is so little, but because it is not

God grant that this spirit may obtain among us,--that our soldiers, and
their helpless families, may be to us a national trust, for which we are
bound individually, even the very humblest and meanest of us, to care.
The field is vast, and white for the harvest. Now, for the love of
Christ, in the name of honor, for very shame's sake, where we counted
our laborers by tens, let us number them by fifties,--where there were
hundreds, let there be thousands.



The great master of English prose has left us suddenly, but to himself
not unexpectedly. In the maturity of his powers, with his enduring
position in literature fairly won and recognized, with the provision
which spurred him to constant work secured to those he loved, his death
saddens us rather through the sense of our own loss than from the tragic
regret which is associated with an unaccomplished destiny. More
fortunate than Fielding, he was allowed to take the measure of his
permanent fame. The niche wherein he shall henceforth stand was
chiselled while he lived. One by one the doubters confessed their
reluctant faith, unfriendly critics dropped their blunted steel, and no
man dared to deny him the place which was his, and his only, by right of

In one sense, however, he was misunderstood by the world, and he has
died before that profounder recognition which he craved had time to
mature. All the breadth and certainty of his fame failed to compensate
him for the lack of this: the man's heart coveted that justice which was
accorded only to the author's brain. Other pens may sum up the literary
record he has left behind: I claim the right of a friend who knew and
loved him to speak of him as a man. The testimony, which, while living,
he was too proud to have desired, may now be laid reverently upon his

There is a delicacy to be observed in describing one's intercourse with
a departed great man, since death does not wholly remove that privacy
which it is our duty to respect in life. Yet the veil which we
charitably drop upon weakness or dishonor may surely be lifted to
disclose the opposite qualities. I shall repeat no word of Thackeray's
which he would have wished unsaid or suppressed: I shall say no more
than he would himself have said of a contemporary to whom the world had
not done full justice. During a friendship of nearly seven years, he
permitted me to see that one true side of an author's nature which is
never so far revealed to the public that the malignant may avail
themselves of his candor to assail or the fools to annoy him. He is now
beyond the reach of malice, obtrusive sentiment, or vain curiosity; and
the "late remorse of love," which a better knowledge of the man may here
and there provoke, can atone for past wrong only by that considerate,
tender judgment of the living of which he was an example.

I made Thackeray's acquaintance in New York towards the close of the
year 1855. With the first grasp of his broad hand, and the first look of
his large, serious gray eyes, I received an impression of the essential
manliness of his nature,--of his honesty, his proud, almost defiant
candor, his ever-present, yet shrinking tenderness, and that sadness of
the moral sentiment which the world persisted in regarding as cynicism.
This impression deepened with my further acquaintance, and was never
modified. Although he belonged to the sensitive, irritable genus, his
only manifestations of impatience which I remember were when that which
he had written with a sigh was interpreted as a sneer. When so
misunderstood, he scorned to set himself right. "I have no brain above
the eyes," he was accustomed to say; "I describe what I see." He was
quick and unerring in detecting the weaknesses of his friends, and spoke
of them with a tone of disappointment sometimes bordering on
exasperation; but he was equally severe upon his own shortcomings. He
allowed no friend to think him better than his own deliberate estimate
made him. I have never known a man whose nature was so immovably based
on truth.

In a conversation upon the United States, shortly after we first met, he

"There is one thing in this country which astonishes me. You have a
capacity for culture which contradicts all my experience. There are
----" (mentioning two or three names well known in New York) "who I know
have arisen from nothing, yet they are fit for any society in the world.
They would be just as self-possessed and entertaining in the presence of
stars and garters as they are here to-night. Now, in England, a man who
has made his way up, as they have, doesn't seem able to feel his social
dignity. A little bit of the flunky sticks in him somewhere. I am,
perhaps, as independent in this respect as any one I know, yet I'm not
entirely sure of myself."

"Do you remember," I asked him, "what Goethe says of the boys in Venice?
He explains their cleverness, grace, and self-possession as children by
the possibility of any one of them becoming Doge."

"That may be the secret, after all," said Thackeray. "There is no
country like yours for a young man who is obliged to work for his own
place and fortune. If I had sons, I should send them here."

Afterwards, in London, I visited with him the studio of Baron
Marochetti, the sculptor, who was then his next-door neighbor in Onslow
Square, Brompton. The Baron, it appeared, had promised him an original
wood-cut of Albert Dürer's, for whom Thackeray had a special admiration.
Soon after our entrance, the sculptor took down a small engraving from
the wall, saying,--

"Now you have it, at last."

The subject was St. George and the Dragon.

Thackeray inspected it with great delight for a few minutes: then,
suddenly becoming grave, he turned to me and said,--

"I shall hang it near the head of my bed, where I can see it every
morning. We all have our dragons to fight. Do you know yours? I know
mine: I have not one, but two."

"What are they?" I asked.

"Indolence and Luxury!"

I could not help smiling, as I thought of the prodigious amount of
literary labor he had performed, and at the same time remembered the
simple comfort of his dwelling, next door.

"I am serious," he continued; "I never take up the pen without an
effort; I work only from necessity. I never walk out without seeing some
pretty, useless thing which I want to buy. Sometimes I pass the same
shop-window every day for months, and resist the temptation, and think
I'm safe; then comes the day of weakness, and I yield. My physician
tells me I must live very simply, and not dine out so much; but I cannot
break off the agreeable habit. I shall look at this picture and think of
my dragons, though I don't expect ever to overcome them."

After his four lectures on the Georges had been delivered in New York, a
storm of angry abuse was let loose upon him in Canada and the other
British Provinces. The British-Americans, snubbed both by Government and
society when they go to England, repay the slight, like true Christians,
by a rampant loyalty unknown in the mother-country. Many of their
newspapers accused Thackeray of pandering to the prejudices of the
American public, affirming that he would not dare to repeat the same
lectures in England, after his return. Of course, the papers containing
the articles, duly marked to attract attention, were sent to him. He
merely remarked, as he threw them contemptuously aside,--"These fellows
will see that I shall not only repeat the lectures at home, but I shall
make them more severe, just because the auditors will be Englishmen." He
was true to his promise. The lecture on George IV. excited, not, indeed,
the same amount of newspaper-abuse as he had received from Canada, but a
very angry feeling in the English aristocracy, some members of which
attempted to punish him by a social ostracism. When I visited him in
London, in July, 1856, he related this to me, with great good-humor.
"There, for instance," said he, "is Lord ----" (a prominent English
statesman) "who has dropped me from his dinner-parties for three months
past. Well, he will find that I can do without his society better than
he can do without mine." A few days afterwards Lord ---- resumed his

About the same time I witnessed an amusing interview, which explained to
me the great personal respect in which Thackeray was held by the
aristocratic class. He never hesitated to mention and comment upon the
censure aimed against him in the presence of him who had uttered it. His
fearless frankness must have seemed phenomenal. In the present instance,
Lord ----, who had dabbled in literature, and held a position at Court,
had expressed himself (I forget whether orally or in print) very
energetically against Thackeray's picture of George IV. We had occasion
to enter the shop of a fashionable tailor, and there found Lord ----.
Thackeray immediately stepped up to him, bent his strong frame over the
disconcerted champion of the Royal George, and said, in his full, clear,
mellow voice,--"I know what you have said. Of course, you are quite
right, and I am wrong. I only regret that I did not think of consulting
you before my lecture was written." The person addressed evidently did
not know whether to take this for irony or truth: he stammered out an
incoherent reply, and seemed greatly relieved when the giant turned to
leave the shop.

At other times, however, he was kind and considerate. Reaching London
one day in June, 1857, I found him at home, grave and sad, having that
moment returned from the funeral of Douglas Jerrold. He spoke of the
periodical attacks by which his own life was threatened, and repeated
what he had often said to me before,--"I shall go some day,--perhaps in
a year or two. I am an old man already." He proposed visiting a lady
whom we both knew, but whom he had not seen for some time. The lady
reminded him of this fact, and expressed her dissatisfaction at some
length. He heard her in silence, and then, taking hold of the crape on
his left arm, said, in a grave, quiet voice,--"I must remove this,--I
have just come from poor Jerrold's grave."

Although, from his experience of life, he was completely
_désillusionné_, the well of natural tenderness was never dried in his
heart. He rejoiced, with a fresh, boyish delight, in every evidence of
an unspoiled nature in others,--in every utterance which denoted what
may have seemed to him over-faith in the good. The more he was saddened
by his knowledge of human weakness and folly, the more gratefully he
welcomed strength, virtue, sincerity. His eyes never unlearned the habit
of that quick moisture which honors the true word and the noble deed.

His mind was always occupied with some scheme of quiet benevolence. Both
in America and in England, I have known him to plan ways by which he
could give pecuniary assistance to some needy acquaintance or countryman
without wounding his sensitive pride. He made many attempts to procure a
good situation in New York for a well-known English author, who was at
that time in straitened circumstances. The latter, probably, never knew
of this effort to help him. In November, 1857, when the financial crisis
in America was at its height, I happened to say to him, playfully, that
I hoped my remittances would not be stopped. He instantly picked up a
note-book, ran over the leaves, and said to me, "I find I have three
hundred pounds at my banker's. Take the money now, if you are in want of
it; or shall I keep it for you, in case you may need it?" Fortunately, I
had no occasion to avail myself of his generous offer; but I shall never
forget the impulsive, open-hearted kindness with which it was made.

I have had personal experience of Thackeray's sense of justice, as well
as his generosity. And here let me say that he was that rarest of men, a
cosmopolitan Englishman,--loving his own land with a sturdy, enduring
love, yet blind neither to its faults nor to the virtues of other lands.
In fact, for the very reason that he was unsparing in dealing with his
countrymen, he considered himself justified in freely criticizing other
nations. Yet he never joined in the popular depreciation of everything
American: his principal reason for not writing a book, as every other
English author does who visits us, was that it would be superficial, and
might be unjust. I have seen him, in America, indignantly resent an
ill-natured sneer at "John Bull,"--and, on the other hand, I have known
him to take _our_ part, at home. Shortly after Emerson's "English
Traits" appeared, I was one of a dinner-party at his house, and the book
was the principal topic of conversation. A member of Parliament took the
opportunity of expressing his views to the only American present.

"What does Emerson know of England?" he asked. "He spends a few weeks
here, and thinks he understands us. His work is false and prejudiced and

Thackeray happening to pass at the moment, the member arrested him

"What do _you_ think of the book, Mr. Thackeray?"

"I don't agree with Emerson."

"I was sure you would not!" the member triumphantly exclaimed; "I was
sure you would think as I do."

"I think," said Thackeray, quietly, "that he is altogether too
laudatory. He admires our best qualities so greatly that he does not
scourge us for our faults as we deserve."

Towards the end of May, 1861, I saw Thackeray again in London. During
our first interview, we talked of little but the war, which had then but
just begun. His chief feeling on the subject was a profound regret, not
only for the nation itself, whose fate seemed thus to be placed in
jeopardy, but also, he said, because he had many dear friends, both
North and South, who must now fight as enemies. I soon found that his
ideas concerning the cause of the war were as incorrect as were those of
most Englishmen at that time. He understood neither the real nature nor
the extent of the conspiracy, supposing that Free Trade was the chief
object of the South, and that the right of Secession was tacitly
admitted by the Constitution. I thereupon endeavored to place
the facts of the case before him in their true light, saying, in
conclusion,--"Even if you should not believe this statement, you must
admit, that, if _we_ believe it, we are justified in suppressing the
Rebellion by force."

He said,--"Come, all this is exceedingly interesting. It is quite new to
me, and I am sure it will be new to most of us. Take your pen and make
an article out of what you have told me, and I will put it into the next
number of the 'Cornhill Magazine.' It is just what we want."

I had made preparations to leave London for the Continent on the
following day, but he was so urgent that I should stay two days longer
and write the article that I finally consented to do so. I was the more
desirous of complying, since Mr. Clay's ill-advised letter to the London
"Times" had recently been published, and was accepted by Englishmen as
the substance of all that could be said on the side of the Union.
Thackeray appeared sincerely gratified by my compliance with his wishes,
and immediately sent for a cab, saying,--"Now we will go down to the
publishers, and have the matter settled at once. I am bound to consult
them, but I am sure they will see the advantage of such an article."

We found the managing publisher in his office. He looked upon the
matter, however, in a very different light. He admitted the interest
which a statement of the character, growth, and extent of the Southern
Conspiracy would possess for the readers of the "Cornhill," but objected
to its publication, on the ground that it would call forth a
counter-statement, which he could not justly exclude, and thus introduce
a political controversy into the magazine. I insisted that my object was
not to take notice of any statements published in England up to that
time, but to represent the crisis as it was understood in the Loyal
States and by the National Government; that I should do this simply to
explain and justify the action of the latter; and that, having once
placed the loyal view of the subject fairly before the English people, I
should decline any controversy. The events of the war, I added, would
soon draw the public attention away from its origin, and the "Cornhill,"
before the close of the struggle, would probably be obliged to admit
articles of a more strongly partisan character than that which I
proposed to write. The publisher, nevertheless, was firm in his refusal,
not less to Thackeray's disappointment than my own. He decided upon what
then seemed to him to be good business-reasons; and the same
consideration, doubtless, has since led him to accept statements
favorable to the side of the Rebellion.

As we were walking away, Thackeray said to me,--

"I am anxious that these things should be made public: suppose you write
a brief article, and send it to the 'Times'?"

"I would do so," I answered, "if there were any probability that it
would be published."

"I will try to arrange that," said he. "I know Mr. ----," (one of the
editors,) "and will call upon him at once. I will ask for the
publication of your letter as a personal favor to myself."

We parted at the door of a club-house, to meet again the same afternoon,
when Thackeray hoped to have the matter settled as he desired. He did
not, however, succeed in finding Mr. ----, but sent him a letter. I
thereupon went to work the next day, and prepared a careful, cold,
dispassionate statement, so condensed that it would have made less than
half a column of the "Times." I sent it to the editor, referring him to
Mr. Thackeray's letter in my behalf, and that is the last I ever heard
of it.

All of Thackeray's American friends will remember the feelings of pain
and regret with which they read his "Roundabout Paper" in the "Cornhill
Magazine," in (February, I think) 1862,--wherein he reproaches our
entire people as being willing to confiscate the stocks and other
property owned in this country by Englishmen, out of spite for their
disappointment in relation to the Trent affair, and directs his New-York
bankers to sell out all his investments, and remit the proceeds to
London, without delay. It was not his fierce denunciation of such
national dishonesty that we deprecated, but his apparent belief in its
possibility. We felt that he, of all Englishmen, should have understood
us better. We regretted, for Thackeray's own sake, that he had permitted
himself, in some spleenful moment, to commit an injustice, which would
sooner or later be apparent to his own mind.

Three months afterwards, (in May, 1862,) I was again in London. I had
not heard from Thackeray since the publication of the "Roundabout"
letter to his bankers, and was uncertain how far his evident ill-temper
on that occasion had subsided; but I owed him too much kindness, I
honored him too profoundly, not to pardon him, unasked, my share of the
offence. I found him installed in the new house he had built in Palace
Gardens, Kensington. He received me with the frank welcome of old, and
when we were alone, in the privacy of his library, made an opportunity
(intentionally, I am sure) of approaching the subject, which, he knew, I
could not have forgotten. I asked him why he wrote the article.

"I was unwell," he answered,--"you know what the moral effects of my
attacks are,--and I was indignant that such a shameful proposition
should be made in your American newspapers, and not a single voice be
raised to rebuke it."

"But you certainly knew," said I, "that the ---- ---- does not represent
American opinion. I assure you, that no honest, respectable man in the
United States ever entertained the idea of cheating an English

"I should hope so, too," he answered; "but when I saw the same thing in
the ---- ----, which, you will admit, is a paper of character and
influence, I lost all confidence. I know how impulsive and excitable
your people are, and I really feared that some such measure might be
madly advocated and carried into effect. I see, now, that I made a
blunder, and I am already punished for it. I was getting eight per cent.
from my American investments, and now that I have the capital here it is
lying idle. I shall probably not be able to invest it at a better rate
than four per cent."

I said to him, playfully, that he must not expect me, as an American, to
feel much sympathy with this loss: I, in common with his other friends
beyond the Atlantic, expected from him a juster recognition of the
national character.

"Well," said he, "let us say no more about it. I admit that I have made
a mistake."

Those who knew the physical torments to which Thackeray was periodically
subject--spasms which not only racked his strong frame, but temporarily
darkened his views of men and things--must wonder, that, with the
obligation to write permanently hanging over him, he was not more
frequently betrayed into impatient or petulant expressions. In his clear
brain, he judged himself no less severely, and watched his own nature no
less warily, than he regarded other men. His strong sense of justice was
always alert and active. He sometimes tore away the protecting drapery
from the world's pet heroes and heroines, but, on the other hand, he
desired no one to set him beside them. He never betrayed the least
sensitiveness in regard to his place in literature. The comparisons
which critics sometimes instituted between himself and other prominent
authors simply amused him. In 1856, he told me that he had written a
play which the managers had ignominiously rejected. "I thought I could
write for the stage," said he; "but it seems I can't. I have a mind to
have the piece privately performed, here at home. I'll take the big
footman's part." This plan, however, was given up, and the material of
the play was afterwards used, I believe, in "Lovel, the Widower."

I have just read a notice of Thackeray, which asserts, as an evidence of
his weakness in certain respects, that he imagined himself to be an
artist, and persisted in supplying bad illustrations to his own works.
This statement does injustice to his self-knowledge. He delighted in the
use of the pencil, and often spoke to me of his illustrations being a
pleasant relief to hand and brain, after the fatigue of writing. He had
a very imperfect sense of color, and confessed that his forte lay in
caricature. Some of his sketches were charmingly drawn upon the block,
but he was often unfortunate in his engraver. The original MS. of "The
Rose and the Ring," with the illustrations, is admirable. He was fond of
making groups of costumes and figures of the last century, and I have
heard English artists speak of his talent in this _genre_: but he never
professed to be more than an amateur, or to exercise the art for any
other reason than the pleasure it gave him.

He enjoyed the popularity of his lectures, because they were out of his
natural line of work. Although he made several very clever after-dinner
speeches, he always assured me that it was accidental,--that he had no
talent whatever for thinking on his feet.

"Even when I am reading my lectures," he said, "I often think to myself,
'What a humbug you are, and I wonder the people don't find it out!'"

When in New-York, he confessed to me that he should like immensely to
find some town where the people imagined that all Englishmen transposed
their _h_s, and give one of his lectures in that style. He was very fond
of relating an incident which occurred during his visit to St. Louis. He
was dining one day in the hotel, when he overheard one Irish waiter say
to another,--

"Do you know who that is?"

"No," was the answer.

"That," said the first, "is the celebrated Thacker!"

"What's _he_ done?"

"D----d if I know!"

Of Thackeray's private relations I would speak with a cautious
reverence. An author's heart is a sanctuary into which, except so far as
he voluntarily reveals it, the public has no right to enter. The shadow
of a domestic affliction which darkened all his life seemed only to have
increased his paternal care and tenderness. To his fond solicitude for
his daughters we owe a part of the writings wherewith he has enriched
our literature. While in America, he often said to me that his chief
desire was to secure a certain sum for them, and I shall never forget
the joyous satisfaction with which he afterwards informed me, in London,
that the work was done. "Now," he said, "the dear girls are provided
for. The great anxiety is taken from my life, and I can breathe freely
for the little time that is left me to be with them." I knew that he had
denied himself many "luxuries" (as he called them) to accomplish this
object. For six years after he had redeemed the losses of a reckless
youthful expenditure, he was allowed to live and to employ an income,
princely for an author, in the gratification of tastes which had been so
long repressed.

He thereupon commenced building a new house, after his own designs. It
was of red brick, in the style of Queen Anne's time, but the internal
arrangement was rather American than English. It was so much admired,
that, although the cost much exceeded his estimate, he could have sold
it for an advance of a thousand pounds. To me the most interesting
feature was the library, which occupied the northern end of the first
floor, with a triple window opening toward the street, and another upon
a warm little garden-plot shut in by high walls.

"Here," he said to me, when I saw him for the last time, "here I am
going to write my greatest work,--a History of the Reign of Queen Anne.
There are my materials,"--pointing to a collection of volumes in various
bindings which occupied a separate place on the shelves.

"When shall you begin it?" I asked.

"Probably as soon as I am done with 'Philip,'" was his answer; "but I am
not sure. I may have to write another novel first. But the History will
mature all the better for the delay. I want to _absorb_ the authorities
gradually, so that, when I come to write, I shall be filled with the
subject, and can sit down to a continuous narrative, without jumping up
every moment to consult somebody. The History has been a pet idea of
mine for years past. I am slowly working up to the level of it, and know
that when I once begin I shall do it well."

It is not likely that any part of this history was ever written. What it
might have been we can only regretfully conjecture: it has perished with
the uncompleted novel, and all the other dreams of that principle of the
creative intellect which the world calls Ambition, but which the artist
recognizes as Conscience.

That hour of the sunny May-day returns to memory as I write. The quiet
of the library, a little withdrawn from the ceaseless roar of London;
the soft grass of the bit of garden, moist from a recent shower, seen
through the open window; the smoke-strained sunshine, stealing gently
along the wall; and before me the square, massive head, the prematurely
gray hair, the large, clear, sad eyes, the frank, winning mouth, with
its smile of boyish sweetness, of the man whom I honored as a master,
while he gave me the right to love him as a friend. I was to leave the
next day for a temporary home on the Continent, and he was planning how
he could visit me, with his daughters. The proper season, the time, and
the expense were carefully calculated: he described the visit in
advance, with a gay, excursive fancy; and his last words, as he gave me
the warm, strong hand I was never again to press, were, "_Auf

What little I have ventured to relate gives but a fragmentary image of
the man whom I knew. I cannot describe him as the faithful son, the
tender father, the true friend, the man of large humanity and lofty
honesty he really was, without stepping too far within the sacred circle
of his domestic life. To me, there was no inconsistency in his nature.
Where the careless reader may see only the cynic and the relentless
satirist, I recognize his unquenchable scorn of human meanness and
duplicity,--the impatient wrath of a soul too frequently disappointed in
its search for good. I have heard him lash the faults of others with an
indignant sorrow which brought the tears to his eyes. For this reason he
could not bear that ignorant homage should be given to men really
unworthy of it. He said to me, once, speaking of a critic who blamed the
scarcity of noble and lovable character in his novels,--"Other men can
do that. I know what I can do best; and if I do good, it must be in my
own way."

The fate which took him from us was one which he had anticipated. He
often said that his time was short, that he could not certainly reckon
on many more years of life, and that his end would probably be sudden.
He once spoke of Irving's death as fortunate in its character. The
subject was evidently familiar to his thoughts, and his voice had
always a tone of solemn resignation which told that he had conquered its
bitterness. He was ready at any moment to answer the call; and when, at
last, it was given and answered,--when the dawn of the first Christmas
holiday lighted his pale, moveless features, and the large heart
throbbed no more forever in its grand scorn and still grander
tenderness,--his released spirit could have chosen no fitter words of
farewell than the gentle benediction his own lips have breathed:--

      "I lay the weary pen aside,
    And wish you health and love and mirth,
      As fits the solemn Christmas-tide.
    As fits the holy Christmas birth,
      Be this, good friends, our carol still,--
    Be peace on earth, be peace on earth,
      To men of gentle will!"


It has been said that "the history of war is a magnificent lie," and
from what we know in our times, particularly of the history of the
Mexican War and of the present Rebellion, if the despatches from the
battle-fields are to be received as history, we are inclined to believe
the saying is true; and it is natural that it should be so. A general
writes his despatches under the highest mental excitement. His troops
have won a great victory, or sustained a crushing defeat; in either
event, his mind is riveted to the transactions that have led to the
result; in the one case, his ambition will prompt him to aspire to a
name in history; in the other, he will try to save himself from
disgrace. He describes his battles; he gives an account of his marches
and counter-marches, of the hardships he has endured, the
disappointments he has experienced, and the difficulties he has had to
overcome. The principal events may be truthfully narrated; but his hopes
of rising a hero from the field of victory, or of appearing a martyr
from one of defeat, will mould his narrative to his wishes.

If it be frequently the misfortune of our generals, in writing their
reports, not to content themselves with the materials at hand, but to
draw on their imaginations, not for gross falsehoods, but for that
coloring which, diffused through their despatches, makes the narrative
affecting, while it leaves us in doubt where to draw the line between
fiction and fact, it is not always so, particularly when their
despatches are not written amidst the excitement of the battle-field,
but are deferred until the events which they describe have passed into

Such, we may suppose, to be the case in respect to the Reports of
Brigadier-Generals Barnard and Barry on the Engineer and Artillery
Operations of the Army of the Potomac. Written, as these Reports were,
after the organization of that army had been completed and the
Peninsular campaign had terminated, by men who, though playing an
important part in its organization and throughout this its first
campaign, yet never aspired to be its heroes, we may reasonably hope,
that, if they have not told the "whole truth," they have told us
"nothing but the truth."

The points of particular interest in these Reports, so far as relates to
organization, are the inauguration of a great system of
field-fortifications for the defence of the national capital, and the
preparation of engineer-equipments, particularly bridge-equipage for
crossing rivers. These are only sketched, but the outline is drawn by an
artist who is master of the subject. The professional engineer, when he
examines the immense fortifications of Washington and sees their
skilful construction, can appreciate the labor and thought which must
have been bestowed on them. He alone could complete the picture. To
appreciate these works, they must be seen. No field-works on so
extensive a scale have been undertaken in modern times. The nearest
approach to them were the lines of Torres Vedras, in Portugal,
constructed by the British army in 1809-10; but the works constructed by
General Barnard for the defence of Washington are larger, more numerous,
more carefully built, and much more heavily armed than were those justly
celebrated lines of Wellington.

And it should not be forgotten, that, after the Battle of Bull Run, we
were thrown on the defensive, and the fortifications of our capital were
called for in a hurry. There were no models, in this country, from which
to copy,--and few, if any, in Europe. Luckily, however, the art of
fortification is not imitative; it is based on scientific principles;
and we found in General Barnard and his assistants the science to
comprehend the problem before them, and the experience and skill to
grasp its solution.

Only the citizens of Washington and those who happened to be there after
the two disastrous defeats at Bull Run can appreciate the value of these
fortifications. They have twice saved the capital,--perhaps the nation;
yet forts are passive,--they never speak, unless assailed. But let
Washington be attacked by a powerful army and successfully defended, and
they would proclaim General Barnard one of the heroes of the war.

As has already been said, the engineer-equipage is only sketched; but
enough is said to show its value. Speaking of the bridges, General
Barnard says,--"They were used by the Quartermaster's department in
discharging transports, were precisely what was needed for the
disembarkation of General Franklin's division, constituted a portion of
the numerous bridges that were built over Wormley Creek during the siege
of Yorktown, and were of the highest use in the Chickahominy; while over
the Lower Chickahominy, some seventy-five thousand men, some three
hundred pieces of artillery, and the enormous baggage-trains of the
army, passed over a bridge of the extraordinary length of nearly six
hundred and fifty yards,--a feat scarcely surpassed in military
history." Pontoons, like forts, cannot talk; but every soldier of the
Army of the Potomac knows that these same bridges, which were prepared
when that army was first organized, have since carried it in safety four
times over the Rappahannock, twice at the Battle of Fredericksburg and
twice again at the Battle of Chancellorsville, and three times over the
Upper Potomac, once after the Battle of Antietam, and again both before
and after the Battle of Gettysburg.

Of the Peninsular campaign General Barnard does not profess to give a
history. He mentions only the operations which came under his
supervision as the Chief Engineer of the Army of the Potomac. The siege
of Yorktown was a matter of engineering skill. General Barnard gives us
his report to General Totten, the Chief Engineer of the Army, on the
engineering operations of the siege,--also his journal, showing the
progress of the siege from day to day. These, with the maps, convey a
very clear idea of the place to be taken, and the way it was to have
been reduced, had the enemy continued his defence until our batteries
were opened; but they do not convey to the mind of any except the
professional engineer the magnitude of the works which were constructed.
General Barnard says that fifteen batteries and four redoubts were built
during the siege, and he gives the armament of each battery. On
comparing this armament with that used in other sieges, we find the
amount of metal ready to be hurled on Yorktown when the enemy evacuated
that place second only to that of the Allies at Sebastopol, the greatest
siege of modern times.

But these batteries, with a single exception, never spoke. Like their
predecessors around Washington, they conquered by their mere presence.
After all the skill and labor that had been bestowed on their
construction, the enemy evacuated Yorktown just as our batteries were
about to open. He was at our mercy. General Barnard says that "the
enemy's position had become untenable,--that he could not have endured
our fire for six hours." We can readily understand how mortifying it
must have been to the Commanding General, and particularly to the
officers of engineers and artillery who had planned, built, and armed
these siege-works, to hear that the enemy had evacuated his
fortifications just at the moment when we were prepared to drive him
from them by force; and we can appreciate the regrets of General
Barnard, when he says, in reviewing the campaign, and pointing out the
mistakes that had been committed, that "we should have opened our
batteries on the place as fast as they were completed. The effect on the
troops would have been inspiring. It would have lightened the siege and
shortened our labors; and, besides, we would have had the credit of
driving the enemy from Yorktown by force of arms; whereas, as it was, we
only induced him to evacuate for prudential considerations." And General
Barry says, in his report of the artillery operations at the siege,--"It
will always be a source of great professional disappointment to me, that
the enemy, by his premature and hasty abandonment of his defensive line,
deprived the artillery of the Army of the Potomac of the opportunity of
exhibiting the superior power and efficiency of the unusually heavy
metal used in this siege, and of reaping the honor and just reward of
their unceasing labors, day and night, for nearly one month."

The next serious obstacle to be overcome, after the siege of Yorktown,
was the passage of the Chickahominy. Here, says General Barnard, "if
possible, the responsibility and labor of the engineer officers were
increased." The difficulties of that river, considered as a military
obstacle, are given in a few touches; but in the sketch of the opposing
heights, and of the intermediate valley, filled up with the stream, the
heavily timbered swamp, and the overflowed bottom-lands, we have the
Chickahominy brought before us so vividly that we can almost _feel_ the
difficulty of crossing it. Well may General Barnard say that "it was one
of the most formidable obstacles that could be opposed to the advance of
an army,--an obstacle to which an ordinary _river_, though it be of
considerable magnitude, is comparatively slight."

The labors of the engineers in bridging this formidable swamp are
detailed with considerable minuteness. Ten bridges, of different
characters, were constructed, though some of them were never used,
because the enemy held the approaches on his side of the river.

We are glad that General Barnard has elaborated this part of his Report.
There is a melancholy interest attaching to the Chickahominy. To it, and
to the events connected with it, history will refer the defeat of
General McClellan's magnificent army, and the failure of the Peninsular
campaign. And what a lesson is here to be learned! The fate of the
contending armies was suspended in a balance. The hour when a particular
bridge was to be completed, or rendered impassable by the rising floods,
was to turn the scales!

That mistakes were committed on the Chickahominy the country is prepared
to believe. Our army was placed astride of that stream, and in this
situation we fought two battles, each time with only a part of our
force; thus violating, not only the maxims of war, but the plainest
principles of common sense.

The Battle of Fair Oaks began on the thirty-first of May. At that time
our army was divided by the Chickahominy. Of the five corps constituting
the Army of the Potomac, two were on its right bank, or on the side
nearest to Richmond, while the other three were on the left bank. There
had been heavy rains, the river was rising, and the swamps and
bottom-lands were fast becoming impassable. None of the upper bridges
had yet been built. We had then only Bottom's Bridge, the
railroad-bridge, and the two bridges built by General Sumner some miles
higher up the river. Bottom's Bridge and the railroad-bridge were too
distant to be of any service in an emergency such as a battle demands.
At the time of the enemy's attack, which was sudden and unexpected,
completely overwhelming General Casey's division, our sole reliance to
reinforce the left wing was by Sumner's corps, and over his two bridges.
It happened to be the fortune of the writer to see "Sumner's upper
bridge,"--the only one then passable,--at the moment the head of General
Sumner's column reached it. The possibility of crossing was doubted by
all present, including General Sumner himself.

The bridge was of rough logs, and mostly afloat, held together and kept
from drifting off by the stumps of trees to which it was fastened; the
portion over the thread of the stream being suspended from the trunks of
large trees, which had been felled across it, by ropes which a single
blow with a hatchet would have severed. On this bridge and on these
ropes hung the fate of the day at Fair Oaks, and, probably, the fate of
the Army of the Potomac too; for, if Sumner had not crossed in time to
check the movement of the enemy down the river, the corps of Heintzelman
and Keyes would have been taken in flank, and it is fair to suppose that
they must have been driven into an impassable river, or captured.

But Sumner crossed, and saved the day. Forever honored be his name!

As the solid column of infantry entered upon the bridge, it swayed to
and fro to the angry flood below or the living freight above, settling
down and grasping the solid stumps, by which it was made secure as the
line advanced. Once filled with men, it was safe until the corps had
crossed. It then soon became impassable, and the "railroad-bridge," says
General Barnard, "for several days was the only communication between
the two wings of the army." Never was an army in a more precarious
situation. Fortunately, however, whatever mistakes we made in allowing
ourselves to be attacked when the two wings of the army were almost
separated, the enemy also committed serious blunders, both as to the
point of his attack and the time when his blow was delivered. His true
point of attack was on the right flank of our left wing. Had the attack
which Sumner met and repulsed been made simultaneously with the assault
in front, a single battalion, nay, even a single company, could have
seized and destroyed "Sumner's upper bridge," the only one, as before
remarked, then passable, Sumner would consequently have been unable to
take part in the battle, and our left wing would have been taken in
flank, and, in all probability, defeated; or, had the attack been
deferred until the next day, or even for several days, as the bridges
became impassable during the night of the thirty-first, it would
probably have been successful.

It is easy to make such criticisms after the events have happened; their
mere statement will carry conviction to the minds of all who were in a
position, during these memorable days, to know the facts that decided
the movements; and it is right that they should be made, for it is only
by pointing out the causes of success or failure in military affairs,
as, indeed, in every human undertaking, that we can hope to be
successful. But, in doing so, we need not confine ourselves to one side
of the question; we may look at our enemies as well as at ourselves. Nor
need they be made in a spirit of censoriousness; for the importance of
individuals, in speaking of such great events, may safely be overlooked
without affecting the lesson we would learn. Neither should it be
forgotten that the general who has always fought his battles at the
right time, in the right place, with the proper arms, and pursued his
victories to their utmost attainable results, has yet to appear. He
would, indeed, be an intellectual prodigy.

Such we may suppose to be the reflections of General Barnard, when he
points out the mistakes which were made in the Army of the Potomac while
on the Chickahominy. He does not, indeed, bring to our view the mistakes
of the enemy. That would have been travelling outside of the record in
the report of the operations falling under his supervision, and such
criticism is wisely left for some of the enemy's engineers, or for a
more general history. In speaking of the difficulties of crossing the
Chickahominy immediately after the battle of the thirty-first of May,
General Barnard says,--"There was one way, however, to unite the army on
the other side; it was to take advantage of a victory at Fair Oaks, to
sweep at once the enemy from his position opposite New Bridge, and,
simultaneously, to bring over by the New Bridge our troops of the right
wing, which would then have met with little or no resistance"; and
again, in a more general criticism of the campaign, he says,--"The
repulse of the Rebels at Fair Oaks should have been taken advantage of.
It was one of those 'occasions' which, if not seized, do not repeat
themselves. We now _know_ the state of disorganization and dismay in
which the Rebel army retreated. We now _know_ that it could have been
followed into Richmond. Had it been so, there would have been no
resistance to overcome to bring over our right wing."

But the "occasion" which the morning of the first of June presented of
uniting the two wings of the army, and thus achieving a great victory,
was not seized, because, as General Barnard says, "we did not then know
all that we now do." At the moment when the New Bridge became passable,
8.15, A. M., it is not probable the Commanding General knew it.
Nor did he know, that, at this very moment, the enemy was retreating to
Richmond in a "state of disorganization and dismay." Besides, the troops
of the left wing had fought a hard battle the preceding afternoon, and
they had been up all night, throwing up works of defence, and making
dispositions to resist another assault by the enemy. They were not in a
condition to assume the offensive against an enemy who was supposed to
be in force and in position, himself preparing to resume the attack of
the previous day, however competent they may have been to pursue a
demoralized foe flying from the field. The propitious moment was lost,
not to return,--for, during the day, the rising flood rendered all the
bridges, except the railroad-bridge, impassable.

The necessity for more substantial bridges to connect the two wings of
the army had now been made manifest, and two fine structures, available
for all arms, were completed by the nineteenth. At the same time two
foot-bridges were made, the other bridges repaired, and their approaches
made secure, though the enemy still held the approaches of the three
upper bridges on the right bank.

While these bridges were being made, mostly by the right wing of the
army, the left wing was engaged in constructing a strong line of
defence, stretching from the White-Oak Swamp to the Chickahominy,
consisting of six redoubts connected by rifle-pits or barricades.
General Barnard says,--"The object of these lines (over three miles
long) was to hold our position of the left wing against the concentrated
force of the enemy, until communications across the Chickahominy could
be established; or, if necessary, to maintain our position on this side,
while the bulk of the army was thrown upon the other, should occasion
require it; or, finally, to hold one part of our line and communication
by a small force, while our principal offensive effort was made upon
another." At the same time, several batteries were constructed on the
left bank of the river in the neighborhood of the upper bridges, either
to operate on the enemy's positions in their front, or to defend these

All these preparations were made with the understood purpose of driving
the enemy from his positions in front of New Bridge; and they appear to
have been about completed, for on the night of the twenty-sixth "an
epaulement for putting our guns in position" to effect this object was
thrown up. But it was too late. Lee's guns had been heard in the
afternoon, in the neighborhood of Mechanicsville, attacking the advance
of our right wing, and Jackson was within supporting distance. The
battle of the twenty-seventh of June, on which "hinged the fate of the
campaign," was to be fought to-morrow. This battle, or rather the policy
of fighting it, or suffering it to be fought, has been more criticized
than any other battle of the campaign. We fought a battle which was
decisive against us with less than one-third of our force.

General Barnard is severe in his criticisms. In his "retrospect,
pointing out the mistakes that were made," he says,--

"At last a moment came when action was imperative. The enemy assumed the
initiative, and we had warning of when and where he was to strike. Had
Porter been withdrawn the night of the twenty-sixth, our army would have
been _concentrated_ on the right bank, while two corps at least of the
enemy's force were on the _left_ bank. Whatever course we then took,
whether to strike at Richmond and the portion of the enemy on the right
bank, or move at once for the James, we would have had a concentrated
army, and a fair chance of a brilliant result, in the first place; and
in the second, if we accomplished nothing, we would have been in the
same case on the morning of the twenty-seventh as we were on that of the
twenty-eighth,--_minus_ a lost battle and a compulsory retreat; or, had
the fortified lines (thrown up _expressly_ for the object) been held by
twenty thousand men, (as they could have been,) we could have fought on
the other side with eighty thousand men instead of twenty-seven
thousand; or, finally, had the lines been abandoned, with our hold on
the right bank of the Chickahominy, we might have fought and crushed the
enemy on the left bank, reopened our communications, and then returned
and taken Richmond.

"As it was, the enemy fought with his _whole force_, (except enough left
before our lines to keep up an appearance,) and we fought with
twenty-seven thousand men, losing the battle and nine thousand men.

"By this defeat we were driven from our position, our advance of
conquest turned into a retreat for safety, by a force probably not
greatly superior to our own."

It is to be hoped that the forthcoming report of General McClellan will
give us the reasons which induced him to risk such a battle with such a
force, and modify, to some extent at least, the justice of such
outspoken censure.

The services of the engineers in passing the army over White-Oak Swamp,
in reconnoitring the line of retreat to James River, in posting troops,
and in defending the final position of the army at Harrison's Landing,
are detailed with great clearness. Of his officers the General speaks in
the highest terms. It appears, that, with a single exception, they were
all _lieutenants_, whereas "in a European service the chief engineer
serving with an army-corps would be a field-officer, generally a
colonel." In this want of rank in the corps of engineers the General
says there is a twofold evil.

"_First_, the great hardships and injustice to the officers themselves:
for they have, almost without exception, refused or _been_ refused high
positions in the volunteer service, (to which they have seen their
contemporaries of the other branches elevated,) on the ground that their
services as _engineers_ were absolutely necessary. _Second_, it is an
evil to the service: since an adequate rank is almost as necessary to an
officer for the efficient discharge of his duties as professional
knowledge. The engineer's duty is a responsible one. He is called upon
to decide important questions,--to fix the position of defensive works,
(and thereby of the _troops_ who occupy them,)--to indicate the manner
and points of attack of fortified positions. To give him the proper
weight with those with whom he is associated, he should have, as _they_
have, adequate rank.

"The campaign on the Peninsula called for great labor on the part of the
engineers. The country, notwithstanding its early settlement, was a
_terra incognita_. We knew the York River and the James River, and we
had heard of the Chickahominy; and this was about the extent of our
knowledge. Our maps were so incorrect that they were found to be
worthless before we reached Yorktown. New ones had to be prepared, based
on reconnoissances made by officers of engineers.

"The siege of Yorktown involved great responsibility, besides exposure
and toil. The movements of the whole army were determined by the
engineers. The Chickahominy again arrested us, where, if possible, the
responsibility and labor of the engineer officers were increased. In
fact, everywhere, and on every occasion, even to our last position at
Harrison's Landing, this responsibility and labor on the part of the
engineers was incessant.

"I have stated above in what manner the officers of engineers performed
their duties. Yet thus far their services are ignored and unrecognized,
while distinctions have been bestowed upon those who have had the good
fortune to command troops. Under such circumstances it can hardly be
expected that the few engineer officers yet remaining will willingly
continue their services in this unrequited branch of the military
profession. We have no sufficient officers of engineers at this time
with any of our armies to commence another siege, nor can they be
obtained. In another war, if their services are thus neglected in this,
we shall have none."

It is to be hoped that the General's appeal for additional rank to the
officers of engineers will not be overlooked. The officers of this corps
have demonstrated not only their skill as engineers, but also their
ability to command troops and even armies. On the side of our country's
cause we have McClellan, Halleck, Rosecrans, Meade, Gillmore, and
Barnard, besides a score of others, all generals; and in the ranks of
the Rebels we find Lee, Joe Johnston, Beauregard, Gilmer, and Smith, all
generals, too, and all formerly officers of engineers. Nobly have they
all vindicated the scale of proficiency which placed them among the
distinguished of their respective classes at their common Alma Mater.

Whatever may have been the services of other men during our present
struggle for nationality, and whatever may be their services in the
future, to General Barry, the Chief of Artillery of the Army of the
Potomac, from the organization of that army to the close of the
Peninsular campaign, more than to any other person, belongs the credit
of organizing our admirable system of field-artillery.

We have two reports from General Barry: one, on "The Organization of the
Artillery of the Army of the Potomac"; the other, a "Report of the
Operations of the Artillery at the Siege of Yorktown." Of the services
of the artillery during the remainder of the campaign we have no record
from its chief; but they were conspicuous on every battle-field, and
will not be forgotten until Malvern Hill shall have passed into

After the first Battle of Bull Run, the efforts of the nation were
directed to organizing an army for the defence of the national capital.
Of men and money we had plenty; but men and money, however necessary
they may be, do not make an army. Cannon, muskets, rifles, pistols,
sabres, horses, mules, wagons, harness, bridges, tools, food, clothing,
and numberless other things, are required; but men and money, with all
this added _matériel_ of war, still will not make an _efficient_ army.
Organization, discipline, and instruction are necessary to accomplish
this. At the time of which we speak the people of this country did not
comprehend what an army consisted of, or, if they did, they comprehended
it as children,--by its trappings, its men and horses, its drums and
fifes, its "pomp and circumstance."

Few even of our best officers who had honestly studied their profession
had ever seen an army, or fully realized the amount of labor that was
necessary, even with our unbounded resources, to organize an efficient
army ready for the field. Happily for our country, there were some who
in garrison had learned the science and theory of war, and in Mexico, or
in expeditions against our Western Indians, had acquired some knowledge
of its practice. Of these General McClellan was selected to be the
chief. He had seen armies in Europe, and it was believed that he could
bring to his aid more of the right kind of experience for organization
than any other man. If there is any one thing more than another for
which General McClellan is distinguished, it is his ability to _make an
army_. Men may have their opinions as to his genius or his courage, his
politics or his generalship; they may think he is too slow or too
cautious, or they may say he is not equal to great emergencies; but of
his ability to organize an army there is a concurrent opinion in his

By himself, however, he would have been helpless. He required
assistance. He was obliged to have chiefs of the several arms about
him,--a chief of engineers, of artillery, of cavalry, and chiefs of the
several divisions of infantry.

General Barry was his chief of artillery. To him was assigned the duty
of organizing this arm of the service. We learn from his Report, that,
"when Major-General McClellan was appointed to the command of the
'Division of the Potomac,' July 25th, 1861, a few days after the first
Battle of Bull Run, the whole field-artillery of his command consisted
of no more than parts of nine batteries, or thirty pieces of various,
and, in some instances, unusual and unserviceable calibres. Most of
these batteries were also of mixed calibres. My calculations were based
upon the expected immediate expansion of the 'Division of the Potomac'
into the 'Army of the Potomac,' to consist of at least one hundred
thousand infantry. Considerations involving the peculiar character and
extent of the force to be employed, the probable field and character of
operations, the utmost efficiency of the arm, and the limits imposed by
the as yet undeveloped resources of the nation, led to the following
general propositions, offered by me to Major-General McClellan, and
which received his full approval."

These propositions in brief were,--

1st. "That the proportion of artillery should be in the ratio of at
least two and a half pieces to one thousand men."

2d. "That the proportion of rifled guns should be one-third, and of
smooth bores two-thirds."

3d. "That each field-battery should, if practicable, be composed of six

4th. "That the field-batteries were to be assigned to 'divisions,' and
not to brigades."

5th. "That the artillery reserve of the whole army should consist of one
hundred guns."

6th. "That the amount of ammunition to accompany the field-batteries was
not to be less than four hundred rounds per gun."

7th. That there should be "a siege-train of fifty pieces."

8th. "That instruction in the theory and practice of gunnery, as well as
in the tactics of the arm, was to be given to the officers and
non-commissioned officers of the volunteer batteries, by the study of
suitable text-books, and by actual recitations in each division, under
the direction of the regular officer commanding the divisional

9th. That inspections should be made.

Such, with trifling modifications, were the propositions upon which the
artillery of the Army of the Potomac was organized; and this
organization finds its highest recommendation in the fact that it
remains unchanged, (except very immaterially,) and has been adopted by
all other armies in the field. The sudden and extensive expansion of the
artillery of the Army of the Potomac, that occurred from July 25, 1861,
to March, 1862, is unparalleled in the history of war. Tabulated, it
stands thus:--

                              Batteries,   Guns      Men    Horses
                              parts of

July 25, 1861                   9            30       650       400
  imperfectly equipped.

March, 1862                    92           520    12,500    11,000
  fully equipped and in readiness for actual field-service.

Well may General Barry and the officers of the Ordnance Department, who
had, as it were, to create the means of meeting the heavy requisitions
upon them, be proud of such a record. It is one of the most striking
exponents of the resources of the nation which the war has produced.

Of this force thirty batteries were _regulars_ and sixty-two
_volunteers_. The latter had to be instructed not only in the duties of
a soldier, but in the theory and practice of their special arm.
Defective guns and _matériel_ furnished by the States had to be
withdrawn, and replaced by the more serviceable ordnance with which the
regular batteries were being armed. Boards of examination were
organized, and the officers thoroughly examined. Incompetency was set
aside, zeal and efficiency rewarded by promotion.

"Although," says General Barry, "there was much to be improved," yet
"many of the volunteer batteries evinced such zeal and intelligence, and
availed themselves so industriously of the instructions of the regular
officers, their commanders, and of the example of the regular battery,
their associate, that they made rapid progress, and finally attained a
degree of proficiency highly creditable."

At the siege of Yorktown, as has already been stated, only one of the
fifteen batteries was permitted to open fire on the enemy's works. This
was armed with one hundred- and two hundred-pounder rifled guns, and it
is remarkable that this is the first time the practicability of placing,
handling, and serving these guns in siege-operations, and their value at
the long range of two and a half to three miles, were fully
demonstrated. These guns, as also the thirteen-inch sea-coast mortars,
which were placed in position ready for use, were giants when compared
with the French and English pigmies which were used at Sebastopol.

General Barry, as well as General Barnard, complains of the want of rank
of his officers. With the immense artillery force that accompanied the
Army of the Potomac to the Peninsula, consisting of sixty batteries of
three hundred and forty-three guns, he had only ten field-officers, "a
number obviously insufficient, and which impaired to a great degree the
efficiency of the arm, in consequence of the want of rank and official
influence of the commanders of corps and divisional artillery. As this
faulty organization can only be suitably corrected by legislative
action, it is earnestly hoped that the attention of the proper
authorities may be at an early day invited to it."

When the report of General McClellan is published, the services of the
artillery of the Army of the Potomac will doubtless fill a conspicuous
place. These services were rendered to the commanders of divisions and
corps, giving them an historic name, and in their reports we may expect
the artillery to be honorably mentioned. General Barry says, in
conclusion,--"Special detailed reports have been made and transmitted by
me of the general artillery operations at the siege of Yorktown,--and by
their immediate commanders, of the services of the field-batteries at
the Battles of Williamsburg, Hanover Court-House, and those severely
contested ones comprised in the operations before Richmond. To those
several reports I respectfully refer the Commanding General for details
of services as creditable to the artillery of the United States as they
are honorable to the gallant officers and brave and patient enlisted
men, who, (with but few exceptions,) struggling through difficulties,
overcoming obstacles, and bearing themselves nobly on the field of
battle, stood faithfully to their guns, performing their various duties
with a steadiness, a devotion, and a gallantry worthy the highest


_Mental Hygiene_. By I. RAY, M. D. Boston: Ticknor & Fields.

Dr. Ray, as many of our readers may know, is a physician eminent in the
speciality of mental disorders. He is at present the head of the Butler
Hospital for the Insane in Providence, Rhode Island. The four first
chapters of his book, chiefly relating to matters which may be observed
outside of a hospital, come under our notice. The fifth and last
division, addressed to the limited number of persons who are conscious
of tendencies to insanity, has no place in an unprofessional review.

This little treatise upon "Mental Hygiene" carries its own evidence as
the work of a disciplined mind, content to labor patiently among the
materials of exact knowledge, and gradually to approximate laws in the
spirit of scientific investigation. Mental phenomena are analyzed by Dr.
Ray as material substances are analyzed by the chemist,--though, from
the nature of the case, with far less certainty in results. Yet there is
scarcely anything of practical moment in the book which may not be found
in the popular writings of other prominent men,--such, for example, as
Brodie, Holland, Moore, Marcel, and Herbert Spencer. We say this in no
disparagement; there is no second-hand flavor about these cautious
sentences. Dr. Ray has investigated for himself, and his conclusions are
all the more valuable from coinciding with those of other accurate
observers. It is agreeable to chronicle a contrast to that flux of
quasi-medical literature put forth by men who have no title (save,
perhaps, a legal one) to affix the M. D. so pertinaciously displayed.
For there has lately been no lack of books of quotations, clumsily put
together and without inverted commas, designed to puff some patent
panacea, the exclusive property of the compiler, or of volumes whose
claim to originality lay in the bold attempt to work off a life-stock of
irrelevant anecdotes, the miscellaneous accumulations of a
country-practitioner. Such authors--by courtesy so called--are possibly
well-meaning amateurs, but can never be mistaken for scientists. We
thank Dr. Ray for a book which, as a popular medical treatise, is really
creditable to our literature.

Yet, mixed with much admirable counsel hereafter to be noticed, there
are impressions given in this volume to which we cannot assent. And our
chief objection might be translated into vulgar, but expressive
parlance, by saying, that, in generalizing about society, the writer
does not always seem able to sink the influences of the shop. We have
been faintly reminded of the professional bias of Mr. Bob Sawyer, when
he persuaded himself that the company in general would be better for a
blood-letting. We respectfully submit that we are not quite so mad
as--for the interests of science, no doubt--Dr. Ray would have us. The
doctrine, that, do what he will, the spiritual welfare of man is in
fearful jeopardy, is held by many religionists: we are loath to believe
that his mental soundness is in no less peril. Yet a susceptible person
will find it hard to put aside this book without an uncomfortable
consciousness, that, if not already beside himself, the chances of his
becoming so are desperately against him. For what practicable escape is
offered from this impending doom? Shall we leave off work and devote
ourselves to health? Idleness is a potent cause of derangement. Shall we
engage in the hard and monotonous duties of an active calling? Paralysis
and other organic lesions use up professional brains with a frequency
which is positively startling. Shall we cultivate our imagination and
make statues or verses? The frenzy of artists and poets is proverbial.
At least, then, we may give our life-effort to some grand principle
which shall redeem society from its misery and sin? Quite impossible!
The contemplation of one idea, however noble, is sure to produce a
morbid condition of the mind and distort its healthy proportions. Still
there is a last refuge. By fresh air and vigorous exercise a man may
surely keep his wits. We will labor steadily upon the soil, and never
raise our thoughts from the clod we are turning! Even here the Doctor is
too quick for us, and cries, "Checkmate!" with the fact that the Hodges
of England and the agriculturists of Berkshire have a great and special
gift at lunacy.

Of course, the preceding paragraph is very loosely written. We
cheerfully admit that it might be impossible to quote from the book any
single proposition to which, taken in a certain sense, a reasonable man
would object. Nevertheless, there is a total impression derived from it
which we cannot feel to be true. There is no sufficient allowance for
the fact that what is most spirited and beautiful and worthy in modern
society comes from that diversity of human pursuits which necessitates
the concentration of individual energy into narrow channels. Neither to
balance his mind in perfect equilibrium, nor to keep his body in highest
condition, is the first duty of man upon earth. The Christian
requirement of self-sacrifice often commands him to risk both in service
to his neighbor. Besides, as we shall presently show, men of equal
capacity in other branches of human inquiry do not agree with what seems
to be Dr. Ray's estimate of the highest sanity. When we are warned to
avoid "men of striking mental peculiarities," (our author advancing the
proposition that such association is not entirely harmless to the most
hardy intellect,)--when we are called upon to ostracize those who think
that their short lives on earth can be most useful to others by
exclusive devotion to some great principle or regenerating idea,--the
thoughtful reader will question the instruction. The adjectives
"extreme" and "fanatical" have, during the last twenty years, been
applied to most valuable men of various parties and beliefs; they have
been so applied by masses of conventionally respectable and not
insincere citizens. But that the persons thus stigmatized have, on the
whole, advanced the interests of civilization, freedom, and morality, we
fervently believe.

It is in a very different direction that keenest observers have seen the
real peril of modern society. De Tocqueville has solemnly warned our
Democracy of that over-faith in public opinion which tends to become a
species of religion of which the Majority is the prophet. John Stuart
Mill has emphasized his conviction that the boldest individuality is of
the utmost importance to social well-being, and has urged its direct
encouragement as peculiarly the duty of the present time. Herbert
Spencer has written most eloquent warnings on the danger of perverting
certain generalizations upon society into a law for the private citizen.
He has declared that the wise man will regard the truth that is in him
not as adventitious, not as something that may be made subordinate to
the calculations of policy, but as the supreme authority to which all
his actions should bend. He has shown us that the most useful citizens
play their appointed part in the world by endeavoring to get embodied in
fact their present idealisms: knowing that if they can get done the
things aimed at, well; if not, well also, though not so well. Now our
complaint is, that Dr. Ray generalizes upon the limited class of facts
which has come under his professional observation. There may be a feeble
folk who have gone mad over Mr. Phillips's speeches or Mrs. Dall's
lectures. This is not the place to discuss the methods or ends of either
of these conspicuous persons. But shall we make nothing of the possible
numbers of young men, plunging headlong at the prizes of society after
the manner which Dr. Ray so intelligently deprecates, who have waked to
a new standard of success by seeing one with talents which could gain
their coveted distinctions passing them by to pursue, in uncompromising
honesty of conviction, his solitary way? Shall we not consider the
city-bred girls, confined in circles where the vulgar glitter of wealth
was mitigated only by the feeblest dilettanteism,--spirited young women,
falling into a morbid condition, whose pitiableness Dr. Ray has well
illustrated,--who have yet been strengthened to possess their souls in
health and steadiness by a voice without pleading in their behalf the
right to choose their own work and command their own lives? When we are
warned against those who come to regard it "as a sacred duty to
vindicate the claims of abstract benevolence at all hazards, even though
it lead through seas of blood and fire," our adviser is either basing
his counsel upon the very flattest truism, or else intends to indorse a
popular cry against men who claim to have founded their convictions on
investigation the most thorough and conscientious. Take the vote of the
wealth and education of Europe to-day, and Abraham Lincoln will be
pronounced a fanatic vindicating the claims of abstract benevolence
"through seas of blood and fire." Go back into the past, and consult one
Festus, a highly respectable Roman governor, and we shall learn that
Paul was beside himself, nay, positively mad, with his much learning. We
repeat that it is for the infinite advantage of society that exceptional
men are impelled to precipitate their power into very narrow channels.
The most eminent helpers of civilization have been penetrated by their
single mission,--they have known that in concentration and courage lay
their highest usefulness. Let us not judge men who are other than these.
We will not question the importance of a Goethe, with his scientific
amusements, stage-plays, ducal companionships, and art of taking good
care of himself; but we cannot deny at least an equal sanity to the
"fanatic" Milton, who deemed it disgraceful to pursue his own
gratification while his countrymen were contending against oppression,
who was content to sacrifice sight in Liberty's defence, and to live an
"extreme" protester against the profligacies of power and place.

But we linger too long from the solid instruction of this book. Dr. Ray
considers the existence of insanity or remarkable eccentricity in a
previous generation a prolific source of mental unsoundness. He
addresses words of most solemn warning to those who have not yet formed
the most important connection in life. A brain free from all congenital
tendencies to disease results from a rigid compliance with the laws of
parentage. The intermarriage of those related by blood is no uncommon
cause of mental deterioration. Dr. Ray thinks that the facts collected
in France and America upon this point are much more conclusive than a
recent Westminster reviewer will allow. We are told that in this country
the mingling of common blood in marriage is more frequent than is
generally supposed, and that, of all agencies which have to do with the
prevalence of insanity and idiocy, this is probably the most potent. A
vigorous body is of course an important condition to high mental health,
and what is said upon this head is tersely written and very sensible. We
are told that "those much-enduring men and women who encountered the
privations of the colonial times have been succeeded by a race incapable
of toil and exposure, whom the winds of heaven cannot visit too roughly
without leaving behind the seeds of dissolution." Here and elsewhere Dr.
Ray cites the passion for light and emotional literature as a proof of
our degeneracy. We have certainly nothing to say in behalf of that
quality of modern character produced by the indolent reading of
sensational writing. Still it may be questioned whether the enormous
supply of bad books has not increased the demand for good ones,--just as
quacks make practice for physicians. The readers of the Ledger stories
have learned to demand a weekly instalment of the good sense and
sobriety of Mr. Everett. And we are disposed to accept the view of a
late American publisher, who declared that as a business-transaction he
could not do better than subscribe to the diffusion of spasmodic
literature, since it directly promoted the sale of the best authors in
whose works he dealt. The craving for an intense and exciting literature
Dr. Ray attributes to "feverish pulse, disturbed digestion, and
irritable nerves." No doubt he is right,--within limits. But may not a
_healthy_ laborer find in the startling effects of the younger Cobb
refreshment as precisely adapted to idealize his life, and divert his
thoughts from a hard day's work, as that for which the college-professor
seeks a tragedy of Sophocles or a romance of Hawthorne?

The chapter treating of "Mental Hygiene as affected by Physical
Influences" begins with such warnings against vitiated air as all
intelligent people read and believe,--yet not so vitally as to compel
corporations to reform their halls and conveyances. The remarks upon
diet have a very practical tendency. Dr. Ray, while declining to commit
himself to any theory, is very emphatic in his leanings towards what is
called vegetarianism. He questions the popular impression that
hard-working men require much larger quantities of animal food than
those whose employments are of a sedentary character. Although
confessing that we lack statistics from which to establish the relative
working-powers of animal and vegetable substances, Dr. Ray declares that
the few observations which have met his notice are in favor of a diet
chiefly vegetable. The late Henry Colman was satisfied that no men did
more work or showed better health than the Scotch farm-laborers, whose
diet was almost entirely oatmeal. In the California mines no class of
persons better endure hardships or accomplish greater results than the
Chinese, who live principally on vegetable food. It is also noticed, as
pertinent to the point, that the standard of health is probably much
higher among the people just named than among our New-England laborers.
Dr. Ray sums up by saying that "there is no necessity for believing that
the supply required by the waste of material which physical exercise
produces cannot be as effectually furnished by vegetable as by animal
substances." This is strong testimony from a physician of standing and
authority. Not otherwise have asserted various reform-doctors who are
not supposed to move in the first medical circles. The value of any
approximate decision of the vegetarian question can hardly be
overestimated. There are thousands of families of very moderate means
who strain every nerve to feed their children upon beef and mutton,--and
this with the tacit approval, or by the positive advice, of physicians
in good repute. Can our children be brought up equally well upon
potatoes and hasty-pudding? May the two or three hundred dollars thus
annually saved be better spent in a trip to the country or a visit to
the sea-side? He would be a benefactor to his countrymen who could
affirmatively answer these questions from observations, statistics, and
arguments which commanded the assent of all intelligent men.

Dr. Ray forcibly exhibits the radical faults of our common systems of
education. He exposes the vulgar fallacy, that the growth and discipline
of the mind are tested by the amount of task-work it can be made to
accomplish. The efficiency of a given course of training is indicated by
the power and endurance which it imparts,--not by such pyrotechny as may
be let off before an examining committee. The amount of labor in the
shape of school-exercises habitually imposed on the young strains the
mind far beyond the highest degree of healthy endurance. This is shown
by illustrations which our limits compel us to omit: they are worthy to
be pondered by every conscientious parent and teacher in the land. Our
national neglect of a right home-education brings Dr. Ray to a train of
remarks which sustains what we were led to say in noticing Jean Paul's
"Levana" a few months ago. "How many of this generation," writes our
author, "complete their childhood, scarcely feeling the dominion of any
will but their own, and obeying no higher law than the caprice of the
moment! Instead of the firm, but gentle sway that quietly represses or
moderates every outbreak of temper, that checks the impatience of
desire, that requires and encourages self-denial, and turns the
performance of duty into pleasure,--they experience only the feeble and
fitful rule that yields to the slightest opposition, and rather
stimulates than represses the selfish manifestations of our nature." The
criticism is just. It is to parents, rather than to children, that our
educational energies should now address themselves. For what
school-polish can imitate the lustre of a youth home-reared under the
authority of a wise and commanding love? But our adult-instruction must
go deeper than a recommendation of the best scheme of household
discipline the wit of man can devise. Be the government as rigid as it
may, the children will imitate the worst portions of the characters
disclosed in the family. The selfish and worldly at heart will find it
wellnigh impossible to endow their children with high motives of action.

We cordially indorse what is said of those harpy-defilers of knowledge
known as juvenile books. A limited use of the works of Abbott,
Edgeworth, Sedgwick, and a very few others may certainly be permitted.
But the common practice of removing every occasion for effort from the
path of the young--of boning and spicing the mental aliment of our
fathers for the palates of our sons--would be a ridiculous folly, if it
were not a grievous one. Suitable reading for an average boy of ten
years may be found in the best authors. For it is well observed by Dr.
Ray, that, if the lad does not perceive the full significance of
Shakspeare's thoughts or the deepest harmony of Spenser's verse, if he
does not wholly appreciate the keen sagacity of Gibbon or the quiet
charm of Prescott, he will, nevertheless, catch glimpses of the higher
upper sphere in which a poet moves, and fix in his mind lasting images
of purity and loveliness, or he will learn on good authority the facts
of history, and feel somewhat of its grandeur and dignity. To the sort
of reading which naturally succeeds the Peter-Parley dilutions of
wisdom we can only allude to thank Dr. Ray for speaking so clearly and
to the point.

But it becomes necessary to pass over many pages which we had marked for
approving comment. In conclusion it may be said that this treatise on
Mental Hygiene is full of wholesome rebukes and valuable suggestions.
Yet the impression of New-England, or even of American life, which a
stranger might receive from it, would be lamentably false. In a special
department, Dr. Ray is an able scientist. To a wide-embracing philosophy
he does not always show claims. There has been heart-sickening
corruption in all prosperous societies,--especially in such as have been
debauched by complicity with Slavery. It is the duty of some men of
science and benevolence to be ever probing among the defilements of our
fallen nature, to breathe the tainted air of the lazar-house, to consort
with madness and crime. Few men deserve our respect and gratitude like
these. But let them be cheered by remembering that in the great world
outside the hospital there are still elements of worthiness and
nobility. Wealth was never more wisely liberal, talents were never held
to stricter accountability, genius has never been more united with pure
and high aims, than in the Loyal States to-day. The descendants of
"those much-enduring men and women of colonial times" have not shown
themselves altogether "incapable of toil and exposure." From offices and
counting-rooms, from libraries and laboratories, our young men have gone
forth to service as arduous as that which tried their fore-fathers. How
many of them have borne every hardship and privation of war, every
cruelty of filthy prisons and carrion-food, yet have breasted the
slave-masters' treason till its bullet struck the pulse of life! Let us
remember that the most divergent tendencies of character, even such as
we cannot associate with an ideal poise of mind, may work to worthiest
ends in this ill-balanced world of humanity. The saying of Novalis, that
health is interesting only in a scientific point of view, disease being
necessary to individualization, shows one side of the shield of which
Dr. Ray presents the other.



The Life of Philidor, Musician and Chess-Player. By George Allen, Greek
Professor in the University of Pennsylvania. With a Supplementary Essay
on Philidor as Chess-Author and Chess-Player, by Tassilo von Heydebrand
und der Lasa, Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of the
King of Prussia at the Court of Saxe-Weimar. Philadelphia. E. H. Butler
& Co. 12mo. pp. xii., 156. $1.50.

Spots on the Sun; or, The Plumb-Line Papers. Being a Series of Essays,
or Critical Examinations of Difficult Passages of Scripture; together
with a Careful Inquiry into Certain Dogmas of the Church. By Rev. T. M.
Hopkins, A. M., Geneva, N. Y. Auburn. William J. Moses. 16mo. pp. 367.

Frank Warrington. By the Author of "Rutledge." New York. G. W. Carleton.
12mo. pp. 478. $1.50.

Husband and Wife; or, The Science of Human Development through Inherited
Tendencies. By the Author of "The Parent's Guide," etc. New York. G. W.
Carleton. 12mo. pp. 259. $1.25.

Sermons preached before His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, during
his Tour in the East, in the Spring of 1862, with Notices of some of the
Localities visited. By Arthur Penrhyn Stanley, D. D., Regius Professor
of Ecclesiastical History in the University of Oxford, Honorary Chaplain
in Ordinary to the Queen, etc., etc. New York. C. Scribner. 12mo. pp.
272. $1.50.

Palmoni; or, The Numerals of Scripture a Proof of Inspiration. A Free
Inquiry. By M. Mahan, D. D., St. Marks-in-the-Bowery Professor of
Ecclesiastical History in the General Theological Seminary. New York. D.
Appleton & Co. 12mo. pp. 176. 75 cts.


[1] When Columbus sailed on his fourth voyage, in which he hoped to pass
through what we now know as the Isthmus of Panama, and sail
northwestward, he wrote to his king and queen that thus he should come
as near as men could come to "the Terrestrial Paradise."

[2] Norandel was the half-brother of Amadis, both of them being sons of
Lisuarte, King of England.

[3] Maneli was son of Cildadan, King of Ireland.

[4] Quadragante was a distinguished giant, who had been conquered by
Amadis, and was now his sure friend.

[5] The "Spectators" 414 and 477, which urge particularly a better taste
in gardening, are dated 1712; and the first volume of the "Ichnographia"
(under a different name, indeed) appeared in 1715.

[6] This is averred of the translation of the "Oeconomics" of Xenophon,
before cited in these papers, and published under Professor Bradley's

[7] _Joseph Andrews_, Bk. III. Ch. 4, where Fielding, thief that he was,
appropriates the story that Xenophon tells of Cyrus.

[8] _Works of Earl of Orford_, Vol. III. p. 490.

[9] Chap. IX. p. 136, Cobbett's edition.

[10] It is to be remarked, however, that the Rev. Mr. Smith, (farmer of
Lois-Weedon,) by the distribution of his crop, avails himself virtually
of a clean fallow, every alternate year.

[11] _Transactions_, Vol. XXX p. 140.

[12] _Detached Thoughts on Men and Manners:_ Wm. Shenstone.

[13] Completing the two volumes of collected poems.

[14] A taste for this had been early indicated, especially in the essays
on Bunyan and Robert Dinsmore, in "Old Portraits and Modern Sketches,"
and in passages of "Literary Recreations." Whittier's prose, by the way,
is all worth reading.

[15] Montgéron, Tom. II. _Idée de l'État des Convulsionnaires_, p. 104.

[16] Montgéron, Tom. II. _Idée de l'État_, etc., p. 104.

[17] _Vains Efforts des Discernans_, p. 36.

[18] Montgéron, Tom. II. _Idée de l'État_, etc., p. 66.

[19] Montgéron, Tom. II. _Idée de l'État_, etc., p. 67. The latter part
of the quotation alludes to crucifixion and other symbolical
representations, to which the convulsionists were much given.

This state of ecstasy is one which has existed, probably, in occasional
instances, through all past time, especially among religious
enthusiasts. The writings of the ancient fathers contain constant
allusions to it. St. Augustine, for example, speaks of it as a
phenomenon which he has personally witnessed. Referring to persons thus
impressed, he says,--"I have seen some who addressed their discourse
sometimes to the persons around them, sometimes to other beings, as if
they were actually present; and when they came to themselves, some could
report what they had seen, others preserved no recollection of it
whatever."--_De Gen. ad Litter._ Lib. XII. c. 13.

[20] Montgéron, Tom. II. _Idée de l'État_, etc., p. 77.

[21] _Lettre de M. Colbert_, du 8 Février, 1733, à Madame de Coetquen.

[22] Montgéron, Tom. II.

[23] Montgéron, Tom. II. _Idée de l'Oeuvre_, etc., p. 123.

[24] Montgéron, Tom. II. _Idée de l'État_, etc. p. 82.

[25] _Ibid._ p. 17.

[26] _Ibid._ p. 19.

[27] Montgéron, Tom. II. _Idée de l'État_, etc., p. 77.

[28] In proof of this opinion, Montgéron gives numerous quotations from
St. Augustine, St. Thomas, St. Gregory, and various theologians and
ecclesiastics of high reputation, to the effect that "it often happens
that errors and defects are mixed in with holy and divine revelations,
(of saints and others, in ecstasy,) either by some vice of nature, or by
the deception of the Devil, in the same way that our minds often draw
false conclusions from true premises."--_Ibid._ pp. 88-96.

[29] _Ibid._ p. 94.

[30] _Ibid._ p. 95.

[31] Montgéron, Tom. II. _Idée de l'État_, etc., pp. 102, 103.

[32] _Ibid._ p. 73.

[33] _Vains Efforts des Discernans_, pp. 39, 40.

[34] _Lettres de M. Poncet_, Let. VII. p. 129.

[35] Montgéron, Tom. II. _Idée de l'État_, etc., p. 76.

[36] _Recherche de la Vérité_, p. 25.

[37] Montgéron, Tom. II. _Idée de l'État_, etc., p. 76.

[38] Montgéron, Tom. II. _Idée de l'État_, etc., p. 73.

[39] _Philosophy of Mysterious Agents, Human and Mundane_, by E. C.
Rogers, Boston, 1853, p. 321, and elsewhere. He argues, "that, in as far
as persons become 'mediums,' they are mere automatons," surrendering all
mental control, and resigning their manhood.

[40] Montgéron, Tom. II. _Idée de l'État_, etc., pp. 34, 35.

[41] Hume's _Essays_, Vol. II. sect. 10.

[42] Diderot's _Pensées Philosophiques_. The original edition appeared
in 1746, published in Paris.

[43] Dom La Taste's _Lettres Théologiques_, Tom. II. p. 878.

[44] Montgéron expressly tells us, that, in the case of Marguerite
Catherine Turpin, her limbs were drawn, by means of strong bands, "with
such, extreme violence that the bones of her knees and thighs cracked
with a loud noise."--Tom. III. p. 553.

[45] Montgéron supplies evidence that the expression _clubs_, here used,
is not misapplied. He furnishes quotations from a petition addressed to
the Parliament of Paris by the mother of the girl Turpin, praying for a
legal investigation of her daughter's case by the attorney-general, and
offering to furnish him with the names, station in life, and addresses
of the witnesses to the wonderful cure, in this case, of a monstrous
deformity that was almost congenital; in which petition it is
stated,--"Little by little the force with which she was struck was
augmented, and at last the blows were given with billets of oak-wood,
one end of which was reduced in diameter so as to form a handle, while
the other end, with which the strokes were dealt, was from seven to
eight inches in circumference, so that these billets were in fact small
clubs." (Montgéron, Tom. III. p. 552.) This would give from eight to
nine inches, English measure, or nearly three inches in diameter, and of

[46] _Dissertation Théologique sur les Convulsions_, pp. 70, 71.

[47] _De la Folie_, Tom. II. p. 373.

[48] Tympany is defined by Johnson, "A kind of obstructed flatulence
that swells the body like a drum."

[49] _The Epidemics of the Middle Ages_, pp. 89-91. The same work
supplies other points of analogy between this epidemic and that of St.
Médard; for example: "Where the disease was completely developed, the
attack commenced with epileptic convulsions."--p. 88.

[50] _Traité du Somnambulisme_, pp. 384, 385.

[51] _Dictionnaire des Sciences Médicales_, Art. _Convulsions_.

[52] _De la Folie, considérée, sous la Point de Vue Pathologique,
Philosophique, Historique, et Judiciaire_, par le Dr. Calmeil, Paris,
1845, Tom. II. pp. 386, 387.

[53] See, in Calmeil's work cited above, the Chapter entitled _Théomanie
Extato-Convulsive parmi les Jansenistes_, Tom. II. pp. 313-400.

[54] _Du Surnaturel en Général_, Tom. II. pp. 94, 95.

[55] I translate literally the words of the original: "_avec des
convulsionnaires en gomme élastique_," p. 90.

[56] _Du Surnaturel en Général_, Tom. II. pp. 90, 91.

[57] See note in De Gasparin's "Experiments in Table-Moving."

[58] Montgéron, Tom. III. p. 703.

[59] Montgéron, Tom. III. pp. 712, 713.

[60] Carpenter's _Principles of Human Physiology_, p. 647.

[61] Carpenter's _Principles of Human Physiology_, p. 561. The story,
incredible if it appear, is indorsed by Carpenter as vouched for by Mr.
Richard Smith, late Senior Surgeon of the Bristol Infirmary, under whose
care the sufferer had been. The case resulted, after a fortnight, in

[62] Such will be found throughout Hecquet's "Le Naturalisme des
Convulsions dans les Maladies," Paris, 1733. Dr. Philippe Hecquet, born
in 1661, acquired great reputation in Paris as a physician, being
elected in 1712 President of the Faculty of Medicine in that city. He is
the author of numerous works on medical subjects. In his "Naturalisme
des Convulsions," published at the very time when the St.-Médard
excitement was at the highest, he admits the main facts, but denies
their miraculous character.

[63] "The eye, contrary to the usual notions, is a very insensible part
of the body, unless affected with inflammation; for, though the mucous
membrane which covers its surface, and which is prolonged from the skin,
is acutely sensible to tactile impressions, the interior is by no means
so, as is well known to those who have operated much on this
organ."--Carpenter's _Principles of Human Physiology_, p. 682.

[64] Hume's _Essays_, Vol. II. p. 133.

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