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Title: The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 13, No. 80, June, 1864
Author: Various
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 13, No. 80, June, 1864" ***

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THE

ATLANTIC MONTHLY.

A MAGAZINE OF LITERATURE, ART, AND POLITICS.

VOL. XIII.--JUNE, 1864.--NO. LXXX.

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.



Transcriber's Note: Minor typos have been corrected. Footnotes have been
moved to the end of the article.



A TALK ABOUT GUIDES.


Talk about guides! Let Independence, Self-Conceit, and Go-ahead
undervalue them, if they will; but I, Sola Foemina, (for that is the
name I go by,) of Ignorance, (the place I hail from,) casting up my
unbalanced accounts, (with a view to settling,) find a large credit due
to this class of individuals, which (though I have not the means to
meet) I have no intention to repudiate.

Now and then, to be sure, I, S. F., have been reminded in my journeyings
of poor dear E., whose lively spirit was so chafed by the exactions made
upon his purse and his temper at the hands of this imperturbable race,
that at last he turned, like a stag at bay, and vented all his wrath in
the face of a startled old woman by the abrupt and emphatic query,
"What'll you take to clear out?"

Still, dogmatic and prosing as they sometimes proved, my experience on
the whole was favorable; and from the motherly old portress of the
English church at Honeybourne, who fed me with bread and butter under
her cottage-roof, and sent me away laden with garden-flowers and a
blessing, to faithful Michel, who held me over the blue fissures of the
glaciers that I might get a glimpse of their secret waterfalls, who
gathered violets for me on the margin of the icy sea, and, when I had
carelessly dropped them by the way, treasured up the faded things to
restore them to me at nightfall,--from the aged woman, with her "Good
bye till we meet in heaven," to the rough mountaineer, with his hearty
hand-pressure and God-speed at parting, I would not willingly lose one
link out of the chain of such fast friends which stretched along my way.

There is Warwick Castle,--a written history, no doubt, to scholars, a
mine of wealth to antiquaries and architects; but how incomplete would
my associations be with the spot, were you banished from the picture, my
sturdy friend, fit type of the female retainers of the household of the
King-Maker, who, stationed within the ivied approach to the castle,
presided at the brazen porridge-pot, once holding food enough to satisfy
ten score of men, now empty, save for the volume of sound which stuns
the ear when you strike it with your ponderous iron bar! Can I ever
forget the scene of laughter and riot, when you installed me within the
capacious vessel, dubbed me "Countess Guy, of the Porridge-Pot," and,
the rest of my party having been induced to accept the hospitalities of
the place, and mount my triumphal car, declared your intention to light
a fire beneath and have the finest stew in all England? The castle is a
stern place, perhaps; but how can I ever think it grim, with such a
jolly old flatterer as you stationed at its portal?

And here, in my blundering way, I have stumbled on the secret spring of
my whole subject; so I may as well make a merit of confession, and
acknowledge frankly that the trap in which these wary guides entangled
my affections was generally neither more nor less than a net of silken
flattery. Your good guide, your dear guide, your pet guide, whom
Neighbor So-and-so, going abroad, must look up immediately on his
arrival, this invaluable creature, depend upon it, is an arrant
flatterer. He does not go out of his way for you; he does not tell it
you to your face; but, somehow or other, (if he knows his vocation,) he
makes you believe, that, of all the travellers he ever escorted, (and he
has been a travellers' escort from his infancy,) you are the first, the
only one, in whose behalf duty became a privilege.

Do you suppose I put faith in Michel, when, on my second Alpine
excursion, this companion of the previous day's peril placed himself in
close proximity to my mule, took the bridle with an air of satisfaction,
and whispered with an insinuating smile, "I go with _you_ to-day; see,
there is another guide for Mademoiselle"? He was mistaken. It was my
young friend whom he was, on this occasion, destined to escort over the
mountain. He was as devoted to her as if she had been the apple of his
eye. Whether I followed next in the file, brought up the rear, or was
dashed over the precipice, I doubt if he looked behind him to discover.
Was I fool enough, then, to trust his professions? I acknowledge the
weakness. I was but a novice, he a practised courtier in the guise of a
mountaineer. To make a clean breast of it, I even suspect that his
self-gratulatory whisper is still ringing in my ear, for I find that
Mademoiselle and I are rivals in our devotion to Michel.

And Ann Harris, of Honeybourne, widow, portress of the ancient
village-church, surrounded by villagers' graves, approached by four
foot-paths over four stiles, perfect model of all the churches in all
the novels of English literature,--was it partiality for me, ancient
matron, or an eye to a silver sixpence, which made you, and makes you
still, the heroine of my day of romance? At any rate, I shall never
cease to invoke a blessing on that immaculate railway-company which
decoyed me from London into the heart of England, and, with a coolness
unexampled in the new districts of Iowa, dropped me at the sweetest nook
under the sun, there to wait three hours for the train which should have
taken me at once to Stratford,--three golden hours, in which I might
bask like a bee in a Honeybourne beyond my hopes.

Not that my Honeybourne was precisely the spot where the railway-train
left me standing deserted and alone,--alone save for a Stratford
furniture-dealer, who, unceremoniously set down in the midst of his new
stock of tables and chairs, and with nothing else in sight but a
platform, a shed, and me, looked at the last-mentioned object for
sympathy, while he cursed the departing train and swore the usual oath
of vengeance, namely, that he would never travel that road again.

_He_ got red with passion and cursed the road; _I_ stared round me and
kept cool. Was I more philosophical than he? No, but there was this
difference: he was bent on business, I on pleasure; he was in a hurry, I
could afford to wait.

Three hours,--and only a platform, a shed, and an infuriated
furniture-dealer to keep me company! This was the Honeybourne station,
but not Honeybourne. I found a railway-official hard by, had my baggage
stowed in the shed, crossed the platform, looked at my watch to make
sure of the time, then struck out into the open country. Through shady
lanes, over stiles, across the fields, on I went, in the direction
pointed out to me by two laborers whom I met at starting. The sweet
white may smiled at me from the hedges; the great sober eyes of the
cattle at pasture reflected my sense of contentment; the nonchalant
English sheep showed no signs of disturbance at my approach (unlike the
American species, which invariably take to their heels); the children
set to watch them lifted their heads from the long grass and looked
lazily after me, never doubting my right to tread the well-worn
foot-path with which every green field beguiled me on. I came out in the
vegetable-garden of a rustic cottage, one of some dozen thatched-roofed
dwellings, which, with the church and simple parsonage, constituted
sweet Honeybourne. "Oh that it were the bourne from which no traveller
returns!" was the thought of my heart, as, with a dreamy sense of
longings fulfilled, I wandered through the miniature village, across it,
around it, beyond it, and back to it again, as a bee saturated with
sweets floats round the hive.

And now to my queen-bee, Ann Harris, aforesaid!

"All the way from Lunnon! Alone, and such a distance! Bless my heart!"
cried the primitive Ann, with hands and eyes uplifted. "Come in and rest
you, and have something to eat! I have bread and butter, sweet and good,
and will boil the kettle and make you a cup of tea, if you say so."

I had already made the circuit of the church, strolled among the ancient
gravestones, crossed the moss-covered bridge, threaded the paths beneath
the hawthorn, had a vision of boundless beauty, drunk in the silence,
and dreamed out my dream of solitude, independence, and the joy of being
no one but myself knew where. Could I do better than accept this
invitation to enter the humble cottage, with the prospect of an
admittance also to an old woman's heart? Did I win the latter? or did I
only fancy it? Did the motherly creature believe me lost? or was her
astonishment only feigned? Was she really, despite her poverty, ready to
share her last crust with a stranger? or was the benignant glance which
gave me in my loneliness the sense of adoption merely an eye to
self-interest?

Dear old soul! One of us, at least, was simple-hearted and true,--either
she in her innocent professions, or I in my silly credulity. I have
faith that it was she. At all events, I do so cherish the memory of her
kindness, that, so far from treasuring the notion of the silver
sixpence, I hereby pledge myself, that, if ever the reminiscence I am
penning should be worth half as much to me in gold as it is in memory, I
will send Ann Harris at least one shining guinea, as a token how
willingly I would go shares with her in something.

And the guinea would not come amiss, for Ann was poor; her clay-floored
cottage boasted only its exquisite neatness, her furniture was of the
humblest, her dress the cheapest. She was too old for hard work; her
duties at the little church were light,--the profits, I fear, were
lighter; for that visitors to the remote sanctuary were rare her
reception of me was sufficient proof. As she guided me through the
church, I asked her if it was well attended. She shook her head sadly,
and, pointing in the direction of a neighboring village, answered,--

"Most of 'em go to chapel, yonder,--the more's the pity."

She told me that she had no provision for the coming winter, and feared
she must go to the Union. (It was not our own, then prosperous and
unbroken, Union, to which she dreaded emigrating.) She merely meant the
work-house; and as she spoke, her face wore a shadow that still clouds
my recollections of Honeybourne. I do not know if her fears were
realized,--if her cottage is forsaken,--if she dwells among paupers, or
sleeps in the village church-yard; but I cannot think of her as lonely
or poor or dead. Her saintly face told of blessed communion; I know that
she was rich in faith and hope; and were I assured that her spirit had
left the flesh, I should only picture her to myself standing erect at
heaven's doorway, welcoming strangers with the same serenity with which
she said to me at parting,--"I shall meet you _there_."

She offered me a farewell gift of flowers from her garden. It was a
beautiful cottage-garden, and many of the flowers were brilliant and
even rare, giving proof of careful, if not scientific culture. Still I
hesitated. My hands were full of sweet may, red campion, and other
native field-blossoms, which had introduced themselves to me
anonymously. They were the children of the green sod which I had been
treading so lightly on my way to the village; and, in the quiet of my
ramble, they had seemed to me like whispers from Him who made them, and
with whom I had never felt so utterly alone. I could not bear to see
them displaced by Ann's garden-belles, tempting as the latter would have
been at any other moment. She saw my indifference to her offer. I knew
she saw it working in my face. I attempted to apologize for my
preference, but she did not understand me; so I blurted out my thought,
awkwardly enough, saying,--

"Yours are beautiful; but God made these, you know,--and--and--I like
them best."

She looked down upon me gravely, pityingly, smiling, too, with a
tenderness which was neither grave nor pitying. I have seen
long-visioned people look with just that expression at the eyes of the
short-sighted, on the latter's confessing their inability to detect an
object at no great distance.

"_He made them all_," she said; and her words were an ascription of
praise.

They come to me often now. They bid me look farther and see more. They
tell me how _mine_ and _thine_ have no place in this world of _His_.
False distinctions shrink away from the light of the old woman's clearer
faith; I see how the ablest workers are but instruments in higher
hands,--how science, culture, inspiration itself, are but gifts to be
laid on His altar.

I need scarcely say that I at once found room for Ann's flowers in my
hand, as for her lesson in my heart. Some of the former are pressed and
laid away as a sacred memento, and something of the latter is treasured
up among good seed sown by the way-side.

I would gladly have lingered longer in this little nook, into which I
seemed to have been drifted by chance; but my time was up,--I had a mile
or two to walk over the fields in the direction of the railway,--my
friends were to meet me at Stratford. Should I miss the train this time,
my philosophy might fail me as signally as that of the above-mentioned
furniture-dealer failed him.

A few hours after I bade my old friend farewell, I was at my
destination. Millions have shared my experiences at the tomb of the
great poet. Everybody is familiar with William Shakspeare and
Stratford-on-Avon, but I hug the thought that nobody but I knows
anything about Ann Harris and Honeybourne.

       *       *       *       *       *

I have dwelt upon an occasion in which the humble office of a guide
resulted in companionship, friendship, instruction. A brief sojourn in
Alpine regions has furnished me with a similar reminiscence.

We were setting forth for a day's ride across the Tête-Noire. Our party
consisted of five, and we had two guides. Our baggage, which was for the
most part light, was strapped on the backs of the mules behind the
riders. One article, however, a square box of considerable proportions,
proved refractory, and, veering from side to side, refused to maintain
the even balance which, owing to the rough nature of the bridle-path,
was essential to the safety of both mule and rider. We were obliged to
halt again and again, that the box might be restrapped, always with
doubtful success. Each time that we drew up in line for this purpose we
were overtaken by a Swiss youth, who had perceived our dilemma, and who
hoped, by following us up closely, to make a job out of it. There was
but a limited knowledge of French among us, (the language in which the
youth spoke,) still, by aid of his vehement gestures, he made us
understand that he was ready, for a consideration, to accompany us on
our toilsome journey, and carry the box on his back.

"Eight francs, Monsieur,--I will do it for eight francs!" But the box
was righted, his services seemed superfluous, and we moved on,
regardless of his beseeching looks.

A fresh delay soon ensued, the boy came panting up, and this time it was
"Seven francs,"--nay, as we rode away from him, he frantically shouted,
"Six!" His prospects seemed hopeless, but destiny and perseverance were
on his side,--the box gave another alarming lurch,--the heated and
almost discouraged youth made one last appeal,--

"Four francs, Monsieur! I will do it for four francs!" and the day was
his.

He was not a regular guide, appointed by Government and furnished with a
certificate, as is the law of the Alpine district for all who serve in
this responsible capacity. We had engaged him simply as a porter. Still,
the docile youth had no sooner strapped the box on his back than, seeing
that I was the only lady unprovided with an attendant, he drew my mule's
bridle through his arm, and quietly took me in charge.

No matter how charming a travelling-party you belong to, the moment they
are all mounted and climbing a mountain, single file, you feel yourself
a unit in creation. Everybody has turned his back upon you, and you have
turned your back upon everybody. You are a solitary traveller. Are you
aghast at your own situation on the steep slope of a mule's back, with a
precipice above your head and your feet dangling over a gulf below?
There is no help for it. Imagine yourself a sack of meal, if you can,
and expect as little sympathy as would be accorded to that article. Are
you moved to a keen sense of the ridiculous, as a curve in the road
discloses the figures of your elongated party, unused to riding, and
rendered the more grotesque by their mountain-equipment? A laugh
unshared is no laugh at all, so you may as well smother it at once. Does
the scenery through which you are passing awaken emotions of sublimity?
It would be sacrilege to shout out your sentiments to the occupant of
the next mule in such tones as a watchman would employ to cry, "Fire!"
No,--if you are essentially a social creature, there is nothing for it
but to bottle up your sensibilities and await the opportunity for an
explosion when you reach your inn.

Something like this result occurred, I remember, on the evening of that
very day, when Mademoiselle, who, under the charge of Michel, led the
van, met me at the hotel at Martigny, at which place she had of course
arrived a little in advance. We were not usually more demonstrative in
our manners than is customary among New-England women, but the moment I
could alight we rushed into each other's embrace, regardless of a crowd
of astonished porters and guides, mutually insisting, by way of apology,
that it seemed as if we had not met for a year.

Having dwelt upon this peculiar isolation experienced by the Alpine
traveller, it may be conjectured, that, when the boy, Auguste, drew my
bridle through his arm, I felt very much as Robinson Crusoe did when he
was joined by his man Friday. Auguste and I soon became friends. He was
a large, round-faced, mild-eyed youth, who, the instant the excitement
of securing his employment was past, subsided into a soft, even pace
like that of a dog. Now and then, too, he looked up at the mule and me,
precisely as a dog, accompanying his master, looks up to see if all is
right.

I did not talk to him at first. His mere presence was satisfaction
enough. After a while we grew more sociable. He spoke a French _patois_.
So did I. His was peculiar to the province,--mine wholly original,--but
both answered the purpose of communication, and so were satisfactory.
He had the essential characteristic of his profession,--he was one of
the oily-tongued tribe, simple as he seemed, and I the willing victim;
for I am confident that I straightened in my saddle, and talked more
glibly than ever in the language peculiar to myself, on the strength of
his _naïve_ surprise at learning the place of my nativity, and his
polite exclamation, "_De l'Amèrique! O! j'avais cru que vous étiez de
Paris_!"

The conversation you hold with your guide has this advantage,--you can
suspend it at will. There are miles of travel, in crossing the
Tête-Noire, when, if your most sympathizing friend walked beside you,
the thought of both hearts would be, "Let all the earth keep silence!"
and in the absence of such unspoken sympathy, the next best thing is the
innocent gravity of an attendant hired for so many francs a day, and not
presuming to speak unless spoken to.

But when these sublimer passages are passed, when the path skirts the
edge of the valley, when the giant mountains have retired a little and
you slacken the tense cord of emotion which for a while has held you
spell-bound, it is a relief to loosen the tongue also, and reassure
yourself with the sound of the human voice. Thus Auguste and I had
frequent dialogues. He told me something of his past life, which I do
not remember very well. I think its chief incident was his having been
drafted for the army, and having served his term. Of his future,
however, he spoke with an earnestness which has left its impression on
my mind. He said that the next winter he meant to go to Paris and seek a
service; and his perseverance in wringing employment out of us inclines
me to think that he fulfilled his intention. Savoy, to which province he
belonged, had just been annexed to France. A party of guides from
Chamouni had the day before succeeded, with difficulty, in planting the
imperial flag on the summit of Mont Blanc. Was it this which had
awakened the ambition of the young Savoyard to share the spoils of the
empire of which he had so suddenly become a member? Perhaps (I never
thought of it before, but perhaps) he was already seeking means for his
journey to the capital. Perhaps the price of his hard-won service was to
be the nucleus of his savings. Have I, then, aided your purpose,
Auguste? helped to transform you from a simple mountain-lad to a mere
link in a chain of street-sweepers, an artful official of a third-rate
billiard-saloon, or a roystering cab-driver with his perpetual entreaty
for an extra fee in the form of "_Quelque chose à boire_"? My mind
shrinks from the possibility, for I cannot bear to think of him as other
than he then seemed,--a child of Nature and of the truth.

In the course of our day's journey we drew near a little village. I had
been chatting with Auguste and felt in a loquacious mood, but paused as
I found myself passing through the village,--in other words, sneaking
round the corner of one shabby hut, and straight through the farm-yard
of the next, and close by the windows of a third,--the three, and a few
other stray buildings, constituting the hamlet. As it seemed an
impertinence to follow such an intrusive, inquisitive little road at
all, we could, of course, do no less than maintain a dumb propriety in
the presence of the children and kitchen-utensils, but, as we left them
behind and struck across an open field, my eye fell on one of those
way-side shrines common in all Roman-Catholic districts. It was a
miniature arch of plastered or whitewashed stone, and contained, as
nearly as I could judge from the glimpse I had in passing, two coarse
dolls, intended to represent the Virgin and Child.

"What is that, Auguste?" I asked, with feigned ignorance.

"A place of worship," he answered; "the people come there to pray."

"But what do they come _there_ for?" I continued.

"_God is there_," he answered, with emphasis, pointing at the same time
to the gayly dressed puppets.

"No, He is not," I replied.

He turned round and looked at me defiantly. His mild face became that
of a fanatic, and I actually quailed beneath his angry eye, as he
retorted,--

"He _is_ there."

My mistake flashed upon me, too, at the instant, and I hastened to
explain myself in the simplest manner my poor French would allow,
saying,--

_"Oui, Auguste, Il est là, c'est vrai; mais Il est là aussi!"_--and I
pointed to the snow-capped mountains on my right,--_"et là!"_--and I
waved my hand towards the deeply shadowed heights on the opposite side
of the valley.

He caught my meaning as by an inspiration. His fierce frown melted
instantly into an intelligent smile.

_"Il est partout!"_ exclaimed the youth, with enthusiasm, his childlike,
eager eyes seeking a response in mine.

I nodded in affirmation of the truth. It was enough. Catholic and
Protestant had met on common ground,--we understood each other,--we were
reconciled.

Has he carried his large faith with him into the great metropolis? and
have I kept mine unshaken in spite of the storm that is raging in my
native land? Armed in his simplicity only, he has gone to meet the gusts
of temptation; and I have lived to see the Republic, which I believed
inviolable as Mother Earth herself, tremble and totter, as one after
another of her rotten pillars has fallen away. God grant that we may
both, in this day of our peril, be able, as then, to realize that "_Il
est partout_"!

During my short Alpine journey I held the office of paymaster for our
party, my election being due not so much to proficiency in the queer
dialect above alluded to as to courage in the use of it. It is always a
pleasant office to disburse the funds, but was never more so than when,
late at night, Michel and Auguste came to the hotel at Martigny to
receive the reward of their day's toil. Michel had his full dues in
money, and plenty of praise to boot; Auguste, evidently much to his
surprise, a trifle more than his minimum price. Each of them then
grasped my hand in his horny palm,--an unexpected salutation, but not a
harsh one, for each hand had a heart in it, or I believed it had, which
was all the same to me. They made the customary promise not to forget
me, but credulity must stop somewhere, and at this point I must confess
my easy faith gave out, and left me skeptical.

       *       *       *       *       *

I have given the preference in order of narrative, as well as in memory,
to guides who proved competent, willing, and true, who, if they seasoned
the intercourse between us with a little encouragement to my
self-esteem, had nothing in them obsequious or timeserving, and who set
me a wholesome example of clear convictions and firmness in the
maintenance of right. But not only are the virtues of the race whom I
have chosen for a theme subjects of congratulation; even the
uncertainties and misfits of these frequently rusty keys to the past
excite a mirth that lightens the toil with which one rummages through
the corridors of time. It would be treason to tell the name of that
antique university-chapel where a certain wooden-headed verger was
betrayed into the absurdest error; it would be personal to give the name
of the waggish friend who made him his innocent butt; but the facts and
the joke claim no disguise.

The solemn British beadle had been rehearsing the history of numerous
sarcophagi and monuments, dwelling with mingled pathos and indignation
upon the injuries which the chapel, its railings, and its statues had
sustained at the hands of that arch-destroyer and his soldiery who, in
their zeal for the new Commonwealth, trampled brutally upon the records
of past grandeur and royalty.

"He stabled his 'osses 'ere! yes, 'ere,--in this wery chapel! ugh!" was
the wrathful exclamation of our guide; and as he pointed towards the
tablets without corners and the effigies lacking noses or feet, there
was a low muttering in his throat and a look at us intended to excite
sympathetic ire on our part.

One only of our party responded to the look.

"Let me see,--Cromwell was a terrible Catholic, wasn't he?" gravely
inquired our fellow-traveller, as if in this way, and this way only,
could the sacrilege be accounted for,--one blue eye, as he spoke, full
of sage earnestness, the other twinkling with fun.

The stolid face of our guide now became a study. He had no instructions
for such an emergency as this. The question had made war with his poor
wits. For a moment they staggered, felt themselves defeated, and were
about to surrender. But, resolute Briton that he was, the old man soon
rallied his forces. True servant both of Church and State, he saw that
there was no consistent course for him but to consign the enemy of
royalty and the contemner of sacred monuments to the abominable Scarlet
Lady. He gave one appealing look at his interrogator, but the side of
the face turned towards him was immovable. It gave no positive
discouragement to an affirmative reply; it even feigned ignorance.
Seeking enlightenment, and taking heart of faith, the verger assented in
the words, "Y-e-e-e-s,--I be-e-e-lieve so!" Then, his courage rising as
he felt himself committed to the fact, he continued, with emphasis and a
dictatorial nodding of the head, "Yes,--yes, he _was_."

Many and laughable are the instances of such perplexity and mistake
among the aged pieces of mechanism who have for years been sounding the
same tune to generations of unquestioning ears, and who, not having an
extra note in their gamut, can by no means bear to be played upon by
strange hands. Age has its exemptions and immunities, however; might
makes right, and one who has long been a dictator comes to be deemed an
infallible authority. So they whine on, and are oftener believed than
otherwise. As they constitute a class, and those whom I have to do with
are chiefly the exceptions, I will forbear to dwell on stereotyped
specimens, and turn to one so unlike the generality of her tribe, so
utterly lawless, so completely at variance with all her surroundings,
that I must beg leave to introduce her precisely as she introduced
herself.

       *       *       *       *       *

There is an old place in England (there may be many such, but I know
there is one) which is consecrated to imagination, romance, and memory.
Abandoned by its owners as a residence, it is nevertheless maintained in
sufficient repair to prevent its walls from crumbling or its beauty of
outline from being marred, and stands forth a living epic, written in
stone and oak, and meriting a place among the classics of the land.

The favorite of tourists, artists, and antiquaries, it can well dispense
with anything like an accurate description from a traveller who went
thither, not to study, but to muse; so, putting in a plea, beforehand,
for possible failures in observation and memory, I propose to myself
nothing more than a re-indulgence of the reverie which took possession
of me on my visit to Haddon Hall.

We had spent the middle hours of the day at Chatsworth, that palace and
museum of modern art, and, with senses bewildered and eyes dazzled by
the magnificence of a ducal residence unparalleled, perhaps, in the
world for its wealth and culture, we had set off, in the latter part of
the afternoon, to view its antipodes. The circumstances and the hour
were not inappropriate. Sated with the most perfect display of luxury
and taste which the present age can boast, and somewhat weary with the
toil of sight-seeing, a six-mile drive, the gradual decline of the
summer day, the shadows gathering over the landscape, all acted as a
gentle narcotic, and were a fit preparative for our approach to that
old, deserted homestead, the first glimpse of which set my fancy
roaming, and carried me away into a world of dreams.

Hitherto I had been the contented occupant of an old yellow coach, and
had been satisfied with the pace of two jaded post-horses. But, as I
crossed the drawbridge and climbed the steep hill which led to the
principal gateway, I found myself mounted on rapid wings, and whirling
through the centuries. Not that I was rushing on in advance of the age.
No,--the wings flapped backwards, they careered disdainfully over and
beyond the region of reality; as we flew, the present became merged in
the past, the actual gave place to the ideal.

I am approaching a feudal fortress. The deep moat, the turreted walls,
the old gray towers, the lattice of my lady's bower, the sentry pacing
the battlements, the warder stationed at the gate, the severe exterior
of the grim pile, the smoking hospitality that reigns within,--I
recognize them all. Much that I have taken on faith from my childhood
has already been realized since I touched English shores,--why not this?
I climb the steep slope leading to the principal entrance, and knock at
the gate. Hark! is not that the sound of an answering horn? Is not that
distant rattling the clash of armor on the stones? Do I not hear the
voice of the stout baron mustering his retainers to bid me welcome? If
so, they are a long time about it,--for I have knocked once, twice,
three times, and there is no admittance. It is a severe process, too;
for, though the original gate, which may have been an iron portcullis
for aught I know, has given place to rough boards, the latter are not
particularly tender of my knuckles, and, though romance is romance, pain
is a fact. So I fold my airy wings for the present, and look about me
for a big stone to pound with. It is of no use. The old castle is deaf
and dumb. It neither hears nor answers. I creep along the edge of a
steep bank, pry round a corner of the building, gaze up at the high
Gothic windows, but see nothing like a practicable approach, and turn
back, discouraged. We take counsel together, I and my party, and at
length condescend to the belief that our best hope of obtaining an
entrance lies in a modern farm-house, at the foot of the eminence on
which the fortress stands. The farm-house is beyond the hail of our
voices, but our coachman, who is stationed there with his post-chaise, a
witness of our embarrassment, makes an encouraging sign. That the
farm-house bears some relation to the manor-house is suggested also by
the fact that its garden boasts a yew-tree cut into the form of a
peacock, and the book of heraldry says that the crest of the noble Earls
of Rutland, who occupied the hall for centuries, includes, among its
other belongings, "a peacock, in pride, proper."

At last, just as our impatience had reached the verge of indignation, a
little figure emerged from the shadow of the farm-house, and sauntered
towards us. She was a pretty child, a true daughter of the Saxon race,
fair-haired, blue-eyed, and sunny-complexioned. She was the pink of
neatness, too, and it was evident that the time we had spent in waiting
had been passed by her at her toilet, for the folds were still fresh in
her snowy apron, and her golden hair glistened smoothly within the bars
of a net,--that unfailing net, sure emblem of British female
nationality. Her dainty little hat was trimmed with white ribbons, which
streamed behind her in the breeze, and, altogether, she was as complete
a picture as one would wish to see of youth, health, and
self-complacency.

The nonchalance with which she approached us was a thing I have never
seen equalled. The independence of American children is proverbial; but
democratic institutions never produced anything more saucily
self-reliant than this little Briton. Without looking at us, or deigning
any apology for the great gate,--which, it seems, is a mere barricade,
not made to be opened,--she unlocked a side-postern, a rude door,
consisting of two or three rough boards, and made a motion for us to
enter. As we trod the time-worn pavement of the outer court, and gained
an open quadrangle round which various apartments were grouped,
imagination once more took possession of me, and I found myself peopling
the place with its original inmates.

"Oh, how old and story-like!" I exclaimed to my companions. "Can you not
imagine knights on horseback prancing over these stones, and alighting
at the great hall-door beyond?"

"Horses never came up here!" was the interruption which my suggestion
met from our practical little guide. "Horses couldn't climb those
stairs," she added, somewhat scornfully; and I then observed that I had
unconsciously ascended a rough, angular stairway, passable only to
foot-passengers.

Knights on foot, then, my fancy at once substituted; and as the child,
now commencing her duties as show-woman, pointed out the servants'
offices, it was no difficult matter to picture the baron's retainers
lazily grouped around the stone walls of the low cells, for such the
apartments were, polishing their master's armor, or bousing over jugs of
ale, while handsome pages loitered about the court-yard, waiting the
summons of their lord, or the sound of their lady's silver whistle.
Fancy was an indispensable attendant in making the circuit of the
apartments, which surrounded at least three sides of this outer
quadrangle. Without her aid, they were simply remarkable for their
similarity, their vacancy, their unfitness for any modern purpose save
that of sheep-pens or lumber-rooms. Destitute of windows, so that the
sun and air found admittance only through the doorway, without
fireplaces, boarded floors, or plastered walls, they presented simply so
many square feet of space walled in by stone and mortar. But Fancy had
the power to enliven, furnish, people them. She suggested that their
very number was an indication of sociability, excitement, noise, and
mirth. Here, as in all feudal dwellings, the vast disproportion between
the space allotted to the dependents and that reserved for the lord of
the manor pointed to the time when each castle was a walled city, each
baronial hall the home of a crowd of petty retainers. In that long-ago,
what multitudes of voices had stirred the silence of the court-yard! The
bare walls of the apartments then were hung with breast-plate, spear,
and cross-bow,--trophies of war and the chase furnished decorations
suited to the taste of the occupants, and the hides of slaughtered
beasts carpeted the cold floor. Stirring tales of love and warfare
gathered little knots of listeners; wandering minstrels sought
hospitality, and repaid it in songs and rhymes; the beef and the bowl
went round; my lord's jester made his privileged way into every circle
in turn, and cracked his jokes at everybody's expense; and pretty Bess,
my lady's maid, peeped in at the open door, just in time to join in the
laugh against her lover.

But Fancy only whispered, and another little attendant, whose name was
Fact, spoke out, and interrupted her.

"Would you like to see the family-plate?" asked our guide, with the air
of one who felt she had really nothing worth showing, but was bound to
fulfil her task; and, entering one of the stone-walled apartments, she
pointed out a few enormous pewter platters, much dimmed by time and
neglect, leaning against the wall.

What visions of Christmas feasts and wassails these relics might have
awakened in me, had I been left to gaze on them undisturbed, it is
impossible to say; but my mind was not permitted to follow its own bent.

"There's nicer ones down at the house, all brightened up," said the
child, with simplicity, and looking disdain at the heirlooms she was
displaying.

The estimate put by the little girl upon the comparative value of old
pewter dishes was suggestive. Whether the farm-house had robbed the
castle, or the castle the farm-house, became at once an open question,
and romance died in doubt.

There could be no doubt, however, as to the genuineness of the rude old
dining-hall to which we were conducted next. The clumsy oaken table
still occupied the raised end of the apartment, where the baron feasted
his principal guests. The carved and panelled gallery whence his
minstrels cheered the banquet still stood firm on its massive pillars,
and the great stags'-antlers which surmounted it told of his skill as a
sportsman. What giant logs might once have burned in the wide
fireplaces, what sounds of revelry have gone up to the bare rafters! Our
guide's tongue went glibly as she pointed out these familiar objects,
and in the kitchen, buttery, and wine-vault, which were situated
conveniently near to the dining-hall, she seemed equally at home. It was
easy to recognize in the great stone chimneys, with their heavy hooks
and cross-bars, symptoms of banquets for which bullocks were roasted
whole and sheep and calves slain by the dozen; but we needed her
practised lips to suggest the uses of the huge stone chopping-blocks,
the deeply sunk troughs, the narrow gutters that crossed the stone
pavement, all illustrative of the primitive days when butcher and cook
wrought simultaneously, and this contracted cellar served at once for
slaughter-house and kitchen. Her little airy figure was in strange
contrast with these gloomy passages, these stones that had reeked with
blood and smoke. She glided before us into the mysterious depths of the
storehouse and ale-vault, as the new moon glides among damp, black
clouds; as she directed our attention to the oaken cupboards for bread
and cheese, the stone benches that once supported long rows of casks,
the little wicket in the doorway, through which the butler doled out
provisions to a waiting crowd of poor, she might well have been likened
to a freshly trimmed lamp, lighting up the dark, mysterious past.

Freshly trimmed she unquestionably was, and by careful hands, but not a
voluntary light; for, the moment her explanations were finished, or our
curiosity satisfied, she sank into an indifference of speech and
attitude which proved her distaste to a place and a task utterly foreign
to her nature. Evidently, the hall which we had come so far to see, and
were so eager to explore, was at once the most familiar object of her
life and her most utter aversion. She had been drilled into a mechanical
knowledge of its history, but the place itself was to her what an old
grammar or spelling-book is to the unwilling pupil,--a thing to be
learned by rote, to be abused, contemned, escaped from. As we finished
our exploration of the lower floor, she probably breathed a sigh of
relief, feeling that the first chapter of her task was concluded.

But a second and more difficult was yet to follow,--for we now ascended
a staircase of uncemented blocks of stone, crossed a passage, and found
ourselves in a long gallery or hall, the finest and best-preserved room
in the castle, the state-apartment and ball-room of the lords of the
manor. Our admiration at once broke forth in words of surprise and
delight. The architecture of this room was of much more recent date than
that portion of the building which we had already visited. It was
Elizabethan in its style, and one of the finest specimens of the period.
It was floored and wainscoted with oak; its frieze richly carved and
adorned with boars' heads, thistles, and roses; its ceiling, also of
oak, beautifully panelled and ornamented. There was a great square
recess in the middle of the gallery, and along one side of it a row of
bow-windows, through whose diamond panes a fine view was afforded of the
quaint old garden and balconies below. Here, doubtless, knights and
dames of the olden time had danced, coquetted, quarrelled, and been
reconciled. Within those deep embrasures courtiers in ruffs and plumes
had sued for ladies' favors, and plotted deep intrigues of state. What
stories these walls could tell, had they but tongues to speak! What
dreams did their very silence conjure up!

Led by a more erratic spirit than that even of our child-guide, I am
afraid I lent an inattentive ear to her accurate statement of the
length, breadth, and height of the gallery in which we stood, the
precise date of its erection, the noble owners of the various
coats-of-arms carved above the doorway; for I remember only that she
seemed confident and well-informed, and recited her lesson faithfully
so long as she was suffered to follow the beaten track. How impossible
it was to extract anything beyond that from her we soon had proof.

She ushered us next into my lord's parlor, which nearly adjoined the
gallery. This room was hung with arras, retained a few articles of
ancient furniture, had one or two pictures hanging on its walls, and
presented, altogether, a more habitable look than any other portion of
the castle. Our little maid had got on well with her description of this
room, had pointed out the portrait of Prince Arthur, once a resident at
the hall, had introduced that of Will Somers, my lord's jester, as
glibly as if Will were a playmate of her own, had deciphered for us the
excellent moral precept carved in old English beneath the royal arms,
"Drede God and honour the King," and was proceeding rapidly with an
array of measurements and dates, when I unluckily interrupted her,--I
think it was to ask some question about the tapestry. She looked at me
reproachfully, indignantly,--just as a child reciting the
multiplication-table before the School-Committee would look, if tripped
up between the numbers, or as a boy, taken advantage of in play, might
cry, "No fair!" She did not condescend to answer me, perhaps she could
not, but paused a moment, reflected, went deliberately back in her
recital, repeated the last few dates and phrases by way of gaining an
impetus, and then went on without faltering to the end of her prescribed
narration.

Poor child! She had my sympathy, and has still. What a grudge she must
owe us tourists, even the tamest and most submissive of us, for whom she
is thus compelled to tax her unwilling memory!

But if her spirits were damped, her good-humor threatened, it was for a
minute only. Upon completing our rapid survey of my lord's parlor, and
looking round for the guide who should conduct us farther, she had
become invisible. So we moved on without her, and commenced exploring a
narrow passage with a certain sense of bewilderment at its loneliness,
and the doubt whither it might lead, when, suddenly, we were startled by
a merry laugh, which seemed to ring through the air directly above our
heads. Was it a mocking spirit that haunted the place? or one of the old
figures on the tapestry, started into life? We looked up, and there, on
a rough platform of pine boards, projecting from the wall, stood our
Fenella. She was leaning over the shoulder of an artist-boy, who, seated
at his easel, was copying one of the Gorgon-heads that stood out on the
faded tapestry. She had dismissed us wholly from her thoughts, and,
giving play to her native fun and coquetry, was taunting the youth with
the slowness of his labors and the little progress he had made since she
last inspected his work. No wonder that she laughed at the taste of the
boy or his employer. Graver heads than hers might question the motive
which had set the painter such a model. Imagination suggested that some
elfin godmother must have prescribed the task as a condition of her
future favor. At all events, the malicious sprite now acting as overseer
felt a sense of triumph in this captive boy, perched against the wall,
and condemned, like herself, to reproduce the past and bring out in
fresh colors the staring eyes and mummied cheeks which would otherwise
soon be lost to memory. She certainly made the most of her opportunity
to taunt and tease him, for there was time for a laugh and a word of
raillery only, to which he seemed too shamefaced to respond, before she
was at our side again, gravely announcing, "My lady's chamber!"--and as
we looked around the apartment, whose furniture and decorations imparted
to it a superior air of neatness and refinement to that observable
elsewhere, she pointed out to us a private doorway, conducting to a
flight of steps, and affording an exit by which "my lady" had easy
access to the court-yard, and thence to the chapel where she performed
her devotions.

"And what are the rooms opposite?" we asked, pointing to a long row of
windows on the second floor, on the opposite side of the quadrangle to
that of which we had now completed the inspection.

"Those rooms are never shown," was the mysterious answer.

"But you will show them to _us_" (spoken coaxingly).

She shook her head, and sealed her lips, with an expression of
determination.

"What is in them?"

"Oh, nothing in particular."

"Then we might see them."

No encouragement, but, on the contrary, a resolute negative.

A bribe was held out,--for, by this time, the child's air of mystery and
reserve had suggested a closet like that of Bluebeard, a chamber of
torture, or, at least, the proofs of some family-secret.

We might as well have offered a two-shilling bribe to the Iron Duke
himself. The miniature castle-keeper was so firm and so non-committal
that she disarmed us of all our ingenuity, defeated all our tactics, and
we gave up the point. I have since learned that this quarter of the
mansion consists of a labyrinth of rooms, shut up because devoid of
interest, and containing only some old lumber. To have conducted us
through them would have been to disobey orders, and, worse still,
establish a precedent, from which the child might well shrink. It would
have doubled her arduous round of duty. It was policy, no less than
loyalty, which had inspired her.

So, too, when we came to inspect the chapel. She mounted an old oak
chest in the rear of the little sanctuary, just beneath the solitary
window, whose quaint patterns in stained glass pointed to centuries long
past. Seated comfortably on this elevation, she rehearsed the history
and described the architecture of the most primitive place of worship I
ever saw,--or, if she left her post to point out some minuter detail,
she returned to it as jealously as a watch-dog to some spot which he is
specially appointed to guard. When our curiosity was otherwise
satisfied,--when we had even ascended to the rude confessional, which
was a mere excavation in the soft stone of the wall,--when we had put
our hands in the hollow, not unlike a swallow's nest in a mud-bank, once
the receptacle for holy water,--when we had descended the stony pathway,
for it was so worn as scarcely to merit the name of staircase,--when,
standing once more on the chapel-pavement, with minds excited by the
thought of those monkish days when priestcraft ruled the land,--our eyes
naturally fell on the old oak chest. What further revelation might not
this disclose! What sacred relics, what curious church-plate, what
vellum manuscript, might not be hidden beneath this heavy lid! Would she
rise and let us see?

No,--she maintained her seat and her reserve with as much rigidity as on
the former occasion. Unconvinced by this experience, our imaginations
still ran riot. They shadowed forth every possible beauty and horror
which such a giant chest might contain. The story even of "The Bride of
the Mistletoe-Bough" might be verified, if we could but get a peep. At
last we prevailed. The child was persuaded to dismount, we lifted the
cover, and the chest was empty,--literally empty.

Once more the plain fact of the present had swept away the cobwebs of
the past, the real had banished the ideal. While the child of to-day
sought only a comfortable rest from weariness, we had been seeking
myths. She looked on as indignant as a dethroned queen. We turned away a
little mortified, and a good deal disappointed.

But the Fenella of the castle was not so very tired, after all. True,
she was tired of the old manor-house, tired of us, tired of her own dull
routine of duty; but there was a well-spring of freshness in her yet.
She moved languidly, to be sure, as she now led the way to the tower,
the only portion of the castle yet unvisited. Following her, we
ascended, first, to a bare upper room, a sort of anteroom, from which
the ascent to the tower commenced. It presented a solid inclosure of
stone, except on the western side, where it was dimly lighted through
one or two slits in the masonry. Turning my eyes in this direction, I
saw our little guide leaning against the stone framework of one of these
chinks in the wall. The beams of western sunlight came slanting in at
precisely the angle of her figure as she leaned back in infantile
repose; her white ribbons, her snowy apron, her golden hair caught and
held the sunshine, and the ray of light which relieved the gloom of the
gray old vault seemed to emanate from the child.

One of our party addressed some question to her regarding the probable
design of the empty room in which we stood; but there was no
answer,--not even a responsive glance. Her eyes were fixed upon the
stone roof. She looked spell-bound. Before we could follow the direction
of her steady gaze, we were startled by the flapping of wings overhead,
and, still more, by the sudden rushing forward of the child with a loud
cry of "Shoo! shoo!" and with her hands stretched eagerly into the air.
Our presence had disturbed a swallow, which had found its way in through
one of the slits, and, perhaps, built a nest in some crevice of the
wall. The girl's languor was instantaneously dispelled by the discovery
and the excitement of pursuit. Here, now, was congenial sport. Hopeless
as was the attempt to catch the bird, the joy of frightening it was
sure; and our guide sprang wildly from side to side of the building,
uttering exciting exclamations, and making vain passes at the little
creature, which flew round high above her head, now and then settling in
some secure "coigne of vantage." In these intervals we endeavored to
catch the attention of the mischievous fowler, but her task had ended
with this tower-room, she had done with us, she had found an unexpected
source of sport, and was not to be deterred from an enjoyment which she
probably thought well-earned. With one eye following the least motion of
the bird, she informed us, at last, in reply to repeated inquiries, that
there was nothing to be told about the room we were in,--that it merely
led to the tower,--we could go up into the tower, if we wished.

She must go with us and show us the way.

"No," was the cool reply. She never went into the tower; she never went
any farther than this.

Glancing at the dilapidated state of the stairs leading to the
successive stones of the tower, we were almost tempted to believe that
her instinct of self-preservation had reached its climax here,--that we
might break our necks, if we liked,--she preferred not to run the risk.
Resolved to satisfy our suspicions, we pressed the point, and, after
many inquiries and waiting a considerable time upon the motions of the
child and her new plaything, we got the brief and somewhat scornful
explanation,--

"What if some other party should come while I was away?"

"We part here, then?"

She nodded in assent, received the fee for her services without
acknowledgment, and saw us depart on our breakneck expedition with an
indifference equalled only by the nonchalance with which she had
admitted us on our arrival. The moment our backs were turned, she
resumed her play.

After exploring the successive stories of the tower in safety, we
descended by way of the anteroom, but the bird and its pursuer had both
of them flown. We passed through a door she had previously pointed out,
and gained the garden as surreptitiously as did Dorothy Vernon, of old,
when, according to the tradition, she escaped through this same doorway
on the night of her sister's nuptials, and eloped with her lover, Mr.
(afterwards Sir John) Manners, who had long been haunting the
neighboring forest as an outlaw. We strolled through the ancient garden,
all ivied and moss-grown, admired the stone balustrade, which,
time-stained and mouldy, is still the student's favorite bit of
architecture, and at last made our way back to the farm-house,--I am
sure I do not remember how, for we were as deficient in a guide as on
our first attempt at entrance. Whether another party arrived while we
were in the tower, and were engrossing her attention,--whether she was
engaged in the more agreeable office of coquetting with the young
artist, or was still chasing the swallow from room to room of the
manor-house, I do not know. We saw her no more. She had barely
condescended to let us in, and now left us to find our way out as we
could.

She cared nothing at all for us. All the interest we had manifested in
her (and it was considerable) had failed to awaken any emotion. We were
a stereotyped feature of the old hall; and the old hall, though she had
sprung from its root, and her life had been nourished by its strength,
was no part of herself,--was her antipathy. Still I never think of the
mansion, with all the romantic associations which cluster around it, but
the image of this child comes to break my reverie, as she did on the day
when it was first indulged.

So we go to visit some royal oak, and bring away, as a memento, the
daisy which blooms at its foot; so we stand, as the reward of toil and
fatigue, upon an Alpine glacier, and the trophy and pledge of our visit
are the forget-me-not that grew on its margin. Thus youth and beauty
ever press on the footsteps of old age, and youth and beauty bear away
the palm.

My faith in legendary lore is confirmed, when I call to mind the Gothic
fortress, with its strong defences against the enemy, its rude
suggestions of centuries of hospitality, its tower-lattices, whence
generation after generation of high-born maids waved signals to knightly
lovers, its stairways, worn slippery with the tread of heavy-mailed
warriors, its chapel-vault, where chivalrous lord and noble dame have
turned to dust. But there is a faith more precious than the faith in old
song and legend; and the golden-haired child, who flourishes so fresh
and fair amidst all this ruin and decay, stands forth to my mind as an
emblem of that power which renovates earth and defies time. Had she been
a pattern child, had her instructors (whoever they were) succeeded in
moulding her into a mere machine, she might not so vividly have roused
my interest; but there was something in her saucy independence, her
wayward freaks, her coquettish airs, her fiery chase after the swallow,
which--breaking in, as they did, upon the docility with which she
otherwise went through her round of duty--revivified the desolation of
the old hall with a sudden outburst of humanity. Everywhere else the
fountain of life seemed to have died out, but here it gushed forth a
living stream.

We gaze down the centuries and see in them ignorance, error, warning,
and ruin at last. What hope for the race, then, if this were all? But it
is not all. The child's foot treading lightly over the graves is the
type of the _time-is_ triumphing over the _time-was_. Full of faults and
imperfections, she is still the daughter of Hope and Opportunity. She
has the past for her teacher, and the door of knowledge, repentance, and
faith stands open before her. Thus childhood is the rainbow of God's
providence, and the brightest feature of His covenant with men.

Silence, desolation, and decay have set their seal upon old Haddon Hall,
but chance has set a child over them all, and the lesson her simple
presence teaches is worth more to me than all the Idyls of the King.

And thus it is that I treasure up the memory of her among my catalogue
of guides; and so she did more for me than she promised, when she
undertook to lend me her light through the old Hall.

If there are any who can live without thus borrowing, then let them
disparage guides. For the rest, the best guide is Humility. We have all
so many dark paths to tread from the cradle to the grave, that we need
to lay hold on all the helps we can. Groping blindly down the avenues
of Time, who is there that does not long to grasp some friendly hand, or
follow in the track of some traveller familiar with the way?

For me, Experience is a staff on which I am glad to lean, Simplicity is
an unfailing leader where Learning might go astray. Trust is a lamp that
burns through the darkest night; and sometimes, when strong men are weak
and wise men foolish, strength and wisdom are given unto babes, and he
whom the counsels of the elders cannot save may walk the narrowest path
in safety with his hand in the hand of a little child.

God grant me guides, then, to my journey's end! God guide us all,
whether we will or no! guide the nations, and make for them a way
through the dust, the turmoil, and the strife which Time has heaped in
their path, to the freshness and promise of the new birth! guide each
poor yearning soul through the darkness and doubt that overshadow it, as
it journeys on to the clear light of immortal day!



THE KALIF OF BALDACCA.


    Into the city of Kambalu,
    By the road that leadeth to Ispahan,
    At the head of his dusty caravan,
    Laden with treasure from realms afar,
    Baldacca and Kelat and Kandahar,
    Rode the great captain Alaù.

    The Khan from his palace-window gazed:
    He saw in the thronging street beneath,
    In the light of the setting sun, that blazed
    Through the clouds of dust by the caravan raised,
    The flash of harness and jewelled sheath,
    And the shining scimitars of the guard,
    And the weary camels that bared their teeth,
    As they passed and passed through the gates unbarred
    Into the shade of the palace-yard.

    Thus into the city of Kambalu
    Rode the great captain Alaù;
    And he stood before the Khan, and said,--
    "The enemies of my lord are dead;
    All the Kalifs of all the West
    Bow and obey his least behest;
    The plains are dark with the mulberry-trees,
    The weavers are busy in Samarcand,
    The miners are sifting the golden sand,
    The divers are plunging for pearls in the seas,
    And peace and plenty are in the land.

    "Only Baldacca's Kalif alone
    Rose in rebellion against thy throne:
    His treasures are at thy palace-door,
    With the swords and the shawls and the jewels he wore;
    His body is dust o'er the Desert blown.

    "A mile outside of Baldacca's gate
    I left my forces to lie in wait,
    Concealed by forests and hillocks of sand,
    And forward dashed with a handful of men
    To lure the old tiger from his den
    Into the ambush I had planned.
    Ere we reached the town the alarm was spread,
    For we heard the sound of gongs from within;
    With clash of cymbals and warlike din
    The gates swung wide; we turned and fled,
    And the garrison sallied forth and pursued,
    With the gray old Kalif at their head,
    And above them the banner of Mahomed:
    Thus we snared them all, and the town was subdued.

    "As in at the gate we rode, behold,
    A tower that was called the Tower of Gold!
    For there the Kalif had hidden his wealth,
    Heaped and hoarded and piled on high,
    Like sacks of wheat in a granary;
    And there the old miser crept by stealth
    To feel of the gold that gave him health,
    To gaze and gloat with his hungry eye
    On jewels that gleamed like a glow-worm's spark,
    Or the eyes of a panther in the dark.

    "I said to the Kalif,--'Thou art old,
    Thou hast no need of so much gold.
    Thou shouldst not have heaped and hidden it here,
    Till the breath of battle was hot and near,
    But have sown through the land these useless hoards
    To spring into shining blades of swords,
    And keep thine honor sweet and clear.
    These grains of gold are not grains of wheat;
    These bars of silver thou canst not eat;
    These jewels and pearls and precious stones
    Cannot cure the aches in thy bones,
    Nor keep the feet of Death one hour
    From climbing the stairways of thy tower!'

    "Then into this dungeon I locked the drone,
    And left him to feed there all alone
    In the honey-cells of his golden hive:
    Never a prayer, nor a cry, nor a groan
    Was heard from those massive walls of stone,
    Nor again was the Kalif seen alive!

    "When at last we unlocked the door,
    We found him dead upon the floor;
    The rings had dropped from his withered hands,
    His teeth were like bones in the Desert sands;
    Still clutching his treasures he had died;
    And as he lay there, he appeared
    A statue of gold with a silver beard,
    His arms outstretched as if crucified."

    This is the story, strange and true,
    That the great captain Alaù
    Told to his brother the Tartar Khan,
    When he rode that day into Kambalu
    By the road that leadeth to Ispahan.



LIFE ON THE SEA ISLANDS.


PART II.

A few days before Christmas, we were delighted at receiving a beautiful
Christmas Hymn from Whittier, written by request, especially for our
children. They learned it very easily, and enjoyed singing it. We showed
them the writer's picture, and told them he was a very good friend of
theirs, who felt the deepest interest in them, and had written this hymn
expressly for them to sing,--which made them very proud and happy. Early
Christmas morning, we were wakened by the people knocking at the doors
and windows, and shouting, "Merry Christmas!" After distributing some
little presents among them, we went to the church, which had been
decorated with holly, pine, cassena, mistletoe, and the hanging moss,
and had a very Christmas-like look. The children of our school assembled
there, and we gave them the nice, comfortable clothing, and the
picture-books, which had been kindly sent by some Philadelphia ladies.
There were at least a hundred and fifty children present. It was very
pleasant to see their happy, expectant little faces. To them, it was a
wonderful Christmas-Day,--such as they had never dreamed of before.
There was cheerful sunshine without, lighting up the beautiful
moss-drapery of the oaks, and looking in joyously through the open
windows; and there were bright faces and glad hearts within. The long,
dark night of the Past, with all its sorrows and its fears, was
forgotten; and for the Future,--the eyes of these freed children see no
clouds in it. It is full of sunlight, they think, and they trust in it,
perfectly.

After the distribution of the gifts, the children were addressed by some
of the gentlemen present. They then sang Whittier's Hymn, the "John
Brown" song, and several of their own hymns, among them a very singular
one, commencing,--

    "I wonder where my mudder gone;
      Sing, O graveyard!
    Graveyard ought to know me;
      Ring, Jerusalem!
    Grass grow in de graveyard;
      Sing, O graveyard!
    Graveyard ought to know me;
      Ring, Jerusalem!"

They improvise many more words as they sing. It is one of the strangest,
most mournful things I ever heard. It is impossible to give any idea of
the deep pathos of the refrain,--

    "Sing, O graveyard!"

In this, and many other hymns, the words seem to have but little
meaning; but the tones,--a whole lifetime of despairing sadness is
concentrated in them. They sing, also, "Jehovyah, Hallelujah," which we
like particularly:--

      "De foxes hab holes,
      An' de birdies hab nes',
      But de Son ob Man he hab not where
      To lay de weary head.

            CHORUS.

    "Jehovyah, Hallelujah! De Lord He will purvide!
    Jehovyah, Hallelujah! De Lord He will purvide!"

They repeat the words many times. "De foxes hab holes," and the
succeeding lines, are sung in the most touching, mournful tones; and
then the chorus--"Jehovyah, Hallelujah"--swells forth triumphantly, in
glad contrast.

Christmas night, the children came in and had several grand shouts. They
were too happy to keep still.

"Oh, Miss, all I want to do is to sing and shout!" said our little pet,
Amaretta. And sing and shout she did, to her heart's content.

She read nicely, and was very fond of books. The tiniest children are
delighted to get a book in their hands. Many of them already know their
letters. The parents are eager to have them learn. They sometimes said
to me,--

"Do, Miss, let de chil'en learn eberyting dey can. _We_ nebber hab no
chance to learn nuttin', but we wants de chil'en to learn."

They are willing to make many sacrifices that their children may attend
school. One old woman, who had a large family of children and
grandchildren, came regularly to school in the winter, and took her seat
among the little ones. She was at least sixty years old. Another
woman--who had one of the best faces I ever saw--came daily, and brought
her baby in her arms. It happened to be one of the best babies in the
world, a perfect little "model of deportment," and allowed its mother to
pursue her studies without interruption.

While taking charge of the store, one day, one of the men who came in
told me a story which interested me much. He was a carpenter, living on
this island, and just before the capture of Port Royal had been taken by
his master to the mainland,--"the Main," as the people call it,--to
assist in building some houses which were to shelter the families of the
Rebels in case the "Yankees" should come. The master afterward sent him
back to the island, providing him with a pass, to bring away a boat and
some of the people. On his arrival he found that the Union troops were
in possession, and determined to remain here with his family instead of
returning to his master. Some of his fellow-servants, who had been left
on "the Main," hearing that the Federal troops had come, resolved to
make their escape to the islands. They found a boat of their master's,
out of which a piece six feet square had been cut. In the night they
went to the boat, which had been sunk in a creek near the house,
measured the hole, and, after several nights' work in the woods, made a
piece large enough to fit in. They then mended and sank it again, as
they had found it. The next night five of them embarked. They had a
perilous journey, often passing quite near the enemy's boats. They
travelled at night, and in the day ran close up to the shore out of
sight. Sometimes they could hear the hounds, which had been sent in
pursuit of them, baying in the woods. Their provisions gave out, and
they were nearly exhausted. At last they succeeded in passing all the
enemy's boats, and reached one of our gun-boats in safety. They were
taken on board and kindly cared for, and then sent to this island, where
their families, who had no hope of ever seeing them again, welcomed them
with great rejoicing.

We were also told the story of two girls, one about ten, the other
fifteen, who, having been taken by their master up into the country, on
the mainland, at the time of the capture of the islands, determined to
try to escape to their parents, who had been left on this island. They
stole away at night, and travelled through woods and swamps for two
days, without eating. Sometimes their strength gave out, and they would
sink down, thinking they could go no farther; but they had brave little
hearts, and got up again and struggled on, till at last they reached
Port-Royal Ferry, in a state of utter exhaustion. They were seen there
by a boat-load of people who were also making their escape. The boat was
too full to take them in; but the people, on reaching this island, told
the children's father of their whereabouts, and he immediately took a
boat, and hastened to the ferry. The poor little creatures were almost
wild with joy when they saw him. When they were brought to their mother,
she fell down "jes' as if she was dead,"--so our informant expressed
it,--overpowered with joy on beholding the "lost who were found."

       *       *       *       *       *

New-Year's-Day--Emancipation-Day--was a glorious one to us. The morning
was quite cold, the coldest we had experienced; but we were determined
to go to the celebration at Camp Saxton,--the camp of the First Regiment
South-Carolina Volunteers,--whither the General and Colonel Higginson
had bidden us, on this, "the greatest day in the nation's history." We
enjoyed perfectly the exciting scene on board the Flora. There was an
eager, wondering crowd of the freed people in their holiday-attire, with
the gayest of head-handkerchiefs, the whitest of aprons, and the
happiest of faces. The band was playing, the flags streaming, everybody
talking merrily and feeling strangely happy. The sun shone brightly, the
very waves seemed to partake of the universal gayety, and danced and
sparkled more joyously than ever before. Long before we reached Camp
Saxton we could see the beautiful grove, and the ruins of the old
Huguenot fort near it. Some companies of the First Regiment were drawn
up in line under the trees, near the landing, to receive us. A fine,
soldierly-looking set of men; their brilliant dress against the trees
(they were then wearing red pantaloons) invested them with a
semi-barbaric splendor. It was my good fortune to find among the
officers an old friend,--and what it was to meet a friend from the
North, in our isolated Southern life, no one can imagine who has not
experienced the pleasure. Letters were an unspeakable luxury,--we
hungered for them, we could never get enough; but to meet old
friends,--that was "too much, too much," as the people here say, when
they are very much in earnest. Our friend took us over the camp, and
showed us all the arrangements. Everything looked clean and comfortable,
much neater, we were told, than in most of the white camps. An officer
told us that he had never seen a regiment in which the men were so
honest. "In many other camps," said he, "the colonel and the rest of us
would find it necessary to place a guard before our tents. We never do
it here. They are left entirely unguarded. Yet nothing has ever been
touched." We were glad to know that. It is a remarkable fact, when we
consider that these men have all their lives been _slaves_; and we know
what the teachings of Slavery are.

The celebration took place in the beautiful grove of live-oaks adjoining
the camp. It was the largest grove we had seen. I wish it were possible
to describe fitly the scene which met our eyes as we sat upon the stand,
and looked down on the crowd before us. There were the black soldiers in
their blue coats and scarlet pantaloons, the officers of this and other
regiments in their handsome uniforms, and crowds of lookers-on,--men,
women, and children, of every complexion, grouped in various attitudes
under the moss-hung trees. The faces of all wore a happy, interested
look. The exercises commenced with a prayer by the chaplain of the
regiment. An ode, written for the occasion by Professor Zachos, was read
by him, and then sung. Colonel Higginson then introduced Dr. Brisbane,
who read the President's Proclamation, which was enthusiastically
cheered. Rev. Mr. French presented to the Colonel two very elegant
flags, a gift to the regiment from the Church of the Puritans,
accompanying them by an appropriate and enthusiastic speech. At its
conclusion, before Colonel Higginson could reply, and while he still
stood holding the flags in his hand, some of the colored people, of
their own accord, commenced singing, "My Country, 'tis of thee." It was
a touching and beautiful incident, and sent a thrill through all our
hearts. The Colonel was deeply moved by it. He said that that reply was
far more effective than any speech he could make. But he did make one of
those stirring speeches which are "half battles." All hearts swelled
with emotion as we listened to his glorious words,--"stirring the soul
like the sound of a trumpet."

His soldiers are warmly attached to him, and he evidently feels towards
them all as if they were his children. The people speak of him as "the
officer who never leaves his regiment for pleasure," but devotes
himself, with all his rich gifts of mind and heart, to their interests.
It is not strange that his judicious kindness, ready sympathy, and rare
fascination of manner should attach them to him strongly. He is one's
ideal of an officer. There is in him much of the grand, knightly spirit
of the olden time,--scorn of all that is mean and ignoble, pity for the
weak, chivalrous devotion to the cause of the oppressed.

General Saxton spoke also, and was received with great enthusiasm.
Throughout the morning, repeated cheers were given for him by the
regiment, and joined in heartily by all the people. They know him to be
one of the best and noblest men in the world. His Proclamation for
Emancipation-Day we thought, if possible, even more beautiful than the
Thanksgiving Proclamation.

At the close of Colonel Higginson's speech he presented the flags to the
color-bearers, Sergeant Rivers and Sergeant Sutton, with an earnest
charge, to which they made appropriate replies. We were particularly
pleased with Robert Sutton, who is a man of great natural intelligence,
and whose remarks were simple, eloquent, and forcible.

Mrs. Gage also uttered some earnest words; and then the regiment sang
"John Brown" with much spirit. After the meeting we saw the
dress-parade, a brilliant and beautiful sight. An officer told us that
the men went through the drill remarkably well,--that the ease and
rapidity with which they learned the movements were wonderful. To us it
seemed strange as a miracle,--this black regiment, the first mustered
into the service of the United States, doing itself honor in the sight
of the officers of other regiments, many of whom, doubtless, "came to
scoff." The men afterwards had a great feast, ten oxen having been
roasted whole for their especial benefit.

We went to the landing, intending to take the next boat for Beaufort;
but finding it very much crowded, waited for another. It was the
softest, loveliest moonlight; we seated ourselves on the ruined wall of
the old fort; and when the boat had got a short distance from the shore
the band in it commenced playing "Sweet Home." The moonlight on the
water, the perfect stillness around, the wildness and solitude of the
ruins, all seemed to give new pathos to that ever dear and beautiful old
song. It came very near to all of us,--strangers in that strange
Southern land. After a while we retired to one of the tents,--for the
night-air, as usual, grew dangerously damp,--and, sitting around the
bright wood-fire, enjoyed the brilliant and entertaining conversation.
Very unwilling were we to go home; for, besides the attractive society,
we knew that the soldiers were to have grand shouts and a general
jubilee that night. But the Flora was coming, and we were obliged to say
a reluctant farewell to Camp Saxton and the hospitable dwellers therein,
and hasten to the landing. We promenaded the deck of the steamer, sang
patriotic songs, and agreed that moonlight and water had never looked so
beautiful as on that night. At Beaufort we took the row-boat for St.
Helena; and the boatmen, as they rowed, sang some of their sweetest,
wildest hymns. It was a fitting close to such a day. Our hearts were
filled with an exceeding great gladness; for, although the Government
had left much undone, we knew that Freedom was surely born in our land
that day. It seemed too glorious a good to realize,--this beginning of
the great work we had so longed and prayed for.

       *       *       *       *       *

L. and I had one day an interesting visit to a plantation about six
miles from ours. The house is beautifully situated in the midst of noble
pine-trees, on the banks of a large creek. The place was owned by a very
wealthy Rebel family, and is one of the pleasantest and healthiest on
the island. The vicinity of the pines makes it quite healthy. There were
a hundred and fifty people on it,--one hundred of whom had come from
Edisto Island at the time of its evacuation by our troops. There were
not houses enough to accommodate them, and they had to take shelter in
barns, out-houses, or any other place they could find. They afterwards
built rude dwellings for themselves, which did not, however, afford them
much protection in bad weather. The superintendent told us that they
were well-behaved and industrious. One old woman interested us greatly.
Her name was Daphne; she was probably more than a hundred years old; had
had fifty grandchildren, sixty-five great-grandchildren, and three
great-great-grandchildren. Entirely blind, she yet seemed very cheerful
and happy. She told us that she was brought with her parents from Africa
at the time of the Revolution. A bright, happy old face was hers, and
she retained her faculties remarkably well. Fifteen of the people had
escaped from the mainland in the previous spring. They were pursued, and
one of them was overtaken by his master in the swamps. A fierce grapple
ensued,--the master on horseback, the man on foot. The former drew a
pistol and shot his slave through the arm, shattering it dreadfully.
Still, the heroic man fought desperately, and at last succeeded in
unhorsing his master, and beating him until he was senseless. He then
made his escape, and joined the rest of the party.

One of the most interesting sights we saw was a baptism among the
people. On one Sunday there were a hundred and fifty baptized in the
creek near the church. They looked very picturesque in their white
aprons and bright frocks and handkerchiefs. As they marched in
procession down to the river's edge, and during the ceremony, the
spectators, with whom the banks were crowded, sang glad, triumphant
songs. The freed people on this island are all Baptists.

We were much disappointed in the Southern climate. We found it much
colder than we had expected,--quite cold enough for as thick winter
clothing as one would wear at the North. The houses, heated only by open
fires, were never comfortably warm. In the floor of our sitting-room
there was a large crack through which we could see the ground beneath;
and through this and the crevices of the numerous doors and windows the
wind came chillingly. The church in which we taught school was
particularly damp and cold. There was no chimney, and we could have no
fire at all. Near the close of the winter a stove came for us, but it
could not be made to draw; we were nearly suffocated with smoke, and
gave it up in despair. We got so thoroughly chilled and benumbed within,
that for several days we had school out-of-doors, where it was much
warmer. Our school-room was a pleasant one,--for ceiling the blue sky
above, for walls the grand old oaks with their beautiful
moss-drapery,--but the dampness of the ground made it unsafe for us to
continue the experiment.

At a later period, during a few days' visit to some friends living on
the Milne Plantation, then the head-quarters of the First
South-Carolina, which was on picket-duty at Port-Royal Ferry, we had an
opportunity of seeing something of Port-Royal Island. We had pleasant
rides through the pine barrens. Indeed, riding on horseback was our
chief recreation at the South, and we enjoyed it thoroughly. The
"Secesh" horses, though small, poor, and mean-looking, when compared
with ours, are generally excellent for the saddle, well-trained and very
easy. I remember particularly one ride that we had while on Port-Royal
Island. We visited the Barnwell Plantation, one of the finest places on
the island. It is situated on Broad River. The grounds are extensive,
and are filled with magnificent live-oaks, magnolias, and other trees.
We saw one noble old oak, said to be the largest on these islands. Some
of the branches have been cut off, but the remaining ones cover an area
of more than a hundred feet in circumference. We rode to a point whence
the Rebels on the opposite side of the river are sometimes to be seen.
But they were not visible that day; and we were disappointed in our
long-cherished hope of seeing a "real live Rebel." On leaving the
plantation, we rode through a long avenue of oaks,--the moss-hung
branches forming a perfect arch over our heads,--and then for miles
through the pine barrens. There was an Italian softness in the April
air. Only a low, faint murmur--hardly "the slow song of the sea"--could
be heard among the pines. The ground was thickly carpeted with ferns of
a vivid green. We found large violets, purple and white, and azaleas of
a deeper pink and heavier fragrance than ours. It was leaving Paradise,
to emerge from the beautiful woods upon the public road,--the shell-road
which runs from Beaufort to the Ferry. Then we entered a by-way leading
to the plantation, where we found the Cherokee rose in all its glory.
The hedges were white with it; it canopied the trees, and hung from
their branches its long sprays of snowy blossoms and dark, shining
leaves, forming perfect arches, and bowers which seemed fitting places
for fairies to dwell in. How it gladdened our eyes and hearts! It was as
if all the dark shadows that have so long hung over this Southern land
had flitted away, and, in this garment of purest white, it shone forth
transfigured, beautified, forevermore.

On returning to the house, we were met by the exciting news that the
Rebels were bringing up pontoon-bridges, and were expected to attempt
crossing over near the Ferry, which was only two or three miles from us.
Couriers came in every few moments with various reports. A
superintendent whose plantation was very near the Ferry had been
watching through his glass the movements on the opposite side, and
reported that the Rebels were gathering in large force, and evidently
preparing for some kind of demonstration. A messenger was despatched to
Beaufort for reinforcements, and for some time we were in a state of
expectancy, not entirely without excitement, but entirely without fear.
The officers evidently enjoyed the prospect of a fight. One of them
assured me that I should have the pleasure of seeing a Rebel shell
during the afternoon. It was proposed that the women should be sent into
Beaufort in an ambulance; against which ignoble treatment we indignantly
protested, and declared our intention of remaining at our post, if the
Colonel would consent; and finally, to our great joy, the best of
colonels did consent that we should remain, as he considered it quite
safe for us to do so. Soon a light battery arrived, and during the
evening a brisk firing was kept up. We could hear the explosion of the
shells. It was quite like being in the war; and as the firing was
principally on our side, and the enemy was getting the worst of it, we
rather enjoyed it. For a little while the Colonel read to us, in his
spirited way, some of the stirring "Lays of the Old Cavaliers." It was
just the time to appreciate them thoroughly, and he was of all men the
fittest person to read them. But soon came a courier, "in hot haste," to
make report of the doings without, and the reading was at an end. In the
midst of the firing, Mrs. D. and I went to bed, and slept soundly until
morning. We learned afterward that the Rebels had not intended to cross
over, but were attempting to take the guns off one of our boats, which
they had sunk a few days previous. The timely arrival of the battery
from Beaufort prevented them from accomplishing their purpose.

       *       *       *       *       *

In April we left Oaklands, which had always been considered a
particularly unhealthy place during the summer, and came to "Seaside," a
plantation on another and healthier part of the island. The place
contains nearly a hundred people. The house is large and comparatively
comfortable. Notwithstanding the name, we have not even a distant
glimpse of the sea, although we can sometimes hear its roar. At low tide
there is not a drop of water to be seen,--only dreary stretches of
marsh-land, reminding us of the sad outlook of Mariana in the Moated
Grange,--

    "The level waste and rounding gray."

But at night we have generally a good sea-breeze, and during the hottest
weather the air is purer and more invigorating than in many parts of the
island.

On this, as on several other large plantations, there is a
"Praise-House," which is the special property of the people. Even in the
old days of Slavery, they were allowed to hold meetings here; and they
still keep up the custom. They assemble on several nights of the week,
and on Sunday afternoons. First, they hold what is called the
"Praise-Meeting," which consists of singing, praying, and preaching. We
have heard some of the old negro preachers make prayers that were really
beautiful and touching. In these meetings they sing only the
church-hymns which the Northern ministers have taught them, and which
are far less suited to their voices than their own. At the close of the
Praise-Meeting they all shake hands with each other in the most solemn
manner. Afterward, as a kind of appendix, they have a grand "shout,"
during which they sing their own hymns. Maurice, an old blind man, leads
the singing. He has a remarkable voice, and sings with the greatest
enthusiasm. The first shout that we witnessed in the Praise-House
impressed us very much. The large, gloomy room, with its blackened
walls,--the wild, whirling dance of the shouters,--the crowd of dark,
eager faces gathered around,--the figure of the old blind man, whose
excitement could hardly be controlled, and whose attitude and gestures
while singing were very fine,--and over all, the red glare of the
burning pine-knot, which shed a circle of light around it, but only
seemed to deepen and darken the shadows in the other parts of the
room,--these all formed a wild, strange, and deeply impressive picture,
not soon to be forgotten.

Maurice's especial favorite is one of the grandest hymns that we have
yet heard:--

      "De tallest tree in Paradise
      De Christian calls de Tree ob Life,
      An' I hope dat trumpet blow me home
      To my New Jerusalem.

                   CHORUS.

    "Blow, Gabriel! trumpet, blow louder, louder!
    An' I hope dat trumpet blow me home
    To my New Jerusalem!

      "Paul and Silas jail-bound
      Sing God's praise both night and day,
      An' I hope dat trumpet blow me home
      To my New Jerusalem.

                   CHORUS.

    "Blow, Gabriel! trumpet, blow louder, louder!
    An' I hope dat trumpet blow me home
    To my New Jerusalem!"

The chorus has a glad, triumphal sound, and in singing it the voice of
old Maurice rings out in wonderfully clear, trumpet-like tones. His
blindness was caused by a blow on the head from a loaded whip. He was
struck by his master in a fit of anger. "I feel great distress when I
become blind," said Maurice; "but den I went to seek de Lord; and eber
since I know I see in de next world, I always hab great satisfaction."
We are told that the master was not a "hard man" except when in a
passion, and then he seems to have been very cruel.

One of the women on the place, Old Bess, bears on her limbs many marks
of the whip. Some of the scars are three and four inches long. She was
used principally as a house-servant. She says, "Ebery time I lay de
table I put cow-skin on one end, an' I git beatin' and thumpin' all de
time. Hab all kinds o' work to do, and sich a gang [of children] to look
after! One person couldn't git along wid so much work, so it go wrong,
and den I git beatin'."

But the cruelty of Bess's master sinks into insignificance, when
compared with the far-famed wickedness of another slave-holder, known
all over the island as "Old Joe Eddings." There seem to have been no
bounds to his cruelty and licentiousness; and the people tell tales of
him which make one shudder. We were once asking some questions about him
of an old, half-witted woman, a former slave of his. The look of horror
and loathing which overspread her face was perfectly indescribable, as,
with upraised hands, she exclaimed, "What! Old Joe Eddings? Lord,
Missus, he second to none in de world but de Debil!" She had, indeed,
good cause to detest him; for, some years before, her daughter, a young
black girl, maddened by his persecutions, had thrown herself into the
creek and been drowned, after having been severely beaten for refusing
to degrade herself. Outraged, despised, and black, she yet preferred
death to dishonor. But these are things too heart-sickening to dwell
upon. God alone knows how many hundreds of plantations, all over the
South, might furnish a similar record.

       *       *       *       *       *

Early in June, before the summer heat had become unendurable, we made a
pleasant excursion to Edisto Island. We left St. Helena village in the
morning, dined on one of the gun-boats stationed near our island, and in
the afternoon proceeded to Edisto in two row-boats. There were six of
us, besides an officer and the boats' crews, who were armed with guns
and cutlasses. There was no actual danger; but as we were going into the
enemy's country, we thought it wisest to guard against surprises. After
a delightful row, we reached the island near sunset, landing at a place
called Eddingsville, which was a favorite summer resort with the
aristocracy of Edisto. It has a fine beach several miles in length.
Along the beach there is a row of houses, which must once have been very
desirable dwellings, but have now a desolate, dismantled look. The
sailors explored the beach for some distance, and returned, reporting
"all quiet, and nobody to be seen"; so we walked on, feeling quite safe,
stopping here and there to gather the beautiful tiny shells which were
buried deep in the sands.

We took supper in a room of one of the deserted houses, using for seats
some old bureau-drawers turned edgewise. Afterward we sat on the piazza,
watching the lightning playing from a low, black cloud over a sky
flushed with sunset, and listening to the merry songs of the sailors who
occupied the next house. They had built a large fire, the cheerful glow
of which shone through the windows, and we could see them dancing,
evidently in great glee. Later, we had another walk on the beach, in the
lovely moonlight. It was very quiet then. The deep stillness was broken
only by the low, musical murmur of the waves. The moon shone bright and
clear over the deserted houses and gardens, and gave them a still wilder
and more desolate look.

We went within-doors for the night very unwillingly. Having, of course,
no beds, we made ourselves as comfortable as we could on the floor, with
boat-cushions, blankets, and shawls. No fear of Rebels disturbed us.
There was but one road by which they could get to us, and on that a
watch was kept, and in case of their approach, we knew we should have
ample time to get to the boats and make our escape. So, despite the
mosquitoes, we had a sound night's sleep.

The next morning we took the boats again, and followed the course of the
most winding of little creeks. In and out, in and out, the boats went.
Sometimes it seemed as if we were going into the very heart of the
woods; and through the deep silence we half expected to hear the sound
of a Rebel rifle. The banks were overhung with a thick tangle of shrubs
and bushes, which threatened to catch our boats, as we passed close
beneath their branches. In some places the stream was so narrow that we
ran aground, and then the men had to get out, and drag and pull with all
their might before we could be got clear again. After a row full of
excitement and pleasure, we reached our place of destination,--the
Eddings Plantation, whither some of the freedmen had preceded us in
their search for corn. It must once have been a beautiful place. The
grounds were laid out with great taste, and filled with fine trees,
among which we noticed particularly the oleander, laden with deep
rose-hued and deliciously fragrant flowers, and the magnolia, with its
wonderful, large blossoms, which shone dazzlingly white among the dark
leaves. We explored the house,--after it had first been examined by our
guard, to see that no foes lurked there,--but found nothing but heaps of
rubbish, an old bedstead, and a bathing-tub, of which we afterward made
good use. When we returned to the shore, we found that the tide had gone
out, and between us and the boats lay a tract of marsh-land, which it
would have been impossible to cross without a wetting. The gentlemen
determined on wading. But what were we to do? In this dilemma somebody
suggested the bathing-tub, a suggestion which was eagerly seized upon.
We were placed in it, one at a time, borne aloft in triumph on the
shoulders of four stout sailors, and safely deposited in the boat. But,
through a mistake, the tub was not sent back for two of the ladies, and
they were brought over on the crossed hands of two of the sailors, in
the "carry-a-lady-to-London" style. Again we rowed through the windings
of the creek, then out into the open sea, among the white, exhilarating
breakers,--reached the gun-boat, dined again with its hospitable
officers, and then returned to our island, which we reached after
nightfall, feeling thoroughly tired, but well pleased with our
excursion.

From what we saw of Edisto, however, we did not like it better than our
own island,--except, of course, the beach; but we are told that farther
in the interior it is much more beautiful. The freed people, who left it
at the time of its evacuation, think it the loveliest place in the
world, and long to return. When we were going, Miss T.--the much-loved
and untiring friend and physician of the people--asked some whom we met
if we should give their love to Edisto. "Oh, yes, yes, Miss!" they said.
"Ah, Edisto a beautiful city!" And when we came back, they inquired,
eagerly,--"How you like Edisto? How Edisto stan'?" Only the fear of
again falling into the hands of the "Secesh" prevents them from
returning to their much-loved home.

       *       *       *       *       *

As the summer advanced, the heat became intense. We found it almost
overpowering, driving to school near the middle of the day, as we were
obliged to do. I gave up riding, and mounted a sulky, such as a single
gentleman drives in at the North. It was exceedingly high, and I found
it no small task to mount up into it. Its already very comical
appearance was enhanced by the addition of a cover of black India-rubber
cloth, with which a friend kindly provided me. Thus adorned, it looked
like the skeleton of some strange creature surmounted by a huge bonnet,
and afforded endless amusement to the soldiers we chanced to meet, who
hailed its appearance with shouts of laughter, and cries of "Here comes
the Calithumpian!" This unique vehicle, with several others on our
island, kindred, but not quite equal to it, would create a decided
sensation in the streets of a Northern city.

No description of life on these islands would be complete without a word
concerning the fleas. They appeared at the opening of spring, and kept
constantly "risin'," as the people said, until they reached a height the
possibility of which we had never conceived. We had heard and read of
fleas. We had never _realized_ them before. Words utterly fail to
describe the tortures we endured for months from these horrible little
tyrants. Remembering our sufferings "through weary day and weary
_night_," we warn everybody not gifted with extraordinary powers of
endurance to beware of a summer on the Sea Islands.

Notwithstanding the heat, we determined to celebrate the Fourth of July
as worthily as we could. The freed people and the children of the
different schools assembled in the grove near the Baptist Church. The
flag was hung across the road, between two magnificent live-oaks, and
the children, being grouped under it, sang "The Star-Spangled Banner"
with much spirit. Our good General could not come, but addresses were
made by Mr. P.,--the noble-hearted founder of the movement for the
benefit of the people here, and from first to last their stanch and
much-loved friend,--by Mr. L., a young colored minister, and others.
Then the people sang some of their own hymns; and the woods resounded
with the grand notes of "Roll, Jordan, roll." They all afterward partook
of refreshments, consisting of molasses and water,--a very great luxury
to them,--and hardtack.

Among the visitors present was the noble young Colonel Shaw, whose
regiment was then stationed on the island. We had met him a few nights
before, when he came to our house to witness one of the people's shouts.
We looked upon him with the deepest interest. There was something in his
face finer, more exquisite, than one often sees in a man's face, yet it
was full of courage and decision. The rare and singular charm of his
manner drew all hearts to him. He was deeply interested in the singing
and appearance of the people. A few days afterwards we saw his regiment
on dress-parade, and admired its remarkably fine and manly appearance.
After taking supper with the Colonel we sat outside the tent, while some
of his men entertained us with excellent singing. Every moment we became
more and more charmed with him. How full of life and hope and lofty
aspirations he was that night! How eagerly he expressed his wish that
they might soon be ordered to Charleston! "I do hope they will give _us_
a chance," he said. It was the desire of his soul that his men should do
themselves honor,--that they should prove themselves to an unbelieving
world as brave soldiers as though their skins were white. And for
himself, he was like the Chevalier of old, "without reproach or fear."
After we had mounted our horses and rode away, we seemed still to feel
the kind clasp of his hand,--to hear the pleasant, genial tones of his
voice, as he bade us good-bye, and hoped that we might meet again. We
never saw him afterward. In two short weeks came the terrible massacre
at Fort Wagner, and the beautiful head of the young hero and martyr was
laid low in the dust. Never shall we forget the heart-sickness with
which we heard of his death. We could not realize it at first,--we, who
had seen him so lately in all the strength and glory of his young
manhood. For days we clung to a vain hope; then it fell away from us,
and we knew that he was gone. We knew that he died gloriously, but still
it seemed very hard. Our hearts bled for the mother whom he so
loved,--for the young wife, left desolate. And then we said, as we say
now,--"God comfort them! He only can." During a few of the sad days
which followed the attack on Fort Wagner, I was in one of the hospitals
of Beaufort, occupied with the wounded soldiers of the Fifty-Fourth
Massachusetts. The first morning was spent in mending the bullet-holes
and rents in their clothing. What a story they told! Some of the jackets
of the poor fellows were literally cut in pieces. It was pleasant to see
the brave, cheerful spirit among them. Some of them were severely
wounded, but they uttered no complaint; and in the letters which they
dictated to their absent friends there was no word of regret, but the
same cheerful tone throughout. They expressed an eager desire to get
well, that they might "go at it again." Their attachment to their young
colonel was beautiful to see. They felt his death deeply. One and all
united in the warmest and most enthusiastic praise of him. He was,
indeed, exactly the person to inspire the most loyal devotion in the
hearts of his men. And with everything to live for, he had given up his
life for them. Heaven's best gifts had been showered upon him, but for
them he had laid them all down. I think they truly appreciated the
greatness of the sacrifice. May they ever prove worthy of such a leader!
Already, they, and the regiments of freedmen here, as well, have shown
that true manhood has no limitations of color.

       *       *       *       *       *

Daily the long-oppressed people of these islands are demonstrating their
capacity for improvement in learning and labor. What they have
accomplished in one short year exceeds our utmost expectations. Still
the sky is dark; but through the darkness we can discern a brighter
future. We cannot but feel that the day of final and entire deliverance,
so long and often so hopelessly prayed for, has at length begun to dawn
upon this much-enduring race. An old freedman said to me one day, "De
Lord make me suffer long time, Miss. 'Peared like we nebber was gwine to
git troo. But now we's free. He bring us all out right at las'." In
their darkest hours they have clung to Him, and we know He will not
forsake them.

    "The poor among men shall rejoice,
    For the terrible one is brought to nought."

While writing these pages I am once more nearing Port Royal. The
Fortunate Isles of Freedom are before me. I shall again tread the
flower-skirted wood-paths of St. Helena, and the sombre pines and
bearded oaks shall whisper in the sea-wind their grave welcome. I shall
dwell again among "mine own people." I shall gather my scholars about
me, and see smiles of greeting break over their dusk faces. My heart
sings a song of thanksgiving, at the thought that even I am permitted to
do something for a long-abused race, and aid in promoting a higher,
holier, and happier life on the Sea Islands.



A FAST-DAY AT FOXDEN.


I.

Colonel Elijah Prowley, like all good and true genealogists, held the
mother-country in tender reverence. For, if there be any truth in the
well-known _mot_ which calls Paris the Paradise of virtuous Yankees, it
is limited to a few city-bucks of mongrel caste. England must be the
Promised Land for the genuine representative of the Puritan. Whatever we
may have felt about her lately,--and I confess there have been times
when the declaration of the Fee-Faw-Fum giant of nursery-romance seemed
to be of a moral and praiseworthy character,--there is no doubt, that,
in the year of grace of which I write, and in the regards of many
ratherish-scholarly gentlemen of our country-towns, the British Islands
were the nearest terrestrial correspondences to the Islands of the
Blest. About the massive Past Colonel Prowley never ceased to thrust his
epistolary tendrils. Was not Great Britain a genealogical hunting-ground
where game of rarest plumage might be started? Was not a
family-connection with Sir Walter Raleigh (whose name should be written
_Praleigh_, a common corruption of "Prowley" in the sixteenth century)
susceptible of the clearest proof? There were, in fact, few
distinguished Englishmen of the present day, who, if a provoking
ancestor or two could be unearthed, might not be shown to have the
Prowley fluid in their veins. To many of these eminent personages the
head of the American branch of the family had written, and with several
he had succeeded in establishing a correspondence. Old sermons, moral
obituaries of public characters, celebrations of centennial
anniversaries, and heavy reading of like description, constantly left
the Foxden Post-Office addressed to the British Museum. The printed
formulas of acknowledgment which arrived in return were preserved as the
rarest treasures.

And in fulness of time all this corresponding and presenting produced a
glorious result. Elijah Prowley, of Foxden, was chosen an Honorary
Member of the Royal Society of British Sextons,--an association than
which there is none more mouldy in the whole world. Certainly, this was
glory enough for any Western genealogist,--yet Fortune had a higher
gratification to bestow. For, in His Worship, the Most Primordial, the
High Senior Governour and Primitive Patriarch of all Sextons, Colonel
Prowley soon discovered a relative of his own. Sir Joseph Barley, a
rubicund old knight, and the Most Primordial in question, after an
elaborate investigation and counter-investigation, a jockeying of the
wits of very old women, and a raid into divers registers, scrolls,
schedules, archives, and the like,--Sir Joseph Barley, I say, turned out
to be _a long-lost cousin_. "Barley," it appeared, had anciently been
written "Parley," and "Praley," and even "Proley." Having arrived at
this point, Sir Joseph conjectured that his ancestor Proley might have
dropped a _w_ out of his name, and the Colonel conjectured that his
progenitor, the Puritan, might have put one into his. Now it did not
matter which was right, for, as was convincingly underscored in one of
my letters from Foxden, "_upon either hypothesis_, the relationship of
the Barleys of Old England to the Prowleys of New England was positively
established."

And so Sir Joseph Barley was dead!

Although shocked, when the fact of his demise was abruptly announced in
the familiar chirography of my old friend, I was unable to prevent a
certain sense of the grotesque from mingling with the idea. A portrait
in pastel, which hung over the chimney-piece in the Colonel's study, had
given me a thorough acquaintance with the outward Sir Joseph. That
brief, but bulky figure, clad in official robes as High Senior
Governour, that weighty seal of the Sextons which dangled from the fob,
those impressive spectacles with the glasses cut in parallelograms,
above all, that full-blown face blandly contemplating our American
rudeness like a smiling Phoebus from British skies,--how could all
these things, which had so individualized the natural body of Sir Joseph
Barley, be dispensed with in its spiritual counterpart? No answer to
such question,--only the grim facts, that one brother more had "gone
over to the majority," and that the living minority got on very
comfortably without him. Comfortably? Ay, truly; for in the very letter
that brought the news I was begged to spend the approaching Fast-Day in
Foxden, just as if nothing had happened. The season, so I was assured,
was unusually advanced, and already the flavor of spring was perceptible
in the air; moreover, the different congregations in town were to unite
in services at the Orthodox Church, and, by extraordinary favor, one of
the Colonel's Boston correspondents, no less a man than the
distinguished Dr. Burge, was to preach the sermon.

A noble specimen of our New-England clergy was this Dr. Burge. He held
the old creed-formulas through which Wilson and Mather declared their
faith, yet warmed them into ruddy life by whatever fire the last
transcendental Prometheus or Comte-devoted scientist filched from aërial
or material heaven. A good diner-out, a good visitor among the poor. His
parishioners supplied him with a wood-fire, a saddle-horse, and, it was
maliciously said, a boxing-master; and he, on his part,--so ran the idle
rumor of the street,--covenanted never to call upon them for cod-liver
oil, Bourbon whiskey, or a tour to Europe. In his majestic presence
there was a total impression sanative to body and soul. The full powers
of manner and tone, of pause and emphasis, were at his command. He would
rise in a shingled meeting-house as effective as choir, organ, and
sacerdotal vestments in full cathedral-service. I was glad to learn that
this stalwart servant of the Word would be at Foxden. He had formerly
been well acquainted with the Reverend Charles Clifton, late pastor of a
church in that place. He might deal wisely with the evil intelligence,
or, possibly, the infatuated egotism, which controlled that unfortunate
man. Dr. Burge would possess his soul in calmness in presence of the
singular epidemic which was then running through Foxden, as it had
previously run through, and run out of, other river-towns.

And now it has come in my way to speak of that strange murmuring of
phantoms and their attendant seers, psychometers, and dactylomancers,
which in these latter days has revived among us. And what I may have to
say about what is called Spiritualism will reflect actual observations.
I do not forget that to the advocacy of the "New Dispensation" are
devoted many men of earnestness and a few of ability. It is possible
that the facts they build upon may render mine exceptional and
unimportant. What is here set down is but a trifling contribution to
that mass of human testimony and human opinion from which the truth must
be finally elicited.

Mr. Stellato had been celestially commissioned to Barnum the spirits in
their Foxden exhibitions. Two years previously this gentleman was to be
seen at the head of a fanatical and tumultuary offshoot from a cause the
most humane and noble. He had done whatever his slender abilities
permitted to bring into discredit large-hearted and devoted men and
women whom history will honorably remember as New-England Reformers. But
to lead anything on a large scale, without a continual winding-up by his
companion, the fibrous Mrs. Romulus, was beyond the crassitude of
Stellato's pursy nature. Now it had come to pass that this acidulated
lady, essaying fresh flurries of progression, discovering higher
passional affinities and new duties of demolition, proving that in
Church and State every brick was loose and every timber rotten,
testifying ever to the existence of a certain harmonial mortar by which
the rubbish of a demolished civilization could be rebuilt into
unexceptionable forms,--it happened that this woman, having towered for
one proud moment at the very apex of her mission, slipped suddenly into
the Romish communion, and was no more seen of men. Stellato, perceiving
that the peculiar machinery be had been taught to manage was now out of
repair and impracticable, looked about for some new invention whereby to
gain a livelihood from the credulity of his neighbors. "The spirits,"
then at the height of their profit and renown, were adapted to his
purpose. A blank and vacant mind was freely offered to any power of
earth or air which would condescend to enter and possess it. And so Mr.
Stellato, with his three parts knavery and two parts delusion, became a
popular and successful ghost-monger.

The parsonage had been closed since Charles Clifton terminated his
connection with the parish two years before. The newest lights of the
Liberal persuasion, fledglings from divinity-schools, youths of every
possible variety of creed and no creed, had by turns occupied the vacant
pulpit. The Gospel vibrated at all points between the interpretations of
Calvin and Strauss. The congregation grew more and more critical, and
could agree upon no candidate for settlement. They demanded the
respectability of belief with the showy talents of skepticism,--an
impossible combination, at least for a parish which offered only eight
hundred dollars and a decrepit house. At length Colonel Prowley took a
pew in the Orthodox Church;--it was a temporary arrangement, he said, to
be terminated whenever a settled minister should be provided for the
First Parish.

The Reverend Charles Clifton seldom left the rooms which he had taken in
a farmer's family on the outskirts of the town. We have seen how this
man had once believed that Providence had called him to an exceptional
and brilliant destiny. The total renouncement of what once glowed as a
mission requires a sturdy nature and plenty of active work. Clifton
possessed an exceeding susceptibility of nervous organization; he was
full of subtile intimations of what was passing in the minds of other
men, and at times seemed to have a strange power of controlling them.
The deep passion for metaphysical knowledge, which in his youth had been
kindled, was stilled, but never overcome. Wifeless, childless, he was
put under no bonds to struggle with the world. He knew the coldness of
the church in which he had been ordained to minister,--the hard and
dreary lives of those whom he had undertaken to illumine. But he made
the fatal mistake--inexcusable, it would seem, in a man of his liberal
nurture--of supposing that this world's evil was owing to the absence of
right opinion, and not of right feeling. It is to be feared that it was
not principle, but only a paroxysm of cowardice, which caused Clifton to
bury Vannelle's legacy in the Mather Safe. At all events, the minister
found himself unable to dismiss a certain thin and impalpable fantasy
which lingered behind that ponderous speculation of an all-embracing
philosophy. For the past two years he had fitfully sought, or rather
persuaded himself that he sought, some clue through the sad labyrinth of
his fate. He had indulged in the most morbid conditions of his physical
organism; there was neither steadiness in his purpose nor firmness in
his action. He yearned for that proximity to hidden things, which, if
not forbidden to all men, yet is dangerous to most men. At length he
succeeded in freeing his soul from the weight of conscious intellectual
life which had become too heavy for it to bear. And while the Foxden
people were wondering about the occupation of a late pastor in one of
their churches, and inquiring of each other whether he would again speak
before them, their gossiping solicitude was suddenly set at rest.
Printed show-bills were posted about the streets: "Grand Festival of
Spiritualists at the Town Hall." "The Reverend Charles Clifton will
speak"--a line of largest type gloated upon the scandal--"IN A
TRANCE-STATE."

"I really ought to apologize," said Colonel Prowley, upon opening the
hall-door for my admittance, on the afternoon of the second Wednesday in
April, and this after repeated summons had been sounded by the brazen
knocker,--"I ought to apologize for keeping you here so long; but there
has been so much knocking about the house of late, and our cook and
housemaid having turned out to be such excellent mediums, taking just as
much interest in their circle down-stairs as we do in ours in the
parlor, and then Mrs. Colfodder being so positive that it was either Sir
Joseph Barley or Roger Williams,--though I am sure neither of them ever
knocked half so satisfactorily before, and besides"----

"My dear Sir," interrupted I, "no excuse is necessary. I have
seen enough of 'the spirits' to know how they put aside all
conventionalities. I should have accompanied Dr. Burge to the hotel, had
I anticipated disturbing the circle which, I infer, is at present in
session."

"You would have grieved me very much by doing so," rejoined the kind old
gentleman. "Dr. Burge dines with me to-morrow, and I confess--not yet
calling myself a convert to these miracles which are now vouchsafed in
Foxden--it would not be amiss to rid my premises of the amiable
magicians congregated in my parlor before a minister were invited to
enter. But a layman, as I take it, might witness these thaumaturgical
matters without scandal,--nay, perchance you may help me to that
wholesome credence in their reality which my celestial visitants so
unceasingly demand."

Colonel Prowley was in the state of mind not unusual to many
well-meaning, unoccupied people, when this modern necromancy was thrust
upon them by those pecuniarily or socially interested in its advocacy.
The upheaval to the air of that dark inward nature which is ever working
in us,--the startling proof of that loudly proclaimed, faintly realized
truth, that this mind, so pervading every fibre of the body, is yet
separate in its essence,--the novel gratification of the petty vanities
and petty questionings which beset undecided men,--what wonder that
persons not accustomed to sound analysis of evidence should be beguiled
by these subtilest adaptations to their conditions, and hold dalliance
with the feeble shades that imposture or enthusiasm vended about the
towns? Historical personages--a nerveless mimicry of the conventional
stage-representation of them--stalked the Colonel's parlor. Departed
friends, Indians _à discrétion_, local celebrities, Deacon Golly, who in
the year '90 took the ten first shares in the Wrexford Turnpike, the
very Pelatiah Brimble from whom "Brimble's Corner" had taken its name,
the identical Timson forever immortal in "Timson's Common,"--these
defunct worthies were audibly, visibly, or tangibly present, pecking at
great subjects in ghostly feebleness, swimming in Tupperic dilutions of
cheapest wisdom, and finally inducing in their patrons strange
derangements of mind and body.

The circle, which was very select, consisted of three highly susceptible
ladies and Stellato as medium-in-chief. Miss Turligood, a sort of
Oroveso to the Druidical chorus, was a muscular spinster, fierce and
forty, sporting steel spectacles, a frizette of the most scrupulous
honesty, and a towering comb which formed what the landscape-gardeners
call "an object" in the distance. Next this commanding lady, with fat
hands sprawled upon the table, sat Mrs. Colfodder, widow, according to
the flesh, of a respectable Foxden grocer. By later spiritual
communications, however, it appeared that matters stood very
differently; for no sooner had the departed Colfodder looked about him a
little in the world to come than he proceeded to contract marriage with
Queen Elizabeth of England, thereby leaving his mortal relict quite free
to receive the addresses of the late Lord Byron, whose proposals were of
the most honorable as well as amatory character. Miss Branly, by far the
most pleasing of the lady-patronesses, was a fragile, stove-dried
mantua-maker,--and, truly, it seemed something like poetic justice to
recompense her depressed existence with the satisfactions of a material
heaven full of marryings and givings in marriage.

"Will Sir Joseph tip for us again?" inquired Miss Turligood, with her
eyes fixed upon a crack in the mahogany table. "Will he? Will he not?
Will he?"

Sir Joseph vouchsafed no answer.

"Hark! wasn't that a rap?" cried Stellato, in a husky whisper.

Here every one pricked an ear towards the table.

"Doctor Franklin, is that you?"

"The Doctor promised to be present to give a scientific and
philosophical view of these communications," parenthesized the
interrogator.

"Doctor Franklin, is that _you_?"

A faint creaking is audible.

"Byron's sign, as I'm a living woman!" ejaculated the Widow Colfodder.

"Her spiritual partner and guardian-angel," explained Miss
Turligood,--and this for my satisfaction as the last-comer.

Direct examination by the widow:--

"Have you brought your patent lyre here to-night?"

For the enlightenment of the company:--

"He played the lyre so beautiful on earth, that when he got to the
spheres a committee gave him a golden one, with all the modern
improvements."

Question concerning the lyre repeated. A mysterious rubbing interpreted
as an affirmative reply.

"Have you brought Pocahontas with you? (she 'most always comes with
him)--and if so, can she kiss me to-night?"

The table is exceedingly doubtful.

"Could she kiss Colonel Prowley, or even pull his hair a little?"

No certainty of either.

"Can she kiss Miss Turligood?"

The table is satisfied that it couldn't be done.

"Let me try her," urged Stellato, with the confidence of an expert; then
in seductive tones,--

"Couldn't Pocahontas kiss Miss Branly, if all the lights were put out?"

Pocahontas thought it highly probable that she could.

Here some interesting badgering. Miss Branly declined being kissed in
the dark. Miss Turligood thought it would be very satisfactory, if she
would, and couldn't see why any one should object to it. She (Miss
Turligood) would willingly be kissed in the dark, or in the light, in
furtherance of scientific investigation.

Stellato suggested a compromise.

"Might not the kissing be done through a medium?"

At first the table thought it couldn't, but afterwards relented, and
thought it might.

"Would Pocahontas appoint that medium?"

She would.

"Should the alphabet be called?"

It should not.

"Would the table tip towards the medium indicated?"

It could not be done.

"Should somebody call over the names of all mediums present, and would
the table tip at the right one?"

Ah, that was it!

"I suppose you and I have no share in this Gift Enterprise," whispered
Colonel Prowley.

"Order! order!" shouted Miss Turligood, glancing in our direction with
great severity. "This general conversation cannot be permitted. We are
about to have a most interesting manifestation.--Pocahontas, do you wish
me to call over the names?"

Pocahontas did not object.

"Very well, then, you will tip when I come to the name of the medium
through whom you consent to kiss Miss Sarah Branly?"

Pocahontas certainly would.

"Is it Mrs. Colfodder?"

No reply.

"Is it I, Eugenia Turligood?"

No, it certainly was not.

"Well, then, I suppose it must be Mr. Stellato!"

Here the table was violently convulsed, as if somebody were pulling it
very hard upon Mr. Stellato's side, and somebody else holding it with
rigid firmness upon the other.

"_Is_ it Mr. Stellato?"

Convulsion repeated.

"I don't think you stopped long enough at Mrs. Colfodder's name,"
interposed Miss Branly. "I am sure the table was going to move, if you
had given it time."

"Nothing easier than to try again," responded Miss Turligood. "Is it
Mrs. Colfodder?"

This time the table fairly sprang into the lap of the lady indicated.

And so that worthy widow arose and saluted--or rather Pocahontas,
through her mediumship, arose and saluted--Miss Sarah Branly. And the
skeptic will please take notice that this extraordinary manifestation is
neither enlarged nor magnified, but that it actually happened precisely
as is here set down.

After this, Mr. Stellato, being put under inspiration, delivered a
discursive homily upon the "New Dispensation" which was at present
vouchsafed to the citizens of Foxden. He testified to the great relief
of getting clear of the "Old Theology,"--meaning thereby such
interpretations of Scripture as are held by the mass of our New-England
churches. Moreover, he would announce his personal satisfaction in
having, under spiritual guidance, eradicated every vestige of belief in
hell,--a circumstance upon which, it is needless to say, that a
gentleman of his profession might be honestly congratulated. With a
view, as I could not help thinking, to my peculiar necessities, Stellato
finally enlarged upon what he termed "the principle of the thing," or,
as he otherwise phrased it, "a scientific explanation of the way the
spirits worked mediums,"--"_sperrets_" and "_meejums_" according to
celestial pronunciation, but I am loath to disturb the carnal
orthography. This philosophical exposition, drawled forth in
interminable sentences, was a dark doctrine to the uninitiated. There
was a good deal about "Essences," which, at times, seemed to relate to
the perfumery vended in the fancy-department of apothecaries' shops, and
then again to some obscure matters of "Zones," "Interiors," "Magnetic
Relations," and the like. The central revelation, if I remember rightly,
had to do with a sort of putty, by which, according to the Stellato
cosmogony, Chaos had been stuck together into a Universe. This adhesive
composition was known as "Detached Vitalized Electricity." And having
got upon this sounding title, which conveyed no meaning whatever to the
"undeveloped" understanding, Stellato was profuse in windy talk. This
Detached Vitalized Electricity, spread out over space, connected the
parts of all systems; it appeared at that very instant in the form of
"power" about Miss Turligood's head; in short, it diluted all stray bits
of modern rhetoric, all exploded feats of ancient magic, into the
thinnest of spiritual gruel, which was to supersede the strong meat upon
which the Puritan walked before his Maker.

Somebody summoned the eminent Twynintuft. Like every spirit that was
ever called for, this ex-elocutionist happened to be within a few
seconds' flight of the circle, and had nothing in the world to do but to
swoop down and tip as long as the company could possibly endure him.

The following information was elicited by affirmative or negative
replies to the interrogatories of those present:--

The spirit communicating was Twynintuft, grandfather to Mrs. Widesworth.
Was unable to give his Christian name. Thought Mrs. Colfodder's lungs in
a healthy condition. Could not undertake to move the table when no hands
were upon it. If the room were made totally dark, would attempt that
curious experiment. Was unable to give the maiden name of his earthly
wife. Thought Mr. Stellato was a healing-medium of great power. Had been
something of a Root-Doctor when in the body, and would gladly prescribe
through that gentleman for the cure of all diseases. Considered mineral
medicines destructive to the vital principle. Doctor Dastick, being a
drug-doctor, would not be recognized by any medical association in the
spheres. Would give any information about the fixed stars. The
inhabitants of the Milky Way telegraphed to each other by means of the
Detached Vitalized Electricity. Also, they bottled up the same to cure
humors. Would privately impart their recipe to Mr. Stellato. It could
not be afforded upon this earth at less than three dollars a bottle.
Would, however, authorize an exception in favor of clergymen, when they
gave certificates of cures. _The spirits did not recognize
Fast-Day_,--it was a remnant of the Old Mythological Religion. Demanded
further investigation, and promised greater marvels in future.

Here Miss Turligood became violently convulsed, and, having slapped the
table some forty times or more, seized a pencil and began to write:--

     "DEAR PROWLEY,--Surrounded by a bank of
     silver-tunicked attendants, I hover near you. The atmosphere is
     redolent of costly herbs, which, with the well-known rotary
     motion of the earth, impart density and spacefulness to our
     spheral persons: this is the philosophy of our presence. Many
     shining friends, supported upon fluted pillars, are with you
     this evening. These grieve at your lack of faith, and flap
     gold-bespattered wings in unison. Spherically yours,

     "SIR JOSEPH BARLEY."

"Why does he sign himself _Sir_?" inquired Colonel Prowley, rather taken
aback at the sudden termination of this exquisite composition.

It was evidently an oversight, for the medium's hand erased the
offending title.

"When did Sir Joseph die?" I ventured to ask.

"That I cannot tell you," replied his late correspondent. "I have heard
nothing from him for several months. When he last wrote, he was
suffering under a severe influenza which must have terminated fatally.
But why not ask _him_ the question?"

"That is just my purpose.--Sir Joseph Barley, can you give me the date
of your death?"

"It is hard for spirits to give numbers," said Mr. Stellato.

"It is sometimes done by tips," quoth Miss Turligood.

I pressed the demand, and, after much cajoling and counting, a certain
day of March was fixed upon.

"Can you give me the place?"

I was instructed to call over the names of such foreign cities as I
might remember, and assured that Sir Joseph would tip at the right one.

It turned out to be "London."

"And now, Sir Joseph, could you oblige me with the name of the physician
who attended your last sickness?"

But no sooner had I propounded this final query than Mr. Stellato
declared his consciousness of a skeptical influence in the company which
would go far to impede other manifestations. Where people were not
harmonial, he explained, the Detached Vitalized Electricity being unable
to unite with the Imponderable Magnetic Fluid given off by mediums,
satisfactory results could not be obtained.

"But we have at least obtained this satisfaction," said I, addressing
Colonel Prowley: "Sir Joseph has committed himself about the day and
place of his decease. You must soon hear from some member of his family.
If these particulars have been correctly given, there will be, at least,
the beginning of evidence upon which to establish his identity."

Mrs. Colfodder was so shocked with the perversity of unbelief which she
detected in this harmless remark, that, nudging Miss Branly, she
solemnly arose and moved to break up the circle for the night. And as it
was already past nine o'clock, no violent objection was made to the
proposition.

"The circle will meet in this place to-morrow morning at eight o'clock,
for the pursuance of further investigations," proclaimed Miss Turligood,
in sonorous accents.

"Fast-Day, Madam," mildly suggested Colonel Prowley.

"The spirits do not recognize Fast-Day. Tomorrow at eight o'clock. In
this place. Let every medium be punctual. It is to be _hoped_ that the
_conditions_ will _then_ be _favorable_!"

This latter aspiration, with its feminine redundancy of emphasis, was
cast in my direction, as Miss Turligood swept haughtily from the room.

Her final exit, however, was neither curt nor in any way effective. For
it was no easy matter to gather up the bags, parcels, shawls, and other
devices which the good lady had brought with her and scattered about the
entry. One India-rubber shoe in particular eluded our search, till I was
ready to admit the supposition that the spirits had carried it off, as
entirely reasonable and satisfactory. A good-natured Irishman, servant
to Miss Turligood, who had come with a lantern to see her home, at
length discovered this missing bit of apparel upon Miss Branly's
foot,--that medium, as it appeared, having in a fit of abstraction
appropriated three. Finally the lantern glimmered down the gravel-walk,
and Mr. Stellato, with a lady upon each arm, was persuaded to follow it.
It was waking from a nightmare to get rid of them.

"Over at last!" exclaimed Miss Prowley, when we returned to the
drawing-room. She had been sitting in silence in an obscure corner, and
I had scarcely realized her presence. "Over at last! and of all
fatiguing and unprofitable employments that the folly of man ever
devised, this trifling with spirits is certainly the chief."

"Nay, my dear," urged the brother, in his placid way, "these good people
who have fastened themselves upon us seem so anxious to continue the
investigation that I cannot find it in my heart to refuse them. I _did_
wish, to be sure, that we might have our Fast-Day in quiet; but Miss
Turligood, who knows much more about the matter than we do, thinks the
spirits would not like it, if we did, and so--although we will absent
ourselves from the sitting long enough to go to church--we must really
make the best of it, and receive the circle."

"You speak like a believer, Colonel Prowley," I said.

"No, not quite that," replied the old gentleman,--"yet, truly, I
sometimes hardly know why I am not. The knockings alone are quite
inexplicable; and when it comes to a fiery hand ringing the dinner-bell,
which Stellato can show in the dark----Besides, there are the
communications from distinguished characters, many of them so very
important and interesting. To be sure, my poor cousin Barley did not do
himself justice this evening, though some of his ideas were very
poetical; but, really, the other night, when he told us how much the
Royal Sextons were thought of in the spheres, and repeated that very
high compliment which Thomas Herne paid to my family-history, it all
seemed so marvellous, and yet so natural, that I could not help
subscribing pretty handsomely to the cause."

"And one of the privileges that your subscription has gone to purchase I
am yet to enjoy. Dr. Burge wished me to visit, in his company, your
former pastor, Mr. Clifton,--and we must look for him, as I see, at the
Spiritualists' Festival in the Town Hall."

"Sad! sad!" cried Colonel Prowley, thoughtfully chewing upon my remark.
"It is an abiding shame for a minister of the gospel to meddle with
these things, except, possibly, in the way of exorcism. Truly, a deep
humiliation has fallen upon the town."

And the chagrin of this respected gentleman was wholly sincere. The
Puritanical distinction between clergy and laity had scarcely faded in
his mind. The pastor of the First Church had belonged to a cherished
class,--a class whose moral and intellectual consequence must be
maintained by avoidance of all dangerous inquiries, common interests,
and secular amusements. A minister attending a Jenny-Lind
Charity-Concert in a play-house, or leading armed men in the most sacred
cause for which human blood might be shed,--what offences would these
have been to this titular Colonel of Foxden, who had won his honors by a
six-months' finery and dining as aide-de-camp to some forgotten
Governor!

"I fear I shall not be back before you wish to close the house."

"Never mind, you remember the old arrangement: door-key under the
scraper,--light burning in the drawing-room."

With hearty thanks I went forth to keep my appointment with Dr. Burge.


II.

The narrative here takes us to a portion of the shadowy perturbation
which any who have turned these pages as a fictitious rendering of the
grotesque in experience will do well to omit. Only a mortifying, though
perchance salutary, sense of human infirmity comes from beholding one
set over the people as intercessor and counsellor struggling in the
meshes of that snare which the Enemy had spread for the undisciplined
and wandering multitude. No, not even struggling now. That Clifton had
fought through solitary days against the wretched enervation which
invited him, I had reason to know. But he had dared to tamper with the
normal functions of mind and body, to try fantastic tricks with that
mysterious agent through which the healthy will commands the organism.
And when the mental disorder, mocked at and preached against in happier
years, at length ran through Foxden, the morbid condition of his system
was powerless to resist the contagion.

And let us not overlook the fact that in these manifestations there was
to be found a palpable reality, a positive marvel, well calculated to
lay hold of a skeptic like Clifton. His early associations with the
Transcendentalists had undermined his faith in all popular presentations
of Christianity. But his peculiarly emotional nature could never dwell
in that haziness of opinion upon august subjects in which sounder men
among the brethren made out to live cheerfully and to work vigorously.
While Clifton madly sought a position of intelligence and satisfaction
beyond the reach of humanity, the necessary abstraction enlarged and
stimulated his reasoning powers. But the penalty was to be paid. For
with terrible recoil from its tension his mind contracted to far less
than normal limits. Then came a listless vacuity, a tawdry dreaminess.
And this poor minister, who flattered himself that he had outgrown every
graceful and touching form with which human affection or human infirmity
had clothed the Christian idea, stumbled amid the rubbish of an effete
heathenism, with its Sibylline contortions and tripod-responses, which
the best minds of Pagan civilization found no difficulty in pronouncing
a delusion and a lie.

I knew Dr. Burge for one of those most useful instructors who will
patiently examine with the intellect what the instinct teaches them to
condemn. He seldom helped the doctrine he assailed by denying it such
facts as were true and such attractions as were real. He had cheerfully
accepted whatever reproach came to him from frequenting circles in the
attempt to see the mystery from the believers' point of view. I was not
surprised at finding him upon one of the back benches in the Town Hall.

"Nothing noteworthy," he said, as I joined him. "Only women have
spoken,--the excited nervous system careering without restraint,--no
spirits yet."

"They pretend inspiration, I suppose."

"Oh, yes; and it is not surprising that semi-educated people, ignorant
of analogous phenomena, should take the _omne ignotum pro magnifico_."

"Yet you are said to be a believer in the possession which the mediums
claim?"

"Certainly," replied Dr. Burge, "and to just this extent:--I do not
doubt the possibility of intercourse between man and the lower grades of
immaterial life, and I am willing to adopt this hypothesis to explain
any occurrence where the facts demand it. That, in rare cases, such may
be the most simple and natural supposition, I readily admit. The
ordinary performances, however, may be accounted for without calling in
god or demon to untie the knot."

I remarked that Mr. Clifton was not to be seen upon the platform.

"He is kept out of the way until the last,--in the Selectmen's Room, as
I am told, and alone."

"I fear all appeal would now be in vain; yet, Sir, I would not have you
spare an effort to awaken him to the peril of his course."

"Let us go to him, then," assented Dr. Burge.

Upon common occasions, the Selectmen's Room failed to suggest any
exceptional character in its occupants. It was a narrow, ill-lighted,
unventilated apartment, bitter with the after-taste of taxes,
prophetically flavorous of taxes yet to be. Stove-accommodation beyond
the criticism of the most fastidious salamander, a liberal sprinkling of
sand with a view to the ruminant necessities of the town-patricians, two
or three stiff armchairs with straws protruding from their well-worn
cushions, intolerant benches for unofficial occupancy,--altogether a
gloomy aggregate result of the diverse ideals of social well-being to be
found among the inhabitants of Foxden. But now I recognized a new
element in this familiar chamber; a strange contagion hung about the
walls; a something which imparted delicate edge to the nervous system
was perceptible in the dry heat of the air. Near an oracular table,
which bore evidence of recent manipulation, stood the Reverend Charles
Clifton: others had evidently been with him before our entrance; he was
now alone. An oil-lamp sputtered feebly in the corner. The stove-devil
glared at us through his one glazed eye, and puffed out his mephitic
welcome as I shut the door.

"Clifton, my old friend!" exclaimed Dr. Burge.

The person addressed raised his head, half closed his eyes, as one who
endeavors to fix objects which are flitting before him. It seemed
necessary to withdraw his inward gaze from some delicious dazzlement of
dream-land. At last he spoke slowly and with effort.

"Burge, you here?--and one of us?"

"Heaven forbid!" cried my companion. "I but look upon these things for
my own warning, and in the way of my duty as teacher to those who might
be disposed to tamper with unknown powers, within or without."

"Say, rather, to melt the iron links which gyve soul to body," said
Clifton, in constrained articulation, through which a moaning undertone
seemed ever trying to be heard. "Say, rather, to produce a finer
exaltation than wine, opium, or hashish,--for it is most sweet to
subject the animal organism to the control of spirit-wills."

"A grateful doctrine to those who dare to substitute a morbid
receptivity for an active endeavor!"

"It is to soothe the sense-powers, so that others may use them to give
us intimations far beyond their common capacity."

"'_I_ keep under my body and bring it into subjection,'" quoted Dr.
Burge, emphasizing the personal pronoun. "The Apostle declares that his
own immortal individuality alone controls his members,--and why? 'lest,
when I have preached unto others, I myself should become a castaway.'"

The Doctor delivered the last sentence with rich cathedral-emphasis, and
with the full unction of priestly authority.

Clifton, or whatever vague and dusky power controlled him, cowered at
the rebuke. The nervous energy with which he had experimented, or which
he had left passive for the experiments of others, seemed withdrawn from
his frame.

Dr. Burge perceived his advantage, and continued:--

"I speak to you, my fallen brother, as I cannot speak to the foolish
people who grope in this miasma of delusion. Silly women, yielding to
the natural vanity of their sex, may mistake hysterics for inspiration.
Vacillating and vacant men may seek a new sensation by encouraging a
revival of the demoniacal epidemics of heathendom. But you, who have
been a preacher of the gospel, though, as I must now more than ever
believe, after a devitalized and perverted method,--you, to leave the
honest work of a dweller upon earth, to chatter of immensity, to weaken
the brain that it may no longer separate the true from the
false!--believe me, Clifton, you have been bought by the shallowest
promises which the King of Evil ever exchanged for a sacred and
inviolable soul."

"You have spoken according to your business," replied Mr. Clifton,
impatiently. "You, who begin by assuming the impossibility of
spirit-intercourse since Bible times, with what candor can you examine
the facts we build upon?"

"I make no such assumption," was the rejoinder. "Has it not been
foretold that 'in the latter times some shall depart from the faith,
giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils'? Have we not
aforetime been vexed with them in this very New England? For I almost
justify Mather's words, when he stigmatizes the necromancy of his day as
'a terrible Plague of Evil Angels,' or, in still plainer speech, as 'a
prodigious descent of devils upon divers places near the centre of this
Province.' And how better can we characterize this confused and
distracting babblement which gives no good gift to man?"

"It has given him this," exclaimed Clifton, advancing towards Dr. Burge,
and seeming for a few moments to resume his old personality,--"it has
given him the knowledge of a life to come! You think it, preach it,
believe it,--but you do not _know_ it. A susceptibility to impressions
from the inmost characters of men has been mine through life. It has
been given me to perceive what facts and feelings most deeply adhered in
the mental consciousness. And I tell you, Burge, ministers both of your
communion and of mine repeat the old words of sublimest assurance, sway
congregations with descriptions bright or lurid of future worlds, yet
behind all this glowing speech and blatant confidence there has
lurked,--oh, will you deny it?--there has lurked a grovelling doubt of
man's immortality."

"I will not deny it," said Dr. Burge, with slow solemnity. "Sinners that
we are, how can we ask that faith be at no moment confused by the
thousand cries of infidelity which our profession requires us to answer?
Let my soul be chilled by transient shades of skepticism, rather than
dote in a blind and puerile credulity! If I am not at all times equally
penetrated by the great fact of man's conscious immortality, it is
because of my undesert. A way to _know_ of the doctrine has been
revealed: it is by doing the will of the Father: who of us has fulfilled
the condition? But I can meet you on lower ground, and declare, that,
according to our human observation, it is not well for man to _know_ the
destiny of his being in all its details until the trials and victories
of life have taught him to turn such knowledge to elevating use. It is
the deplorable sinfulness of our nature which seeks to obtain without
deserving, to possess the end and despise the appointed means."

Some reply would doubtless have been made to these pertinent
considerations, had not the confused tramp of a committee been heard at
the door. The professors of the "New Dispensation" had come to conduct
the Reverend Charles Clifton to their platform. The distinguished
convert shuddered, as if affected by some incorporeal presence, and
suffered himself to be led away.

"I can do nothing more," murmured Dr. Burge; "and why should I stay to
hear diluted rhetoric, or inflated commonplace, from lips which, however
unworthily, once proclaimed the simplicity of the gospel?"

"Because it is not well to prejudge what may offer some possible variety
in this credence," I ventured to suggest.

"You are right; we will stay."

A murmur of applause followed the appearance of Clifton upon the
platform,--yet it was only a murmur; for the flock, long pastured upon
delicate delusions, received as matter of course whatever shepherding
chance offered. Did not the face of the medium wear an expression of
earthly disappointment at this slender recognition? Could it be that
there was needed the hot-house heat of a carnal "success" to favor this
exquisite flowering of the spirit? Can we suppose that this whole matter
was no other than some Yankee patent to avoid the awful solitude in
which each human soul must enter into relations with the unseen?

Slowly and in dreamy heaviness the discourse began. The inspirational
claims seemed to lie in the manifest improbability of a man of Clifton's
cultivation being so dull and diffuse in a natural condition. Yet, as
the message wore on, it cannot be denied that a strange influence was at
work. The words followed each other with greater fluency and in richer
abundance. The meaning, to be sure, was still vague enough; and whenever
some commonplace truth or plausibility protruded from the general
washiness, it was seized upon and beaten and stretched to the last
degree of tenuity. Phrases upon phrases of gorgeous dreaminess. A
soothing delight,--yet such delight as only the bodily senses demanded.
A joyful deliverance from the bondage of intellectual life. Hints that
our human consciousness of sin was a vain delusion from which the
"developed" man was happily delivered. "Come up here," said the
preacher, in substance, "and escape from this moral accountability which
sits so heavily upon you. Here is a sensuous paradise, sweet and
debilitating, offering varied delights to the eclecticism of personal
taste. All angular and harsh things may be dissolved in copious floods
of words, and washed into a ravishing, enervating Universe."

An hour--two hours--passed. The air was thick and poisonous. Attention
had been strained to the utmost. Other things were to be noted by those
accustomed to regard mental disorder from a physiological point of view.

And now, by some abnormal mode of cerebral activity, the trance-speaker
won strange sympathies from his auditors. Certain faculties in Clifton
had reached an expansion not permitted to the healthy man. A plastic
power came from him and took the impress of other minds. Old experiences
groped out of forgotten corners and haunted the discourse. At one time
it seemed as if all that was potential in the culture of the medium or
his audience might be stimulated into specious blossom. Phenomena were
exhibited which transcended the conscious powers of the human
soul,--nay, which testified of its latent ability to work without
organic conditions. Our unemployed brain-organs, as Hamilton and others
have clearly proved, are always employing themselves. And from this
self-employment--or was it demon-employment?--there swept through the
consciousness a vague delirium of excitement. In all that assembly a
single pulse beat feverish measures. The climax was reached. Without was
the soft spring night veiling the scarcely touched range of knowledge
and beauty offered to the healthy energies of man; within were dazed
wanderers in a region of morbid emotion, seeking to intensify the colors
of Nature, willing to waste precious vitality in conjurations of the
dead.

The wretched thraldom was over,--and what had it left?

An exquisite sensitiveness of the nerves of sense, imagination exalted,
memory goaded, reason and judgment overthrown.


III.

In his Fast-Day sermon Dr. Burge delivered himself of much weighty
testimony against those thaumaturgical incantations of heathenism which
had been revived among us. With his splendor of clerical pause and
emphasis he read the denunciations against a sinful nation to which the
prophet Isaiah has affixed the awful words,--"Saith the Lord, the Lord
of Hosts."

"And they shall fight every one against his brother, and every one
against his neighbor, city against city, and kingdom against kingdom."

Here the preacher's dark eyes left the sacred volume, and seemed to gaze
upon some coming struggle in which the sins of the people would meet a
bloody retribution. Then, referring to the page, he pronounced with
bitterness of holy indignation the prophetic curse which was that day
fulfilled in our cherished New England.

"And they shall seek to the idols, and to the charmers, and to them that
have familiar spirits, and to the wizards."

The sermon made no more visible impression upon the sinful portion of
the congregation than homilies against novel and pleasant indulgences
are wont to do.

"The Apostle was right, after all," said Colonel Prowley, quoting the
text upon the meeting-house steps; "we _should_ 'try the spirits.'"

"No objection to that," said the post-master; "but here's Dr. Burge
tells us to keep out of their way, and call them all humbugs, without
trying them at all."

The gentleman referred to joined our party upon the meeting-house
green, and accompanied us home.

As we entered the house, our ears were saluted by a sort of scuffling
noise, with an accompaniment of broken English. Miss Turligood, highly
charged with the Detached Vitalized Electricity, or some stimulant of
equal potency, ran to meet us in the entry, to enjoin silence and a
passive state of mind before entering the parlor. The manifestations
during service had been most wonderful. Twynintuft had lifted the table
to the ceiling, with Mr. Stellato clinging to the legs. Mrs. Colfodder
had had her back-hair taken down, and the housemaid was certain that
somebody tried to kiss her.

We made for the parlor with all convenient speed. Notwithstanding the
solemn adjurations of Dr. Burge, we entertained guilty hopes of seeing
some of the marvels which had become such positive drugs in our absence.
But to _see_ anything was, for a long time, out of the question; for the
spirits had insisted upon having the shutters closed, and shawls pinned
up before the cracks in the same, ere they would favor mortals with an
exhibition. Finally, dim outlines revealed themselves through the
obscurity. We made out a female figure (it was the cook, so Miss Prowley
whispered) who was haranguing the assembly at the rate of a word every
thirty seconds, or thereabouts.

_Cook as Twynintuft:_--"I am Mister Twynintuft. I set lots by you all. I
left my bright spirit-home to come here to-day. The squashes was musty
afore they was brought into the house. No blame to the cook. Them
pickled termarterses couldn't keep into spring, and so I tell you now.
The spheres is a dry place, and everythin' is most a-beautiful here."

_Betty, the housemaid, loquitur._--(She appears in the character of
Red-Jacket, a popular personation upon these occasions,--it being very
easy to talk _Indian_ by the simple recipe of transposing the nominative
and objective cases of the personal pronoun.) "Me don't like what you
say, old Twyney! I's name's Red-Jacket. Pale-face give fire-water to I.
The squashes was good enough till cook left 'em out in the rain. Me have
hunting-ground in fifth sphere. When me puts up tomatoes in the
spirit-world, me rosins 'em when they bile. Great influence comes from I
to-day; also, much development."

"Dr. Burge," whispered I, "you claim to have devoted some time to the
examination of these delusions; but I will venture to say you have never
witnessed anything so humiliating as this!"

"My dear Sir," murmured the Doctor in return, "the remark shows you to
be a novice indeed. Why, I have listened to hours of no better drivel
than this, fathered, not upon Indians and unknown elocutionists, but
upon some of the wisest and most saintly spirits whose mortal teachings
ever blessed mankind."

"Do you think these people voluntary impostors?"

"No; it would be nearer the truth to say that they are voluntary victims
of a mental epidemic like that which developed itself in the St. Vitus's
dance of the Middle Ages. The subjects of that disease went through the
same spasms, convulsions, and painful racking of the limbs which
accompany such cases of this personation as are not designed deceptions.
Even those accidentally present, when the effects of the ancient
contagion were exhibited, became infected and were irresistibly impelled
to join in the extravagance. Look at Miss Turligood and Mr. Stellato,
and see if the parallel is not supported."

The individuals named were seen to be twisting themselves up and making
an awkward sort of obeisance to the housemaid, who (still as Red-Jacket)
thus delivered herself:--

"Me goin' to dancey war-dance. Great Spirit sends lots more Indians come
dancey too."

A cry of acquiescence,--perchance intended for a ghostly war-whoop,--and
the beloved of my Lord Byron broke into a savage polka.

Stellato seized a paper-knife, and proceeded to scalp a chair with
merciless ferocity.

Those unfortunate ladies, Miss Branly and Miss Turligood, were unable to
resist the infection, and so sprang among the party, whirled about, and
exhibited absurdities painful and unnecessary to relate.

"By the Muse of my ancestor the Poet!" exclaimed Colonel Prowley,
indignantly, "I will no longer endure this clumsy travesty of that
choric saltation with which Apollo was said to inspire his Pythian
virgins. Dr. Burge, you will oblige me by pulling down that shawl!
Sister, you will please to open the shutters of the south window!"

The requests were instantly complied with. The wholesome sunlight burst
into the room, and checked, as if by magic, the unseemly mumming of
these deluded convulsionaries. Mrs. Colfodder sank down exhausted upon
the sofa. Betty ceased to be Red-Jacket. Mr. Stellato gave up his
scalping-knife, flopped feebly upon a chair, and again became a
transparent jelly-fish of philosophy and water. It was harder to bring
Miss Turligood to herself, by reason of the singular intractability of
the squaw who had taken possession of the premises, and was only to be
dislodged by much tediousness of argument and adjuration. At length,
however, even this was accomplished. The Indians sulked off into space,
and their terrestrial mediums once more prepared to collect about the
table.

"Why, bless me! past one, I declare!" said Miss Turligood, consulting
her watch. "How spirits do make the time pass! A brief adjournment for
dinner will now take place. The circle will meet for renewed
investigation this afternoon at three o'clock. Every member will be
punctual. Remember, in this place, at three o'clock."

"Stay," said Miss Prowley, in a gentle, but at the same time decided
tone; "it will not be convenient to us to receive this party again. The
presence of friends from the city, who are in Foxden only for the day,
renders a meeting this afternoon out of the question. And having once
broken up our regular sittings, it will not be worth while to resume
them,--at least, here."

"But, Madam, Madam, you forget that the spirits have positively
commanded us to hold sittings in your parlor three times a day till
further notice!" gasped Miss Turligood, in extreme astonishment.

"I do not recognize the authority of the spirits. They have no right to
dictate the uses of my parlor."

Here was a confession indeed on the part of Miss Prowley. _Not recognize
the authority of the spirits!_ Miss Turligood fairly staggered, when she
heard the impious announcement. The smooth sciolist Stellato rallied his
weak wits and uttered a cry of wonder at such flagitious heresy. The
future Lady Byron, taking as a deliberate insult any doubts of the
identity and authority of her posthumous spouse, threw up her arms in
horror, and trotted out of the house.

Finally, we got rid of them all,--_how_, I don't exactly remember, and
if I did, it would not concern the reader to know. We delivered Miss
Turligood over to her Irishman, (who had brought a carryall with him
this time,) and charged him never to drive her back; Betty and the cook
were restored to the kitchen; Stellato and Miss Branly disappeared, no
one could say where.

"And now," exclaimed Colonel Prowley, with a sigh of relief, "let us
forget this nonsense, and go to dinner,--for the spirits have given me
an appetite, if nothing else."

"Then you intend to follow what I understand to be the teaching of your
invisible visitors," remarked Dr. Burge, pleasantly.

"How so?"

"You do not recognize Fast-Day."

"Ha! ha!" laughed the Colonel; "I doubt if the ghosts were quite
unreasonable about that."

"Nay, brother, you should tell our good minister that we have but a cold
collation, and that prepared on the previous day, as is our custom on
the Sabbath," urged Miss Prowley, with the dignity of an exact and
consistent housekeeper.

"It is as well we have," was the reply; "for those precious Indians,
although wise in medicine, knew little enough about cookery. They would
have made sorry work, had it been necessary to give a culinary direction
to the inspirations of our damsels below-stairs."

"And yet, after all," resumed our host, meditatively, and after a
moment's pause, "it seems scarcely right to make a jest of this matter;
for, although the manifestations of to-day have been ridiculous
enough,--yet--really--when I think of some of those instructive
observations of poor Sir Joseph Barley"----

The remark was never concluded, for a sudden rattling and whoaing and
bumping of baggage was heard. The interruption came from before the
front-door. The "Railroad-Omnibus" had driven up to the house.

"It is, doubtless, my good friend Professor Owlsdarck," said Colonel
Prowley,--courteously rebuking an exclamation of astonishment from his
sister, who had gone to the window;--"to be sure, we did not expect him
to-day, but he is ever a most welcome guest."

"But it is _not_ Professor Owlsdarck!" cried the sister, in shrillest
tones of feminine amazement. "That portly figure to which the pencil of
the artist has done such feeble justice! the spectacles with the square
glasses! the enormous seal of the Sextons!--it can be but one man!"

"What! you don't mean"----

"Yes, but I _do_ mean! Come and see for yourself!"

"A ghost in an omnibus! Why, sister, sister, the
Detached--what-you-may-call-it has got into your head,--or, heavens! can
it be that our unbelief is punished with this frightful manifestation?"

"It is Sir Joseph Barley himself!" ejaculated Miss Prowley.

"Surrounded by his bank of silver-tunicked attendants?" gasped the
Colonel, in desperate interrogation.

"No, no, nothing of the kind," said Dr. Burge, assuringly; "he has not
brought even a footman."

And it _was_ Sir Joseph Barley,--in the flesh,--and in a good deal of
it, too;--Sir Joseph Barley, full to overflowing with talk and
compliments. He had long planned a journey to America, and a surprise to
his Fellow-Sexton in Foxden. The trip had been necessarily postponed
from week to week, and then from month to month. Always expecting to
leave by the next steamer, he had never thought it worth while to write.
Had been on shore exactly nine hours, was delighted with the country,
and had already written the first chapter of a book about it. Was,
nevertheless, surprised to see none of the native Red Men upon the wharf
when the Canada arrived. Should have thought the spectacle would have
been both novel and imposing to them. After dinner, would, with
permission, go into the forests about Foxden, and visit this singular
people in their national wigwams.

How picture the delight of hospitable Colonel Prowley, when, volubly
delivering these and other sentiments, the High Priest and Potentate
over all Sextondom entered the parlor and made himself comfortable in a
rocking-chair?

There is no need to dwell upon the matronly bustle of Miss Prowley, who,
utterly ignoring the proper ordinances of the day, proceeded to send to
the hotel for a beefsteak and a bottle of British Stout which could be
warranted of genuine importation.

"And stop, stop, sister!" whispered the Colonel, pursuing her to the
door; "the idea seems absurd, to be sure, but still don't you think it
barely possible, that, if Betty ran down to the river and caught a few
of those snapping-turtles sunning themselves upon the old log, we might
boil them into something which would faintly remind Sir Joseph of the
Lord Mayor's soup?"

This proposition being dismissed as impracticable,--first, by reason of
the notorious unwillingness of the turtles to be caught, and, waiving
that objection, because of the length of time it would take to achieve
any passable imitation of the aldermanic dainty,--I was moved to an
_aside_-declaration to the effect that my slight observation of the
tastes of British tourists in the Federal States led to the suggestion
of _oysters_ as delicacies not wholly unlikely to find favor with their
eminent guest.

An explosion of impulsive gratitude responded to the hint. There was a
new "saloon" just opened in Main Street,--Betty should stop there and
leave a generous order.

Well! it was some time before we were summoned to our amended dinner;
but, when we did get it, it was a dinner worth waiting for.

Sir Joseph Barley--Heaven bless him!--knew nothing of that smattering of
Cosmos into which we hungry New-Englanders are wont to thrust our wits.
He bluntly declared that he had never heard of Detached Vitalized
Electricity, Woman's Rights, or Harmonial Development; also, he was
delightfully confident that--he, Sir Joseph Barley, British subject,
_not_ having heard of them--they could not, by any possibility, be worth
hearing about. Moreover, he had not read a word of Carlyle, and
positively did not know of the existence of any English poet called
Browning. Dr. Burge, he thoughtfully suggested, had probably mistaken
the name; it was Byron, or possibly Bulwer, about whom he wished to
inquire. The former of these personages was a British Peer, and a writer
of some celebrity; he was, however, no longer living, having never
recovered from a fever he took at a place called Missolonghi, in
Greece;--the latter had written a book entitled "Pelham," once popular,
but now thought inferior to a series of romances known in Great Britain
as the "Waverley Novels"; these were the work of one Scott, a native of
Edinburgh, whom George IV. honored with a baronetcy,--a splendid
recompense for his great literary industry.

This, and much other information, adapted to our rude plantation in the
New-England wilderness, did Sir Joseph patronizingly impart. And it was
good to meet a man with a sense of corporeal identity so honest and
satisfactory. A cynic might have said that his mind moved in rather
narrow limits. But then within those limits he was so ruddy and jubilant
that I could not but remember something Shakspeare says about the ease
of being bounded in a nutshell and yet counting one's self king of
infinite space,--were it not for bad dreams. These "bad dreams" had
never retarded the British digestion of Sir Joseph Barley. No American
citizen could, by any possibility, be so shut in measureless content. It
is only a very few of our well-to-do women of the Mrs. Widesworth
class--ladies inclining to knitting and corpulency in the afternoon of
life--who possess the like faculty of warming society with the blaze of
an ecstatic egotism. Well, there are moments--why not confess it? for is
not man body as well as soul?--when it is a relief to get away from our
mystics, system-mongers, and peerers into the future, and claim a
brotherhood after the flesh with your average Briton, who looks out of
his comfortable present only to look into his comfortable past. Yet let
this estate be temporary; for it is well to return to our thin diet,
and, instead of jolly after-dinner talk, repeat the high and aspiring
phrases of certain New-Englanders who lead the generous thought and life
of a continent. Phrases! Yes, but how many nebulous ideas, think you,
would it take to stuff out their hollowness? Nay, my objecting friend,
if the ideas are not wholly clear, nor immediately practicable, they are
seldom shallow, and never mean. If the wisdom of our true seers
sometimes seems poured out in thin dilution, it nevertheless soon
hardens to a thousand shining crystals upon men of worldly enterprise
and grasp. And why this digression? I think its suggestion lay in the
fact that Sir Joseph, being the type of the ordinary Englishman, held
and imparted a fine sunniness of temper, and a perfectly balanced
serenity,--good gifts, which, so far as my experience goes, are
possessed in full measure by only one or two exceptional Americans, and
these men of high and acknowledged genius.

"I don't understand it, upon my honor," cried our visitor, after we had
endeavored to explain to him his own spiritual intrusion on the previous
evening. "I have heard of Doctor Pordage and the Dragon, and of the
Drummer of Tedworth; but when you tell a sane British subject that his
apparition comes before him, and takes, as it were, the froth off his
welcome"----

"No, no, my dear friend," interrupted Colonel Prowley, "you must know
that nothing could do that! As to the obituary I had written, it may do
for some other time,--for, indeed, my felicity in such compositions has
been highly commended, and this by mundane authorities of no common
weight."

"Let us change the subject," said Sir Joseph, dryly; "I have no wish to
test your powers in that direction; and so long as I don't give up the
ghost, I suppose you must."

"I would only say this," observed the Colonel,--"that in your book upon
America I hope you will not fail to declare, that, in folly, deception,
and unmitigated humbug, our Foxden spirits exceed all others ever seen
or heard."

"Sir Joseph Barley would be a foolish chronicler to commit himself to
any such statement," said Dr. Burge, who seemed to feel it his duty to
speak the moral _tag_ to our little Fast-Day interlude. "I cannot allow
that these Foxden manifestations are one whit more silly or equivocal
than many I have seen elsewhere. This shamming the ghost of somebody
still alive is no uncommon deception: several cases of the sort have
come under my recent observation. And it is well that they sometimes
occur; for they must cause reflection in all who are not victims of a
mental disorder which seems to confound the reasoning powers of
man,--causing its subjects to accept as teachers phantoms of their
morbid imaginations, or deceiving intelligences from without. To all, I
say, but such as these, an imposition of the sort here noticed must send
reflections of our total inability to identify any pretended spirit
merely because he flatters our vanity, or talks what may seem _to us_
good morality or sound sense."

Dr. Burge had laid aside his knife and fork, and had launched bravely
forth upon his theme. Sir Joseph moved uneasily. Things were getting
serious. Our host happily interposed,--

"Very true, Doctor, all very true;--yet there is one piece of wisdom
regulating the spiritual practice which now seems worth considering."

"And what is that, pray?"

"They do not recognize Fast-Day."

"Well, well," said Dr. Burge, taking the hint with the utmost
good-humor, "perhaps they were not altogether wrong there; and so I will
trouble Miss Prowley for a bit more of the steak, and----No, thank you,
no beer for me; I am a water-drinker of twenty years' standing."

"The toast I am about to propose," observed Colonel Prowley, "may, with
exceeding propriety, be drunk in water,--that is, whenever
milk-and-water is not to be had:--

_"Our spiritual demagogues, much weaker than our political ones, may
they not be as much worse!"_

"And there is one other sentiment," said good Dr. Burge, brimming over
with an honest hilarity,--"a toast which I should be willing to drink in
pretty strong--coffee."

"I have not forgotten that," exclaimed our host, proffering a hearty
shake of the hand to the High Senior Governour and Primitive Patriarch
of All Sextons,--

_"Health and a long life to Sir Joseph Barley!"_



PROSPICE.


    Fear death?--to feel the fog in my throat,
      The mist in my face,
    When the snows begin, and the blasts denote
      I am nearing the place,
    The power of the night, the press of the storm,
      The post of the foe;
    Where he stands, the Arch Fear in a visible form,
      Yet the strong man must go:
    For the journey is done and the summit attained,
      And the barriers fall,
    Though a battle's to fight ere the guerdon be gained,
      The reward of it all.
    I was ever a fighter, so--one fight more,
      The best and the last!
    I would hate that Death bandaged my eyes, and forbore,
      And bade me creep past.
    No! let me taste the whole of it, fare like my peers
      The heroes of old,
    Bear the brunt, in a minute pay glad life's arrears
      Of pain, darkness, and cold.
    For sudden the worst turns the best to the brave,
      The black minute's at end,
    And the elements' rage, the fiend-voices that rave,
      Shall dwindle, shall blend,
    Shall change, shall become first a peace, then a joy,
      Then a light, then thy breast,
    O thou soul of my soul! I shall clasp thee again,
      And with God be the rest!



WASHINGTON IRVING.


We have, at last, a full story of the life of Mr. Irving. It is from the
hand of a near relative, who has brought to the task an almost filial
reverence, with a modest reserve of language, and a delicacy of
treatment, which, while they disarm criticism, would of themselves
suffice to attest the kinship of the writer with the distinguished
subject of his biography. It is a quiet and tranquil picture that he has
given us, of a serene and tranquil life. As we have turned it over
delightedly, chapter after chapter, and volume upon volume, we have
wished at times that the coy biographer had been endowed with a spice of
garrulity or of egotism; for, say what we will, these qualities
contribute largely to the interest with which we follow the story of a
life about whose incidents and development the public has greed of
knowledge.

If Boswell had invariably governed his biographic record by the
instincts of a gentleman, we should have possessed far less wealth of
gossip by which to judge of the manhood and the familiar surroundings
of the great lexicographer. And we can readily imagine that a
conscientious man, in setting about the task of writing the life of a
favorite author, would ask himself, over and over, how much should be
yielded to the eager curiosity of the public, and how much a refined
courtesy of feeling should keep in reserve. There are men, indeed, whose
history, by whomsoever recorded, would suggest no such questioning,--men
who have elbowed their way through life, bent upon some single aim, with
a grand and coarse disregard of all the heart-burnings they may have
caused, and all the idols they may have brushed down. Washington Irving
was by no means such a man; he was kind-hearted to the last degree; and
yet, remembering as we do that sly look of humor which lurked always in
the corner of his eye, we cannot believe but that in his freer moments
he has pricked through many a bag of bombast, and made dashing onslaught
upon noisy literary pretension. Of all this, however, we find nothing in
the volumes before us,--nothing in his own books. Always, in his contact
with the world, he is genial; the face of every friend is beautiful to
him; every acquaintance is at the least comely; in rollicking Tom Moore
he sees (what all of us cannot see) a big heart,--in Espartero a bold,
frank, honest soldier,--in every fair young girl a charmer,--and in
almost every woman a fair young girl.

In all these respects the biography of Mr. Pierre Irving is in fitting
accord with what we had known and believed of his eminent kinsman. And
we are delighted at being confirmed in the belief. We yield all measure
of respect for the grace, the purity, the dignity, which Washington
Irving has added to our literature; and yet we honor still more that
true American heart which beams through all his writings, and throughout
this record of his life. The rare kindliness of the man so hallows and
sublimes his memory that we half forget his artistic power, his purity
of touch, his keenness of observation, his delightful and abounding
humor.

There are no storms in this life of his: it is, as we have said, a quiet
picture of a career that is full of honor indeed, full of triumphs, but
full of serenity. Here is no Don Quixote searching for enemies with whom
to do battle,--no John Knox thwacking terribly upon all heretical pates,
and sweating with his obstinacy, as much as with the vigor of his blows;
but the kindly gentleman, giving tone and beauty to the common sentiment
of us all, piquing our wonder by his adroitness, kindling our smiles by
his arch sallies, winning our admiration by his thousand graces, and our
respect by his honesty and truth.

In 1797, Washington Irving, a roguish lad of fifteen, living in William
Street, in New York, and not a little rebellious against the severe
orthodoxy of his father,--who was a deacon of the Presbyterian
Church,--sometimes slipped out from his chamber, after evening prayers,
for an hour or two at the theatre; he attended school, where he stole
the reading of such books as "Robinson Crusoe," and "Sinbad the Sailor";
and he wrote compositions for such of his fellows as would make good his
tasks in mathematics. This was a study which he never loved, and to the
last he abjured all stringency of method. The writer of this paper
remembers on one occasion asking him what system he pursued in massing
his notes for the "Life of Washington." "Don't ask me for system," said
he; "I never had any. If you want to know what a man can do by
arrangement, talk with B----; his whole mind is pigeon-holed."

At sixteen we find him in a lawyer's office; he does not, like some of
his brothers, enjoy the advantages (if there be any) of a collegiate
education. But he loves law as little as he loves mathematics. Feeble
health gives occasion for frequent absences and journeyings; and it is
plain to see that he loves a voyage up the Hudson, and adventurous
travel through the wilds of Northern New York, better than he loves
Judge Livingston, or the books of his law-patron, Mr. Hoffman. He has a
scribbling mood upon him at this early day, too, and contributes to the
New-York "Morning Chronicle" certain letters of Jonathan Oldstyle, which
are remarked for their pleasant humor. At the age of twenty-one (1804)
continued ill-health suggests a sea-voyage. He leaves law and his jolly
companions,--Brevoort, Kemble, Paulding, and the rest,--and sails for
Bordeaux. He wanders through Southern Europe delightedly,--meets
Washington Allston at Rome, and is half tempted to turn painter,--sees
Humboldt, De Staël, Cooke, Siddons; and while all England is jubilant
over Nelson's victory, and all England mourning over Nelson's death, he
sails, in 1806, for home.

Arrived in New York a sound man, he goes through a process of cramming
for admission to the bar, and is presently instated--attorney-at-law.
But at the very time of his examination he is concocting with James
Paulding the project of "Salmagundi," which presently enlivens and
perplexes people with the vagaries of Launcelot Langstaff. A little
after, he plans and commences the Knickerbocker History.

But meantime an interesting episode of his life is developing, which by
its unfortunate issue is to give a certain color to all after-expression
of his sentiment. While in the family of Mr. Hoffman, as law-student, he
has conceived a strong attachment for his daughter; in certain
memoranda, marked "private," which come under the eyes of the biographer
only after Mr. Irving's death, he says,--"I idolized her. I felt at
times rebuked by her superior delicacy and purity, and as if I was a
coarse, unworthy being in comparison.... I saw her fade rapidly away,
beautiful, and more beautiful, and more angelical to the very last.... I
was by her when she died.... I was the last one she looked upon." The
memorandum from which this extract is taken had been originally written,
it appeared, for the eye of an intimate lady-friend abroad, to whom we
shall have occasion to refer.

In 1809, at the age of twenty-six, is published his "History of New
York." There were a few punctilious Dutch families who were offended at
its sallies; but cultivated people generally welcomed its fun, its
spirit, its quiet satire, with heartiness and applause.

Shortly after he entered into a commercial partnership with his
brothers, Peter and Ebenezer, of whom one was established in England,
the other in New York. In the War of 1812 we find him acting as military
aid to Governor Tompkins; and in 1815 he embarks again for Europe. He
passes many years in England, in the course of which time the commercial
firm, of which he is a member goes into bankruptcy. Upon this, he is of
course thrown adrift. But through the influence of his friends at home
he is offered the position of Chief Clerk of the Navy Department, with a
salary of twenty-four hundred dollars a year. This, however, after some
misgivings, he declines. He does not like the idea of being cramped by
official routine of duty. He will try what he can do with his pen. And
for months after making this decision (we have heard it with unction
from his own lips) he can do nothing. His friend Allston is going back
to America; Leslie is making a reputation; and he, a bankrupt, and
having wantonly thrown up the chance for a lucrative position at home,
is suddenly bereft of all capacity for literary work; he makes trial;
but it is in vain. The "Sketch-Book" is floating in his thought; but he
cannot commit its graces to paper.

The months roll on; something must be done; the secretaryship at home is
abandoned; he must try again; he does try; he sends off "Sketch-Book No.
I." to America. We know what came of it: success, delight. Number upon
number followed. There was an early republication, under the author's
auspices, in London. He was fêted: it was so odd that an American should
write with such control of language, with such a play of fancy, with
such pathetic grace. There was a kind of social _furor_ to meet and to
see the man who, notwithstanding his Transatlantic birth, had conquered
all the witchery of British speech, who knew its possible delicacies of
expression, and who graced it with a humor that reminded of Goldsmith.

No American author had ever dreamed of such ovation before: an ovation
not due to any incisive thought, not due to any novelty of his
subject-matter,--but due to the fact that a man born overseas had
suddenly appeared among British writers, who could lay hold upon their
own resources of sentiment, and inwrap it in language which charmed them
by its grace and provoked them by its purity.

Mr. Murray entered upon the publication of the "Sketch-Book" in 1820,
Mr. Irving being at that time thirty-seven years of age. Of his pleasant
intimacy with Sir Walter Scott, of his junketings in Paris, of his
meeting with Tom Moore, of his unfortunate enlistment in a
steamboat-enterprise upon the Seine, there is full and most lively
account in the "Life and Letters" before us. "Bracebridge Hall,"
despatched from Paris in 1822, is received with the same favor which had
attended the publication of the "Sketch-Book"; and the pecuniary returns
are so liberal that he can lie upon his oars for a while, and (what
pleases him more) can effectually aid his brother Peter, who was a party
to the unfortunate steamboat-scheme.

After this comes a merry whirl through Europe. The Rhine, Heidelberg,
Munich, Vienna, we visit again in his sparkling letters, dated forty odd
years ago. His reputation, and the good offices of French and English
friends, open an easy path for him; everywhere he finds hospitality and
acquaintances, and everywhere, by that frank, genial manner of his, he
transmutes even chance acquaintances into confidential friends. The
winter of 1822-3 is passed in the delightful city of Dresden. He meets
with a warm welcome at the little Saxon court; he has the _entrée_ of a
pleasant English household, where he becomes fairly domesticated. Mrs.
Foster, its accomplished mistress, is a lady of fortune, who has two
"lovely daughters." Mr. Irving, in concert with two or three
gentlemen-friends, organizes certain home-theatricals, in which the
Misses Foster engage with ready zeal and a charming grace. There are
Italian readings, and country-excursions, to all of which Mr. Irving is
a delighted party. He hardly knows how to tear himself away from scenes
so enchanting. To Miss Foster he writes, on the occasion of a little
foray into Bohemia,--"I am almost wishing myself back already. I ought
to be off like your bird, but I feel I shall not be able to keep clear
of the cage." Mrs. Foster, with a womanly curiosity, is eager to know
how a man so susceptible as Mr. Irving, and so domestically inclined,
should have reached the mature age of forty as a bachelor. Mr. Irving
amiably gratifies her curiosity by detailing to her the story of his
early and unfortunate attachment, in the shape of the memorandum to
which we have already alluded. He closes this confidential disclosure by
saying,--"You wonder why I am not married. I have shown you why I was
not long since.... My time has now gone by; and I have growing claims
upon my thoughts, and upon my means, slender and precarious as they are.
I feel as if I had already a family to think and provide for."

We have dwelt upon this little episode, not because it has any essential
importance in itself, but because it has been the subject of a most
unseemly interpolation in the British reprint of the biography. Mr.
Bentley, "Publisher in Ordinary to Her Majesty," was, it appears, the
purchaser, at a small sum, of the advance-sheets of the book; but, in
order to secure English copyright, he conceived the idea of introducing
extraneous matter of British origin. In prosecution of this design, he
found as _collaborateurs_ the two Misses Foster above alluded to, who
are now wives of clergymen of the Church of England. Mrs. Fuller, the
elder of the sisters, and the special favorite of the author, gives upon
the whole a modest and pleasant account of their association with Mr.
Irving, and closes with a few lines which, she says, he wrote in her
scrap-book in 1832. "He declared it was impossible for him to be less in
a writing-mood." And thereupon follow the well-known lines entitled
"Echo and Silence." They certainly do not prove very much for the
writing-mood of Mr. Irving,--whatever they may prove for Sir Egerton
Brydges. The contribution of the younger sister, Mrs. Flora Dawson, is
in a somewhat exaggerated and melodramatic vein, in the course of which
she takes occasion to expend a great deal of pity upon "poor Irving,"
who is made to appear in the character of a rejected suitor for the hand
of her sister. It is true that the testimony of Mr. Irving's biographer,
and of his private papers, is largely against this absurdly romantic
construction; but, although it had been perfectly authentic, it is
almost incredible that a lady of delicacy should make such blazon of the
affair, for the sake of securing a copyright to "Her Majesty's Publisher
in Ordinary." We are sorry that Mrs. Dawson has not made a better
_début_ in literature. As for Mr. Bentley, we can characterize his
conduct in the matter only by the word--disgraceful. In the whole
history of griping literary piracies (of which Americans must bear their
share) we can recall no one which shows so bad a taste, and so bad a
faith, as this of Mr. Bentley, the "Publisher in Ordinary to Her
Majesty."

In the year 1824 we find Mr. Irving at work in Paris chambers upon the
"Tales of a Traveller"; then follow three or four joyous and workful
years in Spain, between Madrid, Seville, and the Alhambra. We have all
tasted the fruit of that pleasant sojourn; "Columbus" is on every
library-shelf; and we remember a certain dog's-eared copy of the
"Conquest of Granada" which once upon a time set all the boys of a
certain school agog with a martial furor. How we shook our javelins at
some bewildered cow blundering into the play-ground! What piratical
forays we made upon the neighbors' orchards, after the manner of the
brave old Muley Aben Hassan! And as for the Alhambra, the tinkle of the
water in the marble basins of its court is lingering on our ears even
yet.

In Spain, as elsewhere, Mr. Irving makes a circle of friends about him
whom it is hard to leave; but it must be. Accusing comrades at home say
he has deserted his country; he turns his face Westward at last, and,
full of honors, sails for New York once more, in the year 1832, at the
ripe age of forty-nine. There never was a warmer welcome given to a
returning citizen. A feast is made for him, at which all the magnates of
the city of Manhattan assist; and the author's sensibility is so touched
that he can make only stammering acknowledgments,--at which the cheers
and the plaudits are heartier than ever.

After this comes the opening of that idyllic life at Sunnyside,--the
building of the gables, the gilding of the weather-cocks, the planting
of the ivies. "Astoria" and "Bonneville" and the "Tour on the Prairies"
keep his hand active and his brain in play. Near and dear relatives
relieve his bachelor home of all loneliness. Nine years or more have
passed after his return, when he is surprised--and not a little
shocked--by his appointment, at the instance of Mr. Webster, as Minister
to Madrid.

He cannot resist the memories of the Alhambra, of Seville, of the
Guadalquivir. Many pleasant associations are revived in England, in
France, and not a few in the now revolutionary Spain. But it is plain to
see that the official visit is not so enjoyable as the old untrammelled
life in the Peninsula. No matter how light the duties, routine is a
harness that galls him. We can almost hear his cheer of thanksgiving as
he breaks away from it, and comes once more to his cherished home of
Sunnyside. He is not an old man yet, though he counts well into the
sixties. He contrives new additions to his cottage; he dashes off the
charming "Life of Goldsmith" at a heat. His older books come pouring
from the press, and are met with the cordial welcome of new ones.

His brothers, to whom he had been so fondly knit, are all gone save one;
Brevoort is gone; Kemble is just above him, at his forge, under the lee
of the Highlands. The river by quiet Tarrytown is strung up and down
with new "gentlemen's places."

He puts himself resolutely at work upon the "Life of Washington."
Frequently recurring illness, and a little shakiness in his step, warn
him that his time is nearly up. He knows it. There is only one more task
to make good. We hear of him at Mount Vernon, at Arlington, at Saratoga.
Volume by volume the work comes forward. The public welcome it,--for
they love the author, and they love the subject. Three volumes,--four
volumes; and there are rumors that the old gentleman is failing. But
whoever finds admission to that delightful home of Sunnyside meets the
old smile, the old cheer. Seventy years have shaken the frame, but have
not shaken the heartiness of the man. The jest leaps from his eye before
his lip can clothe it, as it did twenty years before. There is a
friendly pat for his little terrier, and a friendly word for his
gardener, as in the old days.

The fifth volume is in progress; but there is a cough that distresses
him sorely. He pushes on, however, through his task. The step is growing
feebler and the cough more annoying. It is the year 1859, and the
seventy-seventh of his age, when, upon a certain November evening, with
one little sharp cry of pain, he falls upon his chamber-floor--dead.

       *       *       *       *       *

There are men whose works we admire, but for whose lives we care
nothing. Mr. Irving was not one of them. There is such a manly
heartiness in him that we crave close contact: we cannot know him too
well. Surely, this sympathy of readers, spontaneous, inevitable, will
keep his name always green. There may come greater purists,--though they
must con the language well; writers of more dramatic power we have now,
possibly a quainter humor,--but one more tender, that puts us in such
immediate sympathy with the author, hardly in our day, or in any day,
shall we see again.

It is plain enough that Mr. Irving depended largely on his
friendships,--that, unconsciously, his courage for meeting and
conquering whatever of difficulty lay in his path was fed very much by
the encouraging words of those he loved and respected. His were no
brawny shoulders to push their way, no matter what points were galled by
contact,--no self-asserting, irresistible press of purpose, which is
careless of opinion. Throughout, we see in his kindly nature a longing
for sympathy: if from those intellectually strong, so much the better;
if from dear friends, better yet; if from casual acquaintances, still it
is good and serviceable to him, and helps him to keep his poise.

He is a man, too, who clearly shuns controversy, who does not like to
take blows or to give blows, and whose intellectual life and development
find shape and color from this dread of the combative. Not that he is
without a quiet power and exercise of satire,--not that follies which
strike his attention do not get a thrust from his fine rapier; but they
are such follies, for the most part, as everybody condemns. By reason of
this quality in him, he avoids strongly controverted points in history;
or, if his course lies over them, he gives a fairly adjusted average of
opinion; he is not in mood for trenchant assertions of this or that
belief. This same quality, again, makes him shun political life. He has
a horror of its wordy wars, its flood of objurgation. Not that he is
without opinions, calmly formed, and firmly held; but the entertainment
of kindred belief he does not make the measure of his friendships. His
character counted on the side of all charity, of forbearance, against
harsh judgments; it was largely and Christianly catholic, as well in
things political as literary. He never made haste to condemn.

There is a rashness in criminating this retirement from every-day
political conflicts which is, to say the least, very short-sighted.
Extreme radicalism spurns the comparative inactivity, and says, "Lo, a
sluggard!" Extreme conservatism spurns it, and says, "Lo, a coward!" It
is only too true that cowards and sluggards both may take shelter under
a shield of indifference; but it is equally true that any reasonably
acute mind, if only charitably disposed, can readily distinguish between
an inactivity which springs from craven or sluggish propensity, and that
other which belongs to constitutional temperament, and which, while
passing calm and dispassionate judgment upon excesses of opinion of
either party, contributes insensibly to moderate the violence of both.

But whatever may have been Mr. Irving's reluctance to ally himself
intimately with political affairs, and to assume advocacy of special
measures, it is certain that he never failed in open-hearted, outspoken
utterance for the cause of virtue, of human liberty, and of his country.
There were vulgar assailants, indeed, who alleged at one time that he
had thoroughly denationalized himself by his long absences. The charge
he always regarded as an affront, and met with scorn. There are those so
grossly constituted as to measure a man's love of his own country by the
sneers he flings at the country of others. It was not in Mr. Irving's
nature to sneer at even an enemy; it was not his way of making conquest.
He recognized fully the advantages of a foreign life (at his date) in
following up that career of belles-lettres study which he had marked out
for himself. The free _entrée_ of European libraries and galleries, and
familiar association with a class of cultivated men of leisure, (in
countries where such a class exists,) offered opportunity for refining
his taste, for enlarging his stock of available material, and for
stimulating his mental activity, of which he was not slow to perceive
the value, and of which he has given ample account.

There is much that is interesting in the Life before us in regard to Mr.
Irving's habit of work. He was, like most men of extreme sensitiveness,
moody; at times his mind seemed all aglow; he wrote, on such occasions,
with extraordinary rapidity, and with that cheery appreciation of his
labor which to any author is an immense stimulant. But following upon
these happy humors came seasons of wearisome depression; the stale
manuscript of yesterday lost its charm; the fancy refused to be lighted;
he has not the heart to hammer at the business with dull, lifeless
blows, and flings down his pen in despair. There are successive months
during which this mood hangs upon him like an incubus; then it passes
suddenly, like a cloud, and the air (as at Seville) wooes him to his
charmingest fancies.

We do not propose a critical estimate of the books of Mr. Irving. We
have neither space nor present temper for this. The world has indorsed
his great popularity with the heart, as much as with the brain. There
are those who have objected that the last subject of his labor--the
"Life of Washington"--was little suited to his imaginative tone of mind,
and should have been worked up with a larger and more philosophic grasp
of thought. It may well be that at some future time we shall have a more
profound estimate of the relations which our great Leader held to his
cause and to his time; but, however profound and just such a work may
be, we feel quite safe in predicting that it will never supplant the
graceful labor of Mr. Irving in the hearts of the American people.
Precisely what was wanted Mr. Irving has given: such charming, faithful,
truthful picture of the great hero of our Revolution as should carry
knowledge of him, of the battles he fought, of his large, self-denying,
unswerving patriotism, of the purity of his life, into every household.
No man could have done this work better; nor do we think any other will
ever do it as well.

And there is his "Sketch-Book,"--in blue and gold, in green and gold, in
red and gold;--in what colors, and in what language, does it not appear?
Yet the themes are of the simplest: a broken heart; a rural funeral; a
Christmas among the hollies; an hour in the Abbey of Westminster: what
is there new, or to care greatly for, in these things? Yet he touched
them, and all the world are touched by them. Your critic says there is
no serious insight, no deep probing; a pretty wind blows over,--that is
all.

Yes, that is all; but how many are there who can set such sweet currents
of wind aflow?

Only a bruised daisy, only a wounded hare, only Halloween,--and Burns,
with all his fresh, healthy, hearty manhood, and only a peasant's pen,
touches them in such way that his touch is making the nerves of men and
women vibrate, where-ever our Saxon speech is uttered.

There is many a light thing that we cherish,--with which we will not
easily part. That souvenir of some dear, dead one we do not value by its
weight in gold; that sweet story of the Vicar we do not measure by its
breadth of logic. And no American, no matter how late born he may be,
but, if he wander in the Catskills, shall hear the rumble of the Dutch
revellers at their bowling in the gorges of the mountains,--not one but
shall read, and reading shall love, the story of Rip Van Winkle.

It was only a quiet old gentleman of six-and-seventy who was buried
awhile ago from his home upon the Hudson: yet the village-shops were all
closed; the streets, the houses, the station, were hung in black;
thousands from the city thirty miles away thronged the high-road leading
to the little church where prayers were to be said.

How shall we explain this? The author is dead, indeed, whose writings
were admired by all; but there is something worthier to be said than
this:--At the little church lay the body of the man whom all men loved.



THE RIM.


PART II.

Affairs went smoothly and noiselessly on for some three months. Mr. St.
George had received the congratulations of the neighborhood, who,
perceiving that Éloise still remained at The Rim, presumed all was
satisfactory; and Éloise refused herself to all, the better by reason of
her term of mourning. The slaves on the estate no longer infected others
with the result of bad government; their association with the
Blue-Bluffs people, a notoriously bad set, as well they might be, was
broken up; they felt, though the reins hung freely and the burden was
light, that there was a strong hand behind them that knew how to pull
them up or put them in the dust, and they learned so much respect and
even love for that hand as never to presume on the fact that it would
not perhaps choose to exert its full power; work was well done; there
was no further trespassing on other precincts; the world was in perfect
order, so far as St. George's administration of it extended. He was,
moreover, a man of distinction; serving, young as he was, four terms in
Congress from a distant district, he was already spoken of again as the
candidate of the immediate vicinity; his advice was sought in a hundred
matters about which he knew nothing at all,--and always given, in spite
of the last-mentioned circumstance; he had a careless, easy way of
taking the life out of a man's mouth, so to speak, and disposing of it
for that man's advantage as he himself pleased, so that the man felt
under an infinite obligation; he had, too, an air with him of such
superiority over the ills of life, such undoubted kingliness, that every
one succumbed and rested gladly on so firm a precedent. Mr. St. George
in this brief time had accepted much hospitality, had won a thousand
friends, and by Christmas had made himself, through his genial strength
to-day and his sardonic sarcasm to-morrow, as thoroughly the autocrat of
all the region as ever Mr. Erne had been. For all that men want is a
master; give them somebody that will lead, and glad enough are they to
follow. But Mr. Erne's supremacy had merely been a matter of birth and
of kindly feeling; Mr. St. George's was, first, because he choose to
have it, and secondly, because nobody was able to refuse it. Marlboro's
masterliness was quite another thing, affected no clusters of men, and
was felt only by those whom he owned, body and soul.

In the mean time, the family seldom saw Mr. St. George, and when they
did, he was so stately that they would have been quite willing to shut
their eyes. They forgot, however, that, when you insist on being
yourself an iceberg, you really cool the air about you. Once, indeed, or
twice, there had been brief, but notable exceptions in his conduct.

A period of heavy rains had just elapsed, and Éloise, weary of
confinement, had gone on the first clear day strolling round the place,
as secure as in a drawing-room, since there was not one of her father's
people but adored her.

"You are going out, Miss Changarnier?" Mr. St. George had remarked at
the door; and, on being answered, he had added in a soliloquy, as if not
deigning a second address for a second rebuff,--"It will be quite
impossible to go far, for the freshet has swollen the brooks into
rivers."

Éloise, however, took no notice of the information, and went on her way,
strolled farther than she had intended, and forded a brook because Mr.
St. George had said she could not. Then she sat down under a branching
tree that dropped its leaves about her and into the brook, and began to
read the "Romaunt of the Rose": at least, I fancy that was the book she
had. While she remained, the brook swirling ever louder between the
pauses, the sunset ran red in the sky and warned her to hasten home. But
she disregarded the warning till purple shadows fell softly on the page,
and stars and moon stole out to peer above her shoulder and see what it
was that so entranced the maiden. Rising hurriedly, she moved away; and
only when she had crossed two or three of the stepping-stones did she
perceive, on looking down, that, while she had been reading, the water
had risen above the next ones with a depth that the failing light
forbade her to see. Standing there, and bending dizzily forward to guess
the strength of the dark stream now so loudly and rapidly rushing by,
there came a noise like a bursting water-spout; suddenly her waist was
seized, and she was swept back to the shore. The next instant, with a
seething sound, a great uprooted oak tore along the very spot on which
she had stood.

"Seeking danger for the pleasure of escape?" said a cool voice in her
ear, as her feet were planted on dry land. "A little excitement spices
our still life so well!"

"Mr. St. George! how dare you?" cried Éloise, freeing herself.

"What would you have had me do? Should I have stood here, letting I dare
not wait upon I would, like the cat i' the adage, while the oak caught
and rushed you off to sea? Too big a broomstick for such a little
witch!"

"You should not have been here at all, Sir!"

"There shall be thanks in all the churches, next Sunday, that I was."

"At least, Sir, I can spare further aid."

"Play Undine and the Knight on the island? It wouldn't be at all
safe,--it wouldn't be proper, you know," said Mr. St. George, raising
his eyebrows. "The dam that shuts up the irrigating waters broke an hour
ago," added he, in the tone of another person. "I sent servants to find
you, in every direction, and happened this way myself."

Éloise was a little sobered.

"I am much obliged to you, Sir," she said.

"So it seems," he replied, dryly. "I shall be forced to offend you
again," he continued, "as further delay will render the stream entirely
impassable."

And before she could utter a syllable of deprecation, she had swung a
brief moment in the air, and was upon the other side, up which Mr. St.
George, in his high seven-league boots, clambered so soon as he had set
her down. Instead of venturing any new display of indignation, as St.
George expected, Éloise walked on with him quietly a moment, and then,
looking up, said,--

"You are very kind, and I am very ungracious."

Mr. St. George did not deny her assertion, only he glanced down at her
from his height a second with an inexplicable expression, and
immediately after the house became visible bowed low and left her.

"There's been such a tantrum, Miss," said the quadroon Hazel, combing
out Éloise's hair that night, "and Massa St. George's horse waited two
mortal hours to take him to Blue Bluffs. You ought to have heard him
swear! He galloped off at last like mad."

And as Éloise gave no response, unless the cloud on her face spoke for
her in the glass, the familiar girl added,--

"Not at you, Miss, not swearing at you,--oh, no, indeed!--but at all of
us, to think we'd let you go alone."

"Mr. St. George is too solicitous. That will do, Hazel. Have you spoken
to your master about buying Vane?"

"Laws, Miss, I never feels as if he was any master of mine, leastwise
excep' one can't help minding him. 'S different from ole Massa,--we
minded ole Massa for lub,--but I dunno if it's the music, when Massa St.
George speaks, that makes you do what he says, when you just don't mean
to,--as if you couldn't help it, and didn't want to help it?" suggested
Hazel.

"Mr. St. George," said Éloise, "is very good to his people; they ought
to wish to obey him."

"Yes, Miss. On'y he a'n't no business _here_."

"Don't let me hear you speak so again, Hazel," said Éloise, facing the
suddenly cringing girl. "Now you can go."

But Hazel lingered still, over one and another odd trifle, and at length
glancing up from where she stooped, with a scarlet on her young tawny
cheek, she added, in a low voice,--

"You'll speak to Massa St. George now for me, won't you, Miss?"

"What? About Vane? You would do better yourself. Yes."

Two or three days passed away after this little promise to Hazel, before
Éloise, at first forgetting it, and then dreading it, could gather
courage to proceed in the negotiations for the handmaiden's suit. She
was vaguely aware that she was the last person in the world whose past
conduct harmonized with the asking of favors, and she silently offered
slight propitiatory sacrifices. Yet she did this so haughtily, in order
still not to compromise her own dignity, that they would quite as well
have answered the purpose of belligerent signals.

It was one afternoon that Éloise sat at the drawing-room window, having
recently finished her day's work, and letting herself linger now in a
place which she very rarely so much as passed through. She sat erect,
just then,--her head thrown far back, and the eyelids cast down along
the pale face. Mr. St. George came into the room noiselessly, and laid
down his riding-whip and gloves. Then he paused, struck by her
appearance, and admired her motionless attitude for several minutes.

"One sits for Mnemosyne," he said then.

Éloise lifted her eyes, and a ghost of color flitted along her cheek.
Here was a fortunate moment; the deity of it unbent and smiled. Her
heart beat in her throat between the words of her thought; yet she
recalled, for support, all the romances she had read, and their eloquent
portraitures of love, and, remembering that just as Rebecca loved
Ivanhoe, as Paolo loved Francesca, so Hazel and Vane loved each other,
"I must! I must!" she kept saying chokingly to herself. Mr. St. George
had taken up a book. How should she dare disturb him? At last a
hesitating voice came sliding towards him,--

"Mr. St. George"----

"I beg your pardon,--did you speak?" he asked, closing his book.

"Mr. St. George, I want to ask you a favor," replied Éloise.

She rose, and unconsciously with such an air that he saw her effort,
then came and sat on a lower seat directly before him.

"When papa, when my dear father was living," said she, "I had a maid,
who was always mine, who grew up with me, being only a little younger,
and I became attached to her"----

And before Éloise knew it she was lightly playing with Mr. St. George's
riding-whip,--that being one of her warm traits just out of Nature, the
appropriation of everything about her.

"And you have her no longer? That shall be attended to."

"Oh, yes, Sir, she waits on me still; that isn't it. She is only
seventeen, she has been an atom wayward,--just, you know, as I might
have been"----

Mr. St. George smiled so perceptibly that Éloise added, throwing back
her head again,--

"Just as I _am_, Sir! But she has behaved very nicely for
several----Why, this is Mrs. Arles's whip! the one her husband gave her.
I knew it by the ivory vine-stem twining the ebony; and there are her
initials in the lovely gold chasing. I used to want it to play with,
when I was a little girl,--and she wouldn't let me have it, of course.
Pretty initials!"

"Yes," said Mr. St. George, coldly.

Éloise put it down. And then she stared at him forgetfully, and,
unthinkingly, with great disappointed eyes. Thereat Mr. St. George
laughed.

"Don't Russian women present the knout to their bridegrooms?" asked
Éloise then, mischievously.

But before he could have replied, she resumed,--

"Well, Sir, Hazel is very pretty"----

"It is Hazel, then? Would you like her to be made more distinctly yours,
Miss Éloise?"

"Oh, dear, no, Sir, thank you. That isn't it at all. Hazel is in love."

"Indeed!"

"She is in love with Vane, a boy of Mr. Marlboro's: you may have seen
him; he is here a good deal,--by stealth: and they want to be married.
But Mr. Marlboro' is their terror, he may put an end to everything, and
they are afraid, and--and--could you buy Vane, Mr. St. George?"

"I could, Miss Changarnier."

"And you will, then?" cried Éloise, springing up.

"If Mr. Marlboro' will sell him."

"Won't he?"

"It is a pride of the Marlboro's that there never was a hand sold off
the place."

"Oh, I had forgotten. They would tell too shocking stories."

"Not here. Not unless they were sold off the Cuban plantation, where the
vicious ones are transported."

"But perhaps he would give him to you."

"Miss Éloise, he would give him to _you_."

"Me? I have never seen him."

"That is of no consequence. He has seen you."

"I wonder where. Do you really suppose that Mr. Marlboro' would give
Vane to me?"

"Miss Éloise, I will see what I can do about it first."

"How kind you are! Thank you!"

And Éloise was about to go.

"One moment, if you please," said the other.

And Mr. St. George remained in meditation. When he spoke, it was not in
too assured a tone.

"I am quite aware," said he, "that you consider me in the light of an
enemy. Perhaps it is a magnanimity that would be pleasant to you, should
you in turn grant that enemy a favor."

"I should like to be able to serve you, Sir."

"Well, then,--I spoke very unwisely a few moments since,--promise me
now, that, if Hazel and Vane do not marry till Doomsday, you will not
ask Marlboro' for the gift. It places you, an unprotected girl, too much
under the weather with such a man as Marlboro'. You promise me?"

And he rose opposite her, smiling and gazing.

"A whole promise is rash," said Éloise, laughing. "Half a one I give
you."

"It is for yourself," said Mr. St. George, grimly; and he turned
abruptly away, because he knew he lied, and was afraid lest she would
know it too.

It was two or three weeks after this, that Mr. St. George, returning one
chilly night from some journey, found Mrs. Arles asleep in her chair, a
fire upon the hearth, and Éloise sitting on the floor before it with her
box and brushes, essaying to catch the shifting play of color opposite
her, and paint there one of the great cloven tongues of fire that went
soaring up the chimney.

"In pursuit of an _ignis-fatuus_?" asked he, stooping over her an
instant, and suddenly snatching himself erect, as she looked up with a
certain sweetness in her smile, and pushed back the drooping tress,
that, streaming along the temple and lying in one large curve upon the
cheek, sometimes fell too low for order, though never for grace.

"And all in vain," she said, laughingly. "I've worked an hour, I can get
the violet edges, I can get the changing bend,--but there 'a no lustre,
no flicker,--I can't find out the secret of painting flame."

"It is a secret you found out long ago!" muttered Mr. St. George,
unintelligibly, and strode out, banging the door behind him.

And Éloise, astonished and dismayed, abruptly put up her pencils, and
went to bed.

So that, when Mr. St. George returned a half-hour afterward for a
cheerful fireside-season over nuts and wine, there was nobody there but
Mrs. Arles, who picked herself up out of her nap, and went placidly on
with her tatting and contrivances.

Two stragglers on the ice-fields of the polar seas would have met each
other with less frozen chill than St. George and Éloise did on the
succeeding morning. And in that chill a long period elapsed, during
which Mr. St. George attended to his affairs, and Éloise silently cast
up her accounts.

       *       *       *       *       *

One morning in the spring, after the last of the soft and balmy winter,
Mr. St. George said to Mrs. Arles, at breakfast,--

"A dozen rooms, or more, can be ready by Wednesday? There will be guests
at noon, for several weeks. That is the list. I rely on Miss
Changarnier's assistance." And he handed her a paper, and went out.

"It will be useless for you to keep your room now," said Mrs. Arles to
Éloise, on Wednesday morning. "It isn't like Mr. St. George's bachelor
parties with Marlboro' and Montgomery and Mavoisie, when I like to see
you keep to yourself as you do. These are all old friends."

"I shall still have my work to do," said Éloise; and she went into the
cabinet and sharpened her pens with a _vim_.

It would doubtless have relieved Mr. St. George of much annoyance and
perplexity, if Éloise would have assumed her old place in welcoming the
guests; but that was not set down in her part, and Éloise rightly felt
that it would be a preposterous thing for her to do. And though, when
she heard their voices in the hall, she longed just to open the door and
give one glance at Laura Murray sweeping by, or draw Lottie Humphreys in
through the crack and indulge in one quick squeeze, she heroically bent
herself upon the debit and credit beneath her eye, and tried to forget
all about it,--succeeding only in remembering who had lived and who had
died since the last time that hall had rung with their voices.

It was past noon when Éloise, having finished her task, and having
remained for a long time with her arms upon the desk and her hands upon
her eyes, suddenly glanced up and saw a gentleman entering the cabinet,
where no gentleman but one was ever allowed to enter. He was in search
of a book; and scanning the shelves, his eye fell on her.

He hesitated for a single atom of time, then stepped rapidly forward,
and said,--

"Miss Changarnier, I am quite sure."

"Allow me," said quickly another voice at his shoulder, "to present to
Miss Changarnier Mr. Marlboro'." For Mr. St. George had entered just in
time.

Mr. Marlboro' was a slight man, hardly to be called tall. He wore black,
of course, the coat fastened on the breast and letting out just a
glimpse of ruffled linen and glancing jewel below, while the lofty brow,
set in its fair curling hair, and the peaked beard curling and waving
about the throat, gave him the appearance of a Vandyck stepped from the
frame. He had the further peculiarity of eyes, dark hazel eyes, that
would have glowed like fever, if they were not perpetually wrapped in
dream. There was a certain air of careful breeding about him, different
from Earl St. George Erne's high-bred bearing, inasmuch as he insisted
upon his pedigree and St. George forgot his. Too fiery a Southerner to
seek the advantages of Northern colleges, he had educated himself in
England, and had contracted while at Oxford the habit of eating opium.
Returning home at his majority, and remaining long enough to establish
his own ideas, which were peculiarly despotic, upon his
property,--through many subsequent travels, tasting in each an
experience of all the folly and madness the great capitals of the world
afford, through all his life, indeed, this habit was the only thing
Marlboro' had not mastered. One other thing, albeit, there was, of which
Marlboro' was the slave, and that was the Marlboro' temper.

Éloise returned his salutation cordially, and with a certain naughty
pleasure, since Mr. St. George was looking on, and since that person,
constituting himself her grim guardian, had in a manner warned her of
the other. Then she displayed her pretty little ink-stained hands, and
ran away.

Mr. Marlboro' looked after her, and then turned to survey St. George.

"Who would not be the Abélard to such an Éloise?" he said.

There was no answer. St. George was filling a pipe, and whistling the
while a melancholy old tune.

"I'll tell you what, St. George"----

Here he paused, and thrummed on the book in time to the tune.

"You were about to impart some information?"

"Has your little nun taken the black veil?"

"It is no nun of my shriving."

"Are you King Ahasuerus himself, to have lived so long in the house with
Miss Changarnier, may I ask, and to have thrown no handkerchief?"

"There is some confusion in your rhetoric. But it is not I who am
tyrant,--it is she who stands for that;--I am only Mordecai the Jew
sitting in the king's gate. As so many Jews do to-day," muttered St.
George,--"ay, and on their thrones, too. I am afraid we are neither of
us very well up in our Biblical history. She is the Grand
Unapproachable."

"_Tant mieux._ My way is all the clearer."

"Your way to what?"

"To the altar!"

"Yes, you should have married long ago, Marlboro'," said Mr. St. George,
the pipe being lighted, the face looming out of azure wreaths, and the
heels taking an altitude.

"I came home," said Marlboro', "to marry Éloise Changarnier."

"That is exactly what I intend to do myself."

"You!"

Mr. Marlboro's eyes glistened like a topaz in the sun; but just then a
new guest arriving demanded Mr. St. George's attention.

Meantime Éloise had found a feminine conclave assembled in her room, all
having prepared their own toilets, and ready to inspect the preparation
of hers; and as the work proceeded, Lottie Humphreys added herself to
the group, in grand _tenue_, and pushed Hazel aside, that she might bind
up Éloise's already braided hair, and indulge herself in the interim
with sundry fervent ejaculations.

"Isn't he splendid?" whispered Lottie, while Laura compared bracelets
with Emma Houghton. "Oh, there, isn't he splendid? It's like the king
coming down from his throne, when he speaks to you; it puts my heart in
a flutter. How do you dare ask him to pass the butter? Now just tell
_me_. Are you engaged to him? Tell me truly, only shake your head, yes
or no. No? I don't believe a word you say. Mean to be? Then, I
declare----Suppose now, only just suppose, suppose he'd look at me?"

"Oh, what a silly little goose you are, Lottie Humphreys! And you've put
geraniums in my hair, when I meant to wear those beautiful blue
poison-bells!"

"I never saw any one so dark as you are wear so much blue."

"But it's becoming to me, isn't it?" said Éloise, turning with her
smile, as radiant for Lottie as for Marlboro'.

"St. George," said Marlboro', with a beaming face bent over his
shoulder, as he took Éloise out to dinner, "my intention was the
earlier; it will succeed!"

"As being the eldest born and heir to the succession. Does the good
general expose his campaign?"

"There we are quits. It is precisely as a good general that I exposed
it."

"But did the Levites unveil the sacred ark?" said Mr. St. George,
severely.

"We are talking freemasonry, Miss Changarnier," said Marlboro', and they
moved on.

       *       *       *       *       *

Whether she would or not, Éloise found herself in exactly the same
position in the house as before her adopted father's death,--partly
because almost all the company, being old friends, recognized no
difference, partly because Mr. St. George silently chose it should be
so. She soon forgot herself entirely in the pleasure of it, and was
unconsciously, even towards Mr. St. George, so sweet and genial, so
blithe and bewitching, that his scanning glance would suddenly have to
fall, since an expression, he felt, entered it that he dared not have
her see. There was always a certain disarray about the costume of
Éloise; one tress of her hair was always drooping too low, or one thrust
back behind the beautiful temple and tiny ear, or a bracelet was half
undone, or a mantle dropping off,--trifles that only gave one the desire
to help her; she constantly wore, too, a scarf or shawl, or something of
the kind, and the drapery lent her a kind of tender womanliness, which
only such things do; then, too, she garnished her hair with flowers
always half falling away, somewhat faded with the warmth, and emitting
strong, rich fragrances in dying. When she laughed, and the brilliant
little teeth sparkled a contrast with the dark smooth skin, when she
thought, and her eyes glowed like tear-washed stars, Mr. St. George was
wont to turn abruptly away from the vision, unwilling to be so
controlled. But of that Éloise never dreamed.

As for Marlboro', on the other hand, he was the moth in the candle. Of
Mr. Marlboro's devotion Éloise was quite aware,--and whereas, playing
with it the least bit in the world, she had at first enjoyed it, it grew
to irk her sadly; she used to beg her friends, in all manner of pretty
ways, to take him off her hands, and would resort from her own rooms to
theirs, assisting at their awful rites, and endeavoring to get them up
as charmingly as possible, that they might lure away her trouble. It was
in vain that Marlboro' tried to reopen the subject of their mute warfare
with St. George. St. George would not condescend, neither would he sully
Éloise's name by bandying it about with another lover. If Marlboro'
begged him to toss up for chances, St. George answered that he never
threw up a chance; when he went further and offered to stake success or
loss, St. George told him he had cast his last die; when he would have
spoken her name to him directly, St. George withered him with flamy
eyes, and let his manner become too rigid for one to dare more with him.
But the ladies had already caught the spirit of the thing, and made
little situations of it among themselves. Then when St. George became
impregnable to his attacks, Marlboro' pulled his blonde moustache
savagely, and grew sullen, and fortunately Éloise did not try to dispel
the cloud. Nevertheless, Marlboro' fancied that he perceived victory
hovering nearer to St. George than himself, and a rivalry begun in
good-humor was likely to take a different cast. In his pique, Marlboro'
bade his host farewell, and returned to Blue Bluffs; but it was idle
riding, for every day found him again at The Rim, like the old riddle,--

    "All saddled, all bridled, all fit for a fight,"

and constant as the magnet to its poles.

It was still the steps of Éloise that Marlboro' haunted. Yesterday, he
brought songs to teach her, and among them the chant to which long ago
they had once listened together in the old Norman cathedral; to-morrow,
he would show her a singular deposit on the beach, of rare silvery
shells underflushed with rose, kept there over a tide for her eyes;
to-day, he treated her to politics condensed into a single phrase whose
essence told all his philosophy:--"The great error in government," he
said, "is also inversely the great want in marriage: in government,
individuality should be supreme; in marriage, lost. In government, this
error is a triple-headed monster: centralization, consolidation, union."

Mr. St. George heard him, and paused a moment before them, one evening,
as Marlboro' thus harangued Éloise.

"Consolidation? Centralization?" said he. "The very things we all
oppose."

"Nullification is a good solvent."

"A ghost that is laid. There's a redder phantom than that on the
horizon, man!"

"What are you talking about, politics or marriage?"

"God forbid that I should soil a lady's ears with the first!" said Mr.
St. George, bowing to Éloise; "and as to the last,--I'll none of it!"

And after Mr. Marlboro' had gone that night, as Éloise was about to
ascend to her own rooms, Mr. St. George came along again, and, lightly
taking the candle, held up the tiny flame before her face.

"What has that _contrabandista_ been saying to you?" demanded Mr. St.
George.

Éloise looked ignorantly up.

"Gilding hell? Do not believe him! Never believe anything any one says,
when you know he is in love with you! Slavery is a curse! a curse that
we inherit for the sins of those drunken Cavaliers, our forefathers! Let
us make the best of it!"

"Ah, Mr. St. George," said she, gayly, "this from you, for whom the
disciples claim Calhoun's mantle? For what, then, do you contend?"

"For the right of being a free man myself! for the right of enduring
the dictation of no man in Maine or Louisiana! for the right to do as I
have the mind!" exclaimed Mr. St. George, in a ponderous and suppressed
under-voice that rang through her head half-way up-stairs.

Long before, Mr. St. George had very courteously begged Éloise to take a
vacation during the stay of their friends, but she had so peremptorily
and utterly refused to do so that it ended by his spending the long
morning with her in the cabinet, either over certain neglected arrears,
or while she wrote letters under his royal dictation, and Hazel sewed a
laborious seam between them, as always. Here, at length, after
sufficient tantalization by its means, Marlboro' venturously intruded
himself every day. Too familiar for interruption, he took another seat,
and watched her swift hand's graceful progress. If her pen delayed, she
found another awaiting her,--her posture wearied, a footstool was rolled
towards her feet,--her side cramped, behold, a cushion,--she looked for
fresh paper, it fell before her: all somewhat slavish service, and which
Hazel could have rendered as well. Used to slaves, would she have
preferred a master? Whether Miss Changarnier relished these abject
kindnesses better than Mr. St. George's imperious exactions was
precisely the thing that puzzled the two gentlemen.

Meanwhile, during all this gay season, if Éloise had thought of once
looking about her, which she never did, she would have seen, that, in
whatever group she was, there, too, was Mr. St. George,--that, if they
rode three abreast down the great park-avenues, though she laughed with
Evan Murray, it was to Mr. St. George's horse that her bridle was
secured,--and that, when she sang, it was St. George who jested and
smiled and lightly talked the while,--not that her music was not sweet,
but that its spell was too strong for him to endure beneath his mask.
Yet Éloise drew no deductions; if at first she noticed that it was he
who laid the shawl on her shoulders, if she remembered, that, when he
fastened her dropping bracelet, biting his lip and looking down, he held
the wrist an instant with a clasp that left its whitened pressure there,
she remembered, too, that he never spoke to her, were it avoidable, that
he failed in small politenesses of the footstool or the fan, and that,
if once he had looked at her in an instant's intentness of singular
expression, and let a smile well up and flood his eyes and lips and
face, in a heart-beat it had faded, and he was standing with folded arms
and looking sternly away beyond her, while she caught herself still
sitting there and bending forward and smiling up at him like a flower
beneath the sun;--to atone for her remissness, she was frowning and cool
and curt to Earl St. George for days.

       *       *       *       *       *

It was about this time, that, one night, when Hazel passed the tea,
Éloise's eye, wandering a moment, suddenly woke from a little apathy and
observed that there was no widow's cap on Mrs. Arles's hair, that it had
refined away through various shades of lace till at last even the
delicate cobweb on the back of the head was gone and the glossy locks
lay bare, that the sables had become simply black gauze over a steely
shine of silk, that the little Andalusian foot lay relieved on a white
embroidered cushion, that its owner was glancing up and smiling at a
gentleman who bent above her, and that that gentleman was Mr. St.
George. When this change had taken place, and whether it had been abrupt
or gradual, her careless eye could not tell; and, forgetting her own
part momentarily in order to take in the whole of the drama in which
they were all acting, Éloise spilled her tea and made some work for
Hazel. As the girl rectified her mishap, it flashed on Éloise that she
had done nothing more about her suit; she noticed, too, how pale Hazel
was, and how subdued and still in all her movements; she remembered that
probably Vane had found it impossible to see her and to elude his
ever-present master; and she thereupon availed herself of his first
disengaged moment to stand at Mr. St. George's side, and ask him if he
had ever thought again of a request she had once made him.

"I was thinking of it at this moment," he replied, looking at her with
something like sunshine suffusing the brown depth of his eyes; "but the
truth is, I am not on such terms with Marlboro' that I may demand a
favor."

"Then _I_ shall."

"On your peril!" he cried, with hasty rigor.

But Éloise escaped, trailing one end of her scarf behind, looking back
at him, laughing, and shaking her threatening fan as he stepped after
her. And then Mr. St. George resumed his haughty silence.

Éloise went down the hall after Hazel. She found her in the empty
dining-room, having just set down the salver; the last light, that,
stealing in, illumined all the paintings of clusters of fruit and
bunches of flowers upon the white panelling, had yet a little ray to
spare for the girl where she crouched with her sobs, her apron flung
above her head; and when Éloise laid her hand gently on her shoulder,
she sprang as if one had struck her.

"Oh, Miss 'Loise! Miss 'Loise! I'm in such trouble!" she gasped.

It did not take long for the little story to find the air. Vane and
Hazel, secure of Éloise's efforts, had married. It was one of the
immutable Blue Bluffs laws that they had broken: there were no marriages
allowed off the place there. Vane was expiating his offence no one knew
where, and there were even rumors that he had already been sent away to
the Cuban plantation of the Marlboro's, whither all refractory slaves
were wont to journey.

Éloise went slowly back to the drawing-room, then out upon the piazza,
and with her went that bending grace that accompanied her least motion,
and always reminded you of a flower swaying on its stem. Mr. Marlboro'
leaned there, listening to Miss Murray's singing within. Éloise went and
took her place beside him, while his face brightened. He had been eating
opium again, and his eyes were full of dreams. From where they stood
upon the piazza they could see the creek winding, a strip of silvery
redness, along the coast, and far in the distance where it met the sea,
a film upon the sky, rose the dim castellated height of Blue Bluffs,
like an azure mist.

"There is something there that I want," said Éloise, archly, looking at
the Bluffs.

"There? you shall not wish twice."

Then Hazel approaching, as by signal, offered Mr. Marlboro' a cup, which
he declined without gesture or glance, while there gleamed in her eye a
subtle look that told how easy it would have been to brew poison for
this man who had such an ungodly power over her fate.

"That is my little maid," said Éloise. "I have lent her to Mrs. Arles
awhile, though. Is she not pretty,--Hazel?"

"That is Hazel, then? A very witch-hazel!"

"Yes."

"And you want Vane?"

"Yes, Mr. Marlboro'."

"I did not know she was your maid. But the offence of Vane, if
overlooked, would be a breach of discipline entailing too hazardous
effects. Authority should never relax. What creeps through the iron
fingers once can creep again. The gentle dews distilling through the
pores of the granite congeal in the first frost and rend the rock. I
would have difficulty, Miss Éloise, in pardoning such an offence to you,
yourself. Ah, yes, that would be impossible, by Heaven!"

Éloise laughed in her charming way, and said,--

"But, Mr. Marlboro', would it not be an admirable lesson to your people,
if Vane were sold?"

"A lesson to teach them all to go and do likewise, eh, Marlboro'?" said
St. George, passing, with Miss Humphreys on his arm.

"I have never sold, I never sell, a slave," replied Marlboro', in his
placid tone; but St. George was out of hearing. "Yet, Miss
Éloise,--if--if you will accept him"----

"Mr. Marlboro'! Indeed? Truly indeed? How happy you make me!"

"And you can make me as happy,--happier, by the infinity of heaven over
earth!"

"But ought I to accept such a gift?" asked Éloise, oblivious of his last
speech. "But can I?--may I?"--as St. George's warning stole into her
memory.

"Most certainly you can! most certainly you shall! he is yours!" And
before Éloise could pour forth one of her multitudinous thanks, he had
moved away.

Marlboro's, however, was not that noble nature that spurns to beg at the
moment when it grants. Directly, he had wheeled about, and with an eager
air was again beside her.

"And, Éloise," he said, "if in response I might have one smile, one
hope"----

Thoughtlessly enough, Éloise turned her smiling face upon him, and gave
him her hand.

"And you give it to me at last, this hand, to crown my life!" he
said,--for to his excited brain the trifling deed seemed the weighty
event, and when he looked up Éloise still was smiling. Only for a
second, though, for her processes of thought were not instantaneous,
while to him it was one of Mahomet's moments holding an eternity, and
she smiled while she was thinking, thinking simply of her little
handmaiden's pleasure. She tried to release her hand. But Mr. Marlboro'
did not know that his grasp upon it was that of a vice, for under an
artificial stimulus every action is as intense as the fired fancy
itself. And as she found it impossible to free it without visible
violence, other thoughts visited Éloise. Why should she not give it to
him? Who else cared for it? What object had her lonely life? Speak
sweetly as they might, what one of her old gallants forgot her loss of
wealth? Here was a man to make happy, here was a heart to rest upon,
here was a slave of his own passions to set free. Why should she
continue to live with Mr. St. George for her haughty master, when here
was this man at her feet? Why, but that suddenly the conviction smote
her that she loved the one and despised the other, that she adored the
master and despised the slave? And she snatched away her hand.

Just then Mr. St. George was coming down the piazza again, on his
promenade, his head bent low as he spoke to the clinging little lady on
his arm. Passing Éloise, as he raised his face, their eyes met. She was
doing, he thought, the very thing that he had disadvised, and, as if to
warn her afresh, he looked long, a derisive smile curling his proud lip.
That was enough. "He knows it!" exclaimed Éloise to herself. "He
believes it! He thinks I love him! He never shall be sure of it!" And
turning once more, her face hung down and away, she laid her hand in
Marlboro's, without a word or a glance. He bent low over it in the
shadow, pressing it with his fervent lips, murmuring, "Mine! mine at
last! my own!" And St. George saw the whole.

Just then a little sail crept in sight from where they stood, winding
down the creek at the foot of the lawn.

"Oh, how delightful to be on the water to-night!" cried Laura Murray.

"You have but to command," said Mr. St. George, with a certain gayety
that seemed struck out like sparks against the flinty fact of the late
occurrence,--and half the party trooped down the turf to the shore. The
boats were afloat and laden before one knew it. Mr. Marlboro' and Éloise
were just one instant too late. Laura Murray shook a triumphant
handkerchief at them, and St. George feathered his oar, pausing a moment
as if he would return, and then gave a great sweep and his boat fairly
leaped over the water.

Mr. Marlboro' did not hesitate. There was the sail they had first seen,
now on the point of being lowered beneath the alder-bushes by the young
hunters who had sought shore for the night. Gold slipped from one hand
to another, a word, a name, and a promise. Éloise was on board,
expecting Mrs. Arles and Mrs. Houghton to follow. Marlboro' sprang upon
the end, and drew in the rope behind him, waving the other ladies a
farewell; the sails were stretched again, the rudder shipped, and wing
and wing they went skimming down the channel, past the little fleet of
wherries, ploughing the shallow current into foam and spray on their
wild career.

"Marlboro' is mad!" said St. George, with a whitening cheek.

Marlboro', standing up, one arm about the mast, and catching the slant
beam of the late-rising moon on his face, that shone awfully rapt and
intent, saluted them with an ironical cheer, and dashed on. Éloise held
the tiller for the moment, still pulsating with her late emotions, not
above a trifling play of vanity, welcoming the exhilaration of a race,
where she might half forget her trouble, and pleased with a vague
anticipation of some intervention that might recall the word which even
in these five dragging moments had already begun to corrode and eat into
her heart like a rusting fetter. The oarsmen in the wherries bent their
muscles to the strife, the boats danced over the tiny crests, the ladies
sang their breeziest sea-songs to cheer them at the work. The sail-boat
rounded a curve and was almost out of sight.

"Oars never caught sails yet," muttered St. George, and he put his boat
to the shore. "There, Murray, try your lazy mettle, and take my oar. As
for me, I'm off,"--and he sprang upon the bank, sending the boat
spinning off into the current again from his foot. In ten minutes a
horseman went galloping by on the high-road skirting the shore, with a
pace like that of the Spectre of the Storm.

"Now, Mr. Marlboro'," said Éloise, "shall we not turn back, victorious?"

"Turn?" said Marlboro', shaking loose another fold of the linen. "I
never turn! Look your last on the tiny tribe,--we shall see them no
more!"

Éloise sprang to her feet. He caught her hand and replaced her; his face
was so white that it shone, there was a wild glitter in his eye, and the
smile that brooded over her had something in it absolutely terrific.

"We have gone far enough," said Éloise, resolutely. "I wish to rejoin my
friends."

"You are with me!" said Marlboro', proudly.

She was afraid to say another word, for to oppose him now in his
exultant rage might only work the mood to frenzy. The creek had widened
almost to a river,--the sea was close at hand, with its great tumbling
surf. She looked at the horizon and the hill for help, but none came;
destruction was before them, and on they flew.

Marlboro' stood now, and steadied the tiller with his foot.

"This is motion!" said he. "We fly upon the wings of the wind! The
viewless wind comes roaring out of the black region of the East, it
fills the high heaven, it roars on to the uttermost undulation of the
atmosphere, and we are a part of it! We are only a mote upon its breath,
a dust-atom driven before it, Éloise,--and yet one great happiness is
greater than it, drowns it in a vaster flood of viewless power, can
whisper to it calm!"

How should Éloise contradict him? With such rude awakening, he might
only snatch her in his arms and plunge down to death. Perhaps he half
divined the fear.

"Yes, Éloise," he said. "They are both here, life and death, at our
beck! I can take you to my heart, one instant the tides divide, then
they close above us, and you are mine for ever and ever and
only,--sealed mine beneath all this crystal sphere of the waters! We
hear the gentle lapping of the ripples on the shore, we hear the tones
of evening-bells swim out and melt above us, we hear the oar shake off
its shower of tinkling drops,--up the jewel-strewn deeps of heaven the
planets hang out their golden lamps to light our slumbers! Heart to
heart and lip to lip, we are at rest, we are at peace, nothing comes
between us, our souls have the eternities in which to mingle!"

He saw Éloise shudder, and turned from his dream, blazing full upon her.
"Life, then, is best!" he cried. "But life together and alone, life
where we count out its throbs in some far purple island of the main,
prolonged who knows how far?--love shall make for us perpetual youth,
there shall no gloom enter our Eden, perfect solitude and perfect bliss!
Alone, we two in our pride and our joy can defy the powers of any other
heaven, we shall become gods ourselves! Up helm and away! Life is best!"



THE NEVA.


        I walk, as in a dream,
        Beside the sweeping stream,
    Wrapped in the summer midnight's amber haze:
        Serene the temples stand,
        And sleep, on either hand,
    The palace-fronts along the granite quays.

        Where golden domes, remote,
        Above the sea-mist float,
    The river-arms, dividing, hurry forth;
        And Peter's fortress-spire,
        A slender lance of fire,
    Still sparkles back the splendor of the North.

        The pillared angel soars
        Above the silent shores;
    Dark from his rock the horseman hangs in air;
        And down the watery line
        The exiled Sphinxes pine
    For Karnak's morning in the mellow glare.

        I hear, amid the hush,
        The restless current's rush,
    The Neva murmuring through his crystal zone:
        A voice portentous, deep,
        To charm a monarch's sleep
    With dreams of power resistless as his own.

        Strong from the stormy Lake,
        Pure from the springs that break
    In Valdaï vales the forest's mossy floor,
        Greener than beryl-stone
        From fir woods vast and lone,
    In one full stream the braided currents pour.

        "Build up your granite piles
        Around my trembling isles,"
    I hear the River's scornful Genius say:
        "Raise for eternal time
        Your palaces sublime,
    And flash your golden turrets in the day!

        "But in my waters cold
        A mystery I hold,--
    Of empires and of dynasties the fate:
        I bend my haughty will,
        Unchanged, unconquered still,
    And smile to note your triumph: mine can wait.

        "Your fetters I allow,
        As a strong man may bow
    His sportive neck to meet a child's command,
        And curb the conscious power
        That in one awful hour
    Could whelm your halls and temples where they stand.

        "When infant Rurik first
        His Norseland mother nursed,
    My willing flood the future chieftain bore:
        To Alexander's fame
        I lent my ancient name,
    What time my waves ran red with Pagan gore.

        "Then Peter came. I laughed
        To feel his little craft
    Borne on my bosom round the marshy isles:
        His daring dream to aid,
        My chafing floods I laid,
    And saw my shores transfixed with arrowy piles.

        "I wait the far-off day
        When other dreams shall sway
    The House of Empire builded by my side,--
        Dreams that already soar
        From yonder palace-door,
    And cast their wavering colors on my tide,--

        "Dreams where white temples rise
        Below the purple skies,
    By waters blue, which winter never frets,--
        Where trees of dusky green
        From terraced gardens lean,
    And shoot on high the reedy minarets.

        "Shadows of mountain-peaks
        Vex my unshadowed creeks;
    Dark woods o'erhang my silvery birchen bowers;
        And islands, bald and high,
        Break my clear round of sky,
    And ghostly odors blow from distant flowers.

        "Then, ere the cold winds chase
        These visions from my face,
    I see the starry phantom of a crown,
        Beside whose blazing gold
        This cheating pomp is cold,
    A moment hover, as the veil drops down.

        "Build on! That day shall see
        My streams forever free.
    Swift as the wind, and silent as the snow,
        The frost shall split each wall:
        Your domes shall crack and fall:
    My bolts of ice shall strike your barriers low!"

        On palace, temple, spire,
        The morn's descending fire
    In thousand sparkles o'er the city fell:
        Life's rising murmur drowned
        The Neva where he wound
    Between his isles: he keeps his secret well.



ROBSON.


In the whole of London there is not a dirtier, narrower, and more
disreputable thoroughfare than Wych Street. It runs from that lowest
part of Drury Lane where Nell Gwyn once had her lodgings, and stood at
her door in very primitive costume to see the milkmaids go a-Maying, and
parallel to Holywell Street and the Strand, into the church-yard of St.
Clements Danes. No good, it was long supposed, could ever come out of
Wych Street. The place had borne an evil name for centuries. Up a
horrible little court branching northward from it good old George
Cruikshank once showed me the house where Jack Sheppard, the robber and
prison-breaker, served his apprenticeship to Mr. Wood, the carpenter;
and on a beam in the loft of this house Jack is said to have carved his
name. When the pavement of the Strand is under repair, Wych Street
becomes, perforce, the principal channel of communication between the
east and the west end; and Theodore Hook used to say that he never
passed through Wych Street in a hackney-coach without being blocked up
by a hearse and a coal-wagon in the van, and a mud-cart and the Lord
Mayor's carriage in the rear. Wych Street is among the highways we
English are ashamed to show to foreigners. We have threatened to pull it
down bodily, any time these two hundred years, and a portion of the
southern side, on which the old Lyons Inn abutted, has indeed been
razed, preparatory to the erection of a grand metropolitan hotel on the
American system; but the funds appear not to be forthcoming; the scheme
languishes; and, on the other side of the street, another legal
hostelry, New Inn, still flourishes in weedy dampness, immovable in the
strength of vested interests. Many more years must, I am afraid, elapse
before we get rid of Wych Street. It is full of quaint old Tudor houses,
with tall gables, carved porches, and lattice-casements; but the
picturesque appearance of these tenements compensates but ill for their
being mainly dens of vice and depravity, inhabited by the vilest
offscourings of the enormous city. Next to _Napoli senza sole_, Wych
Street, Drury Lane, is, morally and physically, about the shadiest
street I know.

In Wych Street stands, nevertheless, an oasis in the midst of a desert,
a pretty and commodious little theatre, called the Olympic. The
entertainments here provided have earned, for brilliance and elegance,
so well-deserved a repute, that the Olympic Theatre has become one of
the most favorite resorts of the British aristocracy. The Brahminical
classes appear oblivious of the yellow streak of caste, when they come
hither. On four or five nights in every week during the season, Drury
Lane is rendered well-nigh impassable by splendid equipages which have
conveyed dukes and marquises and members of Parliament to the Olympic.
Frequently, but prior to the lamented death of Prince Albert, you might
observe, if you passed through Wych Street in the forenoon, a little
platform, covered with faded red cloth, and shaded by a dingy, striped
awning, extending from one of the entrance-doors of the Olympic to the
edge of the sidewalk. The initiated became at once aware that Her Most
Gracious Majesty intended to visit the Olympic Theatre that very
evening. The Queen of England goes to theatres no more; but the Prince
of Wales and his pretty young wife, the stout, good-tempered Duke of
Cambridge, and his sister, the bonny Princess Mary, are still constant
visitors to Wych Street. So gorgeous is often the assemblage in this
murkiest of streets, that you are reminded of the days when the French
_noblesse_, in all the pride of hoops and hair-powder, deigned to flock
to the lowly wine-shop of Ramponneau.

My business, however, is less with the Olympic Theatre, as it at present
exists, than with its immediate predecessor. About fifteen years ago,
there stood in Wych Street a queer, low-browed little building with a
rough wooden portico before it,--not unlike such a portico as I have
recently seen in front of a dilapidated inn at Culpepper, Virginia,--and
with little blinking windows, very much resembling the port-holes of a
man-of-war. According to tradition, the place had, indeed, a kind of
naval origin. Old King George III., who, when he was not mad, or
meddling with politics, was really a good-natured kind of man, once made
Philip Astley, the riding-master, and proprietor of the circus in South
Lambeth, a present of a dismantled seventy-four gun-ship captured from
the French. With these timbers, some lath and plaster, a few bricks, and
a little money, Astley ran up a theatre dedicated to the performance of
interludes and _burlettas_,--that is, of pieces in which the dialogue
was not spoken, but sung, in order to avoid interference with the
patent-rights of Drury Lane and Covent Garden. In our days, this edifice
was known as the Olympic. When I knew this theatre first, it had fallen
into a state of seemingly hopeless decadence. Nobody succeeded there. To
lease the Olympic Theatre was to court bankruptcy and invite collapse.
The charming Vestris had been its tenant for a while. There Liston and
Wrench had delighted the town with their most excellent fooling. There
many of Planche's most sparkling burlesques had been produced. There a
perfect boudoir of a green-room had been fitted up by Bartolozzi's
beautiful and witty daughter; and there Hook and Jerrold, Haynes Bayley
and A' Beckett had uttered their wittiest sayings. But the destiny of
the Olympic was indomitable. There was nae luck about the house; and
Eliza Vestris went bankrupt at last. Management after management tried
its fortunes in the doomed little house, but without success. Desperate
adventurers seized upon it as a last resource, or chose it as a place
wherein to consummate their ruin. The Olympic was contiguous to the
Insolvent Debtors' Court, in Portugal Street, and from the paint-pots of
the Olympic scene-room to the whitewash of the commercial tribunal there
was but one step.

It must have been in 1848 that the famous comedian, William Farren,
having realized a handsome fortune as an actor, essayed to lose a
considerable portion of his wealth by becoming a manager. He succeeded
in the last-named enterprise quite as completely as he had done in the
other: I mean, that he lost a large sum of money in the Olympic Theatre.
He played all kinds of pieces: among others, he gave the public two very
humorous burlesques, founded on Shakspeare's plays of "Macbeth" and "The
Merchant of Venice." The authors were two clever young Oxford men: Frank
Talfourd, the son of the poet-Judge,--father and son are, alas! both
dead,--and William Hale, the son of the well-known Archdeacon and Master
of the Charter-House. Shakspearian burlesques were no novelty to the
town. We had had enough and to spare of them. W. J. Hammond, the
original _Sam Weller_ in the dramatized version of "Pickwick," had made
people laugh in "Macbeth Travestie" and "Othello according to Act of
Parliament." The Olympic burlesques were slightly funnier, and not
nearly so coarse as their forerunners; but they were still of no
striking salience. Poorly mounted, feebly played,--save in one
particular,--they drew but thin houses. Gradually, however, you began to
hear at clubs and in critical coteries--at the Albion and the Garrick
and the Café de l'Europe, at Evans's and at Kilpack's, at the Réunion in
Maiden Lane and at Rules's oyster-room, where poor Albert Smith used to
reign supreme--rumors about a new actor. The new man was playing
_Macbeth_ and _Shylock_ in Talfourd and Hale's parodies. He was a little
stunted fellow, not very well-favored, not very young. Nobody--among the
bodies who were anybody--had ever heard of him before. Whence he came,
or what he was, none knew; but everybody came at last to care. For this
little stunted creature, with his hoarse voice and nervous gestures and
grotesque delivery, his snarls, his leers, his hunchings of the
shoulders, his contortions of the limbs, his gleaming of the eyes, and
his grindings of the teeth, was a genius. He became town-talk. He
speedily grew famous. He has been an English, I might almost say a
European, I might almost say a worldwide celebrity ever since; and his
name was FREDERICK ROBSON.

Eventually it was known, when the town grew inquisitive, and the critics
were compelled to ferret out his antecedents, that the new actor had
already attained middle age,--that he had been vegetating for years in
that obscurest and most miserable of all dramatic positions, the low
comedian of a country-theatre,--that he had come timidly to London and
accepted at a low salary the post of buffoon at a half-theatre
half-saloon in the City Road, called indifferently the "Grecian" and the
"Eagle," where he had danced and tumbled, and sung comic songs, and
delivered the dismal waggeries set down for him, without any marked
success, and almost without notice. He was a quiet, unassuming little
man, this Robson, seemingly without vanity and without ambition. He had
a wife and family to maintain, and drew his twenty-five or thirty
shillings weekly with perfect patience and resignation.

A weary period, however, elapsed between his appearance at the Olympic
and his realization of financial success. The critics and the
connoisseurs talked about him a long time before the public could be
persuaded to go and see him, or the manager to raise his salary. That
doomed house with the wooden portico was in the way. At last the
wretched remnant of the French seventy-four caught fire and was burned
to the ground. Its ill-luck was consistent to the last. A poor actor,
named Bender, had engaged the Olympic for a benefit. He was to pay
twenty pounds for the use of the house. He had just sold nineteen
pounds' worth of tickets, and trusted to the casual receipts at the door
for his profits. At a few minutes before six o'clock, having to play in
the first piece, he proceeded to the theatre, and entered his
dressing-room. By half-past six the whole house was in a blaze. Bender,
half undressed, had only time to save himself; and his coat, with the
nineteen pounds in the pocket, fell a prey to the flames. After this,
will you tell me that there is not such a thing as ill-luck?

The Olympic arose "like a phoenix from its ashes." To use language
less poetical, a wealthy tradesman--a cheesemonger, I think--found the
capital to build up a new theatre. The second edifice was elegant, and
almost splendid; but in the commencement it seemed fated to undergo as
evil fortune as its precursor. I cannot exactly remember whether it was
in the old or the new Olympic--but I think it was in the new one--that
the notorious Walter Watts ran a brief and sumptuous career as manager.
He produced many pieces, some of them his own, in a most luxurious
manner. He was a man about town, a _viveur_, a dandy; and it turned out
one morning that Walter Watts had been, all along, a clerk in the Globe
Insurance Office, at a salary of a hundred and fifty pounds a year; and
that he had swindled his employers out of enormous sums of money. He was
tried, nominally for stealing "a piece of paper, value one penny," being
a check which he had abstracted; but it was understood that his
defalcations were little short of ninety thousand pounds sterling. Watts
was convicted, and sentenced to ten years' transportation. The poor
wretch was not of the heroically villanous mould in which the dashing
criminals who came after him, Robson and Redpath, were cast. He was
troubled with a conscience. He had drunk himself into delirium tremens;
and starting from his pallet one night in a remorseful frenzy, he hanged
himself in the jail.

It was during the management of Alfred Wigan at the New Olympic that
Frederick Robson began to be heard of again. An old, and not a very
clever farce, by one of the Brothers Mayhew, entitled "The Wandering
Minstrel," had been revived. In this farce, Robson was engaged to play
the part of _Jem Baggs_, an itinerant vocalist and flageolet-player,
who, in tattered attire, roams about from town to town, making the air
hideous with his performances. The part was a paltry one, and Robson,
who had been engaged mainly at the instance of the manager's wife, a
very shrewd and appreciative lady, who persisted in declaring that the
ex-low-comedian of the Grecian had "something in him," eked it out by
singing an absurd ditty called "Vilikins and his Dinah." The words and
the air of "Vilikins" were, if not literally as old as the hills,
considerably older than the age of Queen Elizabeth. The story told in
the ballad, of a father's cruelty, a daughter's anguish, a sweetheart's
despair, and the ultimate suicide of both the lovers, is, albeit couched
in uncouth and grotesque language, as pathetic as the tragedy of "Romeo
and Juliet." Robson gave every stanza a nonsensical refrain of "Right
tooral lol looral, right tooral lol lay." At times, when his audience
was convulsed with merriment, he would come to a halt, and gravely
observe, "This is not a comic song"; but London, was soon unanimous that
such exquisite comicality had not been heard for many a long year.
"Vilikins and his Dinah" created a _furore_. My countrymen are always
going mad about something; and Englishmen and Englishwomen all agreed to
go crazy about "Vilikins." "Right tooral lol looral" was on every lip.
Robson's portrait as _Jem Baggs_ was in every shop-window. A newspaper
began an editorial with the first line in "Vilikins,"--

    "It's of a liquor-merchant who in London did dwell."

A Judge of Assize absolutely fined the High Sheriff of a county one
hundred pounds for the mingled contempt shown in neglecting to provide
him with an escort of javelin-men and introducing the irrepressible
"Right tooral lol looral" into a speech delivered at the opening of
circuit. Nor was the song all that was wonderful in _Jem Baggs_. His
"make-up" was superb. The comic genius of Robson asserted itself in an
inimitable lagging gait, an unequalled snivel, a coat and pantaloons
every patch on and every rent in which were artistic, and a hat
inconceivably battered, crunched, and bulged out of normal, and into
preternatural shape.

New triumphs awaited him. In the burlesque of "The Yellow Dwarf," he
showed a mastery of the grotesque which approached the terrible. Years
before, in _Macbeth_, he had personated a red-headed, fire-eating,
whiskey-drinking Scotchman,--and in _Shylock_, a servile, fawning,
obsequious, yet, when emergency arose, a passionate and vindictive Jew.
In the _Yellow Dwarf_ he was the jaundiced embodiment of a spirit of
Oriental evil: crafty, malevolent, greedy, insatiate,--full of mockery,
mimicry, lubricity, and spite,--an Afrit, a Djinn, a Ghoul, a spawn of
Sheitan. How that monstrous orange-tawny head grinned and wagged! How
those flaps of ears were projected forwards, like unto those of a dog!
How balefully those atrabilious eyes glistened! You laughed, and yet you
shuddered. He spoke in mere doggerel and slang. He sang trumpery songs
to negro melodies. He danced the Lancashire clog-hornpipe; he rattled
out puns and conundrums; yet did he contrive to infuse into all this
mummery and buffoonery, into this salmagundi of the incongruous and the
_outré_, an unmistakably tragic element,--an element of depth and
strength and passion, and almost of sublimity. The mountebank became
inspired. The Jack Pudding suddenly drew the _cothurnus_ over his clogs.
You were awe-stricken by the intensity, the vehemence, he threw into the
mean balderdash of the burlesque-monger. These qualities were even more
apparent in his subsequent personation of _Medea_, in Robert Brough's
parody of the Franco-Italian tragedy. The love, the hate, the scorn, of
the abandoned wife of _Jason_, the diabolic loathing in which she holds
_Creüsa_, the tigerish affection with which she regards the children
whom she is afterwards to slay,--all these were portrayed by Robson,
through the medium, be it always remembered, of doggerel and slang, with
astonishing force and vigor. The original _Medea_, the great Ristori
herself, came to see Robson, and was delighted with and amazed at him.
She scarcely understood two words of English, but the actor's genius
struck her home through the bull's-hide target of an unknown tongue.
_"Uomo straordinario!"_ she went away saying.

I have anticipated the order of his successes, but at this distance of
time and places I can keep no chronological count of them. Robson has
always alternated the serio-comic burlesque with pure farce, and after
_Jem Baggs_ his brightest hits have been in the deaf ostler in "Boots at
the Swan" and the discharged criminal in "Retained for the Defence." In
the burlesque of "Masaniello," he had an opportunity--which some thought
would prove a magnificent one to him--of showing the grotesque side of
insanity; but, for some reason or other, the part seemed distasteful to
him. It may have been repugnant to his eminently sensitive spirit to
exhibit the ludicrous aspect of the most dreadful of human infirmities.
_A peste, fame, bello, et dementia libera nos, Domine!_ Perhaps the
piece itself was weak. At all events, "Masaniello" had but a brief run.
A drunken man, a jealous man, a deaf man, a fool, a vagabond, a demon, a
tyrant, Robson could marvellously depict: in the crazy Neapolitan
fisherman he either failed or was unwilling to excel. I had been for a
long period extremely solicitous to see Robson undertake the part of
_Sir Giles Overreach_ in "A New Way to pay Old Debts." You know that
_Sir Giles_, after the discovery of the obliterated deed, goes stark
staring mad. I should have wished to see him assume Edmund Kean's own
character in the real play itself; but Robson was nervous of venturing
on a purely "legitimate" _rôle_. I was half persuaded to write a
burlesque on "A New Way to pay Old Debts," and Robson had promised to do
his very best with _Sir Giles_; but a feeling, half of laziness, and
half of reverence for the fine old drama, came over me, and I never got
farther than the first scene.

By this time some of the foremost dramatists in London thought they
could discern in Robson latent characteristics of a nature far more
elevated than those which his previous performances had brought into
play. It was decided by those who had a right to render an authoritative
verdict, that he would shine best in that which we call the "domestic
drama." Here it was thought his broad fun, rustic waggery, and curious
mastery of provincial dialect might admirably contrast with the
melodramatic intensity, and the homely, but touching pathos of which in
so eminent a degree he was the master. Hence the dramas, written
expressly and deliberately to his measure and capacity, of "Daddy
Hardacre," "The Porter's Knot," and "The Chimney-Corner." When I say
written, I mean, of course, translated. Our foremost dramatists have not
yet ceased to borrow from the French; but, like the gypsies, they so
skilfully mutilate the children they have stolen, that the theft becomes
almost impossible to detect. Not one person in five hundred, for
instance, would discover at first sight that a play so apparently
English in conception and structure as the "Ticket-of-Leave Man" is, in
reality, a translation from the French.

The success achieved by Robson in the dramas I have named was extended,
and was genuine. In _Daddy Hardacre_, a skilful adaptation of the usurer
in Balzac's "Eugénie Grandet," he was tremendous. It made me more than
ever wishful to see him in the griping, ruthless _Overreach_, foiled at
last in his wicked ambition and driven to frenzy by the destruction of
the document by which he thought to satisfy his lust of gain. Molière's
_Avare_ I thought he would have acted wonderfully; Ben Jonson's
_Volpone_, in "The Fox," he would surely have understood, and powerfully
rendered. In the devoted father of "The Porter's Knot" he was likewise
most excellent: quiet, unaffected, unobtrusive, never forcing sentiment
upon you, never obtaining tears by false pretences, but throughout
solid, sterling, natural, admirable. I came at last, however, to the
conviction, that, marked as was the distinction gained by this good
actor in parts such as these, and as the lighthouse-keeper--the
character originally sustained in private by Charles Dickens--in Wilkie
Collins's play, domestic drama was not his _forte_; or, rather, that it
was not his _fortissimo_. In fantastic burlesque, in the comic-terrible,
he was unrivalled and inimitable. In the domestic drama he could hardly
be surpassed, but he might be approached. Webster, Emery, Addison, could
play _Daddy Hardacre_, or the father in "The Porter's Knot"; but none
but himself could at once awe and convulse in _Medea_ and _the Yellow
Dwarf_. These domestic dramas interested, however, as much by their
subject as by the excellence of his acting. Moreover, the public are apt
sometimes to grow weary of burlesques,--their eternal grimacing and
word-torturing and negro-singing and dancing. Themes for parody become
exhausted, and, without long surcease, would not bear repetition. You
may grow puns, like tobacco, until the soil is utterly worn out. The
burlesque-writers, too, exhibited signs of weariness and feebleness.
Planché retired into the Heralds' College. The cleverest of the Broughs
died. His surviving brother was stupid. Talfourd went to the law before
he found an early grave. Hale went to India. The younger generation were
scarcely fit to write pantomimes, and it was not always Christmas.
Besides, Robson had become a manager, and thought, perhaps, that
weightier parts became him. In copartnership with Mr. Emden, he had
succeeded Alfred Wigan as lessee of the Olympic, and there I hope he has
realized a fortune. But whenever his brief vacations occurred, and
actor-like he proceeded to turn them into gold by devoting to
performances in country-theatres those days and nights which should
properly have been given to rest and peace, he proved faithful to his
old loves, and _Jem Baggs_ and _Boots at the Swan_, _Medea_ and _the
Yellow Dwarf_, continued to be his favorite parts.

The popularity attained in England by this most remarkable of modern
actors has never, since the public were first aware of his qualities,
decreased. Robson is always sure to draw. The nights of his playing, or
of his non-playing, at the Olympic, are as sure a gauge of the receipts
as the rising and falling of the mercury in the thermometer are of the
variations of the temperature. A month's absence of Robson from London
always brought about an alarming depletion in the Olympic treasury.
Unhappily, these absences have of late years become more frequent, and
more and more prolonged. The health of the great tragi-comedian has
gradually failed him. I have been for a long period without news from
him; but I much fear that the heyday of his health and strength is past.
The errors which made Edmund Kean, in the prime of life, a shattered
wreck, cannot be brought home to Frederick Robson. Rumors, the wildest
and the wickedest, have been circulated about him, as about every other
public man; but, to the best of my knowledge and belief, they are wholly
destitute of foundation. _Don Basilio_, in Beaumarchais's play, might
have added some very pregnant advice to his memorable counsel,
"_Calomniez, calomniez, il en résultera toujours quelque chose_." He
should have taught the world--if the world wants teaching--_how_ to
calumniate. The following recipe will be found, I think, infallible. If
your enemy be a man of studious and retired habits, hint that he has
gone mad; if you see him alone at a theatre or at church, report that he
is separated from his wife; _and in any case, declare that he drinks_.
He can't disprove it. If he drinks water out-of-doors, he may drink like
a fish at home. If he walks straight on the street, he may reel in the
parlor.

Thus, scores of times, the gossip-mongers of English provincial
papers--the legion of "our own correspondents," who are a nuisance and a
curse to reputable society, wherever that society is to be found--have
attributed the vacillating health and the intermittent retirements from
the stage of the great actor to an over-fondness for brandy-and-water.
The sorrowful secret of all this is, I apprehend, that poor Robson has
for years been overworking himself,--and that latterly prosperity has
laid as heavy a tax upon his time and energy as necessity imposed upon
them when he was young. Dame Fortune, whether she smile, or whether she
frown, never ceases to be a despot. Over Dives and over Lazarus she
equally tyrannizes. In wealth and in poverty does she exact the pound of
flesh or the pound of soul. There are seasons in a man's life when
Fortune with a radiant savageness cries out to him, "Confound you! you
_shall_ make fifty thousand a year"; and she drives him onward to the
goal quite as remorselessly as ever slave-owner drove negro into a
rice-ground. The whip that is made of golden wire hurts quite as much, I
opine, as the cowhide. And when, at last, the fortunate man cries out,
"I am rich, I have enough, _Sat me lusistis, ludite nunc alios_, I will
work and fret myself no more, I will retire on my dividends, and sit me
down under my own fig-tree,"--Fortune dismisses him with a sneer:
"Retire, if you like!" cries the implacable, "but take hypochondria and
_ennui_, take gout and the palsy, with you."

I should be infinitely rejoiced to hear, when I go back, that Robson is
once more a hale and valid man. It is the tritest of platitudes to say
that he could ill be spared by the English stage. We never _can_ spare a
good actor. As well can we spare a good book or a good picture. But
there would be much cause for gratulation, if Robson were spared, ere
his powers definitively decline, to visit the United States. The
American people ought to see Robson. They have had our tragedians, good,
bad, and indifferent. They have filled the pockets of William Macready
and of Charles Kean with dollars. They have heard our men-singers and
our women-singers,--the birds that can sing, and the birds that can't
sing, but _will_ sing. The most notable of our drolls, Buckstone and
Keeley, have been here, and have received a cordial welcome. But Robson
has hitherto been lacking on this side the Atlantic. That he would be
thoroughly appreciated by the theatrical public of America I cannot for
one instant doubt. It is given to England to produce eccentrics, but for
other nations to understand them better than the English do. The Germans
are better critics of the satire of Hogarth, the French of the humor of
Sterne, and the Americans of the philosophy of Shakspeare, than we to
whose country those illustrious belong. In Boston, in New York, in
Philadelphia, crowded and enthusiastic audiences would, I venture to
foretell, hang on the utterances of Robson, and expound to their own
entire satisfaction his most eloquent by-play, his subtlest gestures. It
would be idle, in the endeavor to give him something like a palpable
aspect to people who have never seen him, to compare him with other
great actors yet extant, or who have gone before. In his bursts of
passion, in his vehement soliloquies, in the soul-harrowing force of his
simulated invective, he is said to resemble Edmund Kean; but how are you
to judge of an actor who in his comic moments certainly approaches the
image we have formed to ourselves of Munden and Dowton, of Bannister and
Suett? To say that he is a Genius, and the Prince of Eccentrics, is
perhaps the only way to cut the Gordian knot of criticism in his
instance.

Let me add, in conclusion, that Robson, off the stage, is one of the
mildest, modestest, most unassuming of men. Painfully nervous he always
was. I remember, a dozen years since, and when I was personally
unacquainted with him, writing in some London newspaper a eulogistic
criticism on one of his performances. I learned from friends that he had
read the article, and had expressed himself as deeply grateful to me for
it. I just knew him by sight; but for months afterwards, if I met him in
the street, he used to blush crimson, and made as sudden a retreat round
the nearest corner as was possible. He said afterwards that he hadn't
the courage to thank me. I brought him to bay at last, and came to know
him very well; and then I discovered how the nervousness, the
bashfulness, the _mauvaise honte_, which made him so shy and retiring in
private, stood him in wonderful stead on the stage. The nervous man
became the fretful and capricious tyrant of mock tragedy; the bashful
man warmed at the foot-lights with passion and power. The manner which
in society was a drawback and a defect became in the pursuit of his art
a charm and an excellence. What new parts may be created for Robson, and
how he will acquit himself in them, I cannot presume to prophesy; but it
is certain that he has already done enough to win for himself in the
temple of dramatic fame a niche all the more to be envied, as its form
and pattern must be, like its occupant, unprecedented and original.



THE PARALLEL ROADS OF GLEN ROY, IN SCOTLAND.


There are phenomena in Nature which give the clue to so many of its
mysteries that their correct interpretation leads at once to the
broadest generalizations and to the rapid advance of science in new
directions. The explanation of one very local and limited problem may
clear up many collateral ones, since its solution includes the answer to
a whole set of kindred inquiries. The "parallel roads" of Glen Roy offer
such a problem. For half a century they have been the subject of patient
investigation and the boldest speculation. To them natural philosophers
have returned again and again to test their theories, and until they are
fully understood no steady or permanent advance can be made in the
various views which they have suggested to different observers. The
theory of the formation of lakes by barriers, presented by McCulloch and
Sir T. Lauder-Dick, that of continental upheavals and subsidences,
advocated by Sir Charles Lyell and Charles Darwin, that of inundations
by great floods, maintained by Professor H. D. Rogers and Sir George
Mackenzie, that of glacial action, brought forward by myself, have been
duly discussed with reference to this difficult case; all have found
their advocates, all have met with warm opposition, and the matter still
remains a mooted point; but the one of all these theories which shall
stand the test of time and repeated examination and be eventually
accepted will explain many a problem besides the one it was meant to
solve, and lead to farther progress in other directions.

I propose here to reconsider the facts of the case, and to present anew
my own explanation of them, now more than twenty years old, but which I
have never had an opportunity of publishing in detail under a popular
form, though it appeared in the scientific journals of the day.

Before considering, however, the phenomena of Glen Roy, or the special
glacial areas scattered over Scotland and the other British Isles, let
us see what general evidence we have that glaciers ever existed at all
in that realm. The reader will pardon me, if, at the risk of repetition,
I sum up here the indications which, from our knowledge of glaciers as
they at present exist, must be admitted, wherever they are found, as
proof of their former existence. Such a summary may serve also as a
guide to those who would look for glacial traces where they have not
hitherto been sought.

In the first place, we have to consider the singular abrasion of the
surfaces over which the glacier has moved, quite unlike that produced by
the action of water. We have seen that such surfaces, wherever the
glacier-marks have not been erased by some subsequent action, have
several unfailing characteristics: they are highly polished, and they
are also marked with scratches or fine _striæ_, with grooves and deeper
furrows. Where best preserved, the smooth surfaces are shining; they
have a lustre like stone or marble artificially polished by the combined
friction and pressure of some harder material than itself until all its
inequalities have been completely levelled and its surface has become
glossy. Any marble mantel-piece may serve as an example of this kind of
glacier-worn surface.

The levelling and abrading action of water on rock has an entirely
different character. Tides or currents driven powerfully and constantly
against a rocky shore, and bringing with them hard materials, may
produce blunt, smooth surfaces, such as the repeated blows of a hammer
on stone would cause; but they never bring it to a high polish, because,
the grinding materials not being held steadily down, in firm, permanent
contact with the rocky surfaces against which they move, as is the case
with the glacier, but, on the contrary, dashed to and fro, they strike
and rebound, making a succession of blows, but never a continuous,
uninterrupted pressure and friction. The same is true of all the marks
made on rocky shores against which loose materials are driven by
water-currents. They are separate, disconnected, fragmentary; whereas
the lines drawn by the hard materials set in the glacier, whether light
and fine or strong and deep, are continuous, often unbroken for long
distances, and rectilinear. Indeed, we have seen[A] that we have beneath
every glacier a complete apparatus adapted to all the results described
above. In the softer fragments ground to the finest powder under the
incumbent mass we have a polishing paste; in the hard materials set in
that paste, whether pebbles, or angular rocky fragments of different
sizes, or grains of sand, we have the various graving instruments by
which the finer or coarser lines are drawn. Not only are these lines
frequently uninterrupted for a distance of many yards, but they are also
parallel, except when some change takes place in the thickness of the
ice, which may slightly modify the trend of the mass, or where lines in
a variety of directions are produced by the intermittent action of
separate glaciers running successively at different angles over the same
surfaces. The deeper grooves sometimes present a succession of short
staccato touches, just as when one presses the finger vertically along
some surface where the resistance is sufficient to interrupt the action
without actually stopping it,--a kind of grating motion, showing how
firmly the instrument which produced it must have been held in the
moving mass. No currents or sudden freshets carrying hard materials with
them, even moving along straight paths down hill-sides or
mountain-slopes, have ever been known to draw any such lines. They could
be made only by some instrument held fast as in a vice by the moving
power. Something of the kind is occasionally produced by the drag of a
wheel grating over rocks covered with loose materials.

It has been said that grounded ice or icebergs floating along a rocky
shore might produce similar marks; but they will chiefly be at the level
of high-water mark, and, if grounded, they will trend in various
directions, owing to the rocking or rotating movement of the iceberg. It
has also been urged, that, without admitting any general glacier-period,
icebergs and floating ice from more northern latitudes might account for
the extensive transportation of the loose materials scattered in a
continuous sheet over a large portion of the globe. There can be no
doubt that an immense amount of _débris_ of all sorts is carried to
great distances by floating ice; where their presence is due to this
cause, however, they are everywhere stranded along the shore or dropped
to the sea-bottom. Large boulders are frequently left by the ice along
the New-England coast, and we shall trace them hereafter among the
sand-dunes of Cape Cod. But before it can be admitted that the
drift-phenomena, and the polished and engraved surfaces with which they
are everywhere intimately associated, are owing to floating ice or
icebergs, it must be shown that all these appearances have been produced
by some agency moving from the sea-board towards the land, and extending
up to the very summits of the mountains, or else that all the countries
exhibiting glacial phenomena have been sunk below the ocean to the
greatest height at which glacier-marks are found, and have since
gradually emerged to their present level. Now, though geologists are
lavish of immersions when something is to be accounted for which they
cannot otherwise explain, and a fresh baptism of old Mother Earth is
made to wash away many obstacles to scientific theories, yet the common
sense of the world will hardly admit the latter assumption without
positive proof, and all the evidence of the kind we have, at the period
under consideration, indicates only a comparatively slight change of
relative level between sea and land within a narrow belt along the
shores; and even this is shown to be posterior, not anterior, to the
glacial phenomena. As to the supposition that the motion proceeded from
the sea towards the land, all the facts are against it, since the whole
trend of these phenomena is from inland centres toward the shore,
instead of being from the coast upward.

Certainly, no one familiar with the facts could suppose that floating
ice or icebergs had abraded, polished, and furrowed the bottom of narrow
valleys as we find them worn, polished, and grooved by glaciers. And it
must be remembered that this is a theory founded not upon hypothesis,
but upon the closest comparison. I have not become acquainted with these
marks in regions where glaciers no longer exist, and made a theory to
explain their presence. I have, on the contrary, studied them where they
are in process of formation. I have seen the glacier engrave its lines,
plough its grooves and furrows in the solid rock, and polish the
surfaces over which it moved, and was familiar with all this when I
found afterwards appearances corresponding exactly to those which I had
investigated in the home of the present glaciers. I could therefore say,
and I think with some reason, that "this also is the work of the glacier
acting in ancient times as it now acts in Switzerland."

There is another character of glacial action distinguishing it from any
abrasions caused by water, even if freighted with a large amount of
loose materials. On any surface over which water flows we shall find
that the softer materials have yielded first and most completely. Hard
dikes will be left standing out, while softer rocks around them are worn
away,--furrows will be eaten into more deeply,--fissures will be
widened,--clay-slates will be wasted,--while hard sandstone or limestone
and granite will show greater resistance. Not so with surfaces over
which the levelling plough of the glacier has passed. Wherever softer
and harder rocks alternate, they are brought to one outline; where dikes
intersect softer rock, they are cut to one level with it; where rents or
fissures traverse the rock, they do not seem to have been widened or
scooped out more deeply, but their edges are simply abraded on one line
with the adjoining surfaces. Whatever be the inequality in the hardness
of the materials of which the rock consists, even in the case of
pudding-stone, the surface is abraded so evenly as to leave the
impression that a rigid rasp has moved over all the undulations of the
land, advancing in one and the same direction and levelling all before
it.

Among the inequalities of the glacier-worn surfaces which deserve
especial notice, are the so-called "_roches moutonnées_." They are
knolls of a peculiar appearance, frequent in the Alps, and first noticed
by the illustrious De Saussure, who designated them by that name,
because, where they are numerous and seen from a distance, they resemble
the rounded backs of a flock of sheep resting on the ground. These
knolls are the result of the prolonged abrasion of masses of rocks
separated by deep indentations wide enough to be filled up by large
glaciers, overtopping the summits of the intervening prominences, and
passing over them like a river, or like tide-currents flowing over a
submerged ledge of rock. It is evident that water rushing over such
sunken hills or ledges, adapting itself readily to all the inequalities
over which it flows, and forming eddies against the obstacles in its
course, will scoop out tortuous furrows upon the bottom, and hollow out
rounded cavities against the walls, acting especially along preëxisting
fissures and upon the softer parts of the rock,--while the glacier,
moving as a solid mass, and carrying on its under side its gigantic file
set in a fine paste, will in course of time abrade uniformly the angles
against which it strikes, equalize the depressions between the prominent
masses, and round them off until they present those smooth bulging
knolls known as the "_roches moutonnées_" in the Alps, and so
characteristic everywhere of glacier-action. A comparison of any
tide-worn hummock with such a glacier-worn mound will convince the
observer that its smooth and evenly rounded surface was never produced
by water.

Besides their peculiar form, the _roches moutonnées_ present all the
characteristic features of glacier-action in their polished surfaces
accompanied with the straight lines, grooves, and furrows above
described. But there are two circumstances connected with these knolls
deserving special notice. They frequently present the glacial marks only
on one side, while the opposite side has all the irregularities and
roughness of a hill-slope not acted upon by ice. It is evident that the
polished side was the one turned towards the advancing glacier, the side
against which the ice pressed in its onward movement,--while it passed
over the other side, the lee side as we may call it, without coming in
immediate contact with it, bridging the depression, and touching bottom
again a little farther on. As an additional evidence of this fact, we
frequently find on the lee side of such knolls accumulations of the
loose materials which the glacier carries with it. It is only, however,
when the knolls are quite high, and abrupt enough to allow any rigid
substance to bridge over the space in its descent from the summit to the
surface below, that we find these conditions; when the knolls are low
and slope gently downward in every direction, they present the
characteristic glacier-surfaces equally on all sides. This circumstance
should be borne in mind by all who investigate the traces of
glacier-action; for this inequality in the surfaces presented by the
opposite sides of any obstacle in the path of the ice is often an
important means of determining the direction of its motion.

The other characteristic peculiarity of these _roches moutonnées_
consists in the direction of the glacier-scratches, which ascend the
slope to its summit in a direct line on one side, while they deviate to
the right and left on the other sides of the knoll, more or less
obliquely according to its steepness. Occasionally, large boulders may
be found perched on the very summit of such prominences. Their position
is inexplicable by the supposition of currents as the cause of their
transportation. Any current strong enough to carry a boulder to such a
height would of course sweep it on with it. This phenomenon finds,
however, an easy explanation in the glacial theory. The thickness of
such a sheet of ice is of course less above such a hill or mound than
over the lower levels adjoining it. Not only will the ice melt,
therefore, more readily at this spot, but, as ice is transparent to
heat, the summit of the prominence will become warmed by the rays of the
sun, and will itself facilitate the melting of the ice above it. On the
breaking up of the ice, therefore, such a spot will be the first to
yield, and allow the boulders carried on the back of the glacier to fall
into the hollow thus formed, where they will rest upon the projecting
rock left uncovered. This is no theoretical explanation; there are such
cases in Switzerland, where holes in the ice are formed immediately
above the summit of hills or prominences over which the glacier passes,
and into which it drops its burdens. Of course, where the ice is
constantly renewed over such a spot by the onward progress of the
glacier, these materials may be carried off again; but if we suppose
such a case to occur at the breaking up of the glacier-period, when the
ice was disappearing forever from such a spot, it is easy to account for
the poising of these large boulders on prominent peaks or ledges.

The appearances about the _roches moutonnées_, especially the straight
scratches and grooves on the side up which the ice ascended, have led to
a mistaken view of the mode in which large boulders are transported by
ice. It has been supposed, by those who, while they accepted the glacial
theory, were not wholly conversant with the mode of action of glaciers,
that, in passing through the bottom of a valley, for instance, the
glacier would take up large boulders, and, carrying them along with it,
would push them up such a slope and deposit them on its summit. It is
true that large boulders may sometimes be found in front of glaciers
among the materials of their terminal moraines, and may, upon any
advance of the glacier, be pushed forward by it. But I know of no
example of erratic boulders being carried to considerable distances and
raised from lower to higher levels by this means. All the angular
boulders perched upon prominent rocks must have fallen upon the surface
of the glacier in the upper part of its course, where rocky ledges rise
above its surface and send down their broken fragments. The surface of
any boulder carried under the ice, or pushed along for any distance at
its terminus, would show the friction and pressure to which it had been
subjected. In this connection it should be remembered that in the case
of large glaciers low hills form no obstacle to their onward progress,
especially when the glacier is thick enough to cover them completely,
and even to rise far above them. The _roches moutonnées_ about the
Grimsel show that hills many hundred feet high have been passed over by
the great glacier of the Aar, when it descended as far as Meyringen,
without having seemingly influenced its onward progress.

But in enumerating the evidences of glacier-action, we have to remember
not only the effects produced upon the surface of the ground by the ice
itself, but also the deposits it has left behind it. The loose materials
scattered over the face of the earth may point as distinctly to the
source of their distribution as does the character of the rocky surfaces
on which they rest indicate the different causes of abrasion. In
characteristic localities the loose materials deposited by glaciers may
readily be recognized at first sight, and distinguished from water-worn
pebbles; nor is it difficult to distinguish both from loose materials
resulting from the decomposition of rocks on the spot,--the latter
always agreeing with the rocks on which they rest, while the
decomposition to which they owe their separation from the solid rock is
often still going on. Such _débris_ are found everywhere about
disintegrating rocks, and they constantly mingle with the loose
fragments brought from a distance by various agencies. They are found
upon and among the glacier-worn pebbles, especially where the latter
have themselves been disturbed since their accumulation. They are also
found among water-worn pebbles, wherever the rocky beds of our rivers or
the rocky bluffs of our sea-shores crumble down. In investigating the
character of loose materials transported from greater or less distances,
either by the agency of glaciers or by water-currents, it is important
at the very outset to discriminate between these deposits of older date
and the local accessions mingling with them.

Occasionally we may have also to distinguish between all these deposits
and the _débris_ brought down by land-slides, or by sudden freshets
transporting to a distance a vast amount of loose materials which are
neither ice-worn nor water-worn. At Rossberg, for instance, in the
Canton of Schwitz, the land-slide which buried the village of Goldau
under a terrific avalanche, and filled a part of the Lake of Lauertz,
spread an immense number of huge boulders across the valley, some of
which even rolled up the opposite side to a considerable height. Many of
these boulders might easily be mistaken for erratic boulders, were not
the aggregate of these loose materials traceable to the hills from which
they descended. In this case water had no part in loosening or bringing
down this mass of fragments. They simply rolled from the declivity, and
stopped when they had exhausted the momentum imparted to them by their
weight. In the case of the _débâcle_ of Bagnes, above Martigny, in a
valley leading to the St. Bernard, the circumstances were very
different. A glacier, advancing beyond its usual limits and rising
against the opposite mountain-slope, dammed up the waters of the torrent
and caused a lake to be formed. The obstruction gave way in the course
of time, and the waters of the lake rushed out, carrying along with
them huge boulders and a mass of loose materials of all sorts, and
scattering them over the plain below. Such an accumulation of _débris_
differs from the pebbles and loose fragments found in river-beds. The
comparatively short distance over which they are carried, and the
suddenness of the transportation, allow no time for the abrasion which
produces the smooth surfaces of water-worn pebbles or the polished and
scratched surfaces of glacier-worn ones. In the latter case, we have
seen that the pebbles, being so set in the ice as to expose only one
side, may be only partially polished, while others, more loosely held
and turning in their sockets, may receive the same high polish on every
side. In such a case the lines will intersect one another, in
consequence of the different position in which the stone has been held
at different times. No such appearances exist in the water-worn pebbles:
their blunt surfaces, smoothed and rounded uniformly by the action of
the water in which they have been rolled or tossed about, present
everywhere the same aspect.

The correlation between these different loose materials and the position
in which they are found helps us also to detect their origin. The loose
materials bearing glacier-marks are always found resting upon surfaces
which have been worn, abraded, and engraved in the same manner, while
the water-worn pebbles are everywhere found resting upon rocks the
abrasion of which may be traced to water. It is true that in some
localities, as, for instance, in the gravel-pit of Mount Auburn, near
Cambridge, large masses of glacier-worn pebbles alternate with
beach-shingle; but it is easy to show that there was here a glacier
advancing into the sea, crowding its front moraine and the materials
carried under it over and into the shingle washed up by the waves upon
the beach. Not infrequently, also, river-pebbles may be found among
glacial materials. This is especially the case where, after the
disappearance of large glaciers, rivers have occupied their beds.
Examples of this kind may be seen in all the valleys of the Alps.

But, besides the special character of the individual fragments, the true
origin of any accumulation of glacier-_débris_, commonly called drift,
may be detected by the total absence of stratification, so essential a
feature in all water-deposits. This absence of stratification throughout
its mass is, after all, the great and important characteristic of the
drift; and though I have alluded to it before, I reiterate it here, as
that which distinguishes it from all like accumulations under water. I
may be pardoned for dwelling upon this point, because the great
controversy among geologists respecting the nature and origin of the
sheet of loose materials scattered over a great part of the globe turns
upon it. The _débris_ of which the drift consists are thrown together
pell-mell, without any arrangement according to size or weight, larger
and smaller fragments being mixed so indiscriminately that the heaviest
materials may be on the very summit of the mass, and the lightest at the
bottom in immediate contact with the underlying rock, or the larger
pieces may stand at any level in the mass of finer ones. Impalpable
powder, coarse sand, rounded, polished, and scratched fragments of every
size are mixed together in a homogeneous paste, in which the larger
materials are imbedded, to use a homely, but expressive comparison, like
raisins and currants in a pudding. The adhesive paste holding all these
fragments together is, no doubt, the result of the friction to which the
whole was subjected under the glacier, and which has worked some of the
softer materials into a kind of cement.

The mode of aggregation of water-worn materials is very different.
Examine the shingle along our beaches: we find it so distributed as to
show that the fading tide-wave has carried the lighter materials farther
than the heavier ones, and the successive deposits exhibit an imperfect
cross-stratification resulting from changes in the height of the tide
and the direction of the wind. Moreover, in any materials collected
under water we find the heavier ones at the bottom, the lighter on the
top. It is true that large angular boulders may occasionally be found
resting upon beach-shingle, but their presence in such a connection is
easily explained. They may have been dropped there by floating icebergs,
or have fallen from crumbling drift-cliffs.

I should add, in speaking of drift-materials, that, while we find the
large angular boulders resting above them, we occasionally find boulders
of unusual size mingled with them; but, when this is the case, such
massive fragments are more or less rounded, polished, and marked in the
same way as the smaller pebbles, or as the surfaces over which the
glacier has passed. This is important to remember, because, when we
examine the drift in countries where the ice, during the glacier-period,
overtopped nearly all the mountains, so that few fragments could fall
from them upon its surface, we find scarcely any angular boulders, while
the drift is interspersed with larger fragments of this character,
carried under the ice, instead of on its back. Another distinction
between water-worn deposits and drift consists in the fact that the
former are washed clean, while the latter always retains the mud
gathered during its journey and spread throughout its mass.

In summing up the glacial evidences, I must not omit the moraines,
though I have described them so fully in a previous article that I need
not do more than allude to them here; but any argument for the glacial
theory which did not include these characteristic walls erected by
glaciers would be most imperfect. We need hardly discuss the theory of
currents with reference to the formation of terminal moraines, extending
across the valleys from side to side. Any current powerful enough to
bring the boulders and _débris_ of all sorts of which these walls are
composed to the places where they are found would certainly not build
them up with such regularity, but would sweep them away or scatter them
along the bottom of the valley. That this is actually the case is seen
in the lower course of the valley of the Rhone, where there are no
transverse moraines, while they are frequent and undisturbed in the
upper part of the valley. This is no doubt owing to the fact, that, when
the main glacier had already retreated considerably up the valley, the
lateral glaciers from the chains of the Combin and the Diablerets still
reached the valley of the Rhone at a lower point, and barred the outlet
of the waters from the glaciers above. A lake was thus formed, which,
when the lower glaciers retreated up the lateral valleys, swept away all
the lower transverse moraines, and formed the flat bottom of Martigny.
In this case, the moraines were totally obliterated; but there are many
other instances in which the materials have been only broken up and
scattered over a wider surface by currents. In such remodelled moraines,
the glacier-mud has, of course, been more or less washed away. We have
here a blending of the action of water with that of the glacier; and,
indeed, how could it be otherwise, when the colossal glaciers of past
ages gradually disappeared or retreated to the mountain-heights? The
wasting ice must have occasioned immense freshets, the action of which
we shall trace hereafter, when examining the formation of our
drift-ponds, of our river-beds and estuaries, as well as the
river-terraces standing far above the present water-level.

And now, if it be asked how much of this evidence for the former
existence of glaciers is to be found in Great Britain, I answer, that
there is not a valley in Switzerland where all these traces are found in
greater perfection than in the valleys of the Scotch Highlands, or of
the mountains of Ireland and Wales, or of the lake-region in England.
Not a link is wanting to the chain. Polished surfaces, traversed by
striæ, grooves, and furrows, with a sheet of drift resting immediately
upon them, extend throughout the realm,--the _roches moutonnées_
raise their rounded backs from the ground there as in
Switzerland,--transverse moraines bar their valleys and lateral ones
border them, and the boulders from the hill-sides are scattered over the
plains as thickly as between the Alps and the Jura, and are here and
there perched upon the summits of isolated hills. This being the case,
let us examine a little more closely the local phenomena connected with
the ancient extension of glaciers in this region, and especially the
parallel roads of Glen Roy.

[Illustration:

    G. R. Glen Roy.
    M. Moeldhu Hill.
    S. Spean River.
    G. S. Glen Spean.
    L. Loch Laggan.
    T. Loch Treig.
    G. Glen Gloy.
    L. O. Loch Lochy.
    A. Loch Arkeig.
    E. Loch Eil.
    N. Ben Nevis.
    1,2,3. The three parallel roads.]

Among the Grampian Hills, a little to the northeast of Ben Nevis, lies
the valley of Glen Roy, a winding valley trending in a northeasterly
direction, and some ten miles in length. Across the mouth of this
valley, at right angles with it, runs the valley of Glen Spean, trending
from east to west, Glen Roy thus opening directly at its southern
extremity into Glen Spean. Around the walls of the Glen Roy valley run
three terraces, one above the other, at different heights, like so many
roads artificially cut in the sides of the valley, and indeed they go by
the name of the "parallel roads." These three terraces, though in a less
perfect state of preservation, are repeated for a short distance at
exactly the same levels on the southern wall of the valley of Glen
Spean, just opposite the opening of the Glen Roy valley; that is, they
make the whole circuit of Glen Roy, stop abruptly, on both sides, at its
southern extremity, and reappear again on the opposite wall of Glen
Spean. I should add, however, that all three do not come to this sudden
termination; for the lowest of these terraces turns eastward into the
valley of Glen Spean, following the whole curve of the eastern half of
the valley, while, of the two upper terraces, there is no trace
whatever, nor is there any indication that either of the three ever
existed in the western half of the valley. When I first visited the
region, these phenomena had already been the subject of earnest
discussion among English geologists. The commonly accepted explanation
of the facts was that these terraces marked ancient sea-levels at a time
when the ocean penetrated much farther into the interior, and Glen Roy
and the adjoining valleys were as many fiords or estuaries. And though
the present elevation of the locality made such an interpretation
improbable at first sight, the first or highest of the terraces being
eleven hundred and forty-four feet above the present sea-level, the
second eighty-two feet below the first, and the third and lowest two
hundred and twelve feet below the second, or eight hundred odd feet
above the level of the sea, it was thought that the oscillations of the
land, its alternate subsidences and upheavals, proved by the modern
results of geology to have been so great and so frequent, might account
even for so remarkable a change. There are, however, other objections to
this theory not so easily explained away. There are no traces of organic
life upon these terraces. If they were ancient sea-beaches, we should
expect to find upon them the remains of marine animals, shells,
crustacea, and the like. All the explanations given to lessen the
significance of this absence of organic remains are futile. Again, why
should the lower terrace alone be continued into the eastern end of the
valley of Glen Spean, while there are no terraces at all in its western
part, since both must have been as fully open to the sea as Glen Roy
valley itself? This seemed the more inexplicable since all the terraces
exist on the valley-wall opposite the outlet of Glen Roy, showing that
this sheet of water, wherever it came from, filled the valley itself and
the space between it and the southern wall of Glen Spean, but failed to
spread, on either side of that space, into the eastern and western
extension of Glen Spean. It is evident, that, at the time the water
filled Glen Roy, some obstruction blocked the valley of Glen Spean, both
to the east and west, leaving, however, that space in the centre free
into which Glen Roy opens, while, by the time the water had sunk to the
level of the lowest terrace, one of these barriers, that to the east,
must have been removed, for the lowest terrace, as I have said, is
continuous throughout the eastern part of Glen Spean.[B]

Prepossessed as I was with the idea of glacial agency in times anterior
to ours, these phenomena appeared to me under a new aspect. I found the
bottom of Glen Spean so worn by glacial action as to leave no doubt in
my mind that it must have been the bed of a great glacier, and Dr.
Buckland fully concurred with me in this impression. Indeed, the face of
the country throughout that region presents not only the glacier-marks
in great perfection, but other evidences of the ancient presence of
glaciers. There are moraines at the lower end of Glen Spean, remodelled,
it is true, by the action of currents, but still retaining enough of
their ancient character to be easily recognized; and some of the finest
examples of the _roches moutonnées_ I have seen in Scotland are to be
found at the entrance of the valley of Loch Treig, a lateral valley
opening into Glen Spean on its southern side, and, as we shall see
hereafter, intimately connected with the history of the parallel roads
of Glen Roy. These _roches moutonnées_ may very fairly be compared with
those of the Grimsel, and exhibit all the characteristic features of the
Alpine ones. One of them, lying on the western side of the valley where
it opens into Glen Spean, is crossed by a trap-dike. The general surface
of the hill, consisting of rather soft mica, has been slightly worn down
by atmospheric agencies, so that the dike stands out some three-quarters
of an inch above it. On the dike, however, the glacier-marks extend for
its whole length in great perfection, while they have entirely
disappeared from the surrounding surfaces, so as to leave the dike thus
standing out in full relief. This is an instructive case, showing how
little disintegration has gone on since the drift-period. All the
currents that have swept over it, all the rains that have beaten upon
it, have not worn away one inch from the original surface of the hill. I
have observed many other _roches moutonnées_ in Scotland, especially
about the neighborhood of Loch Awe, Loch Fyne, and Loch Etive. In fact,
they may be found in almost all the glens of Scotland, in the
lake-region of England, and in the valleys of Wales and Ireland.

Following the glacial indications wherever we could find them in the
country about Glen Roy, it became evident to me that the whole western
range of the Grampian Hills had once been a great centre of glaciers,
that they had come down toward Glen Spean through all the valleys on the
mountain-slopes to the north and south of it, so that this valley had
become, as it were, the great drainage-bed for the masses of ice thus
poured into it laterally, and moving down the valley from east to west
as one immense glacier. It is natural to suppose, that, at the
breaking-up of the great sheet of ice which, if my view of the case is
correct, must have covered the whole country at this time, the ice would
yield more readily in a valley like that of Glen Roy, lying open to the
south and receiving the full force of the sun, than in those on the
opposite side of Glen Spean, opening to the north. At all events, it is
evident that at some time posterior to this universal glacial period,
when the ice began to retreat, Glen Roy became the basin of a glacial
lake such as we now find in the Alps of Switzerland, where occasionally
a closed valley becomes a trough, as it were, into which the water from
the surrounding hills is drained. In such a lake no animals are found,
such as exist in any other sheet of fresh water, and this would account
for the absence of any organic remains on the terraces of Glen Roy. But
at first sight it seemed that this theory was open in one respect to the
same objection as the other. What prevented this sheet of water from
spreading east and west in Glen Spean? If it not only filled Glen Roy,
but extended to the southern side of Glen Spean immediately opposite
the opening of Glen Roy, what prevented it from filling the whole of
that valley also? In endeavoring to answer this question, I found the
solution of the mystery.

The bed of Glen Spean, through its whole extent from east to west, is
marked, as I have said, by glacial action, in rectilinear scratches and
furrows. This westward track of the main glacier is crossed transversely
near the centre of the valley by two other glacier-tracks cutting it at
right angles. Upon tracing these cross-tracks carefully, I became
satisfied, that, after the surrounding ice had begun to yield, after the
masses of ice which descended from the northern and southern slopes of
the mountains into Glen Spean had begun to retreat, and to form local
limited glaciers, two of those lateral glaciers, one coming down from
Ben Nevis on the southwest, the other from Loch Treig on the southeast,
extended farther than the others and stretched across Glen Spean.[C]
These two glaciers for a long time formed barriers across the western
and eastern extension of this valley, damming back the waters which
filled Glen Roy and the central part of Glen Spean.

Evidently the glacier descending from Loch Treig was the first to yield,
for, by the time the Glen Roy lake had sunk to the level of the lowest
terrace, the entrance to the eastern extension of the valley must have
been free, otherwise the water could not have spread throughout that
basin as we find it did; but it would seem that by the time the western
barrier, or the glacier from Ben Nevis, was removed, the sheet of water
was too far reduced to have left permanent marks of its outflow into the
Great Glen, except by disturbing and remodelling the large moraines of
the older Glen Spean glacier. There are faint indications of other
terraces in Glen Roy, even at a higher level than the uppermost parallel
road, owing their origin probably to the short duration of a higher
level of the glacier-lake, when the great general glacier had not yet
been lowered to a more permanent level determined by a limited
circumscription within the walls of the valleys. There are other
terraces in neighboring valleys at still different levels,--in Glen
Gloy, for instance, where the one horizontal road was no doubt formed in
consequence of the damming of the valley by a glacier from Loch Arkeig.
Mr. Darwin has seen another in Glen Kinfillen, which I would explain by
the presence of a glacier in the Great Glen, the marks of which are
particularly distinct about the eastern end of Glen Garry.

The evidence of the ancient presence of glaciers is no less striking in
other parts of the Scotch Highlands. Between the southeastern range of
the Grampian Hills, in Forfarshire and Perthshire, and the opposite
ridge of Sidlaw Hills, stretches the broad valley of Strathmore. At the
time when Glen Spean received the masses of ice from the slopes of the
western Grampian range, the glaciers descended from the valleys on the
southern slope of the southeastern range and from those on the northern
slope of Sidlaw Hills into the capacious bed of the valley which divides
them. The glacial phenomena of this region present a striking
resemblance in their general relations to those of the Alps and the
Jura. The Grampian range on the northern side of Strathmore valley
occupies the same position in reference to that of the Sidlaw Hills
opposite, as does the range of the Alps to that of the Jura, while the
intervening valley may be compared to the plain of Switzerland. As from
the Bernese Oberland and from the valleys of the Reuss and Limmath
gigantic glaciers came down and stretched across the plain of
Switzerland to the Jura, scattering their erratic boulders over its
summit and upon its slopes at the time of their greater extension, and,
as they withdrew into the higher Alpine valleys, leaving them along
their retreating track at the foot of the Jura and over the whole plain,
so did the glaciers from Glen Prossen and parallel valleys on the
Grampian Mountains extend across the valley of Strathmore, dropping
their boulders not only on the slopes and along the base of the Sidlaw
Hills, but scattering them in their retreat throughout the valley, until
they were themselves reduced to isolated glaciers in the higher valleys.
At the same time other glaciers came down from the heights of
Schihallion on the west, and, descending through the valley of the Tay,
joined the great masses of ice in the valley of Strathmore, thus
combining with the eastern ice-field, just as the glacier from Mont
Blanc and the valley of the Rhone formerly combined in the western part
of Switzerland with those of the Bernese Oberland. The relations are
identical, though the geographical position is reversed,--the higher
range, or the Grampian Hills, lying to the north in Scotland, and the
lower one, or the Sidlaw Hills, to the south, while in Switzerland, on
the contrary, the higher range lies to the south and the lower to the
north. I have alluded especially to Glen Prossen because the glacial
marks in that valley are remarkably distinct, the whole bed of the
valley being scratched, polished, and furrowed by the great rasp which
has moved over it, while the concentric moraines at its lower extremity
are very striking. But these signs, so perfectly preserved in Glen
Prossen, recur with greater or less intensity in all the corresponding
valleys, leaving no doubt that the same phenomena existed over the whole
region.

Among the localities of Scotland where the indications of glacial action
are most marked is the region about Stirling. Near Stirling Castle the
polished surfaces of the rocks with their distinct grooves and scratches
show us the path followed by the ice as it moved down in a northeasterly
direction toward the Frith of Forth from the mountains on the northwest.
To the west of Edinburgh, also, there is a broad glacier-track, showing
that here also the ice was ploughing its way eastward to find an outlet
on the shore.

The western slope of the great Scotch range is no less remarkable for
its glacier-traces. The heads of Loch Long, Loch Fyne, Loch Awe, and
Loch Leven everywhere show upon their margins the most distinct glacial
polish and furrows, while from the trend of these marks and the
distribution of the moraines, especially about Ben Cruachan, it is
obvious that in this part of the country the glaciers moved westward and
southward. About Aberdeen, on the contrary, they moved eastward, while
in the vicinity of Elgin they advanced toward the north.

It thus appears that the whole range of the Grampians formed a great
centre for the distribution of glaciers, and that a colossal ice-field
spread itself over the whole country, extending in every direction
toward the lower lands and the sea-shore. As the glaciers which now
descend through all the valleys of the Alps, along their northern as
well as their southern slopes, and in their eastern as well as their
western prolongation, though limited, in our days, within the
valley-walls, nevertheless once covered the plain of Switzerland and
that of Northern Italy, so did the ice-fields of the Grampians during
the greatest extension of the Scotch glaciers spread over the whole
country. They also were, in course of time, reduced to local glaciers,
circumscribed within the higher valleys of the more mountainous parts of
the country, until they totally disappeared, as those of Switzerland
would also have done, had it not been for the greater elevation of that
country above the level of the sea. Scotland nowhere rises above the
present level of perpetual snow, while in Switzerland the whole Alpine
range has an altitude favorable to the preservation of glaciers. In the
range of the Jura, however, which had at one time its local glaciers
also, but which nowhere now rises above the line of perpetual snow, they
have disappeared as completely as in the Grampian Hills.

It would lead me too far, were I to give here a special account of all
the investigations I made in 1840 upon the distribution of glaciers in
Great Britain. I will therefore only point out a few of the more
distinct areas of distribution. The region surrounding Ben Wyvis formed
such a centre of dispersion from which glaciers radiated, and we have
another in the Pentland Hills about Edinburgh. In Northumberland, the
Cheviot Hills present a glacial centre of the same kind, and in the
Westmoreland Hills we have still another. In the last-named locality,
the glacial tracks can be followed in various directions, some of them
descending toward the northwest from the heights of Helvellyn, others
moving southward toward Ambleside. In Wales the same kind of glacial
distribution has been observed; but, as Professor Ramsay has treated
this subject in full, I would refer my readers to his masterly work for
a further account of the ancient Welch glaciers. In Ireland I had also
opportunities of making extensive local investigations of glacial
action. I observed the centres of distribution in the neighborhood of
Belfast, in the County of Wicklow, and in Cavan.

But nowhere are these phenomena more striking than in Fermanagh County
about the neighborhood of Enniskillen, and more especially in the
immediate vicinity of Florence Court, the seat of the Earl of
Enniskillen. On the northern slope of Ben Calcagh are five valleys lying
parallel with each other and opening into the valley of Loch Nilly,
which runs from east to west at the base of the mountain. A road now
passes through this valley, and, where it crosses the mouth of either of
the five valleys rising towards the mountain-slope, it cuts alternately
through the two horns of a crescent-shaped wall which bars the lower end
of every one of them. These crescent-shaped mounds are so many terminal
moraines, built up by the five glaciers formerly descending through
these lateral valleys into the valley of Loch Nilly. They bore the same
relation to each other as the glaciers de Tour and d'Argentière, the
Glacier des Bois with the Mer de Glace, the Glacier des Bossons and the
Glacier de Taconet, now bear to each other in the valley of Chamouni;
and were it not for the smaller dimensions of the whole, any one
familiar with the tracks of ancient glaciers might easily fancy himself
crossing the ancient moraines at the foot of the northern slope of the
range of Mont Blanc, through which the Arve has cut its channel, the
valley of Chamouni standing in the same relation to Mont Blanc as the
valley of Loch Nilly does to Ben Calcagh.

I have dwelt thus at length on the glaciers of Great Britain because
they have been the subject of my personal investigations. But the Scotch
Highlands and the mountains of Wales and Ireland are but a few of the
many centres of glacial distribution in Europe. From the Scandinavian
Alps glaciers descended also to the shores of the Northern Ocean and the
Baltic Sea. There is not a fiord of the Norway shore that does not bear
upon its sides the tracks of the great masses of ice which once forced
their way through it, and thus found an outlet into the sea, as in
Scotland. Indeed, under the water, as far as it is possible to follow
them through the transparent medium, I have noticed in Great Britain and
in the United States the same traces of glacial action as higher up, so
that these ancient glaciers must have extended not only to the
sea-shore, but into the ocean, as they do now in Greenland. Nor is this
all. Scandinavian boulders, scattered upon English soil and over the
plains of Northern Germany, tell us that not only the Baltic Sea, but
the German Ocean also, was bridged across by ice, on which these masses
of rock were transported. In short, over the whole of Northern Europe,
from the Arctic Ocean to the northern borders of its southern
promontories, we find all the usual indications of glacial action,
showing that a continuous sheet of ice once spread over nearly the whole
continent, while from all the mountain-ranges descended those more
limited glacial tracks terminating frequently in transverse moraines
across the valleys, showing, that, as the general ice-sheet broke up and
contracted into local glaciers, every cluster or chain of hills became a
centre of glacial dispersion, such as the Alps are now, such as the
Jura, the Highlands of Scotland, the mountains of Wales and Ireland, the
Alps of Scandinavia, the Hartz, the Black Forest, the Vosges, and many
others have been in ancient times.

       *       *       *       *       *

In the next article we shall consider the glacial phenomena as they
exist in America.

FOOTNOTES:

[A] See January No., p. 61.

[B] Having enumerated the characteristic features of the glacial
phenomena in the preceding pages, I throw into this note some
explanation which may render my views of the parallel roads more
intelligible, not to interrupt again the exposition with details. It
would be desirable, however, that the reader should first make himself
thoroughly familiar with the localities concerned, before proceeding any
farther. I would therefore state here, that, in the wood-cut opposite,
G. R. indicates the valley of Glen Roy, with the three parallel roads
marked 1, 2, 3. Glen Spean is designated by G. S., and the river flowing
at its bottom by S. Loch Laggan, out of which the River Spean rises, is
marked L. G. indicates Glen Gloy, a little valley to the northwest of
Glen Roy, with a single terrace. Loch Treig is designated by T., Loch
Lochy by L. O., Loch Arkeig by A., and Moeldhu Hill by M., while E.
indicates Loch Eil. The Great Glen of Scotland, through which the
Caledonian Canal runs, extends in the direction of L. O. and E. The
position of Ben Nevis is designated by N. The dotted area between N. and
M. marks the place occupied by the great glacier of Ben Nevis, when it
extended as far as Moeldhu; while the close continuous lines in front of
Loch Treig indicate the direction of the glacial scratches left across
Glen Spean by the glacier of Loch Treig, when it extended as far as the
eastern termination of the two upper terraces. It ought to be
remembered, in this connection, that the bottom of the valley of the
Spean, as well as that of Glen Roy, is occupied by loose materials,
partly drift, that is, materials acted upon by glaciers, and partly
decomposed fragments of rocks brought down by the torrents, greatly
impeding the observation of the polished surfaces. The river-bed is cut
through this deposit, and here and there through the underlying rock.
Besides the parallel roads, there are also peculiar accumulations of
loose materials in Glen Roy and Glen Spean, more particularly connected
with the lowest terrace, which Mr. Darwin and Professor Jamieson have
shown to be little deltas formed during the existence of the lake of
Glen Roy at the bottom of the gullies intersecting the shelves of the
upper roads. The outlet for the water at the period during which the
second terrace was formed, not known when I visited Glen Roy, has been
discovered by Mr. Milne-Holme, and also observed by Professor Jamieson.
During the formation of the upper terrace, the waters escaped through
the westernmost tributary of the River Spey, in the direction of the
northeast corner of the wood-cut, and during that of the lowest terrace,
at the eastern end of Loch Laggan, also through the valley of the Spey.
The state of preservation of the parallel roads is such as to prove that
no disturbance of any importance can have taken place in the country
since they were formed. Far from believing, therefore, that these
remarkable shelves are ancient sea-beaches, I am prepared to maintain,
that, had the area occupied by them been submerged only for a few days,
under an ocean rising and falling for several feet with every tide, no
vestige would have been left of their former existence.

[C] The wood-cut on p. 730 is a reproduction of the little map
accompanying a paper of mine upon "The Glacial Theory and its Recent
Progress," printed in the "Edinburgh New Philosophical Journal" for
October, 1842. I might have greatly improved the topography, and
represented more accurately the details of the phenomenon, by availing
myself of the much larger and very minute map recently published by
Professor Thomas F. Jamieson, of Aberdeen; but I thought it advisable to
leave my first sketch as I presented it twenty-two years ago, in order
to show that Sir Charles Lyell is mistaken in ascribing (see "Antiquity
of Man," pp. 260, 261) the discovery of the glacier of Loch Treig to
Professor Jamieson. A comparison of his statements with mine will show
that the solution of the problem offered by him is identical with that
proposed by me, as he himself candidly admits ("Quarterly Journal of the
Geological Society" for August, 1863, p. 239). I have only one fault to
find with his observations, and, as I have never revisited the locality
since, this remark may satisfy him that my examination of its features
was not so hurried as he supposes. Professor Jamieson confounds the
effects of two distinct glaciers moving in different valleys as the
action of one and the same glacier. In my paper, it is true, I made no
allusion to the great glacier of Glen Spean, the existence of which I
had recognized along the river from Loch Laggan nearly to the Caledonian
Canal. I publish my observations upon this great central glacier for the
first time in the present article, having omitted them in my
contributions upon this subject to the scientific periodicals of the day
simply because I thought best not to complicate my exposition of the
facts concerning the parallel roads by considerations foreign to their
origin, convinced as I was, from the manner in which the glacial theory
was then received, that they would not be understood, and still less
admitted. But now that all the geologists of Great Britain seem to have
given their adhesion to it, I may be permitted to state that I already
knew then, what Professor Jamieson has overlooked in his latest paper,
that a separate glacier had occupied the valley of the Spean _prior_ to
the formation of the parallel roads, and that at that time the glacier
of Loch Treig was only a lateral tributary of the same, just as the
glacier of the Thierberg is a tributary of the glacier of the Aar. It
was not until the Glen Spean glacier had retreated to the hills east of
Loch Laggan that the glacier of Loch Treig could form a barrier across
Glen Spean, and thus dam the waters in Glen Roy which produced the
parallel roads. The marks left by the great Glen Spean glacier in the
valley are mistaken by Professor Jamieson for indications, that, in its
greatest extension, the glacier of Loch Treig not only advanced across
Glen Spean, but divided into two branches, one moving westward down Glen
Spean, the other eastward up Glen Spean, as far as Loch Laggan. Any one
sufficiently familiar with existing glaciers to compare their action
with the phenomena referred to above will at once see the impossibility
of such a course for any glacier coming down from Loch Treig. At the
time the Grampians had become a separate centre of glacial action a
great glacier must have moved down, towards the Caledonian Canal,
through Glen Spean, receiving as tributaries lateral glaciers not only
from Loch Treig and Glen Roy, but also from all the other minor lateral
valleys emptying into Glen Spean, the largest of which must have come
from the range of Ben Nevis,--just as the great glacier of the valley of
the Rhone once received as tributaries all the glaciers coming down into
that valley from the southern slope of the Bernese Oberland, and from
the northern slope of the Valesian Alps, and at one time also from the
eastern slopes of the range of Mont Blanc. And when the large glacier
occupying the lower, and therefore warmer, level gradually disappeared
and retreated far away to levels where it could maintain itself against
the effect of a returning milder climate, the opening spring of our era,
as we may call it, the lateral glaciers, arising from the nearer high
grounds, could extend across the valleys, but not before.



UNDER THE CLIFF.


    "Still ailing, Wind? Wilt be appeased or no?
      Which needs the other's office, thou or I?
    Dost want to be disburthened of a woe,
      And can, in truth, my voice untie
    Its links, and let it go?

    "Art thou a dumb, wronged thing that would be righted,
      Intrusting thus thy cause to me? Forbear!
    No tongue can mend such pleadings; faith, requited
      With falsehood,--love, at last aware
    Of scorn,--hopes, early blighted,--

    "We have them; but I know not any tone
      So fit as thine to falter forth a sorrow:
    Dost think men would go mad without a moan,
      If they knew any way to borrow
    A pathos like thy own?

    "Which sigh wouldst mock, of all the sighs? The one
      So long escaping from lips starved and blue,
    That lasts while on her pallet-bed the nun
      Stretches her length; her foot comes through
    The straw she shivers on,--

    "You had not thought she was so tall; and spent,
      Her shrunk lids open; her lean fingers shut
    Close, close; their sharp and livid nails indent
      The clammy palm; then all is mute:
    That way, the spirit went.

    "Or wouldst thou rather that I understand
      Thy will to help me?--like the dog I found
    Once, pacing sad this solitary strand,
      Who would not take my food, poor hound,
    But whined and licked my hand."

           *       *       *       *       *

    All this, and more, comes from some young man's pride
      Of power to see, in failure and mistake,
    Relinquishment, disgrace, on every side,
      Merely examples for his sake,
    Helps to his path untried:

    Instances he must--simply recognize?
      Oh, more than so!--must, with a learner's zeal,
    Make doubly prominent, twice emphasize,
      By added touches that reveal
    The god in babe's disguise.

    Oh, he knows what defeat means, and the rest,
      Himself the undefeated that shall be!
    Failure, disgrace, he flings them you to test,--
      His triumph in eternity
    Too plainly manifest!

    Whence judge if he learn forthwith what the wind
      Means in its moaning,--by the happy, prompt,
    Instinctive way of youth, I mean,--for kind
      Calm years, exacting their accompt
    Of pain, mature the mind:

    And some midsummer morning, at the lull
      Just about daybreak, as he looks across
    A sparkling foreign country, wonderful
      To the sea's edge for gloom and gloss
    Next minute must annul,--

    Then, when the wind begins among the vines,
      So low, so low, what shall it mean but this?
    "Here is the change beginning, here the lines
      Circumscribe beauty, set to bliss
    The limit time assigns."

    Nothing can be as it has been before;
      Better, so call it, only not the same.
    To draw one beauty into our hearts' core,
      And keep it changeless! such our claim;
    So answered,--Never more!

    Simple? Why, this is the old woe o' the world,
      Tune to whose rise and fall we live and die.
    Rise through it, then! Rejoice that man is hurled
      From change to change unceasingly,
    His soul's wings never furled!

    That's a new question; still remains the fact,
      Nothing endures: the wind moans, saying so;
    We moan in acquiescence: there's life's pact,
      Perhaps probation,--do _I_ know?
    God does: endure His act!

    Only, for man, how bitter not to grave
      On his soul's hands' palms one fair, good, wise thing
    Just as he grasped it! For himself, death's wave;
      While time first washes--ah, the sting!--
    O'er all he'd sink to save.



SEVEN WEEKS IN THE GREAT YO-SEMITE.


It is as hard to leave San Francisco as to get there. To a traveller
paying his first visit it has the interest of a new planet. It ignores
the meteorological laws which govern the rest of the world. There is no
snow there. There are no summer showers. The tailor recognizes no
aphelion or perihelion in his custom: the thin woollen suit which his
patron had made in April is comfortably worn until April again. The only
change of stockings there is from wet to dry, or from soiled to clean.
Save that in so-called winter frequent rainfalls alternate with spotless
intervals of amber weather, and that _soi-disant_ summer is one entire
amber mass, its unbroken divine days concrete in it, there is no
inequality on which to forbid the banns between May and December. In San
Francisco there is no work for the scene-shifter of Nature: the wealth
of that great dramatist, the year, resulting in the same manner as the
poverty of dabblers in private theatricals,--a single flat doing service
for the entire play. Thus, save for the purpose of notes-of-hand, the
Almanac of San Francisco might replace its mutable months and seasons
with one great kindly, constant, sumptuous All The Year Round.

Out of this benignant sameness what glorious fruits are produced! Fruit
enough metaphorical: for the scientific man or artist who cannot make
hay while such a sun shines from April to November must be a slothful
laborer indeed. But fruit also literal: for what joy of vegetation is
lacking to the man who every month in the year can look through his
study-window on a green lawn, and have strawberries and cream for his
breakfast,--who can sit down to this royal fruit, and at the same time
to apricots, peaches, nectarines, blackberries, raspberries, melons,
figs both yellow and purple, early apples, and grapes of three kinds?

Another delightful fact of San Francisco is the Occidental Hotel. Its
comfort is like that of a royal home. There is nothing inn-ish about it.
Remembering the chief hotels of many places, I am constrained to say
that I have never, even in New York, seen its equal for elegance of
appointment, attentiveness of servants, or excellence of _cuisine_.
Having come to this extreme of civilization from the extreme of
barbarism, we found that it actually needed an exertion to leap from the
lap of luxury, after a fortnight's pleasaunce, and take to the woods
again in flannel and corduroys.

But far more seductive than the beautiful bay, the heavenly climate, the
paradisiacal fruits, and the royal hotel of San Francisco, were the old
friends whom we found, and the new ones we made there. With but one
exception, (and that an express-company, not a man,) we were received by
all our San-Francisco acquaintance in a kind and helpful manner, with a
welcome and a cheer as delightful to ourselves as it was honorable to
them. Need I say whose brotherly hands were among the very first
outstretched to us, in whose happy home we found our sweetest rest, by
whose radiant face and golden speech we were most lovingly detained
evening after evening and far into the night? A few days ago when we
read that dreadful message, "_Starr King is dead_," the lightning that
carried it seemed to end in our hearts. We withered under it; California
had lost its soul for us; at noon or in dreams that balmy land would
nevermore be the paradise it once was to us. The last hand that pressed
our own, when we sailed for the Isthmus on our way home, was the same
that had been first to give us our California welcome. Just before the
lines were cast off, Starr King stood at the door of our state-room, and
said,--

"I could not bear to have you go away without one more good-bye. Here
are the _cartes-de-visite_ I promised. They look hard-worked, but they
look like me. Good bye! God bless you! I hope to make a visit to the
East next summer, and then we will get together somewhere by the sea.
Good bye!"

He went down the ladder. When the steamer glided off, his bright face
sent benedictions after us as far as we could see; and then, for the
last time on earth, that great, that good, that beloved man faded from
our sight,--but, oh! never from our hearts, either in the here or the
hereafter. "We shall see him, but not now." We shall be together with
him "in the summer, by the sea"; but that summer shall have other glory
than the sun to lighten it, and the sea shall be of crystal.

King was to have joined us in our Yo-Semite trip. We little knew that we
were losing, for this world, our last opportunity of close daily
intercourse with his sweet spirit, though we were grievously
disappointed when he told us, on the eve of our setting out, that work
for the nation must detain him in San Francisco, after all.

If report was true, we were going to the original site of the Garden of
Eden,--into a region which out-Bendemered Bendemere, out-valleyed the
valley of Rasselas, surpassed the Alps in its waterfalls, and the
Himmal'yeh in its precipices. As for the two former subjects of
comparison, we never met any tourist who could adjust the question from
his own experience; but the superiority of the Yo-Semite to the Alpine
cataracts was a matter put beyond doubt by repeated judgments, and a
couple of English officers who had explored the wildest Himmal'yeh
scenery told Starr King that there was no precipice in Asia to be
compared for height or grandeur with Tu-toch-anula and Tis-sa-ack.

We were going into the vale whose giant domes and battlements had months
before thrown their photographic shadow through Watkins's camera across
the mysterious wide continent, causing exclamations of awe at Goupil's
window, and ecstasy in Dr. Holmes's study. At Goupil's counter and in
Starr King's drawing-room we had gazed on them by the hour already,--I,
let me confess it, half a Thomas-a-Didymus to Nature, unwilling to
believe the utmost true of her till I could put my finger in her very
prints. Now we were going to test her reported largess for ourselves.

No Saratoga affair, this! A total lack of tall trunks, frills, and
curling-kids. Driven by the oestrum of a Yo-Semite pilgrimage, the
San-Francisco belle forsakes (the Western vernacular is "goes back on")
her back-hair, abandons her capillary "waterfalls" for those of the
Sierra, and, like John Phoenix's old lady who had her whole osseous
system removed by the patent tooth-puller, departs, leaving her
"skeleton" behind her. The bachelor who cares to see unhooped womanhood
once more before he dies should go to the Yo-Semite. The scene was three
or four times presented to us during our seven weeks' camp
there,--though the trip is one which might well cost a feeble woman her
life.

Our male preparations were of the most pioneer description. One wintry
day since my return I was riding in a train on the New-York Central,
when an undaunted herdsman, returning Westward, flushed with the sale of
beeves, accosted me with the question,--"Friend, yeou've travelled
consid'able, and believe in the religion of Natur', don't ye?" "Why so?"
I responded. "_Them boots_," replied my new acquaintance, pointing at a
pair with high knee-caps, like those our party wore to the Yo-Semite.
Otherwise, we took the oldest clothes we had,--and it is not difficult
to find that variety in the trunk of a recent overland stager. We were
armed with Ballard rifles, shot-guns, and Colt's revolvers which had
come with us across the continent; our ammunition we got in San
Francisco, together with all such commissariat-luxuries as were worth
transportation: our necessaries we left to be purchased at that
jumping-off place of civilization, Mariposa, whence we were to start our
pack-mules into the wilderness. Let me recommend tourists like
ourselves to include in the former catalogue plenty of canned fruits,
sardines, and apple-butter,--in the latter, a jug of sirup for the
inevitable camp slapjacks. No woodsman, as will presently appear in our
narrative, can tell when a slapjack may be the last plank between him
and starvation; and to this plank how powerfully sirup enables him to
stick!

The only portion of our outfit which would have pleased an exquisite
(and he must be rather of the Count-Devereux than the Foppington-Flutter
school) was our horseflesh. That greatest of luxuries, a really good
saddle-animal, is readily and reasonably attainable in California.
Everybody rides there; if you wish to create a sensation with your
horsemanship in the streets of San Francisco, you must ride ill, not
well: everybody does this last. Even since the horse-railroad has begun
to clutter Montgomery Street (the San-Franciscan Boulevards) with its
cars, it is a daily matter to see capitalists and statesmen charging
through that thoroughfare on a gallop, which, if repeated in Broadway by
Henry G. Stebbins, would cost him his reputation on 'Change and his seat
in the next Congress. The nation of beggars-on-horseback which first
colonized California has left behind it many traditions unworthy of
conservation, and multitudinous fleas not at all traditional, but even
less keepworthy; but all honor be to the Spaniards, Greasers, and
Mixed-Breeds for having rooted the noble idea of horsemanship so firmly
in the country that even street-railroads cannot uproot it, and that
Americans who never sat even so little as an Atlantic-State's pony, on
coming here presently take to the saddle with all their hearts. In most
of the smaller Californian towns, a very serviceable half- or
quarter-breed saddle-horse is to be had for forty dollars,--the "breed"
portion of his blood being drawn from an Eastern stallion, the remaining
fraction being native or Mustang stock. This animal, if need be, will
live on road-side croppings nearly as well as a mule,--travel all day
long on an easy "lope," never offering to stop till fatigue makes him
fall,--and, if you let him, will take you through _chaparrals_, and up
and down precipices at whose bare suggestion an Eastern horse would
break his legs. Our party, seeking rather more ambitious mounts,
supplied itself, after a tour through the San-Francisco stables, with
saddle-animals at an average of seventy dollars apiece. This, payable in
gold, then amounted to one hundred dollars in notes; but the New-York
market could not have furnished us with such horses for one hundred and
fifty dollars.

It may seem as if, like most cavalcades, we should never get started,
but I must linger a moment to do justice to our accoutrements. If there
be a more perfect saddle than the Californian, I would ride bare-back a
good way to get it. Anything more unlike the slippery little pad on
which we of the East amble about parks and suburban roads cannot be
imagined. It is not for a day, but for all time, and for those who spend
nearly the latter in it. Its wooden skeleton is as scientifically fitted
to the rider's form as an old "_incroyable's_" pair of pantaloons. There
is no such thing as getting tired in or of it. Rising to the lower
lumbar vertebrae behind, and in front terminating gracefully in a
broad-topped pommel, it enables one to lean back in descending, forward
in climbing, the great ridges on the path of California travel,--thus
affording capital relief both to one's self and one's horse, and
bringing in both from a fifty-miles' march comparatively unjaded.

The stirrups of this saddle are broad hickory hoops, shaped nearly like
an Omega upside-down (U)[Transcriber's note: upside down Omega], left
unpolished so as to afford the most unshakable footing, covered with a
half-shoe of the stoutest leather, which renders it impossible for the
toe to slip through or the ankle to foul under any circumstances.
Attached to the straps from which these swing is a wide and neatly
ornamented stirrup-leather, which effectually prevents the grazing of
the rider's leg. The surcingle, or, _Californicè_, the _cinch_, is a
broad strip of hair-cloth with a padded ring at either end through which
you reeve and fasten with a half-hitch stout straps sewed to other rings
under the saddle-flaps. This arrangement is not only far securer than
our Eastern buckle, but enables you to graduate the tightness of your
girth much more delicately, and make a far snugger fit.

The only particular in which I could not commend and adopt the native
practice was the Mexican bit. It is a dreadful instrument of torture,
putting immense leverage in the rider's hands, and enabling him at will
to tear the mouth of his horse to pieces; indeed, the horse on which it
is used is guided entirely by pressure on the opposite side of the neck
from that in which one seeks to turn him. Our Eastern way of drawing his
head around would so lift the bit as to drive him frantic. There are
very few horses of any breed, even the Mustang, that _never_ stumble;
and as I prefer lifting my horse to letting him break his knees or neck,
I want a bridle I can pull upon without tearing his mouth. So, in spite
of its handsome appearance and the very manageable single white cord
into which its two reins are braided, I eschewed the Mexican head-gear,
and took the ordinary Eastern snaffle and curb. Immense spurs completed
our accoutrement,--whips being here unknown.

I may as well make a word-map of our route before going farther.
Pilgrims to the Yo-Semite ship themselves and their horses from San
Francisco by steamer to Stockton. This town is on the San Joaquin, the
most northerly of a series of rivers fed directly from the Sierra Nevada
water-shed, and here through the middle portion of the State,--a series,
indeed, continued through much of the still lower Pacific coast to the
Isthmus of Nicaragua. The Sacramento drains quite a different region,
that of the broad plains between the Sierra and Coast ranges, occupying
the northern portion of the State,--resembling in its physical features,
much more than any of the Pacific streams beside, the large isolated
trunks which drain the east slope of the Alleghanies. The Colorado is
almost the only other large river created from many tributaries, which
debouches between the Columbia and the Isthmus,--and that rises east of
the mathematical axis of the Rocky Mountains. The Yo-Semite valley is
one of the cradles through which the short Sierra-draining rivers reach
the ocean; its threading stream is the Merced; and if on any good
United-States Survey-map you will please to follow that river back to
the mountains, when your finger-nail touches the Sierra it will be (or
would, were the maps somewhat correcter) in the Great Yo-Semite. You
will then see that our course led us across three streams, after leaving
the San Joaquin at Stockton _en route_ for Mariposa,--the Stanislaus,
the Tuolomne, and the Main Merced. The distance from Stockton to
Mariposa is about one hundred miles, a small part of the way between
fenced ranches, a much greater part on wide, open, rolling plains,
somewhat like those of Nebraska, embraced between the two great ranges
of the State. Here and there you find an isolated herdsman or a small
settlement dropped down in this not unfruitful waste, and thrice you
come to a hybrid town, with a Spanish _plaza_, and Yankee notions sold
around it. We went the distance leisurely, consuming four days to
Mariposa, for we stopped here and there to sketch, "peep, and botanize";
besides, we were dragging with us a Jersey wagon, bought second-hand in
Stockton, in which we carried our heavier outfit till we should get our
extra pack-beasts at Mariposa, and to which we had harnessed for their
first time an implacable white mule with an incapable white horse, to
neither of which each other's society or their own new trade was
congenial.

I shall not linger here as we did there. To an ornithologist the whole
road is interesting,--especially to one making a specialty of owls. The
only game within easy reach is the dove and the California
ground-squirrel,--a big fellow, much like our Northeastern gray,
barring the former's subterranean habits. On the plains threaded by the
road the pasture is good, save in the extremest drought of summer, when
the great herds which usually feed at large on and between the
river-bottoms are driven to the rich green grass in the high valleys of
the Sierra,--or ought to be: many cattle died along the San Joaquin last
summer for want of this care. Occasionally the road winds through the
refreshing shadow of a grove of live-oaks, standing far from any water
on a sandy knoll. But the most magnificent trees of the oak family that
I ever beheld were growing on the banks of the Tuolomne River, where we
forded it at Roberts's Ferry. They were not merely in dimension superior
to the finest white-oaks of the East, but surpassed in beauty every
tradition of their genus. Their vast gnarled branches followed as
exquisite curves as belong to any elm on a New-England meadow, and wept
at the extremities like those of that else matchless tree,--possessing,
moreover, a sumptuous affluence of leafage, an arboreal _embonpoint_,
unknown to their graceful sister of our lowlands. Be sure that we
lingered long among their shadows with book and pencil, and look for a
desirable acquaintance with new Dryads when they grow into the life of
color from our artists' hands.

At Princeton, a thriving suburb of Mariposa, we completed our cavalcade
of pack-animals, transferred our wagon-load to their backs, (the average
mule-pack weighs from two hundred and fifty to three hundred pounds,)
roped it there in the most approved _muletero_-fashion, and started into
the wilderness.

Let us call the roll. Beside Bierstadt and the two other gentlemen who
with myself had formed the original overland-party, we numbered two
young artists of great merit now sojourning for a short time in
California, Williams, an old Roman, and Perry, an ancient Düsseldorf
friend,--also a highly scientific metallurgist and physicist generally,
Dr. John Hewston of San Francisco.

To serve the party we secured a man and a boy. Regarding the former,
perhaps the more truthful assertion would be that he secured us; for, as
will shortly appear, though we bought his services, he sold us in
return. We picked him up in a San-Francisco employment-office, after
looking all over the city for a respectable groom and camp-cook, and
finding that in a scarce-labor country like California even fifty gold
dollars per month, with keep and expenses, were no sufficient bait for
the catch we wanted. He was a meagre, wiry fellow, with sandy hair,
serviceable-looking hands, and no end to self-recommendations; but then
it was impossible to ask after him at his "last place," that having been
General Johnston's camp during Buchanan's forcible-feeble occupation of
Utah. As he said he had been a teamster, and knew that soup-meat went
into cold water, we rushed blindly into an engagement with him,
marriage-service fashion, and took him for better or worse. The thing
which I think finally "fired our Northern hearts" and clinched the
matter was his assertion of nephewship to the Secession Governor Vance,
whose name he bore, combined with unswerving personal loyalty. Lest by
some future D'Israeli this be written down among the traditional
greennesses of learned men, let me say that he was our _pis-aller_,--we
finding ourselves within two hours of the Stockton boat, with nobody to
help pack our mules or care for them and the horses.

The boy we obtained near Mariposa. He was an independent squire to the
man of whom we got the extra animals, and accompanied them as a sort of
trustee and _prochein amy_ to an orphan family of mules. At fifteen
years and in jackets, he was one of the keenest speculators in fire-arms
I ever saw; could swap horses or play poker with anybody; and, take him
for all in all, in the Eastern States, at least, I shall never look upon
his like again.

Thus manned, and leading, turn-about, four or five pack-beasts by as
many tow-lines, we struck up into the well-wooded Sierra foot-hills,
commencing our climb at the very outset from Mariposa. The whole
distance to the Valley was fifty miles. For twelve of these we pursued a
road in some degree practicable to carts, and leading to one of those
inevitable steam saw-mills with which a Yankee always cuts his first
swath into the tall grass of Barbarism. Passing the saw-mill in the very
act of astonishing the wilderness with a dinner-whistle, we struck a
trail and fell into single file. Thenceforward our way was almost a
continuous alternation of descent and climb over outlying ridges of the
Sierra. Our raw-recruited mules, and the elementary condition of our
intellects in the science of professional packing, spun out this portion
of our journey to three days,--though allowance is to be made for the
fact of our stopping at noon of the second day and not resuming our
trail till the morning of the third. This interim we spent in visiting
the Big Trees, which are situated four or five miles off the Yo-Semite
track.

"Clark's," where tourists stop for this purpose, is just half-way
between Mariposa and the great Valley. "Clark" himself is one of the
best-informed men, one of the very best guides, I ever met in the
Californian or any other wilderness. He is a fine-looking, stalwart old
grizzly-hunter and miner of the '49 days, wears a noble full beard hued
like his favorite game, but no head-covering of any kind since he
recovered from a fever which left his head intolerant of even a slouch.
He lives among folk, near Mariposa, in the winter, and in summer
occupies a hermitage built by himself in one of the loveliest lofty
valleys of the Sierra. Here he gives travellers a surprise by the nicest
poached eggs and rashers of bacon, home-made bread and wild-strawberry
sweetmeats, which they will find in the State.

Before reaching Clark's we had been astonished at the dimensions of the
ordinary pines and firs, our trail for miles at a time running through
forests where trees one hundred and fifty feet high were very common and
trees of two hundred feet by no means rare, while some of the very
largest must have considerably surpassed the latter measurement.

But these were in their turn dwarfed by the Big Trees proper, as
thoroughly as themselves would have dwarfed a common Green-Mountain
forest. I find no one on this side the continent who believes the
literal truth which travellers tell about these marvellous giants.
People sometimes think they do, but that is only because they fail to
realize the proposition. They have no concrete idea of how the asserted
proportions look. Tell a carpenter, or any other man at home with the
look of dimensions, what you have seen in the Mariposa-County groves,
and his eye grows incredulous in a moment. I freely confess, that,
though I always thought I _had_ believed travellers in their recitals on
this subject, when I saw the trees I found I had bargained to credit no
such story as that, and for a moment felt half-reproachful towards the
friends who had cheated me of my faith under a misapprehension.

Take the dry statistics of the matter. Out of one hundred and thirty-two
trees which have been measured, not one underruns twenty-eight feet in
circumference; five range between thirty-two and thirty-six feet;
fifty-eight between forty and fifty feet; thirty-four between fifty and
sixty; fourteen between sixty and seventy; thirteen between seventy and
eighty; two between eighty and ninety; two between ninety and one
hundred; two are just one hundred; and one is one hundred and two. This
last, before the storms truncated it, had a height of four hundred feet.
I found a rough ladder laid against its trunk,--for it is
prostrate,--and climbed upon its side by that and steps cut in the bark.
I mounted the swell of the trunk to the butt and there made the
measurement which ascertained its diameter as thirty-four feet,--its
circumference one hundred and two feet _plus_ a fraction. Of course the
thickness of its bark is various, but I cut off some of it to a foot in
depth and there was evidently plenty more below that.

To make some rough attempt at a conception of what these figures amount
to, suppose the tree fallen at the gable of an ordinary two-story house.
You propose to cross by a plank laid from your roof to the upper side of
the tree. That plank would perceptibly slope _up_ from your roof-peak.
Through another tree, lying prostrate also, and hollow from end to end,
our whole cavalcade charged at the full trot for a distance of one
hundred and fifty feet. The entire length of this tree before truncation
had been about three hundred and fifty feet. In the hollow bases of
trees still standing we easily sheltered ourselves and horses. We tried
throwing to the top of some of them with ludicrous unsuccess, and
finally came to the monarch of them all, a glorious monster not included
in the above table of dimensions, as most of those measured are still
living, and all have the bark upon them still, while _the_ tree is to
some extent barked and charred. When it stood erect in its live
wrappings, it measured forty feet in diameter,--over one hundred and
twenty in circumference! Estimates, grounded on the well-known principle
of yearly cortical increase, indisputably throw back the birth of these
largest giants as far as 1200 B. C. Thus their tender saplings
were running up just as the gates of Troy were tumbling down, and some
of them had fulfilled the lifetime of the late Hartford Charter-Oak when
Solomon called his master-masons to refreshment from the building of the
Temple. We cannot realize time-images as we can those of space by a
reference to dimensions within experience, so that the age of these
marvellous trees still remains to me an incomprehensible fact, though
with my mind's eye I continue to see how mountain-massy they look, and
how dwarfed is the man who leans against them. We lingered among them
half a day, the artists making color-studies of the most picturesque,
the rest of us _izing_ away at something scientific,--Botany,
Entomology, or Statistics. In Geology and Mineralogy there is nothing to
do here or in the Valley,--the formation all being typical Sierra-Nevada
granite, with no specimens to keep or problems to solve. Of course our
artists neither made nor expected to make anything like a realizing
picture of the groves. The marvellous of size does not go into gilt
frames. You paint a Big Tree, and it only looks like a common tree in a
cramped coffin. To be sure, you can put a live figure against the butt
for comparison; but, unless you take a canvas of the size of Haydon's,
your picture is quite as likely to resemble Homunculus against an
average timber-tree as a large man against _Sequoia gigantea_. What our
artists did do was to get a capital transcript of the Big Trees'
color,--a beautifully bright cinnamon-brown, which gives peculiar gayety
to the forest, "making sunshine in the shady place"; also, their typical
figure, which is a very lofty, straight, and branchless trunk, crowned
almost at the summit by a mass of colossal gnarled boughs, slender plumy
fronds, delicate thin leaves, and smooth cones scarce larger than a
plover's egg. Perhaps the best idea of their figure may be obtained by
fancying an Italian stone-pine grown out of recollection.

Between all the ridges we had hitherto crossed, silvery streams leaped
down intensely cold through the granite chasms,--all of them fed from
the snow-peaks, and charmingly picturesque,--most of them good
trout-brooks, had we possessed time to try a throw; and now, on leaving
Clark's, we crossed the largest of these, a fork of the Merced which
flows through his valley. For twelve miles farther a series of
tremendous climbs tasked us and our beasts to the utmost, but brought us
quite _apropos_ at dinner-time to a lovely green meadow walled in on one
side by near snow-peaks. A small brook running through it speedily
furnished us with frogs enough for an _entrée_. Between two and three in
the afternoon we set out upon the last stage of our pilgrimage. We were
now nearly on a plane with the top of the mighty precipices which wall
the Yo-Semite Valley, and for two hours longer found the trail easy,
save where it crossed the bogs of summit-level springs.

Immediately after leaving the meadow where we dined we plunged again
into the thick forest, where every now and then some splendid grouse or
the beautiful plume-crowned California quail went whirring away from
before our horses. Here and there a broad grizzly "sign" intersected our
trail. The tall purple deer-weed, a magnificent scarlet flower of name
unknown to me, and another blossom like the laburnum, endlessly varied
in its shades of roseate, blue, or the compromised tints, made the
hill-sides gorgeous beyond human gardening. All these were scentless;
but one other flower, much rarer, made fragrance enough for all. This
was the "Lady Washington," and much resembled a snowy day-lily with an
odor of tuberoses. Our dense leafy surrounding hid from us the fact of
our approach to the Valley's tremendous battlement, till our trail
turned at a sharp angle and we stood on "Inspiration Point."

That name had appeared pedantic, but we found it only the spontaneous
expression of our own feelings on the spot. We did not so much seem to
be seeing from that crag of vision a new scene on the old familiar globe
as a new heaven and a new earth into which the creative spirit had just
been breathed. I hesitate now, as I did then, at the attempt to give my
vision utterance. Never were words so beggared for an abridged
translation of any Scripture of Nature.

We stood on the verge of a precipice more than three thousand feet in
height,--a sheer granite wall, whose terrible perpendicular distance
baffled all visual computation. Its foot was hidden among hazy green
_spiculæ_--they might be tender spears of grass catching the slant sun
on upheld aprons of cobweb, or giant pines whose tops that sun first
gilt before he made gold of all the Valley.

There faced us another wall like our own. How far off it might be we
could only guess. When Nature's lightning hits a man fair and square, it
splits his yardstick. On recovering from this stroke, mathematicians
have ascertained the width of the Valley to vary between half a mile and
five miles. Where we stood the width is about two.

I said a wall like our own; but as yet we could not know that certainly,
for of our own we saw nothing. Our eyes seemed spell-bound to the
tremendous precipice which stood smiling, not frowning at us, in all the
serene radiance of a snow-white granite Boodh,--broadly burning, rather
than glistening, in the white-hot splendors of the setting sun. From
that sun, clear back to the first _avant-courier_ trace of purple
twilight flushing the eastern sky-rim--yes, as if it were the very
butment of the eternally blue Californian heaven--ran that wall, always
sheer as the plummet, without a visible break through which squirrel
might climb or sparrow fly,--so broad that it was just faint-lined like
the paper on which I write by the loftiest waterfall in the world,--so
lofty that its very breadth could not dwarf it, while the mighty pines
and Douglas firs which grew all along its edge seemed like mere cilia on
the granite lid of the Great Valley's upgazing eye. In the first
astonishment of the view, we took the whole battlement at a sweep, and
seemed to see an unbroken sky-line; but as ecstasy gave way to
examination, we discovered how greatly some portions of the precipice
surpassed our immediate _vis-à-vis_ in height.

First, a little east of our off-look, there projected boldly into the
Valley from the dominant line of the base a square stupendous tower that
might have been hewn by the diamond adzes of the Genii for a second
Babel-experiment, in expectance of the wrath of Allah. Here and there
the tools had left a faint scratch, only deep as the width of Broadway
and a bagatelle of five hundred feet in length; but that detracted no
more from the unblemished four-square contour of the entire mass than a
pin-mark from the symmetry of a door-post. A city might have been built
on its grand flat top. And, oh! the gorgeous masses of light and shadow
which the falling sun cast on it,--the shadows like great waves, the
lights like their spumy tops and flying mist,--thrown up from the
heaving breast of a golden sea! In California at this season the dome of
heaven is cloudless; but I still dream of what must be done for the
bringing-out of Tu-toch-anula's coronation-day majesties by the broken
winter sky of fleece and fire. The height of his precipice is nearly
four thousand feet perpendicular; his name is supposed to be that of the
Valley's tutelar deity. He also rejoices in a Spanish _alias_,--some
Mission Indian having attempted to translate by "_El Capitan_" the idea
of divine authority implied in Tu-toch-anula.

Far up the Valley to the eastward there rose far above the rest of the
sky-line, and nearly five thousand feet above the Valley, a hemisphere
of granite, capping the sheer wall, without an apparent tree or shrub to
hide its vast proportions. This we immediately recognized as the famous
To-coy-æ, better known through Watkins's photographs as the Great North
Dome. I am ignorant of the meaning of the former name, but the latter is
certainly appropriate. Between Tu-toch-anula and the Dome, the wall rose
here and there into great pinnacles and towers, but its sky-line is far
more regular than that of the southern side, where we were standing.

We drew close to the edge of the precipice and looked along over our own
wall up the Valley. Its contour was a rough curve from our stand-point
to a station opposite the North Dome, where the Valley dwindles to its
least width, so that all the intermediate crests and pinnacles which
topped the perpendicular wall stood within our vision like the teeth of
a saw, clear and sharp-cut against the blue sky. There is the same
plumb-line uprightness in these mighty precipices as in those of the
opposite side; but their front is much more broken by bold promontories,
and their tabular tops, instead of lying horizontal, slope up at an
angle of forty-five degrees or more from the spot where we were
standing, and make a succession of oblique prism-sections whose upper
edges are between three and four thousand feet in height. But the glory
of this southern wall comes at the termination of our view opposite the
North Dome. Here the precipice rises to the height of nearly one sheer
mile with a parabolic sky-line, and its posterior surface is as
elegantly rounded as an acorn-cup. From this contour results a naked
semi-cone of polished granite, whose face would cover one of our smaller
Eastern counties, though its exquisite proportions make it seem a thing
to hold in the hollow of the hand. A small pine-covered _glacis_ of
detritus lies at its foot, but every yard above that is bare of all life
save the palæozoic memories which have wrinkled the granite Colossus
from the earliest seethings of the fire-time. I never could call a
Yo-Semite crag _inorganic_, as I used to speak of everything not
strictly animal or vegetal. In the presence of the Great South Dome that
utterance became blasphemous. Not living was it? Who knew but the
_débris_ at its foot was merely the cast-off sweat and _exuviæ_ of a
stone life's great work-day? Who knew but the vital changes which were
going on within its gritty cellular tissue were only imperceptible to us
because silent and vastly secular? What was he who stood up before
Tis-sa-ack and said, "Thou art dead rock!" save a momentary sojourner in
the bosom of a cyclic period whose clock his race had never yet lived
long enough to hear strike? What, too, if Tis-sa-ack himself were but
one of the atoms in a grand organism where we could see only by monads
at a time,--if he and the sun and the sea were but cells or organs of
some one small being in the fenceless _vivarium_ of the Universe? Let
not the ephemeron that lights on a baby's hand generalize too rashly
upon the non-growing of organisms! As we thought on these things, we
bared our heads to the barer forehead of Tis-sa-ack.

I have spoken of the Great South Dome in the masculine gender, but the
native tradition makes it feminine. Nowhere is there a more beautiful
Indian legend than that of Tis-sa-ack. I will condense it into a few
short sentences from the long report of an old Yo-Semite brave.
Tis-sa-ack was the tutelar goddess of the Valley, as Tu-toch-anula was
its fostering god,--the former a radiant maiden, the latter an
ever-young immortal,--

    "amorous as the month of May."

Becoming desperately fascinated with his fair colleague, Tu-toch-anula
spent in her arms all the divine long days of the California summer,
kissing, dallying, and lingering, until the Valley-tribes began to
starve for lack of the crops which his supervision should have ripened,
and a deputation of venerable men came from the dying people to
prostrate themselves at the foot of Tis-sa-ack. Full of anguish at her
nation's woes, she rose from her lover's arms, and cried for succor to
the Great Spirit. Then, with a terrible noise of thunder, the mighty
cone split from heaven to earth,--its frontal half falling down to dam
the snow-waters back into a lake, whence to this day the beautiful
Valley-stream takes one of its loveliest branches,--its other segment
remaining erect till this present, to be the Great South Dome under the
_in-memoriam_ title of Tis-sa-ack. But the divine maiden who died to
save her people appeared on earth no more, and in his agony
Tu-toch-anula carved her image on the face of the mile-high wall, as he
had carved his own on the surface of El Capitan,--where a lively faith
and good glasses may make out the effigies unto this day.

Sometimes these Indian traditions, being translated according to the
doctrine of correspondences, are of great use to the scientific man,--in
the present instance, as embalming with sweet spices a geological fact,
and the reason of a water-course which else might become obscured by
time. You may lose a rough fact because everybody is handling it and
passing it around with the sense of a liberty to present it next in his
own way; but a fact with its facets cut--otherwise a poem--is
unchangeable, imperditable. Seeing it has been manufactured once, nobody
tries to make it over again. The fact is regarded subject to liberal
translation; poems circulate virgin and _verbatim_. In some future
article I may recur to this topic with reference to the Columbia River,
and the capital light afforded to delvers in its wondrous trap-rock by
the lantern of Indian legend.

Let us leave the walls of the Valley to speak of the Valley itself, as
seen from this great altitude. There lies a sweep of emerald grass
turned to chrysoprase by the slant-beamed sun,--chrysoprase beautiful
enough to have been the tenth foundation-stone of John's apocalyptic
heaven. Broad and fair just beneath us, it narrows to a little strait of
green between the butments that uplift the giant domes. Far to the
westward, widening more and more, it opens into the bosom of great
mountain-ranges,--into a field of perfect light, misty by its own
excess,--into an unspeakable suffusion of glory created from the
phoenix-pile of the dying sun. Here it lies almost as treeless as some
rich old clover-mead; yonder, its luxuriant smooth grasses give way to a
dense wood of cedars, oaks, and pines. Not a living creature, either man
or beast, breaks the visible silence of this inmost paradise; but for
ourselves, standing at the precipice, petrified, as it were, rock on
rock, the great world might well be running back in stone-and-grassy
dreams to the hour when God had given him as yet but two daughters, the
crag and the clover. We were breaking into the sacred closet of Nature's
self-examination. What if, on considering herself, she should of a
sudden, and us-ward unawares, determine to begin the throes of a new
cycle,--spout up remorseful lavas from her long-hardened conscience, and
hurl us all skyward in a hot concrete with her unbosomed sins? Earth
below was as motionless as the ancient heavens above, save for the
shining serpent of the Merced, which silently to our ears threaded the
middle of the grass, and twinkled his burnished back in the sunset
wherever for a space he gilded out of the shadow of woods.

To behold this Promised Land proved quite a different thing from
possessing it. Only the _silleros_ of the Andes, our mules, horses, and
selves, can understand how much like a nightmare of endless roof-walking
was the descent down the face of the precipice. A painful and most
circuitous dug-way, where our animals had constantly to stop, lest their
impetus should tumble them headlong, all the way past steeps where the
mere thought of a side-fall was terror, brought us in the twilight to a
green meadow, ringed by woods, on the banks of the Merced.

Here we pitched our first Yo-Semite camp,--calling it "Camp Rosalie,"
after a dear absent friend of mine and Bierstadt's. Removing our packs
and saddles, we dismissed their weary bearers to the deep green meadow,
with no farther qualification to their license than might be found in
ropes seventy feet long fastened to deep-driven pickets. We soon got
together dead wood and pitchy boughs enough to kindle a roaring
fire,--made a kitchen-table by wedging logs between the trunks of a
three-forked tree, and thatching these with smaller sticks,--selected a
cedar-canopied piece of flat sward near the fire for our bed-room, and
as high up as we could reach despoiled our fragrant _baldacchini_ for
the mattresses. I need not praise to any woodsman the quality of a sleep
on evergreen-strewings.

During our whole stay in the Valley, most of us made it our practice to
rise with the dawn, and, immediately after a bath in the ice-cold
Merced, take a breakfast which might sometimes fail in the
game-department, but was an invariable success, considered as slapjacks
and coffee. Then the loyal nephew of the Secesh governor and the
testamentary guardian of the orphan mules brought our horses up from
picket; then the artists with their camp-stools and color-boxes, the
sages with their goggles, nets, botany-boxes, and bug-holders, the
gentlemen of elegant leisure with their naked eyes and a fish-rod or a
gun, all rode away whither they listed, firing back Parthian shots of
injunction about the dumpling in the grouse-fricassee.

Sitting in their divine workshop, by a little after sunrise our artists
began labor in that only method which can ever make a true painter or a
living landscape, _color_-studies on the spot; and though I am not here
to speak of their results, I will assert that during their seven weeks'
camp in the Valley they learned more and gained greater material for
future triumphs than they had gotten in all their lives before at the
feet of the greatest masters. Meanwhile the other two vaguely divided
orders of gentlemen and sages were sight-seeing, whipping the covert or
the pool with various success for our next day's dinner, or hunting
specimens of all kinds,--_Agassizing_, so to speak.

I cannot praise the Merced to that vulgar, yet extensive, class of
sportsmen with whom fishing means nothing but catching fish,--to that
select minority of _illuminati_ who go trouting for intellectual
culture, because they cannot hear Booth or a _Sonata_ of
Beethoven's,--who write rhapsodies of much fire and many pages on the
divine superiority of the curve of an hyperbola over that of a parabola
in the cast of a fly,--who call three little troutlings "_a splendid
day's sport, me boy_!" because those rash and ill-advised infants have
been deceived by a feather-bug which never would have been of any use to
them, instead of a real worm which would. We, who can make prettier
curves and deceive larger game in a dancing-party at home, did not go to
the Yo-Semite for that kind of sport. When I found that the best bait or
fly caught only half a dozen trout in an afternoon,--and those the dull,
black, California kind, with lined sides, but no spots,--I gave over
bothering the unambitious burghers of the flood with invitations to a
rise in life, and took to the meadows with a butterfly-net.

My experience teaches that no sage (or gentleman) should chase the
butterfly on horseback. You are liable to put your net over your horse's
head instead of the butterfly. The butterfly keeps rather ahead of the
horse. You may throw your horse when you mean to throw the net. The idea
is a romantic one; it carries you back to the days of chivalry, when
court-butterflies _were_ said to have been netted from the saddle,--but
it carries you nowhere else in particular, unless perhaps into a small
branch of the Merced, where you don't want to go. Then, too, if you slip
down and leave your horse standing while you steal on a giant _Papilio_
which is sucking the deer-weed in _such_ a sweet spot for a cast, your
horse (perhaps he has heard of the French general who said, "Asses and
_savans_ to the centre!") may discover that he also is a sage, and
retire to botanize while you are butterflying,--a contingency which
entails your wading the Merced after him five several times, and finally
going back to camp in wet disgust to procure another horse and a lariat.
An experience faintly hinted at in the above suggestions soon convinced
me that the great arm of the service in butterfly-warfare is infantry.
After I had turned myself into a modest Retiarius, I had no end to
success. Mariposa County is rightly named. The honey of its groves and
meadows is sucked by some of the largest, the most magnificent, and most
widely varied butterflies in the world.

At noon those of us who came back to camp had a substantial dinner out
of our abundant stores, reinforced occasionally with grouse, quail, or
pigeons, contributed by the sportsmen. The artists mostly dined _à la
fourchette_, in their workshop,--something in a pail being carried out
to them at noon by our Infant Phenomenon. He was a skeleton of thinness,
and an incredibly gaunt mustang was the one which invariably carried the
lunch; so we used to call the boy, when we saw him coming, "Death on the
Pail-Horse." At evening, when the artists returned, half an hour was
passed in a "private view" of their day's studies; then came another
dinner, called a supper; then the tea-kettle was emptied into a pan, and
brush-washing with talk and pipes led the rest of the genial way to
bed-time.

In his charming "Peculiar," Epes Sargent has given us an episode called
the "Story of Estelle." It is the greatest of compliments to him that I
could get thoroughly interested in her lover, when he bore the name of
one of the most audacious and _picaresque_ mortals I ever knew,--our
hired man, who sold us--our----But hear my episode: it is


THE STORY OF VANCE.

Vance. The cognomen of the loyal nephew with the Secesh uncle. I will be
brief. Our stores began to fail. One morning we equipped Vance with a
horse, a pack-mule to lead behind him, a list of purchases, and eighty
golden dollars, bidding him good-speed on the trail to Mariposa. He was
to return laden with all the modern equivalents for corn, wine, and oil,
on the fifth or sixth day from his departure. Seven days glided by, and
the material for more slapjacks with them. We grew perilously nigh our
bag-bottoms.

One morning I determined to save the party from starvation, and with a
fresh supply of the currency set out for Mariposa. At Clark's I learned
that our man had camped there about noon on the day he left us, turned
his horse and mule loose, instead of picketing them, and spent the rest
of the sunlight in a _siesta_. When he arose, his animals were
undiscoverable. He accordingly borrowed Clark's only horse to go in
search of them, and the generous hermit had not seen him since.

Carrying these pleasant bits of intelligence, I resumed my way toward
the settlements. Coming by the steam saw-mill, I recognized Vance's
steed grazing by the way-side, threw my lariat over his head, and led
him in triumph to Mariposa. There I arrived at eight in the evening of
the day I left the Valley,--having performed fifty miles of the hardest
mountain-trail that was ever travelled in a little less than twelve
hours, making allowance for our halt and noon-feed at Clark's. If ever a
California horse was tried, it was mine on that occasion; and he came
into Mariposa on the full gallop, scarcely wet, and not galled or jaded
in the least.

Here I found our mule, whose obstinate memory had carried him home to
his old stable,--also the remaining events in Vance's brief, but
brilliant career. That ornament of the Utah and Yo-Semite expeditions
had entered Mariposa on Clark's horse,--lost our eighty golden dollars
at a single session of bluff,--departed gayly for Coulterville, where he
sold Clark's horse at auction for forty dollars, including saddle and
bridle, and immediately at another game of bluff lost the entire
purchase-money to the happy buyer, (Clark got his horse again on proving
title,)--and finally vanished for parts unknown, with nothing in his
pocket but buttons, or in his memory but villanies. Nowhere out of
California or Old Spain can there exist such a modern survivor of the
days of Gil Blas!

Too happy in the recovery of Clark's and our own animals to waste time
in hue-and-cry, I loaded my two reclaimed pack-beasts with all that our
commissariat needed,--nooned at Clark's, on my way back, the third day
after leaving the Valley for Mariposa, and that same night was among my
rejoicing comrades at the head of the Great Yo-Semite. That afternoon
they had come to the bottom of the flour-bag, after living for three
days on unleavened slapjacks without either butter or sirup. I have seen
people who professed to relish the Jewish Passover-bread; but, after
such an experience as our party's, I venture to say they would have
regarded it worthy of a place among the other abolished types of the
Mosaic dispensation. As for me and the mule, we felt our hearts swell
within us as if we had come to raise the siege of Leyden. In that same
enthusiasm shared our artists, _savans_, and gentlemen, embracing the
shaggy neck of the mule as he had been a brother what time they realized
that his panniers were full. Can any one wonder at my early words, "A
slapjack may be the last plank between the woodsman and starvation"?

Just before I started after supplies our party moved its camp to a
position five miles up the Valley beyond Camp Rosalie, in a beautiful
grove of oaks and cedars, close upon the most sinuous part of the Merced
margin, with rich pasture for our animals immediately across the stream,
and the loftiest cataract in the world roaring over the bleak precipice
opposite. This is the Yo-Semite Fall proper, or, in the Indian,
"Cho-looke." By the most recent geological surveys this fall is credited
with the astounding height of twenty-eight hundred feet. At an early
period the entire mass of water must have plunged that distance without
break. At this day a single ledge of slant projection changes the
headlong flood from cataract to rapids for about four hundred feet; but
the unbroken upper fall is fifteen hundred feet, and the lower thirteen
hundred. In the spring and early summer no more magnificent sight can be
imagined than the tourist obtains from a stand-point right in the midst
of the spray, driven, as by a wind blowing thirty miles an hour, from
the thundering basin of the lower fall. At all seasons Cho-looke is the
grandest mountain-waterfall in the known world.

While I am speaking of waterfalls, let me not omit "Po-ho-nó," or "The
Bridal Veil," which was passed on the southern side in our way to the
second and about a mile above the first camp. As Tis-sa-ack was a good,
so is Po-ho-nó an evil spirit of the Indian mythology. This tradition is
scientifically accounted for in the fact that many Indians have been
carried over the fall by the tremendous current both of wind and water
forever rushing down a _cañon_ through which the stream breaks from its
feeding-lake twelve or fifteen miles before it falls. The savage lowers
his voice to a whisper and crouches trembling past Po-ho-nó; while the
very utterance of the name is so dreaded by him that the discoverers of
the Valley obtained it with great difficulty. This fall drops on a heap
of giant boulders in one unbroken sheet of a thousand feet
perpendicular, thus being the next in height among all the
Valley-cataracts to the Yo-Semite itself, and having a width of fifty
feet. Its name of "The Bridal Veil" is one of the few successes in
fantastic nomenclature; for, to one viewing it in profile, its snowy
sheet, broken into the filmy silver lace of spray and falling quite free
of the brow of the precipice, might well seem the veil worn by the earth
at her granite wedding,--no commemorator of any fifty-years' bagatelle
like the golden one, but crowning the one-millionth anniversary of her
nuptials.

On either side of Po-ho-nó the sky-line of the precipice is
magnificently varied. The fall itself cuts a deep gorge into the crown
of the battlement. On the southwest border of the fall stands a nobly
bold, but nameless rock, three thousand feet in height. Near by is
Sentinel Rock, a solitary truncate pinnacle, towering to thirty-three
hundred feet. A little farther are "Eleachas," or "The Three Brothers,"
flush with the front-surface of the precipice, but their upper posterior
bounding-planes tilted in three tiers, which reach a height of
thirty-four hundred and fifty feet.

One of the loveliest places in the Valley is the shore of Lake
Ah-wi-yah,--a crystal pond of several acres in extent, fed by the north
fork of the Valley-stream, and lying right at the mouth of the narrow
strait between the North and South Domes. By this tranquil water we
pitched our third camp, and when the rising sun began to shine through
the mighty cleft before us, the play of color and _chiaroscuro_ on its
rugged walls was something for which an artist apt to oversleep himself
might well have sat up all the night. No such precaution was needed by
ourselves. Painters, sages, and gentlemen at large, all turned out by
dawn; for the studies were grander, the grouse and quail plentier, and
the butterflies more gorgeous than we found in any other portion of the
Valley. After passing the great cleft eastward, I found the river more
enchanting at every step. I was obliged to penetrate in this direction
entirely on foot,--clambering between squared blocks of granite
dislodged from the wall beneath the North Dome, any one of which might
have been excavated into a commodious church, and discovering, for the
pains cost by a reconnoissance of five miles, some of the loveliest
shady stretches of singing water and some of the finest minor waterfalls
in our American scenery.

Our last camp was pitched among the crags and forests behind the South
Dome,--where the Middle Fork descends through two successive waterfalls,
which, in apparent breadth and volume, far surpass Cho-looke, while the
loftiest is nearly as high as Po-ho-nó. About three miles west of the
Domes, the south wall of the Valley is interrupted by a deep _cañon_
leading in a nearly southeast direction. Through this _cañon_ comes the
Middle Fork, and along its banks lies our course to the great
"Pi-wi-ack" (senselessly Englished as "Vernal") and the Nevada Falls.
For three miles from our camp opposite the Yo-Semite Fall the _cañon_ is
threaded by a trail practicable for horses. At its termination we
dismounted, sent back our animals, and, strapping their loads upon our
own shoulders, struck nearly eastward by a path only less rugged than
the trackless crags around us. In some places we were compelled to
squeeze sideways through a narrow crevice in the rocks, at imminent
danger to our burden of blankets and camp-kettles; in others we became
quadrupedal, scrambling up acclivities with which the bald main
precipice had made but slight compromise. But for our light marching
order,--our only dress being knee-boots, hunting-shirt, and
trowsers,--it would have been next to impossible to reach our goal at
all.

But none of us regretted pouring sweat or strained sinews, when, at the
end of our last terrible climb, we stood upon the oozy sod which is
brightened into eternal emerald by the spray of Pi-wi-ack. Far below our
slippery standing steeply sloped the walls of the ragged chasm down
which the snowy river charges roaring after its first headlong plunge;
an eternal rainbow flung its shimmering arch across the mighty caldron
at the base of the fall; and straight before us in one unbroken leap
came down Pi-wi-ack from a granite shelf nearly four hundred feet in
height and sixty feet in perfectly horizontal width. Some enterprising
speculator, who has since ceased to take the original seventy-five
cents' toll, a few years ago built a substantial set of rude ladders
against the perpendicular wall over which Pi-wi-ack rushes. We found it
still standing, and climbed the dizzy height in a shower of spray, so
close to the edge of the fall that we could almost wet our hands in its
rim. Once at the top, we found that Nature had been as accommodating to
the sight-seer as man himself; for the ledge we landed on was a perfect
breastwork, built from the receding precipices on either side of the
_cañon_ to the very crown of the cataract. The weakest nerves need not
have trembled, when once within the parapet, on the smooth, flat
rampart, and looking down into the tremendous boiling chasm whence we
had just climbed.

Above Pi-wi-ack the river runs for a mile at the bottom of a granite
cradle, sloping upward from it on each side at an angle of about
forty-five degrees, in great tabular masses slippery as ice, without a
crevice in them for thirty yards at a stretch where even the scraggiest
_manzanita_ may catch hold and grow. This tilted formation, broken here
and there by spots of scanty alluvium and stunted pines, continues
upward till it intersects the posterior cone of the South Dome on one
side and a colossal castellated precipice on the other,--creating thus
the very typical landscape of sublime desolation. The shining barrenness
of these rocks, and the utter nakedness of that vast glittering dome
which hollows the heavens beyond them, cannot be conveyed by any
metaphor to a reader knowing only the wood-crowned slopes of the
Alleghany chain.

Climbing between the stunted pines and giant blocks along the stream's
immediate margin,--getting glimpses here and there of the snowy fretwork
of churned water which laced the higher rocks, and the black whirls
which spun in the deep pits of the roaring bed beneath us,--we came at
last to the base of "Yo-wi-ye," or Nevada Fall.

This is the most voluminous, and next to Pi-wi-ack, perhaps, the most
beautiful of the Yo-Semite cataracts. Its beauty is partly owing to the
surrounding rugged grandeur which contrasts it, partly to its great
height (eight hundred feet) and surpassing volume, but mainly to its
exquisite and unusual shape. It falls from a precipice the highest
portion of whose face is as smoothly perpendicular as the wall overleapt
by Pi-wi-ack; but invisibly beneath its snowy flood a ledge slants
sideways from the cliff about a hundred feet below the crown of the
fall, and at an angle of about thirty degrees from the plumb-line. Over
this ledge the water is deflected upon one side and spread like a
half-open fan to the width of nearly two hundred feet.

At the base of Yo-wi-ye we seem standing in a _cul-de-sac_ of Nature's
grandest labyrinth. Look where we will, impregnable battlements hem us
in. We gaze at the sky from the bottom of a savage granite _barathrum_,
whence there is no escape but return through the chinks and over the
crags of an Old-World convulsion. We are at the end of the stupendous
series of Yo-Semite _effects_; eight hundred feet above us, could we
climb there, we should find the silent causes of power. There lie the
broad, still pools that hold the reserved affluence of the snow-peaks;
thence might we see, glittering like diamond lances in the sun, the
eternal snow-peaks themselves. But these would still be as far above us
as we stood below Yo-wi-ye on the lowest valley-bottom whence we came.
Even from Inspiration Point, where our trail first struck the
battlement, we could see far beyond the Valley to the rising sun,
towering mightily above Tis-sa-ack herself, the everlasting
snow-forehead of Castle Rock, his crown's serrated edge cutting the sky
at the topmost height of the Sierra. We had spoken of reaching him,--of
holding converse with the King of all the Giants. This whole weary way
have we toiled since then,--and we know better now. Have we endured all
these pains only to learn still deeper Life's saddest lesson,--"Climb
forever, and there is still an Inaccessible"?

Wetting our faces with the melted treasure of Nature's topmost
treasure-house, Yo-wi-ye answers us ere we turn back from the
Yo-Semite's last precipice toward the haunts of men:--

"Ye who cannot go to the Highest, lo, the Highest comes down to you!"



HOUSE AND HOME PAPERS.

BY CHRISTOPHER CROWFIELD.


VI.

"My dear Chris," said my wife, "isn't it time to be writing the next
'House and Home Paper'?"

I was lying back in my study-chair, with my heels luxuriously propped on
an ottoman, reading for the two-hundredth time Hawthorne's "Mosses from
an Old Manse," or his "Twice-Told Tales," I forget which,--I only know
that these books constitute my cloud-land, where I love to sail away in
dreamy quietude, forgetting the war, the price of coal and flour, the
rates of exchange, and the rise and fall of gold. What do all these
things matter, as seen from those enchanted gardens in Padua where the
weird Rappaccini tends his enchanted plants, and his gorgeous daughter
fills us with the light and magic of her presence, and saddens us with
the shadowy allegoric mystery of her preternatural destiny? But my wife
represents the positive forces of time, place, and number in our family,
and, having also a chronological head, she knows the day of the month,
and therefore gently reminded me that by inevitable dates the time drew
near for preparing my--which is it now, May or June number?

"Well, my dear, you are right," I said, as by an exertion I came
head-uppermost, and laid down the fascinating volume. "Let me see, what
was I to write about?"

"Why, you remember you were to answer that letter from the lady who does
her own work."

"Enough!" said I, seizing the pen with alacrity; "you have hit the exact
phrase:--

"'The _lady_ who _does her own work_.'"

       *       *       *       *       *

America is the only country where such a title is possible,--the only
country where there is a class of women who may be described as _ladies_
who do their own work. By a lady we mean a woman of education,
cultivation, and refinement, of liberal tastes and ideas, who, without
any very material additions or changes, would be recognized as a lady in
any circle of the Old World or the New.

What I have said is, that the existence of such a class is a fact
peculiar to American society, a clear, plain result of the new
principles involved in the doctrine of universal equality.

When the colonists first came to this country, of however mixed
ingredients their ranks might have been composed, and however imbued
with the spirit of feudal and aristocratic ideas, the discipline of the
wilderness soon brought them to a democratic level; the gentleman felled
the wood for his log-cabin side by side with the ploughman, and thews
and sinews rose in the market. "A man was deemed honorable in proportion
as he lifted his hand upon the high trees of the forest." So in the
interior domestic circle. Mistress and maid, living in a log-cabin
together, became companions, and sometimes the maid, as the more
accomplished and stronger, took precedence of the mistress. It became
natural and unavoidable that children should begin to work as early as
they were capable of it. The result was a generation of intelligent
people brought up to labor from necessity, but turning on the problem of
labor the acuteness of a disciplined brain. The mistress, outdone in
sinews and muscles by her maid, kept her superiority by skill and
contrivance. If she could not lift a pail of water, she could invent
methods which made lifting the pail unnecessary,--if she could not take
a hundred steps without weariness, she could make twenty answer the
purpose of a hundred.

Slavery, it is true, was to some extent introduced into New England, but
it never suited the genius of the people, never struck deep root, or
spread so as to choke the good seed of self-helpfulness. Many were
opposed to it from conscientious principle,--many from far-sighted
thrift, and from a love of thoroughness and well-doing which despised
the rude, unskilled work of barbarians. People, having once felt the
thorough neatness and beauty of execution which came of free, educated,
and thoughtful labor, could not tolerate the clumsiness of slavery. Thus
it came to pass that for many years the rural population of New England,
as a general rule, did their own work, both out doors and in. If there
were a black man or black woman or bound girl, they were emphatically
only the _helps_, following humbly the steps of master and mistress, and
used by them as instruments of lightening certain portions of their
toil. The master and mistress with their children were the head workers.

Great merriment has been excited in the Old Country, because years ago
the first English travellers found that the class of persons by them
denominated servants were in America denominated _help_ or helpers. But
the term was the very best exponent of the state of society. There were
few servants, in the European sense of the word; there was a society of
educated workers, where all were practically equal, and where, if there
was a deficiency in one family and an excess in another, a _helper_, not
a servant, was hired. Mrs. Browne, who has six sons and no daughters,
enters into agreement with Mrs. Jones, who has six daughters and no
sons. She borrows a daughter, and pays her good wages to help in her
domestic toil, and sends a son to help the labors of Mr. Jones. These
two young people go into the families in which they are to be employed
in all respects as equals and companions, and so the work of the
community is equalized. Hence arose, and for many years continued, a
state of society more nearly solving than any other ever did the problem
of combining the highest culture of the mind with the highest culture of
the muscles and the physical faculties.

Then were to be seen families of daughters, handsome, strong females,
rising each day to their in-door work with cheerful alertness,--one to
sweep the room, another to make the fire, while a third prepared the
breakfast for the father and brothers who were going out to manly labor;
and they chatted meanwhile of books, studies, embroidery, discussed the
last new poem, or some historical topic started by graver reading, or
perhaps a rural ball that was to come off the next week. They spun with
the book tied to the distaff; they wove; they did all manner of fine
needle-work; they made lace, painted flowers, and, in short, in the
boundless consciousness of activity, invention, and perfect health, set
themselves to any work they had ever read or thought of. A bride in
those days was married with sheets and table-cloths of her own weaving,
with counterpanes and toilet-covers wrought in divers embroidery by her
own and her sisters' hands. The amount of fancy-work done in our days by
girls who have nothing else to do will not equal what was done by these,
who performed besides, among them, the whole work of the family.

For many years these habits of life characterized the majority of our
rural towns. They still exist among a class respectable in numbers and
position, though perhaps not as happy in perfect self-satisfaction and a
conviction of the dignity and desirableness of its lot as in former
days. Human nature is above all things--lazy. Every one confesses in the
abstract that exertion which brings out all the powers of body and mind
is the best thing for us all; but practically most people do all they
can to get rid of it, and as a general rule nobody does much more than
circumstances drive him to do. Even I would not write this article, were
not the publication-day hard on my heels. I should read Hawthorne and
Emerson and Holmes, and dream in my arm-chair, and project in the clouds
those lovely unwritten stories that curl and veer and change like
mist-wreaths in the sun. So, also, however dignified, however
invigorating, however really desirable are habits of life involving
daily physical toil, there is a constant evil demon at every one's
elbow, seducing him to evade it, or to bear its weight with sullen,
discontented murmurs.

I will venture to say that there are at least, to speak very moderately,
a hundred houses where these humble lines will be read and discussed,
where there are no servants except the ladies of the household. I will
venture to say, also, that these households, many of them, are not
inferior in the air of cultivation and refined elegance to many which
are conducted by the ministration of domestics. I will venture to
assert, furthermore, that these same ladies who live thus find quite as
much time for reading, letter-writing, drawing, embroidery, and
fancy-work, as the women of families otherwise arranged. I am quite
certain that they would be found on an average to be in the enjoyment of
better health, and more of that sense of capability and vitality which
gives one confidence in one's ability to look into life and meet it with
cheerful courage, than three-quarters of the women who keep
servants,--and that on the whole their domestic establishment is
regulated more exactly to their mind, their food prepared and served
more to their taste. And yet, with all this, I will _not_ venture to
assert that they are satisfied with this way of living, and that they
would not change it forthwith, if they could. They have a secret feeling
all the while that they are being abused, that they are working harder
than they ought to, and that women who live in their houses like
boarders, who have only to speak and it is done, are the truly enviable
ones. One after another of their associates, as opportunity offers and
means increase, desert the ranks, and commit their domestic affairs to
the hands of hired servants. Self-respect takes the alarm. Is it
altogether genteel to live as we do? To be sure, we are accustomed to
it; we have it all systematized and arranged; the work of our own hands
suits us better than any we can hire; in fact, when we do hire, we are
discontented and uncomfortable,--for who will do for us what we will do
for ourselves? But when we have company! there's the rub, to get out all
our best things and put them back,--to cook the meals and wash the
dishes ingloriously,--and to make all appear as if we didn't do it, and
had servants like other people.

There, after all, is the rub. A want of hardy self-belief and
self-respect,--an unwillingness to face with dignity the actual facts
and necessities of our situation in life,--this, after all, is the worst
and most dangerous feature of the case. It is the same sort of pride
which makes Smilax think he must hire a waiter in white gloves, and get
up a circuitous dinner-party on English principles, to entertain a
friend from England. Because the friend in England lives in such and
such a style, he must make believe for a day that he lives so too, when
in fact it is a whirlwind in his domestic establishment equal to a
removal or a fire, and threatens the total extinction of Mrs. Smilax.
Now there are two principles of hospitality that people are very apt to
overlook. One is, that their guests like to be made at home, and treated
with confidence; and another is, that people are always interested in
the details of a way of life that is new to them. The Englishman comes
to America as weary of his old, easy, family-coach life as you can be of
yours; he wants to see something new under the sun,--something American;
and forthwith we all bestir ourselves to give him something as near as
we can fancy exactly like what he is already tired of. So city-people
come to the country, not to sit in the best parlor, and to see the
nearest imitation of city-life, but to lie on the hay-mow, to swing in
the barn, to form intimacy with the pigs, chickens, and ducks, and to
eat baked potatoes exactly on the critical moment when they are done,
from the oven of the cooking-stove,--and we remark, _en passant_, that
nobody has ever truly eaten a baked potato, unless he has seized it at
that precise and fortunate moment.

I fancy you now, my friends, whom I have in my eye. You are three happy
women together. You are all so well that you know not how it feels to be
sick. You are used to early rising, and would not lie in bed, if you
could. Long years of practice have made you familiar with the shortest,
neatest, most expeditious method of doing every household office, so
that really for the greater part of the time in your house there seems
to a looker-on to be nothing to do. You rise in the morning and despatch
your husband, father, and brothers to the farm or wood-lot; you go
sociably about chatting with each other, while you skim the milk, make
the butter, turn the cheeses. The forenoon is long; it's ten to one that
all the so-called morning work is over, and you have leisure for an
hour's sewing or reading before it is time to start the
dinner-preparations. By two o'clock your house-work is done, and you
have the long afternoon for books, needle-work, or drawing,--for perhaps
there is among you one with a gift at her pencil. Perhaps one of you
reads aloud while the others sew, and you manage in that way to keep up
with a great deal of reading. I see on your book-shelves Prescott,
Macaulay, Irving, besides the lighter fry of poems and novels, and, if I
mistake not, the friendly covers of the "Atlantic." When you have
company, you invite Mrs. Smith or Brown or Jones to tea; you have no
trouble; they come early, with their knitting or sewing; your particular
crony sits with you by your polished stove while you watch the baking of
those light biscuits and tea-rusks for which you are so famous, and Mrs.
Somebody-else chats with your sister, who is spreading the table with
your best china in the best room. When tea is over, there is plenty of
volunteering to help you wash your pretty India teacups, and get them
back into the cupboard. There is no special fatigue or exertion in all
this, though you have taken down the best things and put them back,
because you have done all without anxiety or effort, among those who
would do precisely the same, if you were their visitors.

But now comes down pretty Mrs. Simmons and her pretty daughter to spend
a week with you, and forthwith you are troubled. Your youngest, Fanny,
visited them in New York last fall, and tells you of their cook and
chambermaid, and the servant in white gloves that waits on table. You
say in your soul, "What shall we do? they never can be contented to live
as we do; how shall we manage?" And now you long for servants.

This is the very time that you should know that Mrs. Simmons is tired to
death of her fine establishment, and weighed down with the task of
keeping the peace among her servants. She is a quiet soul, dearly loving
her ease, and hating strife; and yet last week she had five quarrels to
settle between her invaluable cook and the other members of her staff,
because invaluable cook, on the strength of knowing how to get up
state-dinners and to manage all sorts of mysteries which her mistress
knows nothing about, asserts the usual right of spoiled favorites to
insult all her neighbors with impunity, and rule with a rod of iron over
the whole house. Anything that is not in the least like her own home and
ways of living will be a blessed relief and change to Mrs. Simmons. Your
clean, quiet house, your delicate cookery, your cheerful morning tasks,
if you will let her follow you about, and sit and talk with you while
you are at your work, will all seem a pleasant contrast to her own life.
Of course, if it came to the case of offering to change lots in life,
she would not do it; but very likely she _thinks_ she would, and sighs
over and pities herself, and thinks sentimentally how fortunate you are,
how snugly and securely you live, and wishes she were as untrammelled
and independent as you. And she is more than half right; for, with her
helpless habits, her utter ignorance of the simplest facts concerning
the reciprocal relations of milk, eggs, butter, saleratus, soda, and
yeast, she is completely the victim and slave of the person she pretends
to rule.

Only imagine some of the frequent scenes and rehearsals in her family.
After many trials, she at last engages a seamstress who promises to
prove a perfect treasure,--neat, dapper, nimble, skilful, and spirited.
The very soul of Mrs. Simmons rejoices in heaven. Illusive bliss! The
new-comer proves to be no favorite with Madam Cook, and the domestic
fates evolve the catastrophe, as follows. First, low murmur of distant
thunder in the kitchen; then a day or two of sulky silence, in which the
atmosphere seems heavy with an approaching storm. At last comes the
climax. The parlor-door flies open during breakfast. Enter seamstress,
in tears, followed by Mrs. Cook with a face swollen and red with wrath,
who tersely introduces the subject-matter of the drama in a voice
trembling with rage.

"Would you be plased, Ma'am, to suit yersilf with another cook? Me week
will be up next Tuesday, and I want to be going."

"Why, Bridget, what's the matter?"

"Matter enough, Ma'am! I niver could live with them Cork girls in a
house, nor I won't; them as likes the Cork girls is welcome for all me;
but it's not for the likes of me to live with them, and she been in the
kitchen a-upsettin' of me gravies with her flat-irons and things."

Here bursts in the seamstress with a whirlwind of denial, and the
altercation wages fast and furious, and poor, little, delicate Mrs.
Simmons stands like a kitten in a thunder-storm in the midst of a
regular Irish row.

Cook, of course, is sure of her victory. She knows that a great dinner
is to come off Wednesday, and that her mistress has not the smallest
idea how to manage it, and that, therefore, whatever happens, she must
be conciliated.

Swelling with secret indignation at the tyrant, poor Mrs. Simmons
dismisses her seamstress with longing looks. She suited her mistress
exactly, but she didn't suit cook!

Now, if Mrs. Simmons had been brought up in early life with the
experience that _you_ have, she would be mistress in her own house. She
would quietly say to Madam Cook, "If my family-arrangements do not suit
you, you can leave. I can see to the dinner myself." And she _could_ do
it. Her well-trained muscles would not break down under a little extra
work; her skill, adroitness, and perfect familiarity with everything
that is to be done would enable her at once to make cooks of any bright
girls of good capacity who might still be in her establishment; and,
above all, she would feel herself mistress in her own house. This is
what would come of an experience in doing her own work as you do. She
who can at once put her own trained hand to the machine in any spot
where a hand is needed never comes to be the slave of a coarse, vulgar
Irish-woman.

So, also, in forming a judgment of what is to be expected of servants in
a given time, and what ought to be expected of a given amount of
provisions, poor Mrs. Simmons is absolutely at sea. If even for one six
months in her life she had been a practical cook, and had really had the
charge of the larder, she would not now be haunted, as she constantly
is, by an indefinite apprehension of an immense wastefulness, perhaps of
the disappearance of provisions through secret channels of relationship
and favoritism. She certainly could not be made to believe in the
absolute necessity of so many pounds of sugar, quarts of milk, and
dozens of eggs, not to mention spices and wine, as are daily required
for the accomplishment of Madam Cook's purposes. But though now she does
suspect and apprehend, she cannot speak with certainty. She cannot say,
"_I_ have made these things. I know exactly what they require. I have
done this and that myself, and know it can be done, and done well, in a
certain time." It is said that women who have been accustomed to doing
their own work become hard mistresses. They are certainly more sure of
the ground they stand on,--they are less open to imposition,--they can
speak and act in their own houses more as those "having authority," and
therefore are less afraid to exact what is justly their due, and less
willing to endure impertinence and unfaithfulness. Their general error
lies in expecting that any servant ever will do as well for them as they
will do for themselves, and that an untrained, undisciplined human being
ever _can_ do house-work, or any other work, with the neatness and
perfection that a person of trained intelligence can. It has been
remarked in our armies that the men of cultivation, though bred in
delicate and refined spheres, can bear up under the hardships of
camp-life better and longer than rough laborers. The reason is, that an
educated mind knows how to use and save its body, to work it and spare
it, as an uneducated mind cannot; and so the college-bred youth brings
himself safely through fatigues which kill the unreflective laborer.
Cultivated, intelligent women, who are brought up to do the work of
their own families, are labor-saving institutions. They make the head
save the wear of the muscles. By forethought, contrivance, system, and
arrangement, they lessen the amount to be done, and do it with less
expense of time and strength than others. The old New-England motto,
_Get your work done up in the forenoon_, applied to an amount of work
which would keep a common Irish servant toiling from daylight to sunset.

A lady living in one of our obscure New-England towns, where there were
no servants to be hired, at last by sending to a distant city succeeded
in procuring a raw Irish maid-of-all-work, a creature of immense bone
and muscle, but of heavy, unawakened brain. In one fortnight she
established such a reign of Chaos and old Night in the kitchen and
through the house, that her mistress, a delicate woman, incumbered with
the care of young children, began seriously to think that she made more
work each day than she performed, and dismissed her. What was now to be
done? Fortunately, the daughter of a neighboring farmer was going to be
married in six months, and wanted a little ready money for her
_trousseau_. The lady was informed that Miss So-and-so would come to
her, not as a servant, but as hired "help." She was fain to accept any
help with gladness. Forthwith came into the family-circle a tall,
well-dressed young person, grave, unobtrusive, self-respecting, yet not
in the least presuming, who sat at the family-table and observed all its
decorums with the modest self-possession of a lady. The new-comer took a
survey of the labors of a family of ten members, including four or five
young children, and, looking, seemed at once to throw them into system,
matured her plans, arranged her hours of washing, ironing, baking,
cleaning, rose early, moved deftly, and in a single day the slatternly
and littered kitchen assumed that neat, orderly appearance that so often
strikes one in New-England farm-houses. The work seemed to be all gone.
Everything was nicely washed, brightened, put in place, and stayed in
place; the floors, when cleaned, remained clean; the work was always
done, and not doing; and every afternoon the young lady sat neatly
dressed in her own apartment, either quietly writing letters to her
betrothed, or sewing on her bridal outfit. Such is the result of
employing those who have been brought up to do their own work. That
tall, fine-looking girl, for aught we know, may yet be mistress of a
fine house on Fifth Avenue; and if she is, she will, we fear, prove
rather an exacting mistress to Irish Biddy and Bridget; but _she_ will
never be threatened by her cook and chambermaid, after the first one or
two have tried the experiment.

       *       *       *       *       *

Having written thus far on my article, I laid it aside till evening,
when, as usual, I was saluted by the inquiry, "Has papa been writing
anything to-day?" and then followed loud petitions to hear it; and so I
read as far, reader, as you have.

"Well, papa," said Jennie, "what are you meaning to make out there? Do
you really think it would be best for us all to try to go back to that
old style of living you describe? After all, you have shown only the
dark side of an establishment with servants, and the bright side of the
other way of living. Mamma does not have such trouble with her servants;
matters have always gone smoothly in our family; and if we are not such
wonderful girls as those you describe, yet we may make pretty good
housekeepers on the modern system, after all."

"You don't know all the troubles your mamma has had in your day," said
my wife. "I have often, in the course of my family-history, seen the day
when I have heartily wished for the strength and ability to manage my
household matters as my grandmother of notable memory managed hers. But
I fear that those remarkable women of the olden times are like the
ancient painted glass,--the art of making them is lost; my mother was
less than her mother, and I am less than my mother."

"And Marianne and I come out entirely at the little end of the horn,"
said Jennie, laughing; "yet I wash the breakfast-cups and dust the
parlors, and have always fancied myself a notable housekeeper."

"It is just as I told you," I said. "Human nature is always the same.
Nobody ever is or does more than circumstances force him to be and do.
Those remarkable women of old were made by circumstances. There were,
comparatively speaking, no servants to be had, and so children were
trained to habits of industry and mechanical adroitness from the cradle,
and every household process was reduced to the very minimum of labor.
Every step required in a process was counted, every movement calculated;
and she who took ten steps, when one would do, lost her reputation for
'faculty.' Certainly such an early drill was of use in developing the
health and the bodily powers, as well as in giving precision to the
practical mental faculties. All household economies were arranged with
equal niceness in those thoughtful minds. A trained housekeeper knew
just how many sticks of hickory of a certain size were required to heat
her oven, and how many of each different kind of wood. She knew by a
sort of intuition just what kinds of food would yield the most palatable
nutriment with the least outlay of accessories in cooking. She knew to a
minute the time when each article must go into and be withdrawn from her
oven; and if she could only lie in her chamber and direct, she could
guide an intelligent child through the processes with mathematical
certainty. It is impossible, however, that anything but early training
and long experience can produce these results, and it is earnestly to be
wished that the grandmothers of New England had only written down their
experiences for our children; they would have been a mine of maxims and
traditions, better than any other traditions of the elders which we know
of."

"One thing I know," said Marianne,--"and that is, I wish I had been
brought up so, and knew all that I should, and had all the strength and
adroitness that those women had. I should not dread to begin
housekeeping, as I now do. I should feel myself independent. I should
feel that I knew how to direct my servants, and what it was reasonable
and proper to expect of them; and then, as you say, I shouldn't be
dependent on all their whims and caprices of temper. I dread those
household storms, of all things."

Silently pondering these anxieties of the young expectant housekeeper, I
resumed my pen, and concluded my paper as follows.

       *       *       *       *       *

In this country, our democratic institutions have removed the
superincumbent pressure which in the Old World confines the servants to
a regular orbit. They come here feeling that this is somehow a land of
liberty, and with very dim and confused notions of what liberty is. They
are for the most part the raw, untrained Irish peasantry, and the wonder
is, that, with all the unreasoning heats and prejudices of the Celtic
blood, all the necessary ignorance and rawness, there should be the
measure of comfort and success there is in our domestic arrangements.
But, so long as things are so, there will be constant changes and
interruptions in every domestic establishment, and constantly recurring
interregnums when the mistress must put her own hand to the work,
whether the hand be a trained or an untrained one. As matters now are,
the young housekeeper takes life at the hardest. She has very little
strength,--no experience to teach her how to save her strength. She
knows nothing experimentally of the simplest processes necessary to keep
her family comfortably fed and clothed; and she has a way of looking at
all these things which makes them particularly hard and distasteful to
her. She does not escape being obliged to do house-work at intervals,
but she does it in a weak, blundering, confused way, that makes it twice
as hard and disagreeable as it need be.

Now what I have to say is, that, if every young woman learned to do
house-work and cultivated her practical faculties in early life, she
would, in the first place, be much more likely to keep her servants,
and, in the second place, if she lost them temporarily, would avoid all
that wear and tear of the nervous system which comes from constant
ill-success in those departments on which family health and temper
mainly depend. This is one of the peculiarities of our American life
which require a peculiar training. Why not face it sensibly?

The second thing I have to say is, that our land is now full of
motorpathic institutions to which women are sent at great expense to
have hired operators stretch and exercise their inactive muscles. They
lie for hours to have their feet twigged, their arms flexed, and all the
different muscles of the body worked for them, because they are so
flaccid and torpid that the powers of life do not go on. Would it not be
quite as cheerful and less expensive a process, if young girls from
early life developed the muscles in sweeping, dusting, ironing, rubbing
furniture, and all the multiplied domestic processes which our
grandmothers knew of? A woman who did all these, and diversified the
intervals with spinning on the great and little wheel, never came to
need the gymnastics of Dio Lewis or of the Swedish motorpathist, which
really are a necessity now. Does it not seem poor economy to pay
servants for letting our muscles grow feeble, and then to pay operators
to exercise them for us? I will venture to say that our grandmothers in
a week went over every movement that any gymnast has invented, and went
over them to some productive purpose too.

Lastly, my paper will not have been in vain, if those ladies who have
learned and practise the invaluable accomplishment of doing their own
work will know their own happiness and dignity, and properly value their
great acquisition, even though it may have been forced upon them by
circumstances.



SHAKSPEARE.

APRIL 23, 1864.


    "Who claims our Shakspeare from that realm unknown,
      Beyond the storm-vexed islands of the deep,
    Where Genoa's deckless caravels were blown?
      Her twofold Saint's-day let our England keep;
    Shall warring aliens share her holy task?"
          The Old-World echoes ask.

    O land of Shakspeare! ours with all thy past,
      Till these last years that make the sea so wide,
    Think not the jar of battle's trumpet-blast
      Has dulled our aching sense to joyous pride
    In every noble word thy sons bequeathed
          The air our fathers breathed!

    War-wasted, haggard, panting from the strife,
      We turn to other days and far-off lands,
    Live o'er in dreams the Poet's faded life,
      Come with fresh lilies in our fevered hands
    To wreathe his bust, and scatter purple flowers,--
          Not his the need, but ours!

    We call those poets who are first to mark
      Through earth's dull mist the coming of the dawn,--
    Who see in twilight's gloom the first pale spark,
      While others only note that day is gone;
    For him the Lord of light the curtain rent
          That veils the firmament.

    The greatest for its greatness is half known,
      Stretching beyond our narrow quadrant-lines,--
    As in that world of Nature all outgrown
      Where Calaveras lifts his awful pines,
    And cast from Mariposa's mountain-wall
          Nevada's cataracts fall.

    Yet heaven's remotest orb is partly ours,
      Throbbing its radiance like a beating heart;
    In the wide compass of angelic powers
      The instinct of the blindworm has its part;
    So in God's kingliest creature we behold
          The flower our buds infold.

    With no vain praise we mock the stone-carved name
      Stamped once on dust that moved with pulse and breath,
    As thinking to enlarge that amplest fame
      Whose undimmed glories gild the night of death:
    We praise not star or sun; in these we see
          Thee, Father, only Thee!

    Thy gifts are beauty, wisdom, power, and love:
      We read, we reverence on this human soul,--
    Earth's clearest mirror of the light above,--
      Plain as the record on Thy prophet's scroll,
    When o'er his page the effluent splendors poured,
          Thine own, "Thus saith the Lord!"

    This player was a prophet from on high,
      Thine own elected. Statesman, poet, sage,
    For him Thy sovereign pleasure passed them by,--
      Sidney's fair youth, and Raleigh's ripened age,
    Spenser's chaste soul, and his imperial mind
          Who taught and shamed mankind.

    Therefore we bid our hearts' _Te Deum_ rise,
      Nor fear to make Thy worship less divine,
    And hear the shouted choral shake the skies,
      Counting all glory, power, and wisdom Thine,--
    For Thy great gift Thy greater name adore,
         And praise Thee evermore!

    In this dread hour of Nature's utmost need,
      Thanks for these unstained drops of freshening dew!
    Oh, while our martyrs fall, our heroes bleed,
      Keep us to every sweet remembrance true,
    Till from this blood-red sunset springs new-born
          Our Nation's second morn!



HOW TO USE VICTORY.


The policy of the nation, since the war began, has been eminently the
Anglo-Saxon policy. That is to say, we have not adapted our actions to
any preconceived theory, nor to any central idea. From the President
downward, every one has done as well as he could in every single day,
doubtful, and perhaps indifferent, as to what he should do the next day.
This is the method dear to the Anglo-Saxon mind. The English writers
acknowledge this; they call it the "practical system," and make an
especial boast that it is the method of their theology, their
philosophy, their physical science, their manufactures, and their trade.
In the language of philosophy, it directs us "to do the duty that comes
next us"; in a figure drawn from the card-table, it bids us "follow our
hand." The only branch of the Keltic race which adopts it expresses it
in the warlike direction, "When you see a head, hit it."

We have no objection to make to this so-called practical system in the
present case, if it only be broadly and generously adopted. If it reduce
us to a war of posts, to hand-to-mouth finance, and to that wretched
bureau-administration which thinks the day's work is done when the day's
letters have been opened, docketed, and answered, it becomes, it is
true, a very unpractical system, and soon reduces a great state to be a
very little one. But if the men who direct any country will, in good
faith, enlarge their view every day, from their impressions of yesterday
to the new realities of to-day,--if they will rise at once to the new
demands of to-day, and meet those demands under the new light of
to-day,--all the better is it, undoubtedly, if they are not hampered by
traditionary theories, if they are even indifferent as to the
consistency of their record, and are, thus, as able as they are willing
to work out God's present will with all their power. For it must be that
the present light of noonday will guide us better at noonday than any
prophecies which we could make at midnight or at dawn.

The country, at this moment, demands this broad and generous use of its
great present advantages. In three years of sacrifice we have won
extraordinary victories. We have driven back the beach-line of rebellion
so that its territory is now two islands, both together of not half the
size of the continent which it boasted when it began. We have seen such
demonstrations of loyalty and the love of liberty that we dare say that
this is to be one free nation, as we never dared say it before the war
began. We are on the edge, as we firmly believe, of yet greater
victories, both in the field and in the conscience of the nation. The
especial demand, then, made on our statesmen, and on that intelligent
people which, as it appears, leads the statesmen, instead of being led
by them, is, "How shall we use our victories?" We have no longer the
right to say that the difficult questions will settle themselves. We
must not say that Providence will take care of them. We must not say
that we are trying experiments. The time for all this has gone by. We
have won victories. We are going to win more. We must show we know how
to use them.

As our armies advance, for instance, very considerable regions of
territory come, for the time, under the military government of the
United States. If we painted a map of the country, giving to the Loyal
States each its individual chosen color, and to the Rebel States their
favorite Red or Black, we should find that the latter were surrounded by
a strip of that circumambient and eternal Blue which indicates the love
and the strength of the National Government. The strip is here broad,
and there narrow. It is broad in Tennessee, Arkansas, and Louisiana. It
stretches up in a narrow line along the Sea Islands and the Atlantic
coast. What do we mean to do with this strip, while it is in the special
charge of the nation? Do we mean to leave it to the chapter of
accidents, as we have done? A few charitable organizations have kept the
Sea Islands along, so that they are a range of flourishing plantations,
as they used to be. A masterly inactivity, on the other hand, leaves the
northern counties of Virginia, this summer, within the very sight of the
Capitol, to be the desert and disgrace which they were when they were
the scenes of actual war. A handful of banditti rides through them when
it chooses, and even insults the communications of our largest army. The
people of that State are permitted to point at this desolation, and to
say that such are the consequences of Federal victories. For another
instance, take the "Four-Million question." These four million negroes,
from whose position the war has sprung, are now almost all set free, in
law. A very large number of them--possibly a quarter part of them--are
free in fact. One hundred and thirty thousand of them are in the
national army. With regard to these men the question is not, "What are
you going to do with them when the war is done?" but, "What will you do
with them to-day and to-morrow?" Your duty is to use victory in the
moment of victory. You are not to wait for its last ramification before
you lead in peace and plenty, which ought to follow close in its first
footsteps.

To an observing and sensitive nation it seems as if all these questions,
and many others like them, were not yet fully regarded. Yet they are now
the questions of the hour, because they are a part of the great central
question, "How will you break down the armed power of the Rebel States?"
To maintain the conquered belt between us and our "wayward sisters" as a
land of plenty, and not as a desert,--to establish on system the blacks
whose masters desert them, or who take refuge within our lines,--and
also to maintain in that border-strip a resident peasantry, armed and
loyal,--these are not matters of sentiment, which may be postponed to a
more convenient season, but they are essential to the stiff, steady, and
successful prosecution of our campaigns. It is not, therefore, simply
for charity Boards of Education to discuss such subjects. It is for the
Government to determine its policy, and for the people, who make that
Government, to compel it so to determine. The Government may not shake
off questions of confiscated lands, pay of negro troops, superintendence
of fugitives, and the like, as if they were the unimportant details of a
halcyon future. Because this is the moment of impending victory, because
that victory should be used on the instant, the Government is bound to
attend to such provisions now. It is said, that, when General McClellan
landed below Yorktown, now two years ago, the Washington Post-Office had
made the complete arrangements for resuming the mail-service to
Richmond. Undoubtedly the Post-Office Department was right in such
foresight. At the present moment, it is equally right for the Government
to be prepared for the immediate use of the victories for which, as we
write, we are all hoping.

The experiments which we have had to try, in the care and treatment of
liberated blacks, have been tried under very different conditions. When
the masters on the Sea Islands escaped from their slaves, leaving but
one white man behind them, in the midst of fifteen thousand negroes,
those negroes were, in general, in their old familiar homes. They had,
indeed, trusted themselves to the tender mercies of the "Yankees"
because they would not abandon home. The islands on which they lived
were easily protected, and, thanks to the generous foresight of those
who early had the charge of them, a body of humane and intelligent
superintendents soon appeared, to watch over all their interests. In the
District of Columbia, on the other hand, the blacks whom the war first
liberated had themselves fled from their masters. They found themselves
in cities where every condition of life was different from their old
home. It was hardly to be expected that in one of these cases the
results should be as cheerful or as favorable as in the other. Nor was
it to be supposed that the policy to be pursued, in two such cases,
should be in outward form the same.

But the country has, on the whole, in the various different conditions
of these questions, had the advantage of great administrative ability.
General Butler, General Banks, and General Saxton are three men who may
well be satisfied with their military record, if it shall bear the test
of time as well as their administrative successes in this department bid
fair to do. We can be reconciled, in a measure, to gross failure and
want of system in other places, when we observe the successes which have
been wrought out for the blacks, in different ways, under the policy of
these three statesmen. For we believe that in that policy the principles
are to be found by which the Government ought at once to direct all its
policy in the use of its victories. We believe those principles are most
adequately stated in General Butler's General Order No. 46, issued at
Fort Monroe on the fifth of December last. For General Banks has had his
hands tied, from the beginning, by the unfortunate exemption from the
Emancipation Proclamation of the first two districts in Louisiana.
Considering the difficulties by which he was thus entangled, we have
never seen but he used to the best his opportunities. General Saxton's
island-district has been so small, and in a measure so peculiar, that it
may be urged that the result learned there would not be applicable on
the mainland, on a large scale. But General Butler has had all the
negroes of the sea-board of Virginia and North Carolina to look after.
He has given us a census of them,--and we have already official returns
of their _status_. There seems no reason why what has been done there
may not be done anywhere.

In General Butler's department, there were, in the beginning of April,
sixty-eight thousand eight hundred and forty-seven negroes. Of these,
eight thousand three hundred and forty-four were soldiers, who had
voluntarily enlisted into the service of the United States. These men
enlisted with no bounty but what the General so well named as the "great
boon awarded to each of them, the result of the war,--Freedom for
himself and his race forever." They enlisted, knowing that at that time
the Government promised them but ten dollars a month. In view of these
facts, we consider the proportion of soldiers, nearly one in eight,
extraordinary,--though we are aware that the number includes many who
had not lived in those counties, who came into our lines with the
purpose of enlisting. These simple figures involve the first feature of
the true policy in the "Four-Million question." The war offers the
negroes this priceless bounty. Let them fight for it. Let us enlist
them, to the last man we can persuade to serve.

"If you do that," says Brazen-Face, "you have left on your hands a horde
of starving imbeciles, women, and orphans, to support, from whom you
have cruelly separated their able-bodied men." No, Brazen-Face, we have
no such thing. In the month of March the Government had to supply
rations in the district we have named to only seven thousand eight
hundred and fifty persons who were members of the families of these
soldiers,--the cost being about one dollar a month for each of them. Now
the State of Massachusetts, dear Brazen-Face, supplies "State-aid" to
the families of its soldiers; and for this support, in this very city of
yours, it pays on the average five times as much in proportion as the
United States has to pay for the families of these colored soldiers.
Nay, you may even take all the persons relieved by Government in General
Butler's district,--the number is sixteen thousand seven hundred and
sixteen,--count them all as the families of soldiers, which not one-half
of them are, and the whole support which they all receive from
Government is not half as much as the families of the same number of
soldiers are costing the State of Massachusetts. So much for the expense
of this system. There is no money-bounty, and the "family-aid" is but
one-fifth of that we pay in the case of our own brothers. The figures in
General Saxton's district are as gratifying. We have not the Louisiana
statistics at hand. And we have not learned that anybody has attempted
any statistics in the District of Columbia, or on the Mississippi River.
But this illustration, in two districts where the enlistment of colored
troops has been pushed to the very edge of its development, is enough to
make out another point in the policy of victory, which is, that the
colored soldier is the cheapest soldier whom we have in our lines,
though we pay him, as of course we should do, full pay.

How is this cheapness of administration gained? The answer is in the
second great principle which belongs to the policy of using our
victories. Change the homes of the people as little as possible. The
families of negroes in the Virginia district are put upon separate farms
as far as possible,--on land, and for crops, as nearly as possible, the
same as they were used to. These people are conservative. They are fond
of home. They are used to work; and they can take care of themselves.
Every inducement is given them, therefore, to establish themselves.
Farms of eight or ten acres each from abandoned property are allotted
them. Where the Government employs any of them, it employs them only at
the same rate as the soldier is paid,--so that, if the negro can earn
more than that, he does so, and is urged, as well as permitted to do
so. He is not bound to the soil, except by merely temporary agreement.
What follows is that he uses the gift of freedom to his own best
advantage. "Political freedom," says the philosophical General, "rightly
defined, is liberty to work." The negroes in his command show that they
understand the definition. And this is the reason why, as we have
explained, the "family-relief" costs but one-fifth what it does here in
Boston.

"But," says Grunnio, at this point, "how will you protect your ten-acre
farms from invidious neighbors, from wandering guerrillas?" We will
advise them, dear grumbler, to protect themselves. That is one of the
responsibilities which freemen have to take as the price of freedom. In
the department of Norfolk, where seventeen thousand blacks are
supporting themselves on scattered farms, we believe not a pig has been
stolen nor a fence broken down on their little plantations by semi-loyal
neighbors, who had, perhaps, none too much sympathy, at the first, with
their prosperity. These amiable neighbors were taught, from the first,
that the rights of the colored farmers were just the same as their own,
and that they would be very apt to retaliate in kind for injuries. Of
such a system one result is that no guerrilla-warfare has yet been known
in the counties of Virginia where such a peasantry is establishing
itself. It is near our posts, it is true,--not nearer, however, than
some of the regions where Mosby has won his laurels. We believe that
this system deserves to be pressed much farther. We can see that the
farmers on such farms may have to be supplied in part with arms for
their defence. They may have to be taught to use them. Without providing
depots of supplies for an enemy, however, we believe there might be a
regular system of establishing the negro in his own home, on or near the
plantation where he was born, which would give us from the beginning the
advantages of a settled country, instead of a desert in the regions in
the rear of our lines.

These three suggestions are enough to determine a general policy which
shall give us, in all instances, the immediate use of our victories. Let
us enlist all the able-bodied men we can from the negroes. Let us
establish the rest as near their old homes as we can,--not in
poor-houses or phalansteries, but on their own farms. Let us appoint for
each proper district a small staff of officers sufficient to see that
their rights are respected by their neighbors, and that they have means
to defend themselves against reckless or unorganized aggression. There
seems to be no need of sending them as fugitives to our rear. There
seems to be no need of leaving the country we pass a desert. There seems
to be no need of waiting a year or two before we find for them their
places. God has found for them their places. Let them stay where they
were born. We have made them freemen. Let them understand that they must
maintain their freedom.

More simply stated, such a policy amounts merely to this: "Treat them as
you would treat white people."

"What would you do with the blacks?" said a Commission of Inquiry to an
intelligent jurist who had made some very brilliant decisions at New
Orleans.

"I would not do anything with them," was his very happy and suggestive
reply.

He would let them alone. If we could free ourselves of the notion that
we must huddle them together, or that we must carry them to some strange
land,--in short, that they have no rights of home and fireside,--we
should find that we had a much smaller problem to deal with. Keep them
where you find them, unless they will go on and fight with you. Whether
they go or stay, let them understand that they are your friends and you
are theirs, and that they must defend themselves, if they expect you to
defend them.

The education and the civilization will follow. "The church and the
school," as John Adams says, "belong with the town and the militia." The
statistics of General Butler's department begin to show that a larger
proportion of blacks are at school there than of whites. As we write
these words, we receive General Banks's Order No. 38, issued March 22,
providing for a board of education, and a tax upon property to establish
schools for black and for white children. We have no fears that such
results will be slow, if the enfranchised peasantry, one million or four
million, have the right to work on their own land, or to accept the
highest wage that offers,--if they find they are not arbitrarily removed
from their old homes,--and if the protection of those homes is, in the
first instance, intrusted to themselves.

These are the first-fruits of freedom for them. For us they are the
legitimate use of victory. It only remains that we shall mildly, but
firmly, instruct all officers of the Government that it is time for some
policy to be adopted which shall involve such uses of victory. The
country will be encouraged, the moment it sees that the freedmen are
finding their proper places in the new civilization. The country expects
its rulers not to wait for chapters of accidents or for volunteer boards
to work out such policy, but themselves to provide the system of
administration, and the intelligent men who shall promptly and skilfully
avail themselves of every victory.



REVIEWS AND LITERARY NOTICES.


_History of the Romans under the Empire._ By CHARLES MERIVALE,
B. D., late Fellow of St. John's College, Cambridge. From the Fourth
London Edition. With a Copious Analytical Index. New York: D. Appleton &
Co. 8vo. Vols. I. & II.

People of the last century had a very easy time with their Roman
history, and any gentleman could pick up enough of it "in course of his
morning's reading" to answer the demands of a lifetime. Men read and
believed. They had no more doubt of the existence of Romulus and Remus
than of the existence of Fairfax and Cromwell. As to the story of those
dropped children being nursed by a she-wolf, had it not been established
that wolves did sometimes suckle humanity's young? and why should it be
supposed that no lupine nursery had ever existed at the foot of the
Palatine Hill? After swallowing the wolf-story, everything else was
easy; and the history of the Roman Kings was as gravely received as the
history of the Roman Emperors. The Brutus who upset the Tarquins was as
much an historical character as the Brutus who assassinated Cæsar and
killed himself. Tullia had lived and sinned, just like Messallina. The
Horatii were of flesh and blood, like the Triumvirs. So was it with
regard to the Empire. The same short work that was made with Regal Rome
and the early Republican period was applied to the Imperial age. Julius
Cæsar was the destroyer of Roman liberty, and Pompeius was the unlucky
champion of his country's constitution. With few exceptions, the
Emperors were the greatest moral monsters that ever had lived and
reigned. It is true that two or three critical writers had so handled
historical subjects as to create some doubts as to the exact correctness
of the popular view of Roman history; but those doubts were monopolized
by a few scholars, and by no means tended to shake the faith which even
the educated classes had in the vulgar view of the actions of the mighty
conquering race of antiquity.

But all has been changed. For half a century, learned men have been
busily employed in pulling down the edifice of Roman history, until they
have unsettled everybody's faith in that history. No one now pretends,
seriously, to believe anything that is told of the Romans farther back
than the time of Pyrrhus. Clouds and darkness rest over the earlier
centuries, and defy penetration. What Sir Thomas Browne says of Egypt is
not inapplicable to early Rome. History mumbleth something to the
inquirer, "but what it is he heareth not." Not even the story of Curtius
now finds believers. He must have been a contractor, who made an
enormous fortune at the time of the secession of the plebs, and ruined
himself by the operation. So far as relates to early Roman history, want
of faith is very natural; for what documents have we to go upon in
making up an opinion concerning it? None to speak of. But it is strange,
at the first thought, that there should be any difficulty in making up a
judgment concerning the history of the last century or two of the
Republic, and of the Imperial period. Of those times much that was then
written still survives, and many of the works that were familiar to the
Romans are even more familiar to the moderns. Yet there is a wide
difference of sentiment as to the character of the Roman Revolution, and
the objects and the actions of the eminent men who figured in that
Revolution are yet in dispute; and the contention is almost as fierce,
at times, as it was in the days of Pharsalia and Philippi. There are
Pompeians and Cæsarians now, as there were nineteen centuries ago, only
that the pen with them is indeed mightier than the sword. Cæsar's case
has been reviewed, and the current of opinion is now setting strongly in
his favor. Instead of being looked upon as a mere vulgar usurper, who
differed from other usurpers only in having a greater stage, and talents
proportioned to that stage, he is held up as the man of his times, and
as the only man who could fulfil the demands of the crisis that existed
after the death of Sulla. According to Mr. Merivale, who is a very
moderate Cæsarian, Cæsar was "the true captain and lawgiver and prophet
of the age" in which he lived. When such an assertion can be made by an
English gentleman of well-balanced mind, we may form some idea of the
intensity of that Cæsarism which prevails in fiercer minds, and which is
intended to have an effect on contemporary rule. For the controversy
which exists relative to the merits of Romans "dead, and turned to
clay," is not merely critical and scholastic, but is enlivened by its
direct bearing upon living men and contending parties. Cæsarism means
Napoleonism. The Bonaparte family is the Julian family of to-day.
Napoleon I. stood for the great Julius, and Napoleon III. is the modern
(and very Gallic) Cæsar Augustus, the avenger of his ill-used uncle, and
the crusher of the Junii and the Crassi, and all the rest of the
aristocrats, who overthrew him, and caused his early death. It is not
necessary to point out the utter absurdity of this attempt to justify
modern despotism by referring to the action of men who lived and acted
in the greatest of ancient revolutions; and those men who admire Julius
Cæsar, but who are not disposed to see in his conduct a justification of
the conduct of living men, object to the French Imperial view of his
career. Mommsen, whose admiration of Cæsar is as ardent as his knowledge
of Roman history is great, speaks with well-deserved scorn of the
efforts that are made to defend contemporary usurpation by
misrepresentation of the history of antiquity. One of his remarks is
curious, read in connection with that history which daily appears in our
journals. Writing before our civil war began, he declared, that, if ever
the slaveholding aristocracy of the Southern States of America should
bring matters to such a pass as their counterparts in the Rome of Sulla,
Cæsarism would be pronounced legitimate there also by the spirit of
history,--an observation that derived new interest from the report that
General Lee was to be made Dictator of the Confederacy, and Mr. Davis
allowed to go into that retirement which is so much admired and so
little sought by all politicians. Mommsen, after the remark above
quoted, proceeds to say, that, whenever Cæsarism "appears under other
social conditions, it is at once a usurpation and a caricature. History,
however, will not consent to curtail the honor due to the true Cæsar,
because her decision, in the presence of false Cæsars, may give occasion
to simplicity to play the fool and to villany to play the rogue. She,
too, is a Bible, and if she can as little prevent herself from being
misunderstood by the fool and quoted by the Devil, she ought as little
to be prejudiced by either." Strong words, but very natural as coming
from a learned German who finds his own theory turned to account by the
supporters of a house which Germany once helped to overthrow, and which
she would gladly aid in overthrowing again. Perhaps Dr. Mommsen will
soon have an opportunity to speak more at length of French Cæsarism, for
the first two volumes of Napoleon III.'s "Life of Julius Cæsar" are
announced as nearly ready for publication, and their appearance cannot
fail to be the signal for a battle royal, as few scholars, we presume,
will be content to take historical law from an Emperor. The modern
master of forty legions will not be as fortunate as Hadrian in finding
philosophers disinclined to question his authority in letters; and he
may fare even worse at their hands than he fared at those of Mr.
Kinglake. The republic of letters is not to be mastered by a _coup
d'état_.

The opponents of Cæsarism have not been silent, and it would be neither
uninteresting nor unprofitable, did time permit, to show how well they
have disposed of most of the arguments of their foes. The question is
not the old one, whether the party of Cæsar or that of Pompeius was the
better one, for at bottom the two were very much the same, the struggle
being for supremacy over the whole Roman dominion; and it is certain
that there would have been no essential change of political procedure,
had the decision at Pharsalia been reversed. On that field Cæsar was the
nominal champion of the liberal faction, and Pompeius was the nominal
champion of the _optimates_. Had Cæsar lost the day, the plebeian
Pompeian house would have furnished an imperial line, instead of that
line proceeding from the patrician Julii. Pompeius would have been as
little inclined to abandon the fruits of his victory to the aristocrats
as Cæsar showed himself to set up the rule of the Forum-populace, to
whose support he owed so much. It was to free himself from the weight of
his equals that Pompeius selected the East for the seat of war, when
there were so many strong military reasons why he should have proceeded
to the West, to Romanized Spain, where he had veteran legions that might
under his lead have been found the equals of Cæsar's small, but most
efficient army. He wished to get out of the Republican atmosphere, and
into a country where "the one-man power" was the recognized idea of
rule. He acted as a politician, not as a soldier, when he sailed from
Brundisium to the East, and the nobility were not blind to the fact, and
were not long in getting their revenge; for it was through their
political influence that Pompeius was forced to deliver battle at
Pharsalia, when there were strong military reasons for refusing to
fight. That they were involved in their chief's fall was only in
accordance with the usual course of things, there being nothing to equal
the besotted blindness of faction, as our current history but too
clearly proves.

As between Cæsar and Pompeius, therefore, it is natural and just that
modern liberals should sympathize with the former, and contemplate his
triumph with pleasure, as he was by far the abler and better man, and
did not stain his success by bloodshed and plunder, things which the
Pompeians had promised themselves on a scale that would have astonished
Marius and Sulla, and which the Triumvirs never thought of equalling.
But when we are asked to behold as the result of the Roman Revolution
the deliverance of the provincials, and that as of purpose on the part
of the victor, we are inclined, in return, to ask of the Cæsarians
whether they think mankind are such fools as not to be able to read and
to understand the Imperial history. That Cæsar's success was beneficial
to Rome's subjects we do not dispute; but that the change he effected
was of the sweeping character claimed for it, or that Cæsar ever thought
of being the reformer that his admirers declare him to have been, are
things yet to be proved. The change that came from the substitution of
the Imperial polity for the Republican was the result of circumstances,
and it was of slow growth. Imperialism was an Octavian, not a Julian
creation, as any reader will be able to understand who goes through the
closing chapters of Mr. Merivale's third volume. The first Cæsar's
imperial career was too short, and too full of hard military work, to
admit of much being done by him of a political character; nor would it
have been possible for him, had he been a much younger man, and had he
lived for years, to accomplish what was effected by Augustus. The
terrible crisis that followed his death, and which lasted until the
decision of "the world's debate" at Actium gave a master to the Roman
world, prepared the way for the work that was done by his grand-nephew
and adopted son. The severe discipline which the Romans went through
between the day of Munda and that of Actium made them more acquiescent
in despotism than they would have been found, if Julius Cæsar's mild
sway had been continued through that interval. It has been said that the
Triumvirate converted Cæsar's sword into daggers, and the expression is
by no means too strong, as the world has never witnessed such another
reign of terror as followed from the union of Octavius, Antonius, and
Lepidus. If that union was formed for the purpose of reconciling men to
despotic rule, it must be allowed the merit that belongs to a perfect
invention. Without it the Roman Empire might never have had an
existence.

Mr. Merivale's work may be considered as forming the text-book of
moderate Cæsarism. An Englishman, he cannot be an advocate of despotism;
but he sees that the time had come for a change, and that under Cæsar's
direction the change could be better made than under that of Pompeius or
his party. This is something very different from blind advocacy of
Cæsarism; and we can follow him through his clear and vigorous narrative
of the events of the Revolution with general acquiescence in his views.
His first and second volumes, which are immediately under consideration,
may be said to form the history of the career of Cæsar, and to present
the best account of that career which has been published in our
language. Introductory matter apart, his book opens with the appearance
of the first Emperor on the political stage, and the second volume
closes at the date of his assassination. His various political actions,
his achievements in Gaul and Britain, his marvellous exploits in Italy,
Spain, Macedonia, Greece, and Africa in the Civil War, and the character
of his legislation, are here told and set forth in a manner that comes
very near to perfection. There is a vividness in the narrative, and a
bringing-out of individual portraits, that make the work read like a
history of contemporary events. Nor does the author's just admiration of
Cæsar's extraordinary intellect and wonderful deeds cause him to be
unjust to the eminent men on the other side, though as a rule he deals
severely with those Romans whom the world admires, when treating of the
effects of their conduct. It has been objected to his history, that he
speaks with freedom of Cicero's conduct on many occasions, but we think
that he has not exceeded the bounds of just criticism when considering
the course of the Roman orator; and in his third volume, when summing up
his character, he employs the most generous and lofty language in
speaking of him. "After all the severe judgments we are compelled to
pass on his conduct," he says, "we must acknowledge that there remains a
residue of what is amiable in his character and noble in his teaching
beyond all ancient example. Cicero lived and died in faith. He has made
converts to the belief in virtue, and had disciples in the wisdom of
love. There have been dark periods in the history of man, when the
feeble ray of religious instruction paled before the torch of his
generous philanthropy. The praise which the great critic pronounced upon
his excellence in oratory may be justly extended to the qualities of his
heart; and even in our enlightened days it may be held no mean advance
in virtue to venerate the master of Roman philosophy." An intelligent
admirer of the most illustrious victim of the Triumvirate will consider
these words something far better than anything that can be found in
Middleton's "lying legend in honor of St. Tully." It may be observed
that admiration of Cicero and sympathy with the Roman aristocratical
party mostly go together; and yet the Roman aristocracy disliked Cicero,
and their writers treated him harshly, while he received kind treatment
from writers on the other side. Livy, whom Augustus himself called the
_Pompeian_, says of Cicero that "he bore none of his calamities as a man
should, except his death"; and "Lucan denounces his perverse impolicy."
Mr. Merivale, in a note, observes that it can hardly be accidental that
Tacitus, in his historical works, never mentions him, and adds, "The
most glowing tribute to Cicero's merits is the well-known passage in
Juvenal, and this is written in the spirit of a Marian, or
anti-oligarch." Velleius, who is generally spoken of as a sort of
literary flunky of the Cæsars, warmly panegyrizes Cicero. Had the
Pompeians triumphed, Cicero would not have found Italy the safe place
that it was to him under Cæsar's rule. He would have fared as badly at
their hands as he did at those of the Clodian rabble, and Pompeius might
have been to him what Antonius became after Cæsar's death.

The portrait which Mr. Merivale has drawn of Cato does not meet with the
approval of those persons who admire old Roman virtue, of which Cato
was the impersonation; but they would find it difficult to show that he
has done that stubborn Stoic any injustice. Cato modelled himself on his
great-grandfather, Cato the Censor, a mean fellow, who sold his old
slaves in order that they might not become a charge upon him; but, as
our author remarks, the character of the Censor had been simple and true
to Nature, while that of his descendant was a system of elaborate,
though unconscious affectations. Cato behaved as absurdly as an American
would behave who should attempt to imitate his great-grandfather, the
old gentleman having died a loyal subject of George II. He was an honest
man, according to the Roman standard of honesty, which allowed a great
margin for the worst villany, provided it were done for the public good,
or what was supposed to be the public good. Like some politicians of our
time, he thought, that, when he had made it appear that a certain course
would be in accordance with ancient precedent, it should be
adopted,--making no allowance for the thousand disturbing causes which
the practical politician knows must be found on any path that may be
selected. Of all the men whose conduct brought about the Civil War, he
was the most virtuous, and he had the sagacity to oppose a resort to
arms; though how he succeeded in reconciling his aversion to war with
his support of a policy that led directly to its existence is one of the
mysteries of those days. The Pompeians found him a bore, and, had they
been victorious, would have saved him the trouble of killing himself, by
cutting off his head. Cato was one of the very few persons for whom
Cæsar felt a strong dislike; but he would not have harmed him, had he
got his own consent to live. From Cato he had experienced no such insult
as he had met with from M. Marcellus, and Marcellus received permission
to return to Rome; but Cato was of an unmalleable nature, and preferred,
to an ignoble silence in Italy, the noble silence of the grave. He died
"after the high Roman fashion." Suicide might be called the natural
death of a Roman leader of that age, and nothing but the violence of
enemies could dispute the title with it. Cato, Brutus, Cassius,
Antonius, and others fell by their own hands, or by the hands of persons
who acted by their orders. Cæsar, Pompeius, Cicero, and Crassus were
murdered. Nothing serves more to show how much Augustus differed from
most Romans of his century than the fact that he died in his bed at
extreme old age.

That Mr. Merivale's Cæsarism does not prevent him from doing justice to
the opponents of Cæsar is proved by his portrait of Q. Lutatius Catulus,
the best leader of the _optimates_, and whom he pronounces to have been
the most moderate and disinterested of all the great men of his
day,--"indeed," he adds, "there is perhaps no character in the history
of the Commonwealth which commanded more general esteem, or obtained
more blameless distinction in political life." Yet Catulus was one of
those men with whom Cæsar came earliest in collision, each as the
representative of his party on vital points of difference. Our
historian's estimate of the life, labors, purposes, and character of
Pompeius is singularly correct, when we consider the temptation that he
has to underrate the man with whom Cæsar has stood in direct opposition
for nineteen centuries. There are few more emphatic passages in the
historical literature of our language than the account which is given in
Vol. II. ch. 18, of the last days and death of Pompeius, and which is
followed by a most judicious summing-up of his history and position as a
Roman leader. The historian's mind appears to be strongly affected by
the fate of the Pompeian house, as much so as was the imagination of the
Romans, which it seems to have haunted. This is in part due, we presume,
to the free use which he has made of Lucan's "Pharsalia," a work of
great value to those who would understand how the grand contest for
supremacy was viewed by the beaten party in after times. That poem is
the funeral wail of the Roman aristocracy, and it embodies the ideas and
traditions of the vanquished as they existed far down into the Imperial
age. It testifies to the original vitality of the aristocratical
faction, when we find a youthful contemporary of Nero dedicating his
genius to its service more than a century after the contest had been
decided on the battlefield. Whether Lucan was a patriot, or a selfish,
but disappointed courtier, we may feel certain that he never could have
written in the Pompeian spirit, if that spirit was not still dominant
in the minds of a large number of those men and women who formed the
most cultivated portion of Roman society. To a critical historian, such
as Mr. Merivale is, his poem must be very useful, though it would be
dangerous authority in unskilful hands.

The leading merit of this history is that it supplies a want, and
supplies it effectually. Opening about sixty years before the beginning
of the Christian era, it terminates with the death of M. Aurelius
Antoninus, the point where Gibbon's work begins. We still need a work
beginning with the close of the Second Punic War and ending with the
death of Sulla, to connect Merivale with Arnold; but Mr. George Long is
about to supply the want, at least in part. The first two volumes, as we
have said, end at the date of Cæsar's death. The third and fourth
embrace the long period in which Augustus was the principal character,
and when the Roman Empire was formed. The fifth and sixth cover the
reigns of Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, Nero, Galba, Otho, and
Vitellius, and a portion of the reign of Vespasian. The seventh and last
volume is devoted to the first Flavian house,--Vespasian, Titus, and
Domitian,--and to those "five good Emperors"--Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian,
and the Antonines--whose reigns are renowned in the history of monarchy
for their excellence. The materials of the work are, for the most part,
ample, and they have been well employed by the historian, a man of
extensive scholarship and of critical sagacity. Whether we subscribe to
his opinions or not, there can be no doubt of his having presented a
brilliant picture of the civilized world during about two and a half
eventful centuries. His is the only readable work that we have which
affords a continuous narrative of the history of Rome from the
appearance of Cæsar to the appearance of Commodus. Had it no other claim
upon us, this alone would justify us in recommending it to the closest
attention of all who desire to become acquainted with the facts that
make up the sum of Roman Imperial history. But it has other claims to
the consideration of readers. It makes Roman Imperial history thoroughly
intelligible, because events are philosophically treated, and their
bearing upon each other is rendered clear. It is written with vivacity,
force, and elegance. The style is the style of a gentleman, and the
sentiments are those of a Christian scholar. There is not a paragraph in
it which we could wish to see omitted, or essentially changed. It has
won for its author a place in the list of first-rate English historians,
and he is to be ranked with Macaulay, Grote, Hallam, Froude, Kinglake,
and others of those great writers who have done so much to illustrate
the English name and to advance the cause of humanity. Being familiar
with the work from the time that the first and second volumes were
published in England, in 1850, we have always desired that it should be
placed before the American reading public, confident that here its high
merits would secure for it a great and deserved popularity; and it is
with a sense of personal gratification that we have seen its publication
begun in New York, in a form that pleases the eye and gratifies good
taste.


_Church Pastorals_: Hymns and Tunes for Public and Social Worship.
Collected and Arranged by NEHEMIAH ADAMS, D. D. Boston: Ticknor
& Fields.

The Rev. Dr. Bushnell, in August, 1852, delivered an address upon
"Religious Music" before the Beethoven Society of Yale College at the
opening of their new organ. In the peroration of this address, after
remarking upon the great assistance which Christian feeling receives in
the praise of God from "things without life giving sound," he goes on to
say,--"Let me suggest, also, in this connection, the very great
importance of the cultivation of religious music. Every family should be
trained in it; every Sunday or common school should have it as one of
its exercises. The Moravians have it as a kind of ordinance of grace for
the children: not without reason; for the powers of feeling and
imagination, and the sense of spiritual realities, are developed as much
by a training of childhood in religious music as by any other means. We
complain that choirs and organs take the music to themselves in our
churches, and that nothing is left to the people but to hear their
undistinguishable piping, which no one else can join or follow or
interpret. This must always be the complaint, till the congregations
themselves have exercise enough in singing to make the performance
theirs. As soon as they are able to throw in masses of sound that are
not barbarous, but Christian, and have a right enjoyment of their
feeling in it, they will have the tunes and the style of the exercise in
their own way,--not before.... The more sorrowful is it, that, in our
present defect of culture, there are so many voices which are more
incapable of the right distinctions of sound than things without life,
and which, when they attempt to sing, contribute more to the feeling of
woe than of praise."

These words are as true to-day as when they were uttered twelve years
ago. Congregations which do not desire, or cannot afford, to resign the
musical portion of their service to professional singers, have something
more to do than to complain that the music is bad, or that they do not
like paid vocalists to troll out psalmody for them. They must go to work
and make their own music,--real music; for in these days unharmonious
sounds are almost as much out of place in the worship of God as an
uncatholic spirit and an heretical doctrine. The truth of this principle
many societies admit, and some, like the Rev. Henry Ward Beecher's, have
already put it into practice; the majority, however, wait for help to
free themselves from the customs which have kept them listeners when
they should be creators of vocal praise. The great obstacle to
congregational singing has been that the range of tunes already familiar
was very limited, while the providing a whole society with the
paraphernalia of music-books involved great expense to small purpose,
since a large portion of the tunes contained in these books are
unavailable for such use, being prepared with a view to the wants of
thoroughly trained singers; besides which, the reference to two books,
one for the words and the other for the music, is to many persons
perplexing, and to all inconvenient.

"Church Pastorals" is an attempt to overcome this obstacle, and to
extend that help which is wanted. Other attempts have been made before,
but we regard this as the most successful, and consider that Dr. Adams
has prepared the best hymn-and-tune-book that has yet been issued, as we
propose briefly to illustrate by a recapitulation of his plan and his
manner of executing it.

The hymns, which are nine hundred and eighty-eight in number, are
selected from the great mass of hymn-writers; although Watts and the
Wesleys furnish the foundation, and the materials of the superstructure
are largely drawn from Doddridge, Cowper, Toplady, Montgomery, and
others of kindred spirit, yet many beautiful things have been added from
the later religious poetry, which are no less fervid in feeling, while
less pronounced in doctrinal expression. These hymns are arranged in
judicious general divisions, which are again analytically separated into
special topics placed in logical sequence. After the hymns follow
thirty-eight doxologies, the editor having added to the short list of
common ones others which are fine enough to become standard at once.

But it is less as a hymn- than as a tune-book that "Church Pastorals"
merits the notice of societies and individuals who are truly interested
in religious music, and we pass at once to our remarks upon this portion
of the work. The compiler, although holding himself personally
responsible for every selection, has availed himself of the advice and
assistance of persons professionally eminent in sacred music, one of
whom placed at his disposal a library which is unique in this country,
containing works of which few Americans have owned or seen duplicates,
such as rare "Choral-Bücher" of German cathedrals, and curious
collections of English ecclesiastical compositions, a partial list of
which is included in the volume, for the benefit of those who are
curious in such matters, or wish to know how far Dr. Adams's researches
have led him. To ascertain how many new melodies of the purest
devotional character have been derived from these rich sources a careful
examination is necessary, as also to comprehend with what skill the
harmony has been preserved or adapted, in order to secure the two
desirable results,--absolute freshness and beauty of treatment, and
practicability for ordinary use; but a casual inspection will give
sufficient indication of the spirit in which the work was undertaken,
and of the faithfulness with which it has been completed.

While originality has been properly sought, the old, familiar elements
have not been neglected, and those simple songs which were upon the lips
of our parents and grandparents, and are yet dear to us from association
and intrinsic worth, are set in among the newer strains. The first
lines only are given of such as need merely to be recalled to the memory
of any who ever sing; but of others, equally prized, but less likely to
be remembered, the full score is given.

The doxologies are for the most part set to noble chorals of such
strong, straightforward character that they cannot fail to become
friends and intimates at once. In them, as in all the tunes, the compass
of ordinary voices has been considered; and although nothing has been
left undone which could give beauty to melody or scholarly variousness
to harmony, the whole has been brought within the range of all singers.

A novel and peculiar feature of the book is its "Stanzas to be sung
_impromptu_." Occasions often arise at social meetings or special
services, when it becomes desirable to sing a portion, or even the
whole, of some homely, hearty hymn, but, while "the spirit moves," the
opportunity is lost in the search for the words or the fit air, or in an
attempt to "set the tune." To meet this want, Dr. Adams has brought
together a variety of such stanzas, suited to all times and places, and,
coupled with each, the first line of a familiar melody, that the
propitious moment may be enjoyed and improved.

It will of course be understood that the tune appointed for each hymn is
printed directly above it, all four parts being given at length, the two
trebles printed in a not unusual way upon one staff, the tenor and bass
having each separate lines. Therefore no difficulty in singing the hymns
can be felt even by the inexperienced, especially as one stanza is
printed with the notes to show the exact adaptation.

In fine, "Church Pastorals" is a work worthy of an extended circulation
and capable of great usefulness. It can serve every purpose of public
worship, for it embraces all services of the Sabbath congregation or the
week-day gathering, and it touches upon all thoughts and feelings of
religious assemblies; it is not above the tastes and abilities of an
earnest congregation, nor beneath the notice and use of the independent
choir. More than this, it has a particular value for the home and the
fireside. Every household knows some quiet hour when the family-voices
seek to join in the happy harmony of some unpretending hymn, and when
the only limit to such grateful music is the failure of memory or the
meagreness of the library, which furnishes only the hymns, or, giving
the tunes, supplies only a part of the words,--for few families possess
both sorts of books in plenty for their convenient use. This volume
offers all,--the hymn, solemn, hopeful, sad, or jubilant, and united to
it a tune, perhaps remembered from recollection's earliest days, perhaps
unknown and untried, but suiting well the spirit of the words, and ready
at an instant's desire to express the sentiment or emotion that rises
for utterance. If "Church Pastorals" had no other merit, this alone
would make it worth possessing by all who love and ever practise sacred
music.

A thorough and elaborate index includes in one ingenious list all
references, whether to hymns, tunes, or metres; and the inaccuracies
which will creep into even as handsome typography as this are
unimportant, and rectified as quickly as observed. The size is
convenient, and the shape comely.


_Illustrations of Progress_: A Series of Discussions by HERBERT
SPENCER. With a Notice of Spencer's "New System of Philosophy." New
York: D. Appleton & Co.

Mr. Herbert Spencer is already a power in the world. Yet it is not the
vulgar apprehension of power which is associated with notoriety that we
claim for him. He holds no position of civil authority, neither
do his works compete with Miss Braddon's poorest novel in the
circulating-libraries. But he has already influenced the silent life of
a few thinking men whose belief marks the point to which the
civilization of the age must struggle to rise. In America, we may even
now confess our obligations to the writings of Mr. Spencer, for here
sooner than elsewhere the mass feel as utility what a few recognize as
truth. The reader acquainted with the admirable papers upon Education,
which have been republished and extensively circulated in this country,
has recognized their author's fresh and vigorous spirit, his power of
separating the essential from the accidental, as well as his success in
grasping the main features of a subject divested of frivolous and
subordinate details. That he possesses a thinking faculty of rare
comprehensiveness, as well as acuteness, will be allowed by all who will
study his other works now in course of republication in New York.

Mr. Spencer is at present engaged in an heroic attempt to construct a
sufficing system of philosophy, which shall include Biology, Psychology,
Sociology, and Morality. The great interest to mankind of the discussion
proposed, as well as Mr. Spencer's claims to be intrusted with it, are
set forth with singular clearness and felicity in the essay which
introduces the present volume. Whatever success the latest discoveries
in science render possible to solid intellectual force assisted by the
keenest instruments of logic will doubtless be attained. As far as the
frontiers of knowledge where the intellect may go, there is no living
man whose guidance may more safely be trusted. Mr. Spencer represents
the scientific spirit of the age. He makes note of all that comes within
the range of sensuous experience, and declares whatever may be derived
therefrom by a careful induction. As a philosopher he does not go
farther. Yet beyond this the heart of humanity must ever penetrate. Let
it be true, as it doubtless is, that, when the understanding by process
of logic seeks to demonstrate the Cause of All, it finds a barren
abstraction destitute of personality. It is no less true that God
reveals Himself to the human feeling without intermediate agency. For
the religious _sentiment_ Mr. Spencer finds an indestructible
foundation. While maintaining that man can grasp and know only the
finite, he yet holds that science does not fill the whole region of
mental activity. Man may realize in consciousness what he may not grasp
in thought.

Of the other doctrines of Mr. Spencer we attempt no exposition. His
attitude towards theology is to us more satisfactory than that of any
recent thinker of the first class. But whatever his conclusions, every
true man will respect and encourage that rectitude of mind which follows
the issues of its reasoning at any cost. It was not the philosopher in
his brain, but the fool _in his heart_, who said, "There is no God." It
is of little matter what inappropriate name narrow people may have
chosen for Mr. Spencer. Here is a conscientious investigator who finds
duty everywhere, who labors to give men truths which shall elevate and
reform their lives; but he believes that the hope of humanity was
potentially shut in an egg, and never in an ark. And there is the
"reader upon the sofa,"--church-member he may be,--who tosses aside
"Vanity Fair" with the reflection that a gossiping of London snobs is
human life, and that the best thing to be done is to pay pew-rates and
lie still and gird at it. Which of these two, think you, is the modern
representative of King David's "fool"?

We would not be charged with the superfluity of commending to scholars
the writings of Mr. Spencer. They have long ago found them out. It is to
the mass of working men and women who make time for a solid book or two
in the course of the year that we submit their claims. While those who
have the leisure and training to realize Mr. Spencer's system as a
developed unity must necessarily be few, no reader of tolerable
intelligence can fail to find much of interest and suggestion in its
several parts. With a common allowance for the abstruse nature of the
subjects of which he treats, Mr. Spencer may be called a _popular_
writer. His philosophical terminology will not be found troublesome in
those of his writings which will first attract the reader. The "Social
Statics," the "Essays," and the treatise on "Education" are very
clearly, as well as most gracefully, written. And after these have been
mastered, most readers will not be repelled by the less easy reading of
the "Principles of Psychology," and the "New System of Philosophy." All
these works are rich in materials for forming intelligent opinions, even
where we are unable to agree with those put forward by the author. Much
may be learnt from them in departments in which our common educational
system is very deficient. The active citizen may derive from them
accurate, systematized information concerning his highest duties to
society, and the principles on which they are based. He may gain clearer
notions of the value and bearing of evidence, and be better able to
distinguish between facts and inferences. He may find common things
suggestive of wiser thought--nay, we will venture to say, of truer
emotion--than before. For Mr. Spencer is not of that school of
"philosophy" which teaches the hopelessness of human effort, and, by
implication, the abandonment of moral dignity. From profound
generalizations upon society, he rises to make the duty of the
individual most solemn and imperative. Above all, he has this best
prerogative of really great thinkers,--he is able to change sentiments
to convictions.

If we have not particularized the claims of the single volume whose
title is at the head of our notice, it is because all that Mr. Spencer
has written moves towards one end and is equally worthy of attention.
The essays here given are selected from two series, the first published
in 1857, the second in 1863. The present arrangement has been chosen by
the author as more suitable to develop the general purpose which governs
his work. While the doctrine of Evolution is more or less illustrated in
each of these papers, the variety of subjects discussed must touch at
some point the taste and pursuit of any reader. From "Manners and
Fashion" to "The Nebular Hypothesis" is a sweep bold enough to include
most prominent topics with which we are concerned. Indeed, we can recall
no modern volume of the same size which so thoroughly credits its author
with that faculty of looking about him which Pope thought it was man's
business to exercise. There are the current phrases, "seeing life," and
"knowing the world," which generally used to signify groping in the
dirtiest corners of the one and fattening lazily upon the other; but if
it were possible to rescue such expressions from their vulgar
associations, we think that a candid reader would apply the best
conceptions they suggested to the writer of the discussions here
collected. The world as it is to-day is seen by Mr. Spencer as by few
living men. The sciences, which taken singly too often seem only good to
expel the false, have been summoned together to declare the true. Not
Nature alone, but Humanity, which is greater than Nature, must be
interrogated for answers that shall satisfy the ripest reason of the
age. By the rare gifts of comparison which turn to account his wide
observations, Mr. Spencer has already established principles which,
however compelled for a time to compromise with prejudices and vested
interests, will become the recognized basis of an improved society.

Our only interest in recommending this author to our countrymen comes
from the conviction that he is peculiarly capable of impressing for good
the present condition of our national character. By giving us fuller
realizations of liberty and justice his writings will tend to increase
our self-reliance in the great emergency of civilization to which we
have been summoned. "Our Progressive Independence," so brilliantly
illustrated by Dr. Holmes, emancipating us from foreign fine-writing,
leaves us free to welcome the true manhood and mature wisdom of Europe.
In the time of our old prosperity, amusing a leisure evening over
Kingsley or Ruskin, we were tempted to exclaim, with Sir Peter Teazle,
"There's nothing half so noble as a man of sentiment!" But in these
latter days we have seen "Mr. Gradgrind" step from Dickens's wretched
caricature to bring his "facts" to the great cause of humanity, while
"Joseph Surface" reserved his "sentiments" for the bloody business by
which Slavery sought to subject all things to herself. We have seen the
belles-lettres literature of England more deeply disgraced than when it
smirked before the harlots of the second Charles, or chanted a
blasphemous benediction over George IV. But the thought and science of
the Old World it is still our privilege to recognize. And it can hardly
be necessary to say that the sympathies of Mr. Spencer, like those of
Mill and Cochin, have been with the government and loyal people of the
United States. And so we take especial pleasure in mentioning that a
considerable interest in the American copyright of his writings has been
secured to the author, and also, despite the facilities of reading-clubs
and circulating-libraries, that they are emphatically _books to own_.


_Poems._ By FREDERICK GODDARD TUCKERMAN. Boston: Ticknor and
Fields.

These poems show by internal evidence that they are the productions of a
man of refined organization and delicate sensibility to beauty, who has
lived much in solitude and tasted of the cup of sorrow. Of decided
originality in intellectual construction it cannot be said that they
give emphatic proof: the poet, as Schiller has said, is the child of his
age, and Mr. Tuckerman's poetry not unfrequently shows that he has been
a diligent student of those masters in his art who have best caught and
reproduced the spirit of the times in which we dwell. It has one quality
to a high degree,--and that is, a minute knowledge of the peculiarities
of the natural world as it appears in New England. In his long woodland
walks, he has kept open an eye of observation as practised as that of
the naturalist. The trees, the shrubs, the flowers of New England are
known to him as they are to few. He is tempted to draw too largely upon
this source of interest: in other words, there is too much of
description in his volume. Life is hardly long enough for such elaborate
painting. We may admire the skill of the delineation, but we cannot
pause sufficiently before the canvas to do full justice to the painter.
Those poems in which Mr. Tuckerman expresses the emotions of bereavement
and sorrow are those which have the highest merit in point of thought
and expression. They are full of tenderness and sensibility; but the
poet should bear in mind that strings which vibrate such music should be
sparingly struck.

It may be somewhat paradoxical to say so, but it appears to us that the
poetry of Mr. Tuckerman would be improved, if it had more of prose in
it. It does not address itself to common emotions and every-day
sympathies. His flour is bolted too fine. One must almost be a poet
himself to enter into full communion with him. In intellectual
productions the refining process should not be carried too far: beyond a
certain point, what is gained in delicacy is lost in manliness and
power.


_Possibilities of Creation; or, What the World might have been._ A Book
of Fancies. London: Simpkin, Marshall, & Co.

The author describes his work as a treatise of the Bridgewater class. We
should rather describe it as a _reductio ad absurdum_ in Natural
Philosophy. A great deal of humor, ingenuity, and information are
brought into play to turn the world upside-down, for the very laudable
purpose of demonstrating that it is better to be right side up,--a
method of demonstration curious and interesting enough, if comprised in
a single essay, but rather long-drawn-out, when spread over four hundred
pages. Suppose, for instance, is the writer's mode of argument, a
malicious demon let loose, with power to set the earth topsy-turvy, on
condition of keeping it still an earth. With what exultation does he
bestride the Himalayas to watch the convulsions which he causes! How
does he kick his heels against the mountain-flanks, in ecstasy at seeing
men bleached and blistered with the chlorine or nauseated with the
sulphuretted hydrogen which he has substituted for our wholesome and
pleasant air! Or what should we do, if potato-roots had happened to be
moistened with gin instead of water? What if men, instead of standing
god-like erect, had been great balls of flesh, rolling along the ground
as best they could,--if Young's poetical figure had been a practical
truth, and this globe were the Bedlam of the universe,--if the fixity of
Nature had been shattered, and we sat down at our feasts to find the
soup bitter as strychnine, the wine changed into vinegar, and mild ale
fiery as vitriol? What if wrinkles and gray hairs came in the twinkling
of an eye,--if children were born with matured minds,--if no one were
capable of anger,--and men started at the same point to arrive at the
same conclusions? In short,--

    "If all the world was apple-pie,
      And all the sea was ink,
    And all the trees were bread and cheese,
      What should we have for drink?"

To all which startling inquiries we are fain to say, that, if Merrie
England sits under her present squally skies in such a frame of bliss
that she must have recourse to her imagination, when she wishes to
contemplate a nice little _imbroglio_, she must be awarded the palm for
being what Mark Tapley would call "jolly under creditable
circumstances." For ourselves, we frankly confess that we find quite
trouble enough in steering among the realities of creation, without
caring to venture far out among its possibilities.



RECENT AMERICAN PUBLICATIONS

RECEIVED BY THE EDITORS OF THE ATLANTIC MONTHLY.


Cudjo's Cave. By J. T. Trowbridge, Author of "Neighbor Jackwood," etc.
Boston. J. E. Tilton & Co. 12mo. pp. 504. $1.50.

Sadlier's Catholic Almanac and Ordo for the Year of our Lord 1864. With
Full Returns of the Various Dioceses in the United States and British
North America. And a List of the Archbishops, Bishops, and Priests in
Ireland. New York. D. & J. Sadlier & Co. 12mo. paper. pp. 330. 50 cts.

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